Since I write simultaneously on all 3 books (jumping from one to the other chapter when an idea pops up), it may take a couple of days between posting chapters, but on the other side, there will be no longer wait inbetween the books :)
Also, I will jump some years from now on (not in this chapter, but the next), to get on with the story and get Cleitus older ;) (older Cleitus is sitting next to me with a sword, he refuses to go without sex for long hehe, so I better comply)
Finally, another big thank you to Troilus for reviewing again (Thank you :)) and of course also a big thank you to Nymphyna , reviews are like cookies, they make me very very happy :)
The next day brought a world of pain for Cleitus. He woke up long after sunrise and tried to move, only to be paralysed by a surge of pain through his back and his face. He let himself drop again, one arm under his head and one to the side and whined to himself, trying to shield his mind from the pain. It didn't quite work and so he did the only thing he was left to do, since moving was impossible, he screeched. He was feeling a bit guilty using that tactic to alarm his parents, but then again, there was no other option and he knew they would come running. His father was first, immediately inspecting his back and then handing him a cup with a prepared concoction "Drink this Cleitus, it will numb the pain"
"No sleeping?", he wanted to be awake, and moving a bit, rather than sleeping. He felt he missed too much snoring the hours away, and there was still the little issue about getting Philip back. But as long as pain jolted through his body at the slightest movement, he couldn't do anything. Something that would make him feel better would be a bliss...
Dropides lifted his head and held the cup "No sleeping... Only numbing"
Cleitus swallowed it eagerly and after a couple of minutes he relaxed, the pain having nearly completely disappeared "It feels better"
"Good... And next time son, no screaming like Hades was after you, you scared your mother..."
Comfortably dozy now, Cleitus chuckled "Hades can not reach me..."
"You should not talk like that about the Gods son"
"I am not, but I know, that Ares would not let me get harmed"
Dropides had heard Philip call Cleitus the spawn of Ares, he knew what the older boy meant and didn't take it as disrespect, but it seemed Cleitus took it a bit too seriously "He let you get harmed already..."
"That was my own stupidity... It will not happen again..."
"It will for sure not happen again, you will never get in any situation like that"
Cleitus looked at his father quizzically "What do you mean?"
"I will not let you out of my sight so soon, that is what I meant..."
"No... You listen... You are seven, and you should not have to fight...", it was outrageous that his boy, his child, was incapacitated with wounds one would get on a battlefield. And he didn't want to have to worry again.
"No but father, Cleitus... You can take part in their classes, but that is it...", forbidding to attend classes was out of question, Cleitus had been working hard and had been really enthusiastic, no matter what the task at hand had been. And that was something Dropides could never take away from his son, would never, but he had realized he had to draw some lines. And he knew, that his son would not take it good "But parties and trips to the wood are out of question... You are a boy, and you should have some other activities besides warfare and battle-training"
"Like what?", a huge pout was edged on his face as he looked at his father and wondered what he would come up with now. And he wouldn't be disappointed.
"Reading and history"
Cleitus shook his head, whining "Faaaather..."
"And meet with the boys your age too"
"I don't want to... They are babies..."
"Well my son, I do not care if you want or not... For the next days and weeks you will be here, stuck to your bed..."
Cleitus frowned "Well, reading and history, I want those classes now, so I am done once I can get up"
"What? It would be perfect, I lay here and cannot leave, so those boring tutors can talk and talk and talk...", he grinned "and I can sleep thanks to their boring stories"
"If you continue you will get grounded and will not leave this room for a long time..."
"Then I will flee..."
"There are days when I wonder what we did wrong with you..."
"You made him...", his sister had brought something to eat for her brother and had listened to his rants "Should have made another girl, not", she pointed to her brother "that..."
Cleitus managed to turn his head "You are so ugly, no man will ever want you, you will have to marry a horse or even better, a boar... No horse would want you"
"Alright you two, stop it..."
"Have you heard what he said to me?"
"Yes, and I also heard your provocation young lady..."
"He is a boar..."
"Put the food down, I will feed him..."
"He is a baby, he can't even eat all by himself"
"You will both end up grounded until death if you continue"
"I will be a warrior one day, then you cannot ground me anymore...", grinning at his sister he added "But you will have to stay here and be a servant..."
"Yes Lanice... You go and see if your mother needs you, I will take care...", he smirked "of our boar turned son..."
"Ha ha, see, you are a boar..."
