Herculean Effort: Part Four “Adventure in Mind” Prose

This is the prose version of “Adventure in Mind”

Click HERE for the full  TITANOS intro. Otherwise…

Mere man no more!
One adventurer finds he is the heir to the strength of Herkales (Hercules if you prefer his later Roman tag). He is made massive when that power was infused into his mostly mortal form. He now walks the Earth as TITANOS! The world, and his clothing bill, will never be the same.

 

TITANOS!

“Adventure in Mind”

by

Bruce S. Larson

 

Greece: despite being an unfortunate homonym with fatty lubricant, out of its lands rose great art; architecture; heroic legends; and perhaps the only stable market for goat cheese. On a plateau above the Aegean Sea, a woman known as Diana sits languidly on a broken column while sketching the remnants of a Doric temple. Ancestry beyond Athens’ builders sculpted her own graceful form. She looked over at a massive male figure draped in shadows. He held up the temple’s top like a single human column.

“Thanks, Tee.” Diana says, lowering her pad. “I have the proportions down.”

The temple’s top lowered. It met the earth with the gentlest thud. The towering Titanos stood free of his burden in the sunlight. Knee-length white trunks and a tightly laced tunic stretched across his Olympus-endowed expanses. A massive buckle forged as a ‘T’ adorned a thick belt encircling his comparatively narrow waist. Boots styled like a Hoplite’s covered his feet and calves with enough leather to furnish a dozen such soldiers. Only the contemporary style of his dark hair was free of anachronism.

“My pleasure, Diana.” Titanos’ voice resonated across the landscape.

“News, young adventurers!” The far less booming, yet more jubilant voice of Dr. Langford reported as the gray‑bearded archeologist entered the scene. “My old student Edgar Godfrey has invited me to his dig. Apparently he’s found the, ah, deposit, caused by your ancestor Herakles, Titanos, when he cleansed the Augean stables. Soon he hopes to find the stables!”

“A part of my personal history?” Fire stirred in the cobalt eyes of Titanos. He gazed purposefully out across the Aegean. “You, Doctor, shall have the company of Titanos!”

Langford beamed. “Then it’s off to the Augean deposit!”

Meanwhile, distant miles from the echo of Titanos’ voice, Edgar Godfrey had problems not mentioned in his letter to Langford. One was his woolen, tweed suit worn in the searing desert. Another was far stranger. He stumbled across cooling sand in the evening. He dropped a pipe from his right hand, but firmly gripped a lantern in his left. Starlight began to twinkle above the site of his excavation. As Godfrey stumbled through the small encampment, the smoke from his pipe ominously followed him.

“It—it’s happening again!” Godfrey pleaded to the sky. “Ever since I found that strange herb on this site to replace my tobacco! Whenever I indulge in it, I—I—I—!”

Godfrey clasped his head with both hands while still holding the lantern. He stumbled into a tent with shelved scrolls and pinned‑up diagrams of the dig. (One note read: Manure depth, seven‑hundred feet!) Behind him the trailing smoke transformed into a masculine toga.

“Edgar, Edgar!” The smoke commanded hi attention. “I have work for you!”

Light erupted from the tent in a storm of intense beams. Manic laughter joined the brilliant maelstrom.

Daytime. Langford, Diana, and lastly the huge Titanos, traveled on camels across an arid plain. A lone guide walked ahead of them. He made worried glances at Titanos’ camel. The beast suffered under its enormous passenger with a near-human grimace from exasperation and strain.

“Edgar erratically describes the soil there as having trans-organic properties.” Dr. Langford said.

“I don’t remember Augeas’ oxen being charmed.” Diana interjected. “Why would they have produced enchanted, well, fertilizer?”

The intrepid three reached the dig. They gazed from atop a mound at the site veiled in rising dust. Behind them, their sobbing guide cups his face in one hand as he raises a pistol towards Titanos’ leg-bowed and agonized camel.

“The site is much bigger than the photograph,” Diana observed.

“Considerably,” Titanos added.

An expansive tent city stretched before them. High piles of burlap sacks dotted the locale. Black‑garbed workmen filled more sacks with seed. Langford looked through binoculars and saw Godfrey. He was still in his wool suit, and still holding the burning lantern.

“Edgar!” Langford called out.

“Langford? Mwahahahahaha!” Godfrey crazily replied as the two people and one giant approached him.

“Are you all right, man? Why the chortle?” Langford asked.

“The manic laughter? Simply a cliché.” Godfrey answered. “But this is the beginning of a new world!”

Godfrey thrust up his free hand. In it his clenched a fist full of the seeds. Each seed was shaped as a human eye, complete with a centered iris marking.

