Olympian Confessions: Hades and Persephone

Olympian Confessions: Hades and Persephone

by Erin Kinsella


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781491776483
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/06/2016
Pages: 324
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.73(d)

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Olympian Confessions: Hades and Persephone

By Erin Kinsella


Copyright © 2015 Erin Kinsella
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4917-7648-3



"Hades, stop them!" Hera's voice rips through the chaos, sharp and piercing as an arrow through flesh. The earth heaves as I wrench my power upwards, a roaring wall of stone and soil barrelling towards those who have come to destroy us. Having grown paranoid beyond reason, our father, Cronus, has summoned together his siblings, the primordial Titans. Cronus swallowed my siblings and myself the moment we were born; afraid that we would threaten his authority and only Zeus was spared. Zeus is the youngest of us and was protected by our mother, Rhea. He is the one who freed us and consequently created the very circumstance our father feared. We follow him in honor of our liberation from that dark prison and we have agreed to make him our King if we are successful in this war. Now we battle the Titans to gain our sovereignty, fighting for the very right to exist. Zeus rains lightning from the heavens and I struggle against the blinding light to see my opponents, who only appear in alternating flashes of light and dark. The seas crash around us, raging to boiling point as Poseidon thrashes against his foes.

Shrapnel bursts around me as a boulder collides with the ground, crushing a Titan about to bring down his fists upon my spine. I plunge my power into the earth, spiraling it up and around, snatching up Titans close by and hurling them into the roiling oceans. The waves conspire, dragging them beneath the water; caging them where they might languish in torment, their immortality forbidding their demise. Some of the Titans have sided with us, fighting by our side against the tyranny of Cronus, but most follow my father, struggling viciously against us.

Demeter forges vines from the ground, using them to strangle any who come within reach of her, subduing them so they cannot move or breathe. A few lose their heads from the force of the constriction. I rub my own throat, conscious that if I surprised her I could be the recipient of such actions. There is no death among us, but there are worse things in this world than death. Every injury that occurs will slow someone down, forcing them to fall back and heal. Our only hope is that we can deal out enough damage to weaken them sufficiently to contain them before they rise up again.

My siblings and those fighting with us all wear gold, to help distinguish us from the Titans in my father's battalions. The years of battle have left our distinctive color stained by dirt and blood, barely visible in the chaos. The shrieks of fury and sound of thunder are overwhelming and I battle on, hoping that soon the end will come. Ensnared in this ritual of slaughter, I focus on breathing, in and out, not allowing myself to become distracted by the hot spatter of blood or the raging limbs that aim to remove my head from my body.

A torrent of fire races towards me and I am knocked breathless to the ground by the small, fierce body of my sister, Hestia. The eldest of us all, she is sweet and quiet by nature and was a flickering light of consolation during our entrapment. Yet, even she must tap into her skills as a warrior if she ever is to find peace. The heat makes my eyes water and I feel the flesh down my arm and back begin to bubble. Her eyes flash with power and flames erupt from her fingertips, scouring the very flesh off the one who had attacked us. I know none of their names for we flew almost immediately into battle when we were freed from the darkness of my father's belly. The scent of ash and smoke fills my nose, clouding my lungs. I press down the urge to cough knowing that any wasted moment could mean the defeat of my family. I scramble across the heaving ground, fighting on, forging ever forward into the landscape of war. Hands close around my head from behind and a sick twist leaves me limp and unseeing, the agony of separated bone searing through my spine.

I burst awake. Sweat coats my skin and the air scrapes against my lungs. I suck in deep breaths despite the acute discomfort, using the sensation to bring myself back to reality. The silk fabric enclosing my body feels too tight and I untangle myself from the bed. The icy feel of the marble floors against my feet a welcome relief. I am safe. The Titanomache, the Great War that nearly destroyed us all, is over. My father and those who stood with him have been locked in Tartarus, the darkest and deepest part of the Underworld, for millennia. Now we are the rulers of the known world, the Olympians, Gods of immense power. Yet even now seeing the fires of Phlegethon that contain that dark realm makes me remember the flames of that battle.

