Kybele, or Keely as the Fates had endearingly called her from the first day they'd met ages ago, smiled radiantly, hazel eyes shining with mirth and intelligence. She lingered in the doorway of the room assigned to her friends, dressed in a long gown of teal, the light material flattered her complexion and the cloud of dark brown hair that fell in smooth waves done her back. Silvered rings graced her long fingers and several bracelets danced up her slender arms. Barely 20, she was concerned that she'd never marry. She hadn't found "the one". Although her father was urging her to at least consider the suit of Castor, son of Zeus. Castor was handsome, smart, funny and strong. The few times she'd found herself in his company, she'd not been bored. Castor, however, didn't like her that way. In fact, he didn't like any girl that way. It was a secret he'd trusted her with in a vulnerable moment. He was perfect husband material outwardly but Keely wanted more. She wanted passion and desire. She wanted love and she wanted a life. She was one Grecian princess who wanted to be far more than just an extension of her husband. She wanted a mate that would see her as an equal in all ways. Stubbornly, she refused every male her parents presented to her for consideration. Her father admittedly indulged and spoiled her but grew impatient, giving her an ultimatum. She was to use this summit as a chance to find her own mate. Her last chance. Otherwise, he would accept Castor for her. It was his right as her parent and King. However, who knew what could happen? Her true love just might be here.
"We had no idea either until last night. Apollo and Artemis were supposed to come." Lacy spoke gently as she emerged from the room that was hers while Atty snickered from her place before the small fire burning in the grate. Cloie danced forward, taking Keely's hands in her own, pulling her further inside, and shutting the door. Keely was one of the rare people, aside from the Olympians, who knew the three before her. They'd met during one of the Fate's "runaway trips" to Earth. Zeus didn’t like them leaving their temple at all and had forbid any and all trips to the world below but they were inquisitive imps and once learned to manage the ability to teleport, had snuck down a time or ten. They'd met Keely during one of those times, she who had snuck away on her own to the woodlands that graced her home. They'd become fast friends with the human girl, fascinated by her. As she was fascinated by the three powerful Goddesses. It was a friendship that had lingered and grew stronger between them, although it was Keely and Cloie that were closest. She had the utmost respect for Destiny and Fate, she just didn't always agree with the "chosen" path, so to speak.
"Has everyone arrived?" Cloie chirped, sinking onto a section of padded pillows, pulling Keely down with her.
The Princess of Thasos nodded as she sat next to the snowy haired woman. "Yes, the Norse contingency just got here. All the Egyptians arrived yesterday. Have you met them? Beautiful people but so dark and quiet. Solemn. They refuse to eat what was prepared, using their own cooks instead. A few deigned to talk with me yesterday...”
Atty shuffled forward, lips curling. "Egyptians. They don't bathe often enough. So, Keely, have you seen Castor?" Trust Atty to get to the point.
"He's here, holed up with Pollux and Achilles. Although last night they put on a masque for us all dressed as maidens. Even the Egyptians laughed at that. Most amusing."
All the young woman exchanged glances but diplomatically didn’t voice what was already known amongst them.
"So what revelries for tonight?" Cloie asked, fingers plucking at the beaten silvered bracelet on her tiny wrist. The containment collar of sorts Zeus had made them wear. They couldn’t use their powers for any reason and when the week was finished, they'd be brought back to Olympus and only then could the jewelry be removed.
"Dinner. Followed by dancing. Ought to be amusing, seeing the steps of other lands. Tomorrow is full, sports and culture. Then I do believe philosophy and religion the day after. I'm looking forward to it. Who knows, maybe our countries can come together under one big unified circle."
“It'll never happen." Atty offered. "Zeus, Odin and Ra…working together? Hardly."
"Isn't that what this is about thought?" Keely countered.
"On the surface. But none of them have humble egos. Look how long it took for this summit. Five years. Because they had to argue over it, the whole time. Where, when, how and why."
A soft scratch on the wooden door heralded the announcement of dinner being served in a few moments. A low rumble came from Cloie's stomach, followed by an unapologetic grin as they all took a few minutes to straighten their hair and gowns. First and foremost, they were representing Zeus and the Greeks, they didn't need to look like slovenly wenches.
"To dinner, then. And Cloie? Stay away from the wine. I heard Uncle Dionysus sent it. And you know how you get when you have just a cup." Lacy shot a warning glance to her youngest sister who had the grace to blush profusely.
"One time, Lacy! One time."
