A/N. I sincerely hope you enjoy this particular retelling of the Trojan War cycle. That's all I have to say for now, in any case. From hereon in, any notes I have (and reader responses) will go at the bottom of the page.

A Letter to the West

The first time the kingdom of Phrygia witnessed their ruler on his deathbed had been upon his return from the war at Troy—a war that was never talked about within the walls of the city. King Coroebus had returned from it a broken man in more ways than one.

It astounded his wife, then, that as he lay dying, he demanded a scribe. "Whatever needs to be written," she told him primly, "can be written when you are either better or gone. There's no rush for any of this now."

But the old king was insistent. Word had reached his ears of a wedding far to the west, a wedding that warranted some form of congratulations from Hattusa. "I knew the bride's mother once. I owe her my acknowledgement," he snipped. "Bring me a scribe."

Had it been Queen Puduhepa's prerogative, she would have steadfastly denied her husband this. Sending letters halfway across the world was a challenge on a good day, but there had been very few good days in the past years. The earth shook regularly—evidence that the gods were angry. Rumours had also reached the royal ears of strange, long-prowed ships that sailed southwards from gods-only-knew-where, raping and pillaging coastal towns; these mysterious Sea People were brutal, and supposedly equally adept over land. Who knew what lay between Phrygia and Sparta? But her protests would not be heard, and the potential loss of a messenger and a non-essential diplomatic correspondence seemed a small price to pay for the happiness of a Great King on his deathbed. A scribe was called for.

Queen Puduhepa learned many things that day. She learned of love—of a love so strong that she might have felt her heart break in her chest for the power of it. And she learned of a hate so deeply trenched that thousands would die for the strength of it. But perhaps, most importantly, she learned of peace—of a capacity for understanding and forgiveness that she had only aspired do, and never known that her warlike husband was capable of. The lessons, however, were not what remained in her mind. A name did.

That name was Cassandra.