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16+ Language Violence

The Daughter of War - Chapter 7: Poppies, Hyacinth, and Lilies

by Ley


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

Chapter 7: Poppies, Hyacinth, and Lilies

Josephine and Persephone made it to the front of the mountains by midafternoon. At the bottom it was rocky, but as they looked up, the snow began to form on the higher parts of each peak. These were the mountains that Josephine longed to experience in the city, but now she was starting to regret it. The wind howled past the crevices and slabs of limestone.

“Over here,” Persephone moved to face an opening in the stone; it was small enough for a child to get through but not big enough for someone their size, “We’re going to go in this way, and come out on the other side of the mountain, right in front of the Valencia Desert.”

Josephine rubbed her eyes in attempt to see clearer. There was no way she was going to fit through that hole, in one piece anyways. It looked like it was made for a specific creature. One not as big as them, but strong enough to push the stones to the side to enter the mountain.

“Don’t worry, I’m going first,” Persephone said. She held herself diagonally on the stones; the muscles in her arms flexed as she pushed herself through the opening legs first. She slipped in, just barely.

With Josephine’s dress, there was absolutely no way she was going to fit in there without taking it off. She started stripping, starting with the corset that was tightly bound around her waist, and huffed a loud sigh as she allowed her stomach to expand. She was finally able to breathe for the first time in hours. She removed the rest of the undergarments, which left her with nothing on except for a puffy blouse and tight, white pants. She felt more than naked.

“What are you waiting for, princess?” Persephone yelled through the crevices, but she was nowhere to be seen. It was so dark inside the opening, and her friend’s voice echoed as if the tunnel was wide and empty.

Josephine entered the same way as Persephone did but struggled to get her hips through. She started to hyperventilate as she tried to wiggle her way in. When she made it, she fell onto the other side with a thump.

Persephone lit a match. The whole tunnel lit up. Josephine scrambled to her feet and glanced around. The trickle of water from the top of the tunnels sounded in the distance. The image of blood red flowers bloomed from the walls, surrounded by hyacinths and mint. The smell hit Josephine in the face; the inside of the cave looked like a garden.

Persephone was standing by the big bloom of red flowers, caressing them with her hand. As she did, more sprouted around it, slowly, with the movement of her wrist, “These are called Anemones, or Poppies. My mother had these all around her garden when I lived with her. They were created by Aphrodite in her grief upon finding the body of her human lover, Adonis. Adonis had been killed by a ravaging boar, and while Aphrodite wept over his body, his blood on the grass transformed into these flowers; hence the blood-red color.”

Josephine walked towards her, watching with awe. She longed to be able to wield power like that. She wanted to feel the electricity on her fingers and the energy that left her body and traveled into the universe.

“That’s…amazing,” She said, “How did you do that?”

Persephone glanced away from the flower to look at her new friend, “What? Make them bloom?”

Josephine nodded. Persephone flashed a quick smile, “I just imagined it. I imagined this tunnel, and the Anemones growing everywhere. Once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty much second nature. You’ll learn how to wield your own power, soon enough, princess. Let’s get going.”

Josephine followed Persephone through the tunnels. It smelled of mold and sulfur from the volcano above. But, as they walked, the lush landscapes of moss and flowers grew larger in width. Eventually they came to the middle of the mountain, where a pool of lava sat. The tunnels were no longer narrow, and Josephine allowed her eyes to take in the large cavern. Steam and smoke rose from the element; black cracks covering each and every layer of the lava. Flowers still bloomed on the walls, and instead of walking on mud, they were now standing on grass.

How could any flora thrive in these tunnels when this is what’s at the center? This must be the heart of Forbidden Slopes.

“Is this the heart of Forbidden Slopes?” Josephine asked.

Persephone began to walk around the pool of lava and concentrated on the lilies growing on the walls, “Yes and no. This is the heart of Olympus. We’re halfway through; although, I have a feeling the other side of this mountain won’t be so beautiful.”

“Why?”

“These lilies are dying. I don’t know why. The mountain is the powerhouse for Olympus, and without it, Olympus may fall. If this volcano erupts, it could destroy the island completely. There should be plenty of light for this flora to grow, yet…they’re dying.”

How could Olympus fall when it’s reigned by Zeus? Josephine thought as long as Zeus had the master lightning bolt, Olympus was safe. How could a mountain have anything to do with the fall of the Gods? If it erupted, couldn’t they just have relocated?

