"She will never talk."
Apollo looked out the window of the older corridor, staring down at the courtyard. Artemis was leading the prisoner into the dungeons, being sure that the Siren would not escape. The male Elf sighed and turned back to the mysterious stranger.
"Artemis has her ways," he retorted.
The figure shook its hood. "Not this Siren."
"May I ask what you know of interogation," asked Apollo, crossing his arms.
"You may not." It walked over to him, slowly. "There is no word of Ora Dane?"
"None that I could find," he admitted. He stepped forward, growing even closer to the figure. "If we are to work together, I must know what you know. Ora Dane has lived in exile for years. You could have come any time before then. You spoke of a coming war and then Lady Persephone was captured. This is not coincidental. Therefore, I want answers. What has happened that you need Ora Dane?"
The figure remained composed and intimidating for many moments. It was most likely pondering the Elf's words. Finally, it walked away from him, slowly.
"An old enemy has returned," it said, murmuring. "He has grown more powerful than any other being in Olympia. Not only has he made allies with the southern borders, he would make alliances with the Royals' own armies."
Apollo's brows furrowed, until the realization dawned upon him. "Lord Ares' men disappeared."
The figure gave a slight nod, from under the cowl. "Yes, they have."
"Why would they abandon their own familes to join this... being," he questioned.
"Because, Lord Apollo, not all alliances are made through the bargaining of land and riches. No. Some are made through... fear."
The Elf looked skeptical. "Ares' men simply joined through fear?"
Every so slowly, the cowl nodded and a strange chill passed through the corridor. "Yes."
The girl's eyes began to grow less heavy, as a groan escaped her lips. Her head hurt, not from the ache of a fainting, but from the sharp pain of a fall. Luckily, something warm cushioned her head and kept her above the cold, hard ground.
She heard that name again. Who was Persephone? Oh, yes. That was her real name. Who was asking for her? Why did it sound like...
Her eyes opened, slowly, her vision clearing with every second. A warm, handsome face stared down at her, its eyes filled with worry and then relief and... love? A hand touched her forehead, gently. A thumb brushed over it, calloused but smooth.
Another figure appeared, broad brown wings stretched out and strange eyes staring down. It knelt on the other side of her, a slight smile appearing.
"Persephone," murmured the figure touching her.
Reality became known again and the realization hit her. Hades was holding her. Hades was touching her. Hades was staring down at her and calling her Persephone.
She looked around, seeing the figures of an older soldier, Hades' men, Moros, Astro and Ora. The female Siren gave her a slight nod, glancing at the Lord of Tartarus.
Kore's gaze returned to her betroth. His hand moved from her forehead and began caressing her cheek.
"Are you injured," he asked, his voice smooth and quiet.
She swallowed, blinking several times. "My head only hurts... thank you."
He smiled, lightly, touching her hand. "Can you walk?"
Slowly, she nodded and allowed him to help her up. She realized that her body was trembling. Why was it trembling? She shouldn't be frightened... although she knew she was. Hades was forcing her to stay in Tartarus, after all.
He held her arm, keeping her standing. However, she stepped away, suddenly feeling awkward in his touch. His eyes seemed hurt. She tried to avoid his gaze, not wanting to feel guilt over hurting the Lord of Tartarus' feelings.
"It is an honor to finally meet you, Lady Persephone," said the old soldier, giving a bow. He smiled, gently. "You are a welcome sight to those of Tartarus."
Something about this man made her think of her father. Why, she did not know. She never knew her father. If she did, however, she wondered... hoped that he would be like this man.
"Ora, we are greatly indebted to you," said Hades, looking at the Siren. "If you are ever in need of any support, Tartarus will assist you."
She gave a respectful nod. "Thank you, my lord. I believe I shall take your offer now. Astro and Moros are in need of rest and I must follow Lady Persephone's attackers. If they could remain with you, it would be appreciated."
His eyes narrowed. "Of course. Who are her attackers?"
She nodded to Astro and Moros. "They, as well as Lady Persephone can explain. For the moment, my lord, I must haste, before the trail turns cold."
