Hades Ch. 03byHeartShapedAss©
Author's note: As always, your pleasure is mine if you enjoy my work, so please let me know. This is written as much for you as it is for me and any input you feel fit to send me, I love to read. Thanks...until next time.
"A girl, she's just a girl. She... " he muttered to himself, holding his head in one hand. He was sitting in a pool in the center of his bed chamber.
"What is this, that's happened to me?" He could see the pain etched in his face reflected back to him in the water.
His private chamber was a vast geode lined with sapphires. The gems were unfinished, jagged and the darkness of the room made them appear black. He thought if the girl were with him, perhaps the walls and curved ceiling would shimmer in deep and brilliant blues.
The floors were buffed smooth showing the beautiful striations of diamonds and clear quartz amid the blue-blackness of saphire, radiating outward to the walls. His own constellation and the galaxy surrounding it gleamed from the floors. He imagined the clear stone stars, coming alive and revolving in orbit around the girl. Had she been there with him might she delight in such a display? Might she forget who he was and where this was long enough to smile for him again?
"My melancholy love, we've been waiting for you," whispered a witch in his ear. She pressed her breasts to his back and stoked his hair, enticing him. Her two sisters were on his bed, watching.
"Do not speak to me." He turned to her, and lifted her up high by the hips as he got out of the bath. She bent down to him and bit the muscles on his neck and shoulder, tasting him and he relented to her. This was not an act of love, nor even melancholy love. This was a diversion from his torment that had worsened into this boundless sadness since his meeting Kore.
He placed the witch standing on the bed and her eyes began to glow amber, just as Kore's had.
The witch read his thoughts when he, himself couldn't make sense of anything lately. Furious at her intrusion, he threw her to the floor.
"Isn't that what you desire, my lord?" she shouted, confused by his reaction.
"How dare you! Get out! All of you leave, at once!" He turned to the others and pulled them sharply from the bed. They hit the stone floor in all manner of dissaray. One witch landed ackwardly on her face and rose crying, blood spilling from her mouth.
The witches ran to their sister. All of them were screaming now. They were too afraid to spew threats at the god, but their shrill cries were enough to send shooting pain through his skull and down his spine.
"Enough! Get out!" His hoarse bellowing voice shook the ceiling and glittering dust fell to the floor.
"Phix, come! See that these witches leave here!" He called to his servant.
"Yes, sire," Phix answered his master and went after the three sisters. He prodded them like cattle with a staff.
Another servant appeared at the doorway to the bedchamber.
"Lord Hades, a shade, sir...Pathos is holding it. He says this one may be of interest to you, sire," this servant knelt on one knee at the door, his eyes looking at the floor, and Hades could see that his legs were shaking. He assumed the raising of his voice was what unsettled the boy servant. Hades hadn't realize that he was still naked and bleeding from the bite on his neck and scratches on his shoulders. The sight of him like this in combination with the scene that preceded would frighten anyone. The boy thought that he might be next in line to suffer his anger for disturbing him with the message.
The pain in his head blurred his sight. Hades touched the wetness on his neck. Only then did he became aware of the mess that had come from dealing with the witches. Blood and dust covered the floors. He snapped his fingers and various maids entered and went to work cleaning and dressing him. One wiped blood from his neck. Whatever wounds may have been there were long gone. She put the cloth to her mouth. "What does immortal blood tast like? Will it make me immortal?" she thought. The other maids swept up the dust from the floor.
Hades met his faithful Pathos in the hall where souls entered the dark kingdom before being sent to their final resting places.
"My lord, this shade claims to know of a girl," Hades saw that Pathos had bound the man. Red glowing bands circled his chest and arms.
"So, my Pathos thinks this one is a threat to us. Is that right?" Hades said, observing the man with the strange carriage of body. Erect. Motionless. He lacked a human quality Hades could not quite pin down and he walked around him in a slow circle, inspecting this creature that pretended to be a human shade.
"What do you call yourself, shade?" asked Hades.
"My lord, I am but your humble servant, Peregrine," answered the captive shade. His eyes blinked rapidly and a blank expression hinted at his innate animalism. The slip of his mouth curled up at the corners in a pseudo smile. His cold eyes were divorced from the lower half of his smirking face.
"Peregrine? Why do you pretend to be a human soul? What do you hope to gain from this pretence?" He could hardly muster enough interest in the beast to care why he was so important that Pathos would disturb him.
"Sire, I do not pretend to be human. True, I was once a majestic beast of flight, but here I stand in the form of a man...a dead man. Sire, I do not know how I came to be here in this form."
"He spoke of a girl, my lord," said Pathos. He suspended the bird-man high off the ground. The beast was leaning to one side desperately trying to take a breath, unware that he no longer needed air.
"Yes, sire. The sweetest girl in creation," Peregrine began to weaken from the vice around his chest. He felt what he thought was blood drain to his feet. The last sentence was also a complete lie, for he did not think the girl was sweet and in fact hated her for causing him so much bother.
