Just a rainy day.

The absence of Achilles has impacted the men badly. It seems like the weather knows this.

The good news is that Macar got my nails. The first shipment anyway.

Elpenor and Epeius seem to be getting along well enough. Even though Elpenor can be a real stroke, he is actually very dependable. Whenever I tell him that something needs to be done, he gets right to it. I guess that kiss-asses aren't all bad.

Anyway, Elpenor and Epeius have cleared an area where the horse is to be built, and the supplies are starting to stack up.

There is a lot of curiosity surrounding the project, and rumors are starting to spread. A lot of men were hanging about and getting in the way at first, so I asked Misenus to take care of build-site security.

The prevailing rumor is that we are building some kind of monstrous siege engine. -That seems reasonable. I have also heard that we are building a Temple to Ares, in an attempt to gain his favor. One of the crazier ones is that we are building a huge barn, in order to store an enormous breed of horses. Apparently, the Minyans are off sailing to Rhodes to get them.

Polites is a great bullshitter, and he's taken it upon himself to properly misinform the men. He has become quite serious about it, taking notes and everything. Each night Polites strolls from fire to fire, drinking and sowing seeds of bullshit in the fertile minds of our curious soldiers.

He is pretty pleased with the success of his current rumor: Odysseus is building a huge trophy for some Titans whom have promised to hold a wrestling match within the walls of Troy.

Anything that keeps the men from dwelling on the loss of Achilles is good, I guess.


Achilles is gone.

Sometime last night, Achilles and his old buddy Patroclus lead a small raid on one of the villages to the north of Troy.

We have actually been in control of these villages for a couple of years. However, their sympathies are with the Trojans, and it’s been almost impossible for us to completely cease their support for Troy.

Achilles has wanted to raze these villages ever since we got here.

Well, I guess that Achilles decided that some razing needed to be done last night. -You can see the smoke still rising from here.

If you ask me, I think that Achilles assailed that village just because he’s still pissed off at Agamemnon. Maybe it is about a girl. Hell, we are all here because of a girl… Still, part of me thinks that it might be because of the Wooden Horse. Achilles loves a good and bloody battle. If the Wooden Horse actually works, he might not get one.

Come think of it, the whole reason Achilles has been hanging out for the last few years might be in anticipation of the battle to come. Maybe that’s why he left.

Anyway, this morning he did leave.

Rumor has it that Agamemnon was mighty pissed about Achilles little venture last night. Some people are saying that Agamemnon actually ordered Achilles to leave. Others said that Achilles just took off.

Either way, Achilles rounded up a bunch of the Magensians and left with one of their ships before breakfast.

Odysseus stopped by this morning but said very little. He was looking for some maps. Instead of asking me, the General just started rooting though my papers and making a mess. When I told them that the maps were in his tent, he knocked over a stack of parchment rolls and stormed out.

Poor Elpenor caught Odysseus on his way out. In a rigid salute, Elpenor was just shoved to the ground.

-This is not going to be good for morale.


A quieter day.

I have recruited our chief supply officer Macar to help get materials for the Wooden Horse.

Sometimes I wonder if ‘managing’ just means finding other people to do your work.

Anyway, I went over to the Mycenaean camp this morning to put in a large order for nails. The Mycenaeans bring in a lot of our metal goods, and they have a couple of blacksmiths running as well.

Things didn’t go very smoothly. I got a lot of attitude from some goddamned supply lieutenant. He kept asking me what I needed the nails for. I told him that they are for the large construction project, but I couldn’t tell him exactly what that was because it’s classified.

Well, this asshole starts going off about nail specifications and how he absolutely needs to know more project details if he is going to produce the right kind of nails. Really, how many ways can you make a goddamned nail? “Make them pointy on one end, and flat on the other!” I said.

That really set the lieutenant off.

Anyway, I sort of lost my temper too, and walked off while the guy was still talking.

I told Polites what had happened and he suggested that I ask Macar to give me a hand.

Macar laughed when I told him about my trouble with this Myceneaen lieutenant. -I guess that he knows the guy. He smiled and said: “Yeah, that sounds like Medon. That guy is a real hard-ass. Don’t sweat it. I’ll get your nails.”

Macar is actually quite a hard-ass himself, but I’d never tell him that. –I think that it is something about supply officers. You just don’t want to be on their bad side.

Sometime ago, this Athenian captain made the mistake of copping an attitude with Macar while putting in an order for a new bedroll. –Macar had plenty of bedrolls on hand, but he told this guy that he wouldn’t have any available until the next day.

