One by one, I let my thoughts about this island dance around, swirling like ribbons blown by the wind. They twisted and turned, colors reflecting off each other. Pulling the threads of each thought, I sorted through them one by one.
“I don’t want to be bound to him any longer. It’s not as if I am throwing away my past or my history. Its time has passed, and what was once there,” I shrugged, “it’s not the same. Besides, it’s not just a barrier to us. I have thought about it since those visions. It’s a barrier to all of us. You, me, Hades, Hekate. We are all trapped at this crossroad.”
Quietly, I walked through the graveyard and looked at the old and crumbling headstones. Leave it to the pirates to have the most interesting names. Honestly, I was surprised that there weren’t any Seymore-Butts…oh, wait, nevermind. There it is.
“The waters above you are the birth waters of this world, young one,” she said, looking up. “And below me are the fires of its death and destruction. The two were never meant to meet. For one to touch the other brings about the end of all things.”
The things I did for my family. That made me remember the words burned on Tuttook’s hind leg. Words I’d seen before on an ancient scripture. A truth I’d come to learn since my return to the Pantheon. A truth we’d need to remember to finish our quest successfully.
They still saw the illusion, and I had a feeling no matter how many times they walked across the bridge, they’d end up at the beginning. “You have to trust me. I think this is part of a test. We have to trust each other and have enough faith to get through each challenge.”
I silently curse Eros because he knows what he is doing. He is playing with me, like a cat plays with a mouse. He says something to pull more information from another, and back and forth they go. Only I am not a house cat, much less a mouse.
“Thank you, Lord Hades, for coming, but your assistance is no longer required.” The words flowed from my lips accompanied by the gentle sounds of metal on stone as the golden bracelets broke and fell away from my wrists.
Hades smiled down at Persephone, then glanced at me. “I will go with Persephone from here. Your powers cannot help her here. This task requires something more…substantial than dreams. I am sure you understand.”
Is Hera alive? Safe? Did my bargaining work? Did Zeus set me free? Am I imagining all of this? Another nightmare? Did I really escape or just trade one prison for another? I have so many questions and no answers.
I looked into the pool at the reflected moon and caught my face looking back at me. Darkened over and cold, I realized what must change…me. I closed my eyes and exhaled, a cold breath of air rushed out in a cloud. I have a home, a family. They are here with me.
“Oh, but I am. I am you. The real you. What would your precious family say if they saw the real you? Do you think they would still love you? Would they love the Athena we both know you really are? Take a good look! This is who you really are. Who WE are.”
I stepped away from the group and gathered a few large leaves along with a coconut shell filled with moon water. When I returned, Morpheus moved to allow me access to Persephone. I washed the dried blood from her arms and legs, sending her positive energy and stroking her skin with the damp leaves.