|Posted By||Topic » The Wolf-Touched|
Posted: Tuesday, Jan 28, 2014 at 5:07 PM
Golden eyes looked down from the top of the hill at the prey below. Tomorrow the hunt would come to an end and the men of Troy would know the meaning of fear. Suppressing the urge to rush down immediately and rip and rend flesh, the watcher shivered, then turned and headed back to the waiting members of the pack.
Therolykos the Wolf-Touched re-entered the camp where his men waited. His golden eyes, one of the reasons for his epithet, reflected the firelight like those of a wolf. He loped over to Lykurgos, his longtime friend and second in command.
“Well?” Lykurgos asked.
“Right where we want them,” came the reply.
A feral smile appeared on the officer’s face as he walked away and lay down. Therolykos watched the man who had been by his side for most of his life. They had first met in the agoge when they were 7 years old and had grown up together learning the ways of Spartan warfare. Each had saved the others life on more than one occasion and they were closer than brothers. When the sun rose the next day he knew he could trust Lykurgos to do what needed to be done.
The Wolf-Touched surveyed the rest of his warband, the men who followed him and obeyed his commands without question. They were all warriors born, Spartiates, the best soldiers an army could wish for. He knew them by name and knew the names of their wives and children. Like a grizzled alpha wolf, he watched over his pack. He knew some of them would not be there come this time tomorrow. Such was the price of war. His men understood that risk.
Once more he felt the urge to attack the Trojans immediately. It was quickly suppressed, the way other similar desires throughout his life had been. His thoughts turned to his past, when he had learned what caused him to suffer from such bloodthirsty episodes.
He had been born in Sparta and raised in their traditions. His mother was high born, from a wealthy and celebrated family. His father was a soldier, like all Spartan men. At the age of 7 he was taken from his family and sent to the agoge for military training. His first years there had been unremarkable. He trained, ate and grew with the other boys his age. At the age of 14 he had beaten a 15 year old almost to death over an insignificant accident. Though the boys were encouraged to fight, it was determined that Therolykos had crossed a line. His parents had been summoned to speak with the captain of the barracks regarding the incident. As punishment, they had to pay for the boy’s recovery and Therolykos had been whipped. He had then been released from the agoge he attended and told to find a new barracks.
His mother had taken him to a temple outside the city and brought him to stand before a famous statue. They had both stood quietly looking at the god depicted. After a few minutes his mother had spoken.
"What do you see here?"
He had responded with no hesitation, "It is Ares, the Lord of War, in chains."
"Why is he chained, my son?"
He had thought for some time before answering.
"There are those outside of Laconia who say we Spartans chain the god to keep his warlike spirit tied to our city. That it is a vain attempt to always have victory on the field of battle. But that is not true. All know that the strength of our hoplites comes from their iron discipline. They follow orders and protect their brothers. They give thanks to Ares for his strength and skills in battle while remaining wary of his undisciplined nature. They never give in to the bloodlust bestowed by the god of war. That is why Lord Ares is chained, to remind us that we must never release the raw emotions that can cause warriors to turn from unbreakable soldiers into a mob of uncontrollable animals." As he spoke he had hung his head in shame. "Like I did with Pausanius..."
His mother had lifted his chin and looked into his strange golden eyes. "My son, there is a reason why you gave in to your rage. A reason beyond your control. It is time to tell you of the circumstances of your birth. It is time to tell you about your true father."
His mother had told him that he was actually the result of a union between his mother and a warrior she had met while traveling in Thrace. The stranger had been handsome and confidant and had appealed to the Spartan woman's sense of danger. Their tryst did not last long as the warrior was gone before she knew she was with child. Orestes, the man who raised him, was simply a good man who had suffered a wound that made him unable to father children and who had agreed to marry a woman who had become pregnant while unmarried and raise the child as his own. On the night of his birth his mother had a dream in which she was visited by the god Ares. She was shocked to discover that he was the unknown warrior from Thrace. The god of war had come to bestow a gift on his son. When she woke she discovered a skin of water with which she washed the newborn infant. For a brief moment the child's skin radiated with power then returned to normal. When the boy opened his eyes they were golden, like those of a wolf.
"So my son, you see why the battle rage comes so easily to you. You inherited it from your father. That is why I brought you here, to this temple. For while you have great strength and a natural warrior's talent you also have your father's flaws. Always remember that you are Spartan and like this statue, must chain those flaws in unbreakable fetters of discipline. If you do, you can be the greatest warrior Sparta has ever known."
A voice from the edge of camp roused him from his reminiscing. He scratched his coarse beard, which was more like fur than hair, as he turned towards the sound. It appeared that dawn had crept up on him while he was lost in thought. It was time to teach the Trojans that Sparta was not to be trifled with. His body shuddered in anticipation of the bloodletting to come. He checked the chains on his soul and, finding them strong, began to rouse his warriors. Chained or not, Ares still demanded worship and The Wolves of Sparta were about to show the Trojans how devoted they were.
Posted: Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014 at 10:30 PM
Enjoyed that keep up the good work
Posted: Monday, Feb 03, 2014 at 12:20 AM