by Bethany Frasier & Melissa Germaine
Melissa stirred from a troubled sleep, sensing she was alone. In the darkness she reached out her arm to find if her lover were still by her side, but found only Bethany's gossamer gown lying crumpled upon the soft moss. The black night was moonless and stars filled the sky like jewels. A mist was rising out of the vale and it seemed to glow faintly, not catching light but softly creating it. Turning her gaze slowly around the horizon, she saw in the distance the dark figure of a girl's body silhouetted by the pale fog beyond, her legs apart, naked and standing alone. She watched for a few moments, wondering at her lithe figure and long, sweeping hair which fell almost to her buttocks, and she felt a deep, warm stirring calling forth memories of their past intimacies together. She could see that Bethany's gaze was cast towards the heavens and that she was motionless as a caryatid.
Rising to her feet, Melissa padded softly across the wet grass, slowly closing the distance between them. Emerging from beneath the high canopy of trees under which they had slept, she looked into the night sky and marveled at the beauty of the river of stars ambling across the sky from horizon to horizon. Out of the corner of her eye she caught the streak of a starfall, but it was gone by the time she turned to focus upon it.
"There will be six more," whispered Bethany quietly, but before Melissa could speak, another streak caught her eye and then another. As she watched the same patch of sky, her eyes learned where to expect the next falling star, and with the seventh, the display ended.
Melissa was thrilled by the mysterious event and wondered what had called her companion from her sleep to find it. She felt dawn could be no more than an hour or two away. She slid softly behind her lover, pulling a fine string off of each shoulder, letting her sheer gown fall to the grass beneath her. Her bare breasts touched Bethany's feathery curtain of hair as her hot mound pressed into the softness of her lover's rounded cheeks. Bethany reached behind her and caressed Melissa's dew-kissed hair as her lover lifted her chin onto Bethany's shoulder and kneaded her mons into her ass.
"The night is lovely. Come lay with me."
Bethany turned and nestled her breasts into Melissa's. Their lips found each other in the darkness and as their tongues swirled together, their hips began a soft dance which crescendoed with their passion.
As co-mingled juices streamed down their inner thighs, they felt the soft, slick skin of their breasts sliding together in each other's sweat. Their night dance quickened with their ragged breaths until they fell to their knees, their long hair wiping across each other's wet skin. They lay in the grass, Bethany upon Melissa, finding familiar creases and soft hillocks to explore once again, taking up each other's sweet juices with furtive laps of their tongues until ecstasy screamed unheard under the flood of stars of the Milky Way.
"The sistrum of Hathor will soon entice Ra from the netherworld, my love," Melissa said in quiet gasps. "Let us honor her with a show of our desire." As Melissa looked up in amazement, seven streaks of light cut across the sky from the Perseus radiant in quick succession and her rapture erupted under Bethany's quick tongue. The stars blurred together and Bethany was grateful for the cool mists which rolled over the grasses upon which they lay, for their refreshing droplets chilled her heated skin as Melissa's impassioned body heaved under her in breathless abandon.
At dawn, Bethany awoke in her lover's arms where they laid under the stars an hour before. The sky was streaked with a pale red glow and Bethany looked to the air, but the birds whose waking song she had fallen asleep to not long ago were nowhere to be seen. She admired the lean curves of Melissa's soft skin glowing in the warm light of a new day. She breathed in the intoxicating scent of their love-play, which still lingered on their skin, and gently combed her fingers through her lover's silken tresses, pulling the last finger-length between her lips. Melissa woke suddenly and started momentarily until she felt her companion close by.
"A dream!" she said, almost under her breath. "How long...?"
"We've slept but an hour since..." but Melissa grabbed her arms and they pulled each other upright.
"Let us find food and then I must see the goddess." Bethany assented encouragingly.
Bethany waited on the steps of the pavilion where Aphrodite held court. The open-air temple was expansive so that she could not hear their conversation across the distance of polished marble. She knew only that Melissa had been troubled by her dream and now sought the counsel of their mistress. But in her heart, she felt a call to her spirit and prepared her heart to say farewell to The Goddess of Love.
The tall grass waved lazily over Bethany's head as she lay looking up at the azure Mediterranean sky. The blueness of it overhead was so deep she squinted to discern if she might see stars twinkling faintly through it. Time seemed to have no more meaning under this perfect day than it had in the darkness of Kur, though that memory was fading like a dream vanishing upon the morn. She wondered if Melissa felt as wistful, and realized this was the first she was parted from her lover since that night of their erotic firedance together upon the eve of the sacred Samhain in the borean woods of the enchanted isle, now far away.
Their time was now drawing to a close on this isle, home of their goddess, for they sensed a change in the wind the fates were blowing. Aphrodite had bade Melissa to find the Oracle of Kyprios upon the wooded hills above the western coast where her temple had been newly consecrated. But she was cautioned to go alone. Their parting had been bittersweet but Melissa and Bethany knew their fates were, as always, in the hands of the goddesses. Bethany had accompanied her as far as the open grasslands in the valley below the hills and there their hands and lips had parted for a while until Melissa's return.
Bethany drew her legs off the soft bed of grass upon which she laid and lifted her feet to dance in the air with the swaying heads of the tall grass. As a gentle breath of breeze bent the grasses one way and another, her slender, shapely legs would follow their lead. As their grain-filled heads bowed and rebounded, her bare feet would gracefully turn and twist to mimic them. When a sudden gust pushed a prairie wave over her head, bending the grasses almost to the ground, she laughed at having been outguessed by the winds. Tiring of the game she straightened her legs to the zenith and after a moment was startled when a dragonfly lit upon her toe and flitted momentarily but wouldn't fly off.
She pulled her leg towards her face to look closely at her visitor. It turned, stepped onto another toe and Bethany giggled to herself. She wiggled her toes and finally the slender-winged insect flew off. She put her hands under her hips and lifted her legs again high into the air then lazily spread them wide. She felt the inner lips of her vulva pull apart and slowly pulled her finger up through the moist valley until it rose up her clitoral hood.
She felt for any scar left by the penetration of Lamashtu's claw or the slave ring the demon had cast into her most intimate flesh, but no trace remained that she could find. Melissa had examined her for any trace of the demon's cruel wound but Bethany would always be haunted by her assault. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the thinly-filtered sun raising fine beads of sweat upon her darkening skin, feeling it cooled by the soft breeze. She soon felt the muscles of her eyelids relax while her fingers rolled playfully over her clitoris. Melissa's lithe image filled her mind as waves of pleasure rolled out from her warming sex. Bethany felt herself nearing her favorite place as her whole body became consumed in pleasure. She gave herself up to the crashing wave as she climaxed luxuriantly, then relaxed and slowly drifted into sleep.
Melissa had scaled the gentle hill upon which the oracle of Cyprus was alleged to be found, but she had been wandering through a thin glade since mid-morn without finding a trace of the ancient site. Her mistress had cautioned her that her search may not at first be fruitful, but patience was not the first instinct of those who loved the goddess of desire, for desire itself was impatient. Melissa longed for the company of her paramour but the goddess had instructed her that this day she must seek the oracle alone. When they had heard her words she knew curiosity had shown upon her countenance while Bethany's expression had remained inscrutable. She wondered if Bethany knew the reason for Aphrodite's command, but felt it wise to question neither the goddess nor her lover, hoping her silent friend might open the subject herself as they walked hand-in-hand through the trees towards the west, but Bethany had remained warm and close to her but silent.
The sun twinkled brightly through the leaves of the great trees overhead as they swayed in the steady breeze. The rush of the air through the interlaced branches made a sound that filled her with both comfort and wistfulness, like the breaking waves of the sea. Melissa's senses were open and attuned to the mysteries of the world behind the world her eyes could see. She looked up the hillside for a path she had not yet searched but a flash of the full disk of the sun temporarily washed the sight from her eyes as the canopy overhead had suddenly parted with the wind. She closed her eyes and saw the dull red-against-red outline of the gold disk behind her eyelids.
She squeezed her eyes shut tighter and the image appeared and disappeared, changing to the shape of a golden barque and then a chariot before she could be certain it was really there. She suddenly realized she was losing her balance upon the slope of the hillside, but when she opened her eyes again the world had subtly changed. Everything in front of her eyes seemed the same but stripped of complexity. The world off to the periphery seemed different and elusive. Instead of focusing on that which normally occupied her mind's attention, her mind pulled her gaze always off to the sides where she felt understanding lay, but as she drew it towards the center of her vision, the feeling of comprehension was lost so that she was constantly trying to see what lay beyond the edges of her waking window.
She now realized that all her senses had been reoriented to attune to the world from a different perspective. Clarity of sight, sound and touch seemed always to be off to the sides of her normal center of attention, and it was maddening to lose the clarity whenever she tried to focus upon it. She wondered what was happening to her, whether she was losing her mind or her consciousness. She felt dizziness and confusion sweeping over her. Her conscious mind, now receding from her grasp, felt one final sensation from the world she knew as she felt her knees hit the rough bed of fallen twigs and leaves upon the ground upon which she knew she had fallen. In her mind as in her dream she felt herself descending steps of cold stone in the darkness and felt her path downward would be endless. She was alone.
Melissa awoke to the mid-day light filtering through the trees. She was lying upon the forest bed but she was not alone. Upon her hand a dragonfly sat motionless. Though her natural reflex tried to pull her hand away, she found she couldn't move until the dragonfly took flight. She sat up and sensed the presence of another sentient mind nearby but saw only the trees.
"Where is your friend?" said a voice.
"Who?" answered Melissa warily.
"Why did you not share your dream with her?"
"If you are an oracle, you know already," countered Melissa.
"Bring the lioness to me and I will answer your queries."
"My goddess counseled me to come alone," said Melissa.
"Aphrodite could not explain your dream. Why follow her counsel? Bring Ariel to me and I will help you," the voice persisted.
"Why will you not show yourself?" Melissa asked. She began to feel an invasive presence probing her thoughts and knew not whether she should close her mind or whether the oracle would help her this way. Why would Aphrodite send her into danger? She knew there was need of caution regarding the oracle's interest in Bethany. Her heart betrayed her and her thoughts filled with the eve of the Samhain and the night-long dance of passion she first shared with Bethany. The memories turned real once again and her body gyrated as it had that night. Her nipples hardened under her gown and her sex flowed like a spring but she knew she was being used as a surrogate. She forced her mind back into focus and tried to confront the oracle with all her attention.
She found herself on her feet and except for the wetness streaming down her legs she was back in the moment, but the oracle was silent. She looked around, slapped her arms to her sides in frustration but still there was silence. She felt she had been abandoned and began walking down the slope through the trees. After several minutes she heard footsteps approaching and froze in her tracks. Wading through sprays of myrtle climbing the incline of the forest floor to her left she watched an old blind woman carrying a large bundle under her arm.
She kept still as the woman approached her, paused, and craned her head as if listening to the sounds in the forest, then continued her trek up the hillside. Melissa followed her with her eyes, but shrugged and continued down to the valley below.
"You must journey to the Festival of Hathor," said the familiar voice. "You will find your answers along your path, but stay close to the augur."
(c) 2008 Bethany Frasier
Melissa continued her walk down the valley, eventually emerging onto the beach. The heat of the late afternoon was stifling. The gentle sea breezes were cooling though, and she enjoyed the caress of the slightly cooler air on her bronzed skin. Melissa sat down and stared out to sea, into the haze. Due South across the waters lay the ancient land of Egypt. The late afternoon possessed a calm and quiet feel, the rustling leaves of nearby Olive trees and the scent of Oleander, sweet thyme and Rosemary filled the air with a heady mix.
Further down the beach, Pine trees added a sharper note. Melissa’s mind was almost empty for now, and her eyes felt heavy. Lulled by the dream-like atmosphere and the sound of crickets, she lay back on the warm sand and closed her eyes. The sun was low in the western sky, and her thoughts began to focus on Bethany. In her mind, images came forth of the night of the Samhain, where she and Bethany had devoured each other in an exhibition of unparalleled and unbridled sexual passion.
Melissa was aware that Bethany and she had an ancient lineage, although neither of them had known how old they were, nor how far back in the mists of time they first came together. Each of them could not explain nor remember how they came to the enchanted island of the Northlands, only that the great Goddess, she of many avatars had brought them there in order to celebrate her Sexuality. Now, they were servants, priestesses of Aphrodite, whose will they were subject to. The Goddess had demanded much of them in their mission to free Inanna from Kur. Both she and Bethany had suffered great tribulations in carrying out their mistresses bidding, but she had been with them throughout and her love was always present.
Aphrodite though, was a beneficent mistress; she had bestowed gifts upon them that no other mortal would ever gain. They were favoured ones—the Chosen of the Goddess of love, and now the oracle had told Melissa she must travel to participate in Aphrodite’s Egyptian counterpart’s great festival. The oracle had not made clear the reasons, but she knew it would only become clear once she and Bethany had arrived in Egypt. Hathor, the Greek rendition of Hwt-Hrw was an ancient Goddess, one of the many manifestations of the Great Mother. Melissa’s intuition saw clearly that Hathor was a primeval essence of the divine feminine, possessed of many aspects, principally sexual love, drunkenness and music. The greatest of human pleasures came from her benevolence. Truly Aphrodite’s sister.
The soft wind stirred the grasses and Melissa’s mind returned to the seven meteors she had observed the night before. The thought drifted into her consciousness that in some way they had to be connected to the seven sacred cows, which were all manifestations of Hathor. Nothing specific came to mind. Perhaps, as the oracle suggested, it would become clear to her and Bethany once they arrived in the Nile Valley.
Melissa stretched out and her hand lazily found itself resting on her mound. She enjoyed the feeling, and allowed her fingers to play with the fine pubic hairs adorning her sex. Her other hand undid the clasps of her white gown, and pushed it aside, exposing her full breasts. Squeezing her nipple, she felt a growing excitement. She stirred and murmured softly as her fingers played along her wet sex.
"Hello, my love," whispered Bethany, who suddenly appeared by her side. "Allow me," she whispered in Melissa’s ear, and Bethany kissed Melissa’s ear. Melissa purred sweetly as her lover’s tongue licked her ear and then she stiffened slightly as Bethany sucked her ear lobe.
