Summary: And there came a time when Love himself gave up his immortal heart to a mortal woman...
Disclaimer: I do not, will not, and have not ever owned a Greek Myth. I'm not even Greek..
It was summer of the most fertile year anyone could remember when the third princess was born. She was the daughter of a King and Queen whose names are long forgotten, of a kingdom that no longer exists, for kingdoms only last as long as the next war.
She was named Psyche, meaning "soul", for even when she was an infant, one could see straight into her pure, unblemished soul through her summer-sky eyes.
Psyche grew older. In childhood, she was known as the sweetest, prettiest little girl anyone could ever see (especially compared to her elder sisters, at their gawkish stage of life) and poets raved about the promise of her beauty.
Shortly after her 13th birthday, Psyche had a growth spurt. Her legs grew long, her arms lengthened, her waist shrunk, her entire body stretched out. Unlike her sisters, however, Psyche looked anything but gawkish. This elongation only served to make her appear willowy and charmingly graceful. Already, the poets were flocking to court to take note of her beauty.
Psyche's older sisters were not pleased with this. They were 18 and 16, respectively, and at the height of their own maiden comeliness-which was not by any means paltry- and yet all the focus centered upon their youngest sister, not yet 14. Where were the ballads being sung of their beauty? Of their allure, their glamour? Unbeknownst to sweet, trusting, Psyche, her sisters had grown petty and sour over the years.
The years passed by, and Psyche grew into a magnificent beauty. Her charm was spoke of in far-flung lands, and men traveled great many leagues just to glimpse her. The two elder sisters had made successful, lucrative marriages to neighbor kingdoms and resumed their jealousy from a distance. Psyche was 19, and the most beautiful woman on mortal Earth.
Minstrels sowed the legendary beauty of Psyche far and wide through their songs. And these songs, while different, all agreed upon one phrase, one description; As beautiful as Aphrodite on Earth. Some even claimed her "surpassing in fairness of the goddesses". Soon the men, Psyche's gathering that was drawn as flies to honey, took up the praise.
All were astounded at the beauty, and paid her homage that is only befitting for a goddess. They replaced in their worship Aphrodite, the heavenly deity, with Psyche, the earthly virgin who was herself more beauty in one sight then one might see in their lives.
Psyche wouldn't be, couldn't be happy about this. No one, much less herself, could replace a goddess. Only bad could possibly come of this.
And so every morning, after rising and her dawn ablutions, Psyche visited the temple of Aphrodite to beg forgiveness for her followers. And she would plead with her worshipers to abandon this insanity, for she wanted none of it.
But it was to no avail, for the men who now adored her openly continued to shower her in praise, and would not be moved from their goddess-worship. And no-one who ever saw Psyche could say they had not a valid reason.
Psyche's beauty was not that of Helen, who drove men to madness, or of Daphne, whose beauty had only ever gotten her unwanted attentions. Psyche's beauty was of the heavens, of the divine spirits beyond mortal reach. And yet, at the same time, it was here, it was touchable, it was...human.
Such was Psyche, with a beauty somewhere between godly and mortal, perhaps on a separate plane of her own.
It was not completely her beauty that caused men to bow at her feet. It was that pure, wonderful, flawless soul shining through those eyes. Those eyes had lightened in color somewhat from childhood, from deep summer sky to the first blue of spring, like the first light after a storm.
Understandably, Aphrodite was not pleased with this. She was a creature not unlike Psyche's older sisters, and could not bear to not be the center of her universe. She was the queen of beauty, the goddess of love. And no upstart mortal woman was going to take that away from her.
And so she coldly ignored Psyche's pleads at her temple, seethed with anger at her continued worship, and burned with jealousy at the sight of her beauty.
There is a quote men seem fond of using; "Hell hath no fury like woman scorned". But the fires of Hell are glowing coals besides the jealousy of a goddess.
A/N: That's the prologue. Please don't read without reviewing...
Well, thank you for reading at least...