Thursday, April 23, 2009

WoL: Part 4 - The Garden

Part 4
The Garden

Sunlight streamed in through the large windows as white linen hangings billowed out slightly in the morning wind. The light fell across the marble floor covered in thick, rich rugs, and onto the silk covered bed, and the long locks of brownish hair that spilled over it. The sunlight caused a soft golden glow about her as Lia moved on the bed, eyes snapping open instantly as she realized where she was.

She got up, took a bath, and found a small, light lavender tunic waiting for her. She slipped into the light linen and was about to leave the room when the door opened. She jumped back in time to see a small man shuffle in with a large silver tray.

“Excuse me, miss. Your breakfast is served. It took our chefs a while to decide what was best to serve a siren and honored guest such as your self.” He said as he uncovered the silver tray, revealing a seaweed porridge and several pieces of raw fish.

“Thank you.” She said picking at the fish. “You can take the seaweed back.”

“As you wish. Ah, and the Archduke also wanted to give you a tour of the city. Should I arrange something?” asked the short, fat man.

“Um, well, what’s there to see in the city?” Lia asked, looking out the window at the rows of domed roofs and banners below.

Immediately the little man began to speak as if he had memorized the lines, “In the city of Alexandria there is a well known and famous library. It is the greatest library in the world, built of red bricks, decked with viridian ivy, and domed with massive copper domes that have greened with age to a beautiful soft turquoise. Within the library are many, many rooms, each with many, many corridors, and each with many, many shelves and secret nooks. Dim golden candle light and crimson stained glass windows are the only sources of light in the dark mahogany interior, and the scent of ink and parchment saturates the air.

However, less known than the library itself are its gardens. On the south and north sides of the gardens, tall hedge mazes, perfectly manicured and precisely kept, spring up with winding passages between the bluish green juniper shrubs, bedecked in small white blossoms. The tannish white gravel paths crawl like snakes between the junipers, circling, turning, changing as they lead ever onward towards the small tucked away fountains and benches and statues. The eastern gardens are covered in small lakes and streams lined with willow and cherry trees in bloom, accented with rose bushes and large white marble statues. The western gardens are reserved for the royal family. Do any of these options please you?”

“Um, sure. Let’s go to the gardens. I feel like I’m going to be smothered by all these walls.” She answered as she followed the man out of the building


Tycus awoke outside the temple of Aphrodite. It took him a few moments to remember what had happened the previous evening before he jumped up and sprinted towards the castle. He ran through the craftsman sector and across a bridge into the merchant sector. The road he was on seemed to be going in the general direction of the castle, when it suddenly took a turn to the left. He kept walking until he came to an ornate, copper gate, rusted green with age. He slipped inside and continued on the path, hoping it would lead him to the castle.


“Your majesty, will you be dining in the dining hall or out on the veranda today?” asked a servant from behind him.

Regeus did not turn around, but instead, continued staring out the window at the bustling city. He had hoped today would be a cool day, but the rising sun was already burning hot in the sky, causing heat waves to ripple across the domes roofs.

“Neither. I have important matters to attend to. Have my breakfast sent up here.” He said turning to dismiss the servant, then walked out on his balcony. He sighed as he leaned against the white and red veined marble. His eyes glanced at the ring on his right finger. It had been many years since he wore that ring. His family’s golden seal, the emblem of a winged arrow, was raised on its blue sapphire surface.

“You don’t have to worry about her, you know.” said a voice from behind him.

“Orpheus, so you finally showed yourself. I was beginning to wonder where you where, whether or not you had gotten that promotion.” Regeus said turning.

The sea deity lounged on Regeus’s chair, sipping from his scallop shaped cup, putting his feet up on the table. “The promotion went to Triton instead. All his back scratching and yes-manning had to get some recognition. Oh well, who wants a post in Atlantis anyway. I have much more fun on the surface world. Humans are so… interesting.”

“So I take it you’re behind her new obsession with this Tycus?” Regeus said shaking his head as he took the cup of wine out of Orpheus’ hand and sipped at the wine.

“Hmph. You’re welcome.” Orpheus said, making a second cup appear in his hand. “I’m sure I have no idea what you’re talking about. Are you certain you’re not just regretting your decision?”

“Oh, believe me. I have no regrets. I am glad I made the decision I did.” Regeus said turning to face the city again. “I have responsibilities. I have certain expectations upon me. I cannot undo any mistake I make, so I must make sure not to make a mistake. Do you understand what that’s like? I suppose not. You’re a god, you don’t make mistakes.”

“Actually that’s a common misconception. We gods and goddesses usually end up making more mistakes than you humans do. We just don’t get caught, or blamed.” Orpheus said grinning.

“Well, we do.” Regeus stated flatly, pouring the wine out. It turned to seawater as it hit the marble ground.

“Well, then. If you really don’t have any regrets, prove it. Invite this Tycus to your festivities tonight. Allow the love that has taken root to flourish. Maybe this way the two of you can move on.” Orpheus said getting up. “Think about it. In the meantime, don’t worry too much about her trying to kill you. While she is your father’s honored guest, she wouldn’t dare touch a hair on your head. ”


Lia was walking through the garden, enjoying the beauty of it. The morning sun rose over the eastern gardens, the light reflecting off the lakes and streams. As the weather grew warmer and more oppressive, she moved along towards the southern maze. Lia stepped into the maze, and immediately felt a sickening feeling come over her. It was like the presence of the Archduke all over again. She looked down and saw the faint marble stones one either side of the entrance, the crest of the Archduke scratched on both.

She tested her wings, and saw that no feathers would come at her bidding. It was as she thought, in the maze she could not fly. She had suspected something like that must be why no birds were flying overhead. Lia pondered the situation, wondering if she should continue. She decided that if a human could do it, so could she.

