Goddesses are Off Limit (A Fantasy Short) - Part 2 of 2
Part 2 of 2
Sage pulled Diana straight to the campfire and began speaking to her in hushed tones. I really wished I had my sister’s abilities to hear something from a mile away… just so I could eavesdrop on the two strange women.
While they chatted, I looked around the campsite and tried to gather information about the people, just as Willa taught me. Willa could look at a person for the first time in her life and know more about them than they know about themselves. It’s weird for a person of this realm without magical powers to be so insightful.
Insightful isn’t even the word. Willa is just amazing. Even my sister, Sapphrie is amazed by the things Willa does that most people in this realm can’t even do with their powers.
I looked around the campsite. There was a sword sheath, bows and arrows, one backpack… The campfire didn’t seem to have any wood in it. It looked like a circle of rocks; no combustibles. As I gaped at the fire, I sensed someone looking at me and realized that it was Sage who had caught my stare.
She smirked and turned away from me to continue confering with her sister. I looked at the fire again but this time, I saw that there were small logs burning. I rubbed my eyes thinking how sure I was that there were no combustibles in that fire just seconds ago. Maybe I was just seeing things… or not seeing things.
I heard a grunt of displeasure come from Diana and then Sage was approaching me again. “Would you like to camp with us for the night?” she asked me.
Yes! I wanted to scream. Instead, I took an example from my sister as I had heard her say a million times and I said, “I don’t want to impose.”
“You’re not imposing,” said Sage. “After all, you just saved our lives.”
“You did no such thing!” Diana yelled. She was beginning to stomp towards me again but her sister held up a hand and Diana immediately stopped. In fact, the way she stopped was almost as though Diana had put up a force field.
Diana crossed her arms tightly over her chest and glared at me. I began feeling strange. It wasn’t intimidation though. Trust me, I know intimidation. I feel it on a regular basis from Willa, although she’s amazing and I care about her as a friend and a mentor.
Now I felt as though I would fall… asleep. But at the same time, I was beginning to get a terrible headache, like none I've ever felt before. I felt that my head would soon explode.
“Diana, why don’t you fnish what you were doing?” asked Sage, her tone biting, commanding.
Diana turned her head swiftly away from me and walked back to the campfire to snatch up her quiver half-full of arrows. She then walked away and seemed to disappear into the mountains. I blinked rapidly, thinking I was seeing things and trying to make my intense headache better. I thought for sure that I would blackout.
I felt a firm hand on my shoulder and the diziness that was beginning to take over my eyes quickly went away. So did my headache. I looked at Sage, who loudly asked, “Are you alright, young one?” Before I could answer, she said, “You’re probably so hungry that your body is beginning to rebel. Poor thing.” She began ushering me to the fireplace.
She practically pushed me down onto the ground beside the fireplace and shoved a canteen into my hands. Water! I wanted to scream. I had run out of water in the morning and I couldn’t find a well to save my life! I wanted to open the canteen and greedily gulp down the water but that would be rude and very unknight-like.
“Go ahead, you can have all,” said Sage. “We don’t need it.”.
I didn’t even care why they didn’t need it. I was too thirsty. I uncorked the canteen and tipped it above my opened mouth, greedily gulping down the water. As some of the water spilled onto my chin and chest, I apologized for my impoliteness and wiped the water on the sleeve of my tunic.
“So what are you and your sister doing here?” I asked, just being friendly.
“Get away from my sister,” I heard a voice say. The voice sounded low, almost like a growl. Startled, I turned and was surprised to be looking into the angry blue eyes of Diana. Now the moon was illuminating her features. She was beautiful.
Her honey blond hair was wavy and silky smooth, reaching the middle of her back. She wore a plain white tunic with a blue vest over it and a belt around her slender waist. Her brown boots reached the middle of her thighs, almost completely covering her white trousers. Even with her plain clothes, it was obvious that she had a fantastic body.
“I said, get away from my sister, you man!” she hollered at me. She pushed me hard and I was stunned by her strength. With one push, I slid back what seemed like five feet and landed on my back. Talk about painful.
“Ouch!” I exclaimed.
“Diana!” Sage yelled, leaping to her feet to grasp her sister by the shoulder. “What’s wrong with you?”