That night, Macar let one of the flea-infested stray dogs hanging about camp enjoy a good night’s sleep on a new bedroll.

Although we thought that it was hilarious, Macar expressed no humor in it. –In fact, if Polites hadn’t caught Macar in the act, no one would have even known that he had done it.

We don’t mess with Macar.


More drama.

Polites told me that there was some kind of blow-out today between Achilles and Agamemnon. -Rumor has it that it was over some girl.

I have a hard time believing that this is true. To be honest, I can’t imagine any girl torn between those two. Agamemnon might be Commander-in-Chief, but there is no kind way to describe his looks. On the other hand, Achilles has to fight the girls off. I swear to Zeus, it looks like a goddamned holiday parade when the guy goes to pick up his laundry. -That guy has never had to work for tail.

Well, whatever the reason, it is true that Achilles and the Big Chief got into a tussle today. Polites saw it himself.

Polites was cooking lunch when he saw Achilles come storming out of the commander’s camp, followed closely by Agamemnon. The Commander was shouting and cursing, and Polites swears that Agamemnon called Achilles a pussy. -I refuse to believe it.

Anyway, I guess that Achilles finally wheels around and puts his hand on his hilt. At that, Agamemnon shut right up. Achilles then starts yelling at Agamemnon, tapping his finger repeatedly right on the Commander’s forehead!

By that point, quite a large crowd had gathered around. Polites says that he was actually shaking, things were so tense.

Anyway, Ajax then jumped in and tried to diffuse the situation. He got in-between Achilles and Agamemnon, and managed to separate the two.

To hear Polites tell it, with Ajax in the middle, Agamemnon got a whole lot braver again, and he started back up with cursing out Achilles.

At that, I guess Ajax gave the Commander a little shove. -That’s where things really got crazy.

Odysseus was walking up, and when he saw Ajax shove Agamemnon, he freaked. Grabbing Ajax by his armor, Odysseus swung him down into the dust.

Ajax then went completely ballistic, and he came up swinging on Odysseus.

Polites said at that point, the entire crowd looked like it was going to rush into the fray.

However, I guess that Diomedes, the Argosian General, got in there pretty quick and recruited Achilles to help hold the crowd back.

Achilles and Diomedes then managed to break up Ajax and Odysseus.

Polites said that Agamemnon then started shouting that he was going to hang anyone that didn’t disperse. -That’s how it ended.

-Odysseus stopped in a little while ago to drop off more paperwork. It looks like he is going to have a pretty good shiner, but I didn’t dare ask him about it.


Well, I got what I asked for: lots of paperwork.

Odysseus has me working with this guy Epeius on the Wooden Horse. It seems the commanders chose Epeius to oversee its construction. I guess that the guy is some sort of artist or something. He is actually quite the fop. I don’t know why they didn’t select a carpenter or an engineer.

Anyway, this Epeius guy sort of gives me the creeps. Whenever I am trying to show him some plans or something, he always leans over really close and breathes heavily through his mouth. -Right next to my head. It’s not that he has bad breath, and it doesn’t bother me that he is a bit of a sissy, it’s just his mouth-breathing. It really bugs me.

Something about mouth-breathers has always bothered me. It’s not like it’s the guy’s fault, but it really makes it hard for me to work with him.

Anyway, today I assigned Elpenor as Odysseus’ envoy to Epeius. He was ecstatic.

I am sure that the General won’t love this decision, but Elpenor does actually have a little carpentry experience. -That’s how I’ll justify it. I’ll just have to make sure that Elpenor reports to me, and that he leaves the General alone.

Besides getting Epeius out of my personal space, using Elpenor as a go-between will also free me up so that I can spend more time on the acquisition of supplies. -and picking my arse, of course.

Polites just came in. He says he has news. -more later.


Another full day.

This morning, there was quite a bit of excitement about the beachhead. Everything is kind of hush-hush about the horse, and it seems to be causing quite a bit of confusion. Right now, the general consensus about camp is that something large needs to be built, and that we need a lot of wood.

There’s not much wood left here, so no doubt someone is going to have to go around and collect it from the neighboring islands.

From what I gather, this is going to be the Minyans.

I am not sure why, but there was some sort of trouble down at the beach after breakfast. A fight broke out, and one of the Minyan ships actually caught on fire.

Polites heard that a rumor was going around that the Minyans had decided to abandon the cause. Seeing them rigging their ships probably confirmed the other soldier’s suspicions. Anyway, I guess that some of the Magnesians and Arcadians were pretty pissed about the Minyans sailing all about, and a pretty good skirmish broke out.

