Sunday, May 10, 2009

WoL: Part 6 - The Bench

Waves of Love
Part 6:
The Bench

Gulls called as they soared on grey wings in the bright blue sky, large behemoths of stacked white cotton ball clouds slowly inching across the bright horizon behind them. The day promised to be another beautiful one in Alexandria. The city was awake and stirring with a million occupants all running back and forth in the early morning hours.

The city’s large domes stood guard over the bustling scene bellow, the large turquoise dome of the library, the gold and glass one of the royal palace, and the solid white marble of the temples to Neptune and Aphrodite. Lines of priest and priestess were marching from the Temples to the cliffs for the morning sacrifices. Several men ran and strained as they forced a pure, white stallion toward the cliff edge. In one movement, they all released their holds and the stallion thundered across the edge into the depths below, a worthy sacrifice to Neptune. Then several turtledoves and bunches of roses and anemones were thrown in afterward for Aphrodite.

The flower petals were caught up in the wind, flicked about the strong gusts from below the cliffs. A handful of red rose petals were carried along the cliffs, a zephyr catching them before they could strike the water. They blew further onward, the foaming sea beneath them. The gust blew them back towards the shoreline, where between the large pockmarked stone of deep brown, they came to rest in a small alcove, and settled on the soft, white sand.

There, rising up from the sand in the secret alcove, was a bench, carved from the solid ocean bedrock. It stood inside the tide line, so that during high tide it would be completely submerged, and the anemones and corals on its sides would bloom in color. And once the tide pulled out, the bench would return, glistening and gleaming in the sunlight.

Scallops and oysters had made their home upon it, lived upon, died upon it, and left their marks upon it. The entire bench was covered in spiral and veined indentations, with pearls gleaming dully between the layers of thick, calcified shells. It was because of this that it was know as the Pearl of the city. Today, an anxious Tycus made his way from the city to the pearl-bench, hoping that Sealia had gotten his message in the song that last night.

“Tycus?” he turned and saw her standing above him on one of the larger stones.

“Sealia. You came.” He said beaming.

“Yes, it took some help but I got your message.” She smiled shyly back at him.

“Well, I wanted to show you the city, from my point of view.” He smiled.

“I’d like that.” she said as she followed him from the rocks to the city.

The stone bench sat empty after they left. In the silence, all that could be heard was the lap of the waves against the sand, the call of some distant seabird, and the hushing song that always permeates the sea. After a few hours a figure walked out from between the rocks, stepping up, looking out over the bright greenish-blue waters. He gazed with sea blue eyes out over the mountains of waves.

Regeus sat down on the bench and simply gazed out over the waves. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t think about anything in particular. It was a numbing, relieving, mindless stare. He dared not face his mind, dared not look deeper at what was going on within himself. Years of pain had taught him how to ignore his heart, to keep smiling, and hope that the flood of emotions would settle down again.

But it wouldn’t. No matter how much he tried to stifle it, he knew it wouldn’t go away this time. Not until she left. But that brought more emotion and he had to swallow down the bile that came to his mouth. No. He wouldn’t think about it. He wouldn’t allow himself to get hurt anymore.

“Well that’s one way of dealing with it.” said Orpheus who had appeared next to him.

“Go away.” Regeus mumbled.

“Just to let you know, this is technically the ocean’s property, so your seals and family magic won’t help you here. This is my territory. Wine?” Orpheus offered.

“No thank you. I’m not thirsty.” Regeus said, still just staring out to the sea.

“Hmmm. And not hungry these days either, huh? What’s wrong? Still have no regrets?” Orpheus said, before yawing and laying back against the air itself.

“Don’t you have anything better to do? Why don’t you go keep an eye on those two you set up. They might need you to help them decide how many children to have.” Regeus said, facing the demigod sourly.

“If you could only know the irony of your statement.” And a faint amused smile tugged at Orpheus’ face.

“I don’t want to know.” Regeus said getting up, taking a few steps before he stopped and turned to face Orpheus, “Not to throw a stick into your plans, but I have arranged accommodations for Tycus in the craftsman sector and for Lia in the temple quarter.”

“I don’t care.” Orpheus said through half lidded eyes, “You can do what you like. But if you thought being around her again was hard, wait until she leaves. Hehehe. You might find your plan backfiring.”

