FAQ Friday: Demeter’s Soul

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Super-ultra-mega-spoiler warning for Iron Queen.

 

 

 

You have been warned……

 

 

A reader asked what happened to Demeter at the end of Iron Queen. “There was the part with the sad goodbye of her transferring her powers to Persephone, so was that it? Did she die?”

Yes. Demeter willed all her power to Persephone to force the coming of age rite that enabled her daughter to use the full breadth of her power safely. There wasn’t even enough left to maintain a soul. Why?

Well, gods can either be created or born. Demeter wanted Persephone to be born, to experience infancy, childhood, adolescence, and all the human rites of passage. But until she came of age, Persephone was essentially human physically speaking. As she drew closer to maturity (defined by the moment a body is at its absolute peak, frozen in time just before it starts to decline, so there’s variation from god to god), her body could handle more power, but not enough to deal with fealty from the entire Pantheon so she could defeat Zeus. And anything less, and she wouldn’t have been able to defeat Zeus.

Persephone deals with the fallout from that grief in the Aphrodite trilogy.

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FAQ Friday: How will SPOILER impact Persephone in the long run.

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Super spoilerific post for anyone who has not yet read Iron Queen. Fair warning…

A reader who just finished Iron Queen emailed the following. “This can’t be where Persephone’s story ends! The pantheon hinted that Zeus killing his parents might have been part of what drove Zeus crazy. Plus she’s a triple realm-ruler now, and she lost her mother, and Hades seemed to be a bit unhinged at the end. So what’s in store for her in the future? Are we ever going to see that?”

Short answer:

Yes.

Longer answer:

The sanity thing was just Athena speculating. Zeus was unhinged from birth. Something about his father attempting to kill him, his mother hiding him by tying him upside down to a tree for years, and spending his early years training him to kill his father. The whole slicing his dad open and rescuing his siblings thing only to find himself at once their savior and an outsider to their very tight inner circle, formed by years of being all they had in The Before was also fairly hard on his psyche.

As for the weight of ruling three realms, losing her mother? That gets explored quite a bit in the Aphrodite trilogy. Persephone’s adapting to her new role as queen of the Pantheon and her grief/trauma from everything that happens in Iron Queen. She gets a few POV chapters in Venus Rising to really emphasize that arc, but the Pantheon as a whole has to do a lot of adjusting throughout the trilogy. In the Persephone trilogy, the gods of the Pantheon were separate entities. They were used to working around each other, but they hadn’t truly worked with each other in centuries until the end of Iron Queen. Now they’re realizing they can’t just ignore each other until a big epic battle. That’s the very mentality that left them vulnerable to Zeus. There’s a lot of growing and adjusting that needs to happen.

As for Hades…this is lightly addressed in Aphrodite, and addressed more in depth here, but broad strokes, he’s not unhinged. He’s just mildly traumatized. He went through a lot in Iron Queen. Dealing with Zeus brought up a lot of horrible memories for pretty much everyone in the Pantheon. He also felt every second of Persephone’s torture, and he had to rip her arm off, and she’s waking up from nightmares where Zeus wore his face. That’s a lot to deal with even without the fact that he’s dealing with the fact that Zeus, Demeter, and Apollo are dead. They don’t think of each other as siblings, but that is millennia of history, good and bad. Then there’s the fact that he just kind of destroyed Zeus’s soul, and there’s some emotional baggage with that. And he also witnessed one of his worst fears (that his past will hurt the people he loves), come true for Poseidon.

It’s a lot. And I included that final scene to show that what happened with Zeus didn’t just happen to Persephone. She and Aphrodite weren’t his only victims, and they aren’t the only ones who need to come to terms with the events of Iron Queen. If Hades, the guy with millennia of experience getting over horrible things and a library full of self-help books, is rattled, you can bet every other god in the entire mythology is. And that will be explored quite a bit in the Aphrodite trilogy.

 

 

FAQ Friday: Is Iron Queen the last Persephone book?

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I get asked a lot if Persephone is ever going to return as a main character. Short answer, no. Iron Queen is the last book in the Persephone portion of the Daughters of Zeus series.