The heat of the late afternoon lay heavy over the landscape. The air shimmered and a haze cast itself across the azure sea. The world seemed to have lost any sense of time. Indeed, here in this blessed island, time to these girls had little meaning. Mortal concerns were not theirs to share. Melissa enjoyed Bethany’s kisses upon her neck and the warmth of her hand on her breast. Melissa’s nipples grew erect as shadows lengthened.
Bethany then drew Melissa’s toga down her body, and pulled it free of her feet. She then kneeled astride the softly cooing Melissa, leaned forward, and kissed Melissa’s full moist lips. Melissa returned the kiss with vigour, her hands reaching out and clasping Bethany behind the head. She pulled her tightly against her. Melissa moaned demurely as Bethany’s finger’s rubbed her swollen labia; the sensations flowed through her body, igniting the flames of passion in her.
Bethany sucked on Melissa’s stiff nipples, taking each perfect breast in turn. She enjoyed the feeling of her own nipples brushing over Melissa’s body with equal relish. A gasp came from Bethany as she became aware of Melissa’s fingers sliding along her own wet sex, and her love dew dripped onto Melissa’s mound. With a shaking spasm, Melissa’s quick quivering quim gave forth its fountain of sweet nectar, causing Bethany to cry out with joy. Bethany took an oily finger from Melissa’s love groove and licked it slowly, as Melissa’s fingers worked her slick sex; Bethany felt it swell as she became more and more excited.
She thrust her pelvis against Melissa’s fingers, crying out as Melissa pushed three fingers deep between her wet folds, now opened like the blossom of a beautiful flower. She sobbed with pleasure as she felt her own orgasm explode in furious spurts, the stream of hot juice, falling on Melissa’s delightful mound and running down to mix with Melissa’s own syrups. Exhausted, Bethany lay alongside Melissa, their bodies heaving and panting, sweat coated.
They lay still for quite sometime, looking up at the blue vault above, now darkening as night drew on. A dragonfly hovered nearby and landed on Melissa, who opened her eyes to view the creature. Melissa wondered if it was the same one which had earlier landed on her foot. She casually brushed it away. One had to be wary of interpretations, but the feeling remained with her that somehow, it was conveying a message.
Bethany leaned on one elbow, and gazed at Melissa, her eyes wandering with a ceaseless wonder at the perfection of her lover and companion’s body. It still and always would utterly mesmerize her.
"My love, tell me what happened when you spoke to the oracle?" Melissa turned around and looked into Bethany’s wondrous brown eyes, those eyes which peered into her soul.
"Sweetest love, nothing was made clear to me. You know how the oracles are a matter of correct interpretation. My love, we are summoned to Egypt, far across the Southern Sea, to take part in the great festival of Hathor. I expect whatever is meant to happen will happen, and the purpose of our journey become clear." Melissa embraced Bethany, who looked somewhat surprised.
"It is not for us to question the Goddesses," she replied. "We must go then."
"Yes, we must," replied Melissa, "Very soon we take ship. But come, my sweetest lioness. Let us take some refreshment, sit around an open fire, and remember the night of the Samhain." Bethany smiled with immense warmth.
"How could I forget?" The gathering darkness was falling like a velvet cloak upon the island, as the girls made their way back to Aphrodite’s Temple complex….
(c) 2008 Melissa Germain Soames
Their bare feet instinctively found sandy toeholds in the native stone as they neared the end of their climb up the rocky ascent from the beach. Melissa turned and pulled Bethany up to her level as they worked their way up the slope. The sun was lowering almost to the horizon behind their backs when Bethany turned and squinted into the upper limb of the setting Mediterranean sun. Her heart quickened for she sensed they were about to be blessed by a rare vision offered by the earth mother.
"Turn and look, my love!" she said, as Melissa wheeled upon a grassy tussock between outcroppings of the rocky headland. As she peered distantly across the sea below them, Melissa marveled at the reddening haze through which the setting sun descended, but Bethany told her to watch the upper rim of the star as the thick atmosphere tore its waning light from the setting disk in ragged layers of fire, rippling like a slow mirage over the warm sea. "Watch the upper limb," urged Bethany, and as the lowest parts disappeared beneath the distant horizon, a flash of pure green light appeared for a moment, separated from the rest of the starlight and then quickly was extinguished as the last of Ra's disk disappeared from the day.
Melissa was transfixed by the rare spectacle and watched the last vestiges of daylight recede from them through the infinity of twilight that ringed the western sky. She kissed Bethany's cheek as the first evening star twinkled through the darkening sky above the horizon. As Bethany brought her gaze downwards towards the shore below them, she looked up the coast and saw in the distance the darkly jagged spur of Petra tou Romiou breaking above the pale foam of the crashing waves. The divine land-fall where their goddess had risen from the sea aroused a familiar passion in Bethany's soul. The sound of the breakers rushing to the beach below them filled them also with a passion for the sea as they knew they were soon to voyage across it to the deserts of Egypt.
They thought to make for the temple through the night to say farewell to the goddess and beg her leave as they knew they must now journey upon a mission of their own across the water. They had not yet lost sight of the sea through the tall trees when Melissa saw the distant flicker of firelight through the woods to their left. Curiosity turned their course north along the coastal rim to find the source of the light. The tall pines gave way to groves of olive trees and their walk became easier as the thick bed of pine needles upon which they walked turned into soft grasses.
They quietly approached a small clearing where driftwood and olive boughs had been piled and set ablaze. Seated beyond the fire were two young girls who could not yet have seen their approach through the flames.
"Hello, young friends!" called Melissa, as they neared the camp-site. They were huddled together under a blanket of soft wool as their clothes dried upon pikes staked next to the fire.
"Hello! Did you also come to visit the shrine?" said the young girl with tresses of auburn, still damp from the sea.
"Shrine?" inquired Bethany.
"The rock of our goddess, Aphrodite," said the other. Bethany glanced at Melissa who looked upon their hosts with a reassuring smile.
"You are servants of the goddess?" asked Melissa.
"In our own way, though we have not yet been allowed to join the sisterhood of temple priestesses."
"You are very beautiful," said Melissa. "But you are still very young. Can you not wait a year or two? Priestesses of Aphrodite's temple are called upon to service the men of station who come to pay tribute and honor the goddess. You seem still in flower for your beauty, and cannot have lost your innocence so young. What are your names?"
"I am Kyrenia," said the girl with dark eyes. "This is my sister Galenia. We are from nearby Paphos. Have you journeyed far?"
"Far indeed, young friends! I am Melissa, and Bethany here is my companion." At the revelation of their names the two girls stepped before them, letting their blanket fall to the ground behind them. They both knelt to Melissa and Bethany who were surprised by their display of deference.
"You are favorites of the goddess. You are fabled by all who would honor her," said Kyrenia.
Bethany and Melissa gave them their outstretched hands to pull them to their feet, but the two girls kissed them instead. Bethany stooped down and picked up their blanket and re-wrapped the naked young girls against the cool night air, but was stirred deeply and admired their youthful beauty, as did her lover.
"Please share our food and tell us of your journey," said Kyrenia. Melissa and Bethany kneeled together beside their new friends and sipped an infused brew which had been warming in a copper pitcher in the embers at the fire's edge. The herbal tea was a stimulant which refreshed them immediately. They thanked the girls for their hospitality and told them they were on their way back to the temple.
"You came not on pilgrimage to Aphrodite's rock, you say?" asked Galenia, puzzled. "And yet you came this far to the coast?"
"Gal!" interrupted Kyrenia. "You should not be so inquisitive." Bethany smiled and explained that the goddess had sent them on an errand of a personal nature to them.
"You have both surely seen much of the world though, and know lore from many lands. It has been whispered that you know of times both past and future. Are you also goddesses?" asked Galenia.
"We are carried through the world and the ages by the tides and currents of eternity to serve the goddesses. Our destinies are intertwined, and joined to theirs."
"Please, can we beg of you a story?" asked Galenia.
"Melissa is the master of lore," offered Bethany, "But here is a story I have heard told":
'In the ancient domains of Ea, the Lord of the Waters prepared a perfect garden for the coming of the first woman and the first man to the world. He gathered from the far corners of the earth the wisest and fairest of the beasts to dwell in the garden so that when they arrived, Adam and his mate would learn the wisdom of Ea and be not alone. The animals of the garden lived in harmony, for there was no want in so bountiful a paradise where the water was as nectar and the figs were the ambrosia of life. But after the making of Adam from the clay and Lilith from the watery abyss, so there ended the harmony of the garden, for Lilith would not submit to the patriarchy of man and god.
'Adam was ever expectant of Lilith to submit to his will in all things and lay under him as an inferior, but would not allow Lilith to mount him and be as his equal in the act of love. So Lord Enki sent Inanna, the daughter of the moon to teach Lilith the arts of love so that Adam's restless desires would be soothed. The goddess of love arrived in her accustomed manner astride her golden feline bearers, two magnificent lionesses, who carried her proudly before the gathered hosts of the animals of the garden and her retinue was received by Lilith, who welcomed the lovely goddess and begged her alliance in reasoning with her obstinate mate. But Lilith's complaints to Adam had only estranged his affections and he wandered away through the garden in callous mood taking even the females of the bestiary and dominating them to his will also.
'But Lilith and Innana were kindred in mood and became impassioned lovers in Adam's absence, and the goddess made Lilith her handmaiden to serve and share her pleasure, for the femmes understood passion and generosity in love, while man knew only lust and dominance. But seeing that his purpose was not served in sending Innana to the garden, Enki summoned her back from his envoy to return from the garden east of E-den. But as she departed, the goddess of love in sympathy transfigured one of her lithe and powerful feline bearers into a beautiful dark-haired girl to return to Lilith as her companion. But in frustration at the loss of her goddess and lover, Lilith uttered the name of he who may not be named, and was banished forever from paradise and cast back to the abyss, never knowing the fair gift she was sent from her mistress. But the young maiden who remained behind would not stay in the garden to suffer the will of man, for being a lioness in spirit, her heart was akin to both Lilith and Innana, and would not be dominated. But she could not return to rejoin her sister to carry the fair Innana on her journeys, and her destiny in the world is now hers alone to tell.'
"That is very sad!" said Kyrenia.
"Yes!" agreed Melissa, as her gaze lingered softly upon Bethany from below her raised brow. But Bethany only smiled wanly and asked Kyrenia and Galenia if they had recently been to nearby Paphos, and if they knew of any boats they might engage for passage across the southern sea from that port.
"There are always shore-runners carrying consignments of copper to Enkomi, but they will not take a girl aboard unless she is the daughter of the king and it is by royal command that they do so," said Kyrenia.
"What do they fear?" asked Melissa.
"The men say it is bad luck to take ship with a woman aboard. My grandfather told of a merchant ship from Canaan which stopped here in Alashiya to take on many talants of copper mined from this very hill rising behind us, but before it reached the shores of Antalya the ship went down in the waters of Uluburun and all hands perished. It was said a woman was seen climbing aboard as a stow-away the night the ship dipped oars. But we have heard too that the mine from which the copper was dug had no shrine consecrated to the gods for their blessings of the wealth taken from the earth mother. The ship's cargo may have thus been cursed and Poseidon reclaimed it from man. I believe this may be the truer story, for many mysteries surround the heights above this place where the oracle is said to exist."
"You have been to the oracle?" asked Melissa.
"Oh, no!" asserted Kyrenia. "Only persons of strong hearts and clear minds can even find its hidden location, much less bear contact with it. It is a perilous place. None have discovered its whereabouts in generations and it is not spoken of in these regions of Alashiya."
After a moment of silence, Galenia remembered Bethany's question. "Where do you wish to travel over the sea?" she asked.
"We travel to Egypt for the Festival of Hathor to honor the earth-mother," said Melissa.
"But you are priestesses of Aphrodite," noted Galenia. "Does she send you as her embassy?"
"We serve the great goddess in all her avatars," said Melissa. The sisters looked at each other in puzzlement and Bethany smiled, reaching behind her to gather something from the ground into her hand. She held forth her arm to them and uncurling her fingers there appeared a mushroom in her palm.
"This you see is but the visible fruit of an invisible plant which spreads unseen beneath the soil for many thousands of cubits in every direction. When you see these growing here and there, it is natural to think they are all separate and individual things but they are each and all but the visible fruit of one great hidden lifeform. So it is with the great earth mother. She lies unseen behind all of nature but shines forth in visible form in different times under different names. She has been called Innana and Ishtar, Astarat and Cythera, and in days hence in the faraway north she will be known as Freya and Aidin. But in Egypt, she has been worshiped for a millennia and has been called Hathor. But they are all faces of the sacred femme in all her aspects, and we are ever hers." Melissa bowed her head in quiet assent.
The four girls shared stories into the night until the air grew chill and more dry boughs of olive were thrown to build the heat of the campfire. The two sisters grew enthralled by the worlds Melissa and Bethany had seen and indeed were in awe of their charms. As the fire grew hot again, Melissa and Bethany were called by memories of their fateful first dance together and rose hand-in-hand to face the light of the fire. They threw their heads back with their legs intertwined to watch the glowing cinders fly towards the stars, and their long hair swayed behind them in a quiet rhythm, glowing and softly backlit by the flames.
Galenia and Kyrenia were both enamored of their beauty and watched every curve of their bodies which now danced erotically to a music which only they and perhaps their goddesses could hear. A flagon of wine was drawn from the bundle the sisters had brought with them and was passed between the company for refreshment. Kyrenia sang a soft ode to Aphrodite as the girls danced, and warmed by the fire and the wine, she threw off her blanket and sprang to her feet naked before Melissa and Bethany.
"Teach me to dance as you do. Teach me to honor the goddess with my body!" she begged. Galenia rose and joined them around the fire as Bethany and Melissa took them each by the hand and kissed them softly.
"Tomorrow you will return to the temple of Aphrodite bearing a token of ours and a message from us to the goddess," said Melissa. "Under our graces you will be welcomed into the sisterhood in service to our lady." Then Bethany and Melissa let fall their gowns to join Galenia and Kyrenia in their nakedness and they danced with one another in the firelight late into the night.
