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Summoning Persephone part 28

by Dreamworx95


This is the next chapter of my book, Summoning Persephone.

The story so far: 18 year old Persephone holds a vendetta against Zeus, God of Thunder and the Heavens, for murdering her sisters for reasons as yet unknown to her. Zeus is also well known as a tyrant who enjoys killing people for blaspheming him, including people from Persephone's home. For these reasons, Persephone conspires to kill Zeus by offering a tribute at the Summoning Ceremony to Athena, the Goddess of War. Through this process, she hopes to gain the powers of Athena as her disciple so she's strong enough to end Zeus once and for all. But things go awry when Athena discovers her plan to wage war against another god, and she rejects Persephone at the Summoning Ceremony. On top of this, Persephone has angered Artemis, the Goddess of the Hunt, because she killed the winter stag, an animal that Artemis holds sacred, as a tribute to Athena. Now Artemis wants her dead for disrespecting her and the other gods.

At the time when Persephone killed the winter stag, she met Hades, who took an interest in her. He shows up at the Summoning Ceremony just to see how things play out with Persephone's motivations. After suffering the consequences of angering both Artemis and Athena, Hades intervenes by Summoning her. He mostly does this to save Persephone's life, but also because he sees her potential to be his disciple in the Underworld. Persephone agrees, and Hades takes her to his kingdom, where he reveals to her that he wants her to be his first Reformer - helping choose souls to bring out of Tartarus (Hell) to be reborn.

During her time in the Underworld, Persephone discovers that there is a weapon hidden away in Tartarus that can destroy both gods and titans. Now her mission is to retrieve the weapon so she can kill Zeus with it. Hades does not know about her motivations and he does not know which god she has a vendetta against.

In the previous chapters, Persephone has successfully stolen Hades' armor which was created to protect him from the fires of Tartarus. She has also stolen the keys. In this chapter, she arrives at the gate of Tartarus. 

Chapter 18

Suicide Forest

Sadi’s traveling stone only takes me as far as the thin stretch of land in the middle of Oceanus. I linger at the edge of the black water, next to the boat where Hades brought me before. Beyond, the river of fire burns brightly against the night.

So. I am here. I have the suit. I have the keys. And I have a dangerous weapon. Still, it takes me a moment to find the courage to move. Stiffly, I climb into the boat and take a seat. From there, it’s just a matter of sitting patiently as the vessel floats off the shore and into the dark waters, carrying me towards the eye of Tartarus.

Out of reflex, I keep my arms inside at all times, despite the armor. The flames of the Phlegethon crawl closer as the boat drifts further, and I can feel the overwhelming dry heat when it turns, carrying me directly into the river. I’m sweating into the suit, and I can’t tell if it's from trepidation or the flames.

Throughout the circular journey to the gate, I contemplate what I’m going to do once I’m inside. I have no plan whatsoever, despite having the tools I need. Now that I’m sitting still, I start to worry a little. I truly have no idea what I’m going to face down there. Apparently, I only made it so far inside with Hades before I blacked out. What if that happens to me again?

We draw nearer to the center of the curling fire-river, and as I mull over my thoughts, my body tenses as if ready to flee at the sight of the black gate rising from the ocean. I realize that I’m clutching the sides of the boat with an anxious grip, and I have to consciously peel my fingers away.

It will be all right. I breathe. It will be all right. Won’t it?

The boat makes its last sweep around the Phlegethon, and I can’t believe how quick the journey was as the vessel slows to a stop at the edge of the platform. I stare up at the raised metal steps. Am I really here already?

Again, it’s hard to find the will to move from the boat, but somehow, I do.

Rising, I take one step out and place my foot on the platform. Then the other. My movements are slow and mechanical as if someone else is controlling my body. The fact that I’m still invisible adds to the disorienting sensation.

I climb up the rest of the steps with no great rush, and the sounds of my feet hitting the ground are like claps of thunder.

I make it to the seal.

Standing there, I stare down at the doors beneath my feet. It dawns me as I assess the seal leading to literal hell the lengths I am willing to go for revenge. My entire body trembles slightly, once again, as if it knows something my mind refuses to remember. My sweat inside the gauntlets, and out of habit, I rub my fingers against my hands as if to wipe them. I ripple into sight again. Despite the nerves, being able to see my body makes me feel a bit more grounded.

I hold my hands up and look at my covered palms. My fingers. Trying to find the strength to do what I need to do. This is the way my father prays, with his hands cupped to the sky. This brings me comfort. If I have nothing else, I have my father’s hands. Hands that can build and rebuild. Hands that killed a winter stag.

I clench them into fists and take a deep breath. Yes. I can do this.

I let my hands fall to my sides, finding renewed hope. I look at the door again, my gaze tracing the intricate carving of the battle with the Titans. Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon triumph over a group of giants in a haze of thunder and waves and darkness. My eyes lock with the depiction of the God of Thunder and Skies, and for a moment, anger overrides any fear that I have.

