The fleet of Achilles' ships sailed across the clear blue water towards Troy where Menelaos' wife was currently held. He didn't care at all about getting the King's wife back; no, all he wanted was the glory and prizes that would come from the war. They had started out only two days ago and Achilles and his men already ravaged a few cities, bringing back the spoils they could attain. Feeling good, the half-godling sat among them gambling their gold around with a smile on his, laughing jovially as the game progressed.
Achilles chuckled and pulled the earnings towards him, "You men are good, but not good enough. Perhaps if we play again, you'll win the pot?" Patroklos laughed and placed his tiles down. "I shall sit this next match out for I won't have anything else to bring home." The men joined in the laughing and Achilles took a quick swig of wine, and shoved a piece of bread into his mouth. "Come now, Patroklos, don't talk so negatively. I'm sure you'll bring home something." The hero winked and stood up to stretch out his precious limbs. "I'm done, you continue to play." He threw down his tiles, told someone to bring his earnings to his 'room', and joined Patroklos.
"Here," Achilles murmured, handing him the pouch, "you look nervous." He smiled, took the pouch, and drank down what he could. "Don't allow your fears plague your courage, my friend. There will be nothing but good. We will destroy the city of Troy and take from them what they offer." Achilles asserted with prideful optimism. His companion laughed, "Just like the Achilles I've always known…" He mused with a shake of his head, sending his hair to tumble about his well-structured face. Achilles smirked at Patroklos. They had grown up together, trained together, and lived together; there was no mistaken that Achilles had eventually fallen for the other man. He loved him and wouldn't have asked for any other companion. Patroklos was the only man who he trusted with his life. His men were good men, able warriors who followed him into battle without a moment's hesitation, but they were nothing compared to Patroklos.
Tough and strong warriors that they were Achilles reached out and pushed aside the locks that fell in front of his face. "Will you follow me into darkness? Will you follow me into battle influenced by Ares himself?" Patroklos nodded, "Of course. There will be no stopping me. I go where you go, I fight when you fight. That was my oath upon joining your ranks." The man grasped hands and Achilles brushed his lips over Patroklos' rough cheek. "You never surprise me, my brother." Patroklos smiled and returned the favor. "I have a good feeling about the war." "You wouldn't if you weren't one of mine."
The passage across the calm water was smooth and uneventful, Poseidon being on their side; even Zeus, the Father of the gods kept the skies clear and offered them swift winds to get them safely and smoothly towards their destination. It was a real blessing and a good omen for the fleet. The voyage couldn't have started off any better, thought Achilles while he found himself mocking a battle with his most trusted and enjoyed partner. They jabbed each other with their swords, using their shields to block the terrible of blows when something bumped into the ship. Patroklos lost balance and Achilles grabbed him before he could tumble to the ground.
"What the Hades was that?" Growled Achilles, one hand kept hold of Patroklos while the other went for the sword at his belt. Patroklos pulled away from him and ran over to look over the railing. The water around them was choppy and foamy with something formidable swimming beneath them. "There's something down there…" He said quietly in an effort not to alert the beast. Achilles grabbed a spear and rushed over. Without thinking, he pulled his arm back and flung the spear into the foam, causing whatever fathomless beast to scream in pain. "No, Achilles! We should have-" But Achilles cut him off and threw yet another spear at the beast who lurked below the hull. Patroklos seized Achilles' wrist, "Stop it! This will only make our predicament worse!" Adrenaline talking, Achilles pushed him away, "Do you expect me to stand around and do nothing?" He threw his hands to the sky, "We have angered you, I see!" He yelled to the heavens, his words for no god in particular. Patroklos said nothing distracted by water that fell from the sky. He tilted his head back and widened his eyes in fear. The sea serpent emerged from the water to see who dared to anger it.
Its yellow-slitted eyes saw the man and snatched a few men up to gobble them down. Patroklos grabbed a bow and arrow and moved to action to salvage the rest of the crew he could. He loaded it up, pulled the bowstring back, and let the arrows sail into the sky. Two arrows missed but one nailed the beast right in the eye. It screamed with rage and used its tail to spin the ship around. The remaining men were thrown around like toys and though Achilles was disoriented he used this distraction to strike.
The half-divine hero used the short sword he had used early to leap into the air and wracked it across the monster's neck, severing the head. Its head fell off with a loud splash as its body slowly sunk into the depths of the sea. Blood rained down on them but none of the men seemed to care; in that moment they only cared about their lives and the state of the ship. Bits and pieces were smashed in or lost, supplies rolled lamely about the deck, and serpent blood stained the wood and their body, but the losses could have been worse.