"Yes, one time. And Artemis still hasn't forgiven you for turning all her golden hinds bright purple."
"Who is that magnificent creature? “Dagr set down his goblet, the scant light from the flickering candles on their trestle table illuminating his dark eyes with a roguish gleam.
Soren followed his friend’s line of sight, a quick frown marring his own handsome face. Then just as quickly it was gone as he casually shrugged. "Some Greek maiden, no doubt."
The look Dagr gave him was scornful. "No doubt. I've never seen hair like hers. Not even back home. It's so light. Like snow. She's so tiny, I thought everyone here was over their majority. This one looks like a child. Intriguing. I'd like to meet her."
Soren covered the low growl that tore from his chest by picking up his own chilled goblet of wine and taking a long pull, glancing back at the table of Greek women. "Didn't know you where into little girls."
Dagr laughed. "Well, I'm not into little boys, brother. I just meant she's unusual." He stared a bit longer at the female, then went back to tearing apart the fowl on his platter, tearing off strips and eating quickly.
"I'd think you'd like the Egyptians more, my Prince. They seem far more sensual. I hear Greek ladies have their legs locked together at the knees." Soren threw out, picking at his own food.
"Doesn't matter. My key is wily enough to fit all locks. Mark my words, Soren. I'll have her before we go home. Her friends as well. That dark haired one, I heard them say she was the Princess of Thasos. Kybele. She's gorgeous as well. Body built for worship. You know, on second thought, I'm glad Odin sent us."
Soren didn't answer, simply shoved food into his mouth, taking his time chewing. He followed it with a swig of wine, his glass empty but quickly refilled by an attentive servant walking among the tables with bags of the brew, indeed supplied by the Greek God of Wine, Dionysus. He'd rather be back home with his family than witness to what was unfolding before him. He wasn't a man for niceties or diplomacy. He more often than not spoke his mind despite the company. He was a soldier. A warrior. He was proud of that. Following Dagr's besotted gaze once more to find it on the young Greek maiden with hair like ice and a soft, musical laugh that even now drifted their way, he inwardly groaned and thought quickly, pointing across the room to a far table, full of Egyptian ladies, dark, sultry beauties whose linen gowns couldn't hide their womanly curves. A few caught his gaze, throwing elegant waves and steadied, lustful glances across the room. He didn't even hesitate.
"My Lord, I do believe we're being watched." Jerking his chin towards the females, noting with satisfaction that Dagr swiveled his head around to spot them, a lazy grin tilting his full lips up.
"So we are. I call dibs on the one eating the apple. She has a mouth made to please. Let's see if she knows how to use it."
"I'm bored. Let's go back to our room."
All but Clotho agreed, she had surreptitiously stole sips of her sister's drinks earlier. Dion made the sweetest wine and she loved the taste of it, reminded her of candied syrup, the sting of alcohol all but hidden but potent to even the Gods. Atropos and Lachesis looked back her way as she shook her head, eyes wide and sparkling with the liquor and her own merry nature.
"No. You go ahead. I promised Keely I'd wait for her."
She nodded her head at the large floor. Dinner over, the tables had been cleared away and the musicians brought in, setting up off to the side. Now, people were mingling, speaking and dancing. An Egyptian had asked Keely to dance and even now they moved around gracefully, her friend's face tilted up and wreathed in a smile as they passed by. Atty narrowed her eyes, Lacy following suit as they both realized Cloie was slurring her words slightly.
"Atropos. No. I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself. I'll be along shortly. Promise."
Both sisters dubiously exchanged glances before finally nodding, leaving her there in the shadowed alcove they'd been observing from. She loved music, all kinds, and coupled with the wine's affects, was feeling bold and as friendly as an exuberant puppy. Should she attempt to make new friends? Perhaps someone would ask her to dance? She never had before. Well, not in pubic at any rate. Sighing softly, she watched Keely drift by once more, only this time she was dancing with Achilles.
“Bit. What are you doing here?”
Warm breath raced along her nape, causing her to spin at the sound of that dearly loved voice. “Soren!” She squeaked out before throwing herself against him, hugging him close. His own arms circled her, keeping her close before a low snarl fell from his lips and he gently pushed her back.
“Answer me. Why are you here?”
“Papa sent us as the representatives from Olympus. Oh Gods, Soren! It’s been years. You’ve grown! You’re not a little boy anymore…” She raked him with an adoring gaze.
