Actions

Work Header

The Darkness Shall Clear A Path for Her

Chapter Text

A deep inhale; and then a cry.
He was the first son to be born to the Lord Kronos. He vaguely remembers struggling to open his unproven eye lids and glimpsing the world he had been brought into for only a second.
A scream echoes through the air and he’s snatched from his mother’s breast and once again is met with darkness. But this was not the same comforting warmth as his mother’s womb. It was a constricting plummet into an acidic cell. This enveloping damp pit within his father’s stomach would be his home for what seemed an eternity.
Yet he was not the first to have endured such cruelty. Hestia had been the first to be plucked from their mother’s embrace and swallowed like venison by their Lord Father. Demeter and Hera’s fate had followed the same course as their eldest sister; his luck was no worse. Over the millennia, his mind and body matured. He began to believe they had all been abandoned; forgotten by those who had conceived them. It was not until much later that he learned the truth of his cruel fate.
A blinding light from the unknown above fell blaringly upon his blanched face and something tumbled down into their imprisonment. Another child had been born and hurled into their lurching pen. With the arrival of Poseidon, the likelihood of fleeing their perpetual chamber seemed unattainable.
He had expected another additive to their paternal band of hostages that had been formed in the bowels of their loving patriarch; but a rock, was not what he had anticipated. Surely, there had been a mistake of some sorts. For lying at their feet was a rock that had been swaddled in an infant’s attire. It was then that he understood that some deception had been conspired presently. Hope and redemption had been pitched down into that despairing cavity that day; and he grasped onto that chance and awaited what was to come.

If you’ve never heard the sound of a Titan retching before, I’ll try to explain: It sounds like a surge of wind and water toppling an entire continent. Think about a house being blown down by air and liquid; and then multiply that by a town. Then a city. Try a state. Now a country. It is the most petrifying noise that you will never hear; and he was in the center of it all.

If he was ever asked, he would say he didn’t remember much of the war. There was a feeling of being rammed upwards; like a geyser jetting towards the air. He remembers looking up towards the sky and a heat spreading through his being and giving him the strength to stand. There, in full maturity were his siblings; all gods and goddesses bred with immeasurable and varying power. The one he did not recognize would be known as the King of the Gods, the Almighty Zeus.
The battle that ensued would be known as the Titanomachy; a decade of grueling bloodshed against their jailer. The only images he could recollect were familiar faces frozen in agony and the sound of metal slicing into flesh. He had almost gone mad through the fighting after only being ensnared for centuries in the belly of his enemy.
Finally pinned and defeated, he and his brothers began to hack away at their father’s form. The Titan howled and writhed beneath his scythe’s puncturing blade. But he reveled in his own father’s anguish for each carve was a screeching triumph within. He sensed a darkness seep into his immortal soul and as the thrashing ceased, a malicious smile stole unto his scarred face.
Straws were drawn and he was cheated out of his birthright, but he was weary and took his claim with resentment bubbling there beneath his skin. As he turned and departed, a dark haze surrounded him and pulled at his very essence. The earth beneath his bare feet trembled and invited him into their depths. A cool ambience spread through his being and crept into his ever beating heart. Priceless metals and gems broke through the surface of the firm ground as he stalked by and retreated again when he was out of reach. He journeyed into the deepest reaches of the earth and there he began: Hades Aidoneus, the Lord of the Underworld.

Chapter Text

Absolute despair and the sensation of a callous, icy hand clawing at something beneath his chest; but he pushed the feelings from his consciousness. There was so much to do.

The Fields of Punishment and the Asphodel Meadows had been an undemanding creation. Designing each had taken a couple centuries to perfect. But the Elysian Fields proved to be beyond problematic. Every feature had to be torn down and reconstructed again. One simply couldn’t craft an infinite habitat from a notion he himself had never been subjected to. The closest he could relate to such a feeling would have been when he had enacted his revenge upon his Lord Father. Vexation welled up and pounded from the inside of his skull.

He suddenly scowled at his present position. Here he was, The Lord of Fear and Death and the eldest son of the Olympian Gods, slaving away beneath the dirt while his youngest sibling was celebrated and honored with a three-hundred-year wedding night. None of them had wanted to undertake such a substantial obligation, so they had handed it off to him to deal with.

