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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hades and Persephone: The Ascension

Third part of the series. I looks like it will be split into 4 parts.
First and Second Parts, if you haven't read them.
            I sat beside Hades on his couch, watching Hermes bow before us. He lazily twirled a lock of my hair between his fingers. My hair had grown to a dark brown color during my months in the Underworld. I had noticed my skin had paled as well. I sat up straighter, my body leaning towards Hermes as something fluttered in my chest. In my time here I had not seen one person from above. Was this my freedom?
            “Rise, Hermes.” Hades said casually. “Why have you come?”
            “Lord Hades, I come in behest of my father, your brother, Zeus. He has asked that you release Persephone to her mother. In her grief, Demeter has kept seed from man. Her sorrow has frozen the very earth itself. For the sake of the world, please return life to the earth.”
            The Lord of the Underworld sighed, sitting up and stared down at the Messenger. “What would I benefit from this? I do not reside above the world. In fact, such a thing would bolster my ranks.”
            “You would have the gratitude of the King of Olympus.”
            I watched him contemplate this, and he looked back at me. “What of you, my love? Do you still wish to return home?”
            I nodded slowly. “Don’t misunderstand, my lord. I now understand what you have meant, but my mother needs me.”
            His smile, which was no longer cold, held a hint of sadness. “I suppose I cannot deny you then. You may return to your mother.” He looked to Hermes. “Tell Zeus that I accept his gratitude.”
            He stood and held his hand out to me. When I took it, he pulled me into his arms and pressed his lips to mine. I felt some tiny seeds pass through my mouth as we kissed. I pulled away, wide eyes, with the taste of pomegranate on my tongue.
He smiled arrogantly at me and whispered. “I’ll never truly let you go.”
            Dumbfounded, I allowed him to lead me to Hermes. “Guide her safely to her mother.”
            The Messenger took me into his arms, gently and lifted into the air. The winding caverns of the underworld passed by in a blur. We passed through the gates and I had my first gaze and triple headed Cerberus, who merely opened an eye to watch us pass. Then we were over the river Styx and through more caverns. Finally, we reached the surface. I covered my eyes when the light of the sun hit my face. It had been many months since I had seen Apollo’s rays and they were fierce against my skin.
            I looked around in shock. The ground was covered in several inches of icy snow as far as I could see. The trees were bare of any life, just gray pointed branches. “My mother has done this?”
            Hermes nodded. “She was in morning at your loss.”
            I barely had time to turn before I was in my mother’s arms. I heard her sobs of joy and relief. Her hands ran over me as if to reassure herself I was there. “Are you alright? Did he do anything?”
            I embraced her, relieved to be with her again. “I am alright, mother. I have returned to you.”
            She pulled back and inspected me solemnly. “Persephone, think very hard. Did you eat anything during your stay?”
            I opened my mouth to assure her that I didn’t and stopped, remembering our parting kiss. “Not intentionally, mother, but in the end he tricked me into eating three pomegranate seeds. It is only seeds. Surely, I could not be forced to stay for only three.”

            Her eyes burned and the air around us began to form tiny crystals. She took my hand. “Come. We will speak to Zeus about this at once. Hermes, take us to your father.”