Friday, August 20, 2010
Perseus – The Heroic History of the Canadian Legion Universe
Perseus – The Heroic History of the Canadian Legion Universe
Perseus was one of the most powerful sons that Zeus had fathered. His mother had remained chaste long into adulthood because her father Acrisius the King of the Argos had been told that his grandson would one day slay him. It had been an important prophesy that Acrisius had been told by the Oracle at Delphi herself. Zeus visited her nightly for years in the form of a golden shower, much like a warm bathing light full of sparkling jewels and gold. Zeus would remain invisible within this show of wealth and have his way with the lustful Danae. Eventually to her father’s horror she became pregnant with the son of Zeus. King Acrisius was fearful of how Zeus would react if he were to slay his own child, so he locked Danae and her child into a wooden casket and tossed it into the sea, hoping Zeus would take them in himself.
Danae and Perseus washed up on the shores of an island and were rescued by a kind fisherman. The fisherman’s brother was King of the small island and was named Polydectes. He coveted Danae but she was sworn to the man who had saved her, the fisherman Dictys. Polydectes became so obsessed that young Perseus would have to protect her from his violent advances. Finally King Polydectes came up with a plan to remove Perseus from the island, he too had heard that Perseus would be dangerous to kill.
The King held a banquet and requested each guest bring a horse as tribute. His brother was but a poor fisherman and had no horse to give his older brother, so the King demanded his adopted son Perseus pay his debt instead. Perseus, a brave man-child of 16, offered whatever it would take to make King Polydectes happy. The King told Perseus that he was to bring him the head of the one called ‘Medusa’, a human cursed by Athena whose gaze could turn men to stone. Perseus naively agreed, eager to please and more eager to serve. His mother begged him not to, but when he ignored her pleas, she turned to Athena, the very God who had cursed Medusa. At this point in his life Perseus had begun to change, his skin in particular, perhaps because of the magic his father used to conceive him, began to take on the feel and strength of living bronze.
Medusa was once a very beautiful woman with long gorgeous hair of fiery red, the likes of which had not been seen anywhere across the land. Medusa was a great priestess and served her Goddess well, so well that when Poseidon arrived at her temple, Medusa did all she could to seduce and temper the Sea God’s anger. Athena was embarrassed that one of her priestesses had not only had sex in her temple, on her very altar, but that she had done so well that the story of it quickly passed through the lips of every Olympian. Medusa was in fact telling the story to her two sisters when Athena confronted her, cursing her name. Medusa begged for forgiveness, she even attempted to convince Athena that Poseidon had raped her, but Athena merely laughed. Medusa watched as her red hair fell out, to be replaced by hissing snakes. Her legs fused into a snake-like tail and her skin took on a tough, scaly look. Athena sealed that temple as she left, leaving Medusa inside for as long as her life would last.
Many years had passed since the day Athena cursed Medusa and she was amused to hear the prayers of Danae, asking her to protect her son from the Gorgon. Athena visited Perseus on his boat as he left the island, telling her where to find the weapons required to defeat Medusa. Perseus then began his famous quest to find the Weapons of the Gods. Zeus even passed on his Helm of Invisibility, the very same one he had used to bed Perseus’s mother.
T o ensure no one would rescue Medusa, Athena also changed her two sisters into Gorgons as well. The two sisters were granted immortality so that Athena could be sure they would outlive Medusa and ensure she died within the sealed temple. Perseus took weeks to kill the two sisters, following them through the underground tunnels and tracking their daily activities until he could be sure of when to strike. The reflective nature of his skin and the mirror-like shield allowed him to watch them without being petrified. The two sisters were little more than animals and slumbered deeply but Medusa was wracked with nightmares. She would often toss and turn throughout the night, occasionally letting out a small cry or whimper. Perseus would watch her wake in terror only to cry herself back to sleep again. Unlike her siblings Medusa still retain much of her human looks, she was considerably smaller and weaker than her sisters as well. After the sisters were dead Perseus went to Medusa with the intention of slaying her, even though in his heart he had begun to doubt himself. When he entered her bedroom chamber and saw her in her own mirror, crying at what she had become, her hairbrush in her hand, he remembered his mother. His mother had always been a virgin yet she had given birth to him, making her an outcast to her people and someone of whom people would talk about in whispers. Holding his sword in his hand Perseus remembered what Athena had whispered to him that day on the boat.
“Medusa can be made into a woman, pure and true once more, if she can shed her ego and become wife and servant to a man of honor.” Athena had said. So Perseus confronted Medusa not as her slayer but as her lover and master. No matter what he subjected her to, no matter how much humiliation he put her through her snake-like body could handle the punishment and her pride made her vicious and desperate. Eventually she stopped resisting Perseus’s orders and began to respect him and fear him. This fear and respect soon turned to love and one morning she found her legs had returned to normal. Medusa could have fled then, or attempted to murder Perseus while he slept. Instead she offered herself to him as a lover and slave and at that moment her curse was broken. Although she would still turn into a Gorgon when she became too confident and egotistical, she would eventually shed the Gorgon body like a snake shedding skin when in the loving hands of her husband Perseus. After months of living together as husband and wife, the now 17 year old Perseus began his journey home with the heads of Medusa’s sisters to show as proof he had completed his quest.
After a journey full of danger and peril Perseus encountered Princess Andromeda, who had been left chained to a rock as a sacrifice to the Sea-Gods. Using his wedding gift from Medusa, the flying horse named Pegasus, Perseus was able to fly Andromeda to safety. Although she had been promised to another Perseus saw in her the same chastity and sexuality that he had loved in Medusa. He also felt a great anger toward her people for leaving her to die at the mercy of one Poseidon’s sea monsters. For decades Perseus managed his polygamist relationships while gaining great glory as a hero.
Perseus’s first child was born to Medusa, a giant shape shifter that shared the golden armor of his father named Chrysaor. His second son, Perses, was born to Andromeda. Both of these men would become heroes and leaders ; one to the monsters of the sea and land and the other as ruler of Tiryns. One of his descendants would also gain great fame, the hero known as Hercules. Medusa did discover Perseus’s other wife at some point before he returned to his mother’s island. The tears Medusa wept when she learned the truth turned into poisonous serpents.
When Perseus arrived home, after taking two wives and defeating numerous other monsters, he found his mother beaten and violated. He had become a man and could no longer contain his rage. In anger he struck down King Polydectes and appointed his brother and step-father as the new ruler. King Dictys although a simple fisherman, became a great king with Danae as his queen. In honor of their new King the people held a number of games that lasted many months. Perseus was invited to show off his discus skills in front of a large number of rulers and leaders from across the seas. Whether by accident or with great skill, Perseus missed his target and the discus ricocheted, striking and killing Acrisius and fulfilling the Oracles prophecy. It should be noted that the Oracle of Delphi was also in attendance at the games.
Eventually Andromeda died of old age and Perseus retired to spend his remaining years with his first wife Medusa. His children took over the thrones and his legend grew. It was many centuries later that Athena, while shutting down her temples before going into the Great Torpor, discovered the remains of the couple and realized the truth. There are still descendants of Perseus and Medusa who carry within them the potential to unlock abilities from their parents.