[This post is from Hecate’s point of view.]
“I hope against hope it won’t come to that,” Seamus said. He set his plate down, rubbing at his eyes. Leinth frowned at him, edging a little closer. He didn’t seem to notice, not even when she put her arm around him again. “But I’m saying that a lot.”
“We all do,” Marin said. “It’s all we can do sometimes.”
“We say that a lot, too.” Tala smiled wryly, starting to clean up. “Not that it’s bad, but we definitely do.”
“I can remember hearing a few stories about him,” Hecate said. “About Orcus, from long ago. I was never sure what was rumor and what was fact, though—from before you gave him over. I—I’m not really sure if I ever saw him after. I’m not sure I want to.”
“You don’t,” Seamus murmured. “He was just about the ugliest thing I ever saw. Like I said, huge, hairy, unkempt, the kind you’d expect to smell awful but he didn’t. That was the strangest part. He always smelled a little like smoke and wet earth. I wouldn’t call it pleasant, but it certainly wasn’t what you’d expect from looking at him.” He took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly before he continued. “He was strong as hell, too. I planned for months how to take him down, right to the last detail. He was quick, but I was faster. I think that was the only reason I won—that and because his hate and desire had driven him half mad.” He glanced toward Leinth, expression falling. “He said he would kill me and you’d come to him. He believed it, too.”
“I never would have,” she whispered, reaching up to touch his cheek. Seamus smiled weakly.
Hecate pressed herself into Matt’s arms. He held her a little tighter, as if he could feel the old pain that tried to well up.
The centuries alone had been long and both of them knew how mad they had driven her. She only hoped that it would never happen again.