After being released from Hades, a god finds his new place in Olympus. (possible series)
“Are you sure this is wise?” asked a distinctly feminine voice.
“There is no choice. Thanatos has is gone. Without him, the men and gods alike will suffer,” answered her husband.
I perked up at the sound of familiar voices. The rage within burned, but I swallowed this, as they grew closer.
“Yes, but it took all of Olympus to imprison him. Aries will be able to get Thanatos out in two days’ time,” the woman protested.
“No. Sisyphus's reign ends now, and Thanatos is coming home. Besides, I have a way to control him now,” the man declared, “This is as good of a time as any to test it out.”
The man’s mournful tone took a firm edge that announced the end of the conversation. The talking stopped on the other side of the rock wall, and I smirked. It wasn’t hard to predict what would happen next. A glowing, circular hole opened in the wall, and in walked the two rulers of the underworld.
I smirked and began “You know, Hades, you really should lighten up. With a little imagination ruling the dead could be quite fun. Just-”
“I am only here for one reason," he cut in.
I rolled my eyes in annoyance. No wonder Hades had been forced to kidnap his current wife. No woman in her right mind would marry such a cranky person under her own free will.
“Let me guess. You want me to bring death and the king back here,” I summarized.
He nodded, and the gears began turning in my head. However, before I could say or do anything, there was a metallic click followed by the sound of chains falling to the ground. The upside was that I was that I was now free to move around. The downside was that the chains had been replaced by two black, metal bracelets with weird glowing script. Given the look on Hades face, I knew they weren’t for looks.
“You will not repeat the actions that sent you here,” He announced, “Make it quick, and I may be able to improve your living situation.”
By this point, my excitement at the idea of freedom was overwhelming. However, I was determined not to ruin my chance and responded with the appropriate humility. Satisfied that I understood what I was to do, Hades sent me to Corinth. Along the way, I made a detour to confirm my suspicions. As soon as I broke off towards Sparta the bracelets cut into my wrists; my vision narrowed from pain; and I began plunging toward the ocean.
“So, that’s what the fancy wrist-ware does,” I muttered as I righted my course.
Corinth was a place of unimaginable wealth, and its current ruler was to thank for this. Being imprisoned had not completely narrowed my world awareness. As such, I also understood the reason Thanatos’s imprisonment. The beast was a narrow-minded fool while Sisyphus was a cunning man who could out think most of Olympus.
Making my way into the city wasn’t too hard. All it took was the form of an Athenian merchant and the disappearance of the man in question. The person collapsed behind a stone wall. I scowled as a gaping stab wound should have killed the man. That’s when I remembered the point of my mission and let out an annoyed sigh. With death in a box, unconsciousness would have to do.
“Thanatos can clean up the mess later,” I decided with a shrug.
With that I made my way, first into the city, then into palace. There, I saw the man of the hour. Sisyphus was a proud man with broad shoulders and a disarming smile.
“Sisyphus! It is a great honor to see you,” I declared with a bow.
As I carried out my act, Sisyphus nodded, and the guards made their way out of the throne room.
“Ah, Eris my friend. Welcome,” the king greeted.
We rose and began speaking of many things. Topics of discussion included trade and personal affairs. These were punctuated by enough bragging and exaggerated stories that Sisyphus was beginning to get on my nerves. Let me be clear. He was annoying the physical embodiment of all that is and was wrong with the world. Between that and the man’s habit of murdering guests, I could only imagine how badly the man was angering Zeus.
After a solid hour of conversation, a servant rushed in and whispered something in Sisyphus’s ear. He scowled and waved away the servant before turning to me.
“I do apologize, but there are matters I must attend to. Join me for dinner and we can discuss this more,” the king offered.
I allowed the thinnest of smiles as I answered, “Of course. I would be honored.”
With the usual parting words, we parted way, and I made my way through the not-inconsiderable expanse of the palace. As I went, I collected the forms of guards and nobles alike to explain my appearance in places I wasn’t supposed to be in. Finally, five minutes before dinner, I found my way into the empty chambers of King Sisyphus. Along the back wall, I found a large, iron bound chest that was locked and bound with chains twice the size of my arm. I smashed the lock and ripped off the chains, while shredding the wood in the process.
The room flooded with inky blackness as Thanatos burst out of the chest. Within the black, I could make out the faintest outline of a muscular human male.
I guess I’m not the only one who loves theatrics, I thought to myself.
The god turned to me and his eyes instantly turned blood red.
“Easy there. If I was running around unchecked, I would be the one locking you up, not the one setting you free. I’m here to both save you and do your job,” I announced.
He grunted disbelievingly, but the blood in his eyes slowly disappeared. As he disappeared behind a cloak of invisibility, I hastily explained what was going to happen. See, unlike him, I knew how to make theatrics fool proof and wasn’t about to let him take the fun out of this task.
As I marched toward the dining hall, Thanatos broke off to seal doors and deal with guards. He waited until the last person had entered for dinner, removed two guards from outside the room and sealed the first door at the opposite end of the table. As this was happening, I made my way into a long, narrow room flowing with wine and food. Inside, King Sisyphus sat at the head of a table already drunk and presiding over twenty noblemen and other officials.
He turned to face me as I threw open the door behind him. It was obvious that he did not appreciate a foreign nobleman being late to his dinner or entering in such a careless matter. Behind me, the door shut and was quickly sealed by Thanatos.
“Now what do you mean by…”
The king’s angry rant trailed off as I shed my disguise. A single pinprick of white light could be seen in each of my black eyes while my skin turned red; my ears pointed; and my teeth turned razor sharp. Next to me Thanatos towered over everyone in his black, semisolid form.
“I do apologize for the disruption, but it appears that you have more important matters to attend to,” I answered with a predatory grin.
With that I lashed out with tooth and claw. I started opposite of the king and made my way toward him. The entire time, limbs flew, and blood painted the room a scene that Corinth's future rulers would not soon forget. Of the twenty in the room, there may have been three that were recognizable by the time I was done. As I systematically tore apart the room, Thanatos quickly chained up each spirit.
Finally, I got to the man at the center of this whole ordeal. I wrapped my fingers around his throat and lifted Sisyphus high into the air. The man struggled in wide-eyed horror. However, it was clear that he wouldn’t escape this time.
“You will find that there are fates worse than death in this world,” I purred as I dug my nails into his skin.
The man screamed as his flesh began to slowly burn away. In its place was left eternally white-hot scales. However, unlike most fates, this did not go away with death. The man’s human spirit was still writhing in pain after the scales finished burning away his life. I smiled knowing that this would be whatever eternal punishment the gods saw fit to bestow unto the man. With the task complete, I triumphantly marched the group back to Hades
“I trust that this is what you wanted done,” I began, once the spirits had been sent away.
“It is, but you are not free of your chains,” Hades declared.
I glared bitterly at the man but knew better than to attack him. Marshall strength had not come to me without intelligence.
“So, I aided you and get nothing in return,” I probed.
The displeasure in my voice was plain to hear.
“No. You have exchanged iron walls for iron binders. From now until the end of time you will aid Olympus in matters that require your expertise,” he explained gruffly, “You will never be a god again, but you will live among us as a servant.”
I nodded as my expression softened. Unlike that cell, this was a realm that I could work with.
“Of course,” I agreed with a thin smile.