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The Daughter of War - Chapter 10: Peach Blush and Obsidian Curls

by Ley


Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and mature content.

Chapter 10: Peach Blush and Obsidian Curls

* Content Warning: This chapter has mention of prostitution and explicit language. *

Josephine and her counterpart walked through Troy with ease. The surrounding shops and merchants intrigued them, and they stopped every once and a while to take a peek inside and gape at the trinkets they found. The difference between Olympus and Troy was rather obvious—the cobblestone was no longer white and there were no hints of gold or magic anywhere. Besides the two goddesses, they were surrounded by commonfolk.

The architecture in Troy also fascinated the girls. They’d never seen buildings made of clay and brick, but that’s all that the buildings were composed of. Smoke was dancing out of chimneys and music sounded faintly in the distance.

They arrived at the brothel around sundown. It was a small building located at the east part of Troy—almost eight miles from Asclepius’ keep. Josephine and Persephone trekked through the streets of Troy for almost three hours before reaching the metal doors of Hermes’ side hustle.

“We need to act as if we’re two of his whores,” Persephone flattened her dress, “I’m almost certain he won’t recognize us. There are over five hundred gods and goddesses that are participating in the Trials. Our faces won’t stand out… hopefully.”

Josephine couldn’t help but think negatively. Hermes wasn’t close with her father or her mother but based on what happened in the last Trial with Dimitra, she wondered if Hermes would recognize them. Surely, he knew that Persephone saved Josephine. Not to mention she already hated the idea of acting like a prostitute—what would her mother really think of her, then?

“I can’t promise I’ll be good at this,” Josephine took a deep breath and fixed her hair, tucking the stray pieces behind her bare ear, “And if he touches me, I’m going back.”

Persephone knocked on the door and smirked, “He won’t even get the chance.”

An older woman opened the door, her long red hair braided to the side and the wrinkles between her eyebrows creased as she studied the two girls, “I don’t remember asking Goddess Keleaona for any more girls.”

“We’re a last-minute gift for your loyalty to our Goddess Keleaona,” Persephone curtsied, “She specified that Lord Hermes would have his way with us.”

Josephine stood there, faltered. She didn’t dare look the woman in her eyes as Persephone lied—she would break. The woman furrowed her eyebrows and stepped to the side, “I see. Well, the other girls are in the powder room to your left, but you may help yourself to any outfits in the dressing room. Lord Hermes likes his women… Well, you’ll see. You have fifteen minutes to get dressed and cleaned up before I escort you to his quarters.”

The woman escorted them down the hall, through the lavish hallways that transformed the place from a brothel to a palace. Magic radiated everywhere, Josephine could feel it in her skin, in her lungs, in her fingertips—as if she could grasp it. She wanted to grasp it.

They arrived in front of an open door. Two other girls sat on ottomans on opposite sides of the room, dressed to the nines in barely any clothing. Diamonds draped their necks, and their eyes were painted in the most exquisite artistry Josephine had ever seen. Her draw visibly dropped. Persephone elbowed her side, causing Josephine to correct her facial expression.

“This is Joy and Ophelia,” The woman paused, glancing at the newcomers, “As I’m sure you know this already, being followers of Goddess Keleaona.”

Josephine and Persephone both nodded coherently and awkwardly fixed their footing. They’d been on their feet for so long, their toes were starting to get numb. The two girls inside the room nodded in Josephine and Persephone’s direction but did not make eye contact, as they were intently focused on their appearances in the mirror. The girl with the obsidian curls, Ophelia—Josephine guessed, was brushing her ringlets out lavishly as she hummed an old child’s tune. The skinnier of the two, Joy, sat contently as she ran a peach-toned blush over her tanned, olive skin.

“Make yourselves at home. My name is Helena, by the way. Please call if you need anything. Fifteen minutes,” Helena reminded.

Helena left the four girls to themselves. Josephine entered the room first, making herself comfortable next to Joy. Josephine hesitated but settled down in front of the vanity to the right of Ophelia.

