Confesions of a Queen 1-7
By Ped

Part 1

I can't believe I have to sit through one of these meetings... just because I had a divine lover I have to sit through this, but that's how I earned my way into the Elysian fields, by promising to sit through these meetings.  But before I worked my way into *this* meeting I had to sit there and listen to the debates between Hades and his Slut.  I mean his Liaison from Ares, while they decided how best to let me into the Elysian Fields.  I mean except for my kinky sex, I didn't do anything deserving of Taurtarus.  I look up from my clasped hands and notice the others glancing my way... even my own mother-in-law. It's the signal that it's time to weave my tale.  I sigh and stand up... "Hello my name is Rena.  I was loved (fucked?) by a god..."

Bet that confused them all... why would Rena, Queen of Corinth, be sitting here at a meeting about having a divine lover?  Wasn't I married to that Staid, boring, Iphicles during my life?  Yes and no.  Yes I was married to Iphicles, and NO he wasn't STAID or boring, I saw to that. Iphicles also wasn't my first lover... that title belonged to no man...

I notice that the others are staring at me.  I sigh again and say, "Ares was the first male to take me to orgasm... and he was the last male to do so as well."  I smirk internally at the shocked look on Alcemene's face, that's what she gets for ignoring her ELDEST son on her death bed... learning his wife wasn't as pure as she thought.  Good, the Wench deserves whatever I do to her!

I raise an eyebrow at the others in the room.  Oh right, like *they* are any better than me... okay maybe they are... most of them have famous kids, like Perseus, or Hercules, or the Amazons... but that doesn't mean I wasn't doing the Horizontal Tango with Ares.  In fact I RESENT the fact they all think they're better than me, just because they only slept with *their* Godly lover once, to beget a child.  I think in my case quantity *and* quality were ombined.... after all how many of Ares' mortal lovers have *ever* been female?  Well come on, think about it and look through the legends... most of the time if he took a lover... it was a man... in fact I read the best line (attrib Ares) "How did men ever stop fucking to fight?"

I sigh and look around the "room", as this is only my first meeting, even though I've been dead for close to a year now, I have to tell my story... we all do, our first time.  "The best place to start is near the beginning of my mother's marriage to Gorgus.  And don't give me any of that lip about Gorgus being a monster... he was that, but my mother knew."

"I wondered for awhile why my mother would go from someone as wonderful as my father, to someone like Gorgus.  It was only when I was nine that I found out... and purely by accident."  I let my voice trail off as I remember the heated fight between Gorgus and my mother that fateful day.

I notice the pity in the eyes of the women, even some of the men, in the group.  That brings my anger to the surface, no one would dare take pity on me in my life and I will drink the Lethe dry before anyone does so in my afterlife.  I raise my head, square my shoulders, and smile maleficently.  "I was being a good little girl and obeying my new stepfather.  Gorgus had me sit on his lap, while he talked to me about my day, or his, whichever I seemed more interested in paying attention to.   But you see those lap sittings were about more than a stepfather wanting to know more about his new stepdaughter's day... it was about sex.

"I wore short skirts then, as I was small for my age.  I honestly looked only six rather than my true age of nine.  I also refused to wear underclothing, which upset my mother to no end.  So my legs were always tan, as was most of my body.  I understand from people who knew me when I was little that I never really liked clothing, and that when my mother could keep me in a dress most of the day, it was a feat she was proud of.

"Gorgus would always take me into his lap, making sure I faced him and that my skirts were hiked above my waist during our daily chats.  As a naturally active nine year old I would bounce and wiggle on his lap while telling my daily stories, or hearing his.  I never noticed when his eyelids would close part way, and his breathing would increase... but I ALWAYS noticed when he started bouncing me with his hips.  It felt like I was flying through the air."  I close my eyes and savior the mental images I know are playing through everyone else's minds.  I hear some increased breathing, and I notice even that milksop Alcemene is reacting a bit to my story... now whether it's in pleasure or anger I don't care, the telling of the story is enough to excite me.

"One day, my mother happened upon our daily ritual, and she was angry.  Because this day was different from all the previous ones in the last year of their marriage... that was the day Gorgus let me touch the rock in his pants."  I hear it then in my own voice, the nearly childlike wonder at the idea.... the first time I touched a hard-on, one I had helped to cause.

I wink at the blond man sitting next me, because I knew his story.  He'd been raped at thirteen by Apollo because the God hadn't been able to get into Cupid's leathers.  It was kind of sad really, he died because Apollo wasn't able to contain his Godly qualities and let loose with his powers when he reached orgasm in the boy's tight ass.  Thus Apollo burned his partner to death.  I heard from Ares he wasn't able to take a lover, Divine or otherwise for nearly a century because of that incident... because the boy in question was one Zeus had wanted for himself.  Isn't that just like Zeus, thinking with his Cock, not his head?

"My mother grabbed me from his lap and hit Gorgus, hard across the cheek.  'How dare you?!? I didn't let you kill Mikalus and marry me so you could pleasure yourself with my daughter!'

"Gorgus stood up, towering over my mother, and sneered at her.  Despite my mother holding me by the hand, both adults forgot I was in the room.  'You married me because you couldn't stay out of my bed once I got you in it.  I wanted to see if your daughter was going to be able to pleasure me in the same way, you are losing your attraction wench!'  He grabbed her by the hair and wrenched her head backwards, forcing her neck to become exposed.  Gorgus ran his tongue over the scar along the muscle from her collarbone to just beneath her ear.

"My mother inhaled sharply at that, and gripped my hand tighter.  She glared at him and said, 'You'll receive a lower bride price if she does not remain a virgin.  You don't want to lower the amount of money you can squeeze from one of your lackeys or an enemy for your *beloved* step-daughter, do you?'  She paused a moment and smiled, in a way I would now call calculating.  Then she darted her pink tongue out to wet her lips.  'So what do you say Gorgus?   A short bit of pleasure now?  Or Wealth when you get rid of her?'

"Gorgus looked down at me then, and he smiled, running his hand through my hair.  'She is tempting, and I already see your fire in her.  But I will not touch her that way again.'  He removed my hand from my mother's.  He kneeled down so that our faces were on the same level.  'Do me a favor Rena?'  I just mutely nodded at him, his voice purring my name as it always did at the end of our daily talks, the way I so loved hearing it.  Gorgus smiled, and pinched my cheek.  'Go away for a little while, your mother and I have something to discuss.'

"I walked away from them, towards the door.  But I could feel that something was going to happen, so I hid behind the tapestry beside the door instead.  Not that it mattered to them... Gorgus and my mother were kissing passionately by that time.  There was no finesse in their lovemaking, if you could call it that.

"My mother unlaced the last few ties on Gorgus' trousers and freed his cock.   It was a thing of beauty; even from across the room I could see the smoothness of his skin, and his length.  Gorgus was *not* a big man in physical height, but his excited cock reached nearly to his nipple line.  I can remember wondering then how he managed to keep something that big inside his trousers all day long."

I stop the narrative there and smirk.  "He didn't actually.  Gorgus fucked nearly every man in that castle.  Hell, Gorgus fucked any man that came within a quarter mile of his cock.  Peasant, farm hand, prisoner, slave.  No matter what your station, you had a pair of lips, a working tongue and a slow gag reflex, it didn't matter to that SLUT Gorgus, he'd let you see his cock, desire it, and let him fuck you with it.  Men fought over the privilege to suck his cock, it was a reward to take something like *that* into their mouths, to taste for a moment something that should only belong to a God.  I must say I agree, I know I didn't easily release *my* lover whom was similarly endowed.

"Now where was I?  Ah yes... my mother had freed Gorgus' magnificent cock from his trousers.  She palmed his balls and smiled.  I remember her saying one thing as she knelt before him.  'My little Rena would never know how to take care of your needs Gorgus... you teach your favorites how to be submissive.  When both you *and* I know you actually desire to be dominated and challenged.'  She ran her tongue from the tip to his sac in one long stroke.

"My mother took nips at his cock as she worked her way back to the tip.  Gorgus meanwhile leaned back against his desk, already his legs weakening beneath him.  They stared into each other's eyes as my mother's mouth enveloped him, then she lowered her eyes to her task, and he looked skyward.   I saw my mother's tongue proceed and follow her mouth up and down his cock... and I saw his cock get larger as he got more turned on.  Gorgus grabbed my mother's hair and pulled her closer to him for a while.

"He moaned deep in his throat, and never noticed my mother's hands creep up his legs, to his ass.  As she sucked his cock... she also removed his trousers, at least to his knees.  Then her white hands inched back up his hair-covered thighs, and around them to his ass.  When her fingers reached his ass... she began slapping his butt cheeks.  With each slap, he thrust more into her mouth.

"He grinned at her.  'That's right Mikalus' slut you know how I like it.  I knew he was too little man for you... he could barely wait to spread his legs for me the day he came to join my army.  Did I ever tell you that *wife*?  Your husband was more of a slut than you are... he spread for everybody he came across.  I don't think there was a cock between here and Athens he didn't fuck.  I never understood that when I met you... you could deep throat *me*, yet your husband fucked any man he could.  Maybe it was you; you were too much for Mikalus.  But it doesn't matter does it?  Your Mine, all MINE!'

"Gorgus' breathing changed then, and my mother's slaps increased in speed and hardness.  Gorgus threw her head back, arching her back, and he began thrusting into her mouth aggressively.  'Fuck me.  You know I like it that way.  Suck me.  I'm gonna Cum in your mouth little wife.  Aren't you glad?  Isn't that why you came to me?  I can Cum for women... little Mikalus couldn't, at least not when I knew him.  Maybe that's your secret, you entrance a man so much he no longer gets turned on by other women and he can only Cum with you or other men.  I should be careful, you might bewitch my cock that way.'

"That was one of the last coherent things Gorgus said for awhile after that it was mostly grunts, and 'Fuck me harder'.  When he came, he came suddenly... calling out not my mother's name but that of Ares.  After his semen had quit pouring down my mother's throat he raised her from her knees and kissed her, tasting himself on her tongue.  They ripped each other's clothes off... beyond caring about having to leave the room. "I saw my mother's hand work her way down his chest and begin pumping his cock.  Before long it was engorged again.  Gorgus broke the kiss and smiled at my mother.  'Time for your pleasure now wife?'

"She smiled back at him, her hand still pumping his cock.  'Your pleasure is mine husband.  Not many women can survive your brand of love-making.'

"They chuckled together as their hands roamed each others bodies.  Soon hands weren't enough for either of them and Gorgus cleared his desk quickly.   Together the lovers laid back on the desktop and began to kiss and nip at each.  I had never before that moment understood why Gorgus had needed such a large desk, and then I knew it doubled as a place to FUCK the various people he did.

