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Sunday, May 26, 2019

It’s Been Awhile

Honestly, I’m a bit surprised it’s still here, given my extended absenteeism. But, here we are!

There’s been a lot happening lately. New jobs, quitting jobs to go back to school, kids growing up and  taking up a lot more time. You know, normal life.

But! I’m back. Hopefully for good. To get things rolling, I’m going to post novel chapters of a completed book. As always, I welcome all comments and feedback. New chapters will be posted once a week for your enjoyment.

Without further ado, please enjoy the first chapter of Prometheus’ Lantern.

Chapter 1

A time existed in human history when men walked on the moon, leaving behind footprints for others to follow. Those days have been long forgotten, the pages torn from history books and burned from human memory. But some still remember, their memories transcending humanity.

High on Mount Olympus, Hera stood in her tower, looking out across the land. Below the home of the gods, the country of Elpis had sprung up, a phoenix from the ashes of Greece. For the past two thousand years the people returned to the old ways, worshiping their gods and goddesses and forsaking the rest of the world.

The boundaries were clear, marked with barbed wire and large signs written in every language known. They were there to keep the citizens of Elpis inside the markers as much as to keep outsiders out.

Hera knew these boundaries well. Inside them she had power. People revered and served her.

Across those lines, she was considered little more than a fairy tale. She wanted to change that. She needed to change that. More than power and reverence, Hera craved fear. Fear was the creator of power and reverence; of people pledging their lives and the lives of their families in servitude. If she had the fear of the people, the rest would follow. The more fear, the greater the rewards.

She tried, not long ago, to bring the people of Elpis to their knees. A plan to make every citizen fear and worship her above all other gods and goddesses. It had been perfect, except for one little flaw who ruined the whole thing.

Hera ground her teeth and slammed the side of her fist into the wall as she thought of her perfect plan reduced to dust. Maya had been the flaw’s name. She should have been dutiful and done everything she was told, yet she questioned everything instead. The monsters she birthed were taught honor and loyalty to family while they nursed and grew strong enough to be useful to Hera. The girl tricked her and had paid dearly. The lives of many of her children and her lover had been forfeit, but the goddess still wasn’t appeased.

Across the borders were lands untouched by the gods of Greece. Not for long. Soon, Hera would be ready to put a new plan into action. Who knew what waited in other lands? They may not know her name or fear her yet, but they could learn. Once they learned, a new army could be formed. New monsters would be created. This time, Hera wouldn’t allow herself to be tricked. As soon as they were born, the beasts would be carried off, to be cared for by servants completely loyal to Hera. And there would be multiple mothers, so none would ever be quite sure of which monsters belonged to who.

She learned a lot from Maya.

Sneaking across the border would be easy. Not arousing suspicion among her brothers and sisters on Mount Olympus would not be as simple. Getting an entire army back into Elpis would be the most difficult part. Not impossible. For a goddess, nothing was ever entirely impossible. Some things just took longer.

She wished there was someone she could turn to for help, but such a thing was impossible. No deity wanted to share the glory of a victory with another. Fewer wanted to risk losing their own followers in such a dicey situation. Should any of the others catch wind of what she was up to, her own position on Mount Olympus would be in jeopardy.

Others suspected her of something when she kidnapped Maya. None knew what she had done.

They still would be wallowing in blissful ignorance, guessing but never scratching the surface of her deceit if Thanatos hadn’t stumbled onto her plans by accident. Damn lackey to Hades had interfered with the fates of men, something he was sworn never to do. Take the souls, that’s all he had to do, but he hadn’t been satisfied with such a menial job. He had to help Maya in her attack. Why couldn’t he leave things alone?

Whether or not Thanatos told any of the other gods of her plans to take over Elpis, Hera didn’t know. Since his domain was among the dying, she doubted he had much chance to speak to Zeus or Poseidon. As the hierarchy of the gods went, they were the two she had to be most careful of. They wielded the most power and would be the most displeased if her plan worked. Rulers of air and water,
the living and the gods, the two brothers loved their power and the adoration of the people. If that was suddenly taken from them, angry wouldn’t begin to describe them.

No, Thanatos had no direct connection to any of the higher gods. The only Ruling Brother he ever saw was Hades, lowest brother on the scale. Even demi-gods had more say than he did. Should Thanatos choose to tell him, Hades would most likely shrug and continue on with whatever he was doing. Counting souls or stopping heroes from reclaiming their dead loved ones. Nothing happening in the land of the living affected him and he wouldn’t interfere.

He could be a useful ally. Legions of the dead were all under his care and control. A whole untapped source of soldiers for her army, undefeatable by normal human methods. It would take some persuasion, but that was one thing Hera excelled at. Whispered words and hints placed correctly worked wonders.

If she could enlist Hades’ help, she wouldn’t need to look past the borders of Elpis. She just needed to transcend the boundaries of the living. And now was a good time, since his mind tended to wander a bit during these long, cold months.

The snow drifted slowly outside Hera’s window and she smiled. Yes, now was the perfect time. Love did strange things to a man, even if that man was a god.