Iasonas sat on a stone in the backyard when his mother was in labour. She was inside, with the midwives, straining and crying out for relief as his sibling grew restless inside her body. A few minutes later, Iasonas heard cries, the cries of a baby from inside the house. And out of the blue, with a clear blue sky overhead, a bolt of lightning shot from the sky and destroyed the tree opposite to which Iasonas sat.
He ran inside, terrified, and told the midwives about the lightning and the tree that it had split. The midwives started whispering to each other. “Zeus,” was the one word Iasonas was able to make out. He asked them what they were talking about, but they brushed his questions off and hushed him and took him to see his baby brother instead.
Ever since that day, Iasonas had wondered about that day when the lightning fell out of the clear blue sky. He asked his mother about it. She didn’t know either. And his father flew into a fit of rage when he asked him about it.
“Did that happen? Did that really happen?” he asked Iasonas.
“Yes. It did. I was there, outside, when it happened. The tree split down the middle in front of my very own eyes.”
His father started pacing the room and asked, “Anyone else I can ask, or do I just have your word on this?”
“I told the midwives too. They saw it for themselves. They said something about Zeus or someone.”
Iasonas’s father clenched his jaw, closed his eyes, took a deep breath and grabbed Iasonas by his arm. “Let’s go,” he said. “We’re going to the midwives.”
The midwives all glanced at Iasonas while they told the story and confirmed that what Iasonas had told his father was indeed the truth. Iasonas watched his father with elation, at first, as his story was confirmed. But this feeling slowly morphed into concern as he watched his father’s face go redder and redder.
When Iasonas and his father came back home, Iasonas found himself in the middle of a nasty quarrel. His father let all his rage fly out, and his face went from red to purple as he did so.
“This is what I get for working hard all day? This?” he said, pointing towards Iasonas’s baby brother. “I should’ve known.”
“It was the one time. I was lonely and he -“
“One time’s quite enough for a man like me. Now you listen, if I ever, ever, so much as hear a rumour about you roaming about with another man, you know what’s coming.”
Iasonas’s mother said nothing.
“You understand,” his father screamed. The baby woke up and started crying. Hot tears streamed down his mother’s face.
Iasonas wouldn’t know the reason behind his father’s rage for at least two or three years, but one thing he understood was that his brother had been born in unusual circumstances.
The unusualness of the situation completely hit home in about a year when Iasonas learnt the legend of Hercules in a spartan camp.
“He was Zeus’s son, Zeus the god of lightning. He possessed incredible strength -“
That’s how the tale began. And the lightning and his little brother’s incredible strength more or less confirmed his suspicions.
The next year, when he was taught the biology of a human being and about how babies were conceived, his suspicions were confirmed. Finally, he understood the reason behind his father’s anger and his mother’s sad tears.
With this part of the mystery solved, he turned to his history teacher to learn more about the sons of Zeus who had existed earlier. His teacher told him how Zeus did not like the infamy of having bastard children and often tried to get rid of them. He told Iasonas about Hera, Zeus’s wife, who often took offence to the bastard children and tried to kill them. With this information in his mind and the knowledge of the unusual accidents his three-year-old brother had lately got himself into, Iasonas picked his sword up.
Iasonas took the sword and pricked his finger with it, and he took a blood oath to protect his brother from threats mortal and immortal. Under his feet, the ground shook and cracked. Through the cracks of the Earth and from the heavens above, the sound of a lady’s voice echoed.
“You have chosen a path that will lead you to your doom, mortal. The child will be mine, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.”
“Bring it on,” Iasonas said as he creased his brows and struck his sword into one of the cracks on the ground.