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Saturday, 8 March 2014

The Origine of Elves

Some light reading my dear friends and followers
A short history on the origin of elves. I would love to hear your thoughts, Thank you

The origin of elves

Here's how these little people have evolved.

Ancient Norse mythology refers to the álfar, also known as huldufólk, or "hidden folk." However, it's risky to translate álfar directly to the English word "elf," said Terry Gunnell, a folklorist at the University of Iceland. Elves are thought of as little people, perhaps wearing stocking caps and cavorting with fairies, but the original conception of álfar was far less whimsical. Some ancient poems place them side by side with the Norse gods, perhaps as another word for the Vanir, a group of gods associated with fertility, or perhaps as their own godly race. It's likely, Gunnell said, that elves' inventors had no single, unified theory on elvish identity; rather, there were a variety of related folk beliefs regarding this unseen race.

"They look like us, they live like us — at least in the older materials — and probably, nowadays, if they're living anywhere, they're living between floors in flats [apartments]," Gunnell told LiveScience, referring to the notion of an invisible, parallel world inhabited by álfar— the friendly neighbors who live between the seventh and eighth floors.

Iceland was settled in the 800s by Scandinavians and Celts, brought from Ireland as slaves. Both Scandinavian and Celtic cultures had myths of fairies, elves and nature spirits, which began to meld into the concept of álfar as representatives of the landscape, Gunnell said. Iceland's eerie, volcanic setting probably played into these myths, Gunnell said, especially in the dark of winter, when the Northern Lights are the only thing illuminating the long nights.

"The land is alive, and really, the hidden people are a personification of a very living landscape that you have to show respect for, that you can't really defeat," Gunnell said. "You have to work with it." [Top 10 Beasts and Dragons: How Reality Made Myth]

Elves evolve

Scandinavians and Celts weren't the only Europeans who used unseen, supernatural species as symbols of the wilds surrounding them. Farther south, Germans believed in dwarves and little sprites called kobolds. Scots had house spirits called brownies.

Elves became part of this mythological mix throughout the first millennium A.D., according to Alaric Hall, a lecturer at the University of Leeds who penned an entry on elves for the upcoming "Ashgate Encyclopedia of Literary and Cinematic Monsters" (Ashgate, 2014). The word "elf" derives from the ancestor language of German, English and today's Scandinavian languages, Hall wrote, and the first written references to them come from church texts starting around A.D. 500.

Medieval Europeans saw elves as dark and dangerous, and linked them to demons. In the Old English "Beowulf," which dates to sometime between A.D. 700 and 1000, elves get a mention as an evil race that descended from Cain, the biblical son of Adam and Eve who murdered his brother:

"Of Cain awoke all that woful breed,

Etins and elves and evil-spirits,

as well as the giants that warred with God."

These religious references reveal the clash and melding of folk beliefs and new religion as Christianity crept into Europe. In different tales at different times, elves alternated between good and bad, Hall wrote. They could deliver babies safely through a difficult labor — or steal away a human baby and replace it with a sickly and deformed changeling. Elves, known as alp in German, could cause nightmares (Alpdrück), perhaps similar to other mythology surrounding the scary experience of sleep paralysis. Nevertheless, elves were probably still considered human-size, rather than diminutive, Hall wrote.

By William Shakespeare's day, elves lost many of their malevolent undertones. Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," written in the 1590s, included an elflike figure, Puck, who acted as a jokester or trickster.


From myth to Christmas

"Note!" nobody really knows what a Christmas elf looks like until I got this snapshot of them while walking in the woods one day. They had lost their way  and were looking to find their way back to Santa's house  

Much as the modern Thanksgiving menu dates back to the 1800s, so too do modern U.S. Christmas traditions. Elves became linked withSanta Claus in the 1823 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas," better known today as "The Night Before Christmas." That poem refers to Santa Claus as a "jolly old elf."

With the elf-Christmas link established, other writers began to get creative with the idea. In 1857, Harper's Weekly published a poem called "The Wonders of Santa Claus," which tells how Santa "keeps a great many elves at work/ All working with all their might/ To make a million of pretty things/ Cakes, sugar-plums, and toys/ To fill the stockings, hung up you know/ By the little girls and boys."

The idea caught on. In 1922, famed artist Norman Rockwell released a painting of an exhausted Santa surrounded by tiny, industrious elves, trying to get a dollhouse finished in time for Christmas. A 1932 short movie by Disney called "Santa's Workshop" showed bearded, blue-clad elves singing, prepping Santa's sleigh, brushing reindeer teeth and helping Santa with the naughty/nice list. "Molly seems to be OK; she eats her spinach every day," an elf rhymes, before nixing another child's ambitious list because he doesn't wash behind his ears.

By Stephanie Pappas, Senior Writer | December 18, 2013 10:22am ET

Friday, 7 March 2014

Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology: pre-Christian religious beliefs of the Norse people. The Norse legends and myths about ancient heroes, gods, and the creation and destruction of the universe developed out of the original common mythology of the Germanic peoples and constitute the primary source of knowledge about ancient German mythology. Because Norse mythology was transmitted and altered by medieval Christian historians, the original pagan religious beliefs, attitudes, and practices cannot be determined with certainty. Clearly, however, Norse mythology developed slowly, and the relative importance of different gods and heroes varied at different times and places. Thus, the cult of Odin, chief of the gods, may have spread from western Germany to Scandinavia not long before the myths were recorded; minor gods including Ull, the fertility god Njord, and Heimdallmay represent older deities who lost strength and popularity as Odin became more important. Odin, a god of war, was also associated with learning, wisdom, poetry, and magic.

Most information about Norse mythology is preserved in the Old Norse literature, in the Eddas and later sagas; other material appears in commentaries by the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus and the German writer Adam of Bremen (fl. about 1075). Fragments of legends are sometimes preserved in old inscriptions and in later folklore.Gods and Heroes. Besides Odin, the major deities of Norse mythology were his wife, Frigg, goddess of the home; Thor, god of thunder, who protected humans and the other gods from the giants and who was especially popular among the Norse peasantry; Frey, a god of prosperity; and Freya, sister of Frey, a fertility goddess. Other, lesser gods were Balder, Hermod, Tyr, Bragi, and Forseti; Idun, Nanna, and Siv were among the goddesses. The principle of evil among the gods was represented by the trickster Loki. Many of these deities do not seem to have had special functions; they merely appear as characters in legendary tales.

Many ancient mythological heroes, some of whom may have been derived from real persons, were believed to be descendants of the gods; among them were Sigurd the Dragon-slayer; Helgi Thrice-Born, Harald Wartooth, Hadding, Starkad, and the Valkyries. The Valkyries, a band of warrior-maidens that included Svava and Brunhild, served Odin as choosers of slain warriors, who were taken to reside in Valhalla. There the warriors would spend their days fighting and nights feasting until Ragnarok, the day of the final world battle, in which the old gods would perish and a new reign of peace and love would be instituted. Ordinary individuals were received after death by the goddess Hel in a cheerless underground world.

Norse mythology included dwarves; elves; and the Norns, who distributed fates to mortals. The ancient Norse also believed in personal spirits, such as the fylgja and the hamingja, which in some respects resembled the Christian idea of the soul. The gods were originally conceived as a confederation of two formerly warring divine tribes, the Aesir and the Vanir. Odin was originally the leader of the Aesir, which consisted of at least 12 gods. Together all the gods lived in Asgard Creation Myth. The Eddic poem Völuspá (Prophecy of the Seeress) portrays a period of primeval chaos, followed by the creation of giants and gods and, finally, of humankind. Ginnungagap was the yawning void, Jotunheim the home of the giants, Niflheim the region of cold, and Muspellsheim the realm of heat. The great world-tree, Yggdrasil, reached through all time and space, but it was perpetually under attack from Nidhogg, the evil serpent. The fountain of Mimir, source of hidden wisdom, lay under a root of the tree. Religious Ritual. The Norse gods were served by a class of priest-chieftains called "godar." 

Worship was originally conducted outdoors, under guardian trees, near sacred wells, or within sacred arrangements of stones. Later, wooden temples were used, with altars and with carved representations of the gods. The most important temple was at Old Uppsala, Sweden, where animals and even human beings were sacrificed.

