This is a one-shot story. I just have a strange fascination with the Greek Myths for a few years now and this couple always interested me more than the rest.
The Day Persephone Visits Olympus
It was finally happening!
For three hundred years I'd begged Mother to take me up to Olympus to see my father, sisters, brothers — my family — but she had always refused. Why? She never told me. Instead, she fed me excuses that it was, and I quote, "For your own good, Kore, I just want you to be safe."
She treated me like a child! I was three hundred years, for Father's sake! Of course, in age I was a child to them, but I had grown out of that stage, yes? I no longer crawled across the ground or spun in circles on the grass until I was dizzy and fell. I no longer sucked my thumb or struggled to read anymore. I was tall, my figure shaped beautiful like a woman, not a toddler. If only mother treated me my age, maybe then I wouldn't have to act so childish to her, but I had a feeling that's what she wanted: for me to be her baby.
I was not a baby.
That didn't seem to matter. She cared for me in her most motherly fashion — some might call it smothering. Even though she never took me to Olympus, she often told me of who lived there when I asked, or what their histories were, or how they looked. She spoke bitterly of a few of them, like Eros, or Ares, or Hermes, but mainly Hecate and Hades. I don't know what they did to her, but she hated them with a passion and refused to tell me anything concerning them. It made me sad that she was so bitter towards our family. She was friendly with her sisters, but in the passed three hundred years, she couldn't get along well with Hera anymore. I was the reason why...
I pushed these depressing thoughts away. They would do me no good when I went to Olympus. Why was I even thinking of them, anyways? I shook my head, silently scolding myself before I continued humming the lovely melody that Lady Hestia had sung to me whenever she visited. She was the only goddess who ever approached my mother's home. I had a feeling that the others didn't like her all too well. Even the men were distant. And I could understand why. Unless you truly got to know her, my mother was a pain in the neck.
"Kore? Kore! Where is my daughter?" Mother's panicked voice rang out through our home. The nymphs attending to me jumped at her voice, none of them liking the shrill and sharp tones that went with it.
"I am in the baths, Mother!" I called out to her. As a nymph washed my long hair, my mother entered the bath chambers, her weary face flushed with relief.
"Oh, my Kore," she said sweetly. "I went out into the gardens and you were not there. I wish that you would not frighten me so again!"
"I apologize to you," I said, inhaling the scent of roses that wafted around my bath waters. "I was merely starting to prepare."
My mother's face fell by the smallest degree. I tried not to roll my eyes are her. Why was she so determined to keep me away from Olympus? Was there someone who resided that offended her? Or did she not like the idea of me being amongst the male population? Whatever it was, it made her sad.
Mother turned to the nymphs. "See that she is dressed to leave in an hour," she ordered sharply.
The nymphs bowed. "Yes, Lady Demeter," they said obediently.
In a matter of minutes my skin was glowing and wafting the scent of roses. I had always loved roses. I'd created many of all kinds for fun, all of different colors: blue, green, orange, purple, even brown, and they had all been beautiful. There was one difficulty: I could never get black. I always wanted to make a black rose, but I had never succeeded. I wished I could make one, but the soil around our house could not produce them. They needed fresher soil, soil found lower in the earth, and Mother was not willing to get me any. It was a shame. I dearly craved the mysterious rose...
"Come, my Lady," a nymph said, distracting me of my thoughts. I followed the nymphs to my chambers where they dried my hair and began braiding a few locks of my hair with tiny white roses I had made for the occasion. They let my dark brown hair fall in waves around my shoulders and down my back, creating a circlet-diadem-effect with the flowers they braided at the top of my hair. They laced my feet in comfortable sandals and robed me in a beautiful chiton that hugged my body in a way that was both innocent and alluring. In the very fabric, the images of blooming flowers met my eyes, and my skin almost glowed in the sunshine. I had no need for make-up. My beauty came all natural.
"Kore?" my mother called, and I groaned internally.
I hated the nickname that she had given me. Kore? Honestly, I wondered what went on in her head when she came up with it... Father Zeus had named me "Persephone", a name that I thought was both beautiful and enchanting. Lady Hecate had suggested it when Father and Mother were discussing what to name me. Mother had gone insane over it, saying that a goddess of springtime and light should not be named a destroyer! I think the fact that Hecate had suggested it made Mother worse, but Father had grown fond of the name and insisted that I would be Persephone. And there was nothing Mother could do to stop it. I only tolerated Mother's nickname, Kore, because it made her happy. I, on the other hand, was less than thrilled.
"I am in my chambers, Mother!" I called back.
