Psyche and Eros, part seven

Venus and Psyche were standing
in the village one moment, then
suddenly they stood in the mouth
of an ominous looking forest

“now then, girl, this next trial shall be a simple one, i am in
need of some mountain spring fed water, and you shall acquire it”

Psyche gazed at the forest, draped
in shadow, deep in the woods the
sound of something large rumbled, a fierce roar shook the tress

“and pray tell, Lady Venus, what
was that,” she asked weakly, Venus laughed and shrugged, “who ever can tell what lurks in the woods,

“take this decanter, make your
way to a hill, and there you
will find the spring of ebon
waters from which the Styx flows”

Psyche opened her mouth to ask another question, instead finding
herself alone, a crystal pitched
sitting where Venus had just been

with a sigh, she picked up the
decanter and headed in to the
woods, towards the hill at the
far end where the spring lay

creatures sat silently, watching
as she passed on trembling knees
warily glancing at the shining
eyes of both predator and prey

that foul roar sounded again,
leaves fell from the trees, and
the already frightened animals
scurried farther into shadow

Psyche let out a shrill cry as
two wolves came bounding down
the trail towards her, but they
paid her no mind as they ran

Psyche wanted to turn back, to
run with the wolves, climb a tree
and hide with the squirrels, she
wanted to do anything but proceed

the feel of Eros as he lay against
her, his arm draped around her,
cupping her breast gently, pushed
her on despite her shaking legs

something large flew over the
treetops, blocking the thin beams
of light that managed to break
through the canopy of limbs

Psyche stayed true, in her heart
she lamented her momentary doubt, the kernel her sisters planted that led her to these woods

she longed to see her mother, to
collapse in her arms, as she did
as a child, the magic of mothers
making the hurt fade away

Psyche murmured a prayer to Juno, the mother of the gods, to keep her mother safe, and guide her
back home safe one day

the ground beneath her feet
shook and rumbled, the roar
grew louder, more intense, a
vibration shaking the very air

Psyche felt the overwhelming
rage, an aura of sheer hatred,
bubbling just outside the row
of trees between her and the hill

she hid behind a tall oak, trying
to sneak a glimpse of the beast
who stomped and roared, and her
blood froze at the sight

a dragon, a sinuous beast, with
scales of emerald, trails of
smoke drifting from its nostris,
as it challenged all to approach

Psyche looked for a trail, any
possibpe cover to shield her from
the ferocious creature, yet she
saw only smoldering stumps

she clutched the decanter, bands
of iron around her chest, unable
to see anyway to sneak past the
dragon to the hill behind

a bubbling brook of ebon water,
trailed down the hill, close
enough she could hear it in the
lulls between the angry roars

Psyche slid to ground, her back
against the mighty oak, her mind
raced to find a way, to satiate
the rage of the goddess of beauty

a mighty shriek called out in
answer to the challenging roar,
Psyche risked a glance, to see a
giant eagle soaring ever closer

Psyche stared in disbelief as the
eagle swooped down, an arrow
bursting from the cerulean sky,
screaming a clear battle cry

the dragon reared back, letting
loose a plume of verdant flame,
uet the eagle was deft, it sliced
through the air around the fire

with no more preamble, the beasts
locked themselves into battle,
the talons of the eagle slashed,
as the jaws of the dragon snapped

Psyche watched, frozen at the
spectacle of two great enemies,
and she saw her chance to run to
the top of the hill to the source

her body low to the ground, she
went around the combatants, so
focused on their own life and
death battle, they took no heed

heart pounding, she climbed up,
and as the entire hill shook from
the war of the great beasts, she
undid the stopper of the decanter

the black liquid sloshed up out
of the ground, the spring that
gave birth to the four rivers
of Tartarus, the land of the dead

still the eagle fought, beak and
talons against the scales and
flames of the dragon, drawing it
away from the hill toward the sea

Psyche gave thanks, to the eagle
and whomever had sent it, perhaps Lady Juno had heard her pleas, and she made her way to the woods

Venus materialized from a cloud
of effervescent pink, a vision
in the shadowed woods, and glared at the mortal with the pitcher

“somehow you managed again, girl, i know you have cheated, gained aid from outside forces, tell me who has betrayed my holy wrath”

Psyche said nothing, just held
forth the crystal decanter and
the black water within for the
goddess, her lips sealed

Venus went red with fury, but
returned the silence, glowering
in a way that diminshed her
fabled beauty next to Psyche

“there is one last trial, one
more task to prove you are worthy of seeing my dear, broken hearted Eros again, one you will not pass”

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