"Apollo!" she cried, bursting through the large oak doors that led to his chambers.
The god in question sat perched atop mounds of silk and plush pillows, idly strumming his lyre. If he was at all shocked by his sister's outburst, his features did not betray it. He watched, bemused as she came to a stop before him, her face flushed and her eyes wide with anger, her chest heaving.
"What is it, Artemis?"
"You're a coward Apollo, a damn coward!" she spat.
He furrowed his brow, "Tell me sister, is there a particular reason for why you have so rudely interrupted my evening?"
Apollo wasn't surprised by her anger in the least. His sister had been hot tempered since they were born. What did leave him confused were the tears starting to well in her golden eyes.
"How can you sit here? How can you stand idly by and let Troy burn?" she hissed, her voice strangled by emotion.
He felt a pang of guilt, a feeling he was not used to in the slightest. But what could he do? Apollo was a god, but he did not like to make a habit out of intervening in mortal affairs, especially when it came to war. That was Aries' domain.
"Mortals have been going to war for millennia, you know this Artemis. What makes this war so different? Why are you so distraught?" he asked, keeping his tone level in hopes that his voice would soothe the riot within her.
Artemis shook her head, tears streaming down her reddened cheeks, "Brother, the Trojans live for you. They breathe, sweat and die for you." her voice grew louder with every word, "They have devoted everything to their beloved Apollo, god of the sun. And still, you let them fall." she swallowed hard.
For long moments, silence reigned. The only sound audible was the crackling of the lit torches. Apollo watched his sister, took in every part of her; the long golden hair, the small, lithe body, her immaculate white tunic. He sized up her face, the almond shaped eyes with the golden irises, the straight nose, the full lips. The features were so familiar, so much like his own. Artemis looked so very much like him, his female counterpart in every way. But there was something different about his twin, something deep below the surface.
She had always been more human than him, more human than any other on Mount Olympus. Artemis had so much love for the mortals, something Apollo considered to be a curse. Whereas he had always felt indifference towards the inhabitants of Earth, she had felt a connection, a need to see them live happily.
That is why it came as no surprise to him when he had realized that Artemis had fallen in love with a mortal. A mortal who was now in the midst of the city which was burning to the ground.
His sister had fallen for Paris, Prince of Troy.
"Artemis, Troy's fall was foretold of by the Fates. There was nothing I could have done to protect them." he said as he approached her. He put his arms around her and pulled her against his chest. She resisted for only a moment before letting him comfort her. Apollo felt her tears seep through his tunic and her body tremble with sobs.
He lowered his mouth to her ear, "The Fates have also let me be privy to a piece of information I thought may interest you." he whispered.
Artemis raised her head, her brows knit together in confusion, "What?"
"Your Paris lives."
She gasped, stumbling out of his embrace, "You lie!"
Apollo shook his head, "I wouldn't." He placed his hands on her shoulders, "He found a way out of the city. He's gotten away."
If it were even possible, Artemis' eyes grew wider, "Are you sure? Is he hurt? Is he alone?"
"He is in good health. And no, sister, he is not alone. He has brought Helen with him."
Artemis' lips quivered but through them she managed a faint, "Oh."
Apollo sighed and rolled his eyes, "Is that it? I inform you that your love has survived one of the greatest wars we have ever been witness to, and that is your reaction? If you love him so, then why don't you go to him?"
Artemis looked to the ground, "Paris has Helen." she whispered.
"And you do not think he would drop her in favor of you? Artemis, you're a goddess. He'd be a fool not to love you."
She still refused to meet his gaze, "Paris loves Helen. He would never leave her side."
Artemis turned away from him and walked swiftly through the doors she had rampaged through only moments beforehand.
Apollo watched his twin's retreating back and a small smile graced his lips, "But, dearest Artemis, the Fates have dictated otherwise."