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 Urban / Modern Fantasy There Is Nothing Permanent Save Change (Theo|RoseyProsey)

Discussion in 'Roleplay Execution' started by Abeyance, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    He remembered a time when it had been enough to form a simple temple made of rock and bare wood and clay. He remembered when the grandest of mankind's monuments had been a single thunderous room surrounded by walls of white marble, with grandiose pillars as a towering facade. There had been a time when mankind had been content in its worship of greater things. Now he walked through cities of wonders that man as a whole barely appreciated, so used to the splendor they had built utterly for themselves that a simple temple would seem rudimentary in comparison.

    Not that he found it troubling. Not as much as he once had, by any means. There had been a time when his fury would have shaken their glass towers to the foundation and laid them flat as punishment for man's hubris. There had also been a time when he could fling lightning with his bare hands, but that power had faded with the rest. Now, he accepted his diminished place in their lives. If he hadn't he may have very well driven himself mad with envy.

    He was a tall man, tall and broadly built. The suit he wore was dark gray and pinstriped with a bright blue square tucked into his breast pocket, carefully folded to resemble an oak leaf. The cane he carried had a head that split in two; on one side was an eagle, on the other a bull, both joined in the middle. The cane itself cut smoothly back on itself twice at each third of its length, a wood-and-chromed-steel mockery of the bolts he had once flung.

    He wore a broad-rimmed fedora that helped hide his eyes, which were the only true indications of his divinity; pale blue, but when stared too deeply into one could see a storm raging within them. His hair was cut short, a look he favored in this advanced age, and his beard was similarly close-cropped.

    He paused outside a shop, one of the few buildings in the heart of the city that didn't stretch half a hundred floors skyward. The sign above the door read Teléia, and he allowed himself a wry smirk at the old title. What could be more appropriate for a bridal shop? He remained standing there for a moment before he forced himself to move forward, toward the door, and reached for the handle before his instinct could tell him otherwise.

    What would be said of Zeus, king of the gods, if he hesitated at the mere idea of seeing someone? He stepped inside, bell chiming his arrival, and planted his cane between his feet, both hands on the head of it, one over the bull, one over the eagle. He cleared his throat softly, but said nothing, eyes scanning the interior of the shop, looking for her familiar face.

    @RoseyProsey
     
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  2. RoseyProsey

    RoseyProsey Well-Known Member Member

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    If Hera had gained anything since the Pantheon's decline, it was a sense of peace, a sort of tranquility that came with the arrival of stability long absent. No more nights lying awake knowing her husband was finding his pleasures in another woman's bed. No more steadily building fury at the indignity of it all. No more humiliation on behalf of her children for their philandering father who favored his bastards over the offspring of his own wife. And, since she had established and built up Teléia, no more loneliness when her sons and daughters were not around or unable to visit. It was somewhat ironic when she thought about it, that she was the first to leave and arguably, one of the least faded since her departure. Perhaps it was because she had never wasted energy attempting to cling to the past, exerting power long gone. Instead she had focused her power on building a new life, a somewhat more than mortal life. Perhaps making the attendants she had gathered throughout the years immortal had been a bit much, but she had yet to receive any complaints from them, and she had never been good at letting things go. Not without a fight at least.

    At the moment, Hera was in the back of the shop adjusting her makeup after lunch. It was prom season and this morning had been quite busy not just with women looking to be June brides but also high school girls looking for something a little more elegant. She herself had even assisted a handful of customers and as a result had had to postpone her lunch break until a little later in the day. As one of her people dozed off in the plush upholstered chair across from her, she reapplied her soft rose-colored lipstick and touched up the eyeliner around her big brown eyes in the reflection of her compact. She took a brief moment to examine her high cheekbones and deemed the blush upon her porcelain complexion acceptable, then finally showed a brief smile of approval before closing the compact and placing it back in her purse. To mortal eyes, the enigmatic owner of Teléia was nothing short of elegance and class personified, never with a single soft rich brown curl out of place and always ageless. Every now and then a customer tried to guess her age, the assumptions usually around the early to mid thirty range, but of course they would always be wrong. Most people wouldn't exactly consider the notion they could be speaking to an ancient goddess.

    The faint chiming of the door reminded her that it was high time she got back to work. Rising from her seat, Hera went about straightening out her black sheath dress and adjusting her gold jewelry before making her way out onto the floor. She had to admit that she did appreciate the invention of heels, or at least the clicking sound they made as she walked down the halls bedecked with peacock-themed wallpaper. Just before setting foot outside to the common area, however, she caught one of the younger and more recently brought in attendants Kailey with a scowl on her lips.

    "Difficult customer?" Hera attempted to guess with a quirk of her brow. "Don't tell me you didn't tell them off. You're quite good at that."

    Admittedly, it was why the girl had caught the goddess's attention in the first place. She liked outspoken people, especially when they were women.

    "Yeah, nah, all the high school girls have been fine dandy," the short-haired woman answered with a wry grin. "Just some rich-looking asshole walked in with a pimp cane and is just standing there like he owns the place."

    For a moment, Hera could not contain her laughter and let a chuckle escape from her lips.

    "I'm sorry-a what?"

    "Look, you take a look and say it's anything but."

    "Fine, I'm sure we can handle him," the queen of the gods shrugged. "I'm no Aphrodite, but I can be quite charming when need be."

    "Or at least pissed as hell," Kailey couldn't help but remark as she went to take her break.

    Hera rolled her eyes and walked out onto the floor. Almost instantly, she regretted everything. Rage reflexively began to bubble up inside her.

    He was here.

    @Theo
     
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  3. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    Despite all he found himself smiling when he saw her. He lifted the cane, which shrunk as it moved, down to a more manageable scepter that he grasped with one hand. One hand touched the brim of his hat, which vanished entirely from his head, and he spread both arms as he fixed his stormy gaze on her. "Hello, Hera." His voice was soft, like low thunder in the distance. "I regret having to drop in like this--I would have sent a letter first, but the mail service isn't what it used to be."

    Zeus turned to pace across the front of the store, pausing to inspect a wedding gown. "So white. So plain. I remember when weddings were an occasion to celebrate, and vividly, at that. This new so-called God of theirs is a solemn sort, isn't he?" He rubbed the lace sleeve between his fingers before he continued on, pausing again at a catalogue of bouquets. He flipped through it idly and clicked his tongue. "Do they no longer wear them in their hair? Instead just a bunch of meaningless flowers, grasped in hand... the mortals have even turned away from what a proper marriage should be."
     
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  4. RoseyProsey

    RoseyProsey Well-Known Member Member

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    Hera pursed her lips in stiff silence as the king of the gods proceeded not only to almost intentionally out himself to a store that still had clients being fitted (and thankfully out of sight), but to also make an ass of himself, though she supposed that was hardly surprising anymore. Her husband had loved his position of power, he likely wanted everything to go back to the way things were before it began to fade away. She knew he had tried to hold onto it, keep every last scrap of it in a vice-like grip. Odds were he was only tolerating his declined power. She gently massaged her temples and took a deep breath, her clients didn't need to hear an outburst or she the headache. Besides, he had always seemed to enjoy watching her get angry. Perhaps that had been why he had married her in the first place, aside from being his equal in power, to amuse himself.

