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Hermes Bonus Chapter for Hades

Hello, again! I have returned, as I am sure you have missed me since our last talk. Now, I know you are wondering, “Where were you this whole time, Hermes?” and that is quite easily explained. You see, Lord Hades does not care for me all that much. But he cares dearly for Kore, and she loves me. So, he must put up with me now, a lot more these days than prior to her.

However, I digress. I am here to bestow upon you fine mortals the events which took place once I lost The Queen of the Underworld. And on her first day, too.  It did take me a whole afternoon to locate the king, after all, well, most into the earliest parts of the next morning, as well. That is where I will begin, when I left Kore and the shades on the path while fleeing the chimera.

 

***

 

Hades is going to end me. Demeter is going to end me. They will work together just to torment me if Kore gets hurt. The chimera shouldn’t even be this far out from Tartarus and – wait – why am I running?

I took to the sky, the smoggy air that drifted from Tartarus was choking but more ideal than the alternative. The wild creature’s hissing tail shot out as it reached for me. Wiping its venom and spit my way as it slashed through the air.

“Begone with you, before I tell your masters!” I spat.

The Erinyes usually have a better handle on their pets, but the chimera was granted access to the Mourning Fields. For what reason was beyond me, when the Erinyes refused to leave the caverns of Tartarus in the first place. Unaware of their creatures whereabouts and unable to reprimand them when they do wrong. Such as today.

A roar rumbled through its foaming mouth as it sprinted off towards its desolate home. Chimeras weren’t entirely the brightest of creatures, but they took orders well enough.

I made sure he was well out of sight before turning back. A story we shall keep from Hades. He only needs to know Kore made it to his palace in one piece.

Once the beast was well out of sight, I headed back in search of my wandering shades. Herding them to the group where I had left them waiting. I counted the heads, finding all two-hundred and seventy-three of them.

But no Kore. No fiery red hair blowing in the wind. Just the shades to be seen. Nothing more, but definitely something less. I scanned further out to the fields I believed her to have ran, but all was clear. Up the path was the only way to the palace and that was where she was looking to go.

She was anxious to see the king after all, and I did mention this path led right to the palace. It wouldn’t be surprising if she headed up to greet the king herself.

“Kore!” I called out, a last effort before heading up. Just in case she was hiding in the tall grass. But there was no response. Just the moaning and groaning of the shades as their consciousness returned.

“Alright, my lovelies! Our tour continues,” I said as I guided the souls to the Judgment Hall.

 

***

 

Was this the best possible reasoning I had? At the time it certainly was. But now, now I see where I have made several mistakes.

Moving on!

 

***

 

I could hear Minos calling out names as I neared, which only meant that Hades was not in the Hall and that Kore must have already grabbed his attention.

I made my way to the front where Minos stood. It took him a moment to notice me, and when he did, he didn’t make much of an effort to acknowledge my presence. I only know he realized I was there because I cleared my throat.

“Where is Lord Hades?” I asked, trying to keep my composure.

“He is with Hephaestus. As to where, I am unsure. But he has not been here all morning,” Minos said boredly. I tilted my head and shifted my gaze to the nymphs. No one looked as if anything was out of the ordinary. No surprise new goddess to fawn over.

Strange.

“Has anyone come through here asking for him?” I pressed. Minos shook his head, his eyes still on the scroll in his hands.

I could hear the ichor pumping in my ears, picking up speed in rhythm with my heart.

Don’t worry. Don’t overreact. She just came in through a different entrance, is all.

“And Alena?” I pressed again. Minos’ shoulders rose and fell with a heavy sigh.

“Perhaps you may search for yourself, Hermes. You know the palace as well as I.”

“Very well,” I turned toward the corridor. Rounding the column, I bumped into none other than the sweetest nymph I was in search of.

“Alena,” I added a smooth touch to my tone as I took her hands in mine.

“Oh, Hermes. You know you are not to touch me,” she toyed, pulling away from my grasp. I reached for her again and she gave in with a smile.

“I do not see the king about,” I pointed, pulling her closer to me, “Which reminds me. Where is he?”

I tucked my face in her neck, inhaling her sweet scent. Her body shook as she searched for the words to answer the question I, myself, was having trouble remembering.

