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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mortal Goddess - Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Gia slept soundly, her mind replaying a particular dream that she had had several times before. Always it was the same, a man would stand above her, holding a knife. He would bring it to her throat, ready to end her life, but would decide to have his way with her first.
Gia was no longer a young woman, and her considerable strength was no match for his, no matter how hard she fought. She separated her mind from her body, preparing her soul for its departure from its soon-to-be lifeless body.
Normally, she would awaken just as he was about to make the fatal cut, but tonight was different; tonight the dream was becoming a reality, and reality a nightmare.
The man knew, misguidedly, that the only true way to kill a witch was to burn her, and so – after he had slit her throat – he proceeded to smash liquor bottles against the walls. Cleverly, if he did say so himself, he poured a trail from a pile of open liquor bottles to the fireplace. Setting a cloth ablaze, he tossed it into the fireplace and quickly made his exit.
The man paused outside at a fairly safe distance – but still close to the house – to write a message on the main path to the house so that all who came here would see it.

*******

Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!” Aira wailed, sitting up abruptly.
What’s the matter?” Devius asked, surprised to find that it was already after dusk.
Aira fluidly jumped off the rock and onto Tigerpaw’s waiting back. Devius could sense her pain, and quickly followed his beloved. Aira didn’t have to tell Tigerpaw where to go, or that she needed to hurry, for the horse knew already. She carried her mistress to their destination so fast a pair of wings would not have helped them arrive any sooner!
Out of devotion to her horse’s safety, Aira dismounted a safe distance from the burning house and continued on foot.
Devius was thankful she had, for it gave him time enough to catch up to her. He lifted her atop his horse, not allowing her to get any closer to the burning structure. Already, they were close enough to possibly get burned by a flying ember, so he backed away to a safe distance.
Let me go! I have to save her! Put me down! She needs me!” Aira sobbed, beating against Devius’ chest while he held her tightly.
No, you can’t help her now,” he said gently, but firmly.
Yes I can, I can do anything I want, I’m a Goddess remember. I’ll show you. PUT ME DOWN! If you don’t put me down THIS INSTANT, I’ll turn you into a puppy!” She begged, demanded, and finally threatened.
Aira, I no longer believe that you are a Goddess, and I’m not going to let you kill yourself by burning in that fire trying to save her. She is beyond help,” Devius replied firmly but as gently as possible.
Listen to him Aira, he knows what he’s saying,” Gia’ told her in her head. Her spirit was moving on to the Summerland, but Aira’s pain kept her here long enough to calm her down. “Love, I’m moving on. I knew this was going to happen. I love you... Won't you please calm down? I will be back to chat later, I promise.”
Aira began to breathe slowly and deeply. Her mind became clearer, and she realized how big a mistake entering a blazing house would be.
Devius hadn’t heard Gia’s spirit talk to Aira, but was thankful for whatever had made her quiet down. Aira looked at the ground as she calmed herself, and noticed something written on the pathway. Gently, she pushed against Devius’ embrace. Once on the ground, she bent over the words, gasping in outrage.
Burn in hell, Witch,” Devius read over her shoulder. “What would make anyone think that Gia was a witch?” Devius wondered aloud, recalling his conversation with Thomas earlier today.
Aira picked up on his thought, and turned her pain and anger upon him. For the first time in her life, she actually yelled at a person. She let her rage take over, allowing fatal words to spill from her mouth.
It was you! It was your fault! You selfish, spoiled, arrogant BASTARD! You have never considered the consequences of your actions, or even cared about anyone other than yourself. You told your friend that Gia was a witch, and now she is dead, and it is ALL YOUR FAULT! Go away! I never want to see your self-centered, inconsiderate face again! Leave me alone!” Aira ordered, collapsing into a sobbing ball.
Devius felt as if she had discovered every open and vulnerable spot on his body, and purposely shot poisoned arrows into them all. Suddenly, he lacked the one thing he had possessed his entire life; his self-confidence. Hurt and angry at her for her biting words – and for being right – Devius remounted his horse and rode back to the Hamilton’s house.
Aira sobbed until she could shed no more tears, her heartache made all the worse by the pain she had caused her beloved soulmate.
*******

When Devius arrived at the Hamilton’s house, he discovered that every child George and Olivia had given birth to, except for Aira, had arrived for their yearly family reunion, bringing with them their spouses and children. The house was packed. Devius greeted those he had met previously, and listened patiently as he was introduced to everyone he hadn’t met before.
Devius wanted nothing more then to lock himself in a room and prepare to return home on the morrow, but he decided that now was as good a time as any to keep the vow he had made to himself earlier today. He would not hurt the Hamiltons by rudely secluding himself after they had been such generous hosts.
Well Devius, now you have met every member of the Hamilton family to date.” George beamed proudly, then amended, “Well, at least our brood. I have several brothers and sisters who are not present at this gathering, but they have smaller families, and are not comfortable around such a crowd!” He laughed.
No dear, I don’t think he has met everyone. I’m fairly sure that he’s never met Aira,” Olivia reminded him.
You know, I think you’re right. I don’t recall ever introducing Aira to him, but Aira is such a free spirit – always doing her own thing and helping others – that I don’t think she’s ever been home during any of his visits,” George remarked thoughtfully.
Well, don’t worry Devius, if I know my daughter, Aira will somehow sense that her entire family has arrived and will be here anytime now. Why just today, she popped by briefly, and I believe I told her that everyone would be here soon,” Olivia informed him, remembering the conversation she’d had with Emmaline after Aira had left earlier. Emmaline had suggested playing matchmaker for Aira and Devius.
Devius was not in the mood to talk, much less think about Aira, so he merely nodded in acknowledgment. He was both surprised and yet not surprised that Aira really was a Hamilton child. After he had spent what he considered a sufficient amount of time with the Hamilton clan, he excused himself.
I’ve had a long day, please excuse me, I wish to retire. Also, I would like to apologize in advance for leaving tomorrow, but I have decided to return home,” Devius announced, then made his way to his room. He briefly wondered how the Hamiltons were going to handle the sleeping arrangements.
The house only had 10 bedrooms, of which Olivia and George occupied one, his mother one, and he another, leaving seven rooms for the 13 Hamilton children, their spouses, and all the children. At least tomorrow he’d be gone and they’d have his room, but it would still be quite a crowd.

********
Aira lay, devastated, on the ground exactly where Devius had left her. How could someone who had professed to love her, as he had several times, just leave her there? She sobbed and cried all night until it was almost dawn, when she felt Gia’s spirit holding her, stroking her hair.
Hush Love,” the spirit crooned.
Slowly, Aira calmed down, her breath coming in stutters.
Even in spirit, Gia was content to be Aira’s companion. Gia sang to Aira in a voice that only she could hear. She sang a lullaby that she had sang to Aira when she was a little girl, visiting Gia after her daily lessons.
Aira drifted into sleep, vowing never to speak to Devius again for leaving her when she needed him most... even if it was because she had driven him away! He should have known that she hadn’t meant a word of it. By Goddess, she already missed him so much that it hurt to breathe!

Go To Chapter 7 

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