The Day I Met Miss Fortune Pt. 2: In the Care of the Aeaean by Henry Young

Read Part 1

There must be a law decreed by the gods that the longer you wait to do something, the harder it is to start it. My body needed time to recover, sure. But once I had decided to leave and look for my dad, every additional day I spent on Aeaea added to my fear that I would never find him. The island was beautiful and full of life, but it was in a perpetual state of paradise. Nothing ever changed there. The heavy storms avoided it, the trees always bore fruit, and the animals would lie down with each other, predator and prey, without fear.

It was strange.

If I stayed there any longer I, like everything else, wouldn’t change either. Circe’s presence was clearly the reason why the island was that way, so it would seem easy to blame her for my uneasiness. But I would forever be indebted to her for all she’d done for me.

If you had asked me who she was before my fall, I could’ve parroted many things that were said on the streets of Knossos or around the palace: mostly pointing at her vengefulness or her tendency to punish men. Certainly, she did not hold respect for most mortals, and the rumors about transforming stranded sailors into pigs were more or less true.

And yet, she’d treated me with nothing but kindness and care since she’d taken me in and nursed me back to health. My experience in those few months showed me that she was not the purely vindictive goddess others drew her to be. My dad saw through this, and it was by his grace that I wasn’t running around on all fours. What I say did not discount the strength behind her every act or word. It would be a mistake to take her lightly.

The first morning I awoke in her house startled and paralyzed. My perilous fall, my rescue by the sea nymph Tyche, and my conversation with Circe the night before were less than a dream. My body quaked in fear. It wasn’t until she spoke that the bandages restraining my movement were visible and the memory of recent events returned.

“Icarus, relax,” she said holding me down. “You are safe and will be well. Breathe.”

Releasing me, she dipped a cloth in a basin, rung it out, and dabbed my forehead with it. I tried to control my breathing, but the pain of my injuries returned to my consciousness—thousands of pin pricks on my skin and a metallic ringing in my bones. As I fought it, she rolled me onto my shoulder to check the wounds on my back.

“I will have to redress these bandages,” she told me. “You bled through them and onto the bed.”

“Sorry,” my voice was thin and scratchy.

“No worry. You are not to blame; humans bleed too easily.” She smirked.

I grunted in agreement, though I felt a bit of discomfort from her statement. I thought about whether this knowledge came to her by experience or simple observation. Regardless, I had certainly grown to appreciate her perspective. At the time, it was hard to tell if her wisdom was strange to me because of my naïveté or my humanity. Despite that, I learned much from her since that first day and have concluded that it was always a bit of both.

Tyche visited about a week into my recovery. As I was still bedridden, she came to see me in the house where she idled stiffly in the doorway, teetering from one foot to the other before I invited her to come in. She looked around the room awkwardly before she settled on sitting cross-legged at the end of the bed, wrapping herself in her wings, looking grave.

“You look terrible,” she said, her voice light and lyrical despite her expression.

“Thanks.” I rolled my eyes. “That’s reassuring.”

Her face brightened with a hopeful laugh and her wings unfolded. Then, she started looking around the room again. “This place is nice,” she said, “I remember when there was nothing on this island but some bushes and small animals. That niece of mine sure spruced it up.”

We chatted for hours. Mostly, we talked about my recovery, but we also found time to talk about my dad. She said that she hadn’t found any rumor or indication of where he could be. Dad was brilliant, but he was getting old. I worried that if I waited too long, I would find him too late. Tyche reassured me that he could take care of himself and that I shouldn’t rush my healing. She asked about the mess of splintered wood, wax, and feathers that sat in the corner, and I replied that I wasn’t ready to deal with it yet. Tyche gave a courteous nod and changed the subject. She stayed for a meal, then left with the tide. She did not say when or if she would be back. As Circe had told me repeatedly, Tyche was more capricious than a ship in a squall and wouldn’t stay in any one place for too long; I shouldn’t expect her to come again.

To be honest, that disheartened me. Could she be annoying? Absolutely. From the day she fished me out of the sea, Tyche knew how to get under my skin. But she was the first person to ever treat me like an individual. Back on Crete, my social interactions were limited. Everyone knew me as the son of Daedalus and would engage with me for that fact alone, always with some new idea for an invention, never for me. I never had any real friends. This was especially true when King Minos restricted my dad’s movements to a wing of the palace. I was forced in with him as Minos’s ultimate bargaining chip. If Dad stepped out of line, I would be the one to suffer.

