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The Daughter of War - Chapter 20: Relic of the Sea God

by Ley


Chapter 20: Relic of the Sea God

The interior of Medusa’s Temple was well-kept. It didn’t seem like she’d gotten exiled at all—tapestries covered every wall in attempt to hide the rotting stone, and bustles of roses lined each flowerpot in the corridor. Josephine said nothing as Medusa led her through the narrow, dark halls, the suspense building with every step they took. Medusa knew she was coming somehow, knew that they had much to discuss. Josephine decided she would wait for the Gorgon to speak first.

They reached an area of pure bliss—the complete opposite of what the Island was on the outside. Paintings lined the stone courtyard, which overlooked the thriving garden. Josephine walked past them alongside Medusa, admiring the finished and unfinished pieces of art. One piece specifically caught her eye: Artemis, blooming and embracing her natural womanhood, standing in a river surrounded by elk, black bears, and snakes. Numerous statues made of stone filled the courtyard, some faces stunned and others blank.

Josephine could only imagine how the place would look with beautiful skies.

Medusa sat on a white, wooden picnic table, gesturing for Josephine to sit across from her, “Sit. I don’t bite. I haven’t had a conversation with a woman in a while. As you can tell…” the Gorgon lifted her head towards the stone statue behind Josephine, his face twisted in a look of pure terror, “I don’t fancy men.”

Of course. These men must have been the ones that never returned back to Olympus.

Josephine held back her goosebumps and instead nodded her head, taking a seat across from the Gorgon. She wondered if Medusa could see her through that cloth that covered her eyes, but she didn’t dare ask.

“Your mother told me you were arriving,” Medusa spoke once again, the rattling from the snakes under her sheathed head growing angrier with every second they wasted, “I know you are forbidden to speak with her during your…Trials. Which I could only imagine is extremely frustrating. I’ve become fond of Aphrodite.”

The mention of Josephine’s mother temporarily paralyzed her, “My mother visited you?”

“Oh,” Medusa giggled, her youthful hand gripping the table, “No, silly child. One of my snakes told me. Aphrodite wouldn’t dare step foot on my island.”

She wasn’t wrong. Josephine’s mother was known for being overly picky—only entering the most prestigious of clubs and joined the highest of Secret Societies on Olympus. Medusa’s Exile was technically a prison either way, and Aphrodite wouldn’t settle for less than a Palace, “Makes sense. Sounds just like her.”

The Gorgon’s eyes moved to Josephine’s shaking fingers, “Are you scared of me, child?”

No, Josephine wasn’t scared. She was excited. All the lore she’d heard about Medusa, and here she was engaging in conversation with her on an exiled island across from Serpent Waters. She decided to switch the subject, “I’m stuck in this predicament back on Olympus. Zeus thinks that I will win the Trials.”

“Ah… The Trials Of Gods And Magic, The Competition Of Courage And Lust…” Medusa hummed, closing her eyes in bliss as she sang, “…The Winner Shall Serve, and Fight Until They Turn To Dust.”

“Exactly,” Josephine continued, “I don’t want to serve him.”

“We all serve him,” Medusa hissed, throwing her hands down on the table. Josephine jerked backwards as Medusa continued to speak; a sense of pain creeped it’s way through the sadness in her tone, “Whether you like it or not, you are to serve him. What will you do if I help you? Run away?”

“No,” Josephine countered, scrunching her eyebrows, “I will not be known as a coward. I believe there’s a way for me to get out of this…” She thought back to Pelagius and Poseidon, “…if I had Poseidon’s Trident.”

Medusa’s eyes softened, “What do you know of Poseidon’s relic?”

“I know enough to understand that it’s one of the most powerful items in the history of Olympus,” Josephine started, “It belonged to Cronus before he passed it down generationally, and before he was imprisoned with the rest of the Titans. It belongs to Poseidon, but it’s been missing. I was hoping you could help me in returning it. For my sake, of course.”

The relic was known to be one of the three relics of the Titans. Poseidon had given it to Hephaestus to transfer its power into a trident. Previously, it had simply been a lump of limestone that was engraved into Cronus’ crown. There were two other relics: Hades’ helm, and Zeus’ lightning bolt. Poseidon had been without his relic since Medusa got exiled. Without it, he had trouble controlling the sea and all it’s inhabitants. Josephine could easily go against her promise to Pelagius, but she wasn’t that type of person. The demi-god was good to her. And who knows, maybe he could be of use in the future. She wasn’t going to start burning bridges now.

“I do not have the relic, child,” Medusa spat, standing abruptly, “It’s gone.”

“What do you mean gone?” Josephine stood with her, a slight raise in her voice, “A relic doesn’t just disappear. Where is it?”

“Has the Sea God sent you?” The Gorgon backed away from her, rage painted across her sheathed face, “I cannot help you.”

“No, he didn’t send me. I came on my own will. I was hoping you’d be of more help, to be honest.”

“Watch your mouth girl,” Medusa’s snakes hissed louder, one of them poking out from the bonnet. It looked straight at Josephine, causing her to look away and cover her eyes, “I am more than capable of turning you to stone.”

