Fantasy Fiction posted May 13, 2024 Chapters:  ...32 33 -34- 


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Theo and Hermes search of the Nyx Brothers.

A chapter in the book Return To Concorde Valley

Journey to Nyx

by davisr (Rhonda)




Background
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:

Phillip placed Hannah gently on the ground in the midst of them. Cupping his hands to his mouth, he let out a penetrating horse scream. The call was answered by a neigh close-by. Phillip cried out again, and a painted horse trotted up, tossing a silky mane.

“Loyal,” he said. “Take me and Hannah home. The rest of you animals, gather your forces and meet me back here as soon as possible."

New Chapter Begins:
 
Theo gazed across unfamiliar territory with exasperation growing in his eyes and heart. He was on a mission to save the Immortals on Mount Olympus, but his heart was in Concorde Valley with Echo and the others.
 
Clad only in simple Concorde Valley attire, a soft tunic and breeches, he sat tall and straight on his steed, Nifty. He had already fought the battle in his heart that threatened to end his mission and destiny. He had to go against his instincts to rescue his girlfriend and family for the greater purpose of defeating Hades.

"Hermes," he said. "We've been traipsing through these rocks for hours. When are we going to find the Nyx brothers?"

The fair-haired god turned his head from side to side, peering at rocks and searching for landmarks. "I'm trying to find something to jog my memory, my impatient cousin. I'm sure something will pop up soon. At least we thought to bring horses to ride while we hunt."

"Yes, which you freaked out when you zapped us here."

Hermes patted his borrowed horse, Discovery, on the neck.

"They're fine. A little magical journey never hurt anyone. Besides, you had a talk with them in whatever language you spoke."

"That was Horse, and I'm not sure there's a word in their speech to adequately explain what we did."

Hermes let out a laugh that might have been charming under different circumstances. "No, but I'll bet there is now."

Theo raised a dark eyebrow. "How long has it been since you were here?"

"In Olympia?"

"Olympia? I thought we were in Greece."

"We're in both. Come on, Theo, don't act like an outsider. You live in a valley so deeply hidden from humanity they don't even know it exists."
 
"That's completely true, Hermes, but I discovered some interesting things when I was living outside Concorde Valley."
 
"Please tell me you weren't looking our world up on the internet."
 
Theo hesitated just long enough to give Hermes his answer.
 
"Theo, you can't rely on electronic information. Who writes all that stuff you read, anyway?"
 
"A bunch of different sources." Theo's responding facial expression was classic for those born in the electronic age.
 
"There's a reason your father doesn't allow computers and cell phones in Concorde Valley. You know that."
 
"Yeah, he says anything electronic is controled by Zeus, who is the god of electricity."
 
"That's part of it, but not everything. All in all, Zeus isn't a bad guy, but there are many sources of information out there that might not have the whole story, or might have ulterior motives."
 
Theo gave the face again that showed the older generation was clueless. "I was curious."
 
"Curious, good... nosy can get you into trouble. I would know. Now what was it you learned about Olympia that has you concerned?"
 
Theo hesitated again. He couldn't believe his cool cousin was siding with his father. When did he start acting responsible?
 
"For one, I learned Mount Olympus is a real mountain cluster in Greece."
 
"It is, but so is the realm of Olympia, which exists within it as a sort of parallel world. I'll bet your internet sites didn't show any pictures of the castles, homes and fields of your ancestral land."
 
Theo chuckled. "None at all."

Hermes turned his horse to splash through a stream running beside them. Theo joined him, glad for the cool water bathing his parched legs.
 
"Well, buddy, I'd skip the internet searches and listen to those who know the real score."
 
"Okay, then I'll ask you. If there are worlds within worlds, how do we move between them? I've never actually done it myself. My father lets people in and out in Concorde Valley." 
 
There are a number of us with the authority to allow access to these dimensions," Hermes said. "There are the 12 head gods, like me, but there are others sanctioned, like your father since he rules Concorde Valley."
 
"Who's in charge during his absence? He didn't mention that responsibility to me."

Hermes didn't hesitate before answering, almost as though he had been waiting for the question. "That would be your brother."

"Adam?" Theo looked quizical. He was glad his little brother had shown signs of leadership when needed, but felt doubtful about him having been given such responsibility from his father.

Hermes shook his head. "No, he's less trained than you are. I'm talking about your older brother Georgios."

"Georgios? He's a great warrior, but I didn't think he had any special powers."

"Don't mistake humility for weakness, young king. There's a lot you don't know about him. Among other things, he's an anchor person. He never leaves the valley when your father's gone. There must always be an authorized Immortal present in the Valley, and he was chosen for it hundreds of years ago."

