Mid Week Tease: Deep Water #MidWeekTease #MWTease
Happy Hump Day! Let’s celebrate it with another wonderful Mid Week Tease, courtesy of the lovely and talented Sandra Bunino. We have another scene from my NaNoWriMo novel, Book Three of the Olympic Cove series Deep Water. In this scene Poseidon has received an unexpected summons from the Oracle of the Waters. However, once he finds out that the Fates are expecting him to reconcile with his estranged consort Amphitrite, things get a little…difficult. Yeah, that’s good word for it.
Next week I’ll have something tasty for you, but right now there just hasn’t been a lot of sex. Yet. Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!
Poseidon, God of the Sea, has spent millennia alone due to a single terrible act — a drunken assault on his agapetos, or fated mate, shared with his consort Amphitrite. His queen has sworn never to forgive him for his actions, and he must live with the knowledge that he drove an innocent girl to a dreadful retribution.
But when one of the Olympic Cove cottages gets a new occupant with an all-too-familiar soul, Poseidon discovers that the Fates have given him a second chance. Now he must try to right the wrongs of the past and win back both his beloved consort and the mate he betrayed.
Assuming, of course, that the Mad Nereid Thetis doesn’t interfere…
The Oracle of the Waters resided in a remote grotto just off the Orkney Islands. Skylla and Sthenios headed unerringly to the hidden entrance, neatly skirting a loaded tanker trundling its liquid cargo from the oil rigs in the North Sea. Poseidon briefly extended his godsense, reading the humans who crewed the tanker. Nothing struck him as out of the ordinary; there were the usual amounts of grudges, violent thoughts, and plans of vengeance, but those existed wherever mortals gathered. He absently bestowed a blessing on them as his chariot landed neatly on the rock-strewn sea floor.
His steeds started cropping seaweed as he stepped out onto the sea floor, holding up his trident. The three-tined head began to glow, illuminating his approach to the craggy rock face that, far above, would become the seaward side of an island. What appeared to be a dark streak in the rocks turned out to be a rough entrance, and he pushed through it.
Inside the narrow cave the footing was rugged and climbed steeply. Soon he emerged from a glassy cave pool, noting the familiar glass globes hung suspended from the dark walls. Each globe contained a liquid that gave off a soft white glow, reflecting on the water’s surface with a ghostly shimmer.
Drying himself with a thought, he headed deeper into the cave, cradling the bottle of wine in the crook of his arm. About thirty feet from the water the cave narrowed abruptly, slabs of rock forming a roughly rectangular doorway. A tall, white-haired man in an old-fashioned linen shirt and homespun breeches appeared in it now, pale blue eyes gleaming.
“Welcome, old friend,” the Oracle said, his voice low but still retaining a faint Irish lilt. “I see you got my message.”
“I did.” Poseidon raised the bottle. “And I bring tribute. From my son’s private wine cellar.”
The Oracle’s eyes brightened. “Bythos? Aye, that lad always had a knack for picking vintages. Come in, then, and be welcome.”
Poseidon followed him into the back part of the cave. The anteroom was where the Oracle met those who traveled to his cave to learn the will of the Fates. From there, he accepted tribute before giving them their pronouncements. Behind the doorway, however, was the Oracle’s private chambers.
The light dimmed a bit, but the sea god could still clearly see the amazing hodgepodge of items collected by his friend over the centuries. Gold and jewels poured out of numerous wooden chests, some of them rotting with age and the ever-present moisture. Salvaged planks and driftwood sat piled in neat stacks, and various pieces of statuary were dotted here and there. In one corner, a peeling but still beautiful figurehead in the shape of a topless mermaid smiled at him in welcome.
The room was comfortably furnished with rare old pieces of carved furniture, rescued from the deep and carefully cleaned for their new owner’s use. Two chairs were arranged now around an elegantly chased brazier that filled the room with welcome warmth. He was waved to one seat, and the Oracle took the chair across from him.
“I’m glad you got here quickly,” the old man said, taking the bottle and deftly pulling out the cork. “I had the feeling that there was some urgency behind the Fates’ words.”
Poseidon accepted a filled golden cup. “Does this have something to do with the events of the past few months?”
The Oracle shrugged. “I’m simply the messenger. Only you can put meaning to the words.”
Pale eyes focused on him, as if seeing into his soul. Poseidon repressed his discomfort. Once a mortal man named Donald, the Oracle’s association with the Fates have given him a gravitas that would give even Zeus pause.
“The wheel turns, and in its turning presents a gift,” he intoned. “To earn this gift, you must heal old wounds and regain the trust of those you betrayed. If you fail, you will never defeat the Maddened One.”
Poseidon waited until he was sure there was nothing more. “I assume the Maddened One is Thetis.”
The old man sighed, settling back in his chair. “Can you think of another crazed creature who needs to be defeated?” he said. “Do you know what the rest of it means?”
It was Poseidon’s turn to shrug. Healing old wounds could apply to any of the beings he’d quarreled with over the centuries. Gaia knew there were enough of them; he had a difficult, argumentative nature, and had made more than enough enemies in his long life. But he could see the point of having powerful beings on their side in the fight against Thetis. Have Bythos make a list of those who may be useful. The corner of his mouth twitched. Even the ones who currently loathe me.
As for a wheel that presented gifts, that would require some thought. The betrayed trust, however, could only refer to one thing. “It seems the Fates have decided to move into the field of marital counseling,” he muttered, taking a deep gulp of his wine.
“Ah.” Donald nodded over his own cup. “The lovely Lady Amphitrite. I take it you still haven’t reconciled with her.”
“I don’t care to discuss it.
Donald waved it off. “As you wish. But if the Fates say that you’ll need Amphitrite at your side to defeat her sister, then you might want to pick out some nice posies and work on your groveling.” He saluted Poseidon with a golden cup. “Just a suggestion.”
The sea god grunted at that. “Groveling didn’t work. Neither did flowers,” he muttered, taking another sip. And then another. “My head on a pike — that might do the trick.”
Donald made a deep, throaty sound that could have been agreement or censure. “Aye, and there’s some that say the lass deserves just that. But you can’t be lopping your head off now, friend. It needs to stay on your shoulders, where it’ll do the most good against Thetis.”
“Oh, will it? I can’t stop Thetis, you know. I tried.” The admission pained him, and he waved his cup, grimacing. “After her minion poisoned Bythos, I tried to hunt her down. I couldn’t find her. I’m the bloody God of the Sea and she’s a Nereid, part of my demesnes. I should have been able to find her.” He shook his head. “But now she’s…something I’ve never seen before. She’s been removed from my control, somehow. And that disturbs me greatly.”
The Oracle’s eyes narrowed. “How could she have moved beyond your control?”
Poseidon grimaced. “You know very well how. And if that’s the case, then this entire planet is in the gravest of dangers.”
“Have you talked to Gaia about this?”
“I tried. She’s not speaking to me, either.”
“Hm.” Donald fell silent, and Poseidon could hear the sound of dripping water and the ancient stone around them murmuring to itself. He’d always assumed that the position of Oracle must be a lonely one, but dwelling here in the living bedrock, his friend might have far more company than he’d ever assumed. “Well, then you must rely on your own counsel, and fight Thetis as best you can with the allies at hand. And from what the Fates say, that includes Amphitrite. I would suggest you go find her and tell her what I’ve told you. It might help.”
Poseidon drained his cup, placing it on the floor. “You’ve set me a difficult task, my friend. Almost Herculean, if you’ll pardon the phrase.”
The old mortal chuckled. “Better you than me, lord.”
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