Christos looks towards Acheron, who is intently looking at Menelaus.
"Is he serious? I thought that Giants were just folklore?" Christos asks.
"I've been here long enough to make the guess that they aren't just folklore," Acheron says.
King Menelaus clears his throat.
"Now, I want to repeat that information. Our army has been completely annihilated by Giants. Some of you may think that I am falsifying reports, but that is untrue. The Giants are very real beings, and very dangerous. We are currently at a loss as to why they've attacked," Menelaus explains.
"Maybe it's because they're bigger than us?" One of the Paídes speaks up.
"Well, that's true. But it cannot be just that. I mean, what's stopped them from attacking before?" Another one argues.
"Don't look at me! It was only a suggestion!" The first one cries.
"Now, now. I don't know why they've attacked, but I have word that we aren't the only ones who've been attacked by the Giants," