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Aresias

by Buzz Matthews, stimptown@yahoo.com

"What is it now Aresias?"

"I saw him again."

"I hope you're not speaking of Machus again."

"None other has captured my heart as he."

"Why must you pursue this man whose heart belongs to another?"

"You do not understand."

"Correct. But I have no time to discuss this further. I must return to work."

"Well then, we shall speak more of this later."

"Goodbye Aresias."

"Goodbye my friend."

How can Dinius not understand that I cannot control what my heart longs for. I'm merely a vessel unable to govern my longings for Machus. Tis true his heart belongs to another. To Terenea. She cannot give him the love that I can. I know this. My heart tells me so.

But what can I do? As I long for Machus, so he longs for Terenea. How could I deny him his desire? I cannot. But why must my desires be denied? All one can do is busy oneself in attempts of distraction. Many times, vain attempts.

Machus is approaching. I must speak to him.

"Good day Aresias."

My heart has began racing.

"Good day Machus. How does the day greet you?"

"Tis well, for I am now betrothed."

No.

"...to Terenea?"

"Yes... why is it you sound troubled?"

"Please tell me you are positive you will this."

Please tell me you do not will this.

"Of course I will it. Marriage is not a thing to enter half-hearted."

"I see..."

"Come now, what is it that troubles you? Are you not satisfied?"

How can I tell him? My love is unwanted, unneeded. But it is his will. I must see him happy. I cannot put this thorn in his side. I must wear my mask again.

"I was just taken by surprise, but if this is your wish, you have my full blessing. We must celebrate. Will you and Terenea join me tonight for a feast? The greatest feast ever offered a man."

"You are a true friend. We shall attend."

What have I done?

"Very good. I shall be waiting for the two of you."

"Very well then. I must go now. Until then my friend."

Why must I always be a friend"

What have I done? How can I possibly dine with the two of them. My breaking heart will not allow it. But I must try. My love keeps me from breaking my word to Machus. He will have his feast. He and Terenea...

A plan has begun to form in my head. She will not marry him. She will not live after tonight. Machus will grieve, but I will comfort him. Then I will no longer be just a friend. I will offer him the love his heart needs to be well again. Then he will see the love that has always been in front of him.

But how can I do this? Am I to damn my soul for eternity to grant my heart what it desires? But how can I be damned for satisfying longings placed in me by the gods themselves? This love would not have been placed in me if not to be shared. Machus is the one to share it with. It must be the will of the gods. I must obey.

Now I must prepare for tonight. Poison seems the simplest way. Machus will never know I destroyed his beloved. Dinius will know what poison would be best. But he must not know my intentions. I must find him.

"Dinius!"

"What is it? Why are you shouting?"

"I have a favor to ask of you?"

"As I should have expected."

"I'm in need of a special poison."

"Poison? What for?"

What can I tell him? I cannot possibly reveal my murderous intentions to him.

"My wine has been stolen many times. I suspect the bandit will strike again. I want to place a poison bottle for the thief to consume."

What a perfect story. Surely it is a gift from the heavens. My plan is truly the will of the gods.

"I see. That should teach the thief. Why is it you did not come to me sooner? You never spoke of stolen wine before."

"I was unsure if I had been mistaken, but I am now certain that large amounts are missing, and more goes missing with every passing night."

"Well then, I shall prepare the perfect mixture for this thief. He will be in the arms of death before the night is done."

"Perfect."

"I shall bring it to you tonight. Your thief will be stopped."

Yes, my thief will be stopped from stealing the desire of my heart.

"Thank you. Now I must go."

"Wait, have you spoken with Machus?"

"Yes."

"Then you know of his engagement to Terenea."

"Yes."

"You seem to be taking the news well. Does it not bother you that the one you love will wed another?"

"Not at all. Tonight we are feasting in celebration."

Dinius stares at me in disbelief.

"You are a greater man then I realized. I could not do as you do. You really do love Machus."

"Yes, I do. I will see him happy."

"Then I wish you well. I will see you in a few hours."

"Thank you. I must now go prepare the feast."

My plan is falling into place so simply. Now for the feast. I must hunt a fitting roast for three. I hunt and kill a wild pig. It is a strong beast. It takes four arrows to stop him. A fitting last meal for Terenea.

I am nearly finished roasting the beast when Dinius arrives with the potion.

"Just pour some of this into the bottle and your thief will be stopped."

"How does it work?"

"It will simply put the thief into a sleep he shall not wake from."

"Good."

"How goes the feast preparations?"

"I have hunted the largest beast I could find."

"Truly the best feast offered a man. I see your love at work in this deed."

"Machus deserves my best."

"You speak as though you and he will be dining alone."

"My love is for him, not Terenea, but I will be civil."

"You are an amazing man. Now I must go home to my wife. If I am late she will suspect I have a mistress."

"Her suspicions are correct, are they not? You have two mistresses."

"Yes. Juggling females is my art."

"Does any love exist in your heart?"

"Yes, but it is a love for all woman. Who am I to deny myself to the ones who desire me?"

"But do you not hold your wife above these others? Why is it you chose her for marriage? Why did you marry at all?"

"Because Cinedana is the most beautiful of all."

"Then it is merely lust that drives you."

"I have never denied that fact. But enough of this, I must go now."

"Goodbye then."

Poor Dinius. Will pure love ever touch his life as it has mine? I cannot think of this now. I must prepare the poison for Terenea. I will place it in her cup of wine. She will be dead before the night is through and Machus will be mine.

Machus and Terenea arrive as the sun sets. This is the last sunset Terenea will ever witness. Anticipation is running through my body. After tonight, Machus will be mine.

We begin the feast and I go to fetch the wine. When I am satisfied I can not be seen I pour the deadly mixture into Terenea's cup. This is the moment my life will change forever. I will have him.

I bring the cups and place them on the table.

"Aresias, is there more bread? I'm afraid there is none left here."

"Yes, I will bring it for you."

Yes Terenea, I will bring you some bread to wash down with your poison.

I return and we drink and eat for hours. The poison seems to be working slowly. Before I know it, all of us are in a drunken sleep. I awake first to find both of them on the ground. Now it is time to awaken Machus and inform him of Terenea's sudden death.

He is lying on the ground and I embrace him. My lips have never been this close to his before. I cannot resist the temptation to feel mine against his.

Cold. His lips are nearly frozen. No. I place my ear against his chest and I hear nothing. Machus is dead. The sobbing comes uncontrollably. I embrace him while I weep. I weep so loudly it awakes Terenea.

"What are you doing? Machus?"

"He's dead!"

"NO!"

Then her weeping begins and echoes my own.

"This was not supposed to happen... It should have been you!"

"Me!?"

She finally begins to realize my plan.

"You plotted my death to have him for yourself! You fiend! You killed him! Damn you!"

"You must have given him your cup! You fool! This is all your fault!"

The rage engulfs me as I pull a knife from the feast and plunge it into her heart.

"Die demon! You killed my love! Damn you!"

She falls to the ground gasping for air, then silent.

What have I done? Nothing could have stood in the way of a divine plan as this one. It was so perfect. Now I have nothing. Once I am found, surely I will be put to death. I have nothing now.

At that moment I spot a cup with some wine in it. I pull out the vile and pour what is left into the wine. I have nothing left here. It is my turn to die with my love. Machus and I will be joined in death.

Goodnight my sweet prince. May the gods guide us together in the next world.


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