All of the ^above^ information is from this archived site

Thursday, 6 March 2014

The Selkie-folk

The Selkie-folk

"As soon as the seal was clear of the water, it reared up and its skin slipped down to the sand. What had been a seal was a white-skinned boy"

George Mackay Brown - Pictures in the Cave

Selkie is simply the Orcadian dialect word for "seal".

So, selkies are a very common sight across Orkney. Heads bobbing above the waves, they are often seen by the shore, watching inquisitively with uncannily human eyes.

To the onshore observer it is not hard to see how the legends surrounding the selkie-folk — the seal people — sprang into life.

Orkney has many tales concerning this shape-shifting race.

Unlike the Finfolk, who retained their malicious tendencies throughout the years, the selkie-folk have come to be regarded as gentle creatures, with the ability to transform from seals into beautiful, lithe humans. This, however, is a far cry from the original folklore — a topic dealt with further here.

In the surviving folklore, there is no agreement as to how often the selkie-folk were able to carry out the transformation. Some tales say it was once a year, usually Midsummer's Eve, while others state it could be “every ninth night” or “every seventh stream”.

Regardless of how often they were able to transform, the folklore tells us that once in human form, the selkie-folk would dance on lonely stretches of moonlit shore, or bask in the sun on outlying skerries.

The selkie skin

A common element in all the selkie-folk tales, and perhaps the most important, is the fact that in order to shapeshift they had to cast off their sealskins. Within these magical skins lay the power to return to seal form, and therefore the sea.

If this sealskin was lost, or stolen, the creature was doomed to remain in human form until it could be recovered. Because of this, if disturbed while on shore, the selkie-folk would hastily snatch up their skins before rushing back to the safety of the sea.
Amorous encounters

The selkie-men were renowned for their many encounters with human females — married and unmarried.

A selkie-man in human form was said to be a handsome creature, with almost magical seductive powers over mortal women. According to tradition, they had no qualms about casting off their sealskins, stashing them carefully, and heading inland to seek out “unsatisfied women”.

Should such a mortal woman wish to make contact with a selkie-man, there was a specific rite she had to follow. At high tide, she should make her way to the shore, where she had to shed seven tears into the sea.

The selkie-man would then come ashore and, after removing his magical sealskin, seek out “unlawful love”.

In the words of the 19th century Orkney folklorist, Walter Traill Dennison, these selkie males:

". . . often made havoc among thoughtless girls, and sometimes intruded into the sanctity of married life."

If a girl went missing while out on the ebb, or at sea, it was inevitably said that her selkie lover had taken her to his watery domain — assuming, of course, she had not attracted the eye of a Finman.

But while the males of the selkie race were irresistible to the island women, selkie-women were no less alluring to the eyes of earth-born men. The most common theme in selkie folklore is one in which a cunning young man acquires, either by trickery or theft, a selkie-girl’s sealskin.

This prevents her from returning to the sea, leaving the seal-maiden with no option but to marry her “captor”.

The tales generally end sadly, when the skin is returned, usually by one of the selkie-wife's children. In some accounts, her children go with her to the sea, while others have them remaining with their mortal father.

The story of the Goodman o' Wastness is typical of one such tale.

Photoes of the out back of my apartment

Hey Suz and Christna more of the Outback behind my apartment

I'll be out part of the day today so I thought I would send my stuff out early
Scroll all the way down to near the bottom of the page

Myths and Moor

Myths and Moor

Into the Woods,  The Thirteenth Fairy

To finish our trio of Sleeping Beauty posts, let's turn to the figure of the Thirteenth Fairy.* This quote comes, once again, from About the Sleeping Beauty by P.L. Travers:

"The appearance of this lady at the christening is the great moment of the tale, the hook from which everything hangs. Properly to understand why this is so, we must turn to Wise Women in general and their role in the world of men. To begin with, they are not mortal women. They are sisters, rather, of the Sirens, kin to the Fates and the World Mothers. As such, as creatures of another dimension, myth and legend have been at pains to embody them in other than human shape -- the winged female figures of Homer, the bird-headed women of the Irish tales, the wild women of ancient Russian with square heads and the wisplike Jinn of the Middle East...

"[I]t should be remembered that no Wise Woman or Fairy is herself good or bad; she takes on one aspect or another according to the laws of the story and the necessity of events. The powers of these ladies are equivocal. They change with changing circumstances; they are as swift to take umbrage as they are to bestow a boon; they curse and bless with equal gusto. Each Wise Woman is, in fact, an aspect of the Hindu goddess, Kali, who carries in her multiple hands the powers of good and evil.

"It is clear, then, that the Thirteenth Wise Woman becomes the Wicked Fairy solely for the purpose of one particular story. It was by chance that she received no invitation; it might just as well have been one of her sisters. So, thrust by circumstances into the role, she acts according to law.

"Up she rises, ostensibly to avenge an insult but in reality to thrust the story forward and keep the drama moving. She becomes the necessary antagonist, placed there to show that whatever is 'other,'
opposite and fearful, is as indispensable an instrument of creation as any force for good. The pulling of the Devas and Asuras in opposite directions in the Hindu myth and the interaction of the good and the bad Fairies produced the fairy tale. The Thirteenth Wise Woman stands as guardian of the threshold, the paradoxical adversary without whose presence no threshold may be passed.

"This is the role played in so many other stories by the Wicked Stepmother. The true mother, by her very nature, is bound to preserve, protect, and comfort; that is why she is so often disposed of before the story begins. It is the stepmother, her cold heart unwittingly cooperating with the hero's need, who thrusts the child from the warm hearth, out from the sheltering walls of home to find his own true way.

"Powers such as these, at once demonic and divine, are not to be taken lightly. They give a name to evil, free it, and bring it into the light. For evil will out, they sharply warn us, no matter how deeply buried. Down in its dungeon it plots and plans, waiting, like an unloved child, the day of its revenge. What it needs, like the unloved child, is to be recognized, not disclaimed; given its place and proper birthright and allowed to contact and cooperate with its sister beneficent forces. Only the integration of good and evil and the stern acceptance of opposites will change the situation and bring about the condition that is known as Happily Ever After. Without the Wicked Fairy there would have been no story. She, not the heroine, is the goddess in the machine."

Observing the Formalities

by Neil Gaiman

As you know, I wasn’t invited to the Christening. Get over it, you repeat. But it’s the little formalities that keep the world turning. My twelve sisters each had an invitation, engraved, and delivered By a footman. I thought perhaps my footman had got lost.

Few invitations reach me here. People no longer leave visiting cards.
And even when they did I would tell them I was not at home,
Deploring the unmannerliness of these more recent generations. They eat with their mouths open. They interrupt.

Manners are all, and the formalities. When we lose those We have lost everything. Without them, we might as well be dead. Dull, useless things. The young should be taught a trade, should hew or spin,
Should know their place and stick to it. Be seen, not heard. Be hushed.

My youngest sister invariably is late, and interrupts. I am myself a stickler for punctuality. told her, no good will come of being late. I told her, Back when we were still speaking, when she was still listening. She laughed. It could be argued that I should not have turned up uninvited.

But people must be taught lessons. Without them, none of them will ever learn. People are dreams and awkwardness and gawk. They prick their fingers Bleed and snore and drool. Politeness is as quiet as a grave, Unmoving, roses without thorns. Or white lilies. People have to learn.

Inevitably my sister turned up late. Punctuality is the politeness of princes, That, and inviting all potential godmothers to a Christening. They said they thought I was dead. Perhaps I am. I can no longer recall.
Still and all, it was necessary to observe the formalities.

I would have made her future so tidy and polite. Eighteen is old enough. More than enough.
After that life gets so messy. Loves and hearts are such untidy things.
Christenings are raucous times and loud, and rancorous,
As bad as weddings. Invitations go astray. We’d argue about precedence and gifts.

They would have invited me to the funeral.

* There is some disagreement about which fairy, in the story's cast, should be called the Thirteenth Fairy. For some, the designation belongs to the uninvited, malevolent fairy who curses the infant princess with death. For others, it's the very last fairy to bestow her gift, mitigating the wicked fairy's curse by turning "death" into "sleep." For the purposes of this post, I'm using the former definition.

