#NaNoWarmUp October 14, 2013: Athena

I don’t just sit up here in my tower all day, I have things to do. But it has been a little boring in the not so distant past. What’s a goddess of war to do when there’s no war to oversee? I mean, yes, I am goddess of other things too, like wisdom, and courage, and inspiration, and law, and math, and strength, and the arts… Really? Math? There’s not much to do there. But I do love helping people to do art. I like invisibly visiting people who are at museums to draw their own representations of famous pieces. Sometimes people call on me for wisdom to ace a test, or courage to ask someone out. Things like that are silly, but it amuses me when people ask and usually I acquiesce.

Generally I prefer to provide wisdom and strategy in war-like situations, but of course it’s far better when humans are at peace with each other. I don’t often appear to anyone, and I almost never speak with them. Cassandra is rare indeed. She came to my statue one day to speak to me about Apollo. He had given her the gift of prophecy several years before, and now she said that he had cursed her gift because she refused to marry him. She said that she had a prophecy that New Jersey will soon declare war on New York City, a fact that I admit intrigues me, and that New York will meet with a very tragic end. She was calling on me to beg for help, but I assured her there was nothing that I could do.

I did give her a little secret tip, however. While there is nothing I can do to help her – I will not interfere with her regarding Apollo – I did have an interesting fact that I thought might… inspire her. I told her that the reason Apollo cursed her is that a god cannot take away a gift once given. However, it might benefit her to know that there is a twist to every prophecy.

For example, a long, long time ago there were two giants, brothers. It was prophesied that they could not be killed by man nor god. However, Artemis turned herself into a deer and ran between them, and when they tried to fell their prey by firing at her, their arrows crossed in midair, and the giants ended up killing each other. You see? The key is to think strategically about the wording of the prophecy, and to figure out a way to outsmart it.

I don’t know exactly what she can do to prevent the war, or at least to bring it to an end that does not spell the destruction of her home. However, I hope that she remembers my words and thinks it over herself. She’s a smart girl, I can tell. She made sure nobody else could enter the room within the laurel crown of my statue, by setting a friend outside the only door as guard, before she called on me. That’s some good strategy right there! The odds of getting a god or goddess to come to you are certainly much higher if you are alone.

I don’t know the circumstances of this alleged war, or which side I will feel is the correct side for me to choose. But Cassandra is now on my radar, and I think in this time before the war begins I will be taking a great interest in her. I have already started to have my owl follow her around now and then, invisibly of course, and report back to me on what it observes. If she calls on me again, I want to be prepared with an answer.

As for Apollo, my half-brother, I can’t meddle in his affairs. What happens between himself and Cassandra is really not my business. However, I might have a talk with him about her. He’s quite full of pride, and I’m sure I can strategically convince him to talk about Cassandra and think it was all his idea. Not that I would weigh in on the matter, but I would like to hear the story from his perspective. I would not be surprised if it’s quite different from what Cassandra had to say. I’d also like to ask him if he has had any prophecies of his own about this alleged war, and if so, what the outcome will be, and what, if anything he wants to do about it.

This is an exercise written as part of NaNoWarmUp, a personal writing challenge in October to write 25,000 words as preparation for writing 50,000 words in November. This year I’m using the daily writing goal of 800 words to write ABOUT my Cassandra story from the point of view of other characters. In November, I hope to be prepared to start writing a new first draft of Cursed from Cassandra’s point of view, a more complete story after figuring out how other characters perceive Cassandra, her prophecies, and the Trojan War.