Hello, readers. Quickly, before you start, I want to say thank you for clicking on my story. I absolutely adore Greek mythology and all the legends that accompany it, so it's no surprise that a new twist to the myths crafted its way into my mind. I really hope you like it because as much as I love writing the stories in my head, I love when people read and enjoy them even more! Please leave a comment/message I promise you it'll make my day whether it's constrictive criticism or appreciation. Thank you!
He is the last to arrive to the meeting of the Gods.
To be fair he did have the farthest distance to travel to reach the dwellings of his brethren on top of their pretentious mountain; and he was also the last to have heard news of the gathering, seeing as Hermes hadn't deigned to inform him until the final day before.
His black robes swirl behind him, flowing like ink over the silver streets of Mount Olympus. Every breath of air is heavily perfumed with the scent of Zeus's plentiful gardens creating a mosaic of colour to add life to the buildings made of gold. Nymphs splash and play in shimmering pools that fall away to misty waterfalls over the edges of the grand mountain peak, but when they spot him weaving his way up to the throne room their giggles die. A peacock picks its lazy way across his path but a minor Goddess swoops to collect Hera's prized bird in her arms before scrambling to get out of his way. She bows her head to him but he sweeps past without looking at her.
He has found that everyone prefers it that way.
Finally, he reaches the steps climbing their way to the golden Parthenon watching over all of Mount Olympus. Zeus frequently holds gatherings in the temple the Gods created for him and now it has come to be more of a throne room.
A glower adorns his ageless face as he ascends toward the twelve who await him in anticipation. He stalks up the steps gracefully, moving like a black cat in contrast with all of its surroundings. When he strides into the grand room his mood darkens further. The Twelve Olympians sit at a massive table, seated around Zeus in the midst of conversation, but all fall silent when they turn to acknowledge his unusual attendance.
None attempt to conceal their surprise in the name of courtesy. For some it is harmless bewilderment but he sees distain contort the ethereal beauty of some of the God's faces. Never does he acknowledge their rejection and never does his step falter.
"Hades," Zeus's voice explodes through the Parthenon. Hades' hair stands on end when the King of the Gods addresses him and he grits his teeth as he comes to a stop at the head of the table, opposite Zeus. He takes in Zeus's chiselled chest visible in his toga and the broad shoulders capable of handling the unpredictable lightening that has thrown down so many of the Olympian's foes. When Hades meets his brother's eyes they are the grey of unruly and unforgiving skies, so similar to Zeus's personality.
He says in steely recognition but he can't force himself to bow. Thankfully, Zeus seems to be in a good mood because he lets the slight slide and waves his hand in welcome. A golden chair materializes out of thin air making the company an odd thirteen. Hades sits and casts away the thought that Zeus knew he was coming and still did not make a place for him until now.
Athena makes an effort to catch his eye and gives him a respectful nod. As the Goddess of wisdom, war and justice, Athena had always had a more empathetic connection with Hades. She understands his position is crucial and although his duty is scorned, it was not one he chose.
"I have gathered you all here today to discuss a matter of grave importance." At Zeus's tone everyone shifts forward in his or her seats, casting a rich ambiance of light across the white opal table before them. Every Olympian has an unearthly glow that radiates from the center of their being as a way to incrementally release their overwhelming power to keep it from consuming them.
Hades' aura, on the other hand, expresses itself as obsidian so he keeps a tight grip on it when in the presence of his kin. He does not need another reason for them to view him as an outsider even though it was they who exiled him to the Underworld in the first place.
"Well, get on with it. We don't all have time to bask in your glory Zeus, we actually have our own Kingdoms to run." Poseidon drawls sarcastically from his seat at Zeus's right. His grand Trident is sprawled across his lap, but it is so large the edge of it is impending upon Apollo's space next to him and it's dangerously close to impalement. Apollo scowls at Poseidon and flicks the tip away but the God of the Sea ignores him.
"This has been an issue we have all known about for some time but the problem is getting worse. The humans have begun to slowing stop coming to our temples and bringing us offerings. I hear their prayers less and less as the days go on and I'm afraid over time they will stop worshiping us all together."
There is a moment of collective horror as the severity of the situation settles upon everyone's shoulders. Everyone's shoulders, of course, except for Hades. At the moment, there is only one temple in which people came to worship him and the amount of humans who visited Nekromanteion were lacking. Plus unlike other Gods or Goddesses he did not need the acknowledgment of humans to be relevant. They all knew deep in their hearts that their paths would end with him.
