I Realize My Role

“How can I hope to fight him… when I couldn’t hold my own against Merlin?”

I stood up and stretched, having taken drakonic form twice in the last few days, my wings were itching to get out. “Yes, yes, we’re going…” I kissed Morgan’s forehead and smiled. “I’m going for a quick flight, I shouldn’t be more than an hour.”

Morgan looked at me and smiled. “Yes, Mama.”

I smiled and headed out the door, my body growing serpentine as I leave and take off into the night. A single scale of gold flittered down to Morgan’s lap. The cool nighttime air felt heavenly on my scales and I could feel the drakon sigh contentedly. We never do this anymore Medea… We used to fly everywhere, every night… He chided me and I chuckled in our shared head. 

“I know my old friend, I know. But hopefully, we’ll be able to… ah!” Something snared my wings, almost like Merlin had the other night, but I couldn’t shift back. I was trapped as a drakon. I began spewing flames in every direction praying to the gods that I hit something, but I just continued to fall. The trees splintered beneath my weight and I howled into the night, hoping beyond hope that someone was listening. The ground came speeding towards me and I crashed hard into a clearing. One of the chains had dislodged and I slowly began shifting back to human form, but unlike Merlin’s chains which slid off me, these ones contracted and shifted along with me. I could feel them blocking most of my magic, and knew that it would be a battle to see who was stronger.

“Good… I’m glad you made it back to human shape witch.” A voice grated out in the darkness. I wasn’t familiar with it, but it seemed familiar with me.

“I prefer the term sorceress, it implies a little more of the practical magic side of things than just the nature worship.” I retorted. I scanned the area, listening as I had taught Minotauros to do only the other day. I found a blank area, someone with an odd aura, not another one. Opening my eyes, they flashed purple, and I hurled a ball of purple fire at him, hoping to pinpoint his location more than anything. I heard a rustle in the trees as he appeared behind me, kicking me in the back. “Solomon Kane, I presume.” I gasped out as the kick connected, and sent me flying. 

“Right in one…” I growled and righted myself, purple fire licking up my body. “Is that supposed to scare me?” He teased. I knew he was taunting me, still, it was working. The fire hardened and formed daggers, and I shot them at Kane but he just moved out of the way, as if I wasn’t moving at all. “Medea, I expected better from the Murderess of Colchis…” 

My heart broke and I screamed into the night, if I had waited I could have used the purge, but no, Merlin and Lycaon had to take that out of me during the spar. “I… murdered no one in Colchis.” It was a technicality, true, but I was a murderess and for a lot of years I owned it, although never the murder of my children. I saw them suddenly, in front of me. “Mermerus? Pheres? My beautiful boys!” My magic left me and I ran to them, embracing smoke. I collapsed to the ground, 3,000 years and I was still raw. “Boys!” I howled into the night. I knew Kane was still out there, I didn’t care right now. I needed to die. I needed to right this wrong.

“Do you really want to die, Medea?” He asked, his voice a whisper in my ear.

I nodded slowly. “I have nothing left to live for here. And if by my death, the spirits of boys will be avenged, then so be it.”

I could almost hear Morgan yelling at me to fight, but I had none left. “That’s right Medea, why did Lycaon bring you in, truly? I don’t think I can kill you without knowing.”

A sword bit into my shoulders above where my wings would extrude and my drakon howled out in pain. “I don’t know! I swear I don’t know!”

“Tsk, tsk Medea… You’ve known him longer than anyone else… I think. Perhaps even before he met the angels and Lilith,” my eyes widened. How did he know all of this? “I’ve been keeping my eyes on all of you, and every single person,” his voice grated as if that hurt to say, “if you could call them that, has a skill, a talent that makes them unique. But you, you are nothing.”

“I know that! By the gods don’t you think I don’t know that!” I screamed out as Kane dug the blade in deeper, the chains were tightening up. I knew now that he had allowed me to regain my normal shape, simply to torture me. “You don’t plan on killing me, do you?” I asked, turning to look back at him.

“Of course I do, and you are the easiest one by far to kill.” His face regained composure and his smile creeped me out. “I will be killing you, Medea, even though I have been asked not to.” And suddenly I knew.

I spun around so that I was facing him, and the sword bit into my chest above my right breast. “You know Edward Kelly,” I stated the fact and watched as Kane put two and two together. 

“I work with Edward Kelly, there is a difference.” He sliced across my body, and I screamed in pain. 

“But he wasn’t the one that gifted you. That was someone else. Someone you met,” I forced myself to stand, the chains digging into my body, cutting through my clothing, “after Lycaon killed you.”

Kane slashed up my torso in anger. “You know too much, sorceress!” He shouted in frustration. This is when I knew, I knew what my role was. 

I stepped towards him, unafraid. “You wanted to know what my role is in this game?” Solomon Kane’s eyes widened in fear. “This is my role. I hold the group together, while Lycaon finds a way to end you, and he will. I promise you that he will destroy you, body and soul, and whoever you made a deal with will suffer for it.” Kane’s sword bit into my flesh again, but I pressed forward. The chains grew hot around me and I felt the last of my clothing burn to shreds, their magic finally winning over mine. “My role is to bring hope to our family, such as it is, to be the light when they need it, to keep ourselves from tearing at each other’s throats as much as possible. My role is the same as the one I denied centuries ago and tried to fix with Morgana.” I felt the power of the waning moon shine down on me. “I am no longer just the Mother, my role Solomon Kane, is that of the Crone. Ancient wisdom at my disposal!” My hands moved to the chains and I broke them apart, silver mixing in with the purple fire licking back up my body.

Kane stepped backwards suddenly and howled angrily into the night. “You love him, don’t you?”

I could hear the disgust in his voice and I smiled cruelly. “I have loved Lycaon since the moment I met him, but he was never my fate. Edward, will never be my fate either. I will protect this family that Lycaon has built, I will protect him.” I answered, my voice calm and serene, and true.

You will not make it back to the cabin alive, Medea.” He cursed and thrust the sword into my heart. I stopped, time stopped, and I saw what was behind him. I saw who stood beside him. Two separate, distinct entities, one I would have to deal with sooner rather than later, but the one whose life force was directly tied to his, I saw him. And before I closed my eyes, the demon saw me.

