NOTE: You may be wondering why I selected nonfiction as a topic for a fantasy prompt (and selected fantasy as well) and that is because half of this is a real Greek myth and half of it is an extension of it that I created myself.
“Look to the olive trees if you need my help in life,” Athena told me when we first met. I was but your young, average lad back then, barely eight years old and still living with my parents in a small, rickety house, a far cry from Olympus, though she, being immortal and all, was the same as she is today, looking like she’s in her thirties (but really in her 23,600s) and one of the most beautiful people I’d ever seen. As a major god, she has all she’s ever wanted and more. I used to be jealous, but I knew then that she completely deserves it. I’d only met two major gods before, Hephaestus and Artemis, none of which were as nice as her.
She adjusted her gleaming bronze helmet before adding, “I will always be there for you if you call for me.”
That was when I smiled. My parents, Aether and Hemera, never said stuff like this to me and my siblings. And ever since Athena told me that, I’ve resisted the urge to look to the olive-freckled tree in the vibrant garden not far from the workshop of Promethius, my mentor, every single day. But I’ve actually never used the tree to use Athena’s knowledge- I’ve always known she has better stuff to do. And she probably dosen’t even remember me, given it’s been several decades.
I grab some clay out from the bucket, bronze like most godly materials, that’s almost as big as I am. Looking at the Aletheia statue, I can’t help but be amazed. Her features are sculpted perfectly, her smile warm and cheerful.
I smack myself. Hard. Focus, Dolos. Prometheus will be back soon, and I’ll be busted if I get caught when I’m not finished. This is my one chance to prove myself a worthy god of trickery. Prometheus is off with Zeus doing who knows what, and there’ll only be so much more time before he returns.
I get to work on her head, trying to make it as realistic as possible. I sculpt her eyes. Then her nose. Her lips. Her ears. Her hair. I compare it to the original statue that I’m in charge of guarding. It’s almost exactly the same- I doubt anyone will be able to tell the difference.
I look at the sun, slowly setting. It won’t be long until Prometheus comes, maybe an hour or so. I sculpt the neck, the shoulders, the arms, the torso, the legs, and…
Oh, shoot. I’m completely out of clay for the feet. I could get more, but Promethius would surely be back by the time I return. This prank will be unsuccessful. I wouldn’t truly be the Greek trickster god. Unless…
I jog to the garden, which, thankfully, is close, just half a mile away. It has everything from evergreens to tulips to succulents, with gleaming bronze pathways and stone trails winding through the grassy fields. I stop at the plant I think of every day- the olive tree. It has a thick trunk with light brown bark spiraling around, and it’s leaves, dotted with olives, are spread out like they’re reaching for the sky.
Athena, I think, I need your help.
Silence. Which makes me think she really has forgotten about me.
I turn to leave. But on my way out of the garden a voice in my head asks, What do you need, Dolos, son of gods Aether and Hemera?
I sigh with relief and tell her, I’m trying to be a good prankster god, and I thought this would be a good chance. My mentor, Prometheus, is away with Zeus, and I’m in charge of guarding his statue of Aletheia. I thought it would be funny to craft a fake statue and have people think they were seeing the real one. But I ran out of my resources, and if I fail, I won’t ever be a real trickster god. Prometheus will be back soon, and I can’t finish it in time. I need your advice, Athena.
Use what you have, Athena tells me. It’ll be fine. I nod, and start to leave. But before I go, she adds, By the way, Dolos, it’s been a while. You can contact me whenever you want, okay? Just look to the olive tree and you’ll find me. Don’t hold back or be afraid. I’m here. I’m the goddess of wisdom- I can solve the problems that confuse you.
Thank you. I bow my head and exit, sprinting back to the workshop. I sigh with relief when I enter- Prometheus isn’t here yet. I can’t move the original statue away, but I hide it, tucking it in a pile of boxes. A minute later, I hear voices, getting closer and closer to me. I sit in a chair near the edge of the room, squirming in my seat.
"Thank you, Promethius," a deep, powerful voice says. "Now, go! I said, go!"
Prometheus swiftly opens the door to the workshop and nods. But his eyes move over to the feet of my replica, and his eyes stretch huge. His face twists into a mix of anger, fear, and hurt. Mostly anger, though. “What did you do to my statue?” He asks, stalking towards me.
I laugh. This was not what I’d been expecting. He did think it was the real thing, even if it didn’t go as planned!
“What’s so funny?” he asks. I point to the real statue, tucked among the boxes on the other side of the workshop. And then I hear it- a snort, coming from my usually stern mentor’s nose. He starts laughing, harder than I’ve ever heard someone laugh before. “You’re a natural trickster,” he says, and I feel like my spirit’s been lifted up.
As mortals start to worship me as the Greek trickster god, I take it upon myself to stride to the olive tree every day. Thank you, I tell Athena each time. And today I pause for a second, though time is meaningless now that I’m immortal. The leaves of the tree fly in the crisp autumn breeze as I add, I love you.