Once. He had been her greatest love. A long time ago. Almost beyond memory. But goddesses rarely forget their great loves unless the Moirai intervene, and then those meddlings become ballads and poems and mosaics painstakingly pieced together on the floors of bathhouses. No, she hadn’t forgotten the passion they shared.
King and Queen of the seas. They roiled the waves with their bodies, they formed the shores, and fomented the deep ocean volcanoes into eruption. They rose and fell together, as one, and became the heartbeat of the earth.
But that was before. When the world was new. When her children leapt and swam around her. When he commanded the tides. How could they have possibly known that their love would end?
When the great pods and rookeries began to be hunted and slaughtered and the brilliant colors of the oceans dimmed, polluted and choked with poisons and plastics, she demanded he act.
Wipe them off the earth, she told him.
Lay waste and decimate, she snarled.
Instead, he allowed himself to be diminished, crushed and crippled. A sacrifice she could not fathom.
She could hardly stand to look upon him. She escaped to the far reaches of the globe, gathering the whales and dolphins, the seals and walruses to her breast, and weeping such tears of grief that the glaciers cracked and calved and shook the water.
She sent the sharks to warmer waters, vibrating their otoliths with destroy, maim, frighten.
She wept for the schools and howled for the hatchlings.
Then came the day she realized he was gone. Simply gone. She searched far and wide, high and low, but his rule had ended. She the widowed queen.
The King is Dead; Long live the Queen.
For lifetimes, she mourned. Then. She woke on the ocean floor, curled inside the deepest trench. The frigid water had surrounded, rocked her like a lover’s embrace.
Now she was done with that.
She filled her mind, her heart, her formidable body with rage. She swallowed great gulps of the toxic, seething gasses she found close to the core of her world. She would boil the briney vast with outrage and righteousness. She would dry the oceans, turn it all to ash. And then she would sink to her knees amongst the burnt bones and shells, cradling her body. Her womb filled with the Weddell Sea.
She would gestate.
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