Chapter Number: Five
Author: D. Sanders
Posting Completed Story in Five Chapters - Forgive the Barest of Proofreading
Series Title: La Luna ed il suo Amante
Chapter Number: Five
Author: D. Sanders
Endys found it incredibly difficult to eat with everyone staring at him expectantly and Mane wasn’t making it any easier where he lay sprawled on top of the table making various comments only Endys could hear until Gallus arrived.
“Lord Mane, I will be so bold as to say you have a decidedly wicked sense of humor.” Gallus chuckled as he walked into the scene and sat beside Endys patting his shoulder.
“You should have seen him a minute ago, he was picking Flamen’s nose.” Endys sighed.
“Is that what that was?” Flamen gasped and Mane cackled from the table.
“Yes, sorry Flamen. Mane, will you stop being worse than a child? Goodness I have forgotten you get absolutely stupid when you’re in a humorous mood.”
“You love it, You’re fighting the giggles blossom.” Mane winked from the table looking precisely as Endys described, a young man, being positively childish in manner. Gallus shook his head; he had never seen Mane act so… human.
“Do you remember Endys?” Gallus asked watching the interplay and what seemed to be excessive knowledge suddenly. Endys was no longer acting like himself. He was, overnight, infinitely more mature and speaking to Mane in ways he’d have never dared to before.
“Everything Gallus. I suddenly seem to outrank my mentor.” Endys smiled and Gallus chuckled.
“Endys son. I knew you would eventually. Or should I address you differently now?” Gallus asked helping himself to the juice on the table.
“I am still mortal. Endys is still perfectly fine.” Endys grinned as he finished his meal and stood. “And I think it is time I tell everyone here what is going on. Or would you like that honor father?” Endys asked and Gallus shook his head.
“Flamen and I were only sent as caretakers. This is your tale.” Gallus said as Endys nodded and made his way up to the head tables where all the senior priests, both lunar and solar bowed with respect as they parted to make room for Endys. Mane followed, back on good behavior again and as Endys reached the center of the elevated head table, a white throne, covered in rich velvet of the darkest purple and draped with lunar glory vines appeared and the audible gasps echoed in waves.
“You always liked a good dramatic entrance didn’t you?” Endys asked out of the corner of his mouth smirking.
“Of course blossom, it’s fun.” Mane grinned. Sitting in the throne as a smaller identical throne rose just to the right of it, and Endys sat in what was obviously ‘his’ throne.
As he faced the room he sighed. “What do I tell and How do I tell it?” He asked looking around the expectant gazes.
“I suppose a brief history first which will lead up to this morning is probably best.” Endys began looking over to where Mane sat, one leg draped over the arm of his throne smiling at Endys with sincere affection. Endys couldn’t help but smile back unconsciously. Mane always wore his emotions on his sleeve for the whole world to see. Even if currently Endys and Gallus were the only ones who could see him at all.
“As you all know. Ever since I came here the day I was born I have always been drawn to the service of Mane. It was a need, a desire that I was always at a loss to describe. I felt a pull inside I had no name for other than utter devotion to Mane. I was never able to articulate what I felt properly, because up until last night, I didn’t have the words myself. All the things I’ve felt my entire life suddenly have new meaning to me. I recognize things within me because a part of my soul that had been sleeping is suddenly awakened.” Endys began looking down at his hands folded in his lap.
“As children, we all learned the tale of Mane and Endymion. It’s one of the first tales we hear as little ones here, and that story as some of you know, always struck a chord with me from the moment I learned it.” Here Mane smiled brighter and leaned over to kiss Endys’ cheek. Endys hand lifted to touch his cheek where Mane kissed him.
“There is more to that story which I will tell you now.” Endys continued settling back in his throne and closing his eyes.
“Long before men walked this land, there was just the Father, lord of all the heavens and the Goddess mother of the earth. Together they bore twin sons. Sol, first born brought with him the Sun and warmth to this land. Mane, second son brought with him the moon to shine on the land and protect it in the night. Two brothers as different as their given aspects. Sol, fair and volatile as fire, charming as a spring day and sultry as a summer afternoon drew to him all the flora and fauna gods the mother created and that basked in his warmth. Mane saw this and did not complain, but was lonely where he sat in the moonlight night after night. The mother saw her son’s loneliness and created another flower. Endys, the lunar glory, and from that flower the god within, Endymion, was born and he was given a choice by the mother. She showed him Sol, with his vast and thriving gardens rejoicing in splendor. Then she showed him Mane, sitting alone by a lake with only the water and stones for company. He looked upon both Gods and his heart fell into despair when he saw the desperately lonely eyes of Mane. He wanted nothing more than to erase the pain held within those beautiful eyes. He chose Mane.” Endys opened his eyes to look at Mane sitting beside him, his eyes misty with memories.
