A Demon on Mount Olympus
The war lasted for ten long years, but finally, the Titans surrendered. Zeus commanded control of the Heavens, Poseidon, became the ruler of the seas, and Hades in the Underworld. As promised, Zeus blessed those who stood by him, his sibling and his children during the war. But one stood out above the rest: Hecate, goddess of magic, necromancy, ghosts, and crossroads between the living and the dead. He showered her with gifts of the earth, heaven, and sea. She was respected by the gods and Zeus’ newest creation: humans.
As years passed, Hecate flourished. She was worshipped throughout Greece. When the birth of her daughter Empusa came, there was celebration on Olympus. She was beautiful, just like her mother. With long, wavy dark brown hair. Chiseled features and charm that worked on men and women alike. She was expected to practice witchcraft, like her mother as she had the gift of foresight. But her heart longed for a different path.
At a young age, she had a craving for the flesh and blood of those around her, something she did not dare tell her mother. She controlled it, satiating her appetite with the blood of animals. On the night of her eighteenth birthday, hundreds of guests joined Empusa and her family on Mount Olympus. Gods and demigods alike lusted for her affection, but all she wanted was to go down to the mortal world. Zeus, who was like a grandfather to her, convinced Hecate to let her go. Everyone was too drunk on ambrosia and nectar to notice that she would be gone.
Being in the mortal world was like nothing she had ever experienced before. She saw men and women praying and leaving sacrifices to her aunts and uncles. She stopped at a home that had a statue of her mother at the front of the door. The roof was covered with bougainvilleas, and the inside of the house emitted a scent of fresh bread. As she turned to leave, a voice came from the home.
“Did you need anything, madam?”
When Empusa turned around, she was stunned to find the most beautiful man she had ever seen. His olive skin glistened in the moonlight, and his deep-set, dark brown eyes pierced through hers.
“I was just admiring your home,” she said shyly, “It’s beautiful.”
“You’ve only seen the outside of the house, there’s even more beauty on the inside,” he smiled.
Empusa blushed at the forwardness of the young man. Men on Olympus never really bothered with flirting or courting, they just took what they wanted. Empusa could hear his pulse beating in her ears. She licked her lips, “What’s your name?”
He held out his hand, “Aescalus.”
An open courtyard sat in the middle of the home. It was full of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Aescalus led Empusa to the second bedroom on the left of the house. He pressed her up against the wall and kissed her on the mouth, making his way down to her neck and décolletage. He lifted her up, wrapping her legs around his hips. Empusa could feel her breathing pick up as she felt the heat of his body on hers. She took control, sitting on top of Aescalus. He seemed to enjoy the dominance that she was exhibiting, that was until she bit into his groin. Hard. He screamed in pain as she sunk her teeth into him. She finally came up for air, blood dripping from her mouth. This was the moment that she had been waiting for all her life, and it felt amazing. Aescalus caught her off guard and kneed her in the face, running the best that he could to the courtyard. But she was too quick for him. She threw the human across the yard into a bushel of flowers and pounced on him.
“Please. I’ll do anything you want, please,” he begged and pleaded, praying that Empusa would spare his life. But she was drunk with power.
She smiled at him and caressed his face, “I’m sure you lived a blessed life.” She went for the jugular, covering his mouth with her free hand to mask his screams. Finally, his body went completely limp. Realizing what she had done, she panicked as she stared at the dead body that lay in front of her. Not knowing what to do, she burned his remains in the fire pit.
Suddenly, she felt a pain shoot throughout her body. Her bones began to crack and her body contorted in odd shapes. The length of her nose grew longer and feathers sprouted from her arms and torso. Her toes turned to talons, and soon, she was elevated into the air. She caught her reflection in the fountain and saw that she had been transformed into a large bird, with a yellow beak, red feathers, and four black legs. She flew up towards the sky and home to Mount Olympus.
The next morning, she awoke in her bed, in human form. The night before must have been a dream, but her hunger for blood was not bothering her has it usually did.
“Did you have fun last night?” Her mother asked as she ate leftovers from the party.
“Yes, mother. It was… invigorating.”
On a rainy night, Empusa saw a man, sleeping on the side of the road. The residents of the city were in their homes and the streets lacked any sign of life. Cold and hungry, she walked over to the man, knelt next to him and bit him. The man awoke, thunder and lightning hurled throughout the sky.
“Zeus!” She cried.
Zeus said nothing to her as he grabbed her and transported them back to Mount Olympus. The eleven Olympians were waiting for them in the great hall when they arrived. Hecate rushed out in a frenzy, still in her night clothes and robe.
“What is the meaning of this?” She yelled as she grabbed Empusa from Zeus’ grip.
“Hecate, you know I love you and respect you. We all do. But the crimes committed by your daughter cannot be overlooked,” Zeus said.
“You’re not going on about that nonsense about her eating humans, are you? Those are nothing but rumors.”
“Then what is this!” He removed his cloak and revealed the bite mark that was slowly healing on his neck, “She attacked me like I was some common mortal.”
Empusa whimpered. Hecate looked at her in shock. For months, she had defended her daughter against Zeus’ accusations, and there it was — a confession.
“And the makes it any better,” he bellowed, “Have the humans, my creation, done anything ill to you? Have the dishonored us in any way?”
“No, my lord,” she said, staring at the ground.
“If this were any other circumstance, I would kill her myself, but.”
Hecate howled in despair.
Zeus lay an ax in front of Empusa and her mother, “Make no mistake, this a loss that Olympus will feel, deeply. We have all loved her and cared for her like she was our own. But you brought her into this world. She has lust that cannot be controlled. For the safety of our kind and the humans we watch over, you know what needs to be done.”
Hephaestus and Apollo struggled to hold the girl down as she kicked and screamed. Cursing those who made no effort in helping her. Her mother stood over her body, she could barely keep the ax still as she wept. She took a deep breath and held her composure. She could not show weakness, not at this moment. She looked into her daughter’s eyes, “You did this to yourself,” she said.
Empusa spat in her mother’s face. Hecate held the ax high above her head and swung it down, stabbing Empusa in the heart. As her daughter took her last breath, Hecate collapsed to the ground inconsolable.
“Hecate?” Zeus said softly, “there is more.”
“What else could there be?” Her voice was flat and lifeless.
“Excuse me?” Her tears of sadness quickly turned to those of anger.
“We discussed this when we first had suspicions. The way your daughter turned out was no fault of your own, but-”
“‘But.’ But what? I fought for you. I stood by your side through every single decision that you have made. I am worshipped by your people, the ones you created to worship you and your brothers and sisters. And you want to banish me?” She yelled.
“It’s not permanent,” Athena chimed in.
Hecate turned to look at her niece, “No one was talking to you.”
“Hecate, what she says is true. It’s not permanent,” Zeus put his hands around Hecate’s shoulders, “I am the all-father. But I cannot see everything. No one knows the darkness your daughter unleashed in the mortal world, and how far it spread. There needs to be someone who can stop all this. The only person who can stop them needs to come from you.”
“So why can’t I do that here, on my home?” She begged.
“There is not a god of witchcraft in our world, the offspring that will defeat The Strix has to be a pure witch. No exceptions. There are worlds other than our own. Find someone. Only once the Bringer of Light is born, can you return.”
Hecate made no further argument with Zeus and the other Olympians and spent her days traveling the earth, sea, and skies of someone worthy to bare her such a child.