ELEVEN - Ugly Words Between Brothers
UGLY WORDS BETWEEN BROTHERS
Hades stood in the hall admiring the view of his wife walking away. It was shameless and unkingly of him to do so but he was hypnotized by every part of her. The sway of her hips, her laugh, her glamorous eyes, the curve of her neck, the list only seemed to grow by the day. The sway of her hips being the most captivating part at the moment.
He was proud of her for how she was handling every part of the circumstances they found themselves in now. He had tried to keep most of it from her ears so as to not worry her unnecessarily, but she immediately saw the weight on his shoulders. Even then she handled it like a queen. The last few days had only shown him how much she had begun to grow. It made him so proud to see her grow into herself while also grow out of her mother’s shadow.
Thunderous footsteps interrupted his thoughts as Zeus approached him. It had only been one day since they last met but since then much had happened. He needed an update on the progress his brother had made before the trial could start. In the Underworld, Hades had always run his kingdom under a close watch. He kept an eye on all aspects and if he couldn’t be personally involved he expected regular updates from whoever he trusted with the task. But this trial was far from within his control and up until this moment, he had been given no updates on how controlling the trial had gone. It made him uneasy not knowing, something he had worked very hard to keep from Persephone.
“Brother.” Hades nodded in acknowledgment as his brother joined him.
“Brother.” Zeus joked in a moke salute. Hades had always been more serious in life than Zeus. Meaning Hades had never understood how his brother got anything done with his carefree attitude. “Enjoying the view I see.” Zeus nodded towards Persephone. Hades gritted his teeth together, furious at his brother’s words. His brother had taken something that Hades had never seen as wrong and made him feel dirty for doing. He wanted to deny it, deny he would do anything as vulgar as his brother was insinuating. But he had been caught and he knew it. He worked so hard to be different from either of his brothers but this was just one more incident that proved otherwise.
“Do not be crass and do not say a word about my wife,” Hades said, turning to look down at Zeus and away from his wife.
“Alright, my fault. Didn’t know you’d be so touchy on the subject.” Zeus said, raising his hands in defense.
“You mean you didn’t know I would be protective of my wife? The woman I’ve put everything on the line for?” Hades said dumbfounded.
“Honestly no, ” Zeus honestly told him.
“Sometimes I don’t know how you are the king of the gods,” Hades replied.
Zeus returned Hades’ remark with an eye roll like he had heard it before. “You sound like my wife.” The two brothers started walking in the opposite direction Persephone had, towards the entrance to Zeus’ private wing. Zeus must have been looking for a more private area to discuss their plot. “Are you prepared for the shit storm coming your way?” He asked.
“As ready as I can be. What are our odds of our victory?” Hades asked, ”How many gods did you get on our side?”
“We have the advantage but not by much. Aphrodite is of course on ‘the side of love’ as she puts it so we can count on her support. As always this means her puppet of a husband, Hephaestus, is also supporting you. But in turn, Ares is refusing only on the account that he refuses to agree on anything Hephaestus does.” Zeus recounted.
“I’d rather have Ares than Hephaestus on our side,” Hades said. While he believed the god of war to be thoughtless and bloodthirsty he could not deny the god had a powerful presence that had a way of achieving what he needed. In a situation like this, it was just what Hades needed.
“As would i, Hephaestus is rather useless.” Zeus agreed quickly as if he too had come to the same conclusion.
“He is your son, Zeus.” Hades reminded him.
“They are both my sons. Blame me for having a favorite?” Zeus shrugged not having a problem so openly favoring one son over another. It was no secret Zeus had many children of who were heroes and villains. From what Hades had heard it was not easy being the son of Zeus. He had heard multiple stories of Zeus putting them head to head for his own enjoyment.
“Oh have i missed it here,” Hades said sarcastically, shaking his head at his brother’s words.
“Yes, life is not as simple as it is in the Underworld.” He laughed. Hades gave his brother a look, knowing Zeus knew nothing of life in the Underworld, not once had he come to visit him in the many years Hades had ruled.
With encouragement from his brother, Zeus continued. “My other child Athena, true to her character, is waiting for all the information to be presented to make her final decision. She will not be swayed beyond this point. Hermes seems to be backing you two but from what Hera has told me he’s more on Persephone’s side than yours. But Artemis hates you and is dragging your name through the mud, always the defender of women. She seems to believe that Persephone has been wronged in some way. You would have to ask her what this means, I can never understand her ramblings.” Zeus said as he rolled his eyes.
