Son of WarbyOctavianEarth©
Jack's eyes lingered on the two women. They lightly touched each other's arms while they watched Jack. To their altered state, Jack was either a prized bull, or a matador; it was difficult to tell which. They caught him watching and smiled before kissing each other deeply. They were consumed by their lust; they all were.
The dark-haired man with the wedding band dropped to the floor and buried his face under the short brunette's skirt. She held his hands tight to her bare breasts and gasped when his tongue found its mark. Her shirt lay open, and the last two buttons were torn off. Her bra was pushed up over her nipples, and she moaned in time to the arching of her hips as she thrust to meet him.
The curly redhead also dropped to the floor and knelt between the older man's legs. Her head bobbed up and down over his lap. The sound of her mouth sucking up and down the length of his flesh was in perfect sync to the movement of the couple beside her under the table. He watched the pixie-cut blonde ride the man with the goatee and his mouth hung open. I nudged Jack and nodded toward them. Despite the redhead groaning and the obvious pleasure they were both getting from her oral skill, he wasn't satisfied. Lust was in control now, and he watched the blonde with wanton need. He looked morbidly conflicted by his desire to orgasm, and the desire to crawl away from the mouth greedily sucking his cock to join the other couple. The redhead looked up at him and followed his stare to the couple on the floor beside her and she groaned even louder without ever letting him slip from her mouth.
The pixie-cut blonde and the man with the goatee were locked in their embrace and oblivious to what was happening in rest of the room. She rode him harder, and then softer, controlling their pace without letting him stop of even have a voice in their coupling. His pants were completely soaked with her excitement. With each of her orgasms, she would kiss him deeply and moan continuously until she recovered enough to start rocking her hips on top of him again.
When I looked at the two women watching Jack, they shifted positions. The older raven-haired woman stayed seated while the snow-blonde slipped off her chair to sit on the floor in front of her. The snow-blonde kept her back between the raven-haired woman's legs and together they opened their blouses and kissed deeply. Even through the silky textures of their bras, they both pinched and rubbed each other's nipples. The way the snow-blonde woman on the floor had her knees drawn up; it was obvious how excited she was just by the sheen of moisture on her panties. The tiniest bulge at the top revealed her clitoris and the raven-haired woman's hands were inching down to touch it.
The entire scene left Jack open-mouthed and nearly panting. His arousal was near a deafening high. I watched his eyes drift from one couple to next, and back again. With each pass, he bore witness to every stage of raw lust: from want, to need, to demand, to uncaring decadence, to unforgivable desire. He wanted desperately to shed his own inhibitions and join them, but he felt a pang of something he couldn't quite explain. No matter how desperate I let the scene become, he didn't move from my side.
The full-figured brunette pushed the man with the wedding band back and turned around. She leaned forward over one of the chairs and pressed her nipples hard into the rough fabric. The dark-haired man who had been tasting her almost ripped open his pants in his effort to drive into her from behind. Her short rhythmic gasps were all the proof anyone needed of his determination. The grey-tinted man with the redhead had pulled her up from between his legs and turned her around to face the pixie-cut blonde on the floor. The redhead dropped her skirt and spread her legs before leaning back and settling over the man's throbbing cock. She rode him slowly while they both watched the couple beneath the table. The two women watching Jack were kissing madly and the snow-blonde pulled the older woman to the floor on top of her. Their hands pawed at each others chests, and their mouths alternated between each others nipples while their fingers traced circles between their legs. They traded off, taking turns at bringing each other closer to orgasm before retreating for more of the same sweet torture. Through it all, the women watched Jack from the corners of their eyes, hoping for any sign that he would join them.
The sound and smell of sex was like a growing tide as the moans cascading off the walls turned more desperate. Air hissed through clenched teeth, and the panting breaths became a chorus of ragged gasps. The orgasms almost began by mutual consent. Once the short brunette started, the others all began to spasm. It was like one massive climax that reverberated through them all, or a shockwave that drove them all right to the edge of madness before relenting.