“He is with Hephaestus, we are not sure where.”

“Hm, so we have a moment to ourselves, is what I am hearing,” I toyed.

Focus!

Clearing my throat and taking a step away from her, I pulled my attention back to the matter at hand.

“Actually, I have a question. Did a goddess come to the bridge this day, not long ago?”

Alena pressed her lips flat and lifted a brow as she shook her head. Concern quickly painting her face.

“Hermes, why would a goddess be in the Underworld?”

“Shh!” I pushed her from the opening of the hall and pressed her back against the column. Leaning closer, I whispered, yet another fine secret.

“I have brought the new queen. But it would seem I have lost her,” I admitted.

“Already?”

“I thought she had come to the palace.”

If you brought her, why on great Gaia would she have arrived before you?” Alena pushed from the column and tugged me behind her as she led me through the corridor.

“We were separated by a chimera.”

She paused to look back at me, the same confusion etched on her face.

“You must inform Hecate and the others that she has come. They will want to know,” she reminded. I nodded and we continued out to the barren courtyard. Once a very beautiful garden, now nothing but dirt and empty pots.

“Lady Hecate?” Alena called.

A cackling laugh rang through the air as her smoke swirled in a cyclone before us. The goddess appeared in her dark, drapey robes, falling like a pool of black water at her feet. Her long dark hair ran down her back, blending into the robes like a mist. She was quite an eerie creature if you ask me.

“Hello, sweet Alena. Dear Hermes,” she greeted kindly.

“We have a problem,” I shot, no time for greetings. Hecate looked to me, her soft smile falling.

“Do tell.”

“The good news is, I brought our queen,” I began on a good note with a bright smile.

“He has already lost her in the fields, Lady Hecate,” Alena interjected

“Alena!” I shot.

“Hermes!” Hecate’s voice boomed, cracking the sky and calling my attention, “Where did you lose her at?”

“On the path up to the palace. We were separated by a chimera, and when I went back for her, she was gone. I thought she would come to the palace, but she has not. I don’t want to go to Hades until she is found,” I blubbered.

“Calm,” Hecate ordered, holding her hand up to me. I paused and took a deep breath.

“She is in the realm. We will find her. Now, if she is not in the palace, there isn’t much for Alena to do,” she turned to the nymph to speak to her directly, “Do tell us the moment Hades returns to the palace. Do not speak a word of Kore being here. Not until I give word.”

Alena bowed and swiftly vanished to carry out her order.

“And me? What should I do?”

“You and I will go back to where you lost her and start from there.” She clapped her hands together, taking us to the entrance temple in a hurry.

“Now, take me to the spot you saw her last.”

 

***

 

Hecate pondered over the area of displaced dirt on the path. The shades did not leave prints, but Kore and I had and that was good news for us, because Hecate was able to follow the trail. What was unlucky was that the trail stopped at a cliff edge that dropped down to the Acheron River where a thick fog covered the bottom, making it impossible to see.

I swallowed thickly, “Do you think she fell down there?”

“It would seem.”

We shifted to the bottom, finding nothing to hint at which direction Kore would have taken. The ground was carpeted with moss, leaving little in ways of tracking her. On top of it all, it smelt of algae and dirty pigs.

Hecate leaned over the spongy moss, smoothing her palm over the top. She did this in a few patches, not saying a word as she looked over everything she could. From the edge of the river and the boulder beside it, finding a few dried crumbs of bread. With closed eyes, she rubbed the bits between her hands for a moment.

I didn’t question the goddess on her ways, she always found what needed to be found. It was just odd to watch her work in person, with no explanation of what she was doing.

When her eyes opened, she looked past me to the deepest parts of the valley.

“This way,” she whispered, brushing by like a breeze. I followed, keeping pace with her as she floated across the moss.

The sun had set long before we reached the wall block Hecate had constructed a while back. But still, no sight of Kore or sign that she had even passed through.

Hecate turned to face the opening of the river that met with the ocean. She lifted her hands, manifesting a white glowing orb that hovered above her palm.

“Come,” she whispered.

After a few moments, the ground began to shake, toppling loose rocks into the water. The stench reached us before anything else. Sending me back a few feet. My hand shot to cover my nose as I watched with wide eyes at what was coming.