“You idiot!” A voice called out, barely conscious, I knew it was Edward. “I told you, Medea is not to die. Or I will send you back to Hell myself. Imbecile!” Before I knew it, Edward had me in his arms and was carrying my broken, dying body back to the cabin. Edward called out through the open door for anyone who was around before the wards reacted to him. “Medea is dying… She needs your aid.” He placed me on the ground gently, kissed my forehead, and left me dying in front of the cabin, my home.

https://curseofthefallen.wordpress.com/2020/05/02/i-realize-my-role/

Memory Invades My Mind

“My daughter… became the Maiden… became Morgan Le Fay”

Morgan’s broken body shook me, seeing her so… humiliated when I knew how strong she was and how much it hurt her to be seen like that, my maternal instincts roared back and I did what I could to heal her. I was surprised then when Merlin did the hard work for me. I can’t heal with a click of my fingers, I am an old school sorceress, poultices and salves, and time is far better than a quick fix. And yet, I was grateful to him for it. Once Morgan was comfortable and sleeping, Minotauros by her side, I saw it: a glimmer of red connecting them. Smiling, I left her quietly and made my way down to the lounge.

I conjured a bottle of the strongest whiskey I had ever made, taken directly from the Mad God’s recipe book and chugged. As I jumped on the bar top and began to dance, the caustic whiskey burning down my throat, I remembered holding a child, the first child since my own two boys and my mind returned to that moment. 

~~~

“Mama, mama,” the little one cried out. My heart, as it always did, went out to the small girl, and I walked over smiling.

“Mama, look!” She had learned a new spell; lightning bugs floated from her fingertips, illuminating the dark world around her.

I picked her up, and swung the child in the air. “Morgana, that’s amazing! Mama is so proud of you!” She giggled as she threw her arms around me, nuzzling her soft cheek into mine. The simple move brought tears to my eyes, I knew I didn’t deserve Morgana and I kept wondering when the other shoe was going to drop. 

I set her back down and we walked in the forest. Large, beautiful, primeval, what would later become known as the Forest of Dean was the perfect place to train in magic in those dark times, as most people wouldn’t enter there. The stories and myths were true. Werewolves, vampires, witches and dragons all roamed freely and I took advantage of that security to raise Morgana. I hoped to do better with her than I had with Mermerus and Pheres.

“You’ll spoil her,” Baba Yaga would always warn. I looked at the old woman, wise beyond her years, the Crone to my Mother, and we knew that Morgana would be the Maiden once she grew. The “mortal” Triple Goddess was nearly complete. Baba Yaga and I could feel our powers growing beyond measure. 

“Yes, mother,” I chided back as we’d enter the house, showing Baba Yaga what Morgana had learned that day. “She could be the most powerful of us all, my friend,” I said that particular day. The moon was going to be full that night and I felt my power blossom with it, as the Mother, that was my due. 

“You know what they say about power and responsibility, Medea,” the Crone croaked out.

I looked at the old woman and smiled brightly, drakonic fangs sticking through. “Yes, Baba Yaga, that she will have her fair share of trials and tribulations. But I will do what I can to shelter her from the worst of them, while still allowing her to grow. As you did with me when you found me outside of Rome after Caesar’s assassination. Bear that in mind, I was already almost 800 years old then, all of what you did with me I cannot do with her.”

Baba Yaga pursed her wrinkled lips together; a sure sign that she had more to say on the matter. “You know her destiny Medea.” She all but shouted at me. I waved my hands in the air. “You know who she is going to be… what she is going to be.”

“Yes, of course, I know. I have foresight as well. She will be one of the most powerful sorceresses the world will ever know. And for that, I couldn’t be more proud already. People, the world over, will know who she is, even more so than you and I. I have already passed into myth, and that suits me fine. You will always have your fearsome following in Russia, be happy with that. Morgana is my chance to be a mother again, for real. You will not take that away from me.”

It was rare for her to wither under my gaze, but she did, and I sighed. Angering the Crone was never a good idea. Baba Yaga just turned to Morgan and smiled. “Child, why doesn’t Grandmama tell you a bedtime story?”

“Yay!” Morgana crawled from her window-seat perch and stumbled her way into the kitchen. She reached up to Baba Yaga with grabby hands, silently saying she wanted to sit on the Crone’s lap. As Baba Yaga began the story, the memory faded and I jumped back into the future.

~~~

“Alright, Morgana, now focus on the pin-prick of light piercing through the darkness.” We were out in the forest, Baba Yaga had returned to the continent, and Morgana was turning 18 the next day. We celebrated by teaching her the spell I knew she was most anxious about. “Find that point, that small, nearly invisible point, and see it in your mind. Know what it is in your heart, and feel the power of the fire in your soul. When you have it, open your palm and visualize it.” I held out my hand and smiled as a small purple star appeared in it. As always, Morgana’s eyes lit up and she tried it herself.

“I can’t make it work.” She said a couple of times before I dispelled my star and held my hands over her eyes. 

“Trust me, child,” I said softly. Morgana closed her eyes. “Now, feel the power flow through you.”

Morgana did as she was told and, in no time, she had created her own minuscule star. When I removed my hands from her eyes, she looked at it. The pride and joy that beamed from the young woman’s face, validated my entire life. “Mama, I did it.” It had been years since she’d call me Mama, but my heart soared.

“Yes, my love, you did. There isn’t much more I can teach you.” As midnight tolled and Morgana’s birthday began, the other shoe dropped. The one I had been fearing for years. Excalibur, the sword of light from Camelot, had been pulled from the stone.

Morgana froze and turned to look at me. “Medea, I see it. A shining city, a man of magic, a king.” I nodded sadly. We hadn’t kept her future from her, but I had hoped that my teaching her would guide her down a different path. “I need to go.” 

We walked back to the house and I sighed. I pulled out a necklace, one I had kept with me since I left Colchis. “Take this,” I said as I put it on her, a shining midnight blue dragon scale glimmering in the candlelight. 

