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Joanna Wylde - Dancing With Dionysus

By Justin Stewart,2014-11-24 16:13
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Joanna Wylde - Dancing With Dionysus

Dancing With Dionysus

     ?Joanna Wylde, 2002

     Chapter One

     "Faster," the nymph told Kalliara coldly. "You need to spinfaster, and more

    finely, or we'll give you to the Maenads. It's your choice."

     Kalliara felt as though a ball of fire was burning in her stomach. It took

    every bit of her strength just to hold her composure. She gripped her spindle

    tightly, and looked up into the nymph's eyes. The creature was beautiful, with

    pale green skin and darker, riotous green hair that hung down in waves to

    below her waist. Her shimmering gown was created from woven thread so perfect

    that not even a spider's silk could rival it.Never in a thousand years will I

    be able to spin thread that delicate , Kalliara thought in desperation.

     She was going to die here. She knew it.

     "Gracious Lady," she whispered, fighting back her tears. She kept her words

    formal, hoping to appeal to the nymph's vanity. "I cannot do as you ask. No

    mere mortal will ever be able to spin thread such as that produced by you and

    your sisters."

     The nymph's beautiful features twisted into a sneer. Around them, Kalliara

    could hear the other nymphs laughing, like the sound of a thousand tiny

silver

    bells. How could beings so beautiful be so cruel? They knew her task was

    impossible. They were simply playing with her before they killed her…

     "Mortals are so foolish," the nymph said, shrugging. "You really should have

    considered that before you boasted of your skills. By challenging us, you

    sealed your own fate."

     "I didn't challenge you," Kalliara whispered. She could feel the tears welling up again, and she bit her lip sharply. The salty taste of her own

    blood filled her mouth, and the sharp pain of the bite distracted her. She

    took a deep breath and continued. "I have never claimed to spin better than

    any of Dionysus' children. I don't know where you heard that I had, but I

    assure you it never happened."

     "Well, some human said something about it," the nymph said, waving a hand

    languidly. "I can't be bothered to try and tell you apart. Once we heard such

    a thing, we could hardly let it stand, could we? Now spin for us, little human. Prove your skills or pay our price. And spin quickly. The waiting grows

    tedious."

     Kalliara ducked her head, and started spinning again. Steadily she wound the

    coarse wool between her fingers, trying to make the thread as smooth as

    possible. As the spindle slowly dropped toward the floor and the length of

    thread grew, she couldn't help but feel some pride in her work. The thread was

    lovely, without lumps, strong and smooth. But it would never rival the

thread

    spun by the nymphs of Dionysus. She was definitely going to die.

     Soon they would give her to the Maenads, crazed women who would rip her apart

    with their bare hands. This was Dionysus' island, and tonight was his festival. The god of birth and death would show her no pity, she knew that

    already. She had never been one of his children.

     She tried not to listen to the low, tinkling murmur of the nymphs and dryads

    around her. Even as they tormented her, they prepared themselves to celebrate

    the god's festival. Soon revelry would overtake the island. They would drink

    and dance with the satyrs, while the Maenads raged around them, drunk on the

    god's power. Wise humans kept themselves locked in their stone houses on

    nights like these, praying for mercy. But Kalliara's home was miles away, on

    the other side of the small speck of land that Dionysus had claimed as his

    own. Few humans lived on Naxos by choice, and those who did had learned to be

    cautious

     One of the nymphs gave a shriek, a combination of surprise and fear. Kalliara's head jerked up. All around her, satyrs were pouring into the wooded

    clearing where the nymphs held her prisoner. Enormous, standing taller than

    any man in the village, the satyrs terrified her. Their bodies rippled with

    muscle, dark and tanned from the sun. They swept in, laughing and leaping,

    grabbing up the nymphs. Their hair flew in all directions, and many had bushy

    beards. Wild creatures, completely uncivilized, their upper halves resembled

    those of men, but their legs were those of goats.Aroused goats, she realized

    with a shudder.

     Their penises were large and erect. Right before her eyes, one of the satyrs

    grabbed the cruel nymph who had tormented her. He threw her to the ground, ripping at her clothing and thrust himself between her legs. The nymph screamed, but her legs wrapped around his waist and she held him tightly as he

    rode her. Bile rose in Kalliara's throat.

     She suddenly realized that for the first time since they'd taken her, the

    nymphs weren't paying attention to their captive. This was her chance to get

    away, if she moved quickly enough. She pulled the length of her shawl up and

    over her head, and ducked down. For once she was grateful that she'd never

    been able to afford expensive dyes for her clothing. The dun-colored wool

    would serve her well as camouflage while she made her way across the island at

    night.

     She raised her spindle to her mouth, biting through the thread to free it.

    The silliness of her actions startled herof all the things to worry

    about at

    a time like this, keeping her spindle should be a very low priority indeed.

