Η Δικαιοσύνη του Ιξίωνα
“There’s no justice in the world.
Not unless we make it.”
The wind carried the name like a silent prayer, filling the aether with its gentle dance. The despair and anguish of the mourning mother reached from the clouds that adorned Olympus to the darkness that covered the halls of the Underworld. A gust of iciness with frozen snowflakes accompanied the grieving cry, letting the mortals in frightful wonder as winter came for the very first time.
The tiny ice crystals flew gracefully in the frozen air as if they were weightless white feathers, unable to do nothing but drift away with the slightest breath of Aeolus. They covered Gaia’s surface with a soft blanket of frost, changing the scenery as did the seasons. The coldness of the world seeped through the wet soil and reached deep in the foundations of the Earth, where the kingdom of Hades was standing.
There, Persephone sat on a throne made of bones and rubies, similar to the larger one on her right. A majestic crown of white narcissus adorned her auburn locks –a stark contrast against her blood-red chiton. Her emerald orbs were serious and focused on the scene displaying in front of her.
She took her gaze away from the rotten soul in front of her as she felt a sudden chill caressing the warmth of her skin. A shiver went down her spine as its unexpected coldness brought to her a familiar voice and an old name.
She looked around the dark throne room, expecting the figure of her mother to appear from the dark shadows. Was the Goddess of Harvest lurking in the darkness of the dead’s realm, waiting for a chance to get hold of her daughter?
She was only met with the bronze braziers and the bright fires that burned inside of them. Two familiar figures were whispering quietly to one another as they leaned against two huge columns. The Goddess of Spring recognized the twin brothers from afar, even though they had covered themselves with their dark cloaks.
One born from heaven and one from hell, they both couldn’t hide the huge wings that were attached to their shoulders, no matter how much they had tried. The God of Death blended better in the shadows with his black feathers, while the God of Sleep stood out with his white ones. Thanatos and Hypnos may have fooled the mortals, but could not hide from their Queen’s sharp sight.
Persephone decided to turn her attention back to the trial in front of her, ignoring the whispering brothers. She took in the appearance of the man that was waiting for the justice of the dead, before glancing up to the God of the Underworld. Hades’ eyes were dark with fury, his fists clenching the bones of his throne. His black-cloaked figure was tense as he waited for his judges to press charges.
“Ixion, King of the Lapiths”, Aeacus began first.
“You stand accused of murder and treason”, Rhadamanthus continued.
“You have broken Zeus’ laws and betrayed the Gods”, Minos finished.
The man began to shake as he stood before the King of the Underworld and his loyal judges. His eyes frantically searched the room for an escape, but Thanatos and Hypnos blocked the exits. Hades’ sharp silver gaze pinned him where he stood, making his knees buckle and bow to the Lord of the Dead.
“Lies!“, he whispered yelled, “These are all lies!”
“You murdered your father in law when you invited him to your home. You pushed him into the fire and burned him alive during the feast”, Rhadamanthus reminded him, watching him with his cold brown orbs.
“You killed a guest in your own home! You broke the law of xenia! The law of hospitality!“, Aeacus said furiously at the act.
Hades let his head cock to the side as the man in front of him sobbed pathetically.
“Yet, my brother forgave you for violating his laws.”
Ixion watched as black smoke began to arise from the Lord of the Dead. His silent fury beginning to show as he tapped his fingers on the skull of his throne.
“And how did you repay him?”
Ixion shivered at the coldness of his tone, feeling his already dead heart stop in his chest.
“Zeus granted you a place in Olympus. He let you meet and dine with the Gods. And how did you thank him?“, Minos cut him off abruptly.
“I-I...I am so sorry!“, the man cried out, unable to look anyone in the eye.
“You lusted after his wife. You tried to force yourself on her”, Aeacus announced to his King, feeling his rage growing.
“You broke the law of xenia for the second time in the house of its protector! You betrayed Zeus’ trust! You disgraced the Gods in their own home!“, Rhadamanthus continued, not caring for the pleads of the man.
Hades stood from his throne at his judge’s words. A black smoke surrounding his whole form as a dangerous glint danced in his gaze.
“You would have raped my sister if Zeus hadn’t taken immediate actions. You tried to force yourself on the Queen of the Gods, while her husband invited you in his home!”
Persephone could only watch in shock as she tried to comprehend what had really happened. The man in front of her had tried to force himself on Hera, while Zeus was in Olympus. She let a small smile decorate her face after a few moments had passed.
The God of the Skies could do whatever he wanted, but he could not hide the love he had for his wife. No matter what had happened between them, he cared for her more than he liked to show. She didn’t know how they ended up like this –hating one another and plotting revenge, but in times of need, they showed to all what love and compassion are.
“How do you sleep at nights, mortal?“, Minos asked disgusted by his actions.
“Aren’t you affected by the Erinyes?“, Aeacus asked him, “Can’t you feel their fury?”
The man bowed his head in shame, his brunette locks falling into his chestnut orbs.
“I- I do, my Lords”, he whispered barely audible, “I feel their punishment every day –the guilt is eating my insides.”
The judges looked upon each other, pleased with the answer they had received. The three sisters knew what they were doing. Guilt was their most powerful weapon and they knew how and when to use it.
“The Goddesses of Vengeance demand justice”, Rhadamanthus announced to him, “You disturbed the order of this world and they seek a way to bring back balance.”
“You tried to force yourself on an unwilling woman, be it mortal or immortal.”
“You betrayed the Gods’ trust! You were ungrateful of their blessings!”
“You murdered a guest in your home, after inviting him in it!”
“A family member at that!”
