Persephone Thesis: Essay Component "Happy is he among men upon earth who has seen these mysteries! __________________________________________________________________
It is generally accepted among historical scholars that the cult of Demeter and Persephone, or Kore, existed in Greece and the surrounding Mediterranean islands long before the traditional Olympian gods became entrenched. Her origins are Cretan . Like Aphrodite, the mother and daughter goddess represent a matriarchal form of fertility worship in the forms of crops and nature, and through this the cycle of birth, growth and death. This myth, however, has taken hold of imaginations from its evolutions into the Eleusinian mysteries of Ancient Greece, to the paintings of Victorian Europe, to today, each with their own distinctive takes and emphases on the story. Perhaps it is the fact that we know so little about the original tale of Persephone the daughter of Demeter, goddess of fertility, snatched away into the unforgiving Underworld that creates such curiosity within us. While we are intrigued by ancient myths, the myth of Persephone appears to hold a special place for women.
Unfortunately, the majority of our knowledge of the myth comes through the poet Homer and, later in the Roman era, Ovid. Both working in the strictly patriarchal world of Ancient Greece and Rome, their depiction of Persephones story comes almost entirely through her mother, Demeter, leaving a void where Persephones personality, story and thoughts should take place. We learn almost nothing about her or her forceful husband, Hades, and it is only recently that authors have begun to focus on Persephone as a character rather than a plot device. To place her character and purpose, however, is difficult. While she may have been worshipped long before the Olympians gods we are familiar with were instated in Greece, very little hard evidence of her nature and purpose survive. It is the prominence of the Eleusinian Mysteries in the Ancient Greek world that reminds us that Persephone must have been important, to have been a figure of worship in a cult that lasted to the Roman empire. This would suggest she was far more than the kidnapped child that Homers Hymn to Demeter makes her out to be.
Using a mixture of traditional and modern sources, I have attempted through this essay to tease out a more contemporary and believable version of Persephone. A modern audience may not feel at ease with the stagnant, Homeric version of Persephone we are given, yet to move back to a pre-Olympian version of the myth and ignore the better known tradition would be counter-productive. Therefore I wished to study both traditional and contemporary models of the Persephone story before creating my own work. This involved looking at the Eleusinian Mysteries and their cult and the few remains of pre-historic Greek religion, right through to feminist views on the story and modern retellings focussing on Persephone herself.
The Eleusinian mysteries Before studying any of the literary criticism and interpretations of the Persephone myth, it is vital to research the storys origins and meanings in their traditional contexts. While it is obvious that the myth still resonates with a modern day audience female writers in particular, a cross section of which I will look at later, are fond of revisiting the themes of the story one cannot ignore the original meanings of the myth, and the cult that grew around it.
The Eleusinian mysteries were one of the most secretive cults to flourish in Ancient Greek society. Because of this strict code of secrecy the cults practices remained completely unknown to those not initiated into them, well into the late Roman period and even then, the accuracy of the information leaked is considered dubious. A few solid facts are known about them, though. Firstly, that their worship was concerned with the fertility goddesses of Demeter and Persephone, and the changing of the seasons and growth of the crops. Secondly, some of the most important figures of Ancient Greek society such as Sophocles joined the cult, which resonated so strongly that people would set forth on pilgrimages to Eleusis from other countries simply to become initiated. Thirdly, the Eleusinian Mysteries were open to any and all people provided they were free of blood guilt the sin of murder and that they spoke Greek. This final point is perhaps the most important, for this inclusion wasnt the sort that ruled the Athenian elections, where all simply meant all male citizens of the polis. The Eleusinian mysteries were open to men, women and even slaves, one of the few perhaps even the only cults that were truly inclusive at the time . Evidence of its appeal through all classes can be seen in the manner of offerings left in the temples of Demeter and Persephone; where other gods such as Zeus, Hera and Athena boasted large marble votives, the majority of offerings to these goddesses temples were made of less expensive terracotta, a more accessible medium used by the lower classes . Perhaps its popularity is what made it important enough that every five years, a procession walked from the cemetery of Athens, the Kerameikos, to nearby Eleusis to commemorate Demeters months of searching for her lost daughter, part of which was known as The Greater Mysteries. These mysteries were not confined to Eleusis either, with evidence in other temples suggesting they were carried out across Greece , and perhaps even further abroad. With the cult as wide spread as it was, and with The Mysteries being carried out at Eleusis for almost two-thousand years and well into the Roman era, we can assume that although the rituals and story may have changed over the years, the worship of Demeter and Persephone carried on much longer than this .
While the Mysteries are presumed to be primarily concerned with the harvest and Demeters blessings on the earth, there is an undeniable undertone that they were also about death and rebirth. Thrice happy those among mortals who, having seen those Mysteries, will go down to Hades; only they can have true life there; for the rest, all there is evil, said Sophocles, strongly suggesting that the rites, and what was seen at them was thought to ensure a blissful afterlife in the Underworld, removing the fear of death from the initiates .
Initiates, regardless of gender, at least temporarily took on names with the feminine ending, implying that to truly understand the seasons and mans place within them, one must look at life through the female perspective . This is a very interesting notion due to the fact that Ancient Greece was a highly patriarchal society where women were required to spend the majority of their time within the house, and within their own quarters of the house. This lends itself to the theory that Demeter and Persephone, much like other goddesses such as Aphrodite, Artemis and Athena, were worshipped long before Ancient Greece became a patriarchal society. I shall expand further on this theory later in this essay.
Returning to the idea of Persephone and Demeters worship primarily focussing on the change of seasons and the harvest, the Mysteries appear to have been a later incarnation of a much older cult. It is possible that the two goddesses always shown as extremely close in all the Persephone myths were not originally linked. Demeter is specifically a Greek name, while Persephone is a variant on the non-Indo-European name Persephonia, implying that she may not have originated in Greece at all. The exact meaning of the name is not agreed upon by scholars, but it is always believed to hold negative or ominous associations which link Persephone to the role of a death goddess, even in pre-Greek tradition . How she became associated with Demeter is unclear, perhaps it was an example of religion merging, but it seems that Persephone usurped the position of Demeters original daughter, the maiden goddess Kore. It is possible that Kore already had associations with death perhaps even spending the barren portion of the year in the underground, as the myth goes and that the integration of the two religions was seamless due to similarities in the roles of the goddesses .
Unfortunately, despite the cults popularity and inclusive nature, loyalty to its strict code of secrecy has left us with very few sources about its practises and the nature of their worship. We are even without an original telling of the Demeter and Persephone myths, although something of their nature can be found in ancient sources such as wall reliefs and vase paintings, and through information passed down by Christian apologists, though this latter source must be examined with caution . It is unknown why the initiates into the Eleusinian Mysteries were said to no longer fear death no doubt there was a form of divine secret that made them feel closer to the goddesses, particularly Persephone but what this may have been and exactly what the initiation ritual their worshippers went though may forever remain a secret to us.
Historical Persephone As previously mentioned, apart from the reliefs and vase-paintings of Persephone, Demeter and Hades, we have been left without an original version of this highly popular myth. This is partially because The Mysteries were so secretive, but also because it is likely that Persephone and Demeters story originated far further back than the recorded Mysteries, even to prehistoric Greece in the form of mother and fertility goddesses.
Charlene Spretnaks 1978 version of the Persephone myth, later re-released in 1992, she claims, is based on what remains of the oral traditions of the myth, pre-Hellenistic and rebuilt around what little evidence has been found. It is a particularly interesting account for us not only because it allegedly adheres to the prehistoric, oral tradition of Persephone, before it was tainted by influence outside of Greece and Sicily, but also because she claims to have not fleshed out the surviving fragments of evidence beyond the word-smithing necessary to weave the facts together . It is a simple myth, in comparison to the Hellenistic versions I shall look at later, and formulaic in nature: Persephone and her mother, Demeter, watched over a winterless world and taught mankind about the plants and agriculture. Persephone notices lost spirits of the dead and questions her mother about their neglect, and we find out that Demeter is the one charged with their care. With her mother concerned about feeding the living, Persephone leaves and descends to the underworld of her own accord, with Demeters blessing. On finding the cavern of the dead, Persephone declares herself Queen over the dead, produces a bowl of pomegranate seeds the food of the dead and initiates (them) into (their) new world . Demeter is distraught at her daughters absence and withdraws her powers from the world, creating the first winter, until Persephone again resurfaces and spring returns with Demeters joy.
There are more than a few noticeable differences between this, pre-Hellenistic take on the myth and the story well known today. There are two in particular I would like to focus on: firstly, that there is no mention of Hades, and secondly that Demeter gives her consent to Persephones choice to rule the dead. While Demeter does mourn and cause winter to fall over the world while Persephone is in the underworld, this expressed permission for her daughters new role is in complete reversal to later versions where Demeter is depicted as completely against Persephones descent. While it could be claimed that this is because the situations are very different, consent is still the main point of disparity. Spretnaks take on the story also focuses largely on Persephone herself, rather than following Demeter like Homer and Ovids Hellenistic and Roman versions. It is briefly mentioned that Demeter searches for her daughter, but it is for her imminent return, not because she has been lost. It is the only version which I have come across in which Persephone is shown as a powerful figure in her own right, still innocent and benevolent but possessing the strength to stand on her own. This version of the myth is also far less complex than any later retelling, lacking the intrigue and adventure elements of a kidnapping and extended search. Both goddesses are benevolent towards humanity a trait typical of fertility goddesses rather than the vengeful figure of Demeter in Homer and Ovids tales.
Also interesting in Spretnaks retelling is the details she offers about Persephones role in the underworld. The other two ancient sources, Homer and Ovid, tell us almost nothing about her time spent with the dead, only that she mourned and fasted until she was tricked or convinced into eating the pomegranate seeds. Spretnaks retelling has an entirely different meaning for the fruit: seen as a fruit of the dead, partially for its colour, it is shown here as part of the ritual in which the dead are reborn:
As each spirit crossed before Her, Persephone embraced the form... She reached for a few of the pomegranate seeds, squeezing them between Her fingers. She painted the forehead with a broad swatch of the red juice
It is without doubt that Persephone, in this scene and story, is the only death deity present. Spretnaks retelling claims that Persephone received and renewed the dead without ever resting or even growing weary. , implying she gained a certain satisfaction from her role as their guide and bringing them forward into a new life. I would argue that this Persephone is a similar version to what would be worshipped in The Mysteries, a strong, guiding figure primed to lead the worthy out of death and into a blissful rebirth, rather than the helpless girl she becomes in later myth.
There is no such figure in either Homer or Ovids versions of the myth. While they differ on details, the points relevant to this essay are essentially the same: Hades saw Persephone, loved her (either with help from Aphrodite or of his own accord), and abducted her through trickery. Zeus, Persephones father figure (notably absent in the previous version of the myths), is aware of Hades intent but, rather than face Demeters wrath, he simply allows the abduction to happen. Demeter neglects her duties to the earth in grief as she searches for her daughter, only to find she is beyond her reach in the underworld. The conflict is solved by Zeus, who not only gave Hades permission to abduct Persephone in the first place, but also has remained aloof to the situation until the end. This ends with Persephones year being divided between her mother and her new husband, and apparent reconciliation between Hades and Demeter. For the myth to follow its original course in any shape or form, this ending is inevitable: Persephone must stay in the underworld for a portion of the year, and Demeter must be appeased enough to restore life to the world when her daughter returns. Those two points are vital for the myth to hold any significance in an Ancient context, yet to a modern audience this almost abrupt, dues ex machina style ending might come up a little short. If Demeters anger is so great about her daughters abduction, is it really believable that she would abandon it so quickly?
