Author's Note: This is my rendition of the story of Hades and Persephone, trying to stay as close to the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and the Hesiod's Theogony as I can (while still trying to tell you, the reader, a romantic story filled with adventure, fantasy and the supernatural).
Original Greek mythology is told with adult themes, strong sexual content, depictions of violence, and coarse language. This story will be no different. Later chapters may include content that some viewers may find objectionable.
The following story is rated 'M' for a reason.
Written for mature audiences only. Reader discretion is strongly advised. You have been warned.
That said, please enjoy! I am in the process of publishing this story on other sites in addition to and am the sole owner of all original content excepting, of course, the names and tales told over the past 4,000 years about what is, in my opinion, the most enduring love story in all of Western civilization.
Reads and reviews are both encouraged and appreciated. New chapters will be available weekly.
She looked skyward and blinked back tears, determined not to have them fall on the infant's head. If Demeter shed tears, who knew what terrible consequences her sorrow would have on the newborn child?
The ten-year war was nearly over. Father Cronus was cast into Tartarus along with the other Titans, monsters and demons of the old order. Her child was safe, here at her temple in Eleusis. All the children of Olympus were safe.
Her heart was broken. She had been his first and his love, their child born to rule in peace or in war. But as her belly grew, Zeus Olympios turned his attentions elsewhere. Hera Akraia had not captured his heart; she'd captured his critical alliance with the priestesses of Samos and the Furies. She had convinced several of the Titans to join with the rebel god Zeus. Her actions had sealed their victory and earned her the position of Queen of Olympus.
And with that, Demeter was forgotten. She was left to tend the Earth while her brother gods divided the firmament, the waters and the other side. The infant was oblivious, happily gnashing at her breast. Demeter pulled her breast away and coaxed the infant to suck droplets of ambrosia from her finger. She smiled, enjoying the grip of her daughter's tiny hands and staring into her wide, pale eyes.
The soft voice of her servant Cyane interrupted her.
"My Lady," the nymph said, "Th-there is someone here to—"
"Hades Aidoneus," Demeter said to the looming figure behind her. Demeter hid her breast behind her red chiton, brushed back her long blonde hair, and brought the swaddled infant to her shoulder.
She looked up at him; his dark eyes peered at her through the slits in his golden helm. The black plumes of the crest were stiff and caked, the helm and plate armor stained with the blood of ancient gods and monsters. The edges of his charcoal and crimson tunic were frayed underneath, and his great black cloak was torn and flecked with blood. Cyane bowed and departed quickly.
"Deme," he said, removing his helm and roughly shaking out his hair, "We're on more familiar terms than that. I was— am— your ally. Please, I am Aidon to you."
"Not any longer. I will not have that familiarity with any of you. Keep your war and your scheming to yourselves. I'll have no part of it."
"But you did. Just as all of us did," Aidoneus said, standing over her. "Deme—"
"Address me by my proper name, my lord."
"Fine. Demeter Anesidora," he said, deliberately chewing on the words, "the war is over. I'm sorry everything did not turn out the way you hoped."
She looked away from him, her green eyes filling with tears again.
He continued, "This war didn't turn out as I had wanted either. When we cast lots to divide the cosmos, I received rulership of the Other Side. I, the eldest. Do you really think I fought for the privilege of having Cronus and his pantheon of monsters haunting my doorstep?"
She shouted at him, "Your pains are nothing! What I have lost—"
"Enough, Demeter. Do you really want to be with him? To marry him? In just the past year he has had more lovers than I have fingers. Leto... Themis..."
"STOP IT!" She screamed, jerking away from Aidon's hardened eyes. "Stop it." The wind howled abruptly outside, and the baby squalled, balling her tiny fists. Demeter held her closer, gently cradling her head with her arm. "You scared her." She turned back to Aidon, glowering.
He waited silently for her to calm the child. As he listened to her cries, something heavy and unfamiliar settled in his chest. The baby was pale, her hair darker than her mother and father. Aidoneus shook his head then straightened, "About Persephone—"
"Her name shall be Kore."
"Zeus decided to name her Persephone. And given her name, her future power, and the part she will play—"
Demeter looked away from him. "She is not to marry. And certainly not to someone as hard-hearted as you."
He recoiled, then drew himself up and narrowed his eyes at her. "When she comes of age—"
"She will remain with me," she said, but her voice wavered as she spoke. Demeter's eyes grew wide and pleading. "Aidon, please; she's all I have left." She looked down at her baby girl, who was now murmuring softly as she drifted to sleep.
"We had a bargain," he said, growing impatient. "I rallied the Netherworld against the Titans and their servants. The war would have been lost without me. She is part of the oath that both of you swore to me."
"There is no longer a 'both of us'," Demeter cried. "He has taken that... that... bloodless, brainless, conniving—"
"Careful…," he said quietly, his teeth on edge. Love and loss of love were not his province. He didn't understand matters of the heart any more than he could understand childbirth or the movements of the sea. "His choice of queen has nothing to do with our pact."
"Marriage is Hera's province, and I'll have no part of it. Not for me, and not for Kore! I swear on the Styx that no Olympian god shall have her. No one shall destroy her as he destroyed me!"
Now that the lots were drawn, Aidoneus was no longer an Olympian. Demeter in her grief and anger had forgotten that. He moved to correct her but decided against it, pursing his lips together. "For my part in the Titanomachy, when Persephone comes of age, she is to be my queen and consort and rule the underworld by my side. You cannot change that."
She glared up at him, tears staining her cheeks, saying nothing. Hades shook his head and turned his back to her, walking to the door. "Do not think to see me again until that time", he called out behind him. "None of you will see me. If you are going to swear off the Olympians for her sake, then so will I."