Christopher sits facing a weathered man with stooped shoulders and a scraggly beard…the condition of that beard would make Quartz scowl and mutter. The man wears a stained leather tunic gathered at the waist and hanging low on his upper thighs, revealing muscular, mottled legs. His eyes are the same stormy gray as Hebe’s.
Christopher: You’re Jupitre, aren’t you? Juno’s husband?
Jupitre: I’ve been many things, both mighty and terrible. To think I’d live to be defined by Juno, by my marriage to her! Quite the triumph for Juno, worth many a gloat…never thought I’d live to see such humilation.
Christopher: What would you rather be defined by?
Jupitre: Does it matter? It’s gone, my definition, the symbol of my power, along with the power itself and all the authority that goes with it.
Christopher: What symbol is this?
Jupitre: To think, child, you would have to ask. Once I would have made you suffer for such ignorant discourtesy. Now ignorant discourtesy is all I can expect, if not sympathetic malice from my wife and daughter.
Christopher: Sympathetic malice?
Jupitre: They know what I suffer; Juno and Hebe have also dwindled and diminished to a lesser degree. I was far greater than either of them, I was the greatest. How they delight in my powerless state, take positive glee in having me at their mercy.
Christopher: You still haven’t said what the symbol of your lost power is.
Jupitre: You still haven’t shown an ounce of sensitivity or wit. It’s the lightning bolt, child. The lightning bolt was once my scepter, the symbol and source of my power. It quickened in my hands, allowing me to cast down my monstrous father and his brood. With this power in my hands and thighs, I ruled the heavens and my own kind. I took whom I wished as my bride, sported with whomever struck my fancy, siring greatness in the process. I became the father of legends. All greatness came from me. Mortals worshipped and feared me…as you clearly don’t.
Christopher: How did you lose this power?
Jupitre: It vanished when the prayers and sacrifices diminished. Mortals stopped worshipping me. Once they feared to stop, for I would punish them severely for neglecting my festivals, my prayers, for not buiding temples. Punishment wasn’t enough. Mortals turned to other deities, other forces. They didn’t just stop fearing me, but all of the gods. Perhaps they guessed our strength came from their sacrifices? No, they were never that smart. Only we gods were bigger fools than they were. We didn’t realize how much we needed mortals and their faith. When the sacrifices and prayers dwindled, so did we. The symbols of our status and power vanished.
Christopher: Yours being the lightning bolt.
Jupitre: Without it, I am what you see. A wreck of a man, washed up in Omphalos along with everything else mortals no longer need.
Christopher: Why do you say that?
Jupitre: You work at the Navel, boy. Just how much trash has accumulated on your shelves, junk appearing suddenly which nobody wants.
Christopher: Somebody usually wants what we have. Somebody usually comes for it.
Jupitre: Lucky you. It’s not just objects that appear, and it’s not just at the Navel. Fallen deities like me appear in Omphalos along with other diminished creatures, shadows of what they once were. That’s how Juno, Hebe, and myself ended up in Omphalos. That’s how you ended up there.
Christopher: Actually Damian summoned me.
Jupitre: Did he now? What he summoned was the ruined remains of whom and what you once were. Believe me, I know.
Christopher: Maybe that’s true of me, but not everyone in Omphalos. Not everyone is ruined remains.
Jupitre: How defensive you’re getting. That’s speaks more truth than your words.
Christopher: Gabrielle isn’t the ruined remains of anything!
Jupitre: Oh, yes, she is. Gabrielle can smile all she wants in the confines of her little shop, but she’s just a fraction of what she once was or could be, something Damian was acutely aware of. That’s why he left her.
Christopher: Damian wasn’t ruined remains either!
Jupitre: He would have been if he’d stayed but he didn’t.
Christopher: Is that you think? Omphalos ruins people along with attracting the ruined?
Jupitre: Look at me. I once ruled the heavens. Now I’m too tired to move or care. It’s all Juno’s fault. She’s drugging me with that blasted tea.
Christopher: Could you move if you wished to?
Jupitre: You haven’t tasted her tea, boy. It’s just a shadow of ambrosia but it’s as close to it as I’m going to get. Duplicitious shrew. She’s always scheming, that wife of mine.
Christopher: To do what?
Jupitre: To keep me to herself. To keep me from sporting with anyone else. I suppose it’s gratifying that she still wants me this much, even if I chafe at her restrictions. They won’t hold me forever.
Christopher: What are you planning to do?
Jupitre: You’d love to find out, wouldn’t you, child, so you can go telling tales to my wife? Choose your allies with care. I won’t remain this ruined, wreck of a mortal. A window of opportunity will open for me or a Door. Along with the opportunity to change.
Christopher: Of course. You’re looking for a Door.
Jupitre: Isn’t everyone in Omphalos? Except for Gabrielle, the cunning wench. I wonder why she isn’t looking?
Christopher: Watch how you speak of her. She’s wise enough not to go seeking Doors which is more than I can say for you.
Jupitre: To think I’d live to be threatened be a delicate slip of a boy…watch your tongue. I will not be threatened by the likes of you. What you consider to be wise, I see a lack of ambition. A lack of ambition which drives bolder souls away.
Christopher: Boldness can show a lack of wisdom.
Jupitre: Not to me.