Monday, August 1, 2016

My Short Short for the Day

All the Theos turned out for our wedding.  Such a joyous occasion had not taken place in so long, everyone was ready to celebrate and my mother did not disappoint.  She planned the most amazing wedding.  I couldn’t find fault with anything.  I glowed with joy and pride, holding tight to Dynatos’ hand and smiling more than I ever thought possible.  We danced for hours, laughing, drinking, talking until I was floating on air.  I had to rest but I didn’t want to.  I wanted to keep dancing and laughing, I wanted the evening to last for eternity.  Eventually the guests left, though, and my parents said their goodnights.  Dynatos smiled down at me before sweeping me up into his arms and carrying me to our room.  My imagination was no match for the beauty that awaited me.  Dynatos was so gentle and confident, leading me into a whirlwind of passion.  A night I will never forget.

But time did pass, in spite of my efforts to hold on to those precious moments.  I was replaced as messenger, but I didn’t mind.  Dynatos was my life now.  Since the war had ended, Dynatos had been busy working his way up through the ranks of the Elders.  And Father was grooming him to one day soon, take his place.  I devoted every moment to making his life as wonderful as I could, giving him everything I had.  I didn’t think I could ever be happier until the day I had longed for since our wedding had finally arrived.  I was pregnant.  I rushed downstairs, eager to share the good news with Dynatos when I stopped short.  I heard Dynatos’ voice coming from down the hall.  I slowed and carefully peeked around the corner to see Dynatos and Father walking into Father’s study.  I eased up to the door and listened. 

“But you both look so happy.”  Father said.  “How could it be a mistake?”

“My heart still belongs to Iremia.”  Dynatos replied. 

“She betrayed you.  She does not deserve your loyalty.”  Father stated with an edge.

“I know and I’ve tried to forget her, but I can’t.”  Dynatos said.  “My heart will always be with her.”

There was a long pause and I held my breath.  I wanted to scream.  My emotions swelled and crashed with each passing second. 

“Daimonas honors and obeys you unfailingly.”  Father spoke softly.  “She is very much in love with you Dynatos.”

 “Yes, I know.”  Dynatos said.  “And for that I pity her.”

“The Theos will have much more confidence in a leader with a family.  If leadership is still your ambition.”  Father paused.  “Then it’s settled.  There will be no more talk of this.  Daimonas need never know.”

The sound of a chair scraping on the floor snapped me out of my trance.  I rushed down the hall and outside into the garden.  I kept running until I reached the forest and my breathing turned to ragged gasps.  Then I slumped to the ground and cried, shaking with every sob. 

Several days later the Theos were ushered into the arena where they announced the formation of the new counsel and Dynatos as the leader.  In spite of my tortured soul I still felt proud of being married to the first leader of the counsel.

I hid the pregnancy for a few months until my stomach started to bulge.  Dynatos’ eyes lit up when I told him.

“Are you sure?”  He asked.

“Yes.”  I replied touching my stomach gently.

Several months later a boy was born.  Dynatos held him high in honor and smiled proudly at the loud wail his son let out before gently placing him in my arms.  I hugged him close as Dynatos touched my cheek with affection.

“We shall name him Thymos.”  He said.

I smiled in agreement.  Then a tear trickled down my cheek as his voice faded and all I could hear was the haunting echo…”for that I pity her.”

Friday, July 22, 2016

My Short Short for the Day

“I have an announcement I’d like to share.”  Father smiled at everyone in turn, then looked directly at me.  “Dynatos has asked for your hand in marriage and I have given my consent.”

I didn’t know what to say but I could feel my cheeks flush as a foolish grin spread across my face.  I did my best to remain composed but Mother jumped up with glee and rushed over, hugging me so tight I could barely breath.

“Oh, there is so much to do.”  Mother gushed.

 “Yes, dear but right now, let’s eat.”  Father said leading her back to her chair.  She smiled and sat down but talked about wedding plans through the entire meal. 

