“Beloved,” Aidoneus whispered in his ear as he heaved for air. They always ended up like this; Callias’ heart beating so fast it could break his ribcage any second and Aidoneus having that wicked grin on his lips as if nothing had happened. He did not answer him; he laid back in the bed and looked up at him. His unnaturally white hair was not even undone. If his toga was not landed in a pile on the floor, there was no proof of what they had done.
“Beloved,” he repeated and buried his head in the indent of Callias’ neck. The weight of his body pressed against Callias, trapping him beneath him, but he was not trying to flee. He was breathing, trying to make his heart as still as Aidoneus’.
“Aristoi,” a soft voice interrupted from the other side of the wall. Though the servant stayed on the other side of the opening, Callias still frantically tried to grab a sheet to cover him, but Aidoneus only moved his head up into the air and kept him pinned against the bed unable to move away. “King Euaimon has sent a summon for you.”
Aidoneus groaned and buried his head in Callias’ shoulder again. The steps from the servant became distant, making him relax more again. It was strange how he was the one who stiffened up when their privacy was broken. He had explained it before. They were not doing anything inappropriate, but Callias still found some things to be private.
“I have to go, my beloved,” Aidoneus spoke before he pressed his cold lips against his. A breeze entered through the tower window, chilling him from face all the way down to his toes. But soon he was gone, with his toga picked up from the floor, and Callias was left alone in the tower room. He went to the window to watch Aidoneus leave through the crowded street, his toga covered in dark gray chiton.
When he entered the library the servants scattered away like ants under a stone. The room was so quiet it made him feel cold. Every part of the large house was quiet. Like it was not really a house, but just an echo of a home.
He went to the kitchen, because he knew the servants there would be too busy to scatter away from him when he entered. Three years it had been like this. If Aidoneus was not around he might as well be alone in the house.
“Aristoi Aidoneus will be dining with King Euaimon,” Nekron spoke to him. He was the only one who ever spoke to him. “Your dinner will be finished soon.”
“Again?” he asked before he could catch himself. Then he regained his posture. He should not be ungrateful. It was better than where he had come from. He still had the luxury of having someone else make his food for him. But the thought of spending another night alone in the tower was too much to handle. He needed to be around people.
He went to the backdoor to start binding his sandals when Nekron came over. Aidoneus had forbid him to go, but it was not the first time he had defied him. He expected Nekron to scold him, but instead he gave him a long white scarf. It was warm out, so his eyebrows knitted together. Without a word, Nekron pointed to a place on his own neck, and Callias quickly moved his own hand to where his neck met with his collarbone to feel the soreness. He had never met anyone so intent on leaving marks on him as Aidoneus. He accepted the scarf from Nekron and dragged it around himself enough to hide the spot.
He was not sure why he had even come here. He had no money on him for anything, he did not know any of the people there, he seemed to be in the way more than anything. But just the feel of the afternoon sun on his skin felt nice. The hassle of days’ last trading filled him with excitement. Everything at the house was so silent and orderly, here in the madness he felt like he could breathe.
It was like the whole world stopped. No one saw where he came from, but suddenly he was just there in the middle of the market, and as his lips drew away from his teeth in a smile, everyone in sight stopped and stared for a while. There was a second where Callias thought they were being visited by a god. He was tall and had the build the athletes the sculptors chiseled out of stone. His skin was tanned like bronze, but without any visible from the bright white fabric that was barely covering him over the shoulder. His hair was like fluid light; blonde, but not the kind of yellow that they had seen in the northmen, but more like strings of gold covering his head, yet the way the sun’s rays landed on it, illuminated it like a crown of pure light. That was all beautiful, but the divine was in his eyes. Callias had never seen eyes like these. His rational mind told him they were some shade of brown, but that did not capture the beauty. The edges were like a circle of bronze light while the inner irises were like fluid gold, waving and changing as he walked in the sun. Where had he come from?
His legs were not functioning, they felt like they had become water, but remained stiffly in their place, unable to move. He knew about witches of the sea, but he had never seen it happen before, but as he was unable to move even his eyes away from the golden man walking across the market, there was no doubt about it; he was spell-bound.
“Hello,” he greeted him. Callias had not noticed how the rest of the world had begun to move again, and only he remained captured and still. The center of all of the world’s movement. It was only Aidoneus that had been able to freeze him like that before. But then that was not exactly what had happened here. He was not frozen, rather the sun’s rays felt even more caressing and warm.
