3.3 Baby’s First Words

A feast there was. My sisters and I were all in attendance. So were all of the Twelve, as well as their spouses, lovers, and/or resident offspring. Calliope and I hadn’t told Apollo that this wouldn’t be my first time seeing Ixion. We’d decided it was better to keep my Helmet of Darkness a secret for awhile. Plus, Apollo would completely flip out if he knew how close I’d come to being involved in one of Zeus and Hera’s conflicts.

Aphrodite did bring Beroe as ordered. Beroe, now in the upper range of toddlerhood, still hadn’t spoken a word. We all hoped this trend would continue. Aphrodite had demanded and obtained her own table on the premise that this feast was to be Beroe’s big debut at court. The table was conveniently filled with people Beroe knew and liked. Eros and Euphrosyne were on either side of Aphrodite. Psyche sat by Eros, and Aglaea rounded out the circle between them. I couldn’t help noticing that this arrangement had Beroe surrounded by empaths, all of whom were capable of affecting others’ emotions as well as sensing them.

We Muses were on stage tuning our instruments. In the center of the banquet hall, Zeus sat at the head of a long table. Hera sat at his right. Their daughter Hebe stood, acting as her father’s cupbearer. To Hera’s right were Demeter, Hestia, Athena, and Artemis. To Zeus’ left was an empty seat. To its left were Ares, Apollo, Hephaestus, a blank seat reserved for Hermes, and Dionysus. Aphrodite’s table was to the right of this one. It was the same size as the other tables around the room, but hers was placed with a certain prominence that set it apart. Persephone had followed through on her compromise and gone home at Summer Solstice a few days earlier without ever having met her granddaughter.

Zeus gave us a sign. We began our introductory music. I glanced at Aphrodite’s table. Beroe was still sleeping in her mother’s arms. Zeus rose from his seat. “My brethren; my children,” he said. “One whom I will not name has accused my faithful subject of treachery, betrayal, and murder.” Poseidon. He wasn’t naming Poseidon. We all knew he meant Poseidon. “I am a just and loving ruler. I will not let such slander stand against those in my service. Today it is my pleasure to present to you a man chief among mortals for his courage, integrity, and justice; one cruelly deprived of that which was promised him.” Was it my imagination, or was the last part a jab at Hera? Had I seen a brief flash of anger in Hera’s stoic face? Had anyone else? “Gods and Goddesses of Olympus, I present to you my good and faithful servant, Ixion, King of the Lapiths!”

Ixion appeared, accompanied by Hermes, as Zeus announced his name. We met his appearance with appropriate fanfare. Ixion knelt before Zeus. All the motions were right, but I got a good look at his face. There was no doubt what he was thinking. I wondered whether he was smart enough to keep his thoughts to himself.

“Rise,” said Zeus. “Sit with me at my table.”

“Thank you, my lord Zeus,” Ixion said as he stood. “It’s not every day that a man is honored by his bride’s murderer.”

Zeus gave us a sign again. We stopped playing. The room fell silent. I told myself it was a good thing I hadn’t gotten attached to the moron.

“My lord,” said Athena as she rose from her seat, shield in hand, “I beg you to bear in mind that you are honoring this mortal as a display of your justice over Poseidon’s petty vengeance. To strike him down now would make you look foolish, and Poseidon wise and temperate by comparison.”

“Athena, wisest of my children,” said Zeus. I love how we get all proper and courtly when there are mortals around. “Never forget that I am the source of your wisdom. I have no intention of striking this man down for drawing a false conclusion. But I will correct him. Ixion, my good and faithful servant, I know not who told you that I killed your bride, but you are mistaken. In fact, my wife Hera killed her because she was jealous of her beauty and her charm. I hope you will forgive her as I have. Can you blame her? It’s a hard enough trial to spend every day surrounded by goddesses of such rare beauty,” he said as he waved his hand around the room, a room full of goddesses he’d cheated with and the sons and daughters he’d conceived with them. “How much harder must it be to have her beauty matched, nearly eclipsed, by a mortal woman such as your late Princess? Especially a mortal with such a joyful, vibrant, lusty spirit, unmatched by Hera even in her youth.”