I felt too shy to look directly at Dynatos but kept peeking at him from time to time.  He seemed completely relaxed and intent on listening to Mother.  After dinner he asked me for a walk through the garden.  We talked for a long time and the more we talked, the calmer and more relaxed I felt.  Eventually we made our way back inside and up to my room.  Outside my door we paused.  Dynatos took my hands in his and looked at me.  My heart began to beat faster.

“Daimonas, I know this is a bit unexpected and sudden, but I believe we can be happy together.”  He leaned in and kissed me gently on the lips.  I melted into his arms, hoping he wouldn’t stop.  After several moments he stepped back and bowed.  “Good night Daimonas.”

“Good night Dynatos.”  I whispered.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

My Short Short for the Day

“I think the Elders would be very approving of a marriage.”  Father was saying.  “It will also show that you have moved on from your previous relationship.  That you’ve put that unfortunate business behind you.”

“What you say makes sense and I do understand, but it hasn’t been that long since Iremia left.”  Dynatos replied.

“It’s been long enough, Dynatos.”  Father stated.  “I saw you with Daimonas last night.  She is young but very intelligent and thinks highly of you.  Many comments were made on your pairing.”  He paused.  “I think the Elders would be pleased with the match.  And I would, too.” 

I held my breath pressing my ear even harder to the wall.  Did Father know I was here, listening?  Or did he think I was still in my room?  The seconds ticked by.

“I’m honored Pateras.”  Dynatos finally spoke.  “I would be proud to join your family.” 

I sat back as my heart and mind raced.  What should I do?  Should I rush back upstairs and feign sleep?  Should I hurry outside and take a short ride, giving myself time to compose my thoughts and feelings?  Or should I… The door opened and Mother looked in.  For once I was happy to be interrupted by her.

“Oh, excuse me Daimonas.  I was just looking for a book.”  She said glancing around the room then walking straight to a shelf, grabbing a book and turning to leave.

“Wait Mother.”  I stood quickly and touched her arm.  “I’d love to see your latest embroidery.”

Mother arched her eyebrow then smiled.  “Wonderful. I’d be happy to show it to you.”  Mother put her hand over mine as we walked out into the hall.  We walked past Father’s study and I held my breath not sure if I wanted them to come out or not.  I listened intently as Mother told me all about her embroidery projects.  I smiled and nodded, commenting from time to time.  It really was beautiful work, but I knew I’d never have that patience for it.  After a while the bell rang for dinner.

Dinner was served a little early that evening.  I did my best to pretend to be oblivious, but I couldn’t help stealing a glance at Dynatos from time to time.  Mother was chattering away about future embroidery projects she had planned and I listened with as much sincerity as I could muster.  Father and Dynatos discussed politics.  Finally, as the food was cleared and dessert and drinks were served, Father stood and raised his glass.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My Short Short for the Day

“You look beautiful.”  Dynatos whispered in my ear.

A blush spread across my face, warming my cheeks to a rosy tint.  I was sure Dynatos could feel the heat of it emanating from my skin but we were too close for me to see his reaction. 

“Thank you.”  I was able to make my voice sound calmer than I felt.  He had to feel my heart pounding against his chest.  I hoped he would think it was from the dancing.  We continued to dance through the song and several more before returning to our seats for a rest.  

Father was smiling broadly as we came back.  He was about to say something when Mother stepped in, taking his hand and leading him away to the dance floor.  I was eager to talk to Dynatos alone but scared as well.  It didn’t matter because as soon as we sat down, one Elder after another stopped by to speak with Dynatos.  I smiled politely and made all the appropriate comments, remembering my mother’s training.  It was well past midnight when the guests started to leave.  The darkness began to fade into the early light of dawn.  I could barely stand on my feet and started to falter as the last of the guests left.  Dynatos caught me.

“Would you mind seeing her up to her room Dynatos?  I’m afraid she’s had about all she can take for a night.”  Mother asked. 

