In all the blinding ceremonious accolades my eyes alighted upon the Prince, Pleistoanax. I had never once in our adjacent lives felt he had any particular awareness of me. Given the current circumstance, I wondered if I were wrong, and if so, what had I missed? I knew his current ‘submissive’ expression of himself was not a true representation of him, having witnessed his prowess among the trainees, I knew he was unquestionably a spartan warrior endowed with all the arrogant assumption due such a one, yet he had not in his dealings with my family, or his, expressed any great leadership trait. Perhaps, he was embarrassed by his reasoning behind his decisions and behaviour? Perhaps he felt misunderstood by his family. He, as all of Sparta did, understood that his claim to the throne was not a direct genetic line and that he must prove himself worthy of the title of King to claim the title, yet he was meek in these dealings of choosing a wife, allowing his father to lead the assault against my potential, yet he was assured, he somehow knew of my newly moulded divinity and was assured of its proving. Perhaps he was meek through sheer, what? Being overcome? From desire that he thought could come to naught or newly kindled desire because of my ‘divinity’? Suddenly, this distinction became paramount to me. I would have answer, I did not fear the Lord Apollo nor any other being anymore, thus questioning a man who would be my husband that I did not yet know at all seemed both imperative and trivial in consequence.
The Lord Apollo excused himself to attend his daily duty and, as his divine sun departed the room, a darkness fell, and the elders moved to the courtyard to toast their familial joining taking with them the great portion of helots. The Prince and I were suddenly alone. As Apollo had departed so did my wings, his parting words to me were that I would learn to command them, but it would take time, I covered myself in the cloak I carried and for the first time questioned its origin. Pleistoanax seemed willing to linger and perhaps then prepared to speak. ‘My Lord,’ I ventured, and his gaze rose to me immediately, ‘I must ask, did you ever intend such an offer as you offered this bright morn?’ His face expressed all manner of emotion, impossible to read. I understood I must suffer the getting-to-know-the-man who would be my husband to comprehend his experience.
‘Lady Cymone,’ at which he inclined his head to me which I found both unnervingly distasteful and somewhat appealing, ‘I have observed you since perhaps both we understood ourselves as individual to our parents, yet, given my station and the lack, through traditional Spartan merit, of yours, I have had to refrain from declaring myself. I have been a singular observer to your sensational beauty and will, now the gods have discovered you the irony is that again to be your husband I must bear witness to… well, all that our Lord Apollo would have of you. It is not an easy cost, yet I would pay any value given my feebleness and fear compared to your, your being. I accept his claim and admit his parameters have some piercing appeal to me. Yet, had I laid claim to you, including all your supposed weaknesses we would have owned them together, but I dallied and argued within myself thus now my hand is forced, and I throw my lot in with yours as I had always intended, yet as observer still.’ This speech stilled me. I did not recall Pleistoanax had paid me any particular mind, thus I searched my memories but came up short, there were too many full of discontent observers that I sought to ignore through the devoutness of my movement in opposition to the Spartan desire for perfection of athletic movement, I moved athletically but with innovation and freewill, not limited to the choreographed Spartan dances. Perhaps, I ignored those that wished me well. ‘My Lord, I am ashamed that I missed your intentions of well-meaning, I was sorely accustomed to ill-intent and was perhaps too guarded to allow those of positive regard to be observed.’ At this the Prince smiled, in fact he was alight within as he returned his gaze to me. ‘My lady, you seem to have no idea how your movement affected those who were witness to it.’ I allowed him this, I had no immediate injunction as I had no concept of what he proposed. ‘My Lord, I believe in my surrender to the dance, I bade disservice to my fellow Spartans by misinterpreting or ignoring their responses to my expression.’ It seemed it was Pleistoanax’s turn to find no tongue. Our eyes locked and my heart thundered in my chest for what I found in his obsidian gaze, there was a fire within him that I knew kindled solely because of me. After a long moment I threw my gaze to the food and wine and invited my Prince to toast our betrothment.
With no helots in sight I moved to serve my Prince some wine discovering that the cloak I had pulled about my form was too long and hampered my movement. ‘My lady, perhaps I should call a helot to properly robe you, my cloak is an ill fit and although I believe you are graceful and becoming in any attire, you may be more comfortable in your own.’ I was momentarily shocked, then realised that Apollo had said Pleistoanax understood the conditions he had imparted, the Prince himself had acknowledged them. ‘My Lord, you were witness to what passed in the grove?’ He nodded and moved to serve himself wine and refresh my own. I understood my astonishment was ludicrous, but much had passed in the past day. As Pleistonanax held out my glass of wine to me I realised we should properly salute our new state before I pressed for further knowledge. Our eyes locked as we drank to our intended joining, we each sipped our wine then drew to one another and kissed. He was forthright and strong, I softened into his kiss enjoying the firm heat of his lips and taste of our shared wine. Flutters of delight struck up within my womb and my cheeks flushed merrily. This was my first real experience, first taste of heated human sensual interaction with a male. What had I known? What did I expect? His cheeks were roughened with new beard growth, he had not refreshed himself with shaving this hastened morn. I found a deep desire for deeper encounter and reached to kiss him more deeply. After some time of this oral exploration we both seperated to take breath, smiles full of coyness and excitement.We drank and ate, our eyes both privately consuming one another and seeking retreat. Such innocents we were!
Burning within me was answer to the questions I had surrounding my night with Apollo that I eventually found voice, ‘My Lord, your understanding of my newly encountered situation suggests that perhaps you have knowledge that I may not.’ He sighed deeply looking down for some time before raising his eyes to me once more. ‘Lady Cymone, I regret I behaved poorly. I followed you to the grove, concerned that some mischief may come to you so far distant to the haven of our city. I observed in secret your dance for the gods and as you faltered I would have reached for you and carried you home but a brightness unknown came upon me, our Lord Apollo took voice from me and shaded my eyes that I could bear witness to his blessing of you. He knew my devotion to you, and knew, in my love that I would serve him in his desire. I thank him in that he forced my hand to play and now we will be wed, I regret that I must accommodate his will, yet some part of me finds desire in the knowing that the one I choose a god also chooses.’ My mouth was dry with anticipation, this man loved me! Yet he was not yet done. ‘When Lord Apollo departed, he made me swear I would uphold the bargain, he left you asleep in a poorly made bed of underbrush, in the dimness of his departure I clothed you in my cloak and awaited your stirring before I quietly departed the grove. Thus, as you will well know, I directly spoke with my family to announce my desires.’ Our family interrupted this discourse, our eyes caught and expressed their bitter disappointment at the disruption, coy smiles erupted both our faces as we attended our family’s needs.