It wasn’t until Achilles arrived upon the scene and kicked some indiscriminate ass that things were brought back under control. I have to wonder what those Magensians think of their hometown hero giving them a beat-down.

Anyway, as much as I would have loved to watch the action, I had my appointment with Odysseus.

When I got to his tent, he wasn’t there.

I stood outside and amused myself watching the aides and petty officers scramble about the commander’s camp. By the look on these guy’s faces, it was obvious that they didn’t have a clue as to why they were running all over the place. They must sense that they are dealing with something important, but it was clear to me that they don’t know that thing is. Still, those who did pass by me looked straight ahead very purposefully, just so that I wouldn’t have the impression that they weren’t in-the-know.

It wasn’t until after lunch time had come and gone that Odysseus finally returned.

He was walking with a few Generals, talking loudly and making large sweeping gestures with his hands.

Most of these Generals had large grins upon their faces, and it seemed the closer that they were to Odysseus, the larger their grin. -It looked as if Odysseus was the source of some pleasure, and his entourage was a medium in which his joy could radiate. I noted that Ajax was on the periphery of this group, and perhaps due to his distance, very little joy seemed to have reached him. Achilles was there too, looking none the worse for wear despite his morning battle. He wasn’t smiling either.

However, this doesn't mean that Achilles was unhappy. Unless he is in a fight, or heading into a fight, Achilles never smiles.

Odysseus was lost in his monologue, and he didn’t see me until he was almost standing on my feet.

I think that he unconsciously expected that I would yield the right of way to him as every other bystander had done. At first he looked somewhat perturbed when he was forced to stop or walk over me. However, upon recognition, his large grin quickly returned.

“Eurylochus, oh shit! I forgot that I had called for you this morning!” he says. At this, a few of the generals chuckled.

“Oh, shit, Sir.” I replied.

It really strokes a commander’s ego to pull rank in the presence of his colleagues, however, I was not about to afford Odysseus this pleasure at my expense. Not after waiting half the day for him.

Odysseus tilted his head and looked at me, his smile fading slightly. But, he then laughed a forced laugh and turning to his entourage, loudly dismissed himself.

As his entourage dispersed, the General waved me inside his tent.

Inside his tent, Odysseus lost the attitude.

“Seriously, sorry about this morning, Eurylochus.”

“It’s no problem, Sir.” I replied.

Odysseus nodded, and walking over to his desk, began casually leafing through some papers. He frowned slightly and then slapping his hands upon his desk, began: “Eurylochus, big things are happening here. -Things that might change the course of this war. I have a lot of things to mind to in these next weeks as we build this Wooden Horse, and I could really use your help.”

“Of course, Sir.” I replied.

Odysseus nodded, but then thought more of it, and shook his head. “No, not help. Not just help.” He stammered: “What I really need, is your support. Yes, that’s it. I need your support Eurylochus.”

I could tell that the General was trying to make sure that I was not only ready to do my duty as an officer; he knew that I would. What he really wanted was to know that I was supporting him as a friend. Even Odysseus must have realized that the he wasn’t being completely honest by claiming the Wooden Horse idea to be his own. However, I also knew that he wasn’t going to speak of it, so as not to risk me actually calling him on it.

“You have my support, General.” I reassured him.

Spreading his arms, Odysseus appeared as if he was about to launch in to a lengthy explanation, but upon hearing my answer, he paused and grinned. “Good, good. You’re a good man, Eurylochus. No, you’re a good friend.” Odysseus beamed, and a look of confidence returned to his face.

“Thank you, Sir.” I answered.

Odysseus then waved me over to his desk.

Odysseus and I then spent the better half of the afternoon going over plans for the Wooden Horse, and over all the various administrative details that were involved. He was right in saying that there are a lot of things to do over the next few weeks as the Wooden Horse is built. The entire plan is going to be a monumental task.

Odysseus seemed genuinely grateful for my help.

I am sure that he was equally grateful that I didn’t press him on the matter of how he had gotten the idea.


Apollo's ass. -Totally unbelievable day.

Where to start?

Ok, just after lunch, word spreads about camp that there is to be a high level meeting amongst the generals this evening.

Just before supper, Odysseus comes up and asks that I hang around the commander’s tent until the meeting was finished.

Of course, I have a sinking feeling that this is about Misenus’ plan.

After eating, I headed over to the large tent where a pretty noisy congregation had assembled. Although I am Odysseus’ first in command, I was asked to wait outside, and I watched the big guy walk in chatting with Agamemnon, followed closely by Ajax and Achilles.

