Are you a fan of Greek Mythology? Read on as your favorite tales of gods and Goddesses are played out by your favorite anime characters! Got a particular story in mind? Write it out with your favorite characters and add to the fun~!
The Story of Phaethon
Fandom being used: Yu-gi-oh!
Dartz—Helios (the sun god)
Raphael—Phaethon (Helios’s son)
Mai—Clymene (Phaethon’s mother)
Yami—Zeus (King of the Gods)
Anzu—Rhea (Mother Earth/Earth goddess)
Ra, Obelisk, Slifer, Zorc-- (Helios's horses)
“Here lies Phaethon, Charioteer of his father’s Horses. They bolted and brought him low; but high were his spirit and daring.”—The Epitaph inscribed on Phaethon’s grave.
Raphael was being made fun of once again.
“You can’t do anything right, can you, Raphael?” One of his classmates, a girl whose name he had never learned, cried in a squeaky voice. “You don’t know anything! My mom says you don’t even know who your own father is! How does your family even take care of itself, without a father to work?”
Raphael willed his face not to turn red at the question, but there was nothing that he could do to stop himself. He did however, stop the tears from flowing.
It was peculiar, he had to admit. He had never known who his father was, something that was important to his classmates, apparently. His mother had always told him that his father was a great man. But how could Raphael’s father be a true man at all if he didn’t even provide for his family?
“Now, now, class,” the instructor interjected. “There’s nothing wrong with Raphael. Rebecca that was a mean thing to say! You should apologize!”
He supposed that her name was Rebecca, then. She stuck her tongue out at him, refusing to apologize. “He’s the one who dropped my rock. I was still telling the story of how I got it from the river!”
“…sorry,” Raphael muttered. It had always been this way. He was always the one apologizing for small mistakes. He had done nothing wrong, really. It was just a rock. Nothing had broken at all. Nothing had been chipped; he could have switched it with any other rock from town and it would still look the same—things always looked the same here. What was the problem?
Nothing, again, was the answer; it was all because he didn’t know who his father was. That was the reason why the older women in town felt bad for his mother, why the children made fun everyday; he was already almost fifteen—he would think that they would get over it. Things were done! And now he had to sit here and listen to Rebecca tell a story about a stupid rock that only held meaning to her. Why should he have to sit through some story about a dumb rock from someone who made fun of him all the time?
He was up and walking from the small class before he’d had time to think. The instructor called his name over and over, asking where he was going. Normally, Raphael would have never disobeyed a teacher’s command; but today was just not Raphael’s day. No day was ever his day.
“You’re early today, hon,” came the soothing voice of his mother. She was outside, in front of their house, a smile on her face as usual. She was laying the clothes out to dry, and without question or comment, Raphael made to help her. The plains before their little house outside the town stretched a small ways before them, looking peaceful as the breezes of the day tickled them. Raphael loved this house. It was the house that he had grown up in, the house that he had been born in…without his father.
“…mother,” Raphael asked hesitantly; they had never spoken in detail about Raphael’s father, and he assumed that because they hadn’t, she didn’t want to speak about it, so he prayed that the gods forgave him for making his mother uncomfortable. “…was my father here when I was born?”
His mother sighed happily, her pace in her work quickening just a little as she smiled. “No,” she said, “but he was a good man.”
Raphael said suddenly, his thoughts running wild, “What kind of good man leaves his wife and son?”
His mother opened her mouth as though to answer, but another voice interrupted, “Mai! I’ve got a letter from the next town. It’s your cousin! She’s doing well!” Raphael turned to see one of his neighbors, Valon, running down the path. Valon was one of the few people who had never made fun of him a day in his life. However, Valon lived on the other side of the town, which limited their interaction.
Mai’s smile grew even brighter. “Wonderful! We’ve been trying to get her to visit and eat with us for ages. She’s got to be lonely; she lives a day away from us!”
Valon frowned. “Tell me about it; I was picked as the messenger from town. I needed the extra coins. That journey was longer than expected.”
Raphael, seeing where the conversation was going, chimed in just in time to say in unison with his mother, “May the gods bless you.”