Ixion faced Zeus, steadfast, indignant, furious. “You betray your lust for my Dia. God or no, you will not speak of her again. And you should be ashamed to speak so of your wife in her presence, before her court, before her friends. How cruel are the Fates to take one from me whom I treated as a goddess, while they leave you a goddess whom you barely treat as human.”

Silence fell once again. Until, in the blink of an eye, Euphrosyne appeared between Zeus and Ixion. She placed a hand on each one of them and smiled one of her warmest, most mirthful smiles. Eros flew after her and hovered behind Zeus’ chair. Hephaestus sat tensed with his hand on his cane.

“My Lords, look around us,” said Euphrosyne. “Everyone worked so hard to get the banquet hall ready for this feast. See those streamers? Hestia spent hours getting them just the right shades to match the palette of the Lapithian landscape. And we have the Muses themselves here to provide entertainment. You’ll never hear more wonderful music in your life. And the food! It comes from Demeter’s gardens, Dionysus’ vineyards, and Artemis’ hunting grounds. Wouldn’t it be best to forget all this talk and start feasting already?”

Zeus laughed. He seemed to have completely forgotten that a mortal had just told him to STFU. “Muses, play on!” We obeyed. “Athena may be the wisest of my children,” said Zeus, “but I believe this lady is the wisest of our court. Ixion, this is Euphrosyne, Goddess of Mirth and Merriment, daughter of Hephaestus.”

“A pleasure, My Lady,” Ixion bowed his head. He was relaxing now, too. “And this is your father, with his cane?”

Hephaestus raised a hand in silent assent.

“Mortal tales do you no kindness, Lord Hephaestus,” Ixion bowed his head again. “You are far more handsome than our poets, playwrights, and priests would have us believe. Truly, both you and your daughter favor your mother, the Lady Hera. The Fates were most kind to you in that.”

“Are you making a play for my wife or her son?” Zeus laughed. “Come now, I can’t have a mortal make a cuckold of me right before my eyes.” That had to be Euphrosyne’s effect. If Zeus seriously thought Ixion was hitting on Hera, the feast would’ve come to a swift and violent end. Instead, he was treating the idea as so far-fetched that it could only be a joke. “Hera, my dear, why don’t you introduce our other guest of honor and take the head of her table? It won’t do to leave you where this mortal can flatter you all night.”

“Can a woman such as the Lady Hera escape flattery anywhere?” Ixion bowed toward her.

Hera was still silent, angry, mortified. Sending her away from the head table was a pretty big deal. Not to mention the fact that she and Aphrodite had a long-standing Alpha Bitch rivalry going on. Euphrosyne skittered over to Hera’s side of the table and took her hands. “You finally get to meet my little sister!” she said with delight. “Well, she’s not really my sister, but she’s Eros’ sister, so she’s kind of like my sister, and Aphrodite’s family to me anyway because she’s Eros’ mom.”

Euphrosyne’s magic was working on even Hera. Hera followed Euphrosyne back to her table. Eros followed them, too. He stood, or hovered, rather, so Hera could have his seat next to Aphrodite. “So this is the mysterious daughter you’ve been keeping from us,” Hera said, still standing, looking over the cherubic, tow-headed girl who still slept in Aphrodite’s arms. “Will you wake her up so I can give her a proper introduction?”

“Can’t you introduce her while she’s asleep?” Aphrodite hesitated.

“She’ll be fine,” said Euphrosyne as she laid a hand on Beroe’s chubby little arm.

“Wake up, honey,” Aphrodite whispered in her ear. “Wake up. There are some people who want to meet you. You need to be good and quiet for Mommy. Can you do that?”

