Eros' Arrow Part One
Kore lost most of the confidence she had built up for herself in her room, once she stepped outside. It was mostly due to the fact that she had to sneak through her mother's temple to make her way to her destination.
As if the sneaking was not nerve-bending enough for Kore, the fact that she was dressed in her finest clothes, doused in heavily-scented oils, masked in make-up, and lightly adorned with jewelry, sent her nerves further off the edge.
Walking around in such attire was not normal for Kore. The reason being that her mother would not approve. She would always tell Kore that certain styles of clothing and make-up were necessary at the appropriate time. These 'words of wisdom' struck Kore as strange, because even when certain ceremonies and festivals in Olympus required 'dressing- up', Kore was always stuck with wearing overly modest clothing that her mother had chosen. As Kore matured, she realized that her mother had used that tactic as a means to deter any attention that a male suitor might give her.
But now, Kore would surely gain attention by the way she was dressed.
The chiton she wore was low-cut and deep blue, exposing more cleavage than Kore was used to. Aphrodite had given Kore the chiton to wear for her future husband. Kore thought it odd that the Love Goddess had given her such a gift; seeing that her mother was not happy as well as the fact, that Kore had no suitors at the time of receiving the chiton. Since no opportunities had appeared for her to wear the chiton, Kore let it sit in a box over the years.
There were a few times that she would try the chiton on, just to see if it would still fit. The first time, the chiton was slightly loose on her figure, but now the chiton fit securely on her hips and waist.
She smoothed the chiton down again before picking up her bronze mirror for the third time to study her make-up.
Kore was not used to painting her lids and eyes with charcoal, but had seen the action performed by Aphrodite many times. Despite the heaviness, Kore was thankful that the charcoal had managed its function of accentuating her brown eyes. She had also painted her lips for the first time, a deep red that helped bring her lips to life. She had thought of doing an intricate hairstyle, but too lazy to finish, she left it in a loose chignon adorned with golden pins. She slipped on some of her best sandals, and added the last part of her attire.
It was a necklace that had been given to her by Athena. It was a simple gold chain, with a golden owl as the only adornment. The owl had grey stones as eyes, to match the eyes of the older goddess. Athena had given Kore this necklace when she was much younger, "To make sure that wisdom follows you whenever you wear it."
Kore clutched the golden owl-shaped figure, and kissed it. She hoped that Athena's words from long ago would hold true.
A lengthy check of Tartarus gave no answers as to what caused the shaking incident.
The shaking had occurred twice more while Hades was in the pit, dissolving his suspicion of Tartarus being the source
It left him frustrated.
After his unfruitful search of Tartarus, Hades returned to his study, ignoring his desire to go to sleep. It was not that he needed sleep, but given the choice, he would rather sleep than deal with whatever it was that had disturbed his realm.
This was one of the countless times that his penchant for duty won over his desire.
Since Hades felt the need to be dutiful, he decided to take care of the situation with Aphrodite as well. He wrote her a short letter, informing her that the love letter they had written together, must have still been in her possession. He, knowing her ways, believed the letter's disappearance was deliberate. For this reason, he made sure to add a light threat in his letter, so that Aphrodite would know that he did not desire any involvement in her games.
Hades sent the letter off immediately.
He leaned back in his klismos, deep in thought. The only other issue on his mind was the shaking that occurred earlier.
'What could cause such a disturbance in my realm?'
Hades thought hard about the possible causes, but none logical enough came to mind. He thought of bringing the judges in for counsel on the matter. Despite his initial dismissal of them, he hoped they could help conjure up some reasoning for the occurrence.
He sent for them to be dragged out of their beds and directed to his study. When the three of them arrived, they looked none too pleased.
In a predictable fashion, Rhadamanthus was the first to speak.
Hades motioned for them to have a seat. A servant brought an extra klismos for Minos to sit in.
"I would like to know your thoughts on what has caused the shaking in my realm."
There was silence amongst the judges. They looked as if they wanted to say something, but were too afraid. Hades noticed this, making him more annoyed than he already was.
He leaned forward in his seat, "If there is something that any of you would like to say…"
Aeacus took a deep breath before speaking.
"Lord Hades, as was stated before, we have no idea what…"
"Between the three of you, there is no theory as to its cause?"
"No Lord Hades."
Hades slumped back into his seat. He had hoped that the judges had come up with anything that could help answer this mystery. Just thinking about the work he would have to do to figure it out irritated him.
"Well, I have been thinking about it Lord Hades, and I might have an answer to the possible cause."
