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  #26  
Old February 29th, 2008, 10:47 PM
Casakit
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*giggles* I love this story have I said that yet? cause I do!! *grins madly*
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  #27  
Old March 1st, 2008, 02:14 AM
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KiwiGirl KiwiGirl is offline
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Great plan and I really enjoyed reading this chapter. I am hoping that Hector's story changes...I hated that part of the movie.

Oh and I watched your trailer...was very good.
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  #28  
Old March 2nd, 2008, 06:15 AM
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Telcontar Rulz Telcontar Rulz is offline
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Chance Encounter: Pirate Kingdom of Troy


Disclaimer: I don’t own Balian, Legolas, Will, Jack, Hector, Paris...you get the idea. I’m just borrowing them without permission but with every intention of returning them, savvy?

Chapter 12: A Game of Deception

“How did it go?” demanded Paris as soon as Will and Legolas got back to the fig tree.

“I was so nervous,” said Will.

“You did well,” Legolas assured him. “I think he really believed us.”

“That was the easy part, convincing my father,” said Paris. “Now we’ll have to convince the entire court and bring them onto our side and thus strip Calchas of support.”

“That will be harder than it sounds,” said Hector. “Everyone trusts the High Priest and has done so for years since before Paris was born. He will suffer no rival.”

“Yes, but Calchas can’t walk through walls or glow in the dark, can he?” said Aeneas, grinning. He clapped Will on the back. “Now you’ll have to perform in front of the whole court. I wish you luck and I wouldn’t trade places with you for all the riches in the world.”

“Balian owes me big time,” muttered Will.

***

Calchas did not feel there was anything wrong when the king summoned all the noblemen. They were at war, after all, and no doubt there was one important matter or another which needed to be discussed. However, that soon changed when he saw the golden warrior seated at the king’s right hand, even before Hector. In the dim light of the main hall, he seemed to be glowing from within. The one called Will Turner was missing. The High Priest assumed he would not be attending the meeting but as soon as they were all seated, he emerged from the wall, waling right through furniture. The entire court was silent as he took his seat, next to Paris and opposite Legolas.

“The execution of the man called Balian will be called off,” announced Priam. “The gods have decreed it. Anyone who dares to harm him will be punished as one who has committed sacrilege.”

“But Sire,” said Calchas “he has committed sacrilege! He must be punished to appease the gods.” What had brought about this sudden change of mind? He hoped that his men had done their work by now and that the man in question would be lying dead in his cell.

“High Priest,” said Legolas. “To punish him would only further anger the gods. He is their chosen one. Already, they have spared him from the grasp of death, when he suffered a wound which no man could survive. And yet, he lives.”

“Where is your proof?” said Calchas.

“Proof?” said Will. “He bears the scars from that wound. A Spear impaled his body. You will find two corresponding marks; one on his front and the other on his back, where the spear emerged.”

“Bring the prisoner,” said Priam. “I wish to inspect the scars which you have mentioned.”

***

Balian sat cross-legged in the semi-darkness, his elbows resting on his knees. There was a bowl of food on the floor, but he dared not taste it, despite his hunger. He fingered the silver chain on which he wore Sibylla’s ring. In the Holy Land, he had heard of a strange practice. Kings in the Far East would test their food for poison using silver. If the metal turned black when it came into contact with the food, it meant that poison was present. The blacksmith took the chain and touched it to the food. The metal darkened.

He smiled grimly. “You want to silence me forever, Calchas?” he whispered. “It’s not as easy as you think. I still have a few days.” A few days. Was he to die the death of a traitor to Christendom after all? Out of necessity, he tested the jar of water in the corner as well. That too, was poisoned.

He sighed, trying to work some moisture into his parched mouth. How long would it take for the flames to kill him? Or would the smoke suffocate him first? “God, what is it you want of me?” he asked. As soon as he asked the question, there was the sound of the door being unlocked. Three Apollonian guards came in. He did not fight them, knowing it would be futile. Shackles were put around his wrists and ankles.

“The king requests your presence,” said one of the guards.

‘Will they kill me now?’ wondered the blacksmith as he followed the guards through the maze of winding tunnels. ‘Has Calchas persuaded the king to bring forward my execution?’ To his surprise, they took him to the main hall, where all the noblemen had gathered. His friends were there. Legolas caught his eye and gave him a small reassuring smile. The elf’s face was full of confidence.

Balian’s shirt was torn from his body. The king stepped down from his throne, his eyes fixed on the white circular scars left by the orc spear which had impaled him before the Black Gates.

Calchas grew tenser as he saw the ‘proof’ with his own eyes. Could this man really be sent by the gods? He knew that he had failed once again, this time thwarted by divine intervention. “My king,” he said. “I thought...I thought...”

“We all make mistakes sometimes, old friend,” said Priam soothingly. Paris groaned inwardly. They had saved Balian but the king still trusted the High Priest, despite everything. “The gods’ intentions are not always clear. I am thankful that they informed me before it was too late.” He motioned to the guards to free Balian from his manacles.

“Forgive me, Divine One” said the king. “I did not know.” He took Balian’s hands in his own and made to kiss them.

“No, Sire...” stammered Balian. “My hands are filthy...” He was utterly confused. What was going on? He looked around. Paris stood up, glowing with the satisfaction of victory.

“Father,” said the younger prince. “No doubt Balian is tired after his ordeal.”

“Yes, yes, of course,” said Priam.

“We will escort him back to his quarters,” said Legolas. He nodded at the rest of the group. They ushered Balian back to his room, where a bath awaited him.

“What on earth is going on?” demanded the blacksmith as Legolas made him sit down on the bed and tried to inspect his body for injuries. “Why did the king call me ‘divine one’?”

“It was Paris’ idea,” said Legolas. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m fine,” said Balian. Legolas snorted and rolled his eyes in a most un-elf-like fashion, something which he had most likely learned from Aragorn.

“It’s true!” insisted Balian.

“For you, maybe,” said Legolas, and then he stopped and looked at the man’s face. “You really are fine, except for a few bruises.”

“I told you so, Nurse Legolas. Why won’t you believe me when I say that I’m fine?”

The others started laughing as Legolas glared at the grinning blacksmith and advanced on him menacingly. Balian quickly put up his hands to ward off the elf. “Hey, Legolas, I’m just keeping my promise,” he said.

“What promise?” snarled the elf.

“I promised I’d get you back for calling me ‘Nanny Balian’. I’m a man of my word.”

“You want to get back at me for calling you ‘Nanny Balian’ and so you come up with...with that?” said Legolas, looking flustered.

“Of course,” said Balian, grabbing a bunch of grapes from the bowl of fruit beside his bed and starting to devour them.

“But...but..that’s just petty! Not to mention immature!”

“So I suppose you two are even now, Nanny Balian and Nurse Legolas,” said a grinning Will Turner.

“Don’t you start,” warned the elf and the blacksmith.

“You’re not allowed to hurt me, Balian,” said Will. “I helped to save your life.”

“Yes, how did you manage to make the king think that I was a ‘divine one’?” said Balian, finishing the grapes and moving onto the pomegranates. He poured himself a cup of wine from the jug and took a few thirsty gulps. The golden liquid ran down his chin. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

“You have Paris to thank for that,” said Hector. “He thought of the idea of having Legolas and Will pretend to be gods so that they could persuade Father that it would be sacrilege to kill you because you are chosen by the gods.”

Balian snorted and sprayed out a mouthful of wine. “Legolas and Will, gods?” he gasped in between bouts of laughter. “That’s ridiculous, no offence meant.”

“That’s what I thought, mate,” said Jack, helping himself to Balian’s wine. “But it worked.”

“Too bad you couldn’t see the look on Calchas’ face when Father announced it,” said Paris. “He looked as if he would burst.”

***

“How is it possible?” Calchas demanded in the dark smothering silence of his temple. Only a single torch flickered smokily. “He is a blasphemer, and yet the gods protect him!” It was infuriating. With Balian almost portrayed as a god and the other two, Legolas and Will Turner, truly deified, the High Priest’s influence would surely diminish even before the doubting Hector became king. Who needed priests when there were gods in the flesh?

There had to be some way to get rid of the Crown Prince. With Paris on the throne, the High Priest could once again seize power. Calchas racked his mind for ideas. He needed a sign from the higher powers. The High Priest went out of the temple. A lone mournful cry pierced the air. An eagle balanced on the air currents high above the temple, with a serpent clutched in its claws. A small crowd had gathered and they pointed at the bird. Calchas could not help but feel that there was something ominous about this. Maybe it wasn’t a sign, but who said he couldn’t make it one?

***

Achilles watched Briseis sleep. She looked so innocent and blissful. He could spend his whole life with a woman like that and be satisfied. She was the greatest treasure that he had found in Troy. And he was happy with that. His mother had been wrong. He would not have found a woman like Briseis had he stayed in Greece.

‘Will you go back to Greece with me?’ he wondered. ‘Can you leave everything behind?’ Achilles knew that he couldn’t go to Troy. He had killed too many Trojans for them to accept him. And he definitely would not stay with Agamemnon’s army.

Someone pushed open the tent flap. Immediately, he put his finger to his lips, motioning for whoever it was to be quiet. He didn’t want Briseis to awaken. Let her wander in the bliss of her dreams for a while longer.

He ducked out of the tent. Odysseus waited for him outside. “Agamemnon is a proud man,” began the king of Ithaca “but he knows when he’s made a mistake.”

“More likely he has realized that he can’t fight the Trojans without my men,” said Achilles. “Why do you serve him?”

“My friend, things are seldom simple when you’re a king,” said Odysseus, rubbing his face. The warrior could sense the fatigue that the king was trying so hard to hide. He knew it wasn’t easy, being subjected to the whims of the High King of Mycenae. “I serve him to protect my people. He is a very powerful man.”

“I don’t fear him,” said Achilles.

“That’s your problem,” said Odysseus. “You don’t fear anything. Fear is useful. It shows you what you can do and what you can’t do. It helps you to see your limits.” He smiled at Achilles. “Someday, you will understand how it feels to fear, and then you will understand what I mean.”

The warrior watched him go. He made no move to follow him. His had decided. “Prepare the ships,” he said to Eudoras. “We sail home tomorrow.”

“You can’t just sail away!” said Patroclus. “These are our countrymen! You can’t just run away from the battle!”

“If it’s fighting you want, there’ll always be another war,” said Achilles unsympathetically. He knew just what was going through his cousin’s mind. Once, long ago, he had been like that. Patroclus was so ignorant of the truths of war. If only he knew of the dreams which tormented Achilles every night, then maybe he might not be so eager to become a killer of men. He had no doubt that every warrior suffered from the same affliction, whether it was Hector, the glorious prince of Troy, the stubborn and bold Balian, or the golden godlike warrior; none were exempt. He wanted to escape these dreams. Achilles didn’t want to be a lion anymore. He wanted to be a man.

***

The word that an eagle had been sighted clutching a serpent in its talons spread through Troy like fire through fields of wheat. Priam quickly summoned the noblemen and the two ‘divine messengers’ to discuss the meaning of it. Will sat through the discussion while remaining silent. He felt very uncomfortable about it. All this signified for him was that the eagle was hungry. There was nothing particularly meaningful.

“It is a sign from the gods,” said Calchas. “We will win a great victory against the Greeks if we attack.” He knew very well that it wasn’t true, but if Hector led an attack against Agamemnon’s army, he would be exposed and thus easily killed.

“Bird signs,” said the Crown Prince impatiently. “You want me to base my strategies on bird signs?”

“Hector, show some respect,” said Priam. He turned to Legolas and Will. “What do you make of this?”

Both of the ‘divine messengers’ struggled to find words. “I can see no meaning in it,” said Will after some silence.

The King looked at Balian. “And you?” he asked.

“I have no skill in interpreting omens,” said Balian “but I know there is no need to attack the Greeks. They cannot breach our walls. We will just beat them back. Within these walls, we will outlast them. We have developed the right equipment to defend ourselves.”

Calchas silently cursed him. Why did he have to be so reasonable?

Priam was not fond of the idea of staying behind the walls like cowards. “You are sure of this?” he asked Calchas.

“The desecration of his temple angers Apollo,” said the High Priest. This was enough for the King of Troy.

“Hector, prepare the army,” he said. “We attack at daybreak.”

***

A/N: No, Calchas is not giving up yet. By the ‘right equipment’, Balian means one trebuchet, but considering Agamemnon has forgotten his siege ladders, it works perfectly fine.

Yes, Casakit, you did tell me that you like my story It's a lot of fun for me as well, coming up with all this crazy stuff.

I did think of changing Hector's story, Kiwi, and in a way, it does change, but it's not a very conventional way...all will be revealed in due time.
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  #29  
Old March 3rd, 2008, 07:43 AM
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KiwiGirl KiwiGirl is offline
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Great chapter again and glad that Balian is out of that cell. Poor man.

Your changing the story sounds slightly ominous....
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  #30  
Old March 3rd, 2008, 01:42 PM
Casakit
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*giggles* ah just what I needed when I logged in tis morning! if they want to see another god... lol.. Calypso when she's going through PMS* busts out laughing* sorry.. sorry .. I couldn't help it.. that image has been in my head for a while now lolololgreat chapter and please do keep up the good work!
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  #31  
Old March 4th, 2008, 05:40 PM
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Telcontar Rulz Telcontar Rulz is offline
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Warning:
Violence in this chapter

Chance Encounter: Pirate Kingdom of Troy


Disclaimer: I don’t own Balian, Legolas, Jack, Will, Paris, Hector...you get the idea. I’m just borrowing them without permission but with every intention of returning them, savvy?

Chapter 13: Some Very Good Leverage

Against his wishes, Hector found himself preparing to launch an attack on the Greek camp the next morning. Paris was most unhappy about the situation. “We don’t know what Calchas is planning,” he said. “Surely you don’t intend to obey Father’s orders, do you?”

“He is my father and my king,” said Hector. “Where does my allegiance lie if not with him?”

“With your people,” Balian replied promptly. “Your duty is first and foremost to the people of Troy, and you would serve them better if you stayed here to guard them.”

