I Do Not Own Greek Mythology
There are many things the myths got wrong about me.
For one, I have not, nor have ever been a man. But I suppose it's understandable that you mortals, upon hearing the name Hephaestus, assumed that I was male. I'll be the first to admit that my name is about as unfeminine as it can get. I'm not ugly, in fact I am considered to be one of the most beautiful goddesses, how could I not be with Hera as my only parent. Again, I suppose this is an understandable mistake, as I am often covered in soot and grease and find little use for the cosmetics that the other goddesses use. The result is that my beauty is rarely seen.
I am crippled however, though not in the way you mortals believe.
My mother never tossed me off of Olympus, in fact she considers me her favorite child. Hera showered me with love and affection, and she loved the fact that I was all hers, and not made with the aid of the adulterous husband she has grown to resent. Even when I did not show interest in the ladylike things she enjoyed, preferring to tinker with various things, she encouraged my interest, even giving me my first set of tools.
Unfortunately, my relationship with Hera caused resentment among the other gods and goddesses. As her favored child, my siblings were jealous of the affection my mother showed me. As the only god or goddess, besides my sisters and Ares, Hera was kind to, I was hated by others. Even Zeus hated me, as I was not his child.
Aphrodite especially hated me.
Not only was I compared alongside her in beauty on those few occasions I cleaned myself up, but Ares, the one god besides my mother that liked me, spent a lot of time with me. Not only was I his baby sister, but Ares loved my work. As the god of war, he was excited about the supreme quality of the weapons I could produce, and often visited me in my forge to test out and examine my latest creations.
As his lover, Aphrodite hated this. And she conceived of a way to drive a wedge between Ares and I that has never healed.
Using her control over emotion, Aphrodite filled Ares with uncontrollable lust for me. And so, Ares came to my shop late one afternoon in an attempt to seduce me.
But Ares, still under Aphrodite's spell, chased after me. Being both taller and more physically fit, Ares easily caught up to me, but still I fought against my brother. I fought until he sliced the back of my thigh with the sword I had made him, straight to the bone.
And then he stole my innocence.
Not just once mind you. Aphrodite's spell was strong, and for hours that felt like years to me, until the dawn came, Ares repeatedly violated me, leaving no part of me untainted by him.
And when dawn came, and Aphrodite's spell broke, Ares was horrified by what he had done to his favorite sister. And though he tried to aide me, I could not stand his sight before my eyes, of his touch upon my broken body. In the end he left, sending Artemis to heal me.
She healed my body, everything except my leg. Though the wound healed, the damage Ares sword did was too great. From that moment on I have been forced to wear a brace upon the leg he injured, just to support my weight, and have walked with a limp, with a cane to aid me, ever since.
Mother has tried to help me, having gone through something similar with Zeus. But I am not as strong as Hera, nor have I ever considered my brother to be anything more than a brother. Unable to aid me, she has grown distant and unsure of how to treat me.
I hate Aphrodite. I even hate Ares, though I know it was not his fault. But when he went back to that slag that influenced him, I felt more betrayed than I had before. Sometimes, he tries to talk to me, to rebuild the relationship we once had, and though at times I can see the pain in his eyes...
Our relationship can never be the same.
Because of what he did, my body has been permanently marred. Because of what he did, I cannot bear the touch of a man. Because of what he did, I am looked down on with pity. Because of what he did, I rarely leave my shop. Because of what he did, I keep my hammer close.
But because of what Aphrodite did, I lost all that I hold dear. I've lost my brother, my mother, my confidence, and my courage.
All because of Aphrodite's jealousy.
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