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    Cynus
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Rivers of the Dead - 28. 3-7 - Hate

Don't forget to comment and react to this chapter! Also, special thanks to my Patreon Supporters: Michael, Bill, Charles, Amr, Don, James, Joe, Jos, Mark, Mark, Paul, Steve, John, Frank, Sam, Matthieu, and Ben. Couldn't have done it without them. Email me at Samuel.D.Roe@gmail.com to be put on my mailing list! :D

All the buildings looked the same, but Caleb was certain he was heading in the right direction. It was as if he could sense the Styx flowing ahead of him, could sense the end of The Underworld. The farther he walked, the more he understood, the more he could see.

And he was beginning to understand, even as the world shifted around him, he could see the pattern in the shifting. He felt, if he studied it long enough, he could learn to manipulate it, to bend it to his will and recreate the land as he saw fit should he find the will to do so.

"Caleb, where are you going?" Orpheus asked, appearing at his side.

Caleb smiled at him. He understood Orpheus, too. Now more than ever. "Orpheus, I was wondering when you'd come back. Where did you go?" Caleb asked.

"Official business of The Underworld," Orpheus replied. "I needed to serve as witness at the Grand Tribunal."

Caleb knew it for the lie that it was. He'd reasoned out the hidden meaning of Eurydice's words. The Ruler stood before him now, but why? Caleb knew, but he had to play the game a little longer, he had to learn why The Ruler would choose to masquerade in such a manner. "Is that one of your official duties as psychopomp?" He asked.

"Yes. I'm often called for such things," Orpheus replied with a casual shrug. "A certain warlord and tyrant has recently arrived in our realm. The three judges wished to commit him to Tartarus, and all psychopomps are to be made aware of such a verdict."

"I see," Caleb replied. The answer was as vague as he'd expected, but he no longer expected anything less. He needed answers, and he no longer trusted anyone. Though Eurydice had seemed clear that he should still seek the seat of The Ruler, and so he would. As long as Orpheus offered guidance, Caleb would accept it.

"You'll learn," Orpheus said, "should you become one of us. Until that moment, you are not allowed in those chambers."

Caleb ignored those words. He didn't care about becoming a psychopomp. He didn't want to serve Orpheus. He couldn't. But the answers, those motivated him, and so instead he said, "I'm seeking the Styx."

"What for?" Orpheus asked.

"I believe The Ruler is now the only one who can help me find answers," Caleb replied. "Ethan isn't in Elysium."

"You're sure?" Orpheus asked. He sounded so sincere, so concerned, but Caleb knew. He knew Orpheus had duped him from the beginning, but why?

"Yes. I'm sure. I've searched with my heart and I know it's true. I can see things much more clearly now."

Orpheus laughed. "You've drunk more deeply from the Mnemosyne, I see."

"Indeed."

"So, you seek The Ruler and, what then?" Orpheus asked.

"I officially offer to exchange my soul for Ethan's," Caleb explained. That's what you said I had to do, right?"

"Do you earnestly wish to offer your soul to The Underworld?" Orpheus asked. Caleb recognized it for the dangerous question it was. If he answered yes now, then his fate would be sealed. If he answered no, then Orpheus may stop wasting time on him.

He needed to tread carefully, for he now knew the danger of his opponent. There was only one type of answer he could give, for only one answer would give him the freedom to see this through.

"Once I know that Ethan's fate is secure, yes," Caleb replied.

True to form, as soon as Caleb said he would accept his new position, Orpheus' face lit up like a kid receiving presents. "Then I know the way to the Styx. Come, let me show you."

Caleb didn't need to look back this time to know that the cat-eyed dogs were stalking them, watching his every move. He could feel them in his soul. He was dead, and they knew it as surely as he did.

Don't forget to comment and react to this chapter! Also, special thanks to my Patreon Supporters: Michael, Bill, Charles, Amr, Don, James, Joe, Jos, Mark, Mark, Paul, Steve, John, Frank, Sam, Matthieu, and Ben. Couldn't have done it without them. Email me at Samuel.D.Roe@gmail.com to be put on my mailing list! :D

Copyright © 2017 Cynus; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments

15 minutes ago, Wesley8890 said:

Loving it more and more now what will Caleb use the Lethe water for...

Probably just to wash his hands to cleanse them from the ashes of memory. This sentence is completely nonsensical, but I'm bloody proud of it!

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 Caleb knows. The question is does Orpheus know that Caleb knows. But then does Caleb know that Orpheus knows that he knows.  Now my head is spinning and I don’t know what Orpheus, Caleb, Ethan, Liz, or Jake know anymore.  I guess I will just have to keep reading.  Thanks so much. 