“One does not defy a king,” said Hector. His mind was made up and they could all see that nothing would be able to dissuade him from this course of action.

“Are you certain that you’ll win?” said Will.

“No, the Greeks outnumber us,” said Hector.

“But you have the element of surprise,” said Legolas, who was examining Trojan bows and arrows.

“And if you can instil fear into the Greeks beforehand...” said Balian.

“How do you suggest we do that?” said Hector.

“I wouldn’t suggest trying to move the trebuchet,” said Balian “but there are other things which work just as well, provided we have fire...”

***

Cassandra wanted to talk to someone. She could not hold in her feelings for much longer, but who to talk to? Her brothers would not understand and even worse, they might tell. That would be so embarrassing. Andromache would definitely tell Hector. Who would understand how she was feeling? Her mind wandered to the least likely person of all; Helen, the woman, who for love, brought this war upon Troy. Helen, the woman who had given up everything and risked everything so she could be with the man she loved. She would understand how Cassandra was feeling and better yet, Paris was the more subtle of her brothers. Even if he somehow found out, he would be less likely to reveal her secret.

The princess went to Paris’ quarters and knocked on the door. A moment later, Helen opened it. The former Spartan queen seemed surprised to see Cassandra there. “I’m afraid Paris isn’t here at the moment,” she said.

“Actually,” began Cassandra awkwardly “I came to talk to you.”

“To me?”

“Yes... I’m sorry for my outburst that day... I’ve seen how much you love Paris. You’re probably the best thing that’s ever happened to him. Can you forgive me?”

“Oh Cassandra,” said Helen, smiling gently. “I have hoped that we could become friends.”

Cassandra smiled back. It was easy to understand why Paris had fallen in love with this woman. It was impossible to hate her.

Helen led Cassandra inside. The girl gave a small whistle. “This room is actually presentable, for once,” she said. “Paris was never one for being tidy and the servants had trouble keeping up with him.”

“Truly?” said Helen. “I have not noticed. He has been nothing but meticulous.”

“Maybe falling in love does really change people,” said Cassandra.

“Believe me, it does,” said Helen with a dreamy look on her beautiful face.

“How does it feel, to be in love?” asked Cassandra.

“It’s wonderful. When I’m with your brother, I feel as if nothing can hurt me. His love shields me from everything that’s bad. I would do anything for him and even follow him into Hades itself...why do you ask?”

“Because I think I’m in love,” said the princess. “And I don’t know what to do.”

“Who is this lucky boy?” asked Helen.

“Well, he’s not much of a boy...more of a man...”

“How old is he?”

“Around thirty, I think. I know he’s older than Paris but younger than Hector. You might think that he’s too old for me but everything about him is so wonderful and perfect. He’s handsome, he’s brave, he’s everything a woman can want in a man. And like you said, he makes me feel safe, and...and...I trust him.”

Helen looked at the younger woman intently. “Who is he?” she asked. Cassandra opened her mouth, but she stayed silent for a few moments before answering.

“Balian,” she said in a soft voice.

“Balian? The foreigner? Paris told me he’s been married once before and he would have married a second time if his lover had not abandoned him. If it wasn’t for some cruel trick that the Fates played on him, he would’ve been a father by now.”

“I know, and I don’t care.”

“Have you spoken to him about it?” Helen was beginning to grow anxious for her sister by marriage, not that she and Paris were officially married.

“Of course not! I wouldn’t dare!” The former queen sighed. Girls like Cassandra were naive when it came to matters of love. Their hearts were easy to break.

Cassandra couldn’t interpret Helen’s expression. “Do you think it’s...possible?”

“I don’t know,” said Helen honestly.

“You won’t tell anyone, will you?”

Helen shook her head. Paris wasn’t just anyone. He was part of her, and she was part of him.

Cassandra looked relieved. “Thank you,” she said, and then left, just as Paris came in. He looked at his sister’s departing form and then at Helen.

“What was that all about?” he asked.

“Your sister’s in love,” said Helen.

“I was wondering when that would happen,” said Paris. “It’ll be good for her, to be normal for once.”

“Balian?”

“What do you mean?”

“Cassandra just confessed that she’s in love with Balian.”

“But he’s too old for her! Gods, he’s a good man but he’s older than me!” Paris rubbed his face. “Don’t let him know. He probably won’t know how to react, the poor man. He’s still very much in love with that other princess...I can’t remember her name.”

“What are we going to do about Cassandra?”

“Try to discourage her.”

***

Calchas wrote yet another letter to Agamemnon, informing him of the impending attack. He knew that the letter was vague. Since the arrival of the strange foreigners, everything had been rendered unpredictable. Once again, he sent his mute servant to deliver the letter. Should the man be caught, he would be unable to betray the High Priest. Unknown to the two of them, a sparrow lurked in the nearby shadows and saw everything through a telescope.

Jack followed the High Priest’s servant, keeping a constant distance between the two of them. Spying on Calchas had been Paris’ idea and it was about to yield a big fat juicy fruit. ‘As long as it’s not a coconut, I’m good with it,’ thought the pirate. He didn’t like coconuts; it hurt when they hit him in the head. He waved up at the rooftops, where Legolas was watching. He knew the elf would be trailing the High Priest’s servant too, from a greater elevation.

The servant slipped into a dark alleyway to better avoid detection. The sun was setting, and soon it would be too dark for the guards to see anything. Then he could slip out and make his way to the Greek camp. Legolas saw his moment and he launched a rock at the man’s head, felling him immediately. Jack rushed to the man. “Still breathing,” he muttered to himself. Legolas dropped down from the rooftops to join him.

“We’ll take him to Paris’ quarters and search him then,” said the elf. “It’s not safe out here. Someone might see us.”

Between the two of them, they carried the unconscious man back to the palace, staggering a bit to give the impression that they were a couple of drunks carrying an intoxicated friend. Barbossa was waiting by the back door which led directly into the younger prince’s apartments. “No one’s following you?” he whispered.

“I would know if we were being trailed, Captain Barbossa,” said Legolas.

“Just checking. Better safe than sorry.”

“Why do you call him ‘Captain Barbossa’ when I’m just plain ole Jack?” demanded Jack. He got no answer.

Paris was waiting for them inside. Helen, thankfully, was not present. She would be horrified to know what her sweet beloved prince was doing. “Who in Hades is this?” he asked, looking at the unconscious man that Jack and Legolas were dragging in. “I thought you were spying on Calchas, not kidnapping civilians.”

“This is Calchas’ servant,” said Legolas. Paris’ eyes widened and he was all of a sudden very alert.

“He might be able to tell us something useful,” he said.

“He won’t tell you a single damn thing,” said Jack casually, helping himself to Paris’ wine. “Man’s a bloody mute, and he ain’t got no parrot to talk for him. You might as well just search him and be satisfied with that. I swear on me honour that I saw that slimy snake of a priest give him something and I don’t think it was a spare handkerchief.”

“Found it,” said Legolas, holding up a piece of parchment between his index finger and his middle finger. Calchas’ servant began to stir. Barbossa hit him on the head with the hilt of his sword and the mute slumped back into unconsciousness again. For good measure, he had Ragetti and Pintel bind and gag the man.

Paris unfolded the piece of parchment. As he read it, his face paled with anger. “That traitorous wretch!” he hissed as he squeezed the parchment in his fist, wishing that it was Calchas neck instead. “He’s in league with Agamemnon, the ingrate!” He turned to the others. “This is a letter written to inform the Greeks of Hector’s impending attack.”

“Just as well we intercepted it,” said Legolas.

“I’m going to make that bastard pay,” said Paris. The quiet and deadly determination in his voice made them all look at him in a new light. This was not the naive boy who had gone out to fight Menelaus. This was a prince of Troy; a most dangerous prince of Troy.

“Paris,” said Legolas “maybe it’s best if you do not reveal yourself to be the mastermind behind our acts. Calchas is a dangerous man and if he knows what you’re doing, he will target you. We need to keep you safe so that you can go about bringing him down.”

“Then who is going to represent us?” said Paris.

“I will,” said Legolas. “I’m a ‘divine messenger’, remember?”

“Speaking of divine messengers,” said Jack “where is the other divine messenger and the chosen one of the gods?”

“Balian and Will are already down at the beach, with Hector and the rest of the army,” said Paris.

“But it’s the middle of the night,” said Jack. “The attack is scheduled for daybreak, if I recall correctly.”

“It is,” said Paris. “Balian just thought it might be a good idea to bombard the Greeks during the night and then launch an attack at daybreak. Hector agreed.” He looked at the parchment in his hand. Calchas had just given him some very good leverage, as Jack would say.

***

Patroclus woke up to the sound of screams, horns and explosions. He snatched up his sword and ran outside, ready to do battle, only to find that he could not see their attackers, let alone fight them. Further up the beach, the Greek camp was burning. The fires stained the night sky a sickly orange. Flaming balls of hemp soaked in oil rampaged through the camp, leaving destructive blazing trails behind them. “Achilles!” he shouted. “Achilles, wake up! The Trojans are burning our camp!”

Moments later, Achilles emerged from his tent, looking decidedly dishevelled and wearing only a light robe to cover his nakedness. Patroclus didn’t really want to think about what had been going on behind the thin leather walls of the tent but he could easily guess. “They’re not burning our camp,” said Achilles, running a hand through his mussed sandy hair. “They’re burning Agamemnon’s camp. Go back to sleep Patroclus. It’s none of our business, unless, or course, that golden warrior appears. Wake me up if you see him, or if they burn our camp.” He yawned, like a sleepy lion and went back inside his tent.

Patroclus made to follow Achilles and berate him for his indifference, but in his heart, he knew that it would be useless. Achilles was the most stubborn creature he knew and the great warrior hated Agamemnon with every fibre of his being. The youth could see that the men were restless, longing to fight the war that they had come for. Gods, he longed to fight, to win glory, just like Achilles.

Just like Achilles.

The youth got an idea. Achilles would probably disapprove but he wasn’t awake to do so. He sneaked inside Achilles tent and then came out moments later, carrying his cousin’s armour, shield and weapons all bundled up in a cloak. Looking around to see that no one saw him, he ran back to his tent and quickly donned Achilles’ armour. It was a bit big but it fit him well enough. With the helmet hiding his face, no one would recognize him as not being Achilles anyway.

Patroclus went out of the tent a transformed man. He was no longer just the boy who happened to be Achilles cousin. He was Achilles, Lord of the Myrmidon, at least for the time being. He basked in the men’s respect as he motioned for them to prepare for battle. The Trojans were finally advancing, hitting their shields with their spears and making enough noise for an army five times the size of theirs to intimidate the Greeks. The Greeks’ nerves had been frayed by the bombardment. It was such a primitive trick, but it worked.

It seemed as if the Trojans were attacking from all sides, driving them into the ocean. At the very front of the Trojan ranks was Hector, flanked by his generals and lieutenants. Two of them looked like foreigners with their strange garb and weapons, but Patroclus knew that neither was the golden warrior which the entire army feared. Nor did they look like the man who accused Menelaus of being a eunuch. No, they were probably just two of the nameless others. The greatest enemy warrior present at this battle would be Hector.

A shout rose amongst the Greek soldiers as Patroclus charged through the ranks. “It’s Achilles!” Cheers rang out, fuelling the youth’s confidence. He would prove to Achilles that he was worthy of being a Myrmidon. Emboldened by the men’s support and his disguise’s success, Patroclus ran headlong into the Trojan ranks, knowing that the soldiers would follow his lead. He slashed and cut his way through to Hector, his chosen prey. Today, he was a lion.

The first time their blades met, Patroclus began to regret coming out here to fight Hector. The Trojan Prince was a lot stronger than he had anticipated, and faster too.

A circle formed around the two leading warriors. All watched eagerly as the two mean fought, wanting to see the outcome of the duel. It wasn’t a fight between two men. This was a struggle between Troy and Greece. Balian frowned. Something was no quite right. He had fought Achilles once before and he knew how the great warrior moved. Hector’s opponent fought a little better than Paris. He attempted to move like Achilles, but he lacked the strength and grace. Hector shoved his opponent backwards and before the other man could react, slit his throat.

***

A/N: Apologies to anyone who wanted Achilles and Hector to be friends/stay alive. That would be changing history too much and unfortunately, I can't do that.

No one can keep Balian locked up for long, Kiwi, not if his friends have anything to say about it. As for the change, wait and see...

I have a couple of Calypso cameos planned, Casakit, but mostly she's used for explaining things. Still, they can all be shocked because she is a goddess after all.
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  #32  
Old March 4th, 2008, 07:22 PM
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lol* cheers* cause I rather like Calypso.. I had just got the image of her going through PMS.. * fals over laughing*and I find that bloody hillarious... *calps* keep up da good work.. *bounces waiting for next chapter*
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  #33  
Old March 7th, 2008, 07:47 AM
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I had hoped but can understand why you could not change it hugely. Did enjoy the conversation when they caught the messenger.

Looking forward to the next bit....
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Old March 7th, 2008, 08:39 PM
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Warning: Violence in this chapter

Chance Encounter: Pirate Kingdom of Troy


Disclaimer: I don’t own Balian, Legolas, Will, Jack, Paris, Hector...you get the idea. I’m just borrowing them without permission but with every intention of returning them, savvy?

Chapter 14: Retribution

Blood bubbled out of the wound as the man fell backwards. He lay there, struggling for breath as he slowly drowned in his own blood. Hector knelt down in the sand beside his fallen adversary and removed the helmet from the dying man’s head, revealing the face of a boy; a boy who was even younger than Paris. It wasn’t Achilles. The sight shocked all the onlookers. ‘Why did you come out here to fight?’ Hector demanded silently of the boy. ‘Why do I have to be the one who kills you?’ He knew that it was the Fates playing tricks on him. The boy looked up at him with desperate pleading eyes, imploring him to end his suffering.

Hector wrapped his fingers around the hilt of his sword and lifted it slowly as if it was weighed down by the heavy burden of his guilt and sorrow for this needless death. Will could see that his hands were shaking. With and anguished cry, Hector plunged his blade into the boy’s chest, putting him to sleep forever. The expression on Hector’s face was unreadable, but those who knew him understood how it pained him to have to take the lives of others, especially if those who were not meant to die.

