Written by: Fourteen year old Nick Alimonos
Edited (for clarity) by: Thirty-six year old Nick Alimonos
After posting Thangar II, which I wrote when I was 11, I thought it’d be fun to go back and revisit another story from my youth. In many ways, Dynotus is a precursor to Xandr, embodying much of what I loved growing up: He-Man and Greek mythology. Around the time I started writing about Dynotus, my literary/stylistic influences came primarily from translations of Viking myths. To be honest, most of my childhood influences (sans Jean Claude Van-Dam movies, thankfully) still affects my writing to this day.
The character of Dynotus was featured more frequently in my writing than any other hero. For six years between the ages of fourteen and twenty, all I did was write about him. I was even under the delusion that the writing was good, which led me to query Dynotus Adventures to four NYC publishing houses when I was fifteen. What I lacked in skill, I made up in passion. Like many teenagers, high school was the most difficult part of my life. Thankfully, I had Dynotus to help me get through it. I wish I had the same enthusiasm for writing as fourteen year old Nick Alimonos.
Looking through my parent’s attic, I sometimes feel like Indiana Jones on a hunt for lost artifacts. I am often amazed by the things I find: 3″ ring-binders of single-spaced fiction I have no memory writing. And, just like any archaeologist, I must often decode primitive grammar into a language someone can understand. I had hoped to post The Island of Fotiaskotoma as written, but as I blindly went through the editing process I found the original to be quite painful. It sucked. It was tempting to make drastic changes, but I wanted to keep the original voice of my teenage self. I found that by simply cutting and rearranging a few words, I could work wonders, and the end result, I think you’ll see . . . well you can be the judge of that. What can I say for Dynotus Adventures then? Well, it has heart; it has imagination; and it got me to where I am today. Ages of Aenya certainly wouldn’t exist without it. And so, in honor of Dynotus, who gave me the strength to get through the toughest years of my life, I give you The Island of Fotiaskotoma.
After the War of the Gods, two beings stood supreme: Thor of Norway and Zeus of Greece. Both died after a titanic battle, leaving the successor to the Throne of Gods empty. But from the union of Zeus and Amaterasu-ōmikami, Sun Goddess of Japan, a son was born that would rule supreme. His name was Zor. To ensure his power, Zor took up Mjölnir, the hammer of Thor. Soon enough, Zor wished to spread his likeness across the Earth. And thus he bore a son that would stand as a symbol of his power. The mother, not knowing of her infant’s godly origin, named her son Dynotus or “strong one”. Thus Dynotus’ life began.
Chapter 1: The Perilous Journey to the Island of Fotiaskotoma
In the month of May a law stated that no boats could fish far from the harbor, for the villagers feared the great storm that thundered the lands, the Monsoon, as it was known to them. But an old Unic legend said, destiny speaks to those who listen, and Dynotus had open ears to listen. He feared nothing, for he’d been to Hades and back and befriended Death once before. And so Dynotus sailed on the small boat he’d carved from an oak tree, with a smaller tree which he used as its mast. But now his mast was broken in two and no longer was the wind on his side.
“So wind,” he said, “you too cower from the wrath of the Monsoon. Evil is against me surely, for the very termites have come from the ground to eat away at my mast! Yet, neither shall these white bugs with their appetite for wood nor shall the Monsoon prevail! Destiny chooses a battle against me and so chooses foolishly!”
Using his magical ring, which could transform into any weapon, Dynotus made a sharp edged sword and cut the mast into oars, and then began to row. He rowed and rowed and rowed, and for miles he rowed into the midst of the ocean, beyond the Indian Ocean, to Fotiaskotoma. The name of the place meant “Firekiller” in Greek. Legend had it that Poseidon, god of the sea, used his own spit to kill the flames of the Babylonian god, Marduk, during the War of the Gods. Such was the power of Poseidon, that the waters flooded the continent of Australia, leaving only the mountaintops as islands. This was Dynotus’ destination, the quest given to him by his divine father, though he knew not its purpose. For hundreds of miles Dynotus pulled his oars; any mortal man would have tired after the first mile, but Dynotus was no ordinary man. But now Dynotus began to tire also, though water surrounded him and there was no sign of land. Soon it became night and the winds rose quicker; the waves abounded and the clouds turned black.
