Anyway, I hope u like this chapter n thank u so much for ur reviews!
I began to pace for I could not do anything else. Calandra was busy playing with Leda, not fully understanding the situation. Adonis was silent the whole time, being comforted by Xan. Isidore and the other soldiers stood by the columns, silent and watching like a predator would do in search of prey. The other women of the court were silently weeping for they feared for the lives of their loved ones and the life of their king, Feodor. I could not weep myself. I would then be admitting that I thought Feodor was going to die.
The sun rose high from the foothills and onto its climax in the highest point of the sky. I peered up at the sun, shading my eyes with my hand. I began to question the gods. Did they even listen to me? Did they even exist? Were they real? If they were, why were they so cruel to me? I turned away, my eyes watery. I did not know if it was caused from the brightness of the sun.
"Isidore, can't I just take a peek?" I finally asked, breaking the long hours of silence. He shook his head sternly at me. I frowned. "I am queen! Why are you forbidding me of this?" I asked. It was my first time using my authority as queen for anything and the words felt alien and empty on my tongue. Isidore sighed.
"Feodor's orders, my queen," Isidore said with a stiff nod. I sighed and turned away. Feodor's orders far surpassed my own. Here we were, like birds trapped in a cage. I wanted to look out to see if anything was going on at the harbors but I was not allowed out the courtyard.
"I cannot even visit my chambers?" I asked. Isidore shook his head. I shall have a talk with Feodor when he returns from this, I thought. Why would they keep is in like this? Was this so serious? I looked back up at the sky. Oh gods! Why are you all being so cruel to me? What have I done to deserve such punishment? Hera's curse entered my mind unbidden and I shut my eyes. No, she was not going to take Calandra and Leda. Not if I could help it, I thought determinedly. Hera's curse had been forgotten all these years and I did not know why it returned to me now. A thought struck me and a cry escaped my lips, bringing Isidore as quick as lightning to my side. I shut my eyes and held my mouth, feeling queasy. "My lady queen, what is the matter? What is ailing you?" Isidore asked, truly concerned. I gained my balance and steadied myself. Aphrodite! Is there not anything you can do?
I wept, then, clinging onto Isidore. The other ladies of the court turned to me, shocked by my sudden outburst of woe. Was today the day Leda and Calandra were to be taken from me? Perchance, Adonis as well? Was Kalonice going to rob me of everything I loved and held dear? Why? I did not realize that Adonis had come over to embrace me as I wept. He held onto me tightly.
"Mother, why do you weep so?" he asked, his own voice choked. I pulled away, looking into his dark, blue eyes through my teary ones.
"Oh Adonis, my child, my son!" I breathed out, clutching him to me. He held onto me as I wept. "No, no," I moaned.
"Mother, tell me what pains you so!" Adonis cried out. I pulled away, wiping my face with my peplos.
"Adonis, the gods are against me for sure!" I wailed. I did not care for the dramatic scene I was displaying. It truly pained my heart, my soul, and I felt as if one had thrust a dagger deep into my chest, turning the blade and putting me in agony.
"What is this you speak of, dear mother?"
"Long ago, I was given a dream, a prophecy, perhaps, that I shall bear no sons but daughters and even then, my daughters will not live past the age of 20! Hera has laid this curse upon me and I have forgotten about it all these years. Yet, it comes back to me today and I fear that today is the day my children will be taken from me!" I cried out.
"Oh mother, Hera, the protector of marriage, cannot be as cruel as you say! She has blessed you with a husband and king such as my father! How can you say this against Hera?" Adonis asked.
"Kalonice was born under Hera, Adonis. Kalonice is ever so devoted to Hera and is a faithful servant of Hera and I am sure Hera loves Kalonice."
"But were you not born under Aphrodite? Surely she can protect you or aid you in this cruelty!"
"Tis true, but Hera is superior to Aphrodite. Were you not listening to your tutor when he taught you of your gods and goddesses?" I said, sniveling. Adonis smiled softly.
"I am not that perfect, mother," he replied. I smiled and hugged him tightly.
"If I am to be parted with you and the rest of my family, I pray that Zeus will be merciful and take me instead of all of you and leave me in misery and agony beyond words," I whispered.