"Servant... Who will never find a husband..."
Seeing his daughter was not going to let that go unpunished he waved his hand "Lanice, out now... Not a word..."
Once she was out, he gently slapped Cleitus on his head "You should be nicer to your sister..."
"She is never nice to me..."
"You are both boars..."
"Then you must be one too, or how else would you get boar-children..."
"Let's change the subject, will you... I will help you up a bit so you can eat something"
It took a bit before he had placed the pillows underneath his son, so he was positioned higher than the bowls and then needed some more time before he had helped him move his arms. While Cleitus eat a bit, his father smeared more ointment on his back, still shocked at the extent of the wounds.
"Oh yes, Cleitus... I was given this", he produced the rabbit-fur out of his robes and put it on the bed "Did Philip give it to you?"
"He killed the rabbit", Cleitus sighed, immediately grabbing and hugging the fur "I caught it, didn't want it to die though"
"Just wanted to show him I can catch things too...", noticing his father had no idea what he was talking about he added "Philip had caught the fish..."
"Ah I see... And he wanted you to have the fur"
"Yes... It is pretty..."
"Yes, but please, do not torture your horse with it again..."
"Philip had the idea, but I think, he had meant it differently..."
When he had finished eating, his body starting to digest, Cleitus yawned and looked quite drowsy "You should rest my son". And for once he didn't fight his father, he just nodded and closed his eyes, happy he could keep his arms under his head and not stretched along his body. All his father did was place another pillow underneath them and then covered his lower body with a fur and then let him alone, so his body and mind could find a little rest.
Downstairs, Lanice had already told her mother how mean her brother had been, and that she had been completely innocent, but Dropides quickly took care of his raging daughter too "Your brother is hurt, he is angry, he is sad, he really does not need you to add to it"
"I didn't do anything", pouting she added "And he started it..."
"I was there, I heard you bicker back, you are both guilty"
"He is annoying... And the older he gets, the dumber he gets..."
Sighing, and realizing that letting her watch Cleitus would only bring major drama, he took the decision to talk to Cleitus' friends and see if someone would be ready to watch Cleitus and keep him some company. Two hours later he invaded their training grounds and called them over, immediately telling Parmenion that he would not be the one spending the night around his son. The young man's intentions were less than pure, and since Cleitus had already told him that Parmenion was after his 'ass', he really didn't want to conjure up a situation that could only end bad.
"I will do it... He is used to having me and Philip around him constantly, I will not make him more anxious or touch him in any way", grinning at a frowning Parmenion he chuckled "I am not like Parmenion, I only like girls..."
"Good... I really think Cleitus will appreciate it"
"I will head home after classes and gather what I need and then come over"
"Good... I may not be there, but my wife will let you in..."
Antigonus was happy he could be spending the next nights watching the boy. He knew Philip would want him to and he didn't mind. The young boy had fought like a lion to keep his friend safe and didn't deserve to be left alone with his misery now. And according to Cleitus, having his sister taking care of him was a real torture, so he had gladly volunteered to take over the job until Cleitus was well enough to banter back without a restraint.
In the middle of night, five days after the attack, he heard soft winces and opened his eyes, thinking he was dreaming, especially when he caught sight of Cleitus getting dressed, or at least trying very hard. Antigonus blinked, but the sight stayed the same, Cleitus had really gotten up and was trying to get dressed.
Yawning while he stretched, he asked, knowing it was quite a stupid question since it was pretty obvious what the boy was doing "Cleitus, what do you think you are doing?"
Cleitus hissed his answer "Getting Philip back", not looking at him but fighting with the chiton which did not want to slide and he couldn't move his arms enough to pull it.
