Homeward, These Shoes (Satyros)

Feb 1st, 2017
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  1. The worn sandals on his feet kicked up a cloud of dust behind him, his practiced marching ringing out a constant beat as he moved southward along the dirt road. His shield, slung over his shoulder, bounced with each step as he walked onwards, unperturbed by the weight his armour cast upon his body. After over two years of nearly non-stop fighting and marching, he had grown used to the once heavy bronzen equipment, the bronze that he had so obediently cared for since it was gifted to him by his father.
  3. The armour had become a second skin to him, with his sword and spear a third and fourth arm, the daily drills having honed his abilities to the best they had ever been. When he first wielded them, they had felt awkward and clumsy with each jab and swing, but under the guide of his fellow soldiers, he had become proficient not only in his attacks, but also in his defences.
  5. He had stood next to his Lacedaemonian brothers at the Hot Gates, holding fast and repelling every attack day after day, spilling blood as they defended their homeland from the savages from the east. Each thrust and swing motivated by the thoughts of those he was protecting, spurred on by the raucous cheers of his comrades and the rousing speeches of his King.
  7. Then at Plataea, once more he fought alongside his fellow countrymen, now with hope for victory. Charging down the hill, they had broken the Persian lines handily, slaying their leader, destroying his guard, and driving the rest into the sea. Sestos, Cyprus, and Byzantium had followed next, each battle quicker, yet somehow bloodier than the last.
  9. And now he found himself walking once more in the shadow of the hills overlooking his homeland, the sea still visible underneath the setting sun, which dyed the farms and wineries of the countryside in a warm glow. It had been over two years since he had seen this view. Two years of thoughts about home, of dreams about sitting on the cobble wall behind his house, looking out over his vineyard with her hand in his.
  11. His thoughts had always drifted back to her. Whenever he was marching, on rest, or falling asleep, he had always returned to her. He would think back on their times together, the nights he would sneak out from his bed just to meet her by the cliffs overlooking the water, how she always knew what to say, whether it be a quick jab at his foolishness, or words of encouragement when he was feeling down.
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  15. “HEY DIONYSIUS! UP HERE!” the girl yelled down, her voice echoing across the beach. Dionysius looked up from the white sand, his eyes scanning the rocky cliffs above before finally spotting her.
  17. He grinned and broke out into a run, churning up the sand before coming to the cliffside, beginning his climb upwards. Soon enough, he reached the top, hauling himself over the last ledge before turning over on his back, gazing at the sky and panting for breath.
  19. “Took ya long enough, Dion.” she said with a grin, kicking his shoulder with one of her hoofed feet.
  21. “Kept you waiting, huh?” he laughed, sitting up and pushing away her furred, digitigrade leg before he looked up at her. The young girl, already a few years younger than Dionysius, grinned back at him, her reddish brown hair falling down just past her shoulders, two curving horns sprouting from the top of her skull.
  23. The Satyros extended a hand out to him, “Just get up already, I wanna show you something.” As Dionysius reached out for a hand up, the girl snatched her hand away, shouting out a “Psych!” before turning and beginning to sprint further in the other direction. “Hurry up, Dion! You’re so slow!”
  25. Dionysius jumped to his feet, beginning to run along the cliff after his goat-like friend, “Korinna! Wait up!”
  27. Korinna just turned and stuck her tongue, quickly climbing to a higher part of the cliffs as the boy ran after her, the waves of the Aegean gently crashing onto the beach below underneath the pale moonlight.
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  31. Grinning and shaking his head as he thought back to all the times they had spent by the sea, he found himself walking past a familiar outcrop of rocks just next to the road, not unlike the ones down by the beach. This was the other place they had spent so much time together, and it held memories that were dear to his heart.
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  35. “What did you drag me out here for?” Korinna asked quietly, rubbing some sleep from her eyes. “You know I’ve gotta be up early in the morning, right?”
  37. Dionysius just nodded, standing near the edge of the outcrop as he looked down towards the town below. Faint fires could be seen scattered around the buildings, but for the most part, all was still.
  39. “Seriously, what is it?” she asked again, annoyance clearly growing in her voice.
  41. The young man looked back over his shoulder at the Satyros, her now short trimmed hair gently blowing in the summer night breeze. “Come here,” he said, beckoning her forward with a wave, “I want to show you something.”
  43. Korinna stepped forward, standing next to and looking up at Dionysius, who was busy gazing at the sky above, his eyes wandering from star to star. “What is it?” she asked once more, prodding him in the side.
  45. Breaking his stargazing, Dionysius grabbed the Satyr’s hands in his and looked her straight in the eyes. “Korinna, you know you mean a lot to me, right?”
  47. The girl just tilted her head, brows furrowing in confusion as he continued, “Well, you do. You’ve been my best friend since as long as I could remember, I mean, you’ve always been by my side no matter what.”
  49. Korinna grinned at this, “Yeah, like that time I had to beat the snot out of those two older kids that were picking on you? Great times.” she said with a nervous chuckle, trying and failing to loosen Dionysius’ grip on her hands.
  51. “Yeah, thanks again for that.” he said sarcastically, breaking eye contact and looking off to the side. “Look, what I’m trying to get at is, uh…” he trailed off, at a loss for words.
  53. “What you’re trying to get at is?” Korinna replied, eyes squinting thought. “Seriously, just tell me, I’m not a seer or anything.”
  55. Dionysius took in a deep breath, “What I’m trying to get at is,” he exhaled before meeting her eyes again. “I want you to continue being by my side. As in, uh, forever.” he said hurriedly, blood quickly rushing to his cheeks.
