The Judgment on Eros
Carrying his trusted bow and arrow, Eros landed at Mount Olympus for the trial he was to face. He was accused of rebelling against the gods and goddesses by forming mischievious relationships between them and the mortals. Today, he faces these charges in front of the 12 Olympian gods.
Walking the tiled steps of the temple, Eros was stopped by his mother, Aphrodite. She was wearing her white shawl, with roses decorating her hair. She looked remorseful.
"I am afraid of the judgment they will place on you," she said to her child, looking him over as if searching for fear. "Are you not afraid of the possible consequences?"
Eros gave her a small smile, "I am not. I will never be."
She embraced him tightly. "I would do what it takes for you to be set free. Trust your mother," she murmured. "I will do my best."
He could only smile wryly. Aphrodite removed her arms around her child and fixed his clothes. She then turned around and walked into the temple, leading the way to Zeus's wrath. Eros could do nothing but follow.
"Today, we will be judging Eros on the grounds of sedition and rebellion." It was Athena, the goddess of wisdom, who spoke. "We call on Eros to deliver his defense."
Eros looked up, pride shining in his eyes. He was afraid, yes, he was. However, he knew that others in this room were also afraid of him. That was enough to for him to gather the courage to walk to the middle area.
He knelt before Zeus, the King of the gods, waiting for his word to raise him. He only received a grumble, an echoing thunderous sound. Eros stood and prepared himself for the worst. Bowing to each of the 12 Olympian gods, he began:
"I am Eros, the god of love, of desire. Most of you assume that I simply am the cause of much issues concerning love in the world. Indeed, I am involved in them, but I am no more than a catalyst."
Hera, speaking up from the side of Zeus, gave him an appraising look. "What does that mean, little god? Are you telling us that we are at fault for the affairs we get into?"
Eros nodded, solemnly. "Yes, for my arrows only magnify what you already actively desire. I do not create feelings out of thin air."
Before Hera could continue her questioning, Apollo intruded.
"Surely, you caused me pain in losing Daphne, and Hyacinthus, and all my other lovers? You can't deny that!"
Eros licked his lips, staring at a single point on the floor before replying, "I caused you pain, yes. I magnified the desire you had for your lovers." He then shook his head, "But no, I did not cause your lovers' demises. I did not chase Daphne and caused her to turn into a tree. I did not cause the accident with Hyacinthus."
"Why you-" He was silenced by Artemis, who raised her hand while staring at the winged god in the middle of the council.
"Silence brother," she spoke calmly. "It is not only you who lost a loved one." Her voice then turned grave, "Why did you cause me and Orion to fall in love?"
Aphrodite, angered by this injustice, spoke, "My son did not cause his death, did he? Why blame him for your faults?"
The temple had turned silent, spare the flickering fire of Hestia and the ragged breaths of many of the other gods. They were all waiting for Athena's words. Seeing this, Zeus nodded at his daughter, who then began to speak.
"To the gods and goddesses of this council, we have all heard the defense of Eros. We have also listened to questions that have been posed and we have cleansed the doubts in our judgments. Therefore, we call for the gods in favor of the annihilation of Eros to raise their hands."
Eros could only kneel and look down onto the floor, not daring to see the gods who believed him to be the source of the chaos in Olympus. He was not afraid of his death, but he was unwilling to know those who would want him gone.
Zeus, Apollo, Artemis, Hephaestus, Demeter, and Dionysus raised their hands. They were all gods who believed that Eros's interference had caused them hardship and pain. They were all gods that failed to realize the risks of love.
"Thank you." The six hands had been lowered, albeit reluctantly.
"Now, we call for the gods in favor of the innocence of Eros to raise their hands."
Eros raised his head to look at his mother, Aphrodite. He simply saw her smile and nod, steeling her face. She raised her hand. Beside her, Ares also raised a hand.
With them, Poseidon, Hera, Hermes, and Athena raised their hands. Six gods believed that Eros's was innocent. Six gods realized the fruits of Eros's influence, despite the risks.
"Well, a tie," Zeus proclaimed haughtily. "It leaves me to decide that Eros is guilty. After all, I am the most wronged by his interference." He then looked at those who dared oppose his position. "Do the others have a different opinion?"
All the gods in the temple were silent, not knowing what to do. To them, it was only reasonable that Zeus would decide what to do with the tie decision. Eros forced his head to touch the floor in grief.
Eros felt his stomach sink, remembering Psyche and Hedone back at the palace. Perhaps, they were waiting for his return. Perhaps, they were also preparing for my funeral and are waiting for the news delivered by Hermes. He could only wail in his heart, regretting all the years he had been lousy and stirring up trouble.
"I, Zeus, King of the gods, proclaim Eros as a-"
"Forgive me, brother," a sweet voice came from the fire. "It seems as if you had not been able to count my vote."
Eros felt hope stir in his chest, though he did everything to stomp it.
Zeus replied to the voice, "I believe you do not need to give your opinion, Hestia."
"Oh no, I believe not!" Aphrodite immediately stood up, causing everyone's attention to fall onto her. "My son, Eros, had done nothing wrong! He had only done his duty as the god of love. He spread love into you all-", her eyes raked the council, "-but it was you who corrupted it to your wants! Not him!"
"Well said," Athena continued. "He is nothing but a victim of circumstance. Do not kill the harbinger of bad news. And yet, here they are, placing judgment upon the innocent."
Eros hearing these defenses laid for him felt the need to thank them. Perhaps, return the favor one of these days. His heart laid still, relaxed, in the knowledge that if he dies, someone would see to it that it was not misunderstood.
Zeus, clearly angry at being parried, grumbled, "Very well." He sat back onto his throne, his will deflating. He cannot seek to oppose more than half of his council. "Eros is to be free and declared innocent."
Eros, though inwardly rejoicing, could only muster a wry smile outwardly. Perhaps, he could return home today.
"However," Zeus added. "He is to no longer interfere in the affairs of gods through his bow and arrows. This is to preserve the dignity and principles of Mount Olympus." After a long breath, he dismissed the gods and goddesses before he disappeared.
Eros was only about to raise himself when two soft arms embraced him from his side. Thinking it was his mother, he said, "Mother, thank you for your support. I will be forever in your debts. Please tell Psyche-"
"Why not tell it to her yourself?" was the reply he received from behind him. He looked at his side to see his wife, Psyche, with her arms now by her side, crying. "Hello, dear. I was afraid you would be gone."
Eros took her up, wiped her tears, and kissed her. Leaving them breathless, and giving them hope that this was real. That Eros was still actually one piece and was definitely with his wife.
"I'm glad you are alive, love." She said, before landing a kiss on his forehead, even standing on her tiptoes in the process. She laughed like soft chimes rustling in the wind.
Love, like anything else in the world, has accompanying risks. But we need to remember that those risks always bring with them beautiful memories, great people, and new lives. Love, even when things seem bleak, is worth it.