The Wolves of Rome

Lords of Creation

April 20th, 2023
Olympos, the seat of the Greek Gods.

Any mortal who climbs the peak would not find the grand palaces of the Olympians there, for the divine Olympos exists outside of space as most mortals understand it. It is a mountain peak that cannot be reached by mortals unless the gods decree it, and it is there that they hold their council.
It is a place of unparalleled beauty, grand palaces of gold, ivory, and cloud that are shaped into grand architecture beyond even the wisest mortal hands. It is a mountain beyond the “real mountain” in the same way a god is beyond a man.

It sits atop the highest peak, the Pantheon, where Lord of the Sky Zeus holds his power and his thoughts, above all other gods in the way the heaven is above the earth, incomparable and unquestionable in his authority.

At least in regards to the Greeks.

The image of Zeus is well known, yet it cannot be truly captured in image or likeness of stone or pen. He is powerfully built, more perfectly formed than any mortal born man. His body is built of vitality and virility, while his face displays wisdom in its creased brow and trimmed beard of grey beneath a tumbling head of silver hair. He sits on his throne, deep in thought, as the clouds of the heavens whirl around him, a monument to his own magnificence and power. From this throne he can hurl a lightning bolt across the Earth, and in ages past he did so often to let his will be known.
Zeus Olympios, King of the Gods, Master of the world.

His authority is unquestionable among the Olympians and thus there are few things more difficult for an incomparable being than to recognize an equal. Just as the sky is host to more than azure atmosphere, so did Zeus now wait in silence and in thought for the arrival of the Sun.

She is Isis Panbasilea, the All-Ruling Goddess, but she is also Ra.

With the death of Amon-Ra at the hands of Apep the Destroyer, the mantle of Ra and the crown of the sun had been left empty for another to take. Sobek had offered his strength and her son, Horus, had offered his power. Both were needed on the field in the battles to come. The mantle had to go to a ruler, a sovereign, and a Uniter. Thus it went to the Queen of Heaven. Isis.

As Isis, she had been a figure to respect in Olympos, a treasured and honored guest among the Olympians along with her brother-husband Osiris. Now she comes as Isis-Ra, the unquestioned ruler of their pantheon, and that made her an equal to Zeus in authority and in strength.

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“I greet you, Zeus Olympios, Lord of this Land, with Honor and respect.” Isis-Ra’s voice was a curtain of soft demure elegance held over an iron core of power. Even before her ascension as Ra, she had been a figure to respect and, at times, to fear.

“You are greeted, Lady Isis-Ra Aigyptus, Queen of Egypt, as honored guest and ally in this court.” Zeus’ voice was stern and powerful, carrying with it an absolute authoritative note.
The formalities in their greetings were long and specific. Each acknowledged the sovereignty of the other in their lands. Isis-Ra offered deference to Zeus as lord of the venue, while Zeus did the same for Isis-Ra’s privilege as guest. Inter-Pantheon relations varied wildly in their forms, but the Greeks and Egyptians had long established theirs, and the meeting of two Pantheon lords was too delicate a matter to be treated lightly.

“You’ve been quiet these past few days, Zeus.” Isis-Ra was the first to drop formalities, as was her right as guest. Zeus, at least, was grateful for the opportunity. Their titles could be dropped for sake of ease, though Zeus knew better than most not to neglect the “Ra” in Isis’ name.

“The news grows no better the further outward we look for it.” Zeus said, hands gripping the arms of his throne. “All the pantheons we have heard from are in varying degrees of disarray. Of them, only we Olympians remain strong and steadfast.”

Isis frowned.

“Grim news indeed, but hardly surprising. If my people can be thrown from their lands so easily, I hardly imagine anyone is prospering. What of the northerners? These…Norsemen and women?”

At this, Zeus gained a look of decided disdain.

“I have spoken only briefly to Odin, their All-Father, when my eagles met his ravens in the skies to the north. The man has little grace in his authority. He seems to revel in speaking in riddles and tricks.”

“And what did you glean from him, Zeus?” Isis asked. Perhaps in better times she would indulge her host with platitudes and assurances, but these were not better times. She had little patience for his complaints.

“The Aesir are managing as they always have. Their realms are in complete disarray but it is almost as if they are reveling in it. They have always been hungrier for battle than us. I suppose now is their time.”

“One should never underestimate the Olympians thirst for blood, Zeus.” Isis-Ra smiled wickedly. “The records of your deeds and actions do not paint a pretty picture. Even mortals need not look far into the works of Homer to see what it is like when the Hellenic Gods wage war.”

“A squabble and a trifle.” Zeus shook off the comment with a wave of his great hand. “Regardless, the Aesir seek no allies and want for no help, at least so long as that pride holds.”

“Perhaps I should speak with them.” Isis-Ra said idly.“I have a penchant for wordplay and a cleverer tongue than most. Perhaps this Odin would enjoy my company.”

“There are few who wouldn’t.” Zeus smirked, and indulged his eyes in a long trek across Isis-Ra’s body.

The power of Isis-Ra could be compared only to her beauty. Her skin was a deep reddish tan, smooth like glass and accentuated by a river of long black hair crowned by a the radiant solar disk. Her eyes shined with a brilliant gold lined in elegant black above a narrow nose and long full lips. Her body, his eyes travelling down, was in the primacy of fertility, long flowing curves that accentuated her wide hips and full breasts, her silhouette only enhanced by the long slimming dress of red and white she wore. Beneath each arm waited the furled wings of a rainbow-feathered kite.