Hades turned to source of the speaker. It was coming from the corner of the room, near the hearth.
"Perikles do not address Lord Hades without permission!"
Hades waved his hand for Perikles to come closer.
"Calm down Minos, the man is only trying to help. Besides, it is his realm as much as it is yours."
Perikles approached Hades before speaking again.
"If my assumptions are correct Lord Hades, then whatever is causing the shaking has to be above us."
Hades tilted his head in thought.
"Lord Hades, this boy is speaking nonsense!"
Hades held his hand up to Minos. One look into Perikles' eyes, told Hades that the attendant wanted to say more.
"What makes you think the cause is above us Perikles?"
The attendant fidgeted.
"Lord Hades, I did not mean to browse for long, but it seemed like you needed some assistance in finding the cause of the shaking."
Hades was confused.
"What are you going on about?"
"I.. I was searching the library for possible clues as to the cause of the shaking."
"And according to one of the historical text, the giant Typhoeus is imprisoned under Mount. Etna.
Minos spoke out again.
"What does it matter? Typhoeus at his worse can cause a few volcanic eruptions, but nothing strong enough to reach this realm!"
This time Rhadamanthus spoke to Minos.
"I believe it is possible for Typhoeus to be the cause, after all of the years he has been imprisoned under that volcano."
Hades thought about the situation for a moment.
"Perikles, bring me the text in which you found this information."
The room remained silent, until the attendant returned with a heavy- looking scroll. He placed it on Hades' desk, rolling it out before him, and pointing to the text in question.
Hades read it silently. The text confirmed that the giant was trapped under the volcano. Apparently, Typhoeus was the same giant that had sparred with Zeus, and nearly defeated him.
Hades sighed out of tiredness.
He would have to go investigate the volcano for himself, and see if Typhoeus was indeed the cause. Even though the text confirmed the giant's presence under the volcano, it did not prove that he was the source of disturbance in his realm.
He massaged his head.
The thought of having to investigate Mount. Etna seemed aggravating to his senses. His head throbbed as he thought of any possible way that would make the task easier.
Sending someone to investigate was his first idea. In his mind, the only suitable candidates for such an assignment were either the judges, Hermes or Perikles. Aeacus was better suited at being responsible, while Minos was better at taking orders. Rhadamanthus' integrity was unshakable and Perikles was Hades most trustworthy servant. Hermes was the only god outside of his realm that performed duties that served his realm directly. But, no matter how dutiful the young god proved to be, Hades did not trust the young god to perform such a task for him.
Perikles was ruled out for the simple fact that he did not possess the authority that the other candidates had. This left the three judges. If Hades were to be honest with him, he would give the task to Aeacus. The judge was the bearer for his scepter and the key to his realm. That fact alone disqualified the other candidates.
Even though picking someone to relieve him of having to investigate the volcano himself, Hades still felt displeased with the situation.
Zeus had entrapped the giant under the volcano, not Hades.
This situation was an issue that Hades felt Zeus should solve. If it were not for Zeus imprisoning the giant under the volcano, Hades would not have this problem.
Hades interrupted the immortals, which were still debating whether or not Typhoeus could be the cause. He ordered Perikles to gather him some writing tools so that he could write his letter to Zeus.
Hades would explain to his brother the situation, and gently suggest that he should be the one to sort it out, since he was the cause. If his brother disagreed, he would send Aeacus to investigate as well as ring Zeus' neck.
When Perikles returned with the items, he brought another person with him.
"Lord Hades, the lady would like to speak with you in private."
She headed to Aphrodite's temple. On her way there, Kore constantly eyed her surroundings for any of the gods.
If she were seen by her fellow gods, she would be unable to prevent them from telling her mother about her attire, which would lead to her having to explain herself.
Fortunately, Kore went mostly unseen in her journey, sans a few servants who were too busy to give her a second glance.
When she finally arrived at Aphrodite's temple, a new fear arose in her mind.
Although Kore had relative success with being unseen on her way to the temple, she began to fear the possibility that another god, other than Eros, would see her in the temple and inquire about her visit.
Kore clenched her hands in anticipation of Aphrodite or Ares surprising her but once she reached a servant who directed her to Eros' study the fear subsided.
When he opened the door, Kore could tell that her plan was working.
Eros let Kore into his study, but not before staring her down like a wolf to its prey.
"Kore you look… interesting."
Kore entered the study without a word, opting to sit on his kline without invitation. Eros closed the door, sitting as close to her as modesty would allow. The only things that separated them were his arrows.