I run a hand over my arm where the physical scar of the flame has long since healed, but in my dreams the vicious burning still remains. I splash water from an urn onto my face, hoping the freshness will drive away the last of the dream. The nightmare, I correct. Even now, thousands of years after we succeeded in taking power from the Titans, I cannot escape the dreams. I take a moment to survey my room. It is stark and black, composed of marble floors and walls with a bed too large for a single person. I am alone and have been so for many thousands of years, but I have created my home in the guise of a place that has a large family. The last time I shared proper companionship was when I dwelt within the belly of my father amongst my siblings. Since the end of the Titanomache, I have resided in the Underworld serving as the Guardian of Tartarus to ensure that the Titans never rise again, never challenge Olympian rule. In order to do so I have given up many things, but such things are worth the security of my family. So I tell myself, at least.

A shudder glides up my spine as I shake the images of chaos from my mind. Honestly, I am not entirely alone; not the alone that comes from lack of physical proximity to others at least. Since Prometheus created man I have become the Guardian of Souls as well. The first death brought forth Thanatos, the Collector of Souls and the Guardian of the Doors of Death. He frees the mortals from their suffering and Hermes, the Psychopompos, brings the souls to me. We three are the Keepers of Death, the Collector, the Guide and the Caretaker. They are a great comfort to me, but such intermittent companionship leaves me desiring more. Duty does not console loneliness, no matter how I might try to convince myself that it does.



"I am not dead!" The cry rings out, one that has been repeated many times before by many others. I join Thanatos and Charon, the Ferryman in Erebus, where the souls await the ferry that takes them properly into the realm. Souls sometimes do not understand that they have moved on without their bodies and require some convincing to cooperate. Thanatos guides them over the River Styx and across the outer borders of the realm, but Charon is responsible for safely transporting them across the River Acheron.

The rich scent of water and earth permeates the air, thick with moisture. I inhale the soothing aroma and prepare myself to deal with the rambunctious spirit. Charon has dealt with them in the past, but after a few thousand protests he has started to tune them out and his patience runs thinner with every century.

"But you are, now get in the boat." Charon stands with arms crossed, staring down the frantic soul.

"No!" The spirit shouts. "I am not dead." Spirits, shades, souls, whatever name they go by, tend to have a profound transitional period after death. They quite easily accept leaving their body, until they arrive in the realm where they will be judged for the choices they made in life.

This spirit in particular still maintains a faded appearance of his mortal body, bearing flaxen hair and gray eyes. He is making a valiant attempt at appearing brave, chewing a trembling lip and clutching his fists firmly together in front of his belly. Fear radiates off him like the stench of a carcass left too long in the sun. He struggles to raise his eyes to meet my gaze, succeeding for only a fraction of a second before his head drops once more.

"You are in the Underworld," I reason, "so you must either be dead or an intruder to my realm."

I can see the desire to flee almost overwhelm him, a shiver rippling from his toes to the top of his head. Until souls get used to being without a body, they behave much as they would if they were still in possession of one. You can see non-existent muscles bunch in preparation to fight or flee; sweat breaks across a brow; cheeks flush red with blood.

"I am the son of Gods." He insists. "I should not be here, I should be immortal." He does a decent job of not stuttering, speaking slowly and with great deliberation.

This claim is not uncommon, given that the males of Olympus have rather prolific affairs and consequently a plethora of demigod children roaming the earth. It is far too much effort to keep track of things in the mortal world and most of the time I only become aware of individuals or events when they arrive at my own doors. Honestly, the apocalypse could occur up there and I would not know until all the souls came for processing.

I request the information of his parentage and find him to be a son of Zeus and a nymph named Aegina. Unfortunately nymphs are vulnerable to death, their lives depending upon a single source in nature. This prevents their children from actually achieving immortality, which I convey to the spirit.

