And it was from this mass of possibility and contradiction that sprang forth Gaia, the earth, fully formed. For there were not yet rules or restrictions to stop gods, or planets, or god-planets, from coming into existence on their own. The Fates had not yet been born. Before that day there was only Chaos, then, in an instant, there were Chaos and Gaia. Gaia, the firm foundation on which all would be built.
She was not a thing of possibility or probability, but a being of is. She was, and so was the first being that could be truly be said to fully be. She was solid and slow to change. Not a swirling mass of probability, but a solid foundation of stone.
Following her other gods burst forth into being, uncreated, for there were still no rules.
Misty Tartaros took his place beneath Gaia, and golden winged Eros, who would be love but knew not yet, took flight above her.
Erebos, the darkness that resides in misty Tartaros, and black winged Nyx, night herself, were next to spring forth. It was in these two that Eros found his purpose, creating the universe's first love. Erebos and Nyx mated, and soon something entirely new came into being.
Aether, the upper air, and Hemera, the day, were the first created beings, born to Nyx through the pregnancy her mating with Erebos brought upon her. In bringing together Erebos, the darkness of misty Tartaros, and Nyx, night herself, Eros has created not just the first love, but also the first pregnancy, the first birth, and the first light.
Shining Hemera was the first to shed light on anything, but in addition to that something new had come into being. Eros had found the meaning of his existence, as love. Nyx had become the first mother, Erebos the first father. Hemera the first daughter. Aether the first son. Together they formed the first family.
Aether was, by his nature as the upper air, forced to stay apart from his father, Erebos, the darkness of misty Tartaros. Aether was only able to interact with his father second hand, via his mother Nyx or his sister Hemera. Meanwhile black winged Nyx taught her daughter Hemera to cover Gaia, as Nyx herself had often done. The mother and daughter played many games and soon the cycle of night and day began with the eternal game of tag between two. Twice daily they would meet: at the changing of day to night, and night to day.
[Gaia has some kids]
All these she gave birth to without ever knowing love, but golden winged Eros, had not forgotten her. As he flew between Gaia and newly created Ouranos he saw fit to draw them together in love.
It was at this time that the first rules began to form, though none recognized it at the time, too caught up were they in their own affairs.
Mating, pregnancy, and birth became the way new beings entered the world, no longer did they spring forth from Chaos on their own. (At least, nothing big, and not when anyone was looking.) Indeed, as more beings had sprung from it, Chaos itself had been diminished, and where once it was all there had been, now it was pushed into ever smaller and smaller cracks. The gaps which were left between the new gods and the places none were looking.
Even pregnancy without mating, so recently practiced by Gaia, would be largely unheard of in the ages to follow. It would be reserved only for the very small and for special cases such as Hephaestus and the lizards of the whipping tail.
The age of mating, pregnancy, and birth had begun and has not ended yet.
What began when Eros first joined night herself and the darkness of misty Tartoros to create the upper air and day, was enshrined as natural law when Gaia mated with Ouranos.
[Ouranos overthrown by Chronos.]
High above the gods wrought through his dismemberment, Ouranos cursed his free children, naming them Titans, overreachers, he predicted that they would be brought down, and their injustice against him avenged. No words from his railing against the Titans survive, nor does any record of how many days it lasted for, but all who lived on Gaia or in the air above her heard it.
Some say that this is why Nyx chose to break with natural law, and bear children without mating first. Having seen what a child who was only half his had done to Ouranos, she decided to only have children that were fully her own. Others believe it was because, since Ouranos had closed off the way to Tartaros to imprison the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires, Nyx simply could not reach her love Erebos. Still others think that Nyx, not being a giant, was able to infiltrate Tartaros to lie with Erebos and the belief that she bore children without his help is simply wrong.
Whatever the case, and whatever the reason, Nyx bore new children, both feared by all. First hated Moros, doom, then darkest Ker, violent death. There were, as yet, no mortals and so Ker had yet to find her true purpose but what power she did have frightened even the immortals.
