Chapter One – The Arrival of Strangers
Rays of sunshine welcomed her to a brand new day softly caressing her cheeks. She stretched still half asleep on her straw bed and allowed herself to add one mighty yawn. It won’t take long before her servants knock on the door and will, as many times before, ask for a permission to enter into her chamber. She tilted her head slightly towards the radiating heat of the Apollo’s carriage and bathed her face in it’s golden glow. Hundreds of birds happily chirruped behind the windows just as if they were praising the beauty of the day the world had ahead of itself. Medea silently, with closed eyes, thanked the goddess Hecate for another night she had the pleasure to experience and also added prayers for the day that had just begun. After her morning ritual was finished, her eyes focused on a table, where she was just yesterday testing new magical ointments and where she often read in her magical scrolls and books dealing with wonders of dark sorcery. Chill ran down her spine when she remember her first spoken charm. She was just a child back then. When she was young, her mistress showed her what it is to go in the path of Hecate and taught her everything else she now knows. People often looked at her with displeasure in their eyes, but she was still their princess. They could never say anything aloud, but there was no doubt in her heart they voiced their opinions of her in the safety of their homes and behind her back. She didn’t mind it. She wasn’t ashamed for the path the fates have chosen for her nor for the acts she had performed in her name. Some people were worshipping the goddess Artemis, others preferred Hera or Poseidon. She chose Hecate as her goddess and became her most devoted follower. She chose the path of witchcraft and sorcery.
She was given several minutes to enjoy the morning peace when she suddenly heard the soft knocking of her servants accompanied with a question whether her majesty is awake. As always she let few moments pass before her answer, but eventually granted them the permission for entrance. When they entered, she was already sitting on the bed thoughtfully gazing into distance. Her maids wished her good morning and asked her how she slept like every morning. She didn’t answer. This daily routine tired her and she wasn’t the type to pretend. She stood up and scantly shrouded her nakedness with silk chiton. Before her eyes stood the beautiful nature of Colchis. She examined the bright green tops of trees and smelled the penetrating fragrance of different flowers coming from the nearby gardens. She instinctively looked in the direction where the treasure, which Colchis owes for this permanent allure, was hidden. She was awaken from her daydreaming with another knock on the door. She looked in its direction and noticed one of her father’s servants standing on the verge of her room. He had an urgent message. Ship anchored at the coastline and its emissaries are asking for an audience with her father. He also presented her with the invitation to attend the audience in the throne room. She dismissed him and once again looked into that spot in the forest. She had an inkling about what brought upon them this sudden arrival of uninvited guests. Maybe this day won’t be as routine as it looked.
On her way to the throne room she was wondering how it would all pan out. Even if her assumptions were incorrect and the ship appeared by a shire coincidence, her paranoid father wouldn’t doubt their intentions. But even if he did, he was still devoted to the gods and it is clear that Zeus himself would punish him if he didn’t show hospitality to the strangers. No. If they are here for their priceless possession, he will have to get rid of them in a different way. She knew what her father would do. She even felt strange pity towards the strangers. They had no idea what was coming to them.
When she arrived into the hall, she went to stand next to her father’s throne. On here way she was occupying herself with thoughts of her afternoon program rather than thinking about the foreigners. They weren’t worth her time. Their visit will be short and even if this situation was an appreciated breach of monotony, everything will be back to normal soon. At least that’s what she thought.
The doors of the throne room opened and several strangers entered the hall. All of them were men. Their attire wasn’t so different from the local customs, but even so, they were visibly different and foreign. Even the figures of the visitors were different from what she was used to seeing. They robust bodies, muscles and weatheriness of their features showed they were men of full strength, youth and that they spent a considerable amount of time aboard their ship with oars in their hands. Finally, she shifted here attention form the bodies to the faces and then it happened. Her eyes landed on a youth who was, according to the body language of the group, probably their leader. When she looked at him, she experienced feeling deep inside of her, she didn’t know. It was as though her heart stopped beating for a moment and then restarted itself beating stronger and faster than ever before. The heat was spreading through her whole body and her legs started to tremble. When their eyes finally met the second they spent staring at each other felt longer than her whole life. According to his expression he must be experiencing the same feeling she did. Before her eyes images started to appear. Images of them lying in the sand under the trees while he is holding her in his arms. Images of them sailing on the stormy seas, standing aboard a ship hugging.
Terrified, she broke the eye contact and timidly focused her emerald eyes towards the ground. She could still feel the eyes of the stranger on her and she hope her face isn’t changing red as she felt it did. It must have been the arrow of Eros that struck her heart. There wasn’t any other explanation for what was happening. In her mind, she once again prayed to the goddess Hecate to lend her strength to withstand the impact of this moment and to calm down the heart that just yesterday didn’t seem to be able of experiencing such feelings. Eventually, she managed to silence the feelings inside of her and once again lifted her eyes towards the strangers, although this time, she didn’t dare to look them in the eye.