"Do not say such words, mother, for you may regret them some day. Come, let us sing songs or play games while we await father," Adonis said, speaking like a true king. And yes, I did grow to regret my words, though not as much as what would've happened if I had not spoken them.
Sybill had a beautiful voice but it did not comfort my heart. Though she sang and Adonis held my hand, Leda slept on my lap, and Calandra leaned up against me, I could not bring the air of peace about me. I always looked about the walls and to the sky, almost as if expecting an ambush out of nowhere. The thought brought a shudder out of me.
I jumped with a start, awakening Leda with a cry, when someone skid into the courtyard. I jumped onto my feet, Adonis following me. Calandra stumbled when I wasn't there to support her weight anymore. It was a soldier, dressed in mail and armor and everything. His helmet was a bit crooked and he righted it, showing a trickle of blood down the side of his face. The mere sight of his blood made my stomach churn. Leaning on his spear as he caught his breath, Isidore stepped up to the soldier. He placed a hand on the soldier's shoulder.
"Gyras, what is happening?" Isidore asked, his voice gentle but stern.
"Sir, Byzantine ships have crashed the harbors! Amid the chaos, their flag flies true with the Mycenaean flag." Gyras, the runner, replied.
"Mycenaean?!" Isidore cried out. Gyras nodded.
"There is only one Mycenaean ship. The rest are all Byzantines. Oh, but sir, it's almost as if King Feodor himself is leading the troops into Crete! They know which harbors are weaker than the others and they know just where to attack! King Feodor is having a hard time keeping them off the city walls and we've already called for aid from our neighbors but we fear it is too late. It seems that all of Peloponnesus has turned against us!" Gyras explained.
"Why would they do such a thing?" Isidore thought out loud. Adonis lifted his chin.
"It's Kalonice's doing," He announced. Isidore turned to Adonis, blinking.
"Can it be," Isidore breathed out, his eyes landing on me. My eyes watered and I wept into my hands.
"I am to stay here. King Feodor has ordered me not to come back. He will be sending more and more squadrons back here as defense for the queen." Gyras said.
"They are that close to attacking the palace?" Isidore questioned. Gyras shook his head.
"They have not breeched the city walls yet, sir, but the king is not taking any risks." Gyras replied. Isidore nodded, looking thoughtful. He looked at the door that led to the courtroom. I did not like the look on his face. He looked doubtful and...afraid. His eyes darkened with what seemed like deep, deep sorrow. I knew what was to come. I instinctively reached out and gathered Adonis, Calandra, and Leda into my arms as best I could. If I were to die for them, I was willing, so long as they were kept safe. Oh Aphrodite, for the love of Zeus, please protect my children and Feodor!
More and more soldiers came to the courtyard, some bleeding, some perfectly fine but weary, some nearly dead. The sight horrified poor Calandra and Adonis was quite busy comforting and wooing her. I tried to occupy myself by helping the other ladies tend to the soldiers' wounds. The courtyard was getting crowded and I was soon allowed to take leave of the courtyard and about the palace.
I ran to my chambers to look out the window. I almost regretted it. The sight was devastating, my heart drowning in sorrow for the city which I loved so greatly. Pillars of black smoke arose from the harbors and I heard people screaming above the battle cries on the shores. People scattered about everywhere and fire was eating away at buildings. My eyes grew wide at the tides of soldiers that were coming at the walls of the harbor. There were so many men! My heart sank in doubts. Not even Feodor's thousands of soldiers could hold the Byzantines and Mycenaean soldiers back! This was a great massacre, an island in which no one would be able to escape.
I gasped when I saw a squadron of 20 men running towards the palace gates. They were in a block formation, carrying a body in the center. My heart leapt to my throat as I faintly recognized the face of Feodor.
I headed for the door but stopped when I remembered Feodor's quiet room. I opened it and ran up the stairs. I looked out the window and tears came running down my cheeks. The field looked as if it was another world, a peaceful, quiet world. It was the complete opposite of what I had just witnessed on the harbor. A thought filled my heart and I knew that the gods were telling me to seek refuge in the field, in the heavy vegetation of the forest before it was too late.
My heart racing and the blood pounding in my ears, I ran back to the courtyard. I arrived just when the squadron arrived. Isidore's face paled at the sight of Feodor's mangled body. A cry escaped my throat as they lowered Feodor to a cushioned bench. I ran towards him, careless of the blood. "Oh Feodor!" I cried, wiping the dirt and blood from his face with my shaking hands. His eyes opened at my voice and he managed a smile. He swallowed with effort and wet his lips.
