Monday, November 7, 2011

We Set Our Old Things Away

The man had flown for days. His face was taut and his eyes burned from wind, from sun, and dried tears. It was night, and exhaustion was beating back the exaltation of flight, his arms aching and lungs cracking, he knew he must land soon, but couldn't be sure he'd left the realms of king Minos. He couldn't be sure of anything, even the boy...was that real? Had there been a boy, a second set of wings? and the boy...drowned? No, no. Thought Deadelus. That was too long ago. No childish things. No children. Just The king, the monster, and the maze. His maze. His greatest achievement. But there, again, was a memory of a boy, an echo of laughter, and another set of wings...and anguish, and a simple image of a splash against an otherwise calm sea. But Deadelus kept flying.
     He saw far beneath him a fire, a large, bright pillar, perhaps as tall as a man, but slender like a torch. A signal fire, surely. Minos warning of his escape? The mad king could never be figured out, not even by clever Deadelus, He told himself, circling lower. The watchfire seemed deserted, and the night was chilly. Forgetting himself, he flew too close, and the heat of it melted the wax of Deadelus' glorious, ingenious wings, and ruined, they deserted him, falling away as he tumbled to the sand on the beach. Raising himself, he glanced at the beacon, and jumped back with a start: There, before him, a woman stood, utterly engulfed in a bright, blazing fire, a fire almost golden like the sun. A radiance. She seemed startled, and not the least it, amused to see him, cocking an eyebrow as Deadelus brushed sand off of himself and coughed nervously. "Normally I'm terribly clever, you know. Silly mistake, that, melting my wings. I should have known better." He joked lamely, but at the sound of his voice she seemed to be stricken: he face, first wryly amused, changed to show shock and urgency. "Beacon!" she shouted, rushing towards him. Deadelus, clever man that he was, shied away from this burning woman and stumbled back, falling. She collapsed on top of him and soon, both were engulfed in light and warmth, but there was no pain, and neither seemed to be consumed by the flames. The woman pulled him to his feet and stood, simply holding his wrists. She was staring at him pleadingly. There was a silence which Deadelus, true to habit, broke first. "Deadelus. I make tricks and clever things. Mazes, mostly, for people to get lost in. Or for hiding things. Not that I have secrets of my own, mind you. No I just...well, I'm good at them. Ahem" He ahem'd, and she smiled faintly, saying nothing. He looked pointedly over her shoulder to a discarded bow and several arrows near where she'd previously stood. "A huntress?" He asked. "Call me Diana" she murmured, smiling. "Well, that's an odd name, just where in hell did I land?" He asked, pulling away to inspect her things. As he did so, the farther he got from her, the dimmer the light and cooler the fire. As he crouched by her relics, he noticed he was no longer bathed in flame as she was- as they'd been- and was growing quite cold. As an exceptionally clever and smart individual, Deadelus was quick to deduce there may be some connection between the comforts and peace of mind he sought, and this mysterious woman. He grabbed one of her arrows and made his way back to her. "Do you have to bring that along?" she asked plaintively. "Well, didn't you, might I point out?" he asked, tapping his thumb on the arrow's head. As a brilliant and knowing man, he wanted to make sure she got his joke. She rolled her eyes and extended her arms. "Let's forget about those old things. I don't need those, anymore, I don't think." She said, smiling broadly. Deadelus crept just close enough that the radiance began to touch him again, and he could better make out her real features, no longer distracted by her glare. "Don't need to hurt anything else, hm?" He asked. "I'm a fairly bright person-no pun intended of course-" At this she again rolled her eyes, and stomped her foot petulantly, arms still extended. "And couldn't help but notice you are terrifically well armed." She crossed her arms over her chest and laughed. "Well, yes but I don't need to be, anymore, now do I? Beside. I am an incredibly wise woman, And I couldn't help but notice you're clearly very good at running away. But your wings are all broken, aren't they?" She smirked at him, and he negligently tossed her arrow over his shoulder. "Touche." He replied, stepping closer. As a wonderfully smart man, he couldn't help but use words that hadn't been invented yet, By people who did not yet exist. But his companion was suitably amused, and he felt a measure of success. He didn't know it at the time (nobodies perfect) but he'd been doing quite well since he crashed there, and that success wasn't his first. The two embraced, and as she rested her head on his shoulder, and both lit up the night, she whispered: "I've changed my mind. You can call me Artemis. Thats why I call myself, anyway." He grinned and said, "Now that's more like it, old girl."

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