So, I'm posting the first two chapters of The Rich One, the next Greek Mythology book I'm working on that, if all goes well, I plan on having out toward the end of October. I'm almost done, about four chapters away from the finishing line. These chapters are meant to be a teaser, but I also want genuine feedback. Does this grab your attention? Do you want to know more? Is it boring? What? Any thoughts, just let me know.
The smoke-brown wood nymph had had no time to adequately prepare himself for battle, so the young, whip-thin creature wore no armor and had nothing but a javelin to defend himself. The nymph fought with fierce passion, though. He managed to deflect many of Hades' blows and even nicked the god high on his exposed left forearm. Hades felt no pain from the mark, but bright golden ichor pooled from the wound; stained his sweat-soaked, feverish skin.
The nymph cried in triumph, his pale pink eyes glowing, and lunged at Hades with too much enthusiasm. With ease, Hades stepped aside at the last moment; his right arm swung out in the process. The gore-splattered short sword he held found a home in the nymph's side, and Hades burrowed deep.
The creature screamed and dropped his javelin. He tumbled to the ground. With another hard, sure swing of his sword, Hades severed the nymph's head from his body in an unimpressive shower of the soft green, thick fluid that flowed through the veins of all wood nymphs.
Without a second thought, Hades continued further into the battlefield. He hacked and hit many other nymphs, nature daemons, and ipotanes (the cruder, awkward half-horse, half-human cousins of centaurs that everyone had believed extinct before the war) in his pursuit to reach the heart of his enemy's camp. In the distance, Coeus, Hades' uncle and leader of the mass of creatures that outnumbered Hades' army three to one, stood outside his demolished tent. He laughed as, with ease, he killed the few centaurs and panes that had worked their way through the fighting crowd to reach him.
As Hades watched his troops fall to Coeus' blade or the weapons of the Titan's army, his anger and frustration at his nephew Ares grew. What had the unwanted bastard been thinking, charging into Coeus' campsite before their army had gotten into position? Was the imbecile that eager to die? Did Ares not realize that he may have very well given the Titans another victory by indulging his impatience?
From the start, Hades had been dead set against his nephew going on this mission to take out one of Cronus' strongest generals. Hades had told Zeus that Ares had a dangerous obsession with war. The godling couldn't comprehend a plan that solely relied on stealth and subtly to succeed, let alone follow the instructions to accomplish it. Ares was nothing better than an attack dog, a point Hades had tried to explain to his brother to no prevail. Zeus refused to see all that was wrong with his putrid seed, and after hours of Hades protesting, had threatened to take Hades off the mission.
The threat had silenced Hades in an instant. Not only did Hades want to take out Coeus for the simple fact that he was one of the many Titans on Cronus' side and aimed to see the gods perish, but Hades also longed to repay his uncle for the harm he'd caused Hestia. Weeks ago, Coeus had ambushed Hades' eldest sister while she'd been on her way to speak with a group of panes in the hope that the tribe would join the others of their kind in the gods' cause. Hestia had managed to escape, though she'd been left bloodied, bruised, and broken in too many places to count.
Just days ago, she'd been strong enough to leave her sick bed for short periods of time without vomiting or blacking out.
The last of the centaurs, an aged one named Wloor (a friend of Hades for years), fell just as Hades reached his uncle. The tight control over his emotions lessened, and Hades stabbed at the Titan. Coeus stepped out of Hades's range, then doubled back and hit his nephew with a giant, scarred fist. The Titan's knuckles connected with Hades' chin; drove his head backward. Hades lost his footing and dropped to his knees.
The god's head rang from the punch and his vision blurred, but he couldn't—wouldn't—succumb to the injury. Hades fought past his discomfort and dived at Coeus' legs just as the Titan bent to drive his sword into Hades's throat. The Titan's blade nicked the battered chest armor Hades wore.
Hades hit his uncle's legs with enough force to knock Coeus on his back, and the Titan's sword flew from his hands to land well out of his reach. Hades crawled on top of Coeus. His composure crumbled and, with every ounce of strength he possessed, Hades repeatedly bashed the hilt of his sword into Coeus' broad, tan face.
The sensible side of Hades fought against his current actions. He was as bad as Ares, if not worse. He knew he didn't have the luxury of exacting bloody justice. Too much was at stake for this nonsense.
But his arm never faltered.
Instead, a sick, hot joy pooled in Hades' stomach as he beat his uncle. The god cackled; the harsh, mad sound carried over the battlefield. In mere moments, Coeus' face became a twisted, bloated pulp—though not nearly as horrible as what the Titan had done to Hestia.
The Titan struggled, even lashed out with his empty hands, but nothing stopped Hades. He never felt Coeus' blows; wasn't even aware of his own body. A spell of revenge had him in its grip, and all that would snap Hades from it was the Titan's gruesome death.
After what seemed both an eternity and only a heartbeat's length of time, Coeus' fighting lessened. Genuine fear clouded the Titan's intense yellow-red eyes. His busted, swollen lips parted, and Coeus uttered a pathetic, soft cry that ended with a moan. The noise annoyed the god more than he could explain, and Hades rammed his free fist into the Titan's mouth.
At once, and without reason, Hades' all-consuming bloodlust ebbed out of existence. He thought clearly for the first time in far too long. He gazed at his opponent and decided to grant his uncle a shred of mercy, not for the Titan but for Hades. To murder his uncle like he wanted, he'd be no better than Cronus.
Hades drew back his hand, prepared for the hit that would end it all. Coeus screwed his eyes shut.