"Oh wow. I never knew that, though it does explain why it's hard to get him to leave the valley. So, what part do you play in all this adventure?"

"Me? I just happened to be available."

"I see." Theo turned his head to hide amazement. Hermes was such a paradox. He could be mischievous one moment, a mighty warrior the next, and a wise companion at still another. How many sides were there to one of the gods that often got dismissed as a nuisance?

Theo let the plod of the horses' hooves relieve the anxiety of waiting for the pieces of his mission to come together. He took the time, a precious commodity, to think things out.

"What's going on in your head?" Hermes asked. He poked Theo in the side with the dull end of his spear.

Theo smiled. "Not much, just feeling the weight of responsibility and anxious to get on with things."

"Ah yes, with power comes responsibility." Hermes granted a commiserating nod.

Theo returned the gesture. "To whom much is given, much is required?"

"Luke 12:18. One of my favorites."

"You know the Bible?" Theo looked at his cousin with raised eyebrows.

"I know parts, like just about everyone else. Why do you look so surprised?"

"You don't seem the Sunday School type."

"Then you don't know me well. You have to look beneath the surface if you want to be an effective leader. I teach Sunday School, buddy."

"That must make for some interesting discussions."

"Certainly, but my students seldom forget their lessons."


After a genial laugh between the pair, they fell silent, letting the rhythmic splash of the horses' hooves fill the silence. After a bit, Theo guided Nifty onto the stream bank and dismounted. He needed water and a moment to think.

Hermes joined Theo on the bank. "I could use a break, too."
 
Theo nodded and sat on a flat rock that rested against a willow tree. Hermes sat beside him, leaning against the huge tree bowl. 

"When did you last visit Hypnos and Thanatos?" Theo asked.

Hermes squinted his eyes and looked thoughtful. "I guess it was when I was with Heracles. Hercules, in the tongue of Echo's world. He had to get past a Gorgon. We got Hypnos to put him to sleep. It was all quite an exciting adventure."

"I'm sure it was, but how did he get Hypnos to cooperate? I was told neither brother would help unless given a gift of great value."

"Yes, that's customary... required, actually, if you don't want to be put to sleep and have your soul ripped out."

Theo cringed as he leaned over the rock to take a drink from the clear water. "Yeah, that would be a no. What did Heracles offer in return for the service?"

Hermes pulled off his tunic and waded into the creek.

"His strength for a year. The brothers were building a castle of stone, one they wanted to be magnificent, yet unseen from a distance. Poor Heracles had to work lifting and moving rocks for a year before they would help him with the Gorgon. I volunteered, of course, but they didn't see me as a valuable stone-mover."

Theo tossed a rock at his older and larger cousin. "You look pretty strong to me."

"Oh, I am. I'm one of the most powerful on Mount Olympus."

"So I keep hearing. Then why...?"

"To be honest, I think they were trying to get rid of me, but that's just a guess."

Theo nodded his head. He could relate. "The problem is, Hermes, we don't have a year to bargain with. We have three days at most."

"Yeah, and you aren't as nearly strong as Heracles."

"Definitely not."

Hermes chuckled. "One day, when I was in a particularly bored mood, I decided to challenge him to a grappling match. It was all a spur of the moment thing, something to impress the girls and prove my strength, but next thing I knew I was waking up in Olympus General in traction."

"Why would Heracles do that? A man like him has nothing to prove."

"Yes, well, it might have had something to do with my shooting my mouth off right before I challenged him. And then there was the thing with his girlfriend."

"Hermes, do you always have to flirt with other people's women?"

"I don't have to. It's sort of a sport, like discus throwing or archery. Usually it's all in fun and no one gets hurt. That is until you rile the wrong person. Anyway, we made up long ago."

"We should get him to help us on this quest."

"That would be nice, but he's sort of unavailable at the moment."

"You really were the only one who got away from the siege, weren't you?"

"Yeah, a sad truth, my boy. Pretty ironic, isn't it? The freedom of the world rests in the hands of a group of kids, a girl from the outside, and the most flawed god of all."

"I beg to differ on the last part."

"Yeah, I suppose that honor goes to Uncle Hades. Come on Interim King, we've got to get mounted. I've got miles of rock left to examine."




Image of Theo from IZEA. He's supposed to be sitting barebacked with no reigns, but I couldn't find a picture like that.

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.

Characters:

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: One of the twin sons. He lulls people to sleep
Nyx: Female personification of the night. Mother to many primordial beings, feared even by Zeus.

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