The last time she’d seen him, had been eight years previously. During one of her “runaway” visits to Earth, she’d gotten away from her sisters and become lost. Soren, visiting port in Aegina with his father, a tradesman of noble lineage had found her sobbing behind a stack of discarded bowlines, wiped her tears and helped her get her bearings. She’d been 10 years old, Soren a proud young man of 14. They’d spent the day together, she felt so comfortable with him and they’d shared a meal of apples and a wedge of soft cheese before Atty and Lacy had found her finally. Soren had loomed large in her mind, she’d thought of him constantly and had spied on several times in her Thread Room.
“And you’re not a little girl. Thor’s hammer, Bit. What the hell are you wearing? Do all Greek maidens wear this? Aren’t you cold?”
She laughed, placing a soft hand on his tunic covered chest, over his heart. “I assure you, it’s quite proper, Sor. It’s called a peplos.”
His eyes shuttered a moment, lashes falling over the emerald green before he removed her hand, holding it in his own large one for a moment before dropping it and stepping away. “Well, I can see right through it.”
“There’s nothing to see. I’m not wondrously built like Atty or Lacy.”
He growled and shook his head. “Listen, Bit, why don’t you be a good girl and go to your chambers. We can meet up tomorrow somewhere.”
“It’s far too early to go to bed and I was hoping my Lord Viking would dance with me?” Her smile was radiant, sweetly beguiling and full of innocence.
Unable to stop, he reached out and cupped her satiny cheek, falling into those violet eyes he wanted to lose himself in, forever. She’d fascinated him as a boy, she could command him as a man, he wished for it. “Cloie, I …” He stepped closer, dipping his head down and was inches from claiming her plump lips when he froze and reared back. His shoulders squared and he moved back, away from her. “I don’t want to dance with you. What I want is you to get some sleep. Now, do as I say. Please."
Then he melted away, back into the shadows, spinning on his heel quickly and leaving her there to wonder at his harsh words and rejection. Were they not friends? Soren and Keely were the only humans who knew what she was. And still they called her friend. But there was something else to Soren's words, it was laced with an undertone that eluded her.
Now, her head spun with the wine consumed and she was weary. Perhaps Soren was right. To bed and then maybe tomorrow they could spend time together.
"This dance, Lady?"
The voice was smooth, dark and husky with a regal accent.
"Oh!" Startled she spun around to see a tall, handsome Viking to her left. He was dressed in soft fur and bore the look of nobility upon his chiseled features, his eyes mesmerizing and holding her own. He gave her no chance to answer before placing a warm, big hand on her hip and sweeping her out with the others. Surprised at his actions, she stumbled and ended up stepping on his feet three times which only elicited a teasing laugh, his full lips parting to flash pure white teeth at her.
“I can see dancing is not your calling. You’re not light on your feet. Tell me, Lady, how are you on your back?”
She wrinkled her nose up at him, sensing he was making fun of her. “How does one dance on their back?”
He swept her back into a dance once more, one hand tight on her hip, the other resting in the hollow of her back as he led them. “I can show you, if you’d like.”
She had to admit she was intrigued and slowly nodded. “I like learning new things. My name is Clotho, by the way, daughter of Zeus. But you can call me Cloie. Or Bit.”
“Can I call you mine?”
She blinked at him myopically a few times. “Ah...what?”
He laughed again and bent his head low, lips barely brushing her ear. “For a few hours anyway. Shall I tutor you in the ways of dance, Bit? Away from this crowd? We can practice for hours, if you’d like.”
“I don’t even know you.”
“My name is Dagr. I am the son of Tyr, who is the son of Odin. See? Now we’re old friends.”
“What about my sisters?”
“Do you want them to watch?”
She shivered as his lips caressed her ear again and pulled away to stare up at him. “I think you’re laughing at me but I don’t know why.”
“How old are you, Cloie?” Dagr deftly danced them off the floor and before she knew it, they were walking along one labyrinthine corridor, his arm casually around her waist. It wasn’t unpleasant but he was so domineering and she was both fascinated and a bit frightened by it.
“I’ve only just reached my 18th year. Where are we going?”
“I told you. My quarters. I want to teach you how to dance. As a daughter of Zeus, you must be trained in such things. You represent him. You can trust me, sweet Bit. We are alike you and I.”
They’d stopped before a shut set of ivory doors and he stepped forward to push them open with one hand. She couldn’t help but notice the flex of muscle along his arm and it spoke to some secret part of her. She grew a bit breathless and wasn’t sure why.
