On the cursed island of Ithaca, each summer brings the hanging of twelve maidens—offerings to the vengeful sea god. When Leto is sacrificed, she awakens on the shore of a long-forgotten island, prison to the tragic and immortal Melantho. Together, they must break the curse and unravel its terrible history—before the sea reclaims them both.
In the vein of CIRCE, a sapphic reimagining of THE ODYSSEY that explores the fate of Penelope’s hanged maids, featuring murderous monster girls and a grieving prince destined to die.
A silent maid braided Leto’s hair into an elaborate crown for her execution.
Her knees smarted as she knelt on the rough flagstone floor of the little room. Her arms, pale but for the bruises already blooming there, protested and cramped against the rope that bound them—wrist to wrist—behind her back.
The maid pulled Leto’s head sideways and pushed in yet another pin, scraping the sharp metal against her scalp and drawing thick strands of dark hair taut. Leto gritted her teeth and blinked hard, furiously avoiding the gaze of the hulking guard standing watch at the only door. He was fully armoured; a sword strapped at his hip and his features obscured by a shining silver helmet.
Leto fixed her eyes instead on the flickering light of the fireplace ahead. The scent of the burning incense hung in a choking fog and filled the room with a close, oppressive heat. Sweat ran in rivulets down her neck, over the terrible black scales that had risen on the skin there, marking her for slaughter, and disappeared beneath the neckline of her gown. The carefully arranged curls about her face were already damp and frizzy.
Some sacrifice. It was a bitter thought. Perhaps the gods would be so disgusted that they would simply send her back.