The Argive: Gates Of Hades, Chapter V – Mythic Achilles

Achilles goes down to Hades, in order to find a way to fight Alexander. Following the instructions of the Pythia, he goes to the river Styx to find out. But he is not ready to find out who is waiting there, and who is expecting him…

Death of Achilles

Achilles was falling into a dark bottomless pit. That was what he was feeling, at least, because he could not see a thing. Everything around him was pitch black. He could only hear the voices of dead spirits screaming. He didn’t know what to do or where he was. In instinct, he tried to gain control of his body. He failed. For some reason he could not move any of his limbs. Suddenly he stopped. He did not fell, he just stopped falling. He realized that he also gained control of his limbs again, looking at his hands and legs. Everything seemed normal.

Styx

“I am good…” he thought to himself, with amazement. He looked at his clothes. They weren’t the same. He was wearing just a white tunic. He looked around. The darkness started to dissolve, and he managed to see the landscape around him. First and foremost, the first thing he saw was the red sky. It was like fire and smoke mixed. Then he saw the huge plain, where he was standing. Behind him it was a huge rock, actually more like a mountain that blocked his path. He could not see its top, because it was hidden by these red smoky clouds. This rocky mountain was connected with others, making a complex which was surrounding the whole area. In a distance he saw a sea. Well, it was like a sea, but at the other end of it, the huge plain continued.

“Is it… Styx?” Achilles thought. He started walking around, alone, with the screams of the dead the only thing accompanying him.

“This is hopeless… Hello?” he said out loud. The only thing that he heard was the same screams from the dead spirits, coming from afar.

“I will go to the river. Let’s see what I will find there”.

Achilles The Keeper

He started walking towards the river. the road brought him to the river’s rocky banks. It was bigger than he thought. Looking right and left, he realized that the river was expanding infinitely. Looking ahead, the river was lost from sight, due to the fog. Suddenly, he felt movement behind him. He turned immediately. A tall man was standing behind him. He could tell that he was a warrior, but his armor… It looked strange, unfamiliar with those known to him. He knew them, but he couldn’t remember from where or how. The warrior looked at him with fury in his eyes.

“You are not dead!” he said, and his voice was deep, divine. Achilles stepped back. The man started walking towards him, with threatening mood.

“Hey, hold on a second…” Achilles tried to say, but the man stopped him.

“You are not dead!” he said again. Achilles looked at him trying to examine him, in case he had to fight. He took a closer look. He noticed a wound at his heel. An arrow wound.

“You… you are Achilles, the son of Peleus and Thetis… The great warrior of the Trojan War…”.

The man stopped.

“Yes, I am” he said.

“What… what are you doing here?” Achilles asked.

“I am the keeper of the Styx, guardian of the dead. No one goes in or gets out without me knowing it. Well, no one ever came out…”. The great warrior looked angrily again at Achilles. “And who are you boy? What business has an alive man with the dead?” he asked. Achilles choked hard.

When Achilles collide with Achilles

“My name is Achilles, too. I am a son of Poseidon”. Hearing the name of Poseidon, the great warrior gazed with fury at Achilles.

“So you are a bastard from one of the most hated and idiotic gods. Your father was against us at the war at Troy. We nearly got fucked because of him!”.

“Yeah, I know, my father is a piece of work… Look, I need you to help me. The Pythia, the servant of Apollo, sent me here…”. The Warrior Achilles laughed hard.

“It just keep getting better. First the son of a bitch your father, and now Apollo, this scum who was pissed for me taking his girl! All this small-cocked Gods…!”.

“I am here to stop one of them. My uncle, Hades”.

“And what are you doing down here at the river Styx?”.

“I was just sent, not told why to come down here. I hope you can tell me. Logically, the Pythia knew I would find you here”. The face of the great warrior darkened. He turned to leave.

“Go back, young demigod. Go back and run away from all of these gods and their pitiful games”. Achilles just stood where he was.

“What? Really? That what am I supposed to do?”.

“Yes!” the great warrior shouted at him. “That’s the only thing that I can say to you, out of my good will…”

No more heroes

“Oh, bullocks! You the greatest warrior ever to exist, you who chose to go to this war in order to save a whole nation from destruction and chaos, you are telling me, to do nothing, just sit back as Hades destroys the world? I do hate my stupid father, and I do not give a damn about them, but I do care about others, about the people of this world. And I do not want to condemn these people to an undeserving fate. Not before I do my part!”.

“You cannot possibly understand what is asked of you. I do. Listen kid, I have experienced enough things in my life and in this current existence. Go back. You have nothing to prove here”.

“That’s why you think I came down here? To prove a point?”. Rage started feeling the chest of Poseidon’s son. “You know I used to look up to you, reading about your stories, getting inspired by them. What happened to you?!”. Achilles, the warrior, stopped and looked back to the demigod.

“I got tired. Tired of you and your kind. Heroes, my ass. You get yourselves killed, for nothing. And now here is a “hero” who wants to die, before even starting being a hero! The reason why they got you here is because they want you to drop yourself into the river Styx!” he stopped, breathing hard.

