Children of Ares

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  1. The sun had barely risen as the young boys were ushered out of their barracks and into the fields for practice. Despite the temperature dropping below twenty degrees, each one only wore a thin tunic. They were paired off to spar as the instructor, a rather muscular man dressed in a thick tunic, boots and a heavy cloak draped over his shoulders, paced between them correcting stances or strikes where needed. He hardly ever grinned and took little interest in the boys who seemed to be weaker than the others, choosing rather to focus on the ones who showed the most promise for only they would be called Spartans.

    Athanasios was one of those boys. Hypatos, the instructor, seemed to enjoy pairing Athanasios to boys who were bigger and stronger than he was, but that was almost impossible to avoid. Athanasios had been born the first healthy child of his parents and in their pride of him had named him, immortal. The gods seemed to find offense to that pride and cursed him with a small stature. He had always been smaller and weaker than all the others but it didn't mean he stopped trying to best them. Even now, he sparred with ferocity despite knowing he would lose. He couldn't give up. Ever. To do so would mean he would bring shame to his entire family, though he had done that sufficiently since he was so much smaller than the others.

    Hypatos straightened and clapped his hands together to get the boys attentions, "Enough, save your strength for the demonstration later today. For now, do your conditioning," Hypatos pulled his cloak corner as he turned about and headed back toward the city leaving the boys to their conditioning.

    The boys gathered into two lines side by side, Athanasios took he back as always. He had tried a few times to move forward only to be bullied or, worse, beaten to the back. Krios, one of the largest of boys and one who's parents had thought much of his future considering his name meant ruler or king, took his place in the front.

    "Try to keep up, Athos," he called out and the other boys snickered.

    "Worry not, Krios, I'll not fall behind," even though he knew he would fall behind, Athos, a shorter version of his name, always hoped and prayed that he would one day surpass the boys that treated him so cruelly and prove to everyone that he was worthy of being called a Spartan.

    "We will see," returned Krios.

    The run was as gruesome as ever. They ran the perimeter of the city and then down the Eurotas River until they reached their marker. Athos did his best to keep up, but in the end, he arrived in the city only an hour before the demonstrations would commence. It was hardly time to prepare himself, but it would do. A true Spartan would be ready to fight no matter the circumstances.

    His parents awaited him as he walked into his home. The scent of dinner long gone as he had finished too late to enjoy it. It was something he had grown used to and part of him began to believe that it was their way of trying to kill him off. He was weak and a disappointment. He also brought shame on the family because of that. This was something he always tried to remedy through hardwork.

    "Athanasios, are you prepared for the demonstrations?" His mother asked. Her steel blue eyes bore right through him.

    "Yes, mother," he nodded.

    "You know all the Spartan girls will be there to gauge the worth of the boys. This is your chance to show them your strength and become a serious contender for the heart of one of the young women," she replied.

    "I know, mother," Athos returned. He had dreaded this day since he had heard of its coming. He had eyes for several of the girls but none of them would dare look at him twice once they saw how weak he was. He would never be a proper Spartan until he did something that proved to all of them his worth. Hopefully he could do that today, otherwise, his parents would never see him as anything more than a failure. A son who was weak would never make a Spartan nor a father to continue on their legacy.
  2. The morning light beat down on the backs of a group of young girls. It was the smallest group of girls in any of the generations but they were, by far, the most beautiful. Even for ten year olds it was obvious that they would all grow into beautiful women of Sparta. But only one of them excelled beyond all of the girls. She laid on her belly letting the sun light warm her before she would get up. Hair as dark as the night sky and eyes as green as the lush olive trees, a gift from the god Ares, to her mother who was thought to be unable to have children. And so her mother and father gave her the name of Calistenia, which meant beauty and strength, and while she was beautiful beyond imagining, she was not a weak woman. Her father made sure of this.

    Every morning she trained with swords and spears like the boys her age and while she would never be apart of the Spartan army, she could defend Sparta from anyone. And even in the small training exercises the girls did, she was the best, but there was a difference. Calistenia did not rub it into the others faces. Her pride was controlled by her humbleness and family honor, something her father taught her intensely.

    But that morning she was with the other girls, out on the roof after a night of watching the stars and talking about the demonstrations. She was nervous, because she had no desire for any of the boys. They were all annoying and she'd much rather continue on with her training and studies then watch boys beat each other into bloody mess's. "You must respect the Spartan ways and the traditions. Even though none of those boys will ever be enough for you." Her fathers words echoed in her mind and she sat up, her hair cascading down her shoulders in a mess of black curls. The others had blonde, light brown maybe the random dark brown but she was the only one with black hair, like Ares himself and eyes as green and clear as emeralds. She had heard some of her fathers friends describe her as an exotic gift from Ares himself. However, she did not think that was true... but she would never know.

    Calistenia looked out towards the horizon, faintly being able to make out the moving shapes of the boys during their morning run. Her legs itched to run as well, but the girls had been told they did not have to train at all that day. They had to prep for the demonstration.

    "What was there to prep for?" she asked herself softly.

    Her bare back had been warmed by the sunlight of the rising sun and just like clockwork, Laica, the woman put in charge of teaching the girls how to treat wounds and other medical treatments, emerged from the house below to wake the girls up so that we could all return home to get ready. "Come, it's going to take all day to ready yourselves fr the demonstration today. Hurry along," the older woman's voice caused the others to stir groggily. Calistenia was the only one already awake and like always, she was the first one with her sandals on and making her way down the steps to the road. "Cale [Kal-eh]! Wait for us!" the voice of a few other girls caused her to stop and wait for them. A pair of twins, golden locks that were straight and pale blue eyes, Adara and Alatea. And another girl was pale brown hair, almost blonde but not quite, with dark brown eyes, Voleta. These were her friends, sometimes she was caught up in her mind that she forgot to stop and think of them. Calistenia offered a small smile to the others when the reached her and began chatting and giggling away. As they walked towards their homes, the boys began to reach the city and the twins giggled when the boys they thought were handsome passed by. Voleta even dared to wave at the boys, smiling in her way. But Calistenia just looked at the boys, her emerald eyes watching them with an intensity that she was known for. It was the stare she adopted from her father, right hand man and the king's dearest friend and general.

    "If I knew any better, you were trying to make them terrified of you, Cale," Voleta said, giggling as she moved to stand next to Calistenia. "Then your smarter then most, Voleta," she said, looking to her friend, her eyes softening as she offered the girl a smile.

    After letting Adara and Alatea gawk over the boys a little longer, Calistenia and Voleta were able to drag them away so the four could continue home. And like always, they left Adara and Alatea at home first and then walked back to their houses, which were next door to each other. Their steps were the only sounds on the road at this time, especially in this section of the city. But before they reached their homes, Voleta spoke.

    "I know you don't care for the demonstrations, Cale... but I think out of all of us, the boys are hoping to catch your eye," she admitted to Calistenia before they were to part ways.

    Calistenia just shook her head. And she waited a moment, watching as Voleta walked into her home. "I don't want this to be the way they catch our eye's..." she whispered to herself as she stood there, now alone. But she did not let more then a moment pass as she made her way to her home, walking into the cozy and warm home she grew up in for all of her life. The smell of smoke filled her nose. "The fire is burning," she thought to herself. Her mother must be preparing a bath.

    Her mother soon appeared, a warm smile on her face. Calistenia could never feel alone with her mother with her. The warmth was welcoming and wonderful, even on today, a day she had been dreading. She walked towards her mother who engulfed her in a warm embrace as a 'hello' and 'welcome home'. "Are you excited for today?" her mother asked, after pulling away from their small embrace. Calistenia shook her head. "No, I'd rather not go, mother," she spoke honestly. The older, gentler woman smiled, sadly and nodded her head once more. "I know, child, but this is a right of all Spartan children," a small reminder but it was in her fathers voice. Her father believed in the Spartan way but he believed in honesty, intelligence, honor and strength. "But not to worry, we will both be with you today," her mothers words gave her a small comfort even though she did not want to go, at least her parents would be there. Her father would at least make sure all the girls were respected properly.

    "Now, lets start preparing you for the demonstration. I want you to make a strong impression on those boys," her mother said, smiling happily to Calistenia, who smiled in return and nodded her head.

    Hours passed and Calistenia was ready and now waiting for her mother and father to finish preparing. Her mother had helped her pull her hair back slightly from her face. She usually had it loose and wild. Along with fine leather to keep her black curls back, her mother had surprised her with a dress made especially for today, a simple white tunic that dipped slightly in the back just like the other girls. But her father surprised her with a simple necklace. It was a thin gold chain with an emerald pressed into the center of a small gold disk.

