You and I see eye to eye Who: Brittany [Eris] & Vinnie [Pan]. What: Two shay-otic deities meet; this may or may not go well. Where: Arcadia. When: Long, long ago, and right now.
The jagged treeline felt familiar, as did the echoing cry Eris felt she could hear through the mountains overhead. She was, once more, home, or at least an approximation of it. Why she was here, in this dense forest, each tree haphazardly placed without thought or care as nature intended, she did not know; nor would she be bothered to invite reason to such an inquiry, for what cause could there be for reason?
Instead, Eris turned herself into a little apple -- one of her favorite shapes -- and rolled around the ground, tickled to feel the lush grass sweeping over her as she moved through the brush. Then sticks, and leaves, and small insect legs became appealing, climbing up one branch to another, over and throughout, enjoying this vast scape that was so very different from all she'd been in just yet.
And then she heard music. Familiar, enticing notes, ones that rang inside the bell of her memory twice fold -- once from memory, and again from her vessel's own mind. Curious to see if the player was indeed who she thought, Eris headed in that direction, using her small, skinny form to move from branch to branch with ease.
Nestled safely in the familiar hills and grasses of his beloved Arcadia, a horned god leaned against the trunk of one such tree, his eyes trustingly closed as he drew a sweet, yet still lively tune from the pipes resting against his lips. It brought to mind the quick patter of his hooves when he was still but a fat-bellied kid, when the world was newer (though somewhat aged, for is he not among the youngest of them) and his heart was as light as his feet.
The thought brought a scowl and a pause to the music, both dismissed with a shake of his horned head. What good was it, to reflect on darkness past when the day is beautiful? All will be set right, blasphemes attempted will be repaid a thousand fold, for does not his name already echo in hallowed groves again?
Did he not have more pressing matters to attend, as the wind brought to him the faintest sound of something else moving through the grasses and limbs that he knew as his own face? Under his shaded tree Pan tilted his head, listening; straightened, a smile lit with pure delight slowly creeping across his face. Not his father, but a welcome (or at least, interesting) presence nonetheless. Pan drew in a deep breath and began once more to play; a quick tune with notes that jumped as though they had bodies to dance, that did dance in the movements of his hips as they rose and fell, only the barest of rhythm holding the tune together.
Come and see.
She did. Eris wove through the branches, dropping here, leaping there, her movements eventually following the sound that grew louder as she drew nearer to it. Her insect head bobbed to the music, small wings fluttering out to carry her to the final place where the source of it would be revealed; and there she was delighted to see a figure that was as odd as her own, playing what looked like a stick, and making the whole world in his immediate vicinity dance.
The goddess of discord had no issue with that.
She leapt from her place in the tree, hitting the ground as a woman with wispy, incomplete edges that implied she might be made of smoke. Twirling around, she followed Pan's song as he continued to play, her hands and arms beckoning him to join her if he could manage to do that and play at the same time.
The day he who more than once led nymph and maenad alike in rapturous dance, could not create and whirl to music is the day he truly finds a home beneath the ground. His goat-like eyes widened with joy to see his ears had not tricked him, that even after such a time away the lands of Arcadia whisper true to him.
She beckoned and he leapt without second thought, landing nimbly on hooves that had but once in recent eons stumbled underneath him. They do no such thing now, moving merry with a beat that hadn’t paused a bit. His lips curved in a sly grin as he added a playful trill to the tune, dipped his head in a motion that might be mistaken for shyness--but this is Pan, and the closest he ever has come to bashfulness is to play at it. Even now his hooves took him closer, more than near enough for the chaotic goddess to lash out at him should her mind change with the breeze. It has before, perhaps it will again; or perhaps it will not.
For the moment, Eris was too pleased with the other things he had on offer; the dance, which her form moved in unnatural ways with (twisting, turning, her form lengthening and shrinking in time to the beat), and the music, which shrilled through her in ways not unlike the battlefield cries she was so used to. This was certainly sweeter, softer, less blood thirsty, but there was a promise in it that it could drive to and become more if the player so chose. But, for now, Eris was content. She expanded, filling the space like a fog, wrapping around Pan and drifting off into the wood at large. Through this, she shook the trees, making leaves and branches fall, her dance growing more and more excited with each passing moment.