[Titans have some kids, including those who create the mortals]
With the coming of the race of mortals, Nyx bore more children. Her daughter Ker had found her place bringing violent death to the mortal animals, and doubtless would have troubled this first race of humankind as well, but Nyx bore Thanatos, peaceful death, his twin brother Hypnos, sleep, and the first of the Oneiroi, dreams. In times to come the sons of Hypnos would be numbered amoung the Oneiroi, but the first came from Nyx.
[Chronos eats his children to prevent them from overthrowing him, all save Zeus, who he thinks he ate]
It was at this time that Nyx, birthed Momos, blame, and dreadful Oizys, misery, but then she gave birth to the beautiful Hesperides, goddesses of the evening, about whom no one has ever said an unkind word. The sweet voiced kindhearted nymphs would one day be entrusted with guarding a tree of golden apples that Gaia gifted to Hera as a wedding present on an island beyond Oceanus. Their names were Aigle, Radiance, Erytheia, Red, Hesperethousa, Evening-Swift, Hesperie, Evening, Chrysothemis, Golden Custom, Lipara, Perseverence, Asterope, Starry-Faced.
For the first time, the day as we know it existed, beginning with Eos, dawn, carried through by Hemera, day, who was always now accompanied by Helios, the sun, ending with the work of the Hesperides: the evening, and followed by Nyx, night.
[All of the above is picking the Nyx bits out of the NaNo stuff already written, original stuff begins here]
Nyx bore the Morai, the fates, next, to oversee the lives of mortals. Klotho, spinner, would spin the thread of life, Lakhesis, giver of lots, would measure the the thread, Atropos, the unavertable, would cut the thread of life. At each mortal's birth the Morai would measure the thread of life, assigning them their lot.
With them came the very idea of fate and predestination.
The Morai worked with the Erinyes and Ker to make sure that all would get what was coming for them. Soon they were joined by the Keres, younger sisters of Ker born to Nyx in Ker's image. Together they watch the transgressions of gods and men alike, and their anger is never slaked until wrongdoers are harshly punished.
But Chronos, then lord of the universe, looked askance at these new children of night, and began to plot against them, for he knew he had done wrong, and had no interest in paying for his misdeeds.
Then deadly night bore Nemsis, who would afflict mortals.
Then she bore Apate, deceit, Philotes, friendship (and also sex), Geras, old age, and Eris, strife.
While Nyx had these children, her eldest, Hemera and Aither coupled to produce Thalassa, sea. Thalassa joined Oceanus and Pontus and the intermingling of the three produced the seas we know today.
Thalassa and Pontus quickly fell under the spell of the elder Eros, and by their mating the first fishes were produced. Also born to Thalassa were the famous four Telkhines, of which there were actually six. Expert metal workers and island hoppers before the time of ships, at times they had flippers instead of hands. It was to them that Rhea entrusted Poseidon in the time between when he was rescued from Chronos and when he was ready to take his place as lord of the oceans. They also crafted Poseidon his trident.
They crafted the first statues of the gods and in their long lives called the islands of Keos, Krete, Kypros, Rhodes, Boiotia, and Lykia home. Their names were Lykos, shark, Skelmis, drought, Damnameneus, spell-maker, Aktaios, of the shore, Megalesios, great releaser, and Ormenos, sprout. They were loyal to the gods and at times advised them.
But when the gods, Zeus chief amoung them, chose to wipe out mankind by flood they sided with man over the gods. Zeus cast them into the sea, and their story ends there. No one knows if they live on beneath the waves, or if they proved to be mortal and died there. And so the line of Hemera and Aither, at least so far as it is known, ends with them.
Eris, daughter of Nyx, may have born her children without a sire, at least none take credit as being the father. Eris was a much hated god, for she had two sides, neither of which at first appeared appealing.
On the one hand she could give rise to jealousy and contests between men and women, or gods and goddesses. This was her better side.
It could drive those who felt it to strive to be the best that they could be, drive those who would rather do nothing to work, just so that they didn't appear worse than their neighbor. It could drive entire economies and bring out the best in immortal and mortal alike.
It is on this kind of strife all friendly competitions -athletic, intellectual or otherwise- are based.
But this is not the only side to Eris, and it is her other side that gives her her reputation. She could sow discord that tore apart families, that drove nations to war, that destroyed empires and relationships alike. She could lay the mighty low by pitting them against each other, and keep the low from rising by sowing discord amoung them. She could shatter solidarity, and bring chaos and ruin.
