“When one door closes, another opens… That’s what they tell you anyway.”
I stood in the doorway of the cabin. This place that had become home to me faster than anywhere else, and I cried. I had been doing that a lot since Lycaon’s death, no one blamed me for feeling the way that I did, but I did. This cabin was full of happiness and sadness, joy and grief, and I was sad that we were destroying it, even if it was by consensus. The battle with Kane was over, Jason kept his word, and I had lost none of my new family. Everyone had pulled their belongings out of their rooms, I had folded mine into the space where I kept my clothing, I stepped back away from the door, and pulled it closed. Gabriel tried to pull me close, and unconsciously I shrank from him, the guilt in my heart too strong.
“Why do you feel guilty, Medea?” An unknown voice sounded behind me. We all turned, suddenly battle-ready as a man emerged from the forest. The stag rack that adorned his head stunned me, and I knew, as did Merlin and Morgan, whom we were speaking to.
“Lord Cernunnos,” I mumbled as I bowed gracefully, Morgan dropped to a curtsy, and Merlin inclined his head politely. “What brings you here?” I asked, trying to side-step his question.
As he walked forward, towards the group, I could feel his potency radiating off him, and I knew why they called him a fertility god, the horned god indeed. “You did not answer my question, why do you feel guilty?” His voice warmed over me, and I felt the desire to answer any question he put to me, looking around at the crowd, I could see a similar sentiment on my sister’s faces. “You found love, you have always found love, Medea. This is one of your gifts, even when you think you’re alone you have had love.” I shook my head and sighed, the weight of his words hit me hard.
“My lord Cernunnos, where were you during the battle?” Morgan asked, her voice a little harder than it maybe should have been, but we almost lost Mino, and she was on edge.
He turned to look at her, his gaze sweeping over the Legends as he did. “I was there, watching, inspiring. That is one of my gifts, to inspire mortals,” many of us scoffed, I didn’t, but Gabriel did as did Lilith. He looked at them hard, dark eyes piercing into their beings. “Anyone not a god, children, are mortal. I was the rally cry you felt after Hippolyta saved Mino. I gave you your second wind.” Cernunnos pulled up a stump and sat on it, crossing one leg over the other, and I had to fight the urge to please the god, however possible. Gabriel placed a hand on my shoulder, I felt our bond burn strong, and I looked back at the god.
“Did you have anything to do with this?” I asked, indicating Gabriel and I. Cernunnos smiled and inclined his head, but then he shook it.
“No child, to be honest, I was rooting for you and Lycaon. I did not know about the deal between him and Thoth until it was too late.” My heart lurched as he spoke, and Morgan crept up beside me, pulling me into a hug. “However, I do not deny you and Gabriel, the angel has it right. Time is irrelevant, you have always been bound, you will always be bound.”
I shook my head, clearing my mind of the fog that was taking over. “Were you going to assist us in burning the cabin down? Or did you just come to taunt me?”
“Medea!” I heard a few voices call out, I didn’t care. I felt like Cernunnos was poking fun at my pain, even though I knew, intrinsically that he wasn’t. The blessing of the Mother and the Crone tied me in a way to the Horned God that I still didn’t fully understand, but I would when I was just the Crone. I knew that.
“I came to meet you all, to let you know that your next steps are blessed, by me and most of my kin. I came to offer my assistance when I can, as I can, mostly by working through others. Manifesting like this takes a bit of sacrifice, so I don’t do it too often.” Cernunnos stated as his minions bustled around him. “And no, I did not come to help you burn the cabin down. I know most of you can control your fires enough to keep it to the cabin.”
We nodded and Merlin, Morgan, Lilith, Lucifer and I stepped forwards, looking at each other before we shot our fire forward at the cabin. The beautiful wooden timbers that made the structure, caught instantly and the fire spread. Once it did, we stepped back and watched the building, where we met, where we loved, burn to ash. I leaned into Gabriel, Mino held Morgan a hand placed gently over her stomach, but when I looked at Merlin, the tears in his eyes shocked me. Lucifer had pulled Lilith into a hug, and I reached out my hand and placed it on Merlin’s arm, his bright green eyes staring at me, as we shared part of our grief. The rest would come at the funeral, which would be very soon.
I had pulled Lycaon’s bier out earlier, the drakon helping me with his strength. He laid in repose behind me, and I couldn’t turn to him while the cabin burned, I needed to watch this door close behind me, slam shut as it were. The shard of the Golden Fleece that I had taken from Solomon Kane, the one he had stolen from Lycaon, had been placed over the hole in my heart, where the other one had rested while I was healing. This shard wasn’t doing anything, it just kept people from staring into my chest.
When the cabin was ash, Merlin opened a portal for everyone to head to the new Sanctum. I turned and looked at Cernunnos, who was still sitting on the stump. “Will you be joining us there Lord Cernunnos, I know you sometimes manifest as a hero?” I asked as people started heading through.
“I may stop in from time to time, yes, mostly as a whisper on your neck, or the shadow in the corner of your eye.” He commented as he stood. “I’ll be around, whenever you need me, I’m there, somehow…” And with that, Cernunnos blended into the forest, only the stump he sat on was left behind.
Merlin had been holding the portal open for me, and while I knew he could transport the bier with Lycaon, I felt like I needed to. We were both too drained, emotionally, to argue so Merlin just inclined his head and stepped through the portal, allowing it to shut behind him. Gabriel pulled me into a hug, resting his chin on my head, and just held me for a minute. “Ok, love, let’s go.” He said softly, as I backed away and shifted into drakon form, lifting the bier with relative ease. Gabriel flew beside me, guiding me to where the Sanctum was. We would cross the Atlantic to Stonehenge soon, and bury Lycaon where Merlin could always watch over him.