    But in the time it took her to think it, the spindle was free and tucked in

    the cloth pouch that dangled from her belt. She scuttled across the clearing,

    ducking between satyrs and nymphs, trying not to take in what was happening

    around her. They were coupling wildly, gripped by the ecstasy and violence

    that only the god could induce. It sickened her.

     At last she was on the outskirts of the clearing, scrambling through the

    brush. She paused to catch her breath when a new sound filled her ears. It was

    the high, keening shriek of the Maenads. They were near, and if they found her

    she would die at their hands. She had to keep moving.

     She pulled herself to her feet, desperately clutching the folds of her shawl

    around her head.

     Time to go.

     * * * * *

     There was something different in the air, Sabiniano thought, setting down the

    scroll he was reading. It was the eve of the mid-winter festival, and all

    around him his people were starting their revels. He could sense their every

    movement, smell their lust. Already they were drunk. The Maenads roved through

    the forests, looking for their victims and dancing in praise of the god. All

    of that was as it should be. But there was something else.

     Slowly he walked through the temple of Dionysus, passing through the broad

    pillars and out onto the porch. The temple stood on the highest point on the

    island, and from his vantage point he could see across the wooded hills all

    the way to the ocean. The moon was full, casting silvery light across his

    domain. He sniffed the air, closing his eyes to focus on the scents around

    him. There was a group of satyrs and nymphs, fucking wildly. Nothing of

    interest. He could smell the Maenads, too. They had found a deer, and were

    cornering it. Soon they would rip it apart with their bare hands, drinking the

    blood. Once again, nothing of interest to him. There were many ways to worship

    the god. Sabiniano knew all too well how the smell of blood pleased Dionysus.

     He turned, extending his senses further. He could feel the fear radiating

    from the humans who lived at the small port. They, too, existed to serve the

    god, providing his people with what little they desired from the outside world. The humans were locked in their small stone houses, calling on Dionysus

    to keep them safe. Sabiniano snorted in amusement. He knew how little Dionysus

    cared for these souls under his protection. The humans would live tonight, but

    only because they served a purpose. He had long forbidden his people to enter

    their village during the festival. When the god touched them with his madness,

    the temptation to rape and kill was too strong. Dionysus was many things, but

    never gentle.

     There was more fear. Here and there across the island were small groups of

    humans. He tested each of themsome were women who had come to join

    the

    Maenads. Their fate was out of his hands; either the god would accept them or

    he wouldn't. In another place he sensed two teenage boys. They had snuck out

    of their parents' homes, daring each other to spend a night in the forest during the festival. Sabiniano wondered idly if they would survive the night…they had found a good place to hide. He could smell their strength and

    vitality, and smiled. Such daring was appealing to the god. They would survive, although perhaps not with their virginity intact. The nymphs and

    dryads were fond of tasting human meat between their thighs.

     Still further he reached out, until he found what he was looking for. Something unusual, a woman running through the trees. She smelled like fear,

    like the village. When would the villagers learn to stay inside at times like

    this? he thought in disgust. Her fear would excite the god; there would be

    little mercy for her if the satyrs caught her. He breathed in the air more

    deeply, then stopped in shock. No wonder she smelled different. This was no

    child of Dionysus; this woman worshipped Athena, and she had invaded their

    sacred rites.

     Sabiniano tensed, opening his eyes and squeezing his fists in anger. She was

    an interloper; she would be punished. How could he have missed her

presence on

    the island? She was a villager. How long had she been in their midst, existing

    beneath his notice? Sabiniano reached back into his memory, searching for the

    last time he had gone amongst the villagers and inspected them. With a shock,

    he realized it had been more than a century. He shook his head in self-disgust. He had allowed his boredom to interfere with his duty to

    Dionysus.

     Time to go find the woman.

     * * * * *

     Kalliara ran through the trees, gasping for breath and clutching her dress up

    around her knees. She had no idea where she was, no idea how to find the

    village, but to stop running was to die. She burst into a clearing, uncertain

    of which direction to go. All around her were predators. In the distance she

    heard the sound of drums and pipes playing. She froze, trying to control her

    breathing.More satyrs? She wondered.

     Instinctively, she ducked into the brush ringing the clearing, pulling as

    much of it over her body as she could. The music grew louder, and with horror

    she realized they were coming directly toward her. Filled with dread, she

    ducked her head into the ground, praying to Athena to protect her from them.

    The rich, loamy scent of the earth filled her nose. The drums grew louder, and

    the pipes wailed like living things, screaming into the night for release.

     Against her will, she felt some of the god's wildness coming into her. The

    air itself was filled with it, and the earth felt warm and soft against her

    skin. Unable to control her curiosity, she opened her eyes and looked up just

    enough to peek through the brush at the musicians. A procession of satyrs and

    nymphs was entering the clearing, clutching skins of wine and drinking deeply.

    The satyrs were the most frightening. Their eyes were wild, and with a shock

    she realized that they had horns sprouting from their foreheads. They danced

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