“It’s shocking she is your daughter,” Hades replied in mock laughter.
“Believe me, I know,” Zeus replied.
“Will it be possible to turn her once both stories are explained?” Hades asked him, trying to keep their conversation on track.
“Doubtful, she doesn’t like to be proved wrong. Also, her weak-willed brother, Apollo, is following her lead. She and Demeter are almost rioting against you keeping Persephone as your wife. They are trying to convince others you have kidnapped the poor girl. They have even tricked Dionysus with the promise of wine, why the god of wine is short in supply i don’t know. That only leaves our sister Hestia of which I can not seem to get a response out of. It seems she is content to sit this fight out and watch the hearth like she usually does.”
“What of our brother?” Hades asked. He was curious to find out where Poseidon’s loyalties lied. Poseidon had always been a tricky and strong-willed brother. There had been a time when Hades loved Poseidon for his talent for adventure but as the years dragged on his same talent turned into a want for trouble. Poseidon always seemed to be in the center of every war, seemed to constantly be seeking out the unrest.
“Poseidon? He is strangely silent. Very unlike him but I see no reason for us to doubt our brother. While we have always fought, as all siblings do, our brother has always backed us.” Zeus told Hades. Hades had to bite his tongue from replying to his brother’s trusting heart. Taking a deep breath Zeus continued on with his news, “But ultimately it will not matter who is on whose side if she follows through with her threats.”
“Her threats are not new,” Hades commented to Zeus. He knew it had to have been a serious threat for Zeus to allow a god to threaten him and forget his pride. And yet still Hades could not focus on her threats. He knew that after today demeter would try something for either way the trial went she would not be happy with the results for there was no way she would be leaving with Persephone. Besides, he now knew the extent of her power and felt more secure knowing that if it came to it he would not have to fight her. If only his brother could know that demeters powers were limited, then they would not have to go through this ridiculous trial. But he knew it was not his secret to share.
“If the court does not rule in her favor, if her daughter is not returned to her she will stop the harvest permanently.” He told Hades as if there could not be a worse outcome. He could feel his fists tightening at his brother’s words. “At first, I thought this was just her worrying about her daughter, and eventually she would return to her role but you did not see her in the throne room this morning. That woman has vengeance in her eyes. She will not take this sitting down and your deception will not be forgotten.”
Hades swallowed as much anger as he could knowing he needed to think clearly at this moment. He knew that if he could tell Zeus about Demeter’s powers, or lack thereof, her threats to him would be obsolete. But he had promised Persephone that no one else besides the three of them would know. She did not want Olympus to find out, even though it would be the easy way to save them, Persephone was still looking out for her mother.
He could sense in his brother’s eyes that Zeus was searching for an excuse. Zeus had dealt with angry goddesses before, certainly, this one was no different. But still, he gave Hades the reasons why their plan may fail. Hades was suddenly worried Zeus would turn his back on him once again. It was something he could not allow. Not now. Not when everything was at risk.
“And you think I will forgive you so easily?” He growled out, the anger began to make its way back up to the surface. “I guarantee you, brother, I can match her vengeance easily. Who is she to think she can take what is mine? Do you want a threat? I will give you a threat. If you do not rule in favor of me and Persephone I will open the gates of hell and let the dead walk among the living. See then if Demeter can feed the hoards. I will unleash chaos. Do not test me, brother. I am a calm god compared to my siblings but if I am tested you will find I will surpass all of you.” Hades saw a flash of fear cross Zeus’s eyes only to be followed by hatred. As much as Hades hated to be threatened Zeus hated to be belittled.
“There is no need for threats,” Zeus replied angrily.
“You should know I will bring the world to its knees to get my bride back to me,” Hades said, needing his brother to know without a doubt that if there had to be a choice he would make a better ally than an enemy.
“As long as your little goddess plays her part I think a solution can be found.” Zeus agreed but still had lingering anger in his eyes.
Hades laughed at Zeus’ sad attempt at a threat “Do not doubt her Zeus, she is a force to be reckoned with. She will play the game and come out at the end the victor.”