Saturday, March 23, 2013

Theseus and the Minotaur: A Novel

Hey!  This is a novel I am currently writing.  We all know about the Greek tale of Theseus and the Minotaur where a prince goes on an island as a tribute (Suzanne Collins was very clever with this and the gladiators!) to be sacrificed to a wretched creature: the Minotaur.  Theseus ends up killing the beast, and going home wit Ariadne.  In History, I learned more about this and the island it takes place on: Crete.

In Crete they did something called bull jumping, and with this I created a story about a young girl named Thaleia who becomes a bull jumper and when she is older falls in love with Theseus and helps him out of the maze.
It's unedited and it was very hard to write the beginning and might not make to much sense, but enjoy!  

A Novel of Theseus and the Minotaur

Chapter One

I couldn’t show my fear.  I couldn’t show how my legs were shaking, how the sweat was pouring down my face.  It would be shameful to do so.  But I was nervous.  This wasn’t a bad thing; if you were completely confident Master Cleon would slap you on the head with his palm and tell you you would die the moment you entered the arena.
But even though I was nervous, I was also leaping for joy.  After years of training to flip and twirl off small animals and doing complicated twists in the air, I was ready for what every child in Crete dreamed of: to be a bull jumper.
Two other youths were waiting to go into the arena with me.  Adelphe was standing tall but was clutching her stomach; Aetios was crouching down low, his dark hair falling in his eyes.  Like me they were both dressed in loose tunics, with nothing on our feet.
Adelphe glanced my way and gave me a tight smile.  “You’ll be fine, Thaleia.  You’re first bull jumping is always the scariest, but nothing will happen to you.”
I gave a slight nod.  This was my first bull jumping.  I had practiced on sheep when I was a child and for the past year off of gentle cows, but this was different.  Not only was I coming a few months earlier into the arena for one my age, this was the ceremony of the gods; the beginning of the new year.  We were one of the first acts, followed by more advanced jumpers, but it was still an honor.  But I had seen the beast we would be jumping off of.  A huge bull with long ivory horns and huge muscles rippling under shiny black hair.
In the arena, three children were currently leaping off gentle cows, twirling in the air.  That was what I was doing last year.  Then they finished, and all
too soon it was our turn.  “You’ll do fine,” whispered Adelphe, giving me a hug.

Aetios smiled up at me from where he was drawing in the dirt with his finger.  “If you do half as well as you did last night during practice, you should be great.”
Then the conch horn blew, and they were shouting our names.  I was sure my stomach was full of butterflies, and I whispered a hurried prayer to the gods to protect me and keep me safe while still giving a splendid performance.
We all ran into the huge arena.  It was in a huge circle, and my fellow Cretans were in the stand, cheering and shouting.  They wore brilliant colors that dazzled the eyes, and their dark eyes shone with delight.
While Adelphe and Aetios cartwheeled off to the side, I took a running leap.  I twirled twice through the air like I did so many times and then landed on my hands, using my weight to pull me back on my feet.  The crowd roared with approval.  I smiled and then did two more of these.  My last twirl was a giant running start and the doing a flip in the air and landing on Aetios‘ back, holding myself up with my arms.  Everyone screamed, and I beamed.  If this was what a bull jumper did, I loved shining in the spotlight!
I jumped off his back and we ran to our correct positions in the arena.  Then, the crowd screamed as one.  The huge wooden gate where the animal was kept was suddenly thrown open.  The bull stumbled into the clearing, and my stomach knotted in fear once more.  He was bigger than I remembered.  There was nothing to stop him from him killing me.  His huge ivory horns were covered in gold bracelets, his cloven hooves raked up the dust of the arena.  His eyes were dark and angry, and then he snorted and charged toward Aetios.  I wanted to scream, but restrained myself.  My friend would be torn to shreds with those horns!
This was every bull jumpers fear, the moment when the bull you were jumping could kill you or you could jump and break your neck or bone, or worse.  But that was the dangerous thrill of the sport.
Aetios stood his ground as the bull charged toward him, and at the last second he took a leap.  The horns almost caught his tunic but Aetios safely landed behind the creature, rolling skillfully to the ground.  The crowd cheered.
The beast wheeled around to try and chase Aetios, but Adelphe began to do cartwheels while shouting, to get the beasts attention.  She did the same thing that Aetios did, and the crowd roared again.
Then it was my turn.  The beast charged toward me, and I stood my ground.  And then at the last second I jumped into the air.  I clenched my hands around the ivory horns, pulling my body up into the air.  The crowd screamed and whistled.  The bull then threw his head and I let go, landing behind him on my feet.  Sweat poured down my body, but I was grinning.  That was amazing!  My first bull jump ever!  I bowed and waved cheekily to the crowd, and they laughed.
I then turned around.  The bull was chasing Aetios again, who was sprinting.  Adelphe and I made our way toward him.  As Aetios ran right in front of the bull, she and I cartwheeled in front of him as well.  The creature was confused who to chase!
He chose me again, and I sprinted along the wall as the crowd laughed.  I stayed right in front of him to cause the crowd to laugh in fear, but far away so I wouldn’t be killed.  Aetios joined me and we danced to the side.  We did flips again and my stomach tightened again, but I landed safely.
For the last act I grabbed the bull’s horns again but landed on his back, standing.  It reeled to the side and I almost lost my footing, but I grabbed onto his horns.  He charged madly around, but then here it was: in a split second Aetios and Adelphe did a handstand on the bull before falling off.  I did as well, and as the crowd madly cheered the three of us raced toward the safety of the wall.
I jumped up with Adelphe, and with her help pulled Aetios safely, his legs narrowly missing the bull’s horns.  In a sweaty heap we all cheered and laughed and hugged each other.  We had all survived!
Our trainer appeared out of nowhere, beaming.  Grabbing our hands we danced in a silly circle and Master Cleon gave us all firm hugs.  We had done it!  We were now true bull jumpers.  In the few moments it took for some workers to get the bull out of the arena, we ran back out.
The crowd madly cheered, and I bowed.  They then began to throw roses and necklaces of seashells, and I smiled as I picked them up.  To please them again, in unison we took a running start once more, did a flip, landed on our hands at the same time, before finally landing on our feet.
And then we bowed low to our king.  He was an older man, but still was strong and lean.  His pepper-gray hair was streaked with white, and he had cold eyes.  He was dressed in finery as he sat on his bejeweled throne, eating fine treats and sipping from golden cups.  Beside him was his daughter.  She was dressed in the finest clothing, golden bracelets and precious stones on her arms.  She was so beautiful, with her thick brown curls and beautiful green eyes, and a flawless expression.  Aridane was three years older than I was, reaching the end of her childhood at twelve.  She smiled at me, and King Minos nodded.  Adelphe and I smiled, and I noticed that Princess Aridane eyes lingered on Aetios.  
We then walked respectfully away, waving and smiling at the crowds.  In the darkness of the tunnel we laughed.  “We did it!  We did it!” cheered Aetios.
“You did amazing!” said Adelphe, giving me a hug.
I sighed, happy to be out of the arena, but waiting excitedly for the day I would go and jump over a bull again.

Was it good, bad? Leave it in the comments! If I get one, I shall dedicated the next part to that commenter! :)

1 comment:

  1. I'm not even going to say anything. You know what I'm not saying, anyway. :D