Fantasy Science Fiction posted March 26, 2024 Chapters:  ...27 28 -29- 30... 

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Theo returns to Concorde Valley

A chapter in the book Return To Concorde Valley

Adam's Trial

by davisr (Rhonda)

Years after a fire took her parents lives and devastated her home, Echo worked at a small town newspaper. She was rescued from danger by her old friend, Theo, who took her to a new life in his world.
End of last chapter: 
Climbing on the back of the great, roan stallion, he headed towards the pass in the mountain that would lead him home. As he went,Theo let out a call to the wild horses in the area. Several responded with their own piercing reply. He instructed them to get a message to Hermes to meet him in the garden outside his house, that is if he was back from his own mission.

Theo did what Mageia suggested and took a good look at Carack Valley in the growing light of morning. As always, it was desolate and depressing. Once a valley as beautiful as Concorde, it was brought to ruin by an abusive society.
As the last view of Carack filled his eyes, Theo spotted life returning to the ruin. Hope had begun to refill a valley long devoid of light. He had to make sure that hope had a chance to flourish, and that such destruction be kept from the whole of Earth.
New Chapter Begins:

As soon as he returned to Concorde Valley, Theo pressed Nifty to top speed. He had less than a week to get soldiers prepared for battle, find Hypnos and Thanatos, and make plans to defeat the lord of the dead.

Nifty complied with his master's urgency and ran with the speed he was bred for.

His sire was the immortal black stallion, Eternal, born on Mount Olympus and once a part of Phoebus' own Centaur body. When asked to fly like the wind, Nifty was equipped to oblige.

The great horse slowed to a stop at Theo's house and knelt for him to dismount.

Theo led his steed into the garden where he found Hermes seated at a table, munching on fried chicken. His younger brother, Adam, was sitting beside him looking frazzled.

"I'm glad to see you've made yourself at home," Theo said. He walked over and affectionately slapped his cousin on the shoulder.

"Searching for lost brothers is hard work," Hermes said. He wiped his mouth with a napkin and glanced up, "Your brother is a great cook."

"It was simply fried chicken," Adam said, "Given time, I could have done more."

"I'm sure you gave it your best. You always do," Theo said. He patted his brother on the back with a little more tenderness than he had his cousin.

"So what did you two discover? Did you locate Apollo?"

"We did," Hermes said. His answer came quickly and a bit rehearsed.

Theo crossed his arms across his chest, his green eyes narrowing in suspicion. "That didn't take long."

"Well, it helps that I already had a pretty good idea where to look."

"I knew you knew where he was," Theo said. He threw his hands up in exasperation.

Hermes shrugged and went back to eating chicken.

"And where is he?" Theo asked.

"Actually, not too far, as the messenger god flies."

"Can you be more specific?"

"I'd rather not."

"Okay, we'll skip the location for now," Theo said. He didn't have time or patience for cajoling the evasive god. He could always pump Adam for information later.

"I don't care where you found the guy as long as he's headed here."

"Well, there might be an issue with that," Hermes said. His eyes shifted nervously.

"What issue?"

Theo placed his hands on the table and leaned close enough to pin Hermes with his eyes.

"Tell me you were able to talk him into helping us."

"I did talk to him," Hermes said, "and he said he's heard about the issue on Mount Olympus, but I'm not quite sure he appreciates the gravity of the situation."

"Didn't you explain it to him?" Theo drew closer to Hermes' face.

"Of course I did," Hermes replied, visibly squirming.

"And what did he tell you?"


"If you remember everything he said, yes."

"Yeah, well, he was quite to the point. He told me to kiss off."

"That's it?" Theo asked. "All he said was to kiss off?"

"Well, he did add a bit more about how he didn't care what the gods on Mount Olympus did. He indicated he was sick of us all, and me in particular."

"But what about his twin sister, Artemis? She's being held captive, too. Surely he cares about her."

"I tried that angle. He said, She's the goddess of the hunt, let her hunt for help. I thought he was being  entirely flippant about it, completely out of line. His father would be furious."

"He has the same father you do, Hermes."

"True, but he seemed to have forgotten that fact."

"So he's not going to help us?"

"He never really came right out and said he wouldn't," Hermes said. "I think the kiss off remark was directed at me, personally."

"I don't have time to play political games with your nutty relatives."

"They're yours, too," Hermes said.

"For the moment, I would prefer not to think of them that way. The point is, it appears we can't count on Apollo. I have a bigger project I need your help with, anyway. We'll get back to the sun god later."

"Works for me."

Hermes pushed his plate aside and leaned forward.

"I traveled last night to Carack Valley and spoke with one of Hades' old priests, Mageia," Theo said.

Hermes made a face like he had just taken a bite of Amazonian ants. "Why would you do that, boy?"

"I needed to find out if there was anything he knew about stopping Hades, since he used to work for him. Unfortunately, I had to promise him a spot on the King's Council before he'd talk."

"I wouldn't want to be you when Dad finds out," Adam said.