(c) 2008 Bethany Frasier
The dry kindling burned with a fierce red glow as the flames leapt skywards. Glowing embers and sparks rose into the night sky. The four girls swayed as they circled the fire, casting eerie shadows which disappeared into the background. Each girl turned as they made their circular motion around the dancing flames. The heat radiated outwards and beads of sweat began to appear on their skin, reflecting the fire, glowing like rubies. Twisting with an undulating erotic motion, their superb bodies moved as one. In an increasingly trance-like state, the girls threw their heads back and forth, tossing their hair around so that it was like kelp, pulled to and fro by the tides.
The atmosphere was charged with an unearthly magic; Kyrenia brought forth a tambourine from the sisters' camp site and began to shake it with a rhythmic movement and Galenia also fetched a small drum which she beat with her free hand. Both the sisters were blessed with magnificent breasts, which jumped seductively with their every movement. Bethany and Melissa danced with frenzied yet sensuous movement, sublime examples of the perfection of the female form. Melissa began to sing, in her sweet honey-toned voice; Bethany joined her at once as they slowed their progress around the fire and began a very deliberate dance of seduction. Their voices sang to the mighty Goddess, Aphrodite herself…
"Praise you, Aphrodite, goddess born of foam.
Fairest of all Olympus' maids, always precious
jewels adorn you; silks drape your unparalleled form.
With sweetly scented hair you come, your sea-green eyes
shine as stars, and all fall at your delicate feet.
You, who look so kindly on lovers, I praise you.
You, who answer prayers of longing, I praise you.
You, whose gifts entrance all, young and old, I praise you.
You, who brings sweet bliss, who comforts the bereft,
who binds souls together, no heart can deny you.
Aphrodite, whose beauty would light the night sky,
I praise you and thank you for blessings given."
The night air filled with the scent of olive wood. Fragrant smoke drifted across the glade, mingled with sweet scented flowers of the night, and the musky scent of the heavily perspiring dancers. Finishing their song, Bethany returned with the flagon of wine and passed it to Melissa, who drank deeply. Melissa in turn passed it Bethany, who drank her fill of the strong and heady brew. Next, the sisters took their fill, and the wine soon went to their pretty heads, filling them with lustful thoughts.
The light from the flickering flames performed its own dance over their naked skins, which were shimmering from copious amounts of sweat running down their bodies from head to toes. Melissa reached out and took Kyrenia's hand, drew the girl towards her, and clasped her in a tight embrace. The sensation of Kyrenia's nipples against hers excited Melissa, and she pushed Kyrenia's hair back, then leaned into the girl's neck and kissed her. Melissa's hands glided over Kyrenia's sweat-soaked back, marveling at the smoothness of the girl's skin. Bethany smiled at Galenia and the girl walked over, and cupping Bethany's face, she kissed Bethany deeply, and with some force on her lips.
In the light of the glowing fire, the presence of Aphrodite permeated the air. That the Goddess was looking over them was an overwhelming feeling in both Melissa and Bethany. Their mistress fueled the utter lust and wantonness which burnt in their minds; they would please her by satiating her desire with their love-making.
Melissa whispered in Kyrenia's ear, "Now we will please our lady by our lust. Here in this sacred glade, we will honour the Goddess with our bodies."
Bethany understood this well enough. She raised her arms above her head as Galenia cupped both Bethany's wonderful breasts, lowering her head to suck Bethany's deep rose red nipples. Bethany's moans filled the night air, competing with the crackling of the burning wood. Her legs trembled as she felt her nipples stiffen under Galenia's tongue. The warm moistness of the girl's mouth sent shivers through her.
Bethany opened her thighs and Galenia's fingers sought out her fine downy flower. Instinctively, Galenia's fingers skilfully caressed Bethany who was moaning loudly. Melissa and Kyrenia looked on with approval.
"See how my sister makes love to your companion?" said Kyrenia with a certain amount of pride.
"Well, your sister is pleasing to us, as you are," said Melissa in her soft voice. Melissa looked into Kyrenia's dark olive eyes, and said, "Now you shall please me. Kneel before me, girl." Kyrenia obediently did as Melissa asked. Melissa stroked the girl's hair, and putting one leg over Kyrenia's shoulder, eased her wet sex over the girl's face. "Now, please me with that tongue of yours, my delightful one, and make me deliver my nectar to your lips."
The girl's eyes widened with rampant desire and she was most eager to please the more experienced Melissa, to show she was a worthy lover. She licked Melissa's wet folds, her tongue giving Melissa utmost pleasure. Her mouth was filling with Melissa's hot love juice. Melissa sighed with pure delight, and she looked over to Bethany and Galenia. Bethany was rocking back and forth as Galenia's fingers slid inside her swollen labia, easing deep inside her. Her eyes caught Melissa's and they told Melissa that Galenia was very satisfying. Melissa's eyes reflected Bethany's, and both girls were close to their orgasms.
"Aphrodite be praised in all her glorious love," Bethany called out into the night air, as Galenia's fingers unleashed her orgasm. Fountains of hot juice spurted from her quivering quim and she rode Galenia's thrusting fingers harder still. Melissa thrilled with mounting excitement as Bethany's cries echoed around them. Melissa gripped Kyrenia's head firmly and as Kyrenia's fingers stroked her nub, she screamed aloud with a primeval howl of pleasure. Her climax splattered the girl's face with a stream of molten love syrup. Kyrenia licked all the more, savouring the fluid of this chosen one of the Goddess.
Completely satisfied, Melissa and Bethany lay down on the soft moss, panting. Their breasts rose and fell with each breath. The two sisters lay with them, and Bethany and Melissa praised the girls for their love making. Recovering their composure, Melissa said to Bethany, "Our young friends will make worthy servants of the Goddess; she will be most pleased with their passion and enthusiastic ardour."
"My love," replied Bethany, "Aphrodite has already displayed her approval of these delightful girls, bringing them the gift of our bodies."
Melissa smiled knowingly, "Yes, and now we should return their love. Let me take Galenia, and you shall take Kyrenia. In fact, we shall take them both between us one at a time."
The two sisters were ecstatic at Melissa's words. "We are both honoured on this magical night, to be granted Bethany's and your love," said Kyrenia.
Melissa told Galenia to kneel on all four limbs, and the girl positioned herself as told. Melissa knelt behind the girl's well rounded and curvaceous globes and licked down her spine, enjoying the saltiness of her sweat on her lips. The girl groaned loudly. One of Melissa's hands reached under Galenia and brushed her large nipple with the upturned palm of her hand. Galenia was under her spell, and Melissa circled the girl's anus with the finger of her other hand. Galenia started to push against Melissa's finger until it slid inside her bottom. The girl cried out with lustfulness and Melissa pushed her finger deep into her, feeling her moistness as she kept up a steady rhythm.
Melissa motioned Bethany over, while Kyrenia sat watching, mesmerized by the scene caught in the red light cast by the fire. Bethany lay under Galenia, her head between the girls thighs. Bethany was happy to feel Galenia's breast's brush her belly. As Melissa continued to finger Galenia's anus, Bethany reached around with both her hands, and pulled Galenia's labia open. Bethany's tongue licked the girl's cunt slowly, and then faster. Galenia wasn't going to be able to last very long before her multiple orgasms rocked her shuddering body, and minutes later she howled as she splashed Bethany's face with a jet of hot, musky cum.
Her arms and legs collapsed and she fell onto Bethany's body, her face buried in Bethany's still leaking sex. Melissa shouted with joy, and turned to smile at Kyrenia.
"Your sister was wonderful. Both Bethany and I are enamoured by our new lovers." Galenia lay on her back, staring at the stars, her chest heaving and her body sweating as she lay bathed in the firelight. Bethany sat up, licking her lips.
"I think she will sleep now for the rest of the night." Bethany looked Kyrenia over, Her eye's widening. Both she and Melissa had an enormous appetite for love making; they were both famed for that, amongst many other legends that clung to them.
Melissa sat down next to Kyrenia and kissed the girl on her full lips, enjoying the sensation as it set her nerve endings alight again. She took one of Kyrenia's firm breasts in her hand and caressed it, paying special attention to the girl's impressive large nipple. Melissa's hand wandered from one breast to the other as her lips gently sucked the girl's ear lobes. Turning her attention lower, Melissa gently bit the girl's neck and shoulders. Melissa eased Kyrenia down until her back lay on the soft moss. Bethany parted Kyrenia's thighs, displaying the girl's pudenda, and stroked the lips until they became engorged and glistening in the firelight.
Bethany smiled a salacious smile, and produced a gourd, a dildo of magnificent proportions. Bethany let her fingers play with the girl's swollen sex, and then cupped the gourd into her palm. Bethany pushed its head against the girl's open cunt. Kyrenia moaned and Bethany eased its mighty girth into the girl, stretching her wide open. Kyrenia's feet drummed a tattoo on the floor as she gasped. Bethany allowed one of her hands to feel her own juicy sex, and began to thrust the dildo firmly into the young girl.
Kyrenia's hands clawed Melissa's skin, raking her back, and Melissa felt beads of blood. For a moment, Melissa had a vivid memory of the cruel lash from which she had suffered at the hands of the great demon Pezzuzi in Kur. Melissa shook her head firmly and the memory faded as quickly as it had appeared in her mind. The love-making dispelled the awful memory of her vicious flogging.
Under Bethany's skillful use of the gourd, Kyrenia writhed with pleasure. Bethany also felt immense pleasure as she looked down and saw the shining girth and length of the gourd as it split Kyrenia. The girl started to twist and swivel as her massive orgasm spilled out of her like a waterfall. Her flood of orgasmic juice soaking the moss under her globes. When her now very sensitive cunt could take no more, she closed her thighs, and Bethany gently withdrew the dildo. Melissa and Bethany lay at either side of the girl, and kissed her gently. "Rest now, sweet girl," cooed Melissa. Bethany kissed the exhausted Kyrenia's eye lids, and the girl passed into the realm of Morpheus.
Melissa leaned over and kissed Bethany with great passion, enjoying her lover's kisses—kisses which were matchless. They stroked each other's hair and whispered their undying love for one another. The fire was dying down and Melissa stood up, and displaying her naked, gleaming body for Bethany's gaze, picked up some more wood, and rekindled the fire.
"Come, my darling and only one. Dance with me," she sweetly intoned to Bethany. Bethany rose, and held Melissa in a tight embrace. "My love, I love you, I love you."
Together as one, locked in the embrace of eternal and undying love for each other, they began to turn in slow, gentle circles around the fire. The memory of their Samhain night burned bright in their minds as stars moved across the night sky. In the glow of the flames, they remembered another time and another place. Faster and faster they swirled until their flesh appeared to merge with one another's. The dark night and the crackling flames were the only witnesses to the extraordinary spectacle, except for the unseen eyes of Aphrodite. Kyrenia and Galenia slept soundly as Melissa and Bethany danced in ecstasy, lost in their private world into which no other could enter. Melissa cooed softly to her lover as they moved around the fire.
Melissa released Bethany from her embrace and both she and Bethany began to cavort before one another in slow sinuous movements, emphasizing their bodies. Melissa swayed her hips and cupped her breasts, holding them out before Bethany. Bethany danced provocatively, turning her back to Melissa. She thrust her full sumptuous bottom forwards and backwards as her hips tilted in a snake-like undulation. Melissa's pupils were like full moons as she beheld the glorious form of Bethany, who was now moving her arms in such a way as to make her shoulder muscles ripple. Melissa closed in on her, clasping Bethany with two hands on Bethany's hips.
Pushing her breasts against Bethany's sweat-streaked back, Melissa pushed her wet sex against Bethany's warm globes. The feeling set her shaking with a fever. Melissa reached around and felt the weight of Bethany's breasts, and she squeezed them playfully. Bethany tilted her head back and sighed heavily as Melissa bit her on the neck and shoulders. She moaned audibly as Melissa's hands stroked her firm belly, and rubbed her prominent mound. Bethany's juices flowed copiously at Melissa's touch, and ran in rivulets down her thighs. Melissa pulled her around and kissed her rich full lips.
"Forever together, my sweet one," Melissa panted.
"Never will anyone ever love another as we love each other," Bethany replied. As the glow from the fire began to die down, they draped their arms about each other's shoulders and returned to where Galenia and Kyrenia slept deeply. Melissa found a woolen cover amongst their campsite.
"Come, my darling," she soothingly said to Bethany, "Let us join our young friends and sleep now."
"Yes," replied Bethany whose eyes were slowly closing, "Let us join them in the land of dreams." Melissa and Bethany joined the two sisters, their naked bodies would keep them warm, and Melissa pulled the blanket over them all.
The dawn found them all sound asleep, as the rosy light began to streak the sky and chase the night shadows away. As they slept, a messenger from Aphrodite's temple was making her way down the valley towards their camp….
(c) Melissa G: 2008
Melissa dreamed as she lay nestled between Bethany and Kyrenia. Despite the warm communion and sensual touch of her friends, from the dark corners of her mind, shadows crept from the umbra of her subconscious, painting the canvas of her dreams with fear. She walked alone again. Downwards in darkness her footsteps carried her over rough stone as the invisible trickle of water through unseen cracks in the rock overhead dampened her spirit further. The same scene had played out each night in her dreams since the evening of the seven starfalls. Every time she had awakened from the nightmare with a start, knowing an ominous entity awaited her in the darkness below, but never learning where her descent would take her. But this time she steadied her heart for what lay ahead and summoned the courage to step deeper into the darkness.
Bethany sensed a tightness grabbing her heart and roused from her sleep. Melissa was on her side, her back holding the heat from Bethany's bare breasts between them as they were spooned together under the wide blanket. Her nipples felt Melissa's skin becoming wet with sweat and felt the involuntary twitches as the muscles of her back tried to contract but were stopped by the paralysis of her dreams. Her nipples hardened under the small movements and she gently eased herself from skin contact so her erect protrusions would not awaken her lover.
She opened her eyes to the dew-soaked morning and rolled carefully onto her back, drawing the blanket half off her naked body. The damp air stole the heat from her skin and its brisk touch brought her fully awake. Only her feet were still warmed by the dying embers lying at the edge of a circle of blackened boughs, still smoldering with a thin trail of smoke climbing listlessly through the wet air into the dawning sky. Bethany heard the far off bleating of moufflon as they foraged through the maquis on the slopes beyond the glade under which they had slept. She rose and walked through the soaked grasses to an outcropping of rock overlooking the sea.
