A Hestian Parodox


Olympus celebrated their new addition by savoring his latest brew. Bacchus’s vintage was always potent and never soured. This was enough to get him considered divine by human and gods alike.

Hestia enjoyed a goblet as much as anyone else, but wondered why Zeus was looking at her so strangely.

Unless he thought her vow of chastity was tantamount to a vow of temperance?

“I want to talk to you,” Zeus said as he led her to an alcove.

Hestia sighed

Perhaps he thought a virgin goddess shouldn’t drink wine? Yet Athena and Artemis had drank more goblets than her. She didn’t see why he’d lecture an older sister and not his daughters.

He took her to an alcove to speak to her in private. She was expecting a reproof but Zeus asked her a question. “Have you ever wanted to revoke your vow of eternal chastity?”

Hestia frowned, “No.”

He touched her hand and flinched when he came away with burned fingers. It was a pity Hera didn’t have the same trick when she needed it.

“Don’t ever forget I’m a fire goddess, Thunderer. Even if I prefer to keep my flames within a hearth.” She muttered to him.

Hestia prefers to stay in the background yet gives vital support to other Olympians. You can see what role Hestia plays in the Ambrosian Mysteries in my A Heart for Hubris release.

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How Hermes Became a Pscyhopomp

There. I’m done in time to have dinner. Iris thought. Hestia’s door was always open, and she’d have food ready.

Much to her surprise Hermes was in the dining room eating all the honeycakes.

“You’re too young to drink Dionysus’s vintage now, Hermes. You must drink grape juice.” Hestia said.

“They’ve got me delivering their messages. I don’t see why I can’t get a share of the wine if I’m working like a man already.” He pouted.

Hestia looked at his lengthening limbs. “You won’t have to wait long, Hermes. Not at the rate you’re growing.”

Iris snorted. “Shouldn’t you be finishing your quota now?”

“I did that by lunch.” He shrugged.

Iris winced at this. “We need to find you something to do for your afternoons.” She muttered. Remembering she’d have to check to see if there was anything missing among her possessions. Hermes was always on the lookout for a new toy…

“Well, we need a psychopomp.” Hestia said.

“What’s that?” Hermes asked.

“You’d ferry souls to the Underworld.” Iris said.

Hermes rubbed his hands together. “I’ve never been to the Underworld before. I hear Hades is the richest of the Olympians and his palace is full of treasures…”

“Then I’ll tell Zeus you’re interested in the job.” Hestia said.

****

Hermes makes a cameo in “The Ambrosian Mysteries” in A Heart for Hubris.

Flashfic: The Greatest Apollon Mystery


“Perhaps we should promote a philosopher into the position?” Athena asked.

Apollo yawned. It was so hard to keep awake during these divine councils.

His twin Artemis jabbed at him to stay awake.

“No. No mortal shall be allowed a voice in our judgments,” Zeus said.

Athena sighed. “Hades has already delegated the judgment of souls to the shades of three mortal wise men. How would this be any different?”

“Why don’t we ask the Delphic Oracle for the best candidate for the job?”

Eris laughed at this, “Why go to the Delphic Oracle when we have her patron here?”

She smirked as she glanced at the yawning Apollo. “What do you say, Apollo?”

Artemis spoke for him, “ Yes, I say Apollo should do it. We count on the Oracle for advice already. Why not make her patron the God of Logic?”

“Uh?” Apollo asked.

There was a chorus of ayes at this.

Eris snorted.

She sat up and offered Apollo a handshake. “I’ll commission Arachne of Hypaepa to weave you a banner in honor of your promotion.”

Apollo flushed with rage at this.

It was too bad Eris kept Arachne in her household. He’d like to squash her flat, but he made do with ordering that none of her children were allowed in his temples. The God of Logic’s followers should run clean and orderly establishments after all.

You can see how Eris became Arachne’s patron in A Heart for Hubris.

Flashfic: Cupid’s Cameo

Zephyr, the West Wind, blew in a batch of scrolls to Cupid that morning. Cupid set aside everything that had a black seal on it. This meant Mother wanted him to inflict his targets with passions for cruel partners.

