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The Daughter of War - Chapter 35: Together

by Ley


Warning: This work has been rated 16+.

Chapter 35: Together

Josephine was silent during the rest of their trek towards Tartarus. She refused to cry, refused to show weakness in front of Jase. Every once and a while, he’d glance in her direction and then look away once she caught his eye. It must’ve been even harder for him, as in watching Josephine struggle with a loss was draining. It’s not like they knew Nyx for a long time, but there was something ethereal about the Goddess of Night. Josephine imagined standing beneath star-lit skies on the darkest of nights, where the heavens stretched endlessly above her, adorned with countless shimmering constellations. That was what it felt like to be around Nyx, a cosmic and beautiful artwork painted by night itself.

It was more than mesmerizing. And now, who would take care of the night? Would Hades or Hecate take over, and destroy everything Nyx so carefully built? Jase seemed to think the same way, because he didn’t dare speak—even when Josephine stumbled over some molten stones. He simply reached out his arm in response and nodded his head downwards, gesturing for her to hold onto him.

Josephine followed, key in Jase’s hand, as they bent down to push their bodies through two small cracks in a boulder. Jase allowed the key to guide them, the bottom of it twisted in tendrils and coiled around the center sigil whenever they moved in a certain direction. It worked as a map—with markings of the journey to one’s untimely death. They stopped on the other side before Josephine smelled something faintly familiar: red roses in full bloom, a hint of Jasmine and salt like the sea.

“Hello, Daughter.”

Josephine looked above them to see Aphrodite in all her glory, the Goddesses’ azure eyes sparkling with a mischievous twinkle. Her body seemed to be glowing with radiance, a golden glow bouncing off her skin and onto the narrow mildewy walls. Her form was nothing but perfection incarnate, every curve and contour a testament to the ideals of beauty and passion. Aphrodite was dressed in a long, flowing cream gown, one of her favorite colors, embroidered with delicate patterns of silver and gold. A crown of glistening pearls sat atop her headful of blonde curls.

Jase seemed shocked and shadows emerged from the depths of the caves, a defense mechanism. He faltered when he laid eyes on Josephine’s mother, the shadows evaporating into thin air when he realized exactly who laid beyond his tired eyes. He glanced at Josephine, frozen. Josephine gulped and looked behind them to make sure Aphrodite wasn’t drawing any attention to anymore surprises, “What are you doing here?”

“I should be asking you the same question,” Aphrodite’s eyes glinted with anger for a split second, before turning back soft and elegant, “dear.”

“Persephone is in Tartarus.”

“Is that so?”

“How did you even find me?”

Aphrodite’s laugh echoed seamlessly through the air, light and seductive sounding, “Ah, my dear Josephine. When a mother senses her daughter's distress, even the darkest corners of the underworld cannot hide you from my sight."

Josephine felt a surge of conflicting emotions as she gazed upon her mother. There was a part of her that longed for the warmth of Aphrodite’s embrace, aching for the comfort that only a mother's love could provide. But she held her ground and closed her eyes, sighing frustratedly, “Let me rephrase. Why have you come?”

“Tartarus is a treacherous place, filled with dangers beyond imagining. But with my guidance, we may find a way to navigate its depths and rescue Persephone from her imprisonment,” Aphrodite hummed, glancing at Jase, “is this the man you’ve spoken to Harmonia about?”

“Mother, not now. Please,” Josephine paused for a moment, “Wait. Imprisonment? Why would Persephone be imprisoned?”

Her mother sighed and lowered herself to stand at their height, “You do not know.”

“I don’t.”

“Persephone has betrayed her husband.”

“Does Hades have something to do with this whole thing?”

“I cannot say for sure, but Hades reported to your Uncle that she has committed treason,” Aphrodite placed a gentle hand on her daughter’s arm, “but I will not allow my daughter into Tartarus, if I have any say in it. I’ve told you about the dangers past Olympus’ walls, haven’t I?”

A tight knot of apprehension formed in Josephine’s core. Imprisonment… treason…no. Persephone would never falter to the gods, especially not Hermes, Apollo, and Ares. At least, the Persephone she knew wouldn’t.

"We must tread carefully," Aphrodite continued, her gaze steady, "but there may be a way to rescue Persephone without risking ourselves to the dangers of Tartarus directly."

Jase raised an eyebrow and crossed his arms, unable to take his eyes off the goddess. Josephine’s expression changed from desperate to hopeful, “What is this plan?”

"We will need allies," Aphrodite explained, her eyes flickered with determination, "Those who are familiar with the depths of the underworld and possess the strength to navigate its perils. The Shades.”

“The Shades?” Jase questioned.

“Yes, young man. The souls of the deceased who wander the Underworld's shadows.”