Galenia stepped up quietly behind Bethany who appeared to be ritually toning her back and shoulders with gracefully sweeping outstretches of her arms. Her rhythmic movements looked like poetry in motion to Galenia who could only stand and admire the beauty of her lithe body as it stretched and flexed. She paused and awaited the end of her new mentor's disciplines but Bethany dropped her head under her raised arm and called her to her side with a glance.
"Come sit with me," invited Bethany. Galenia lifted the sheet she had wrapped around her body and pulled herself up on the rock next to Bethany, now recovering her upright stance from a final twist of her torso. Bethany smiled warmly and reached out her hand to comb her fingers over Galenia's soft hair. The young girl opened her wrapping inviting Bethany out of the dew-filled air to share the warmth of her body. Bethany climbed the boulder into her friend's outstretched arm and pulled her side of the thin toga back around them both.
"The morning is beautiful," said Galenia. After turning her head to look into the eyes of her companion, Bethany smiled and nodded her agreement. "This is our favorite place," said Galenia. "Kyrenia and I came up here with our friend once when we were younger, when the sea was covered with ships as far as the eye could see. It was said the fleets of all the Achaean kingdoms were anchored off the shores of Paphos and their king came to honor ours. This was the best place from which the spectacle could be viewed." Bethany put her arm around the young girl's shoulder and Galenia wrapped hers around Bethany's waist.
"I never felt so wonderful, so alive before you and Melissa shared yourselves with us last night," Galenia confessed. "I have always wondered about being with another girl. My sister and I grew up with the most beautiful girl in the kingdom and I'd watch my aunt dress her and dream what it would be like being in bed with her, but now..." Bethany took her hand in hers and gave it a gentle squeeze.
"There is love to be found from both sexes and you will know this soon enough. But you are concerned with Melissa's words concerning the duties of a temple priestess. The custom of becoming an hierodule is a practice not uncommon in the temples, but from the times of Innana, the call has been to the women of the villages surrounding the temple to at least once come to the shrine of their goddess regardless of their high position or beauty and give up their bodies to a stranger in service to the goddess, thence to return to their lives having fulfilled this obligation. It is a more common custom in the levantine regions than those here under Achaean influence, but this, fair Galenia, is not to be your destiny. Under our auspices you and your sister will join our sect of the sisterhood of Aphrodite and offer yourselves only to the goddess herself or to her priestesses. I sense you and your sister already possess hearts of great nobility."
Galenia looked at Bethany and offered a guarded secret. "Kyrenia and I have been companions of the king's daughter since we were children. We grew up in the royal court because our mother's sister was nurse to the young princess and now serves as her hand-maiden. It was she who sent us on this retreat while the queen is away and the princess chooses among her many suitors for a mate. The king is a great patron of the goddess and consecrated her temple over the hills to the east of Paphos. He counseled us to offer ourselves to Aphrodite's service now that the princess has grown to the age of marriage. He will be very pleased that you have taken us under your graces to serve the goddess."
The sun had risen over the crest of Mt. Troodos behind their backs and the sea below them sparkled with reflected sunlight as a gentle morning breeze rustled through the treetops overhead. Bethany grew concerned for Melissa who would ordinarily have risen with the sun, but still lay under the blanket with Kyrenia near the cooling campfire. As she turned on the rock she caught sight of a lone figure running through the glen closing the distance between them. As the newcomer neared the clearing, Bethany made out a tall and shapely girl with flowing blond hair, dressed in attire common to courtesans of Aphrodite's temple, but adorned with a spray of beautiful flowers.
"Greetings!" cried the girl as she entered the encampment. Bethany recognized her immediately as Thallo, the Horae of the budding flower, one of the twelve Graces of the Hours who greeted Aphrodite at her coming from the sea. Bethany kneeled in her honor and the lovely femme bowed to Bethany's warm welcome. Her wild tresses glowed in the golden light of morning and Galenia adored her beauty as she watched Bethany receive the lovely Grace in her open arms.
"At last I have found you!" she exclaimed as she caught her breath, and Bethany led her by the hand to meet Galenia. Upon her introduction the young girl curtsied to the flowered beauty who kissed her softly upon the forehead. "But where is Melissa? For much has transpired in your absence and you are both in danger"! Bethany paled as she took thought of her lover and ran to wake her, pulling Galenia behind her. Thallo followed upon their heels with the delicate flowers at her breast bouncing with her fair hair upon her bosoms.
Bethany kneeled over Kyrenia and Melissa who were still nestled together and tried to rouse them from sleep, but met with no response from either. Galenia gasped in fear when Thallo kneeled and touched Melissa's brow, pulling it slightly upwards. Bethany dropped to her heels when she saw no iris or pupil, only pale white orbs behind her limp eyelids. Bethany quickly checked Kyrenia's eyes and found the same clouded sclera as those of a statue.
"Melissa!" she shouted, as she shook her lover's shoulders. Galenia fell to her sister's side and pulled her into her arms with tears streaming down her face.
"Oh, Kyra! What bewitchment is this? Awaken, my sweet sister!" Thallo looked around for spider, snake or herb...any natural explanation for the mystery, but none could be perceived.
"This is sorcery!" pronounced Thallo.
"Galenia!" said Bethany, "You know the land around this place. Where is there bay laurel that grows near?" Galenia shook her arms in impatience with her memory and looked about for a familiar path. She began to panic, but Bethany rose and took her by the hand, wiping the tears from her cheeks. "Sweet child, your sister will recover if we keep our heads and use them quickly." Galenia closed her eyes and calmed her nerves as Bethany stroked her hair.
"There were once fragrant herbs growing below the brow of the headlands to the north. I may find laurel there," Galenia said, and Bethany sent her off. Thallo looked sadly upon Bethany and offered whatever help she could give.
"What has happened that our mistress has sent you to find us?" Bethany inquired.
"King Cinyras has left Alashiya. His patronage no longer protects us," said Thallo.
"But whom is there to fear?" asked Bethany, in growing puzzlement.
"Paphos is in turmoil. The queen returned from Ceres' festival and learned of a terrible thing that has befallen her family in her absence, and she is blaming Aphrodite for the tragedy. There has been enmity between them before."
"Oh, no!" said Bethany "Please tell me their daughter is all right, for she is the dearest of friends with Galenia and her sister."
Thallo grew pale and looked over to the trail by which Galenia had left. She cast her eyes downward and quietly said: "Myrrha has fled the kingdom. It is her disgrace which has torn the realm asunder. It is believed she is fleeing to Panchaia, where the king rules over his principal realm. Paphos is but a vassal city-state where he has gained his vast wealth from the trade in copper."
"Disgrace? What has the king's daughter done at so young and innocent an age which could have disgraced the royal family so?" asked Bethany. Thallo demured and did not wish to speak of it, but Bethany took her by the hand and begged an explanation.
"By the account of Queen Cenchreis, her daughter was bewitched by a curse cast by Aphrodite out of jealousy, for Cenchreis had boasted that her daughter's beauty surpassed even that of the goddess. Myrrha was possessed by the curse of patrifilia. With the help of her old nurse, she deceived her father and seduced him to her bed. Twelve nights of incestuous passion in darkness ended when Cinyras brought a lamp to the bed chamber to reveal his secret mistress and found she was his daughter. Myrrha fled in terror when her enraged father drew sword over her." Bethany sat in sadness for her friends and concern for her lover as she petted Melissa's soft thigh.
"Come. Let us gather wood before the embers die," she said resolutely. "We must steam the bay laurel if Galenia can bring us some leaves."
Thallo and Bethany uncovered Melissa and Kyrenia and anointed their naked bodies with ablutional oils infused with essence of mint. The bay laurel Galenia had found with the mint leaves were steamed for their aroma, and they fanned the vapors under the girls' noses while they massaged them sensually.
Galenia sat with her hands over her mouth, praying silently to both the ancient eastern gods and the Olympians of whom she had learned from the Achaeans who were spreading their influence over western Alashiya. Bethany and Thallo sang quietly together, calling upon the blessings of their mistress while they worked the scented oils into the tanned skin of the two girls lying before them.
Fair Aphrodite, from the foam tempest-tossed
Call to our sisters who in darkness are lost
Let them feel our love as we kneel and pray
That their eyes again see the light of day
But as their prayers left their lips the mouths of Melissa and Kyrenia began to speak in lifeless unison as if through another mind, and breathlessly the girls attended:
In darkness weeps the mother wronged
Desire mocks her sadness
So near she keeps what once belonged
She now succumbs to madness
Sad sybil, one of sisters three
Who sightless ever borrows
Witless eyes with which to see
The doom of all the morrows
Fair Libya has lost her queen
The love of Zeus has cost
For none again have ever seen
The children she has lost
Now ask no more but hearken for
The bleating of the goat
No respite shall you see ashore
Find shelter 'board a boat
And set thy sail o'er southern sea
To fete the seven cows
And naked, dance your destiny
If destiny allows
Their recitation ceased and their eyes opened as if freed of enchantment. Bethany breathed again.
"Bethany!" cried Melissa. She reached up and they pulled each other into a tight embrace. "I was trapped in that awful dream!" Bethany held her close and they clung together while Kyrenia and Galenia did the same.
"Why do you smell like mint?" sniffed Melissa. Bethany wondered where to begin. Suddenly Melissa recognized Thallo kneeling beyond Bethany's shoulder and greeted her with a wide smile.
"Bethany?" urged Galenia.
"What?" sighed Bethany.
"What was the meaning of the riddles Kyra and Melissa spoke?" Melissa and Bethany loosened their embrace and Melissa looked puzzled.
"What riddle?" asked Melissa.
"Bethany!" Thallo prodded.
"WHAT?" Bethany gasped.
Thallo motioned for silence from everyone, and in the distance they heard the urgent bleating of the moufflon scattering through the maquis beyond the glade, running before some unknown danger.
"Hearken for the bleating of the goat!" cried Thallo. "Its begun. The words in the riddle!" In the distance they heard the unmistakable sound of men clomping up the hillside with clattering swords and leather harness, winding their way up the slopes to their left. "We must depart this place. Quickly!" Thallo urged.
The girls hurriedly gathered their belongings and put away their many questions for a safer time. They ran low through the glade, ducking through bushes and brambles. Melissa and Kyrenia who were still naked paused to slip on some clothing and then with a leap they all disappeared over the rim of the headland, skidding down the hillside to the shoreline. After dropping between rocks at the foot of the descent, their feet pressed into wet sand where the receding tide had just exposed the heights of the beach. The intermittent rocks provided cover from any eyes that may have been spying down from the top of the heights where they had made camp.
They stayed together and ran in a wagging file down the beach with Thallo leading and Bethany and Melissa bringing up the rear. Kyrenia kept looking forwards and back, for she was the most puzzled by the many unanswered questions since she awoke and by who was leading them. They reached a cove where the shoreline receded inland a ways and splashed across a fan of water from a stream which emptied into the sea. Beyond was an irregular coast where the headlands had broken apart into towering rocks rising from the beach. They lost themselves from any possible pursuit by cutting behind and around these massive rocks in an unpredictable fashion and their footprints were washed out by the last of the foam riding high up the beach from spent breakers.
They slowed from a run and caught their breaths while Bethany tried to answer some of Kyrenia's many questions. After walking for nearly an hour they rounded a ridge that gently rose up from the beach and saw Paphos in the distance ahead, laid out over a wide bay. Far ahead they saw boats drawn up on the wide beach and farther off near the port were anchored several low-prowed ships with many oars standing in rows. Knowing it was folly to hope for a chance to take sea upon a boat that relied on many oarsmen, they made for the smaller boats with mast for sail.
The two sisters could not understand the urgency of escape for neither had yet been told of the discord at the king's palace, but they put their trust in the three who were the most trusted by the goddess and showed them to a boat kept ready for those of the royal court to use at their pleasure. They stayed hidden until dusk and by then the tide was sweeping high upon the beach. The boat was tilted and pushed down the short, steep stretch to the water, and once afloat they climbed aboard releasing the sail to the coastal breeze. Working together, the five girls tacked away from the shore and disappeared from sight of the port of Paphos.
(c) Bethany Frasier 2008
Thallo leaned lightly upon the tiller, bearing south by southeast along the coast of Alashiya. No longer tacking against the onshore breeze, she had turned sail and kept Cyprus just beyond the sight of all eyes aboard save her own, knowing that they would also be invisible to those searching eyes ashore watching the western seas for their escape. The royal princess Myrrha would be the fugitive for whom those eyes would keep watch, but in the nets cast for her Highness, they too could be ensnared.
The night had passed in tears for young Kyrenia and her sister, for Bethany reluctantly broke the news of Myrrha's sorrow as they awaited the darkening skies of dusk to make their escape from the beach. Their dearest friend was lost to them and they turned to each other for comfort, weeping upon each other's breast. As the stars drifted westward overhead, Hathor's milky trail faded towards the night skies over Egypt. Their journey was finally carrying them towards their original destination, thought Melissa, as she sat with her bare feet caressing Bethany's upon the wooden deck.
She stared wistfully at her lover, but in her mind the riddle in the rhyme from her dream-trance was haunting her thoughts. Bethany rested with her eyes closed, leaning her back upon the mast, dreaming of far off lands where they both had danced under such a star-filled sky as this. Melissa's touch felt warm and reassuring after nearly losing her to a nightmarish possession by what power she could not guess. Unless they could solve the mysterious riddle which Kyrenia and Melissa had uttered while under bewitchment the previous morning, they could never discern whom their true enemy was.
Thallo kept the talking board at the prow of the strogulla aligned with the brightest star in Carina. Canopus it would one day be called, after the helmsman of king Menelaus, whose fleet even now lay menacingly upon the long beaches of Ilium. The southern pole-star was reddening so low it dipped towards the horizon, but Thallo knew its light led to the northern harbors of Egypt where her friends would be safe, if only Poseidon would grant them passage across his realm.