Hades glanced at Pathos, who tightened the grip on the restraints around the beast-shade. Souls were not relieved of pain by the simple act of dying. They were only relieved of this sense when Hades ordained it. If this bird did know of the girl that Hades was so captivated by then he would be far from done with him and he could make the pain last for an eternity if he so chose.
"What makes you think that I would care what you have to say about a mortal girl?"
"Well, you and the girl were together only yesterday." With this, Hades flung the bird across the rocky bottom of the hall. He stopped him, suspended over an empty pit that blasted cold air up from it's depths.
"Not only do you spy on me, but you have the gall to tell me so in my own domain?" Hades barked at the shade.
"Who are you?" Hades stepped closer to the pit. He held out one hand before him and began to squeeze the grip around the bird. There was a strange fracturing sound coming from the bird's rib cage, despite no longer having bones to break. His soul was crushing from the force being exerted on him.
"She was my charge," he struggled to take in another breath, "to protect and I am no longer able to do so in my current state, sire."
"Under whom do you serve?"
"Sir, she will surely be in danger very shortly."
"You make the assumption that I know or care about this girl that you have failed to name, bird," Hades turned his back and loosened his grip on the shade. The bird began to slip free of his binding which meant he would certainly fall into the black pit below him. He was not accustomed to fear of falling and this only made him more agitated.
"Kore! Surely you know the girl I speak of." His breaths were now the panting of an exhausted animal.
"You have yet to tell me who you serve," Hades turned away from both of them.
"Sire, I served Zeus. He charged me with the girl's safety, but his wife struck me down when she learned of his interest in the girl. I only tell you this in the hope that you will protect the girl from Hera, sire," said Peregrine. With this, Hades tightened the grip again on the bird and who's black eyes bulged.
Pathos' gaze moved to his master. Could this be true? Hades had been absent so often recently. More and more, Pathos and his brother Hypnos had been given more responsibilities. Was Hades in love with a mortal? But, he had always been so indifferent to them. The thought of Hades with a mortal woman confounded him. Hades and feeling were two entities never meant to coincide. He thought that his master was superior, above the carnal weaknesses of the other gods. This knowledge didn't enrich his master with depth in Pathos' mind. Instead, it shook his complete belief in his master as the supreme power in the universe.
"That's ridiculous! If this is one of Zeus' girls then he will protect her from Hera's wrath. I think that you are angry for losing your life over this mortal and are seeking revenge on the gods you hold responsible. This is a matter between Zeus and his wife. Why should I be brought into this quarrel?" Hades was not surprised that Zeus had noticed this exceptional girl. But, it did anger him that she might fall prey to Zeus.
"Sire, it is much more than a quarrel. Hera fears that this girl might take her place beside Zeus. She plans to eliminate the girl today. With me out of the way, she'll be free to do with her as she likes. I only thought you might be inclined to help the innocent girl, given that she was with you only yesterday. If Zeus knew that she was with you, she might be in danger from him as well. So you see, you are the only one that can help her now."
"Enough lies! I do not know if anything you said is true. I know this, she's an innocent and does not deserve anyone's wrath, your's or that of the gods." Hades flicked his arm at the bird and he was instantly released from the bindings that suspended him. He fell screaming and flayling his arms into the pit. It glowed red and seconds later Peregrine flew out from the abyss, transformed. He was changed into another, more enduring bird, a phoenix and nearly doubled in size to that of his most recent human-like form.
Peregrine, in his newest form flew upwards in a flurry of red and orange feathers, Hades unfurled a whip that leapt up and snatched the bird from the air and caught fire when it made contact with him. He dragged him back to the ground and pinned him down with a boot on the neck.
"Listen to me, bird. Your life has been renewed to you. By pain of eternal torment you are bound in service to me. You have far more power and strength than you've ever been given before. Never forget that you are my slave. Dou'lo will be your name, slave," Hades bent down to look in the bird's eyes. Pathos watched all of this, transfixed. Not even he had dared to look in his master's eyes for fear of what he might see. Perhaps his own possible punishments awaiting him, were he to ever dissapoint his dark lord...
When the bird looked into Hades eyes, he could see the eternity he had threatened him with. Unceasing, unfathomable torments awaited him should he fail the god and for once his blank eyes showed the fear that he felt down to his core.
"Go to the girl. Pathos will go with you. Kore shall be protected at all costs. If there is an army, you will fight them off or suffer for it! Whatever you do, fight them off," Hades released the bird again to Pathos who stood dumb struck, wondering what he had done to deserve this task and mounted the bird's back.
Lies. His kingdom was full of lies and contradictions, but even the god of darkness, could not see through all of the bird's lies. The love that had infiltrated the fortress of this god's heart blinded him. Kore's survival was all that mattered and every bit of his energy was concentrated on saving her.