Secrets can be dangerous things, even for the Goddess of Mystery. And those determined to keep them, far more dangerous still.
All Desponia wants is to live a good and just life on Mount Olympus. And after growing up in a mortal temple, the young goddess’s dream of living among the gods is finally coming true.
But her ‘fantasy life’ might be cut short when her hidden power reveals a secret worth killing for.
There’s no going back.
The wrath of a powerful Olympian crashes into Desponia’s life, and it seems that there is no shielding her from his rage.
Desponia doesn’t want to run. She won’t hide. Naïve, stupid, or brave, Desponia isn’t afraid to risk her life for what she believes in.
But her life isn’t the only one in danger.
Can she walk the line, be the savior and the saint? If the fates aren’t merciful our goddess may discover that immortals can also find themselves in the clutches of death.
Desponia Goddess of Mystery is the first book in this brilliant epic fantasy series. If you want to see your favorite mythical characters enlivened, re-envisioned, and thrown into a world of drama, danger, and deceit, then you will love L. M. Goodman’s action-packed new Greek Mythology novel.
Is the color of justice a shade of gray or blood red? Read Desponia Goddess of Mystery to find out.
Targeted Age Group:: Young Adult/New Adult/ Teen
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I wanted to tell the story of a greek goddess, forgotten by time and conflated with more popular godesses. I wanted her to have a story of her own, a world where she wasn't just a crumpling statue, but flesh and ichor.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
One day, because I'm a weirdo, I was looking my name up in this old dictionary. The closest word was actually a place, Ladon. When I looked this up, I discovered Desponia. Daughter of Demeter and Poseidon. I couldn't find much more information on her (she was often conflated with her sister Persephone), just that her name was hidden from all that weren't initiates. I was intrigued, and although this didn't make it in to the story, it is one of the main reasons that I made Desponia the goddess of Mystery.
A Walk in the Forest
In the near complete darkness, Desponia pulled the hood of her cloak as low as she could. As she did when she was nervous, her hand fiddled with the amulet ever affixed around her neck. A deep vortex of onyx and emeralds swirled in the large teardrop shaped jewel. Its intensity seemed to match her mood as she spiraled from anxiousness, to fear, to panic.
She tugged on the dark suede ribbon that held the amulet in place as jumbled images filled the room around her.
“Enough,” She forced her eyes shut, and the images responded, fading into the nothingness they’d emerged from.
Desponia stood slowly and peered out the window. This was her home, the temple of Arkadia. Even through the thick of night, everything was clear to her. The housing quarters, the altars, the courtyard that housed the larger marble temple and fountain. Yes, this was her home. But tomorrow everything would be different. So, did it matter if she changed it right now instead? She grabbed the small prepacked bag and headed for the window.
One leg already dangling in the early morning air, Desponia had a thought. She ducked back into the room, rummaging as silently as possible. When she pulled out the smooth, almost glass like stone, she smiled, tossed it in her pocket and continued her escape.
“I don’t think the Goddess of War accepts offerings from cowards.”
Desponia held her breath. She knew when she willed it, mortals shouldn’t be able to see her, but Zepporiah was no ordinary mortal. She was the only mortal Desponia had ever met that could see gods even when they didn’t reveal themselves. Either she could naturally sense their essences, or maybe she had a potion that gave her the sight. Desponia believed Zepporiah’s potions could do anything.
“Nothing to say?” She continued. Even in the dark she had found Desponia’s eyes.
The young goddess’s jaw tense undetectably in the surrounding darkness. “I’m not a coward.” She considered yelling to the woman before fleeing, but the feeble-looking woman was much more than she seemed. She had become a priestess late in her life, leaving a life of monetary riches, frivoluses, and world travel behind to join the women of the temple. She had raised through the ranks with ease because of her dedication to the initiates, vast worldly knowledge, and her innate sorcery abilities. Desponia could outrun her, but not her spells.
She measured her words carefully. “If a warrior knew she was destined to die, wouldn’t it be prudent for her to avoid the battle.”
The old woman darted over much more quickly than her aging frame should have allowed. She took Desponia’s face in her hands, tilting it, staring deeply into her eyes. “There must be a daemon of fear possessing you.” The woman’s face was focused as she searched. “This doesn’t sound like you at all.”
It felt like an insult, but Zepporiah seemed to mean it as some sort of twisted compliment. Desponia hadn’t made this decision on a whim. She’d considered her options, and this felt the closest to a win. It was not cowardice; it was self-preservation.
“No, not you…” there was the anger Desponia had feared. The woman lowered her fisted hands to her side, but it didn’t seem to blunt her sharp words. “If you want to just run away, I’ll help you.”
“Really?” Desponia asked, pulling herself out of the woman’s reach.
“You doubt me now,” Zepporiah asked through pursed lips. Desponia didn’t. Zepporiah was the strongest sorceress she’d ever met. She questioned whether she would actually do it for her.
“Sure why not,” the woman rolled up her sleeves and pulled back her salt and pepper hair. “So what will it be, a rock? Grass won’t do, maybe a vase.”
“You want to turn me in to a vase?”
“Seems fitting. You won’t have to grow or think, or do any of the scary things in life, because you won’t be alive.” A wrinkled hand clasped Desponia’s firmly. “Let me be clear. To live is to stretch even when it’s painful, and to avoid it, is death.”
Desponia didn’t speak, and she avoided the woman’s gaze. Zepporiah didn’t understand how it felt to have someone look at you with horror and disgust. She didn’t know how it felt to be an outsider either. She came to the temple of Arkadia willingly, while Desponia had basically been banished there.
“You’ve wished for adventure since you were a little girl. You’ve longed to be among the gods in the clouds. Is your fear worth losing that?”
“My powers were enough for my mother to leave me, what will the other gods do if they see them?”
“I don’t know dearest, but I do know that you can’t live your life, a mere shadow of yourself. Not you. Not the Goddess of Mystery. And certainly not on your birthday.”
She would be eighteen tomorrow. She barely remembered the date, but mortals took birthdays much more seriously than gods. Desponia smiled lightly, and she thought, technically, she wasn’t even the Goddess of Mystery yet.
“Maybe,” she responded as her mind continued to stir.
“I know you will be successful. It’s your destiny. After all, what can be hidden from the Goddess of Mystery?” Zepporiah asked, placing her hands on Desponia’s.
Desponia did not respond, instead she took her hands and kissed them. Zepporiah was right, running wasn’t the answer, but there was definitely still a problem.
Desponia knew that the gods wouldn’t see her power and rejoice, experience had taught her that. But she also couldn’t pass up this opportunity to live among the gods on Olympus. There had to be a way to do both.
With mere hours before her Presentation of Power, Desponia’s mind continued to circle back to Zepporiah’s words and wondered, what could be hidden from her? Hopefully not the answer.
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Nature was stirring, as it always did, she could hear the swishing and clawing of the creatures that surrounded the temple. Desponia bit her lip.
“Maybe with a little help,” she mumbled to herself as the shadows of a plan started to form. The way to avoid one disaster was with a bigger one. Desponia was sure of that. Just as she was sure that no one in the temple would be willing to help her sabotage her own Presentation of Power, no one except maybe Damoa, she wouldn’t be able to deny her on her birthday.
Her eyes widened as the edges of her lips curved into a smile.
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