    "You could have easily sent me an email, or texted, my children have grown quite adept at it," she replied, her voice low but laden with impatience. That was right. Her children. Not that he would have cared. He had only ever acknowledged Ares to scold him, tell her son that he was nothing compared to his bastards. Hephaestus, barely even recognized by the father who had tossed him from Olympus' heights. And as for Eris, Eileithyia, Hebe, all raised exclusively by her. She considered herself lucky her girls hadn't faded, though of the three Eris was the most vibrant. Perhaps crashing Thetis and Peleus' wedding had actually been a boon, or at least guaranteed that Hera would be allowed to keep one of her daughters.

    Keeping up a look of cool composure and attempting to hide her increasing anxiety of one of her clients overhearing him, Hera took him by the arm and led him to her office. No one would overhear them, unless it devolved into a shouting match. That was always possible with the two of them. Being in such close proximity to him, the familiar scent of the air after it rains tickled her nose, briefly bringing her back to moments of intimate embraces and moments of counsel when he had leaned in to whisper in her ear. She fought down the also familiar shiver of pleasure at the memory of his breath on her skin. No, not today. Not ever again. She finally had her life together. She was happy. Zeus would not ruin that for her.

    "For the record, white bridal gowns are not the result of a shift in predominant world religion," Hera began to explain, one of her greatest pet peeves having been pricked by his remarks. "To give a brief history, the tradition began when Queen Victoria chose to wear a white dress for her wedding, which was an unusual color choice at the time and because everyone likes to follow a royal example, white wedding gowns have since become common. Quite the strange if impressive feat if I do say so myself. We also do offer flower wreaths to wear, you were just looking at the bouquet catalogs."

    Her tone clipped, anyone passing them by would have simply thought she was talking business with a somewhat obnoxious client. She doubted anyone in town, save for her attendants, actually even considered she might be married. She was certain the two of them didn't look it either. As far as anyone else was concerned, Hera Argéia was a single successful businesswoman with no time for relationships, but apparently had children with whom she had close relationships. Most just seemed to assume she had gotten divorced, which wasn't too far off. She and her husband had been separated for practically five centuries at this point. And oh, how she bristled at his mention of proper marriage. What exactly defined a proper marriage in his eyes? One where the bride had no choice and was arranged to a man twice her age? Or was it one where the husband's philandering or whatever else he did was hardly grounds for divorce? Hera had to bite down on the inside of her cheek to stop herself from going into that rant.

    Once inside her office, she locked the door behind them and exhaled, trying to release at least some of the tension wound around her nerves. She then took her seat behind her desk of polished cedar wood. The walls were decorated with images of lotuses, pomegranates and her sacred animals like a fresco from the height of the pantheon's power, only without the cracks and faded paint. Placed upon the shelves were books and vases of lilies in an array of colors. Her old lotus staff, one of the symbols of her power, leaned against the wall next to a window that overlooked the local park, which proved convenient for brides-to-be who wanted their wedding photos taken nearby. With it open, not only did a cool spring breeze flow through, but so did the sounds of mortal life; children playing, people walking their dogs or going jogging, the rustling of leaves and the occasional splash of water fowl plunging below the water's surface. Her office had always been a place of peace and inspiration, and occasionally rest when particularly busy periods left her spending the night. She considered herself lucky she had had the foresight to order comfortable couches and chairs when she designed the place. Spread across her desk were gown designs and work documents. She gathered them up and straightened them as she fixed her gaze on Zeus, leaning back in her chair.

    "Why are you here, Zeus?" Hera asked. "How did you even find me?"

    @Theo
     
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  5. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    "Ares? Texting? Forgive me, taós mou, but that is the most shocking thing I've heard in decades." He might have said more, but she took hold of his arm and began to lead him away and he decided it would be best not to goad her further. He knew how the mortals had whispered once that the only thing mighty Zeus feared was his wife's fury, but he had never felt that was so. It was more than that. In his quiet moments over the last five hundred years he had been able to admit that, if only to himself. There was no-one left to admit it to.

    Her explanation amused him nonetheless. A goddess capitulating to the whims of a mortal queen? Following a 'popular trend'? He wondered why she didn't simply establish her own trend, design her own brand of wedding. Those thoughts fell by the wayside as he watched her, though. There was a warmth to her, a glow that words failed to encapsulate. Words had always failed him when it came to her, despite all his failings as a husband. They were too flat, too empty to lend the proper weight to how he saw her. She threw glances his way as she led them back and away from the store front, no doubt suppressing more lectures or a rant about how little he understood. The thought made him smile. He would have welcomed her scathing words, if only to hear her voice again.

    When Zeus stepped into her office he nearly felt transported through time. He looked around slowly, nostalgia welling in his heart. A yearning for simpler times. In his mind, better times. He released his scepter entirely, allowing it to vanish as he eased into a seat that could look out through the window and into the park. He heard her questions, but allowed a moment to pass before he answered, his eyes remaining fixed on the greenery outside. "Finding any of you has never been something I would call difficult," he murmured. "But waiting for the right time to approach has been... tricky."

    His storm-blue eyes turned to her at last and he leaned back where he sat. Zeus couldn't help gazing at her with a fondness. There had been something between them once--something he knew he had destroyed essentially singlehandedly. The lonely centuries had proven that to him. That, and a conversation with his much wiser, much more cutting daughter. "I'll be honest. I tire of this life. Of random prayer and solitude. I want more. I... need more." He leaned forward, taking a slow breath. Once before the skies would have rumbled with the intensity of his words, but now the clouds only rolled and turned a few shades darker. "I need you and the others again, Hera."
     
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  6. RoseyProsey

    RoseyProsey Well-Known Member Member

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    "To make us great? Or to make you great?" Hera inquired, crossing her long legs and interlacing her fingers as she had so often done while holding counsel on Olympus. "You think you are the only one to be discontent with immortality and decline of his influence? Apollo only started to regain a foothold in the 1800s. He still struggles, he must have been if he dared come to me alone, but he's slowly been getting better."

    She recalled that night almost too well. Some gods had adjusted better than others to the changing times and shifts in power. To look at Hermes, one wouldn't have even considered he had faded in the slightest. His personality was still irrepressible, still humorous, still sharp and clever...and still chatty. Hera had known the boy was adaptable, but each and every change in the mortal world he saw as another challenge, another game to play. Every now and then he popped into her shop with a package from one of the other gods. But Apollo, that one had always been comfortable with his position of power, even as he juggled so many different domains. To lose that influence and watch it slip through his fingers had steadily broken him. She had been about to close up the shop one night when she saw him standing in front of her door looking lost and hopeless, eyes dull and clouded. He had come to Hera because she had been the first to leave, and the first to adapt. He had begged her to teach him how be content with what they were now, how to cope. To say she had never thought such a situation possible with any of her husband's illegitimate children would have been an understatement, it had outright shocked her. Still, for the next few weeks she had helped him get back on his feet, so to speak, or at least regain his footing in a world that had left him reeling. However, she couldn't help but wonder where Artemis had been when her brother had needed her most.

