Wow, Artemis has really gone all out for this tonight, I muse to myself as I glance around at the decor. Her Silver Bow Foundation fundraiser is already on the verge of being a gala, and every single member of the family is dressed to the nines.
I decided to stray from my typical dark red tux – yes, red is my favorite color, what of it? – in favor of a dark navy one, complete with a silk bow tie and pants. Probably the most clothes I’ve worn all year. What a sobering thought.
I’m only here because they asked me to come, and it’s a good cause. I vaguely recall signing up for something related to auctioning a favor off of mine, but honestly, I can’t remember the fine details. I can’t remember a lot of things these days.
I haven’t been sleeping. The nightmares keep getting worse. It’s the same thing, every night, for the last two thousand years. Just an unblemished land of black. I’m alone on the sea of midnight, but then, things changed.
Eros! Help us! Eros! Please!
Just the voice, a voice calling for me, suddenly echoing across the nightmare. A never ending abyss with no beginning or end, and that same voice. In the dream I run, I sprint, I climb, I crawl. Nothing. Just darkness. Darkness and that voice. Always out of reach. Never close enough to touch. Eros! Please! Find us! Save us!
The champagne flute shatters in my hand as my grip tightens suddenly around it. Fuck. Fortunately, no one seems to notice my out of character display, and I push the fragments of the glass under the closest table. I’ll figure out some way to make trouble with them later.
Wow, I’m really not feeling well. Maybe I shouldn’t have come. I mean, when have I ever had to think of ways to make trouble?
I must be running a fever, can gods get fevers?
From the corner of my eye, I catch sight of Mellie – Melinöe, goddess of nightmares – her bicolored hair catching my eye. Shit, I should talk to her, maybe she knows why my ever-present nightmares have suddenly changed.
I’m determined to speak with her. Though I’m not sure how willing she might be, since Erebus and I kind of made her believe that her hair was falling out last time. Still. She should be able to tell me what these nightmares mean. Moving through the well-dressed crowd, I plaster on an unaffected smile. Even idly twirling an arrow around one hand, giving the appearance of a god with no worries. No cares.
That’s all they see, it’s all they will ever see. Strange. That’s never bothered me before. I like being underestimated. It’s a cornerstone of my mischievous nature. If people are constantly watching you, if you command attention when you walk into a room, you never get away with anything.
Take Nyxie, for example. She’s the kind of woman people are constantly watching out of the corner of their eye, because of who she is. People’s backs practically snap as they straighten when she approaches. Others lean close to her when she speaks, almost subconsciously.
Not me. I would never get away with anything if that was the case. So why is that suddenly bothering me?
Another time for that problem.
Continuing my pursuit of Mellie, I’m stopped in my tracks by the sound of my name being called for the auction.
Damn it. I see Mellie, still present, on the outskirts of the well-dressed group, and remind myself to corner her later about these recurring nightmares.
For now, I have to be auctioned off.
Pasting an inviting smile on my face for the rest of the deities dressed head to toe in black tie, I make my way towards the stage where Artemis and Tory are co-hosting the auction. I must be the first to be called up.
I barely hear the announcement of my name and designation of the god of love and desire over the PA system. I go through the motions, while internally I try to figure out my continuing nightmare, and why I’m suddenly hearing voices in the previously complete-black darkness.
Eros! Help us! Please!
Who could be reaching for me? Why not reach for someone who could help? Like Dinlas? Or Nyx? Why reach for me? I’m the ne’er do well of my family, the one who can’t be relied on, the one who’s constantly getting in and out of trouble. My brother is the one they go to, or ask things of. Never me.
So why me? Why is someone reaching out? Who’s this “us”, I’m supposed to save?
An unexpected voice snaps me out of my inner thoughts about my strange nightmare.
“One everlasting drachma!” The voice slithers through the proceeding, surprising most of the deities in attendance. It’s not Nyxie – I would know her voice anywhere – but another immortal who inspires reverence and awe, along with more than a little fear.
Katie. Hekate, goddess of witchcraft, glides forward. The crowd parts like the sea for her. She looks stunning and lethal, as she always does.
The gavel comes down suddenly, announcing Katie as the winner of my favor. I forget my nightmares, momentarily fascinated by what the goddess of witchcraft could possibly want from me. There were no other bids. How does one beat a magical coin?
My smile stretches across my face wickedly. I’ve never really crossed paths with her before, barring the one time with Erebus before Halloween. What could she want from me?
She approaches me, her eyes trailing me up and down in a way that makes me think that her ask will be far from pleasant.
What could she want from me? An arrow? Katie never struck me as the “settling down” type…
She hands over her ever-repeating magical drachma, and my eyes shoot up curiously.
“Katie,” I ask loudly, conscious of the audience leaning in to listen, “What would you have of love and desire?”
Her smile stretches across her face and I brace myself for her request, “For my favor I want this…for one week you must be nice to your brother, Dinlas, and also act humble.”
“WHAT?!?” I practically screech in response.
In the distance, I can hear my brother laughing.