Homers version of the myth the official version given by the Eleusinian mysteries concentrates almost entirely on Demeter and her journey while searching for Persephone. Her anger is frequently commented on and, other than her brief interlude as nursemaid for the house of Keleos, her normal maternal nature is hardly mentioned. It appears that the search, rather than Persephone herself, and the deprivation of food from the land is the most important element of the story. Outside of her abduction, Persephone is given very little attention. We learn that she is a maiden, beautiful and modest and very unwilling in her marriage to Hades, but this is about all. Her role as a goddess of the underworld, outside of being married to one, is not referenced at all. Even with her mother at the beginning of the myth, she is not given a specific job or identity. To take this aspect of Kore, the maiden, further we could also say that she is placed among other maiden goddesses in the field. Despite Pallas (Athena) and Artemis being identified, both these goddesses were renowned for being forever virgins, highlighting Persephones Kore persona as innocent, virginal and very little else.
Patriarchy If we are to trust Spretnaks version of the original Persephone myth, even as a guideline, the differences between the peaceful descent into the underworld and the later tales are glaringly obvious. Homer and Ovid are, obviously, writing in a patriarchal society rather than one ruled by mother goddesses.
One theme frequently mentioned in the study of the Persephone myth is that of patriarchy. Ancient Greece, all written records we have of it, is unquestionably a patriarchal society with women at a lower rank. Many historians believe that this was not always the case, and an older, matriarchal religion consisting of female deities such as Aphrodite, Artemis and, of course, Demeter and Persephone existed in a prehistoric society, before the Olympian gods were introduced by invaders from the north . It is believed there were three waves of invasion: The Ionians, the Achaeans and finally the Dorians, and that the patriarchal gods such as Zeus, Poseidon and Hades were brought with them . Much like the Christians did when taking over aboriginal religions, these northern invaders amalgamated the existing goddesses into their own religion, keeping some of their attributes but disempowering them by making them, essentially, more human. Aphrodite became flighty and vain, Artemis practically forgotten and Persephone is changed from a guiding light for the dead into a secondary death god, placed after Hades. This, however, is only taking into account the scant written sources we are left with. Unlike Christianity, there was no set religious text across the Ancient Grecian tradition (or, perhaps, none which have survived), so to take what we see at face value would be to diminish a complex and vast religion. Persephone became a victim of forced marriage and her mother left mourning for her daughter: despite this, both were still revered in their own cult from prehistoric times, through the Roman era and into the Medieval period, before Christianity finally stamped the Eleusinian Mysteries out. Why would a victim of abduction draw such respect that the mysteries were never betrayed, if thats all she was?
Homers version of the Abduction of Persephone, as previously mentioned, has very little to do with Persephone at all, rather focussing on Demeter. While this might have been the official version of the myth commissioned by the cult, it makes very little sense that she was revered as highly as her mother for doing so little. This would imply that Persephones role in the everyday lives of the Ancient Greeks was far more than just a forced-consort role, someone who had been integrated into a system and forgotten. Either Persephone played a far greater role in the Hellenistic versions of the myth than Homer and Ovid let on, or this official version of the myth and not fully encompassing the beliefs of the every-day people. If, indeed, Persephone was pulled into the Olympian family tree simply for reasons of amalgamation and adaptation to an invading nations religion, it seems this transition did not dent her importance. Its likely she was still considered very much a goddess of the death, as was her original role, and whether she was the wife of Hades or not did not matter. She would still complete the role shed always held, such as outlined in the re-telling by Spretnak, and the Mysteries popularity and predominance in ancient Greek culture would prove this.
The Hades and Persephone myth is also often interpreted as a representation of Ancient Greek marriage ceremonies. Arranged marriages were normal in Ancient Greece, with the father of the bride and the husband to be organising the wedding between them. Neither the wife nor daughter are said to have been consulted in the arrangement, much like how in Ovid and Homers versions of Persephone, neither she nor Demeter are approached. The age gap between Persephone and Hades is not so strange in this context either: brides were young in Ancient Greece, and while the average age of marriage was sixteen they could be married as soon as they entered puberty, while the average age for a man to marry was in his thirties. While this may seem strange to a modern audience, the reasoning behind the age difference would have made sense in the context. Girls were married early because it was presumed that at this age, so soon after puberty was upon them, they would still be virgins . Men, however, married later because not only would they be established by their thirties, they would have also finished any military service to their polis-state that might have been expected . A particularly interesting part of the wedding ceremony in Ancient Greece is that, after the official wedding the passing of responsibility of the woman from her father to her new husband she was taken from her home to that of her new partner. Jennifer Powers mentions that this process was mentally painful for the bride but also physical, as the husband grabbed his new wife by the wrists to take her from the house while she said her farewells . When we compare the abduction of Persephone to the Ancient Greek marriage rites, moments such as this do show similarities between the taking of the bride, and the taking of Persephone. I would argue, though, that these similarities were only imposed later, after the Persephone myth was drawn into the canon Olympian pantheon. I feel that to link the traditional Grecian goddess of death, Persephone, to Hades through marriage rather than combing them into one was a smoother transaction for the invading forces, due to gender issues, the abduction situation mirroring a marriage ceremony gives the story greater weight. The primary focus of the myth is on the imposition of the seasons onto the world, and an explanation of death and rebirth rather than the marriage of cultures, although the manner in which the myth changed under Greeces new rulers is quite drastic.
As mentioned previously, before entering the Underworld Persephone is known simply as Kore: a generic title for maiden in Ancient Greece. It is only on entry to the Underworld does she acquire her own name, and through this her own personality and assets, rather than just ones she shares with her mother. When associated with her mother and fertility motifs, it is often difficult to tell the two apart on wall reliefs , however in her role as an Underworld goddess Persephone becomes a completely different creature. While providing a softer side to death, she is also the embodiment of it and the way through it. Hades was the judge of the dead but Persephone, if one goes by the older traditions, was the rebirth afterwards, symbolised by her returning to the earth each spring. This idea follows on from the idea of marriage because in essence, the bride went from her previous, almost genderless existence in the mothers home to a new role as wife to her husband. The marriage ceremony in ancient Greece involved the bride-to-be leaving her childhood belongings at the temple of Hera, symbolising her leaving childhood behind to become a woman and, eventually, mother. Though women in ancient Greece had little power, this change can also be seen in Persephone in her abduction to the underworld. Before this she was a child, Kore, and it is only through marriage and her descent that she become her own person.
As previously mentioned, Persephone has always been a goddess of the underworld, and hence of death. Her very name, when translated, means something similar to Bringer of Destruction, and earliest, pre-Olympian myth tells of her willing descent to the underworld to guide the spirits of the dead. Why has this, more powerful interpretation of the goddess been so comprehensively ignored? Even with the two myths combined say, that Hades abducted Persephone and then she found her purpose in her new life her figure is still one of power, purpose and with a role similar in stature to her new husbands. I would argue this role has been ignored for two reasons: firstly, that we have seen this myth through a predominantly patriarchal history, particularly in the Victorian era; secondly, because feminist interest in the past has focused heavily on the abduction and alleged rape, the intrusion of men upon a womans rights and body, instead of looking beyond this to an image of an adapted Persephone, or if they do they portray the change as a negative experience. I would argue that this is not the case, nor the point of the myth. Rather than the rape portion of the story, the Hellenistic version focuses on the mothers reaction to this abduction. Very little information is given on Hades and Persephones time in the underworld at all. In the original myth, according to Spretnak, There was no mention of rape and even in the Homeric version of the myth, the rape is not mentioned as being a physical rape. The word rape is only used in the context as if she was raped . Certainly it was a distressing time for Persephone both in Spretnaks original myth and the Homeric and Ovid versions both mention her delight on returning home and her fast in the Underworld, and the Hellenistic versions of the tale have her obviously distressed and screaming on being abducted but other than this we are given no information on her conditions or treatment while under Hades roof. While a feared god, unlike his brothers Hades is rarely, if ever, portrayed as cruel or violent: vases and reliefs from the times of the Mysteries show Hades as a devoted consort to Persephone, rather than a malicious ravisher and abductor . Instead this is ignored, favouring instead to portray Hades as a terrible, overbearing rapist and Persephone as largely useless to prevent her own defilement. Its the easy alternative, though a curious one.
Modern Persephone In her book Lifes Daughter/Deaths Bride, Kathie Carlson continually uses words such as force, trickery and deception to describe Hades attitudes towards Kore, Persephones name before her decent to the underworld. Carlson is not subtle in her viewpoint; at every possible moment she uses violent language to describe the interaction between Persephone and Hades. However, to take the view that Persephone was unchanged and continuously fighting her entire underworld ordeal is to take a singular reading of it, a feminist reading which while constantly swelling on the intrusion of men into female relations still paints its leading lady as mostly passive. Persephone, according to Carlson, is not a figure we can look up to, as she was in her original myth and mysteries: she is a victim whose only action is to starve herself. Even Carlsons use of Persephones maiden name, Kore, is disempowering in itself. Kore was a widely used name in Greek mythology, meaning nothing more than maiden or girl. It is a name of no description, distinction, and is used frequently to describe other goddesses or their children. It seems that in their constant rage against the male justified by the rape in this story feminism has run out of things to argue about without giving way. But she didnt want it is the constant thread of their argument, but they refuse to move outside of this notion and this is where they fail to do the myth justice.
The majority of modern retellings on the myth focus on Persephone rather than the traditional viewpoint of Demeter given in Homer and Ovids retellings. While Carlsons text on Persephone largely revolves around the ideas of patriarchy and, towards the end, the evil nature of Hades in his breaching of the mother/daughter bond, at the same time I would argue that studies into the myth are now moving away from this more negative aspect of the story to focus on the relationship between Demeter and Persephone and, finally, on Persephones adaption to her own situation. Herta Rosenblatts Three Poems, featured in The Long Journey Home revolve around the two women: The first of the three, The Dance of the Mother Woman is Demeter centric, looking both at her and comparing her to other mythic women in turn. The poem moves between focussing on Demeter as a good mother, in comparison to figures such as Niobe, Mary and Eve, all of whom are considered good women. It also deals with the possibility of Demeters own guilt, finishing with comparisons to Clytemnestra and, perhaps more surprisingly, Medea. The end of Medeas story is highlighted by the unthinkable act of her slaughtering her own children in revenge, so to compare this to Demeters interactions with Persephone seems quite a step. Rosenblatt is likely using this heavily weighted name as the guilty conscience of a mother who has failed her daughter. Coupled with the second poem of the set, A last game of childhood, this might very well be the case. This second poem focuses on Persephones games in the fields in the moments before her abduction. This poem appears to be another manifestation of Demeters grief, with phrases such as Your mother watches you break it/ blessing your eagerness holding a double meaning. Demeter is blessing Persephones joy in picking flowers but, in hindsight, this can be seen as a blessing for the later abduction.
