To celebrate the US release of Acheron in mass market paperback, we’re running a week-long series of posts to get us up to speed on Dark-Hunter mythology and the characters that we should probably know about before reading Acheron. (Thanks to our resident guru on all things Dark-Hunter: Decadence.) These posts have no Acheron spoilers, but they do contain spoilers to previous books in the series. Acheron is out in mass market format on March 31.
Acheron Cheat Sheet: Part 1
Acheron: The early years
“I am Acheron, son of no one. Revered only within the confines of a bedroom.”
Acheron was born a god in human form to a Greek king and queen, but was immediately spurned by all after he was denounced as the son of a god. His “parents” wanted to kill him, but a wise woman told them his life was linked with that of their own son, Styxx, so that if they wanted to keep their son and heir, they had to raise the changeling, too. She named the god baby Acheron because, like the river of the same name, his life would be long and full of woe.
While he was growing up, he was often confused by how differently he was treated from his twin. Other than the colour of their eyes, they look the same, but while Styxx was loved and respected as a prince, Acheron was rejected. The only one who cared for him was his sister, Ryssa.
Tired of being hated without knowing why, Ash started going out of his way to make people hate him and it has been implied that he has done things in his past that he is not particularly proud of, which may include drugs and prostitution to ensure his survival.
He tried to end his life by going to Artemis’s temple and kissing her, hoping she would kill him for treating her commonly instead of revering her as the goddess she is. The plan backfired in ways he couldn’t even begin to imagine, because she fell for him and they formed a relationship of sorts. Artemis insisted that no one could know about them, but word got out anyway. Ash refused to kiss and tell and was beaten and sterilised for it. Instead of coming to his defense, Artemis sat back and watched his torture, telling him he deserved it for betraying her without bothering to find out the truth that he hadn’t betrayed her at all.
On his 21st birthday Ash finally learns the truth about who he is: He is Apostolos, the son of the Atlantean Destroyer Apollymi, who stashed him in the Greek queen’s womb so that Apollymi’s husband Archon couldn’t kill him to forestall the prophecy that he would one day end the world. He is given the Charonte demon Simi and a whole heap of god powers that he fears would make him more of a target in his hostile world than he is already.
Not long afterwards Atlantis disappeared under murky details, but Ash was dead at the time, thanks to Apollo.
“I’m the top of the food chain and well, you’re the food.”
“You can’t hate to the extreme I do without having loved someone first. When all that hatred is shoved aside, is there any love left? I honestly don’t know.”
Artemis decided she couldn’t live without Ash, so she blood bonded with him. He must feed from her regularly to maintain his compassion and she needs him to act as her conscience. Despite the apparent benefits for the world, this is a sick and twisted relationship.
Acheron wants nothing to do with Artemis, but needs her blood. Artemis wants Ash to love her again, but the more he tries to escape, the harder she tries to bind him to her. The creation of the Dark-Hunters was a major coup for her because Ash must train them so that they don’t die and become Shades. He also has to bargain with her for their souls should they ever wish to be free. Once she has created a Dark-Hunter, Artemis doesn’t care what happens to them, so the responsibility falls to Ash, because he cannot turn his back on them after having been in the same position they are. Before he secured her promise not to make more Dark-Hunters, they both saw the Dark-Hunters’ potential to unknowingly keep Ash in Artemis’s life for millennia to come.
But as much as she wants him, she cannot bear for anyone to know about him and their relationship, possibly because the other gods on Olympus look down on him. Her arrogance allows her to see him as beneath her, even though he is much more powerful than she is and they both know it. He agrees to remain her dirty little secret and not use his powers while in Olympus.
Check back tomorrow for Part 3: The Dark-Hunters, Simi and Katra