What was I to do?

My sire the great horse-tamer delivered me into Bellerophon’s service. As Poseidon’s chosen, the man brought glory to himself, to me, and to his patron. Kings sent him to his doom for that which he had not done, and with the favour of the gods he met that doom and emerged triumphant. He could have been an inspiration to the just, a warning to the wicked. He could have owned honour beyond telling as a hero of the ages.

But he forgot the true source of his power. He forgot that I came not from any herd tended by men. I arose from Poseidon’s seed, not Perseus’ deed; slaying Medusa allowed me and my brother to take form at last, but it was not that act which gave me life and power. Bellerophon owed his success to the gods – to one of the three who rule over all the gods.

Somewhere, he lost sight of this. He fancied himself a power unto himself. He thought himself worthy of a seat to which no man should aspire. I could not dissuade him. I was given him to be his steed, not his counsellor. All I could do was bear him where he commanded, even knowing it to be blasphemy against my own sire.

But the high places of Olympus are not to be seen by mortal eyes. Not even by mine. It is the place of the gods; the sons of gods – be they on two legs or four – may not go there, and certainly they may not claim a place there.

I knew this. But I was given to Bellerophon to be a loyal steed, to assist him in endeavours beyond those of normal men. I was given the impossible choice: heed the edict of Zeus and stay away from the sacred mountain, or heed the edict of my sire and bear Bellerophon where he wished to go.

I knew that Poseidon too would be angered by the man’s pride. But even then, I could not disobey the nature that I had been given.

I bore my master on his final journey. To the last, I chose to be loyal to him. Perhaps that is wrong. Perhaps his hubris had spread to me as well; I do not know. I made what seemed to be the best choice available to me: to play the part of the steed until the end.

All know how that journey ended. I, who bore my master unflinching past the searing breath of the Chimera, who carried him to battle against the Solymi and the Amazons, could not strike against something so small as a fly. In that way, Zeus granted me the humility that I had lost.

I do not deny that my master did a grievous wrong in riding toward Olympus. But had I hands, I would give libation to Zeus, to Poseidon my sire, and to Hades, and beg that they show mercy to him who was once a hero. Mercy enough to grant him the peace of humility before death came to claim him.

For my master was a good man, once; and in letting him fall from my back, I suffered my greatest failure.