Upon the surface of the Earth, Summer was in full swing, love was blooming so among the mortals, and underground in the cold, Hades sat in a deep depression. Every Spring his dear Persephone, a Goddess of Spring, must take leave of her loving and adoring husband to return to her beloved surface, so that she may make the Earth play in life under her fingertips and join her mother in a touching reunion. But he must stay in the Underworld, watching over his formless army of the Dead. He must sit there in utter mourning and boredom for the whole of two seasons, impatiently waiting for his love, for his dear Persephone, whom has grown to love him deeply since he first took her to his domain. Now the sweet laughter that used to ring through these halls is now a mere echo; empty, lost, and only there to kill Hades' want of life even more.
Now, Hades had dealt with the pressing loneliness before, but back then in his young days he relished being independant and that was is Golden Days, where the Underworld was a beautiful dominion. And then he found Persephone, and his life changed so. How could the Dead ever compare to her sweet face and joyful voice? Oh, how her personality brings the Sun to his world! When Hades is happy, no one suffers, and even those in Tartarus enjoy some leniency.
But when those six months bid their ado and pull Persephone away with them, the God of the Underworld mourns, so does the whole kingdom, for he lets them all fall into disrepair. It is in these times when he cannot pull his head above the black, heavy waters and grasp the breath of leadership, when he simply cannot care for anyone else. And here he lets the Dead become broken and frightened in his domain, while he ponders when she shall come back and relives every bright memory that he has shared with her, his graceful niece.
So here, in this terrible state, do we find this alleged God of the Dead, drowning in his writhing thoughts. The halls are draped in black and outside every lost soul mills around aimlessly, just trying to avoid any trouble and each other. Head in hands, Hades sighs often, waving off his servants when they offer him wine, when they advise him to sleep and eat and not do anything rash. But it is in these days that Hades wishes he can join the Dead, who do not feel his pain, who do not feel utter longing. Ignorance must be so bliss!
One more month, thinks the poor, crumbling lord.
He counts the days, the minutes, even the seconds, until his wife shall return. Sometimes she will return to the palace in the middle of Summer when her mother, Demeter, was not watching her, in the form of a small black bird, so that she may cheer up Hades, and he has been waiting restlessly to see if this shall be the case this year. But so far, he has seen not one feather of a dainty, dark bird.
He let his head loll back, letting the cold stone of his throne wash over him, connecting his dragging emotions to be akin with such a horrible stone. When Persephone is here, these chairs are draped in warm velvet to comfort the lord, but he strips away everything that can remind him of her when she is gone.
Running a pale hand through his thick, white hair, and rubbing at his deep red eyes so to ward off the sleep, so he can hold one just a little longer.
Oh, if only he can survive just a little longer!
Many miles north of the Underworld domain and many feet higher, a certain Trickster paws through a large pile of books, trying to pick out his next prey. In the depths of Scandinavia territory, the Norse god is taking advantage of the fair weather so that he may lure in some unexpecting victim. But he has grown bored of the usual Midgardians and Asgardians, he wants fresh meat, so he has been searching diligently for a new face.
He knows damn well that there other deities besides the common Norse ones that he is well aquainted with, but he has yet to encounter such a being. In result of this, he now sits in a public Midgardian library, drawing on a wealth of resources to see what home of gods is closest. He has studied many of these myth books, from the distant Asian countries' to the newly documented Native American ones. Yet so far he has not placed a finger on one based in Europe, and that is what is frustrating him.
Many hours pass before he gets to the end of the pile, and standing in thick leather bounding, is a book with foreign symbols on it and a translation that reads "The Basic Greek Myths". Humming to himself slightly, our main focus of point here lifts the book, sitting back down on a hard wooden chair and starts tearing through the pages.
As many of the other researchers around him leave, Loki Laufeyjarson begins forming a terribly delicious plan in his head, involving one overwhelmingly sullen Greek god.
Unaware of what takes place on the surface, Hades knows not that many other gods exist, he only knows of the ones he has seen-his siblings-and the ones he has heard of. He does not know that above his domain, countless of other deity have been born, either in his country or in any others. He cannot possibly comprehend that there are other powers out there as powerful as Zeus or as clever as Athena. His whole world is based on the Dead and Persephone, and these two are all he has ever needed.
