V is for Vow
For today's letter, we have to head back to our two souls when they're in Ancient Greece, where (and when) Apollo is busy falling in love - or at least, his definition of love - with Damon.
Before I explain what today's theme is about, I have to also explain that while I was researching and plotting this particular lifetime, I kept coming up against a character who just wouldn't go away: Artemis, Apollo's twin sister, and the virgin goddess of the moon, the hunt, and childbirth, among other things. She insisted on being involved, and who can resist a goddess?
Not me, certainly. Besides, she's Apollo's twin, and appears with him in far more myths than either of their parents (Zeus and Leto, for those who are curious) - and the mythology of twins, their bonds and relationships and stories, is nearly as rich as Greek mythology itself. Add to that the fact that Artemis is a sworn virgin who destroys any mortal man who threatens her chastity, in total contrast to her serially love-stricken twin, and you have a recipe for some slow-cooked delicious conflict.
Which brings us to vow. Remember, when we enter the story, Apollo has sworn off all love affairs, due to the regrettable fact that every single one of his affairs ends badly - death, transformation, and rejection seem to be the three main options. The key here, though, is that he has sworn them off; he's taken a vow - at Artemis's urging, and to Artemis herself - that he'll never love again.
Now, vows might not seem all that important to the Greek gods (marriage vows in particular tend to be about as binding as scotch tape), but Apollo takes his promises very, very seriously - and so does Artemis. They both believe that there are serious consequences when a vow is broken, and for a Greek god, beliefs can become manifest very, very quickly. Apollo would be the first to say that he should be punished for breaking a vow, and what Apollo thinks should happen very likely will. You might say, after all, that Apollo is a bit of a stickler for rules...