FORTRESS FOUND by Laylah Muran de Assereto
[Inspired by the story of Telamon]
A renowned, if aging, investigative journalist and former navy captain has been captured by pirates, who keep him confined in a massive baobab tree. Three women keep him company and wile away the hours with card games and questions he can’t always answer; and even if he could, he probably shouldn’t. Just what did the fates have in store for Telamon, and how will his past affect his future?
One imagines a full and complex life when considering Telamon, the son of Aecus and Endeis. He was an Argonaut, brother killer, father to Ajax, Teucer, and Trembulus, brother to Pheleus and Phocus, uncle to Achilles, friend to Heracles, an Amazon fighter, rescuer of Hesione – or at the very least husband of Hesione, former husband to Periboea, and a hunter of the dreadful Calydonian Boar. While a young man, he conspired with his brother Peleus to kill their half-brother Phocus by luring him into a game and “accidentally” hitting him in the head with a discus. Whether the fratricide was instigated by their mother or merely jealousy for their athletically talented stepbrother, is debatable. Aecus banishes them both for the crime. Telamon was taken in by King Cychreus of Salamis and there he married at least once, to Cychreus’ daughter, with whom he had his first son, Ajax. He joined Heracles to fight the monstrous snake that Poseidon had set upon Laomeden in Troy. The task was accomplished, but they had to gather forces and attack King Laomedon whose treachery outpaced his gratitude. Laomedon doesn’t surrender the prized horse he promised and apparently still intended to sacrifice his daughter, Hesione despite there being no need any longer. Heracles, Oicles, and Telamon killed all but two of Laomedon’s sons, Ganymede who is on Mt. Olympus and Priamathus. Hesione ransoms Priam from Heracles with a valuable veil and Telamon married her. Together they have a son, Teucer, but she ran away while pregnant with their second son, Trembulus. After hunting the Calydonian Boar, and helping Heracles fight the Amazons for Hippoplyta’s girdle, he famously joined Jason on the Argo and became one of the Argonauts. Telamon lost both his sons in the Trojan war; grief stricken by Ajax’s suicide, he disowned Teucer for not bringing his brother safely home. His nephew, Achilles, kills Trembulus not realizing he is Telamon’s youngest son. No one knows how Telamon’s life ended. Perhaps he lived out his years remembering his adventures. Perhaps he spent his time mourning his sons. Or maybe his adventures continued without witness.
Laylah’s particular interest in Telamon is in the emotional nooks and crannies. Who was this man who started his career with murder and banishment and goes on to be a person of integrity and loyalty? What caused Hesione to flee with their unborn child, and how did he feel when Trembulus was slain by his nephew?
- SF OLYMPIANS FESTIVAL | Staged Reading on November 11, 2015 | Directed by Steven WestdahlFeaturing: Layne Austin (Dike), Sam Bertken (Stage Directions), Heather Kellogg (Lachesis), Katharine Otis (Atropos), Kim Saunders (Clotho), Wayne Wong (Telamon)
Illustrations by Cody Rishell
Photos by Charles Lewis III and Colin Hussey