Note: This was something that I had thought of while sitting in English class, and wasn't able to get out of my head. I felt the romance between Achilles and Briseis to be the most interesting of the movie, and needed to be written about. If you read closely, you'll notice I purposely never identify Achilles by name, it's meant to by symbolic or… something.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters that belong in the movie Troy or in Homer's The Iliad, although I wouldn't mind owning Eric Bana.
Edited to include page breaks (stupid pit of voles).
Briseis stared into the gilded mirror, and was surprised to find only her reflection staring back at her.
So often, she'd gaze into its reflecting surface, and see glimpses of a past. A face, bent back in agony, eyes wide and lips open to gasp out whatever air was left. A face, eyes unopened and skin pulsing in what was mistaken to be sleep. A face that she had once known as well as her own, through the tips of her fingers and the pressure of her mouth. A face that she'd never see again.
Just as often, her arm would extend before she realized it, trying to find the warm skin and gentle electricity that she had often discovered underneath her fingers when she'd touch him. But she'd find only the cold surface of the looking glass.
He had been the kind of man she had visibly renounced in her decision to become a servant to the gods. A soldier; proud, wearing the still warm blood of his opponent on his cheek as a trophy, his hands knowing nothing but the feel of a sword. She had tried to turn her back on such men, and with them, the desire that burned in the pit of her belly and further down when soldiers would return from battle, weary and battered but their might chests heaving in victory. She had instead adorned the white robes and crown of a virgin, to lay her desires and needs at the feet of the gods. She had thought she was choosing the right path, nobility that would earn her a passage into the next life.
She never wanted the hot blood of death to be imprinted on her hands. Her cries and pleads that no one be killed for her to receive mercy had been what had put her in that position, huddled at the edge of his tent, enduring questions of her choice to live as she did and asking them the same way.
He had fascinated Briseis in a way she had never wanted, with the way he had rejected every attempt she had made to classify him as a drone of a soldier who knew nothing but the kill. Instead, he had given her food and a place to sleep and a guarantee that harm would not befall her, that she would find safety under his protective arm. And he had kept that promise, rescuing her from the hungry hands of any and all men that had tried to grab at her virginal skin.
In return, she had given him herself. Her attempt to cut his throat and watch the same blood of all the people killed at his hand be spilled had turned into unbridled passion. He had been gentle at first, his mouth over hers in a tender action that gave her the opportunity to break apart if she wished; the blade still at his throat. However, the gentleness had soon given away to a fierce hunger as he had climbed on top of her, his skin melding with hers. An event that Briseis had longtime feared and only thought about as an event she wouldn't understand, bodies interlocking and flesh weaving, had become simply a moment in time.
And they had talked. After love making so passionate her legs would go limp and her back would still feel the pressure, he'd release her and the sound of the world would flow back into her ears with a gentle 'whoosh'. They'd talk, about his home and hers, about family, his voice soft and his breath hot against her neck.
However, as difficult as it was to forget the gentleness of his touch and the wonderful feeling his body on hers had brought, it had been just the same with the pressure of his calloused and mighty hand wrapped around her throat. The feeling of the air leaving her lungs and the distinct pressure of her body hitting the hard sand as he stalked off, anger in his stride. And yet, her one wish was to reach out her arm, to press him against her body and offer comfort. She had grown stupid and in love.
Even when the blood on his sword was of her beloved cousin and he had dragged the corpse that used to be Hector through the sand and back to camp, where she had to look upon the mutilated face to see a family member once loved, she couldn't let go of her feelings for him. It had been like a curse from the gods themselves, a punishment for abandoning her seat at their feet and giving herself to this man. To love him eternally.
Briseis'd gone back with Priam, to resume life underneath the palace walls. She was no longer a servant of the temple, she could no longer bare the pure robes of a virgin dedicated to Apollo. And she had hated him for it, hated him for taking her virginity as if it was just another plunder, hated him for getting her so tangled in her own emotions she no longer knew what was right.
That night, wearing a blue dress that well signified the loss of her innocence and her maidenhood, she had found solace in the shoulder of Helen, hands trembling and tears unable to stop pouring as she regaled a mighty and painful tale of love and the pain that went along with it. She forced herself to face the shaken and sickly Andromache, knowing she had loved the man who had stolen the princess's husband. And while doing it, she had continually worried about him. She wanted more than anything to know he still lived.
"You gave me peace… in a lifetime of war."
Those words still plagued her behind closed eyelids. The memory of his face, sweating and broken as he was brought to his knees in front of her, rich crimson blood seeping down his tunic. He had come to save her, and been rewarded by his own death at the hands of Paris, using his final moments to convey love. Her fingers had desperately clawed his face, needing to know he was still real.
His name had become immortalized in legend. The warrior who had toppled the Trojan empire. She had rightfully stepped aside from the stories; her name kept out of the tales and locked in the truth few knew. No one would remember the priestess whose weakness shone as great as his strength; her fears had been the opposite of his courage.
She knew the truth, though.
She would settle down with a respectable man, bear his children, and continue the family line. She'd never utter the name so many spoke of in idolic hushed tones. Eventually, the name Briseis would be forgotten, and with it, the love affair the two had shared. Little girls like her didn't live in the world of heroes.
The way it should be. The way it would be.
Briseis turned her gaze from the mirror and walked away.
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