Here is another of my off-stage views. This happens about the time the second novel begins. Panacea is the daughter of Asclepius, the God of Healing, and one of the main characters in both novels. But even the gods cannot see everything. As her father listens to the rumours his patients bring, he realizes that his daughter is caught up in a dangerous quest.
After adding a hint of mint to the cough serum, Asclepius handed the small amphora to his assistant. “Remind the child’s mother to give just a sip with each handspans passing. A cup of water as well. And summon me immediately if the child coughs blood.”
The God of Healing ran his fingers over his temples. It had been a long day, and he needed some time to think, to sort out the news he had gleaned. As he had listened to patients this last week, he heard more than their symptoms. It seemed that hungry kings plotted war in too many corners of their land.
He heard footsteps on the stones of the courtyard. “I am sorry, Sir, but there is a woman at the gate to see you.”
“Is she in labor?” That was all that would draw him away from his whirling thoughts to see one more patient.
“No Sir, but she claims your daughter, Panacea, sent her.”
“Then do not keep her waiting.” He had not heard from this daughter in three turns of the moon. As far as he knew, she was with Echidna at the shrine above Corinth. When the woman entered, he was even more surprised. She was a peasant by the look of her dress, and she seemed uneasy. He indicated a stool for her to take and sat across from her. “You come from my daughter.”
The woman looked down at her hands. “She said I should come and ask you to teach me.”
The God of Healing also looked at her hands. Panacea tended to recognize the gift of healing though to him her calloused hands, which to him spoke of gardening. “Tell me how you came to cross my daughter’s path.”
As the woman poured out her story, Asclepius kept the surprise from showing on his face. His daughter had indeed travelled far from Corinth and faced unexpected dangers. He assured the woman that he would teach her, and that she and her family could remain at this shrine for the time being. When another assistant had taken her to arrange lodgings, only then did the silence he craved return. Trouble is brewing across our land, he thought. He looked north and west toward the city Panacea sought. Take care, Daughter!
To find out how this woman and Panacea crossed paths, check out my first novel Moon of the Goddess, chapters thirteen and fourteen. To uncover the trouble that is spreading across ancient Greece, you can read the sequel, Before the New Moon Rises.