Mai looked between the two boys. “I was gonna tell Raphael who his father was…I know he’s having a hard time at school…”
Raphael started; he had never told her about that. How did she know that he was made of?
“Yes,” Valon said in agreement, “I do not attend his school, but…”
Mai’s smile was still there, however, “You should go see him, your father.”
Raphael said, bitterly, “I doubt that I would want to see a man too weak to care for his family.” But the truth was he did want to know. He wanted to know why his father had neglected his entire childhood, why his father had never gone to see him, why his father had left in the first place, and how important it must have been for his own mother to not be upset about it. He wanted to know everything. And yet, he was afraid of the answer.
Mai took a deep breath. “Hon, this will come as a shock to you, but…” her eyes darted to Valon and back to her son, “Your dad is Dartz, the guy who brings us our sun; he’s the one that makes it rise and set. And he’s done it every day, rain or shine. I felt bad asking him to leave, you know, Mt. Olympus and stuff; He’s wonderful at heart, really; without him the world would die and all—after all, how can we live without light? That’s why you’ve never seen him. But he’s been here the whole time, watching over you or something like that. He’s made sure that you weren’t hurt while you were a kid. I know that he’s watching over you. There’s a temple if you want to go see him; you should—it would help you bond. I guarantee you’ll like him, hon. I know he missed you.”
Raphael was not one to ignore any of his mother’s wishes, even if they were implied rather than directly given, and so he packed his few, meager belongings and began a trek to the shrine of Dartz in the main city. It was a three day journey, and it gave Raphael time to think; if his father was a god, the god of the sun, then that should put him and his mother in good standing, right? Why hadn’t Mai told anyone about it? She should have said something long before. They should have been living as Kings! If anyone deserved it, his mother did. She was kind and strong and vigilant, and she had taken the greatest care of him.
Upon reaching the shrine, Raphael saw the massive, towering figure of Dartz’s image that was a testament to the people’s love for him. Before the stone tribute was a tablet of the same material, the coloring faded and the texture clearly worn, laid bare and ready for the sacrifice of the people and their prayers as well.
This is how a GOD is treated… Raphael thought.
Placing his own offering down on the stone slate, Raphael prayed loudly, “O great Dartz, he who arouses the sun to wakefulness and lays it to bed, please accept my offering and appear; I am your son, Raphael, and I wish to speak to my father, who has been absent from my life for so many years. I wish to see you for my own eyes, so that the spoken word of my mother may be proved truth.”
And Dartz came forth, the statue before the youth being turned to a living being, surrounded by a light so bright that at first sight of his father, after all of these years, Raphael had to shield his eyes.
When at last the light of the sun had faded, Raphael saw the God for the first time, taking in Dartz’s long, white hair, seeing his reflection when in celestial eyes—one golden as the sun in the sky, the other as blue as the sea which is the heavens’ match—and the long, flowing robes, reaching down onto the ground before him. Dartz sat aloft in the granite chair that had been wrought for him by the people, and he smiled at Raphael—something the boy hadn’t expected.
“My son,” Dartz said, his voice booming over Raphael’s ears, “you called for me, and here I am.” The god’s voice was deep, imploring, and Raphael couldn’t believe what was happening. “My son, whom I have not seen since birth, how is your mother? You have fared well, I see.” Dartz smiled, happy to finally see his son.
“Why did you not claim me?” Raphael questioned. Normally, he would not be so rude and straight to the point, but this was a matter that was pressing to him, and he felt that his father—god or not—owed him this answer. “I am your son, and you have left my mother and I to toil in the countryside, making own fortune because there is no father, no man to take care of us. I am of age now, and I provide for my family, but this is not a just fate. And I am here to ask you, now that I know who my father is, why you left us to such a harsh destiny.”
Dartz looked at his son, and said, “I couldn’t…remain with your mother the way that I wanted, as she refused to live on Mt. Olympus. And so, with her permission, I left her there…” he paused. “It was not my intention to leave such a burden to you. To make it up to you, son, I will grant you your heart’s desire. If your heart’s greatest need is within my power, I will give it to you, my son, who suffered for years without my knowledge.”