Were you Weeping takes a completely different approach to the myth, focussing on Persephone in the underworld. The poem is not centred around the typical Persephone myth, rather it focuses on Persephones view of another Underworld myth, that of Orpheus quest to revive his wife. Orpheus wife, Eurydice, was bitten by a snake and descended to the underworld and Orpheus, determined to win her back, travelled down to Hades and Persephones domain and when they refused to release her, he played his lute with such skill that the gods and the dead were reduced to tears as they remembered their lives and the world above them. This is an interesting view to take, as such memories would be particularly painful for Persephone, and one I attempted to incorporate into my own retelling of the myth. The relationship between Persephone and Hades here is not shown as violent or forceful.
"when the dark god appeared, in his glory and power, and, ravished, you died the death of love? Were you weeping, and your hand pressing that of your husband? Were you humming the tune of that spring day and he smiled the smile of remembering: "
Despite the word ravished, one wonders how a woman who has allegedly been raped could treat her husband with such affection. The word love is one very seldom used in the myth of Persephone, save perhaps in popular culture, and I would again like to refer back to the fact that arranged marriages were common in Ancient Greek culture. Perhaps we can read this poem as Persephones acceptance of her marriage, however forced, and adaption to it.
A contemporary re-telling of the Persephone myth, and one that heavily inspired my own take on the tale, is the duo of poems written by River Malcolm. Her blend of Persephone as both victim, and then her change to controlled matriarch of the Underworld acknowledges both the Hellenistic take on the myth, with Persephone abducted against her will, yet also lends itself to the prehistoric take of the tale also. Malcolm does not leave us with a weak Persephone always willing to run home to her mother, she instead transforms Persephone into the queen of the dead who is one with her own powers and duties, and even takes on the mantle herself by choosing to eat the pomegranate seeds.
"It is Hades, my husband, who bids me cease, knowing, as those of my fathers generation do know, that Destiny must be obeyed even by the Gods. "
This is the one published retelling of the myth I have read that has Persephone choose to eat the pomegranate seeds of her own accord, rather than through trickery of naivety. It is a refreshing change to see her with a powerful mindset, not a cowed, frightened girl. The most powerful image for me, however, were the lines Even Cerberus the fierce/ whines when I approach and begs/ for a pat from his mistress hand. . Cerberus was the three-headed hound of the underworld that guarded one of its many gates to prevent the dead from escaping, and was famously captured by Herecles as one of his redemptive feats. For the typically meek figure of Persephone to be commanding such power, I would argue, is an inspiring take on her situation: not only has she adapted to a situation she couldnt prevent, she has embraced it and taken control of it.
In this poem too we find the tensions arising between mother and daughter. The constant repetition of the line And where was my mother seems to say that Persephone partially blames Demeters lack of attention for her plight, for not protecting her from this arranged marriage. Even at the end of the poem, where the focus shifts to Persephones inevitable return to the earth, the tone is jaded as if I could be again the same girl I was ... I, Queen of Death, Lady of Darkness ending with an almost ominous note as Persephone compares herself to seeds of death.
The Critical-Creative Connection For my own piece I found my placement of Persephone a difficult one. Until further investigating the myth and its origins I was highly influenced by the popular version of the Persephone myth, mostly based on the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. Popular culture, however, views this rape either as a non-physical one perhaps to make the myth more approachable or one of seduction, and interprets the myth as a story of love rather than kidnapping and separation from the mother. Amateur authors often borrow the plot or themes of the story and apply them to other characters or situations yet these are almost always love stories . While realising the original story was far harsher than these popular, modern versions, the notion that perhaps the myth isnt completely negative was one that stayed with me. I enjoyed the picture of the stronger Persephone that these retellings often portray, rather than the helpless Homeric girl, and knew that this would be the type of Persephone I would emulate in my own reworking of the story.
Spretnaks original telling of the myth, along with the poems by Malcolm were the two key factors in my own portrayal of Persephone. As a heroine, Persephone has so little power in the majority of retellings that Spretnaks image of a strong woman determined to honour the dead was highly appealing to me and something that I wanted to channel into my own work. Restoring Persephones role to her also gives her a purpose, not only in the underworld but for herself as well: she changes from an object thats passed around to a figure with real power in her descent to the Underworld. Malcolms glimpse into a changed, somewhat jaded figure of Persephone gave insight into how one might, realistically, change and adapt into the situation. Her figure of Persephone wanting to stay in the underworld because of the power she has attained was a very interesting take on the popular notion that Persephone stayed because she wished to, rather than because she was forced to. That she might have enjoyed the power, and perhaps the freedom that came with that power, was something I had not thought of before reading this poem.
In my own retelling I have attempted to meld the better known Homeric version of the myth with these modern and traditional retellings. I wished to explore the change from featureless, innocent girl to powerful goddess and wife, a change which has not been the primary focus of other retellings I have read while researching for this essay. Other retellings focus on her before her descent to the underworld or, alternatively, just after her abduction or a long period of time later, after she has adapted. This phase of adaption, as far as I have read, has yet to be addressed.
The story of Persephone has been given many guises since its evolution into the Olympian pantheon, and not all of these have been positive. Until recently, the primary focus for study of her myth has been in her abduction and alleged rape, rather than in the protagonist herself and her relation to the changing world around her. As we find out more about the traditional role of Persephone in pre-historic Greece and discover her true purpose and power, perhaps it will be easier for us to accept that she is not simply a girl who has been uprooted, but also a goddess in her own right who had a significant role in Greeces religion. This is shown through the prominence of her mysteries, that survived even into the Roman era, and while we will never know the full details of what this cult entailed, its popularity and far-reaching significance imply that Persephone, and her mother Demeter, were far more influential than Homers official version of the myth implies. The myth is still popular, taken up by artists over the years and given new meaning and significance as they apply it. Because much of the myth surrounding Persephone and Hades is unmentioned this leaves the story open for interpretation, so perhaps the appeal to a modern audience is that unlike in ancient times there is no, single official version of this myth and that we can interpret it as we see it. While some choose to highlight the patriarchal influence on the text, I feel that we can benefit more through examining Persephone as a character and how she adapts to her changing world and situation, and how she can triumph through this, rather than leave her as a victim. She was abducted, but it is what we do with her after this which is where the real meaning of the myth lies.
So this is half of what I spent my year doing, my thesis. No, I'm not really expecting anyone to read it, but for crying out loud don't steal it. I spent forever on it! Probably a few mistakes still, here and there, but it's submitted now so WHOO!
I feel so dirty. I can't do my footnotes on dA, and it goes against everything I stand for.
I'll pop the bibliography here though, so I don't feel quite so terrible.
Bibliography: - Demeter and Persephone in Ancient Corinth, American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Princeton, New Jersey: 1987. - DOWNING, Chrstine (ed.). The Long Journey Home. Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston: 1994. - ARISTOPHANES. The Frogs, trans. David Barrett. Penguin Books, London: 1964. - BONNARD, André. Greek Civilization From The Iliad To The Parthenon Vol. 1. Macmillan, New York: 1962. - CARLSON, Kathie. Lifes Daughter/ Deaths Bride. Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston: 1997. - CARTER, Angela. The Bloody Chamber. Vintage, London: 1995. - ELIADE, Mircea. A History of Religious Ideas, trans. Willard R. Trask. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago: 1978. - FLACELIÈRE, Robert. Daily Life in Greece at the Time of Pericles. Harper and Row, New York: 1970. - KNIGHT, W. F. Jackson. Elysion. Rider & Company, London: 1970. - POWERS, Jennifer. "Ancient Greek Marriage.", [link] Jan 5 1999. Online. Accessed August 2009. - SPRETNAK, Charlene. Lost Goddesses of Early Greece. Beacon Press, Boston: 1992. - WITTIG, Monique. Across the Acheron. Peter Owen Publishers, London: 1987. - ZUNTZ, Günther. Persephone. Clarendon Press, Oxford: 1971.
The water was lonely. It ran from river to river, ocean to ocean, alone. Many of the creatures that lived in the water paid it no mind, continuing on with their own life, unaware of the water's. The water decided one day to make itself some companions, someone to flow and keep company with. The water watched many humans at its rivers and oceans and created, what the water called, Ulas based off of the females. Some were made of water while others were made of scales and flesh. The Ulas made the rain and took care of the sea and river life during the day, while they played all night.
One night, the air passed by the river and saw the Ulas playing and dancing along the water. The air suddenly felt lonely, just as the water had. It blew through the lands all alone and decided that it could use companions as well. The wind called them Auras. The air, like the water, designed them as female humans made of air and flowing dresses. The Auras traveled with the wind and their domain was the sky, coloring it with light, clouds, and stars.
The earth saw how the water's Ulas and the air's Auras were and decided that it would make its own, not out of loneliness, but instead to take care of the earth. The earth named them Demetras after an old myth humans used to tell about the earth. The Demetras took care of the earth, tending to the plants, the animals, the soil, anything under the earth's domain.
The fire saw how the water, air, and earth created these "creatures" and wanted to make its own. But the fire wanted them not to be companions or to help the earth, but instead to help bring destruction upon the land. The fire named them Endanas and made them out of fire. The Endana's fire was fueled by hate and contempt, burning out if they didn't have those feelings. The fire sought to use them for destruction upon the land, but upon seeing its creation flutter about gracefully, even though they were filled with spite, they were still gentle beings that were kind and loving to the fire, happy that it had brought them to life.
The fire couldn't bring itself to set them off causing destruction to the earth and instead used them to tend to the volcanoes and to watch over such things as forest fires to prevent them from getting out of hand. The fire realized how lonely it had been, outcast by the other elements because of its destructive powers, and soon allowed the Endanas to lose their hatred, for their fires would always burn bright.
And so the Ulas, Auras, Demetras, and the Endanas all lived peacefully, working hard over their domains. The dragons of the land called them Fadas or Fairies, which remain their name to this day.
A herd of twenty licorn glided out of the surrounding forest, spiral horns and fluffy silvery hides glinting in the moonlight as they clattered across the cobblestone streets. They splashed in and out of a shallow creek that meandered through the front yard of one of stately townhouse, throwing up liquid moonbeams from their flying deer-like hooves. Finally growing weary of their wild games, they broke up into small groups, wandering up the hedge bordered streets to graze on lawn grasses and clover. Suddenly one of the licorn snorted, as a sickly oily odor filled its delicate nostrils. Its mane bristled all the way down its spine as the scent awoke a deep primal fear. Others soon sensed it too and panicked, and the whole herd quickly turned and vanished into the trees as silently as they had appeared.
Lolly Mcclaren's stride slowed as she made her way down the main street of Hogan's Bay. In spite of the balmy evening and the bright festive atmosphere, she felt a cold tingle at the back of her neck. Every step she took, it felt as though glacial eyes were boring into her back, into the very inner depths of her soul.
