"Jacob with Flock of Laban," Jusepe de Ribera, WikiArt photo.
“Jacob with Flock of Laban,” Jusepe de Ribera, WikiArt photo.

Part 10: Bonds Everlasting

Torches lit, band of shepherds in dark night,
Banged on bronze temple doors, not by fists
But with scarring stones, resonating booms
Awakening Dolius from his sleep, marble
Antechamber, single door and window, more
Spare cell than spacious domicile. “What
Alarms you so?” Dolius asked, temple doors
Ajar. “Messengers, my lord,” they responded,
“From Attic plains, invaders from Teos, Megara
Burned, destroyed.” Her mind sleep-blurred,
Twixt ethereal ties and earth, Ilithya declared,
“They mean to sack this temple, their captains
Blame us for Stanitos’s warring siege. We are
Next targets of their rage.” With that all agreed.

“As we have cared for you,” began Ilithya, “I
Ask you to care for us.” Her knowing eyes cut
To Dolius, Apollo was nearby. “Bring one ewe
Pregnant from your flocks, sacrifice to Apollo,
Its blood to feign our deaths, sleeping potion
We shall drink.”  Shepherds understood. “Those
Touched by ewe’s blood, protected destinies
Shall be. To highest hills escape, women and
Children, only what you can carry, sun god so
Advises.” Thus ewe was killed, blood drained
To krater bowls, dagger-cut maternal sac.
Ilithya drank the potion, Dolius poured blood
Upon her hips, legs wide-splayed, Stantinos’
Dagger cast bloody on the floor.

"Rest During Flight to Egypt," Andrea Solario, WikiArt photo.
“Rest During Flight to Egypt,” Andrea Solario, WikiArt photo.

When warring armies stormed temple doors,
Dolius and Ilithya were found as dead, blood-
Stained robe and veil, revenge executed by
Santitos’ men. After looting alter bowls and
Dagger, soldiers of Teos entered sacred naos,
Confronted by Apollo’s radiant light. “Here
You are not allowed,” he stated, temple
Spiraling to safety of time-suspended rift.
To celestial gods, mortal form is but molded
Clay fire-glazed in crucible of life, founts of
Love and loyalty at its very root. For this holy
Family of gods, oracle, priest, and son born
Of same, bonds everlasting were forged from
Divine sunlight, maiden limned in bronze.

Aside from this more “pleasant” ending, two others were
considered: 1) Aristotelian-like tragedy with death of Dolius
and Ilithya, and 2) the pair lost and wilderness-wandering,
discovering an ancient sun alter. Second ending would have
expanded the poem to at least 12 parts. For now, Ilithya and
Dolius have returned to depths of Greek antiquity.
Thanks for reading.

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