Raphael thought long and hard, and of course, his real heart’s desire was for all throughout the land to know that he was the son of a God, and a force to be reckoned with. He wanted to be remembered and revered; he wanted people to remember him, the boy who faced persecution even though he was offspring of an immortal.
But he could not just asked to be remembered without doing something to be remembered by. To do otherwise was to take advantage of his father’s power, and he wanted to earn his place.
“Father…” Raphael said, after much thought as to a worthy task, a task that would show everyone who he really was. “I want…I want to drive the stallions on your chariot tomorrow morning. I want to make the sun rise so that those in all of Domino will know that it is I, Raphael, who is your son, and none other!”
At this request, Dartz frowned, creases marring his handsome face. “…I am afraid I made my decision in haste; I regret my offer. You’re asking for something that I cannot give you. I would grant you the entire world, son, except this.”
Raphael mirrored his father’s expression, and he said, “But you promised me anything I asked for.”
“You can’t possibly steer my chariot. My horses are wild, and they will not obey a loose hand. The job is too strenuous for a child like you. Is there nothing I can do to dissuade you?”
But none of Raphael’s words could dissuade him. He persisted, carrying on the argument with his father almost until the morning of the next day. He refused to leave the temple until his wish was granted; his father, as a god, was required to keep his word—a dishonorable god was not a good one, and was often punished for his crimes. And so, eventually, Dartz acquiesced with a heavy sigh.
“Since I cannot convince you otherwise, I will grant you what you want. But you will not raise the sun this morning; I will train you, so that you may complete this task with some semblance of grace.”
Raphael was overjoyed, and after arguing for such a long time, he could use some rest.
And so Dartz left his son there in that temple, to sleep the morning away as he climbed onto his chariot, with the four steeds that his father owned—Ra, Obelisk, Slifer, and Zorc—pawing the ground anxiously, awaiting their Lord’s arrival.
There was Ra, the golden stallion who represented the glow of the earth in all of its glory; Obelisk, whose coarse, blue mane reflected the sky; Slifer, whose fiery red temper spurred the sun’s own flame and heat; and Zorc, the dark mustang whose shade gave travelers rest from the blazing harshness of his brothers. Each had four wings of legendary shape that separated them from the mundane, earthbound horses—they were the pets of gods.
And as Dartz climbed into the hefty chariot, his son awoke, sleepily rubbing his eyes and saying, “Father…?”
All he saw was a blaze of light, and a frown, as his father still opposed the task that he would be burdening his son with the following morning.
“My task for each and every morning is a tedious and precise art. None but me can control my horses; they will not obey a soft hand. And I fear, truly, that tomorrow morning may be the last of the world…”
“I will watch you, father; I will learn to do your job.”
Dartz could only cruelly look away, and he spurred his steeds to take off. All the horses jerked and pulled Dartz’s large frame into the sky, and from his temple came forth the first of the morning’s light.
And try as hard as he might, Raphael could only see the curve of the sun in the sky; his father was gone for the entire day, which Raphael hadn’t expected. Once darkness had settled over the horizon, Raphael waited patiently for his father to return. When Dartz did, he still beseeched his son to not go through with his wish. Raphael refused.
And the next day, when it was time for the sun to rise, Dartz woke him even though he still rested in the temple, saying, “It’s time for you to go…unless you are too tired…”
“I am ready, father,” Raphael said, annoyed that his father was still trying to stop him from undertaking his task.
Climbing into the chariot, averting his eyes from the monstrosity of the sun’s light, he gripped the reigns unsteadily, testing the waters. Ra snorted, neighing in a fierce, deep tone that almost scared Raphael. But he would do this. When all was said and done, he would be able to say that his father was a god and he had helped the sun to rise by himself. And then no one would make fun of him; no one would question his right to anything. He would be revered, and he and he mother could live the life that they should have already been living. The life that they deserved because his father, and Mai’s partner, was a god.
He lashed the reins, hard, onto the backs of the horses, and they took off quickly. Obelisk’s mane of blue fire threatened to lick Raphael’s fingers, and he held the reins loosely, guiding them into the sky, and into the same ark that his father had the morning before; the ark that his father had done every morning.
