Category: Greek Mythology
Couples: Depend on Myth
Warnings: Depend on Myth
Copyright: Greek Gods © By Whomever they belong, Plot & OC´s © by me
She was jealous, she would not deny it. Medusa was the fairest of all the priestesses of Athena in the temple, and the most skilled in the crafts they had to learn. It was to be expected when comparing a child of Gods to mortals. At least that is what Medusa claimed, stating that she and her two sisters were children of the Sea-gods Keto and Phorcys. Since she had not been smitten for those claims yet, the other priestesses assumed she spoke the truth.
Argiro prayed to her deity that Athena might forgive her these thoughts: after all, Medusa was one the higher-ranked priestesses of this temple and therefore favored by the mighty Goddess. She should not have these thoughts, but Eris had planted them in her mind and sowed jealousy in her heart.
She even went out to Aphrodite's temple nearby, bringing a sacrifice to the Love-goddess that she may ensure that the hate and jealousy would be a thing of the past.
One day she was tending the goats of the temple when commotion drew her to abandon them. Together with several other priestesses Argiro ran into the temple, her bronze hair flying around her. Screams came from inside the most sacred room of the temple, where very few were allowed.
"We cannot enter." An old priestess spoke, her hair grey with age. "Athena would smite us down for daring to assume ourselves higher than we are."
"But should we not aid whoever calls for aid so?" A young priestess asked. "Let me enter, old one, and if Athena wishes to punish me, I shall accept that punishment as I deserve. But my heart commands me to go to that screamers' aid."
The old one nodded in acceptance and the young priestess walked up to the door. Just as she was to open it, a long and mournful howl came from inside and she jumped back in fright.
It grew silent, only sobbing coming from within.
The priestess pushed open the door, allowing the light of Helios' magnificent chariot to illuminate the room.
"Great Gods above…" The old one breathed, her walking-stick falling from her frozen hands.
In front of them lay Medusa, fair and golden-haired Medusa. Her robes had been torn from her body and the golden plate on which the daily fruits for sacrifice were carried lay on the ground, the fruits having spilled all around her. One of the oranges was smashed, releasing its flagrant smell into the air. Yet it was not enough to cover the scent of blood and something else.
"Who would dare assault a priestess in the Holiest of rooms in this temple?" The High-priestess who had just appeared demanded in shock. "Who would dare challenge Lady Athena so?"
She send out several of the priestesses to warn the leaders of the city and ordered the others gone save herself, Argiro and the old one.
"Help me clean this." She ordered the young priestess at her side. "Old one, take Medusa to the priestess' rooms, take care of her."
They obeyed, but just as Argiro started picking up the spilled fruits the air around them grew heavy.
"How dare you?" The voice echoed in the room, causing her to drop the fruits and cover her ears. "How dare you lay with a man in MY TEMPLE?" The walls shook, dust falling down from between the stones. Birds flew up outside at the noise.
The three priestesses cowered as Medusa looked around.
"Forgive me, my lady, he forced me!" She cried her golden hair a disheveled mess around her head.
"And you tempted him!" The eyes of the statue glowed a silvery grey and the next moment a woman stood in front of it on the pedestal, her beauty terrible to behold. "You tempted my uncle to desecrate my holiest room!" Athena's silver eyes flashed in fury and her owl screeched in indignation. The Goddess smoothly stepped down the pedestal, advancing on Medusa. The sound of the slap echoed in the room, the stricken priestess flying through the air with the force behind it.
She landed exactly in front of Argiro, who dared not look away from her trembling hands.
"Because of you my temple is defiled!" Athena boomed, pointing at Medusa with an accusing finger. "You shall be punished for this!"
"NO!" Medusa howled, crawling forward. "Please, my Lady, have mercy!"
"Mercy on the one who defiled my temple?" Athena demanded. "Truly, you have taken leave of your senses!"
Argiro peeked up, looking at Medusa, half-turned towards the Goddess and the Goddess herself, Athena. She saw something change in the face of the God-child, her beautiful eyes hardening.
"Then I curse you, in the name of my parents!" Medusa screeched, spit flying out of her mouth. "How dare you punish a victim for a crime?"
Athena said nothing. Then she lifted her spear, bringing down its' blunt end on Medusa's chest hard. "Is the guilty party the one that tempted, or the one that could not resist temptation?" The Goddess evenly asked. "You tempted men with your golden hair and beauty. Now you shall lose both, to become so ugly that the mere sight of you shall turn them to stone."
Argiro gasped, watching in horror as Medusa started screaming once more, clawing at her entire body. Her golden hair let go in big tufts, coloring the ground golden. The skin of her bald head started to bulge and snakes sprouted from it, first no thicker than a hair but within moments as thick as her wrist. They hissed and twisted, snapping at the young woman while the rest of their body still transformed.
Next her bare legs were covered in scales and fused together. Argiro couldn't look away as the once-priestess writhed in front of her in agony. A hand appeared on the back of her head, pushing it down.
"Do not look." Came the whisper from the High-Priestess, who had crawled over to the shivering young woman. "Whatever happens, do not look." She slung her arm in front of Argiro's face, ensuring that she could not see anything.
The sound of something hitting the ground hard preceded a terrible silence. When the High-Priestess looked up, both Medusa and Athena were gone.
Argiro felt sick the next few days. She feared that she had caused Medusa's misfortune with her hate and jealousy and her thoughtless pleading of change to the Goddess of Love, who was fickle to say the least. Of course she did not tell anyone, fearing what they might do to her as punishment.
When she finally had recovered the High-Priestess gave her Medusa's job: carrying the daily sacrifices into the main chamber and keeping the altar in that chamber clean. "Athena did not strike you down for being there. Therefore you can go there safely."
Soon two beautiful women came, bearing with them a perfect bull. "We wish to sacrifice this bull and plead with Athena. We are sisters of Medusa and wish to beg to the Goddess to restore her to how she was." They stated and the High Priestess allowed them entry.
Later that day she came to clean up after the sacrifice. She opened the doors, a bucket of water in one hand.
It was then that madness struck Argiro, for in front of the altar stood the High Priestess, turned to stone and on the ground were the two women, their looks as twisted as those of Medusa.
The bucket fell on the ground, rolling down the marble steps as Argiro ran from the temple, through the city and out into the surrounding lands. It was the last anyone ever saw of the Priestess of Athena. Yet her name would be forgotten in the grand scheme of the Birth of the Gorgons and now none recall the young priestess who called such evil over an innocent woman with simple jealousy and hate.