He staggers back, nearly toppling a line of waiting shades. I take a deep breath, willing myself to be calm. Immortals are not very even tempered by nature, but I have cultivated patience by necessity since my emotions are so intimately connected to the realm. If I become agitated, that energy spreads out and agitates the souls. I cannot allow the souls in my care to suffer because I lack control.

I summon two daemons, earth spirits that have pledged their service to the Underworld, and have them escort the soul onto the boat. He struggles against Pamphilos and Aeschylus, but they restrain him easily. The other souls pile into the boat behind him and Charon ferries them all over Acheron. The rushing black water is infused with all of the misery of the mortal world, it drains away into the depths of Gaia where it is cleansed. We would rather not have any souls topple overboard and be cleansed away along with the waters, so restraints are sometimes necessary.

I assess the situation carefully, no God has come to intervene for him, as they sometimes do for their favorites or ones that have offered grave insult, so I am free to judge him as I see fit. The spirit is muttering about how he needs to go home, how his family and kingdom need him. I take another deep breath and set out to root out the core of him, the part not crippled by fear.

"They will manage, it is the nature of death and succession. If you have raised your family well they will care for your kingdom." I opt to take him straight to Judgement and have the daemons carry him up the stairs and settle him across from me at a long stone table. I unfurl his tapestry. These tapestries are woven by the Moirae, the Fates, and record all of the choices made by mortals during their lives. Through those choices I can determine whether they should spend their eternities in the realms of Elysium, Asphodel or Tartarus. These three realms are the holders of Paradise, Peace and Punishment, respectively.

Aeacus' most notable moment on the tapestry is when he had been selected as an adjudicator for the Olympians. Only mortals considered to be just and fair above all others are generally selected for such a role. An idea kindles and I give it a moment to flare to life. I pour Aeacus a cup of wine, the crimson liquid enchanted so that he can taste it. The fizzy texture of the enchantment tickles my throat, but it stokes the little fire. After a few sips of the drink I can see Aeacus' cheeks flush and I propose my idea.

"I am often running behind on Judgements, due to the vast number of souls and only myself to decide their eternities. If my kin saw fit to use you as an adjudicator, I wonder if you might be willing to do the same for me. If you, and others like you, would consent to forestall Elysium then I would employ you as a Judge of the Underworld."

Aeacus chokes briefly on the wine as he takes a large gulp. It fortifies him, allowing fear to clear so his choice can be made without extraneous emotions clouding his judgement. "It would be an honor to be of service to the Gods once more."

"Then we are agreed?" He nods and I bind the last threads of his tapestry in gold and claim him for myself. "I will have the daemons set you up with your own quarters in the Palace and while I search for others to assist, you may begin your study of Judgement."



Hermes lets out a low chuckle, swirling a cup of nectar in a pewter goblet. We are on a rare break, lounging in the Great Hall of the Palace. The expansive room is detailed in black marble with a cavernous ceiling that holds glowing crystals for light. It can comfortably hold about three hundred people, but on most occasions it holds no more than two or three of us. Upon this occasion it is only Hermes and I sitting at the long table that fills the center of the room.

"They have started on your temple, but they tremble as they work. I suspect they fear you might rise out of the earth and punish them for laying the stonework improperly." Hermes has pale skin, black curls and mischievous eyes that glitter with humor.

I cannot help the sigh that releases in a huff of breath. "They would not need to fear me if they were just decent people." I mutter into my drink, swirling the sweet, fruity liquid over my tongue before setting down the cup. The emptiness of the room amplifies the clacking sound of pewter against stone.

"They look to us for guidance in morality," he reminds me, "it is a wonder that any of them make it to Elysium at all. They are right to fear you." He stretches his arms above his head, leaning his brow forward so his black curls bounce carelessly. Whipping his head back he sprawls out in the chair like a dog in front of a hearth. "I challenge you to name one of our kin that has not committed some travesty that would get a mortal barred from paradise."

"Well, Hestia never leaves her hearth at Olympus, so perhaps her." My eldest sister is the rightful heir to the Olympian throne, but she, like the rest of us, agreed to Zeus' ascension to the throne and she seemed content to tend the hearth of Palace and live out her days in peace. "Otherwise I can think of none, unless there were some new Gods born that no one told me about."