Achilles wiped the blood and sweat from his face and the men went about the ship to make quick repairs. He hilted his sword and looked wildly around for Patroklos, fearing that in the scuffle he might've been taken away from him. He found him on the other side of the ship equally drenched in blood but otherwise unharmed. "Ah Patroklos, would you have had me wait?" He inquired with a haughty, enjoyable tone. Patroklos laughed, relieved they were okay, and patted Achilles on the shoulder.
"So the mortal Achilles wishes to anger me by killing my pet?" The goddess of strife mused. She tapped her tongue against her teeth and smiled. "You're a foolish and impulsive hero, Achilles, but you've brought me great amusement. I will enjoy causing you great and inescapable trouble." Eris spoke and disappeared from her home on earth to reappear on his ship dressed as a beautiful maiden.
No one questioned her unexpected arrival. She was a beautiful woman, a creature none of the men had seen for days. The men aboard were starved for attention and need, and found themselves moving ever closer to her. Eris raised her hand and they stopped coming towards her. "I seek the brave man named Patroklos." She announced to the ship at large. The men broke out in outrage and argued amongst themselves, Achilles being one of them. Patroklos looked up with curious suspicion, unfazed by her appearance. "Ah, you must be him." She suggested and walked towards him with predatory grace. He watched her-not like his fellows, but with realization and caution. This was no pretty mortal come for the best and strongest man. This was a goddess come to destroy.
"What-what is your name, temptress?" He demanded without leaving his post.
"I am Alexandra…" Eris whispered; her voice carried over the ship to entice the men.
Achilles stared with irritation and jealousy. He should be the one receiving the attention, not Patroklos.
"No…no you're not."
"Why do you seek out Patroklos? I am far stronger and heroic than he is." Spellbound Achilles roused up, everyone's attention on him now.
"Oh, and who might you be brave and heroic one?" She asked, all of her 'interest' in Patroklos evaporated and replaced with her attraction to Achilles.
"Achilles, no! That woman is no mortal, she's a goddess!"
"Aphrodite indulges me with her beauty?"
"No!" He took Achilles wrist and squeezed it. "She's Eris, the goddess of chaos! She wants to endure us with discord. She doesn't care about the war; she only cares about her own amusement!" Patroklos grabbed Achilles' face and forced him to look at him. "Snap out of it, my friend! She wishes harm on you, not glory and prizes!"
Achilles gritted his teeth in anger and pushed him roughly. "Get your hands off of me, you jealous cur."
Patroklos fell back with such force that he hit his head and passed out for the moment being. Eris smirked and pressed her body against Achilles. "You shall become my husband and we will live as Kings and Queens do. I can offer you my father's palace and gold if you come away with me." Achilles sniffed her hair and laughed blissfully. "Do you hear that men? She has picked me over all of you!" He yelled and stared those who might fight him for her.
Eris touched his face and his chest, "Will you come away with me? Will you leave your ship?"
Thetis, the nymph of the ocean and Achilles mother appeared by Patroklos' side, silhouetted in mist. "Patroklos, my dear child, get up; my son needs you now more than ever. He is blinded by her spell and you are not." She put food into his mouth and courage into his heart. "Here is a spear; I will help you drive her away." He took the spear and got up, hidden away by the mist.
With Thetis' help Patroklos' reached Eris unaware, squeezing the spear with nervousness. "Do it; spear her, it won't kill her, but it will drive her away." "I cannot, Achilles is too close." Thetis shook her head, "He cannot be killed that way." Patroklos looked at her with disbelief but there was no time for an explanation. He raised the spear and stuck it into both of them. They screamed and Eris' disguise melted away to leave a woman with mismatched gold and amber eyes and thick black hair. She hissed in pain and disappeared, angered, but shocked someone would stab her.
Thetis took the mist away and Patroklos ran to his friend's side, cradling his body in his lap. "Oh Achilles, I am sorry." He touched the wound in his stomach. Achilles chuckled, "If not for you I would have been led astray and you men would have been lost." He spoke and sat up, the wound on his stomach already healing with his divine powers.
"It wasn't just me; Thetis landed a hand in your rescue." Achilles smiled but his mother had already gone, giving them protection and a powerful wind that would bring them to Troy unharmed and undetected.
Achilles took Patroklos' chin and brushed his lips over his. "This is why you are my trusted companion. Now come on, we should clean the blood off of our bodies, we'll be arriving soon." He stood up and led the other man towards the bottom of the ship.