[Pictures will be added soon, once I revive my ded laptop or get a new one]
“How did you know it was me?”
Two shadows passed the smooth, shades of ivory sandstone walls. Engraved across them in rich, brown-red figures and shapes was a story; a man named Theseus. Once heralded as a hero, but turned into a villain overnight for kidnapping a young girl named Helen. How ironic that the very same girl will be the cause of the soon-to-be war between two great Kingdoms. In the end, Theseus died a tragic death while taking shelter at Skyros after being exiled from his homeland. The recent king of Skyros is still very proud of what he has done years ago. He had led Theseus to the edge of the cliff before pushing him down to his awaiting doom.
“I didn’t.” came the honest reply after the short silence.
As if sensing a wave of doubt from the other, Odysseus paused in his steps to glance over at Achilles. Puzzlement was etched on the younger’s face. “You revealed yourself to us all on your own.” The sides of the older man’s lips curled up. “Honestly, we had just wanted to lure you out. We’ve never expected someone as yourself to be feigning as a woman. Though, there were some noticeable inconsistency…”
Achilles cheeks were decked red, brows furrowed in hot embarrassment. No longer in that horrid dress, he donned a new look. He wore a dark-crimson, leather doublet vest, black pants, and a purple cape with intrinsic golden design to signify his royal status. There were belt straps then ran around his waist, and peaking out from behind his lower back were twin scabbards. A prince, a fighter and a dual wielder. “That wasn’t my decision nor my choice to make.” He decides to stride forward, a silent indication to end the subject.
Odysseus could only managed to stifle a snicker as he allows the other to led them on. They continued their walk through the courtyard’s hallway. To the side, the garden trees rustle in the mild breeze. Their leaves filtered the soft, midday light among the rows of supporting columns; Corinthian and high. They reached up to the groin vaulted ceilings, forming the sheltering hallway.
“So, how did you know that I was here? In the household of Skyros?” Achilles had his arms behind his head, acting in a nonchalant manner albeit voice full of curiosity.
“Ah. That. You’ll just have to ask a dear friend of yours.”
Achilles has a strong hunch on who that was.
They strolled on in brief silence, down a short flight of stairs before coming to a large clearing that stretched out towards the vast sea and opened sky. The sandstone flooring continued on until the edge, where stone parapet balustrade lined them; to prevent a similar fate of Theseus. The smell of sea salt and breeze was stronger here, with the sun beating down on them. The soft cries of seagulls can be heard as they are seen gliding in the distance. In the corner, a reflective glint of bodied steel along with three resting feathered creatures were taking shelter under the grateful shade of a looming tower.
“Have you made your decision?”
“To join the war? I’ll need more time to think about it.”
“Very well. But do know we won’t leave without an answer. If you will, I shall excuse myself.”
Odysseus left towards the seen figures with a mumble, something about how wasn’t his companion already cooked under the sun in that ridiculous armor of his.
Achilles takes a glance back, taking in the sight of the rest of palace; elevated, grand, magnificent and tall. It stands out from above the cliff with thick, white washed walls and rounded towers, slightly weathered from the ages. A curtain wall of the same colour surrounds most of the palace along with -and as Achilles recalls on his first visit, a towering gatehouse at its entrance. The roofs were navy blue just like the ocean before them. Most of the windows were arched and large; sunlight was most welcomed here. Beyond the castle was a valley flanked with plateaus and mountains. This was where most of Skyros’ water source comes from. The river cuts through the palace and into the central courtyard before dispersing into series of various small canals, rolling over the cliffs into waterfalls.
He closes his eyes and paces off. He needs time to think. Odysseus words rang in his head. He told him to think about the people and the innocent lives that could be lost. Achilles had merely been in Skyros for a few days. The King was a prideful coward and the princesses were annoying and spoiled; he has no attachment to this place. The only reason he was here because the Queen of Pythia, his mother, had wanted to hid him after the recent rumours of war that might involve him. He doesn’t understand why. He would have been glad to bring back glory, much what his Father would have expected. Perhaps he could think of his family and people instead. Pythia wasn’t far off from Skyros either.
He hears the muffled roar of water, streaming from one of the canals before gushing down onto the bottomless sea. The sea. It was something familiar to him as he grew up around the sea. It brings him back to when he was child. The back end of the castle in Pythia had led towards the shore. Rough, grainy sand crushed under small feet with the waves rolling and foaming around him. And by his side, was another pair of feet. Another child. There was joy and fun between them both. And that child’s name was—
Achilles halted, his eyes fluttered open at the sound of approaching footsteps. The memories faded, now focusing on the present. The figure was a boy about his age, with short, tufts of russet hair, sun kissed skin and emerald eyes. He was shorter than Achilles. An ash brown cloth hung loosely from one shoulder, partially shrouding his dark clothes. His gaze was hardened, lips parted, as if he had wanted to say something.
—Patroclus. Yes, that was the child’s name.
And they were standing right before him.
(I would like to thank art history for the columns and arches – and yes, arches are Romans but then again, I’m not going for historically accurate lawl)
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