Psyche and Eros, part six

a cool wind blew through the open door into the musty room, Venus shivered in her revealing gown of diaphonous silk

“it seems Persephone has gone to
stay with her husband, the breeze
carries the touch of Demeter’s
dismay, the snows come”

Venus looked archly at Psyche,
“how crass of me, bringing up
Persephone, who will soon be in
her lover’s arms once more,

“and you, having sorted all the
seeds, seem to be no closer to
seeing my dear Eros, how
thoughtless and rude of me”

Venis smiled at Psyche and
shrugged her perfect shoulders,
“it must be this chill, it has
me all out of sorts it seems”

Venus snapped her finger
suddenly, “your second task can help solve both of our problems,
a fitting solution indeed”

Psyche felt ice grow in her chest,
and it was not from the breeze,
but she nodded once, unsure of how she had earned this malice

Venus clapped her manicured hands, “good, that is good, your second trial shall be to gather the wool of Chrysomallos to keep me warm”

Psyche cleared her throat, “then
i shall find this Chrysomallos,
and gather its wool so you may
have the finest golden robe”

Venus smiled, then Psyche found
herself in a small village, she
did not recognize the buildings,
under dark and stormy skies

she called out, and saw faces
peek out from windows, a door
opened, a hand stuck out and
bade Psyche enter the house

Psyche hurried to the door as
lightning flashed, Jupiter’s
anger roiling in the black
thunderhead swallowing the sky

an angry bleating rose over the
thunder, Psyche looked in fright
as ram with a golden fleece
soared beneath the cloudd

she knew in her heart, this was
Chrysomallos, and despaired how
she could possibly gather its
wool to satiate Lady Venus

“hurry up, girl, before it sees
you, get inside” a voice called
and Psyche dejectedly entered,
trying to formulate a plan

inside the darkened doorway, she
saw a family huddled staring at
her in awe, this beautiful woman
that arrived with the storm

Psyche patiently answered their
questions, then began asking her
own about the fearsome flying ram with the fine golden wool

“an evil beast, it is, prone to
attack everyone it sees,” the
father said, “it lives across
the river with its flock,

“each of the gods be damned sheep are as vicious as the last, even the bravest hunters steer far
from the lands of Chrysomallos”

“i have no choice, Lady Venus has
given me this trial to prove my
love is true, and i will do all
i can to see my beloved again”

the man nodded solemnly, gazing
at his wife and children, knowing
he would do anything for them,
even at the risk of his life

“when the storm passes, we will lend you a boat, but i beg of
you to reconsider, surely this
trial can only lead to pain

“join us, we were about to sup
as we wait for the Tempestas to
finish her rage, and the beast
to return to his lands”

Psyche ate without tasting, a
tremor running through her arm
with each angry bleat punctuated
by the thunder and lightning

the rains ended, Apollo appeared
high in the sky, and true to his
word, he led Psyche to the river
where a small rowboat floated

“follow the river around the bend,
and when you come to the
swamps where the reeds stand tall, you will find the golden flock”

Psyche nodded her thanks with
a heavy heart, she pushed the
boat into the swollen river, letting the current pull her along

silently, she mouthed prayers,
hoping beyond hope her intentions proved worthy, and the gods would see fit in helping her succeed

her arms strained as she rowed,
her heart ached as she replayed
the look of hurt on Eros face
and she felt determination bloom

a faint singing drifted over the
river, Psyche tried to find the
source, but saw no one else
through the trees on the banks

her boat wound around the bend,
the river grew wider, and ahead
she saw the reeds the villager
had told her meant she was close

still the singing grew louder,
Psyche called out quietly, fearful
of drawing the attentions of
Chrysomallos and his sheep

“come closer, girl,” the voice sang out, Psyche peered through
the brush, but saw not a soul,
“i cannot see you,” she replied

her boat floated into the tall
reeds, slowing as the swollen
river became placid and shallow,
and she looked for the voice

“i am here, Psyche, all around
you,” the song sang, but all she
could see were the reeds, gently
swaying in the lazy breeze

but they weren’t just moving
with the wind, she realized in
shock, no, the reeds appeared to
be dancing along with the song

“what brings such a beautifully
sad woman to this deadly place,”
the reeds asked in that sing-song
way, “only danger lurks here”

Psyche told her tale, choking
back the sorrow, trying to remain
strong, vigilant in her love,
as Eros, her husband, deserved

“Venus has sent you to perish,
i am afraid, none may approach
the golden sheep, without risking
the wrath of Chrysomallos”

Psyche felt the tears spill down
from her brown eyes, “i must not
fail, i have been given this
most sacred of tasks for love”

a melodious laughter rang from
the reeds, “then continue on
through these reeds, and towards
the leftmost bank ahead,

“there you will find brambles,
they grow right next to this
river, and there you may gather
tufts of the golden wool”

Psyche felt her heart swell with
gratitude, she gave thanks to
the magical cluster of reeds, and
rowed carefully towards the bank

and there she saw the golden
wool, huge tufts caught upon the
brambles, she gathered enough to
gleefully fill the small boat

with aching shoulders, she navigated the river back to the
small village, pulling the boat
back onto the shore with a smile

the man ventured out and grinned, “the gods must truly favor you, for you have availed in the face of insurmountable odds”

Psyche gathered the wool, thanking the gods for watching over her and made her way to place where Lady Venus had caused her to appear

she called out to the goddess,
and when she appeared, Venus felt the smile slip from her shapely lips as Psyche stood proudly

“impossible, who helped you this
time, foul mortal, you could not
have completed this task alone”
Venus spat, her anger palpable

Psyche said nothing of the copse
of magical singind reeds, just
presented the harvest of wool,
as Venus glowered at her enraged

“it matters not, i shall have a
new golden robe to wear, and you
shall have a new trial, do not
think this trickery will last”

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