Cassandra caught my quizzical look and shrugged. “Problems adjusting. You just missed the latest of the new souls. It would seem none of us are quite as good with people as you are.”
That was an understatement. With any luck, Cassandra hadn’t caused any psychological scarring with her “Yeah, you’re dead, get over it” speech. She wasn’t a people person. Ordinarily, I greeted the new souls and took special care to deal with any “adjustment problems.” I enjoyed that part of my work. It was one of the few good deeds I could credit myself with. But as much as I’d love to tell myself otherwise, I wasn’t settling in the souls out of the goodness of my heart. Just lack of better alternatives. The other gods had difficulties relating to humans. But those difficulties were nothing compared to the problems the humans in my court had relating to each other. Souls lose something the longer they’re dead. They forget what it was like to worry, to be scared, to be human. Just yesterday, I’d caught Cassandra telling a frightened new soul I’d gone through a dark phase back when Dante passed through, but not to worry. I hadn’t gone off my meds for centuries.
Cassandra was a Trojan Princess and by all accounts a royal beauty. She definitely caught the eye of Apollo, her patron god. He granted her and in some versions of the myth, her twin brother Helenus the gift of prophecy and tried to seduce her, but when she spat in his face (literally) he twisted gift. She would see the future, but try as she might, no one would believe her visions. Her brother was still believed according to Virgil.
Can you imagine what it would be like to know something horrible was going to happen and not do anything to stop it? She saw the Trojan War, saw every one she cared about die. Saw herself raped in the temple of Apollo by Ajax and her own death at the hands of Clytemnestra (long story, we’ll get there in another Mythology Monday). And she could do nothing to stop it.
In some version of the story she had twin boys but they were killed. Had they lived the gift of prophesy and her curse would have been passed down to her descendants.
Cassandra pops up in other myths from time to time (like Hercules) each time she is portrayed as being insane and her warnings are never taken seriously. She’s also popped up in books, movies, and television shows for centuries. But every incarnation I’ve ever seen of Cassandra focused on one thing.
Her life sucked.
But that was life. My Cassandra’s a bit different because she’s dead. And she’s having a great time. She still has the visions, but that whole bit about no one believing her so long as she lived no longer applies. She’s Hades’ most trusted advisor, and she practically runs the Underworld. She’s over the top cheerful, but she’s got a healthy sense of snark. She doesn’t put up with much drama and has a very practical way of looking at things.
Overall, she’s one of my favorite characters