Hades Ch. 02byHeartShapedAss©
Author's Note: Thank you to everyone that read, posted comments and voted on Hades Ch 1. For those that have not read Hades Ch 1, chapter two may not be able to fill you in on the tale thus far. Please bear in mind, it is my own unique retelling of the love affair between Hades and Kore/Persephone and I have taken some serious liberties with the characters and story- hopefully not offending any mythology buffs out there. As always, hope you enjoy it and I consider myself a very lucky girl when I receive input from readers. I'd love to continue the story as long as the interest is there. Kindest regards.
After the festival, Kore returned to her home and fell into bed to sleep and dream of a man she had seen not with her eyes, but with her heart. In the dream she looked into his grass green eyes beneath a bronze warrior's helmet and in a flash she saw his naked body above her, consuming her. She awoke frightened and confused by what she saw in her dream. She had never dreamt of men or boys. This was no man she recognized, and maybe not a man.
He was a stranger that entered her life through a dream.
"Are you alright?" asked Mina. Kore's friend noticed she was out of sorts since the previous day.
Kore didn't answer her. She looked out at the hills behind her home. From the balcony of her bedroom she saw the sun set a short time before and the silhouette of the hills had turned bright red. The hills themselves had turned black in the night and eerily resembled the musculature of the stranger.
"You're so far away," Mina said, urging her friend to speak. It was unlike Kore to be so quiet.
"Do you dream of men, Mina?" responded Kore, still looking at the hills.
"Men? What men? The ones that I'd like to marry?" She sat next to Kore and knudged her with an elbow. "Or the ones that I would like to take as lovers?" They both dissolved into laughter.
Mina covered her mouth and gasped, "Don't tell me you've never dreamt of being with a man?"
"Well, I have. I did. But..." Kore didn't know how to describe what she'd seen in her dream. She didn't know how to describe what she felt in the meadow. She suddenly felt out of place around everyone. She felt distinctly different since the afternoon in the meadow.
"What do you think it'll be like? You know, on our wedding nights." Kore said and smiled at her friend. She could trust that Mina would give her the most fantastically romantic stories to occupy her mind, to distract her from the stupor she had fallen into since the day before.
"Oh...let's see. It'll all depend on whom we become betrothed to, my sweet girl," Mina was enjoying this and laughed again into her hands.
"Well, I already know who my parent's will choose for me," Mina said teasing Kore.
"Really? Who? You must tell me! Is he handsome?" Kore was now fully engrossed in this conversation.
"They shall choose Castor for me," Mina joked and Kore clapped her hands and laughed.
"The hero? Oh really? And who shall I have?" asked Kore, playing along.
"You shall have his brother Polydeuces, of course! So that we might be sisters and our children would be cousins and we shall compare our husbands' verilities when they are gone on their great adventures!" Mina could hardly keep herself on the bench next to Kore.
This was all great fun, but Kore still held in her heart a sense that something, someone had watched her in the meadow and that nothing would ever be the same for her. She was no longer a child.
High above the girl, at the great fountain in the main courtyard where Zeus gazed into the waters to view his beloved mortals in battles of love and war, a goddess comes upon him seeking to ask for her daughter's return.
"My lord, your daughter has grown into a splendid young woman," Demeter says to him smiling as her head tilts to one side and she remembers the day she conceived her only daughter from Zeus. She catches herself biting the side of her bottom lip. She examines his broad back, strapped with well defined muscles. Surely, they were not developed through the work of battle.
He pursued her as he pursued every goddess or woman he fancied, passionately and with total concentration, until his labors were rewarded. After the conquest that concentration would inevitably be drawn elsewhere. She still loved him, despite his eternal philandering and despite his ultimately belonging to another goddess, Queen Hera, the great matron. She thought "the great fool" would be more fitting a title for his wife.
"Mmm...?" he muttered, his famous concentration was elsewhere, as ever. Demeter looked down into the glowing water of the fountain and caught a glimpse of what he was so interested in. It appeared to be a mortal princess. A blonde one.
"And, do you remember that one's name?" asked Demeter, sarcasm in her voice.
"Wha...? Why yes, it's Princess Semele, daughter of Cadmus. He...ummm," he broke off and, just as suddenly, was again consumed by the princess he saw in the waters.
"I pity her," said Demeter, turning her back to him and looking down at the polished stone floors. He had not caught any of the mockery in her tone, nor the sting in the last comment she offered, but she expected nothing less.