The images above are: Two views of "Sleeping Beauty, Scene 1," doll art by Anna Brahms (Israeli/American); "Sleeping Beauty," paper cut art by Su Blackwell (English); "The Thirteenth Fairy" by Harry Clark (Irish, 1189-1931) Errol Le Cain (English, 1941-1989); "Sleeping Beauty and the Spinning Wheel" by Trina S chart Hyman (American, 1939-2004); two illustrations by Jennie Harbour (English, 1893-1959); "Sleeping Beauty, Scene 2" by Anna Brahms; and "Sleeping Beauty and the Spinning Wheel" by Edmund Dulac (French, 1882-1953). The poem is copyright 2009 by Neil Gaiman; it first appeared in Trolls Eye View (Datlow & Windling, eds).

In Fairy tales, Into the Woods series

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

10 Creatures in Scandinavian Folklore

10 Creatures in Scandinavian Folklore

The Scandinavian Folklore consists of a huge variety of creatures, good or evil, which have frightened people for centuries. They were often meant to scare children, but even today they are essential and important to the modern northern society. In the 1890s, something changed in the way common Scandinavians saw themselves and their culture. They looked back in time to rediscover their old myths and legends; folklore which had been forgotten because of the coming of Christianity. It was a time when people feared nature, because we were becoming more industrialized. The forests, the mountains, and the sea – it all seemed strange, dark and magic, and because of that, we are now left with evil spirits and monsters who used to represent our own way of seeing nature.



Huldra (or called Tallemaja in Swedish) is a troll-like woman living in the woods. She is fair and beautiful, but wild and has a long cow-tail which she hides behind her back upon meeting a human. It is said that Adam and Eve had many children, and that one day, when Eve was giving her children a bath, God came to visit. Eve had not finished bathing all of her children, and so hid those who were still dirty. God asked: “Are there not more children?” and when Eve said no, God said: “Then let all that is hidden, remain hidden,” and the hidden children became De Underjordiske (the ones living underground), lost souls who live under the surface of the earth, calling for someone to be with them, usually human passersby. Huldra was one of them, but she somehow remained above the ground. She is a flirtatious, young girl who is neither good nor evil.



These beings are actually still very important in the modern society. In the Scandinavian Christmas tradition, there is no Santa in the shape of a fat, bearded guy who lives at the North Pole. Instead, we each have our own Nisse, living in the barn (that is to say, if you are a farmer, or living in the countryside), who is like a guardian for the household. These creatures are typical pranksters, but can easily be befriended, and around Christmas they have the same function as Santa in Western traditions.



Made famous by J. R. R. Tolkien, the dwarves and the elves originate from Norse Mythology. The dwarves lived in their own part of Midgard; a place no human could find. They were small people, often pictured as little men with long beards, who were master smiths, and made the swords, shields and armor for the gods themselves. The elves lived in a deep forest nearby the castle of Frøy, the god of fertility, called Alvheim. They were fair and beautiful, and commonly seen as peaceful creatures.



Mare is a female Vette, who gives people bad dreams at night by sitting on them in their sleep. She is a common belief in Germanic folklore, and appears in many different shapes. The Scandinavian words for Nightmare, are: Norwegian – Mareritt, Danish – Mareridt, Swedish – Mardröm, which directly translated means Mare-ride, and Mare-dream.



Fossegrimmen, or just Grim (Foss is Norwegian for Waterfall) is a water-creature. He is a young, handsome man who sits naked under waterfalls, playing the fiddle. He plays the music of nature itself; the sound of the water, the wind in the trees, it all comes from his music. He is said to teach humans how to play if they secretly brought him a stolen piece of meat. Torgeir Augundsson (1801-1872), better known as Myllarguten, was a famous fiddle-player from Telemark, Norway who was so good it was rumored he had sold his soul in exchange of Fossegrimmen’s skills.



The troll comes from Norse Mythology, inspired by the cruel giants who were the main enemies of the gods, known as jotner/jotuner/jötunn, who lived in the mountains of Utgard. They have a human like appearance, but they are incredibly ugly and huge, and every story about them tells of how stupid they are. In the old tales, there were trolls of all kinds, some living in the high mountains, in castles carved out of the stone, in deep forests, and some even by the shore. Upon the arrival of Christianity around the 1300s, the stories changed. The trolls were able to smell the blood of a Christian man, and basically they stood for anything of the old times, which the new religion condemned. Oh, and if they every came in contact with sunlight, they turned to stone.



The Black Death was a tragedy for all of the Scandinavian countries, Denmark lost one third of its population, while Norway lost half. The plaque was so devastating, the people soon made it into a character of its own. Pesta comes as the figure of death and illness, in the shape of a hideous, old woman dressed in black, carrying a broom and a rake. She traveled from farm to farm, spreading the plague. If she carried with her the rake, some of the inhabitants would survive, but if she was carrying the broom, everyone in the family would soon die. It is still common to mention Pesta in the context of disease and illness.



Nökken/Nyk/Nykkjen is a mysterious water creature, residing in fresh-water, lakes and deep ponds. He is, in Norwegian tradition, described as a dark monster with his eyes just above the surface, watching as people walk by. In Swedish tradition, he is a beautiful, young man, tricking women into jumping into the water, and then drowning them. He is a shapeshifter, and can change into a white horse, letting young children ride on his back and then jumping with them back into his pond. He is also said to be a talented musician, playing the violin so that the villagers can hear him at night. There were ways to protect oneself from him; you could throw a piece of metal into the water, like a needle or an iron cross, and so save yourself. If he had already attacked, you could overpower him by saying his name. “Nyk! Nyk! Naal i vatn. Jomfru Maria kastet styaal i vatn! Du sæk, æk flyt!” was a riddle for protection, meaning: “Nyk! Nyk! Needle in the water. The Virgin Mary threw steel in the water! You are sinking, I float!”



Draugen, from Norse “draugr” meaning ghost. Yet another water creature, and this one is something you really wouldn’t want to meet when you’re out in your boat. Draugen is the ghost of a man who died at sea. He is huge and monster-like, and covered in seaweed, rowing in half a boat. He erupts a terrible scream when he appears, and legend has it he can be seen during stormy nights at sea, drowning sailors and fishermen, and sinking their boats and ships. There is a story of a man who once ran from Draugen and into a churchyard, where he shouted for the spirits of the dead to protect him. The day after, all the graves were open, and the churchyard was covered in seaweed. In these days, Draugen is commonly associated with anything dark and mystical about the sea.



Kraken is probably a creature most people will recognize. It’s been used in several movies, like Pirates of the Caribbean and Clash of the Titans, but originally, the Kraken belongs in the cold Norwegian Sea, where it was first said to be seen in the early 1700s. The first detailed description was made by the Danish writer and biologist, Erik Pontoppidan, in 1752. In old times, the Kraken was said to be in the shape of a huge crab, the size of an island, and many sailors and fishermen found themselves stranded on an island that had not been there minutes before. Later descriptions tell of a monster in the shape of an enormous octopus, which dragged ships down to the bottom of the sea.


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Goddess Pandora


PANDORA was the very first woman who was formed out of clay by the gods. The Titan Prometheus had originally been assigned with the task of creating man. But because he was displeased with their lot, stole fire from heaven. Zeus was angered, and commanded Hephaistos and the other gods to create a woman, Pandora, and endow her with the beauty and cunning. He then delivered her to Epimetheus, the foolish younger brother of Prometheus, for a bride. When he had received her into his house, Pandora opened the pithos (storage jar) which Zeus had given her as a wedding present, and released the swarm of evil spirits trapped within. They would ever afterwards plague mankind. Only Elpis(Hope) remained behind, a single blessing to succor mankind in their suffering.

Pandora's daughter Pyrrha (Fire) was the first-born mortal child. She and her husband Deukalion alone survived the Great Deluge. To repopulate the earth they each cast stones over their shoulder. Those cast by Deukalion formed men, and those of Pyrrha women.

In ancient Greek vase painting Pandora was depicted in the scene of her creation as either a statue-like figure surrounded by gods, or as a woman rising out of the earth (the anodos). Sometimes she is surrounded by dancing Satyroi, in a scene from a lost Satyr-play of Sophokles.

