Ascent of the Mountain of Hedone

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This is my entry for the 2017 Summer Lovin’ contest. A brief departure from my usual style of pseudo-realism, this is a whimsical fantasy about the courtesans of the ancient world working their magic in modern times.

Please enjoy, don’t forget to cast your vote at the end with the stars, and be sure to check out the other fantastic contest submissions! Happy summer everyone!


As far as vacations go, mine was to be a celebration. A long winter had passed, giving way to a productive spring, and after reflecting on recent professional achievements there was really only one thing on my mind. The thing I always wanted to do. That thing I’d finally earned.

For years I had promised myself that when I reached a certain point in my career, I would hit the pause button on everything, fly out to the Greek Isles, procure a small boat, and sail into the blue horizon, not knowing where I was headed, what I would see, or who I would meet. I wanted adventure, I wanted mystery, I wanted beauty, and here was an ancient land that could offer me all of those things. Thus, my summer plans were established. No one would hear from me, and I would hear from no one, until I was suitably transformed by the riches of the sea and the traditions of the island peoples that populated the island chain known as the Cyclades.

Before long I found myself speeding out to sea from mainland Greece, with my adventure starting out just as I’d expected. I passed women tenderizing freshly caught octopus by slapping them on the rocks, gleeful children leaping from rocks into the ocean, and a panoply of fishermen floating in boats on the shimmering water while casting their wide nets. It was a glorious time to set sail, due to the numerous celebrations going on to mark the occasion of the summer solstice, including several ancient festivals that dated back to pre-Christian times when cults to the ancient Greek gods existed. Some had said they still existed.

Occasionally, I stopped on a small island I still do not know the name of, where I was embraced by the hospitality of the townsfolk who were fascinated by my stories of New York City, which seemed worlds away from their more modest lives. They pulled whole lambs out of the ground where they had been buried with hot coals and left to roast in their own juices for hours on end. We feasted on the animals and drank local wine until I stumbled back aboard my boat in search of the next unknown destination.

Further out, I found all signs of human life begin to recede. Strange rocky formations seemed to be the remnants of long-ago islands, having crumbled into the sea as if due to the act of some angry god who felt its inhabitants had forsaken him. Violent waters circled between them, like gaping mouths that once swallowed ships on heroic voyages, bringing them to a tragic end which would then be retold again and again in myth. I began to grow concerned about my whereabouts, and intended to turn back in a familiar direction when I lost my way and wandered about directionless in open water for some time. A night passed, a morning came, and then I heard the familiar call of a seagull, having presumably come from a nearby shore for a morning fishing trip.

Sure enough, I spotted a distant, mysterious island on the horizon; rocky and green, with a single jagged peak. After an hour, I grew near enough to see a single port, around which clustered numerous small vessels like mine. Still closer, I passed along side a jetty at the end of which stood a statue of Neptune, welcoming visitors into port. He was encrusted with lichen and mosses, and his droopy, sunken eyes cast a weary gaze out across the unforgiving sea.

As I began to study the features of this island, I happened to spot a woman emerge from the archway of what appeared to be the husk of some ancient ruins, briefly gaze out at the sea, and then turn to respond to a man who called her back. They both wore long, white robes which gleamed in the morning sunlight. It was an intriguing enough sight that I deemed it worthwhile to enter port and attempt to explore.

At the end of a long quay, I spotted a small group of young men and women wearing similar robes, but in a deep shade of red. They pointed in the direction of my boat, before a young woman broke from the crowd and began to traverse the quay to greet me. I waved to the girl, and she waved back with a friendly smile. Understanding that I was welcome, I requested instruction and she told me where I should safely moor.

I made my way onto dry land and approached her, slowly reestablishing proper footing after a particularly long time at sea. The alluring girl beckoned me forward and occasionally glanced back toward a sloping path, which disappeared into the vestiges of a temple structure built long ago. Her gaze returned to me, revealing two deep, soulful eyes and an impish smile. I could now make out her softly tinted eyelids and lips, as well as the three gold bracelets in the shape of serpents upon her delicate arms. I noticed her swelling chest and admired her long, flowing hair, as golden as the sun, Casibom which fell softly upon her shoulders.

