The Mark of Eris - Chapter 2 | Penana

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The Mark of Eris
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Writer Chloe Quinn
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
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The Mark of Eris
A - A - A
Intro 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Chapter 2
Chloe Quinn
Jun 13, 2018
12 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!EDjNFblIcP8vjOMXjwHhposted on PENANA

Chapter 2copyright protection25PENANAxlMmCQHCuD

The sparring yard was a short walk from the tent. Fay followed the squad, lingering near the back with Nadia, whom had dropped back to talk. She pointed out different squads, occasionally making remarks on particular hounds. It was a show of power, of knowledge, that Nadia was revelling in. So, Fay let her talk, nodding occasionally. It was a wonder what information you could glean from someone when you just let them talk continuously. All the tiny slips, the snatches of information. All gathered, drew up a picture of the camp that Fay was slowly starting to form in her mind.copyright protection25PENANA69gpWWAiEN

When the squad fanned out around the yard, a large dusty rectangular yard with the edges marked by logs of wood, Remus stepped into the centre of the area.copyright protection25PENANA8NirC5pVB6

He spread his arms wide, like some sort of ringmaster. “The important in any fight is to watch and learn, bait your enemy. If you don’t know their weaknesses that should be your first priority. Then, wear him down and go in.” He dropped his arms and drew his sword, pointing it to Diana, then stabbed it into the dirt. “Diana, come.”copyright protection25PENANAc8sZv4PdHk

Diana strode out and yanked the sword from the sand. She smiled smugly, preening as all attention was on her. It drove Fay crazy, rubbed her all kinds of wrong. She drew a deep breath, schooling her face and her rising temper. The fight would be against someone who was likely better at controlling her temper, so Remus was right – just as Abe had trained her, too. Find the weaknesses, go in and be ruthless. Hesitate, you die.copyright protection25PENANAQNt7cq3NJI

Then Remus pointed to her and she suddenly wished she hadn’t fobbed off so many training sessions with the sword. She strode out until she was before, half expecting him to produce a sword for her. He smiled at her, like he thought she was going to get her arse kicked and relished in the thought. Then, without saying anything, he strode from the yard to the squad, leaving Fay to face Diana, without a sword.copyright protection25PENANAARwTj9ZJ4A

Talk about making a point, she thought wryly. Day two of the Underworld and she was already fighting.copyright protection25PENANAPhJhgfl6s3

Diana shifted into position, her hands fastened around the hilt of her sword. She smiled. “I’m going to carve you up into pieces.”copyright protection25PENANAqiQUp2ltQ5

“Bring it,” taunted Fay, sliding into her own stances; knees bent, legs slightly spread, her arms braced as she drew on threads of magic, wrapping them around her.copyright protection25PENANAcrXJlgSk0X

She ignored the curious stares from the squad, though it was hard to miss that other squads had gathered. Word must’ve spread fast on the sparring session.copyright protection25PENANAUPeE7vTtBl

Remus snapped his fingers and Diana was off, charging at her. Fay leapt to the side, narrowly missing the wide arc of her blade. It hissed through the air, a blur of silver, as she ducked and weaved, barely avoiding the sharp edge. She tried throwing bolts but they were off, haphazardly thrown. Abe would be ashamed.copyright protection25PENANAw2DmX3pjwg

Find the weakness, Abe and Remus’s voices bled into one in her head, a steady chant.copyright protection25PENANAoJHls2ClmC

First, she needed to get space. Think, study. Take charge of the fight. She dropped suddenly, surprising Diana, and surged all her energy into the ground – a thunderous bang ripped through the ground, briefly unbalancing Diana. Fay jumped back several feet and stopped. What would Diana be afraid of? She seemed concerned about power, about how she looked. It was all about being always on the offensive.copyright protection25PENANAihsxWz2P3E

Bingo. copyright protection25PENANAbzHPWESmXp

Diana was at her again, sprinting hard – from the outside she must’ve looked fearsome. Fay wasn’t afraid. The second Diana was a few feet away Fay ran – right at her – and summoned all her power, covering every inch of skin black. Then, she dropped and slid past her, grabbing at her ankle on the way past. She caught skin and surged all her energy in as Diana fell, screaming. Fay didn’t hesitate. She scrambled over, yanking the sword free and had it at her throat as Diana rolled over, thinking she had time to react. She froze as the cold metal pressed against her skin, lifting her eyes slowly to Fay.copyright protection25PENANACm9kHBnkWK

