Descending Down into Tartarus

This story is in my new book.  After a decade of fighting the war with the Titans, Jupiter looked down from Olympus at the war-torn land and he knew that he had to recruit more help if he wanted to win.  Terra who was Jupiter’s grandmother and also called mother earth, told Jupiter that victory would belong to him, if he descended down to Tartarus and released the Hecatoncheires (giant creatures with fifty heads and one hundred hands) and the Cyclopes (giant one-eyed monsters) from their imprisonment in Tartarus.  So Jupiter assembled his two brothers Neptune and Pluto and they travelled deep into Tartarus, to free the prisoners.  Tartarus was a ferocious place, where monsters and horrible criminals were banished, or imprisoned and this hellish prison located in the bowels of the earth was reserved for the defeated gods.

Tartarus is a place of punishment in the underworld located in a subterranean region, and it was the most feared of all the realms.  The River Styx encircled the Underworld, and the only way to cross the River Styx was in a ferryboat rowed by a terrible boatman named Charon the Ferryman.  If you were lucky enough to get across the River Styx, then one would still have to deal with the river Phlegethon.   This river coiled around the earth and flowed directly into the depths of Tartarus.  The Phlegethon was a stream of fire with waves that flare up and emit vapors that make your eyes burn.  It is said that it is made out of boiling blood which keeps the wicked alive just enough so they can endure eternal torments.  Tartarus was also surrounded by massive, solid copper walls of unyielding strength.

When Jupiter agreed to rescue the Hecatoncheires, the Hundred-Handed Giants and the Cyclopes from Tartarus, Terra informed him that he could enter the underworld of Tartarus through a back door which nobody knew about, and he and his brothers could use this secret route to return again.  However Jupiter would still have to deal with Campe the jailer.  Campe was a monstrous She-Dragon, who had the head and upper body of a beautiful woman, but her lower body resembled a dragon covered with scales.  She had a massive scorpion’s tail that was full of venom, snakes slithered around her ankles, and 50 grisly heads of various creatures (wolves, snakes, bears, lions…) bubbled around her waist.  She had serpentine hair, her fingernails were long and curved and she could use them like a sickle, and she also had black wings on her back.  Her slithering tail and fierce beast-heads would be enough to scare anyone away.

Jupiter was proficient at changing his form, so when he and his brothers arrived in Tartarus, he changed himself into a male dragon.  Jupiter saw Campe and he told her that he could release her from guard duty, if she would join him and fight against the Titans.  Jupiter tried to reason with Campe, telling her that she could leave Tartarus and join the world above ground.  Campe hissed at Jupiter and said, ‘I am here of my own choosing, as this is the only place that accepts my hideous form.’  She slashed her tail through the air, she knocked over Jupiter and his brothers and then she said, ‘I will never fight against the Titans!’  Jupiter smiled at Campe and told her that she did not look hideous to him, and in fact he thought she looked rather sexy, especially the way she could shake her tail.  Campe seemed delighted to hear these words, so she twirled around and showed Jupiter her tail.  When Campe had her back to Jupiter, he changed back to his normal form and jumped on her tail and then he slew Campe, by stabbing her in the back with his sword.

After killing Campe, and stealing her keys, Jupiter freed all six of his uncles: the Cyclopes and the Hundred-Handed Giants. Pluto knew the prisoners would need nourishment for the long journey back so he packed snacks them.  He gave them nectar to relieve their thirst and ambrosia for their hunger which lifted their spirits.  They made their way out of Tartarus and they needed little convincing to decide to join in the fight against the Saturn and the Titans who had put them there in the first place.  Briareus, Cottus, and Gyges, the Hundred-Handed Giants quickly pledged their lives to overthrow Saturn and Atlas and the other Titans.  The Cyclopes fashioned new weapons for the Olympians, which helped them to win the war.

They made thunderbolts for Jupiter to use, and whatever these lightning bolts touched would be engulfed in flames.  All three Cyclopes worked together, Arges understood how to control brightness, Brontes had mastered thunder, and Steropes could influence lightning.  Vulcan was able to combined these three ingredients together and he made this new weapon in his forge.  Pluto was given a trident which was a useful weapon with its barbed prongs, but it also became an effective device for shaking the earth and creating waves in the sea.  The Cyclopes also created the helmet of darkness or invisibility for Pluto.

These weapons tipped the scale and allowed the Olympians to defeat the Titans.  After the war ended, the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires were made prison guards in Tartarus, because their eyesight could not adjust to being out in the sunlight after spending so many years under ground.  They all said that they liked it better being underground, but they hoped that Pluto would come and visit them and bring them more snacks.  Every month Pluto would descend back to Tartarus to visit his uncles.

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