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Thais, a small island off the coast of Thasos, was renowned for its beauty and serenity, often attracting visitors from the mainland of Greece. These mainlanders frequently made the watery journey to lounge on the island’s white-sand beaches and bathe in its aquamarine waters.

Thais also attracted Greece’s most devout, as the island was home to an illustrious temple of Athena which sat back from the pristinely sparkling shore, its grounds covering nearly a quarter of the tiny island. It was said to be the most extraordinary of all Athena’s temples—a vision of such wonder, the likes of its magnificence could only be matched in Olympus.
As an infant, Medusa was left on the temple steps and raised in the care of the priestesses. The high priestess favored the child and doted upon the girl as if she were her own. Stern, yet giving in nature, she made sure Medusa was taught the finer nuances of the duties, ceremonies, and songs necessary to worship their beloved goddess.

An astute acolyte, Medusa blossomed into a devoted neophyte and a beautiful, well-mannered child who delighted in singing and playing in the sea. There, in the splendor of the rolling surf, the girl often saw faces in the waves, calm watery faces who welcomed and beckoned her to splash in their midst. But no matter how they called, Medusa would swim no farther than the wake.

The island’s inhabitants adored Medusa—cooing over her magnificent golden hair and aquamarine eyes as she passed to collect tributes for their patron goddess. Her beauty grew so with each passing year that the people of Thais gathered in the streets when she walked for alms, just to catch a glimpse of her flowing hair and sparkling gaze. They believed any person lucky enough to catch her eye would be blessed with beauty and good fortune. A more loved, more revered apprentice to Athena’s high priestess there never was.

As she aged, Medusa’s talents grew to exceed those of any priestess in the temple. Her singing was the most melodious, her dancing the most lithesome, her charms the most beguiling of all the girls. Many said 
her beauty surpassed even the goddesses of Olympus.

GodsHarvest was the tiny island’s annual festival. The celebration lasted nearly a month, marking the spring’s first full lunar cycle. Throughout the year, the islanders eagerly anticipated the ceremonies honoring their beloved goddess. During the great celebration, the people of Thais ate heartily of the island’s yield and quenched their thirst with Ambrosia, a sweet wine boldly named after the food of the gods.

The festival concluded with a spectacular night of celebration: the Goddesss Gala. The pinnacle of this evening came during their annual Eclipse, which the islanders referred to as the Gods Eye. It was not a full eclipse, just a brief shadow creeping across the moon’s gossamer surface. It could only be seen from the small island and it was said that whosoever dared stare into the eye of the eclipse might catch a glimpse of the gods dancing in Olympus. However, custom dictated all revelers look away the moment the eclipse reached its zenith—if a person was so bold as to stare too long, he or she could be abducted by any god who looked back, or worse, earn the wrath of Athena herself and be struck blind.

In Medusa’s sixteenth year, she entered adulthood and could now assist the high priestess in preparing for the Night of the Goddess ceremonies. The winds raced along the water, the moonlight danced upon the shore, and the sea rose and fell with a grace never seen anywhere else in Greece. As always, Thais gathered at the great temple for the extravaganza of feasts, performances, libations, and general merriment.

Since the time she was a small girl, Medusa had looked forward to this day. She had prayed to achieve the position of high priestess—thanks to her diligence she had secured the apprenticeship. Medusa had practiced the ceremonies a hundred times in preparation and was resolved to be the most accomplished apprentice in the templeʹs long and illustrious history.

Finally, in her grand headdress of owl, raven, and robin feathers, Medusa stood atop the sky-scraping steps of the Athenian temple. She was a vision beyond compare in flowing robes of emerald, amethyst, and sapphire. That night, Medusa was officially presented as the high priestess’s apprentice. The people were elated: they cheered, threw flowers, and stood in line to hang garlands round her neck.

Medusa shone under the honor and praise. Yet, as the night wore on, and the hour of the eclipse drew nearer, she grew distracted. She was fidgety and anxious, unable to pinpoint the cause of her discomfort. She felt ill at ease as she led the revelers in a song of sea sprites and mysterious waters. As she gave voice to the verses, she felt her eyes drawn to the moon. From then on, she was only half present, as though some force beckoned her gaze toward the sky. As dusk stretched into night, the pull only grew stronger, so strong, the young apprentice could hardly concentrate on the ceremony, the moon demanded her attention. Splendid and full, beautifully poised above the curling sea, its radiance entranced her like never before.

