Artemis Chronicles

Artemis Chronicles: The Gift

Artemis Chronicles: The Gift

Part I

The cloaked woman slipped through the shadows of the darkened forest. Her silent companion, a large stag, glided through the gathering whilst the crescent moon rose over the treetops. A flash of silver glinted at her wrist as the woman reached to hold back the stag from the clearing ahead. Someone was there.

Artemis, ever the huntress and protector of the forest, silently moved into the clearing, where the last rays of the setting sun revealed a stooped woman gathering plants into her threadbare apron. Sensing the sudden presence of the great stag the old one cautiously looked up from her task, and directly at the cloaked woman. Instantly recognizing the all-powerful goddess, the grizzled woman fell to her knees in terror as she cried out, “Oh m’lady! I truly meant no harm!”

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“And yet you gather my herbs—my medicines—without my leave?” said Artemis.

“They’re for my son m’lady. Since his accident, he cannot sleep for the pain in his back, and we are uninterested in the poppy mixture from the apothecary. He can’t work and we can barely eat,” she said as she shivered from fear. For she knew what happened to others who stole from the goddess. The stag loomed over the old woman, poised to spring into action at his lady’s command.
Artemis looked down, considering. “Stand up.”

The old woman pulled herself painfully to her feet, unable to fully straighten. A lifetime of hard work had mangled and twisted her frame.

“Perhaps you should take some for yourself, goodwife. You too are in pain.” said Artemis.

“Thank you m’lady. But this medicine makes you sleep as well as easing the pain. ’Tis good for my son, yet I have so much to do I cannot sleep the day away”
Artemis smiled, and gestured to where the first moonbeam of the night hit a different plant at the edge of the clearing.

” This one is better suited for your own needs. It loves the sun, but will not cloud the thoughts. Take some. It will ease your pain and stiffness.” She smiled again and moved on, the silent stag at her side. The old woman looked up at the crescent moon and breathed a deep sigh of relief.

To be continued…

Artemis Chronicles:

Artemis in a forestPart II: The AwakeningPart III: A Gathering of Gods
Part IV: The Thargelia Festival
Part V: The Stolen Stag

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