"My beautiful Eldoris," he choked out. The tears flowed endlessly from my eyes and I could've washed his face with them.
"My dear Feodor," I breathed out. I could not say more. Pursing my lips together, my eyes traveled over his body. The soldiers had stripped his body of his armor and gear and only left him in his loincloth. His beautiful body had been stabbed and torn, bruised and scraped. He was bleeding and quivering, every muscle in his body stiff and tense. "Get me a basin of hot water and some cloth to staunch his bleeding, you fools! Hurry!" I cried out. He would bleed to death if his vital organs had not already been damaged.
Adonis stood behind me, crying shamelessly at the horrid state his father was in. Calandra hugged his knees as she wept at his feet and Leda screamed in Xan's arms. Isidore stood in the far corner, watching us all with unbelieving eyes.
When the cloths and basin came, I staunched his bleeding the best I could and I washed the dirt and blood from his body. His chest was heaving heavily and his face was quite pale. I did this all the while I was weeping. "You must stop crying, my queen," Feodor rasped out, clutching my hand tightly.
"Am I supposed to laugh, then, Feodor? Are you out of your mind?" I cried out. He managed a smile.
"It would help with some happiness here," he muttered.
"Feodor! This is not the time to jest!" I exclaimed incredulously. "Curse it, bring me some wine and don't bother to water it!" I ordered. The wine immediately came and I brought it to Feodor's lips. He needed something to numb his body of the pain for I saw he was shaking with it. I lifted the cloth to peer at his wounds and saw that the blood still flowed endlessly. I cried harder, nearly blinding myself with tears.
"Shall we go on a picnic when this battle's over, my heart?" he asked, bringing a hand to my wet cheek.
"This is outrageous," I cried out with a groan. He was dying and here he was insisting on a picnic! He took my chin and I looked into his eye helplessly. For a moment, all pain seemed to disappear from his eyes and I was that little virgin standing in his quiet room, quivering with love and desire for Feodor. I let out a shaky breath.
"Eldoris, you know I love you with all my heart. My love for you is boundless. I want you to know that my life will not have been the same without you. You've brought joy into my life and you've brought hope, courage, love, even my own confidence to me. You are my better self. You've helped my relationship with Isidore grow stronger, a bond that could never be broken. You are my s~"
"Oh Feodor," I choked out, "do not speak to me as if they are your last words on your deathbed!"
"Oh, but my love, tis so! This here is my deathbed and this is my farewell to you!"
"No! No! Do not say so!" I cried out, flinging myself on his chest. I wept, my tears wetting his bandaged chest. "No, no, no!" I felt his hand stroke my hair and caress the back of my neck. Adonis came and placed a hand on my back while he held Feodor's hand in his other.
"Father, I would like you to answer a question, if you please," Adonis said, his voice shaky.
"Ask away, my son," Feodor said, the smile and joy and love clear in his voice, despite the pain he was surely suffering from.
"Did you see Kalonice on the battlefield?" Adonis asked. The question made me grow stiff and my body ceased its racking sobs. I held my breath as I awaited Feodor's answer.
"No," Feodor breathed out. I looked up into his eyes and they turned to mine, dark and hazed. I knew Feodor was lying. Why, I did not know. I knew that Kalonice was the very one that planned this attack, an attack so brutally and mercilessly planned. "Adonis, my son, I love you so much! I entrust you with Knossos, dear son. Take care of her!" Feodor breathed out, patting Adonis' back. I heard the quiver in Feodor's voice and I knew he was failing. Calandra was beyond words and Leda had cried herself to sleep amongst the chaos. Isidore stepped up and kissed his brother's brow. Resting his hand on Feodor's forehead, Isidore muttered a quick prayer.
"Do you have any last orders, my brother?" Isidore said softly. I watched as the two brothers conversed. Their love for each other was as clear as the sun above us and Feodor seemed to glow with life for the moment. He smiled widely and embraced his brother fiercely, in a manly and honorable way. Isidore wept but Feodor still did not falter.
I had Feodor to myself once more while Isidore went to go cry out to Zeus. I clenched his large hand in my small one and I kissed his knuckles, my tears falling on them. "You know I will not live through this," he said softly.
