She walked up to her desk with leaden feet. To her ears each step echoed off the walls like a hammer on an anvil, deepening the pit in her stomach. If only she could do more, knew more, had fewer restraints on her. So much she wanted to change in the world, but she felt as though she fought alone against the tides. The tides of so many men, drunk on power and greed, who frustrated her efforts at every turn. The tides of women, enamored of such men, or with plots of their own. Sometimes even her own siblings and their petty squabbles. All too often, even her own father.
She sat down, placed her ‘hat’ on the corner of the desk. Its feather swayed slightly. The thought of her father’s expression if he were to hear her call it a ‘hat’ brought a small smile to her lips, but then her eyes turned to her messages. The smile grew tight, and a sigh escaped.
She didn’t want to go through them, didn’t want to confirm more losses, more frustration, but it had to be done. One after another, defeat, loss, roadblocks. If only she knew a little more. If only she could be there.
Some good news managed to find its way in with the disappointments, of course. Some, but not nearly enough. For every inch gained she felt as though a foot had been lost. Why did she bother? Who did she think she was fooling? Sure, she did some good, but did it really matter?
A gentle breeze floated through the window and stirred her feather. Its dance drew her gaze, and a moving cloud drew her eyes to the window. Sometimes she felt like one of those same clouds, tossed about by a dozen forces which, despite their lofty position, they could not control.
Her father’s voice carried through the long corridors. He called for her. Another useless meeting, another discussion of some problem, probably one he caused. Probably because he couldn’t resist some woman. Again. She turned back to her task and ignored him for the moment.
Another call from him, now with annoyance in his voice. She continued reading, writing… doing what she could do. Not as much as she wanted, but one did what one could with what one had.
Doors began to open, coming closer. Her father had begun to search her out. She finished her last response and stood. Her mouth moved from a slight frown to a pressed line, and her eyes hardened slightly. She picked up her helm, feather resuming its dance as she placed it on her head. She walked to the door, retrieved her golden spear and shield. Her father’s voice, this time roaring like thunder, demanded she hurry to the appointed meeting.
She strode though the door, her feet heeding the commands of her father and her king, but her mind still on her replies. Not all would have the desired effects, she knew, but some would.
Zeus’s voice rang through the halls again, this time she answered, and quickened her pace enough for him to hear her footsteps.
‘I’ve done all I can do’, she thought to her self, ‘I suppose that is all that can really be asked of anyone.’ With that thought to bolster her spirits, Athena moved with renewed purpose.