A Tale Before Two Alphas Series - Book cover

A Tale Before Two Alphas Series

Alex Fox

Age Rating


He once relished in the company of a female, dreaming of a better tomorrow. But each one withered, faded, and blamed him for their fate. His name, a curse on their lips until their last breath: Hades.

Caught in a wicked divine game, a daring young woman steps into the Underworld. She's torn between fear and an odd allure for Hades, her new husband. No human has ever lasted here. Can she bring life to this dark place? Will she change Hades or just fade away, forgotten like his past wives?

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60 Chapters

Chapter 2


Chapter 3

A Bride

Chapter 4

Day One
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Prologue: Hades

Book 1: The Black Court

I believe every religion captures a piece of truth.

- James Van Der Beck

Hades stared down at the barren land crumbling. A piece of torn yellowing paper with words in his hand the Fates had handed him, remembering what he had been tasked with and ignoring. Trying his best to pay no attention to the cryptic taunt they sent when it was time.

A new taunt every five hundred years.

It’s getting old. The thought was immediate and bitter.

This hadn’t been the deal Hades had had in mind when this place had been constructed. He knew after this; he would never be on the fool’s end of a deal ever again. Though the rotten deal had certainly served its purpose.

His brother might not know it yet, but the tables of fate had turned over the years and the rules had changed. This was a game of power Zeus was now losing no matter how hard he tried.

All that was left where anger was once placed now felt mostly hollow. The need for vengeance against his brother and many of the others for all the atrocities they committed against the human race had settled. Leaving him to clean up their messes one after another with grand titles such as Ruler of the Underworld, King of Flame and Smoke, Father of Darkness, King of White Sands as cold as snow, more barren than any wasteland…was no more.


Now with each soul, each death, it was just more energy to fuel his court while he lived day to day fixing problems. His kingdom held more than the souls of the dead now, and though nothing truly lived in the Underworld; it was no longer barren. Souls were not the only thing to keep his company as his brother had tried to curse him to do.

Claiming the humans in the Underworld one after another, letting none of them pass onward, had only been the first part after the rules changed. Something his brother thought was entirely harmless about the new world, which cared about humans once they were dead in Zeus’s opinion. They were on the other side.

That was always Zeus’s problem, he never thought about things.

That was Hades’s gift—and his curse in all the time he had within the realm of death. Absolute power over the souls that entered his realm; they were never to leave except at great expense to himself. Time to collect on all of his hard work.

No faerie or other territory could ever measure up now that the rules had changed.

Once known as Hades, Ruler of the Underworld, others knew him under a name no one dared utter out loud even now in association with him; Elohim. Creator of the Never Never, master of the dark realms. He had managed to take down every legendary titan in his care, one by one, breaking them down into perfect elements. Using their skin to form the patchwork land of a realm far from the humans, forcing the gods and many other creatures from Olympus to live out their days even farther from the human race if they wanted to keep or enhance their “divinity.”

Without the help of the three Fates, it wouldn’t have been possible. It was the first deal of many in this new land. A complication he was still facing today.

Five hundred years and it was time again to find a wife—one that lived among the humans. One that held a soul.

At one time he would have searched and wooed a female, relishing in not having to be alone anymore. Enjoying the company of another and the sweet smell of the earth while he was permitted to walk it. Perhaps even dreaming of a better and brighter tomorrow when the first deal had been made.

Now though…no matter what little joy might have filled him in the beginning…

Each female had withered, faded, and ultimately died. Just like their bodies.

They all blamed him for their fate. His name was a curse on their lips until their last breath, somehow making the joke even crueler. It wasn’t for lack of lively company or nutritious food—it was simply this place.

It sucked the life out of everything, including each bride, the surface of the Never Never in the Black Court just as hungry as death itself. Like a slow, deadly poison for all mortals that stepped foot in this land or any creature too full of life.