It appeared as if she had interrupted him polishing his arrows. She touched one of the golden arrows, careful not to touch any of the sharp tips.
He touched her hand, "Careful with the tip."
She did not have to look at his face to see his smirk. He moved the arrows from the kline, closing the space between them.
Once he moved closer to her, his full attention was on her appearance. Since she had gained his full attention, Kore initiated talking as planned.
Kore lowered her eyes as she had seen many of the goddesses do when they were flirting. She decided to start with his first statement upon seeing her as a way to begin the conversation.
"I look interesting? What does that mean Eros?"
Eros fumbled on his words, leaving no answer to his statement. This motivated Kore to go even further with her plan.
She pouted her lips, and stuck her chest out toward him. She tried to remember the tone of voice that she overheard Aphrodite use when she wanted to be seductive. It was somewhat odd that she was resorting to a tactic that Eros' mother used to seduce others.
Kore spoke with a low and slow tone. "Eros, I wanted to speak to you about something."
He offered a quick response.
"What did you want to speak about Kore?"
Kore wanted to laugh at how flustered Eros had become. She could see why some of the goddesses seemed to enjoy flirting.
Even though she wanted to burst out in laughter, Kore took a deep breath, emphasizing the rise of her chest with her inhale. The tactic worked, because she caught Eros' gaze flicker from her face to her chest, and back again.
Kore made sure to speak in the same tone as before.
"I received a letter today."
"It was a love letter."
Kore watched his face for any reaction. She expected him to begin blushing, meaning he was embarrassed about her knowing his feelings for her. Instead, Eros looked to be waiting for her to finish.
"I believe it was from you Eros."
This time Eros' face showed signs of anxiousness. This was the expression Kore expected him to have once she told him about the letter.
Eros inhaled deeply before responding. "What makes you think I sent you a love letter?"
Without thinking, Kore clasped Eros' hand into hers, moving closer to him in the process. She stared into his blue eyes from underneath her eyelashes.
"Eros, I know you wrote the letter. What I want to know is, how long have you felt this way for me?"
"Kore, I have no idea what you are speaking about."
Eros took his hand from Kore. He stood up from the kline, and walked to a wine vessel on his desk.
"Would you like something to drink?"
"Eros, answer me!"
Kore could not help the frustration that began to rise inside her. She wanted Eros to admit his feelings for her as he did in the letter.
She watched Eros pour himself a kylix of wine and drink it in the same motion. He turned to her, leaning on his desk for support.
"Kore, you are a beautiful woman. Any man would be fortunate to have you. But the truth is that I did not write a love letter to you. If I wanted to let you know how much I loved you, I would show you in other ways."
He smirked at his last comment.
Kore studied his eyes, but could not tell whether he was telling the truth or not. For the sake of remaining calm, she decided to ignore his improper last remark.
"Then why did a servant of yours hand-deliver it to a servant of mine?"
Eros shrugged his shoulders, " I do not know."
Eros shook his head, "I am not lying to you Kore."
The situation was quickly turning into a repeat of her conversation with Apollo.
Kore stood up from her seat.
"I received the same reaction from Apollo when I asked him about my secret admirer." She tilted her head, "You know, I am beginning to believe that both you and Apollo are plotting something."
Eros refilled his kylix, and drank the contents as fast as he did the first time.
"Kore, trust me when I say to you, that nothing is being plotted against you."
It was the only response Kore could think of. Even though she could not prove it, she felt that both Apollo and Eros were lying to her about their knowledge of the secret admirer, and the letter.
It was either that, or she was going insane.
Eros took a few steps toward Kore. He cupped her cheek with his hand, bringing her face closer to his. The action made Kore's heart beat slightly faster.
"I have to go attend to a few errands." He leaned in, and whispered in her ear, " but you are more than welcome to stay here and wait for me."
He broke out into a laugh, before dodging a smack to the arm from Kore.
"That is not funny Eros!"
"I did not say it for your amusement."
Eros dodged another smack, before leading Kore out of his study and his mother's temple.
She bid him farewell, before making her way back to her mother's temple. She looked back, in time to see Eros heading off to complete whatever errands he had.
A thought occurred to Kore, one that she felt would get her the information she desired.
Before thinking further, she turned on her heels, and began to follow Eros.
Hades motioned for the others to leave the room. Once the room was cleared, he stood from his seat. Leuce continued to stand in silence, apparently waiting for him to invite her to sit.
Hades respected her for waiting for him to give her permission to sit. Unlike another nymph he knew, Leuce still respected the traditions of the gods.
