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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hades and Persephone: The Underworld

Here is the second part of the story of Hades and Persephone. If you haven't read the first, it's here.

Persephone, Art by JJLovely

I sighed and crossed my arms as I sat on the couch of my beautiful prison. Drapes of silk and gold beads hung around the room. There was a bed made stuffed with the softest down and covered with silk. Flickering candles reflected off the rubies encrusted in the gold candelabras. Every table in the room sparkled with diamonds, emeralds and other jewels. They were gifts from Hades. I gazed to the center of the room were a banquet table that constantly stayed filled with delicious food and wine.
            I was so hungry, but I could not eat. My mother had warned me away from eating the food of the underworld. Those that consumed it were forced to remain forever. I did not wish to be here now, much less for eternity. I sighed again and lay back on the couch, closing my eyes.
            The door opened and Hecate stepped in carrying folded clothes. Her silver hair was pulled back from her face and her black silk dress contrasted to her porcelain skin. She was beautiful and ethereal. Hades had given her to me as a handmaiden.
            She gave me a gentle. “It is time to bathe, my queen. I have brought fresh robe for you.”
            I winced. “Do not call me queen, Hecate. I am merely a prisoner. Hades will realize that we are incompatible. I belong above ground with my mother.”
            She gave me a sympathetic look. “I understand how you feel, dear Persephone, however, I must follow my lord’s orders. He wishes you to stay, so stay you must. Now, please, you must bathe, he will be here shortly.”
            I snatched the clothes from her, stalked to a curtained doorway, and yanked the silk aside. Steam rose up from the spring in the middle of the room. My feet smacked against the black marble tiles as I made my way to the pool, throwing the clothes down as I went. The water stung my skin as I stepped in. I grabbed the soap from the ledge, scrubbed my skin in quick jerking strokes, and then dove under when I had been completely lathered. I stayed underwater as long as I could, trying to calm myself. Hecate was just following orders; she had no control over my freedom. It was Hades that I must convince to set me free. He should see that I was not meant to be his queen. With new determination, I rose out of the pools and robed myself. When I stepped back into the sleeping room, Hecate was gone. Hades stood before the table, eating grapes. He turned when and stepped in, and a smiled touched his cold lips.
“You look as beautiful as ever, my dear. Did you enjoy your bath? Grapes?” He offered them to me but I shook my head and stared at the ground. He sighed and set them down. “You cannot continue this. I will not have my queen starve.”
“I am not you queen. I do not belong here Hades. Please, you must return me to my mother.” I entreated as I moved closer to him.
He put a cool hand against my cheek. “My dear, daughters must eventually leave their mothers and become wives. It is time for you to bloom, little flower.”
“Flowers cannot bloom without sunlight. How can I bloom underground?”
He sighed. “Persephone, what do you wish in life? To spend you days in meadows and flowers, coddled by you mother? I sense great power in you. Why not use that power? As my queen you would rule here by my side.”
I paused, contemplating what he said. My life before this capture had been as he said. I had spent my days collecting flowers. I ruled over nothing. Even Artemis ruled over the moon.
“Let me ask you, is there another that you favor more than I?”
I shook my head, still thinking on his words. “N-no.”
“Then I ask you give me a chance to win you affections. Think on my words, I offer you a purpose.”

He took my hand and placed his daily gift in it. I looked down and gasped in pleasure. In my hand was a rose carved perfectly out of silver. It was detailed down to the tiniest thorn. I clutched it to my chest and sat on the couch deep in thought.

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