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Below are the 4 most recent journal entries recorded in New Mythology for the Old World's LiveJournal:

Thursday, February 2nd, 2006
4:40 pm
[freelancemuse]
Solace

Solace

Dionysus descended to Pergamum’s citadel, remaining unseen, blinding the eyes of any who might have espied him. He wandered Priam’s palace savoring the bright, smooth stone, and rich wall hangings, wondering at the luxury that still showed despite the poverty visited on the city by the ongoing war. There had been no celebrations to honor him in a long time there, as the war was soaking up every drop of available resource. It was night-time and almost everyone was abed, conserving oil and escaping the horrors of war-time reality. Those who were not, amounting to a small number of servants finishing up their tasks, rustled by him, noticing only a faint tingle like the beginnings of the heady rush of wine into the blood, and that only for a fleeting moment as he passed.

He came at last to the room of the so-called mad princess Cassandra, passing first by the door to her nurse Semrais’ room. The girl is too old for a nurse, but they do think her witless at times. Such a shame. He sank the servant next door into a deeper sleep and approached the princess. He had seen her sorrowful face many a time, and it conjured sympathy for the girl in his heart. He also saw that she would meet her violent end, as the Fates decreed soon. He admired her porcelain skin, made transparent by her woes and slight malnutrition, starkly contrasted with her night-dark hair, usually braided into a crown or arrayed in an ornate weave at the back of her head, now in a simple single braid for sleeping. Her dark eyes usually seemed to look into nothing since she parted ways with, had been cast into a false darkness by Phoebus Apollo. Because of her prophecies and uncontrollably violent reactions to the visions she saw, she had long been accounted mad by all who knew her. This was the brilliantly rendered curse: that her prophecies would never be believed, though each one was true; that none would remember the verity of her foresights nor recall her brief affair with the god.

This night she stood by her window which looked westward over the heights of the Skaian gate, and beyond to the Greek camp and the wine-dark sea. As Dionysus closed the distance between them, her filmy curtains stirred just a little and brushed her bare arms. She did not move at all. He appraised what he could see of her form through her diaphanous gown. Again he thought of her particular travesty: Enlightenment for her never brings anything but sorrow. Her clairvoyances never throw her into the particular frenzy of my Maenads, they enjoy the ecstasy of my revelry—intoxication, dancing, and other pleasures of the flesh. She is denied all of these sumptuous things. "Not tonight," he remarked aloud.

Just before he spoke, she had been thinking of her heroic brother Hector, and his death which she had foreseen, and was wondering how he slept. She envisioned him fitful, losing the precious rest which would restore his body for fresh battle on the morrow. All of the bloodshed he’s seen must give him terrible dreams. I’ve seen the death’s he’s caused graven on his face. Her thought was interrupted when the wine-god spoke, ‘Not tonight.’

The princess went rigid and shut her eyes against what she feared must be another Apollo-bestowed frightful vision that would never hold weight with anyone. With her eyes tightly sealed and body atremble, she turned to face the voice. Dionysus drew nearer to her so that they were scarcely a pace apart. Her head was bent downward so that when she dared to open her eyes, she saw her toes gleaming in the moonlight on the marble floor. The god’s gaze turned thence also and she felt a sudden warmth as if the floor was attempting to cast the chill of off her from the ground up.

Cassandra slowly raised her head to meet his eyes. His countenance was that of a youthful, but unspeakably handsome man, with a slight hint of a roguish demeanor playing around his lips. His face and body seemed to promise that they could provide pleasure proportionate to his visage. He had deep brown hair and gleaming skin with such a golden tone that it would make Achilles tarnish in comparison. He was donning purple robes on his body and his customary ivy circlet adorned lustrous curls.

As he gazed into her eyes, he could understand why Apollo had become so besotted with her, and he reminded himself of the other god’s response when he inquired about visiting the princess. The golden god’s face darkened when he responded to Dionysus: "You must not let anyone perceive that you and all Olympus knows that she is not mad. The mortals must think what I will them to, and not be shown that her vision is clear."

She still shook, unable to speak and she shied away, nearly stumbling backwards. She could see that his eyes burned too brightly, in an unimaginable hue that danced somewhere between chestnut and amber.

He tried to calm her, "Do not be afraid Princess." Her immediate response to this was a little gasp that escaped her lips as she shook her head, trying to deny what she was seeing.

