So, you have returned for the gruesome details. Bloodthirsty savages, are we? Fine. Let me end your agony and tell you that not one, but two innocents will die. Satisfied?
Before I dive into the blood and gore – I assure you there is plenty to come – I should give you fair warning. What I tell you next is not a pretty tale. Except for one moment of pure bliss, it is horrible, grisly, and heartbreaking. It is also a shame that I’ve carried for thousands of years.
Don’t think that I’m telling you this to unburden myself. I’m not. It doesn’t work that way. When you are immortal, you remember everything for eternity. The fortunate ones make peace with the things they’ve done. And of course, some have no compunction or remorse at all. Neither is the case for me. Instead, I bury my guilt under thousands of years of other memories until something brings it back to the surface again. In this case, it was the perfect storm of my return home to Olympus, the nightgoyles breaking free from Tartarus, and the proximity to Samhain – the time when I may once again see Calantha.
I spoke before of Calantha, the beauty that I embodied that night to draw the attention of my intended. If I’m to give you the most complete and honest story, I should also include the young man, Spiros. He was there only briefly, but in those moments, I saw something that I searched for my entire life. Spiros was Calantha’s love. I’ll speak more of him later.
Before I go further, I think it is important that I attempt to explain how embodiment works so that you will better understand what happened that night. When I enter a mortal, most often I slip into them when they are tired or distracted; it is easier to put their conscious mind to sleep and allows me control of their entirety. I can and have overtaken them when there are fully awake and aware, though during those times, it can be a struggle – a struggle that I will win, of course, but it takes longer to accomplish my aims.
Once I have completed the embodiment, I am all that they are and all that they ever were. Every thought, memory, and emotion becomes mine. Likewise, I experience their pains and illnesses, though they are softened by my presence. I also become limited in movement. While I am able to do more with their bodies than most imagine, I am still restricted to the capabilities of the human form. Simply, I become them and myself simultaneously. They become enhanced by me and my abilities are weakened by them.
Sometimes, we share wakeful consciousness. They are vaguely aware or sense that someone is with them, but don’t fully grasp that it is a being. They have also been jolted awake from time to time if there is some sort of shock, injury or traumatic event. It would be much like if you were asleep and someone dumped a bucket of ice on you. You would very likely wake up. Even so, I can usually wrangle their consciousness back to sleep in short order.
Now, back to the story that you came to hear.
That night, I left my mortal child body in the gardens of Olympus and sped towards Calantha’s village, where I slipped into her and put her to sleep with ease. After I dressed and decorated her, I left her family’s home and moved along the shadows with only the moon and stars to light my way.
I was making my way to one of the farms just on the outskirts of the village. That was where the nightgoyles had last attacked. I knew many of my family would be there to deal with the aftermath and hunt, which meant that my secret love would be there as well.
As I reached the edge of the village, I stopped when a voice called out, “Calantha!” I turned to see a beautiful young man approach, bearing a torch. He dashed towards me, “What are you doing out here? Have you not heard that the nightgoyles are loose? It is not safe!”
Startled, I quickly scanned her mind and discovered who he was. Fílos. Erastís. He was her sweetheart. His name, Spiros. Spirit. He was a night guardian for the village. In a flash, I saw how they walked together, kissed near the woods, laughed and made plans for their future. I saw their lives together, her hopes, her dreams, and I felt the warmth of love spread into my belly. It is what she felt for him.
I didn’t look at him as I struggled for words, not knowing what to say or how to explain her presence at that hour so near the site of carnage. “Spiros, I am fine. I am carrying a message for a friend to a loved one. I will return soon. I must run now.”
I turned to leave but he took my arm and pulled me to him. “No. It is not safe. There is no message that important to risk this danger.”
That is when our eyes met.
I inhaled a sharp gasp as a rush exploded through me. For the first time, I felt seen. I knew what love looked like in another’s eyes. Of course, the love was for her. It must have been for her, but it was my eyes that he looked into. I watched the centers of his eyes expand impossibly wide until only a light brown sliver encircled the black. In that moment, I saw into his soul and he into mine.
I have lived that moment, if you can call it that, thousands upon thousands of times since. We transcended time. Eternity stretched out and enfolded us as we gazed into each other’s souls. He seemed dumbfounded, confused. It was as if he didn’t quite recognize her or had seen her for the very first time. He drew me to him and kissed me, first tenderly. Then he kissed deeper, passionately. I could not breathe. I had the urge to leave her body and merge with his, wanting to be closer than was possible between two mortal forms.
I reached into his mind. He felt it, too. He saw us entwined, but we were not the mortal forms of Calantha and Spiros. He saw me as I am. We were twin pillars of white gold light forged in flames and surrounded by undulating swirls of colors that spun around us and expanded into infinity. We were vibrations and light and star matter. And for the first time, I felt a part of everything. Whole. Complete.
Somewhere a voice broke through our endless revery. “Moxie!” It was Hera, Mamá. “Moxie, wake up!” I knew that she found my child form in the garden. If I didn’t move swiftly, I would be found out.
Primal rhythms pulsed through my being, urging me to stay right there with Spiros until the stars fell from the heavens. “Moo! Wake up!” Hera’s voice again, this time with more urgency. It snapped me out of my rapture.
“No. No. Stop this. He thinks I’m Calantha. It’s not you that he wants. It’s just not possible,” I told myself as I pushed softly against his chest and turned to leave. “I must go, Spiros. I will be back with you soon.”
Time was wasting and though I felt a pull in my belly to stay with this beautiful mortal, my intended was nearby and I needed to see him. More importantly, I needed him to see me. I needed us to look into each others eyes and find the same power that just passed between the mortal and me. To know. To be whole. To be eternal.
My feet carried me swiftly down the cobbled steps that gave way to a flat, well-beaten, path that exited the border of the village. Far ahead, through the shadowed treeline, I could see torchlights blazing in the darkness. That is where my family and any survivors would be. I ran as fast as I could, but found the burden of Calantha’s mortal form slowed me considerably.
To the right, I heard rustling in the brush as I made my way passed the dense woods. Low growls and snarls came from the field to my left, the creatures closing in from each side. I kept moving, pushing on harder, taxing her mortal muscles for speed.
Each step brought me closer to the lights. “Faster, girl, faster,” I repeated over and over in my head over the pounding of her heart beating wildly in my ears.
A screeching howl pierced the night air and a dark blur sped by my peripheral vision. I pressed on. It wouldn’t be long before we would be in the circle of flames that would provide protection. It wouldn’t be long before I could uncloak the mortal, Calantha, for his Godly eyes to behold.
It was Spiros. The damned fool followed me…followed her.
“No, no, no!” my mind screamed. I looked back. “Spiros, No! Go…”
Suddenly the weight and force of a building slammed into me, sending me crashing to the ground. Searing pain shot through me and my vision was blurred with blinding flashes of multi-colored lights bursting from behind her eyes. No breath would enter my lungs. I pushed myself up, gasping for air.
My vision cleared and I saw Spiros standing only feet away, holding his torch. Between us, a beast. A nightgoyle. And he was hungry.