“Quickly! You are among the last to arrive. We mustn’t be late!” she said, speaking English well, albeit with a noticeable accent.

At first I thought she was mistaking me for someone else, but she quickly asked me my name. “Michael,” I said.

She bowed before me, then replied, “It is my honor to meet you. I am Melitta.” With a grin, she proudly added, “It means honey bee.” I smiled at her. “Now– follow me!” she laughed, before hurrying off along the path, expecting me to follow.

I followed close behind, bewildered, but not altogether hesitant to follow a beautiful young woman such as this. Melitta led me through a series of colonnades, through which blew the scent of mountain flowers mixed with ocean salts, having been carried in upon the summer breeze. I discovered that the island was beautiful, ancient, and obviously well-cared for, despite its exceptional age.

We took a few twists and turns before emerging into a courtyard filled with a number of high walls, each dotted with small alcoves. They were filled with a vast array of personal effects and neatly folded clothing. Nearby were several small, wooden benches and linen-lined wicker trays containing piles of the white robes that I had seen on the man and women earlier. Now and then, a young man wearing a red robe like Melitta’s came by, clearly keeping watch for whomever these items belonged to. Melitta pulled out one of the white robes, then set it carefully on a bench.

“You may undress,” she said, watching me expectantly.

“I may… what?” I asked. She looked at me perplexed.

“Undress, and wear the robe.”

“Oh… Um. May I remain like this?” I asked, having no idea what was going on.

She laughed. “You can’t enter the temple like that!” She covered her mouth and continued to laugh, as if I had said something unthinkable.

“Okay…” I said. I realized that I’d better go along with what she requested. I began to remove my clothing, little by little, feeling awkward as she watched. Before long I was standing in front of her in only my boxers. I reached for the robe.

“Wait!” she said, panicking. “This too!” she added, pointing to my underwear. My heart started to race as I realized this young woman was asking me to strip down to absolutely nothing, before wearing the robe she had supplied.

“I have to be naked?” I asked, hesitating. Melitta laughed again, this time not bothering to reply, as if it were somehow obvious that I should undress completely before I was taken wherever it was she was leading me.

I nervously began to slide down my boxers, slowly enough that she would have time to turn around and give me some privacy, if that were her intent. However, she did no such thing. Melitta appeared completely unfazed as my boxers slipped completely down and my flaccid penis sprang free, becoming instantly soothed and warmed by the sun. I smiled nervously at her. She smiled back, then watched as I quickly covered myself with the white robe and fastened it tightly.

“This way,” she said, after placing all my things in one of the alcoves.

We continued through the ancient temple complex until I began to hear the murmur of voices and splashing water. I was led down a series of uneven garden steps, where I was suddenly met with a blast of cool, sweet-scented air. What I saw next made me gasp. I’d been led to a sunken grotto. Toward the back, there was a wide body of milk-white water against a black cavern wall. A handful of young men and women stood there, all of them in their twenties and thirties, like me, some still wearing their robes, and others standing about completely nude, while attendants held their robes for them.

I watched as one of these male attendants in the red robe instructed a young, nude woman to enter the milky water. The woman stepped carefully into the pool and waded forward; her soft, naked buttocks wagging from side to side as she moved smoothly through the water. There she stopped, turned around, and began to sink her body slowly downward. I stared in amazement as the smooth, hairless slit between her legs vanished beneath the surface, which soon rose to the height of her breasts where it began to tickle her wide, pink nipples. Our eyes connected and she smiled slightly, realizing that I had been watching her.

We continued to lock eyes as her attendant took a wide-mouthed ceramic cup from a nearby pedestal and began to pour the liquid over her body, causing it to run down over her shoulders and then snake seductively between her exposed breasts. She seemed not to care that I was gawking at her boobs, and even seemed to enjoy it.

“Go on, I’ll hold your robe,” said Melitta, breaking me from my trance.

“I’m supposed to go in there?” I asked.

“Yes, of course. You must bathe first before entering the temple.” She giggled. “Was this not explained to you?”

“Oh, I must have forgotten,” I said.