And so Eris was a god to be feared, because she could drive you to be your best, or bring out the very worst in you.
Chronos watched her, and the other children of Nyx, with growing suspicion, and it would be the children of Eris that would give him cause to act.
Eris bore a frightful brood.
Ponos, toil to the point of hardship, Lethe, forgetfulness/oblivion, Limos, hunger/famine/starvation, the Algea, pains and griefs, the Hysminai, fights, the Makhai, battles, the Phonoi, murders, the Androktasiai, the slaughters, the Neikea, feuds, the Pseudologoi, lying words, the Amphilogiai, disputes, Ate, delusion, and finally Horkos, oath, who inflicted punishment on all who willingly swore false oaths.
Each of these children Chronos immediately captured and sealed within a special jar that could only be opened from the outside, and only by its owner.
Geras, Nyx's son, was forced within the jar.
Geras, Nyx's son, was forced within the jar.
Two more grandchildren of Nyx were sealed within the jar, but Lethe has taken true knowledge of their parantage. Either they were more children of Eris, or they were the result of Aither coupling with Gaia. They were Algeria, sloth, and Penthos, sorrow.
There is little doubt he wished to seal others of the line of Nyx away as well, but Zeus came of age and, though the only gods to oversee it were locked within the jar, made war on his father.
By the end of the battle the jar came into Zeus's possession and he kept it sealed, occasionally adding another of of the line of Nyx to it, never letting any escape.
It was not lost on Nyx or Eris that Zeus had opened Tartaros freeing Gaia's trapped children but kept their own descendants locked within a jar.
Tataros now open, there is no doubt that Nyx was able to rejoin Erebos.
They produced a new crop of children, Dolos, trickery, Epiphron, prudence, Sophrosyne, restraint, Lyssa, fury, Hybris, reckless pride, Kharon, fierce brightness, whom Zeus would make the ferryman of the dead.
Dolos, Lyssa, and Hybris Zeus crammed into the jar.
The Morai, on the other hand, he adopted as his own. This was when Themis was his wife and part of an attempt to cement his rule by placing the fates within his domain, as his adopted children.
Nyx and Erebos had additional children Keuthonymos, named in the depths, and Eurynomos, wide ruling, who oversaw the rotting corpses of the world, turning them into food for scavengers and, eventually, soil. These two were not trapped in the jar.
Eris bore Elpis, hope, who was thrown in the jar without a second glance. Enraged Eris bore Adikia, injustice, Anaideia, ruthlessness, and the triplets, Ptokheia, mendicity, Penia, poverty, and Amakhania, helplessness. All were thrown in the jar.
Nyx bore Aporia, perplexity, and Hormes, effort.
Aporia was trapped in the jar.
At dawn, the only time of day not overseen by a member of the line of Nyx, Zeus imprisoned Oizys and the Keres in the jar.
Nyx bore Kakia, immorality. Into the jar she went.
And then there were the orphans. No one claimed them, and so Nyx and Eris were both prepared to take them in as their own children, had not Zeus gotten to them first and sealed them in the jar.
Nyx began to consider her chances of waging a war on Zeus, but her odds did not seem favorable. On her side she could count herself, Erebos, Aither, Hemera, an Moros. Ker had been taken with the Keres. Thanatos, Hypnos, and the Oneiroi, Momos, Aigle, Erytheia, Hesperethousa, Hesperie, Chrysothemis, Lipara, and Asterope remained free. Could the Morai be trusted to honor family ties?
Klotho, Lakhesis, and Atropos were her daughters, but Zeus had been working to make them loyal to him. Adopting them into his household, giving them honors as if they were his daughters.
Nemsis, Apate, Philotes, Eris, Epiphron, Sophrosyne, Kharon, Keuthonymos, and Eurynomos were all of her remaining free children.
Them against the world? Dare she involve grandchildren in such a plot? Eris' children were all trapped within the jar already. What of Thalassa? Whose side would she take?
Could anyone who wasn't family be trusted?