Looking over his hometown, Raphael felt his ties to the earth break; no more did he have to bend to the wills of men; no more did he have to follow man’s rules—his father was a god, and therefore him by association! Never again would he live in poverty.
He passed over a large expanse of sea, and he could feel the clouds part as he passed. It was exhilarating, and he was proud of himself, so very proud.
But that was when things began to go wrong.
The horses began to buck in the sky; it was Slifer at first—the hardest to control. The reigns were not being held as taut as usual, and he was being given free reign; none of the four beasts wanted to be in their predicament, but they could never break away from Dartz—this newcomer, however, he was weak. He would never be able to hold them.
Zorc followed suit, beating his black wings hard in an effort to stop the chariot—if they could only get the heavy weight of the sun off of their backs! They would be free to roam as the other horses did, not just stay trapped in the realm of the gods.
Ra whined loudly, not wanting to leave but not willing to let his brothers kill him in the process of trying to gain their freedom; he wanted to be free, but not at the cost of his own life, and so he tried to steady the coach, moving to counter the actions of his counter parts.
Obelisk was unsure, continuing at a steady pace along with Ra, trying to establish a plan at the very least before they were rid of their clumsy driver. Dartz would be very angry if they were to drop their load; but on the other hand, if they could be rid of it and gone before they were discovered…
The result of all of those actions from the horses was not good for Raphael, whose chariot was now bouncing and swaying in the sky; he tried to grip the reins, but the horses refused to obey, almost pulling the coarse cords from his fingertips before he had the opportunity to actually grip them.
The chariot, and therefore the Sun, began to spin, dipping and diving with the movement of the horses. At some points they went too high, trying to throw off their weight physically. Raphael screamed as the light faded from the land—snow began to fall, and there was nothing he could do, the clouds rushing to cover the places where the sun was not reaching—and so came about the creation of the ice caps, of countries of the world that lacked the light and were filled with cold.
In other places, the horses dipped, trying to use the gravity of the world to relieve their prize by force. The sun came so close to the ground, that those who saw him thought that the sky was falling, and came from their houses and homes to look, pointing up at him in dismay.
“Run!” Raphael yelled, hoping that they would, hoping that he would not crash and set the world ablaze with the sun.
But the people were too slow, the sun descending too quickly; and those still looking at Raphael with the fear of the gods in their eyes found themselves scorched by the sun, skin dark as the night sky, their lands’ produced burned to the roots, the soil sapped of all nutrition. So came about the creation of those with dark skin, burned to the bone, and their deserts, places where the sun came so close that the clouds were scattered from those regions—most were too scared of the disaster to return for many years, and even when they did, not often.
Raphael continued this way, rising too high and diving too low, burning the flesh of Anzu, the keeper of the earth, and she writhed in pain, asking for release from Raphael’s inexperienced hands. She cried out in such pain that the world rumbled with her grief and pain, and eventually her son, Yami, king of the gods heard her pleads, emerging from Olympus to look over the damage. And when he saw Raphael, clinging to the horses for dear life, Yami shook his head.
“How dare you assume that you are a god? How dare you impose your wrath on the mother of all creatures? You selfish mortal; I will show you the error of your ways!”
Yami demanded that Raphael stop, and the young boy couldn’t; his hands were pale, and while they now held the reins tightly, it was only to keep him from falling—he had already lost control. Yami would see Dartz, watching in horror as his son did exactly what he had been afraid of. And still, Anzu cried out.
And so, without a second thought, Yami threw one of his mighty bolts to the chariot. The bolt hit the chariot on target, and while the sun was not damaged, the charge sent through the coach was so violent that the horses tumbled, turning this way and that, trying to settle themselves. They had been caught; they would not gain their freedom this day. Realizing this, they pulled the chariot upright, steadying themselves for the arrival of their master, whom they could sense was not far.
But Raphael had fallen, the holy charge killing him upon contact.
And even as he fell to the ground, Dartz rushed to catch him, looking at Yami with eyes filled with remorse—his only son, killed. But he had known that such would happen if his son would take the reins. It was not Yami’s fault, surely—but his son had been killed, and the earth had been burned, never to be the same again.
And Dartz wept. What would his mother say?