He was sensitive to how unalike he was to his siblings. Kneeling to glimpse his appearance in the Styx, it was irrefutable why he had been cast into the depths and declined a throne in the hall of Olympus; the resemblance to his father was staggering. Sorrow was held in the depths of his eyes at the form he looked upon. Thick, powder pink lips formed a bland expression. High-cut cheekbones sliced angularly and a square forehead and chin etched a cold expression. The same ear-length pitch colored strands framed the palest of skin and bitter blue eyes shielded by thick black lashes glowered back at him. He stature was that of six foot five (when in mortal form) and built like a runner; lean and muscular with hidden power beneath his skin. Broad, strong shoulders gave way to strong arms and hands that showed the toil of his work with callouses. His chest, well defined by the muscle of his labor and his waist dipped to present a strapping abdomen. Rippling thighs and calves stood above bare feet that wiggled pale toes.

Scars littered the majority of his insipid skin. When he had emerged to fight, he had not cared to clothe himself as his siblings had. They delved into the depths beneath his chin and arms and wrapped around his torso and legs. His right eyebrow had been sliced straight down the middle when barely dodging his father’s incoming scythe. His left eye hosted a brown birthmark just beneath the bottom lid that branched out from the corner of his face and stopped at his temple. It was a murky brown shade that resembled a stem of lavender. A long black fabric was tied just below his navel and reached a couple inches above his knees to cover more sensitive areas. The rest of his body was covered by a thin robe to keep him from the harsh bit of his wintry home. He stood and stared for a moment longer before briskly removing himself from the edge of the water. Looking any longer would have only furthered his self loathe.

 

Hades brooded on the perimeter of the dense tree line and looked on in overwhelming envy. These, creatures, the first humans to be brought into being, were suited with two separate heads and four arms and legs; a most amusing and curious sight. He cursed the fates and unconsciously begged for a sliver of happiness that these mortal beings seemed to be consumed in. Several warm tears spilled from his eyes and settled themselves on his dark bottom lashes. Muddled and agitated, he wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his robes and raged off without even a glimpse behind.

 

He had comprised an unhealthy habit of outing to the upper world to observe the newborn mortals that roamed cheerfully above his domain. “Bittersweet” could only be used to describe these “encounters”. He secretly longed for that feeling of completeness. Why could he, as a God, not experience such joy? What had he done to deserve such a lonesome, eternal existence? He wondered if the fates were so unjust to keep him from that which he yearned for so earnestly.

He had been there that day; and he later wished that he had been somewhere else, anywhere else, but there. Zeus could be seen appearing in his usual shower of golden light not ten yards from his own concealment within the trees. He summoned more shadows to veil his presence and watched on in intense curiosity and uneasiness. A slash, like that of the earth being torn from its gravitational pull, was heard and it was all Hades could do to cover his ears to block out the agony of a thousand woeful souls. As the whirring faded and his vision cleared, he looked up to view the mass devastation before him.

The humans that had once been so content were now wailing and shrieking in misery. They had been ripped in half. Souls that had once been connected to their mates were now separated and lost without the other. Though, some had not lived through the split. Mangled bodies lie beside each other with varying limbs and heads. Zeus had deemed them too powerful and had diminished their control in the most revolting of ways. Anger and then grief clouded Hades eyes and he wept into the foliage beneath him.

 

Hades spent the next several years amassing and burying the bodies of each human that had been slayed owing to Zeus’ crusade. The Olympians peered from above and turned a blind eye as they left him to his own devices. Hestia was the only one to look on and wished to aide her younger brother. Only the hearth, the source of her power, kept her from doing so. And she turned away and wept silently into the fire. As the last broken creature was laid into the ground, Hades retreated solemnly to his kingdom. A dark, smoky fog surrounded him and swam through his veins.

His hands; rough and course and pale, he studied intently. He could not create something beautiful from hate; but only through love; he had seen this love. In every stare and laugh and action from the mortals, he had glimpsed the true passion that bended all of creation to its will. He did not remember the details of the development; only the feeling. Warm and filling and so very pleasant. When he finally opened his eyes to perceive his work, he was rendered speechless. The Elysian Fields stretched before him in all their vast splendor. The souls were united and brought to their new homes in the Fields. That night, Hades wept for that which would never be.

