“Yeah, you know…people sometimes think I just play dress up, but that’s not it. Back in the BC days, I didn’t have a word for it, but now? Genderfluid isn’t just one of my many gimmicks, you know?” I pause. “Don’t worry. I know you know. When a situation arises, and I need to be something I’m just…not… It hurts, and not in the fun way. Especially now that I know what it’s like to finally feel genuinely myself.”
“Is this some new kinky game you’ve got going on? Man, you must be lonely. Where have you been? It’s been like… a year since Atë left. You just disappeared, no word, no note, nothing. Feeling guilty for running her off?”
“Hey, I’m just being honest, Philotes. You, Nemesis, and even Thanatos, who’s out there somewhere collecting these poor fools, have tried to get me to see some good in this miserable species and look. This is what they are. Burning each other alive for no good reason, not even a sacrifice to one of us or their own god… they worship the same god.”
“You are a force of nature. You’ve made yourself into a storm that rages all the more as it feeds upon itself.” She lets her warm hands rest on my cool ones as she continues. “You don’t need the fog anymore. Think of who you could be without it. You expend so much of your energies, keeping it firmly in place. You’ve gotten so used to operating at half power you don’t even remember what it is like to truly unleash.”
“The River Lethe… ah yes. Remember those days? You claim such neglect, but back when our family all lived together, in what is now known as the Underworld, you were singled out for such a great honour. You were given the patronage of one of a body of water in the darkest domain. Each one has such weight and importance, and one was named for you.”
“You see, I think we can help each other. Balance, right? That’s one of your big things. You’re order, I’m chaos, and I think we can balance each other out. I really need that right now, and frankly, my dear, and I mean this in the best possible way, I’m thinking so do you.” I emphasize this by tossing my boots over my shoulder and stretching my legs with my now bare feet.
That may even have been the first moment I bought into my own illusion because I wanted to believe it. I’d finally had a version of our relationship that worked for me. One that I could navigate successfully. I was never what you’d call mother/father/non-gendered parent of the millennia, but a partner in crime? That I could do, and so I did, for many years. Now that’s all over.
“Why not just finish this Enyo girl off?” Moros says with a wet hiss, handing me a dagger from the folds of his shroud. The blade on the weapon is formed from some kind of metallic-looking rock shimmering unnaturally in the light and becoming far too dark in the shade.
Whoever did this to me did it to them, too. If it’s true, that is, which I’m still not entirely sure it is. Suppose I am the Primordial Eris, if there was only one Eris all along. It won’t just affect me, and it means that all this time, Atë has been…my child. Eros and Clio don’t even really know the real me, either. No one does. This could destroy every bond I’ve fought tooth and nail to establish.
I fight off every instinct in my body telling me not to press the button to the 20th floor. Every piece of me is screaming not to do this. I went into my informal interview with Hebe all confidence and intimidation. If anything, this is the complete opposite.
That’d been happening a lot of late. In place of memories warm and comforting were images that made no sense within my life, images which then became real. Like when Dash gave me that apple, and for a second, it changed. Then there was Audrey saying I had a meeting with that man Gerard and then forgetting it a second later. The thing is, these flashes almost feel more real than this so-called real life.
“As I sit here, I feel lost at sea, unsure of my next move. Whatever that move will be, I can assure you that it will be based on my utmost respect for what the human race can be and the power of the truth. Thank you.”
I hold it in my mind again that image of that woman, representing the downfall of the patriarchy, the very symbol in my mind of the status quo coming crashing down. Long black hair falling down her back, and a serpent around her shoulders as she laughs. The Ruin.