A solid ship, my trireme moves powerfully through the water. It’s not every crew that steers so smoothly but then I do not need mortals to man my oars. Indeed, the oars move of their own accord. Or rather, I move the water and direct the buoyancy. I am no Hephaestus, but I am master of my domain. I hold my course north for a week and a half, then still my craft.
There is no need to drop anchor. My waves hold her steady and we bob lightly on the surface as I halt all weathers, silence all winds, and calm all creatures. In every direction, there is nothing but ocean. I feel more relaxed than I have in days (all dreams aside). Cracking open a barrel of merbeer, I stare at the westering sun. Even Zeus feels distant in this moment (you heard, Sparky).
The beauty of the night arches above me. I gaze upward, lifting my beer in a toast.
“Evening, Lady Nyx.”
Expecting no response from a primordial mistress I fall silent, listening to the vastness of my oceans. I breathe deeply, tasting salt and darkness and everlasting life. I hear whispers in the tides, straining my ears, my sight; every single sense called into service. I listen, then. . .far, far away, I hear it.
A whisper from too long ago. A melody riding on a movement of air I did not create. A siren’s call. The First Siren’s Song. It is a song I have only ever heard once before in my existence. An old music; very old. Sounds unsung for more than two thousand years. The song calls me North. True North, far north. Into the lands of ice and arctic winds. I sigh. . .so much for a peaceful ship’s quest.
I raise my palm, releasing the South Wind.
“My Lord,” he teases round my beard, kissing my cheeks, before finally falling to the deck and kneeling at my feet.
I laugh. “Hello, sweet Notus.”
Bowing, he kisses my hand and rises, head bent. (Oh, those young gods and goddesses at the OA can learn a thing or two from the winds!) He stands a moment before me in human form. Naked, young and firm as any mortal surfer, if one does not notice the clouds for his eyes.
“How may I serve you, Lord?”
“A wind, Notus.” I smile at him. He really is a beautiful kid. “Powerful and steady. I must reach the Arctic by dawn.”
Their dawn is over twelve hours away. I am fortunate that it is not Summer.
“As you wish, my Lord.” I wait at the steering oar as Notus becomes air, then breathes. My sails belly out and I feel the pace as my vessel speeds across the Atlantic, my gaze following Mistress Nyx’s magnificent stars to guide mt way. I keep a sharp eye out for icebergs. There is no place for mistakes on this journey, and very little time. I strain my ears still, listening for the lay melody on the air. My heart is light with a song of its own.
She’s alive. She is alive and her song – wait. Wait!
Immediately, the sails slacken and the wash of water against wood fades to silence. Notus forms again on deck, torso sleekly coated with sweat and his cheeks red with effort. He pants hard until I glare at him and he, too, ceases all sound. Even my seas dare not ripple.
Holding my breath this time I listen again, barely breathing as I stare intently into utter blackness. There it is again. The voice. The calling. Very soft and very distant. Too distant. Too soft. Not a whisper, but an echo. Echo, the mortal girl who died for love. Died for love…could that mean – ? Did that mean my Oceanid no longer breathed? Could she even now be singing her endless songs in Elysium? Would Hades not have told me? Hmmm…not unless he wants a war.
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