Forty-Three Thousand Years Ago
I’ve taken to spying on my grandfather whenever possible, which is why I’m currently hanging upside down from a branch beneath his office balcony, idly playing with an arrow, eavesdropping on any conversation from inside.
The sound of thundering footsteps from above on the balcony makes my brows furrow in interest, and I swing upright on the branch, tilting my head to hear more clearly.
“You’ve gone too far this time, Atë,” my grandfather whips out.
The hair on the back of my neck raises at the feeling of the electricity increasing in the atmosphere. My wings furl out in response, preparing to bolt at the first sight of lightning in the sky.
Yeah, I’m not interested in seeing what my wings look like burned, nope, gonna opt-out of that.
Atë scoffs. I can imagine her examining her nails passively; she’s never been a god to be intimidated by anyone, even the king of the gods, “I am the Goddess of Mischief-”
“ENOUGH!” Zeus blares, and the rage making his voice vibrate makes me flinch, even from my hiding spot.
Atë goes silent at her father’s shouting, and the atmosphere becomes even more oppressive with electricity. My stomach pitches with unease.
“You are done. No statutes will be built in your honor. None of the mortals will recall your name, and soon none of the gods will, either,” Zeus continues.
My hand tightens on the branch, preventing me from throwing myself between my grandfather and best friend, but I know it will only make things worse.
There’s a moment of silence, where I expect some snappy remark from Atë – I even hope for it, because a cutting retort from her will signal to me that this isn’t as serious a conversation as it seems – but it doesn’t come.
“Please, Father, don’t do this,” Atë begs.
Begging? Atë? Oh, gods, what did she do?
“It’s done. When the first drop of rain falls from the sky, you will be forgotten. Best be gone from Olympus by then.”
There’s a crack of thunder and the smell of smoke, and I know that Zeus just threw a bolt at her. I should do something, intervene, but I’m frozen, unable to do anything but listen, as my best friend fights with her father. Another boom of thunder echoes, and I wince.
Do something, Eros! That’s Attie! But what can I do? I’m the God of Love. I’m nothing compared to my grandfather. So I remain frozen and listen, wincing at each echo of pain, and every time I hear Attie beg her father to change his mind.
There’s a moment of silence, and I hear a shattering of marble as someone flies through the balustrade of the balcony above. My wings cocoon around me, protecting me from the shrapnel.
I can’t even believe my eyes as Ate flies past me, wrapped tightly in ropes of lightning, falling to the ground with a speed even Hermes would have trouble tracking.
She disappears through the clouds, heading for the ground in a blink of an eye. I turn my face away from the scene, my heart breaking in my chest, as I watch my best friend banished.
My grandfather is still on the remains of the balcony above me, and the atmosphere thickens as he brews a storm. He’s summoning the rain to make everyone forget Attie. It’s too late.
With his gaze still locked on the sky above him, I let my wings snap out, dropping from the branch I clung to, finding that I gripped it so tightly that it took off some of my skin.
I need to do…something. My mind is chaotic, reeling with what I just witnessed. I need to focus. I need…I need Clio.
Clio, think about Clio.
My limbs begin to burn as I fly through the sky toward her, racing against the storm.
I land hard on the steps of Clio’s rooms on the mountain; my feet immediately protesting the move.
Ignoring the jolt of pain, I storm into the house, calling out, “Clio? Clio, something’s happened…”
Then I see her, lifeless on the floor in the open courtyard, her body just thrown to the ground. All the soft strength that usually radiates from her is gone.
“No!” I roar, bolting to her side, falling to my knees next to her, yanking her body into my arms.
“Clio, come on, wake up,” I shake her lightly, hoping for her to open her eyes and lecture me. “Come on, open those eyes. Something’s happened, I…I can’t do this alone,” my voice breaks and a drop of water falls on her cold face. I glance up at the open roof, surprised when I don’t see any of the promised rain. It takes me a moment to realize it’s from my own eyes.
Please wake up, Clio, I need you….
There’s a crack of thunder, and I tighten my arms around her in reflex, too overcome to hear the sound of slow approaching footsteps.
“Don’t worry, little love god, she’s not gone,” a soft voice calls from behind me.
I wipe a tear from my eye, before looking over my shoulder at Mnemosyne.
“She’s not?” I whisper, hating how hopeful my voice sounds. With Attie gone, I can’t lose Clio as well.
Mnemosyne smiles warmly. “No, she’s not,” she waves a glowing dagger in one hand. “She’s right here, where she will stay.”
My brows furrow and eyes lock on the dagger. “What have you done?”
“Clio’s taking a little sojourn, and when she comes out, she won’t even remember you.”
She tucks her dagger into the sheath at her waist.
Anger ignites in my chest, burning away some of the despair. “Undo it, now, or I’ll show you just how cruel Love can be.”
I don’t see her move, but suddenly, she’s directly in front of me, her hands on my head, her icy tendrils wrecking my mind. “You won’t even remember her, she’ll mean nothing to you. She could pass you on the street and you wouldn’t even recognize her.”
I attempt to fight, but she’s too strong, and another tear falls down my face as I feel her powers slowly erase my memories of Clio.
She releases me, and there’s a moment of clarity before her powers take effect.
Narrowing my eyes on Mnemosyne, my brows furrowing in confusion. What am I doing here? How did I get here?
I open my mouth to ask, but another crack of thunder echoes, and as I look up to the sky, it begins to rain.