The Mortals (Except for Me) in Cavanila’s Choices

One thing Jesse Sisken didn’t do in his book was provide a cast of characters. So, until he publishes a more formal list on his website, ( which he promised he’d do, I will do it for him, but in my own way. Normally, such a list would start with the most important actors, so I’m going to start off with myself. Well, maybe my role isn’t as big as some of the other characters in the story, and I’m supposedly just an inanimate object but, hey, it’s my blog and I can do what I like with it. So here goes.

The Gold Bull: That’s me. A beautiful likeness of a bull in the act of vanquishing an enemy. I was fabricated to appease Poseidon, the god of the Seas and the Great Earth Shaker, and to entice people into becoming more worshipful of that god. Did I actually accomplish that? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Cavanila: The heroine of the story. A beautiful, young, Minoan priestess who is awakened one morning by an earthquake that threatened far more destruction than any of the others so common in her part of the world. From then on, her life becomes a series of burdens and complexities that neither she nor anyone else could have predicted as she struggles to help her people survive the effects of those events. Along the way, she takes a liking to me. And who wouldn’t, given my beautiful form, glistening body and heroic form?

Rhadamantis; Cavanila’s father, the regent and high priest of Thera. He reigns from the coastal town of Akrotiri where the story begins. I could tell you a lot about this no-goodnik but won’t. I didn’t have much to do with him which was just fine with me. If you read the story, you’ll understand why.

Bardok: The commander of King Minos’s navy which some have believed was a major force in the eastern Mediterranean at that time, protecting Minoa against outside threats and supporting its trading fleets, the source of that civilization’s wealth. A good guy and strong supporter of Cavanila. I can’t tell you any more without giving away a lot of the story.

King Minos: The ruler of all Minoa. His birth name was Devterex. The appellation Minos, in this book, is passed on from ruler to ruler. He was a well-meaning but flawed monarch (aren’t they all?). But I shouldn’t be too critical of the guy. Without him, I wouldn’t have existed.

Jenora: The high priestess of all Minoa, a beautiful, powerful and scheming lady who, under Minos’s direction, controlled the priesthood that pretty much ran Minoa. She was the one who suggested I be made. At times, she had a special relationship with me, or at least thought she did. As you might expect, she didn’t turn out to be one of Cavanila’s best friends.

There’s more to tell, a lot more, but that would make this blog too long. So tune in again in a week or so to learn about some of the other characters in Cavanila’s Choices: A Novel of the Minoan Cataclysm.

Snow that Won’t Ever Melt

Here I am again, the gold bull in Jesse Sisken’s book, “Cavanila’s Choices”. I’ve still got lots to tell you about the story and its intriguing characters as you could tell from the back cover of the book, if you have one. But before I go on, I want to brag about the picture of me that’s on the front cover. I think I look pretty neat there with that sparkle in my red eyes. Maybe it was just a reflection or, who knows, maybe it was all that juicy stuff I got to witness that made them light up.
Anyhow, the story involves the 17th century BCE eruption of the volcano at Santorini (Greeks and others call it Thera), but how violent it was or its local and global effects, I’m not going to say, at least not yet. Instead, I’ll show you some pictures Jesse took on Thera that will give you a clue to what must have happened. The first was taken at a roadside cut where you can see a wall of ash and pumice. Think of it as an incredibly deep snowbank that was once hot and will never melt. And within it, you can see layers of roundish, black rocks of various sizes. Most of those are actually hardened bits of lava shot out from the volcano about three miles away. Imagine a heavy, continuous fall of ash and pumice punctuated by intermittent explosions that sent globs of hot lava into the air that rounded up and hardened enough to not go SPLATT when they landed. Some of those globs were pretty good size. Larger rocks, some quite huge, that had been part of the internally collapsing wall of the volcano were also shot out but that’s a different story.
And you can see in the next picture, modern-day farmers in that area had to remove them from their fields in order to grow their crops. (The picture also shows some grape vines.) They made fences out of the black, melon-size roundish rocks of hardened lava. Some will recognize it’s a lot like what farmers in New England did with the rocks left behind by glaciers to be able to plow their fields. They, too, made fences out of them.
Now think of the hell those bombs, as they are sometimes called, could raise if they were to rain down on a town. Oops!! I’m giving away part Jesse’s story!
Theran pozzolanalavastonefence

If it weren’t for the howling dogs…

In my previous blog, I explained a little about how I came to get fabricated and what I was like. No one involved in my design or manufacture, or saw me afterward realized that I could see, hear and think (let alone be able to type out a blog like this). But I can, obviously, or I wouldn’t be doing this. The next thing to tell you is, because I could hear gossip, I learned about what went on before I even existed. Of course, what I heard was biased according to who was talking, but that’s life.