“Tis the sign of the Monsoon. The beast has come.” Dynotus stood in his boat and looked up at the sky, raising his hands in the air, crying aloud as if speaking to a living being. “Come! I challenge you, Thunder; I challenge you, Storm! Let the winds and waters abound, yet they will not toss me asunder! My destiny is at hand, and you will not stop me. Hark my words and you shall see the victor of this duel tonight. He who stands aloft come morning will be the victor of this fight!” Seconds after Dynotus’ words, the quaking and rumbling waters and the booming sky answered his challenge, “You fool! What man are you to be so bold, to challenge Nature?” The bolt lit the sky as bright as day and shaved the small hairs from Dynotus’ body and split the boat in two. His only hope of survival was turned to ashes.
Yet this was not the end of Dynotus. He swam, battling the waves to catch a breath. The waters beat down on him hard and for every few feet forward the wind tossed him back twenty-fold. “What does it take to kill this bug? The coldness of the water, the harshness of the salt, the waves that steal his breath? Yet he does not die.” The thunder boomed louder, enough to kill a man with fright. Even the sharks and whales were fearful of the beast called Monsoon. People in China and in India, sitting in their homes, were swept away by the great beast. Yet Dynotus, swallowed in its belly, could not be slain by it.
Hours passed and the waters calmed, and the Monsoon’s brief rein of terror was over. No sign of Dynotus remained. Morning struck and the sun was out and no clouds appeared in sight. Nature took pity on Dynotus, gently laying him on the shore. His body was cold and limp and to all appearances was dead, but then a vein pulsed and a heartbeat thumped. He clawed through mud and sand, lifting himself. He was short of breath and had a terrible headache, but suffered nothing more from his battle with the Monsoon. “The Monsoon is gone,” he thought to himself, “but will live many more nights than I, coming once again every year, for eternity. I suppose that is the price it pays for life eternal, to rage with power for one night and be gone. So it appears I have beaten it, but it is a Pyrrhic victory. Better it would have been to have waited out its night of fury, for now I am lost and have no boat. But a commandment from my father is not something to hesitate upon, and from the looks of this island, it may turn out that heeding his advice was proper. The Monsoon may have pushed me to a place I could not have otherwise found.”
And so Dynotus looked around, seeing he had reached the Island of Fotiaskotoma. But now he had to discover his purpose for being here.
Chapter 2: The Battle of the Babylonians
Dynotus stood on a sandy beach overlooking the ocean. His stoic expression was as if the previous night was ordinary. But only a man that could have stood up to the ferocity of that storm was worthy of this quest. Yet his task was still unknown to him, and he was stranded alone and without provisions or transportation, on a tropical island in the midst of the ocean. What could he do? Could he be stranded for the rest of his life? No matter the consequence, he would not call upon his father, Zor, for he knew that even a child can accomplish any task accompanied by the god of everything. At birth, Zor gave him strength of limb and strength of spirit; the rest was up to him. If he did ask his father for help, he’d spend an eternity in dishonor, being forever mocked by the likes of Heracles and Beowulf, and his father would be made to look the fool. So Dynotus put his faith in his own hands. Should he be stranded here, he’d chop all the trees down and make a barge as large as the Titanic. And if there were not enough trees, or if the wood was weak, he’d swim to India.
As the day passed, Dynotus grew weak as his stomach grew empty, for even demi-gods must eat. So he dined on urchins and coconuts and built a small fire from driftwood, waiting until the next day to explore the jungle.
