“Do you think you’d ever be able to tame the hounds, Eos?” a beautiful woman with indigo hair said to me. I sat back in the field filled with moonflowers and breathed them in, smelling the fresh scent of dew on the leaves and grass.
Taming the hounds? There was no such thing. Why would someone ever think that I could tame them as I was? They’ve wanted to kill me for the past twenty years. But… I found myself thinking otherwise.
“Maybe one day,” I whispered. Maybe if I tried hard enough or loved hard enough, I might be able to tame those monsters. But I would never know because I didn’t belong in the depths of the Underworld. I belonged under the sun and moon, with my family in these woods.
Sunlight flooded onto the field, flickering through the surrounding trees in the Sanguine Wilds and glistening against a couple rogue wolves’ fur in the forest.
They ambled through the woods toward me, their usual deadly and vicious expressions softening when their gazes landed on me. I sat up and watched the beasts, knowing that while these rogues were nothing like hounds, they could still hurt me if I wasn’t careful.
The woman with indigo hair sat up beside me and smiled. “One day? All the wolves love you in the Wilds. Why don’t you think they’d love you in the Underworld too? They may be vicious creatures, but all they need to be is tamed.”
Something in her voice didn’t sit right with me, but I trusted her, maybe a little too much. “I rather not go to the Underworld. My home is here. My life is here. My brother and sister are here, and so are these wolves.”
The rogues jogged a bit faster toward me. When they reached the edge of the forest, right before the moonflower field, they sprinted and leapt in my direction. I expected myself to shield my face, to roll out of the way from their attacks, but my body didn’t move. Instead, I let them jump onto me and lick my face.
One put his head in my lap, eyes staring up at me. I rested my palm against his ratty fur and began to smooth it out, not liking how knotty it felt. Rogues deserved more than this, so much more.
“The wolves are your sister’s creation,” she said. “They worship her, not you. You should have a species of your own, tame them, make them fight for you and make them yours. Your bond with beasts is so great that sometimes I mistake you for a goddess from the Underworld.”
“Not all wolves like me, Nyx,” I said, smiling down at the beast. “Just the broken ones.”
I didn’t have any problem with my sister having the wolves as hers. I just gave the rogues a little extra love, because that’s what they deserved. They didn’t ask for a lone life, but that’s what they were given.
Nyx--this must’ve been the great Nyx that everyone kept talking about--pursed her lips together. “Fine, so, how’s Astraeus?”
“Astraeus?” I asked, brows furrowed together.
“Don’t play dumb. Astraeus as in your secret lover?”
My heart raced, and I shook my head. Astraeus? Who the hell was Astraeus? Where was Ares and Mars? Where was my mate? I glanced around the field, trying to find any trace of his scent or him watching me the way he always did to make sure I was okay. But he was nowhere to be seen.
“Why’re you freaking out?” Nyx asked, grasping my hand. Something about her felt awfully cold and chilling that I recoiled. The wolves around me cuddled closer, and I found myself taking a huge breath of fresh morning air. “Are you okay?”
I relaxed further against the wolves, distantly remembering someone named Astraeus. But this wasn’t my life. I was sure that this wasn’t real. It could be a figment of my imagination or a memory that I sort of… unlocked from Dawn or Eos or whoever the hell had this stone inside of them before me.
A flaming chariot led by horses with wings on fire flew through the air, a man leaning over the edge smiled down at me and waved. “Eos.” He nodded to me, then let his gaze linger a bit too long on Nyx. “Nyx.”
“Morning, Helios,” Nyx said, a slight smile curling onto her face.
Helios landed his golden chariot at the clearing on the edge of the field and hopped out of it, running his fingers across the horses’ silky coat without burning himself with their raging fire. “You stayed?” Helios said to Nyx, one brow raised slightly. “You said you were leaving.”
“I wanted to talk to my best friend,” Nyx said, gaze playfully narrowing.
Best friend? Nyx was my best friend?
“You guys saw each other last night?” I asked, staring between her and him. They both looked surprised, as if I should’ve already known that they were together, as if they were together every night.
Helios narrowed his gaze at me, eyes intense as if he was scolding me. “No,” he said, but his eyes said otherwise. He walked closer to me and lowered his voice. “You know not to say it out loud.”
It was a secret.
What other secrets did I have or was I supposed to keep? Did gods keep secrets? Was I talking to gods themselves? Who even was I and what was I doing here? Where was my Ares?
“Ares?” I asked, unable to hold myself back from saying his name. “What about Ares? We’re in love.”
“Ares?” they said in unison, both equally confused.
“You mean Astraeus?” Helios said. “You’re still in love with Astraeus after all these years? I thought you both broke up millennia ago.”
I had so many damn questions that neither of these people could answer. Had I lived for thousands of years? And who the hell was this Astraeus? I had never before heard his name spoken and felt such a connection with him.
The horses neighed loudly, as if they were ready to leave. Helios hopped back into his chariot and grabbed the reins. “I’ll see you tomorrow. I have to go fly across the sky.” The chariot lifted into the air, the wind from the horse’s wings flapping making the rogues’s fur sway in the breeze.
Nyx stood. “I have to go too, back to the Underworld. If I’m gone for too long, Erebus will come looking for me,” she said. “Then he’ll start asking questions.” She looked up at the sun and squinted. “And I can’t have him asking questions about my whereabouts or about your brother.”
Author's Note: You can read the rest of this story on Patreon now :D Click "Support Me" in my bio!