Antigonus passed a hand over his eyes, shaking his head "Lay back down, you will aggravate your wounds if you move"
"I am not joking Cleitus, the king is working on getting his son back and you should do your best to heal so you can welcome him back in good health"
"I am feeling alright Antigonus"
"You can not mean that...", he got up and grabbed the chiton out of his grasp "Get down on the bed... Now"
"No", Cleitus tried to grab his chiton back but wasn't ready for what would follow. Antigonus was a patient man, but right now it was all too much even for him and he slapped Cleitus across the face, hoping to make his point of view very clear. What he hadn't expected was the hatred that invaded those beautiful dark eyes and the smaller body throwing himself on him, ignoring any pain and trying to punch back. He gently pushed him back on the bed, wincing with Cleitus when his back hit the furs and helped him turning so he lay on his chest, before he inspected the stitches "You are a stubborn spawn of Ares boy"
"I just want to get him back Antigonus, if I had not been weak they would not have taken him"
"Cleitus...", he stroke his hair and glad no stitches had reopened sat down next to him "You fought bravely... I don't think any of us would have had more luck against them... Not only were you outnumbered, but they were all at least three times your age"
"You killed two of them and managed to survive, those are the things you should concentrate on"
"I let them take him"
"On your seventh birthday you killed two soldiers Cleitus...", stroking the dark hair and ruffling it a bit "Have you thought about that already? How are you feeling about that?". He had not taken any life, well, he had never been in a situation that afforded that until now, but he couldn't, for the love of anything, imagine how he would feel afterwards. And Cleitus didn't seem to even blink or feel fuzzed because of it, all he did was somehow shrug his shoulders, which wasn't easy and mumble "I only feel like being too weak... I should have killed them all..."
Sensing there was nothing he could say to make him understand that it was not weakness, and realizing Cleitus didn't even see it as a problem that he had taken two lives, Antigonus rolled his eyes and covered him with a fur "Sleep, you need to gain strength so you can join our classes as soon as possible"
"I don't think I am allowed to attend them anymore"
"And why is that?", he wondered if his father had forbidden him to attend after what had happened.
"I didn't protect the king's youngest son, Antigonus... I do not think Amyntas or any of you want me there anymore"
"I will punch you to a pulp if you say something as stupid as that again... If anything, Philip had to protect you, not the other way round...", he interrupted any objection Cleitus could voice "No, you are seven, he is thirteen, that is all I have to say to you... Yes you are good, excellent even, but that does not erase the fact that you are a lot younger than we all are... We accepted you because you were, no, you are as strong as our weakest companion Cleitus, you didn't hold us back, on the contrary... Seeing your efforts to keep up with us and even surpass us makes us work harder... And right now I am trying to help you realize that..."
Cleitus rolled his eyes annoyed at having to listen to such a speech "In the end, all I will remember is how I failed to keep him safe..."
Shaking his head at such a stubbornness, Antigonus growled a bit, not understanding how Cleitus could blame himself like that "I swear, the moment you can move I will personally incapacitate you again myself"
"The moment I can move I am on my way to Thebes...", the black eyes started brazing "And I will burn the whole city down... Children, women, men, everyone will perish... I will cover the city in blood and corpses..."
Antigonus stared at him and then burst out into a laughing fit "You know you can be pretty terrifying when you start like this?"
"To you? Please..."
Antigonus smiled "No, but I just imagined you, you little whelp, covered in their blood with a burning city in the background..."
"With you at my side?"
"I don't think I want to miss it, but then again, Amyntas will have us flogged to death should we do it..."
"He won't flog us if we bring Philip back"
"Go to sleep"
"I have been sleeping and resting enough for the rest of my life, I am bored Antigonus"
"If you lay down and let me tend to your back I will tell you stories about Philip and I when we were younger"
Cleitus sighed but the prospect of amazing stories won and he lay down, his head turned towards Antigonus, who had gotten the salve and started smearing it on the healing cuts.
"Your body is healing fast"
Cleitus grinned "Good, that means I can go and sack Thebes faster"
"Cleitus...", Antigonus lay down next to him, his head propped on his hand and turned towards Cleitus "So... Want to know how I met Philip?"
Antigonus was astonished how long Cleitus could fight off sleep, but luckily the boy lost the fight and finally the older boy could go to sleep too.
It was in the afternoon, two days later, when a knock on the door could be heard and his mother opened the door, standing nose to nose with one of Cleitus' tutors.
"Can I help you?"
"I apologize for disturbing, but I wanted to visit with Cleitus"
Not understanding, the man followed her inside "Good luck?"
"His mood has seen better days, all he does is complain and try getting up"
"It is understandable", smiling he added "I am not the most patient man either when I am wounded and forced to stay still"
That statement made her laugh "That seems to be a trait all men share..."
Cleitus was sprawled on his bed, on his chest, his head resting on his crossed arms, at least he was now allowed to move his arms, albeit with his sister's help but at least he did not have to keep them down his sides, and was listening to his sister talk about gossip she had come across. Not that it interested him very much which men she found appealing, but he was a prisoner of his own bed and could not move, and that made him the ideal target for Lanice and her stories. When he heard his mother enter, it could only be her since his father was at the palace and his sister was already turning his life into a never-ending misery, he whined miserably, making sure to get the message across that his sister was torturing him "Mother, she is not letting me rest..."