“Hello,” he answered, surprised that his tongue still worked. Without him noticing it, the man had taken his hands into his own. His touch was warm, like the sun had kissed his skin for hours. The heat felt strangely pricking. There were questions suddenly flowing through his head. Questions about who he was and where he came from, but something held them back and instead he stupidly uttered: “That’s my hand.”
“So it is,” he said with a smile. His teeth where white as snow. No, not snow. Light. Bright, white light. “I thought this was how you greeted people here. I’m Iacchos.”
Had he misunderstood? He looked down. No, that was not a handshake. He was holding his hand in his own, like he was trying to feel the knuckles. “I’m Callias.”
“You certainly are.”
“Right, well,” he started and retracted his hand again. What would it not look like if he stood there holding hands with strange men. Even if they might be gods. “I’m not selling anything, if that’s what you were thinking.”
“That’s a shame,” he answered. What was it that made his eyes twinkle like that? “I’ve never seen anyone wear that shade of violet before.”
“Oh, all the apprentices wear them,” he explained like he was trying to impress a teacher with his rehearsed knowledge. He was uncertain why he wanted to impress him, but he did. He realized that everyone in Atlantis knew what the violet toga meant. “Where did you say you were from, Iacchos?”
“I don’t think I did,” was his short answer, and before he changed the subject he grinned.
He did not recognize the feeling in his stomach. There was a moment when their eyes met, that it seemed all of cosmos melted away and the whole world was the golden auras in Iacchos’ eyes.
“Who are you?” he muttered, not sure he had even actually spoken. It was only after he had asked that he knew for certain, that this was no ordinary man. Iacchos only smirked in response. He did not know why Iacchos was trying to talk to him. He did not know a lot of things. But he knew that from this moment on, his life had changed.
“Why won’t you teach me how to fight?” he asked, looking up from the scroll. Aidoneus was sitting behind the table, and barely looked up to answer him.
“What do you need to learn that for?” he said and shuffled the parchments he was looking at. His white hair fell into his when he sat like that. He had never seen hair like Aidoneus’ unless it was on much older men. Aidoneus was not old. He was adult, but had no wrinkles on him. With such a pale skin, Callias would expect him to get sunburned all the time, but even on the days they actually left the house, the sun never scorched him.
“Well, when I can’t be your beloved anymore, I will be a citizen.” He knew Aidoneus wanted that to have been the end of the discussion, the question more rhetorical than anything else. “I need to be able to defend my city.”
“No you don’t.” His voice was more stern this time. He was looking at him with his bright crystal eyes, so blue they were almost shining. “Atlantis has plenty of young men that can die for it, your place is here.”
And then he was dismissed. Aidoneus had spoken, and now he was supposed to accept what he had said. But there was more that needed to be said. “I can’t be your beloved forever. At some point I will grow too old, and it won’t be proper for me to stay here.”
“Then we’ll leave,” he said simply. He was no longer looking at him to impose his will. He knew he had won already. At least he thought so.
“So what I’m just supposed to stay here forever?!”
Then he looked up again, but this time rather than dismissing him, his brows were tighter together and there was something in his eyes Callias rarely saw. They looked so different. Glossier.
He stood up from the table and grabbed him off the chair. He pressed him against his cold body, holding his shoulder with one arm and his head with the other. “You’re mine, Callias.”
“And you will always be mine,” he said as he moved a little back, but only enough so he could take Callias’ chin and move his face to look at him. His eyes shined so oddly then, like everything around them darkened. “I saved you from that place. You are mine, and I will not let something as silly as age or societal norms come between us. With you, I’m killing loneliness. I won’t let you go.”
A chill went down his spine as he felt Aidoneus’ lips press against his. The arms around him pulled him closer, and he was engulfed in the embrace, unable to move, unable to speak. So he closed his eyes and kissed him back.
He thrusted his sword up before him to dodge the attack. A splint chugged off into the air as the two pieces of wood collided. He grinned, because he knew he was getting better, and he knew Iacchos had expected him not to be able to deflect him in time.
Iacchos’ golden eyes shimmered with the surprise, but as he smirked he abused his position by moving his leg to the side and unbalancing Callias. It gave him enough leverage to push him back. As Callias stumbed backwards barely able to keep his footing, Iacchos took a firm step forwards, putting his hand on the delicate collarbone, pressed him against the wall and flicked the wooden sword out of his hand.
“That’s cheating!” Callias started yelling before he realized Iacchos was close enough to hear him whisper. “That’s cheating.”
