Tradition has always been somewhat of a curious thing to me. A seemingly random thing, action, set of words, or event that is passed down: parents to children, master to apprentice, clan to clan, and so forth. I have seen artifacts inherited from ancestors who did great things in the eyes of their people; heard stories told of how immortals gave them life and helped raise them up to greatness; listened in on the special words or phrases that are meant to impart protection, luck, love, bravery. All of these are used to convey something meaningful to the receiver, and is often puzzled over by any outsider.
I do not think I use the word tradition very well in my life. Most of my children are grown, lead extraordinary lives, and have become their own god or goddess without me. My legacy is their deeds – that is not tradition. I created a way for Thanatos to move undetected and unscathed through the mortal and Underworld planes, but he is the only child I did this for – that is not tradition. Is keeping a promise to your beloved tradition? Is swearing to always be there to protect your family a tradition? I feel like it’s not. Is it old-fashioned of me to want to have a tradition?
It is these things that I started to mull over as my first real winter solstice on the mortal plane arrives. Winter is my second favourite time of the year, the first being the autumn. I would not blame you if you find it amusing that a Greek goddess, or any of us really, would look forward to a holiday that generally seems to belong to the Trinity Administration. But they are not the only ones who have a stake in the cold month’s heart. There are those of us who celebrate the fortune of arriving at another year’s end with a soiree or a festival; or perhaps a quiet fire, a few choice friends and family, while mulled wine is sipped on over fond memories; or maybe an exhilarating rush is the key, experienced only through the spurring of competition and athletics. The idea that the immortals are still aloof, bickering, and looking to you, mortals, as mere pastimes has long passed. Long passed.
I am, perhaps, stating the blatantly obvious when I say that I do not get along with everyone that belongs in our family. I can already hear you say, Every family is like that, what’s so special about yours? The defining difference between your family and mine is that we are essentially going to live forever. I say essentially because although we are immortal, we can die, though it is extremely difficult to do so. But when you live forever, you also tend to have a long memory, or at least have a method to keep track of the goings-on within the family. So, in the case of mine, a get-together can either be one hell of a night, or it can make the Tartarus Correctional Facility look like the quietest library. I will let your imaginations fill in those details.
I don’t speak on this topic, but I am of the feeling and thought that Primordials have a bad rap. Maybe not all of us, per se, seeing as many of us have either gone missing or choose not to be here. And perhaps it is my own mind that points out my flaws, but I feel like because I was the first one here, a lot of the good and bad has fallen on my shoulders, simply because of pecking order. This is not to say that I am innocent in any of what history has depicted me as: I did my share of horrors, I own that. But there are those that would pin their faults – all of them – on my existence alone, and I do not wish to carry that. So, in order to try and alleviate these feelings, I have decided to do something different this year. Hopefully, it will mean making our family just a little less chaotic.
For this year’s winter solstice, I am hosting a soiree in the far north. As in, the North Pole. It is as neutral a place as I could possibly find, and I reached out to a dear friend of mine to help me set up a venue, who was all too ready to accommodate. Noel Klaas is one of the sweetest beings I have had the pleasure of dealing with in all my years. When I came to him looking for a space for the solstice soiree, he immediately offered up his Snowflake Estate and all his staff that came with it. He and I hardly speak, as our line of work doesn’t cross very often, but when we do it’s always pleasant and smooth. So, I invited the family to come dine, dance, and mingle. I know there are those who are disinterested in another family gathering but, the winter is when my heart comes alive in the most sincerest form. There will be live music, a catered dinner, and the finest drinks. I will personally ensure there will be clear skies, a full moon, with crisp, white snow as far as the eye can see. I am…actually quite excited for this. And I suppose, in a way, I will be leaving a piece of myself with you too, dear mortal.
I stood in it now, situated in the heart of the North Pole. It was a manor of old elegance, kept pristine over the hundreds of years he had used it. Long, sweeping corridors were graced with beautiful, hand painted portraits and landscapes hung on wooden paneled walls, while thick, woven rugs sat before the numerous fireplaces that were scattered within the rooms and halls. Brass and white marble worked in harmony with deep oaks and mahogany to create a stunning venue. Noel really outdid himself: it was everything I needed and more.
I had arrived a few days early to ensure everything was on track, though it seemed to be a waste of time with how efficient Noel’s staff was. The kitchen was in full swing when I entered the first time to go over the menu with the head chef, Sven, which only took about fifteen minutes. He had already come up with a similar version of the menu I had in mind, complete with desserts, hors d’oeuvre, roast boar, and several wine lists. I left the kitchens with a smile on my face, content that dinner was in good hands. It was the same with accommodations, transport, music – I wondered why I even came to check in at all. It did give me a chance to work on the first of my gifts, though. Aphrodite was the first on my list, and I was finding it hard to get the words on paper, never mind in person. It took most of the night to get it down, and I hoped it would be adequate. I left it in her room to read before she came downstairs.
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