Here is another background story for Wall of Destruction. This one is about the learning of Aether which powers their devices. A future post will talk about how it works but here I try to tell the story of its finding.
Silenus, the teacher of Dionysus, gave Man the secret of how to gather Aether. He loved to drink with the humans and enjoyed their antics when drunk. On one such visit to King Ceros’ court, the survivors of a mauled party were brought before Ceros. They told the tale of how a maruading band of Harpies tore apart a merchant train from a nearby neighbor. How these survivors were from a company of soldiers that happened upon the Harpies feasting on the corpses.
The surviving soldiers told the assemblage how their arrows bounced off the Harpies scales and only their spear points or swords had a chance. Reluctantly, these were only effective when the Harpies closed with the soldier, where their razor sharp claws and teeth were usually too much for the unlucky soldier.
Of the company of 80 soldiers, only seven survived and only two Harpies were killed. The young warrior, Aelthus lamented “We can not fight these creatures, the Gods protect them.”
Silenus stood up in his slightly drunken way, “Ney, brave warrior, the Gods created these creatures but do not protect them. They are sport for the hunts.”
“Sport or not, they are too much for us and Neptune hears us not, in our begging for assistance.” Ceros responded, throwing his chalice to the floor. Only the sound of the flames from the fire and the torch mounts was heard as all were afraid of what would happen next.
Finally Silenus, started laughing uproariously. He was bent over, pounding the table, laughing so hard. Most thought he was crazy or in a weird drunken mood, as was his want.
But Ceros was no longer in the mood for merry making. Not with a few wounded soldiers and tales of many more mauled. “Silenus, your mood does dishonor to my soldiers, I think you should retire for the night.”
All were quiet, knowing that Silenus was of the Gods and to tell a God to leave was unheard of. Finally Silenus calmed down. “King, I mean no insult, I just thought of what I will do and how funny it would be to do so.” As he started giggling again.
Ceros was losing patience but also mindful of who he was talking to. The crowd was stone silent as not sure if movement was wise, in this situation. “What do you mean what you will do Silenus?”
“Why, I will give you the knowledge to build Aether weapons. That will even the odds. I daresay that will allow you to hunt these foul beasts and chase them out of your lands.” Silenus chortled, as he started to laugh harder and harder, reaching for a glass of wine and nearly choking on it.
The import of what he just said was not lost on the King or many in the crowd. The Atlanteans knew of Aether and how it powered the weapons of the Gods and Heroes, but did not know how to harnest it to their will. Here, they were in the presence of a drunken Godling, that said he would tell them the secret.
Ceros, always keenly attuned to the situation, started to laugh as well. “Silenus, that is great news and the sign of a dear friend. Come tell us what we need to do so we can make use of this source.”
Silenus said, “Fetch your priests, since prayer is required. Oh and bring forth your virtuous men and maidens.”
“Why my lord?” asked the servant pouring Silenus more wine. He eyed her critically then grabbed her and sat her on his lap.
“Because my dear” looking at the King, “Power corrupts and this is the power of the Gods.” Turning back to the crowd “Good mortals you might be, above those poor fouls that know nothing of wine, but you are not strong enough to resist the power of Aether.” He said as he finished his cup, then took the pitcher from the servant.
Ceros looked at Silenus, looking for the key to the warning he just gave. “Dear Silenus, what do you intend with the virtuous people we summon.” At this time, some priests entered the hall.
Silenus, removed the servant from his lap, then stood and stretched. “My friend, King Ceros, I do this to help you but also to save you. For once I give you the secrets of Aether, the Gods will be angered. What they do, I am not sure. I might be cosigning you and yours to death.”
Prince Tolenar stood up near the dias and asked, “Good Silenus, then why give us something that might have us punished with death?”
Silenus looked at the prince, with a huge grin. “Didn’t I tell you? I will not give you the secret. You must figure out how to get it. Now you know the possible cost, you risk with full knowledge that this could kill you.” Looking back at the King, “My King, shall I continue?”
Ceros, looked over the assembled people, seeing family and friends and knowing that what he said next would change the course of his people. “We do this in the hopes of bettering our poeple. Silenus, please give us the secret.”
Silenus’s visage went from merry and drunk to sober and serious. “King Ceros of Atlantis and the 7 Isles, you ask to open the box of knowledge, knowing that to do so could cause a great doom to settle on your people. Is this correct?”
Ceros looked at Silenus and thought, “Was this a test of the Gods or a trap?” He desired the knowledge that could be theirs. Looking over the assembled nobles of Atlantis, he saw many waited eagerly for him to continue. Licking his lips, “Yes, we seek the knowledge of Aether.”