    "Something for my most precious daughter," he had said in a whisper to her, making her smile happily. He always gave her and her mother little trinkets like this as tokens of the love he had for them, but never spoke of out loud.

    "Come, it's time we leave and make our way to the Patheos," her fathers voice caught her attention as she sat by the window, playing with one of her curls. Her mother, who had disappeared to ready herself, suddenly appeared, dressed modestly, yet beautifully and as a family, they all exited their home to make their way to the Patheos to enjoy that generations demonstrations.
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  3. The Patheos was filled when Athos arrived. He had hoped to arrive early enough to beat the crowd, but it seemed the whole city had arrived to see these boys compete for status and the rift to pursue a girl of their age or younger. Athos had made up his mind concerning which girl he would be pursuing as he scanned the crowd of girls that had been seated in a sectioned off area. His eyes blue orbs fell on her at last and he smiled.

    Calistenia was the fairest of all the girls in Sparta and no doubt the one that all of the boys were hoping to win over. Most would call him foolish for setting his goal so high, but when he saw the beauty of her face and the strength and intellect of her mind through those emerald eyes, he couldn't help but know that she would make the finest Spartan woman to ever exist. He would be more honored to win her than she would be to have been won by him.

    Athos was sent to the armory without his parents bidding him good luck. In fact, they had not arrived with him, fairly certain that doing so would reflect negatively upon him. It broke his heart to know his parents cared so little of him, but he could not show such emotion. He had to remain strong in order to focus.

    The matches commenced not long after he arrived in the armory. He could hear the cries of the losers as well as the victors as he bound the leather cuffs around his wrists and pulled the blue tunic over his head. Every boy wore the same outfit so that non were given the disadvantage as far as equipment was concerned.

    Finally silence fell over the Patheos as his name was called and that of Krios. The others snickered, who could, as he walked past them and stepped into the afternoon sun. He turned to pull strength from his father only to find that his parents had stood and were walking away. They had given up on their son. To do such a deed was to wish nothing more than that he had never existed. Athos hung his head as Krios arrived.

    "Athos, I won't go easy," he promised.

    Athos looked up at him and raised his fists in defense, "I would have nothing less, Krios."

    With the words spoken, both boys charged each other. Athos ducked a wild swing and brought his fist around connecting it with Krios's jaw. The crunch made from the blow made him smirk but the damage wasn't enough to stop Krios. In his moment of personal triumph, Athos had failed to ensure his guard and Krios took notice.

    Krios struck and this time he made contact. Athos felt pain shoot through his side like he had never felt before. Unlike him, Krios didn't take the time to celebrate. The future Spartan kicked out Athos' feet and mounted him. Athos had no time to raise a defense before Krios began reigning blows. Each hit forced Athos' head back causing damage as it bounced off the floor. His vision blurred, his head hurt from every direction. He had been beaten in spars before, but his was brutal and the instructors were doing nothing to stop it.

    Finally, Athos put his hands up and called out, "Please, no more. Stop!"

    The entire Patheos fell silent once again. Athos had yielded during the demonstration. He had surrendered during a fight.

    Krios stood to his feet, a smile spread wide across his lips before he spit on Athos and spoke, "Now everyone sees you for how weak you truly are," Krios then turned his back on Athos. It was a sign of disgust.

    Athos struggled to his feet. His vision had cleared but he was in tremendous pain. He took in the silence of the crowd but it was the girls his eyes stopped on. Each one of them had seen him surrender during the demonstration. Each one of them had seen how weak he was. Now standing, covered in his own blood, Athos watched as each girl, some in groups and others individually, turned their backs on him. With each set of shoulders turned, Athos felt his heart break all the more. If no one wanted him, then why had the gods allowed his birth? If loneliness was all he would ever feel, then why were the gods so cruel as to make him suffer it? What had he ever done to dishonor them?

    His eyes fell on the last girl who had yet to turn and somehow he knew it didn't matter. Celistenia was a strong and beautiful girl. Shd deserved a man of equal or greater strength. Athos knew he would never be that man. Still, a part of him hoped that she would not turn from him. Part of him hoped that someone in this culture of warriors saw the value in a boy who tried his hardest. It was a fools dream. He was a fool.
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  4. Calistenia walked with her parents, keeping her head high just as her father taught her. She felt bored already and it showed on her face as they entered the Patheos. There were other girls, other boys and the men who trained the boys, but she did not look at any of the boys even if they stood straight as she passed by. All the girls were prizes to be won and Calistenia would not pick any of the boys. None of them would earn her eyes... because this was a cowards way to impress anyone. "Cale!" Voleta's voice woke her from her thoughts and she looked towards her friends, looking at her parents, who shook their heads. She would have to remain with her parents for the demonstration. "Katópin[Afterwards]!" she called in return, watching as Voleta nodded her head.

    The family sat down but her father, of course was approached by a few of the instructors. Her father had not been chosen to be an instructor, only because he had a daughter and it did not seem fair to the other boys if he trained one of them to be his daughters husband. At least that was the rumor. She always thought it was because the king wanted soldiers not dead children. She didn't see how her father could be tougher then any of the other instructors. He was tough on her and she did just fine, but then again, she was rumored to be blessed by Ares.

    She felt eyes on her but she ignored it, looking at the Patheos, the old stone that crumbled in certain places. She could almost imagine how it originally looked like when it was first constructed.

    Laughter wafted up gently to her ears and she looked down, locking eyes with one of the boys. He was different then the other boys. He was smaller then the other boys but for some reason he only looked at her. His gaze wasn't like the others, like she was a prize to be won. It was a gaze of adoration and respect. She felt her cheeks redden ever so slightly but she pretended to be hot touching her cheeks lightly and looking at her lap.

    As the boys were announced, she watched as the smaller boy stood still and another boy walked towards him. The boy was huge and it was an unfair advantage. The demonstration was to show off each boys strengths to the girls, not beat a boy into a bloody pulp. "Father... this is wrong..." she said out loud. "Hush Calistenia," he dismissed her like it was nothing. "No, this not tradition, this is gladiatorial," she argued, looking a little worried.

    Once again she was ignored and she scooted to the edge of her seat as the fight began, looking at the fight with anger in her eyes. This was hardly fair to the smaller boy!

    The larger boy was being ruthless, like he was trying to kill the smaller boy. "Father stop this!" Calistenia begged, although her voice was hushed she showed how badly she wanted this to end, but her father just glared at her. But unlike others, she glared right back at her father. "Please, no more. Stop!" the sound of the weaker begging for mercy caused all noise to end. Cale closed her eyes. The larger boy was trying to beat the boy to beg.

    Every girl in the Patheos turned away from the boy who had called for mercy... but his eyes went to her. She was the last girl to turn away from him and if she didn't do so quickly, she would show to everyone she chose him. "Calistenia..." her mothers voice called to her but still she did not turn away from the boy. Suddenly she was jerked away, her fathers tight grip on her upper arm as he forced her to turn away from the boy. "Áfi̱sé mou[Let go of me!]!" she yelled, pulling at her fathers grip. She suddenly kicked her fathers thigh, causing the older male to grunt in pain and let go of her. Anger filled her face as she pulled away and then ran out of the Patheos. Voleta ran after her while her father glared at her back as she ran.

    That was the first time she had ever fought her father in public. But her respect for Spartan traditions had been challenged and she was not going to back down.

    She had not wanted to choose the boy but she didn't want to turn away. "Cale! Periménete[Wait!]! Argá káto̱!" Voleta called as she tried to catch up with Calistenia as she ran, but Calistenia did not slow down, not until she reached the cliffs where the olive trees grew. Once she reached one of the trees, she climbed up into the branches and leaned against the trunk, hiding in the leaves. The sound of foot steps. She could hear Voleta panting from having to suddenly sprint.

    "Cale... Cale come to me," she begged softly. This was the first time Calistenia had ever looked so upset about something.

    Minutes passed but suddenly an arm reached down and Voleta grabbed onto it and climbed up onto her own branch, shock on her face seeing Calistenia crying and looking angrier then she had ever seen her.

    "That wasn't part of tradition Voleta... the demonstration is to show of the boys strengths... not to beat a boy until he begs for mercy," she said angrily. "Those i̱líthioi[idiots] are no Spartans. They are cowards. Like those fat pigs of Rome watching gladiators fight to the death," she ranted on, her tears were tears of anger and hatred. "I'm not even a boy and I would be a better Spartan then them," she continued on, suddenly punching the tree, crying out from the pain.

