(somehow related to Andreas - We All Must Cross)

The night dragged on endlessly and Andreas had given up on being exhausted hours ago. He had resigned himself to stumbling about in a drunken and drugged haze as best he could in search of Priscilla and a yielding-enough horizontal surface to lie down upon. Andreas felt a little sick to his stomach, and the other guests spun by in a blur at the edge of his vision. Much like Ulyxes and his doomed crew on the shores of the Land of the Lotophages, the guests at this gathering were a roiling mass of sleeping and copulating flesh. The music had stopped hours ago; the musicians were passed out in a corner in a tangle of wine-drenched clothing.

She was nowhere to be found, but Andreas couldn't be sure if he had searched everywhere (or indeed, had searched for her at all). His mind was wrecked against the rocks and shoals of all things psychoactive and time flowed in jagged spurts: one minute slowed down to fill the space of an hour, and then the next hour would shrink to the span of a minute with scarcely any notice at all. Andreas felt heavy and weak all of a sudden and sat down on the floor.

He could barely hear a tinny, far-off voice calling out to him:



andreas, can you hear me?

andreas, wake up. are you all right?

He was suddenly aware of being sprawled out on the cold tiles of the floor, feeling disheveled and perfectly wretched. All the color had been leached from his vision, but standing majestically above him was Priscilla, as clear and beautiful (though a bit glassy-eyed and clumsy) as an ikon. She had been indulging in both wine and other things more mind-numbing than that, but she was the daughter of a wealthy household and was better able to conduct herself in such a state than Andreas, the only son of a poor household. Andreas could fool the other guests, but not her.

"What happened to me?"

"You fainted. What did you take?"

He sighed.

"I imagine everything I could get my hands on."

"Foolish of you. Come, my bed's a better place for you than the floor. Can you stand all right?"

"I can try."

He slowly pulled himself to his feet, agonizingly aware of every creaking joint and bruised muscle. He rearranged his disheveled tunic around his waist and tried not to rock back and forth too much on his feet. The color was slowly coming back to his vision and his heart pounded furiously against his ribcage; the blood rushed around his temples in a dull roar.

"You look in a bad way. Are you sure you're all right?"

"I will be. Where's this bed you mentioned?"

Time once again played a trick on his mind, and the next thing he knew, he was lying on his back on a very comfortable bed. It was completely dark in this room and the sheets positively reeked of perfume. A pair of unseen hands were loosening his tunic, and Andreas felt it not in his best interests to resist. Helpless, he yielded, and a warm, wiry-muscled body slid onto his naked frame. A cloud of scent and body heat enveloped the two. His head whirled in dizziness, overwhelming his senses utterly, even more than the drink and drugs did.

A voice whispered warm and soft in his ear, some ancient and elegant variety of Greek, teetering on the edge of intelligibility:

"Tío, s', o phíle gámbre, kálos eíkaso;
Órpaki bradíno se kálist' eíkasdo..."

He submitted to the sweet yoke and could remember nothing more after that. He awoke, the rays of the sun pounding against the backs of his eyes and bouncing around against his temples. A small money bag lay on the bed next to him amongst a tangle of sheets and clothing, utterly bulging and pregnant with coins. Priscilla was nowhere to be found. He pulled his clothes back on and stumbled out of the house, past the still-sleeping bodies of the guests, and out the door.

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