The first thing I want to say about Cavanila’s Choices is that it starts off with a bang. Well, actually just a rumble in the earth, the first stages of an earthquake that soon had buildings collapsing. Fortunately, some howling dogs got Cavanila out of her bed just before the roof crashed down on where she had been sleeping. That happened at Akrotiri, the Minoan trading center on the south coast of what is now known as Santorini, also called Thera by Greeks and others.

If you go there today, you can see the ruins of that ancient town and appreciate the power of the forces that devastated that town. It’s a gorgeous island, as my accompanying photo shows, where one can enjoy lovely sunsets while sipping one’s favorite libation. It’s visited every year by a million plus people who come ashore from huge cruise boats that anchor in the island’s lagoon that is actually a volcanic caldera. Most spend their day or so ashore doing other fun and interesting things but few get to that incredible archaeological site at Akrotiri where all the action in the book begins. They’re missing something.

Sorry, I got carried away a bit. Back to the book. Cavanila was only 20 when this all happened, a beautiful, sensitive young priestess whose heart was with her people. The first line on the back cover of the book is a direct quote from her. It says, “I heard people screaming, Father, I had to go to them.” But her father was not the nicest of guys as readers will learn. He was the regent and high priest of Thera with a totally different view of the world and his place in it. This wasn’t just a rumor I heard. I was in the room during one of his arguments with Jenora, another interesting character I mentioned in my last blog.

Anyhow, part 1 of the book is called ‘Harbinger’, which implies that what I told you about so far was just the beginning. Stay tuned.
(Click on the picture for a fuller view.)


Blog of the Minoan Gold Bull

May 1, 2014
It would be nice if I could start off by telling you my name but, you see, I don’t have one. Not too many people give supposedly inanimate objects pet names (well, some who keep pet rocks might), especially way back in the 17th century B.C.E. when I was formed. Actually I’m a rhyton, an ancient pouring vessel in the shape of a ferocious but handsome (if I may say so myself) gold bull. People filled me with wine through a hole in my back and then tilted me so the wine would come pouring out through a hole in my snout.
It was a time when the people of the Greek Island of Crete (also called Keftiu, Caphtor, Kephtor and various other names through the ages) were under great stress as a result of earthquakes, one of the most explosive volcanic eruptions in the last 10,000 years on nearby Thera (Santorini), tsunamis, and all the rest. Some thought it was because they angered Poseidon, the Great Earth Shaker and God of the Seas. The reason I got fabricated was to have a beautiful symbol like me to appease that god and induce people to be more worshipful of him and all the other gods.
The details about what happened are described in Cavanila’s Choices: a Novel of the Minoan Cataclysm by Jesse Sisken, the first book of his proposed trilogy. It’s a story about a lovely, young, Minoan priestess who struggles to save her people from the effects of that disaster. But more of that later. What’s important for now is that it was Jenora, King Minos’s high priestess (she was also his mistress) who came up with the idea that I could do that job. But on the night she went to him with that suggestion, he put her off. He was more interested in getting her into his bed than in listening to what she had to say. However, he did like the idea when he heard about it the next morning and ordered his goldsmiths, Alkabar and his son, Alpada, to come up with a design for me.
The process wasn’t easy. The goldsmiths worked hard, disregarded a lewd suggestion made by Alpada’s younger brother, and finally settled on a decent design. But Jenora, bitch that she was, wouldn’t buy it. Over and over she kept telling them I looked too dull, that I needed to look more alive. I hate to say it, but she was right. Under her prodding and threats, Alpada, a real genius, came up with the idea of inserting red jewels into my eye sockets. That finally satisfied her. I really looked alive then, especially in front of a good fire that could make my eyes sparkle.
And what no one ever knew, until now that you and others are reading my blog, is that I also acquired the ability to see and hear everything around me, especially some pretty interesting events and conversations. Talk about being the proverbial fly on the wall. So, I’ve lots of juicy things to relate, but not all at once. Read my next blog in about a week.
P.S. Cavanila”s Choices has just appeared in print. See the Order page for purchasing information.