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The Daughter of War - Chapter 9: Asclepius’ Keep

by Ley


Chapter 9: Asclepius’ Keep

Persephone

The pillars to the entrance of Asclepius’ keep were designed to not only keep monsters out but also prevent unwanted threats. Beams of energy and magic radiated off of the stone foundation—creating a safehouse for people like herself. Persephone and Josephine were hidden with the God of Healing; he promised safety in return for an obscure amount of gold.

Persephone sat at the dinner table, her eyes drifting to the handsome servant that placed the roast in the middle of the table. His eyes gleamed a pale gray, and his build was muscular yet scrawny. He disappeared into the kitchen shortly after, leaving the Goddess of Spring and Asclepius alone.

“May I ask what’s your goal with Hermes’ death?” Asclepius pondered as he shoved a piece of the roast into his mouth.

“Everything,” Persephone grunted. She started picking at the scarce amount of stew beans on her plate, “He stole everything from me. And by the way, Gods don’t die. You should know that.”

“Gods can surely die, child.”

“Is that so?”

Asclepius dropped his fork and sat back in his seat. He threw his hands above his head and burped, “Our power, energy, and spirit doesn’t die, no. But we can surely fade.”

She nodded and studied him. If she couldn’t kill Hermes, the least she could do was banish him.

“When I was young,” she started, “my mother would let me outside on rare occasions. At the age of fifteen, I went to my first party. I met this man there. His eyes were captivating… and he looked lonely.”

“Let me guess, this…man was Hermes?” Asclepius leaned forward in his seat.

“You are correct,” Persephone took a sip of her wine. It burned the back of her throat; but she couldn’t help but admire the wood and berry aftertaste it left in her mouth, “I snuck around with this man for ages. We went to the beach, studied together, and saw the world. Later, I found out he was the God Hermes. He was a spy for my mother. He told her everything, from me losing my virginity to trying marijuana for the first time. That ruined my life. She didn’t allow me to go anywhere again until Hades came and saved me.”

“Hm,” Asclepius flashed a quick smile at her, “And I assume you haven’t seen Demeter or Hermes since?”

Persephone’s face darkened, “Unfortunately, he’s the Game Master for the Trials. I see his face every day, and it haunts me. Sometimes I feel like he’s still a spy. As for my mother, I haven’t seen her since.”

Asclepius grunted and ate another piece of his roast, “So, what’s the deal with your friend? Why have me put her asleep?”

“Josephine is…new to this stuff,” she responded, “She reminds me of myself when I was her age. It’s like she’s still learning how to walk. She hasn’t even discovered her gift yet. To me—she’s fragile.”

“You still didn’t answer my question.”

“She’s injured, Asclepius. She needs to heal before anything else.”

He nodded along with her words and stood up, “Well, you’re welcome to stay as long as you want—although I’m sure you’d like to get out of here as soon as possible. I will go wake her, and you shall be on your way?”

Persephone took a bite of her food before brushing her lap off and downing the remaining sip of wine in her glass, “I’d appreciate that. Thank you again, for your help.”

The god flashed a quick smile and went upstairs to retrieve her friend.

Persephone knew that Josephine would be upset with her. This world they lived in was not forgiving—especially the Valencia Desert. Persephone was aware that Josephine wouldn’t understand how hard it is to try to explain her reasoning when the daughter of Ares had never experienced that herself. The goddess of spring stared at the clock.

She didn’t know how much longer they had before representatives of Olympus came searching for them. It was against the rules to leave the Grande Hall unless it’s to Olympus Towne Square—and even with that they needed approval. They risked everything, even their lives, to hunt down Hermes. Persephone wasn’t going to waste this journey.

A slender, feminine figure made its way down the stairs. Josephine stood there, her eyes raging with anger. The light-blue hospital gown she’d worn was replaced by a spare semiformal dress that Asclepius most likely allowed Josephine to borrow from one of his previous patients. It hugged her hips perfectly, accentuating every curve and every line on her torso. The baby-pink color complimented her seafoam eyes and porcelain skin. Josephine’s blonde braid was no longer the elegant style that she’d had in Olympus, instead it was draped across her shoulders and sat just above her tailbone. The goddesses’ cheeks were pale with distraught.

“I agree to help you—with a near impossible task, by the way—and you repay me by knocking me out and leaving me in the dark?” Josephine asked, her angry eyes pointed in Persephone’s direction. Asclepius brushed past her and made a funny face before he disappeared into the corridor.

Here we go.