But in his deep abyss, the god of the waters was ill-inclined to heed the prayers of these fair travelers, priestesses of Aphrodite, for his alliances were with she who had of late plotted against the Goddess of love, and brought her patronage by the king to an end.
"To whom does Thallo speak?" asked Melissa, watching curiously as the beautiful helmsman leaned from the tiller and murmured something into the darkness off the stern. Bethany craned her head around to look over her shoulder but by the time she could make out the be-flowered horae behind her in the dim starlight, Thallo was bearing hard on the tiller, turning the helm abeam to correct their course. Suddenly they heard the sound of water splashing along side the boat and then again towards the prow. The noise brought the two sisters to their feet and they leaned over the port-rail.
"Look!" they both cried. "Dolphins! Three of them." Bethany and Melissa looked at each other, certain that this was no happenstance, for dolphins were servants of their mistress too, since her very ascension from the sea. Kyrenia and Galenia watched in fascination as the graceful creatures leaped and dove into the waves making their way ahead of the boat and then veering off on a tangent towards the southern coast of Cyprus.
"Thallo, what does it mean?" asked Bethany, but before she got an answer, Melissa cried out.
"Look there!" Pointing off the starboard bow Melissa's outstretched arm led their eyes even in the near-darkness. Closing in upon them from the deeper seas, a pale, square sail shown above the horizon on the dark sea bearing shoreward on a course which would soon intercept their own.
"Can we turn-to and escape?" Bethany asked in desperation.
After judging the closing angle of the two craft, Thallo shook her head and said: "They will catch us before the dawn does."
Melissa stepped to the rail, grabbing a line and wondered aloud: "But who can they be? And how can they know about us? They come from the deep sea, not from Paphos." Galenia and Kyrenia now realized their peril was from a new threat that they had heard of since childhood.
"They are the sea-people," Kyrenia said with fear in her voice. "They are from no country, but they prey upon the coasts and upon un-armed traders on the high seas. They are privateers. They owe their allegiance to no king, but it is rumored that Cinyras has long paid them to allow his copper boats to sail freely between the ports of Alashiya. But thence, when his precious metal is paid for, and his customers sail back to their homeshores, the sea-people will attack and hijack their cargoes. Only the Pharoah's ships are safe from attack for these pirates fear the fleets of Egypt."
Thallo pondered what Kyrenia had said and then offered: "But we carry no riches."
Bethany looked at her four beautiful young shipmates and realized at once what fate they would share: "We shall be enslaved and sold for our bodies."
Thallo knew she was safe from the threat of mortals, but her companions did not share the powers of the graces, and she could not shepherd them to safety upon the waves of the Mediterranean. She bade her four companions to hide in the water close to the curve of the hull, away from the side of the ship they would be boarded. As the harsh voices of men carried over the narrowing waters between the two vessels, Thallo faded into thin air as the night fades with the coming dawn and disappeared from living sight. As the girls tried to cling to the tarred lashings which held together the hull-boards of their boat, the waterline rose with the heavy weight of men as they jumped across on ropes from their larger ship.
They heard the buzzing of twisted hemp pulled through tackle and the rustling of canvas as the sailors secured the boat and hauled down the single sail their small craft carried. The clomping of booted feet upon the wooden deck and the coarse shouting of uncouth men disappeared and re-appeared from their ears as their heads bobbed above and below the surface of the water, but they struggled to maintain their tenuous purchase without making a sound. As they heard voices grow louder over their heads they knew that searching eyes were leaning out to scan the water around the hull, so they ducked beneath the waves and held their breaths as long as they could, until their burning lungs could bear no more.
Like drowned rats they floated once more upon the surface and listened as their boat was gutted of every useful item the pirates could seize and carry aboard their own ship. At last their hearts sank as they heard a pounding shaking through the hull and realized the brigands were knocking out the sea-cock to scuttle and sink their boat. As the hull sank lower and lower it began to roll from their grip as the boat tipped on its side and slowly gurgled beneath the surface. The rush of water swirling in a vortex to fill the vacuum of the sinking vessel carried them down in a spiral to the mast as it too slipped through the foam and disappeared beneath the sea. The girls clung desperately to each other and splashed wildly to stay afloat, but their cries only gave them away and the men aboard the nearby ship roared with delight as they spied them struggling not to drown.
As the sun rose into a red sky above the horizon the four girls were pulled roughly onto the ship of the sea-people and tossed back and forth between the men like limp bundles. Their wet dresses were ripped from their trembling bodies piece by piece, and they stumbled around nearly naked upon the rough deck boards of the pirate ship until they pulled themselves close for protection and collapsed together in a heap of stringy, wet hair and bare skin. Bethany and Melissa kept the two younger girls between them and tried to shield the innocent girls from the pawing, calloused hands of the sailors who surrounded them, but they were horridly out-numbered and even their skills and experience with superior adversaries could not deliver them from this predicament.
They held their taut bodies at the ready for any taunt, but made no offensive moves of their own. Galenia and Kyrenia held their hands over their breasts trying to cover their nakedness in humiliation while Bethany and Melissa held their friends firmly behind them making no attempt to conceal their nude bodies from the rapacious eyes of the pirates. A tall man with a sword slung at his side pushed through the ring of men and gazed down at the four helpless young girls, and after looking them over for a few moments demanded to know where their captain was.
"We sailed the boat ourselves," sneered Melissa, but even as she said it, she wondered how Thallo could have survived the scuttling of their craft so far from shore. The leader of the men whom Bethany took to be the captain wasted no more time questioning his new slaves and ordered them to be taken below deck and chained in shackles. Within minutes the four girls had been man-handled down the gangway and found their wrists and ankles bound in cold iron couplets and their naked bodies chained next to one another against the rough-hewn timbers of the ship's frame.
Bethany spat at the grimy man who locked her manacles as he groped her breasts and brutally pulled upon her hardened nipples. He struck her hard with the back of his hand and her long, wet hair whipped around as her head was slammed against the beam which held her chains fast. Melissa jerked in her restraints but could not defend her lover sitting next to her. She just looked at her dazed companion in tearful pity. As Bethany shook herself back to her senses the brute turned and grunted: "You will be the first I'll bring to my friends, whore, when we take your bodies for our pleasures!"
Bethany knocked her head against the hull behind her in frustration and looked over at Melissa. "I'm sorry, my love," Bethany sighed. Melissa reached her foot over to caress Bethany's, stretching her chain to its limit to comfort her friend.
In the near-darkness below the deck, only thin lines of daylight could be seen between the hewn deckboards close over their heads. Kyrenia and Galenia could be detected in the darkness beside them only by their quick and frightened breathing, and Melissa by her incessant tugging and testing of her chains. The trapdoor above the ladder slowly opened and their eyes strained to see as their irises closed against the sudden brightness let into their dark hold. A lean figure backed down the ladder carrying a sloshing flask. Compared to the rest of the burly crew, this pirate seemed leaner and more nimble than the others, but still landed heavily in the tall boots they all wore.
Silhouetted against the glow behind him, the approaching figure kneeled, and passed to them one by one a flask of water to drink from. When the heavily swathed figure got to Bethany, he paused, and instead of tipping the mouth of the flask to her dry lips himself as he had done with the others, he found her hand in the darkness and put the flask into it. She slowly lifted it to her mouth, sniffed it cautiously and took what was left of the water, tasting Melissa's sweet lips on the wet opening. Briefly illuminated by the band of light filtering through the cracks of the deck above, intensely dark and exotic eyes shone back at her under a wide headband.
She reached out with her other hand and grabbed his wrist. He did not react at first, but after a few moments he gently patted her arm and she let go of him. "Thank-you for the water," she said quietly. Without knowing why, she asked his name.
"I am Miokos," he replied softly. "Do not be afraid."
"Are you Greek?" she inquired, trying to learn more of her captors, and oddly not wanting him to leave. In a breathy reply intended to disguise his voice, he answered: "No, I am not from the west."
"Why have the other men left us alone for this long?" Bethany asked cautiously.
"The captain has them in the rigging, trimming sail to make all speed possible. We must sight the coast by mid-morning or lose our bearing. We can only sail beyond sight of the coasts by night when the stars may guide us across open sea," he explained. "After that, they will come for you."
"Do they not fear taking women aboard ship? Is it not an ill-omen to all sailors?" Bethany prodded.
"You will fetch a handsome price when you are sold to the slavers, if they do not first use you up themselves when the captain turns them loose upon you."
"Then why should we not be afraid?" asked Bethany, puzzled.
"Because I do not think they will have the chance to rape you." He would say no more and quickly withdrew up the ladder to the deck above.
After sitting in the darkness pondering Miokos' words, Bethany called softly to Melissa: "My love, have you slept since yestermorn?"
"No," she replied. "I fear the dream will take hold of me once again. Or the thing in the dream! But I am very tired. I wish we were not restrained so, for I crave your touch. Your caresses would excite me and keep Morpheus from delivering me to my tormentor again."
"I wish now we had not heeded the admonitions in the riddle-rhyme and taken to the water so soon. And yet our path to Egypt made it seem the inevitable course to follow," mused Bethany. "Now our boat is gone and we are stranded with these beastly pirates."
"Tell me again the rhyme Kyrenia and I spoke, every word, for it must hold the answers we need to know who our true enemy is," said Melissa.
Bethany thought for a moment and hesitatingly began to recite the rhyme.
In darkness weeps the mother wronged
Desire mocks her sadness
So near she keeps what once belonged
She now succumbs to madness
Sad sibyl, one of sisters three
Who sightless ever borrows
Witless eyes with which to see
The doom of all the morrows
Fair Libya has lost her queen
The love of Zeus has cost
For none again have ever seen
The children she has lost
Now ask no more but hearken for
The bleating of the goat
No respite shall you see ashore
Find shelter 'board a boat
And set thy sail o'er southern sea
To fete the seven cows
And naked, dance your destiny
If destiny allows
Melissa repeated the second stanza over and over to herself. "Does this mean that all three sisters are sibylla? The herophile of Delphios, or The Oracle of Delphi is said to be the illegitimate daughter of Zeus and Lamia, Queen of Libya and daughter of Poseidon. But when Hera discovered her husband's infidelity with Lamia she had all the children she bore him hidden from her or killed, and yet the oracle lives! Perhaps the Oracle of Kyprios is sister to the Oracle of Delphi, and also a surviving daughter of Lamia. if all her daughters are sibyls, there must be yet a third oracle somewhere."
"But what has happened which involves us in the fate of the daughters of Lamia?" asked Bethany.
"This began with my dream, upon the night of the seven starfalls," mused Melissa. "Aphrodite sent me to find the Oracle of Kyprios to discover its meaning, but the oracle said I would find my answers on our journey to the fete of the seven cows, ...Hathor," Continued Melissa.
Bethany returned to the first stanza of the rhyme and suggested to Melissa that the 'mother wronged' could mean Lamia, and 'desire' who mocked her sadness might refer to Aphrodite, Goddess of Desire. "But why would Lamia feel resentment towards our mistress? she wondered.
"Aphrodite is also the daughter of Zeus," Melissa reminded, "And she is celebrated and patronized by the King of Alashiya while the nearby Oracle is shunned and nearly forgotten."
Bethany knew that this mystery could be solved with Melissa's vast knowledge of the lore of the gods, and their attention to signs discovered along the journey if eyes were kept sharp and wits too. The two lovers sat together in the darkness pondering where the signs were leading, and Bethany hoped Melissa's contemplation of the riddle would stave off the dream she feared to re-enter.
But after awhile, Bethany heard Melissa's chains move and she knew her lover was shifting and turning as best she could within the limits of her restraints. A soft murmur escaped Melissa's lips and Bethany wondered if she had fallen into sleep against her will. But her sighs became louder and sounded to Bethany like soft moans of pleasure, and Bethany whispered: "Are you alright, my love?"
Melissa let out a long exhale and replied in a wavering voice: "There is something down there!" Bethany wondered what she meant, but shortly thereafter Melissa sighed in obvious pleasure and her chains jerked suddenly. Bethany strained her eyes to try to see anything close to her friend but only saw Melissa's legs dimly visible in the shadows as she drew them up and apart. "Bethany!" Melissa's voice quivered. "My clitoris! Something is... Ohhhhhhhh..." Bethany leaned as far over as she could but there was nothing there but Melissa and she was obviously very aroused, writhing in sexual excitement.
"My sex! It is inside me!" she exclaimed.
Bethany rolled her eyes and said: "Melissa! Are you awake?"
"Oh yessssss..." she cried in sheer joy. "Ohhhhhhhh... MMmmmmmmm..." Bethany began to catch the delicious scent of her lover's vulva filling the air and knew Melissa was pouring out her juices between her thighs, but Bethany wondered if her lover wasn't having a sleep-deprived hallucination. Melissa panted and convulsed, shaking her chains continuously, then with a long, gutteral groan and a thud, she knew Melissa had climaxed and was coming down from her rapture with rapid breaths and small, trembling spasms.
"Are you quite finished?" asked Bethany.
"Mmmm-hmmmm..." cooed Melissa, obviously satisfied.
"Are you two having sex?" demanded Galenia incredulously. "How did you get free?"
"We're not!" Bethany called over to her. "Melissa is having erotic hallucinations!"
"Bethany! I swear something was playing with me!" Melissa cried.
"Yes, dear," she replied.
Melissa just sighed in exasperation and Bethany wondered if any of the men topside had heard her moans and she feared they might come down to investigate. But the ship was noticeably rolling in sea swells now and Bethany took thought for the ship reaching coastal waters where waves began piling up as offshore swells. The timbers began creaking however as the mast strained under the load of a heavy wind heaving upon the sail. Bethany felt a change in the air and began to realize it was a squall they were sailing into. She hoped the task of keeping the ship trimmed against the gales would keep the men too occupied to come after them, and she spread her legs to keep herself from tipping over with the heaving deck.
Suddenly, she felt a feather-soft tickling between her legs and the sensation sent a tingle through her body. She tried to reach down to feel her sex, but the chains stopped her and she felt helpless. She tried to close her legs but found she couldn't without rolling side to side with the ship. She next felt the inner lips of her sex spread apart suddenly and she jerked in surprise, rattling her chains.
