The Lost Head of Medusa
Originally released on August 26, 2020
Content Warning: This story does not depict rape; however, it does mention and discuss rape.
The cries of Euryale echoed throughout the island that the three sisters had been exiled to.
Stheno, the eldest, could do nothing but stare, as Euryale mourned over the headless body of their youngest sister - the Gorgon Medusa.
Stheno bit her lip, remembering how she had started to resent Medusa for their exile - for the punishment that Athena had inflicted upon the three sisters.
The punishment which had turned the three of them into Gorgons - monsters with serpents for hair, and a gaze that would turn any mortal into stone.
But, now that Medusa was dead, Stheno was filled with regret and sorrow instead.
***Many years ago, Medusa had been raped by Poseidon in Athena's temple.
And for all her 'wisdom', or perhaps in spite of it, Athena had chosen to bear no ill will towards Poseidon, her uncle. Instead, she had chosen to punish Medusa for the desecration of her temple.
As for Stheno and Euryale, they were punished for standing by their sister's side.
And so, powerless against Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, and Poseidon, the god of the seas, the three sisters were transformed into the monstrous Gorgons.
All that the three Gorgons sisters could do was flee, and they were exiled to an uninhabited island.
They had hoped that, perhaps, they could find some peace on this island.
But, that was not to be.
Rumours began to spread about monsters on the island, and warriors seeking glory came to claim the head of Medusa - for she was the only one of the three sisters that was mortal, and her head could be used as a weapon to turn enemies into stone.
At first, Medusa had tried to reason with the warriors that came - seeking to protect the sisters from further harm.
But, each time, it was to no avail, and Medusa had to resort to petrifying the warriors with her gaze.
Soon, the island had become littered with statues of warriors, and a cycle of retribution and glory-seeking began - ensuring that the sisters would not see peace on the island.
***As the years passed, Stheno began to resent Medusa - she had begun to blame Medusa for their current woes.
Euryale, on the other hand, had been reduced by the years to a lonely, sobbing mess - her cries of sorrow could often be heard throughout the island.
And Medusa, perhaps blaming herself for Stheno's resentment and Euryale's sorrow, had distanced herself from her sisters.
It was under these circumstances that Perseus had appeared on the island.
Naively manipulated by his love for another woman, or some other sort of similar nonsense, and blindly believing the cruel legends about the Gorgon sisters, Perseus had come to claim Medusa's head.
Seeing yet another warrior seeking her head, Medusa made no attempt to talk to Perseus - she had given up on reasoning with the warriors long ago, after countless failed attempts.
As usual, Medusa began to use her gaze to petrify Perseus.
But, Perseus had came prepared.
Using an unnaturally reflective shield, Perseus avoided Medusa's gaze - instead, he used his shield to guide him towards the Gorgon.
Quickly, Perseus dashed towards Medusa, and, before Medusa had time to react, Perseus had drawn his sword and had sliced through Medusa's neck.
Then, as if Poseidon decided to have one last laugh at Medusa's expense, his children, Pegasus and Chysaor, burst forth from Medusa's remains as she was decapitated.
Stheno, witnessing what had happened, angrily charged at the invader.
Perseus, however, had gifts from the gods themselves - and he easily escaped by taking flight and rendering himself invisible.
Were the unnaturally reflective shield and the sword that was used to kill Medusa also gifts from the gods?
Stheno turned to face her newly born nephews - only to find that Chysaor had flown away on Pegasus, the winged horse.
Shocked by what had transpired, Stheno screamed in anger.
***Euryale continued crying over Medusa's headless body.
Helpless, all that Stheno could do, was to go to her remaining sister and hold Euryale in her arms.
In the end, the sisters could only console each other - hoping that Medusa's head will be buried one day, and that their sister will be able to find some peace in Hades.
In older versions of the myth, Medusa and the Gorgon sisters were already monsters to begin with.
Later versions, such as the one retold by Roman poet Ovid, added in the backstory with Poseidon and Athena.
There are also variations dealing with Stheno and Euryale - sometimes they're also transformed into Gorgons, sometimes they're not, and sometimes they don't even exist.
As for Chysaor and Pegasus, there are instances in Greek mythology where children of the gods are born fully-grown - this is basically the case with Chysaor and Pegasus as well. However, I don't think that this detail really matters for this reinterpretation of the story - so, feel free to imagine a baby flying away on a baby winged horse, if you want.