    "I am also curious as to why you would approach me first, of all people," she remarked as she noticed the faint darkening of the clouds outside and the minor chill in the air. "Why not approach Poseidon or Demeter? Surely they would have readily agreed, given their situations. It's not as if Amphitrite would try and prevent Poseidon from going along with it either, or their children for that matter. Artemis would also more likely lean towards your proposition. Dionysus would require convincing, he's been surprisingly adaptable, though I'm certain part of it is his wife's doing. He could be convinced if promised she would never fade. So tell me, why seek out the first goddess to leave Olympus?"

    Hera's disappearance had been sudden, to put it mildly. She had told no one, save her children in hushed whispers in private rooms, and left without warning. For the last time, she had decided, she had been filled to the brim with fury and bitterness. When Zeus had returned to Olympus that morning from his latest illicit tryst, Hera was nowhere to be found. As if every trace of her existence had been erased, anything that had any memory of her was gone, from her clothes to her jewelry to her loom. All were either taken with her or thrown away. Eileithyia had insisted on traveling with her, as had Hebe. Eileithyia she had taken with her, but had insisted Hebe stay with her husband and children. No point in leaving a man who actually adored his wife to wonder what he had done to lose her. Eris had popped up just as they had reached the foot of Olympus, her excuse had been that she wanted to make an entrance, that and the fact she couldn't resist the idea of plunging the gods into a maelstrom of chaos from their queen's departure. The two had been consistently at her side since, though Eris preferred to be around her mother on her off days. She now spent her days (or perhaps her nights) causing mayhem. Eris had always been quite nocturnal. The sleepless nights Hera had suffered after her birth had predicted that much.

    She had been thankful to have her girls with her when she left, otherwise she might have turned back. They had given her the conviction to stick to her chosen path. Let Zeus rage and sulk at her disappearance. Let him search if he was so inclined, she and her daughters had been careful. Eris had even refrained from her usual shenanigans for the sake of remaining unnoticed. Though many passerby had asked her how she could possibly have such a clever and mischievous "son". Admittedly, Eris' insistence on dressing in such a manner had actually behooved them. They were never found and Hera was able to create Teléia. Somehow, Eris had ended up getting her own religion, though whether she had actively played a hand in its creation or not, Hera still could not tell.
     
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  7. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    At mention of the others Zeus shifted, leaning away from her and gazing back outside. If she had aimed to cause chaos upon the Mount with her departure she had succeeded. He had been a proud king, and only her council had been enough to temper his less 'thoughtful' moments. The situation had fallen apart spectacularly quickly without her. "Poseidon left a week after you did," he said quietly and stiffly, as if the words burned his throat to speak them. "Demeter a day after. She never did sit right with my decision regarding Persephone, never understood that it was her choice and not mine."

    He took another breath and his eyes flicked to her briefly. "Poseidon's last words to me were to compare me to Cronus... I'll spare you the specifics of the comparison, but it was not a kind parting. Artemis disappeared not long after, I know not where, Apollo, Hermes, Hestia, Aphrodite, all of them left one by one until just Dionysus and Athena remained." His hands clenched in his lap and a true roll of thunder, distant and small, struck the skies. "I found her speaking to him and Ariadne in the great courtyard before our palace. Athena bade them leave, to find their place in the mortal world.

    "My fury was terrible. I demanded to know why she had done so, if she had driven them all away, one by one, to diminish me and Olympus. She looked at me with that way she has, and she told me no. She had only told Dionysus to go because he would have never known not to otherwise. Then she told me that I was the reason the others had left, and that she had only remained to see what it would be like for a once-noble king to devolve into a despot. She left me to my fury then, left me to my damning words and dire threats. And then I stood alone in Olympus."

    Zeus didn't like that memory. The things he had said of his daughter, a woman he had nothing but pride for before then, haunted him. All of his mistakes had, in one way or another, but that final night upon the Mount had chased him in all the centuries since. "So, to answer your questions, that is why I don't ask Poseidon or Demeter or even Dionysus and his reasonable wife to return. And you are not the first, as much as I wish you were. Athena was. It is by her council that I come to you at all."
     
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  8. RoseyProsey

    RoseyProsey Well-Known Member Member

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    Hera had always taken Eris' comment as a joke, something to lighten the mood by mocking her father with how hopeless he would be with his wife gone. Yet perhaps it had never been just a joke. Perhaps Eris had always known this would happen as a result of her leaving. It had certainly haunted her enough over the years to give her more than a few sleepless nights. But this...she had never wished to be the cause of the pantheon's diaspora. She had only wanted to get away, to stop being angry, stop feeling sick whenever she woke up in the middle of the night to find herself alone in their bed. She had known they had all left, but never inquired as to the when or why. It was something personal for everyone. Her slender fingers found themselves fidgeting with the gold lotus pendent around her neck. It had been a gift from Eileithyia when she had officially opened Teléia. To a new beginning, she had said. Now Hera found herself wondering just what her new beginning had cost.

    "That was never my intention," she sighed, looking away from him to the sanctuary she had built for herself, arguably her greatest success since her departure. "I did what I thought would be best for both of us. I even urged Ares and Hephaestus to stay by your side despite their feelings. As for Poseidon...I am sorry, that-that was uncalled for. No one could possibly be the monster he was, even if they tried."

    Briefly she wondered if he had ever questioned Ares and Hephaestus, or Hebe for that matter, on where she was. Or had he simply thought it a fruitless endeavor from the beginning? Had he even tried? In all fairness, though, Ares was hardly the sort to admit anything to Zeus unless absolutely necessary, and Hephaestus certainly took advantage of the fact that most cared not to notice him at all. It made it easier for him to keep his own counsel. As for Hebe, she may have been small, but she had inherited her mother's stubbornness and sharp tongue. She and Herakles had debated leaving for some time, Hera knew that, but eventually they chose to leave. Luckily for them, Herakles was unlikely to fade, given how popular he was in the modern consciousness. It was nearly impossible to discuss ancient Greece without his name popping up somewhere, and Hera's along with it.

