The Mortality Series (book 1): GOLD Part 1

By Josh Byrne All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Drama

The tide of battle turns

“Don’t do anything that will get in my way”

Moros said with disdain. Momus quickly shrugged off her brother’s grip and straightened out the shoulder of her chiton.

“Track. Find. Return. Got it.”

Oizys replied, she couldn’t abide being given orders.

“It wasn’t you I was talking too.”

Moros said, glancing sideways at Momus. Momus would have matched his disdain with a quip, but something more important had caught her eye; the vibrant colours and jewelry spilling from two large chests between two elegant standing mirrors.

“Make sure you two don’t screw this up.”

Moros said with a disapproving eye on Momus, who had started adjusting her outfit between the mirrors. Oizys gave Moros a withering look as he disappeared into the shadows. Oizys cast an eye across the bedroom, from the panoramic view of the palace between the pillars, she knew they were at the top of the tower. Despite a lack of a roof or walls, the bedroom was left untouched by the battle. Even at this distance the clash of swords and talons echoed around them. Apart from the chests and mirrors, currently being thoroughly inspected by her sister, the large circular space was sparsely furnished with just a bed, a divan, and a small table. Oizys smiled to herself as she watched Momus gently place her mask on the floor and began rifling through the clothes. Where their siblings wore black or grey, Momus had always been drawn to colour. Her sister expressed herself differently, and Momus had been branded vain and foolish for it.

Spotting the tray of honeycakes on the table, Oizys sat on the divan and took one. She was happy to leave Momus to it, Dolos’ plans could wait a few moments. Oizys resisted her siblings’ predjudice where she could, watching Momus’ delight at all the garments was worth it. Oizys took a bite as Momus brought out chitons of violet, cream, and teal, holding each of them under her chin, searching for a colour she could approve of. The rattle of jewelry, folded between the clothes, echoed as bangles, necklaces, and rings fell to the floor.

Momus gasped as she reached into the second chest and pulled out a deep azure chiton, already paired with a silver belt and an ornate circlet studded with blue stones. Momus stood with her hands full and tried to hold the fabric under her chin in front of the mirror. Oizys wiped the crumbs from her mouth and got up as Momus placed the circlet askew on her head, struggling to gather the material around herself.

“Do you think I could carry off a circlet?”

Momus asked when Oizys came up behind her in the mirror.

“When the gems bring out the colour of your eyes so well? It would be a crime not too.”

Oizys assured her, tenderly straightening the circlet in her sister’s dark curls. She took a few silver pins from Momus’ hands and pinned the azure chiton over her white one. When the chiton was in place, Oizys put her head on her sister’s shoulder. When Momus was done rearranging the belt, she smoothed down the fabric and checked herself in the mirror.

“Whoever owns two mirrors has to be extremely self-involved.”

“Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?”

Oizys grinned, brushing her sister’s hair behind her ear.

“I didn’t say I didn’t like their style. Such finery is just a dream.”

Their eyes met in the mirror, their reflection framed with carvings of stars and constellations.

“I know, sister. I know.”

Oizys knew how hard it had been for her, no matter how much Momus had tried not to show it. The lack of expression, not just in her clothes, and being invisible to anyone else they came across, had weakened them considerably. In the neckline of the chiton, Momus’ collarbone was visible and her cheeks were slightly pinched.

“We’re so close now, aren’t we?”

Momus asked.

“Only if we get back to work”

Oizys went to pull away but Momus placed a hand on hers. She looked to Oizys in the mirror.

“If this terrible time is coming to an end, I want you to know that without you I wouldn’t have survived. Thank you, sister. No matter how much the world changes, you will always be precious to me.”

“I love you too. Now come on, we have to get to work.”

Momus held the back of her other hand under her chin, turning to admire her reflection.

“Just a few moments more.”

Oizys kissed her hand and left Momus to the mirrors.

She knew her physical mask wasn’t the only one she wore. Only Oizys knew her sister behind the biting remarks and flamboyance, the Momus that she had learned to hide away early in life. All Oizys wanted for them was to find a place where they could be themselves and shut out those who would push their expectations onto them. Oizys hoped this war was a way of making that place a reality.

