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Sunday, July 27, 2008

PROGRESS REPORT #39: DILEMMAS



Mount Olympus

"As Eos spread her yellow robe across the earth,
thunder-loving Zeus smmoned an assembly of the gods
on the highest crest of many-ridged Olympus."
Homer "The Iliad"


While my own writer's life has been going along fairly well, with a couple of new job offers for the Fall (Life Writing classes) and a recent publication on a travel 'zine, (www.intheknowtraveler.com/2704) there have been a few dilemmas to face. The major one is the fact that all the ads were removed from my travel web site as a result of "suspicious activity" -- and just when I was starting to make a bit of money to help pay for the web site costs! I know the source, or I'm pretty sure I do. It was probably well-meaning friends clicking the ads too often in their effort to help me out. So, a lesson learned. Be sure to tell you friends to be discreet if they intend to click. Now I am looking into other alternatives, because if I can't find a way to subsidize the web site I'm not sure how long I can keep it going and it's just been going so good, with lots of positive comments and praise from my readers and contributors. Check it out yourself and see at
www.travelthruhistory.com (New stories will be posted in another week or so for August and there's some very interesting ones including a 'tour' of Beijing.)

Other than that (and the problem will be solved soon) there hasn't been much to complain or worry about. The weather has been good; I'm enjoying the summer. Less distractions would be good but I have been able to do some writing. I recently posted a new story on my travel blog
http://travelthroughhistory.blogspot.com "The Ecstasy of Food". I still have a couple more travel stories to finish in order to catch up with the backlog. And I am s-l-o-w-l-y working on Shadow of the Lion. My characters are facing a number of dilemmas themselves, and I'm helping them work through one crisis after another. Here's an example of what's going on:





Shadows on a forest stream

THIS IS WHAT HAS HAPPENED: The Regent, Polyperchon has agreed to a truce. Olympias is given an ultimatum by Kassandros offering her safe passage to the island of Euboeia if she surrenders the fortress of Pydna. Of course, she refused.

Once back inside the fortress, Olympias summoned her council. She did not intend to ask for advice, but dictated her wishes. The commanders and soldiers sat mutely listening to her commands.

“We will fight them, “ she said. “We will repel any attack by Kassandros. Pynda is well fortified and soon our allies will join us with ships.” She reminded them of their bloodless victory at the border of Epiros when their enemies had fled.

One of the elder veterans cleared his throat and dared interject, "Madam, there’s no question you command respect as Alexander’s mother, but Polyperchon’s army has had many desertions, and now we can no longer be guaranteed support from your own people in Epiros.”
Olympias stiffened and glared at the man who had dared speak out so boldly. She would remember later to relieve him of his post.

Commander Kronos stepped forward and pleaded with her to reconsider the terms of the truce for the sake of the safety of the royal household.
“Madam, our troops here are no match against Kassandros’ forces. Let’s be honest. We can’t win where we are now. The best we could do is to harry Kassandros men and then get out. Unless we get more troops, any strike we make on land will be ineffectual.“

“Then,“ she countered swiftly. “When the ships come we will strike by sea. With a navy and land troops, we will block them inside the garrison at Dion. They would not dare force a fight inside the holy sanctuary.“

“Without Polyperchon’s help and the reinforcements we have waited for so long Eumenes‘ to send, we stand no chance against them should they attack us, ” Kronos insisted.

Olympias was adamant. “No! Never! And do not dare again to make such a suggestion or I will consider you a traitor too, and will have you put in chains.”

A rumble of voices spread through the gathering. Some looked to Kronos and nodded in support of him. Others looked at Olympias and glowered. Still they dared not disagree with her. She was haughty and irascible, yet she had proven in the past to be a
formidable leader. She was more than a queen. She was Alexander’s mother, the same to many of them, as a mother of a god.

The debate grew noisier. Some argued for accepting a truce, others protested acrimoniously, determined to hold out until Spring when surely Eumenes’ navy would arrive and Polyperchon would bring troops over the border from Thessaly.
Still Kronos resisted. “We have no guarantee that Eumenes' ships will come in time.. .or that Polyperchon will break the truce he has made with Kassandros.”

Olympias cut off his words with a sharp retort. “They will come, Kronos, and we will
win!”
The men glanced at one another, but Kronos said no more. No one spoke again either to agree or argue. The council was dismissed and they went out.

After the men had left the council hall, Olympias went up on the ramparts to look out beyond the siege lines and fields toward the wild slopes of Mount Olympus. A sharp wind blew from the sea and she pulled her robe closer around her. Looking toward the splendid massif of the holy mount, she called upon the gods, beseeching them for a miracle.

She drew a slow breath and spoke: “Give me a sign!”

The sky was clear, but over the mountain dark clouds had gathered obscuring the snow-clad peaks. A prophecy? she wondered. Deep in her bones she felt an icy chill of doom, as if the gods were mocking her.
* * *



Mountain river
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6 comments:

Meghan said...

That is one tough woman you're writing about! And I love the pictures. So beautiful.

I'm sorry to hear about your ad problem. That's strange, actually. I had never heard of such a thing. I hope you can work everything out soon. :)

Wynn Bexton said...

I just love working with Olympias. She is such a strong character.

I think I have a new solution to the missing ads problem. I'm looking into a couple of affiliate programs including Amazon and so long as I'm not tagged as a felon by the Mighty G. it should be a nice addition to the website. (I can sell books and there are many great travel books on the market).

Father Park said...

I just love working with Olympias. She is such a strong character.

An extremely ruthless and ambitious matriarch. Murderous not to put too fine a point on it. Thought nothing of the occasional pogrom in support of herself, son and grandson. Your commander Kronos was lucky not to be chained and slow roasted. A delicacy Monapthalmus was not averse to.

Wynn Bexton said...

I always enjoy your comments, Father Parks. Because I know you understand these characters so well and appreciate how I am trying to interpret them.

Father Park said...

Meanwhile Eumenes, fending off Peucestas' naked bribe for command, reads a letter to the satrapal coalition stating that Polyperchon is marching through Cappadocia with the royal army.

Neither Eumenes or Polyperchon seem to be where they should be or are hoped to be...

By the way, there's a link to a book on Pothos that might help you.

Wynn Bexton said...

Thanks so much for the heads up about the book. I have ordered it as well as the one on the Macedonian infantry which I am sure will be useful for details.

Yes, the events at this point become very convoluted and the question is what to dramatize and what to just mention in narrative. So I'm progress, slowly, while I figure out the strategies.