"They fought over who got to be on top.  But eventually my mother won that fight, and as she lowered herself onto his cock she said. 'I'm sending Rena away tomorrow.'

"Gorgus grunted then... whether because of what she said or the fact that then she started to lick his nipples, who knows.  'Why?  I swore I wouldn't touch the little girl again.'

"My mother raised herself up his cock, then slammed herself back down again before answering him.  'Yes, but what of your men?  I want Rena safe from them, so tomorrow I am sending her away to a Hestian Community near Corinth.'  Gorgus could not debate her over this as she then began to rock against his balls... bringing on his orgasm, and her own.  He lay content beneath her for some time.  Then he flipped her over onto her back, and without any preamble shoved his cock into her ass.

"Together they grunted, and surprisingly, Gorgus made my mother sit up... playing with her clit as he fucked her ass.  Before long they were rocking together on that desktop... and they yelled out their releases as one.  Gorgus removed his cock from her ass and his semen began to leak from it, as it was still leaking from her cunt.  He lay back on his desk, and brought my mother with him.  Before they drifted off to sleep I heard him whisper, 'Very well.  Rena will be a Hestian starting tomorrow.'

"I couldn't tell you what else might have happened that evening or night, as I snuck out of Gorgus' study and went to sit in my favorite tree in his garden.  In fact that's where Spyros, the Eunuch who took care of my mother and I, found me the next morning.  Spyros climbed the tree and cradled me in his lap.  'What's brought my Blossom up here?'

"I can remember sniffling and throwing my arms around his neck, crying into his chest.  'Mummy is sending me away today!  She's sending me to the HURSTians!  All I wanted to do was pet the rock in Gorgus' trousers!'

"I sobbed loudly, and all Spyros could do was coo soothingly to me, knowing no one else would come looking for me.  'Now you listen to me Blossom.  Your mummy is only making sure you get to be strong... and that no one can harm you.  You don't want to get hurt like poor Spyros, do you?'

"He lifted my face and made me stare into his eyes.  Even now I can see that look in them, the one where he remembered his manhood being taken from him by Gorgus, so Spyros could care for his womenfolk.  I snuffed loudly.  'But I don't care about that!  I love you Spyros!  Your the only person that cares about me!'

"I've no idea what Spyros might have said to me then, because that's when my mother's voice began piercing the morning silence.  Spyros had me climb onto his back, and then he jumped to the ground.  Spyros lowered me to the ground, and we walked hand in hand into Gorgus' castle."  I hear my own voice crack at the memory... mostly because I can remember what happened to Spyros later in my life.

One of the women in the group... whose lover and identity are a mystery to me, stands up then.  "I think we have all of Rena's story that she can tell us, for now.  We will meet again tomorrow, same place, Rena will continue her story then."  She comes and leads me back to a chair.

I hardly notice when the others file out of the area... leaving only herself and me.  I keep my eyes downcast and cannot believe I started out my story there. The memory was so unimportant to me while I was alive.  But now that I look back on it after my death, I realized that experience showed me that sex between wife and husband was not a dirty thing as the Hestians taught me, as my own husband thought when we married.  So in actuality it was an important memory... one leading to my reason for being here.  It put me on the road to thinking that Ares was a God of Pure Sex (which actually he is... but I'm supposed to be healing here, earning my place in the Elysian fields), and that sex was normal and wanted by everyone.

I notice that the woman next to me hasn't moved.  In fact she is smiling at me.  I glare at her.  "What?"

"Just wondering how you managed to get in here.  Most people exposed to *that* kind of sexual experience at a young age end up in Taurtarus."

"I very nearly did... but Ares and the Mistress of Hades argued my case.  It's a bit tough to ignore the cookie your boss is popping on the side."  I smirk at her reaction as she very nearly runs away from me.

That's when he appears next to me.  I smile at him, the brooding God of the Underworld.  "Yes Hades?"

"The Year is up... Ares may visit you now.  He will be here tonight."  I can tell by the tick next to his left eye that he cannot STAND the fact that one in his realm will be visited by the War God.

"Won't that impede my progress at the meetings?" I ask innocently.

Hades snorts at my comment.  "Are you kidding?  Everyone that was in here was so turned on by what you were saying they are outside fucking each other... or whomever they could find to Fuck.  Okay, except for my brother's slut Alcemene.  She's just staring wistfully into the air, as her husband thinks about her.  But then those are dirty thoughts he's having, so I can understand."

With that Hades rises, and I see evidence that my story effected more than my fellow Shades.  Hades' own cock is in stark relief against his leather pants.  I'd offer to help him, if I didn't already know that Ares was on his way to see me.  If nothing else, I knew the draw of what I could come up with after a year of being separated from him, and the knowledge that my death freed him from the worry about being too rough with me, were enough to have him visit me once.

I leaned back in my chair then, and raised my skirt.  Not wearing underclothing was the first thing I trained myself back into once I left the Hestians.  So I was able to bring myself to climax at the thought of my lover seeking me out that night.

Part 2

After I recover from my bit of self-stimulation, I wander out of the meeting "room" and head towards my home.  For some reason my home here in the afterlife is a re-creation of the homestead Iphicles and I shared for that short time we were married before he was crowned king by Jason, rather than the living quarters I shared with Iphicles in Corinth.  Knowing I am to have a visitor that night, I go about tiding up the place and I make sure I have eaten before dark. As darkness falls, I light some well-placed candles throughout the two roomed dwelling.

I sit by the fire, with my newest embroidery project in my lap, and begin to work with it.  Before too long I am so engrossed in the work before me, I very nearly miss the knock at my front door.  I put the needlework down and rush to the door; eager to see Ares after the time we have spent apart.  I throw the door open and smile... my smile freezes on my face when I see the person standing there.  My eyes narrow and I glare at the man standing in front of me.  "What are *you* doing here?"

Paellus grins at me.  Nay, he leers at me.  "Visiting an old friend."

"You and I were *never* friends Paellus... and shouldn't you be in Taurtarus?"

"Why?  Just because I tried to kill your precious Hercules... oh sorry Iphicles, doesn't negate the way I died."

I snort at his statement.  "Believe what you want to.... Now leave!"

Paellus tries to enter my home forcefully.  So I let the door open, spilling him onto the floor.  He gets to his feet quickly and turns to attack me.  But I am already waiting with a swift kick to his voice box.  "Praise Hestia! Praise Hestia!" I yell as I beat Paellus up.

It's a little known fact that Hestian virgins are taught the fine art of self-defense, and mine were augmented with years of training with both Iphicles and Ares.  So Paellus is a pile of writhing nerves in the corner of my floor before the sounds of my first yell finish echoing off my walls.

Suddenly in a flash of blue-white light Ares appears next to me.  He picks Paellus up, and throws him out my door.  I can see the anger in his eyes, but am unsure if it's over my invocation of Hestia's name or my near attack by Paellus.  I go with the latter and throw myself into his arms.

"Oh thank the GODS!  I was so afraid Ares." I say as I snuggle close to the war god's chest.  I nuzzle my cheek in the hair exposed between the two sides of his open fronted, black leather vest.

Ares recovers quickly enough, and pushes me out to arm's distance.  I blink up in confusion at him.  "Being a bit familiar with me, aren't you Queen Rena?"  He purrs down at me.

I raise my eyebrow at his tone and the use of my formal title.  But if that's how Ares is going to play it, I will too.  I put my hands to my heart and take in a quick breath.  I lower myself into my best Court learned curtsy and say, "Thank you Ares, God of War, for removing that ruffian from my homestead.  I do not know what I would have done had he arisen."  I remain in the deepest part of the curtsy, and keep my eyes downcast from the face of my lover, letting him depict how this will play out.

I am soon met by a deep-throated male chuckle, and the weight of two hands at my elbows.  "Stand up Rena.  I was only teasing."

I grin at him as he raises my chin, so that our eyes meet.  I nearly melt at seeing their chocolate color, and the emotions warring within them.  Ares gives me no time to verbally respond to him, as he captures my lips in a bone-melting (were I still in the possession of bones) kiss.

His arms clasp at the small of my back and I feel myself pulled HARD up against his godly frame.  I am somehow able to get my arms from by my sides to around his neck, and I curl my fingers in his ebony locks, longer than the last time I was able to run my fingers through them.

In the distance I hear my front door close and lock.  But I do not care, for only the kiss we are sharing matters; the kiss we are sharing is the limit of my world.  I open my mouth to his questing tongue, and let my own respond in kind.

Soon kissing is not enough for either of us... we have been without each other for much too long.  Somehow, we stumble towards my bed, and Ares lands on the bottom... just where I like him.  I run my nails through the hair on his chest, grazing his nipples.  I feel my own harden as I do so.

I break the seal of our lips first and lick his lips, bottom to top.   I keep my nails running lightly over his chest as I grin down at him.  "Been a long time, Lover."

Ares grins up at me.  Before I can sense what he's up to, I find myself pinned beneath him.  "Too long."  He lowers his head and begins to suckle my right nipple through the material of my dress.

I can feel both nipples harden even further when his warm mouth envelops it.   I run my fingers through his hair and pull his head up and away from my right nipple.  His gorgeous face darkens for a moment, until he sees I was only having him shift to my left nipple.  The feeling of damp material against my warm skin excites me further, and I wiggle my hips enough to come into contact with his hard-on.  I moan deep in my throat when I feel just how ready for me he already is.

Ares lifts his head and smiles at me.  "Does the idea of my sexual readiness please you Blossom?"

I notice he has shifted his weight onto his arms, which were now planted by my shoulders, so I roll him onto his back before I answer.  I pull my knees up to his waist, and lower my ass onto his groin.  He groans when I shift so that his leather encased cock is directly below my cunt.  "What do you think?"  I whisper huskily to him, as I open his leather vest.

Ares sits up enough to let me remove it from his body.  I lick my lips at the sight of Ares without his vest, yet still wearing everything else.  I lay across his chest so that I can kiss the underside of his jaw.  I slowly work my way down his chest, never moving my hips from their position over his.  Ares closes his eyes as he feels my lips work towards his left nipple.

I run my tongue completely around his brown areola, and run my teeth lightly over the hardened nipple.  I hear Ares' breath hiss from between his teeth.  Our eyes meet as I take the nipple into mouth, letting the god know how much I desire him.  He grins smugly, and laces his fingers together, placing them behind his head.  The action flexes his arms, revealing how muscular he actually is.

