Iphicles and the Breezes

Hercules Meet His Match: A Short Love Story About Olympic Glory

Excerpted from

The Mythoversal Newsletter

The Mythoversal Newsletter brings author commentary, mythological movie reviews, and occasional essays to your inbox.

Sorry I lied to you…

For the past two weeks, I’ve promised you an analysis of Sanderson’s Second Law as it applies to the gods of Greek mythology. I feel awful about putting that off again, fully realizing that now it’ll have to be good enough to justify an even longer wait.

But my theory-riffing time hasn’t been totally wasted. Instead, it’s gone into writing and worldbuilding for the upcoming serial story, Becoming Hercules, and creating some compelling new graphics for the Mythoversal website. And with Rage on hiatus, I’m continuing to release reference articles that support the new story.

Character of the Week

This week’s character is Iphicles, son of Amphitryon and Alcmene. If you’re familiar with other versions of the Hercules/Heracles mythos, you may think you know who Iphicles is. But this story is not like any version of the story you’ve read before.

In classical mythology, Iphicles was a son of Amphitryon, a pirate-hunter turned adventurer turned prince turned king-slayer turned outlaw turned general. Nobody has a better resume than Amphitryon! In Becoming Hercules, Iphicles son of Amphitryon is a promising young soldier and strategist on his own, despite being small for his age and not getting any bigger.

In classical mythology, Iphicles lived in the shadow of a larger, more powerful, more famous twin brother. But in this version, we get to see Iphicles in a spotlight. With a chance to shine on his own terms, what kind of hero could Ipjhicles become?

Setting of the Week

In classical mythology, Old Cadmeia had seven gates. When the city expanded into Boeotian Thebes, that larger city also had seven gates. In Mythoversal Thebes, there are actually three separate walls with seven gates apiece.

This week, I found myself writing the first scene about a character passing through one of these gates. The Aetan Gate connects the Citadel Hill districts of Old Cadmeia with the Theban Upland Districts where the Theban army is housed and trained.

Articles like this one will help me flesh out and track the details of the city, giving it a history and geography that make more sense and feel real. These interlinked articles will be further developed over time. They are rough drafts that will be refined over time as the story is told. There will necessarily be settings and details that never appear in the story, but which are important because they inform the story’s sense of reality.

Deities of the Week

One thing that puts a story into the realm of mythology is the interaction between humans and the myriad of supernatural beings who have influence over various aspects of their world.

Meet the Breezes, three goddesses of light variable winds, daughters of the God of the North Wind and Goddess of Mountain Gales. I needed an article to collect my notes on the Breezes because the Aetan Gate is named after one of them, perhaps because it’s one of three gates that face north, or perhaps because it’s a gathering place for spreading gossip, with the Breezes, as they skip over the land, also doubling as goddesses of rumor and innuendo.

Next Time…

In next week’s newsletter, I’ll return to the analysis of mythic gods as a magic system, looking at Sanderson’s Second Rule of magic. Really.

Let me know what you think of the use of notes and articles to flesh out a story world, and thanks for reading.

—Greg R. Fishbone, Mythoversal Author-in-Residence