Early in the morning, as the sun poured like liquid gold from the atmosphere, Dynotus headed into the jungle. He found trees of many kind and many odd and exotic looking plants. Turning his ring into a sword, he chopped through the foliage and soon he heard noises, of people and fire. After a few more swings of his sword, he came to a gigantic tribal village. The village was made up of round huts, some of which seemed to hang from the sky, or, as Dynotus’ could see as he looked more closely, from the limbs of the trees. There were fires, and dead animals on spits or being bled from hooks. The tribes-people were not fierce looking. To the far left of the village was a statue of Poseidon. It was not an idol, but a symbol of their culture. Dynotus did not see any weapons, or men, but mothers with children playing odd games. Turning his sword into a ring again, Dynotus walked forward revealing himself. A short, old man pointed at him and said something in Greek, and though people rushed at him from all sides, Dynotus did not defend himself. The people grabbed him and lifted him over to the statue of Poseidon where the old man stood.
“I knew you’d come,” he said, “yet we must be sure you are the one.”
“What do you mean?” Dynotus asked him. “What’s the story here?”
“Aye,” said the man, “this is the tribe of the Poseidonites. Our descendants were the inhabitants of Australia before the great War of the Gods, before Poseidon appeared before us. One day, an evil and fierce tribe attacked us. Babylonians they were. They killed our women and children. We were angry, and attacked them, but to no avail. All of our warriors were killed or captured. Worst of all, the captives were thrown into the Temple of Ur, where Marduk lives. The beast is most terrifying. It is said that he eats parts of his victims at a time, leaving them to suffer slow, painful deaths. We have attacked them several times over the years, but cannot defeat them. And so we prayed to Poseidon, who told us that a messiah of godly strength would come to save us from the Babylonians. You are the one, I believe. But still, we must test you to be sure. So you must lift this statue up over your head.”
The statue was ten feet tall and made of iron. Dynotus slipped his fingers under the ground to grab it by the base. He heaved several times, and then slowly lifted the statue above his head, letting dirt and moss and bits of root rain down on him, leaving an imprint where the statue had been before, for it had not been moved an inch since it was made. The people rejoiced, knowing they had found their messiah. And so they threw a celebration for Dynotus, serving him hand-and-foot his every desire. The party lasted through the night, as Dynotus was to go in the morning to fight the Babylonians.
When morning came Dynotus was wide awake and ready to go. The tribal leader met him alone. Dynotus looked around but there were no other people. “Do you need weapons?” the old man asked.
“No,” Dynotus replied, “but where is everybody?”
“No one else is willing to fight. We thought you were to do this on your own.”
“What? One man against an entire tribe! Do you think me a god to destroy them so easily?”
“No, but can you not do this task?” the old man asked timidly.
“Yes, but it is wiser to fight with others,” said Dynotus.
“I plead forgiveness. I did not know. My people do not fear death, truly, only the wrath of that great beast,” said the old man.
“I refuse to fight another man’s battles, when he is unwilling to help where he can.”
“Please,” the old man begged, falling to his knees, “you must, or we will all die!”
Dynotus knew that any man who chose to beg rather than to fight was too cowardly to join him in battle. “Blast! You stubborn people! Alright, I’ll do it. But if I die in your war, my blood will be on your hands, and my father will crush this island like a grape.” And Dynotus left in search of the Babylonian tribe.
Dynotus ventured into the jungle again, this time heading east. He saw no sign of another tribe, but people who had so often slaughtered the Poseidonites would be better hidden, he knew. He also knew that the other tribe could not be so close, or the Poseidonites would fear leaving their homes. So he expected little after the first few miles, but after a time it seemed something should have arisen. All of a sudden, a spear flew from the sky, hitting the ground next to him. He looked up to see a wall of mud and leaves camouflaged in the trees. Several fierce looking tribes-people were staring at him. Their skin was the color of copper and they were painted in shades of green and brown, and when they moved the jungle came alive. The Babylonians had found him instead. They attacked by hiding and throwing projectiles.
“Surrender, Babylonians! Or you will all be dead come tomorrow,” he cried, taking up a battle stance.