Natural is such a flexible term. For every handful of creatures that things such as death, aging, and reproduction play out in the expected way, there are a species in which they do not. The way in which Eris writhes and changes without hesitation or care is unusual, obscure--and a perfectly natural manifestation of the chaos that she personified. It thrilled his heart to witness; then she expanded, sending his heart racing and the music with it. For a brief time he closed his eyes and leaned into the fog that Eris had become, enjoying the sensation of her moving over his bare arms and through his fur.
The sound of branches cracking drew his eyes open again, wide as he beheld how greatly she had expanded herself. He should have been furious, perhaps, that she was doing damage to his beloved land; but all the animals have fled before her, and the trembling line between joyous dance and destruction excited the darkness in him that had drawn him to be such bosom friends with Dionysus himself and join in his mad frenzies. Pan dug his hooves into the grass below as his dance changed to a dervish, his melody high and shrill in a feminine, faint echo of his maddening cry.
That sound interlaced with his music brought Eris back to herself, if such a phrase was adaptable for a personage such as her. Her wide, incorporeal form withdrew, becoming solid again, this time humanish (or as close to it as she was capable), dancing around Pan.
"You!" She threw her arms in the air and twirled as the music continued. "It has been a long time, Phorbas. I had come to think I would never see your like again!"
For a brief, dizzying moment it felt like skipping a beat, like his hoof slipping off into nothingness when Eris pulled herself together again. But that was what he deserved for expecting any certain action of chaos, and it wasn’t as though this were the place he wanted to destroy anyway. No, the target of his ire was much less beautiful, orderly and gilded in gold.
He took the chance to dance close enough to throw an arm around her waist, caring not that he might lose it. A few more notes played before he tore his lips from the pipes. His swift hooves continue, dancing to a beat still playing within his head. “Oh ho, such lack of faith in me, Eris! Did you truly think I would not return? I, whose name echoes in sacred groves to this day?”
Her laughter was like a donkey braying, and her arms landed around his neck, for the moment allowing him his familiar touch.
"You name me and yet ask for faith, Pan? We both know better than that!" Her feet followed his steps, keeping the rhythm easily as they moved back and forth over the ground, all but trampling it underfoot. She could almost hear the music, the memory of it reverberating through her head.
"Perhaps now I'll be able to persuade you to join in a fight or two? Really, Ares, I think, would be glad to have music he can slaughter to. And it would be fun for all of us!" By all she meant Ares' retinue, though she had not seen Phobos or Deimos for some time. The thought made her a little sad, and she pushed away from Pan's hold, though one hand snaked back to grab his free one, wending her fingers through his. "There are not many of us, that I've seen, thus far. Where we are now."
“I know that of us all, you are the least restrained by the titles bestowed upon you,” he countered, his bright smile as sweet as his words. His head bent slightly, pulled by the weight of her arms at his neck and the simple want to tickle her face with his beard. He doesn’t, much; only lets the coarse hair of his face brush her smooth cheek once or twice as they danced together, his hooves whispering over footprints she left like a soothing hand.
Then she was gone from his grasp, but for once he didn’t seek out the woman slipping away for he has no answer for her proposition. For all that he has ran with madness, he has ever been a peaceful god, abhorrent of war. And yet, deep in his breast was something festering that thrilled at the thought of seeing Ares incite war against those who had blasphemed against him, who had taken his image and turned it into a thing to fear. Their blood would taste like wine, their heads would pop like grapes under his hooves, and he knows not where the urge for bloody vengeance comes from. Is it truly his own, or does it come from the darkness that yet nips at his heels?
He lifted their joined hands, pressing his lips against her fingertips. “More will come,” he reassured softly, feeling the truth of his words as they tumbled from his tongue. “Did I myself not emerge from the grey lands between life and death to live anew? They will come; it has only begun.”
Eris grinned wide, her hand leaning into the caress his mouth pressed on her fingers. Her other hand came up, cupping the other side of his face, nails and skin brushing over the wiry beard that covered his face.
"It has, it really only has! Have you seen it? The things that we have done!" She spins around him, her body elongating again, then shrinking back to what would usually amount to a 'normal' size. "The changes, the shapes. Have you seen the others?" Her question implied not the Greeks that had slipped through her speech only moments before; not Dionysus, or Zeus, or even her own mother, Nyx, whom darkness follows like a cloud. "The others, there are so many of us! And all in one place... I can barely imagine the chaos that might happen!" Her voice frothed with laughter, this time closer kin to inhaling helium from a balloon than an unpalatable beast of burden. The mere possibility of such mischief seemed to excite her more than the trouble itself.
It was his turn to lean into her touch, however brief it was; gentleness is not an aspect Eris has ever been known for, and as with anything else the next moment may bring those nails ripping into his face. In a way the uncertainty was comforting, and familiar.
Neither happened; she spun around him in glee, the shape of her body stretching and contracting in echo of the glee in her voice. It’s contagious enough that he couldn’t keep from grinning if he tried, couldn’t keep his strange eyes from lighting in pure mischief. Trying to hide it never crossed his mind.
“I have, but a little,” he confessed, his hooves shifting on the ground with excited energy. “Most I have seen has been through mortal eyes; though I have met another such as we, my attention has been elsewhere.” On the mortal boy who unwittingly shrank from that which laid within him, and yet sought out those whom Pan had known and been fond of. That he could not simply scoop the man up as he had with many a nymph (and one notable protege) was a source of deep frustration, but one he knew would resolve. Just as he knew Eris spoke true of the inherent chaos where their mortals lived now, and the prospect brought a laugh to echo that shook like a goat’s bleat.
“Good that we will be there to stoke the flames. There seem to be many of us that revel in trickery; do I see true, Eris? Has this place thus far drawn many of our ilk?” His heart beat a tattoo in his chest as the possibilities began to unfold; much potential for bloodshed this is true, but more for pure mischief the likes of which had yet to be sung.
"So many," Eris replied encouragingly. She drew back, finally hovering in a single place, though her form kept twisting and reshaping itself even in stasis. "My brother is here, and I suspect a few others that we would both know the names of, but they have not yet revealed themselves to me in person. But, but, dear Pan, there are others." Her body shook with excitement, exploding into drops that splattered the clearing around them; yet she remained whole. "Not known to us so readily. Have you met any? Uke Mochi, or Maui, or...?"
“I have seen my father here,” came the soft confession, his voice vibrating with an uncharacteristically quiet joy. Being raised by the traveling god had resulted in a steadfast bond between father and son that remained throughout the eons. His worst fear, when struggling out of the greyness he'd consigned himself to, was that he'd find Hermes had faded away or, worse, been twisted by the same forces he'd fled. And yet who was it that he had first seen but his father, alive and vibrant still?
He smiled into the explosion, turning his face up as though Eris were truly the rain her body chose to emulate. “Not as themselves,” came his answer, accentuated by a shake of his horned head. “Tell me of them, that I may know them when our paths do cross? Tell me of these who excite you so and whose names flow so easily from your tongue? You know how fond I am of stories.” Usually as the one telling them to a pretty nymph sitting on his knee; briefly he wondered if he might convince Eris to do the same. Perhaps if she thought it were her idea.
"Oh, there is so much to tell," Eris replied, and as though she were reading his thoughts, she bade him sit himself down near where he had been before. She found a comfortable enough spot on one hairy, goaty leg, a limb stretched out across his shoulders as she clambered into an intimate space with the other Greek deity. It wasn't often that others found her agreeable company, so she would use this instance to its fullest extent.
"I have not seen your father, though I have felt him... And my brother, Ares, is here, and oh, such fun we have had already, but the others, now, there's a story to be had..."