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Pen Your Pride

Chapter One

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Chapter One

*Note: This is part of a series! Read "Inferi" first!

Tartarus.

Known as the darkest pit of the underworld where the worst of the worst were held prisoner and tormented for all eternity in order to pay for their crimes. A land of eternal heat, darkness that was only illuminated by the flames used to torture the damned. It was a place that no one wanted to find themselves spending their time.

Dark, eerie cells lining the walls inside a deep trench where escape was impossible. Hallways that led deep into the cores of the Earth, holding the Titans that fought long and hard against today's Greek pantheon. The sky was a thick blanket of black rolling clouds, the reflection of explosion and flashing flames below casting eerie flashes and glows across the articial sky.

And at the center of the trench that swirled through Tartarus was a prestine white palace, designed to look somewhat similiar to the Parthenon in Athens. Several sharp towers stuck up around it, however, the only clean white things within sight of all the blackness that Tartarus was. A mere hole in the ground with a pearl laying at rest there.

To most, Tartarus was the equivalent of the Christian Hell.

A dark, terrible place for damned souls.

To me, Tartarus was what I had come to call both my home and my prison.

I am Zelios, Warden of Tartarus, third son of Hades.

My entire life revolved about the hell hole that thousands so rightly feared. I was the warden of this darkness. I handed out the punishments, I was in charge of them. Their very lives were in the palm of my hand, and I could do whatever I wished with them-- most of the time. While I was in charge of Tartarus, I also answered to a higher power.

And that higher power was Hades, god of the underworld. Of course, every power answered to one that was higher and Hades usually went along with Zeus, king of the gods. Although, there were times when Hades very much disagreed with Zeus and did things on his own, much to Zeus' chagrin, but thousands of centuries had made Zeus slightly milder and he merely brushed Hades' defiance off and gossiped about him behind his back instead.

Another cold reality. Gods may be gods, but gods also had mouths, just like humans and daemons and any other creature on the planet. And with mouths came gossip and rumors and cruelty. There were times when I wished there was no such thing as speaking, but then, if that were the case, I would never hear the one voice that brought me peace.

"Zelios, I'm going insane!"

This was actually the fourth time in the past hour that my righthand, Noe, had repeated this. He was referring to the fact that he was on lock down after we were promptly informed that the Titans were yet again plotting an escape plan. An escape plan that involved the use of an Oracle.

Oracles were a rather terrifying breed. Once only human, and now on occasion a lesser creature, oracles were used by the gods to send messages or do their bidding in their stead. Oracles were not the dainty beautiful things that movies portrayed either. Oracles were beasts. The power that was fed through them by the gods was so intense that at times, it could drive them to insanity. Rumor had it that even their physical appearance changed to that of true demonic beings with fangs and deformed wings, claws and even their speech became distorted.

And I would do anything within my power to keep Noe from experiencing such agony.

"You must be patient." I told Noe calmly as I sat at my wood desk in my office, scanning prison logs in order to ensure that the Titans were being fed as much grigora as possible. Grigora being the only sure fire way of poisoning gods, reducing their power and making them as weak as kittens.

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