Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"the well" a Therontale

The Well


                Sylvia became surprisingly stiff after that. She packed her stuff and prepared for the journey, but was giving Theron some silent treatment, as his mother sometimes gave Father when they had one of their rare fights.

                Theron felt guilty, as if he had truly imposed on this woman's life, and done some serious damage to her. So he did the noble thing, and let her off the hook.

                "Of course, you don't have to quest with me. Stay with your deer. You've been generous enough to us as it is. Asking for anything further would be more than presumptuous on my part -- it would be audacious."

                Sylvia remained silent.

                "In fact," said Theron, "I don't want you to come. We are doing just fine, Gladdus and me. You would just get in the way. I am going to pray to your goddess and tell her we appreciate her offer, but --"

                "Don't you get it!" exploded Sylvia. "Luciana gave me to you. Gave me up, in other words. I can't become a goddess now because she gave me to be yours. As in, your wife, your consort. Not a virgin. Not pure. I can't become a goddess now -- I'm to be a wife!"

                "Whoa, whoa, now wait just a minute," exclaimed Theron. "I never said I wanted to marry anybody. Or even have sex. I am on a quest. With all respect due to your goddess, I am putting my quest first. I am not ready to settle down -- I'm too young."

                "Me too!"

                "But I thought you were centuries old?"

                "It's still too young," snapped Sylvia. "Besides, I hardly know you."

                "Well, let's make a deal. No sex. No marriage. You can keep being a virgin and still become a goddess, but if you want to help me find my mother, I would be grateful -- no, I would be honored if you would come with us."

                Sylvia considered.

                "Could I bring Dulciana?" she finally asked.

                "Who’s that?"

                "My best friend. She's a doe. Immaculate in heart and action."

                "Would she want to hang around with a lion?"

                "They've already met," said Sylvia. "In fact, their friends. Don't you pay attention to things?"

                Theron considered. He had been trying to train his lion to be a killer, and here he was befriending deer? Nevertheless, he said, "Okay, she may come. But hear this. We are meat-eaters, and the lion will hunt. We will spare the roe and the buck, for they are sacred to you. But if you accompany me on my quest, you will see us kill many things."

                Sylvia sighed. She paused for a moment, rubbing a necklace she had of the crescent moon. Finally, she said, "Agreed."


                They were no longer traveling at random. As Niviana was a deer Goddess, Sylvia meant to visit all the magic herds that inhabited North America. She would visit the nearest first, as that was the best place to begin.

                Theron frowned when he saw Gladdus nuzzling and licking Dulciana. Mind you, she was a fine doe, maybe even the best -- why not be generous, or at least honest, and admit that she cut a fine figure? But when Gladdus attempted to eat plants with Dulciana at meal time, enough was enough.

                "Come Gladdus, we are going to make a kill."

                Dulciana stiffened. "But--," said Gladdus.

                "No buts. Come now."

                That night was a long one. Theron and Gladdus spent all night hunting ,and though they used all their skills and techniques, nothing stirred, not even insects. And as spring was emerging, and birds were returning, you'd expect something to stir.

                Crestfallen, they returned to camp, starved and anxious. Gladdus nuzzled up with the deer, who was glad nothing had to taste death that night.

                "We found nothing."

                "Oh," said Sylvia.

                "This has in fact never once happened to me, when I could track and catch nothing. It's as if the animals had been warned."

                Sylvia said nothing.

                "But who could warn them of our presence," he wondered.

                Sylvia said nothing.

                "It would have to be somebody who knew the forest well, and had the knowledge and ability to warn the wildlife--"

                "Fine! I warned the animals you were coming! I admit it! But this is a virgin doe you are speaking about, and she is making good friends with a lion of all animals. Do you think I want him licking her with blood on his lips?"

                "We agreed that you would let me hunt!" shouted Theron.

                "Don't you dare shout at me! Why can't you eat vegetarian when I am with you? Out of simple respect! I gave up my home to come with you. I gave up everything."

                "I never asked you to!"

                "But you wanted it. And Luciana knew your mother. This is your fault."

                "My fault? Your deer attacked me and Gladdus and almost killed us!"

                "Because you were both trying to kill us!"

                "Because we're hunters!" shouted Theron.

                "Brutes! Monsters!" cried Sylvia

                "Go back to your woods! Go! I never want to see you again!" cried Theron.

                Sylvia held still for a moment. She looked at him, and kept composure. But after a moment, she suddenly burst into tears and ran from the camp. Gladdus and Dulciana watched her go. Theron didn't look.

                He just sat there, thinking about what to do next.

                After a few minutes, he muttered, "Damn it!" and chased off into the woods after her.

                As a master hunter, following her trial was easy. He could smell her. She smelled heavenly, he had to admit. As he approached her, she heard him coming, and bolted. He cursed again and ran after her.

                Theron spent nearly an hour chasing Sylvia -- this was the most difficult chase of his life. Finally, he caught on to her ruses, and the way she hid her tracks and masked her scent and shifted directions. He climbed a tree and waited. He heard her approach. She was sniffing the air like a deer.

                At once he cried out "Aha!" and jumped on her. The two tumbled down into the underbrush and into an old abandoned well. Down they went, crashing in the mud at the bottom with a colossal oomph! Theron felt entirely grateful that Sylvia had landed on him.

                They both lay there, one atop the other, out of breath. Theron recovered first, and enchanted by the touch of the wonderful woman, just held still. Finally, he did one of the boldest things he had ever done: he softly pet her shoulder.

                Sylvia permitted it. She blinked awake and looked up at him, not with censure or anger, but with compassion.

                "I will give up meat for you," he said simply.

                "No, no. You shouldn't have to. I should respect who and what you are," she said.

                They laughed.

                "Did you break anything?" he asked.

                "No, did you?"

                "Ama be praised! no I didn't."

                "Well, I suppose we can be comfortable like this once we get back to camp," said Sylvia. "But as it is, we are at the bottom of a well. I think we'd better get ourselves out of this mess."

                Theron agreed, and they preceded to explore their immediate surroundings.




\ ~@M@~ /



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