I can't help myself; I stop and stare as his muscles start rippling in a regular pattern.  I raise an eyebrow and turn to look at him.  Ares just grins again; I roll my eyes, and capture his lips in a quick kiss.  Before he can respond, I have moved my mouth over his right nipple.  I do not take it into my mouth, nor do I encircle it with my tongue, Ares is expecting that, and I quit doing the expected in bed before I married Iphicles.

I open my mouth fully, and release a long breath onto his nipple.  When I feel his cock respond under me, I smile.  Then I purse my lips and blow air onto his right nipple, moving in a circular pattern.  I hear a growl above me, so it appears the war God isn't as unaffected by me as he would have me believe.

"Something the matter?"  I ask him, as I begin to trace the alphabet out on his abdomen.

"Yes there is!"  Before I can blink, I am pinned beneath Ares, and our clothing is gone.  "You were wearing ENTIRELY too many clothes for my taste.   Although you do wear less than most people think you do."

"That's because they're all prudes!" I moan as Ares runs a knuckle over my clit.  "Oooooooohhhhh, do *THAT* again!"

"A command?"  Ares asks amused at my tone, even as he runs his knuckle over my clit again.

I moan, "Noooooooooooooo."  I take a deep breath, and run my right leg down his calf.  "A request."

Ares leans his face directly over mine, his lips but a breath away from my own.  "I take requests.  Have anymore?"

I can feel his cock hitting my right inner thigh.  I spread my thighs apart, and lock my legs around his waist.  Ares does not enter me yet, but I can tell it is costing him... the sweat is pouring down his body.  I lick the droplet from the tip of his nose, and thrust my hips up, sheathing myself around his "sword".  He grunts as he enters me... he forgot I could take his entire length.  "Yes, I do. Fuck me Ares."

"My pleasure."  His mouth closes over my own, and his tongue invades my mouth.  Soon his tongue and cock are thrusting at the same pace.  I wrap my arms around his back, and hold on... knowing that the ride will be a long and strenuous one.

The bed starts hitting the wall with a rhythmic BANG! BANG! BANG!  Ares' balls slap against my inner thighs at the same pace.  Ares thrusts himself into me harder and faster, the tempo ever increasing.  The sounds increase, as does the tempo.  Everything outside my little bed disappears, and my whole world exists only from the lips of my lover kissing me, to his cock slamming into me.  I feel like I'm in caught in a ship during one of Poseidon's tempers.

I can feel my orgasm coming on... and realize it's never happened this soon, ever, not even while making love to Ares.  But I can't think about that now, I can tell by Ares' pace he is near orgasm himself.  I reach orgasm first.

I tear my lips away from his and scream his name. "ARES!"  Through my haze of lust I can hear Ares scream my name, then he grunts and collapses on top of me... something he'd never done before.  I close my eyes and drift off to sleep, hoping Ares will still be there when I awaken.

Part 3

I awaken when I feel something slithering down my body.  I crack my left eye open and watch as Ares pulls himself off my body.  His hair is what I felt... it follows him down my body like the wake from a ship in the ocean.  My lover has long since removed his cock from me, but that's nothing new.  Ares has always removed himself quickly, not wanting to hurt me or something.

I don't react to his movements, because I assume he's just getting ready for another go.  That's why I am so shocked when he leaves the bed completely, and I finally notice he is fully dressed.  My anger leaps to the surface, all post-coital bliss extinguished in its raging fire.  "Leaving so soon Ares?"

He looks at my face, his own reading surprise.  I don't care if he thinks it's some mortal attachment, I leap from my bed and stand in front of him.  "What?  You decided on one last fuck with the Queen of Corinth, the woman who only got into the Elysian Fields because you took pity on her?!?"  I can hear my own voice getting hysterical, but no WAY was I letting him leave me in the afterlife with no good reason for doing so, I wasn't a mortal anymore and didn't have anything pressing.  "No!  It must be because you've got a pressing engagement somewhere... a war in Sparta perhaps.  No, it must be because you can't get enough of the Roman Emperor wanna-be... what's his
name, Jules something or other?"

"Caesar.  Julius Caesar."  Ares sits there and stares down at me... his mouth forming a straight line, those perfect lips compressing against each other.  Every pore in his being is seething menace for me. But I've lost all fear of his threats, I'm already dead, and my judgment cast... my immortal lover can't harm me anymore, except by his presence.

"You know something Ares?  I can survive my afterlife without your pity fucks.  So remove yourself from my homestead if you don't want to be here."  I march over to the door, unlatch it, and open it for the God standing one foot from my bed.  "Well?"  I know I sound like some sort of jealous lover, but I can't help it.  I spent my last moments on Earth in his arms, he was a poor substitute for my beloved husband, but I remember his last words *to* me.... 'I'll see you, same time next year.'

Ares advances across the floor towards me, and I can't help wondering how he'd look dancing the Twankey Twiddle (a new dance I learned from one of my fellow shades on the pier waiting for Charon).  He stops directly in front of me, but I will not raise my face to meet his eyes.  He grabs my chin, and forces me to lock glances with him.  "What I do Shade is not of your concern."

"It is if my husband or his Kingdom are involved.  It's nearly time for that little ritual of yours, isn't Ares?"  His silence is my answer.  "You are so transparent sometimes Ares.  Now I know why Hercules is able to defeat you so easily, you broadcast everything you do in your face... has anyone ever lived long enough to tell you that?"

"No.  But someone has been dead long enough to think she can speak that way to the God of War."

"Oh quit talking about yourself in the third person Ares, only idiots and fools do so."

"And which am I, Blossom?"

His use of my nickname brings me up short.  As suddenly as my anger appears, it leaves.  I stare dumbfounded up at the face so like my husband's... and I crack.  "Get out!"

"If I leave Rena, there's no guarantee I'll ever return."

"Just get out."  I stare blankly forward, barely registering his look of shock as he walks past me.  I notice the blue-white light out of the corner of my eye, and moving like one of Hera's Enforcers I close my door.  I lean against it and start sobbing.  I cry out of hurt and grief.  I cry out of the loss of participating in my son's life as he grows into the man and king I know he will.  I just cry until I can cry no more.

When I have spent all my tears I turn around and hug myself as I look around my homestead.  Until Ares came here it was cozy and quaint, but now its emptiness mocks me.  I close my eyes and lean my head back against the wall.   The previous scene in my home plays over and over again in my mind, and I know that it was entirely my fault.  But how do you apologize to a god?


I feel strong arms lift me into the air, but I'm still at the edge of sleep and just think it's a part of my dream.  I snuggle closer to the chest beneath my cheek, letting the homespun cloth caress my skin.  My eyes pop open at that. Neither of the men I've slept with have *ever* worn homespun, both were too much the warrior to were anything but leather, and Iphicles wore only exotic fabrics the last few years.  I glance up into the amused face of my neighbor, Perdicus.  He chuckles when he sees I am looking at him.  "What's so funny?"

"You are Rena.  I mean who from my life would believe me that *I* a lowly guard in the forces of Troy held the Queen of Corinth in my arms... albeit in the Elysian Fields, and only because I found her slumped on the floor of her house."

"No one actually.  Just like no one we know will ever hear about this, right?"

He drops me onto my bed... and I cringe when I hear it hit the wall... the sound reminding me of last night.  He notices my reaction and goes to sit on a nearby chair.  "Okay Rena... even *you* aren't this moody in the morning.  What happened last night?"

I lick my lips, considering my response, but I decide on the truth because Perdicus is too good a friend for me to lie to.  "Which part do you want first?  The part where I kicked the snot out Paellus? Or the part where I fucked Ares?"

"Ares? God of War, Ares?"

"I wasn't aware of there being others.  Most people don't want to attach that kind of Stigma against their children.  But yes, I fucked the God of war, here in this bed, last night.  Why, do you want the details?"

"Not for all the salt in the Aegean.  But why were you slumped against the wall besides your door?"  He takes my hand in his own, and I know that he doesn't mean it to be sexual in anyway... but he's cute so my body responds a little bit to his touch.

"Because I cried myself to sleep there.  Ares left me on a bad note, entirely my own fault of course, but he still left me badly.  I was crying because just before he left he reminded me so much of my husband, my Iphicles."


When Perdicus asks me that I realize that he died not long after Iphicles was crowned King... so he hadn't heard the stories from his wife.  I sigh.  "Because Ares and Iphicles are similar in everything relating to physical appearance, EVERYTHING, except their hair colors."

"Even their..."  His voice trails off not wanting to speak the question aloud.

"Oh Yes.  Oh and Iphicles has this little mole on his inner thigh."

"*THAT* was more detail than I needed."  He sighs and looks at me again.  "I think you're gonna need the trip I have planned for us more than I do."

"Oh?"  I sit up when I say that.  Sometimes Perdicus can surprise me with his knowledge of the afterlife, but he's been dead longer than I have.

Perdicus laughs at me eager face.  He pinches my left cheek.  "Yes Ma'am.  You get dressed, and I'll be waiting down by the creek."  He gets up from his chair, and walks away.

I can't help myself, I watch his leather encased ass as it leaves my view.  I sigh thinking about the things I could *do* with an ass like that, but know it's very unlikely anything will come of my fantasies. He's so devoted to his wife it's not funny.  I get out of bed and shuck off my dress from yesterday... my dress from yesterday?!?  But I was naked when I slumped against the door, I remember feeling the wood dig into my skin.

I shrug my shoulders knowing that torturing myself over my state of undress (or lack thereof) won't help matters any.  So I grab a simple blue dress from my closet, and run a comb through my hair.  I grab my sandals, and walk outside to meet Perdicus.

He looks up, as if sensing my approach.  He stands, as I get nearer.  Taking my hands in his, he opens my arms wide, checking me out from head to toe.  "I definitely approve!"

I giggle at his statement.  But swat his arm anyway.  "I've worn this dress lots Perdicus... and who says I was seeking *your* approval?"

"No one... but I can bestow it on anyone I choose."

The tone of his voice suggests there is something more to what he is saying.   So I look at him out of the corner of my eye.  "If I didn't know any better Perdicus, I would almost *swear* you were flirting this morning."  I tease him gently.

When he suddenly stiffens next to me, I knew it was the wrong thing to say.  "Would that be so bad?"

"To have a man want me?  Not at all.  But why the sudden change in attitude Perdicus?"  I turn and face him, while waiting my answer.

"Do I need one?"  Then his lips are brushing across my own, and I am too shocked to respond at all.  He pulls away and looks down into my wide-eyed stare.  "Would you please stop looking at me like that?  I'm no God of War... or King of Corinth... but I do desire you Rena."

I just blink my eyes at him... not responding vocally.  He lets out an exasperated sigh and storms away.  It gives me a chance to respond.  I chase after him, and tackle him from behind.  He rolls over, pinning me beneath him.  He stares into my eyes, waiting for my reason for stopping him.  "You're a fine work of man Perdicus.  You kiss a woman for the first time, after *never* hinting before that moment you were interested in her, and believe me I would have noticed.  *THEN* you storm away when she doesn't respond fast enough.  And men call women the confusing sex!"

"So why didn't you let me storm away?"

"Because Perdicus I'm attracted to you, really I am.  But I'm not ready to take a new lover... I won't be for a few years."

"What about Ares?"

"Ares is an old lover.  We've been fucking each other off and on since I was sixteen, and was sacrificed to him for my step-father's assurance of victory."

"Your step-father sacrificed you to Ares?!?  What kind of man would do that to his own family?"

"The Warlord kind, who were losing battles constantly.  Although I volunteered for the duty... Hestian Virgins are always more appealing to the War God."  I smile at that memory, and know that I will probably tell *that* story to my group later today.  "So can we keep going to this destination you had in mind... or has this whole airing of sexual tensions thing gotten in the way?"

Perdicus looks into my eyes, and I hope he can see that I do genuinely care for him, but am *way* not ready to take him on as a lover, yet.  He kisses me softly, and then climbs to his feet, helping me up.  I notice that despite the fact we should *both* be covered in dirt, neither of us are.  So I place my hand in his, and we walk towards our destination, wherever it may be.

Part 4

I twine my fingers into Perdicus' and we start off walking.  I swing our clasped hands, in counterpoint to our strides.  Perdicus looks at me out of the corner of his eyes... and I see the hesitation in them.  I grin.  "Do it.  You *know* you want to."  I challenge him, as I bite my lower lip.

I join my other hand with Perdicus'... then he swings me further onto the path.  When my feet hit the ground, I use myself as a pivot point and swing him further down the path.  We continue the swing and pivot method of getting from place to place for a little while.  Mostly we stop because we enter the woods, and even *if* we are dead it'd still hurt if we hit those suckers!  Perdicus and I laugh together as he wraps his arm around my shoulder.  I glance up into his face, to see the tension that had been there a few minutes ago was gone.  I sigh in relief.

He stops suddenly, and I nearly fall over, only his arm around my shoulder keeps me from falling flat on my face.  I turn a questioning face to him, "Perdicus wha..."

I don't finish my statement, because I hear from behind me. "Well isn't this a cozy little scene?"

I recognize the voice and lift my chin as I turn around to face the speaker.   I raise an eyebrow as I take in the speaker.  He was leaning non-chalantly against a pine tree along what I assume to be our path.  The man's ebony curls reach down past his shoulders, and miraculously the front part is tied back from his face.  His golden skin is stretched taunt over his muscles, and the man has more than should be allowed for any sane woman to see.

I sigh when I see his eyes... and the almost jealous like emotion in them.  "Something I can help you with Ares?"  I jab my elbow into Perdicus when he tries to speak.  It's better if Ares concentrates his anger on me.

"You and I have unfinished business, *Shade*."

His emphasis on that last word... a description of what, not whom I am, tells me of his anger.  I close my eyes and draw upon my wells of inner strength, then I open them and turn towards him, keeping my gaze from his.  "Do we?  I wasn't aware of any... unless you know something I don't?"  I move my eyes from just over his shoulder to meet the chocolate brown depths of his eyes.

I suddenly find myself right next to Ares.  He reaches out and pins me to his chest.  I struggle, knowing what his intentions are.  He plans to make Perdicus see what happens when I kiss a lover of mine.  Somehow he knew what Perdicus and I talked about earlier, and wants to make Perdicus jealous.  I see Ares' head lower towards mine, and as his eyes get closer to my own, I see so much in them.

Just before his lips close over mine, I remove the dagger from his belt, and push it into his groin.  "Release me Ares.  I don't take well to force."

Ares flicks his glance briefly down to the dagger held in my right hand.  Then the God laughs and whispers for me alone.  "Yeah right."  Ares steps into the dagger blade, and kisses me passionately.

I try fighting the force of his kiss... but soon his technique wins me over, and I open my mouth to receive his tongue.  I feel callused fingers brush down my right arm, and remove my fingers from around the dagger hilt.  The dagger is removed from Ares' groin, and my own fingers are placed over the *other* dagger hilt.  I squeeze Ares none too gently, and hear his moan into my mouth.  I hear another moan, this one of disbelief.

It was enough to snap me out of my kiss from Ares.  I tear my lips from his, in time to see Perdicus glare at me as he walks past us.  I glare up at the God of War.  "Fuck you Ares!"

I turn to go after Perdicus and take about three steps away from Ares, when I hear him say, "I accept your offer."

"What?!?"  I yell at him in disbelief as I turn back to face him.

Ares is directly behind me, and as I turn he sweeps me to his chest.  Grabbing my upper arms hard enough to bruise (if I were still alive and had blood), he lifts me and pushes me up against a tree.  "You heard me Blossom."

I stare in disbelief as he lifts my skirts and captures my lips in one move.   The back of my head hits the tree trunk and I feel the brush of Ares' cock against my now bare thighs.  I moan at the feel of him against me.

"I hate you Ares."  I whisper to him.

"Sure you do Blossom.  Open your legs, let me give us *both* what we want."

I've never been able to resist that tone of voice, the one that sounds like he's been waiting all his immortal life just to fuck you... that he'll forsake all others before you.  I know the promises in that tone are false, but I don't care anymore.  I open my legs and wrap them around his hips.  Ares enters me slowly as if punishing me for the scene I caused last night.

When Ares is totally inside me he does nothing.  I open my eyes and stare into his.  That's when he grins at me, he knows I want this as much as he does... and he plans on prolonging it as long as he can.  I narrow my eyes and glare at him.

"That just turns me on more Blossom.  You know I've never been able to resist a woman who despises me."

"Shut up and FUCK Ares!"  Using his shoulders for support, I draw myself up off his cock, until it is nearly out of me, then I release my grip.  Ares grunts at my action, and then he pushes me harder up against the tree.

"You'll regret that Rena."  He accuses.

"Not likely." I respond a grin apparent in my voice.

Then he starts to rock his hips, drawing himself into and out of me.  Still using his shoulders for support, I counter-thrust him with my own hips.  Before long I feel the muscles in his shoulders tighten and I feel my own orgasm coming.

We scream out our climaxes as one.  When Ares has recovered enough, he withdraws from my body, and lowers me to the ground.  He does not however, release me from his grip.  "Am I forgiven?"  He whispers into my ear, and then he kisses the spot just below it.

I close my eyes at the sensation.  "Maybe."  I shift closer to him, pressing our thighs together.

"You're playing with fire Rena."

"Maybe I feel like getting burned Ares."  I capture his lips with my own, thrusting my tongue into his mouth immediately.

He pulls away from the kiss reluctantly, and stares into my eyes.  "Why didn't you honestly try to go after your lover?"

"Because I'm with my lover.  Perdicus is *just* a friend."

"Who wants to be more."

"Well yes, but I'd have to TRAIN the boy!"  I wink up at Ares.

He snorts when he gets my meaning.  Then he looks up at the sky.  "We need to get you to your meeting, so you can tell all those tight-asses about the time you first saw me.  I've always liked that story."

"You would... you got off on being a voyeur as much as you get off being a participant."  I accept the kiss he offers me, and then we head off towards my meeting.

Ares holds me close to his side, placing his arm around my shoulders... as Perdicus' had done earlier.  I know I'll have to apologize to Perdicus again, but after the meeting.  I stumble on a root, and Ares easily swings me up into his arms.  I giggle at the sensation of being held close to the God of War's fabulous chest.

He looks down his nose at me, rather disdainfully, but I can tell by the twinkle in his eyes that he shares my amusement.  "What's so funny Wench?"

"You are, my Lord Ares.  You let me kick you out of my house and bed one night then fuck me up against a tree the next day."

He grins at me.  "Weren't you the one who accused me of being a goldfish once in my pursuit not only of you, but my half-brother?"

I bite my lip at the memory.  It had been after a particularly bad week in the Corinthian Court, and Ares did everything in his power to make me forget about it.  "Hey Rena!  Look it's a blue-toed sloth!"  Ares says softly in my ear.

I blink my eyes at him, and become chagrined at having been caught out in the aether.  "That's nice My Lord.  So now that you've admitted on being a goldfish... does that make me the rock in this scenario?"

"I would say so.  You're a *nice* rock."  I stick out my tongue at Ares, and he laughs.  "Careful Blossom, I might drop you."

I kick my feet in the air and laugh.  I smile at Ares, and when our eyes meet he slows down and stops.  I feel the smile fade from my face as our eyes continue to stare into each other.   I feel my feet hit the ground, and then I see Ares' face loom over mine.

I close my eyes as his lips cover mine.  For just that one moment I can read his mind, he lets me in.  -I love you Rena, never forget that.
The kiss is tenderness and light.  I open my mouth to him, but he does not thrust his tongue into my mouth, but traces my lips with his tongue.  I dart my tongue out quickly to taste his upper lip.  I can feel his mind leaving mine and I think to him.  -I know Ares.  I've always known.-

Our lips separate and I smile at him again.  "Promise you'll kiss me like that again in fifty years and I'll forgo the almost customary disgrace of my divine lover."

He leans his forehead onto mine.  "It's a deal Blossom.  What else is on your mind?"

He knows me too well.  I lace my fingers over his left bicep, and pull him towards the meeting.  "I will tell you on the way."

We walk for a bit before I can tell that Ares is not comfortable with the situation.  He's showing me more regard than he should, the other Gods can still use me against him.  So I unlace my fingers and walk beside him.  I wet my lips nervously, not sure how to word my request.

"Whatever it is Rena, just tell me.  I've known you longer than anyone else in your afterlife... you can hardly fool me."

I sigh, knowing he's right.  "Okay.  I want to help with the ceremony this year, as I have for the last four years."

He doesn't even ask what ceremony I am referring to... it's what reunited us as lovers again.  He stops and runs his hand over his hair, still not obviously used to the style.  "It's not that easy Rena.  The ceremony has to be performed by tomorrow night, you know that."

"Which is why I'm asking you to let me help you.  I know Iphicles hasn't taken a new lover, and barely uses the one we shared.  He spends most of his nights thinking and dreaming about me.  It saddens my heart that he hasn't found anyone; he's got too much love to use it just for Amphytrion.  Please Ares, I know how to seduce my own husband."

Ares can tell by my tone that I have something planned, so he grabs me by the neck and tugs my body up against his.  He leans down, as if to kiss me again, but instead whispers.  "How?"

"Dreams.  You let me seduce him in his dreams, while you use his body in the waking world."