So when he hears the cry of a bird that is swooping through the dark, nonexistant sky, he is fully convinced that it is either Persephone, or just an illusion of Persephone that his mind is displaying so that he may not continuously be so sorrowful. He lifts his head in amazement, mentally laughing at how fortunate his is for this break in his miserable state.
But it is not the intruders fault that he has unexpectedly raised his victim's hopes, for he does not know that this particular god mourns heavily for a frequent loss. Nay, Loki just wanted a new victim that he could reach easily without much worry, and was generally intrigued by the Greek God of the Dead. Loki was a father of Hades' Norse Equivalent-Hel, Goddess of the Dead-and he knew that he would not be in much risk if he only tampered with this god's psyche. For all he knew, Hades and Hel were well aquainted.
Gracefully landing on the sill of a tall window, in much the same way as Persephone does, Loki entered the sullen onyx palace of the Underworld. He blinked once in an obscure greeting, and then peered around the dwelling. His brilliant green eyes took in the dark scenery, all around intrigued in Hades' dark taste of furniture and tapestry. Loki may have been a Trickster, but this really was his type of decor. He approved in an instant.
"Persephone!" Hades cries, and leaps from his throne.
Loki is frightened at this act, though, and flies out of the other god's reach, touching down on a wooden beam high above. He looks down at Hades, mocking him for his incapability to fly like he can.
"Why do you flee from me? Have I angered you, my love?" the dark god continues, confused and grimacing at the thought of him being the ultimate cause.
From the ceiling, Loki gazes back at his prey, confused himself. Who is this Persephone? He had not gotten so far in the book before taking off. All he knew of this god was that he was ruler of the Underworld and quite out of touch with the real world. Why does he stare after Loki so longingly? The Trickster's thoughts swoop back to his original master plan, which called for him to sneak by the god unnoticed, disguised as a simple bird. But birds are scarce in this area, and the only known one is Persephone. He only wished to see the god before starting in on the victim. But instead this one has ruined everything!
"Please come down, Persephone. We can talk this over. Perhaps you need another few months on the surface? Prithee, my love, we can settle all differences and come to an agreement. Name your price!" Hades calls to the bird.
Loki cocks his head, now glaring down his beak at this intruding god, even though he well knows he is the intruder here. But no matter the situation, Loki is not dimwitted, and knows how to work this little knowledge to his amusement. This Persephone person sounds like Hades' lover, and Loki can well deal with this. He has been a lady before in his tricks, and there is no reason why he cannot be so again. He throws his gaze instead around the room, searching for a portrait of this girl so that he may turn himself into her. How simpler it would be if he could see her in person!
He finally spots a gold-framed portrait of a young lady standing next to the sullen god on the stone walls. Perfect.
Hades had waited patiently, coaxing the black bird down, and finally it bidded to his wishes. The creature glided down from the high wooden beam and transformed into his beloved's form right before his eyes, pleasing him so.
For right in front of him stood his long awaited love, Persephone Goddess of Spring. Mint green eyes stared at him from under heaps of soft brown hair. Her milky white skin practically glowed in the dark, making her appear so divine to her lover. Hades stepped forward and pulled the female close to him, breathing in the scent of her hair. Wait, did he smell snow?
As he transformed into Persephone and before Hades could see, Loki had projected the image of a green and grey dress upon his new, thin body, using a simple spell he learned from his own wife, Sigyn. Oh, if only she could see him now! But there were glitches in his disguise; such as his overall scent of snow and his inability to change his voice into his victim's love until he knew what the real goddess sounded like. Both of these and more could get in the way of his meddling in this god's life.
"Oh, Persephone, my dear, I have missed you so. But do tell, why did you flee from me just minutes before? Were you frightened by the tapestry? I saw you look around at our home," Hades said to who he believed was his wife.
Persephone did not speak, though, and instead stood back and examined Hades in a subtle way, her eyes kind and loving as though she were simply taking in her husband's presence, basking in his image.
"Well, come, you must be parched and in want of rest, my love," the god said, having dismissed her unusual scent and silence. He was used to her not speaking, for she had not said a word to him for the first few centuries of their marriage. He was just thankful that she had come back.
Loki played along as Hades guided him to a small onyx table, but he wished not to stay long. Now that his trick had been ruined and all he could do now was milk information from the Greek god, he no longer wished to stay around and see what life here was like. Perhaps it was because he had been in Niflheim so long and was weary of the scenery, or he just wanted a more cheerful setting, but Loki simply could not wrap his head around staying longer than currently necessary. He would stay the night and find out what made Hades tick, and then leave and come back to pull off some grander and more amusing trick some other time. That sounded excellent to him.