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A dangerous game he plays now, Caleb. Orpheus has eons more experience. Will his longing for Ethan guide him right? 

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4 hours ago, Cynus said:

PLEASE QUOTE OR LIKE THIS COMMENT SO I KNOW YOU ARE COMMENTING. :)


(Admins, I realize this is two chapters in quick succession, but they're so short!)

 

And while I liked this chapter,  it makes me so very sad, for Caleb realizes he can never live again in the light with Ethan, even though he can try to give his lover the life he ought to have lived. But even this may not be possible, for the Ruler now stalks Caleb, as well as his hounds. I am filled with foreboding.

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Short chapter, not sweet. All that we've learned is that Caleb sees through Orpheus' laid back façade and knows his options are disappointing.

Will he give up hope that he'll ever be with Ethan again?

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Caleb has managed to pierce at least some of the veil. He realizes the possibility of shaping the afterlife to his will. He knows who he is dealing with. I think he is a bit premature in the belief he is dead. He entered the afterlife as a living being, his coffin is empty, he hasn't officially exchanged his life for Ethan's, and he isn't totally under the dominion of the Ruler. He is still only a guest. Orpheus himself returned from the afterlife. He has to bend the rules.

 

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.

 

I see that as more of a suggestion than a rule. A very powerful and sobering suggestion to be sure, but still a suggestion effective only by acceptance.  As long as there is Hope, all things are possible.

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On 10/5/2017 at 12:47 PM, glennish said:

 Caleb knows. The question is does Orpheus know that Caleb knows. But then does Caleb know that Orpheus knows that he knows.  Now my head is spinning and I don’t know what Orpheus, Caleb, Ethan, Liz, or Jake know anymore.  I guess I will just have to keep reading.  Thanks so much. 

But you know, and you knowing that someone knows something knowable about something will probably get you spinning toward the end, right? :P

On 10/5/2017 at 1:11 PM, Puppilull said:

A dangerous game he plays now, Caleb. Orpheus has eons more experience. Will his longing for Ethan guide him right? 

That is certainly a worthwhile question. But there remains some hope for Caleb, since at least he now has some idea of whom he's dealing with. :)

On 10/5/2017 at 1:56 PM, Parker Owens said:

 

And while I liked this chapter,  it makes me so very sad, for Caleb realizes he can never live again in the light with Ethan, even though he can try to give his lover the life he ought to have lived. But even this may not be possible, for the Ruler now stalks Caleb, as well as his hounds. I am filled with foreboding.

And so I hoped you would be, for they are approaching the depths of The Underworld now. They head, as Eurydice directed, toward the seat of Death itself. What will Caleb find there? It will certainly be something which will give him pause, as one could only imagine it to be.

On 10/5/2017 at 2:17 PM, Stephen said:

Short chapter, not sweet. All that we've learned is that Caleb sees through Orpheus' laid back façade and knows his options are disappointing.

Will he give up hope that he'll ever be with Ethan again?

It does look a little bleak, doesn't it? There is hope ahead, but for whom I will not say. There remains a part 4, and it will be as long as the others. We've got a bit of a journey to go, and there is  still a bit to learn along the way.

On 10/5/2017 at 3:06 PM, drpaladin said:

Caleb has managed to pierce at least some of the veil. He realizes the possibility of shaping the afterlife to his will. He knows who he is dealing with. I think he is a bit premature in the belief he is dead. He entered the afterlife as a living being, his coffin is empty, he hasn't officially exchanged his life for Ethan's, and he isn't totally under the dominion of the Ruler. He is still only a guest. Orpheus himself returned from the afterlife. He has to bend the rules.

 

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.

 

I see that as more of a suggestion than a rule. A very powerful and sobering suggestion to be sure, but still a suggestion effective only by acceptance.  As long as there is Hope, all things are possible.

A wise position, my friend. As to whether Caleb is truly alive or dead, that is not for me to tell. :) 'What is Death?' is really the question of this entire journey. It's what Caleb is experiencing, what Ethan is fighting, what Orpheus is explaining, what Liz is trying to move on from... what is death? And by the end of this tale, you may have some semblance of my answer, if I did my job at all, heh.

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On 10/5/2017 at 8:34 AM, Cynus said:

PLEASE QUOTE OR LIKE THIS COMMENT SO I KNOW YOU ARE COMMENTING. :)


(Admins, I realize this is two chapters in quick succession, but they're so short!)

Caleb is wise, and no fool. Does Orpheus know he knows?

Edited by BlindAmbition
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52 minutes ago, BlindAmbition said:

Caleb is wise, and no fool. Does Orpheus know he knows?

At least suspects his suspicion. :)

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