Hector turned to the Greek who resembled Boromir. Balian had learnt that his name was Odysseus. “Enough for today,” said the Trojan Prince.

Odysseus nodded. “It was his cousin,” he told Hector quietly. Hector didn’t say anything but in his heart, he knew the fate that the gods had planned for him. Achilles was not the sort of man to let his cousin’s death go without avenging him.

Will knew the reasons behind this retreat, but he also regretted not being able to make the most of this opportunity to defeat the Greeks once and for all. Balian walked in time with the young pirate. “Hector’s strengths and weaknesses lie in his honour and compassion,” he said. “They are his blessings and his curses.”

“You guessed what I was thinking?” said Will.

“You’re like an open book, Will Turner,” said Balian. “That’s why I know I can trust you.”

“That’s comforting to know,” said Will. “That man...Odysseus, he said the boy was someone’s cousin...”

“Achilles' cousin, I think,” said Balian. “Something terrible is about to happen. I can feel it.”

***

Paris was surprised to hear that Hector had returned so soon. Were to Greeks so incompetent that an army half the size of theirs could defeat them within one morning? If so, why were there no celebrations of the victory? He set off to find his brother and bumped into Balian instead. “Do you know where Hector is?” he asked. “I have something important to tell him. It’s about Calchas.”

“Maybe it would be best if you waited a bit,” said Balian. “Hector’s distraught, to say the least. He’s just mistook Achilles’ cousin for Achilles.”

“What happened?” demanded Paris.

“The boy was no match for Hector,” said Balian.

“Oh gods,” breathed Paris. “Achilles will come after Hector, and then...” The outcome was too terrible to contemplate. “What do we do?”

Balian shook his head. “I don’t know,” he said. “Knowing Hector, he would probably go out and fight if Achilles challenged him.”

“And then Calchas will get what he wants,” said Paris.

“What do you mean?” asked Balian.

“I must show you something.”

“I hope it’s nothing bad, Paris. The last time you said that...”

“It’s bad, but not for us.” Paris unlocked the door to a seldom-used room in his quarters. It was dark inside, and the air smelled of stale old dust. A dark shape cowered in a corner. Paris took a torch from one of the brackets on the wall and approached the figure. It was a man, bound in a cocoon of rope. “Jack and Legolas caught him last night, sneaking away from Calchas’ quarters and trying to get out of the city to the Greeks. We found this on him.” Paris reached inside his robe and pulled out a piece of parchment. “I’m sure that Calchas wrote this, although he didn’t sign it. It was written to inform Agamemnon of this morning’s attack, and here, it mentions Hector specifically, asking Agamemnon to target him. I have no doubt that the assassination attempts in Sparta and on the boat were ordered by Calchas as well. Our High Priest is in league with the Greeks, and he wants Hector dead, for one reason or another.”

Balian nodded. He had been suspecting this for some time, although he never knew the extent of Calchas’ treachery, until now. Hector was the next king of Troy. Plotting to kill him was high treason. “What is your plan of action?” he asked Paris.

“That’s why I need to find Hector,” said Paris. “I need to tell him about it and then we can devise some way to trap Calchas.”

The two of them searched for Hector together. They were joined by Legolas, Will and Barbossa but none of them could find a trace of either Hector or Andromache. It was as if they had vanished. “It’s most unlike Hector and Andromache to leave Astyanax all alone,” said Paris, his voice tight with concern. “Something must have happened.” He was starting to panic when who should appear but Hector, carrying a torch and leading a tearful Andromache.

“Hector?” said Paris softly. “There’s something that I need to discuss...”

“Please, Paris,” said Hector. “I wish to be able to spend today as a man, and not the Crown Prince of Troy.” It sounded so much like a plea that Paris was stunned. He’d never seen his brother so vulnerable before, and it frightened him.

Hector brushed past his brother. Andromache followed him. The prince knew he did not have very much time left and for once, he wanted to live as a civilian did, without the weight of the hopes of an entire nation resting on his shoulders. Back in his quarters, the golden morning sunlight streamed through the windows, contrasting with his melancholic mood. Astyanax was awake and gurgling, delighted with life. The baby waved his tiny hands and kicked his fat little legs, relishing in his limbs’ growing strength. Hector’s heart filled with love and pity for his child. It would be difficult for the little boy, growing up in his father’s shadow. The rough world would soon strip this innocence away and replace it with pain and bitterness. The prince wished with all his heart that he could have given his son a better life, instead of casting him into the sea of suffering. He reached into the cradle and picked up the baby, his own flesh and blood.

Andromache came up from behind him and wrapped her arms around her husband, resting her chin on his shoulder. Outside, Apollo drove his fiery chariot across the sky and waves from the calm blue sea lapped the Greek-infested beach.

***

That night, Helen woke to find an empty space beside her. Outside, she could hear the sound of arrows flying through the air and hitting something. Who was practising archery at this time of the night? She got up and went to the window. The night breeze raised goose pimples on her pale skin. Paris was turning a straw dummy into a pin cushion. There was so much hate and anger in his eyes that it frightened her. This was not her Paris. Breathing as quietly as she could so as to not disturb him, she padded back to the bed and lay wide awake, listening to the sound of arrows hitting the straw dummy and being pulled out again.

***

Balian woke up before dawn, drenched in sweat. The bedclothes had knotted themselves around him as he had twisted and turned in his fitful sleep. No wonder he dreamed he was being strangled. The dreams were many and fleeting, and he hardly remembered them, except for a familiar voice calling his name. A sense of dread and finality had settled in his stomach. He gave up trying to fall asleep again and threw on his clothes. Usually, wearing the sword of Ibelin comforted him and gave him strength, but not this day.

***

Achilles was ready. On the road to Hades, Patroclus would soon have Hector for company, except the lord of the Myrmidon never intended for Hector to reach Hades. He pulled on his greaves. Patroclus had worn them when he had died. “I’ll strike him down for you, little cousin,” he whispered. “He will pay for what he’s done.”

***

Hector looked down at the peacefully sleeping Astyanax. The baby’s thumb was in his mouth and his other hand clutched the wooden lion that his father had made for him. “Goodbye, my little one,” he whispered. The sun had risen. Soon, the lion would be here for his prey. The prince needed to get ready. He ran his hands over the contours of his armour. He’d worn it so many times without thinking about it. It was easily the best armour in all of Troy, made of many bronze plates sewn together by the finest craftsmen. He’d never appreciated its beauty before.

Now that he could see his end drawing near, everything seemed more beautiful. His Andromache, lying curled up with her hair loose, had never looked lovelier. The sea was bluer than he’d ever seen it before and even the sun seemed brighter. There was every reason to live.

He donned his armour, remembering every inch of the smooth metal. When he picked up his shield, he was tempted to look back at his sleeping wife and child, but he knew that the sight of them would quell his will to fight. He fought back the temptation and strode out into the sun. The prince could almost hear the souls of the dead whispering to him on the wind. “Welcome, brother,” they said.

Outside the walls of Troy, a lone chariot came to a halt. A warrior stepped out. Moments later, a single word rang out across the beach and through the city, repeating itself over and over again.

Hector.

***

“Legolas! Balian!” shouted Will, running to catch up with the other two. They stopped and turned. “We have to stop this. Hector can’t fight Achilles. He’ll be killed and Troy will be left without a leader capable of defending it!”

“What can we do?” said Balian. “Andromache has tried convincing him. I’ve tried convincing him. Legolas has tried convincing him. He won’t listen to any of us. Men like Hector hold their honour dearer than their lives. Nothing short of drugging him can stop him from going out to fight Achilles.”

“You can’t drug the Crown Prince of Troy,” said Legolas. “That’s treason by any standards and he’ll hate you for it.”

“Do you think Paris might do it?” said Will. Before anyone could answer, Jack was shouting at them.

“Oi! Everyone’s on the walls!” said Jack. The other three stopped their conversation and ran to join the court, reaching there just in time to see Priam give Hector his blessings. They took their places beside Paris and Aeneas. The Crown Prince went to his younger brother and friends. Paris’ handsome features were etched with pain.

“You’re the best man I’ve ever known,” said Paris, embracing his brother.

“I know you’ll make me proud,” said Hector. Paris swallowed and nodded. The Crown Prince turned to Aeneas and the foreigners. None of them knew what to say. Hector placed one hand on Paris’ shoulder and another hand on the shoulder of the person who stood at his other side, which happened to be Jack. “I want you all to take care and be as brothers to each other,” he said. “The safety of Troy, I entrust to you all. Aeneas and Balian, I want you two to take over command of the defences. The troops trust Aeneas and Balian is experienced in such matters. The rest of you will help and advise them. ” He looked at each and every one of them. “No man could have had better friends. I’m proud to have been able to call you my brothers.” He embraced each of them in turn, even Jack and Barbossa. When he got to Balian, he leaned towards to younger man’s ear. “Look after my wife and child as if they are your own. Don’t let them come to harm.”

“You have my word, Hector,” said Balian, and then in a lower voice, he added “you don’t need to fight him. Your duty is first and foremost to your people. You will be doing no wrong if you stay alive to protect them.”

“A man must answer for his actions,” said Hector. “Surely you must understand this, as a man of honour.”

“Sometimes, one must do a little evil in order to do a greater good,” insisted Balian, using the words which Sibylla had once said to him.

“Troy will be protected,” said Hector, putting on his helmet. Legolas watched him go, having heard everything that had been said. The elf looked back at his friends and met Balian’s gaze. He knew that the blacksmith was thinking the same thing. Valar, why did Hector have to be so stubborn?

***

Paris knew it was his fault as Achilles delivered the killing stroke, plunging his blade into Hector’s kind and generous heart. The younger prince felt the blow as keenly as if Achilles had driven the blade into his heart. His refuge, his brother, the great stone pillar which gave him support, was gone. Hector’s burden had passed onto him and Paris had never thought that it would be so heavy. Achilles looked up at the tall walls of Troy and locked gazes with Paris. The younger prince felt hatred for this man build up inside him. He would remember that face forever; the face of the man who had killed his beloved brother in cold blood.

The lord of the Myrmidon tied a rope around Hector’s ankles and then tied the rope to his chariot. He drove in front of Troy, dragging Hector’s body in the sand as the dead man’s friends and family watched and leaving a trail of blood. Legolas’ hand flew to the arrows in his quiver while Jack, Will and Barbossa fumbled for their pistols, all of them wanting to kill this arrogant animal. And then they remembered Hector’s honour. The late prince of Troy would not have wanted them to do such a thing.

Paris gripped the wall so tightly that the pattern of the rock was ingrained into the flesh of his hands. As he watched the Greek defile his brother’s lifeless body, he made a promise. ‘By the gods on Olympus and in Hades, I swear I will spill your blood to appease my brother’s spirit, Achilles,” he thought. ‘I will shame you in death as you have shamed him.’

***

A/N: This is getting much angstier than I thought it would be.

I like trying to imitate Calypso's accent, Casakit I'm not very good at it, but it's fun.

Kiwi, I can't change Hector's story when it's still in the context of Troy the movie or the Iliad, but afterwards, who knows? The scriptwriters and the poet never said what happened to the Trojans after the fall of Troy.
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  #35  
Old March 9th, 2008, 09:27 AM
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Ahhh I was so hoping that he would not die. I am very glad that you did not see the need to go into that scene, very well thought out.

So onwards then....some nice hints there of what could be a decent future though...
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  #36  
Old March 9th, 2008, 08:00 PM
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*sniffles and hugs Paris and everyone else* loved this chappie.. even if a wee bit sad

( btw if you need any help with Calypso's script.. send it along to me. I'll give it a shot *grins*)
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  #37  
Old March 12th, 2008, 07:22 AM
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Chance Encounter: Pirate Kingdom of Troy


Disclaimer: I don’t own Balian, Legolas, Jack, Will, Hector, Paris...you get the idea. I’m just borrowing them without permission but with every intention of returning them, savvy?

Chapter 15: Games of Power

In the abandoned weapons storage room which had become their private meeting place, Aeneas, Balian, Barbossa, Legolas, Will, even Jack, sat in brooding silence. The atmosphere was sombre as they nursed their own thoughts. Hope seemed to have died with Hector, and they all felt his absence keenly. “What do we do now?” said Will. “The defender of Troy is gone and with him, any chance of victory over the Greeks.”

“We will do as he wished,” said Balian bluntly. “Aeneas will take up Hector’s position in the army. We will all aid him and protect Troy to the best of our ability.”

Paris did not utter a single word as the others discussed the defences. In his mind, he relived his memories of Hector. Ever since they had been boys, Hector had always been there to protect and look after Paris. He had been Paris’ refuge and the younger prince could not remember a single moment when Hector had not been there. A ghost of a smile flickered across the prince’s face as he remembered the day when he had thought it would have been a good idea to ride the King’s horse out of the city when Priam had had a hunt scheduled. The horse had bolted and Paris had run to Hector, begging his brother to help him. Hector had spent the entire day tracking down the errant horse, and when their father had questioned the two boys, Hector had lied and said that he had been the one who had taken the horse. To this day, Priam still did not know that he had beaten the wrong son over the incident. And now, Hector was gone, taking even that little secret to the underworld.

Paris slammed his fist into his palm. “I won’t let that two-headed snake Calchas rejoice at my brother’s death,” he said suddenly. Everyone turned to look at him. “Hector may be gone, but his legacy lives on in his family, in us; in Troy. Calchas doesn’t have to deal with him anymore, but he has to deal with me now. He has to deal with all of us!”

“I’m with you, Paris,” said Balian fiercely.

“As am I,” said Legolas.

“Count me in,” said Will.

“I’m on your side, Paris, and I give you my full mental support,” said Jack. Barbossa took a swipe at him, almost dislodging Jack the monkey. The monkey screeched and the pirate ducked.

“Just say the word, Prince Paris,” said Barbossa. “Prince Hector was a good man who didn’t deserve what he got. We will not let his death be in vain.”

“We need an audience with the King,” said Paris. “Calchas must be present and I would prefer it if the entire court can be there as well. It’s time to apply force to the leverage.”