In the short time that I had known Tyche, I felt like she considered me for who I was, not who my father was. Granted, I never imagined my first true friend would be a deity. At times, I wondered what she saw in me that would be worth her attention, especially with how curt I tended to be with her in those first conversations.

After the first two weeks, my bones had set enough for me to put weight on them. Circe lashed together a crutch made from some of the larger scraps of the flying apparatus. Walking was slow going; I began by moving around my room, shuffling half steps at a time.

I fell often.

The first time, my crutch clipped the foot of the bed and pitched me down. I caught myself with my free arm, but my shoulder dislocated again and the cuts in my back reopened. Circe heard the fall and came to right me. As she tended my wounds again, she muttered something about them being stubborn and how I was going through elixir faster than she could make it. An apology started in my throat, but she stopped me. She didn’t blame me, but that made me blame myself even more. It made me consider how burdensome my life had been. I never helped my dad. He tried getting me involved in his work when I was younger, but I filled my time with other things, wanting to separate myself from him. Before long, the invitations stopped coming. How much time had I wasted that could have been better spent by his side? Here I was again, a burden to someone else, and now less able to lessen that load.

Fortunately, as my condition improved, Circe felt it necessary to keep me busy, so she instructed me on how she runs things on the island. Gradually, she left me to tend to some of the more tedious tasks on my own, which gave her time to focus on her other projects. In the morning, the pigs and other livestock needed to be fed. Before the sun reached its apex, I gathered fruit along the trails: dates, figs, grapes, and such. During the hot hours of the day, I stayed indoors and spun the wool Circe collected from the ewes into yarn. Late afternoon is for the bees: hive inspection and honey collection. By the time the sun started to set, I went to the rocky shoals on the north coast where I caught fish for supper. After clearing the table, I would take the ripest of the fruit collected and store them in jars with the honey, thus keeping them from spoiling for longer. There were certainly other things to do on the island, but the routine helped me climb out of the malaise my rehabilitation accommodated. At last, I could shed my burdensome ways and be a support.

By the time I settled into a fixed daily rhythm, however, I hardly thought about my dad. Actually, the worry that I might never see him again was always in the back of my mind, but the motivation to leave and look for him was not. There were many things I needed to apologize to him for; many things I didn’t know how to put into words. For the most part, I felt guilty for the way I treated him up to our escape. In my mind, I wasn’t ready to find him, so I put off my search. I reasoned that as long as I was working hard on Aeaea I was making progress to that goal. This illusion fell apart when Tyche came to visit again. She found me hunting in the crags at low tide.

“Wow! You’re still here?”

I looked up from the hole I was scouring and saw her, hands on her hips, with a look of mock-bewilderment on her face.

I stood up straight and scoffed, “Nice to see you, too.”

She hopped across some half-submerged boulders, using her silver wings to glide casually from one to the next, over to me.

“I’d thought that you’d have left by now,” she said.

“Well, I haven’t. Are you gonna do something about it?”

Tyche shrugged, “I might. We’ll see.”

“Hm… okay.”

She started humming, clearly chuffed, and I resumed my hunt. The hole was empty, so I moved on to another and Tyche followed.

After a minute, she spoke up, “What are you looking for?”

“Crabs, octopus, clams… anything really.”

“Cool, what are you going to do with them?”

I glanced at her, raising an eyebrow. “Eat them.”

Her face twisted in disgust. “Why would you want to do that?”

I was a little taken aback and stood up to look her straight in the eye. She lives in the sea, I thought. Surely, eating shellfish and the like was normal for her.

“Let me guess,” I said. “You’re close friends with a crab.”

“Crab? No. Giant squid? Yes. She’s lots of fun to hang out with; great sense of humor. But that’s not the point. They’re so smelly and slimy and chewy. There are so many better things you could eat. My niece hasn’t been starving you, has she?”

“Of course not, she’s been very generous.”

“Then, I don’t get it.”

“Suit yourself.”

“I will!” She gave a self-assured nod.

Our conversation carried us from rock to rock along the shoreline. I can’t recall what we talked about, but we were laughing and having fun.