"I'd need to ask Morpheus for a favor."  He says, as he traces the outline of my lips with his tongue.

The sensation distracts me from our conversation... but I persist in my thought process.  "Ask his daughter for help. She works in the Underworld doesn't she?"

"Yes, but she is reluctant to help me, most of the Gods are."

"So seduce her you big ol', leather clad, well muscled, GORGEOUS, hunk of bad boy God, you!  It's worked before.  I mean how many times did you pretend to be Iphicles and get into a courtier's bed?"

He chuckles at that.  "Plenty.  So you are giving me permission to seduce another?"

"You *hardly* need my permission Ares... although in this case I think the ends justify the means.  Don't you?"

He kisses me again.  My arms wrap around his neck, and he pulls me more fully up against his chest.  We remain in that embrace, until a voice clearing behind us, slowly breaks into our consciousness.  Ares lifts his head from mine and glances up.  "Yes Uncle?"  As if to show his disdain for the God of the Underworld, Ares runs his chin over my hair, cradling me more fully against his hard-on.

I shiver as I feel Hades try and get into my mind, but I know that because of Ares' proximity he cannot.  Hades speaks aloud then.  "I have come to collect this wayward Shade.  She is late for her meeting."

"Is she?  Where does the time go?"  He looks into my face then.  He lowers his lips to mine, but whispers, "Tonight," just before they seal over mine.

Ares kisses me so well; I am bowed back over his arm.  My senses reel and I no longer CARE which way is up, nor where I am.  Ares breaks the kiss and grins into my dazed face.  Then he places my hand in Hades'  "Do take care of her Uncle."

I half-heartedly move one wrist at him.  And I can tell I paste a silly grin across my face.  "Bye Ares."  And Ares disappears in his customary blue-white flash of light.  Hades clears his throat and I kind of roll my head over to look at him.  "Hi!  Did anyone ever tell you that you have *Marvelous* blue eyes?"

"Only my wife.  Come along Rena, it's time for the meeting."  Hades leads me towards the meeting.

Part 5

I let Hades lead me towards the meeting, offering no resistance.  I can feel his eyes constantly moving to look at me, and his mind brushing up against mine.  But my thoughts are so full of "Gods Above can Ares KISS!" and similar thoughts that he can't break past it.

I think maybe that was Ares' intention, to give me protection from his Uncle, at least for a little while.  I start humming a tune under my breath, and continue along the path with Hades.

"Will you stop singing that infernal song?"

"Huh?"  I ask Hades genuinely confused at his statement.

Hades stops walking and turns to look me in the eye.  "You, Queen Rena of Corinth, are humming the 'Joxer the Mighty' song under your breath."

"Am I?  I thought I was humming the theme song to that series of plays by Mikalus Crawfordus."

Hades snorts.  "Quit deluding yourself Rena.  *YOU* were humming the Joxer song."


"So stop humming it!  It's annoying!"

I curtsy to Hades.  "Of course MY Lord Hades."  I notice we are right near the meeting place so I step away from The Lord of the Underworld.  "Well I can see that we are near the meeting site.  Thank you for the escort Hades."

I make my way into the meeting and sit down in a nearby chair.  Many of the others are still milling about; I close my eyes and hope that I didn't see Alcemene heading my way.  Now don't get me wrong, I had nothing against her while we were both still alive, but since then well... let's just say that we didn't see eye to eye on a few matters.  I open my eyes and still see her heading my way.  I paste a false smile across my face and greet her warmly.  "Hello Alcemene."

"Hello dear.  May I sit with you today?"

I shrug.  "Sure.  It's a free afterlife."

She gives me a funny look but sits down next to me anyway.  "So what's this I hear about you and Perdicus?"

"WHAT?!?"  There's no feigning surprise here... I honestly don't know what she's referring to.

"Oh Come on Rena.  You're not some repressed virgin, I wanna hear the dirt about you and Perdicus."

I lean a little bit away from her.  "Are you sure you're feeling okay Alcemene?  Perdicus is my *friend*."

"That's not what I hear."  She grins at me.

"Then you were told wrong.  Why do you ask?"

"Word of new lovers travels fast in the Underworld.  Especially between a true innocent and well, someone like us."  She winks meaningfully at me.

I just stare at her... at a loss for words to either deny or approve of her statement.  I am saved from having to make any sort of response when the meeting chairperson stands up and clears his throat.  "This meeting shall come to order.  I believe we were to hear more of Rena's story today?"

I stand up and smile, letting my gaze wander around the meeting.  I wet my lips and then begin my story.  "Okay, I know that my story yesterday wasn't really about Ares, but I had a good reason for telling that part of my life.  That incident was the last time I was to see a man for the next eight years.

"Now don't get me wrong being a Hestian was probably one of the noblest things I did during my lifetime, and it gave me training that I was able to take with me to Corinth.  But it little prepared me for life back in my stepfather's household.  Now the only reason why I left the temple at 17 was because my mother was gravely ill."

I can hear the sympathy rustle through the meeting.  I merely close my eyes in response to it, and continue with my story.  "Gorgus only sent for me because it was about time for one of my mother's regular visits, and he knew she would not make one again.  So he wrote to my high priestess and asked that I be sent home soon, with escort to protect my chastity.

"So it was that I arrived back in Gorgus' stronghold under the guard of five Hestian Eunuchs.  I don't think I have felt as safe at any other time in my life, well except for once."  I grin mischievously, and then continue my story.  "So I arrived in time to listen to my mother's last words.  'Love wisely Rena, and always remember that no man has been able to resist a woman of our line in centuries.'  That last part confused me then, for my mother had never before made any sort of hint that the women in her family were known to be good lovers."

I sigh a bit then, and then square my shoulders.  "But that would explain a lot in my life, wouldn't it?  Blaming some ancient affair one of my male ancestors had with Aphrodite that blessed his entire female line with the ability to be good lovers.  But it's not as simple as that... I've learned since my mother's death that the line would end with a male, a child destined to close the circle."  I hear Alcemene's in drawn breath at my announcement, she is aware that my mother's line has ended with a male, my son Amphytrion.

"But that's not important now... what's important is how and when I first saw Ares.  I first saw him when I was somewhere I wasn't supposed to be, namely his altar in Gorgus' stronghold.  I'd promised Gorgus I would not visit the altar on the nights of the full moon, but he NEVER made me promise about any other times.

"So I was in there looking around, wondering what kinds of things Ares demanded of his followers, as the only deity I was knowledgeable about was Hestia.  I heard footsteps in the hallway, and seeing no other exit, I hid behind some tapestries.

"The door banged against the wall, and Gorgus strode into the room. 'ARES!'  He called out angrily.  'I know you can hear me Ares!  So why don't you tell me why suddenly my army is losing to farmers.  Or are you too busy with your little Xena to care about the rest of us?'

"Ares appeared then, and I was glad I had the wall behind me for support.  His Ebony curls were close cropped next to his head at the time, and those tight black, leather pants."  I sigh at the mental imagery I can conjure not only of those pants, but what is contained within those pants.

I shake myself out of my thoughts; I'm drifting too much from the tale.  "So Ares, the Big, Bad God of War was glowering at Gorgus.  Gorgus didn't even blink and glowered right back at Ares.  Then Ares did the most amazing thing, he laughed.  Not just a polite tension breaker laugh, but a full belly laugh, genuinely amused at Gorgus.  'You always did have more guts than brains Gorgus.  So what do I get out of letting you win?'

"Gorgus smiled then, knowing he only had to offer Ares the right inducement and he would begin winning again.  'How about that new servant girl, Diana?'

"Ares considered it.  'How about your step-daughter, Rena?'  Ares glanced in my direction then.  I swallowed nervously, hoping the God would not reveal my place to Gorgus.

"Ares' statement floored Gorgus, I could tell that from behind the tapestry.   'I can't Ares.  I promised her mother...'

"Ares waved his hand dismissively.  'Fine, fine.  Well then send me this servant girl, but make sure your stepdaughter accompanies her.'

"Gorgus straightened in relief, I think he was afraid of my mother's shade would haunt his dreams.  'When?'

" 'The next full moon, about two weeks from now.'

"Ares was about to disappear, but Gorgus spoke again.  'But about my army?'  Gorgus turned silent then, and let Ares disappear.  'Great.  Okay I just won't fight any battles until after the full moon'

"Gorgus left the altar then, and I left my hiding place.  I vowed to find out who this Diana was... so I could warn her of my stepfather's plans.  It took me a day to find out who Diana was, and I don't remember how, but I got her assigned as one of my maids.  I think I used the excuse of me being more comfortable around women my age, as many of the maids I had then had served my mother before her death.

"When I first saw Diana, I finally understood those whisperings at the Temple, the ones about love between women... the ones I had been so easy to dismiss before.  Diana was, and still is, one of the most beautiful women I've met during my lifetime.  Her tawny colored skin was as smooth as satin. She had no wrinkles or calluses, despite her years of being a maidservant.  Her brown eyes hiding her pain, showing only her joy.  Those dark curls, just perfect for me to twine my fingers into.  And her breasts... their perfection defies comparison."

"ENOUGH!  We are here to listen to each other commiserate about being taken advantage of by a God."  Ariadne yells at me.  She stands up and glares at me. I merely raise an eyebrow at her.

"*SOME* of us went willingly Ariadne!" Someone yells at her.

Ariadne turns to look at the speaker.  "Oh Shut up Acen!  *Just* because Hecate once did you at a Harvest festival is *NO* reason to brag."

Acen grins smugly.  "It was *more* than once.  And this is Rena's time.  She has the floor until her story is finished.  I certainly didn't interrupt you when you were sitting there bragging about your fifty grandchildren, did I?"

Ariadne makes an angry sound, but sits back down.  I click my tongue.  "Now, Now Children, Play nice."  My comment causes many of those in the meeting to laugh because I am the youngest in the group by 24 years... and most of them outdate me by centuries.  "Now then, I believe I was describing the beauty of my first lover, and very honestly the only female I ever took as a lover.

"But don't think I grabbed Diana by the wrist, threw her onto my bed, and ravaged her the second we met.  I think mostly because I didn't understand my feelings for her at the time.  I'd been taught by the Hestians that *ALL* sex was bad, and that those who did not die vestigial would, to quote Priestess Leah, 'Take a Flaming Chariot Straight to Tartarus!'  So Diana was just a servant I had to warn.

"I didn't even think about welcoming her to my staff, I just blurted out the warning.  'Gorgus plans to sacrifice you to Ares in two weeks.'

