z
  • Home

Young Writers Society


16+ Violence

The Daughter of War - Chapter 33: Nyx

by Ley


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence.

Chapter 33: Nyx 

Persephone was tired.

It’d been hours, and they hadn’t come looking for her yet. At this point, she wasn’t sure if they’d ever come. The one thing she didn’t expect was for Hades to be in on the whole thing. She should’ve known, should’ve allowed Josephine and Jase to investigate her lover further. But no, she had to be stubborn and naive. 

Gods did these types of things. They drew you in to get you involved in things that you have no business being involved in. In this case, Persephone was a shark caught amongst fish. She pulled her legs to her chest and cuddled up against a boulder. She’d spent the last three hours finding a new location, as the more she stayed in one place the hotter it got.

The ground of Tartarus was a landscape of obsidian-like rock, sharp and unforgiving to the touch. Cracks and crevices spiderwebbed across the surface, emitting wisps of dark, sulfurous vapors. The air itself felt heavy, as if it was weighed down by the collective anguish of the souls trapped within. The rivers of molten lava snaked through the landscape, casting an eerie glow that illuminated the grotesque statues of the gods, frozen in expressions of agony.

Being trapped in the gods-forsaken place, she had to constantly watch out for the souls. They were drawn to her presence like moths to a flickering flame. They sensed something different about her, a spark of resilience or perhaps a glimmer of hope that set her apart from the endless sea of despair. The voices echoed in haunting whispers, pleading for release, or seeking solace in her fleeting warmth. 

She was alive. Most likely the only person who was alive in Tartarus. She had to be careful before she became exactly like them.

Yet, she was already starting to feel it. She could feel the way her tongue numbed, or how her skin constantly got goosebumps. Maybe it was the souls, but something else was lingering down there. I higher power, something more deadly and sinister than she’d ever encountered before. 

So, she stayed hidden, away from the chaos of the flames and dancing souls. Massive, obsidian pillars showcased themselves in front of her, their surfaces etched with scenes of torment and suffering. Their tips were complimented with eerie, flickering flames that danced in an unholy rhythm.

Tartarus was the place of nightmares.

Persephone sighed and closed her eyes for the first time in hours. The eyebags under her waterline were starting to get irritated. She needed sleep. Bad. But how could she possibly sleep when all she felt was fear? She clenched a rock and tossed it in her hand, throwing her head back so that it painfully slammed against the boulder behind her. Hope started to seem impossible.

Please find me.

~

Josephine and Jase wandered far into the depths of the Underworld, searching for the entrance to Tartarus. The most important thing was that they didn't get caught. Jase caught a glimpse of something far away, but close enough to where they could still pinpoint a precise location.

"Look. There," Jase rose his hand and pointed at a glowing iridescent light that peeked through two large walls of stone.

Josephine raised an eyebrow, "You want to just walk towards any sign of life? I wouldn't say that'd lead us to Persephone."

"I think we're at a dead end when it comes to finding Tartarus. Surely, we'd need Hades to take us there. Don't you think?"

"I don't know. Aren't you the one that lived here your whole life?"

Jase sighed and nudged her in the gut, "It's not like I'd ever see Tartarus, Josie."

"Mm-hm," Josephine smiled lightly and sighed with him, "let's find Hades then. Because my feet are getting tired, and I'm getting worried that 'Sephone isn't even alive. You said something about a bond that we shared. Maybe I could use that to find her... now?"

"You would've felt the pull already," Jase continued to walk, and Josephine followed beside him at a steady pace, "we're not close enough yet."

Josephine groaned.

I knew the Underworld was big, but how could all of this... and Tartarus, even fit?

The air got cold. Josephine paused, "Jase, stop walking."

"What?" Jase spun around, and his face paled at what he saw. Josephine froze. Whatever was behind her, even Jase seemed spooked.

"Hello, children." a symphony of whispers echoed throughout the cavern. It was velvety and rich, yet was tranquil like a a gentle lullaby. It sounded like a female.

Jase cleared his throat. Josephine turned around to find a tall regal figure, tall and slender, with skin as dark as night itself. The woman was beautiful, her eyes were pools of infinite darkness, she was dressed in a celestial robe that fit her form in flowing layers. Sapphires were embezzled into her skin, complimenting her cosmic hair and full red lips.

"You don't know who I am," the whispers grew louder.

"Nyx," Jase's voice cracked, and he took a step backwards.

"Don't worry, child. I am not here to harm you," the primordial goddess bent down to face them, "I am here to help. Where you are going... it is not safe. They will kill you."

"Who?" Josephine asked, almost starstruck. She'd read about Nyx before, she was the goddess of the night. Nobody knows why she drifted away into the Underworld, as she was respected by the gods. Josephine never thought she'd have the pleasure of actually speaking with the legend herself. And after all these years of silence, why would she show herself now?

