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Unbelievable. -It worked.

The Wooden Horse Plan worked.

I am writing this from inside the walls of Troy.

In fact, I am currently sitting at the desk of a Trojan aristocrat, the owner of which has either fled or been killed. -His large house has become our temporary Ithacan base of operations.

Looking out of the window in front of me, I can see the sun set over the rooftops of Troy. -It’s really a beautiful city.

Unfortunately, much of it is now burning.

Actually, we Achaeans don’t have complete control of the entire city just yet; a number of battles are still underway in the northern and western neighborhoods. -Even so, there can be little doubt about the final outcome now.

I believe the parts of the city we do have control over, have been completely ransacked. -Maybe a bit too much so.

Nonetheless, after ten long years, we Achaeans have sacked the city of Troy.

This is how it happened:

As of yesterday evening, fifty-one of us Achaeans (I decided not let Elpenor replace General Idomeneus after all), had been slowly cooking to death inside the Wooden Horse for almost three days.

By that point, morale inside the Horse was worse than low. -It was nonexistent.

Several of our men had passed out from the heat, Menelaus had lost his mind, and nearly every general but Odysseus had openly talked of abandoning the Plan.

In fact, I think the only commander that hadn’t complained was Neoptolemus. Actually, the son of Achilles hadn’t said a thing since had had entered the Horse, not even as he knocked Menelaus out.

Anyway, facing inevitable mutiny, Odysseus quietly announced that we would exit the Horse that night, regardless of whether we were inside the city or not. -Odysseus declared this in a military tone. However, it was impossible not to hear disappointment in his voice.

Oddly, only minutes after Odysseus had acquiesced to our dispirited troupe, the Wooden Horse was abruptly jolted.

Looking through the hole at my feet, I saw several Trojans were harnessing a team of horses to our wooden one.

Then, looking directly below me, I saw both King Priam and his son Helenus, standing upon the Horse’s base. -Priam was patting Helenus on the back.

Seeing the horses, my heart had just started to rise. However, the presence of Helenus and the King of Troy caused it to drop once again, and then some.

Knowing Helenus had been in the Horse, I assumed we were to be carted off a cliff.

Worried, I whispered as much to Odysseus. However, the General just excitedly hushed me and told me to wait. -Then, in a confident but hushed voice, Odysseus decreed that we were going to be towed into the city after all.

The response to this announcement was the most pathetic cheer I have ever heard.

Thank Zeus, Odysseus was right. -Ten minutes later, we rolled through the city gates.

Almost immediately, our Horse was swarmed by a mass of Trojan citizens.

Priam and Helenus had ridden along atop the Horse’s base, and once we had come to a stop, a host of Trojan generals and dignitaries climbed up to join them.

For the next several hours, our Wooden Horse was the centerpiece of a spirited celebration. Somewhat ironically, Priam kicked off these festivities by making a victory speech just below fifty-one Achaeans.

I can’t remember the particulars of this oration. However, I do recall one part in which Priam said something like: “With Athena’s blessing, and Trojan courage, we have finally chased those depraved Achaeans from our shores!”

This announcement sent wild cheers throughout the Trojan assembly. At the same time, it stirred a refreshing bout of laughter from within our Horse. -Laughter from all of us except Neoptolemus, that is. As a matter of fact, in his first words since entering the Horse, the son of Achilles viciously cursed: “Mother of Zeus, I’ll have his eyes!” -Apparently, Neoptolemus was personally offended by Priam’s insult.

Following Priam’s speech, a large table was lifted onto the Horse’s base. Then, odd as it was, Priam and his entourage spent the evening eating, drinking, and even dancing below our feet.

I think we might have enjoyed the irony of this situation a bit more if it weren’t for the aroma of the food below. -Having not eaten a thing for three days, I’m sure the notion of an immediately attack crossed everyone’s mind.

Nonetheless, we persevered.

Several hours later, after the crowd below had dispersed and the city of Troy fell silent, we quietly descended one-by-one from the Wooden Horse.

Odysseus was first to exit. I tried to follow him, but Diomedes, Little Ajax, and Neoptolemus impatiently pushed passed me. Sthenelus tried to do so as well, but Epieus kept him in check with a swift elbow. Thus, I was the fifth Achaean out of the Horse. -Epieus was the sixth.

I can’t express how good it felt to get out of that Horse and into the cool night air.

In fact, even though we were in the midst of the most treacherous part of the operation, I think the relief of getting out of that equine barrel made us almost giddy with enthusiasm. -Thus, in an almost dreamlike state of bravado, we immediately commenced the Plan once the last man had reached the base.

Actually, I should say we began after the second-to-last man had reached the base. Unfortunately, as Menelaus had been tied and gagged, he was unintentionally forgotten above. -Fifty of us Achaeans lead the sack of Troy.

Only moments after we had assembled, Odysseus and Diomedes led about forty of us to the gate. -I was in this group.