    At the roll of thunder, Hera rose from her seat to close the window, just in time to avoid the following drizzle from dampening her carpet. It also helped to prevent him from seeing the walls crumbling around her heart. This was not her fault. How could she have known they would have all gone after her? She had thought they had simply tired of trying to hold onto power, that it was time to adapt instead of clinging to the past. It wasn't even as if they were the worst off. She knew several other pantheons in far worse states, some even resorting to eternal slumber until such a time they could wake with their powers renewed. By that logic, they would never wake again. She glanced at her old staff leaning next to her. When was the last time she had even touched it? Once it had been her symbol of power, her weapon against titans and giants alike, a show that she was more than just a pretty queen but her husband's equal in both counsel and war. Now it gathered dust in her office, to look upon with nostalgia and tell stories. Her lips pursed, she turned back to him, trying to school her features into a mask but failing. Hera had always hated how he did that to her, even before they were married. Back then it was because he had either made her laugh or made her angry, usually the latter.

    "Where is Athena these days?" she asked once she had cleared her throat. Strange that she would advise Zeus to come to her of all people. Was the first time not proof enough they simply couldn't work? His very nature had made such a thing impossible. What exactly did she think would be different this time around? Had Athena not advised it, he likely would not have come to her at all. "Did she tell you anything else? Or was she as vague as an oracle?"
     
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  9. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    "I never once thought," he began, swift and defensive, but stopped himself. He shook his head slowly and sighed, the scepter reappearing in his hands so he had something to fiddle with and focus on besides her face. It grated to feel so afraid of her gaze, but he was diminished, more than he had ever thought possible. Hardly in danger of fading; with modern culture's fascination of the old world he was far from that fate. He knew of some lesser beings who clung to academics and historians, the handful who still knew and appreciated what they had done in ages past. That notion terrified him more than anything.

    "For a while," he began again, more measured and slow in tone, "I did blame you. Wrongly so. I sat on my throne alone for thirty years and thought grim thoughts of conspiracy, that somehow you and Athena had foreseen our decline and plotted to shed Olympus of its glory. I was a fool... which seems to be among my bailiwick, all considered." He risked a glance at her, quick and furtive before he returned his eyes to his cane.

    Poseidon's words echoed in his mind as he thought back to the day his brother had left. "Considering what he said, I'm not so sure it was uncalled for. Wasn't I a monster in my own right? Why else would I have driven you to leave without so much as a word of farewell? No - make no mistake, Hera, Poseidon had the right of it, even if the words did cut deep at the time." He glanced up again and saw her inspecting her lotus staff, the weapon as sturdy as it had ever been. He could sense the power within it, dormant but present, perhaps out of her reach but not gone forever. His finger tapped at the chromed switchback on his sceptre, and his mind turned to the thunderbolts he had once thrown with such deadly power.

    Those were gone, too, by now. The mortals now did not view him as some figure of immense power, worthy of respect and admiration. His conquests on the battlefield were so often ignored to highlight his many sexual forays, and as more people came to regard him as merely lustful rather than the king he had been the bolts had simply vanished. Other effects had come about from their perception, however. Ones he didn't feel altogether comfortable contemplating, even now. Lost in his own memories as he was, when she turned to face him he looked her right in the eye, and saw the mask she tried to hard to keep in place crumble. He smiled despite himself, but had the grace not to tease her for it.

    "She's got her own library. Not very far from here, as it happens, or not relatively far." He paused and looked back to the scepter. "I know you have no great love for her, but she never does anything without definite cause and direction. As it were in this case, she didn't seem to think it mattered if I understood why she directed me to you. She inferred that if I didn't at least try to approach you the others would never agree to even meet me, let alone hear me out."

    He stood abruptly and used his scepter to gesture at the designs spread across her desk. "Enough, though--tell me of this business of yours. Teléia... was that the idea of one of our devilishly clever daughters, or did you decide on your own that it fit best? How, er... how is business? Good, I would imagine, considering the number of mortals I sense." He paused, his head turning slightly. "No... not mortals. Immortals. Have you been granting eternity to your staff...?"
     
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  10. RoseyProsey

    RoseyProsey Well-Known Member Member

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    Hera had to admit, it was strange to witness Zeus being so...contemplative, or confess to any degree of remorse. He had always been proud. To see him like this made her wonder just had happened to him throughout all those years. He even seemed sincere in his taking accountability for causing her to leave. He had never done that before, not even when she had confronted him with clear evidence of his affairs with hot tears of rage in her eyes. It almost hurt to see him like this, so downtrodden and vulnerable. The last time she had seen him in such was a state had been during the war with Cronus, long before he had actually become king of the gods. They had all been malleable and inexperienced back then, young gods just barely touching the depths of their power. Hera had been rather furious though upon discovering her domain had been marriage of all things. It had taken poor Prometheus weeks to convince her there was any importance or validity in her preordained field. It hadn't helped that her brothers, save for Hades, had been amused by her sulking.

    Strange that Athena would tell him such a thing. It wasn't as if she were the most diplomatic of gods, though in comparison to her husband, perhaps that wasn't so ludicrous. The years had also mellowed her, slowly drained the bitterness and rage from her soul and cleansed it, showed her a Hera she thought was gone. She had to give credit to her staff for that. From the beginning the experience had been "humanizing" to say the least. There was something liberating about no longer having to be the stately queen and goddess, something she hadn't felt since she was a wild-haired young maiden. The younger ones were particularly persistent when it came to getting her out of her comfort zone, though they had quickly found night clubs were a terrible idea after she had proceeded to terrify a number of men, aided by the fact that gods had a higher tolerance for alcohol than mortals, even if there had been a diminishing in that capacity. Her poor staff still couldn't convince her to wear pants of any sort for the life of them, Hera had always found the damn things too constricting and uncomfortable. She just took the comments and sidelong glances when she complained about the cold in stride.

    Hera could not fight the smile that spread across her face when he changed the subject and began discussing her shop.

    "Half and half, really," Hera answered as she made her way back to her desk. "Eileithyia suggested I use one of my epithets, and that was the one I chose. Eris vouched for Aigophágos, as a more...Spartan connotation. Personally, I just didn't think it rolled off the tongue quite as nicely. But we both know she has a tendency to be unorthodox. And as for the staff, the answer is yes. I've worked closely with most of them for a few centuries now and needless to say I grew attached to them. So in return for their service, I grant them immortality, though I grant them all the right to decline, but only a handful have done so over the years. They either came to me on their own or I just so happened to come to them at the right time, usually after they were left standing at the altar. I wouldn't mention who you are to them, though. Their way of cheering me up has often been to mock you."

    At minimum, Hera opened her inbox to find comedic images lampooning Greek myth, and often Zeus, twice a week. She supposed it was their way of trying to show her that in the modern mortal consciousness she accruing greater favor (or at least sympathy and understanding) than her husband. Hera herself had always felt somewhat conflicted on the matter. As vindicating as the mocking of her husband's promiscuity was for her, it was hard to distance herself from the fact that there was an actual god as the butt of the joke. A god she had fought alongside, loved and married, a god with whom she had five children. Five children who actively took part in the spread of those jokes themselves. Ares was especially fond of making them, though he and his father had never been that close. Eileithyia would attempt to stifle laughter, but she too contributed. Hebe only refrained for the sake of her husband. To think that her once powerful husband was now the laughing stock even in university Classics departments...it was somewhat sobering.
     
