To Be Possessive Is Human to Eris, Divine
Of all the many deities who lived on Mt. Olympos Hera and Zeus were famous for the exquisite quality of their parties. Bacchus' parties were of course the bigger blow outs, but it was always difficult to remember the good time you had afterwards. With Zeus and Hera the food was ambrosial, the music heavenly and the social encounters celestial.
Their spring equinox parties were known for being particularly entertaining. Upon this occasion they would break out their best nectar, serve positively blissful chocolates for afters and organise riotous party games. A favourite game involved half of the deities hiding behind a cloudy curtain with only their feet showing. The other deities then had to guess which were the feet of their mate. Whoever they chose was their partner for the first dance after the game. As you would expect Aphrodite could always guess Hephaistos' feet. However, Hephaistos could always guess Aphrodite's feet. Others were more difficult. Proteus would intentionally make the selection hard since phe could transform pers feet to look like anything, and often did.
This year's spring equinox party was to be combined with the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. Hera and Zeus decided to carefully not invite Eris, since phe had a tendancy to lead parties into wild orgiastic abandon. For Bacchus' parties this was fine, but it just would not suit a wedding party. Eris, the divinity of chaos, could only be an unfortunate addition to their soiree. They promised themselves that they would invite per around afterwards to an intimate dinner.
Well, as often happens when such decisions are made, word passed to Eris that a party was forthcoming and phe knew that no invitation had wended its way to pers door. Phe felt hurt that Zeus and Hera did not trust per, not that phe would ever plan on being trustworthy. Phe liked stirring things up and was sad to have apparently lost that opportunity. However, phe was not one to be deterred. Gleefully, phe conspired as to how to most dramatically take the starch out of this party.
On the night of the event, with one exception, simply all of the deities arrived including minor deities such as Aurora, divinity of the rainbow and Thalia, the divinity of comedy. Everyone had a generous draught of nectar as skillfully served by Hebe when a golden apple formed an arc across the sky and landed amidst the party guests. Attached to the apple was a card addressing the apple, "For the Fairest."
This certainly caused a fracas to break out, since all of the deities saw themselves as the fairest in some fashion. In the end all others forfeited the honour of receiving the apple with the exception of three. Hera, Aphrodite and Athena each felt that they had the greater right to the gift. None of the other deities were game to choose amongst them, so they took the dispute to Zeus.
Zeus sat in pers chair of judgement and heard them out. Phe could see that Hera had that look which said, "I have the biggest headache coming on, and if you don't choose me, no nookie for the next millenium." On the other hand Aphrodite had that sarcastic grin that said, "Choose me or I promise no longer shall I help you in your adulterous exploits." And pers dear child had the pout which said, "If you don't choose me, I'll never speak to you again." What was Zeus to do? Then phe remembered Paris. Paris was a bright young shepherder respected for his fairness of judgement. He was even a king's son which should mollify the divine contestants. Zeus would send Hera, Aphrodite and Athena to Paris.
The deities agreed that Zeus was far too partial and that Paris could act in pers stead. What they all failed to recognise was that Paris was only eighteen, he knew how to be fair in disputes amongst shepherders and farmers, but how could he possibly judge greater matters at such a tender age? As is often the case, the deities were unwilling to leave the outcome to chance and so each attempted to bribe Paris in their favour. Hera offered him power and riches, Athena offered him glory in war and Aphrodite offered him the most bodacious babe in the entire known world. Being of that age when a boy is just a collection of hormones in tennis shoes, he chose the babe. So Aphrodite received the apple.
Phe cleared Paris' acne, taught him not to slouch and performed a make-over which had him looking like a pop star. Phe then whisked him away to Sparta. Helen had already been married to Menelaus for nearly five years when Paris came to her court, and though she had come to love Menelaus, it had been a marriage of convenience and she had never really known passion. So when Paris swept into the castle and kissed her hand, she nearly swooned at the sight of this divinely enhanced youth. With Aphrodite's help Paris was able to convince Helen in a moment of adolescent desire to run away with him.
When Menelaus found that his bride had been spirited off by Paris, he called upon those very people who had promised to be her defenders. They were to retrieve her from the city of Troy and bring her back to her home and family. Thus, the Trojan War began.