    As she pulled her hand back, she could see her blood start to pool on her knuckles. She had cut her knuckles open. "Cale stop!" Voleta cried, taking her injured hand. "I know your angry... but there is nothing we can do," Voleta said softly, worry lined in her voice.

    "I know that!" she yelled as she pulled her hand back from Voleta, but not rough enough to hurt her friends feelings. "What is making me so angry is that my father did nothing but watch like they did!" her voice cracked with pain and she hid her face into the trees trunk as she cried. Calistenia looked up to her father and thought of him as a true Spartan... but now he had damaged her image of him. He was not a true Spartan either.

    "Voleta... I just want to be alone... go back... before your father and my father show up," she begged, still upset, but all she wanted was to be alone.

    One thing she appreciated about Voleta was that she knew when to leave Calistenia alone. The other girl nodded her head and, with Cale's help, she climbed down the tree and left her best friend alone.


    The sun was starting to set and the cold of the night was making Calistenia shiver slightly as she still sat up in the tree, hiding from her father. She knew he was angry with her but she did not care. Her image of him was twisted and nothing like she had always seen him to be. But as the sun set, she felt her eyes close and she hugged herself, falling asleep high in the tree. And, as luck would have it, just as she fell asleep, her father came walking up the hillside. He had calmed down after so many hours and now he was just worried for his daughters well being.

    He had found out from Calistenia's friend where his daughter might be and so he went there with orders from his wife to bring their daughter home or to not come home to sleep in his bed. He didn't really care about his bed though. All he wanted was to bring Calistenia home.

    Looking around, he finally looked up and spotted his daughter, asleep, cuddled up against the tree.

    He sighed and with quick movements, he made his way up, carefully because his weight could snap the tree branches. But he gently scooped up his daughter and climbed back down, noting her bloody knuckles and how they had started to heal. He would have to clean them when they returned home, but from the chill of his daughters body and how the child cuddled closer to his warmth in her sleep, he knew she was safe.

    What he didn't understand was why she did not turn away from that boy? And why did she react in such a way?
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  5. Athos limped out of the Patheos after everyone had left. No way would he dare show his face after such failure. He was a Spartan blessed to a set of parents who could not have children and yet, he was a disgrace to them. Not surprising at all was the fact that his parents had not waited for him. Instead they had left their son to suffer alone just as everyone else had. It had always been this way, but for once he had hoped that things would be different. He had hoped that he would be accepted because of his dedication and hardwork. The Fates would not be so kind it seemed.

    Athos used his right arm to support himself against the wall, his left arm hugged at his stomach. Surely he had broken several ribs while he took his beating but he had to do his best to not show it. Athos moved through the streets of Sparta late at night. The cold air biting mercilessly at had body of the young man who's parents had even taken his coat. They had wanted him to suffer for the shame he had brought upon them. His body formed goosebumps and his teeth clattered as he approached the door to his home. His bruised, linen wrapped hand wrapped around the handle but when he pushed to open it, the door didn't budge. His father had bolted it shut.

    Athos hung his head and after beating on the door with no avail, he left. It seemed as hos Athos would now sleep only on the streets of Sparta as one of the shamed.
    "One week, boys, that's how long we were told to be out here. It's freezing and we were to do this on our own," Telios complained yet again as he sat on the tree stump that made his chair.

    It had been three years since Athos had been humiliated and time had not been all that more kind to him. Though he had put on some muscle, he was still smaller than the others. He had been sleeping on the streets since that day and had be public ally denounced by his father and mother. The only reason that Hypatos continued to allow him to train was because he made a good beating dummy. But this rite of passage would be his way of proving to everyone they were wrong. He had come prepared and even stayed apart from the rest of the group so he would not get distracted. The others were foolish enough to think it was because of them. That they made him isolated.

    Along with a feeling of loneliness, Athos had developed a deep hatred for everyone in Sparta...everyone but Calistenia. Despite her turning her back that day, he knew she had done it only because she was forced. Calistenia knew what it meant to be a Spartan and it wasn't this sick twisted ideal that the city had adopted now.

    Athos pulled on the fur coat that hung about his shoulders. He had skinned it himself seeing that he had no parents to bestow such gifts upon him. At fourteen seasons there was much the boy could do that he should not have, but none of that was ever noticed. His hands worked deftly at the spear he had to created seeing as he had no father to pass one down to him. The wooden planks he had fastened together served as the counterpart to the bronze one the others carried. He was far less prepared but far more determined.

    Athos had been keeping his ear low and had caught a hint that they had been being hunted. Instead of informing the other boys, he was goi to use this opportunity to prove that he was a true Spartan. That if there was anyone to be ashamed of, it was the rest of the city for their twisted ideals of strength. The others had been so busy chatting, they didn't hear the twig snap. Athos had.

    The younger boy stood to his feet slowly and sunk into the shadows of that bitterly cold night. This was his chance to prove to them that he was a Spartan. Who knows, maybe the wolf would even kill a couple of them before he had to drive his spear through its flank.
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  6. The years that passed had been kind to Calistenia. She grew with grace and beauty, but she had a ferocity and passion with her actions and words that the rumors that Ares had blessed her only grew. Although she was only thirteen, the older girls allowed her to fight against them and she won in most cases. And whenever she lost she learned from her mistakes and came back with a vengeance and won. She was not one to mess with, just like her father.

    That day when she woke up in her fathers arms walking up to their home, she jumped out of his arms. They fought in the street, arguing until she made her point. And then she told him that she no longer saw him as the perfect Spartan man because he let those cowards continue until the boy cried out for mercy. After that night, Calistenia rarely speaks to her father unless he speaks to her first. Their lessons continue and she became rougher in their training sessions, fighting back with all of her strength against her father, showing him how disappointed she was in him. And even though he would sometimes show he was hurt by her actions, he never said anything about it. Her mother does not understand but she knows not to get in between the two.

    Calistenia heard about what happened to the boy, how his parents disowned him and now he lived on the streets and she found this to be unfair. So she used her pocket money to buy the boy food, and a few supplies to get him through the years. She made sure he never knew it was her, but she always hid the items behind him while he slept, covering her face just in case. She's left him twine, old knives, sacs to carry his belongings, a needle and thread and a lamb skin canteen so he could carry water with him.

    Even the day before he left for the week long journey, she found him and left him a ring, a simple metal band that was still too big to fit on his finger so she fashioned it onto a strip of braided leather and a note from her.
    "May the gods be with you- C"

    Was all the note said to him. This was the first time she had ever left him a note and she hoped he came back... because if he did not, she would not know what to do.

    "Where were you?" her fathers voice would have startled her a year earlier but now she did not care. "In the city," she said, truthfully. He narrowed his eyes to her. "Don't believe me if you want," she added walking further into the house, closing the door behind her. "You were leaving something for that boy... weren't you?" he asked, looking at her. Her eyes narrowed now and she finally looked at him. "And what of it?" she countered, her anger raising. "What of your image? Our image!" he yelled at her. "Image means nothing to the Gods nor did they matter to our ancestors. What have I to fear from what others think of me?!" she yelled back at him, causing his eyes to widen.

    "He was humiliated and then abandoned by his coward of a father. I am the only one in this city that is behaving as a true spartan. When will you open your eyes?" she asked, pushing passed her father towards her bedroom. But she did not stop there, climbing out her window to the roof of their home to hide for the night. She also wanted to watch Athos run to the meeting ground which she could see from the roof.

    Her father sat down at the table and sighed, hearing his daughter climb up onto the roof of their home. He knew she was right... but things were different and she would have to understand that.

    When morning finally came, Calistenia woke up and stood up on her roof, watching as the boys grouped together for their week long right of passage. She felt her hand reach up and grab a hold of her necklace. "Gods... watch over him..." she whispered to herself as she watched the boys, the wind blowing her hair to the side as she watched Athos join the group and then leave with them, running behind them, keeping his distance just like she knew he would.


    It had been five days since the boys had left for their week long right of passage. Calistenia had spent a few of those days alone by the olive tree, but on the fifth day, Voleta asked her to go with her to the town and Cale agreed. And together, the two most beautiful girls of that generation walked through the town together, watching as children ran around playing together. "I heard through the grape vine Krios is determined to win your hand in marriage," Voleta brought that topic up and Calistenia rolled her eyes. "I'd rather marry a boar then that beast," she said, out loud, causing a few of the women near by to look at her oddly.