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  11. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    The more Zeus pondered what Athena had told him, the more sense it made. Hera had been the first to depart, the example by which the others had taken their cue. If he could win her over again, convince her that unity was better for all of them than separation, then he might be able to make better headway with the others. Zeus knew in his heart it was the only way they could survive no matter what mortals came to believe. It had taken him a very long time to come to that realization. A lot of time and no small amount of turmoil. He had visited others before this, traveling the world to see where other religions and pantheons had landed in this modern life. Odin and Ra had been lucky enough for the most part with their pantheons, but the Sumerians had all but vanished, the Germanic had left not even traces of their time, to say nothing of those who had passed thanks to the erasure of their culture.

    Eris. If ever a child was appropriate of their marriage it would be her, more even than the conflict Ares embodied. He smiled crookedly. "Aigophágos? Oh, yes, very Spartan... and not particularly appropriate for a marriage shop. You chose well." Her explanation of the staff did little to ease his mind. Bestowing immortality had been a rare sort of thing back in the height of their powers and influence, only meant for a rare handful of chosen few. He didn't approve of what seemed like a wanton decision to bring as many new people as she could along for the ride, so to speak. As soon as he had the thought, though, he bit back any sort of reprimand he might have had. To council caution would be arrogant and foolish.

    "Oh, don't worry about me. I've been subject to plenty of ridicule over the last few decades. My favorite is the pie chart, the one that outlines all the cause of different problems from the old days but devotes the majority of the chart to my libido." He paused and frowned as his gaze turned distant. "As galling as it is I can't say it's wrong, exactly... perhaps a bit, er. Simplified, but not... wrong." He cleared his throat and shrugged, eyes turning back to her. "Either way, I'm... glad that you're making due." Another awkward pause followed, and he took a slow breath. "So... would you be willing to talk about this further? The idea of starting over, I mean. Reuniting the Olympians, even if Olympus itself is lost to us."
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
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  12. RoseyProsey

    RoseyProsey Well-Known Member Member

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    Hera knew Zeus would never have approved of her generosity regarding immortality, but she had never done it for his approval. She had done so out of care and loyalty for those who had turned away from everything in the world to serve her. All the but the youngest of her staff had no family left, and many of them had left bitter circumstances upon leaping at the prospect of a stable and well-paying situation. That it involved serving a goddess grateful for their work and companionship usually came upon them later. There had been a few rather clever ones, however, who had been observant, put clues together, and deliberately sought her out. One of the more experienced members of her staff, Imelda, had been such a one. She had been quite the shrewd historian, putting together the epithets and photos from various time periods that couldn't have possibly been the same woman, not if she were mortal at least. Hera had been so impressed with her drive and tenacity that she had offered her a position on the spot.

    Hera was also impressed by Zeus' acceptance of mortals' mockery of his sexual exploits. Simplified, however, not so. Compared to when she had left, on the other hand, he had definitely grown a sense of humility. She couldn't help but be somewhat proud of him in that sense. It would temper him for the better, and perhaps it was that which made her actually consider his proposal. She could not deny the temptation to make certain her children would never fade from the mortal consciousness, nor the desire to get it right this time around. Even if Olympus itself were no longer, there was strength in numbers, and in unity. It would not be an easy task to gather them all once more. Even with Zeus and Hera together it would be difficult to convince Demeter. As if her disagreement with Zeus' judgement wouldn't be enough of an obstacle, Demeter still bore antipathy towards Hera. She had always blamed Hera for Zeus losing interest in her after finding herself pregnant with Persephone. In reality, she and Zeus had just been starting to see each other as genuinely reliable allies in the war against the titans. He hadn't even begun to pursue until nearly half a year afterward.

    "Yes, I will speak with you on this further," Hera finally answered, her breath coming out in a long sigh. "Perhaps this time we will be wiser. I will have to get back to work soon, but my day off is tomorrow. We can discuss the matter in greater detail then. I might even have a few strategies on convincing the boys, though they will certainly require an explanation, and warning that you will be there. Particularly Ares. Is there a place you would prefer to meet, or are you still acquainting yourself to the city? In the case of the latter, I might have a few suggestions."

    She paused as she considered what exactly it was she was about to do. She was allowing Zeus back into her life, the husband she had left behind so long ago to pursue some nothing of life without jealousy and resentment. For Zeus, this endeavor would result in either victory or failure. For her, it could very well mean reopening old wounds she had attempted to close and heal. It could also very well mean humiliation. But seeing a once proud god like this, perhaps the love she had for him still made her vulnerable. Perhaps her feelings for him would never quite leave her. Finally, she brought herself to ask the question she had been most reluctant to ask.

    "Do you have a place to stay?"
     
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  13. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    Before he had settled on Athena, Zeus had seriously considered trying to find Hades and his mistress. They had always been distant at best from Olympus, though his oldest brother had never been outright hostile. Perhaps occasionally bitter toward the role he had been given despite his efforts, but those flashes had vanished once he'd met Persephone. It had been the only reason Zeus had let him take her in the first place, though he'd lived to regret being so apathetic to Demeter's feelings on the matter.

    In fact, he had come to regret apathy as a whole.

    He felt his heart swell when she accepted his offer. The clouds without cleared, the skies turning sunny and blue. Hera had spent years full of bitterness and resentment toward him, though she had acted out more against his children. Seeing how things had turned around with Herakles was nothing short of astounding to him, even to this day, though given the circumstances he was glad she had that capacity to forgive. The depths his wife had possessed never mattered to him very much, and he had never found cause to examine or appreciate them until it was far too late. Even now, his appreciation for her offer was slow to show itself, a process of feelings that he wasn't used to just yet.

    "Oh, yes, there's a bevy of swans in the nearby park who've been kind enough to give me lodging," he said dryly. "No, I've secured lodgings for the time being. It's no palace, admittedly, but I won't impose on your kindness more than I already have. The city is relatively new to me, though, so I welcome your suggestions. Somewhere open would be nice, I think. Somewhere... classical." He smiled at her briefly and spread his hands. "I know, predictable of me--if I had it my way, we would meet next to a fountain made of marble for a meal of dates, olives, and wine, but can you blame me for a bit of nostalgia?"

    Zeus reached into his jacket and produced a card. It was plain and white, but had a phone number and address on it. "This is the hotel I'm staying at, and the room's number. I'll see about--what was it, e-mail? Either way, I won't waste more of your time today." He handed the card over and paused, inspecting her face, truly looking at her for the first time since he'd stepped into the shop. "Hera," he started, his voice soft, "whatever comes of our talks, I... it's been good to see you again. And for what it's worth I'm sorry I drove you away."

    He considered touching her, a hand on her shoulder, a brush of his fingers across her cheek. He wouldn't have hesitated even as much as a century ago, but now, having seen her in her happiness and fulfillment? Now he felt he had no right to touch her, unless invited. Instead he formed his hat again and set it on his head, then expanded the scepter back into a proper cane. "Please let me know when you've found a place for us to meet. I'll be waiting." He flashed her one more smile before he stepped out of her office, striding back through the shop and out onto the street. For the first time in many years he felt something, something strange and even a bit frightening.