Mother entered my chambers, already dressed to go to Olympus. She wore an elegant green chiton and had her dark hair tied up in an neat knot at the top of her head. She looked very beautiful, and older version of myself. I smiled as she gasped at my dress and then my hair.
"Oh, Kore, you look absolutely stunning!" she exclaimed, enfolding me into a warm hug. "You all may go," she told the nymphs who bowed and left the room. "Right. Well, I see that we are both presentable. It is time to be off."
My heart picked up at the speed of a humming bird's wings. My mother took my hands into hers and a light glowed around us. My very essence felt light and free as it soared through the air, gaining speed and growing higher as we flew in Olympus's direction. It didn't take very long. Within minutes we were at the tall golden gates that opened at my mother's touch. She led me up a stone road that ran from the gates to an incredible and enormous palace made of marble and gold.
As we walked, I looked around keenly, drinking in Olympus's magnificence. Lush green grasses ran for miles. Tall trees bearing fruit shaded the ground from the sun. There were buildings all around us — homes for the people who resided here. Nymphs ran about being chased by men I assumed were minor gods. There was a small lake close to the palace, a place where the goddesses could be seen relaxing. Standing on the left of the mighty palace were an assortment of temples, all for the gods and goddesses, major and minor. Flowers bloomed at the edges of the roads. I could make flowers far prettier, but they suited the beauty of this place. Birds flew, small animals — pets — pranced around, playing with their masters. Even the people who passed were amazing. Gorgeous women who danced and sang, handsome men who flirted or just chatted with them, tugged at my hearts. Mother caught on to my lingering eyes and pulled me away from them.
The walk was fairly enjoyable. Many people bowed to Mother, smiled at me, many stopping just to say hello. A young boy flew overhead, small wings sprouted from his back. He laughed and waved down at us. At this, Mother pulled me closer, glaring at the child. He didn't seem bothered though I could tell he was rolling his eyes. A grown man was flying after him and — good gods — he was entirely beautiful: curled hair golden as the sun, firm muscled skin, pink lips and teasing brown eyes. He was laughing as he chased the child, engaged in a game of tag. He caught sight of us and waved. Mother's eyes grew darker and he chuckled.
"Come now, Demeter, I mean her no harm!" he called as he rose higher in the air. I could tell he was talking about me, and it was an easy guess as to who he was. Lady Hestia had told me of Eros. He was the son of Aphrodite and the god of Love.
"Keep away, Eros!" Mother called back. "And tell the Erotes to do so as well."
"Fine then!" the boy Eros was chasing yelled down joyfully. Then he flew towards the palace screaming, "Brothers!"
Eros nearly fell out of the sky laughing as he flew after the boy who I assumed was an Erote. Mother grumbled under her breath as she led me towards the palace. I could tell from her bitterness that she did not like the Love God or any of his brothers. That was easy to understand. As far as I knew, Mother didn't like Aphrodite either.
"Hello, sister!" a voice called out as we got to the palace steps. I look up to meet dark green-blue eyes. They belonged to a handsome god dressing in a blue tunic under his silver breastplate. His skin was tan and his muscles were lean but striking. There was a swift grace about him when he hurried down the steps to meet us. His windswept hair was black and brown, curled in an unruly mess under his crown made of sea shells, but his smile was playful and kind. The glowing trident in his hand gave away his identity. Mother sighed and gave him a reluctant hug.
"Poseidon," she said, eying him suspiciously. I didn't blame her. He looked like the sort of man who would cause trouble. "I did not realize you would be here."
"Neither did I, sister," he said, backing away from her. From the look in his eyes, I could tell that Lord Poseidon didn't like my mother. He was only being polite. "But dear Zeus demanded my presence."
"I hope he did not demand HIS presence as well," Mother grumbled. "The last thing I need is to put up with his incompetence."
Poseidon's polite demeanor fell.
"Demeter," he said, his voice sharp with irritation, "this is why people do not like you! You are being rude and arrogant! Why can you not just forgive him? He was young when—"
"He still does it, Poseidon!" Mother snapped at him. "He and his little friend! They will be the death of me!"
"Ironic," Poseidon snorted.
"This is no joking matter!" Mother spat. Poseidon raised an eyebrow, apparently not impressed. That impressed me. By now I would have been cowering from the venomous glare my mother was shooting at him. "I will not have that imbecile around my daughter!"
Poseidon sighed and shook his head. He turned his gaze to me. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Persephone, I am Poseidon," he said, taking my hand into his own and placing a swift kiss on my knuckles. My mother started hissing and he groaned. He gazed down at me and said simply, "I do not know how you have survived in her presence all these years, but I applaud you." And with that, he ran off towards the lake, stopping next to a goddess with long red hair.
