The Underworld (Chapter Two, page 1 of 4)


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The former goddess of the underworld, known as past-Death, crept down the corridor leading through the dungeon. It was the most ancient part of her palace, all that remained of the original structure created in the time-before-time. The rest of the palace had been rebuilt many times over, but the worn, uneven stones lining the floor, walls and ceiling here had seen the passing of every age since Death first began ruling its domain.

With her memories stripped by the Dark One, she found herself pausing every few steps, listening hard, concentrating harder, knowing there were memories being whispered by the walls, secrets she was no longer privileged enough to hear. The dungeon had remained intact for millions of years, rendering it the most powerful stronghold in the underworld.

It should mean something to her, something important. Something she'd know if she were still a deity or if the damned Dark One hadn't taken her memories.

The yellow-grey flames of ensconced torches located every ten steps or so along the corridor provided some light. Even weaker than the daylight in the underworld, there was more darkness in the hall than light despite the many torches.

She reached the end of the hallway and gazed at the solid wall. It was a dead end. This much she recalled when she set out walking. While concerned about escaping, she was more worried about knowing whether the death dealers had freed …

Them. She racked her mind once more and rested her fingertips on the stone wall. There was danger here, emanating from the two cells nearest the dead end, those with powerful wards capable of imprisoning a full deity. Gripping her head, she tried hard to recall why this was more important than escaping, whom she should fear more than the death dealers likely to kill her.

Why, as one of the most powerful deities in the universe, she had once felt threatened enough to lock up these two prisoners and leave them to rot for eternity in her dungeon.

"How the fuck did you do that?"

Past-Death's eyes snapped open, and she stared into the darkness overhead until she recalled where she was. Her head throbbed from the rough treatment of Harmony's loyal death-dealers. The dream of walking down the hallway remained vivid in her thoughts.

I'm lucky to be alive. She didn't know why she was. Becoming human had keyed her in on a few things she never knew as a deity, and one of them was that her death dealers despised the fact they were conscripted into working for her for millennia. Many of them didn't simply resent her; they hated her with a passion she'd never felt for anything.

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