“We are? How so, sir?”
He ushered her in, closing the doors behind him and leaned back up against them to regard her slowly. The only light in the room came from well-placed wall sconces holding lit torches. “Not sir. Dagr. Let me hear you say it.”
Looming over her suddenly, she had to tilt her head back to look into his face. She was nervous. Anxious and her hands were shaking. If only the damned bracelet wasn’t on, she could have read his mind, seen his intentions. She didn’t sense evil from him
She sensed darkness though. And something else.
A soft gasp escaped when he cupped her cheek, as Soren had done earlier but before she could react, he rushed her lips with his own, devouring them in a heady kiss of heat and passion.
Her first kiss.
And for a moment, she succumbed to it, savored it. He tasted like almonds and spice, his breath warm and when his tongue slid wickedly through her mouth, brushing her own, she moaned low, small hands splaying along the pelt of fur covering his chest.
Dagr broke the kiss and let his lips travel along her cheek, brushing her ear then dipping down to nibble the slender column of her throat. “I could spend hours tasting your flesh, Cloie. Will you let me?”
She stilled, rearing back as her huge eyes rounded in apprehension, rapid Greek falling from her as she shook her head. Seeing his confused stare, she switched to his native tongue.
"No. I'm sorry. I...you see. It’s just that..." She felt his fingers caressing her arm, sliding upwards to the clasp holding her gown together and trembled. "I can't. I'm a Virgin Goddess. Zeus would have a fit. And I won't jeopardize relations between our pantheons."
Once more his lips roamed, nibbling a moist path along her bare shoulder. One deft flick of his hand and her gown loosened, the tie undone. It fell in a silky puddle at her feet. Shy and scared now, she pushed against him.
"Dagr. Nay. Please don't..." She whispered forlornly only to have him step back, reaching up and pulling the pins from the crown of her head, allowing the snowy curls to fall down to her hips in rippling waves. Proud young breasts, topped by shell pink nipples tight and hard, jutted through the waterfall of white.
Dagr's eyes filled with lust as he reached out with questing fingers to roll one nipple between thumb and forefinger. It felt...good. And wrong.
"Shhh, Bit. I won't hurt you. And there are many, many ways to please each other without breaching. Just as there are numerous dance steps, so too are the ways of lovemaking."
As he spoke, he'd began to disrobe slowly until at last he stood before her in all his naked glory, his shaft thick and large, straining and pulsing as he brushed a hand over it.
Cloie squeaked, a rosy blush appearing all over. "T-there are?"
"Oh yes, my Goddess. I'll show you..."
And then he advanced on her, the look of predator stalking his prey. Scooping her up effortlessly, he laid her down on the sleeping space, piled high with cushions and soft furs and hovered over her, drinking her in. Her breath caught as his warm mouth latched onto her nipple, gasping softly when he suckled it roughly. Hearing it, he raised his head and grinned lazily, nibbling kisses down her chest, brushing over her stomach, his breath teasing the platinum curls between her legs as he pushed her thighs wider apart with his palms. "Lesson one will be an oral presentation." Then his tongue snaked out, parting her outer lips and oh, oh, oh....
February 16, 2013- Zeus’s Temple, Mount Olympus
"They're waiting for you, akribos."
Cloie turned away from her image in the mirror as Hera strolled inside her own bedchamber, a beatific smile gracing her regal face. "You look beautiful, child. Fit for a King."
A sad smile pulled the Fate's lip up she took one last look at herself. All in white, the filmy sheer gown clinging to her as though it were another skin, hair pulled into tight curls atop her head, held in place with a amethyst hair comb covered in pearls. "Fit for a God King, no less."
Hera sighed, her own royal blue gown a sharp contrast to her dark hair and pale skin. "You could have said no, Clotho. All these years and still you pretend to be less than Zeus. Accept YOUR Fate and take control."
The tiny Fate shook her head, her normally sweet tone low as her violet eyes flashed with contained ire. "You speak treason, matera. More so, I have no idea what you're talking about. I'll be out shortly."
Hera reached out to touch her step daughter lightly on the cheek. "You are the best of us all, Bit. But not one single soul would think less of you should you decide to not go through with this."
"I gave my word."
Four words she couldn't recant or take back, and well Hera knew it. She finally nodded and left as quietly as she'd come in, a shimmer of power indicating she'd teleported out to where the rest of wedding party waited.
