Artemis ran over to Sayeh, who craned her neck upwards in victory to the sound of cheers and whistles. My Adrastos trotted over, panting hard and pushing his head into my waiting arms. I scratched him behind the ears, a towel in my hands to rub him down and a bowl of water beside me waiting for him.
“You did well, lad, I’m proud of you,” I murmured to my pitbull, and he wagged his tail tiredly. After ensuring he had cooled down and had some water, I sent him off to sleep in the temple. He had no objections – I’d probably find him there later. I rose as my family mulled about, chattering over how close it had been, drachma exchanging hands over bets placed. I glanced at the moon briefly and guessed it would be close to the judging of the best-dressed contest.
I drew myself up to speak over the din that had started to climb. “If you would all make your way to the fires, we will begin the best-dressed contest!”
I started the walk up the hill, conjuring one of my own brews into my hand and taking a long drink. The family had gone all out for the best-dressed competition, and I felt a little guilty, only being able to pick one of them. I made a mental note to make up for it at Christmas as I saw the start of the bonfire being put together by Golly and Alex. The pair waved me over, and I joined them, the smell of woodfire starting to rise around us.
“The last of your brew is ready to go, and the podiums are set up for both the male and female competitions, Lady Night,” Golly said, gesturing towards the long tables. Two long platforms awaited their contestants, and already some were milling around them, trading tips on their outfits and where they got them from.
I made my way to the front of the group, and the contestants began to line up: goddesses on one side, gods on the other. I flashed them all a smile, before turning to face those who did not wish to participate.
“It is time to see who grew with the times, and who stayed in the fields. Our best-dressed contest begins!”
I started on the women’s side, and will heartily admit that they all shone beautifully. There was Artemis, in a sleek, beaded dress, cut in all the right places to accentuate the lithe form of the goddess of the hunt; Demeter, in a gorgeous white lace number that brought to mind wheat fields and dying sunlight; Nike, wearing a smoldering dress of deep gold that appeared to be trimmed in small flames; and Urania, who had a caped gown of rosé on, an intricate pattern sewn into the fabric with diamonds, and a delicate headpiece of small, white flowers entwined in her hair.
They stood before me, smiles on their faces, their confidence making my heart bloom. I stopped to chat with each briefly, but when I got to Nike, she brimmed with cheer.
“Nyx, watch this!”
She gestured I take a step back, which I did. She smoothed her dress, and as she did so, it burst into heavy flames, before falling away to reveal a divine black number beneath. Sheer panels and thick ruffles flowed over our immortal Victory, strappy heels completing her look. She grinned at me as I applauded her.
“Now that’s an outfit, dear heart!”
After pondering each of them, I stood back, arms folded as the women whispered with each other, waiting for my call. Coming to my decision, I clasped my hands behind my back and turned back to the watching audience.
“For our first winner of the best dressed, may I present – Urania!” I gestured grandly to the muse, whose face broke into delight as the others cheered for her win, her fellow contestants crowding around her to congratulate her. I allowed them a few moments before I called up the gods for their turn.