"Why not?" I cried out, though I knew he spoke the truth.
"The gods seem to wish it this way. I cannot draw up anymore strength."
"Oh Feodor, I love you so much, so much I think I shall die without you!" I exclaimed. He chuckled, his chuckle turning to a coughing fit.
"My heart rejoices to hear those words, dear Eldoris, but you must stay here and watch over our children and my brother Isidore. I think you will come after me, for the gods still wish something of you. What, I do not know but I do know it will be the future of Knossos that will lay in your hands, whatever you decide."
"Feo~" the door from the courtroom leading to the courtyard was being pounded on. I looked up, the panic swelling in my heart, my heart almost ready to burst. I hear Isidore issue out orders to blockade the door. The women screamed and the courtyard was alive with panic. I clenched onto Feodor's hand tightly and he returned the pressure as I looked about for my children. I saw Adonis huddled in a corner with Calandra and Leda. Xan, pale-faced, was with them as well.
"Eldoris, we must go!" Isidore's voice sounded in my ear. I looked up to see Isidore tugging on my arm. I felt Feodor's hand tighten on mine. My first motive was to get up and leave with Isidore but then the panic disappeared from my heart. I felt almost at peace. I shook my head slowly and Isidore stared at me in shock. "But my queen, they are here!"
"Protect Eldoris, Isidore! Protect her with you life! Take her and leave while you can!" Feodor ordered sternly.
"No! No! I shall stay with Feodor!" I cried out.
"Eldoris, this is a command as your king, not a request of your husband! Go with Isidore! The children need you! I need you to stay and watch over them! My time is near and you shall only perish if you stay." Feodor shouted, the pounding growing louder. The whole walls of the courtyard shook and loose stones began to crumble above and fall to the ground. I shook my head stubbornly. In my heart, something was telling me I was not to leave. I was not the one to leave, for Isidore was, not I. Aphrodite, must it be this way? I saw a faint glimmer from the corner of my eyes and I turned. I recognized the female as the female that blessed me when I had Calandra. It was Aphrodite herself, descending herself from Olympus to see me. She nodded her graceful, beautiful head. She pointed at a small door I had never seen before. I swallowed and wet my lips. I squeezed Feodor's hand.
"Isidore, take the children and leave! Take Aswad and fly! You must fly! Hurry! There is not much time!" I shouted. He looked shocked as if I had thrown a punch into his stomach.
"What? Without you? Never!" he cried out.
"Go now! Aphrodite wishes it...the gods will it! Go now! If you don't, we will all die! You must hurry and fly! Fly to the fields where it is still safe and seek some form of refuge there!"
"But what about you?" Isidore croaked out.
"I-I shall be just fine here with Feodor." I replied softly, a strange wave of peace washing over me. Isidore pursed his lips, tears falling down from his light blue eyes. He nodded stiffly and ran towards Adonis, Calandra, and Leda. Adonis stared at me questioningly as Isidore urged them towards the small door. I did not know where the door led to, but I knew it was their only chance. I smiled softly at Adonis and he realized too late what I meant to do. He cried out just as Isidore shut the door.
The soldiers stood, positioned to take on the attack as soon as the doors burst open. I turned to Feodor and my heart ached when I saw that his eyes were watery. "Why did you not leave? Now you will die because of me!" he rasped out.
"If I were to go with them, Feodor, they would all die." I replied softly.
"How would you know that? Has some god enlightened you with a vision?" he choked out.
"I told Adonis while we awaited you that I'd die before the gods took you all away and left me all alone. They have their lives ahead of them, Feodor. I have lived and played my part," I answered. The tears finally fell from his eyes and we wept together. I sat down and pulled his head onto my lap. I knew I wasn't going anywhere. I cradled his head to my chest and he sobbed in my arms. "I'd rather die here today, Feodor, than to live by myself without you or my children, or with the knowledge that I had been the cause of their deaths."
"And I, my beloved, I have been blessed with the best life anyone could live. If I were given a thousand lifetimes, none would be as great as to this. I love you from the very depths of my soul and I thank the gods, I admit, that you did not go with Isidore." he replied, his voice weak. I bent down and kissed his lips. He pulled me closer until our mouths molded together and warmth flowed throughout my body. His hand, buried in my hair, weakened its grip and I pulled away. I was drawing the strength out of him and I wished it no longer. He smiled as he opened his eyes. "A true gift," he murmured. We kissed once more, our tears and his blood mingling.