"Something wrong, Bethany?" asked Melissa curiously, and Bethany just sat there quietly, telling herself that she was just imagining these teasing sensations. Suddenly she felt her sex being lapped deeply by an invisible tongue and she recoiled, slamming her legs together.
Melissa was suddenly fascinated at Bethany's troubles and then she heard unsuppressed giggling coming from the darkness near Bethany's feet. Bethany heard it too and the two girls almost in unison said: "Alright, Thallo! Show yourself!" A white flower materialized in the air over Bethany and fell down to her mound. The comely shape of the lovely Grace shimmered into view as she knealed over Bethany, and Thallo allowed herself to come into full view.
"Thallo!" cried Melissa. "It was you!" Thallo laughed again and gave Bethany a playful nudge with her foot.
“So, my gentle Grace...We four are captured, held captive aboard a pirate ship, locked in chains, there are two dozen brigands who have us naked, and helpless, and who at any moment could decide to come down here to despoil us, and you decided to take the opportunity to come and enjoy our bodies yourself one last time before they had their crack at us?" Bethany summed up.
“Oh, no!" replied Thallo. “I would not let that happen to you. There is help on the way."
“Can you get us out of these manacles?" asked Melissa.
“Not yet. But we have an ally on board, and when the time comes, you will be set free. The storm has delayed the arrival of some friends who will give you safe passage over the sea. Poseidon is trying to interfere with our plans, but those who serve Aphrodite can be quite resourceful," assured Thallo.
“But aren’t you forgetting a ship full of brigands who won’t be inclined to just hand us over to anyone without a fight?" Bethany inquired.
“I do not think you will have to worry about that, fair Bethany. Our friends will deal with these privateers quite fiercely, I believe." The hatch above the ladder opened and someone slid down the gangway. Thallo closed her arms across her breasts and disappeared into the darkness, leaving Bethany and Melissa wondering what was about to happen.
Miokos stepped towards them and knelt at Bethany's feet. "You must know something before the Amazons arrive. There may be little time." Amazons, thought Bethany, marveling at the name. Miokos took Bethany's hand as they spoke and guided it in the darkness. Bethany started at the tactile revelation, but said nothing for it only confirmed her suspicions and she was more shocked by Miokos' mention of the mighty warrior women whom the Greeks called A-Mazos for she had heard of them only as legend. She now understood why Miokos was their ally and why they were likewise kindred to this compassionate pirate.
"There are many factions of the Sea-people," Miokos explained. "These are the Labu from Libya. They are ruthless free-booters like the other factions, but the Amazons despise them most of all and we must not be caught in the coming blood-bath. Your friend thinks you will be safer if they find you here as the captives of the Labu."
The men Kyrenia had called the sea-people hauled desperately at the rigging trying to keep canvas upon spar as the storm whipped the lines through their burning hands. They feared the ship closing in upon them more than the storm and would see their ship ripped apart by the gale before facing those who sailed the ship which now bore down upon them. Even the misogynist pirates knew the ferocity of the Amazons. Few men could withstand their battle-skills, so if the winds held and the canvas held, they hoped their smaller, more maneuverable ship might save their lives.
Their race was nearly won, but the Graces were not with them. Thallo had summoned Eurus, the unlucky spirit of the eastern wind to counter Zephyrus of the west, and the sail of the sea-people quickly fell limp over their heads as they looked up and trembled at their doom. Melissa felt the deathly calm that surrounded the ship, and before long the silence was broken by the cries of men and the whiz of many arrows. The sounds above deck became terrifying as bronze and iron swords clashed in ferocity and blood spilled through the cracks in the deck boards. The splashing of bodies into the sea and the shrieks of women wild with blood-lust filled their ears and soon the carnage was over and the ship was taken.
Many footsteps could be heard clamoring over their heads, and soon the light of day filled the hold as both hatchways were thrown open and they were surrounded by the tallest and fiercest women Bethany and Melissa had ever seen. Fair but fell, they carried shields on their backs and swords at their sides. Many held spears and cudgels which were stained with fresh blood. Under their bronze helms they wore their long hair braided tightly and cinched at the ends with copper rings. They looked upon the naked girls with compassion and curiosity, then seized and disarmed Miokos who stood next to them, but Bethany pleaded for them to stay their wrath and interceded on Miokos' behalf.
She looked up at the last of the pirates and said: "Show them!"
Miokos pulled free from the Amazons and tore off both headband and keffiyeh, unwrapping the scarf and pulling it free, revealing hair which was long, lush and nearly black. As one layer of apparel after another was removed, the curves and volumes of a lovely girl with dark, eastern eyes were revealed. She stood before the Amazons in tall boots and billowing pantalons sashed at the waste, but above that her skin gleamed in sensuous curves and her breasts were uncovered to reveal her magnificent beauty. Melissa and the two sisters of the court of Paphos were amazed by the transformation and as one-by-one their bonds were broken and they were freed, they stood to embrace their new friend.
They were escorted up to the deck, which by now had been cleared of the bodies of their captors, and a tall, beautiful woman pulled off her helmet and waited for them to be brought before her. Antinara, second-in-comand lead the five girls up to her captain and introduced her with gracious cordiality. Their leader was the great Penthisilea, and Melissa and Bethany bowed respectfully while Kyrenia and Galenia kneeled behind them. Miokos looked around at the ship which was now free of all men and knew she must try to explain her presence among the Sea-people to their bitterest of enemies.
"We deal with our enemies before we treat with new friends," challenged Penthisilea, as she looked sternly at Miokos. "How come you to be among these free-booters, young one? I have never seen such dark and beautiful eyes among any of the races of the Sea-people."
Miokos stepped up to face the imperious Amazon and began a tale which amazed even Melissa and Bethany. She was the daughter of an alchemist from lands far in the east who had journeyed from kingdom to kingdom westward, trading their arcane skill with incendiaries for what riches they could barter. They had taken passage on a trading ship sailing to Mycenae, hearing that Agamemnon was building a mighty military alliance, but their ship was attacked by the Sea-people and they were taken captive and made to use their skills to mix fire-pots and smokers to use against their enemies in battle.
Her father had recently died and only her knowledge of pitch and tow gave her continued protection by the captain from his crew as long as she served his needs. Her eyes filled with sadness as she recalled the loss of her father and she grew silent. Penthisilea studied her face in fascination as she concluded her story and knew no such face could have been born of Labu, so she offered the young girl refuge on her ship until they reached the coasts of Asia Minor where she could then choose her fate, for the Amazons were journeying to Ilium to fight for King Priam against the Greeks who now laid siege to Troy.
"What will be done with this ship?" Melissa asked. "Our strogulla was sunk by the Sea-people and we must continue across the sea to Egypt."
"Ah, you are the friends of the Horae who brought us to our quarry. But more than that, you serve the goddess Aphrodite, whom we honor. You may have the ship, but who will sail her for you?" asked the warrior queen.
"Miokos, will you sail with us?" piped up Bethany.
"Are you sure you want to sail with a pirate?" joked Miokos. "But if Penthisilea will grant me leave, I would join your crew."
"We have one more for your sisterhood of sailors," offered the Amazon. "She is young and we pulled her from her foundering boat only yesterday, but we cannot take her north to war. I fear she may not offer much help. From her look she is noble-born, but she will not reveal her lineage." The Amazon captain snapped her fingers and ordered the girl to be brought topside.
"Myrrha!" cried Galenia. On the deck of the larger ship now standing abeam stood the Princess of Alashiya, daughter of King Cinyras of Paphos. The young princess smiled for the first time in days as she saw her dearest friends upon the ship below her.
"A glad re-union of friends," noted Penthisilea. "It is a sign of good fortune. Tonight we will share a feast and make merry. Your ship will be provisioned for your journey south, and tomorrow we will part ways.
But let this night's celebration be joyous and gay!"
(c) 2009 Bethany Frasier
The Amazon Queen led the group across the boarding plank to her ship. Melissa, Bethany, Thallo, Kyrenia, Galenia, and Miokos followed Penthisilea aboard the large Amazon vessel. The boat rocked gently on the swell as the storm subsided. The cool night air refreshed the girls, and their relief at their freedom flowed through their bodies. Their naked bodies gleamed in the glow from the torches and lamps now lighting the length of the mighty Amazon warship.
Only Thallo had managed to retain a vestage of clothing. The others were all naked. Melissa, Bethany, Kyrenia and Galenia all showed red weals on their bodies where the chains and manacles had cut into their skins. Forgetting the pain, they took turns to embrace Myrhha, kissing her, and stroking her long dark hair. The night air filled with girlish laughter and joy.
The Amazon warriors were busy on deck, stripping themselves of their armor, cleaning weapons and talking excitedly of the battle so gloriously won. Melissa heard one of the girls call to another, "Oh, before I finished off the chief of the pirates, I cut off his penis and threw it overboard, you should have seen his face!" Howls of laughter erupted throughout the vessel.
The girls were tired, dirty, and disheveled. Penthisilea looked them over and grinned, "I think you ladies are in need of some rest and a good cleaning." She beckoned to one of her stewards, barking out an order, "Take these young ladies, clean them up, clothe them, and give them wine."
The steward bowed to the Queen, "It shall be done, my Queen. This way. Please follow me." She led the girls below decks to a cabin at the stern of the vessel. Here were laid out several couches. The steward indicated to Thallo to remove what was left of her tattered clothing. Thallo gladly tore off the last vestiges of her garments. Bethany and Melissa cast their eyes over her gloriously naked body, taking particular delight in Thallo’s firm, jutting breasts, her dark nipples standing proudly from her deep, olive-skinned breasts. Her firm belly and her lush, jet-black bush further down filled them with desire.
Kyrenia and Galenia smiled as they let their eyes wander over their five naked companions. Suddenly, the girls' attention was rudely interrupted as buckets of cold water were thrown over them, causing great merriment amongst the Amazons now attending them. All seven girls were shaking, and the Amazons quickly rubbed them dry in turn. Melissa smiled at Bethany as they enjoyed the pleasurable feel of the cloth being rubbed gently over their naked skin. Both felt a rising flow of sexual energy begin to flow through their veins.
The cabin was lit with oil lamps, which cast flickering yellow light and shadow around the walls, illuminating the space with a surreal atmosphere. The glow emphasized the girls' curves and skin tones, as the light and shadow played a magical dance over their pliant skins. Heavy aromatic oils drifted on the air, making the girls heady.
The Amazon girl swept her arm towards a row of benches. "Please sit here, noble women, whilst wine is served for your refreshment." She clapped her hands and two Amazons appeared with amphora filled with the powerful sweet red wine of Crete. Melissa sighed as she rested her delightfully firm buttocks on the wooden bench. Taking the proffered goblet, Melissa drank deeply, throwing her head back, and allowing the wine to slide down her throat.
Holding her goblet, Bethany watched in rapture as Melissa’s firm breasts rose with the action. Melissa’s long hair hung down her back. Bethany smiled at her companion in that seductive manner Melissa was so used too. Bethany raised her goblet as Melissa wiped her hand across her lips in a blatantly sexual gesture.
"Drink, my love. Drink up. The night is young and I feel passion is in the air." Bethany drained her goblet, slurping noisily as she drank the strange brew. As she savored its fine taste, she wondered if the Amazons had infused the wine with some aphrodisiac; such was the feeling that was already flooding through her veins.
"My darling one," she murmured to Melissa, "Now that this ordeal is over, we will make love like never before, giving praise to the Goddess for our rescue."
Melissa nodded, and whispered above the general noise of their companions' excited chatter, "Praise be indeed to our divine patron."
The other girls, Thallo, Kyrenia, Galenia, Myrrha and Miokos were playfully stroking and kissing one another, the memory of their ordeals being greatly diminished by repeated draughts of wine. Miokos’ magnificent full breasts, with their large ruby red nipples were causing quite a stir. Both Galenia and Kyrenia were teasing Miokos, as they fondled her breasts, touching and squeezing them in turn. Miokos delighted in the attention.
As Melissa and Bethany continued to stare into each other’s eyes, they started as a scream was heard from above decks, and then another long wail, and more screams. Alarmed, they asked the Amazon what was happening. The girl laughed, "Oh, Penthisilea kept a few of the sea-people prisoner. Right now they are being flogged slowly for their crimes against you. It’s no more than this trash deserved. They’ll hang there all night, and in the morning they will be killed." Melissa and Bethany said nothing; they did not disagree with what was going on above them on the main deck.
"Come now, Ladies, please relax and lay yourselves out face down along the benches.We will now have to oil your skins, and tend to your wounds. All the girls did as asked, stretching their naked bodies along the benches. The Amazon steward couldn’t do anything but admire this glorious array of naked girls. How beautiful their nubile bodies are, she thought. Such fine full buttocks. She touched herself between her strong thighs, and felt a trickle of wetness and a swelling of her nub. Her other hand ran over her one breast, for all Amazons had only one breast.
Whilst the girls were servants of Aphrodite in all her avatars, the Amazons worshiped Artemis, Ares and Cybele. Not that this prevented them from having desires. The Amazon made a sign, and seven attendants stepped forward carrying bowls of warmed olive oil infused with sweet thyme. Melissa stretched out fully along the bench, her hair brushed forward, and gazed at Bethany, who returned her gaze. They wriggled as warm oil was poured down their backs and over their buttocks, the oil running between their full cheeks. The Amazon attendants poured more oil down their thighs and calves.
Thighs astride the benches, the Amazons slowly worked the oil into the girls' backs, kneading, smoothing and caressing their skin, Both Melissa and Bethany were cooing as the skilled hands of the warrior girls worked their bodies. Both groaned with sheer pleasure as firm hands smoothed their buttocks. Bethany audibly groaned as the Amazon parted her cheeks and with one finger, caressed the cleft between them.
"Oh, by the Goddess," cried Melissa, as she felt an oily finger stroke her anus. How she longed to be penetrated, imagining Bethany’s finger deep inside her bottom.
The Amazons finished off by using two-hand massages on the back of each thigh, and then eased the tension out of the girls' calves. Melissa reached over and gripped Bethany’s hand, fingers interlocking for a moment; the touch was laden with intent.
