Journal entry #37,297.
Written in the sitting room, by the windows; after dinner.
I took the long way back home, instead of teleporting here. Charon ferried me across as if I were a mortal soul, never saying a word. Passed the Reception Center, and around the bend to the Lethe River. I take for granted the view of where I live sometimes. From my vantage point, Persephone’s Grove is barely visible over the banks of the Lethe, and I allowed myself a long moment to just take in the rolling waves. I am watching them even now, in between writing this. The sitting room is silent, nearly deafeningly so, after the din at the party. Everything here is familiar, belongs in its space, and yet sitting across from me is the Zeus’ Bolt, propped up in a chair.
My eyes are drawn to it, and it feels foreign and familiar to have it with me, as if my brother was just behind a door, about to walk around the corner and have a drink with me. I called him when I returned home. He did not sound any better than he did at the party, and the conversation was very brief: Zeus said he was going to take some time to himself, in not so many words. I made it clear he could call upon me at any time, if he should need me, and we left it at that.
The number of things the myths and legends get wrong about us are staggeringly high, chief among them, the relationship between my brothers and me. While I will never say that there has not been contention between us in our long lives, the reality is far less combative than the tales make out. Three kings, three kingdoms. That is who we have been since the day we decided what must be. But the myths fail to remember that even with that division, it is still one world and all its problems rest on the shoulders of Kronus’s sons. And who else but a King can understand the weight of a crown?
I found out Poseidon was invited to the party, but he did not attend. It would have been good to see him once more. I wonder how he would have responded, if perhaps together we could have forged some other path away from that night. Few things unsettle me – and this does not – yet I would be a fool if I did not acknowledge that this has not happened before. When my brothers and I took up our pieces of the world, we vowed to one another that should one fall or leave the throne, the others would look after their kingdom. We did this to ensure things would run smoothly and without the worry of having no one there to look after our responsibilities and charges. Zeus walking away from his duty is almost as foreign to me as me walking away from mine. And yet, he did. The Bolt lies next to me as a reminder that all things change. I am simply unable to see how much, and thus I will walk for him until he is healed.
On the topic of unchanging things, Zeus was not the only one to surprise me. I have turned the memory over in my mind a thousand times, if one, trying to solve the riddle of Hekate’s actions that night. It does not help that I cannot erase the image of her in my mind when I left to follow my brother. I hope she did not stay long afterward. The atmosphere was quickly turning into a bog when I left. Though the path of duty was clearly laid before me, I do not remember being so torn. Not in a very long time. It is…a new feeling.
The last time Hekate attended a party was Nyx’s Christmas event, but even then, I would never have imagined her hosting one. That, in itself, was unusual. I should keep the invitation because it may not happen again. Still, her decision made sense. Death reframes things for mortals. And, as with most things when viewed through the lens of immortality, that statement holds for gods a hundred-fold. Overseeing the dead does nothing to nullify that fact or view. I would go so far as to say that my charges are a daily reminder, that while I am immortal, there could very well be a time when my immortality will mean nothing to a stronger power or will. It is my hope that such a day will never come.
But the party was merely the setting. The stage for all that followed.
The gift of the lamps is what set everything else in motion. And that is the thing my mind cannot leave alone, the puzzle I continue to pick up and try to solve. For anyone else, those lamps would have been a bit of fun. But not for her. For her, those lamps were as much a surrender as the two times she put herself in my hands, possibly moreso. While I believe trust is growing, each time was still a challenge for her.
When she gave those gifts to everyone, she did not offer herself up once, nor twice, but three times. First, when she chose to do it at all. A second time when she decided to give them randomly. And a third time when she put herself in the service of those who held those lamps. I would not call Hekate a fool. The concept I am reaching for is different.
A child. That is the analogy I am looking for. No one would call a child a fool. A fool is willfully ignorant. No, like a child, Hekate is young in trust, inexperienced in what it means to believe in anyone other than herself. The steps she has taken toward me have been shaky and uncertain, like a child learning to walk. But this is Hekate – why walk when you can fly? Am I reaching to think that those first lessons of trust between us may have had something to do with the unbridled trust she placed in others that night? It is a difficult thought to wrestle with if that is true – to know you are teaching someone a new way, only to have that new way backfire horrendously.
I was not there when Clio made her wish, which I have not decided is a blessing or a curse yet, but the other two wishes I did hear. Persephone and Eris…If there is a continuum of trust, they each occupied one extreme. Persephone’s wish was a blessing, honouring the trust extended to her. Eris’s wish was…perhaps malefic is too strong a word given the nature of chaos, but it was an unforgettable demonstration of what happens when trust is placed carelessly. Perhaps…perhaps careless is not the right word. How do you learn who to trust if you do not test the waters of the willing? It is unfortunate that strife was mixed into those waters. I will not be forgetting this action of theirs any time soon.
There are two other mysteries here I cannot seem to solve.
The first: I destroyed myself for duty. The anguish in her voice when she said those words has made me wonder what she meant and why I do not know the answer. There are few things I would describe as destructible in the face of duty, but none of them seem to pertain to the situation or people involved.
The second: the speech she made about Eros and Clio. Hekate does not speak of love lightly, if at all. And as far as I am aware, she and Eros do not see eye to eye. Yet she pulled them both together in one shot. Everything else she said, about people being separated by cruel twists of Fate, about things meant for us finding their way back… something in the tone of her voice, the way she looked at me, at Persephone…there’s more there than she is saying.
And I want to know.
That, in itself, is telling. I have long been the curious type, but as it applies to knowledge, skills, things to be learned and applied. Not people. What people think, and what they choose to do, matters little to me until it impacts me or mine. The fact that I want to know these things about her, means that Zeus and Hekate are not the only ones changing. I am too.
…I set this down an hour ago, but I’ve had an idea. I will ask Hekate if she would like to stay at the Palace for a short while. I do not know how she will take this, or if there is even a beneficial point to having her presence here full time. But I think…she feels right. If I am honest with myself, and that is what this space has always been for, Hekate feels right. It is my hope that maybe she will find time to heal and relax, and perhaps we may speak more on things that business has made impossible. I do not know if it is a safe time to even consider another relationship or even these feelings. I have so much to do, so many things to reconsider or correct, and yet she is knocking on the door much harder than Persephone ever did. I feel as if it would be foolish to not at least answer.
I will go and find her tomorrow. Let us hope that it will be all right.