Author: Riddell Lee PM
The God of War, Ares, has his hands in everything. In the hearts of the men, in the weapons drenched with spilt blood, in the meddling of the gods. It's his game.Rated: Fiction T - English - Tragedy/Adventure - Words: 2,012 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 6 - Published: 09-01-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6290120
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: A school project. She was studying the Iliad; so, she wrote this. Enjoy!
The candle flickered as it burned the last of the wick, now surrounded with a pool of clear molten liquid scalding to the touch and yet… would instantly form a smooth shell upon the item that touched it. It lit the darkened room with a dim but astonishingly white light, the flicker casting ominous shadows onto the shelves and shelves of armor and weaponry encompassing the entire room. Scythes, double edged swords, maces, clubs, bows, spears and many others laid suspended against the walls, some pinned with black iron chains while others sat propped against wooden frames. The light danced upon bronze breastplates, and flickered onto helms with red horsetail crests.
He stared unblinkingly at the flickering light, watching as the fire fought bravely for its life, trying to hold itself above the wax that swirled menacingly below. Black eyes clear of all emotion, reflecting only the orange and red flame before him. Behind, hanging on hooks by the door were four golden bridles, glinting innocently in the dying light. And, on the chair opposite him, on the other side of the square wooden table, perched a vulture. The bird fixed the man with one beady eye, it's bald head turned at an angle. Then, with a screech it opened its black wings, as though stretching. And, as it closed them back against it's body, they were plunged into darkness.
"Got too impatient, Enyalios?" The man chuckled deeply. There was a rummaging sound and a second later light returned to the room as he placed a new tall candle onto the holster. He stood and placed another candle on one of the shelves and another behind him on a holster by the door. The corners became illuminated and one could see an enormous spear, pinned against the wall at the back, the inscription: Ἄρης – Ares – carved into the shaft.
"Now where did I put it?" the man, Ares, asked as he turned to a shelf cluttered with boxes. "Ah, here we go."
He returned to the table carrying a large square chessboard. This chessboard was very strange; it had no checkerboard pattern but instead had been shaped to resemble that of a large field, filled with drying yellow grass. On one end was an ocean shore while on the other laid a huge wall. The vulture screeched again and flew to the top of the shelf he had just returned from and came back holding in it's talons a crimson bag, which it dropped into Ares's outstretched hand.
"Thank you, Enyalios," Ares said and he dumped the bag onto the centre of the chessboard. "Trojans are white. Akhaians are black," he added tossing the bag into pile by the door. As soon as he had said those words, the pieces snapped to their position, the black taking the side of the ocean, while the white took the wall. He stroked his bearded chin, watching as the pieces moved to their appropriate placement. Once the pieces stopped moving he snapped his fingers and the wall stood up straight, rising to the height of four Kings, the grass blew with an invisible breeze, and the ocean lapped at the shore.
He knew each piece by name, and he knew their purpose, the part they had to play in the game. Each had a task, either to kill or die on this board. The heroes took the spots of the special pieces. On the black side, Diomedes the Bishop, Odysseus the Queenside Castle, Akhilleus the Knight and on the white side sat Hektor, the Kingside Castle, and Priam the King.
He smiled and shot a glance at Enyalios. Instantly, the bird took flight to the shelf again and returned with another, though smaller, deep purple bag. Ares held the bag high above the chessboard and dumped its contents out, watching as these pieces halted in the air, on some invisible board that lay parallel to the one below it. No two of these pieces were alike, and they all stood in the centre for there were no sides yet. There was a trident piece, a piece the shape of a heart, a bow, a warrior's helm, a wedding ring and many more. The largest piece, that in the form of a lightning bolt hovered slightly above all the others.
These were the gods, all the gods that would interfere with the battle and change its original course. They would whisper moves to their favorites and at times, enter the fray themselves, cheering on their favored side. But there was no piece for Ares, God of War and Bloodshed. No, because Ares was the whole picture. He was the hand that kept the war going, the commander of the battle. He was the board, the weaponry, the murderous intent that seized these mens' hearts. He was the blood seeping through the ground, the first strike and the last.
Ares snapped his fingers once more and the gods divided themselves, moving to the side that they favored. Their real life counterparts knew the game was about to begin, and soon they would go down onto Earth and play their part, their small miniatures copying their every movement. Already, the pieces were moving, the gods entertaining themselves with a party, one golden apple thrown in their midst.
And… The game begins.
Trojans make the first move. Paris kidnapped Helen and took her back to Troy. This got the Akhaians angry; gave them reason to go to war. Ares loved it, he inspired their hearts, he pushed Menelaos and they set sail. But the trip was going to be long and dreary; much time must pass before the war could come to its climax.