So Hades sits back in his chair unbothered, wondering why he even made the trip, as he watches those Gods desperate for human affection unleash.
"How is that even possible? Are they not afraid of our wrath?" Apollo stands from the table and slams his fist but his twin sister Artemis pulls him back down to his seat swiftly. Hera, the Queen of the Gods, rolls her eyes. Apollo's ego almost rivals his beloved Narcissus's and Hades ponders how the two can even get along with so much self-absorption in one place.
"Well, since Zeus decreed we cannot directly interfere with mortal affairs centuries ago, our presence and influence in the human's minds has begun to be forgotten." Athena says calmly.
"So what do we to do? We must regain the power we have lost." Ares looks to Zeus with a scary gleam in his dark eyes and Hades immediately knows the God's intentions: war.
The routine is so predictable it's growing old; however, this piques Hades' interest because when Ares begins bloodshed his job becomes more interesting.
"No, Ares. No one here is going to break the oath we all swore. We will have no direct interference with the mortals." Zeus responds and the authority in his rumbling voice settles everyone for a moment.
"But Ares is right. We can't just stay quiet and let the humans forget us. That will weaken us." A methodical voice drifts through the room and catches everyone's attention.
At first, Hades doesn't want to look at the speaker but eventually he gives in. Males have been known in history to stare at the Goddess with such desire that when she leaves their sight they tear out their eyes in devastation because they never expect to see a sight so beautiful again. Hades on the other hand has a hard time looking at the Goddess of Love and Sexuality, and can only glance at her for a moment before turning away.
Aphrodite sits with her hands crossed pleasantly in front of her and is currently simpering at Zeus who visibly weakens at the sound of the voice of one of his favoured Goddesses. Hades wonders for a second what form Aphrodite takes to please the God of Thunder and if it resembles Hera, his Queen currently seated on his left. The Goddess of Love is able to look into the heart of any who has one and see what they desire most. This allows her to take on the form they find to be the most attractive and this is how she reduces men to embarrassing puppets with one look.
When Hades regards Aphrodite out of the corner of his eye he sees long onyx hair that falls across her shoulders and down her back to tickle her waist. Her porcelain skin is unblemished and pale except for the glow that radiates from her like a small sun. Devastatingly long eyelashes brush her sharp cheekbones that cave into narrow cheeks and a sensual red stained mouth that tilts down in a natural pout. Ever since the moment Hades first laid eyes on the Goddess he thought Aphrodite had a dangerous and haunted air to her that pulled him in until he learned she was derived from his own desires…and that she knew of those wishes. The only things that stays consistent between Aphrodite's appearances are her eyes: brilliant silver irises that ring black pupils to draw in her prey.
When Hades tears his gaze away from her perfection her words finally resonate in his mind. He finds he's speaking before he fully collects his thoughts.
" The humans will never forget us, it is not in their capacity. We make up every part of their daily lives and they know to whom they owe everything. A hunter bringing back game to feed his family during a hard winter knows it is thanks to Artemis's mercy his loved ones don't starve." Artemis tilts her head to regard Hades in consideration and he continues knowing he has everyone's attention. "A general celebrating a victory on the battle field will send thanks to Ares and Nike and he will drink and dine well due to Dionysus's favour. When the sky cracks with thundering rage and the sea raises up to meet it on a stormy night, only a living fool would mistake the power of the Gods. A women giving birth to her first born while her husband consoles her will thank Aphrodite for newfound love and will be endlessly grateful to Hera for a successful union." The room is silent as he pauses for a breath and makes eye contact with every deity seated at the table in a room brimming with unimaginable power.
"Well, what about me?" Apollo sits back in his chair with his arms crossed, unable to be excluded from praise. Artemis kicks him swiftly in the shin and silences his grumbles.
"Whether it takes the form of a blacksmith's fire, the harvest of a farmer, music sung by beautiful women, healing from alchemists, or prophecy from the oracles the humans can never forget us because we are life itself."
Zeus sits back on his throne with an almost triumphant look on his face but it is not his brother's attention that draws Hades'. For what is possibly the first time, Aphrodite is staring at him. He can feel the heat of her gaze on the side of his face like a wildfire but he refuses to meet those enticing eyes for fear of being exposed.
"Well, if we are so important in the lives of the humans why do they not come to worship us anymore? Why have their sacrifices stopped and their offerings come in fewer number than ever before?"
