My life was lived thousands of years ago, in a time when the Greeks gods and goddesses had full power over the mortals. Though it may seem like such a long time ago, I can remember it well.
Life was more beautiful then. There were no heavy clouds of smog and pollution to hang over the proud mountains. Automobiles and factories did not exist; instead, the people lived in harmony with the world around them. As it seemed, all was at balance with one another.
If I can recall correctly, there are many myths around how I was placed in the mighty sky to watch over the earth. They differ from part to part, but in context, most are quite true.
It all began when the so-called “great hunter” Orion angered my mistress, the awesome Gaia. I can recollect the day she called out to me as clear as if it were not two hours ago. He had claimed to the goddess Artemis and her mother Leto that he could kill any beast that roamed the land. His statement alone had not angered Gaia; in the days following, however, he went to great lengths to prove himself.
She came to me in a fluster, her flowing hair tangled and dull. The flowers and vines that grew from her were withered and dying.
“Scorpius,” she said to me. “You must go fight off the hunter Orion. He knows not what he is doing!”
I was curious at my mistress’s anger. “What has he done?’
Gaia sat down upon a great rock. I curled myself down around her feet, tucking my venomous tail underneath my body. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, trying to calm herself.
“He has been killing off every creature he stumbles upon, trying to win the fancy of Artemis. With each death, he wounds me greatly. Animals, monsters, all alike, they are parts of me! Yet he goes on destroying.”
This alarmed me and filled me with rage. How could one be so ignorant, so stupid, as to kill the Mother of Earth? How could one be so proud as to try to destroy even the mightiest of beasts?
“You do realize,” she murmured, “That it means eventually he shall come for even you, dear Scorpius.”
A burning sensation rose in my body, and I was overcome with the will to kill the hunter. Anyone who dared challenge me or dared to wound my mistress would pay, and I knew that I would not rest until they had their punishment.
“He shall not get away with this!” I yelled. “I will make him pay for your wounds in his own blood!”
Gaia seemed pleased with me. “Go, defeat Orion. Do not rest until he is dead.”
With her orders, I scurried off as fast as my legs would carry me. I was faithful and loyal to my mistress, and her orders moved me deeply. There was no chance of the hunter surviving the day; I would personally see to that.
This was not the only order I received that day. Orion had not only angered Gaia, but also the god Apollo. As it seemed, the hunter was not favored by many.
Apollo, the twin brother of the very same Artemis who liked Orion, was angered by the fact that Orion had claimed to others that he was better in the hunt than Artemis. This outraged her brother; she did not know that he had claimed such things. If she had, it would undoubtedly have been his downfall.
He called to me on my way to seek out the beast that was Orion. His flaming chariot burned my body as I neared closer to him, and to this day neither I nor my ancestors have lost the charring of our skin. Still, I went to him.
“Scorpius, you are a fierce competitor, and I know your tactics well. You are wise in battle, and you do not give up. Is this correct?”
I bowed my head. “Indeed. No one has ever defeated me.”
“This is good. Warrior, I need you to rid this world of the monster named Orion. He has displeased me so.”
“Do tell me more, if you like.” I was eager to know more, as usual for me. Curiosity was one of my flaws, as I saw it, but also aided me in trying to figure out the world around me.
“The man has challenged my sister, as the greatest hunter or huntress in the land. He has claimed that he can beat her, but this I know is untrue.” Apollo scowled. “Not only this, but he has sought after my sister’s chastity as well!”
I could easily understand his anger. If I had not already been determined to kill the mortal, I was certainly fueled enough to do so now. It was obvious that this man could do no good. He would be better off dead, I decided. Orion had made far too many enemies, and a great deal of them were very powerful. It was amazing that he had not already perished.
“Kill him! I order you!” Apollo screamed. His voice grew stronger with each word, and if I were not so unemotional and proud, I surely would have quaked in his presence. “Do not rest until he is dead.”