Oizys continued to fantasise about their future as she searched under the bed. She snapped up when Momus’ scream rang out through the room. A mortal man was standing behind her sister, holding a sleek wooden spear that pierced Momus’ shoulder. Oizys froze, watching the growing patch of black that stained her sister’s chiton.

“You will not defile Lady Astraea’s belongings.”

The man said, his blonde hair reflecting the multicoloured light of the stars. Oizys was about vault the table and rip the man’s head off in vengeance but, before she could move, Momus turned and pulled the spear from her shoulder. She threw the weapon to the floor, along with the clothes and accessories she was holding.

“Do you know how badly ichor stains!? This is a white chiton! it’s useless now!”

Momus raged. The man stumbled back with a look of shame on his face. For the first time in years the scent of misery and depression filled Oizys’ nostrils.

“It’s bad enough I had to walk among your useless kind in nothing but rags. I finally get decent clothes and this happens! Do you have no appreciation for fashion!? Your ignorant kind needs proper education. How dare you...!”

Momus was too absorbed in her anger to notice that a mortal could see them. A mortal could hear them. Oizys felt the lick of power through her body. Her abilities and those of her twin were intertwined. The Diamone of misery needed the criticisms dealt out by Momus for her influences to take hold. By the same token, blame was useless unless there was a hurt soul willing to accept it.

Oizys could smell the flicker of misery in the mortal, she didn’t hesitate to reach out and expand it. She delighted as the man got to his knees.

“I beg your forgiveness. I cannot excuse my ignorance. Please.”

He begged. Oizys walked towards them and picked up the spear, no amount of forgiveness would spare him from attacking her sister. She drove the spear through his throat. The man was too absorbed in his misery to lift his arms and protect himself. Blood poured from his neck as he slumped to the floor among all of the discarded clothes. Momus made a gagging noise and quickly covered her mouth with the back of her hand.

“You know I don’t like blood.”

“Do you feel that?”

Oizys said breathlessly, still tasting the power of the man’s misery. Momus took in a deep breath, realising what she had done. The mortal had seen her, he had listened to her. Hunger which had gone unsated was now being fed, with the most succulent energy they had ever consumed.

“We’re not going to be ignored anymore”

Momus smiled, the spread of ichor from her shoulder slowing and clotting. She picked up her mask and lifted it to her face.

“Shall we find another?”

Oizys dropped the spear and offered her arm. Her sister nodded eagerly. The two locked arms and walked down the stairs to lower floors. Their task forgotten, lost in the depths of hunger to let their power free. In the midst of war, they would feast.


Eros landed among the trees. Even at night, his wings cast a pale golden light on the grass. Being invisible to the mortals had made him complacent about discretion, not that he had allowed himself to be near them for weeks. It shook him that such beings, whom he had thought were inconsequential, could make him feel so powerless.

He had left Callidora behind, confident he could find a solution to the trouble he had caused. But the longer his search had proved fruitless, the more his despondency grew. He had tried going to other mortal communities, hoping something similar had happened. Eros quickly realised that the community in the meadow was a small exception. The guilt and shame had paralysed his hope, there had been a small light in the mortal world and he had tainted it. As his regret grew, the search degenerated into his old nomadic life. He had drifted from place to place, his heart heavier on the wind.

Eros resigned himself to the irrepariable damage he had caused and tried to regain his impartiality, returning to a time he had been safe and assured. Yet he still found himself in places where he may find a solution.

That was why he had drifted to the orchards of Mount Orthrys, the home of high king Cronus and Queen Rhea. He never meddled in titan affairs but Cronus, as creator of the mortals, was his last option. Perhaps the king would have the answers to Callidora’s salvation.

Eros brushed aside the branches of an almond tree, dotted with pink and white blossoms, and emerged into a small glade. He took in the serenity of the scene. The grasses and flowers waved in the breeze and he could hear the trickling waters of a stream. Eros furrowed his brow, puzzled. His sense for other deities was unparalleled. The glade was empty but he could feel someone else in the area. His abilities enabled him to feel the distinct signature of an individual’s emotions. Some were ruled by envy, others by love. This signature, exuding compassion, was one Eros recognised.

