Chapter Eight – Jailbreak
All of Paros was alive and buzzing for the wedding. Everyone on the island, from nobles to middles, to peasants and slaves, everyone would be turning out to celebrate the wedding. Creon had levied out one gold piece per family of peasants and slaves, two to three per middles, and the nobles were of course all attending the wedding.
Flavia was nervous! She had slept all evening with Brandos. He did not make love to her nor did he continue his exquisite seduction. Brandos simply held her and slept. She loved the feeling of his naked muscles on her back. Just listening to his breathing was pleasure. Brandos gently roused Flavia from her slumber at the first lights at dawn. She crept back into the palace and slid under the covers of her own bed. Flavia feigned sleep until her body servants entered to begin preparing her for the wedding. She wondered if any of them knew what she was thinking. Did they mistake the rapid beat of her heart as wedding nerves? Would any of them suspect her planned escape? Flavia tried very hard to focus on getting ready but a thousand and one “what-ifs” swirled in her head. She paced back and forth and dabbled with her poetry. She had arranged her hair in different styles and redid her makeup. Flavia went as far as to stand on her head. It was only ten o’clock in the morning. The wedding wasn’t until seven that evening, and her escape was planned to be around five. Ughhh. Perhaps a nap. No no no, I’m too ancy to fall asleep! Frustrated, Flavia began to pack. She originally wasn’t going to bring anything with her but it wouldn’t hurt to have a few things handy. Flavia was going to miss parting with her stuff; she had so many beautiful things that once belonged to her mother. Perhaps, in a year or two, she would return to Paros, beg the forgiveness of her father, and then gain full possession of her belongings. But at the same time, Flavia didn’t really care. Brandos was going to provide for her more than an ivory comb or a teakwood writing desk. Love! He would give her love.
Brandos was a little nervous himself. He too was feeling slight trepidation even though he had never been more sure of himself in his life. Brandos had attained his bride, well, he was getting Flavia and soon he would marry her but first things first, he had to smuggle her from Paros. Saphara promised him Flavia as a bride and she had delivered. He went to her as soon as soon as Flavia left. Not caring, that the goddess might be sleeping, let alone with company, Brandos sauntered into her tent uninvited for the second time.
“Ohhh shit.” He mumbled when he realized that the goddess was sleeping in the arms of Marduk. Marduk was apparently awake and flashed him his sharp canine-like teeth. The god’s eyes turned to smoke and he snarled at the intruder to leave. In a very broken accent, Marduk hissed,
“Seefara es asleepen. Doo na wake heayar. Leave mortahl.” Brandos backed out of the tent without saying a single word.
Brandos went to bathe in the sea. The water was surprisingly warm and refreshing. He rinsed himself clean and stood for several moments in the dawning sunshine to dry off. The air filled his lungs and it was decidedly very good. He heard sand crunching softly behind him. Brandos turned around to see the groggy goddess as she rubbed small fists in her eyes and yawned. The sunlight reflected off her messy reddish curls and was quite lovely. Brandos hadn’t really taken much time to notice the beauty of the goddess. In his opinion, she was extraordinary for a mortal woman, but he honestly expected for her beauty to be even more intense as she was a divinity. Why the short figure and freckles?
“Good morning, goddess.” He said after she finished yawning. Saphara’s nostrils flared and she glared the glare of one who was prematurely awakened.
“Good morning, mortal.”
“You look beautiful. Not trying to be a kiss ass but I don’t think I’ve told you that. Question, if you are a goddess, how come you look so, I don’t know, normal?”
“What did you expect, Brandos, for me to look like? In my true divine form I am nothing but a cloud of black and silver smoke. Only when I speak is my body visible, and I am as dark as midnight and covered in stars. Are you suggesting that I could look better?” she asked.
“No, goddess, you are gorgeous. I just would have thought that you would have made yourself look perfect. Like out of this world perfect. Instead, you have dark circles under your eyes, sunburn, and, well, you’re so short.”
