There were three of us, once upon a time, but only one that mattered. I, Medusa. The youngest of three sisters, the Gorgons. Mortally beautiful, so the tales tell. Or beautifully mortal, depending on who was looking. I got more than I ever bargained for, however, in exchange for my beauty. I caught a god’s eye. Crowned by a goddess, I was. The very one I served loyally and without question. A crown of living snakes was my reward. And eyes that could turn to stone.
I was made a queen. A gift, which soon became a curse, its potency amplified with the passage of time. All I had to do was lie with a god. Sounds easy enough, you might think. Do not judge me too rashly. Where is the crime, I ask you, in being blinded by the radiance of which is holier than holy? How could I oppose the desire of He who commanded the seas? I dare anyone to defy the touch of a god and live in peace with himself till his last breath.
In hindsight, every now and then, I blame my youthful ignorance for nudging me onto this path. I was vain back then. Self-indulgent, without a doubt. Thought myself above the others, being the object of a god’s attention. If only I had realized how vengeful and envious the collection of bastards sitting high above the clouds was. Maybe, just maybe, I would have thrown myself from the rocks on which our temple stood, to be claimed by the waves. I never did. My goddess, the one I dedicated my life to, discarded me as unworthy of servitude.
I was queen of not much at all, mind you, if a slip of land lost amid the unending waves could be called a realm. Queen to no one, only to the imagination which counts grains of sand and rocks and reefs as loyal subjects, perhaps. If so, my followers were numberless. My reputation as a thing of beauty, a sight to behold, endured, however, and flowed past my little queendom.
Every once in a while, some young man or another would brave the seas, seeking to assuage his thirst for adventures. Prove his prowess, thinking himself equal to the god who loved me once. Gaze upon my fabled beauty and try his luck at taming me. Unsurprising, how I never found much solace in their mute company. I was queen of a garden in stone.
The tales now tell a story of a monster, whose looks could kill. A mere curiosity, a footnote in the history of a mythical age. I respectfully disagree. I was much more, for a time. A god seduced and loved me, the most beautiful woman of all. A goddess punished me, my beauty being my sole transgression. If there is anything to learn, it is our own vanity which sets us on the path to our doom, our self-important selves naught but tiny flames fanned by the gods, until our own fires consume us. To what ends or lessons, the sea swallowed the answer a long time ago.
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