What’s left of my family still resides in Boreas’s domain. Much like Skiron’s compound, my father had an enclosed land that sat both in the frigid arctic wasteland and the sun-blessed Hyperborea. We had a home, a beautiful chalet made of stone and wood, that splayed across the boundary. He stole my mother’s heart, moving her into the wing of our home that spread into warmer land, granting her longevity. She gave him my twin brothers, winged demi-gods, and me, an apparent mortal daughter.
My brothers grew up carefree under my father’s care, learning to control their powers and learning how to be gods. He openly loved them, praised them, and told them they would be heroes. Immortality was bestowed on my mother at some point, and it was thought that I would live my mortal life there until I eventually passed of old age. Hyperborea was my home and was supposed to be the only home I knew. The people called me the Princess of Snow.
I was taught the basics of being a woman. How to cook, clean, take care of the home, and care for a family. My mother did her best with me, but I grew bored and would often sneak over the boundary. I even left the compound to climb the frozen peaks and play with the few animals that survived out there. The frigid winds never bothered me, and I liked to dance in the blowing snow all by myself. Even my brothers didn’t venture out as far.
When I got caught, my father grew angry and threatened to make me leave Hyperborea and live a short human life. He used to say, “Only the worthy are allowed to live here on extended time. Prove that you are worthy of being their princess.”
It bothered me. How could I prove I could do anything if I wasn’t allowed to actually do anything? I was his fragile human child, and if I left, I might die. So imagine everyone’s surprise that on my sixteenth solstice, my brothers angered me so much that I turned into a snowball!
It took my father almost an entire day to figure out how to change me back. After that, he brought me to Olympus to introduce me and confirm that I was, in fact, a full-blooded immortal. Olympus then proclaimed my place as the Goddess of Snow.
My father was finally proud of me. I was excited to train and assume my responsibilities and duties to Olympus.
There was a problem, though. My powers were intense and overwhelming. I tried as hard as I could to follow my father’s directions and exert my will over my powers, but I just caused mayhem and chaos when I did what he asked. My powers frustrated me. He and I argued, the verbal sparring causing avalanches, cold snaps, and ice quakes that reached beyond the icy boundary.
My father tried and tried, and I grew more and more angry. Blizzards raged on the mountains for days. Extensive snowfalls made structures collapse from the heavy snow. When the immeasurable snow melted on the blessed land, it caused floods.
I was wreaking havoc on the people of Hyperborea, and they were tired of dealing with a storm every time my father and I argued.
My parents sent me away for the people’s sake. Uncle Skiron offered to train me in my father’s stead, and they happily agreed. It was there that I made a friend in Chione, Seth’s mother. She was one of the original Lost Ones that Uncle Skiron had taken in. She’d fled from the life of her father’s choosing and was raising her twin demi-god children in the compound.
I stayed with Uncle Skiron for years, watching the boys grow and become like their older sister. I even made friends with the Prime of Trickery, who liked to visit the young Autolycus to teach him ways to improve his divine gifts. The three of us were wild and crazy, causing mischief and mayhem wherever we went. They were the first real friends I had.
My father came down from his chalet to check on my training. After learning that I still had no control and was spending my time goofing off and playing with ‘lowly’ gods, he exploded and exiled me.
“You can never return to Hyperborea,” he hissed. “Not unless you can prove that you are worthy of the people. You aren’t worthy of having the powers of a goddess. You aren’t even worthy of being their princess anymore.” He spread his wings, and with a hard flap he rose into the sky. The icy wind tore through the mountains, and he was gone.
I ran off that day. If he was going to call me unworthy, then I was going to behave like the lowly goddess he thought I was. I took everything and disappeared from the compound and met my friends. Together, we traveled the world pranking and tricking people. We laughed our way through our growing pains. I thought our friendship was going to last an eternity.
It was a prank gone wrong that turned into trouble. Hot-headed and angry, the three of us separated over a stupid fight, and I was out on my own. It was the Sea King who found me. I was walking on ice over his waters. He was wonderful, free-spirited, and I thought he loved me back, but he had his kingdom to attend to. Our dalliance was short-lived but never forgotten.
I was pregnant with nowhere to go. I couldn’t raise my son with nothing to my name, and I couldn’t go back to my father. I still hadn’t learned to control my powers well. If he found out what I had done and who the father of my child was, he would have been livid. It would have been so much worse. He would have thrown me into Tartarus himself.
