Serpent’s Breath, Part I

I took my Bident from my inside pocket and ran for the gates. My loyal servant, Bion, was already there to see what had caused Cerberus’s outcry. As I reached them, Bion was trying to calm him down, but my dog was angry and snapped at him between growls and shaking his heads.

Book of Hades

I have said many times that the Underworld is a mysterious place, brimming with secrets and unknowns. I know more than anyone what lurks in my dominion, but once in a while, something new will just appear from nowhere, like that shadowy nothingness that caused havoc not so long ago. Sometimes it is something else, like a creature or beast.

I was having such a quiet day when my dog Cerberus suddenly squealed in three different tones, causing the Underworld to come to a standstill. Everyone froze, glancing towards the gates and the source of the noise of terror. I was standing on my balcony, looking across my kingdom as I often did. It was quiet and a rather slow day for new occupants, leaving their earthly bodies and entering their afterlife. Then the three mouthed squeal was let loose like the three Furies trying to sing. It was a horrifying sound, even to me.

“What the bloody Tartarus is that?” I said, completely shocked, my head snapping sideways at the suddenness of it. I looked towards the gate where Cerberus stood guard, and I could see him rolling around, pawing at his heads. I jumped from the balcony and landed on solid ground with a crash and a cloud of dust. I took my Bident from my inside pocket and ran for the gates. My loyal servant, Bion, was already there to see what had caused Cerberus’s outcry. As I reached them, Bion was trying to calm him down, but my dog was angry and snapped at him between growls and shaking his heads.

“Cerberus,” I said, kneeling beside him to stroke him soothingly, “what is it?” He calmed at my touch, moaned, and lifted his heads to look at me. His eyes were red, and he could barely open them.

“Looks like something got into his eyes, My King,” Bion said as he moved closer to get a better look.

“It’s in all of his eyes, so it was obviously an attack rather than dust or something. What or who in the Underworld has the ability to do something like this, Bion?” I continued to stroke Cerberus and calm him, but he was in pain and very angry.

“Lots of things attack the eyes of enemies, My King. The Furies like to do that, but they claw rather than use whatever that is. Venum of some kind?” He stood up and looked around, scratching his chin in thought as he searched for an answer with his mind and his eyes. The thought that the attacker could not have been far away, suddenly occurred to me.

“I want to know who or what is responsible for this, Bion.” My voice was low and cold. I was biting down hard and forced the words through my teeth, causing me to sound like I had a slight speech impediment. I could feel my blood boiling, and the strain on my jaw and teeth made my muscles shake.

“Yes, My King.” He left me with Cerberus to start asking questions. I stood and walked to the river, making myself much taller so I could scoop a good amount of the cool water. I poured some into his Cerberus’s eyes which seemed to ease his discomfort. Whatever had been shot into his eyes was not deadly, well, not to him anyway. It would take a lot more than that to do permanent harm to him. That didn’t mean it didn’t hurt him. It also didn’t mean I wouldn’t break whatever had done it into little pieces and cast it into Tartarus to be tortured without end for all eternity. I looked around for any signs of what was responsible, but nothing obvious caught my attention. Nothing moved or caught my eye.

“What did this?” I whispered to Cerberus. He growled his answer. “A snake-like creature? Was it a snake or something?” I had no idea what a snake-like creature meant. He growled again in reply. After a lot of questions and going through possible body parts, he told me it was a snake with legs only with a bigger head and ears. It was a most strange description of a creature. I had no idea what it was. I was certain nobody would know what it was. It sounded like a manifestation from the depths of Tartarus. Not the deadliest creature to crawl out from there, but it put Cerberus down, however temporary it may have been. 

Since returning to Earth, I had mellowed significantly, but every now and again, I would explode and release some deep-seated evil that still lurked inside of me. You couldn’t be the King of the Underworld without having some serious anger issues. The slithering eye shooter was in line for destruction, and I was eager to find it. 

I tried to be patient as I waited on Bion to bring me news, but I was in anger mode. It seemed like an eternity, and I knew what eternity felt like. Cerberus was finally getting over the worst of the pain and stood up, his eyes red and bloodshot, but returning to normal. He was alright for the most part.

Bion returned a few moments later, striding towards me and pointing towards the Styx.

“The creature was seen slithering off and into the river, My King,” he said as he reached me.

“Cerberus said it was a snake-like creature with legs and a big head. How could a thing like that swim? Is it more like an eel?” I asked him. I suppose snakes and eels could look similar.

“Some of the souls said it was a snake and others said they had no idea what it was, but the description Cerberus gave is similar to the descriptions I was given, My King.”

“Okay then, get Charon. If it is out there, he will be able to help us find it. Whatever the bloody thing is.”

Hades (John Decarteret)
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