the finest mofo this side of the west side (vicariance) wrote,
the finest mofo this side of the west side
vicariance

Love and Fire

When the titan of the sky was overthrown, his essence was thrown into the sea, and when dawn touched that essence, where sky and ocean met, Aphrodite emerged from the foam of the union, long before the other gods were ready to receive her. She wandered the world lonely and sad, and all who beheld her loved her, but she did not know how to love back and they were made sad, and some vicious and violent. And so her pain and isolation grew. When the Gods finally found her, they welcomed her unto Olympus, for they could not but love her. But still she did not love them back, and the gods were petty and cruel. Ares had particularly vicious ways of showing his love. Zeus as well, desired her desperately, and so Hera called a counsel of the gods. She said "The goddess of love knows not how to love. Clearly she must be taught to love, so she will be married to my son, Hephaestus."

Hephaestus was the first child of Zeus and Hera, and Hera had such great hopes for his magnificence that when upon seeing him for the first time she was revolted. She was so disappointed and disgusted by her ugly child that she had Zeus throw the baby from the heights of Olympus. Therefrom he fell and fell and fell and finally landed upon the earth with such force that he created a volcano where he landed, and adding injury to insult, shattered his legs such that when he grew up he was lame. But he found some joy when he explored the volcano as he was the god of fire and he discovered metals and learned to shape them in interesting ways. When Hermes came upon him working his metalworks, he became intrigued and asked him if he could try make a weapon. He made a spear of such beauty that upon presenting it to Ares and Artemis, they demanded of Zeus that he be allowed to return to Olympus and make such wonderful things. He crafted weapons, and brought them shyly to Olympus, but always felt terribly unwanted there, unloved, and preferred his volcano home.

So when Hera proclaimed that Aphrodite marry Hephaestus, it was not intended to be the welcome one might think. Hera meant it as a curse to punish Aphrodite for inspiring such desires in her husband and so many others, so much more than they desired her.

But when Hephaestus set his eyes on her, he loved her more than any ever had, for he saw within her how she, just as he, was so terribly lonely. He saw that she could not see herself the way others saw her. And so he went to his forge and rendered a magnificent locket, the likes of which had never been seen, that captured all the glory of the ocean, the sky, and the dawn, and the ultimate beauty of womankind. He presented it to her as a wedding gift, and told her "I know I am the least worthy of you, and I wanted to you know why that is. For this is my greatest creation and it only approaches your magnificence. Nothing could ever capture your beauty." The locket was the most beautiful thing Aphrodite had ever seen, and she could not understand at first how it was meant to be a representation of her. But it was this gift, seeing herself through his eyes and art, that taught her what love meant, and she loved him deeply, and they were married soon after. And their love shined like a beacon that made all the realms glow... for a while.

Being the goddess of love, newly kindled, she had much to catch up on. She had discovered her own beauty, and how to see beauty in others. So she gave her love freely and wildly after that. Hephaestus said "Go, my love, you are a gift to us all. I am content to work in my forge, knowing that you come home to me, when you can." She loved him even more for that. And loved even more wildly. Even giving her love to Ares, who had treated her so roughly before. Ah, but Hephaestus was not quite so cool with that development. And with Hermes' help he built a mighty mechanical cage to catch them in bed together. He trapped them and called all to see, and Hera was made furious. She punished Ares by releasing Hephaestus of his weapon making contract. Aphrodite was angry at Hephaestus for his betrayal, but when he explained that it hurt him to think that she was giving her love to one who so hurt her, she forgave him. Such was life between the goddess of love and the god of fire. Explosive, and beautiful.
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