“So it is.” The words slid out of his mouth like the trill of a lyre. He threw the wooden sword away and used the free hand to move the hair away from Callias face. It was then their eyes met again, and it seemed the movement of the planets were visible in that golden stare.
“Who are you?” Callias asked finally. The past few weeks he had wondered, deliberated, stayed up late in the night thinking about it. Everytime he came to the same conclusion. Iacchos was more than any man he had ever met. And he excused the feelings he was having on that. Because he could not place the feelings it brought out in him when he touched him like that, or why his heart started beating when he looked at him like that.
Unlike the other times he had asked, this time Iacchos did not smirk at him. His face grew serious and he stepped back from him. “I’ll share my secret with you. I’ve had many names through time.”
He gulped then. And Callias could see that he was nervous, which was so unlike him. Oddly enough, it did not make Callias nervous, like it usually would. The past few weeks of getting to know him had been like reading a book, and every page only thrilled him more. He stepped forth and took his hand. “You can tell me the truth.
His eyes shone then, the bright gold becoming brighter even, like small stars were glittering in them. And then, from seemingly nothing two large wings spring from his back. They were the kind butterflies had on their backs, but he had never seen one with such beauty. They were golden, like his eyes, like they were made of something he could not exactly place. Like they spun from threads of sunshine. “You’re a god?”
“A god is just someone being worshipped,” he said then. “I’ve been called names of gods, but it’s not the way myths depict it. There are all kinds of beings that look like humans but aren’t. I became one.”
“You weren’t always a…” he said but cut out. If he was not a god, what would he call it?
“No one I’ve met, were born more than human, they’ve all become what they are,” he explained and began to run his thumb against Callias’ hand. Now that he felt more at ease, Callias realized that he might have put himself in a position that he should not be in. But he could not resist the way it made him feel to be standing close to him, holding his hand. “I could make you one.”
“That’s hubris!” he whispered before Iacchos could say anymore. Even if he was proclaiming all the gods were not really gods, but strange butterfly-men, there were rules. Rules that did not seem to matter to Iacchos. Very soon he was too close again, his eyes glowing as he caught his stare. Callias could not stop himself from smiling but he still took a step back and felt the wall from before against the fabric of his toga.
“Callias,” Iacchos whispered, and it sounded almost like when Aidoneus talked to him. And still there was something different about it, and it was not just the voice. Something was missing in it. There was no demand in it, just the wanting. “I love you.”
“Don’t say that,” he whispered again as Iacchos moved even closer. He felt how his hard was beating hard in his chest when he pressed it against his. His fingertips slid up the edge of his arms so slowly it seemed time itself slowed down. “I’m his beloved, you can’t.”
Iacchos smirked then. Again. “Love is not a contract, Callias. You either love someone or you don’t. You may be his beloved, that doesn’t mean you love him.”
His face was getting closer now. He could feel his breath on the skin above his lips now. It smelled like summer. “And I know you don’t love him.”
And then it happened. The softness of Iacchos’ lips pressed against his own, as he held his head in his hands, and his eyes fluttered like the wings of a butterfly before they shut. In that moment he forgot where he was, and who he was. His hands moved up the man’s back, tingled over the edge of the wings and into his hair. They seemed to melt into the locks. But then Iacchos stopped the pressure, and leaned back from him a little bit. “I’ll stop if you want me to.”
He had never been in such a situation before. A kiss had always led to more, because that was what he had needed to do. But now someone was asking him, not what he had to do, but what he wanted to do.
“I can’t stop,” he whispered then and pulled him closer.
He had thought long about what to do. He had come back, stared at his dinner and eventually gone to his room in the tower and had been sitting on his bed ever since. How could he have done it? Iacchos had not pressured himself on him. This was different. He had been active in betraying Aidoneus’ trust. Iacchos was not the bad person here, he was.
He had never thought of himself like a bad person. Even before when he worked at the bathhouse, he knew that what he did was not bad, it was just his part to play in society. And then Aidoneus had found him, taken him into his home, promised to make him a citizen. And after all that, he had betrayed him. He felt his stomach turn with guilt.
“I need to tell you something,” he had started when Aidoneus had come home. He was removing the grey fabric from above his toga, barely made it through the door, but it could not wait. He could tell Aidoneus was about to wave him off, but then he looked at him, and it almost seemed like it was the first time he really looked at him. “Maybe we should sit.”
