Hector is dead.
His bloody corpse is hanging on a pole about a hundred meters from my tent.
My ass was feeling much better this morning, so I decided to go with Odysseus to watch Achilles challenge Hector. -I guess I'm glad I did.
The whole thing was full of pomp. Agamemnon sent some lackies ahead of us with a flag of truce so we could approach the wall without suffering a barrage of flaming incendiaries.
After a safe approach was procured, these lackies set up some tents for shade about two hundred meters from the city walls.
I sat with Odysseus, Agamemnon, Menelaus, Ajax, Nestor and their respective aides. -I was surprised to see Menelaus there. He was looking a bit pasty, and one of his staffers was always making sure to block his sun.
Anyway, Agamemnon’s staff brought lunch, and as the rest of our envoy setup, we enjoyed some bread, cheese and wine.
Oddly, I didn’t see Achilles ride up with our troupe.
Soon after we had set up, the huge gates of Troy cracked open. -To our surprise, King Priam stepped out, accompanied only by his sons Hector and Paris.
Paris stayed by the doors. However, Priam and Hector casually walked up to our little camp. Seeing them approach, Agamemnon stood up, waved, and politely called them over. -This was worth getting out of bed for.
After exchanging pleasantries, Priam asked: “King Agamemnon, why do you choose to camp so close to our city's walls? Are you just being neighborly? Or, have you grown tired of our beautiful shores?”
Agamemnon laughed and replied: “Ah, good King Priam, you know the shores of Troy are unmatched in their beauty! The white sands and clear waters of Troy have made our stay here all the more pleasant! But no, King Priam, let me be direct. As much as I would like to say our visit is only neighborly, alas, it is not true. In fact, we have come here on behalf of our champion Achilles, who possesses a mind set upon nothing but the demise of your brave and honorable son, Hector.
At that, Hector scoffed. But, Priam looked very serious and he waved Hector to be silent.
After a long pause, Priam then replied: “Good King Agamemnon, your words make me sad… However, you have come honorably, and you have spoken directly. The skills of your Champion and of my Son are the talk of Mt. Olympus, no doubt. In fact, it seems their swords are drawn towards each other by the Gods themselves. But, this is not for a Father or
the Gods to decide. And so, I leave the choice to my son, Hector.”
Hector didn’t hesitate. “I’ll kick Achilles’ ass! Ah, just like I kicked his sissy boyfriend’s ass! Ha. Where is that sissy, ah?”
“Here I am, you sonofabitch!” shouted Achilles as he stepped out from a tent nearby.
Achilles had been disguised with a captain’s helmet and a cape. He dramatically cast both aside as he strode up to meet Hector.
Everyone was surprised by Achilles' sudden appearance. -However, Achilles had to walk quite a distance before he was in front of Hector, and I don’t think it looked cool as he intended it to.
When Achilles approached, Agamemnon placed his hand on Achilles shoulder and said: “King Priam, it seems we have a duel. We shall give your brave son rest before he fights, and we thank you for your hospitality until he is readied.”
“Ah, I’m ready now! I’ll kick his ass now!” shouted Hector, but Priam waved him silent once again.
Priam replied. “Give us until the sun is just as far setting as it has risen now, King Agamemnon. Then we will have our duel.”
At that, Priam led a very agitated Hector back into the gates of Troy. -Achilles stared at him coolly.
Several of our men shouted: “Achilles! Achilles…”, but it faded out before it became a rally.
We went back to lunch.
Over the next few hours, Trojan commanders and aristocrats trickled out of the gates with their aides, setting up a small camp similar to ours but closer to Troy.
A small group of Magnesians groomed a large circular area in between the two camps to serve as an arena. A flag of Troy and one of the Achaeans was posted on either end. At some point after lunch, Achilles walked into the middle of the circle. He then knelt down and apparently began to meditate or pray.
Although many men nodded towards Achilles respectfully, my impression was that Achilles was just sitting there to draw as much attention to himself as possible. -Achilles looked too poised for meditation, and not nearly humble enough for prayer.
Anyway, Achilles “prayer” went on for the better part of an hour. By that point, I think it seemed a bit weird to everyone.
It wasn’t until Hector’s arrival was announced that Achilles got to his feet.
Once again, Hector arrived with Priam and his brother Paris. Priam and Hector were wearing armor, and Paris was wearing some sort of white flowing thing and a helmet.
Paris’ outfit was a bit strange, but what really got everyone’s attention was Hector’s armor. Hector’s breastplate had a big cheesy “Alpha” on it. -He was wearing Achille’s armor which he had peeled off the corpse of Patroclus.
The site of Hector wearing Achilles’ armor brought loud boos and jeers from our entire camp. When Achilles saw it, it drove him mad.