 

Millennia’s came and went, but he never forgot what had transpired. A palace of obsidian loomed just beyond the Styx and climbed past the clouds of shadow. Shades and souls trudged their way to judgment and awaited their fates. Zeus proved to be a man of leisure and some of the Gods had retreated here and vowed allegiance to Hades in this time, grateful for a change of character. Aidoneous had denied their promises and instead granted them a home in his domain. He did not care for such frivolities and held them to equal statues, rather than treat them like dirt beneath his feet. In time, they loved him for goodness. Charon steered spirits down the river to the lines. The Fates spun and snipped threads of life in the darkness. Hecate stood to the right and Thanatos to the left of the throne; and seated, in all his chilling glory was the Lord Hades Aidoneous himself.

Chapter Text

In the blackest of pits, the Moirai spun, measured, and snipped in a pregnant silence. Tireless was their toil as they fashioned Fate itself within their nimble fingers. Sunken eye cavities met with an intense gaze of worry for what they knew was to come. A joint eye hung securely above them in the stale air as it gazed for them into time of old, a time of the present, and that which had yet to pass. They hissed and quarreled over whether or not they should reveal to their Lord the child that would be promised to him; for such a phenomenon had not been seen since the dawn of the mortal earth. But they settled their worries aside; he would know. He would have to know.

Hades sat perched upon his throne like a predator eager to pounce upon innocent pray. His mind was lost in sorrow and grief, yet his face was that of hardened stone and a rampaging fury quaked between his brows. As the Fates entered his throne room with an air that told him they must speak with him regarding news of the utmost magnitude, he straightened himself and raised his regal chin. They approached stealthily and bowed at the foot of the obsidian steps before his feet.
Hades was continually astounded by the appearance of these goddesses before him. Cloaked in dress rags of the purest white, their bodies gave no distinguished shape to them. Their faces were of an ash grey hue and the sunken cavities within their skull disturbed the palate of their simple features. There was a strong resemblance between them, yet as one stared, their facial appearances grew fuzzy and deadly frightful to look upon. Hades glanced away from it before he could disturb himself in their presence.
“My ladies,” Hades stood abruptly and bowed deeply before them before descending the stairs beneath him. “To what do I owe such a rare and unexpected audience? I pray everything is well with the cosmos.”
Hades shuddered with nervous anticipation for their reply. After all, a visit from the Fates was not deemed fortunate.
“We have seen Hades,” they replied in a trembling unison. “We the Sisters have seen a child.”
“A child? What use would I have with this child? You know that I no longer venture above to the mortal realm,” he paused. “Not since..”
He stopped himself short and struggled to swallow the pain he felt when he recalled the gruesome event that haunted him. His calloused fingers itched to claw at his chest and rip the heart beating within if only to quell the emotions churning there. Tears threatened to spill from his eyes, but he slowed his shallow breathing and calmed himself for the time being.
“No Hades, this child has been chosen. This child has been promised to you. No man, god or mortal, can hinder this pairing.”
Hades turned away and exposed his back to the Three to allow himself a brief moment to dwell on their riddled words.
“You know of the first creatures before the Split do you not?”
His muscles stiffened in apprehension ad his breath quickened with fright. His only movement was to slowly nod his head in assent. He was terrified, but he listened.
“Lord Hades, Fate will bring you a soul with who you are matched to. An eternal counterpart.”
His body whipped around to face them with a sharp snap and tears welled up behind his lids. Disbelief and shock coursed through his veins and he was rendered speechless from his confusion.
“I.. I don’t.. don’t understand. The last of these first mortals were wiped by Zeus’ hand. I WAS THERE! I WATCHED AS HE TORE THEM FROM EACH OTHER! THEY WERE HELPLESS! DO NOT OFFER ME FALSE HOPE WHEN THERE IS NONE! WHY WOULD FATE SO KINDLY SUBMIT TO MY DESIRES NOW? HAVE I NOT SUFFERED ENOUGH WHERE NOW YOU DELIVER TO ME LIES AND DECEIT?”
He looked to the sky, or where it would have been and screamed up into it with clenched fists and a blazing hurt ripped through him. He howled and sunk to his knees in defeat and he found he could not bring himself to stand.
“We do not lie. One has been promised. Have you not prayed in earnest for such a deliverance?”
The Fates looked down upon their beaten Lord and pitied his broken state. They approached his weakened body with caution and the middle sister lifted his chin gently to gaze into glazed eyes.
“In two hundred years’ time, on the eve of the Summer Solstice, a child will be born. This child will be kept apart from the world they know and will suffer greatly, as you yourself have. Never will a love as yours be so great that even Love itself will grow bitter with jealousy. You have not been forgotten Lord Hades. You will be rewarded.”
With those parting words, the Sisters departed back to their pit and Hades sank into black.