Aidoneus had never been so complacent before, but he silently sat down on the longstool with him. Callias did not want to take his hand, or intrude on him in any other way. He did not deserve it. He was not there to make himself feel better, he was there to tell Aidoneus what a terrible act he had done. And he would accept his fate. He would be sent back to where he came from. He had given him a chance at life, and he had spoiled it.
“Aidoneus, I-“ he began before he stopped himself. He did not even know what words to use. All those hours thinking and still he did not know how to explain what had happened. Not really. It was not just a physical act he had done, and he during it he had not thought of Aidoneus once. “I’ve been with someone else.”
The words were vague, but the meaning hang in the air like a silencer. He looked into the icy eyes of Aidoneus, but his face was unreadable. He never knew what Aidoneus was thinking. He never learned how to read him. It was not because he had not tried. But somehow he still knew he knew exactly what he was saying.
“Nekron,” Aidoneus spoke softly, as if he was summoning a servant any other day. Calmly, the man entered, and Aidoneus continued like it was everyday talk. “Get the bottle, we’ll be leaving now.”
“You’re going back to Corinth?” he asked, trying to understand the situation. There was something he was not being told, and as used to that as he had become, this time it was different. He had never feared Aidoneus before, but this calmness was not normal. Something was very wrong.
“No, we are going back to my home,” he explained calmly. Nekron entered then with a bottle of clear liquid in it. But instead of giving it to Aidoneus, he placed it before Callias. “Drink it.”
This was stranger. He looked at Aidoneus with his eyebrows closing together, but he did not say anything more. He took the bottle, but instead of drinking it he smelled it. “This is poison.”
“Yes,” Aidoneus spoke softly. “You will drink it, and you will come with me to my home.”
“You said you were from Corinth,” he said. He did not understand at all, and as he looked at the bottle in his hand he got even more confused.
“I am from Corinth,” Aidoneus answer again as if he was explaining something simple. “But my home is the Underworld.”
Callias eyes widened as the pieces fell together in his head. Aidoneus was a god. He was the apprentice of the God of Death. But then he remembered Iacchos’ words. If gods were just people, then there was no hubris. And he had a choice. “I won’t go.”
“You will drink it, and we will go,” Aidoneus said, but with much more demand in his voice than he had heard before. “You are my beloved and you will do as I tell you.”
Callias could see it all happen before his eyes. He would be brought to the underworld, and he would spend eternity sitting in his room in his tower. But things were different now. He knew. And he had a choice. “I won’t do it.”
He did not even see him move, it happened so fast. Suddenly Aidoneus’ cold grip was on his wrist and he was dragging him through the house. He tried to tug away, but he was far too strong. The room of the kitchen had changed. Where the hearth once was, was now the entrance to a tunnel, the steps of a dark staircase leading downwards.
“Let go of me!” he screamed and tried to hold on to the frame of the entrance, but one tug from Aidoneus and he lost his grip of it. But then the bright light of the sun burst through the entrance so much that his eyes could not see what happened at first. Iacchos’ wings shined like strings of light as he stepped into the tunnel. Aidoneus was blinded enough that when Iacchos stabbed him with the wooden sword it was enough for him to let go of Callias.
He sprinted as fast as he could, but soon he felt two hands on his hips. He did not have to look to see who they belonged to, the heat that came from Iacchos was enough. They ran through the house up to his room. He did not have time to think or act, soon his feet were off the ground and he was into Iacchos’ arms again, watching the window of his tower become smaller and smaller as they flew away from the cold room.
“I can’t do it!” he yelled as he held the small creature in the palms of his hands. Why did it not fly away? It just stayed there in his hands, trustful that he would not hurt it. He had never heard a butterfly say anything before, but then it made a small sound, like a kitten chirping. “Iacchos, I can’t!”
“I can’t do it for you!” he screamed. It was not anger that filled his voice, but desperation. His golden eyes were filled with salty drops as he kneeled and took Callias’ head in his hands, much in the same way Calias was holding the bug. “Do it, Callias, for your soul.”
“Callias!” He stiffened at the sound of his voice, carrying over to him like the chilling mountain winds. “Put that away, right now!”
He held the butterfly to his chest as he stood up. Aidoneus stood at the bottom of the stairs, his eyes shining ice blue so bright it challenged the rays of the sun. He did not know what to tell him, just seeing him filled him with such fear he felt his heart pound against the little bug.
“You can’t have him,” Iacchos spoke as he stepped in front of him. Already his golden wings had manifested on his back, breaking through his toga, shinning like golden light.
Through the sides of his toga, four large wings shot out, so black it looked like they were made from pure night. He did not bother to answer, he only lounged into the air towards Iacchos, who quickly met him half way.