"Lanice, you were supposed to smear the ointment on your brother's back and then come back downstairs"
"We were talking"
Cleitus didn't miss the moment to bring to his mother's attention that his sister really, really tortured him "Not true, you were annoying me with stupid stories...", he added, outraged "About boys... Mother, she is a born torturer..."
"Yes mother", she gave her brother the evil eye and then the tutor a wide smile "My brother is a baby"
"Really?", advancing towards the bed he looked from Cleitus back to her "When he is around me he never acts like a baby, I wonder how that is possible"
Lanice frowned and quickly left, hearing Cleitus laugh "I try to be at one level with her, that is why"
The tutor sat down next to Cleitus' bed on a chair and gave him a smile "How are you feeling boy?"
"And your back? Does it still sting a lot?"
Constantly, but that was not something Cleitus was going to admit, not to a tutor "No, the salve helps, but I want to move... I am sick of laying here, with nothing to do"
"That is really unfortunate, but you have to give your back the time to heal"
"It is healed"
Changing the subject, it was clear that his back was far from healed, but he had to hand it to the boy that he was stubbornly maintaining his statement that his back was alright and that he was not in pain without flinching. It was just one more evidence that the boy was already tougher than some older boys he was teaching. Over the last couple of days he had tried to continue the training classes as if nothing had happened, the young men were all too young to march to war already and he tried to keep them occupied, especially Antigonus and Parmenion who had expressed their wish to go and get Philip back on more than just one occasion.
"You should take it slow and not overexercise your body Cleitus, I want you back in my class as soon as possible"
Cleitus stared at him astonished, his eyes wide "You... You want me back? Even though I failed miserably at keeping Philip safe?"
Antigonus had confided in him that Cleitus believed having failed some mission no one had even asked of him and that fact had played a part in his decision to visit the boy. He needed him to realize that it was not his fault and that he had nothing to feel bad about.
"You were not asked to keep him safe, you were with him to enjoy yourselves... No one thought something could happen, or I would have been with you... Do not make the mistake of blaming yourself for something that is in no way your fault"
It took the tutor an hour to get Cleitus to at least agree half with him that it wasn't his fault that Philip was taken, and he left a mentally exhausted boy, who fell asleep as soon as the man was gone.
Ten days after the attack the wounds had healed enough for Cleitus to be allowed to move more than just in his bed. Dropides helped him up and tied the chiton so he didn't wear it over his shoulder, but rather knotted around his hips. The fact that it looked somewhat funny eluded the two until they arrived downstairs and both the mother and the sister stared at Cleitus, laughing.
"What is so funny?"
"You, little brother...", pointing at him she giggled "That looks too funny, even for you..."
"You are an idiot"
"And you look funny..."
"Hey, stop it both of you"
Cleitus huffed and turned towards his father "Can I go for a walk... Please..."
"I will come with you..."
"I...", pouting he decided to tell his father the truth "I wanted to go and see what they are doing today"
"The others... Antigonus, Polyperchon and everyone else..."
"Cleitus, it is too soon to join a class"
"If I just stay still and do not move?"
"I will accompany you and make sure you don't do anything stupid"
"Aren't you forgetting your meeting with your men?"
"They will wait..."
"Dropides... I will go with him, I wanted to..."
Cleitus interrupted her, whining "Please mother, it will be bad enough to have my father accompany me, but if I get there and you are with me, they will tease me until the day I die", he sighed "I will be back soon and will not move unless it is for walking"
"Be back before sundown... And I would feel better if Antigonus brought you back"
"Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees...", he just kept back from jumping, not because they would be upset, but because he knew it would hurt.
"And should you hurt yourself or faint or anything else, you won't go out until you are old enough to marry"
"I don't want to marry anyone..."
"Well, you will have to stay home until you die in that case..."
Cleitus seemed to think, then frowned, pouting and ready to fight the subject "I will marry some girl, just so you let me go out in that case..."
Lanice chuckled "An ugly one?"
"Nooooooooo", glaring at his sister he added "Not one like you..."
His mother laughed, pushing him gently outside "Better get going before we put you in your room and let you rot there..."