“I’ve had enough of this pointless conversation. I have important business to attend to at the palace.” Regeus said stomping away, his mood foul after his attempt to muddy Orpheus’ plans seemed to have failed.

Orpheus stretched out on the bench, enjoying the sun’s warmth, soaking it in as he drew the waters of the tide higher and higher towards himself, basking in the sea and the sunlight. He had lain like that for a few hours before he sat up on the bench, and looked towards the path. A few moments later Tycus and Lia walked down arm in arm, laughing.

“Well, I had a wonderful day.” Lia said, her face glowing warmly as it hadn’t in a long while.

“I did too.” Tycus said leaning forward and placing an awkward kiss on her cheek.

He was blushing furiously, and she smiled, thinking how adorable he was with his awkwardness around her. She waved and in a few moments was flying over the waves, her song bursting forth. The clouds that had been on the horizon parted at her voice, allowing the gloriously burning sunset to escape through, coating the world in orangy gold tones.

“Well, it seems you both had a good time.” Orpheus spoke, becoming visible again.

“Milord Orpheus.” Tycus said bowing stiffly.

“Come on, as much as I love being worshiped, you don’t have to do that EVERYTIME you see me.” Orpheus rolled his eyes as he spoke, sipping from his shell.

“Yes, milord. Um, well, yes, today was a wonderful day.” Tycus spoke, shuffling the burlap sack on his back.

“Come, sit down. Would you like some wine?” Orpheus spoke sonorously.

“Yes, thank you. I love wine. Which kind?” asked Tycus in his Carthagean accent.

“Are you a wine aficionado?” asked Orpheus with eyebrow raised.

“Well, I just enjoy a good cup. I can appreciate good wine, if that’s what you mean.” said Tycus with a smile. “In fact, here.”

And he pulled his burlap sack forth, emptying several flask and amphorae on the white sand. He picked through a few and then decided on an old, dusty amphora with some strange hieroglyphs on it.

“Here, I’ll get us some cups.” Orpheus said, almost with excitement, summoning a table with two cups of glass and silver, “I also have a special wine blend, made by the god of wine himself.”

“I would be honored to taste fair Bacchus’ handiwork.” Spoke Tycus eloquently as he allowed Orpheus to pour first.

They drank and Tycus had to agree the spiced wine was amazing. Orpheus sat back with a satisfied smirk, until Tycus poured the old amphora into their cups. The liquid was dark, purple, and smelled of cinnamon and juniper berries.

“This was made by a single farmer, who spent seven years crafting the perfect grapes for each amphora. He made twelve amphora, and this is one of the sacred twelve.”

Orpheus drank and instantly was amazed by the difference. The taste rivaled that of the god of wine’s own drink, even that of the ambrosia of the gods of Olympus. He savored the taste and was sorry when it was all gone.

“What do you think?” Tycus asked, his child like innocent face waiting with expectation for approval.

“It’s the best I’ve ever tasted. You have brilliant taste in wine. And in women.” Orpheus spoke smiling.

“Thank you.” He was silent for a moment, then spoke, “She is perfect. Too good for me.”

“Careful, no woman is perfect. No lover is perfect.” Orpheus said dryly.

“Well, if that’s true, she’s as close to perfect as they come. I feel so lucky that she would even notice me.” He spoke smiling at the air.

“Yes, it’s a mystery.” Answered Orpheus, elongating his tongue to lick at the bottom of the cup.

“I think. No, I know. She is the one.” he spoke breathlessly. “She is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with.”

“If that’s what you want to do.” Orpheus simply said, placing his eye to the cup to see if there was still a trace left.

“Yes, and…” here he paused, the gears working in his mind. “I got it! I have a song! A song I’m going to go write for her! Forgive me, I have to go.”

“Well, I’ll keep the amphora for you…” but before Orpheus could finish Tycus had gathered it all in his sack and sprinted up the hill. “… or not.”

Orpheus sighed and walked towards the water, slowly melting into the waves and disappearing as a glowing blue light that flickered and floated in the waves as he moved along the coast. The bench sat silently in the cool moonlight of evening. No stars were visible, only the moon shone as a lonely lantern on the world below, illuminating the bench that was being swallowed by the ocean’s waves until they completely submerged it.

1 comment:

  1. brilliant :). love the bench. your lines for regeus were spot on!