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Through The Ages - chapter 3
By
Kari

Through The Ages - chapter 3

I had no interest in meeting this girl, to be honest I had thoughts only of the beauty in the pool.

Town Life

As I quickly rushed away from the girl in the pond, I kept thinking, “She is the most beautiful naked girl I have ever seen, actually she is the only naked girl I have ever seen. Regardless, she is a goddess!”

Then it occurred to me, I had to see her again. As soon as I made sure I was out of sight, I dropped to the ground. (I know it was wrong but what can I say?) I quietly crawled on hands and knees back through the shrubs on the side of the path, until I parted some leaves and was able to see her swimming towards the edge of the pond.

My eyes widened and I swallowed audibly, as I watched her look around to make sure I had disappeared. Then I shamelessly watched as she grabbed her robe standing up as she quickly drew it over her head. I couldn't help but lick my lips, oh my, her lovely body of slim curves was burned into my brain for the rest of my life. All she had on was a pair of wet and clingy under garments the kind that young girls wore, (I had seen my little sister's once). To my disappointment that robe of her's covered up those curves way too soon. It was the usual flounced skirt with a shirt type top, but the front where the breasts were normally left exposed was covered in a light material. Only girls of marrying age wore the traditional Minoan dress where the breasts were uncovered. That was our way, and a good way I might add, at least you knew which women were of age and which were not.

I continued to watch the girl as she then squeezed the water out of her long dark tresses before sitting down on the rock to comb her hair with her fingers. The sun dried it quickly or my time of watching was so fascinating that I didn't notice it at all. I was just enjoying the view. As she fitted her headpiece on top of her head, I heard a man call out,

“Are you dressed and ready to go?”

Without listening to anymore, I quickly backed out of the shrub turned around and started running. The last thing I needed was an enraged brother after me. Running as fast as I could, I took my usual shortcut path back to my village. After about 15 minutes, I slowed down to catch my breath, knowing I was probably safe, the path I was on, was little known and certainly a stranger wouldn't be able to find it.

As my breathing slowed down, I went back over in my mind how lovely the girl was, I was in love and had the usual reaction of a 15-year-old. I will leave that to your imaginations. I knew she and her brother were probably on their way to Malia, most people that passed by our village were. In spite of having been totally embarrassed, I remember thinking, “That is too bad, I think...no I know, I could have won her heart if I just had the chance!” I know, you're pretty confident when you're young. By the time I got home, I had a plan to make the girl's likeness in clay, that way I would immortalize her.

I had been very busy in the last few months since I had returned to my village. Once the homecoming congratulations and so on were done, I went about finding my own place. There was a small cottage at the edge of town near the ocean that was available. I made a deal with the owner to rent/own it. I didn't have much money, but he accepted that I would make him a complete set of crockery in addition to some storage vessels. It was all good.

The first thing I set about to do was to build a kiln in the small back area of the cottage. It took me a few weeks, I wanted it to be large enough to fire more than two or three pieces at a time. In fact, I would have wanted it to be large enough to make the famous six-foot storage vessels for the palace at Malia. But that would be a plan for the future.

Crossing my arms over my chest I looked at my new kiln nodding my head. I was quite pleased with the results. I tested it out by making a half dozen figurines, of which there were a few animals, plus some female goddesses, and one eating plate plain but sturdy (it was for myself). They all fired up perfectly. I would get colors to paint my wares at a later time. For now, I was happy with the results.

In between putting the kiln together, I built my workshop attaching it to the back of the cottage. When they had the time, I got my brother and dad to give me a hand. I was grateful for their help, it saved me a lot of time and effort.

The next critical item I needed was a potter's wheel. For the wheel itself, I made a frame out of wood and poured clay into it. I let it sit for a few days while firing up the kiln, once it was hot enough, I carefully moved my wheel into its depth and closed the door. I waited with bated breath watching that the temperature stayed level for the proper length of time. It was a huge piece and I had to be careful. I am happy to say it turned out perfect, not a crack on it. Once the wheel had cooled, I put together the rest of the potter's wheel. Placing a stool in front of the wheel, I gave it a test run. It worked just as I had hoped it would. 

I was now in business, making various samples of vessels, rhytons, jars, plates cups and so on. As I made them, I set them around my shop as well as a few pieces just outside my front door. I paid a small boy to run about town telling people to come see my wares. The boy did well, just out of curiosity people started to trickle in and look at my samples, some of the more common things like cups and plates were even sold. Commission work started to come in slowly, I was indeed pleased with how my business was was taking off. 

I eventually got a sign made with my name with a cup at the end. People in town and passers-by started to come slowly around and buy from me. I knew my father was becoming proud of me if the look on his face was any indication. This brings me up to the day I stumbled onto the beautiful girl in the pool.

Kori

Meanwhile, poor Kori has been kept very very busy. Her well-meaning aunt was determined to make up for time lost since her mother's death.. She wasn't cruel or anything like that, but she was strict, making sure that Kori didn't have much time to get into any trouble. She wanted the girl to learn to cook all the things that men loved to eat, just the way she had been taught so many years ago.

Mia spent a lot of time standing behind Kori watching how she prepared the various dishes of meat, beans and soups giving her all the knowledge that had been passed on down to her. The second thing besides cooking was the cottage. She kept on and on about how a clean cottage reflected on the lady of the house. The third and most important lesson was how to please and keep a man. These lectures were pounded into the girl on a daily basis. Kori began to think that it was her aunt's mission in life to get her married as soon as possible. Great gods she wasn't even 15 yet!