“I’ve always been short. Gods and goddesses get sunburnt too. I get PMS and have emotions just like you. Only difference is that I have cosmic power and you don’t. But that really isn’t the point here. I choose to look as myself as a mortal. A tad exotic and beautiful, but I don’t overdo it. And, even if I did, which I could do, I would still be nothing compared to Flavia.” Saphara smiled brightly. “You love her and in your eyes she is the paramount of beauty, love, and devotion. And I, as a love goddess, defer to her for you.”
Brandos didn’t really know how to respond. In all honesty, he wasn’t sure what some of her words meant. Instead, he simply nodded and turned around to face the sea. Saphara appeared by his side in the water. The bottom of her skirt got wet and stuck to her calves but she didn’t seem to care. “What did you want?”
“Flavia has agreed to come with me. She visited me last night in my tent and asked me to take her to Kriskos. She told me to meet her in the herb garden tonight around five before the wedding and to take her away.”
“That’s awesome! Congratulations!”
“I just need a ship. And I honestly have no idea where to take her. She wants to go to Kriskos and I don’t know how to tell her that Kriskos doesn’t exist. Does it?”
“It did at one point in time, several thousand years ago.” She said.
“Where is it?” asked Brandos, interested.
“Somewhere at the bottom of the ocean, as a matter of fact. When you leave tonight, there will be a ship waiting on the far side of the island, just beneath the cliff where you and I landed.”
“Okayyyyyy, but what about Kriskos?” he persisted.
“You’re on your own there! Raising an island from the bottom of the sea is far beyond my power. Well, I take that back. I could, but I don’t have control over the ocean. I’d have to get special permission for that. My power is for love, romance, seduction, and pleasure.” Said Saphara primly. “I’m hungry. I’m gonna head back and get something to eat. Want to join me?” Brandos nodded and offered his arm to the goddess. They walk back up the beach in search of food.
Flavia had put together a small knapsack of the basest essentials. A change of dress, a nightgown, a warm cloak, another pair of shoes, her brush, special oils for the skin and hair, her book of poetry, and her mother’s precious hand mirror. Flavia had donned an older dress that she wore only when she was gardening or cleaning. It was more durable and was less ornate than her other gowns. If she wore her customary silken gowns, Flavia feared that she would rip it climbing down her balcony. It was almost time. She had debated whether or not she should leave a note. She decided that her father might wonder if she had been kidnapped. Flavia jotted a quick message saying that she was leaving Paros and that someday she would return. She would not be marrying Akiles and that was final. She loved her father and hated to leave but she wanted to be free. And, she wickedly added, I’m leaving with Brandos. I think I’m half in love with him already. Flavia left the note on her vanity. Her penmanship was completely her own; her father would have no doubts on whether the letter was a forgery or not. Taking one last look about her room, Flavia grabbed her bag and swung it over her shoulder. She threw one leg over the balcony and stopped cold when she heard her door creak open. She jumped back over the railing and quickly stashed her bag in a pot.
“Who dares enter my chamber without permission?” she barked. Flavia’s heart pounded. She inhaled sharply when she saw the form of Akiles file into the room. He was unlike she had ever seen him before. Akiles look ragged, his hair tangled and dirty. He still wore his tunic from the previous night and he stank of alcohol. There was a menacing gleam in his eye, and a sharp blade hung from his belt that was not normally there. He staggered into the room “What are you doing here?” asked Flavia. She could feel the blood begin to pulse behind her eyes. She wanted to scream for her guards but was afraid that that would ruin her escape. Akiles was probably drunk, as usual, and had stupidly entered her chamber for no reason.
“Did you fuck the slave, beloved?” despite appearing drunk, Akile’s speech was clear and articulate.
“What are you talking about?” she exclaimed incredulous.
“You did, didn’t you? Tell me, what does some foreign son of a whore have that I don’t? I have been very patient with you, Flavia, very. Last night, I came to make amends for my behavior and you want to know what I saw? I saw you waltz down the stairs and watched as you kissed that slave named Brandos.” Akiles voice was low and dark. His beady little eyes were irate and the muscle beneath his left eye began to twitch violently. He crept forward.