Diana was breathing heavily. A dead turkey lay at her feet, the red feather of Diana’s arrows sticking out of it’s belly. “I’m going to kill him!” Diana growled. Was she talking about me or the turkey?
I sat up, rubbing my back, which I just knew had to be bruised on the stones of the mountain.
Bullet neighed and trotted over to me. He nudged me with his nose, trying to make sure I was alright. Sage pointed to me, “See?” she said to her sister. “His horse likes him. Doesn’t that mean something to you?”
I could see Diana’s body gradually relaxing. She wasn’t clenching her fists any more and she wasn’t huffing and puffing like she wanted to blow me away. “He’s a good man,” said Sage.
“A good man? HA!” Diana sarcastically said.
Within seconds, she was in front of me. She really runs fast! She grabbed me by my collar and pulled me up to my feet. Boy, was she strong! She kind of reminded me of Willa. Holding me close to her face she said, “Prove your goodness, man.” She sputtered the word man in my face as though it was a curse.
“Prove it how?” I asked.
“Fight my sister,” said Diana, pointing to Sage.
Sage sighed loudly. “Diana,” she called in a warning tone.
Now I was really confused. Diana walked away from me, muttering something about me being pitiful and weak. “Fight my sister,” she said loud enough for me to hear.
I looked at Sage, who was facing me, not giving me clue of what she was thinking. After a few seconds of just staring at me, she bent over and picked up the sword sheath. When she drew the sword from the sheath, I felt drawn to it. Even more than I usually felt drawn to weapons.
There was something strange, something magical about the weapon. And not the type of magical as I can make my weapons. This was different. Other-worldly.
Sage held the sword in the air and when the moonlight touched it, the only words that slipped out of my mouth were, “It’s beautiful.”
Sage began approaching me. I couldn’t help but notice the swaying of her hips below a slender waist. She and her sister had the same body. I had to focus though. How could I fight such a beautiful woman?
Sage had beautiful brown eyes that could draw in any man. As she approached me, I could feel her power. It didn’t connect to my power so I knew she wasn’t a sorceress of any kind. I didn’t understand why I felt such power. Sage had beautiful features too: a perfect nose, nice lips… Ugh! I had to focus.
Sage looked at me and said, “Before we fight, I have a few questions to ask you… on behalf of Diana.” I nodded, giving her permission. I couldn’t talk. I had to concentrate. Something weird was up. “Number one: said Sage, beginning to circle me.”
“What’s the perfect job for a woman?”
I began thinking about the question and felt hot air on the back of my neck. I turned and saw Diana close behind me. “Answer the question,” she said in a low tone.
Hoo-hoo, I heard, and turned to see an owl resting on Sage’s shoulders. Sage seemed undisturbed; like the owl wasn’t even there. Why was that owl there? Talk about weird.
“Answer the question.”
“Anything,” I blurted out.
“What?” Sage and Diana asked.
“The perfect job for a woman is anything.”
“What is a woman’s best assets?”
I had to think about it. I couldn’t think hard though with Sage’s owl staring at me and Diana breathing down my neck. “Whatever she’s best at,” I responded.
“Stupid answer,” Diana sputtered.
“Why?” I asked. “If a woman’s best at being sensitive, it’s her best asset.” Diana growled. “If a woman’s best at being a great fighter then that’s her best asset,” I continued.
The growling stopped. “How would you feel if my sister, a woman, beats you in combat?”
“The same way I feel now,” I answered. “Scared. Embarrassed."
“Because she’s a woman?”
“No, I’m pretty sure I’ll be scared and embarrassed if a man beats me too.”
Detecting the mockery in my voice, Diana became upset again. I felt her thin hands close around my throat.
“Diana!” Sage called.
Diana let go of my throat.
“Listen,” I said, coughing from the brief loss of air. “I have nothing against women. Women are great. I’m beaten by a woman in combat everyday. The day I beat her would be the day that I throw a celebration party. I know women have strength… they can be stronger than men. I’m not afraid to admit that.
“My mother is the Visionary consummate of this nation; the most powerful all-seer. My sister is the queen of Suentia. My Knight Master and mentor is a woman. She’s also the queen’s champion and the best figher I know. She can even beat her husband who’s like seven feet tall. So, I know the power of women.
I’m not afraid to fight a woman but I never want to hurt a woman in combat because I think women are precious. After all, my mother is a woman and she did give birth to me. Women are the mothers of this earth. How can life continue without women? They’re to be treated, all of them, like royalty.”