PARENTSNONE (created by the gods) (Hesiod Works & Days 54, Hesiod Theogony 560, Aeschylus Frag 204, Sophocles Pandora, Pausanias 1.24.7, Hyginus Fabulae 142)OFFSPRING

[1.1] PYRRHA (by Epimetheus) (Apollodorus 1.46, Hyginus Fabulae 142)
[1.2] PYRRHA (Strabo 9.5.23)

Pandora created by Hephaestus | Athenian red figure amphora C5th B.C. | Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
PANDO′RA (Pandôra), i. e. the giver of all, or endowed with every thing, is the name of the first woman on earth. When Prometheus had stolen the fire from heaven, Zeus in revenge caused Hephaestus to make a woman out of earth, who by her charms and beauty should bring misery upon the human race (Hes. Theog. 571, &c.; Stob. Serin.1). Aphrodite adorned her with beauty, Hermes gave her boldness and cunning, and the gods called her Pandora, as each of the Olympians had given her some power by which she was to work the ruin of man. Hermes took her to Epimetheus, who forgot the advice of his brother Prometheus, not to accept any gift from Zeus, and from that moment all miseries came down upon men (Hes. Op. et Dies, 50, &c.). According to some mythographers, Epimetheus became by her the father of Pyrrha and Deucalion (Hygin. Fab. 142; Apollod. i. 7. § 2 ; Procl. ad Hes. Op. p. 30, ed. Heinsius; Ov. Met. i. 350); others make Pandora a daughter of Pyrrha and Deucalion (Eustath. ad Hom. p. 23). Later writers speak of a vessel of Pandora, containing all the blessings of the gods, which would have been preserved for the human race, had not Pandora opened the vessel, so that the winged blessings escaped irrecoverably. The birth of Pandora was represented on the pedestal of the statue of Athena, in the Parthenon at Athens (Paus. i. 24. § 7). In the Orphic poems Pandora occurs as an infernal awful divinity, and is associated with Hecate and the Erinnyes (Orph. Argon. 974). Pandora also occurs as a surname of Gaea (Earth), as the giver of all. (Schol. ad Aristoph. Av. 970; Philostr. Vit. Apoll. vi. 39; Hesych. s.v.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.

Hesiod, Works & Days 54 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"The gods keep hidden from men the means of life . . . Zeus in the anger of his heart hid it, because Prometheus the crafty deceived him; therefore he planned sorrow and mischief against men. He hid fire; but that the noble son of Iapetus stole again for men from Zeus the counsellor in a hollow fennel-stalk, so that Zeus who delights in thunder did not see it. But afterwards Zeus who gathers the clouds said to him in anger: ‘Son of Iapetos, surpassing all in cunning, you are glad that you have outwitted me and stolen fire--a great plague to you yourself and to men that shall be. But I will give men as the price for fire an evil thing in which they may all be glad of heart while they embrace their own destruction.’

So said the father of men and gods, and laughed aloud. And he bade famous Hephaistos make haste and mix earth with water and to put in it the voice and strength of human kind, and fashion a sweet, lovely maiden-shape, like to the immortal goddesses in face; and Athene (Athena) to teach her needlework and the weaving of the varied web; and golden Aphrodite to shed grace upon her head and cruel longing and cares that weary the limbs. And he charged Hermes the guide, the Slayer of Argos, to put in her a shameless mind and a deceitful nature. So he ordered. And they obeyed the lord Zeus the son of Kronos (Cronus). 

Forthwith [Hephaistos, Hephaestus] the famous Lame God moulded clay in the likeness of a modest maid, as the son of Kronos purposed. And the goddess bright-eyed Athene girded and clothed her, and the divine Kharites (Charites, Graces) and queenly Peitho (Persuasion) put necklaces of gold upon her, and the rich-haired Horai (Horae, Seasons) crowned her head with spring flowers. And Pallas Athene bedecked her form with all manners of finery. Also [Hermes] the Guide, the Slayer of Argos, contrived within her lies and crafty words and a deceitful nature at the will of loud thundering Zeus, and the Herald of the gods put speech in her. And he called this woman Pandora (All-Gifts), because all they who dwelt on Olympos gave each a gift, a plague to men who eat bread.

But when he had finished the sheer, hopeless snare, the Father sent glorious Argus-Slayer [Hermes], the swift messenger of the gods, to take it to Epimetheus as a gift. And Epimetheus did not think on what Prometheus had said to him, bidding him never take a gift of Olympian Zeus, but to send it back for fear it might prove to be something harmful to men. But he took the gift, and afterwards, when the evil thing was already his, he understood. For ere this the tribes of men lived on earth remote and free from ills (kakoi) and hard toil (ponoi) and heavy sickness (nosoi) which bring the Keres (Fates) upon men; for in misery men grow old quickly. But the woman took off the great lid of the jar (pithos) with her hands and scattered all these and her thought caused sorrow and mischief to men. Only Elpis (Hope) remained there in an unbreakable home within under the rim of the great jar, and did not fly out at the door; for ere that, the lid of the jar stopped her, by the will of Aigis-holding Zeus who gathers the clouds. But the rest, countless plagues (lugra), wander amongst men; for earth is full of evils and the sea is full. Of themselves diseases (nosoi) come upon men continually by day and by night, bringing mischief to mortals silently; for wise Zeus took away speech from them. So is there no way to escape the will of Zeus."





Hesiod, Theogony 510 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"Scatter-brained Epimetheus who from the first was a mischief to men who eat bread; for it was he who first took of Zeus the woman [i.e. Pandora], the maiden whom he had formed."

Hesiod, Theogony 560 ff :
"[Zeus] was always mindful of the trick [of Prometheus who won for mankind the meat of the sacrificial beast], and would not give the power of unwearying fire to the Melian race of mortal men who live on the earth. But [Prometheus] the noble son of Iapetos outwitted him and stole the far-seen gleam of unwearying fire in a hollow fennel stalk. And Zeus who thunders on high was stung in spirit, and his dear heart was angered when he saw amongst men the far-seen ray of fire. 

Forthwith he made an evil thing for men as the price of fire; for the very famous Limping God [Hephaistos, Hephaestus] formed of earth the likeness of a shy maiden [i.e. Pandora] as [Zeus] the son of Kronos (Cronus) willed. And the goddess bright-eyed Athene (Athena) girded and clothed her with silvery raiment, and down from her head she spread with her hands an embroidered veil, a wonder to see; and she, Pallas Athene, put about her head lovely garlands, flowers of new-grown herbs. Also she put upon her head a crown of gold which [Hephaistos] the very famous Limping God made himself and worked with his own hands as a favor to Zeus his father. On it was much curious work, wonderful to see; for of the many creatures which the land and sea rear up, he put most upon it, wonderful things, like living beings with voices: and great beauty shone out from it.

But when he had made the beautiful evil to be the price for the blessing, he brought her out, delighting in the finery which the bright-eyed daughter of a mighty father had given her, to the place where the other gods and men were. And wonder took hold of the deathless gods and mortal men when they saw that which was sheer guile, not to be withstood by men. For from her is the race of women and female kind: of her is the deadly race and tribe of women who live amongst mortal men to their great trouble, no helpmeets in hateful poverty, but only in wealth. And as in thatched hives bees feed the drones whose nature is to do mischief--by day and throughout the day until the sun goes down the bees are busy and lay the white combs, while the drones stay at home in the covered hives and reap the toil of others into their own bellies--even so Zeus who thunders on high made women to be an evil to mortal men, with a nature to do evil. 

And he gave them a second evil to be the price for the good they had: whoever avoids marriage and the sorrows that women cause, and will not wed, reaches deadly old age without anyone to tend his years, and though he at least has no lack of livelihood while he lives, yet, when he is dead, his kinsfolk divide his possessions amongst them. And as for the man who chooses the lot of marriage and takes a good wife suited to his mind, evil continually contends with good; for whoever happens to have mischievous children, lives always with unceasing grief in his spirit and heart within him; and this evil cannot be healed. So it is not possible to deceive or go beyond the will of Zeus: for not even the son of Iapetos, kindly Prometheus, escaped his heavy anger, but of necessity strong bands confined him, although he knew many a wile."

