Zeus visited the Mongols, who had recently conquered the southern Chinese empire. Viewing themselves as invincible, they were ripe to listen when Zeus came riding in.
Zeus found the Mongol chief at his headquarters.
"You and your men have done a fine thing, conquering this vast country, but now you lie around doing nothing. You are a people in search of a purpose, and I am a god in search of a people. What if we put our needs together and come up with something that will be good for us both?"
"You may be a god," Jagotai said, "but you're not our god. Why should I listen to you?"
"Because I'm offering to become your god," Zeus said. "I've about had it with the Greeks. An interesting and inventive people, but disappointing to a god who was only trying to bring them good things."
"What do you offer us?"
It soon came to pass that Mongol outriders, holding high their yak-tail banners, came riding hard through the Carpathian passes onto the flat plains of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and riding through time into the sixteenth century. Zeus had to use all his powers to pull it off. It would have been easy to time-and-place-transport them directly, but it would have spooked the horses.
Whole families took themselves to horse, or to donkeys, or to oxcarts. The vast majority put what they could carry on their shoulders and streamed out in search of a place of refuge far from their pursuers, the flat-faced fiends with narrow black mustaches. Some people in their flight went to Milan, some to Ravenna. But for the most part, the refugees made for Venice, a city believed to be secure from invasion behind its marshes and lagoons.