For Serena. For Callista. I will find that weapon and kill Zeus with it.

I hold the words to heart like a keepsake. Then I reach into my pocket and fish out the keys.

I don’t know which will open the door, but they are all the same size, about the length of my finger. Kneeling down over the eyelet at the center of the seal, I start randomly sticking in different keys until I feel the lock click.

The ground shakes beneath me, followed by the sound of groaning cogs turning. Standing, I quickly step away from the parting doors. The seal yawns all the way open, and I’m looking down into the cavernous black throat.

This is the last thing I remember before Hades took me down there.

I have to swallow back my fear, find my will to move again. And then, I do. I take the first step onto that winding staircase leading to hell. Then another. Another. Sinking further into the abyss, I embrace the darkness, don’t look back as I hear the doors coming to a close above me, effectively shutting out all light and sound from the outside.

The glow of Sadi’s lantern forms a purple halo around me. The only source of light for me now. I just keep moving, letting my feet guide me further and further down into the pit. My fingers trace the stone wall, keeping me balanced as I put one step in front of the other. The further I get, the danker the air becomes. The smell of something distinctly old festers in the cool air, like mold and dust and dirt.

The stairs become craggier and more perilous with every step I take. My eyes are locked on every square of crumbling stone, my hand braced tensely against the wall to keep me from tripping. If I lose my balance, I don’t know where that fall will end.

I keep moving. I’m walking for so long that I lose track of the time. Minutes and minutes pass, and eventually, I start to wonder if there is even an end to this tunnel. Impatient and more than a little apprehensive, I barely contain myself from sprinting down the rest of the way.

Wary of the unstable slabs of rock under me, I increase my pace, keeping my feet steady and my hand against the wall at all times.

Finally, I reach a stretch of solid, flat ground at what appears to be - mercifully - the end of the staircase. In front of me is a hallway leading up to a round door.

Wary, I walk slowly through the corridor. Holding up the lantern, I let the light fall over the seal on the door. I don’t know what to make of the disturbing images carved into the stone. The renderings are a maze of winged, vicious beasts with human-like faces and sharp claws, ugly, mangled trees, and human limbs twisting out from the roots. The number “one” is carved into center surrounding the keyhole.

Level one. This must lead to the Wood of the Suicides.

In the heavy darkness, the only sound I can hear is that of my controlled breaths as I try again to find my courage. Not quite ready to unlock the door, I raise a hand and press it flat against the surface.

I can’t know or measure the danger I’m about to face. This is serious. I was reckless before, but I can’t be now. If I can’t find this weapon, this Soul Chord...if my life is threatened by whatever is in here, then I need to leave. Even if that means abandoning my mission.

Hades told me to call his name if I ever needed him. I’m not sure exactly how that works, but I find reassurance in the idea that he’s given me access to communicate with him if I need to. Hades is my lifeline, but only as a last resort. I’ve pissed off too many gods already, and I’ve done more than enough to anger the God of the Underworld.

Silent, I take my hand off the door. There’s a sensation like a boulder has dropped into the pit of my stomach, but I ignore it. I reach into my pocket and draw out the ring of keys. Test each one in the lock hole.

When I find the right one, the outer ring surrounding the lock begins to spin. I step back and watch the seal come open like a disc severed by lightning at the center.

The door opens fully, and I’m peering into a black chasm.

This darkness is different somehow. I can feel it. Endless and pervasive, an entity in and of itself. I stand there, facing that darkness with a brave facade, knowing that crossing this threshold will be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

I swallow back my fear, for all that it helps, and step into the void. 


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Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:11 am
Xorsudite wrote a review...



Interesting chapter. I look forward to seeing more of Tartarus.

See mine (notes) and /*edits*/ below.

Standing there, I stare down at the doors beneath my feet. It dawns me/*,*/ as I assess the seal leading to literal hell/*,*/ the lengths I am willing to go for revenge. My entire body trembles slightly, once again, as if it knows something my mind refuses to remember. My /*I feel my*/ sweat inside the gauntlets, and out of habit, I rub my fingers against my hands as if to wipe them. I ripple into sight again. Despite the nerves, being able to see my body makes me feel a bit more grounded.


I have to swallow back (redundant) my fear, find my will to move again. And then, I do. I take the first step onto that winding staircase leading to hell. Then another. Another. Sinking further into the abyss, I embrace the darkness, don’t look back as I hear the doors coming to a close above me, effectively shutting out all light and sound from the outside.


On to the next chapter.




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Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:20 am
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BlueAfrica wrote a review...



...I think I somehow missed this chapter? But I read and reviewed the next one. Hmmm.

Well, anyway.

Now that I’m sitting still, I start to worry a little.


