Chapter 7

Upon Dionysos' return to Thebae, Cadmus awaited him. Half a dozen bodyguards and half a dozen city guards flanked him.

Dionysos had disbanded the army, he would rather them not have to witness what was about to occur. He dismounted his horse and marched, head held high, up to the guards. One of which held a pair of wrist bindings.

"You are hereby placed under house arrest, pending the outcome of your upcoming trial," said the guard, whilst cuffing him. "The charges brought against you are as follows; assault of an officer under the employment of Thebae and of holding on to your command longer than the maximum amount of time permitted."

"Escort the Boeotarch to his home," Cadmus ordered.

A dozen men turned about and surrounded Dionysos, as they would march in step all the way to his villa, situated on the other side of the city.

Once they arrived, two of his escort stood either side of his door, whilst two of them went around the back to keep guard. The rest of his escort would return to their usual duties.

Immediately Dionysos poured a large serving of diluted wine and drank it down in one. Now to business. First, he would write a short note for the messengers. A call to those Messenians who had been banished, exiled or had fled from their lands during the Spartan conquest, to return and help rebuild their home.

He would send messengers throughout all of Hellas with this message. Next, he would take his time writing up his defence. He would make the case that they had needed him, and without his conquests in the Peloponnese this past year, Thebaean hegemony would be on the brink of collapse. The Spartans would surely have regained their strength and marched on Thebae to capture it once again.

He was certain his penalty for fighting with Perikles would be kept to a minimum, therefore he would not worry about the issue.

"Boy?" Dionysos shouted.

A young child appeared from another room. He wore a grey chiton, torn, stained and clearly too small. "Kyrios?" The boy stared at his dirty feet. His shaved head presented itself to Dionysos.

"Take this to the copiers, I want fifty of them. Do you understand?"

"Yes, kyrios," the boy said, taking the scroll.

"Be about it then."

The child scuttled out of the house. Dionysos wondered if the boy could be his. The son of his kitchen slave, he had laid with her once, though he preferred the company of men.

Dionysos had been harsh on the child but was sure the boy would thank him one day. He poured himself another krater of wine, this time he would savour it. He leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. It had been a long time since he'd slept an entire night. He was certain he wouldn't be any time soon either. A short nap would have to do in the meantime.

"Kyrios…? Kyrios?" The boy shook Dionysos' shoulder before jumping back.

His eyes opened. "Yes, boy?" he said, rubbing at his eyes.

"The scrolls, kyrios."

Dionysos sat up and pulled a few scrolls from each pouch hanging from the boy's shoulders. He checked over them, making sure they were correct. "Right," he said, placing the scrolls back into the pouches, "These are fine." He then reached for another two scrolls that had rested on his desk.

"These contain a list of places. One for the North and one for the South. Make sure the messengers understand this."

The boy continued to stare at his feet, making no indication he'd even heard Dionysos speak.

"Just hand the bags over to them, along with one of these scrolls each." Dionysos pulled out a purse of drachmae from his pouch. "Then share this between them."

"Yes, kyrios," the boy said, finally giving some indication he'd heard anything spoken to him at all.

"Get going then!"

Dionysos took a sip of his wine and closed his eyes once more.

The ex-slaves had built a small settlement at the base of the mountain, while the new city was still being constructed. It was not long before free cities from various polies began to turn up. It went from one or two a day, to tens of families arriving each day, from wide and far. The small settlement expanded considerably. Many of those that arrived brought necessary skills with them. Those who weren't particularly skilled, were used as labourers.

It was months before the foundations had been laid and basic infrastructure had been put in place; clay sewers, water pipes and heating for the bath house. Sylvestros was pleased that they were on schedule and he could finally see his plans laid out before him. Every road was straight. Which was core to his design. He strictly followed the teachings of Hippodamus of Miletus. The centre of the city would contain the ecclesia, treasury and other public buildings, including six shrines to Asclepius, the patron God of the city. The state archives, the theatre and the boule would also be built around the centre of the city. Beyond that a plaza lined with statues containing large fountains led to the agora. The marketplace would be backed by workshops and industry. This space around the centre of the city also would contain food storage and a guardhouse with cells for up to thirty prisoners. The wider area beyond was reserved for living quarters. From the smallest nearer the centre, to the largest, that reached the city walls.

Miles of wall stretched into the distance to envelope and protect the city and its inhabitants during an attack. The main gatehouse towers were under construction, beside them would be the lone bathhouse, to welcome weary travellers to wash the dust from themselves as they enter the city. The other side of the gate, opposite to the bathhouse were the foundations for the Inn. One glossy haired man, a mercenary by the looks, had been watching the foundations go down, each day he would turn up without fail. Now he seemed to have taken over its construction and personally led the builders and labourers in their efforts.

Sylvestros looked around at the landscape sprawled out beyond the city. The land was being divided for agricultural use. The fertile plains would do well growing grapes and wheat. Two very useful crops that would help the new city get on its feet. Many off-duty soldiers helped to till the fields and dig irrigation in preparation for the seeds to be delivered from Thebae. Some herdsmen had brought their flocks of sheep and goats, they'd been left to fertilize the ground before moving on to mountain pastures. It was all coming together nicely. For now, Sylvestros had to get back and write up the official documents designating the land between the wealthiest returned Messenians. Enough time had been spent admiring his work.