“I did not leave you in the dark,” Persephone responded, “I simply put your best interests before your desires. Thank me later.”

“Thank you later?” Josephine’s eyes were flaming, and Persephone could almost feel the heat radiating off of them and onto herself, “I’m done with this. I’m done with you. I’m done with everything. If I get killed because of this, so be it. It seems you don’t have any respect for anybody except for yourself, Persephone!”

Persephone’s world froze. Those words.

She hadn’t heard those words since her mother. Since she walked out on her birth-giver’s world and chose her own path— the path of love instead of politics. The worst day of her life.

“You only care about yourself, Persephone!” Demeter yelled, “Don’t come back. Don’t change your mind. If you go with him, you’re nothing to me now. You’re corrupted. You’re dead to me, do you understand!?”

The Goddess of Spring stood up from the table and slicked back her ponytail, “Let’s get this straight before we continue this journey. If anything, you only care about yourself. Not once did you ask me if I was okay when I walked into your room. Not once have you even thought that maybe, just maybe, I had a good reason to keep you unaware of what happened to us in that desert. I apologize for caring just the slightest bit about you, Josephine, that I made the decision to keep your sanity somewhat intact. But I’m the selfish one, right?”

Josephine’s eyes softened, “Are… you okay?”

“I’m standing here, aren’t I?”

Josephine sighed and threw her back against the wall, “I’m sorry. This isn’t like me. I just don’t like not knowing what’s going on.”

“Does this mean you’ll continue on with me?” Persephone walked towards her. She didn’t notice until now how beautiful Josephine really was. A daughter of Aphrodite, indeed.

“As long as you promise me, whatever happens, you tell me.”

Persephone stopped in front of Josephine and smiled, “I promise. No more leaving you in the dark, as you say.”


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Mon May 06, 2024 2:49 pm
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goodolnoah wrote a review...



Hello again! ~ Writing Commentary

To mirror what Avian said not very long ago, I think I have a new favorite character…

I saw on your wall somewhere that you were tempted to choose Josephine as your favorite, but on second thought, Persephone may take that spot! I think I may be seeing where it stemmed from.

“You are correct,” Persephone took a sip of her wine. It burned the back of her throat; but she couldn’t help but admire the wood and berry aftertaste it left in her mouth, “I snuck around with this man for ages. We went to the beach, studied together, and saw the world. Later, I found out he was the God Hermes. He was a spy for my mother. He told her everything, from me losing my virginity to trying marijuana for the first time. That ruined my life. She didn’t allow me to go anywhere again until Hades came and saved me.”


I don’t think I’ve heard of any olympian tale where Persephone was ever involved with Hermes, so the idea that you made this up on your own to add to Persephone’s tale is awesome! The sheltered life that Persephone led due to Demeter and Hermes input is super relatable, and I can see why she’s a favorite! (The description of the wine burning down the back of her throat here is great too!)

The Goddess of Spring stood up from the table and slicked back her ponytail, “Let’s get this straight before we continue this journey. If anything, you only care about yourself. Not once did you ask me if I was okay when I walked into your room. Not once have you even thought that maybe, just maybe, I had a good reason to keep you unaware of what happened to us in that desert. I apologize for caring just the slightest bit about you, Josephine, that I made the decision to keep your sanity somewhat intact. But I’m the selfish one, right?”


Not just this quote, but this whole scene feels crucial to Persephone’s character! Especially the memory that runs through her head of Demeter’s rejection. I can see she is a flawed character, and to add to that, I know the reason she’s flawed! The dialogue where she rips into Josephine is stellar as well, and leads to a good bit of character building for the two.

Damned Goddess ~ Closer

Persephone and Josephine were already pretty intriguing as characters, but this short chapter did a lot for them, character-wise! I love it when writers take a bit of time to add things like this.




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Sat Apr 20, 2024 11:10 pm
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avianwings47 says...



okay so Persephone has been reinstated as my favorite character.




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Tue Feb 27, 2024 7:19 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: This was a nice little peek into the way that Persephone sees things and I think especially the expansion of our idea about her motives with Hermes definitely makes the stakes a lot clearer and a lot more interesting here.

Anyway let's get right to it,

The pillars to the entrance of Asclepius’ keep were designed to not only keep monsters out but also prevent unwanted threats. Beams of energy and magic radiated off of the stone foundation—creating a safehouse for people like herself. Persephone and Josephine were hidden with the God of Healing; he promised safety in return for an obscure amount of gold.