Homer, The Iliad 24. 527 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"There are two urns (pithoi) that stand on the door-sill of Zeus. They are unlike for the gifts they bestow: an urn of evils (kakoi), an urn of blessings (dôroi). If Zeus who delights in thunder mingles these and bestows them on man, he shifts, and moves now in evil, again in good fortune. But when Zeus bestows from the urn of sorrows, he makes a failure of man, and hte evil hunger drives him over the shining earth, and he wanders resepected neither of gods nor mortals."

[N.B. Later writers describe Zeus giving one of these two jars to Pandora. The poets were at odds as to which jar she received--Hesiod says the jar of evils (kakoi), but Theognis and Aesop claim it was the jar of blessings (dôroi). The name Pan-dôra ("all-gifts") naturally suggests the latter.]

Theognis, Fragment 1. 1135 (trans. Gerber, Vol. Greek Elegiac) (Greek elegy C6th B.C.) :
"Elpis (Hope) is the only good god remaining among mankind; the others have left and gone to Olympos. Pistis (Trust), a mighty god has gone, Sophrosyne (Restraint) has gone from men, and the Kharites (Charites, Graces), my friend, have abandoned the earth. Men's judicial oaths are no longer to be trusted, nor does anyone revere the immortal gods; the race of pious men has perished and men no longer recognize the rules of conduct or acts of piety."

[N.B. Theognis' account is the inverse of Hesiod's : the good spirits escaped from Pandora's jar, abandoning mankind in their flight to heaven.]

Aesop, Fables 526 (from Babrius 58) (trans. Gibbs) (Greek fable C6th B.C.) :
"Zeus gathered all the useful things together in a jar and put a lid on it. He then left the jar in human hands. But man had no self-control and he wanted to know what was in that jar, so he pushed the lid aside, letting those things go back to the abode of the gods. So all the good things flew away, soaring high above the earth, and Elpis (Hope) was the only thing left. When the lid was put back on the jar, Elpis (Hope) was kept inside. That is why Elpis (Hope) alone is still found among the people, promising that she will bestow on each of us the good things that have gone away."

[N.B. By "in human hands," the story of Pandora delivering the jar to mankind is implied. However, in this version it is apparently the husband who opens it.]

Aesop, Fables 525 (from Chambry 1) (trans. Gibbs) (Greek fable C6th B.C.) :
"The Good Things were too weak to defend themselves from the Bad Things, so the Bad Things drove them off to heaven. The Good Things then asked Zeus how they could reach mankind. Zeus told them that they should not go together all at once, only one at a time. This is why people are constantly besieged by Bad Things, since they are nearby, while Good Things come more rarely, since they must descend to us from heaven one by one."

[N.B. This fable describes the spirits which had fled Pandora's jar. It also refers to the two jars by the throne of Zeus in the Iliad, one containing Good Things, the other Evils.]

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 250 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Prometheus: Yes, I caused mortals to cease foreseeing their doom (moros).
Chorus: Of what sort was the cure that you found for this affliction?
Prometheus: I caused blind hopes (elpides) to dwell within their breasts.
Chorus: A great benefit was this you gave to mortals."

[N.B. This is presumably a reference to Pandora's jar, a curse concocted by Zeus to punish mankind for the theft of fire. Prometheus seems to be saying that he was the one who stayed Hope inside the jar, when the other evils escaped.]

Aeschylus, Fragment 204 (from Proclus, Commentary on Hesiod's Works and Days 156) :
"A mortal woman from out a seed moulded of clay [i.e Pandora]."

Sophocles, Pandora (lost play) (C5th B.C.) :
Sophocles wrote a Satyr-play entitled Pandora or Sphyrocopi which dramatised the story of the first woman.

Plato, Protagoras 320c - 322a (trans. Lamb) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"Prometheus stole the mechanical arts of Hephaistos (Hephaestus) and Athene (Athena), and fire with them (they could neither have been acquired nor used without fire), and gave them to man . . . But Prometheus is said to have been afterwards prosecuted for theft, owing to the blunder of Epimetheus [i.e. because he accepted Pandora from Zeus]."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 46 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Prometheus had a son Deukalion (Deucalion), who was king of the lands round Phthia and was married to Pyrrha, the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora, the first woman created by the gods."

Euphorion of Chalcis, Fragments (trans. Page, Vol. Select Papyri III, No. 121 (2b)) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"Pandora, donor of evil (kakodôros), man's sorrow self-imposed."

Strabo, Geography 9. 5. 23 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[The region of] Thessalia (Thessaly). But speaking of it as a whole, I may say that in earlier times it was called Pyrrhaia, after Pyrrha the wife of Deukalion (Deucalion) . . . But some writers, dividing it into two parts, say that Deukalion obtained the portion towards the south and called it Pandora after his mother [i.e. his mother-in-law], and that the other part fell to Haimon (Haemon), after whom it was called Haimonia (Haemonia), but that the former name was changed to Hellas, after Hellen the son of Deukalion, and the latter to Thessalia, after the son of Haimon."

[N.B. Pyrrha was the daughter of Pandora, and wife of Deukalion. Deukalion named parts of the region of Thessalia after his wife and mother-in-law.]

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 24. 7 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"On the pedestal [of the statue of Athena on the Akropolis in Athens] is the birth of Pandora in relief. Hesiod and others have sung how this Pandora was the first woman; before Pandora was born there was as yet no womankind."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 142 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Prometheus, son of Iapetus, first fashioned men from clay. Later Vulcanus [Hephaistos], at Jove's [Zeus'] command, made a woman's form from clay. Minerva [Athene] gave it life, and the rest of the gods each gave come other gift. Because of this they named her Pandora. She was given in marriage to Prometheus' brother Epimetheus. Pyrrha was her daughter, and was said to be the first mortal born."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 7. 7 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[Aion, Father Time, addresses Zeus:] ‘But, some may say, a medicine [Hope] has been planted to make long-suffering mortals forget their troubles, to save their lives. Would that Pandora had never opened the heavenly cover of that jar--she the sweet bane of mankind!’"

Monday, 3 March 2014

Dune's of Mars Warrior Princess end of part 2 part 3 and part 4

Ending of part 2

End of part 2

The middle-aged man ran up the street oblivious to the large man who now stood motionless near one of the huge pillars that held up the sixth level ceiling of the multilevel, underground city of Ducada.

Shanon stepped out in front of the man and they collided, the man bouncing back, falling in a sitting position on the street. The man sat for a second and shook his head then looked up to see what had hit him. A grinning giant wearing a goatee and long cornrow braided hair stood with his arms crossed stared back at him. The middle-aged man trembled with apprehension. Shanon reached down and helped the man back to his feet and asked him his name.

"My name is Kopas, sir. What can I do for you, kind sir?” Kopas clasped his hands together and bowed slightly and gulped. "You will come with me. I require your services little man," Shanon commanded.

The middle aged man babbled on about his wife and kids and a whole string of other relatives as he shuffled behind Shanon. Shanon growled, "Speak not, little man." and pushed Kopas forward ahead of him.

The desert warrior princess stood on a balcony two floors up from where Shanon had just performed his abduction of a free subject of her kingdom. She still wore the leather tunic and the garbs of a desert traveler. She took the railing of the balcony in one hand and swung over it and down, catching the railing of the next balcony, then down again with her other hand. She swung down to the ground level from a sign post and landed about three feet from Shanon.

Shanon was the man she knew as a devoted member of her guard and a fierce warrior but she could sometimes almost read the restrained maliciousness just barely held in check behind those nearly glowing amber eyes. The princess, holding her sword point down on the ground with her hands resting on top of the hilt, stood legs slightly spread out and addressed Shanon in a soft but authoritative manner.

Part 3

Shanon stood stock still with his hand hovering over the hilt of his large two edged sword. The princess shook her head very slowly, indicating for him to think again as she lifted her sword horizontally to the left of her head in the attack stance. She rearranged her fingers around the hilt of her sword, not in nervousness or anxiousness, but to assure a tighter grip.

