The Gathering

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Chapter 8

“You’re Greek,” said Decimus. The Romans knew of the Greek city-states, but it would be many years until they would face in battle. However, Decimus had encountered several Greeks in his time as a young soldier in the republic army. From the soldier in front of him, Decimus could tell he was a Spartan. His armor, weapons, and helmets were a given. But what was a spartan doing here?

“What’s your name?”

“My name is Amyntas.” The young spartan had managed to escape the desert and make his way into the forest. He was still wearing his spartan armor and shield, but he lost his helmet somewhere along the forest floor.

“Who are you, and how did you get here?” Amyntas asked curiously. Decimus clears his throat before explaining to the Spartan; his spear still pointed at him.

“My name is Decimus, Cavalry soldier in the Roman Army. I was with my men facing Hannibal when I fled capture from them. All I remember was seeing a bright light that seemed to burn me, but I have no scars. Next thing I realize, I and my horse land in some unknown forest, no clue as to where we are.” Amyntas was intrigued. Could this Roman be one of the lights he saw while in the desert?

“This light you saw, was it a bluish color?” Amyntas questioned. The Roman nodded his head.

“I knew it.” It seems the Spartan was not the only one who experienced this bizarre phenomenon. Still hesitant of the Roman, he takes his spear off Decimus’ shoulder and firmly plants it beside them.

“Are you hungry?” Decimus offered him some of his food to the weary traveler. Though Spartans were trained to go without eating for many days, Amyntas could not refuse the kind gesture. He removes his armor and shield and lays them next to Decimus’ horse.

The Spartan sits opposite of the Roman, still wondering if to trust him. Decimus had the same thinking as well. Both soldiers were trained to be cautious around strangers, never letting them know too much. Yet they also realized that they were in a foreign land with no knowledge of what’s out there.

If they were going to survive out here, they needed to trust each other. They required a pact.

The question is, who is going to make the first move?

܀

After gutting the fishes, Decimus skewers them and lets them cook over the fire. As the food cooks, Decimus attends to his blade and sharpens the sides with a river stone he found while Amyntas stares into the fire.

“Do you have a family where you come from?” the Spartan asked. Decimus pauses and glances at the young soldier.

“Yes, I have a wife and two sons. The last time I saw them was at our villa before I had to reenlist back into the Army to face a barbarian from Carthage. That was just yesterday, and yet it feels like forever now.”

Amyntas could hear the sadness in the Romans’ voice. He reminded him of veteran soldiers who fight countless wars and long to go home, only to be returned on their shields.

“What about you, you seem a little young to be in the military.” Though the Spartan was no more than 18 years of age, his features mislead others to think he is much younger. Amyntas would always have to explain this to others.

“I am much older than I look. I had just finished my military training before I was sent into the Army. Platea would have been the first of my military career.”

“You are old.” Amyntas gave a sidewards glance as the old Roman chuckled. The two were beginning to get along with each other gradually.

“I fear I may never see my family again. I do not want to die alone in this strange place.” Amyntas pokes a stick into the fire.

“I can promise you two things, Roman. Neither one of us is dying here. We will find a way back home, and we are not alone. We were not the only ones”.

“Only ones? What do you mean?” Decimus was puzzled by the statement

Amyntas cleared his throat before explaining. “Before I arrived at the forest, I found myself in a desert several miles away. As I made my way over a dune, I got to see the entire region and bolts of blue lightning striking parts of the valley. I believe there are other warriors scattered across from our world.”

Now Decmius was even more puzzled. Our world? If this was not their world, where were they then? He rubs his forehead, trying to process all the spartan had told him.

“If what you saw is true, why are we here, and for what purpose?”

That was the one question not even Amyntas had not figured out. Smelling the fish fully cooked, the two soldiers began to eat. Decimus’ horse was given fresh grass by the Spartan and a few wild fruits and berries to snack on.

“I think we should stick together and find out what’s going on,” Decimus proposed. Amyntas agreed with him. If either wanted to go back home, they must work together. They would leave the forest tomorrow and find out what other mysteries this land holds.

But that was for tomorrow.

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