The following is an exclusive excerpt from book two of The Heaven & Earth Series. As promised, the reader will be learning more about the Greek world, and the Greek world will begin to interact more in depth with the modern world. This excerpt comes just after Poseidon and Apollo have descended into the Elysium. Zeus learns more about what must come next and the new power he and Cronus have obtained. Some discoveries, could be potentially damaging to the modern-day descendants of the gods.
Prologues can be difficult to understand. And though my publisher didn’t allow a genealogy chart in Book One, they will be allowing a glossary for Book Two. Stay tuned for more on that.
Meanwhile, I really hope you enjoy this first excerpt.
Zeus’s eyes shimmered as he stumbled weakly to a narrow stone bench. He stood unblinking as he scanned the sky, now a small window closing in on the mortal, modern world. The ocean spray, that had once been his brother, Poseidon, floated downward and into oblivion, leaving only its salty scent to linger. He placed an elbow on his knee, then supported his head with a large, broad hand and let his thoughts turn toward Apollo, who now joined his uncle. His beautiful angel-haired boy, instruments now unmoving, voice now stilled. The ruler closed his eyes and could still hear his music, the essence that was his son.
Guttural screams bellowed from the depths below, as the two descending gods were stripped from their remaining power. A hideous light and energy erupted from the bowels of Tartarus suffusing pain into the center of Zeus’s chest, punching the breath from him. He looked at their combined power sizzling through the veins in his arms, like the thunderbolts he wielded. When the final force permeated through him, he realized his brother and son were now mortal. Zeus opened his eyes to the bizarre reality, but the suspended drops of light and water still burned their truth into his mind, taunting him like a bully.
The mighty ruler gazed out over the vista, as summer blossomed all around him. A peacock walked haughtily by him, her feathers fanned in a rich display. She stopped, to seemingly ponder with derision, the giant lilies spread open near her head. The bird next to the flower only sparked in him what was required next.
The lily and peacock were sacred to his wife, Hera, and they fit her persona beautifully. Proud, adorned, and haughty, Hera even had the glorious explosion of color and temperament. The goddess of marriage and family, also had the uncanny ability to be remarkable in seduction, then fantastic in her jealous fury and indifference.
Zeus stood and paced, muttering his conclusions to the empty garden, in front of the cave, he used as his temporary dwelling.
“We’ve built the foundation with Poseidon and Apollo, that sacrifice must now be supported. That fiery devotion to family and to me. Yes, Hera should be next, but who to send with her? We need strategy now, but also power, someone who will fight with determination.”
Ares immediately came to mind, but he tried to shake the notion loose. When the vision of his son returned, he let it develop. Ares, god of violent war, full of righteous ire, fighting for his mother, his family. Once more, the ruler of Olympus gazed across Earth but only saw Ares, holding up the small victory god, Nike, like a trophy.
“Yes, he bears it often enough,” Zeus thought bitterly, at the young god’s bravado, and resumed his seat, “but Fear, Terror and Discord, ride prominently in his chariot as well.”
“That’s because they provide me comfort, which is more than you could ever claim Father.”
Zeus turned to examine the powerful god, Ares, not realizing he summoned both his son and wife to the small garden with the direction of his thoughts.
“What happened?” Hera demanded and without waiting for a reply continued, “Are you very weak?”
“On the contrary.” He replied sadly and moved to stand but she clutched at his arm.
“You can’t stay here Zeus, you’ll be discovered.”
Hera darted a glance to the underbrush fearing Okapnose, the black serpentine bonds, lurked nearby waiting to capture and drag them into the darkness of Tartarus. Brushing her off, Zeus turned to Ares.
“We require strength now and resolve within our family to be victorious. You must be next.” He gestured to the War god. “And you,” he nodded towards Hera, “will go as well. For Ares is strength, and you, Majestic, are the family nucleus.”
“But it’s too soon?” She asked confused, then eyed her husband suspiciously, wondering if he was only trying to flatter her, to get rid of her. “Who will help you?”
“What happened with Poseidon and Apollo?” Ares asked speaking over his mother.
