He's Sworn to Protect the Emperor at All Costs
When he was a child, Bjerner sacrificed his eyes to the Goddess of Death. Raised as a warrior, he's now a trusted member of the Varangian guard. As he struggles to keep the emperor alive, Bjerner is forced to take a mission that will either see him killed or see him hailed as a hero.
She's Tired of Heroes
All they ever want to do is try to kill her. Ever since she was born, Ophidia has been hunted like an animal and all because of what she is: a beast that has the power to turn people into stone.
Forced to hide in a cave her entire life with only the dead heroes for company, Ophidia desperately wants her next visitor to be a little less stabby.
And less inclined to look at her face.
And would it really kill them to just talk to her first?
But as the centuries pass, she's starting to lose hope that such a man exists...
"How could you?" Euryale hissed, the pain and helpless frustration in her heart making her sound angry. "You knew better than to sleep with him. How could you think that he would protect you?"
"He promised -" Medusa gritted her teeth, her face contorting in pain. The vial shook in her hand.
Her eyes narrowed. "He's promised many a girl, you dolt. Women throw themselves at him all the time."
"Enough," their older sister ordered as she slithered forward and wrapped a hand around the vial. "It matters no more. The deed is done." She helped Medusa raise the potion to her lips. "Now drink."
But as the wind changed direction, blowing towards them with a mocking gentleness, the three of them froze. The snakes on their heads all rose together, their long forked tongues licking out to taste the breeze.
He had the favour of the gods behind him. Athena herself had gifted him with a shield to protect him from their stone-turning gazes.
Euryale's fists clenched at the thought of the goddess. She had once been Medusa's patron, her friend even. But instead of being understanding when Poseidon had seduced their sister (and what woman could resist his charms?), Athena had cursed her with this monstrous form. And when Euryale and Stheno had stood beside her, outraged at the unfairness of it all, the goddess had cursed them too.
And now she had sent Perseus, a demi-god, to kill them.