Monday, April 27, 2009

WoL: Part 5 - The Memories

Waves of Love
Part 5:
The Memories

The far off waves crashed upon the silver sands, as the pale moon illuminated the lonely beach. Three figures sat around the blazing fire, orange and yellow tongues licking and crackling as sweet pine smoke wafted up through the warm wind of the night. The stars were out to dance above them as the older boy took out his panpipes and began to play a rondo-song. The first girl stood up, small cymbals in each hand that she clacked together, as she danced around the fire.

The other girl, with her long, gold-blushed brown curls stood as well and began to dance with the first girl, her sweet voice intoning with the notes of the panpipe. They laughed and danced around the fire, the pace quickening, the notes coming faster, until they stopped and collapsed on the soft sand, out of breath and laughing. Lia sat back up and sighed as she looked over her two best friends, smiling.


She was standing on her balcony, watching the stars. Lia could hardly believe that they were the same stars as that night on the beach so long ago. Part of her wished that she could go back there, to that time, to that place when life was simpler and purer and full of childhood’s hope and innocence. She sighed, watching the last trace of the sunset dip into the ocean’s folds, and disappear.

“Excuse me, miss.” said a servant girl behind her, timid and with fear. “Dinner will be ready in an hour, if it pleases you.”

“What? Oh, alright. I should be getting ready.” She said with cool composure as she walked past the servant girl. “Have a bath drawn for me, and some fresh robes fetched. I need to look perfect tonight.”

“As you wish.” She said bowing and running out the door quickly.

A few hours later found Lia soaking in a milk bath, rose and lotus petals bobbing on the surface of the large, marble tub. A servant girl was rinsing her hair with rose water, while another was displaying the various dresses for her approval.

“Let me see the yellow one again.” She said as the girl quickly held up a pale yellow dress with small white pearls embroidered on it. “Hmm. And the violet one with the diamonds?”

The girl shuffled through the clothing, her hands trembling, as she tried to find the requested dress. Her trembling hands looked through the pile, and finally got a hold of it. But just then, she stepped forward and slipped on the smooth stone, all the dresses falling on the wet floor.

“You idiot! Look what you’ve done! I told you, tonight has to be perfect! Get out! All of you! Leave me alone!” Lia snapped as she pushed the girls attending her away.

The three hustled out of the bathing room and down the corridor to take the dresses back to the laundry. They stepped inside, the scent of lavender cascading over them. The one who slipped threw the wet dresses in a pile and sat on them, fist clenched as she spoke.

“That… that… that siren! How dare she treat us like this!”

The hair washer was fixing her own hair in the mirror as she commented dryly, “You’d think an honored guest such as her would have enough manners not to insult her hosts like that.”

“Ha! That thing? Have manners?” cackled the third, “Remember, it’s not a human. It’s an animal. The way it’s mistreating the Archduke’s hospitality shows that it’s nothing more than a spoiled, selfish little pet, thinking it can have whatever it wants.”

“And the way she wanted everything to be perfect for tonight! I mean, sure she’s the honored guest but its not like she’s there to impress any of them!” the first said with a swager of her wide hips.

“You girls must not judge my guest too harshly.” spoke an old voice from the shadows behind them.

“Archduke!” all three cried in surprise, prostrating themselves before the man.

“There’s no need to apologize. I understand that you are frustrated by Sealia. But please, don’t pass judgement on that which you do not understand. She has a very complicated past, and I am partly to blame for it.” Here he sat down on a small wooden stool and motioned for the three to rise. “Come, sit and listen.”


It was a glorious summer to be young. Regeus had been sent ahead of the main party to prepare the villa for his family’s coming. It would be one of the many firsts for him that summer, as he began taking on more and more of the responsibilities that would come when he was declared Duke. But for right now, he was just Regeus.

The first day at the villa he inspected everything to make sure that all was still well. The villa which sat upon a high, white, granite cliff overlooking the beautiful blue bay was a white staccato building with red tile roof and a wide open courtyard. Regeus had made all the arrangements for servants, food, and entertainment to be ready when his father arrived.

He walked through the warm house and out the back to where the fresh, cool ocean breezes caught his dark, auburn hair and swayed it across his pale skin. Blue eyes met the same blue tinted ocean as he made his way down the cliffs to go swimming. He did not see her that day, but she saw him.

The next day, his family arrived early, with his younger cousin, Persephone, in tow. She was a spirited girl of 15, with long, Grecian black curls, and a golden hued skin from frequent ocean swimming. Her dark eyes flashed with passion whenever she spoke, and back home in Syracuse, she had many admirers continually training behind her. It was for a mishap with one, that her parents had sent her to the villa that summer, while they found a husband for her, before she caused the family any more embarrassment.