"She gave me a look then, none of the staff were sure about me then.  I'd only been back in Gorgus' household for a month, and tended to react differently than anyone else in that stronghold.  Diana could tell I believed what was I saying.  'Is that why you got me assigned as your maidservant then Mistress Rena, to warn me?'

"I licked my lips, and noticed her eyes follow my tongue.  Somehow, I knew that whatever I was feeling towards her, my feelings were reciprocated in her.  The knowledge comforted me somehow.  'My reasons aren't paramount to why you serve me Diana.  But among my reasons was to warn you.'

"Diana shrugged.  'If you say so Mistress.  But I was expecting it.  I'm probably the only virgin in the province, except for you.'

"Her comment troubled me.  'Why are there so few virgins?  Is Ares *that* demanding a God?'

"She laughed at me.  'No Mistress.  But many girls would rather lose their virginity with a soldier from your stepfather's army, than be sacrificed to Ares.'  She came and sat next to me on the bed.  'I hear that he's Gorgeous and treats his sacrifices worse than we treat our horses.  It's a mystery to me why women are still sacrificed to him Mistress'

"I smiled then, remembering how Ares had looked two days earlier.  'I think the stories are true, and he *is* gorgeous... I've seen the War God with my own eyes.'  I stopped and sighed then. 'He's enough of a man to tempt even Priestess Leah I think.  Or he would have been when she first joined the temple.  And stop calling me Mistress, you can call me Rena.'

"Diana smiled at me.  'You *actually* saw him Rena?  Where?  When?'

'In his Altar, a day ago.  Oh my!  I think that one glance was enough to fuel my erotic dreams for a few weeks.  But anyway, exactly what is expected of me, now that I have chosen a maidservant?'  I knew then that Servants are always more knowledgeable than most people give them credit for.

"Diana blinked in surprise.  'Well first off we have to get you back into the swing of things here.  I think a long bath before dinner would be appropriate, don't you?'

'Sure.  I'm washing myself, right?'

'Oh, No, Rena.  The Customs of your stepfather's house forbid self-washing.  You must be washed by a servant of the same sex... unless it's erotic.  I understand your mother and Gorgus used to bathe each other.'  She stopped then as if gauging my reaction to that idea.

"I merely raised an eyebrow at her.  'I suspected as much.  The last time I saw them together I was nine years old and they were having sex.  My mother couldn't talk about their sexual relations when she visited me in the Hestian Community, but I could always tell she'd been sent off well.'

"Diana caught my meaning right away. That's another reason why she and I became friends *and* lovers, we thought about the same way... except for a few things.  'If you say so Rena.  I will leave now to begin the preparations for your bath.'

"Diana left my room, and it felt like the sun was behind the clouds.  I just wandered around my rooms, thinking over everything that had happened in the last few minutes.  I realized then that no matter what else happened between us, Diana and I would remain friends as long as we could."

Part 6

"And did you?  Remain friends I mean."

I look over at Acen then.  "Yes.  Diana was one of the last people I saw before I died.  But that is the *END* of my tale, and this is only the beginning!"  I say that last bit with more passion than I feel.  I know that I must document each case of sex with Ares... but there were so many and more than a few of them just blend into each other, GODS!  I hope Ares doesn't realize I think of our sex so casually... although knowing that one he probably does.

With a wolfish grin, Acen raises his fist above his head and says, "Well here's to the beginning!" And then he punches the air with his fist.

"Right.  Anyway I believe I was just standing around waiting for something to happen... Diana to return, the tub to appear to be filled, even now I'm not sure what I was waiting for.  But I decided that I was NOT going to wait for anyone to show, before I undressed.  Just the idea that I was so incompetent that I couldn't dress or undress myself was one of the chief points about living in Gorgus' household that rankled me.

"So not knowing when anyone would come into my room, I scurried behind my changing screen, and removed my dress.  I slid on a simple robe, and belted it at my waist.  Then I worked on removing my boots and undergarments.  I got my belt tied again when I heard a knock at my door. I sat down at my vanity and called 'Come.'

"Spyros walked into the room, followed by a few of Gorgus' warriors, rolling in the tub.  He grinned at me.  'Haven't done that in eight years, as you well know my Blossom.'

"I shrieked with pleasure and tackled the poor man.  I rained kisses across his face and neck.  Finally he was able to push me off of him a little, and smiled down at me.  'It's good to see you Spyros.  Where have you been hiding yourself?'

"I had begun to ignore the other servants in the room, and taking my feelings as cue Spyros did too.  'Well Blossom, I have been taking care of me.  I was sick for awhile before you got home.'  I guess my emotions were written across my face then, I'd just lost my mother, and didn't want to lose him too.  He smiled and ran a hand over my hair, pulling me into his embrace.  'Don't you worry Blossom.  It was just a bit of my coughing fits.  Now you let old Spyros take care of your hair, while we wait for that maidservant of yours to get her butt back in here.'

"I chuckled at Spyros' comment.  I could tell he cared for Diana just by the way he spoke about her.  I let him lead me back to my vanity, and he unplaited my hair, and began brushing it.  Except that I was MUCH bigger now than I was at nine it felt good to let Spyros take care of me, I sighed and closed my eyes at the sensations.

"I was barely conscious of the sounds of water being poured behind me.  So I was shocked at the hands being clapped together, and Diana's voice ringing out above the noise.  'Alright everyone thank you for filling the tub.  Please everyone leave, even you Spyros.'

"Spyros leaned down and gave me a quick hug, then he straightened up and left the room.  I turned around, to see only Diana remaining in the room.  I strode across the room; only the HUGE tub separated us.  I removed my robe, and stepped into the steaming water.  Immersing myself quickly, I emerged to see her still standing motionless.

"I raised an eyebrow and splashed some water at her.  'Hey Diana!  Some help with the washing here?'

"My voice seemed to call her out of her trance.  'What?   Oh sorry Rena.  Right, to the wash!'

"Diana was NOT gentle with her washing that first time.  She scrubbed every inch of my skin until it was pink.  Then she washed my hair five or six times.  Finally satisfied I was as clean as she could get me... she had me step out of the bathtub.  I was quickly wrapped in a towel and I sat down so she could comb my hair again.

"Diana ran the comb though my hair... tugging at the snarls with quick tugs.   She was hurting my scalp, so I spoke up.  'Diana!  That hurts!'

"She stopped combing my hair immediately, and got the most upset look on her face.  I knew that she hadn't been expecting my tone, so I turned around quickly, and wrapped my arms around her middle.  Diana seemed to crumple into my arms.  She and I ended up on the floor, me sitting on my heels, with her legs straddled around me.  I held her in my arms, and let her cry herself out.

"Diana's whole body was racked with her sobs, and I just made comforting sounds as I rubbed her back.  After a few minutes, Diana was able to breath normally and she looked at me, her embarrassment obvious in her face.  I smiled invitingly, letting her know that whatever set her off, I would understand.

"She smiled back at me, and she wiped her face with the back of her hand.  We both remained on the floor, with her still held in my arms.  She leaned back in my arms, I think to look at me better, and then she spoke.  'I'm sorry Rena.  I didn't mean to be so rough with you... but well...'

"I squeezed her hips, and brought her closer.  'It didn't hurt, much.  But I'm more concerned with your crying.  I wasn't *that* harsh, was I?'

"Diana giggled then.  'No Rena, you weren't.  I think it's just that my emotions are wrung out.  Being a servant here, and now being *your* maid is more than I was ready for.'  She grew silent then, not sure if she should continue.  But then her shoulders straightened, and she looked me in the eye.  'There's another reason too.'

"I raised my eyebrows at her statement.  'Oh?'

"She licked her lips.  'Yes.  I think I was harsh in the bath, and with the comb because I was punishing us both, mostly you though.'  She stopped and bite her lower lip.  I waited with a held breath, knowing whatever she said would mean something.  'I was punishing you because of what you make me feel.'

"I released my breath quickly.  'What do I make you feel?'

"She took my face in her hands, and our gazes locked.  I could read the emotions contained there... but many of them I did not have names for, and I suppose mine were saying the same things to her.  'You make me feel safe, and yet in need of protection all at one moment.  I want you Rena, as I've wanted no other being before in my life.'

"Diana stood up quickly, as if to run away now that she admitted it.  I grabbed her wrist, and brought her back down.  Capturing her lips in a quick kiss, I let my actions speak for themselves.  When we both broke away from the kiss, our breathing was heavy.  'I reciprocate your feelings Diana.  But we need to give ourselves time... we've barely met, and Gorgus would only reassign you should he suspect there is *more* than friendship between us.'

"She sat down next to me, and hugged me.  'I agree.  We need to finish getting you ready for dinner.'

"We both stood up, and I sat back down at the vanity.  She took the comb up in her hand, and began to comb my hair... much more gently this time.  Once my hair was combed, she began to style it.  I'm still not sure what the style is called, but Diana piled my hair at the top of my head, and pulled bits of the hair loose, a little before my ears, and the rest mostly at the back of my neck.  She tied it in place with a strand of pearls, which I honestly recognized as my mother's.

"She stood back from me, and examined my hair.  'That's the best I can do with your hair, as this is not a formal occasion.  So now we just need to get you dressed.'

"I swallowed nervously.  'Are you sure that's wise Diana?  Especially after what we've told each other?'

"Diana pulled me to my feet, shoving me in the direction of my changing screen.  'I think I can resist you.  You're not *that* irresistible, at least not yet.'

"She laughed then, and I joined her.  I removed the robe, and I got into my dress with her help.  She nearly fell over when I refused the undergarments... but I accepted the socks so that my boots would be comfortable.  The laces on my dress were pulled so tight I squeaked when she tied the knot.  I looked down at my breasts and laughed... the cold in the room was affecting my body as it should, and my lack of underclothing underlined this fact.

"Wanting to see Diana's face, I spun around to face her.  'Well?'

"She grinned when she saw my nipples puckering in the cold.  Then she leaned forward and whispered in my ear, 'I think Gorgus may re-think that decree that no man is to touch you.  Although I will probably be tortured with the knowledge that you are naked under that dress, accept for your socks.'

"I pulled her in for a kiss, and unlike the last one, this one contained heat and passion.  We both pulled away reluctantly, knowing that Gorgus would wonder what had happened if I looked thoroughly kissed when I ate dinner with he and a few of his most loyal warriors that night.  I whispered to her.  'Good.  We may be taking this slow... but that doesn't mean that either of us have to play fair!'

"I left the room on that parting shot, and made my way down to the dining hall.  I entered, and stopped.  I noticed that I was the only woman in attendance even the servers were male.  I turned a bemused look onto my stepfather.  'This isn't some orgy, is it Gorgus?  You know Hestia forbids those kind of things.'