In the meantime Kopas figured it was time for him to sneak away. He did not much care to find out the odds of saving his own neck. Regardless of who was victor in this battle, his neck would still hang in the balance, he thought. He had already seen the princess in battle and what she could do with her sword. Scanning the area, it did not take him long to spot a target destination. In a flash he was gone, disappearing into the maze of passages between structures.

The princess stood her ground remaining in attack stance, staying silent. Her black, piercing eyes burned into Shanon's. Slowly he removed his hand from the hilt of his sword and stood at ease, then with his right arm in a salute he bowed slightly, stood tall again, then turned and left, without a word spoken.

Kopas was gone, so he didn't want to push his luck and maybe lose more than just a slave, he thought. He had the slightest doubt of his skill to match hers and any doubt in any battle usually ends up being fatal. Perhaps another time, he thought, as he disappeared into a dark entry way of one of the structures along the corridors of this level of the outpost.

The princess ran back and jumped to the first balcony, then to the next, then back on her own balcony. There she leaned on the railing just as though she had not left. Hanging her large, two edged sword on the wall of the foyer she sat on the oversized velvet couch before the huge stone fireplace that held a holographic fire.

She thought about her next mission. Unfortunately, her last desert foray hadn't borne as much fruit as she had hoped. That was as it is and always has been the trait of the star children. Once turned against each another some would sooner go to their version of hell than to make peace with their enemy

She settled into deep thought: It is probably to our advantage have but a limited number of ships to make the next trip. It is a one way trip. I am hoping that we can reestablish our culture and continue to preserve our history on a new world before we completely lose all records of our advanced knowledge.

A firm, but not loud, knock at the door disturbed her thoughts. Zapporah turned, putting a drink she had just been sipping on large granite table in front of the couch then turned back saying. "Who might be here to see me this evening?" “Captain Kopago,” the voice returned, muffled through the heavy door .

"Please come in and do tell me what is on your mind, Commander.

Kopago walked and turned to close the heavy door and awaited further orders. “You may sit on the chair next to the fire place if you wish, Commander.”

The commander took his cap off, nodded, and proceeded to the chair Zapporah had indicated. Before he could speak a word she gestured to the bottle and asked, "would you like a drink, Commander?"

"Yes, I believe I will," the Commander responded. "As he settled into his seat Zapporah said, “Let us spare all the pleasantries and just get down to business." “Tell me the truth, Commander, what are the latest observations by the astrophysics team?”.

“It's not good, Highness, not good at all. The first wave is going to hit within the next two months followed by another wave, that one so dense it is doubtful if there will be anything left standing upon the entire planet, in about three months.”

Zapporah pensively pinched her top lip with her right thumb and index finger.

She examined her commander closely. “Average height, well-built, dark brown hair and hazel eyes, good-looking enough to take as my prince,” she thought grinning. He especially looked even more attractive in his half leather and half metal warrior uniform. He would be good at flying the Quontose, a dragon-like creature, vegetarians and not carnivore like Earth dragons.

Kopago put his drink back on the table and asked to be excused, She could tell that he was getting a little uncomfortable with beads of sweat rolling down his forehead and cheeks. Zappora smiled and set her drink down as well then said. “That is fine, commander but if you should change your mind the door will be open to you.”

Part  1 and part 2

Part three continued

The exodus had already begun, people in order of importance not position. From the unskilled laborers all the way up to structural engineers, technicians and men and women of science were the order of importance.

This area of Cidonia was once a seaport island in the eastern ocean. It had once thrived as a center for planetary trade. Now it lay in a great desert. But the desert had once more come back to life where the tents of many different colors had been erected almost overnight.

All those people waiting to get on the ships, Zappora thought to herself.

There was a knock at the door to which Zappora responded with, “Enter!” Her voice had trailed off, then reaffirming herself she said it louder. She had no Idea there would be this many. From some of the flags she saw fluttering above the tents even some of her enemies had joined ranks with those in the exodus.

She could not refuse them but she also realized that there simply wouldn't be enough ships even if they were to go into full production twenty-four hours a day.

They had been left on this outpost with only what the watchers thought would suffice for their survival: a few ships and some high tech tools for building, for many thousands of years, most of those few ships had remained in their underground bunkers, unused. It had already taken them several generations to merely double their number.

Those many generations ago the leaders refused to believe even when the evidence of a moving mass of asteroids was heading towards Mars was clear. In those many thousands of years the mass of asteroids may change its course, they reasoned.

So that's the way it came down until the time limitation had run short, and they could no longer deny the fact that the mass of asteroids may hit Mars. It could no longer be denied when one could actually see it using nothing more complicated than what we back here on earth would refer to as a child's back yard telescope.

Zappora suddenly became aware that she was pacing back and forth when a woman's voice brought her out of her reverie.

"Princess, are you well?" came the voice again. Turning she looked at Lalea and said," I'm fine, just a little distraught."

"I can well understand that," General Lalea said, still standing at attention at the door, waiting till Zappora told her otherwise. “Oh, please be seated. My apologies. I need to put myself into a different perspective, and I am thankful for a distraction from the debating committee that's going on in my head right now,” Zappora responded pointing at the right side of her head.

Lalea walked over to a chair by the night stand, pulled it out, and sat, saying, “I believe I will be here for a while. I pray that it is acceptable for me to be sitting,' she responded with a smile, then saluted.

Zappora cared deeply for this woman. She was not just her most trusted general but also her confidant . Both were close to the same age of 300 Martian rotations of the sun.

Zappora then told to Lalea all of the thoughts that had gone through her mind, that she had been pondering earlier before she fell silent. Lalea pulled the foot stool over with her right foot then placed it atop the cushioned stool and rested her elbow on her knee. Head down she pinched at her lips in deep concentration. She removed her hand from her lips and said:

“My dear Zappora, you have not the power of Universe. You are limited in resources, and I am quite aware that our first law of order is to never leave another behind. But in this case even though it may be a distasteful necessity, it will be unavoidable for survival of the genre. And it is your standing command to be followed, to have it arranged in order of priority, not social importance.” “That leaves out the elite. They are last in line, but nobody knows who is going to be first and who will be last until they are called.”

Lalea continued: “We need those who are most capable of rebuilding an empire on a new world. We do not need an army of soldiers with energy weapons; we need builders and farmers. The first armada of ships to leave was composed mostly of workers, builders and engineers.”

Zappora found herself to be quite busy the next few days personally overseeing the screening of new passengers and prospective passengers who camped out in the desert which by now was as far as the eye could see. Many of them were sworn enemies to the The Confederate Empire of the Continental Territories

She perspired as the thought went through her mind that in less then a month the first wave of asteroids would hit. Granted, most of the people on the planet, could have survived the first wave, but Zappora doubted very much if even their underground cities and compounds would survive the impact of the second barrage.

On the tail of her thoughts the ground shook followed by an ear splitting roar. The power system failed, and all was in darkness.

The ground shook once more the power came on again. Everywhere was chaos. The fronts of some of the buildings had collapsed as well as the roofs of several levels above revealing a rusty blue sky. Dust was everywhere. It was difficult to see further then ten feet ahead of her as she walked out on the pavilion overlooking the next level down. (Fortress in City square Cidonia)

There were dead bodies amidst the dying and the struggling for escape. Her people were screaming and running around debris in panic everywhere below her. She called for Lalea and gave her last orders then stopped and held her two hands in her hands bowed slightly and said, “May our Spirit Mother be with you.” Lalea saluted then turned and left to go to join her people at the ships, Zappora left in a quick, nearly running gate back to the family palace. Again despair hit her, it felt like a great heavy dark leaden cloud floating over her, ready to fold itself around her and suffocate her. She was now running, while she hoped that she would find more then just ruins, There were things she needed to take care of on her own. The palace was still in one piece.

Zappora slowly walked up the spiral staircase to her quarters in the family palace, went to the walk-in closet and took a few things out and stuffed them in a bag on the bed then fell on her knees and resting the upper part of her body on the bed where she cried uncontrollably for nearly an hour.

In a drawer she found a diamond encrusted ring. She knew it immediately being her mothers. That ring had never before left her finger. She laid it on the bed and bade her mother and father farewell. She knew then that she would never see them again. They would have too much pride to remain in the city and to be left behind, no exceptions; no one of the society's elite gets off planet unless they have devised their own way off. Her mother and father chose the modest way out. She cried again then wiped her eyes with the back of her hands and hurriedly tied up her bag and tossed it over her shoulder, then left the room.

