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elysian wine


(Realm of Elysia)

Bren and James entered a spacious, well-organized bakery. The intoxicating smell of fresh bread permeated everything. Nostrils flaring, Bren breathed deeply the aroma, her mind and heart drifting back to her as a child, expectantly waiting for her Momma’s fresh bread to finish baking. Years lifted as she felt young again and excited to taste the first warm, yeasty slice.

Mom was a tall, beautiful woman, all full of energy and smiles. Bren remembered always being loved and listened to by her. Mom never let her own struggles interfere with Brenzel’s perfect young world, but always worked hard to make whatever ends father provided meet.

As Mom kneaded dough, her moppet (as she used to call Brenzel) scampered about, playing house as if she was busy baking too. Father had made his little girl a small rolling pin out of a dowel, which Bren used to make believe she was cooking along with Mom.

The young man smiled at James and Brenzel, bringing Bren back to the present, as he said, “You know, I felt that someone else was coming today, so I baked this especially for you.” Turning, he uncovered two flat, rounded loaves of fresh bread, as if he’d known they’d be arriving soon.

I’m Darren

“I’m Darren, the bread maker’s apprentice,” the cheerful young man said as he cut and handed each of them a slice of the still warm loaf.

Though he suggested some butter to spread, Bren couldn’t wait and bit into the floured crust and soft white middle immediately. “Mmmm…MMMM!” she sounded as her taste buds all came alive at once. Not too hard, not too soft, the crust gave way perfectly as her tongue tasted the inner crumb. “Mmmm…heavenly,” Bren managed to say between bites. James’ eyes slightly rolling, said it all. Darren’s bread was simply the best either of them had ever eaten.

Motioning towards a table, the young baker said, “Please have a seat, I made plenty.”

James, accepting another slice, replied, “Let Brenzel sit for a while, I want to find a stable for our horses before nightfall. I’ll be back quickly.”

Darren nodded as Brenzel barely noticed James slip out the front door.

Another slice

“This is the best! And you say you’re an apprentice? I can’t believe that!” she said as she reached for another slice.

“No, dear lady, it is true. The master is in the Southlands, looking for yeast. I can only hope to one day know half as much about bread as he’s forgotten.”

“Mmmm…this is delicious.” Bren mumbled as she thought, how could bread get better than this?

“I have some cheese that pairs perfectly with it, if you’d like some.”

“Yes, please,” Bren said as she surveyed the shop, her eye lighting on some bottles stored neatly in a row, resting upon a brick arch. “Is that, by any chance, something to drink? I am very thirsty.”

Elysian wine

“Oh yes, that is Elysian wine, a fine vintage I might add. Would you like some?”

Bren hadn’t tasted wine since being on earth. In fact, she’d never even seen any since she’d been in Elysia. Though she didn’t care for hard liqueur, wine was right up her alley.

“Yes, please, that’d be wonderful,” mouth watering.

Bringing two bottles and a pair of glasses, which seemed perfectly formed, not like the hand blown ones she was used to, Darren sat down across from Bren, uncorking the first one. As he poured it, the sweet, earthly bouquet wafted towards her. The red liquid half filling the big glass, Darren poured his. Bren, lifting the Elysian wine said, “To your health, kind sir.”

An old friend

James walked with Gambit and Sapphire to the edge of town, to the spot a local had indicated, intent on finding fodder and shelter for his two friends.

Speaking to the horses as they followed, James said out loud, “Honestly, she’s quite different than I expected. A lot more…fire – and stubborn!” Both neighed in agreement, shaking their heads up and down. “Yet, she did apologize, that’s something at least.”

“James? Is that you?” a man’s voice sounded out from the porch of a local pub across the street.

Turning, James looked hard through his spectacles, trying to make out who spoke, then exclaimed, “Zechariah? It can’t be!” James noised, astonished.

“Yes,” the big man said while approaching, taking James in a bear hug, slapping his back. “It’s me, you old fool.”

There, before the gambler, stood a man sporting a large beard, eyes twinkling with laughter.

“I simply can’t believe it! How did you get to Elysia? Imagine, of all the places, that you’d be here!”

“Come, my friend, we must talk of old times and catch up on life. Drink with me!”

Looking back, towards the direction he’d just come from, James said, “Okay, old friend, one drink after we stable Horses. Come escort me, then we’ll have the drink,” thinking that she’d be okay.

More wine?

Eating some cheese and bread, Bren nodded when Darren asked if she’d like another glass. Feeling relaxed and warm inside, she looked at the young man before her. His dark hair and deep brown eyes made him look attractive. The stubble on his face didn’t hurt either. Bren asked, “Are you married?”