Beroe opened her eyes. She saw Aphrodite, then Euphrosyne, then Eros, then Hera. Calliope must have seen the look of startled recognition with which Beroe was staring at Hera, because she deftly segued our music to Beroe’s favorite lullaby. We’d planned for that possibility in advance, of course.

“Gods and Goddesses of the Olympian Court,” said Hera. “As your Queen, it is my honor to introduce the newest of the Olympian goddesses. I present to you the daughter of Aphrodite and Adonis, granddaughter of Hades and Persephone, Beroe.”

The crowd responded with adoring applause. Beroe kept staring at Hera in silence. “Can you stand, my lovely?” Hera asked Beroe. “You should bow to the Court.”

Beroe slid off Aphrodite’s lap. She gave an awkward little bow. Then she climbed back into Aphrodite’s lap, still without a word. Her expression made it clear that she didn’t like the attention.

Hera took a seat, too. Everyone (except, of course, the musicians) got to the actual feasting part of the feast. I stayed focused on Aphrodite’s table as I went on with the show.

“Beroe, honey,” said Aphrodite as she cut up some food for her daughter, “do you know who this lady is?”

“Yes.”

A wave of panic rippled through the table and the band. Beroe’s first word. Could we be fortunate enough that it wouldn’t be followed by a second?

“Who am I, dear?” Hera asked in amusement.

Just say Hera, just say Hera, just say Hera, I thought. I tried to remember if we’d ever showed her images of Hera, or if her only knowledge of Hera was from the memories of people Hera had killed. I prepared for the worst in case it was the latter. So did everyone else at the table.

“I saw you die.”

None of us had prepared for that.

“Stop the music,” Hera ordered.  “Stop everything. Everyone, silence.” We all obeyed. “Now, dear, tell me again what you just said?”

Beroe looked at Hera. There was no fear in her eyes, eyes that looked too old for her face. Only a strange mix of curiosity and pity. She repeated, clear enough for the whole room to hear, “I saw you die.”

“Do you know what ‘die’ means?” Hera asked her.

“Yes,” she said. “Like my daddy. It means you can only live in Hades.”

“Beroe, why don’t we-” Euphrosyne tried to distract her, but Hera cut her off.

“How do you know you saw me die?” asked Hera.

“I know what dead feels like,” said Beroe. “You died. I saw you. He called you Hera.”

“Who called me Hera?”

“The man with the white hair and the lightning. How did you come back alive? Will my daddy come back alive, too?”

At this, Zeus turned to face her.

Beroe took one look at him and changed completely. Not in a shapeshifty way. Godlings don’t get those powers until they’re older. More in a freaked-out toddler meltdown way. “He did it!” she screamed. “She died and he killed her! He killed lots of them!” Euphrosyne and Psyche both rushed to comfort Beroe. Before long she fell asleep again.

“Well,” said Zeus, “it seems, Aphrodite, that you were right to wait until your daughter was older to bring her to court. In fact, I’m not sure she ever needs to be a part of our court. I’m giving you the next ten months for maternity leave. When your daughter’s growing year is done, she can go wherever she wants. Just not here.”

Aphrodite teleported away with Beroe in her arms. We couldn’t follow. We had to finish the set.

 

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The moment our set was done and we’d taken our final bows, we Muses left the party and met up with Aphrodite in our throne room on Parnassus. Apollo was there with us. So were Eros and Psyche, and, to our surprise, Artemis and Athena.

“We have an offer to make,” said Athena.

“Your Museum is full to capacity,” said Artemis, “and ours has eight empty rooms. It would probably be a lot easier on everyone if Aphrodite spent the rest of Beroe’s growing year on Helicon with us.”

“If you take the room at the end of the other wing, we’ll never even know you’re there,” said Athena. “I mean, you’ll never even know we’re there.”

“House rules?” asked Aphrodite. “How do you feel about visitors?”

