Hephaestus is quiet, thoughtful and hard-working. He prefers to watch and think things through, rather than charging in headfirst. This isn't to say that his temper can't be roused if the occasion calls for it, and when it is, it burns hot and bright, like the fire he is always associated with.
He can most often be found in his forge, working with his hands, wiling away the hours by making things. It's here that he's happiest, more than any place else on Earth. According to the myths, he used to make some wonderous things back in anciet times, including Hermes' helmet and winged sandals, Aphrodite's girdle, Achilles' armor, Eros' bow and arrows, the arrows of Apollo & Artemis, the thunderbolts of Zeus, Agamemnon's staff of office, and Helios' chariot. To name a few. But with his power as diminshed as it is today, he lacks the divine spark to make more mythical objects, so he contents himself with sculpting, metalworking, welding-pretty much anything that lets him work with his hammer and tongs.
The only woman he truly trusts is his wife, Aglaia. After his marriage to Aphrodite fell apart, he never thought he would marry again. Which was fine with him, honestly. But Aglaia was able to draw him out of his shell, and now it's hard for him to imagine life without her in it. Her and their daughters are the lights of his life, and mean more to him than anyone or anything.
He prefers a simple life, mostly keeping to himself and those few gods he cares to associate with. He's not here to make friends, he keeps himself busy five or six days a week with projects. Likely as not, Aglaia will have to come and remove him from his forge, but when he's got fire and metal to work with, he tends to get a bit obsessed.
Born to Zeus & Hera, you would have thought Hephaestus' life would be, if not charmed, than at least more priviledged than most. That couldn't be further from the truth. Writings differ on whether his parents actually were both Zeus & Hera, or if Hera birthed him by herself, out of jealousy after Zeus birthed Athena by himself. (Which doesn't make sense, because Hephaestus is said to have split Zeus' skull so Athena could emerge, but no Greek writings ever agree with each other, so make of that what you will.)
Another thing that no one seems to agree on was how he became crippled. Some say that he was born that way, that Hera was so disgusted with his shrivelled feet and sickly form, and she threw him from Olympus. Thetis and her sister, Eurynome, found him and cared for him, and he lived with them in a grotto beneath the sea. Others say that Zeus was the one that cast him out, after he tried to free Hera from Zeus binding her. Zeus was apparently so enraged that he grabbed his son by the foot, throwing him from the top of Mt. Olympus. He fell for a day and a night, landing on the island of Lemnos.
As you can imagine, being tossed off a mountain by your parents doesn't tend to instill warm, fuzzy feelings. So he simply bided his time, waiting, and after some time, he sent his mother a gift: a beautiful golden chair. But as soon as she sat down, the chair bound her and refused to let her go, and no amount of persausion by any of the gods could convince Hephaestus to let her go. Eventually, Dionysus came to see him, and after pouring lots of wine down his throat, he was able to convince his half-brother to come back to heaven and free Hera.
Once back on Olympus, things were more or less settled for about a hot minute, before Zeus got pissed off again. The Titan Prometheus stole fire and gave it to mankind, and this pissed Zeus off something fierce. He ordered Hephaestus to fashion a woman from clay, to make it as best he knew how. And indeed, she was incredibly beautiful. All of the gods each gave her a gift, and because of that, she was called Pandora, 'all-gifted'. She was then given as a bride to Epimetheus, Prometheus' brother. And one of her bride gifts was that infamous jar, and the rest of that story is history.
Zeus was also responsible for Hephaestus' marriage to Aphrodite. When Hera was bound in her lovely golden chair, Zeus offered Aphrodite in marriage to anyone who could bring Hephaestus back to Olympus to set her free. Aphrodite agreed, since she was under the assumption that her beloved, Ares, would triumph. And he tried, he attempted to storm Hephaestus' forge, but the smith drove him back with a shower of flaming metal. It was then that Dionysus went to him, and suggested that he could claim Aphrodite for himself if he went back voluntarily. In what would eventually become a 'look at your life, look at your choices' moment, he agreed, and he and Aphrodite were married when he returned.
