Bride of the Underworld

Hades was lonely. Both its King and land had a morbid atmosphere that seemed to repel even the most gruesome of creatures. Despite his need to remain unbiased and unmoved, Hades was not devoid of emotion. He hadn’t minded the seldom in his youth. He’d been a strong leader, seamlessly ruling the Underworld for generations. In his own opinion he ran his kingdom better than either of his brothers. Zeus ruled the heavens as his own personal alter, and the Earth below praised him to no end, sacrificing their best crops and livestock, inflating his brother’s oversized ego. The ocean was as temperamental as its ruler. It was a food chain, which Poseidon had seated himself on top of. Hades on the other hand had harmonised the Underworld, as ironic as that sounded. He’d split the lands into the Elysian Fields, the Asphodel Fields, and the Fields of Punishment, and created a judging system to incorporate equality for the afterlife. He’d done all this, while ensuring the borders of Tartarus didn’t spill over into his lands. Yet he was still considered the evil one, the unfair one. But none of that had bothered him, he knew the connotations his rule and kingdom would carry, and he took pride in it, especially when compared to the kingdoms of his brothers. Though their realms had one thing his did not. His brothers had Queens with whom they could share their rule. Queens who could share the burden of running a kingdom. But more importantly someone with whom they could spend eternity with.

It was difficult for Hades to find a Queen. Part of the reason as to why his realm had been functioning so well after all these years was the fact that he’d never left. It required his full attention, and that had come at the price of forming relationships and finding a bride. It was a price he’d been happy to pay in his youth. He’d enjoyed the power. To be worshipped and feared as both a God and a king, brought a supremacy that only few to exist would ever understand. But the loneliness had set in. He often found himself wandering the Asphodel Fields, pondering what could have been had he not taken on the role of ruler of the Underworld. Perhaps he could have shared a far less stressful life with someone, just as his brothers seemed to achieve. Zeus, Poseidon, how easy they’d had it. How lucky they were to bear such little responsibility compared to his own. They took what they had for granted. Especially Zeus. Hades often felt compassion for Hera. The way his brother prostituted himself, especially amongst the mortals. A few of the residents of the Underworld were results of Hera’s justifiable wrath towards Zeus’ affairs. But he could dwell no longer on what he did not have, it was time for change.

He left his throne room and headed towards the Fields of Punishment, he’d finally hit the limit of his loneliness.

He could hear the tormented screams of those who’d lived lives of sin and transgression as he drew nearer to the torture plains.

He was in search of his most trusted servants, the Furies.

He found them by the lava pools, forcing a few of the damned to swim.

“Alecto, Megaera, Tisiphone,” Hades greeted.

“Lord Hades,” they said simultaneously, bowing before him. “How may we serve you?” their shrill voices asked.

“I have business I need to attend to in the worlds above. Until my return, the Underworld will be in your command.”

“As you wish my Lord,” they replied, still speaking in unison.

He’d put much thought into his decision. He trusted the Furies to maintain his kingdom until he returned. It was time Hades found himself a bride.

His search began in the mortal world. As much as he despised humans, and his brother’s infernal unions with them, he believed they would be more pleasant than taking a Goddess of Olympus to be his bride. Other than the fact that Goddess’ were pretentious and frankly, unbearable, they all despised Hades. The stigma of being the morbid ruler of the dead had manifested Hades’ reputation to be as grim as the lands in which he ruled. It is why he deemed a mortal the more appropriate choice. They were a clean slate, there was no predetermined decision made up about him. Besides it seemed mortals were jumping at the chance to sleep with Gods these days. Perhaps they held endearing qualities Hades had not seen from the depths of his realm…

He started in Crete, the lands which had raised his brother. The lands in which his head judge Minos had ruled so well. Unfortunately, all that stood strong and proud were the mountains, born in a time before man, and by the state of Crete they would certainly outlast its inhabitants. The mortals were just as dirty as the flea markets in which they worked. Disguised in dark robes, concealing his unusually pale skin, Hades trawled the streets only to feel infested by the scavenging and lack of wealth these lands had to offer. He was the lord of wealth; he could not stand another second in such a rundown place, let alone find a Queen to share in his riches.

