The catacomb walls were thick and confining. Iris let out a lungful of pent up breath as sunlight filtered through a doorway. The tunnels with so many bones of the same type stacked on other bones, frightened her.
She wondered why in such an ancient country, human remains were not given the respect of a grave for more than a year or two — or at least cremation.
Iris wheezed as Don, rubbed her back. “You having an attack?”
He rolled his eyes. “You say that every time we visit tight spaces. You’re claustrophobic.”
“I’m fine. Don’t worry.” Iris was close to the exit, but the air she breathed was too stale; there wasn’t enough fresh air in the Catacombs. Her body collapsed and she couldn’t control the darkness that overcame her.
Then, Don was lifting her. Her eyes opened as he carried her into blinding daylight. A tiny ‘V’ furrowed between his gray ones.
He stroked her hair. “I got you.”
“Always?” Her voice was faint.
“Always. I know you better than you think.”
She inhaled cool air and let Don cradle her weight.
In their years of friendship, Alise and Janelle never fought except over Chaz Monroe. He dated Alise in high school causing a huge argument between the girls.
“I liked him first you know that Alise,” Janelle had said. “Why are you still seeing him?”
“We’ve been going out three-years Janelle. We’re planning a life together.” They’d been drinking vodka and Janelle threw hers on Alise.
Then Chaz left for university and broke up with Alise. He dated another girl and Alise and Janelle reconciled over their disgust of Chaz’s tart.
Ten- years later, Chaz came back to town. He was still handsome and Alise and Janelle had both secretly been in contact with him.
Chaz visited Janelle first but when he came to Alise’s he told her, “I missed you so much, Alise. I’m sorry I ever broke up with you. Would you consider giving us a second chance?”
Alise agreed, she loved Chaz. But when Janelle found out about Alice and Chaz she invited her friend over under false pretences of congratulating her.
Janelle mixed neat vodka’s for them both and threw candied cherries in their drinks. Alise took a few sips, choking on the weird tasting cherry. She was shocked to see Janelle slumped over dead as she too succumbed; Janelle had poisoned them both.
They had always been bestfriends except when it came to Chaz Monroe.
Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting last week’s Tale Weaver Prompt. The prompt is to have a character visit this centre of relaxation and cover and recount their experiences. I will use it as continuation of my Teegan’s Potion story. This is Part 4. Here are the links to the other parts of the story. I apologize for taking so long with this last part.
Teegan couldn’t recall ever being at a spa before or a place of retreat. But he hadn’t been given a choice. He was a thief, a crookster. He conned people out of their money, he had been doing so for a couple of hundred-years.
He was almost nomadic, roaming the forests and the woods. He could not help when his curse took over him. He was learning to control it, but even to control it a little was difficult for the first one-hundred-years he lived as this ‘thing.’ Whatever you would term him.
Teegan wasn’t sure himself what he was. But he knew when he was upset, he was still prone to rages where darkness, the shadow of the beast hiding inside him took over. He was in a little town when it happened this time. He’d been in a lodge having a bath, cleaning himself up, shaving his beard when his room was suddenly filled with men. They had come to collect him and in turn the bounty on his head for his years of murderous deeds.
“Teegan of the Forest, we’ve been after you a while. My Father spent his life chasing you and my Grandfather, half his life too. I’m ending it here and bringing you in. You’re a plague on society. I don’t care you can control your wickedness at times. I only care when you’re angry you cannot,” a man named Henry Barger said. He was the brother to a son of the local earl, who had come across Teegan on a bad night.
He vaguely recalled Henry’s father and grandfather, both had been named Henry and hunted him. It wasn’t Teegan’s fault they’d died. They kept pushing him, attacking him, refusing to leave him in peace.
Presently, the men surrounding Teegan tried to rough him up, so he’d be easier to take the Earl of the land. But this wasn’t going to happen so he let his anger grow and consume him. In moments, Teegan’s bedroom had become a bloody battle field. Not one of those men had stood a chance. He hadn’t wanted to kill them, but what choice had they left him? Why in God’s name had the wretched wizard cursed him in the first place? He hadn’t been that evil had he?
He sighed getting back in his still warm bath among the carnage, bathing himself clean of blood before changing his clothes. Teegan snuck out the window and with his wits about him, entered into the forest he knew well.
