This is the prose version of: “The Black Golem Adventure.”
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.
“The Black Golem Adventure”
“That’s Not a Statue, That’s My Husband!”
Bruce S. Larson
An ancient Ionian temple sat high atop a cliff on the sun-brightened eastern coast of Greece. More intriguing was an enormous man with fists on hips as he gazed from between two surviving columns. His size would lead many to think he was also made from stone. Closer up would reveal he was indeed alive, although his appearance was a melding of the far past and his present day. He appeared to be a giant, clean‑shaven Hercules. The look was not deceiving.
“Contemplating, Titanos?” The bespectacled and gray‑bearded Dr. Langford asked the sculpted giant as he approached.
“Yes, Doctor,” Titanos replied. His voice reverberated throughout the ruin. He turned to the seemingly diminutive archaeologist and gazed down with eyes as blue as the deepest parts of the Mediterranean Sea. “Like Atlas, the weight of this turbulent Earth is sometimes pressed upon my shoulders.”
“Lucky, then, they are the largest shoulders in the world.” Langford replied with a smile.
“I appreciate your jest, Doctor.” Titanos said. “But so long as my the bequest of my legendary ancestor carries such responsibility, laughter becomes more distant to me.”
“Well, then!” A feminine voice echoed across the temple as a woman wearing a nineteen-thirty’s swimsuit, beach hat, and sunglasses entered. “Then perhaps we should fly to America and see the latest Marks Brothers’ picture.”
“Diana? Weren’t you were on the beach?” Titanos asked.
“I was, but your shadow eclipsed any chance at sunbathing.”
Diana tosses her hat at Titanos, who caught it and smiled.
Dr. Langford watched them amused and thought to himself: So much power, yet he’s always so restrained around her. Only the gentlest touch for the briefest moment. At least that’s what I tell myself. I don’t want to think about whatever they get up to when I’m not around. It’s been too long, and I’m too damn old!
Despite Dr. Langford’s sudden need for a brisk walk, the scene is a happy one in the Greek temple. However, nefarious plans take shape in the African sands.
Three desert-hardened men in Bedouin-style cloaks peered cautiously at a gleeful man in western field garb inside a tent. The three men fingered their daggers and pistols tucked in their sashes as they departed with eyes on the smiling man. He sat at a map‑covered table and clutched a fist‑sized object wrapped in leather as if it was the most important thing in human history.
“At last, at last!” The man cackled.
“Raymond?” A distraught woman called as she entered the tent. “Those men, they frightened me.”
“As well they should, Julia.” The grinning Raymond said and still clutched his prize. “Grave robbers are a shifty lot.”
“Grave robbers!” Julia slumped against the desk with a hand on her forehead.
Raymond narrowed his eyes at Julia and pressed his mysterious prize his chest. “This business of raising the dead, it’s—it’s out of hand!”
“They’re not dead, Julia. They were never truly alive.” Raymond unwrapped his tightly held treasure. The leather fell from a large, dark diamond. “But now they will live to serve me!”
Raymond thrust the naked gem into the air. Julia gasped as her maniacal husband laughed in triumph.
Later, deeper into the desert and dark hours, Raymond and Julia visited an ancient cavern. However, only Raymond did so willingly. Flickering wall torches gave the only light. Raymond paced in black velvet sorcerer’s garb. He stopped to check the manacle on Julia’s right wrist. She pulls on the others imbedded in the rock wall.
“Fear not, Julia. Your sacrifice will serve a great purpose: The unquestioned loyalty of my unstoppable army!”
Raymond took a torch from the wall and walked to the edge of a cliff. He stabbed the torch into the darkness beyond the cliff’s edge. The firelight revealed an army of faceless clay statues below. Raymond shook in another fit of cackling as Julia strained against her bonds. Raymond replaced the torch and opened a battered trunk. He withdrew a crown bearing the large diamond and donned the crown. The dark gem pulled the crown down across his brow.
“Raymond, wait!” Julia shouted. “Why did the ancients entomb these golems? What happened to the people that created them?”
