Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gladiator belong to their respective creators, Joss Whedon and Ridley Scott.

Proximo shook his head.

"Atalanta," he muttered, to himself or to no one. "Penthesilea."

Pankratios stood in the doorway, waiting. The night air was cool and dark, a relief from the heat of day, and he looked forward to his bed.

Yet before his eyes, there still seemed to hang, like an oracle's vision in the smoke, a glimmer of hot light in golden hair.

"Telesilla," grumbled Proximo, pouring wine, his brows steeped. "Gorgo..."

He tarried over that name, repeating Gorgo, Gorgo to himself several times. But his ear seemed to dislike it, for he scowled and contemplated some more.

"He took her then," said Proximo abruptly, looking at Pankratios. "He took her hand?"

"Yes," said Pankratios.

"And she didn't fight, eh?"


"Ha!" Proximo walked to the opening in the wall, looking out into the courtyard. "The Spaniard. There's something to him, and even a blood-mad bitch like her can tell."

Pankratios said nothing. He remembered the looks on their faces, the Spaniard and the girl both. Long ago, before he had been Pankratios, he'd been a boy whose father bred horses for officers and cavalry, and he knew the difference between deranged and hurt.

"They'll have never seen anything like it," Proximo was muttering—to himself, again. "Never. It'll be like something out of the epics...out of Homer, maybe—"

He stopped. His eyes had widened.

"Homer," he whispered, "something out of Homer..."

Pankratios remembered what she'd looked like when they'd pulled her from the covered box. Fevered, head nearly split open, eyes showing white and only partially sane—

"Hector," said Proximo.

Pankratios looked up. The old man had turned to him, his teeth bared.

"The Spaniard," he said, "and the girl. The hero and his woman."

He raised his cup.

"To Hector," said Proximo, "and Andromache."