    Voleta just smiled and nodded her head. "I agree," she said softly, taking Calistenia's hand. "Lucky for us we have to choose not our fathers," Voleta said before giggling.

    Calistenia finally offered her friend a gentle smile but it faded when she saw Athos's mother buying some food. Calistenia felt her anger boil up as she continued to glare at the older woman who finally looked up and turned to see her face and the glare in the young girls eyes. It was different then the other looks the other people gave the woman. Everyone pitied her for being blessed only to have her son be a weakling. Calistenia was the only who looked at the woman with disgust.

    "Let's head back... shall we," Voleta said softly, turning to walk away, tugging Calistenia with her, but Cale glared at the woman until she finally turned away and walked away with Voleta. "I hope she never brings another child onto this earth," Calistenia said, out loud once more. "She does not deserve to be blessed a second time after what she has done to her son," the younger female continued on even with the disapproving glances from the older women. The younger girl looked back at them, glaring at them until they looked away. Her eyes were that of her father and no one could look at the rage in her eyes for long.

    Two days remained.
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  7. "Athos," Krios called out from his perch not far from the entrance to the camp, "We need more wood. Why don't you make yourself useful and fetch us more. We all know you won't be returning anyway so the least you could do for Sparta is ensure that her real men return healthy," the other boys snickered but Athos didn't pull his eyes away. They stared at the spear he had created and inspected in for flaws. It was not as true as a spartan weapon but it would do its job when the time arrived, "Did you hear me?" Krios frustratingly spoke.

    Speaking quietly, Athos replied, "Get your own damned wood," the sound of a twig snapping was heard by only him.

    Krios rose to his feet and bowed up immediately. Athos had challenged his authority, "What did you say to me?" Athos rose his index finger to his lips, his eyes locked onto the camp edge and he hushed the bully. Krios didn't take to kindly to that and started toward Athos who slipped into the shadows of the night, "Coward!" He yelled out, "Don't come back either!"

    The others rose as well, all without their weapons. Fools, Athos thought as he watched on from his station. They were so unprepared for what was coming. On queue, three massive wolves darted out of the woods. The first boy fell immediately. Athos would have tried to remember his name, but he didn't care. They would get what they deserved. A white coat wolf moved around Athos as the boy held his breath. It was larger, and smarter than the others as it singled out the alpha of the boys, Krios.

    By now, the boys had retrieved their weapons and had fell two of the wolves. Three boys lay dead and one lay wounded, but he would live. Finally, the white wolf stepped out from the snow covered forest and positioned itself behind Krios. The idiot would never see it coming. Athos watched as the wolf hugged the ground, bending its hinde legs to ready for its pounce.

    Now was his moment.

    Athos raised his spear and makeshift shield and tore from hiding. His feet kicked up snow and just as the wolf launched itself, Athos threw himself against its side. The impact launched the wolf across the camp but it quickly recovered and turned its attention on him. Athos charged the wolf as he ran for him and as far as any spartan was concerned, the two met in glorious battle. He managed to drive his spear deep into the beast tearing its heart in pieces but it had landed on him.

    The last wolf, seeing its alpha fallen, darted back into the woods leaving three dead wolves, three dead boys and two injured. One of the other boys hurried to Athos and quickly moved the wolf. Crimson had died the snow read around him and covered his body.

    "Athos, are you alright? That was the most amazing thing I've ever seen," the boy praised him. Athos just stared up at him, his hand clutching his stomach, "What's wrong?" The boy asked.

    "He's dying," Krios spoke bluntly.

    All eyes fell on Athos. The boy clutched his stomach, not because the wolf had landed in him, but because it had ripped him open. The blood that painted the snow was a mix of his own and that of the wolf. He hoped that this one act, saving Krios, would earn him a ride home on his shield. That since death was now inevitable, he would die a hero of Sparta instead of a reject but when his eyes fell on Krios, he saw only anger.

    Some of the boys began to move to his side for they saw his act, but Krios stopped them, "Leave him. This changes nothing. So's is a coward. While we fought, he hid in the bush," the others reluctantly obeyed and Krios leaned over and hooked the white wolf. He was going to take it home as if it were his trophy, "Break camp, it's time to go home."

    Athos watched, dying as the others worked around him. They gathered the bodies of the others and even helped the last stand before, one by one, they disappeared into the night. He had been left to die. He didn't feel sorrow, and perhaps because of the cold or the wound he felt no pain. Only anger boiled under his skin and drove the tears that fell from his eyes. Slowly his eyes grew heavy until just before they closed, he caught the image of someone and felt his body lift from the ground.

    "Hold on, young Spartan," a woman's voice, sweet yet authoritative, demanded he live.
    • Love Love x 1
  8. Calistenia had counted down the hours until the boys returned and as was customary, all the girls went to welcome the boys home, those that survived. Cale was going for only boy, the boy she had prayed to the gods to keep safe. She had gone as far as to go to the temple just outside of the city to pray to Ares and even Athena. It was an odd feeling, praying to them and offering up an offering like the priests instructed her. Her mother told her in private that she had gone to both temples when she lost all hope to have a child. So she went to the temples, in secret, to pray for Athos's well being.

    The morning she got ready, ignoring the look from her father as she dressed for the welcome. But even though she was upset with her father, she always wore the necklace he had given her all those years ago. Just that small token had her father filled with a small amount of hope that Cale did not really hate him... but she was disappointed in him, that much was clear to everyone who saw her.

    "Calistenia, would you like help with your hair?" her mothers voice pulled her attention behind her, looking back at the beautiful older woman. "Yes mother," she said softly, as she pulled out the braided leather she made herself for her hair. It was the same pattern she used for the braided leather that held the ring in place for Athos. Cale sat there as her mother gently brushed her hair, braiding a few strands with the leather and pinning her hair back. It was a simple look but it always had everyone looking at her. She liked it because she felt stronger with her face exposed, showing everyone around her she was no fool. "You look beautiful, Calistenia," her mothers voice pulled her from her thoughts and she looked up, looking at herself in the mirror. It was odd looking at herself, the darkness of her hair and the green of her eyes. She felt like she was not of this world when she looked at herself.

    "Your looking forward to seeing that boy aren't you?" her mother suddenly asked. Cale was taken by surprise. "No, mother... I am not looking forward to seeing anyone," she said softly, looking away, a rosy blush on her cheeks. Her mother just smiled. "Then lets not waste anymore time, Voleta will be here any minute to walk with you," her mother said, smiling happily to her daughter before leaving Cale alone.

    The dark haired female sighed and looked in the mirror once more, looking at herself a moment longer before she stood up from the small wooden stool.

    "You look lovely..." her fathers voice caused her to freeze. She was wearing a longer dress then the other girls, a more modest look for the exotic beauty. Turning to look at her father, her eyes hard. "Any of those boys would be lucky to have you," He admitted softly. "If I ever choose one of them," Cale said, slipping on her sandals. "I'd rather be alone for all of my life then to marry a beast," she said looking at her fathers disapproving look.

    "Cale! Eíste étoimoi(Are you ready?)?" Voleta's voice caused Calistenia to walk towards her father and through the doorway, passed her father. "Érchomai(I'm coming!)!" And with that, Cale left, walking out the door, leaving her father with a worried and disapproving look on his face.

    "Geia sas(Hello), are you ready to see who's left?" Voleta asked, a devious smirk on her face. The brunette was always very wicked when it came to battle. She was the only one of the girls in their generation who could keep up with Calistenia in everything. "Although, I know you will only be looking for one person," Voleta teased as they began walking. Cale shook her head. "Hush you," she said a smile on her face as they made it to the road and continued to walk until they met up with a group of girls and parents of boys who had left.

    Cale remained silent as she walked with Voleta until they reached the gates where the boys would be coming through.

    "I wonder if...." was the common beginning to almost every sentence she heard leave the others mouth. She slowly tuned it out and focused on her own thoughts as she walked through with Voleta. "Here they come," another girl said excitedly causing Voleta and Cale to look towards the gates as the boys slowly trickled in.

    Calistenia looked through the groups of boys that came back hugging parents and looking dirty and tired but happy and proud.