She was, even as Isis alone, a beauty on par with any goddess, and certainly, in Zeus’ eyes, past that of his own wife and queen. Had she been in his pantheon, Zeus would have bedded Isis long ago given even a modicum of a chance.

Isis-Ra could be indulgent to Zeus’ lingering eyes, but only for so long before her voice once more demanded his attention.

“While you may hold firm, Zeus, your stronghold is not so impregnable as to be negligent to its defense.” She said, irritation creeping into her voice. Trapped as her husband might be beyond the pale of death and in the sealed afterlife of Duat, Isis-Ra was still very much devoted wife and lover. “Do not be so quick to judge our strength while Typhon marches at your doorstep.”

At this, Zeus rose from his throne. For all her power, as lord of the Sky Zeus was still a head taller than Isis-Ra. The sun, even at its brightest, had always been a guest in the Halls of Heaven; it was even truer now.

“Typhon is merely a nuisance, and one I have dealt with before.” He said, his voice thundering even as he kept a level tone. “He offers no real threat to Olympos, especially as his mate Echidna still lies truly dead. His offspring are ill-bred and fragile now.”

Isis-Ra, however, remained undaunted. She raised her eyes to his, demanding him to treat with her as an equal, not a subject. Still, she kept her voice calm and respectful. She was, at the end of the day, still his guest. “You defeated him because that was the way the wind had turned in that time. Order was meant to usurp chaos and so the chaotic Primordials were defeated. Tiamat, Typhon, Apep, all of them and others were felled. But Zeus I should not have to remind you that the balance can always tip the other way. It is level now, but an ill-made choice can tip it once more in Chaos’ favor.”

“Do not be quick to lecture, Isis-Ra. We are your hosts after you failed to hold your own gates.”

“Proof enough as any that I know of what I speak.”She said, not rising to his bait. “Typhon is enraged but he is no fool. None of the Primordials are. All of us have every reason to believe he is seeking out a new mate fit to sire a new generation of monstrous offspring.”

“And they will be destroyed, regardless of their number or supposed strength.” Once more Zeus waved off the worry.

Isis-Ra, however, saw past the bravado in his voice. Zeus was self-assured, but not foolhardy.
“Something else is troubling you, Lord of the Sky.”She said, her tone shifting as she stepped closer to the throne. She was no longer playing the guest, but a confidante. “We are allies in this war. Share with me.”

“The fates are beyond reason.” Zeus spat. “Since time immemorial, they have obeyed me and now they spurn my word.”

The worry must have been clear on Isis-Ra’s face. The Moirai, the Fates, were the direct line between the gods and destiny. If they were ignoring Zeus, then terrible and truly unpredictable times were ahead. Few things were as dreadful to the gods as the thought of something completely and truly unknown.

“I suppose then,” Isis-Ra said carefully. “That this is out of our hands. We will fight for what is ours, but I am starting to doubt that this war will be won or lost by gods.”

Once more Zeus scoffed, but credibly so at the mere insinuation. “You would trust mortal hands with the fate of all creation?”

“I would not trust anything to mortal hands.” Isis-Ra corrected him. “But it seems likely that in this case our own hands might be tied.”

Zeus’ face fell into a mask of displeasure. “You have proof of this as well, I suppose?”
“I do.” Isis-Ra nodded, and before her, warped from the space between herself and Zeus, came the image of a city. It was one Zeus knew well, but not as Zues Olympios. It was a city built on seven hills, the Eternal City.

“Rome…” He said the name quietly. “Everyone has spoken much of Rome these days. My Queen was there just a few days ago on her own trivial business.”

“And it is where my Pharaoh is as well.” Isis-Ra said.“These people, these Romans, scarcely past recovery, have already done extraordinary things. They have defended their city time and again against the forces of the Primordials. They have broken into the former prison of Typhon, repelled the invasion of the Wolf and Sun Eater, and proven time and again that mortals, while reeling, have not fallen.”

“I suppose there is some pride to have in them.”Zeus said. “These mortal heroes have ever proven themselves tenacious, with nerve beyond their standing.”  

Zeus sat back down upon his throne, his brow furrowed in thought, but his grip not as tight on the arms. “My children have already taken an interest in the mortals. I did not condone…but I did not refuse my daughters this course either. Perhaps in time we will once more see the likes of the great men of antiquity, Achilles and Hectors of a new era.”

“A good deal to ask of them.” Isis-Ra smiled. “They are still young and vulnerable, they have much to rediscover, and I believe the Fates have much in store for them. Until then, at least, they have some form of protection.”

Once more the image shifted, replaced now with the lifelike picture of four wolves. “The people of Rome are still weak and prone to failure and corruption, but I think the Fates drew these wolves together for a reason.”

“Perhaps it is so.” Zeus nodded. “The wolves become the shepherds of a new and powerful flock…yes I could see the hand of Fate in this.”

“And why is that, Zeus?” Isis-Ra asked.

“Because an act of Fate is always identifiable by the clear hand of irony.” A great chuckle rumbled in his chest. “Yes, I suppose we should look more to these Romans, perhaps they are merely the first of many.”

 

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The Cities Eternal©2016, Evan Murdoch, Ben Sousa

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