Heat, and pain, and an ancient unfathomable rage. Just outside of her consciousness, she felt it screaming. Burning.
Kali frowned and focused on the hag again. Leathery skin pulled taut, empty white eyes, withered hands. Scattered patches of thin hair. She didn’t feel like the creature was evil or cruel, regardless of appearances. But something about this place, this person, terrified her beyond reason.
But the glint in her eyes was driving him crazy. She was teasing him. Her untamed joy, and the flames of desire in her gaze. She didn’t just love him; she wanted him. And she was wearing his mark like she was born for him.
Kali didn’t realise she was crying until Poseidon wiped a tear gently from her cheek. She stared at him numbly, shaken. He spoke as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. He spoke like he respected her decisions. Like her choice mattered to him.
He was a god. He was eternal, and she was a speck of dust, scattered in the wind. But from the moment they had met, she knew that she was born to love him.
The shadows followed him, curling at his shoulders, echoing his form. Chiron’s white fur gleamed, a lighthouse in the fog. But Kali noticed the change in him. The smile was tighter, his shoulders were curved, and his tail flicked restlessly.
“Your arms.” He gasped, horrified, when he saw the coiling burns. She caught his eye briefly and carefully untangled herself from his grip. She started to smile but it froze before it reached her eyes as she remembered Jem’s reprimands.
Hades calmly moved his hand to catch it, the flames dwindling as they reached him, but Kali’s heart was in her throat. Tears sprung back to her eyes as she struggled to catch her breath, her stomach giving her sharp reminders of her injury.
She was going to die. She saw herself sinking into the clear water of a river, shrouded in smoke. A memory of a dream she used to have. It used to seem freeing but the water enveloping her in her mind was terrifying.