|The Northern Mercenary
Author: Tookietookietookie PM
Troy- the largest war in Greek history. Many people fought on those beaches. Mercenaries among them. This is the story of one such mercenary. The story of Troy from someone who is neither Trojan nor Greek but rather a Northern mercenary. Please R&RRated: Fiction T - English - Adventure - Chapters: 13 - Words: 23,307 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 11-23-09 - Published: 02-26-08 - id: 4096767
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
NOTE- I do not own any of the characters bar Ekkaia, and this is merely my interpretation of the Trojan War. Also, I apologise immensly for any grammatical errors- it is unfourtunatly my weakest point and though I am trying to improve. Lastly, enjoy the story, and please feel free to give me feedback.
NOTE ON PRONUNCIATION OF EKKAIA- Ek-I-ah (I don't know phonetics so I apologise, but the e is the short e found in empty, the K is short and harsh ai is purely I and the final a is softer as if with a H following.)
The elderly woman sat staring at the fire with her clouded blinded eyes, her grey hair wispy fell around her aged face and her lips covered what few teeth she had left. Her once muscular body was now decrepit and her hands shook as she merely held a light bowl of soup. Around her sits an audience, eager to hear the story of the battle of far away Troy from an unknown perspective. They are eager to get an insight into the personalities of their heroes, and they believe that this aged woman can help them with this. She is older than any other person in the town, rumours say that she was born in the same year as Achilles, others say that she is the age of Paris, none-the-less these estimates place her age in the high 80's or 90's, an age unheard of by the people of the small Greek town of Ethos. The woman licks her cracked and bloodied lips and begins to talk, and to the great surprise of all around her, her voice is strong and steady, unlike her body, her voice has withstood the test of time. Now it begins to tell of the legend of Troy in a strange sarcastic tone, filled with bitterness, remorse, and even anger.
"This story is one that is difficult to tell for it has been told many times from many perspectives and each time done in a way that surprises me, for the details always seem exaggerated, nevertheless perhaps these embellishments make a good story, and mine will be so boring that it falls flat… We shall see in any case.
The sun set low that day- it sounds strange to hear that, but it truly did set lower than most days. It was a different colour too- a blood red with strange dark black streaks, as if to warn everyone about the evil that was to arise with the sun the next morning. The birds had a different sound, harsher and more urgent; it seemed that the entire world knew of the terrible thing that was approaching, all bar the humans that lived along the cliffs. The priests and priestesses, oracles and prophets who lived amongst it all knew nothing- ironic seeing as they made their living prophesizing doom and despair for others, they did not see their own end coming.
Priam was never terribly worried about the temples on the cliffs, they were sacred, and he assumed that the Greeks would respect this and not attack them. They were out of the way too, away from the beach and far from the city. He did, however- after almost constant nagging from his sister in law, who was worried about her daughter Briseis- send thirty mercenaries out to the temples to protect them should anything arise. Not 'real Trojan soldiers' no they were indispensable, but us, the hardened warriors who wandered the earth following the destruction of war, we would do to protect the ten temples spread along the cliffs. That left three mercenaries to each temple. Not a challenge against an army of thousands of Greeks…
In spite of that, we were not allocated evenly, some temples seen as more important than others were. The majority of our numbers were placed on Apollo's golden temple, ten of us. Two to Hera, two to Aphrodite, five to Ares- though you would assume the god of war could protect his own damned temple, two to Artemis, two to Demeter, two to Hephaestus, two to Dionysus, two to the child bearing goddess Eileithyia and then myself left to guard the dark, dreary temple of Hades.
We on the cliffs had seen the mass of ships round the spit and pass towards Troy. Priam had almost had us killed when we had presented ourselves before him asking to fight for him- for our price. Yet one of his sons, I forget his name and it is of little importance in any case, mentioned the need for the temples to have a few guards to ease the minds of the priests and such, and so Priam agreed, giving us a infinitesimal price for a seemingly menial task, protect something that will not be attacked.
I was sitting alone in the darkness staring at the embers of the fire, which had just died out attempting to convince myself to put some more firewood on quickly before the fire would not restart easily when I heard the whispers. I drew my blade silently- yes, it is possible to draw a blade without the sound of metal ringing out through the air, just place cloth around the top of the sheath- and stood, the blade hanging loosely in my hand as I stared out into the consuming darkness.
Hades' temple was set on the very edge of the cliff, as far away from the others as possible so as the keep them out of his 'evil' circle. Stupid, Hades isn't evil, but oh well, man is a trivial race that is not worth the effort to correct. I could just make out silhouettes in the distance at Hephaestus' temple, standing and waiting for an attack. Sure enough suddenly, there were cries in Greek and soldiers emerged from the darkness to attack the few mercenaries protecting the temples.