Again, I hurried off. With two orders to kill the same man, I was faster and more determined.
It was not hard to find the mortal. As I had predicted, he was hunting. I could hear the shrieks of the animals as he shot at them with arrows made of the strongest metal. There were trails of blood leading to him, and I knew he was far too proud for his own good. Any wise predator would leave no sign of his presence; this made it far to easy for him to become the prey.
He did not hear me approach him. The ground was soft, and it did not give me away. Even if it had, it would have been unlikely that he would have noticed me. The man was far too absorbed in what he was doing to pay attention to anything else around him. If I had little integrity, then I would have killed him right then and there. However, I was more prideful than that; even he deserved a fair fight.
Orion was bent over a deer, sword in hand. The metal was pressed to the animal’s neck, and he laughed maliciously as it tried to buck him away. With each movement, the sword cut further into its’ skin. I was sickened.
“You beast!” I barked. “Finish it off already! Your damage has been done.”
The hunter pushed the blade through the creature’s neck. I could hear the bones snapping and I cringed. He jumped up, leaving the sword next to the corpse. His hands immediately flew to the arrows in the quiver he had strapped to his back, and he found his bow quickly.
“Do you dare challenge me?” he said, spittle flying out of his mouth like a brute.
I sneered. “I do, proud hunter. You can not compete with me.”
He lunged at me with all his might, but I was too fast for him. I scuttled away, and snapped my tail at him.
“You do not know who you are battling.” he said, an arrow already aimed at me.
With a flick, I showed him my stinger. I let out a warning hiss, a sure sign that I was prepared to fight him. My venomous pinchers snapped at him; I could not wait to do to him what he deserved.
He pulled the string of his bow back with lightning speed, but I was faster. I pushed myself to go speedily towards him. The will to do as I was commanded and have revenge was my driving force. I knew I was not only defending my own name and reputation, but Gaia and Apollo.
Orion was startled. I took the opportunity the instant I saw it; he faltered for a split second, trying to regain his confidence, but that moment was all I needed to strike. I pushed the tip of my tail into the flesh of his belly.
His eyes widened at the epiphany that he was beaten. He cried out, “You!”
“Yes, me.” I said, pushing the stinger into him even more. “You were no match for me, just as I said.”
I waited until his heart gave out to pull myself out of his abdomen. The cadaver fell onto the ground in a heap, and I curled my tail around it. Hoisting the body onto my back, I hurried off back to Mount Olympus. Gaia and Apollo would be pleased at my triumph, and I knew they would want to show off the victory to everyone.
In almost no time at all, I reached my destination. Sure enough, the two were ecstatic. Apollo called every god and goddess to rejoice for my victory. There was a great celebration that lasted many days, and all participated. I was especially happy to see my mistress’s health restore to its’ full strength once more.
The gods and goddesses had decided that it would be wise to put the dead hunter’s body in the sky as a warning sign to all who dared to go against their power. I was filled with pride; my victory would be remembered forever!
As always, though, time ran its’ course. I grew older and weaker, and soon I knew it was near time for my departure.
Gaia made me an elaborate bed to rest upon. She looked at me with sorrow and pride. I knew she was sad to see me go, but she knew as well as I did that I was too old to serve her any longer.
“You have served well, my dear friend.” she said, kissing my forehead.
Then, with two fingers, she picked my weary body up as if I weighed nothing at all. She gently lifted me up into the sky, and hung me up with great care. I could feel all troubles and pains melting off of me. It felt as if I was reborn; in a way, I had been.
“For your exceptional skills and faithfulness to us all, the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus reward you with the eternal life of the stars. You shall always be remembered for your strength and determination.” Gaia called to me.
And so it has been since then. I rest among the other constellations, and you can see my victory every now and then if you gaze up at the sky in the night. I am still the fiercest of them all, and I always will be!
© Copyright 2016 Coralie. All rights reserved.