“But this…” Morgana placed her hand on it and looked at me. Tears filled my eyes.

I nodded and took a deep breath. “Was Chalkiope’s. It was discarded by my friend, the Colchian Drakon, and fashioned into a pendant. Because from now on my sweet girl,” I kissed her forehead, “you are the Maiden, my sister. Go and do us honour as we will do for you. And know that Baba and I will always have our eyes on you, and if you need us, you just need to ask.”

For a moment, the woman gave way to the child, and Morgana threw her arms around me, clinging to me as she did in her youth. “I love you, Mama,” she whispered with a quivering voice. 

I hugged her back tightly and smiled sadly. “Go now Morgana, or should I call you Morgan Le Fay now?” 

Just like that, the child was gone and the woman had returned. “Yes,” she replied strongly as she withdrew from our embrace. Confidence and purpose had hardened her face. “I am Morgan Le Fay.”

~~~

The memory faded and I slumped back down on the bar, my drink empty and I cried. I cried for my lost little girl, and for the scared and broken woman upstairs. I cried because of what was coming and the potential losses involved. My Morgana, who grew up to be more like me than I wanted her to, but still. I was damned proud of her, and I would protect her until I died, that was a promise I made when I found her wandering the woods. It was a promise I reinforced when I began healing her wounds, and it was a vow I felt in my soul as the tears fell down my face.

~Co-written with Morgan Le Fay (Kelsey)

https://curseofthefallen.wordpress.com/2020/05/02/memory-invades-my-mind/

I Meet The Second Bane Of My Existence

“I will never forgive myself for my past… And you shouldn’t either…”

Last night was difficult. While talking with Minotauros after teaching him a few moves with the Labrys’, I was reminded that I hadn’t purged yet. Part of my curse, every few hundred years, I was reminded that I had murdered my sons, the rest of Jason’s line did not matter to me, but one of that line told me that my beautiful boys, Mermerus and Pheres, did not leave with their father voluntarily. They were forced to leave, forced to show me that they did not love me. What forces were at play there I did not know, but I was under the false impression that they did not love me, and in my rage in my immediate vengeance against Jason, I took their lives. Granted, it was gently for them, slow-acting poison and they passed easily in the night. However, I have regretted it ever since.

As I said, while in conversation, I remembered that I hadn’t performed my purge rite in almost 500 years, and I made the mental note to do it that night, outside in the training grounds where I wasn’t going to damage anything. I got… volatile… while I was purging. I told Minotauros that if he was around, he could come be with me while I let it out, I had just helped him with his own story, a little. However, that was not going to happen. I just had to watch Merlin work. Even though I was older than he was, I had to admit, the things he could do with magic made me shiver with fear. And I didn’t say that often. I never back down from a fight, real or not, and when Merlin intimated rather strongly that I needed to practice my sparring, my anger roared forth. Both at him, at how weak that stupid, delicious, brew Lycaon had given me the night before had made me, at how skilled he was, and more than anything, how I hadn’t purged in half a millennia. I threw everything I had at him, which isn’t much compared to him. 

I held my own, I thought, and then Lycaon appeared suddenly and threw me through a tree, and I think it was that departure from my concentration that broke through. When I fell to the ground I felt the power flow through me, the hellfire consuming me from toe to head. I knew Merlin was there, and out of everyone, he could have probably held back the worst of it, but I also knew innately, that he was going to be our strongest weapon against the upcoming threat, second to Lycaon. Everyone else that I had met, were strong in their own right and would be essential, but something told me that Merlin was the linchpin, I needed to protect him, I needed to protect them all. So I kept him back. I could feel him trying to constrain my power, but it wouldn’t work, I was already facing away from him anyway. 

The faces of Mermerus and Pheres danced in front of my face and as I felt the hellfire, black like the soul of this murderess, reach its tipping point I shouted, howled into the clear night sky and threw everything into directing that energy up and away from Merlin, the cabin, and any other living being. I was done with murder. This was also my first purge since my vengeance was finished, and maybe that was part of why it felt so different. 

When it was finished, and I’d fallen back to the ground, my spirit far weaker than my body, Merlin helped me stand, and then teleported us back to the cabin. We drank a little, my spirit recuperating slowly. Merlin left and I slid up to my room and passed out quickly. This was by no means the end of my night. Like every other night, since I arrived at the cabin, and began getting reacquainted with Lycaon, I had the same dream. The memory of the only time I’ve come close to dying. I was sure this had a meaning, but what it was currently escaped me.

~~~

It was the early 1600s and I was travelling around England, working odd jobs as the children grew up. I never took out Jason’s descendants when they were kids, I’d had my fill of infanticide and I didn’t want that guilt on my conscience. Adults were no problem, but I always tried to get them before they reproduced. As soon as the woman got pregnant she was off-limits. Call me a monster, but I grew standards over the intervening 2,000 years. Anyways, I ran into a gentleman, fair-haired and pale, but his aura was hidden from me and well, that intrigued me. We hit it off, and for a while, life was good, even if he was working for John Dee. His name was Edward Kelly, and for about 3 years we lived together, I taught him magic, and he kept me off his boss’ scope. He was a very passionate lover, I hadn’t had his like since Caesar, and I haven’t met his equal since then. 

But as with everything, relationships changed, and when he began asking me to do tasks for him that involved assassination and murder of children, I stepped back and saw him for who he really was. As I said, I have owned my monstrous reputation for 3,000 years, but Edward, he put me to shame. I at least treated the line of Jason with dignity and respect after I offed them. Just because I couldn’t bear Jason’s descendants in the same world as me, didn’t mean I had to mistreat their bodies. I would bury or burn the bodies as per the customs of the time. But, Edward… I can’t put into words what he was doing, or what he wanted me to do. I have never bowed to anyone, I have never backed down from a fight, and this… was turning out to be the next true challenge of my will. Would I let him use me, or would I rise against him? Well, let’s just say that when a dragon, more accurately a drakon, appeared in the night sky and torched our house, I wasn’t surprised. My friend the Colchian Drakon had long ago taught me to assume his form, and I knew that it inspired many tales of knights and heroism, although they pushed that myth back into the dark ages. 

