Mortal photography would never do a goddess in the flesh justice.  And that’s just what Tommy Darcy was thinking as he watched her walk into the bookshop to begin the reading.

There was something about her skin; a subtle shimmer that bounced the light away in a faint starburst effect.  But only his trained eyes would be able to see it.  No powders would cover it or mute it, and no mortal eye would notice it.

Nope.  The woman who was now commanding the attention at the front of the store was something more than human.  One hand pushed back the red hair that hung freely down her shoulders and back, a coy gesture as she surveyed the room before her.  Her eyes met his, for only an instant, but she skipped past him as if he were nothing more than a man who enjoyed literature.

But in that moment of their visions colliding, he knew he had seen her true parentage.  A sensation he had come to know as shock seemed to reverberate through him.  He was about to listen to the goddess that was spoken of only in a hated prophecy twist words and stanzas into the beautiful song that she sold to mortals.  But she didn’t do it in a perversion of sacred gifts to cheat humans.  She did it for the love of word craft, the realm her immortal father guarded in the otherworld.

His mind opened up into the world that he had been banished from.  He should have seen the legends and tales in the mythology of her poetry.  Certain lines he began to recognize as being lifted directly from the songs the gods used to sing.  But how did she know them?  The last he heard she had been killed, destroyed as a babe for being the abomination created between two rebellious deities.  Her survival would have meant the unification of the two pantheons, overthrowing the rule of Xervaris.  Tommy had secretly aided the two godly lovers, supporting more than just the chaos that would reign if they succeeded.  But in the end, he had discovered his own true parentage, was banished from the realm of the gods forever, and had been recast into this mortal body.

His name back then had been Thyeris.  The woman whose voice now danced through ears and off the shelves and walls had been named Yggiraal by her mother.  But something told Tommy as he listened and watched that she wasn’t aware of what, or who, she was.

She had to know, somehow.  Subconsciously.  The poem she was reading described the tale of the dragon slayer in the otherworld in acute detail.  No mortal parent would tell a child that story; and no mortal could create the same story from pure imagination.  Inspiration would have to visit in the form of a memory, or a thought passed unto her from something much vaster than imagination.

No.  Cara Larson had to be a goddess in human form.  She either didn’t know it, and if she did, she had accepted her earthbound fate.

Tommy thought he should just leave her alone.  Let her create these tales and this poetry and share it with mortality.  It is truly a gift from the gods, and who is he but a banished prince to take it away?

Thyeris wanted to provoke her, discover her.  Thyeris wanted to awaken her to her true nature and then use her to get back home and overthrow his father.  Thyeris wanted to avenge the wrongful deaths of Amaran and Seryt.

He sat and listened, reading along with Cara as she moved through her final poem to be read this evening.  When he would look up to watch her, he could only see his two friends combined into one.  Amaran, the god of art and inspiration.  The spirit that would descend and freely offer ideas and move a body to create.  Gentle Seryt, the goddess of darkness and destruction and war and sex.

Tommy had been mortal for far too long.  To see the goddess of sex in the lithe creature before him, swaddled in a wrinkly maxi skirt and a silk poncho, seemed almost a sin.  Hadn’t she evoked these same images in her poem “Crash”?  Or what about the great rite of the All-Father and All-Mother in her masterpiece “Scorched”?

As she wrapped up the reading, Tommy remembered the mark of the chosen goddess who would change all the realms by doing what she needed to do in one.  A fire branded being who could call forth the hottest magma form the center of the earth, or who could plunge existence into absolute darkness.  Yggiraal was to be the All-Mother incarnate, straddling two worlds or more beneath her.

He lingered.  As the other readers asked for autographs and recommendations, he wanted to wait until there was no one left to approach her.  She wouldn’t recognize any of what he could say about that life; mortal banishment, in most cases, would punish a god to reliving and forgetting until they had fulfilled a certain punishment as set forth by the judgment.  Thyeris had found a way around that.

Finally, it was down to him and her, and only a few curious lurkers around the shelves.

“You write as if the god of poetry has gifted you himself,” he started.  Better to be vague with a mortal, although she wasn’t.  Mortals so liked to believe that vagueness in complements was the best honor they could receive.  “I am curious as to how you created the myths and stories that live in your poetry.”

She shrugged.  “I just know it.”  She sighed.  “This might sound kind of weird, but I feel more like they’re memories.  Like in some lifetime I lived these stories and had them told to me by my parents.”

Tommy felt the corner of his mouth move into a smirk.  This would be easier than he thought.  “It’s not impossible,” he smiled, cupped a hand over her shoulder.  “Would you like to have coffee?  There’s much that I would love to discover about your poetic world.”