Trying again to calm her, Dionysus took her hand, and she looked just as horrified as she had before, but she did not recoil from his touch, she’d learned the price of resisting Olympians. Her words came out as an inexorable whisper. "But I am afraid, you are from Olympus—I… I can see your fierce spirit burning. Have… have you come to taunt me?" She was angry and afraid, bewildered but powerless. There were times when Apollo came to see just how she was tormented by his double-edged gift. Times when he wanted to question her rejection of him as a lover, when he wanted to scorn with his scalding temper.

Dionysus could read this in her thoughts, but he already knew that Phoebus did this, as far as the wine-god was concerned, it was his right, Apollo had claimed Cassandra for himself when she was but a young girl. But that was not why he was there. "No, nothing could be further from my intent. I have come to ease your burden for a short time. " His voice was thick and rich as honey, and the air around him was fragrant: sweet and smoky.

She still held back, apprehensive, unable to convince herself that any divinity would be interested in offering her any comfort. Dionysus ventured further to soothe her, he picked her up and laid her gently on her couch. She still trembled, even after he stepped back apace.

"Cassandra, I know that you are not mad. You shine like a pale star in your father’s court," he knelt beside her, looking into her eyes. He produced two chalices filled with sweet wine and handed one to her.

"Dionysus…" she whispered as she took it, realizing only then who it was that had come to her. She was trembling violently, eyes still locked with his, not consciously realizing it, but drinking it because she had been so thirsty… so unbearably thirsty. From the first taste she wanted more, and drank deeply of the cup. From the moment she first tasted it she felt new warmth spreading from inside outward, all the way from her toes to her scalp, and her skin twittered with the warmth that brought an unshakable calm with it. She stopped trembling altogether shortly thereafter, and her glances grew less furtive.

The god smiled at the apparent change in her, and he knew again, as always that his elixir has worked its wonder.

Cassandra’s mind was racing, He desires me, there is no other reason why he would come. Will he save me from the horror of this curse? She studied his face then. How different he is from Apollo—as youthful, as perfectly formed—with the same divine aura, but his fire is not as harsh. He is beautiful. All of this thought was not hers alone, the god eased her mind into these notions, and she could not easily distinguish her thoughts from his subtle suggestions. She concluded that Dionysus was quintessentially more—human. He has such sympathy in those eyes, so bright, such a subtle curve to his brow, such fine features. For a moment she recognized his intoxication as such but succumbed to its oblivion again within seconds.

She finished her first cup and as soon as its dregs were drained, by his craft it was filled again. After long moments of silent drinking and gazing she spoke. "You are very kind to speak to me."

He smiled warmly and nodded slightly. "And you are kind to allow an unwanted visitor to stay. Is the wine to your liking?"

"Yes, it is very good," she smiled, "I think that I have not had a drop since…" she cut herself off thinking, and her smile melted away, and suddenly frustration wrinkled her face, "since I broke with Lord Apollo."

Dionysus sat sprawled languidly on the floor beside her and thenceforth led the conversation to more pleasant topics, carefully steering their thoughts away from the war or people who brought her heartbreak every day with their pity and disappointment. Their talking wandered to the topics of plays, songs, and old tales, and lasted for hours. So charming was his voice, so intriguing and lovely that she listened rapt as he spoke. He was delighted by her intelligence and sharp insight. Her mind was unclouded and unencumbered when it was neither the past nor the future she turned her regard upon. So it was that while they spoke he summoned succulent food for her: roast meat, ripe fruit and herbed bread. Since she had eaten little in the past months, he noticed that she ate with all of the gusto of one who was tasting food for the first time after famine. Color returned to her face as it had not for far too long, and she was an image of her former more wholesome fairness restored.

When she was sated, she blinked and no traces of the dishes she had just partaken of remained. Furthermore, the god was nowhere to be seen. She blinked again, apparently confused when she smelled the sweetness of perfumed oil. No sooner did she recognize the smell of sandalwood than she felt his warm hands upon her shoulders, gently caressing her skin. He slipped his hands in circular motions about her shoulders, kneading her tense flesh into submission. He loosed her hair from the braid so that it cascaded unconfined down her back. For an enchanted time she concerned herself with nothing but those breath-taking caresses. She was as relaxed as he ever could have hoped by the time she spoke again.

"Lord Dionysus, do you sing as well as inspire song?"

"Yes Cassandra," he enjoyed the sound of her name, the act of saying it, "I will sing for you if you would like that."

She nodded and he sang her a song of the wonders he had seen in Petraea and India and another of lovers from those strange lands. When he had done with his wild but dulcet harmonies, she was astonished by the immediacy of longing she felt. She stood and slipped into his arms and they ended up on her bed. So they spent the night loving, clinging to each other as vines onto trellises.