Despite her distraction, Medusa dutifully and gracefully continued to lead the songs and conduct the rituals of the evening. However, in the midst of the wine rituals the high priestess noticed her faltering attentions.

“Child? You are distracted,” she said pointedly as they spread flower petals and poured wine at the blessed feet of Athena’s great stone likeness.

Medusa looked to the priestess and smiled in embarrassment. “Yes, High Priestess. Perhaps . . . perhaps I am just a little flushed from the excitement.” After studying Medusa’s face a moment, the priestess offered a comforting smile and turned away, seemingly satisfied with the answer.

Determined not to interrupt the ceremony or incur the dissatisfaction of the high priestess, Medusa took slow breaths to calm her nerves before returning to her duties.

The moon now hung full and robust in the night sky. The Eclipse would soon be upon them. Medusa, her fellow priestesses, and the sea of people below gazed into the face of the radiant moon. Its majestic luster was truly stunning.

Medusa stood as though made of stone, staring helplessly. Silence fell among the islanders as they watched the dark shadow slowly encompass the brilliant white-blue of the moon. The richly glowing face grew smaller and smaller, until naught but the faintest sliver remained.

“The time is here!” the high priestess called, signaling the people of Thais to look away.

The crowd turned as one, shielding their eyes. Medusa’s fellow sisters also shifted, bowing their heads. Even the high priestess averted her eyes.

Medusa did not.

Brazenly she stared on, entranced by the faint glimmering whites and pale blues of the moon’s silvery face. She knew she should look away, but try as she might, she could not. A force stronger than her young will kept her pliant eyes locked on the moon’s shimmering surface.

A brief eternity passed and the eclipse was complete. The blue-white contours were sunk in shadow, the face completely enveloped by the dark. Though the ache in her eyes was terrible, she could not turn. The moon was dense and beautiful in a way she had never known. In this darkness she witnessed an entirely new array of colors, bursting across her vision so quickly she hadn’t time to think names for them. The moon was somehow every color at once.

Medusa wondered why such magnificence—such dark splendor—was forbidden. Then, its new onyx surface deepened and took form. She beheld the glimmer of a face, lips curled, smiling down at her. For a moment she thought the visage was Athena’s, but it was too masculine. Never before had she seen such an enchanting smile.

Suddenly, Medusa was pulled toward the moon. For one exquisite moment, exhilaration encompassed her, an elating warmth. As suddenly as it began, the sensation ended and Medusa fell back to the earth.

With a sharp intake of breath, the young priestess’s eyes finally closed. When she reopened them, she was surprised to be standing exactly where she had been when the eclipse began. Looking out on the mass of people with heads still reverently bowed, she was dizzy and displaced. Had anyone seen her transgression?

Yes. Someone had. The high priestess stared at Medusa, her face a mask of severity and disapproval— emotions Medusa was unaccustomed to seeing on the priestess. Medusa’s blood ran cold; she had been caught violating their customs. Her gaze had betrayed her. The priestess turned to the moon and then to the crowd, in dismissal of Medusa and her abominable act. Arms raised to the crowd, she announced the end of the eclipse in her strong, radiant voice. Medusa joined the islanders in their cheering, but she knew there would be repercussions for her insolence.

As the festivities continued, Medusa tried to distract herself with the wonders of the occasion and the excitement of her new role as apprentice. Unfortunately, neither song nor dance could cheer her completely. Dreading her next encounter with the high priestess, Medusa was more disturbed by the disorientation she’d felt: the sensations of floating, then falling, and the bizarre invigoration. Try as she might, she could not erase the imprint of that prolific smile in the moon’s face, the warm rush she’d felt upon seeing the man in the eclipse.

The revelries had finally concluded and the villagers had gone home to dream their mornings away. Medusa placed her feathered headdress in the ceremonial chamber next to that of the high priestess. She had not seen her mentor since the festival ended. Part of her was relieved: another part desperately longed for a glimpse into her thoughts.

Medusa headed quickly to her modest quarters. Turning the corner near her room, her heart sank. The high priestess loomed at her door. Medusa was flooded with a strange sense of dread and relief. She shifted her gaze to the floor and walked forward, already condemned. A rigid hand held the door for Medusa who walked past, not daring to meet her gaze. Brusquely, the priestess followed and shut the door.

