Chapter Five: The Prophecy
Hades sat in his chambers, peering into the distance with a blank expression. He was still in a trance of disbelief. Persephone lived just minutes beforehand and now is snuffed from his life, never to be seen again. For so long, he tried to get her to understand and love him. To show her he was not the monster he was made out to be. Among all his efforts, he realized they were not in vain as she began showing her true self to him. From the look she gave to the words she spoke, Hades knew it was worth every challenge because he loved her even before she knew what that love meant. Now, after several millennia in trying to win over her affection, she was taken, and his guilt for letting such a vile act come to pass will haunt him for all eternity.
Looking down at his blood-stained hands, he could hear Persephone’s remains being scrubbed from stone by his upkeeps. The sounds were like needles in his ears. Closing his eyes, he tried tuning them out. Thanatos walked by, informing them of their ill timing, and dismissed them before entering Hade’s quarters.
“My apologizes,” Thanatos strained. “They should have known better to do such a task before you. I shall punish them severely.”
Skipping over what was just said, Hades asked, “Did you find her.”
“No, my liege. Searching the depths of Tartarus and along the rivers five, to the creatures who roam these lands, none of seen Persephone’s spirit floating amongst us,” Thanatos replied.
“Look again,” Hades commanded.
Thanatos looked down and decided to say something that he knew would upset Hades. “My friend,” the god mumbled. “I do not wish to say such words due to circumstances … but gods do not come to the world of the dead upon death. She is...”
“I SHOW NO CARE!” Hades cried, standing up. “YOU SEARCH AMONG EVERY CREVICE IMAGINABLE! ONE WILL NOT LISTEN TO SUCH SAYINGS OR BELIEFS! IF IT SHALL TAKE YOU AN ETERNITY, YOU WILL SEARCH!”
“...Dead,” Thanatos finished.” Hades turned around with a wild look in his eye. “Condoning such wild chases when the answer is certain…The feeling of loss you endure is unfathomable, but she is dead, and it is not of your doing,” Thanatos assured him.
The woeful god walked over to Thanatos and pushed him against the wall. He yelled with hostility. “YOU DARE SAY SUCH THINGS?”
The room quickly darkened. Thanatos grabbed his arms, and for the first time since his servitude, he spoke back to the god. “SHE IS DEAD!” Knocking Hades back to the floor, a scythe was then aimed at him. He looked up at Thanatos, stunned. Never would he have guessed such actions coming from the one who obeyed his every command. Leaning down by his side, Thanatos tried reasoning and breaking through to the stubborn god.
“It… is not… of your doing,” Thanatos emphasized. “You have said many times we only know of this pain, for we are the same. I was there, my friend. You could not have done no such thing to save her from his wrath. I see the hardship you face, and this weight is by no means easy. She is dead, though, and no amount of condolences or searches can change her fate. Denial will only lead to madness, and that is a burden I do not wish for you to carry among all else.”
Seeing tears fill his eyes, Hades opened up in such a way that made Thanatos see how defeated he was both outside and within. “She was the one to keep such madness in. She was the piece of me that made me whole. Made me believe that being in this place was worth the torment of my kin. She helped my doubts and burdens. She made sure I did not do such foolish things cause of the care she felt.”
Tucking his knees into his chest, he wrapped his arms around them and continued to recollect. “She was by no means a mere woman nor goddess Thanatos. She was my conscience. She was the best of us all. Who made sure one’s head was not lost. Now taken, there is nothing left. No happiness, no joy, no anchor, only darkness. True and utter darkness.”
Feeling sad for his friend Thanatos fed into his denial even though he deemed it unwise. “I shall keep searching. I have not yet--”
“Just…just leave me be,” Hades told him. “Go do what you were meant to do.”
“My king,” Thanatos voiced in concern.
“I shall not ask again. Go and do your tasks as instructed,” Hades insisted. He did not want anyone within a noticed distance. What he wanted may have been foolish, for most need companionship to sail through challenging ordeals, but not him. In his own way, all he wanted was the chance and time to grieve without any opinions from any other god.
