Disclaimer: these events are NOT historically correct and these weren't real people. They're all fictional but the places I use in the story all exist. I tried to match it with the real dates as best as I could. U don't noe how much research I put into this...but it was fun. I also did a lot of research on the gods n goddesses. I don't own them...but I do hope I made them as real as I could in this story. Anyway, I hope you will all enjoy the story. Don't forget to review! Thanks!
It all began when the diviner of Athena came to visit my uncle, the king Kratos, with a whole escort of soldiers. I didn't know it then, but it was the beginning of change, dramatic change, for the peaceful child life I once knew.
My mother, Adelpha, was a gift from Aphrodite to my father, Thamos. She was beautiful, with long golden curls and shining blue eyes, both traits as rare as diamonds in Greece. I never knew my mother. She passed away when she gave birth to me. I don't remember anything about her; her face, her smell, the feel of her. I only knew what others told of me. I was named Eldoris, which meant I was of the sea, because my mother had loved the sea ever since her existence. I inherited her rare traits but they were more of a burden than a blessing to me. It was like a curse. My father Thamos didn't think that, however. He said it was a blessing from the gods and that I was favored among the throne of Olympus. I didn't complain because it was my father the king, but I hated how I looked. I wished I had brown hair and green or brown eyes like everyone else.
The one memory of my father I can never forget was his boundless love and patience. Everyone would say how I was the spitting image of my mother. They said I'd be thrown out because the king was so mad with grief at the constant reminder of his deceased wife. But my father never threw me out or showed any kind of bitterness towards me. He loved me dearly and I him. I think he loved me more because I looked like my mother. Up until I was seven, I was free to run, jump, explore, ride, and even hunt with my father. I even knew how to shoot an arrow decently. Of course, everything I did caused maidens to whisper or ladies to murmur. Ladies were not supposed to run or even ride horses. But father cared not and let me be as I was...until he fell ill, that is. I remembered that day well. It was my first day to ever shed tears and, by the gods, not my last.
I had just returned from riding my pony when my maid Agueda came running to me. She was young, only but 6 years older than I. Agueda always knew what I needed and I loved her like a sister. "My young lady! You must come hither quick! Thy father is ill and seeks your audience!" Agueda exclaimed.
"My father? Where is he?" I cried.
"Why, in his chambers of course. Hurry your little legs now!" Agueda urged, rushing me up the great stairs towards my father's chamber. As soon I passed through the great doors, the smell of herbs pierced my nostrils and I remember gagging at the strong smell. I looked around and saw my father in bed.
"Father!" I cried, running to his bedside. He smiled weakly at me from his bed, reaching out his great hand for mine. "I am here, father. What is it you seek of me?" I asked, rubbing my face against his hand.
"Only that you grant me my last favor," he said weakly.
"Your last?" I asked, frowning. He smiled, closing his eyes. "Father,"
"I am sending you to Mycenae, sweet one. Your uncle lives there and he shall take care of you. He's a great king, greater than I, and you will be blessed if you live under his wings," he explained.
"But I don't want to go, father! I want to stay here with you!" I exclaimed, holding onto his hand as if it were life itself. His ever gentle smile never faded, his patience as great as the sea as he tried to explain to me.
"Your cousins fare there, my heart. Don't you want to see them? Have no fear, sweet Eldoris. I will come visit you when summer comes around again." He said, lifting my chin.
"But why must I go?" I asked, tears spilling from my eyes. "I want to stay here."
"Be strong, little one. I am sending you there because I want you safe and healthy and I want you to grow up as a lady. Your uncle can provide you with the education I cannot give." He said. As I watched him while he talked, I knew he was dying. That was why he was sending me away. It broke my heart so and I wept at his bed. I climbed into the bed with him and held onto him as I cried myself to sleep.
When I awoke the next morn, my father was dead.
Thus, I was sent to Mycenae in Peloponnesus. I bore the news of my father's death to king Kratos and he alone was responsible for redeeming my father's kingdom as his own. To make my father proud and to keep his reputation well, I rode in a litter instead of riding my horse. I was too tired to try and ride my pony anyway. I was wrapped thickly in a black himation and I was sick with grief.
For ten days we rode until a great horn awakened me from my troubled slumber. I felt Agueda hold my hand and squeeze it tightly. "Do not be afraid, little one," she whispered into my ear.