“Akiles, I…” Flavia was frozen. What good did it do to lie now? She tried to remain calm and reached down deep into the reserves of her soul to find at least a small shred of courage. Flavia squared her shoulders and let out air through her mouth.
“Yes. I did kiss Brandos, but he is no less of a man, even if he is a slave. He is more of a man than you will ever be, Akiles. I am more than done with you.” She announced firmly with her chin held high. It wavered, but Akiles didn’t need to see that to know that she was terrified of him. Who wasn’t scared of him? All his life people had lived in fear of his episodes, and Akiles knew when these rages were imminent.
“You are a cunt, Flavia. I was doing your father a service marrying you. But you need to be taught a lesson. Noble virgin girls do not agree to run away with bastard slaves.” Flavia fumed at the insult and raised her hand to strike the encroaching Akiles, but he was quicker. Akiles grabbed her wrist and roughly twisted it. Flavia cried out in pain as she was pulled forward and then released. Akiles placed one hand on her shoulder to steady her and used his other hand to slap her hard across the face. He brought it back to backhand her and the lovely woman crumbled to the floor. Awkwardly she scrambled to flee but Akiles halted her motion by stepping on the hem of her dress. She screamed as loudly as she could, but Akiles lowered himself on his knees to stand behind her. He covered her mouth with one hand and grabbed her arms and pinned them behind her back. Roughly he pushed her face down on the floor and straddled her. Akiles pressed all over his weight onto her back so that all of her breath was pushed from her longs, rendering her speechless as she gasped painfully for air. Akiles ripped a long strand of fabric from her dress and used it to bind her wrists together. He tore another piece and gagged her tightly. Akiles rose and stooped to pull Flavia to her feet. He half-dragged, half-carried her to her bed where he then pushed her backwards on it. Tears began to stream down her face. Flavia was helpless. She struggled, bound as she was, to get away from Akiles. The second she hit the bed she rolled off and ran for the door. Swearing a blackened oath, Akiles grabbed a hold of her silvery blonde hair and tugged hard. Flavia jerked her head and somehow Akiles lost his grip, causing Flavia to crash into her end table. Pottery cracked as it crashed into the floor along with the contents sitting atop the table. Flavia wriggled like a fish on dry land trying to stand back up. Akiles spat on her and kicked her hard in her ribs. And, despite all of this, Flavia fought. She fought with all she had.
Brandos began to walk around his nervous little circles. Where is she? She should have been here at least ten minutes ago! Brandos was beginning to wonder if Flavia had gotten scared and had backed out of her plans. But, for some reason, he didn’t think that she would do that. If Flavia wasn’t determined about escaping then she never would have visited let alone spent the night with him, even if all they did was sleep. Something did not feel right. He felt it as surely as he knew that the sun was shining, but he couldn’t name it. The hairs on the back of Brandos’s neck began to stand up and his warrior blood began to pulse in his veins. Danger. Brandos sensed danger. Perhaps someone would intercept them during their flight. Oh how he wished he had his sword!
Akiles had positioned Flavia on the bed. She was for the most part still, having spent all her energy already. Flavia was weak and was semiconscious. A nasty purple bruise stained her cheek and her lip was bloodied. Her makeup was ruined and her usually tame hair was wild and gnarled. Tears slithered down her cheeks uncontrollably. Her entire body shuddered as Akiles ripped her gown from the neckline to her navel. Breasts exposed, Akiles lowered himself to bite them like a predator about to make his kill. Flavia strained at the bondage and wept. It was then that she noticed the heavy aroma of roses in the room. By some strange happenstance, the gag around Flavia’s mouth dissipated. Her cry of pain curdled through the air.
“BRAAAAANDOS!” Immediately Brandos shot to full awareness. He had not imagined the scream, he heard it. His instinct was to reach for his sword and he was surprised when it magically appeared in his hand. Shocked, he noticed that the cuffs around his arms were gone along with the one around his neck. He was in his old clothes.
