Hello all,

Still at Gaza. The Enemy has worries and so has Hephaestion. In the darkness of the night they become quite overwhelming - but there is always a morning with light and hope.

All the best wishes, Read and enjoy!

/ NorthernLight

Prompt: Dark

In The Darkness Of The Night

Batis woke up drenched in cold sweat. He gasped out and had to put his hand over his mouth to stop himself from screaming. The nightmare was still so very vivid. His whole body ached from the ordeal in it, as if it actually had occurred.

He had been dragged behind a chariot, round and round his proud city. This city was fallen to the Macedonian upstart Conqueror. The very man now stood proud at the helm of his chariot, holding on to the reins and urging the horses on. He flashed a whip in a violent manner, not striking the horses but letting it go through the air like a flaming sword.

Batis was dragged behind, his feet, legs, back, neck and head sore and bruised from this atrocious manhandling. The red hot sun shone down on him, searing his eyes and his whole body with its merciless rays.

The young Conqueror cheered his horses on. He was lit up by the glaring sun, his golden hair, his flashing, polished armour and his flaming, cruel whip.

Batis felt his whole body go up in flames and pain.

Nobody could survive such an ordeal.

Now an auburn haired warrior came riding on an equally auburn haired stallion. He was calm and cool like a spring rain and he managed to grasp the reins and arrest the wild ride of the chariot and its merciless driver.

"Alexander, Alexander, it is enough now. He is dead, cant't you see that he is dead!"

Batis closed his eyes and let the darkness engulf him.

His proud city of Gaza was doomed.

He himself was doomed, too.

The night was so very dark. Hephaestion had lit an oil lamp at the corner of the Royal tent. Its flickering flame was not enough to allow him to see in the darkness. Alexander was resting now but he was not well at all. He was still in pain from his serious wound and he had lost so much blood that he was white all over. His beautiful golden hair lay dank and without luster all over the white linen pillow. Cold sweat shone on his brow and his breathing was shallow from the pain in his shoulder. He called out loud and clutched at the white, clean linen bandage. Blood had soaked through and it would soon need to be changed.

Hephaestion dipped a clean cloth in the silver wash basin at the bedside and gently put it on Alexander's brow.

"Hush, hush, my Dear One. Rest easy now. I will send for Amanda, "he told his valuable charge. "She has made a potion that will take your pain away and make you sleep through the night."

As if she had actually heard him the Healer appeared at the bedside, with Cleitus as a protecting Shadow behind her back. She held a simple bowl of clay filled with a dark red aromatic concoction.

"Here, Alexander, it is the Wine of Dreams, "she told her King in a hushed manner. "It will help you to rest and take all your pain away."

She lifted Alexander with the pillow under his head. Then she put the bowl to his lips. He drank all of the concoction and then she put him back into the bed. His breathing instantly became deeper and more calm and he seemed to rest easier already.

"This will help him to sleep and rest easy. There will be no pain for many hours now, "she told Hephaestion. "You can lay down on the couch nearby now. I will remain here for the rest of the night and I will call upon you if Alexander needs you. YOU need to rest now, you have been here for him for so very long now. "

"Yes, Amanda. I know that Alexander is safe with you and Cleitus. I will take a short break, but you must wake me up in an hour or so. There is so much to do..."

Hephaestion felt his back and shoulders hurt as he lay down on the couch. He was instantly overwhelmed by a deep and dreamless sleep. Amanda arranged a pillow and cushions for him and put a soft light blue blanket over him. The night at Gaza was hot and they were in no risk of catching a cold.

Amanda watched her Dear Ones sleep, Alexander in the Royal bed and Hephaestion on the couch nearby. She sat down and held her own vigil, protected by a black maned man who would always be at their side, always protective, strong and faithful.

Alexander slept all night and all the day after. When next evening came he sat up for a light meal before going to sleep once more.

Next morning he rose from the Royal bed. He felt Healed and well, his injured shoulder was sore and bruised but it did not hurt him enough to stop him from taking command once more. Hephaestion had to help him dress and put on armour and then he went out into Camp.

The bright shining morning sun fell upon him, forming a golden halo all around him. All the Macedonians cheered him. They had been very worried when he did not appear for so long. Now their confidence was restored.

The city of Gaza waited for him.

Batis waited, too.

Both were shivering from fear.