***

It was evening when Paris and his company marched to find Priam, but the old king had disappeared, seemingly without a trace. The prince almost growled in frustration. “But you must have some idea,” he said to Priam’s bodyguard.

“If I did, my prince, I would be with the king,” said the man. Paris was about to rant some more when the heralds took up the call.

“The King!” they cried. “The King!”

Everyone rushed outside to greet Priam, and they were all surprised by what they saw. Priam had stripped himself of all trappings of royalty. He wore a dark cloak, like any old man and he was driving a chariot with a large bundle strapped to the back. A girl stood next to him, wearing a very tattered shapeless brown dress and still recovering from the rough treatment she had received at the hands of the enemy. “Briseis?” whispered Paris. How could it be possible? He stepped up to her side of the chariot and helped her out. Close up, the cloth wrapped bundle in the back looked very much like a man. “Father...” said Paris in a strangled voice as he realized what was truly wrapped up in that sand-covered cloth. A large painful lump formed in his throat and stopped his speech.

“Hector has come home,” said Priam with tears in his rheumy eyes.

***

The priests washed Hector’s stiff body in warm sacred water. The water’s heat made the dead man’s limbs pliable again, as if he was merely asleep. Calchas looked down at the lifeless prince and smiled in satisfaction. At last, things were starting to go as he had planned. Now he could put the hapless Paris on the throne after Priam’s death and then Calchas would be king in all but name.

***

An aura of sadness settled over the city as Hector’s still form was carried from the temple and placed on a tall pyre outside. Women wept quietly and some of the smaller children threw flowers onto the pyre. The prince was wrapped in purple and gold silk; the colours of royalty. Silence gripped all the onlookers as Priam and Paris ascended the pyre with flaming torches in their hands. The king placed two coins over his son’s closed eyes. He and Paris touched the wood at Hector’s head and feet respectively with their torches and then let them drop. They descended from the pyre as the wood caught fire and Hector was hidden from their sight by a veil of flames.

Balian closed his eyes and sent a swift prayer up to his own God, asking Him to admit the prince’s generous soul into Heaven. No one deserved Paradise more than Hector.

For once in his life, Jack Sparrow was speechless. Grief was very much an alien feeling to him, although he did remember crying at his mother’s death when he had been barely old enough to have memories. He and Hector had not been particularly close. It had been obvious that the honourable prince could barely tolerate the equally dishonourable pirate. But Jack respected Hector for his courage. Such a noble man did not exist amongst pirates. Not even Will Turner was as pure. ‘I hope you have a better time than I did,’ thought Jack. ‘It ain’t fun when you have to fight with yourself over a single peanut.’

The funeral games for celebrating Hector’s life began when the fire died out and the ashes —all that remained of the once glorious horse-tamer— were collected and put into an urn. Paris felt no desire to partake in or even just watch the games. His brother’s death was a matter for tears, not sports. He retreated back to the abandoned weapons storage room, and was quickly joined by the others. Somehow, Cassandra, Helen and Andromache found the men in there, sharing drinks —courtesy of Jack— and honouring Hector’s memory in their own private ceremony. They joined the sombre company. Jack refilled his cup and raised it in a toast. “To Hector, Prince of Troy,” he said. “May his legacy live on forever!” He put the cup to his lips and drank deeply. The others followed his lead and quickly down their drinks. Paris told them the story of Priam’s horse and Hector’s part in it.

“He was always doing that; protecting others,” said Paris “and now...” his voice broke. “I miss him so much.”

Andromache wiped the tears away from her face with the heel of her hand. To her right, Helen cradled the sleeping Astyanax who was quite unaware of what was going on. “He was my world,” said the prince’s widow in a whisper. “When I first married him, I hated him for taking me away from my family but then I saw what a wonderful man he was and I started to love him without realizing it. All those years we had...they were far too short...I wish...” She took a deep breath, and Aeneas squeezed her hand in an attempt to comfort her.

“We all feel lost without him,” said Aeneas. “With Hector gone, we have no hope, even though he entrusted the safety of Troy to us. We cannot hope to save the city without her prince. Troy is ruined.”

“That’s not true,” interjected Cassandra. Everyone turned to her in surprise. For once, she was not taking delight in prophesising death and doom. She looked at the foreigners, and her gaze lingered on Balian. “The gods have interfered to ensure that we have a chance for victory.”

“Don’t be silly, Cassandra,” said Aeneas tiredly. “The gods don’t care about the affairs of men.”

“That’s what you think,” said Cassandra with an air of certainty “but I know for sure that some gods do care.” She looked so confident that the others couldn’t help but feel encouraged by her words, although they did not understand the entire meaning.

“We’ve got the captain of the Flying Dutchman, an undead monkey and the best shooter in the world,” said Jack. “That has to count for something.”

“And I will defend Troy and all that Hector held dear to the best of my ability,” said Balian.

“Aye!” said Will and Barbossa together.

“We will all keep our promises to Hector,” said Legolas. “He deserves that much at least.”

“May the gods save those who oppose us, because no one else can,” said Paris with a wicked gleam in his eye.

Legolas recognized that look on Paris’ face. “What are you thinking about?” he asked. “Do you have a plan?”

“Of course I have a plan; the one we still haven’t carried out.” Paris stood and straightened his robes. “I have a little score to settle with our friend Calchas. This time, nothing —and I mean nothing— will stop me.”

***

Priam was surprised when Paris requested an audience with him and asked him to summon the entire court. This was a most unusual move for his younger son who cared little for the affairs of state. The old king was worried that Paris’ grief might have addled his mind.

The entire court gathered, although Balian and that old sailor Barbossa were missing.”My son,” said Priam. “What is so urgent that you ask me to summon the court during this period of mourning? Surely, whatever it is, it can wait?” Paris did not answer. Instead, it was Legolas who spoke.

“Your Majesty,” he said, getting to his feet. “It was I who, through the prince, asked you to summon the court. There is something you must see.” The elven prince clapped his hands twice. Balian and Barbossa came out from one of the side entrances, dragging a bound man with them. Calchas started and paled. That was his servant. How had he fallen into the hands of the divine ones who had also been amongst Hector’s closest friends?

“We caught him trying to sneak out to the Greek camp the night before Prince Hector attacked it,” said Legolas. “We found this on him.” From the folds of his robes, he produced a folded sheet of parchment. With two hands, he presented it to the king. Priam took it. His hands shook with anger as he read it. Calchas was drenched in cold sweat and Paris noted the High Priest’s reaction with some satisfaction.

“Who wrote this?” demanded the king. “Who does this traitor work for?”

“That, I do not know,” said Legolas. Calchas relaxed a little, thinking that he was safe. “However,” continued the elf “I thought you might recognize the writing and maybe it would interest Your Majesty that this man was caught sneaking out from the High Priest’s quarters.”

“You have no proof of that!” said Calchas, losing control over himself and leaping to his feet. He was shaking slightly, either from anger or from fear. “Where is the evidence that he works for me? Under the fear of death, a man will admit to anything!”

“I was merely stating the facts,” said Legolas calmly. “I do not wish to point my finger at anyone. There were only two witnesses; Captain Sparrow and myself. There is no need to overreact to this circumstantial evidence, my lord Calchas. After all, you have nothing to hide, do you?”

“Has the man told you nothing?” said Priam.

“No, Your Majesty,” said Legolas. “Whoever wrote this letter was cunning enough to use a mute, but I do not doubt that he can point out the traitor if he can see his employer. In this game, he is merely a pawn, and not to be blamed.” He turned to the man. “Don’t you agree?”

The mute nodded emphatically. He was absolutely terrified of his captors, especially the one who glowed in the dark and the one who could walk through walls.

“If you point out the traitor, your life will be spared,” said Priam. The prisoner’s hands were untied and he immediately pointed at the High Priest.

“The man lies!” said Calchas. “Why, I have not even seen him before! A man will do anything to survive. He points to me only because the...the divine one implied that he suspected me! I swear that I am loyal to Troy and to you, my liege!” He fell onto his knees before the king and prostrated himself. For once, Priam seemed to doubt his old friend.

“Is what you say true?” the king asked.

“May the gods strike me down if I ever betray you!” cried the High Priest.

Priam wavered, and then he spoke. “The gods are just,” he said. He turned to the mute. “Take him away and execute him, then put his head on a stake. Obviously, he isn’t going to tell us the truth. The High Priest has been my loyal friend for many years and he has no reason to betray Troy.”

The guards dragged the struggling mute away. Paris glanced at his fathers. This first endeavour to overthrow Calchas might not have been entirely successful but it was no failure. The seed of doubt had been sown in Priam’s mind. Now they just had to nurture it carefully to ensure that it bore fruit.

***

Odysseus sat with his soldiers around a crackling campfire, thinking. Troy’s stalwart defender, Hector, was gone, but the Greeks still could not bypass the Trojans’ high walls, not without the proper equipment, which was something that they lacked. He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. Beside him, a man was whittling away at a piece of driftwood, carving a small wooden horse. Odysseus glanced at the figurine, and an idea was born. “It’s good,” he told the man. The man looked up in surprise and smiled.

“It’s for my son, back home,” he said, blushing.

“You miss him, don’t you?” said Odysseus. The man nodded.

“He’ll be two by now, and talking most likely,” he said. “I haven’t even heard him call me ‘Papa’...”

“I miss my wife and son too,” said Odysseus, clapping the man on the shoulder. He stood up. “That little horse won’t carry us home, but I have a feeling that a bigger one might.” The king of Ithaca looked around at the wrecked galleys, courtesy of the late Hector. “Come on, men,” he said. “On your feet! We have work to do. I am going to get us home.”

***

As Achilles had promised, no Greek attacked for the duration of Hector’s funeral games, giving the mourning Trojans a welcome reprieve. A report came in on the twelfth day; the Greeks were gone, leaving nothing but a few corpses on the stretch of beach that they had occupied, and something else. Curious, Priam, a few priests and noblemen, Paris, Aeneas, and their friends went out to inspect the abandoned Greek camp.

“Plague,” said Calchas, probing a corpse with his feet. He knew that this was not why the Greeks had left. Agamemnon had sent him a message a few days ago, telling him of their plans. The High Priest understood perfectly well that the Greek ships were hiding behind an offshore island like a lurking snake, waiting for the right time to strike. And when Troy did fall, Calchas would be left as its governor, subject only to the High King himself. “The Greeks have been given their just reward. They came here, thinking they could sack our city in a day, and now, they flee like whipped dogs. The gods are indeed just.”

Priam smiled for the first time in many days. He was pleased by the High Priest’s words. He moved on to inspect the giant horse which towered over them, casting a dark shadow on the Trojan beach.

As soon as Balian laid eyes on the wooden leviathan, he was filled with a sense of unease. “I’ve seen it before,” he whispered to his companions “in Lady Galadriel’s mirror, right before I saw Troy burn.”

Paris turned to stare at him with piercing brown eyes. The prince nodded. He trusted Balian’s judgement. Nearby, the king and the priests were discussing the horse and its purpose. “It is a gift which they have left for Poseidon, praying for a safe passage across the Aegean,” said Calchas. “We should take it to the god’s temple.”

“I think we should burn it,” said Paris.

As soon as the words left Paris’ mouth, Calchas looked at him in disbelief and saw for the first time the lethal intelligence that lurked behind the handsome young face. He met Paris’ gaze and saw the fierce hatred that burned in the brown orbs. There was a calculating cunning in the prince’s face which had not been there before. Was it possible that Paris, of all people, could see through the Greeks’ tricks? “My prince,” he said. This is a gift! We cannot burn it, for that would bring down the wrath of Poseidon. We should take it to his temple.”

Paris glared at him. “Father,” said the prince firmly. “Burn it.”

With these three words, Calchas finally understood that his adept adversary was not Legolas. Neither was it Will Turner nor Balian and it certainly was not one of the other foreigners.

It was Paris.

***

A/N: Now what are they going to do? Paris isn’t just going to stand there and let Calchas do what he wants, nor will the others. Brilliant ideas await...we have the best pranksters and strategists after all.

It was hard writing about Hector's death, Kiwi -- rather emotionally gruelling. The film portrayed Hector's death well, I thought, and there was no need to me to air my own interpretation of it. However, despite his untimely demise, we haven't seen the end of Hector yet

Thanks, Casakit. Paris needs lots of comfort at the moment. I'd always pitied him during that scene, knowing that he blamed himself. Thanks for your offer, btw. I'll PM you if I need any help.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 08:52 AM
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The funeral and the sharing of drinks and memories of Hector was very well done. I cried reading that, about the horse and about what sort of man Hector was to his wife and child.

It is really great reading your crafting of Paris coming into his own....
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Old March 12th, 2008, 03:11 PM
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*sniffles* I echo Kiwigirl's words wholeheartedly and I am quite thrilled that we haven't heard the last of Hector.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 08:17 PM
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Chance Encounter: Pirate Kingdom of Troy


Disclaimer: I don’t own Balian, Legolas, Will, Jack, Paris, Hector...you get the idea. I’m just borrowing them without permission but with every intention of returning them, savvy?

Chapter 16: Burn It Down!

Despite Paris’ warnings, the horse was towed through the gates of Troy, and was greeted with much jubilation. The Greeks were gone and at last, life could return to normal. Paris watched the horse’s procession through the streets from his balcony with dread and disgust growing inside him and entwining themselves around his heart, like vines which strangled trees. “Look at them,” he said to Helen who was sitting beside him, with a crown of golden leaves on her head. “You’d think that their prince had never died.” The bitterness of Hector’s death still lingered at the back of his throat. If it hadn’t been for his affair, the war would never have started, and Hector wouldn’t have fallen, leaving Andromache a widow and little Astyanax an orphan. Helen saw the guilt on Paris’ face and she placed her hand on his bare arm to offer what consolation she could.

“You’re their prince now,” she said. “Make your brother proud.”

Paris turned to the woman whom he loved, hating himself for ever regretting bringing her to Troy. She was someone upon whom he could trust to give him support and turn him into a better man; a man like Hector. He leaned over to kiss her cheek. “I will, Helen,” he said before getting up to search for his comrades. He found them on the wall, discussing the problem of the wooden horse.

