I should have been feeling hatred, anger, and vengefulness towards Ourea, the Titan who had put Sayeh in her current state. In that moment though, all I felt was sadness, every other emotion pushed from my being. Where there had once been love, light, and laughter, there was just an aching hollowness. Fat tears rolled down my cheeks as I caressed the hardened scales on Sayeh’s still form. She did not move; she did not breathe.
Iphigenia, my priestess, brought the concoction that we had been using to keep Sayeh alive, if that’s what she was. I rubbed my face to wipe away the tears, lest my nymph see me weak. She laid a hand on my shoulder, worry evident on her face, “My Lady, perhaps I should feed her the potion while you stay by her side.” I shook my head and took the bowl from her. I poured the contents of the container into Sayeh’s mouth while Phi helped keep her head raised. Sayeh’s body had started to lose the remaining heat. She needed her heartfire and needed it immediately.
“I am so sorry, Artemis. I wish I was there to help you,” Orion said as he walked to the altar where Sayeh lay. Britomartis and Hyale followed him along with the Satyrs Iain and Jamie. I turned to look at my team, pleased that they came to visit Sayeh.
“I know, Orion. I wished you were there, too. I am sorry I have been ignoring you all and SBF,” I said, my eyes downcast.
“You are needed here, with Sayeh. Nothing else matters now,” Bri answered, her compassion apparent. “As for SBF, we are doing everything we can to keep business as usual. Kara’s on top of it.”
“Where’s Kara?” I asked, noticing her absence.
“She’s at the GC working, she’ll stop by on her way home tonight.”
I nodded in response and laid my head on Sayeh, willing her to breathe. To try one more time, maybe just maybe it would work.
“How’s Selene? She left soon after we brought Sayeh in, is she alright? I couldn’t check in on her.”
“She’s alright, my Lady. She left a note for you, said she’ll be back to visit Sayeh soon,” Phi replied. The group moved towards Phi while I continued to lay on Sayeh. I ignored their chatter and closed my eyes. I did not know how long I stayed there in that position with Sayeh.
A few moments later Bri tapped me on the shoulder. “What?” I snapped.
“My Lady, it’s been two days since you brought Sayeh in…,” Bri said with worried eyes. When she did not get a response, she continued, “Phi and the rest of us believe Sayeh needs more. Our potions and treatments are ineffective.”
My teary eyes shot her a look. “You think I don’t know that? Am I not trying to help her?”
Bri shook her head and answered swiftly, “No, no, that’s not what we are saying. We know that you are doing everything in your power to help her. Perhaps, you need help, my Lady? Maybe, your family?”
I took a deep breath and stood up. “My family? My brother is nowhere to be seen, and the rest are busy putting the Titans where they belong.”
Bri, Hyale, and Phi looked at each other exasperated. Jamie and Iain shrugged and moved to tend to Sayeh’s physical wounds. Orion came forward and took my hands in his. “Artemis, Bri is talking about one particular family member. Your mother. The Titan Leto,” he said.
I pulled my hands out of his grasp and turned to my nymphs. “My mother. It’s been so long since I met my mother.”
“I am sure she’ll be happy to see you again, my Lady,” Hyale said.
“It will be good for you, too,” Phi chimed in.
The Satyrs were busy redressing Sayeh’s wounds and did not care for the conversation. I nodded slightly and watched as Jamie and Iain worked.. The deep gashes on her skin remained the same and showed no signs of recovery, despite all the treatments. I did not know how a visit to my mother was going to help Sayeh, but I knew that it was time I visited her. Between Apollo’s addiction and my helplessness, Miteras was the only one I wanted to see.
“Where is she now?” I asked, looking at my nymphs.
“In Paris, my Lady,” Hyale answered.
“I can come with you, if you’d like, Artemis,” Orion offered.
“No, Orion. This is something I need to do by myself. Moreover, I need you here to continue your investigations into the hunting club. Bri and Iain will help you. Hyale, Phi, and Jamie can tend to Sayeh while I am gone.”
“Yes, my Lady,” the group answered in chorus.
I walked into the quaint little café in the assisted living community Miteras owned. The bell atop the door made a tinkling noise as I opened it. Miteras stood behind the counter, attending to her last customer of the day.
“Merci, mademoiselle Leto,” the Frenchman said, eyeing Miteras.
“Vous est la bienvenue, mon cher.”
“Vous doit te joindre à moi pour prendre un verre un jour.”
Miteras smiled and nodded, “Oui, peut-être.” The Frenchman tucked his wallet into his back pocket and turned to leave. He tipped his hat in a slight nod at me on his way out.