"Please turn over onto your backs now, and we will continue your healing massage." Without further ado, all seven girls rolled onto their backs. From the satisfied noises coming from the other girls, Melissa and Bethany knew they were enjoying themselves immensely. These Amazons were experts, having done this kind of healing massage on their companions after many a battle.
Seven pairs of upright breasts pointed at the ceiling beams, a truly enrapturing vision. The light from the lamps gleamed on their shining skin as the Amazons got to work on the girls again. Melissa and Bethany began to slowly writhe as skilled hands softly stroked their breasts, and fingers nimbly rolled their nipples. Both Bethany and Melissa have especially sensitive nipples, which soon stiffened, sending signals around their bodies. By now, both were very moist.
Moans were heard right along the row of benches as oil was poured over their bellies, and those deft hands and fingers worked down from navel to mound. The Amazons used two fingers to open up the girls' labia, and oiled the soft wings of the seven girls with soft touches. They were good, these Amazons. They deliberately stopped short of giving the girls orgasms, for that was not their purpose. Melissa had strong urges to just get up and make love with Bethany right there and then. Bethany reading Melissa’s mind had similar urges, but both had to control themselves, as this was just the preliminary to the night ahead.
Finally, the Amazons completed their work, and seven utterly relaxed and rejuvenated girls were feeling imbued with new life. Now that the infused oils were soaked into their skin, Melissa reached over and allowed her hand to slide over Bethany’s skin, delighting in the silky softness under her fingertips. Rising off the bench, Bethany came to Melissa’s side and kissed her fully on her lips. Bethany’s hands cupped Melissa’s smooth-skinned breasts, then gripped her shoulders.
"My love, you feel like heaven to touch." Melissa closed her eyes, and pouted.
Opening her eyes, Melissa noticed fresh clothing being laid out for them all; she couldn’t help wondering how long it would be before it was all shed again.
Copyright March 2009: Melissa DJ
The two ships rolled abeam on the swells of a gentle sea, subsiding from the tempests of both storm and battle. Bethany and Melissa too shared the languor of the quiet sea with their tired companions after days and nights without sleep. The sensual anointments given them by the attendants of the Amazons had refreshed their spirits and the seven oiled and robed girls relaxed near Antinara, the helmswoman at the stern of the Amazon barque while Thallo spoke quietly with Penthisilea.
The dozen or so Amazon warriors who had taken the ship upon which they had been held captive cleaned spear and sword of drying blood. The few remaining pirates taken prisoner watched with dread as the final remains of their shipmates were wiped from their captor's blades. Bethany recognized one of them as the ruffian who had struck and assaulted her as she was slapped in manacles early that morning. She saw the contempt in his eyes for the well-trained femmes who had bested them in both battle and sea-faring. She saw also the fear that sweated out of their doomed and filthy bodies as they hung from their arms, lashed to the rigging, awaiting whatever fate the she-warriors would deliver them.
She fought her instincts to feel pity for the miscreants whose deaths were certain. She knew they felt no remorse nor contrition for their heinous acts against her friends or the countless others upon whom the sea-people had wantonly preyed. But if she felt no pity, neither did she crave vengeance, and passed the loathesome creature without a word. The Amazons would question their prisoners and dispose of them in a manner Bethany chose not to contemplate.
Several of the warrior-women took up a contest among themselves hurling spears from the rail of their ship to a target upon the deck of the other ship, which tossed upon the warm sea, tethered by a single line, abandoned of all her crew. Bethany marveled at the accuracy of their marksmanship with both boats bobbing in opposition. A cluster of spears grouped tightly at the intersection of the mast and the lowest spar like a sheaf of fasces. Ainia, one of the younger of the Amazons tossed a spear into the hands of Melissa who stood nearby watching the contest, inviting her to join them.
To their great surprise, Melissa fell back several steps towards the interior of the ship, re-balanced the spear in her right hand with an adroit bounce, and with a quick spin of her lithe body lofted the spear through the rigging of both ships striking in the center of the cluster of spears that were thrown before hers. A great shout of praise rang from the throats of the warrior women, and while they encircled Melissa lauding her skill, Bethany smiled and mused to herself: Beware the sting of the honeybee nymph!
Melissa led her buzzing swarm of admirers over to Bethany and they joined hands, signaling the assemblage that lighter spirits and a turn towards more sybaritic pursuits were desired by the priestesses of Aphrodite. Bethany pulled Miokos to their side and she in turn reached for the sisters of Paphos and together they danced like sprites beneath the swaying mast. Even the stern Amazons smiled and joined hands in a circle around the dancing girls. Under the warm Mediterranean sun the tanned skin of Melissa and Bethany glistened with sweat as they spun and skipped their bare feet over the wooden deck.
Bethany shrugged her gossamer gown off her shoulders and twirled it towards the rail with a kick of her foot. Kyrenia and Melissa also swept off their clothing and joined her, and together their breasts bounced in a sensuous rhythm with their footfalls. Even some of the youngest Amazon girls shed their capes and tunics to dance naked with their new friends. Bethany spun down upon her heels to sit with Galenia who had tired and rested against the deck rail, watching wide-eyed at the beauty of so many trim and toned femmes dancing naked before her. Bethany noted her young friend's gaze resting curiously upon the chests of the Amazon girls who had only one breast upon their left, and the smoothly-muscled pectorals of a man on their right. Bethany answered her unasked question.
"Before they bloom, the Amazons cut out the bud of their daughters' right breast so that it will not develop and hinder their bow-arm in battle. Only the slightest scar remains, which the contours of their musculature usually conceal. Even so, are they not magnificent?"
"They are amazing!" responded Galenia. Melissa, overhearing their conversation, came and rested with them, sitting on the other side of Galenia.
"A-mazos in the Achaean tongue means 'without a breast'," explained Melissa as she reached over Galenia and playfully pinched Bethany's nipple.
"Didn't think I could hit the target, did you, my love?" Bethany rolled Galenia over onto Melissa and the three of them tussled playfully, pulling hair and pinching each others' nipples. Their sex-play stirred their passions and soon Melissa and Bethany were intertwined in the most intimate of tongue-play as their heat rose while the afternoon sun was setting.
Myrrha watched as her childhood friends Galenia and Kyrenia joined into the exotic chain of female bodies, tasting each others' soft, wet flesh. She wished to be among them if only for comfort, but she had felt sick and queezy for as long as she had chosen the sea as her escape route, and as the great ship heaved lazily over the rolling swells, her fair skin paled to nearly white. The two sisters noticed the princess off by herself with her head bowed to her knees and left the sex-play of the other girls to keep her company.
As Melissa lay with her eyes focused softly upon Bethany, now crouched between her legs, she gazed dreamily beyond her to watch the three young companions of the royal court of Paphos, re-united again. Galenia and Kyrenia sat upon either side of the Princess Myrrha, recounting their adventures since they had been parted. But the young princess would only listen and not speak of the events in her life which had consigned all seven of them into exile upon the seas west of Alashiya. She sat upon the folded canvas that the pirates had stripped from the rigging of the royal strogulla which had brought her friends to be re-united with her once again.
So much had happened since their last time together. Her world now seemed foreign and unfamiliar to her. The childhood games they played together at the court of her father's palace in Paphos were part of a world she had left behind, and a life from which she now fled. All three of them had passed from innocence by paths of different chance to arrive here together once again, amongst an unlikely company of mythic seafarers. She was a princess, and yet amongst this astonishing assemblage she felt she was but the least, with no notion of the part she played, except to flee the shame her incestuous impulses had brought to her house and homeland, running from a father she had deceived and betrayed.
She prayed to the gods for forgiveness, and for solace in the arms of her friends. Miokos sat and watched everyone around her closely. She knew her path was now shared with this band of beautiful young exiles, and wanted to learn where their journey might also take her, but she was more than content in their company and as she watched Bethany's head gliding up and down erotically between Melissa's thighs, she wiggled her fingers through her own slippery wet groove until her thighs were glistening with wet rivulets.
Thallo beckoned to Bethany, who had just finished satisfying her lover completely, and after seeing Melissa had closed her eyes, basking in a luxuriant after-glow, Bethany licked her lips clean and joined the Amazon Queen as the be-flowered Fate begged her leave. Penthisilea motioned Bethany to sit, and she nodded her head respectfully to the Queen, who began her inquiry.
"The Horae has told me your band is fleeing the court of Paphos. Speak, and tell me please why a priestess of Aphrodite should flee the great patron of her mistress. Is there dissension in the Temple of the Goddess"?
"Not in the temple, my lady but in the house of her patron, the king," replied Bethany, "Queen Cenchreis has blamed Aphrodite for enchanting her daughter with incestuous desire. Myrrha flees from her father's wrath now. Her two friends have been in our company and now join her in exile. We have taken them into the Temple of Aphrodite as initiates, but their aunt who was nurse to the Princess plays some part in this deception of the king, and I fear she alone may know the truth of who is responsible for this tragedy." Bethany continued to relay what news she had to the Amazon queen, who looked upon each of her guests as their accounts were told. But the imperious Amazon seemed most interested in the plight of Myrrha.
Myrhha's eyes widened as Penthisilea came and sat close beside her near the rail of the ship. The imperious warrior seemed more than a woman to the young princess, and since the first moment she was brought before her, Myrrha had feared her. She had answered none of the Amazon Queen's many questions of her since she was pulled from her small boat alone and frightened, but the queen now looked upon her with gentler eyes, and casting her gaze out over the sea, she spoke as if to herself.
"When the dawn came, we rose from camp and climbed into the hills with spear and bow. My sister laughed as I was so eager to press forward and find our quarry. The tracks were seen as light failed at dusk so we waited for the night to pass and I dreamed of the coming hunt as my dear Hippolyta slept softly beside me. I wished for my sister to be proud of my skills which our mother had trained in us both, and as the sun rose above the trees, we awoke to resume the hunt. We separated and she vanished into the trees upon the hillside to flush the fell cat from her hidden lare that I might have my kill. My bow was slung, for I wished to face my prey close at hand and see her eyes as I let my spear fly to her feral haunches.
"My blood was hot and I sensed my moment was at hand when the underbrush parted and the tawny beast caught the thin rays of the climbing sun through the trees. I saw her golden coat shine from the shadows as she emerged. No mere lioness, she was a great feline like the companions of the gods that were made at the beginning of the world. Her lithe form and glowing coat were as an image carved upon the altars of ancient temples. I had seen her likes bearing the goddesses of old in my earliest memories of childhood. I felt my blood rush and my spear was already at hand as I widened my stance for the throw, but as my arm drew back and my weapon began its fateful arc, my aim was lost when suddenly I felt the sting of an angry bee upon my eyelid.
"I saw nothing as my spear sailed off its mark into the trees rising upon the hillside, but I heard her anguished cry as my wayward spear pierced my dear sister's breast. My own heart felt that deadly stab as my sweet Hippolyta turned and fell. My life ended as hers did, and though her dying words spoke forgiveness, none of my own could I abide. Only my own life could pay the price for my shame, and only in battle can an Amazon die with her honor. So came I into exile along with my band of loyal companions, sisters all, and my course to Phrygia was set, to die upon an Achaean sword on the plains of battle 'tween the sea and the unscalable walls of Ilium. I pray only that mighty Achilles be the champion to whom I pay the price for my sister's untimely death."
Penthisilea turned her gaze from the milky horizon to the young princess whose eyes were now filled with tears. Myrrha took the queen's hand in hers and raised it to her lips. "We walk in shame together, my lady," she said softly.
Penthisilea stroked the fiery red hair of her young companion and then rose. After turning to walk away, she stopped and said sadly: "Would that I had only loved my sister too much, as you did your father, the King. We shall both pay for our transgressions, fair princess, but no redemption shall I find in death. I pray yours may sow the seeds of forgiveness and bring some beauty to the world as great as your own." The queen looked over at Bethany as she held the sleeping Melissa in her arms and stroked her dark hair softly. They seemed as loving sisters to her and her thoughts returned to the memory of Hippolyta as she had tearfully held her in her arms dying.
Melissa passed deeper into sleep, no longer able to fend off the hand of Morpheus as he shuttered her conscious mind from the waking world. She floated in darkness, but once again found her feet landing upon cold stone as she descended that familiar but frightening path down to the very heart of darkness. But just as her dream had seized Kyrenia as Melissa had held her in her arms by the fire on the previous morn, Bethany now felt the tug of evil upon her mind also, and fought to stay awake lest she be enslaved by the same nightmare which had reached from Melissa's subconscious and trapped Kyrenia with her in the depths of fear.
"Come to me, Melissa!" said a hauntingly familiar voice. Though her conscious senses were stripped from her, Melissa once again felt that peripheral awareness which had confused her mind in the presence of the oracle of Kyprios in the woods upon the coastal mountain above Paphos.
"Bring her to me now!" insisted the voice.
"Where are you? And what is this place?" demanded Melissa's mind.
"The place you fear most! Of all your memories, this has been the darkest! You shared this horror with the lioness. Her company kept your heart from yielding to fear and madness. Her hand in yours redoubled your strength! You belong together, so bring her to your side again and you will be safe."
Melissa's mind knew she was being tricked and the knowledge gave her strength. "You would have me believe this is Kur, but we faced that cold damnation of fire together and returned tempered with new strength. That darkness is only a memory and you cannot use it to frighten me into betraying my love. We have no errand here. It is you who needs Ariel for some dark purpose, and my goddess has cautioned her away from your presence. Who are you?" demanded Melissa.
"She is upon my doorstep. So close!" revealed the voice, carelessly. "I thought you had brought her to me upon your last visit, but merely a child did you offer," mused the voice distractedly, and then grew cold and calculating again. "Perhaps she has abandoned you! There are others whose charms call to her and she may leave you here alone in the darkness while she delights in their company, caressing their skin, joining her fair body to theirs in sexual play. They are together now! Loving and sharing themselves. The young novices whom you have so arrogantly given to Aphrodite. They are with your Bethany, offering their bodies to her, and caring not for your devotion, she has turned from you to them! While you are lost and alone, she has forgotten you for the taut and supple softness of those young and nubile sisters."
"You cannot torment me with jealousy," declared Melissa. "That is for those who would possess others calling it love, but love is not possession. It is sacrifice!"
