Daughter of Sparta: part I

detail-of-head-of-helen-P (2)As a child of Sparta, I always felt isolated. We celebrated militarism, austerity and athletic strength of which things I could find nothing to love. Raised to be mother to soldiers and run a household alone, while my husband lived in the barracks and returned home secretly at night, I found joy only in music, dance and the potential ideas that might transform our military state. These ideas, I learned early, were not popular among our people. They liked what they knew, we were extremely devout to our patron gods, with our diligent military regime we could do no wrong. I could see the potential wrong, but my ideas were laughed at. So, I kept them still, within, and focussed my desired ‘athleticism’ on dance but unlike the other Spartan girls I did not compete for favour. None of them moved like I and I would not move like they insisted I should. My parents despaired even to marry me, wondering if I would live with them forever or wind up a helot (slave) when they eventually passed to the underworld. Yet I yearned and plotted a secret plan that emerged in my heart, a hope that I may yet save my ‘misplaced’ soul. When I reached the age of promising, when I knew there would be no ‘sane’ Spartan suitor to request my hand, I took myself to my beloved glade, where I alone celebrated through dance to all gods and goddesses that would hear my wayward words. For the first time I raised an altar, before I had simply danced and sung but now I laid down the appropriate incense and wine coupled with drops of my own blood before I expressed my prayers and began to dance. I intended to dance all day, all night, to dance however long it took for the gods to see me and decide it was worthwhile to them to intervene.

 

I danced a very long time; my lips were drying, and my limbs weary to failure, yet my will would not desist. I cried out with my entire soul to Ares, celebrating our military history and honouring our connection to him, I called to Athena, celebrating the wisdom she offers our military intention and imploring she would head my prayers, I called to Apollo lamenting that his prophetic vision did not visit our nation of strength often enough. I called, cried, lamented and danced my devotion for hour upon hour. At the point where my strength was nearly completely waned, I stumbled but righted myself and continued, then an ecstasy alighted me, blinding light filled my grove and a hand reached from behind me covering my eyes. Another hand reached around my waist and stilled my movement, I was spent and the arm that embraced me held me upright. A voice resonant of honeyed wine and ancient life spoke gently, as a caress to me; “child, be still, you have danced long and well, I am here, and I would take your sight briefly that I can be here in my full light without taking your vision forever.” I sighed and relaxed deeply into the embrace of the Olympian who held me, this surrender was my consent, who needed eyes to speak with a god! I heard an odd sound beside me, of tree limbs reaching and becoming entangled. The firm arms were replaced by tree limbs that grasped for me and embraced me yet also contained me, a moment of fear flared within me, yet the Olympian voice assured me this surrender was my destiny and his desire. Bereft of sight and trained from infanthood to be wary my other senses rallied to replace my lack of vision. I heard the steps of the earthbound god, I could smell god forced green growth and a lush tone that I could only relate to newly forged gold. I licked my dry lips and prayed my countenance was not ill after so much toil in dancing. “Hush mortal, these things are small compared to your desire for your people. You would dare to call upon the gods, who are content with the love of your people, to assist you in steering your people to a different path?” Humbled, I wondered how I had the audacity to plead my case so fervently, yet I persisted, I knew that my desires were constant, and the gods favour was not. I answered, hoping my mortal voice did not waver too much or give credence to my fears. “My Lord, I fear my people are short-sighted, without music and genuine expression, with only military training and limited intellectual pursuit, relying on helots to tend out crops I see our people are doomed for failure. I crave more than this for Sparta and believe with her diligence we can deliver much, much more.” There was silence for a time during which I felt only the branch tips becoming vines reaching further along my limbs, increasing their hold upon me, I was now bound firmly in place my ankles spread wide, my waist supported but pushed forward, my arms spread outward yet held so I could relax into this odd pose. I began to realise my exposure, the short dresses we wore meant the posture I was in laid my buttocks bare, I no longer had any limb free to move and defend myself if it were necessary. Again, his divine voice reassured me that my surrender was the sacrifice for his favour to my intentions. Once more I submitted but girded my resolve.

