Chapter 1 – The Flower Maiden
Kore lay sprawled on the ground, the long grass hiding her from the prying eyes of the nymphs, or keepers as she often referred to them in secret.
The nymphs were in her mother's retinue and their job was to keep Kore safe, although, Kore couldn't help but think that she was stronger than most of the nymphs put together.
It wasn't strange for Kore to be on her own, although, her mother would probably have had a fit if she knew. Demeter was a formidable force and would think nothing of resorting to violence to protect her innocent daughter, which Kore thought was a little extreme.
The meadow that she lay in was her home and had been for the last few centuries and nothing untoward had happened so far. This was her and her mother's sanctuary, a place that only the Gods could venture in, yet none of them would dare unless they wished to experience the wrath of Demeter.
Kore frowned at the thought, sometimes she grew lonely and wished to be surrounded by people like herself, instead of the silly nymphs that bossed her around in their best efforts to show their superiority. It was humiliating taking orders from those creatures and no matter how many times she complained to her mother, her situation did not change for the better.
Discarding the wicked thoughts from her mind, she wouldn't let her mother's overprotectiveness ruin her day, instead she set her mind to the world above her, the cloudy paradise that her mother refused to take her to.
She dreamed of one day travelling into their cloudy depths and entering the magnificent kingdom of Olympus, but as the years went by, Kore wondered if she would ever walk through those golden doors.
The night before she had overheard a conversation that was not meant for her ears, but still she listened to the unfamiliar voice that spoke in urgent whispers to her mother.
The voice belong to a man or young boy – it was hard for Kore to decipher between the two, but still, although he whispered his voice demanded respect, which her mother didn't seem to give.
Kore leaned against the door and listened hard at his words – he was talking about her.
"Demeter, Goddess of the grain and harvest, I am here to command that you bring Kore Soteira, the maiden of flowers to Olympus at the request of her father." The man-boy recited. "You are to come tomorrow hence, where she will be welcomed by his council and be celebrated for the Goddess she is."
Tears ran down Kore's face as she listened. His words were everything to her and that is all she wanted, to prove herself to her mother and show that she was not a child to be swaddled in blankets – she was a powerful Goddess, even if it was of flowers.
Thinking over the events of last night, Kore became angry. Her mother had refused to listen to man-boy's words, which made Kore – for the first time in her life – want to scream at her mother.
She could have at least consulted her about going to Olympus, instead of making an important decision without her. Kore was bitter, she couldn't help it.
"Kore!" A nymph called out from a distance. Kore was buried between the layers of grass and was concealed enough that it would have been difficult for even one of the most powerful Gods to have seen her. "Kore, where are you?"
Kore sighed and contemplated keeping quiet, but good sense won over and she reasoned that if she ignored the nymph then her mother might get mad and hurt the girl and Kore didn't want that, even if she did find the nymphs and her cohorts nuisances.
"Please." The nymph pleaded, which made Kore feel guilty. "Where are you? Oh! She's going to murder me."
Kore could sense the fear in the nymph's voice, it puzzled her that her mother who had always been so loving and kind towards her could invoke so much fear in this silly creature.
She got to her feet and let out a groan as she stretched her muscles, which she had failed to do since she had first placed her body on the ground. As much as she wished to stay in her tiny bubble of refuge, she knew that there was no point in being childish.
Stretching out an arm, she waved in the nymph's direction to signal that she was perfectly fine and as the nymph walked towards her, Kore felt her mood darken as depression set in.
Why can't mother trust me to be alone for a few hours? She thought bitterly.
"Oh! There you are." The nymph squealed. Kore noticed the relief in the young woman's face. "You gave me such a fright. I thought something terrible might have happened."
"I've been gone for hours." Kore stated, registering the slight surprise on the nymph's face at her serious tone. "I thought you were supposed to be watching me. If I had been in any danger, I would have been long gone by now. I don't think my mother would be best pleased at your idleness."
Kore could sense the nymph's fear and almost felt bad for doing it, but if she was a mother herself and had placed her trust on these nymphs, then she would expect their full alertness – even if her children were a handful.
Kore was many things, she was a loving daughter towards her mother and was kind and considerate to those around her, but there were times when dark thoughts plagued her mind and she found herself not being so obliging, which both frightened and thrilled her. She was not a delicate flower that need constant care, but no matter how many times she tried to explain this, her words usually fell on deaf ears.
