Genre: Historical Fiction
Written in February of 2013
You are wise, Traveler, to seek me here. You are also very brave. Not many living souls would dare to cross the river, no matter what they might find. But you know this. I am sure of that. So tell me traveler, what do you ask of Troy’s great hero, of the Breaker of Horses? What do you ask, of Hector? Ah so you wish to know of my fall? You wish to know the story, not from the victor but from the silenced party? Then please, take a seat and listen. There is much to tell.
I stood outside Troy’s protective walls and watched as the figure of the Greek’s mightiest warrior came nearer and nearer to me. Behind him was his army, here to watch the fight. Hoping it would be to the death, as I knew it would be. Above me I could hear my mother and father begging me to come back to the safety of the walls. “What would that make you?” I asked myself “Nothing.” My internal rant continued as I stared up at the walls “it would make you nothing but a wretched coward. You would be no better than the traitors and thieves you have in your prisons.” Spitting into the dirt I returned my attention to the men coming towards me, drawing closer with every second that passed.
The sun glinted off of the armor of Achilles. Though I had faced him before, this man was revered by the Greeks and seemed more threatening, more intimidating, than ever before. In the back of my mind the smaller, more practical voice said “Perhaps it would be best to simply retreat this time and live to fight another day.” For a short time I found myself at war in my own mind. One side calling me a coward for even suggesting a retreat, and the other saying; “You fool!”
As the Greeks drew closer self-preservation overruled pride, and before I knew what was happening I took off around the wall in search for the smaller gate that would allow only myself to pass through.
As I made my laps I could feel Achilles in hot pursuit. ”Stand and fight you coward!” I heard him bellow. Every time I came close to the gate that I sought Achilles would gain on me making my escape impossible. We continued in this vicious cycle several times until my stamina began to leave me. The gods must not have been in my favor.
I slowed slightly feeling drained and hoping to regain some of my energy, when the voice of my dear brother Deiphobus came to me and said “Dear brother, I see you are hard pressed by Achilles who is chasing you full speed around the city of Prim. Let us await his onset, and stand at our defense.”
His words warmed my heart and I answered him quietly “Deiphobus, you have always been dearest to me of all my brothers, children of Hecuba and Prim; but hence forth I shall rate you more highly in as much as you have ventured outside the wall for my sake when all others remain inside.”
The voice of my brother replied “Dear brother, my father and mother went down on their knees and implored me as did all my comrades to remain inside. So great a fear had fallen upon them all, but I was in agony of grief when I beheld you. Now, therefore, let us two make a stand, and fight. Let there be no keeping our spears in reserve that we may learn whether Achilles shall kill us and bear off our spoils to the ships, or whether he shall fall before you.”
My confidence now overrode my rationality and I turned to face the Greek. He had stopped and was leaning on his spear as if waiting for me. “I will no longer fly you son of Peleus.” I said calmly “As I have been doing hither to. Three times have I fled round the mighty city of Prim without daring to withstand you, but now, let me either slay or be slain for I am in the mind to face you.” Standing up straighter I continued “Let us then give pledges to one another by our gods, who are the fittest witnesses and guardians of all covenants. Let it be agreed between us that if Jove should grant me the longer stay and I take your life not to treat your body in any unseemly fashion, but when I have stripped you of your armor I am to give your body to the Achaeans and do you like wise.”
Achilles face hardened and a merciless laugh escaped his lips as he said “Fool! Prep not to me about covenants! There can be no covenants between men and Lions. Wolves and lambs can never be of one mind, but hate each other through and through. Therefore, there can be no understanding between you and me, nor may there be any covenants between us till one or the other shall fall gut and grim, marred with his life’s blood. Put forth all your strength. You have need now to prove yourself in deed of bold soldier and warrior. You have no more chance and Minerva will vanquish you by my spear. You shall now pay me in full for the grief you have caused me on account of my comrades you have killed in battle.”
I saw him move at his last words. His spear left his hand and flew through the air towards me, I ducked and the fight began.