Whether she breathed in the water or not- it wouldn't matter. She only knew that she had to reach the firm land.
A mountain called her. Radiating a power she wanted to touch.
That was all.
The being, beautiful to all, rose from the embrace of the waters.
Water droplets ran down her naked sides.
She was beautiful.
She knew that.
Aphrodite, they call her. All of them hung on her every word, holding their breath and waiting for her to shine her smile upon them.
She was older. She was made the moment a piece of heaven landed in the tremulous sea- quite literally. Uranus, the former god in charge was killed by his son (his blood and dismembered body hitting the sea)...it was almost romantic. The way destiny repeats itself.
Over and over and over.
She was made of seafoam and new beginnings, she was the oldest. Oldest and godliest among Zeus and his brothers...so why?
Why is it that she was still there?
Goddess of Sexual Love and Beauty.
They think that giving her a title would keep her quiet?
They were right.
She was content watching others take charge of the serious aspects...but eventually being beautiful and loved lost its luster.
There were times, now being one of them, where she was furious.
With the world. Herself. Others.
Everyone loved her because she's beautiful. But the mortal respected and revered Zeus because he was mighty.
Some even loved him too.
Aphrodite watched, envy burning in her eyes, as Zeus and Hera stood. Godly and burning with heavenly light. Just like them but mightier.
She wanted to be respected.
But no matter what...love was too infamous. Too messy to be anything short of disastrous or glorious.
And even the love Aphrodite receives was never truly certain, For mortals sometimes glow brightly, brighter than gods even, before disappearing. A shooting star.
And there were plenty of those.
Myrrah- oh how Aphrodite loved when Hera shot her the disgusted look. And when others shrunk from her striding figure.
Akhilleus- oh, Poseidon shot her a wide-eyed look before disappearing into the sea. It was such power, instilling fear within others. Knowing that others were wary of you.
And...the most infamous of her acts- the one that would have been legendary if it wasn't spoiled so… Psyche.
Oh, how they marveled that mortal beauty. It was fair...but it's hardly competitive.
None of them were.
But they, even if briefly, loved another. Others dared to think themselves worthy to be her match. Oh! The horror in their faces when they saw just how magnificent she was.
Oh my, how they revered her power. How mortal groveled to get in her good graces. How even with fear in their faces they admired her.
Psyche would have been the same.
But Aphrodite let Eros do it for her… Aphrodite wanted to put the same fear in a god’s eyes. She let Eros do it, sure that stirring fear in a mortal was beneath her...
And he ruined it. Instead, there were whispers of people outwitting her. Of Psyche becoming immortal. Which was terribly true.
How she raged...the petals of intoxicating roses shook with her anger. And the gods steered clear of her… the mortals wrote more poems. To soothe anger they didn't know she had.
Still… They loved her. Oh, yes they did.
It infuriated her.
Why won’t they fear her? Why is it that Zeus was feared more than her?
Did she really have to be a brute like Artemis?
Wasn’t her games enough?
Instead of more acts of wrath, Aphrodite flaunted her power. Seducing many. Wrapping many around her perfectly slim finger. But of course, that display was to be reproached.
Hera, who couldn’t stand to see others happier and freer than herself.
(Aphrodite pitied the queen almost as much as she envied her. Almost.)
Zeus sent Aphrodite, the most gorgeous and greatest, to be married to the recluse Hephaestus. She reared with anger. Hephaestus was not who she loved. He was plain and meek.
She wanted the power and blood and salt of loving another. The passion of loving Ares.
Why shouldn't it be Ares?
Her arguments were dismissed easily- the way only a king could dismiss her. A godly king with power.
Oh, how, she wanted that power.
And Ares gave it to her. No- he fought her for it. Hepahsutus treated her with gloves but Ares treated her with force. Kissing her so hard her lips broke and his did too. So, that they may taste the ichor of each other's existence.
Ares looked at her like she was sin personified. With reverence and fear. Unsure of what she’d do next.
It was a drug.
