THIRTEEN - The Anger Of A God
THE ANGER OF A GOD
Her mind raced as she took the quickest route to the courtroom. Olympus was made of a maze of hallways, all intersecting with each other. It was confusing even for a goddess to manage. Even harder for her after having just heard a threat of war. War. The word reverberated through her mind as she thought of what Poseidon’s words might have meant. She was unsure if he was simply trying to unnerve her so she would stumble during the trial, or if he truly was trying to start another war. The thought frightened her.
The only thing she knew for certain was she could not tell Hades until she knew for sure. While Hades and his brother’s relationship was unfortunate, Poseidon would always be Hades’ brother. She could not destroy what little family he had left. She knew that if she uttered even a suggestion of what the sea god had said to her, Hades would lose his mind with anger. If she were to tell him of the ways Poseidon had touched her, Hades would destroy his brother. Either way, Persephone held the power to start a war. Something she hadn’t ever thought herself capable of. Something she would never forgive herself for.
Maybe this was what Poseidon had wanted. Perhaps he had given her a choice. Laid the decision in her own hands. She could destroy a family before the council was even called to order. Maybe this was the chaos he had wanted.
She could never do that to Hades. He had been wronged by first his mother and then his father. Even after all this time, he still held the scars on his own back. He did not talk of it often; when he did, he spoke of them in facts only. She offered me to him, without question. He swallowed me whole, then forgot about me. He never described his feelings or anything that would show how hurt he was. It was simply his past, something he had lived through, and something he preferred to forget. Still, she knew it had taken him a long time to get over the betrayal of his parents; she knew it still wounded him. She could not damage what little connection he still had to his family. They had not acted together in years, not after their falling out. Ever since then, they have had a divide splitting them all deeply. But they were still his blood.
She could not sow seeds of deceit without knowing they were based in truth.
Still, Poseidon had spoken at least some honest words. Some facts had to be the truth, it would be too easy for her to check their validity. He had revealed that she would not have a vote today. Simply because she was not important enough. That had been true. It frustrated her that even though she and Hades had spoken about every aspect of the trial, he had never told her of this detail. He never hinted that her rights might be taken from her. That she would be silenced and then sold like a piece of cattle.
She knew he had not done it to hurt her, not as Poseidon had, but nonetheless, it stung. It made her feel as if she was still a young goddess living in her mother’s home: no voice, no power, no importance. Doubt snuck into her mind making her question whether her circumstances would ever change.
Coming to the grand doors of the courtroom, she cleared her mind. She knew she was simply overwhelmed. Hades had never lied to her. Not once. Not even when it would have been easier for him to do so. He was the one who had saved her. He always listened to her and had prised her opinion above all else. He had never trapped her, and she knew that with him, she would always be free.
If only she could know how the trial would end. What would happen after she walked through those doors? Would she leave with Hades as the queen of the Underworld or as Kore, daughter of Demeter? She felt almost certain the fates would side with them, but that did not stop the worry that had planted itself deep in her mind. There it had grown, almost consuming her.
Taking a deep breath, she allowed all emotion to leave her face. Even though she had practiced her cold and unmoving stare, it still, even now, felt unnatural. But she knew it would be a necessity if anyone were to believe her. If she was going to be shown as the queen of the Underworld, she would have to act the part. And queens didn’t show weakness.
The doors flung open after she had pushed them too hard, not expecting them to be so light. A loud bang echoed through the large room, as the doors hit the walls behind them, focusing everyone’s attention on her. Though all the watchful eyes had sent a chill down her back she tried her hardest to act as if they weren’t there. Some of the gods were sitting in their thrones, waiting for the trial to start, others were conversing with those around them. Either way, it felt as if they all were watching her.
She spotted Hades immediately. He was sitting on his throne, watching her with an invisible smile tracing his lips. He was being watched just as much as she was and could not be seen gleefully smiling at her, but still, it seemed to cheer her on as much as any other smile had. She walked straight towards his black obsidian throne, heals echoing through the hall.
When she neared him, he stood from his throne and offered his seat to her. She felt silly not to have wondered where she would be sitting, but it seemed Hades had already taken care of it. For a moment, the doubt sprung up once more, making her wonder if this was a political move. If he was making this gesture as a symbol of her power. To be allowed to sit on a major god’s throne was to be portrayed as a major god. Sitting in one of the three King Brothers’ thrones was unheard of, and to her knowledge had never been done. If he had planned it even she had to confess it was well done.
When she sat in his surprisingly comfortable throne, she looked up at him, thankful. In response, he only smiled down with pride gleaming in his eyes. This was Hades. Not the one her doubt had made him out to be. He would have given his seat to her even if there was no one in the room to see. She knew she shouldn’t have doubted him, for he would gladly give her his kingdom if it made her happy, let alone his seat, even if it meant giving up his own power. It was simply who he was and why she had fallen so madly in love with him.
He had always said it but now she could see; they ruled as one, as equals.
“You are a natural. You look like you are out for blood. Everyone sees it.” he whispered to her so no one else would hear.
“That is why i am here, isn’t it?” she replied. Her voice had come out rough and with a bite, he did not deserve. He looked down at her, puzzled by her anger. He knew her as well as she knew herself, and he could see this was not an act.
He read her thoughts instantly, “Should I even ask how it went with your mother?”
“Pretty much how you would have expected it to go. Only much worse,” she told him sarcastically. She saddened at the thought of what her mother had told her. Softly she whispered to him, unable to keep it inside, “She hates me.” it took everything within her not to show emotion.