A solid force slammed into Hades' left side, and he toppled off the Titan. Hades landed sprawled on his back, and before he could react, the red sprite that had knocked him over leaped on top of him. The burly, heavily-muscled creature dug into Hades with fingers bright with flames, and it seared Hades' skin. A roar escaped the god as the sprite worked small holes into his upper arms.
While the sprite burned Hades, he bent closer to the god's face. When he was only a breaths-length from Hades, the sprite opened his small, black-lipped mouth. Hades watched as a glow flared to life in the creature's throat. Clogging smoke wafted from the sprite's mouth and blinded the god.
Hades had mere moments to act before his head was melted from his neck. He brought his knee back, and it connected with the creature's testicles. The sprite squealed and clamped his jaw shut.
With a mighty shove, Hades flipped the sprite off his body. Still unable to clearly see, the god reached for the sprite and brought him close. He wrapped his arms around the creature's throat and yanked to the right. A satisfying, quick snap followed, and the sprite went limp.
He tossed the dead creature aside, and Hades scrambled to his feet. He searched for his short sword, found it next to a severed arm, and snatched it up. The god then surveyed his surroundings, in vain hope to spot Coeus.
Much of Hades' army still fought for all they were worth. A surge of pride swelled in Hades' chest as he gazed at the brave soldiers that knew they were terribly outnumbered but didn't allow themselves to grow overwhelmed. In certain parts of the Titan's camp, Hades' army was even winning their little battles.
Halfway across the field from where Hades had left Coeus, the god saw the Titan. Coeus hobbled, a destroyed shell, as he hurried for a readied chariot. The Titan knocked aside two ipotanes as he reached the chariot. He hopped in the back and grasped the reins that connected to a bridled green and black hippogriff.
For a second, Hades contemplated chasing after the Titan but knew by the time he reached the area Coeus would be long gone. All the god could do is watch as the Titan snapped the reins, and ripped a cry from the beast's large, sickly-yellow beak. A heartbeat later the chariot raced across the battlefield. The hippogriff's huge wings flapped; knocked aside both Hades' and Coeus' troops. It launched itself and the Titan into the sky.
Most of the Titan's troops noticed their leader's departure and followed his lead. They fled their campsite in droves. Some of Hades' soldiers pursued them, but most let them be.
Hades let out a frustrated sigh. He shook his head, then busied himself helping his troops defeat those that remained of Coeus' army. When that task was done, the god tended to the wounded and gathered the dead to burn.
Though he knew it upset many of his soldiers, Hades grouped the dead members of Coeus' army into a separate pile that he later dosed with oil and lit. They deserved the same proper sendoff as his army. Many hadn't been horrible beings, just on the wrong side of the war.
As he turned away from the burning bodies, the god noticed a foot sticking out from underneath a beheaded, molted green drakon. He shifted the dead beast's scaly carcass aside and was surprised to find Ares. The godling's breast armor missed large chunks from the front, and the monochiton underneath was little more than shreds strung together by a few pieces of thread. The sticky black blood of the drakon coated one side of Ares's head and plastered his dark brown hair to his gorged right cheek. A rainbow of drying blood covered his toned legs and arms. The godling's eyes were shut, and his few patches of clear, visible skin was as pale as a drowned corpse.
Hades kicked his nephew in the side. He ensured his sandal wedged into a puncture mark. "Are you dead?"
Ares' eyelids drew back and exposed his red-brown colored eyes. He coughed, and a wheezing rattle followed; told Hades many of Ares' ribs had been broken. He groaned and half-heartedly swatted at Hades's foot.
"Help me," he begged.
Hades kneeled beside his nephew. "I'd rather you rot here. You deserve no better for what you've done. This mission failed. Soldiers we couldn't spare perished, and Coeus escaped."
"I had a shot and took it." Ares managed one of his petrifying glares. "It's your fault this happened."
"My fault?" Hades laughed. It kept him from strangling his nephew.
"Yes." Ares' color brightened as he fleshed out his denial. "I could have killed Coeus and captured his generals, but something hindered me." An idea sparked anger in his eyes. "You had it planned for me to mess up."
"I did now?" Hades mused, truly curious to hear Ares' delusions. Not only would they amuse him, but he'd like to know what lies he'd have to defend himself against when his nephew bawled to Zeus.
"You and those ugly bitches that are so hungry for cock they come to your sorry ass for release. They'll do anything you want, even betray Zeus."
"I highly doubt ridding the cosmos of your existence is much of a betrayal, and certainly the Fates have much more important things to do than waste their time arranging for something your idiotic behavior is going to result in any way." Hades smiled. "But I'll be sure to let them know. I bet it'll get a chuckle from the ladies."
Terror gripped Ares' face. Hades laughed again, patted his nephew's destroyed cheek until Ares shouted obscenities, and stood up. He turned from him and headed for the group of his soldiers nearby that still tended the wounded.
"Help me!" Ares screamed. The terrible noise made some of the nymphs and sprites shake.
One, an impressive young water nymph, Larasa, that had demanded she be offered the opportunity to avenge her family's slaughter, took a step toward the ass masquerading as a godling. Hades gripped her bony shoulder; stopped her. He shook his head.
"But…" Her eyes (they shimmered like the sun on a rippling stream) darted to Ares.
"If he wants to make it home, he'll tend to himself," Hades announced, loud enough to be heard by his entire army. Many nodded their agreement and flashed the godling looks full of bitter contempt they wouldn't have chanced if Ares wasn't so badly hurt.
"Yes, my Lord," Larasa mumbled and allowed Hades to turn her back to the more important task at hand.
Everyone else followed suit and left Ares to moan until he either died or pulled himself together.