Mythology Monday: Olympus

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 For the most part, Elysium was filled with the best of the souls. Those who had done great good in their lives. But it was also home to deceased deities. Olympus stood over the bright sunny fields and meadows. Most souls felt the vibrant purple mountain added beauty to the perfect landscape. I disagreed.

Olympus cut a dark shadow across perfection, serving as a reminder that there was no place untouched by evil in all of creation. I loathed Olympus. Everything changed the moment this mountain towered over my life. We had become what we’d worked so hard to defeat, perhaps not as bad as the Titans, but this mountain elevated us to gods, scowling down at all of creation.

Yet it was in my Underworld. The fall of Olympus had been the final harbinger of the death of the gods. I could have incinerated the blasted mountain the moment it came down or left it to rot in Demeter’s realm. But it meant something to them, and they’d lost enough.

Gods, nymphs, and dozens of other extinct creatures stopped what they were doing to watch me approach the palace. I didn’t come here often. Still, I didn’t hesitate when I walked through the columns. This was my realm.

“Wow, two visits in one century.” Hera moved between the sand-colored columns with an inhuman grace. There were no walls here, only columns stretching an impossible distance into the air, holding up a very tall, very flat slab of stone ceiling. It couldn’t have been more different from my palace. That wasn’t a coincidence.

“I’m almost flattered.” Hera’s curly brown hair was piled on the top of her head in an archaic Roman style. She wore a violet chiton. I hadn’t seen one of those shift-like dresses since the hydra still plagued Ancient Greece. Some people didn’t know how to move on.

“Thinks the man in the cape.” Hera let out a throaty chuckle at my surprised look. “I can always tell what you’re thinking, Hades. Such an open book.”

“You’re the only one who ever thought so.” I sat on one of the tall backless couches.

Her lips turned up in a mysterious smile. “Maybe it’s not so much an open book as a mirror. Perhaps we’re both just damaged beyond repair.” She sat beside me on the couch, fingers trailing over the narrow strip of white upholstery between us. “What can I do for you?”

“Your husband has taken my wife. Do you have any idea where?”

She tilted her head and put a hand on my shoulder. “Poor Hades, will you ever find someone who deserves you?”

I removed her hand from my shoulder with a bit more force than necessary. “It wasn’t consensual.”

“Isn’t that your working theory on what happened to me? That I was charmed.” Her gray eyes bored into mine. “You want so badly for me to be a victim. Did you ever stop and wonder if maybe I just don’t love you?”

I ignored her use of the present tense. “At the time it was easier to assume you weren’t an opportunistic bitch,” I replied calmly. “I’m not here about you. I’m trying to find her, and you haven’t answered my question.”

“Do you love her?” Jealousy flamed to life in Hera’s eyes.

“Exclusively. You still haven’t answered me. Where would Zeus keep her?”

She kept her gaze locked with mine as though she were trying to unnerve me with her proximity. “What makes you think I would know?”

I took a measured breath. What I wanted to do was threaten to throw her into Tartarus until she remembered how to answer questions. But Hera fed on anger like most people breathe air. If I snapped, she’d be in control. Hera had controlled enough of my life.

“You were many things, Hera, but oblivious was never one of them.”

Hera’s gaze went hard. “Zeus and I didn’t exactly have pillow talks. If you’ll recall, he sucked the life from me and threw me down a mountain the moment I outlived my usefulness.”

“What I recall is you bringing down the mountain with you and single handedly ending the era of Olympus.”

Hera’s eyebrows rose and her lips pursed into an “O” shape.

“What?” I asked. “You thought it escaped my notice that Olympus’ fall coincided with your demise? I was around when you created this abomination. I remembered some of your . . . unusual design flaws. You’re the one who did all the marketing, too. When the mortals saw Olympus fall, they thought it meant the gods had died. So the gods did.”

“You’ve always paid entirely too much attention to me.”

~@~

Olympus is a mountain in Macedonia Greece that was believed to be the home of the gods. According to the Iliad, it looked a lot like the Acropolis. It had large, golden gates  guarded by the three goddesses of the seasons, the Horae. It had a massive palace for Zeus, lesser palaces for the gods, and amazing stables for the immortal horses (some of whom were sometimes gods in horse shape, I can only assume). The peak of themountain functioned as Zeus’s throne, and the Muses lived in the northern foot of the mountains.

An interesting point of note: inside the palace there were a lot of automatons (animated metal statues, like robots only they predate robots so they were magic and sometimes sentient) made by Hephaestus.

The mountain may or may not have been named for a giant named Olympus who, depending on the myth, may or may not have been responsible for raising young Zeus.

In my version of the story, the actual Mount Olympus crumbled, palace and all (thus solving the conundrum in the meme presented above) and people lost faith in the gods. The Mount Olympus in Greece today is just another mountain in the range that was close enough in size and location for people generations later decide it was the one featured in mythology.

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