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Monday, February 27, 2017

M3 The Dread Queen

            Core, now under her married name of Persephone, is a force to be reckoned with, and not always a nice one. The level of power she now has is, frankly, staggering. And she seems to use that power quite easily, and to bring about fear in people.
            When people speak of Hades, it’s usually with respect, and by calling him “mighty.” Persephone, though, is a different story. She is seen, not unlike Galadriel, as a beautiful and terrible queen. Odysseus, who openly flaunted Poseidon’s power and deliberately blinded his son Polyphemus is wary of Persephone’s great power: “does Proserpine want to lay a still further load of grief upon me” he asks of his mother.
            From that line, we can tell that he believes Persephone (Proserpine is the Roman spelling) is the one who hands down harsh punishments. She and Hades share this realm, but she is the one Odysseus attributes responsibility to for his grief.
            A little more explanation about that. It’s important to note that Odysseus isn’t actually suffering from anything done by Persephone. Rather, it’s that the automatically assigns the responsibility to her that’s more important. He does this readily, which tells us that Persephone has this reputation about her.
            We aren’t privy much to Core’s temperament prior to the kidnaping, and the crying seems very girlish, but that girl from before is not who she is now. Now she is Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld. She is powerful, sometimes cruel, and has no problem with making people suffer (again, an extension of how Odysseus readily assigns blame).

            Persephone is almost always referred to as the Queen of the Underworld, yet Hades is seldom referred to as the King of the Underworld. The only king readily within the Greek pantheon is actually Zeus as King of the Gods. It’s interesting that she would have the title of Queen, then, denoting not just the elevated power she now has, but also the status.

Friday, February 24, 2017


            The sound of Hebrew pulled at me. I couldn’t think of a logical reason as to why they were speaking Hebrew down there. I took cautious steps towards the source of the sound, one of the back bedrooms. The light that I thought had been from a tv, wasn’t. It couldn’t be. The flickers were too often, and always the same colors. They were using lamps or candles.
            Are they doing some kind of ritual? How would they know how to—
            A particularly large flicker cast light into the hall, and I could see on the wall an inverted pentagram and Hebrew writing around it. Worse, the diagram had run, like wet paint or—

            “Blood!” Jessie’s eyes bulged, and she leaned so far out of her seat, it was a wonder she didn’t fall out of the chair.
            I nodded.
            “Baphomet?” Nikki asked.
            “That’s what I thought at first, but it was slightly different. I didn’t know that at the time, though.”
            “How do you attract these cases, Matthew? It should have been a simple prank by teenagers, but you managed to stumble on the one group who had successfully contacted a demon. What are the odds?”
            “Well, you’re only asking about the story related to the hat. I get dozens of boring, ordinary cases where people think there’s something supernatural going on, but there’s not. You should look through them some time. Or maybe you want to go on a stakeout some time where nothing happens?”
            “Hmm, I still think the odds are particularly high for something supernatural occurring in proximity to you.”
            I shrugged. “Occupational hazard, I guess. You want to hear the rest of this?”
            “Yes!” Jessie yelled.
            “By all means,” Nikki said.

Monday, February 20, 2017

M3 Core 2.0

            Since the clause about food from the underworld is boilerplate, it’s something that most of the gods know about, and Core is no different. Many attribute her fasting upon arrival simply to sorrow over missing her mother, but this doesn’t exclude the idea that she knew that she could not eat of this food. Hades plied her with food the entire time she was there, as he understood this to be the case.
            The entire game has been about getting her to eat underworld food. If she eats, Hades wins. If she doesn’t, Demeter wins, and, as Demeter’s daughter, Core would know this. She couldn’t help but know this, especially as it is the standard.
            This, of course, begs the question, why did she eat the seeds?
            Simple, she wants to upgrade.
            Demeter is adamant that she will starve out humanity unless she gets her daughter back. Core knows how much her mother loves her, and the math isn’t hard that no one side is going to win this entirely, unless it’s Core.
            By eating the seeds, she irrevocably becomes part of the underworld. This cannot be changed. It can be mitigated, however. Because Demeter is adamant, Core must become a timeshare. Half the year she is on earth with her mother, and half the year she is with Hades as his wife. Had Core consented to marry Hades in the beginning, she likely would have only assumed this new aspect as queen of the underworld. If she had not eaten the seeds, she would have gone back to being a daughter of Demeter, a goddess of agriculture.
By taking the seeds, she must, of necessity in order to attempt to satisfy both parties, be both. She remains the daughter of Demeter, holding power over agriculture and the earth, and is the wife of Hades, the queen of the underworld, Persephone.
She now has dominion over the world of the living and the land of the dead.
Core, through this compromise, has become one of the most powerful goddesses in the Greek pantheon.

