Disclaimer: I don't claim credit for any of the original characters in mythology, only the ones I create.
I'm new to writing fanfics, and this is my very first one. Please review, so I know how to improve! Thanks (:
Rowena sighed as she heard the splash of Charon's oars in the water, and felt the presence of more than one soul –many of them, in fact- entering the Underworld at the same time. Not another group, she thought in exasperation. Her father, Hades, had made one of his infrequent trips to the mortal world to observe what destructive activity mortals were currently engaged in, and to herd the souls into his realm, leaving his wife and daughter to judge until he returned.
Though Rowena had always known that her father's duties kept him busy, she had never truly appreciated the weight of his workload. Now she sat back, having seen off the last soul from the group, and wondered how her father had managed on such days, especially before her mother became queen.
"Tired?" Persephone regarded her daughter affectionately. The Lady of the Underworld was beautiful –small and slender, with fiery hair and emerald-green eyes. Like all inhabitants of the Underworld, her skin was pale, almost translucent, though she had once been tan from spending her days in the sun.
"Not really." Rowena sat back in her seat in the throne room, or the Room of Judgement as it was called. "It's more tedious than anything else. I don't know how Father lives with it every single day. I certainly wouldn't last a century."
Her mother laughed, a warm melodious sound. "Even I haven't gotten that far," she admitted. "And some days I just want to hide in my room and pretend all these souls know where to go. Your father feels the same."
The young goddess was surprised. She had never once heard the Lord of the Underworld express discontent at his situation. Interpreting her daughter's look correctly, Persephone said, "If there's something your father understands, it's duty. He takes responsibility seriously –he won't ever neglect anything. Or anyone."
Seeing the distant look in her mother's eye, Rowena smiled a little. "Reliving old memories?" she teased gently.
Her mother had told her the story of her parents' meeting before. She knew how Hades had taken Persephone –known as Kore at that time- into the Underworld, and how Persephone's mother Demeter had fought tooth and nail to bring Persephone back to her side. In the end, Persephone put her foot down, not wanting Demeter to take control of her life for her, and had chosen to go back to the Underworld and the man she loved (and whom Demeter despised).
But Rowena knew that her mother had loved the sun. The daughter of the goddess of harvest, she had spent most of her time in the fields, playing with the nymphs and making flowers grow. This was definitely not the way Rowena had seen her mother pass time. "Do you miss it?" she asked her mother now. "The sun, and its warmth?"
The Queen of the Underworld was silent for a moment. "Sometimes I do," she said slowly. "But not often. I knew what I was giving up when I chose to make this place my home. I've never regretted my decision. The sun, and all its goodness, cannot compare to what I have here." Love radiated from her, replacing the earlier trace of wistfulness. "I have you, and I have Hades. You two are all I need, and all I could ever hope for in a family."
Touched, Rowena leaned over and hugged her mother. "Thank you," she whispered, and straightened to meet the next onslaught of souls.
To keep up with the growing number of souls yet to be judged, Persephone and Rowena gave up formality for the sake of efficiency. Each goddess took half of the group, to speed things up.
Every time a soul came before her, Rowena would stretch out her senses to brush the soul's, and read their minds. Being insubstantial, they had no defense against her mental intrusion, and this allowed her to pull out their life stories before she sent them either to Tartarus, the place known as Hell, or to the Elysian Fields, a sort of "Heaven".
Since young, Rowena had had morals drilled into her, to help her decide between right and wrong, knowing that she would help judge in her father's court sometime. These teachings now decided the fate of each soul standing before her.
"Tartarus," she decided softly. The doomed soul shrieked in hatred as she was pulled away, condemned to stay in the pits of Hell forever and beyond. Rowena barely winced at the soul's curses, all directed at her. Most did not go peacefully into Tartarus, and after the initial shock, she had gotten used to their reaction.
It was not a good day –but wars never did send many happy spirits along. Almost three-quarters of those she judged were sent to Tartarus, and from the noise coming from her mother's end of the room, it was clear that the other half proved much the same.
The girl didn't know how long she sat there, reviewing and judging. For every soul that left, another one took its place, and she soon gave up craning her neck to try and see how long the line stretched.
When the last of her group left, bound for the Elysian Fields, Rowena blinked, surprised at the sudden lack of people in the room. Across from her, Persephone too finished and they looked at each other. "Was that the last of them?" Rowena asked.
"I should think so."
"Good." The girl closed her eyes in exhaustion. "Where's Father?"
Persephone frowned. "Hades had better not be sending any more down here before we've taken a breather."
"Hades wouldn't dare."
Instantly, both women's eyes were drawn to the entrance of the throne room, from where the Lord of the Underworld spoke mildly as he strode in. He was tall and fair-skinned, with dark hair that was slightly overlong and equally dark eyes. His features belonged to one of noble birth –but then, he was a god, brother to the King of the Gods.
Rowena had taken after her father, though her eyes were completely her mother's. Persephone had often joked that their second child –if he or she ever came- would be red-haired and dark-eyed.
Hades continued into the room, dropping into his throne and closing his eyes as his daughter had done earlier. He looked as tired as Rowena felt. "Rough day, my lord?" Persephone asked, smiling.
He opened one eye a crack. "You tell me, my lady. I'm sure Tartarus must be full to bursting by now."
"Tartarus will have room for plenty more. It always does," Rowena injected wryly. "What great event happened today, that caused the mass destruction of thousands?"
"Ah." Hades shook his head. "It was the war between Troy and Sparta. Do you know of Queen Helen of Sparta? It seems that a prince of Troy took Helen back with him. King Menelaus of Sparta and his brother, Agamemnon gathered their troops to attack Troy to snatch back their queen."
"A great event, indeed!" Persephone murmured.
"Mortals don't seem to have an ounce of sense," her daughter agreed.
Hades grimaced. "They aren't the only ones," he said darkly. "As if this bloodshed wasn't bad enough, our divine relatives just had to interfere. Let's just say Olympus isn't the most peaceful place to be in right now."
Persephone gave a dry chuckle. "It never was in the first place."