It’s All About Me, Paris

Of course it is, although you could say it’s all about me, Alexandros. This is the name I was born with. Personally I much prefer Paris. Alexandros is so warlike. I’ve spurned war, even when she bats her eyelashes at me in the guise of wisdom.

Yes, you may have heard about that. The Judgment of Paris? I’ve turned my back on my wives as well. The way they hide their beauty within the bondage of respectable marriage, only to plot and scheme, struggling to escape their husbands’ hold. Ugh. Such machinations only take a toll on a woman’s beauty.

Do you truly wonder at the choice I made? I rescued the most beautiful woman in the world from the bondage I described.

Helen deserves to be free, to offer herself completely to Love!

For that’s my choice. Always. Love and the lady who offers it.

Some accuse me of stealing Helen. Others accuse Aphrodite of bewitching her. Why, who wouldn’t be bewitched by Aphrodite, loveliest of all Olympians? I myself decreed her so with the blessing of Zeus. The very King of the Olympians values my judgment and taste above all mortals. Why don’t more people respect me?

Why do my own brothers scorn me? I’ll wager they’re jealous. Our father loves me more than all the rest. Like Zeus, he sees my true value. None of my brothers can bear it, especially sweet little Troile. None of my sisters either. They can barely keep from gnashing their teeth with envy at the sight of me. After all, I’m prettier than any of them. Now I’ve brought home a woman who makes all of them look like hags except for Cassandra. She was a hag long before Helen showed up. There’s also that pretty little thing, Troile’s twin, what was her name? Ah, yes, Polyxena. I’m surprised I never noticed her before. I guess she’s been with the Amazons, whose company I wouldn’t expect any maiden to endure. Cressida should be able to help her unlearn any coarse habits picked up from those humourless warrior women. Honestly, the Amazons are as bad as the Achaens, all hair and surly expressions. I’ll tell you why they’re surly. They’re afraid their wives will take a second look at them and see how ugly they are. More Achaen women might be inspired by Helen’s flight to leave their domineering piles of ugliness to find love and beauty.

For that’s what I follow, love and beauty. I once lived with a nymph, whom I abandoned when a goddess beckoned me with a more beautiful woman. You may think me faithless, but who am I to spurn the will of the gods? Least of all the most beautiful of the lot, whom I chose as the fairest? Who am I to spurn Aphrodite’s offering?

To do so would be truly faithless. I shall never lose my faith. Not in beauty.

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Rainbow Snippets: Cressida’s Art

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets! Every Saturday those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQ+ fiction on their blogs.

It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQ+.

To read a wide variety of LGBTQ+ fiction, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

A lot of visitors were curious about the context of the snippet I posted last Saturday (takes a deep breath). Here are the six sentences which came right before last week’s snippet in my m/m mythical Work in Progress, Aissa and Polyxena. Cressida reveals what she was doing to Troile…

 

“This is a service I offer others, including your sisters.” Cressida applied the paint with careful diligence to my face. “No, it’s more than a service. It’s art. I create beauty.” She studied my face, moving her brush from place to place around my eyes.

I blinked, uneasy at the closeness.

A Tale of Omphalos: Wonders in Reality

On April 11, 2018, P.T. Wyant posted at ptwyant.com a prompt involving a yarn, a butterfly, and sunrise.

This Tale of the Navel popped into my mind, only it’s not really a Tale of the Navel. The Navel doesn’t exist in this version of Omphalos outside the Door. Nor does it take place in the Shadow Forest, although the Shadow Forest is still much on Leiwell’s mind.

Most of Omphalos is gone in this particular world, burned to ashes after the fall of the tower’s crown, overlooking the hill.

Yes, I built an entire village around a myth I created inspired by the Tower card in Tarot imagery. Only that village isn’t here right now. There’s only Map and the child she led out of the Shadow Forest, Leiwell.

Map is trying hard to teach her adopted son how to be a part of the solid world she’s adapted herself to, although he’s still learning how.