"I am not afraid," I answered hotly, peering out the litter. I gasped at the size of my uncle's palace. It was twice as large as my father's and countless numbers of guards stood protecting the palace. My father's caravan was granted entrance and I soon heard new voices. I was both excited and frightened at what was to come. The litter shook as it was brought to the ground and the curtain lifted up and a hand was offered to me. I took it and stepped out, clutching my himation close to my face. Agueda stepped up behind me and placed a protective hand on my shoulder.
Before me, a great large man was walking down the steps towards me. Beside him were a beautiful female and a boy with eyes as sharp as a hawk's yet gentle at the same time. Running behind them was a little girl about my age. My heart beat wildly as they all stood in front of me, their eyes running up and down my body. I didn't know what they saw for I was covered from head to toe in my himation. I hoped they did not see me tremble. Finally, the man knelt before and took my hands in his. "Are you little Eldoris, my lady?" he asked me gently. I blushed that he should call me his lady while he was king. I nodded uncertainly and he smiled. "Then you are my brother's daughter. I, king Kratos, embrace you as my niece and welcome you to Mycenae." He said, kissing each side of my cheeks. He stood up, my hands still in his, and motioned for the others to come forward. He turned to me once again. "Eldoris, this is my eldest daughter Kalliope. She is 14. Next is my son Kyros. He's merely 11 but he is a strong boy and you can trust him with your life and honor. And here, here is my youngest daughter Kalonice. I think you two are the same age. You are 7, Eldoris, are you not?"
"Yes, my lord," I replied, looking at Kalonice. She was my height but she was far prettier than I. She was the prettiest little girl I had ever seen. She hard dark brown hair, as dark as the soil back at home. Her eyes were that of bronze and they were almond shaped. I believe I gasped when her eyes slanted at me. Kratos chuckled loudly.
"Kyros, you will have to take good care of little Eldoris!" Kratos bellowed, patting the boy on his shoulder. I blushed as I turned to him. He smiled kindly at me and I looked away. At that moment, a strong gust of wind blew and I heard Kalonice shriek as pebbles and sand flew into her face. I bent my head and I felt my himation slip off my head. When the gust settled, several people gasped. When I looked up, I saw that everyone was staring at me as if I were the goddess Hera herself. Kyros was gawking at me and I felt a bit insulted and embarrassed at the same time. I was left to suffer as they all stared at me and no one bothered to explain to me what the matter was. When Kratos stepped towards me, I looked up at him with fear. "So the rumors are true," he breathed out, reaching out to touch my hair. I blinked and the smell of him made me sneeze. He lifted his head and laughed out loud. "How blessed I am to have a goddess in my household," he said out loud. I blushed at how he blasphemed. I was no goddess.
I got along perfectly well with Kalliope and Kyros. Kalonice was cruel to me whenever she had the chance. "You're never to be above me!" she would cry out at me. I was grieved I couldn't strike a friendship with her. I would've liked someone my age to talk to, someone the same sex as I. Kalliope was too old, but I adored Kalliope and were she a goddess, I would've worshipped her. She was beautiful beyond words and I watched men turn their heads at her. She told me stories of Egypt and Rome when she brushed my hair. She loved to do my hair and I loved to hear her just talk. She had a lovely voice.
When I was not being groomed or taught lessons on my figures and stitching and my manners, I was out frolicking with Kyros. We got along as if we were meant to be brothers and sisters. We wrestled in the mud when the rains came and we frightened off the chickens, geese, and goats when the ponies were being groomed. When the horses were free, however, Kyros and I went riding whenever we got the chance. Kratos often watched with wonder at my skill, even though it wasn't much at the time.
One day, while I was riding with Kyros, Kyros let out a cry. "Kyros, what's the matter?" I shouted.
"Come on, Eldoris! We must ride to my father immediately!" Kyros shouted, turning his horse back towards the palace. I followed obediently and looked back behind us once in a while but found no pursuers. I did not understand what he was so excited about.
That was the day when my trial began. As we ran into the courtyard of the palace, Kyros ran to his father and shook his arm. "Father, father! Mother is here! Mother is back from Egypt!" Kyros exclaimed. I watched my uncle's face light up and all the household was outside in a matter of seconds. I was ignored and left in my dirtied doeskin and tunic. I followed the crowd outside to meet the queen of Mycenae. I didn't even know there was a queen but indeed there was.