Zappora looked up to the ceiling of the once underground city, for the first time in her life she could see the darkening ruby evening sky and soon the stars peeked through. She could feel the air whooshing around her escaping through the aperture above her.

There she saw it. The blue star and it's companion moon, the brightest star in the Martian heavens. The third planet from the sun, what would they find there she thought momentarily then decided it was time to move on.

Writen by Cynthia


Dunes of Mars Warrior Princess Part 4

She cried again then wiped her eyes with the backs of her hands. Then she hurriedly tied up her bag and tossed it over her right shoulder and hoisted a second bag on her left shoulder and departed.

The crowd of panicked people below seemed to have thinned out. Only a few remained, carrying belongings in knapsacks or in carts, all shuffling their way further into the heart of the compound where there may be a chance it would be deep enough underground to protect them. But Zappora also knew that the tunnels leading towards the compound where the ships were would be would prove to be nearly impossible to navigate.

There was one shuttle being reserved for her not far from where she was, and the way might be easier to negotiate as most of the people would be looking for the conventional shuttles. Zappora, with two heavy back packs slung over her shoulders, half-stumbled her way through the crowd towards the stairs which were now only a mere few feet away, on the other side of the crowded causeway. That would be the stairway leading to the shuttle one level below, she thought.

A man wrapped his arms around her bags, attempting to bring her to the ground. He was probably after possession of her goods. Zappora dropped her bags, screeched, and leaned to her left at the same time she brought he right knee into the man's loins.

Turning back she saw a form bending over to grab one of her bags. She stood on one leg and let fly with the other one sideways and felt a crunch followed by a scream! Zappora thought she may have broken her upper right ribs with her drop kick. After that there would be no problems for her to get the rest of the way across the causeway.

She turned back to the man who lay in the fetal position on the concrete causeway, reached in her breast pouch and withdrew a few coins then spoke as she tossed the coins to him: "I apologize for your discomfort but I was just protecting the merchandise. You go that way and follow the crowds. I believe you will find a few cantinas there.” She pointed over her left shoulder.

Hefting her bags up on her shoulders once more, she turned and walked away and was grateful to see the crowd giving her wide berth as she walked the remainder of the way to the stairs, unimpeded.

There were people sitting on almost every stair as she made her way to the lower level. Upon reaching the platform she dropped her bags near the edge where she hoped she would be embarking. There were a few people milling about but not as it was on the upper level.

These people looked more lost and scared than dangerous to her well-being. It appeared that their minds were already preoccupied on by things besides her. It seemed that some had already made residence down here from long before the alert got out about the asteroids. Astronomers had observed a rather large explosion within the Kuipler Belt which had increased debris to the already overcrowded asteroid belt causing it to swell outward.

There had been another rather large asteroid nearly the size of Mars that was hidden from detection so they could only guess it was this large asteroid that had somehow blown-up. Legends once had told that this planet had living beings who lived under its surface. The people of Mars had never felt any reason to make much of a contact with them.

Zappora felt the vibrations below her feet well before she had a visual of the shuttle coming down the tunnel on her right. The bullet shaped special shuttle stopped abruptly before her, without a sound except for the rush of air that ruffled her hair. The door opened. Zappora threw her two bags in and stepped in behind them.

The doors shut immediately after she cleared the doorway. Looking outside she noticed that not a soul stirred. They either sat or stood looking a bit stunned at the appearance of a shuttle out of nowhere in a tunnel that had not been used for as long as they could remember. Maintenance on the tunnel had gotten underway six months earlier with the sole purpose of creating an emergency evacuation route for the princess.

She sat in one of the seats of this two-passenger capacity vehicle. In the seat behind her sat General Lalea, her personal escort. In the compartment beside her was the computer components housing. The shuttle was fully automatic and robotic controlled.

As they reached the midway point of their destination there was a deep rumbling sound then everything shook violently and the air filed with dust. Zappora hit the panel over her head with her fist and a little door opened releasing an oxygen mask.

She didn't waste any time punching-in some emergency codes into the computer then hit the manual override button. There was going to be some wreckage ahead and she trusted the guidance of her senses better than the electronic sensors of a machine. She took a second to look back to General Lalea. Good, she thought, after realizing what happened she hadn't wasted any time donning an oxygen mask. Another chunk of debris from space had crashed into the ground not far from where the city compound was located in the Cidonia Hills.

Zappora brought the shuttle to a sudden stop. The entire side of the tunnel had caved in and she was not certain if there would be enough room for them to drive the shuttle between the pile of debris and the opposite wall. She didn't take it through without some loud to high pitched screeching sounds on both sides of the shuttle as it scraped at the debris on one side and the wall on the other.

Finally they popped free from their restricted passageway, back into the open tunnel once more. Intermittently there was collapsed wall debris that made for a loud, noisy, bumpy passage. At one point the entire floor of the tunnel had collapsed and only darkness could be seen below the shuttle. It was a pit of darkness that appeared to be bottomless.

At last they reached the end of the tunnel. She could see the light from the main debarkation chamber not far ahead. General Lalea stepped out in front of her and took one of her bags and threw it over her shoulder and began to step down to the platform then extended her right arm out for Zappora. “Come, Princess, we do not have time to spend being idle.”

Zappora stepped down then let go of Lalea's hand and looked up at the high vaulted ceiling. It was so high it was that there was a haze near the top, like wispy clouds. They were now standing in what some day the people of Earth would call the Great Cidonia Face or the Face on Mars.

By cynthia ©

Dunes of Mars Warrior Princess Part 5 

There was a great roar and the floor beneath her shook violently. The lighting flickered then came back on. The air was saturated with dust so she could hardly see the complex below except for what was close by. She could see people running around in a panic.

She heard screaming and orders being shouted. “Red Alert! Red Alert!” The compound had been breached and Zappora could feel the rush of air blowing her hair as the inner air pressure of the complex escaped through the hole in the wall and into the thinner air on the surface.

Lalea put her hand on Zappora's shoulder and said," This way!" She pointed urgently to an entrance to their left. Zappora wasted no time in following, slowing but momentarily to look back. As much of the dust had now settled she saw where a good portion of the eastern side of the complex had caved-in. There were six ships in that area that had been taking on passengers. Only three were left and one of them was her own.

She stopped and said to Lalea, “I want you to go ahead to my ship and give the order for them to take on as many passengers as they can fit. I know the royal ship was the ship that had been assigned to the few leaders who had been chosen for the journey, for there would be a need for leadership to organize the rebuilding.”

The kind of leaders who had been aboard had the personal experience in many trades and professions. They were the leaders. That meant her ship was only populated by a few and could make room for more. She gave the command to Lalea and immediately her general left to give the orders to proceed with the administrative work of assigning new passengers to their ship.

Kopago jumped with energy weapon in hand when a loud, deep, angry male voice barked at him. "Did you really think you were going to leave without me and my men? And put that weapon away before I have you put in the brig.”

Kopago put his weapon back in his shoulder holster without any trace of being perturbed by Shanon. He scanned through some documents on his text reader, a device similar to what we call a tablet that he held in his right hand then pursed his lips, tapping them with his left-hand index finger and said, quite nonchalantly, "I'm sorry, Colonel Shanon, but I do not see your name or your warriors on any of these lists"

"What are you saying little man?" Shanan said, snatching the device from Kopago's hand. He scanned through it then shouted, "Bah! Someone has made a mistake and will pay dearly for it once I get my hands on them!"

At this point Shanon took the device and threw it over the edge of the platform into the crowd of people below who were struggling to get aboard the ship. Then he turned and took Kopago by the shoulders and was about to toss him into the crowd as well when a commanding female voice exclaimed, "STOP!" Immediately Shanon dropped Kopago and turned to look at who had distracted him from his actions.

He stood weapon in hand and growled, "And just who are you?"

“I am Lalea, Princess Zappora's First Commander.”

Shanon, a seasoned warrior who stood nearly over 2 meters tall just laughed and said, in an arrogant tone, “Go away, this is not for little girls.”

In a flash, before Shanon could even begin to realize what had happened, he lay on the ground with Lalea's dusty footprint imprinted across his mouth.

