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How To Rewrite Destiny

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“We seek the Chronicles of History, Chiron. It is our right, the last right granted such as we who lost the Titanomachy.”

The old ‘man’ startled. “None have asked for that right in a thousand years, Medusa! And the fallout from that left the demigods with one less monster to kill.”

“Which is why that right was given in the first place. Or do you like the killing now, old horse?” The three veiled women standing before the centaur gave him a look to stiffen the joints. “The current concept of our natures is one far kinder than it was last time we were remade. We would be remembered as sisters three, and as victims instead of things to murder.”

“Victims? You are seen as victims now?”

“We are indeed. We’re seen as symbols of feminism, of the unfairness in punishing the victim.” Euryale smiled and spread golden wings. “In the version of the tale we have manifested as this time Poseidon is a rapist and Athena is a heartless fool, and that fits the cruelty of the gods much better than any other version that we’ve been.”

“Really,” said Stheno, “You have no cause to wish any monster ill. We know you saved the centaurs by writing them into the Chronicles as partygoers. ”

“It was rather obvious,” added Medusa. “Anyone who met a centaur in the old days could tell they were nasty drunken louts. I bet you rewrote the satyrs, too.”

Chiron sighed. “I did, yes. They were races, not people; the power of belief wouldn’t have saved them from the purges.”

Medusa smiled. “Make what we are now the Truth, Chiron, and we will grant gifts. We will give healing blood to the camp, to keep the children’s mortal kin alive.”

“We will give poison blood, to kill their enemies the faster,” added Stheno. “A vial of each from each of us.”

“For unlike nectar and ambrosia, our blood can save mortals. And unlike celestial bronze, our blood does not kill so-called monsters alone.” Euryale bared her wrists. “We are sick of death, Chiron. Give us sanctuary, and damn the consequences.”

For the first time in a thousand years, history was rewritten. Now they just had to explain this to the campers . . .


 

“Welcome to Monster History, little murderers.” Euryale glared at the children, but the mask she wore protected them. “Monsters attack you because you attack us. You attack us because we attack you. This is what’s known as a vicious cycle, and it’s fucking stupid. Write that all down.”

“Who are you and why are you wearing a mask?” asked one of the kids.

“I am Euryale Gorgos, and if you can’t figure out the rest from there you really are a simpleton.” She hisses to herself. “Now, I only have a few rules. The ones I do have, however, are very important.
“I will not tolerate rapists. If any of you little bastards hurt a girl like that I will eat you myself. I’ll be watching, too, so your usual sick tricks won’t work. I will not tolerate anyone who actively hunts for monsters. Murder is murder, no matter what your victim looks like. If I hear about you boy and girls looking for people to kill I will look you in the eye and it’ll be the last thing you ever see because I will shatter you afterwards. And finally, I know that you lot ride winged horses. If you hurt any of them or treat them as things I won’t have to kill you, because Medusa will. Pegasus was her child by rape, true, but she loves him all the same.”

The class just stared at her for a bit, before one boy raised his hand.

“Yes?”

“Usual tricks? Are you saying that you expect us to be horrible people?”

“I know you’re horrible people, you’re a bunch of trophy-taking serial killers in training. The only question is how horrible. Just because you won the Titanomachy doesn’t mean you’re the good ones, and at least we mourn the folly of the battle. Have any of you lot ever mourned anyone but your own friends? Have you mourned your victims as the Gorgons have?”

"But they're just monsters!"

"As humans are just humans, and you are just demigods. And you can't imagine the pettiness, the stupidity of the gods. After all, what kind of person sics their children on their cousins so said children will never grow up to take power?"

There was a clamoring.

"What do you mean? You fight us just as much!"

"Cousins?"

"We're doing it to protect the world from the monsters!"

"Most of us are not dangerous to the world." Euryale's snakes hissed to themselves. "When the bastard Perseus came to kill Medusa we had hidden ourselves away so far from humankind that he had to blackmail our kin the Greae into telling him where we lived. We were living in the most inhospitable parts of the desert in Libya, so far from civilization that we hadn't seen one hint of a human being in centuries. And he killed her in her sleep, the coward. Her blood and ours healed her, but she did not cope at all. It was like being raped again, she hid away and cried for 50 years."

A few of the children winced at that.

"Again?"

"She was raped by her cousin Poseidon." Euryale bared her fangs. "We have written this truth into history. For all our kind are shaped by how people think of us, but we can choose which story is true. And if we can turn the gods into the real monsters we know they are, the War in Heaven may yet be won."

"I've never heard of that," said one older boy. "You'd think it would be well-known."

"It is a power rarely used. The last time was a thousand years ago, when Cerberus became a loyal, even friendly creature. I do not fault him for taming himself, it likely saved him a hundred painful deaths. People play with him now, instead of poisoning him or stabbing him in the heart. But the Gorgons are not willing to play nice. Not when demons will track us into the desert where no one else dares travel just to murder their own kin."

"Why poison him, when there are plenty of ways to make him sleep?"

"Because he's not a person, why else? Monsters don't matter."

"But he's a dog! People love dogs!"

"And we were beautiful girls. People love them too, but add a few extras and you want to kill us."

"But how did you change it?"

"Destiny's book is history, and he reads it as it happens. Not even he knows the future, though he has a better idea than any other. But myths are stories themselves, things of dreaming and belief, and when enough people come up with a new version those of us who die may come back as the new story." She smiled. "It is our right to go to Destiny, if we so desire it, and tell him the tale we like best. Then that story is in his book, and it was always in his book, and everything is fine. History changes, and it was never changed, for surely it has always been that way."


The first class was about the Gorgons, of course.

"The Gorgon were angelic once, with brozy claws and brazzy talons and wings o' gold. But they were punished, all of them, for just as it is right to punish rape victims it is right to punish their kin. If to be raped is a crime then surely it is a crime to fight in the victim's defense. So Medusa's fine skin turned to scales and Stheno's angel wings to dragon ones and Euryale's strong legs to a snake tail, their soft hair to writhing serpents and their teeth to fangs." She was crying as she spoke, just a bit. "Not that they were the only ones the gods defiled. Even Apollo made poor Daphne turn herself into a tree to escape him, though at least he was decent enough to regret afterwards. Perhaps because that was the only version of the story ever told, and thus it felt more real."

"More real?"

"There's always some hint that the stories we put into the book of Destiny are added later. We remember, of course, but also there are other things. Things like the two empty desks here in front of me. Who were Percy and Annabeth, children?"

But of course they didn't know.