He left Crete, teleporting himself to the land of warriors, Sparta. The men of Sparta were said to be the fiercest warriors in the world. Only a well fed and looked after man could have the type of strength that would build this sort of reputation. Though upon experiencing Sparta firsthand Hades discovered he was once again wrong. Spartan woman seemed to have more freedom than expected, there was a sense of equality here that seemed to be the first of its kind. In fact, the women seemed to control their male counterparts. They were promiscuous, demanding, and in some cases adulterous all with minimal consequence. They were undeserving of Hades’ love, and unworthy of a kingdom.

Leaving Sparta he travelled to the heart of Greece, the city that had won the affections of his niece, his brother’s favoured daughter. Athens was large and populated. It was said to be the most honourable of the Greek lands, however, once again Hades had been deceived by his expectations. Unlike Sparta, Athenian women were considered second class to men. They were expected to wait on them hand and foot. It was a trait of the city that Hades took a liking to. That was until he looked beyond the face value of having a wife who was almost no different to a slave. They seemed to have little to no voice, loyal they were, but with no spirit. Their inferiority and lack of education turned them into objects, unfit to lead their own lives let alone lead the largest kingdom in the world. 

Disappointed Hades teleported himself from Athens. He had no place in mind when he left, he let fate decide his destination. He was too overwhelmed with sadness to care where he was going. He knew he would not find a bride in the world of mortals. He appeared in large flowery field, not too different to his own Asphodel Field. He found a large stone to sit on. He sat there, devoid of thought as he came to terms with the fact that he was destined to spend his days, an eternity, alone.

He didn’t know how long he’d been sitting there for. He could have been sitting there for minutes or maybe centuries. When you were immortal, it was easy for a moment to last forever and stretch out through the millennia.

He became distracted by movement out in the fields. He watched closely from afar as he concealed himself with his Helm of Darkness. It was a woman, she was skipping through the field with a group of nymphs. It wasn’t unheard of for mortals to associate with nature spirits, though it was rare. The woman, however, there was a heavenly grace about the way she moved. It was nothing like he’d seen so far in his travels through the mortal realm. As she drew nearer, he got a better look at her. She was stunning. She had a Godly beauty. She laughed with her nymph friends. Hades was enthralled. She would be his. He stood to approach but was stopped by a bright flash of light in the field beside the girl. He sat back down, laying low. A flash like that only meant one thing, the appearance of a God. He watched to learn why this woman had caught the attention of another deity.

He recognised who had appeared almost immediately. It was his sister, Demeter. She despised Hades. Not that he’d ever done anything untoward to her. For her, Hades personified death, whereas she was the lady of growth, no matter how hard either party had tried in the past, they never seemed to get along. They shared an unspoken disdain for one and other.

The woman greeted the Goddess warmly, as if they knew each other. Curious, Hades listened in on their conversation. It was rare for Demeter to associate with mortals. What made this gorgeous girl so special?

“These nymphs are my friends,” the girl said defensively to Demeter.

“You spend far too much time here. This world is dangerous, and frankly it is beneath us” Demeter replied.

“But there is so much beauty here, Mother,” the girl whined.

Hades was taken back, Mother? He’d hadn’t heard of Demeter bearing a child with a mortal as of late, let alone taking this much interest in her demigod child’s life. Then Hades remembered a rumour spoken to him many years ago. A whisper of gossip. That Zeus had forced himself on Demeter, fathering a child with her, a daughter named Persephone. It all made sense to Hades now. No wonder he’d become so captivated by this woman. She was a Goddess, no less one of the few pure Goddess’ left. Her birth was still young, she was yet to be exposed to the promiscuity of the Gods of Olympus.