I turned to face Diana. “Even you, Diana. I don’t know what’s turned you against men but not all men are bad. For those men who are bad, well, that’s why I want to be a knight. To help defeat people like those drudels who attacked you and Sage. I didn’t help you two because I thought you were helpless women. I helped because I thought you were helpless people. I would have acted the same way if you were men.”
“No you wouldn’t have,” said Diana. She sounded very calm.
“You’re darned right I wouldn’t have,” I admitted. I might as well continue being honest, right? “Drudels don’t care to hurt men, only women. So, of course I wanted to save you. Of course I thought you were damsels in distress. I didn’t want anything to happen to another woman because of drudels. My Knight Master was violated by drudels.”
To my embarassment, I felt tears coming to my eyes. “And I have seen what it has done to her. I don’t want any more women to suffer.”
I had to work very hard to hold my tears back but to my surprise, I saw tears glistening in Diana’s eyes too. She quickly turned away from me and began walking towards the fire where the dead turkey was. “Do you prefer leg, thigh or breast?” she asked.
I stared at her. “I’m not answering that question,” I said. It had to be a trick.
Diana stared at me angrily for a little while and then she began laughing hysterically.
For the rest of the night, we enjoyed each other’s company. Sage went off to the side to practice her swordsmanship while I continued chatting with Diana. It was fascinating talking to her. She really liked animals. She knew everything about them. I watched her as she fed, brushed and groomed Bullet. I was falling in love.
Just a few hours before, I was just falling… literally... because she pushed me. But now, I really liked her. Maybe I was even beginning to love her. The way she was looking at me, I could tell she was beginning to like me too.
Finally, we all decided to go to sleep but not too long after, I was awaken by someone shaking my shoulders. I opened my eyes and looked up into Sage’s brown eyes. “We need to talk,” she said.
I sat up, rubbing my eyes. “We have to go,” Sage told me.
“Wha’? Why?” I asked. I looked over to where Diana had been sleeping next to me. Diana was no longer there.
“Don’t worry about her. She went off to hunt with the pack in these parts.”
“The pack?” I asked.
“Wolf pack,” said Sage. “Listen, little knight-to-be. You’ll make an awesome knight and make me proud. You have my blessing.” She touched my head and I felt a rush of energy fill my body. She then reached over and touched my sword, which always remained beside me when I slept.
When I touched the sword afterwards, I felt that same energy. “What did you do?” I asked.
“Never mind,” said Sage. She smiled and stood to her feet. I noticed that Diana’s quiver and bows were gone and that Sage had her backpack on her back. They really were leaving.
“Why are you leaving?” I asked, feeling like crying.
“We cannot remain here for long,” said Sage. “We have our place and you have yours.”
Sage began walking away. “But Diana,” I said in a tiny little voice. I felt a knot forming in my throat. I can’t believe I wanted to cry. What was going on? I refused to swallow the tight knot in my throat. “Can’t I say goodbye to her?”
“Come on,” said Sage.
Sage began quickly walking away before I even had the time to gather my things and take Bullet’s reins. “Sage?” I called, since she was out of sight.
“Follow my voice,” I heard her say in the distance.
I did just as she said, calling her every now and then. I followed her into a large hole in the side of the mountain. It was a cave—which I didn’t notice the day before. A cavern ran through the cave and it was impossible to walk without getting my feet wet.
Stalagmites hung from the cave ceiling and crystals glowed all around me. It was so serene. I saw a light at the end of the cave and as Bullet and I walked through, I was surprised by what I saw.
The scene was unbelievable. We seemed to be in some ancient site. Surrounding the water were pillars and higher up, a balcony of some sort. It was like a utopia, the places you see only in your imagination. On one of the pillars, sat the woman I had so quickly fell in love with. She looked beautiful with the moon framing her figure. She now wore a long skirt and a short white top.
Sage, on the balcony, was draping a white fabric over her shoulders. She was dressed in white too and her owl was perched on the balcony with her. Her hair, which I though was black was actually golden brown in colour when illumated by the utopian light.
Sage came down from the balcony and approached Diana on her pillar. “Before we leave,” said Sage. “You should know our true names.”
I cocked my head, feeling like a confused dog.