"You think I do not know you, Melissa? For you have sacrificed much for the goddess. Though she has ever shrouded your lives in mystery while you serve at her side, I know that you and your companion have walked the world in secret purpose for many an age of gods, old and new. And strangely have you been drawn to their sides as their familiars. The Titans knew you, as do now their children upon Olympus, and the myriad roles you have played few would guess, for you walk quietly through eternity by means which even I cannot guess, but always in the shadow of the great goddess in whatever avatar she might appear.
"But I have guessed some of your secrets, young priestess, and I know that your beginnings recede into the mists of time. You were made with the earth long ago and you were once an Idaean Oread, but no mere nymph did you remain! When the powers of the Titans waned and the god Cronus tried to consume all his children, his wife Rhea intervened to save the last. That infant was given into your care by Rhea to hide him from his father, who feared his children would surpass him. You dwelled then in the heights of the Psiloriti upon Crete.
"There in a cave near the summit of Mount Ida you kept a mewling infant hidden from his jealous father. Rhea chose you to conceal the first Olympian and nurse him with the sacred milk of Amalthea. You fed him enchanted honey from your cavern hives for you were the honeybee nymph, and your drones gathered the nectar of the gods upon those lofty Idaean heights. And that is the link which binds us together, Melissa! The magick of your honey gave Zeus his prescience, and he passed those powers down to his children. Yes, not only to Aphrodite, but also to me. For I too am the first generation spawned of Zeus through his illicit love with my mother, Lamia, who begot the Oracles. My power to divine the future descended to me from the very honey you fed Zeus in his youth, as did those of my sister, the Delphic Oracle.
"But there is still a mystery surrounding you which I have yet to divine. Cronus found you out and punished you for deceiving him. He transfigured you into a lowly wurm and left you alone in that dark place. Zeus saw what his father had done and took pity upon you for that injustice, and changed you back from wurm to honeybee, your truer nature. But here now is the mystery. You now serve the goddess as a beautiful young woman once again. How you returned to this form to serve the lady of desire once again has been clouded from my vision.
"The honeybee and the lioness. An unlikely pair, and yet you appear and disappear in my visions of the past and the future, slipping in and out of the timeline of the world unexpectedly, and unpredictably. Your secrets confound the Oracles, for the future is our province and ever have your paths eluded our focus. My half-sister must have a purpose in giving you such powers, but perhaps Aphrodite is only one of your benefactors. For in the past you must have served Astarte, Innana, ...even mighty Hathor herself. Do I not guess close to the mark, Melissa Honeybee?"
Melissa's mind reeled in the darkness at the revelations of her tormentor, for no one before had ever guessed the guises and secrets behind which Melissa and Bethany had occulted themselves through the ages. She had always believed their true natures were kept veiled by the powers of their goddess. She could not even escape this scrutiny of her inner mind for she was ensnared in her own nightmare. But was this the true oracle with her now or only a phantom in her dreams? Melissa's mind trembled with doubt, for if the oracle were only a construct of her nightmare, then their secrets were still safe, but had the oracle actually entered her mind that morning in the woods? She pondered desperately as the voice from the darkness continued.
"Unlike Dione, Lamia was cursed by Hera for her illicit affair with Zeus, her husband. All of my mother's children by the King of Olympus were destroyed by Hera save only my two sisters and myself who escaped. We are the three lost Sibylla and have withdrawn from the world within the temples of the Oracles. From our mountain shrines we can prophesy the future, but you and Ariel seem to possess powers to change it, always in the service of your mistress! It was revealed to us that the Princess of Paphos would bear a child who would become the favorite of all Aphrodite's lovers. This we could never allow, for Aphrodite is worshiped and feted, most of all the Olympians, while we, her half-sisters are cursed and condemned to obscurity.
"With the unwitting aid of one close to the princess, we cast upon Myrrha an illicit obsession with her father the king so that she would spurn all her royal suitors and remain un-wed and childless. This we did to deprive Aphrodite of her greatest happiness, fair Adonis! But when the princess, distraught with shame, tried to hang herself knowing the depravity of her obsession, her witless nurse intervened and plotted a scheme to enable the princess to consummate her doomed desire. Our plans fell to disarray, but after the heinous deed was committed, the king drew sword over his daughter and we hoped his wrath would end her life, but you have stepped in once again to thwart our plans. Now the princess is in your care and your intervention has clouded our visions of what will be. And our visions are all that we have!"
Fear gripped Melissa, for she was helpless to warn away Bethany, and through the thin tendrils which still connected her with her waking mind, she knew that a hand stretched out to her into the darkness from the world outside and that it was Bethany's. Her mind fought to stay in control, but she felt defeated by the inevitability of the sibyl's designs. Suddenly, in the blackness, a fleeting gold and green glimmer caught in her vision and she tried to focus upon it, but had no reference points in the darkness. A buzzing passed her senses and she felt the smallest of breezes upon her sweat-drenched face. She had the sensation of falling backwards but she awoke before she felt her impact upon the ground. "Bethany! No!" was her last thought.
Bethany's mind reached out to Melissa, now receding from her in the labyrinth of her dark dream, and as she searched for the receding echo of her lover's heart, a long-forgotten memory awoke from the distant past—a memory of another black and fearsome place where she had taken shelter from a storm while climbing the mountain slopes above the Amari Valley upon the eternal island in the wine dark sea. The mountain was sacred to her goddess and her path was as always led by her guidance, but as the clouds broke suddenly upon the mountainside, she had raced into an open dromos running far back into its dark recesses to escape the bitter wind.
As the thunder of the storm had quieted to the drone of a steady rain, she had fallen asleep in the lightless tholos, and when she awoke still in darkness, she knew not which way led out. She stood in the quiet blackness hoping for a sound of the world outside to point her footsteps, but the only sensation which manifested was a growing fear. She wandered in darkness through the cavernous tomb fearing no path would lead to her escape, but as panic and despair began to descend upon her, a thin pencil of light coming from no apparent source in the shadows overhead dimly illuminated a circle upon the floor. She kneeled to examine the ring-shaped object below her and saw an undulating movement around its circumference which startled her for a moment.
She had seen the shape before in ancient symbols carved upon amulets of power, but this apparition was a living creature, a worm curled 'round upon itself, consuming its own tail. A living Ouroboros, thought Bethany, puzzled by the mystery. She knew the Ouroboros was the mythical embodiment of the sacred circle, the most ancient symbol of the divine creative power of the eternal femme. Life consuming itself to be reborn anew.
Bethany felt a comforting presence and believed her goddess was near. She realized that she could faintly see the stone wall in front of her where there had been only pitch blackness before, and as she watched, light waxed upon the wall, save for a shadow which took the sensuous shape of a young female figure. She watched in fascination as the silhouette grew darker in contrast to the growing light. Suddenly realizing the shadow was cast by her own body, she turned to see the source of the light behind her, but was startled when she heard the voice of a young man breaking the silence.
"Meli..." the voice suddenly broke off as she turned and before her stood a beardless youth with long, golden hair standing tall and straight in his young manhood.
"Who are you?" asked Bethany.
"I am one who would well ask that of you, for this was the home of my youth. By some on this island I am called Kouros, for they only knew me as a boy. To others I am Welchanos. And whom may you be?" replied the young man. "I nearly mistook you for the nymph, you are so alike in beauty."
Bethany began to step sideways, eyeing the young man cautiously as she began to trace a wide circle around him to keep from being cornered against the stone wall behind her. As she stepped aside, he saw the orobouros upon the floor and gasped. He rushed forward and knelt before the undulant and Bethany suddenly felt protective of the small creature and returned to stand over it, guarding the living symbol of her goddess from harm.
"You have no need to fear," the young man reassured. "This is why I have returned. I was raised in this cave from infancy to hide me from my father. My mother gave birth to me here for my safety and throughout my youth I shared this secret place with my nurse and tutor who had made this her abode long ago. She reared me through my youth, fed me honey from her hives, and taught me wisdom. She kept me safe through my young life, but even this vast redoubt could not hide her from my father's wrath when he finally found where my mother had hidden me. This was his vengeance upon the nymph of Mount Ida for her role in deceiving him. And now, my cautious friend, who may you be?" Bethany studied the face of Welchanos and quieted her fears.
"I am a servant of the goddess. I was summoned here but I know not why," said Bethany.
"Perhaps I do. You are not altogether as you seem," asserted the young man. "Your appearance belies your true nature, just as this small creature beneath us does also, for I would know my guardian in whatever form she appeared. Pick it up!" Bethany obeyed and scooped the small creature into her palms. "Now, my fair friend, become what you once were and carry Melissa back with you!"
With a casual gesture from Welchanos, Bethany felt the veil of her earthly appearance fall from her like gossamer. She turned, dropping to the floor as if by instinct and when she opened her eyes, the shadow upon the wall had changed from the figure of the young girl she was, to the sinuous shape of a great cat. The worm was nowhere to be seen, but the sound of a buzzing honeybee flitted past her ears.
"Your cruelty is undone, father!" bellowed Welchanos as the caves shook with undying echoes of his great voice, and Ariel knew then that he was a god. But the young god had disappeared before she could turn around, and the caves were dark once again. But she was not alone. She felt a new presence as comforting as a mother's.
"Welcome, my daughter," said a warm voice older than Ishtar, older than Innana. The Egyptians had named her Hwt Hr, a combinant deity of all things femme: desire, fertility and creation, but much more ancient was this ultimate goddess. Bethany felt a warm and erotic tingling stirring within her sex and knew the Goddess had poured her essence into her, body and soul. Shaktipat, the descent of grace it would one day be called, but the presence Bethany felt within her as she closed her eyes was only a more perfect form of the spirit she carried within her since her earliest memories.
"You are deep inside Mount Ida, my womb upon the earth. You have wandered far since you departed the garden long ago. You were called here for a purpose. You, Ariel, are one of two, each a half of the whole. Throughout eternity you both have and will serve me together and apart, but you will always return to be joined and rejoined upon the most sacred of nights when the veil is thinnest between the worlds of the living and the dead. There you will dance together, joined in passion 'round the flames that light the way for the lost and departed. But you are connected by love and desire, for that is my nature. You each represent the two essential aspects of the world: continuity and change. Life and death, or rather life and rebirth.
"Your natures are the essence of your forms. The honeybee, gatherer and sustainer of life and knowledge, who provides the food of the gods; and the lioness of the Goddess, bringer of death and transformation. As such, you are inherently a skin-changer, for in dire need and in the presence of the ancient powers you can return to your original form. But your lover was made with the world as a nymph, and this mountain is her home. Now, her first task is complete and her journey with you begins. She was chosen to protect the link between the old gods and the new, but ever impetuous, the king of the Titans has punished her for playing that essential role which was her destiny. For protecting the son from being consumed by his father, the father has in his vengeance changed Melissa into the worm which consumes itself.
"Such a harsh injustice could not long stand however, and the new god whom she once nurtured has with your help changed her into a honeybee, to share this cave with her friends who have always made the honey which has fed the gods. But her purpose here is fulfilled and now begins your journey together away from my womb. Melissa has been bound to this mountain, for it is my most sacred place upon the earth, but having completed her task, Zeus will now live to rule the pantheon, and I will be reborn as his daughter. The circle continues, and you both will serve me now as the beautiful femmes you will remain through eternity.
"When you leave this mountain, you will appear as you were before, but the lioness and the honeybee will remain inside of you both forever. When she leaves as your companion through eternity, Melissa's beauty will remain as it was when she was an Oread, but her Idaen powers, ever tied to this place will become hidden, just as your memory of this meeting will be, except perhaps in your dreams where truth lays, ever hidden. In your waking minds you will remember only the sylvan glade where the autumn fire burns, where every harvest moon you will dance in naked abandon through eternity as loving sisters. But if you part, you will always remain bound together. Across great distance or great gulfs of darkness your minds and souls will remain connected. You will see through each other's hearts when you are in the presence of the dragonfly."
Bethany awoke. She found herself in the center of a circle of thirteen friends. It was night, but the sea was lit by a full moon. All the kneeling girls around her were naked, illuminated by the cool moonlight upon their shoulders and by a warm glow upon their faces and breasts from the embers of a shallow brazier sitting on the deck next to her. Melissa was in her arms, stirring from a deep sleep, and though Bethany felt she had just awoken from a dream, she could not remember anything that had transpired in her dream.
Thallo was walking around the perimeter of the ring of young women and Bethany recognized the action as a closing of the ritual circle. Thallo had invoked the powers of the Goddess, initiating twelve to join her in worship of Aphrodite to call Bethany and Melissa out of the deep trance into which they had fallen. But from the inner darkness they had retrieved the answer to the puzzle which had begun on the night of the seven starfalls. The sibyl's dark mind had imprinted upon Melissa's subconscious and still echoed with the secrets of her prophesies.
Myrrha was with child! Fair Adonis she carried in her womb! A son whom Aphrodite would call her greatest love. The Sibyl of Kiprios in her efforts to meddle with the outcomes of prophesy had instead brought them to fruition. Her vengeful attempts to deprive her half-sister of the happiness of true love had merely contrived to bring forth the very events she had endeavored to avert.
Thallo, being one of the Fates had also foreseen the coming of Adonis, but in her wisdom knew she must not interfere with the flow of events. Her role had been to shepherd the priestesses of her mistress through the dangers along their road without changing destiny as the Oracle had attempted to do. The charm of the thirteen had broken the spell upon Melissa's subconscious mind and the Oracle could no longer enter her dreams. The attendants of the Amazons brought forth wine for all the company and the drums they carried into battle were instead used to beat out the rhythm of a dance.
"Our path ahead is clear then!" said Bethany, as she pulled her lover to her breasts. "Tomorrow we escort the Princess to safety and make sail for Egypt to fete the Seven Cows." As their fingers interlaced, they called upon all the femmes to join them in celebration of the coming of Myrrha's child and Aphrodite's fairest lover.
The other girls looked on with smiling faces as Bethany and Melissa began their love-play, intertwining their bodies in heated passion. Glancing at each other with gleaming eyes, the others quickly joined them.
(c) July 4th, 2009 - Bethany Ariel Frasier