“I didn’t come to argue nor offend you,” Josephine stammered with her head still tilted away from the Gorgon.

“The only way to get out of being Olympus’ Champion is to either die, or surrender,” Medusa crept towards Josephine, and with every step goosebumps filled her arms from her fingertips to her shoulder blades, “I must ask you, though, why you joined the Trials in the first place?”

Josephine’s brain thought back to why she originally joined—mostly because she knew she wouldn’t accomplish anything in her life; she wanted to show Ares why he shouldn’t be ashamed of his daughter. But, just maybe, she also wanted to do it for herself. To prove to herself that she can do something unimaginable. She never thought she’d have a real chance of winning—it was basically a death mission.

“I had something to prove,” Josephine responded, “And I think I’ve proved it. I want to be done.”

“Hm…” Medusa moved behind her, feeling on Josephine’s long blonde locks. The Gorgon lifted one bundle to her nose, and breathed in as if she’d never smelled a goddess before, “And how would the relic help you?”

Josephine lied, trying to steady her breathing, “It’s magical. The real question is—what doesn’t make it helpful to me? I could not only solve my own issues with it, but I could possibly let you free.”

You could let me free?” Medusa laughed, her ancient voice echoing through the cracks of the sloped mountains around them. It sent a shiver down Josephine’s bare spine, “If I couldn’t let myself free, neither can you, child.”

“I could,” Josephine suggested, “I am of divine blood. Maybe only gods or goddesses can truly feel the relic’s magic. It’s worth a try, don’t you think?”

Josephine knew she may not be able to grab the relic and bring it back to Pelagius, but she could at least find out where Medusa hid it. Then, she’d report back to Pelagius and settle her debt to him. No harm, no foul. She could tell that Medusa was starting to believe her, because the Gorgon’s face had turned from a look of concern to a look of intrigue. She contemplated Josephine’s suggestion, tapping a red manicured fingernail on her pale cheek.

“When is your next Trial, child?”

“Tomorrow,” Josephine admitted, her gaze still elsewhere. The snake that escaped from Medusa’s bonnet continued to stare at her.

“Very well,” The Gorgon proceeded to wave her hand and nod her head, “After your Trial tomorrow, I will bring you the relic by Mer.”

“Is this an agreement?” Josephine asked.

“It is. I’m sorry I couldn’t help you with any advice regarding your… slavery to Zeus after the Trials. But if you’re willing to help me get out of here… maybe we could be of use to each other after all.”

Acquiring the trident after her Trial put a slight stall on her plans with Pelagius, but if she could retrieve it in the end, then he’d still be more than grateful. If Medusa didn’t give Josephine anything to go off when it came to getting out of the Trials, then maybe Poseidon would. If she got back his relic, then maybe he’d grow to respect her and be in debt to her. All she had to do was make it through the next Trial.

She nodded and turned to leave before Medusa’s voice stopped her mid step, “Oh, and Josephine,” The Gorgon purred, “don’t forget about me.”


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Wed May 15, 2024 11:17 pm
goodolnoah wrote a review...



Hello again! ~ Writing Commentary

Writing is great as always! I liked the added descriptions of Medusa’s snakes moving around and occasionally hissing to express the emotions she may have been feeling. She really does feel like a shell of her former self, hurt by the gods she is ruled by.

Love and…Darkened Deals ~ Story Commentary

The relic was known to be one of the three relics of the Titans. Poseidon had given it to Hephaestus to transfer its power into a trident. Previously, it had simply been a lump of limestone that was engraved into Cronus’ crown. There were two other relics: Hades’ helm, and Zeus’ lightning bolt.


More lore! Yay! I find it interesting that the most powerful relics in Olympian history were relics passed down from the titans.

Medusa bringing up Josephine’s slavery to Zeus also adds to her personality. She was severely hurt by the gods, and seems to despise them.

Ruler of Snakes ~ Closer

…I hope that Josephine understands that letting Medusa go could mean danger for the gods. Or death for her. I feel nobody necessarily wins in this situation. I wonder what the outcome will be…




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Tue Feb 20, 2024 4:28 pm
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RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello (Again), My Friend!

It's me, Raven, and I'd like to review the next chapter in this great story using my Familiar method! Let's dive in, shall we? Heh heh heh...

What The Black Eyes See...

Ah, this whole quest with Medusa has been great to read! The last chapter had a somber tone to it, and I could see that carry over to the beginning of this one -seeing Medusa's reactions of terror and hesitation really makes the reader empathize with her. However, as Josephine brings up the relic, and Medusa gets suspicious, it quickly turns into a feeling of tension and anxiety. Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

No complaints! I could find no errors, nor could I make any recommendations for the content itself.

Why The Grin Widened...

There was so much I enjoyed, I was surprised to see how short this chapter is. First things first, I like how you describe Medusa's little grotto, how it's neat and decorated, and how it even seemed like she may have used the petrified people as statues to go with her art (I don't know if that was the intention, it's just how I interpreted it lol). That, and her reactions of fear I mentioned, helped show that Medusa's not really a monster.

