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The Laurel

CHAPTER ONE

His white wavy hair gently grazed over his bronze shoulders as he looked up at the sky with storm grey eyes. He had done well to choose the heavens as his domain. The bright blue always soothed him and yet for some strange reason, at the same time it made him feel in control of his surroundings. He loved it up here; it was far away from the noise of humanity, away from the endless praying and muttering that went on in the world of mortal men. He couldn’t help but smile as he heard his brother Hades curse his name. He didn’t like his kingdom of darkness. But Zeus knew that it suited him well, given his mood swings and ill temper. It was one of the reasons mortals feared death. They all had to face Hades whether they liked it or not. His older brother had the charm of a raging bull.

He was at peace now that he was far away from the bickering gods and their addictions although he knew he shouldn’t talk: he had his addictions, too.

Addictions that he enjoyed.

He chuckled as he conjured up the nude figures of some of his favorite lovers. No matter how well he hid himself and his affairs, she would find out eventually. She always found out. She was always watching him. He burst out into laughter when he heard her loud booming footsteps. This was his favorite part of the day.

The large white doors in the chamber he shared with his wife burst open, leaving behind large cracks where the doorknobs struck the wall. A wild-eyed Hera stood at the doorway glaring at him. His sister, the goddess of marriage and married women. If she couldn’t keep her husband faithful to her, then there was very little hope for mortal women to hang on to their respective spouses. She was losing her followers, everyday less and less women got on their knees to pray to her. She couldn’t have that. She would lose some of her powers if she didn’t have women believing in her. She was slowly turning into the goddess of jealousy and revenge, and she didn’t even know it.

“Where are you hiding her?” Hera roared.

Her bright red hair flew in different directions, turning brighter and brighter as she got closer to her husband. Zeus stared at his wife. She reminded him of the Gorgon Medusa. Athena transformed her into a hideous creature with snakes for hair when she discovered that Medusa was no longer a virgin; it didn’t matter that she had been raped by Poseidon. There are many who say that her punishment was just, but Zeus didn’t agree with that. If it hadn’t happened in Athena’s temple, he would’ve spared the young woman of the horrors that she suffered shortly afterwards.

Poor woman, it was her bad luck that made her beautiful to the world. Now I have to deal with a woman who is beautiful on the outside but hideous on the inside.

He turned his attention back to his hollering wife. Hera’s hair looked as though it were ready to burst into flames. He could already see some tiny flames and sparks erupting from her skull. He tried to maintain a straight face as he looked at her. His grey eyes remained blank. No emotion. He had to ignore her questions if any of the women in his life were ever to survive. So, he did what came naturally…he lied.

“What are you talking about?” Zeus asked as he calmly looked at a clay figurine that was in an arena he created. It was a mock up of a stadium. The scenery changed depending on where the person traveled. It was the best way for him to keep up with the mortals he or any of the other gods were fixated on.

“You know exactly what I’m talking about. That little whore you’ve been seeing behind my back. You sneak away like a filthy snake when you think I’m not paying attention. When I find her, you’ll wish you had never picked me to be your wife.”

She transformed into a beautiful white peacock. She glared at him with black beady eyes. Her beautiful iridescent white plumage quivered and then in a puff of white smoke, she vanished. He knew she had gone down to the world of the mortals in search of his new lover.

Zeus ignored his wife’s angry rant and stared at the bright blue sky and the clouds lazily floating above him once more. Hera would never find her. She would waste her time for several months. His new lover was a young man, a shepherd. He succumbed to him easily enough. That’s the way it was with the mortals. All he had to do was show them a little power, and they bowed down before him. It was starting to get boring. He wanted something a bit more challenging…but not too challenging. He didn’t want to work so hard at something that it was no longer fun for him.

Once, when he was younger, he had loved Hera and no one else. But everyday he found women, and on occasion men, that filled him with curiosity. Mortals were such amazing creatures. He wanted to touch their skin, know their thoughts, and feel their hearts beating against his chest. He was fascinated with women of all shapes and sizes. Each one a different world. Such a variety. Different colored eyes, hair, and skin. He loved discovering the beauty that existed within each and every one of them. Women were his weakness. He thought of Hera and knew that she had no heart. The only thing she had inside of her was jealousy, anger, and rage. It was a rare sight, indeed, whenever she showed sympathy and warmth toward another being.

Zeus frowned when he heard a soft hum. He parted the clouds beneath his feet and searched the mortal world for the sound. His heart stopped when he found the source of the music.

I have found you little one, he thought with a smile. Ah…I know who you are.

He was gazing at Leto, daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe. She was bathing in the river. He felt his blood run hot as he watched her bathe. The clear water glistened and shimmered as it ran down her body. A few drops of water clung to her chin and fell to her chest, leaving a small trail down her abdomen, and lingering on the rim of her bellybutton for several moments. Then it continued its path until it reached her sex.

 

Zeus’ heart skipped a beat as the droplet dangled on her pubic hair until it finally fell down to the river, ending its seductive journey. He was envious of the water that touched her skin. Zeus watched with abated breath and hungry eyes. He wanted nothing more than to be the river that cleansed Leto’s body. He would take advantage that Hera was away and visit the new object of his lust. He transformed himself into a quail and descended down to the mortal world to meet the beautiful daughter of the Titans.



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