Η Αποδοχή του Ολύμπου
“I didn’t choose you.
I just took a look at you, and then-
there was just no turning back.”
The large throne room in Olympus was beautifully decorated as the Gods and Goddesses gathered together to celebrate the birth of their new sister. The morning sun bathed the circular room in its golden light as Helios rode in the vast skies, making the white marble and the golden thrones shine like precious gems.
Scarlet roses were hanging upside down from the nonexistent ceiling as if there were invisible threads holding their stems. Their delicate petals would open every time a guest passed under them and they would throw brilliant golden sparks upon them, making them look up surprised and admire the unique flowers. Huge colorful bouquets with all kinds of blooms were also put scarcely around the room with their sweet fragrance being a pleasant sensation to the Gods’ and Goddesses’ senses.
A fitting decoration for the daughter of the Goddess of Harvest and Agriculture, there was no doubt for it. Demeter had made sure that the room was appropriately decorated for her daughter’s official presentation to Olympus, making sure that everything was perfect to the last detail. What better decoration than flowers for the Goddess of Spring?
This day was very special for the young child, even though she was too young to understand it. Each time a new God or Goddess was born in the Greek Pantheon, they were brought to Zeus’ enormous palace to be presented in front of the other celestial beings.
Their main powers were already decided before their presentation and usually were identical or almost the same as one of their parents. However, the other Gods had to accept the newcomer during this huge and joyful celebration and to welcome them into their huge family as a respected and loved member. Therefore, each one of them blessed the new child with a holy gift that would be useful during the course of its immortal life.
Demeter smiled down at the small buddle in her arms as it moved its arms happily. Kissing her daughter softly on her forehead, she gazed at her pride and joy with utter adoration. She had covered her precious child in a silky white cover that was contradicting against her orange tunic as she walked slowly towards Zeus’ golden throne.
The other Gods and Goddesses tried excitedly to get a glimpse of the small baby girl as she passed by them towards their mighty King. All of them were jumping around and smiling among themselves as they chatted joyfully with each other.
Everyone...except one particular God.
Hades wished to be anywhere else but in this celebration, doing absolutely nothing to hide his displeasure. He was brooding by himself in a corner far away from everyone else as they run around the baby enthusiastically. His dark appearance with his black long robes and his crown with sharp steel peaks made him look dangerous and lethal –someone to not be messed with.
Although he was a very handsome man with long black strands, magnetizing stormy eyes, and pale complexion, no Goddess wished to be in his presence. They were all terrified of him and stayed as far away as possible. The other Gods were too scared of the God of the Underworld to even start a proper conversation with him, so they stood away from him trying to ignore his existence.
In all honesty, he didn’t mind it at all, being used to his family’s behavior after all these years. He wasn’t one of them anymore –one of the Olympians, he lived in a world of his own. Truth be told, sometimes he was glad for the existence of the Underworld because the drama of Olympus was very unlikely to ever affect his Kingdom.
The Lord of the Dead was bored out of his mind as he stood alone in the sidelines. He was once again pissed at his idiot of a brother, who was forcing him to honor yet again another of his numerous children.
He had gained himself the title of man-whore both among the mortals and the immortals since he seemed to pop children everywhere without a care in the world. All the while his wife could do nothing but stand by and watch. And that moron took pride in that title, not stopping his antics no matter how many years pass.
The God of the Underworld was furious at him for two reasons. Firstly, because he made him honor something that he himself couldn’t have. If he wanted to father children, he had to lay with a woman. Women didn’t dare to even look at him, it would be impossible to find one who would bed him willingly and he wasn’t a person that would take a woman without her permission. That meant he had no children of his own, no matter how much he wanted to become a father one day.
On the other side, Hades was also livid for the way he treated his wife, the only one of his sisters that he admired and respected. If he was ever lucky enough to find a woman that would love him and accept to marry him, he wouldn’t dare treat her in such a disgraceful manner. He would give his all to her and have eyes only for her. He shook his head to rid himself of his angry thoughts.
“Mind if I join you?“, a familiar female voice made him turn around.
Hera was as beautiful as always. Her dark locks were up in a perfect complicated design and the purple color of her dress was gorgeous on her olive complexion. However, her hazel eyes were sad and showed her vulnerability to him as she joined the celebration for her husband’s baby, which unfortunately wasn’t also her own.
Hades didn’t speak to her; he didn’t have to ask her how she felt. He knew how embarrassed his brother had made her feel -how much he enjoyed the irony of this whole situation. Hera, the Goddess of Marriage, couldn’t keep her own husband in check.
He took her small hand in his larger one and brought her closer to his towering form. Then, he wiped away a treacherous tear that had fallen down her rosy cheek and gave her a big comforting hug that he knew she desperately needed.