"I accept that you will not speak to me now, my darling, but I shall share my own words," Hades said, drinking deeply from a silver goblet. Loki merely sat there, staring into his own cup of wine before looking back up to the god. He waited patiently for Hades to start again.
"You know, I have missed you as always. The palace is so cheerful when you are here, but I must strip it of everything that reminds me of you when you leave, that way I can at least cope with your absence to a small extent. Ah, Persephone, you have no idea how dreadfully terrible it becomes here when you are on the surface, instead of here with me, under it. But I make the sacrifice of my happiness for you. I only wish for you to be content with your life. Tell me, you do not grow bored down here with me, do you?"
Loki plays his new role perfectly, for he widens his green eyes in fearful surprise and shakes his head quickly, feeling new brunette locks swipe against his throat and arms. He lifts the ornate goblet set before him and drinks the wine in careful sips, mostly confident that it has not been poisoned at any level. He sets the goblet back down and looks expectantly back at the other god, sure that he will speak again.
"I know you will not speak to me tonight, I understand, but can you at least write down some of your thoughts like you used to?" Hades pleads, setting out a piece of parchment and quill pen for Persephone.
Loki had to hold back from smiling, for Hades sure set this up perfectly for him. As long as he draws out information in subtle ways, he should get away with no trouble. Loki picked up the pen, causing Hades to lean forward expectantly, and recalled his past studies on the Greek language and writing system. After he thought for some time about it, he finally laid black ink down on the light parchment.
My time on the surface has been spent learning of other deities. Have you ever heard of Hel, the Norse Goddess of the Dead? Loki writes carefully, making sure to explain why he asks.
"Why, no, I had no idea there were other gods and goddess besides our own. Oh, Persephone, you must tell me of them," Hades pleads.
Tell me what you think of my voice first. I fear it may not be pretty enough for you.
"Oh, now, that is a foolish fear, Wife, for your voice is too beautiful for me. It is high, but not too high, and sounds akin to bells and is as sweet as honey and as gentle as a summer rain. There is no other voice as heavenly and graceful as yours, my dear. I assure you, your voice is the only one that can settle me into sleep each night."
His face remaining emotionless, Loki ponders over how he thinks of Sigyn's voice much the same way. He has often described his wife's voice to himself in my the same way, and so he draws upon this. He quickly puts a spell upon his voice so that it sounds like Sigyn's, adding the accent that Hades has, and does his best to speak to Hades in the way his wife probably would have.
"Oh, yes, Husband, there are many other gods and goddesses outside of our Greek domain. There are some from the north and some from the south and some from very distant lands that we have never even heard of before. I only studied the ones from the northern lands, though. They are called the Norse gods and they are very like our own deities," Persephone says. Hades does not notice the slight lilt and hesitation in her sweet voice, for he is too busy listening to each drawn out word in obsessive love.
"How so, my love?" Hades asks, quite enjoying this news that she gives to him.
"Well, there is a very powerful god called Odin that is quite like our Zeus and there is a beautiful goddess called Freyja quite akin to dear Aphrodite," Persephone responds. Hades notes that she sounds so confident in this, pleased that she has once again grown comfortable in her home.
"And me? Who would my counterpart be?" Hades asks excitedly.
"Well, Hel is the Goddess of the Norse Underworld and Dead, but she is a girl and is not married. Her father is Loki, a Trickster God, who has a wife just like me named Sigyn, but none of the Midgardians have been able to link him to just one Greek god," Persephone responds, becoming distracted with her true identity.
So Loki learned that he was more like Hades in just that he had Sigyn. For he, too, would love to learn if he had such a counterpart.
"A Trickster god? But I do not trick," Hades says, confused.
"You do in some instances," the goddess argues, remembering a couple of the stories he had read vaguely about Hades. His favourite was how Hades would not let that one man look back at his wife if he wanted her back from the dead.
"Ah, true, my dear," Hades agrees, stroking his chin in thought and lightly licking his red-tainted lips.
But as Loki upheld this conversation, he started to feel slightly uncomfortable. Before him was the Greek version of himself, just a bit more depressed and love-struck. He did not want to be in this position where he is Sigyn's twin, looking at Hades as though he were Loki. How odd it seemed, for these two couple seemed so parallel. Loki vaguely wondered if Hades, too, had children.
