So this was it, the temple of Dionysus. It wasn't exactly what she had expected for this particular god. He was praised for his lavishness and this simple pile of stone was in no way that. She reached into her pack and pulled out the crumpled parchment for what seemed like the hundredth time. It was rather simple and to the point but, still searched for some hidden meaning.
Meet me at the temple of Dionysus. I need you.
All the way here she kept going over and over in her mind what he could want and why he did not just come and tell her himself. It was all very strange.
Walking through the entryway she began to call for Ares. When he did not appear, she worried once more that this was some sort of fool's trap.
Out of nowhere a small satyr appeared in front of her.
"I was sent to fetch you to my lord, come this way."
Cautiously, Gabrielle followed.
All around her the plain stone began to disappear. In it's place silk laden walls with ornate golden torches fired. The gravelly floor became a beautiful marble covered by the most extravagantly woven rugs. Each rug, it seemed depicted sexual depravities of some sort. Blushing to the roots of her golden hair, Gabrielle tried not to look, thinking once more, "What is going on and where is Ares?"
A voice rang out from across the room.
" I can answer that for you, my dear Gabrielle."
A man of short stature and bold proportions lumbered towards her.
"I am Dionysus, it was I not Ares, who sent for you. A small fib on my part, but the end does justify the means. I have been following your travels since the untimely demise of the warrior princess. I find that I am intrigued by you and wished for your company. Is that so wrong of me, I ask? No I say, for it is my duty as the god of wine and shall we say romance, to brighten up your disposition."
Gabrielle looked at the strange creature. He was shorter than she, with flowing blond hair and sparkling blue eyes. Try as she might, she could not find an ounce of devilry in him, but was cautious none the less.
"You tricked me into coming here so you could what? Cheer me up? Why not invite me directly?"
"Well, you see it's like this. I thought that, considering your past association with my followers the Bachai that you might not wish to see me. Randy bunch those are! Totally running amuck without my consent. Well anyway, I just couldn't stand those morbid thoughts of yours any longer. So, here I am and here you are."
Dionysus grasped her hand forcing her to follow behind him. He led her to a large room that nearly stole her senses. It was filled with all manner of satyr and mortal alike. Each laughing gaily as if they had not a care in the world. In the center of the room, a huge fountain spewed forth a shower of rich wine.
Gabrielle pulled her hand free and turned to her host.
"I appreciate what you are trying to do, but I really don't think this is what I need. Now if you will excuse me, I think I'll be going!"
Gabrielle turned to leave but was brought up short when Dionysus once more grasped her hand.
"At least refresh yourself with a chalice of wine before going. What sort of host would I be if I let you leave here with a parched palette, hmm?"
It was a very tempting offer and her mouth did suddenly feel as dry as the desert air.
"One glass and then I really must be going."
"Good good. Tityus, bring the lady a glass of my special wine."
Taking in the happenings around her, she did not notice the decided twinkle in his eye.
Motioning for her to join him she sat down amongst the pillows piled on the floor.
Within a few moments Tityus had returned with a beautiful pewter chalice filled with wine. Gingerly she sipped the liquid and wondered, "Surely ambrosia cannot taste this fine."
Before she knew it the chalice was empty and unthinking reached out asking for more. Her body relaxed enjoying the harpsichord music playing around her and the swaying movements of the dancers. When the second glass was gone, a strange lethargy had taken over. She felt free as a bird and without a care. A third and fourth glass was enjoyed as she joined in the merriment around her.
"Are you having a good time, my dear?'
"Yes, I feel divine." she answered slowly.
Lured by the music around her she stood and began to move in time with the tune. As she moved her coat began to feel as if it were suffocating. Throwing the annoying garment to the ground, she joined the gathering as they danced.
Dionysus watched and an evil grin played upon his face. "This was easier than I thought," he whispered to his servant. "Soon she will be mine and Ares will be green with envy."
Ares was unaware of his half-brothers plans as he ventured into his chamber. When he walked inside it was to find his nephew Cupid waiting.
"I can't seem to get rid of you lately, nephew. What is it this time?"
"Well, with that attitude maybe I will just keep what I know to myself."