"Gorgus laughed at my comment.  'No Rena, this isn't an orgy.  For shame, I thought those kinds of thoughts weren't allowed in a Hestian's mind.'

"He took my elbow and lead me to the head of the table. He pulled out a chair for me, to his right... a position normally reserved for a wife.  Then I realized that with my mother dead I was the Hostess in his household.  I let him seat me, and when he joined me in sitting down I smiled at him, ready to begin our conversation anew.  'They aren't Gorgus, but I'm hardly a Hestian right now, am I?'

"Gorgus laughed again, then he signaled his warriors to sit down.  That signaled the servers to begin pouring the wine.  Once everyone had their cup full, Gorgus raised his in salute to me.  'Here's to my stepdaughter's safe return home.'

"Every man there raised his cup to that toast.  I knew the gauntlet had been thrown at me feet, so I raised my glass in another toast.  The men all looked at me puzzled, guess they thought that my Hestian training would have made me submissive or something.  I licked my lips in anticipation of their reactions.  'And here's to never trusting in what only your eyes tell you!'

"Laughter rang out at my toast... but it was drank to.  Gorgus chuckled at me, but there was no comment from him about my challenge.  The rest of the meal passed with very little talk directed my way.  I guess the men didn't realize that I could understand their conversation about wars and weapons, so I spent the night absorbing the way my stepfather's armies fought.  At one point I could feel the tension in the room, and I knew why it was happening; they wanted to talking about sex... be it sex with women or men it didn't matter.  They weren't talking because they didn't want to offend me.

"Hiding my smile behind my hand I yawned, then I rose to my feet.  Gorgus got to his feet.  I turned and smiled at him.  'If you will excuse me stepfather I've had a long day, and my day tomorrow looks to be equally as long.'  I turned to face those warriors, and none could meet my eye; it's as if they all knew I knew what they wanted to talk about, and couldn't believe they'd been so transparent that a former Hestian could pick up on it.

"Gorgus took my hand in his, and placed a kiss on the back of it.  'Of course my dear Rena.  Do have a pleasant sleep.'

"I left that room, and only made it about ten paces before my laughter broke out and I had to lean against the nearest wall for support.  I wrapped my arms around myself, and started laughing so hard I cried.  I heard footsteps behind me and I ducked into the nearest room.  I sighed when I noticed that I was once more in Ares' Altar.

"I heard someone praying inside, and what I heard gave me pause.  It was Diana's voice, praying to Ares.  'Oh Great Prince of Olympus I pray to you this night for guidance in my life.  Ares, you and I both know that by the time the full moon arrives I won't be eligible to be sacrificed to you; Rena and I may be trying to take it slow... but we're both so needy for love, we won't be able to stop ourselves.  If you want me as your sacrifice, you need to take me now.'

"She grew silent, not really expecting an answer, but one came to anyway.  Ares appeared beside her in a flash of blue-white light.  He kneeled next to her, and took her chin in his hand, forcing her to look him in the eye.  'So you're the one Gorgus wants to sacrifice to me.  Does he know about your feelings towards his stepdaughter?'

"Her spine stiffened, and I could tell he glared at him.  'No he doesn't.  You won't tell him, will you Lord Ares?'

"Ares laughed then.  'No I won't.  But are you sure you want to sacrifice yourself to me now?  You can still be sacrificed to me in the formal ceremony in two weeks, even *if* you and Rena become lovers between now and then.'  Diana's breath caught, and I could feel my own breath being held.  'But I think I will take some of what you are offering me now.  After all I have an image to maintain.'

"Ares pulled Diana to his chest, then he plundered her lips.  From what I could tell he kissed her in every way possible, not letting her come up for air. When Ares was done, she had fainted from lack of oxygen.  He chuckled and laid her gently on the floor.  Within a blink of an eye he appeared next to me.  'Do you like watching Rena?'

"His soft voice in my ear startled me, and I responded without thinking. 'I wouldn't know Ares.  I've been a Hestian for eight years.'

'So I noticed.  I can't wait to tell my kinswoman that one of hers was so easy to seduce.'  He leaned down and kissed me thoroughly.

"I felt his arms go around my body, and his hands drifted down to my ass.  He began kneading it, as if it were dough.  I moaned at the sensation, and my moan opened my mouth to the assault of his tongue.  It felt weird at first having someone else's tongue in my mouth, but then I decided that I wasn't being active enough; so I slid my tongue across Ares' and into his mouth.

"The War God is the one that moaned this time, and I felt something hot and hard against my belly.  Ares' arms pulled me tighter up against him, but he released my lips.  He grinned down at me.  'You certainly aren't reacting like a Hestian.  Perhaps you lied to your stepfather and were really at one of Apollo's temples all these years?'

"I could tell he was teasing me, and trying to reassure himself that I wasn't a virgin.  'You're the God here Lord Ares.  Why don't you tell me?'

"He ran a finger along my lips, and I darted out my tongue to lick it gently.  When he didn't pull it away, I pulled it into my mouth, sucking on his finger, as if inviting another part of his body to invade my body in the same way.  He growled, and pulled his hand away.  'Gorgus should lock you into a Chastity belt tomorrow!'

"I licked my lips when I saw his reaction.  'Is that a threat my Lord Ares?'

"He ran a hand up my jaw line, then plunged it into my hair.  He pulled backwards on my head, exposing my neck.  'No, but I won't tell Gorgus what happened here tonight. If...'

'If what?'

'If you let me mark you as mine, for now and until I tire of you.'  Ares grinned at me then.

"The tone in his voice, and what I could read in his eyes excited me.  I wasn't sure what he truly wanted; at that point I didn't care.  'I am but a mortal Ares.  You do not need to ask my permission for anything.'

"He grinned at my words, and lowered his head to my neck.  I wasn't sure of his intention, but then I felt his beard against the side of my throat, up near my ear.  Then I felt his lips against the skin, right behind my ear.  His tongue seemed to sear my skin, then I felt his mouth begin to suckle that bit of skin behind me ear and my legs gave way.  Only Ares' arms around my waist kept me upright.

"After a few moments he raised his head and grinned into my dazed face.  'Now you're mine.  This mark won't disappear, not until I'm done with you.  Just tell people it's a birthmark.'

"I swallow then.  'But what about Diana?  and Spyros?  They both know it won't be.  I mean it's been a few years since Spyros saw my whole body, but he'd know for sure.  And Diana, she saw my entire body only earlier this night.'

"Ares chuckled then.  'Foolish Mortal, they will both think it's always been there.'  Then he removed his arms from around me, and even though I whimpered from the loss of his heat, he left in a flash of blue-white light.

"My hand went up to just behind my right ear, wondering what this 'Mark' he gave me looked like.  But I knew I had to get Diana out of that Altar... from the looks of it, I would have said many of those warriors of my stepfather's used it as a place for trysts, with each other or a servant at the Stronghold.  In later months I was proved right."  I grew silent then, and sat back down.  No way was I gonna tell them more today, I'd already told them more than I'd intended, while I hadn't gotten to the sacrifice yet, I knew I would soon enough.

The others at the meeting exchanged glances and I could tell that they were going to let me off the hook today.  So one by one they left the meeting area, until only Alcemene and I remained.  I turn to look at my mother-in-law.  "Yes Alcemene?"

Her face broke out into a broad grin.  "Nothing much. Would you like to come to my place for dinner tonight?  I think you and I should talk."

Knowing she was right, I nodded.  "Of course.  Shall we go now?"

Together the pair of us left that meeting area, and I for one was dreading the upcoming talk.  I knew it was necessary.  We had to get over our problems before the men in our lives joined us in the afterlife, and now was a better time than later.

Part 7

I follow my Mother in law towards her home here in the afterlife.  As I had expected, the place is an exact replica of her house near Corinth.  I smile when I notice the plants growing outside her house... even in death Alcemene can't help but have an herb garden.  It was strange seeing her house, the one that during my life I thought of as welcoming, now I'm not so sure.

She opens her door easily and heads directly into the kitchen, assuming that I would follow her... and I do.  I walk into her house, reminded of the first time I did so in my existence; that was the day my Iphicles took me home to meet his mother.  I was in awe of Alcemene at the time, she had managed to look past how her second son had been conceived, and had raised both her sons to be honest... well for the most part.  I know if I close my eyes I could probably call up the look on Iphicles' face when he introduced me to her, that mix of pride, fear, and confusion.  But I do not close my eyes; I take in a deep breath and square my shoulders, approaching the kitchen with a smile on my face.

Alcemene hands me a bowl filled with vegetables, and I merely raise an eyebrow at her.  "And what do you want me to do with these?  Cook them?  Prepare them for cooking?  Put them on the table?"  I remain in my place until she answers me.

She sighs heavily, and I can tell by that sigh she's basically saying, "Gods keep me from overindulged daughter-in-laws!"  I know this because she actually said that once before she married Jason, when Iphicles and I visited her; since then she's sighed in the same manner every time I didn't do exactly what she thought I should, when she thought I should.  I remain waiting for her to answer me.

Alcemene chuckles at my complete lack of movement.  "They're ready for eating Rena.  Just put them on the table.  If you wouldn't mind setting the table as well, I'll finish up the soup."

I take the vegetables to the table and set them down.  I head back towards the kitchen, heading for the cabinet containing the dishes and utensils.  I don't have to ask where it is... if I remember one thing about Alcemene's it's where the dishes are.  I finish setting the table quickly, and head back into the kitchen.

"Anything else you need me to do Alcemene?"

"No dear.  Just sit at the table, I've got the soup."

My eyes widen when I see the size of the soup tureen she brings out, it looks like she'll have some left for at least another day.  I sit at the table, my hands linked in my lap.  Alcemene sets the tureen down, and begins to fill my soup bowl.  I take that as a signal, and fill my plate with the vegetables, a mixture of leafy vegetables and others.  I believe it's called a salad, something that had only reached the Corinthian court just before my death, I think it came from Rome.  I fill my plate, and reach for hers,
filling it as well.

We eat in silence for a while, but I can barely swallow my food, knowing this is merely the calm before the storm.  We both finish our meals, and I fidget a little with the ring on my right hand. Alcemene sighs.  "I won't hurt you Rena."

"So you claim.  Okay I'm here, we had a meal, what else do you want Alcemene?"

"I want to know why you just vibrate hatred towards me.  We got along well in life, what changed in the afterlife?"

"Nothing changed... I just learned what kind of sanctimonious bitch you are."

"Excuse me?  You have *NO* right to speak to me like that, especially not in *MY* house."

