Eris stormed into the dressing room on Olympus. She flung a golden card down onto the table at the center of the room. “What in Hades is this?” she demanded.
Aphrodite glanced at it, while adjusting one perfect curl in the mirror. She took a moment to admire her reflection before replying. “It’s an invitation.”
“I know that,” Eris tried not to snarl, but couldn’t refrain from clenching her hands into fists. She was in no mood for Aphrodite’s games. “Why wasn’t I invited?”
“Zeus doesn’t want you there,” Hera stated firmly, as she fixed the folds of her gown. Really, this wasn’t the time or place for a confrontation. Eris had no tact.
“Why not?” Eris demanded, as the three Olympians continued to preen in front of the mirrors.
“Well, you do tend to cause problems,” Athena remarked casually. Would it be inappropriate to bring weapons to a wedding? She pondered the question for a moment, before sighing, setting down the silver bow, and then slipping the matching quiver of arrows from her back.
“I’m the Goddess of Discord,” Eris replied, irritated. For someone who was known for her wisdom, Athena was acting like a moron. “I’m supposed to cause problems.”
“Exactly,” Aphrodite nodded, before flipping her hair over her shoulder. Her gleaming curls cascaded down her back. “That’s why you weren’t invited,” she said sweetly, dimples forming on either side of her saccharine smile.
Eris felt like screaming, but she controlled her temper and replied evenly. “No, I mean that it’s my JOB to cause discord.”
“Then why are you surprised?” Athena asked. “You’re not exactly known for being fun at parties.” Her tone was patronizing, but what else could you expect from the Goddess of Wisdom?
“I just follow Zeus’s orders,” Eris threw up her hands in disgust. They were acting as if she didn’t know how to conduct herself at a social gathering. It was downright insulting.
Hera’s porcelain brow furrowed. “Don’t blame my husband for your misdeeds,” she said sternly. “You’re a goddess. You have free will.” When Hera noticed the creases in her forehead, she smoothed out her expression. The wrinkles disappeared. “Come, my daughters, it’s time to leave.” Hera turned to Eris. “Please try to control yourself in our absence. It would be nice to have one evening of peace and quiet.”
The three goddesses vanished into a cloud of iridescent mist. The mist was completely unnecessary, but Hera loved the drama that it added to her arrivals and departures.
Eris stood alone in the dressing room. Her cheeks flushed. The situation was beyond humiliating. The wedding of King Peleus to the sea nymph Thetis was going to be the social event of the year. And once again, the Olympians had intentionally excluded her.
It wasn’t fair. They blamed her for all of humanity’s suffering, but the other Olympians plagued human beings just as much as she did. Aphrodite was going. That ditzy Goddess of Love and her loser son Cupid had caused plenty of suffering. Hadn’t they driven that witch Medea insane with love for Jason? And hadn’t she killed off his entire family because of it? Even that moron Ares had been invited and he was the God of War, for Zeus’s sake. He had caused more chaos and destruction than she ever had. So why was she the one being punished?
Eris simmered as she left Olympus. Her sister Aigle was waiting for her back at the Garden of Hesperides. “Well, what happened? Was it a mistake?” she asked eagerly. “Can you come with me?”
Eris couldn’t meet her eager eyes. “No,” she muttered softly. “It wasn’t a mistake.”
“What?” Aigle’s eyes widened. Eris had to be joking. Every god and goddess would be at this wedding. Even some of the demi-gods and notable humans were going. “Are you serious?”
“Of course I’m serious. Why would I make this up?” Eris snapped. Her shoulders slumped. “I wasn’t invited, okay?”
Aigle felt helpless. There was nothing she could do if the Olympians didn’t want Eris to attend the wedding. She laid a tentative hand on Eris’s shoulder. “Oh, Eris, I’m so sorry.”
Eris couldn’t take stand the look on Aigle’s face. It was a mixture of shock and sympathy. “Please stop looking at me like that.”
“Sorry, I can’t help it,” Aigle felt a pang of guilt. She was still dying to go to the wedding, but Eris looked so sad. “Do you want me to stay with you?”
There was some reluctance in Aigle’s tone, but Eris didn’t blame her for it. It wasn’t often that Aigle had a chance to leave her job as one of the celestial guardians in the Garden of Hesperides.
“You’re too sweet,” Eris managed a small smile for her sister. “Don’t be silly. Of course you should go. Just let me know what happens.”
“I will,” Aigle smiled. She glanced at the tree behind her. It was Hera’s prized possession because it contained the Olympians’ golden apples of immortality. “Will you keep an eye on the garden while I’m gone?”
“Sure,” Eris sighed. There wasn’t anything better to do that evening. She may as well help out Aigle if she could.
“You’re the best,” Aigle beamed and hugged her sister. “I owe you one.”
“I’ll remember you said that,” Eris grinned at her. Aigle waved one last time and vanished, leaving Eris alone with the golden apples……