However, when I found Edward the next day, not a scratch or burn on him, that was when I knew something was wrong. He was the only person to catch me by surprise, and until Lycaon threw me through the tree, it hadn’t happened since. Needless to say, when he looked at me and snapped his fingers and I could feel my life-thread about to break, I looked down at him as my spirit began floating away, getting ready for its trip to Tartarus, I saw him for the ageless, immortal monster than he was. Beautiful and dangerous, I had never met anyone like him. Edward walked forward and grabbed the throat of my spirit and looked at me, not my body. “You and I will meet again my dear Medea,” I couldn’t breathe, I was dead or nearly there, and I couldn’t move out of his grasp. “And when you do, you will be faced with a choice. Join me, and rule by my side, you’re going to meet some very powerful people, it would be nothing for you to steal their power and become my equal,” somehow I managed to shudder and Edward smiled cruelly, “or you can fight me, stand by the beasts you will come to love and watch every single one of them perish by my hand… and yours.”

And with that, he pushed my soul back into my body and disappeared. I lay gasping, unable to do anything until some priests found me and nursed me back to health. If only they knew who they housed. I left England the following week burning everything down in my wake. 

~~~

I woke up this morning, tired and sore, but clear. My near-death had never been so clear, and Edwards’ words that I’d forgotten about had come back crystalline. I knew I needed to tell Lycaon, but he’d spent so little time at the cabin. Edward was more than he seemed, could he still be alive, now in 2020? The thought shook me, but it wouldn’t surprise me. As I rolled out of bed, my clothing formed on me and a piping hot mug of tea appeared in my hand. I made my way downstairs, the cabin quiet and found a seat near the fireplace to contemplate next moves. I needed more training, that much was clear, but was I truly ready to throw everything in with Lycaon and the supes? Or would I be bound to Edward for the rest of eternity?

https://curseofthefallen.wordpress.com/2020/04/27/i-meet-the-second-bane-of-my-existence/

Adapting My Surroundings

“There was a time, when I was… good.”

The following morning dawned on me bright and early. I roll over on the bed, completely forgetting my surroundings and jumped up, magic flaring on my hands, and then as I look around, I remembered: “Oh ya, I’m at the cabin, Lycaon’s cabin.” I looked down at my naked form. “Wouldn’t that be a sight? I haven’t fought naked since I left Greece… Oh well.” I form my regular clothing over my body, green velvet shirt with a flowing brown skirt and brown leather boots. “Much better, now, to fix this room.”

I remembered seeing a movie, back in the ’30s about a witch, just trying to get her sister’s shoes back, the last piece of her sister’s existence, and it touched me. Years later I happened across a book, inspired by that movie, which retold the witch’s story. If made her a more likable character. And while I disliked seeing the witch go from a ruthless bitch to a quiet mouse, I loved the back story the author gave her, and I realized: people didn’t know my backstory. Sure, they knew of my vengeance, of my wrath, I and other women like me are the reason for the saying “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. Because that was all men did to us, they used us and abandoned us.

Perhaps I could reminisce a little as I redecorated, tell you a story of my youth and my sister Chalkiope, and how we used to play in the garden of the sleepless Drakon that guarded the Golden Fleece. 

~~~

Chalkiope and I had always played near the gates that separated Colchis from the garden of the Drakon, Chal because she liked playing with her older sister and me, well… I could sense the magic of the Golden Fleece even out here. It was intoxicating. I already had a penchant for mixing herbs and tonics, and when I found one that put my perfect sister to sleep, I upped the dosage. I wanted to try it out on the Colchian Drakon. That beast never slept, and I needed to see the Golden Fleece. “Medea, I don’t think this is a good idea,” Chalkiope whimpered as we opened the gate.

I looked at my younger sister and smiled. “Then go back, this is something I need to do. I need to prove myself to Circe somehow.” Chalkiope understood how much learning magic from our aunt was to me, and she nodded. 

“Ok, so what do we do then?” She asked, her voice still nervous, but I could hear the confidence in it, and that touched me. 

I pulled out a large stone and smiled darkly, it was the first time I’d smiled like that, and I was surprised I stayed as ‘good’ as I was, as long as I did. “We’re going to lure him to us using this. The Drakon, while protective, it curious. He doesn’t roast immediately. We’ll throw the boulder somewhere, and then I’ll run in front and throw the sachet in his face. I want you to stay as far away as you can Chal, please.” She nodded and sighed. “If it works, I’ll wave you over, if not well… I love you, and tell mater and pater that I loved them too.” 

Chalkiope gripped my hand and smiled weakly, and I ran in, hurling the stone as far away from me as I could. The Drakon went for the stone and I made a dash for his muzzle, I needed to get as close as possible for this to work. When the beast was focusing on the stone, I approached as close as I dared and then hurled the sachet, yelling at him as I did. “Open up you great beast!” The Drakon roared and swallowed the sachet whole. 

The poultice didn’t seem to be working so I turned and hauled ass back to the gate, hoping to escape his fiery wrath. But it never came. I looked back and saw a dazed look on the Drakon’s face, and then he went slack, falling off the tree and beginning to snore. I looked at Chalkiope and waved her on, and we went over to the Colchian Drakon, the beast that never slept, and I placed a gentle hand on his muzzle. “Sleep well my friend, you have earned it.” I didn’t know how long the poultice would last so my sister and I made our way to the tree, where the Golden Fleece rested and I touched it gently. 

“Medea, what are you doing?” Chalkiope whispered angrily. I just shut my eyes and felt its power flow through me. So much was shown to me then, and I realized, my destiny would be far greater than being married off to some random prince and ruling Colchis under him. But first, I would need to prove to Circe that I deserved to learn from her and Hekate, and when Chalkiope was glancing back at the Drakon, I stole a strand of the fleece and tucked it into my chiton. “Can we go now?” Chal hissed at me and I smiled.

