How could I not love Hephaestus? The singular passion of his love for me is a light that can never be extinguished. Even the goddess of love has need to be loved, and my husband’s divine heart is a wellspring of absolute and unbidden love. You may mock him for his deformity, and shudder at his scarred and cancerous visage, but I care not for such irrelevancies. No one delights more in the dexterity of his hands or the boundless ingenuity of his mind.
“What of Ares?” I hear you cry, and it is true that I have often lain with the war-god. His carnal, sexual desire for me is as pure in its own way as my husband’s ethereal, romantic desire… but where Hephaestus’s love is eternal and enduring, Ares’s lust is a fickle thing, wondrous and terrifying, passing swiftly in a restless hunger for fresh conquest.
Love and lust are my domain, and I am ruled as surely as I rule. I am helpless to do other than love Hephaestus, and cannot resist Ares’s hunger, but my capacity for love far exceeds these two divinities.
Hearts bend to my desire. Even my greatest rivals’. Hera burns with a jealous love for her faithless husband, and Athena’s mask of severity conceals a burning lust for the mortals she guides. If I so chose, I could have all the gods worshipping at my feet…
All save one.
All save Artemis, the chaste goddess, protector of children. Such beauty! Such passion! So sweet and merry her laughter in the woods at night, bubbling and echoing through my dreams. To see her and hear her is such cruel torture when I can never possess her.
“I would surrender myself entirely,” I say, “for just one kiss from you.”
“Don’t be silly!” Her eyes look kindly at me, but her thoughts are elsewhere. “I’m hunting moonbeams tonight.”