    Hope.
     
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  14. RoseyProsey

    RoseyProsey Well-Known Member Member

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    He apologized. He had actually apologized. Sincerely. Without any prodding. Without pretense. He had finally admitted to hurting her. Finally admitted that his actions had caused her to leave him. Seeing him so vulnerable made hope creep into her heart, hope she had wanted to crush in her fingers for so long. But now, as much as she would have liked to make it go away, it had begun the slow process of blossoming, yearning for the type of relationship, they type of life she had wanted. And when he had left, Hera found herself wishing he would have touched her, even the smallest brush across her cheek would have sufficed. Against her better wishes, she had wanted to feel his touch, an indication that he still desired her. Yet it was probably better this way. It at least implied he wasn't about to try and seduce her into helping him or that he would go against her wishes should she not want him to touch her.

    "Dammit, he does not need to know about my sexual frustration," she muttered sulkily to herself after he had gone, leaving her to figure out a lot on her own while she worked. "I'm not some girlish maiden who is going to get excited over the most meager touch."

    True to her name, Hera had not had a single lover in her time away from Olympus. Even separated, she had been faithful. Not that she hadn't had offers. Oh, she had acquired plenty of admirers over the years, but had taken none of them. She had had her share of pining artists and poets, men who thought that if they simply dogged her and waited outside her shop she would allow them to bed a goddess. Not likely. Perhaps her very domain had made certain she would be forever tied to her husband in such a way, that once wed all other men would repulse her with their fawning. She wasn't quite sure how she felt about that. Either way, it didn't change the fact that she had been completely celibate for centuries, minus the occasionally bit of self-exploration. Gods dammit, she shouldn't have been thinking about this. There were far more important matters than silently lamenting time spent away from her marriage bed.

    Attempting to shake the thoughts from her mind, Hera returned to work, putting the slip of paper into her purse to remember for later.

    -----

    Hera stretched and yawned upon exiting the elevator and unlocking the door to her condo. She had to confess that she sometimes missed the days when all the had to do all day was sit on a throne, answer the prayers of mortals, and be a powerful wife, but her work at Teléia was far more productive, more involved. She had rarely gotten to see the faces of smiling brides back at their height of power, and even then, it was usually from the lofty heights of Olympus. It also helped that brides were happier with their weddings these days, which was understandable given the significant rise of consensual marriage. As well as the realization that women were not property to give away. With a tired smile, she set down her purse, removed her heels, and set about reheating some leftovers from last night. Alright, so perhaps dining was more elegant and refined when she didn't have to make food for herself, and maybe cooking had been one of the harder and more monotonous things to learn, but at least she had grown passable. If even Eris was willing to admit it, then she must have improved somewhat.

    "Somewhere classical, eh?" Hera mumbled to herself, recalling tomorrow's meeting with Zeus and amusement teasing the corners of her mouth. "He is predictable."

    She couldn't promise a fountain made of marble, though she could provide some of the nostalgia he craved. At least in terms of food and atmosphere, provided he didn't mind being surrounded by mortals enjoying their meals. She could probably grant them a more secluded table, however, one outside in the open air. He might not enjoy the view as much as she would, but at the very least he could appreciate the attempt of the restaurant to recreate the feeling of the Classical period. By now she was a well-known customer, as were her daughters and Hepheastus, such places were not compatible with Ares and his boisterous personality though. She had been quite fond of it since it came into business, and Hera personally thought the wine was excellent.

    When the microwave alerted the goddess that her dinner was ready, she brought it over to her usual spot at the kitchen counter and pulled out the slip of paper with Zeus' number. Her food needed a few minutes to cool off anyway, so she figured she might as well call him now. She considered texting, but then decided against it. If her husband had yet to master email then she certainly wouldn't make him go scratching his head figuring out how to read a text. Instead she took out her phone and put in the number on the scrap of paper, then she waited for him to pick up.
     
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  15. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    Zeus walked with purpose through the city, emboldened by his success with Hera. First he visited Athena's temple - no, he corrected the thought. Not a temple, despite the similar design and air of reverence. His daughter was still there, seated amid the books of knowledge of all kinds, statuesque as she had ever been. Thick, curly brown hair framed a severe face, and grey eyes that had always pierced like twin lances sat obscured behind half-moon glasses that sat low on her nose. A single streak of grey in her hair marred the brown, a sole curl that cascaded among the rest with an understated grace. She looked up as he approached through the rows of shelving, one eyebrow arching in mild curiosity. "Back so soon?" she asked, her tone quiet and measured.

    The former king sat across from her at the table she occupied, setting hat and cane alike down in front of himself. He didn't notice her quiet sigh as he settled into place. "You were right," he said, grinning from ear to ear. "I spoke with Hera, and it was actually quite pleasant. I just wanted to let you know I'm grateful for your suggestion."

    "Really? Well, good for you. Now, if you'll excuse me, Zeus, I'm really very busy--"

    "I wish you could have seen it, Athena. It was like old times, like before everything got so complicated. We made small talk, we smiled, we may have even laughed. Now that she's agreed to try again--"

    "She agreed to try again?"

    "Well, she agreed to discuss it."

    "Then she's agreed to nothing."

    "Perhaps so, but--"

    "Zeus." When she intoned his name this time there was a soundless echo. The air itself grew thick and heavy. He looked up at his daughter and found her eyes narrowed and darkened, and power radiated out around her. Of all the Olympians it could be argued that the goddess of wisdom had diminished the least, perhaps only next to her half-brothers. She stood to plant her hands on the table, leaning slightly forward and toward him, the grey streak in her hair flashing white as if catching sunlight. "I don't know what I said to make you feel entitled to my time, my energy, or my attention, but you are not. I sent you to Hera because I thought she might pity you enough to listen. I don't care whether or not she did. Is that clear?"

    She didn't allow him to respond before continuing. "I do not wish to see you, or share in your victories any longer. Those days have passed us. Now leave." She remained fixated on him, grey eyes pinning him where he sat until she sank back into her own chair and pulled them away, back to the book she had been studying. Zeus remained seated a moment longer, fighting rage and shame alike, then snatched back his hat and cane and left his daughter to her studies.

    He had briefly considered using the day to reach out to a few others, perhaps Poseidon or even Ares, but after Athena he felt he should be content with what luck he'd already managed. Instead, he returned to the hotel room he had secured using a mixture of flirtation, transmutation, and bravado. The room was nice enough, looking out over the city beyond from what he considered an admirable height. He could remember times he had spent in eagle form soaring over Greece and her cities, observing the common folk at their daily lives, listening to their prayers and curses alike.