“Regeus! By Demeter, I’ve missed you!” she squealed as she ran and embraced him.

“Hahaha! Persephone. A whole year has been much too long.” He said as he tried prying himself from her embrace. “How’s Syracuse?”

“Oh, the same as ever. You know, being a Duke’s daughter can be so boring some times. But, I’ve taken dancing lessons from the Priestesses of Aphrodite to keep busy. I’ll show you some of my new dances while I’m here!” She cried with ecstasy before running of to find the way down to the beach.

“Oh, Persephone, you never change.” Regeus said quietly as he chuckled.


“Regeus! How are you!” Persephone cried as she threw herself on her cousin.

“Persephone. You really don’t change, do you.” He commented smiling dryly. “Welcome to Alexandria.”

“My, aren’t we formal.” She giggled as she bowed to him, “Why, thank you, your Dukiness. Now, where is she!?!”

“Seph…” he began.

“I know, I know, you probably wanted to surprise me but I couldn’t help it. The young groomsman who helped take care of my horse was so friendly and talkative that he told me everything.” She smiled bouncing up and down.

“You know, I don’t think your husband would appreciate you flirting with all these men.” Regeus said sternly, trying to change the topic.

“Who? Tiberius? Please, he’s so old he wouldn’t care. But enough about me! Tell me! Tell me! Tell me!” Persephone cried handing her cape to a servant, “Where is Lia? I’ve missed her so much!”

“How do you know Lia?” asked a man who had suddenly appeared behind her, dressed in cerulean robes lined with white fur.

“Persephone, this is Orpheus. Orpheus, my cousin Persephone.” Regeus said sighing.

“Milady Persephone, delighted to meet you.” He said stepping forward and kissing her hand. “Now, you were about to say?”

“Orpheus, that’s enough.” Regeus said stepping between the two of them, taking Orpheus’ hand off of hers. “You won’t be using any of your powers on her. She’s protected by my crest anyway. And besides, you’ll find that you really wouldn’t even need them.”

“Hey! Was the an insult!” Persephone called.

“Not at all. Trust me, you don’t want to hear the story, Orpheus.” said Regeus walking towards the main banquet hall. “But if you must, I will remove myself to check on the dining room.”

“What’s wrong with him?” asked Orpheus, sipping from a cup that had materialized in his hand.

“It’s complicated.” Persephone said, then smiling answered, “It all happened two summers ago…”


After the first few days of getting settled in, the adults had more or less retired to the main house and the gardens, while Persephone and Regeus went swimming everyday. That’s how they met her. Sealia was a spirited young girl, skin barely kissed by the sun, and long brown hair that had a hint of gold running through it.

They were running across the beach when they saw her by the tide pools. She was squatting beside one, hand tracing designs on the water. Regeus had felt his heart skip a beat, thinking she must be a mermaid or a oceanid. But she didn’t disappear in the water when Persephone called to her. Instead, she stood and waved back.

So started the best summer of their lives. Each morning the three friends would meet at the tidepools, catching sea stars and watching for dolphins. Then they would retreat to the house at midday, to play in the long rows of the vineyards, running between them, feasting on the rich, sweet grapes.

When harvet time came they all three trampled the grapes together in the large vat. At night, they made their way to the beach, where a fire was lit, and stories and songs told. Persephone began teaching Lia her dances, and soon they were dancing around the fire to the festive melodies that Regeus played.


“But didn’t they know she was a siren?” asked the youngest servant girl.

“No, she told them she was the daughter of a senator whose villa was down the shore from ours.” The Archduke replied.

“So, what happened? I mean, she sounds nice and all, but now she’s so harsh and bitter.” said the hairwasher as she combed her hair.

“Well, there was a celebration held one evening, it was Regeus’ birthday…”


“Happy birthday Regeus!” called Persephone as she hugged him and gave him a wrapped present. “I brought this all the way from Syracuse. You have no idea how much I wanted to give it to you before now!”

He unwrapped the present to find a pair of white ivory panpipes. He blew experimentally across the line of holes, a hollow, breathy note escaping. Regeus smiled and played a few bars of a song and the musicians quickly picked it up. As he and Persephone walked through the crowded room, they talked.

“So, where is Lia?” he asked scanning the crowd with expectation.

“She said something about having a present for you.” Persephone said as they walked to the end of the room and out on the terrace.

“Hmmm. I wonder what it is…” he said smiling to himself.

“You like her, don’t you!” Persephone cried with joy. “I knew it! From the moment I saw her I knew you’d like her!”

“Well, she is very pretty. And I enjoy spening time with her.” Regeus said grinning devilishly.