In all her years, more than even Zues or Hades or Poseidon. No one has ever watched her with fear. No one that mattered anyway. No Olympian that inspired fear ever feared her. But he did.
She longed for it. So much.
But just as soon as she grew more dependent on the taste of their ichor, sweat, and words combined she was shamed for it.
Closing her eyes she remembered the day,
Hephaestus looked at her. She searched his expression, it was cold yet fiery still. He nodded at her, his gaze on the door, “I will be gone. Do not expect me to be back until overmorrow.”
Excitement sparked in her veins.
“Very well. Enjoy your trip.”
The god, who so very rarely smiled, smiled then.
It was cold and not the least bit lovely. Hardly any of his smiles were. But this one was dark and hungry.
“Oh, I will.”
Aphrodite sat there, staring at her own reflection. Not quite sure what to do. Should she call another? Ares? Should she visit the mortal realm?
Interfere once more…?
It was curious. How the mortals had such limited time. Always something they wanted to accomplish before they burned out. Before their string of life was shorn.
Here, with all the time in the world and he hasn't done anything.
A knock sounded. The door opened.
She lifted her head from its perch on her hands.
Was it Hephaestus?
Did he forget something?
And they say he's intelligent- oh, Aphrodite felt her smile grow, “Ares. To what do I owe this pleasure?”
“More pleasure, of course.”
Ares strode forward, crushing her soft body to his. Aphrodite leaned into the touch, razor-sharp and coated with danger.
He pulled her into the bedroom. Already accustomed to where and how she likes their love. Their consumption. Their intimacy.
Stumbling they didn’t notice the glint of gold on the covers. Until they were both in the sheets. Aphrodite untying her garments while helping him out of his. Until a sudden ring sounded and the corners pulled up. Drawing them together, half nude, and trapped.
Then came the gods.
Hera and Zues. (Hera had a bitter expression on her face and Zues looked offended- before they both laughed. Taking delight in their embarrassment.) Hephaestus (who wasn’t quite happy and not quite sad, his thundery expression still allowing proud laughter). Apollo and Artemis (hands intertwined as they leaned on each other, bonding over the amusement of seeing the god of war and goddess of love struggle in their binds). Smaller lesser gods. She cannot remember their faces- but how she wished she focused on them. Aphrodite couldn’t get valuable revenge on the Olympians but she could on the lesser ones. She could regain her respect that way.
Zeus made it rule that she and Ares were to separate.
But it was too late.
She was addicted to the taste of danger and war. Of blood and ichor. The feel of blades and anger.
And from their love came a god. Eros.
The god of romantic love.
Her sweet little god.
Hera admonished Aphrodite. Telling her off for hurting Hephaestus.
The same son the goddess that threw him off a cliff for being lame and deformed.
Aphrodite didn’t mention this.
After all, Hera was a queen and Aphrodite was not.
But as she shared a bed with her husband who could no longer look at her with any mellowness she wondered… Did Hephaestus really love her?
Mortals expected Aphrodite to understand love.
She did not.
She was the goddess of sexual love.
She understands the brief awe of loving a mortal.
And the exquisite power of loving danger.
But she did not understand or know love. Not the way others seemed to.
Was love the way Persephone ran to the dark?
The way Zues always returned to Hera?
Was love really that good and terrible?
What about the way she loved the beautiful Nerites? Who refused her company? The same sea-god she turned to shellfish.
Tilting her head back she studied the stars. Still clear and bright.
She found the constellations she is looking for; Big bear, little bear.
An affair- lives ruined by Zues… turned to monsters. Killed terribly. Haunted by loss before being immortalized across the sky. She probably knew about the incident. The Queen was probably looking at the stars herself, reminded that the husband who always returned to her never stayed.
She was fine like this.
She was thriving like this.
She did not need love. Nor to know it or understand it.
But, how she would have loved the power. Of being a Queen. Of being feared. Of having mortals wince with fear every time the slightest slander reached their ears.
Power couldn't be negated.
She watched as a shooting star streaked across the sky.
If she were Queen- she’d have power.