Mother was growling now. I, on the other hand, was fighting laughter. I liked Poseidon. He had a good sense of humor, no matter what he had just said to my mother. Yes, I was surprised, and a little agitated, but I can't say she didn't deserve it. Whenever Mother didn't like someone, she treated them horribly. That led me to wonder who they were talking about.
Mother marched into the palace, leaving me to hurry after her. However, I stopped when I realized we were in the throne room. My mouth fell at the sight.
The walls were pure white, glowing gold from the fires that hung from the brackets all around the walls. There were twelve golden thrones in the shape of a 'U'. Sitting on top a small platform was a tall throne that crackled with lightning. There were six thrones on one side and five on the other, each personalized for a particular god. They were labeled, so I didn't have to guess who had which throne. The six throne to the right belonged to Poseidon, Hephaestus, Hermes, Apollo, Dionysus, and Ares in that order. The ones on the right belonged to Hera, Mother (Demeter), Athena, Artemis, and Aphrodite in that order. That meant that the one on the platform belonged to my father, Zeus.
As I took in the thrones, I saw the tall pillars behind them, all artistically painted to show the god whose throne was laid before it. I looked at Mother's and saw her there in an elegant pose, agriculture growing around her. I looked at Artemis's which depicted a girl who looked younger than me in a knee-length purple chiton running through a forest with a bow and arrow under the moon. I took a step closer and smiled. If Artemis looked anything like this image, she was more beautiful than me. Wild blood red curls flew behind her, exposing a fiery beauty with silvery eyes and wide smile. The one next to it had to be Aphrodite. She was gorgeous beyond anything words could describe. Her hair was a rainbow of colors — at least in the lighting. It depended on how you looked at it, but in different tones of light, the color would change. Her eyes were the same. These two goddesses could be rivals of beauty, but one was a goddess of love while the other was a goddess of virgins.
"Kore, what are you looking at?" Mother asked. I turned around to see her standing next to he throne, still fuming. Before I could answer, someone else did.
"Why, it appears that she is admiring the pillars," a woman said. I turned and saw Lady Hestia walk up to us, smiling. I could feel a delighted smile of my own grace my face and I hurried forward to give her a hug which she returned whole-heartedly. "Hello, my dear."
"Lady Hestia," I greeted her. Her hair was red today. Usually it was brown, but I supposed she wanted a change. That was an upside of being a goddess, or god — you could change your appearance at will.
"Hestia," Mother said, nodding at her sister. Hestia pursed her lips and nodded back. That was odd. She usually got along well with Mother.
"Poseidon was just talking with me—" she started, but Mother cut her off.
"Of course," she grumbled. "What has he said about me now?"
Hestia shook her head in disappointment. "Grudges will get you nowhere. Zeus will not tolerate any of this foolishness. Not today."
She sounded angry. I rarely ever saw her like this. Hestia was always kind and calm whenever I saw her. I'd only seen her angry once, and it hadn't been too bad. But this seemed worse.
"He is already here, I assume?" Mother asked dejectedly.
"That is correct, and he has promised to be civil," a man said. I turned and saw a tall man in golden breastplate over a white tunic with sandals that were laced up his calves. A long white cape fell down his back and a golden crown was laced in his dark blond hair. He looked very young, just ten years older than my seventeen year appearance, but looks could be deceiving. His smile was filled with warmth and charm, and his sky blue eyes were shining as he looked at me. It was Zeus.
"My daughter," he smiled as he approached me. I curtsied before him but he pulled me into a comforting hug anyways.
"Father," I smiled up at him.
I was happy to see the pride and joy in his eyes. There was a difference in seeing this from a mother and a father. From the father, it made me feel like a young girl, but not a child. Just a young woman who had just made her father very happy.
"My Persephone, it is amazing to see how you have grown," he said, his voice warm and cheery. "You are no longer the little cherub who bounced on my knee."
"I was not a cherub!" I protested, but he was laughing. It filled the room in such a way that soon we were all laughing with him.
The sound attracted the other gods and goddesses into the room. I could almost tell who was who by appearance, but the moment they saw me, I didn't have to bother. They all rushed forward to meet me. Poseidon stood between Father and Hestia, watching as my relatives came forth, one by one.
Hephaestus wasn't handsome, but his grey eyes were kind. He had thick curly bronze hair that was tied back and braided at the base of his neck. His skin was covered in burns and scars from working in the forges and he walked with a limp. He smiled at me as he introduced himself, his voice hoarse from what seemed of lack in talking at all. Ares was a little imitating. His muscles bulged under his full armor and his tanned skin was covered in faint scars, but his smile was friendly under his dark, calculating eyes and short curly bronze hair. Dionysus was a cheerful one, wearing a long purple tunic over his slightly chubby physique. His hair was raven black and curly held back by a wreath made of grape vines. He was sweet. Hermes was energetic. His light blond hair bobbed about his head as he greeted me. He made me laugh when his shoes sprouted wings and took him into the air. He made a few back-flips that amused everyone except Mother.