Slightly longer answer: The ripples the events that occurred in the Persephone trilogy caused are still ongoing. Aphrodite’s trilogy focuses heavily on what comes next for the Pantheon after the boss battle in Iron Queen, and Persephone plays a major role in the Aphrodite’s trilogy. She even narrates a few chapters in Venus Rising. The ending of Venus Rising for sure will have an impact on Persephone’s future, so she will certainly appear in Artemis’s trilogy, possibly even as a POV character somewhere down the line.

 

FAQ: Melissa

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Not exactly a question, but I get a lot of readers emailing me to say they loved Melissa in book one

And hated her in book two.

And I just wanted a moment to address that.

I completely understand the feeling. Melissa’s making demands and being super inconsiderate to what Persephone’s going through in book two. Persephone is super annoyed with her, so the reader should feel that way as well. Technically all this Melissa hatred means is that I’ve done my job.

But it still makes me a bit sad because Melissa’s one of my favorite characters. She’s not very considerate to Persephone in book two because she has no idea what’s going on in Persephone’s life. She cut herself out of the equation, so that’s on her. But if my former best friend called me at 3 in the morning during finals week and only gave me vague responses as to why, I would not be sunshine and rainbows either. The fact that she showed up at all means she’s a better person than I’d probably be.

I’m a horrible person when I’m sleepy. No. Really. A horrible person.

As for cutting herself out of the equation, Aphrodite was doing a lot behind the scenes to prey on Melissa’s self-esteem issues. Add that to…

The Joel drama (which you can read all about in That Moment When)

The fact that she literally died at the end of Persephone

and everyone but Persephone, including her own mother, was willing to let that happen

The mind trip it must be to be born and bred with a purpose you have no say on

Being magically forced to keep a secret from your best friend for years

Eagerly waiting for the day she finds out what she is only for her to get all distant and has problems that you can’t possibly begin to understand despite the fact that understanding and being there for her was the only purpose in life you were ever supposed to have…

Oh yeah, and she’s human and normal and surrounded by the supernatural constantly. Her best friend could be best described as an unearthly beauty. And she has super powers.

And she complains about them.

A lot.

I’m a reader. I’ve spent my entire life burying my nose in stories where the fantastic is possible. I cannot imagine anything worse than knowing it’s all out there, it’s all real, but not for me. I can’t imagine being surrounded by those magical one-percenters, the chosen protagonists, and not getting jealous. Much less being expected to listen to them whine about problems I’d kill to have and then be completely expected to die for them.

Melissa has a ton to process. And she does so in a flawed way. And I wish I could write more from her point of view to fully convey that, because from a writing standpoint, she’s a super interesting character to place in a scene. She brings an entirely different dynamic to every line she’s in.

But what is fun for the writer is not always fun for the reader. The reader is invested in Persephone’s POV, so what she feels, hurt, annoyed, betrayed, the reader feels. And that’s a good thing.

FAQ Friday: Why doesn’t Persephone ever listen to Hades?

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There are multiple points in Daughter of the Earth and Sky where Hades gives Persephone a very specific set of instructions.

That she promptly ignores.

Sometimes she ignored him because she’s charmed (see last Friday’s post). Others because Persephone is impulsive. It’s her character flaw. She’s impulsive, naive, and she thinks she knows best. A chunk of the time she’s right, but not always. It’s not a new character development. This is the girl who ran away from home in book one then ran away from The Underworld to face Boreas. She’s never, regardless of the stakes, sat quietly and listened as other people make decisions. Not once in six books. It’s frustrating. But she also has a way of getting things done.

We all know people like her in real life.

But by the same token, Hades is wrong just as often as she is. There seems to be this impression that if she’d only listened to him x or y would have happened, but that’s not necessarily the case. There is no other way the conversation with Poseidon would have gone, regardless of who was speaking. Poseidon had days to plan exactly what he was going to say and how he was going to say it. Hades didn’t have all the information about Joel or about Zeus or about Aphrodite, so her listening to him in those cases would have led down a different path. But not necessarily a better one.

She is growing as  character, and being less impulsive is one of the places where she’s going to grow. But she and Hades are also growing in terms of having a healthy, functioning relationship where they listen to each other instead of both just doing their own thing because they’re convinced it’s for the best. In other words, it’s not just her flaw.