"All of them," Nyx continued, "The ones who want to take everything from you."

Josephine studied her, "Can you help us find our friend?"

Nyx laughed gently, her voice that of night and rain, "Even I cannot enter Tartarus, my dear. But I can bring you to the one that can."

"Hades?"

"Mmm," Nyx smiled, "Hades is not the only one who has jurisdiction in the Underworld."

Josephine thought long and hard. Who else? Only Hades had the keys. Unless...

"Cerberus?" Josephine asked.

"Precisely."

"And why should we trust you?" Jase interrupted. It wasn't a horrible question. He had every right to ask it. For all they knew, Nyx could for whatever reason be working with Hades, Apollo, Hermes and Ares. Her words could've been a trap.

"My child," Nyx's voice resonated like the rustle of night breezes through ancient forests, "Trust is earned, not freely given. I understand your caution, for the realms you tread are congested with peril and deceit. But know this, I am not bound by the whims of gods or mortals. My loyalty lies with the balance of the cosmos and the preservation of those who seek truth and justice. As for my absence from Olympus, there are many mysteries in the vast universe. Some are meant to be revealed in due time."

Jase and Josephine glanced at each other with questionable stares. They didn't have anyone here. Not without Persephone.

Nyx straightened, her celestial robe shimmering with radiance, "I offer you a choice, a path to navigate the currents of the Underworld. Whether you accept my guidance or forge your own destiny is up to you."

"Help us," Josephine blurted. She didn't care what Jase's opinion was. If Nyx comes to you offering help, you take it. No questions asked. Even though they had grounds for being curious, Nyx seemed genuine.

Jase didn't doubt it, either, because he stepped closer to the goddess, "Take us to Cerberus."

"Follow me," Nyx hummed, and her body floated away like remnants of stars. Glitter twinkled behind her in lines of light, trailing onto the floor and bouncing off the obsidian in sparks.

Josephine kept her thoughts to herself as they followed the goddess. She couldn't believe that this was even happening. For Nyx to come out and offer them help was a big deal. Something sinister must've be happening behind closed doors, something that Nyx couldn't dare speak about. Josephine shivered at the thought, and glanced around her.

Minerals peeked from the crevices in the concrete. They crossed a stone bridge that overlapped the Styx. Josephine allowed her head to tilt down as she watched souls grab and pull at the oxygen above them, chanting stories of past lives and admittance. How could someone voluntarily live in a place like this? Constantly being reminded that we all die someday, that nothing is permanent and everything is temporary. She wanted to ask Nyx, but decided to keep that to herself. She wasn't friends with the goddess, the gesture was only merely a favor. One that she wondered if she'd ever have to repay later in life.

They made it to the entrance of what looked like an enlarged dog kennel. Jase couldn't help but laugh, "This is where Cerberus lives?"

"Keep your voice down," Nyx hissed, "We don't want to wake him up, do you?"

Jase's smile faded and he gulped, "N-No?"

Josephine just watched with amusement. She'd never seen Jase this flustered. She wasn't sure if he was nervous being around a primordial goddess, or if Cerberus was truly scarier than Josephine had originally thought.

Nyx waved her hand and a click sound erupted from the lock on the kennel.

Cerberus wasn't hard to miss. When the gate opened and the three of them entered, the huge animal laid sprawled out on the concrete floor, snoring loudly. The three heads were overlapped onto each other, creating an illusion that it was a pile of puppies. Cerberus was rather cute, it had a black body with brown spots over certain areas. Josephine would've pet it, if she didn't know that the animal was actually a monster.

"Don't move a muscle," Jase breathed.

Cerberus shifted at Jase's voice and one of it's 6 ears twitched, but it didn't wake. She spotted a row of keys locked to Cerberus's collar. Josephine automatically knew that [i]one[/i] of those keys would lead them to Tartarus. They needed to get them before Cerberus woke up.

Nyx floated over the monster, "Get the keys."

Cerberus shifted again, this time rolling on it's back so that it's stomach was vulnerable. One of the heads had it's tongue hanging out and drooling all over the floor. Jase looked at Josephine, whispering, "You get the keys, I distract."

"What?" Josephine whispered back frantically, furrowing her brows, "Why can't I distract, you get the keys?"

"Because I'm bigger, and you're faster."

"Ugh," Josephine reached behind her head to put her hair into a ponytail, "Fine."

Jase smiled and rubbed her shoulder with his hand, "You got this, Firebird."

With a roll of her eyes, she silently crossed the room. She needed to wait until just the right moment, just the right time to go for it. Nyx watched pleasantly, still floating over them all.

Jase whistled loudly, and Cerberus woke, its six ears perking violently. Its eyes opened with anger, and his nostrils flared in challenge. It stretched and rose to it's feet, growling so loud that it echoed throughout the kennel in rounds of five.