"Actually," Hermes swallows down the last of the nectar in his cup, "there is one." Of course there would have been an Olympian born and I am not informed. Clearly I am not deemed important enough to alert when familial events such as this occurs. A spike of irritation flares in my belly and the sensation must have been obvious on my face for Hermes throws up his hands in a defensive posture. "Demeter has kept the poor girl locked up since her birth, even I have only recently discovered she exists. She cannot be more than a year old though, so news still travels quickly."

It is exceptionally uncommon for any deity to go unknown. Traditionally they flaunt themselves, exposing their names and gifts to the mortal world and one another as soon as possible. I am not particularly knowledgeable about my sister, given that I took up my place in the Underworld after the Titanomache, and she tends to ignore the other Olympians with every fiber of her being. I know only that she gifted mankind with the knowledge of Agriculture, and that she has one other child, a Horse-God named Arion, who was fathered by Poseidon, despite her protests. I would imagine that this new daughter is fathered by Zeus since it seems unlikely she ever let Poseidon get near her again.

"How are the mortals to know the name of this new Goddess if Demeter will not even expose her to her own family?" Demeter is denying the poor girl her entire purpose. The Gods must serve the mortals and the mortals must know their names and worship them.


Excerpted from Olympian Confessions: Hades and Persephone by Erin Kinsella. Copyright © 2015 Erin Kinsella. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Olympian Confessions: Hades and Persephone 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite Olympian Confessions: Hades and Persephone by Erin Kinsella finds Persephone stuck in the security of her home on Olympus, with her mother, the goddess Demeter, constantly watching over her, and her only friends being the nymphs selected to look out for her. She's determined to prove herself as more than Demeter's daughter. When she gets the chance to attend a festival, she catches the attention of the last person she expects: the Lord of the Underworld, Hades. When Hades sees Persephone for the first time, he doesn't expect to be so drawn to her. As the two of them become closer, Demeter grows angrier and the mortals suffer in her wrath as their crops die. Persephone is determined to prove that she's capable of bringing life back to the mortals and a new future to the Underworld. Demeter is one of the main antagonists against Persephone, fully believing that Hades is as bad as Zeus and Poseidon, and blaming him for everything they have done. She has a controlling and wrathful nature, but Erin Kinsella gives her many layers, and draws sympathy for the character and that allows for a certain amount of understanding of her actions. However, Kinsella makes it very clear who the villains of the story are. Hades and Persephone's love is something sweet in the darkness of this world of gods, finding happiness even during tragedy and the brewing of war. On the surface, Olympus has always been seen as a paradise, but it's clear that this isn't a paradise as Zeus and other gods are truly the villains playing with women and mortals like toys. Olympus is a place where Persephone feels suffocated and trapped, using the Underworld as a means to escape, but it's also a place where real beauty is found. It's a place where she finds love and a home. One of the amazing parts of the story is how the daemons are flipped, and aren't evil; instead they're friends and allies, with Evaristus being one of the sweetest characters. Hades and Persephone is an amazing read for those that obsess over mythology retellings, one that's beautifully written with a sweet twist of a love story, the darkness of the gods, and a strong-willed Persephone who becomes the hero the gods need.
Floofs More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I've hardly ever read a book with an engaging mythological heroine. The cover is beautiful, the characters are beautiful and I can feel like I have a connection to the character, like she's someone who exists RIGHT NOW. This is an amazing book,
Dawn_H More than 1 year ago
Hades and Persephone is unique novel in the greek mythos. Distinct from the over erotic, ultra romantic or generally modern-era YA seen, Persephone can be seen as a truly strong female character, with Hades taking a break from a dark and mysterious or villainous role. The characters are powerful, believable, and we experience many points in Greek mythology involving these characters (The Trojan War, the Judges and more). Fantastic book that's not pure fantasy, and is a blend of action and romance!