Persephone: Part 3
I'm excited to share with you my own retelling of Persephone (whose name I mispronounced for years!) This myth has many versions but always left so much to the imagination (and believe me, my imagination went wild). I'll be sharing parts of the books as I write them (alternating between Arabesque and Persephone) , so please be patient with any errors you may find, as these are first drafts! Start reading the first chapter here.
Lord Zeus had visited the merry group of nymphs many times, but never had he beheld this maiden.
Still unseen, he watched her delicately paint speckles on a group of tiny flowers.
There was something curious about her. While he drank in her grace and beauty, he was not drawn to her the way he was with so many other women.
And yet, she had a power over him. He could not have that. He was king of the gods of Olympus. He was all-powerful. Whatever spell had been set upon him must be broken.
He stepped forward and spoke, but he had frightened her. That felt wrong. This was not a nymph, nor was she a mortal.
"There, now. I'd not wish to startle you," he said, trying to placate her.
Water and woods stirred as the nymphs, naiads and dryads, sought his attention. Knowing they would only interrupt if he did not flirt with them, he moved into the grove. Winking, at the naiads in their stream, he sat on a rock, near them.
"I am Persephone Kore, daughter of Demeter," the young goddess answered.
Zeus struggled to hide his excitement. Persephone, his daughter, and her harpy of a mother was nowhere in sight.
As an infant, Persephone had been radiant. He'd been hard pressed to divert Hera's gaze. Perhaps Demeter had been wise in keeping him away, but he could not help but feel robbed. He had missed her childhood, and here she was, a grown woman.
Robbed! Persephone Kore was his daughter as much as Demeter's. He would not be denied his own daughter.
A dryad dropped blossoms at his feet, but he ignored her. A new thought troubled him. Persephone had not mentioned his name. Surely Demeter had not poisoned their daughter against him.
But of course she has, he thought. You should never have let that woman hide your daughter from you.
Agitated, he smoothed his hair. But he had to know.
Let's have it, he thought.
"And who, may I ask, is your father, Persephone Kore, daughter of Demeter?"
Her proud answer resounded in his head. He would have heard her use his name like that anywhere in the world. The girl was fearless. Did she not know well enough to not draw attention to herself?
Despite the slight fear that his wife would find him, he smiled. There was no denying that she was his daughter.
Shimmering white petals caught his eye. Her work was stunning.
Perhaps, she has inherited some good traits from her mother as well, he admitted grudgingly.
"Father Zeus?" the girl said in amazement.
"Don't say it so loud, if you please, my dear." He took her hand. "For I am as proud as one of the queen's peacocks, but if my wife does find me here, it will not be pleasant."
And, indeed, he was proud. This young beauty was his own creation.
The nymphs had resumed their flirtations, but he barely noticed.
Zeus and Persephone sat together, laughing and talking as father and daughter should. The more he learned of her, the more proud he became.
He had many powerful and talented children, but none of them like her. Her quiet beauty and warmth spread all around her. The flowers grew brighter, even the water glistened more with her near.
And he realized, If she is unwed, there will soon be war. Fighting between the petty gods had broken out over significantly less prizes.
"My darling, I must away." He laid a tender kiss upon her head.
Troubled, he sat upon his throne, high on Olympus, kneading lightning between his palms. He would not have his daughter become the object of such discord in his kingdom, but such a precious maiden must not be simply married off.
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