I couldn’t really do justice to the torrent of curses that flowed from Achilles upon seeing Hector, but suffice to say, I saw that Achilles’ verbal barrage made even Agamemnon wince.
Perhaps out of embarrassment, Agamemnon rose and without letting Achilles finish his salvo, he began to loudly announce the duel.
However, it was no use.
Still about fifty meters short, Hector broke free from his escort, and drawing his sword, charged Achilles.
Achilles, who was standing next to a rack of weapons, took a cheap shot and threw a javelin at Hector. -That missed. Achilles then grabbed a sword and a shield and stepped forward to meet Hector near the center of the ring.
At the same time, men from both Trojan and Achaean camps rushed forward to the edge of the dirt arena.
Agamemnon, who always gets the best seat, was forced shoved his way through generals and aides who lost their mind for duty in the excitement.
I followed in Agamemnon’s wake with Odysseus, Ajax and Nestor. Nestor was dispatching aides and even a few generals with his wildly swinging cane.
Just as I got within sight, Hector and Achilles clashed.
Now, in all seriousness, I have seen many fights in my lifetime. -I have never seen a fight like this one.
The duel between Achilles and Hector was in a league above all others. I know it sounds cheesy, but it looked as much of a dance as it did a fight. It was both brutal and elegant.
Apollo’s ass, that sounds lame, but it’s true all the same. -I feel honored to have witnessed it.
I couldn’t do it justice to describe the battle in full. However, Hector and Achilles slashed, jumped, rolled and punched like they were having some kind of physical debate.
Hector would launch into some brilliant series of attacks, pushing Achilles into a string of defensive maneuvers. Achilles would then retort, unleashing a volley of equally brilliant offensive moves, which would sending Hector into an impromptu but dazzling sequence of parries in response.
Watching this melee, I realized that Achilles probably had no intent to hit Hector with that initial javelin throw. More likely, it was just another way of cursing Hector before their sparring began.
Anyway, this majestic and suspenseful battle went back and forth for about ten minutes. -It then abruptly ended with Achilles’ sword running through Hector’s throat.
At first, there was total silence.
Achilles then yelled: “Yes! Yes! Yes!” and pumped his fist into the air.
This was punctuated by a shrill “Nooooooooooo!” from Paris.
Achilles, then quickly regaining his composure and walked out of the ring, followed closely by a group of his Magnesian pals.
Everyone else just stood and stared at the body of Hector, who was lying twisted, with Achilles’ sword still stuck in his throat.
Paris ran to Hector’s body first, followed slowly by Priam. The two knelt down, and all became silent once again.
After nearly a full minute, Agamemnon gently approached King Priam and his fallen son.
Agamemnon spoke in such a compassionate tone, that even I began to feel emotional.
Agamemnon placed his hand on Priam's shoulder and said: “There will never be another like him, King Priam. And as such, all of us will mourn this tragic loss. Today, we are without one of the greatest warriors to walk mortal soil, Hector, Son of Pr…”
Agamemnon was cut off by the thunder of horses.
Achilles and several of his Magnesian men charged into the circle.
In just a matter of seconds, Achilles tossed a rope loop about Hector’s leg, pulled it tight, and rode off, dragging Hector from Paris’ lap and across the plain towards our encampment.
As Achilles rode off, we could hear him shout: “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
This made things very
Once again, Paris let out a shrill “Noooooooooooo!”
Priam screamed as well.
The entire Trojan contingent erupted in a clamour of outrage and disbelief.
At first, Agamemnon tried to calm Priam. However, the King of Troy retracted, and looking at Agamemnon with wild eyes, he screamed: “My sword. My sword! Where is my fucking
At that, Agamemnon began to back off. We all did.
Initially, us Achaeans drew back slowly. -Then, arrows started to fall.
One of Nestor’s captains standing right next to me got it in the neck.
It was only seconds before we were in a full retreat.
Lucky for me, Odysseus suggested I ride up due to my wound. Odysseus actually helped me to get into the saddle. -He then ordered me back to the beach.
As I rode away, I saw Odysseus, Ajax and Agamemnon directing the Achaean withdrawal.
Later, I heard we lost about ten guys, including a Boeotian general named Ascalaphus.
Excepting the Boeotitans, there's a general sense triumph about the army tonight.
Achilles ‘posted’ Hector’s body just outside the Magnesian encampment, where the celebrations are nearly out-of-control.
Once again, Achilles’ actions must have really pissed off Agamemnon.
Although Agamemnon has command of this army, Achilles has command of its heart. The Commander-in-Chief must know this. -That must piss him off all the more.
Polites just came in. -He wants to know if I think five bottles of wine is too much for one of Hector’s sandals.