Ixion touched his head, feeling as if it would explode from his emotions. He let a loud hoarse scream escape him as he felt himself turning mad from all the guilt he felt. He began to tear his locks out and scratching his skin, leaving long bloody paths on his face. Unstoppable tears continued to mingle with the water droplets, staining the black marble of Hades’ palace.
At that moment, Persephone understood why the God of the Underworld had chosen Aeacus, Rhadamanthus, and Minos as his judges. The three mortal Kings were honorable, just, and stern –they did not let their emotion affect their decisions.
The tears of the dead didn’t impress them and neither did their pleads. They searched for the truth and punished those who truly deserved it. They couldn’t be fooled nor influenced by anyone but their Lord, who was the only they answered to.
Becoming the Judges of the Dead was a suited gift for those who tried to establish law and order on earth throughout their whole mortal lives.
Persephone watched as Ixion finally admitted his crimes. The trembling man couldn’t carry the burden of his actions any longer.
“I confess!“, he screamed again with tears rolling down his eyes.
He walked on his hands and knees reaching the throne of the Lord of the Underworld. He got a hold of his flaming dark robes and his orbs met the furious silver gaze of Hades.
“Please...please, my Lord! Oh, you mighty King of the Dead! You powerful God of Darkness! Please! Please! Show mercy! I am your humble servant! I’ll do anything you want! Please, be merciful, my God!”
Hades looked at the mortal bowing to his feet, utterly disgusted. He still couldn’t understand how the mind of these humans worked.
They believed that they could go on with their lives, doing the horrors they wished, and staying unpunished for them. They thought they could bargain with him for their punishment –that they could somehow buy their freedom in the afterlife. They didn’t understand that justice can’t be bargained, but it is served according to the laws. And the laws may be cruel, but they still are laws.
They considered him as a malicious God, fearing for the decisions he was making. But he served justice with the tools that were given to him, giving to everyone what they deserved. King or slave, young or old –man or woman, everyone was equal in Death’s eyes. And no one –mortal or immortal, was above the divine law.
“Mercy is given to those who deserve it.”
His voice bounced in his silent halls, filled with wrath and disappointment.
“You will do well to remember that Ixion, son of Ares.”
His silver gaze found Thanatos’ white orbs as he patiently waited for his master’s orders. He gave him a slight nod, a strand of black hair falling in his eyes. Persephone watched quietly as the God of Death took hold of Ixion’s arm as Hypnos held the other. The mortal let a surprised gasp escape him, his eyes widening in utter fear.
“Zeus has already chosen your punishment, mortal.”
He frantically looked towards Minos as his words settled in.
“You will be bound on a wheel constantly spinning round and round.”
His frightened gaze turned to Rhadamanthus, all the while trying to free himself from Thanatos and Hypnos’ tight grip.
“You will feel your skin melting and your bones blacken as burning flames will lick the wheel for the rest of eternity.”
His head snapped up at Aeacus’ words, his whole body shaking terribly.
“No! No! No! Please! Anything but this!“, he begged, screaming his lungs out and pleading for someone to help him out of this sticky situation.
“Zeus has punished immortals for less”, Minos let a humorless laugh escape him, “Did you really think he wouldn’t punish you for touching his wife?”
His vision became blurry as his tears kept falling. He begged and begged, trying to find someone –anyone to help him. A splash of scarlet appeared in his sight, making him lung forward in one last desperate attempt.
Persephone gasped in surprise as the man tried to reach her form, failing to remove himself from the tight grips around him. She watched as Hades’ orbs darkened considerably in outrage, his form tensing considerably.
“Oh, mighty Queen of the Underworld! Ruler of Death! Goddess of Bones! Please! Please! Have mercy on me! Don’t let them take me! Forgive my sins, Goddess! I’ll do anything! Plea-”
The throne room darkened as the flames in the bronze braziers dimmed. The word echoed in the silence of the room, carrying the God’s rage with it.
Hades stood from his throne surrounded in a cloud of black smoke, his gaze murderous as he approached Ixion. The mortal remained silent as the God of the Dead stood before him, his heavy breathing the only sound of the room.
“You are not worthy to speak to her”, he hissed at him as the human flinched in terror.
Hades took hold of Ixion’s chin forcefully and made him look into his furious silver orbs.
“For once in your life, accept your fate with dignity.”
The God of the Underworld gave a nod to his loyal servants.
“Take him to Tartarus.”
His eyes widened at the decision and his pleading began yet again. His feet tried to dig into the ground and stop his descent to this horrible prison, but the black marble didn’t help his cause. Persephone watched the soul being carried away, feeling nothing but revolt and dismay for him. She felt Hades lifting her petite form from her throne and carrying her to his.
He sat her upon his legs and buried his face in the crook of her neck, taking deep breaths of her familiar sweet scent. She let her fingers comb through his black locks, calming his fury down. For a few moments, they sat in silence, just enjoying each other’s company.
His silver eyes found her emerald ones.
“Yes, my sweet?”
She turned around, looking at the huge closed doors.
“Do these mortals ever learn?”
End of chapter 24!!
Title Translation: “The Justice of Ixion”
1. Zeus is also called “Xenious” because he is the protector of guests (xenus=stranger)!!
2. Rhadamanthus was the brother of Minos and they both were Kings of Crete. Aeacus was the King of Aegina. The three of them were demigods and sons of Zeus. Aeacus was the guardian of the keys of Hades and the judge of the men of Europe. Rhadamanthys the lord of Elysium and judge of the men of Asia. Minos the judge of the third and final vote. According to some was a fourth judge who presided over the souls of Initiates of the Mysteries.
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