"La Luna ed il suo Amante" (The Moon God and his Lover)
Chapter One || Chapter Two || Chapter Three || Chapter Four || Chapter Five ||
Series Title: "Depositi Del Sole e Della Luna"
(Stories of the Sun and the Moon)
Book II: "I Servi Fedeli Del Dio Della Luna"
(The Faithful Servants of the Moon God)
Posting Completed Story in Four Chapters - This actually predates the first story, however I do reccommend you read them in order as written. Please Forgive the Barest of Proofreading
Series Title: Depositi Del Sole e Della Luna
(Stories of the Sun and the Moon)
Book II: I Servi Fedeli Del Dio Della Luna
(The Faithful Servants of the Moon God)
Chapter Number: Four
“Joy & Sorrow”
Author: D. Sanders
The moment Gallus with Praduc on his arm entered the mess, the entire congregation of Priests, acolytes, novices and everyone else in attendance stood from their seats and applauded, whistled, cheered and cat called. It seemed news of Gallus’ vows to Praduc the night before had been the hot topic of conversation all night and morning and Gallus laughed and rubbed his neck with a guilty expression on his face as he was caught off guard by their reception. Praduc was chuckling and shaking his head in silent laughter.
Father Fiamma strode over and took both their hands. “I hear there were vows spoken and witnessed last night, I can see said vows were consummated, I wish you both a long life filled with happiness. Congratulations on your union from the bottom of my heart. I am filled with joy for you both.”
“Thank you.” Gallus smiled, his arm around Praduc’s shoulders. Praduc only nodded and smiled, his arm looped around Gallus’ waist. They both looked exceedingly happy and content.
Father Garris, the head priest walked over to the pair, his ancient eyes filled with mirth. He carried a basket of fresh bread still steaming from the oven, fresh fruit, cream and cheese and indicated the pair should be seated as he laid the small feast before them and then fished a pair keys out of his pocket. “The southern tower above the archive. Father Durkin wishes you to have it with his blessings. You both will require larger living accommodations and it’s only been an empty storeroom for ages. Father Bendis and Brother Cadrac have already enlisted their students to clean it out for you and I have ordered you furniture from the town, it should be delivered this afternoon. Congratulations from the brotherhood. I am sure Mane is pleased.” Father Garris said with a wink and Gallus chuckled.
“Aye. He has given his blessing.” Gallus replied, his connection to his God was no secret, Father Garris who also shared the intimate connection with Sol nodded knowingly. No one doubted these two actually spoke to their gods like no other priests in the orders. If Garris or Gallus said it was Mane’s or Sol’s will, no one questioned them.
“As does Sol. When the brother’s agree, there is divine blessing.” Garris said patting Praduc’s hair. “I dare say we have been cruel to you when trying to be kind. I have heard from Father Mundis this morning that his Novice denied you for years. Child, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. Why didn’t you tell your mentors?”
Praduc sighed, he didn’t have his wax board so he signed to Gallus who translated. “He says that he didn’t want to be a burden. He was grateful just being here. It seemed petty to complain when he also saw himself as being unworthy.” Gallus leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Never unworthy beloved.”
“I agree child. And if we made you feel so then it is time we change. For starters, what is this communication you two have come up with?”
“It’s called sign-language Father. I learned it in the capitol. It was created by Father Mordrac who was deaf from birth and he and his mentor created the symbols and left a record I uncovered in the capitol archives.”
“I think this should become a voluntary curriculum that I encourage whole heartedly. I would like very much to become a student myself. There are a few children in the village who are either mute or deaf I would see their families educated in this as well. Gallus, Praduc would you mind teaching this class twice a week?”
Praduc nodded enthusiastically and Gallus smiled. “We’d be honored to. We had hoped to teach this to others eventually.”
“I’ll place the class sign-up sheet on the central board. Classroom four is vacant Third hour after mid-day, first and fourth days of the week. That, I think, will not conflict with any of your other classes or your archival duties.”
“No, no conflicts. Thank you Father.”
“Thank you for opening eyes, both of you. Handicaps are only that if we allow them to be. Now I will leave you both to get on with your day. Might I suggest the lakeside? Quite romantic for picnics so I’ve been told.” Garris winked before turning and leaving the couple alone only to be replaced by Durkin and Bendis and a myriad of others offering congratulatory wishes and token gifts for the new union.
“PRADUC!!! Why is there a DUCK in our Bed?!” Gallus cried as he walked into his room and stopped short seeing yet another wild animal using his linens as a surrogate home.
Praduc came in smiling and shaking his head picking up the wounded bird and moving it off the bed. :Be glad it didn’t mess.:
“I’ll give you mess. Twenty-years and I have YET to get used to your menagerie.”
:At least it’s a duck this time and not a snake.:
“You promised me no more creepy-crawly things.” Gallus shivered, remembering intimately the garden snake in his bed and it being decidedly too close to his naked manhood for comfort several years earlier.
:And so far I’ve kept my promise. I keep those in the pens outside.: Praduc winked as he went from hanging cage to cage feeding the various birds he was tending so he could release them again. The tower was always noisy with chirping, crowing and barking, as three dogs came lumbering in to greet Gallus.
