CHAPTER FOUR - Of battles and Boxes

Hermione had taken the triumvirate of determined souls away from the paths and through dense underbrush.  Two hours of thorns fragrant poisonous plants and falling ripened nuts and finally they emerged on a lit path toward a small village not unlike that seen littering the Northamptonshire countryside around Belials chosen domain on earth.  Small redbricked barn like buildings were amicably lit in orange and red as lamplights flickered on and off.

There was a similarity here between Hades and Heaven, less neon and less illusion the closer you go to the main city.  In fact despite the obvious electricty, these shacks could have been hovels.  Here you could cue a rag and bone man, a local butcher and mead swilling villagers had this been hollywood.  But it wasn't hollywood, and it wasn't a village by earth standards. It was inhabited by half horse, half human warriors, tall and terrifying and (to Balthazar at least) awe-striking.

Hermione had instructed them in the customs and habits of the contemporary Centaur population.  Wherever there was important centaurs there was music.  Persephone had introduced the culture of music to these otherwise limited and unculture creatures decades ago and as always presented them with many moods and soon the stuck-in-the-old-ways half human cattle discovered there was importance in such otherwise profane arts.

Taking things too seriously as Centaurs often did (especially from the lectures of the iron queen of the underworld) Centaurs often tributed to their beloved leader by playing music wherever there were gatherings of political or macabre importance.

So it stood that the trio listened for the council of the centaurs rather than simply inquired as to where the mayors and the dukes of the centaur land would congregate.  A drum beat, a chord and a melodic proclamation that 'always a hero comes home' led them into the heart of the political ignorance of a striving culture.

It was well acknowledged that Centaurs respected authority and monarchy, leadership and courage.  But always they sought that from other species striving to one day emulate within their kin what they trust from Persephone.

So within a spacious building with no roof resided a circle of confused and bewildered authoritarian centaurs discussing desparately the emptiness of a throne or leadership and the supposed kidnapping of their queen.  Amongst the clamour there were words of an old face arriving, and mixed acceptance of his story.

As Hermione, Saracen and Balthazar entered the ampitheatre of politics Balthazar inhaled deeply.  The basic magesty of a courtroom reeking of hay, wheat and sickly-sweet manure inscribed wonder into his mind.  He watched the glowingly beautiful Hermione approached a crowned giant Centuar sat in the centre of the circular golden barn.  The Centuars eyes widened and then a hoof pointed to a podium inches to his right urging her to address the congregation.

As Hermione approached an ornate box there was an urgent hush amongst the thirty strong congregation of horse-man hybrids all clamouring about their own magesty.  The faces focussed with mixed awe, bewilderment and some with a feigned all-knowingness on the young woman before them.  Neither Demon nor Centaur would anticipate her words.

The young blonde Hermione looked around the congregation and then down to the podium before her.  Her small breast was heaving, her shoulders seemed heavy as they were lifted with worry.  This was going to be a good show, the performance was on, Hermione was about to make her mark on history.

"Honourable Centaurs, keepers of the peace and followers of the queens law I must trouble you for your attention.  Law abiding centaurs and other creatures lend me a few moments of your much needed deliberations for I know where the Iron Queen is.

"Although that detail is important I must remind you of some historical occurences that may gain you some perspective.  The Iron queen needs assistance.  But why would you honourable creatures offer your aid to us in time of need.

"It is true that my mother offered my father no comfort or respect befitting that of a warrior as such you would honour your own stablemates with, it is true that my mother dethroned became almost a hermit to your kind.  It is also true that many acts that my mother did partake upon would have dishonoured yourselves, but I request aid.  Not as her daughter but as one who would help you claim the allegiance of all within the Ethers.

"The truth is, the queen has not been taken or harmed but is hostage within the walls of her own home, held by the king you all despise and his olympian brother who overthrew the elders.  With her is Belial, the king you would have accpeted were it not for the twisted inner politics of Hades and Hera.

"Beyond their safety I must explain and present you with politics of Jehovah the Christian ruler, the dictator of heaven and now it seems the purchaser of Hades and all its leaders. 

"Without my requested action  I will illuminate your future.  Your future as slaves, and as the cattle as to which Jehovah perceives you.  Pulling carts and cargo for the fat sick mouths of those without respect.  Being referred to as foals, simple animals to the ignorant would be tyrants who have purchased Zeus so cheaply.

"Belial and Persephone strive to reach the catacombs of Minos to enable them to free creatures from all dimensions.  The Netherworld, Olympus, Nirvana, Earth, Elysium, Valhalla and Hell united under one banner allowing freedom of speech and activity for all.

However their pursuers dream only of a complete takeover by all those under the banner of Jehovah.  I am humbly here before to invite you into the greatest defence to harmony in history.  Those who would preserve their way of life and their freedom need only stay and heed my words.  The rest may leave unaffected and unhurt."

Nothing moved so Hermione began to explain the plan.

The End

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