Persephone sat at the dinner table, her eyes drifting to the handsome servant that placed the roast in the middle of the table. His eyes gleamed a pale gray, and his build was muscular yet scrawny. He disappeared into the kitchen shortly after, leaving the Goddess of Spring and Asclepius alone.

“May I ask what’s your goal with Hermes’ death?” Asclepius pondered as he shoved a piece of the roast into his mouth.


Hmm this is a nice little change. We're going to get a little peek into what Persephone happens to be thinking. Perhaps we'll get a little bit of insight into exactly what her plans happen to be in this moment.

“Everything,” Persephone grunted. She started picking at the scarce amount of stew beans on her plate, “He stole everything from me. And by the way, Gods don’t die. You should know that.”

“Gods can surely die, child.”

“Is that so?”

Asclepius dropped his fork and sat back in his seat. He threw his hands above his head and burped, “Our power, energy, and spirit doesn’t die, no. But we can surely fade.”


Hmm well that's a nice detail to throw in there, just so we could get ourselves a nice image of what they're going to try and accomplish here by attempting this little murder here. I'm sure its going to cause a bit of a ruckus.

She nodded and studied him. If she couldn’t kill Hermes, the least she could do was banish him.

“When I was young,” she started, “my mother would let me outside on rare occasions. At the age of fifteen, I went to my first party. I met this man there. His eyes were captivating… and he looked lonely.”

“Let me guess, this…man was Hermes?” Asclepius leaned forward in his seat.


Hmm it seems we're about to learn a little bit about why she's quite so hell bent on getting rid of Hermes here. Maybe we'll get a glimpse at whether it is in fact as justified as she makes it out to be, for the moment at least, it certainly appears so.

“You are correct,” Persephone took a sip of her wine. It burned the back of her throat; but she couldn’t help but admire the wood and berry aftertaste it left in her mouth, “I snuck around with this man for ages. We went to the beach, studied together, and saw the world. Later, I found out he was the God Hermes. He was a spy for my mother. He told her everything, from me losing my virginity to trying marijuana for the first time. That ruined my life. She didn’t allow me to go anywhere again until Hades came and saved me.”

“Hm,” Asclepius flashed a quick smile at her, “And I assume you haven’t seen Demeter or Hermes since?”

Persephone’s face darkened, “Unfortunately, he’s the Game Master for the Trials. I see his face every day, and it haunts me. Sometimes I feel like he’s still a spy. As for my mother, I haven’t seen her since.”


Hmm well that seems like an interesting one for sure. You can definitely see why she has a personal vendetta like that although the more moral side of that is a bit more complicated than the simply black and white of things. Definitely interesting to think about when it eventually gets to the part where they attempt to kill him.

Asclepius grunted and ate another piece of his roast, “So, what’s the deal with your friend? Why have me put her asleep?”

“Josephine is…new to this stuff,” she responded, “She reminds me of myself when I was her age. It’s like she’s still learning how to walk. She hasn’t even discovered her gift yet. To me—she’s fragile.”

“You still didn’t answer my question.”

“She’s injured, Asclepius. She needs to heal before anything else.”


Hmm well that's all been pretty clear up to now. And how she just doesn't seem to care nearly enough about Josephine's actual thoughts definitely don't bode too favorably for the future although I suppose its better than outright malice.

He nodded along with her words and stood up, “Well, you’re welcome to stay as long as you want—although I’m sure you’d like to get out of here as soon as possible. I will go wake her, and you shall be on your way?”

Persephone took a bite of her food before brushing her lap off and downing the remaining sip of wine in her glass, “I’d appreciate that. Thank you again, for your help.”

The god flashed a quick smile and went upstairs to retrieve her friend.

Persephone knew that Josephine would be upset with her. This world they lived in was not forgiving—especially the Valencia Desert. Persephone was aware that Josephine wouldn’t understand how hard it is to try to explain her reasoning when the daughter of Ares had never experienced that herself. The goddess of spring stared at the clock.


Hmm well that reasoning just doesn't seem to be great there either Persephone so, you might want to look elsewhere for reasons why people are going to end up being upset at you.

She didn’t know how much longer they had before representatives of Olympus came searching for them. It was against the rules to leave the Grande Hall unless it’s to Olympus Towne Square—and even with that they needed approval. They risked everything, even their lives, to hunt down Hermes. Persephone wasn’t going to waste this journey.