“Yield,” said Fay.copyright protection25PENANAWf2pMYZPO2

The fury in Diana’s eyes was unmistakeable. “No.”copyright protection25PENANAtZCaPzPHVN

Fay glanced up to Remus. He nodded, challenging her to strike the next blow. Nothing lethal – nothing was, not really – in the Underworld. Only certain blades sent souls to Tartarus anyway. Chances are if Fay struck Diana she’d simply reappear in the Underworld, her ego only bruised. With a sigh, she made her decision and raised the sword, then swung –copyright protection25PENANA7yagTSSgcP

Stop!”copyright protection25PENANA1943yR2xGQ

The Command thundered through the camp like a crack of thunder. Fay froze, the blade inches from Diana’s throat. She quickly stepped back, driving the blade into the ground as an icy breeze whipped through the camp. A figure materialised from the shadows of a nearby tent – and at once, all the squad members dropped to their knees. Only Fay stood. The Command had been to stop, not to bow.copyright protection25PENANAAaQclFManH

She looked at Hades, boldly, unafraid. “I thought-“copyright protection25PENANAYvg8L90Dqd

He snapped his fingers, silencing her until he stood before her. A languid smile stretched his cynical mouth. “Bow.”copyright protection25PENANAssmxvVoyt4

Every inch in her body wanted to obey but her mind clung to her independence, even as it sliced through her. She kept her gaze on his, furious, as she clenched her jaw – and slowly, but surely, dropped to her knees. Abe said the infamous words once and it shattered their bond, now Hades was throwing it around carelessly – and she wanted to rip him apart with her hands.copyright protection25PENANAp3efgAV3Kj

On her knees she seethed. copyright protection25PENANALJO1SAbTeC

Something inside of her was screaming no. Obedience to one’s master was meant to be natural to a hellhound. Yet, to her, she fought and railed, screamed in fury, slamming her fists against the bond. As the darkness inside of her thickened, sharpening like a blade twisting in her chest. She forced her head up and looked at Hades, her fury as black and wild as Tartarus, a force unto itself.copyright protection25PENANA6H4teApD8S

Hades met her gaze – and his smile faltered. His eyes darkened. Without blinking he yanked out his sword and slammed the hilt into her head, sending her spiralling into oblivion.copyright protection25PENANAHyWWOdwKgh

The world was a storm; a raging hurricane with thunderous winds that tore across an endless field. The sky was full of black, vicious clouds that writhed and cracked with bolts of lightning. Yet, standing right in the middle of it, as if completely untouched, was Andromeda. She was staring up at the raging storm. As Fay neared her she looked bewildered, spinning around, as if searching. She was calling out, her voice swallowed by the thunder. Confusion swam through her eyes, spiralling quickly into panic, then anger. copyright protection25PENANA311S3TsfMG

She screamed again a single name into the storm, one that pierced the chaos and silenced it completely. Fay heard the power thunder from her voice.copyright protection25PENANARTnWmCwLfF

Zeus!”copyright protection25PENANAEXeAT2OqM5

A bolt of lightning split the sky, striking the ground before Andromeda. She didn’t even flinch; no, she was trembling in fury as Zeus stood before her, smiling.copyright protection25PENANAIP7KIaDapq

“You called?”copyright protection25PENANAQhjedFQKr6

Where are they?” copyright protection25PENANAq53EGXHuot

He shook his finger at her, like he was scolding a child. “Best calm down, my dear. You may be a new Goddess but you wouldn’t want anything to happen to the others.”copyright protection25PENANAA6jHQ1Ruch

She stilled, lifting her icy gaze up. “What have you done?copyright protection25PENANAU3ydhMT8xk

“You best come along now like a good Goddess,” he said, ushering her with his out stretched hand.copyright protection25PENANAeYphD6ekBD