  57. Korinna gasped and broke her hands free from Dionysius’ grip, taking a step backwards, a hand brought up to her lips. “Dion, are you saying…” she trailed off, still not believing the words coming from her friend’s mouth.
  59. “Yes!” Dionysius shouted, “I love you, Korinna!”
  61. The two stared at each other following this outburst, only the distant sound of rusting leaves to be heard as Dionysius confession rang out through the night.
  63. “Dion, I-”
  65. “Ah man, I shouldn’t have said that,” Dionysius interrupted, burying his face in his hands. “Look, let’s just forget about me saying that, and we can go back to be-”
  67. Korinna rushed forward and grabbed the man by his shirt, pulling him down to her height and capturing him in a deep kiss, before finally wrapping him in a hug and mumbling into his shoulder, “I can’t believe it took you so long, Dion. I love you, too.”
  69. Dionysius looked stunned downwards at the Satyros clinging to his chest, her red eyes peering back up from behind her unkempt bangs, a small blush forming on her cheeks. She pecked him on the lips again, before deftly sneaking her hands underneath his shirt and pulling it off of his body, “But if you really love me,” she chuckled and removed her own shirt, allowing her modest breasts to move as her chest heaved with a heavy breath, “then prove it. Right here, right now.”
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  73. Dionysius thought back to their first night together, his armour rattling as he laughed to himself, he never thought the night would have ended the way it did. It was a shame that their time together as a couple had been so brief. He still cursed the Persians for ripping him away from his life.
  75. Coming around a bend in the hillside, the man finally caught site of the modest one story house next to the road, its white stone walls and red tiled roof still the same as when he had left two years ago. Perhaps the trees around it had grown taller and thicker in his time away, but other than that, his home was more or less the same.
  77. Looking down towards the hill beneath it, the grape vines growing easily in the soil, Dionysius could see the short wall at the base of the house, separating it from the fields.
  79. And seated on it, he could see her.
  81. He picked up speed, entering a jog as he came closer, throwing open the gate to the property and barrelling down towards the wall, discarding his arms and armour as he came closer. Stopping a few meters short, Dionysius took off his final piece, his helmet, before dropping it to the ground, a large sound ringing out as it impacted the ground.
  83. The woman, startled, whirled around at the noise, doing her best not to spill the cup of wine in her hands. Her now grown out red locks swaying from the sudden motion obscured her vision momentarily, but once she had cleared her view, she gasped, dropping her wine and rushing to her feet.
  85. “D… Dion?”
  87. “Kept you waiting, huh?” he replied, taking a step towards the still reeling Satyros. She met him halfway with a shaky gait, her legs somehow still moving despite her believing that this was all a dream. Suddenly, she lunged towards Dionysius’ chest, wrapping him in a hug like she did those years ago, crying into his shoulder.
  89. “You’re back! You’re really back!” she sobbed into him, Dionysius’ strong arms enveloping her in a tight embrace.
  91. Biting his lip as he held his wife, Dionysius said “I’m back, and I won’t be going anywhere this time.”
  93. “Promise?” Korinna practically begged, looking up at him with tears streaming down her cheeks.
  95. “I promise.” he replied, wiping away her tears with his thumb, before leaning in for a kiss. Reciprocating, Korinna leaned heavily on him, her tail rushing happily back and forth behind her.
  97. “Mama, who’s that?”
  99. A new voice startled the couple from their reunion, both of them snapping their heads back towards the house. There, in the grass with a quizzical look on her face, stood a young Satyros, her horns just beginning to emerge from beneath her familiar red hair. She walked forward unsteadily on her digitigrade legs, tail bowed between them while she looked at the two adults.
  101. Grabbing Dionysius by the hand and falling to her knees, Korinna extended a hand out toward the younger image of her, who promptly took it and buried herself in her mother’s chest, peering out at the man.
  103. Not believing what he was seeing, Dionysius also fell to his knees, looking between his wife and the young girl. “Korinna? Is- is this?” he sputtered out, tears forming in his eyes.
  105. Korinna nodded happily, now openly crying again, “Dion, this is your daughter, Helena.” The young Satyros, who couldn’t have been more than a couple years old, gazed at Dionysius, her small, pointed ears twitching in confusion. “Helena,” Korinna says quietly into her daughter’s ear, “this is your Papa. He’s back, and he’s never going to leave us again.”
  107. Helena cautiously broke away from her mother’s grasp, slowly approaching Dionysius with an outstretched hand. “Pa… Papa?”
  109. Dionysius opened his arms, beckoning his daughter forward, “Come here, Helena, it’s alright.” Wordlessly, Helena entered the embrace of her father, sitting in his lap and wrapping him in a hug, which Dionysius happily returned.
  111. Korinna shuffled her way over, wrapping the two in another embrace, resting her forehead against her husbands and kissing him deeply. “How old is she?” Dionysius managed to say, tightening his hold on the girls.
  113. “She’s almost two.” Korinna responded in a hushed tone, running her fingers through her daughter’s hair.
  115. Dionysius noded, gazing down towards the tranquil face of his daughter, who was quickly falling asleep in his arms, “So, from our last night together?” he asked.
  117. Korinna chuckled, “Yeah, she is.”
  119. The three sat there for a moment in the grass, the sun slowly working its way towards the distant horizon. “So,” Dionysius asked, having regained his composure, “now what?”
  121. Korinna planted a kiss on his cheek and leaned into him, taking consideration not to poke him with her horns, “I don’t really know, Dion, but I think this is alright for now.”
  123. Dionysius looked out at the approaching night, the coastal town awash with the colourful hues of the setting sun, then down towards his peacefully sleeping daughter, her short tail lazily brushing along his legs. He sighed, “Yeah, I guess it is.”
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