The Conversation

“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.”

-In time immemorial-

“Are we sure about this humanity idea of his?” I ask, looking through the clouds down at the various Olympian gods as they coo over Zeus’s newest pet project. My siblings and I sit above in Aether, apart from the material world and yet all around it.

“He’s not even sure about it! He’s on his third try!” Momus laughs. His wild carrot-red hair juts up wildly like a fire on top of his head.

“How tragic, such short existences.” Oizys sobs.

“Oh, I agree.” Dolus smirks with a raised eyebrow. “I don’t like these humans very much myself. It’s not fun at all to play my games with them.” He winks at me.

“Their fleeting lives allow for so much passion. They bond so quickly and love so fully,” Philotes enthuses, and I fear I may vomit.

“Should keep you lot busy,” I sneer, turning back to Thanatos and the Fates. “Not many of us were dying off, but now? You should get your numbers up.”

“This is nothing to scoff at.” Philotes seems almost personally offended. “This is what many of us feel could be our great purpose as a people. The Thunderer has created life that is not eternal. They are born, they live, they die.” She nods to Thanatos and the Fates. “Guiding them, giving them purpose…could very well ease the monotony of our own lives.”

Thanatos nods and regards the human creatures intently.

“Their minds…” Morpheus muses. “Their minds are so full of images. I agree, Sister. They are a thing of beauty.”

I turn back to the mortals mewling up at Zeus from the mud. “Agree to disagree.”

-The Taurus Mountain Range, just outside Troy, The Trojan War-

The sun is coming up, the fires still rage from last night, and the battle began anew. 

“It’s gorgeous, is it not?” I hum, my eyes lidded with euphoria as I breathe in the smoke from below, my great black wings unfurled and moving with the updraft.

“There are many words for what it is. Gorgeous is not one I would choose,” Nemesis says coldly at my back.

I turn, still grinning like a fool, and match eyes with my sister.

“I thought you, of all people, would appreciate this.” 

Nemesis narrows her raptor’s eyes at me, and my smirk dims ever so slightly.

“This,” she extends her hands towards the fighting, “is not vengeance, Eris. This is empty violence for your own amusement.”

“I was wronged,” I say with a decent amount of sincerity. “Hurt.” I turn my back once more as a tear threatens to form. “I made them pay.”

“These men are the ones who hurt you, Eris? Their wives? Their children?” Thanatos murmurs from a shadow beneath the cliff face. 

“Listen to yourself talk. These are playthings Zeus created on a whim! Why are you trying to elicit some kind of emotional response from me for their sake?” I bellow, regaining my composure before turning back to my family.

Thanatos just stares at me, something deeper in his eyes than anything he could say aloud.

“Besides,” I smirk, casting aside my doubts with the edge of another jibe, “don’t you have work to do down there?”

“I am down there even now, Sister-brother, in hundreds of places…guiding those souls to their eternal fates.” As he spoke, a silhouette of our three sisters danced on the rocks behind him, cutting away at various threads.

“Well, get used to it.” My eyes narrow before I return my gaze to the battle. “You’re going to be very busy.”

-Valladolid, Spain, The Spanish Inquisition-

Troy was long in the past, but the flames of humanity still rage, this time a bit more on the nose as the humans themselves were the kindling on this particular bonfire. The Inquisition has been burning for some time, and it feels like we are at a bit of a fever pitch.

“At least it’s nice and warm,” I coo as a few of my siblings and I linger at the back of the fanatical crowd, watching them jeer as their countrymen burn.

“You haven’t changed much since I saw you last.” Philotes rolls her eyes at me.

“Hey, this wasn’t me. This was all them.” I raise my hands with a shrug before pointing to the crowd. “This was all a human invention. So characteristic of their race.”

“Eris…” the Goddess of Friendship groans.

“Now, now I’ll try to keep it positive. Maybe we’ll talk to Zeus and convince him to give it another try. Fourth time is the charm?”

“Eris, come on now.”

“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.”

“Hilarious.” Momus laughs. His manic high-pitched squeal of a laugh merges with Oizys sobs in an absurd harmony.

I look at the mortals and laugh. It is hilarious. Humanity, what a cosmic joke.

-The Fall of Berlin 1945-

At a high commander’s banquet table, the master of the house having long surrendered to the Russians, me, Dolus, Nemesis, Philotes, Moros, and Thanatos dine.

“Rude of him to leave during dinner, no?” Momus laughs as he and I clink wine glasses. 

“I don’t think he had a lot of choice.” Moros raises a glass.

“Lot going on out there.” I laugh. “I almost didn’t show up here, but alas, the battle part is over. It’s all a matter of paperwork now, more or less.” I gulp my wine. It overflows my lips and mingles with the blood already on my chin.

“And see the good guys win.” 