“We’re not exactly celibate these days,” said Artemis. She acted annoyed at having to make this revelation, but no one had really asked for it. Especially not her brother. “No reason you should be.”

“Well, obviously,” said Aphrodite. “That’s non-negotiable. I just meant friends and family. I have friends and family, you know.”

“Yeah; Eros, Psyche, and Euphrosyne think they live here now, too,” I said.

“That’s fine, as long as Eros can keep his arrows off my huntresses,” said Artemis. “They already think that, since I’m sleeping with Athena, they can turn my camp into a dating service.”

“Fair enough,” said Aphrodite.

“And no love spells on me and Athena either,” said Artemis. “It’s not necessary. We’re already lovers.”

“All right, we get it!” said Apollo.

“Won’t be a problem,” said Aphrodite. “When can I move in?”

“Any time,” said Athena.

“We’ll help you move,” Calliope said to Aphrodite. “And if you need anything, please feel free to summon us.”

“Any of us,” said Apollo. To Artemis and Athena, he said, “Thank you. Things were getting a little crowded here.”

“I’m glad we could help,” said Athena. “Beroe’s a special little girl, and for now, a vulnerable one. It would be best if all of us direct our efforts toward keeping her safe and alive.”

I wondered if anyone else noticed the way Athena stared at me when she said that.

 

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But there was no time to find out. Athena, Artemis, and Apollo were summoned back to Olympus to discuss what would be done about Ixion. I didn’t want to miss that, so I got my Helmet of Darkness and followed.

All of the Twelve except for Aphrodite were seated in the Olympian throne room. Ixion knelt in the center, unable to hear or see his judges and jurors. I stood silently beside him, as invisible to the other gods and goddesses as they were to him.

“The solution looks simple enough to me,” said Demeter. “Give him a potion of Lethe water so that he forgets what he heard.”

“Nice try, but that won’t get Persephone to come back,” said Hermes. “She can always use me for a delivery boy. Plus, I think Apollo keeps diluted Lethe water on hand at Parnassus anyway.”

“Mortals are extremely sensitive to its effect,” said Apollo. “It’s difficult enough to mix a formula that will make a god completely forget a small, specific window of time. If we give it to Ixion, we risk making him forget the entire feast, which defeats the purpose of having the feast in the first place. One drop too much and he could forget years of his life. Can’t you just tell him Beroe isn’t a prophecy goddess, and that she was only a confused child?”

“How can you be certain she isn’t a prophecy goddess?” said Zeus.

“Are you saying you don’t know that you’re not going to kill your wife?” said Artemis.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Zeus.

“You can hardly blame her for asking,” said Athena. I got the impression that she wasn’t thrilled with Artemis’ timing, but that she was seizing the moment for her own agenda. “I don’t know what Beroe saw, or if she really saw anything, but it wouldn’t hurt to reassure your court that you don’t plan to kill any of us.”

“Will you listen to yourself?” said Zeus. “Each and every one of you is immortal. I couldn’t kill any of you even if I wanted.”

“Of course I thought of that,” said Athena, “but we can’t all be wisdom deities. First of all, Beroe’s definition of death was ‘you can only live in Hades.’ The Titans are immortal, but they’re eternally bound in Hades. It’s not unreasonable to fear that you could do the same to any of us; and out of the Twelve, Hera is the greatest potential threat to your power. Your lightning bolts are literally the only tactical advantage you have over her.”

“I have no intention of usurping my husband’s crown,” said Hera. “Why should I, when I have one of my own?”

“Of course, My Lady,” said Athena. “I’m only speaking theoretically. In reality, I doubt Zeus would be foolish enough to banish you. You’re too invaluable as an asset. He needs you as an ally in the event that any of the other gods ever rose against him, especially any other Children of the Titans. But what about the rest of us? Hermes and Dionysus only have full immortality because Zeus granted it to them. Their mothers are both long dead. Dionysus’ mother died before she’d carried him to term.” I noticed Athena chose to gloss over the details. Hermes’ mother had simply reached the end of a nymph’s long lifespan and faded into the forest, but Dionysus’ mother’s death was one of the many attributed to Hera’s jealousy. Another death that, now that I thought of it, had no witnesses aside from Hera and Zeus. “Why shouldn’t they worry that Zeus would take away their immortality if he decided they no longer deserved it?”