No one attacked Hades' temple. I did not leave my post. I did not like any of the other mercenaries in any case so their deaths at the hands of a far superior army did not bother me in the slightest. I sound harsh and cruel, but perhaps that is because I am now a bitter, twisted, and cynical person. Actually now that I consider the fact, I realise that I have always been this way, and perhaps that is why I became a mercenary in the first place. That, however, is not a discussion for here.
Compared to the other temples Hades' temple was small, made from black obsidian stone and containing only three rooms. One room of worship, one prophecy room and one room of sacrifice. There was a small hut set up for the priestesses (Hades only has priestesses) to sleep when they were not on duty. Perhaps I was set to guard this temple because I was female. Perhaps someone had found out that I worshipped death- though the personification of death for my people not the god of the underworld- or perhaps none of the others could bare to work with me. Whatever the reason I am thankful for it saved my life and gave me a few more years to live on this earth- this was seventy years ago remember? The screams of the priestesses of the other temples echoed through the night air as they were raped and pulled from there temples, the priests began yelling out curses as they were gruesomely slaughtered and the oracles, those drugged up young girls merely began chanting in their hallucinogenic states, talking of great evils- stupid bitches.
The entire time the priestesses of Hades stayed still and quiet where they were. There were no lights lit in the temple so there was nothing to tell the Greeks that they had missed one. Though attacking the temple of the god of the dead would most likely have seemed a waste of time to them, weird considering Hades is not god of death but of the underworld, including all gems and jewels found beneath the ground. Again, I am becoming sidetracked, whatever the reason, the Greeks attacked, sacked and burnt every temple bar Hades' and then left, dragging their newly captured once virgin priestesses along behind them as they screamed and kicked. I was sure that we had survived and was now annoyed that I would have to return to Troy with the priestesses under my care and take them to safety and tell Priam that his 'great' plan had failed and that all temples were destroyed. It was lucky that Athena's temple was inside the city or I feel that many more would have died in that attack. Both Greek and Trojan.
I attempted to force the priestesses to leave, stupid me, they did not fear death but were rather turned on by the idea. For then they would be shown great privileges in the after life as a reward for serving Hades so diligently. Priestesses always were beyond my understanding. Therefore, with a disgruntled sigh I repacked my belongings onto my mount, a large stocky black war horse by the name of Hades, (ironic much?) and took an all too leisurely lope to the secret entrance into Troy. Where I was admitted with confusion and taken immediately to see the all mighty, all knowing, decrepit King Priam.
"MERCENARY! WHY DO YOU RETURN HERE TO US? WE CAN SEE THE FLAMES FROM OUR TEMPLES!" Priam's son, again his name eludes me, screeched. I stared and raised an eyebrow,
'I come to tell you that all men and warriors are slain and all women are taken as slaves. Every item of value ripped from its place and stolen and the temples burned to the ground, all barring the temple I was guarding- Hades. I have come to receive my payment for keeping the temple safe and then will, with your kindness, be on my way. This war is too grand and too much, I live by wars but this one is insane. I do not want to die in THIS war. So, good King, my payment, and I will be all to pleased to be out of your sight.'
Surprisingly the king did not enjoy being spoken to this way and was prompt to throw me from the city with no pay.
Therefore, I found myself stuck on the plains between Troy and the large Greek army. That was great fun. The Trojans above taunting me and shooting arrows around me trying to scare me. I merely continued to walk leading my horse- thankfully they hadn't attempted to steal him from me in there dishonorable act of cowardice.
There was little that I could do but head for the Greek camp and hope that I received a better reception there. In order to assure myself that this was true I put on my traveling cloak and ensured that I looked the part of a mercenary, menacing and terrifying as possible for someone of my height- 5 feet and 3 inches. I know, I was not privileged with a warrior's body or frame, does not matter in the end, I still do well enough in battle- no one ever said that battle had to be conducted in an honorable way.
I arrived at the Greek camp mounted on my horse without my helmet on, so that those who looked upon me would see the mercenary tattoos that cut up my face. Three blades of black from my hair line across my right eye to my jaw, cutting up my face. One man strode forward and stood in my path, staring at me with less fear and admiration than the others did. I stopped my mount and looked down at him; he was a Myrmidon, wearing the garb of a Myrmidon soldier of higher rank. His hair greasy and black sat to his shoulders, his frame large and wide, and his stance that of a seasoned foot soldier, the only interesting thing about him was his eyes, a piercing ice blue. Those eyes seemed to cut me to the core and in the back of my mind, a story told to me by a Myrmidon mercenary sprang to my mind.
'Achilles the Myrmidon ruler is the greatest warrior to ever have walked this planet, son of the sea nymph Thetis and the god Zeus, he is terrifying and awe inspiring, but his tactics, no, without his second in command, the quiet, blue eyed ghost Eudorus, he would be merely a good fighter. It is Eudorus who makes Achilles the great leader that he is; it is Eudorus who really leads the Myrmidons.' I had this to my advantage, I knew who the man in front of me was, and he knew nothing about me.