Thriller Subgenres

Book cover for The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, #amwriting, #amediting, book review, how to write, how to edit

According to The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, here are a few of the classic thriller sub genres.

Serial killer- a killer is running amok and the hero must find them before they kill the next victim. Think Silence of the Lambs

Legal- A lawyer/judge is the hero/victim. Think John Grisham novels

Medical- A doctor, nurse, or researcher is the hero, Richard Preston does excellent medical thrillers like The Cobra Event.

Military – A soldier plays the hero. Military thrillers are a huge genre.

Political- A politician plays the hero. The Manchurian Candidate is a good example of this.

Journalism- A reporter plays the hero. I Love Trouble has shades of thriller in it

Psychological- This one speaks for itself. Who doesn’t love a good psychological thriller? My friend Dallas wrote an excellent one that I really hope hits the bookshelves soon.

Financial- It’s a thriller set in the financial world. I have no examples because there is, to my mind, nothing thrilling about finances. I read to escape them in fact.

Espionage- A spy is the center of the thriller, much like the crime version of this genre, but with more information given to the reader and less to the protagonist. The Bourne Identity fits into this genre.

Women/child in jeopardy- I guess Man on Fire would fit here, but I consider this more a stake than a sub-genre as the protagonist typically fits into one of the boxes listed above.

 

FAQ Friday: Where can I buy Daughter of Earth and Sky?

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Q: Where can I buy Daughter of Earth and Sky in format/language/country/for free.

I get variations on this question a lot and for obvious reasons, I am all too happy to answer.

First, some links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible and many, many more.

Daughter of Earth and Sky is available in print, all the major electronic formats, and as an audiobook narrated by yours truly. Print wise, you can order it wherever books are sold, but unless you happen to live in Athens, Georgia, the odds of you walking in and seeing it on a shelf are slim, so you will have to special order it.

Internationally, Daughter of Earth and Sky is available through Amazon and to my knowledge Amazon alone. It is at this point in time only available in English.

Audiobook wise, Daughter of Earth and Sky is available on audible,itunes, and good ol’ amazon.

Daughter of Earth and Sky occasionally goes on sale for .99 cents, but my publisher has not yet offered it for free. As far as I know, they have no plans to.  If you really, really, really want to read my book, but can’t afford it even on sale (trust me, I feel your pain. I have lived in the red) the best suggestion I can offer is your local library. If they don’t have a copy and you request it, chances are they will buy more than one of copy, so not only do you get it free, but it also helps me in terms of sales and exposure. We both win. My books are all available on overdrive, so if your library offers eBooks, there’s a good chance they already have it in an electronic format or can easily obtain it via request. You can even request the audio version. If you’re asking for my recommendation for a good pirate site, let me tell you three quick things.

  1.  While I am truly flattered that you want to read my book enough to commit theft, I’m not J.K Rowling (not that she deserves to be robbed either). I need every penny of my royalties to scrape by.
  2. I have it on good authority from the many, many, many readers who have emailed me complaining their stolen copy of my book infected their computer, that a good chunk of those pirate sites claiming to have my book are bad news.
  3.  When real copies of my book go up, they are pretty quickly taken down, and they stay down for one very important reason. My publisher takes piracy very, very seriously. When they see their products being stolen, they act on it beyond just sending take down notices.

I have an E.d.S in School Library Media, so accessibility is very important to me. If you cannot obtain a copy of my book for any reason at all, email me using the contact me form on this website. I’ll see what I can do.

 

 

FAQ Friday: Why Joel?

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A reader asked why Persephone would have ever bothered with Joel when she had Hades. 

Spoilers ahead.

She was charmed. If you go back and read Daughter of Earth and Sky a second time, keeping an eye out for charm, you’ll notice Persephone’s thoughts shift every time she meets either Joel’s or Aphrodite’s eyes. It’s subtle, but well-crafted charm is supposed to feel like it’s your idea. The problem is, up until this book, we don’t see charm applied with expertise. We see charm used through brute force, which works but is obvious, even to the person being charmed. Zeus and Aphrodite are good at charm.