Chapter Text

As dusk fell in the shades of blue and pinks, Zeus watched his wife slip beneath the white silk covers of their bed and her eyes close as she drifted off to sleep. He smiled wide as he listened to her soft snores of slumber and made his way swiftly out of the room. As he passed the gardens, he slowed his gait to inhale the sweet scent of fauna grown there. Lilacs and lily’s, roses, tulips, and rosemary assaulted his nostrils and he breathed deeply. Nothing soothed his nerves during like his wife’s kept garden. He shook his speckled grey hair of head and continued on his way. He would not sleep on this night.

 

Unlike most of her extravagant siblings, Demeter had preferred to make her home alongside the mortals. As Goddesses of the Harvest, she felt closer to home where there was soil and richness of the earth to be found. She was plainer than the other immortals; she chose to be so. A woman of medium stature, her skin matched the same deep richness and shade of the wet soil beneath her feet. Eyes the color of willow trees at the beginnings of spring were shielded by light brown lashes and dark eyebrows. A simple white mid-sleeved tunic, smudged with the colors of her work hid her shapely curves beneath; one would mistake her for a lovely middle-aged gardener if they did not look twice. She wore no shoes as to connect herself to ground she stood upon. She rarely visited Olympus, but for the celebrations and to visit on common occasions.

Demeter had never been one of a dramatic nature. She was usually found alone, but on the occasion, nymphs of land and water aided her. She kept to her own and stayed busy. Mortals were of no ultimate concern to her as she was a major part of their livelihood, so sacrifices and honor in her name were frequent and plenty. In the days before the tragedy, no one ever admitted to knowing what the future would hold; but the Goddess of the Harvest would never be the same.

As dusk began to fall, Demeter looked to the heavenly skies and rose to her feet. She brushed the dirt from her tunic and began the journey back toward her home. Water nymphs and tree nymphs giggled in melodic tones as she passed by. Demeter trotted steadily back to her forest home. Through the clearing in the wood stood a small temple. Its pillars were made of twisted oak limbs and the thatched roof slanted in a triangular fashion. The dirt floor was clean and swept and the air smelled of pine and morning dew. Demeter entered her temple and sat down in the center. From the corner, she grabbed a candle and lit it with the flick of her index finger and sent a prayer back to the earth. With pink lips and a soft breath, she blew out the flame and laid her head down in sleep.

 

From the darkness at the edge of the forest, grey striking eyes watched with hesitation. When all was quiet, the dark figure swept through the trees, rustling the fallen leaves and moving swiftly with the breeze. There was no light to be seen from the wooden temple and the figure moved closer towards its prey.

Demeter lovely eyelids fluttered in her sleep and her breath was even and calm. She slept dreamlessly, but in contentment. She began to fidget when a foreign object had caressed her face. A hand was clamped lightly over her mouth, and then pushed with force. She awoke with a strangled gasp and her heart shook with fear. She relaxed at once as she looked up into the stormy eyes of her younger brother. She sighed and pulled his hand from her lips.

“Zeus. My gods you scared me. What on earth are you doing?”

Zeus peered over her body before sitting up and replying back.

“I was merely taking an evening stroll and I decided to amuse myself by paying you a visit. It has been almost two full moons since we laid eyes on you in Olympus dear sister. What has kept you away?”

“Oh Zeus, you know how I dread leaving my domain. My place is here among the mortals and the earth, not in the halls of Olympus.”

“I worry for you Demeter; you work too hard for the mortals.”

She laughed to herself to think that her brother would be so concerned for her wellbeing. Surely, he had more important matters to attend to than herself.

“Well, if that is all, then I must rest. For as I know you do not rise in the early morn to wake the fields of the earth, then I must be the one to do it.”

Zeus grinned cruelly to her and grabbed her wrist and admired it. What he said next, would forever haunt Demeter.