“Yes, we can go. We’ll retreat to the gates, I want to know just how long this will last.” My last sentence was whispered as we jogged back to the gates and closed them. “And remember, we can’t tell anyone else about this, got it?” Chalkiope nodded quickly and ran off, back to the palace. I had a feeling she would never return with me here. But as for me, I waited to see how long the sleep last so that I could adjust the poultice. I would stand guard over the Drakon when he was unable to. This small act, this unknown gesture, sparked a bond between myself and the Colchian Drakon, that last the rest of his life.

~~~

Hours later I looked around the room, pleased with my accomplishments. “It looks perfect,” I muttered softly. I strolled around the room, revelling in the feeling of home it was bringing: the deep shades of green, contrasting purples, and flecks of gold in my ceiling. It set my heart at ease, and I sat down on the divan, relaxing. 

“And now, I think it’s drink time!” I held my hand out and a glass of Chardonnay appeared in it. “Perfection.” I held the glass carefully and made my way down to the main floor, the bottle appearing in my other hand, and I found a spot on the couch, near the fireplace and relaxed, waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.

https://curseofthefallen.wordpress.com/2020/04/22/adapting-my-surroundings/

Than’s Flash Fiction Contest

**This is for a flash fiction contest on the In The Pantheon Discord Server, hosted by Thanatos. Dedicated to Jhiieri, because well, he pushed me to write this….**

She walked into the nearly deserted hospital, nervous and breathing deeply to calm her fears. A single security guard pointed her way and she followed the path to a single room with an open door. The room, lit by only the faintest of flickering lights, gave her the creeps, but she was here for a reason and she never backed out of anything. She’d been sick, off and on for the last little while, but the last week had been rough. Roller coaster fever, chills and sweats, body aches, chest pains, dizziness and fatigue. All sure signs that she had it, but she needed to be sure. The testing center wasn’t doing anything to assuage her fears either. It looked like it was one cough away from blowing over.

When she entered the room, the last room in the hall on the left-hand side, she stopped and stared. It was empty, no beds, no nurse waiting for her. They told her this was going to be quick and painless. She was early for her appointment, sure, but there could have been at least someone to greet her and tell her what she needed to do. There was one chair, and while she knew that the rooms were cleaned in between uses, she was hesitant to sit, even though her body ached for her to. After a few minutes of awkward standing, and no sign of a nurse or doctor, she sat. At the edge, with as little touching as possible. The woman made sure that her gloves were on properly and that her face shield was protecting her nose and mouth. And she waited. 5 minutes, 7 minutes… until finally there was a knock on the door and she squeaked out an “enter.”

The nurse was young and smiled at the scared woman kindly. “Don’t worry, I’m just going to take some vitals and then do the swab.” A swab, ok, that wasn’t too bad. After the nurse asked the woman some basic questions about symptoms within the last 24 hours, the woman removed her coat and the blood pressure,  heart rate and temperature were taken, all within normal parameters, of course, the nurse looked at the woman and told her that the next part would be uncomfortable and would hurt.

The woman’s eyes flashed with fear, but the nurse just smiled calmly again and directed her to lower her face mask past her nose. “Focus on the clock dear, and this will be over shortly.” The nurse didn’t even wait for the woman to nod or acknowledge in any way that she was ready and the swab was thrust up into her right nostril. She gasped and looked at the clock, blinking back tears and sitting very still. “Good, only a few seconds more and then I’ll be done with you, and then the Doctor will be in.”

The Doctor? She wasn’t told about seeing a doctor?! The swab came out of her nose and she breathed a sigh of relief before pulling her face shield back on. The nurse left and the woman waited again… 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes. Then the Doctor walked in, gross and sweaty, it was a wonder how he was still practising with all this nonsense going on. “Don’t worry dear,” his voice was hoarse and ragged, “we just want to give you a pre-emptive shot, to help battle the cold you already have… ”

The woman was terrified, but the kind nurse came back in and held her hand through the gloves. The Doctor pulled out a long needle, glowing with a green-purple liquid, and just as the Doctor was about to stick the glinting needle into her arm…

I woke up.

Transitions are a Bitch

“Am I good enough… to be decent?”

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This cabin, this beautiful magical cabin in the middle of a forest I had never explored before, had suddenly become my world. I had sauntered in on a whim, although maybe it was a calling I’d felt in my soul… Either way, I was here. I’d spent the first night reacquainting myself with an old friend, Lycaon. I say, friend, we’d crossed paths multiple times on our roads to vengeance, even helped each other out occasionally. If you’re lucky, maybe we’ll tell one of those stories. 

I had come in earlier than I’d originally intended, for some reason I was anxious, and there was no one to be seen. Figures, Lycaon was a werewolf, after all, he’d be sleeping most of the day away. So I decided to do him a favour. I would create my own wards and strengthen the ones that were already up. To keep us, and any else who came, safe. I snapped my fingers and a delicious Indian beat filled the room, and I began to dance. It was my favourite way to cast, and I donned a traditional belly dancing ensemble and moved to the music. My magic flowed out of me and surrounded the cabin, it was more of a hunting lodge than a cabin, but still. My protection seeped into every crack and crevice of the building and I smiled.

The hours passed, the music changed, more to match what kind of threats we could be fending off, and as the music changed, so did my outfits. It was a way I channelled my power into the magic I was working, and I looked good doing it. I’ll admit to my vanity, no one ever accused me of being ugly on the outside… No, I love fashion and style, and I kept up with all the latest trends wherever I travelled, and my closet would be full of clothing I barely wore until I needed it. 