"I suppose you wished to speak to me." She asked. "I assume that's the only reason you came to find me or else you'd still frolicking about to the rivers and woods with some silly fool that recites odes to your eyelids or freckles or something else equally ridiculous and romantical."
"Y-your m-mother is b-back from her errand." The nymph stuttered out as quickly as she could. "S-she asked me to bring you to her i-immediately."
Kore studied the nymph for a few seconds before relenting and offering the poor girl a smile. She hated being rude, but she was sick of people presuming that because she was the maiden of flowers that she was nothing but a silly girl because deep down, Kore knew she was so much more than that.
"We best not keep her waiting." She said cheerfully. "She might turn you into a tree if we're not careful."
Kore stood in the middle of the living solar, her eyes focused on the plump figure who moved about in front of her.
She studied Demeter as her mother placed wildflowers into a chipped vase and onto a slab of bark, which had four small tree stumps underneath and acted as a table.
Kore loved her mother, even if she did find her mother's love to be overwhelming at times.
"Mama?" Kore questioned. She couldn't help but wonder if her mother was upset with her. "What's the matter? Have I done something wrong?"
Demeter turned to face her daughter and Kore almost stepped back in fear. She had never seen her mother look so angry before.
"Mama." Kore tried again. "I haven't made you angry, have I?"
Demeter's green eyes softened as she studied her young daughter.
She hated her brother, in fact, she hated most of her family. The only exceptions were her daughter and eldest sister, the others could burn in Tartarus for all she cared.
"Come here." Demeter smiled. Her voice was sickly sweet as she motioned for her daughter to come closer. "I have missed you, my flower. You have no idea the madness I have had to endure for you."
Kore stepped closer and was suddenly engulfed in her mother's arms. Kore loved her mother's cuddles and always felt safe as she rested her head on her mother's ample bosom, but right now, she could sense that something was wrong. Her mother was hiding something from her.
As Demeter held her daughter, she tried to reason that no harm would come to her child, but deep down she knew that this world was a cruel one and that her daughter was too naive for it. Kore was innocent and Demeter was determined to keep her that way.
Demeter believed that men were lust filled creatures and had no business being around her child and if she had her way, she would castrate most of them, starting with two of her brothers.
Kore started to squirm in her mother's iron grip and after a few more seconds, Demeter finally set her free, but made sure to grab at her so that she wouldn't go too far.
Kore felt uncomfortable as her mother's eyes bore into hers. She could see the love that her mother had for her in those moss coloured eyes and was grateful for it, but it was the fear that seemed to be hovering at the edges that caught her off guard.
Demeter knew her daughter was uncomfortable as she drowned herself in Kore's pale eyes, but she couldn't help herself. She thanked Gaia that her beautiful child did not resemble her brute of a father, but with that thought led to another.
Kore reminded Demeter of herself when she was a young woman and it terrified her. She knew that she could be a tad overprotective, but Demeter had been just as innocent and sweet as Kore was now and that naivety and trust was betrayed by the man who was supposed to love her.
Demeter did not want her little flower to grow into the bitter woman that she had become. She wanted her daughter to be happy and most of all she wanted her to be loved and no one could love her child as much as she did.
Demeter eventually let go of Kore's hands and felt saddened as Kore quickly hid them behind her back.
"Kore." She sighed. She hated what she was about to say and wished that she could prolong the inevitable. "I have been ordered, against my will, to escort you to Olympus."
She watched as her daughter's face broke into a big smile, Demeter almost wanted to slap her daughter. She couldn't understand why her daughter wished to be around those arrogant, brutish Gods.
If only she knew the evils that awaited her in that clouded paradise. She thought.
"When shall we go." Kore asked, her rosy cheeks brightening as she waited for her mother's response. "I hope it's soon, it will be a wonderful adventure, mama. Oh! Please tell me it will be soon?"
"Tomorrow." Demeter stated.
She had never been so disappointed in her life, she'd hoped that her daughter would decline the offer and beg to stay with her.
"Tomorrow, we shall go."
Kore's bright smile lit up the entire cottage, this was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to her and without so much as a backwards glance at her mother, she ran to her tiny bedroom to pack for Olympus.
Hey everyone! I hope you all enjoy this story, this is my third attempt at trying to make this better, so please, feel free to let me know what you think. This story will be posted on her, fanfiction and possibly Ao3, but I'm not sure how that website works. I wrote this story three years ago and posted it on fanfiction, which is still there, but I have decided to rework it and hopefully make it better and once I have got to the point in this story that I ended in fanfiction, I will start posting it there as well. Again, I hope everyone enjoys!