I sat straight up, drool dripping from my lip onto the desk. “Lana!” I screamed.
My little assistant came running from the other room. “Yes, Miss Demeter?”
“Were you able to contact Nemesis yet?” I felt woozy, and my head was spinning. I wasn’t sure how long I’d had my head on my desk, but it felt like hours.
“Um, no, ma’am,” Lana replied, looking a bit confused. “I literally just left you, like three minutes ago.”
I was sure that couldn’t be right. The pounding in my head told me I’d been there more than just a few moments. My special tea had sent me for a loop before, but not like that.
“Okay,” I said, standing up and trying to get my head straight, “don’t worry about it. I’ll send her a message myself. It might be better that way. She’s a sucker for the old ways.” I looked around the room as though searching for something, but the truth was, I was just trying to focus on my surroundings.
“Yes, ma’am. What would you like me to do?” Lana had a worried look on her face. I think she could tell that I wasn’t quite right.
“I guess just finish up whatever you were doing and call it a day. I’ve got a few other things to take care of, and then I’ll do the same.”
Lana simply nodded and headed back for the door. “Lana,” I called out. She spun on one heel and looked at me nervously. “Thank you for everything. I may not show it very often, but I really do appreciate you being here.” A flash of red stained her cheeks as she beamed with pride. She bounced out of the room, and I sat back down at my desk.
I pulled some beautiful parchment from my bottom drawer and began to write.
As I know you’re not one for formal pleasantries, I’ll cut to the chase. I need your help in not one but two different matters.
I’m not sure if you’re aware or not, but I’ve recently returned from a two-year absence. I thought that everyone knew this, but it seems I wasn’t missed as much as I had thought. I was told that Ares had found me and brought me back. The trouble is that whoever he brought back wasn’t me. I need to know who that person, or god, was.
I have no memories of the past two years. My last memory from the past was from the night of the big celebration we held on Crete. The next thing I knew, I was standing in a wheat field, and I’d lost a full two years.
Since returning, I’ve been plagued with horrible nightmares. Each of them is more like a faint memory, but not quite. I’m at my wit’s end.
In an attempt to piece together a part of my missing time, I’ve been researching the family archives and found something in the Manuscript of the Ancients. I found a story about my father and his cousin, Phobetor, god of nightmares. It was a story I’d never heard before.
Apparently, my father convinced Phobetor to invade the dreams of a Cretan queen who would, in turn, kill her husband, whom my father hated. Once the deed had been done, Phobetor said that he would collect his debt at some point in the future, but at his discretion. I believe the only person who can tell me more about this encounter is your brother, Thanatos.
However, it seems that Thanatos has gone missing. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this or not, but it seems your brother left shortly before my return and took Theseus with him. I don’t know if there is anyone else with him or not, nor do I know if he is truly missing or simply doesn’t want to be found. I need your help in locating him.
I apologize for coming to you like this, but you may be my only hope. As Goddess of Sacred Law, I cannot do my job properly with all of this weighing on my mind. I need answers. You are one of the only other deities who believes in justice as much as I. So, please, help me find my justice.
In deepest sincerity,
I read over my letter one last time, then placed it in an ornate envelope and sealed it with my official waxed stamp. I didn’t know if Nemesis would be willing to help me or not, but I knew I had to try. Something odd was happening to my family, and I was determined to find out why.
I ran to the office door and peered out to find Lana just putting on her coat to leave. “Lana,” I asked in a much friendlier tone, “can you do one last thing for me before you leave?”
“Sure,” she quipped in her bird-like voice.
I handed her the letter and asked her to send it out via Hermes Mail. I knew that would be the only way to ensure that the letter ended up in Nemesis’s hands. I didn’t want this one going from one mortal to another. Handing it to Lana was hard enough.
She took the letter and finished getting ready to leave. I made a few pleasantries and then headed for my kitchenette. I had to know why my special blend had hit me so hard this time. It wasn’t normal for me to go into such a deep trance that quickly.
I found the jar of tea still sitting on the counter where Lana had left it earlier. I opened it and inhaled deeply. It seemed normal, but I did detect a distinct odor that shouldn’t have been there. I grabbed a dish out of the cupboard and poured the tea into it. Though it looked relatively normal, it did seem a bit redder than usual. I moved the tea leaves around and thought the Mekon appeared darker. It always carried a dark orange hue, but this was almost brown.
I touched it with the tip of my finger and knew it wasn’t right. Mekon had a soft, silky feel about it. This was grittier. I took just a taste and knew what it was. “Colchicum,” I whispered. Someone had added a powdered form of autumn crocus to my blend. It wouldn’t kill me, but it could cause me to spin out of control in the right doses.
I flung the dish of tea across the room. The dish shattered against the wall, sending the tea throughout the room. Someone was trying to poison me, or worse, they were going to great lengths to make me look crazy. Unfortunately, it was working.
Perhaps the tea was the reason behind my nightmares. If I were being drugged, someone or something would have an easier time controlling my mind. Knowing this, I was more determined than ever to find out what was going on. The only difference was that now I’d be doing it with a clear head.
Whoever had set their sights on me was now in my line of fire. A fire began to burn within me that I hadn’t felt since the night I set out to find my stolen child. Whether I’d have the help of the primordials or not, I was going to find out who was behind this, or I’d die trying.