    Where is he? Cale thought to herself as she continued to look through the groups of boys. It was the last group of boys that entered, Athos's group... but the male was not with them. "I don't see him Cale..." Voleta's voice seemed distant to her. How could I have been so stupid? The gods would not listen to my prayers... why would they listen to my prayers? Cale's thoughts were plagued like this and she felt her feet walking out of the crowd towards the boys. She walked passed Krios and his loyal dogs to one of the other boys who was one of her neighbors. "Eínai nekrós....(He's dead...)" the boy whispered to her and Cale felt her body freeze slightly. She nodded her head, not saying anything as she turned away and walked passed all of the boys and passed everyone else, not responding to when Voleta called for her. She felt nothing as she walked, calmly down the road away from the people that had grouped together at the gates.

    Before she knew it, she was back home, taking off the braided leather from her hair and the dress leaving everything on the stool before she kicked the stool into the wall. Her body felt nothing as she destroyed everything in her room. She finally came to when she felt arms hug her. Her father was kneeling down, his arms around her. Her eyes were wide and glassy, tears staining her cheeks. "I'm here Cale... I'm here," her fathers voice was calm as he spoke to her.

    Calistenia shook her head and pulled away from him, still kneeling on the floor. "I'm such a fool..." she whispered out loud, almost laughing as she said it. She had fallen for the weakest boy in Sparta and the boys must have killed him.


    A week had passed and Calistenia had gone everyday to the Patheos, where the older girls fought. She fought until her body gave out. She fought until she could no longer fight and she fought hard.

    That day Voleta and her father had come to watch her as she trained, this time against two girls at once. This time she wielded two sword at once and she battled like she had never battled before. But suddenly she felt her vision go black and then a sharp pain filled her chest. She could hear Voleta screaming her name in the distance and suddenly everything came back to her as she looked down, seeing the large gash on her chest. "Cale!" Voleta's voice filled her ears again and she looked up, seeing her father rushing down to the grounds. But Cale looked up a smile on her face as she felt her legs give out and the pain grew causing her to grimace.

    She felt cold as she let her body, which was exhausted and now bleeding slowly, collapse onto the ground.

    "Keep your eyes open Cale! Keep them open, mo̱ró(baby)!" her fathers voice sounded distant as he pressed one of his large hands against the wound, pulling a cry from her. Everyone in the Patheos looked terrified as the sound echoed through the crumbling place.

    Calistenia just smiled up at her father, letting her eyes close and letting the darkness take her.

    It was finally peaceful, no more sound or numbness. "You can not die Spartan," a deep, male voice filled her head and suddenly the darkness began lightening and her eyes opened, staring up at a familiar ceiling. Slowly all of her feeling returned to her body and she let out a soft cry at the pain on her chest. "Cale?" Her mothers voice caused her look look over, seeing her mother and father kneeled down right next to her bed. It looked like her mother had been crying. "Mo-ther?" she whispered softly, her throat hurting.

    Her mother looked so relieved, while her father looked happy and surprised. "Send for the healer once more," her mother said to her father who nodded his head.

    "I thought I had lost you... you've been unconscious for two days," her mother explained and Cale just looked at her mother, with confusion on her face. But she did not say anything more. She had been spared... for whatever reason she was not meant to die now.
    • Love Love x 1
  9. Krios strolled into Sparta a hero dragging the body of Athos' final kill. He had intimidated the others into spreading his story and as a reward, he promised me position when he rose in rank. Now, as the girls and families greeted their return, he expected Cale to swoon at the sight of his trophy. Instead, she ignored him and worried not for him, but for the dead. This angered him greatly. One day he would have Cale and then he'd crush that rebellious story.

    Krios' goals were almost halted when Cale took a life threatening blow during training. Word had spread fast how that life would soon fade from the most beautiful of Spartan women and Krios had sprinted to Cale's house in worry, not for the girl but for his future. When he arrived, however, she was recovering. The gods had seen fit to spare her life.
    Many winters had passed since the fall of Athos. The story of his cowardly end spread like wildfire and was used as a lesson taught by Spartan families to their young boys to help them avoid such a date as his. His parents had been marked and became the subject of much criticism and rebuke for having spawned such a coward. Their hopes and dreams for a better life faded with their coward son.

    Krios had grown into quite the handsome, ideal Spartan. A warrior of warriors and one of promise, he had risen amongst the ranks and was the envy of all men. The women swooned over him and were quite jealous of the only woman he truly cared to win, Cale. Though many had shared his bed, the one he wished to bed permanently had, to is day, still resisted his every advance. It was then he had employed the aid of her father. He was more than happy to oblige seeing as though any father would want their daughter to wed Krios. After all, he was a Spartan o Spartans.
    The sun shone brightly as the cool breeze passed through the wheat fields causing the stalks to sway in a duet of the beauty of Gaia. The farmers had been out since the break of dawn as they made their final preparations for the harvest. Darting in and out of the fields were children, too young for the Patheos, as they chased each other in good sport laughing and giggling.

    Alkaios stood as tall as ever. His perfectly crafted spear was held in his hand and his bronze shield strapped to his back. Basic traveling clothes covered his body as he stopped to admire the view. He had been to Sparta when he was younger, but his parents had left the city, taking him with them in hopes a finding for him a better life. However, he had wished to return and here he was. The weight of his past kept him from smiling, but he needed it no more than any other. He was a Spartan and he would show these people he belonged just like any other.

    His feet carried him and with each step, the butt of his spear landed softly against the dirt road shooting up clouds of dust to accompany those of his feet. The jingle of charms that were dangling from his wrist sounded. Each one was a memorial to specific deities, three to be exact. One was, of course, the patron God of Sparta himself, Ares. It was the second largest of his charms, the largest being that of Athena. The final was that of Nemisis. It was the smallest, but quite easily the most prized of his charms.

    Stepping through the gates, he saw the politicians in their white robes walking purposely in the streets. The merchants busily calling out from the market filled the air and the movement of soldier and other alike as they travelled from destination to destination. His walk was purposed as he made his way to one place in particular. He had been told that his family had close ties with that of a maiden, Calistenia. If anyone would give him shelter until he could reclaim that of his family's it would be that patriarch of Sparta.

    Alkaios stopped outside the door and wracked his knuckles against the door. His spear rested against his shoulder in order to look not threatening when the door finally opened and was answered by a servant, "I'm looking for the master of this estate. I am Alkaios, son of Nikias. My mother was Eos."

    The servant nodded and backed away from the door. Alkaios rose his hand to his chest and passed over the token that hung about his neck. A memorial from a childhood friend that had passed long ago. Things were different now. Now he wanted for help to reestablished himself within Sparta.
  10. The seasons that passed passed in a blur in Calistenia's memory. It was supposed to be her end, but instead she had been spared by the gods.

    The rumors of Ares's blessing over her had now become common knowledge among many who did not know her. Calistenia had grown into the most beautiful woman in all of Sparta, but she was also the most dangerous. It was rumored she rivaled her father in speed and agility with her sword and spear. Cale had been gifted with a tongue as sharp as her blade and mind that was brighter then the scholars of Athens. She would make any man proud and lucky, if only she were willing.

    Since that day, however, she did not speak her mind as frequently as she had before. With his death, she became cold to all of the advances. But after a few years, the boys gave up on winning her, only because Krios wanted her so furiously. But that would no sooner happen then Athos coming back from the realm of Hades. Calistenia had calmed down but in recent years, her fury has grown once more, with the gentle prodding of her father. She did not scream and argue like a child, but she made it clear once, that she would never marry Krios, but everyone other then Voletta understood her reason.

    Speaking of her best friend, she was to be married to Areis, their childhood friend and also the boy who had told Cale that Athos was dead. At that very moment, Calistenia was with Voletta, walking through the market place buying food for a small feast in celebration for the marriage. "I'm so happy for you Vole," Cale said softly, smiling at her friend. Voletta smiled happily. "I was somewhat shocked... I would have thought he would have asked you," Voletta admitted with a blush. Cale let out a small chuckle. "Areis has always had his eyes set on you Vole, ever since we were children," Calistena said softly, making her friend blush even more.

    Just before Voletta could speak, a few girls came running and giggling towards them. One bumped into Calistenia, looking up and saying she was sorry. Cale smiled and patted the girls head gently. "It's alright little one, just make sure you watch where you run so you do not hurt yourself or others," the older beauty scolded lightly, watching as the little girl ran off. "You will make a wonderful mother, Cale," Voletta whispered softly to her friend.

    Calistenia felt her eyes sadden and she shook her head. "No... I won't be having children," she said softly, close to her friend so no one would eavesdrop on their conversation. Voletta gave a gentle nod, knowing Cale's reasoning.

