FAQ Friday: Cliffhanger Ending for Daughter of Earth and Sky

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

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.

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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?”

Pandora’s Box

Aphrodite SaleThere’s still time to catch up on Aphrodite and Love and War before Venus Rising comes out this Friday! Aphrodite is on sale for .99 cents right now, and Love and War has this nifty new audiobook trailer. Take a listen.

 

You can also enter to win this awesome tote 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!

 

Mythology Monday: Medusa

Medusa, Snakes and Stones Anthology, Kaitlin Bevis, Daughters of Zeus, love is respectIn honor of the release of the Snakes and Stones Anthology, I’m focusing on Medusa for this week’s mythology. Check out an excerpt from my version of Medusa below and an in-depth look at the myth.

Snakes & Stones

A myth that has withstood the sands of time tells of a beautiful woman turned hideous beast.
Some say she was punished because of the lust of a man. Others believe it was her own beauty that brought on the curse.
However, there are some who believe her curse was actually a gift.

Hear the story of Medusa as told by six popular young adult authors: Christina Benjamin, Kaitlin Bevis, Susan Burdorf, Erin Hayes, Suzanna Lynn, and Ali Winters

All proceeds from the sale of this anthology will go to loveisrespect.org

What was once my hair shifted and writhed atop my head. I squeezed my eyes shut and buried my face farther in my arms doing my best to ignore the augmentations my body suffered. The salt of my tears hissed as they touched my flesh.

Gods, was every piece of me poison? I already knew no one could so much as look upon me and survive. Upon hearing my horrified screams as Athena’s curse took root, a villager had rushed to my aid. Poor man. Remembering the look of terror in his eyes as his skin hardened to stone sent a shudder through me.

Athena had rushed me inside and deposited me where I now lay curled against a cold marble wall, tucked in the space between two large columns of lined white stone. Beyond the columns, the room formed a long hall, coming to an end at a vast golden statue created in Athena’s likeness. Tall, hard, and unyielding. Standing beneath her likeness, the Goddess of Wisdom argued with the Lord of the Underworld, a dark-haired deity, in raised tones that bounced off the intricately decorated ceiling tiles to crawl down my spine.

In an attempt to huddle into an ever smaller bundle, I hunched over my knees and did my best to tune out the gods discussing my fate. What did it matter what happened to me now? I was ruined.

“Why did you call me here?” Hades’s voice rang down the long hall, laced with ill-disguised rage. Hours ago, hearing the raised voice of Hades himself would have been the most terrifying thing I had ever experienced. Now my dread at his rage barely registered, I felt so numb. “The girl still lives.”

Everyone was so angry with me for surviving. Part of me wanted to rage at the injustice of it all, the rest of me just wished I had not—not survived Poseidon’s attack; not survived Athena’s curse; not survived my already broken life up to tonight. I was so tired of surviving. How much easier would it be to just crumble to pieces and die? At least then I wouldn’t have to keep living through this nightmare.

“She does still live.” Athena’s voice sounded calm in comparison to the Lord of the Underworld, yet it still echoed off the marble walls. Sound carried in her temple. She never spoke very loud but volume had never much mattered in this temple of cold cut stone. “I would like you to fix that.”

Though I did not look up, I could picture the Goddess of Wisdom studying Hades with her dispassionate gray eyes, dark hair wound back so tight it pulled at her skin. She always wore her robes in an unflattering, shapeless cut. Though long, they made no sound when she walked. The older priestesses had warned me when my sisters and I first arrived at the temple that I would never know which corner she would be behind. Always assume she was watching, listening.

Athena was beautiful, anyone with eyes could see that, but she buried her beauty under a layer of harshness like a weakness that needed to be armored. This room of beautiful yet cold and unyielding stone suited her.

I was beautiful once. The fairest in my village, or so I had often been told. A distinction I gave little thought to since my sisters and I devoted our lives to Athena over a decade ago. We were desperate. Our mother died while birthing my youngest sister, and my father took to the jar and traveled down into the depths of despair where we could not follow. So rather than giving in to my despair, I packed my younger sisters up and took the long, arduous journey to the nearest temple accepting new devotees. Not an easy task for a trio of young girls, one not yet walking, but well worth it. Everyone knew temple girls always had food, shelter, and protection.

And here I had thought gods could tell no lies.

Enjoy what you’ve read? Check out the myth below, then head on over to Amazon to buy Snakes and Stones today and if you haven’t already, pick up a copy of Aphrodite while it’s on sale for .99 cents. That’s two Daughters of Zeus stories for $2.00!