“I admire your ethic, but I believe that you shall not rest on this night.”
Before Demeter could speak, her pulled her to him and forcefully kissed her mouth. Demeter was too shocked to move, and her eyes went wide at his actions. His rough lips travelled to her nape and began to suck and nip at the soft skin there. It was then that she found her voice and began to push him away.

“Zeus, no! You mustn’t do this! Please! I have done nothing! Please!”

He ignored her protests and his other hand gripped her thigh beneath her tunic and kneaded. Demeter became frantic and pounded at his back.

“ZEUS STOP! STOP, I BEG OF YOU! LEAVE ME! GO TO YOUR WIFE! PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS!”

Angrily, Zeus stopped his hand and mouth and looked into her tearful, pleading eyes. Both his hands wrapped around her throat and he shook her like a toy.

“YOU WILL SUBMIT TO ME! DO YOU HEAR ME DEMETER! I WILL TAKE YOU IF I HAVE TO RIP YOU APART!”

Demeter sobbed and pushed at him with everything in her power. A branch wrapped around his foot and began to tug, but he quickly summoned a spark with his finger, and singed it. The burning branch let go of its catch and slinked away. Zeus looked back to Demeter and peered at her with fire in his eyes.

“YOU THINK THAT YOU ARE STRONGER THAN ME? THAT I WOULD LET A LITTLE SAPLING SCARE ME? I WILL BREAK YOU DEAR SISTER.”

He smiled again with an evil gleam in his eye and held her down now by both wrists and she continued to fight. She screamed and begged to be set free, but her cries fell on deaf ears. In a single moment, Zeus released one of her wrists and grabbed it with his other hand. As she lay kicking, he pulled her legs apart to spread and hiked up her tunic. His knees settled apart onto her legs to keep them there as his finger explored. Zeus circled her opening with his thumb and looked down at the brown tuff of hair between her strong legs. With one push, he drove two fingers into her, and Demeter shrieked with pain and he relentlessly curled his digits inside of her. Her vision became black and she struggled to stay awake. He moved his head to the side of her face and licked at her earlobe.

“You will submit dear sister, and you will enjoy every minute of it,” he whispered mockingly.

As she shook her head and once more begged him to cease, she caught his hand move to his tunic and push it up to reveal his hardened manhood. She gasped and screamed for help with every breath of air in her lungs. She ran silent when he forced himself inside of her, and she heard the forest go quiet. The dirt beneath her became dry and dusty and the wood in her temple began to rot. Tears flowed in streams from the corner of her eyes. She began to fade in and out of consciousness as he pushed into her again and again. The pain was only increasing, and she smelled blood just before she passed out.

When she woke, her limbs were sore, and her head spun. She felt as if she would vomit. She tried to see in the darkness and only caught the sight of her attacker’s eyes; gray and filled with malice. She trembled and backed away on her hands into a corner. His voice was the last memory he would leave her with that night.

“Thank you, sister; it’s always better when they scream. I will come again. I do hope you enjoyed our time as much as I have.”

And as he walked away and out, her head hit the floor and she was consumed in black again.

 

Demeter would never understand why Zeus had done what he had, but she would question it for the next millennium and it would tear her up inside and out. The next several moons, Zeus would visit her, as he promised, and take from her quickly and without any more complaint. Demeter would lie on her back and try to push the pain from her mind. She could smell his breath upon her neck and it reeked of rain and wind right before a storm. Never did she mention this to another. For her pride kept her quiet and she became a shell of what she once was.

The nymphs and the mortals no longer saw a proud queen, but a ragged woman in pain who flinched at the slightest sound. Demeter would sit by the edge of a pool and gaze into the reflection of the water and weep. No one dared bother her. The proud Demeter had been broken.

Chapter Text

There are some things that can never be explained by science or any law of nature; they are simply there and stand in affect. The faithlessness of a husband will never elude the eyes of a loving wife. And no one ever thought that Hera was a fool.

Even now, the infidelities of her husband did not go unnoticed. Whispers from the surface always made their way back to ears on Olympus. But no one ever dared to speak them aloud. Women and men taken in the dead of night, by a man or beast, had Zeus’ name written all over it. And after he was finished, he always managed to find his way back to their marriage bed. How he slept so soundly at night, she could never come to terms with.

She believed that Zeus knew there was boundaries to his ‘passions’, even if they had never spoken about it. It was a silent agreement that passed between them. He would not test her, and she would not act upon his indiscretions. And for a time, it held.