Hours later, he found himself surrounded again by monks from the local monastery. He laughed, but at the same time, definitely did not want to kill men of the cloth.
“Please let me go,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt any of you. Especially since you’re holy men. Leave me in peace and you’ll never see me again.”
A priest appeared from among the monks. His face lined but his stature regal. “Teegan of the forest, I know a greatdeal about you. I’m Father Matthews. I know you were cursed to live a long life, to suffer. I know what you initially did to invoke your curse. I’m not here to turn you in for coins to the Earl, I’ve come to save you.”
“Save me, why?”
“Because Teegan,” Father Matthew’s replied, ” More killing or trying to kill you, only results in more death. Also, I have a bit of insight into the souls of men and I can see, yours is shredded from your deeds. You will never be able to stop the monster inside alone. But I know someone, a woman of blessed magic who can.”
Teegan rolled his eyes but Father Matthews continued talking.”I have spoken with Hazal and we both feel, she can help you. As long as you drink her potion twice a year withher, she says you will not turn evil when your temper ignites, when you’re unable to harness the beast inside you. We can help Teegan, please let us.”
“I don’t want, I don’t need some witches help,” Teegan sputtered indignantly.
“She’s not any witch and not pureevil as the Wizard who cursed you. He was a ‘Wizard Demon,’ and know one wants to find him after dealing with the fall-out of the curse he gave you. You don’t have much choice Teegan. You need to retreat with Hazal and her clan, they will help you.”
“But if you don’t,” Father Matthews said ominously, “We will end your life right now and we know how to do it. If you choose to meet Hazel, I will bring you to her and once you’ve worked with her for a while, you can go about your life. As long as you always find Hazel and her femaledescendants, to take your potion twice a year, you’re a free man.”
Teegan nodded his understanding at Father Matthews. He gazed around him at the monks in their sack clothe, with torches lit. He peered confused at the priest who instead of trying to hurt him, wanted to help Teegan with his curse. No one was kind to Teegan, not since he’d been human.
He felt the priest was a good man in his heart, trying to help Teegan for Teegan’s sake and everyone Teegan came upon, so he didn’t hurt them unknowingly. Father Matthews promised him what he had always wanted to be able to do, to live his life without the darkness, the shadowy curse which made him a monster.
“Alright Father,” Teegan said. “I will come with you. But promise me this woman Hazel, she will not harm me? Or kill me, herself?”
“I promise and she will say the same.”
Teegan followed Father Matthews back to the monastery. He hoped no one found him before he saw Hazal. He would have to start over in the new world he thought, perhaps, convince this Hazel to come with him if she was pretty? But for now, the monestary was the safest place for Teegan to rest. As he fell asleep, he wondered about this witch, could her potion actuallycontrol his curse?
Sighing he dreamt of a woman with hazel eyes and a soft touch. When he awoke he found himself not in the monestsry, but asleep in a tranquil room in a comfortable bed as those of nobility slept on. The room was ornately decorated and sighing, thinking it was all a dream, Teegan faded back into sleep.
When he awoke again, and the sunlight was pouring into the lavish room, Teegan arose from the softest bed he’d ever slept on. It was plush with furs and woven sheets. He longingly gazed back, wishing he could sleep forever away, but he realized he was here to receive help from the gifted witch of blessed magic named Hazel.
Her family lived well, he thought to himself. He wondered again why, the priest would save someone as terrible as him. Teegan had murdered and hurt so many people when the beast overtook him, especially in the beginning of his cursed life, when he had no control at all. The priest knew what Teegan had initially done to be cursed. Teegan thought back to that day ages ago, almost two-hundred-years.
Back then, he’d only been around twenty-five winters, he wasn’t exactly sure. He’d grown up spoiled, a son of the aristocracy. A future Lord and Vassal, yet he hadn’t known enough to value his position. He hadn’t cared much but for mead, women, and fun.
No women ever caught his attention long. He imagined he had a few bastards here and there among the village lasses and the barmaids. Then there were the maids and courtesans.
There had been a lovely one with dark black hair and blue-eyes. Eyes such a stormy blue, he felt he was drowning in them the first time he saw Eleanor’s eyes. But everyone knew Eleanor was off-limits. She was the Earl’s personal and most current favourite mistress.
