νη′

Today was the funeral.

Shortly after breakfast, a large procession followed Achilles’ body down to the beach.

Agamemnon, Menelaus and Nestor rode in a large chariot, attached to which was a large flat-bedded wagon.

On this wagon laid Achilles body, wrapped in a clean, white cloth and decorated with the few flowers that could be gathered from the depleted Trojan plain.

The only men who didn’t follow this convoy were those who ordered not to. Therefore it looked more like a funeral migration than a procession.

Diomedes was riding at the head of a large group of generals that followed close behind Achilles’ wagon, flanked by Odysseus and Ajax.

I was walking behind this group, along with a few hundred of the more senior officers. Polites and Misenus were with me. I invited Elpenor, but he said he’d rather stay back at the camp. -Epeius joined us.

When the majority of our army had reached the beach, Agamemnon made a long speech.

Unfortunately, it was a bit windy, and most of us couldn’t hear what he was saying. Every once in a while I could make out something like “shall not be forgotten!” or “in the hearts of us Achaeans!” at which point the Commander-in-Chief’s eulogy was drowned out by the shouts of those who actually could hear.

Following the speech, Achilles body was placed high on top of our weekly supply of wood, and a fire was lit.

As I said, it was windy, and Achilles’ over-sized pyre blazed with an insane ferocity. -It wasn’t long before those generals with the best view were pushing back into the ranks of us lesser officers.

I could feel the heat from nearly one-hundred meters away.

Anyway, we spent about a twenty minutes watching the inferno, after which our attention was brought to Agamemnon once again. -This time Agamemnon was standing on a large rock slightly up the hill and back towards our encampment.

Polites had spotted him early, and therefore we were able to get within earshot before he began his second address.

After the majority of men had turned their focus from the conflagration, Agamemnon began, belting: “My dear Achaeans, to honor our Hero, Achilles, Son of Peleus, Student of Pelion, Champion of the Achaeans, we shall hold a series of tournaments. These shall be called, The Achilles Honor Games!”

This announcement brought some cheers from the crowd, but not as many as Agamemnon had likely hoped for.

The Commander-in-Chief hastily continued: “These games shall begin upon the second rising of the sun!”

There were a few more cheers.

Struggling to build momentum, Agamemnon then waved Eumelus forward. Eumelus was holding Achilles’ breastplate high above his head.

At seeing this, a murmer spread through the crowd.

Pointing to the breastplate, Agamemnon shouted: “The Achilles Honor Games will commence with the presentation of this armor to the new Champion of the Achaeans, -The Protector of Achilles’ body, and the Custodian of his Spirit!”

There was complete silence.

Somewhat awkwardly, Agamemnon concluded: “Until then, my fellow Achaeans, let us observe the loss of our dear Achilles!”

Agamemnon and his small entourage then abruptly withdrew from the beach.

As much as the Commander-in-Chief had tried, Achilles’ funeral seemed anticlimactic and unsatisfactory.

Achilles was larger than life. No ceremony could sufficiently address the immense tragedy of his death.

Personally, I never liked Achilles. -He was a pompous, egocentric prick.

Still, Achilles' presence was invaluable. His effect on morale of the Achaeans was well worth suffering his colossal ego. I am sure that on some level, even Achilles knew this.

Anyway, I spent the rest of the day catching up on work about camp.

Elpenor was pretty pissed when he found out there wasn't any wood for the Horse this week. -I had to laugh when he walked out mumbling something about "wood for an ass instead of a horse."

I didn’t really consider it at first, but our Ithacans seem to think Odysseus is the new Champion of the Achaeans Agamemnon was talking about.

I guess that might be my fault.

Although I don’t really care who gets Achilles armor, it is quickly becoming the hot topic about the beachhead. -Polites said people are starting to place bets on who will be chosen as "Custodian of Achilles' Spirit."

To be honest, I think Agamemnon will give the armor to Ajax. He was the one who recovered Achilles' body after all.

I bet our Ithacans won’t quite understand that.

-I hope they don’t blame me when Odysseus doesn’t win.

Shit.

2 Comments:

Anonymous jmchez said...

"Personally, I never liked Achilles. -He was a pompous, egocentric prick."

Well said.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Paulusv said...

Between the Ajax and Odysseus, they just might have half as much ego as Achilles had.

1:59 PM  

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