"You may sit Leuce."
Another thing that separated Leuce from the other nymph was that Leuce was a mortal. Because of this, Leuce looked much older. To mortals, she would be considered elderly in her age and appearance. The nymph was still agile, the signs of her age only present in the color of her hair.
Her silver hair was tucked into a neat high bun color and had always fascinated Hades, so much, so that he was provoked to stroke it ever so often, despite Leuce's reluctance. Even so, the nymph still held the beauty and grace that she possessed when she was younger.
The nymph sat down immediately. She folded her hands into her lap, taking her time to look around the study.
Hades followed her gaze before giving her permission to speak.
"I hope you have been well Lord Hades."
"I have. How have you been fairing dear Leuce?"
Hades felt guilt, as the words left his mouth. If he were to be honest with himself, he would have to admit that he had not been as attentive to acknowledging whether Leuce was fairing well in the underworld. Many years ago, when they had still been lovers, he had made a habit of asking the nymph about how she felt. But, after their relationship ended, Hades found himself gradually forgetting to ask. It had gotten to a point, where the only time Hades and Leuce spoke, was on her terms.
The realization made Hades ponder the possibility that Leuce recognized the shadow of a relationship that theirs had become. If she did, Hades feared she might harbor some ill feelings toward him.
He drifted from his thoughts long enough to hear Leuce finish her response.
"I apologize dear Leuce, can you say that again?
She offered a small smile, and repeated herself to him.
"I said that I have been doing well Lord Hades."
"Oh. That is good to hear. It has been a long time since we have spoken to each other."
Hades let her words linger in the air before speaking again. He hated that the dialogue between he and Leuce had gotten to such an awkward state.
To soften their conversation, he attempted to compliment her.
"You look beautiful."
" I am too old to be swayed by such words Lord Hades."
"But you are."
"Thank you Lord Hades."
Since his efforts were failing, Hades tried to be more direct in his approach.
"Leuce, there is no need to call me by my title while we are alone, and these formalities are not necessary."
"It is too late for me to stop now, Lord Hades. Besides, I promised you years ago to never be so informal with you again."
Hades sighed at the nymph's stubbornness. The memory of Leuce giving the oath lingered in his mind before she interrupted him.
"You look exactly the same Lord Hades."
"Your face. It has not changed in the time that I have known you."
Hades shifted in his seat.
"I know that you are not comfortable speaking about this Lord Hades."
"What do you mean?"
Leuce looked away from him for a moment before focusing her eyes back at him.
"About my mortality."
This time, Leuce let her own words linger in the air before speaking again.
"It is something that becomes more important by each day passing. I am getting older, and soon.."
Before she could finish, Hades held his hand up. He did not want to hear her say the last words, because he knew what they would be. Although he was glad that some of the formality had disappeared in her tone, he was unsettled by the direction of the conversation.
Leuce sighed before speaking.
"Lord Hades, I have one request. Please allow me the benefit of seeing my sisters above. I would pledge an oath of my return.."
Hades said the word with finality, thus ending the conversation. Leuce bowed her head in thanks, and waited for Hades to dismiss her. He hated the way the conversation ended, but to avoid having his emotions go where Leuce's word were taking them, it was worth it.
After a few days of waiting for a response to his letters, Hades finally received one. It was from Aphrodite. She requested to speak to him about something urgent.
Hades sat up in his klismos, "She wants me to speak to her in Enna today?"
Although he had not addressed the question to him, Perikles offered a shrug of confusion.
Hades was confused himself by the request, but more suspicious than anything.
'What could be so urgent that she needed to speak to me? Why not seek the counsel of Zeus or any of our other siblings in Olympus?'
Hades studied the scroll again, in the hopes that Aphrodite's words would give him some insight into her plans, but the words were as vague as the first time he had read them.
He crumpled the scroll in his fist before dressing himself for the trip to Enna.
She followed him at a slow enough pace to go unnoticed. The walking lasted for a couple of minutes, before Eros led Kore to Apollo's temple.
She hid behind the entrance columns, keeping her head low as a group of servants passed her.
She did not dare peak her head around the column for fear that she would be seen. She settled with having to listen for the moment, until she could no longer hear them. If that became the case, she planned to move further into the temple.
There were a few moments of silence before she heard Eros curse. From the echo of his voice, Kore could tell he was further down the hall, near the rooms. Her initial reaction was to peek around the corner to see what had made Eros mad, but the sound of Apollo's drunken voice quelled her curiosity.
"I am awake! Are you happy now!"
"Would you lower your voice?"