“We have to destroy it,” Balian was saying. “I don’t care how.”

“Well, that is a very good question,” said Will. “How are we going to destroy it? We can’t just rush in and burn it! We’ll be cut to pieces before we even get near. You know how superstitious they are.”

“We owe it to Hector to at least try!” said Legolas. “Balian’s vision tells me that it will bring nothing but ill-fortune to Troy!”

“Balian and Legolas are right,” said Paris, interrupting them and startling his friends. “It must be destroyed and I am willing to bear the responsibility if retribution is dealt out.”

“Nay, Paris, you are the Crown Prince of Troy now,” said Legolas. “Your people need you.”

“What prince will I be if I cannot even protect my country?” said Paris.

“I do not fear death,” said Legolas.

“Neither do I,” said Balian. “I am willing to take full responsibility if the king should lay the blame on us.”

“I shall share the burden with you, my friend,” said Legolas.

Will sighed. “You know I’ll support whatever course of action you decide to take,” he said.

“This is stupid,” said Jack “but to the Locker with it all! I’ve been called stupid, even mad, although I don’t understand why. Count me in!”

“Jack Sparrow won’t be doin’ anythin’ without me supervising ‘im,” said Barbossa. “So what’s the plan?”

***

The heat inside the dark cavernous belly of the horse was stifling. Achilles could hear singing and prayers of thanksgiving coming from outside, and he wondered if Briseis was among the revellers. He pitied the Trojans, for they had unknowingly brought death into their midst, and they welcomed it with open arms. The Greeks stayed quiet, not daring even to move or breathe too loudly, in case they alerted the enemy. A bead of sweat rolled down Achilles’ face. By now, Eudoras should have set sail, taking the Myrmidon home. They could stop being lions and become the men they had meant to be when their mothers had brought them into this painful world.

And Achilles, he had made his choice. He would take Briseis far away from these killing fields and back to his homeland of Epirus. ‘You were wrong, Mother,’ he thought. ‘I did not find glory in Troy, but I did find that wonderful woman you were talking about.’

***

Paris thought long and hard about their situation while the sun slowly began to make its descent towards the western horizon. “We can’t get close enough to burn the thing,” he said “so we somehow need to burn it from a distance, with fire arrows or...”

“Trebuchet!” said Balian suddenly, remembering the one piece of siege equipment in Troy.

“What’s a tre-boo-shay?” said Paris.

“Trebuchet,” said Balian, correcting the prince’s pronunciation. “It’s a catapult. I can use that to fling oil and alcohol onto the horse and then someone can shoot burning arrows at it. That way, we can make sure that the flames can’t be put out.”

“I’ll shoot the arrows,” said Legolas.

“As will I,” said Paris.

“And gunshots can ignite pretty damn good fires, eh, Will?” said Jack. “One thing though, mate. I’m not givin’ up me drinks.”

“You do know that this will be considered sacrilege, right?” said Paris. “If we’re caught, I highly doubt we’ll survive.”

Balian grinned. “For Hector,” he said. Legolas nodded in agreement.

“Yes,” he said. “For Hector, we’ll do anything.”

“Aye!” said the others. Jack the monkey chirped his assent.

Paris smiled gratefully at all of them. “My brothers,” he said. “There is no greater honour than the live, fight, and die with you.”

“Hang on,” said Jack. “Let’s leave the last part till much later, shall we?”

***

From her window, Cassandra could see a very strange sight. Balian and his friends were loading heavy earthen jars onto Balian’s strange machine. She went out to get a closer look. Balian caught sight of her. He wiped his hands on his shirt and approached the princess, bowing.

“What are you doing?’ she asked him, nodding at his machine.

“Committing sacrilege,” he replied with complete seriousness. With sweat gleaming on his face, he was the handsomest man she had ever seen, and he had wit. What more could a woman want? She smiled.

“You are destined to save Troy,” she said. “I can feel it in my heart. The gods have sent you.”

“I doubt that,” he said with a smile. “I am only doing my duty, milady.”

“Please, call me Cassandra. Hector called you his brother, and thus you are my brother also, in all but blood.” In truth, she wanted much more than a brother in Balian. She wanted him.

“Cassandra,” said Balian. His voice and strange lilting accent made her name sound beautiful, like the notes of a lyre, at least to her. “You won’t tell anyone about this, will you?”

“About what?” asked Cassandra. She walked away. Her heart was beating violently. She was in love, of that she was certain. It felt wrong to be feeling such passion so soon after her brother’s death.

‘What do you think, Hector?’ she wondered. In her mind, she thought she could see her brother smile in approval.

Balian shook his head and went back to his task. There was no doubt that Cassandra was related to Paris, although they hardly bore any resemblance to the late Hector. He adjusted the trebuchet. The load was quite big, but he was sure that his machine would manage. With some help from Will, he aimed it at the Wooden Horse. “Fire!” he shouted. Ragetti and Pintel hit the trigger with all the strength they could muster and the jars flew into the air, soaring towards the wooden leviathan. They smashed on the horse’s body and splashed all over it. This was the signal that Legolas, Paris, Jack and Barbossa had been waiting for. Legolas shot three burning projectiles at the same time, and Paris launched his own blazing arrow. Gunshots rang out across Troy. Before the onlookers could recover, flames engulfed the horse and spread until there was no way to put it out.

***

“Get out!” screamed Odysseus as he saw the orange glow of flames through slits in the wood. He didn’t care if the Trojans found them. Anything would be better than being roasted alive. The men scrambled to open the hatches. They jumped out, landing painfully on the hard ground or on top of one another. Once they had gotten over their initial surprise, Trojan soldiers surrounded them. Odysseus’ plan had failed.

Calchas was terrified. What if Priam guessed that he had brought the Greeks into Troy deliberately? No doubt Paris was behind this. He had to improvise and save his life first before he could do anything else to secure his power. “What is the meaning of this?” he screamed. “You vile Greeks, trying to trick us into letting you into our city? Apollo protects us! He shot these arrows of fire! He will never let Troy fall!”

Achilles’ first instinct was to fight, but then he thought better of it and lowered his blade warily. Priam was an honourable man, and the Greek warrior had not come here to kill. He wanted to see his Briseis and dying before he could do so would ruin his plan. Besides, he could see the golden warrior, flanked by the stubborn Balian and the man with the immortal monkey. Achilles might have longed for glory, but he was no simpleton. It would have been suicide to try and fight all of these warriors and the Trojan soldiers together.

At the Trojan king’s command, Achilles laid down his weapon like the rest of the Greeks and submitted to capture. He wondered which Trojan had been intelligent enough to see through Odysseus’ plan.

Paris pushed through the crowd, still clutching his bow and arrows. Hatred burned in his heart. Achilles. How dare that cold-blooded killer show his face in Troy, after what he had done to Hector? He put an arrow to the string and made to shoot Achilles there and then, just as he had practised, but Priam stopped him in time. “Achilles is a man of honour,” said the old man. “No son of mine will shoot an unarmed man.”

“But Father...” began Paris. He felt a hand on his arm and he turned to find himself staring into the wise blue eyes of Legolas.

“Hector would not have wanted you to kill him like this,” said the elf. “Your father is right. There is no honour in shooting an unarmed man.”

The prince did not respond. The glare which he directed at Achilles was so full of hatred that the onlookers would not have been surprised if the Greek had been incinerated there and then, like the wooden horse in the background. Paris stormed off. Balian looked at Legolas. An unspoken message passed between them. The blacksmith nodded and then made to follow the prince, knowing that Paris, being an angry young man, would need some way to release his pent up frustration.

***

Achilles sat in his dark cell, pondering his situation. He knew that Priam would not kill him but Paris was another story. The angry young man who had tried to shoot him was nothing like the Paris whom he had heard of. He couldn’t imagine him running away from a fight, much less crawling in the sand to cower at Hector’s feet. The youth he had seen that day could not have been the same man.

How was he going to see Briseis now? As a lady of royal descent, he doubted that she would come down to the dungeons to see her captured Greek lover. She wouldn’t be allowed. ‘This is Briseis,’ he reminded himself ‘the girl who fought and threw a washcloth at the Great Achilles.’ If Briseis wanted to do something, nothing would stop her. Before that thought was out of his head, he heard a surprised stammer from one of the guards. “My lady...what are you doing here?’ he said.

“It is not in your place to ask, soldier,” replied Briseis’ voice curtly. Within moments, she stood before his cell, peering in through the bars. Eagerly, he approached her. She extended her hand to him. He took it in his own hands and kissed her palm tenderly, murmuring her name over and over again against her soft skin.

“Oh, Achilles,” she whispered. “Why have you come? It is not safe for you here. My cousin, he is furious. His desire to avenge Hector has entwined itself around his very bones like bonds of fire, burning him. He thirsts for your blood. His friend Balian tired to speak with him, to calm him down and make him see reason, but he will not listen. I know that he will not cease until he has your head on a spike.”

“I care not for life if I cannot have you with me,” said Achilles. “Men are foolish in love. I can finally see why your cousin risked Troy’s ruin so he could be with Helen.”

“Men are indeed foolish in love. I see no other reason to explain your walking into the jaws of death.”

They stayed like this for a while, content to be with each other, until the guard told Briseis that she ought to leave.

Someone was coming.

***

Balian almost had to run to keep up with Paris and the prince charged down to the dungeons. A guard opened his mouth to ask the prince what he was doing here but he shut it when he saw the dark expression on Paris’ face. He looked as if he could break someone’s neck with his bare hands. “Paris, wait,” called Balian, catching up with the younger man. “I know you’re grieving for Hector; we all are, but Hector would not have wanted you to do anything dishonourable or stupid...”

“So avenging my brother is stupid and dishonourable, is it?” demanded Paris. “Well, let me tell you something, Balian of Ibelin, the Perfect Knight: To Hell with honour! Honour killed Hector, as surely as Achilles’ sword did! This is war! There is no place for integrity! He is the enemy!”

Balian swallowed his frustration and hurt. “Paris, I didn’t mean...” he began, but the younger man was not paying any attention to him. They had stopped in front of Achilles’ cell.

“You listen to me, Greek,” snarled Paris. His voice was laced with bitter and burning hatred. “You listen to me very carefully. I don’t care how I do it; I don’t care what it takes; I will see your blood staining the sand as my brother’s blood did. Troy will not permit the man who killed her prince to live, I swear to the gods.”

“Do you have what it takes to kill a man, Prince?” said Achilles mockingly. “Can you fight like a man, without using tricks or having someone to watch your back? If you can, I’ll gladly let you attempt to kill me but be warned; I am Achilles of Epirus and I won’t go easily.”

Paris took a step forward and pressed his face close to the bars. He was clutching them so tightly that his knuckles were white. Achilles gave him a smile that was almost a sneer. The younger prince was tempted to go into the cell and fight the arrogant killer, but he could see the truth of the Greek’s words. He could not fight like a true warrior, because he was no warrior. With a low growl of frustration, he whipped around and pushed past Balian, storming out of the dungeons and leaving the blacksmith alone with a man whose neck he was tempted to break.

“Don’t you hate me?” Achilles asked him. Paris’ character was easy to decipher, but this man confused him.

“I do,” said Balian shortly.

“And are you not tempted to kill me now?”

“I would not sacrifice my honour for your sake,” said Balian. He strode off to follow Paris.

Achilles watched his retreating back. His respect for this blunt and stubborn man grew. If Balian had been a king, Achilles knew that he would’ve gladly fought for him.

***

A/N: The sack of Troy next. I have a few surprises up my sleeve

Thanks, Kiwi. Paris needed some character development, I felt. How else would he seemingly all of a sudden become intelligent enough to see through Odysseus' plan?

Casakit, I have to say the reappearance of Hector and the role he later plays is quite unexpected...that's all I'll say. I won't spoil it for you.
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  #41  
Old March 13th, 2008, 05:31 AM
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Whootness! next chapter!! * cheers* go Paris!
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  #42  
Old March 13th, 2008, 05:40 AM
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I have not yet indulged myself with this Fran - I am aware of it and will do so, but time is my enemy. The good thing is that when the pressure is off slightly I can settle down and enjoy it in full and I will leave feedback of course.

cheers
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Old March 13th, 2008, 06:49 AM
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Now this is getting really interesting. I really liked Jack in this chapter, and Barbossa's comments made me laugh.

Am waiting, intrigued to see what you are going to do next.
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Old March 14th, 2008, 09:46 PM
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Telcontar Rulz Telcontar Rulz is offline
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Warning: Violence in this chapter

Chance Encounter: Pirate Kingdom of Troy


Disclaimer: I don’t own Balian, Legolas, Jack, Will, Paris, Hector etc... You get the idea. I’m just borrowing them without permission but with every intention of returning them, savvy?

Chapter 17: Of Treachery and Honour

Balian thought no more of his strange conversation with Achilles. There were more important things which needed attending to. He found Paris in the courtyard where they had tried to teach him swordplay. The prince was leaning against a tall fluted pillar, with his forehead against the stone. His face was wet with angry tears. “I’m not worthy of being a prince,” he said. “He was right there...my brother’s killer...he was taunting me, and I could do nothing. “

“It would’ve been worse if you did do something,” said Balian. “He would have killed you. Self-knowledge is a virtue, Paris.”

“How can I make Hector proud if I can’t even avenge him? I wish I was more like him, or you, Balian. You’re both honourable men and great warriors. You’re both so brave and I... I’m useless.”

“Just because you can’t use a sword doesn’t mean you’re useless.” Balian put a comforting hand on Paris’ arm. “Without you, I would’ve been burnt to death, and Calchas would be even more powerful than he is now.”

“But if it wasn’t for my selfishness and stupidity, Greece would not have attacked us and hector would not have been killed. I’m a coward in every sense of the word, Balian. It should’ve been me who died, not Hector.”

“You’re not a coward, Paris. It takes great courage to admit your own flaws, and I know that Hector is proud of you for everything that you’ve done to protect Troy.”

“You sound like him, Balian. It’s as if Hector is speaking with your voice. I’m glad you’re here, and I’m sorry for shouting at you back there. You didn’t deserve it. Please forgive me.”

