Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chapter 11, Part II

In its entirety:

PART TWO: BALANCE

CHAPTER ELEVEN
Call to Adventure

Gaea, 2008 C.E. An abandoned tenement in San Francisco.

Caked with dust and cockroach excrement, cobwebs mocking the tapestries from the Moirae’s loom and strewn over old furniture, water-stained paintings, and forsaken baby toys, a basement room—inhabited by darkness for far too long—sat empty, keeping company with rodents and spiders, Echidna’s clutch in miniature. Mildew, pungent perfume of neglect and desertion, saturated the air. A window near the ceiling, opaque with dust and spider webs consented to allow pale moonlight in, a desiccated shell of a spider hanging from a thread in the glow, an austere reminder of Arachne’s fate. Against the far wall, a wooden staircase ran, a few of the rotted treads having disintegrated.

Light cascaded down the stairs like a rushing cataract over a cliff when the upper door opened to the alley, a dozen cloaked individuals descending into this diminutive Tartaros, barely disturbing the dust. The first one carried two torches, and the second one cradled a leathern book. December winds brought a Borean chill, diluting the heady scent of decay, and from beneath the hoods, frosty, serpentine breaths escaped. Wraith-like, they hovered across the soiled cement floor to a large wooden table, warped from age and moisture, and draped with a black cloth. Like the Siren song heard by Odysseus, the frigid air whistled as it squeezed through cracks in the window casing.

The thick leather-bound tome was placed on the table, and it opened to a specific page by itself. From the folds of the cloaks, each removed a black candle and placed it on the table. The book bearer’s voice, as deep as the underworld, took control of the silence.

“The time has come.”

Twelve shrouded ones joined hands. The leader touched the book and then pointed to the center of the table. Each candle ignited, invading the darkness. As they joined hands, he recited the words on the page before him.

“O Hekate Klêidouchos, Key Bearer, hear our plea. Show us that you are among us.”

Cold, piercing wind splintered the windows, but the flames only shivered.

“According to the ancient text, we have assembled—twelve in the service of the goddess of death—to bring forth that which will save us,” continued the speaker, his voice raised over the whistling bluster. “We swear our fealty to you. We are yours to command.”

Moonlight filled the room and, beneath the cowls of the cloaks, the eyes of the assembled smoldered like fire. As they allowed the spirit of Hekate to fill them, the leader began his chant in ancient Greek. According to the ritual, he repeated it twelve times and the others repeated it with him until their voices became one.

“By Tartaros, dark Erebos, and Thanatos, we, the chosen of Hekate, summon the power of the Netherworld. Set the Sacred Twelve free!”

As the incantation grew louder, darkness festered like algae in bloom until all that could be seen was an eerie glow from the book. Even the candles and torchlight were absorbed by the all-consuming obscurity. By the twelfth invocation, their voices were in perfect unison and the earth began to tremble. The citizens of San Francisco would think it was one of the many earthquakes that struck their state, unaware of its preternatural source. Seconds later, the quaking stopped. All returned to normal and the ebony entity dissipated. The magister, or leader of the coven, released his hands, closed the book, and the other eleven suddenly began to convulse, some spitting up blood and bile, falling to the floor, dead. The sole remaining supplicant, the magister seethed at the apparent assassination of his cohorts. Without the complete circle, the spell lost some of its potency. Eleven deceased bodies shriveled, turned to dust, and vanished within the earthen floor. The remaining man smirked.

“You may have taken my coven, Zeus Kolastes, but the spell is cast. I will rebuild, bringing with me the sons and daughters of Gaea and Ouranos who will claim the sacred mountain as their own.”

A desperate, last burst of energy reaching from a distant shrouded mountaintop surged through the cloaked man who started to shake uncontrollably and heave blood through his nose and mouth. Falling to the floor a quivering mass of bodily fluids and skin, Gaea claimed the body, leaving the black cloth behind. Millennia ago, Hermes would have escorted the soul to the underworld, but the necromancer had none—the price he paid for his devotion to Hekate. Despite Zeus’ revenge, however, the deed was complete, and the Protogenoi would need to have mercy on all Mankind.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

PART I IS DONE!

