Η Στεναχώρια του Χειμώνα
“I know I have a heart because
I feel it breaking”
How do things change from one moment to another in such an unpredictable and unannounced manner?
You take people and situations for granted, believing that everything will be like the day before, but how can you be so sure of it?
One day everything is fine and the next, everything has changed. You expect to live your life in an endless summer of happiness, only for your dreams to be buried in the harsh snow of winter.
Like seasons, nothing lasts forever.
As the Goddess of Harvest looked down at her empty hands feeling utterly defeated, she realized how precious the small moments of everyday life are. The moments where she kissed her daughter’s forehead before she fell asleep or watched her running excitedly through her flowery meadows. Moments such as hearing her say how much she loved her or the sight of her bright smile as her mother returned home for the day from her divine duties.
Small moments of their daily life that she considered granted and didn’t give much thought of them. But now, looking at her empty embrace and knowing she wouldn’t hug her daughter to sleep for yet another time, she missed those small miracles of everyday life even more.
Fallen on her knees at the edge of the dead seaside meadow near the city of Arcadia, she felt her heart break at the realization that this was her last hope. Demeter had searched far and wide for her beloved daughter, calling her name at the top of her lungs and begging for her to return back to their home.
She had searched for her precious flower everywhere -in flowery meadows and crowded cities, on top of lonely mountains and small ships floating in the sea, in forests’ caves and divine temples. Everything was in vain –the Goddess of Spring was nowhere to be found.
The inconsolable mother couldn’t stop the heartbreaking sobs from escaping her mouth any longer. The wind caressed her shuffled grey strands away from her wrinkled face as unstoppable tears fell down her pale cheeks. Her heart was heavy and her soul tired –unanswered questions kept replaying in her mind. Guilt was eating away the marrow of her bones, making her feel hollow inside.
Was she a bad mother?
She knew she was a strict and controlling one, but she only did it to protect her child from the nightmares she had to live through.
Did her daughter hate her?
She didn’t know how she had managed to make Kore see her more like a Superior Goddess rather than her mother, but she had regretted it deeply.
The moment her rage had faded away and she realized she had raised her hand on her, she felt so much shame and dishonor. However, her fear of Hades touching her ever again made her realize that she didn’t have many choices.
It was better for Kore to fear and listen to her rather than love and disobey her again. Although, she couldn’t help but feel like a knife was plugged in her heart when she took in her child’s distanced behavior.
It was okay.
She had accepted her behavior –the fact that she didn’t trust her or talked to her like in the past any longer, even though it hurt her deeply. She was a mother and a mother would do anything to protect her child, even if it didn’t understand her actions and hated her for it. She kept her safe and that’s what mattered the most.
Was she well? Was she safe?
She could only hope and pray to mother Gaea for her wellbeing and safety –she couldn’t do anything about it any longer. However, if her flower was harmed in any way, even Zeus himself would not be able to protect humans and Gods alike from feeling her wrath.
Not that her sorrow and pain hadn’t done enough damage already.
The earth was barren -the bitterness of the frost had burned the vulnerable plants that weren’t used to such low temperatures. Their lively green leaves had fallen off their stems and their colorful petals had instantly burned at the first touch of ice.
The seeds have been destroyed by the weight of the white blanket of snow, leaving the growling stomachs of thousands of humans unfulfilled. Smaller and larger animals lay lifeless on the harsh ground, their fur slowly being covered by the numerous snowflakes.
Nature had changed its appearance to represent the Goddess’ inner turmoil. From a loving mother that took care of her child to a grieving woman searching for her precious daughter, the scenery had changed from colorful and blooming to harsh and infertile. It reminded people that life and death were two sides of the same coin, not two opposites that do not connect with one another.
The frozen winds of the winter blew, invading the homes of the humans and stealing away the warmth that comforted their empty stomachs. Their forms started to thin considerably –their bones visible just beneath their cold skin. Their eyes were sunken and their complexion paled as their energy and strength started to leave their bodies.
And one by one, they fell to the snow-covered ground and never stood up again, not listening to the screams of their loved ones who begged them not to go. For they were already walking the halls of Hades, increasing the number of Shadows in his domain and finding peace in their afterlife.
However, the Goddess of Harvest didn’t give much thought to the chaos she had created, neither did she care that her behavior had ruined the balance of the world. The prayers of humans had fallen on deaf ears –the animal sacrifices they did to please her and ask for her mercy were useless. The Goddess wouldn’t be content unless her daughter was returned to her.
Even Zeus had tried to coax her to show mercy on humanity and end this madness as soon as possible, wounding his kingly pride in the process. Pride didn’t matter as much as duty though, and he had a duty to protect those he ruled over.
Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt, and Hestia, Goddess of Family, had begged him to end this havoc, not able to see their creations fading away under the pressure of snow. Even Hera suggested it would be best if he talked to the mourning Goddess alone and find a solution before all the humans died from the cold or hunger.
Everyone wanted Demeter to control her powers, understanding in the process why the balance was so important and had to be preserved –without it nothing could evolve and everything was being destroyed.
The King of Gods and Humans wasn’t very successful in his tries, although he did as best as he could. The only thing he managed was to enrage the grieving mother for being an inconsiderate and uncaring father. Kore was as much his daughter as she was hers and yet, he didn’t seem to worry about her unexplainable disappearance neither did he search for her.
She understood his way of thinking very well –being the father of numerous Gods and heroes, you stop caring for children that do not benefit you. And this was the thought that set her off and made her scream all kinds of profanities to him, forcing him to return back to Olympus shaking with anger. He didn’t let his wrath get the best of him though, the humans had already too much to deal with.
He let Demeter continue her desperate search, demanding of the other deities to help her and find the Spring Goddess as soon as possible. And this is how the Goddess of Harvest found herself wondering Arcadia and crying on top of the steep cliffs, where a last meadow was laid. Her sobs were so loud that even the sound of the wild waves crashing upon the sharp rocks below, wasn’t enough to mute them.
The heartbreaking sobs reached the underwater kingdom of the God of the Seas, forcing Poseidon to leave his magnificent palace to find the source of the painful sounds. Arising from the depths of the sea with his shining chariot, he took the reins of the four seahorses that were attached to it and glided elegantly above the waves.
He made his way to the Goddess of Harvest, taking in the details of her appearance. Even sadness and sorrow weren’t able to take away her beauty –her tired face didn’t change his opinion about her.
Her silky black chiton suited her form, even though he knew she never preferred it as a color. It made her honeyed eyes stand out even more and although they were filled with tears and pain, he lost his breath as he gazed into them.
Reaching for her kneeling form, he shook her shoulder gently to grasp her attention.
“Are you okay, my Lady?“, he asked her quietly as he took in her weak form.
Demeter let a sound escape her –a mix between a humorless laugh and a sob. How could she be okay? Her child had disappeared, taking away a piece of herself too.
“I can’t find her”, she whispered gazing into his sparkling sapphire eyes.
He nodded in understanding, a black curl falling in front of his orbs.
“We will search for her –we’ll look everywhere.”
“Don’t you understand?“, she screamed desperately as she breathed heavily, “I already looked everywhere!”
His eyes sparkled with anger.
“Then, we will look again.”
The Goddess sobbed yet again, falling into his arms and wetting his shoulder with her tears. The pain becoming unbearable for her. Her hopes crashed and lost.
“I’ve failed as a Goddess.”
She looked into the snow-filled ground, realizing the damage and distraction she had brought upon everyone. He shushed her gently, caressing her untamed locks in his attempt to make her relax.
“I’ve failed as a mother.”
She gripped his back harder as she felt her knees buckle beneath her. His arms took hold of her and laid her gently on the snow-filled ground, caressing her strands away from her face.
“Shhh, my love”, his lips touched her forehead in a carrying kiss, “I am going to take your pain away.”
She laid on the cold harsh ground too weak to do anything but stare at the clear blue sky. Her sorrow and pain making her too tired and weak to react, no matter how much she wanted to. She let a tear fall from her honeyed orbs as he took her chiton off and laid soft kisses on her neck. They burned her skin like acid, making her uncomfortable in her own body.
Nobody came to her rescue –nobody heard her silent pleas. Nobody understood her pain. She could only focus on the vast blue sky as the God of the Seas mounted her unwilling body and fulfilled his needs. And for once more, she was betrayed by a man who took advantage of her weakness for his own benefit.
She had tried so hard to protect herself and her daughter from treacherous males and their lusty motivations, only to find herself in the same position from which she had started.
What had she done to enrage the Moirai and make them bestow such a fate to her?
Hadn’t she learned her lesson the first time?
Males didn’t care about anything but themselves –horny pigs the lot of them. All of them had the same wickedness in her eyes –it was running in their blood.
But were they all truly the same? Or had the Goddess lost her fate in them and ignored reality?
Whatever the truth was, Demeter could only cry in sorrow and pain as she was left alone on the edge of the cliffs.
Raped and hopeless.
End of chapter 26!!
Title Translation: “The Sadness of Winter”
Demeter was raped by Poseidon, while searching Persephone in Arcadia. In the original myth, Poseidon had raped her in the form of a horse and left her pregnant with a daughter, Despoina.
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