Chapter Two – As it Should Be
Dawn was quickly approaching. Flavia Kay’s eyelids fluttered softly as the gentle chatter of birds roused her from her sleep. She stretched and sighed; the silken covers fell off the bed and her full breasts bathed in the morning glow of sunshine. Rising gracefully, Flavia crossed her spacious chamber to a large window. The salty sea breeze fluttered in and teased her lovely hair. She smiled and embraced the pureness of the morning. How many more days will I have to be just Flavia Kay? She wondered. Her wedding was in two days. She sighed and allowed her shoulders to droop. Oh, how she begged the Gods if her wedding could be delayed; Akiles Papkus was a swine.
Flavia wasn’t alone for long. Her slaves entered her chambers with warm water. She allowed herself to be pampered as she was delicately cleansed with scented water. Lotion was massaged into her creamy shoulders and her hair was coiled high into intricate knots. A gown of pale blue silk was draped over her body. Squaring her shoulders, Flavia exited her chamber in search of a light repast.
“Ahhhh Flavia! My sugar plum! How did you sleep?” beamed her father.
“Good morning, Daddy.” Flavia gave him a quick smile before brushing a light kiss on his graying hair.
“Plum, what’s wrong? Did you not sleep well?” asked her father over a steaming cup of coffee. Flavia just shrugged. What could she say? She had only two days left before a loud and tacky wedding followed by rape and then a lifetime of misery. Her only hope through all of this was that she might have beautiful children to distract her from the slime of her soon-to-be husband.
“I’m going to get married soon. I don’t exactly want to, but whatever.” Flavia slid into a cushioned seat. She brought her knees to her chest and hugged them with one arm. She reached forth a grabbed a small pastry and began to nibble on it. Her father sent her a grimaced look.
“Akiles comes from a good family. He will take care of you. And besides, the political ties are two strong to be ignored. I wish it could be otherwise for you, Flavia. But you are the daughter of a magistrate; this is just a part of it.”
“Oh, I know that, Daddy, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be childish and pray for deliverance. Do you see the way he looks at me? It’s as if he wants to eat me.” Flavia put the pastry down. Suddenly her appetite had vanished as the memory of the first time she met Akiles popped into her pretty head.
She was standing by a fountain in her father’s garden. It was evening and she was enjoying the subtle fragrance of sea air intermixed with gardenia. Akiles approached her behind as he normally did with a quiet stealth. Akiles had a bad habit of sneaking up on people. He slid and lifted a strand of hair off her neck before placing a steaming kiss upon her skin. Flavia shuddered a let out a small scream. No one had ever touched her in that way.
“What are you doing?!” she cried. She turned around to face her attacker. Akiles was not an ugly man. In fact, beautiful could be used to describe him. As a model of Greek perfection, Akiles stood tall and proud. His lightly tanned olive skin covered a lean body. Akiles eyes were a hazel green in color and were sheltered beneath two dark and sculpted eyebrows. An aquiline nose jutted out over a dominant brown mouth. An aristocratic sneer creased his lips and gave Akiles an air of douche-baggery. Black curly hair fell to his shoulders and was always maintained neatly. Yes, Akiles was a god of a man, but he had no heart. His sick cruelty was feared by all. It was rumored he had a disease in his mind as he had a habit of breaking into violent rages.
Ignoring the look of shock in Flavia’s crystal blue eyes, Akiles reached for her hand. He grabbed it roughly but brought it to his mouth in a soft motion. He kissed her knuckles and lapped between them with his tongue. Flavia felt another scream build up in her throat but that beady hazel gaze quieted her.
“I’m simply looking at my betrothed.” The words rolled off his tongue as if they were covered in oil.
“Be-betrothed?” stammered Flavia.
“Yes, my love. We are to be married in a few weeks.”
“No. We aren’t. My father would have told me. I don’t know who you are but you have no business touching me the way you are, betrothed or not!” Flavia’s usual sauciness had returned as she snapped her hand away from Akiles’s offensive mouth. Turning on her heel, she ran. Flavia barged in on her father during an important state meeting and demanded his attention. With reluctance her father left the dinner and listened with downcast eyes as Flavia vented her fury.
“You made a marriage without my consent!” Flavia roared.
“I do not need your consent.” Her father murmured. He didn’t need it, but he loved Flavia and respected her desires. He should have told her, but he was still a little afraid of Akiles himself. He knew that Flavia would not be happy and instead decided to hold off. There was no way he could break the marriage up despite his bribes and efforts. He had sealed a pact with Akiles’s father one night during a party. He was drunk, and Akile’s father took advantage. Flavia’s father signed away his precious daughter and no amount of money could be persuaded to tempt Akiles’s father’s mind. Flavia continued to rant and rave and her father’s nerves slowly grated.
“ENOUGH!” he spat silencing Flavia’s diatribe, “What is done is done! Be thankful I do not cast you away to a lower family!” And so, Flavia’s father left. For days Flavia would not speak to her father. Instead she kept to her chambers and only came out for meals.
