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Demigod of the Sea, Air, and Fire
What can I do? What can I do? What can I do? The thought repeated itself in Zeus’s mind, but he couldn’t find a solution that would solve his problem without pleading for help. But the Almighty Zeus never, ever asked for help. But how else could he destroy the one immortal being that was blackmailing him? If anyone ever found out, anyone…he would easily be overthrown and there would be a new lord of the heavens. And just to imagine how his gorgeous wife, Hera, who supported him, who gave him another purpose besides ruling, who was always loyal…it would be catastrophic if she of all goddesses found out his secret.
Shuddering on his pearly white throne made of clouds, Zeus forced himself to his feet, and swayed unsteadily. You have to consult her, unless you wish for the whole world to know… He’d been thinking in unfinished sentences for a month. A month ago, Ares, the god of war, had discovered proof to show the world of Greeks, mortal and immortal, his burdened secret. Ares had shared it with only one confidential, and was now forcing Zeus to start wars for no reason other than Ares’ pleasure.
The confidential, Adonis, was also receiving large sums of wealth. He was a young hunter raised by Persephone, and was loved by Aphrodite. Zeus despised him at the moment, especially now that he had requested something that was beyond Zeus. Well, beyond his nature. Adonis planned to marry soon, and demanded that Zeus give him the next child of Hera. But Zeus would have to either explain or lie to his wife, which he wished to not do. The god of sky would have to beseech Styx, goddess of the river in Hades’ abyss to aid him in stopping Adonis and Ares from their ruthlessness.
At the moment Zeus determined his decision, the throne room door erupted open and Hermes, god of messaging and thievery, zipped in. “Lord Zeus, you must-” But Hermes’ yelp was cut short when Zeus puffed into silvery smoke.
Why is he here? Styx thought distastefully. Yes, he had named a river after her for her support during the last war of the Titans, but she was always, always forgotten after being granted a gift. This time, the lord of the skies appeared with a wildly fraught expression splayed across his crinkled face. His shaggy eyebrows were half raised, and his wavy charcoal beard was unkempt as his eyes were thronging with drops of fear. “What do you want, Lord Zeus?” she inquired. Brushing the air with her hand in a suave motion, a black leather armchair popped behind Zeus. Sinking into it, he began his wish. “Lady Styx, I beg you, please help me,” he ended. “I will grant you another reward within reason.”
“Do you swear by my name?” the river goddess asked.
“I swear by the river Styx.” Electricity crackled slightly in his gray eyes.
“Very well, Lord Zeus. I will aid you. Here is my plan…”
Pure, clear water swirled in a whirlpool at Zeus’ feet. He started the procedure. Murmuring the Greek words, he leisurely raised his hands. Globs of water followed, until they created a narrow, oval shape with perfectly spiked ends. The pointed tip on top of the oval touched Zeus’ middle finger of his right hand as the goddess Styx whirled in the form of sienna-colored mist about the edges of the whirlpool, keeping it coursing. Finally, Zeus lifted his finger that had a single drop of vivid water that he placed in a flask that sat on a tall stone. The drop plummeted to the bottom, and the king of the gods corked it and shoved the bottle in a cloth, pull-string bag.
The whirlpool dissolved in the air and the mist gathered together as Styx reformed into herself. Normally she appeared with pale ivory skin, long ebony hair that curled at the ends that brushed the ground, kaleidoscope brown eyes, and a silver dress that shimmered white. She pulled on a cloak and drew the hood over her head, perceiving Zeus’ eyes that were staring at her beauty. “Begone, Lord Zeus. May you succeed in your difficult quest.” Hesitantly, the god of the heavens puffed into silvery smoke.
Another traveler, another person to hassle with. A servant stared as a stranger, a hooded man that was girded in a dark gray cape sauntered up to the palace that he served at. The boar statue that usually intimidated visitors escaped his notice, and his stride appeared elegant. The servant tossed his scrubbing cloth into the soapy jug of water and halted his task of cleaning the tile porch of Ares’ manor. He stepped out to greet the traveler, but the man talked before he had chance to say a word. “Sir, I will pay you greatly to perform a confidential task for me, that will be somewhat against your master, Lord Ares. You will receive 500 gold drachmas if you accept.” 500 drachmas? Robbery, but it would be fortune enough to start a better life than being a butler and servant. Besides, what gratitude did he hold for Ares, who barely ever visited his home yet ordered him to care for?
“I will take up the offer. What would you like me to do?” He tried to look him in the eye, but the man’s face was shadowed. He pulled out a small sack that was extremely light.
“In the sack, you will find a flask that has only one drop of liquid. Put the drop of liquid in Lord Ares’ next drink, and do not let the bead split. If you succeed, then I shall give you your pay. And trust me, I will know if it works.”
Zeus awaited for news, and was restless all night. Hera was so disturbed that she left to sleep elsewhere than with her husband, and Zeus finally left to the balcony of his palace and stayed there all night. He sent orders to Hermes at dawn to spy on Ares and report whether a servant poured a drop of water in one of Ares’ drinks. A nymph rushed away to tell Hermes, and Zeus impatiently paced about his mansion all day, his distress coming off in waves as he ordered his servants around and snapped at Hera, who didn’t take his ill mood kindly.