"Tell me, for my memory is foggy from the wine, do we have children, dear?" Persephone asks cautiously, leaning forward.
"Ah, goodness no, dear. Children and the Dead do not mix, Persephone. Your mind must be befuddled, love," Hades laughs, waving a hand as to dismiss the very idea.
"Oh, all right, this was amusing at first, but now I simply do not feel right about this," Persephone mutters to herself, glancing down in deep concentration.
"What? What ever do you mean by that?"
"I mean, my lord, I am not Persephone. I have never backed down from a trick before, but this is too weird. I cannot play a trick on myself," Persephone tells Hades, shaking her head.
"Who are you? What trick is this?" Hades asks harshly, standing up. "Who dear impersonate one that they fall bluntly short of in honour?"
"I, Loki the Norse Trickster God. And if this is a trick, it is a dry, humourless one that I wish not to take a part in anymore. I only did this to get information, but I might as well ask as myself."
With that Loki shifted back into himself, his green eyes now more brilliant and his crimson red hair coming back into his possession. How good it felt to be himself again! Hades gasped in the other god's presence, watching as Loki took away the illusion of the dress and showing his own green tunic. Never before had Hades seen a foreigner such as this.
"Fear not, for I have for you no ill intent. For you see, Hades God of Dead, we are more akin than you may know. I myself have a wife, Sigyn, who looks strikingly like your dear Persephone, and I play tricks for my own amusement and cost, and too respond darkly when torn asunder from my wife. Perhaps in this light we can become good friends," Loki suggests, pleased at the idea of having an ally. He has never really had one of those before.
Loki had always been homeless in his own way, switching between the Giants to the Aesir, and he envied Hades for claiming his own realm, for having a whole place to himself and his wife which he can call his own. It must be great.
"So your impersonating my wife was all a trick?" Hades asks.
"No, not really, for I came here with a whole other plan in mind. Your spotting me was a grave mistake and so I took on the form of your wife simply to get information. But as I got to know you, I realised we are not so different, so I shall back down in good grace," Loki responds.
"Ah, well, I am always one for a good jest. It would have taken my mind off of my wife, whom I mourn for currently. I apologise for ruining your entertainment," Hades says, pondering over the whole ordeal.
"That does not matter anymore, I will find someone else to bother. But what happened to Persephone?"
"Every other six months she spends time on the surface, bringing in the Spring and Summer seasons and spending time with her mother. I get her Autumn and Winter, that is why the land dies up above. So during those six months in which I find myself void of her warm presence, I mourn. That is why we have the seasons above, of course," Hades explains. But the small smile that played upon his lips while he explained his wife slipped when he realised something. "Why are you here, Loki of the Norse?"
"I have grown weary of the mortals above and my own people. They are no longer that entertaining. So I have been searching for someone new to bother. And that is when I learned of you," Loki explains simply.
"Of course, no ill intent indeed, my friend. But, come, perhaps I can help you play a trick on Hermes, whom is known as the Trickster among our people. He has bothered me before, so I might as well have myself avenged," Hades smiles again.
"Thank you, God of the Dead. So we are on friendly terms?"
"Yes, you are a fair ally, from what I can gather from your hasty trick."
Loki smiled with Hades and only a few days later Hermes found himself believing that he was the one now dead instead of him leading the Dead.
It was official, the sullen Greek god had a new friend for those sorrowful six months and Loki had dozens of new deities to bother. All was well.
One month after the whole ordeal, Persephone came back to Hades. Persephone immediately realised how light and happy Hades seemed to be, which was odd behaviour for the usually formal god.
"What happened in my absence, love?" Persephone questioned, wanting to thank whatever made her husband so joyful.
"I have made a friend," Hades replied simply, smiling at his own little secret.
Underneath the window sill outside of the Throne Room of Hade's castle, there hung a bat, one with brilliant green eyes. It listened to Hades and Persephones' conversation and vaguely smiled when it realised how delighted the other god was of having him around. For once Loki felt at home in the Realm of the Dead.
AN: I do not own Greek or Norse mythology, obviously. I just thoroughly enjoy it. However, I am an originator for the idea of Hades and Loki being counterparts, so that was my idea. As for the appearances of Hades and Persephone, I drew it from a picture I found of the two online, that was not my original idea.
Please review my ideas! My sincerest gratitude to my readers, however few there may be.