“The fantastic herb from these seeds enables one to create solid hallucinations.” Godfrey continued in demented glee. “I will spread it far and wide, for free! Using my families publishing empire, I’ll subliminally influence the collective unconscious of the world! Afterwards—and after a vacation in somewhere cold—I will enslave humanity to my super-id! And then, for some reason, I feel compelled to open a world-wide, tie-dyed clothing franchise.”

Titanos, Diana, and Langford gasped in horror.

“Good God, Edgar!” The outraged Langford shouted. “This is the Thirties. We can’t afford any more global store‑chains! You must be stopped!”

“And Titanos is here to do it!” The gigantic hero bellowed. Titanos snatched Godfrey’s lantern from him and hurled it against a pile of sacks. The sacks burst into flames.

“No!” Godfrey screamed as the flames grew. “Seize him!”

All Godfrey’s workmen leapt on Titanos in a human swarm.

“What is the weight of your throngs, Godfrey?” Titanos asked in a loud but muffled voice from under the masses of workmen. “Compared to the strength of Titanos!”

Titanos threw out his arms. The workmen sailed in all directions. Dr. Langford saw one of the tossed men vanish in mid-air as he sailed over the mound at the site’s edge.

“That man!” Langford pointed. “He vanished beyond the site’s border as if he was only a figment.”

Godfrey stood amid encircling wafts of thick smoke from the burning seeds. He threw his arms to his sides.

“Hah!” Godfrey scoffed. “I shall breathe deep the gathering plume and transform into your vanquisher, Titanos! But what? A lion” A dragon? A minotaur? Why not all three!”

The smoke curled like a thousand white tentacles and knit into a bizarre creature around Godfrey. He stood transformed into a Titanos-sized, triple-headed minotaur sporting the wings and two tails of a dragon, and the fur of a lion’s mane on its chest and massive shoulders.

The Godfrey-monster and Titanos faced-off as Langford and Diana sprinted for cover behind exposed boulders.

“Hold, madman. You face the inheritor of the strength of Herakles.” Titanos warned.

“Legendary pap! I’m powered by the strength of my mind!”

“A myth indeed!” Titanos retorted.

The two titans collided like Greco-Roman wrestlers, causing a tent‑flattening, seed‑scattering shock wave. The monster’s tails wrapped Titanos in a strangling grip, and then slammed him head first into the ground.

“The time of heroes is finished, rotted, dead!” The monster bellowed and flapped its wings to take flight. “A new consciousness will prevail: Mine!”

Titanos recovered his head from the sand and leapt aside just as the monster belched flame at him from its three mouths.

“Not so long as Alkmene’s blood is still held within my veins!” Titanos jumped into the flying monster. The titans hit the earth together like a powerful bomb. The impact demolished even more of the camp.

“Titanos!” Langford shouted from the rocks as Diana looks out with concern. “It isn’t the land, or Godfrey’s herb, but some form of energy field that has possessed him. Break his link with the field!”

“Preposterous!” the monster decried. “This power has been created by me alone. I have become greater than even Zeus!” The monster swelled to even greater size. It raised a fist aloft, ready to strike.

“Perhaps in ego, monster!” Titanos shouted in defiance. “But I posses his son’s now immortal might!”

The monster swung its fist at Titanos, but caught the hurtling fist in his hands, stopping the blow. He threw the monster’s fist aside. It stepped back in amazement. Titanos stood poised to jump at his colossal foe.

“You have nothing but hallucinations, and all mirages fade–” Titanos leapt at the monster and delivered a truly Herculean blow “–to nothing!”

The impact of Titanos’ fist caused the monster and the altered reality around it to collapse just as a sheet of paper caught by a vacuum cleaner. Wind shrieked into the imploding vortex. Titanos landed and braced himself in time to catch Langford and Diana who were ripped from their boulder refuge by the maelstrom.

Later that afternoon, peace returned to the desert site. Langford and Diana stood in the shade made by Titanos. All three looked over the where the archaeological had vanished.

“It was not the drugs, but the ethereal energy that created the solid hallucinations.” Langford postulated. “Edgar’s will shaped them, but the odd herbs, or maybe the heat, or strain, drove him into delusions.”

“That, or the fact that he always wore a wool suit in the searing desert heat.” Titanos said as the three started up the site’s mound. At the bottom of the slope, an eye seed lay in the deep impression of one of Titanos’ footprint.

“I still wonder what he meant by tie-dyed.” Diana pondered.

“Some things the Fates have yet to reveal. For we may not yet be able to face their consequences.” Titanos noted.

“Hey,” Diana said suddenly with concern. “Has anyone seen our camels?”

 

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