|Life and Death, Light and Darkness
Author: TrueLoveIs4ever PM
How could a goddess of such light fall in love with a god of such darkness? How could a god with an aura of death fall in love with a goddess with an aura of pure life?Rated: Fiction T - English - Family/Romance - Hades & Persephone - Chapters: 12 - Words: 28,576 - Reviews: 85 - Favs: 51 - Follows: 77 - Updated: 10-13-12 - Published: 07-10-12 - id: 8306157
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Life and Death, Light and Darkness
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, own Greek mythology.
A/N: Right. So, this is, like, a week late. I'm terribly sorry! Can you forgive me?
Persephone burst into her room, slammed the door, and threw herself onto the bed. She rolled over to face the ceiling and sighed heavily. Her eyes closed, but she couldn't banish the image of the three orderly doors from her mind. She couldn't resist wondering what was in the bright yellow door, possibly the only bright thing in this place.
"If the black is Tartarus…" she mused, "then the grey must be the Asphodel Fields. And perhaps the yellow is Elysium! But why did I bolt? I could have gone into the happiest place in this… this horrible place. And even the color was cheery!"
Persephone's head shot up. Ilektra was lurking in the doorway, looking uncomfortable. "Yes, Ilektra?"
Ilektra hurried to explain. "I heard your door slam and I thought something terrible had happened. Hence I ran here." Her expression turned concerned. "Are you all right?"
"Yes, I am, thank you," Persephone informed her with a smile. "You needn't have gotten up, Ilektra."
The shade simply shrugged. "It was no problem, my lady. I couldn't sleep anyway."
Persephone struggled to sit up. "Is that so? Why ever not, Ilektra?"
Ilektra looked uncomfortable. "Oh, just usual nightmares, my lady. You needn't worry about me."
"Of course I must. I'm your friend, you're mine. It's my job to worry," Persephone answered with a smile. "Now come." She patted the bed beside her. "You could sit here, or sit on that armchair" – she gestured to an elaborate red chair by her bedside – "and we could chat."
Ilektra hesitated, but finally, she walked forward and perched gingerly on the plush chair. Her face turned shocked, and she jumped up. "I'm sorry, my lady, I cannot sit here."
"Why not?" Persephone inquired, bewildered. "It's just a chair, Ilektra."
Her friend shook her head adamantly. "I just can't, Lady Persephone! My lord Hades has sat in this chair. It has a black aura that makes me uncomfortable if I were to sit there."
Looking concerned, Persephone replied, "I'm not certain I understand fully, but go to bed, Ilektra. We can talk in the morning."
"Yes, my lady."
Demeter had not slept for three days straight. Of course, it made no difference, but she was still exhausted. So exhausted, in fact, that she could not muster up the energy to alter her appearance to hide the growing bags beneath her eyes and the matted hair that was on her head. She was wearing the same chiton she'd been wearing for four days straight. It was wrinkled and spotted with dirt. The bump beneath the fabric was rapidly growing. But it was not her approaching child that Demeter worried most about. It was her missing child, her only immortal child.
"Abas! Have you gotten any lead as to Kore's whereabouts? It's been nearly a week!" the exasperated and worried goddess snapped half-heartedly.
The servant shuffled his feet. "My lady… no. We have not gotten a single clue. It seems she has completely disappeared off the face of the earth."
"I DON'T CARE IF THAT'S THE CASE! I don't care if you have to go to the end of the world to find her! Just find her!" screamed Demeter. Tears began to fall, tracking on her cheeks. "Find her!"
Hades sat in his throne, late at night, when the only sounds were the soft sounds coming from Tartarus, and the occasional clatter from the kitchen. He had a clear globe in front of him, with swirling white mist. It looked like what a mortal would call a crystal ball, but it was so much more. He could see whomever he wished in that sphere.
And now, he spoke to it, "Demeter, Goddess of Agriculture." He had no idea why the name of his sister came to him, but it did, and he spoke it without question. The white mist swirled for a moment, before forming an image of the distraught goddess sitting in her wheat throne in her grain palace, a look of absolute helplessness on her face. Her stomach was rounded with child, and the room was dark.
A person with more a heart than Hades would have a broken heart by then, but Hades watched emotionlessly on as a man he knew as one of Demeter's most trusted servants entered the scene, looking weary.
"My lady-" he began.
But Demeter cut him off with a hysterical, "HAVE YOU FOUND MY GIRL?"
"No, my lady, but-"
He didn't have to say any more. The powerful goddess, who had always searched for the only thing she starved for, hunger, dissolved into tears. The first tears to track down the goddess's face in millennia shocked not only the servant, but Hades as well. He waved his hand, making the image turn back to mere mist.
Then he set the crystal ball on the small table next to his throne. He sat back in his throne, chin in hand and deep in thought well into the early hours of the morning.