He didn’t mind the dogs at all, in fact he had been the one to bring them home to Praduc after a trip to the local town, a local was giving away free puppies and Gallus couldn’t choose so took all three home to Praduc. Truth be told, he tended to spoil them more than Praduc did. The two ginger cats came and went as they pleased and the rest of the animals were all wild or livestock and just temporary residents from time to time.
“Where’s Timon?” Gallus asked after his novice whose room door was open and he was nowhere to be seen, Praduc grinned.
:Silly. What’s day is it?:
“Oh I forgot. Did you make him presentable?”
:He looked beautiful, and so nervous. He’s going to give his cup to Andes tonight:
“They’re already attached at the hip, I don’t foresee Andes refusing. For a Sun Novice, he’s as monogamous as a lunar. Hey, that means we’re alone tonight.”
:Aye.: Praduc said moving to wrap his arms around Gallus’ neck.
“Is the door locked?”
“Happy Anniversay, Beloved.” Gallus grinned and shooed the dogs and the duck out of his room as he scooped Praduc up and kicked the door shut behind him, he was in far better shape at forty-three than he had been at twenty-three. Praduc had indeed whipped him back into shape and he was going to show his beloved how his efforts paid off.
Gallus sat by the bedside holding a frail hand in his own. The sickness that had swept through the village and order that winter was claiming far too many, Praduc was no longer young, and he’d always been delicate of build. At sixty and seven the illness had settled into his chest and his rasping breath made Gallus ache to be able to do more to ease his beloved’s suffering.
They’d been together fifty-years, the best years of Gallus’ life. At Seventy-three, and having spent the majority of his life with this man, he could not imagine life without Praduc, he was his constant, his companion, his life. He could not lose him.
:Bear, it’s alright dearest. Don’t grieve.: Trembling fingers signed.
“Like hell I won’t. Praduc you can’t leave me. I love you.”
:I love you too Bear. It’s my just my time.:
“Don’t, don’t say it beloved.”
:It must be said bear. I love you, I’ve always loved you. I see Mane, he’s here, he’s beside you now. You will never be alone beloved.: Praduc’s eyes closed and he took one last shuddering breath, his fingers signing for one final time. :I love you.:
“PRADUC! PRADUC!” Gallus’ entire world collapsed in that moment. His heart screamed in anger and pain and the most agonizing sorrow as he clutched his life-ling love to his chest and rocked to and fro, utterly lost.
“Little Gallus, he is at peace.”
“Why?! WHY!? Take me too, I’m older! It should be me!”
“No little Gallus. Now is not your time. You are needed for greater things. I told you there would be a long joy before the sorrow. That is the price of love. Would you have gone without the joy to avoid the sorrow?”
“No.” Gallus wept into blond hair now mostly gray. Green eyes forever closed.
“No. Look up little Gallus.” Mane ordered and Gallus turned up red-rimmed eyes to see a spirit standing beside Mane. It was Praduc as he had looked at seventeen, beautiful and smiling.
“I love you Gallus, my Bear. I’ll be waiting for you.” The apparition spoke, a tender voice in a lilting tenor. It leaned over and kissed Gallus’ brow, laying a ghostly hand on his cheek before he faded into mist.
Gallus sobbed with a gut wrenching ache in his soul as the other priests, oblivious to Mane’s actual presence in the room moved to comfort Gallus and pull the shroud over Praduc’s still form, the sickness struck the very young and old without mercy and the death bell tolled another victim that night.
Everyone would mourn the passing of Gentle, fun-loving Praduc. The Silent Brother of wisdom, as the novices tended to call him over time. Candles were laid on the altars of both the sun and the moon and prayers for Praduc’s spirit and Gallus’ heart were raised to the heavens.
Gallus couldn’t bear to sleep in his bed that night; instead he lay cradled against Mane’s chest like a babe in the temple as he wept and mourned his devastating loss.
It had taken many months for Gallus to get over his grief to where he could live normally again. His mourning continued for the rest of his life and every night before bed, Gallus lit a candle that always burned on the altar for his beloved Praduc.
Gallus was bent with age, arthritis in his joints and taken the once tall and broad youth and crippled him into a hunched but still kindly man. He’d been head priest of the brotherhood forty-seven years, the longest term of service the order had ever known. He had to walk with a cane to support his aching knees and at ninety and one to have lived this long at all baffled him, but Mane insisted that he was still needed and had summoned him to the temple where he would finally learn why Mane had kept him close all these years.
Endymion had been reborn, and it fell to Gallus to protect the newborn mortal God in his youth.
Those that have read that tale know, that for sixteen years, Gallus was true to his vows to Mane. He raised and cared for Endys and at Endys’ rebirth into Endymion, it was then Gallus, aged one hundred and seven was allowed his final rest.
Mane had repaid his most faithful of servants with a gift of eternal youth to live in paradise together forever. The entire order rejoiced when they saw the youthful and handsome spirit of Gallus be reunited with his long lost lover Praduc.
While they all had mourned his loss, they rejoiced knowing that the most benevolent master in the history of the order, was given such a gift from Mane.
Love eternal in the arms of the one person he had loved most in life.
Mane would simply say, Gallus earned it with his own two hands and nothing more. Great and good deeds would always be rewarded in kind.