If I Never Knew You…
"Too late for prayer, Priestess" Briseis gasped as the coarse voice of the High King of Greece rang through her ear. Moving quickly, Agamemnon grabbed a fistful of her hair and pulled her up from her kneeling position. Briseis let out a small whimper of pain as he pulled her up, but she would not let him see her pain. "I almost lost this war because of your little romance". Unafraid, Briseis stared at him as her eyes filled with all the hate she felt towards this disgusting pig. Oblivious to the fierce emotions in her eyes, Agamemnon began to taunt the girl he held, his own eyes darkening with vile thoughts. "You'll be my slave in Mycenae, a little Trojan Priestess scrubbing my floors. And at night…" He smirked as he left the sentence open, his eyes gliding over her veiled body. Without saying a word, Briseis sank her hidden dagger into the soft spot between the head and the shoulder. The King gasped in surprise as he felt the coolness of the dagger enter his flesh. Keeping her eyes on him, Briseis pulled the blood covered dagger out and watched as the High King gasped for air.
"Nothing is easier" She whispered as he took his final breath. As his lifeless body fell to the ground, Briseis tried to make a run for it only to be caught by the two guards that had come with Agamemnon. One of them wrapped his arms around her tightly as she struggled to get away from them while the other guard raised his sword.
"Hold her" He said as he tried to line up a shot to Briseis' heart. Briseis would not stop trying to get away even though the guard that held her was very strong. As she saw the other guard raise his sword for the death blow, she closed her eyes and prayed either for someone to save her or for her death to be quick and painless. But she never did feel the cool metal on her skin, instead she was flung to the side and a shot of pain tore through her ankle. Opening her eyes, Briseis saw Achilles kill the guards as easily as if they were mere insects. Turning to his lover, Achilles' eyes softened as he leaned down to help her to her feet.
"Come with me" He said quietly as he wrapped his arms around her and gently began to pull her up to her feet. Putting her arm around his neck for support, Briseis allowed him to pull her up and breathed a sigh of relief. Letting her eyes wander, Briseis gasped as her eyes landed on the sight of her cousin pulling back the catgut string of his bow with his arrow aimed at Achilles.
"NO!" She screamed as Paris loosed the arrow. She watched as the arrow flew towards Achilles, whose back was still turned. The arrow hit its mark as it pierced through his heel, causing him to gasp in surprise and reel back. Turning to face his attacker, Achilles raised his sword and stood up, protectively pushing Briseis out of the way. Terrified of the Greek warrior, Paris released two more arrows into Achilles' chest. Ignoring Briseis' protests and sobs, Paris lined up his final shot. Forgetting the pain in her ankle, Briseis raised herself to her feet and ran to the ledge where Paris stood.
"PARIS! DON'T!" She screamed up at her cousin in desperation as he pulled the string back again. Releasing the arrow, Paris smiled with satisfaction as it buried itself right next to Achilles' heart, a lethal if slow blow. He watched as Achilles sank to his knees on the grass, expecting Briseis to run from the murderer. But, to his complete astonishment, Briseis ran to Achilles and knelt on the grass with him. One of his arms circled around her waist and pulled her close as his other hand cupped at her face, allowing his thumb to tenderly caress her cheek.
"It's alright, it's alright…" He whispered softly as he wiped away her tears.
"I'm so sorry…" She choked out as she buried her head in the crook of his shoulder. He took in a long breath of her hair and forced his mind to commit it to memory.
"For what, this?" He asked "this isn't your fault"
"It would have been better if we'd never met," Briseis said as she pulled her head from his shoulder and wound her fingers through his hair "None of this would have happened and you'd still be-"
"Briseis, look at me" Achilles gently cut over her. He knew he would die tonight, but he would die a better man. He'd die a man who had known what it was to love another with all his heart "I'd rather die this night… Than live for all eternity never knowing you" They looked deeply into each other's eyes, blue meeting brown and a moment of pure truth was shared between them. Stroking her hair softly, Achilles began to sing to her the song that his heart had kept inside from the moment he'd first met her.
"If I never knew you If I never felt this love I would have no inkling of How precious life can be If I never held you I would never have a clue How at last I'd find in you The missing part of me In this world so full of fear Full of rage and lies I can see the truth so clear In your eyes So dry your eyes And I'm so grateful to you I'd have lived my whole life through Lost forever If I never knew you"
Looking deep into her heart, Briseis found the voice that she had held back for so long. Now it could be free. Glancing away from her lovers face, Briseis saw with some fascination that it was a full moon, a time for change.
"I thought our love would be so beautiful Somehow we'd make the whole world bright I never knew that fear and hate could be so strong All they'd leave us were these whispers in the night But still my heart is saying we were right For if I never knew you (There's no moment I regret) If I never knew this love (Since the moment that we met) I would have no inkling of (If our time has gone too fast) How precious life can be (I've lived at last)
"Briseis?" Paris asked as he came down from the ledge to stand by his cousin, only now understanding what was transpiring between the famed warlord and his cousin. Briseis didn't respond to her cousin, her attention only on Achilles.
"You gave me peace," He said, his voice raspy with smoke inhalation coming from the burning city below "in a lifetime of war". Leaning in, Briseis kissed her lover. Unlike many of the other kisses they had shared, this one was soft and chaste, yet still full of passion. Pulling from the kiss for air, Briseis let her fingers wander over his face, remembering every bump and feature.
"I can't leave you" She whispered as he took both her hands in one of his. Smiling faintly, Achilles placed one of his hands over her heart, feeling each and every beat.
"You never will," He whispered back "I'll always be with you if you just remember me" Moving his hand from her heart to her cheek, Achilles and Briseis finished their song.
"And I'm so grateful to you I'd have lived my whole life through Empty as the sky (Never knowing why) Lost forever, if I never knew you (Lost forever if I never knew you)"
"Go" He told her; afraid that if she tarried much longer his country-men would find them. She and her cousin needed to get out of the city and live; he would not see her die tonight. She shook her head and buried her head in the crook of his neck once more. He embraced her and took a long breath of her hair, the intoxicating smell easing any pains he felt.
"You must go, Briseis. Troy is falling and I must die with it, but at least I'll know you're safe" He begged as Paris stepped up to the couple and put a hand on his cousin's shoulder.
"We must go, Briseis," He said as he kept his eyes on Achilles "I know a way out" Achilles met his eyes and he understood the silent thanks that Achilles gave him.
"Go" Achilles whispered to his love as he released her hands. Unable to say anything, Briseis kissed him one last time.
"Go" He said as he gave her a small nudge in Paris' direction. Tears still in her eyes, Briseis finally stood up and let Paris grab her arm as he pulled her away from her love. As she ran, Briseis kept her eyes on Achilles until they rounded a corner and he left her sight forever. Achilles watched her leave, his sight becoming dimmer with every second as his breathing slowed. When she rounded the corner and was out of his sight, he sent a prayer to Apollo and Athena to protect her. As his last breaths left his body, Achilles slumped onto the grass and looked at the night sky for a second. Despite his blurring vision, he could still make out the stars and the moon watching him, though his thoughts still lingered on Briseis. Closing his eyes, Achilles released his last breath and neither heard nor saw anything again.