Here’s an example:

“I could do my run at three instead,” he (Joel) suggested. “We could run together.”

“Do you have time for that? With college about to start and everything?” I didn’t want to sound too reluctant, but I really enjoyed the solitude my runs provided.

“For you, I’ll make time.” He gave me an easy grin. “Just not right now. I should head out. Do you need help getting to your car? Or can you drive? I could take you home . . . ”

I laughed at his hesitation. I lived a bit outside of town, and gas wasn’t cheap. “I’m fine. I’m meeting someone later, so I should stick around.”

“Great.” He sounded relieved. He met my eyes. “Are we on for tomorrow?”

“Sure!” I needed to practice being human before school started, and Joel was about as normal as a human could get.

See how she shifts from not wanting to give up her private runs to actively looking forward to running with him? That’s how charm is supposed to work. And that’s why “Joel” stood a chance. Mind control.

FAQ Friday: Cliffhanger Ending for Daughter of Earth and Sky

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I’ve had many readers ask about my choice of ending scene for Daughter of Earth and Sky. It is most definitely a cliff hanger, and yes, I could have avoided it by ending the book one chapter earlier or later.

I promise I didn’t choose not to do that to frustrate the reader or to entice them to buy the next book. I did it because of Joel.

*Spoiler Warning*

One chapter later starts a new arc, with new POV characters, new conflicts, and new problems. It also doesn’t resolve the cliff hanger since she’d still be captured. So on the surface one chapter earlier seems like the better choice.

Except it’s not.

One chapter earlier and the story arc I built for Daughter of Earth and Sky wasn’t over. My readers would have been left fuming about Persephone basically cheating on Joel for months before the next book came out, because they wouldn’t realize he’d charmed her into a relationship she’d never actually been interested in. One chapter earlier and my readers would spend months hating Aphrodite more than they already did because they’d be walking away from the story convinced she was the one charming Persephone (which was true some of the time, but not most of it). Plus, it would have been such a faux happy note. Everything gets nice and wrapped up with Melissa, and her mother, and Hades. Ending there and walking away for months would make it hard for the reader to jump back into story lines where those characters only had decent terms with Persephone for hours. It would be a fake ending and it would make the beginning of the next book ring false.

Ending on a cliff hanger was a difficult decision, but one I’d make if I had a chance to rewrite the book right now. That chapter did end Daughter of Earth and Sky and it started Iron Queen. And fortunately, Iron Queen is out now, so you can end one book and pick up the next without that pesky wait.

Release Day for Venus Rising!

9781611947526

It’s release day for Venus Rising, and now I can share my super secret news! Persephone is returning as a POV character! She won’t have as many chapters as Aphrodite (it is her story), but you’ll get to see her plenty in the thrilling conclusion of Aphrodite’s trilogy. Enjoy this sample of a Persephone POV chapter below  (if you haven’t seen the chapters leading up to this, head on over to my wattpad page to check them out) and then go get your copy of Venus Rising!

Not caught up on Aphrodite’s trilogy? No problem! Aphrodite is on sale for .99 cents! That means you can get the whole trilogy for eight dollars. 

Aphrodite, sale, Daughters of Zeus, Kaitlin Bevis, Greek mythology retelling, Ares, Adonis

You can also enter to win this awesome tote bag from my publisher.

To enter, please click this link: http://bit.ly/2rpu0bP and sign up for the Venus Rising Giveaway. The winner will be chosen 6/12/17. After the giveaway, new signups will be added to the official Kaitlin Bevis mailing list. If you have any questions, please email us at nikiflowers@bellebooks.com!
Good luck, and enjoy!

Chapter IV

Persephone

IT HURT COMING back to my old home in Athens, Georgia. Nothing had changed in the past year. I hadn’t let it. Even though I didn’t spend much time here, I couldn’t bring myself to sell it. Mom’s priestesses maintained the property, and somehow, they’d made sure it still smelled the same. Floral, of course. My mother and I had always been strong on theme. The house worked well as an emergency meeting place for the Pantheon. There was even an entrance to the Underworld in the backyard.

