She is beauty, she is sunlight. She is the grass that grows on the fields, the flowers that bloom from soil. She holds eternal Spring in her every step.
She is Persephone.
And you love her.
You live here in your palace of darkness, with bones that whisper their screams, with the cries of the damned piercing through your ears.
She is more than you could ever have hoped for, ever dreamed of.
Her dark skin holds the secrets to your heart, scrawled in the veins on the lighter skin of her palms. Her golden head is your own source of light, of which everything pales in comparison to. Her green eyes, like young shoots, like emeralds, shine in this dark place you have been condemned to.
Her name is Persephone and she gives you life with her very breath.
"I am sorry you cannot love me," you whisper to her, your heart burning in your chest. She weakens you, makes you question the very foundations of your being. She shakes you down to rubble. "But I beg of you to at least accept me, as your lover and lord, and I will grant you riches and glory and adoration eternal."
"Let me leave! I need not jewels or glory or adoration. I need my meadows, my nymphs, my mother. Release me!" she pleads, her eyes ablaze in emerald flame, her beautiful blue-black skin trembling in her rage, in her grief. "I beg of you, Hades. Release me!"
"I cannot live without you, my sun," you murmur, voice wracked with pain. She makes you feel mortal, vulnerable. Ensnares you with her beauty and crushes you with her grace.
You shut the door to her rooms, her screams and pleas making you ache down to your bones; to your essence.
You hear her mother plead, but you cannot release her. She is your life, now, your reason, the foundation on which you stand, the centre of your world.
You cannot you cannot you cannot.
You offer her the brightest jewels, the best you can find in your domain. You prepare feasts and beautiful banquets in her name. You slay thousands in honour of her beauty. It is never enough, you know this. It will never be enough.
"I beg of you, my sun," you say, "Accept me as your husband. I will be good to you. I will cherish you. I pledge to honour and adore you for all of eternity."
"No," she whispers every time. "There is one thing, only one, that I desire, and that is not something you wish to promise to me."
It breaks your heart. Her golden head has tarnished, her emerald eyes have dulled.
The world above rages in storms, in sheets of ice and anger. It is the righteous anger of a mother scorned, a goddess robbed. The world is dying from the outside in, covered in frost and death and grief of a woman wronged.
Your sun is dying.
That is all you care for.
You can bear it no longer. Persephone is silent, now, no more hoarse screams or tempestuous fits or pleas made in a voice drenched in anguish. She sits on her bed, in the wreckage of her rooms, and does so with her rosebud lips pressed tightly together like the doors of a cage.
You cannot bear it any longer, not her sadness, not her silent defeat, so you call upon her mother, weary and anguished.
She appears instantly, gold-wheat hair snarled and limp, green eyes brittle and cracked. Her skin, as dark as the soil of the land she rules, is tinted blue with burning frost. This is a woman buried in the agony of loss; a woman with little will to live; a woman who needed a sun, to thaw her frozen heart.
So you promise to return her, your sun, your jewel, but with a condition that she return to you within a certain time. For you are neither strong nor brave nor kind enough to fully relinquish her. You are the lord of darkness and death and your purpose is to consume.
(you wished it wasn't, wished you instead could control seas or skies with the flick of your wrists, kiss the shores with gentles tides, could caress the mortals with delicious breezes, make horses sprint and eagles soar, you wished you weren't damned, you wished you'd been granted a choice)
Persephone, your sun, your star, your jewel flame, approaches you before she departs for two turns of season.
"I feel as though I should not thank you," she whispers, voice tentative from disuse but still beautiful and clear as the whistle of birds in early morn, still enough to make you weak. "You did not do me any favours by rightfully releasing me. But you are anguished, and angry in your pain.
"I do not know if I can love you as you claim to love me. I cannot know if I will ever think of you as my dark king, my lord of shadows. But I can promise that I will provide you the small comfort of my companionship. And that is all, though I suppose it will have to be enough, for you."
And she smiles her sunbeam smile, her emerald eyes ablaze, her golden curls bright under the torchlight. Her laugh would be enough to make flowers bloom, trees grow, babes laugh, in this land of shadow and agony.
For that is she. Persephone, goddess of spring and blooms.