Reality and Fear
Posted on Sat Nov 4th, 2017 @ 6:59am by Civilian Faustina (Tina) Cyparissus MD
Location: Tina Cyparissus' apartment/Worlds of Myth
Timeline: January 22nd, 2012, about 30 minutes after Time to Leave Town.
The dirt path twisted and turned as it led up the rocky hills. They were hills that were familiar to the one who controlled the white-robed healer, directing her path toward the top of the small mountain ahead. The Greek island of Kalymnos was her home, a home that she had left long ago but had never strayed far from her heart.
He’d known that too, long ago, when they’d shared a life, a bed, a promise of a future. He’d known that when he took her to the top of Mount Olympus to meet his family, and he’d known that when she took him to meet her mother in the small fishing village where she’d grown up. Kalymnos was a place that she loved as much as she loved him, and it was a place he’d whisked her off to on their first date. When she closed her eyes, she could still picture the arrows Eros shot at them materializing seemingly out of thin air as his little brother tried to further the course of love. She could still taste the ambrosia he had brought for them to share. Her heart always beat a little quicker as she remembered the sight of him taking off his clothes and running from the secluded beach into the water, daring her to join him.
She could still remember how they’d made love for the first time on that beach afterward, soft and gentle and sweet, getting to know each other physically as well as emotionally. For the God of Fear, Phobos was gentle, kind, and not at all like the myths would have led her to believe the large, well-muscled man with abundant scars might be. Eros’ arrows had flown true that day, and Faustina Cyparissus knew that her life would never be the same.
There was something to be said for the fact that the first encounter that Worlds of Myth offered with Phobos was not only difficult to achieve, but was located on the island of Kalymnos, not far from the beach where they’d shared that magical first date. The beach itself wasn’t easy to get to - part of why she and Phobos had chosen that part of the island, truthfully - and it was no easier to access in the game. Whoever had designed Kalymnos had been to the island. Tina had no doubt about that, just like she had no doubt that Phobos - her Phobos! - was not on Kalymnos by accident. It was a sign. It was just as much of a sign that there was a Greek healer avatar that looked just like her, and that Melissa’s character was the very picture of Lauren McArthurs’ half sister, the Minoan Goddess Neferu.
Somehow, and she didn’t know how, the gods were here, in Worlds of Myth. Three years she’d spent searching for them, and they’d been in this stupid game the whole time.
Her heart raced as the avatar SeraphTina ran - agonizingly slowly! - along the path. It turned again before cresting the summit of the hill.
Despite herself, Tina gasped.
She’d known he’d be there, but to see him after all this time took her breath away. He was dressed in a short black chiton that left one shoulder and much of his chest bare. The short garment stopped mid-thigh, tied around his waist in a way that left a narrow strip of skin visible up the right side of his body and filled Tina’s mind with three lonely years’ worth of ideas. He wore a Spartan-style helmet and held both a spear and shield, but the eyes that looked out from between the nose guard were unmistakable. She’d recognize those dark, deep eyes anywhere.
Even if she got no sense of recognition back.
[HALT!] It was even Phobos’ voice as he held out the spear. Not all lines were voiced, but greetings were common. The words, harsh as they were, sounded like music to Tina’s ears. [State your purpose in seeking out the God of Fear!]
“To find the love of my life.” Tina whispered to the screen. She wished that was one of the dialogue options. Then again, if it had been, that would have meant other women would have tried to seduce her Phobos, and she’d have hoped he’d have smited them for it. She searched for the best option available.
[I come on a mission from Aphrodite.] Tina chose, moving her character closer.
[Speak. What does my mother wish me to do with you?] Phobos lowered his spear and shield, but kept both at the ready.
“If I know your mother, she’d want you to jump me right now and tear these clothes off while I show you exactly how much I’ve missed you.” Tina breathed. “By Aphrodite’s golden girdle, Phobos, please... recognize me. Tell me how to help you.”
SeraphTina gave a different answer. [The Goddess of Love requests your aid against the gods of another land.]
“Remember when we helped to free Lauren and her kids when she was possessed by Seth?” Tina asked the screen. “Come on, baby... get my hint... just get my hint...”
Phobos scowled. [I do not answer my mother’s calls to war. She can squabble with other gods in her own way. If this is your mission, leave my sight.] He turned away.
“What??” Tina frowned, her heart sinking. “No! This is not going like that! This isn’t about your mother!”
[I would like to ask a question.]
Phobos turned back. [Please me, and I may answer.]
“Okay... okay, I prepared for this...” Tina mumbled as she dug through her inventory.
[I present you with this gift, Mighty Phobos, that I might earn your favour.]
“Ugh. I’m starting to understand why your family hated this subservient mortal thing.” Tina told the screen. “It’s making me kind of sick, too.”
Her avatar handed Phobos an item, and he took it casually. It was a small bronze statue of his brother, Anteros - the god of requited love. Although he looked like Eros, the metal wings were like those of a butterfly and Tina said a silent prayer that Phobos would understand what it meant.
He didn’t. With a dark glare, the statue disintegrated in Phobos’ large hand. [I do not like this gift. I prefer blood and sacrifice to the trinkets of other gods.]
“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” Tina shouted. “That isn’t who you are! That’s who you were! You hated that stuff, it embarrassed you! By Zeus, what have they done to you? Phobos, come on.. Tell me you recognize me! Give me some kind of sign that you’re in there and I’m not crazy! Please!”
She dug through her inventory, looking for something - anything! - that would get through to him.
“Yes...” Tina smiled as she found it. “If this doesn’t work, nothing will. Please, Aphrodite, Anteros, Hera who blessed our union, and anyone else out there who might be listening and have influence on my love, please let him get the meaning of this...”
SeraphTina held out a small ring of beaten platinum, which held two tiny crimson ruby heart-shaped apples wrapped in silver cherubs feathers with a single tiny arrow piercing them both. It was the ring she had seen him give her in a dream, and finding it in Worlds of Myth felt like fate. She’d had to spend an absurd amount of money for it at the auction house - real money, at that, the Ring of Divine Destiny was unbelievably rare - but for Phobos, it was worth it. What other object could mean as much to a man as the ring he designed for his fiancee?
Tina’s heart beat loudly in her chest as her avatar held out the ring. No moment had ever passed slower than the one in which Phobos reached out to take the offering.
And then her heart shattered into tiny little pieces as she read his response.
[I prefer blood and sacrifice to trinkets.]
She let out the breath she’d been holding as her shoulders slumped. Her best chance to get his attention had been that ring. That ring that had cost her a small fortune to buy. Her eyes closed tightly. What had it all been for? She’d spent weeks getting here, alienating her family, risking her practice, even throwing away a chance to get back together with Jesse, and for what? For a digital recreation of a god she swore she’d left in another timeline but was nothing more than pixels and code?
It was insane. She was insane. This whole stupid thing was insane.
She hung her head as the tears started to fall, hot, frustrated, hopeless tears.
It was because of those tears and the sobs that accompanied them that she didn’t see the line that appeared next on the screen.
She was still sobbing, her face buried in her hands, when the power went out moments later.