He stepped slowly into the glade, eyeing the treeline. When Eros approached the stream, his foot plunged through the ground. He jumped back, flapping his wings, and saw the small hole he had almost fallen through.

“Is someone there?”

He heard someone call in a despondent tone. Eros carefully stepped towards the edge and jumped, gliding down into the prison. Philotes was curled up on ground, the glint of chains laced between her fingers. She wiped her eyes but he could see the redness in them as he lowered ot the ground.

“Child of darkness. I…..”

“Uncle”

Philotes only managed one word before she was sobbing again. It wasn’t the first time he had seen heartbreak, his work brought him close to it, but this time was different. He had told countless others that grief passes and he usually left it at that. For the first time, it broke Eros’ heart to see someone so consumed by sadness. Eros had found a healthy distance was always best when dealing with emotions. He had to be the objective watcher, investing himself would make him biased. But all he wanted to do was feel these emotions with her, so she could let them out.

Eros knelt next to Philotes and scooped her up into a warm embrace. He broke another of his cardinal rules, soothing the sadness that licked its way up and down her heart.

“I-I should have left her alone.”

Philotes choked between sobs, clutching the chains close to her chest.

“It’s alright.”

“All I did was love her and it did nothing but bring her more pain.”

“We all know that guilt, child.”

Eros said. He couldn’t offer any solutions, he had made the same failings. He couldn’t help but think of the mortals. His presence had caused them nothing but pain too.

“The king is right, I’m just poison. I was a fool to think I was any different to my kin”

“The king?”

“Cronus keeps me here. I-I haven’t been free since he overthrew Ouranos.”

“Why?”

“He told me I would taint the world. I-I was content to watch my siblings from here but then he trapped Arke here too. He was right. A-all I wanted was to help her a-and now…”

Eros lifted a hand under her chin and looked into her eyes. He never wanted to see such despair in someone so caring.

“Cronus is lying to you, child.”

“But if I didn’t love her, if I wasn’t so selfish…”

“Did she love you too?”

“I-I think so.”

“In my experience, a heart that loves and is loved in return is never worse off for it. You were motivated by how much you cared. There is nothing wrong in that. Do not blame yourself for the king’s actions.”

Philotes felt lighter in Eros’ arms, she had stopped crying. He wished such words could lift his own guilt so easily.

“Time has changed you Uncle.”

She shifted out of his embrace and wiped away her tears, the chains rattling with her every movement.

“You still have a keen eye for the heart, then?”

“I can see your’s is more open.”

Eros smiled, not many of his sister’s children had shown an affinity related to his.

“Perhaps I am just getting lax in my work.”

“I doubt that.”

“You wouldn’t have such faith if you knew, child.”

“Then tell me.”

Eros let out a slow breath.

“It is a long story. I destroyed something precious. I was naïve and ignorant to the consequences. Now, it’s something I won’t be able to fix.”

“Perhaps I could help?”

Philotes let go of the chains and knelt forward.

“If I may?”

She asked, raising her arms. Eros hesitated before leaning his head forward. He had not revealed his heart to another before, but, if it could offer a solution, his pride was a small price. Philotes placed hand on his forehead and the other over his heart. It was strange for Eros to have his own emotions sifted through and examined. As the Daimone searched he thought of the mortals and Callidora to help her see what he had done.

“They truly are beautiful.”

Philotes murmured as she saw the mortals through his eyes, their souls gleaming with new facets as their awareness grew. He thought of Callidora and how he had last seen her. Her face wrinkled in pain, and the shard of darkness in her soul.

“What do I do?”

Eros whispered, a tone of urgency in his voice. Seeing the memory had made him realise how long it had been since he had left. Rewalking the path of those memories reopened the scars of guilt and shame he had tried to close.

“I thought the mortals were invulnerable to us?”