“So you do love her!” Persephone yelled, skipping in place. “I was right! Hahaha! I knew it!”

“I guess I do.” Regeus said to himself as he looked over the evening sky smiling broadly.


“Wait. You say this was two summers ago? On midsummer’s eve?” Orpheus asked, his normal carefree demeanor suddenly grave, “Are you sure?”

“Yes.” Persephone said, “Now shush! I’m getting to the good part!”


As the night wore on, Regeus grew more and more excited to see Lia. It was near the ninth hour before she finally arrived. And when she did, Regeus knew it had been worth the wait. She was dressed in a cream colored dress that accented her slightly tan skin beautifully, while her hair seemed to be more golden than usual as it fell across her shoulders and back. There was something about her. Something mystical and magical which caused all heads to turn.

Lia had never been so embarrassed in her life. Sure, she had been in front of crowds before, but never had all talking stopped and every eyes focused on her like this. Her cheeks flushed a bit, and she felt a feathery quiver run through her body. Regeus was there, at the other end of the room. His smile lit up the room for her, and his eyes became her everything. She walked towards him, her thoughts of everyone else forgotten.

“Lia, you look beautiful.” he said barely above a whisper, as the room returned to normal.

“Thank you.” She spoke softly and with cheeks blushing. “I’m glad you like it.”

“Come on, I want you to meet my father. He’s the Archduke of Alexandria.” Regeus said as he ushered her towards the table where the older gentleman sat.

He was the picture of Regeus, though with silvery lined hair and aged worn skin. Even as she approached him, Lia felt his mind, his very presence, brushing over her as if feeling what she truly was. In that instant every secret she had ever hidden was made bare before his probing presence. He smiled as he greeted her.

“Hail, Sealia. How goes the one who has captured my son’s heart?” he asked warmly.

“Your majesty. You are too kind.” Lia was doing her best to suppress the anxiety she felt meeting him. “Regeus has told me so much about you and your beautiful city. I hope to visit it someday.”

“And you shall. I’m sure of it.” He more stated than said, smiling.

They walked from there to the balcony, Lia breathing a sigh of relief after the brief, but intense, interaction. She looked over at Regeus and smiled deep within herself. He was everything she had ever dreamed of. He was handsome, funny, mature, and so considerate. He was perfect and she loved him. That’s why she did what she did. She sacrificed it all for him.

“That was so embarrassing.” She breathed, smiling softly.

“Don’t worry. You did great. He always does that when he meets someone new. Trust me, after that you’ll have no problem talking to him.” Regeus met her gaze and smiled back.

He played a song on his panpipes and Lia sang along, the first time he had ever heard her sing before. He was instantly enchanted by the sweet beauty of her voice. That night, beneath the starry vault of the universe, they pledged their eternal and undying love for one another. They were each other’s first loves and they were sure that nothing would ever tear them apart.


“What happened?” asked the three girls sitting around the Archduke on his stool.

“Well, there was a problem.” The old man said wearily.

“She was a siren.” One of the girls said.

“No, Lia had been a regular human girl. Just like you three.” And all three gasped with shock at his words.


“Persephone,” Orpheus said, “Wait, before you tell any further, I think I understand now. There is a part of the story you don’t know. Lia wasn’t always a siren. When I first met her she was a human being. It was that same night two summers ago, on midsummer’s eve.”


“Hello?” her voice echoed in the grotto as the blue light rippled across the stony ceiling.

“Yes, who is it?” asked a bored voice.

“A-are you Lord Orpheus? Please, my lord, I need your help.” she said kneeling on the ground.

“A human? How interesting? Yes, human? How can I help you?” asked the giant head that appeared out of the swirling blue waters.

“Please, I want you to… to turn me into a siren.” she said, bowing her head.

“Why?” Orpheus asked, bemused.

“Because, there is a man I love, and he doesn’t love me.” She said tersely, a tear on her cheek.

“How do you know that?” Orpheus replied.

“I can see it in his eyes. He sees me only as a friend. I need to be made into a beautiful siren so that he can fall in love with me too.” She said in a small voice.

“Well, let’s say I could change you into a siren. What would I get out of it?” asked the demigod.

“What ever you want. You can name the price.” Lia spoke fervently. “All I want is for my prince to love me.”

“Your prince, eh? Well, who am I to stifle true love. I will grant you your request. And in exchange, I will collect payment at a later date.”


“What?!” all three cried in unison.

“She became a siren for him?!”

“Why? Didn’t he already love her?!?”

