The Eternal Lights

This is an original myth I had written for my Latin class. I used several classical characters from Greek mythology, though the storyline is completely unique. I also included an original character.

In the beginning there was nothing but an immeasurable abyss called Chaos. But then, out of this bleak void emerged a small miracle, Love, which drove away the nothingness of Chaos. Love created Light and Day, from which emanated the Earth, the sky, and the creatures and immortals that followed.

One fine evening atop Mount Olympus, Zeus and Hera—the newly crowned king and queen of the gods—held a magnificent banquet for the Olympians and several other deities. It was a time of great joy and feasting, for Zeus and Hera would depart for their honeymoon around the universe the following day, and had for the first time invited all the immortals to converge at their palace as a farewell gift. Among the minor deities invited for the first time were Helios and Selene, who had been close friends during childhood but were then separated to serve as guardians for the day and the night, respectively. At the banquet, the two young immortals were seated together, and upon being reintroduced to each other by their mutual friend Lux—the goddess of light—they soon engaged themselves in lively conversation. Unnoticed by the great Olympian gods, who were entirely engrossed in mingling within their elite circles, Helios and Selene happily feasted, danced, and conversed with each other throughout the night, never spending a minute without each other's company.

As night turned into day, the deities exited the golden palace and watched as Zeus and Hera mounted their majestic chariot—drawn by four silver-winged horses—and soared into the brilliant cerulean sky. The remaining Olympian gods departed from the gates of the main palace and headed for their own mansions on the outskirts of Mount Olympus. Helios and Selene, however, lingered behind, and Lux, noticing with her sharp eyes that the two were holding hands, kindly motioned them to return to the palace. As Hera's attendant, Lux knew every corner of the palace, and led Helios and Selene to a tiny, well-concealed chamber underneath one of the grand staircases. There stood the very altar where Zeus and Hera had been wed merely three days earlier. The two young immortals stared in bewilderment, but Lux, who was also a prophetess, foresaw that the two would be wed in the future, and presumed that if the wedding could take place while Zeus and Hera were absent, then all the better. Though hesitant to oblige Lux so quickly, Helios and Selene were unconsciously so much in love with each other that they obediently joined hands and uttered their eternal vows, sealing their fates together.

The month that followed was a period of perfect bliss for Helios and Selene. However, the lovers grew so besotted with each other that they could no longer bear to part. Helios and Selene frequently took turns visiting each other, never realizing that they were alternately neglecting their guardianships of the days and nights. Unknown to them, the immortals and creatures of the Earth felt great distress as the missing or consecutive days and nights disrupted the delicate balance of the planet.

In a dark crevice of Mount Olympus stood the tiny castle of Eris, goddess of strife and discord. Furious at having not been invited to the banquet hosted by Zeus and Hera, Eris pondered back and forth, scheming how to gain her revenge against the unjust insult of exclusion. Then, one month after the banquet, just when the royal couple was returning from their honeymoon, the answer dawned upon Eris as she gazed at the third night sky in a row. The seething goddess immediately summoned Hermes—messenger of the gods—to her shadowy abode, and, hastily scribbling a note on parchment, sent him to deliver the message to Zeus. The mode of Eris's revenge soon became evident, and it was a clever scheme indeed. She had informed Zeus of the shameful neglect of the nights and days caused by Helios and Selene's sudden but certain attachment to each other. Just minutes after Hermes's departure, Eris heard the menacing boom of raging thunder over the peak of Mount Olympus and smiled to herself, assured that due punishment would be carried out.

Zeus was shocked and immensely angered that Helios and Selene were neglecting their essential godly duties, and immediately punished them both for their disobedience and selfishness. He created a giant sphere in the sky called the Sun, banishing Helios there in order to trap him in eternal guardianship of the day. Zeus then created the Moon in the nighttime sky, trapping Selene in that cold and barren domain so that she could do nothing but guard the night. Thus, the lovers were never to see each other again; each morning, Helios rose above the horizon and completed his journey across the sky, sinking below the horizon just as Selene emerged from the other end of the world to begin her eternal circuit. Helios, who had a strong and sometimes even fierce personality, seethed with anger and resentment at Zeus's cruel punishment. He burned with unquenchable fury, deliberately emitting so much radiance that the sight of the burning golden Sun was blinding to all, even to Zeus himself and the rest of the immortal gods. Selene, meanwhile, wept with sorrow after being separated from Helios, and ceaselessly hid her face in shame. Each night, as different emotions crossed through Selene's mind, the degree of her sorrow varied, and so the shadows on the Moon's face changed in a continuous cycle.

Hera's anger, on the other hand, proved even more vehement than that of Zeus. Upon being informed of Helios and Selene's neglect of their duties and the wedding that had doubtlessly led to their increased attachment, Hera immediately summoned Lux to her chambers. When Lux calmly entered, Hera, eyes flashing and nostrils flaring, lifted her scepter. Lips clenched tightly and without uttering a word, she ruthlessly split Lux into a thousand tiny pieces, scattering them into the heavens to become stars.

Thus these three immortals were forcefully banished to the sky to become the eternal lights and guardians of the heavens. Helios and Selene were confined to their separate shining spheres, one glowing during the day and the other during the night. Meanwhile, Lux roamed from twilight to dawn, sparkling like diamonds trapped in black velvet. Though all three mourned their tragic fates, Selene always remained the most dispirited, so Lux would accompany her in the nighttime sky and occasionally twinkle her lights to soothe Selene's misery. Even Zeus was aware of their endless sorrow, and on merciful occasions, he would permit Helios and Selene to meet. Thus, on rare days and nights, the paths of the Sun and the Moon would cross for fleeting moments, briefly reuniting the two lovers until they were again separated for a small eternity.

Finis