He was answered with a spear. He slipped his arm under the spearhead and chopped the tip off with his hand. Now several more spears came at him in all directions. Using sight and sound, he kicked the spears to the side of him, then spun his arms out, slapping them short from the front and rear. He deflected ten spears in two heartbeats; his speed and agility dumbfounding the Babylonians. Now the Babylonians switched to archery. The arrows came much faster and Dynotus knew he could not deflect them all. He turned his ring into a shield and after blocking thirty arrows, which came in rows of ten, he counted ten archers. As none of their arrows could penetrate his defense, it was not long before the attackers met him with sword and shield. Pairs of Babylonians came from all angles. Dynotus jumped, knocking two unconscious. As he landed, he caught another sword in the pit of his arm, elbowing the attacker in the stomach. He kicked another in front of him and knocked another two prone with a single swipe. Two remained who hadn’t moved. They danced around him, taunting him, but Dynotus proved more agile, flipping out of the battle circle. He ruined their strategy, but he had to act quick before they could devise a new one. Grabbing one man by the chin, Dynotus tossed him over his shoulder into the second man. He then picked them both off the ground and slammed their bodies together. A third man emerged with a sword, but Dynotus caught his wrist and socked him in the face. The remainder ran off in fright, the jungle closing behind them in a shudder of green. Dynotus knew he could not catch them, so he kicked a tree, and with that one kick it ripped in two and fell on the escapees. One of the tribesmen twisted his way free of the fallen trunk and ran off, and Dynotus knew he’d be the messenger. If he didn’t act soon, more would come, perhaps more than he could deal with. And so he climbed a nearby oak, flipping from one branch to a higher branch. Dynotus could see the entire village now and a temple made of stone. The wall of mud and leaves enclosed the village. He knew the best way to frighten them was to destroy their temple, so he leapt from the wall and ran toward it. More guards came at him. Now he was angry, knocking three down with a single strike. He grabbed one man by the head and swung him around, toppling the others, then he hurled the man into the temple wall, killing him. Still more came in a frenzy, two by two, and each failed, the crack of their skulls resounding against Dynotus’ fist. Guards fell to his feet left and right, their necks twisted and broken. None could surpass his speed, his lethal strength. All the while, in a tree above him, a lone assassin sat and watched. As Dynotus grappled with his enemies, the assassin dipped a single dart into a jar and then into a hollow reed. Even as he was occupied, even though the dart moved in near silence, Dynotus heard it coming and turned. But he did so too late, for the dart was already in his neck! The guards stood away and everything blurred. He screamed, fighting the poison with his anger, yet it did him no good. With a rock smashed over his head, he fell to the ground. As consciousness slipped away, he could think of nothing but the cowardice of the Poseidonites.
Chapter 3: In the Pit of the Marduk Monster
Dynotus’ eyes opened slowly to darkness. He first thought he might be in Hades, but realized the manacles about his wrists were all too real. Each link was a foot long. No such chain would be made to hold an ordinary man, but seeing his power first hand, the Babylonians knew they’d need bigger. But there was never a chain forged that could hold the mighty Dynotus! Dynotus took a deep breath and pulled his arms forward until the chain could reach no further, and the chains ripped in two. He got to his feet, rubbing his neck where the dart had hit him, but could see nothing. The walls were hidden in darkness and he could see no windows or doors. Dynotus pulled again on the chains, more slowly this time, until the large brick in the wall fell out. Looking through the opening, he could see nothing but more bricks. He decided against punching the wall lest it bring the entire temple down on him, possibly killing other prisoners, if there were any. “There must be a door someplace,” he mused, as he went in search of it.
A moan came from up ahead. Moving closer, he found a ragged man chained to the wall, just as Dynotus had been. “You must be a new prisoner, aye?” said the ragged man. “I prayed for another to come. Please, you must kill me! Kill me before that monster comes back!”
“I say thee NAY!” Dynotus replied. “Tis better to die in battle than to take ones own life.” Dynotus grabbed the man’s chains and ripped them apart; they were much smaller than what was used on him.
“Who are you to have such might?” the ragged man asked. “You must be the messiah spoken of by the Poseidonites!” he cried with glee. “You must help me get out of here.”