“If I may say so,” Dionysus interjected, “as long as you leave me my wine and my cock, I don’t care what else you take.”

“Your mouth and your hands?” said Hermes. The brothers shared a laugh. I forced myself not to join them. Damn it. Apollo was snickering, and I wouldn’t be able to mock him about it later.

“The coup begins as we speak,” Zeus rolled his eyes.

“And what about Hephaestus?” Athena continued. “He’s Hera’s son, not yours. If you depose his mother, what happens to him? And to his demigod wife, who was only granted full immortality by Hera’s grace?”

“Hephaestus would prefer to be left out of this,” he spoke for himself.

“Athena, my dear, your strategic thinking is incomparable, but not infallible,” said Zeus. “Hephaestus is safer than anyone. With the Cyclops gone, he’s my only source of weaponry. Others have tried to surpass Hephaestus’ skill over the centuries. None have even come close to matching it.”

“But the Cyclops didn’t leave Hephaestus the spell that makes you the sole wielder of the lightning bolts,” said Athena. “Once your supply runs out, they’re gone. Hephaestus will have to construct a replacement. The Cyclops kept your spell a secret, but would the Son of Hera keep it from his own mother?”

“What did I ever do to yo- Never mind,” said Hephaestus.

“Very well,” said Zeus. “Thanks to Athena’s overactive imagination, I suppose it’s necessary to make this announcement: I have no plans to strike against any of you, least of all Hera, and I certainly have neither the intent nor the means to kill any of you.”

“I think we’d all feel better if you swore to that,” said Athena.

“I swear I will never kill any of you,” said Zeus.

“Any of who?” Athena asked.

“Any of you currently gathered in this room,” said Zeus.

“Fair enough,” Athena agreed. “Now that you’ve ruled out killing Ixion, let’s figure out what we are going to do with him.”

“You think you’re so clever, don’t you?” said Zeus. “I never had any intention of killing Ixion. How would it look if I were rewarding him one moment and ordering his death the next? Besides, Ixion has done no wrong. I am a just and gracious ruler, as you all know. It would be cruel to kill a man for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“But we cannot let him tell the mortals what he heard,” said Hera. “No matter what we might do to discredit him, once the rumors start that there’s infighting among the Twelve, we can do nothing to stop them. Any divine retribution toward the accursed talebearers would only give credence to their tales.”

“So we can’t kill him, we can’t erase his memories, and we can’t let him go back to his kingdom and tell everyone what he heard,” said Athena.

“The answer, my dear,” said Zeus, “is quite simple. Perhaps too simple for one as given to overthinking as you are,” he laughed. “We keep Ixion here on Olympus for the time being. He has a good steward at his own court. His kingdom will do well in his absence. Hestia, see to it that guest quarters are prepared for him in the lower ring.”

“Yes, my lord.”

“Hermes, go to Ixion’s palace and tell his steward that the king is to be my personal guest for an indefinite time.”

“When you say your personal guest…?” said Hermes.

“Oh, no, I said ‘guest,’ not ‘cupbearer,'” said Zeus. “Boys like Ganymede only come along once an age.”

“I certainly hope you mean that,” said Hera. “I haven’t promised not to kill anyone.”

“You’ll keep such talk to yourself while our guest is with us,” Zeus warned. “Whenever we do send him back, we want him to go with tales of a unified, harmonious Olympus.”

“You being faithful to your own wife for the duration of his visit might go a long way toward creating that illusion,” said Hera.

“Nonsense,” said Zeus. “Poseidon has as many lovers as he pleases, and Amphitrite never speaks a cross word to him or about him. Is it really asking too much for you to be more agreeable?”