“What do you mean?” She asked, “I don’t understand.”

“Energy is stored here. From each god. Why do you think there are Anemones growing in a cave? I’m sure this is Aphrodite’s work. The light gleaming in through the peak is Apollo… these olives,” Persephone stroked a olive that was growing onto a branch, through the walls, “are Athena. Don’t you see it now? No wonder they need a Champion. This place is going to erupt, and all the magic along with it.”

“How do you know all of this?” Josephine asked. She studied Persephone with puzzled eyes.

“I can feel it. The flowers dying—I mean. But I also learned about this volcano from my husband.”

“Hades?”

“Yes, Hades. This is a sacred place, very similar to the Grande Hall. I dreamt of this place. This my first time being here, just like you.”

“How did you know where the entrance was then?” Josephine questioned.

Persephone looked at her with worried eyes, “Are you questioning my sanity, Josephine? Or, are you now starting to think I lied to you?”

“No, I’m not saying that. Just simply asking a question.”

Josephine truly didn’t think Persephone would lie to her. She just wanted to know why she was never taught of all these places. She hadn’t even known about this place, except for the fact that their was a mountain and a forest in front of it—and behind it was the Valencia Desert.

“I knew that was the entrance to the tunnels because I dreamt of it last night,” Persephone admitted, “I have these dreams. Some good, some bad. But last night I dreamt of how this would go for us—and this volcano was in it. I dreamt of your encounter with that guard and all. From when we went to the stylist, to stepping foot in this cave—it was all in my dream.”

“You can foretell the future?” Josephine asked.

“No, not quite. I just get feelings that things are going to happen. I’m… intuitive. Remember back at Zeus’ Tavern, you asked me if I was a mind reader. I said I just liked reading people. I can feel when things are going to happen to people, in my bones. I can sometimes see it in dreams, like I did last night. Like with this place.”

“And you just now decide to tell me this?” Josephine asked with a shocked expression on her face, “How did you even acquire this?”

“Hades thinks it’s because I’ve spent so much time in the Underworld,” Persephone left Josephine’s side and walked to the other side of the cave, towards the exit of the mountain.

Josephine just watched her. She could only imagine what Persephone had truly been through, but she didn’t dare ask. Maybe after this adventure she would ask Persephone more about her experiences in the Underworld and her mother, Demeter. She followed behind her friend, as they ventured into the dark tunnel that awaited them—their only way out of this place.

The first few minutes they stayed quiet, studying their surroundings. The creak of metal sounded in the distance, and they stopped to look at each other with pure fear in their eyes.

“Cyclops. Stay quiet. Do. Not. Move,” Persephone whispered as she pulled Josephine behind a boulder.

Josephine’s skill crawled. She could smell the rotted teeth on the monster. It seemed as if his breath radiated for yards.

The tunnel went quiet, and the ground rumbled as the Cyclops groaned. He smelled them.

“Where… Are… Youuuu?” He slammed his metal axe into the boulder a couple yards in front of them. He was getting closer. They needed to run. But where?

Persephone looked behind them, and then peeked over to get a glance of how much room they really had to escape. The Cyclops was huge, and the only way was in between his legs. It was a suicidal quest. The Cyclops was stronger, but not smarter. They needed to distract him.

Josephine thought about the stories her father told her regarding the Cyclops he defeated.

Blind him and cut off his nose. Cyclops’ are no good when they cannot see or smell, little flower.

“I smellll youuu!” He groaned again as he stepped closer and closer to the rock they were hiding behind. He could easily pick it up and smash them with it. Then, they wouldn’t have a chance to win the competition or kidnap Hermes. Josephine would never make her father proud.

“Persephone!” Josephine whispered, “I have an idea.”


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Tue Apr 16, 2024 3:20 am
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goodolnoah wrote a review...



Hello again! ~ Writing Commentary

Persephone was standing by the big bloom of red flowers, caressing them with her hand. As she did, more sprouted around it, slowly, with the movement of her wrist, “These are called Anemones, or Poppies. My mother had these all around her garden when I lived with her. They were created by Aphrodite in her grief upon finding the body of her human lover, Adonis. Adonis had been killed by a ravaging boar, and while Aphrodite wept over his body, his blood on the grass transformed into these flowers; hence the blood-red color.”