He watched as the two Goddess’ disappeared, no doubt returning to Demeter’s dwelling in the heavens above.

Hades vowed this girl would be his. However, he knew Demeter would never allow it. She harboured too much hateful prejudice towards him. But he was enchanted. Fate had brought him to this field. Persephone was destined to be his queen.

He returned to the field every day for the next two weeks with a plan. He knew he could not waltz into Olympus without raising suspicion, and as soon as Demeter felt like Hades had taken a liking to Persephone, she would do everything in her power to prevent Persephone from ever being with him. She would taint her daughter’s mind with ill-conceived portrayals of him.

He was going to await her return to this field, then he would whisk her away to the Underworld. It was an act of romance, a literal sweeping her off her feet moment. He would give her a kingdom to rule, and all the riches in the world.

Eventually after a fortnight’s wait, she returned. She was as beautiful as he remembered. Her long flowing hair swayed in the wind as she moved gracefully through the flowers.

From where he hid Hades whipped the reigns on the horses of his chariot. He sped towards her. She did not see him coming. As gently as possible, he pulled her into his arms as the chariot raced past her. He held her close, as the chariot raced towards a chasm in the ground that would take them directly to the Underworld. He smiled down at her, but she looked at him with fear. She was muttering something. It was a prayer. She was calling out to Zeus for help. She hadn’t seen the romance in his gesture. He let her be, he could explain himself when they returned to his home, no, their home.

Upon arrival he took her to his palace. She had passed out on the way down, so he carried her to his chambers where he lay her under the covers to rest. Fearing she may try to escape he locked all the doors to his palace and set hell hounds to roam the palace grounds. They were there as a precaution simply to warn him if she tried to escape. All he needed was a chance to explain to her what he’d be giving her, to express his love for her.

He paced outside her bedroom, waiting for her to wake.

The doors to her room started slamming. “Let me out!” she demanded.

He reached for the handle but stopped. He’d realised he’d never spoken to Persephone before, nor did he know how to explain why he’d brought her here against her will. He took a moment to plan how’d he’d approach the situation. 

He decided to walk away. As the overseer of the Fields of Punishment there was one thing he knew, and that was how to deal with prisoners. He found prisoners were often more docile when they understood that there was no escape, that they had no leverage. Not that Persephone was a prisoner, but she seemed to feel that way for the time being.

He magically sealed the doors, preventing her Godly strength from smashing them open and left her to herself.

She smashed at the doors all night, for three nights straight. 

On the fourth day his palace was dead silent. The banging had stopped, the screaming had stopped, and the incoherent prayers to his brother, her father, had stopped. He cautiously opened the door and peered in. She was sitting by the window, gazing out to the Asphodel Fields.

“I mean you no harm,” he said, entering the room slowly.

She looked at him weakly, “what do you want of me Lord Hades?”

He was taken back, “you know of me?”

She nodded, “you are the cold-hearted spiteful Lord of the Dead, there is not a mortal or immortal soul that does not know of you.”

He paused, it was as he feared, the falsities of his being had tainted her otherwise pure mind.

“Yes, I carry a grave task in the order of life, but rumours of my being have been greatly hyperbolised,” he said in an attempt to persuade her.

“Did you not kidnap me? Take me away from the beauty of the world, bringing me to this dark sullen place,” she responded dryly.

“I wish to make you my bride, the Queen of the Underworld. You can enjoy all the riches you desire,” he offered.

She shook her head; “my desire lies with my Godly duties. I bring life to the world, help the Earth bear fruit and crops, even now I can feel a slight darkness fill the lands in my absence.”

“Your mother is more than capable in ensuring the growth of crops. She did it for years prior to your birth,” he replied growing frustrated. “I offer you a new, far grander calling.”

She glared at him,  having become annoyed herself. “I do not, nor will I ever accept your offer, I demand you release me at once,” she shouted.

