I remembered my conversation with Tyndareus like it was yesterday. It played back in my head without the need to recall.
He led me to his study.
"Please, sit down," he said. I complied without a word, still glaring at him. But he didn't seem to notice. He was too giddily wrapped up in whatever he had to say.
"I suppose you've guessed already why I've summoned you here," he said.
I shook my head, not bothering to change my expression. I had nothing but malice for him.
"I'm surprised. A great and cunning man such as yourself would have figured it out by now. Ah well I guess love is very distant from the battlefield," he said, smirking.
"As you may have noticed, my lovely daughter Helen is of a marriageable age. And a great many suitors have come to claim her."
"I may have noticed," I said dryly.
"Well, personally, I don't see a single potential heir in the bunch. They are all much too crude and aren't of the esteem worthy of a princess. But you, on the other hand..." he said slyly.
"Let me be frank. I sent you here to woo Helen. I assumed you would eventually become aware of my intentions."
"Are you telling me you sent me across the sea, leaving behind my country and my people, just to set me up with your little daughter?" I shouted, getting angrier by the second.
"Well, she is beautiful."
"And nearly ten years my junior! She is a child!"
"She is my only heir."
I was puzzled,
"But what about your niece, Penelope?"
"You mean the slave girl? She is no niece of mine..." he said, with disdain.
As soon as he said those words, I was about to become furious, when suddenly, an idea came to me.
"Are you saying that you've disowned her?"
"Of course. The little wench has given us nothing but grief. She has no chances with any man, and therefore provides me with little opportunity of advancement. Why do you care so much?"
"Never you mind my reasons. You sent me miles and miles from my home, and are now suggesting I marry a thirteen year old girl?"
"That isn't out of the ordinary, at least not here, King Odysseus. I just assumed that a man such as you is worthy of the best. And my daughter is the best."
"Your daughter is drunk downstairs at the moment, and she seems to have already selected a suitor. Besides, I am planning to wed someone else, as it so happens."
"You are? Well... why didn't you tell me that in the first place? Who is it whose beauty outshines my Helen in your eyes? There could be no woman."
"As it just so happens, my intended is Penelope of Sparta. Perhaps you know of her."
He was dumbstruck for a moment, "Well this, this changes everything. Are you asking me for her hand? If so, then I give you my blessing, my boy! Now we'll need to discuss the division of territory, of course. Now, I think that the Spartan royal family ought to extend its borders beyond Sparta. It will give power to both of us and..."
I interrupted his fevered rambling, "We'll discuss no such thing. You have no power over Ithaca or Penelope. As you said, she is no niece of yours."
He sat there in shock for a while, before rising to his feet.
"How dare you! I will not take this insolence, not even from a king. You can't use such a... such a rash statement against me. Ithaca and Penelope are my property!"
"They are no such thing!"
"Now, I tried graciously offer you my daughter, but apparently the best is not good enough for you!"
"Your daughter is a drunk, and furthermore a vain little girl!"
He tried to strike me, but I grabbed him by the shoulders, pinning him down with one hand and drawing my sword with another.
"Now, listen. I'd hate to cut ties with Sparta. It is a powerful nation full of warriors, and it would not be easy to have you as an enemy..."
"Your damned right it is! You and your little Penelope are in for it now, boy! The minute you set foot in Ithaca, my army will-"
"But, if you threaten me, Ithaca, or Penelope EVER again..." my eye wandered out the window.
Clinging to the branches of the great black alder tree next to the palace was Penelope. She stared, wide eyed, at what was ensuing, biting her lip in anxiety. Their eyes locked and instantly she filled with fear.
Tyndareus took advantage of my momentary distraction and rushed to the window.
"What are you doing here?" he bellowed.
She just stood there, not knowing what to say
"ANSWER ME!" he barked.
She was in shock, trembling in the branches, her sea colored eyes as big as saucers.
He charged toward the window and pulled her by the hair. I tried to stop him.
He then got a hold of her arm and tried to drag her from the branch and through the window.
He was twisting it farther and farther until she cried out and fell, clinging to the windowsill, and trying to pull herself up.
I quickly yanked her through the window, not thinking. Tyndareus pulled her away from me, sending her careening toward the stone wall with a thump.
She was pinned to the wall, holding her breath.
"HOW DARE YOU SPY ON ME!"
"I'm sorry, uncle," she whispered, obviously still shocked and terrified.
"Now, why were you in that tree?"
She was silent.
"Is this the first time, or have you been spying all this time."
She shook her head.
"DON'T LIE TO ME! Have you been spying on me all this time!"
She bit her lip, "Yes."
He reached out to hit her but she grabbed him by the wrist and twisted it around, shoving him away from her. She would explain to me later that all Spartan girls were trained to fight if need be.
"Why you little!-"
He used one hand to pin her once again to the wall and the other to try to hit her again.
No sooner had he done so that I grabbed him by the neck and yanked him away from her.
He whipped around, charging again, but I stood protectively in front of her.
"As I was saying. If you threaten me, Ithaca, or Penelope again, you will be at the mercy of the entire kingdom of Ithaca, and no doubt the entire Achaean nation. You know I can turn them against you. I have my ways."
He was about to charge, but suddenly stopped.
"I intend to marry Penelope, and I need neither your consent nor your blessing. And if you harm her, or me further, you'll make a powerful enemy."
He didn't reply. He only stood there, still processing what I had just said. I grabbed Penelope by the hand and led her out of the palace, and out of slavery, and out of Sparta.