Aaaaa! This whole segment with Josephine and Persephone inside of the cave with the blood-red Poppies is like something out of a movie! The description of the tunnel is like watching a beautiful scene in a movie unfold. I especially like this piece when it comes to description.
The trickle of water from the top of the tunnels sounded in the distance. The image of blood red flowers bloomed from the walls, surrounded by hyacinths and mint. The smell hit Josephine in the face; the inside of the cave looked like a garden.

The way Persephone explains the tale of Aphrodite and Adonis adds to her and Josephine’s character. How much of Josephine’s ideals have been taken from her mother, and the theming and idea of the daughter coming across the forgotten past of her own mother’s lost loves has such an appeal!

Love and…Memories ~ Story Commentary

About Persephone, she’s a pretty interesting character thus far. One of my favorite habits she has is how she calls Josephine “Princess”. I love it when characters have pet names for other (often main) characters…Take this as you will, but another admirable thing about her character is how active she is. Josephine isn’t exactly “pushing” the plot forward (though I figure she will later) yet, but Persephone takes active steps to pursue her goals, all while being a pretty good strategist to my surprise.

Hearts Aligned ~ Closer

And with the upcoming battle against the Cyclops, I am excited to see where we go next! Overall this was a great highlight for some fun world and character building. Particularly with Persephone. I saw one of your old posts saying how much you liked her, I am starting to see why :)




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Mon Feb 26, 2024 10:30 pm
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: Loving this, that foreboding sense around Persephone just getting deeper and the power that she seems to command getting greater and greater. And especially of course having Josephine get to shine a little is lovely.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Josephine and Persephone made it to the front of the mountains by midafternoon. At the bottom it was rocky, but as they looked up, the snow began to form on the higher parts of each peak. These were the mountains that Josephine longed to experience in the city, but now she was starting to regret it. The wind howled past the crevices and slabs of limestone.

“Over here,” Persephone moved to face an opening in the stone; it was small enough for a child to get through but not big enough for someone their size, “We’re going to go in this way, and come out on the other side of the mountain, right in front of the Valencia Desert.”

Josephine rubbed her eyes in attempt to see clearer. There was no way she was going to fit through that hole, in one piece anyways. It looked like it was made for a specific creature. One not as big as them, but strong enough to push the stones to the side to enter the mountain.

“Don’t worry, I’m going first,” Persephone said. She held herself diagonally on the stones; the muscles in her arms flexed as she pushed herself through the opening legs first. She slipped in, just barely.


Well that's certainly a start there. Definitely going to be quite the trek through those tunnels at the rate that that's going over there. Hopefully this experience is going to get a little bit better after this initial entrance section.

With Josephine’s dress, there was absolutely no way she was going to fit in there without taking it off. She started stripping, starting with the corset that was tightly bound around her waist, and huffed a loud sigh as she allowed her stomach to expand. She was finally able to breathe for the first time in hours. She removed the rest of the undergarments, which left her with nothing on except for a puffy blouse and tight, white pants. She felt more than naked.

“What are you waiting for, princess?” Persephone yelled through the crevices, but she was nowhere to be seen. It was so dark inside the opening, and her friend’s voice echoed as if the tunnel was wide and empty.

Josephine entered the same way as Persephone did but struggled to get her hips through. She started to hyperventilate as she tried to wiggle her way in. When she made it, she fell onto the other side with a thump.


Well poor Josephine definitely getting thrown from one part outside her comfort zone to another part just like that. She is taking it all like a champ though at the moment. Persephone naturally of course sounding a bit more suspicious with every word although that could just be me being very paranoid.

Persephone lit a match. The whole tunnel lit up. Josephine scrambled to her feet and glanced around. The trickle of water from the top of the tunnels sounded in the distance. The image of blood red flowers bloomed from the walls, surrounded by hyacinths and mint. The smell hit Josephine in the face; the inside of the cave looked like a garden.

Persephone was standing by the big bloom of red flowers, caressing them with her hand. As she did, more sprouted around it, slowly, with the movement of her wrist, “These are called Anemones, or Poppies. My mother had these all around her garden when I lived with her. They were created by Aphrodite in her grief upon finding the body of her human lover, Adonis. Adonis had been killed by a ravaging boar, and while Aphrodite wept over his body, his blood on the grass transformed into these flowers; hence the blood-red color.”