Hades frowned, he pushed down the bubble of anger that had grown within, the urge to smite this Goddess where she stood. He rarely ever let his emotions rise to surface, the Underworld would fail if they did, but in moments of frustration, in moments like this, when events did not pan out as planned, he struggled to contain his wrath. However, he had to control himself or she would be further warded off by him.

“You shall learn to be grateful for this gift I have offered you,” he growled dangerously. “Perhaps some time without any food will sway your decision.” 

He left the room, locking her in her chambers once again. He did not want to resort to such measures, but his time in the Underworld had proven they were effective.

He didn’t want to starve her, she deserved far better than that, she deserved endless feasts. He felt guilty, but he ignored the ill feeling, these were short term measures. Once the dust settled, he would treat her to banquets that would bring jealousy to Zeus and all the Gods of Olympus. She would soon learn to love him, and her new life.

It had been a week since he’d last spoken to Persephone. He’d imagined she’d be hungry by now. But every time he attempted to interact with her it had ended poorly. He’d kept himself busy with the duties he’d been neglecting since he first left to look for a Queen. Granted the Furies had done a fine job, specifically in the Fields of punishment, as they always did, there had been issues with other two factions of his realm. Thankfully however, the borders to Tartarus remained intact. The furies had brought their expertise in punishment into Elysium as they managed it in his absence, bringing hints of physical pain and emotional hurt. They’d told him they felt the Elysian fields were otherwise too unrealistic. This left Hades with the tedious task of overseeing that all members of the Elysian fields bathe in the River Lethe as they may forget what little torment that had been inflicted upon them in a place that was meant to be absent of suffering. On top of this he was tracking down wayward souls of the wicked who’d managed to escape the fields of punishment while the Furies had been preoccupied in the other areas of the Underworld. A few of them had trickled into the Asphodel Fields, which added to Hades’ job. Now he was wading through the field with a pack of Hell Hounds, tracking the scent of the escapees. As he moved through his mundane duties his mind was still preoccupied by Persephone. At first, he was plagued by how difficult it had been so far. He couldn’t understand how a maiden as fair as she would not consent to the offer of becoming a Queen to the largest and richest kingdom across the realms. But now rumours were swelling that Demeter had discovered the nature of her daughter’s disappearance. He knew she would not dare venture into the Underworld, nor would she be able to inflict any damage to him, he was after all more powerful than her, especially in his own realm.

He was pulled from his thoughts by the sound of flapping overhead. He looked up to see Hermes floating down to him.

“Lord Hades,” the messenger God greeted.

“Nephew,” Hades nodded back.

Despite their familial relationship Hermes did not treat Hades with friendliness, much like the rest of his family. Like the mortals they feared him, all bar his two brothers with equal power and might, Zeus and Poseidon. 

“I bring news from my father,” Hermes replied. “He has requested, on behalf of Demeter, the return of Persephone.”

Hades sighed in annoyance; he hadn’t expected Demeter to bring Zeus into this. She had a strained relationship with him. Though a thought occurred to him, if she had gone to Zeus, her former abuser, she must have been truly desperate. She could not bring Persephone back herself, so she’d gone to Zeus hoping he would sway Hades’ hand, but Hades knew all Zeus could do was demand it. He knew is brother would not come himself, he would not care enough about the situation to wage war against the Underworld, especially when he probably did not see any wrong in Hades actions in claiming Persephone. It would by hypocritical otherwise.

“You may tell my brother,” Hades’ said, addressing Hermes, “that Persephone has elected to remain in the Underworld to rule by my side as queen.”

“Very well,” Hermes sighed, before his winged sandals carried him out of the Underworld.

Hades, leaving his Hell Hounds with the task of tracking down the escaped souls on their own, made his way back to the palace. He knew this wouldn’t be Demeter’s only play at having her daughter returned, he had to fast track convincing Persephone now. He’d devised a last resort plan to ensure she would remain in the Underworld; however, it involved a level a trickery and deception he did not want to impose on his bride to be. However, time was short, he no longer had a choice.

