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The Theban Cycle:
Pyrrha of Thebes

 

Recap:

 
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The seven-gated city of Boeotian Thebes was established by Cadmus, an outcast Sidonian prince. Having failed in his mission to rescue Princess Europa from her abduction, Cadmus settled Thebes with his wife, the remnants of their Sidonian crew, and a band of Spartoi warriors who sprang from dragon's teeth sown into a sacred field.   Generations passed.   A princess got blown up during a tryst with Zeus.   A prince got turned into a deer after an encounter with Artemis.   A king got torn apart by his own family members at the urging of Dionysus.   In short, Thebes had the same problems as any other city in the Lands of Hellas.   The descendants of Cadmus and Harmonia reigned over a kingdom of spreading influence and growing ambitions. Five powerful tribes of noblemen descended from the five original Spartoi. The Thebans benefited from the guidance of the ancient gender-fluid seer, Tiresias, until Good King Laius received a prophecy that displeased him. That day, a child was left to die on the slopes of Mount Kithairon, and Tiresias was banished to a spire atop the Temple of Apollon.   Years later, a sphinx appeared, bringing a miasma of famine, disease, and death. The monster-infested, plague-ridden kingdom was further thrown in chaos when Good King Laius was slain on the road while seeking aid, leaving behind a widowed queen and no heir.   All seemed lost until the great hero Oedipus arrived, fleeing an unspeakable fate in his home kingdom of Corinth. Oeidpus defeated the sphinx, married Queen Jocasta, and took his place on the throne. With the wise counsel of Creon, a Spartoi-spawned magistrate from the Tribe of Echion, Oedipus brought peace and prosperity to Thebes for the next fourteen years...   ...until another plague arrived with an even greater intensity than before.
  Now Pyrrha, Daughter of Creon, finds herself at the center of an unfolding tragedy.

Chapter 1:
The Runner


 

Verse 1: "I Run"

  Which finds our protagonist on the run.
 

Verse 2: "The Only Sounds in All of Thebes"

  Who or what is chasing Pyrrha?
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We don't know yet. The mysterious pursuer is invisible to her.
 
 

Verse 3: "A Prayer to Echion"

  What is Pyrrha's prophecy?
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It is foretold that she will follow in the footsteps of Ino.
 
 

Verse 4: "Inside the Citadel"

  What is Pyrrha hiding under her tunic?
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Something made of bronze and wrapped in leather?
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Oh, it's a knife!
 
 

Verse 5: "The Knife!"

  When will Pyrrha use the knife?
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Only as a last resort.
 
 

Verse 6: "What I See"

  How is Pyrrha related to the royal family of Thebes?
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The princesses are her cousins. The king and queen are her uncle and aunt.
 
 

Verse 7: "Scarred by the Battle of Fifty Brothers"

  What oaths bind the Spartoi-spawn?
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Descendants of the Spartoi are bound to Ares, to the Cadmaian citadel, and to the bearer of the rod.
 
 

Verse 8: "Downhill Into Udaius's Ward"

  What keeps Pyrrha from seeking shelter in Udaius's Ward?
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The Udaioi are her sworn enemies. In addition, many homes there are under quarantine.
 
 

Verse 9: "Gossip Among the Echionai"

  How close has the Miasma come to Pyrrha?
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The Miasma has spread to her oikos, and has afflicted her family's servants.
 
 

Verse 10: "The Main Road"

  Why are the ox carts painted black?
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Hauling the dead away from the living is a dark business.
 
 

Verse 11: "Looking Back"

  What made that sound of feathers?
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A man with wings on his sandals and wings on his hat.
 
 

Verse 12: "Acknowledged"

  The big reveal! Name Pyrrha's pursuer.
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In this culture, you may call him Hermes.
 
 

Verse 13: "Together through the Spartoi Wards"

  What do you say if you meet an Olympian god while out for a jog?
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A pleasant good morning should do, as long as you don't mess up his pantheon.
 
 

Verse 14: "I Imagine Androkleia"

  What's the best part about having a god for a running buddy?
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Your friends will all be soooooo jealous!
 
 

Verse 15: "Just So"

  According to Pyrrha's new friend, how is a gambler better than a seer?
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The seer sees one possible future, but a gambler sees the odds.
 
 

Verse 16: "A Fickleness of Prophecy"

  What does Pyrrha's new friend most admire about prophecy?
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A seer lies by telling the truth in an inscrutable manner.
 
 

Verse 17: "Chores Without End"

  Among the many jobs of Hermes, which is the most dreaded?
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Hermes ferries newly-dead souls to the Underworld.
 
 

Verse 18: "Toward the Graveyard of Humanity"

  Coming in Fall 2020. Available now to Patrons and Educators.  
 

Verse 19: "The Finish Line"

  Coming in Fall 2020. Available now to Patrons and Educators.  

Sources:

  Pyrrha of Thebes is an original story by Greg R. Fishbone, inspired by characters and settings from the Theban Cycle of Greek and Roman Mythology, drawing from works by Sophocles, Aeschylus, Ovid, and travel writer Pausanias. During his 2nd Century visit to Thebes, Pausanias described statues to Pyrrha and Henioche, two daughters of Creon, prominently placed on the Acropolis in evidence to some now-lost story that once inspired a hero cult.  
“On the right of Apollon’s Ismenian temple are statues of women made of stone, said to be portraits of Kreon’s daughters, Pyrrha and Henioche, whose legendary deeds are now known only to the keepers of their mysteries . . .”
— Pausanias, Descriptions of Greece, Boiotia IX:10.3, 2nd Century CE
  Since Creon was the father-in-law, brother-in-law, and chief advisor to King Oedipus, Pyrrha and her family would have had an insider view of all the unfolding drama.

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