Three short tales from Bacchus' life, from birth, childhood, and adolescence.
Winter Smiles at Spring
Blanket of stars wrapped tight ‘round three;
to-be mother, soon father & wiseman under lemon tree.
Bloody soil, watered cloth, a newborn family of Milk & Moth.
Creeping dawn touched the babe aloft.
He checks old charts, while parents wait -
Rolling bones on a child’s fate.
“Hard to tell,” he mixes sands in turtle shell.
“Last night of winter… or first day of spring.
Do you wish to know what fortunes these bring?”
A haggard hand clasps ‘round clawed foot;
Three-toed & stolen from rook.
Aside silver shavings wiseman sets the charm;
“Telling it true will cause alarm;
Flighty, tempestuous, under other’s spell,”
“He will run, chase, sprint for his dreams,
And abandon them when he has the means.”
“Pale in hair, mint of eyes,
He will follow fate wherever it flies.”
Frightened mother, skin dark like coal -
Held her babe tight to her soul,
“He will be one slip from tolling bell.”
“Blessed with silver tongue;
He’ll lack control, forever young.”
“In warm voice, songs shall be sung,
& words like wind shall spill from lung.”
Wiseman rose, blessing babe with sand,
Foot of rook and spring's silver in hand.
“Only time shall tell.”
Life is a Play
He held a little stick in his hands, galivanting around open citrus fields in the bright light of day. Yellow fruits clung to tall trees that grew tall & bent in, like watching angels.
“I’m going to be a knight! A merchant! A prince & a poet!” Bacchus skipped around, swinging his make-shift sword to and fro, counting out a few coins from his pockets with the type of overwhelming joy only a child could muster.
“We’re artists, Bacchus. Artists & farmers. I was a salt-miner for decades under the Orcs before I bought my freedom. Don’t fill yourself with impossible dreams.”
“You let Kai get lessons for jewelry! You even paid that mentor for them, so why can’t I do all that?”
“Kai has talent,” his father replied. “She stays focused on one thing.”
“I’m focused on lots of things! So, I can be good at lots! I want to be all those things, and more!” Bacchus swiped the stick through the air, beaming at Alistair - his father.
“You play pretend too much, Bacchus. Life isn’t a play.”
“What’s a play, dad?”
“People dress up in costumes and pretend to be things they aren’t for fun. They’re called actors, they tell stories. Sometimes they’re famous,” but Alistair regretted saying that as soon as it came from his mouth.
“I want to be a famous actor, then! That way, I can be anything I want, and everyone will love me!”
“It’s better to focus on a few things, rather than anything you fancy, Bacchus.”
“I can learn it all, Dad. Even how to be things I’m not.”
Not So Sour Grapes
“Bacchus!” cried his mother, discovering a picked window & an empty bed.
“He got out again!” Annoyance, fear bled into her voice as the thin mali’ker threw herself out the swung open mosaic window. At once, she was running around dimly lit fields.
“He’s going to be the death of me.” His mother swore, searching high & low through soft rolling grasslands and pockets of open caves that mingled with the flatter landscape. She knew the places to look – high in an apple tree, perhaps. Down by shimmering rivers chatting with older ‘ker, maybe.
Yet, the apple tree was empty & the women by the river swore Bacchus had not been bothering them like he always was.
“Oh, don’t tell me…” His mother slapped a hand to her face, lamenting. It only took her a few moments to weave her way through open fields and find a tall, vine coated cobblestone wall that surrounded richly growing grapes.
They were easy to climb. Once she landed quietly over the field, his mother heard annoyed lecturing & a familiar voice over-explaining something.
“I don’t believe one word!”
“No, I swear! I got lost, a dog chased me here, okay? I only climbed the wall to get away from it! I had no idea this was a private farm!”
“Didn’t know it was private!? Didn’t the WALL give it away, fool?”
“I was so scared by the dog!” The youthful ‘ker couldn’t have been older than ten, lying through his fruit-stained teeth.
“Bacchus.” His mother’s voice was stern, cold. He froze, stiffening up and offering her a guilty smile stained purple with the juice of dozens of dark grapes.
The irate ‘ker vinter spun around in surprise, set a hand on the hilt of a small arming knife as another voice startled him.
“Who’re you!?” The vineyard’s keeper demanded. Bold Bacchus set a hand on the man’s sword-grip, giving him a soft answer.
“She’s my mother, Mr. Grape-Keeper”
“You run off again, and I find you in more trouble? Eating what isn’t yours?”
“You don’t understand, Mom! They were so tasty, I couldn’t help it!” Bacchus looked to the farmhand with a wide smile, hoping the man might accept his compliment. Instead, the stocky ‘ker backhanded Bacchus, sending him sprawling to the ground with a fat welt on his cheek.
Bacchus was tugged home, rubbing his cheek all the while. Still a smile was borne across his face, and he confided in his mother with a coy, secretive tone.
“I don’t regret it. They were the best grapes I’ve ever had.”
His mother only sighed, but couldn’t hide a tiny flush of amusement.
“You find too much trouble, Bacchus.”
“Nuh uh! Trouble finds me!” He insisted, wearing a huge shit-eating, grape stained grin as he insisted such a reversal was better.