She was short but pretty, her black hair pulled up neatly in a bun and fastened together with clasps made of gold. She carried herself with dignity and grace. As she stepped out of the litter, Kalonice bolted out to her mother, wrapping her arms around her mother's legs. "Mother! I missed you so much!" she cried out. I couldn't hear what the queen said to Kalonice but it was something sharp and was meant as a scold. Kalonice nodded and stepped away. The queen glided towards Kratos and kissed both his cheeks. They exchanged a few words and then the queen's eyes finally fell on me.
There was something cold from the way she looked at me. Her green eyes did not welcome me at all and I knew at once that she disapproved of me. Without saying anything to me, she strolled into the palace. Everything returned to normal as if nothing had happened. My heart was still racing and I was upset. Why didn't she like me?
That night Kalliope called me to her room. I sat by the brazier at her feet as she brushed my hair. "Kalliope, why doesn't your mother like me?" I asked, looking up at her gold speckled green eyes. Kalliope's pretty face scrunched up in a frown.
"Whoever said that?" she asked.
"No one...it's just that I felt it when she looked at me." I replied nervously, wringing my hands.
"Don't worry about it, Doris. Mother will learn to love you as Kyros and I love you." Kalliope replied.
"And what of Kalonice?" I asked. Kalliope sighed and gently laid my hair over my shoulder.
"If you cannot win Kalonice's love, you won't win mother's love." Kalliope said. That brought tears to my eyes. The only mother I would have would not love me, then, I thought. I looked down at the floor. "Don't worry, Eldoris. Maybe if you keep up your good work with your figures and manners, mother will like you." Kalliope went on. I wondered if Kalliope truly meant it or said it to cheer me up. I hoped it was not the latter.
I did not talk much with queen Chloe, the queen of Mycenae. I was sort of relieved. Kalonice and Chloe always seemed to be together. I used to take lessons with Kalonice, but ever since her mother came home, I never saw Kalonice without Chloe.
I often went riding with Kyros with Kalliope behind us. We would always sit in the orchard and talk or sometimes just sit there and do nothing at all. When we just sat there, I often thought of my father. I missed him with my heart and soul and I prayed to Hades he kept my father well. I knew what happened with the city from Kalliope. She was often at the courtroom with Kratos when he discussed political issues so that she would learn. When Kalliope had no interesting news from the city, Kyros told us war stories and about heroes, heroines, gods and goddesses. We sometimes changed the stories and made up our own when we thought something was too strange or too boring. We left the bloody war parts to Kyros and Kalliope and I made up the romantic parts. After stories, we would race back home and Kalliope would always be last since she did not ride horses. She had her slaves carry her litter over to the palace as fast as they could. I pitied them. A bickering princess was a hard burden.
Once we reached home, we would all get our fair share of punishment. Kalliope was stuck in her room all day picking out blades of grass from her chiton and washing it repeatedly. Kyros would be yelled at by his mentors and would be drilled until he was dripping with sweat. I had to deal with Agueda but we always ended up talking and sharing thoughts with each other in the end. I loved Agueda dearly.
When I had turned 10, I began to share more words with Kalonice, even though they were not the most pleasant of words most of the time. But that did not trouble me. What troubled me were Kratos' troubles. Even though I was barely ten, I knew the burden of upholding a kingdom. After all, my own father was king. The neighboring city, Pílos, was constantly beating on Kratos' borders. While Mycenae had plenty of healthy land for planting and harvesting, Pílos did not and the king was willing to go to war with Kratos for them. Kratos was away from home often and that left me unprotected from both Chloe and Kalonice. Constantly they scolded me and blamed me for every wrong in the palace. When a slave did not do something right, it was my fault. When an animal died, it was my fault. When someone fell ill, it was my fault.
Finally, after bearing a whole three months of this, I couldn't stand it any longer. I ran to the field where I supposed Kyros would be, sobbing, and found him in training. He was now 14, and his voice was breaking all the time because he was maturing. He was growing tall swiftly, a good two heads taller than I, and the hair on his body thickened. He even began to grow a mustache.