Hypnos, bringing sleep to gods and men alike, had largely been unnoticed during this time, but Nyx, ever watchful of her family, had not forgotten him. His children all remained free, and all numbered amoung the Oneiroi. Included amoung them were the three most famous: Morpheus, shape, who could imitate any human's form, one who can imitate any animal's form, known to gods as Icelos, resembling, and mortals as Phobetor, the one to be feared, and Phantasos, bringer of images to the mind, who can imitate anything that isn't man or animal, throwing on the images of rocks and trees and water as if they were cloaks.
She had watched over them all, and they had slipped under the notice of Zeus and it came to pass that Nyx had a plan.
For at the same time Prometheus had been tricking Zeus in an effort to help his creation, humanity, now in their second generation. At the time humanity was only male, capable of breeding only by convincing nymphs and other goddesses to stoop to breeding with them, but none would be joined with such low beings in marriage. The result was a bizarre combination of the desire to see one's children live, and thus be trapped rearing them, and an intense desire for the chance to leave and join their own kind on the part of the mother.
As soon as a child could support itself, it was generally abandoned by it's mother. A heartbreaking choice between the family left behind to rear the child, and the child, now an adult, himself.
Nyx had watched this drama play out many times, and saw it as wrong. Clearly Prometheus should have created something in the image of a goddess, not just in the image of a god.
And it came to pass that, in Zeus' mind, Prometheus had finally gone to far. By stealing fire from the gods and delivering it to humanity, he had crossed some unseen line. Zeus already had Prometheus chained to a rock to be tortured, daily by a special bird, but it wasn't enough for him, and as he thought about what else he could do, Nyx recruited Hypnos.
Her plan was simple, Zeus had trapped her family in the jar because he considered them evil, let him unleash those evils upon humanity. But moreover, let him do it in a way that would sting Prometheus even more. By using his own brother and making it seem like a gift. By creating something equal to Prometheus' prized creation of man.
And so she had Hypnos send the long thinking Zeus into slumber, and had his sons give Zeus the idea.
But recruiting Hypnos wasn't as easy as she expected.
"Maybe the world's better off with them trapped in the jar," he had said.
"This is you're family we're talking about, your brothers and sisters, your nieces and nephews," Nyx responded.
"I understand that, but-"
"But nothing. Your family has been imprisoned. Our family has been imprisoned."
"Do you think the world will be a better place with injustice and war in it?"
"There's already been a war, and the whole thing with the jar is unjust in itself. Do you think it's just to trap your siblings so that only gods can experience injustice and war?"
Hypnos sighed, "I'll help, but I kind of like peace and quiet."
"At what cost?" his mother asked him.
"I said I'll help."
Zeus fell asleep while thinking of how to inflict greater punishment upon Prometheus, and awoke with a plan. Courtesy of Hypnos and his three most skillful sons, as directed by Nyx.
He ordered Hephaestus to mix earth and water to create a being like one of Prometheus' humans in its strength and voice, but to give it a shape and face like a goddess. He ordered Athene to teach her needlework. He ordered Aphrodite to pour grace around her head and give her biting desire and limb devouring passion. He ordered Hermes to give her a shameless mind and deceitful nature.
And all on Olympos gave her gifts, some of nature, some of clothes, some of jewelry, and so she was named Pandora, all gifted. And all giving.
And Zeus gave her the jar, instructing her never to open it.
Pandora was given as a bride to Epimetheus, whom she liked even if he was a bit slow, but she was tormented by the jar. Hermea was with her every day, invisible to the eye and speaking in a voice so soft that only the spirit, not the ears, could hear it. Always repeating the same refrain, "Come on. Open it. You know you want to open it. What harm could it do?" And in the evening her spirit heard the refrain in seven part harmony, as the goddesses of the evening, all children of Nyx, urged Pandora to open the jar. And in the night if she slept her dreams were about opening the jar, and if she stayed awake Nyx was whispering to her, to soft for anything but her spirit to hear, the same refrain.
Pandora struggled as long as she could, but in the end, she could take no more.
She approached the jar. Then backed away. She approached it again, put her hand on the lid. Pulled it back. Looked around to see that no one was watching, and returned her hand to the lid. She only planned on opening it a crack, just to get a glimpse of what was inside.