Demeter spoke up. “You’ve never heard my daughter, the Queen of Hades, speak a word against her husband except in jest. Hades is not the husband I would have chosen for my Persephone. If it were up to me, she never would have bound herself to one man for eternity at all. But I will say this in his favor: Persephone regards her husband with honor because he conducts himself honorably. If you’re so concerned about your good name, Zeus, I suggest you do likewise.”

Zeus responded with a mock slow clap. “It’s good to know that, after nearly a thousand years, you’ve finally become reconciled to your daughter defying you and marrying against your will,” he said. “And I might possibly be inclined to take your admonition the slightest bit seriously if I didn’t know you were one of Poseidon’s innumerable mistresses.”

“You take that back!” Demeter shouted. “You know as well as any of our brethren that Poseidon should have been mine! He was mine until he became obsessed with that simpering sea witch. He had as little use for marriage as I did until she came along. And she didn’t even want him! Who knows what kind of spell has kept her enthralled with him all this time, and how long she’d stay if it were lifted!”

“So is the mortal guy staying here or what?” said Ares, whose attention span had been taxed beyond its limits.

“He is,” said Zeus. “Let us reveal ourselves to him and proclaim his fate. Dionysus, that is not what I meant by ‘reveal ourselves,’ and you know it.”

Zeus rose and stood by his throne. The rest of the gods and goddesses did the same. Watching Ixion’s face, I could tell when he was able to see them.

“Ixion, my son,” said Zeus. “In one short day, you have proven such a blessing to our court that we wish to bless you in return. We invite you to be our guest here on Mount Olympus. Even now, Hermes is leaving to tell your court the news.”

Ixion still knelt, but his bearing was indomitable. He knew he was being played, and he knew the smartest thing he could do was play along. He shifted his glance toward Hera and said, “I accept your blessing with gratitude, My Lord and Lady. May I ever continue in your good graces.”

 

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So that was that. Ixion moved into the palace on Mount Olympus. Aphrodite and Beroe moved into the old Museum on Mount Helicon with Artemis and Athena. And oddly enough, nothing particularly eventful happened during Beroe’s growing year. Looked like keeping her “safe and alive” might not be such a challenge after all.

 

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Journal Entry 1, by Beroe, age 6 months

 

Psyche told me to start keeping a stupid journal last week, and since my next session is tomorrow, I guess I’d better start. I don’t get the point. It’s not like I’m going to let her read it. Don’t I tell her enough already??? I’m going to tell Artemis about this. Maybe Artemis can talk Psyche out of making me keep a stupid journal. If anyone can, she can. Artemis is like the most awesome goddess ever. No, the most awesome anything ever!!!!

My six-month birthday was today. Psyche says I’m like a teenager in human years now. I don’t know why she keeps bringing up human years, because I don’t know any humans. I guess it’s because she used to be one. I keep forgetting about that. It’s weird. Anyway, Mom had a big party for me. Artemis invited all the huntresses and most of them showed up, Aglaea and Hephaestus came with Eros, Psyche, and Euphrosyne, and Apollo and all the Muses came. It was cool seeing them. Calliope doesn’t come with Apollo and Thalia as much anymore. I don’t know why. I miss her. She was so cool. I liked that fountain she used to let me play with. Whatever. I guess that’s kid’s stuff. Anyway, I’ve pretty much lost Dad’s memories of Apollo (the weird ones anyway) so the brain bleach must be working. It’s like, I remember Dad liking him, but I don’t get flashbacks about making out with him or anything. I’ve lost most of his memories with Mom, too. Thank the Fates!!!!!!! Ugh, why are my parents so friggin’ obsessed with love and sex and all that stuff? So gross. I NEVER want a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. Or an anything inbetween friend. I can’t wait til I’m old enough to join Artemis’ huntresses. Officially. I’m practically one of them now. But Artemis says I have to wait til I’m at least a year old before I join.