“Persephone-” Hades began, his voice soft. He was about to reason with her, to list reasons why her mother would always love her, and convince her there was still hope. Persephone could not stand to hear it. He had not seen her mother’s anger.
“She tried to slap me,” Persephone simply told him as the proof he needed.
His reaction was anything but simple. “WHAT!” he bellowed, his voice echoing throughout the hall and out into the corridor. The room fell quiet as Hades serged with anger. This time everyone did not simply turn but they stopped what they were doing, all turning to see what would happen next. Whether Hades chose not to give them his attention or had not noticed, Persephone could not tell.
Without another word and without pausing to hear Persephone’s explanation, Hades turned to leave. His heavy stride certainly was carrying him towards her mother. There was no doubt to her that Hades was going to find her mother and he was going to lock her in Tartarus for what she had done. He did not have to tell her, his face said it all.
Persephone had to run to catch him. She grabbed his hand, ignoring the show they were putting on for everyone. To hell with the hard exterior, she felt she had to portray, this was her husband, and she was her mother. She could not let them destroy each other. Though she and her mother had just fought in the hallway, she still cared about her and would never forgive herself if she didn’t do anything to stop this.
“Hades, it is okay,” she said in a softened voice. Her thumb began to run smoothing circles across the back of his hand. This still did nothing to calm his temper, if anything, it only heightened it.
“Like fucking hell, it’s okay Persephone! No one gets to touch you, not like that! No one, not even her!” he yelled loudly, cursing under his breath.
“But she didn’t slap me,” she said pointing out the fact that her mother was unsuccessful, hoping it would be enough to curve his anger.
“But she tried to. The fact she failed means very little to me,” he replied suddenly, deadly calm.
“Hades, the last thing we need is more animosity,” she begged. They already had enough hate to battle today, she did not need one more battle looming on the horizon.
“Persephone-” he began, but she quickly cut him off.
“Please, for me. Do nothing,” she begged him. Hades watched her but did not move. The fact he was no longer shouting was a good sign, one that said he was trying to decide. She took his hesitation and continued to try to convince him, “The trial will start soon. Do not give her more reasons as to why you are bad for me.”
He shook his head once more, “I don’t like this, Persephone.”
She signed understanding why he would be hating this situation. “I know, but it has to be this way.”
“If she touches you again, you will not stop me,” he told her, daring her to disagree. She had no doubt that if Hades watched her mother attempt to slap her there would be no containing him. But she doubted her mother would try anything again. Not after what had happened in the hallway. She would not risk it while in front of such a large audience.
“I will not stop you, I promise,” she told him honestly. “It will start very soon, let’s sit down,” she suggested and he nodded, following her lead.
“Anxious?” he asked.
“Ready for it to be over,” she confessed. She wanted nothing more than to be back in the Underworld where she belonged. Remembering her fate was still not certain she remembered what Poseidon had told her and turned to Hades, accusing him with even her gaze. “Were you ever going to tell me?” she asked him.
He met her gaze but did not give anything away, “Tell you what?”
“That i will not be given a vote. That because I am not one of the twelve, my opinion on my own fate will not matter.” She whispered to him harshly so no one else would hear. This would have to be a private conversation.
“It will not come to a vote,” he said, leaving no room for argument. He said it as if it excused him, as if it no longer mattered, as if the argument was pointless.
“You still should have told me.” she continued, not letting him simply dismiss the matter.
“I did not think it was pertinent,” he confessed.
“If we are in this together, then you cannot keep things of this magnitude from me,” she warned. She wondered if he was keeping anything else from her if only to keep her from worrying.
Hades signed, seeing she was upset, “I am sorry. You have stressed enough already, I did not want to worry you. So much power has been taken away from you already, I did not want to add one more to the list.” he confessed to her, reaching for her hand. She could not yank it away, not in front of their growing audience, but she did not return the light squeeze he gave.
“Do you not see that you yourself took the power away from me when you decided I did not need to know. Don’t you understand how it made me feel when your brother told-” she rambled on, but Hades caught what she had hoped he would miss.
“My brother?” Hades asked, suddenly alert as if there was a threat in her words. “You talked with Zeus?”
She shook her head, treading carefully. She still was unsure how much she should share with Hades. She had already seen how on edge he was and how far he would go when he saw a threat. “No, Poseidon,” she told him.
He studied her quizzingly, obviously confused. “He is here? I did not think he would attend.”
“Everyone has to be here,” she said.
“There are some laws that do not pertain to us,” Hades answered her. The ‘us’ he was talking about was clearly the Three Traitorous Brothers. Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon. The three brothers had led the revolution against the Titans. Their type of prestige gave them the power to do almost anything they wanted. When they acted no one questioned them. That is until today.
“Then why is he here?” she asked.
Hades shook his head just as confused as she was. “I don’t know.” Clearly, he had not planned to see both of his brothers. She could see this concerned him.
There was no time to worry further about Poseidon’s intentions, for Zeus walked in gaining everyone’s attention. Hera was on his arm, drawing just as much attention as him. The couple demanded every eye in the room as they sat on their thrones. Hera’s was smaller than his, but from the prideful look in her eye, it was as if she hadn’t noticed. In the chaos of their grand entrance, Persephone watched as Poseidon sucked in, taking his seat quietly.
“Alright, let us get this tribunal started.” Zeus began, his voice booming through the grand room, quieting everyone.