Such pairings were more of a divine punishment than a divine favor. Nemesis was a more natural executor for such jobs than him. She’d taken on these jobs when he was a child, and he still gave her arrows to do the work.

Sometimes Mother sent him presents and treats for work well done. When he first started out these were pastries. Now they were thoughtful eye-catching trinkets for his art collection.

Her patrons and followers were generous with their offerings. She in turn shared the wealth with him. This time there was an exquisite cameo in the package of scrolls carved with the utmost artistry.

She must’ve inspired an artist to do this. The beauty of the maiden etched in the cameo was divine. Though it was strange, this effect came about without being a likeness of Mother. Was Mother trying out a new look when she inspired this man?

Perhaps this is a sketch for a full statue he hopes she’ll animate for him. I’m almost tempted to commission one for myself.

Mother did this all the time for Hephaestus’s statues and had done it once for Galatea’s mortal creator. “I like to give Hephaestus toys to play with,” she’d told him when he asked why she did this.

Hephaestus was good at weapons. Yet his statues had never been as tempting as the maiden in this cameo. At this rate, Cupid would prefer an artist to make a statue for Mother to animate.

I risk offending Hephaestus if I want my statue to be done by someone with more artistic skill. I must make do with this cameo. I’d carry off any flesh and blood maiden who looked like this…

And so he does in the “Cupid’s Intrigue” story in my latest Greek inspired fantasy collection A Heart for Hubris.

Flash Fiction: Hercules Versus the Furies

When will this hangover end? Hercules wondered. His head hurt and his eyes were insulted by the sight of the ugliest crones he’d ever seen in his life.

“You three have to give the term ‘ ugly old bitches’ new meaning don’t you?” He grumbled. Disapproving old biddies were one thing but of course there had to be nothing less than monsters for a son of Zeus. The three old women had dogs’ heads on their coal-black bodies.

They growled in rage at his comment and raked him with their claws. He swatted them away, but they were like mosquitoes that refused to die. They always came back to sting him with their flails.

His first accusers have been easy enough to squash, but these ones were tough. Megara asked him, ” Does King Thespius have 50 daughters?” with tears In her eyes. He waved away her concerns. Or did he swat her away?

“Where’s Mama?” the boys asked. He pushed away their questions when they changed to screams of, “What happened to Mama?” Or did he push them away?

Why couldn’t they leave him alone? Let him enjoy his cup of wine when he came home from a long journey before they pestered him?

Now his accusers were these ugly old crones who kept yapping at his heels. He switched from slapping them to using his fists.

“Yes, do it!” Hera screeched out in encouragement in his ears. “Smite the Furies. Let this be the grand ending to your career as a hero.”

Her cackle was enough to make Hercules pause. It was like a spike thrust into his head. Then there came a piercing beam of light that surrounded him. It illuminated the corpses of his family pounded into a bloody pulp. “No.”

The crones barked with laughter. “You spilled your family’s blood and now must pay for it with your own.”

Zeus stepped out from the golden beam. “I’m sure we can work something out, Kindly Ones.”

“Mortals must always pay for their misdeeds in blood.” They hissed in unison.

“But gods work out deals with you.” Zeus said.

“He’s no god.”

“Neither is he a mere mortal.” Zeus sniffed.

“A Herculean effort is not enough to atone for blood guilt. It must be an Olympian effort.” They said.

Zeus smiled. “What is the going rate between a Herculean effort versus an Olympian one?”

“It’ll take 12 Herculean efforts to equal an Olympian one.” They said.

“Then let my son perform 12 labors to atone for this crime.”

“Agreed.”

Hercules collapsed into a merciful stupor after this.

#

He awoke to the scent of his own vomit and sweat. Worse yet was the smell of blood. His wife and children were smashed as if they were fragile vessels of clay. Father was there and looked down upon him. “You know what you must do. Bury them with the proper honors before you begin your labors.”

Zeus disappeared in a flash of golden light. Hercules sighed. He’d never thought he’d need to be saved by deus ex machinae. He hadn’t asked for it, but rejecting this favor would only make things worse.