Lolly jerked her head around causing her PawStar hat to come sailing off. Tucking Pocki, the fussy little pug under one arm, the girl bent down to pick it up, and stiffened when she first saw the gray riding boots standing nearby. Then the gray silken trousers, and then the long trailing end of a gray cloak. Warily, she looked up, but her eyes soon fell on empty air.
Shivering, Lolly stood up and clipped the bow back in place. It's just your imagination playing tricks on you, she told herself firmly. That's all. Nothing to worry about. You haven't done anything wrong, have you? The fairies can't hurt you if you're carrying a Tolken.
Then a voice inside her head said, "It's not your imagination, and it isn't even your Tolken, you pocky-eating, art-thieving, soul-leeching weaboo!"
Her eyes scrunched shut as a barrage of images flashed through her mind--children shrieking and scrambling for dear life as she bounced high on large trampoline, a little red-haired girl looking at her accusingly while cradling a dead kitten, an angry store clerk riffling through her book pack and pockets for stolen Anime merchandise.
"Evening, Miss," said a burring, rather pleasant voice.
Lolly jerked and blinked a few times, and then found herself looking up at a tall, imposing figure dressed in the high cut frock coat and stovepipe hat of a Nye constable.
"Everything all right?" he asked, eyeing her through his dark round spectacles.
Funny how the police around here seemed to dress like characters out a Steampunk fantasy novel.
"Huh? O-oh...Yeah," Lolly stammered, feeling her cheeks flushed beneath her layers of heavy makeup.
The constable placed a reassuring gloved hand on Lolly's shoulder. "Well, there's a lot of spirits around tonight," he said kindly. "But don't worry, they won't hurt you...unless your soul's like dark, damp, vermin-infested basement, which hopefully for your sake, Miss, you don't have ."
"Don't worry," Lolly assured him with a dimple smile. "My soul's so shiny and bright that it attracts unicorns."
Moon Agate Beach (2)
The yellowish-brown dog was now sitting on Kes's feet and leaning its heavy weight against her legs. She made no effort to dislodge the beast, large dogs tended to make her nervous and judging from the official-looking star hanging from its collar, this was a police dog.
Kes wondered if the dog was off-duty or if it was actually helping out the local constables check for kids who were either dangerous intoxicated or high on something potent.
Megaera, on the other hand, seemed blasé about the the huge hairy copper relaxing just a couple feet from her Demonia Combat boots. She sat really still and watched Ellery as she spoke, smoking her steadily diminishing reefer.
Ellery Wilcox had the kind of voice you wanted to listen to--calm, thoughtful, and compelling. She drew you in, and you wanted to catch every word even if the story she was telling probably involved horror that iced over your spine and shriveled up your gods forsaken soul into cold ashes.
Locker no 490 (3)
"Because the middle school was so large," Ellery explained, "it was divided into 3 different 'academies' (6th, 7th, and 8th). 6th grade ( where I was) was housed downstairs while the 8th grade and most of 7th was housed on the second floor.
"The library occupied both stories, and it was on the second story that infamous Locker no 490 was located.
"After Nadine, her burly friend/bodyguard Brenda and a few others in Rm. 105 'persuaded' the Scenes to unblock the door and put everything back in perfect order; Veronica finally told me the story of Locker no 490.
"It was a famous school legend, about as popular as the legends of Bloody Mary, the Tri-cycling Gas Mask Ghost of Sunset Court, and the Skull Headed Collie of Sutter Road.
"I was too busy being a model student and making new friends to pay any attention to local ghost lore.
"According to the legend, the curse started way back in the early 1970's. Back then Curtisville wasn't the gentrified bedroom community it is now. It was mostly a sprawling backwater chiefly consisting of trailers, humbled shacks, ranches, nurseries, and a wrecking yard.
"At that time, Curtisville Middle School wasn't quite as large and luxurious--just 13 classrooms, an auditorium/lunchroom, and a much-smaller library. Every single locker there was long and full-sized, no top and bottom at all. And many a small seventh-grader suffered the indignation of getting crammed into one by the school doofuses.
"In an effort to combat the town's growing image problem and promote better tolerance and understanding, the school decided to host a group of exchange students from Okinawa.
"Things went surprisingly well, despite the language barrier and some cultural differences, perhaps because several reporters including world famous Walter Cronkite commented about this exchange program on the news, and the town's folk didn't want to appear badly with the eye of the world watching them.
"It wasn't until the middle of August that the inexplicable, hideous tragedy of Locker 490 finally came into play.
"The seventh grader who was using the locker was a Japanese student by the name of Marina Yamauchi. She started hearing noises at first--faint rustling and creaking like someone or something was moving around inside. Yet whenever she opened her locker to check, there was nothing unusual to be found. Everything was where it should be, books and binders stacked in proper order, her jacket hanging in one corner, her book bag with her lunch inside lay at the bottom untouched.
"Since there was a maintenance room right near her locker, Marina eventually decided all the strange noises she had been been hearing were due to the janitor working next door.
"The strange sounds continued, and then the weird smells began, as well as the sensation of being watched. It was like someone was standing just a few feet away staring with huge unwavering eyes. Common sense told her that no one could be there; it was impossible for anyone to hide in that cramped narrow space let alone move around without her noticing. Afraid, Marina stopped using her locker altogether and instead, carried her stuff with her everywhere. But even this precaution didn't help, the sensation of being watched persisted, becoming more intense. Now the watcher was coming after her, staring at her with wide unblinking eyes.
"Marina knew that somehow this disturbing experience was connected to that locker. Even though she wasn't a superstitious person, she knew two of the locker numbers--'4' and '9' were considered unlucky in Japan.
"Four was pronounced 'shi,' which was the same pronunciation as 'death,' while nine was pronounced 'ku,' which had the same pronunciation as 'agony' on 'torture.'
"She also noticed when the numbers--'4,' '9,' '0' were added together, they came up with another unlucky number--'13.'
"But even though she desperately needed someone's help, she didn't tell anyone. Even though she wasn't a shy timid person, she wasn't sure people would believe her.
"Plopping down at a cafeteria table with a weary sigh, Marina listlessly picked at her lunch.
"Several of her friends walked up, and the one named Via Nakada, a seventh grader of Hawaiian-Japanese and Nye descent, asked her, 'What's wrong Marina?"
"'Nothing, it's just...' Marina paused. 'It's nothing,' she sighed again.
"Concerned, her friends glanced at each other. This wasn't like Marina, trying to hide her feelings whenever she was upset or sad.
"'No, really Marina, what's wrong?' Via persisted.
"Reluctantly, Marina looked towards her friends before glancing back at Via.
"'I think my locker might be haunted,' she muttered. Then she told the others gathered around the table about the weird things that were happening to her.
"Nobody snickered or laughed, they just stayed silent, giving her weird looks. None of them ever heard about anything paranormal happening at the school before. No mysteriously moving photographs, no overwhelming feeling of dread (unless you count visits to the principle's office and Mystery Meat Day), no wispy apparitions, glowing orbs or unexplained sounds. There was not even a case of unusual death, suicide or sudden insanity.
"Compared to other middle schools, CMS was pretty normal, full of ordinary kids with ordinary preteen problems. It would have still went on being perfectly normal if it hadn't been for that damn locker.
"'But that's impossible!' one girl exclaimed. 'There's no ghosts here! It's probably just your imagination over-reacting.'
"'Well, I think someone's playing a trick on you,' another more reasonable girl said. 'There's some real jerks around here, it must be one of them. You should go to the office and complain.'
"Still others started trading guesses on what the thing was that was haunting Locker 490 might be. Some guessed it was a ghost, while a few (having just seen The Exorcist ) insisted that it was demon.
"In the end, Via offered to trade lockers with Marina, insisting she wasn't afraid of any spook--supernatural or otherwise. "Relieved, Marina quickly agreed, and right after lunch, did the change.
"Things immediately returned to normal, and by the end of August, the events of Locker 490 had receded into the shadowy recesses of Marina's mind, although they weren't completely locked away and forgotten. Then two weeks before Thanksgiving Break, Via just...vanished.
"I stared at Veronica, feeling my eyes grow really wide. "Va...vanished?
"'Yep,' Veronica affirmed with a nod, 'vanished this very same month, right after fourth period. Right in the middle of school rush hour. One minute she was walking towards her new locker to get her gym clothes, the next minute she was gone, the locker door half opened.
"'No one thought it was weird at the time, so many kids left their locker unlocked and sometimes even open when they were chatting with their friends.
"'Later, when the police started interviewing people, some of them told how it was very odd that Via would go off leaving her locker open and unlocked since she worried a lot about theft.
"'A massive search involving hundreds of volunteers and police canvassed the surrounding area. Via's face soon appeared in every newspaper and missing person poster across the country, but not a trace of her was ever discovered. To this very day, her strange disappearance remains unsolved.'
"I took a bite of my Saint Benoît Yogurt as I speculated on this. In the background, I could hear over the sound of rain and wind, Marble Hornets playing again and the faint rustling of cards and clink of 'poker chips.' However, Rm. 105 was emptied of half of its participants , most having gone upstairs to see if they could find any trace of this supposed 'Locker Monster.'
"Maybe she just decided to run away,' I suggested. 'Probably was really unhappy at home, had a lot of arguments with her folks.'
"'No,' Veronica shook her head , 'on the day she disappeared, Via was really upbeat. Had a lot of positive things going on in her life; why should she suddenly leave like that?' Veronica licked the mustard from her fingers before continuing, 'Then there were the creepy noises that people claimed to have heard coming from the locker, as well as this weird perfumey kind of gross smell .'
"'Wut?' I leaned forward. 'What weird smell and noises?'
"'Well, this is where it starts sounding like something out a Stephen King story,' Veronica quietly told me, 'but according to some of the eyewitness accounts, shortly after Via went missing, distant screams were heard coming from inside the locker. There was also a funky smell, and these sticky-sounding footsteps walking away. The sound grew even fainter as if going down some vast unseen hallway, though the locker was narrow and really cramped and people couldn't see anything strange in there.'
"I sat riveted to my seat, goosebumps tingling all over. I suddenly recalled on my few visits to the library how people would always give this one set of lockers wide berth.
"'When the screams and footsteps faded away,' Veronica somberly explained, 'the smell soon disappeared.'
"Suddenly, a brilliant, blinding flash of lightning lit up the entire room and a second later a huge crash of thunder followed. This totally freaked me out and I jerked, immediately flinging myself out of my seat, and then the overhead lights started flickering before going out entirely. Amid the panicked shouts and loud swearing, I heard the door fly open with a crash that shook the walls, then felt a blast of freezing wet cold."