Persephone awoke to a dark room, as she had ever since she had arrived in the Underworld. And every day she woke up, there was a frown on her face because the previous night had held nightmares, and being a goddess of the light, she was always unhappy in darkness. The goddess stretched before swinging her legs out of bed.
"Lady Persephone!" cried Areti as she rushed into the room. She studied Persephone's attire and gasped. "I'm terribly sorry, my lady, but this is an emergency!"
"Don't apologize," Persephone assured her, knowing that it was her state of nightdress bothered the shade. "What on earth is wrong?"
"Nothing is wrong, my lady." Areti shifted uncomfortably. "It's just… our lord wishes you to breakfast with him. Of course, we'd be present."
"No," was Persephone's immediate response.
Areti looked troubled. "All right. We'll be in the dining hall if you need anything, my lady."
Persephone stopped her with a question before she reached the door. "I thought Hades would force me to come?"
The shade turned and smiled warmly at her. "My dear Lady Persephone, my lord Hades would never force you to do anything."
"B-but he said he intends on marrying me!" Persephone protested.
Her friend's face darkened. "Did he? Well, he's clearly slipped, my lady. You are of free will in the Underworld. You may do as you wish." And with that, she disappeared out the door.
Persephone sat in the middle of her bed, unmoving, mulling over what Areti had just said. And without another moment's thought, she jumped off the bed and strode over to the large armchair that Areti had draped the day's gown over.
"She has decided not to come?" Hades guessed as the three mortal shades now closest to him entered the dining hall.
Areti smiled sympathetically. "I'm very sorry, my lord. I did as you asked; simply informed her that it was all right and that we'd be in here if she was in need of anything."
"Very well," Hades sighed. He looked toward Theodora. "Theodora, my dear, the cooks have praised your cooking. Would you, perhaps, enjoy spending more time in the kitchens preparing meals and such? Of course, it is entirely your choice."
Theodora seemed to consider this very seriously. Finally, she inquired, "Would it take me away from my duties to Lady Persephone, my lord?"
"Not unless you'd permit it to, Theodora. You could simply work the breakfast shift, or the noon meal shift, or the supper shift. Of course, I'm sure Persephone would be very well off with only two girls."
A distinctly feminine voice spoke softly from the doorway. "I would be fine if you decided to take that route, Theodora. We could still be friends."
All four breakfasters whirled around in their seats to catch a glimpse of the elusive goddess. There the Spring Goddess stood, more than a fraction as beautiful as Aphrodite, dazzling in an emerald green dress chosen by Areti.
Persephone smiled warmly at her friends, but completely ignored Hades as she made her way to sit across from Areti at the far end of the table. Shocked, Areti's eyes widened, but as Hades shook his head ever so slightly, she relaxed.
"You have decided to join us for breakfast, my lady?" Areti questioned, unable to disguise the surprise and curiosity from her tone.
Hades winced mentally, but let out an inaudible sigh of relief as Persephone answered the question with ease.
"I have, Areti," Persephone responded with a slight smile. "I'd like to spend more time with you girls. Theodora, what's this I hear about your working in the kitchens?"
"She has a passion for the culinary arts, and I thought it best to allow her to pursue her hobby even after she has left the world. Of course, she could experiment with both upper and underworld food," explained Hades.
The goddess, however, kept her cold distance from the lord of the dead as her green eyes regarded Theodora seriously. "Theodora? Your response?"
Theodora hesitated, uncomfortable. But finally, she decided to answer. "What my lord Hades has said is quite true, my lady. I do quite enjoy cooking, and I'd love to work in the kitchens. But the problem with me is that once I make a commitment, I am completely committed to it. Such as this job of caring for you. I am reluctant to let it go."
Persephone reached out to the shade with another warm smile. "I give you my full support, Theodora. I'm sure the girls and I would be thrilled to visit you in the kitchens often, and you are to feel very welcome to become a regular in my bedchambers."
Hades gave a start all of a sudden, and the shades looked at him in alarm. "My lord?" asked Ilektra with growing concern.
The god just shook his head and pulled out a scroll. He quickly unrolled it and his black eyes scanned it from top to bottom. When he looked up at the three curious gazes, his face was grim. Persephone pretended not to notice anything was going on, but the curiosity was clear in her bright green eyes.
"Your mother has died, Ilektra," he announced quietly.
Silence reigned after Persephone's unused fork had dropped with a loud clang to her full plate.
Ilektra's face was a mask of grief and disbelief, not necessarily in that order. "My mother… is dead?"
Hades nodded very slowly. He rose from his seat and walked to stand behind the female shade. "My darling, I'm very sorry," he said quietly.
The shade's eyes fluttered closed briefly before reopening. "My lord," she implored, "where do you suppose she will land?"
Knowing exactly what the girl meant, Hades answered honestly, "I can never be sure, my darling Ilektra. You have been good to me for so many years, and I will not let your mother end up in Tartarus, or even the Fields. She has been a good woman, from what I hear, but all will be revealed after breakfast, when I am to judge the souls."