"Here, Doggie!" Jase waved his hands, "Fresh meal, right here!"


Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
267 Reviews

Points: 48739
Reviews: 267

Donate
Sat Apr 06, 2024 4:13 pm
View Likes
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...

I was so excited for this chapter when it came out! Not only because of where the last one left off but because Nyx is such an awesome goddess! And sure enough, this chapter didn't disappoint in the slightest; from Persephone in Tartarus, to Josephine and Jase challenging Cerberus to get the key, everything was done so well! Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

Not much to put here! Descriptions were incredible, dialogue was lively and engaging, and there was a plethora of detail to bring out the scenes. That being said, I do have some recommendations to make in good spirit, free to take or leave:

I higher power, something more deadly and sinister than she’d ever encountered before.


I think your "A" got swapped for an "I" at the start there. Then once more here:

Cerberus shifted at Jase's voice and one of it's 6 ears twitched, but it didn't wake. She spotted a row of keys locked to Cerberus's collar. Josephine automatically knew that [i*]one[/i] of those keys would lead them to Tartarus.


I don't think "it's" needs the apostrophe, and though not technically wrong, I feel like spelling out "six" would look a bit nicer. But that's subjective. It also looks like the italics code didn't take lol.

Of course, this is just my opinion, and I am not a professional, so please always take my advice with a grain of salt ~

Why The Grin Widened...

Right off the bat, it was great to get a moment from Persephone's perspective, to learn where she is, what she's thinking, and what her condition is. The descriptions for Tartarus were incredible; the oppressive atmosphere, obsidian pillars, and "spiderweb cracks" for the fumes -ah! It sounds awesome!!

The way you narrated Persephone's internal struggle and attempts to rationalize what's happened was spot-on, and it was so easy to empathize and feel sorry for her:

It’d been hours, and they hadn’t come looking for her yet. At this point, she wasn’t sure if they’d ever come. The one thing she didn’t expect was for Hades to be in on the whole thing. She should’ve known, should’ve allowed Josephine and Jase to investigate her lover further. But no, she had to be stubborn and naive.


Not only hurt about the truth of Hades (if it is the truth), but in part blaming herself.

Swapping to Jase and Josephine's perspective, the introduction of Nyx was BRILLIANT! Her description was incredible, big props for character design! Not only that, but her characterization; the way you describe her role in this world is not only reminiscent of the original myth, being a primordial goddess separate from the Olympians, but a neutral force (maybe chaotic neutral depending on how this mission goes lol) in this ongoing dispute:

But know this, I am not bound by the whims of gods or mortals. My loyalty lies with the balance of the cosmos and the preservation of those who seek truth and justice.


Awesome!!

And finally, the moment of action with Cerberus. You really built up the moment as you introduced Cerberus with a deceptively innocent appearance, then showed Nyx's wariness and described its subtle stirring. That cliffhanger:

[quote]"Here, Doggie!" Jase waved his hands, "Fresh meal, right here!"[/spoiler]

Oh, snap! So much anticipation!

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, this chapter was great! Nicely done! :)

Image




Ley says...


Oops! Didn%u2019t even catch the italic mistake, thanks for catching that! Also I%u2019ll be sure to keep those recs in mind while editing <33



Ley says...


Ugh, I dont know why mobile does that. I apologize for the weird symbols xD



RavenAkuma says...


Ah, so that's a mobile thing! I've seen that glitch a lot and didn't get it, I'm always on my laptop XD And no problem!



User avatar
59 Reviews

Points: 4805
Reviews: 59

Donate
Sat Apr 06, 2024 4:04 am
View Likes
Moonlily wrote a review...



Hello Hello, I am here with a little review. Forgive me as I haven't read the early chapters so I am going in a tad blind here. The Pers being the only thing alive here does pose a question I know Hades just rules over well Hades but does he count as " Dead " here? besides that, I like how you describe the place it does paint a pretty clear picture without going to detail-crazy. I am getting a Percy Jackson esque vibe however I have to admit to not reading too much of it.

Overall, I don't really have too many things to point out. Perhaps instead of having the prose tell you that all gods are like this Pers could be whisper-ranting to keep herself from falling asleep, that could be a better way to slip in the numb tongue. on top of this I wish you did show it was painful to hit her head, such as her nerves screaming for a second, it's small but makes it more immersive. I do wish we got to hear some of what the shades were screaming it could be a good chance for cameos.
There Is also a line with two A's back-to-back but I can't find it now.
I do however like how you made a nod to cerberus meaning spotted or spot. Although not totally related I find it funny that my Mc for my novel I just posted has the middle name, Josephine. Ironically it's loosely inspired by different religious figures so that's fun.

Keep it up stay creative and drink water!





I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
— Leonardo da Vinci