DIVINE - A Persephone and Hades Retelling

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TWELVE - Safety Is Simply A Matter Of Trust

SAFETY IS SIMPLY A MATTER OF TRUST

Poseidon - God Of The Seas

Poseidon grew up the middle child of his two brothers Zeus and Hades. He always preferred to remind others that he was not simply a brother to these two great gods but also one of the Three King Brothers, and should be respected as such. As if it made up for being less than Hades’ prestige and Zeus’ power. Unlike Zeus who became a warrior, or Hades who had taken the time to become wise and decisive, Poseidon had used his time spent in his father’s belly becoming filled with thoughts of revenge. It fueled him and filled him to the brim, spilling, and washing over those around him from time to time. The craze became as much of who he was as his own name.

He had been named as the god of seas, seafarers, and horses. But he had quickly added onto his title, the maker of storms and earthquakes. No one questioned it at the time, they had all seen the storm raging behind his eyes. Poseidon had never seen the point of a peaceful sea and lived his life in the same way; taking what he wanted and drowning whoever came into his path. Always ambitious, the most dangerous trait a god could have. Always jealous, after all, what good is it to own the oceans when they are only second best to the sky?

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Her heart beat loudly in Persephone’s chest as she walked quickly down the hall. She kept her head down hoping no one could see the tears threatening to spill from her eyes. She was angry yet she still wanted to cry, two emotions that seemed so different to Persephone. And yet there she was hiding her tears in a crowded hallway. She knew she could not cry. Not here. Not in front of all those eyes. There could be no tears today. She picked up her paise trying to find Hades as quickly as possible.

Her feet stilled once she heard a two-toned whistle make its way down the hall. She prayed to anyone who might have been listening that it was not for her. She did not have the energy to deal with another god before the trial had even begun. She stopped to turn towards the offending sound only to find the hallway empty.

She wondered where everyone had gone. The trial was bound to be starting soon, maybe that is where they all had headed. Which only meant she was late for her own trial. She turned back to run off only to run into a man standing in her path. His beard was long but kept well and he smelt of sea salt. She knew immediately it was Poseidon, the god of the sea, and one of the Three Traitorous King Brothers. Hades’ own brother.

“Ah the little queen,” he spoke, his words echoing off the walls. He did not try to keep his voice down, instead, it bellowed and crashed down the hall.

“Poseidon.” She greeted him politely, after all, he was a very powerful god, the fact that she had no desire to speak with him mattered little to him.

“Why so stiff little flower? We’re family now.” Poseidon laughed.

“Yes, I suppose we are.” Persephone agreed with him. She did not know this god, she only knew of him from Hades. And what she knew did not speak in favor of him. She had heard of his rage and uncontrollable temper and of course, his wife which he gloated to have plucked from the shoreline. She reminded herself that not every prince was charming. But all that mattered to her was that Hades did not trust his brother. He didn’t trust any of his brothers but from what she could gather, Zeus could be predicted to betray, but when it came to Poseidon there was no saying what he would do. The fact made Persephone suddenly uneasy.

“You’re the one I’ve been hearing so much about. The woman of the hour or so it seems. I hear you’re the only one good enough for my brother Hades. And now it seems not even this will matter. The poor little girl, still waiting for her happy ending.” his words were meant to sting and they found their way to her. She had known this was what everyone was thinking but to hear it said to her face was something much more painful. It hurt that he had purposely sought her out only to wound her even more than her mother had. She could not hear anymore from him. She knew she needed to find Hades and get this horrible day over with.

“If you don’t mind I’m on my way to the trial,” Persephone said before trying to walk past him unsuccessfully.

“What’s the rush? Surely the trial cannot start without you,” he said darkly as he backed her up into a corner. Now she not only felt trapped but she also was physically. It must have been his desired effect because he smiled darkly at her obvious discomfort. “Now I’m curious, I want to know how a flower nymph made her way into the bed of the God of the dead,” he asked tilting his head to the side.

She was confused about his question at first, “His bed?” surely he was not referring to…

“Yes, don’t you think it’s a bit too far to be reaching for a mear flower nymph? How wide did you have to spread your legs for him to make you his mistress?” he unseemingly laughed.

“I am a god, not a nymph,” she said calmly after shoving him back barely an inch. “And if you are thinking I slept my way into power you are very mistaken.”

“Why else would a king and a powerful god make you his queen? What do you have under your dress that is seducing him into making a mistake like this?” he asked while looking her up and down with his wandering eyes. It made her uncomfortable to be looked over like this. Even more, she didn’t like the suggestion that Hades picked her only because of the way she looked. In truth, Persephone was much plainer than most of the other minor goddesses. She knew Hades could find himself a wife in each of them, and certainly wouldn’t have as much trouble. It bewildered her why everyone kept assuming such accusations.