“Questions only the dead can answer. Now is the time to bring my plans to life!” Raymond thrust his hands out over the cliff towards the golems. The diamond began to glow. “With the power of this mind gem, my thoughts will penetrate into each of the golems, and make them thralls to my whims!”
The diamond glowed intensely. Suddenly, Raymond clutched his head and twisted in pain. The formerly still golems now reached up towards Raymond. Julia shrieked in horror as a sea of massive clay hands slowly rose into view over the edge of the cliff.
“Wait! What’s happening?” Raymond fell to his knees. Panic seized his voice. “I’m not possessing the golems! They—they’re possessing meeee!”
Julia’s screamed. Her shrieks echoed up the cavern’s narrow entrance, but were lost against the wail of her terrified husband.
The next morning, Titanos and Diana stood on the beach bellow the temple’s cliffs. Some passers-by gawked at Titanos, but most were accustomed to his massive presence. Behind them, a worried Dr. Langford reached the end of the trail from the temple.
“Urgent news from the island of Iliadon, Titanos!” Langford called out.
“What is it?” Titanos boomed.
“A volcano has started erupting. It’s threatening the island’s entire populace. The authorities are moving to evacuate–”
“But they need help.” Titanos finished Langford’s sentence.
Diana looked up forlornly at Titanos him as he stares across the sea as if to find the threatened island.
“Yes,” Langford continued. “They need Titanos!”
On Iliadon, the erupting volcano roared. Strangely, there was no din and clamor of evacuation near the sea. The island’s Mediterranean town clung to the mountainside like a terraced garden. Fishing vessels and small boats filled a small harbor below it that had swarmed the single pier. Now the greatest movement was the threatening rivers of molten rock that slowly snaked towards the town. At the mouth of the volcano, jets of fresh lava shot up within the column of intense heat distorting the sky. In the narrow streets, Titanos, Diana, and Dr. Langford pushed through the surprisingly motionless villagers staring at the volcano. A perplexed police man pleaded futilely with other entranced officers at the head of the crowd.
“Officer!” Titanos boomed. “What on Earth is happening to these people?”
“Nothing on Earth, I fear.” The officer replied. He pointed near the fiery mouth of the volcano. “They are all transfixed on that new statue. Now my men are under its spell, too!”
Dr. Langford peered through binoculars where the officer pointed. He found a huge, black golem roughly the size of Titanos standing on an outcrop beside the roiling lava. Its faceless head glowed from within like a star sapphire.
“That’s odd,” Langford said. “The statue’s style is like nothing from any Mediterranean culture.”
“That’s no statue!” All four look puzzled as Julia burst through the entranced crowd. “No one would believe me, but that’s my husband! Before my eyes he was transformed into the creature you see now. I followed him from Africa to this island. This is the first populated place he—it encountered. It smashed deep into the volcano. Soon after, the mountain began erupting.” Julia wilted from her recollection.
“But what has caused him to attack this island?” Titanos asked.
“Before he was possessed, my husband intended to sacrifice me as a blood bond to control an army of ancient golems. Instead, they took control and transformed him.”
Diana puts her hand to her mouth, and her eyes widened in shock. “By Zeus!” she exclaimed. “He must now intend to sacrifice the entire island!”
“That will never happen, Diana–” Titanos tensed with fists clenched and prepared to jump. “–So long as Titanos walks the Earth!”
Titanos leapt towards the eruption. His heels smashed into the black golem and knocked the monster beside the volcano’s hellish mouth. Olympus-powered flesh clashed against enchanted stone as Titanos grappled with the rising golem. Titanos pushed off and struck the ebony monster. Chips flew from its chest as it sailed backward.
Back in the village, the people suddenly broke from their daze. Diana, Langford, and the officer quickly took action.
“Titanos’ attack has broken the monster’s hold!” Langford shouted.
“Quickly, we must get them to the pier!” Diana said.
On the mountainside, another eruption occurred from the battle of titans. Rock and dirt blasted skyward. Titanos flipped the golem head first into a boulder. A retaliatory kick of black stone knocked him backward. Undeterred, Titanos attacked like an expert wrestler and ducked under the creatures swings. He grabbed and pressed the black golem high above his head.
