[size12 Hades watched as the woman took in the room once more, wondered if the adrenaline and recent awakening had kept her mind too occupied with the situation to realise the exact location they were in, or if it was the mere fact that her eyes had adjusted to the darkness. He knew if she was to stay in the Underworld he would have to procure oil lamps and torches to make her feel more at home, make it [i into] a home. He found himself once again wondering which path would appeal the most to mortal eyes. While she had been asleep he had considered following it below, show her the duties of the rivers, the judges and their justice, tell her where the souls journey—Show her that the Underworld was a mere place, that death was not the terror mortals made it. Even though, perhaps, it was him who had grown cold to it all. The long sigh that escaped her did not go unnoticed, and Hades vowed to do what was in his power to make her happy, to make up for what had been done, what [i he] had done to her.
Persephone. That was her name. The woman with her red hair who walked ahead of him towards the door, and pushed it open. He knew it was mortal custom to shake hands, but just as he had not extended his when Hermes was there, she did not extend her’s now. He glanced at it, still, where it held onto the handle; wondered if it was warm or if the Underworld had given the skin a chill, if it was clammy with terror sweats, soft, or calloused from the work of mortals. He wondered what she—Persephone, he reminded himself—would have done had she not been here. What this Persephone who would reprimand God’s did to pass her time aside from sitting in meadows. He found himself repeating her name in his head, then quietly out loud, before continuing towards the door once more to join her, and before exiting, as was only polite; nodded his head with a soft [#597377 “Thank you, Persephone.”] It would not be right to say he was glad to have met her, so that, he kept to himself. There would be a time to say it when its meaning was not soiled by circumstance. There had been time to say it, if he had walked up to her in that meadow instead of taken her here.
Once he stepped out, sandals against glass rather than stone, he found himself glancing at the walkway they stood on. The bedroom was on the very edge of the castle, with a glass walkway which had steps leading down to the glass that made up the area around it; the best place to look down on Cocytus, and where it diverged into the other rivers, to see the small light of the brazier by the gate that lit while judgement was made. Being in the cooler outdoors helped ease most of his frustration, and he closed his eyes for a moment to exhale it. What was done was done. Hermes was well on his way to telling an exaggerated tale no doubt, Persephone would hopefully feel more at ease in the light, and he would have time to think of what to do next while answering any question the woman might have. Would have time to mull over the gravity of the mistake he had done. He had yet to truly process that a mortal had stood up and scolded him, genuinely and without the hubris of foolish souls, but in true unshaken self-kindness.
The Underworld itself rest far below them, while the castle—much like mount Olympus—rested in the air like an island surrounded by hellenistic glass instead of water. It was only as he started walking along the balcony edge that he realised that perhaps it too would be a fright. For it was true that if you looked beneath you, while the glass was akin to bone in areas, it was still glass and some believed that to be fragile. So he found himself speaking, and perhaps he should have considered by he felt the need to reassure, but he did not. [#597377 “It will not break, no matter what you do.”] And it is only as the words have left his lips he realises the way they could sound like a threat, but he does not correct himself, for it was true that the glass could not break.
[#597377 “That is Cocytus,”] he said instead, pointing towards the river that bent akin to the hooves of a horse, to prove he meant no ill. Deciding to stick to the walkway proper and circle the castle towards the throne room. They could take a tour another time, seeing the rivers far above without being able to see the souls certainly a more appealing sight. [#597377 “If you have any questions, you are free to speak.”]
As they walked along the path, he did his best to focus on the sound of his own steps to not mull over what she had told him. He would have time when she fell asleep once more to think of all that she had said earlier, even as it left him feeling almost restless in his bones with the sinking knowledge that what he had done was wrong.]