But that was the way of magic. To hoard things we hardly needed, until we did and then bam, it was there. To me, my clothing was integral to my casting. I had found back when I dealt with the druids in ancient Ireland, the flowing clothing that made me stronger. At the time I created a green/brown dress, that didn’t hinder my movement, and have only made slight adjustments to it over the years. When I had finished dancing, I looked up and was proud of what I had wrought. The entire lodge was warm and welcoming, the peace and protection a feeling I was not used to. If I was being honest, most people who Lycaon was looking to recruit would be used to it either.

The door was kicked in and I looked over to see Lycaon, and I sighed. “What’s got you so angry Lycaon?” 

He looked at me and smirked. “Angry? Who is angry?” His voice was confidant and teasing, and I wanted to throw him down.

I look at him coyly. “Oh no? Then why are you kicking down doors?”

“I’m testing to see if there are protective wards.” He looked at the shredded door. “Gonna need to mend that issue. Can’t have just anyone coming in here after all.”

I place my hand on his arm, feeling his muscles below me. “Would you like me to set them up, or strengthen them? More than what I’ve already done?”

“If you’d like to set them up, and strengthen them, that would be lovely.” Lycaon steps to the side, and extended an arm toward the doorway.” Lycaon looked down and noticed blood on his collar.

I noticed the blood as well and stepped in beside him. “Is everything ok?”

Lycaon nodded. “Mmm, just a problem in NOLA, I took care of it.”

“Ah, glad to hear it.” I wave my hand and the blood disappeared. “Now, what kind of protections did you want up?”

“As strong as you can make them. I have a feeling we’re going to attract the attention of… powerful beings.” Lycaon replied.

I smiled wickedly. Well, I’ve already started casting enchantments to keep whoever we welcome here safe. But…. there is one last thing I can do to strengthen what you have already put up.

“Pretend… oh I don’t know, waves hand back and forth…Hekate wanted to get in. I have a feeling we’ll have more magical allies soon.”

I give him a side-eye look. “And why would she be trying to get in, I am one of her priestesses, or at least I was…”

“Not her…per se, I just mean someone of her level of magical abilities.” He glanced sideways, and I stare him down.

I hold up my hands and focus every ounce of magic I have into this spell. I knew it was going to take a lot out of me, and I concentrated on the words I needed to focus the spell. “όσοι δεν είναι ευπρόσδεκτοι σε αυτούς τους τοίχους, θα βρουν μια μοίρα χειρότερη από το θάνατο!” (Those who are not welcome in these walls, will find a fate worse than death)

Lycaon shocked me, although I don’t know why, and added the “Για κάθε απεργία των καταραμένων, τόσο ο εχθρός πέφτει.” (For every strike of the damned, so much the enemy falls.)

As I send the magic forth, I see the shield, the wall, encircle the building, casting off a purple hue to any with the gift to see. Once the shield had closed I looked at Lycaon and fell to my knees, weak from exertion. “There, it is done… any less skilled than I, or Circe, will need the backing of a god to breakthrough. As for the magical strength of Hekate…” I shrugged my shoulders, too weak to move.

Lycaon bowed his head and whispered. “Για την τιμή μιας ζωής, είναι μια ζωή. (For the price of a life, it is a life.) Thank you, Medea.”

I nod and slump in the doorway. “Now, Lycaon, you will have to invite people in, like vampires… Don’t expect much of me for the next, hour or so, that took a lot out of me…”

Lycaon laughs shortly. “Of course. I’m expecting a very old vampire soon.”

“Ah…” I start trying to stand, “then perhaps I should move away from the door.”

Lycaon chuckled again and lends a hand. “He’s not coming that soon.”

I take his hand, feeling his strength, and smile. “Thank you, even still, witches do not look good on floors.”

He winked at me. “I suppose that depends on the witch.”

I looked sideways at him. “Oh, have you had many witches on your floor before? And what per se were they doing on the floor?”

Lycaon tsked at me. “I’ve wrestled with a few witches over the years. And I’ve wrestled with a few witches.”

I blush unconsciously and headed over to the fireplace. “I see… got anywhere comfortable to sit?”

“Anywhere you’d like.” He glanced at sofas, bar stools, recliners and benches along the walls. “Of course, this will be the lounge. We will hold meetings on the top floor.”

I spy the sofa. “I could have created one, but I’m tapped out… Thank you.” I make my way to the sofa and practically fall on it. “Meetings?” 

Lycaon nodded. “You see that long table? That comes from Camelot. Guess the “round table” wasn’t round after all.”

I nodded and smiled “You have many… connections old friend.”

“That’ll be moved upstairs for meetings. Alliances and movements will be discussed. I’ve things planned for this guild.” Lycaon said I could hear the pride in his voice.

“A strengthening of supernatural ties so to speak?” My words had slurred a little. “Damn, the worst part of magic recuperation…” I mumbled out.

“Exactly.” He replied

I nodded. “Ok, will I be a part of this… guild? I have nothing else to occupy my time now.”

Lycaon replied smugly again. “That is entirely up to you.” He pulled a cigar out of his jacket.

I sighed and smiled, my face turning giddy. “I’d like to help out Lycaon… I’m very good at… different things… I… hic! Ok, I’ll explain something quick while my senses are about me.”

Lycaon’s eyes danced as he watched my wits begin to fail. “I can see that.” 

“When I deplete my magic as much as I have tonight and I start the process of replenishing it, I become, childlike… It was drilled into me to never drain myself this bad. I will have little to no control over myself, and while I can’t move that much, I may try… other spells and such.” I whispered almost conspiratorially.

Lycaon chuckled softly at me. “Oh? I’ve never heard of that cost of magic before.”

I looked at him, my eyes steady given how weak I was. “I need to trust you Lycaon, with this secret, with me, I need to trust that you will not take advantage of my situation, nor will you let me cast any magic. It’s specific, Circe, myself, the old school, it was how we learned our limits.” I grabbed one of his hands and held tightly.

He looked at me seriously. “You can trust me. As long as I am here.”

I held his hand and looked at him. “No magic Lycaon, and thank you.” Lycaon left, he had some business to attend to, and I was going to rest here. I knew my magic would hold and that unless Lycaon had invited them in, they would not be getting in.