Mytikes. The highest peak on Olympus and where all the Gods and Goddesses sealed their unions with other deities. Where they married those they chose.
Or in her case, were forced to take. Swallowing, she tried reaching out mental fingers again, searching for her sisters but they'd shut her out, blocking her from their thoughts. It was just as well. She knew they weren't happy at all with what was happening and had taken themselves off the grid, as it were. She was far from pleased herself.
However, Papa set up the chessboard long ago and he was a master player. Despite the passing of years and the full truth of their powers and energy, the crafty Olympian King had bound the Moirae to him when they hadn’t known better. Mankind's destiny was the will of the Fates.
But the Fates themselves belonged to Zeus. They were his prized bitches, they wore his leash and his alone.
Hearing Zeus's voice thunder through her head, she closed her eyes against the sudden rush of tears lingering there, and yet four escaped, dripping down over her sweetly rounded cheeks. Her fingers closed over them, catching them in her palm as she closed her fist then opened it a moment later. Four pink tear shaped diamonds glittered there. A rosy pink that reminded her of sunrise on Earth, the color of the inner lining of sea shell.
The exact color of her Calliope’s eyes.
Calliope. Her child. Her only child. A child she'd been forced to bear in secret by command of Zeus. The Greek King of the Gods had been so angry, livid and full of rage that hadn't lessened over the years. She'd given birth prematurely on the lonely island of Naxos. It'd been deserted not long after the Summit all those years ago. She'd hidden there with none to aid her or help her. Zeus had told the others she was on a mission for him and none questioned the Greek God. None dared. She'd held the sweet infant for only a moment, had seen the brilliance of her eyes, the stamp of her divine heritage from Clotho. Her hair was darkest blonde, like her father's...like Dagr's. Zeus had taken the squirming baby and left, returning shortly with the short, terse information that he'd put the child into the womb of Dagr's new bride, her old friend Keely. Once Zeus discovered the young Fates condition, his thoughts centered on that and he forgot about the pressing need to gift his son with the Princess of Thasos. At the time Clotho gave birth, Keely herself was heavy with child. When the time came, she gave birth to twins, a boy and girl, Zola and Calliope. No one had been the wiser, the fact that Dagr's daughter had pink eyes was chalked up to the fact he was the grandson of Odin and therefore, his blood was divine in nature.
So much had happened since then. Dynasties had risen and fallen, kings and queens too. The world had changed, mankind had progressed and regressed countless times.
The Fates had been busy.
But in the early moments of the morning or the late stillness of the night, Clotho had thought always of her precious Calliope. Zeus had given her strict instructions to leave the girl alone, have no contact with her. He would kill her. He could do that. And Clotho could do nothing since she had sworn to never raise a hand against Zeus. Ever. For love of her daughter, she stayed invisible but took small measures when she could to ensure the girl's happiness on some base levels. But of course, eventually, Calliope had passed on, leaving behind children and grandchildren. All of Greece and Norway mourned her passing and the mother she never knew wallowed in grief for centuries. She'd wanted to bring Calliope to Elysian Fields but was denied. Calliope was part Norse, and since no one knew Clotho was her true mother, she went the way of her father's people in death, she went to Hel.
And now, eons later, Odin had named a successor to his own immortal throne. He was tired. He wanted peace and to live forevermore in Valhalla. The affairs of Gods and Men meant little to him now. Many thought he'd leave the crown to Thor or Balder. Maybe even Tyr. But he surprised them all by giving it to Dagr. His grandson to whom he'd given immortality after Dagr's wife had died.
It was Dagr who now awaited her on Mytikes. Whatever innocent affection she'd borne the Norseman all those years ago was gone. She didn't hate him, how could she? He'd been a good father to Calliope and his other children. She couldn't fault him for that despite any other character defects he may have had.
They'd been mere children then.
The shout made her jump as Zeus bellowed through her head again and in the next heartbeat, she stood on Mytikes, facing the small crowd of witnesses who all turned do look her way. Dagr, standing at Zeus's side, looked older but every inch a kingly warrior, his handsome face remaining blank even as his eyes held hers. he didn't want to do this any more than she, she oculd feel it. So, why?
And then her heart stopped for one painful moment when she a dark head peered around Dagr's shoulder. She was assailed by pain and a fresh wave of tender regret as a pair of cut glass green eyes pierced her for countless seconds.
Soren. Oh Gods, she should have remembered the tragedy that had granted him immortality as well.
The love of her very long life. He just didn't know it.