Chapter Four – Punishment of the Gods
Sound of alarm woke her up. For a few seconds she thought she was still in her chambers back on the Kolchis. But then reality checked in and reminded her what happened. She dressed hastily and came up to see what was happening. When she arrived she saw what happened. On one side was an enormous whirlpool that was pulling everything towards its center, on the other was an ominous looking island. The treacherous part of sea was before them. Scylla and Charybdis. Every crew member except for her and the helmsman were behind oars. She heard stories about what happened to ships that wandered into them. They weren’t pretty. This wasn’t an accident. They arrived here because the gods sent them here. Murder is one of the worst crimes but fratricide? Gods punished those who committed this heinous crime with all their might. This was her fault.
The ship had to go through. There was no going back and it was too late to go a different way. It had to go in a perfect straight line that was in equal distance between the island and the whirlpool. One tilt to the wrong side and one of the monsters would claim their lives. She had no idea how to help them. Her mind was blank. She wasn’t strong enough to take the oars and she had no experience with ships to help in any different way. There was always an ointment or other potions to help with strength and focus, but she had no time nor ingredients to make them. She was too drained for any spells she could conjure and even then, she wasn’t sure any of those she new would help. There was nothing she could do. She could only watch and wait.
The men grabbed their oars and with loud huffing tried to keep the ship in her path. The helmsman was screaming commands and encouragement and corrected course as best as he could. The current got fast. So fast that the ship was grabbed and hurled ahead, which required even more oar work. Both monsters were so close her heart almost stopped. She did all this just to die at the sea. She was starting to get seasick. She rushed back into her quarters and closed her eyes. She prayed to Hecate but to other gods as well. She prayed to every god she knew. Some had to hear her prayers and help them. The ship’s hull was creaking and waves pushed a giants it loudly. She tried to block all negative thoughts and just concentrated on her prayers. She stopped saying them just in her head and started to mutter them aloud. Eventually, she almost screamed her thoughts just to overshout the ocean and the ship. She got into such trance that she didn’t even notice the creaking stopped. Now it was just her shouting.
Jason entered her quarters and tried to clan her down. “We passed the monsters! We are safe!” but she didn’t hear any of that. She kept muttering until Jason took her by her hands and kissed her passionately. That broke her trance.
“It stopped…,” she whispered.
“Yes, it’s alright,” answered Jason and kissed her again. He put his arm around her and they stood like that for a while. But eventually, he had withdrawn. “I have to go back upstairs…” he said awkwardly and disappeared.
She had no idea what to think of his behaviour, but she was so exhausted and still terrified by the experience that she just dropped on her bed and returned to sleep once again.
Another alarm sounded through the ship and she woke up. What is it this time? Some other monster pursuing them for her deed? What did the gods brought upon them this time?
An island was on the horizon. The crew decided it was time to stop and inspect whether a repair of the ship is required.
Jason and her came ashore, while the rest tended to the ship. It was a beautiful island with a marble palace in the middle. As they were approaching, the delegation from the palace was already coming out. They met half way.
“I am Jason, leader of Argonauts.”
“I am Circe and these are my maidens.”
“Circe?” blurted out Medea. “THE Circe? The sorcerers?”
“Why yes, that is me,” she answered.
She couldn’t believe it. The most famous sorcerers in the world was standing before her flesh and blood. “It is an honour to meet you. I am Medea, sorcerers and worshipper of Hecate, daugther of Aeëtes. I do believe you are my aunt.”
They talked and exchanged opinions on everything magical and non-magical, while Jason was just standing there, silent. Medea told Circe everything about her life and the previous days. The sorcerers listened quietly and patiently. She wasn’t appalled by any piece of the story. When Medea finished, there was a moment of silence.
“My dear, you need to be cleansed for your crimes. Both of you. Otherwise the gods will never let you arrive to your new home. Luckily, I know the cleansing ritual.”
“And would you do this for us?” asked Medea.
“Normally, I wouldn’t do this, but because you are my niece, I am bound to you by the bond of family. I will perform the ritual and let you leave my island. Come with me to my palace and we’ll start immediately. You have to leave soon,” and with these words she turned on her heel and walked back to the palace. Medea and Jason looked at each other, took each other’s hand and followed Circe into the marble building.
The cleansing ritual took several hours. It involved long periods of chanting, special ointments and even an animal offering to the gods. However, when it ended and all candles were blown out by a mighty wind coming from nowhere, Circe stepped towards them and said that the ritual was successful. They were absolved from the heinous crime and gods wouldn’t punish them anymore. Medea felt like a massive boulder was taken from her shoulders. She felt clean.
“I am sorry, but you cannot stay here any longer. You have to continue on your journey at once. I shall give you some supplies for your ship, but I cannot help you anymore than that,” said Circe.
“I understand. Thank you for everything,” answered Jason.
Together, hand-in-hand, they returned to their ship only to find the promised supplies already on board. Jason gave an order to set sail towards. When they were leaving, Circe was watching them from the island, making her silent goodbyes. The sun was setting on the horizon. Her eyelids felt heavy. She didn’t realize how tired she was until now. She hardly made it to her cabin before she fell asleep on her bed, fully clothed.