Holding Area for Hades Lit[edit source]
Prosody of Asterion's Dream
Hades: Voyage[edit source]
The minotaur dreams.
Before Athens and Sparta there was Crete, where Zeus was born and raised. Wild goats left their cloven marks on its slopes, carved out of cooled magma from the age of the Titans. Its soil, rich and hard, the promise of prosperity.
Crete was the cradle --safe and fertile for early mankind, as it was for Zeus, first of the Olympians. His son, Minos the First, made his way there and became its founder and king. When death came for him Minos was made Judge of the Dead.
His lineage bore many kings for Crete, the prosperous cradle of man.
There was another who carried the name of Minos. A man who made a pact with Poseidon, god of the sea. From the foamy waters, the Olympian sent a white bull to signal his favor, and in turn the man promised to sacrifice it.
But Minos took for himself which that which meant for the gods. For his hubris, Poseidon cursed his household-- his wife Pasiphae was cut with lust for the beast and ordered the legendary craftsman, Daedalus, to craft a hollow heifer.
Pasiphae took the bull’s lurch and became pregnant with its child. So was born the minotaur.
Pasiphae’s infamy survives. Crete fell in favor of Athens, which in turn was dragged away by Rome, which two was consumed by time. But Pasiphae’s disgrace remains, much like the tale of the cannibal half-breed she birthed survives.
But for the minotaur, she was mom. And she called him Asterion, her starry-eyed son. He drank from her breast, like any boy, and he played with his siblings even if his visaged betrayed the sin which begat him.
The minotaur dreams of the vast field of white asphodel flowers where he'd go with his sister, Ariadne, holding her fingers. Where they would sit by a tree and he'd nap with his head on her thighs.
Asterion and dreams of Crete. The palace of Knossos where he was raised, and of his inescapable fate: the labyrinth created by Daedalus, where he met his end.
Before the first hairs of a beard would have sprouted where he fully human, he was carted off to a stone labyrinth deep within one of Crete's valleys. The exit was blocked off and he was left only with an axe he could hardly raise.
A decade passed before a visitor came.
Asterion could no longer think. Language had escaped his mind altogether, so lonely had he become.
His visitor, Theseus, had crossed the sea for the minotaur's head. The hero expected a battle but found only a beast deserving of mercy. Asterion did not reject the hero’s pity.
At last he dreams of the Asphodel Meadows. It's a mercy. It's the end of his suffering. But he awakens to the labyrinth again.
Parallels to Asterion @ the 2nd Labrynth
Hades: Arrival[edit source]
The minotaur dreams.
A field of white Flowers swayed under a chilly breeze .he was lying face down on the soil, and the flowers’ stalks and leaves tickled his back as if trying to rouse him from sleep .
The soil was damp, and it smelled of petrichor and dense vegetation. Asterion caressed it, scratched it, and felt the sand’s water seeping into his fur.
Everything hurt--with every heartbeat his head and eyes were hammered. His whole body burned in exhaustion, dizzy and nauseous.
But above all his neck --it burned as if a searing hot metal wire strangled him.
The minotaur tried breathing, but it was as if his lungs couldn't pull in any air. it would have made him despair were it not for the overwhelming pain distracting him.
Time passed --how long he could not tell. Asterion had only the soil, damp and aromatic, and the flowers swaying above him .
He dug into the loamy ground. the coarse texture slipping around his fingers made the pain bearable .
And then --a chill ran from his skull down his spine into the tip of his tail .
He breathed a lungful of air, and he could hear his own ragged grunts of relief .the minotaur flicked his ears as his full senses returned.
The swing wind, he could hear it again now alongside the wrestling leaves. He propped his chest up, supporting himself on his burning forearms, and taste came back to him.
Iron. He coughed and cold, dark blood poured out of his mouth. It fell on the white fur of his hand.
His tongue remained coated in the black oil. It was bitter tasting like a forge’s fumes smelled. He knew this scent well.
As he tried to gather himself, the blood dripped down to the soil. his fur remained mated with red while the dark oil dripped down .
“Cursed blood,” he thought. But something else came to mind as well -- the chill that brought him back.
It was under his tongue; A hard, icy lump. He tried to spit it out to no avail.
His insides lurched and he lost control. He retched, but nothing would come out.
It was another hour before he managed to stand up and see the horizon.
There was no sky above, only sharp-edged rocks pointing down like knives. The horizon itself was painted with serpentine rivers, their waters crashing around and leaving foamy trails.