I was surprised to read that Aphrodite knew that Josephine was coming. Interesting, though I'm not sure how to interpret that. It makes the reader wonder if it could mean there will be repercussions, if a goddess knows about this, or if Aphrodite could be willing to cover for her and help out.

Then of course, the deal about the relic; I was surprised that Medusa agreed to deliver it (provided she keeps her word), and now I'm wondering two things. One, will Josephine be able to use this relic to aid in her situation, if it's something so valuable that it was equated to Zeus's lightning bolt? Two, will Medusa even keep her word, or will this deal come back to haunt her? I mean, as well as I can see Medusa being genuine and wanting to work with Josephine, I also see a potential for her to pull a Serpent of Eden (no pun intended) and turn on her. Maybe not even from a place of spite, just suspicion that Josephine could be working on behalf of a god she (very understandably) holds a grudge against. I cannot predict which direction it's going, and it's going to drive me nuts until I can read more, haha.

Regardless, I could sense that Medusa understood Josephine's frustration with Zeus, and I love how that came through despite the uncertainty ~

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, great chapter! Lots of emotions, lots of anticipation, and I can't wait to see where this goes. Nicely done! :)

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Fri Feb 09, 2024 5:21 am
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Wolfi wrote a review...



Hello Leya! Wolfi here stopping by for a review - I hope you don't mind that I'm jumping into the story blind. I'll be taking notes as I read!

Artemis, blooming and embracing her natural womanhood, standing in a river surrounded by elk, black bears, and snakes.


I am already so in love with these descriptions <3

Medusa sat on a white, wooden picnic table, gesturing for Josephine to sit across from her, “Sit. I don’t bite. I haven’t had a conversation with a woman in a while. As you can tell…” the Gorgon lifted her head towards the stone statue behind Josephine, his face twisted in a look of pure terror, “I don’t fancy men.”


Bahaha! I love her! So much characterization packed into so few words - very well done.

The Gorgon’s eyes moved to Josephine’s shaking fingers, “Are you scared of me, child?”


Normally I wouldn't comment on something so petty, but I'm noticing this occurring several times in the chapter already amidst otherwise *chef's kiss* perfect grammar and it's a bit distracting. Keep an eye out for your dialogue tag punctuation. There should be a period after "fingers" rather than a comma.

No, Josephine wasn’t scared. She was excited. All the lore she’d heard about Medusa, and here she was engaging in conversation with her on an exiled island across from Serpent Waters.


It's cool to see that Josephine is more fascinated than frightened by Medusa even though she's Medusa's captive. Between this, Medusa's giggle, her youthful hand, and her comment about making conversation with another woman, I'm appreciating this unique characterization of a typically abhorred monster.

The demi-god was good to her. And who knows, maybe he could be of use in the future. She wasn’t going to start burning bridges now.


It's fun to see a character that doesn't have completely golden morals and is willing to, at least in her internal dialogue, admit that a friendship may "be of use" down the line. I get the sense that Josephine has needed to fend for herself in the past.

“No, he didn’t send me. I came on my own will. I was hoping you’d be of more help, to be honest.”


The tenacity! She isn't afraid to poke the bear.

“Watch your mouth girl,” Medusa’s snakes hissed louder, one of them poking out from the bonnet.


Another instance where the same grammatical mistake is distracting; in this case, it's a little confusing. This made it seem as if the snakes were the ones speaking.

“I didn’t come to argue nor offend you,” Josephine stammered with her head still tilted away from the Gorgon.


I didn't know Josephine was looking away at all - maybe mention it earlier in the chapter? There's a couple instances where Medusa's facial expression is described from Josephine's POV. It might be effective to throw in a "she threw a quick glance at the Gorgon's veiled expression" somewhere in there - otherwise I had no idea Josephine was afraid of getting turned to stone.

Josephine’s brain thought back to why she originally joined


It's a little silly/redundant to say "brain thought."

she wanted to show Ares why he shouldn’t be ashamed of his daughter.


Ahhh, hence the title of the book!

“Very well,” The Gorgon proceeded to wave her hand and nod her head, “After your Trial tomorrow, I will bring you the relic by Mer.”


Has Josephine done enough to earn her trust? The relic is obviously a significant item and it feels like Josephine won it way too easily. She also doesn't seem particularly surprised by the outcome. This plot point was given much weight when the relic's history is described earlier in the chapter, and that weight kinda falls flat by the end here with both characters acting like it's no huge deal.

I always love a good take on beloved mythology, bringing it to a new life in the current world. It's cool to see that the main character is a full-on goddess and not just a demigod (boring!) and that she's the daughter of the god of war, no less.

This chapter starts out really strong by setting the scene with vivid descriptions. I noticed that even throughout the dialogue that immersion is effectively maintained, like with details of the snakes and the characters' physical movements and expressions. We get to hear a lot of Josephine's thoughts, too, adding an extra layer of complexity to a delicate conversation between goddess and monster.

Very well done, Leya! I hope to review more chapters in the near future!




Ley says...


Thank you so much for the review! :D




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