He had to marry a mortal; there wasn’t much choice in the matter. Someone that when he looked into their eyes, he could see their soul as part of the bargain.

A cruel fate for any he chose, and a hollow reminder of his loneliness, but a necessary evil. Unlike before, he now chose them for their singing, their pretty hair, and even a woman with a unique sparkling necklace. Trying his best to enjoy what little he could of their fleeting lives—even if it was an object in their possession—without becoming attached.

Over time, though, even the last necklace had lost its luster, despite lasting through three wives. After so many wives, many would claim his heart to be made of ice or that it had perhaps never really existed. A claim that suited him just fine.

It was better to remain unattached, everyone knowing their doomed fate if they thought he might ever have a change of heart. Better for others to hate or fear him.

“It is time for your search again, Hades,” a male voice boomed in the distance.

He didn’t flinch; he didn’t even stir as his gaze flicked from what had once been soul-filled sands to the small bit of land where the living could walk—an echo of what his realm had been below. Now flourishing just as well as the Underworld, the only sand left was what remained on the beach, and they were closer to concentrated pebbles; the last reminder. His home was a place between the two he controlled with ease—flowing like smoke from one plane of existence to the other, where the man spoke.

“I’m well aware of what I’ve been charged with, Apollo,” he replied, his voice smooth yet as chilled as ice as his appearance solidified next to the man who spoke to him. Both of them faced the stark twilight on a gray-stone balcony.

The only bit of color and life happened during sunrise and sunset; otherwise, his domain seemed to always be in shades of gray. To Apollo, it looked as if Hades had somehow stepped from the smoke and shadows despite never lifting a foot; his eyes flicked to him as a hand rested on the railing.

Where Hades with his very presence seemed to be the absence of light, Apollo seemed to radiate it; the small bit of color on the horizon was a pale comparison. These two were both tall, lean, and dangerous—but that was where the similarities ended.

Apollo’s hair rolled lusciously down his shoulders and halfway down his back in golden hues that would make most women jealous of its radiance. His skin had a golden olive tone that seemed to only enhance his green eyes and soften his otherwise sharp features: nose strong with the tip pointed upward ever so slightly at the end, his jaw sharp accenting his high cheekbones and an ever-present resting slight smile. Had he shown his teeth, surely they would sparkle bright like freshly fallen snow shining in the sunlight. The only sign of his age was the slight crease in his brow and the way his eyes had started to dull.

Hades stood nearly a foot higher, his stature leaner than Apollo’s yet somehow more frightful. His skin had a corpse-blue hue that seemed to suck in the surrounding light. Somehow, though, it managed to glisten and look healthy. His features were sharp, the planes of his face seeming to have shadows accenting each angle, eyes glowing an eerie almost yellow hue of hellfire. This was the only light there was to him—even his hair seemed to suck in the light with the way it wisped about his sharp pointed ears like smoke, curling and moving of its own accord.

“Yet you wait until the day is nearly over to even bother stepping into the human realm. If you break the agreement—”

“I am well aware of my agreement,” Hades replied flatly—his voice leaving no room for conversation.

Apollo, of course, ignored his brother’s otherwise sour mood. “Yet you wait until nearly every untainted maiden is safe in their homes, in their beds. Some of us like this new world and would hate to see it broken.”

“Hardly a proper burial for an innocent girl,” Hades muttered darkly, not wanting to find yet another virgin. Ending a creature’s life when it hadn’t matured yet was always something he disliked. More so after the wails and torment of his fifth wife. He never wanted to experience that amount of guilt again. “I will find who I see fit.”

“Better leave now, time is running out. The sun will set in their realm. What’s the rule? Oh yes, you won’t be able to walk the lands of the Never Never anymore. You’ll turn to ash and all this—”

Hades didn’t bother to reply, the annoyance on his face only seen briefly as his eyes narrowed toward Apollo and he dissipated where he stood. His black form seemed to collapse within itself as if he had stepped backward.

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