"Be nice to your sister from now on, and we can talk about that punishment being reduced..."
"Alright, but she is still ugly and all..."
"I got it... Now go, or you will have to be home before you get there"
Cleitus grinned and ran off, only to stop and to continue walking slowly, trying not to move his back too much and ignore the pounding in his head that the effort had caused him.
On his way back home with Antigonus, Cleitus saw Perdiccas, Philip's brother, and quickly ran over, only to stop and pull a face due to the pain-shot through his back. But that did not stop him from asking "Can I meet the King?"
"Good day to you Cleitus... Why do you want to talk to my father?"
"I have some questions..."
"I will tell him, but why don't you come to the palace tomorrow after classes, my brother will come back and I know my father has some audiences... I will tell him to fit you in, I am sure that will not be a problem... It is important, right?"
Cleitus nodded "Very..."
"I will arrange it..."
"But I will not be able to partake in the classes, so I will just come over when the classes are, like over for the others... Is that alright?"
Perdiccas found Cleitus too cute for his own good and chuckled "Of course it is..."
"You are absolutely welcome... Oh, could you take this message to your father, it will spare me the way"
"Sure...", feeling important, even though he was hurt and out of any classes and meetings he nodded "I will hand it over as soon as I see my father"
"Good, I knew I could count on you..."
When his father came home, Cleitus immediately handed him over the parchment and smiled "I did not faint and I was given this by Perdiccas...", adding, as if his father did not know who he was talking about "Amyntas son?".
"I know which Perdiccas you speak of Cleitus..."
"Well I asked him for an audience with the King and in exchange I got this to deliver to you..."
"And what will you bother the King with?", Dropides really started to have enough when it came to his son and his antics.
"Nothing...", staring down, he mumbled "Philip..."
"Well, I will let Amyntas scold you this time... I am fed up with you"
"But I just want to know when he will come back, and how he feels right now..."
"Yes, and I will let the King judge of the pertinence of your audience... Now... Since you can move, you can go and help your mother..."
A bit defected and majorly 'pissed off' Cleitus whispered "Yes father..." and left his father's rooms, sneaking towards the kitchen where he was sat up on a stool by a servant who handed him a cookie "Here young master, you look like needing one"
The next day, as soon as the sun started her descent, Cleitus was stopped by the royal guards, who were not close on letting the boy just roam the palace like he owned it, and one could blame Cleitus for doing just such thing, since after talking to Perdiccas, he had just jumped up the stairs, wincing but playing the pain down and waltzing through the corridors. And he wasn't even particularly arrogant to them, they just disliked the boy who was praised by everyone and was regarded as the most skillful companion... A child, amere child... They were all three times as old and far more advanced but yet he was being talked about and it annoyed them. So letting him in without a clear message was out of question "You better leave boy, you have no business here"
"I requested an audience with the King and got it granted...", Cleitus stood tall and proud "He awaits me"
Cleitus didn't appreciate the obvious undertone and nodded, and replied, a little aggressive "Yes, really... Now could you let me pass?"
"I do not think so"
"But I do...", Philip's oldest brother had just arrived back from a mission and was too exhausted to punish them immediately, but such a behaviour was not tolerated inside the palace. And certainly not with someone who obviously had a legitimate reason to be there, and he had seen his younger brother talk to him before granting him access, so he had to have a reason for letting the runt in.
"Good day to you Cleitus... How are you feeling?"
"Good day to you too Alexander... I am alright, thank you..."
"Stings only when I bent it too far", to show him, Cleitus bended to the maximum he could on the medicinal herbs he was on and winced a bit, straightening again and waiting for the other to acknowledge his obvious dilemma.
Alexander only chuckled "Then do not bend that far", opening the door to the room his father was in, he entered, pulling Cleitus with him "Good day to you father"
"Ah Alexander, you are back"
"Yes, and I would like to rest and refresh before talking to you if that was possible..."
"As I see Cleitus is here already, so you can take a moment to yourself while I talk to him"
"Thank you father", he ruffled through Cleitus' hair who promptly pouted and swatted his hand away "I will see you later Cleitus..."
Amyntas motioned for Cleitus to get closer "How are you feeling?"
Cleitus shuffled closer, nodding "Better, thank you my King"
"So, you wanted to talk to me?"