This takes place before The Hand and the Eye of the Tower, before Danyel and Tayel became Leiwell’s little brothers. The vision he had, foreshadowing their coming, is also much on Leiwell’s mind…

 

Leiwell’s hands itched at the narrow green hanks wound around, leading in strands to the greater mass held by his mother.

“Don’t make that face,” Map chided on the other side of the weave, connecting the two of them, clacking away with her needles. “Knitting is an activity which grounds you in this world. Like gardening.”

“I’m not sure I like knitting.” Leiwell grimaced at the rough feeling of the yarn in his fingers.

“Take a look at the sky instead.” Map’s words were calm and direct, compelling her son to obey them.

He gazed at the rising sun. Its golden glow peeked out from behind the green mound of the hill, illuminating the grass. It streamed through the delicate wings of a butterfly, fluttering past the woman and the boy sitting on the lawn in front of their cottage.

The butterfly danced on the beams of light, making its way here and there toward the distant flowers.

“Beautiful,” he murmured, staring at the tiny, winged creature. Perhaps it alighted upon the clusters of purple and lavender flowers in the garden across the lawn. Leiwell could no longer see it in the light.

“Never forget this beauty.” Map fixed a serious dark eye upon her son. “There are wonders in reality as well in shadow, Leiwell. They just take time, revealing themselves.”

Leiwell lowered his head, unable to meet his newfound mother’s eye. Map spoke truly, but he was bound to shadow and its fluid unreality, along with the master lurking within it.

Would it be so wrong if a part of him belonged to this place as well? Especially if belonging here created a home for the tiny pulses of light and color whom haunted his dreams?

No. It would not be. It couldn’t be.

Leiwell relaxed his small face into a smile.

 

 

 

A Little Me for Mondays: Something Me-ish for Christopher

Hello, Christopher, here. Welcome to the Navel, wait I’m not at the Navel. Oh, no, I’m not back in the Shadow Forest, am !?

Ah, no, I’m not, what a relief! This Cauldron does remind me a bit of the Shadow Forest at times, something which makes me shiver. This blog functions as a cooking spot for our creatrix’s creativity. Here she shares her ideas, her characters, all of us and our worlds with you. Our stories and snippets of our stories bubble up from this Cauldron, offering you a taste of what’s been, what is, and what’s to come, storywise from K.S. Trenten.

For a while, our creatrix has been sharing my preludes and Peter’s to Stealing Myself From Shadows in a serialized form. We hope you’ve enjoyed them. We certainly haven’t, well, all right, we have. Parts I’ll cherish forever. Others I’m still smarting from, like the last adventure. I doubt Peter remembers it fondly, either.

Peter: (from offstage) It had its moments.

Christopher: (turning a bit red) Ahem, yes. Now that it’s finished, you may not see as much of Peter, Damian, and me. Other characters wish to spend some time at this blog—

Other Characters, Quartz in particular: (from offstage) That’s putting it mildly!

Christopher: Not that we won’t show up fro time to time. The Cauldron will offer something Me-ish on Mondays from one of K.S. Trenten’s many characters’s points of view, offering you insight from the many denizens in her head.

Quartz (from offstage) : Oh, I’ll give you more than insight, shadow boy, if you and your Damian steal center stage at this Cauldron in the coming me moments!

Others (also offstage): And we’ll help…this Cauldron isn’t supposedly to be exclusive Shadow Forest property!

Quartz (from offstage): Not to mention you and the other characters from that world are constantly popping up at the Forbidden Cauldron. It’s time to share!
Others (from offstage): Share! Share!

Christopher: (taking a deep breath) That’s what I’m trying to do…only I’m starting out by taking a moment of Me-ness myself—

Quartz: (sticking his nose out from the stage) I knew it! He’s taking over!

Christopher: Don’t you have a Secondary Character Speak Out blog to finish, Quartz?

