Hey everyone! This is the last chapter to wrap everything up. Everyone wants a happy ending and unfortunately the movie is about the Sacrifice the 300 shared to protect their people.
Thank you all for the wonderful comments! It always makes it feel worthwhile to have your hard work appreciated.
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~Three years later…
"There is a Persian messenger." Hemera said as she ran to Stelios, catching her breath as she put a hand to her belly, swollen with child. "Eight archers with him, they're riding from the east."
The small boy at her hip stared up at his father with wild spring eyes just like his mother.
Stelios ruffled the small boys golden hair as he picked up his sword and shield.
"I will go tell Captain Artemis," he said gravely as he ran off.
Hemera put a hand on her son's shoulder, 'already so much like his father,' she mused. She remembered when he was born as fear gripped her when the soldiers came to her home after hearing it was a boy. They bathed him in wine to make sure he was strong. She had heard rumors when she was pregnant, that her child would not survive, that he would be to sickly and weak. That he would be thrown into the Apothetea, because of her holding Athenian blood. Her heart soared when Stelios brought him back from the Gerousia.
"A strong warrior!" He said happily as came back, Damon tucked in his arm.
Hemera looked back to where Stelios ran off to, a sense of pride and worry creeping up.
"Lets go find your grandfather," She said as Hemera moved to the market square.
"Earth and water," said the messenger with a snobbish gesture.
King Leonidas chuckled softly, "you came all this way for earth and water."
The messengers face nodded gravely, His robes of fine silks glittered amongst the simple clothes of Sparta.
"Do not be coy or stupid, Persian, for you can afford neither in Sparta." Suddenly interjected Queen Gorgo.
"What makes this woman think she can speak among men?" The messenger said with distaste.
The Queen hissed, "Because only Spartan women give birth to real men!"
Hemera, who stayed close to the far wall gave a smile full of pride. Her father moved near other council members to be able to listen more.
"Let us walk to cool our tongues," King Leonidas said as he began to walk over to the well."
"If you value your lives over your complete annihilation, then listen carefully, Leonidas." The messenger began. "Xerxes conquers and controls everything he rests his eyes upon. He leads an army so massive it shakes the ground with its march. So vast, it drinks the rivers dry. All the God King Xerxes requires is this: A simple offering of earth and water, a token of Sparta's submission to the will of Xerxes."
"Submission." The King shook his head. "Now, that's a bit of a problem."
"See, rumor has it that the Athenians have already turned you down," began King Leonidas, as he was cornering the messenger to the edge of the well," And if those philosophers and boy-lovers have found that kind of nerve, then-"
"We must be diplomatic!" urged Theron
"And of course, Spartans have their reputation to consider!" Boomed the King.
"Choose your next words carefully, Leonidas. They may be your last as king." Warned the messenger.
King Leonidas looked at his people, all looked to him with respect and faith that their King would protect them.
"Earth and water," the King drew his sword, pointing it at the messengers neck.
All the soldiers drew their swords then, including Stelios. Hemera's heart pounded. The soldiers began cornering the archers to the well.
"Madman! You're a Madman!" The messenger shouted, his voice frightened.
"Earth and Water, you'll find plenty of both down there."
"No man, Persian or Greek, no man, threatens a messenger."
"You bring the crowns and heads of conquered kings to my city steps! You insult my queen. You threatened my people with slavery and death! Oh I've chosen my words carefully, Persian. Perhaps you should have done the same." Growled King Leonidas.
"This is blasphemy! This is madness!"
Leonidas glanced back at his Queen, who gave a stern nod.
"Madness" He mused
"THIS IS SPARTA!" Leonidas roared as he gave the messenger a swift kick into the well, his screams drowning into the abyss followed by the archers that the soldiers took care of.
There was no urgentness in each other's touches that night, there was a savoring and a need to hold on to each feeling of each kiss and touch.
His hand touched her belly, saying his hopes and dreams, to have a girl as wild and willful as her. She loved a Spartan, it was a high cost to ones heart.
Hemera held his shield, Damon close to her side as they watched Stelios walk to them.
There were no words of I Love you spoken, no tear shed to see him off to battle. Never for a Spartan.
"Come back with your shield," Hemera said… but she could not bear to say the last.
Stelios gave a nod, ruffling his son's hair. His hand lingered on her belly.
The rays of dawn cascaded over the horizon as Hemera watched her husband leave for battle. Knowing he would die for honor, to defend Sparta. A Glorious death.
Somehow she managed to swallow her tears, leading her son through the fields. Damon picked up a small stick and whirled it in the air, he stabbed and slashed. 'His father's son,' she thought lovingly.
The rays of daylight warmed her face giving her a comfort as she watched her son, her hand on her belly. One day she will meet her husband in these fields again, only the fates will know when. But she will take his hand without hesitation or fear what awaits them. She would welcome the daylight and wait.