A Memory of Wind

A Memory of Wind

illustration by sam weber

After Helen and her lover Paris fled to Troy, her husband King Menelaus called his allies to war. Under the leadership of King Agamemnon, the allies met in the harbor at Aulis. They prepared to sail for Troy, but they could not depart, for there was no wind.

Kings Agamemnon, Menelaus, and Odysseus consulted with Calchas, a priest of Artemis, who revealed that the angered goddess was balking their departure. The kings asked Calchas how they might convince Artemis to grant them a wind. He answered that she would only relent after King Agamemnon brought his eldest daughter, Iphigenia, to Aulis and sacrificed her to the goddess.

* * *

I began turning into wind the moment that you promised me to Artemis.

Before I woke, I lost the flavor of rancid oil and the shade of green that flushes new leaves. They slipped from me, and became gentle breezes that would later weave themselves into the strength of my gale. Between the first and second beats of my lashes, I also lost the grunt of goats being led to slaughter, and the roughness of wool against calloused fingertips, and the scent of figs simmering in honey wine.

Around me, the other palace girls slept fitfully, tossing and grumbling through the dry summer heat. I stumbled to my feet and fled down the corridor, my footsteps falling smooth against the cool, painted clay. As I walked, the sensation of the floor blew away from me, too. It was as if I stood on nothing.

I forgot the way to my mother’s rooms. I decided to visit Orestes instead. I also forgot how to find him. I paced bright corridors, searching. A male servant saw me, and woke a male slave, who woke a female slave, who roused herself and approached me, bleary-eyed, mumbling. “What’s wrong, Lady Iphigenia? What do you require?”

I had no answers.

33 comments
Irene Gallo
1. Irene
This is _such_ a haunting and beautiful story. I'm looking forward to reading it many more times.
Rikka Cordin
3. Rikka
lyrical and fully epic in its own right, haunting is definitely the right word to describe this...
Genevieve Williams
5. welltemperedwriter
This is amazing. I love this myth and this is an incredibly well-done interpretation of it.
Rob Munnelly
6. RobMRobM
Very well done story - and the illustation was beautiful as well.
Tyler Sliwkanich
7. slikz21
Thank you very much, this was a great read.

On a similar note, it would be interesting to see your takes on Andromache, Penelope, or Lavinia for example. What always strikes me when reading mythology is the brevity when characters like Iphigenia are mentioned - if they are mentioned at all.

And I'm definitely going to agree with the description of haunting: "I need you to remember me for me." Enough said.
gorillo
8. gorillo
that was incredible.
gorillo
9. Planeswalker
That story was beautiful. Thank you. As is the lady in the illustration.
Lambert Muis
10. Leotrak
Wow... Just... Wow. Very impressive read.
Francesca Forrest
11. Asakiyume
This was a **beautiful** story. I loved the way you wove the storytelling. Loved the way things slipped away from Iphigenia. Loved her words right at the end, also her words to Orestes.

All the characters--Clytemnestra, Agamemnon, Helen--wonderfully rich.
gorillo
12. Chris Furst
Beautiful story!
gorillo
13. Gidget
slikz21, you should read Margaret Atwood's Penelopiad, but yes, this story is indeed haunting and well-written.
gorillo
14. Kdah
Haunting and well written it may be, but it's not science fiction or fantasy. Why is it here?
gorillo
15. HarlequinZane
Kdah - I'd venture that it falls under fantasy, what with sentient wind and all. It's a mythic re-write, which is a genre of fantasy.

The story is beautiful, haunting and rich. It's a real gift. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
Jill Taker
16. ladakhdress
Thank you so much for such a great story. It really took my boredom away.
gorillo
17. Samantha R.
That was wonderful. Thank you!
gorillo
18. Threephase
Wow. That was truly gripping. I was just reading along until the 4th part, and suddenly I just KNEW that I was going to have to finish it all, right through to part 17, immediately.