In an instant the serious and sober vistage was replaced with the drunken old fool look, “Great! And so shall it be. I really do wonder what will happen.” Pulling a flute from his rob, he piped a short diddy and then called out, “Pandora, be a dear and bring the Box of Knowledge.”
Everyone looked around, looking for this Pandora. No one saw anyone and wondered if Old Silenus was having a laugh at their expense. Suddenly the Hall filled with the smell of flowers and a ray of moon beam solidified through one of the windows. Down came the most beautiful young maiden any of them had ever seen.
She carried a small oynx box and walked to Silenus. Who, normally a borderline groper, was acting sober and somber again. “There you are young lady. Good.” Now he looked to the priests and virtuous men and women. “Into a circle of priests and one of the virtuous.” They were looking at the King for guidance. When Silenus bellowed, “Hurry now, the moon beam will go soon and so must Pandora.” At which point, Pandora smiled a sad smile.
The priests and people quickly formed circles, as the rest of the crowd moved around them. The King stayed on his dias, completely mesmerized by the events.
Silenus looked around and quickly settled on the Prince. “Prince, come here, to you shall be the honor or curse of opening the Box of Knowledge.” The prince came to Silenus and Pandora.
Looking between them and licking his lips, the prince touched the box. He looked up into Pandora’s eyes, then said, “Is this your box, Pandora?”
“No, I am but the bearer of this device, at Silenus’s request.”
He fiddled with the latch and was rewarded with a spring loaded needle pricking his finger. Crying out in alarm and pain, Prince Tolenar jumped back. Looking accusingly at Silenus, “You didn’t say it was armed.”
Looking innocently at the Prince and then the King, “You didn’t ask if it was armed, did you?” Then smiling, he opened the box the rest of the way for the Prince. “In Pandora’s box resides two smaller boxes. One for the priests and one for the virtuous. The knowledge of Aether shall forever remain separate and flow down through history as thus.”
Lifting one of the small boxes he walked to the circle of priests and entered the ring. “To the priests is given the knowledge of how to channel the power of Aether into containers. Also will be the knowledge of how to build Mother Stones that will direct the power.” He opened the box and a strong wind came forth and whipped around the priests. “This knowledge shall be taught to other priests who are worthy of the knowledge.” All the priests swooned in the winds and then fell asleep. “Distrub them not, they will awaken, in due course.”
Then Silenus came back to Pandora and took the second box out of the one Pandora held. “This is the secret of manipulating the power. While the priests can power devices, they can not use the devices that are not made to be operated by anyone.” He walked to the circle.
The Prince asked, “What do you mean they can not use devices not made for anyone?”
Silenus ignored the statement, looked around the group of men and women. “To you, is the gift of power. You can use the devices you create as long as they have power. Once they are out of power, the priests will have to recharge them. The priests can see the Aether and channel it into the devices but you can not see Aether except through the devices.”
And with that, he opened the box and a cloud billowed forth surrounding the virtuous. No one could see into the cloud but they heard a few cries of alarm and then the sound of people falling to the ground. “Come not, this is only for them. The cloud is poison for all others.”
This made the crowd quickly move back in fear of touching the cloud. When the cloud dissipated, Silenus was there amongst the fallen people. He walked back to Pandora and the Prince and placed the second box back into Pandora’s box.
“You may go child.” He said to Pandora, who curtsied and walked back to the moon beam. As she stepped onto the moon beam, she disappeared and the solid beam dematerialized. A thunder clap was then heard with massive lightning a few seconds later.
“Ah, Zeus is now aware.” Silenus said with wonder in his voice.
Ceros came off the throne and down to Silenus. “Dear Silenus, what does Zeus say?”
With closed eyes, Silenus held his head towards the windows. “He is truly angry, but Posideon is there with his brother. He is defending your actions and speaking of the conditions I made.”
The priests and virtuous started to wake, most with wonder in their eyes at the new knowledge they have been given. Most started to stand up but could not without assistance.
The thunder and lightning continued to increase, to the point where the thunder shook the Great Hall of the Sea King. People cried out in alarm but could not be heard by their neighbors as the thunder was constant at that point. Many fell to their knees and prayed for forgiveness or protection, depending on the God or Goddess they revered.
Even Ceros, Sea King, King of Atlantis and the 7 Isles, fell to his knees and begged Posideon to save them. In minutes only Silenus and Prince Tolenar were standing. Tolenar more in a stupor, stood and swayed to an unheard beat. Silenus, turned his smiling face to where Tolenar was. The thunder grew quiet, as a singers last lingering notes spill from her mouth.
“Now comes the last Doom of the evening.” Intoned Silenus, completely sober and very serious. He looked at Prince Tolenar. “You or more appropriately, your descendants, will cause the downfall of Atlantis.” Everyone was looking at the Prince.”