Don't own 300

The 300

The air was dry, thick with dust. An underlay of salt whispered the presence of the sea, bashing lazily against the cliffs. The breeze danced teasingly at the hem of Winona's skirt as she watched the clouds drift slowly across the golden morning sky. She brushed a tendril of burgundy hair behind her ear before turning back to the small camp.

"Good morning, child," the old goat herder greeted in his native language.

"Good morning, grandfather," she offered a small bow.

The old man smiled at her gentle respect. Her companions were crude and uncouth, not to mention disrespectful in their behaviour. He patted the head of one of his goats. It was only she that understood the history of the land, only she who truly respected the land and history of Ancient Sparta.

"The day is young," he looked up at the Hot Gates, "And already it shows to be a magical one. The gods do bless us this day."

She followed his gaze, a tender smile gracing her features.

"The old ones are kind," Winona lifted her head into the breeze.

The old man smiled at her.

"Where will you dig today, child?"

"Just by the gates, Grandfather, although it seems such a shame to mar such a beautiful place."

"I have faith in the gods that such a thing will not occur, you are favoured," he gave her a sly wink, smiling when she burst out giggling.

"Grandfather, it was nice taking to you, however, I must get to work. Until tomorrow?"

He nodded and herded his goats up the path.

Winona lovingly brushed at the war helmet, slowly revealing a semi preserved headdress.

"Max, check this out!" she cried, ecstatic.

A blonde man walked up to her.

"It's a helmet," he said, less enthused.

She glared at him.

"It's not just any helmet, Max, you see these markings," she pointed to the gouges, "According to legend King Leonidas went against a giant of a man who, with his sword, managed to cut through the metal near the eye and give Leonidas a scar along his eye. As you can see, gouge and look, almost entirely preserved headdress. What I think happened, and I have to get the lab to verify, is that the Persian King, Xerxes, cut the head off of the Spartan king and buried the body with his weapons and armour."

Winona put on her thick black framed glasses and looked at the ground near them.

"If this is truly king Leonidas' helmet, we should find his shield, armour and headless body near by," she grinned back at him, "So get a brush, Max."

He shook his head and watched her for a moment. Her wavy burgundy hair was waist length and currently swept up in a messy bun. Winona's glasses usually perched on her head, however, since placing them on her nose, tendrils of hair floated softly over her porcelain skin. In the warm Greek sun, Winona wore a crimson singlet and tan shorts that reached mid thigh. Her feet were encased in suede hiking boots and around her waist were a utility belt filled with various excavation tools, including a fierce looking blade.

Winona's blue eyes caught a flash of gold.

"Bingo!" she cried and began brushing the area. Not too long after it revealed a large bronze shield.

"All this looks to be far too well preserved," Max said as he photographed the ancient shield.

"Well, look at the way that the sun goes, this place only gets the morning sun, not to mention the shade of the cliffs and it also being buried. The ground gets cold and it takes more than morning sun to heat it up. So the ground acts like a refrigerator, keeps everything frozen and relatively undamaged. I guess Xerxes did not really mean for them to be found. The body decomposed, leaving the skeleton and all the metal trappings. I am so glad mineral doesn't break down after a few thousand years," she smiled at him, "Which university are you from?"

"Oxford, England. What about you?"

"Me? Well, I attended several universities, Egypt and Athens. Both are great places for history and archaeology," Winona grinned, "Tomb Raider had a major influence on the choosing of archaeology in Egypt, however I was a historian at the Athens University."

He laughed and continued photographing the dig site. A light flickered off an object and Winona picked up the object. It was a bronze medallion, the image of Aries emblazoned on one side. Her eyes were drawn to the object, a roaring filled her ear.

"Max, pass me my pack will you?" she asked absentmindedly, still staring at the pendant.

Her pack strap slipped into her hand. The roaring got louder; black spots began to fill her vision. Winona's hand, the one with the pendant, touched her forehead. The roaring blotted out all sound, the blackness covered her sight. The agony was too much. Winona blacked out.