When the love games were over, after the long sweet hours of the night were spent, she fell to sleeping. The god rested a little before he sat up on one elbow gazing at the princess. He touched her hair, so dark, so long that it seemed to rampantly engulf the pillows beneath her head. She slept soundly, for once, he’d seen to that with a mixture of carnal prowess and divine touch. He watched the fabric of her linens gently swell and sigh with her breath until Phoebus neared the horizon.

Yet it was long after Artemis was gone with Selene before he spoke, "Princess," he nuzzled her neck and spoke softly into her ear, "Cassandra, wake."

She stirred slowly and smiled heavy with sleep. Dionysus was so skilled in making each moment full by engaging many of the senses at once so that the time seemed to pass slowly, perhaps that is what led the princess to say "But why, my Lord, do we not have forever?" She had been dreaming dreams of wandering the vales of Nysaea with the god, under canopies of strange trees so dense that the severe light of Apollo barely reached through.

"No we do not, I vowed to Apollo that I would be gone ere morning light—"

"He could not bear the thought of warming our bodies," her voice was stiff, distant, she knew at once that her curse was not gone, and that Dionysus had not come to save her as she had foolishly hoped. She sat up slowly, no longer smiling, and gathered the linens around herself, looking blankly towards the windows, and the unmistakable coming dawn.

Dionysus would not speak ill of Apollo he better understood the strange hollows of a god’s heart, and of the way Olympian’s laid their curses. He has sworn on the Styx that he would be discreet, and thus could not risk anyone finding him there. He kissed her temple and willed her to soften again. She yielded and sank against him. "I only wanted to ease your mind for a time," he took her hand which was still clutching the sheet and kissed her knuckles lightly. "You know the fate that awaits you, and you deserved to have sweetness to remember along with the sorrow, not that this will be the last of it. There are things yet to come which even you cannot discern."

The princess began to softly weep, thinking of the hard-faced queen who would cruelly kill her, a woman whose face she did not know, but whose betrayal and rage she could easily read in flashing eyes. "Will you not come back to me again?" She gently pled, the sky was pink now in the east.

"I may, but do not hope for it. You may still find solace in the cup so turn there at need." He kissed her hair, turned her to face him, and kissed her full on the lips. He held her blue eyes open with his gaze and gave her over to sleep. Then with a slight hesitation, he took his leave and returned to Olympus where he wintered, to await Apollo’s return.

A dozen new casks of wine were found in the palace that night, and all the house rejoiced in it. Even Hector drank of the miraculous stuff, encouraged because that night he had slept soundly.

 

Monday, April 4th, 2005
10:50 pm
[freelancemuse]
dionysus visits eros, revised

Dionysus visits Eros

Dionysus was thinking as he walked through the Olympian streets. He perceived that the sun's light upon the Earth was diffuse, the winds whispered that they had called forth clouds that obscured the face very Gaia. 'It must be a favor to Apollo, that nymph denied him, but still he praises her newfound form. He will make the laurel a treasure among trees. Poor Apollo, that his eyes still pierce the shroud he requested because his vision is fated to be unfailing.' He thought he might visit Aphrodite and her son to see if they might treat the Phoebus with more kindness, because he could only see woe as far as loves of the Pythian god went.

He visited the airy abode of Aphrodite, where she dwelled when not with Hephaestos, which he knew to be the favored resting place of Eros. It was furnished with ornately gilded couches, intimate pools, fountains, and accompanying benches, and a heady ambrosial smell permeated the very air. Divine splendor, shot through with undeniable seduction. Beauty crafted by Hephaestos for his beloved.

Dionysus lingered in the doorway, admiring appearance of the downy youthful godling, who forever retained the appearance of a boy. His hair was long and golden, his features soft just like those of his mother; he was a beautiful boy as opposed to a handsome one. Eros was fashioning and polishing his arrows, sorting them with care. He stopped midway through preparing the golden one he was dipping into the ethereal love elixir, set it down, stood, and smiled at Dionysus who had not yet revealed himself. "Bacchus, what brings you calling?" At times Eros looked like mischief, but a cruel sort, unlike that of Hermes, the kind that toyed with hearts and twisted fates. He did enjoy Dionysus' company though he spited the wine-god some small part for being so difficult to rouse to frustration.

Dionysus smiled his intoxicating smile and spoke flatteringly with his honeyed tone to Eros, causing the love god to feel effects like unto those he created, "I came that I might look upon your lovely face, and ask you for some grace, by the name of your most beautiful mother." Love could be stoked by flattery, Dionysus knew, and he knew that it would serve to let Eros feel all the more control in the encounter, which was not far from the truth, but not entirely accurate.