After a few hours, I could feel my body start to wake and I begin twitching my fingers. “Good,” I muttered and sat up slowly on the couch and smiled. “Finally, now I need to get some water.”

Lycaon walked back in as I was finishing my water. “Good, I see you’re up.”

I smiled easily back. “Yep, for the most part, still a little shaky, but almost back to fighting form.”

I look over at him, my face serious. “Honestly though Lycaon, this… condition is one is my gravest secrets, I can’t let it get out.”

“That sounds better. What other spells take this much energy from you? Also, your secret is safe with me.”

I thought for a moment. “Not many, what you asked of me was a feat and a half.” I nodded smiling, relieved for the support. “Thank you, that makes me feel better.”

Lycaon sighed. “My apologies, Medea. I shouldn’t have asked such a Ward from you.”

“It’s fine,” I replied. “I’m ok, and the place should be seriously warded.”

“That makes me feel better. Thank you.” Lycaon said seriously. 

“I’d say anytime,” I chuckled, “but I’d rather not make a habit of being weak in front of you.”

Lycaon laughed in agreement. “No worries. I’d rather have you at full strength as much as I can.”

I laughed with him. “Full strength it is, but I can… unwind here, correct?”

“Yes, you can. There are beds on the fourth floor, showers on the third.” He replied to me.

I breathed a sigh of relief and stood up. “Do you mind? I’ll be quick.” The thought of a shower was delightful.

Lycaon chuckled at my urgency. “Not at all. This is as much your place as it is mine. This is all our home, if it is wished.”

“A home?” I spoke wistfully. “I haven’t had a home since… since Corinth…”

Lycaon nodded. “You do now.”

I whispered and kissed your cheek. “Thank you. I am going to pick out a room, and then shower.”

Lycaon smiled. “Sounds lovely. I’m going to go upstairs. There is some research I need to update.”

I cock my eyebrow at him and begin the walk up the stairs, legs faltering less with each step. I found a room at the end of the hall and smiled, it had large beautiful windows that opened into the surrounding forest, and I fell in love with it. Lycaon cleared his throat and I turned to him. “Yes?”

“Oh, nothing.” He said sheepishly. “It’s just the pull of the moon. Still gets to me now and then.”

“Ah yes, she is ever beautiful… May I have this room?” I point indicating the room I liked.

“Mmm. Beautiful and deadly. Yes, you may. You are the first to arrive. Room 401 is yours.” Lycaon stated softly.

I bowed gracefully. “Thank you Lycaon, may I ask, where your room is?”

He smiled darkly at me and I shivered down my spine. “Down the hall…419. It faces the north, to keep the moonlight out.”

“Right, then I’ll be off for a little while. I really need to get… clean.” I wink as I turn away and head back to the stairs.

“Yes, you do.” Lycaon winked at me. “For me, I’ve some rather nasty business to attend to tonight.”

Before I disappear down the stairs I turn and look at him. “If you need me, for anything, you know where to find me.”

“I certainly do.” His eyes flashed bright red. “I’ll be back in a couple of hours. Perhaps if you’re awake…a nightcap?”

I nodded, awareness in my eyes “Perhaps… I am still very tired so maybe an early morning one?”

Lycaon half-smiled at me. “Very well. I’m more of a nocturnal type myself.”

“I used to be, I’m not quite sure when I stopped, but now… shower.” And with I disappeared down the stairs

Lycaon whispered before I was out of earshot. “Goodnight, Medea.” 

I heard the wicked sounds of a werewolf roar filling the forest, but I’m not frightened by them, and I jump into the nearest shower, allowing the clothing to dissolve from my body, into my new room. After a while, I shut the water off and finds a towel to dry off with, wrapping it around my body. I pad quietly back up to the fourth floor and walk down the hallway to my room, flopping down on the bed before locking the door with a wave. “Tomorrow, I’m personalizing this…”

https://curseofthefallen.wordpress.com/2020/04/17/transitions-are-a-bitch/

Medea Rises

Three thousand years I’ve walked this earth. I’ve travelled to every corner, and nowhere brought me the peace I had so dearly craved. 

My name is Medea, ex-wife of Jason of the Argonauts, and grand-daughter of Helios. My aunt Circe, and our Lady Hekate taught me everything I know of magic. I am the Witch of Colchis. If you want my ancient story, look up Hesiod, Euripides or Apollonius of Rhodes.

 I got my vengeance on Jason, and his descendants, right up until a week ago when I orchestrated the most beautiful death of his last living heir. The poor old man had been terrified his entire life, and had never married. He died a virgin. I felt bad for him, but my vengeance was too much. For this last Jason, they were all Jason to me after he abandoned me in Corinth, I had poisoned him. It was slow and painless. I had actually grown fond of this descendant, and in his youth, I had teased him endlessly. But now? Now, I was left empty, my vengeance was filled. 

I was…hollow.

It was last night that I happened upon a cabin, rustic and full of charm, after a week of roaming aimlessly. As I entered it, I was greeted by warmth and the overwhelming scent of… wolf? Great, I’d found another werewolf cabin, but this place was gorgeous. I had spotted someone at a counter and sauntered over, before getting caught up in the pheromones he was admitting. Oh yes, this was a werewolves den alright, and not just any werewolf, the original, Lycaon.

“Ah, Lycaon, how nice to see you,” I chuckled as I sidled up behind him, all swagger and finesse.

Lycaon looked over at me slowly and smiled, sharp teeth protruding from the smile. “Likewise, Medea. How ever have you been?”

“I’ve been… busy, and yourself?” I answered easily.

“Same,” Lycaon tapped his sharp fingernails on the counter, I could tell that he was a bit tense. “Been… working on something for a while.”

I smiled and slid closer. “Oh, what have you been working on?”

“Oh you know, 4,000-year-old vengeance,” he responded with a slight smile back.

I leaned my head back and cackled. “Oh yes dear, I know all about that… I’ve been seeking my vengeance on Jason and his idiotic descendants for 3,000 years, but now? There’s none left.”

Lycaon sipped on his whiskey and scratched his beard. “Alas, I don’t know if I’ll ever get my vengeance.”

I looked over at the whiskey, longingly. “Got any more of that?” I asked, licking my lips a little.

Lycaon slid the bottle over to me. “What are your plans these days?” he asked softly.

I take a swig straight from the bottle. “No idea, the last descendant of Jason… passed the other day, I have… nothing.” I sighed dramatically. “You?”