Callias looked as the two gods wrestled in the sky. Gold and black mixing like a swirling tornado before Iacchos was pushed so hard he trembled through the air and landed on the steps before him. But he did not stay down, he quickly turned around and took off for him. Grabbing his arms tightly around his stomach he leapt off the cliff, his large gold wings spreading out to carry both of them into the sky.
He thought they were safe but then he felt Aidoneus’ ice cold hands wrap around his ankle and tug against them. The power of their wings were matched and as each pulled at him, he looked down to see Aidoneus eyes. He had seen them like that before, but he always tried to hide it. They were not wet from tears, but still sadness was spilling from them so much it made his chest close up. “Don’t leave me.”
He considered it for a short moment. If he was so lost without him, maybe he should stay. He did not know what his life would change into is he flew away with Iacchos. But he knew what it would be like with Aidoneus. A life of darkness and loneliness. Like it had been before Iacchos. He would be alone in a tower, waiting for Aidoneus to have time for him. And he knew it was not because he could not do that. He would not do that. He met Aidoneus pleading look with his own. “Just let me go.”
“No, you are my beloved!” With those words he tugged even harder, so much that he fell out of Iacchos grip. Instead of falling through the air, he felt the ice grip tighten around his ankle and set off in the direction away from Iacchos. The golden wings followed after them, but he could only see them get smaller and smaller.
There were only two choices now. Let himself be taken away and spend eternity in the underworld, or make himself strong enough to oppose him. He knew it was selfish, and he hated being selfish, but he did it anyway. He closed his eyes and did it. With his fingers he grabbed on to the wings of the small butterfly and ripped them out of its back. The scream he heard was ear-shattering. The sound of the small bug was so high-pitched he was surprised he could hear it. Then came the other screams. All over the islands he could hear them as the bodies fell to the ground. A large crack went through the entire island, the sea raging around it. As he felt every soul of the city fly through his chest and out through his shoulder-blades, the island crumbled and disappeared into the sea, like a stone in a puddle. It was like time stopped, like the sun stopped moving across the sky.
It was then that he realized them. It was like having a limb wake up from being asleep, like he had always had them, he just did not use them. Large white wings connected to his back, flapping in the wind to keep him in the air.
He did not need to kick to have Aidoneus let go. His eyes met with his, but his decision was clear, and he no longer had the power to tell him what to do. So he let him go.
Last edited by SunshineGreen Productions; 11-07-2016 at 09:34 AM.
Rose garden filled with thorns.
Post Thanks / Like - 0 Thanks, 1 Likes, 0 Dislikes
Ahhh that was so good *.*
To be perfectly honest, at first I had looked at the post and thought ‘holy shit, how do people write this much’ and then I started reading it and was blown away by the end. If I could have been sitting on the edge of my seat without my kitten stealing it I would have been.
Whilst I was reading through it, I seemed to note that Callias and Aidoneus never really used each other’s names unless it was to stress the importance of what they were trying to say. I am not sure if you meant it this way, however, to me that signalled that they weren’t actually as close as a first glance might suggest.
Whereas Callias and Iacchos seemed to be like two halves of the same piece, like they fit together perfectly and enjoyed each other but just needed that slight nudge to really understand.
It was also a little heart-breaking, being stuck in a love triangle where at least one person won’t come out on top. Aidoneus seemed to be so lonely that he drilled into Callias’ head that he was his ‘beloved’ and that was final. I mean, who would want to be stuck with the ‘God of Death' when so many people are running from it. I can only imagine what it feels like, however, that doesn’t justify closing someone in like a doll in a dollhouse, only to bring them out when you want to play.
That’s just my opinion anyways. I don't know.
I could say so much more about this wonderful piece, but I feel like I won’t do it any justice.
All in all I loved reading it so much, I’m a little jelly.
I don't know what to put here.
Post Thanks / Like - 1 Thanks, 0 Likes, 0 Dislikes
I really should have commented on this before hand, but I was happy to read it a second time.
I do not nearly have the patience to sit down and write something this length and keep it entertaining for my reader, the fact that you were able to do this is true dedication to your story.
It was nice, moving, intense, and a roller-coaster of emotion. The chapters became more appealing to read to find out what happened next, where the romance would lead. It kept the readers on their toes which is key to keeping them interested, whilst not giving them so much information that they become bored and quit half way through.
As I said I should've commented on this earlier but I was more than happy to read it a second time! Well done
Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus~ H.P