Eris, Greek Goddess of Strife, Discord and Chaos
Eris is generally accepted to have two sides to her; one of benefit to man, the other of detriment. She encompasses the rivalry that encourages men to toil and work hard to better themselves, but she’s also representative of the strife found in war, and was suggested to be the companion, sister or lover of Ares, god of War (Eris is often associated with the war goddess Enyo, and the name is sometimes used interchangeably).
Her parentage is unclear, some marking her as a daughter of Nyx, others of Zeus and Hera.
Similarly, her cited children lack indication of any father: Ponos, Lethe, Limos, the Algea, the Hysminai, the Makhai, the Phonoi, the Androktasiai, the Neikea, the Pseudologoi, the Aamphilogiai, Dysnomia, Ate, and Horkos.
Most infamously, she was the only goddess not to be invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis (the parents of Achilles). When she turned up and was refused admittance, she threw the golden apple of discord amongst the guests; it was inscribed with the word kallisti – or “to the fairest one.” Athena, Hera and Aphrodite fought over the apple, until Zeus chose Paris, Prince of Troy, to settle the disagreement. The goddesses tried to bribe the hapless Paris: Hera, with political power; Athena, battle prowess; and Aprhrodite, the most beautiful woman in the word: Helen of Troy. He picked Aphrodite, of course.
Thus started the Trojan War.
Eris in the 6th Age
Eris took no obvious sides between the conflicts of the other gods, but often encouraged their rivalries and petty squabbles. And they were petty. She was known more for the less deadly forms of conflict in those early years – political strife, personal contention and rivalry – and a conversation with Eris left you wondering what seeds she had planted in your head. She did it all with a sly sense of humour – and a conceit of superiority, admittedly – so took little responsibility for the consequences rued from innocent actions. It was idle amusement. Mostly. (Honestly)
Although considered untrustworthy by the other Olympians, her brethren were nonetheless careful not to provoke her; she was justifiably feared and respected for the eternal and unrelenting strife she could engender given sufficient motivation – and sometimes without. If she claimed to be the only channeler with a sense of humour, it was a sense of humour undeniably cinched in razor wire. Unfortunately for the other gods, she was a strong channeler, among the strongest of the women at the time, but – more fortunately – not interested in a mantle of power. Eris was a perpetually unwelcome guest, for the most part, but an exhilarating co-conspirator for the fleeting moments she chose to be on your side.
Her loyalties numbered few. Perhaps none, except Ares. Her relationships were ephemeral, intense, abandoned. Lovers always fell short of expectation, and friendships never met the bar. Even the sacrosanct gift of motherhood was rejected numerous times over the course of her life. Eris valued self-sufficiency, or grew to value it. Perhaps it embittered her over the years, but the onset of war undoubtedly bloomed something ugly in her. She fought for whichever side Ares pledged his sword, relentless, bloodthirsty, insatiable. Before the end something in her certainly snapped. History does not record its cause, but nods nonetheless to a goddess of two halves. She became renowned for lingering after a battle, bathed in blood and apparently rejoicing over the carnage; it earned her the moniker the Lady of Sorrow.
“Eris whose wrath is relentless, she is the sister and companion of murderous Ares, she who is only a little thing at the first, but thereafter grows until she strides on the earth with her head striking heaven. She then hurled down bitterness equally between both sides as she walked through the onslaught making men’s pain heavier.” (Illiad)