“It is a foolish thing, flirting with the gods.” The priestess’s voice was cutting, direct, and wrought with disappointment.

“Flirting?” Medusa gasped, her face flushed with embarrassment.

“I saw, Medusa!” The priestess hissed in her anger. “True, you are most beautiful, but do not dare think yourself beyond the rules of the gods.”

“I would never—”

“I would not have you taken!” 
Taken? Medusa thought in confusion. 
“We do not look into the eclipse for many reasons, child. The eclipse grants us a window into Olympus. Mortals are not allowed this intimacy with the gods. With that one look, you may have been blinded. You may have opened yourself to become prey for any god who had a whim to hunt. We are but playthings to the gods, girl. You know this!” the priestess yelled, then quickly calmed herself. “Medusa, you are truly one of Athena’s most blessed priestesses. Her rival— Poseidon—would delight in snatching up such a prize.”

“I understand,” she replied dismally.

“I don’t think you do. What if you had called down the wrath of Athena herself? She may cherish your beauty and grace, but she would just as easily delight in the power of destroying it! Just to see those qualities so loved, crushed. You endangered us all.” The priestess’s yell surprised them both. “These rules cannot be ignored,” she continued with a strained calm. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

“I...I don’t know what came over me.” Tears formed in Medusa’s eyes as she attempted to explain the inexplicable restlessness, the unavoidable pull toward the moon’s shining eye.

The high priestess sat, her demeanor softening. “The lure of the gods is tempting,” she whispered, pushing the thick, golden hair away from Medusa’s face. “I cannot express how terrible it would have been if you had been taken. Our mighty goddess would be most displeased.”

“Yes, High Priestess.” Her reply was no more than a whisper.

“You have done a terrible thing. However, I am prepared to be lenient on you.” Medusa’s shoulders relaxed in relief. “No one ever need know of this offense as long as we have no more of this misbehavior. I admit I too have felt the temptation of the gods. Their power and might are wondrous.” The priestess sighed wistfully. “You must not be fooled. To pursue the gods would mean to tread an unstable path, riddled with emotion and power we cannot begin to comprehend. We are truly blessed to have the favor of the goddess. It is something we cherish and must never lose. Anyone could have witnessed your blasphemy. You do know the punishment?”

“Yes, Priestess,” Medusa replied, her thoughts flooding with the horrible stories she had heard of disobedient acolytes.

“Good. Let me never see you disobey again,” the priestess warned with a strained smile. “I would be heartbroken to choose other than yourself to take my place. You know I look upon you as my own.” With that, she briskly stood. “Now, take your rest and let us forget this incident,” she advised, turning to leave.

“I saw something,” Medusa blurted suddenly.

The priestess rested her hand on the doorknob to the chamber. “What would that be?”

“A man. In the eclipse. I was pulled upwards. It was dizzying. Then it just… stopped.”

All warmth evaporated from the priestess as she looked down upon Medusa now. “Let us count you lucky then, that whoever—or whatever—had you, lost interest. You must forget what your eyes have beheld. Never speak of this again.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Goodnight then.” The door snapped shut behind her.

“Goodnight, High Priestess.”

Medusa sat with her thoughts as the dawning light warmed her room. Try as she might, she could not dismiss all she had felt tonight, all she had seen. A deep yearning grew within her, a yearning to see the brilliant face in the moon. She could not shake the curve of that smile, the depth of those eyes.

That night, Medusa’s dreams were restless—full of the dark shimmering depths of the moon and the inviting smile therein. She slept fitfully, but after some time found herself on the brink of rest.

As she felt herself begin to drift, a soft voice—a masculine voice—called her name. It was soothing, gentle, and all too alluring. Medusa woke with a start. She sat up in bed, still half in dreams as she looked around the room, listening. There was nothing but the sound of her startled breath. Confused, she lay back, sure it was only a sleepy illusion. No cause to be alarmed.

The voice from her dream was quick to wake her anew. Again she sat straight and listened. When it called once more, she knew it was not the doings of Morpheus, the god of dreams—this voice clearly beckoned from the hallway outside her room. A chill rippled down her spine as she opened the heavy wooden door, cracking it just enough to peer out.