Philotes asked, as she watched the memory of Moros attacking Callidora.

“These are a rare exception. I haven’t encountered anything like them.”

“I can see you travelled far, your connections to the mortals are countless.”

Philotes said.

“Only from a distance. To my own shame, I didn’t stay faithful to my cause.”

“Your mind may not have, but your heart is a different story.”

“It still doesn’t excuse the time I have wasted. The darkness would have consumed her by now.”

“I can show the woman to you, if you like.”

“You would have me face my shame?”

Philotes smiled.

“I can feel that she is well. Come on, Uncle, shut your eyes.”

Eros hesitated. Was this dread what it felt like to be beholden to another? Fated to live this cycle of responsibility and failure for those you cared for? He wasn’t sure he liked the feeling. Eros hesitated before shutting his eyes.

A vision of Callidora came into focus. She was crouched in a small cave with Xyanthe. He watched as she pulled Xyanthe into a close hug. The way Xyanthe hugged her in return Eros could see the expression in her movement. The moment was so loving and close, he could feel how the mortal’s beautiful facets were left intact. But the kernel of darkness was still within her and he could feel it had spread to Xyanthe too. A tear rolled down his cheek.

“How do I rid them of the darkness, Child? They can’t be lost to the world.”

He felt Philotes’ fingers tense as she tried to read the mortals more closely.

“I can’t explain it, but when I look into them there is no daimonic energy, as if it has been appropriated into their own being. If anything, it completes them.”

Eros opened his eyes in disbelief, the vision of Callidora and Xyanthe fading away. Philotes smiled and brought her hands away.

“I’m sorry, Uncle, but it seems you’ve been on a fool’s errand.”

Eros returned the smile.

“Thank you, child.”

Philotes held his forearm.

“You must return to them. They need your protection. Cronus is not the benevolent king he professes to be. They are unique and that is a dangerous thing to be in this age.”

“I can see that. My promises to Gaea keep me from interfering, but I can take you from here. Cronus should not have been allowed to treat you this way.”

Philotes shook her head.

“If I leave whoever is with me will become a target.”

“You’ve resigned yourself to being here the rest of your days?”

“Until Arke came, it was easy enough to accept. I can learn to do it again. Being out there, it isn’t fair to anyone else.”

“You are not a burden, Philotes. You must believe that. Your love would want you to have your freedom. To be where you will make the world a brighter place.”

Philotes’ eyes widened as she came to a realisation.

“I know where she would want me to go.”

Philotes gathered a fistful of grey feathers from the floor and fixed them to her belt. The darkness around her began to ripple, the outline of her body melding into the shadows.

“You could have left at any time, child?”

Philotes smiled as the last of herself melted into shadows.

“There is little point in being part of a world where you have no purpose. The strongest cages are the ones we put on ourselves. The same bars have kept you from the mortals. Farewell Uncle, I must go where I am needed.”

Philotes voice echoed as she faded away. Eros smiled to himself and stood, the walls glowing with his golden light. His hope renewed that good intentions would guide him to the right solution. But his happy moment didn’t last. As he flew from the prison, his face paled as he recognised the stench of war and bloodshed. In a realm of peace such smells carried far.

“The mortals”

He whispered in horror, propelling himself south as fast as he could.


Moros coalesced into a wide hall, his footsteps echoing on the floor of mirrors. Every wall, ceiling, and pillar was clad in sheets of metal that were polished to a high shine. Multiple reflections grinned back at him, Moros knew he would be the first to find her. After jettisoning his siblings at the tower, he had ignored Dolos’ orders and immediately searched the main palace. He sauntered between the wide pillars. After the incident entering the complex, he would enjoy boasting his superior deductions to Dolos. Moros turned a corner and saw her.

“You poor thing, is this is how they’ve kept you?”

Moros said. The neat rows of pillars ended in a circle around interlocking shafts of white light. As he approached he saw the dark flame that licked against the bright bars of its prison, probing for escape.

“You will be free soon. I’ll never hear the end of it if Dolos sees me come back empty handed.”