“It is forgiven, Paris.”

***

Calchas went down to the dungeons and replaced the guards with his own men. The High Priest knew that he could not let Paris take over Troy. The boy would eliminate him before he could so much as curse him. He stopped before Odysseus’ cell. “You, Ithacan!” he hissed, producing some keys. Odysseus looked up at him with a confused expression. Calchas unlocked the door. “Go and do what you came to do. Just tell Agamemnon that I helped him to take Troy, and that I want to act as its governor, subject only to the High King. That was our deal.”

Odysseus walked out in a daze. Troy really was a rotten tree if it had worms such as Calchas gnawing at its heartwood. Calchas freed every other Greek captive. Achilles was the last. He brushed past the High Priest. “If I was Agamemnon, I’d kill you as soon as Troy falls,” said the lord of Epirus.

“Then I should count it among my blessings that you are, in fact, not King Agamemnon,” said Calchas smoothly. Achilles glared at him and ran off into the darkness, trying to locate Briseis in this labyrinth of streets. He took a sword from a drunken Trojan soldier. The man did not even wake.

***

Legolas woke to the sound of battle. He was instantly alert. Troy was glowing in the unhealthy orange of flames. The elf snatched up his weapons and then hammered on both his walls to wake his neighbours, Balian and Jack. He rushed out of the room and collided with Will. “Where are the others?” shouted the young pirate.

“Right here,” said Balian from behind Will.

“Wot in the locker is going on?” demanded Pintel.

“The walls have been breached,” said Balian. “Find everyone and get them out of Troy!”

“How did they even breach the walls?” said Jack as they ran to find the royal family. “The Greeks ain’t got no siege ladders.”

“The gates have been opened,” said Legolas. The fires gave him enough light to see everything clearly.

“Must be Calchas’ doing,” said Balian, barging into Hector’s old quarters without knocking. “Lady Andromache! We have to get out!”

Andromache whipped around in surprise, clutching her baby to her breast. She looked decidedly relieved when she saw her late husband’s friends. “Follow me,” she said. “I know a secret way out. Hector showed me.”

“Where’s Paris and Helen...” began Will, but he had not need to finish his question when Paris bumped into him with Helen on his heels. The prince was wearing his armour. On his back, he carried a quiver of arrows. He held a bow and the Sword of Troy was strapped to his belt.

“Come on,” said Legolas. “Lady Andromache knows the way.”

“Follow me!” said Andromache. “We need to find the King and Queen, and all the princesses!”

“You go ahead,” said Paris. “I know the secret way. I’ll go and find my family, and then I’ll bring them with me.”

“Paris,” began Helen “they’re burning the city to the ground! I don’t want to have to lose you.”

“How can you love me if I ran now?” said Paris. “We will be together again, in this life or the next.” His voice was full of conviction. Nothing would stop him now. Helen tried to hold on to him but he pushed her firmly in Andromache’s direction. “Look after her,” he told his friends, and then he disappeared into the chaos. Leading their ragged group, Andromache came to the path under the city. Barbossa kicked open the door in his haste and they all rushed through. Balian, Legolas and Will looked at each other. Unspoken understanding passed between them and they turned to retrace their steps. They had promised Hector that they would protect Troy. Jack, who was at the rear, was shoved aside.

“Don’t do anything stupid!” he shouted after them, and then he remembered the riches of Troy. It was such a waste to leave it all behind for those nasty Greeks. “Hey! Wait for me!” He too went back to the city, although his reasons were entirely different from theirs.

***

Achilles ran, although he did not really know where he was running to. Find Briseis. That was all he could think about. Troy was a larger city than he had initially thought. Screams rent the air. “Briseis!” he shouted, as if she could hear him wherever she was. A group of maidens ran past him; their faces were wet with tears of terror. None of them were Briseis. Trojan soldiers tried their best to put up a final struggle worthy of remembrance in the bards’ tales and songs, but their resistance was futile. They were not prepared for this. No one had expected the High Priest to betray his own nation.

Pure light caught his eye. The golden one, like the incarnation of Apollo, was rushing into the midst of battle. Would he know where Briseis was? Then again, why would he help Achilles? The golden warrior was Hector’s friend. The stubborn one called Balian was there also. He fought with none of the grace and finesse that his golden friend possessed, but nevertheless, he was still and impressive fighter, with Ares’ hand guiding his every stroke.

Instinct drove Achilles. He moved to join in the battle, fighting for the Trojans. But they didn’t know that. Balian engaged him battle. Achilles did not have time to explain to him that he was on their side. Words were not his specialty. He freed himself from the melee and ran towards the citadel. At least that was easy enough to see.

***

Eudoras could see Troy burning, and he was worried for Achilles. All the men felt the same anxiety. They were Myrmidon; Achilles’ Myrmidon. Their place was by his side. They knew that he had ordered them to sail home, but their desires were unanimous. Ares would have to throw down his arms before the Myrmidon would abandon Achilles.

***

Barbossa pondered the courageous stupidity of young men and immortals, and to some extent, of Jack Sparrow. He admired them, with the exception of Jack, but at the same time, he pitied them. Men like them lived fast and more often than not, died young. Pity was an emotion so foreign to the pirate that for a brief moment, he thought someone had laced his drink.

“Orders, Cap’n?” said Pintel.

“Keep to the Code!” said Barbossa.

“Wot code?” asked Ragetti. Barbossa rolled his eyes.

“The Pirates’ Code, you mangy one eyed dog! What other code be there?”

“Balian’s code of chivalry,” muttered Ragetti under his breath.

“What d’ya mean, Cap’n?” asked Pintel.

“Anyone who falls behind is left behind,” drawled Barbossa, wondering if a pirate could have crew members with less intelligence than these two. By the locker, he hadn’t even wanted them. It had been Jack Sparrow who had hired them all those years ago. Sparrow’s standards had always been lax. “We’ll not be stoppin’ until we reach safety, so if you want to stay alive, keep up!”

***

Briseis was running, letting her feet guide her. Everything was burning. Gods, where was Paris? She screamed his name, but other screams drowned out her voice. No one could help Troy now. She escaped the confines of the stone corridors and came to a stop in the courtyard, where she knelt before a statue of Apollo. ‘Why?’ she asked him inside her head. ‘Why are you letting our enemies destroy us? Don’t you care?’

The sun god was unmoved by her questions. He stayed silent; a majestic stone figure towering above all else. The gods had abandoned Troy. A hand latched itself in her hair and hauled her to her feet. “Here’s a pretty treasure,” sneered a Greek soldier. She tried to fight him, but he was too strong. There was a blur of movement at the edges of her vision. The grasping hand loosened as the Greek crumpled lifelessly to the ground. The gods did care after all. Briseis hurled herself at her rescuer, sobbing with relief. They had sent her Achilles. With the flames behind him casting their glow over him, Achilles looked as Apollo ought to appear. Briseis fell into his arms.

***

Paris saw him, holding his cousin. How dare he, after everything that he’d done to the royal house of Troy! The prince put an arrow to the string. Honour didn’t matter anymore. He had his prey in sight and he was not going to let this arrogant Greek lion slip through his grasp again. ‘For Hector,’ he thought. The arrow flew and pierced Achilles’ heel. Frustrated at his skill, or rather, the lack of it, Paris put another arrow to the string just as Achilles turned and advanced towards him. The arrow struck the Greek in the chest, stopping him only for a brief moment.

‘How does it feel, to be pierced by my arrows?’ thought Paris as he shot Achilles again. In his anger, he was oblivious to Briseis’ cries.

Finally defeated, Achilles fell to his knees, just as Hector had done. With much difficulty, he pulled the bloody arrows from his body. Briseis rushed to him and placed herself between Paris and the dying warrior. With gentle hands, she cradled his face. He stroked her hair with shaking fingers, breathing in her scent. “Stay with me,” she begged him. He smiled.

“You made me see,” he whispered. “You gave me peace. In a lifetime of war, you gave me peace.”

Paris finally remembered what he was doing in Troy. Killing Achilles had not been on the agenda. “Briseis,” he called. “We must go.” Without turning around, Briseis shook her head. Paris swallowed painfully. Briseis, his beautiful cousin, had betrayed them all. She loved the monster who had killed Hector. How could she? Didn’t she remember how Hector had loved her and protected her?

The younger prince turned in bitter disgust, making to leave, but he stopped. Hector wouldn’t have wanted him to abandon Briseis. Not generous kind Hector. “I know a way out,” he said, trying his best to control his voice. “We must go, quickly!”

Achilles gave Briseis a little push. “Go on,” he said. She had to live. “Go with him. I’ll be with you, if you remember me.” Reluctantly, Briseis got to her feet. Paris dragged her away by the arm. She turned back to look at her lover. How she wanted to run back to him and stay in his arms forever, but Paris’ grip on her was strong. She had no choice but to follow her cousin. Her very angry cousin.

***

Cassandra had seen this night in her dreams. It was the will of the gods. She was with her mother and sisters, huddled in a dark corner of the temple while Priam, sword in hand, stood over them. The Greeks rushed in, but they took no notice of the royal family. They were too occupied with the gold. Calchas ran into the midst of the pillaging, outrage apparent in his face. “What is the meaning of this?” he said. “These treasures are not yours to take! This is hubris!...” he had barely finished the last word when Priam leapt at him.

“I should have listened to the gods’ chosen one when he said you were a traitor!” cried the old king.

Calchas stepped backward, into the shadow of a toppling sacred statue. There was a terrible scream as the stone figure of Zeus fell on the High Priest and crushed him spraying blood all over the flagstones. “Justice has been delivered,” said Priam. The Greeks finally noticed that the king of Troy was standing there. They converged on him. The old man was no match for these savage warriors. Blood spurted everywhere as they hacked ruthlessly at the old man. Hecuba screamed her husband’s name over and over again until her voice went hoarse, and then she slumped back in a dead faint.

“Mother!” cried Cassandra. Her younger sisters whimpered and pressed closer to her.

Having dispatched with the king, some of the Greeks turned their attentions to the remainder of the royal family while the rest went back to plundering. Cassandra pushed her sisters behind her. If they wanted to hurt them, they would have to do so over her dead body. “What’s this?” said one of the Greeks. “Trojan princesses? My, they would make an interesting addition to the plunder.” They advanced on the women, who inched backwards until the wall stopped them. Cassandra glared at the men with all the scorn she could muster.

“Oooh, this one’s feisty,” said the captain. “She’s mine! I wonder what she’ll be like in bed. It’ll be interesting to see if her flesh is as hot as her spirit...” His voice trailed off in a bloody gurgle as a blade pierced him through from behind. An unseen archer was shooting arrows in rapid succession and out of the corner of her eye, Cassandra saw the familiar and welcome sight of Will Turner and his strange sword.

“You like hot?” snarled Balian from behind the dying Greek. “Go to Hell.”

“These men need a dose of Jack Sparrow, Chief of the Pelagostos,” said Will, cutting down the last of the Greeks in the temple. “Eunuchy, snip snip.”

Legolas leaped down from his perch on Athena’s head and rolled his eyes. “Oh please,” he said. “I’ve heard enough eunuch jokes to last me for eternity. Come on, let’s go.”

Balian picked up the unconscious queen and they ran, bumping into Paris who was dragging a tearful Briseis behind him. When the prince saw them, he opened his mouth to ask them what they were doing in Troy, but Legolas, who carried one of the young princesses, spoke first. “We can talk later,” he said. “Now move!”

***

In the chaos, no one noticed a man who was neither a Greek nor a Trojan walking away laden with gold and other precious shiny things. Jack Sparrow did not feel guilty at all. That pig of a king —the one with the long intangible name— was going to get it all anyway. He was hurrying through a courtyard on his way to the escape route when he heard a moan. The pirates stopped. On the ground lay the great Achilles, with an arrow in his heel. The warrior moaned again. Jack looked down at him, and then he looked at the pretty shiny things in his arms. He looked back at Achilles, and then he set down the treasure.

Jack took out his compass. The needle was spinning madly. Damnation! He didn’t know what he wanted. Achilles let out another moan. The pirate snapped the compass shut. There was a foreign voice in his head saying ‘save him’. It was most odd. “I don’t know why I’m doing this,” he said as he bent down. “I don’t even like you. You killed Hector and he was a pretty decent fella. I liked him.” He slung Achilles’ arm around his shoulders and hoisted the Greek to his feet. Staggering under the large man’s weight, Jack half-dragged and half-carried Achilles to the escape route. “You know what?” panted the pirate. “I think some of that Balian is rubbing off on me. A truly discomforting notion, don’t you think?” Achilles, being unconscious, did not reply.

***

A/N: I wonder how the others will react to Jack’s strange decision. Conflict will ensue, obviously. Poor Paris thought he had killed the guy.

Here you go, Casakit

I hope this chapter didn't disappoint, Kiwi, and I'm glad I made you laugh last chapter. Making people laugh is my goal in life.

Take all the time you want, Luna.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 07:08 AM
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Fantastic chapter. Really fast paced and with so much going on...

I just loved that you had Jack save Achilles, Jack is a good man and this was a brilliant way to end this chapter.

Well done
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Old March 16th, 2008, 12:08 AM
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*applauds madly* woo go Calypso! * cheering* love this chapter.. and I think the fact Achillies killing Hector is punishment enough.. I mean.. he is gonna have to live with it for the rest of his life.. the fact Briseis was that close to Hector.. well yeah I think everyone follows lol
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Old March 16th, 2008, 04:01 AM
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Chance Encounter: Pirate Kingdom of Troy


Disclaimer: I don’t own Balian, Legolas, Will, Jack, Paris, Hector...you get the idea. I’m just borrowing them without permission but with every intention of returning, savvy?

Chapter 18: The Flight from Troy

Their pounding footsteps echoed in the underground tunnel. Balian was almost at the exit when he heard something that he did not expect. “Oi, stop!” shouted Jack. “Wait for me!”

“Jack Sparrow?” said Will. “What are you doing here? And isn’t that...”

“I went back for some treasure,” Jack explained. There were several raised eyebrows directed at his strange burden, although the tearful Briseis looked as if she might faint with joy. Paris was glaring furiously and Will looked worried for his friend.