By the time the sun hit the horizon, a quiet moment came. I harpooned an eel that had the misfortune of sticking its head out of its hiding place and added it to the net of other creatures that had been caught. When I looked back the way I had come, Tyche was sitting down, wrapped in her wings, and watching me. Her face was still and stone-like.

“What is it?” I asked.

“How long are you planning on staying here?”

“Until I get better.”

“But aren’t you?”

“Maybe, but like you said last time, I don’t want to rush it.”

“Rush it? It’s been almost five months! What about your father?”

Tyche’s question brought my guilt to the surface, but instead of meeting her with understanding and letting it out, I forced it down and stopped it up. “Why do you care?”

Tyche flinched then rose to her feet. “I just thought he meant more to you now.”

“He does! But it’s no use wandering around looking for someone who is actively hiding for his life!”

“So, you’re just going to stay here and do nothing?” Her voice was level and paced.

“Not forever. But it would be a waste of time and energy to go looking for him without a plan.”

“So once you have a plan, then you’ll go looking for him?” Her insistence was annoying.

“I will.” I felt like I was trying to convince myself more than her.

“Then, perhaps you should spend more time looking for options than distracting yourself with chores.”

“What’s wrong with helping Circe? She appreciates it.”

“I’m sure she does, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re using it as an excuse.”

“An excuse? I’m finally choosing to help someone besides me, and you think it’s an excuse for not looking for my dad?”

Tyche’s eyes flared a violent sea green that I had never seen before. “I do! And the sooner you recognize that, the sooner you can clean up that mess of wax and feathers in your room and move on!”

Before I could respond, she opened her wings wide, beat them once, and vanished in a burst of sea spray. For most of my return to the house, I replayed our conversation in my mind, trying to think of clever ways I might’ve replied to her statements. I was stuck in a rut of bitter emotions. Some of them were directed at myself, but I am afraid to say that several were aimed at Tyche for doing nothing more than revealing the truth of the situation: I was stuck.


Later that evening, Circe asked me to join her. She sat at her loom, the one my dad made for her, and weaved the shuttle through the threads. A large lioness laid next to her purring and staring at me. She must have noticed my sour demeanor; not that I did anything to disguise it.

“What is the matter?” Circe asked.

“Did Tyche speak with you?” I replied.

“She did, but I want to hear it from you.”

I bent down next to the lioness and stroked its back. “She thinks I’m wasting my time here.”

“And what do you think?”

I stood and started pacing around the room.

“I think she is too worried about something that doesn’t concern her.”

“Why do you think she is getting involved then?” Circe had yet to lift her eyes from her work.

“How should I know?” I said. “You’re the one who said she does whatever she wants for no reason.”

“Just because Tyche does what she wants, does not mean she has no reason.”

“Whatever her reason, how does she get to tell me what I should be doing?”

She paused what she was doing and looked at me. “Do you remember what I told you on your first night here? No matter the reason, the Fates put Tyche in a position to save your life. She made a choice, and so invested in your future. Whether you like it or not. She is a part of your life.”

I was about to protest some more, but Circe held up her hand. “Rest on it,” she said, “do not say anything else you might regret.”

She excused me, and I retired to my room. I tried going straight to sleep but couldn’t. The next few days and nights were also restless. Slowly, however, my anger turned to shame, and I could finally see what was so obvious from the beginning: My departure was delayed because I was afraid of what I would find at the end of my journey. I had found consistency and comfort on Aeaea, and I was slow to give it up for the unpredictability and danger the future held if I left in search of my dad.

Before the fifth moon was full, I decided to leave. What I came to realize was that Tyche knew I would regret my decision if I did nothing. Despite all the work I had been doing around Aeaea, I was distracting myself. I needed to clean up the flying apparatus. Circe never pressed me about it, so I grew used to it sitting there. But Tyche was right; I needed to sort through it and dispose of it before I left. That was my first step. Then, I needed to make a plan. Even though I had no clue where my dad was or how to find him, it would be better for me to go and fail than to stay and wonder. I didn’t know what the Fates had in store for me, but I knew it was somewhere out in the world, not there in the care of the Aeaean.


About the Author

Henry Young is a writer who enjoys reading and exploring myth. While he has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, he finds more joy in pursuing writing and will be beginning his master’s degree in English at Brigham Young University in the Fall.


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