Psyche and Eros, part nine

Psyche wondered at the wispy
feel of intangibility that clung
to Hades, as she followed the wall
between Styx and Asphodel Plain

the cries of the shades, both on
the far bank, and behind the wall,
sent shivers down her back, as
Psyche contemplated her life

she had been truly blessed, and
she cursed herself for being so
easily led astray, for the good
she had selfishly wasted

Psyche knew the gods had seen fit
to give her exactly what she had
prayed for, and this was the
penance for taking it for granted

a low growl snapped her from
her reverie, and before her stood
the guardian to the gates, the
fierce beast, Cerberus

the six eyes stared at her, a lack
of understanding flashed through
them, they were to keep shades in
Hades, to prevent any escapes

the emerald eyed head sniffed the
air, while the perpetually scowled
center stared warily, and the blue
eyed head whined in uncertainty

Psyche quaked in the large dog’s
presence, never believing she
would ever see the hound while
still among the living

a voice called softly, melodious
and pure, “heel boy, allow our
visitor entrance, such a beautiful
lass, yet so sorrowful as well”

Psyche gazed as the large black
beast lay down, the three heads
watching her motionless on the
rocky ground of the underworld

“my name is Psyche, i have been
set on trials by Lady Venus, and
am here at her behest, thank you
for granting me passage”

laughter that brought to mind
the rustle of green leaves on a
spring breeze, carried to Psyche,
and she felt the tension drain

behind Cerberus an iron wrought
gate of metal pulled directly
from the underworld, the ribs
of the world itself, slid open

“welcome to the realm of my dour
husband, Psyche, your beauty is
whispered of by the gods, and i
see they do not exaggerate”

Psyche entered Asphodel and was
surprised to see a endless fields
of wildflowers that stretched out,
a culmination of color and scent

shades lounging in the swaying
grass smiled at her as she passed,
Psyche felt overwhelmed at the
tranquilty of the flowered meadow

a large castle carved from a
solid piece of onyx slowly came
into focus, a dark stain amid
the verdant green and flowers

Psyche approached the castle,
noting how severe the angles of
the gemstone walls cut at the
air, a wound of precious stone

and standing in the doorway was
a solemn pale figure in armor
the color of night, a chunk of
amethyst gleamed on his chest

Psyche knelt as the overwhelming
presence of the lord of the
underworld, “Lord Hades, it is
a privilege to see your realm”

Hades stood without emotion for
a long moment before a woman, one as lovely as Venus herself,
stepped out of the shadows

“welcome to our home, fair
Psyche, pardon my husband, he is
solemn, but beneath his armor
beats the heart of a poet

“now please, join us and explain
this foolishness Venus has set
you upon, for all her beauty. she
is a cold and vicious goddess”

Psyche entered as bade, and
followed the Lord and Lady of
the underworld into the bowels
of their great onyx castle

they settled at a large table
and Psyche relayed her tale,
Hades and Persephone listened
silently to the trials she faced

as she finished, tears streaming
down her face, Persephone came
close and placed her arm around
Psyche’s heaving shoulders

Hades let a cold smile briefly
cross his face, “so the trickster
Eros finally failed at his own
game, it was bound to happen

“all of his tricks were but a
ruse to hide his own romantic
heart, and now he reaps the seeds
he so carelessly has sown”

Persephone rolled her eyes at
her husband and held Psyche
even tighter, “ignore him or i
will tell the tale of our meeting”

Hades blushed a deep crimson,
quickly closing his mouth to hold
back an rebuttal and both of the
lovely ladies chuckled softly

instead Hades said, “my love,
you are the most beautiful
goddess and own my heart, i shall
love you no matter what”

Persephone smiled, “where is the box Venus gave you, dear child,
we shall happily assist you and
your trial for true love”

Psyche could not speak, emotion
thick in her throat, and held
forth the ornate box Lady Venus
had given her in the woods

a soft glow of pink surrounded
Persephone and Psyche watched
as beauty ebbed slightly before
she snapped the box closed

“take this back to Venus, be sure
to let her know that she will
one day pay for this boon, that
the underworld will remember”

Persephone handed the box back,
and with a single glance from
Hades, her beauty was fully
restored as if nothing happened

Hades stood, “tell Eros that i
send my congratulations to him,
but that i still recall the
mischief he has wrought before”

Psyche gave her thanks as Hades
opened a portal of shimmering
purple through which Psyche
stepped back into the world above

she felt her heart pounding at
the success of this final task
now complete, soon she would be
with her beloved Eros once again

impulsively she decided to open
the box, wanting to take a small
bit of the beauty for when she
finally saw her husband again

instead of the soft pink glow,
a thick mist flowed from beneath
the ornate lid, and Psyche fell
to the ground asleep like the dead

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