“Hmmm, lately, I’ve been putting pups in their place.” He snickered wickedly, and I looked at him, a light burning in my eyes. “Little bastards think they are the Alpha wolves in their regions.”

I smirked and looked away from him. “Any of them yours?” I queried, a little curious. After Jason, and my two sons, I hadn’t borne any more children, I couldn’t take the heartache of them betraying me.

Lycaon quirked his eyebrow and my heart fluttered a little. “I suppose you could say they’re all mine.

There are thousands of descendants of mine. Then, there are the ones they have turned, it’s a cycle.”

I smile darkly. “And I could say that about the witches, only Circe came before me… I meant, have you had your own litter yet?”

Lycaon groaned and furrowed his eyebrows. “I did…once. I had 50 sons, the heirs to Arcadia! Of course, Zeus cursed us all, but they all passed millennia ago.” He pulled a flask out of his leather jacket and took a sip.

I nodded sadly, understanding in my soul. “I get it, I bore two beautiful sons by Jason, but…he took them when he left me in Corinth, and I lost them to him.”

My friend pursed his lips and nodded. “That’s the Curse of The Fallen,” he said.

I nodded. “I… regret my actions back then, mostly.”

“As I do I. Everything changed in a single day,” Lycaon replied, sadness filling both of our voices.

“Agreed, granted, I have not behaved… honourably in the last 3,000 years… perhaps I should change that,” I suggested, looking up with hooded eyes.

Lycaon barked slightly. “I had a period of redemption attempts, then I realized, what’s the point? It took me nearly a century to grow into…well…me. Now, I’m content with the monster I’ve made.”

I smiled. “So we should be…content with who we are?” I took another large swig from the bottle.

“Immortality has its perks,” Lycaon smiled slowly, showing his sharp teeth.

I licked my lips and smiled. “It has, at that.” I leaned away from the table and snapped my fingers. Music began playing in the background. “And has this immortal wolf ever danced?” I hold out my hand and crook a finger at him.

Lycaon smirks. “Oh, have I now?” He took my hand and spun me around.

I smiled and whirled gracefully. “I was asking, not telling.” My work clothes melted into a dark purple evening gown.

Lycaon smiled and winked. “I know.” He picked me up without effort, spinning us both around.

I giggled, a little more girly than I’d like to admit. “So, we let loose, be ourselves, and let the world hang itself?” I pondered quietly to him.

“Perhaps, though there are flaws in this world that only the likes of us can take care of,” Lycaon counters as our dance continues.

“Hmmm,” I think for a moment as the dance slows, “I’d be… game to try.”

“Perhaps an alliance,” Lycaon suggested as he dipped me low.

I swung back up into his arms. “That would be… beneficial…” I responded slowly.

Lycaon pulls me up, and in close, “Quite beneficial.”

My body pressed against his, I breathed heavily. “I like the way we… work together.”

He leaned in close, face to face. “Then it is settled.”

I nodded. “If this were ancient times you know what we would have to do to seal the bond?” I whispered breathlessly.

“Why don’t you tell me what the ritual is where you are from?” Lycaon smiled wickedly.

I returned the smile crookedly. “No ritual, just this.” I pulled him into a kiss, deep and passionate. Lycaon wrapped his hands around my back, and I can feel myself beginning to melt. I broke away from the kiss after a moment. The feeling  lingered on my lips. “There, that is how we signed deals in Colchis.”

“Well that is much less painful than an Arcadian Pact,” Lycaon chuckled.

“How did that go?” I wondered softly.

Lycaon looked at his palm and sighed. “Let’s just say we sealed it in blood. 

I looked down and kissed his hand carefully. “Ah, yes, I’m ok with not signing pacts that way.”

“Never again for me either,” Lycaon agreed.

I looked up at him. “Why don’t we do that, my way… if you and I need to make a pact?”

My friend smiled. “That sounds much better.”

I kissed him again, I could see this becoming a habit if I didn’t control my instincts. “But for now, my fair Lycaon, I need to head out. I’ll be back… when you least expect me.” I winked playfully and vanished in a puff of purple smoke. 

I hear his response before he jumps out the window. “Yes, there is work to be done in the light of the moon.”

As I returned to the massive cabin I’d begun using as a getaway, I smiled, content for the first time in years, and not because of the events from last week. Maybe my life was turning around, but I knew that there would be trials ahead. For me, that was my curse, my Curse of the Fallen…

https://curseofthefallen.wordpress.com/

A Hymn for Moxie

Muses, allow the joy of the favourite daughter of Hera,

Child who graces us with her radiant power.

Sing of her love, compassion, joy and beauty.

When you sing of Moxie, sing of her in the day,

When she shines brightest,

And of her deep love of the mortals she cares for.

Bless this daughter of Gaia,

Who rules mortal lives through psychology.

Sing of Moxie, the goddess who guides us

To inspiration even before the Muses.

For more on Moxie, and the other gods and goddesses of Olympus so to https://www.inthepantheon.com/ and check them out!

A Hymn to Atë

Sing now, Muses, of the child of ruin, 

Eldest daughter of honoured Zeus. 

Sing of Atë, and her fall, and bless her 

In her incarceration in Tartarus. 

Sing of her release, for without ruin, 

There can be no rebirth. 

Muses, hear the song for Atë, 

And grant her the wishes she desires, 

To return to the land of her parents, 

As their beloved daughter.

Thank you to the Pantheon Project for allowing my creativity to shine through. It means more to me than you will ever know.

The Release

Last week, I made the decision to take down Love and Pain in Zion from Wattpad, since it has been on Amazon/Kindle since December. I set the date originally for Friday March 20, and to be honest, I completely blanked. Today, I remembered. And I took it down.

I am proud of my story, and while I’m glad for the people who read it and supported it on Wattpad, I need the only place people can get it to be Amazon. My completed works will no longer be up for free much longer after their Amazon/Kindle publication date.

I feel, lighter a little, and I hope that this will help drive me to finish the rest of my stories, especially the ones that I know people want to read *cough* ahem Steven *cough*. Don’t worry, some of them are a long way off from being done… others, I can see the light. Keep an eye on my Twitter, Instagram , and Facebook @nataliebauthor for the most recent updates. I look forward to bringing you more pleasure in the upcoming weeks!

Brightest Blessings,

Natalie (Elysia)