“Where is the door to this place?” Dynotus asked him.
“Toward the north of this room . . . tis a large iron gate. But it is guarded by the Marduk! Not even one such as you could slay it!”
“We shall see about that!” said Dynotus, charging off.
Dynotus found the monster sitting on the side of the wall next to a huge iron gate, a gate made in proportion to the monster. When he approached it, the monster arose, twelve feet in height! It had red skin and a lion shaped head, but with four eyes and four ears like the Babylonian god, Marduk, and large yellow teeth with a maw like that of a shark. “I’ve never seen anything like this before!” said Dynotus. The monster moved forward, to pick him up and eat him, as it had so many men before. Dynotus thrust his foot into its thigh with all his might, but the monster only stumbled before regaining its footing. That kick would have killed any mortal man, Dynotus thought. Growling with rage now, the Marduk swooped down with its claw. Dynotus somersaulted away, and as the monster drew back, he kicked it in the leg again. This time I must kick it in the knee, to break its leg, if possible . . . Its knee was tough as iron. Dynotus pulled back a moment too slowly, and Marduk flung him to the ground, leaving three bloody streaks across his chest. The son of Zor was unaccustomed to pain, but the creature was like nothing he’d ever known. Dynotus stood quickly and flipped backward, gaining ground. I must take more evasive action! He then remembered his ring, feeling foolish he had not thought of it before. Fortunately, the Babylonians had not taken it, as they might have any other weapon. He transformed the ring into a double-bladed battle-ax, and swung at the leg. Blood gushed from the impact. But the ax slowed him down, making him an easier target, and the beast sent him hurling against the wall. As Dynotus stood, he noticed the ragged prisoner, and an idea came to him.
“I need your help. Gather as many rocks as you can find and throw them at the monster.”
“Are you crazy? We cannot stone such a monster! We’ll be killed! Wait . . . an ax? Where did you find that?”
“The Marduk is coming, man! Do as I say and I promise you shall live to see the day.”
And so the ragged man begrudgingly began to throw rocks at the monster’s head, any and all he could find. The Marduk was only agitated. While distracted, Dynotus climbed the reptilian scales on its back, till standing atop its shoulders. He looped his chains into the monster’s mouth, hooking its pointy yellow teeth between the links. The monster tried to run forward toward the ragged man, but the other end of the chain was threaded about the portocullis gate. Its head jerked violently, and Dynotus ripped through the monster’s skull with his ax. But the Marduk would not die. It swatted Dynotus off and he tumbled between its legs. Dynotus looked up just as the Marduk was about to step on him! The ax was too cumbersome to use where he lay, so he transformed it into a spear and threw it with all his might! The spear split the Marduk’s heart in two and came out the other side, ringing like a bell against the iron gate. The monster fell to the ground with a loud thump and was dead.
Outside the Temple of Ur, a loud noise could be heard as the doors of the temple were torn apart. The ragged man was slung over his shoulder and the head of the monster was on his spear. The Babylonians circled like birds of prey, but were stunned to see the Marduk killed. An ornately dressed tribesman, a shaman by the look of his headdress, accosted Dynotus and said to him, “The Supreme God, Ur, will smite you for this! You’ve destroyed his pet!”
“Here’s what I think of your stupid god and his stupid temple!” Dynotus answered, and with all his might he pushed the temple wall, heaving and heaving, until the entire structure began to crumble and fall. Nothing remained of the Temple of Ur, so the Babylonians fled in fear from Dynotus, thinking him a god.
Dynotus returned to the village of the Poseidonites and cried out for the people to gather. He held the head of the Marduk up, as proof of his victory. The wife and children of the ragged man came running, tears of joy streaming across their cheeks. And the Poseidonites sang praises to Dynotus.
Dynotus did not remain long for the celebration, telling the leader of the tribe that he had to go. And so he asked to borrow a boat and the Poseidonites were quick to offer him their finest. And Dynotus sailed again across the ocean to seek new adventures in China.