Aphrodite was prettier than her image on the pillar, but she was darling. She greeted me gracefully, even introducing me properly to Eros and his two best friends, Anteros and Himeros. Mother didn't like it, but they didn't do anything. The twin archers, Apollo and Artemis, came next. Artemis was so pretty, it was heart breaking. I caught Eros staring sullenly at her and I bit back a giggle. She was lithe and slim, quite as energetic as her twin. Apollo was a miniature Zeus. They had the same blond hair, blue eyes, a few similar facial features, but his smile was more charming and a little seductive. The moment he flashed his teeth at me, enchanting me, Artemis kicked his foot and he stopped, choosing to chase her in an immature game to tag around the throne room. I had thought that Artemis would have been more mature than that, or that she would not have been on good terms with her brother, the god of bachelors while she was the goddess of virgins, but clearly I was mistaken.
Hestia leaned in and whispered, "They do not always agree, but Apollo and Artemis love each other very much. And they love to play. Under Zeus and Leto's influence, they act quite a lot like children at home, but on the earth, they are much more civil and mature."
I nodded, not seeing the other two women who approached me. Ares laughed as Artemis flipped on to her throne and started prancing over the others. Only Ares grumbled when she jumped on to his throne, but from the reactions I saw, everyone was used to her doing this. Someone cleared their throat next to me and I turned to see a tall woman there in full battle armor. She was stunning and fierce all at once. Her dark silver eyes were kind but calculating, a little like Ares. She was Athena, goddess of Wisdom and Battle. Next to her was a woman who resembled Poseidon and Hestia. She had long red hair and glittering grey eyes. She smiled at me, but there was pain in her eyes as she greeted me gently. She was Hera, Queen of the Gods, and Father's wife.
I felt sorry for her. In this room, only Ares and Hephaestus were her children. Mother had explained that, besides Aphrodite, herself, Hera, and Poseidon, the rest of the Council was filled with Father's children with other women. It must have been hard for her to be welcoming of a child her husband had conceived with another woman — namely her sister. I felt guilty for existing, but I could tell she didn't blame me. She blamed my parents, but she didn't say so.
Apollo finally gave up chasing his sister and surrendered. The gods were enjoying themselves immensely, and as I wondered why I couldn't have come here sooner, the front doors opened wide, and the sound of footsteps caused everyone to go silent. A few of gods, when they saw who it was, smiled and waved at them, but when Mother saw them, she grabbed me and pushed me behind her back. I heard a woman's tinkering laugh, and a deep male voice joined her.
I'll be honest, I'd never heard that voice before, but the minute I had, I wanted to hear more. His voice was deep but velvety, a soft feline pur hidden in its midsts. It stood out from all the other people I had spoken too. Dark and enchanting... it reminded me of shadows under the moon.
"Why, I say, there seems to be something entertaining here," the man said lazily, his voice running chills down my spine. I tried to look over Mother's shoulder, but she shielded me further, not wanting to expose me to whoever it was.
"Ah, who is that?" the mystery woman asked.
I heard someone whistle and then Hermes' voice hiss, "Now is not the time for that, Apollo!"
"Aw," Apollo groaned miserably.
The woman laughed. Frustrated, I peeked out from behind my mother to see who it was. My heart froze.
Standing in front of my mother was a goddess — a goddess of darkness, maybe. Her hair was black and bronze, curling in ringlets down to her waist. Her arms were painted with thin vines and she was wearing beautiful jewelery, more than all Mother had at home. Her skin was pale but glowing, and her eyes were red, like blood. Her lips were the same color. She was dangerously enticing. I could see why Apollo whistled. Her dress was form fitted, revealing her every curve just like Aphrodite, but she didn't look like she was going to hurt us. The way she moved was seductive, like a feline approaching prey. She frightened and fascinated me all at once.
"Hecate," Mother said coldly, and I stifled a gasp. Hecate lived in the Underworld; she was a goddess of magic and witchcraft. Mother loathed her for reasons I did not know. The goddess looked past Mother towards me and smiled, not in a frightening manner, but curiously.
"And who is this?" she asked. Mother tried to hide me but the goddess reached out for my hand. I half expected her skin to be ice cold, but her skin was warm and soft, gentle as water. "What is your name, child?"
Being called a child shook off my fear. I sighed and said, hoping I didn't sound irritated, "My name is Persephone, my lady."
Hecate smiled wide, two of her teeth protruding from her mouth like small fangs. "Ah, yes, I remember when I suggested that name. It means 'destroyer'. With beauty like yours, you could destroy men's hearts without trying. I pity them."
Her words made me smile as she released my hand. She walked off towards her companion who was standing next to Father and Poseidon. I had forgotten about him until now. And I can guarantee you this: For as long as I live, I will never forget him.
If Eros was beautiful, this god's attractiveness was ten times more beautiful than him. Eros's looks were of the Light, and this one was clearly of the Dark. That made his much more mysterious and enchanting. My heart fell hard.
He was tall and lean, with softer muscles that the other gods, but still strong. His skin was dark olive toned, smooth and flawless, radiating a seductive darkness that made me tremble. He wore a black tunic that fell exactly to his knees, with black sandals that laced up his calves like Father's. He was wearing gold on his wrists, around his biceps, his neck, some were even braided into his thick black ringlets that fell only an inch above his shoulder. His eyes were dark brown, sparkling with a deadly charm that no man should ever be capable of. His chiseled features glowed in the light and as he smiled, I was dazzled by the pearly whites. He looked right into my eyes and I wanted to run and kiss him, but I held my ground. Where in Olympus did that impulse come from?
Who was he?
"I should have known you were here," Mother grumbled. "Yes, well, everyone is here to meet—"
"Persephone," he guessed. I shivered as I heard him say my name. They rolled off his chest in perfect syllables. No one could ever do that! How in Gaea was he doing that? "Yes, I can see for myself, sister." He said the word in a mocking tone.
Sister? Mother didn't have many brothers. There was Father, Poseidon, Chiron and — oh... He was radiating darkness, of course! It should have been obvious!
"Hades," Mother managed to hiss out. Hades stepped forward. I could see Aphrodite's eyes trailing after him and I was riddled with jealousy. Hades didn't pay her any attention. Father followed him and stood next to Demeter, as if getting ready to restrain her if anything happened.
Hades, God of the Dead and Lord of the Underworld, was standing right in front of me. His smile was kind enough, but there was something seductive about his lips that captured my attention. There was a tiny scar on the left side, barely visible. This small blemish seemed to increase his looks rather than decrease it. He reached out a large hand and captured one on my small ones in his own. The moment his skin touched mine, heat crept up around my ears and cheeks. He lift my hand to his lips and gave it a small kiss.
It marked my skin, burning me with pleasure; the light-headed feeling would not leave. For an embarrassing second, I wondered what those lips would feel like on mine? My blush darkened as he winked at me. I couldn't help but smile at him. He released my hand and looked directly into my eyes. I could look into the warm soil color forever.
"It is time for me to take leave," he said softly, each word he said piercing my heart. I didn't want him to leave. His smile widened as me as he backed away and I was tempted to follow him. He looked at my hand and took it back into his own. I felt something entwine around my fingers and wrist like a snake, but I couldn't move. "For you." That was all he said.
Then he turned and said farewell to everyone else, leaving the throne room with Hecate following eagerly behind him like they were best friends, both of them attracting shadows from every direction on the floor and walls. I felt Mother at my side, asking questions but I couldn't hear her. Slowly, I unfroze, breathing deeply. Who would have thought that was the god of the dead. From the way my mother spoke of him, I would have expected him to be far different.
"Kore? Kore, do you hear me?" Mother asked frantically.
I nodded, my thoughts a little distant. "I hear you just fine."
Whatever she said next, I didn't bother to listen. I felt something on my hand and lifted it to eye level. My heart beat quickened and a gleeful smile graced my face. He had given me a flower and a bracelet. The bracelet was pure gold with rubies and emeralds in vine patterns, but I didn't pay it much attention. My eyes were on the flower. It was simply radiant. The green stem had woven itself around my fingers, and the thorns were far from my flesh. I felt a single tear fall at the sight of the petals. I had tried to create such a beauty before and it never worked. Hades, a Prince of Shadows as much as the king of the dead, had given me something I always wanted. And I would always be grateful for it.
For the first time in my life, I had fallen in love. In love with a man Mother most definitely wouldn't approve of. His gift would be mine forever, and his face, his voice — they would never leave my memory. I looked at my hand and smiled with joy. Hades had given me a Black Rose.
The following above was written out of boredom, but I hope it was enjoyable.
I never liked Demeter much, she always annoyed me in stories. I just thought I'd try to write something new. I'll get to continuing the other stories I've written, but I couldn't resist writing this. I wanted to call it "The Black Rose" but thought against it.