Setting Off

"Oh my dear child, you can't go!" wailed Eurykleia. "You are all that is left to us. If you go, the suitors may decide to take the throne without you, then what will become of your father? He is more than willing to stand up to bullies, but it could mean his death. Even if nothing so drastic occurs, he may die of a broken heart should he lose you as well."

"No, no don't say that, Eurykleia," replied Telemakhe tears once more filling her eyes. "I've got to find some word of mother. Staying here trapped by the suitors isn't going to help either." The cry tearing hotly at Telemakhe's chest made it difficult to act, but she refused to be deterred.

"Who put this thought in your head? They must be wrong," said Eurykleia. She reached out to keep Telemakhe from packing her things.

"Stop! This is what I choose to do. I believe the deities are with me in this. Nevertheless, I choose. I love Dad and some part of me that still remembers her, loves Mother too. This is the journey I have chosen to take in order to find both her and myself.

"One thing Eurykleia, you must swear not to tell Dad I am gone until two weeks after today or such time as he misses me." With those words Telemakhe firmly grabbed her nurse's wrist. "Swear it!"

"I swear, Telemakhe. But you must swear to come back to us."

"Oh dear nursie, I do. You know I do," said Telemakhe kissing Eurykleia and hugging her. From outside Telemakhe could hear Mentor calling her out. The morning star was only just rising above the horizon. "Tell Dad I swear to return too. If I saw him crying now, I know I wouldn't be able to leave."

With one last kiss Telemakhe took her leave. Through the hall she crept with silent steps, only rustling so much as leaves blown by a soughing zephyr. In their drugged sleep the suitors hardly moved and certainly did not hear her loudest footfall. Nearby the remains of a half eaten oxen continued to drip over dying embers, testimony to still more waste and thievery. Soon she would be well away from the suitors, their villainy and their taunting and salacious remarks.

Outside she joined Mentor who stood beside the donkeys she had laden earlier with provisions from her mother's storeroom. With one last glance at her home she turned her face to the sea. Now she travelled to her destiny whatever it may be.

A few hours later she set sail onto a winedark ocean, sails billowing, the lapping waves playing against the ship's hull. She sailed past the stars, past the rosy golden Dawn and on to Pylos.

Nestor & Pester.

Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps