It was that time of the year again. The time the mortals of the earth and the gods of Olympus alike despised. The time when the beauty of the earth is all but forgotten in the sea of bleakness and despair brought on by Demeter. Persephone was to descend to the Underworld to be with her husband for the remainder of the year the following morning, and no one was les pleased about it than her.
Why she had allowed herself to be tricked into eating those four little seeds was beyond her, but it was too late now. Persephone was forever bound to the Underworld, and to its ruler, Hades. How she hated him. Why couldn't he have chosen some other child? Why was it not possible for him to have chosen some mortal? Yes, they would have eventually died, but could Hades have not chosen another when the time came? Zeus and Poseidon didn't seem to have this problem.
Demeter was another complication altogether. Her mother was always in an unstable condition when it came time for her daughter to leave Olympus for the husband she never wanted. At times, Demeter would blame herself, saying that Hades would not have dared kidnapped Persephone had she already been married to another. Why did she have to hide Persephone away from the other gods who sought her attention? She probably would have been happy with Ares at least.
These thoughts swirled through Persephone's mind each and every year. She did not know when she had come to her epiphany. Her mother's wrath, the earth's lack of fertility, the bleakness of Olympus, it all came back to one common denominator: it was Persephone's fault.
Had she not been born, Demeter would always be happy. Had her mother never been seduced by Zeus, the earth would always be bountiful with the fruits that the mortals labored to grow to sacrifice to the gods because there would be no reason for Demeter to forbid the earth to be fertile.
Persephone used to cry about this during the first few years of her double existence, but she was wiser now. The fault was not hers alone. She shared the blame with Hades and everyone knew it. Was it not him who had fallen in love with her? Was it not him who had kidnapped her while she was out with her mother? Was it not him who had tricked her into eating the pomegranate seeds? Persephone despised him for causing sorrow to both Olympus and the earth, though she knew that Hades must never know this. Though she was always unwilling to leave her mother, Persephone was Queen of the Underworld, and with this title came comfort. After all, there was a reason her husband was called 'the rich one'.
The morning finally came. The sky was bleak. Helios had been ordered by Demeter to hide behind the clouds today and by looking at the sky, one could tell he had complied. Hardly any of the gods spoke, and if they did, it was in low whispers. They knew that if they said anything that would offend Demeter, they would feel her wrath.
When the time came for Persephone to leave Olympus, she always went alone, and this year was no different. She appeared on the earth completely silent, as though she were clinging to her dignity. She waited for Hades to arrive, for he was always late. In the past, Persephone was amuse herself by hoping that Hades would forget to collect her, but she knew better now.
Suddenly, the earth began to shake. The ground next to her split in two. It began to widen and the sky around her darkened. Then, slowly, Hades ascended to the earth to fetch his bride.
Hades was a formidable god. His face was contorted into a sneer that faded upon his seeing Persephone, while his black robes hung loose on his giant body. Persephone looked very small next to her mighty husband.
"Greetings, wife," Hades said, and he gave a low bow.
"Greetings, husband," Persephone said rather stiffly, and she gave a low curtsey. It was the custom of the gods to greet their consorts this way, even if it was against one of their wills.
Hades lifted his head surveyed her with a smirk, as though he were still proud of the fact that no matter how much her mother despised it, Persephone was forever bound to him.
Hades offered her his arm and she took it. Together, they descended through the earth to the Underworld.
"Charon," Hades barked when they arrived in the throne room. A hooded figure appeared. In years past, Persephone would have been frightened, but by now she was used to the Underworld's strange inhabitants.
"Take my beloved and give her something proper to wear. I do not approve of her wearing the rags my brother provides for her and I am sure she feels the same. When you have finished, return to the boat." Charon said nothing. He merely beckoned Persephone to follow him. She obliged, though she was seething. The light blue robes she wore were definitely not rags and she resented them being recognized as such.
She was taken to her chambers and given bejeweled black robes to wear. Charon left her to change, presumably going back to the boat to transport newly deceased souls across the River Styx. Persephone contemplated going back out without having changed, but her obedient nature stopped her. Hades would never intentionally harm her, but she did not want to incur his wrath. She merely sighed and gave in to yet another one of her husband's desire.
Persephone reappeared in the throne room, absolutely stunning in the robes her husband had given her, but at the moment she was not thinking of how she looked. She walked slowly toward the thrones, her eyes downcast. Hades was watching her from his solid onyx marble throne with an arched eyebrow and a smirk: he seldom gave an actual smile. He was thinking of how fortunate it was for him to have thought of kidnapping Persephone in the first place. Had he not, he would never have been subjeced to her beauty.
She walked up the steps and sat on her own smaller throne of silver and crystal.
There the couple sat. Together they reigned over the Underworld for what seemed to Persephone the longest six months of her endless life. She did not have long to wait for Adonis to return from his six month long stay with Aphrodite, so that made it easier to bear, and Hades would occasionally attempt to amuse her by bringing Ixion before them. It did amuse her, but not much.
There they sat on their thrones made from the treasures of the earth. Hades, King of the Underworld and Persephone, his reluctant queen.