Goddess of Chaos

Submitted into Contest #87 in response to: Write about a mischievous pixie or trickster god.... view prompt

34 comments

Fantasy Funny

What better way to beat the endless boredom of immortality than watching women fight over who is the most beautiful? 

Eris had always found ways to amuse herself, usually sending her minions to antagonize the sons of men, but watching Athena, Aphrodite, and Hera go at it was exceptionally wicked fun. Each one of those primadonnas had egos bigger than Mount Olympus itself, and hearing them vie for Eris’ prize was sheer megalomania on parade! Their bickering over beauty was as unseemly as a pack of satyrs bragging about their virility—those grotesque goatmen doing gods knew what in the woods. 

Well, perhaps they wouldn’t leave Eris off the wedding guest list next time. Perhaps Eris wouldn’t bring her Apple of Discord to sacred events (but of course she would). As expected, Zeus blamed Eris for the inevitable fall out of her Golden Apple ploy. Deservedly so, but why her father picked a mortal man to select a winner among the goddesses was typical of his ineptitude. 

Men are weak. Women, especially goddesses, know exactly how to exploit male weaknesses. Of course Paris took a bribe from Aphrodite to declare her the winner. Ironically, the bribe was an even more beautiful woman than Aphrodite. Madness! 

So, in Eris’ reasoning, the Trojan war wasn’t really her fault. Like everything in the known universe—it was Zeus’s fault. Because if one cannot blame his or her parents for life’s misfortunes, then what long term use are they good for? 

Everyone seemed to still be angry with her. After 2800 years, even the annoying muses still clustered around one another, whispering terrible things about her. 

Eris didn’t care. She was bored. She needed her minions.

“Assemble!” she called. 

“Yes, my queen,” a lickspittle replied, emerging from the shadows.

“I’m in need of someone to torment,” Eris said spitefully. “Go to Hades and bring me three poets. Find several bards or sonneteers. Freshly dead.”

“Will I find them in the Elysium fields or Tartarus?” the minion queried. 

Enraged by her underling‘s sheer stupidity, Eris grabbed his tunic in a clenched fist and through clenched teeth said, “These are poets of men, the great spinners of lies, the provocateurs of love . . . of course they are in Tartarus with the rest of the liars and scoundrels.” 

The minion disappeared into the underworld, paid Charon the ferryman, crossed the River Styx, and tossed Cerberus a dog biscuit. He noticed Persephone arguing with Hades, pointing at a calendar and throwing a pomegranate at him, but he kept scurrying through the dark realm until he found the three disembodied souls he needed. He hastened his return, knowing how short his mistress’s temper was and how much discord she could sew in his absence. 

“I have returned, my queen,” the minion said. 

“Excellent,” Eris replied, rubbing her hands together, lacquered nails glinting off the light of the candles in her chamber. “Who did you bring me?”

“Sono Francesco Petrarca,” said the first sonneteer.

“It’s Francesco Petrarch,” the minion translated. 

“I’m looking to wreck some human relationships because I’m bored,” Eris smiled. “What is your skillset?”

“Ho composto oltre 300 poesie per una donna con cui non ho mai avuto una relazione.”

“He says he wrote 300 poems for a woman he never had a relationship with.” He turned to Petrarch and wondered aloud, “Why would you do that?!”

“Perché l'amore non corrisposto è il più bello,” cried Petrarch, holding the place where his heart would have been, had it been beating in a human form and not absent from his present ghostly apparition. 

“He says unrequited love is the most beautiful,” the minion snickered. “Get a load of this guy. Unrequited love.” A hoard of other minions joined in and howled demonically. 

“A little respect, you tiresome fools. You inadvertently grabbed one of the greatest sonneteers in history,” Eris chastised, uncharacteristically charitable. “Petrarch’s popularizing obsessive love is very useful to me. Nothing will screw up a human being faster than being excessively preoccupied with another. Perfect! I can unleash Petrarch’s words to incense the masses.”

“How?” the minion queried.

“It’s a little complicated—an infatuation will produce cortisol triggering a spike in stress. This leads to a dopamine and norepinephrine jolt, decreasing serotonin, which is a mood stabilizer.”

“Sounds like they go crazy,” the minion deduced.

“They go batshit crazy,” Eris said and gleefully rubbed her hands together again. “This is great. Who else do you have?” 

“Greetings! Edmund Spenser here—”

Eris glared at the minion disdainfully, then back at Spenser. She pointed her long index finger at him. “I’m. Not. Listening. To. One. Word. Of. The Faerie Queene.