“And what is so bad about it? Your mother did that to you”.

It’s a Curse!

“It is a curse” said the warrior, calmly this time.

“Once you, a very much alive man, dive into the waters of the Styx, you theoretically die. I mean, you have flesh and bones, like all other people, but your soul is down here in Hades. You live like a dead man, stripped of all emotions. You cannot die and your skin is a lot tougher for human weapons, but that does not mean that you cannot be hurt. Why do you think I wore armor? The blow of a sword cannot kill you, but it will be painful none the less. And it heals like any other wound. It is a life full of pain. And you cannot reverse these things. You may win Hades like that and stop him, but after that, what will you do? This “bless” will become a curse!”.

These words, the exact same words of the prophesy of the Pythia, stroke Achilles like lightning.

“You will never die of old age. You will become an alive dead man”. He sighed.

“Someone has to do it. Someone has to sacrifice himself for the greater good…” said the son of Poseidon. The warrior Achilles shook his head.

“In there, you will be helpless. Your powers will abandon you. Your body will not obey your command… Just clear your mind… In there is the answer that will also save you”. Achilles, the demigod, looked the great warrior. He thanked him with his eyes.

That’s How It Ends

He took a deep breath and he started walking towards the river. The eyes of Achilles right behind him, staring. With every step he was taking, the heavier he felt his body. Every step and a new doubt was forming in his mind. What if it doesn’t work? What if he did not survive this trial? He tried to clear his head from all of these negative thoughts. He reached the shore and looked at the blackened water. By the time he felt the chilling water on his toes, he collapsed. Like Achilles said, all the strength was drained from his body.

He started sinking into the depths of the Styx, suffocating. He tried to move up, in a desperate attempt to reach the surface, but his efforts were in vain. His muscles were burning, like his body was thrown into a fire pit. He tried to pull it together, clear his mind, following Achilles’ command. Nothing. He could not do it. The lack of oxygen made him fell like his brain was about to explode. Every part of his body was in pain. His life started to flash before his eyes. All the memories, the cherishes, the difficult times, all the beautiful memories with the people he loved, all in a matter of seconds. His last remains of power started to abandon him.

“This is it then…” he thought and he closed his eyes, as darkness started engulfing him. His last bits of existence started to fade.

Brother?

“Come on brother!” he heard a pale voice in his head. “We do not have enough time. Come on, take my hand!” the voice kept saying.

Achilles with great effort, opened his eyes. He managed to see a figure of a man, standing above him, on shore. He was rather a short man, wearing a Greek Cavalry Armor, with a head of the Gorgo Medusa on his chest plate. His hand was trying to reach Achilles.

“Come on, brother! We do not want another member of the family throw away its life!” the man said again, with his hand struggling to reach him. Achilles closed his eyes and cleared his head. He summoned every last shred of his inner strength and managed to pull himself up. With his vision blur, he tried to reach and take the young man’s hand. Achilles was pulled out of the water and was landed, almost thrown, on the dirt.

He started coughing and spitting water and gasping for air. Once he came to his senses, he stood and cleaned his clothes, as much as it was possible. Then, he turned to greet the man and thank him for saving his life. But no one was there with him. He was standing alone. He started looking around. But he did not find anyone. He called out for the spirit of Achilles, but he was gone too. He was all alone in the depths of the Underworld.

“Alright…” he said to himself. He looked at his hands.

“So, what is different about me?”. He had survived the Styx, as the Pythia told him, but he could not feel any difference.

“I should feel different, right?” he asked himself, once again.

From the cracks of the floor, hideous monsters emerged

Army of the Dead

Suddenly, an earthquake occurred, that nearly dropped him to the ground. Achilles managed to stand. The floor suddenly began to crack. From the cracks of the floor, hideous monsters emerged. But not randomly. They were organized. It was like… like an army of creatures of the Underworld. Achilles, reached for his weapons, only to realize that he had none. This wasn’t the realm of the living. It was the realm of the dead.

“Shit… Now what?”. He reached his hand to the river Stynx, in order to manipulate the water.

A smoky arrow was thrown from the direction of the army of the Dead. But it did not hurt him. It just bent over.

“What the…” he said, but firy chains came forth from the ground beneath him, restraining him. With amazement, he realized the fire could not hurt him either.

“What is going on!?” he thought to himself. He tried to free himself. His efforts were in vain.

“No need to do that little man” a deep and loud voice, filled the air.

“Who… who is this?” asked Achilles, feeling a chill going down his spine. A smoky shadow came out from thin air and stood in the middle of this army of creatures. Soon the smoke dissolved and the figure of a tall man appeared. He had long dark hair and a long dark beard. He was very muscular. In his hands he was holding two huge blades, like hooks, which were connected to his hands with chains. Purple fire was coming from the blades. He turned to Achilles, smiling.

“Hello, nephew. I have been expecting you…”

Achilles’ eyes widened.

“Hades?”.

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