I ran my hand along the familiar kitchen counter, flicking on the warm yellow lights. Rose-print wallpaper adorned the walls of the bright, open space, and white cabinets lined the room. Mom’s kitchen had been the heart of our home. If I didn’t turn around, I could almost pretend she still sat at the table behind me, flipping through one of her gardening magazines.

Salt and water burned at my eyes as I hunched over the pine countertop, my breathing jagged. Almost twenty years ago, my mother got disgustingly close to the biggest jerk in the entire Greek Pantheon—Zeus. And she’d done it for one reason.

Me. She knew that Zeus always passed on a power that gave his children a fighting chance in a world that didn’t believe they existed—charm. Basically, divine mind control. Gods lived off worship, which was increasingly hard to come by unless you had the ability to look a human in the eyes and brainwash them into doing whatever you wanted.

My mother raised me human without any knowledge of the Pantheon outside what little mythology I learned in school. Her deception had far-reaching consequences on my psyche. But she’d done it for the same reasons she’d chosen Zeus to be my father. Most of the gods had failed to blend into human society, becoming more and more isolated from a world they understood less and less as time went by. And for beings who needed worship to survive, isolation was death, charm or not.

Everything she’d done, every choice she’d made, had been with my best interests at heart. She’d given me the best of her powers: rebirth, renewal, spring—all super-poetical ways of saying I made pretty flowers grow— with none of the responsibilities. Mom had this entire life envisioned for me. One where I got to grow into adulthood as a “human” with all the experiences and rites of passage the upper-middle class had to offer. Then, once she deemed me ready, she’d sit me down and show me all the wonderful gifts she’d given me.

I slid to the distressed wooden floor in a rustle of fabric, clutching my knees against my chest. The faint smell of laundry detergent filled my lungs as I took a sharp breath. It would have been a great life.

Mom couldn’t have known that an old enemy would try to rip us apart. She couldn’t have anticipated that Hades would rescue me. That we’d fall in love. Or through a strange twist of fate, I’d become queen of his realm. She couldn’t have known that Zeus would try to suck the very powers she’d given to me from my cold shell of a corpse to help him take over the world.

But even when her best-laid plans went to hell, she protected me. She’d pushed every iota of power she had into my being, shredding her soul, to give me a chance against Zeus. And now she was gone.

A sob tore through my throat.

Take a breath, she would say if she could see how upset I was now. The kitchen would fill with the comforting smell of hot chocolate brewing on the stove. Her green eyes would meet mine with that look that seemed to pierce through my soul and lay it bare. Sit with me for a little bit. Tell me what happened.

Gods, I would do it in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t even roll my eyes or sigh or run upstairs to call my best friend, Melissa, and complain instead. I’d spent so much time angry with her for not telling me what I was, so much time fighting or outright avoiding her, and now I’d give anything to get her back.

My breath hitched when I lifted my gaze to the empty table. Power hummed beneath my skin, like tiny bolts of static, searching for a way out. I kept my breathing even, trying to maintain some semblance of control. Otherwise, I was going to spin out thinking about the fact that Mom was dead, Hades was gone, Aphrodite was still in danger, everything was breaking apart, and for some reason, the gods kept looking to me for answers.

In defeating Zeus, I’d become one of the most powerful goddesses there had ever been or likely would be again. Back in the days of the Primordials or even the Titans, the next deity would have only been a step or so down the ladder, but since the power of the Pantheon was at an all-time low, it just meant I had further to fall.

The gods really valued power and hierarchy. A triple realm ruler with near limitless power stood high on both totems, so now, I had a bunch of ancient, powerful beings looking to me for leadership. They didn’t care that I didn’t want it. Power and hierarchy trumped all.

But I’d stepped up to the plate, hadn’t I? I banged my head against the hard cabinet, my gaze settling on the roughhewn elm beams running along the ceiling. I’d been a handy pawn to fight their battles, to win their war, so now they’d elevated me to the frickin’ (unofficial) queen of the Pantheon.

Half the time, I thought they looked to me out of boredom. The rest of the time, I felt sure they’d just been so ready to get the world off their shoulders, they didn’t care who the burden fell to.