“I’m Athena,” said Sage. “And my sister prefers to be called—”
Diana hopped off the pillar and held her hand over Sage—I mean Athena’s mouth. “When you come to your senses, you’ll figure out my name,” she said. “It was nice meeting you, young man,” she said, putting emphasis on man in a flirtatious way.
“Why are you going?” I asked.
“Just like men,” said Diana. “So blind to the obvious.” She placed a soft hand on my cheek and it felt like small little sparks of lightning on my skin. I didn't mind the slight stinging. At that moment I wanted to savor the tiny pain of her touch.
Sage—I mean Athena—laughed and her sister joined in her laughter as they began fading into the utopian background. As they faded, so did the utopia. Within seconds, Bullet and I found ourselves standing on the mountain again, close to falling off the edge of the cliff.
I screamed and backed away from the edge, pulling Bullet along with me. I began turning in circles. “Diana!” I called. “Sage—I mean Athena!” I continued turning in circles. I ran to the mountain and slapped my hands against the wall of the mountain. Where was the cave? I was frantic… furious. I held my hand to my cheek, which was still stinging from Diana's touch.
“Diana! Sage—I mean Athena!” I was getting mad not only because my love was gone and everything had disappeared but I kept calling Sage, Sage after she said her name was Athena.
“Wait a minute,” I said to myself. “Athena?” I thought about it. “Athena and Diana.” I repeated the two names to myself several times than I tried to figure out what Diana said when she told me I would figure out her name.
It was now morning and the sun was rising. I angrily grasped Bullet’s reins and began walking away, continuing on the stupid journey that Willa sent me on. Well, this was extraordinary but how can I prove it. I couldn’t even prove it to my self. “Diana,” I said. I felt tears about to leave my eyes and I thought, my friends would defintiely laugh at me now.
“Diana,” I repeated. “What do you mean I’ll figure out your name?”
“Sage is Athena. So Diana is… Wait a minute. Athena?”
Bullet neighed at me.
“Athena?” I repeated. “She did have an owl and she did have weapons. But what about Diana?” Could it be? No.
I hopped on Bullet’s back and began riding like a madman back to Wryemrack, clutching my sword the whole way. It took only one month to get back.
When I got back onto the palace grounds, I knew right away that Willa wasn’t there because her horse was’t roaming free. I rode Bullet to the Academy of Galantry where Willa sometimes worked and luckily, she was on the archery range, helping one of the pages learn to hold a proper stance.
“Lady Willa!” I yelled, just outside of the gate to the range. I didn’t feel like entering the academy to get inside the range. I climbed up on the gate and yelled as loud as I could, “I’m back!”
Willa looked my way, probably surprised I was back so quickly... or maybe not so quickly. I don't know which. She began quickly approaching the gate. I was still out of breath and could barely talk by the time she got to me. I pulled my sword from my belt and dropped it over the gate. It landed in the grass, the hilt pointing up towards the sky.
Willa grasped the hilt wordlessly and then quickly pulled away from it as though it had burned her. Shaking her hand with a bewildered look on her face, she stared up at me. “Explain,” she demanded.
“Athena, touched my sword and gave me her blessing and I…” I was still trying to catch my breath. “I fell in love with Artemis.”
Willa gave a big smile, looked down at my sword and slowy shook her head. “Reguric goddesses, eh?” she asked. “Pity,” she said, quickly wiping the smile off her lips. “No chimeras?”
I looked at her as though she was crazy. Looking diappointed, Willa shook her head again and began walking away but when she looked over her shoulder, I saw the look of satisfaction on her face. I’m happy I could make my Knight master proud. I owe her so much.
This experience has made me feel like a better person and now I feel that I can make a good knight and warrior of sorcery. I've learned something important about myself: how much I truly respect women. My friends can laugh at me all they want I don't care.
Still, I'm telling you, I’m hexed. Why else would I be so unfortunate to fall in love with a goddess?
Note to self: Suam Sister warriors are off limits and goddesses are off limits. Oh well, back to training with my female Master Knight.
Jasper's sword touched by Athena
In my fantasy kingdom, anything Greek is referred to as "Reguric."
Athena (Sage) is the Reguric warrior goddess of wisdom, skill and strategy (in war).
Artemis (Diana) is the Reguric goddess of the hunt and sometimes affiliated with the goddess of the moon.
I hope you enjoyed!