I waited for them to calm down a touch, and to let Jack to savor the moment before we said anything. "That was unbelievable," he whispered.
"That was lust. As pure as I can deliver it. Passion without thought: an eternity in a moment. And now you've felt enough of it to know it wasn't what is in your heart. And now, if you'll let me, I can show you what is."
"Is it something like this?" he asked a little louder. I wasn't sure if he was afraid, or longed for it to be.
"Lust is an eternity in a moment. True Love is a moment eternal."
"That makes no sense." He shook his head and turned his eyes to me for the first time since the tableau began. "What's the difference?"
"Let me show you."
He stared at me for a long moment and seemed to consider the weight of the room around him, and then he nodded. I felt myself sigh, and led him to the door. The writhing mass behind us was regaining its strength and it sounded like it was going to be even more powerful the second time. The office outside remained oblivious to the raw nature of the meeting Jack and I left behind, and I flexed the smallest amount of my will to ensure they remained that way until Jack's coworkers were able to control themselves again.
Traveling from Olympus to Nexus had been easy enough to do on my own, but traveling from Nexus to Callisius with a fragile being like Jack on my arm was a different matter altogether. Mortals could not survive Godspeed, and although I was sorely tempted to try it with Jack, I wasn't sure how much of Somnus was inside him, or when the connection to the god would be lost. I still felt the weight of the cosmic clock hanging over my head, and I could only hope that Psyche was successful at keeping her vow. If anything happened to Karen before I could arrive, there simply wouldn't be enough time to correct it. Everything building up to that moment would be lost.
I was able to expedite our travel to the interplanetary shuttles, however. By imposing my will on the nearest taxi and convincing the vehicles ahead of us that we were an ambulance, we were also able to shave off a small measure of time. Throughout the trip, I saw positive signs that the world of dreams was under control, at least for the most part. I saw a heron manning a newspaper stand and a six-legged dog walking a man on a leash, but there were was nothing that appeared to reach the level of an atrocity. The sky remained clear, and there were no signs of centurions.
The first available craft that was ready to depart Nexus for Earth was going to be a shade surprised when they found themselves touching down at Callisius, but it couldn't be helped. I covered the cost of our first-class tickets; it seemed like the least I could do. I had to stay close to him, but most of all I had to keep Jack focused on what lay ahead. If the innate power of the god of dreams were to get loose, or if Jack became frightened and lost control, well...I didn't want to think about it. He did seem to sense that something was on my mind as we left the ground towards the deepening black. He was much more observant than he let on.
"So who is Karen, anyway? What's she like?" he asked, then watched my face for any sign of deception. He mistook my anxiety over the looming dangers as a crack in some grand scheme at his expense. At least he was half-right.
"She is lovely, Jack. She comes from a long line of hardworking and caring mortals, like yourself. She's almost as tall as you are, with long brown hair that shimmers with a hint of gold in the summer sun. Her eyes are teal, and her laugh is one of the most full I have heard in a long, long time. And she believes."
The dreamy smile that had started to spread across his face faltered for a moment. "Believes?"
"Like you, she believes. In True Love. She also believes that there is a force in the universe that can draw people together. A bond that defies any rational explanation. From the moment you meet, you will feel it in here, Jack." I said and placed my hand over his heart for a moment. "That tension you feel now will melt away in her presence because you will know she believes."
He sighed and looked out at the stars. "I still can't believe this is happening."
"It's no different than the sun rising, or the seasons changing, or holding a door open for someone in need."
"You make it all sound so easy."
"Why wouldn't it be?"
"Because this just doesn't happen, that's why."
"Not as often as it used, to be sure, but it still happens more often that you think. If it helps, you're not alone."