Moros eyed the prison. The matrix of light was kept in place by small round mirrors, reflecting the beams between the floor and the ceiling. He reached out a hand and yelped when the light cut his fingertips like razorblades. Moros circled the pillar; each mirror had its own ornate stand. He tried to bend one of the mirrors out of position but, when he touched the stand, the metal burned his skin. He was about to try wrapping his himation around his hands when he felt the pressure in the air increase.

“I knew one of you would be skulking in here eventually.”

The hairs on the back of Moros’ neck rose. He had hoped when he entered unopposed that the chamber had been abandoned. He didn’t anticipate Krios himself would be defending her.

“If a job is worth doing and all that. I thought you would want to be out there defending your family? Still the secluded little boy I once knew, then?”

Moros replied, trying to keep his voice steady. He was still too starved to face a titan but he didn’t want to show it. Krios’ expression remained stoic.

“You don’t think I know a smokescreen when I see one? You forget, I have known your kind for years.”

“It’s such a privilege to be remembered. How is Iapetus?”

Moros bowed and rage flashed in Krios’ gaze. Even after all this time, Moros could enter their minds like he was visiting an old home. The titans dressed themselves up as rulers but the buttons to press were the same. In his weakened state, all Moros could do was stall. But that would change once she was freed.

“Banishment hasn’t taught you a lesson about your cruelty?”

“Cruelty? You misunderstand, we were so fond of your little brother.”

“Your kin broke him.”

“Ah ah ah someone hasn’t got his facts right. It was your father who made his little craftsman into what he is.”

Moros tutted, Krios’ nostrils flared.

“Same difference. He was always to lenient to your kind.”

“He understood balance.”

“No. He only understood his own selfish motive’s”

“Seems to me its like father, like son. Cronus really has the rest of you under his thumb.”

“Keep your opinions to yourself.”

Krios said through gritted teeth.

“It’s such a shame, really. Your brother doesn’t deserve such fealty.”

Moros dared to take a few steps closer.

“Enough.”

“Now. Now. I thought you were one of the brothers who had a brain? Cronus knew why Iapetus was such a favourite of your father. Did he tell you about the power he inherited from Ouranos?”

Moros ignored Krios’ protest. He could feel the doubt grow in Krios, feeding him and increasing his hold.

“Our father’s power died with him.”

“Did it? How come the frail, youngest brother now rules the overworld? How come the runt of the litter is king?”

“He was afraid of our father. He knew if he revealed his true abilities he would be killed.”

“I know you don’t believe that. What else could your benevolent king be hiding?”

The tone of relish grew in Moros’ voice. Krios shook his head.

“Enough. You don’t know my family.”

“We are no different, only my kind are honest to our true natures. Your dynasties are just as corrupt, just as frought with betrayal.”

Moros’ voice lowered to a whisper, the words worming their way into the recesses of the titan’s mind. Krios straightened, resisting Moros’ influence.

“Stop.”

“I bet he would throw your family to pits of Tartarus if it suited him. None of them are safe.”

Krios’ breathing quickened, Moros was too caught up in his craft to notice the incandescent anger in Krios’ eyes.

“Your brothers. Your wife. Your children”

“I said, Enough!”

Krios bellowed, clenching his fists. A shockwave of gravity threw Moros back. He rolled backwards against the stands holding the mirrors in place, cursing his own hubris. Krios levitated into the air.

“Your kind will regret stepping one foot into my home.”

The air hummed with the titans’ power and the metal stands behind him squealed with the pressure. But it was the lethal tone in Krios’ voice that made the hairs on the back of Moros’ neck stand on end. Krios charged and Moros narrowly threw himself out of the titan’s path, the pressure of gravity keeping him pinned close to the floor.

Moros dematerialised behind a nearby pillar, hoping his reflection wasn’t visible to Krios. He was thrown forward when Krios’ fist exploded through the mirrors above his head. Moros acted on reflex, melting into the shadows to avoid Krios’ relentless blows. Moros huddled behind another pillar, breathing hard. Teleportation took a lot of energy, he counted himself lucky he had managed to feed on Krios before his attack.

