Chapter IV: Allea Iacta Est

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"Luck is what happens when preparation, meets opportunity"--Julius Caesar
Allea Iacta Est-The die is cast--Julius Caesar

"Time to wake up." Came the soothing sound of a feminine voice.

Cornelia felt a gentle tap on her shoulder and blinked the sleep away from her eyes. "Mom? I had the strangest dream." Her eyes adjusted to the pale white light of the room. The woman that stood by her was not her mother. She had the same golden hair, but that is where the similarity to Demetra ended. Her mother had kind brown eyes and skin tinted by the moon.
This woman had a gentle voice, but cold steel grey eyes. Cornelia felt a sting of jealousy as she eyed the woman's delicate sun-kissed tresses that hung past her shoulders.

Cornelia scrabbled backward in panic. Her vision flooded with pure white light. The thing she had been laying on looked like a crystal coffin. It had Large concave glass panels that rose up around her and hieroglyphics moved in mesmerizing patterns across their surfaces. Though it was open, she felt trapped, and then she remembered. "Do I have to stay here?"

"How many times do you have to ask that?" Hades scolded.

"The girl is in shock, have a heart Hades." The woman cautioned, and turned her attention back to Cornelia, "Dear, my name is Herancla Mercacia Juno. I go by my last name when in town. I find it to be more professional, but here you can call me Hera." Her smile was infectious, and then alarm bells went off in Cornelia's mind, as the stories of her prowess in Rome came flooding back.

"Your skills are legendary." Cornelia's answered now more conscious than ever of her plain voice and lackluster brown hair. "It was in your care that Tita was able to bear a child. Some say that you use powers, not of the mortal realm."

The woman chuckled, "Oh aren't you darling!" She smiled and shouted back to Hades, "see here my healing is the stuff of legends," she emitted a soft knowing chuckle to herself. "I like this planet. Dear tell me more of my reputation," she leaned into Cornelia her eyes were wide with excitement, and her scarlet lips pulled back to reveal her pearlescent teeth. Though, Hera's excitement was infectious. This woman was the most human of the group and Cornelia was grateful for her kindness.

Cornelia stuttered, "they say you have an impossible gift." She hesitated unwilling to say the rest. The body of the rumors seemed exaggerated now. This woman, of legend, sat on the side of Cornelia's glass coffin like Flavia used to sit on her bed. The familiarity made the rumors seem too far-fetched. Hera was gorgeous, kind, and skilled; but certainly not a goddess.

"Go on," Hera prodded, eager to hear more of her glowing reputation amongst the Roman people.

Cornelia sighed and relinquished her last fact; she felt crazy saying it. "They say that you have the gifts of a goddess."

Hera sat back with a broad smile on her face and tossed her luxurious hair from side to side as she eyed her crewmen. "Hear that boys, I am a goddess." Cornelia believed herself to be mad, but the laughter that trickled like diamonds sounded eerily close to a cackle?

"Hera, we are not supposed to be affecting their culture in this way. It goes against code 626-72." Cornelia did not see when Hercules has entered the room. He moved with such practiced grace that the floor did not even complain under his foot.

Hera glared at him, "you are such a killjoy Herc, what harm could one silly rumor cause?"

She turned back to Cornelia, "go on girl tell me more."

Hercules cut her off. "Zeus demands the girl's presence on the bridge."

Cornelia felt trepidation set in as she remembered her injury. Her hand, driven by instinct, drifted to the calf, torn to shreds. She braced herself for the inevitable ghost limb that came with amputation, but as her hand crested her knee, her skin was still there. She sat up and dared herself to look. She gasped, only a faint scar remained.

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