Retelling the Legend
A woman made her way across town; her sandals kicking up dust in the languid summer heat. She was young, sun-kissed skin glowing from her morning walk, her ebony hair flowing in the breeze, and beauty radiating around her. Unknown to her, the eyes of every man, woman, child and god in the forum followed her path across the market. Drunken, he chose to walk among these mortals this day, but his breath caught when he caught the whisper of her beauty in the glinting sun. His eyes gazed followed her as she made her way around the market forum. Too soon for his liking, she had finished her haggling for the day and started back towards her home. Not willing to lose sight of her, he wove his way through the stalls following just far enough behind to only be a hint of danger. She turned her head, sensing something but saw no one out of the ordinary and continued her journey.
Caught jumping at shadows she thought, but looked around again feeling a tickling breeze hit her neck. This time she turned quick enough to see a scrap of purple fabric fly around the corner twenty paces behind her. She paused, hand resting on her full lips as she stared into the darkened alleyway. Standing as still as a rabbit knowing it had been spotted by a prowling wolf. Slowly, the profile of a man silhouetted against the alley wall and she gasped.
It can’t be! She thought panicking slightly.
She knew that face. It was plastered all over the wine shops in homage and seeking the blessing from this god. A breath caught in her throat as she realized what being followed by Bacchus would mean for her. At once, like the final piece of a puzzle fitting into place, she turned and ran.
Diana save me! She cried as she ran, both to herself and out loud. Tears streamed down her face as she ran for her life. She was young and still chaste, but if given half a chance Bacchus would ensure she didn’t remain so for long. Too panicked to understand that running from a wolf was the worst idea for a rabbit, she ran and ran with all her might knowing it was futile unless the goddess answered her cry. Dirt coated her as her sandals created a maelstrom of dust around her frenzied escape. Behind her Bacchus laughed.
I haven’t had this much fun in centuries, the drunken god of debauchery thought to himself. He let her run ahead, thinking this pursuit was possibly even more fun than the eventual capture. She was beauty personified and already giving him an entertaining afternoon of pleasure.
Terrified of what a forced moment with a god could mean for her future, the girl ran and ran invoking the name of Diana in the frenzied moments between breaths. Sitting in her palace atop Mount Olympus, Diana heard the maiden’s cry. It took but a moment to assess the situation. Before stopping to think Diana grabbed her bow and raced to help the girl. Goddess of the hunt, she launched arrow after arrow at the feet of Bacchus trying to trip him and dissuade him from this pursuit, but instead of turning Bacchus laughed out loud at the incredible fun this day was turning into.
STOP BACCHUS! This is not right. Stop and think of what you are doing! Diana shouted at her fellow Olympian but far from being dissuaded Bacchus only laughed louder. Realizing that pleading with Bacchus was futile, Diana paused one brief moment turning to look at the feisty girl who chose to call out for Diana rather than enjoy the god of pleasure’s company for even a moment. Her breath hitched as she made the decision, then did the only thing she could… stone protect you and may the clarity of your virtue be a beacon to all who seek me.
Just as her feet hit the ground, mid-run, the girl froze. Her body grew heavy as they turned to the purest clear crystal Quartz the world had ever seen. In her final moment before her face was crystal, she turned and saw Diana. Thank you she whispered.
Stumbling around the corner, dust clouding his eyes, Bacchus stopped short when he ran straight into a clear statue. Not understanding at first what had happened, he paused and looked at the statue.
Taking longer than it should have, realization finally seeped into his wine-soaked mind and he sobered, realizing what his drunken self had tried to do to a pure innocent. Standing in the alley, confronted with his wickedness, he wept tears of wine covering the young woman in his purple tears. Slowly he began to fill his hands with his tears and poured them over the crystalline form of the woman, paying honor to her. The wine didn’t fall down the statue in rivulets, as it should have, but instead soaked into the statue turning it a dark royal purple. Her virtue clothing her in royalty. Diana looked on with displeasure but understood his offering and smiled before turning to leave.
Amethystos was moved to the center of the forum to remind Bacchus never again to defile this city and remind the girls who might think of seeking him out the dangers of a dalliance with a god. Diana looked down pleased with the honor given her subject. When the time was right she would release Amethystos from her crystalline shelter and teach her the way of a handmaiden of Diana.