Literature / Apollo's Grove
A five-act play that has yet to be staged, Apollo's Grove
is the story of Phillipa, last Oracle of Delphi.
Left as a newborn by her indigent parents on the steps of the famous temple of Apollo, now crumbling and largely ignored in the Christian Roman Empire, Phillipa is raised by the priests of Apollo, especially Phaedon, the temple's second-highest-ranking priest. Phaedon sees Phillipa as the heir apparent to the current, decrepit Oracle.
When the Oracle dies of shock after a failed assassination attempt by a Christian extremist that takes the life of her chief aide, Phaedon conceives of a new role for Phillipa: protector of the temple's legacy. Aware that his temple is doomed, Phaedon convinces Phillipa to write the chronicle of Delphi and their faith, so that future generations will know both existed.
As Phillipa fights to keep one flame flickering in the darkness, her best friend, a temple priest named Atollon, struggles with his dying faith and his love for a village woman.
Self-published through Amazon's Create Space, the play is available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon
Provides Examples of:
- Arranged Marriage: Lyssa's father sends her to the temple after he loses his wealth, because she lost her value for an Arranged Marriage. When he regains his money he sends men to the temple take her back, as she is once again a valuable marriage asset.
- Ask a Stupid Question...: When Phillipa is introduced to Wallik, she absent-mindedly asks how Atollon knows a deaf mute can read. He responds by writing down on a piece of paper the phrase "She's about to throw a book at you." Wallik ducks. Phillipa asks if that was really necessary, and Atollon essentially gives the "Ask a Stupid question..." response.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Atollon ends up angrily denouncing Phaedon for the latter's supposed dishonesty. Phaedon's not impressed.
- Crapsack World: The priests at Delphi see the world like this. Their religion is dying, their temple is crumbling, Rome is clearly falling. Characters frequently talk about the "darkness" descending on the world.
- The Casanova: Atollon. He at one point seduces a village woman using the same words Phaedon had used to describe the sacred nature of Apollo's grove.
- Dare to Be Badass: In the last conversation Atollon has with Phillipa before leaving the temple, he implores her to choose a life, instead of deciding to die with the temple and its religion. Phillipa refuses, in no small part because she sees her role as Oracle and protector of Delphi's legacy as heroic work.
- Death of the Old Gods: The overarching plot. In fact, the page quote for Death of the Old Gods is the emotional climax of the play.
- Fling a Light into the Future: Phaedon's plan with the chronicle of Delphi, which will bring the story of Apollo's temple to future generations. Phillipa signs on, and after Phaedon's death it becomes her sole motivation. She succeeds.
- Foregone Conclusion: The temple will fall and the worship of Apollo will die.
- Honor Before Reason: Phillipa stays at Delphi and serves as Oracle even though she knows the temple will fall and the faith will die.
- Hope Spot: Phillipa feels optimistic about the temple's future when Lyssa comes to serve as the new Oracle after the first dies: Lyssa is young, healthy and passionate about the cause. Then Lyssa's father takes her back, and Phillipa realizes the temple will not survive long.
- Love Interest: Appollonia, the village baker's daughter, is this for Atollon. They do get married.
- Punch-Clock Villain: The captain of the mercenary band that raids Delphi and takes the Oracle Lyssa back to her father. He kills a temple priest without a second thought and threatens to massacre the entire temple if Phaedon resists. But he does so with no malice and urges Phaedon and his priests to bury their dead friend with great honors and lavishes praise on the man he killed for his bravery.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After Atollon engages in a little bit of Calling the Old Man Out, Phaedon responds with one of these, highlighting Atollon's arrogance and disobedience.
- The Speechless: Wallik, an escaped slave who flees to Delphi and finds sanctuary. He's a deaf mute.