What do you get when you cross a satyr and centaur? Well, you’d probably end up with someone like Amphithemis.
Now, what do you get when you give this half-satyr, half-centaur an impossible mission, cast him down to Tartarus, and leave him alone for thousands of years? You get someone you should probably stay far, far away from.
But is Amphithemis really as unhinged as he seems, or is there more to this unfortunate creature than meets the eye?
Passing the Smell Test
Amphithemis may not be as cute and lovable as a canine companion, but he does act like a dog in a few key ways. First, he leads with his nose. So, if you ever come across him on your trip through the Underworld, make sure you’re properly deodorized. Because he’s not going to trust you until after he sniffs you.
Second, old Amphithemis has absolutely no short-term memory. So, even if you earn his trust one minute, you may have to reintroduce yourself the next.
What Amphithemis does remember are the scent profiles of gods and demigods. If you’ve somehow become separated from your demigod buddy while down in the Underworld, Amphithemis may be able to help you find them. As long as they’re not related to Zeus or Hera. There aren’t enough Scooby Snacks in the universe to convince him to help those two gods.
Down by the Riverside
Harboring a bitter grudge against certain gods isn’t unique to Amphithemis. However, the Lamian Centaur’s reasons for hating on Zeus and Hera run deep. According to Amphithemis, Zeus was the one who sent him down to Tartarus in the first place. As for Hera, she’s apparently the one who transformed Amphithemis from an incorporeal river spirit into this half-satyr, half-centaur . . . thing. Thankfully, Amphithemis is a bit more willing to aid the children of Hades and Apollo. That is, if they help him find the missing child whom Amphithemis is sworn to protect.
Two issues, though: 1. The child has been missing for thousands for years. 2. The child is all the way back on earth. In fact, he’s a fully grown god by now. And in all likelihood, he’s on earth, enjoying a nice, cold can of soda.
Surprise! Once upon a time, Amphithemis was babysitter for the gods. Why none of the pantheon has ever mentioned him before remains a mystery. But we wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve all completely forgotten about the Lamian Centaur at this point.
So, either Zeus neglected to send Amphithemis a quick “You can to stop looking for the baby now” email, or Amphithemis’s grasp on reality is looser than we initially thought. Both scenarios are equally likely. Either way, we’re sure that Hera is more than happy to sweep this whole thing under the rug until the end of time.
Word to the wise: Don’t trust anyone or anything you encounter in Tartarus. Even if Amphithemis is telling the truth about his mission from Zeus and his tragic transformation at the hands of Hera, he has still spent centuries upon centuries down in the Underworld looking for a baby who literally can’t be found. Amphithemis’s horrible fate would drive anyone past sanity. So that explains his manic behavior. But we still have plenty of questions.
Like, why did Hera transform him into a half-satyr, half-centaur creature in the first place? And how exactly did he survive down in Tartarus for so long? And how is he able to pass through the Acheron unaffected?
Why did his eyes just turn red? And why is he suddenly yelling at Nico?
And most importantly: “Where is the child?! Where is he?! Do you have him? Where is he?! What did you do to him?!”
Want to learn the answers to these questions and more? Be sure to pick up The Sun and the Star: A Nico di Angelo Adventure, on sale 5/2!