"Well, it seems I have caught you at the perfect time," said Demeter, knowing full well that he was distracted by lust. She was often astonished by the amount of time it would take for him to realize she was making a fool of him. This banter usually terminated with his angry outbursts, but also with her having her way. Enduring his tantrums was well worth the secret enjoyment she derived from playing these games with him.
"I've come to speak to you about another princess, my lord," she spoke more forcefully this time. "You're daughter from me. Do you remember her name?"
He turned to her now, face flushing slightly red from annoyance. She had to turn her face away so as not to laugh.
"You ask me about names? Are you implying that I do not love my children, goddess?" the volume of his barritone voice clipping higher.
"My lord, I know that your love is limitless," she said looking directly into his eyes and working hard at feigning sincerity. "I only bother you with the best interests of our daughter in mind...my lord," she added.
"What? Has something happened to Kore? The family I placed her with has been taking care of her to this day. Have they not? That falcon was supposed to be looking after her!" He began to panic slightly. As if he were a shepherd awakening to find his flock has dissapeared. His love was indeed without limit. It was his attention span that was considerably limited.
In truth, he had forgotten about the girl since he sent her to be raised with a mortal family when she was an infant. Demeter wanted to raise her on Olympus with the rest of the immortals, but Zues had insisted she'd be better off for it. Demeter, thought it was for the benefit of his marriage bed, though beds were of little consequence to him.
This falcon was not her daughter's constant companion as Zeus believed. Demeter had looked in on her child everyday in secret, and had seen the falcon Zeus had spoken of. He merely looked in on her from afar and mainly when she was outside. Demeter would often take the appearance of the villagers or servants in the household where Kore lived so that she could go unnoticed. Demeter knew her daughter very well, her likes and dislikes, her intellect was strong and most of all, she was kind. She knew this just as any devoted mother raising her child herself might.
She also knew her daughter was innocent and pure of heart. The girl had grown into the sweetest flower, generous, loving of nature and of the mortals. The prospective suitors that began to pay visits to her foster family, had been received too eagerly for Demeter's taste. She knew that when this girl fell in love, it would be boundless, like her father's love, but all enduring. The heavens and the earth would not be able to rival the beauty and scope of it. She feared her daughter would take a mortal lover and be lost forever. She would be unable to bear children from a mortal man and her lover would inevitably die. She would live on, an eternity would be spent heartbroken by the unfairness of being born immortal and believing she was human, like the mortal family that had cared for her.
"No harm has befallen her, my dear Zeus. I merely seek to begin her education. She is, after all, the immortal fruit of your loins. Is she not entitled to grow into her full potential as all immortal children are? At least as all of the immortal children of my lord and his wife are." She had gone too far. He was well aware of the disdain that many of the goddesses had for Hera, and it was a direct consequence of his illicit affairs. He tolerated no one speaking of her in a harsh manner. It was his own shame that incited his great loyalty to his long suffering wife.
"All of my children enjoy the benefit of being the child of Zeus!" his shouts echoed off of the pillars surrounding the court yard and back to Demeter. She could feel the vibrations of his voice in her torso and they seemed to exit her body through her breasts.
"My lord, forgive me. I know that you love Kore as much as I do. With her becoming a young woman now, a young goddess, it would be prudent for her to be brought to me so that I might protect her and guide her, teach her about her growing powers," she was thinking of the love she once had for Zeus and it showed on her face.
"Forgive me, but I do not wish for her to suffer the hearbreak of having to leave a mortal man that she has fallen in love with, after she has been betrothed and then discover that she is one of us and not them," her voice softened now. She spoke to him the way that she spoke to him so long ago, when he had willingly given her his loving attention. These days, she had to incite his anger in order to gain any favor from him, good or bad, no matter.
"Has she been offered for marriage?" he asked, the concern showing in his voice. "I specifically instructed them not..."
"She is so beautiful. Have you looked upon her? The time is fast approaching, Sir," she was begging him. "Please, my lord."
It was no secret that women could encourage him to do just about anything, given the right approach. His only weakness was, of course, women. Though he may have lost romantic interest in one, he always remained greatful to his former lovers for having shown him affection. As if a debt were owed to the women for having suffered his childish demands. He had benefitted from Demeter's affection once and a child had come from it. His payment, to date, had been to send their baby away and out of sight of his wife. He knew that it was time to right this wrong.
After the baby, Kore was sent away,
Demeter continued her celestial duties, providing bountiful harvests and bestowing fertility on the mortals, despite the sorrow of losing her daughter to them for the sake of Zeus' comfort. He had told her that Kore would be better off being raised by the mortals. Demeter would have a daughter that knew and loved the mortals like no other goddess would. She would gain useful insite into the needs of the mortals that she could bring back to Demeter when the time was right for her to take over some of Demeter's duties. It was all folly and Zeus had been so pursuasive that he had ultimately convinced himself that this was the right thing to do.
