Lover’s Lament – Eternity’s Empire Chapter 14

Lover’s Lament – Eternity’s Empire Chapter 14

Chapter Fourteen of Eternity’s Empire has finally arrived and, at long last, we get to talk about Aphrodite! (If you’d like to learn more about the previous guardians you can find Ganga here, Amaterasu here, and Thora over here!)

When I started this project, there was no question I would include at least one god from the Greek pantheon. Outside of Egyptian mythology, which is my favorite, it’s the pantheon I’m most familiar with. But which goddess?

Athena was my first choice. As a goddess of both wisdom and warfare, she seemed like the perfect candidate. But since my only elemental solution for the Norse pantheon was a modified version of Thor, I had to reconsider. So I moved on to Artemis, goddess of the hunt and often associated with the moon. But this posed another problem; I had already decided to make Amaterasu an archer and I wanted each of the guardians to feel unique.

When it comes to Greek gods, there are plenty of interesting choices. But I set myself on an elemental course. I had an Earth based character (Gaea), I had a fire based character (Amaterasu), water (Ganga) and lightning (Thora). I knew I wanted Aeternitas, the series’ main protagonist, to be associated with light (hence the name of the series’ first book, The Light of Eternity). That left me with air. I wasn’t sure how to embody the element of air outside of weather related magic, which I had already granted to Thora. A conundrum.

But then I remembered one of my favorite childhood cartoons: Captain Planet. There were five elements featured in that show: earth, air, fire, water and heart. Aaah Ma-Ti, guardian of the most ridiculed and often forgotten element; empathy. But it was a unique concept, and Aphrodite is an interesting goddess, so she got the role.

Don’t Mess with Aphrodite

Most people are familiar with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty and passion. The Romans called her Venus. As far as origins go, hers is one of the odder tales. She was evidently born from sea foam formed after the water made contact with blood from Uranus’s severed genitals. How romantic. Though Homer’s Iliad states simply that Aphrodite was the child of Zeus and Dione.

Aphrodite was best known for her physical beauty, which was so great even the male gods fought constantly over who should be with her. Some myths state that Zeus hastily married her to Hephaestus simply so the rest of the gods would be forced to stop fighting over her. Other myths indicate Hephaestus may have tricked Aphrodite into marrying him. In the Iliad, Aphrodite is paired with Ares. In fact, Aphrodite had many lovers, both mortal and divine.

Though she’s most often associated with love, one of the deepest and most positive emotions in the mortal lexicon, Aphrodite isn’t always a sympathetic figure. She’s often depicted as jealous and several stories speak of swift and brutal retribution against those who dare to spurn her. For instance when Hippolytus abandoned her in favor of Artemis, Aphrodite caused his step-mother fall in love with him. Hippolytus’s rejection caused his step-mother, Phaedra, to commit suicide. When his father read the note she left, blaming Hippolytus, he asks the gods to kill his son for his transgression.

Another story states that when the women of Lemnos refused to properly honor her, Aphrodite cursed them to stink so badly their husbands refused to sleep with them. This eventually led to the murder of the entire male population of Lemnos. The lesson? Don’t mess with Aphrodite.

It wasn’t hard to make Aphrodite my own

I loved the idea of a guardian that sometimes struggles to be kind. So I set to work adapting Aphrodite for my story. I didn’t want her abilities to center around making people fall in love. It wouldn’t fit into many of the scenarios I planned to write. So I made her an Empath instead. This means that she can sense and manipulate the emotions of others.

I’ve written empathic characters before. Though Catilen is far more discrete about the use of her powers, while Aphrodite feels little remorse about tampering. Choosing a special object for Aphrodite proved tricky. Few goddesses have so many symbols associated with them. I almost chose a scallop shell, in homage to the famous Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. But all the other guardians had objects that served practical uses outside their magical properties. I couldn’t see much use for a seashell in combat. On the other hand, I loved the idea of her various human incarnations passing a treasured heirloom through the generations. So I settled on an antique mirror.

Perhaps my favorite part of Aphrodite’s character creation was establishing her past. Yes, all these little side stories were planned from the start! But Aphrodite’s history has required the most foreshadowing in order to pull off. Like Amaterasu’s past, Aphrodite’s history draws on one of her most popular mythological tales; her relationship with the mortal hunter Adonis. (But for more on that, you’ll have to read the chapter!)

Establishing Aphrodite’s human form

As much as possible, I tried to place the human versions of my goddesses in their geographic location of origin. This meant that Indrani, Ganga’s human incarnation, grew up in India. Seika, Amaterasu’s human counterpart grew up in Japan. And Aphrodite’s human incarnation, Calista, was born in Greece. Since her family was apparently the type to keep hold of expensive family heirlooms, I established early on that Calista’s was a family of means. This meant that they could maintain a vacation home Greece and still afford a sizable family home in Britain, where Calista attended university.

I chose the name “Calista” for Aphrodite’s human form because it means most beautiful.

Learn more about Aphrodite in the latest installment of Eternity’s Empire – Lover’s Lament, available now!

Buy your copy or Read it FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Each of Aeternitas’s guardians has secrets from their past. As they reveal their tales, one by one, the clues required to solve their latest mystery fall into place. Until only one clue remains hidden and only one story remains untold.

Before she agreed to serve as Aeternitas’s guardian, Aphrodite was engaged to the perfect man. No greater hunter or kinder lover ever lived. But before they could build their ideal life together, cruel fate stole Aphrodite’s beloved Adonis from her.

Was his death at the tusks of a boar an accident? Or did one of Aphrodite’s siblings orchestrate Adonis’s death as revenge for a past transgression? Most importantly, will finally solving the mystery of her lover’s death allow her new friends to deal with the onrushing imperial threat?

You can catch up on the Eternity’s Empire series here!

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