A slender, feminine figure made its way down the stairs. Josephine stood there, her eyes raging with anger. The light-blue hospital gown she’d worn was replaced by a spare semiformal dress that Asclepius most likely allowed Josephine to borrow from one of his previous patients. It hugged her hips perfectly, accentuating every curve and every line on her torso. The baby-pink color complimented her seafoam eyes and porcelain skin. Josephine’s blonde braid was no longer the elegant style that she’d had in Olympus, instead it was draped across her shoulders and sat just above her tailbone. The goddesses’ cheeks were pale with distraught.

“I agree to help you—with a near impossible task, by the way—and you repay me by knocking me out and leaving me in the dark?” Josephine asked, her angry eyes pointed in Persephone’s direction. Asclepius brushed past her and made a funny face before he disappeared into the corridor.


Well that's definitely justified there. I hope Josephine manage to get something out of this besides being just talked down but I'm not holding out hope at the moment given what we've seen of Persephone's skill set so far.

Here we go.

“I did not leave you in the dark,” Persephone responded, “I simply put your best interests before your desires. Thank me later.”

“Thank you later?” Josephine’s eyes were flaming, and Persephone could almost feel the heat radiating off of them and onto herself, “I’m done with this. I’m done with you. I’m done with everything. If I get killed because of this, so be it. It seems you don’t have any respect for anybody except for yourself, Persephone!”

Persephone’s world froze. Those words.

She hadn’t heard those words since her mother. Since she walked out on her birth-giver’s world and chose her own path— the path of love instead of politics. The worst day of her life.


Hmm well it seems that one's very much justified there no matter unjustified the words her mother came up with was, but I get the feeling Persephone's is not going to end up seeing them that way. Oh well, it is to be expected. The question is of course is Persephone ever going to realize that or not.

“You only care about yourself, Persephone!” Demeter yelled, “Don’t come back. Don’t change your mind. If you go with him, you’re nothing to me now. You’re corrupted. You’re dead to me, do you understand!?”

The Goddess of Spring stood up from the table and slicked back her ponytail, “Let’s get this straight before we continue this journey. If anything, you only care about yourself. Not once did you ask me if I was okay when I walked into your room. Not once have you even thought that maybe, just maybe, I had a good reason to keep you unaware of what happened to us in that desert. I apologize for caring just the slightest bit about you, Josephine, that I made the decision to keep your sanity somewhat intact. But I’m the selfish one, right?”

Josephine’s eyes softened, “Are… you okay?”


Oh wow, Josephine's going to concede just like that. Well she certainly has a long way to go. Oh well, at the very least Josephine is probably not going to end up hurt at the end of this, so it could be worse I suppose.

“I’m standing here, aren’t I?”

Josephine sighed and threw her back against the wall, “I’m sorry. This isn’t like me. I just don’t like not knowing what’s going on.”

“Does this mean you’ll continue on with me?” Persephone walked towards her. She didn’t notice until now how beautiful Josephine really was. A daughter of Aphrodite, indeed.

“As long as you promise me, whatever happens, you tell me.”

Persephone stopped in front of Josephine and smiled, “I promise. No more leaving you in the dark, as you say.”


And I'll believe that when you start to show some actual proof of it. An interesting declaration thought to end on, no matter if she actually ends up honoring it or not going forward.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall an interesting little chapter this one, I think its maybe going to be an important milestone going forward in our story, and given we're fairly deep into things at the moment, that comes as no surprise. I'm looking forward to seeing where we end up here.

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

Stay Safe
Kate




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Mon Jan 29, 2024 3:34 pm
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RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello again, my friend!

This was a lovely chapter of exposition for Persephone. It's great to hear more about her grudge against not only Hermes, but Demeter as well, painting a broader picture of where she comes from. Despite the conflict between her and Josephine toward the end, it shows more authenticity on behalf of her character, and finally ascribes motive. So, at first I was doubting her character because she seemed suspicious, now I'm doubting the doubt (lol). It just seems like there are so many ways her character could go, really drumming up reader curiosity.

As far as the writing itself, incredible! I could not spy any errors. As a matter of fact, your attention to detail -something I especially love in these slower chapters- was perfect. With lines such as these:

"It burned the back of her throat; but she couldn’t help but admire the wood and berry aftertaste it left in her mouth."

They seem so minor in the grand scheme, and they don't have a lot of story significance sure, but they really grasp the readers' senses and double as a way to put them into the perspective of Persephone. Definitely a great way to get and stay lost in the chapter.

Overall, excellent chapter! Nicely done! :)




Ley says...


Thank you so much! I thought this would be a perfect way for the reader to learn more about Persephone :D




while she was studying the ways of pasta he was studying the ways of the sword
— soundofmind