Kyros looked up from his practices when he heard me call his name. He said something to his mentor and threw down his sword, running towards me. I flew into his arms, wailing like a baby. "Eldoris, what in Zeus' name is the matter?" Kyros asked, bringing me up with his strong arms. I wiped my eyes with the back of my hands and stared into his green eyes, green like his mothers. Tears immediately came to my eyes once again.
"Kalonice is being so cruel to me, Kyros! I can't stand it anymore! I shall run away or poison myself if she doesn't let me be!" I cried out, burying my face in his chest. Kyros wrapped his arms around me.
"What has she done now?" he questioned gently.
"It wasn't my fault those stupid goats got a hold of Kalonice's favorite peplos. It really wasn't. But then she came into my room and dumped all the nice clothes I weaved into the goats' pens! She screamed at me for trying to ruin her clothes but now look at mine! When I told her it wasn't my fault, she ran to your mother and told her what had happened, but it was a fib! All of it! Aunt Chloe came into my room and told me she'd slaughter White Star if I tried anything like that again!" I explained. White Star was my pony at the moment and it was a pure white pony, free of its gray spots.
"Oh Eldoris, I'm so sorry. But don't you see how much stronger than her you are? You didn't come running to me to ask me to yell at Kalonice for you. You stood up for yourself. For that, you should be proud." Kyros said, pulling away and looking into my eyes. I sniveled and looked away.
"I had no choice. Anyway, I still came to you now, didn't I?" I replied. He chuckled.
"The next time she yells at you, just remind yourself that you can be strong without having to yell at everyone. Everyone loves you and that's why they obey you, Eldoris. Everyone obeys Kalonice only because they do not want her to fuss and whine and cry about everything." Kyros said. I giggled. As I thought about it, it sounded very true. I pushed myself up and kissed his cheek.
"Thank you," I replied, snuggling into his neck as I wrapped my arms around him. I felt him smile and kiss my cheek.
"Look, I've dirtied you. Go and wash before my mother sees you," Kyros said, pulling away. I nodded and ran back to my room. Agueda helped wash me in time.
There was a great feast when King Kratos came back home. He had been gone for more than 6 months and I was overjoyed to see him. He laughed when I jumped up to kiss his cheeks. "I missed you so much uncle! I'm so glad you came back to us!" I cried. Now Chloe and Kalonice wouldn't be able to bug me as much, I thought.
Kalliope informed us that Kratos was still very troubled and that King Lysander, king of Pílos, was still attacking the borders. "Poor uncle," I said as Kalliope brushed my hair that night.
"I wish there was a way I could help him," Kalliope said with a heavy sigh.
"Maybe there is. We can pray to Athena to ask her for wisdom," Eldoris suggested. Kalliope laughed, her bubbling laughter filling the room like chimes in the wind.
"You're such a bright child. I don't see why mother hates you so."
Our prayers were answered a week later. The lives of five newborn goats were not slain in vain. I was taking White Star for a walk when I saw a great cloud of dust gather in the distance. I squinted. Travelers, I concluded. I turned to go tell Kratos when a great horn blew. It was the call of Athena. My heart soared with joy.
I rode hard enough to give myself time to bathe and dress neatly in a light chiton. I hurried over to the courtroom and saw a cloaked figure leading a band of soldiers in the room towards my uncle. Kalliope was already seated by my uncle's feet, her eyes wide with awe. Chloe, to my misfortune, was sitting by Kratos, her cool green eyes surveying the new party. No doubt, I thought, that Kalonice was around.
"King Kratos, ruler of Mycenae, I come to you with a message from the goddess of wisdom, Athena." A female voice rang out. It made me shiver and I was soon wrapped in a strange feeling of peace. I knew then that Kratos and Mycenae were going to be all right. I smiled and then blushed when the messenger looked at me. Her eyes were strange, one blue, one gray. Her face made my smile disappear. She looked so sad...so full of pity. Her face was so full of sorrow that I wanted to cry for her. The messenger sighed and turned to Kratos once again.
"And who are you?" Kratos asked in his deep voice.
"I am Athene, the diviner and seer of Athena, the goddess of wisdom." She replied.
"And you have a message for me? From Athena?" he questioned. Athene nodded.