Medusa began to close the door when she heard it again. Flooded with the same exhilaration she’d felt during the eclipse, she did not allow herself to consider her actions as she slipped quietly from her chambers.

There, in the silent hallway a long silvery strand of moonlight cut through the dark, sparkling through the shutters. The beam seared a luminous path to the end of the hall and into the great room of the temple.

Medusa’s curiosity urged her forward. She walked alongside the beam, playfully running her fingers through its brilliance.

The moonlight led her to a basin nestled in one of the temple’s many recesses. From this miniature, trickling spring the beam bounced to a sculpted vase eternally pouring water into a basin. Medusa followed the thread of light to a third pool, only to see the light bounce to yet another shining water source across a marble chamber, where it bounced and danced again, and again.

The gleaming, shimmering sliver lured Medusa through the great hall, skipping by sculptures and skirting along the marble floors leading her out onto high steps at the back of the temple.

Medusa looked out over the vast labyrinthine gardens. The moon shone crisp and vibrant in the sky, illuminating the night’s moisture upon the statues and flora. The gardens sparkled brilliantly and Medusa could only marvel at the magnificence. She had played in these gardens many times—it was one of her favorite places—but she had never seen it in such splendor.
A deep voice pulled her from her reverie.

“Medusa.” The call came from behind her and a warm breath on her ear sent shivers down her spine.

She turned, to find nothing, to her amazement, not even the temple. In its place stood a luminous marble wall covered in ivy. She placed her hands upon the stones in disbelief. Had she somehow gotten turned around in her own home? Medusa spun, her mind scrambling for an explanation aside from madness. Could staring into the eclipse have truly addled her mind? Medusa turned again to look out over the garden, but instead found herself standing in the garden. She stood deep in lush growth and foliage she had never before seen. It was a place of high ivy hedges and blankets of flora spreading as far as her eyes could see. Delighted by these surroundings, Medusa took in the moonlit splendor, breathing in the crisp air and running her fingertips along the hedges at her hips.

Suddenly, the deep green gave way to well-­‐‑sculpted marble. Medusa gasped: not ten feet away sat a magnificent fountain, gleaming and shimmering before her. She had never seen this fountain on the grounds. Was she even on temple grounds anymore? Her mind reeled as she walked around the lip of the fountain.

Something about its churning waters reminded Medusa of her forbidden glimpse into the face of the moon. Water in the upper bowls flowed and spilled over finely-­‐‑fluted white marble into the greater basins below, moving in cascades of liquid silver. Intricate swirls and waves danced with a life of their own— trickling forever over and down.

Hesitantly, Medusa gazed into the fountain’s pool. The surface of the water was mirrored glass as she stared down at her own unwavering reflection. Next to her image floated the moon, a perfect miniature replica. She gazed on in wonder, feeling as though she were somehow looking down into the night sky. It looked so real, Medusa was compelled to touch the moon’s reflection. As she reached, the reflected stars seemed to shift and move, making way for her hand. She touched the surface of the small moon, and in an instant, it was gone—fractured into tiny ripples which swam away.

Medusa leaned back, laughing at herself. Had she actually thought to touch the moon? What a silly girl she must be; she had nearly forgotten she was looking at a mere reflection. Still, she could not help the sadness she felt. The vision had been such a lovely one.

She watched at the fountain’s edge, waiting as the moonlit ripples returned, desperately hoping to see the beautiful vision once more. After a few minutes, the water settled and the surface was a mirror once again. However, instead of the brilliant moon, she found her gaze locked on the stunningly bright blue eyes of a handsome young man.

Medusa flew from the side of the fountain, frantically looking at the garden around her. She was met with nothing more than lush greenery. Once she was thoroughly convinced she was alone, Medusa returned to the fountain, breathing deeply to calm her fluttering heart. There, she glanced back into the pool. Nothing. No reflection. No man. No magnificent moon. Just the pale, hazy image of the night sky. Medusa took a long, steadying breath, shook her head, and slowly rose to her feet. She paused, taking one more moment to enjoy the splendor of the hidden garden surrounding her before heading back to her room.

That is, if she could find her room.

What a strange evening. Perhaps this was some illusion, a mysterious dream caused by the eclipse. But if it was, how would she ever wake? Though, she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to wake from this vision.