I hid in the arctic and used the sea ice to give birth in secret. Sedna, the nymph of the arctic waters, delivered my son. I held him for a short while, and then I sent him to his father to be raised by his family in wealth and good graces. His name was Eumolpus.
I was devastated and vowed that to get back to my son, I would learn to control my emotions and my stormy side. If my son did well, my father would find his grandson worthy and bring him to Hyperborea, where, if I proved myself equally worthy, I could see him again.
I was summoned to Olympus for a celebration. Chione’s twins had brought her along to the celebration, causing some animosity amongst the crowd. The demi-gods were pointing her out, joking around foolishly, and telling anyone who would listen that Chione was as pretty as any goddess at the party. I think they were trying to get one of them to make her immortal, too.
I was standing beside Chione’s chair, regaling her with tales of our adventures, when suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen.
I looked down and saw the still-shaking arrow protruding from Chione’s chest. Her eyes widened as she took her last gasp, staring into my eyes. Chione had been shot dead, and I had been pierced through. The ichor seeped from the two holes in my body, even as I clutched my sides. I stumbled back when someone noticed the arrow and screamed. Suddenly there were many swarming around the dead woman.
I kept backing up, away from everyone, trying to control my emotions, to keep the storms inside from getting out. It took everything in me to get back past the magic barriers and flee to the arctic.
The poison on the arrow was slowly seeping through my system, and I was scared. I went to my ice cave and let the sea ice help to heal me. I waited for someone to come for me, to come to help me. But no one came. Not my friends, not my family. Not even the man I thought loved me.
I stayed in that ice cave for years, expelling the poison from that arrow. I had no visitors. The sea and the wind whispered stories, and I struggled to survive. I was plagued with fevers that made my body convulse, and it was only the cold ice that kept me alive.
I was lonely, but the thought of my son kept me going. I would get better so that I might hold him in my arms again. I needed to recover and prove I was worthy of being his mother.
I was worthy, right? I struggled with self-doubt, and more than once ended up buried in snow or encased in ice for long stretches of time.
It took nearly fifty years to expel and recover from the poison, and I was still so weak, so damaged. I slipped into the seawater and called for Sedna to take me to my son.
Her fallen face said more than her words ever would, and I knew immediately I had missed my chance.
“I’m so sorry, Khione. I didn’t know where you were, or I would have told you.” She reached for a pearl on the seafloor and showed me what I had missed.
I watched in horror as my son, my Eumolpus, was run through with a broadsword in battle. He had given up his life, fighting in a war. After that, I remembered so little. I remembered wandering the arctic aimlessly, hopeless, crying, and still so weak from the poison. A steady snowfall fell wherever I went.
I wandered into a settlement, and I saw a mother hugging her child to her. That display of affection, a simple hug, undid everything in me. I lost all control of myself. My sadness, depression, anger, and grief all condensed into a massive, glowing, cold energy that burst. I froze them all solid. The entire tribe turned into ice statues, men, women, elders, and children. I wiped them all out as I let my grief free, my soul ripping in two and opening a portal to the Underworld. I walked in.
I had no home, no friends, no family, and no son. No reason to continue and nothing to keep me going. Winter would come and go without me. Everyone thought I was dead, anyway. If I jumped into the fiery pits of Tartarus, at least it would destroy me.
I reached the gates and hesitated. The heat was making me feel sick, and I was already so weak. The Algos appeared. One by one, they urged me forward, playing on the pieces of my broken soul.
“No one would notice.”
“Can’t control her powers.”
“Father doesn’t even want her.”
“You don’t deserve to live.”
“She doesn’t deserve to be a goddess.”
They produced a mirror and beckoned me to look. Reluctantly, I peered into its depths. The mirror showed me my son dying, again and again and again. I was on my knees, begging them to stop, to just take the pain away or let me jump. I was nothing and no one to anyone.
I wasn’t worth the breath I breathed
“Sweet Mistress Of Snow and Ice,
You long to be anything but nice.
We will offer you salvation,
But it comes with a touch of damnation.
Face the mirror and become numb,
Feel nothing, and you cannot succumb.
There is a price that you must pay;
For as many years you lock away,
Your grief and anger will be displaced,
And physical pain will take its place.
To break free, you must truly see
The monster inside that you can be.”
I was in no state to say no to them. I took their deal to take away my emotional pain. To take away the loneliness, the sadness, the hurt, the guilt, and the shame.
I did not know what I had agreed to, but when the Algos reached out their hands, I shook them.