Sthenelus, Euryalus, and the remaining Achaeans followed Neoptolemus off into the city. -Polites looked torn at his pal’s departure, but he decided to stay with us.

Although I doubt Neoptolemus’ divergence was part of the Plan, neither Odysseus nor Diomedes made any effort to prevent it.

Strangely, as our large group of Achaeans rushed towards the city gate, we passed by several Trojans, both citizens and soldiers. However, perhaps due to the sheer impossibility of our presence, not one of them did anything more than stare at us as we hurried past in the darkness.

It wasn’t until we actually reached the gate that we encountered any resistance.

We scurried to the city gate as fast as we could. Thus, our initial encounter with the guard there was abrupt and chaotic. From what I gather, we Achaeans assaulted the entrance just as a small contingent of horsemen was leaving for an early morning patrol.

In fact, as I came upon the scene, I heard the high-pitched whinny of a horse that had just been run through by an Achaean spear. Looking over, I saw Diomedes madly hack apart its rider who had been tossed to the ground.

Oddly enough, I now believe the horse crippled at the gates was as much a part of our success as the wooden one we had entered within.

I say this, because our initial skirmish with these Trojans soon evolved into struggle to either open or close the immense city doors. -I believe this horse, which expired square in the entranceway, and thus served as a fortuitous doorstop, might have given us a winning edge in this battle.

For the first few minutes, we greatly outnumbered the Trojans inside the gate. Thus, our casualties here were pretty light. In fact, as most of the Trojans present were outside the wall, we spent several minutes just working to keep the large door open while those Trojans outside were doing their best to push it closed.

Or, closer to the truth, we Achaeans did our best to avoid the sporadic arrow fire from the walls above, whilst the Trojans outside squeezed the life out of the horse that had fallen in the doorway.

As I had little to do at this point but hide under my shield and lean against the door, I was able to watch Odysseus, Eumelus and Achaemenides as they fought their way up a stairway, and into one of the parapets flanking the entrance. Soon after storming the parapet, Odysseus cast a Trojan, followed by a large flaming brazier, over the city wall. -I think the latter was the sign for our army outside.

Whether our army saw this falling brazier or not, -I couldn’t say. However, Odysseus’ signal was soon followed by a loud horn, blown from the opposite parapet. -No doubt this signal made it clear to all that something was underway.

This alarm sounded for several seconds before Teucer punctuated it with an arrow.

During the several minutes that followed, our Wooden Horse contingent killed or chased off the few remaining guards on our side of the wall, and fought to keep those Trojans outside from closing us in. Other than this, no other opposition presented itself.

When the last of the guards had been dispatched, Odysseus called for Teucer and a few others to climb atop and to shoot those Trojans pressing upon the door outside.

However, as Teucer and these fellows began to ascend the stairs, I heard Polites cry out: “Fucking Zeus!”

Turning about, I saw a large host of Trojan soldiers emerge from the darkness of the city. -With our backs against the half-closed gate, we braced for the inevitable charge.

This time, I was sure we were lost. However, just as it seemed the Trojans had resolved to attack, a small elderly man step forward, raised his hands, and ordered them to halt.

Many of the Trojan soldiers were carrying torches. Therefore, it was easy enough to see this old man. However, as few lights remained about us, our identity was less obvious.

Still pressing against the door behind us, we silently watched this old guy walk towards us.

Obviously straining, the old man inquired: “Agamemnon? Is that you? Have you returned so soon?”

To that, Odysseus called from above: “Antenor?! You old bastard! No, it’s not Agamemnon, but I, Odysseus, Son of Laertes! I am sorry Antenor, King Agamemnon is not present. As you well know, he’s long set sail for Mycenaen shores.”

At that, Antenor paused for some time. -More than a full minute, in fact.

Actually, it wasn’t until another Trojan general began to approach him that he waved off the commander off and replied: “Well, General Odysseus, it’s both a pleasure and a surprise. Yes, a surprise indeed. However, I feel quite sure that had King Priam been aware of your arrival, you needn’t have stormed our gate.”

To that Odysseus laughed: “Antenor, are you really so sure? Why just last week, I believe good King Priam would have rather seen my head on a spear than my ass in his city!”

To that, soldiers of both sides laughed aloud.

Antenor too, seemed a bit amused. In response, he remarked, “Odysseus, you are truly a Son of an Argonaut, as they say.”

No doubt, Odysseus was loving this.

Anyway, after some more inflated banter, Antenor invited Odysseus to cease the gate, and join him for breakfast. -The general next to Antenor scoffed loudly.

At that, Odysseus, who until this point was full of wit, suddenly became agitated. To Antenor’s invitation he tersely replied: “No, not breakfast, Antenor. I just ate. I mean, is it really time for breakfast?”

An uncomfortable pause followed. Not only did Antenor seem confused by Odysseus’ response, but at the same time, another large mass of Trojans closed in from our left.

