wow your writing in the gods and monsters series is amazing! i've always loved greek myths and you bring them to life and add a different twist that makes it better than anything i've ever read about mythology!! if you have time, could you do a continuation of the Hades and Kore story? Kore/Persephone is one of my fav goddesses and i can't wait to see where you take her story!
The first time Kore throws herself into the River Styx, she is reckless and stubborn and feels like she has so little left to lose, only an overbearing mother she yearns to escape.
The first time Kore throws herself into the River Styx, she fights and swims and survives. She is picked up on the shore and carried to safety in Hades’s arms.
The second time Kore throws herself into the River Styx, she is reckless and stubborn and feels like she has everything to lose. She lets the water take her, and she drowns.
The second time Kore throws herself into the River Styx, it kills her.
Kore wakes up after falling unconscious while being carried by the King of the Underworld. Her skin is fully healed, no longer blistering and burning. She’s naked under the soft blankets, but she was naked when she dove into the river, so she’s not too worried about it.
“I didn’t know you were a goddess,” someone says, and she turns her head to see a little girl sitting by her bedside with black skin and grey eyes and hair. She’s glaring at her, “I wouldn’t have tried to kill you if I’d known. You shouldn’t touch my water – it’s not good for you. It will kill you. It does not care what you are.”
“It did not kill Achilles,” Kore says, pushing herself up so the blanket falls to her waist.
The young Lady Styx huffs and gets to her feet, pushing open the long wardrobe on the other side of the room. “It did, actually. What my river takes, it keeps.” Kore raises an eyebrow. Styx doesn’t explain further, only places a dark blue gown on the bed. “Hecate put some of her old things in here for you. She’s taller and thinner than you are. But you are a goddess. You can make it work.”
“I can,” Kore agrees, amused. She pushes herself out of bed, and her hair falls into her face.
Her hair has been a dark brown her whole life.
She strides over to the wardrobe and pulls it open, starring at herself in the mirror.
Her hair has turned pure, snowy white. The hair on her head of course, but the rest of it too. Her eyebrows, the light hair on her arms and legs, going down her navel, the hair between her legs – all of it white.
“You’re lucky nothing worse happened,” Styx scolds. “My river usually does much worse than that.”
Kore touches one of her new, pale eyebrows. “That is an excellent point, Lady Styx.”
With some clever magic, Kore pulls on the now perfectly fitting gown. Hecate doesn’t tend to bother with them, only dresses up if there’s some sort of celebration that requires her attendance – something that hasn’t happened in a long time, ever since she irritated Zeus and Poseidon to the point that they called for her head on a spike. The gown is old, even by their standards, but its beautifully crafted, stars plucked from the heavens and sewn into the bodice, waves from the seven seas curling around the long skirt. “This is very valuable,” she says, “Is Hecate sure she would like me to have it?”
Styx shrugs, “She said it was a young woman’s dress, and however she may look, she’s not a young woman any more. It’s my favorite dress of hers – I was quite cross that she gave it to you, but I did almost kill you. So I suppose that’s fair enough.”
“Ah,” Kore says, not quite sure how to respond to that. “I see.”
Styx grins at her and grabs her hand. The child goddess’s skin is freezing to the touch, but Kore doesn’t flinch back out of fear of being rude. “Come with me now. Hades wants to see you.”
The girl leads her through the twisting hallways to a polished wooden door. It’s not the throne room, where Kore thought that the girl would take her. She’s seen the grand inner chambers of Poseidon and Zeus’s homes before, of the lesser gods even, and Kore braces herself for something just as grandiose and intimidating.
Styx opens the door and pushes her inside before vanishing.
Kore blinks and looks around.
The room is smaller than she expected. It’s lined with shelves packed with scrolls, and mounted on the opposite wall is large map that’s constantly shifting and changing, and it take her almost a full minute of looking at it to realize it’s a map of the underworld.
“You’re looking better.”
Kore’s eyes snap down, and it’s only then that she notices the figure of Hades, King of the Underworld, hunched over his desk. His hair pulled in messy low ponytail, and there are dark bags under his eyes. He’s in a simple black chiffon, one no more presumptuous than any mortal noble would wear. He’s the most unassuming, unremarkable thing in already unassuming, unremarkable room.
Suddenly, she feels over-dressed.
“Thank you,” she says, not knowing what else to say. She feels – awkward, almost, in front of him, which isn’t something she’s ever felt with anyone. She wants to climb into his lap and rest her head against his shoulder. She wants to force him into some proper clothes for a king. She wants to put him to bed and make him sleep until he loses those bruises under his eyes.
She’s never wanted to do any of those things for anyone before. She doesn’t even know him.
Although – she knows he came for her. That he found an intruder into his realm and picked her up and soothed her, carried her to safety and washed her of the corrosive water of the Styx. He placed her in his palace and did not touch her as so many other men would have touched her.
So perhaps she does know him. At least a little.
He rests his chin on his hand while he looks at her. “Hermes came with a message from your mother, demanding your return.” She doesn’t even have the time to panic before he continues, “I denied her. If she wishes to speak to me in person, I told her she is welcome to step into my realm herself.”
“She won’t do that,” Kore says, “She fears your realm. She fears how her power means nothing in your domain.”
Kore had never known her mother to fear anything – except the land of the dead. She’d grown up thinking Hades must be a hulking, formidable figure to pull fear from her mother’s breast, but that’s clearly not the case.
He smiles, and it’s the first hint of sharpness she’s seen from him. “I know. There will be consequences, of course. But those are my concern. You are a guest of my realm, Goddess of Spring. Walk where you please, and do as you please. No one will stop you.”
He’s already looking back down at his papers, eyebrows drawing together as he scratches out a series of numbers and rewrites them. It’s a clear dismissal, but Kore can’t bring herself to move.
She’s never met this man before. Yet he stands against her mother, yet he welcomes her to his realm, yet he permits unrestricted access to his home, yet he grants her every freedom he’s able.
“Thank you,” she says again. He gives an absent nod, already reaching for another scroll.
She leaves as quietly as she came.