Yes, love indeed is light from heaven,
A spark of that immortal fire,
With angels shar'd, by Allah given
To lift from earth our low desire.

--- By George Gordon Byron

My story was to begin like so many others, with a man, what else could cause such destruction, such violence, in the midst of beauty? Most desecration and violation man that a man was involved, but this man was a God with a face so beautiful that mortal eyes cannot possibly look upon it, else we would be instantly blinded and would therefore stumble about blundering off a cliff or into a bottomless lake, or to put it plainly, into something out of mortal hands all together. I included myself in that "we" mistakenly, I am no mortal girl, I used to be, but I am not anymore. Old habits die hard, old words that I used to use to curse with, I use even now, even though I can constantly informed by the one person who should take his own advice before preaching to me, that it is unseemly for a Goddess to swear! I will not repeat to you what I told that particularly annoying God. Even now I wake, thinking myself back in my old life with my sisters, and the King, their father. In beauty shall I begin this story, and in violation must I continue for this is not only the start of my tale, but the start of my life also, in a land lost to myth… to legend… to be gone forever.

The sun beat down on her slender, young body, shoulders kissed to a soft honey brown, exposed to the loving touch of a sun that was much enamoured by her, the eyes reflecting pools of a calm serene light blue, the face so beautiful and both unlike and alike my own. Her name was truly fitting for Aglaia means beauty and splendour. Her hair streaming behind her, blown and teased by the wind, as golden as light, aglow with innocence, lips paused in a smile full of promise, full of youth, full of an innocence about to be taken.

She was not the most clever of girls, she had never needed to be. Her sweet nature and smile were more powerful than her mind. A girl like so many that he had had before, she was not the first he had taken, and she would never be the last, not while he had breathe in his body, but he had an existence with no end and life time stretched out ahead of him, pleasure with mortals such as this one, ripe for picking.

She ran, heels dancing on the floor, through orchards whose shadows covered her, rippling over her body, her large white robe hung on her slim frame, at to protect her from him, but she did not care for the world was hers for the asking since youth lived in her and loved her well, this girl was but ten and six years old if that, perfect for marriage and perfect for what he had in mind.

From the heavens he looked down on her, and from shadows he was made flesh, behind her he watched, as she sank down, knee deep in flowers, for she was not a tall girl, uttering soft cries of delight and pleasure as she filled her hands with them, those flowers were not natural, he had created them for her, for her delight. Ropes of them, colours gay and brilliant, made her splendour vivid and unnatural in the gleaming light of mid-day, they crowned her, trailing from her limp and contented fingers. Seated on the floor, amongst the hot, melting magnificence of that summer day, she resembled a nymph, some enchanting creature of nature, that beguiled both his mind and his senses, so that only the shape of her, the smell, the sound of her voice remained.

Sometimes girls offered themselves, glad for him to use them as he felt fit, glad for the opportunity to be great, to be, for however short the time… his, and, if I can be cheeky for a moment, make no mistake readers that the time was short when spent with him. Others he had to take forcefully, but what did they matter after he was finished with them, he was both King and God, what he needed, he took and paid no attention to the consequences, he ruled over his wretched land, these puny mortals, they were rightfully his for the taking, and this girl, this mortal beauty, was no exception.

He came up behind her, and somehow sensing the danger evident in the air, she rose to her feet, and bare-footed, she raced through the flowers that fell and were crushed to the ground under her, she fled from him. Hair flooding down her face, covering her eyes, desperation filling her as she realised that nothing would save her, she could do nothing for wherever she turned, he was there, wherever she ran, he followed, and when she hit out, fear and horror spreading through her, in a last act of defiance, he darted out of the way, the chase was what he enjoyed almost as much as the final deed. His strong, tall body overpowering her smaller, weaker frame, hair framed by the sun and twice as gold, eyes as deep and as blue as the sky, an angel with evil intent in his heart, he blinded her, and in her panic hit out at him, he grew angry and lazily backhanded her. How vain her efforts were, I mean, she was faced against a man who controlled the very thunder, whose toys were lightening bolts, who made the earth quake and crumble with his anger, with his wrath. Unless she was his wife, she could do nothing against him.