Eyeing us suspiciously, the commander of this second group hurriedly joined Antenor and began to question him. Just then, another horn sounded from deep within the city.

Without waiting for an answer, Odysseus barked loudly: “Oh yes, breakfast! Breakfast would be fine Antenor! Just let me come on down…”

Following Odysseus’ assent, a piercing shriek erupted from the door behind us.

Obviously disturbed, the newly arrived general immediately ordered the Trojans to attack. -In response, Teucer and our few archers began to let arrows fly, one of which swiftly dropped this Trojan general.

As we braced for the attack, Polites, slapped my back and quipped: “Hell of a plan, huh?” Yet, just as the Trojans were about to close the distance, the door behind us gave way. -As a result, I toppled over the dead horse and out of the city.

Scrambling to my feet, I had only enough time to dive again before being hit by a torrent of Achaeans that charged through the open gate. -Looking back, I think I saw Agamemnon rush by as I rolled out of the way.

There, in the meager pre-dawn light, I could then see that behind these men, a continuous column ran down the Trojan plain, and into the shadowy mass of our entire Achaean army.

As I had leapt to the side of the portal, and as there were tens of thousands of men eager to get into the city, I waited nearly half an hour before reentering myself. -As Polites had been tossed into the same situation, the two of us waited together.

Polites and I decided to join the column after many of our Ithacans began to file through the gates. Elpenor was amongst these men. -At this point, only about one fourth of our entire Achaean host had entered the city.

Once inside, the three of us found Generals Thaos and Eumelus sitting upon horses, and directing men as they passed through the gates. -Aside from a few scattered bodies, there was no sign of Antenor, or any of the Trojans we had recently seen.

As the sun was beginning to rise, I could see the Wooden Horse towering not more than one hundred meters off.

Although the two generals didn’t know where Odysseus might be, Eumelus had talked to Misenus and Macar a short while before, and pointed us in the direction in which they had left. We gathered the few Ithacans we could, and hurried off to catch them.

As we jogged down a narrow residential street, we got our first glimpse of the pillaging.

I don’t even want to preserve what I saw with description. Suffice to say, as bad as one might imagine it could be, -it was worse. In walking no more than two city blocks, my eyes fell upon several atrocities I now wish I could forget.

Even so, what disturbed me most was the frenzied, yet jovial look I saw on so many Achaean faces as they darted from building to building.

In fact, I actually found comfort in the horrified expressions of my comrades Elpenor and Polites. To me, their expressions were evidence that a plague hadn’t possessed us all.

Although I felt compelled to restore order, I knew it was hopeless. Furthermore, I had several of our Ithacans in tow. As I was worried they too might be infected by the madness about, and I only called for my men to pick up their pace, hastily marching them until we arrived in a small city square. -Here we found Macar, overseeing a group of Ithacans as they stacked barrels next to a fountain.

Less than an hour into the battle, Macar was already busy at work, securing and organizing provisions.

Macar smiled when he saw me. However, he only pointed over his shoulder to direct me to where I now write this.

I then entered this large house, and haven’t left since.

Odysseus showed up some time in the early evening. I guess he had spent the day fighting with Diomedes and Agamemnon in the eastern part of the city. He asked if I had seen Neoptolemus. I hadn’t. -Apparently neither has anyone else since we exited the Horse last night.

Not long after Odysseus arrived, Agamemnon’s men set up his own temporary headquarters across the way. As the Argosians have done the same, I’m willing to bet this little square is soon to be the center of our Achaean command.

Anyway, not long after Odysseus arrived, some Cretans marched into the square carrying the body of an unconscious Menelaus. At that, Odysseus quickly left and followed them into Agamemnon’s headquarters. That was about two hours ago. -I haven’t seen the General since.

Basically, I’ve been holed up in this house, and doing my best to sort things out as far as our army is concerned. Misenus, Elpenor, Epieus, and Macar are here. -I sent Polites and Achaemenides out to get some food a few hours ago.

Aside from my rooftop view and some rumors that have been filtering in, I don’t have a lot of information regarding what’s going on in the rest of the city. -Still, I think I prefer it this way. If what I saw this morning is indicative of our operation as a whole, I’d just rather not know.

Besides, to hear Odysseus tell it,

Mother of Zeus. Misenus just came in. Apparently, Neoptolemus is downstairs, looking for Odysseus. -Misenus swears he is holding the head of Priam.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dig the horse doorstop!

8:37 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Congratulations! I had a feeling it would all work out. I think that's sad about the horse, though. I hate it when horses die in battle. It's not their fault we're trying to kill each other.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha great! I've been reading this all the way through... and it's really getting interesting.

12:25 AM  
Blogger Saradevil said...

This is one of the many reasons why I always look my gift horses in the mouth.

8:24 AM  
Blogger another orphan said...

Well worth waiting for!

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you found Aegle yet?

Ignatz

12:15 PM  

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