Master Deception

August 19, 2008
Fight. Sleep. Eat. Fight. Such is the life of a Greek warrior. At first, I loved it. I came to crave the raw power, the adrenaline as hot as fire that pumped through my blood. Like my father and my father’s father, and so on since the beginning of time, the transformation that occurs in the thick of a battle came easily. Come each siege I stripped away the layers of humanity and became my essence; the pure and unfiltered force that we all share, humming just under the skin. However, as I suppose it must be with all things, such a connection made over and over again could not last. After years and years of war with Troy, the desire to fight began to fade like a cloth stretched too long in the sun.

Hungry for victory and even hungrier for home, the slow decay of morale stank throughout the army. Just as my comrades and I began to buckle under the strain of constant warfare, Ulixes rang in new hope with the development of a plan. Spurred forward by his enthusiasm, we worked without rest to create a gigantic wooden horse.
So here I rest, waiting inside a masterpiece built from desperation and sweat. The smell of freshly cut timber saturates the air, and the sound of falling trees still echoes in my ears. Several men surround me, sitting silently in the intensity of expectation. With callused hands I grip my weapon, as if I would lose myself in the darkness if loosened my fingers. It is a reminder of purpose, of the duty I share as a soldier, as a Greek. Suddenly, I hear the muffled cheers of the Trojans, bubbling with disbelief. I close my eyes and listen, wondering why a smile slowly stretches across my face.
No one is breathing. We turn into statues as the same crowd of joyous men discovers the great horse. I can imagine their amazement, their aching embrace of trust after so having gone so long without it. I can sense the hearts of those around me pounding out a battle beat as we feel ourselves pulled within the gates of the city. Is it happening? At last? The end of the terrible war hovers in front of us, too close to accept as true. The sun seems to sink below the horizon in the blink of an eye, and with steady steps we slink out.
The two sleeping watchmen die smelling of wine. With renewed strength we pull open the once impenetrable gates of Troy. Our men pour in, black figures in a black night. After seconds that stretch into lifetimes, fighting erupts. The drowsing city awakens from their blissful dreams, and satisfaction turns into horror. In the roar of fierce soldiers, their drunken men and women cower. The citizens fall; blood runs through the streets. I surrender to the instincts, bringing out my sword and swinging with energy I thought I lost long ago. As the wind cries and stars plummet, I retreat within myself. Outside, I am a screaming warrior. However, in the silence found only inside, a corner of my mind wonders why the death of a people must lie neither in their battle cries or bloodlust, but instead in their desperate hope for peace.

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