Beneath him she shivered for it seemed that all the light and warmth had fled from the day, as he violently subdued her, and on the grass still covered by the blossoms that had once given her so much pleasure, he had her, her blood staining the voluminous white shift that she wore, seeping through slowly to streak the dirt with a soft red, unconsciousness turning reality into a dream, something that could have been passed off as a nightmare if I had not, at that very moment, been conveniently conceived.

Tear smudged her face, bruised from her struggles to free herself. A breeze blew over them, unnatural in its coldness and in the warmth of the day, it did not worry him not for he knew what it meant and who it was.

Leaning over the girl he had ruined, he said,

"Wife, must you watch me, I know you gain some… pleasure from peeping at us and putting that nosey ear of yours up against doors, but you know it is rather awkward sometimes, with you staring at us, I never feel as if my performance is up to scratch."

His wife had followed him, she knew where he had gone to, she knew where he interest had fallen this time, she knew everything he felt and everything that he did, bonds between husbands and wives meant that every time he strayed from her she felt it, she felt pain, she felt her heart hurt. She had watched him, with a few tears that had slipped out of her eyes, she hated herself for them, hated herself for still feeling like this, every time that it happened. Anger filled her and a spark fell from her clenched hands, giving her the courage to speak to him as she quite rightly demeaned man's most important thing, and the one thing he was probably the most sensitive about.

"Whatever pleasure you gave me was gone and done with as soon as it had arrived and even that was a long time ago. You simply are not up for the job of pleasing a real woman."

"Look at her then, look at compare her to yourself, and then wonder why I chose her, why I put them over you."

With that he vanished, as if he had never been there at all, leaving behind only a bleeding, broken girl in his path of devastation, and his "real woman". Hera pursed her lips, biting them as if the second pain would overcome the pain in her heart, and then looked at the girl, jealousy and bitterness making her seem weary, envy radiating off her body, hazel eyes narrowed and shooting venomous looks back to where his body had disappeared from, if he had stayed a moment longer she would have shown him what pain truly was. Even though she knew her own beauty, her long chestnut curls, her eyes, her tall, graceful figure, she knew how lovely she herself was, but placed next to that girl, she paled considerably in the girl's shine. I am nothing, she thought, when compared to her I might as well be a mortal, take no offence at her thoughts readers, I was mortal once, but trust me, I am not as arrogant as older Goddesses.

But her eyes took in her bruises; the blood matted up in her long golden hair, then tentatively reached out a hand, then drew it back as if afraid of what she might find, before touching the girl's face gently, the mother in her taking control and over riding other qualms. She flinched.

"Zeus, you monster, she was but an innocent… what had she ever done to deserve this"

She pondered a while, thinking of why she had ever married that man, her husband, Zeus, why she had ever joined her life to his. It had brought her nothing but heartache and no advantages at all, no pleasure, nothing but constant pain. But then she thought of her children and how much she loved them, the pain was worth it for them.

"You forced her you wretched God… look what you did to her, she must had fought back."

Her long thin finger ran carefully over cuts, over the marks only now beginning to show up, then reached the girl's stomach and drew her hand back so sharply you would have thought that the girl had scalded her.

"Pregnant too… she bears your child. You brute… you hideous thing of evil."

This girl she would allow to live, even so soon she could tell a woman who was with child a mile off, there was a baby inside of her. His baby… what was to become of it?

"Look at how beautiful she is… how lovely your child will be, both of you so bright, so divine, she will have a baby girl. The child would be even more beautiful than ours are… our children would pale before her surely, what with you and this girl as her parents… what would our children do then? What would become of them?"

It was then, in the heat of an anger still inside of her, in pain and in despair, she made her decision rashly. This child could not be allowed to bear Zeus' blood, bear his genes, fortunately for her, yet not for me, there was a little time left for her to alter that, to make sure that this child never grew to be immortal, to be divine, to be more brilliant than her own children. She knew exactly what to do to make sure that never happened.