Thank you for a wonderful read!
gorillo
19. bookwench
This is amazing... I wanted to cry, reading it. Thank you.
gorillo
20. BamaCLM
Haunting is indeed the word. This story has haunted me since I first read it.

Beautifully written.
Harry Frodo
21. Frodoo
I always wonder how someone can write tragic stories. How someone can kill a character so beautifully created from their thoughts. but I still read them and some of them do wet my eyes. and yours is one such. really beautifully written. but I really wonder how could you kill a character as beautiful as Iphigenia. or is it that some stories and characters are meant to be so. does sadness and death only can make few stories complete? I always had this question but could never ask any. So thought of asking you because Iphigenia is really one of those characters which I liked so much that I did not like being killed in the end.
gorillo
22. Rachel S.
Thank you, everyone, for the kind comments.

Frodoo, you seemed to be asking me specifically, so I thought I'd respond. I apologize if it's out of place:

"but I really wonder how could you kill a character as beautiful as Iphigenia. or is it that some stories and characters are meant to be so. does sadness and death only can make few stories complete?"

Just answering for myself -- this story is based, of course, on the old stories about the Trojan war. All we really know about Iphigenia is her death. The old stories imagine her as incidental. Who she was, what she thought and said and did and felt, didn't really matter to those writers. They were interested in how her father felt about killing her.

So, to answer your question, yes I think it's true that some stories are meant to be so. In this case, Iphigenia's death is the beginning (of my impulse to write) and the end (of almost everything we know about her from traditional sources). But I wanted to imagine her as more than just her death, to create a middle for her story.
Chris Meadows
23. Robotech_Master
Is there any way I can see this in the form of a single page, so I can easily convert it to read on my iPod Touch?
MC Z
24. Hapalochlaena
I'm not familiar with the iPod Touch, but you can download this story in PDF, HTML, EPUB and MOBI formats by clicking on DOWNLOAD in the sidebar.
Harry Frodo
25. Frodoo
It is definetly true that "A memory of wind" is more than just an end of a person. I thought it was purely fictional and expected a happy ending(its just subjective as i usually like the happy ending stories). Your style of writing really makes the reader get involved into it. I look forward to read one such happy story.
Christopher Hatton
26. Xopher
This is amazing. What luminous writing! You've taken this familiar tale and made it fresh and new and heartbreaking--or rather you've taken this character from a valued possession into a person with a whole life, and given her a story.

For those of you less familiar with the story, Agamemnon gets his eventually, but the grief doesn't end when he dies. That golden apple caused no end of tragedy.
King Rat
29. kingrat
So the downloads title the story "The Memory of Wind" but the web page list it as "A Memory of Wind".

What's the actual title?
gorillo
30. mbocmd
Really a nice read. Short and unforgettable. I like the "I need you to remember me for me" - a lot in that short statement.
gorillo
31. obekr
I just wrote an analysis of Sam Weber's illustration for the story "A Memory of Wind" for one of my classes. My analysis was supposed to be written for the illustration only but then turned out to be for both the written story and the illustration because the written story influenced my analysis and also made it easier for me to actually read the illustration. It was very helpful to have the story available. Both artist and the author did a very good job.
gorillo
32. Arish Rajan
Rachel you are special .. to be able to feel this ... think this ... i shall not say more ... for magic can be lost by a single word which doesn't understand ...
Robyn Ng
33. robynical
Can't wait to read more of your work, Rachel - this story will haunt me for a long time, I can already tell.
gorillo
34. louisajane
I loved this. Iphigenia is my favorite character not just in Greek mythology, but in the history of all the books I've read. I feel this intense identification with her that I can't quite explain using words, and reading this story was strangely cathartic.

I'm so happy you gave her a backstory--I was thinking the other day that I wished she had one, and that she was more of a substantial character within the general outline of the Trojan War.

Great job! I look forward to seeing more of your writing.

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