“Mane’s nature is one based on intense emotion. The moment he met Endymion he vowed he would love no other. Endymion saw the truth in that vow; saw the sincerity in eyes that no longer held pain but joy and he too fell into a love that knew no description. That night, Mane made the fireflies for Endymion to wear like a crown, they delighted in the fields with dew and loved under the stars. But their happiness and devotion caused a reaction that neither of them anticipated. Sol, seeing his brother with a flower, which since the dawn of time had been his dominion of the sun, grew jealous and he tried to woo Endymion into his garden. Endymion refused, he loved Mane. He could not see why Sol, with so many beautiful flowers would want another insignificant plain white bloom. Mane grew angry and the brothers became estranged.” Endys sighed; he hated this part of the story.
“Jealousy born of passion can cloud one’s judgment and sanity. Sol, always having been a gentle and good provider to his followers did a very foolish thing with the want of possessing every flower. On the night of the New Moon, while Mane was sleeping. Sol kidnapped Endymion and tried to force him into his gardens. Endymion refused and cried out for Mane. Sol grew furious and lashed out, scorching Endymion with his flames. Endymion was consumed with wrath and died just as Mane reached him. He would die not from pain of flame, but pain of heart hearing the one he loved most in such agony.” Endys’ eyes were dripping with tears and he clutched his robes by his heart. Mane moved to lay a hand on Endys’ hair.
“Go on beloved.” Mane whispered.
“The mother intervened at the last moment. Angry with Sol for destroying one of her children and Devastated for Mane, whose grief was so palpable, the sky wept for weeks afterward. She made it so Endymion’s soul would be reborn in a mortal form. Man was just beginning to walk the earth and she captured Endymion’s soul and bade it be reborn. Stipulating that when Endymion’s soul remembered who he was, that he and Mane would be together again. Many times has he been reborn since that time. The first time, he died as a babe, too young to remember. His mortal shell weak and could not sustain the soul of a god. The second time, he did remember, but was murdered before he could reunite with Mane. The third time, the grief of their second denial was too great for Endymion to bear and he remained sleeping deep in his mortal shell. The fourth time, his mortal shell was too strong for the weaken soul and he could not break free. The fifth and sixth times, Endymion fought to get closer to the surface. The seventh time, he was at the surface from the first breath urging his mortal shell down a path that would lead him where he needed to be.” Endys smiled fondly and reached out to take Mane’s hand.
“This mortal shell has walked a path that lead directly to Mane and is here at last. Endymion’s mortal shell and god spirit have become one, he has remembered who he is, his mortal name is Endys, the name of the flower from which the God was born. I am the flower, I am the God, I am the mortal Endymion. I am once again with my beloved for my only desire my entire life long was to ease Mane’s pain and loneliness. I understand now why I sought so desperately for this service to Mane and none other without knowing why. My soul knew even when my mortal self did not. I have loved Mane since the dawn of time. I always have and always will. My love drives me, sustains me, and makes me whole. I am Endymion, I am Endys, I am both, God and Mortal in one.” Endys said and Mane stood, and the whole room drew a collective breath as his form took shape and his omnipotent presence filled the room.
He walked forward and knelt before the throne that Endys was sitting in, showing deference to a mortal as he took pale hands into his own and kissed them both. “My pain was losing you. My joy is having you and your love again.” Mane said reaching up to cup Endys’ cheek in his hand. Endys closed his shimmering eyes and leaned into the touch. A crown of lunar glories appeared on Endys’ head and diamonds fell from his eyes as joyful tears began to fall.
Everyone stood frozen in awe at what they were seeing before them, Endys’ mortal self and god soul were in harmony at last making his form a combination of both. He was both and neither simultaneously. It was a paradox and a miracle and the silence was deafening for a moment until Poll walked in the room and as the door banged behind him and he froze, hatred and anger on his face all eyes turned toward him and the air in the room grew white hot. He hadn’t seen Mane’s appearance, he hadn’t heard the tale, he still saw nothing more than a dark haired youth who had taken what Poll wanted most. Endys.
He fumed as he strode forward, shaking off hands of those who tried to stop him. He didn’t hear their urgent warnings; he heard nothing but the blood raging in his ears. “Endys! You lied when you said you loved me.” Poll growled and Mane stood, his eyes furious.
