Chapter 14: You Believe In Apollo?
No temples existed in Thebes for they had no official god. Religious freedom was guaranteed. Inside the houses of the citizens exists a room meant for worship. That room was their temple. For women, goddesses such as Hera, Athena, and Artemis were a popular choice. The palace included had a temple erected for Artemis solely for their three princesses.
In a small room was a statue of a goddess carved with marble. She valued purity and was a symbol for women to value their chastity. Eutostea often stopped at Artemis’ temple when she sought peace and quiet, thankful that no religious coercion was required. She was free to worship individually and offer tributes of her own will. Though her reason for entering the temple was not to pray nor offer tributes. It was something else.
Eutostea brought with her a waxed candle and lit the temple. The waxed candle was more effective, its use lasting longer than a lantern that extinguished easily. Much to her dismay, waxed candles were overpriced and required much labor to manufacture, thus they were only used in temples.
Standing at the front entrance, a sullen look flashed across her face. The slap from her father burned and stung still. She was no longer a virgin, her chastity, her only use as a woman no longer ceased to be. She wondered why women like her lose their value and worth as a woman when committing sinful and carnal desires? Why? It mattered not to her father if that man was a god, too.
Eutostea bit her lip and opened the door. Pondering over the matter was useless and depressing, so she pushed her thoughts aside. When she walked in, the statue of the goddess laid erected so exquisitely elegant. The hem of the goddess’ garment clung to her skin tightly, creating an illusion that her figure was real.
Eutostea heard the familiar voice of her sister, Hersia, from behind.
“What the hell…?! You had me ripping my hair off in agony guessing your lewd–”
Eutostea quickly blocked the mouth of her elder sister that spat out vulgar words.
“This is a temple. Be quiet.”
Askitea arrived a second later, sighing as she tapped Hersia’s shoulder. Hersia grunted while Eutostea pulled her hand back.
Hersia folded her arms and tilted her head sideways. She looked at Eutostea’s cheeks with keen eyes. “Your face looks like a steamed bun. Did you cry? Your eyes are swollen.”
“Are you here to comfort me or complain while knowing everything?” Eustostea said brusquely.
Hersia wiggled her brows. “I heard father hit you… and the girl who hates being touched actually spent the night with a man who claims to be a god. And worst of all, you never got a good look at his face!”
Eutostea sighed. If she spoke, she’ll only dig her own grave.
“Sister, you’re not the kind of person who’d sit still when someone hits you…”
“I don’t know. I really don’t know. All I know is that he claims to be the god Apollo,” Eutostea sighed.
“Those servants did not tell you? I’m surprised. I thought they did considering you ran all the way here so quickly. But yes, the man I spent the night with claims to be Apollo himself… and don’t look at me like a kid who’d been tricked. If you were to walk in my shoes, you’d understand how I feel.” Eutostea’s voice was dismal and lacked any semblance of normalcy. “He said a prophecy would arrive in Delphi and I’d need to send a hawk tied with a ribbon. I did as he told me. The prophecy speaks of Thebes’ ominous future.”
“Sister, do you believe that man who calls himself Apollo?”