It took nearly a week before I was able to get a full night’s sleep. I replaced the fancy, modern bed with something more my style. It was a four-poster bed made from cedar and oak, with an illuminated canopy. It felt more natural, and I was finally able to rest.
For nearly three straight days, I lay in a comatose state. Lana had checked on me a couple of times, but I sent her away. I needed to regain my strength before I began my quest. I had some answers to find, and I had no idea where to begin.
When I did finally rise, the scent of autumn filled the air. Orange sunbeams peeked through the slits in the curtains as a slight breeze gave them room. I’d regained my strength and refreshed my mental focus.
Once I’d gotten myself cleaned up and ready for the day, I made my way to the office. When I entered, I found Lana straightening my bookcases. “What are you doing?” I asked with an urgency in my tone.
Lana jumped at the sound of my voice. “Oh, gods. I didn’t know you were there. I’m sorry, I just thought I’d try to get these books back in order.” She shoved her hands into her pockets and looked utterly terrified.
I took a breath and calmed my nerves. “No, it’s fine. I apologize for snapping at you. In fact, I’m glad you’re here. We need to get to work. I have a case we need to get resolved.”
Lana squealed with delight as she ran out of the office. She quickly came back with a notepad and pen. She grabbed a chair on her way through and parked herself in front of my desk. For the first time since I’d hired her, I was impressed.
“So,” she quipped in a shrill tone, “what’s the case?”
I took my seat behind my desk and answered, “My family.”
Lana went from looking overjoyed to stunned silence. I watched her little hands begin to tremble as she tried to speak. “Y…you want to s…s…sue your f…family?”
I could only shake my head in disbelief. “No, I’m not going to sue my family. I’m going to save my family, or at least I’m going to try. I need to find out what’s come over the complex. Something dark is around us, and now is not the time of year for this to be happening. We need to find some answers.”
“Okay,” Lana replied with a little more confidence. “What do we know?”
I thought about it for a moment before answering. “Well, I know that my nephew’s fiance was kidnapped by Pegasus. So, I guess we need to find out who would have the power to harness his will. Pegasus is still a wild animal, not just something anyone can summon.”
I leaned back in my chair as Lana finished writing her notes. “Okay,” she mumbled, “what else?”
“I know that several members of the family were transported to another dimension. Something to do with mirrors. I need to find out who was all involved and hear their stories.” Lana wrote as fast as she could, trying to keep up with me.
“Anything else?” she asked as she continued to write.
“I need to do some research on some of my ancestors. I need to find out all I can about old magic. Maybe it’s time I went and had another conversation with my grandmother.”
“Wouldn’t there be something in the library?” Lana asked with a tilt to her head.
I looked over at my little library in the office, wondering if one of those books held the answer I needed. Lana glanced at me, then at the library, then back at me. She seemed almost confused.
“Um, Miss Demeter,” she nearly whispered, “not that library. I meant the big library down the hall.”
I wasn’t sure what she was talking about at first, then it came to me. “Of course. The law library. I’d forgotten it was there.” As the memory hit me, so did the fact that I hadn’t left this space since I’d returned.
“Come on,” I called to Lana as I jumped up and headed out the door. We both all but ran down the hall to the law library. As I opened the door, the lights automatically came on. I looked around the room. My mind flooded with new memories. Some were pleasant, some were boring, and some of them chilled me to the bone.
“What are we looking for?” Lana asked.
“An ancient manuscript,” I replied without looking up. “It contains a lot of the information Hesiod used when he wrote his Theogony. There’s no writing on the front as it’s basically a bunch of scrolls that have been bound together. Many of the scrolls were written even before I was born.”
Lana squealed, “Maybe it holds the real story of Herc….”
“Stop!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. “Do NOT utter that name in here. Don’t mention that name anywhere within the complex. I promise you, Hera will hear you, and she will come in here and beat your ass.”