"I have every right Alcemene!  I was there when you died... I was watching with the Goddess who watches over the Elysian Fields.  While she was not my keeper at the time, she knew you were destined for this place, and permitted me to view your crossing over.  What I saw shocked me to no end!  You never ONCE thought about your eldest son while on your death bed."  She tries to speak, but I interrupt her.  "Don't try denying it... I was reading your mind, catching your thoughts.  You drifted between worrying about leaving Jason alone, and not getting to see Iolaus or Hercules settled again.  There were no thoughts about your grandson Amphytrion, and not getting to see him grow up.  There were no thoughts about getting to see the wife and children of Hercules.... Deianeira, Aeson, Klonus, and Ilea.  And there definitely weren't any thoughts about your son Iphicles, my husband.  So I don't know Alcemene... why would I be angry towards you?"

She just sits there, blinking at me, as if having to accept everything I say.  I can tell when she reaches a decision, "You knew my thoughts at death?"

"For the most part.  I'm sure there were a few I didn't catch... But yes.  Why?"

"How could anyone let you violate me so?"

"It was hardly a violation. Anyone with half a talent in the arts can read the thoughts of a dying person.  As I understand it humans practically scream their last thoughts.  You should know that by now... or have you not yet visited the well of remembrance.  I personally heard Iolaus' last thoughts like he was in the chamber with me.  What?  You hadn't realized Iolaus died, again?"

I personally smirk internally at my comment.  It had been a little joke between Iolaus and I, about the numbers of times he had "died" for Hercules... and how he hoped to "die" a few more.  But Iolaus and I agreed that unless he was able to get Hercules rip roaring drunk, it was unlikely he could convince his best friend to be his lover once more.  On the few occasions that Iolaus thought of me, which was honestly more than my own brother in-law does, he always sent my news of how Iphicles and Amphytrion were doing... or what new adventure he and Hercules had gotten themselves into.  Iolaus was by far the better man of that traveling pair, although nearly everyone else will tell you it is Hercules.

I sit there waiting for an answer from Alcemene... but she remains silent.  A knock sounds on her door, and I rise to get it.  I open the door and raise an eyebrow at the being before me.  For some reason Hermes is right outside the house of my mother in-law.

"Are you Rena, Late Queen of Corinth?"

"Yes.  To what do I owe the honor of your visit Hermes?"

"I bring summons from Ares, God of War, and Alaniya, Daughter of Morpheus."  Hermes hands me a scroll, clearly marked with the seal of Ares and another seal, I presume it to be that Alaniya.  He smiles.  "I will see you again I think Rena, Daughter of Mikalaus."

With that parting shot, Hermes leaves.  I was a little confused because I had always heard that Hermes and Aphrodite were good friends, speaking in the same manner... but I saw no evidence of it.  I broke the two godly seals, and read the short message.

    "Rena, Daughter of Mikalaus, Wife of Iphicles,

     Your proposed action for tonight has been agreed upon by all 
     divine powers thus involved.  You are to report to your dwelling
     in the afterlife immediately.

     Ares, God of War
     Alaniya, Daughter of Morpheus"

I look up to see Alcemene staring quizzically at me.  I lick my lips.  "I am summoned to my home.  I will take my leave of you now Alcemene.  I expect you'll have a few choice things to say to me when I see you tomorrow at the meeting."  Before she can respond to my statement I leave her dwelling and head for my own.

I open the door and walk inside.  Ares and another woman are already there... sitting on my only two chairs.  "Who's your friend Ares?"  I say huskily into his ear.

He reaches back and sits me on his lap.  Plunging his hands into my hair, he tilts my face up towards his.  I wet my lips, and smile invitingly at him.  Ares growls and captures my lips in a quick, and passionate kiss.  He breaks the contact and says, "That is Alaniya, Daughter of Morpheus, and she will be helping us with your little plot tonight.  What pray tell, *IS* the plan, *Shade*?"

I slid off his lap, and go to lean up against the windowsill.  I cross my arms and turn my gaze on both of them.  "Will she help us?"

"Of course I will.  All of Olympus knows of the Corinthian pact... although I think you're the first QUEEN of Corinth to have known about it.  Besides, I've always been a sucker for a pair of Brown eyes."  She winks meaningfully at me, and I grin back at her.

Shaking my head to get my hair off my shoulder I grin.  "Okay, then here's the plan...."


I wait in the bedroom that I once shared with Iphicles, he hasn't changed it since I died... he hasn't even removed my clothes from where I stored them.  I walk towards them, and close my eyes when I feel the emotions emanating from them, my happiness and love... but all that tinged with the overwhelming loneliness and grief of Iphicles.  "Oh Baby.... why did you let yourself get so lonely?"

Ares answers me.  "Because he loves you Rena.  You were the best thing that ever happened to him, through you he was able to be accepted for who he was... not who he wasn't."  He wraps his arms around me, trying to offer me comfort.

I'm not sure how he can touch me in the mortal world, but I assume it's because of the mark I still bear.  I lean back into his embrace and close my eyes, letting his heat suffice me.  "I yelled at Alcemene today.  I don't think we'll speak again for a few days... at least not outside of the meeting."

"The feelings between you two have been on the verge of erupting for months now, Alcemene just didn't know it."  He grows silent, and rests his cheek on my hair.  "Are you sure you can do this?"

"Of course I can Ares.  You just have to remember to leave his bed before he wakes up in the morning... I will tell him the truth next time."

"What next time?  What makes you think I'll need the help of a dead mortal again?"

"You won't... but my husband will be visited by his wife's shade one more time.  I have the agreement of Alaniya on that."

"Gorgus was always wrong to underestimate you, you always were too sneaky for your own good."  He turned to me to face him.  Then he lowered his lips to mine, and kissed me.

About that time, the door to the bedchamber opens.  Iphicles strides in, and looks about.  My heart would surely have been beating rapidly were I still alive.  His russet colored hair is windblown, as if he had just gotten back from riding.  I licked my lips when I notice that someone obviously convinced him to eat again, because he was back up to the same musculature as when I died.  I bite my lips, and look up at Ares.

He nods his consent, and I step into him.... pushing him out of his own physical body.  It instantly becomes my form, and I appear in the bedchamber.  Iphicles hears me appear and turns to look.  His eyes widen and he takes in a quick drawn breath.

I smile at my husband.  "Hello Lover, I didn't think you'd come."  I stay where I'm standing, I can tell by the way he is holding himself that he can not believe this is real.

Iphicles strides across the room, stopping in front of me.  "Rena?  Are you really here?"

He reaches out a hand and brushes my cheek.  I place my hand over his and smile.  "Yes my Love, I am."

He sobs once, and pulls me to him.  I wrap my arms around his leather-encased torso, and take in his smell.  His hands roam over my body and he says, "Oh Rena, why didn't you come to me before?"

I can't answer him right away, because I tilt my head up to meet his kiss.  Our lips meet, and my tongue plunges into his mouth, exploring every crevice that has been denied to me over the last year.  He moans into my mouth, and twines one hand into my hair.  I smile and let him control the kiss for a while.  His tongue follows mine into my mouth and he runs his tongue over my teeth.

I can feel him exhaling from his nostrils and I glory in both the feel and sound of it.  I tilt my hips further into his, and am met by his erection.  I can feel myself getting lightheaded, and know that in this place I must breath, so I break the kiss, leaning my forehead against his collarbone.

I hear his ragged breathing and feel my own.  I catch my breath and look up into his deep brown eyes.  "I only have a few minutes Iphicles, then I must return this body to its rightful owner."

"A few minutes Huh?  Not the kind of reunion I was hoping for...."  Iphicles lets his voice trail off, as she starts to remove his sword belt.

I place my hand over his.  "That's not what I meant Iphicles.  While we *BOTH* need and want to fuck you to within an inch of your life.... I wouldn't be able to do it, at least not here."  I grin mischievously at him.

"Where?"  I can sense his uneasiness... he's worried that I have come to ask him to take his own life and join in the afterlife...or something as horrible as that.

"In your dreams.... I have permission from Morpheus to visit your dreams tonight.  You will not remember most of what happens, but you will wake remembering that I visited you... and how you get some of your bruises."

"Bruises?  That will shock the court in the morning... very well.  What do I have to do?"  He grins at me, and I can tell that he still likes to scandalize the Corinthian court; always happy to help him do so, I grin back.

Ares, who had remained silent and motionless throughout my greeting of Iphicles, hands me a flagon.  When my hands wrap around it, Iphicles sees it appear.  "Must drink the potion in this flagon.  It will put you to sleep within a few minutes... and will awaken you at sunrise tomorrow."  He eyes the flagon warily, still wondering if I'm here to poison him.  "Grow up Iphicles.  If I take your life, I will be condemned to the bowels of Taurtarus... my judgment is not strong enough to keep me in the Elysian Fields were I to do that."

His gaze darts to mine when he hears about my judgment, and he can tell the truth from my eyes.  Iphicles takes the flagon and empties it in a few gulps.  He wipes his lips with the back of his hand, and hands the now empty flagon back to me.  Ares wraps his hands around it... and I let go, letting it escape from Iphicles' sight.

"Now what?"

"Now I suggest you remove your sword belt, and get onto the bed.  Sleeping in your clothes would be nothing new for the servants, would it?"

I can see the brief embarrassment flash in his eyes, and then he shrugs.  "No I guess not.  Will you join me on the bed?"

"Of course.... I want to hold you as you fall asleep.  I won't have the chance again until you join me in the afterlife, many years from now."

Iphicles lies down on the bed, and I crawl onto it next to him.  I lay mostly on top of him, his arms holding me, and my head resting against his chest.  I close my eyes and savoir the sensation hoping to keep it with me for those lonely nights I know are to come.

"Rena?"  His voice is soft, and very sleepy sounding.

"Yes my Love?"

"Which God should I pray to for letting you visit me?"

"Ares, a favor repayment to the Corinthian Queen."

"That's nice."  He drifts into sleep, but his hold does not slacken.

Ares comes to stand by the bed.  "Well this is bad.  How are we going to change places?"

"Roll across the bed Ares.  It's the only way not to hurt him.  Remember to complete the link when we exchange places."

Ares rolls his eyes at me.  Then he rolls across the bed, as his soul touches his body, I feel myself forcefully ejected from it.  I complete the roll across the bed, and land on the floor.... or at least where I perceive the floor to be.  I look down at the bed, and see my Husband and my lover entwined in each other's embraces their dualness so beautiful it could break one's heart.

Ares lets himself drift off to sleep, lying in Iphicles' embrace.  He knows I will awaken him when I enter the dreams of Iphicles.  I stand staring at the two of them... different only by their hair, at least in sleep, and remain guarding them until Alaniya joins me.  "It is time Your Highness."

She turns towards the East, and grabs my hand.  Together we walk into a strange, green light.