The cause of the noise and smell came into view from the thick surrounding fog. It exhaled, blowing the mist from its disfigured and misshapen face. Bruises and scrapes covered him. His single eye blackened from whatever battle he had so clearly lost.

"Ew!” I shot, “What happened to your face, Arges.”

“You dare speak to me; you sack of wine!” He snarled in a broken and cracked voice.

“Well, excuse me.”

“Enough, Arges. What is the meaning of your injuries?” Hecate shot.

The cyclops crumbled and growled, as he rubbed his hand over his wounds.

“There is a divine of great power. Roaming the lands. She did this.”

“She? Did she have red hair? Freckles? How long ago was this?” I pushed off.

“Ugh! We tire of your questions, bdelyròs!” Arges rumbling tantrum sent more rocks falling from the cliffs. One of these days, these creatures will not have as much favor and Arges will be first to go.

“Arges. Answer the question,” Hecate ordered.

“Yes. Hair as red as fire.”

“When?”

“Just before the sun disappeared.”

“Where did she go?” Hecate pressed once more.

The creature made a face of disgust but reluctantly lifted his arm and pointed toward Tartarus.

“She went that way,” he shot. His eye flicked back to us; his cut-up face twisting into more disgust.

“That will be all,” she said dismissively.

The creature huffed at us with agitation before retreating, sending more rocks crashing down into the water below.

Hecate turned to me; her mouth set as she thought on our next move.

"We will fly over the fields. If we cannot spot her, you will need to inform Hades. It is late, and dark. You know as well as I what other creatures lurk about,” she warned.

With a nod, I took her by the hand and headed up to the sky. The agora was busy with shades and their trading and dealings. A sea of glowing blue, but no red-haired goddess. No Kore. Shadows and creatures of darkness could be spotted in the tallest parts of the Asphodel Fields. They were a distance from the agora but still noticeable as they moved through the grass.

As we neared the Mourning Fields, the smog and stench of sulfur became choking to the point where walking would be most preferable. It was a slow landing, unfortunately, there was no telling where Kore may be. But one thing was for sure, she was not in the agora.

“Did you see that?” Hecate quizzed, as we touched down onto the warm dirt of the Mourning Fields.

“See what?”

“Hades. You did not see him?” She pointed into a large cluster of mountains.

“I did not.”

“Well, you will do well to clean up the mess you have created. I must return to my cavern and see if I can locate her by other means.” Hecate was gone in a flash, leaving me to face the dreaded confession alone.

I took a deep breath; it was my choice to bring her. A promise I agreed to. Now she was out there somewhere in the dark, unaware of anything this realm had to offer.

The sky was far too dark for me to see so high, but still I flew up. How Hecate saw anything through the smoke was beyond me. But I did have a tool had I snatched that would come in handy for times such as this.

I pulled my golden goggles from my satchel and tossed them on. They did not help with the darkness, but they stopped the smoke from getting into my eyes and that was the goal.

The heat that radiated from the lava seared my chest and arms. It wasn’t a part of the realm I frequented at all, and I wasn’t familiar with anything other than the tallest mountain being Tartarus. But even a mortal could see that.

It wasn’t only that it was hot, it was gloomy and agonizing. Filling my emotions with pain and grief. Only furthering my worry about speaking with Hades about losing Kore.

With another scan, I caught sight of a flickering speck of light in the sea of darkness. A fire. Hopefully Hades.

I sped through the air, the wind whipping my hair back as I raced toward the king. My heart pounded with anticipation and fear. Fear for Kore and fear of what both Hades and Demeter would do to me if Kore had even a hair out of place.

“Hades!” I called, nearing the flame. My voice hoarse from the dry, heated air. Making it hard to call out, and unsure whether he had heard me.

“Hades!” I called again. Over the remaining hill, was the king in the middle of what appeared to be a forge of sorts. He was looking around himself, trying to locate the source of my call.

“Hades!” I called once more, gaining his attention. He had his usual expression of irritation as I came to a skidded landing, stumbling over a few loose rocks under my sandals.

“I have been searching for you, everywhere!” I gasped, trying to catch my breath, “I may have made a big mistake!”

His eyes darkened as he looked over me and somehow, I think he already knew what I was about to say.

“What have you done now, Hermes?”

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