Purple thunderclouds swirled, and lightning slashed the sky. Artemis the Huntress, goddess of the forests and the hills, stood astride the mountaintop, staring in fascination at the frail human figure edging its way to the cave.
The figure gazed around furtively, then placed a tightly wrapped bundle beneath the shelter of the rocky overhand before stepping stealthily away through the glade of moon-white cyclamen flowers.
A flash of lightning illuminated the interior of a cave. Bounding effortlessly down the mountain, Artemis raged at the folly of mankind.
"Great Zeus above!"
Impossibly huge cerulean eyes stared up at her—the epitome of perfection. Artemis reached down and picked up the swaddled bundle. The scent of the fresh, sweet skin and the flawless rosebud mouth tugged at her heart as she cradled the tiny body close to her breast and raised her fist to the heavens. "This I vow, my little one, you shall become fleet of foot, a huntress, second to none and guided by my ever-watchful eye."
Pulling back the tightly wrapped swaddling, she gazed in awe as the plump, perfectly formed limbs pounded the air. "I name you Atalantê, my princess, for we are as one. In perfect harmony you will grow in my image, your maiden divinity never to be conquered by Eros."
Artemis listened as in the valley below, the Arcadian people held their collective breath. She stilled the lightning and dismissed the thunderclouds. Finally, when the pale sun rose, the frustrated cries of Lord Iasius filled the palace. "Gods! Take back your girl. Give me a boy to inherit my kingdom!"
The acts of men are rarely unheeded by the gods, and Artemis vowed compassion for her little foundling, seeing to her warmth and nourishment until the girl grew tall and nimble, slim of hip—a virgin huntress, in her own image.