Surprisingly, today was pleasant.

Today, I awoke to a call for an assembly.

It was almost noon, and coming out of my tent, I was embarrassed to find Macar, Misenus, Polites, Euryalus, Elpenor and Epieus having lunch with Generals Odysseus and Diomedes just outside.

Even more embarrassing, I stumbled out brandishing my new sword. -I had meant to discreetly show it to Misenus.

As I staggered out into the glaring sun, Polites leapt up and shouted: “Lead us, and we’ll follow, Captain Eurylochus!” -That bastard.

Anyway, after the crew had a good laugh at my expense, we all left for the assembly. -It was called by Agamemnon.

Nearly the entire army had responded to the call, which meant about eighty-thousand men circled about the Commander-in-Chief’s platform. Taking advantage of Odysseus’ and Diomedes’ rank, we pushed our way to the front where we could hear. In fact, once we arrived, the two generals climbed onto the stage.

Besides Odysseus and Diomedes, Agamemnon was flanked by Nestor, Calchas, Little Ajax, Thaos, Neoptolemus and oddly, Helenus. Incredibly, Helenus was wearing a breastplate with a big ‘alpha’ on it. Neoptolemus kept his hand on Helenus’ shoulder the entire time. -That was sort of creepy.

Still, even more remarkable, sitting on three stools in front of Agamemnon were Cassandra, Melenaus (who was wearing his huge winged helmet), and yes, Helen.

Euryalus was right. She is incredible.

I can’t say that Helen is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. However, she is definitely one of the most memorable. I’m not even sure what it is about her. To me, she looks like a moving statue. -Very cool and very deliberate. -It was an effort not to stare at her.

I’m not sure if that makes any sense. Still, if a war were to be fought over a woman, it might as well be fought over a woman like her.

Today Agamemnon delivered our victory speech.

In a tone of exaggerated pride, the Commander-in-Chief kicked off his oration by announcing that we had indeed won the war.

This immediately fired up the crowd.

According to Agamemnon: “Helen has been recovered from her unjust captors!”, and “Olympus has witnessed the honor and might of the Achaean soldier!”

A deafening cheer followed.

Obviously feeling it, Agamemnon began to loudly list some highlights from our ten-year siege.

Often, this meant recognizing the feats of particular commander. Initially, these acknowledgments were followed by outbursts of enthusiasm from the honoree's respective contingent. -Soon after, the Commander-in-Chief couldn’t be heard above the host's constant roar.

It didn’t take long before the revelry became wholly detached from Agamemnon’s speech. In fact, after a few of these ‘highlights of the siege’, the entire army evolved into an untamed flock of revelry. At one point, I saw a distraught Teucer tossed high into the air.

Even so, as Agamemnon recklessly fueled the crowd’s madness, I couldn’t help but calmly watch Helen. Oddly, she paid little attention to Commander-in-Chief, her husband, or even the growing chaos about her. Instead, Helen and Cassandra casually exchanged the occasional whisper or shared in a polite giggle. -Helen and Cassandra’s behavior gave me the sense they had been through this on more than one occasion.

Anyway, after shouting inaudibly for some time, Agamemnon began to visibly pay homage to those Generals sharing the stage. He did so by grasping the General’s hand, and thrusting it triumphantly into the air.

The men went wild for Nestor. They were even crazier for Neoptolemus who pumped his fists and howled. -Helenus excitedly did the same. However, once the Commander-in-Chief raised Odysseus’ hand, the crowd just lost it.

In fact, the last thing I heard from Agamemnon was “…wooden horse”. -That’s when the crowd surged and I was lifted atop the stage. -I almost fell into Cassandra’s lap.

Before I could stand, I was immediately cast aside by a furious Agamemnon, who didn’t seem to recognize who I was.

A moment of general panic followed.

Fortunately, the crowd behind the platform was less dense, and following Nestor’s pitiless cane, the Commander-in-Chief’s entourage made a hasty escape. -I swiftly followed with Misenus and Macar.

After broking free of the mob, the three of us headed down to the beach. -Odysseus and Diomedes followed Agamemnon, of course.

The army has been in a riotous state since this morning. I did visit our ‘encampment’ a few times, just to make sure our Ithacans weren’t completely out of control. However, most of the day I was down at the water.

Except for a few provisions and our tents, the boats are ready to go. -I suppose we’ll set sail for home in a day or two.

Baius thinks the trip will take just over two weeks. Three weeks at worst. -He says if it weren’t for the Milesian barge we’ve added, we could be home a few days earlier.

Still, the Milesian ship is loaded with a good portion of our spoils.

Macar took me aboard to have a look at them. -It was incredible. We have a fortune upon that ship. I said it looked like enough to buy a kingdom. Macar laughed at that. However, he agreed it would be a good start.

Seeing all those riches, I thought we should increase our guard down at the beach. Macar didn’t think it was necessary. He said our entire army had done well, and that there was little reason for one contingent to steal from any other one in particular. -Not just yet, anyhow. I guess he is right.

After some time, Elpenor and Epieus wandered down to the boats, each carrying a leg of lamb and bottle of wine. -I recognized the wine as the same I had given to Epieus for his buckle some time ago.

The six of us sat on the bow of a ship, eating dinner and talking as the sun went down.

One of those pleasant Trojan breezes was blowing tonight. It was warm, but crisp, and often changed directions.

Every once in a while we’d get a whiff of roasting meat. -Sometimes I think I could smell the smoldering city.

Sitting there on the ship with those guys, I began to feel excited about going home.

Anyway, the sun set a few hours ago, and the army has settled down somewhat.

I just repacked my things once again.

I keep putting my sword away. However, after I do, I think twice about it and put it back on my belt. -It makes me nervous to just leave it in a trunk.

It’s odd: Macar doesn’t seem worried about our entire Ithacan spoils, and yet, I can’t leave this sword unattended in my own tent. -Maybe I should just give the thing to someone else. Or, maybe I should have Achaemenides hold it for me until we get home.

-Polites just dropped in with Euryalus. They are both beyond drunk, but very excited. Polites says he just saw Aegle near Agamemnon’s camp.

Apparently, she was asking about me. Of course, Polites promised to fetch me for her. -I can just picture him doing that.

Those two are laughing like a couple of assholes.



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