“It’s not like what it seems, all right?” said Jack uncomfortably, glancing at Achilles “and can someone help me carry this brute? He’s bloody heavy.”

Paris was speechless with anger. Didn’t Jack remember what Achilles had done to Hector? Balian’s voice broke through his angry musings. “Paris,” he said softly. “Let’s go. Come on, everyone.” Cassandra tried to comfort her furious brother but he shook her off and pushed past the others, storming off towards the exit.

“Why did you save him, Jack?” asked Will as he helped the pirate to carry the wounded Greek warrior. “You saw what he did to Hector. I think you should’ve just left him. He deserved it.”

“I dunno,” said Jack. “You didn’t see him, lying there all pathetic. I heard this voice inside me head sayin’ Jack Sparrow, you can’t jes leave ‘im there. It was strange. Methinks our perfect knight is gettin’ to me.”

“I wish,” muttered Will “and maybe even Balian would’ve left him to his fate. It’s no more than what he deserves.”

Briseis overheard the conversation. She glanced back at them worriedly. What if they did decide that Achilles deserved to die? What if they left him? She prayed to all the gods that their sense of honour would be enough to save her lover. And then she remembered. The one called Jack Sparrow was notorious for his honour, or rather, his lack of honour.

Despite ordering everyone else to adhere to the Pirates’ code, Barbossa was waiting for them. “What took ye so long?” he demanded. “The ladies are worried sick.” He bowed to the princesses.

“Are they safe, captain?” said Balian.

“Aye,” said Barbossa. “Aeneas is with them, and methinks that boy Paris would be there by now. He pushed past me looking like Jack Sparrow without rum.”

In Balian’s arms, Hecuba stirred. She squinted up at him. “Priam?” she whispered. “Why is it so dark? Where are we?”

“Mother,” said Cassandra. “Father’s dead, and Troy’s burning. Don’t you remember?”

Hecuba looked at her daughter as if she had never seen her before. “Who are you?” asked the Trojan Queen. She looked around. “Where’s Hector? Where’s my baby?”

“She’s lost her memory,” said Legolas. “Sometimes the mind just can’t cope with all that trauma. She thinks you’re her husband, Balian, and that Hector’s still a baby.”

“By the locker, this is just getting better and better,” said Jack, panting under Achilles’ weight. “Why is the rum always gone? I need some right now.”

The bedraggled company made their way to where the rest of the survivors were waiting, huddled behind some dark rocks. “We can’t stay here,” said Andromache. “We’ve seen the light from Greek torches. They’ll find us.” She clutched her baby close to her. Her eyes gleamed with fear although she was trying very hard not to let it show.

“Aeneas,” said Balian, leaving Hecuba in the care of her children “Get them up; we have to keep moving.”

“We can’t go east,” said the Trojan. “That’s the Hittites' territory. They’ll kill us.”

“Make for the ocean,” said Will. “We can sail away to safety. With Jack’s compass, we’ll be able to navigate to land.”

“What’s a compass?” asked both Balian and Aeneas.

“Uh...equipment used for navigation,” said Will. “Come on.”

The refugees, composed mainly of the elderly, women and children, hurried west, for the shore. “There’s a fleet stationed three miles north of Troy,” said Aeneas. “If the gods pity us, the Greeks won’t have burnt the ships yet.”

“I don’t think you gods give an arse rat’s whether we live or die,” said Jack.

“Isn’t he supposed to be sober?” said Legolas, carrying an old man on his back.

“Believe me,” said Will, with a whimpering child in his arms “sober and Jack are not two words that go together.”

“You can always put ‘not’ in between them,” suggested the elf.

“True enough,” said Will.

It was during this chaotic flight that Achilles woke. “What’s happening?” he croaked. “If I’m in Hades, why does it hurt?” Ragetti and Pintel, who had been assigned the task of helping him, gave a start and almost dropped him.

“You’re not in Hades,” said Briseis.

“If yer awake, can ye walk?” asked Ragetti.

“Don’t be so heartless,” said Briseis. “Can’t you see he’s hurt?”

“We’re pirates, Poppet,” said Pintel “and you know what that means?”

“It means we ain’t got no hearts,” said Ragetti “’least not the type you’re talkin’ about.”

“Take all you can; give nuthin’ back,” said Pintel.

“And anyone who falls behind is left behind,” said Ragetti. “That’s our code.”

“You’re...” began Briseis, spluttering with anger. “You’re such...godless pirates!”

“That’s the truth of it, Poppet,” said Pintel, winking.

“You two, get a move on!” called Barbossa from ahead. “Anyone who falls behind is left behind!”

“Didn’t the Cap’n once say that the Code is more like guidelines than actual rules?” said Pintel.

“Dunno, but I wouldn’t care to find out,” said Ragetti. They hurried to catch up with Barbossa. Neither of them wanted to be left behind in a strange and foreign land where there were hostile soldiers hunting for them.

“You do know that I’ll never leave anyone behind,” said Balian to Barbossa.

“Aye, Sir Balian,” said the old pirate. “That was meant for those two only, although it doesn’t hurt to encourage everyone to speed up.” The last two words were especially emphasized and as he said them, he glared menacingly at an adolescent boy and his old father. The boy took one look at Barbossa and doubled his pace.

“You shouldn’t terrorize them,” said Balian. The wounded child he was carrying was crying in fear. His face was wet with tears. The blacksmith murmured soothingly to him to calm him down. “They’re frightened enough already.”

“Fear is good if it can save their lives,” said Barbossa. Before Balian could retort, arrows whistled through the air. Screams rose. The refugees scattered as the Greeks charged at them, wave upon wave of cold spearheads and sword blades glittering like malevolent stars.

They all knew that they could not fight if they were to save the remaining survivors. Balian cared not for his own life but there were the lives which Hector had entrusted to him. He could not fail the late prince yet again. Pushing aside his pride, he ran with the others. Many were using Legolas’ glow as a guide, although the elf probably did not know where he was going.

Cassandra’s legs felt clumsy and numb, as if they would collapse under her any moment. Being a princess, she was not accustomed to running anywhere, and the distance and rough terrain had taken their toll on her. She stumbled. Pain exploded in her ankle. She cried out. Ahead of her, Paris stopped and turned to run back to her.

“Go, Paris! Go!” Cassandra screamed. “Don’t worry about me!”

“You’re my sister, Cassandra!” said Paris. “I’m not going to abandon you!”

“You have to look after the others!”

“Balian and Aeneas can take care of them!” Paris picked her up but by that time, they were surrounded by Greeks. The prince met their sneers proudly with a stony glare that would have impressed Legolas. He set Cassandra down again and put an arrow to the string, shooting the first Greek who dared to approach. He quickly put another arrow to the string but he could not keep up with the sheer number of enemies. There was a loud crack. He felt as if a projectile from Balian’s catapult had hit him. He heard Cassandra screaming his name, and then everything went black and silent.

***

Pintel and Ragetti collapsed onto the rocky ground, gasping for breath. Achilles fell with them. The sudden impact aggravated his wounds, making him groan. He did not like to admit it, but the pain was making him feel faint. Briseis quickly shoved aside the two pirates so she could go to her lover. There were many scowls directed in their direction. She ignored them the best she could and tried to inspect Achilles’ wounds.

Balian stood nearby, his mind full of quarrelling thoughts. One part of him was filled with concern for the wounded man but the other part still hated Achilles for what had happened to Hector. What would a knight do in such a circumstance? Would he be able to remain loyal to his late friend while still being forgiving and compassionate as a true follower of God ought to be. ‘What would you do, Hector?’ he wondered. The late prince did not reply. He was too far away to be concerned with his friend’s internal conflict.

“How is he?” Balian asked Briseis. She whipped around, seemingly surprised that someone was worried about Achilles welfare.

I am fine,” said Achilles with an emphasis on the first word. “It’s nothing that a few days of rest and expert care can’t heal.”

“The problem, oh great Achilles, is that we cannot afford a few days of rest,” said Legolas. “Nor is there an expert healer who can give you the expert help that you need.” The elf wasn’t feeling particularly generous towards the Greek. Achilles did not blame him for this attitude. If he was one of Hector’s friends, he would be feeling just as resentful, if not more so.

“At least he admits he needs help,” said Legolas, rolling his eyes “unlike a certain stubborn man who always insists he is fine when he evidently is not.”

“Yes, Aragorn is very stubborn, isn’t he?” said Balian innocently. The light-hearted banter took his mind off their potentially problematic situation for a moment.

Briseis took this chance to ask for some supplies that she would need. “Does anyone have any water and bandages?” she said.

“We need the water for drinking,” said Legolas. “There doesn’t seem to be much out here.”

“We can always use something else,” said Balian. “Jack, do you have any alcohol?” he shouted.

“Not very much,” replied the pirate warily. The last time Balian had requested alcohol, he had burnt the lot. That blacksmith was almost as bad as Will and Elizabeth when it came to wasting precious beverages.

“Bring it over!”

“Why?”

“We needed for cleaning wounds!”

The notion finally dawned on Jack. “Oh no you don’t!” he hollered, clutching his bottle desperately. “I already gave up me gold to save his life! I am not giving up me drinks!”

“It’s not rum, Jack,” said Will reasonably although he personally didn’t care if Achilles died of gangrenous injuries.

“Well, it’s still drink! And you owe me lots and lots of rum, William Turner. You and your fiancée burnt a whole cargo-hold-ful of rum!”

“She’s my wife now,” said Will.

“Hush!” hissed Legolas suddenly. The elf’s eyes narrowed and gleamed with the wary alertness of one who was being stalked. “Something’s coming this way.”

“We can’t run anymore,” whispered Balian. “Everyone’s exhausted.”

A call of a horn rang out in the dark empty night. Achilles jerked and gasped in pain. “I know that horn,” he panted. “Myrmidon. You, Balian, call out to Eudoras.”

Balian did as he was bid. His voice echoed like that of the horn.

“Who’s there?” came the reply.

“We have Achilles with us!” shouted Balian. It was perfectly true.

The Myrmidon drew closer until both parties could see each other. “You!” roared Eudoras when he saw Balian. He quickly drew his sword.

“Wait, Eudoras,” called Achilles weakly, struggling to stand. “They saved me. I owe them my life.”

Eudoras’ eyes widened. “My lord,” he said, getting down onto his knees. “What happened to you?”

“Paris shot me,” said Achilles.

“And with reason,” said Legolas. “Speaking of which, where is Paris?”

“Aeneas is missing too,” said Will, looking around.

“As is Princess Cassandra,” said Barbossa.

“Excuse me,” said one of the younger princesses, Polyxena, timidly. “I...I think I saw Cassandra fall down and Paris went to help her.”

“Are you saying they were captured?” said Balian. The urgency in his voice frightened the girl.

“I...I don’t know,” she said.

“We were all separated when the Greeks attacked,” said Legolas. “Maybe they’re out there somewhere. We cannot guess until we have more clues.”

“What about Aeneas?” asked Will. “Has anyone got any idea what’s happened to him?”

“Probably somewhere out here in this godforsaken place,” said Jack, kicking a pebble as if it was the cause of all their troubles.

“The morning will reveal more clues,” said Legolas. “For now, everyone is tired. We should rest a bit.”

“Aye,” said Barbossa.

Achilles wounds were treated by Briseis and his men. They all made camp under the stars and shared what meagre food they had. The glow from flaming Troy could still be seen, like a bloodstain on the black silk of the sky. Andromache held Astyanax close to her as he slept, breathing in his milky scent. The baby sucked his thumb in his sleep, totally unaware of what was going on. The many thoughts in her head were keeping her awake. What would happen to them now? She lifted her head to look around, careful not to wake her baby.

A glowing figure stood watch over them, bound by his honour and his loyalty to Hector. Dear Hector; he had always been prepared, even for his own death. He had left his family and his people in able hands.

***

Aeneas saw the ships in the distance, their Trojan standards still flying proudly from their masts. “Thank the gods,” he breathed. He turned around to his ragged company. “Come on! Have strength, my comrades!” he called. “Soon we will be safe!”

The encouragement gave the exhausted Trojans a new burst of energy and they ran down the beach to the boats, surprising the sailors. “There is no time for explanation,” Aeneas told them. “Set sail and head of Sicily, where a son of the House of Assaracus still reigns.”

It was only when the sun rose and they were sailing in open waters that he realized he had less than half the company which had escaped from Troy. His relatives were not among them.

***

When the sun rose, the full extent of their loss dawned on the traumatized Trojans. Many had been killed, leaving only a handful of people, as well as the remaining members of the royal family and the foreigners. “I am going to look for the missing people,” said Legolas, getting to his feet. The elf, despite all odds, still looked as meticulous as ever. Only the smudge of dirt on his face and a few spots of blood on his clothing hinted at the rough fighting last night.

“I’ll come with you,” said Balian. The man looked exhausted. There were dark circles under his eyes and his face was streaked with soot and blood. Dust caked to his skin and hair. His eyes were bloodshot from a lack of sleep. Legolas was sure that he was standing because he was so stubborn.

Will also got up and prepared to go searching for more survivors but Legolas stopped both his friends. “You need to look after the others,” said the elf. Besides, I’ll be faster on my own and if I’m caught, at least you won’t be caught with me.”

Will reached for his pistol and spare shots. He handed them to Legolas. “Take these,” he said. “I think you’ll need them more than I do.”

“Thank you,” said Legolas, taking the weapon gratefully. “If I’m not back by the time the sun touches the top of Mount Ida, don’t wait for me. Make for the fleet and take them all to safety.” He turned to go, his light step making no mark on the gravel.

“Be careful!” called Balian.

“Aren’t I always?” Legolas said without looking back. The elf broke into a swift run and was soon lost in the distance.

“He’s gone to find Paris, hasn’t he?” said Helen, coming up behind the two men.

“I’m sure Paris will be all right,” said Will, and then internally berated himself for giving her false hope.

At the edge of the makeshift camp, Eudoras was explaining to an impatient Achilles why the Myrmidon was still on this side of the Aegean. Achilles did not seem to be accepting Eudoras’ explanation very well but he was in no state to hit anything and that added to his foul mood. Jack’s laments that he had given up a stash of treasure to save Achilles’ life didn’t help matters.

