Author's Notes: I haven't done much with Tara. In fact, the last time I wrote a Tara-centric fic, I accused her of being a demon. This time, I accuse her of being something nicer.
More Author's Notes: I realize that this has been Jossed up the gazoo. I officially don't care.
Karen -- please don't hurt me.
You know the Greek myth of the nine muses? Daughters of Zeus?
Well, let me just tell you, it ain't a myth. Those poor nine women did exist -- slaves to each of their arts. Eight of them died without children, too busy inspiring others to make the time. One of them, though, had a son. This was Orpheus, the guy who went down to Hades to try and retrieve his bride, but looked back at the wrong moment, and so lost her forever.
I'm really summing up that story. Because it's fairly depressing, and I have something of a grudge against Orpheus, who couldn't wait five fucking minutes after they got out of the underworld to see his bride.
Orpheus died soon after, but the damage was done. The gods, in their infinite sense of irony, decided to make use of Orpheus' kids. There were about five or six of them, because while he had been a wandering singer, Orpheus hadn't really been the sort to abstain.
Those children, and all their decendents, became the new generation of muses. Only instead of inspiring thousands, we're destined to inspire just one person. Sometimes it's an artist, sometimes a musician, sometimes a scientist. Sometimes it's something else entirely. One person in our lifetimes to raise to new heights of creativity and expression.
Sounds good, doesn't it? Well, it fucking sucks. Because the moment we run into our destined ward, we lose all sense of personality around them. We become a mirror, something to just reflect back their own glory. Sometimes the person leeches off the creativity of the Muse.
Everyone knows Leonardo de Vinci. What everyone doesn't know is that he had a constant companion with him, a quiet and unassuming young man named Valentine. Now, Leonardo is remembered as a scientist. Shit. Before Valentine met his ward, he had great ideas for flying machines, parachutes, etc. But once he met Leonardo, guess who got the credit?
Valentine was a great-uncle (with a lot more 'great's in front of that) of mine. In my immediate family, my mother and two brothers have both been trapped with their particular wards. My mother was a promising medical student until she met my father. It's only when my father is on one of his many business trips (when you're the CEO of the second most powerful bank in New York City -- as well as sleeping with your secretary -- you tend to travel a great deal) that my mother's real personality comes out --- when he's home, she's just a shadow of herself.
Maybe it's part of the fact that so little of a Muse's personality is in evidence around their ward that they tend to be unfaithful. My brother's wife has a lot of affairs. Warren looks at it as something of a break from her, and only wishes that she'd leave him for any of them.
I know the feeling.
"Do whatever makes you h-h-happy."
That's what I said to Willow a few months ago, when her old boyfriend blew back into town to woo her. That paltry little whimper was all that my curse allowed me to say. Inwardly, I was screaming, "Go back to your boyfriend! Back! Back! Never look or talk to me again! I'll throw the two of you a reunion party and dance at your wedding! Now GO!" I almost get eaten by said boyfriend, but guess who is still stuck with Willow?
My friends have no idea what has happened to me. I was captain of my high school debate team, for Christ's sake! I was majoring in political science with the hopes of someday being a political commentator for news stations. Even that group of Wiccans was used to having constant commentary of snide remarks from my corner.
Then a red-haired little freshman waltzed her way across my path, and halted my life in its tracks. I'm her mirror, her Muse. She's interested in magic right now, so guess where suddenly all my interest has gone? As a descendent of a demigod, I have a bit of a edge in that area, but God help us all if she gets a yen for pottery.
I'm trapped with her until my death. Or until hers.
My cousin Larry's ward died in a freak car accident, before he ever really achieved the fame that she might've from her art. Larry was properly mournful in front of Denise's friends, but when I ran into him in the coatroom, he was literally dancing a jig. His ward's death had bought him freedom.
Willow is a good person. A trifle too interested in learning more powerful magics for my taste, but many good people are ambitious. Perhaps she's the kind of person I might have loved. But how can a slave love a master? I'm bound to her by bonds of duty instead of love.
So I hate her.
And so I pray for her death -- and my freedom.