Nodding one’s head, Thanatos stood up and smacked the butt of his scythe against the ground. Turning into vapor, the god told him to remain strong before disappearing from his sight. Slowly getting up from the ground, Hades made his way out into the hall. He could not handle being in his chambers any longer, for the memories of his beloved were too strong.
He immediately saw the stain that embedded the stone below his feet. Reliving that moment over again in his mind felt like knives piercing through his heart. The overwhelming sense of helplessness could not be shaken as he passed it. All it reminded him of was the failure to protect his love after promising he always would. Turning his attention forward, he came upon the swept up ruins of his door. He bent down and ran his hand across the fragmented wood. Picking one up, he clutched it tightly.
Processing everything that has happened thus far, he pressed it against his forehead and closed his eyes, trying to control his emotions. He felt lost. Persephone always knew the perfect words to bring him back. Now, he fears that his own mind will be too loud to drown out, and a thing such as that can be a dangerous place if one lingers within too long. Slipping a piece into his robes, he got back up and began walking toward his studies. He needed a place where no one could bother him for a long while.
’Click.’ Hades stopped and stood in place. Turning his head, he looked upon the Prophet’s library. Tumblers like that of a lock began turning. Getting closer to the door, his curiosity overtook him. This room has been here long before he took over this palace, and not once has it never made a sound. What could have caused it to act now?
The doors suddenly swung open for the god. Peeking in, he could see four tables scattered across the room and books neatly sorted in their shelves as high as the ceiling above, covering every inch of the wall. Skeptical of the whole situation, he stepped away. He knew of the rules placed and one of the many things Persephone has told him time and time again was to not enter. He wanted to heed her warnings as she was adamant about this.
Turning away from temptation, he then heard what sounded like a woman calling out to him. Looking back frantically, he scanned the room. “Persephone?” he called out.
No one responded. Breathing in deeply, Hades walked to the edge of the doorway. Looking in the room again, he called out to her. He stood by as a faint whisper could be heard, but not loud enough to make out. Seeing no other option and going against his very instincts, he decided to step into the room to hear more clearly. He had to know if it was Persephone’s spirit who calls to him.
Waiting for any sort of response, the door quickly slammed shut behind him. Grabbing the handles, he tried opening it, but it was of no use. Something kept him from leaving. A book then flung off a shelf and dropped next to his feet.
He looked down and grabbed it off the floor. It was odd and disfigured in shape. The leather covering had a worn and tattered down look and black stitching on its spine to hold its pages in place. Opening the book, he saw that it was completely empty. Looking through from front to end, he did not see one single piece of lettering written within.
Sighing heavily, he did not understand what all this meant. Why is he locked in here? Why did this book fall to his feet? Why was it empty? All questions with no answers only made the god frustrated. Then, unknowingly, running his fingers down the book’s pages, it started showing passages. What once was empty was now covered with words. Stunned by the sudden display, he turned the pages back to the very beginning. Hades was shocked to learn of the title.
“The book of hades,” it revealed.
He sat down at one of the tables and began reading what held within. He was in awe at the accuracy of the Prophets writings. From the time of his birth to Kronos’ defeat and even the death of Persephone herself. Everything that has come to pass was written in immense detail. He could not believe someone could foresee this far into the future despite the many variables to account for.
Hades now knew why this place was so forbidden. Within its walls, this very place held the writings of every god’s fate in existence. A piece of knowledge such as this would mark the end as all would come to seek their own story and use others’ futures for their gain. Something as dangerous as this should not be known to no god, even Hades himself, and he knew of this. Still, he could not help but continue reading as his book came to its end. Turning to the very last page, there were no other stories of Hades and his life. Only a page titled “The prophecy” was left. Voices escaped from his book as a woman began to speak.
“The god of gods is of not, a mask to hide one’s true plot.
The desert sands one must find, for another, is the same of mind.
