Daphne Story: “The Laurel Wreath”
Klara’s story is an honorable mention for The Daphne Contest!
This is a fun, engaging scene between the twins Apollo and Artemis. I love how vivid their characters are here! Artemis has a fiery spirit, and while Apollo is lost in dreamland and goes on a long poet rant about Daphne, there’s still room for a little sibling bickering.
The Laurel Wreath
“What did you do to her?” Artemis burst the door open and stormed into Apollo’s room. The god didn’t even look at her. He just sat in his nook and stared out of the window. His long fingers toyed with a wreath made of dark green leaves. Artemis watched her brother, waiting for him to reply, her perfect oval face contorted in a grimace. “Can’t you hear me? Where is she?”
“Who?” he said at last. His expressionless sky-blue gaze wandered towards his sister.
“Don’t play the fool! I meant Daphne and you know it.”
“Here” he said and tossed the wreath on the bed so that Artemis could look at it as well. The goddess’s pitch black brows furrowed.
“What did you do to her?” she said through gritted teeth.
“Me? Nothing. It was the river god,” Apollo said. His voice weakened as he turned toward the window again. Without letting his sister say anything, he continued. “I saw her this morning as I went for a walk. By Zeus, she was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen. Her rich, soft voice filled the air as she sang more beautifully than any bird. She taught your song to that young Amazon of yours. That small girl whose chest is rather—”
“I know. Go on!”
“I had to follow them. I had to see her again. She had the most wonderful curves; I’d wanted to get lost in them so much.”
“I really don’t care about this, brother.”
“Her hair was the darkest black, those waves smoother than the seas. Her honey colored skin so silky and what sweet scent she had.”
“Right. So I followed her all day from a distance so that she couldn’t notice me. I watched you and your group of wild women roaming around the forest. You’re kind of bossy, by the way, I don’t know why these girls put up with you—Auch!” Apollo rubbed the back of his head and looked down. The green wreath lay on the floor next to his feet.
“Too much talking. Cut to the chase already!” Artemis said, her arms crossed in front of her.
“Okay. So I followed her all day. Especially after I noticed the foolish Leucippas approaching in women’s clothes. I knew he had a crush on Daphne, poor fellow. But I wouldn’t have thought he’d go as far as playing a woman. Of course his disguise collapsed at the river. You know the rest of the story.” Apollo grinned at his sister but her face was still clouded. “Anyhow, I stayed in my hiding place until you and the others left and Daphne went for a walk. I followed her then hastened my steps. I caught up with her and touched her shoulder lightly.
‘Daphne, my dear,’ I whispered yet she jumped and turned to me. Her fist shot out immediately but I caught it. ‘Don’t be afraid. It’s just me,’ I said and her face tensed.
‘What do you want again? I’ve told you to leave me alone.’ Her cherry lips pressed into a thin line, the expression in her black eyes was deadlier than Zeus’s lightning. Yet, her anger made her more beautiful if that was even possible. I felt desire seize my heart, the urge to hold her in my arms, kiss those rich lips, that honey skin.
‘I know. But my dear Daphne, we could be so good together.’
‘You mean I would make a pretty little accessory on your side in any fancy party up on the Olympus, right?’ she sneered. ‘No, thank you.’
Daphne turned her back to me and walked on but I grabbed her wrist. She shook off my hand as she looked back.
‘I told you I wasn’t interested,’ she hissed. ‘Deal with it. Your charms are totally useless.’ She gave me a condescending look then walked on.
Her words numbed me. Not because of what they meant but because of Daphne’s power they held. She was special, I knew and the more she defied me the more I wanted to have her.
My blood pounded in my veins and my skin ached for her touch. I smiled despite myself and started after her. As she noticed me approach, she hastened her pace then eventually broke into a run. She moved fast and delicately like a deer. She was perfection. I just couldn’t let her escape.
It was time I proved her wrong. I wanted to show her she deserved the best man in this world.” Apollo fell silent. His eyes clouded as he recalled the events of the afternoon.
“What happened then?” Artemis asked and bit her lip.
“She kept running.” Apollo continued. His voice was weak, his gaze lost in the distance. “I almost caught her but tripped in a rock or a root. When I got back on my feet she was squatting by the river. She leaned close to the water, touched it lightly. In the next moment, a huge wave leaped up and embraced Daphne. It lifted her up and transformed her body into a tree. Her lean arms became branches and her long thick hair turned into these leaves,” he said and picked up the laurel wreath from the floor. “I almost had her. But she made a fool of me. So I made this wreath to remember her. The only woman who said no to the great Apollo…” he wondered.
“There you go, brother. Just because you’re a god you can’t always have your way.” Artemis laughed and headed for the door. “One thing you were right about, though,” she said before leaving the room. “She was perfect. The best Amazon I’ve ever had.”
Apollo looked at the wreath and smiled.
“Yeah, she was perfect,” he whispered to the silent room.
© 2018 Klara Ladanyi. The content of this article, except for quoted or linked source materials, is protected by copyright. Please contact the author for usage.SUBSCRIBE