“Nay Poll, I did not. I have always loved you and as I told you before and now. I love you as a brother, a friend, a confidant but never as a lover. You heard these words time and again and are deaf to them. You hear what you wish to hear.”
“I heard you say you loved no one as a lover. Yet, I saw you last night with HIM! You take some stranger as a lover on the night of the lover’s moon instead of me, your Poll! You make a mockery of me.”
“POLL! You show disrespect! I told you I loved no one but Mane. I have not lied. This is He. Open your eyes and see the truth Poll before it is too late.” Endys pleaded, he hated knowing Poll was walking down a path there was no returning from. His mortal heart that loved his friend ached seeing him turned into a pawn of Sol’s rage with his own mortal hands.
“Poll, Novice of Sol. Do not let your hate consume you. I cannot and will not punish you for your own free will. You belong to Sol and as his vassal I have no power over you. Walk carefully the path you are choosing.” Mane warned and Poll sneered.
“You are no God. You are flesh, I’ve seen it myself.”
“You see my corporeal form Poll. I must take this form to be with mortals. You saw only what you wanted to see and are seeing that now. I warn again, Sol’s fire burns from within and consumes.”
“You corrupted him! He loved Mane so much you deceived him! You are no God! Endys he’s lied to you! He’s not Mane! He looks like the statue and he’s using that to confuse you!”
“Oh Poll, you don’t understand. Please…” Endys pleaded, walking forward, hands outstretched beseeching Poll to stop this madness. He walked right into the hands of fate. Poll seized him around the neck and a dagger appeared at his throat. Mane’s rage exploded and the moon itself began moving to block out the sun. The sudden eclipse darkened the room and it shook with Mane’s anger.
“No Yoru! Remember!” Endys gasped and Mane froze where he stood, the room reverberating with power.
“Shut up Endys! Open your eyes! I will save you from him!”
“Poll, dear Poll. You have chosen your path and I cannot help you now. You refuse to see.”
“I love you! Why won’t you love me?” Poll’s voice sobbed as he held the blade to Endys’ throat.
“I love Mane. I belong to Mane. I am his lover and he is mine. Poll, I do not love you like that and never have.”
“Endys! You’re cruel! Why do you reject me?”
“I do not love you more than a friend. My body, my heart, my soul belongs to Mane.”
“You are deceived! Choose me, please Endys. Let me save you.”
“Then I will save your Soul.” Poll said dragging the dagger across Endys’ throat. “The Endys’ I love would be destroyed when he learned the truth. I will spare you that pain.” Poll said as Endys’ clutched his throat and his white hair turned red with blood as he fell to the floor.
The room erupted. Men grabbed Poll and other’s rushed to aide Endys when suddenly two voices reverberated in the room.
Everyone froze, no one could move as the power of two God’s overwhelmed them all. Sol strode forward and took the Dagger out of Poll’s hand who quivered internally as his God looked at him with anger. He threw it across the Room as Mane moved forward to cradle the only being in the room unaffected by the power in the room. Endys’ labored as his life rushed from his body. Sol knelt by them both on the floor and ran a hand over Endys’ hair.
“I understand now. It took seeing my own actions from this perspective to realize the pain I caused you both. I am sorry, will you forgive me?” Sol asked bowing his head to his brother and Endys.
Endys could not answer and only his trembling hand reached out to grasp Sol’s. Sol wept and kissed that hand. Mane reached out and laid his hand on his brother’s shoulder. “He forgives you as do I brother.”
Sol looked up, his eyes golden and shining with tears that fell like rubies to the floor. He embraced them both as Endys’ life slowly expired.
As the moon moved and the sun returned from being eclipsed, with it a final and even more dominant presence filled the room, and a beautiful woman made of the freshest earth tones and smelling of wild roses walked through the still aware and still frozen figures in the room. She stood over the trio of her children and smiled.
“All wounds are now healed. It has come full circle. Sol’s crime has been absolved, Mane’s grief shall end and Endymion it is now time to return to us my dear child.” She said and Endys’ form grew blindingly bright for a moment in Mane’s arms.
When the light receded, where Endys had been now stood a form that resembled the mortal youth. Long white hair flowed down his back in waves, his sky blue eyes danced with inner light, his skin now even more pale than it had been before shimmered with the same internal light. He was dressed in white linens, draped almost shamelessly over his very graceful form. It hardly seemed possible the already fey Endys could become even more androgynous in his appearance. He was spell binding in beauty, male and female in equal measures in his face and natural grace. His bare feet on the stone floor stood in a carpet of Lunar Glories. He had been reborn. When he spoke, even his voice had taken on a dual, melodious pitch as if he had two voices, one female, and one male speaking in perfect unison. It made everyone in the room shiver within.
