I fled to the land of dreams in the Underworld, where the Oneiroi and my father dwelled. I wasn’t sure who to talk to or where to begin. I checked the Hall of Night, and no one was there who could give me any sound advice. I called out to my father, uncle, grandmother, but no one answered. The rumors of the Titan Uprising had reached the Underworld, and there was no consensus on who was affected or who remained unaffected. Maybe they couldn’t answer. I hoped they were okay.
In the physical world, I was stuck in time, hundreds of years ago in a place I had been to before called Candel Falls. A witch would soon wake an army of undead to ravage the town because her newborn child had been taken from her and murdered for the crime of being born with a minor defect. Her husband was the son of the chieftain. Avelia, the witch, was accused of cavorting sexually with demons and then run out of town after the tragedy with her baby when her husband abandoned her.
She was innocent until her child’s murder, when she actually did summon demons to find a way to exact revenge. A spell was imparted to raise an obedient army of the dead, ancestors buried in the ground. I originally went on a quest to the elflands and bargained for a counterspell.
I was unsure if I had been sent here randomly by Epimetheus or if he sent me here for a specific purpose. I was alone. I could re-enact the quest, but I wasn’t sure that would fix anything. I would still be in the wrong timeline. I could hide in the land of dreams, but I would still be out of time. It was infuriating. I would ensure Epimetheus had nightmares and unsatisfying dreams for a hundred years or more when I got hold of him and sent him back to Tartarus. If I could.
When in doubt, sleep. I wouldn’t dream, but I might receive a message or be able to reach a deity who could help in the dreamscape. I lay down on a bed of poppies and closed my eyes. The pitch black and total silence lulled me to sleep. I just hoped someone would hear my call.
As I floated, aware in the ether, a presence made itself known to me. It was the Muse Urania. She had offered friendship to me when I returned to get a mortal job and said I could call on her if I needed help reacquainting myself with the human world – or for anything else.
“Urania,” I said, excitedly. “I am honored you answered.”
“Hi, Morpheus. I can’t stay long. Apollo is missing. I’m sick with worry. You don’t know anything about it, do you?”
“I’m so sorry, but I don’t. I haven’t spent time with anyone except my mortal assistant, Bear, and Amphitrite’s dog, Seabiscuit. I’m still woefully uninformed of the happenings of all who returned.”
“What can I do for you, Morpheus?”
“I’m stuck in time. Epimetheus hypnotized my brother, Phantasos, and has control of him. He threw me back in time, hundreds of years ago, and I’m trapped. I can either stay here indefinitely, or go back to where he sent me. I know where he sent me. I was there before. I don’t know if I’m supposed to redo what happened. But that would almost seem pointless because I’d still be stuck in the wrong timeline. I don’t know how to get back!”
“Where is Epimetheus now?”
“I have no idea. He and my brother were in Cloud Nine. He has powers, not his own, that he acquired. He wants revenge. Big surprise there.”
“A lot of the Titans have escaped Tartarus. It’s chaos. Many of us are scrambling to unravel their chaos and get them back where they belong. It’s…not a good time.” Urania bowed her head in sadness. I could tell she was distraught.
“I won’t keep you. I am sorry about Apollo. But do you know anything about time travel or manipulating time? Anything you can do with rearranging the stars? Maybe changing them where I am now in the past to where they would be now? Would that cause a shift?”
“I’m not sure it would be wise to shift the stars that dramatically. I don’t think it’s ever been attempted. Are you sure you aren’t stuck in an illusion? Maybe you aren’t really back there at all?”
“It sure seems real. I’m not sure how to test that theory.”
“I don’t know of anyone but Kronos who can control time like that. No offense, but why would Kronos give Epimetheus that kind of power to send the Dream God back in time? What purpose would it serve? Why get you out of the way? If it was Zeus or Nyx, maybe…”
“I have no idea.” I was feeling extremely depressed. No ideas were forming here. I should let her go search for Apollo and do what she needed to do.
“I do have an ability. I can travel to other dimensions and realities, but it’s not yet reliable. I might be able to travel to the timeline you are in, but I’m not sure if I can bring you back. I’ve never tried bringing someone back. I don’t want to hurt you.”
“There is no concern there. I will return here if anything happens to me. I’m more worried about you. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“Let me think on it and ask around. Maybe I can ask Clio or another sister if they have any ideas. Have you spoken to any of your relatives yet?”
“I haven’t been able to contact them. I don’t intend to be selfish by taking your time when you are going through a terrible experience. Thank you for answering my call.”
“I will get back to you. I’m sure there is a way to fix this, even if Epimetheus needs to be trapped and forced to undo what he has done. We’ll find a way.”