Smiling sadly to herself, she turned to search for the staircase leading up to the temple, but was stopped by a presence before her. Medusa looked up and there stood a man. Startled, she nearly jumped into the fountain. Catching herself on its marble edge, she looked back up to discover an impossibly tall man. He made no move toward her, but she hurried to the opposite side of the fountain all the same, keeping its rippling waters between them, ready to take flight if the need arose.

The man stood almost as tall as the garden statues and looked to be just as strong. His hair fell in light waves to his shoulders and his eyes were the brightest blue she had ever seen. They practically glowed against the moonlight. He was her age, perhaps a little older, with well-­‐‑defined shoulders left bare by his blue-silver tunic. The line of his jaw was firm and strong—he possessed the most graceful and attractive face she had ever seen. Medusa’s cheeks flushed—she had never thought so well of a man before. As a priestess of Athena, she was not allowed to be in such close proximity to men. She really only ever saw them while gathering alms in the city.

“I am sorry. I did not mean to frighten you,” he apologized, his voice direct and calm, and completely soothing. It was liquid silk, and though familiar, she knew she had never heard anything quite like it. It made her think of clear waters flowing over smooth stones.

Medusa struggled to find her voice. When it finally came, her words sprang out like coiled metal, “Who are you?!”

“Pardon my intrusion.” His smile came as easily as waves upon the shore and his teeth were pure as white sand.

“Who—why are you here?” she stuttered in confusion.

“I saw you at the festival and had to meet you.” His smile was pure charm. ʺI thought you a muse, come to bring inspiration to this beautiful island.”

Medusa gaped. “Men are not allowed within these walls so late at night,” was all she could think to reply.

“Do you wish me to leave?”

Unsure what she wished, Medusa stood unmoving. She had never been alone with a man. She had been warned of their beguiling ways her entire life. And yet this man seemed to mean her no harm. He appeared soothing and wondrous. Whatever he was, Medusa could not ignore the strange curiosity uncoiling within her.

“Yes,” she managed unconvincingly.

“Then I will go.”

His words ignited a small pain within her. She did not wish him to leave, but decided to remain silent. He turned away and Medusa’s heart sank.

Abruptly the man stopped, as though he could feel her wishing him to stay. “Before I go,” he called, turning back, “May I ask of you one thing?”

“You may,” she replied with false confidence.

The man smiled broadly this time. It was a smile she somehow recognized. “How is it that a woman as beautiful and talented as you is bound to such a subservient existence?”

She could not hide her surprise as her cheeks flared pink. “You flatter me, sir.”

“I have looked upon you from time to time in your years here,” he continued. “Every year I am astonished. You have only grown more beautiful, more exquisite. You take my breath away and I wish to know how.” His voice had dropped to something more than a whisper.

Medusa’s cheeks turned scarlet. She had been complimented before, but it had never set her pulse to fluttering so. “I am but a girl. Surely you exaggerate.”

“Might I ask you one more thing?”

Medusa smiled a little at his candor. “Ask,” she replied, still maintaining a healthy distance between them.

“Would you sing for me?”

“Sing?” she asked in surprise.

“I have only heard your beautiful voice from afar,” he coerced her. “It is so lovely. Might I sample it up close? Just this once? Then, if you still wish, you shall be rid of my presence.”

“I cannot sing at this time of night. I might wake one of the sisters.”

“No one can hear us here. What better time to sing than under a full moon?”

Medusa considered. What harm would come from singing for the young man? He seemed to have good intentions. “You will leave then?” she asked. “No more questions?”

“Yes. If you wish.”

Medusa smiled; he was too polite and cordial to be a danger. “What shall I sing?”

“I believe I once heard a song of a young nymph and her flirtations with a fountain. It would seem fitting here,” he replied, gesturing to the elaborate fountain.

Love of the Water Nymph?” she asked.

“Is that the one?” he asked playfully. “Well, it is so lovely.”

“I am not sure this is proper...that song is only sung on the Night of the Goddess,” Medusa whispered hesitantly.

“Ahh, yes. That must have been where I heard it. Beautiful melody. Though not as beautiful as yourself. It is still the night of the festival. Please, indulge me.” He moved around to her side of the fountain and sat on its ledge.

Though unnerved by his proximity, she did not move away.

Once settled, he motioned for her to sit next to him.

Medusa blushed again and smiled shyly. The handsome stranger had persuaded her.

