Friday, June 6, 2014

Hollow World Book 4 Chapter 1



Graham sat atop the plateau, looking down at Boulder City fuming.  It had not been six hours since he had watched Peter be dragged behind the safety of the walls of Boulder City, and already his plans were not going well.  Nyx’s soldiers still had not been seen, and looking eastward, he did not see them in the distance either.  The contingent of his soldiers were stuck due to a heavy thunderstorm that had blown in from the coast, the high winds pinning them down still a day out.  He had shifted to see how bad it was, and the soldier he was in had been blown off of the mountain the moment he stood up.  

From his vantage point, he could see The Pennyman as he went about his business, dropping a coin into each of the fifty Others that had died on the killing field once the gates had rumbled shut.  He turned to the woman standing beside him when he felt her presence.

“Sister, it is about time you showed up.  Where are your soldiers?”

The woman who was Nyx smiled and pointed.  In the distance, column upon column of soldiers could be seen snaking their way down a distant mountain.  

He watched until the final row of men came into view.  “That looks like about half the men you promised, what happened?  And what took you so long?”

“We got detained by a man named Davey Boy.”  She said.

“A single man held your entire army up, and what about the rest of your soldiers, do you mean to tell me he single handedly destroyed half of your army?”

Nyx snorted, “No not just a single man.”  She said, and then smiled.  “I have a feeling he will haunt you until the end.”

“I will deal with him.”  Graham said, mentally calling ten of his men to go off and hunt Davey Boy.  

“Erebus is gone.”

“Erebus is dead.”  She replied, giving reality to what he has suspected.

“What?  How?”

“I do not know the how, but Charon has talked of revoking our agreement, and already the bridge is being dismantled.”

“He can’t!”  Graham said, “I still have more souls down there.”

“As do many of us,”  Nyx said, “But what is done is done.  If we want to remain, we must make do with what we have.”  

Graham smiled, “I have enough.”

“Let us hope that you do, dear brother, because I already tire of this fighting,” Nyx said, and was gone, returning to Las Vegas.  

The Other she had been occupying looked at Graham, who ordered her back to her camp.

Erebus was dead.  The thought spent some time bouncing around in the head of Graham that was Tartarus.  He sent out a calling to his brother but did not feel his presence anywhere.  He almost sacrificed a soldier to contact his nephew.  Ask him what the consequences were if a god died above.  Not just a god, a Protogenoi, one of the first Gods.  But he did not, thought better of it as he watched the advancing of the troops his sister had offered him.  Even with only half of what she had promised him, he was not worried.

Graham walked amongst his soldiers, first checking on his ever present torchbearers.  They had burned every church, synagogue, and mosque along the way, reveling in the screams of the few that had taken refuge inside, and now they rested, their torches stuck into the ground beside each of them.  Next he walked passed his cannoneers, the men preparing pouches of gunpowder taken from scavenged bullets and polishing the few cannonballs they had remaining.  Graham counted the ammunition, twenty shells in total, and shifted his focus to the cannoneers of his approaching troops, counting five cannonballs in their pile.  Wishing he had more of any of the elements, cannons, shells, gunpowder, he walked on, coming to his horses and his chariot.  They had been rubbed down and were eating more than their share of food before being put out into the make shift choral for the night.  Despite their limited supplies, he saw that his horses never went without.  They pawed the ground uneasily as he walked by them, but had grown accustomed to his scent and did little else to indicate his passage.

Finally, he found himself amongst his general soldiers.  He walked from fire to fire, the mute forms of his troops barely acknowledging his passing.  Many men had guns, but ammunition had become scarce and the weapons were more for show than anything else, although many of them had dried blood on one end or the other from being used as a club.  What little ammo did show up went first to power the cannons, the bullets being torn apart and the little gunpowder inside repurposed.

He had the the feeling that he was being followed through the camp and turned to investigate.  He thought he saw a fleeting shadow, and he shifted his focus to the soldiers around him, one by one, but he could not find its source.  Graham shrugged and continued walking, looking over his shoulder at every fire, still not seeing any sign of his pursuer.  

He made his way back to his own fire and, staring into the flames imagined the whole city below them ablaze.




Anonymous said...

I spent many hours reading various texts on mythology as a teen and young adult. Now I'm 50 and being entertained again. Great work!

archnemesis_goldenhair said...

Until now, I thought Graham was trying to kill Erebus. Guess he thought he and the other gods couldn't be killed. Guess I'll have to wait and see what happens to them.

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