“So, where do we get our outfits?” Josephine asked. Josephine knew she asked just to break the awkwardness because Helena clearly told them to look through the dressing room.

Joy tilted her head upwards towards the door in the back of the room, “That’s the dressing room.”

Josephine stood up and walked cautiously towards the door. For all she knows, Hermes could already have been aware of their arrival. Maybe Helena sensed they were fakes and was heading straight to Hermes right now to tell him all about it. It didn’t ease her mind at all that she was with other girls—being as they weren’t very talkative and seemed as though they’d rather complete this assignment themselves. She opened the door to find clothes of different colors, brands, and textiles. Light beamed from the crystal chandelier above, illuminating the sparkles and diamonds stitched into every outfit. Most of them resembled lingerie--- something that Josephine wasn’t familiar or comfortable with at all. She could feel Josephine’s presence behind her.

She turned her head to find the Goddess of Spring overwhelmed by all the choices, “Well, let’s get to it then.”

Josephine sighed loudly and was drawn to a white see-through tunic and a slitted skirt that was obviously meant to show more leg than anything else. Persephone hovered by the red pieces.

I can’t believe I’m doing this right now.

Josephine changed quickly and returned to the sitting area. She stared at herself in the mirror. All she could see was her mother. All she saw was home.

She scanned the numerous amounts of makeup in front of her, from eyeshadow to mascara to face paint. Perfumes lined the perimeter of the mirror—Hermes favorite scents, she assumed—ranging from her mother’s brand to Hera’s. She didn’t know what to touch first, or if she even needed to touch any of it at all.

“I sense something… weird, about you two,” Ophelia spoke, her yellow eyes locked on Josephine.

The daughter of Ares froze. Persephone’s muscles strained as she swiveled the ottoman towards Ophelia and her counterpart, “We’re just here for the same reasons you are.”

“And that is?” Joy chuckled, “Gods, I wish I had a reason to be here. Life would be so much easier.”

“Tell them, Sister,” Ophelia joined the laugh.

Josephine and Persephone giggled along with them in order to keep their identities hidden. Surely, they could smell Persephone’s magic. Josephine was grateful that she didn’t have any magic…yet.

“What are your names?” Joy asked, fixing a smudge of eyeliner in the mirror, “Helena never said anything about us having four today.”

Josephine hesitated and connected eyes with Persephone. She could almost hear her say: Make something up. Don’t be that stupid, Princess.

“I go by Ana,” Josephine nodded at Persephone, “And this is my sister, Naiomi.”

“Ana and Naiomi,” Ophelia hummed, leaning back in her chair, “Just a word of advice, Lord Hermes doesn’t like fake smiles. Fix yours while you can.”

Persephone’s smile faded and she straightened herself and cleared her throat, “Why, my smile is certainly—”

“Cut the shit,” Joy murmured, turning to face Josephine entirely, “I don’t know who you two are, but you definitely aren’t followers of Goddess Keleaona. We are not ignorant.”

Josephine thought right then and there they’d try to kill them. If they were always seeing Hermes, they’d hate to split the pay four ways, and especially not with fakes who claim the goddess that they worshipped. Josephine’s hands started to sweat.

“Alright!” Helena strode into the room, her delicate yet manicured hands positioned behind her back, “You all look marvelous! He is going to be enthralled! Let’s go girls, his Lord is waiting for you all.”

Josephine couldn’t be more grateful for Helena in that moment. Persephone stood up quickly and hurried out the door and into the hallway. Josephine followed shortly after. As they walked back past the entrance, the girls could feel Joy and Ophelia staring into the back of their heads—probably planning how they should kill them. 

They existed the main building and into the courtyard, where a man and two others sat at a intricately painted glass table. One man looked over the age of sixty, his gray hair was tucked neatly under a cap. A cane sat at his side, and his eyes were intently drawn to the poker game that was in play. The man in the middle was handsome yet intimidating. A scar ran from the top of his forehead to the bottom of his lip, through his left eye. He didn’t even glance up as the girls approached. Then, there sat Hermes. His eyes flickered upwards at Persephone, Josephine, Joy and Dahlia.