“Everything is going to be fine”, He whispered in her ear not wanting the other Gods to hear him -he had a reputation to uphold.
Hera smiled sadly up at him as she tried to regain her calm and collective posture. She shook her head negatively at her dearest brother and turned around to see what was happening in front of her.
“He is never going to change, Hades. No matter how much I beg him to, how much I want him to. He seems to enjoy watching me in pain.”
Demeter, who was wearing a golden crown of wheat, had climbed the last steps to Zeus’ throne. She kneeled before him and stretched her arms that were holding tightly on her baby girl towards his kingly form. She hated every minute she was in his presence and the fact that she had to treat him with respect when he had humiliated her. However, this was their tradition and she wouldn’t destroy her daughter’s big day for her own problems.
Zeus smiled brightly upon seeing the young child and took her in his large hands. He took away the small blanket from the small baby and gasped at her beauty.
His newborn daughter had skin as pale as porcelain that was decorated with adorable small freckles. Her eyes were the greenest he had ever seen, reminding him of the forests her mother nurtured. They had a spark in them that made them glow -a spark of innocence and curiosity.
He smiled down at his baby girl as he caressed lovingly her chubby cheek. She giggled at the feeling, making everyone awe at the wonderful sound. She would have to be the cutest baby they had seen in the last couple of eons.
“This is my daughter, the Goddess of Spring”, he announced as the girl became comfortable in his huge arms. The guests gasped at her beauty and began talking among themselves.
“You may begin giving your gifts”, he proclaimed and sat back down on his throne, the baby girl tightly held against his chest.
One by one, the deities began to approach the small child in order to give to her their chosen gifts. They were waiting patiently in a queue for their turn as Zeus held the baby in his arms, while Demeter watched all his movements closely as she stood by his side. She hated to see her flower in his hands, but as of now, she didn’t have much of a choice.
“As Goddess of Love, I have decided that she will experience the deepest love of them all”, Aphrodite smiled while looking at the child.
Demeter cringed at the thought but did not say anything. Love had proven to be a weakness -the more you love someone, the more they hurt you. She had experienced the consequences of love and it almost crippled her soul. She wouldn’t let her daughter make the same mistakes as her. She would protect her from heartbreak.
“As Goddess of the Hunt, I give her the gift of protection. No animal will ever harm her”, Artemis declared loudly when her time came up.
The queue went on and on as everyone gave their gifts away. Meanwhile, Hades was having a conversation with Hera in the very back of the crowd.
“You know...there was a time that we were really happy with one another...that we cared for each other. I’ve loved him more than anything else in my life and at the beginning of his affairs I had accepted them”, Hera murmured.
“Why would you ever accept the fact that your husband is cheating on you?“, Hades questioned his sister in confusion.
“Because love makes us do stupid things, my dear brother. I was afraid that I would lose him forever if I dare to deny him of his cheating ways. I was content by the fact that he was still affectionate towards me and treated me like his equal”, Hera shook her head.
“What happened after that?“, the Lord of Erebus asked her as he patted her back soothingly.
“After that...our love turned to hate. And we have an eternity to bicker about it”, Hera whispered ashamed looking away from his grey orbs.
“She will be willful and determined like a strong warrior”, Ares’ loud voice boomed around the halls of Zeus’ palace as he bowed down in front of his father, who nodded respectfully his head to his son.
“I think that my time has come.”
Everyone watched silently as Hera slowly approached the baby. Hades sent her a reassuring look, making her slightly nod in answer. She had to admit that the small child was adorable as her emerald eyes observed her curiously.
She wanted to remain mad at the child. The small girl was a reminder of her husband’s illegal affair -of the fact that her husband had once again betrayed her. However, looking at her pure eyes and mesmerizing beauty, she couldn’t bring herself to be.
She was so damn tired of Zeus’ immature behavior. She couldn’t bring herself to feel so powerful and mighty as she stood before her husband’s daughter and her mother -her mood visibly dampened. Sighing deeply, she made her decision known.
“She will have the most successful marriage of us all.”
No one expected a gift like that from her, not even Hades himself. Hera being the jealous wife and constantly seeking revenge on her husband, made sure her gifts were always both a blessing and a curse. They were designed in a way that nobody could blame her for them, but also the receiver would pay the price of their father’s mistakes.
They believed that she would curse smartly the baby like she usually did to Zeus’ other bastard children. Therefore, they all were speechless with her unsuspected actions that made them admire her patience and morals even more. Even Hera was surprised by her behavior, not sure of her own motives.
Perhaps, she had come to understand that she couldn’t blame others for Zeus’ actions neither was it a sufficient solution to curse every female he had ever touched. Women shouldn’t bicker with one another for the attention of a man. They should fix each other’s crown and move on together, seeking what’s best for their own selves.