***

A/N: Lots and lots of dialogue here. I hope I didn't bore anyone. The next chapter we'll see what happens to Paris and what his friends will do.

Kiwi, Jack was having another 'attack of the conscience' At the moment, he's regretting it.

Achilles will still have to do a lot to redeem himself before the others will forgive him, Casakit. And where did Calypso come in here?
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  #48  
Old March 16th, 2008, 06:58 AM
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I like the diagalogue and it was another very fast moving chapter with a lot packed into it. I am so hoping that they get to safety, that Legolas finds Paris and Cassandra and that there is some sort of future for them all.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 08:29 PM
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lol ok.. I thought it was who taked Jack into saving Achillies.. but then again, I haVe been known to be nuts.. *giggles8 i think I need Dr greenleaf to look at my head... * whistles innocently*

I can't wait for the next chapter! *grins* keep it up!
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Old March 18th, 2008, 06:29 PM
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Telcontar Rulz Telcontar Rulz is offline
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Warning: Violence in this chapter.

Chance Encounter: Pirate Kingdom of Troy


Disclaimer: I don’t own Balian, Legolas, Jack, Will, Paris, Hector...you get the idea. I’m just borrowing them without permission but with every intention of returning them, savvy?

Chapter 19: A Goddess’ Favour

Legolas followed the trail of muddled prints which the fleeing Trojans had left behind. Not far from where they had been attacked the night before, the elf found Paris’ bow and many arrows scattered on the ground. Some of them were bloody and others were broken. There were rusty brown droplets of blood on the sandy ground and drag marks. Having been friends with Aragorn for years, Legolas could interpret these signs with very little doubt as to what had happened after Paris and Cassandra had fallen behind. The siblings were prisoners at the very best and he did not even want to contemplate the worst outcome. The elf gathered up the bow and arrows and ran back to the camp to discuss their next plan of action. The elven prince was not one who would abandon his friends to the whims of the enemy.

***

“We must get the civilians to safety before we try anything,” said Balian. “This is not their burden to bear.”

“Can’t they come with us?” said Jack. “After all, we are sailing to safety and we probably need to sail to rescue Paris and his sister whats-her-name.”

“That is actually a very valid point,” said Achilles. Jack looked smug. “I know Agamemnon. He’ll sail home with the treasures of Troy and gloat. Your prince will probably be tormented for his entertainment and herded through the streets as part of the victory parades. I don’t want to think about the princess’ fate.”

“So we make for the ships, and then we plan,” said Legolas. “Well, what are we waiting for? On your feet, everyone, and we don’t stop until we are safely on a wooden deck or two!”

“Doesn’t he ever tire?” asked Eudoras as he struggled to help Achilles keep up with the golden warrior.

“From what I’ve seen, no,” said Achilles. “He’s no mere mortal, that one. I wouldn’t be surprised if he reveals himself as Apollo or the great Ares himself.”

Balian was once again carrying Hecuba. It made him uncomfortable when she addressed him by affectionate nicknames which she had probably used with Priam. He ignored that the best he could and concentrated on putting one foot in front of another. He was too proud and stubborn to admit it, but he was exhausted. Last night, he had hardly gotten any sleep for fear of another attack by the Greeks.

To their dismay, the ships were gone when they reached the coast. Balian stared across the vast blueness with mournful gulls crying overhead, wheeling in the sky. The sound of surf gently rolling in and out would have been calming if they still had hope for survival. “So that’s it then,” he said, his voice laced with bitter defeat. “We’re stranded here. This is the end.”

“And I’m with Barbossa on the same beach,” said Jack, wrinkling his nose in distaste.

“How do you think I feel, Jack Sparrow, to be stuck with a pompous perpetually drunk pirate?” demanded the old sailor. Jack the monkey chattered in agreement. Jack the pirate kicked a round grey pebble in disgust, only to find that it wasn’t a pebble. It was a little grey round crab which looked like a pebble. He frowned as he remembered the last time he had seen such a crab.

Legolas sank down onto the sand, finally admitting defeat. He found a shell and flung it into the ocean in frustration. After all that they had gone through, they were still going to be trapped in conquered Troy, waiting for death. They would have broken another of their promises to Hector. Paris and Cassandra would be left to the torment and suffering which most certainly awaited them at the hands of Agamemnon.

“Aeneas must have taken the ships,” said Andromache, going to stand beside Balian. Astyanax complained about his hunger in her arms. His complaints went ignored. “At least our people still have a future, even if we don’t.”

“I’ve failed Hector again,” said Balian softly. “How can I face him now?”

Achilles didn’t know why, but he was as depressed as the others. He sat down in the sand with some difficulty and watched the waves. Briseis settled herself beside him and he put an arm around her. “I won’t let anyone hurt you,” he said. “I swear.”

“It wasn’t supposed to end like this,” said Briseis. “If only...”

“Those are the two saddest words in any language,” said Achilles, breathing in the scent of her hair. It was tainted with the smoke from her burning city.

As they all gazed hopelessly at the sea, Will stepped into the ocean. The surf foamed around his ankles, lapping at his boots like affectionate dogs welcoming their master. He waded in until the water reached his waist and swirled around him. The wind strengthened, blowing his dark hair away from his face.

Balian started towards his friend, and then he stood mesmerized as Will tilted his head back and raised his hands to the darkening sky in supplication, as if he was a priest asking for a blessing from some higher power. Lightning flashed and thunder clapped as if the deities were answering his prayers. Within moments, Will was soaked. It was as if the young man had become one with the sea. His voice merged with that of the crashing waves. His wet clothes were plastered to his body, outlining the shape of his muscles, making him look as if he was some god made flesh. The waves grew wilder and more violent as the volume of Will’s words increased. No one could hear what he was saying, but they were all awestruck. On the shore, people were on their knees, praying to the gods or worshipping Will — it was hard to tell.

With a roar of thunder, two ships, more magnificent than any Greek or Trojan vessel surged out from beneath the waves with seawater pouring over the sides and dripping from their sails.

“My Pearl!” cried Jack, running towards the sea.

“Wrong again, Jack Sparrow,” said Barbossa as he strained to overtake the ecstatic deposed captain. “My Pearl.”

Will rose out of the water and walked across the waves towards his ship. He waved to the people still staring at him from the shore, indicating for them to wait a while. Legolas, Balian, Achilles, the rest of the Myrmidon and the Trojans gaped at this unearthly spectacle.

“I guess we have ships now,” said Balian lamely. Legolas nodded, having been rendered speechless.

Boats were lowered from both the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman. Everyone was transported onto the ships. Unfortunately for Jack, it was Barbossa who made it to the Black Pearl first. The deposed captain made faces and obscene gestures at the other pirate, who just grinned smugly and reached for his pistol...only to find that it was gone. Finally able to retrieve some of his dignity, Jack proudly waved Barbossa’s missing weapon and danced around on the deck of the Dutchman. “I got your gun,” he said in a sing-song voice.

Will was too busy speaking to his father to take any notice of his less than sober friend. “How on earth did you get the ships off the island?” he asked.

“I thought he called them,” said Balian.

“Obviously not,” said Legolas. “Our captain is just as surprised, as it seems.”

“I be da one who freed your ships,” said a familiar woman’s voice with a Jamaican accent. Will bowed.

“Calypso,” he said. “When I asked for your help back then, I must admit that I did not expect such direct aid.”

“Calypso?” said Eudoras, looking aghast. “I thought she would be pre...”

“Quiet!” hissed Jack. “It is most stupid to insult the goddess of the sea.”

The Myrmidon warrior shut his mouth. “Still as charming as ever, I see, Captain William Turner,” Calypso was saying as she circled the young man, an amused smile on her dark lips. “I bring you a message.”

“A message?” said Will. “From who?”

“From da heathen gods,” said Calypso, looking him up and down appraisingly. She then caught sight of Balian, wet and dripping, still holding Hecuba. The goddess winked at him suggestively, causing him to tense. “We have decided to free you from your present task. No longer will you be bound to da sea, for you need to go on land for your next task.”

“My next task?” said Will.

“To help him.” said Calypso, nodding at Balian. “He is da one who is to keep da peace and justice. ‘Tis a heavy load to bear.” Her eyes were fixed on the blacksmith for a moment and then they swivelled in Legolas’ direction. As soon as the goddess’ eyes met his, Legolas’ sea-longing overwhelmed him. The surf roared in his ears and the cry of mournful gulls rang clearly in his mind. He could hear the singing of his kindred on the faraway shores of Valinor. His breathing quickened and his pupils dilated. Instead of Calypso, he saw his ancestral home, surrounded by a sea like silver glass. A voice, so distant, broke through his trance. It was desperate, angry and...frightened?

“Stop it!” shouted Balian. “You’re hurting him! For God’s sake stop it!”

“You are brave, young knight, to speak to a goddess like this,” said Calypso, releasing Legolas from her gaze and turning her attention back to Balian. She grinned, revealing hideous black teeth. “Aren’t you afraid?”

“I swore an oath to never let fear overcome me,” said Balian tersely, not responding to the goddess’ attempts to charm him. Calypso’s smile turned into a frown.

“I see why you were chosen,” she said curtly. “Not a pirate at all, and all da same, there is a touch of destiny about you.” With that, she disintegrated into a salty mist and returned to wherever her abode was, leaving a ship full of very nervous people.

“Are you all right, Legolas?” asked Will. The elf nodded, although he had not yet regained enough breath to speak.

“So you,” said Achilles, pointing at Will “speak to the goddess of the sea on a regular basis and you...” Achilles pointed at Balian “are chosen...by whom?”

“By the gods,” said Briseis, looking at Balian with a new sort of respect in her eyes.

“So what are you?” Achilles asked Legolas.

“An elf,” replied the golden warrior, having finally regained his strength after his encounter with Calypso.

“What’s an elf?” asked Achilles.

“Means he’s going to live forever, mate,” said Jack as he sauntered past. “Dear William, seeing as you are the esteemed captain of this...marvellous ship, it is your duty to entertain your guests, is it not?”

Will looked wary and confused. “I suppose so,” he said.

“Ah, though so,” said Jack. “Therefore, since it is your duty to entertain your guests, would it not be appropriate to offer them a drink, say, in the form of rum perhaps?”

“I’ll go get it, Cap’n,” said Bootstrap before Will could respond. The captain looked absolutely horrified at the thought of having an intoxicated Jack Sparrow on board his ship.

“Where to now, Captain Turner?” said Barbossa from the Pearl.

Will got an idea. “Jack, you can have all the rum you want if you lend me that compass,” he said, holding out his hand. At first, Jack looked reluctant, but the promise of rum broke down his barriers and he gave Will the compass. Bootstrap returned rolling a barrel of rum across the deck. Jack fell onto his knees and, according to Legolas, did homage to the barrel.

***

Paris woke up feeling like he had been trampled by a herd of stampeding horses. He groaned as a wave of nausea washed over him and he would have emptied his stomach if it had not been empty in the first place. “I see you are awake, Your Highness,” said a hatefully smug voice. The prince opened his eyes. His vision swam. He waited until it had settled into focus before glaring at the speaker. Agamemnon sneered.

“It seems that you are related to Hector after all,” said the High King of Mycenae. “You are as stubborn, as defiant, and as foolish as your brother.”

“You’re not worthy to lick the dust from my brother’s sandals,” croaked Paris. He would have stood up if he could but he was bound to a stake driven into the ground and therefore he was forced to remain on his knees. Agamemnon’s face darkened. He aimed a kick at Paris’ stomach, making the prince double over in pain. Wheezing, Paris lifted his head to throw a defiant stare at Agamemnon.

“Hector paid for his foolish Trojan pride with his life,” growled the king. “You would do well to learn from his mistake.”

“It wasn’t a mistake when he told you that no son of Troy will ever submit to a foreign ruler. I hold to that.”

Agamemnon grabbed Paris by his dark curls and slammed the back of his head against the stake. Stars exploded in Paris’ vision. His head felt as if it would burst open. “Your brother never saw the limits of my mercy,” hissed the Greek king “but you will.” He motioned to the elite royal bodyguards. “Take this insolent Trojan cur and flog him until he begs for mercy. We’ll see what breaks first; his soul or my whip.”

Paris was no match for the strength of the guards. Their grips held him in place as they tied him to the whipping post. His clothes were torn from him. In this dire situation, he found himself recalling one of Balian’s tales of torture. “I held onto my anger and my oath,” the blacksmith had said. “I promised myself that I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of hearing me scream and grovel. It was all that I could do.”

“Be without fear in the face of your enemies,” Paris repeated quietly to himself. He heard the crack before he felt the pain, but when he did finally registered it, he quickly clamped his teeth together and swallowed the scream that welled up in his throat. The second lash drove the breath from him so that he couldn’t scream if he wanted to. His body spasmed with each blow. Hot blood ran down his back. He soon lost count and instead tried to focus on his anger and the remnants of his dignity. Small whimpers escaped his lips; he couldn’t help himself. Tears ran down his cheeks. Oh the burning fires, the agony!

And then, it stopped. “I’m impressed,” said Agamemnon, clapping slowly in a mocking manner. “But you will beg.”

“I’ll never beg you,” croaked Paris. His voice sounded as if it belonged to someone else. “You can take your little dream and shove it where the light doesn’t shine.” This he learnt from Jack.

“You act as if you’re still a prince.”

“That’s because I am.”

“So you say, for the moment.”

The flogging resumed, but the gods seemed to have taken pity on him. Paris slipped into dark painless oblivion. The last thing he could hear was Hector’s voice saying “I know you will make me proud.”

***

Will flipped open the compass. The needle spun lazily and then stilled. “That direction,” he said, pointing unknowingly towards Agamemnon’s fleet.

‘Is that what a compass does?’ thought Balian. ‘I wonder how it knows what you want most.’

***

A/N: Will finally reveals what he can do!

Knowing me, Kiwi, I really wasn't going to let them find Paris and Cassandra without a lot of trouble. There will be a future for them all. I've planned one

Casakit, there are those who think Jack's conscience might be divine interference
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