She laid her hands on the girl's forehead and with a whisper, all of her aches, all of her bruises and blood and cuts were gone, dissolved away with the splash of an immortal's tear on her cheeks.

"This is not your fault little girl, but I cannot allow this to continue… Zeus will never know this child as his and your baby girl will never be his, I will purge his blood, his being from this baby, and it will be like a virgin birth for she will never have a father… I cannot allow this to happen… to continue…"

Then she sat next to her, kneeling besides her as she wove her spell, one to purge the baby of her father's genes, the second to make sure that this baby did not grow to be as lovely as her mother, did not grow to outshine Hera's own children. The first glow of red settled on the girl whilst Hera mumbled words that she had had to say so many times before, covering her form like a glove, moving Zeus out of her body and out of her unborn daughter's, a sigh flowing through the trees as a soft white mist floated above the girl before being blown away on the wind that carried an echo of a baby's cry. The second glow flowed through Hera's fingers as she wove it, as she chanted the words that would curse the baby.

"Your beauty famed is a simple disguise

Beholden only through mortal eyes,

For inside of you a baby lies.

Ghostly white, no hint of colour

Until she finds her heart's true lover.

Break her heart, wreck her soul,

Without him she can never be whole.

Sometime she will know my pain,

With this her colour returns again.

I am sorry butterfly, but this must be done" .

Into the moving shadows, she vanished too, the sunlight carrying away her body and leaving the girl there, alone to wake from her sleep, to stagger dazed out of the beautiful hollow, to wander faintly for some time, wondering as her head spun whether it had been a vivid and almost real dream, or whether what had happened to her had been real. She did not look back to see the blood on the ground, as she stumbled home, lurching about and swaying, she fell to the floor in a faint, only to have her servants find her and carry her back indoors, to strip off her clothes, to search for marks that had caused so much blood. But they found none, and after a while she thought that it had been a dream, a horrible nightmare, something she had imagined, a dream cursed by the Gods. She knew though, when her blood never came that month or the months following it, when she was sick in the morning, that it had been no nightmare, it had happened, and she had proof of a child to show for it.

Upon seeing her stomach grow, her father threw her out, what father wants a daughter who cannot marry, who was tainted now by another, she was useless to him, no man would ever want to marry her. But a King wanted a wife, and she was still beautiful enough, to bewitch and ensnare him. He would see her and want her and that would be enough to turn his mind from other woman and for him to marry her. For a month she travelled to his land and before him she paraded, half naked and still so very beautiful. He never thought, until it was too late, about her pregnancy, until some one commented on it, and commended his virility, a wife with child and them not even married a month, her beauty that had so tangled up his mind faded and his senses cleared and he saw what he had ignored for so long. Of course it was rather a little too late for they were already wed, and he loved her. Everyone else thought that the child was his, and that the beautiful girl who had appeared from nowhere had been his mistress, I mean, no girl would ever dare to marry the King while pregnant with another's child, they never questioned it, or shall I say, most never questioned it. I was brought up as his eldest child, though our only connection was through his tentative care of me, his love of my mother, and our joint adoration of my beautifully flawed younger sisters.

I was a constant reminder of the man who had raped her, forever he searched for a sign of the man who had did it, searched in my face and in my character for it, searched futilely for there was no trace of him in me, but as if anyone would know if there had been any, none knew who my father had been, and the man who I called father might as well as searched for Aphrodite herself in my face.

As for my mother, well… if she ignored me, she could pretend that it had never happened to her, that she only had two daughters; that I was invisible, she never wanted to see me and she never wanted to know me, I was cursed after all, few wanted to make my acquaintance. Two other daughters my mother gave life to, and they were simply tiny miniatures of her, Thalia, which means blooming and luxuriant, and Euphrosyne, which means joy and merriment, such beautiful names for such beautiful girls, and I loved them, in my own way, and I suppose they loved me in theirs. I will tell you what became of me… the ghost child… the soul of a God's heart…