We both drank a glass of water and the jump to lightspeed went smoothly. I saw traces of thoughts streak past our windows like fog as they searched for a vessel to latch onto. It would only take a single avatar to make themselves real, and Jack pulsed like a lighthouse beacon to their formless eyes. More than a few spiritual heads turned Jack's way. I kept him busy with stories from my past, and then asked him for stories of his own. He threw in the occasional odd question about the other gods just to try to throw me off balance, but rather than be offended I found that I rather liked the game.
"So your father is..."
"The god of war. I've never asked him how he feels about the planet being named after him."
"And your mother is Venus, not the planet, but the goddess of love."
"Right." I saw an ugly form twist like a serpent outside Jack's window and I felt a surge of fear race through me. The smoky form bled between the stars and coiled itself around the wing. A face twisted itself into shape and I saw it surge toward us. "Jack, have you ever wondered what a phoenix would look like if it was bred to ferry passengers between worlds? I always thought it would look something like this shuttle, only on fire."
He looked at me strangely for a moment, and then shrugged his shoulders. "I suppose it would, why?"
Outside, the wings of the shuttle suddenly burst into flames and the coiled shape outside the window was ripped away like a tissue in a furnace. "No reason, really. Forget I mentioned it." After a few seconds, the flames died out.
I let Jack talk for the rest of the trip, and the closer we got to Callisius, the more nervous he became. By the time we landed, he had gone past nervous chatter and fallen into a kind of terrified silence. "You have absolutely nothing to worry about, Jack," I said, and tried not to think about the army of centurions fighting off hordes of nightmarish monsters all across the universe. Or worse, the executioner's axe that hovered above his head should I fail.
Once we landed, we feigned the same ignorance as the other passengers at our curious arrival destination. Once we slipped out of the terminal's stranglehold, the air started to smell rich with excitement. Where Nexus was a hive of mortals living on top of each other like ants in a colony, Callisius was a planet of serenity. Small cities were few, and massive thousand-hectare farms were spread between commerce towns.
I could sense Psyche's will easily enough through the clean air, and in a veiled sort of way, Karen as well. I hailed a taxi and ordered the driver to travel east, changing course as our route became clearer to me. The hours had ticked past slowly traveling from Nexus, but now that we were this close with Jack in hand, time had accelerated. We had easily stumbled to within a handful of hours to Jupiter's deadline.
When my sense could grow no stronger, I ordered the driver to stop. Jack and I emerged on the streets of a city large enough to be full and vibrant, and yet easily fit into one of the boroughs of any Nexus metropolis. Surrounding Jack's office were structures that reached all the way to the sky and formed a kind of blanket that veiled the stars. Surrounding us here, nothing went higher than a few levels off the ground. There was a hospital up the street, a few stores on either side of us, and across from us tucked between a bookstore and a pharmacist was a small cafe. A collection of stone gargoyles along the edge of the roof blinked at me and shuffled their talons along their perches.
I smiled. "Let's get something to eat, shall we?"
Jack was beyond asking questions by that point, and was resigned to let me lead him wherever I wanted him to go. The bell that rang as we pushed open the door was like the laughter of sprites, and before my eyes could even adjust to the dim light within, I could smell the spilled ambrosia on Psyche's skin from the night before. She stood behind the counter, smiling. Even the barista apron looked heavenly on her. "Jack, there's someone I'd like you to meet."
He turned to look at my wife and I saw his indomitable anticipation take a hard hit before I realized what kind of colossal mistake I had just made. "No, no, I'm sorry, Jack, this isn't your True Love- she's mine. This is my wife, Psyche." She reached out her hand, and he took it politely.
"I'm honored, Ma'am."
I turned him around by the shoulders to face the table behind the door and the woman sitting there looked up and smiled. "Jack, I'd like you to meet Karen."
There are moments in my ridiculously long life that I remember in fine detail, and those that seem to blur together. The look on their faces when they finally set eyes upon each other is firmly ensconced in the latter. They sat together; they had coffee; they talked about nothing and everything in a moment that seemed to stretch into an eternity. I drew back slowly until I was completely out of their way and joined Psyche by the counter.
"I was starting to worry about you," she murmured.