"I am sure that I can aid you Dionysus, though what need you have of me I cannot guess, you are hardly resistible, smoother than milk and honey, in manner and face." Eros paused, thinking, furrowing his thin golden brow, "It must be a challenge indeed if you require my help!" He moved closer to the wine god, smirking, unwary, reacting involuntarily to Dionysus' inviting demeanor.

Dionysus smiled and reached out to brush into place a lock of Eros' hair. "It is a challenge indeed," Dionysus continued smiling, pleading gently with his golden brown eyes, "I would ask you to lessen Apollo's lonely burden by allowing him one great love which is not doomed to fail."

Eros pulled away and scoffed. "That pompous shining sack of heat insulted me and never apologized, for he thinks he is stronger than anyone else-" The anger he felt for Apollo almost entrely broke Dionysus’ spell, but beneath the rush of anger, there was a muted lingering desire, a regret at losing the warmth they had shared moments before. The very feeling which encourages mortals to drink beyond their fill…

"He does that which can be done by no one else, have you ever witnessed the difficulty of steering Helios through the Milky Way, considered the heights and depths which he must traverse with a such a team, spirited and fiery as the sun himself?" Dionysus continued to coo, not betraying any upset, for his plan was not failing at all.

"He will get nothing from me," Eros shook his head, his eyes flashing a color close to purple. He took Dionysus' hand and enclosed it in his own, crushing it with a grip caused by more than carelessness. "His words have haunted me since I was a child, true though it was that I will never reach his stature."

Dionysus eyes burned too like coals, but the threat there was veiled, he did not like being so treated, but withstood it so as to keep the peace, Olympus was no place for chaos so early in his stay. It was only just Autumn and he been there for only a few days. He slid his hand out of Eros' grip with the force and speed of lightning. "Then perhaps it is true that love and pain are hopelessly entwined like my vines on their arbors." He looked at his hand, then folded it behind his back, gently inside the other, withdrawing his presence slowly as he would withdraw himself from the house. "Thank you for your time anyway Eros. Perhaps I will be back to visit soon."

Eros turned and pouted, "And perhaps next time will not be so hospitable."

"Good evening. Perhaps in time you will help Apollo without meaning to, and you will not be angry any longer, but will find yourself carefree as you should be."

"And perhaps I won't let you leave just yet, perhaps I want your company as Hades does." When he turned to look for Dionysus, he had gone, and by the door stood an intricately wrought amphora filled with wine that was so fragrant that he was drawn across the room, and had started drinking it before he had time to give it a thought.

Dionysus took his stolen arrow, the one Eros had not quite finished, and headed toward the road Apollo took home from his stables past the west, and thence Phoebus’ palace. He arrived some time before dark and made himself comfortable. The arrow was in wrapped in a fine purple cloth at the foot of Dionysus' chair. He smiled knowing that Eros would not even notice the arrow, musing that by now he should be halfway through the potent wine. ‘I dare not guess what unlikely pairings this mischief of mine will unleash upon the world once Eros takes his quiver and unleashes its contents drunkenly upon the world.’ He smiled, he could always ease those pains later.

Saturday, April 2nd, 2005
12:25 pm
[scorpio_ether]

Patroclus & Achilles

The breezes were gentle in the palace of Lycomedes.Patroclus was very young, he had not yet seen thirteen summers when he went to Skyros to visit with his father. He had heard his servants speaking of the many
lovely girls at the palace, and of the enchanting sound their garments made as they rustled hither and thither. He was not disappointed when he saw them in many colored garments, bejeweled and lining the walls of the room where they were received. He paid no attention to the exchange of gifts between his father and their host, but rather watched the girls, like flowers, sprung forth from the stone walls of
the palace. The diaphanous curtains swayed to and fro as did the girls' garments, they reminded him of flowers trembling.

Later in the evening, before the feasting began, Patroclus was given time on his own, so he wandered the palace. Before too long he encountered a girl whose sandals picked up their pace as if she wanted him to give chase, so he did. He followed her into a room where there were other girls weaving, and speaking to themselves. They all looked up at him, well almost all of them, when he entered. There were two in a corner who were far too close to each other to only be whispering. He looked closer, but only saw their silhouettes, as they were partly hidden by a curtain. When he realized that the girls had not ceased
speaking, but instead were making the strangest noises, perhaps, pain? When he realized what those sounds were he blushed deeply, and backed towards the door.

