Plaything of the Gods Ch. 08byLoveslust©
CH8. Returning from a war.
Even though I wasn't really in a hurry, the weather was cool and the horse could do with some exercise. I reached the temple somewhere in the afternoon. I couldn't find Antiope or anyone else in the stables but took care of the horse as best as I could, and then entered the temple.
Zeuxis told me he would send a dove, so I was not surprised to see Ariadne waiting for me. She ran up to me as she saw me. She hugged me tightly, delight on her face. She was very happy to see me return. She kissed me on the cheek, saying she had missed me, and then kissed me on my mouth. I was happy to see her as well, and told her so. She told me we could return to her room and continue my instructions immediately, if I wanted that. I knew what she meant, and somehow it felt wrong. I had told Eustatios I did not only come here for the girl. I thought about my grieving Brothers, and asked myself if I had ran away from them just to have sex.
Ariadne was taken aback by my lack of reaction, and asked me if something was wrong. I knew I would have to tell her the whole story if I told her what I felt, so I lied. I told her I was dirty and tired after the journey, and just wanted a bath. I dropped my gear, shield, armor and weapons at my chamber. She looked at them wonderingly, and touched Ares' insigne on the shield. She asked me where I had gotten the twin swords. I told her I swapped my sword for those, which was not truly a lie. I told her I would be back from the baths soon. She nodded, but there was a look of worry on her face.
I went to the small bathroom, and lowered myself in the warm water of the pool. I hoped the water would somehow take my trouble away from me and heal me, as happened before I was initiated. Nothing happened, though. I improvised a prayer to Aphrodite for her assistance in healing my hurt. Trying so hard to just enjoy myself and not think about what had happened only made me remember more. The water seemed to bring me memories of the battlefield, and I did not want that. I suddenly felt unclean by all I had done in the battle. I used the soap and scrubbed my skin until it was red, but the feeling didn't go away.
I touched both Aphrodite's tattoo and Ares' mark, but they neither of them seemed to offer any answers. I was suddenly angry at everyone and at myself. I was angry at the world for being unfair, and angry at myself for all the loathsome things I had done in battle.
I punched the wall hard enough to draw blood. I reflected that that had been stupid, and I used a piece of cloth to bind my hand. Ariadne knocked on the door and asked if I needed anything, and I told her quite harshly to go away. I reflected that that had been stupid too.
She was trying to help. I wanted to be angry at the Gods and to shout at them I never asked for all this, but stopped myself and decided I was not so stupid to insult the Gods too. I knew I had to be angry at myself: I had made myself believe everything would be all right if I just went here and took a bath. I knew life did not work that way. I dried myself, put on my clothes, and left the baths.
I wanted to talk to Ariadne, but had not decided how to do that or what to say. Not wanting a confrontation with her right now, I went to the kitchen alone. I had just sat down when Ariadne entered. The look on her face told me I had been stupid to avoid her. She looked at me, made sure I felt guilty about it, and then got food too and sat down in front of me. Her voice was more commanding than usual.
"What happened to your hand?"
"I did something stupid." I gave no more explanation.
"Why did you cut your hair?"
I avoided her eyes.
"Tell me what upsets you."
I sighted. "Can you drop it, please? I do not want to talk about it."
She looked at me, a considering look on her face. She talked more softly.
"No, I will not drop it. Something is bothering you. Something important. You can tell me what it is. I want to help you."
Silence. I knew I should talk to her, would have to talk to her sooner or later, but I could not find the strength to talk to her. The burden was mine, and mine alone. She did not give up that easily. She tried a guess now.
"Nothing is bothering you physically, is it? Carré can help you."
I shook my head. She took another guess, this time with a tease in her voice.
"You met a girl, then. A pretty girl, and you bed her. You think I will be angry when I find out."
I shook my head.
"It's not something like that."
"Then tell me what it is!"
She put her hands on the table with force. She was truly angry with me. Silence, again.
"You are a fool, Michael. I had thought you were learning. I thought you cared for me. I see I was mistaken."
She walked away, the hurt in her voice much worse than her anger had been.
I left the table too, my appetite gone. I stood in front of her door a long time, but dared not knock. I did not want to have to tell her everything, nor did I want to lie. I went to my own room, took off my clothes, and lay down on the bed. The blanket was too thin and the bed became rather cold, but I welcomed the physical discomfort. It distracted me from the pain, distracted me from thinking.
I ignored her as she softly knocked on my door. I stared at the wall, stubbornly wishing she would go away. She did not. She entered and sat on the bed. I still ignored her, pretending to be asleep.
"I do not for a moment believe you are truly asleep. You breathe more slowly when you do so."
She waited for a response. I didn't give one.
"Look at me, please. Michael. I hate it to see you pain yourself like this. You know you will feel better if you talk to me."
She put her hand on my shoulder to make me look at her, but suddenly yelped.
"You are cold as ice! You are a stubborn fool, Michael."
She quickly run off, and returned with blankets. She threw an extra blanket over me, waited for a moment, and then climbed in bed. She lay down behind me and pressed her warm body to me. The act felt very motherly to me. I thought about all that had happened since I left the safe comfort of my mother's home. Suddenly my emotions overwhelmed me, and I started crying. She felt my shoulders shook and pushed herself closer to me, her arms around me. She said nothing as I cried quietly. Her warm breath was on my neck, her nose touching my hair. She held me until my tears had stopped, and I started talking.
I told her everything. How my confrontation with the priest-commander had offended my old general. The terrible headaches that always seemed to follow after the God of War had done something. My realization that I was starting to divert from my Brothers, and would not really fit in anymore. I told her about my blood rage in great detail. I did not want to scare her: I wanted to make sure she knew how I felt. Dirtied, used. Treated unfair. There was nothing glorious about bloodshed like that. I had killed men, young and old, and had loved it at the time. I had offered no mercy. I still felt dirty I could be so ruthless, so cruel. An animal.
