Prologue: The Pride Which Goeth Before the Fall
(…or “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is!”)
One fateful day in Godville… freshly ascended to godhood, Jimbob64 was out with some other gods his age, celebrating their ascension with a few tall, frosty glasses of ambrosia in the heavenly pub. Nothing of any real interest to the reader happened until near the end of the evening’s celebrations, when a dispute broke out between the young Jimbob64 and the most senior of the elder gods present chaperoning the group. Jimbob, who evidently had one drink too many, went and shot his mouth off at just the wrong person, and what happened next would change his life forever.
What the impetuous and very drunk young god proclaimed, loudly and at length to anyone who would listen, was that the elder gods weren’t really as great as they claimed to be, since they were in fact gods and must therefore be able to do anything they wanted with utmost ease.
Ignoring the warnings (and physical restraint) of his peers, Jimbob64 marched right up to the most senior god present, failing to notice the lightning bolt shining from within a fold of the oldster’s robes. Rashly, he proclaimed “I can do anything you can do, old man- we’re both gods! In fact, name one thing you’ve done and I’ll top it, just to prove my powers and my point!”
The older god paused a moment for effect before responding with “Something I did? How does ‘fathered the legendary hero Heracles, and made him my champion’ sound to you, kid?” Jimbob64, not taking the hint/warning for what it was, continued to press his luck, insisting that Heracles was no big deal because the guy was part god to begin with. “In fact,” he retorted “to prove how easy it is to make a hero like that, I dare you to choose any human in the world. Not only will I make him my champion, but he will be far, far better than yours!”
The old man, (who everybody on the planet except Jimbob64 has by now identified as Zeus, king of the Greek gods) muttered “You’re digging your own grave with those words, boy. Go ahead, keep shoveling, I won’t stop you.”
At a more audible level, however, the great Zeus surprised everyone present by accepting the youth’s challenge to pick out a mortal as Jimbob’s Chosen One. He had only one condition: that his challenger swear an unbreakable oath on the river Styx that he would accept whomever Zeus offered him as his champion, and not return to the godly realm until his assigned human managed to prove his status as epic hero by completing a temple for Jimbob64 that rivaled even Zeus’s own.
Anyone less drunk would’ve apologized and backed down long ago, but of course there wouldn’t be a story here if Jimbob64 hadn’t, in a fit of galactic-scale stupidity, proved himself a perfect match for his future hero by accepting Zeus’s conditions on the spot, and swearing his unbreakable oath to see the challenge through.
“There,” Zeus thought to himself as he watched the foolish young god take his leave to find the oddly-named hero assigned to him. “That ought to keep the little punk busy for a while. At least I’ll never see him again.”
Over Six Years (and many, many beers) Later:
Gary-Sue’s sporadic yet monumental efforts had finally brought him to the point of completing every major goal in a hero’s life. And with that, his god would finally be able to return to his celestial home.
Aware of his own starring role in his banishment, however, Jimbob knew he owed the hero something major for getting him back home.
Therefore, he reasoned, why not bring the faithful mortal along for the trip? Not many heroes actually got to visit the celestial plane in person, so Gary-Sue would surely enjoy such an honor.
So the very next morning, he barged right into the middle of daily prayers at the temple to announce: “I’m going home- and you’re coming with me!”
With that, the god lifted his temple right out of the ground and into the sky on a gratuitous cushion of fluffy clouds.
Just before heading for the celestial realm, he paused to glance at Godville’s thousands of golden temples below, and added “This neighborhood is getting crowded anyway.”
And for a good while, Jimbob and Gary-Sue had a great time touring the godly realm together, exploring its majestic monuments and other such alliterative attractions until at last, one of them noticed it was past time for dinner.
So the two went to see if JB’s favorite pub (and the only one he knew) was still in business. And because the power of narrative convention knows no bounds, naturally the first person they saw on arrival was the old man Zeus himself.
After an awkward moment, Zeus waved Jimbob over and ordered him a beer, “and a chocolate milk for the boy.” (“But-” “Shhhh! Take the milk, and like it!”).
“You’ve accomplished a lot with a single follower, and now have the power of a full god. So there are… things you need to know about your role and responsibilities,” Zeus began.
With a grin, Jimbob64 replied “Oh, I know about those already.”
“Sure! Only appear to the mortals as animals and weather effects, especially if the mortal is a young lady. Get married and solve any fights with my wife by setting our chosen heroes impossible tasks…”
At this, Gary-Sue’s finely-honed survival instincts took over and the hero quietly excused himself to climb out a back window and hide from the consequences.
Luckily for everyone, the elder god was in a more tolerant mood that day, and Jimbob64 got off with no worse than a ten-hour lecture on respect and (to his amusement) family values.
Much later that night, after a long, tense vigil, Gary-Sue finally spotted his god at the pub’s entrance. The hero greeted him with the million-dollar question: “Well? How’d it go?”
“The old man had some good points about godly duties, managing followers, and so on, but hey- being literally eternal, I have all the time in the world, ever. The boring stuff can wait. Let’s go back home.”
Watching the sunrise ahead, Gary-Sue confessed: “I’ve been thinking… since we’re already basically masters at this questing thing, it would be nice to open a shop and help out some younger heroes.”
And the divine comedy continues…
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