“Of course.”  Dynatos said tightening his arm around my waist and turning me towards the stairs.  I was beyond tired and his touch made me feel even more light-headed.  Fortunately, I was too tired to blush anymore, so I just smiled.

 When we reached my room, I assumed he would leave, but instead he opened the door and walked me to the bed.  For a moment I thought he might take advantage of my weakened state but he gently laid me down then bowed and walked to the door.  I flushed with embarrassment at my thoughts.

“Thank you Dynatos.”  I said.

“Sleep well Daimonas.”  He smiled before shutting the door.

I slept most of the day and woke to a throbbing head.  I dressed and walked slowly downstairs moaning at each jolt.  I skipped the dining room and went right to the kitchen where I found some rolls cooling on the counter.  I grabbed one, an apple and some ice cold water.  As I ate, the headache faded and I once again felt more like myself.  I walked down the hall and heard voices coming from the study.  Curiosity won out, so I went to my secret spot in the library.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My Short Short for the Day

“Thank you all for coming and celebrating this momentous occasion.”  Father commanded everyone’s attention and all eyes glowed with appreciation and respect.  “Please join me in thanking the one responsible for putting an end to this awful war.  I think we can all agree that this was the most humane and swift way to end it.  Countless lives have been saved because of the actions of Dynatos.”

There was a loud roar of applause as Dynatos stood. 

After several minutes Father raised his hand again.  “Thank you Dynatos.  You have ensured that the Theos will be united once again.”  Father turned to Dynatos and raised his cup and with a nod took a long drink. 

Everyone stood, raised their cups to Dynatos and with a nod they tipped their cups up and took a long drink of the cool, pink liquid.  Afterwards there was another loud round of applause.

“Enjoy yourselves, one and all.”  Father took another long drink then sat down.  The others followed, eating and drinking and talking with great gusto.  Sometime later the tables were cleared and moved towards the outside of the room.  Those who wished to continue eating and talking could do so, while the others could have room to dance.  The band started up the music and couples made their way to the floor.  Many Theos stopped by the table to talk with Father and thank Dynatos.  He accepted all with great humility.

The evening passed pleasantly. 

When there was a moment of quiet at the table, Father turned to Dynatos. “You should celebrate your success, Dynatos.  Here, take my daughter for a dance.”  He stood and Dynatos immediately stood as well.  Father took my hand bringing me to my feet.  We couldn’t refuse.  Dynatos bowed then led me to the dance floor.

We glided around the room completely in sync with each other.  The dance was very lively leaving me little room to think about how close Dynatos was.  As the dance wound down I was able to catch my breath but as the closeness of Dynatos entered my thoughts, my heart began to beat fast again.  The song ended but our embrace did not.  I dared to look up and our eyes met.  There was barely a hair’s breadth between our mouths.  Then his lips ever so gently brushed mine.  I froze for a second before pulling away, unsure if he had intended to kiss me.  I turned to clap for the band and was about to go back to my seat when my father gestured for us to dance again.  Dynatos nodded and bowed to me.  I bowed in acceptance.  This time the music was slower and the embrace was closer.  My body shivered ever so slightly as the moment overwhelmed my senses.  I did my best to follow his lead as we floated around the room.

Monday, July 18, 2016

My Short Short for the Day

There was much to do to prepare for the celebration in so short a time.  Mother put me to work and kept me busy all day. I went from room to room instructing the servants on what to move and how to set things up and other preparations until finally, as the sun settled behind the hills, I was allowed to go upstairs and change.  I soaked for a while and when I came out there was a dress on my bed.  It seemed familiar but I didn’t give it too much thought until I looked in the mirror.  It was that green dress I had bought from the marketplace that day I saw…Iremia.  No, I can’t think of that now.  Tonight was special and I didn’t want to think of anything that might ruin it.  Dynatos’ face flashed in my mind making me suddenly feel self-conscious.  I patted my hair and rushed back into the bathroom to make sure it looked good.  When I was finally satisfied, I spritzed on a little perfume, smiled at my reflection, and then headed downstairs.  There was noise coming from the formal hall but I went to the kitchen instead. 

