Hermione, the original. The abandoned daughter of Helen of Troy and King Menelaus of Sparta. Fifteen year old Io has no vivid memories of either of her parents. They've both been gone since she was nine. Now, as she begins to finally learn what really happened, Io has finally learned that she's living right under her mother's beautiful, loathsome shadow—and she doesn't know how to escape it.
Mother glanced at me resting in her arms. I was a very quiet baby, never complaining or crying, but she still handed me over to Nurse in disgust. “I never wanted this child, Polyhymnia. She frustrates me. Take her out of my presence, she prevents me from sleeping.” Father came in and said softly, “Helen, try to get some rest. You’re exhausted.” Meanly but also confusedly Mother snapped back, “Leave me alone, Menelaus. I don’t want you right now . . . I don’t want anything right now . . . I don’t know what I want in life . . .” She stretched languidly on the soft embroidered cushions and stared up at the colorful ceiling, eyes blank and wide.
A week later, Paris arrived.
Prince Paris brought what my mother wanted to Sparta—life. He came and offered a fresh-faced, seemingly beautiful second chance at life, and my mother, still under the influences of sickness, agreed.
Yes, Mother was sick. Since the day I was born, I was accused of being Helen of Sparta’s downfall. I was seen as the beginning of Mother’s transformation into Helen of Troy.
That Helen was the one everyone knew. The Helen everyone despised.
And because they loathed her, they hated me.