"My lord, I know it is very near impossible, but might I join you when you are judging my mother's soul? I haven't seen her in many years, and a daughter is bound to miss her mother," Ilektra pleaded, completely ignorant of how the statement related to the predicament her lord and lady was in at the moment.
Hades' black eyes shot almost instinctively to Persephone's. Persephone was sitting still as stone, her eyes and expression betraying no emotion. But after having watched her grow from a child goddess, Hades knew her well. And he also knew that Persephone could sympathize beyond Ilektra's wildest dreams.
Putting that thought of his head, Hades replied to the pleading shade, "My dear, you know that that is strictly forbidden."
"I know, my lord, I know the best! But I've served you loyally for all these years, and you are the lord of this realm! Couldn't you stretch the rules a little bit?" persisted Ilektra.
"I'm not sure, Ilektra," Hades responded reluctantly. "I know it would mean to you the world, but… well, if my brothers discovered this, they would be most displeased."
"You never cared about your brothers' opinions. My lord, I promise to work extra hours, I promise to never wish for another thing, I'll promise anything," Ilektra insisted.
For the first time, Persephone spoke up. "Hades." Her voice was cold as it addressed Hades, cutting through the air like the first frost of the season. Even Hades himself had to resist the urge to flinch at her tone. "Let Ilektra see her mother. And I shall accompany her."
Hades was surprised. "Persephone, darling, you couldn't go into the throne room. And as I said, it's against the ancient laws!"
Persephone's emerald eyes rolled. "Why can't I? I'll be stuck in here for eternity. Why not get used to it now? And I don't care, honestly. I know even deities cannot change the Fates' minds, but perhaps they would spare you, for the sake of a mortal shade." A sly smile ghosted over her lips. "Of course, you wouldn't know. You have neither feelings nor a heart."
Offended by that statement, Hades declared, "Very well. You shall come along today as I judge the souls, Ilektra, but you must leave the moment after your mother's fate is sealed. Same goes for you, Persephone."
Persephone smiled in satisfaction. "Very well," she repeated. "Shall we go now?"
A smaller, more delicate throne had been placed beside the one Hades currently occupied. And off to the side was a small wooden stool, in which Ilektra was currently seated.
Persephone's eyes kept darting over to her friend. "Can't we give her a better, more comfortable seat?" she mused.
Hades heard, and looked over. "I would, but it would appear suspicious if the souls and Thanatos saw her. She is merely a servant to them, but very nearly a daughter to me. That cannot get around."
"I suppose," Persephone allowed. Her eyes slid to the door, where it was opening and Death itself began leading in the souls.
After what seemed like hours, a mortal soul who had the same kindly features as Ilektra, yet the sharpness as well, but was much more well-worn and older-looking, came upon the king and his bride-to-be.
"Mother!" exclaimed Ilektra, and she shot out of the stool, running over and embracing her mother. "How could you leave them? They'll starve, they'll die without you!"
Her mother smiled in a motherly way at her daughter. "My dear Ilektra, you needn't worry. Young Veronica is more than capable of caring for the farm, and there are less mouths to feed."
"What are you speaking of, Mother? All the children – even Alexandros – are completely useless! And of course, Kassandra is completely out of the question!" Ilektra protested.
"Oh, my daughter. You and Kassandra have been gone quite some time. My dear children had left the farm. Only Veronica, who is now twelve years old, and your father remain. Of course, Alexandros is near, as are a few of your other siblings, but that is it."
"Oh, poor Papa," Ilektra commented. "Losing nearly all his children and his love."
Politely, Hades cleared his throat. He didn't seem to want to impose, but the line of souls was growing by the second.
Ilektra startled, and curtsied hastily. "I'm terribly sorry, my lord. I just got caught up and…" she trailed off, stammering incoherently.
Hades held up a hand to cease her stammers. "No need to apologize, Ilektra, I understand." He looked to Persephone as if for approval, but of course she gave none. "Lydia Galanis, you come before me a soul, and merely a soul. There are several options for you before I judge your case. Only one, that is. You are eligible for three tries. You do understand this concept?"
Lydia nodded. "I do, Lord Hades."
"Very good. We would wipe your memories clean in the Lethe, and start you all over, born into a different world than that you had been living in. Of course, there are the three places in the Underworld that you could be sorted into: Elysium, Asphodel, or Tartarus." Hades regarded the woman carefully. "Your third child, Ilektra, has served me very well and loyally for many years. She has never stepped out of line. And she made the request today to see you. She also requested that I not place you in Tartarus." He paused, and then beckoned forward. "Come closer."
The soul obeyed immediately.
Hades placed a hand on her forehead. "Your placement is…"
A/N: Not too much of a cliffhanger, but more of one than I usually leave nowadays. I won't even try to make an excuse, except for that I was sick over the long weekend, and then school began again. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed that longer chapter, and as always, leave some reviews please! Love you all, and until next week…