And after the battle came the shock at the death of my Brothers. I had now lost eight of the original twenty. Photios survived, but would not fight again. A man cannot serve the God of War when missing four fingers on his sword arm. My old general thought I was more demon than man. My Brothers sometimes had looked strangers while grieving. We would never be the same warband. We would no longer be so wild and naïve. I served a God of War. I had seen war, had been a tool in it. I did not like it. I had felt an animal, and was unworthy of her presence. She was too pure and beautiful to be with someone like that.
I ran out of words. Tears had run down my face while I talked. She was silent for a while, and then started talking. She chose her words carefully, and I listened to her silently.
She had liked the young warrior as she first met him. She did not necessarily fall for broad, muscular types, but she had found it exciting, wondering how it would be to share the bed with him. By the way he looked at her, she knew he desired her. But before she could seduce him, he was suddenly cleansed and initiated. She had watched the initiation. She had approved of his body, but had not understood why he was so reluctant, so shy and unskilled. Surely that was not how warriors behaved. Surely warriors slept with every girl they laid their eyes on. Still, the high priestess had deemed him worthy, and had enjoyed initiating him.
The other women seemed interested in the warrior too, and that was a good reason to claim him for herself. She had pleaded with Leda until she could instruct him. There were other beautiful women in the temple, some of them more skilled than she, but Leda had given the task to her. She had been pleased with that, determined to show him as a strong bull would be shown on the market. Once she had trained him, he would please her, and make the other women jealous.
He had looked like a warrior, but she had soon seen he was not what she had expected him to be. He behaved naïve en inexperienced sometimes, like a boy wearing a man's body. He had listened far better than she had expected, though. He proved himself to be altruistic and nice. Stubborn sometimes, but surprisingly nice to talk with, intelligent despite his soldier's training. He had needed to overcome his shyness, but that could be fixed. She found things she wouldn't expect in a warrior, and liked them. She still liked his muscles though. He could be wonderfully pleasing as he used his strong hips, but he still needed to discover how to use his strength in bed. The strong connection she had with him trough their tattoo's showed she liked him as more than just a prized bull, and she knew he felt the same.
She had been scared when he was seizing in bed, but had believed him when he said he needed to go. He had kissed her in front of many other women, showing his claim over her. She had been anxious for news, hoping nothing bad would happen to him. She had been very proud when Leda had told her he played an important part in winning the battle. She only knew they had won; not how much he had suffered. She had expected him to be happy to see her. He returned changed, something was wrong. She had been both angry and hurt, but he would not tell what it was that bothered him. Now she knew. He had shouldered a heavy load, and suddenly she wished him to be more naïve and childish. Of course she would help him deal with his troubles, though she wished it were otherwise now.
I was grateful for what she had told me. I turned around to finally face her. I whipped away the tears on my face and tried to force myself to smile. She smiled affectionately, and I returned the smile in earnest. She softly kissed me.
"I'm sorry. I thought you were being silly. You returned a hero from a battlefield, what could be wrong? I would have given you more time if I knew you felt this way."
I shook my head. "No, thank you. I needed to tell you that, and should have done that at the very beginning. I don't want to hurt you."
"What will you do about Ares' service? He will call on you again, sooner or later."
"I will talk to Leda about it. And I've thought of something while you talked. Maybe... Delphi. The priests at Delphi know the ways of the Gods. They might know more."
She was surprised. "I had not thought of that. That might actually work."
She smiled. "You are special, my warrior. I thought that to be a good thing. Now I'm sure it isn't good. It just is. It complicates things. But don't forget you are special, and special to me."
I blushed at her kind words. "I thought life was so simple. I would train, I would pray, I would fight. I would become a good warrior, and be victorious. Ares would watch over me. I would visit a brothel or even attract a pretty girl at a bar, and then I would find a special woman. I thought her to be in Demeter's service. With the money I earned in victory, we would buy a farm and raise kids."
I sighted. "I know my life will not be so, and I don't know what it will bring. But I'm glad you're here, now."
She smiled. "You can be sweet, my warrior." She kissed me tenderly, and held me close to her. It felt good to be in her arms, and held me there for a long time.
Then she looked at me.
"Do you want to make love, my warrior?"
Her question caught me by surprise. She giggled. "You might want to remember that while I wear a dress, I still feel this."
She placed her hand on the erection that touched her belly. I thought about it, and then smiled. "Yes, I do want to make love to you."
She smiled. "Good"
She let me in complete control. I wanted to be sweet and gentle. I undressed her and kissed her, and gently touched her breasts and nipples. I ran my hand between her legs and pleased her to make sure she was aroused. I entered her, and started a slow rhythm, grinding my hips rather than pushing. I touched her tattoo and found her liking it. I kept kissing her and using my hands to pleasure her body. I changed the way my hips moved slightly each time, but I made sure to keep the lovemaking slow. I used my hand on her ass for a while to tell her she could mover her hips along with me more. I quietly came inside her, and was embarrassed I had not held out long enough to bring her release too. She told me not to worry about it. She told me she had liked it, and that she did not need release in order to enjoy herself. She was happy her body has brought me pleasure.
I lay next to her and kissed her gently. She brought her mouth to my ear. "I'm glad you're back" She softly whispered the words, her hands on my tattoo to show me her affection.
"I'm glad to see you too." I whispered back, before softly kissing her tattoo.
A shiver ran trough her. I held her close to me, content and happy to be in her arms.