Deidamia noticed that they had a guest, sat up, and pushed Achilles away. "Look, a boy!" She gave Achilles a conspiratorial look before getting to her feet and looking at Patroclus. "Hello boy, are you not
Patroclus, son of Menoetious? Why are you here?" Deidamia asked him coquettishly, replacing her veil.

"It was," Patroclus swallowed over the lump in his throat, "It was not to spy on you, if that's what you think princess. I simply got lost."

"What do you think, shall we let him stay a while?" She looked at her friends, her eyes lingering longest on the one closest to her.

"I’m not sure that we should let him leave," Achilles replied after a moment’s consideration. Patroclus’ eyes widened a little bit more.

"Come have a seat, Patroclus, Ossa, Galatea, go fetch him some wine, and food." Deidamia ordered, she gestured for her handmaids to disperse. "We'll join you in the garden in a few minutes."

Patroclus hesitated but then sat in the chair and looked at the two girls who remained, wondering if it was as improper to be here as he thought. Well it must be alright in this country, if the princess says so.

Although this was new for them, Achilles was a little bit less than thrilled. He had heard his cousin mentioned a few times before - though he hadn't realized that the boy was so young - and had always wanted to meet him. It had to be better than pretending to be a girl here... And hell, it wasn't like he was
going to be able to keep pretending for long. That whole being very big and muscular thing? It wasn't helping his feminine side.

After a few minutes of nearly brainless conversation, he stood up abruptly. "Patroclus. Will you please come with me? I need to speak to you in private." He was still trying to use his girl voice, but there
was something in his tone that was absolutely commanding. His impatience was about to boil over.

Patroclus sprang to his feet, shocked and spurred by the insistence in this girl, perhaps that was what
queens to be sounded like in their youth. He was so confused, 'She mocks me, and urges me to speak, but
seems disappointed in me. What have I done to her? Perhaps women are just this strange.'
He walked up to the girl and followed her, noticing how tall she was for a girl just then. 'Perhaps she is an Amazon princess!
That is why she does not like me very much.'
He kept behind Achilles, and thought that was the reason, he
emboldned himself, determined to straigten the issue out at once "Miss I understand if your people are not
on friendly terms with mine, but I mean you no harm, or offense." He spoke to her back, hoping to cool her
anger before she said whatever she had to say to him.

Patroclus' tones were both endearing and entreating, and they made Achilles smile under his veil. He could only imagine what the younger boy must be thinking was about to happen to him - and wondered what
Patroclus planned to do about it. He liked his cousin so much already, even though there had been so little friendliness between them. His eyes began to show the happiness, as it tried to push away his anger,
and he shook his head a little bit.

"My people are on friendlier terms with yours than you know, Patroclus..." He stopped, turning to look at his cousin, and touched him on the cheek fondly. His hand was warm. He dropped it quickly, hoping Patroclus hadn't noticed its roughness - strange, how what was thought to be normal and appropriate in a man could become repulsive in a woman. Or maybe not so strange. He was clearly smiling again, then turned back around and continued walking once more. "I want you to meet someone. A friend of mine. When you do, that is when I will show you what I must... I think that you and he might like each other.
He's -- stern, but very kind. He can't help it. But if he asks what you are, say only that you love Pthia as much as any other, and say nothing of your mortality, or your parents."

The hallways they were going through, leaving the palace, were becoming less cared-for in appearance. Draftier. There was the smell of horses coming from one of the open windows now... and then they were walking down an open stairway that led out to a rough, but lush, meadow. The grass and plants were short and thick, springy, pleasureable to walk on, with or without sandals. There were no paths here, no other marks that the people of this place traveled this way –and the further they went, the stranger it became. The sunlight began to tingle in Patroclus' skin. It wasn't painful, but it must have felt as if the sun was trying to erase him, or to push him away to a place that he belonged better. The flowers in the grass watched them pass and did not mind; it wasn't their business.

"This is not a place of the gods, but it is a place of the other immortals, so if you can manage it, harm nothing.." That was a whisper, but a conspiratorial one in tone. Apparently, Achilles thought that
this was funny. "You don't frighten easily, do you?"

Patroclus allowed himself a little smile, "No, I don’t suppose I am easily frightened, but Polyxena, what is
there to fear?" He responded to the new-sprung warmth between them by continuing to have a slight smile,
which lit his eyes a little as he looked at the wonderful place. "I do love Pthia, as I love my own body, and I will protect her as such, for such she is. How did you come by such a place? Surely the immortal gods must love you as one of their own!" He was in awe, but happy. He had an apprehensive feeling that this was going to turn out to be something other than it seemed, but in a way that would bring him happiness. Waiting for joy, he discovered, was a delightful kind of waiting.