The door burst open with a loud shout and the soldiers immediately sprang forward. The clash of swords and the hiss of arrows and spears were soon heard. Cries out pain and triumph were heard but amongst it all, I felt at peace. I felt Feodor both stiffen and relax in my arms and I knew he was passing. I sighed heavily and kissed his brows.
"I love you, Feodor," I murmured.
"And I...I...love you...beloved Eldoris..." he said every so softly. His eyelids lowered heavily, leaving half his eyes open. His pupils disappeared and his eyes darkened. A great wave of grief washed over me and I felt heavy with it. Weeping once more, I hugged him to me. I gently closed his eyes and kissed them. I knew I was not too far behind him.
I looked up and saw that many of our soldiers had fallen. "Aphrodite, I pray you will protect Feodor's body so that he may be buried and given an honorable burial. Do as you wish with mine, for I do not care," I prayed silently. I gasped when I felt a sharp, bitter pain in my gut. An arrow had pierced into my flesh, its point stuck in my body. I blinked, trying to get the blood to keep flowing through my body. I looked for my assaulter and saw a tall man smiling at me as he fit another arrow on his bow. He let it go and it stuck right into the middle of my chest. I gasped for breath and my body grew stiff. I could not feel Feodor in my arms any longer and I feared he slipped from my arms. I was numb to the pain. A heavy fog fell before my eyes and I saw the shimmering image of Aphrodite once more. She smiled at me and held out a slender hand. I saw my own reach for hers. I took her hand and I felt energized, like another life flowing through my body. I breathed without effort.
My eyes grew wide as I saw Feodor, standing proud in his armor, his hand held out to me. "What took you so long, beloved?" he asked with a grin. I could only stammer. I looked behind me and saw my body laid upon Feodor's, arrows sticking out of us both. I turned back to Feodor's smiling and shining image. Aphrodite smiled at me and let go of my hand. I reached for Feodor's and felt it solid and real in mine. My face broke in a smile and I wrapped my arms around his neck as he kissed me soundly. Twas not a dream!
I did not know if I was in Hades' kingdom or in Olympus but I did not care. Feodor was with me. Aphrodite disappeared. Feodor led me to a grand palace and a woman walked out, a wide smile on her face. She was almost as beautiful as Aphrodite herself and her blonde curls glittered and her blue eyes smiled at me. My heart warmed towards her and I could not believe what was happening. "Mother!" I cried out, though my voice sounded faint, as if I was in a dream. I ran towards her and we embraced. Though I had never laid eyes on her before, I knew it was she that gave birth to me.
She wasted no time leading me to a large pond. I looked into it as she motioned for me to do and my eyes watered as I saw Isidore leading my three children into the woods with Xan holding Leda in her arms protectively. Feodor came and stood beside me, holding my hand. "We will watch our children grow and prosper and we will love them with all our hearts," he murmured, his lips pressed against my ear. I gripped his hand tightly and nodded slowly. Thus, began my afterlife, a life in which I watched over Isidore and my children with love and strength and nothing of fear.
AN: sigh...i didn't plan to end the story this way, but I guess this works too. I planned a very tragic ending, but this one didn't turn out THAT bad. It's somewhat happy, somewhat sad ending. Anyway, I hope you guys liked this story. I very much enjoyed working on this story and I'm anxious to start another one...but finals r coming n my grandpa's still sick...he has like, intestinal cancer or something and a bit too late to really work on. Aaaaaaaaaanyway, thank u guys so much! I love u guys and I'm so glad for all the feedback and opinions. They helped me a lot. I hope my future work will also be read and reviewed like this. This story is one of the stories I'd be willing to publish. I loved working on this story n I loved getting ur reviews even more!
N thanks for wishing my grandpa's good health...i hope things turn out ok...he was just admitted into his second surgery today at noon...he's still undergoing the surgery...
If u think there should be any changes, let me noe...i'll consider them. N don't worry...i'm already working on a sequel to this story! I love u guys so much n thanks for all ur lovely reviews!
THE SEQUEL IS UP! yay...hehehe..if ur curious as to how I shall smite Kalonice...read (n review) The Lost King!