My heart pounded as I reached for the belt of my robe and began to untie Casibom Giriş it. The woman in the water stared at me with a smirk, waiting for me to remove my robe and advance toward her, completely unclothed. I glanced around at the variety of nude men and women, exposing themselves in front of complete strangers, unashamed that their genitals were visible to anyone that cared to look. I felt a sudden tingle throughout my body, then decided to go with the flow and enjoy the surge of unexpected sexual excitement that was underway.

I slipped the robe off my body and handed it to Melitta. The woman in the water gazed at my body, looking it up and down, then narrowed her eyes and curiously studied my penis. I grew self-conscious as it began to swing from side to side while I moved toward the pool in front of me. She followed it with her eyes, until I had climbed into the water and submerged myself enough for it to be out of view.

Melitta began to bathe me. I realized that the milky water was, in fact, milk, but infused with various herbs and flowers, as was evident by the sight of rose petals swirling about my body and occasionally sticking to my arm or chest. It smelled fragrant and sweet, and left this scent faintly on my body even after the liquid had run down back into the pool. It occurred to me that I was undergoing some kind of purification ritual, but I still knew not what for.

Soon, Melitta had helped me out of the pool and back into my robe, then we exited the grotto. I lost sight of the woman who had been watching me earlier, but was subsequently surrounded by numerous men and women like myself, wearing the white robe.

“There,” said Melitta, pointing to a sprawling, sunlit courtyard that appeared before us. It was filled with hundreds upon hundreds of men and women, meandering beneath the flowering trellises or sitting upon marble benches. In the center of the courtyard was a long, white altar, upon which had been draped what appeared to be a pile of soft ceremonial coverings.

“Go on,” said Melitta with a gleeful smile. “You may fetch me later if you need anything.” She watched me proudly as I advanced into the courtyard, no less confused and disoriented than before.

I began to explore, navigating my way through a maze of flowering citrus trees, small clusters of ancient statuary, and the sudden appearance of temple cats that darted across my path. All around me milled the numerous visitors to this temple, all apparently nude beneath their long robes, speaking to each other excitedly in a myriad of languages. Everywhere I went, I felt gazes upon me, as if each person was analyzing every other person they passed. Several of the women gave me curious looks; the kind I occasionally enjoyed receiving back home in bars after having a few drinks.

I made my way to a small bench in the vicinity of the central altar and sat beside a woman about my age. Her arms were raised in the air and her eyes were closed, as she felt the warm sun radiating down upon her. I studied her, wondering if she was any more aware of what this place was than I had been. She seemed like a free spirit, with long, dirty blonde dreadlocks and a small nose ring. Perhaps feeling my eyes upon her, she opened hers, then turned to smile at me.

“Hello,” she said, simply.

“Hi…” I replied, with a smile.

“Is it not the most beautiful day for this?” she continued, with a tranquil smile still lingering on her face.

“I guess so,” I said. “Can I confess something though?”

“What’s that?”

“I still don’t exactly know where here is…”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean I just sailed into port, and have no idea where I am. A beautiful young girl just made me undress, take a bath, and led me here.”

The women burst out laughing. “Really?” she asked, “It’s your lucky day then!”

I chuckled. “How so?” I asked.

“This is the ancient Temple of Hedone,” she explained. “She’s the Greek goddess of pleasure and enjoyment, whom they still worship around here. That’s where we get the term ‘hedonism’ from. Once a year, young men and women are invited from all over the world to this place to attend today’s one-day festivities, at the peak of the summer solstice. I am originally from Israel, though I’ve been living in Mexico for three years. You will meet interesting people from every corner of the globe here! We’ve all come to take part in Her sacred rites.”

I felt I knew her type. I’d met many like her back home. Young, disenchanted with her country, religion, or government. Perhaps all of the above. Traveling the world in search of meaning or truth. Adopting some exotic form of spirituality that struck a chord with her, and made her feel alive. Truthfully, it made me jealous. My life’s order and structure was a habit I often craved to break free from. That was, after all, the reason I found myself drifting aimlessly on a boat in the Aegean Sea to begin with.

“Which rites are those?” I asked.

She smirked at me. “You’ll see.”

“Well, what’s this altar for, at least?” I asked, pointing to Casibom Yeni Giriş the object that had inspired my curiosity.