Achilles didn't answer him for some time, but instead quickened their pace. The light was beginning to do strange thing - it was coming out of everything. But it was still sunlight. It began to come of an intensity that burned through Patroclus' skin, showing his flaws and his strengths to all of the world, or to whoever was watching at least, but Achilles? The light reflected off of his skin that was visible, golden, glorious, and it did not violate him.

"What does it really matter who the gods love?" He shrugged, and as they came over the top of a hill, began to slow down. On the other side was a lake, and it was clearer than the air - difficult to look upon. Beautiful. The fish and the plants in it were all displayed in perfect detail, and yet their reflections danced on the top as perfectly as if it were a mirror.

Standing on the other side of it, stretching back an arrow, was the powerful-bodied centaur, Chiron. His lower half was black, thick, a lustre to it that could only come from having magical blood... The upper half of his body was as well muscled as the lower, and his human arms were massive. He loosed the arrow - and it disappeared, so quickly and far did it travel. Chiron watched its flight, and only when it had struck its target did he turn to look at them. His white beard was moved by the wind. "I did not give you leave to bring someone with you."

"You don't give me leave for much," Achilles replied, still in his woman's voice. Chiron snorted, only slightly amused by the ruse. He started to walk over to them as Achilles went to kneel by a rock,taking a leather bag out from a hiding place behind it. It was large, and there was the quiet clink of metal on metal.. He opened it and began laying out the swords, the knives - all manner of weapons. Then, taking up one last thing, Achilles stood and removed first his veil, then the girl's clothes. For one moment he was naked, and the sun seemed to do its best to accent how beautiful, how nearly perfect his body was. Maybe Helios was trying to show he and Apollo that they had something in common? Paying no attention to that, Achilles dressed himself, and was soon in the short leather skirt that was so popular for young men in these parts. He wore nothing over his chest.

Meanwhile, Chiron had been walking in circles around the younger boy, studying him intently. "He is nothing like you, Achilles..."

"He is my cousin. Chiron, this is Patroclus. Patroclus, this is Chiron, my mentor." And what I wanted to warn you about his eyes and smile seemed to say, looking over Chiron's shoulder at Patroclus' face.

"And you brought him to watch?"

"To do what he will." Now that it was free, his hair was playing in the wind. A sword in hand, he walked back over to them, and put a hand on Patroclus' shoulder. His brow was furrowed now, and he looked worried. "Please, don't be angry with me. The pretense wasn't my choice. And I wanted you to know the truth.."

Chiron laughed and shook his head, trotting away into the line of trees that surrounded one side of the lake. He was in there for only a moment before he was on his way back to them, a spear in hand.

Patroclus had been struck dumb by these revelations, one after another. His eyes showed his awe, and also
his admiration, that which would become a desire to emulate these beings in the years to come. He felt his
mortality, for the first time in his young life, and in fact it was at an earlier time than most boys. Perhaps Patroclus had gotten too accustomed to it, had it ingrained in him to the point of disdaining self preservation. He gazed at Achilles and he also felt his first stirrings of love. It was love of his blood,
and of the flawless boy he saw, a complete and though he did divert his eyes rather than gawking at Achilles brief nudity. He understood, of a sudden why Achilles must have thought his fighting was meager, it left so much to be desired when what he knew was play, and what his cousin knew was art. "Thank you, kind sir," he knelt and bowed his head at Chiron, if he'd been awed by Achilles and engendered with a great love, he felt only awe for the Centaur. "Please allow an unworthy mortal leave to watch your lesson."

"I will allow it," Chiron called to Patroclus as he strode towards Achilles. "But there are conditions, young one. You may never speak of what you see here but to Achilles. And, no matter what may happen between he and I, you must not interfere. You will abide by what I have said, or you will leave. I care not."

He thought for a moment about why such an oath might be necessary, and though the implications were clear he thought about it, and said solemnly, "I swear by... the river Styx, if I may take such an oath, that I shall not interfere." He looked at Chiron with his brow wrinkled, clearly wondering if that was a sufficient oath. He meant it and wondered if the two friends might actually harm one another.

"Good." And saying that, with a flick of his tail he turned to Achilles... and attacked him

Neither weapon was for practice, was blunt; the sword and the spear were true and keen, deadly, as was the battle. It was clear the neither held back, and if a chance was given to him, he would slay the other. This was what the training of Achilles had come to; he had no use for pretending anymore. There was not much time left before he could no longer be young, as Chiron knew, and he did what he could to prepare the young warrior for his written destiny.