The cook stopped me at the door.  “Miss, your mother is in the formal hall.  She requests you meet her there.” 

“Thank you.”  I replied.  A few people were already there chatting with Mother.

“Oh, there you are dear.  Don’t you look lovely.”  Mother gushed giving me a quick hug. “Please, mingle with our guests.  I need to find your father.”

“Yes, Mother.”  I said walking towards the closet person.

The evening wore on as more and more people arrived.  Some I knew others I’d never seen before.  I tried to carry on conversations but I kept glancing towards the door, hoping to catch a glimpse of Dynatos.  I had learned well from Mother how to exchange pleasantries while sounding sincere and how to easily disengage and move onto other people without making anyone feel dismissed or neglected.  She said I had a gift for socializing, putting others at ease.  I had shrugged it off as a useless skill.  Now, I was thankful because I didn’t have to think too much about what I was doing, instead I could let my mind wander to more interesting thoughts.  Finally, the bell rang and everyone moved to the dining room.  I sat next to Mother who was to the right of Father.  He was at the head of the table, of course.  Dynatos was on Father’s left side.  He looked very handsome and I could feel a blush rising up.  I looked away, hoping for a distraction and fortunately the first of the food was being served.  I casually glanced towards Dynatos who caught my eye and smiled.  I smiled back and was trying to find something to say when Father stood up and raised his hand.  The talk faded and silence filled the hall. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

My Short Short for the Day

It felt like only moments had passed when I awoke to an urgent knock on my door.  I got up and groggily walked to the door opening it to see the anxious face of a servant. 

“Miss, they are about to start the meeting.  Hurry!”  The servant pleaded.

I instantly became alert, rushed to dress and hurried downstairs to the library, careful to close the door quietly.  I settled into my chair, removed the books and pressed my ear to the wall. 

“Yes, Dynatos.  I do believe that will work.”  One Elder stated.

“I agree.  We should implement this course of action immediately.”  Another Elder chimed in.

“Yes, yes.  We must act on it right away.”  A third Elder said excitedly.

“Let’s make it official with a vote.”  Father stated.

A few moments passed and then Father spoke again.  “It’s unanimous.  Dynatos will put this plan into action immediately.  Thank you Elders.  This war should finally be over soon.”

There were excited, muffled voices and the sounds of movement from the study.  I shoved the books back onto the shelf, half-heartedly pulled the chair back into its spot and rushed out the door.  I hurried down the hall and slid to an abrupt halt as the study door opened and the Elders exited.  I looked for a room to duck into.

“Daimonas.  I’m glad you’re here.  Please wait for me in my study.”  Father nodded, then followed the Elders to the front door.

I went into the study, shutting the door behind me and taking a seat in front of Father’s desk.  I knew Father knew I had been listening and I hoped he wasn’t mad.  He had never been angry with me before for listening in but maybe something had changed.  I didn’t have long to wait before Father returned.

“I assume you know what’s happening.”  Father said as he settled into his chair.

“Yes Father, I’ve heard most of it.”  I said trying to calm my voice. 

“Very well.  I need you to help your mother today.  She will be very busy preparing for the celebration.”  Father stated.  “Can I count on you?”

“Yes, of course, Father.”  I replied.  “But isn’t there something I can do to help?”

“I appreciate the offer but I need you to help your mother.”  Father spoke sternly shutting down any further questions.  “Is that understood?”

“Yes, Father.”  I tried not to sound too disappointed.

“Thank you.”  Father smiled at me before turning his attention to his papers.

I stood and slowly walked to the door.  I paused for a moment and looked back at Father hoping he might change his mind and give me a more important job, but he was engrossed in his papers.  I pouted, slumped my shoulders and walked out closing the door behind me.