Ambrogio left the temple in shock. What could “The curse. The moon. The blood will flow” possibly mean?
As the sun slipped below the horizon, he considered the words from many sides. None gave him any hope of a good meaning.
The night filled in around him, he barely noticed the torches being lit, the shambles of the drunks going home or the rats slinking about on their business. By morning he had concluded that his fate was not going to be an easy one, but he decided that life is not what happens to you, it is what you do with what life deals you that matters most.
“With his mind brimming with confidence in overcoming the curse of the flowing blood, he looked up to notice the predawn sun. The air chilling his skin with its freshness.
He smiled to himself. A new day.
People had begun to move around, the temple was stirring into business again as the maidens of the temple began to enter it. They were all dressed in white flowing robes and were mostly young.
Then his eyes settled on one maiden. He fixated his sights on her. Just her face alone made his lips tingle in excitement. He couldn’t stop looking at her. In a rush of excitement, he jumped up and approached the maiden.
“I am Ambrogio.”
She stopped in her tracks. “That is a nice name.” she answered.
“Thank you. It is Italian. I have travelled far to see Pythia”
She smiled a little, looking down slightly in what looked like a little bit of embarrassment. She asked, “Why would you like to see Pythia?”
“Oh, I have always felt my life was going to take me somewhere special, where I will meet with mighty challenges and overcome them. I came to seek guidance from her”
“Did she help you in any way?” she asked.
“Well, she gave me a riddle rather than an answer. I am not sure what to make of it though, to be honest with you”
“Pythia can be like that at times. The more powerful the magic, the more mystical the answer” then she started to walk towards the entrance of the temple.
“May I hear your name, sweet maiden? I have been rude not to ask”
She looked him in the eye “I do not give my name to strangers with riddles. But if you are here tomorrow and you ask nicely, I may give your ears a whisper of my name and no more” She was smiling while she said it. “I must leave you now, I need to tend to my cause”
Before he could answer she glided off towards the entrance. He called out to her “You speak in riddles as well, maiden”
He could tell she was laughing a little as she disappeared around the corner.
He returned to his home just outside the town, thinking endlessly about this maiden in white. The idea of a curse that is moon related and blood filled was slipping into the ethers of his mind.
Who was this maiden and why did he think of her so much? During the day, as he worked the land for his keep, he was unable and unwilling to stop thinking of her.
The night came, then ended, the dawn chilling air was filling his lungs once again as he stood by the temple, waiting for her name to be whispered.
He fixated his eyes on the corner she appeared around the previous day. Leaning against the temple wall as casually as he could muster, he waited and listened to his heart beat, counting the passing of time.
As he peered at the corner a whisper entered his ear “Selene” she said.
Ambrogio startled away from the wall, spinning around in shock and surprise to see his maiden standing there and laughing at him.
Ambrogio mock yelled “Don’t do that”
“But it is so funny” she replied, still laughing. “I thought you would be in the same place, and I wanted to give you a little surprise”
“Well, it worked, consider me surprised.” He retorted. “You are a little earlier today”
“Yes, I wanted to see if I could catch you unaware, it was easier than I expected from someone who is so well travelled” she mocked.
“I was expecting you over there” he pointed to the corner. “That won’t happen again”
“Oh, poor dear, your ego is bruised, how will I ever be able to make it up to you?” she said as she sidled past him. “Your answer will need to happen tomorrow, I have things to do in the temple.” And she was off towards the temple doors.
“Who do you work with my Selene?” he called out as her white robes disappeared around the corner.
Again, he returned home to do his chores, and count the day away. Again, he only considered her voice, her breath in his ear and her curves as she walked away. How could a few mere moments together be stirring him up so much?
The day went by, the night crept along until he found himself standing by the temple entrance. This time she was already there. As he approached his smile was engraved into his face. “My ego will be healed if we can share a meal together tonight”
She glowed. “Agreed. And to answer your question of who I work with, it is the Oracle. The very one you spoke to. She is my sister”
“So, that was you caring for her during my reading?”
“Yes, and you have the attention of the gods, you have a wonderful future ahead of you. But to me, I see inside you, the real man, not who you are now, but who you could be if you are allowed to be that man”
Ambrogio was silenced. Looking into her eyes he could see that she was as spell bound by him as he was with her. He felt her words to be true and wanted to know more.
She said “I can also see the future, and I do not need to wait years to know people. I see you Ambrogio, I want to be with you forever, if you want me”
Ambrogio couldn’t quite catch up with her. “Do you mean, after mere moments together, that we should bond and leave?”
“Yes” she answered
“Ok, then we will marry tomorrow and leave for Italy soon after”
They both smiled at the decision. So easy, so fluid, so true.
Selene moved by him to enter the temple “Be here tomorrow morning, we will arrange to bond and see where our future leads us from there” With that, she shifted off to the entrance and disappeared into the temple to work with the Oracle, her sister.
Ambrogio returned home, did his chores and packed his bag to leave. He went outside as the sun was beginning to set. Looking at the sun he was thinking that this day was the last he would have as a boy and the last that he would have not following his true path into the future.
He was a little surprised when a man approached him, then stood directly in front, blocking his path forward. The man was athletic, powerful without being bulky. Tight golden curls on his head and piercing blue eyes that showed he was a man of power.
Ambrogio was fearful without anything more than seeing him.
The man just stood there, waiting. So Ambrogio spoke.
“Who are you?”
“I am Apollo. I am the sun god, the god of music, the god of prophecy. You know this to be true” he stated. Ambrogio saw no reason to doubt his veracity so he just nodded his agreement.
Apollo moved closer Ambrogio then said, “This young lady you plan to bond with, you can’t have her because I want her for myself, do you understand this?”
Ambrogio shook his head in disagreement. Fear was in his heart, but his new love suppressed the fear, fought the urge to agree to what Apollo had stated. “No, she has chosen me, you go find someone else to be your muse”
“I have chosen my muse, and she is Selene. You need to walk away, return home, and find a new maiden to be your own.”
“No” he said with force.
Apollo smiled. “You don’t understand what you are saying. I am not asking you, I am being polite in telling you. Selene is mine, she will walk with me willingly and gladly and forget you within a day.”
“No” he screamed back at him, pushing the god as hard as he could without affect.
Apollo stood there like a mountain, a force of nature. “I could just kill you, but I admire your determination against the inevitable. But you can not have her, so rather than end your days on this Earth, I will do the next best thing. You plan on meeting her at dawn, the rising of the sun, the very domain I rule. So, from this day onwards, whenever you are in the presence of the sun, it will burn you like fire, searing away your skin, cooking your meat until you become dust and are no longer there. The moon will forever be your guiding light”
Ambrogio leapt forward, attempting to wrestle the god to the ground, screaming at him in anger and pain. One moment Ambrogio was looking forward to the new day, the next he was cursed from seeing the sun ever again. Apollo shrugged him away and walked down the road to get his Selene just as the sun dropped below the horizon.
Ambrogio just sat on the road knowing the god was good for his word. He would never see the sun again, and he needed to see Selene before it came back up in the morning.
He had to find a way to reach her.
….. to stay one chapter ahead of Royal Road.