That included kicking him hard in the chest. Achilles was thrown easily into one of the trees. Up until this point, the battle had lasted nearly an hour, and all manner of beautiful war-play had been shown, all but this: The kill. Before Achilles could stand, move, or even draw his own breath, Chiron's arm went back, the spear tightly gripped, and he threw it. The tree was splintered by the force of the throw. A spray of dark blood tainted the air, and it began immediately to rush from around the shaft that came from Achilles' chest.

His eyes were closed for a painful moment, his chest pumping as his lungs begged for air, his heart tried what it could. He attempted to move off of the tree but could not. The sword had fallen to the ground when he was struck, his arm shocked by the impact.. Achilles coughed. There was blood on his lips and a rattle in his chest.

Chiron stood, impassive. When he spoke, it was to Patroclus. "Remember your oath." He folded his arms over his chest, frowning. The light seemed less joyous now, and a thin stream of blood was winding its way
towards the lake. Both Achilles and Chiron noted this, though Achilles with much less calm; tears of pain came from his eyes, though he willed them not to. He tried to break the spear, for it was too long before him to move off of, and he was NOT going to die on it. When his arms alone were not enough, Achilles moved his foot around in the grass, feeling for the sword. There was sweat on his body now, with the blood, and he was becoming so pale... He could have only moments left; the blood was near to the water.

With a kick, he knocked the weapon into the air and into his waiting hand. Weak, but heartened by the feel of it against his palm, he raised the sword in what might be the last blow he would ever be able to strike, and brought it down on the spear, not an inch from his chest. The wood was sliced cleanly through and it fell away. Achilles staggered forward, still gripping the sword tightly, and turned his face up to the sun. "Do you like these games, Apollo?" His whisper was for himself and the god alone.

As soon as he was free, Chiron leapt to the lake's edge and brought one heavy hoof down on the blood that was swelling, about to touch the water, stopping it and burying it in the sand with one stomp. That done, he turned to Achilles, and now he allowed the care (and his love for the youngling) to show on his face. As Achilles forced himself to move toward the water, Chiron was clearly anxious. He shifted from foot to foot, waiting... but of course, Achilles made it to the edge of the lake. He held his free hand over his wound, so that the blood would not fall into the water, and touched his lips to the surface..

Chiron picked up him quickly, cradling him in his arms. Achilles looked tiny there, and Chiron lowered his face close to the boy's hair. "What did you do wrong?"

"First?" Achilles' eyes were closed against the sun now.

"Yes."

"I don't know." They were approaching the hill that Patroclus sat on, where Chiron intended to put Achilles down to rest. The wound in his chest was quickly closing itself, and the one in his back was gone.

"You took too long to kill me. Never waste time, Achilles. You must kill."

Achilles made a noncommittal groan that sounded as if he may have heard this before, and shook his head. His strength seemed to be returning, but very slowly. "I know that."

"What else did you do wrong?"

"I dropped my sword."

The centaur nodded and put him on the ground, his head on a bulge of soft moss that had not been there a moment before. "I think that is enough for today. When you are strong enough, bring your cousin back
to the palace. I think you have terrified him more than was necessary, you fool." Chiron sighed, smiling a little bit at the insolent look that Achilles gave him in retort to that, and turned away.

After two steps, he was gone.

"I thought it would go better than that today," the blonde boy muttered, covering his eyes with his arm.

When Chiron had gone, Patroclus turned his eyes to his cousin. He could not believe what he had seen, could not believe the endurance of the fight, of the boldness of his golden cousin in the face of such a large and skilled foe. He seemed almost to feel the air tremble when their blows were struck, and he was amazed at how Achilles had withstood such punishment, bodily. He had almost rushed to Achilles when he was impaled upon the spear, but the words of the Centaur held him fast. He was utterly torn, in more torment than he had ever experienced before at that moment, he did not wish to grieve the loss of so great an acquaintance, so newly made! But then the thing was done, and the Centaur treated Achilles with care. At length he returned to his senses and rushed to his wounded cousin, and sought to help him walk back to the palace whence they had come. "You..." a sudden realization dawned on Patroclus, perhaps it was revealed to his mind by some god, but the healing of his wounds, it had started before the centaur touched him, and the immortality of the place only made him shine, the words burst forth from hsi mouth, "It is true! Your mother is an immortal nymph! You are half divine!" He bowed his head in reverence to Achilles. "I am honored to share your blood, if you do not mind my saying so!" He stopped talking, wanting to hold his tongue and not make a fool of himself, but he could not. "You did so well! I bet tomorrow you will win!" He stopped then and there was only adoration in his eyes as he gazed on Achilles, enjoyed the heat of the golden skin as he used the hem of his sleeve to wipe the sweat from Achilles brow.