From outside the tent, I could hear very little. Actually, I was surprised how quiet the assembly was, considering how many people were in there. At first, I could hear Agamemnon, Grand Commander of all these forces, bellowing in his deep voice what sounded like to calls to order, and then some introductions. Then I heard the crisp, yelling voice of Odysseus. He was making a speech of some sort, interspersed with lots of long pauses. I imagine that these pauses were made for effect, or possibly to allow time for applause, but no applause came. Odysseus spoke for the better half of an hour. After that, I heard Agamemnon, and then quiet again.

It was quiet for about another hour, and then Agamemnon started shouting some stuff again in his loudest fog horn voice yet.

A few minutes later, people began to file out.

All of the Generals looked very serious and were eagerly accompanied by their captains and counselors who had been waiting outside like me.

However, when Ajax came out, he looked directly at me. He gave me this glare that was kind of strange: partially questioning, but partly accusing. It was sort of a “what-the-fuck?” kind of look.

Ajax isn’t just a General, he is a goddamned King. Feeling pretty unnerved, I kind of eyed my feet until he passed.

It was almost 20 minutes after the last of the assembly had filed out that Odysseus exited, just as he entered, gabbing with Agamemnon. Agamemnon had a big politicians grin on his face, and he kept rubbing and slapping Odysseus on the back. Achilles followed the two close behind.

Achilles wasn’t looking at Odysseus or Agamemnon. Instead, he was cooling surveying the guards and the last few aides that remained, almost as if he were trying to spot an ambush.

Achilles always acts like that when things get serious. He invariably gets more serious. Achilles is the kind of guy that, if you throw him a ball, will dive into the dust to catch it, even if a dive isn’t necessary. He’s got the kind of attitude that would just make him look like an idiot if he weren’t so goddamned skilled. Yet, Achilles is overflowing with skills, and the girls are really into him and his badass attitude. All of us guys simultaneously resent him and wish we were him.

Anyway, after a last hardy slap from Agamemnon, Odysseus, wearing the biggest shit-eating grin I have ever seen on his face, struts over to me.

“Eurylochus, we’ve got a lot of work to do, my boy.” He beams in an annoyingly General-like fashion.

Trying to ignore the “my boy”, I innocently and somewhat militarily asked, “What’s that regarding, General?”

At this, Odysseus paused. By the look on his face, I thought that he was going to drop the authoritarian tone, but then he sort of shakes that off, and in an even more commanding voice, he belts: “Eurylochus, we are going to build a wooden horse, a great wooden horse that is going to enable us to get within the walls of Troy.”

Fucking Zeus, I almost want to laugh, but I say something like: “Oh, like the thing that we discussed last…”

But I was cut short and Odysseus just went on: “I have decided that we should build a great wooden horse that can house many of our soldiers. We will then trick the Trojans into bringing this horse inside the city. From there, the soldiers can launch a surprise attack upon Troy. I am the head of this project, Eurylochus, and I will need your help, don’t let me down.”

With that, the General gives me my own slap on the back and he struts off.

I just stood there speechless, watching him walk away. Odysseus then shouts back to me, “Eurylochus, tomorrow morning!”

Anyway, I head back to camp, trying to process what had just happened.

So, here are some of my thoughts:

Is it really possible that the hair-brained plan Misenus and Polites drunkenly concocted around the fire last night is now the directive for an army of over one-hundred thousand men? -Is this how such decisions are made? And, perhaps even more difficult: Did Odysseus just claim the idea to use a vessel to infiltrate the city of Troy as his own?

And, why did he decide on a horse?

Of course, we had mentioned a horse when Polites joked about Elpenor smuggling himself in its ass, but when Misenus and Polites discussed it seriously, we all agreed that a large idol, like a statue of Athena, would be much more likely to succeed in fooling the Trojans into accepting it into their gates.

Why did Odysseus choose a wooden horse?

Is he afraid of plagiarism? -He surely must realize that he is taking Misenus’ idea as his own. Does he feel any less guilty building a giant wooden horse rather than the idol they had suggested?

And, furthermore, is the General so dense that in opting for a structure other than an idol to Athena, all he could think of was the horse that Elpenor was supposed to violate?

Anyway, when I got back to the encampment, Misenus and Polites were waiting for me by the fire.

Seeing my face, Polites starts: “Let me guess, the General wants to build the wooden Athena?”

I shake my head: “Nope, he wants to build a wooden horse.”

At that Misenus and Polites exchange a glance of disbelief. They look at me, and I shrug. We three then just looked at the fire. We didn’t drink. We didn’t prod the logs in the fire. We just sat in silence for what must have been ten minutes.

It was Polites who finally spoke first.

“What a jackass.”