He knocked on her door, slowly opening it. He peered through to see a lamp hurtling towards his head. He ducked for cover behind the door as it smashed into pieces. He peered in the room again, Persephone was sat on the bed pouting with her arms crossed.

“I’m allowing you to leave,” he said walking in.

She raised an eyebrow at him. She was sceptical. “What is it you want?”

“All I ask is that before you leave you take a walk with me through the Underworld. After that I shall have Charon ferry you back to the mortal world,” he replied.

She still looked cynical but accepted his offer.

He was hoping that she would see the kingdom he offered her and by the end of the walk, feel compelled to stay and rule by his side. Should she still opt to leave, he had an alternative measure prepared.

He started their tour at the ferry post along the River Styx. It was, after all, the most famous river in the world. Only few had gazed upon it with living eyes. They could even see Charon in the distance, ferrying across a load of souls.

He looked at Persephone as he explained how it all worked, but she frowned and seemed unmoved. She didn’t care. He led her from the river, through the front gates where he introduced her to Cerberus. She continued walking past the large three headed beast, causing Cerberus to whine at the lack of attention. Hades gave his guard dog a quick pat before leaving the monstrous creature to it duties.

“How much longer will you be parading me through this grim place?” Persephone asked impatiently.

Hades sighed, “when the day is up, you may leave.”

She sighed before motioning for Hades to continue the tour.

He led her to the Fields of Punishment. With the Furies focus solely returned to these fields, the tormented screams had grown louder.

They stopped outside a few of the torture chambers, to which Hades looked upon proudly.

“The cruelty,” Persephone mumbled under her breath. “No one deserves an eternity like this.”

“What would you have done?” Hades questioned.

Persephone scoffed. “I’d have these infernal torture chambers removed. Nobody deserves and endless cycle of suffering.”

“Hmm,” Hades replied. “What about a man who raped his young children before murdering them and eating their flesh.”

“No one would do such a horrific thing,” Persephone argued.

“This mortal did,” Hades said, nodding to a man who was trapped in a pool of water, destined to fatigue and drown in an endless loop for all eternity.

Persephone was silent.

“What about a man who burnt a woman alive because she rejected his advances?”

Persephone didn’t respond as Hades directed her to a man trapped in an ever-burning house.

“Or a woman, who’d wrongly believed her husband scorned her, cut off his genitals and forced him to eat them as he bled out?”

“Perhaps I was wrong…” Persephone mumbled.

They were interrupted by one of Hades undead slaves. 

“My Lord, there is another incursion at the border.”

Hades eyes widened. The undead servant was talking about a breach at the border of the Underworld and Tartarus. There had become an influx of incursions since the exponential growth of Hades’ realm. His power was spread far too thinly across the fields.

“Quickly my dear, we must make haste,” he grabbed Persephone’s hand, and in a flash, they disappeared, repapering at the border of the Underworld and Tartarus.

When they arrived Persephone pulled her hand from Hades’, glaring at him slightly. She went to speak, most likely say something smug or out of disgust, but Hades approached the border. He didn’t have time to take part in such insignificant dialogue. 

There were flashes of bright light flying into the invisible barrier that split the two worlds. It was the Titan Hyperion. It was not the first time he’d dealt with an attempted escape from a Titan. He found whenever his ancestors had reformed enough of their strength, they would make a feeble attempt to escape their prisons.

Hades slowly raised his hands building up a black wall of darkness. It formed on the Tartarus side of the border. It started absorbing Hyperion’s strikes, adding to its own strength. He kept building it until it become a large black tsunami looming over Tartarus. Slamming his hands down he sent the tidal wave of dark energy crashing onto the titan. The ground shook below them as Tartarus quaked. 

A calm stillness filled the air around them once Hades dark tsunami had settled. Hyperion was weakened again, hopefully it would be millennia before he reformed, though Hades knew it was unlikely. 