The land was dark, and yet light seemed to seep from all surfaces. The ceiling stalactites shown with turquoise, the field of flowers blinked with white lights when the breeze blew by.
The soil itself shone with a subdued, almost royal purple. And the breeze had a freshness to it. The rivers’ crashing waters filled the air with little droplets.
Water dripped here and there from the ceiling, with almost a lazy grace; Like a god slipping gifts to the people below from above.
A man waited by the rivers shore, looking up to the minotaur. He beckoned and right there Asterion's mind was set at ease.
This beautiful land was his mercy. The knot in his throat and the lump under his tongue would be the final pains he’d ever feel.
He had been freed.
Hades: The Ferryman[edit source]
It was like the end of the summer days rain back at the Palace of Knossos. Rivulets falling to the patio’s at stone floor, droplets pouring from the trees down to the saffron bushes.
The pitter-patter of fat droplets and children's feet as the minotaur sat by the tall red pillars, thinking. Not making a noise.
Thinking, as his father told him to. As he did now.
He had walked a dozen steps downhill before he lost balance and fell to his knees. Now he sat, collecting himself.
The minotaur looked up to the stony ceiling hundreds of feet above him, raining down the same fat drops of water on his muzzle.
His neck hurt as if a searing iron wire had burnt it. His tongue and throat were locked frozen by a lump on his neck.
Asterion thought, and he thought well as he plucked and cradled and Asphodel flower in his hands. He was surrounded by them, in this meadow overlooking a labyrinthine land of rivers.
His body ached, but... how soft a flower’s petals are against one's hand. Its white and pink were like a slash of life in this darkened land.
How long did he stay there in the Asphodel field? He lost track of time, but he now remembers the moment he rose: when he caught himself humming.
A nameless, graceless tune coming from deep within him.
A cold drop fell on the palm of his hand, and the minotaur was awoken from his trance.
Prince Asterion, adopted son of King Minos of Crete, rose and looked down towards the rivers. And there he was, the man waiting by the shore.
This time he stopped downhill, letting the slope guide him in leaps and bounds. He could not laugh, the lump in his throat made sure of that, but splayed on his muzzle was a smile.
When the slope ended he let momentum carry him to the shore, to the skeletal man in his humble boat.
Never before had Asterion seen such a sordid creature. His beard, drier than hay and caked with foul filth, went down to the muddy shore.
His feet, half sunk in the mud, had overgrown, yellow nails that were more like fangs than what any human should have.
A coarse cloth covered the upper half of his face, but as he shifted on his feet Asterion caused a glimpse of the old man's eyes. They burned -- the man was hollow like a furnace, and reeked of bitter smoke.
Foul was the god on the river’s shore, and common was it for nobles and highborn to shy away from him.
Judging by Asterion's smile, however, one could guess he beheld a holy envoy covered in fine garments and fragrant with the scent of flowers.
Asterion's hooves sunk into the muddy soil of the river as the old gods' gaze crawled over the hybrid.
Sensing movement, half a dozen crabs which had hidden in the mud, skittered away from the two of them.
Charon: What a peculiar sight. Not a man and not a beast, much less than immortal. Neither a mournful youth nor a pacified elder.
Charon: A smiling newlydead, one leaping downhill like a nymph.
Charon: Now, let me collect my payment.
With his left hand, the foul-smelling elder supported the minotaur's neck and massaged the lump within it with a bony thumb.
With his other hand he reached into his Asterion’s mouth and plucked the obstruction from his throat, like a child would pluck a flower.
It was a gold coin, so freshly minted it shone like an ember.
Charon: You must have had a good friend, young hybrid. This will do well.
Charon: Now tell me, what is your lineage, hybrid son?
Words flowed from his lips like honey. The minotaur’s heart pranced like a newborn foal and his face regained some of its color.
Asterion: I am the son of Earth and foamy Sea. But my race is Starry, heavenly. My name is Asterion.
Asterion: Lord Charon, may I cross the River to my place of rest?
The old man ran a slender finger over his matted beard as he looked the newlydead up and down.
Charon: Very well. Come, we shall cross the rivers. It shall be a scenic ride for you, for such a bountiful payment.
Charon: Ah …What a day. A newly dead beaming with life, heavenly blood in the corpse of a beast, a cursed being with gold to spare.
Charon: Tell me, boy. Why the joy? It is fair that the bud, plucked before spring, curse the hand which left it to wither. Yet I see no vinegar, only honey and wine.
Asterion sat on the boat, his back to the man. He looked ahead to the distant shore.
The fire in his chest kept him warm. He did not bother responding to the old god’s question.