The Court of Hades


The winding tunnels of the Underworld guided them deeper and deeper, what seemed to be further underground. A bitter chill snapped at their limbs as they shivered, Cameo wrapping his arms about him as he followed Ajax and his magic shield. Impatience and fear began to creep into him, as he asked Ajax, "What if this shield is a hoax, or it has some....mistake?"

Ajax lifted his head from their direction for a moment to reply, "Nay, you saw it back there when we defeated that beastly Hound. And it has guided us this far, yes?"

The two continued in silence, the only sound their footfall on the hard ground and the muffled moan of the dead which seemed to come from all around, though it appeared to get louder and closer as they walked down the tunnel.

They turned about the dark bend, a bluish grey light coming into view. Ajax grabbed Cameo's arm tightly, "That must be the end of the tunnel," He raised his eyebrow slightly, "Now don't go running off on me again."

A smile tugged at Cameo's lips but the seriousness of the situation soon returned as they stepped forward towards whatever lay at the end of the tunnel this time.

As slowly and cautiously as they proceeded, they soon stepped into the blue-grey haze of a wide hall. Black, shimmering onyx pillars rose to the ceiling made out of similar stone, black as a starless sky. The hall seemed to go on forever, yet there was so sign of Hades, only a murky black river weaving it's way through the pillars and out of sight, intolerably loud moaning surrounding them, seeming to come from the river itself.

A simple black boat floated idly at their feet. Ajax proceeded to step inside, though Cameo grabbed him by the wrist, "What if this is a trick?"

"Do we have any other choice?" his companion asked solemnly, sitting down inside of it. Reluctantly Cameo followed, the little wooden boat lurching into action, drifting down the swift current.

Cameo peered over the edge into the water, crying out in fear as he jumped back, nearing tipping over the boat. His hand trembling, he pointed into the water, Ajax looking over to see what scared him so.

Unnumbered silvery grey spirits drifted through the black water, staring up at him with long, haunted faces, all singing that terrible song of groaning. "It's like a mass grave....for souls," murmured Ajax, shocked and disgusted.

He couldn't pull his eyes away, his gaze staying on the faces as they passed them. The spirits seemed to reach through the water for them, as if crying to help, but he could not nothing but stare back at them. A horrified pit in his gut, he wondered if his wife was among them.

"Ajax," Cameo tugged his tunic, snapping him from his staring, dream-like state. "Look," he breathed.

Ajax gaped as the river bent about a corner, joining with other branches into one great lake. On the other many other streams floated boats similar to theirs, though people in the flesh crowded them, one black cloaked being at the front steering to where all the boats were headed.

To the throne of Hades, and their Judgment Day.

He swallowed, his throat dry as he gazed at all the others, their faces blank and eyes glazed as they stared forward. All glared towards the mountain of black stair steps which Hades' throne was perched, where the God of the Dead in fact sat, his hungry, cold eyes on his victims like those of a hunter on its prey.

The End

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