6th Century BC

His hands were rough and calloused as they wrapped around my neck, lifting me off the ground. His skin was golden brown, his eyes were dark as night. As his grip tightened, I reached into my belt and pulled out a jagged dagger. The hilt glistened with a thousand jewels. I held it taut and thrust it into his gut. His eyes widened as his hands scrambled to pull out the blade. I crashed to the rocky ground. Pain reverberated through my legs. I clenched my jaw as I looked over at him. He stumbled backwards, hitting one of the columns.

His coal black eyes glanced from me to the dagger then back again. Blood seeped through his wound, caking in the dirt. His breathing became ragged as his hands fumbled to find the hilt. He slid down the pillar, leaving a smear of blood on the column. His movements became sluggish. He coughed, spewing blood and spit. It dribbled down his angled chin. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes. His arm fell away from his stomach, falling to the dusty ground. I stared at his body, limp in the fading light. His once rich blue aura dimmed, flickered, and then was gone. I had done it again. I had killed the one person who could have made me happy. I had killed my soulmate. His death was on my hands once more. Nothing, I felt nothing.

I picked myself up, dusting away dirt from my blue peplos. My sandals scuffed against the ground as I walked away from what I had done. I could have ended my life then like I had in Egypt, but there would be no point. As long as I lived, the cycle wouldn't restart. I wasn't sure why, but nevertheless I wasn't going to kill him again. I couldn't, unless I had to. I would end this cycle…. I shuffled through the columns and down its steps toward the city below. A warm breeze rustled my hair. It tickled my face. The sun cast its last rays as I reached my destination. I kicked away scattered rocks as I came upon one of the many homes of the city, my home. I ran, my sandals pounding against the dusty street. As the distance between my safety and my body lessened, I jumped.

My hands latched onto the clay roofing. I pulled myself up and scrambled toward the courtyard. I jumped, tucking and rolling as I landed. I walked over to the stone fountain. The water glistened in the moonlight. The pool rippled and pulsed as fresh water ran down the second tier. My reflection shimmered and flickered. My face was pale, my eyes too big, and my once flawless neck was marred blue and purple. I sat down on the stone, tucking my feet behind me. The cold seeped through my thin peplos. I ran my hand through the water, my skin prickling as it lapped against me.

Strands of red trickled through the crystal blue. The water was tainted with blood, like my soul. I shivered. My deep blue aura gleamed against the lightness of the pool.

"Sybil, is that you?"

I looked up to see my sister in the doorway. Her bare, bronzed skin shone like the sun in the moonlight. Her long, black hair cascaded down her back, falling just short of her waist. She was three years younger than my sixteen years. Her aura was a soft yellow, matching her kind nature.

"It is, sister. You should be sleeping like mother and father, Daphne, why are you awake?" I asked.

"I couldn't sleep, not without you."

She cast her blue eyes down, shuffling her bare feet in the dirt. I sighed, drying my hand on my dress before getting up. I walked over to her and rested a hand on her shoulder.

"Come then, let us sleep," I said, leading her back to our room.

"Why were you in the courtyard, sister? Was it the dreams again?" she asked.

I looked down at my younger sister and nodded.

"Yes…they leave me shaken. I watch the water flow from the fountain; it calms me."

I didn't lie, but I didn't tell the whole truth either. I had woken from one of my nightmares, but I hadn't gone to the courtyard. I went to the temple, to pray to Athena for wisdom and guidance. I had found none; instead I was attacked. I knew I shouldn't have been out after the sun had started to set, but I had a sudden urge. I had to; there was no stopping me. I had climbed the hill towards the Parthenon and marveled at its magnificence. My sandals had just touched the stone when I saw him.

My eyes cast around at the columns, wondering if she would hear me. I took a step toward the inner sanctum. Dirt crunched under my feet. I scanned the pillars, feeling eyes watching me. He came out behind one of the inner posts like a panther stalking its prey. My heart stopped then sputtered back to life. I stood immobilized as he crept closer. I was a mouse caught in the grip of a snake. His coal black eyes ravaged my body with a mere look. I shivered, feeling cold in the dying summer light. His blue aura stood out against his tan skin and dark hair. The same color as mine. It rippled and pulsed around him, clinging like a second skin.