“They were successful.” Zeus replied ignoring his wife. Both members of his audience looked relieved, but it was short lived. “The challenge is in the mortals. In their time, the population is plentiful, and they are reluctant to believe. Much slower than I thought.”
“Are they fools?” Ares asked with agitation, before accusation, “Did you not send warning?”
“He did send warning.” Themis responded as she appeared in the clearing with Athena. Themis, was goddess of Law and Order and an Oracle of Delphi. “The mortals are not of this age, they put little significance on dreams, discounting them as figments of their imagination. They resist seeing beyond their own emotions.”
“How can we combat their ignorance?” Hera spat.
“Poseidon was able to communicate with his spawn, but the time was brief and they weren’t as enlightened as we hoped.” Zeus said frustrated, “We’ll only be able to do that twice more, with Hades and myself.”
“Perhaps if Athena goes…” Hera began, wishing to rid herself of Zeus’s preferred child.
“Goddess of wisdom,” Zeus murmured to himself, considering. “No, she’ll be useful in strategy but for now we need overwhelming strength more.” He looked at Athena with affection and admiration, causing Hera’s jaw to tighten. His daughter picked up where the ruler left off.
“Father’s right. Poseidon and Apollo sacrificed themselves to establish the infrastructure of our stand. The mortals do require strength in family, a belief in one another to accept each of their fates, and our own.”
“Athena needs to remain for decisive counsel.” Zeus decided and looked to the young warrior.
Ares, bristled slightly, he shared the burden of War with his sister but Athena was the favored, birthed from Zeus himself. Where Ares was physical, impulsive and untamed, Athena was strategic, calm and measured. Where he desired violence at any provocation, she only fought for honor and cause. She was a virgin and virtuous, he was passionate and adulterous. Ares, was devotion, protection and diligence for his family and he knew he must accept Zeus had reason to choose him now.
“Go now, we’ve been exposed too long. The Okapnose will soon discover us.” He divided his remarks to each of them. “Not one of us may be captured or we all perish.” He turned to look at Themis and nodded.
“Feral ire and violence, must be tamed,” The Oracle eyed Ares, “for only then can we remain.” She looked to Hera, “And quell your covetousness, that causes one to demand too much of another. If you prevail, you may save another.”
Themis walked to the sheered wall of the cliff, as a filmy material pooled in her eyes then spilled across her temples, until it formed into a band that tied around her skull. She lowered her hand and cracked a rib bone from her body that sharpened into a sword of ruthless metal and directed it to the sky, chanting the prophecy.
“Those that now rule will rue a day, when those they command refuse to pray. An old, most powerful foe will find a way, to escape the bonds of yesterday. And with him will turn one once trusted that gods persecuted, belittled and neglected. Mighty gods shackled and toil never to be heard, from Tartarus’s grip deep in the abyss of the Underworld.”
She dipped her head toward the ground where Poseidon and Apollo lay deep beneath its surface, before raising it in Zeus’s direction. Even with her eyes bound he felt the weight of her unyielding stare as she continued.
“There they will remain for as long as time rules, until the last bead of their blood is collected and cooled. The outcome they fear fate could yet reject if the children of tomorrow’s lives intersect. And in their quest, three discoveries must be found, or the deities will face the Moirai and be cut to the underground. First, god and mortal alike a weakness to conquer, and only from there a key may the children conjure. Second, something gods have naught to know, selflessness, devotion and love-eternal the hardest to sow. The final discovery for this quest to take place is when all children are in the same time and same space. Five arrows to join around heart’s blood of great hope it will lay, perhaps even more, only I, Themis, can say, at the end of the last day. Many eras have tried to face success and prevail, only to miss the connections and fail. Brothers may harness drops of their power to advise in this cause because it is written in Themis’ divine law. For only then will the threat be defeated, and to the Isle of Blest the remaining gods be seated. And though their time of rule may end, full assimilation of immortal blood, this Oracle will send. For even if one pure drop remains, ascending the steps, Olympians may again reign.”
Nothing more was said and when Zeus looked again, mother and son were gone.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.