Hera was a proud woman. Queen to the King of the Gods and ruling mother to all. Goddess of Marriage and Childbirth, she ruled from Olympus with distinguished precision and maternal nature. She stood at around five foot nine in her mortal form. Lean and graceful like that of a dancer. Skin of an olive tone and without a blemish to its surface, one could marvel and fall before her in agony. Long, chestnut tresses flowed and swept at the naked skin on the mid of her back as she seemed to float through her palace. Grey, green eyes swirled in their depths and held such command. Her crown sat just as demanding and lovely as it always did atop her royal head. She was weighed down by sapphires adorning her ears and wrists. A jasmine gown with a high color and a naked back reached the ground but never seemed to gather any dust. Flawless, but dangerous, she roamed the halls of Olympus in search of nothing.

Something made her stop on her path and for the first time in all of creation she was unsure. A deep feeling in the pit of her gut pulled at her powers. It took her almost a full minute to realize that it was not coming from her own body but from another’s. A goddess somewhere was hosting new life and it guided her to bless it. She smiled handsomely and left in a shimmering light to seek out this new babe.

 

Demeter sat with her legs tucked under her form as she watched the nymphs chase each other through the banks at the river’s edge. They splashed one another and squealed in delight at their childish games. She smiled at the sight but it did not reach her eyes. The last couple of weeks she had forsaken her temple and instead slept in the lush grasslands with her nymph companions. She had guessed right that Zeus wouldn’t dare take her in the company of others and for her safety had not let herself be alone for some time. Though exhausting and at times draining, she preferred this to the savage raping from her brother.

She was deep in thought when a presence stirred behind her. All the nymphs in the water stopped their game and hushed each other before kneeling in submission. Demeter turned quickly before looking up to catch sight of their Queen in all of her terrible glory. She stood hastily and bowed her head to Hera.

Hera laughed.

“Dear sister, please. There is no need for that now. I have merely come for joyful tidings.”

Demeter was shocked and worry crept over her entire being at those words. Though she was a goddess she knew where her place was and who was standing before her.

“Hera, my Queen. I apologize for you startled me. It has been some time since I’ve seen a god set foot upon the earth for a mere visitation. I am used to being alone or with the nymphs. What possibly could you be here for?”

Demeter looked up through her lashes as she kept her head bowed. She would not meet the full gaze of Hera; too consumed by fear to do so.

“I was called to bless. A new entity has been created and the powers pulled me here. Even now I feel the life stirring within your womb. A goddess of life. You have been blessed to be a mother.” She smiled sweetly at sister.

Demeter’s head shot up and she gazed into the eyes of Hera in confusion. A child? Oh no. She could not be. She had taken herbs. Yellow jasmine and herbane to prevent pregnancy should have worked. And now she stood before her sister, carrying her husband’s child.

Hera had not noticed Demeter’s internal panic for she intently studied the now flat torso of Demeter. She had felt birth before, but this one felt different. Though a goddess grew within the womb, something came along with it. She could not remember where she had felt this before, but another kind of power blossomed within the growing life. Something destined and powerful. Something that almost threatened. Her mistake was made when she reached her hand out and made contact with the skin beneath the white tunic.

She saw the goddess, still a clump of cells feeding off the power of the mother along the uterus wall. Dark red curls, swept past her in a flash and the earth all around fell beneath her. Screams and wails in the dark could be heard and she could not shut out the sound. Jewels, riches of every size and measure glittered brightly along the cavern walls, mocking her, teasing her. Blood seeped in through the floor and doom filled her every dream.

And then it all stopped; swept away by a wind and she was watching from behind a tree. She saw Demeter look blankly ahead as tears streamed down her cheeks and came to splash against the dirt ground of her sacred temple. She heard the deafening slapping of skin and smelled the sex that emanated from their place. And she saw Zeus. A grin and look of triumph smeared across his face as he kept their sister pinned to the ground as he dove relentlessly into her body over and over again. Screams of agony and pleading for help pounded against her inner ears, but Demeter’s mouth never moved. She heard Zeus reach his climax and enter her one last time coating her insides with his fluids. And she never moved as he released Demeter to stand and walk away, all the while tucking himself back into the confines of his tunic. Demeter did not move from her spot on the floor. She laid their as if dead and everything went black.