He scanned her for the moment and then nodded. "Very well. Elohim go with you."
She bent her knees, lowering herself closer to the ground. Her wings gave one powerful flap and she was in the air... and then gone.
Astro shook his head. "Why is it that she must leave with a grand exit?"
"On account that she is much more impressive than you," answered Moros, giving a toothy grin.
The wind was picking up, as clouds rolled over. The older soldier looked at the sky.
"My lord, we should return to Tartarus," he said. "I do believe that Lady Persephone does not wish to be wet."
"I agree, Charon." He turned and held out a hand to Kore. "My lady?"
She looked at his hand for a long moment, feeling her breath increase. Cautiously, she took his hand. He led her to a horse, helping her mount. Charon and the others mounted horses, with the exception of Moros, who stood on the other side of Kore's horse.
"Can you ride alone," asked Hades.
She nodded, immediately. "Yes, I am fine."
He studied her, as if he did not really believe her. However, he returned to his horse and mounted.
Moros leaned up to her. "I do believe that the Lord Hades is quite taken with you."
She shook her head, urging the horse on.
Hades glanced back to look at his betrothed, now and then. She would always look away or try to ignore him. He could not help but feel a pang of hurt. His love was not wanting his attention. For the moment, it almost seemed as if she despised him.
She was here. His betrothed was here and where she should be. But... he was beginning to regret it. If she would not return any giving love, why keep her here? For now, she would have to remain to keep her safe. After, though...
The gates opened, as he and the riders appeared. As they entered, he looked to see the look of surprise and wonder on Persephone's face. She stared at the trees and gardens that were in the large courtyard. The horses remained on the "T" shaped pathway, until several guards ran over to hold the animals.
Hades dismounted and turned towards the girl. She was helped down by the Echidna, who held her arms gently and set her on the soft grass. It truly stung that her comfort lied with an Echidna and not her own Human betrothed.
"Come," he urged, waving a hand towards the Great Hall. "This way."
They walked through a large garden of roses, along the way, which was on either side of the pathway. Persephone actually stopped and touched a white rose, gingerly. It brought a smile on the Lord of Tartarus' face.
They were soon in the great hall, made of light wood and gray stone. The tall, two-story windows brought in much light. However, with the storm rising, it was dark. Servants were lighting the torches, in order to keep it bright.
A female Elf appeared, older and with long, white hair. Her skin was slightly darker than any other Elf's, but was lovely and fair. She beamed, giving a curtsy to the lord.
"Hecate," greeted Hades, smiling.
"It is good to see that you have returned, my lord," she greeted back, her voice full of maturity and wisdom. Her gaze turned to Persephone and her gray eyes softened. "Lady Persephone..."
The girl seemed startled by someone speaking her name in such tenderness. Her eyes widened a little and she visibly swallowed.
"Oh, child," gasped the older Elf, touching her lips. She gave a true and genuine smile of joy, tears appearing. "Long has it been since our land has seen the last of the Blessed and the hope of Tartarus' return."
Persephone seemed confused... and fearful. She blushed and shook her head.
"I... think you are referring to another," she said, weakly. "I am Kore, daughter of Lady Demeter."
Hecate chuckled. "My dear, both your mother and Uncle are the last of the Blessed, the ones that long lasted the Great War. You are the offspring of Lady Demeter and are a Blessed." She shook her head, giving a huff. "Well, I suppose I should not be prattling on, so. You are all surely famished and... My Lord Hades, you are a sight! Look at your boots! They are a sight and have marred this Hall's floor and... Oh! You all are such a sight!"
Charon chuckled, walking over to the Elf and kissing her cheek. "It is good to see you so well and vibrant, Hecate."
She slapped his hand. "Honestly, my Lord Charon!"
Hades chuckled and turned back to Persephone. She smiled, slightly, but then stopped and moved towards Astro, upon noticing his gaze.
"Dinner is served then!"
Author's Note; There ye be! Review and Comment!