Lana dropped her head and sulked away to help find the manuscript. As she did so, I noticed the room grow dark. I looked out the window and could see the sky turning dark and brooding. A loud boom echoed throughout the complex, causing the shelves in the library to shake violently and the windows to crack.
“Oh my gods,” Lana cried, crawling under a side table. “She heard me. I’m sorry, I didn’t know. She’s going to kill me.”
I kept my eyes on the sky. I’d seen those clouds before and knew exactly what was happening. “No, she’s not coming for you. I’d say my baby brother has come home, and that’s her way of welcoming him back. Now, keep searching. I need that manuscript.”
We searched the library for hours before Lana finally announced that she’d found the book. I ran over to her and marveled at how the ancient tome was still intact. I knew it was only because the aura of the complex kept it safe from the ravages of time.
It was an incredibly large book, and I needed to lay it down in order to open it. I carefully flipped from one scroll to the next, looking for anything I thought would take me in a new direction. Finally, I came across a scroll dedicated to my grandmother, Gaia.
“This is it,” I mumbled under my voice. I began reading the scroll and realized that my grandmother was more powerful than I’d ever believed. Though it was known that she was the Mother of the Earth, she was much more than that. She was the mother of everything.
The story continued on the next scroll, and as I read on, the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. “Lana,” I said with a quiver in my voice, “write this down.”
“…and as she fell from the clutches of Chaos, Gaia swallowed a portion of his primordial magic. She kept the magic deep within her bowels, knowing its power held no bounds. Fearing that the magic could cause irreversible damage if it were to fall into the wrong hands, Gaia formed layers of ice and granite around the primordial mist and placed it within the deepest recesses of her vilest realms.”
I looked up from the book to see Lana writing frantically, a look of sheer determination on her face. Once she was finished, she looked back at me with hunger in her eyes. “This is great,” she giggled like a schoolgirl.
I read on a little further to myself. Many of the lines were written in the oldest linears, and it took me some time to decipher the script. When the words became clear, I began to fear the worst. I prayed my fears were unfounded, but I needed to make sure.
Toward the end of the scroll, I found a passage that discussed the summoning of Gaia’s spirit. There was a way for me to see the manifestation of my grandmother, but it wouldn’t be easy.
I pointed toward Lana, who somehow knew I needed her to continue writing. “Make note of this,” I said in a shaky voice.
“In the book imbued to Kore, lies the key to Gaia’s door.
Use the spell to summon souls, that which only three controls
Call upon her name with grace, and you shall see the mother’s face.”
My mind raced as Lana finished her task. “Are you alright, Miss Demeter?” she asked with concern in her eyes.
“Yea,” I replied, trying to hide my fear. “I need to contact my sisters. I’m sure Hera will help me, but I’m not so sure about Hestia. She’s a little more practical-minded than the rest of us.”
I could tell Lana had no idea what I was talking about, and I liked it that way. What I had to discuss with my sisters was something mortals shouldn’t know.
“Can I ask a question, Miss Demeter?” I shrugged my shoulders as I closed up the book. “Who’s Kore?”
I stopped instantly and stared at my assistant. My heart sank as I whispered my answer. “She’s my daughter. Kore is Persephone’s middle name.”
I could see the shock in Lana’s eyes. “I’m sorry, ma’am. I didn’t know.”
I laughed just a little. “It’s fine. I’ll need to talk to her as well. Do me a favor, head back down to the office, and send word to Persephone’s assistant that I’d like to see her. I’m not sure she’ll want to see me. We didn’t part on very good terms the last time we met. However, she has something I’m going to need, and I’d really like to see her before the dark season descends.”
“Yes, ma’am, anything else?”
“No. Go on home after that. I’ll see you in the morning.” I smiled at my assistant as she exited the library.
I picked up the huge manuscript, fully intent on putting it away before it dawned on me that there might be more in it I’d need. Though it was quite heavy, I lugged it all the way back down to my office. I laid it on a table in my personal library, then prepared for a long night of in-depth research.