Hades knees slightly buckled below him. Dealing with the Tartarus borders expended the most of his energy. He was caught by Persephone, who kindly helped him regain his balance, before quickly stepping away.

“What was that?” she asked quietly.

“An attempted escape from the Titan Hyperion,” he replied.

“Titan!” she exclaimed. “They can escape!?”

Hades shook his head, “not while I keep the border intact. Though it does take its toll, I fear I can’t do this on my own forever. It is why I need a Queen.”

Persephone was silent. She smiled slightly at him, “I never knew. I don’t think any one does.”

He shrugged, “it is my duty.” 

She smiled softly again. “Should we, um… Perhaps we should continue.”

He nodded.

Their next stop was the Asphodel Fields.

“There is a morbid beauty to these flowers,” she commented.

She seemed more relaxed here, more in her element as her white gown flowed through the flower patch.

They passed the group of Hell Hounds Hades had enlisted to track down escapees of punishment as he explained how the Asphodel Field worked. He informed her of what they were doing, to which she responded with disgust that criminals had attempted to flee their deserving fate. 

He smiled. It was endearing to see her warm up to his realm.

He led her to the Elysian Fields where she revelled in the joy of those who’d lived good virtuous lives. She wandered the field happily, even stopping to dance among a group of the blessed.

Their penultimate stop was the judgement panel. It was in a large amphitheatre type setting. They appeared outside it and were confronted with a large line of new souls, most of which remained stagnant. This was a common issue for Hades. Though he had his undead guards moving the line along, if a soul chose not to move, they could not be forced. It was a period of limbo for the recently deceased. They could not be harmed until judged, and most of the newly dead feared and avoided judgement. Only Hades had the power to force souls into moving. He snapped his fingers, releasing a burst of energy, sending the souls marching forward into the amphitheatre. It was a task that he often neglected because of his abundance of duties, but it was an important one.

He led Persephone to the final location of the tour. It was again by the River Styx. It sat slightly elevated giving a view of the Underworld in its entirety.

“You seem tired,” Persephone said softly, as they stood into the view.

He nodded, “my duties are demanding. I fear I cannot sustain myself with my power spread so thinly throughout the Underworld.”

“I do understand why you took me,” she replied, “but I too have my duties, my mother needs me.”

“As do I,” he argued.

She paused. “I’m sorry I cannot be of more help. You do a lot of good in the shadows. I was wrong about you,” she whispered.

“So you shall stay?”

She paused in thought again. “Perhaps my mother can do without me for a few weeks,” she mumbled. “I can stay for a little while, as an apology for how I treated you earlier. I shall help you with your duties until you are rested enough that I am no longer needed.”

He smiled. “As for becoming my Queen?”

She shook her head, “this can only be a temporary stay.”

“As you wish,” he replied. “Thank you, my Lady Persephone.”

Just as he’d hoped, his tour through his duties had reached the empathetic side of Persephone, though she was still not completely convinced. Luckily Hades had a backup plan to ensure she would remain.

“You must forgive me for starving you,” he said.

She looked down at her malnourished stomach.

“It is why I brought you here,” he continued.

He walked to a pomegranate flower and selected the ripest seeds. 

He extended his open hand to her, showing Persephone the fruit. “I know it’s not much, and we shall feast when we return to the palace…”

She cupped his cheek with one of her hands, “it is perfect,” she said, taking the seeds and eating them.

She smiled warmly towards him, to which he responded alike.

The next few weeks were the best of Hades eternal life so far. Persephone had become his rock. She shared her Godly strength with him so that he may better handle his duties. The Underworld hadn’t moved this efficiently in decades. But beyond that they had grown close. Hades hadn’t forced himself on Persephone, he wouldn’t become like his brother, not with her, she was far too pure and kind to be exposed to such vile trauma. His love for her grew, as her warmness towards him continued to blossom. Everything had been going so smoothly until Hades heard the infernal flapping of Hermes sandals descending from above.

