Orbs of candle light drifted through the air, high above the heads of the people down below. Trees stood high in a large circle surrounding the guests dancing to the soothing music. Vines with flowers of all colors wound their way up the tall grove.
The spirits milled about the dance floor, chatting with old friends, flirting casually. Trays of sparkling punch floated among them never sloshing out of their crystal cups.
The spirits were dressed in the most luxurious gowns and cloaks this magnificent evening. Everyone dripped with natural opulence. The shine from the lights made skin glow, and crystals glitter. The dance floor was spinning and writhing with bodies that danced to the mysterious music. Throngs of spirits lined the tables and balconies buzzing with news and rumors, eager to be let in on the newest story.
A dark skinned man weaved his way through the crowds, nodding and socializing his way towards the two golden thrones the sat on the raised platform.
The ancient hero heard the story of a comatose damsel arriving in Holy Park. It wasn’t often a living person could arrive at the light. What made the spirits buzz was that word trickled in from the shadows; two holy men were going to attempt to bring the maiden back to the world of the living. They speculated that Sovereign couple was not going to allow the maiden to be saved.
It always amazed Beo how fast a story could travel and be embellished, to the point of a fairy’s tale. The story was mostly truth so far. The couple may let the maiden back, but one could never be sure. He was confident that he’d give the people a bigger tale to tell.
Beo waiting at the steps that ascended to the modest thrones above.
The most powerful couple in the spirit world walked to their seats with little fanfare.
He was the Sun. He was tall and muscular, like a logger who spent his life chopping down the biggest of trees. His hair held many shades of orange and red, like a flame. His skin was dark olive with a golden shine. His eyes were the color of the purest gold, wisdom beyond time molten in his sight. His clothes were woven from gold and silver, copper dragons flew along the hem, teasing his ankles. Upon his head sat a crown made of fire opal, which glittered in the candlelight.
She was the Moon. Her skin was pale and luminous. Her figure was plump and soft to his firm and hard. Her eyes were pearls, the light color seeing all the secrets you cast into the night. Her hair was all the shades of night time; rich purple and blue cut through the deep ebony locks. Her hair was loose this evening, shimmering like the galaxies far beyond their reach. While his clothes were thick and heavy, hers were thin and loose. The loosely draped gown was transparent enough to see all underneath, if one was looking close enough, its deep emerald fabric was no match for her glowing skin. White opal sat upon her head as a hypnotic crown.
Moon tilted her sparkling head as she studied the earthly hero. Beo was a fascinating subject to listen to. She could dare say he was her favorite human.
Sun indulged his mate in her pursuits of pleasure and entertainment. As long as Beo never coveted Moon as his own, he could allow the time they spent together. He examined the hero as Beo looked over the crowd of dancers. He wanted something this solstice.
“What do you want Beo?” Sun asked of the hero. He could see the gears turning in his head.
“I only ask for a small favor.” The warrior smoothly replied.
Moon eagerly scooted forward in her chair. “What kind of favor?” her eyes held the promise of adventure.
Beo steeled himself for the rejection of his request.
“I want my wife back.”
Sun nodded in understanding, but frowned at the burden the fulfillment would require. Beo’s wish to be reunited with his wife was a source of contention for centuries.
“I know last time I had asked you told me that I had to wait until the border between the spirit world and the living was stabilized. The curtain has remained stable for the last 70 earth years. There has been plenty of time. I’ve waited long enough.” Passionately he explained.
Moon and Sun looked at each other in a silent war of permission. Pale Moon won the battle.
“You may have your wife back.” She decreed in her soft voice.
“However,” Sun revealed, he low voice vibrating with power; “We will not be the spirits to bring her soul back together. We have responsibilities, duties to our people. You must have the Fates relinquish their hold on the piece of her soul they hold in safekeeping. The fragments will fuse back together on its own. ”
Beo had wondered at what price he would get his beloved back. Luckily he had known that the Fates owned pieces of his soul mate and had convinced them to release them when the time was right. He had hundreds of fragments, Beo dreaded how many more he would need to find.
