“Mistress Nyx, my apologies,” he said as I stumbled to get my footing – definitely too many drinks.
“Not at all, Poseidon, my fault for not paying attention,” I replied, catching a flash of brunette just behind the god of the sea. “Is that Moxie?” A woman stepped out from behind the lord of the sea with a beautiful smile.
“Hello, Nyx, happy holidays to you.” I hugged her warmly, before stepping away to make room for Poseidon, nearly taking out a waitress before Poseidon grabbed my shoulder. Moxie grinned at me. “The drinks are delicious, I see?”
A laugh bubbled up from me, encouraged by the alcohol and the weariness that was slowly starting to seep into my bones. “Perhaps a little too much,” I grinned, leaning against the column beside us for support. “Are you two enjoying the evening? I hope I wasn’t interrupting anything.”
“Not at all, just finished having dinner. The menu you put together is wonderful, Nyx,” Poseidon commented, glancing back at the empty table behind the column that I hadn’t seen before.
“I can’t take the credit for that, unfortunately. Noel’s staff are so organized, the head chef had basically everything I wanted already, so I left it to him to put it together. I’m glad I did!” I shrugged, making myself dizzy for a moment, before straightening up again. “Now, to business. Moxie, I have something for you.”
She said nothing, thank the Void, but crossed her arms with interest. Taking a steadying breath, more to see straight than anything, I exhaled deeply. A thick smoke left my lips and gathered on the marble floor, building itself up into a pillar. The pair of immortals watched with fascination as stars erupted through the swirling mass, and it took the shape of a curvy woman. It shook its hair out over its shoulders, before standing still in front of Moxie, who looked at me with amusement in her eyes. I gestured vaguely at the stardust.
“A permanent body for you. I know how often you need to exchange mortals, even if you do like how they look,” I gave her a slightly drunk wink. “She is summonable, you just have to ask for her and she will come. And no, she’s not restricted to being used in the nighttime.”
Moxie walked around the faintly glowing body, examining it as she did so. “This will come in handy…thank you, Nyx, how thoughtful.” She gave me a beautiful smile, before turning her eyes back to the thick cluster of stars before her. I swiveled my attention to Poseidon, who was watching Moxie closely.
“Lord of the Seas,” I said with a lilt in my voice, and he raised an eyebrow at me. “I found it difficult to come up with something for a god who is usually so easy to please. And then I realized that maybe that was what I could offer. Something to help point you in the right direction.”
I rubbed my hands together, black smoke rising from between my fingers until a small box grew between my palms. I offered the little navy blue box to Poseidon, a silver bow topping it. I gestured for him to open it, and he unraveled the ribbon, popping the lid off and emptying the contents into his hand. A gold tarnished box glimmered on his dark skin, and he flipped it open to reveal a compass within. A sun and moon were etched into the inside of the lid, and the silver hand of the compass wavered as Poseidon tilted it around to get a good look. Dolphins and stars were engraved into the frame surrounding the compass itself, hand painted letters and lines decorating the inside.
Poseidon looked at me askance, and I smiled widely. “That compass,” I said, pointing at it, “will always point to what you need most. Not what you want, that’s a big difference, and won’t work with this piece. So be careful how you use it.”
His eyes flashed for a moment, and he ran his thumb across its surface, Moxie beside him now. “Interesting choice of gift, Mistress Nyx,” he murmured, his gaze locked on the small box before slipping it into his pocket. “I am confident it will be useful in the future, thank you.”
I nodded absently, already moving forward inwardly to who I had left on the list. I touched Poseidon’s shoulder to steady myself again, pulling my fur stole closer to me.
“I hope you two enjoy the evening – if there’s anything you need, do not hesitate to ask. I’ll see you both shortly.” Pushing off against the column, I left the muse and immortal to gather myself for my next stop.
I was nearing the end of my rounds, but this next one in particular was extra special to me – for someone I had considered a gift all on her own for many years. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the Underworld. In an instant, I teleported outside the door of Persephone’s apartment. I straightened my gown, adjusted my furs, and knocked on the door. I heard soft footsteps on the other side, and the door swung open with a click.
“Nyx!” Persephone reached out for a hug as she greeted me.
“Ah, Persephone,” I replied as I returned the embrace.
After a few seconds, we disengaged and she motioned for me to come inside. She and Hades kept separate apartments – I didn’t ask much about their arrangement because, quite frankly, I didn’t want to know.
Persephone motioned for me to sit as she slid into a chair across from me. “Your gown is gorgeous. Is tonight the Noel party?”
Ever since eating the pomegranate seeds, Persephone, of course, stayed in the Underworld for four months out of the year. When she heard of the party, she was disappointed she couldn’t attend, but she wouldn’t twist Hades’ arm about it either.
“I will not ask him to make exceptions. He asks for no exceptions from Mother,” she told me when I asked. I have always liked Persephone, and because of that, I decided to deliver her gift in person.
“So,” she said as she rubbed her hands together excitedly, “do I get to open my gift?”
I laughed. Demeter’s little girl. In so many ways she had never lost her childlike innocence, even though she really had every reason.
“Of course, dear. You don’t think I’d come empty-handed, do you?”
Persephone turned red. “I’m sorry, Nyx, I didn’t mean to make it sound like that. You know I love seeing you, but your gifts and favours are always just so amazing.”
I leaned across and patted her knee. “We are fine, dear, I know what you meant and I am delighted you enjoy them so much.” I then moved my hands over hers and a small rectangular box appeared in her hands.
Persephone looked excited as she pulled off the top, reached in, and pulled out an engraved silver hand mirror. She held it up, but frowned when she couldn’t see her own reflection in it.
“It’s a very special mirror. In fact, I doubt that you and it will ever be in the same room again.”
She looked down, turned the mirror over in her hand, then looked back at me, puzzled.
“This mirror will reside in the Underworld with Hades when you are in the realm of the living, and it will reside with Demeter when you are down here.”
“I don’t understand,” she said.
“The mirror is for your peace of mind concerning the two people you are most tied to – Demeter and Hades. When you are with your mother, he can see you in the mirror when he looks into it. When you are with him, then Demeter has the mirror for the same effect. The ones who love you and miss you will get comfort from seeing you, until you return to them.”
Persephone’s face wrinkled up and she bit her lip for a moment to push back tears. She then stood and stepped over to give me a hug. When she released me, she said, “Thank you, Nyx. We’ve always been friendly, but this, this I consider a gift from a true friend. Thank you.”
“You are welcome, dear girl. I hope it provides comfort to not only them, but you as well.” I stood to leave and hugged her again.
She clung to me and I wrapped my arms around her snugly. Finally, she said, “I’m sorry, you must have to get back to your party.”
“There’s no need to be sorry. But you are right, I do need to get back. If for no other reason than to keep an eye on Eros and Nike for mischief. Goodbye for now, Persephone – I’ll come by again soon.”
Persephone nodded and chuckled. “Goodbye, Nyx.”
I teleported back to the party and arrived just in time to see Zeus and Hera standing at the bar, waiting for a drink.
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