Pool of Tears

The Pool of Tears

Tereseus (Tear-ree-see-us)

It was fairly common for the gods to spend time on Laramis.  The lesser gods especially found plenty of time to enjoy the pleasures of the elves and humans of the opposite sex, the more powerful gods had little time for such frivolity.  The anatomy of the gods prevented procreation as long as they did not violate the laws of the heavens.  The main rule never to be violated was that no gods were ever to remain in the prime material plan for more than ten days in any lunar cycle.  If they did it was deemed that they would lose their status as a god and would remain in the prime material.

Tereseus, the god of the harvest, had spent many days off and on in the cities of Laramis.  Tereseus greatly enjoyed the pleasures of the females of Laramis.  Though he experienced as many females as possible there was one human that seemed to pull at him and he found it difficult to resist.  Her name was Shana.  She was a great beauty by any standard.  She had long auburn hair and she had been truly blessed in form.  Shana loved Tereseus though she was very aware that he was not for the taking, at least not until certain secrets were uncovered.

It was a warm spring and the flowers in the valley trumpeted their beauty more than ever.  Soft breezes seemed all the more pleasant for Shana.  Tereseus had spent a full nine days in her arms and in her bed.  Shana had convinced herself that putting the potion in Tereseus’ drink was the right thing to do.  After all, Tereseus’ wanted to be with her, even if it meant become mortal.  He simply feared how the other gods would react and he feared the unknown.  That night they drank long into the night, each drink the god consumed contained a dose of the sleep potion.  Several times Tereseus’ muttered that it was time for him to go and each time Shana’s heart raced but the next moment the lesser gods mind would drift and his eyes would flutter with the desire for sleep.

Three days later Tereseus awoke.  Immediately he knew something was wrong, terribly wrong.  He could feel small aches and pains he had never felt before and his head swam as the room seemed to spin around him.  He made out Shana as she burst into the room. 

“What have you done?” He managed before drifting back to sleep.

Tereseus woke again and though he felt much better he was shaken by the feeling that he was not right.  Then it all came rushing in like a horrible nightmare.  How long had it been?  Wait! He had stayed nine days already and then the drinking.  NO! At first the scream was only in his mind and then it escaped his lips rising in volume until his cries nearly shook the room.

Shana ran into the room and wrapped her arms around her beloved as he now sat on the bed, tears streaming down his face.  She repeated over and over that she loved him.  Tereseus’ face softened, the sweet smell of her auburn hair filled his nostrils.  He breathed deeply taking in her fragrance.  At that moment he experienced another feeling he had never known; a desire for this woman that grew like a flame in his heart.   She raised her eyes to meet his and he raised his hands to cup her beautiful face.  This was love as mortals knew it and it was wonderful.  A broad grin worked its way across Tereseus’ face and he pulled Shana to him.  They drank deeply of each other for hours into the day.

Tereseus knew joy like he had never before.  Though his body was not that of a god any longer, he was very strong and much more so than the mortal men and elves of Laramis.  He was exceedingly handsome as he kept his physical features of his divine origin.  Tereseus was very popular with the local people and quickly found that he a talent for politics.  His love for Shana seemed to grow by the day and her love for him.  They had their first child, Celisa, shortly after his first year as a mortal. 

With their family started and a successful farm producing a great wealth in crops, Tereseus set his sights on working his way through the intricate and dangerous politics of the nobles in middle Laramis.  Strong leaders were in great demand as the various barons of Laramis were constantly at war.  Tereseus rose quickly in the eyes of the people and soon was second only to the baron of middle Laramis in local power. 

Over the next three years Tereseus and Shana had two more children; both boys, Harmis and Tramos.  Shana grew more beautiful with each passing day in the eyes of her loving husband.  But the days did pass, more so for Shana than for the former god.  Age had considerably less effect on Tereseus and in quite moments alone, Shana worried that her loving husband would likely grow old alone. 

Tereseus grew tired of debates and noble gatherings but found a new love in battle.  He often slipped out of his noble garb and joined troops on the front lines.  His skill and bravery were far beyond that of any other solider and most leaders.  Soon, he gave up politics altogether and with the reluctant blessing of the baron he assumed the role of general for the army of middle Laramis.

Celisa, Harmis and Tramos grew into strong, healthy and beautiful teens.  There was little doubt they would find much success despite living in the shadow of their father.  As Shana grew older however her smile began to fade.  Tereseus still looked upon her as she was the most beautiful being in the world but she knew that she would never be able to grow old with her husband.  Paranoia that he would leave her crept into her mind ever so slowly and depression was close behind.