“Ah! There you are!” Hermes exclaimed, a joyous smile plastered across his sick face, “I appreciate you being on time.”

Helena nodded and stepped back, giving Hermes a clear view of his new toys, “Will these women do, Lord Hermes?”

He took a second but eventually stood up, his eyes grazing each and every one of them. He stopped at Josephine, smiled wider, and then diverted his gaze back to Helena, “They will do just fine. Thank you. Now, leave us,” he said, turning back to look at his fellow poker competitors, “All of you.” 


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Mon May 06, 2024 4:53 pm
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goodolnoah wrote a review...



Hello again! ~ Writing Commentary

“I see. Well, the other girls are in the powder room to your left, but you may help yourself to any outfits in the dressing room. Lord Hermes likes his women… Well, you’ll see. You have fifteen minutes to get dressed and cleaned up before I escort you to his quarters.”


In a good way- this already makes me disgusted with Hermes before we even meet him. Since I write some of these as I’m reviewing, I have no idea what Hermes is like at this point, but the passing mentions of him have built him up as one of the BAD olympians.

He took a second but eventually stood up, his eyes grazing each and every one of them. He stopped at Josephine, smiled wider, and then diverted his gaze back to Helena, “They will do just fine. Thank you. Now, leave us,” he said, turning back to look at his fellow poker competitors, “All of you.”


At the end of the chapter, it is as I felt. I am unsure if I could describe how sick Hermes makes me. Considering the next chapter is called “The Girl Who Breathed Fire”, I can only imagine how Josephine may unlock her power…

Phallic Stage ~ Closer

Admittedly, I like this description of Hermes! In most media, he’s usually seen as one of the kinder gods, so having him as the first seemingly evil Olympian is an interesting and welcome touch. It’s also scary if he turns out to be a speedster like most incarnations. As an avid DC fan, evil speedsters are horrifying…




Ley says...


Thank you! Honestly, when I was outlining this, I didnt even mean for Hermes to be the bad guy, but you will see later on why I chose him! His gifts/powers are much needed ;) Thanks for reading! The next chapter is one of my favs xD



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Fri Mar 01, 2024 7:48 pm
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KateHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: A pretty strong start to the Hermes leg of the operation, and already things are definitely poised to go a little bit wrong here. Loving the way that you've managed to set things up here for the moment. Its all poised rather well here I think.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Josephine and her counterpart walked through Troy with ease. The surrounding shops and merchants intrigued them, and they stopped every once and a while to take a peek inside and gape at the trinkets they found. The difference between Olympus and Troy was rather obvious—the cobblestone was no longer white and there were no hints of gold or magic anywhere. Besides the two goddesses, they were surrounded by commonfolk.

The architecture in Troy also fascinated the girls. They’d never seen buildings made of clay and brick, but that’s all that the buildings were composed of. Smoke was dancing out of chimneys and music sounded faintly in the distance.

They arrived at the brothel around sundown. It was a small building located at the east part of Troy—almost eight miles from Asclepius’ keep. Josephine and Persephone trekked through the streets of Troy for almost three hours before reaching the metal doors of Hermes’ side hustle.


Hmm well that's taken them a decent bit of time to find out. Hopefully this isn't going to turn around and severely bite them in the back later on because that time constraint was pretty strict when it was outlined earlier there. Definitely going to be something to think about as things progress. That healing thing probably didn't help too much.

“We need to act as if we’re two of his whores,” Persephone flattened her dress, “I’m almost certain he won’t recognize us. There are over five hundred gods and goddesses that are participating in the Trials. Our faces won’t stand out… hopefully.”