“It is a lovely song.” She smiled. “I will sing it for you. Though I confess, I have never sung it by myself before.”

“All the better, for yours is the most beautiful voice.”

Medusa flushed. “Thank you, sir.”

“Please, do not allow me to distract you. Sing. Fill the air with beauty.”

Medusa’s lips curled into a smile. The man held out his hand and she hesitantly accepted. Luminous in the light of the moon, he sat in content silence, as Medusa’s voice—sweet as harps’ chords—rang out through the dewy night. As she sang, Medusa’s gaze fell to the fountain pond where, to her surprise, she found the very same water nymph of which she sang. Medusa became lost in the song as she watched the beautiful nymph prance upon the mirrored waters.

The nymph was dancing gracefully about the water, when she stopped, having caught a glimpse of her own reflection. Thinking her reflection a partner, she began to dance anew as Medusa’s voice unraveled the melody. The nymph pranced and pirouetted, becoming so excited she touched the water’s surface. Her reflected dance partner shattered into hundreds of racing ripples. Sad and disappointed, the nymph retreated to the fountain’s edge and wept. Unbeknownst to the nymph, she had an audience. A god looked down upon the sweet, sad creature, and had become so enamored of the nymph’s dancing he decided to appear to her, emerging from the fountain as a water sprite. The sad little nymph looked up in surprise, smiled merrily, and with a twirl, began dancing with the cleverly disguised god. There they danced together joyfully on the pool’s mirrored surface.

Medusa sang the final chords of the song as the scene slowly faded away. She turned to find herself in the arms of the young man, mid-dance. Medusa hadn’t even noticed they had left their seats at the fountain’s edge. She had never danced with a man. He was warm and strong, yet the pressure of his arm around her waist was slight and delicate. He was unlike any man she had ever seen.

Medusa felt frightened and yet strangely secure as he leaned in close to her, his lips inches from hers. His soft breath fell upon her cheek and she looked down to hide her blush. However, in looking down, she found the garden was now far below them. Medusa and her dance partner hung in the air, far above the twisting gardens of the Temple! Medusa’s grip on the man’s shoulders grew tight.

“Don’t be afraid,” he whispered to her, lightly brushing his lips against her ear as he spoke. His soft words inspired a strange exhilaration within her, as though he could breathe away her worries.

She could feel the heat of the stars reeling past them as he wrapped his arms firmly around her. His hand gently stroked her hair and he pressed his lips to hers. Medusa’s body was afire with a myriad of unknown feelings. Her breath came faster and she hoped beyond all hope the moment would never end.

He gently pulled away, gazing down at her with a smile. Medusa opened her eyes to find she was not flying at all, but standing on the ground at the fountain’s edge, in the arms of the tall stranger. She blushed yet again as she pulled away.

“What is wrong?” he asked softly.

“What just happened?” Medusa asked, gazing at the garden in a daze.

“Love,” he replied. “Is that such an unknown concept to a priestess of the goddess of wisdom?”

“I know of it,” she replied with worry. “But I am to stay...” The words stuck in her throat. “Untouched— until I become high priestess.”

His lips curled into the slightest hint of a smile. “Do not fret. You have done nothing wrong, broken no vows. It was but a kiss.”

Medusa smiled sadly. “You seem to be a nice man, but I think—I think you should go now,” she insisted, shocked by her own words.

He stood—disappointment and understanding written on his face. “I will go, but be assured...I will return. The next full moon, if you wish it. We will meet here.”

Medusa looked to the ground. If she were caught with a man, she would be disgraced and banished from the temple. However, the thought of turning him away forever was impossibly painful.
When Medusa raised her head to respond, he was gone. She looked everywhere but he was nowhere to be seen. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

As she opened her eyes to search for the temple stairs, she found herself not in the garden, but lying in her bed. She bolted upright and stared around the room in disbelief. Could it have been a dream?

A faint glimmering caught her eye. There, on her bedside table lay an elegant silver medallion enveloped in moonlight streaming in from the window. Medusa pulled the necklace closer: on one side was engraved a fountain, on the other a curling wave.

The next morning Medusa woke to larks singing outside her window. She sat up and stretched— memories of the night before slowly flooding her mind. She searched the bedside table, but the silvery amulet was gone. It must have been a dream after all.