Darren, sipping his wine, asked, “What is married?”

Laughing a little, Bren said, “You don’t know? It’s when you have a woman that you’re living with as a wife.”

Understanding coming to his face, Darren, chuckled, saying “No, not now, it’s been some time.”

Taking another sip from her replenished glass, she said, “I’m sorry, did she break your heart?”


Walking back from the stable, James learned that Zechariah had been resurrected after Jesus rose from the dead. He had walked around Jerusalem and Judea, for years, testifying of his rescue from Sheol, when one day, a man in a hat came to him and offered to take him to Elysia. Having nowhere particular to be or go, he’d said yes.

“So that is how you got here,” James said, seeing the truth of the matter.

Later as they sat in the pub, James nursing his Elysian ale, he asked Zechariah, “What did the man in the hat look like?”

As Zechariah described Traveler in detail, James looked around, noticing men and women kissing. Odd, he thought, Elysians freely express their love, but this seems more than usual.

“He had the most amazing pocket watch, I remember. Truly a work of art.”

As his friend spoke, a buxom lady came up to him and sat in his lap. “Hi dear,” Zech said, “what may I do for you?”

I really need to be kissed

Arranging her blouse a bit lower, she said, “I really need to be kissed,” at which point she began to kiss Zechariah deeply, passionately.

Watching, James noted that almost all the patrons of the pub were loving each other just as fervently. Turning back to Zech and his new lady friend who was now straddling him, he said, “What is going on?” as two hands began to rub his shoulders from behind. Turning, James saw a beautiful brunette, smiling,saying, “Kind sir, I have need.”

Suddenly realizing what must be happening, James stood, saying to himself, “Bren.”

Untangling himself from the brunette’s arms, James moved quickly out the pub’s door, running towards the stable. Arriving and looking at Gambit and Sapphire with each other, he said, “Really!?” Then started running towards the bread maker’s apprentice shop as fast as his feet could carry him, saying breathlessly, “He’s going to kill me!”

It’s been years

Gulping the last of her wine, Bren looked at Darren saying, “So, how long has it been since you’ve been with a lady.”

Darren said, matter-of-factly, “Years.” Then looking intently at Brenzel, he asked, “Do you have need?”

“Oh, handsome sir, I have all kinds of need!” she said seductively, as she tried to stand, having to steady herself with the table. Darren rushed over, putting his hands on her waist to help her.

Turning, facing the young bread baker, her head spinning, she asked, “How old are you?”

Darren, helping her to stand, replied, “I really don’t know, I haven’t thought about it in a long time.”

“No matter, you look old enough tonight,” Bren said, slightly slurring her speech. “Kiss me,” she demanded.

As Darren neared her open lips, about to touch, she giggled, then went completely limp.

Holding her up, Darren said, “Brenzel? Brenzel of Eden?” No response. Bren’s head flopped backwards.

Just then, everyone in the town and sounding countryside, stopped whatever they were doing, looked at each, and asked, in various ways, “why are we kissing?”

Carried away

Not knowing what to do, Darren made sure she was breathing, wondering what had just taken place. She seemed to be totally asleep. Picking her up, he carried her up the stairs, laying her carefully on his bed.

So curious, he thought, I’ve never had anyone do that when I tried to kiss them. I wonder if it’s an Edenite thing?

Just then, James, quite out of breath, burst through the front door, looking frantically around for Bren and the bread baker.

“Bren!” He shouted. No answer.

“Bren,” he called out again.

Both were nowhere to be found. Then he heard someone coming down the stairs, seeing Darren descending.

“Where is she?”

“Oh, she’s up in my bed.”


“Bed!?” James said, heart failing him.

“Yes, she’s asleep.”

“What did you do?”

“Well, we talked, I gave her some bread and cheese and…Elysian wine.”

“What!?” James sputtered, “You can’t do that! Not to an Edenite!”


“Did you. . . .?”

She had all kinds of need

“What? You mean meet her need? Well,” he said, nonchalantly, “she said she had all kinds of need.. . ”

“Oh, my God,” James said, putting his face in his hands as his heart sank.

“. . .and I was about to kiss her, but then she giggled and fell asleep. I didn’t know what to do, so I took her upstairs and put her in my bed.

“Color returning to his face, James looked up and said, “So you didn’t do anything at all?”

“No, I never got the chance.”

As he passed the young man on his way up the stairs, James said, “For future reference, never give an Edenite Elysian wine. It’s as strong as whisky to them.”