To be continued in The Visitor From Curtisville--Ch. 5--Bad Omens
As you two were running you felt something watching you. You looked behind but saw no one. You as you slowed down, Gina pulled on your hand which made you speed right back up. “Come on! We don’t want to be late!” She giggled. You nodded your head and kept on running. Once you were away from the school, ‘No Name’ came out of hiding and sighed “Of course she doesn’t listen to me..” He pushed hands into his pockets and kicked a pebbled as he walked to the forest. He kept on thinking about you and how much danger you’re in. He let out one long sighed before Masky hit him in the arm. “Hey there Hood! What’s up?” He smiled “So gonna get the girl and bringing her here?” “I’m getting there.” He said as his eyes were stilled on the pebble he was kick. Masky stood in front of him. Hoodie stopped and stared at Masky “What do you mean?! You said yesterday that she was in the palm of your hand.” “And still is! I know how get her to do anything I damn want!” Hoodie growled accidently letting that out. He knows you don’t want to be putty in his hands when you two kiss! “Then you can get her to come here soon RIGHT!” Masky glared from under his mask. “Yeah! Whatever! Leave me the fuck alone!” Hoodie growled. Maksy back off of Hoodie and headed from home. Hoodie sighed and he walked in another direction. -meanwhile- You and Gina were up in her bedroom. She threw you some her clothing which were some plan track pants and sweater. “Here ya go! This will keep you warm.” You looked at it thanked her as you went into the bathroom and got change. You came out as she tossed you rain boots. “And you may want these!” You stared at them. You knew you feet were too tiny to fit them. You sighed putting them on they fit a little big but they’ll do just fine for now. Gina looked over at you. “You’re not talking that much..is everything alright??” She asked you. You looked at her and shrugged your shoulders. “I guess so yeah…just-never mind.” You sighed as the thought of Hoodie was glue to you. You eyes went on the ground. Gina looked at the ground for a second. “It’s him isn’t it?” “H-huh?” “Hoodie…you love don’t you?” Gina blinked “But can’t you tell him or you know it won’t work out no matter how many times you toss the dice? “ “Yeah how do you-“ “B-because I’m going through the same thing…” “How?” “Jay…he spends so much time on the project…he has no time for me anymore…before this whole thing..me and him had a ‘thing’…we were getting serous until what happen to Alex..” Gina shook her head and sighed. “..now his time is always with this! Its so stupid! The main reason why I do it is so I can get close to him…it seems like he-“ Gina words faded a little as a tear went down her face. You went over to her. “Gina, I know you and Jay are to be together…but Hoodie and I…forget it! He’s just using me…” “Yeah but- oh god! We better get going! We don’t want to be late!” Gina shouted. She grabbed a camera and you two ran out of the house. Once you made it in front of the school Jay and the other smiled and waved. He gave Gina a hugged. Once he let go he handed you a camera. “Ready to go you two?” He asked “Hey Jay…(insert name) and I got something to tell you..” Gina said. Jay blinked “Yeah?” Jay looked at Gina fist then at you. “Yeah…um we-er-“ You were trying to talk but you so nervous it sounded like you were speaking in gibberish. “…she found out mystery guy is Hoodie and that she is Slendy next victim.” Gina said. Jay smiled as he kissed Gina cheek and hugged you to death. “This is perfect!” He shouted. “We’ll do it tomorrow and we can use her to get Slendy! Gina! How can I make-“ Gina smiled as she blushed. She covered his mouth “Don’t need to say the rest..Saturday pick me up at 5…so plan for tomorrow?” “Right! So we meet up at least several hours after school instead of the usual 15 mins.” Jay said as he pinch your cheeks “We want this one to look her best.”
"Carver!" He saw Rem holding out a long object rolled up in her bedding disguising the sword she had obtained from the Winters, "Here I got this for you!" She said merrily as he entered the room half dressed in his light armor to see what she wanted. When he felt the weight of the gift in his hand, he stood there astounded. Looking to his sister as he unraveled the sword. Rem had sent for it to be cleaned and polished to remove any remaining trace of blood, "Where did you get this? We cannot afford to waste our coin on such things." He said, letting his practicality overtake his excitement.
"I found that one of the Winters was no longer in need of it. It seemed a waste to leave it there." Rem stated with a curious smile, "Do you not like it? When I saw it I even wanted it. But I could never wield such a weapon. It appeared to be a worthy blade." She continued on. "Thanks sis, it looks like a fine weapon." He said with a smile as he was inspecting the craftsmanship of the pommel. The guard of the hilt was a hawk with inlaid onyx giving depth to the massive wings. The grip seemed to fit Carver's hands perfectly, textured enough to ensure a strong grip, and finally the pommel. The pommel was quite the work of art on its own. Weighty enough to give a sense of balance with such an exquisite weapon. Rem had their family crest embedded in gold on the onyx stone adorning the pommel. She hadn't seen Carver smile like that in a long time. Certainly not within the last year. It almost brought tears to her eyes when she thought about rare it was to see her little brother smile these days.
"I know I've been hard on you brother." She finally admitted. "I've never wanted any of this Father Bethany least of all. I dreamed of living our lives out in peace the best we could. At the time I thought I wasn't being foolish hoping to continue on our simple life. We had finally found somewhere to hide us" She went on, reminiscing of when they lived in a small hut outside the Bracillian forest by South Reach, their last home as a complete family. After that they fled to Lothering leaving their father and memories behind. She paused swallowing the pain her memories had brought back, "Father " she mournfully shuddered before she continued. "I miss that life." She admitted looking up to Carver who for once whose pained expression matched her own. "I never tried to hold you back. I convinced mother that you going off to Ostagar was the best thing for you. I have always tried to do what I thought was best. I can see the contempt you've held for me clear as day." Looking down to hide the hurt that surged through her expression as she pressed on, "I only wanted to push you. To get you started." Her thoughts were interrupted when Carver announced that she should hurry up because they had to head off for the expedition soon. With a sigh she figured she went too far this time. But she knew the risks she was about to take, and she was well aware that this could be the last time she saw her little brother. "Ok Carver, go ahead and get Anders and I'll meet you in Hightown." Rem suggested.
She had spent the previous day preparing for their long journey, trying to plan for everything she could think of. She stocked some healing potions, lyrium potions for Anders. Some food, bandages, anything she could think of. As soon as she was ready she headed off to Hightown to get Fenris and meet up with Varric. The sun was just high enough to cast its golden rays down across the city, Hightown was dreadfully quiet in the early morning. All the nobles were no doubt too busy getting ready for the day. Rolling her eyes at the thought, she walked up to Fenris' mansion. She never really took the time to really look at the façade of the estate before. To appreciate the white flowers growing up the stonework adorning the ornate door. She couldn't help but smile as she plucked one of the flowers from the side taking in it's subtle scent. Once again the door opened as she was about to knock. This time she was paying attention and looked him square in the eyes with a playful smile as she proceeded to knock on his shoulder. Taking her wrist gently he spun her around, "Come on Hawke." Grinning she followed willingly as she placed the flower in her hair.
Rem couldn't feel more out of place if she tried she realized as she was looking at the rest of the expedition. She was surrounded by burly men and dwarves. "Oh joy, I've always wondered what it would be like to be the only woman around a bunch of brutish men in the Deep Roads for weeks on end" she mumbled over to Fenris who was standing beside of her like an escort. At least it made her look special she thought as she stretched, but she hoped it didn't look as though he was a servant for her. In her eyes he could never appear as a servant. His emerald eyes were full of strength and pride. He carried himself as well as any human. Actually he carried himself much better than most of the men she had been around lately. Looking up to him she could see his unease and whispered a quick thank you to him again, he didn't enjoy spending too much time out in Hightown. He felt like he attracted too much attention amongst the noble class. She could never admit how relieved she truly felt knowing that not only would Carver be safe but the fact that Fenris had offered to go without being asked warmed her heart. Maybe she was being foolish she thought, maybe he just wanted to assure that he would get a share of the profits she considered with a frown. Whatever the case, she was glad to have a fine warrior alongside her for this trip.
"Ugh, it's starting already and we're not even down there" she laughed as she noticed that all the men's eyes were locked on her petite form. Fenris only shrugged in response as he looked over to her, taking in the same imaged as those around him. Her porcelain skin was glowing in the suns rays. He could only imagine the thoughts that the men on the expedition were having. Building futile fantasies of having their way with her no doubt he thought with a scowl appearing across his features as he glanced towards the closest slack-jawed worker. Varric told Bartrand of the arrangements who took it as he took everything... with great annoyance.
Looking over at all of her friends that came to wish them well, "You all didn't have to come you know, we decided who was going to go the other night" she insisted as Caver approached with Anders by his side. "Rem" a familiar voice called. Turning to see her mother approaching, Carver and Rem turned to greet her. "Yes, mother? What's the matter?" Rem asked. Looking at Rem with accusatory eyes, "I just wanted to know one thing, are you planning on taking Carver with you?" Leandra asked Rem. "I don't know, I haven't decided yet." Rem lied trying to find the right time to tell Carver that he wasn't going. Everyone could feel the tension building in the air when Carver butted in, "I'm going. It'll be fine." He insisted. "It's not fine, you can't both go. What if something happens to you? You I understand you wanting to do this, but leave your brother here, I beg you" Leandra pleaded with blame written all over her face, instantly reminded Rem of the look she received after Bethany's unfortunate demise. It was a shame that Rem would carry, but never allow the world to see. Leandra has never looked at her quite the same she thought with a sigh taking a deep breath, "No. You're not going." Rem announced. "Thank the Maker!" Leandra announced, wiping the glare off of her face. "What?! Now you are just being daft, you need me down there!" he continued to insist. "Carver, it would be foolish for both of us to go into the Deep Roads. We know the risks, it's too dangerous. Fenris has offered to take your place. He is a fine warrior, we will be fine. Please, stay here and comfort mother and keep Gamlen at bay. We should be back in a little over 2 weeks." Rem pleaded. "So what I should stay around and mind mother? Is this for my safety or your pride?" He accused. "Carver, she's just trying to do what she thinks is best" Leandra reassured. After a brief moment of hesitation, "I know mother, I suppose I'll have to do the same" he said, the hate in his eye was unmistakable.
Without a word she headed back to her companions. "Lets go" was all she said as she took the flower from her hair, throwing it to the ground as she followed Bartrand out of Kirkwall leaving Varric, Anders and Fenris to exchange a concerned glance as the followed behind her. When they finally arrived in the Deep Roads she was completely awestruck. She had no idea that the caverns and tunnels would be so massive, not to mention dark. She began to wonder how long she would be able to stand being so far under stone, if something were to happen to them, no one would know. Maybe that would be for the best she began to think as she went to run her hand along the chiseled walls. "Er, I wouldn't do that Hawke." Anders announced as he caught Rem's hand, "Who knows how much darkspawn filth has been piled up on these walls, it's not worth the risk." The sight of these tunnels brought such a great feeling of unrest to Rem. "Do we know anything about where we're going? This place is giving me the creeps. I don't mean it is scary, it just doesn't seem like something is right. Or is it just me?" Rem said looking to her companions for comfort. But their solemn looks didn't give her much comfort.
