Chapter 1. Your Hope
Slowly fading away. Lost and so afraid. Where is the hope in a world so cold?
-Red, "Not Alone"
It was late, nearing midnight when she opened her eyes to the darkness. After lighting a small candle, she made her way through her room and put on her black hooded cloak. Instinctively, she took up a basket she'd woven and stealthily made her way over to the window. She knew she had to be careful, to be quiet. She was dead if her family knew, and she'd be considered a traitor to the people of Argos if she were caught. She dropped the basket down to the ground below and carefully started to climb down from her window. When she was close enough to the ground, she jumped, her cloak catching in the wind and blowing gracefully behind her. Smiling as she landed on one knee, she grabbed the basket and made her way towards her garden.
Looking around at the many different floral arrangements, she wondered what she'd give him this time. It was never an easy task, picking the right flower, as she never knew which one he liked best. She didn't even know if he liked her flowers, or that he ever even heard her. According to the people, the gods needed the worship of mortals and that was their weakness. But to pray to them wasn't a burden to her, no. To her it was a jurisdiction. It was something she had to do. She decided on some narcissus flowers and started picking some, putting them in her basket with a kind, pleasant smile.
There were no temples to him, no alters. Even when mortals strongly revered the gods, he wasn't worshipped. He was avoided, and a part of her understood why. He was so feared, no one would dare speak his name, for fear of summoning him to them. She knew she should fear him, but yet, she didn't. Well, a deep part of her nature did, but for the most part, that part was silent. She mostly pitied him, but no one knew.
Her name was Persephone, Princess of Argos. She was the sister of Andromeda and younger daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia. While her sister was beautiful and very much favored, Persephone was loved by the people, and in their eyes, she was beautiful. But she never truly saw herself that way. She had long hair black as a raven's wing, pale winter skin and eyes the color of light emeralds. This evening she wore a simple nightdress of white silk and wore little white slippers on her feet to protect them from the light chill. She kept her hood up, adding a feeling of eerie mystery to anyone who might see her. But at this rate, she didn't think anyone would.
With her basket full of narcissus flowers, Persephone made her way out of the city to a stretch of wood surrounding a dirt road. Taking her own road she found what she'd been looking for: large hidden cave. To her, this was her sanctuary. This was where Persephone felt at peace with the world and with herself. It was here she felt she was needed the most. Reverently, she kneeled at the cave's entrance. She set the narcissus flowers before her and looked deep into the dark cavern. After a moment, she closed her eyes and began to speak
"It's me again" Persephone said in a soft voice, "I…I brought you these. I didn't know if you'd like them or not, but I hoped you would. I'd like to sing a new song for you, if I could".
No answer. But then again, she expected that. The gods hardly ever directly answered prayers. Not sure of what else to do, Persephone began to sing.
"A fragile soul caught in the hands of fate. No one knows who you really are, a broken heart the world forgot. But you're not alone. I'll be there right beside you and when you bear the burdens you carry, I'll be there to help you along. It's hard to bear when they don't see the pain behind your mask. But you don't have to walk alone. I'll bear the burden right there…beside you".
When the wind carried away her last note, she looked deep into the darkness of the cave, wondering if maybe, just maybe, he was in there, watching her. Persephone closed her eyes and began her prayer.
"Hear me, please…I know things are probably looking bleak out there, but please give me some kind of hope. I know that most of us have declared war on you gods, and while yes, that would be quite a fight, but nobody would win. Please…Please, give me a sign that I'm doing something right. Something…anything".
A twig snapped behind her. In her haste to investigate, the princess's hood slid off and she hardly noticed. She quickly picked up her basket, leaving the flowers where they were. She'd be back soon she hoped, as soon as she got a chance. She promised that to him in her head. She'd return as soon as she possibly could.
Silence reigned supreme in the dark forest now. She was long gone now; her offering was all that remained. Within the cave, the shadows stirred, swirling and fusing to reveal the form of a man. He was pale, but with dark undertones, wearing all black armor that seemed to be decaying on him. His hair was long with a strange mix of black and gray. It was him, the one the princess had been praying to. Hades, god of the underworld
With a thoughtful look, he picked up a single narcissus, careful not to harm it in any way. This, without a doubt, was rare. Of all the gods she could've followed, given her prayers to, she chose him above all. At first it perplexed him, fascinated him. She was afraid of him, deep down, but she was a master of not letting that fear control her, and therefore, it didn't seep into her prayers. No…from this princess he received a new kind of power source. Her prayers were full of her hopes, her dreams…even her secrets. Despite the chaos of the world around her, despite the other mortals no longer fueling the god's immortality, she didn't stray from the path. Persephone of Argos managed to stay faithful to her makers, primarily to him.
Hades didn't normally care too much for mortals, but this girl…she was different from the others. But why? Why him? There were so many other gods she could've prayed to, but she chose him over them. She gave her hope to him…
"Never you fear, Princess…No good deed goes unrewarded"