Hera finally wretched her hand from her sister and jumped back, barely managing to catch her breath in deep gasps. The two met gazes and neither said a word.

“What? What... “

“I saw it. I saw everything. He... How could he?”

Neither moved an inch for fear of the others response.

“Hera, sister please. I could not stop him. You saw this. Help me. Rid me of this curse! I do not want his stain upon my body! HELP ME PLEASE! PLEASE I BEG OF YOU! DO NOT MAKE ME DO THIS!”

Hera looked down at her sister who had collapsed at her feet. Tears and snot dripped down her otherwise beautiful face as she tugged at the bottom of her gown. Her heavy breathing had not slowed down and she began to panic at her sisters’ words.

“I cannot help you Demeter. You know this. I have already blessed the child and you cannot rid yourself of it. It is an immortal. This is beyond my help. I am sorry sister.”

At her last words she crouched down to cradle Demeter’s face in her trembling hands. She had no words nor comfort for the weeping goddess before her. She was completely helpless and she knew it.

 

Nine months came to pass and Ares stands before a sleeping Demeter in a bed. Her arms and legs are tied down to the corners of the frame. She sleeps restlessly and her mouth moves with silent words. He hears the door open and relaxes as he sees Hera enter.

“How is she?”

“She’s sleeping now. I believe her last fit exhausted her.”

“Are you hurt at all my boy?”

“No mother, I’m alright.”

His gaze wanders back to the sleeping woman before them and he guides his mother towards the door as to not wake her.

“Mother, I know that you believe keeping her here is for the best, but how are you to protect the child when it come? There is little we can do to stop her and you cannot continue this. Watching over her day and night. Though you have stopped her time and time again, this has to end somewhere. I fear for the child’s safety.”

They both glance back to Demeter and their eyes land on the swollen belly that rises and falls with her steady breathing. Hera lets out a long sigh.

“I have managed to do it this long. And you are a man. You do not understand the bond between child and mother after a birth. We merely need to wait until then.”
Hera looks back at Demeter’s sleeping form and her face scrunches.

“There is something more at play here my son. Something ancient that I cannot identify. I cannot see past this.”

“What do you mean? Are we in danger?” Ares puts his hand on Hera’s shoulder to steady her.

“No. Not exactly. But I fear that whatever is coming is beyond us. Even beyond your father. I cannot stop this. And I will not attempt to do so.”

“Will Demeter not be punished by attempting to take the child’s life before it is born? You say this may mean danger. Is it not better to eliminate the threat before it can become one?”

Hera turns back to her son and rests a hand along his cheek.

“How can she be punished? This is not her doing. I fear she will never be the same even after all of this. She is broken. Her only hope may be motherhood. But I will not force her. If she won’t raise the girl then I will do so. It is the least I can do at this point.” Hera frowns and drops her hand.

“All we can do now is wait. The child shall be here soon.”

 

That night, Demeter finally wakes to an unpleasant feeling in her lower stomach. She tries to move her hands but finds them limited by metal and magic. Immediately she’s awake and aware. She goes to shout for help before she doubles over in pain. A door opens somewhere to her right and Hera is at her side.

“Your daughter awaits sister. We must not keep her waiting.”

The birth is not an easy one. Demeter cries and wails and begs to be set free. She does not want this child. She never wanted it. All her attempts to be rid of it were stopped by her sister and even now she curses her to Tartarus. With one final push, on the first rise of the sun of the Summer Solstice, Demeter births her daughter.

Hera holds the child and Demeter’s body begins to heal itself from the gruesome trial.

“Sister, she is more beautiful than anything I have ever seen. Would you not like to hold her? She has already stolen my heart.” Hera gazes down and touches the cheek of the young goddess with a careful finger. “Hello little one.”

Demeter opens her arms and reaches up to take the child from her. The minute she touches the babe, she is instantly transfixed by her beauty. Cherry brown skin is disturbed by cream birthmarks circling the child’s eyes. Red curls atop her head are still wet with after-birth. But yes; this is the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen. And as she cradles this child and brings her to a nipple to suckle, Hera asks her.

“What is her name sister? She must have one. And only you have earned the right to give her one.”

Before she can even stop herself, her mouth is open and the name spills out and the course of history is set in stone.

“Her name is Persephone.”