Gold Fires Under Black Waters

Naeva Argyris is a Daughter of Olympus. She was raised from a young age to be a crusader for the Ancient Gods, brought up away from the modern world in a place known as The Mountain. Her and her brethren, known as the Children of Olympus, battle for their right of passage into the high ranks of immortality- all dreaming of the day when they would be Graduated. And for Naeva, that day has come. The Graduates were hand-picked by Zeus himself to go on perilous journeys across the land and retrieve lost or stolen artifacts from the time of the Olympian Wars. Each Graduate was assigned their own mission, and once they completed it, they would be able to walk through the doors of Olympus and join the rest of their brothers and sisters among the Gods. And she was close- all she had to do was descend into Hades, a land long abandoned, and retrieve a golden staff. Simple enough. Until she is trapped in the Underworld with no escape.

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1. Teaser

Have you ever wondered what death smells like? It smells a little bit like the sound flesh makes when it's ripped right off the bone- or how an apple looks when it is slowly rotting, growing brown and wrinkly underneath a hot summer sun. That's what it smelt like there- all around me- as I waded down the rippling river, waiting for my doom. There was no boat to take me to the other side- not when I wasn't actually dead.

Not when hell had been abandoned for so long.

The black walls of the cave were jagged like daggers, and I was almost worried that if I moved the wrong way I would be cut in two- and then there really would be a need for a ferry ride down the river Styx. I wasn't there to be killed, or thrown into a dangerous firestorm that burned with the intensity of a thousand suns. I was there to retrieve something that had been lost- stolen, to be more exact- by the very God who ruled over that realm. 

The river stretched on and on for what felt like miles- and looked like an eternity. The only hope sat at the end of the long expanse of water in the form of a glistening light- which was a deep orange, as if it had been kissed by the flames of a burning inferno. But it was enough. It was the only light that could be found in the sickening tunnel of darkness.

Honestly, it wasn't hard to see why Hades went mad- according to legend. It was difficult to imagine that anyone's mind would fair well in a world that contained no light- no happiness- and had nothing but glistening blood. The water weighted on my robes like soot, sticking to my body with a wet slime as I neared the edge. As much as it made my skin want to crawl, I could not retreat. I had to complete my mission. 

I pulled myself up over the edge, listening to the flop as my soggy clothes collided with the black granite. Heaving myself to my feet, I moved forward, trailing my hands around the black walls as I descended down the stairway. It was like a cave- cramped and perfectly enclosed- as the stairs continued down for miles. 

At the bottom of the stairway to hell, I reached a large iron gate. It was rusted and broken, hanging forward on it's hinges, but still somehow holding steady. When I touched the rotting bars, they let out an almost terrifying shriek, falling several inches at the touch. They likely hadn't been moved in years.

I carefully maneuvered myself around the iron and stepped onto the dirt on the other side, taking a quick look around to gather myself in my surroundings. There was a large enclosed opening, that split off into three distinct tunnels, each dimly lit, and all exactly the same. I cursed under my breath for a moment at my luck. It could take a while to explore every option.

As I took a step towards the right most tunnel, I hears ghost-like voices drifting from center. I turned my head swiftly to look. The orange glow of the humming lanterns was growing brighter as the voices grew louder. But it could't be right.

Hades had been abandoned for centuries.

I didn't have enough time to panic. I has been trained for that exact situation. I turned swiftly on my heels and darted for the iron gate- but it was too late. My entire body slammed into a large stone slab that had come crashing on top of the old iron gate from what seemed like no where. A trap. I should have known. My breathing caught in my throat as I slammed my fist against the cold stone, as if that would help. Still, desperately, I tried to claw my way out. Even as a low, threatening voice trickled into my ears.

"Welcome to Hades. So glad you could make it, Naeva."

Gold Fires under Black Waters: Olympus Rising Book 1 Coming Soon

~Quinn Parker

 
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