Quartz: Arrghh! I almost forgot! (disappears behind the curtain)

Christopher: Yes, I’m starting the cycle of Me-blogs here, but I’m passing this role on to other characters. I thought I’d talk a little bit about the preludes I’ve appeared in, Waiting for Rebirth, Unwilling to Be Yours, and Be My Valentine…Snack.

I found and lost Damian in those preludes. I have no intention of leaving things at that.

Damian is somewhere in the Shadow Forest, even if he’s fragmented as I once was. I’ve got to try and find him. If not him, those fragments.

Christopher’s frail form may be no match for the shadows waiting for me. I’m not sure if this body is real. I’m not sure if I am either, if the ‘me’ speaking to you now isn’t something shaped by Damian’s will and desire.

Do you have any idea how precious it is, being ‘me’? Having a concept of self, an individual identity? To be more than a misty consciousness, floating around, ever chaging, reacting to whatever strong will crosses its path? To be defined by an aching, empty hunger, a yearning which can never be satisfied?

The more time I spend in this form, the more distant my previous existence or lack of one becomes.

How can I abandon the one who gave me this, who awakened me to this state?

I can’t leave Damian. Yes, he chose to open a Door. It was his choice, the fate he accepted.
There’s no way he could have comprehended the consequences of that choice. No one who opens a Door ever does.

I can’t abandon Damian to those consequences if they are of his making. I just can’t.

This means there’s a Door waiting to open for me. Again.

I’m terrified of passing through it, but I can no longer ignore it.

 

 

 

Rainbow Snippets

And now for something completely different…well, not completely. You’re still welcome to Rainbow Snippets. I’m still sharing six sentences of LGBTQ+ fiction here. Those participating are still sharing six sentences of LGBTQ+ fiction on their blogs, whether it’s their own work or someone else. You can still find a wide variety of samples from LGBTQ+ fiction at this link…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

What’s different is my snippet isn’t from a prelude to Stealing Myself From Shadows. It isn’t even from a Tale of the Navel/The Shadow Forest.

No, this time, I’m offering a taste of my long neglected m/m mythical tale of cross-dressing, Aissa and Polyxena.

I take a whole bunch of contradictory Greek myths from various sources, including The Iliad, turning a story of rape and murder into a romance. I take a character I despised and make him the romantic interest in my hero’s eyes.

What’s surprising me is how much everything is coming together. People I disliked are showing a sympathetic side. A woman who was nothing more than a prize and a pawn in The Iliad is turning out to be great fun.

I’m a little teary eyed over how much I’m getting into the character of Cressida/Briseis. In some ways, she’s a character someone like myself,  a woman who falls hopelessly in love with certain m/m pairings can identify with.

At the same time, Cressida is more than a little dazzled by Polyxena, the princess she’s turned young Troile into, so she can sneak him into the Achaen camp to see Achille…

 

“Keep your eyes wide. Be brave. Women endure this on a regular basis.” She moved in with the instrument, letting it dart about with a deft hand.

I tried very hard to hold still, to keep my eyelashes from trembling.

“If beauty is already there, I enhance it. You, my dear, were blessed by the gods with an abudance, giving me excellent material to work with.”

A Poetic Interlude

And now for something completely different, to quote some of my absolute favorite artists all time…not that it isn’t still #QueerBlogWed, a time to share a touch of the rainbow at this blog.

On April 4, 2018, P.T. Wyant shared at ptwyant.com a prompt involving a spider, a poem, and cheese.

Yes, I usually post my responses to Paula’s Prompts, i.e. Wednesday Words over at the Forbidden Cauldron at inspirationcauldron.blogspot.com. Thanks to Blogging From AZ, I’m woefully behind on them.

Sharing a response here seemed like a good way to catch up.