Medusa stretched a little more, rubbed the sleep from her eyes, and reluctantly went to her armoire to ready for her daily duties. Gazing into the mirror as she brushed her long golden hair, she caught a glint of light peeking from beneath her robe. Stunned, Medusa moved the robe aside and there, to her amazement and delight, was the amulet, its tiny engraved fountain reflected before her. She smiled brightly. The events of the night before had been real. She would see her handsome young man again.

Medusa tucked the amulet back into her robes and continued about her day, lost in dreams.

On the night of the next full moon, Medusa waited anxiously for the other priestesses to retire. Once the temple was dark, she snuck out to the gardens. Try as she might, she could not find the mysterious fountain. Disappointed, Medusa returned to her chambers, awaiting her handsome stranger. Her heart fluttered as she thought of their last encounter. So many questions reeled through her mind. She fidgeted with the silver medallion as the night wore on. What if he had forgotten her? Full of hope and worry, she tried to stay awake, eager for a sign. However, despite her best efforts, her eyelids fell heavy with sleep.

She was immediately awakened by his voice. Medusa leapt from her bed in search of the silvery moon beam which had guided her at the last full moon. Finding it, she happily followed its glinting light through the hallways and out to the luminous gardens.

Her steps led her directly to the edge of the beautifully engraved fountain. Elated, she sat and ran her hand playfully through the waters, impatient for him to appear. Medusa’s heart calmed, her breathing finally slowed, and suddenly he was there, smiling down at her as she sat on the cool marble rim of the fountain.

The two spent the evening at the fountain’s edge, wrapped in each other’s embrace while she sang.

The fog cleared from the crystal’s surface as the brittle husk of the lily blew away, circling into the air and disappearing before the darkened crystal eye.

“An enticing tale, Brother,” Angus announced, first to break the silence. “Well told.”

“I’ve been holding on to that one for some time.” Killian nodded. “It is a long tale to tell.”

“I look forward to hearing more.”

“In good time,” Killian replied.

Angus sighed, a slightly exasperated strain in his breath. “I believe I hear Banon on his way down. I’m sure his offerings will be say the least.”

The door to the room opened without so much as a courtesy knock and Banon strutted in. His darkly tanned skin made his Cheshire smile stand out all the more; the light caramel-brown of his eyes was nearly as bright as his sun-bleached dreads. His clothing was in the fashion of the sailors in days long gone: a weathered, high-collared leather coat and billowing undershirt. He seemed to have just stepped off the rolling decks of a tall ship.

“Hello, my brothers. I have come with a plethora of offerings,” he said merrily, taking a seat at the great table.

“You are late, Banon,” Angus scolded.

“Do you have any idea what traffic is like from the Playa Del Rey docks? It’s murder, even at this hour. I see you all started without me, though.”

“Your clothing is not entirely appropriate for this land. Did you not think to change into something more suitable for the time?”

“And make myself even more tardy? Besides, I do not believe the people of this world truly care about such things. On the way here, I passed a group that looked straight out of a medieval circus.”

“He has a point,” Killian defended. “The fashion of this world has become too muddled for even its people to keep up. I am sure he brought finer clothing for tomorrow’s ball.”

“Finest clothes a man can steal.” Banon smiled.

Angus nodded but it was clear he did not care for his younger brother’s brazen nature. “Have you seen Conner?"

“He is no doubt distracted by the many electric wonders of this land. You know how he is.”

“How fare your shipmates?” Patrick asked, changing topic.

“They’re as well as they can be... considering you-know-who.”

“He is not so bad,” Killian defended.

“Yeah,” Banon scoffed. “I bet he’s a real peach when you don’t work for him.”

“So, you have many offerings?” Patrick interjected.

“I do. Tidings of a new crewmate,” Banon replied, riffling through his pockets. “Well, as new as a crewman can be aboard an immortal pirating ship.”

“Sounds interesting. Origin stories are always a favorite of the Fates.”

“I’ll get on with it then,” he replied, bowing his head to the dark eye. When he looked up again his gold eyes quickly misted over. “I offer this tale of a young man who joined a crew he was not prepared to meet—but needed more than he knew. A brave young fellow who escaped his dreary life and cast his fortune upon the wind. I present this old compass, once passed through his hands.”

With that, Banon placed a sea-­‐‑worn wood and metal compass upon the oak stump table. The brothers bowed their heads as the compass began spinning in place.

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