“Your career is finished, monster!” Titanos bellowed. He hurled the black golem into the lava flow. For a moment, Titanos savored another triumph. His satisfaction turned to shock as the golem rose up covered in molten rock, and twice as large as before. Titanos leapt to escape two mammoth, blazing fists. The volcano’s crater rim shattered from the impact.
“Great Scott!” Titanos yelled as he fell back to earth.
Diana and the officer followed the mass of villagers that rushed to the waterfront. Diana turned back to see Dr. Langford peering through his binoculars at the volcano.
“To fight Titanos, the golem is drawing more mass from the lava flow. That’s just what we need!” Langford beamed.
“Doctor! How can you say that?” Diana shouted.
Langford places his hand on Diana’s shoulder as she looked dolefully towards the volcano.
“It’s a hard thing. True, Diana.” Langford said. “But with the lava diverted we may yet save all these people from fiery death.”
“Yes. But what of Titanos?” Diana asked.
Titanos was now also black from soot and earth. He dodged a molten foot of the now even more colossal golem.
“Never has the phrase ‘fight fire with fire’ been more inappropriate!” Titanos exclaimed. He spied the trunk of a massive, smoldering cypress tree and leapt to it. He grabbed the tree trunk and pulled it from the rocky ground.
“My apologies ancient tree! You may have stood for centuries, but now you serve the more immediate needs of Titanos!”
Titanos swung the huge Cyprus tree and batted the growing golem. The monster staggered and tripped on a boulder behind it. The ground shook as the lava engorged golem hit the fiery landscape. The golem rose on its arms and knees. Titanos saw his chance. He thrust the tree trunk across the boulder and under the golem’s lava dripping stomach. Titanos then slammed the tree trunk downward and launched his gigantic foe into the sky.
“Send my greetings to Poseidon!” Titanos called out as the golem’s trajectory arced to the sea. The golem splashed into the salty water. Its impact cast huge waves and a tremendous billowing of steam towards the sky.
Titanos didn’t pause. He leapt to the head of the lava flow as it burst through the walls of the city. Faster than a dozen steam shovels, Titanos burrowed into the earth in front of the molten rock. A vast, deep trench opened behind the impossibly fast pounding of his fists as all the smashed rock and dirt flew back over the lava. The molten rock flow poured into the new canal directly behind Titanos. Titanos jumped aside when he reached the shore and watched the lava roll into the sea. A curtain of steam rippled up from a violently bubbling tide.
“There, Hephaistos,” Titanos said. “Your fire is better used for island building, not destroying.”
Titanos enjoyed a brief, soot removing swim. Diana, Dr. Langford, and the officer stood with a small group of villagers on the deck of a fishing boat. They all surrounded and adored the dripping Titanos.
“The people are all safe! The town is saved! You’ve done it again, Titanos!” Langford exclaimed.
“Yes,” the officer added. “And with all that new beach you’ve created, I’m sure tourism for my island will double. My wife’s family owns the local hotel. Thank you, Mr. Titanos!”
“Glad to be of, um, service, Officer.” Titanos smiled and wiggled a finger in his ear.
“And perhaps next Summer, we can get you to sign autographs at the gyro stand.” The officer said. “I can see it now: Titanos‑sized, super meals. Eat like a demi‑god!”
“You see? The world needs you, Titanos.” Langford laughed.
“Yes. Tomorrow, there will be more great feats and discoveries.” Diana said and encircled Titanos’ wrist with her arms.
“And perhaps an appointment with a copyright lawyer.” Titanos added.
“Glad you’ve got you sense of humor back.” Diana said.
“And my appetite.” Titanos furthered. “Are there any fish in the hold?”
“Maybe we should head for the closest gyro stand.” Diana suggested. “I could go for one.”
The officers eyes widened as Titanos spoke.
“Me, too.” Titanos said. “But make it about fifty. Maybe, fifty-five.”
A gentle breeze wafted across the shimmering sea and blew towards more shores of adventure.
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