I like this line, just because it gives us an insight into how Persephone has so far been able to basically ignore the fact that she doesn't have a solid plan, just because she was able to keep moving and performing tasks related to her non-plan. oh look it's me writing a first draft Once she slows down, that realization catches up and makes her panic a little.

To be honest, I don't feel like I missed a lot by not reading this chapter the first time. Like, I missed this entire connecting chapter where she travels from the tower (to get the keys) to Tartarus...and I didn't even notice. I don't think I even particularly thought "huh wow she's in Tartarus now, how did that happen?" I literally didn't question it. Interpret that as you will.

I also felt myself a little bored in this chapter, because I felt like Persephone spent a lot of time telling me how she felt, but I didn't really feel it. Which may be a telling vs showing issue. Or not. Or it could just be that I felt like she repeated herself? Like she kept talking about how hard it was to find the will to do xyz but somehow she did find it and kept moving.

Also, minor note, but:

It will be all right. I breathe. It will be all right. Won’t it?


It was bizarre to me that her thoughts here were in italics, because we're in her first-person, present-tense perspective. Literally the whole story is in her head/her thoughts. So it just stuck out at me that suddenly her thoughts were italicized when, like, most of this chapter in particular is her thoughts.




Dreamworx95 says...


Hi Blue, thank you for coming back to comment. This chapter actually isn't on its own, it's the first half of the next one where she goes into the Wood of the Suicides. The telling vs. showing part is noted, and thanks for pointing out the thoughts in italics, didn't realize I was doing that redundant thing.



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Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:21 pm
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shaniac wrote a review...



Hello, shaniac here to review your piece!

For someone who hasn't read the previous chapters, you've done a nice job of summarizing what has happened. I can say that I really like the idea you are rolling around with and it got me hooked when you mentioned that Persephone wanted to take down Zeus. That's kind of an interesting take and I'm kind of a big nerd of Greek mythology.

So, I'm assuming that Persephone is the main narrator of this piece and Sadi is someone that worked alongside Hades and gave Persephone (or maybe she stole it like the other items that she stole). I'm kind of wanting more of a description of the two. A bit of a refresher for if someone was reading this and also if someone just hopped into a chapter. Another thing I want to say is you do a nice job of adding emotion to Persephone and showing the reader her thoughts while she is doing this.

When Persephone reaches the river of fire, my first thought was 'what if the boat burns?' What kind of material is the boat made out of that it doesn't burn? I think if you were to hint at it just a bit in that part, then it would be clearer because what I'm thinking of is a wooden boat that is pretty flammable.

It dawns me as I assess the seal leading to literal hell the lengths I am willing to go for revenge.


I feel like a comma should be placed after 'hell' because it is going into another thought and it would make sense to put a comma there instead of leaving it without one. Also, hell should be capitalized as it is a proper place.

My entire body trembles slightly, once again, as if it knows something my mind refuses to remember.


This part is interesting. It is kind of making me think that maybe this is a bit of foreshadowing for later chapters. Maybe something will attack Persephone as she continues down deeper into Hell. How is she able to turn invisible? I don't know if I remember correctly but I believe Hades had a cap of invisibility so maybe that's how she is able to. I might be overlooking it but you could suggest that it might be that or it could be apart of the suit. Still, suggesting at it might be best if you want to clear up any confusion.

I have to swallow back my fear, find my will to move again. And then, I do.


Instead of a comma, add 'and'. Then remove the next sentence because it isn't really needed for her descent into Hell and it kind of drags the point on.

I embrace the darkness, don’t look back as I hear the doors coming to a close above me


Again, instead of a comma, add 'and'.

Persephone's personality changes from being nervous to wanting to go down there as quick as possible. Now, I would think with being impatience, you could have mentioned her being impatience at figuring out the keys or feeling a wave of glee when she finally reached the steps. I think that would be an interesting character trait to work into this chapter because you don't want to mention it once and not work it out. You should definitely work it throughout this whole novel, too.

Most of your paragraphs start off with something that is followed off by a comma. In my English class, we learned something about this (I can't quite remember it) but I remember that if you continuously use the same style of beginning, it will just drag on. I suggest doing different ways of starting off a sentence. You need to have some variety in writing and this would be the place to start adding some.

I'm kind of wondering how many levels there are of this literal Hell. If you mentioned it before in previous chapters, ignore this, but I do think if you say like 'level one out of...' then it will give the person reading this some sort of wonder about the other levels. I really like the ending of this chapter. It is kind of a cliffhanger of what Persephone will face later on in her travels and makes me think about if she will call Hades's name in times of crisis.

To cap, I like the idea that you have presented here. It is something that kind of reminds me of Percy Jackson, because they both deal with Greek myths, but you show it in a different light. I would suggest more diverse sentence starters, you provide some nice emotions throughout this piece of how nervous she might be, and try putting her impatience throughout this novel to work it into her character. Have a good day/night and if you have any questions, let me know!




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