My apologies to those of you who were expecting another chapter of Too Hot To Touch. Instead, this is an announcement and excerpt regarding my latest story, an original novella soon to be posted at FictionPress.com. I mentioned this story in the AN of the THTT epilogue, and received several interested emails. It is based loosely upon the same legend that prompted Naeko's Sailor Moon, a legend that has long fascinated me. For those of you interested, I will be writing at FP.com under the same penname; Foenixfyre. And so, without further ado, I hope you enjoy this!
Tears of the Goddess: Celeste
The little blond angel bounced on her bed and aimed a smile at her mother. "Tell me the story again, Mummy," she begged. It was a good story, and one that would postpone bed-time for at least a while.
Her mother was used to the game, but it didn't matter much. "Did you brush your teeth?" she asked with a smile. The game, after all, did have some rules.
"An' washed my face!" the child exclaimed. "Story, Mummy!"
And so the mother gathered her youngest child in her arms and settled back against the ruffled pillows of the bed. From where they sat, the two could look out of the large double windows and see the moon above. It was full and golden in a clear sky, smiling down upon them in benediction. "Once upon a time," she began.
"There was a princess!"
"No, darling. If you want to hear the story, you must listen.
"Once upon a time, there was a goddess. She lived on the moon, in a beautiful silver castle. Her eyes were the color of dawn, and her hair was the color of the moon. And her gowns were made of starshine and lace.
"But the goddess was lonely, for she was all by herself in her beautiful castle. Night after night, she would sit on her balcony, and look down at the earth. Since she was a goddess, she could see anything she wanted, anywhere, and she especially enjoyed to watch young couples in love. Sometimes, when she saw a couple having trouble, she would use her magic to help them, so that they could be happy together."
"Love's yucky," declared the child, as she thought about the boys at school.
"You think that now, darling," laughed the mother. "Just wait until you grow up. Now you must be quiet and listen, or I won't finish the story tonight."
That threat was enough to quiet the child, and she looked up at her mother expectantly.
"But one day, as the goddess looked down at the earth, she noticed a man, alone in his castle. Now, this man was a king. He was very handsome, with brown hair the shade of ancient oak trees, and eyes the color of leaves turned golden with the fall season. His kingdom was prosperous, and his people loved him very much, for he was a very good king.
"And the goddess saw how he would walk through his gardens at night, staring up at the sky. And she noticed how he always walked alone. This king, she realized, was as lonely as she was, and she determined to travel down to earth and speak to him. So she put on her loveliest gown, and her richest tiara, and she called the stars together so that she could walk down to earth.
"The king was walking in his garden, and he was very surprised to see a woman climbing down a ladder of stars toward him. But he wasn't afraid, because he knew that no one so beautiful could be evil. So the king held out his hand and helped her down to the ground.
"And the king and the goddess walked through his gardens and talked. And as they talked, they fell in love. But as night made way to morning, the goddess had to return to her castle in the sky, for she could not bear the heat of the sun's rays. So she left him, but only after she promised to come back the very next night."
"And did she?" asked the little girl, although she knew the answer by heart. But this was how the story was always told, and she would never miss a step.
"Yes, my darling, she did. She climbed down her ladder of stars every single night. And each night the two fell more and more in love. And one night, the goddess and the king were married. No one else knew, for the goddess performed the ceremony herself, with only her mother moon and her sisters, the stars, as witnesses.
"And they continued to meet every night, for years and years. The king's people began to worry, for he had no heirs, and he refused to marry one of the princesses they offered him. But the king and his goddess wife did not care, for they were happy together.
"Then one day, the goddess gave birth to a child. The child was a handsome boy with hair as golden as the sun. She and the king loved their son very much, and they loved each other more deeply then before.
"The son lived with his mother in her castle on the moon,and he grew into a fine, strong young boy. He would travel down to earth each night with the goddess to visit his father.
"But humans are mortal, and the king fell ill. Nothing his physicians did could cure the disease, and not even the goddess's magic could make him well again."
"So what did she do?" the little angel asked. She didn't like this part of the story so much, but her mother always refused to change it.
"If you are quiet, my dear, I'll tell you."
"The king knew he was going to die, but he didn't want to leave his kingdom without an heir, someone to rule after him. One night, he asked his advisers and judges to wait outside his bedroom door. When the goddess and his son had arrived, as they did every night, he called the important men of the kingdom in. The men were very afraid when they saw the goddess, but the king ordered them to be calm. 'This is my son,' he said. 'He is very wise, and very strong. My wife and I have taught him well. He will rule after me.'
"But the advisers and judges were very unhappy, but they knew of the goddess of the moon, and they feared her powers. 'We will accept this boy as your heir,' they said, 'but only if that goddess promises to return to her castle on the moon and never reappear on the earth again.
"The goddess wept to hear this, for she did not want to be parted from her husband and child. But she knew how badly the kingdom needed an heir, and so she agreed. There, as the night became morning, she kissed the king and her son goodbye for the last time, and she climbed the ladder of stars for one final time.
"And so the king died, and his son was made the new king. Like his father, he ruled well and wisely, and his people loved him.
"But the goddess stayed in her castle and looked down upon her child every night. Without the love of her family, she grew ill, as ill as the king had been. She knew that she had only one night left to live.
"So as she sat there on her balcony, she turned her face to the planet of her beloved and wept four tears. These tears fell to earth and became four jewels. And the legend claims that, if the jewels are found and reunited, the goddess and her king will be reborn, and they will live happily together in the castle on the moon. For love is the strongest power there is."
The mother looked down at her child, and smiled to see that the blond head had dropped, and the little eyes had closed.
Reaching out, the woman whispered some words. A light appeared in her outstretched hand, then coalesced into a diamond. She held the precious gem in her palm, and hugged her daughter gently against her body. "The first is for you, my loverling, if you have the strength to find it."