Shanon stood up and barked orders at his warriors to seize her. Three of them found themselves flat on the concrete platform before they had even seen her move. She flipped in the air before Shanon and had him by the front of his tunic, twisting it around his throat. She screamed, "Call your dogs off! This sword thirsts for Vagoona blood on this day.”

Shanon raised his arms and his company of warriors stopped where they stood. They knew that if they took one more step their commander would no longer be among them to lead them.

"Now, back off!" she commanded, pressing the sword a little more into Shanon's neck where a tiny drop of Vagoona blood ran down his neck from the sword's point.

The troop abruptly turned and left the way they had come. Another voice piped-up: “It's alright, Lalea. You may drop the sword now.”

"Yes, your highness,” Lalea said, letting go of Shanon's neck. She then bowed slightly in respect. Zappora had not got accustomed to the title of “your highness” yet. But with the absence of her parents she was the next heir.

Shanon had turned in a flash and lunged for Lalea. He connected with her right foot. Off-balance, he staggered back, arms whirling in attempt to right himself. The back of his foot caught on something and the next thing he knew he was falling 3 levels, (comparable to a ten story building of today). He lunged with his right hand and caught a support beam between levels and used the momentum to swing himself up and over onto a platform

The lift was out of order so he took the stairs three at a time, but no matter, after he had kicked the entrance doors to the launch pad there was not a living soul to be seen. He could feel the hum from within its hull so he knew they would be preparing for launch. There was still another ship in the west wing on which they could try to haggle transportation, he thought.

Zappora settled into a seat next to Lalea and on the array of consoles on the other side of the cabin was Kopago and three other crew member technicians.

A woman, Gazina, walked into the cabin, stopped before Zappora, bowed slightly then stood at attention, and said, "Your highness. It might be wise for you to reconsider our passenger count. We have made the calculations ten times over and the results come out the same each time. We will be lucky if we have enough fuel and supplied to reach Earth with only a third of the passengers we now have. And if we do make it to earth we may not have the power required to make a landing on the planet.”

“But then this ship was built exclusively for you the day you were born. Your parents knew about this impending doom of our world, and they made preparations for it. It is your ship, my lady, and it is yours to command," Gazina finished and stood at attention awaiting orders.

Zappora sat forward slowly and said, "No the passengers stay. Let us see, once we have reached orbit, how many ships there are still close enough to us where we might be able to shuttle some of our passengers to other ships. This would also lighten the load. That would be preferable to leaving them here, doomed to die from the onslaught of asteroids.

“As you wish, my lady,” Gazina spoke softly, then bowed and turned and left the cabin.

Zappora flew over to the control panel, setting the sequence in place to open the vent in the dome to the open sky above, which was filled with bright stars of every color. The nucleonic turbine drives whined louder in pitch as the entire body of the ship vibrated. Then there was pinging sound, a pressure that firmly kept her in her seat, then no more noise or pressure. They floated in a dark sky filled with stars and spiral galaxies.

Arrangements were immediately made for the transportation of some of the passengers to other ships. Shuttles were set to go at 1800 hours, which was three hours from now, she thought.

She looked through the ship's control cabin viewing screen, and right before her shimmered the blue dot of a planet that was going to be their new home.

Although she already had much information about this planet through the few probes they had sent there in prior years, She wondered what exactly they would find there. The information she had told her that it was mostly comprised of steamy jungle. This planet was at a much earlier stage of development than they were on Mars.

But the hot and steamy she knew that that would spell trouble for most metals. More permanent structures would have to be built of granite for durability.

Back in her quarters aboard the ship, Zappora undressed and took a sonic shower, then donned a gown and robe and lay on her bed thinking about what was in store for them after landing on that planet. She wasn't even sure she would like it. She would miss her desert.


Dunes of Mars Warrior Princess pat 6

Zappora thought back at the experience of leaving the compound, something that would remain engraved in her conscious memory for a very long time. As she sat in the commander's chair the entire ship rumbled under her as and it was not just from the nucleonic turbo engines.

Something large had struck near the compound. Sweat beaded-up on her forehead as she leaned back in the head rest and lay her hands on the arm of the chair. A helmet lowered over her head. The visor of her helmet flipped down and a screen within the visor lit up. From her vantage point she could see the entire complex of the domed, walled structure above them.

On the exterior a face was carved out of the solid granite of the mountain many generations before her. She knew not when her people came to this planet.

The inside of the face had been hollowed out at the same time the face was being formed. Within it there were many levels, much like her city. And like a city many people could live and work there.

Besides being a star ship hangar, it had other functions. Most of the upper levels were libraries of information, data centers where knowledge amassed from many different societies of several galaxies was cataloged and preserved. This entire compound had been designed for the sole purpose of passing-on this ancient knowledge to future generations newcomers to the site called The Face.

Now they were about to embark upon a new beginning on an alien planet that, even with the extensive store of knowledge she had of that planet, there were still some things that defied detection, things of which she was not sure,

Her head tilted back and felt the hum of the head rest. Now she could see the vaulted stone roof some distance above, in a fog-like haze. The air pressure had steadily gone down after the first barrage of meteorites that nearly destroyed anything that got in its the way. Dust was thick in what was left of the atmosphere. Not much of any kind of life would be left after the next barrage of meteorites and asteroids hit her home.

Zappora closed her eyes momentarily and wept, then opened them again and gave the order for the final countdown. The ship's engines built-up the energy needed to reach escape velocity as the nucleonic turbos whined ever louder.

She felt a light pressure pushing down on her as the domed complex began to recede behind her. She could only see what was ahead. A huge block of stone moved to one side, groaning grudgingly across its recess.

Then the block stopped and Zappora only had the time to think, “Sideways!" The ship tilted sideways and scraped its way through the aperture diagonally. She felt a second wave of pressure against her, then nothing. Zero gravity, they had made it into orbit. Aside from a few gouges and scratches to both left and right side of the ship, they remained intact with a hull sound enough to make the journey.

Zappora unstrapped herself as soon as the artificial gravity field was switched on. She then pushed a button whereupon the helmet retracted back into the overhead console.

She joined with Lalea , Gazina, and Kopago at the wall to wall instrument panel with the astro charting and various measuring instruments and other analytical devices. An entire array of instruments was dedicated to ship's functions. Everything was in the green except for the two damaged sides of the ship which were on yellow alert. Other tracking devices that flashed every color of the rainbow translated the space outside of their ship into visual data.

Zappora could not see any great problem that would keep them from proceeding to the third planet from the sun. They could affect repairs to the ship during the journey to their new home. The exchange of passengers was made and they left their home planet, knowing that in all likelihood they were never to return.

Two months into their journey they had approached the blue planet close enough so that they could actually pick out different continents in a vast deep blue to turquoise ocean. Most of the land was covered by a thick, steamy fog that obscured most of the features of the continents. It appeared to them from their perspective as one would see the full moon from Earth. The moon appeared as a small ball rotating around the blue planet.

“Coordinates Delta 9 degrees east , X-ray 31 degrees north!” Captain Lalea shouted excitedly. “I think I found a place that is free from the steamy fog!” she said, pointing at the monitor. Zappora rushed over to check the readings for herself. Satisfied, she smiled and said, "Good work, Lalea. Now let's go have a sit down again, maybe for the last time in any spacecraft we have.”

All were glued to the monitors until it was time to belt back into their seats for entry into the atmosphere of the new, blue planet's atmosphere.

The entire ship shuddered, creaked, and groaned, but it held together as it entered the Earth's thick atmosphere. Everything shook so violently that none of the automatic controls wouldn't work properly. Zappora flipped off the automatic pilot, took manual control and flew the ship down 'by the seat of her pants', as flyers say. She felt the ship thump hard. Every support beam in the frame groaned and creaked, then all went silent. Everyone got out of their seats and danced around, shouting and hugging one another, because they were still alive after a voyage of 301,000,000 kilometers and entry into the Earth's atmosphere

Little did Zappora know what would come afer earth.
Thank you so much my dear friends, I just pray you have enjoyed reading these stories half as much as I did writing them. I started them many years ago and though it was time to close the loop 
Writen by Cynthia ©