Author's note: My 6th grade Geography teacher inspired this story when he spent a week on Ancient Greece and... Show full author's note »
Far NorthAlexander stood up. The fighting had nearly stopped, leaving both Sparta and Macedonia with missing men, mostly the second.
“I underestimated you… What is your name Spartan?” he asked, his fluency in Greek surprised me, his mother tongue is Macedonian, and the two languages are so different.
“Hippolyta, the girl who breaks horses.” I answered.
“Where must I go to speak to your king? King Agis is it? My father was quite fond of him.”
“The king only addresses military business, and we have two kings… If you want to speak strictly politics, I suggest you talk to the Elders.” I advised. Alexander nodded.
“Might you take me?” he asked.
“Hippolyta, I believe that Achea can take him, Jason wishes to kill-,” Remus paused, “I mean speak to you.”
“I will Take Alexander to see the elders.” Achea announced. He walked up a small road into the city with the Macedonian king on horseback following close behind.
“What?” I asked when I saw Jasons’ scowling face.
“What did you pull out there?” He snarled, “You BROKE the phalanx, he LEFT your position in line, and you let a dinky little shield get in the way of a kill that was staring you dead in the face!”
“That man has the ability to wipe our army off the map of Greece singlehandedly! If you would have preferred to lose your entire squadron I apologize.” I argued, though against my better judgment to disagree with Jason.
“I only wish to hear your reasons… I have fears though Hippolyta, that Alexander has seen your skills, and wishes to recruit you into his cavalry… I hope my assumptions are false.” Jason said with a very real sadness.
“I want to serve my mother city!” I protested, stroking the black mane of the bay mare absentmindedly, “The Elders-,”
“Do not handle the military as I have said; if the king declares you leave with the Macedonians, there is nothing you can do!” Jason snarled, cutting me off.
That night I was chosen to take the night patrol in the Macedonian camp. Knowing not what to expect was not something I liked. I believe the other guards felt the same. Macedonian men sat around twelve different fires, singing songs about home, and carving wooden animals for children back home. I knew the Spartan men never did this; they have very little contact with their children unless they train them, and very little leisure time.
I had returned the Macedonian spear to one of the kings’ men, and I leaned on a spear from home.
“Don’t do it!” one man yelled, and I turned in the voice’s direction in time to knock a dagger from a soldier’s hand, and killed him with a quick stab to the ribs. I could feel his pulse in the shaft as I removed my spear from his torso. His knife cut into my spear shaft, and I ignored it.
“I told him not to.” The same voice that had warned the man laughed.
“Who are you?” I asked, looking at the blonde haired, blue eyed general that could have been Jason’s brother.
“Permenion,” he answered, “general of footmen fighters and archers.”
He walked to the nearest fire where another general handed him a cup of wine. I could tell from the heavy odor of tart red wine that it was un-watered, and many men had already polished off more then one cup. Drunken men with weapons and horses… I wondered how bad things would get before sunrise.
The bay mare occupied a pasture by herself not too far from where I stood. I looked at her, and saw that she was very short. Not built for speed nor endurance, just a plain horse. Her stockings and blaze were a perfect pearl white, and her tail and mane were as black as the night sky. She had a long, thin back and narrow shoulders, and a small dished head and strong arched neck. One of the Spartan guards passed her, taunting her so that she pinned her ears back flat against her head. Good for her, she was like me, not one to let the boys torment her.
I breathed in the warm, smoky air, and let out a deep sigh. Horses milled about close to their masters, who each took a break from their drinking and would stroke the horse that was near them. I respected them in this sense. They genuinely loved and cared for their horses, and would not harm them, and in return, these horses would carry them fearlessly through battle.
Dawn peeked over the mountains, bringing with it the start of a fresh day, and the promise of fighting.
Alexander rode down into the camp a few minutes later, and looked well rested. He had probably downed a few glasses of the best wine Sparta could offer, and then bedded in the posh rooms of the palace. He rode his black war demon towards me, and was about to speak when I raised my hand.
“Save your breath King Alexander, I know. My king has decided that for the greater good of the city or whatnot, to send me along with your little cavalry,” I paused, yawning, “and you expect me to come with little or no resistance.”
“Such was the plan.” Alexander said, “Your king has agreed to let you go, because he does not want any, conflict. He has struck up a deal.”
“What deal?” I asked, knowing he had a point and wishing he would get to it.
“He said that if I did not attack the city, I would have my pick of the troops. I have selected only you. None of the men are young enough, or are too young.”
“Oh yes my lord,” I spat venomously.
“Of course, you could take the cowards’ way out, and not come, but then I would have to burn this beautiful city of yours.” He chuckled icily. I hoped he could see the flames rising within my chest and into my eyes. He flinched slightly when he saw my expression.
“You dare call me a coward?” I snarled. I saw Jason and Remus give me a look that screamed “Be careful!”
“Are you coming or not?”
I thought about it. I did not want to go, but I felt that he meant what he said and he would burn my city. I could not live to see the young boys killed, and my fellow in training friends slaughtered along with every last soldier… and in the end, I would end up in his army, so there was no point in staying to watch Sparta Burn. The flames began to die as I cooled myself down for what I had to say, I resented every word.
“Okay I will go.” I answered.
“Good, get your horse then!”