Theo shrugged. "If he gets mad, he gets mad. I had to make a hard decision and Father put me in the position to do so. It's not like I was happy about it."

Adam nodded. "A king's choice. It was yours to make, and one reason I never want to be king."

Theo ruffled his brother's dark hair. "Be careful what you claim never on."

Adam gave him a dark look. "Not funny."

"I hate to break up the brother-bonding thing here," Hermes said, "but what did the old guy say?

Theo instantly became serious. "He suggested I get help from two brothers, Hypnos and Thanatos, to whom even the gods must answer."

"Ouch!" Hermes said. "Why those guys?"

Theo rolled his eyes. "You've ticked them off, too, haven't you?"

"Absolutely not. Even I wouldn't mess with the sons of Nix."

"That's a relief. Do you know where to find them?"

"Of course. I can find anyone, it's my gig. But, Theo, I'm not sure they're any safer than Hades."

"Mageia said the same, but he feels they'll help if I bring them a sacrificial gift."

Adam cringed. "Like a lamb or something?"

"No," Hermes said. "For a group of people with unlimited power and time, desired gifts are ones that involve a personal sacrifice of some sort."

"What do you have in mind?" Adam asked.

"I don't know for sure," Theo said. "I thought I might offer to design them a garden, or, maybe, paint a meaningful picture. To be honest, I don't know what I have to offer anyone of such stature and power."

"It'll come to you before you get there," Hermes said, "or you can ask them directly. They aren't rash. They'll usually listen before lulling you to sleep and killing you."

Adam let out a sound somewhere between a squeak and a gasp.

"Theo, don't go. There's got to be a better way."

"That was all Mageia could come up with and he knows Hades best."

"But Father..."

"Is being held captive along with Mother, Adam. It's not a good plan, but it's all we've got and we're running out of time."

Adam's downcast eyes spoke volumes about what he wanted to say. But, as he had no other plan to offer, kept silent in deference to his brother and cousin.

"So, can you take me to them, Hermes?"

"I can and will. I'm not terribly fond of the guys, but they're probably the only thing left Hades fears."

"Why does he fear them?" Adam asked. "I thought all three work together. Doesn't Hypnos put people to sleep, Thanatos kill them, and Hades rule them in the Underworld."

"That's how it's supposed to work," Theo began.

"But, the old boy threw off the balance of power," Hermes interrupted. "He's trying to do everybody's jobs. The twins have been letting him get away with it because, like Apollo, they'd just as soon let us stew in our own juices."

"So, if Theo brings this gift you're talking about, will they put a stop to it?" Adam asked.

"It's worth a shot," Hermes said, "unless we want to just roll over and let him take control of the world."

"You don't strike me as the rolling over type," Adam said, "and I know Theo isn't."

Hermes was about to respond when he paused and pointed to the edge of the garden. "Hey, that rabbit looks like it's trying to get your attention."

Theo's eyes followed his cousin's gaze. "That's one of Hannah's pets."

He walked to the fence and pulled it up by the scruff. "It's not one of her main twelve, but definitely part of the herd."

"Theo, put him down," Adam said with alarm in his voice. "He's trying to say something."

Theo sat the rabbit on the ground. It instantly drew up on its haunches and began to chatter frantically. Adam leaned in close and listened. He chattered something back, and then stood up.
His mouth gaped open in shock, while tears vied with fury in his eyes.

"Hannah has been taken by three Sirens," he said. "Echo and Phillip have gone after them in a tunnel under Concorde Mountain. Hannah's twelve babies and Echo's cat, Sunny, are with them."

"How long ago?" Theo asked. His voice was clear and calm. Only his eyes showed signs of alarm.

"Since early this morning," Adam said. Building beneath the tears was a determination Theo had never seen in his brother's eyes before. "We have to go after them."

"Tell the rabbit to lead us to wherever he last saw them," Theo said.

Hermes stood to his feet. "No, Theo, it's just a distraction to keep you from completing your quest. Don't get drawn into it."

"A distraction?" Theo thundered. "It's more than that. I can't leave my girlfriend and family to the Sirens."

"It's exactly what I said it is," Hermes said. In the place of the playful god was the authoritative ruler that made him so dangerous an enemy. "It's a typical tactic. You must go for the sons of Nyx. It's the only hope we have of defeating Hades. Don't fall into this trap."

"But Hannah and the others need me. I have to save them first."

"What they need is for you to defeat the man who holds Hannah captive. The Sirens might have taken her, but you know who they work for."

"I'll go after them, Theo," Adam said. "You go get those guys you told us about, and leave Hannah and the others to me. I won't let you down."

"It's not that I don't trust you, Adam, it's just that I feel like I would be abandoning them when they trust me to come."

"You don't love Hannah and Phillip any more than I do, Theo." Adam's jaw was set, his eyes now blazing with green fire. "I know I've shirked my duties for years. I've always said I don't care about being a god, but the true desire is inside me, just like it's in you."