~@~

 

There are few creatures featured in mythology as instantly recognizable, or controversial, as Medusa. She’s the woman with snakes for hair that turns men to stone with a single glance. But how did she get that way?

That’s up for some debate.

Part of the controversy is that there are multiple origin stories for Medusa in mythology. In the earliest versions of the myth she was always a monster, born and raised in a small cave near the Underworld. Medusa and her sisters (Stheno, and Euryale) were known as the Gorgons, and were either the daughters of Phorcys and Ceto, Gorgon and Ceto. Medusa was the only mortal of the sisters, and as such a logical choice for a quest kill.

It wasn’t until Ovid came around that she got a more sympathetic story. In Ovid’s version, she was a beautiful human girl until Poseidon raped her in Athena’s temple. Athena, angry her temple had been defiled, cursed Medusa to life as a monster.

There are variations within this version. She had an affair with Poseidon. She didn’t. She ran to Athena’s temple for help, it was just a convenient empty space. Either way, Ovid’s version of the story was further popularized by Clash of the Titans, and is one of the better known interpretations of the myth.

All sources agree she was beheaded by Perseus in his quest, and her head was used as a weapon thereafter until it was given to Athena to decorate her sheild. Since Medusa was pregnant by Poseidon at the time of death (presumably in horse form), Pegasus and Chrysaor, a giant wielding a golden sword, sprang from her corpse after death. Her head was used to turn Atlas to stone and to create coral in the Red sea. Poisonous snakes were also created from drops of the severed head’s blood.

Obviously I went with Ovid’s interpretation of the myth, Medusa as a victim, when I wrote my own version of Medusa because it’s the one that felt like it fit with my takes on the myth. The gods were vengeful and petty and when they crossed paths with mortals, it never ended well for them. A monster who was born a monster and had no motivations for being a monster in truth, not just appearance, is a lot less understandable than a hurt woman hiding in a cave and turning men to stone.

 

Venus Rising Cover Reveal!

9781611947526

Venus Rising has a cover, too! I love it :D. And check out my blurb.

The final battle . . .

Aphrodite is in big trouble this time. She’s stranded on the island of the DAMNED–without powers and without her beloved Ares. Worse, she knows it’s only a matter of time before the demigods figure out she’s a goddess. If that happens, she’ll wish she were dead.

Help arrives in the form of an unlikely ally. But Medea has her own demands, and if Aphrodite wants to survive–not to mention find Hades and the weapons cache–she has to meet them.

But all their plans take a back seat when they find themselves in even more pressing danger. When Medea moved the island, she rendered it unstable. Now it’s breaking apart and sinking. In the chaos, the demigods have risen up, blaming the gods for their misfortune. Nobody is safe from the demigods . . . especially a Pantheon sympathizer like Aphrodite. And they’ve come up with a deadly test to uncover any imposters.

Aphrodite knows she can’t do this alone. It will take the whole Pantheon to get her out of this mess. Unfortunately, they’ll have to find her first . . .

 

You can preorder Venus Rising today! In celebration of my new cover and upcoming release, Persephone will be on sale starting tomorrow, May 20th-May 26th for 99 cents! Please spread the word. If you want to get caught up, now is the time.

Snakes and Stones Cover Reveal!

ABOUT THE COLLECTION

Snakes & Stones is a collection of short stories inspired by the tale of Medusa; the woman turned gorgon in Greek Mythology. Medusa’s tale is one of abuse and oppression, however these tales take a different twist on her story.

All parties involved with this anthology have volunteered their time and works in order to make this collection happen. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to loveisrespect.org in order to assist in helping teens and young adults in abusive and/or oppressive relationships.

A myth that has withstood the sands of time tells of a beautiful woman turned hideous beast.

Some say she was punished because of the lust of a man. Others believe it was her own beauty  
that brought on the curse.

However, there are some who believe her curse was actually a gift.
Hear the story of Medusa as told by six popular young adult authors:

When I Fell by Christina Benjamin
Medusa by Kaitlin Bevis
The Case of the Missing Soul by Susan Burdorf
Lies of the Beholder by Erin Hayes
Medusa’s Curse by Suzanna Lynn
Favor of the Gods by Ali Winters

Brought to you in one anthology…
Snakes & Stones

All proceeds from the sale of this anthology will go to
loveisrespect.org.
Be sure to check out my blog tomorrow for the Venus Rising cover reveal.
 Currently only $0.99 on preorder! Price will rise to $2.99 after release day.