“If you let me finish my tale all will be revealed in time.” The Archduke said. “My son. My son and I had an argument that night, once Lia was gone. I told him that his love for her was immature, physical, outward appearance based, and childish. He took my words very hard, but upon deeper reflection, he knew it to be true. He did not really love Lia as she loved him. Howeve, I had not forseen his reaction to this personal revelation…”


It was a clear and beautiful day as Regeus and Lia walked between the large rocks, the gentle, caressing waves, washing over and between the stones to where the two stood. Lia was beaming and beautiful, with a light blue dress with silver thread interwoven within it. Her blue eyes caught his and her love poured out towards him. She did not regret her deal with Orpheus.

They stood quietly for a few moments, unaware of how their lived were about to change.

“Lia, I’m sorry. I’m leaving tomorrow for Alexandria.” Regeus said, facing the sea, where a line of grey clouds could be seen on the horizon.

There was a long, awkward pause, as the shock settled in.

“When will you be back?” she asked softly, sadness in her voice almost concealed.

“I’m not sure. Nor for a while.” He said still not facing her.

“Why? Why are you leaving me? I thought we were happy…” she said, holding back a tear. “We promised, just last night, hearts as one forever.”

“I’m sorry Lia. I thought it was love… but it wasn’t.” his voice cracked as he said it, a sob held back. “I realize the error of my ways now. It was wrong of me to lead you astray like that. I-I must go.”

And so he ran across the beach back to the house. Lia sat there on that rock, the shock giving way to intense pain. She tried to keep it in, tried to control it, but she couldn’t. Her whole body shook as she sat there, crying as the raindrops started falling around her. She cried her heart out as the waves crashed around her, the rain soaked her, and her world fell apart. She had sacrificed everything for him. She had given up her life, her family, her humanity, for him. And now, now he was saying it was all for nothing.

All night long she lay there crying, and until the morning began to rise. She stood and faced the new day, resolute. Her pain had crumpled in upon itself, and become a hardened shell. She no longer felt the sadness, only the anger. The burning, bleeding, breaking anger of the deepest betrayal. She took to the skies and flew to the villa, but no one was there. Enraged, she tore the entire villa apart, till not a single stone was left upon another. Then she flew to the nearby ocean and perched upon a round stone. And from there she kept her watch day and night, sinking all ships who came close. Her rage became her only reality, her bitterness and anger her anchor to sanity. And that is what happened to sweet and lovely Sealia, whose heart was broken beyond repair, and is now Lia.”


“So that’s what happened to Lia.” said Orpheus. “If I had known the circumstances I would never have turned her into a siren.”

“I had no idea she had been so deeply hurt.” Persephone said, “That day, so long ago, I remember Regeus telling me we had to hurry and leave. We set sail and never went back to the villa, and he was never the same again. He became… colder. He smiles, but not the same smile. It’s a fake he wears and fools everyone else with. I saw it again today. In all this time, he hasn’t really smiled since.”

“And now the fates have brought them together again, it would seem.” Orpheus said, summoning another cup of wine for Persephone as well, “Come, lets get to the dining hall, it’s almost dinner time.”


Somewhere in the halls of the palace, Lia walked slowly, her satin, sky blue gown rustling along the floor. She found the laundry room and stepped inside. The three servants were there, but the Archduke was gone the second she stepped inside.

“I wanted to apologize to you three. I realize you were just trying to help. Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve had to interact with people. But that’s no excuse. I’m really sorry for loosing my patience like that.”

All three mumble their acceptance and bowed, none making eye contact for fear that she would see the tears in their eyes. She left the laundry room and made her way down the candle lit hallway. Half way down it, she heard a voice echoing towards her. As she followed the sound, she began to hear the words of the song:

“Why are your eyes, so lonely tonight?
Why is your laughter not here?
When all becomes dark, can I be your light?
Close beside me, there’s nothing to fear.
You are precious, beloved
Like a pearl in the sea
I love you with my whole heart
But will you ever, love me?
With your heart, trust me.”

Lia stepped into a side chamber where Tycus was sitting. He was strumming his lyre, and looked up just as she entered. He smiled, his dark eyes meeting her blues, locking them, searching them for an answer. She felt the light from his smile, begin to touch beneath her shell. It was scary and exhilarating all at once. She sat down beside him, and he leaned forward.

“Sealia, I love you. I loved you since the moment I heard your siren’s song, calling my heart.” he whispered.

“I love you too, Tycus.” She beamed, the words like balm to her soul.

In the shadow of the passage, where neither of them could see, the candle light gleamed faintly off of an ivory panpipe strung around someone’s neck. He was holding his breathe as he heard her response. He forced himself to breath. This was for the better. Tycus could lover her and take care of her like he never could. She would be happier this way. At least that’s what he tried to tell himself.

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