“Why would you? It’s awful,” he agreed.

“What use do you have for me? I’m wanting to cause chaos,” she snapped.

“Then I present you Spenserian Sonnet 30,” he said, unrolling a lovely scroll inscribed on a vellum parchment. Eris snapped it up, reading its contents in one glance.

“This is brilliant,” she muttered. “You explain how a woman’s coldness isn’t dissolved by ‘hot desire.’ And how her iciness just makes him even more obsessed with her . . . ”

“If I may,” Spenser said, clearing his throat. “‘That fire which all things melts, should harden ice: / And ice which is congealed with senseless cold, / Should kindle fire by wonderful device.” 

“I don’t get it,” the minion said.

“Ugh!” Eris groaned, wheeling around to explain to the imp. “Basically fiery passion should melt a woman’s cold indifference, but unrequited love only makes her more disinterested.” She laughed at the pure evil of it all. “Well done. Who else do you have for me?”

“You know.”

“I don’t,” Eris replied. “That’s why I asked.” 

“You do.”

“You brought me Shakespeare, didn’t you?

“Salutations, my fair queen!” Shakespeare said grandiloquently.

“Look, pal,” Eris warned. “I don’t want to hear about your comparisons to a ‘summer’s day,’ being in ‘disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes,’ and your marriages of ‘true minds.’ You can just stuff all of that,” Eris said, feeling the prickling of a migraine coming on. Shakespeare.

“Maybe you haven’t read my Sonnet 130?” he smirked, so confident in his abilities. He held out another scroll for her to read.

Eris reluctantly took it. Read it twice.

“For twelve of your fourteen lines, you insult your beloved? You make fun of her eyes, her lips, her breasts, her hair, her bad breath, her voice, and her gait . . . and yet somehow you wrap it up in a rhyming couplet to be the greatest love poem ever written?” Eris laughed until she almost fell over. 

Shakespeare beamed. 

The minion grabbed the scroll from Eris and read aloud: “And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare / As any she belied with false compare.” The minion looked even more confused.

“This is the greatest trick of all,” Eris announced gleefully. “You’ve listed all the faults of a lover, but then you said how much you loved her in spite of them. Oh, that is fabulous. I can use this.” Eris tucked the scroll in the bodice of her robes. 

The sonneteers, pleased to be of service, were returned to the underworld. 

Eris, holding in her bosom the three greatest ironies of love, prepared to unleash them on an unsuspecting human race. 

But the one irony she neglected to gather, since Alfred Lord Tennyson was clearly in the Elysium fields, was “'tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” 


March 29, 2021 00:35

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34 comments

Zilla Babbitt
15:43 Mar 30, 2021

Ahhh, I love this so much. You poke fun at the old greats and then acknowledge they do have good things to say sometimes. I love it. Unrequited love is certainly the most interesting but also the least satisfying and wholesome. Some telling in the first half that could be broken by more dialogue, but this really doesn't need much editing. And the ending! Poor Eris.

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16:07 Mar 30, 2021

Thanks for making a silk purse out of sow's ear. The prompts this week . . . . eeeeeee

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Zilla Babbitt
18:27 Mar 30, 2021

Yes... I had already told myself not to write a story this week and when I saw the prompts I was glad. Because there's no way I could have come up with a remotely *cool* idea from one of those. Ah well.

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Scout Tahoe
13:47 Mar 29, 2021

*Applause* I have read the story about Eris and her Apple of Discord but this new one you've written is so well done. And the appearance of Shakespeare was predicted but oh-so-fun. I love the Italian - I love it all. Hysterical.

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14:13 Mar 29, 2021

For some reason, I wanted an Eris verus Sonneteers mashup. Poor Petrarch, holding on to his love for "Laura" after just seeing her once in a church. That's quite an infatuation, or dare we call it true love? Isn't that the question for the ages -- the veritas of love. When we "catch feelings," how much of that is just chemical or foreordained by the gods? It feels so real. It feels so manufactured. It's nature. It's nurture. What even the hell is it? Oceans of poetry and prose have tried to explain it, even larger oceans of tears spilled for...

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Scout Tahoe
04:08 Mar 31, 2021

Hmm. I’ve never been to Florida except to visit Disney World, sorry. I believe in soulmates. Do you? Eris had her fun, for sure. I’m glad you made something beautiful out of these slightly wonky prompts.

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11:38 Mar 31, 2021

I believe that some people have soulmates. Others make do.

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Scout Tahoe
13:16 Mar 31, 2021

I'm saving this quote if you don't mind. It's wise.

