It was a withering away, the waning of her essence. A slow decay that he should have been well acquainted with, but he had descended into agony. Witness but also cause. And when alone he paced the endless road roaring at the void and when with others, he stood immobile and snarled.
He could not escape the knowledge of what he had believed. Before. He had objectified her in his mind, in the long-drawn-out musings about her. His Queen. How she would look, what she would wear, where she would sit. And when she would lie down.
Now, she was here and all of that had become a shameful remembering. It clung to him, repugnant. Her presence had shifted everything. He was on unsteady ground watching her fade. He thought she would anchor him, ground the core of him.
Instead, he had made her insubstantial and the wild, sunlit girl had become frail and despondent.
Hekate was consulted. The sharp, glinting edge of her cutting straight to the heart of him, the center of the matter. “She cannot thrive in this perpetual darkness,” she told him without apology. And then, in her way, added, “My Lord.”
He narrowed his eyes dangerously. He was many things, but master of the moon he was not. They had once been lovers, now she only showed her crone face to him. Complete unto herself. He pressed forward. “She will and she must. I decree it. Zeus has decreed it.
She spit at his feet. “Zeus. And who is he to issue such an edict? How many endless proclamations does Zeus make in a day’s time? An interfering god who has not the power he believes he has.”
“You disapprove.” He waved this away. “She is my bride.”
“And yet, I tell you. She will waste away in this place, like one of your Shades thinned by grief and beaten thinner by loss.”
“That’s preposterous. She is a goddess! Not one of the dead.”
“Did she come of her own accord? Request a tarriance in between dancing with her nymphs and lying in the protective arms of her mother? Or perhaps she chose to see for herself, her future bridegroom, when you sent word informing her of the God of Thunder’s declaration?”
“Tell me what to do!” he roared.
But of course, the Silver Lady did not flinch. Her demeanor effortlessly steady with a kind of wicked acquiescence in the corners of her lips.
“It’s meddling you want. But there will be a cost.”
“Everything has its price.”
“She will be queen.”
“She will want this? You can instill desire to reign beside me?”
“No. But we can tie her here, bind her to the Underworld, force her to return.”
“Do it!” He paused, “Return?”
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