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.



Mother of Zeus. He’s dead.

Achilles is dead.

I have no idea what will happen now.

This is the story:

Today just after sunrise, Priam’s birthday envoy assembled near Agamemnon’s tent. Besides Odysseus and I, there were about thirty other commander’s and captains, including Diomedes, Nestor, Ajax, Thoas, Eumelus, and Menelaus.

Achilles was there too.

Each of the captains was holding their general’s birthday gift for Priam, including myself.

We were all on horseback.

It was a nice morning, and everyone was dressed in their fanciest armor. Most impressive of which, was Menelaus’ helmet. Menelaus was wearing a ridiculous over-sized helmet, sporting wings that were longer than my arm. -It almost looked like the one Macar had fashioned for Hermes the goat.

Anyway, Agamemnon had sent some heralds ahead to announce our intention, and about thirty minutes after we had arrived, they returned with an official invite from the King of Troy.

By that point, a large crowd of our Achaean soldiers had gathered around us.

Pushing his way through the crowd, the herald approached Agamemnon and puffing up his chest, he shouted: “King Agamemnon, son of Atreus, Commander of the Achaean army, I bear news that Priam, son of Laomedon, King of the besieged city of Troy, has welcomed your gesture of goodwill, and would be pleased to meet you and your diplomatic entourage at the Gates of Troy!

The herald looked as if he was expecting applause, but none came.

Without addressing the herald, Agamemnon rode forward and raising his hand, waved for us to follow.

As we trotted across the plain towards Troy, I could feel the eyes of the Achaean encampment on our back.

The Generals were in especially good spirits, and were joking about who had brought the best present for Priam.

At one point, Ajax quipped that he was giving a Priam a large wooden horse for his birthday. That brought nervous laughter from a few, and a frown from Odysseus.

Odysseus insisted I keep his present in a sack. To his pleasure, we were the only ones who had brought a belt. As I had predicted, Priam was getting six swords and three shields. Ajax was one of those whom had brought a shield. -Maybe he was bitter.

Anyway, when we got to Troy, the gates were open, and standing in front was Priam, flanked by about fifty Trojan commanders. Behind this greeting party, we could see and hear evidence of a festival within.

Priam was wearing a long green cape and a huge golden crown. His sons Deiphobus and Helenus were with him, but Paris was nowhere to be seen.

Glaukos was amongst the Trojan contingent. I could see him eyeing Odysseus as we rode up.

Agamemnon brought us to a halt about ten meters from the Trojan line. He then shouted: “King Priam, on behalf of the Achaeans, I would like to extend our warmest wishes upon your sixtieth birthday!”

At that, Agamemnon signaled for us gift-bearing captains to dismount.

Taking turns, each captain would announce the title of their respective General, and then solemnly walk up to Priam and present his birthday gift. Priam would then nod approvingly, and the gift would be taken by one of Priam’s aides.

I was the third to present, after the captains of Diomedes and Nestor. Diomedes gave Priam a long finely ornamented spear. Nestor presented an ivory statue of Apollo.

I couldn’t be sure Priam particularly liked the belt. However, he smiled and made an exaggerated gesture that pleased Odysseus well enough.

Ajax’s captain followed me. He had the honor of presenting the first shield.

The impromptu ceremony was slow but pleasant.

I felt a bit nervous as we initially rode up. However, after a dozen or so gifts had been exchanged, both sides seemed to relax. Some of the Trojans even started complementing the nicer birthday presents.

But then, it was Achilles turn.

Honestly, I never expected Achilles to make an offering.

However, after each of the captains had presented, Achilles gave a nod to Agamemnon and stepping forward, he held up a shining bronze breastplate with a large ‘alpha’ on the front.

Then, in a weird mixture of megalomania and humility, Achilles slowly approached Priam with his own breastplate raised high above his head.

Once again, my anxiety returned.

Strangely, as much as everyone else was shocked by Achilles’ display, the King of Troy didn’t seem the slightest bit disturbed. In fact, as Achilles approached, the look upon Priam’s face seemed to be one of warm approval.

That is, until Achilles stopped and screamed: “Son of a bitch! …Fucking Zeus!”

To everyone’s amazement, Achilles tossed the breastplate aside and hopping on one foot, he spun around, looked at Agamemnon, and pulled his sword.