Josephine walked towards her, watching with awe. She longed to be able to wield power like that. She wanted to feel the electricity on her fingers and the energy that left her body and traveled into the universe.


Hmm well some flexing going on there by Persephone, but I am loving that Josephine is starting to imagine a little too. I'm sure it'll end up proving helpful whenever that tip from Theseus ends up getting chased down at some point in the story.

“That’s…amazing,” She said, “How did you do that?”

Persephone glanced away from the flower to look at her new friend, “What? Make them bloom?”

Josephine nodded. Persephone flashed a quick smile, “I just imagined it. I imagined this tunnel, and the Anemones growing everywhere. Once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty much second nature. You’ll learn how to wield your own power, soon enough, princess. Let’s get going.”

Josephine followed Persephone through the tunnels. It smelled of mold and sulfur from the volcano above. But, as they walked, the lush landscapes of moss and flowers grew larger in width. Eventually they came to the middle of the mountain, where a pool of lava sat. The tunnels were no longer narrow, and Josephine allowed her eyes to take in the large cavern. Steam and smoke rose from the element; black cracks covering each and every layer of the lava. Flowers still bloomed on the walls, and instead of walking on mud, they were now standing on grass.


Well that is certainly proving to be quite the journey there, although now hmm, this princess nickname the more its used, the more odd it starts to sound somehow. As much as Josephine certainly got treated that way in her younger years, it seems oddly condescending for her in this current point, but well at least she seems to not mind it.

How could any flora thrive in these tunnels when this is what’s at the center? This must be the heart of Forbidden Slopes.

“Is this the heart of Forbidden Slopes?” Josephine asked.

Persephone began to walk around the pool of lava and concentrated on the lilies growing on the walls, “Yes and no. This is the heart of Olympus. We’re halfway through; although, I have a feeling the other side of this mountain won’t be so beautiful.”

“Why?”


Well we're certainly seeing quite a few interesting little tidbits about Olympus itself here. Always love to see a subtle bit of worldbuilding thrown into a world at a moment like this just making all the information blend in nicely and seamlessly.

“These lilies are dying. I don’t know why. The mountain is the powerhouse for Olympus, and without it, Olympus may fall. If this volcano erupts, it could destroy the island completely. There should be plenty of light for this flora to grow, yet…they’re dying.”

How could Olympus fall when it’s reigned by Zeus? Josephine thought as long as Zeus had the master lightning bolt, Olympus was safe. How could a mountain have anything to do with the fall of the Gods? If it erupted, couldn’t they just have relocated?

“What do you mean?” She asked, “I don’t understand.”

“Energy is stored here. From each god. Why do you think there are Anemones growing in a cave? I’m sure this is Aphrodite’s work. The light gleaming in through the peak is Apollo… these olives,” Persephone stroked a olive that was growing onto a branch, through the walls, “are Athena. Don’t you see it now? No wonder they need a Champion. This place is going to erupt, and all the magic along with it.”


Well that definitely sounds like way more of a convoluted plot than the little we've been told up to now. There's definitely a whole bucketload of plot in Persephone's head that we don't know about yet.

“How do you know all of this?” Josephine asked. She studied Persephone with puzzled eyes.

“I can feel it. The flowers dying—I mean. But I also learned about this volcano from my husband.”

“Hades?”

“Yes, Hades. This is a sacred place, very similar to the Grande Hall. I dreamt of this place. This my first time being here, just like you.”

“How did you know where the entrance was then?” Josephine questioned.


Well Hades definitely gets more suspicious with each passing mention, and that doesn't seem set to change any time soon. Oh dear, well now honestly I'm just expecting all of my paranoia to amount to nothing, cause surely all of this can't be pointing towards evil.

Persephone looked at her with worried eyes, “Are you questioning my sanity, Josephine? Or, are you now starting to think I lied to you?”

“No, I’m not saying that. Just simply asking a question.”

Josephine truly didn’t think Persephone would lie to her. She just wanted to know why she was never taught of all these places. She hadn’t even known about this place, except for the fact that their was a mountain and a forest in front of it—and behind it was the Valencia Desert.

“I knew that was the entrance to the tunnels because I dreamt of it last night,” Persephone admitted, “I have these dreams. Some good, some bad. But last night I dreamt of how this would go for us—and this volcano was in it. I dreamt of your encounter with that guard and all. From when we went to the stylist, to stepping foot in this cave—it was all in my dream.”