Remembering his gift, Jase’s eyes glanced to the floor, “Con I control these… shadows?”

“Possibly, son of Poseidon,” Aphrodite winked.

Josephine gagged and kicked a stone at Jase, who simply threw his arms up in defense, “What did I do?!”

“Shh!” Josephine glared at her partner, “let her explain, please. We can’t go into this place with no plan.”

"The Shades could prove to be invaluable allies. With their guidance, we may be able to find a way to reach Persephone without risking our own safety,” Aphrodite twirled a piece of hair between her fingers, seemingly bored already, “By offering them a chance to assist in a noble cause, we could potentially earn The Shades' trust and cooperation. But to do so, we need to find a way to communicate with the souls.”

“My mother,” Jase whispered, “my mother can.”

“Oh, yes, Hecate, my dear friend,” Aphrodite made a disgusted looking face before waving her hand in dismissal, “she could do. But do you not possess some of her abilities, as well?”

“No,” Jase’s voice shook and he scratched the back of his head, clearly uncomfortable, “I was created by cauldron. I was an artificially made… guinea pig for my father.”

Aphrodite's eyes softened with sympathy as she regarded Jase, understanding the weight of his words. "I see," she said gently, her voice tinged with compassion, "But even so, there may be benign abilities within you waiting to be unlocked. You may discover the exact extent of your powers."

Josephine placed a reassuring hand on Jase's shoulder, offering him a supportive smile, "We'll figure it out together.”

Aphrodite nodded in agreement, her gaze shifting between the two of them, "Indeed," she said, her tone resolute. "But time is of the essence. We must act swiftly if we are to have any hope of rescuing Persephone.”

“Why are you doing this, Mother? Helping me?” Josephine’s voice grew weary as she glanced behind them again, “is there a catch? Do I owe you something in repayment?”

Aphrodite's gaze softened once again as she reached out to gently cup Josephine's cheek. "My dear daughter," she said, her voice filled with warmth and sincerity, "you owe me nothing. My love for you is unconditional, as it is for all my children."

"But why?" Josephine whispered, her voice barely audible above the gentle hum of the cavern, “you could get in trouble for this.”

Aphrodite smiled tenderly, brushing a stray lock of hair from Josephine's face. "Because you are my daughter," she said simply, her voice filled with unwavering conviction. "And no matter what trials may come your way, I will always be there to guide and support you, regardless of what comes with it. I would’ve let Hera kill you if I didn’t support you.”

Josephine paused for a moment, taking in her mother’s features, before pulling away and nodding quickly, “I’m grateful, mother. For this, I mean.”

“Of course,” Aphrodite leaned back and sighed, glancing at the key to Tartarus in Jase’s sweating hand, “Is that the key?”

“Yes,” Jase responded and held it up as if it was a trophy.

“It will lead us to Tartarus, which should be just beyond these walls,” Josephine looked beyond them.

Aphrodite held out her left arm and the rock turned to liquid, melting into lava before their feet. A swirling vortex of crimson beckoned them, inviting them into the abyss that was Tartarus. Jase gulped, “you first?” he looked to Josephine.

Josephine hesitated but slowly touched the orb, evaporating into dust before reaching the other side. She’d never seen something so beautiful yet disturbing. It looked like a war ground, all she could hear was terrified screams from the souls, and no Persephone was in sight. She started to panic slightly. The land was vast and empty, except for the smoke and the fire and the bloody pillars. Wind blew gently, her hair falling behind her neck. Aphrodite followed next, almost grimacing at the sight in front of them.

Jase came shortly after, stumbling and running into a pillar. He sneezed at the dust and brought a hand to cover his eyes from the unexpected light.

“Wow. I never expected it to look so…” Jase’s voice traveled off distantly.

“Eerie?” Josephine finished for him, and took a step forward, “What now, mother?”

Aphrodite surveyed their surroundings with a furrowed brow, her gaze flickering with a mixture of concern and determination, “We begin our search. We must find some friendly souls.”

Josephine nodded, her heart pounding with a mixture of fear and anticipation. She glanced at Jase, who stood beside her now, "We stick together," she said firmly, her voice steady despite the uncertainty that gnawed at her insides, "No matter what happens, we stay together."

“No matter what?” Jase whispered, making eye contact with his partner. He took in Josephine’s features: the high cheekbones, full lips, and hair as brilliant and gold as the fleece itself.

"No matter what," she affirmed, her voice soft but effective, "We're in this together, Jase. We've come too far to turn back now."

A flicker of uncertainty passed through Jase's eyes, but he nodded in silent agreement, a faint smile tugging at the corners of his lips. "Together," he echoed, his voice barely above a whisper.