    He shucked jacket and shirt alike as he pondered the past for the umpteenth time, and for a few long hours simply stood watching the city, indulging in his quiet love for mortals. He had once heard from some hero or another that the gods were secretly jealous of mankind, of their brief yet profound nature, and where before he may have doubted and argued it now he could fully admit it was so. If he had been mortal, who knew what would have changed? He might have never lived to disappoint his family, his friends, his subjects.

    As the day turned toward evening he ordered the 'room service', which struck him as a very strange way to describe food delivery. Once the steak had arrived, complete with a side of the strange, starchy 'potatoes' and a salad, he sat down on the bed and inspected a bottle of some golden substance called 'whiskey'. He had encountered these other forms of human drink before. Hardly ambrosia, but it would suffice. Zeus was about to begin when the phone rang, and he shot a glare at the offending device before he picked up the receiver. "Hello?" he said tentatively, his tone uncertain.
     
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  16. RoseyProsey

    RoseyProsey Well-Known Member Member

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    "I do hope I wasn't disturbing your lovely evening," Hera responded from her end, her voice as smooth and dignified as when she had sat upon her throne and unable to suppress a small bit of playfulness. "I don't suppose you've figured out how to put someone's number in your phone yet. Your handwriting hasn't changed, by the way."

    Admittedly, Hera couldn't help but tease, just a little. Perhaps even in her own heart she wanted him to feel less dejected and crestfallen. She set the phone down to put it on speaker and brought out her laptop. Always best to have her hands free, she had quickly learned.

    "I believe I might have a place to meet tomorrow," she continued on as she booted up her computer and an image of Argos, her old sacred city, came to life on her screen. "Since you said you were interested in a bit of nostalgia, might I recommend Έδεσμα? I've had meetings with business partners there in the past and I think it might have the atmosphere you're looking for, provided you don't mind a view of the city with outdoor seating. Though personally I think the owners are starting to get suspicious about my age. Not that they would dare to offend a fairly regular customer with such an invasive question. Would lunch around, say 12:30 work for you? I can easily make the reservation in the morning."

    Hera had gotten used to scheduling lunches and meetings to the point where she quite knowledgeable on the subject. By now most of the city's classier establishments were familiar with the name Hera Argéia and how uncannily both lovely and intimidating her presence was. There was always the subtle desire to please and obey her, gain her approval. But with time and passing years arose suspicion as to how a woman could possibly remain so youthful and ageless, not a wrinkle in on her face or a single strand of gray in her rich curls. In time, Hera always had to move the bridal shop or at least "expand" and provide another branch as a go-between. It was a shame really, she enjoyed this place in particular. Establishing another branch of the shop would also prove a headache, especially since just closing up the one here would arouse even more suspicion. After all, what reason would there be for a successful store to change locations so suddenly? None, unless there was something to hide.

    She wondered briefly if Zeus even had a computer. It would certainly help if he were to look at the menu online and decide if it would be suitable, but odds were that of the two she was the more tech-savvy. Now there was something she never thought she would end up saying. Perhaps business forcing her into using new tech had been a good thing after all. Just as the thought to ask him entered her head, she heard the jingle of keys and the door open followed by the familiar bickering of her daughters. All her children had keys to her place, a bit of a safety net should they ever need it. Eris and Eileithyia were never far from each other these days, decline had seemed to bring her children somewhat closer, but then again Eileithyia had never been fond of living alone.

    "Why use keys? I coulda just poofed us in." She heard Eris argue, the goddess of discord flopping onto the large couch in the living room.

    "Because it's rude," Eileithyia responded her usual small timid voice. "And breaking into your own mother's house doesn't excuse it."

    Eris tossed her teal dyed hair over her shoulder and rolled her eyes.

    To see either of Hera's daughters was to see two very different people. Where small and petite Eileithyia wore skirts over pastel colored leggings and sweaters with comfortable boots, Eris had more or less embraced the style of "punk rock". She changed the color of her hair on what was practically a monthly basis and had a preference for combat boots and heavy makeup. Any tattoos decorating her skin weren't put there by a needle, but by her own design and were ever shifting and changing. Eileithyia also held the brown curls she had inherited from her mother in a ponytail in order to keep it out of her face when she oversaw her domain of childbirth at the maternity wards. No one ever did seem to notice that the shy helpful little nurse was never listed in the actual hospital records. Hera rolled her eyes at her girls and took Zeus off of speaker phone to hold her phone to her ear. Best this be kept discrete for now.
     
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  17. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    How to what? Put a number where? He glanced at the rotary phone he'd answered next to his bed, the number for it written on a small paper card on the front, which was tucked into a shallow plastic visor. Was that what she meant? "My lady, of course I know how to put numbers in the phone. Give me some credit." Her tone made his heart ache. Things had rarely been quiet on Olympus, he and Hera even more rarely in agreement, but when they were she had always been so warm to him, even as she thought she sounded regal and dignified. The memory made him smile at his steak, which, thankfully, did not smile back.

    "It never fails to surprise me how perceptive they can be. I had a young man approach me some forty years ago now, clutching a photograph and stammering how it could be possible. When I finally coaxed him to show me the picture it was of myself and his grandfather, a man I helped to study the pattern of storms and rainfall to help with some project or another, I forget the details. I admit, I did tell him that the world was full of mysteries, and that this would have to be one of them. This world must have some wonder left to it, seems to me." He cleared his throat as he realized he'd gotten off track, and he cast about for something to write on. The tray of food was set aside as he stood and walked toward the hotel's table, where a small pad of paper and pen sat, but he came up several feet short as the cord yanked taut and the body of the phone crashed to the floor. "Vlastíste! One moment, Hera, if you will..."

    He set the receiver down and hurried to pick up the pad and pen, longing for the servants he had once enjoyed as king, yet another 'something' he had taken for granted. He paused to write the name down before it faded from his memory, scowling at the paper. "Ey... des... ma... twelve... thirty... mm." He picked up the receiver again and moved to lift the phone's body back up onto the nightstand, but the sound of voices on her side of the line stopped him in his tracks.

    Eri. Thyia. His daughters. He had to cover his mouth for a moment and wound up kneeling where he'd been standing. The sound of them--so near and yet so far--brought back memories he had long repressed, memories of holding them as babes, of seeing them take their first steps, speak their first words. Eris had always been a firebrand, his Eri, his chaos, and her sister Eileithyia seemed almost made to balance that energy. He had loved them both desperately, and the day they had left with their mother had put scars on his heart that never hurt until now.

    Zeus took a deep breath and closed his eyes, fighting the burning within them. He cleared his throat carefully and picked up the notepad again, glancing over the words he'd scribbled down. "Έδεσμα. I'll be there at 12:30 sharp. Don't... don't worry about the owners too much, my dear, your beauty has always been timeless and the envy of even Aphrodite herself. I... forgive me for the change of tact, but... was that Eris and Eileithyia just now?"
     