He wore a green exomis that was fastened on the left shoulder, leaving his right bare. The exomis reached his knees and was cinched at the waist. I bit my lip, afraid to move. I should have run the minute I saw him, but his chiseled face and muscular build drew me in. He took a step towards me and smiled. His lips crept up into a smirk that would make any woman swoon. I would have if I didn't already know where this was heading. I screamed at my legs to move, to run. Instead I stood as still as a statue.

"What do we have here?" he laughed.

His voice wrapped around me, caressing my body. His dark eyes shimmered as he came ever closer. My heart thrashed against my chest. I was a deer caught in headlights. My voice clung to my throat, unable to produce a sound.

"Speechless I see. No matter, you don't need to speak, just feel," he said.

His words were laced with hidden meanings. He was inches away from me by the time I found my voice.

"No," I managed to say.

He laughed, but it held no humor. I tensed, clenching my jaw. He raised his right hand and stroked my cheek. He left a trail of heat as his hand went lower. I was paralyzed, unable to do anything but watch. His fingers were rough and calloused as they caressed down my neck to my shoulder. My clasped left shoulder strap followed his hands down my arm. Instinctively I wrapped my arms around my chest, covering them from his greedy eyes.

He frowned and grabbed both of my arms, yanking them away from my body. With one hand, he gripped both of my wrists behind my back. I whimpered. His grip only tightened as his other hand brought my other shoulder strap down. My dress fell to my wrists, revealing my bare breasts. His eyes devoured my skin, scorching it. Without skipping a beat, his lips crashed against mine, rough and needy. I gasped at his intensity and insistence. My insides turned to mush the minute his lips touched mine, his body pressed against me, and his hands groped frantically.

I was speechless and feeling like he had wanted. I couldn't let this happen, despite his aura. I wasn't going to allow this man to assert his dominance on me, not like this. His hand fell away from my wrists as he held me against his chest while his other played and fondled my breast. I took the opportunity to kick him. My sandal collided with his privates. He groaned, falling back a bit. I made my escape then, fumbling as I tried to pick up my dress and run. I dashed into the inner sanctum of the temple, hoping to hide. He cursed, rocks clattering as he came for me again. I straightened my peplos and stopped, listening for his breathing. Everything was quiet.

My eyes scanned the columns again. I let out the breath I was holding about to take a deep one when he lunged. He had caught me off guard. His calloused hands wrapped around my neck-


I jerked, turning to my sister. Her blue eyes were wide, staring through me.

"Sorry…," I said, looking down.

We had reached our room a while ago, yet I had been so wrapped up in my thoughts I hadn't noticed. Daphne had.

"I've been calling your name, but you didn't answer. I was worried."

Her pale lips curled down into a pout. I rolled my eyes and pat her head, leading her into the room. Our bedroom consisted of two beds and a wooden chest for our clothes. The only light in the small room was an oil lamp atop our chest. Despite her age, Daphne preferred to sleep in my bed with me. I didn't mind on cold nights as her warmth added to mine.

She crawled into bed, curling up on her side and waited for me. I stripped quickly; my peplos pooling around my legs. I picked it up and laid it on the bed then unraveled my shoes. I licked my index and thumb before snuffing out the flame. We were cast in darkness. I crept into bed, wrapping my arms around Daphne as I pulled what used to be my peplos over our naked bodies. The dreams came soon after….

The sand sifted through my toes as I walked, burning slightly in the midday sun. A soft breeze caressed my skin. Even with the wind, the air was hot and sticky. Mini sand tornadoes blew passed, swirling in the sudden gust. I smiled, picking up speed. I muscled through sand dunes, using my hands and feet until I reached the top. Below me was the city. The pyramids cast shadows across the land. I skidded down toward the village.

Monuments of past pharaohs guarded the entrance to the city. I stared up at them as I passed. The streets bustled with people meandering around: women gossiping, children chasing each other, and men trading what little they had. I slipped passed them unnoticed. My dress brushed against the ground, kicking up dust and sand as I walked. My eyes roamed the city, searching. I caught a flicker of blue pass through one of the alleys. My pulse quickened.

I scrunched up the bottom of my dress and ran towards him. I brushed passed onlookers with only one person on my mind, Ini-herit, my twin's husband.