It’s not fair. I’m good enough to be a huntress now. I can keep up with any of them at running or shooting. I can even beat a few of them. I can beat Eros at shooting. I can probably beat Artemis and Apollo, too, but they won’t let me try. They’re probably scared of being beaten by a kid.

Artemis does want me to be a huntress, though. You know how I know? She gave me a hunting chiton for my half-birthday!!! I’ve been begging Mom for one for ages, but she wants me to dress like a girl. A couple weeks ago I chopped my hair off with a hunting knife, and Mom made it grow back. And then she put nail polish on my fingers AND my toes! WTF is wrong with her? Why can’t I just dress the way I want to dress!!?? It’s MY body! I think there should be a rule that a mom can’t tell her daughter what to do anymore once the daughter’s taller than the mom. Aglaea thinks I might get beauty goddess powers when I get older. When she told me that I said I hoped I wouldn’t because beauty goddess stuff is stupid. But it would be cool if I could just snap my fingers and

OMS!!!!! I just tried it and it totally worked that time!!!!! My hair’s all chopped off and if Mom tries to grow it back, I can just chop it off again! Man, she’s going to freak! This is awesome!

Stupid makeup off: check.

Fingers unpolished: check.

Toes unpolished: check.

Nails trimmed super short like Artemis’: check.

Awesome! I’m going to go shoot some stuff now.

Damn it! Why did the freakin’ storm have to start right now? I HATE thunderstorms. The lightning brings up too many memories. I’m still trying to figure out that one where I saw Hera die. Psyche’s showing me how to find different people in my head and go through their memories. And I know it’s a memory, not a prophesy. I don’t have prophesies. So weird. So, I know I’m seeing Hera. I can feel her thinking “I’m Hera.” Which is kind of weird since I don’t go around thinking “I’m Beroe,” but whatever. Anyway, I see her looking at herself in the freakin’ mirror in their bedroom. It’s definitely Hera. And then Zeus comes in, and he’s yelling at her, and he kills her. I know I feel her die. I feel all of them die. I know what it feels like.

Wait, I never noticed that before. The last thing she thinks is “The baby.” She’s pregnant. She’s thinking about a baby inside her. I can feel it. She’s afraid it’s going to die, too. Man, I never want to be pregnant. Clio says Hera was only pregnant like four times, so this narrows things down. Is this what really happened to Hephaestus? Eros told me the story about Hera dropping him off the mountain, but how does Eros know that’s what happened? He wasn’t there. And it’s not like Hephaestus could remember. How does he know he got the story right? Everyone in this stupid pantheon lies about everything.

Come on, Beroe. Breathe. Focus. Try to get further back into Dead Hera’s brain. But not so far back that you remember Zeus boning her (soooo gross!). Remember…remember…remember…

Who’s Semele?

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5 thoughts on “3.3 Baby’s First Words

  1. Oooh, Semele! Ah, I love Dionysus’ mom (and Dionysus, lol). The fact that he was the only god of mortal origins always made him and his mom special to me- they have the human, mundane touch, no matter how weird their powers would be compared to the rest.

    I know Hera befriends her- perhaps in this version she doesn’t screw her over and attempts to carry the baby for her instead of Zeus?

  2. I really love how you’ve managed to weave so many different myths into one narrative. Now I can’t wait to see what’s going on with Semele. I always felt so sorry for her.

  3. I loved everything about this chapter, but can I say that the idea that Zeus can’t kill Thalia anymore was the best thing about it ?
    Also, I LOVE Beroe.

  4. Thanks for the comments, everyone! I haven’t been replying to them individually in the last couple of weeks because there’s not much I can say except “Spoilers” O:) Plus I’ve been crazy busy with an unrelated project that I’m trying to finish by the time Unraveled’s serial run is concluded. But I sooo appreciate seeing these comments and knowing readers are invested in the story!

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