Their group didn't get very far into the Deep Roads when they found a that the pathway had collapsed. Squatting down Rem cradled her head in her palms as she started to laugh, "Of course the path would be blocked" Apparently her comrades didn't share the same light-hearted sentiment about their situation as she did. "Hmmm, to explore dangerous tunnels or hang out here for all the workers to ogle over?" Rem mockingly questioned as she rested her elbows on her knees. "I don't know about you two but I think the adventure would at least keep us preoccupied" Rem decided. "Or kill us, that's always an option" Anders mused. "True, but then we'd have nothing to worry about afterwards" she stated with a macabre laugh. "Plus isn't that why you're hear?? The perks of being a healer as well as a grey warden. You'll be able to protect us right? They say that the wardens only take the best right?" Rem asked turning to Anders with a sly smile. Straightening his shoulders as he proudly boasted "That they do, Hawke."
Varric could be heard telling Bartrand that we'd go scout some of he side tunnels for a way around. "We'll go take a look. If we come running back, screaming, you'll know that staying put was the right decision" Varric jested. "This is why I left the Wardens, I hate the blighted Deep Roads" Anders complained. Turning to go off to explore, another dwarf approached them, Bodahn, begging for help finding his son. Naturally Rem agreed to help, "We'll bring him back if we can." Each step she took made her feel as though she were heading into the abyss, and there would be no return. It was hard to see where you were going until you were right up on it. This would be the point where a great ambush would occur in any good tale Rem began to muse when hearing rocks shuffle. Turning, dagger in hand, she saw Anders sliding down a path of rocks. "I'm okay" he laughed as he landed solidly on the ground. "Blondie, if I didn't know better I'd think you were having fun with this." Varric proposed with a laugh. "Personally, the sun suits me just fine, but you my friend.. the depths were made for you" he surmised peering down at Anders. "Me? What about Broody over there?" Anders protested with his jaw dropped pointing at where he thought Fenris would be.
"And you think I belong here?" Fenris questioned from behind Anders, causing him to yelp like a girl as he jumped away from Fenris. This caused them all to laugh. Rem closed her eyes savoring the levity of the moment as she continued to walk. Unknowingly there was no ground under where her foot went to set. Falling, she gave a yelp of her own as she caught the edge of the broken off stone. Pulling herself up she sat down on the edge and looked down at the lava that passed beneath their passage "Well that wouldn't have been pleasant" she stated dumbly as she kicked her feet waiting on her companions to catch up to her. "Hawke, you really aught to pay attention here. There's plenty of beasty around here that would love to have you as a snack rather than wasting you to the lava." Varric practically choked out as he was trying not to laugh.
"Oh, and how I would hate to disappoint the beasties." Rem went on as got up from her perch. "Speaking of which" Anders warned as they began to hear the sounds of creatures approaching them "As if I didn't like this place enough now we have to fight these monsters off in the dark Sorry Varric I fear close combat is the only way around this one" Hawke said as she pulled out her sword. It wasn't a comfortable fight to say the least. Varric tried to stay close to Anders trying to keep the attention to himself minimal since his bolts were no help now. The small group of darkspawn had Rem and Fenris fighting back to back. Rem let her mind travel for a moment as she thought about how comforting it was to have Fenris fighting beside her. Carver was skilled enough but he didn't have confidence in his strikes. There wasn't a sense of finality. With Fenris it was different, they weren't swings of malice. They were swings of understanding that it was either them or him.
Reality called when a giant hurloc charged her. Blocking his blade with her own she felt herself being pushed back into Fenris. Without words, in one fluid motion Fenris wrapped his arm around Rem turning her effectively swopping opponents with her. And in two swings he dispatched the hurloc with ease. With that ending the fight against that group. He only nodded when Rem turned to thank him, so instead she smiled as they pressed on.
Eventually, Rem and her companions fought their way through the Deep Roads, saving Sandal who some how managed to kill a whole horde of darkspawn singlehandedly as well as freezing a mighty orgre in midstride or crystallized it, which ever. They were killing so many darkspawn and monstrous spiders they were starting to feel like they were eradicating the species. Rem was beginning to really, really hate the Deep Roads, she couldn't tell if it was night or day, or when one day lead to the next. She started to wonder if her companions felt the same. Shortly after killing a couple of dragons, they found a way through.
Bartrand ordered that the camp be pulled up when we told him of the way around. Rem's prior distaste for the Deep Roads was nothing compared to how she felt now after Bartrand had sealed them inside a deep chamber. "And I thought that it was the elf we had to keep an eye on, I never suspected to be betrayed by Varric" Anders mused out loud, earning displeased looks by everyone. "I highly doubt Varric was in on this considering he's stuck in here with us" she offered as Varric was vowing death upon his brother "I am so freaking tired of the blighted Deep Roads I can't tell what day it is, how long we've been here. I'm tired of those dirty men staring at my every move What I wouldn't do to be on the surface right now!" she cried out in frustration as she futilely kicked the stone door. After taking a deep breath, "Well, we better find ourselves a new way out. I refuse to die down here, not that you three aren't worthy company of dying with.. I would like to think I'd die in a much more entertaining fashion" she joked as she let the sounds of her exhaustion escape in her voice.
"What the hell are these things?" Rem asked after defeating a slew of these rock monsters. "Rock wraiths I suppose, but they are supposed to be made of legends" Varric stated. "Well, they're real enough for me" Fenris chimed in. Everything seemed simple enough until they ran into a profane, being possessed by a hunger demon. The demon wanted to remain feeding, he offered aid in their search for an exit of the Deep Roads. "I can sense your secrets and your desires, you seek to leave this place. And you will need my aid to do so." The demon stated. "Do as I ask and I will keep your secrets and give you the key you need" the demon suggested. With all eyes on Hawke, she straightened her shoulders, "We're not dealing with a demon" she declared. And instantly the fight started. Rock wraiths came in full force giving each of them plenty of opponents to face as the hunger demon fled.
"Why can't the harder way be the wrong way for once?" Rem said trying to make light of their ever gloomy situation. When they finally had a moment of peace to catch their breath she gave out a yawn and stretched her back in the quiet cave only hearing the cracks of her back echoing from the walls. She instantly blushed as everyone one turned staring at her. Pressing on, they battled the profanes until they reached a large room. "What is this place" Rem asked tiredly, "This is the vault. This is where they would hav-" the sounds of stones gathering broke Varric's sentence as Rem and Varric shared a look. Turning around, they watched as a gigantic profane formed before them. " That can't be good" Varric stated obviously.
Immediately they went to work, slashing away, firing their arrows or magic spells. However, after a little while the rocks fell to the ground. For a moment they looked at one another, then the rocks magically came back together but something felt off. She couldn't tell what it was right away, but after a moment of hesitation, "TAKE COVER!!" Rem screamed. Frantically she looked to see Anders dragging Varric behind a pillar as she shoved Fenris behind a pillar as a blinding red beam enveloped her. There was nothing she could do other than to wait it out. She gritted her teeth together clenching her eyes shut. It seemed to last for ever, she started to think that she wouldn't be able to make it out of there until she felt an hand gripping her arm pulling her out of the stream of pain. Gasping as she collided with Fenris' chest, "thank you" she whispered shakily as she caught her breath. Fenris wrapped his arm around her waist supporting her as he set down by the pillar. "Catch your breath" Fenris commanded as he charged after the monster with a new sense of conviction.
After a minute, she got back up to join the fight. Hacking and slashing at the hunger demon. 'Blighted demon, just die already' she thought as she sliced away. Suddenly Rem got that feeling again, she saw Varric and Anders already running towards cover as she did the same. At the last minute, Fenris tackled her over behind the pillar. The ground was cold and hard as she skidded to a stop behind the pillar with Fenris on top of her. She could see the pain riddling his features as she felt something warm seeping into her skirt and legs. Looking down she saw a where he had several deep gashes on his waist and leg. "Fenris" she gasped. As she shifted him over to the pillar, "Your turn, sit and catch your breath. I'll send Anders over in a minute. This ends now." She stated with determination in her eyes as she charged the enormous profane. Fenris shifted to watch the battle continue on. It only lasted minutes more when Rem launched herself in the air driving her sword and dagger though the demon's core as it was trying to gather together.
Placing Bianca on his back Varric glanced up at Hawke who just shrugged her shoulders, "I thought it was for good measure" she jested with a smile. "Anders! Heal Fenris!" she called as she jogged over to Fenris. "You sure taught it a lesson" he joked with a half smirk. Even trapped in the Deep Roads a hint of a smile from him could make her heart melt. Focus Rem! she reminded herself. Anders joined them shortly. "Hawke it's really not necessary, it's not that bad" Fenris protested. "Fenris, I would normally let you have your way but this time it's non-negotiable. The last thing I could bare . I mean I would not chance you getting the blight." Rem admitted unintentionally revealing a bit of vulnerability in her eyes. And with that the argument was ended, and Anders healed Fenris right away stating that he didn't sense any of the taint in his wounds. "Thank you Anders" Rem said with a smile, "Now lets get out of here a vault sounds like a good place to stash a key." She ventured.
After everything was settled they pressed on. "Makers breath, look at what it was guarding!" Varric announced as he was pointing at the piles of riches. Speaking up, Anders announced, "Great, lets hope that it was guarding something to help us out of here as well." "It'd be our luck that we'd find all this and no way out" Rem added sourly. They gathered everything they could carry that was of worth for Varric to take care of. "Got a key!!" Varric announced enthusiastically. "Thank the Maker!" Anders praised.
The walk back seemed so much worse than the way there Rem felt, well obviously we've been trapped down there for who knows how long she thought angrily at herself. The added weight of their new trinkets didn't help either. "Ah, I'd say this is our way back" Varric announced. "How long do you think it'll take from here?" Rem questioned. "Oh, If we're unlucky about a week." Varric surmised. "And if we're lucky?" "We'll stumbled over Bartrand's body on the way" Varric added on, his voice full of bitterness. "Then lets camp here-" Rem started to say as she collapsed to the floor.
"Hawke!!!" The three companions cried out at once. Varric and Fenris began to make a camp site while Anders turned her over to try to inspect her. He saw a little bit of red fabric sticking out from under her armor. Panicking he began to forcefully pulling her armor apart. In his head Anders laughed at the impracticality of Rem's armor. Very similar to a short dress having metal plates covering her vital areas. As soon as the metal parts were taken off Anders placed her on her bedroll that Fenris had prepared, then he began lifting up her skirt. "What are you doing mage?" Fenris demanded as he saw the smirk on Anders' lips as he was exploring Rem's unconscious form. "I'm checking her for wounds" he retorted straightening out his expression. Not seeing any indication of a wound on her abdomen he rolled her over to her side to look onto her back revealing the large scar in the middle of her back. "Wow" he whispered more to himself than for anyone else.
"What?" Fenris demanded trying to keep his temper in check. "Uh, er, the scar on her back. I wonder where she got it? That would have been a life threatening injury. It's a miracle she would survive an attack that would leave a mark like that on her body" Anders admitted as he touched the bottom portion of her scarred back. "I don't see any wounds on her" Anders announced, his voice lingered with sounds of relief. "And the taint?" Fenris asked as he quickly averted his eyes down to Hawke's fragile form. "No. I don't sense it within her, something seems odd though. I just can't put my finger on it though. I think she's just exhausted. She'll be fine after she's gotten some rest." Anders said. "Well then the 3 of us will split the watch then." Varric decided, "I'll go first."
