Back in B.C. with Atria, let's briefly revisit a familiar place, a familiar face... :)
Scene 11: The Light
She had every right to be pretty damn proud of herself. Didn’t she?
During her past few visits to earth, ever since her first taste of justice when she had snipped the thread of that shameless Sumerian rapist—a pig who had deserved to drown in his own dirty blood, especially after framing his own victim as the guilty one—Atria had been attending to her work with a great sense of purpose and focus. She had pursued justice in similar ways, in every new place she had graced with her presence, since then.
Surely this damned earth was slightly less dark, for her efforts. Even if only ever so slightly. Right?
Right. She was fighting the good fight. With all her might, and for all the right reasons. No matter what Chaos with her creepy coos tried to imply. The deathly Fate was finally doing something right.
Atria liked to think that she could claim credit, for whatever good she did. But in the depths of her dark heart, she knew that her recent renewed sense of purpose was due in large part to something other than herself.
To someone else, in fact. One of two men who had each left a lasting impact on her immortal soul—one mark deep and dark, branded as if by fire in the pharaoh’s court of blood; the other mark made by a bright light at the center of the shadowed Cedar Forest.
It was at the center of this forest that she now arrived, for the second time, having set her thread in a familiar place, when she was last in the Cave. Atria was only briefly revisiting the godly avatar, and she would then continue on her way. She just had something to say.
Gilgamesh greeted her with an openmouthed stare, as she materialized in his temple out of thin air. “How did you… where…”
“You know that I’ve walked through this dreaded forest once already, Gilgamesh. Anything is easier the second time around.”
The man blinked, still befuddled. “I suppose so.”
He then hastened to remove his robe, underneath which Atria was more than slightly disappointed to see his lower half clad in a loincloth. But no part of her had even paused to think that he might be disrobing for a less-than-noble purpose—clearly his intent was not so much to undress himself, but rather to cover her up.
She silently wondered, though, why he’d abandoned the habit of regularly going about life in all his bare-chested glory; that had seemed to be his usual state of dress, when they’d first met. He looked much better like this, obviously. Not that such concerns of vanity would mean a thing to him. He had probably dropped the half-naked habit ever since that first encounter of theirs, she then reflected. So as not to incite lust in any other sluts such as her who might stumble upon his sacred temple.
Now here she was again. The slut herself, stark naked. At least until his virtuous hands rushed to rectify that shameful fact.
Gilgamesh draped the robe gingerly over her shoulders, his gaze never once straying down toward her bare form before the soft cloth settled in to shield everything. “But why brave the trek through the forest again? Why have you come—was any business left unfinished here?”
She shook her head. “No business. Just words left unsaid.”
His ebon eyes came to rest warmly on hers. “I am listening.”
Atria drew in a sigh, releasing it along with words straight from her soul. “I came to say thank you. Not only for saving my life, but for setting me on the right path, through a world that can be darker and more dangerous than the deepest forest. For showing me the light.”
Gilgamesh blinked again.
She cleared her throat. “You look surprised.”
“I hadn’t known you were a poet,” he replied with a soft smile.
“Oh, I’m no poet, trust me…”
“Those words were quite inspired. And far too flattering, besides. I simply asked that you not spill the secret of this temple…”
“A request that I have honored, by the way.”
His smile broadened. “Then you have all my gratitude. But I must ask—how did that request illuminate the righteous path, for you?”
“Not so much the request itself. Rather the words with which you made it,” Atria reminisced with a wistful smile of her own. “You spoke to me of immortality, and of the human spirit. Of hope and strength, doubt and defeat. I… I have encountered all of those things, and so many more, throughout my life. But I never knew what they meant, just how powerful they could be, till you told me. Till you showed me.”
A pause. “I am sorry, but—but somehow I still fail to understand. I did not say or do very much, in my brief time with you…”
Her smile brightened. “You didn’t have to. You were just yourself, this… this incredible beacon of virtue…”
“I am just a man.”
“You are much more than that.”
“To think so would be sinfully prideful, no?”
“Of course you wouldn’t think it of yourself. Ever the paragon of modesty,” she teased. “Nonetheless, it is true. Let me say this, whether or not you will believe it: if gods do walk among us, on this earth, they would have much to learn from somebody as virtuous as you.”
Gilgamesh bowed his heroically handsome head. “I thank you for the compliment, but… such high praise I could never possibly accept.”
Atria had expected as much. “I know. But still, I had to say it.”
He humbly raised his head to meet her emerald gaze. “And so you have. I am glad that you came.”
The words were beautiful, because she knew that they were true. “I am, too. Whatever good I do in this world will be thanks to you.”
“Oh, but you ought to give yourself more credit…”
The smile slowly faded from her face. “Not if I don’t deserve it. A soul as dark as mine shouldn’t be credited with anything but death.”
His ebon orbs effused care and concern, and a touch of confusion.
Atria saw it as pity, which threatened her few scraps of dignity. “Well, I—I think I’ve overstayed my welcome. Farewell, Gilgamesh.”
With a gentle hand upon her arm, he stopped her, leaning in to kiss her forehead before making her meet his gaze. “You are worth so much more than you believe. That much I can clearly see. Trust me.”
A pause. “I wish I could,” she whispered as she turned to leave.
Thoughts? Feels? :/
P.S. Dedications from now on will go to the first commenter on each scene! :D (no repeats, though - so each dedication will go to the first commenter who doesn't already have a dedication in Book II)
Next scene, we'll stay in the B.C. age and stop by the Cave...
** And if you liked this one, please don't forget to vote! :) **
YOU ARE READING
The Fates (Book II)Fantasy
The SECOND book of the award-winning series THE FATES: a saga of three mortal girls who also happen to be mythical goddesses... and the all-powerful directors of human destiny. The series alternates between their modern-day drama and their epic adve...