The King Returns

Back in Black by ACDC blasted out of the speakers as I started the engine and floored the gas. I imagined my hysterical laughter trailed behind the car like the tail of an asteroid. A new era was about to begin. Lord Hades was back, and the world better watch out. The King had returned.

Book of Hades

It may seem strange that Lord Hades would write down his thoughts, but here we are. Just a few words now and again to vent my frustrations. Like being stuck in this place surrounded by the souls of the perished. I think it is time to get out of here and show myself to the world once again.

I had to leave the Underworld, at least for a little while. I could not leave the gates with only one guard. I needed to make sure they were locked and impenetrable until my return. I could trust nobody else with such a task. There was only one way I could think to secure the entrance, and that was with adamantine, the metal of the gods. Nothing could get through it. Of course, it was beyond rare, and finding it would be difficult if you didn’t know where to look. Luckily, I knew. Someone needed to go to Tartarus, the deepest, darkest part of the Underworld. My gates were already made from adamantine, but I had to be certain nobody could escape. I had not kept my dominion in order over the centuries without being very careful. 

With a few exceptions, of course, nothing is perfect

I thought about going myself, but I had an army of dead to do my bidding for me, so why put myself out? Nobody would go willingly, but I could be very persuasive.

“Hector!” I shouted to a big and muscled man who had spent several centuries in the Asphodel Fields. He had been a farmer and lived a very simple life, wearing nothing but a tattered tunic and trousers made from what appeared to be hessian. He must have run out of potatoes and used the sack to create them. “I need you to get another half dozen good men to go to Tartarus and collect enough adamantine to build another door.” I stood on the field, holding my Bident, watching the souls of the perished wander like lost sheep. It was an empty plain, nothing special, just like the lives of those who walked it.

“Tartarus, my lord?” he asked me with a look of fear. He fiddled with a loose piece of thread that hung from the bottom of his tunic, and his eyes shifted from side to side as if looking for an escape.

“Just so, good man.” I gave him a cold stare and spoke with an equally icy tone. Hector did not respond other than to give a slight shake of his head and begin to back away.

“Don’t move.” My anger spiked rather quickly. Nobody disobeyed me, not in my dominion. I never yelled at him. I just growled a little. “You will go to Tartarus. Now get the men and be gone.” I pointed my Bident at him and used some of my powers of persuasion. Not that they were needed. I think my growl had done the trick. I threw him a small purse filled with coins. Charon, the boatman, would demand payment to carry them on his boat to the gates of Tartarus.

“Right away, my lord,” his voice quivered in fear before he scurried off, pulling several other sheep with him.

“That’s a good fellow,” I yelled after him. I waited for weeks for them to return with my adamantine, but return, they did. They must have had a hard time gathering the precious metal. It would need to be mined from the walls, which were so thick you could take enough to build a new kingdom. They were the most important walls to keep secure, and they had been well-built. 

I reinforced the gates and gave all the occupants of the Underworld a scare. The usual things, like turning into different animals and threatening them with Tartarus to keep the fear of my wrath fresh in their minds before I left. It would keep order for a time.

“Nobody enters, and nobody leaves,” I said to Cerberus, my three-headed dog. I threw him three bones and patted his heads before I walked out of the gates and locked them behind me. My personality in the darkness of the Underworld was very different from my real nature. I had to be dark and vicious while going about my duties. Fun is a rare thing, and the living are much more entertaining. The second the gates were closed, I switched to fun time Hades.

I gave Charon instructions that the spirits were to wait on the foggy bank of the river Styx. They were dead and had an eternity, so no real rush to get back for them. Everything would run smoothly for a time before my absence would be noticed, and unrest would rise. He gave me his usual blank stare and said nothing.

“Fine,” I said tiredly as I handed over several gold coins. “The dead stay here,” I said, once again pointing at the black ground beneath my feet where fog curled around my ankles and legs. Charon gave a slight nod and opened his hand in a cold welcome. I stepped aboard, and he pushed us away from the foggy bank with his oar. Charon is a strange one. He wears a tunic and conical hat, rarely speaks, has a crooked nose and messy beard, making his face ugly and gruesome.

Before long, I found myself out from the depths and standing once more on the living earth. The entrance to the Underworld was a closely guarded secret, but I found myself exactly where I expected, and I was elated. It had been too long since I revealed myself to the world. Of course, I can take any form I choose and a handsome man was the obvious choice. Tall, thin, and attractive. My hair was as black as midnight, and so was my suit of choice. I had the equivalent of a mountain in cash and had already sent some minions to do some shopping for me. I may not have left the Underworld for some time, but I kept an eye on the world, the passing time, and the changing cultures. I had my favourite eras of human history, and each had certain things I find myself attracted to. I must admit that it is a much more enjoyable experience these days, as my new car suggested. A black 1988 Chrysler was waiting for me.

“Beats bloody horses and chariots,” I said, chuckling to myself.

I stood upon the earth once more and deeply inhaled the fresh air. I was no longer hidden away in the shadows of the Underworld, no longer confined to that place with the dead. I was back amongst the living.

“This is going to be fun.” I put on my black sunglasses, took out my keys, and entered my mean machine. “Let’s get this party started then.” Another item on my shopping list was waiting for me on the passenger seat, a Rock Classics CD. I placed it into the player and cranked up the volume. Back in Black by ACDC blasted out of the speakers as I started the engine and floored the gas. I imagined my hysterical laughter trailed behind the car like the tail of an asteroid. A new era was about to begin. Lord Hades was back, and the world better watch out. The King had returned.

Hades (John Decarteret)
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