Finally, at midday during Zeus’ noon meal with the household, Hermes himself rushed in with his winged sandals and helmet. The lord of the heavens awaited him to speak. “My lord, the man you paid to pour the droplet of water in Ares’ goblet has completed the task. But,” he continued when Zeus opened his mouth, “it split in two, and half fell to the floor.” Rage was visible when Zeus felt it, and lightning blasted the sky into cobwebs of white light. Onyx clouds rapidly amassed in the sky, and rain drenched the dry air. Electricity sparked around Zeus, and his eyes turned from calm to crazed. “Lord Zeus, there are other news to be told…” Hermes faltered when the sky god arose from his seat. The people in the room could almost taste his dark, black anger.
“Hermes, bring this person to me.” The lord of the heavens stormed, literally out of the room. He turned into storm clouds and swept through the doors, leaving a trail of rain behind him. Hermes rushed out to the balcony, but Hera caught him before he left.
“Sir Hermes, I will calm him. Do not bring the man here, for I fear what would become of him,” the queen assured the messenger. He nodded and sailed into the air, the wings on his helmet flapping furiously in the downpour.
Hera found her husband stomping in their room, cursing Styx and Hermes and the servant he paid to perform his task. She had no idea what he had done, but knew the secrets of calming him down before something terrible happened. “Zeus, what ails you?” she asked, knowing to always start with that simple question. He refused to answer, and she quickly ran to the jug of water on a small table. She pinched a bit of powder in it, and squeezed a purple drop of liquid in it. It turned the color of wine, and Hera offered it to the raging god. Zeus took of swig of it, and crashed on his enormous bed.
An hour later, he awoke in a more placid mood and found out that the latest rumor was that Ares had lost memory of what he had been doing in the last two months. But Adonis had tried to explain, but the war god wouldn’t listen to him. Victory over one, but what of Adonis? Zeus knew that the droplet as a whole would cast a spell over all who were connected to the event that had occurred, but when split it only applied to the person who drank it. And the spell would be whatever the person who obtained it had cast. Zeus had told it to erase memory of the last two months, but only Ares had forgotten.
Adonis was now a huge block in Zeus’ path, but he thought of a plan to get rid of him. Finding Artemis, he asked her if she would accept the hunting challenge he had for her and Adonis. Knowing that the huntress goddess disliked Adonis for being a hunter with equal skills to her, Zeus told her who was the opponent. She accepted immediately. Zeus told other gods and goddesses of the contest, and it was held at an unexplored forest. Zeus secretly let Aphrodite be the judge of it, having knowledge of her love for Adonis.
After the two hunters returned with an equal amount of game, the sky lord let them show off their archery skills. Then they stood in front of the audience, awaiting a judge to place a laurel wreath on the winner’s head. Aphrodite surprised them by appearing, and crowned Adonis. Bitter rage made Artemis fume at both Zeus and Adonis, for she and the love goddess despised each other.
I can’t attack the king of the gods, but I can take care of Adonis. He is easy prey. Artemis asked Adonis to have a friendly hunt the next day in the same place, but alone with Aphrodite to have a quiet rematch. He came the next day, and they traveled deep into the woods with the two goddesses. Finally, as Adonis turned target prey, one of Artemis’ silver arrows pierced his heart as the boar he was about to take attacked him and died by Artemis at the same time, and he tumbled into Aphrodite’s arms. “You planned this, you filth!” Aphrodite sobbed as her tears fell onto Adonis. But Artemis felt only triumph, and left.
Zeus caught wind of Adonis’ death, and knew that his plan had worked. He held a feast, but told everyone it was in Adonis’s honor of a noble death. Without telling anyone, he sent Artemis a set of new arrows made of pure silver and had gray dove’s feathers.
Weeks slipped away, and Zeus concentrated on other matters, the showdown a fading memory. But one day Styx made a rare appearance away from the Underworld, and formed in Zeus’ throne room when he was alone with Hera. “Lady Hera,” she said, her voice barely a whisper, “I plead for you to let me settle a matter between Lord Zeus and I alone. I assure you, I only wish to speak to him and nothing more.” Hera’s eyes narrowed into slivers of jade green, but the queen goddess left with a tense feeling hanging in the air. The doors thumped close, and Styx spoke in a clearer voice. “My Lord Zeus, I wish to have my wish. And unfortunately, I am not the only one. Water itself has a spirit that has not appeared since the first day, and it demands a reward for what it gave.”
“I only had a drop, nothing more!” he boomed, but Styx remained silent. “Why would it want one from me?”
“You are the king of the gods. And,” she continued, “we have a combined wish to be shared. To be shared with me, the water spirit, and you.”
“Me?” His eyebrows were raised, listening keenly.
“We want to create a child, or demigod you would say, of water, air, and fire. The water’s spirit will represent water, you the air, and I fire, since I come from the Underworld.” The Underworld goddess awaited for Zeus to reply. Finally, he departed with her, and went to the whirlpool of pure water.
One day, a hero was famous throughout the Greek world. The hero’s name was Korinna, who had slayed several monsters and created a power unknown to several. But she inherited Zeus’ one weakness that was only known to him, but she knew nothing of it. She was destroyed when a young boy filled a jar full of wind and water, and placed a burning stick into it. The girl shattered into glass shreds that were considered sacred and are in a case buried deep in the Underworld.