Her voice threads itself together more captivating than any sound Apollo's musicians could ever create but Hades grits his teeth at the sound. His dislike for the Goddess comes from his deep-rooted sense of vulnerability and hate at the idea that she has access to the deepest corners of his heart. Aphrodite has never been fond of him either, for she finds death interrupts love too often.
"Perhaps their lives have become busier... or they are more concerned with other things at the moment, especially with the rising threat of the Romans." Hades shrugs, uninterested in providing speculation, but he still does not meet the Goddess's gaze. He stands from his chair, thinking he is finished with this useless gathering and that his presence is no longer required, when Aphrodite's next words freeze him in place.
"You do not seem to think this an important matter, or even one of consideration at all. I imagine it's too often that you neglect the problems that arise on Earth from where you hide away in the Underworld."
Slowly, Hades finally raises his eyes to meet the Goddess's and silver meets an unending black in a steely challenge.
"You forget that I was cast out of Olympus and exiled in the Underworld, so forgive me if I have accepted my deposition and do not concern myself with conflicts more suited for others to resolve." His voice is acid dripping from his curled lip but the stunning deity does not flinch, even as the tension in the room grows stifling with the mention of his exile. He turns his back on his kin sitting stiff in their seats and begins striding for the door.
"I understand that you have no love for us but I thought you cared at least for the humans…or do they only begin to matter to you after their deaths? What a lonely existence, tending over souls who could never love you back."
Rage erupts from deep in Hades' core over her presumption that she truly knows anything about his existence and as he wheels to face the audacious Goddess his grasp on his aura slips. Black erupts from his skin and radiates from his body with obvious menace. Aphrodite sucks in a breath but stands from her chair to show he will not cow her. Ares also gets up to move in front of her to protect the Goddess from potential harm. Poseidon suddenly appears at his brother's side and is grabbing Hades' arm but the God of the Underworld shakes him off in his fury.
"Do not speak to me of my relationship with humans or anyone, you do not know me."
"I know what resides in your heart. And I also know that hate and love balance on an incredibly fine line. You have not learned that yet but perhaps you will."
"Enough," Hades yells and the walls shake sending down golden rain from the ceiling of the Parthenon. His power rolls over them all and darkness spreads to the corners of the room like thick mist rising from the earth in the early morning. He is suddenly striding towards Aphrodite positively livid that she believes him so vulnerable to need her "wisdom" and that the rest of the Olympians bear witness. She elegantly steps out from behind Ares' protection and advances to confront Hades but before another word can be spoken Zeus sends a bolt of lightning crackling across the ceiling. The hair on everyone's arms lifts with the electricity and they all turn to face their ruler in tense silence. When he speaks, there is no room for negotiation.
"The meeting is adjourned. I will monitor the humans and if the threat grows even more critical action will be taken, but for now no one will make a move. Now disperse, I will not tolerate a fight today."
With a low growl, Hades shoots one more lethal glare towards Aphrodite before straightening into composure and turning on his heel. The Goddess watches as the black of his aura slithers towards him and disappears into his robes like it never existed. In a flash she remembers the anger that had splintered his cold but attractive face only a moment ago. It's unfortunate that the God of Death is as gorgeous as he is because never before has it been within her power to completely despise someone so good-looking.
However, there is something threatening and wicked about the God of the Underworld that terrifies her to the core and she hopes no one knows how deeply he disturbs her.
Before Hades can reach the door someone appears in its entrance and immediately all the tension Aphrodite felt seeps away. A smile splits her face as Adonis's presence suddenly fills the room and she feels her love for him calm every nerve in her body.
Hades and Adonis pass each other and Aphrodite can't help but think the two are perfect opposites. Adonis brings joy and pleasure everywhere he goes and women simpler than her fall so deeply in love that often times she must turn their hearts against him in her own jealousy. Hades on the other hand is reserved and cruel, too cold for anyone to love him easily.
As the two males pass each other Adonis doesn't spare Hades a thought or a single glance. His gaze remains fixed solely on Aphrodite who brought the man with her to Olympus because the two of them could barely stand to be separated. But while Adonis is watching her, Aphrodite keeps her eyes glued on Hades' back so she does not miss when the God pauses as Adonis passes by him. Her heart skips a beat when Hades then turns to consider Adonis as the mortal continues toward Aphrodite and an uneasy feeling settles in her heart.
Someone appears by her side and when they begin to speak she realizes its Apollo. She expects him to say something about how devastatingly handsome Adonis is, but his next words unsettle her even more than she was before. She half listens to the God of Prophecy while she watches Hades disappear into the starry night.
"Your beautiful mortal smells of destiny."