Zeus nodded thankfully at his wife’s generous gift and watched her intently as she turned around and stepped away from his throne. He knew that their marriage was anything but perfect and that he was mainly the one to blame for it. The way Hera had acted, reminded him of a different side of her. Of times that were long forgotten. It gave him a glimpse of a younger version of his wife, a side he had fallen in love with her for. Shaking his head out of his thoughts, he cleared his throat.
“Hades, my brother”, Zeus declared, “you are the last one.”
Hades was lost in his thoughts when he heard his brother’s voice. He started to make slowly his way towards him as everyone made way for him to pass. He was taking his sweet time as he thought of possible gifts he could give the child. Truth be told, he couldn’t care less for his brother’s children and had come completely unprepared to the ceremony. He had many matters to attend, so he was just hoping that he would come up with something at the last minute.
For the first time, he decided to look at the baby as he never got a chance to do so earlier. When his silver eyes laid upon her, his heart stopped. His hands turned into tight fists by his sides as he tried to hide the trembles from the prying eyes. He couldn’t believe his eyes!
The girl held such beauty that Aphrodite would be jealous. His breathing grew labored as her emerald eyes found his own. With a cooing sound, she stretched her small hands towards him wishing to hug him.
Something clicked inside of him -something he couldn’t explain. He felt as if he had a connection with the small child -as if her soul was calling out to him. His loneliness evaporated from inside of him as he gazed at her -new emotions started to overwhelm him. He hadn’t felt anything like that in years! How could such a small child make him feel so...alive?
His eyes widened at the realization. What games did the Moirai play on him? Had they decided to be kind to him? Had they chosen to give him what he always wished for? If so, he would forever be thankful for this blessing. Because all he ever wanted was someone to spend his eternity with and apparently, the baby girl that was staring at him so curiously was his fated one.
“Brother?“, Zeus questioned breaking his eye contact with the child.
Hades took a big breath and composed himself. He would not let himself seem weak in front of his Olympian family when they were constantly looking for any of his mistakes. Even if his emotions were an uncontrollable tornado swirling inside of his chest, he held his head high and put the facade of the mighty King God back on. He looked at the child one last time and then the words came out of his mouth without any filter.
The name rolled perfectly from his lips in a husky voice, filling his whole being with warmth.
A wave of criticizing whispers started to raise around the throne room. The Gods tested the foreign name in their mouth getting accustomed to it, although it sounded different when he had uttered it. They hadn’t expected the God of the Underworld to name the young girl.
Zeus looked at his brother with raised eyebrows at his generosity. After everything that had happened between them, he didn’t expect him to come up with such a unique gift for one of his own. He smiled at him, a true smile after many years. He bowed his head in acknowledgment –barely visible to the rest of the Pantheon.
Everyone turned around at a distressed Demeter who seemed like she would pull her brunette locks out of her head.
“My daughter already has a name!“, she refused the gift firmly.
She didn’t want her child’s life to be affected by the decisions of men. Names had power, especially names of Gods. The mortals prayed to them daily, tasting their names in their mouths as if they were the finest wine. She refused to let a man determine her child’s identity. She was a child born from thunder and earth, with routs firmly connected to the soil. She was Gaea’s child, her mother’s daughter. She was Kore.
The Lord of Darkness just raised up a black eyebrow, daring her to refuse his gift. He narrowed his eyes at the blaspheme Demeter was about to commit since refusing a gift wouldn’t please the Fates under any circumstances. She didn’t get the chance to do it.
“I will not name my daughter Kore, Demeter! It is ridiculous and unfit for a Goddess!“, Zeus yelled at the Goddess of Harvest, spitting her chosen name out with distaste, “Her name is Persephone.”
Hades didn’t stay any longer. He left the throne room, but not before he glanced one last time at the child. A small smile graced his face as he exited Olympus, his last image being a small girl reaching with her hands out to him. He got himself onto his magnificent dark chariot and started his descent back to his kingdom. When he was finally in the privacy of his chambers, he laid down on his huge bed and closed his eyes. He couldn’t help but thank the Fates for their gift, having already accepted her.
His thoughts kept replaying images of little Persephone as she giggled and laughed. She would surely grow up to be a beautiful young lady and he would make sure that he would see her again. He didn’t care if he had to wait years for her to accept him and be with him. He’d wait as long as it took.
He fell into Morpheus’s arms with one thought in his mind.
End of chapter 3!!
Title Translation: “The Acceptance of Olympus”
Meanings of the name “Persephone”:
1. The one who brings the spring (most common)
2. The one who brings death (Persephone/Περσεφόνη= φέρειν (bringing) + φόνον (death))
3. The one who has knowledge (Plato calls her Pherepapha (Φερέπαφα) “because she is wise and touches that which is in motion(the philosophers/intelligent ones)“)
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Until next time!!