"You are yelling too!"
She laughed to as she listened to the two of them go on for another minute about who was loudest. Then it was silent again. Kore could not resist the urge the second time, and peeked around the column's side.
The two gods were sitting on a kline outside of Apollo's study. From the quick glance that Kore took of Apollo, she could see that the dark-haired god had definitely had too much wine. He was bleary-eyed, and his wavy hair looked disheveled.
Kore hid behind the column again, before the two gods could notice they were being watched. She could no longer hear their voices. She thought of moving closer, but was stopped when she heard the singular patter of footsteps coming near her. Without thinking, she bent down, as if she were picking something up from the ground.
She looked back up in time to see Eros walking back to the way that he came. Kore followed him back to his mother's temple, long enough to witness him order a servant bring him his chariot and arrows. She hid behind a column again, realizing her habit of doing such.
Once the servant returned with the chariot and his arrows, Eros disappeared into the sky.
Kore slumped her shoulders. She regretted not following Eros, but she figured that in time, she would know what he and Apollo were up to.
She returned to her room, removing the provocative makeup and clothing. She dressed herself in a simple peach chiton. She settled on reading some scrolls just to assuage her disappointing investigation. But upon making her way to the library, she was interrupted by one of her attendants.
Kore turned to the direction of the sound, spotting the short dark-haired girl known as Eudora, a daughter of Atlas.
Kore made her way to the girl.
"Lord Eros has requested you. He says that it is urgent."
Eudora began walking toward the entrance of the temple, leaving Kore to only follow her. The two made it outside of the temple, where Kore spotted Eros. He urged her to follow him with his hands.
Without thinking, Kore did. He led her to his chariot, wasting no time to see if she was fully in the chariot, before speeding off.
The chariot ride was uncomfortable for Kore, not only because Eros was speeding, but also because the chariot had room only for one person. It forced Kore to have to squeeze in one of the two corners of the chariot. This caused Kore to have an alarming closeness with the edge of the chariot, forcing her to stare at either the ground, or Eros.
Over the wind of traveling at such speed, Kore yelled, "Where are we going?"
Eros took no chance at looking back at Kore to respond, which she was thankful for. If he had, she was sure that it would have tipped Kore out of the chariot, and spiraling down.
She looked at his back quizzically, hoping that he took her silence as confusion. When he did not offer any further details, she pressed on.
"Why are you taking me there?"
Eros answered with little hesitance.
"I need your help."
Shortly after his response, Kore noticed the chariot slow down. She did not recognize the area they were in until she saw the meadow. It was filled with trees and crocuses of every kind. There was a stream of water near with some garlands of flowers spread in the nearby grass.
She and her mother favored the place that Eros had taken her to. It was because of its beautiful scenery, and the fact that the locals of Enna had built temples and statues in each of the goddesses' names.
Eros stopped the chariot, ignoring the jolt forward that it caused for the both of them. This made Kore curl her lip at him.
He hopped out of the chariot, yelling for her to follow him.
Kore did so, following Eros across the expansive meadow of flowers. Purple, yellow, and white crocuses in full bloom covered most of the area. She lowered herself to pick one of the beautiful flowers, cupping it in her hand. When she looked back up, she saw that she and Eros had a great distance between them.
Kore picked up her pace, making her way back to Eros' side. He led near a thick part of trees.
Before Kore could question him, Eros began making his way through the thicket. She followed him until they reached another open space.
Light green grass stretched for miles ahead of them, but that was not what had Kore's attention.
A few feet ahead of her were a group of what she assumed were nymphs. They were standing in a circle, and staring down at something on the ground. A few of them were kneeling on the ground. She could see legs sticking out from the small space of the clustered group.
Kore looked up to see Eros shooing the nymphs away from the spot they had encircled. She could now see what it was they had been staring at.
She began moving closer, and could immediately recognize the man on the ground.
'What happened to him?'
The words never formed into speech as she was left with her mouth open in shock. She had not realized her hand clutching her chest, nor Eros slowly making his way from the scene.
She could only pay attention to the figure below her, who was now moving. Before she could decide on what to do, she was shocked again.
The figure began speaking.
AN: I am deeply sorry for taking such a long hiatus, but I felt the need to do. For the past few months since I last updated, I took the time to focus on some other things that I had neglected. But now I am back, and better prepared for future circumstances should they arise. I hope that everyone who is following this story can forgive me, and enjoy the story.
On another note, what do you guys think Apollo and Eros are up to? And whom do you think Kore saw in the meadow? Stay tuned to find out!