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  18. RoseyProsey

    RoseyProsey Well-Known Member Member

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    Hera could not help but snicker as she overheard Zeus fumbling about wherever he was. It seemed she had overestimated his grasp of current technology, especially if he was using what must have been a phone with a cord. Of course he would try to play it off as if he knew what he was doing. He always had been proud and unwilling to admit when he was out of his depth. She did permit herself a small laugh at his recollection with the young man and made a mental note to question him further on that little story later. She had had more than a few similar moments herself throughout the years, usually from women who came in with stories of how their mothers or grandmothers had gotten their wedding dress from her store and recalled the owner in detail. Hera's response had typically been that she and her "mother" bore an uncanny resemblance even for mother and daughter. She would then rece, ive glowing comments of how she was just as lovely as her mother. In reality, she and Rhea were about half and half on similarities and differences in appearance, the most obvious of the former being their thick brown curls.

    "Are you still there?" she asked after she did not hear from him for a long moment. She had heard the softest of impacts, like a light landing on carpet. When he did finally pick up the phone again, his voice was tight and raw, despite how he had cleared his throat just a second before. She had also heard the deep breath he had taken. Yet she couldn't help but give a wry grin when he spoke of her beauty. Somehow she doubted that, after all, a whole war was the fallout of that particular contest and she had not even been the winner. Truth be told, it had been wise of her husband to refuse the position of judge in that debacle. Two options would have provided argument for bias and choosing Aphrodite would have resulted in the ire of a wife and a daughter. No, it had been clever of him to divert the role to someone else, though she had rolled her eyes at the more "noble" reasoning he had given for the decision.

    "Best you never say that around her, lest you invite her ire, though I do appreciate the sentiment," Hera responded as she lowered her voice to a soft murmur so that the girls wouldn't hear. "Yes, they often stay with me. Still fairly much the same, but Eris has been rather fond of changing her appearance with the times. You would be surprised how often I find hair-dye staining my sinks. Eileithyia spends most of her time putting her domain into practice. Apparently midwives and doulas are still in use, which I think is commendable. Hebe occasionally visits as well, but lives with her husband."

    Hera had always felt guilty about taking her children with her. While Zeus had been far from the best father to his children by her, to have one's offspring taken from them always left a deep festering wound. Their children had always been closer to her, as was to be expected when one's father seemed to favor their half siblings. Still, she knew it would pain him, perhaps not in a day or a month, but eventually the sting would be there, a thorn so painful but immovable. Yet Eris and Eileithyia had come with her of their own volition, with Hebe very nearly doing the same and leaving her own family behind. Two of her five children she had taken with her, but the other three had removed themselves from their father long ago. Physical distance would have hardly changed a thing for the boys. Even so, the guilt of taking her husband's children from him had gnawed at her.
     
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  19. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    "So they are well? Good. That is good." He exhaled slowly, trying to mask it and likely failing. He had worried--less for Hebe, whose husband would provide strength and faith enough through the ages to keep her strong, but Eris and especially Eileithyia had troubled his dreams. A weight he hadn't known he carried lifted from his shoulders, and he stood again, lifting both himself and the phone. He set the latter on the nightstand and sat on the edge of the bed, pondering silently. He had never worried for Ares or Hephaestus. Humans craved conflict of all kinds too much for his elder son to be in any danger, and technology had been so rampantly successful as a medium for centuries that the younger must have thrived.

    How had he been so blind? How had pride worked itself into such a billowing mass around him that he had been blinded by it to what he himself had created? Wonderful daughters, powerful sons, all of it lost. What for, really? He had entertained those thoughts dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of times in the last few centuries, and quickly tamped them down. Still, he could feel the sky responding to his remorse, rain clouds gathering above the city in force. He cleared his throat once more and smiled into the receiver.

    "I don't fear Aphrodite's wrath. Let her hear that I called you more lovely--better to admit to the truth I never should have hid from to begin with." Zeus paused as the rain began to fall against his windows, glancing out at the noise. "I have to admit," he said a second later, his tone softer, "I expected you to have one of your assistants call me. I didn't think you'd do so yourself. It's nice."
     
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  20. RoseyProsey

    RoseyProsey Well-Known Member Member

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    Hera chose not to disclose to Zeus that there had been a number of tumultuous times regarding Eileithyia and preventing her from fading. The vast wealth of information gathered across the internet had been nothing short of a blessing for minor gods and goddesses such as her. Those occurrences had filled Hera with terror to the point of nearly screaming at the injustice of it all. Of all her children, Eileithyia would ever be the most vulnerable, the most subject to fading. Yet so long as mortals still knew her name, could still click on that little hyperlink scattered across web pages discussing the queen of the Greek pantheon, Eileithyia would remain. Even so, Hera still lived in fear of what could possibly happen to her daughters. Eris at least had the events of the Iliad to hold onto as well as a degree of pop culture, but Eileithyia would be a constant worry unless something changed for the better. Hera was hardly alone in her predicament, however, and she didn't even have it the worst. Poor Amphitrite was putting up a dogged struggle for the sake of keeping all of her daughters as well as forty-eight of her forty-nine sisters. Thetis, entitled spoiled little brat that she was, was in no danger of fading, thanks to Homer and his stories. Most disrespected of gods, her ass.

    "I tend to make calls myself anyway, I prefer to be personal," Hera shrugged, falling silent for a moment as Eleithyia walked into the kitchen and waved at her in greeting. She mouthed the word "hey" upon seeing her mother on the phone and as quietly as possible got an unopened bag of chips out of the cupboard. One of Eris' purchases most likely. Hera couldn't stand junk food. When her daughter had left the kitchen to join her sister in watching Netflix on the couch. "I only delegate calls to my assistants during particularly busy periods or with very minor matters. Besides, I'd prefer this be kept between us for the time being."

    As rain began to pound against the windows, Hera heard Eris shout.

    "Fucking again? It was supposed to be sunny today!"

    "You got caught in the rain, didn't you?" Eileithyia responded.

    "You'd think someone had pissed off Dad it's been so sudden," Eris grumbled.

    Well, she was at least somewhat right in that their father had been the cause of the shift in weather. Less so because he was angry and more so due to the drudging up of old pains. Hera cleared her throat.

    "For the record, I would not say that you hid from it, more that whatever answer you gave was bound to be biased anyway. After all, how fair would it have really been if you had awarded the apple to your own wife? Or to your own daughter. Either way, it would have ended questionably. Thought it is sweet of you to say that. I do warn you that if you're not careful I might start to like this more honest side of you."

    If trying to charm her back to him was part of his plans as well, he was succeeding, as much as she loathed to admit that. Maybe she had always craved this sort of open honesty from him, the transparency about his thoughts. Throughout their marriage she had always been infuriated with how he had refused to tell her his thoughts, angered by how little pride he had seemed to take in having her as a wife. It had felt as if she were shameful, and the affairs had only further deteriorated the situation. Now here they were hundreds of years later edging into the game of flirtation yet again, albeit cautiously. Hera almost didn't want to stop talking with him, her heart daring to consider that maybe they could start again.
     
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