Aphrodite observed the exchange with a small smile, her own expression softening with maternal pride, "Indeed," she said, "Together, we will face whatever challenges may come our way."

“Together,” Josephine repeated, lips curling into a grin.

“Together,” Jase smiled a tad wider and took Josephine’s hand. Their bond had transcended way above mere partnership at this point; it was a connection. He loved the woman that stood before him. He decided right there and then, he’d protect her with his life—even if that meant killing himself in the process. He would do anything for her. Their connection was a lifeline, a guiding light in the darkness that surrounded them. Josephine was not just a companion—she was the person he cared for more deeply than he had ever cared for anyone else.

For her, he would brave the darkest depths of the Underworld if that meant he could see her smile like this for the rest of eternity. 


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Thu May 30, 2024 5:49 pm
goodolnoah wrote a review...



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Hello again! ~ Writing Commentary

Josephine imagined standing beneath star-lit skies on the darkest of nights, where the heavens stretched endlessly above her, adorned with countless shimmering constellations. That was what it felt like to be around Nyx, a cosmic and beautiful artwork painted by night itself.


I like how you explain a bit more about why Josephine was sad about Nyx’s death. If you think of her as the literal personification of night, it makes a bit more sense. Even when Josephine wasn’t around her, she was there, watching over her.

Josephine gagged and kicked a stone at Jase, who simply threw his arms up in defense, “What did I do?!”


It’s interesting how Josephine and Jase each share a love and respect for their mothers, to the point that they will protect them to no end.

She started to panic slightly. The land was vast and empty, except for the smoke and the fire and the bloody pillars. Wind blew gently, her hair falling behind her neck. Aphrodite followed next, almost grimacing at the sight in front of them.


Tartarus seems to go against the land they were previously in, instead of a wondrous, yet dark sight, it is empty, except for screaming souls and swirling fire.

he’d protect her with his life—even if that meant killing himself in the process. He would do anything for her. Their connection was a lifeline, a guiding light in the darkness that surrounded them. Josephine was not just a companion—she was the person he cared for more deeply than he had ever cared for anyone else.


Y’know, with Jase I’ve felt echoes of the idea of someone learning to live despite being a “puppet” or an artificial creation. Up until now, he’s only used women and others for his own gain. It really has been awesome to see his character steadily develop with Josephine over these chapters. When it comes to character arcs, I have to say, his might by my favorite.

Love and…Screaming souls ~ Story Commentary

And well…Here I am, all caught up! I have truly enjoyed your story thus far, and I can only wonder what may be next. Since I’m caught up, I wanted to add a segment where I go over some important characters and story points thus far.

Story - I wanted to add that this really feels like a true Olympian tale that has been modernized! For everyone making the Percy Jackson comparison, I see it, but Jackson more or less changes some things about mythos to fit what he wants the story to be like, that’s why I don’t feel like his stories are really a “modern” Olympian myth. Josephine’s story, thus far, feels like a real addition to mythic fiction!

Josephine - Josephine is a stellar protagonist to lead this story! I know I have my complaints here and there, but her growth from the unsure but scrappy lead to a confident goddess AKA, the “forbidden child”, has been wonderful! Her character arc is like how a true arc should be. A great amount of regression and growth that bottles into this complicated character of true Olympian myth! I think she and my old protagonist who was an olympian god would get along well! Josephine is truly the rising phoenix this world needs!

Persephone - Persephone is basically the perfect foil and side character to go along with this story. She’s essentially the one who really jumpstarts this story and helps Josephine grow into her own. Persephone is a pure badass throughout every piece of this tale, and I feel like she is the ideal person that Josephine should strive to grow into. She has her own problems, but will always go out of her way to help her friends. She’s also very in character according to what we know about her from Greek tales. It really feels like she’s the “real” Persephone!

Jase - Jase started off as a bit of a devil on my shoulder for this story. I was skeptical about his inclusion at first because I thought it took away from Persephone and Josephine, but he really was what we needed to shake up the story after the first fight against Hermes. He’s pretty much won me over with his charm by this point, if you can’t tell.

Hermes & Other Villains - I think Hermes and the other villains are just the right amount of douchebag. They are a classical type of mustache-twirling villains from Olympian tales i’ve heard. I do have some reservations, since I feel like they deserve more depth, like, more of a motivation than “raaaa I need power!” I have confidence in you, though!

Other characters - Your other characters, big to small, Demeter to Anteros, all have their own little quirks that help flesh out this world greatly! You truly deserve to pat yourself on the back, because I don’t think I can say there is one character who is too similar to another.

