“Pappóus!” she called. Grandfather! “Help me!” My golden eyes shot open as I heard the call of my granddaughter. Never had I heard Medea ask for help.
From my obsidian palace on the banks of the river Okeanos, I scanned the world. My eyes first looked to Colchis, the land of witches ruled by my son and Medea’s father, Aeètes. When I had last looked upon my son’s land, it was prospering with great palaces of white stone. Bronze bulls—the Khalkotauri—had yoked the fields until the grass was as green as emeralds, and magic danced through the streets as witches and warlocks freely showed off their power, much to the dismay of the gods. As I looked on Colchis now, I was shocked to see what it had become. The grass was brown and dead. The palaces seemed to have lost their clinical shine, and the magic that had surrounded the land had faded. I knew what that meant. The Golden Fleece, the source of Aeètes’ fortune, was gone. But how?
I continued my search of Colchis and was horrified when my eyes broke into the palace and down into the catacombs below, the mausoleum of the deceased royals and nobility. I saw Aeètes on his knees before a grave, sobbing. There was a name on the white stone before him, the name of my grandson Apsyrtus. I was shocked, but I was not saddened. I had lost too many family members in my time to allow it to hurt me anymore.
There was magic rolling off the gravestone, a magic that had lingered for years. It was a magic darker than any I’d come across before, even from Hecate herself. It was Medea’s. What had happened here?
My eyes roamed the rest of Colchis and caught no sight of my granddaughter, but I could not shift the sickening feel of the dark magic. It lingered throughout the land and left a trail across the sea. I followed it with my gaze and ended up scanning the land of Iolcos. Once again, I found no sign of Medea other than more dark magic hovering around another tomb. This one belonged to the deceased King Pelias, and once again, this magic was violent and had lingered far longer than any magic should have. Whatever Medea had done must have been against nature itself for it to have corrupted the air in such a way.
“Pappóus!” Medea’s voice echoed in my mind once again. This time, her call was hoarse and desperate. I needed to find her, and fast.
Following the trail, my eyes ended up scouting a land I had visited many times, Corinth. The poisonous magic filled the air in Corinth. It was fresh, some great evil had taken place here, and Medea was the root of it. What had my granddaughter gotten herself into? The sickening magic originated in the Corinthian Palace. I looked into the structure and saw King Creon and his daughter, Glauce, lying on the floor. They were covered in blood and blisters, dead. The corrupted magic poured off Glauce’s dress—a wedding dress—and Creon’s cloak. Gifts from Medea, I assumed.
The magic shifted, Medea drawing power from the Underworld and manipulating it for yet another dark deed. She was here in Corinth. My eyes zoomed from the palace to a nearby town covered in a thick haze of magic, dark red in colour. My golden gaze broke through the magical mist, and I saw Medea on her knees inside her home beside three small bodies. Tears streamed from her amber eyes and down her cheeks.
I closed my eyes and materialised before her. She looked up as I appeared, frizzy red hair covering a lot of her face, her eyes filled with a number of emotions: fear, anger, sadness.
“Pappóus,” her voice cracked as she sobbed.
“Medea.” I reached out a hand and brought her to her feet. She was shaking and crying uncontrollably. I could sense the touch of Aphrodite on her. Did that goddess ever stop meddling? “What have you gotten yourself into?”
“I- I- I,” she gasped, fighting for breath.
“Start from the beginning,” I said, my golden eyes resting on her with a mixture of pity and shock. I thought her father was brutal, but this was like nothing I’d seen before.
Medea launched into her story, stopping only to wail or sniff. She told me how a stranger called Jason had stopped in Colchis in search of the Golden Fleece. Aeètes had wanted to kill the man, but Medea had been overcome with a feeling of infatuation that I knew would be Aphrodite’s influence. Medea had helped Jason steal the fleece, and as they fled Colchis, Aeétes had pursued them. To slow her father, Medea had killed her brother Apsyrtus and chopped him up into dozens of pieces. She scattered them into the ocean, knowing Aeétes would have to stop and collect them to give Apsyrtus a proper burial.
Jason had taken her to Iolcos to win back the land stolen by his Uncle Pelias. Unbeknownst to Jason, Pelias was plotting to kill him. When the hero and Medea discovered his plan, Medea tricked Pelias’s own daughters into killing him. In retaliation, the locals had run Medea and Jason out of Iolcos. The two had fled to Corinth, where they had been for the past seven years, and together they had three children. Then we reached the most harrowing part of Medea’s tale.
“Jason came to me yesterday,” she wiped her eyes as they filled with pure rage, and her back straightened, “with Creon, the King of Corinth. He told me that he was leaving me for Creon’s daughter, Glauce, and taking our children with him. Creon then declared I was to leave Corinth for good. I saw red, but I tried to keep my cool until they left. But the moment they were gone, the rage took hold. I created a dress, a cloak, and a poison that would kill them painfully as soon as it made contact with their bodies. I thought that would be enough revenge, killing the family that my husband wanted to use in order to climb the status ladder, but it wasn’t. I needed him to hurt how he intended to hurt me. He was going to take my children from me, and so I’ve done the same to him.” She pointed to the three bodies lying by her skirts, their blood drying on the floor around them. Medea started crying again. “I slaughtered my own babies in spite.”
I was horrified. Murder was bad enough. It would bring forth the wrath of the furies. But filicide, killing one’s own children, was a crime that would reap the anger of all the gods. Medea would be hunted and tortured for all time for her actions.
“Medea, why have you called me here?” I attempted to keep my voice as calm as possible. As much as her actions disgusted me, Aphrodite’s magic has meddled with my granddaughter’s mind, and as Jason shattered the goddess’s spell, Medea’s mind shattered with it.
“Jason will be on his way back. If he finds me here, with the bodies of our children, he will kill me. Help me, Pappóus, I beg of you.”
I took a moment to respond. My mind was filled with thoughts and confusion. The gods had been against witchcraft when they discovered my children, Circe, Perseis, Pasiphae, and Aeétes could use it. Maybe they had been right to try to limit such power. I was struggling to make a decision. Was I to leave Medea to be slain by a man who had made her a foreigner only to attempt to abandon her or help the woman who had murdered her own children in cold blood?
“Medea, I will help you because you are family, but do not think I condone your actions.” I waved my hand, and the red mist of Medea’s magic cleared. The air wobbled for a moment, and a golden chariot appeared before us, two dragons with thick bronze hides pulling it. “Take this and flee from Corinth. Do not return here, nor to Iolcos or Colchis. You are unwelcome still in both lands. I bid you farewell, Medea. Do not call on me again unless the situation is a dire one.”
“Pappóus, thank you,” Medea said.
With one final nod, I closed my eyes and dematerialised, returning to my obsidian halls.
My eyes opened, and I sat up. I was in my bedroom in the God Complex, dark satin sheets wrapped around me, my own glow illuminating the room. I thought about the dream. It was a strange one. I hadn’t thought about that day in thousands of years.
“Pappóus!” The voice of Medea echoed in my ear once again, as it had all those years ago. “Help me!” The words sent a shiver down my spine. Medea hadn’t asked for my help since that day. If she was reaching out now, the situation must have been bad.
I got to my feet. I needed to help my granddaughter.