    The two gathered everything their mothers asked them to get, chatting lightly so as to not bring attention to themselves, but it was very difficult not to cause others to whisper and stare. The two most beautiful woman in Sparta walking together in the market chatting about marriage and a small gathering, any one would stare. "Would you do my hair, Cale? For tonight?" her friend asked as they began their walk home. "Of course," Cale said smiling gently to her friend as the turned the bend to walk down towards Calistenia's large family home. But something was odd. There was a man standing at her front door and she did not recognize him.

    As the duo drew closer, the servant at the door bowed his head to Cale. "Welcome home, polýtimos(precious one)," the servant lifted his head and called for a few others to help take the basket from both girls.

    "Who is this Cyril?" Cale asked looking at the male that stood there, now holding his fist to his chest.

    "This is Alkaios, son of Nikias and Eos. He is here looking for the dáskalos(master)," the servant said. A few more appeared and took the baskets from both girls. "Eneas is meeting with the king today. He will be returning soon. You can re-," Cale was about to tell the male to leave, when her mother appeared in the doorway. "None sense, he can wait her for Eneas," she said, smiling up at Alkaios. It was a mothering smile, one her mother gave to very few, so he must have meant something to the beautiful older woman. "Would you like some water? You've must have been traveling for a very long time," her mother said, stepping out of the doorway and letting the male in.

    Calistenia was confused, but she was glad her mother approved of this male. The older woman did not approve of Krios and it was obvious by the cold, dismissive glances she gave the cocky male whenever he came for dinners.

    The girls looked at each other but they walked in, Voletta first and then Cale, before this Alkaios could walk in, giving him a perfect view of Cale's back that was covered by her long raven locks that now reached the dip of her lower back. Things have certainly changed in Sparta, and even Cale changed, but it wasn't too much of a difference. Now she kept things she thought in her mind... for the most part.

    "Cale, can you get a jug of water for Alkaios?" her mother asked of her and Cale turned, looking at Alkaios a moment before she looked to her mother. "Yes mother," she said, her voice softer and sounding more like silk and honey.
    • Love Love x 1
  11. Alkaios had just entered the house when Calestenia arrived. He struggled with the possibility of losing his breath at her beauty. He had never met her, only hearing of tales of her beauty and he was glad that she did not disappoint. It took him a moment to collect himself. Thankfully she had been distracted by her mother. Alkaios' heart drummed hard against his chest when she spoke, her words falling over his ears oh so smoothly.

    Alkaios turned as Cale left and brought his attention to her mother, "Forgive me, if I am intruding," he started before she interrupted him with a laugh.

    "Nonsense, Alkaios, your mother and I go way back. I wouldn't leave the son of my friend without a place to stay. Besides, my husband could never forgive me if I allowed you to take up rest on the street," she softly placed her hand on his shoulder and welcomed him deeper into her house.

    Alkaios settled into the guest room at her instruction. It was a nice attatchment to the house. The inside of the room was just as extravagant as the remainder of the house and was simply something Aklaios was not used to. It didn't make him uncomfortable, quite the opposite actually. He found himself enjoying them a bit too much.
    Rumor of Alkaios' returned spread fast through most of Sparta. The promising young man caused many to chatter about exactly what it could mean for Sparta that one of hER strongest sons had returned.

    it was bad news for one Spartan man in particular. Krios growled when the return of Alkaios had reached his ears. The promise of another true Spartan could ruin everything he had been planning and working hard for all his life. More importantly, it could threaten his plans for Cale since word was had it that Alkaios was staying with her family until his own estate was rewarded back to him.

    As if to check on his future, Krios arrived outside Cale's estate just before dinner the day of Aklaios' arrival. The prodigal son had been back for a few hours before then allowing Cale to return from whatever chore she had been tasked with. Most likely, she was awaiting him in her home.
    #11 4everDifferent, Dec 4, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2014
    • Love Love x 1
  12. Cale excused herself as she and Voleta left the older woman and the stranger alone. "I can't believe it's him..." Voleta commented as Cale drew up water from the well herself. The raven haired beauty did not remember such a face. He was not someone she recognized, but Voleta began rambling on and on about this Alkaios and how he was the missing fourth member of their adventures. While Aeris loved Voleta, Alkaios loved Calistenia. There was only problem, Calistenia did not remember any of those mentions of Alkaios. What she did remember... it felt... fake. But the raven beauty remained silent as she only smiled calmly and nodded her head. After a few minutes, the two returned, Voleta carrying a large bowl to the guest room. A servant helped Calistenia carry the heavy jug of well water to the guest room, where this Alkaios was. Voleta walked in first, another servant behind them, carrying some fresh fruits for the weary male to enjoy at his leisure.

    The beauties moved within and while Voleta set the bowl on the table, Cale poured fresh and clean water into the bowl, with the help of the servant for a few moments before she could handle the weight herself. He could use the water to freshen up a little. Voleta left first, only offering a gentle smile. "Mother has invited you to the dinner tonight. We are celebrating an engagement, Voleta and Aeris are to be wed in the spring," he said, as she poured the water. Her hair tossed over her shoulder so she could pour the water without issue.

    Tied around her forearm was a worn strap of braided leather. It was the same kind that had been used to hang Athos's ring. Cale said nothing as she finished pouring the water, a servant bringing over a glass that she poured water into, before handing it to Alkaios. She looked right into his eyes, her own have grown darker in color, now a deep, beautiful Emerald color.

    Once the water was poured, she stood back up, handing the vase to one of the servants. "Cyril will come and alert you to when the festivities will begin," she said, before she bowed slightly. "Welcome home," she added, half-heartedly, but she said it at least. She only wanted to say this to Athos, the boy who had stolen her heart without her realizing. With her duties done, she stood up straight and turned away from the male, walking out of the room, leaving him alone, the door closing behind her. With that done, she made her way back to her own bedroom, joining Voleta who had unpinned her hair and waited for Cale's guidance in how to make it look presentable for that night.


    Hours passed and now everyone was gathered around the table, three families joined together to celebrate a wonderful event. Calistenia was happy for her best friend's, offering them both her blessing and when the night was going so well, he had to ruin it. Cyril came in and was headed towards her father, but Cale caught the older male by his arm. "I will handle it, Cyril," she whispered to the older fellow. Standing up, she slipped away, going to the front doors. And there he stood, the man she hated most. She had the feeling it was Krios who had left Athos to die... but she had no proof of this.

    Calistenis tolerated his presence most nights, but tonight he was not invited. "I do not recall inviting you here tonight, Krios," she said, her tone of voice annoyed as she stood there, now wearing a simple yet beautiful blue gown with braided leather straps holding it to her body. Her hair left loose and flowing down her back, like normal.
    #12 Lawkheart, Dec 16, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015
  13. Alkaios watched as Cale left the room. His chest ached for him to take hold of her and tell her everything but he had promised that such things would be revealed in time. Until then, Alkaios was to stick to the design. His hand moved to the ring hidden under his shirt and wrapped around the metal reverently. It was from a time passed when things were different. Passed to him by a boy who had died in the woods and given rise to the Phoenix that was Alkaios.

    Unpacking is things, Alkaios pulled out a small scroll. Unrolling it, he read the names written in black ink. These were all the names off the people he had been sent to confront. Sparta had fallen from grace and it would soon suffer the consequences.
    Krios grinned when the door opened and only wider when Cale herself stood before him. Her words annoyed him but he hid it well, "It's because your father invited me," he shifted, "It would have been nice to recieve an invitation from my future bride though."

    Krios moved to kiss her cheek when a shadow shifted and distracted him. It annoyed him that he had grown so paranoid in just the few hours of Alkaios' return. Stepping past Cale and into her house he spoke once again, "I heard that Alkaios is staying here. Why is it he isn't staying at his own estate?"

    Krios grinned as he always had when he was about to revert to his childish ways of bullying, "Oh right, his parents had left Sparta in pursuit of other things. He's a Spartan without a home. You'd be wise to keep that in mind," his jealousy showed it's head only momentarily, "Where's the party?"
    Alkaios watched from the water Krios' conversation with Cale. To see that man once again made every muscle in his body ache for veranda. Athos had died cold and alone because Krios couldn't put his pride aside long enough to thank the very boy who had saved his life. It was the truth which was nothing close to what Krios had convinced the others to tell. Their tale had Athos dying like a coward. It was a tale so easily believed because of Athos' reputation for being weaker and smaller.