"You just do that. I'm not interested in any of your foolish gossip. Now leave, I want to be alone!"
Cupid stepped down from Ares chair and slowly walked past.
"Ok, Unc, I guess I'll just have to rescue the lovely bard myself. See ya."
Ares grabbed his arm, pulling him to him with a growl.
"What about Gabrielle? What's happened?"
"No no you didn't want to be bothered by- ouch!"
Ares held the tip of Cupids wing bending it unmercifully.
"TELL ME NOW!"
"Alright, alright. It seems our jealous little imp Dionysus has managed to lure Gabrielle into his den. You know he just loves to piss you off, Unc and what better way than to grab the battling bard."
"What are you getting at?"
"Jeez, everyone knows you have a thing for her. You don't think I saw the look on your face when I kissed her. You were pea green with envy and I thought I had it bad."
Whatever! What I feel or don't is of no concern. What matters is that, she is under my protection and that little weasel is going to pay if he laid one hand on her!"
A crackle electrified the air as Ares disappeared.
Cupid walked out of the chamber singing "Ares has a girlfriend, Ares has a
Back at Dionysus temple, Gabrielle could be heard laughing uncontrollably. Whatever Dionysus said was not necessarily funny or clever, but the wines effect was in full force. Her cares and ambitions were a thing of the past and her wine soaked mind couldn't be happier. The only time her mind would slip back into any sense of reality was when the petite god tried to grope her, which happened quite often. She would merely swat his hand and dance away with chalice in hand. This was how Ares found her. Dancing seductively with an erroneously ugly satyr. A chill ran down his spine as her hand played across his chest and she dance towards the next participant.
Gabrielle turned and a smile lit up her face.
"Ares, you devil. Come to join the party? Have some wine, it's simply to die for."
"No thank you and I think you should obtain as well."
"Party pooper," she taunted as she danced away.
Ares eyes filled with blood red rage lighted on his sibling.
"I should tear you limb from stubby limb for this!"
Dionysus cringed, but put forth a bored face.
"Settle down brother, I was only trying to show the girl a good time. She has been in such a funk lately, you know. It was a real downer to watch."
Ares walked closer and put his finger in the small gods face.
"If I ever find you anywhere near Gabrielle again I will bring the wrath of war down upon you. Do you understand me?"
"It was a harmless prank, for the gods sake. You see she is not hurt and untouched if I might add."
"Untouched? I can smell your stink all over her."
Dionysus gave Ares a confused look and checked his body for odor.
"I didn't mean that literally, you toad."
Picking up Gabrielle's coat, he marched over and flung her over his shoulder. With her arms and legs flailing he disappeared.
Out of Dionysus realm the effects of the wine began to fade, somewhat. Ares sat her down on the ground and began to pace. With her head slightly spinning she tried to stand. Her effort was not well done and she started to fall back down. A set of strong arms was there to break her fall.
"You shaved me!"
"I what? Oh never mind, are you all right?"
Resting her head against his chest she nodded yes. Feeling her warm breath play across his skin had to have been some kind of torture, but he was loath to let her go. Gently he placed a kiss on top of her head and led her to a soft spot of ground.
"Here, you lay down and sleep this off, alright. I'll be right back."
No answer came, since she had already fallen asleep.
When she woke up the next morning, her head felt as if a thousand drums were banging inside. Afraid to open her eyes, she did so slowly through gritted teeth. The events of the day before caused a groan to escape from her lips. "I am such an idiot!"
"I wouldn't go that far."
She turned quickly and instantly regretted it. Ares was sitting next to her packs with a strange smile on his face.
"You took me out of there, didn't you?"
"I looked like a total fool, didn't I?"
"No, Gabrielle, you looked like someone having a good time. Unfortunately it was a false feeling brought on by my brothers special brew."
"Remind me to beat him, if ever we cross paths again."
"I'll be glad to. He did have one thing right, though."
"And what is that?"
"You do need cheering up. So what do you say to a little vacation?"
"A vacation? With you?"
"Yes, with me, but not what you're thinking. There is a festival of bards in Athens. If you would like to go, I will take you there. No strings. Besides, it will do me good to get off of Olympus for a while. What do you say?"
"I say, when do we leave?"