It was a colder than normal winter with snow piled high in the valley when Tereseus came home from his latest successful campaign to find his beautiful bride lying on their bed.  Her arms folded across her chest and a long ago spilled goblet lying on the floor.  Consumed by depression Shana had poisoned herself.  Tereseus could not speak, could not scream, he could not breathe.  Yet another feeling gripped him that had never experienced.  A grief so profound that his mind could not handle the emotion.  Something broke within him, grief turned to hate and in an instant everything changed.

Tereseus drew his blade.  Cursing he stomped through their estate looking for those who did nothing while his beloved died.  He found one of the house maids and her two young children near the garden and cut them down as they screamed for mercy.  They knew not this man who struck at them for although he looked like the kind master of the estate his eyes smoldered with hate.  Their cries meant nothing to him as he simply wiped his blade and searched on.  Cooks, maids, guards all fell to his furry and there was nothing they could do to stop it.  Within the hour nothing moved in the estate, blood ran freely along the stone floors and still Tereseus’ anger would not fade.

Then his mind turned to the children.  They had all gone to Heron Lake within nearly fifty of Tereseus troops as guards for time away as was their custom every winter.  Why had they left their mother alone to suffer in her sadness?  Why had they not been here for her?  They were worthless and weak, not fitting for his blood nor that of his beloved.

Tereseus mounted and rode for his waiting troops just a mile from his home.  Upon his arrival his second immediately noticed the grimness of his face and the blood splattered across his armor.  Something in his general’s demeanor however kept his tongue silent.  Wisdom brought on by many years of war and dealing with deadly warriors. 

“We ride for Heron Lake”, Tereseus spat the words more than spoke them.  Without hesitation five hundred men immediately broke down tents and packed for travel.

The ride to Heron Lake took a little more than two days.  During that time, Tereseus spoke little though he muttered under his breath constantly.  His mood grew darker and he retreated within himself more as time passed. 

As the small army approached the lake, his children took note of the great bear on the banner and recognized their father.  The fifty mean appointed to guard the children snapped to attention as the force neared.  Just short of the encampment Tereseus held up.

“Destroy them all”, He said grimly.  “Today they join their mother.”

“Sir?” His second stared has if he had not understood a single word.

Celisa looked questioningly at her brothers and them at her.  Confusion written on her face she turned towards her father sitting sternly on his horse some twenty feet from her, “Father.  Father…what…what is wrong?”

“DO IT NOW YOU SWINE OR SHALL PEAL YOUR SKIN AND SALT YOUR BONES”, Tereseus boomed at his men.  His men had done many things in his service that they did not like or agree with but nothing like this.  Still, they were trained for only one thing to follow his command.  Swords were drawn. No solider spoke as they pushed their horses to gallop forward.

The Children screamed for their father, screamed for the men to stop.  The fifty guards were stunned and as they looked at each other for direction some uncertainly drew their swords while others lowered to their knees hoping for mercy. 

Seconds later all was still.  Men stood over their brothers-in-arms and some stood over the children of their beloved general.  Slain by their hands most of Tereseus’ men stared blankly ahead many others wiped away sweat and tears. 

As Tereseus stared at the dead two bodies caught his eye.  His daughter Celisa lay face down in the water near the edge of the lake her arm outstretched holding the hand of her brother Harmis who also lay face down at the water’s edge.  Blood and foam splashed up softly on the sandy shore of the lake.

It was then, as if a spell had been broken, that Tereseus eyes widened in horror as he seemed for the first time to have realized what he had done.  Darkness swirled and the great general fell from his saddle onto the soft grass near the lake.

Tereseus lived for nearly two hundred years after the massacre.  He punished himself with guilt every day for the murder of his family.  The lake was re-named The Pool of Tears.  He stayed on as general of middle Laramis and battle seemed to be the only place he could find peace from his demons.  He was no longer loved by the people but his ability to move armies and conquer secured his place as general.  King Madrosus used Tereseus for his own designs and Tereseus cared not as long as he could wage war.

King Madrosus could have easily used his general to unify all of Laramis but he chose instead to pillage his neighbors and destroy his enemies.  War in Laramis raged on.  Tereseus died suddenly without known cause while he was alone in his tower in the great city of White Cross.

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