“Brandos!” yelled Saphara, who flew to him through the garden.
“Where’s Flavia?” he roared loudly.
“In her chambers. Akiles is going to rape her.”
“WHAT?! DO I HAVE YOUR PERMISSION TO KILL HIM NOW???”
“You have it! Let’s go!” Saphara lunged at him and grabbed a hold of him. Wings he had never seen her sport flapped furiously and they two of them were airborne. Saphara flew him to the ledge of the balcony and released him.
Akiles had mounted himself above Flavia. His phallus stood erect and burning. Akiles positioned himself between Flavia’s quivering thighs. He drew the edge of Flavia’s skirt to her navel and gazed at the smooth cleft that he would soon penetrate. Wielding his phallus like a weapon, Akiles guided it to her vagina and would have pressed it through her nether lips if not for a rough hand tugging his hair back. Akiles roared in surprise and tumbled to the floor. Brandos kicked the fallen man and the sunlight reflected violently off his polished sword.
“Stand up you miserable fuck!” Again Brandos grabbed a handful of Akiles’s hair and jerked him to his feet. “Fight me, bastard!” Akiles took out his blade and charged at Brandos. Brandos easily swept away from the blow and parried to the right. Akiles charged and this time the metallic clang of blade on blade clashed through the air. Flavia rose to a seated position and tried to cover her near nude state. The binding around her wrists had also disappeared and she rubbed where she was raw. She watched with wide eyes at the fight before her. Brandos was spectacular with his blade. He moved with such a natural elegance, one that bespoke of years of dedication, as opposed to Akiles’s choppy motions. Brandos’s every move was calculated and flawless. His face was cool and unreadable, except for his brilliant icy blue eyes that burned with cold hatred. Akiles was a madman. Unkempt, he lashed out wildly, He was no match for Brandos, and Akiles knew that for a fact in his rage. Knowing that he would soon die, Akiles did the only thing he could do. He kicked Brandos between the legs. Brandos howled and fell. The kick was unexpected. Flavia began to scream and closed her eyes as she thought that Brandos would soon be killed. Instead, she felt a cold blade behind her neck. Akiles panted heavily behind her.
“Slave! If I can’t have her than neither can you!” Akiles pressed the blade into Flavia’s throat but he did not cut her. He had pulled her hair and Flavia was held motionless against his heaving and sweaty body.
“Let her go, Akiles.” Rumbled Brandos. He had since risen and ignored the pain that stemmed from his lower region that seemed to pulse everywhere. It was a coward’s defense and if he were armored it would not have phased him.
“Are you deaf, slave? I know about your plan to take her away. And if I can’t have her, then no one will!” Akiles laughed maniacally and drew the knife. Flavia, her eyes on Brandos pleaded desperately for salvation. She felt flood began to pool down her body. It was cold. She was dying! Akiles had killed her. Flavia heard a woman scream and wondered who was crying out so loud. The next thing she knew were two strong arms about her and she was weightless. Brandos had lifted her away from the bloody remains of Akiles and draped her along a small couch. It was then that she realized that she was not dead and she was the screaming woman.
Brandos was far quicker than Akiles had anticipated. Brandos always secreted a small knife in his boot. When his sword and clothes were returned to him, so was his little knife. When Akiles kicked him to the ground, Brandos grabbed it and kept it concealed in his fist. Instinctually he knew that Akiles would try to kill Flavia. Akiles knew that he was a dead man as soon as Brandos arrived in the room. And, as Akiles had said twice, if he couldn’t have her than Brandos certainly couldn’t have her either. His warrior’s calm kept him from jerking too quickly and right as the second was ripe, Brandos threw the knife straight into Akile’s eye. It reached his brain and killed him immediately. Blood began to spurt forth and poor Flavia was soon drenched in it. She began to scream and the knife that Akile’s once held fell to floor along with his body.