The Tale of Thetis & Zarias

A short story by Tabi Slick

Zarias stood at the edge of a cliff, gazing out at the turbulent sea beneath him. It was the only door left unguarded since the Assembly took order. The Human World now lay out of reach for most, save for those who knew about this little back door. A door that would close soon and not reopen until the next Blood Moon.

Thetis was late, as usual, and he couldn’t shake the feeling of foreboding that had settled in his chest. It was dangerous for them to be together, especially now that their love had produced a child. A child the Assembly could never know about. Their were strict laws against unions between those with power of the light and those with the power of the dark, and Zarias and Thetis both possessed great power.

Zarias nearly buckled at the thought of what might happen if they took the child. Tears stung his eyes at the thought. It would never happen. He wouldn’t let it.

As he continued to wait, the sound of footsteps behind him caused him to turn. Thetis emerged from the shadows, her dark hair billowing in the wind and whipping across the bundle in her arms. She panted as if he’d run a great distance.

“What’s wrong?” Zarias asked, taking a step towards her.

He scooped the sleeping child with matching black hair from her trembling arms.

“We have to go through the door now,” Thetis said as her voice cracked in fear. “The Assembly is coming. They know.”

“They know about him?” Zarias’s eyes glanced down to the bundle in his arms.

Thetis shook her head. “Not yet, but they’ll know soon enough if we don’t hurry.”

Zarias swore under his breath. He had known this day would come. The day their time would run out, but he hoped for more time. If only a love as strong as theirs could stop the hate that spread and flared.

He took Thetis’s hand and gave it a squeeze, remembering the weeks of traveling town to town, always one step ahead of the Assembly. They knew they couldn’t run forever, but they were determined to protect their baby at all costs.

And now, on the edge of the world as he gazed into his lover’s eyes he realized that this was the cost. Tears spilled down Thetis’s glowing cheeks as she nodded, knowing in her soul that their unspoken plan was the only way they could protect their love.

Voices in the distance sent a chill down Zarias’s spine.

“They’re here,” Thetis gasped.

Zarias folded his lips over his teeth and blinked back the moisture. “It’s time.”

With one last embrace, Zarias placed their child into a small basket. The wails of his cry echoed in the night sky, but was soon drowned by the whirring of the door to the Human World opening.

Bright yellow lights shot out and spiraled into a whirlpool that mirrored the dark forest behind them. Thetis and Zarias clutched the basket, sending out a prayer to the gods that whoever would find their child would return them to this world one day. That their child would change things for the better and bring peace to the Transitioned World.

Thetis placed a kiss on her baby’s forehead, holding back a sob as Zarias stepped towards the door.

A clash of metal, hooves, and magic assailed them on the cliff. The Assembly’s army filled every inch of space, their was no hope of escape. The doorway’s whirlpool slowed and threatened to close. Zarias quickly placed the basket with the crying babe out into the world beyond before an arrow attached with rope sliced through his shoulder.

“Zarias!” Thetis cried just as another soldier took her captive.

That night, the Assembly’s heinous order was kept and a forbidden union was put to rest, but what they couldn’t destroy was the love that Zarias and Thetis shared. That love came in the form of a babe they called Credan.

In the end, their love would live on and one day bring a change that would lead to the Assembly’s demise. Because the love that they shared was stronger than any law or obstacle that stood in their way. Not even in death.