THEIR FIRST CHALLENGE
In The White Goddess, Robert Graves says that the appearance of the roebuck in a story is a clue to students of the grammar of poetic myth that a mystery is hidden in the tale. He points out that many an otherworldly adventure starts with the pursuit of this elusive beast whose name means "Hide the Secret," so it is entirely appropriate that Morgen sees the creature leap from a clearing and disappear into the thicket, just before he encounters the Three Furies. Of course, in his head, the two incidents are only related in that looking for the Roebuck, he almost ran the Furies down.
The Furies, three haughty, beautiful women in sexy "armor" designed more to provoke than to protect, immediately capture Morgen's attention. They do not introduce themselves, but start right in on Morgen. "What brings you here?" the First Fury asks. Hoping to remain incognito, Morgen's reply is less than candid. "You want the truth?" he asks, stalling for time. The Second Fury alerts her sister goddesses to his dissembling nature. "That is slyly spoken," she says and the Third Fury agrees. "Like a deceiver spoken," she says, intimating that Morgen is probably a liar and certainly not to be trusted. The First Fury puts it boldly to him, "Intended, perhaps, to mislead?"
Morgen is taken aback. He's not used to "attitude," especially from Goths! Can it be that in this backwater they don't know who he is? Judging by their clothes, or lack of them, they're probably a punk girl group, deliberately trying to give him a hard time. "Mislead?" he asks. "The truth serves me well enough." He knows who he is. He's the genuine article. As for them, they may look tough, but can they play?
The Second Fury hurls his words back at him. "Truth serves not," she says. The Third Fury concurs, saying "It is its own unbending master." The Third Fury's pronouncement ends the interview. "The Tomb of Every Hope," she says and the Three Furies continue on their way, dismissing Morgen completely.
His cheeks turn crimson and he slides down into his seat, ready to roar away in a squeal of burning rubber. Taking a final look at them in his rear view mirror, he guns the engine, and the shock of running into a ditch wakes him up.
If the Furies are the Guardians of the Threshold, patrolling to prevent the access of unworthy adventurers to the otherworld and its treasures, they are unready to allow Morgen into their world just yet.
Travis Edward Pike
28 January 2019, Otherworld Cottage