    Alkaios dipped his finger in the bowl and swished the water causing the image to fade before he swiped up the dagger and belted it to his thigh. Krios might need a reminder of what it meant to be a true child of the City.
  14. The raven haired beauty spent some time fixing her friends hair, smiling at the finished result. "You look beautiful Voleta," Calistenia said softly before hugging her friend close. There was a knock at her door and she pulled away from Voleta to open, smiling as a few servants from Voleta's home came in carrying the young woman's outfit for the engagement party. Once everything was left for the two young women, they were once again left alone to get ready. Cale spent time making sure Voleta looked perfect for that night before she worked on herself, tying her hair back with braided leather strands and tying her dress to her body, fixing it in place with more braided leather she wove herself in her free time. Voleta wore a simple outfit that was dyed a light purple color, Voleta's favorite color. But the cloth that was draped against Cale was dyed a very pale blue accentuating the light tan of her flesh. "You look beautiful Cale," Voleta commented while Cale fixed her hair.

    The raven haired beauty looked at herself in the mirror a moment before she shook her head. "That won't do," she commented lightly, fixing the dress so it hid the jagged scar across her chest. A marking that had not faded much in the years that had passed. It was a reminder to herself that she was spared... sometimes she wished she had not been. But today was not one of those days. Today she was happy for her best friend.


    Krios's gal had no bounds. She might have believed him... if her father had been aware of that nights festivities. The plans had not been told to her father about that night and it was a surprise to him when he arrived home. There was no way he could have invited Krios to a gathering he knew nothing about. Her eyes, which darkened or lightened with her mood, were lighter with her anger. He stepped into her home as if he already owned it, but she did not move out of the way so he could step further into her home. "You are many thing's, Krios, but a good liar is not one of those," she said, glaring at him. Her meaning behind those words were many. She may not have the proof but she knew for a fact Athos was dead because of Krios. A coward like Krios was not worthy to hold the name of a Spartan, let alone marry her. "It would have been nice to receive an invitation from my future bride though." Future Bride? There was no future where they would be wed, no matter how hard her father pushed her. Krios would never be her husband, the one law of Sparta that would not change any time soon; the daughters chose who they wed not their fathers.

    When he tried to kiss her cheek, she moved out of the way so his lips did not touch her skin. She did not want his disgusting lips on her skin. "You have no future bride residing in this home. You might want to check else where for her," she commented, venom laced in her voice, "Nor were you invited into this house."

    His words about Alkaois meant little to her, but his childish smile annoyed her. Bullying even at this age was disgusting to her. "He's a Spartan without a home. You'd be wise to keep that in mind." His threat held little merit to her. She would do as she liked, he did not own her. But her anger caused her to laugh, a disgusted sound that caused many to look at her. His jealousy was adorable and stupid. "Jealousy? The great Krios can feel something other then pride? I'm shocked beyond belief," Calistenia began, her words cruel and poking exactly at the buttons that would hurt. "Your worry is merited Krios. Alkaois is a true spartan, more then you could ever pretend to be." She continued on, pushing the male towards the door. "Worry, Krios. He will steal your coveted prize of my hand. He has more of a chance to win my hand then you could ever hope to," she finished, having moved him into the doorway of her home.

    The raven haired beauty readied herself for any sudden movement. She would not hesitate to hurt the male's pride and other parts if he tried anything in her home. He had pushed his luck too far, especially that day. "Now leave. You are not welcomed here," she warned.
  15. Krios' eyes burned with rage as he glared down at Cale. How dare she speak to a son of Ares this way! He had half a mind to put her in her place and would have done so had Alkaios not rounded the corner. Krios smiled widely and dropped his hand to his side as he addressed his "old friend".

    "Alkaios," he spoke as he pushed passed Cale and into her father's house, "It's been a long time!"

    Alkaios all but jumped out of his skin in disgust when Krios embraced him. He had just as much disdain for the man that Cale did but a greater design made him wrap his arms around him in return. It was easy, by how short the embrace was, that neither man really cared for the other. It was to keep up appearances it seemed.

    "How's your family, Krios?" Alkaios asked, "they must be so proud to have such a prime example of Spartan bravery as a son," he mocked politely.

    "They are very proud and doing very well. In fact," Krios looked over his shoulder to Cale, "I'll be adding another member soon."

    His comment cut Alkaios but he hid it as best he could. He cared for Cale, but only in memory of Athos at the moment. She was a beautiful woman but is old friend nagged at the back of his mind. Should he finish what he was soon to start, the only way to ensure its success was to not involve Cale. Was that something he could do?

    "Anyway," Krios continued, "if you could excuse me," he turned back to Cale, "I will see you at the party," before she could stop him, he hurried off toward the party.

    Alkaios turned to Cale and smiled, "You must be proud to be the future bride of Krios," he tested her, "Besides, a woman as beautiful as you deserves nothing more than the best Sparta has to offer."
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  16. Calistenia would have preferred if Krios acted on his anger and struck her. To give her a reason to kill him, to knock some sense into her father who was blind to the fact Krios was nothing more then a beast and a coward; a dishonor to this family name and a dishonor to Sparta. The male will never cease to learn his place until he was put into it and Cale was itching to be the one to do so. She would rather not get the blood of a coward on her sword, but she would make an exception for Krios.

    The raven haired female would have stopped Krios from going towards the festivities but she was so tired and her patience was wearing extremely thin. She needed a moment to regain her composure before she went into a room with that imbecile. It was expected, after such an annoyance, that she would be left alone to her own devices, however, this was not the case in this instance. Another being stepped closer to her and she opened her eyes, seeing Alkaios standing closer to her. "You must be proud to be the future bride of Krios," her eyes became very hard at the males statement. "Besides, a woman as beautiful as you deserves nothing more than the best Sparta has to offer." She scoffed then looking insulted and disgusted at the possibility that Krios was a true Spartan. The raven haired beauty stepped away from Alkaios towards the window, looking out to the night sky. "There is no future in which I ever wed that brute," she hissed slightly. "I'd rather suffer eternal suffering in tartarus then ever wed that arrogant coward," she added looking back at Alkaios.

    "Besides... the one I wished to be with is no longer here," she whispered this last part to herself, looking out the window and letting a sigh out of her chest. Athanasios... it was not pity that had her staying place as long as she had. A true coward would have run instead of staying and taking a beating like that... Athos was the true spartan in the beauty's eyes, and he would always remain that way in her memories.

    The raven haired beauty turned then and looked at Alkaios, her eyes boring into his own. Calistenia did not know this man... but at the same time she felt two different memories fighting to tell her who he was.

    "Voleta says that we were once comrades, before your family left Sparta," she said softly looking at the male who was taller then her by a few inches. "She spoke of days spent by the olive trees, racing through the fields and catching fish in the ponds," her voice echoed softly in the room they stood in, but her eyes never looked away from him. "I do not remember such times spent with you Alkaios... maybe it is because of the fatal wound I received years ago that I do not remember you," she began, taking a step towards the male, "If that is the case, then I am sorry to have forgotten a friend." she finished, offering the other a gentle smile. "I hope, with your return, Sparta will finally have it's best," she finished, reaching a hand up and touching the male's chest, only for a moment before pulling away.

    "We should return, mother will not be pleased that Krios is here," she said softly, turning away from Alkaios and walking in the direction of the party. Before she disappeared though, she turned back to Alkaios, "Don't stray for too long, you were actually invited to tonight's festivities." Her lips graced the other in another calm smile before she finally turned away and disappeared down the hall.
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  17. Alkaios liked everything Cale returned. She had turned into quite the beauty and the manifestation of Sparta's spirit. A fighting woman, and a true prize to any man who could win her heart. He hurt as she spoke of the loss of the one she truly cared for and for a moment, a brief one, he thought perhaps she was speaking of Athos. However, he knew otherwise. He had heard the stories of how Athos had been treated. No one cared for the boy. His death was felt by no one but him.

    He was shaken from his thoughts when he felt the softness of her hand rest briefly upon his chest. His heart beat just a bit faster and slower when she pulled it away. The words she had spoken just before finally sunk in and a slight bout of fear rushed over him. Once she had left, he waited a few moments.

    Turning to the skies, Alkaios pressed his hand against the ring that rested against his chest under his clothes, "She does not remember clearly who I am. I thought this could not fail."