"I will win tomorrow," Achilles agreed, not moving to stop Patroclus from touching him. "And tonight." When he found Patroclus’ eyes and saw the confusion there, Achilles smiled and close his own again. "Trust me."

Monday, March 28th, 2005
2:33 pm
[freelancemuse]
Dionysus was thinking as he walked through the Olympian streets. He perceived that the sun's light upon the Earth was diffuse, the winds whispered that they had called forth clouds. 'It must be a favor to Apollo, that nymph denied him, but still he praises her newfound form. He will make the laurel a treasure among trees. Poor Apollo.' He thought he might visit Aphrodite and her son to see if they might treat the Phoebus with more kindness, because he could only see woe as far as loves of the Pythian went.

He stopped by the airy abode of Aphrodite, where she dwelled when not with Hephaestos, which he knew to be the favored resting place of Eros. Eros was indeed there, fashioning and polishing his arrows, and sorting them with care. He stopped midway through the golden one he was dipping into the aethereal love elixir set it down, stood and smiled at Dionysus who had not yet revealed himself. "Bacchus, what brings you calling?" Eros looked like mischief, but a cruel sort, unlike that of Hermes, the kind that toyed with hearts and twisted fates. He did enjoy Dionysus' company though he spited the wine-god some small part for being so difficult to rouse to frustration.

Dionysus smiled his intoxicating smile and spoke flatteringly with his seductive tone to Eros, causing the love godling himself to feel effects like unto those he created, "I came that I might look upon your lovely face, and ask you for some grace, by the name of your most beautiful mother." Love could be stoked by flattery, Dionysus knew, and he knew that it would serve to let Eros feel all the more control in the encounter, which was not far from the truth, but not entirely accurate.

"I am sure that I can aid you Dionysus, though what need you have of me I cannot guess, you are hardly resistible, smoother than honey, in manner and face." Eros paused, thinking, furrowing his thin golden brow, "It must be a challenge indeed if you require my help!" He moved closer to the wine god, unwary, reacting involuntarily to Dionysus' inviting demeanor.

Dionysus smiled and reached out to brush into place a lock of Eros' hair. "It is a challenge indeed," Dionysus continued smiling, pleading gently with his golden brown eyes, "I would ask you to lessen Apollo's lonely burden by allowing him one great love which is not doomed to fail."

Eros pulled away and scoffed. "That pompous shining sack of heat insulted me and never apologized, for he thinks he is stronger than anyone else-" The anger he felt for Apollo almost entrely broke Dionysus spell, but beneath the rush of anger, there was a muted lingering desire, a regret at losing the warmth they had shared moments before.

"He does that which can be done by no one else, have you ever witnessed the difficulty of steering Helios through the Milky Way, considered the heights and depths which he must traverse?" Dionysus continued to coo, not betraying any upset, his plan was not failing at all.

"He will get nothing from me," Eros shook his head, his eyes flashing a color close to purple. He took Dionysus' hand and enclosed it in his own, crushing it with a grip caused by more than carelessness. "His words have haunted me since I was a child, true though it was that I will never reach his stature."

Dionysus eyes burned too like coals, but the threat there was veiled, he did not like being so treated, but withstood it so as to keep the peace, Olympus was no place for chaos so early in his stay. It was only just Autumn and he been there for only a few days. He slid his hand out of Eros' grip with the force and speed of lightning. "Then perhaps it is true that love and pain are hopelessly entwined like my vines on their arbors." He looked at his hand, then folded it behind his back, gently inside the other, withdrawing his presence slowly as he would withdraw himself from the house. "Thank you for your time anyway Eros. Perhaps I will be back to visit soon."

Eros turned and pouted, "And perhaps next time will not be so hospitable."

"Good evening. Perhaps in time you will help Apollo without meaning to, and you will not be angry any longer, but carefree as you should be."

"And perhaps I won't let you leave just yet, perhaps I want your company as Hades does." When he turned to look for Dionysus, he had gone, and by the door stood an intricate amphora of wine that was so fragrant he was drawn across the room, and had started drinking it before he had time to give it a thought.

Dionysus took his stolen arrow, the one Eros had not quite finished, and headed toward the road Apollo took home from his stables past the west. He arrived some time before dark and made himself comfortable. The arrow was in wrapped in a fine purple cloth at the foot of Dionysus' chair. He smiled at how Eros would not even notice the arrow, thinking that by now he should be halfway through the potent wine.
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