'Eudorus, I wish to speak to Agamemnon, please send me in the right direction.'
I said, my strange Northern accent sending a strange ripple through the growing mass of people around me. Eudorus' eyes gave away his surprise at being called his first name but apart from that, his resolve did not waver.
'Agamemnon? Why would a mercenary seek out Agamemnon? Would you not rather fight for the greatest army amongst the Greeks? The Myrmidons? Or do you already realise that we are above you?'
I smiled a cold calculating smile and gave a slight indication of a nod,
'I merely wish to fight for the man with the most money to offer me, who I fight amongst means nothing to me, I fight for myself not for the men around me. I fight for gold and wealth, Myrmidons can not offer me this, can they?'
This question at the end sent a chuckle through Agamemnon's men that were watching as they all agreed that he was the only man, along with perhaps Menelaus, who had money to appease a Northern mercenary.
Eudorus was about to speak when a harsh voice over spoke him,
'WHAT IS THIS?'
I knew not the voice and as the young, tanned man with light brown hair wearing nothing but a warriors kilt stepped from the masses I knew not who I was speaking too- not until he eyed me up the way he did, lingering too long on my breasts and bared stomach- Achilles. He looked at me and chuckled, a cruel chuckle that would have sent a chill up the spine of many a man,
'What, a mercenary here with the Greeks? I thought mercenaries preferred to stay behind the golden walls of Troy- the richest city in the world. Am I sorely mistaken for thinking that all mercenaries are cowardly, cut throat villains who would kill there own family for a shiny bit of dirt?'
I smiled, I knew that this would surprise him, I had heard those words so often that by now they merely rolled off me.
'I will fight for the Myrmidons for free if so the good lord Achilles would allow it.'
I still to this day know not why I said that, I regret it in some ways. The war lasted ten years, and the pay that I could have received over that time would have ensured me an early retirement from mercenary works and would have allowed me to set up my own armory, but that was not to be, for Achilles smiled and said,
'Beat Eudorus in a duel to first blood and you have your wish mercenary.'
I dismounted, my horse left at the back of the large crowd that had gathered, female mercenaries were as fabled as the Amazons were, only they were more… friendly with men so therefore we were better liked. I looked to Achilles,
'Any specific weapon that I should use?'
Achilles shrugged an almost annoyed shrug.
'I don't care. Short sword with shield like Eudorus to make it fair I suppose.'
I nodded and looked around at the Myrmidon warriors watching and spied the shortest one, a short squat balding man with sweaty palms and hairy arms. I walked forward to him and smiled, for my own part, my appearance is often a blessing, without the tattoos I was once compared to Helen, and so convincing the lonely man to lend me his shield and sword was no challenge to me at all. I swung the sword and cracked my jaw as I turned to face Eudorus. I wore my usual outfit, but in this circle of men who had been on boats for six or so long months, I felt uneasy at my skintight leather leggings and bared stomach. My hair, a light blonde sat at my shoulders a straight fringe lined my deep sea green eyes and my delicate ski jump nose splattered with its freckles drew to much unwanted male attraction and almost threw me off my game.
I will not bore you with the details of the fight, mainly because I do not remember them clearly. I did not win in two moves like I so desired, Eudorus was better than that, it was fifteen minutes before I picked up his pattern and made a precise slice along his cheek bone, in a less than honorable series of steps, but to my surprise there were no calls of foul play. Therefore, I won the duel and in doing so, I secured myself a place in the Myrmidon lines. After beating his second in command Achilles showed little admiration for me and little disappointment in his man, he merely shrugged and left me to Eudorus.
The dark haired man sighed and gave me a sideways smile that seemed to make his aging face crack in two. I, in complete shock about what I had just done stared at him. He laughed and shook his head,
'You didn't want to work for no money did you? That was your ego speaking…'
He stated more than asked this, so I did not reply I merely changed the subject.
'I beat you, so does that mean I'm second in charge now?'
'You don't become second in charge by being the best fighter, you have to be able to inspire the men and lead them well. You have to be trusted by Achilles and know the men so well that you can predict what each one will do in any situation- if it were just down to fighting skills I may have been replaced when I turned thirty. Follow me, I'll show you our part of the camp. In addition, if it is not too much of a hassle, I would rather like to know your name. Achilles and the men will only call you mercenary but I make a point of calling everyone by their real name.'
I looked at him surprised; I had not said my name in years, five years to be exact. Mercenary had been all that I was called by anyone. The name was hard to say I found, it rang of a person who no longer existed, an innocent young girl who once lived in the land of the snow and amber. However, I told Eudorus my name, and perhaps this is where all the trouble started, with me confiding that seemingly insignificant detail with the strange man.
'Ekkaia, my name is Ekkaia.'