But once the seal was broken all the trapped gods and goddesses forced their way out. Most thanking Pandora for her help. Pandora was horrified by what she had done, and tried to force the lid back down, but it was impossible. She was endowed with the strength of a mere mortal, those trapped inside were divine.
In the end she lay on the floor crying, ashamed of her lack of self control, and what she had unleashed upon the world. But then she heard a sound inside the jar. Something still trapped inside. It wasn't trapped by the lid, that was still in her hand. She stood, slowly, her body wracked by grief, and saw that, still within the jar, was Elpis, hope.
And she was filled with hope. Maybe if she could keep hope contained, keep it the property of humanity rather than allowing it to leave, the other things released might be able to be endured. So she closed the lid, but, being mortal, wasn't able to restore the magic seal.
When she went to bed that night Hypnos quickly gave her restful sleep, and sent only soothing Oneiroi her way.
Then Nyx appeared in human form and opened the jar.
"First off, that doesn't even make sense. If being trapped in the jar stops you from influencing humanity, how would trapping you in the jar help humanity."
A voice from the jar answered, "Hope doesn't have to make sense."
"Well, you can come out now, she's never opening this thing again so nothing is lost by freeing you."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes I'm sure, now go see your mother, she misses you."
Elpis left to the jar and was about to head to see Eris.
"And granddaughter," Nyx said.
"I missed you too."
Elpis ran to embrace black winged Nyx, "I missed you grandma."
For the rest of her life, Pandora was beloved by the family of Nyx. She was given only soothing dreams and restful sleep. Day, night, and evening she was given comfort. And when she died and went to misty Tararos she was welcomed with open arms.
Whether the days and nights she spent tormented by the jar were offset by the support she was given the rest of her life, and beyond, is impossible to say, but she has forgiven them.
Hybris, now out of the jar, became father of Koros , satiety and insolence, and Dyssebia, impeity.
Elpis gave birth to Ossa, rumor.
Keuthonymos fathered, Menoitios, doomed might, who tended Haides cattle and would one day be defeated by Herakles but spared at Persephone's request.
Within a generation Zeus destroyed the world by flood. Some think that this would have been his original plan had Nyx not intervened to give him the idea of Pandora. It was Pandora's daughter, and her husband, who survived the flood, and together, with the help of Gaia's magic, they birthed a new race of humanity that included women and men.
Thus began the heroic age. The time of heroes like Herakles, Jason, Theseus, Nestor, Odysseus, and Achilles.
The wedding of Peleus and Thetis was one of the biggest events in generations. While not the first time an immortal had married a mortal, that honor going to Dionysus who'd found Ariadne distraught, enraged and abandoned on a beach, it was the first time there was a formal wedding. It was also the first time a goddess had married a mortal man. Further, Peleus and Thetis had met before Dionysus and Ariadne and it was simply the case that their courtship had taken longer until, finally, Zeus had blessed the marriage.
All the gods and goddesses were invited to the ceremony, well, almost all.
Hemera couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. She was chatting with Hermes and it seemed to be going well, Hermes was an incredible talker. Around the rest of the room everything seemed pleasant and all seemed to be getting along. So why, she wondered, couldn't she shake this feeling that something was wrong. Then it hit her: everyone was getting along.
"Where's Eris?" She asked, interrupting Hermes mid-sentence.
Hermes looked away and quietly said, "She wasn't invited."
Hemera's head dropped, to be caught by her rising hand. Her fingers mingled with her hair, her palm against her forehead, heel of her palm meeting the ridge where forehead turned to eye-socket. "You snubbed Eris?" she quietly asked.
"Why would we invite the goddess of strife and discord?"
Hemera's head snapped up and she locked eyes with Hermes, "Why would you needlessly piss off the goddess of strife and discord?"
"I know she's your sister but-"
"That's not the point, the point is that if she were here maybe people would be arguing over who had the best wedding gift and piling on honors to claim that they were the best guest and that would be the height of the discord she would sow, using strife to make gods strive toward better ends, but when she finds out she's been snubbed she'll-" Hemera's corporeal form flickered as her consciousness reconnected with the rest of her being, covering half of Gaia in day, and then became steady as she returned her consciousness to the human form she had taken, "She's not in my domain. I have no idea what she'll do."
