Sunday, February 14, 2010

Caenus and Kalliste: A New Beginning

As most of you who follow me know, I am re-writing Caenus and The Quiver of Artemis. Hell, it may even have a new name by the time it's done. What it will also have is more intense action and more developed relationships. And... more romance. Oh, rest assured, it's still PG-13 on the romance front. But their love is more intense. (I do have an alter ego Scott Noir... but he's not touching this story!)

So in the spirit of Valentine's Day and all, I decided to reveal a bit of what I'm re-writing... a teaser if you will. To set it up: Caenus has already met his fire-haired love interest at the Isthmian Games, and felt the bite of her sharp tongue and indifference, as she is over and done with egotistical princes. A few days later, Caenus notices her at a festival and decides to charge the windmill yet again.

I present to you... Caenus... and Kalliste (posing as Adriande)
He approached the beauty, who ate with her friends from an over-sized fivefold cup offering wine, cheese, honey, bread, and olive oil. As he approached and opened his mouth to speak, she slowly turned to look at him. Her torch-lit emeralds cast a spell upon him and not a word escaped his parted lips. She smiled broadly, flattered as much by his genuine attraction as by his humility, a trait she found scarce in other young princes.

Her friends both looked at her with arched brows. After a pause, she nodded them away and turned back to the Iolkosian.

"Caenus... is it?"
"Yes M'lady." he fumbled nervously.
"Has my name took leave of you this quickly?"
"No, no, nooo... Adriande... see, I remembered."
"Pretty brave of you to punch that bull in the nose, eh? Were you not afraid of that terrible beast?"
"Survival calls for many tactics," he began. "W-w-wait a moment... you were watching that contest?"
"Yes, I saw a little..."
"What of the race yesterday... did you see that as well?"
"Not much to see really, except the beginning and end..."
"D-d-did you see the end?" he interjected, his voice pitched highly.
"Quite a finish, I must say," she smiled. "You may just win this thing, eh?"
"Well..." Caenus cast his eyes downward. "Makedon... he is a divine warrior it seems."

Adriande rolled her eyes, shifting them furtively from side to side. She paused, chewing her olive oil saturated bread end. After washing it down with a sip of wine, she spoke slowly, "I shall make you a deal. If you can best him... if you can win these games... I shall clasp your hand in marriage."

Caenus' heart stopped, rejecting fully what his ears knew he had heard. The only life he felt was the energy he absorbed from her eyes looking straight into his. The only air he breathed was the air she exhaled before his face. What she had said was that... he could win the crown of laurels, his father's respect, and the hand of the goddess before him? When his heart began again, a trickle of perspiration divided his brow.

"M'lady, I now ha..."
"Please... call me Adriande."
"Adriande... I now have more motivation than should be allowed a single man."
"Indeed you do."

A wry smile brought a twinkle to her eyes as she gazed deeply into his. Detecting no ego, no agenda, and no malice... none of the attributes so loathed in Makedon... she decided that if this goatherder could actually win the games, he would be well worth the trouble that was certain to come. His eyes had invited her into his unguarded core and held her captive. Who was she kidding... win or lose... she was his. He just did not know it yet.

"May the gods favor your victory, Caenus. Fare you well tomorrow." She lightly grazed his muscular upper arm and then turned to rejoin her friends.

Caenus barely breathed in the moments it took her to leave him. A warmth brewed in is soul, fire radiating outward in concentric rings. He had fallen headlong under her spell, yet he still knew frighteningly little about the mystery girl.

Where did she live? Who was her father? And how, as radiant as she looked, did she have no claims against her? Caenus sensed he was being led into a hornet's nest, but he cared not.