It hadn’t been so bad with Hades by my side. We’d split our powers with each other equally, which made our marriage bond super intense. Hades and I were in each other’s heads all the time; we could feel each other’s pain. It sounded like a nightmare, but it wasn’t. He was a piece of me, and I of him, but there were limits to even equilibrium.

We both had to be conscious.

My tears were getting ugly now. The sounds emitting from me with each sob didn’t sound human. Without Hades, I felt like I was missing a limb. I’d never wanted any of this, but it had been worth it with him.

The air rippled, stirring against the folds of my long skirt. I lurched to my feet, glamouring away any evidence of my tears as Poseidon appeared with a wave of salt-laced wind. Beside him, Ares dropped to the ground just in front of the kitchen table. He curled in on himself, crying out in pain.

“What happened?” I dropped to my knees beside him, reaching out to touch Ares’s shoulder. Heat seared my hand, and I jerked back in surprise.

“The poison’s still in his system,” Poseidon said quickly. “Teleportation takes a toll.”

That damn poison. Before we’d even realized the demigods were organizing against us, they’d managed to drug three of my people. Aphrodite got the worst of it, but Ares and Artemis had both been dosed. It affected their ability to use powers, so teleportation put them through a special kind of hell. And there was nothing I could do to make it better. Only dig my nails into my palms and watch helplessly as Ares rode out the pain. I dropped the glamour I’d kept on him and broke his bond of fealty to me just in case that helped.

I’d forgotten how intimidating he looked. Uneven, dark bangs hung over eyes that seemed to burn with rage as he recovered. When he struggled to his feet, the faint scent of burning cinnamon filled the air. He stood a head shorter than Poseidon, but his bulging muscles looked positively herculean in comparison.

A leather jacket appeared in his outstretched hand, and he shrugged it on, relaxing visibly when the folds of fabric touched his skin. His token, I remembered Aphrodite telling me.

Tokens were objects from a god’s home realm that could act as a kind of conduit. Instead of struggling to draw power while in a foreign realm, a god could channel their power through their token. Ares was back in his home realm, but his jacket must have still helped with the pain.

“You.” His eyes flared when they landed on Poseidon, and his voice darkened with the fires of rage. “You left her.”

“She’s still there?” My voice rose in panic, and the power clawing beneath my skin surged, seeking an outlet. A metallic taste filled my mouth, and I realized I’d clamped down on my tongue.

“I tried to get her!” Frustrated waves churned in miniature against the pupils of Poseidon’s sea-green eyes. “That demigoddess must have taken her when she teleported the whole island. I—”

“When she what?” The lights above my head flickered.

Poseidon’s fist clenched with irritation when the ground began to rumble. He drew in a breath, no doubt ready to say something scathing, but then he caught the look on my face.

I wasn’t doing this on purpose. My teeth ground together as I struggled to regain control, blood thick on my tongue. Aphrodite was gone. Trapped on an island with my husband while the demigods did gods knew what to them. An island we no longer knew the location of, because no one had stopped to ask if demigods could teleport. Including me!

How could I have been so stupid? The rest of the gods made their assumptions out of arrogance, refusing to believe anyone mortal could ever reach their level. I was supposed to be different.

“Easy.” Poseidon stretched his hands in a soothing gesture.

“Easy?” Ares surged toward Poseidon. “Easy! Do you have any idea what they’ll do to her? What you’ve left her to?” What—” He paused, seeming to notice the dishes rattling inside the white cabinets.

I sucked in deep breaths of rose-scented air. A lightbulb shattered above my head, glass raining down on the wooden floor.

“Persephone . . .” Poseidon was beside me in an instant, reaching out, but I jerked away before he could touch me.

I hated him. I hated him for hurting my mom all those centuries ago. For staying alive and strong when so many other gods died. For being one of the only people she could turn to for help during the final months of her life. For not stopping her dying. For looking at me the way he did. Like I was the only thing he had left of her. Like I meant something to him. He wasn’t allowed to grieve my mother.

Wood groaned and glass shattered as every door in the house flew open in a gust of damp wind. Oh, gods, I was ruining it. The one place I could still see her. Gasping for composure, I took my hatred for Poseidon and buried it. Like it or not, he was one of the only gods left, and I needed his help. “What do I do?”