Yay! New chapter, up and ready to read. This'll also be short, but longer than before.
Don't own Troy, The Illiad, Greek Mythology.
Chapter One: The Fallen
Breseis clung to her dying lover, swearing to Juno she would do anything to keep his heart beating, to keep her Achilles by her side. But he instructed her to leave him, commanded her she escape the dying city of Troy, despite her desperate attempts to remain with him.
"Take her," Achilles locked eyes with Paris, and her cousin nodded, gripping her under arms and began to drag her away forcefully.
"No!" She fought, as Achilles hand fell from her cheek. "I will not leave you!"
His smile was soft, showing her the content he found in the embrace of Pluto.
"You gave me peace," he told her, in attempt to ease the blow of his tragic fate, "In a time of war."
She sobbed openly, allowing Paris to lift her from the dying, shuddering section of earth that had become of the great city of Troy. She abandoned him, left him to face Pluto and Proserpine alone, and she cursed herself for it.
'Achilles,' she sent a prayer to the Gods, so they might allow her to remain with him after her own blessed death, 'Oh, sweet, fleet-footed hero, I will love you, and only you, for all of my days…'
Achilles expected to find himself on the far edge of the river Styx, had believed that he would have met the boatman, Charon, who would shake his empty palm awaiting his payment for the ferry-ride to the Underworld. But it was not so. He stood, he believed, on the beach of Troy, free of invading ships and pieces of drift wood. He stood, bearing his unmarred and clean skin to the sun, missing scars he had sustained in battle.
"Achilles, son Peleus," a voice, soft and smooth, like a pebble from a fast running river, spoke his title; he turned to see a woman, blonde and beautiful, standing close behind him.
He faced her, uncaring of his state of dress.
"Who are you?"
She smiled, a darkness in her rising to the surface, one the felled warrior could see and brought a strange tightness to his chest.
"All that is done, can be undone," she eyed his form, "but only if you wish it."
Achilles questioned her cryptic statement, but she merely toed the Aegean Sea, allowing her grey robes to darken with the touch of the waves.
"If you could have Breseis back, would you accept her?"
Achilles, although shocked, did not waver.
The goddess, as that was obviously what she was, smiled softly.
"Would you change your fate, if you could?"
"Of course, but-"
"And if," she stopped him with a sharp gaze over shoulder, "this opportunity was offered, would you take it?"
"To…return to the living world?"
"To go back, undo what has been done, rectify the outcome," she faced him, her all knowing gaze searing his pale blue eyes.
"Yes," he answered honestly.
She smiled again, before bowing her head in respectful greeting, despite the poor timing of it.
"I am Discordia, goddess of chaos."
Achilles retreated back in shock, and his feet buried into the sand, stopping him from moving any further. He attempted to pull them free, but to no avail.
"Halt, fleet-footed Achilles," Discordia's smile made quick sense now, how it made him so nervous, "I have an offer for you."
"I do not accept," he spat emphatically.
"Hear me, young hero. I am offering you a chance to change your fate."
"You started this war," Achilles stood tall, "You began the contest—"
"Yes, yes, it was my entire fault," she rolled her eyes, "But I wish more chaos on the gods than you pitiful creatures. You merely seem to get in the way."
Achilles eyed her as she continued, moving in a slow circle around his bound feet.
"You are in my realm, ill-fated Achilles. A place where no god, nor seer, nor nymph, or mortal can gaze in and know of our agreement," she gripped his chin in a hand full of sharp claws and raised a golden apple to his eye.
"You can have Breseis, save Patroclus, Hector, Paris, and Astynax, slaughter Agamemnon with your sword, and bring Troy back from the ashes. Do you want it? Answer truthfully, son of Peleus."
Achilles hesitated, before nodding once, solemnly.
"What do you wish from me in return?" Asked the hero, knowing full well a bargain struck meant she acquired something as from him as well.
Discordia smiled, tossing her golden apple idly, a smirk on her lips.
"When you return," she paused to gaze up at him, "You will no longer fight for the Greeks-you shall battle side by side with your very murderer, as an ally of Troy."
Breseis coughed violently, tears forming in her eyes, as her body attempted to exhale the putrid fumes of smoke from the sacking of Troy. Her stomach roiled painfully and she bent, expelling pale liquid from her empty belly. The floors of deep wells of Troy's underground passages turned dark with her bile, and she placed her hand on the course stone walls, the sharpness of it clearing her head.
The defiled priestess placed a hand on her growing womb and begged her child to settle.
Andromache watched her cousin by marriage, but sister by choice, clutch and curl in pain. Truly, she had never witnessed a more difficult pregnancy, hers included, which was a harsh and long struggle. The childless widow did not hate beloved of Achilles-for she knew that Cupid's arrow was as fatal as Paris' had been.
"Easy," Andromache pulled Breseis' once shiny curls from her sweating, flushed face. "Do not strain yourself. Rest, my cousin. Your child begs you rest."
The younger woman shook her head briskly, "No, we must continue, lest we risk discovery, and with it, death."
Indeed, there were a few times when the group of women were able to fend off raiders from the city of Troy, after they had found the passage ways and began to search for survivors and escapees. Paris had died shortly after he had saved Breseis and slaughtered Achilles, and Helen gave herself up to the men that searched the caverns, and they quickly stripped her of her head and limbs, leaving her to float endlessly as a spirit, lost.
"I will not allow you to lose this babe, Breseis," Andromache snapped, the loss of Astynax bringing tears to her eyes, "Not for stubbornness."
"We all will die if we do not leave this place," she fired back, mouth still wet with her lost nutrients.
"Drink," Andromache attempted to give her water, but the small, weaker woman denied her.
"Nay," she stood straight, "We no longer have Hector, nor Achilles, nor Paris to protect us. We must move quickly-acquire food, water, shelter," she pulled her cousin forward, "Then I will rest my weary body."
"Then you will birth your child," Andromache smiled softly, knowingly, "And we will praise the gods for Pandora's sole gift in her box of curses."
The two women rested their open palms over the crest of the priestess' growing body.
"Hope," Breseis whispered.
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