Moonlight bathed the deck as whispered conversation was carried on the breeze. Aphrodite had woven her tale of discovery in Troy with Hephaestus as intrigued audience and commentator. Hephaestus got up from the chair saying goodnight with a kiss. He and Aphrodite had talked late into the night and he needed to give way to the sleep that his body desperately craved. Aphrodite watches him go before turning her attention to the sea. It was still only ruffled by the gentle breeze; it was a perfect companion to her mood. Aphrodite was pleasantly surprised by the current peace considering the range of emotion she had experienced throughout the day. She should thank Hephaestus for this she thought. His strength and understanding brought peace after the most emotionally charged day of her existence.
As Aphrodite continued to embrace peace; Hephaestus was embracing reflection. Although his body was craving sleep his mind would not allow it to enter. He tossed and turned as the events of the day raced. He stopped turning staring at the ceiling trying to find the reason behind the racing thoughts he knew that was one way sleep would enter. He contained to stare at the ceiling making his thoughts slow to a steadier pace. He saw himself in battle with Ares, heard Aphrodite's speech, felt her head on his chest as the sun set, heard her voice again softer filled with realization, and heard his own words in reply. Yet none of this was what kept him awake it was something else; as if some mystery had been left unsolved. He was growing more agitated with himself; why could he not figure it out? At that moment Morpheus appeared outside the window. Hephaestus opened it with relief. "Hephaestus what's happening? I should have been able to put you to sleep already" Morpheus said as he flew into the cabin "My mind seems to be resisting sleep" Hephaestus replied with a yawn. Morpheus sighed " you must be battling with an unanswered question, my friend that is one of the greatest barriers to my powers" Hephaestus sighed " Can you try a stronger dose ? I believe the question will remain unanswered as long as my mind is competing with my body" Morpheus nodded " I'll try again Hephaestus I am well aware of how much you need sleep your battle with Ares has become the talk of Olympus". Morpheus did not give Hephaestus a chance to respond since he had at last succeeded putting Hephaestus in a deep slumber. As Morpheus closed the window he prepared to cast his powers upon Aphrodite, but suddenly he realized another delay was about to occur.
Aphrodite was about to descend below deck when she heard a voice behind her "wait Aphrodite I need to speak with you" she turned to see Hera had suddenly appeared. She groaned internally; what could Hera possibly want with her.? She knew it would not be wise to let her displeasure show, so she faced Hera with a radiant smile. "What do you wish to discuss Hera?" Hera rolled her eyes "there is no need to pretend Aphrodite I now you are not pleased to see me and are wondering what twist of Fate I carry with me. I assure you have no reason to worry" Aphrodite relaxed, but only slightly she knew better then to let her guard down completely. "Well played Hera; what can I do for you?" "Actually Aphrodite I just want to talk ""About what?" "About what happened today the fight between Hephaestus and Ares" Aphrodite was taken aback ; she knew the Olympian grapevine was fast, but she shocked that word had spread this quickly" Hera smiled at the look on her face " Do not panic Aphrodite I know about it ,because I happened to look down at the right moment of course I was not the only one who saw. It is the talk of Olympus now you know Helios can never keep a secret" Aphrodite let a laugh escape her lips "You are so right. I suppose you want to know how it started." Hera shook her head "I can imagine how it began. I am more interested in how it ended" "I shot an arrow between them that made them pay attention. After that I made them come on deck there was something I needed to say" "And what was that Aphrodite?" Aphrodite bites her lip she hesitated to tell Hera or anyone else for that matter exactly what she had said. "With all respect Hera I would rather not say I believe that is a private matter. I will tell you that I made a decision and considering where I am you can guess my decision" Hera took Aphrodite hands "I am proud of you my dear Aphrodite; you have passed a test" "Test? What test?" Aphrodite asked. Hera did not respond she simply smiled and vanished. Aphrodite looked at the spot where Hera had been with wide eyes; trust Hera to ruin her peaceful mood as the unanswered questions repeated them. She whispered "Morpheus please let me fall asleep quickly" Although some distance away Morpheus heard her quite words and flew back to try and respond.