"Yes...", Cleitus bit his lip, now that he was standing in front of the king he felt a bit overwhelmed by the man's presence and didn't know how to start. Amyntas saw him blink shyly and encouraged him with a smile, while sitting on the edge of his desk "What about?"
"Philip... I... I wanted to know when he would be back"
"I have a truce with them as long as Philip learns their ways and he will stay in Thebes for now"
"I know, Antigonus told me that already, but when is he coming back?"
"I can not tell you Cleitus for I have no answer to that question"
"Cleitus... I miss him too...", truth be told, he was too busy with his campaigns to really get into a matter that was far from being life-threatening. Philip was taken care of, and through his presence in Thebes he guaranteed a powerful ally, so his son was far from being his first prerogative "...But he is being taken very good care of my boy, and I have many other problems that need my immediate attention"
Too young to understand the schemes of politics, Cleitus was short on blowing a fuse and spat "So you just do not care...", seeing the hard look that pout got him, he quickly looked down, playing with his fingers and apologizing "I apologize your majesty... But I...", he sighed "I feel guilty... If I had fought better, they would not have taken him... And all I want to do, is get him back"
"I have already told you that it was in no case your fault, I will have to punish you if you continue to believe that...", the King had to smirk "And that would be a shame..."
"But it was..."
"You have told us what happened...", Cleitus nodded and the King continued "Well, if what you told us was the truth, and I know it was since they send me a message...". Amyntas lifted Cleitus' head by his chin and smiled "You fought like a madman in order to protect Philip, so in no way, it was your fault, or...", seeing the boy frown he slapped him gently on the cheek "Or your weakness that got him caught... Two against twenty is unachievable when you are an adult, a grown up, a warrior, so at your age... You fought bravely and you will become a strong warrior, but right now, you are a seven-year-old brat, who thinks he can do whatever a man, like, say me or your father, can... And you just cannot... And punishing yourself by such beliefs, is insane... The only thing you could have done was put down your weapons and surrender, and that you did not... And for the rest of your life you will bear the marks and my son will worship you as his hero, the one who fought for him, as will I...". Amyntas got up and kissed Cleitus on the head before lifting him by his arms and putting him on the border of his desk "And you should feel pride, and gloat about that fact, not whine about a defeat, nor cry that you could not bring him back with you... You should be glad you were strong enough to try, and learn from that hard lesson..."
"Learn what your majesty?"
"That whatever the obstacle, if you are alone, you cannot break it down... That sometimes it is better to retreat and reform, rethink the problem, find another solution..."
"Will that bring Philip back? Was it me? Is it me? Does he not want to come back because of me?"
"Cleitus... No, he misses you as much as you miss him, but he has new adventures that work his mind right now, and you have them too... Rest, heal and then go back to your classes..."
"I will as soon as my father says I can... I have rested enough and I am healing fast..."
"Good, and I would like to issue a demand..."
Cleitus stared at the King and nodded "Anything my King, I can leave immediately to get Philip back..."
Smiling, Amyntas shook his head "No... I want you to write to Philip... And bring me the letter, I will have it sent with mine..."
"And Philip will read it?"
"Of course, he is not kept as a prisoner, but as a, let us call it, a restraint guest, he can receive letters... And sent them..."
"I will write it immediately when I get home and then bring it over..."
"If you bring it here tomorrow I will have it sent with my letters..."
"Thank you", seeing the boy smile happily as if a burden had been taken from him made Amyntas smile too "You are absolutely welcome... When will your father be here?"
"He is already... He said if I went to the trouble to annoy your other sons, I should be punished by you for my trespassing..."
"Well, I will tell him I welcomed your visit and you were in no way possible a trespasser..."
Cleitus put his arms around Amyntas' chest, ignoring any rules his father had instilled in him, and hugged him, grateful the King would help him "Thank you again my King..."
Amyntas fluffed his hair up and grabbed his cheeks, kissing them before pushing him backwards towards the door "And now, hush home, your mother and your sister must await you"
"Yes... And thank you my King, the letter will be here in the morning, as soon as I will be up..."
"I will await it..."
Cleitus was high on adrenaline when he ran down the corridors and was stopped by his father who, by solely his eyes, or rather the annoyed frown visible in their glaring, made the boy feel bad "Sorry for running like this in the palace father, but I have a letter to write..."
"It will be sent to Philip... And the King awaits you..."
"Alright son... You go home and I want you asleep when I get home..."
"Yes, I will..."