“Il était mignon, tu devrais aller boire ce verre, Miteras,” I said walking towards her.
“Artemis, ma fille chérie. Quel plaisir de te voir,” she said. She regarded me for a moment, holding me at arm’s length before pulling me into a long hug.
“Come, come sit here,” she said in her thick French accent. As I pulled a chair and sat, Miteras closed the café doors and hung the fermé sign.
“My daughter, ma chérie, I have missed you.”
“And I missed you,” I said, feeling guilty for not having visited sooner.
“No, no ma chérie do not blame yourself, I am equally to blame for not coming to you. I know things are uh étrange in Olympus.”
“Oh, Ma, you have no idea how much has passed since we last met.”
Miteras observed me carefully, placing her hand on mine, she ran her thumb over my knuckles. I loved it every time she did that, it always made me feel safe and protected. “Ma chérie, tu as changé. You seem different. Where’s Sayeh? You never come without her,” she asked as though she had just remembered.
I held her hands and broke down at the mention of Sayeh’s name. Between sobs and sighs, I told Miteras everything about Apollo, Urania, Ananke, Selene, Ourea, and finally, about Sayeh’s current state. She listened sympathetically, nodding every once in a while, as I recounted my experiences and the pain of losing Sayeh.
“You mean Sayeh’s dead, mort?” She covered her mouth with her hands. I shook my head vigorously as though hearing it out loud made it real.
“NON, Ma! She’s not dead. She lost her heartfire and is in a coma. I can revive her so long as I replace the heartfire.” Miteras nodded and leaned forward to kiss my forehead.
“Ma chérie, so much happened, I knew the moment I saw you that you weren’t your usual self, but I didn’t think it was so bad,” she said, caressing my cheeks.
I rested my elbows on the table and covered my face, unable to look at Miteras anymore. “I feel weak, Ma, I feel like a failure. I have failed Sayeh, my family, the mortals who rely on my protection. I have failed everyone.”
Miteras got up from her seat and walked over to my side. She stroked the small of my back while I rested my head on her chest. I listened to the soft beating of her heart and it comforted me.
“Chérie, your heart is bleeding, and rightfully so, you’ve suffered. You’re bleeding because your heart is so strong. Allow it to bleed and let your emotions flow.”
“I do not have time for emotions, Ma, I must find Sayeh’s heartfire. Nothing else matters.” Miteras let go of me and walked to the counter. She switched the kettle on and put a teabag each in two cups. I followed her and stood, leaning against the sidebar.
“You speak of fiscal debt, Ma chérie, what about your emotional debt? You cannot ignore that. You think of your emotions as a defect, but you forget that it is emotions that sustain our worlds.” The kettle whistled. She poured the boiling water into the cups. Handing me a one she continued, “You are a strong independent girl, ma chérie but that does not mean that you have to ignore your emotions or the love that blossoms in your heart. Sometimes, what we seek is right in front of us.”
“I know myself, and I know my imperfections. I’ve come to accept it as a part of who I am,” I said, sipping tea. “I’ve lived and loved all these years, locking away my emotions. It has never hindered my progress,” I said.
Miteras chuckled at my childish defiance. “Chérie, compare the place in your mind that stores your worries to this cup,” she said, holding her cup high. “Everything that makes you anxious is more hot water in the cup. Should it get too full, then a slight bump is enough to make it overflow and burn you. What you need is to keep that cup from overflowing.”
I opened my mouth to protest, but Miteras held up her hand, “What you do, ma chérie, is tuck your problems away. It’s a form of mental dislocation, a neat trick, and an advantage in the right situation. But right now, you are misusing it, and that ma chérie is your biggest flaw. When you have an emotional problem, at least try to find a solution before you decide to tuck it away. That is the only way to keep that cup empty.”
I emptied my teacup and kept it on the counter with a light smile on my lips. “That is why I am here, Ma. I must find a solution for Sayeh.” A soft sigh escaped my lips when I said her name. “I tried everything I could, but my abilities are not enough.”
“Non, ma chérie, Sayeh is not of this world, she’s a magical creature. Her heartfire comes from magic. Reach out to your sister, Hekate. I am sure she can help.”
I nodded my response. The thought of reaching out to Kate had not crossed my mind. Recovery has been my biggest challenge so far, and now Sayeh’s recovery meant more to me than my own.
“I will attempt to keep that cup from overflowing, Ma. I will rebuild myself. Je te le promets,” I promised my mother.
“C’est bien ma fille.” She tucked my hand into hers and led me out of the café. “Come on, let me buy you dinner tonight.”