It has been a long time (two years, oh dear) since I last updated; so long, in fact, that seems to have taken out borders or formatting or something so that my random author bits aren't separated from the main bit. Oh well. Last time I was here I was but a child, where now I am a responsible adult and a Classics student whose time is probably better spent elsewhere. However, I have decided that in the scheme of things, this is the best thing to be doing :)
Paris's heart pounded as the two sides, roaring and clashing their shields, broke apart to create a clearing. Through the dust, he could see Menelaus walking forth, his heavy armour catching the light. His deep, threatening laugh echoed across the plain, and Paris gripped his spear more tightly.
"Come on!" roared Menelaus. "I'll let you make the first move, boy." The Greeks laughed and cheered behind him.
Paris took a few tentative steps forward, trying to do so as courageously as possible. He raised his spear to his shoulder, carefully watching the dust to tell the speed of the wind. And he threw, as hard as he could; the spear hit Menelaus' shield, but glanced off, clattering to the ground. Before Paris had time to move, Menelaus had thrown his own spear. He was knocked backwards by the force of it, and opened his eyes to see his shield impaled, the point of the spear stuck into the ground. He struggled to get up.
Menelaus walked up to him at a leisurely pace, playing it for his own troops. "You'll pay for what you've done, boy," he growled. He reached down and wrenched his spear out of the shield. Paris tried to move, but Menelaus seized the crest of Paris helmet and dragged him, his hands scrabbling at his chin strap, back towards the Greeks.
Aphrodite, high on Mount Olympus, could take no more. In an instant she flew down and bore Paris away, leaving an enraged Menelaus clutching an empty helmet. She gently put him down on his own bed, safe in the towers of Troy. He looked around, bewildered.
"Ssh, darling. It's all going to be alright." Aphrodite smiled calmly, putting an arm around his shoulder. "I rescued you. You're in Troy now, safe and sound from that nasty Menelaus."
"WHAT? But...my honour! My reputation! They'll all think I've run away, what were you..."
"And I've brought you something you love!" interrupted a beaming Aphrodite.
"Something I love?" said Paris curiously. Aphrodite nodded vigorously and led him by the hand towards the next room.
"Ta-da!" she waved him in with a flourish. "Lovely chocolate hobnobs! And tea - two sugars, very weak! You can have a nice sit down for the rest of the battle." She stood watching Paris intently, clasping her hands together and smiling, waiting for his approval.
"You don't like it," she said. Her face fell into a pout. "I knew Hector was lying about how you wanted your tea."
"No, no! I do like it, but...wait, where's Helen?"
"Helen? Oh, I dunno. Back watching the battle, I suppose."
"Watching the battle? How COULD you?! Now she's all alone, and she thinks that I'm a coward...or that I'm dead! So does my brother! All my brothers! And my parents, and my people...Did you even think this through?"
Aphrodite nibbled a Hobnob pensively. "At the time, it seemed very sensible. You're safe, aren't you?"
"Safe? What are you talking about! I was doing fine, and there are more important things than my safety. There's honour, and my..." Paris was about to continue his tirade, but he stopped dead. "I really want a biscuit," he said passionately.
She held the plate up to him, and he took it ravenously. "The Goddess of Love saves the day again," she sighed, slipping out of the tower.
Meanwhile, the Greek camp had emptied for the battle, apart from a single cohort of black-clad warriors, most of whom were sunbathing or flicking stones at each other. Patroclus walked out smiling into the sunshine, until he saw a familiar figure crouched over the fire in concentration.
"Achilles, what are you doing?" he said in a light, measured voice.
"Sacrificing. What does it look like?"
"You know, traditionally the gods are quite keen on thigh-bones wrapped in their own fat. Those look like Malted Milks to me."
"These are wrapped in their own fat," Achilles said, his voice pained. "What does it matter whether or not they're thigh-bones?"
Patroclus kneaded his forehead, sighing. "Achilles, I know there are cows on it, but a Malted Milk isn't an animal. It can't be wrapped in it's own fa...oh. I see what you mean." Leaning in slightly to get a better look, he observed as Achilles carefully tucked each biscuit between two slices of butter.
"I thought the gods might listen if we gave them something they liked. They can't be too thrilled with thigh-bones all the time," Achilles sighed.
"And this has nothing to do with how Malted Milks are your least favourite biscuits."
"Nothing at all."
"Then why don't you just pour a libation of wine?"
Achilles looked up slowly, his eyes blazing.
"Ok, ok. Just a suggestion."
"Don't ever touch the wine. Ever."
"Ok! Fine!" Patroclus turned away. "Maybe if you paid attention when I told you not to touch my Malted Milks..."
"What?" Achilles' head snapped around.