As the fractured light of dawn breached the threshold, two voices spoke in whispers in the fading dark.
“Are you going to coddle her the entire time?” hissed the female voice, the quality of her tone brittle and wispy, like the rustle of desiccated leaves. She was the Keres, the goddess of violent death, believed by humans to be three spirits but in truth was only one.
Death, her brother, sat across the room from her, holding a mortal woman in his arms. The woman writhed and twisted, struggling with the demons in her sleep. With careful hands, Death brushed the hair out of the woman's face and then lifted his crimson gaze to his sister's.
“Why do you care?” he asked.
“Because I do not want you to end up like Dionysus. She's going to die just like the rest of them,” the Keres said.
“Up until a few decades ago, you were all certain the bloodline had died out. And yet here she is, the Heir of the House of Thebes.” The sarcasm was lost in the apathetic tone of his voice. Death brushed his fingers against the back of the mortal woman's neck before continuing. “If I was a betting man, Keres, I would bet you were wrong again.”
“I am seldom wrong, Thanatos.”
“It is of no use to me when you are wrong at the most important times.”
The Keres hissed, and the shadows trembled in the dark. “I grow weary of this side of you. I have been asked to inquire as to your intent.”
“Isn't it obvious, sister? I intend to bring her to Tartarus.”
The Keres laughed, the sound hollow like the rattle of bones. “Are you mad? It is forbidden.”
“It is the will of her father, and I intend to see it through. Tell my mother, we should not be long.”
With a baleful cry, the Keres was gone.
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