Calling their marriage 'rocky' would be an understatement, because while he did his best to try and love her and be a good husband, Aphrodite spurned him at every turn. She ran off and had affairs with Ares, Dionysus, and countless others, and one day, he had finally had enough. Helios had seen Ares and Aphrodite together (in their marriage bed, no less), and ran and told him what was going on. I'm fairly sure this can be classified 'the straw that broke the camel's fucking back'. He forged chains that were lightweight, invisible, and unable to be broken, and draped them all around his bed. So the next time the lovers were in bed together, the chains bound them and held them there. He then called all the gods together to see them, and they laughed that the pair of them had been caught by the smith-god. Eventually, Poseidon did persuade him to let them go, and the pair of them got the hell out of Dodge. It's probably safe to say the divorce soon followed.
But Olympians can brood with the best of them, and Hephaestus is no exception. When he got wind that Harmonia, the daughter of Ares and Aphrodite (who was conceived while Aphrodite was still married to Hephaestus) was to be married, he set about making her a gift. On her wedding day, he presented her with a magnificent necklace, glittering with gems but 'dipped in crimes', forever marking the descendants of Harmonia and Kadmos as ill-fated.
Once things had calmed down, and he'd more of less gotten his head on straight, Hephaestus married Aglaia, one of the Charities. With her, he had four daughters: Eukleia, Eutheme, Euthenia, and Philophrosyne. So it's probably safe to say that that marriage turned out a lot better than his first one.
Throughout his life, Hephaestus was called upon to make many wondrous objects, including the palaces of the gods on Olympus, their thrones, the automotons that served him, the chariot of Helios, Ariadne's crown that Dionysus gave her on their wedding day, the armor of Achilles, Zeus' thunderbolts, the arrows of Apollo and Artemis, and Agamemnon's sceptre of office. (There's seriously so many, if you want a more comprehensive list, try here and here.) No one could match him for skill, and it probably went around Olympus quickly that if you wanted a great weapon, you asked Hephaestus to make it. Things made by him were also highly prized as wedding gifts, and stories about items like that litter the Greek mythscape.
Hephaestus made the weapons for his divine family members, as well as many others, during the war, and as a result, was certainly not spared when the Titans took over. He was stripped of his gifts, his connection to his beloved fire was cut, and he was ripped away from Aglaia and his daughters. Now he was nothing more than an old man with a bad leg, wandering the world and trying to figure out who he was and where he was going.
Memories can be taken, but apparently, vocation and built skill cannot. Everywhere he went, Hephaestus taught himself how to work with chisels, hammers, and tongs. Stone, bronze, clay, iron, he learned everything he could, and then he'd take that knowledge and build on it. He came to be known for his work in several lifetimes, even rising as high as chief builder to a king or two in days gone by.
But that was then, and this is now. Henry Feist was born in Maine in 1973, and from the start, he knew his little coastal town would always be home, but he wouldn't be staying there his whole life. There was far too much world to see out there for him to be tied to one place.
He moved to NYC to attend university, graduating with a degree in metallurgy and going to work in a steel mill. He'd been there for four years, when a piece of equipment broke loose from its moorings. It fell over, landed on his leg, and confined him to a hospital bed for three weeks, and in a coma for two of those. During that time, he spiked a fever high enough to kill a normal person, suffered from night terrors, and convulsed several times, to the point where his doctors considered restraining him for his own safety.
When he awoke, Henry was gone, and Hephaestus was in the driver's seat. He complied with every request from his medical team, and when they discharged him a week later, walked out under (mostly) his own power, leaning on a standard aluminum cane. Which he quickly traded for one made of polished mahogany. He managed to set up a life for himself, working in a rented shop until he'd established himself enough to build one out behind his house. Given his knack for...well, everything, he never lacked for clients and work. The only thing left to do now is find his wife, and then things will be good again.