Agamemnon shouted: “No!” and raised his hands.

Achilles eyes grew extremely wide. Yet, instead of turning back towards the Trojans, he stopped and only stared at Agamemnon.

Then, he fell.

Achilles flopped flat upon his face. One arrow was stuck in his foot, the other, in the back of his neck.

Achilles was dead.

For what seemed like minutes, the entire world went silent.

And then, there was a yell:

“Yes! There you go! Yes! That’s what you get! That’s what you get!”

It was Paris, shouting from the top of the city wall. He was wearing those strange flowing white robes, and pumping a bow up and down over his head.

Chaos ensued.

Oddly enough, this began with Nestor throwing a javelin into the chest of a Trojan aide.

Suddenly energize by Nestor’s retort, our small Achaean contingent charged. -I didn’t even have a sword.

Luckily, the Trojans were as ill-prepared for our attack as we were, and a riotous brawl began.

No one would ever believe me, but I actually punched the King of Troy. -It was a glancing blow, and I wasn’t even aiming for him, but in my flailing amongst the Trojans, I swear that I caught him on the chin.

After a few minutes, this brawl became centered upon the corpse of Achilles. -I can’t say why, but for some reason, it evolved into a battle for his body.

At one point, Glaukos and a few Trojans got a hold of Achilles and started dragging him towards the gates. Once gain, Glaukos was cursing uncontrollably. Above the grunts and yells of battle, you could hear his piercing banter: “Pull his legs, you harpy tits! Get his ass in the gates! Mother of Zeus, get out of our fucking way!”

Suddenly, Glaukos went silent. I turned to see that Ajax had just cleaved the top of his head off. -It was nasty.

Odysseus then dove into the Trojans pulling Achilles, and began to cut them down like weeds.

A few more attempts were made by the Trojans to retake Achilles’ corpse, but Ajax and Odysseus ruthlessly dispatched anyone that came within reach. I have to admit, It was an awesome sight.

Soon, a number of Trojans began to withdraw.

Then arrows started to fall.

The melee complete, us remaining Achaeans quickly found our horses and retreated.

I tried to help Odysseus and Ajax with Achilles' body, but even with arrows falling all around, they started an argument about who would take his body back. Luckily, Diomedes was there and they surrendered Achilles to him.

Apparently, Eumelus had recovered Achilles’ breastplate.

After we were out of range of Troy’s archers, our battered birthday envoy regrouped under Agamemnon’s direction.

We had lost a handful of men, but no one I knew.

Agamemnon said very little, but thanked both Odysseus and Ajax for recovering Achilles’ body. At that, the other generals muttered subdued praises.

Odysseus had a very serious look on his face, but I could tell he was pleased.

The only other words Agamemnon spoke were when we returned to the camp.

When we were about one hundred meters from the mass of confused, cheering men that waited to greet us, Agamemnon commanded: “Tend to your men.”

With that, Agamemnon and Diomedes charged through the crowd with the body of Achilles.

You could see the shock and horror spread through the Achaean soldiers like a wave.

By the time we had trotted back to our Ithacan camp, I saw some men were actually crying.

Looking impatient, Odysseus then ordered me to properly inform the men and rode off. -I knew he was headed to Agamemnon's tent.

The rest of the day passed slowly and painfully. With the aid of Polites and Misenus, I assembled the entire Ithacan contingent, and then related the story.

Oddly, the men refused to believe Achilles had fallen without a fight. In fact, I got the impression they thought I was making it up. -I had to repeat the story of his demise several times before they let me continue.

In contrast, the men were eager to hear about how Odysseus had protected Achilles’ body.

In that case, I was a bit guilty of bending the truth. -I didn’t really give Ajax the recognition he deserved.

Actually, I didn’t mention his part in the fighting at all.

I also told the men Odysseus was then absent because Agamemnon had requested his audience. To that, their heads nodded in approval.

It’s odd how people often embrace lies so much more willingly than truth.

Anyway, after dismissing the men, I spent the rest of the day in my tent.

The weather was beautiful, but it might as well have been raining.

Polites stopped by about an hour ago, but to his dismay, I didn’t feel like discussing the death of Achilles anymore.

I don't really want to talk about anything right now.