But Eleanor had beguiled Teegan as a young man. She was a seasoned suductress and she drew him in.
“Such a handsome man as yourself, all alone in the Earl’s court? I’ve noticed you’ve stopped bringing the servant girls and other courtesans to your bed? The Earl prefers his vassals to be properly taken care of, is something the matter?” Eleanor had asked him, fluttering her lashes and rubbing his arm.
“No Madam, nothing is wrong. But I’m not interested in those women because they’re all the same after a while. I have in my eyes the picture of the most elegant and graceful women in the land and no other woman compares with her beauty or kind manner,” Teegan told Eleanor, who laughed.
“Ah, so is the son, of the Lord of the Forests, in love then?”
“He thinks perhaps, but he is waiting to see what the woman he longs for says to his request. He cannot touch her, but desperately wants to be with her. He would defy all authority to have her. Do you know who she is Eleanor?”
Teegan must have shown he was a tad nervous. He’d never had to proposition a woman before. He’d known what a dangerous situation he was getting himself and his family into, but the price was more than he’d ever dreamed.
Eleanor laughed again,”You play a complicated and deadly game young Teegan. You wouldn’t be the only person defying an Earl or the wretched wizard who follows him around. You’d best consider some other courtesan. Then you will not be killed or worse for touching me. Then again, I like a guy who lives a bit dangerously. Shall we go for a walk in plane sight, so no one thinks we’re doing anything wrong?”
Teegan had agreed and Eleanor had been a wonderfully skilled storyteller, entertaining him, but never touching him, making it seem as if they were keeping each other company, while she waited for the Earl to call for her.
Then, Eleanor had pretended to fall and while Teegan aided Eleanor in righting herself, she whispered: “Meet me at the gamekeepers cottage, tomorrow night.”
Teegan had agreed and they had made love madly there for hours when the Earl and his consort, walked in on Teegan and Eleanor. Eleanor pleaded and was instantly forgiven, the Earl adored her so much. She did nothing to try and save Teegan, saying the whole idea was his fault.
“I’m only a woman, how could I resist him, he charms all the women where ever he goes,” she told the Earl.
He kissed Eleanor, “I forgive you, my love. You couldn’t help yourself. My Wizard will deal with this scoundrel. He’ll make Lord Teegan sorry.”
Then the Earl and Eleanor left the cottage and it was only half-naked Teegan and the evil Wizard. The old man cracked his fingers, his dark eyes eating into Teegan’s soul. Teegan was terrified . . .
Then someone was shaking him awake.
“Teegan,” a melodic and gentle voice said. “Teegan wake-up, we need to have your potion now.”
He mumbled something than yelled. When he was finally awake, a woman with auburn hair, milky skin, and vibrant green eyes was staring at Teegan appearing worried. She brushed the hair back from his face and rocked him as the edges of his nightmare faded.
Welcome to the monthly Fairy Tale writing prompt hosted by MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie. This month’s prompt is to write a fairytale about the following picture:
Daphne was tired of being stuck as a laurel tree. Thousands of years ago, she had begged her father, the river god Peneus, to save her from Apollo’s lust; he turned her into a special tree.
Long ago she had sworn to be a virgin forever. She had begged her father to allow her to remain a free nymph. To not have to marry and birth him grandchildren. He was a kind god and had allowed his beloved daughter to remain pure.
Daphne had always loved the woods and found serenity within the forrest. But after many years being stuck in it, the woods had become a cage to her. The laurel tree she was locked in was a prison and Daphne quietly loathed Eros who had sent Apollo after her in love, when Apollo had mocked Eros.
Eros had hit Apollo with an arrow of gold so he fell in love with Daphne. Like wise, Eros hit Daphne with an arrow of lead, so she would despise Apollo and be repelled by him. Nevertheless, Apollo visited Daphne to this day, swearing his love towards her millanias later. Her hate for Apollo had mellowed over time, although, she wouldn’t admit this to Apollo yet.
He came often to admire her beauty even as a tree. He used some of her thinner branches and leaves to weave himself a crown of laurels, to remind himself of his love for Daphne; that this love still grew within him daily. He would replace a worn out and dried crown with a fresh one each time he visited.
Though Apollo had many duties, he seemed to be appearing more often to see Daphne this last half-millennia. She drew her womanly figure out of her laurel tree to see him whenever he came. She had become more excited to see him over the last few hundred-years. Daphne looked forward to talking with him each visit.