While the others were lying down to rest, Hawkes mind was being haunted. She saw images of her father, Bethany.. Then she saw the hate in Carver's eyes. Suddenly, she started to hear voices in her dreams "We're coming" they said. Then the images of Bethany's demise started repeating over and over in her mind. Causing Hawke to thrash in her sleep. "We're coming ." . "We're coming " "HAWKE!"
Jolting up, she felt herself being caught by two strong soft hands. With her eyes wide she turned to look at who held her. "Anders?" she questioned as she blinked her eyes. Pulling her into a hug, "Bad dreams?" he asked. At first she stayed rigid with her jaw clenched until she allowed herself to relax in his comforting embrace. "I'm fine Just tired" She said with a faint smile as her belly started to growl "and hungry" she added with a laugh.
Now that she was up and around again she began looking through her pack and began to worry. We don't have that much left she thought as she organized her pack again. Fenris noticed how she had begun giving herself smaller and smaller rations as time went on. He could see how it affected her, she looked so tired with circles forming under her eyes. She can't keep this up he thought. "How much further Varric?" Fenris questioned impatiently. "Well, I'd say this should be the last time we have to camp.. so not too much further Broody." Varric said, the enthusiasm practically dripped from his words.
Fenris' shift to watch the camp was over, but he decided he would take half of her shift and wake Anders up early to cover the other half. It seemed reasonable enough to him. She needed her strength he thought. Finally, Fenris walked his way over to Ander's bedroll, pushing on his shoulder, "Anders, wake up" he said calmly. Shifting in his bedroll, "hmmm?? What? Fenris? It's Hawke's shift after yours not mine." He said groggily. "I know mage, but I took half of her shift and you'll take the other half. I've noticed she has been giving herself smaller and smaller portions of rations the longer we've been down here and she hasn't had the energy. She needs the rest more than we do." He explained to Anders who willingly got up after hearing Fenris out. Fenris then got up and situated himself against the wall near Hawke to sleep like a diligent guard to his master.
Finally, they arrived back in Kirkwall. "I started to think I'd never see this place again." Rem stated as she stretched and smiled into the sun. "As soon as I can, I'll look up my contacts so that we get the best price, go on home and tell your family the good news. We're rich." Varric assured Hawke with a smile.
They all split ways there except for Fenris who insisted on walking Rem home. The moment she opened the door Leandra cried out, "Thank the Maker! Please you have to talk some sense into him!" Fenris couldn't explain why there was so much pain in Rem's eyes when she saw Carver approaching her in a templar's uniform Bethany, he remembered. "Please leave" she whispered back to Fenris. The emotion in her voice pleaded for him to not ask questions. Silently, he backed away and shut the door quietly behind him.
"Carver, what are you wearing?" Rem demanded. "I've joined the Templar Order. There's no point in trying to talk me out of it. It's done" Carver announced. "What would Bethany have-" Leandra started to say when Carver cut her off, "Bethany isn't here" he shouted bitterly as he glared at Rem. "Carver-" Rem started. "I want to be someone. Like Father wanted. Like I want. This is my chance. I'm doing EVERYTHING I can." He declared emphasizing the word everything as he gave Rem a look of disgust as he marched towards the door. Followed by Leandra glaring at Rem, unfortunately Rem was very well aware of what that look was. The subtle disappointment and shame that etched another scratch deeper into her heart.
Rem couldn't stand it anymore, suddenly she turned around and left. Heading over to the Hanged Man finding all her friends there. Sighing, she was about to turn to leave when the all called out to her. Slowly she approached them trying to get a hold of her emotions before she got them, putting on her casual smile she waved. She had only one goal in mind. Drinking herself stupid. Tonight she could waste, and then she would start working on getting the family mansion back in the morning so she thought as she would down glass after glass.
Slowly we padded through the forest, the strange rumbling from earlier had subsided and to keep my mind from it I had suggested to my sister to go hunting. “What do you think we’ll catch?” I wondered.
“Whatever we find,” Featherstream responded. “But I just want to catch something for mother, she moved back into the nursery not too long ago.”
“As if I didn’t know that,” I snorted light heartedly; I was just as excited as the rest of my family about the kits. In fact the entire Clan was excited after all, it was about time kits were born into the Clan. “I’m just worried about how fast Leaf-Bare is approaching…”
“That’s why we need to catch as much prey as possible right now,” Featherstream exclaimed, she soon fell silent and pointed with her tail at the sky. “Look… a hawk.”
We shared a glance, both of us thinking the same thing. A hawk would mean plenty of food for the Clan. With no hesitation I pushed off the ground and started to scramble up a nearby tree, the hawk paused in its flying, gazing curiously at me. That’s right hawk, come over here… with a fierce cry the hawk swooped towards me its talons aiming for my neck. I leapt, soaring over the hawk, before I stretched out my front legs and my sharp claws dug into the startled hawk’s wings. Together we tumbled to the ground, with me landing on top of it. “Now Featherstream!” I called.
A quick flash of white burst past me as my sister streaked for the hawk. Her jaws wrapped around the thrashing hawk’s neck and she bit down, the crimson blood that pooled from the hawk’s wounds looking much like the red flecks on our backs that we had inherited from our mother. With the deed done, we leapt away from the dead bird and together sent up a silent, thankful prayer to StarClan. “Now let’s get this bird back to camp before it loses its warmth.”
We concerted the rest of our energy together as we struggled to drag the giant bird back to camp, the scent of our freshly caught prey made my mouth water but I restrained myself. The Clan needed this more than I did. My mind was quickly ripped away from the thought of food when we paused at a strip of destroyed land. We dropped the hawk, our mouths gaping open, as we struggled to understand what could have caused the damage. “It’s a path…” I murmured as my eyes followed it from left to right. “Leading straight towards the training grounds!”
“Wait, wasn’t Emberpaw and Bumblestripe supposed to be training there this afternoon?” Featherstream wondered.
“I have to go check; I have to make sure they’re okay!” I exclaimed, worry for my mate and his apprentice rushed through me.
“I can get the hawk back to camp by myself, check to make sure they’re okay,” Featherstream meowed urgently.
I didn’t have to be told twice as I tore down the path, with each paw step I took new worries rushed through me. Had they managed to get away? What if they had been seriously hurt? What if- I reached the clearing before I could finish that last question. It was a ruined as the path in the forest, but I saw no signs of Bumblestripe and Emberpaw. My relief was quickly washed away when I small, faint splotches of blood scattered on the clearing. I padded over to the nearest one and sniffed at it curiously, Bumblestripe.
Despite the hunting of the hawk and running all the way to the clearing, fear leant me strength and speed. I burst forward, blindly following the small, droplets of blood. I skidded around and tree, almost colliding with Emberpaw. The small orange she-cat was panting heavily as she struggled to drag Bumblestripe back to camp.
“Emberpaw… what happened?” I gasped, struggling for breath.
“Shimmerfur, it was awful!” Emberpaw wailed after setting Bumblestripe down. “There were so many of them and they were so large… with feet of rock and branches on their heads!” the small apprentice shivered in horror just at the thought. “Bumblestripe pushed me out of the way but he got hurt in the process…”
“We have no time to talk,” I growled. “Go back to the camp and inform Orangefur of this, we have no time to waste!”
Emberpaw nodded a new spark of determination glimmer in her eyes before she charged forward. I gently grasped Bumblestripe’s scruff and forced myself to ignore the moans of pain each time his wounded leg bumped into something. “Not long now…” I murmured between his scruff.
Rainbow Dash opened her eyes. Though when she saw what was around her she wish she hadn't. Snow, that was it. Nothing but a dark sky and snow. The wind stung at her skin through her coat. her nose seemed like it had began to run a long time ago as her nostrils stung with frozen mucus. And her wings, she couldn't feel them. She tried to stretch them out, but they kept her torso warm, so she quickly hugged them close.
As she looked around, Rainbow's first question was quite obvious: 'Where am I?" the thought bounced through her head for at least thirty seconds as she could only really focus on how cold she was. She stood, and with a shivering step, moved forward.
A Pegasus Pony is usually always used to the cold, but this was different. She knew she had been in the snow for hours, or at least in this blizzard for hours. When she had stood, snow had fallen off of her, fully exposing her to the harsh winds and torrents of freezing water flying through the air.
Her thoughts could only focus on two things. How cold she was, and how lost she was. With just choosing a direction out of random she began walking at a slow, shivering pace. She figured that moving in any direction would be better than just waiting to die of frostbite.
Every step was accompanied by pain as her hooves were already numb. Her tail was moved only by the wind as she couldn't feel it either. Her eyes crossed to verify her nose hadn't fallen off. Her wings, she shook them to make sure they were still there, and to get some of the snow off her back.
She tried to remember what had happened to get her here. As she began to clear her mind the questions came rolling in. Who had she made mad? Was it one of her fellow Bearers of Harmony? Did Lightning Dust drag her out her? Gilda? Was Celestia putting her to a test of endurance? She tried to remember. Where was she before she woke up?
Warmth, a fire, a library. Rainbow's squinted closed eyes danced with visions of her memories before today. A fleck of snow buried itself into Rainbow Dash's ear and she had to shake her head, disrupting her concentration. She gazed across the snowy tundra and let out a gasp of air, her eyes tearing up. Why? Why am I here!? She dared not yell her thoughts, any moisture she had she needed to keep; for attempting to drink snow would be fatal.
Shelter. if she could build an Igloo maybe she could at least warm up enough to weather this blizzard. She gathered up a snow ball and pounded into a brick of ice. Then again, and again. Within an hour she had only build the first row of the shelter. Rainbow Dash had to move slow, her hooves felt as if they were filled with shattered glass, and every time she stomped a snow ball into a brick, it was as if thousands of needles were being shoved through her hooves at once.
Two hours, she had a lot more done. Why was it easier now? She looked at her hooves and noticed small crystals forming and the color was changing to an ugly black. Her hooves were beginning to show signs of frostbite. NO! her mind screamed. She glanced over her back to her wings, which also had lost feeling. The feathers were starting to be carried off with the wind, and the fleshy stub that was visible was also beginning to darken.
Her gaze looked around. No trees. No grass. Just snow. Kilometers upon kilometers of snow. How was she to survive this? She smashed together another brick, in hopes of survival. TO BE CONTINUED!
Alot of people kept commenting about how sorry for dash they felt, and i couldn't keep my own feelings of sorrow for ehr from filling my head. so i decided to write the short i had building itself in my head. i did decide to make this a 2 or 3 part short series. so...will she live through the blizzard and find the bastard who sent her to the snowy tundra? we'll see
DUHN DUHN DUHN!!!!
this lil story will be an attempt at me writing suspense....i'm sure it'll fail >.<
I get ready for my day like any other man. I get up out of bed, I bathe, and I get dressed. When I go to look at myself in the mirror, I do not see what most people think I see. I don't see a skull bare of flesh staring out of a black hood. In fact, I see a handsome pale face with somewhat sharp features topped with a head of long, wavy black hair tipped with violet, and jade green eyes. I can easily fit into a crowd of them when I choose to make myself visible to them. Humans would think it odd that such a face belongs to one they know as Death.