He leaned back in his chair, watching it unfold. There are no major moves to be made yet, he knew this. Maybe a push here, a little nudge there but nothing drastic. Nothing that would change the course of the war. The pawns were all fighting, the big shots hanging in the back, waiting for their turn to rise.
He was going to have to wait for a long time.
Ares heaved a great sigh and stood, walking the length of his room in two strides before turning back and repeating the movement. His bird, Enyalios watched him, the silence in the room punctuated with minute yells and screams emanating from the board. There was a knock at his door and Ares paused, smiling lightly.
"You're a little later than expected," he commented, pulling the door open and looking down at a young man of extremely light build standing there. "Get new shoes, Hermes the Messenger?"
The young man smirked and glanced down at his leather sandals. "You know how fast they break down." A small pause as he pulled a piece of paper from his pocket. "Zeus Master of Clouds has weighed his scales. This is a list of all that fate has determined will die in the next ten years." He handed the paper to Ares, smiled, and vanished.
Ares looked down at the paper, chuckling to himself. "Now to fast-forward time."
"Here we are again, Ares God of War," Hermes said brandishing another slip of paper. Ares only nodded and took it, glancing down at it.
"You ready to play your part in this war?" He asked casually, still surveying the paper in his hands.
Hermes laughed heartily. "When I find out what that part is, yes. Could you save me the trouble and tell me?" A shake of the head. "Didn't think so." And he vanished leaving a soft blast of air in his wake.
Ares turned back to his room, shutting the door soundlessly behind him. "Well, Enyalios, it appears that the wait is over."
The vulture screeched loudly and looked down at the board. The two armies had massed together in the centre of the board, a small gap between the two of them. Two men were stepping out to face each other, they looked like only black and white pieces but Ares knew who they were. Paris and Menelaos. He surveyed his list and chuckled lightly.
"It appears, my friend, that neither of them will die today. Which god will interfere I wonder."
He watched as the heart hovered over them and dropped onto the board, whisking Paris's piece away. He felt his heart tug in his chest and smiled again, running a hand through his hair. "Aphrodite, of course…"
But he had to pay attention now. His part to play was coming. The ceasefire had been sounded and now the dual had been won. The end of the war was in sight.
It was a shame it'd never get there.
He moved his fingers above the board and, as though the pieces were puppets on strings, they moved accordingly. The warrior helm, the piece for Athena, dived down onto the battlefield and moved in disguise as a solider. There she taunted Pándaros. A flick of his wrist and the lad was filled with anger, putting an arrow into the bow and taking aim. Another flick and he released, missing the Goddess and hitting Menelaos. He smiled.
The war was back.
Now his hands moved feverishly across the board, trying to keep in pace with the interfering gods. Diomedes, the Bishop, danced across the board, empowered by the gods, taking out as many pieces as possible. Seconds later, he was pushed out of action, with Odysseus joining him on the sidelines. And, every now and then, he shot glances at the list that fate had determined to die.
His breath quickened, his pulse accelerated. The glory of battle was before him, spread out on his table, responding to the lightest twitch of his fingers. Gods too became entranced by his charm, darting down onto the battlefield below, joining the fray with bloodcurdling shrieks and yells. Ares was everywhere, in the hearts of the men, in the weapons drenched with spilt blood, in the meddling of the gods.
He was coming upon the turning point of the battle now, he could taste it. Patróklos was joining the fray in Akhilleus's armor, swinging his blade with such furiousity that the Trojans trembled before him. But the Kingside Castle of the Trojans had seen him. Hektor the splendid was coming to face him. Ares consulted his sheet of paper and smiled twirling his fingers about.
"The end has come for you, Patróklos," he muttered mildly and Patróklos's chess piece fell to the ground. Many had fallen before him, but this time was different. Ares knew it. The winds had changed, and the future of the battle was set in stone.
Ares withdrew his hands from the board. There was no need for such control now. Akhilleus joined the battle, bringing a reinforcement of men. He watched, waiting for the revenge to take its course. He had filled Akhilleus's heart with anger, with blood thirst, with a horrible agonizing sorrow. It made him wild. Made him strong.
Ah, here it was! The war-changing move. Hektor faced Akilleus, Castle against Knight.
Someone knocked at his door and he grunted, refusing to tear his eyes away from the board. There was a creak and it opened, someone gliding smoothly into the small room. The man passed him by and his eyes flickered toward him.
Ares smirked. "Come to see your hero die?" he asked lightly, shooting him another look.
Apollo shrugged and sat in the chair opposite him, ignoring the screech of the protesting vulture. "Perhaps."
There was a moment's paused as the two pieces danced around each other on the board.
"Will the war end now that Hektor has fallen?" Apollo finally asked.
Ares chuckled deeply and watched as Hektor fell to his side and into the dust. Then, he looked up, meeting the archer's blue eyes with his own.
"War is never over for man."