"She has words of wisdom for you with your conflicts with Lysander, king of Pílos and son of Hector. Do you care to humble yourself and listen?" Athene asked. Kratos' face fell and he nodded solemnly. Athene nodded with another sigh. "If you continue this silly fight with Lysander, son of Hector, you will never win, yet never lose. It will be a feud that will last through decades and decades until both cities deprive themselves of food and source. The only way to settle it is to bring a peace treaty about."
"Lysander will not listen! He lives up to his name! He can~"
"Listen to me, Kratos! He will listen if only you offer your daughter, Kalliope, as his wife. Then your two cities will be joined together and stronger in force and wisdom." Athene finished. Kalliope gasped, her hand flying to her neck. Chloe's face remained expressionless and Kratos looked thoughtful. I held my breath, fearing that my excited loud breathing would interrupt someone's thoughts. I let out my breath the same exact moment Kratos sighed, my face red from my efforts. I felt a bit lightheaded as Kratos said his next words.
"Fine. I will propose this marriage between Lysander and Kalliope. If he will not succumb to this proposal, I shall hunt you down, woman, and kill you with my own two hands." Kratos growled.
"There will be no need."
"Guards, see to it that she gets to the gates." Kratos said with a wave of his hand.
"Wait. One more thing. I wish to speak with you niece, Eldoris." Athene said. Kratos' head snapped up. My breathing grew heavy and I was struck with fear. Had I done something to anger the goddess Athena? Or, perchance, another god or goddess? What had I done?
"Why? What business do you have with her?" Kratos questioned.
"A business that is not yours but hers," Athene answered. Kratos turned red and was about to bellow at her when I stepped out from my hiding spot. I don't know what came over me to do it, but I was pulled to Athene. She was calling me somehow. There was that sad look on her face again and I wanted to cry. I wanted to bury my face in my hands and run away but I could not. I was pulled to her. All of the court watched as I walked towards Athene.
"I am here, my lady," I said with a curtsy. I had not even thought about saying that to her. The words just slipped out of my mouth and off of my tongue as if they'd been sitting there, waiting for this opportunity. Athene crouched low so that she was eye level with me. I found her eyes fascinating and beautiful. She finally smiled at me, from her heart, with warmth and it filled me with a sense of peace. She placed a hand on my shoulder and I felt warmth and strength flow from her unto me.
"You must be strong, Eldoris, when the time comes. Trust the heart the gods and goddesses so dwell on. You will be blessed eternally. Be strong and follow your heart." Athene said softly. It was so soft I doubted anyone else in the room heard it. Her words struck both fear and pride on my heart. I didn't know what she was talking about but I was comforted to know that the gods and goddesses were on my side. But was she telling me something bad was going to happen? I didn't know. I was merely a child of ten. Athene placed her hand on my cheek, reading my fear and my questions. "You shall be wise, little one, far beyond others your age. You will rise, but you must be strong." Athene added. The sorrow returned to her face and she bowed her head. I wanted to reach out and hug her, to cry and ask her why she was so sad. "Tis not you time to grieve yet," she whispered. I blinked. I stared after her as she bowed to Kratos and walked out of the courtroom with her escort of soldiers.
Kratos turned to me and I to him. "Eldoris, what did she say to you?" Kratos asked. I could not bring myself to answer. I knew the answer. I knew what she said to me. She had said it to me but five seconds ago. But I could not open my mouth to him. I then knew that the gods and goddesses were willing me to keep my silence. Blushing deeply, I curtsied and went to seek the comforts of silence.
Kalliope was to be married to Lysander in a week. She was excited and couldn't brush my hair. She paced and walked but never sat still to sing or tell Kyros and I of the news Kratos had let her listen in on. It made me sad. I knew that things were changing. Kalliope grew more and more distant from Kyros and me, far too caught up in her wedding with this unknown man who'd killed the Mycenaean people, her people. Even there, Kyros was changing as well. He grew even taller and his voice had finally settled in a low deep tone. I watched them from afar, watching everyone change, even little Kalonice. I slowly began to understand what Athene had said.
AN: yawn...i'm so sleepy. Too much medicine these days...hehehe. anyway, I hope this story started out okay. If there r some words u don't understand n the dictionary isn't helping, then feel free to ask in the review or email me. I've been waiting sooooo long to start this story..n I think ima have lotsa fun writing this. Plz spare meeh if this first chapter is horrid. I promise the next one will be far better! Plz review n tell meeh what u think!