Josephine couldn’t help but think negatively. Hermes wasn’t close with her father or her mother but based on what happened in the last Trial with Dimitra, she wondered if Hermes would recognize them. Surely, he knew that Persephone saved Josephine. Not to mention she already hated the idea of acting like a prostitute—what would her mother really think of her, then?

“I can’t promise I’ll be good at this,” Josephine took a deep breath and fixed her hair, tucking the stray pieces behind her bare ear, “And if he touches me, I’m going back.”

Persephone knocked on the door and smirked, “He won’t even get the chance.”


Well Persephone is certainly very confident about how quickly she's going to be able to deal with Hermes, which does make you wonder. I can't imagine she's exactly being overconfident so it has to mean she has a plan here that we don't fully know of.

An older woman opened the door, her long red hair braided to the side and the wrinkles between her eyebrows creased as she studied the two girls, “I don’t remember asking Goddess Keleaona for any more girls.”

“We’re a last-minute gift for your loyalty to our Goddess Keleaona,” Persephone curtsied, “She specified that Lord Hermes would have his way with us.”

Josephine stood there, faltered. She didn’t dare look the woman in her eyes as Persephone lied—she would break. The woman furrowed her eyebrows and stepped to the side, “I see. Well, the other girls are in the powder room to your left, but you may help yourself to any outfits in the dressing room. Lord Hermes likes his women… Well, you’ll see. You have fifteen minutes to get dressed and cleaned up before I escort you to his quarters.”


Well that was certainly the direct approach. Seems to be working fairly well so far, so let's see how it works out for them going further along. So far it seems Persephone does have all of this pretty well handled which bodes well for us.

The woman escorted them down the hall, through the lavish hallways that transformed the place from a brothel to a palace. Magic radiated everywhere, Josephine could feel it in her skin, in her lungs, in her fingertips—as if she could grasp it. She wanted to grasp it.

They arrived in front of an open door. Two other girls sat on ottomans on opposite sides of the room, dressed to the nines in barely any clothing. Diamonds draped their necks, and their eyes were painted in the most exquisite artistry Josephine had ever seen. Her draw visibly dropped. Persephone elbowed her side, causing Josephine to correct her facial expression.

“This is Joy and Ophelia,” The woman paused, glancing at the newcomers, “As I’m sure you know this already, being followers of Goddess Keleaona.”


Well looks like their little white lie might haunt them a bit judging by that reaction. It doesn't seem like they know nearly enough about those lies to stand up under a bit of scrutiny. Hopefully they get away with it for the moment here.

Josephine and Persephone both nodded coherently and awkwardly fixed their footing. They’d been on their feet for so long, their toes were starting to get numb. The two girls inside the room nodded in Josephine and Persephone’s direction but did not make eye contact, as they were intently focused on their appearances in the mirror. The girl with the obsidian curls, Ophelia—Josephine guessed, was brushing her ringlets out lavishly as she hummed an old child’s tune. The skinnier of the two, Joy, sat contently as she ran a peach-toned blush over her tanned, olive skin.

“Make yourselves at home. My name is Helena, by the way. Please call if you need anything. Fifteen minutes,” Helena reminded.

Helena left the four girls to themselves. Josephine entered the room first, making herself comfortable next to Joy. Josephine hesitated but settled down in front of the vanity to the right of Ophelia.


Hmm well it seems they've managed to at the very least to pass that first little hurdle there but I have a feeling how they end up interacting with Joy and Ophelia is going to be a lot more important from the looks of things here, but let's see where we're going.

“So, where do we get our outfits?” Josephine asked. Josephine knew she asked just to break the awkwardness because Helena clearly told them to look through the dressing room.

Joy tilted her head upwards towards the door in the back of the room, “That’s the dressing room.”

Josephine stood up and walked cautiously towards the door. For all she knows, Hermes could already have been aware of their arrival. Maybe Helena sensed they were fakes and was heading straight to Hermes right now to tell him all about it. It didn’t ease her mind at all that she was with other girls—being as they weren’t very talkative and seemed as though they’d rather complete this assignment themselves. She opened the door to find clothes of different colors, brands, and textiles. Light beamed from the crystal chandelier above, illuminating the sparkles and diamonds stitched into every outfit. Most of them resembled lingerie--- something that Josephine wasn’t familiar or comfortable with at all. She could feel Josephine’s presence behind her.