Friday, February 17, 2017

F3 Breaking In

            I slid the tool in, working it between the door and the guard that was there to prevent exactly what I attempted. The steel was thin, but strong, hardened just for these purposes. My fingers, though, were not used to it. Minutes ticked by as I fidgeted with the lock, knowing that at any time one of them could—
            I froze as I heard a sound from inside the house. I left my tool in the door, and took quick steps away and around the corner. My heart pounded, and I had to make myself take long, calming breath so I could hear clearly. A light flicked on, and I could hear voices yelling back and forth, but it was too indistinct to make out.
            After a few minutes, and a growing fear they were going to come outside, the light went off. I waited two more minutes for my veins to stop throbbing and my hands to stop shaking from the sudden burst of adrenaline.
            I went back to the sliding door to try again. After a minute, I heard the click, which, to me, sounded like a large snap. With a smooth, even pull, I got the door open, and slid it closed behind me.
            I kept low, ducking under the kitchen counter as I made my way to the hall. So far it didn’t seem as if they had heard me, and I aimed to keep it that way. Down the hall, lights flickered, like from a TV. I was about to head to the garage when I heard them speaking. I didn’t understand it, but the language sounded familiar. My partner had mangled his way through it often enough that I had come to recognize the sounds: Hebrew.

            “Hebrew? Like, the Bible?” Jessie asked.
            I nodded. “Interesting enough for you, Nikki?” I smirked.
            “That depends on what they were saying.”
            “I have no idea. I don’t speak Hebrew, even now.”
            Nikki let out a long, patient sigh. “you would be truly something if you had applied yourself, Matthew.”
            “But you’d never know it because we wouldn’t have met, then. Besides, there are things that can’t be unlearned. I’d prefer not to know exactly what they were saying. I got the gist soon enough.”
            “So why are you interrupting yourself, now?”
            I shrugged. “Dramatic tension?”
            “Dun dun dun!” Jessie said.
            Nikki sighed again.

Monday, February 13, 2017

M3 Mythological Laws

            Before we get to the opportunity before Core, we need to discuss the seeds. Specifically, we need to discuss what Core knows about eating food from the Underworld. When Rhea hands down the deal, the stipulation is that Core cannot have partaken of any food from the underworld. This is something that Demeter does not even balk at, and it is something that even Hades’s gardener can understand, though he shouldn’t even be privy to the terms of the deal.
            When a compromise or a deal is made, consideration is given to both sides. But the compromise that Rhea hands down would be completely one-sided if not for the provision about the food of the underworld. Given how all sides react to this particular clause, this is not a surprise or new invention, it’s boilerplate.
            In fact, given what this applies to, it may reflect a law of nature, like gravity, or Voltron as Defender of the Universe (Lion Voltron, not Vehicle). The underworld is almost always a one-way trip. People check in, but they don’t check out. Heroes are the exception, such as Odysseus and Heracles, however, they need to cross into the underworld while alive, and are restricted to what they can and cannot do.
            The very nature of the underworld is that it hold onto people who enter. They become part of the underworld, and are inseparable from it. So when Core eats the seeds, which are part of the underworld, she, too, becomes part of Hades’s realm, which changes the ball game.

