High above on Mount Olympus sat a golden city, majestic amidst clouds that seemed to understand the regality of the place. Though its streets were usually breathing with life, Helios had long since finished his journey, leaving Selene to occupy the sky. She bathed the kingdom in moonlight, watching as it twinkled back at her and knowing that it was not as still as it seemed. While the citizens of the legendary city were sleeping soundly in their beds, the gods and goddesses of Olympus were gathered in the grand hall of Zeus's palace. He had called a meeting to discuss the imminent war amongst men below them, and it was no secret that he was displeased with the fact. The atmosphere seemed charged with Zeus's emotion, humming with the buzz of electricity that always came when he was in a state. Though Selene wasn't present at the gathering, she knew she was likely to hear about it soon enough.
Inside the circular meeting hall, the assembled immortals surrendered their attention to Zeus. Seated along the walls in high backed chairs were those whom he considered his immediate family, all eyeing him intently at his place between Poseidon and Hera. The entirety of the congregation were dressed in their white robes, which complimented the glow that the room seemed to be emitting. The god of thunder sat with the bridge of his nose pinched between his thumb and forefinger, taking time to collect his thoughts before lifting his head from its bow to take his company in with an air of seriousness. "The Greeks have declared war against the Trojans," Zeus announced to his audience, letting the words linger in the air for a few moments before continuing. "It is true. As I understand it, they have already begun sending their prayers to you." He paused, his eyes grazing the council to find the god and goddess of war, offering them a somber nod of acknowledgement.
"I also understand that this war is to being fought over an unjust prize," he went on, his voice gruff and somewhat accusing. Though he did not elaborate on the statement, those in the room understood what he was implying. Word of Aphrodite's hand in the dilemma had spread, leaving her at the receiving end of piercing stares in the pause that followed Zeus's words. They knew that she did not deserve full blame for the actions of humans, but were it not for her meddling, there would not be a situation to discuss.
The goddess herself sat a few seats down from Hera, draped along the one of the arm rests of her chair with a leg slung over the other at the knee. Her robes barely covered her fair-skinned body, though it was not in her nature to fix them. Eyes the color of the sea stared directly at the tiled floor while her fingers ran across her full lips absentmindedly. Despite the pairs of eyes that seemed to drill her into her seat, there was no hint of remorse on her features. In fact, Aphrodite looked quite distant, as if she had not been listening to Zeus at all, but was rather absorbed in her own thoughts.
It frustrated her that the Greeks would go to war over a petty woman. Surely Helen was the most beautiful mortal female Aphrodite had ever laid eyes on, and though she would never admit it, the goddess would have absolutely no qualms if she was the object of such grand arguments. Still, it irked her to have such a kink in what would have been a successful trade-off for the golden apple that declared her the most exceptional. A kink that went by the name of Menelaus, who was willing to tear apart another civilization for a woman. A woman! He was the king of the Greeks, for goodness sake! It would be no difficult task for him to have hundreds of lovely others falling at his feet in a moment's notice, and she was sure that he was more than aware of that fact. Though, being the idol of the emotion that drove him, Aphrodite could not wholly oppose the man. Despite wanting Menelaus to simply forget about his wife, she knew that would not be the case. He was going to stop at nothing to retrieve her, and even if the goddess would not admit it openly, she praised him for his strength.
The only real worries she had with the coming war was that her son, Aeneas, was to be a participant in it, as well as Paris, who was sure to be the most wanted. In truth, Aphrodite was feeling a bit guilty for giving the Trojan such trouble in exchange for a simple title, and the only way to compensate for her error was to offer him protection when he most needed it. Unfortunately, Zeus was not going to allow anymore of her infringements.
"With that being said, I forbid any of you to interfere with the war, with the exception of Athena and Ares."
At this, Aphrodite pulled herself from her reverie and lifted her eyes to Zeus, lips parted in a gasp of surprise. She unfolded her legs and leaned forward in her seat, eyebrows furrowed in distress. "But I must aid my son! And protect the male - Paris of the Troy. I owe him that much!" she explained, disregarding the audible scoffs that came from some of the immortals. It did not matter what they thought; She had grown to care for the man as well, and it was only fair that she attempt to get him out of the trouble she had started. "Please, you canno-"
"You will not tell me what I can and cannot do," Zeus bellowed, his voice booming through the room and echoing in rumbles of thunder. Aphrodite immediately quieted herself, though her face had hardened in defiance. She refused to look away as Zeus turned his heated gaze upon her. His volume had returned to a normal level, though the authority behind it still rang clearly. "You are to keep yourself out of this, Aphrodite. You have caused enough trouble as it is. Tend to the affairs of your expertise as you always have... And leave the war to those who know of it." A sudden flare of anger rose up within the immortal as her eyes flickered towards Athena, filled with anger and jealousy. Admittedly, it was the only time she'd ever felt such things towards the woman, who was probably still spiteful of her for winning Paris's judgement. Caught off-guard by the latter emotion, Aphrodite hastily dropped her eyes, resorting to fuming inwardly.
Finally tearing his stare away from her, Zeus inhaled deeply, attempting to keep himself in check before letting out the air in a rush. "Dismissed," he said tiredly, but before he had even finished uttering the word, Aphrodite had risen from her chair and had strode out of the room, chin held high and hips swaying in time with her determined steps. A simple command was not going to keep her from her duties. It wasn't the first time she had disobeyed the god, anyway. Aeneas and Paris would not be without her, that much she promised herself as she made her way down the long corridor. With a quick glance over her shoulder, Aphrodite turned the corner at the end of the hallway and quickened her pace, reaching up with a hand to unclasp the brooch from her hair to free the blonde locks which cascaded down to her lower back. Her plan was to reach the gates before Zeus had time to send anyone after her, though she doubted that he would be so naive.
And she was correct. Back in the room, the god of thunder rubbed the bottom of his chin warily before calling after one of the stragglers of the group. She would be heading to the gates in any case, as she would be needed where the mortals were. "Athena," Zeus called, adjusting himself in his chair so that he leaned in towards her when she came. With his voice low, he murmured, "Keep your eye on her." And with that, he nodded his head in farewell before turning to attend to his wife.