Back at my office, I set the basket of books off to the side and focused on my Sickle of Harvest. I’d forgotten how well it balanced in my hands. I’d missed the blade’s song as I sliced it through the air. However, I also mourned the millions of souls I’d sent to the confines of my brother’s realm with its blade.
As I looked at the sickle, the cries of the hungry echoed in my mind. A memory flashed, though not one I’d liked to have had. It was when I was searching for my daughter, Persephone. Anger and sadness had broken my will to care for the people. I sat back, feeling sorry for myself while whole families died of starvation. It was the first time I’d felt myself descend into madness.
I set the sickle to the side and retrieved a few of the books I’d brought with me from the library. I ran my fingers over the cover of Iason and Demeter. I remembered his eyes shining in the flames of our cabin’s hearth. So bright, so blue. As blue as the sapphire in the Ethereal Eye.
“The Eye,” I whispered as another memory floated to the surface. The beautiful necklace the Goddess of Magic herself had given me. It was my beacon in the night. The light I wore during my darkest moments. I touched the nape of my neck, realizing for the first time since my return that it was missing.
Though I tried to remember when I’d last seen the Eye, I had no recollection. It was still in the fog of my forgotten time, just beyond the boundaries of what was real and fantasy.
My mind raced as I tried to steal back my former life. Why couldn’t I remember? I needed something to calm my nerves. I needed my special blend.
My hands shook, and my head began to pulse. I dropped into one of the chairs in my library and buried my face in my hands, sobbing uncontrollably. “Why are you doing this to me?” I screamed to no one.
“Um, I’m not doing anything to you, Miss Demeter.”
The sound of another voice coming from behind me sent me into a panic. I jumped from my chair, grabbed my sickle, and spun on one heel.
“I’m sorry, goddess, forgive me. I was just bringing you a few things. Please, don’t hurt me.” In front of me was my assistant, Lana, cowering on the ground at my feet. I hadn’t heard her come in. I hadn’t heard anything at all.
“What are you doing here at this hour?” I demanded. As I did so, I caught my reflection in the window. I looked like a crazed beast ready to pounce. My clothes were askew, and my hair flew in all directions. I still held the sickle above my head as though preparing for battle. It was enough to bring me back to my senses.
As I lowered the sickle, Lana slowly rose. She was visibly shaken and found it hard to get her footing. I turned my gaze from her, trying to give her some peace of mind. I was embarrassed, but more than that, I was exhausted.
“I know it’s late, goddess,” Lana quivered, “but I thought you could use some dinner. I tried to call you, but it went straight to your voicemail.” Lana sat two bags on the table next to my basket of books, still breathing a bit hard.
“I’m sorry, Lana. I didn’t mean to scare you. I’m just on edge. Something happened at the law library that…” My words trailed off as the tears flowed once again. “Lana, I destroyed the library. I don’t know what came over me, but it’s ruined. I destroyed the whole thing. What the hell am I going to do?” With that, I found myself sobbing into my hands again.
“Miss Demeter,” Lana said calmly into my ear, “I brought you something else.” She reached into one of the bags and pulled out a jar filled with what appeared to be tea. My tea. My special blend. But how was this so?
“Where did you get that?” I barked.
“I called your sister, Hestia, a few days ago to see if she could make you a new batch. I knew you were almost out and thought I’d get you some more. I know how much you love it, though I’ll never try to make it for you again. She also asked me to give you this.” Lana handed me an envelope with my name written in my sister’s elegant handwriting. I could smell her signature scent coming from within. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed her.
I set the letter down and grabbed the jar, all but running for my kitchenette. The mess from my earlier tantrum was still strewn about the room. Lana followed me into the kitchenette, stopping when she noticed the mess I had made. She moved her gaze to me but said nothing.
I pulled out a plate and put a bit of the new tea on it. I ran my finger through the mixture, taking note of the feel. It was silky, with no grit. I smelled it and found it to be a scent I needed worse than I thought. It was my blend. My Kykeon.
I brewed myself a cup as my assistant pulled the broom and dustpan from the closet. I remained silent as she set about cleaning up my mess. I inhaled the fumes as my tea steeped, instantly feeling the effects in my soul. My nerves calmed, and my mind began to clear.
I headed back to my personal library, Lana following closely behind. “Miss Demeter,” she said as she tried to keep up, “since I’m here, is there anything I can do for you?”
All I wanted to do was sit down and enjoy my tea. The aroma had already brought me out of my fog, so I knew once it touched my lips, my clarity would also return. “I don’t know, Lana. I need to get my head straight. I’m not sure if I’m coming or going at this point. I just need to relax a bit.”
As I took the first sip from my tea, I felt the Mekon course through my veins. My breathing slowed, and my eyes closed. While I enjoyed my tea, Lana looked at my sickle. She reached out as though to touch it. “Don’t do that,” I snapped.
Instantly, she pulled her hand back. “Forgive me, Miss Demeter, but what is that?”
I reached out and stroked the handle. “That is the Sickle of Harvest. The weapon I used to use when trying to teach a greedy king what it was like to be without food. It’s a lot more powerful than it looks. It’s been known to wipe out entire civilizations in a single season.” My heart again mourned for the innocents I’d killed in my desperation.
Lana backed away from the sickle and began looking over the books I’d brought back from the library. I took another sip of my tea, allowing it to embrace my consciousness. I was beginning to feel normal, whatever that meant.
“Iason and Demeter. Wow, you’ve had an entire book written about your life?” Lana looked both shocked and awed by the idea.
“It’s only a part of my story, but yes. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m hoping it will spark a memory or two. I remember Iason in general, but I have no recollection of any real details of our life together. I do, however, remember his eyes. He had the most intoxicating eyes.”
“What else do you remember about him?” Lana asked, still looking over the book.
“Not much. I remember him working in the fields, his body covered in sweat.” I let my mind wander as I spoke. “I remember telling him to wash up before coming into the…” As the thought wandered through my mind, a memory crept out of a silent corner.
“Miss Demeter? Before coming into the what?”
I looked up at Lana as a euphoric feeling rose in my chest. “The cabin. I have to go back to the cabin. It has to be there.”
“What has to be there?’ she asked, with her head cocked to the side.
“No time for that,” I quipped as I jumped up out of my seat. “Get on the phone and have one of the Complex jets fueled up and ready to go. I have to go back to the cabin.”
“What cabin?” my assistant demanded. “I don’t understand any of this.”
“The cabin on Crete. The place where I had my last real memory. I’ve got to go back there.”
I ran to my room and began throwing things into a suitcase. I didn’t really know what I was packing. I just knew I had to get to Crete as soon as possible. Something told me the Ethereal Eye was there, or at least a clue where it might have gone. I was going to get my memories back, one way or another.