Friday, February 10, 2017

F3 The Hideout

            The house was one of dozens of cookie-cutter places, but I didn’t know the layout, and I didn’t have the benefit of the garage door opener to get inside. When I got close, I veered around the side of the house near the garage. I figured the backyard would likely have too many windows to deal with, but the garage should be empty, now.
            Unfortunately, I didn’t have a key, and I was never any good with a lock pick. I tried to force the door, but it didn’t budge, and kicking it open would either break my foot or make too much noise.
            I made my way to the backyard cautiously, sticking close to the house and peeking into windows whenever I could. Fortunately, the little hoodlums wanted the place to still look empty, so they didn’t have any of the blinds open to the backyard. Still, they could be in any one of those rooms. I couldn’t go up and put my ear to them, either, since they might see my shadow thanks to the insanely bright lamp in the alley.
            I crouched low and used an app on my phone to record. I just pressed the mike against the glass. It was no laser microphone, but when playing it back, I could hear if there was noise on the other side of the glass.
            From what I could tell, they were in the back bedrooms. That made sense because they could have a TV on without broadcasting to the neighborhood they were in there. I crept along the back porch to an arcadia door. These doors were infamous when it came to security. I didn’t have to deal with pins in a lock, I just had to flip a latch, and I had tools to help with that.

            “You carry stuff like that with you?” Jessie asked.
            I quirked an eyebrow up at her. “Well, yeah. I am a detective.”
            “Isn’t that illegal? I mean what about warrants and stuff?”
            “I’m not a cop, and yes, it is illegal, but they’re also tools of the trade.”
            “You should really take the time to become more proficient with them, Matthew,” Nikki smiled. “I have also heard that bobby pins are excellent and surreptitious tools for infiltration.”
            “What can I say? I just don’t have a delicate enough touch.”
            “Oh, I—”
            “Ahhh!” I interjected. “I thought you wanted to hear this?”
            She smirked at me.

Monday, February 6, 2017

M3 Core's Wishes

            Most presentations of Persephone’s myth relegate her to the damsel in distress. Many even call the myth “The Rape of Persephone.” She has been kidnapped by the dastardly villain Hades and must be rescue. There she goes on a hunger strike and cries until she is rescued from his evil clutches. Even Disney’s Hercules presents Hades as the bad guy. He’s a convenient scapegoat, and his association with the underworld makes him an easy target.
            But as we’ve seen, Hades has acted with great civility—especially for the Greek gods. The question must be asked, then, what are Core’s wishes in all of this? Has she actually been forcibly abducted?
            She fasted, yes, but this may not be due to grief, but rather to the prohibition about the food of the dead. She would know that to partake of that food would mean she must remain with Hades no matter what. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it would remove her completely from her mother. This would have repercussions for her status later on.
            She cries, yes, and Hades even remarks that she “seems unhappy” and so will be returned to Demeter. However, I think there is something greater going on behind all of this. Core is in an interesting situation, which I think she can capitalize on.

Friday, February 3, 2017

F3 Tailing Suspects

            After two days of boring stakeouts, I finally had a lead. After midnight, I saw the car Mrs. Cavanaugh had described, and the guys in it. They struck me as typical teens: looking for trouble.
            They didn’t know I tailed them to their hangout, a house for sale just a couple of streets away from the church.
            Explains how they go away so quick and how no one really knew they were here.
            The garage door opened up for them, and they went in.
            “Smart,” I said to myself. “No sign of an alarm system, just a keybox on the door. They go in, reprogram the opener, and they’ve got a cozy hideout for all of their activities.”
            I parked a few houses down, then approached, doing my best to blend in with suburbia.

            “Why would you have to blend in?” Jessie asked. “You have a house out that way, right?”
            “I didn’t at the time,” I said. “I used to have an apartment in the rougher part of Meriville. Suburbanites were pretty foreign to me at the time.”
            “Oh,” she said. “I used to think the suburbs were so boring. I wanted to be in the city.”
            “I prefer the excitement of the city, particularly the night life,” Nikki grinned.
            It was slight, but I saw Jessie fidget when Nikki said night life.
            Yeah, that probably brings up unpleasant memories. Move the conversation on.
            “Excitement is overrated,” I said. “Especially when I expected to just deal with teens playing a prank on the church.”
I pointedly avoided looking at the hat. It was starting to bother me. Nick had threatened the helper thing before, but I hadn’t expected it to come with a supernatural uniform, not that he asked me what I wanted.
“Well, do continue, Matthew.”
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