Well that seems awfully convenient there. Persephone adds yet another line to her mysteriousness. And the defensiveness of her reply there, that surely can't be purely good there. Oh dear, the further we go, the more worrying this becomes here.

“You can foretell the future?” Josephine asked.

“No, not quite. I just get feelings that things are going to happen. I’m… intuitive. Remember back at Zeus’ Tavern, you asked me if I was a mind reader. I said I just liked reading people. I can feel when things are going to happen to people, in my bones. I can sometimes see it in dreams, like I did last night. Like with this place.”

“And you just now decide to tell me this?” Josephine asked with a shocked expression on her face, “How did you even acquire this?”

“Hades thinks it’s because I’ve spent so much time in the Underworld,” Persephone left Josephine’s side and walked to the other side of the cave, towards the exit of the mountain.


Well Persephone just sees to have quite a bit of power for someone who was presented as a more minor character at the start, but I suppose being a full fledged god that's a daughter to two very powerful gods and being the lover of another powerful one doesn't exactly end up making you a small time figure.

Josephine just watched her. She could only imagine what Persephone had truly been through, but she didn’t dare ask. Maybe after this adventure she would ask Persephone more about her experiences in the Underworld and her mother, Demeter. She followed behind her friend, as they ventured into the dark tunnel that awaited them—their only way out of this place.

The first few minutes they stayed quiet, studying their surroundings. The creak of metal sounded in the distance, and they stopped to look at each other with pure fear in their eyes.

“Cyclops. Stay quiet. Do. Not. Move,” Persephone whispered as she pulled Josephine behind a boulder.

Josephine’s skill crawled. She could smell the rotted teeth on the monster. It seemed as if his breath radiated for yards.


Ooooh is this our first little fight. Gotta love it when a random Cyclops appears to ruin your day. Well, the initial reaction here seems to be smart enough at any rate. Let's see how exactly they're going to end up tackling things here.

The tunnel went quiet, and the ground rumbled as the Cyclops groaned. He smelled them.

“Where… Are… Youuuu?” He slammed his metal axe into the boulder a couple yards in front of them. He was getting closer. They needed to run. But where?

Persephone looked behind them, and then peeked over to get a glance of how much room they really had to escape. The Cyclops was huge, and the only way was in between his legs. It was a suicidal quest. The Cyclops was stronger, but not smarter. They needed to distract him.

Josephine thought about the stories her father told her regarding the Cyclops he defeated.

Blind him and cut off his nose. Cyclops’ are no good when they cannot see or smell, little flower.

“I smellll youuu!” He groaned again as he stepped closer and closer to the rock they were hiding behind. He could easily pick it up and smash them with it. Then, they wouldn’t have a chance to win the competition or kidnap Hermes. Josephine would never make her father proud.

“Persephone!” Josephine whispered, “I have an idea.”


Ooooh love that ending, a little callback to Josephine learning about this specific kind of monster from her father which I think is a lovely touch and our first glimpse at a plan that Josephine herself ends up coming up with. I am very much looking forward to seeing how that will go.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall a lovely start to the serious parts of this mission here. I absolutely cannot wait to see how this Cyclops is going to be handled. I have a feeling Josephine is going to get a chance to shine again here.

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

Stay Safe
Kate




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Sun Jan 14, 2024 4:24 pm
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RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello again, my friend!

First of all, I noticed you got a new cover for your book. It looks really nice! Also, great picture of Josephine in the poppies.

Now, onto the chapter itself: very interesting exposition, regarding the mountain of Olympus. I like how you represent the gods' stored energy with items relating to their mythology, such as Athena's olive branch and so on. It's a very pretty representation with a lot of symbolism, and I had fun imagining it.

I'm still suspicious of Persephone, but it's interesting that she shows concern over the lillies dying, and she's being more open about herself in this chapter. I already have a ton of theories, but she's still such a mystery that I can't narrow them down much, haha.

You did a good job at introducing the Cyclops to the situation, too, and how nasty of a creature it is. I can't wait to see how Josephine will handle it ~

I couldn't spy any errors, nor can I think of recommendations to make! It was a well-written chapter! :)




Ley says...


Thank you! :D I'm so happy you enjoyed! In the next few chapters, you'll see that stuff really starts to get interesting <3




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