"The mortals pray to us, but to whom do we ask for divine assistance?"
The lake was calm and steady, a few ripples distorting the reflection of the moon on the spots where the moist land meets the water. Surrounding the peaceful waters was the silhouette of trees stretching their ghostly arms in the dense air. The wind moves along, carrying the piercing sound of cicadas annoying travelers, telling whatever evil secrets they have been witnessing that happened on the arms of the woods. Suddenly the water stirred, alerting frogs to jump from the slimy rocks into the dark pool. Crows began to spread their wings in anticipation of a flight. As the nocturnal animals withdrew, an old fishing boat fixed itself on the middle of the lake. A weary fisherman in his old age sat by the boat, praying for Poseidon for a good catch to be heartily eaten when the morning comes. As he sighed, his breath formed a fog that came out of his mouth. Spreading the fishing net, he threw it on the water and watched it sink slowly, waiting for a movement which might indicate a good fortune. He waited a while, unwrapping his last tobacco to warm himself up a bit. To his surprise, something tugged from the pool. He tugged back, pulling the net. It was a little heavy for his frail body, yet he gathered enough strength to pull whatever it was, excited for the good catch.
It was not easy though, battling it nearly capsized the tiny boat, but he was determined to win. He sighed, and putting on his last and strongest pull, it finally withdrew from the water and on to his boat. The old man was petrified, breathing hard while looking at the catch which was covered with the net. It doesn't seem like a giant fish, nor a squid, for he knew that squids were too impossible to catch in a small lake. Nevertheless, he managed to fix himself and even though horrified, he poked the catch but gained no reply. The poor old man's eyes were moist with tears, prying for protection. His courage willed him to unwrap the catch, and while doing so he came upon a hand, complete with fingers.
He gulped and took the hand. It was cold and lifeless, it was female. Still he groped for a pulse at the base of the palm. His stamina built up, adrenaline starting to fill his senses when he felt a frail beating. He took out a knife and cut through the tangled sheets of black net until his hand was caught in another net of long dark hair. He scratched through the crisscrossing fabric further until the last cut that he finally uncovered something that deeply troubled him. He looked at the unconscious and pale face, with her chest faintly rising and falling.
Fourteen days later
Zeus twisted his neck to recognize whom the voice belonged to. Hermes wet his lips and sighed, walking to the king of gods with a goblet of nectar.
"You need to sleep, my king…" the messenger god sighed with concerned as he handed the goblet to his master, who took it slowly. Zeus looked at him and Hermes can see the drastic change in him. He looked a thousand years older. His cheeks slightly sagged, and his continuous disappearance from the divine meals has taken a fraction of his immortality. Beneath his eyes were dark shades. Zeus sighed as Hermes led him to sit. The messenger noticed the cups of nectar left on the floor, untouched.
"Zeus if you conti—"
"I desire to be alone, Hermes…"
His handsome face turned into disappointment and he closed his eyes. The silence lurked between them as he waited for Zeus, whose eyes were lost in vast emptiness before him. He can see the beads of tears forming in his master's eyes.
"Why would anyone take her…?"
Hermes heard the soft whisper which escaped through Zeus' lips. He tapped the king by the shoulder, still lost in deep agony about the loss of his favorite child.
"I want you to know my lord; we're doing our best to find her…" Hermes consoled, squeezing a hand on Zeus' shoulder. Zeus managed to nod despite the turmoil siphoning his sanity. Hermes gave a last tap and walked away to meet his mistress hiding behind a column.
"I'm sorry, my Lady," Hermes shook his head, leading Hera through the silent halls. Hera sighed and held Hermes' hands with a hint of concern in her deep emerald eyes, "I know you are doing your best Hermes, I…" she bit her lower lip, "I just do not know why fourteen days have passed and you cannot find Athena, it seems impossible not to pick up her scent," Hera finally queried as they stopped to concentrate on their conversation.
"That is the problem," Hermes admitted, "I cannot feel her presence, not anyone can. She seemed so far. It's as if a dark force is covering her aura, her magical powers, everything…she seems…" he sighed, unable to speak out the dreaded word. Hera lowered her lashes and bit her lip.
"We've looked around, my Lady. From Athens to the outskirts of Persia and Rome, we cannot locate her. Not even Helios nor Selene who are stationed half a day at the sky cannot distinguish her from the heat on the sea of mortals. Fourteen days…and nothing." Hermes' troubled eyes shut tight, hiding the insecurity within.
"Do you suspect anyone who can be behind this…?" she asked.
Hermes thought for a while and stared back at her, "I cannot be sure,"
She paused and crossed her fingers behind her, "Oh mercy…we are gods, Hermes… but whom can we pray for help?"
Hermes let the words fly by, he wouldn't be able to answer it anyway. He finally held her in his arms and they stayed as this for a quarter of a minute, until she decided to part with him to attend to her husband who was nearly growing old out of chaos. Hermes bid farewell to her stepmother, and after assuring that she has left, then decided to float towards the earth in another search for his missing half sister. As he left the place, a shadow lurked by, whose bright scarlet eyes like that of a raven at hunt lit beneath the darkness. One whose heart is as black as the pit of Tartarus, clouded with noting but vengeance.
He finally stepped out after listening to the tragic conversation, face lit with half a smirk and decided to disappear by the naked eye to the darkest and coldest place beneath the earth: to Hades' realm.
A/N: Reviews are welcome xoxo