“I am sick of everyone telling me that I’m making a mistake. It is no mind of yours what decisions I make, or who I love. Even if it is a horrible misjudgment then it is my mistake to make.”

“Oh don’t fool yourself this is most definitely a mistake, no matter how beautiful a mistake it might be,” he said to her as he reached up to touch her face. She swatted his hand away from her, trying to keep him at a distance.

“Your older brother chose Hera and you chose a water nymph, and no one batted an eye. Why am I any different?” she challenged him, she genuinely wanted to know and knew that out of anyone he would give her an honest answer. He had no reason to lie, this was all some sort of entertainment to him.

He hummed humorously in response, “I seized my wife in what you would see as a violet fashion, as only a man can take a woman. And surely you know of the tale of Hera and my brother, of how she flaunted herself in front of him? She tempted him and made him feel like there could be no other choice. She chose him more than he chose her. You and Hera are very different goddesses. While you may still be a temptress, Hera is a woman and you are only a girl.” he said. “While our wives were things waiting to be claimed. You already belonged to Demeter and therefore cannot belong to my brother, at least not without some blood involved,” he told her as if it was the most obvious answer. How could he think of women, of people’s lives, as nothing but pieces on a board?

“I am not a prize, I belong to no one but myself,” she told him boldly. She knew it might not have been true a week ago but she knew that from now on she would never allow someone to own her again.

“There’s the fire I was looking for!” he roared happily, “Although misplaced. What do you think today is about? It is to decide who you will belong to. Who will take you home. Your mother or my brother. You won’t even be given a vote to decide your own fate.” he told her cruelly.

“What do you mean? Of course, I will have a vote,” she replied shakily, her resolve dropping ever so slowly. “It is my trial.”

“Has no one told you? Only the 12 Olympians can vote at a tribunal. And you, my beautiful flower are nothing but a second-rate goddess.” he said touching his finger to her chin, lifting her head up in an awkward position. His touch made her skin burn but she was not fast enough to remove it. “But do not fear, girl. It seems both my brothers have taken care of everything and fixed the trial. They will make short work of it.”

“Yes, Hades has told me.” she nodded once he let go of her chin.

“And are you feeling confident?” he asked her but she didn’t give an answer to his ridiculous question. Of course, she was feeling confident, at least that’s what she was telling herself. He laughed when she didn’t respond, “You are. You think that everything is already decided, that your husband has taken care of everything.” he laughed again. She tried not to listen to him but this was exactly what Hades had told her he had done, taken care of the trial, there was no need for worry. But if it was true then why was Poseidon laughing? He leaned in even closer to her, “Safety is simply a matter of trust. No one is ever really safe. There is always someone else with more power and with it a bigger threat. Out of everyone, Hades should know this.”

She knew his words were a threat meant to shake her from her resolve. Poseidon was a god who reveled in control and liked to made others around him smaller than himself. He loved to make others nervous by intimating them with his power. She knew many men and gods like him and refused to be brought down or to allow him to belittle her like this.

Boldly she took a step into his space, “And how will you be voting today?” she asked. She saw his surprise at the boldness of her question but it was obvious that he was also enjoying it.

“Me?” he asked mockingly.

“Yes, you are a part of the original twelve, you are even one of the Three King Brothers. Surely your vote will count,” she explained. Though he was intimidating her now surely he would not cross his brothers by voting against Zeus and Hades. It would be a fatal mistake, even Persephone knew this. If she could only get him to admit that he would be voting for them, all of his threats would dissipate.

Unfortunately, Poseidon was an old god who had already known what she was planning, “And what if I told you I hadn’t decided?” he asked playfully.

“I would say it is poor planning. Would you really vote against your brother’s happiness?” she asked him but he only smirked.

“Happiness is of little concern to me. Many aspects of my brothers concern me, their happiness is not one of them.” he said with the beginning of a wicked smile, “I am more interested in conflict. They say ‘bitter are the wars between brothers’ but oh does the sea crave struggle.”

“So you will start a war between all of Olympus simply to keep you entertained?” she asked him, thinking surely he was not completely stupid.

“You think so poorly of me Persephone,” he shook his head. “No, starting wars is not my style. I contain more resolve than my nephew Ares.”

“But you would gladly go along with it, should the opportunity present itself.” she finished his unsaid thought.

“Don’t you think it’s been too quiet and far too peaceful for too long?” he asked happily as he began to walk away, leaving her to her thoughts, only to shout over his shoulder one last punch to her gut, “And to think, little flower, it will have everything to do with you.”

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