“I am whole at last.” Endymion said as he turned to kiss Mane tenderly and then Sol. “All is forgiven.” He said then he turned to Poll and walked forward and as he did so, only Poll was released by the power holding everyone prisoner to witness. Poll collapsed in sobs and Endymion only collected the youth in his arms.
“All is forgiven Poll. You did free my soul. Believe that. In your heart you loved me, you thought you were doing what was right in a moment of erred passion. I will never bear you ill will, I have always loved you, my dearest and best of friends in my mortal youth.” Endys kissed Poll on both cheeks and he fell asleep instantly in Endymion’s arms.
“Father Flamen, please take care of Poll. He will be distraught with overwhelming grief. Make him believe he chose the right path in the end.” Endymion asked and Father Flamen, now also released walked over to cradle Poll in his arms.
“I vow, my Lord Endymion.” Flamen said and Endymion smiled.
He then walked over to Gallus and embraced him. “Father, mentor, teacher and friend. You protected me, loved me, and gave me great happiness all my life. Now I give you yours.” Endymion said placing a kiss on Gallus’ forehead. He seemed to fade into sleep where he sat and a transparent form of a handsome and tall youth, unbent by years or age stepped from the ancient and crooked body. His thick brown hair tied at the nape of his neck with a leather lacing, and his white priest’s robe barely contained the broad chest of the young man who stood there.
Mane walked forward and hugged the spirit. “Little Gallus, you served me faithfully your whole life. Now you will be rewarded with my love and pleasure.” Mane said waving his hand and where the thrones sat, the room rippled and a field at twilight with a full moon’s glow appeared. In the field stood a slender form, looking up at the full moon. His white robes looked too large for the slender frame and sandy blond hair kissed his shoulders and blew in a gentle breeze. Large green eyes turned toward Gallus and he smiled brightly.
“Praduc!” Gallus’ soul cried out and raced to the youth who held out his arms. Gallus gathered the youth in his arms and wept as he showered his long lost love with desperate kisses. They had been given eternal youth, to live in nirvana together for all time. Gallus clutched his beloved to his chest and turned grateful eyes to his God.
Mane only smiled fondly and the scene faded and the room returned to normal again. Mane walked over and scooped Endymion up in his arms and they too shared a long lingering kiss of joy. They evaporated from sight and a statue of Mane appeared, standing over a second effigy at his feet. Mane was smiling down at Endymion, his hand cupping a stone chin and their eyes met each other with overwhelming affection and love. A vine of lunar glories grew up and around the statue; it’s flowers always in bloom and never fading in beauty. Unlike their wild counterparts, the petals on this holy vine would never fade and would never fall.
Sol turned to Poll’s sleeping form and laid a hand over his heart. “I will not let you suffer my son.” Sol whispered kissing Poll’s brow before fading away himself.
The mother Goddess was the last to leave and she said nothing but only faded, releasing the room from power.
Everyone moved again and it was as if time crawled. Father Flamen carried Poll away and the other’s took care of the body of Gallus and the bloody robe which was all that was left of the mortal Endys and it was with a mixture of Joy and Sadness that they mourned Gallus’ passing and Endys’ rebirth into Endymion.
Poll spent many years in mourning and contemplation. He visited the statue in the Mess every evening with a gift of fruit for Endymion and Mane and come Every morning the fruit was gone and only an empty bowl remained.
Mane smiled as he watched Endymion collect the fruit every night. “Why does he do that?” He asked and Endymion smiled as he ate the offering.
“Because it was Endys’ favorite.” Endymion replied as he shared the fruit with his beloved. Mane only nodded.
In time all mortal wounds healed and Poll eventually found a companion to love that loved him in return. Poll had turned into the only monogamous solar priest the temple had known in a very long time. He had fallen for a lunar priest, who had tamed Poll’s volatile passion. Together they left offerings for Mane and Endymion until they eventually died as old men. Happy and at peace and it was Endymion with Sol who met Poll’s spirit and guided him home.
As for Endymion and Mane, it is said in the scriptures you’ll find in the temple archives, if they still exist, that they eventually had a son together they named Calanthe and he was the god of the lunar glories that had appeared so many centuries ago now that no one remembered anymore a time when the only lunar flower was white. Calanthe bloomed pink under the night sky and was always found growing near running water where it is said he had become the lover of the water spirit who had fallen in love with the young god when he spied him in his Father’s moon garden.
But those are tales for other times…
*finito mi amore.