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Who Mourns for Ganymede

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The air was thick with the smoke of laurel leaves. Apollo kissed the smoke and sent it out over the wine dark waves that lapped upon the shore. Behind him, Ganymede's funeral fire gave up its last ember to burst into the night wept sky.

The fires devouring the towers of fair Illium, of Troy, had burned out weeks ago and grown dark as the last heroic Mycenaean ship left heavy on the water, full of treasure and Trojan slaves.

Sky Father, for that was his name, though to the Greeks he was Patḗr Zeus, followed Ganymede's ember. Shooting as a star from the horse loving plain where the towers of Ilium no longer touched the sky.

Apollo did not want to follow, but his sister, star showering Artemis said only, "Brother, it's time."

"Without their worship, we'll spread thin as a moth's wings on the wind. Without their love, we'll grow weary as a tree in winter." He pleaded.

Cold cruel Artemis, her face caught in the eternal dew of youth, repeated, "Brother, it's time."

Apollo looked to where fractious Dionysus sipped his last draught from the cup of Ganymede. Clay, it shattered as he tossed it against the rocks. With a wild laugh, for how else could twice-born Dionysus laugh, he too became a shooting star to follow their father, but on no straight course. He zig zagged into the stars.

"Brother." Silver kissed Artemis squeezed his shoulder.

"Do not tell me again that it is time," said Apollo. "I gave them the staff Asclepius and medicine, not the apple of discord. I have given more music than I let my arrows fly. I led the muses, my daughters born by human women graced with my love, to teach them science. Music. How to calculate the curve of this world. How to write and remember what is long since done. I will not abandon them because of one conflict."

"One conflict? You had your part to play in the fall of Troy. We all did. We took sides and look what happened? Will you strangle them in the crib to only learn what you have to teach, and no more?"

His twin let go. She shot past him a silver star, straight and true, into the night sky.

Apollo saw no reason they should leave. "I would not strangle them."

There were no gods left to answer him. There was only laurel smoke. Its own silent reproach to be ever worn upon his brow as a reminder that his love was not always a grace.

Apollo took one last look at the shore. He lingered until the sun kissed the sky. The sun that would shine after he left. For all he'd taken claim for its light. He stayed just till then.

Heart weary, he followed the gods back to the world of Olympus far from Aegean shores.