His voice emanated as if from everywhere, yet I could track his movement around my grove. His voice betrayed excitement, engaging my wit as I was aware of how bargains with the immortal gods could be laced with poison, I was not concerned for my lifetime but the potential within my womb. “I have heard your supplication and intend to bless your people through your immediate lineage so long as you heed my desires. Shall I name them?” I wet my lips, this was more than I had dreamed of! Yet, I must keep my mortal head, what if his terms were more than I could live up to? Then all was for naught. I must hear and be sure the terms could be honoured before giving accord. “My Lord, I know not which Lord honours me, please outlay your terms openly and fairly along with your true name that I may be sure my lineage may uphold our agreement.” His laugh was magical, it lured me to forget all argument and get on to the joys he suggested but my will was strong, at least I imagined it so, and I held fast awaiting his true response in words. “A will such as yours will not be swayed with mere Olympian godhead, and is as should be, the deal we strike is for the fruit of your womb as much as for you. My terms are simple, Spartan women do not require maidenhead for marriage, I shall have yours and restore it and reclaim it as often as I choose. This grove shall be ours alone until age comes upon you, then a temple shall be erected here in my and your name, this name we will create as a lesser god of the local realm, if you please me I do not intend for you to age in normal years and you will live as a lesser god. Your womb shall be blessed with demi-gods and mortals alike, your lineage shall stretch out long before you, but the mate you take shall always accept that you have a lover, I will not be an Ares belittled, I will be accepted by your mortal mate, do not fear, one of power and suitability shall come to your parents with offer within a few days. More simply still, I will not have your head shorn in marriage, I delight in your full head of hair. If you can obey me in these things then my blessing you shall have and lover you will become to Apollo, renamed Apollo Amyklaios for our meeting.”

This sounded simple enough, yet what suitor would accept such terms and how was Apollo so sure? Yet who was I to question the god of prophesy? I started to see how he hoped to best his brother Ares, our current patron, and not be disgraced for his lack of cleverness with the taking of lovers. Yet I must press… “Lord Apollo, you offer this mortal and her people great boon, yet I must be brazen ask how will my potential mate know of our encounters and not be shamed like your brother Ares?” His laughter now was so deep and natural I knew my question pleased him deeply. Once settled he replied: “Your mate is destined to see all encounters whether in person or if he is distant he will view them as the prophets see. He will see all and will know all when he asks for you. He is the kind of man that is not belittled by his mate having a lover, he will be the kind that feeds from this.” As a virgin and not being a man I did not know this was possible but the Lord of Prophecy was telling me this in his god voice, he took my sight thus he could be in his full presence meaning he only spoke truth and I trusted this. Perhaps I should not, yet I did. Without knowing I would say it, my voice spoke up; “My Lord Apollo, we have an accord.”

His response was indescribable, the limbs and vines that held me thrummed and shuddered then his hands were upon my face, softly as a lover expressing his devotion before something deeper and more bestial took him. My outstretched face was met with his divine shaft, having no previous experience he coaxed me through but I found an eagerness within me to taste and consume his godly length, deep moans of pleasure erupted from within me that I initially constrained but he encouraged so I let them free. The motion of his strokes upon my eager and sensitive lips brought about such desire within me I felt it would never be satiated. Eventually he spilled his seed within my mouth and I was struck with the enormity of what we had set in place, he stroked my face gently and commanded I imbibe his seed. Once I had obeyed him, I realised this was what he needed to instill the change within my form. I became aware of the minutia within me that began to evolve, Apollo was calm whilst I experienced this change of being, exchanging mortality for something else, foreign yet welcome, yet terrifying. Apollo strummed his lute and sang of my calling him ending the song with something I will never forget, not only the change of my mortality but the addition of wings to my form. As soon as he sang them they erupted from my shoulders. Golden, I could smell the molten gold, the pain was indescribable.

 

More to come…

 

Words by Errant Satiety inspired by Circe a novel by Madeline Miller and Michael at Dionsyian Experience

Image of Helen of Sparta (Helen of Troy)

Part II here

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