He’d been expecting his nephew to return, he sent Persephone away to the judges’ amphitheatre to monitor the horde of souls awaiting judgement, upon noticing Hermes return.

“Lord Hades,” Hermes said.

“What is it nephew?” Hades snapped.

Hermes looked nervous. “Lady Demeter has stopped her duties; she refuses to let the earth bear fruit and crop until her daughter is returned.”

“That is no concern of mine,” Hades said, turning away. 

“Mortals are dying uncle,” Hermes beckoned.

That explained the sudden influx of new arrivals Hades thought to himself.

“In Persephone’s absence, the seasons grow colder, plant life is dying. The world is becoming grey,” Hermes pleaded.

“Then a grey world is one the Mortals shall grow used to,” Hades snapped.

“Lord Zeus demands it, I’m afraid you don’t have a choice.”

Hades glared at Hermes, dark energy radiated from his body.

Hermes stepped back nervously.

“She stays, now be gone!” Hades demanded.

Hermes, quicker than lightning flew away.

“Was that Hermes?” Persephone asked as she returned.

Hades nodded, “he was bringing news of the world above.” It wasn’t technically a lie, though Hades did feel guilty for not being completely honest with her.

Persephone sighed looking up. Hades knew she missed her former life, though he’d hoped with time the longing to return and the memories of her past would fade.

He was about to suggest they return to the palace, but a loud crash echoed through the Underworld as a thunderbolt hit the surface. Out of it appeared Zeus and Demeter.

“Mother!” Persephone exclaimed excitedly, as she embraced Demeter’s outstretched arms. Demeter glared at Hades as she wrapped her arms around Persephone protectively.

“Hades you know why we have come,” Zeus said.

“I refuse brother, you have no jurisdiction down here, I care not of the mortals or Demeter’s threats.”
“Enough of this!” Zeus bellowed. “I do sympathise with your position brother; but enough is enough.”

Hades growing angry prepared himself to forcibly remove his siblings from his lands, but he was stopped by Persephone who’d grabbed his hand.

“It is time for me to return Hades,” she said softly. She leaned into him and brushed his lips with hers lightly. “I will never forget our time together.” She stepped back next to her mother. 

It was a soft tender kiss, their first. It was magical the way his body melted when they’d kissed, the way he’d immediately calmed down.

Demeter was looking at Hades with disgust, more so now that she’d witnessed her daughter kiss the lord of the dead.

“She cannot leave,” Hades said before the three Gods left.

“You will not make such demands, you have had your fun Hades!” Demeter replied. “Have your way with some mortal strumpet and leave my daughter out of your affairs!”

“Mother,” Persephone defended softly.

“She has eaten a pomegranate born of the Underworld, by ancient rites she cannot leave,” Hades said to Zeus.

“You serpent!” Demeter exclaimed.

The look of betrayal on Persephone’s face was enough to divert Hades’ eyes.

“Zeus, you cannot allow this, she is your daughter!” Demeter begged.

“Even I do not have the power to alter such things,” Zeus replied in thought.

“How dare…” 

“However,” Zeus said, cutting Demeter’s rant short. “Perhaps a deal can be arranged, a technicality. As Persephone is a Goddess the power of the seeds is not as damning, she will be able to leave, however she must periodically return and remain in the Underworld to avoid the power of the seeds taking full affect and harming her.”

“I will not have my daughter spend any more time in this barren land.”

“I am afraid you do not have a choice,” Zeus replied.

Hades looked to Persephone, but she refused to meet his gaze. Tears of betrayal had filled her eyes.

“Mark my words,” Demeter growled. “In the months Persephone spends in this Hell, the seasons will grow cold, crops will wither, and the Earth will bear little to no fruit.”

With that looming threat Demeter nodded to Zeus and they flashed away, leaving Hades once again alone.

He stared at where Persephone had been standing only moments ago. He was guilt stricken; he knew he would see her soon. He vowed to himself that upon her return they would marry, and Hades would regain her trust…

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