Fay could only watch as she saw Andromeda start to obey – mid step, she stopped dead and recoiled, like she’d been struck. The look was familiar, the action unmistakeable. Somehow, Zeus had bound Andromeda but the scene before didn’t fit anything she’d seen before. She threw her hand out to side, a sword bursting to life in her grasp – the very sword that Hades held at his hip. She pointed the sword at him.copyright protection25PENANAObJ7SA9K5l

“You will not have me, nor will you claim my power. I am the Goddess that will bring your mountain to it’s knees, whose empire will burn when I am done with you. I am the beginning and I am your end.” Then she flipped the sword and drove it into her heart.copyright protection25PENANA10pAdGn7PU

Fay bolted up awake, gasping for air, clutching at her chest. She tore the thin blanket away from her and dug her fingers into her chest, as if trying to feel for blood. It had felt so real. The second that sword had plunged into Andromeda she felt the metal slice through her as well, the pain blinding. She closed her eyes, feeling the rapid drum of her heart. After several minutes her heart slowed, resumed its normal marching pace, and she opened her eyes, peering out across the room – slowly, at first, seeing nothing but the cream cloth of the tent. The entrance parted and Nadia strode it. She froze when her gaze caught Fay’s, like she’d been caught out somehow – then she smiled and closed the space between them.copyright protection25PENANAr3TRlwXAQy

“How you feeling?” Nadia asked, sounding like she almost cared.copyright protection25PENANAdFKXNCxWmD

Fay is wary. “My head hurts.”copyright protection25PENANAioDHZRomYd

It doesn’t, not really, but it was an answer she thought Nadia might like – a kind of prescribed answer, a safe reply. That was the problem with hellhounds, that loyalty. She was guilty of it, too. Loyalty was required, though decision strengthened it, made martyrs out of it. Fay hadn’t had time to figure out who the martyrs were, or those, like Amanda, were ruthlessly loyal, if only to avoid something else – there had been no belief, no real respect, in her loyalty. It had been a at requirement she embraced for her own survival.copyright protection25PENANAhqhahCHfcx

“He did hit you pretty hard. A few of us thought he’d killed you, that you’d vanish and reappear, another said you might be sent to Tartarus. What was that, anyway?” Nadia asked with a cleverly curious gaze, studying, deciding.copyright protection25PENANAOpcymZaUWx

There’s too much intelligence in those eyes that, for the moment in front of Fay, is exposed. It’s kind of flattering that Nadia trusts Fay in some sort of way to look that openly curious. At the same time, it’s unsettling, like they’ve both entered into a secret. A dangerous secret.copyright protection25PENANAyfVbXV3lh1

“Nothing. A moment, that’s all.”copyright protection25PENANAzzrQJJsqZF

The answer deflated the curiosity in her eyes, though only slightly. Then, it sharpened, renewed by a sudden thought.copyright protection25PENANAYN5bmsbxn7

“None of us when we bow ever wants to look up. We want him to piss off so we can pretend he doesn’t own us. Yet when he made you bow you fought that bond – we all felt that – and looked up. That’s when a few of us did. I did. Not at him, at you. Hell, even I felt a little scared when I saw that look in your eyes,” she said with a nervous laugh – forced, maybe? It was hard to tell for Fay.copyright protection25PENANA4Vn07kVaGd

Nadia’s eyes pinned Fay down again, searching – for that look, maybe? For what inspired it? She needed answers. Fay had the sudden aimage in her head of Nadia outside the tent, pacing, waiting for the right time to enter once Fay had awoken. Her hearing would’ve told her the right time.copyright protection25PENANAbfMD6wmyXm

“What look?” Fay wanted to know; she’d felt angry, used, defiant but she wondered what look had been there, in her eyes – what the others saw. All she had for reference was the moment the smile fell from Hades’s mouth, which was too brief to dissect.copyright protection25PENANAeV9j7vMi29

It was a relief, she realised, that someone else had dared to look and saw Fay. Someone she could talk to, right at that moment, anyway. It seemed fortuitous, that curiosity offered to her, and she was wary of it, like it might burn her somehow. There was still time.copyright protection25PENANAq74O8c84mP