“You can’t hide forever.”

Krios’ voice echoed down the hall, his hands sheathed in starlight. Moros paled when the glint of starlight reflected in the mirrors around him. With no energy left, he was cornered. He dared a peek around the pillar and saw Krios looking into the mirrors, he hadn’t been found yet. Krios flicked his wrist and small holes in the ceiling opened, letting in the colours of the stars outside. Moros cursed, he had been so close. He had been the one to find her, freedom was within reach.

“I have no choice.”

Moros muttered when Krios began a slow dance. Moros searched his robes and panicked when the small amphora caught in the folds of fabric. The mirrors around him showed the six stars of Krios’ constellation shining like suns. They drowned out the colours of the other stars, turning night into day. Moros abandoned his attempts when beams of light started to bounce between the mirrors around him. He ran for his life, dodging the lethal shafts of light. He only managed a few steps before he was knocked off his feet, one of the beams lanced his left side and incinerated his hand. Moros held his damamged arm and huddled against the nearest pillar. Krios levitated toward him and stood over Moros.

“Any last words?”

Krios said. Moros desperately pulled the amphora free of his robes, the smell of burning flesh in his nose. The small alabaster bottle was engraved with a weeping figure surrounded in smoke.

“You will regret not taking the opportunity to kill me.”

“Because of a bottle?”

“Amphora can hold many things. This was my home on the journey to the overworld, and it’s occupants aren’t exclusive.”

Moros threw the amphora against the floor, where it smashed in an explosion of thick black ichor. Rivulets of ichor gathered together in streams. The streams writhed like snakes, melding together until three figures stood before Krios. The Furies, their fearsome faces streaked with black tears. Moros shuffled backward, propping himself up against the pillar. He would bare the shame of asking for help if it meant he would live.

“A pleasure. Titan of the constellations.”

The Furies greeted in unison.

“Step aside. It would be best if you honoured the terms of your banishment.”

Krios said, a stern look on his face. The central sister, Megaera, bristled, the waves of her hair moving faster.

“You forget our lineage. We only left for the underworld because we chose to.”

“I wouldn’t call an accident lineage. You three are nothing more than a discarded part of my father.”

Tisiphone and Alecto rounded Krios on his left and right.

“The retribution for the patricide has still not been paid.”

The two sisters said.

“No-one would mourn him. he was nothing but a tyrant.”

Krios tried to keep an eye on each of the sisters as they moved. They wiped the ichor under their eyes, letting it bead onto their talons.

“A father, a husband, a brother, is always mourned. The mourner’s tears only come forth in the presence of the guilty, so that they may have justice brought upon them.”

“If you want to be specific, Cronus was the one who killed father.”

The Furies continued to circle Krios with slow lethality, like a snake waiting to strike.

“But you benefitted from the act, so has your family. It is our purpose to make them pay.”

“I won’t let you touch them.”

“You don’t get a choice, Titan.”

With blinding speed all three women brought their talons down, firing arcs of black ichor through the air. Krios levitated to the ceiling, beams of starlight bouncing around him. the ichor hissed when it landed on the mirrors, eroding them like acid. Moros watched, frozen, as Krios and the Furies traded blows, streaks of ichor and light colliding in the air. Moros knew he should get away or even flinch but his muscles refused to respond. The Furies coalesced in front of Moros, their faces wet with black ichor.

“Don’t just sit there. Get to her and free her now.”

Tisiphone commanded. Moros was about to reply when the sisters were bathed in a wide beam of light. He huddled down away from the burning light that reflected off the pillar in all directions. Moros didn’t know what he would do if the Furies were beaten, he still didn’t have the energy to get away. But instead of withering away, the sister’s turned and faced Krios.

“We have had enough of your parlour tricks.”

