[WP] “A new follower! How pleased I am for your gifts and here I thought you mortals forgot me,” the figure said as you looked on confused. You weren’t religious but a mere history buff studying the Greeks. Now you were the sole “follower” of a forgotten goddess standing before you.
“You came!” the voice exclaims.
The adventure suddenly straightens, having been bent down and brushing at some writing at the base of the statue. His brush is still held aloft, and he turns around to look as if he were a schoolteacher turning away from a blackboard to address a disruptive student.
The surrounding cavern is dank as several pools of water sit around him, while more can be heard dribbling down from the mossy surfaces of the walls. He turns back to the statue that he had been studying.
Its figure is carved out of white marble and wears a flowing dress. She is barefoot, raising up on the toes of one foot while the other is drawn up and pointing behind her as if she is mid-frolic. One hand is holding or pulling her dress to the side, perhaps preventing it from becoming unruly as she runs. The other arm is reaching up as a pair of birds alight to her extended index finger.
Light filtering in from above reflects onto the statue from the surrounding water, casting a marbling overlay on the figure. “I’m so happy!” the voice says, as the reflecting water warbles to the cadence of her words.
The adventurer roles his ankle on a rock when he hears her again, stumbling as he sees the shifting light.
“Oh, be careful,” the voice continues. “I can’t lose my only follower immediately after getting him,” she says, giggling.
“Ugh,” the adventurer starts. “Come again…” He looks down at the plaque he had been brushing and tries to sound out the words. “Hymn–essa?”
Hymnessa gasps. “And you even know my name? Oh, I am so happy! Why I could…I could just sing.”
Hymnessa starts into a Fa-La-La-La-La’ing and the adventurer could swear he’s even hearing birds singing in one of the nearby tunnels.
“Excuse me, Hymnessa….Hymnessa!” He has to yell as she continues singing and doesn’t acknowledge him.
“Oh yes, srrumm?…Oh, I’m so embarrassed. What is your name, you sweetheart, you?”
“It’s Kyle. Do you mind telling me what’s going on here? Are you really part of the Greek gods?”
“Oh, you don’t know?” She asks, wounded.
“I’m sorry, Hymnessa. I’ve studied a lot about your culture and have an extensive knowledge of the Greek gods, but I’ve never heard of you.”
“Do you have any idea why that might be?”
“Well, my brothers and sisters didn’t really think my domain was important for humankind…some of them even fearing that humans might use it as a weapon against us.”
Kyle suddenly blinks and shakes his head, not knowing what question to ask from the multitude that just piled up in his head. “Ok, who were your brothers and sisters?”
“I was the youngest of seven and born after Zeus and we–“
“What?! Zeus? The actual Zeus?”
“Yes? Was there another?”
“Well, there was Odin, but that’s an entirely different can of worms. I’m…I don’t even know where to begin. How? And Why? Where?”
“I don’t know…is it actually me you’re excited about or are you more interested in who my family is?”
Kyle shakes his head and puts his palm over his forehead. “I’m sorry, Hymnessa. This is just a really big deal and I’m just trying to take it all in. There was never any mention of a seventh sibling. Everything ends with Zeus and goes on to the founding of their…your pantheon. But you never came up, Hymnessa. Why haven’t I heard of you, considering who your family is?”
Silence stretches out for many moments as Kyle’s excited eyes pass back and forth over the statue’s surface. “What do you know of our father’s ending if you’ve never heard of me?”
“It was Zeus. He freed your other brothers and sisters and orchestrated the over throwing of Kronos, leading to the installation of your family’s rule.”
“Zeus?! Good–great! I’m happy that he managed that. So very, very happy that they never needed my help at all.”
Kyle looks back and forth between the statue and the surroundings, also glancing at his hands, only to realize he doesn’t know what to do with them.
“Please, just leave me alone, Kyle. You have my gratitude for visiting, but I just want to be by myself now.”
“Hymnessa…I…” Kyle trails off and looks back down at the brush in his hand. “I’m sorry, Hymnessa,” he begins again. “I’m a scholar, you see? And while I try to learn as much as I can, sometimes I read things that aren’t the most reliable. So, I apparently read some things from some people that didn’t know what they were talking about. If you wouldn’t mind, I would love to hear more about you and what happened. Can you help me understand so that I can share your story?”
Hymnessa sniffles as she seems to consider. “Are you sure you want to know about me, Kyle? I’m apparently not as useful as the rest of my family, so I wouldn’t want to burden you with wasted time.”
Kyle shakes his head as he takes a seat on a nearby rock protrusion. “Don’t be silly, Hymnessa. You sound like a beautifully spirited goddess, and I truly want to hear about, then spread your story. So please, tell me.”
Kyle settles forward, his elbows on his knees and his fingertips meeting their opposite twin. He stares at her statue, patiently waiting like a kid staring at a Christmas tree full of wrapped presents.
“Well,” Hymnessa began. “We all chose domains that were reflections of our temperaments and interests. Zeus chose the sky so that he could continue looking down on those beneath him. Poseidon took the sea, a reflection of his fluid, carefree, go-with-the-flow nature. Hades took the underworld, ever undermining and scheming against others. Hera guarded marriage and family values to reflect her bond with the rest of us…rest of them.”
Hymnessa pauses, sniffling as she digests her own story. Kyle doesn’t speak and just allows her the moment to compose her thoughts and self.
Hymnessa clears her throat. “Hestia,” she continues, “Hestia oversaw hearth and fire, a keeper of the flame, as she valued security and safety within one’s own space. And Demeter helped Gia, becoming a goddess of harvest fertility.”
Kyle smiles and speaks when Hymnessa pauses again. “I noticed you forgot one, and perhaps, the one most important. So, what is your domain, Hymnessa?”
“Dreaming,” Hymnessa says simply.
“Because you liked to dream?” Kyle asks.
“Yeah, of better places and better times. When Gia helped my mother give birth to me on Crete, it was my dreaming of what…how things could be…how they should be that led me to freeing my brothers and sisters. From there, my foolish talks of freedom and a beautiful life led to organizing, orchestrating and overthrowing our father. It all happened because of me and my stupid dreams, only for my siblings to realize that dreams were just too dangerous, burying both me and my dreams.”
Kyle lowers his forehead into his palm as he tries to process her story. It was a lot to take in and completely undermines everything he previously knew. He tries to imagine retelling her story and the looks that he would receive. ‘Oh, the goddess told you herself, did she?’ they would undoubtedly say. And if it had been relayed during the time of ancient Greeks, it would have been heresy.
Kyle thanks her for her tale and the two continue talking about her history as she tries to help him discover a tangible way to bring her existence back into the world of humankind.