Nadia looked her dead in the eye, as if in her mind, that look had appeared – she appeared like Hades, Fay realised, the same expression mirrored on her face. “Like you wanted to kill him with your bare hands.”copyright protection25PENANAhy44baAyJy

An hour or so later Nadia helped Fay get dressed and they ate quietly from what remained of the evening meal. According to Nadia only the ‘day’ had passed, and that the squad was out in a nearby field, training. She didn’t explain further and Fay didn’t ask. She’d learn later but, whilst she had Nadia alone, and leaning towards her, curious and intent, Fay knew she might use it to learn more. To what end, exactly, she hadn’t decided. Maybe to freeing herself, down the track, but that was a distant thought, for the moment. First, she had to do the ground work, learn the lay of the land, as it was.copyright protection25PENANAUYu4hBz4UC

They walked through the camp to one of the wells. A girl was there, barely older than Fay – so, a woman, really, but young. She was absorbed by her task, lifting up a bucket of water and, when she’d done that, she lifted it to her mouth and gulped greedily. Water sloshed down her cheeks, soaking her uniform. She set it down, wiped her mouth and looked up, sensing Fay and Nadia. At the latter she smiled welcomingly, like seeing an old friend.copyright protection25PENANAdlKi9SuiWR

“Nadia. Haven’t seen you in a while. I thought you were busy training with that squad of yours, getting sorted for that mission,” she said with an easy smile.copyright protection25PENANA7epbiAmT96

“I am and we haven’t gotten it – yet. I’m just helping the new squad member, for the moment. She had a little sparring injury and just got up, so I’m showing her around whilst Remus isn’t hovering nearby,” explained Nadia, gesturing to Fay. “Tahlia, Fay, Fay, Tahlia.”copyright protection25PENANAr34V7mxHqr

Fay smiled welcomingly. The girl nodded, curious like Nadia, but a soft smile there, friendly. She closed the distance, held out a lithe hand, which was attached to a well-muscled arm, faintly scarred and with a myriad of symbols tattooed into her upper arm. A whisper of an era long gone, Fay thought.copyright protection25PENANAkDM4WWXreU

“Welcome to hell,” said Tahlia with a wry smile.copyright protection25PENANAil8HxriTlr

A laugh bubbled from Fay’s mouth. She snorted, involuntarily, then laughed quietly. “Nice.”copyright protection25PENANAZMv3IDqflQ

“I’d say sorry but I’m not. Rare we get new hounds and the last few haven’t had a sense of humour, at all. It’s tragic, really. I know this camp can suck, this is a literal eternal waiting game we’re playing, and being miserable about it won’t help anyone.” She glanced at Nadia, suddenly, like she had an idea. “Do you have much time?”copyright protection25PENANAGFutKqpISD

Nadia’s mouth stretched into a broad grin. “Remus didn’t specify a time.”copyright protection25PENANACaZLSwdapy

Tahlia slapped her hands together. “Then it’s decided. You’re both coming with me. That’s why you led her here, isn’t it, when you saw me. You knew I’d offer.”copyright protection25PENANACpl8t3LTi7

There seemed a double meaning in the words that Fay couldn’t quite decipher. Was Nadia, in her first life, an Oracle or Seer of sorts? She glanced at Nadia, saw nothing but the languid grin, and knew for the moment she wouldn’t find her answers.copyright protection25PENANAKZNesyFSgx

“So, you going to lead on?” Nadia asked with an arch tone.copyright protection25PENANAwTHvEA1SKr

Tahlia held out a hand, beckoning them to follow.copyright protection25PENANAqnQLvkOhd7

Comments ( 1 )

Emoddess - This chapter was good. I love the sparring session and when Fay was all rage it was pretty cool, especially when Nadia saw how she looked like and they all felt the pull when Fay resisted to bow. And that flashback of Andromeda, is that how she died? There's a fate between Fay and Andromeda that's still intertwined, it seems. Also, I like the sentence when it said how Fay noticed Tahlia's arm and different symbols where it spoke of an era long gone. It just made me feel like whoa. I have to remember that the squad doesn't just consist of new recruits from the modern world but also there's been members since the ancient times.
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