We’ve just finished Be My Valentine…Snack. This poem makes me think of Duessa Ashelocke. Not that it couldn’t apply to Xylanthe from Trouble at Caerac Keep as well…

 

Purple prose and overused flattery
The spider builds a trap of cheese
Its creamy walls crumble, yet still it lures food in
To wander a maze of stolen glances

The spider wears a sweet face
Distracting her prey from her extra limbs
She beckons, she cajoles, she lures her victims closer
Blissfully unaware that he’s trapped in her web.

Be My Valentine…Snack

Welcome to Me Me Monday, a day to promote, strut, and celebrate your Me-ness!

It’s also time for the final segment of Be My Valentine…Snack, the third prelude to Stealing Myself From Shadows, the first of a series of ambient fantasy novels I’m working on.

I plan to include all three preludes; Waiting for Rebirth, Unwilling to Be Yours, and Be My Valentine…Snack at the beginning of Stealing Myself From Shadows when I revise and release it.

Don’t think this is the end for Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest here at the Cauldron, though. You never know what may bubble up in the future…;)

Here is the rest of Be My Valentine…Snack…

 

“He’s just hungry, after using a lot of energy.” Duessa bowed her head, closing all but two eyes. “No need to point that rose at me, my dear.”

“Don’t I?” Never had ‘Brie sounded more menacing. She waved a crushed rose in her hand, like a knife or a wand. It looked very like the flower Duessa had held.

What could a flower do in the real world? I had no idea.

“What happened to accepting other people’s choices, even if they’re fatal?” I cocked my head in ‘Brie’s direction. “I thought you had no right to stop us.”

“Maybe I had no right.” Gabrielle looked ridiculous in her shells and smiley faces, brandishing a crushed flower. There was nothing silly about the dark power gathering around the hand holding it. “If so, it was time to do a little wrong.”

“No, it wasn’t. Not for you,” Duessa waved a finger in reproval at ‘Brie. “Your boys did very well escaping me on their own. In fact, they passed all three of my challenges, including that of true love.”

“What?” It was seldom one saw Gabrielle completely stunned. She blinked, as I looked from Peter to me.

Duessa grinned, looking very much like Damian. He would have enjoyed the look on ‘Brie’s face, too.

“Peter was willing to stay in my lair and be my Valentine, if I’d let Christopher go, without having to confess to feelings he didn’t have.” Duessa shook her head, raising an eyebrow. “Of course, Christopher had to pick up his stick and do his best to defend Peter. All in Damian’s name, of course.

“Of course,” Gabrielle echoed, but she frowned. “I’m surprised you were willing to let them go.”

“Darling, these boys may be delicious, but they’re not worth making you unhappy.” Duessa’s entire face softened, as she gazed at Gabrielle. “Whatever else I might be, I’m not your enemy.”

I wasn’t sure what to make of this. Did this mean I’d never been in any danger? All the times Duessa had expressed an interest in me, showing her true face, had it just been a show?

No. Duessa Ashelocke was dangerous. I’d seen the cocoons containing her Valentines in her lair. Damian had seen it, too.

It hadn’t all been an illusion, or a trick.

Neither was the expression of genuine affection which softened Duessa Ashelocke’s face when she looked at my mother.

She truly cared about ‘Brie. I might be a potential delicacy. Peter, too. She meant every word about not being her enemy.

Just what was the story between these two?

“Angry as I am right now, I believe you.” Gabrielle sighed, looking away from Duessa’s face. “Why must you always be so morally ambiguous?”

“Precious, it’s what draws you to me and Damian, too.” Duessa shook her head. “Morally ambiguous is what you want to be.”

“Sometimes, but not today.” Gabrielle stretched out her arms to Peter and myself. “Come on, boys. Let’s go home.”

Peter hesitated, glancing from her hand to the road. Maybe he was unsure about taking it after everything that happened.

I reached to take his arm.

He looked down at my hand. A faint flush crept up his face and nose.

Pulling him with me, I walked into ‘Brie’s waiting embrace, allowing it to unfold both of us.

Let Duessa and anyone else watch. I didn’t care.