"It was difficult to focus at times, but they're together now and that's the important part."
"Do you think it will be enough?"
"I do. She will occupy his thoughts so completely, and his to hers so that nothing will be able to bleed through."
Even as the words left my mouth I saw a shadow falling outside the window. A massive centurion gryphon crashed into the street and the ground splashed like a river of molten tar. The beast thrashed against its liquid chains and I watched helpless as it was swallowed. The screaming animal's rage as it slowly succumbed haunts me to this day. When the last feather had drown, and the road looked solid again, I glanced sideways at Psyche but her eyes remained fixed outside. On the sidewalk across the street, a horse slowly walked into view that had flaming orbs where its eyes should have been. It sweat blood, and sparks flickered from it's hooves like flints. A breath later another dark horse appeared, and then another. The lights inside the cafe grew stronger against the darkening sky, but Jack and Karen didn't seem to notice.
"Why isn't it working?" Psyche whispered in my ear. I shook my head, trying to think. True Love conquers all, it always conquerors all. Nothing should be able to withstand it, no god or mortal, no demon in hell. I watched the street slowly fill with Nightmare steeds and I could feel the last grains of sand slipping through Jupiter's hands.
And like a bolt, the answer hit me. The kiss! They had to share True Love's kiss. I spun around to face them and raised my bow. A steel arrow was poised to strike through them both. It couldn't have pierced Jack before because it passed through a non-believer first, two of them in fact. But this wasn't some unenlightened coworker sitting next to Jack- it was his one True Love. If they wouldn't do it themselves, by Jupiter's hand, I was going to do it for them.
Psyche gasped as a steed stopped right outside the window where Jack and Karen sat. Its oil-black and glistening flank was less than three feet from their faces, separated by a clear pane of glass. The bow creaked under the strain in my palm and I felt the string pulling at my fingertips as it begged for release. One arrow and it would all be over, maybe two. They had found each other, love was blossoming right before me, but it wasn't fast enough to end the nightmares. I didn't want them to be in lust with one another, not like this. They didn't deserve to be like animals on hedonistic display, but if it was that or death, at least they would be alive long enough that I would be able to beg their forgiveness afterward.
Thunder crackled overhead as if the sky itself were shattering. The Nightmare steeds all reared back, and thrashed at the air with their front hooves. They crushed the stone and the pavement as they came down, sparks flashing against the shadows. In the midst of that chaos, I felt Psyche's hand gently touch my arm. I blinked and looked from the street to her hand, and then to Jack and Karen who were now holding hands with their foreheads together. I loosened the draw I held on my bow and watched as their lips met. I felt a shockwave pulse from where they sat and it rippled out like a boulder thrown into a pond. The force of their love shattered every steed outside into dust and before their ashes could even touch the ground they faded into nothingness.
I put the arrow away, and took hold of Psyche's hand as the sky lightened. We stayed like that for a long moment, watching the love between Jack and Karen blossom. My wife and I smiled at each other as an understanding about what it was I do among the mortals was shared more clearly in that instance, than in any of the long conversations we'd had before.
Jack and Karen were still close, talking softly and blissfully ignorant of the rest of the universe. Now he knew. Jack knew what a moment eternal was. It was having your mind and body connected in ways that mere skin and bone can never hold onto. The pleasures of the flesh come and go, and rest assured that they will go, but the moment of True Love will never break. It's as old as the heavens, and can shine brighter than a thousand stars.
Psyche and I walked out into the street together, and I lifted her into my arms as I spread my wings. I carried her all the way back to Olympus in my arms, and I took my time so I could savor it. She even fell asleep for a few minutes toward the end of our journey with her head resting gently on my shoulder.
I passed countless worlds on the way back, and when looked out at the darkness, I saw embers glowing. Hundreds more now than I had seen in a long, long time. More believers were appearing everywhere around us, on worlds as far as galaxies away. Even as Olympus revealed itself once more before me, I could see the braziers of the Pantheon shining ever-bright.