Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Telemachus and Homer by Scott Locke

Telemachus and Homer

For every boy who grew up in his father’s shadow and every girl who has been underestimated, there comes a time to look within themselves to see if they have the strength to meet the challenges of the lives. For Telemachus this time arrives soon after Odysseus returns from his twenty year absence, when Telemachus comes to appreciate that his own life needs to be about more than waiting for his father to guide him. On the verge of embarking on an adventure, he learns that his community has been threatened and realizes that he does not know how to help. Swallowing his pride, he recognizes that Homer, a young blind woman is a necessary ally. Homer, like Telemachus, has something to prove, for although she is respected for her knowledge, she feels unfairly defined by her community. Together, as the people of Ithaca’s last hope, they begin their quest.

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For every boy who grew up in his father’s shadow and for every girl who was ever underestimated, there will come a time to look within themselves to see if they are ready to meet the challenges of their lives. For Telemachus and Homer this time arrives shortly after Ithaca’s most famous hero, Odysseus, returns from a twenty year absence, and a group of Trojans seek revenge on both Odysseus and his community.
As Telemachus grows up, his greatest dream is to welcome his father home. Unable to find his way without his father to guide him and diligently waiting for him to return, Telemachus spends his childhood isolated from most of his peers, instead befriending two mythical creatures, Amaryllis the Chrompath, whose feathers change color to reflect emotions, and Manos, a member of the Order of Olympian Timekeepers, who prior to meeting Telemachus spent years helping the crystals of time fall.
Telemachus’ only other friend is Homer, who unlike Telemachus is confident and eager to learn. She has insight into the world and a curiosity about it that Telemachus lacks. She tries to get to know Telemachus and to help him to cope with his feelings, but her efforts frighten Telemachus, who, just prior to his father’s return, pushes Homer away. With his immaturity, Telemachus does not appreciate that because she is blind and a girl who craves knowledge in a society that too often reserves that right for boys, she feels as isolated from their community as he does. But whereas Telemachus responds to his feelings by withdrawing, Homer uses hers as an impetus to improve her situation by learning all that she can about the medicinal arts and by becoming an expert on mythology and Ithaca’s heroes, including Telemachus’ father.
When Odysseus finally returns to Ithaca, his presence does change Telemachus’ world, but not in the way that Telemachus thought that it would. Just as Telemachus grew up without a father, Odysseus spent Telemachus’ childhood without growing into being a father, and the two of them do not know how to relate to each other. Telemachus is forced to watch as his community pours adulation upon his father, which leaves Telemachus jealous and no less isolated than before his father returned. At the same time, Homer is thrust into the limelight, having gained so much knowledge about Odysseus’ adventures that she tells portions of his travels at each of the many parties that Ithacans throw in Odysseus’ honor.
Realizing that his father will not give his life meaning, Telemachus decides that Ithaca holds nothing for him and that he needs to leave to find his way. On the verge of embarking on an adventure with only Amaryllis and Manos, Telemachus learns that his community has been attacked, and his father is missing.
Through an interaction between Amaryllis feathers and Manos’ time crystals, which are contained within an hourglass necklace that he wears, Homer is able to see the past and learns both how their community was deceived into ingesting poison and how Odysseus was captured.
She also learns and shares with Telemachus, Manos and Amaryllis that the attackers used a rare poison that she knows grows only in and around Troy.
The poison was administered by a group of Trojans, each of whom, like Telemachus, grew up without a father. However, unlike Telemachus, their fathers did not survive the war and they want nothing less than to exact revenge upon Odysseus and all of Ithaca.
Telemachus’ initial response is to run for help and to leave Homer to care for the victims. But Homer asserts herself and makes Telemachus realize both that there is no time to look for help and that he needs her in order to find the antidote to the poison. Acknowledging that he does not know how to help his parents, Telemachus swallows his pride and begrudgingly accepts that Homer both knows more than he does and is a necessary ally.
Homer explains that the antidote can only be found in Hera’s garden, which is located near Troy. She also explains that no one is permitted to enter the garden twice, so they must obtain the entire supply of the antidote in one trip. Knowing that it is only a matter of time before the poison’s effects are irreversible, Telemachus, Homer, Amaryllis and Manos set out for Hera’s garden. But their arrival does not go unnoticed, and they quickly learn that the Trojans know that someone from Ithaca has arrived.
While trying to stay ahead of the Trojans, the heroes find that just getting to Hera’s garden provides its challenges. In the midst of an arduous journey, they find themselves being chased by wormites, which despite having no eyes or ears are deadly creatures because of their size and jaws. Faced with the danger of the wormites, Telemachus, for the first time, begins to show the qualities of a hero and is able to formulate a plan that allows his party to reach the edge of Hera’s garden.
Unfortunately and to their surprise, when they try to cross into the garden, only Amaryllis and Homer are able to enter it.  An invisible barrier shocks Telemachus and Manos into a coma, and because no one can enter the garden twice, Amaryllis and Homer are forced to leave them unconscious and unprotected outside of the garden while they search for the antidote.
In Hera’s garden, Amaryllis falls into a trance. Having left Telemachus and Manos, Homer knows that before she can find the antidote she must find a way to help Amaryllis. Risking her own life, Homer is able to break the spell that was placed over Amaryllis, and the two of them continue their search for the antidote. After they find it, they are deceived into following Selene, the leader of the Trojans, whose head looks like that of Odysseus’ Trojan Horse, and whose body is human.
Meanwhile, Telemachus and Manos are captured and forced inside the remains of the actual head of Odysseus’ Trojan Horse. There Telemachus comes face to face with his father’s past and with his own present. He learns that there is a third prisoner with them, his father. For the first time, Telemachus begins to see his father as a man and not the legend that the world created. Before Telemachus and Odysseus are able to explore this relationship, Telemachus and Manos find an opportunity to escape.
Telemachus and Manos take advantage of the opportunity and flee in opposite directions. The Trojans split up as well and pursue each of these two heroes. A first group is led by Foberos, a large Trojan wolf, and it captures Manos. A second group is led by Obelix, and it pursues Telemachus until he falls off a cliff. Obelix reunites with Foberos to witness the fall, and as the two of them return to the Trojan campsite, they discuss Telemachus’ death.
While Telemachus and Manos each engage in a failed attempt to escape from the Trojans, Homer and Amaryllis are able to escape from Selene and to find their way out of Hera’s garden. Homer then figures out that Telemachus and Manos were taken to Troy. Choosing to save their friends and not return directly to Ithaca with the antidote, Homer follows a path of crystals that she concludes Manos left behind. The trail leads Homer and Amaryllis to the Trojan campsite, where they hear talk of Telemachus’ death, and they see that Manos and Odysseus are being held captive. Homer devises a plan to save them, but the plan only works in part. She is able to free Manos, but she is not able to free Odysseus. Selene, who also has made her way to the campsite, realizes that Homer set the plan in motion, and she sends Foberos to find and to capture her, which he does.
Left with little time to save Odysseus and Homer, Manos and Amaryllis know that they need to take a stand, but Amaryllis insists on first paying respect to Telemachus. Fortuitously, she finds that Telemachus is not dead, only injured, and he is able to join Amaryllis and Manos in their mission to set Homer and Odysseus free.
Telemachus formulates a plan and proves that he is no less of a hero than his father. After the initial stages of his plan are hatched, Homer is able to prove her value to the team as well, and to join Telemachus, Manos and Amaryllis in the final battle with the Trojans.

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