Well they certainly seem a little bit overwhelmed here. The control and confidence that Persephone has had is starting to slowly go away, which is definitely concerning given we're sure to run into Hermes soon too at the rate that this is going.

She turned her head to find the Goddess of Spring overwhelmed by all the choices, “Well, let’s get to it then.”

Josephine sighed loudly and was drawn to a white see-through tunic and a slitted skirt that was obviously meant to show more leg than anything else. Persephone hovered by the red pieces.

I can’t believe I’m doing this right now.

Josephine changed quickly and returned to the sitting area. She stared at herself in the mirror. All she could see was her mother. All she saw was home.


Love how much you're touching on Josephine's internal conflict here. The little tussle with the guards was one thing, but this situation is definitely something that's significantly more impactful here and you can see how much more its affecting Josephine.

She scanned the numerous amounts of makeup in front of her, from eyeshadow to mascara to face paint. Perfumes lined the perimeter of the mirror—Hermes favorite scents, she assumed—ranging from her mother’s brand to Hera’s. She didn’t know what to touch first, or if she even needed to touch any of it at all.

“I sense something… weird, about you two,” Ophelia spoke, her yellow eyes locked on Josephine.

The daughter of Ares froze. Persephone’s muscles strained as she swiveled the ottoman towards Ophelia and her counterpart, “We’re just here for the same reasons you are.”


Well there's the first sign that something might be going wrong, unless Persephone is prepared enough for this that she's going to be able to quickly throw out some sort of feasible explanation here.

“And that is?” Joy chuckled, “Gods, I wish I had a reason to be here. Life would be so much easier.”

“Tell them, Sister,” Ophelia joined the laugh.

Josephine and Persephone giggled along with them in order to keep their identities hidden. Surely, they could smell Persephone’s magic. Josephine was grateful that she didn’t have any magic…yet.

“What are your names?” Joy asked, fixing a smudge of eyeliner in the mirror, “Helena never said anything about us having four today.”


Hmm well it seems like at the very least they aren't being actively antagonistic so hopefully as long as these two can come up with decent lies they're going to make it past this little test too.

Josephine hesitated and connected eyes with Persephone. She could almost hear her say: Make something up. Don’t be that stupid, Princess.

“I go by Ana,” Josephine nodded at Persephone, “And this is my sister, Naiomi.”

“Ana and Naiomi,” Ophelia hummed, leaning back in her chair, “Just a word of advice, Lord Hermes doesn’t like fake smiles. Fix yours while you can.”

Persephone’s smile faded and she straightened herself and cleared her throat, “Why, my smile is certainly—”


Well that's not good. That first set of lies was decent but it does look like these two are very sharp and very suspicious, which is not a good combination for the two of them.

“Cut the shit,” Joy murmured, turning to face Josephine entirely, “I don’t know who you two are, but you definitely aren’t followers of Goddess Keleaona. We are not ignorant.”

Josephine thought right then and there they’d try to kill them. If they were always seeing Hermes, they’d hate to split the pay four ways, and especially not with fakes who claim the goddess that they worshipped. Josephine’s hands started to sweat.

“Alright!” Helena strode into the room, her delicate yet manicured hands positioned behind her back, “You all look marvelous! He is going to be enthralled! Let’s go girls, his Lord is waiting for you all.”


Oooh well that's definitely a sticky situation waiting to happen there. As much as the immediate danger seems to have been slightly postponed by this interruption, I can't imagine this just getting swept under the rug at the rate this is going.

Josephine couldn’t be more grateful for Helena in that moment. Persephone stood up quickly and hurried out the door and into the hallway. Josephine followed shortly after. As they walked back past the entrance, the girls could feel Joy and Ophelia staring into the back of their heads—probably planning how they should kill them.