Back at his chambers, Beo dragged out a trunk long enough to be a child’s coffin. Inside held many jars, boxes, and jewels that contained a piece of Beo’s mate. He was so close to seeing his wife’s face again it hurt.
Clearing an area on the floor, he shattered all the jewels first, then he pried open all the small boxes.
As the vessels were opened, bits of blue light started to clump together in the shape of a woman. As he started on the larger jars he realized that he did not have all of the parts to make her whole again. He opened the last of the containers he had horded for centuries, only to see that the light of his life was not whole.
Beo was angry, he knew deep down it wasn’t going to be easy to bring back his wife who was scattered over the world, but there had been a small measure of hope that it would be that simple.
He dried his eyes of the guilt-ridden tears and straightened his clothes. He had work to do.
The various Fates knew when the Hero came back to the joyous dancing. Once they could hear him ask the first fate if they held a bauble containing a soul, their collective minds tensed with apprehension. If Beo didn’t get the answers he sought, the situation could turn violent. While it was not possible to hurt a soul in the spirit world, conflict tended to rouse the docile spirits into their many wicked forms. Dark, angry energy corrupted the souls, morphing them into the things of nightmares.
One Fate at a time, Beo asked if they kept a bauble with a soul.
“I do not.” Said one, with her long pink hair wound up around a gold stick.
“I have none.” Murmured the next, her skin chalk white, her hair blackened like the smoke that wafted from forest fires.
“Of course I do.” spoke the fate of a war ravaged land, her skin stained with blood, her clothes in shambles. “However, I only hold the souls of the wicked from the Cursed War. Your object of desire is not among them.”
Beo searched and search until he came to the last Fate he knew of. She was newer, better, then her previous guise. He knew her well. This Fate balanced the lives of his beloved home. Under new rulers his homeland thrived and was almost the most influential country in the world.
“I only hold your soul; that you know. However, if you talk to the oldest of us she can tell you what to do.”
“The oldest? I’ve talked to everyone!” disbelief clung on like Velcro. “I’ve talked to the eldest Fate”
“No you haven’t. Her area of reign is small and void of people to herd.” Fate pitied both the hero and the old goddess. “She may have what you are looking for.” She curtsied and bid Beo adieu, to join the dancing with a tall 5 tailed fox.
Beo scanned the dance floor and did not find the last fate. He then decided to head for their domain, the podium where they monitored their allotted country. Beo had always been curious as to how the hive worked, it took lots of time and planning to fulfill their goals. Each Fate monitored from their own area. Each area held a desk; the style varied between metal boxlike structures with drawers, to large mahogany masterpieces, carved to show their victories and greats citizens
Each country was represented by a flowering tree. Most were large, with many leaves and blossoms. Three of the trees were giants, towering above the rest. Petals fell from all the trees, being the dead, replaced by blossoms that were the newborns.
Beo watched as the petals silently faded as they fell from their branches. The soft lights of the monitors that watched the living flickered and pulsed. He walked through the aisles of desks; some stacked high with scrolls, others with maps and weights. His footsteps echoed o the glass floor, his shoes not leaving a single mar.
A modest tree stood bare of leaves in the middle row, towards the back of the podium. Its branches were thick, its grain a silent testament to the passage of time. Here stood not a desk of metal or wood, but a reed mat, frayed and faded. An old spirit sat on the reeds, her body still young yet her eyes so old. She wore shells in her seafoam hair, her feet bare from shoes and sandals.
“I can help you great hero.” She answered before he could ask, “There is narrow time to achieve what you seek. I need three heroes. One is fast, the other strong, the last smart. They must be the greatest of Kings with hearts that give their people hope for the future. They must save a woman who unlocks the seal of my temples. She must be compassionate, gentle, and have the knowledge of the mystical. Only these four can find what you need. I have the key to unlocking the woman’s potential. I merely need her here.”
Beo knew of one such hero that could be used, his friends could be molded into greats as well. But how to do that and get a woman into heaven?
He went to the large desk that showed his homeland. Merely touching the desk he found who he searched for.
The Grand Prince Richard, walked down the aisles of the university library only to find a woman had taken his spot!
Beo could work with this. And so he set his plan into motion.