Yes, after the long summer of editing, Part I of the novel (200+ pages) is finally finished being edited.

Next week, I will begin the edit of Part II, with the PLAN I can get it done by Thanksgiving Break (+/-).

So, stay tuned for more updates about the second half of the novel. Maybe some more sneak peaks will be posted, too ;-)

Friday, August 14, 2009

A scene from the latest chapter...

Demetrios goes into Tartaros:

Again the darkness yielded to an unnatural light, and Demetrios heard a soothing voice slither into his ears.

“Come, my child, come,” said the voice, honey to his ears. “Find me in the dark. Find me in your heart.”

A niche in the cave, carved by her teeth and illuminated by a flaming brazier of wrought adamantine, opened before him, and when his eyes adjusted, both wonder and fear ensnared him. His eyes followed the end of a serpent’s tail, coiled around a dilapidated pillar of stone, to where scales merged into the flesh of a female torso, laden with breasts. Her arms, open to accept him, ended in talon-like hands, but her face in the soft glow of the flames reminded him of Alkinoë. In his mind, he knew who she was, but he didn’t fear her, even though many heroes had encountered her offspring in their own tests of valor. Herakles had bested her son, the Lernæan Hydra, with torches to his severed heads, and had wrestled with Cerberos, the Kuna tou Aidou, or Hound of Hades. Bellerophon had choked her son, the Khimaera, with molten lead dripping from a spearhead. Her daughter, the Sphinx, outdone when Oedipus solved her riddle, cast herself off a cliff. But, Gaea’s daughter by Tartaros would not be brought down; in fact, she would bring forth new progeny to go up against heroes of every generation, monsters more inconceivable than those who had come before. Ekhidna would prevail.

Collapsing into her serpentine embrace, he suckled at one of her nipples, taking nourishment from her milk, the same milk that had fed her grotesque brood for eons. He had respect for her and those she birthed, however, as a daughter of Gaea, and humbled himself in her coils. As she fed him, the tip of her tail cautiously moved toward the sword, slinking from the tip of the sheath toward the pommel. Her scales brushed against the hilt, curling around it, caressing it, but then releasing it. She had no designs on the blade itself; her mother forged it, and she wished to touch its grandeur.

Hypnos and his son, Morpheos, came from the darkness, touching Demetrios’ brow and brought him some of the peace he needed to continue his journey because the next task would be the hardest. Zeus’ request would be fulfilled.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A bit of an update...

Well, I am finishing up the edit of the first half of TFG: FB, and I have to say I am quite pleased with the result. I've had to write some new stuff to fix some continuity problems I found, but I love the story. The first half of the book leads up to and catalogues the life and experiences of Apollo, the Olympæan¹ sun god, who has chosen a human (not mortal) existence alongside his Arkadæan queen, Alkinoë. Zeus has concerns about their son, Demetrios, who—aside from being prophesied to hold a position of power on Olympos at some point in his future—is a hemitheos (demigod) with strong ties to Gaea and another Protogenos. As Demetrios establishes himself not only as Arkadæa's eventual monarch, holding no desire to be an Olympæan in any way, but also as a young warrior whose future holds many challenges, he will not have foreseen one of them.

As the timeline unfolds, askew since the destruction of the Hieron Talanton², what should originally have been is not, and what is... well, that continues to be a mystery.

Part II brings the story forward to the 21st century, where the past crashes into the present in ways that even the Moirae could never predicted. :)

¹I change words ending in -ian (like Olympian and Arkadian) to Olympæan and Arkadæan.
²See the summary for this.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Chapter 8 is slightly...

maddening! It's so close to the end of Part I of the book, but it's becoming a tangled web of sentences which need to be unwound for it to make sense with earlier parts (things I had to change recently). This is fun for me, yes, but can be frustrating. I can't force motivation. :)

I'll be working more on it tonight, so if you see a post starting with "AAAAAAAAH!", you'll know how I feel.

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled program.
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