Let me tell you. Dante was nothing I expected a demigod to be. I expected flashy and egotistic, but what I found was laid back and modest.
His soft, black cashmere sweater with navy trousers and perfectly shined Oxfords were much more casual than King Corrin's sport coat. Even so, I was happy I'd put on a skirt and done my hair and makeup before Dante popped in. And I do mean popped in. One minute I was sitting at my kitchen table going over my notes, the next there was a flash of brilliant blue lightening and Dante was seated in a chair beside me.
MW: Goodness! I pressed a hand to my chest and let out a shuddering breath. You startled me.
Dante: Forgive me, Ms. Waibel. You did say ten o'clock.
His lips curved in a smile as I looked at the clock. It was ten.
MW: I did. I shook my head. I just assumed you would knock on my door. I smiled. Thank you for coming, even if it wasn't quite conventional.
Dante: My pleasure. Please, feel free to ask me anything you'd like to know.
MW: Thank you…hmm, My Lord? Your Grace? I must confess, I'm not quite certain what title to call you by.
Dante seemed to grimace here, as if my mention of titles bothered him.
Dante: Please, Ms. Waibel, I prefer to forgo titles. My name is Dante, simply Dante.
MW: Very well, then, Dante. And please, call me Mary. He inclined his head. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions for me.
A soft smile curved his lips, and his vivid blue eyes brightened and amusement seemed to dance in their depths.
Dante: Madame. I frowned, and he held up a hand. Mary, you flatter to think me of such importance that mere minutes in the span of millennia would be an imposition upon my time. I’m rather intrigued to learn what questions you have for me.
MW: Well, why don't we start with this one. I pick up the index card I had been reading when he appeared. As the son of a goddess, you are quite a powerful man, and clearly an intelligent one, given the time you've spent studying people and things. Out of all that you've experienced, what is the one experience that means the most to you personally?
Dante: By birth, my mother, the Goddess gifted me with certain powers; however, considering me powerful, in my personal opinion, is to qualify me as a whole. You must equate true power as the sum of a man, his innate gifts and the knowledge he chooses to attain, making full use of any natural intelligence. In truth, brute power is corrupt power.
He paused here, his cheeks flushing slightly as he sighed and shook his head.
My apologies, Ms. Waibel… You asked about my studies and experiences, not for a tangent on my opinions regarding the corruption of power.
He smiled another charming smile, and I bit back a sigh.
Have you ever read the book How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill?
Before I could answer, he continued on.
His portrayal is not precisely accurate, yet quite close to historical events. Saint Patrick, Saint Augustine, Saint Columba, they and many monks took great care in preserving human history, documents and magnificent works of literature, that may have otherwise been lost with the fall of the Roman Empire. Their actions stand out due to my connection with the ancestry of the Celtic civilization. What little I know of my father tells his origins are from a tribe of fae who lived in the Scottish highlands as far back as twelve thousand years ago. Gaelic history has always held a personal fascination for me.
He paused again, his eyes taking on that distant look of someone lost in the past. After a moment, he spoke again.
As I was saying, I had the opportunity to meet St Columba and spent some time at the abbey on Iona. Out of all I’ve experienced, I must say it is moments such as these I find most profound throughout history, when the human spirit prevails against all odds, meeting challenges and overcoming them to continue moving forward in their development and evolution. Deities, dragons, vampires, fae, elves… humans may very well be physically weaker than any other species, but I daresay their spirit cannot be crushed so easily. Utterly fascinating, humanity, beautiful in all its flaws… I do apologize. I’m sure you have other questions, yet you touch on such an interesting subject. I cannot help myself
He gave an apologetic smile and nodded at me to continue.
MW: Like King Corrin, you've never wished to marry, but have been content to be an observer of all around you. What about Cait made you change your mind?
Dante: You are greatly mistaken to believe I am like Corrin, a child with little concept for what gravity such a decision holds. By no means am I perfect, humans often misconstrue deities as perfect beings, but I do strive to live by a strict code, uphold myself to higher expectations, those of my mother.
He laughed harshly.
And there are no higher expectations than when your mother is the Mother Goddess. Among the deities, the eternal, marriage is truly until death, the death of time itself, until we all return to dust. I will not marry for anything less than love. To do so would be to commit a sin against the sanctity of such a union.
He glanced down at the triquerta ring on his right hand.
I believe I can love Caitriona… His voice trailed off and I could barely hear him say, I want to love her.
MW: What special quality do you think you possess that will make Cait choose you as her husband? And what special strategies do you intend to use to be sure of the outcome?
His face took on a serious look, but as he spoke about Cait, his eyes softened.
Dante: Caitriona is an unusual woman, not one who finds my birthrights or gifts as particularly special; therefore, I rely on those qualities that should truly matter in any marriage; unwavering devotion, fidelity, honesty, and an undying eternal love. However, I have no special strategies. Love is not a game. I do not wish to toy with her heart and hope she has no intention to do so with mine. You cannot ensure an outcome when the outcome desired is to be loved.
MW: I am sure Cait will appreciate knowing you won't toy with her, and I look forward to seeing what happens between you and Cait. I looked down at my cards then at Dante. Do you have time for a few rapid fire questions?
His quiet laugh filled the room, and his smile was stunning.
Dante: Mary, I would not have agreed to this interview had I not been willing to see it through, answering all questions you had prepared. Fire away, my lady.
MW: Great! OK. Coffee or tea?
Dante: Tea. Earl grey.
MW: Wine or beer?
Dante: Wine. Merlot preferably.
MW: Chocolate or bacon?
He wrinkled his nose as I asked this question, and I found it rather cute.
Dante: Chocolate, most definitely. High quality dark chocolate.
MW: Work or pleasure?
Dante: I’m unsure there is a definitive line between the two. If you love your work, it is a pleasure. Inversely, some people turn their pleasures, their hobbies, into work. Every pursuit has its value, leaving me unable to answer that one, Mary. I’m quite sorry if that disturbs your interview process.
MW: Not at all. Just one more. Dining in or eating out?
Dante: I actually quite enjoy cooking and have learned many interesting recipes from Evan’s wife Runa, but I must admit I prefer eating out. People-watching is my hobby I suppose.
MW: Thank you so much, Dante. It's been a pleasure learning more about you.
Dante: Oh, no. Thank you. I appreciate you so politely enduring my rambling on a bit there. You had some excellent questions.
Dante: You are most welcome, and now, I shall bid you farewell, Madame.
He rose, and in a flash of blue lightning, disappeared from my kitchen.