They existed the main building and into the courtyard, where a man and two others sat at a intricately painted glass table. One man looked over the age of sixty, his gray hair was tucked neatly under a cap. A cane sat at his side, and his eyes were intently drawn to the poker game that was in play. The man in the middle was handsome yet intimidating. A scar ran from the top of his forehead to the bottom of his lip, through his left eye. He didn’t even glance up as the girls approached. Then, there sat Hermes. His eyes flickered upwards at Persephone, Josephine, Joy and Dahlia.

“Ah! There you are!” Hermes exclaimed, a joyous smile plastered across his sick face, “I appreciate you being on time.”


Hmm well we finally run into Hermes then. Judging by how Persephone was acting, the two other girls being mad shouldn't affect them now, since the whole plan is just going to be executed right here, but let's see what ends up happeing here.

Helena nodded and stepped back, giving Hermes a clear view of his new toys, “Will these women do, Lord Hermes?”

He took a second but eventually stood up, his eyes grazing each and every one of them. He stopped at Josephine, smiled wider, and then diverted his gaze back to Helena, “They will do just fine. Thank you. Now, leave us,” he said, turning back to look at his fellow poker competitors, “All of you.”


Well for the moment at least the plan seems effective but that is a lovely little cliffhanger to end on there as we're left wondering exactly how much Hermes knows here and how badly this is going to end up going.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, a powerful scene here, especially towards the end and ahh I can't wait to read that next part because I must know what's about to happen next.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Kate




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Sat Feb 03, 2024 3:35 pm
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RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello again, my friend!

This chapter was great for buildup, a bridge to what I'm sure will be an intense fight. Whether that fight will be Josephine and Persephone against the girls, or Josephine and Persephone against Hermes (or even both), I'm not sure, but I am here for either.

For recommendations, there were two minor mistakes I noticed while I was reading. One, at the moment Josephine and Persephone entered the powder room.

"Her draw visibly dropped."

I think you meant her *jaw* visibly dropped here. Then, one more after Josephine and Persephone entered the changing room.

"...something that Josephine wasn’t familiar or comfortable with at all. She could feel Josephine’s presence behind her."

It feels like the names got a little mixed up here, and I think the implication is that Josephine could feel *Persephone's* presence behind her. Of course, none of these potential errors took away from the story, and they were quite minor overall.

I loved your descriptions of Troy. Definitely feels like a rich and "noble" area. It really flows with the story too, as you don't clutter up the chapter by going in-depth for every street and room. You show Josephine and Persephone moving through the streets, and use that to introduce things like the common architecture, available tresures, the type of people in the area, and keywords like "lavish." I feel like you could include a few more details in the brothel (like maybe wall and floor color/texture) and get away with it, but still, there's just enough for us to picture everything without impacting readability. I also really like that you mention how different it is from Olympus, really emphasizing how Josephine would feel far from home by now.

Speaking of the characters, I can really tell that Josephine is starting to get nervous by this point, and I'm honestly surprised she's keeping her composure so well. I imagine, with the consistent mention of Persephone's presence, that's probably helping. That aside, her reactions all make sense for the situation, and it feels consistent with her character, so nicely done on that.

I love how you wrote Ophelia and Joy. They feel calculated and very aware, and there's a breath of mystery surrounding them. It felt like there was tension as they called out Josephine and Persephone for being imposters, but you also captured the feeling that they're trapped here with no other reason. It leaves me wondering if they will be obstacles in the mission, or if they will help Josephine and Persephone, maybe viewing them as a way out. And of course, it is easy to empathize with their unfortunate position. I'm interested to see if and how they will progress.

Overall, like I said, it feels like I a lot of buildup going on, and it was a great chapter! Nicely done! :)




Ley says...


As always, thank you so much for the review! I love logging in and seeing your comments. <333




Make sure you marry someone who laughs at the same things you do.
— Holden Caulfield