After wandering in the maze for a few hours she heard the faint trickle of water nearby. Following the sound, she reached a small circular enclosure with a white marble bench and a large fountain. The fountain had a statue of Cupid, arrow drawn, ready to release, as if aiming at whoever walked around the corner next. And then she heard it. The sound of the lyre being strummed.


Tycus has found the path leading him up towards the castle had led him into a garden of some sort. He had walked a little bit in and realized to his horror that the garden was actually a giant maze. Now he was lost and didn’t know how to get out. As he walked he began working on his piece for that night’s performance. He sang and played as he walked.

“Tycus?” asked a voice from behind him.

He turned and saw a tall, regal man with slightly pale skin behind him. “Yes?”

The man almost grimaced before he walked up to the bard and said, “I’ve heard a lot of good things about you. I’m Duke Regeus, and these are my gardens…”

“I’m sorry, your majesty, I didn’t realize I had stumbled in here. Forgive me for trespassing” Tycus said bowing stiffly.

“That’s alright. The gods must have willed it because your music was so beautiful that I have decided to invite you to a small celebration we’re having tonight. Would you be interested in coming?” Regeus asked stiffly.

Tycus’ eyes grew wide with astonishment as he exclaimed, “Oh, yes! Thank you! Thank you! I mean… that is to say, yes I would be greatly honored to…”

“Good man. Be at the main palace by sundown. We’ll be expecting you.” Regeus interrupted him. “Now the way out is actually very simple. See those small flowers on the hedges? They only grow towards the direction out of the maze. Follow them and you’ll get out.”

Tycus took of sprinting, stopped a few yards away, then turned around, “Thank you again, Duke! You won’t regret it! I promise!”

As Regeus watched the figure disappear behind a hedge he spoke quietly to himself, “Why all the mention of regrets today, I wonder?”


Lia was still following the sound of the lyre, running faster, cursing her feathers for not answering to her call. She would have to remember in the future not to fly over the gardens. She could just picture herself falling out of the sky because of the magical barrier. But at that moment her thoughts were returning to the music which seemed to change and dance and move around her, leading her where she knew not.


As Tycus was running he still played his lyre, when he heard another one coming from close by. The music was so serene and tranquil that he lost all memory or thought of what he had been doing. He simply went to the music as sleepwalking or under a spell. He turned a corner and was in a small clearing, a pool of water gleaming in the centre. He walked towards the pool dreamily, hearing the music coming from within.

“You’re a pretty good player, for a human.” spoke a voice from within the pool.

The next moment there was a loud rushing wind and what sounded like the loudest, hardest, heaviest drop of water hitting the pool, the sound reverberating and echoing all around Tycus. The pools waters began churning, foaming, and swirling. From out of the foaming waters a large waterspout grew up to twice Tycus’ height.

The water spout was turning ever so slightly until a mask became visible, floating on its surface. The next moment the water all around the mask parted as a veil or a scallop shell opening, revealing a man inside. His skin was a seagreenish color, his hair white like the foam around him. His eyes were bright blue, glowing and piercing. In his right hand he held a mighty golden bow, in his left, an ornate goblet craved from some giant pearl.

Tycus fell on his knees shaking and spoke, “M-my lord. I bow before you. P-please, d-do not k-kill me.”

When the deity spoke his voice boomed and echoed fiercely, “Well, since you asked nicely. I guess I won’t.” Then his voice changed to that of a normal person, his hair changed from white to blond, to chesnut brown, and his skin to a deep tan, “Hahaha. You humans are so easy to scare, it’s priceless. Anyway, no, I’m not here to kill you. Actually, I liked that song you were just playing. But it needs something. Right at this point.”

The two sat and played for a few minutes, Tycus in awe of all that Orpheus was showing him, an introduction of a harmonic chord here, a speeding of the tempo there. Soon, Orpheus decided that enough time had passed and he bade Tycus farewell. The bard ran off still playing his song. Orpheus smiled a mischievous smile and picked up his own lyre, playing the same song as he walked in the opposite direction of the maze.


Lia was still following the music. A few times it had stopped and then returned and then stopped again. She had beaten the bushes furiously at those time, wishing she could extend a wing or a claw, just to destroy the shrubbery that dared to stand between her and the music. She found it again and was following it, when the next moment she was out of the maze.

Before her was a garden much different from the eastern one. There was one massive tree that rose up from the center of the garden. All around it were small trees and statues in its shade. She saw giant butterflies and moths fluttering on golden wings beneath the large tree. Lia’s ears pricked up when she heard the familiar tune.

She crept around the tree and peaked to see who was playing. The garden ran further and then dropped away into nothingness, sheer cliffs leading straight to the deep blue ocean below. The sun was setting across the waters, and a familiar figure sat upon a bench, facing the sea, strumming his worn and scratched lyre.

“Lia, is that you?” he said without turning.

She stepped out, her feathers beginning to prick up again. “Yes, Regeus. I got lost in the maze and couldn’t fly away.”

Regeus turned and smiled a forced smile, “So, you thought I was someone else?”

“No. I have no idea what you’re talking about.” She said, though her eyes flashed amber for a moment.

“Well, you can stop pretending. I invited Tycus to the celebrations tonight. You should go get ready.” He said, a rueful grin on his face at the irony of his words.

“I already told you, he’s nothing more than a friend.” She said, trying hard not to let her eyes betray her.

“Fine. Whatever you say. I honestly don’t care.” Regeus sighed as he stood up. “Do you think we could just be friends now? Or at the very least not enemies anymore?”

Lia watched him for a second, old wounds resurfacing before she walked past him towards the palace and said bluntly, “No.”

1 comment:

  1. Ok, so the part about the library...well, I wanted to cry. That is the perfect picture of the perfect library! Bravo! Now finish the story!!!