He got close to Demeter and took her hands in his. "I would never wish for any of my children to suffer any heartbreak. I will forever think of her as the baby she was when I sent her to the mortals." He brought her finger tips up to his mouth and kissed them. Though she had grown to hate and resent him for taking her only daughter, he could still send chills through her.
"If you feel that she needs her mother's care now, then she shall have it," he said looking into her eyes. She knew that he was sincere by virtue of the crackling electricity that fired in his blue eyes. She thought the power he used in his lightening bolts must come from his eyes and the fiery mind behind them. She took his hand and kissed the top of it as she knelt before him.
"My lord, you shall see what a beautiful young goddess she has grown into before your very eyes tomorrow. I shall make the preparations myself." She stood up and leaned forward, stroking his face and kissed his cheek before leaving.
He watched her leave and sensed someone in the shadows. "Dear, is that you?" he asked, but no one responded. He knew that his wife had come upon them toward the end of this conversation. He didn't speak again, only went back to his fountain, which now glowed green and blue. The mortal princess was bathing in the ocean and he watched her.
The falcon flew upward, higher in to the heavens than any other real bird could. The air began to thin and soon the clouds and mist dampened his wings. He faltered, plummeting for a second to shake his wings then shooting back up. The flight for him would soon end at the top of the golden mountain in the clouds. Zeus had instructed him to watch the girl for anything unusual and what he had to tell his master was very unusual.
"Peregrine, your master is busy. This way. Come," Hera, the matron, beckoned him. "Have you any news of the girl?" she said to him, checking the anger from reaching her voice. Was she to interfere in the homecoming of this bastard child of Zeus, she would use this bird.
The falcon lengthened and landed on legs that changed to those of a man, and standing just as tall as Hera. His head remained a falcon's, twitching side to side, his eyes black and blinking.
"My queen, I do have news of the girl. My lady, I found her with Hades," the falcon said, poking his beak behind a wing, straightening a crooked feather. The bird had been granted the gift of seeing all by Zeus, for the purpose of guarding his daughter. He was able to see Hades as clearly as he saw Kore in the meadow.
"Hades? Really... tell me everything, bird," Hera eyes narrowed as she tried to understand the significance of this. She guided him under an arbor in one of the gardens Zues had created for her around the time that the girl, Kore was born.
"My lady, I don't believe the girl saw him. Or perhaps she did," said the falcon cocking his head to one side.
"The girl is the daughter of Zeus, of course she saw him..." Hera interrupted the bird, but was so eager to hear more, she held her tongue.
"Hades was in a meadow and Kore went to him. They remained there together, standing very close for quite some time. She then ran off, laughing. He stayed there watching her and now I am here, my lady. That is all I know," the falcon offered. The bird was restless on the ground and shifted his weight from one leg to the other.
"So, the girl is in love with Hades. How delicious! They call me 'the matron', 'the fool', we will see about that," this she said to herself. The falcon's stripped down explanation of what he'd seen left Hera much room to infer what ever she liked into the scene he described.
"Bird, listen carefully. Her parent's will be so dissapointed if they learn of the affair between Hades and the girl. Don't you think?" She was standing behind the bird stroking his head like a pet.
"Zeus would be devastated if he knew his precious innocent girl was didling Hades, the morbid. The king would surely be angry with you for allowing this to go on. What d'you think he shall do with you, when he finds out? I think, better for you...and the girl, if you leave this to me." She spoke softly to the bird as if she were protecting him from a certain, painful death.
"My lady, I... it's not my fault. I knew nothing of this going on between the two. Surely you see that I have done nothing but looked after the girl. And now with her stupidity, the girl shall bring death upon me?" The bird's face remained blank as the animal he was, but his voice shook now and his wings began to fan the air.
"Now, now, I understand. You did your best. The girl is nothing but trouble and you should not be sacrificed for merely doing what you were told. Don't you worry. I will find a way to help you. But, you must be willing to risk your life in order to save your life, my dear bird. It's the only way," Hera was no longer smiling, thinking of how Demeter would cry rivers and lakes over her sweet child when she found out who she had become involved with and that the young goddess would never come to stay on the mountain with the rest of the immortals.
"The angel of death would be any mother's nightmare for a son in law," she said, patting the falcon's head. "We shall fix this, you and I."