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Orion



Some say Orion was the gigantic son of Euryale (one of the Gorgons) and Poseidon. But there is another story of his birth, told to explain his name. In this, there was a poor beekeeper, Hyrieus, who had never had a son. He was an old, old man, and impotent, so he had given up hope, but never forgotten his dream.

Zeus and Hermes dropped by one day, and the beekeeper let them in and was hospitable. The gods offered him whatever he wanted and the old man responded that what he wanted was impossible. Of course, the Gods have talents with the impossible and after hearing his desire they told him to sacrifice a bull, pee on its hide, and bury it in his wife's grave.

He followed these strange instructions to the letter, and nine months later a bubbling baby boy appeared. Hyrieus named the boy Urion, or "he who makes water", but this eventually changed to Orion. That works out perfectly since the times Orion's constellation rises and sets are rainy seasons. Anyway, back to the story. Orion was most well known for his relationship with Artemis, but that was only one part of his life. Artemis was not even his only love - she wasn't even his first or second.

Despite Orion's divine parentage, he was mortal - a mortal of unusually large size, true, but a mortal nonetheless. He became a fabulous hunter, and before he was full grown was known all across Mesopotamia for his skill. But man cannot live by hunting alone - he needed a girl.

First, he fell in love with Merope, the daughter of the King of Chios and the granddaughter of Dionysus and Ariadne, so they shared a divine background. Orion is totally into Merope, and wants to marry her, but the King isn't so into the idea of having a grandson about four times his own size. So Orion goes and volunteers to work for King Oenopione do get on the King's good side. Unfortunately that wasn't too successful.

Even more unfortunately, Orion wasn't a very patient guy and not so nice, after all, because when he got tired of waiting, he just raped Merope.

The King was not too pleased about the situation, but, seeing as Orion was huge, he didn't try to confront him. Instead, he waited for his chance and (honoring his own father, Dionysus) got Orion dead-drunk. When Orion passed out, Oenopion gouged out the giant's eyes and put him out to sea.

Orion just wandered around for a good portion of his life, until the day he bumped into Hephaestus - not too surprising since Hephaestus' lameness made him keep a look out for others like him. Hephaestus took pity on Orion and gave him an assistant to help him get around. With the boy (named Cedalion) sitting on his shoulders to give directions, Orion walked east until he came to the end of the Earth where the Sun rises.

There, the sun's rays healed Orion's vision. Now that he could see again, Orion was about to walk home when Eos saw him and swooned. She plucked him off the Earth and carried him in her chariot to Delos.

Eos may have been carrying him off to have him for herself. This great hunter met Artemis while he was there, and they started spending all their time together. They went on tons of dates, and romance sparked while they were skinning their catches. How sweet. He was the only one Artemis ever even started to love, but that too turned sour.

Some say she accidentally hit him with a discus, but that's too boring. Some say that he tried to rape one of her attendants, Opis, but Gaia wasn't having any of that and sent an enormous scorpion after him. I kind of side with this story, since there is a story about how the Scorpion was placed in the sky, and Orion on the other side, and they chased each other across the sky, never up at the same time.

But there are other stories, too. Some say that Apollo was jealous, but knowing that his sister wouldn't let him kill her boyfriend, he merely waited until he could trick her into doing it. He challenged her to target practice while Orion was swimming in a pond, and though the Goddess could barely see her target (and certainly didn't know it was Orion), she shot him and killed him on the spot.

Anyway, Orion got put up in heaven with his dog at his side, and all through eternity he chases the Pleiades (including Merope).

[1]

To this day, he remains there as the constellation of Orion. He is easily located by the three distinct stars in his belt, and close by are his faithful hounds, Canis Major and Canis Minor, beside their master for all eternity, in the hunting grounds of the heavens. Even the monster scorpion got tossed up there, as a reminder of the epic battle with Orion. It goes as the constellation Scorpio these days.

Orion vs Scorpio

Late one night after a long day of hunting contests with Artemis, Orion lay asleep by the fire, dead to the world and deep in scattered dreams. Dream quickly became a twisted nightmare in which the great hunter envisioned a giant scorpion rising from the forest floor to challenge him, its giant claws raised menacingly.

In his dream. Orion reached for his bronze club and smashed the clicking, dastardly creature, but try as he might, he simply could not pierce its armored shell. All night long he fought the monster in his dreams. Just before he awoke, the deadly sting of the scorpion pierced his chest and barely missed skewering his heart.

Orion woke suddenly and sat up, drenched in sweat. “Ah,” he sighed in relief, “only a dream...” Yet as he turned to look around the campsite he saw, to his horror, there, a few feet from his face, the giant scorpion of his dream, rearing up to shear off his head with it's massive, razor-sharp claws. Apollo had sent the beast to kill his rival, Orion.

A great battle ensued, and once again, regardless of how hard he clubbed the creature, Orion could not smash through the scorpion’s armor. The giant iron-plated behemoth charged and circled, and charged again, whipping it's tail at Orion, the poison sizzling off of its single barbed stinger. It was moving closer and closer, backing Orion toward the nearby beach and sea.

Seeing no other way to turn, and knowing that his skills and weapon were no match for this beast, Orion turned and plunged into the surf, and as fast as he could, he swam far out from the shore. He had angered the giant scorpion, who could only chatter and click it's claws angrily as its prey swam to safety. Watching the beast from the water, Orion tread water easily, waiting for the thing to give up and leave.

Meanwhile, Apollo went to see his sister, who had left the campsite for some early-morning hunting. He told her, convincingly, that an evil man named Candaeon had attacked one of the forest nymph-priestesses and that the would-be murderer was trying to get out of town by swimming across the sea, hoping to escape Artemis’ fury.

Artemis' eyes squinted in anger and her blood began to boil. The woodland priestesses were HER priestesses! How dare someone attack one of her own? She could not bear the thought of such an idea and so she raced to the sea, preparing an arrow and her bow as she sprinted through the forest, Apollo close behind.

When the twins reached the shore, Apollo pointed out in the distance at a tiny speck, far upon the water. “There he is, sister! Take him out with your best arrow!” he shouted at her, almost too eagerly. The speck he pointed to was not, in fact, Candaeon, and Apollo knew it. Through trickery, envy and jealousy, Apollo had another target in mind. The head he pointed at in the distance was Artemis’ beloved Orion.

Artemis, as true as ever to her skills, loosed her arrow with complete accuracy, and the arrow hurtled straight and true across the tumbling waves until it thudded directly into its target. Apollo, knowing that the shot was nothing but fatal to who it hit, Orion was dead.

[2]

Sources

[1] "PaleoThea"

[1] "Mrpsmythopedia"




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