One shall challenge and not easily sway, with mischief waiting and willing to play.
Heavens will fall, and worlds will tremble, the gods of four must assemble.
For the father of all will take his place, the death of three is their fate.”
Hades closed his book, and the ominous warning that was spoken to him began dissecting in his mind. What three had to die? And who was the imposter among them? He sat there for a moment, trying to unravel its meaning. Something so mysterious needed time to understand if one could crack its message.
A box started to rumble from a shelf glowing a bright white hue. Getting up from his seat, he walked over, reached up, and grabbed it. Shaking violently in his hands, he looked for a latch. Whatever was inside wanted to be freed. Burning his fingers, the box expelled a wave of energy that flung Hades backward.
Dropping it to the floor, he witnessed something breakthrough and shoot straight into the ceiling. Without a second thought, he knew he had to go after it. What escaped could be a clue to the prophecy written. Why else would it make itself known after the words were spoken? Dematerializing into a cloud of smoke, he began tracking its trajectory to see where it headed.
Traveling over a thousand miles across the ocean, Hades arrived in the middle of a barren wasteland. Nothing but dirt consumed all four corners as far as the god could see. What importance did this desert have that would make such an item travel this far from its home?
Vibrations then rippled in the air as the item called to Hades. Unknown to the god himself, this particular object was destined to not only find him but guide him. It was the last piece to the puzzle that put everything into motion. Now, the time has come.
He grabbed what seemed to be a necklace from the sands. Wiping it off, he wondered how such a thing could radiate so much power. The amount of energy that it was giving off was far beyond anything he encountered. Not even all the gods in Olympus could match its intensity, which only told him one thing. This necklace, this very artifact that called to him so strongly, was made before the time of gods and even the Titans themselves.
Messing with it further, a shock was generated into his fingers. Letting out a grunt and shaking his hand, a string of yellow light appeared in front of him, splitting the sky in two. On the other side of the breach looked to be a pen of some sort. Getting closer to the phenomenon, the necklace started to ring in a high pitched tone as the miniature sand glass in its center began turning quickly. Trying to understand what was happening, the tare sucked Hades in and ejected him out on the other side.
The necklace seized all its activities soon after, and the portal closed behind him. He looked down only to notice he was in the middle of a pigpen. Opening the cage and stumbling into a group of people, he examined his surroundings. He was beyond himself as to how he ended up in a city. A city, in fact, that was completely foreign and different in its structure.
‘Impossible,’ he thought. This could not be right. He was present during the creation of cities and trades. How could he not recognize or even know what place he was standing in?
Seeing a merchant selling animal skin off the street, he decided to confront him. “You, mortal, what is the year?”
The merchant looked at Hades and laughed. “Mortal? One must be out too long in the sun Ra has provided on this day. The year in which we live is that of the 22nd period. What a glorious time to be in, glorious indeed!”
“22nd?” he repeated back. “How could it be of this year and what is this Ra you speak of?”
The merchant gave Hades a stern yet confused look. “Ra is absolute no matter one’s muddled mind. The king of kings? The God who leads among all gods? Does this phase you?”
In disbelief, he asked, “This Ra? This god is the king of all here?”
The merchant quickly replied back to him. “Aye, what demons ale you to forget such a thing?”
“The city,” Hades added. “What city is this?”
“Memphis, city of trades and goods of Egypt,” the merchant answered. “Now be gone, stranger, for no man will come with such madness looming among my stands.” Shooing him away, Hades left the seller’s side.
Walking further into the city, he began planning. He knew the necklace acted as a conduit to which the essence of time is held within. He also concluded that because he had the object, the portal took him. As to this period, though? He did not know why it chose this year.
Clueless and vulnerable to these lands, he knew if he had to blend in and find the answer to why this happened, he would have to conduct research. Starting with what gods strictly ruled these lands. So, he went to the nearest library and began learning their history. A history of which Egyptian gods rule in the Greek’s stead.