A friendship had developed and the sworn virgin Daphne was feeling things she had never felt before. Had Eros changed his mind and hit her with a golden arrow after all this time? Or had it been so long, his arrow of led had faded and no longer effected her. If so why did Apollo’s arrow of gold not fade? Why did he still love her?
She had wondered this out loud today and Apollo laughed at her thoughts. His attractive face was timeless and beautiful.
“It’s love Daph. It doesn’t fade if it’s real. If it’s true love it’s always there. At times I’ve been frustrated with you, about our situation and you being stuck in a laurel tree. It frustrates me you wanting to remain chaste. But even when I find I’m angry at you, the next time I see you we talk and my anger disappears. It doesn’t matter if you’re stuck in a tree, I love you anyways.”
Daphne smiled through the tree.”Look at you declaring your love to me through thousands of years unchanging. Though you yourself haven’t been chaste at all. It surprises me with all you have to do, that you come and see me without fail, these days often.”
“Well, I think you’re returning my feelings finally; you’ve mellowed and I see you blush when I visit.”
“Trees don’t blush Apollo.”
“Ah Daphne, you do indeed blush. I always take good care of you, so I know you well. I’ve played you many songs on my lute and I ensure the sunlight hits you just right. I keep the plague and disease from you, though it effect the humans and other parts of nature. I heal you if such disease affects you. But what I can’t do is change your form and release you from the laurel tree, if you still detest me.” Apollo sad this last line sadly.
“You’ve tried?” Daphne asked. “I wouldn’t have wanted you to, even a few hundred-years-ago. But I grow weary of this form and it’s obstacles. I grow weary of a forrest I cannot move around and maintain. I wish to be a nymph again.”
“Yes, dearest I know. I want that too.”
“Would you force me?” Daphne asked Apollo. “Take me into your bed right away, no gentleness? Would you impregnate me right away?”
Apollo shook his head. “Daph, after all these millenias you know me better than that. I’m not the lust-filled boy-god who would’ve had you without a second thought. I’ve spent thousands of years trying to get you to like me, to see beyond my faults, such as my lust. It’s not merely lust I feel for you. I love you, the real you. The nymph I’ve gotten to know so well. That’s why I have your crown upon my head. Why I play you beautiful music and take special care of you. I’d take specialcare with you in my bed as well,” Apollo added with a sly grin.
“I know, but I’m afraid, Apollo. I’ve been a laurel tree so long. And before that I wanted to be on my own, no man or god to tie me down. You’ve grown on me, inch by inch, each passing year. The lead arrow in me is gone. I’m not immune to you anymore. I feel strongly for you, something I’ve never felt before. I think it’s love, is it? You would know you’re the god of truth?”
Apollo trailed his hand down Daphne’s body in the tree.”You feel it, I know. Yes, I do see the truth, in your eyes, in your relaxed form. At last you love me too. You never even came out of the tree in your female form for many years. Perhaps now I can you heal you?”
“Yes, I think so. Our love is powerful beyond the mistakes of the past.” Apollo held his hand to Daphne’s cheek and she felt a warmth surge throughout her entire body, tree and nymph.
“Apollo, I feel your powers. My tree limbs, my leaves, they’re melting away.”
He said nothing, to busy concentrating on healing Daphne. She closed her eyes enjoying his hand on her cheek and the warmth suffusing her body. Daphne fell into a deep sleep and when she awoke again she was a nymph.
She looked at her hands, her face in the river. Her beauty had returned and her father would be proud, for he would have grandchildren soon. She looked around her for Apollo and found the god fast asleep. Healing her into her natural form had drained him greatly of his powers. She snuggled against him laying down beneath his arm, and they both slept.
When they awoke, three-hundred-years had passed. Apollo had had to regenerate his powers so he sealed himself and Daphne together, hidden from human and god eyes alike, so he could sleep and be with Daphne in the future.
He felt her shaking him awake. “Apollo, get up. You need to wake up, we’ve slept many centuries. You’re needed to do use your skills and gifts.”
Apollo lazily opened his eyes and grasped Daphne pulling her down for a deep kiss. It was the first between them and one of only many. They were a devoted couple from then on in, for as long as gods and humans existed.