RP Cypress


Resident Witch
Staff member

Year One

Honestly, after all the stories, they had expected more.

After all, weren’t they themselves, half-siblings as they were, just as much if not more than their reputation led on? Wasn’t Mauri just as beautiful and graceful as the stories said? Did he not have the magic of darkness running through his veins? Was he not every bit as deadly as a viper, ready at any moment to strike down those who dare approach it or its sister? And speaking of her, was she not every bit as powerful as people feared? Did she not have fire in her veins, bursting from her skin in a shining glow? Wasn’t Pho equally as beautiful, though in the way the earth was beautiful, and not the way that darkness given life was? Wasn’t she ready at the drop of a hat to clear an entire room full of wrongdoers and monsters?

But the man, the man who was sitting before the Athenians, slumped over on the table, was nothing like the stories they had heard. They had heard stories of a man who was charming and outgoing, stories of a man with a crown of horns and a head of perfect curls. A man who could fight like a mad man, and who had the strength of a leopard.

This man slumped over the table, while pretty, was out cold. Blackout drunk from the smell of him. The siblings exchanged a glance as they stood at the table, watching him snore. His clothes, while nice, were torn in places and covered in leaves and sticks. There were twigs and leaves in his hair that matched the laurel he wore. He was barefoot and his feet were covered in mud and dust. This was the man that everyone thought was Dionysus?

The two moved closer to each other so they could whisper. Mauri was the first to speak up, his voice deeper than expected of someone with such delicate features. “Pho, I don’t know about this.”

His sister’s voice was stronger, and even in her whisper, was clear and high, melodic as she gestured with her hands back to the blacked-out man. “I know, but it’s got to be him, right? He’s got the ears and the horns. He has to be the nymph that everyone thinks is Dionysus.”

“What if he… you know…?”

“He’s not a god. He’s a mortal. Look at him, no god would be so disrespectfully passed out in a place like this. Surely Dionysus would be at his own temple if it were him and not an inn in the outskirts of Thebes.”

“If you’re sure. I uh. I’m not going to be the one who tries to wake him, though. That’s all you.”

“Oh for the love of Aphrodite, grow a spine, Mauri.”

“Maybe when you get laid.”

“I don’t need a lay, I need a bard who can handle himself in a fight. Back up if you’re so scared.”

The young woman– a girl still, really– moved to stand next to the man where he was passed out in the corner. His seat left him leaning up against the wall of the Inn. Pho looked him over with a bit of apprehension. Unlike her brother, she didn’t think this man was Dionysus. But she was having an odd feeling. She knew, right then, that if she tried to wake this man up, something was going to change. And it would be a permanent change.

Nothing about him was particularly special. He had a baby face, just starting to sharpen into adulthood. There was scruff along his jawline and his curls were perfect and tight spirals. He was warm-looking, and something about looking at him made her feel something she hadn’t felt in a long time. Since long before Hephaestus had claimed her in the city square in Athens.

She felt at home. Her soul felt easy and light. She felt the tension in her body draining. It was strange, but she almost felt like she knew him. But of course, they had never been to Thebes before, and unless they had briefly seen each other in Athens, which she would have remembered, she had never met this nymph before.

Maybe she just wanted to.

She had hesitated long enough that Mauri was looking at her with an expectation. She took in a deep breath, adjusted her mask, and lifted her foot, placing it right on the nymph’s hip. And then she kicked, hard, sending him straight into the wall with all the grace of a baby bear trying to chase its mother. That was to say, none. She placed her foot back on the ground, crossed her arms, and watched. Waited. Surely that would have woken him up.

“Nymph, wake up. We need to talk to you.”