Once Kori had a good start on her training, Mia planned on inviting the local eligible bachelors over to the cottage one by one to show off her beautiful niece. She'd happily go over in her mind her schemes, mumbling out loud the names and different qualities of each and every one of them. The young girl would look at her aunt while she went on and on wishing she could tell her, “Look Aunt Mia, you are just wasting your time here, I don't intend to marry anyone....ever!” But she kept her mouth shut believing it would only cause her aunt untold stress resulting in it backfiring back onto Kori herself.

Mia never having had any children of her own, took the request of her brother-in-law very seriously. She fully intended to marry her niece off to some nice young man. It was all she dreamed about, and of course then there would be plans for a wedding. These were indeed trying times for the independent girl.

Kori would have lost her mind if she hadn't been able to sneak out pretty much every night after her aunt and uncle were down for the night. It hadn't taken her long to work on the window in her room, silently getting it opened wide enough so she could crawl through and let herself quietly down to the soft ground with a quiet thump. She realized early on that she must keep out of sight, the last thing she needed was some well meaning person reporting her to her aunt. She was sure that would result in being locked up after dinner and chores were completed.

Moments after slipping out of the cottage she would silently tip-toe around the side and into the back garden where it was easy to keep low and out of sight of prying eyes. Once out of the garden, she usually headed for that pool that she had bathed in on that fateful day that she was sent to live with her relatives. It hadn't taken Kori long to find a shortcut that saved her at least 15 minutes. At a fast walk, it usually took her 45 minutes each way. One and a half hours traveling was worth the peace and quiet she experienced for a few hours before having to return to her room and her life of well for lack of words...drudgery.

A few weeks later Mia's plan had finally gotten to the stage that she felt that Kori had progressed enough for her to start inviting the most promising unmarried men in the area. Once a week she planned a good but simple mean before directing her niece to cook it, set the table and then get herself presentable.

Each time that a new man came to dinner, Kori would find a way to sabotage the evening without her aunt and uncle knowing. She somehow managed to convey to the man that he didn't have a hope in Hades of ever catching her interest. To some that didn't matter one bit, it was her competence in the running of the house that mattered, these were usually widowers with children. For others, they wanted the whole package as she thought it. So she would gauge what kind of man she was entertaining and then come up with a plan to put him off. It didn't prove to be very difficult when you had intelligence. Shaking too much salt on his food, or conveying how she liked to spend her days on the beach. (this was said out of earshot of her aunt.)

Aunt Mia was slowly going through all the eligible men in and around town and was getting pretty desperate. She was definitely disappointed that none of the men ever came around again. Mentally going over her list of men, she realized there was only one left, Nikos, the son of one of the local fishermen. She had heard he had been away for years, learning the trade of pottery. She hadn't met him since he had come home, but she had seen some of his wares. Nodding her head, she remembered thinking he was very good. He would surely make a good provider and husband. She decided he would be invited to dinner for the following week.

Frowning to herself, she knew this might be Kori's last chance to find a good husband. The dinner had to be perfect, and Kori would have to be perfect too. “A new robe that is what she needs!” she mumbled to herself, “A new robe and her hair in the latest style, the young man Nikos won't be able to resist!”

So with those thoughts Mia made her plans, to get some new material and set about making a new robe for Kori, one in the latest upper class Minoan style. She planned on it being a last minute surprise for Kori.

She swore this time the man would not leave without being dazzled by the beauty of the girl. The traditional coming of age for girls was 15, Kori would not be 15 for another 13 months. She wondered if she dared to dress her up as as if she was 15? She would wrestle with this problem for days before coming up with a compromise. She and a friend worked on it in secret. The dress turned out to be a lovely, the flounced shirt was of dark green alternating with yellow flounces. The top was a shirt was matching yellow with green lines along the sleeves and shoulders. The bosom was covered in a very thin almost transparent material of a very light shade of again green. Mia knew it would compliment her niece's lovely green eyes. Her long black hair was to be done with the popular style of ringlets with bands of yellow ribbon wound through it. She could hardly wait for the day to arrive, it was almost like she had her own youth back again, when the boys would flock around her.

Nikos

I had received the invitation to meet a marriageable girl a few days ago and had been nagged every day by my mother ever since. I had no interest in meeting this girl, to be honest I had thoughts only of the naked beauty in the pool, the one I had stumbled across all those weeks ago. I just couldn't get her out of my mind.

I looked the invitation over again, it was for dinner and to meet a girl. Apparently this girl in the invitation was the niece of the old couple who lived at the other end of town. The local gossip was that she had made the rounds of her village and now had been shipped to ours. That could only mean one thing, she had been passed by. She was either ugly or a terrible cook or even worse both. As soon as my family heard about it they were all in favor me going, I think they were especially enjoying my discomfort about the whole idea. In order to get them to shut up, I finally consented to go. After a long day in my shop I reluctantly got cleaned up in order to go out to this so called dinner.

Dragging my heels for as long as I possibly could, I finally found myself at the old couple's door. Lifting my hand up to knock, it suddenly opened showing me the great big grin of the lady of the house.

"Welcome Nikos I am certainly glad you could come to dinner and meet our niece."

I bowed as she gestured me inside and showed me to the sitting area. Once I was seated comfortably to her satisfaction, I pasted a smile on my face and waited for the worst. Still smiling broadly Mia turned and sweetly called out,

“Korinna...... your guest has arrived, won't you come in and welcome him?”

Feeling like the sacrificial lamb, she looked up from fixing the last of her curls, mumbling to herself, “Oh gods let me get through this last dinner and I won't ever ask another favor ever again...I swear!” Kori picked up the small plate of snacks before making her way to the sitting room. As she entered she too had a fixed smile on her face before looking across the room.

Nikos slowly rose from the chair his eyes wide open in total surprise.

Kori growing paler by the second stood at the doorway letting the plate slowly start to drop from her hands. Her aunt quickly grabbed it before the food could slid off the plate and make an embarrassing mess.

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