The people of Earth fear me. They have always feared me, because I always lead them to what is unknown to them. They think I am evil and cruel. They think I enjoy my job. And in part I do, but not for the reasons they think.
I am misunderstood, but I am not sad or bitter about it. I can see it from their side as well. It is very frightening to be taken from everything one has known. I know my place. Though a hated one, it is a necessary one.
Four layers. That all she could do for now. Her hooves stung with what little feeling they had. At least now the wall she had built was tall enough to block most of the wind and the snow she had used now revealed the frozen ground. She curled up close enough to the wall to be protected and tucked her hooves under herself in an attempt to warm them.
For a moment she stared at her accomplishment, proud that she had managed to get as far as she did. Her vision lowered to her nearly featherless wings. What was she to do now? They were turning black, and she could not as easily cover them with her body. Letting out a sigh, she rested her head on her wrists. A tear escaped her eye, slid down her cheek, and then froze to her fur. She hardly noticed, after all she was now covered in snow that did little to warm her.
Now she had time to think, as what little warmth from her stomach gave some feeling back to her hooves. Twilight's Library. A spell. Did Twilight accidentally teleport her here? No. Twilight is clumsy, but not so much so to endanger her friends. What was the spell!? Her memory danced. Twilight's romp was predominant. "WHAT!? I was staring at her ass!?" Rainbow exclaimed. She covered her snout knowing that speaking would also dehydrate her. Rainbow continued trying to remember what had happened before. There was yelling. A familiar buzzing noise. Why was it so familiar?
Twilight's butt…it changed to black? Those eyes…those green eyes…Rainbow's head shot up in horror. QUEEN CRYSALIS!? How had she come back!? And why did she send Rainbow Dash here? Rainbow stood, forgetting all of her pain. "I HAVE TO GET BACK!" after her outburst she found herself flat on the ground coughing vigorously. Her throat was dry, and her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. She was becoming dehydrated. The snow surrounding her little living space became very tempting. The problem with eating snow was that it would provide very little hydration, while draining one of any remaining body heat. Rainbow knew she needed all the body heat she could get, but she was so thirsty.
Cold, thirsty, hungry, and tiered. Her spine stung from her constant shivering. Once again she balled herself up in an attempt at staying warm. So now she remembered who had sent her here, but what could she do once she got back. She licked her nose to try and warm it up, but all that did was make it colder as her saliva drew the warmth from it. She couldn't get warm. No matter what she did. Without any blankets or a roof over her head to stop the rest of the blistering wind from reaching her, she was never gaining any warmth. Her internal body temperature was beginning to reach a dangerous low.
Her heart slowed, her mind became numb, and her eyes grew heavy. She was exceptionally tiered. The outburst of excitement at her memory had drained more resources from her than she had thought. She knew she had to stay awake though. If she slept, her body would give up, and she would for sure perish.
She raised her head up, keeping her bloodshot eyes from closing. How long did she have to be like this? Could she last? She shook her head vigorously in attempts at keeping her eyes open, but all this did was make here even more tiered. "I can't give up now! All I have to do is stay awake till this blizzard dies off…" she looked above her at the snow flakes whizzing past. "But how long will that be?"
Warmth, where was it coming from? That bright light, what was causing it? The thoughts of death pushed through Rainbow's mind. Was she to no longer suffer?
Democratic socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democraticallyto meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives. Democracy and socialism go hand in hand. All over the world, wherever the idea of democracy has taken root, the vision of socialism has taken root as welleverywhere but in the United States. Because of this, many false ideas about socialism have developed in the US. With this pamphlet, we hope to answer some of your questions about socialism.
Doesn't socialism mean that the government will own and run everything?
Democratic socialists do not want to create an all-powerful government bureaucracy. But we do not want big corporate bureaucracies to control our society either. Rather, we believe that social and economic decisions should be made by those whom they most affect.
Today, corporate executives who answer only to themselves and a few wealthy stockholders make basic economic decisions affecting millions of people. Resources are used to make money for capitalists rather than to meet human needs. We believe that the workers and consumers who are affected by economic institutions should own and control them.
Social ownership could take many forms, such as worker-owned cooperatives or publicly owned enterprises managed by workers and consumer representatives. Democratic socialists favor as much decentralization as possible. While the large concentrations of capital in industries such as energy and steel may necessitate some form of state ownership, many consumer-goods industries might be best run as cooperatives.
Democratic socialists have long rejected the belief that the whole economy should be centrally planned. While we believe that democratic planning can shape major social investments like mass transit, housing, and energy, market mechanisms are needed to determine the demand for many consumer goods.
Hasn't socialism been discredited by the collapse of Communism in the USSR and Eastern Europe?
Socialists have been among the harshest critics of authoritarian Communist states. Just because their bureaucratic elites called them "socialist" did not make it so; they also called their regimes "democratic." Democratic socialists always opposed the ruling party-states of those societies, just as we oppose the ruling classes of capitalist societies. We applaud the democratic revolutions that have transformed the former Communist bloc. However, the improvement of people's lives requires real democracy without ethnic rivalries and/or new forms of authoritarianism. Democratic socialists will continue to play a key role in that struggle throughout the world. Moreover, the fall of Communism should not blind us to injustices at home. We cannot allow all radicalism to be dismissed as "Communist." That suppression of dissent and diversity undermines America's ability to live up to its promise of equality of opportunity, not to mention the freedoms of speech and assembly.
Private corporations seem to be a permanent fixture in the US, so why work towards socialism?
In the short term we can't eliminate private corporations, but we can bring them under greater democratic control. The government could use regulations and tax incentives to encourage companies to act in the public interest and outlaw destructive activities such as exporting jobs to low-wage countries and polluting our environment. Public pressure can also have a critical role to play in the struggle to hold corporations accountable. Most of all, socialists look to unions make private business more accountable.
Won't socialism be impractical because people will lose their incentive to work?
We don't agree with the capitalist assumption that starvation or greed are the only reasons people work. People enjoy their work if it is meaningful and enhances their lives. They work out of a sense of responsibility to their community and society. Although a long-term goal of socialism is to eliminate all but the most enjoyable kinds of labor, we recognize that unappealing jobs will long remain. These tasks would be spread among as many people as possible rather than distributed on the basis of class, race, ethnicity, or gender, as they are under capitalism. And this undesirable work should be among the best, not the least, rewarded work within the economy. For now, the burden should be placed on the employer to make work desirable by raising wages, offering benefits and improving the work environment. In short, we believe that a combination of social, economic, and moral incentives will motivate people to work.
Why are there no models of democratic socialism?
Although no country has fully instituted democratic socialism, the socialist parties and labor movements of other countries have won many victories for their people. We can learn from the comprehensive welfare state maintained by the Swedes, from Canada's national health care system, France's nationwide childcare program, and Nicaragua's literacy programs. Lastly, we can learn from efforts initiated right here in the US, such as the community health centers created by the government in the 1960s. They provided high quality family care, with community involvement in decision-making.
But hasn't the European Social Democratic experiment failed?
For over half a century, a number of nations in Western Europe and Scandinavia have enjoyed both tremendous prosperity and relative economic equality thanks to the policies pursued by social democratic parties. These nations used their relative wealth to insure a high standard of living for their citizenshigh wages, health care and subsidized education. Most importantly, social democratic parties supported strong labor movements that became central players in economic decision-making. But with the globalization of capitalism, the old social democratic model becomes ever harder to maintain. Stiff competition from low-wage labor markets in developing countries and the constant fear that industry will move to avoid taxes and strong labor regulations has diminished (but not eliminated) the ability of nations to launch ambitious economic reform on their own. Social democratic reform must now happen at the international level. Multinational corporations must be brought under democratic controls, and workers' organizing efforts must reach across borders.
Now, more than ever, socialism is an international movement. As socialists have always known, the welfare of working people in Finland or California depends largely on standards in Italy or Indonesia. As a result, we must work towards reforms that can withstand the power of multinationals and global banks, and we must fight for a world order that is not controlled by bankers and bosses.
Aren't you a party that's in competition with the Democratic Party for votes and support?
No, we are not a separate party. Like our friends and allies in the feminist, labor, civil rights, religious, and community organizing movements, many of us have been active in the Democratic Party. We work with those movements to strengthen the party's left wing, represented by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
The process and structure of American elections seriously hurts third party efforts. Winner-take-all elections instead of proportional representation, rigorous party qualification requirements that vary from state to state, a presidential instead of a parliamentary system, and the two-party monopoly on political power have doomed third party efforts. We hope that at some point in the future, in coalition with our allies, an alternative national party will be viable. For now, we will continue to support progressives who have a real chance at winning elections, which usually means left-wing Democrats.
If I am going to devote time to politics, why shouldn't I focus on something more immediate?
Although capitalism will be with us for a long time, reforms we win nowraising the minimum wage, securing a national health plan, and demanding passage of right-to-strike legislationcan bring us closer to socialism. Many democratic socialists actively work in the single-issue organizations that advocate for those reforms. We are visible in the reproductive freedom movement, the fight for student aid, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered organizations, anti-racist groups, and the labor movement.
It is precisely our socialist vision that informs and inspires our day-to-day activism for social justice. As socialists we bring a sense of the interdependence of all struggles for justice. No single-issue organization can truly challenge the capitalist system or adequately secure its particular demands. In fact, unless we are all collectively working to win a world without oppression, each fight for reforms will be disconnected, maybe even self-defeating.
What can young people do to move the US towards socialism?
Since the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s, young people have played a critical role in American politics. They have been a tremendous force for both political and cultural change in this country: in limiting the US's options in the war in Vietnam, in forcing corporations to divest from the racist South African regime, in reforming universities, and in bringing issues of sexual orientation and gender discrimination to public attention. Though none of these struggles were fought by young people alone, they all featured youth as leaders in multi-generational progressive coalitions. Young people are needed in today's struggles as well: for universal health care and stronger unions, against welfare cuts and predatory multinational corporations.
Schools, colleges and universities are important to American political culture. They are the places where ideas are formulated and policy discussed and developed. Being an active part of that discussion is a critical job for young socialists. We have to work hard to change people's misconceptions about socialism, to broaden political debate, and to overcome many students' lack of interest in engaging in political action. Off-campus, too, in our daily cultural lives, young people can be turning the tide against racism, sexism and homophobia, as well as the conservative myth of the virtue of "free" markets.
If so many people misunderstand socialism, why continue to use the word?
First, we call ourselves socialists because we are proud of what we are. Second, no matter what we call ourselves, conservatives will use it against us. Anti-socialism has been repeatedly used to attack reforms that shift power to working class people and away from corporate capital. In 1993, national health insurance was attacked as "socialized medicine" and defeated. Liberals are routinely denounced as socialists in order to discredit reform. Until we face, and beat, the stigma attached to the "S word," politics in America will continue to be stifled and our options limited. We also call ourselves socialists because we are proud of the traditions upon which we are based, of the heritage of the Socialist Party of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, and of other struggles for change that have made America more democratic and just. Finally, we call ourselves socialists to remind everyone that we have a vision of a better world.