    "She doesn't remember because she's been touched by another," Alkaios' head leveled and he turned not surprised that the woman approached him. She was beautiful by anyone's standards and only beaten by Aphrodite and Calestenia. Raven locks dropped to the middle of her back, a set of bronze armor form fit to her body with a set of scales etched over her heart in the breastplate. A massive two handed sword hung on her back. A simple blue cloth wrapped around her head and covered her eyes. Her voice was smooth as she continued, "We did not foresee this, but it changes nothing."

    "Changes nothing?" Alkaios replied, "Everything we are here to accomplish weighs heavily on the hopes that those memories do not fade."

    The woman's head snapped up and she stood straighter. Alkaios pulled back ever so slightly purely out of respect and self preservation, "Nothing changes."

    "Right now, Alkaios, her clouded mind is no threat," a second woman joined them. She was an Athenian. No one could mistake that. A shield, with the face of a Gorgon raised upon it, sat over a bronze tip spear, "Wisdom says that nothing has changed."

    Alkaios' eyes shifted from the raven haired blind woman to the golden locked newcomer and his head lowered in respect, "Nothing has changed."

    Turning on the women, Alkaios entered the party.
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  18. The night went better then Cale had thought. Her mother, Fearrah, did not like Krios, so when he showed up to the party, unannounced and without an invitation, she had him removed. Although Cale's father was indeed strong, her mother was not one to trifle with either. The older beauty made it clear he was not to invite himself into her home. Most of the guards were there only to protect Fearrah and Calistenia, but that night, they finally had someone to throw out, some excitement after so many years without war. Flowing blonde hair and bright blue eyes that reminded most of sea-foam, Fearrah was as beautiful as she was respected and kind, but even young Spartans knew these qualities were not to be taken advantage of. Only the best of Spartan men would have been able to win Fearrah's heart, for she was the most skilled female fighters Sparta ever bore.

    Fearrah knew a coward when she saw one and Krios was not fit to represent Sparta nor was he fit to wed Calistenia, but the older women did not comment on it unless Krios disrespected her rules and that night he did.

    Claistenia had never been prouder to be the daughter of such a strong Spartan woman. Eneas married a strong willed, true spartan woman, who gave birth to an even more strong willed and strong Spartan woman. At times those of Sparta thought Eneas was blessed and cursed. Cale would never know for sure, but she knew that her father loved his mother more then he would ever be willing to say but she could see it. If only she was not cold to her fathers gentle prodding, then she would see how much he loved her as well.

    The rest of the night was calm and more relaxing then Calistenia had been able to experience in such a long time. With Krios's advances, Cale often spent her nights trying to calm herself or staying on the roof, away from everyone. The change was one she accepted willingly and found more then pleasant. All through the night Alkaios interacted with everyone and seemed to fit in perfectly, as if he was the missing piece that the picture needed... but Cale could not shake the haziness around her memories of the male. She would have to pray on it... even though felt nothing would come of her prayers... she still felt like she had to.

    The next few days were filled with excitement and preparations for the wedding, but Voleta knew that Cale would need be training in the mornings, so she stopped by the Patheos, Alkaios and Areis with her.

    Calistenia wore leather armor with pieces of bronze here and there; her hair was pulled back somewhat, revealing her face entirely. "You can feel the excitement in the air Alkaios," Voletta commented smiling as she looked down at her best friend. The sound of metal clashing echoed into the patheos, Cale fighting two girls who were a little younger then her.

    "You know almost every eligible Spartan male as tried to win her heart," Voleta suddenly began, her eyes never looking away from the fighting. "I used to think that you would marry Cale... but she's really hurt Alkaios," she said softly, concern lacing her features. The light haired female gave her betrothed's hand a squeeze. "Alkaois... can you look after Cale?" she asked the male softly, looking up at him, concern in her eyes. "I don't want her to hurt any more... but I don't know what else I can do... you two were closer," she said softly, offering the male a smile. "I'm glad you are home," she added after a few moments, a loud yell echoing out as Cale knocked one girl back and threw another into the wall, keeping her stance a moment before she stood back up, panting heavily.

    That day her training ended later then she expected, by then Voleta and Areis had left to return home, so she decided to go give an offering to the temples.
  19. The party was just as he had expected. It showed just how powerful the gods truly were as their magics coursed rough each and every person there. Alkaios fit in with everyone just as it should have been. He spent much time talking about his parents and stealing glances forward Cale. She was as beautiful as ever that night and with Krios being forcibly removed, she smiled more which only added to her beauty.

    While Cale spent the next few days helping Voletta prepare for her special day, Alkaios went about securing his father's estate. For so long it had been ill kept that cleaning it up would take far too long for just one man. Still, the job had to be his. If any sign of his childhood were to find its way to the surface, everything would be ruined.

    It was two days before Voletta dragged him from his task. By the time she had arrived, he had cleared the outside of the estate of snake vines and was busy cleaning the inside. It had almost been restored to its former glory. All that was needed was the remainder of the indoor work and the garden. It was still a lot and though he wanted to get it done swiftly so that the rest of his things could unfold.

    The three of hem went to Patheos to watch Cale. Though the two lovebirds were speaking to him, Alkaios couldn't tear his eyes from the grace that Cale had. She moved so fluidly and struck with surety. Her form was perfect. The way she moved made him respect her all the more. She was quite the warrior.

    Voletta's words tore him from his admiration and he sighed not quite understanding of why Cale was so damaged. She had everything and even the ability to be whatever she wanted. She was beautiful, strong, and intelligent. The whole package and yet she suffered more than she would admit. Alkaios wanted to pry but Voletta and her fiancé left. Wedding tasks still needed attention and he had one more place to go before he could return to his tasks.

    The sun was hanging mid sky and the autumn Heat beat down on the streets. Alkaios wore a white, loose fitting tunic and a pair loose pants. His sandaled feet kicked up dust with each step that took him closer and closer to the temples. He passed the largest of the temples dedicated to Ares, the patron god of Sparta to the smaller ones dedicated to the others. An ornate statue of Athena sat before the entrance of the temple. He stopped just short of it and muttered a prayer.

    "The great Goddess of Wisdom will hear your prayers," a priest stepped up behind him.

    Alkaios chuckled and spoke, "You've no idea," Alkaios moved passed the priest and into the temple. Moving between the pillars that supported the structure he began to speak out loud, "I'm ready, Athena. Everything is going as planned and soon we can get started," a sense of calm washed over him and he smiled. Ares may have been the patron God of Sparta but it was Athena who had cared for him the most. Satisfied, he left and started toward his estate.

    As he weaved through the people, his eyes fell on Cale. She had changed and no lore walked in armor, "Cale!" He called hoping to stop her.
  20. Cale had changed into a simple dress that was kept against her body with the help of braided leather that she made herself during nights she could not sleep. An intricately made braid that was not made by anyone else in Sparta. The young woman was carrying a basket and had purchased offerings for the temples she would go an visit, just outside the city, like she always did. "Cale!" her name being called caused her to stop and turn, looking for the source. Her eyes landed on Alkaios and she offered a gentle smile. Standing there, she waited for the male to come closer to her.

    Before he reached her, a group of children ran passed her, boys and girls playing and having fun. Cale looked down as she heard gentle crying. A little girl had fallen a few feet from her and was now crying. Calistenia felt concern lace with her features and she moved towards the girl. "Come child," she said softly, her features relaxing as she helped the girl stand. The raven haired beauty, pulled a cloth from her basket and she used it to wipe the child's face. "Are you hurt?" she asked softly, looking at the girl, her expression a loving one. The child, dark brown hair pulled back from her face with a simple band, revealed a pretty face and pale grey eyes.

    The child shook her head and sniffled, causing Cale to smile. "Good, you know tears are not a sign of weakness. They let those capable around you to know something is wrong," Cale said softly to the girl who looked up at her with a surprised expression. "Really?" the little girls voice sounded surprised but happy. Cale smiled and nodded her head. "Now, go on and play with your friends and be careful," Cale said softly, gently tapping the girls nose with her finger. The child giggled and nodded her head before running off to join her friends. Cale stood up from the ground, holding her basket to her chest, smiling as she watched the girl run off to play.

    Her mind became filled with memories that felt fake and she chose to ignore them. The next set of memories caused her smile to fade slightly. She remembered Athos's cries and how no one capable listened to them. Calistenia blinked rapidly to keep the tears from forming. The past would never change and it would continue to haunt her because she did nothing.

    Calistenia looked towards Alkaios as the male got closer to her. "Hello Alkaios," she said, looking up at the male.
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