There was a silence between them.
"You invited both Enyos!" Hemera shouted.
Hermes put on a calm face and said, "Yes, Ares and Athene too. There's not going to be a war at a wedding."
"But you were still afraid of Eris?"
"Well, now that you've pissed her off, you'll soon find that you had good reason to be."
Eris was at the island of the Hesperides, goddess of the evening and her older sisters.
"How is it that you weren't invited to the wedding," Eris asked her sisters.
"Oh, we were invited," Aigle said.
"But someone has to guard the apples," Hesperie said.
"Well I'm not on guard duty and I didn't get an invitation," Eris told them.
"What do you want us to do about it?" Hesperethousa asked.
"You know those golden apples you have to guard? Could I have one?" Eris asked. She looked around at her sisters, "Pretty please?"
Looking at her wide eyes, her sisters knew they couldn't refuse. Lipara and Erytheia went to pick one of the apples. Chrysothemis said, "If anyone asks..."
"You didn't get it from us," Asterope finished.
"If anyone asks," Eris said, "I never had it myself.
"The way you do things, everyone will know it was you," Asterope said.
Lipara handed her the apple and said, "Try not to destroy the world."
"Thanks," Eris said, taking the apple. Then she pulled out a knife and began to carve an inscription.
"You keep a knife there?" Chrysothemis asked.
"Why not?" Eris asked back.
Erytheia asked her, "Aren't you worried you'll get cut?"
"It's in a sheath." Eris said.
Lipara leaned over for a closer look, "Nifty," she said.
Hesperethousa looked at the inscription Eris was carving, "Oh, now that's just evil."
All seven of Eris' sisters turned their attention to the apple. There was a bit of snickering.
Chrysothemis said, "Remember, we weren't involved."
"And don't get caught," Asterope added.
"When I'm done with them they won't care how it happened, they'll be too busy arguing over who gets the apple," Eris assured them.
"Stay safe," Hesperie said.
Outside of the reception she'd never been invited to, and out of sight, Eris carefully gauged the situation. Then, she threw the apple into the room, giving it a spin so that when it landed it ended up at the feet of five goddesses having a conversation.
Thetis picked up the apple, asking, "What's this? Another wedding gift?" She turned it over in her hands, then saw the inscription. "That's sweet, it says to the fairest."
"Then clearly it was intended for me," Hera said.
"What?" Thetis asked, confused. Why would someone give a gift to Hera at Thetis' wedding?
"I'm the fairest, so the apple is mine," Hera said, holding out an open hand and waiting for the apple to be placed in it.
"You know I think I'm-" Artemis stopped mid-sentence as she looked at the other members of the conversation. Confused Thetis, demanding Hera, and Aphrodite and Athene, clearly about to stake their own claim, unshakable determination in their eyes. "Going to back away right now."
"Me too," Thetis said, dropping the apple.
It was caught by both Aphrodite and Athene, neither able to break the other's grip. Hera demanded the surrender it to her.
Thetis and Artemis walked away together, trying to ignore what had sprung up behind them.
Watching from a distance Hermea said to Hermes, "Don't say I didn't warn you."
Zeus was frustrated, tired, and unsure of what to do. He'd managed to get the dispute out of the wedding. He'd claimed that he couldn't be the judge because, being married to Hera, he wasn't impartial, and sworn that he would find an impartial judge no matter how long it took.
In the meantime, he possessed the apple, and he slammed it down on a table in front of Eris.
"Where did you get this?"
"Who says I ever had it?"
"I do. Now tell me how you got your hands on it."
Eris leaned back. "Tell me who left me off the guest list."
There was dead silence.
Finally Zeus said, "I'll let you off this time, but get out of my sight." Eris sauntered away, leaving Zeus to try to determine where he could find an impartial judge.
And those are the generations of Nyx's line.
[Rewriting Greek Myth Index]
[Somehow the first draft left out Old Age, that's been corrected, but there are other mistakes that need to be seen to as well (Pandora was created toward the end of the third age, I had her at the beginning of it and the means by which the second ended.)]