Stupidly, Flavia’s father thought the answer to calm her fears would be to have Akiles over for dinner. For several nights, Akiles would arrive as polished and as lethal as a sword and would act as the charming suitor. Akiles showered her with gifts and complimented her beauty. His attempts to woo the fair damsel were met by a staunch resistance. Usually, Flavia would empty to contents of her cup on his head or would toss his gifts in the fire. In response, Akiles would bow and reply, “As it should be.” That eerie reply would haunt Flavia as she tried to sleep. What did that mean!?
And now, she had two days left to herself. As it should be.
It had been a long time since Brandos had felt fear. And now, this was the second time in the span of a few weeks that he had felt that emotion. He felt as if he were drowning in a sea of desperation and sinking into a tortured abyss when he had lost Flavia. But this was a different kind of fear that he was experiencing now. When the Goddess jumped him she had used her magic to whisk them through time and space. The sound of Saphara’s wicked laughter rang in Brandos’s ears as he felt every molecule in his body separate only to reform on the island of Paros. He stood paralyzed after he materialized. Amused, Saphara unwrapped her silky arms from the slightly shaky Spartan and took in a deep breath.
“Ahhhhh,” she sighed. “Do you smell that? The fresh clean salty sea air of Paros, so refreshing.” She took a look at Brandos. He was standing there with a stupid expression on his face. “Brandos!” she snapped, “Wake up mortal! I could have taken it a lot faster but I didn’t. WAKE UP!” Saphara pushed her palms towards Brandos as if she were bracing herself for impact. A rush of wind hit Brandos which made take a step back and fall to one knee. Saphara walked the short distance between them and stretched out a hand. Brandos, having recovered from his shock, took the hand and rose to his towering height.
“Thanks. I needed that.” He rumbled.
“Don’t mention it, mortal.” She replied. Brandos looked around the island. Saphara had transported them to a small cliff overlooking the sea. He could hear the waves as the gently crashed onto the beach. The sun burned down on them with a blinding light. Brandos squinted and absently kicked a small pebble over the edge.
“So,” he began, “What do I do now?”
“Become my slave.” That was the demure answer given by the Goddess. She had conjured up a goblet of nectar and sat on a small cloud drinking it and started to giggle as her words sunk in.
“WHAT?” roared Brandos.
“You said you would do anything for Flavia, Brandos. Need I take you back and remind you?” With a snap of her fingers Brandos became adorned in the attire of slaves. His sword was gone as was his clothes. Instead, he wore simple rough tunic of brown linen and a pair of worn sandals. Two bronze cuffs locked onto his wrists and a matching collar encircled his throat. Rage reddened his gaze on the Goddess. With a fury blazing in his eyes, Brandos croaked out,
“What. Does. Being. A. Slave. Have. To. Do. With. Getting. My. Bride.” Each word was stabbed.
“Everything.” The cloud disappeared when Saphara slid off. With a delicate flick of the wrist a robe of red silk enveloped her body. She flicked her wrist again and a group of slaves and other people were created. Saphara created mules laden with cargo and carts piled high with goods. The last thing she created was a glittering litter and four naked muscular black slaves. Saphara relaxed into the cushions of the litter and commanded the slaves to lift her up. In a loud voice she rang, “Let us make way towards the Magistrate’s house.” And so, the magically conjured caravan began to move.
Brandos ran over to keep pace with the Goddess. He was royally pissed off with her. How could she just sit there, in the shade of a litter being transported by slaves, drinking Gods’-know-what liquor, and look so pleased while he was contemplating the possibility of killing a Goddess!?
“I know that you are angry with me, mortal.” She said after some time. She didn’t even look over to him preferring the enjoyment of her nectar to his anger.
“You’re damn right! I’m FURIOUS. What in the Hell do you think you’re doing? Why the FUCK AM I A SLAVE?”
“Look, I don’t have to explain my motives to you. Everything will work out. You summoned the Goddess, you asked for Flavia’s hand, and you said that you would do anything to get her. You will get her, I promise you. I have everything planned out.” Saphara looked over at Brandos. His eyes were wild with rage and his jaw was set firm and heavy. She let him calm down for a few minutes.
“Well,” he said after a short while, “Can I at least have a hint to your magical plans?” The last sentence was dripping in incredulous sarcasm.
“I am her Royal Highness Sapho of Kriskos. I---”
“Kriskos? Where in the Hell is Kriskos? And you’re royalty?” Interrupted Brandos.
“I’m Goddess, mortal, now please shut up. Anyway, the Royal Highness of Sapho thought it would be best to travel and visit neighboring islands. She had heard of the oncoming marriage and decided to pay a visit and to wish the happy couple well.” Brandos snorted.
“Wish the happy couple well? I’m so lost; how is this going to help me?”
“We are sabotaging the wedding, retard. Gods!” exclaimed the exasperated Goddess. “I just need you to trust me on this, mortal.” And that was all she said. Brandos walked in silence with his jaw firmly shut. His hands clenched into tight fists and his knuckles whitened. He refused to look down at his arms, at those cuffs. He was not a slave, not anymore.