I left Persephone’s apartment for the second time today, glad the elevator was once again empty. I leaned my head against the cold wall as the doors closed behind me. Lost in thought, I hadn’t pressed any floor numbers, and the elevator reopened, snapping me from my haze. I straightened and turned to chose the button for Erebus’ floor. The doors closed again as I internalized my thoughts. Eos is weakest in the dark of night. That’s why the mortals have that saying, ‘darkest before the dawn.’ So if Erebus is there, she should be naturally weaker. If I… DING!
The elevator opened, disrupting my train of thought. I walked onto Erebus’ floor and found his receptionist’s desk empty. “Fuck! I hope he is here, whether his receptionist is or not.” I said to no one in particular. I made my way around the floor, following the sound of yelling to his office door.
“Why do we have to start so soon? Can’t we push filming back a month? I just have a million things going on, and my head is not in the right space right now.”
Knocking at the door, I entered without waiting for a break in the conversation.
“Ahhh, Maurice, just hold on…someone’s just entered my office.”
“Erebus, I’m sorry for the intrusion. Truly. I…I need to speak with you rather urgently, and when no one was out there…” I stopped talking, realizing he had been arguing with a person on the phone.
Erebus glared at me.
“Please, Erebus. A moment of your time?”
“Just what do you think you’re doing? What is it?” he asked impatiently.
Shaking my head, I sat on the edge of the chair across from his desk. “I’m sorry for the intrusion. Really. I just do not have time to waste, and you are the only one that can help me.”
I placed my hands on my lap, waiting for him to finish with his call.
Annoyed, he held up a finger before returning to his phone call. “Maurice, I Will have to call you back.”
His phone had barely left his ear when I began again, “Erebus, I will go quickly, as I know your time is limited. If you hold your questions, I will be glad to answer them when I am done explaining.”
Erebus rolled eyes. “What do you need? I’m not doing any festivals at the moment. I have my hands full with this new mortal reality dating show and…”
Shaking my head, I interrupted him, “It’s not business, Erebus, it’s personal. I need your help.” I took a deep, steadying breath before I continued, “I met with Zeus today.” Erebus grumbled anew at the mention of the King.
“We discussed my brother, Helios. We came to an understanding, but to fulfill my end of the deal, I need your help.” I paused to gauge Erebus’ reaction so far, and when he didn’t speak up, I continued.
“I have to bring my sister, Eos, to trade for Helios. He has served his time, yet Eos never has. The problem is, my siblings and I can read each other in a deeper way than other titans. Because we are siblings, Eos will know something is up if I approach her alone. The reason I believe you can help me is darkness is her weakness. Erebus, I need you to shadow me so she can’t read me. No one else can do that but you.”
Pausing while he took in my request, I thought over how I could appeal to him. “Erebus, please.” My tone became more desperate. “I’ll owe you a favor,” I finally added, swallowing at the thought of owing a Prime a favor.
Erebus sat in silence and pondered my situation before responding. “I do like the idea of you having to owe me a favor. I suppose I can wrap my shadows around your thoughts, and they will cloud everything.”
I nodded in response. “That’s what I was thinking. E,” I paused. “I don’t know anyone else that can do this for me.”
Erebus gulped, thinking of his last visit to Tartarus. “We don’t have to go by…her cell, do we?” he asked.
I shook my head, “No, we aren’t going down into the depths at all. Eos will get too suspicious. We are just going as far as the shores of Styx. I’m going to tell her that Helios has done so well with his rehab that they have granted us visitation.”
“Okay, then when do we go?”
Standing, I replied, “Right now. Hades and Persephone are setting everything up as we speak.”
Erebus looked up at me, surprise racing across his face. “Oh? Uh…yeah, okay.” He stood from behind his desk.
“I’m sorry it’s such short notice, but if we don’t act, I can’t guarantee I will be able to find her.”
He walked around his desk, gesturing back at the door for me to exit before him, and we went back out to his reception area. He turned off the lights, and we left for the lobby of the OA.
Walking out into the afternoon light, we made our way to where I kept my chariot in Olympus National Park. Climbing in, we took off towards the prime meridian, where I had met Eos last. The closer we got, the more I felt her. I looked over at Erebus. “E, if I can feel her, she can feel me. You’re up.”
He flexed, his shadows releasing and stretching out, searching for Eos. They returned fast, wrapping themselves tightly around me. With my mind completely shadowed, Eos would not be able to read my thoughts, and we were ready.
Landing my chariot in the field as I had last month, Erebus and I stepped out and around to the front. I ran my hand down my steed’s back as I called out, “Eos. Eos, I know you are here! Please talk to me. Something has changed with Helios, and we need you.”
Eos popped her head out eagerly at the mention of our brother. “Helios!” The anger of assumption dripped from her voice as I strained to keep my glow and thoughts within Erebus’ shadows. “What have they done to him now!” she yelled as she stormed across the field towards us. “And who the hell is this! Are you in trouble, too?”
I shook my head and raised my hands in an unarming gesture. “No one is in trouble, Eos. It’s good news.” I gulped, trying to figure out how to tell her but not lie to her. Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath and continued, “I spoke with Persephone and Hades. We get to see him. Erebus is here as a safety measure.”
“Is he why I can’t hear you?” She tilted her head at Erebus
I nodded and shrugged my shoulders. “It was a condition of the arrangement. As a prime, he is here to ensure we don’t plan anything untoward. His shadows are merely a side effect.”
Erebus looked at me and smirked before looking back at Eos. “Sorry. Rules are rules.”
Eos still looked Erebus and me up and down suspiciously, but the opportunity to see Helios outweighed her skepticism. She shook her head and took a single step forward. “Okay, what’s the plan?”
“I can tell you on the way if you trust me?” My head screamed, and my heart pounded as the words left my lips. Betrayal rang through my head. “FUCK! Who am I now?” I knew there was no way I could have done this without Erebus here. I really owed him one for this.
The three of us climbed into my chariot and headed off with one snap of my reins. Once back in the air, I looked over at Eos and told her how the visit would go. I wanted her to know we would be walking into Tartarus.