Cleitus helped his mother and her servants to dress the table, something unusual, especially in his condition "Cleitus, you should be resting..."
"I can later, after dinner, when I write my letter..."
"Yes, to Philip... The King will sent it with his... And Philip can read it... But...", he frowned "I am not sure what to write, or how to write it..."
"Well, you could tell him that you made it back and how, what you felt, how you feel now and that you miss him..."
"And how can I tell him I will get him out of there without them knowing?"
Dropides had only had a short meeting due to Alexander's return and stood in the door, shaking his head at his son's next stupid idea "Not at all, you will not do such a thing...", his father stopped behind him and shook his head "You are insane my son"
"Oh I will get him out..."
"Ye...esss... I will... Since the King doesn't seem to want to do it..."
"Cleitus... I forbid you to even think of such a foolish action"
"No... And I can guarantee you, that, should you do, or rather try it, I will hurt you worse than them did..."
Cleitus pouted but realized that his father was not kidding, the man looked angry and ready to spank him, wounds or no wounds and so he didn't add that yes, he would. They would see how serious he was once he would be on his way to Thebes, and then, no one could stop him.
Immediately after dinner he went to his room, but his back, and the running around, had exhausted him to the point that his mind was blank once he was staring at the parchment. And staring at the blank page didn't help, he sighed, his head resting on one hand and the other fiddling with his quill. He had had so many ideas about what to write and now his mind was unable of producing anything remotely decent.
His mother arrived and stopped, standing right behind him and after seeing the problem her son had, sat down next to him, noticing the obvious "You haven't written anything yet"
"I know... I just do not know what to write..."
"Well, how about greeting him and asking how he fares... Once you started, the rest will follow..."
"I do not even know how to start with that..." he pouted "...stupid letter..."
"I will not write it for you"
"I have not asked that...", she could see the desperation in his eyes as he continued "I... I even fail in writing to him..."
"Cleitus baby... No... Why don't you start with just his name..."
"Just his name?"
"Yes... It may give your ideas room to prosper"
"Oh... Yes...", he was lifted and his mother sat down, pulling him on her lap as he continued, after having prettily written Philip "So, I will continue with...". Cleitus smiled and started writing while his mother smeared the ointment on his back and watched his progress. Ten minutes later she was done and he had a couple of lines done, his eyes sparkling "Thank you mother..."
"You are welcome my love... Show me the result, will you, I want to know how much you like him". Knowing that her son would become an eromenos had at first infuriated her, but seeing her baby-boy grow into what would be a marvellous warrior made her proud, especially with someone like Philip being heavily responsible for it.
Cleitus laughed "I like him very much..."
"As much as Antigonus?"
"No, a lot more..."
An hour later Cleitus was yawning and his eyes were closing, but he desperately tried to stay awake to finish his letter. Which had already grown to nearly covering two whole pages.
"You are still up?"
"Yes father", he yawned once more "I haven't finished the letter"
Stopping behind him, his father whistled "Well it seems Philip will have a lot to read"
"And I have a lot more to say..."
"Have you thought about maybe keeping some things for a second letter?"
"A second letter?", Cleitus smiled "I can write him more often?"
"But what if I want to write him, and the King does not send a messenger"
"Then I will have one of my men deliver it"
Cleitus nodded and then quickly finished his letter, rolling it together once he was done "Alright, I will immediately start a second one that I will send when this one is gone"
"You will send the second one when Philip has answered... And now young man, you will go to sleep"
"Now...", his father's commanding voice made him slowly get up and move towards his bed, discarding his chiton on the floor which made his father frown "Cleitus..."
"Sorry father... But I cannot bend"
"Excuses... You should not have dropped it in the first place"
"Won't happen again"
"I hope so... And now on your chest..."
"Can I stay on my back? I am really sick of laying on my chest"
"Not yet, I'm sorry"
Pouting, but too drained to give it much opposition, Cleitus complied and his father pulled the furs on him "Sleep well"
"You also father..."
The second he closed his eyes he was asleep, and his father shook his head amused, taking the letter with him with the intention on taking it to the palace since he had a meeting with the King the next day and his son could sleep as long as his body needed it.
A bit longer than intended, but dividing it into 2 chapters would have made the second rather short :), the usual comment, whether you liked it or you hated it, please review and share your opinion, helps me to get feedback and I love criticism as long as it is helping me to improve ;)