In Dreams
rating: +11+x

You can't give a child an archaic name from Greek mythology and not expect them to dream of mazes and monsters. But Ariadne was sure that her father had never particularly cared what her mother had named her, just that he resented she had used her final breath to do so. Her first stop had been to look up the name anywhere that she could, of course. The copy of Edith Hamilton that her aunt had given her one summer was still on her shelf, the spine taped together, but the chapter outlining Theseus' terrible treatment of the Minoan princess had only served to make a younger Ariadne angry.

Older Ariadne still could get pretty heated, if she let herself think about it too much.

She could never ask her mother why that name out of all of them was the one she had wanted to spend her last breath on, but as an adult Ariadne had found her own theories, anything to fill the void left by a dead mother and an indifferent father. Difficult-to-pronounce names were the bane of any child unlucky enough to be stuck with one, but at least hers didn't rhyme with anything terrible or carry positive or negative associations off the bat.

If she'd been born in Greece or even Europe in general, no one likely would have wondered. But growing up in the Northeastern US, they all wanted to know why? Was it a family name? Had her mother studied the Classics deeply? And Ariadne would smile politely, if stiffly, and reply she really didn't know either.

She would likely never know, so making up her own reasons took over at some point. As a child, she thought that it was maybe just a story that her mother had liked for some reason. Ariadne knew that the princess, although abandoned by the Athenian brute Theseus on the isle of Naxos, would eventually be saved by Dionysos, the god of wine and revelry — which couldn't be all that bad, could it? A happy ending after all, complete with scores of children and a love written in the stars.

Teenage Ariadne changed her mind however, seeing it instead as a cautionary tale, not because Dionysos was a particularly brutish god or anything but because the focus in stories was more or less always shaming the princess for trusting Theseus, for foolishly believing his protestations of love and aiding him in destroying her father Minos' kingdom. Admittedly, Ariadne may have been projecting a bit on that last point, but the solution to the enigma of her parents' relationship died with her father on her seventeenth birthday. He'd never been open with her about anything, let alone the place of her mother in his own life.

So the orphan left for college a year early, determined to find answers to questions that did exist instead of chasing after the ephemera of intent, secrets kept by the dead alone. That didn't mean that other dead couldn't be convinced to talk, in their own way, and her particular stubborn brand of investigation suited her well as she chased information that had been thought lost. Her skills and ability took her to places she could hardly believe existed, even after seeing it all with her own eyes.

And it was almost enough.

But no matter her triumphs, the knowledge and acclaim she gathered as she found solutions to terrible problems, discovered ancient secrets lost — her dreams were so often plagued with the same thing, again and again. It didn't matter that the stories were different than any ancient text, that Ariadne had more than enough knowledge of human psychology to guess at the underlying causes. She takes copious notes, asks questions of experts in the field without making it clear that these are her dreams, but nothing really comes of them. After all, dreams are rarely prophetic, for all that humans try to insist they are.

The justifications in the daylight didn't matter in the night, though. Not when it was always so crisp, so clear —- the same dream every time:

A barefoot young woman, running through an earthen passage that opened to a starry night sky. She carries a heavy iron sword and is crying out someone's name, but it's not Greek and she wears no chiton or peplos. Yet still, she knows that she is Ariadne, the princess and the beast in the Labyrinth is waiting for her. That she must find it and kill it, and that time is running out.

The voice is masculine, but speaking to her in a language she cannot understand, neither in the dream or in the waking world. He is pleading with her, but beyond tone his words are as meaningless as the string she is following, knowing better than to trust the one who left it.

The moon rises and the blood now shining on the ground is far better a guide, and she charges with almost inhuman strength into a battle that should be impossible, the monster before her no mixture of human and beast but something else entirely. Something wrong, something that should not be — but it bleeds and that is enough.

And every time, Ariadne wakes from the dream screaming.

Not in fear, but in victory.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License