“Oh, do they?” I laugh. “No one cared what mini-mustache was doing till he walked outside of Germany. The Eaglelanders were the worst ones, only getting involved when their beach resort was hit.”

“You can’t even give them this one win, can you?” Philotes sighs.

“Yes,” Dolus sighs and looks out the window. “What a grand win indeed.”

I throw an arm around him as I join him at the window in time to see Russian and American soldiers herding people aside to be interrogated about their status as possible Nazis. Even the children of Germany were not immune from this guilty till proven innocent mentality.

I watch as one young boy, too young to hold a toy gun, never mind a real one, is scooped up by a rough-hewn Yank because of the style of shirt he wore. Even I feel a twinge of sympathy, but it is far overshadowed by the satisfaction of being right. Watching humanity’s base hypocrisy and the inevitable decline into self-destruction.

I’m always right.

-Marshall Islands, 1952-

The bomb has just gone off, and all is quiet.

“They call it a hydrogen bomb,” I say, filled with mixed emotions.

“Very efficient,” my brother Moros hums as he comes to stand next to me.

“Just more of humanity and their wanton self-destruction.” I sigh, the misty debris and smoke intermingling with my nigh-immaterial form. Easy enough to imagine myself as just another byproduct of these apocalyptic events. “What a mistake.”

“What’s a mistake? The weapon or humanity itself?”

“You know, by Khaos itself, I mean both.” I look snidely at the armored deity.

“I thought you’d be practically gleeful about this.” Moros laughs back at me in his booming voice.

“Oh, part of me is, don’t get me wrong, but with something like this…isn’t it over all too soon?”

“Everything ends, dear Sister-brother!” he thunders. “You present merely an impetus to their descent towards…me.” He smiles behind his dark mask. I can feel it even if I can’t see it.

His approval fills me with something close to shame. Something I’ve never felt before. The ashes and ozone around us carry an odor, something close to brimstone. I almost feel we’re standing in our dear Uncle Tartarus. This horrendous world and its people as our punishment.

-Stonewall Inn, 1969-

I can’t keep the giddy grin off my face as the brick flies from Stormé DeLarverie’s still handcuffed hands towards the now cowering police officers.

I am in the reality behind the reality, influencing events, pushing but not controlling. No, as I’ve said before, this is all them.

I solidify ever so slightly to help a practically glowing woman, Marsha P. Johnson, who has been beaten. In doing so, I strengthen the fire in her, in all of them. I let my strife fan out and grow like a blooming flower.

Down with the fascists! I beam the message into the ether, just a little push in the back of their minds. And as the fire in them grows, I too feel a strange warmth inside myself. What is this feeling?

I don’t hate it.

-Morpheus’ Villa, The Underworld, Modern Day-

I’m trying to visit the Underworld more lately, getting in touch with my roots. Plus, you never know when Mother might show her face. My siblings and I have complicated relationships, often adversarial as they don’t see themselves as the enemy of man as I do. But I love them, and deep down, despite the fact that in the past I had made my outcast status the basis of my identity, I do finally believe them when they say they love me.

Morpheus was someone I often find myself at odds with. He represents the dreams of these beings, their hopes and desires. Whereas I want to squash them beneath my leather high-heel boots like roaches.

“Thanks for the spread, Morph.” Momus laughs, stuffing a few more rolls into his pockets.

“Not a problem, dearest Mockery,” Morpheus hums in his poetic way of speaking. “Discord, you’ve been quiet. Not enjoying yourself?”

I look up, realizing in my distraction that the eyes in the room have turned to me. I flip my golden apple phone back into my Cornfield.

“Sorry, Eggplant was just updating me about some of the goings on. A fight broke out at a Lethal Chef concert when some of the bass player’s Fnord Forth! posts aimed at the lead singer were leaked!” I giggle sinisterly. “Seems the crowd ended up taking sides. Quite the brawl.”

I expect hums of disapproval or worse, but instead, they just keep looking at me in amused silence.

“You’ve changed your tune a bit,” Nemesis says after a beat.

“What do you mean, dear Sister?” I ask with a smirk.

“I thought you despised humanity?” she retorted.

“Um…” I raise my eyebrow, smirking harder. “I do. Was I not just having a good laugh at their expense?”

“You were. That was just after the way your face lit up when your mortal friend Eggplant messaged you.”

“What?” I ask, but not without a slight stutter, no matter how unbothered I try to act.

“You do seem quite fond of him.” Momus smiles.

“You’re all as bonkers as I am.” I stand to my feet. “Everything I do is in service of the destruction of humanity as an institution. I still hate these pathetic excuses for intelligent life that Zeus cooked up between porkings and always will.” Even I wasn’t sure who I was trying to convince, them or myself.

My sister Nemesis’s knowing look as she parroted my own words from when this discussion began so many centuries ago almost did me in.

“Agree to disagree.”

Eris (Dan D)
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