The man with whom she just shared her never ending moment was introduced as Jason, the rightful heir to the throne of Iolcos. Her father invited Jason to explain the purpose of his visit. A short pause followed, during which Jason stared at her. Finally, he coughed and started his speech. His voice had a melody from an unknown world in itself. It was like the song of Sirens for her ears, luring her to the stranger’s coast. When she managed to shake the effect of the sound and focused on content, she found out that her intuition was correct. She was surprised how bravely and openly Jason revealed his intentions though. He asked her father for one thing she knew, he would never give him. He asked for the Golden Fleece.
After his speech, the king was ominously silent. She could feel how stressed, anxious and even maybe angry he was. But when he finally spoke, there was no sign of his feelings in his voice. He congratulated strangers standing before his feet for their bravery and strength. Then he responded to Jason’s request. He stated that if Jason wants to acquire the Golden Fleece from he, he would have to do it alone, without the help of his crewmates. He would have to complete a task. “I own two rare bulls with metal horns,” her father said. “If you’ll be able to yoke these bulls, plow the field, sow the dragon teeth and kill soldiers coming from the ground during one day, you have my word that I will give you the Golden Fleece.” The foreigner agreed to the terms without any hesitation. On the face of her father a sinister smile appeared and her stomach was twisted with fear of never before experienced force. She was sure that this hero, her hero, would die. If she were alone in the room she would start crying. But she wasn’t. She had to wait for the audience to finish and then quickly return to her room where she could start the waterfall of tears that builded inside of her. Tears, which she never thought she had. She couldn’t let him die. Now that she know what it is to feel love, she couldn’t let her beloved fall. Even though she didn’t even know he existed before today, she was absolutely obsessed. Only thing she could see through her flooded eyes was the moment their eyes met. She saw it over and over again. She had to help him. She had to save him! That was how strong the power of Aphrodite was over her.
She stopped crying and dried her eyes. She knew what she had to do. She knew how to pass her father’s task, although she knew that by doing so, she would be doomed in her father’s eyes. She knew he wouldn’t fulfil his promise, but it was necessary for him to finish the task. She moved to the table in the corner of her room and from her library she picked up several magical books. She looked through them and began her deed. After a few hours of work, she was ready. The magical ointment was ready.
Meanwhile, the world outside was shrouded by Nyx’s veil. She put the jar of ointment safely away to hide it before her servants, who entered the room shortly after. She feigned tiredness and let them to prepare her for sleep. When they finally let her alone, she waited for several minutes before embarking on her journey. She took the ointment, prayed to her patroness, goddess of paths to ensure her unnoticed passage through the palace to the Jason’s room her father offered him. Hecate answered her prayers and not long after she started, she stood unnoticed before the stranger’s room. Without knocking, she entered the room and closed the door behind her. Jason stood up and stared at her. Their eyes met again. She once again felt the heat and everything else she experienced before in the throne room. Her feelings were also empowered by their solitude and the nightly hour that was upon them. She had to control herself, there wasn’t much time. The faster she got back into her room the better chances were her plan will work. The stunned hero wanted to say something, but she didn’t let him.
“If you want to survive tomorrow, you have to listen to me. I will tell you what you have to do, but we have to do this quickly, before anyone notices I am gone. The bulls of my father you were asked to yoke aren’t ordinary. They were gifted to him by the gods. They are part bronze and they spit fire. If you’d try to yoke them, you would be burn to ashes. But I know how to help you. I am a sorceress devoted to Hecate and I prepared for you an ointment that will make you invulnerable for a day. Take it and in the early morning apply the ointment over your whole body. It will protect you before the fire and give you strength that will help you with yoking of the bulls. When you’ll sow the dragon’s teeth, hundreds of soldiers will rise from the ground. You can’t fight them. You have to find a large boulder and after they sprung from earth throw it among them. That will be enough to fulfil the task. I wish you good luck. Now I have to go.” She handed him the ointment and wanted to leave, but he caught her arm. They once again looked into each other’s eyes.
“I thank you for your help. Would you tell me your name?” asked Jason.
“I am Medea,” whispered she and felt how her face is turning red. Jason nodded, moved closer to her and kissed her. Another moment that lasted forever. She wished to stay like this and never let him go, put she’d managed to don’t get subdued by craziness. She pulled away from her beloved, gave him one last smile and once again entered the darkness of the palace. When she successfully returned to her chambers, the fear lifted of her shoulders and her heart danced with joy. She repeated the day in her head and then finally embarked into the realm of Morpheus where here beloved met awaited her. It was the most beautiful night she had ever experienced.