FAQ Friday: Can I read Daughter of Earth and Sky first?

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

A reader asked if they can start with Daughter of the Earth and Sky.

If you’re like me, you sometimes stumble upon book two in the library or win it in a giveaway, and you just want to know if you should open the book or if you’ll be so hopelessly lost it’s not worth the bother. I recapped well enough in book two for a new reader to be able to pick up in book two. So yes, you can.

However, I suggest finding a copy of book one if you can (it’s free in audio form if you sign up for my newsletter), because while you will get what’s going on thanks to recapping, you aren’t going to appreciate it as much as a reader who was “there.”

 

FAQ Friday: Why not teleport?

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

 

A reader asked why Persephone didn’t teleport away from danger during Daughter of Earth and Sky.

Without getting into spoilerific details, 90% of the time Persephone was in danger, someone had a firm grip on her. She can’t teleport in the living realm with anyone born outside Demeter’s realm and she can’t teleport with anyone in the Underworld that doesn’t read as a native. As for the other 10…

With the Reapers it wouldn’t have done any good. The have rights to teleport in both realms, so they would have just gone with her, and then what? She couldn’t explain what was going on to Hades, and if she stuck to the living realm, they’d already shown a willingness to retaliate with random humans.

With that last thing that happened, there was a shield in place to prevent teleportation, which is also why Hades could not interfere.

FAQ Friday: Wouldn’t it have been safer for Persephone to just stay in the Underworld?

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

 

*Spoiler warning for Persephone and Daughter of Earth and Sky

A reader wondered why, if Hades and Demeter knew Zeus was still around and after Persephone, did they allow her to return to the living realm in book two?

Remember, Boreas was restricted to a relatively short season, but Zeus could wait around for all eternity. Persephone wanted to hang on to the human life she’d built. She has friends, a job, a family, and a life. And while it’s one thing to step away from that for a few months (December-March) while Boreas was at full strength, it’s quite another to say goodbye forever.

Persephone’s will in this is paramount, because I didn’t want to write a horror story about a teenage girl being forced to spend her life in the land of the dead. It’s one of the first things I changed when I rewrote the myth.

As far as what Hades wants, while other writers have tackled the whole over protective significant other forcing their loved one to stay somewhere safe (and thus destroying their relationship in the process) SO well (Seriously read the linked book. It’s so good), that’s not the story I wanted to tell. Which is why, in book one, Hades explicitly stated that he wouldn’t keep Persephone in the Underworld against her will. That’s a promise he has to honor. He does try to convince her to stay a few times. He just can’t make her.

Demeter on the other hand, would absolutely force her daughter to stay in the Underworld for her safety. For a season. Asking her to say goodbye to her daughter for all time, especially after her daughter nearly died the last time she tried to make that happen, is a bit much. Plus, Demeter’s dealing with a lot of parent guilt in book two. Every move she’s ever made regarding Persephone was for Persephone’s own good, but it backfired. Her daughter hates her for her deception, the events of book one outright would have never happened if Persephone had had an ounce of preparation, the priestess she chose for her daughter has gone rogue, the father she chose for her daughter so she’d have enough power to survive is the very thing threatening her life. Every move she made failed. So while she never shows it (she’s a goddess after all, showing weakness isn’t easy for them), Demeter spends most of book two feeling paralyzed. She knows if she pushes Persephone to stay in the Underworld, she will lose her forever on more than one level. Plus, she can’t force Hades to abide by her will, and Persephone sure isn’t going to go alone with it, so it’s a fight she couldn’t win if she wanted to. Demeter’s smart enough not to pick a losing battle.

Plus, she feels like she’s losing Persephone to Hades already. Her goal for the first third of book two is to keep her daughter out of the Underworld as much as possible. It’s only once the danger becomes explicit that she takes a major step back. She knows if she tries to force Persephone into the Underworld, that Persephone is just mad enough to dig her heels in to spite her. So she doesn’t. And she assumes that is where Persephone is spending most of her time.

At the end of the book, Persephone had every intention of waiting out the danger in the Underworld. But she couldn’t remember her charmed promises compelling her to leave the safety of the Underworld and return to Zeus. The important thing to remember about charm, is that done right, the implanted thoughts  it feels like the charmed person’s idea. So when Persephone irrationally decides to go find Orpheus and fix things, that’s her mind desperately trying to rationalize an obviously bad idea.