Megaera whipped her hand forward. Krios ducked, avoiding the streak of black. Her sisters dematerialised and reappeared either side of Krios, firing ichor. He raised his arms and the droplets froze in the air around him. Levitating, he charged at Megaera, who disappeared like smoke. Unable to stop, Krios’ fist embedded itself into the pillar just above Moros’ head. The mirrors shook and cracked when Krios’ wrested his hand free. Paying no attention to Moros, Krios turned and charged after the Furies again. Moros was left shaken; the savage looks in Krios’ eyes made him glad he wasn’t the target. Moros had underestimated the titan’s growth since being banished. He had spent so long as a predator that being prey unsettled him to the core.

“Sister”

Moros breathed, scrabbling to his feet. He had to free her, it was the only way they would get away alive. He ran past the uniform rows of pillars, reflections of Krios’ constellation shining in the corner of his eye. The hum of gravity and the sickening splash of ichor echoing throughout the hall around him.

“No!”

Krios shouted behind him as he approached the pillar of light. The hairs on Moros’ neck prickled as the hum of gravity grew louder. Moros threw himself against the stand holding the mirrors in place, ignoring the blistering heat of the metal. Like a caged animal, he clawed at the iron stands and willed them to break. She only needed a small opening to be free. Moros turned and Krios was almost on him.

“If you kill me you’ll never see Eurybia again!”

Krios stopped, his hand inches from Moros’ chest. Moros didn’t like playing his cards at once but he had no choice.

“C-Cronus is lying to you. The queen was never kidnapped, she fled. He’s been using us a scapegoat to hide who he really is. He holds a power like you’ve never seen. If you think it was a mere sickle that killed your father, then you are a fool”

Moros stumbled over his words, he had always been collected and in control but now he was plying everything within his power to stay alive.

“I don’t believe you”

Krios snarled and brought his hand back, glittering with light.

“No. No. If you kill us, we aren’t here for him to blame. Cronus will target the queen’s sisters next. All of them, including Eurybia, won’t survive it.”

“Save your words.”

Before he could drive his fist forward, Krios reeled back and howled with pain. Moros saw the streaks of black on the back of Krios’ chiton when he crumpled to the floor. The Furies were standing behind him, the black ichor on their faces did little to hide their ferocious smiles. They had their prey. The three women walked around Krios in a small circle, as if enacting a macabre ritual. Moros could smell burning as the acid sizzled on Krios’ flesh. He could feel the bile rising to the back of his throat.

“Your retribution has come…”

Alecto said, relish gleaming in her eyes.

“…it will ripple through the dynasty you built on your misdeeds…”

Maegara followed, dripping more ichor onto his back.

“…and the debt repaid”

Tisiphone finished. Krios continued to scream helplessly at their feet. Moros felt the colour drain from his face. He wasn’t unfamiliar with the nature of his kin, but the Furies were a far more grotesque breed.

“You don’t look yourself Moros.”

Maegara said a wide grin. The Furies stopped circling Krios, who was still convulsing on the floor. Moros cleared his throat and smoothed his hair back.

“We need to focus on the matter at hand.”

He avoided her gaze as he subverted the topic and looked up at the pillar.

“How will we free her?”

Tisiphone asked, the flow of poison on her face slowing. They had dealt their price on Krios. The black ichor soaked his skin and had eroded holes into his clothes. Moros looked to the charred flesh of his left hand and steeled himself. It was a small price to pay so that he would never be powerless again.

“She needs a channel to pass through”

He swallowed before driving his arm through the light. Moros screamed as the light burned his arm away. He couldn’t feel her essence passing out of the pillar.

“Come on! I am not making this sacrifice for you to waste it!”

He growled through gritted teeth, her essence licked at his disintegrating fingers.

“N-not her.”

Krios mumbled, unable to move. Moros faced the beaten titan. He was exalted by the touch of his sister, who was the eldest and had power that far outstripped any Daimone. She would empower them all and shake the foundations of the provinces.

“Say her names! Eris! The Daimone of Chaos! She will walk the overworld once more!”

Moros shouted. Like a flame, Eris’ essence coiled down his arm. It burned away the light keeping her contained, spreading across the floor and up the walls. Moros smiled as the reflections of the stars outside flickered out one by one. He had been the one to release Eris into the overworld and she would black out every light in the golden age.

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