Theo nodded in understanding. He touched his younger brother on the arm. "Okay, Adam, but don't do anything stupid. You aren't going there to sacrifice your life to prove something to all of us."

"I have nothing to prove," Adam said. "No one's ever expected much from me. I know it's my own fault, but I'm different now. Maybe we can consider this my godhood trial."

"That sounds like a good idea, but I don't have the authority to grant you one," Theo said. "I stand in the place of the King, not one of the 12 ruling gods."

"Which is where I come in," Hermes said. "Adam, I officially assign you the task of rescuing Hannah, Phillip and Echo. The successful completion of which will earn you the position of my apprentice on Mount Olympus."

Adam turned to Theo for approval.

"Go now with our blessing," Theo said. He nodded his head at his younger brother.

Adam nodded back. He dropped his cloak and finery, and raced off after the rabbit messenger, his thin, nimble body weaving gracefully through the flowers and plants. 


A special thanks to Sally Law for the artwork of Adam.

Book Summary so far:
Young Echo Jones is overlooked by First Responders as she hides in a wheat field during a house fire. Both parents killed in the fire, she escapes into an ancient forest behind her home. Alone and afraid, she meets up with a young boy, Anthos, nicknamed Theo, from mysterious origins that tends to her while searching for help.

20 years later, Echo is working for a newspaper called the Taylorville Sun. Among other duties, she investigates a serial killer who has now struck in her small town, and covers the opening of a new mega-store, Super Handyman.

After gathering all she needs on the store opening, she meets up with Bessie, an elderly columnist from the Sun who has an inside scoop on the death of the woman killed in their town. Bessie tells what she knows about the night of the murder, and sends Echo off to go back to work.

Echo arrives at the Newspaper, where the Christmas party has already begun. Before going in, she finds an envelop addressed to her. In it are pictures of the dead woman and Echo. The newest member of the police department, Tony Bradley, shows up to take her statement. He is, immediately, suspected of being the serial killer Echo is investigating.

At the end of the party, a parade of her friends set out to follow her home and keep her safe. After a series of unfortunate events, she ends up fleeing across ice and snow to trees she hopes to keep her safe. She's confronted by Specters who try and take her hostage. Theo, her childhood acquaintance, shows up to save the day.

After a battle outside Echo's apartment complex, Echo and Theo have fled through the trees toward his homeland, Concorde Valley, an undisclosed place near or within the Great Forests of Southern United States.

Theo takes Echo into Concorde Valley where she is tended to by Phoebus, Theo's father of many roles. He patches her up and sends her with Theo to meet the family.

There, she is taken on a walk through a magnificent flower garden Phoebus planted long ago and tends. Afterward, she joins part of the family for a luncheon.
The luncheon turns into a food fight, which Echo enjoys, but thinks is a bit odd for a royal family.
Theo receives a missive from the 12 gods, via the rascally Hermes, instructing him to free the gods being held captive on Mount Olympus and defeat the enemy Hades.

He is also, asked to find the missing god, Apollo, who had joined humanity to live as one of the mortals.

Echo begins her own mission after one of Hannah's rabbits draws her to find the missing child.


Echo Jones: Young girl left stranded by a fire that took her home and parents in the first part of the book, then as an adult, she's an investigative reporter for a small town newspaper.

Theo: Named Anthos by his parents. Protagonist of the book, and Echo's love interest..

Specters/men in dark clothing: Minions of the Enemy. Have eyes that turn red when they're angry. Can appear as normal humans, serve the Enemy.

Kitty Sunshine, aka Sunny: Echo's Russian Blue cat

Theo, A nickname for Anthos: An 8-year-old, of mysterious origins, who finds young Echo in the forest and tends to her needs. We see him later as a grown man who rescues Echo once again.

Georgios: One of Phoebus' Captains. Theo's half brother

Phoebus: King of Concorde Valley, Theo's father
Diantha: Queen of Concorde Valley, Theo's mother
Poseidon: god of the Sea, Theo's grandfather
Hermes: messenger god, warrior, boyish charm; Theo's 2nd cousin, one of the ruling 12.
Apollo: Hermes' elder brother, sun God, and more. One of the ruling 12. Currently on sabbatical.

Rebecca: Theo's 25-year-old sister. She's married to Henry and has a baby Caitlyn
Henry: Rebecca's husband.
Adam: Theo's 21-year-old brother
Phillip: Theo's 17-year-old brother
Helen: Theo's 10-year-old sister
Hannah: Theo's 7-year-old sister who loves animals and can talk to them in their own language.
Mary: Rebecca's mother-in-law and a woman who is like a grandmother to the kids.

Mageia: Old Sorcerer who lives in Carack Valley. Used to work for Hades.
Thanatos: One of Nix's twin sons. He supersedes Hades as controller of death.
Hypnos: On of the twin sons. He lulls people to sleep
Nix: Female personification of the night. Mother to many primordial beings, feared even by Zeus.
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