“You see this tower?” she asked. I nodded, looking up at a tall, stone tower, cut into the rocks of the small mountain looking over the courtyard. “The high priestess lives in there and oversees the activities at this temple. Those people in the red robes are servants of the goddess. They’re mostly villagers from the surrounding areas that have taken an oath to serve Her.”

I listened carefully to her explanation, increasingly fascinated by what I had happened to stumble upon.

“We’re all waiting for the priestess to appear and signal the start of the celebration. It begins with a ritual performed on that altar over there.”

“What sort of ritual?” I asked.

She turned to face me, as if excited for an opportunity to elaborate. “It’s really beautiful, actually,” she began. “Every year, a boy and girl are selected from one of the surrounding villages. They are always eighteen, having just reached sufficient age to perform this rite. Both must be virgins– there is a severe punishment if they lie about this. Each village casts their vote for a young couple to put forward to represent them. It’s a great honor if their sons or daughters are chosen.”

“Who decides which pair are chosen?” I asked.

“The priestess makes the final selection. It’s always a boy and girl who have long expressed a mutual desire for each other. If the two are selected, their innocent crushes are thrust onto the center stage here. Until that point, they are forbidden to see or speak to each other until this day. They have been prepared by the servants to the goddess in different sections of the temple, and don robes just like us. Shortly, they will be led out here to this altar, where they will be made to disrobe before each other. There, we will see the pair take each other’s virginity upon this altar, making love for the first time in front of all of us. Their excitement and fear is an amazing thing to witness!”

I gawked at her, finally hearing what I had found myself mixed up in. I was shocked to hear that such a place of worship existed, and with such rituals being practiced. Fascinated, I wanted to hear more.

“Then what?” I asked.

“Then it’s our turn!” she laughed.

“Our turn for wh–” I started to say. However, I was interrupted by a roar of the crowd. The woman immediately rose from her seat and looked up at the tower. I stood and looked in the same direction. There I saw a tall, beautiful woman, covered in ornate jewelry, emerge from an archway cut high in the tower wall. She looked down at the sea of robed visitors below and raised her hand to welcome us all. All around me were cheers and excited looks of anticipation for the rites to begin.

The priestess then waved her hand, giving a signal to some of the servants below. They opened two parallel doors at the edge of the courtyard, and I saw a young man and women being led out. They immediately turned and glanced at each other, finally able to see one another after a long period of their mutual company being expressly forbidden. They stared at each other as if in a state of disbelief, exchanging a look of fear, no doubt intimidated by the crowds watching them being led toward the altar, and expecting to see them shortly make love to each another.

The pair continued across the courtyard until they were instructed to stand at either end of the long altar. There they turned to face one another, visibly trembling, knowing that they were to remove their robes at any moment and reveal themselves naked for the first time, finally laying their eyes upon the most private parts of each other’s body. There was a long delay, as the young couple was forced to stand and confront one another like this, bearing the crushing weight of their anxiety and erotic anticipation. The priestess seemed to want to maximize this mix of excitement and suffering brewing inside them; forcing them to endure the pounding of their hearts, and the dizzy feeling that was no doubt beginning to overwhelm them.

At long last, the priestess made another signal. The young man and woman became alert, hearing the roar of the crowd, understanding that the priestess had just given the command to remove their robes. Indeed, the time had come for them to expose their young, nude bodies, witnessing for the first time the raw, naked exposure that they so desired from each other; that they feared and yet fantasized about. Together, they reached up and grasped their robes, pausing to ensure that they did the deed in unison, then they slowly pushed them off, letting the fabric fly into the breeze, fall from their bodies, and spill to the ground in an arbitrary heap upon the warm stone tiles of the courtyard.

I stared in amazement at the beautiful young woman, a mere eighteen years old, as her soft, supple boobs bounced free into the brilliant sunlight. Her bright pink nipples stood erect from the tips of her sloping breasts which began to shimmy loosely from side to side as her breath quickened. I looked down between her legs and saw a triangular patch of curly brown pubic hair covering her vulva. However, the sunlight shone through and like a small feat of magic, faintly revealed the two puffy, pink lips of her young virgin pussy.

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