For you… ~ Closer

I understand it probably seems like I have nothing but good things to say, which is mostly true! If you wanted more of a harsher critique, you could ask, but I truly do really think all of these things I’ve added in. Your story is one of my favorites on here, and I cannot wait to read on! Keep on writing, you are great at it!




Ley says...


Ahhh! Thank you so much!

I really enjoyed your comments/reviews. This story is far from over, I plan to write atleast ten more chapters, but life got in the way and I hope that the future chapters will catch your intrigue just as much as these current chapters have so far. I'm also glad you love Jase's character arc, as he was one of the characters I so deeply planned out from the start. My idea for him was not to come off as artificial, but to come off as more of of a powerhouse that's longing for more than just being a creation of the gods-- and I'm glad I captured that!

If you want to learn more about Jase, I actually have another novel that's a WIP (it takes place before DoW and revolves around Jase, Persephone, and Bohdi. It's called The Son of the Night, and the first few chapters including the prologue (where Hecate and Poseidon actually create Jase, can be found [url=https://www.youngwriterssociety.com/work/Ley/The-Son-of-the-Night--Prologue-157018[/url] here!

Thank you so much for reading so far <3



Ley says...


Oops, I messed up the code. Here's the fixed one. :D



goodolnoah says...


Aww thank you for the kind words, I certainly understand life getting in the way, I truly hope everything surrounding Harley/college/etc is alright <3

I did also plan on checking out Son of the Night soon enough, I am interested to see Jase's exact origins, and I am surprised to hear that he was this integral a part of the story!

Aside from that, I am excited to see where Josephines story goes, as well!



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Tue May 14, 2024 3:26 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, so Josephine and Jase finally reach Tartarus! And I have to say, I was not expecting them to get support from this particular goddess. I still have some questions about if and how Aphrodite knows more about what's happening (I doubt it but I am the ever-sceptic lol)...Regardless, it was a very pleasant surprise and I loved her words to Josephine. Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

Not much to put here at all! Everything was great about this chapter; you nailed your descriptions again, and every character interaction was just so on-point, capturing all the intended and complex emotions. And as far as the writing itself, there was only one extremely minor thing I noticed:

Remembering his gift, Jase’s eyes glanced to the floor, “Con I control these… shadows?”


I think your "can" got swapped for "con" here. That is all! Great writing job!

Why The Grin Widened...

So first, right off the bat, I love this unofficial eulogy for Nyx:

Josephine imagined standing beneath star-lit skies on the darkest of nights, where the heavens stretched endlessly above her, adorned with countless shimmering constellations. That was what it felt like to be around Nyx, a cosmic and beautiful artwork painted by night itself.

It was more than mesmerizing. And now, who would take care of the night? Would Hades or Hecate take over, and destroy everything Nyx so carefully built?


Beautiful words, so vivid and meaningful, with a great, mysterious question to leave off on. Love it!

As mentioned, I was not expecting Aphrodite to show up and I'm not disappointed at all! Her support for Josephine really is admirable, and I love her subtle "sizing up" of Jase, like she's looking out for her daughter and whoever may be pursuing her. As one of the Big 12, I can't help wondering if, how, and why she knows more -not just about Persephone or Apollo, but just in general. I am also fascinated by this reaction:

“Oh, yes, Hecate, my dear friend,” Aphrodite made a disgusted looking face before waving her hand in dismissal, “she could do. But do you not possess some of her abilities, as well?”


The disgust at the mention of Hecate! What?! Oh, I feel like there's some tea to be spilled there (sorry if that was cringe but seriously, haha). Most interesting, and I wonder if that will knock Jase down a few pegs in her eyes.

But, putting all that aside, I love how she refused to show anger toward Josephine for her quest; how it came off as worry instead, and the understanding she was willing to give her when she explained this was all for Persephone. And of course, the support she gives...

"And no matter what trials may come your way, I will always be there to guide and support you, regardless of what comes with it. I would’ve let Hera kill you if I didn’t support you.”


Very sweet, very touching, very well-written. Great words, and down to the meaningful gestures and tones, and internal monologues, you can really see how Aphrodite cares about Josephine, and how Josephine may be wary, but appreciates her mother regardless.

And finally, Jase. I feel like he's been a star player in this whole underworld arc, and after actually getting into Tartarus...

For her, he would brave the darkest depths of the Underworld if that meant he could see her smile like this for the rest of eternity.


Too smooth! You're doing great at capturing the romantic tone and their developing relationship -and between being in such an unforgiving environment, and just walking away from a grizzly and tragic event, this felt like a great place to insert some of his thoughts toward Josephine, focusing on how he wants to aid and protect her. I can't wait to see how this develops ~

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, that was a great update, nicely done! :D

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Think of all the beauty still left around you, and smile.
— Anne Frank