“Thank you again.” We hugged briefly and she faded away. At least there was another deity who was now aware of my predicament. I felt a little bit better. I decided not to mope around anymore and traveled back to Candel Falls. I was still on the mat and someone was about to walk in and discover me. I quickly climbed out a window and eavesdropped.
“Can you believe her child was born with devil’s horns? Surely she is a witch of black magic. I think her husband did the right thing by putting the creature out of its misery. I’m glad she’s gone. Now that her demonic taint is erased, we won’t have to worry about spoiled food, dying crops, and whatever else her evil presence might have caused.”
I walked away. I didn’t need to hear anymore. Avelia was gone. She was no doubt procuring her spell and the dying would start happening within the next twenty-four hours. This was when I started walking to the elflands to get the spell to stop her. I had nothing else to do but start the quest again.
As expected, before I entered the wood, I ran into the gnome named Benticle. “Greetings, I am Morpheus.”
The grome grunted and pulled a short sword on me, just as he did the last time. “Wait, sir! I do not wish to fight. I have a proposition for you. I am the Dream God. If you travel with me and lead me to the elflands, to an elf named Gray Leaf, I will pay you in – ”
“I’m bored. I need attention too much to pretend to be a gnome, Morpheus!” The gnome twisted and blurred, its shape warping and stretching. The short, stout creature grew tall, its body slimming, and becoming more human-like. After the transformation was complete, Epimetheus stood triumphantly before me, his long arms stretched wide. “Ta-daaaa! Aren’t you surprised? That was good, come on, you have to admit it.” He frowned at my face, which was not amused even the tiniest bit.
“Send me back now.” I said flatly, my arms crossed.
“I will, I will. First – ”
“No. Now. I’m not fucking around. I am beyond angry. I am ready to raze you to the ground until every muscle, every inch of skin, every organ, is pulped and mangled beyond repair.”
“You think you could?” He arched an eyebrow in interest.
“I am willing to give it my best effort.”
“Okay. I admit, I was a bit of an asshole. I never intended to just abandon you here. I have a plan. I need your help. I’ll make a deal.”
“A deal? Why don’t you go ask one of your Titan friends? They are all hungry for revenge and destruction. I’m sure you could bargain with them for whatever it is you want. Send. Me. Back.”
“I will. I give you my oath.” He placed his hand over the spot his heart would be if he had one.
I knew that the giving of an oath from a divine being was worth something and would bind him. Who knew if he had some method of getting around it, though? Also, I could get in a boatload of trouble if caught helping him. It wasn’t worth it.
“You know, Epimetheus, I think I will take my chances. You go your way and I’ll go mine. There are many deities who can manipulate time. You don’t hold as much power as you think you do. See ya.” I waved sarcastically at him and began to walk away.
“Wait. Wait, Nyx kin! I gave you my oath. I swear that I will return you to your cute little club and leave you and your kin alone. Forever. If you help me.”
“What is it you want, Titan?” I was infuriated with Epimetheus and my circumstances.
“I need a potion.” He wrung his hands.
“A potion?” I rolled my eyes.
“Yes, that is what I said. I want to leave this world. I can’t go back to Tartarus. It seriously cramps my style. So boring. No one cares about me. I won’t be missed. I just want to leave.”
“Where do you want to go?”
“The elflands. I wish to become elfkind and live out my days as a mortal – or an elf, as it were. Long-lived, but not immortal. I’m willing to give it up. I just don’t want to go back there. I’ll do anything.”
“It’s not my decision to make. Even if I wanted to…”
“No one will know.”
I shook my head. “Zeus would never allow it. Nyx would never allow it. You burned all your bridges, man. I am not very high on the totem pole of power. You picked the wrong god to help you.”
“Then take me to the dream lands and I will stay forever. Surely that is as good of a prison as any?”
I scoffed at him. “It’s heavenly. It’s my domain. Why would I allow you to call it home? No. Absolutely not.”
“Then you stay here. Forever.”
“I’m happy to find my way home on my own. I’d rather stay here than be implicated in your escape. You don’t deserve it. If, or when, you pay for what you did, your time will be considered served at Zeus’ leisure. Not mine. Not yours.”
“I won’t go back,” he growled and flashed away. A bright light popped in my eyes and the Titan was gone. I sighed.
Benticle the gnome stood before me, eyes blinking. “What just happened?” he asked.
“Let’s find dinner and I’ll explain after we set up camp. You do know me, don’t you?”
“Of course. You’re the Dream God. Everyone knows you here.”
“Thank Gods,” I lifted my head up to the stars. I could see them perfectly. There was no moon, but I didn’t need a moon to see. Benticle and I caught two hares and roasted them over a spit. The stars weren’t visible once the fire was started. Just because you couldn’t see something didn’t mean it wasn’t still there. I hoped help was on the way, or that I could manage to create my own escape even though I didn’t have an ounce of power in me that could warp time.
To be continued…