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14:17 Mar 31, 2021

If you are saving quotes, save this one instead, as Shakespeare said it best in Hamlet (no surprise there). AHEM... "For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Meaning, any situation is entirely shaped by our perspective. You married your soulmate? Sure, if you believe it. Your ex-boyfriend was your soulmate and it didn't work and now your entire life will suck? Sure, if that's how you want to perceive it. Again, I honestly believe that deep connections between people do exist, and when two people have those from t...

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Aisa M
03:38 Mar 29, 2021

This is hilarious. Love it!

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07:33 Mar 29, 2021

Yay! Mission accomplished.

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Grace Suthrland
08:26 Apr 16, 2021

This is probably the best story on Reedsy that I've read so far. I'm a big fan of Greek mythology myself, and I'm always game for a witty retelling. Loved your story, Deidra. Keep writing.

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13:44 Apr 16, 2021

Hard to go wrong with the Greek gods. They are so awful, and unapologetically so! I did write one called "Seven Greek Gods Walk Into A Bar." It's a farce and a hot take on finding love in the 21st century. (Spoiler: There is none. Hahah) Thanks for the read :)

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Gerald Daniels
15:34 Apr 01, 2021

Amazing story, brilliantly clever, and a jolly good read to boot. Super.

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16:13 Apr 01, 2021

You are a glutton for punishment :)

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Gerald Daniels
16:23 Apr 01, 2021

"A great man (or woman) is always prepared to be little"

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John K Adams
21:55 Mar 30, 2021

It was so much fun reading Eris' trash talk about her fellow immortals. I hope, for your sake, she and they don't read Reedsy! Usually the Bard and his peers are held in such reverence. This was so much fun!

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23:17 Mar 30, 2021

The Bard was the first one to make a fart joke. He was raunchy as they come, and trafficked in sex and violence. Willy Shakes just wanted to make bank. And he did. He also made art in the process, the talented bastard.

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John K Adams
03:04 Mar 31, 2021

He would have appreciated your send up, I'm sure.

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15:06 Mar 29, 2021

You think on a higher plane. I'm jealous of the person who steals your heart. 😊

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16:37 Mar 29, 2021

Oh, I still have it. Safe and sound. No one can steal it. I only give it away :)

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11:26 Apr 11, 2021

mwhahahahhahahahhaha this is great.

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11:26 Apr 11, 2021

Yay 😀

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11:28 Apr 11, 2021

Thank you! Could you check some of my stories out? I'd like some feedback on the second, especially, since I've been told it's kind of violent/weird.

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Delia Tomkus
12:27 Nov 08, 2021

I love this! I am a huge fan of Greek and Roman mythology and I love hearing about Eris since she is less well known. I believe I read another story about Eris and the Apple of Discord that you also wrote.

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13:33 Nov 08, 2021

Me, too! I've written a few, but my favorite is "Seven Greek Gods Walk into a Bar" hahaha

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13:34 Nov 08, 2021

https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/6mgim9/

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12:09 Aug 27, 2021

Wow just wow! I loved this. Usually I don't like stories that stem from myths because they tend to steer so far away from the original, but this was a gem! It was humorous and super enjoyable...

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13:36 Aug 27, 2021

Thanks!! Always fun to conjure up the Greek gods 😜

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Nina Chyll
13:25 Apr 05, 2021

What a sweet and sour story, and how aptly it captures the flippant attitude the Greek gods had to humans! I bet it was a joy to write and it felt like that throughout - I really enjoyed the subtle references, like Persephone throwing a pomegranate at Hades. If I could say one thing, I would maybe think about whether Zeus really was guilty of everything. If you mean of co-creating humans, then by all means. If you mean the universe as a whole, then there's whole generations more guilty than him I suppose. I'm just being really picky, though...

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Ash Jarvis
17:14 Apr 01, 2021

I loved this so much because I’ve always been annoyed by the backwards logic of women’s beauty being blamed for everything from insanity to war. Gods bless Eris’s manipulative little heart! There are so many great lines and images in this, but I particularly enjoyed “if one cannot blame his or her parents for life’s misfortunes, then what long term use are they good for?”. Saving that one up for Mother’s Day ;) This all brought to mind W. B. Yeats and Maud Gonne, because there was a woman who knew how to torment a man!

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17:34 Apr 01, 2021

Honestly, I think Yeats was probably a little too looney for our fiery Maud, who probably enjoyed toying with him. Slouching towards Bethlehem, indeed.

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Holly Fister
23:40 Mar 31, 2021

So so clever is all I can say!!!

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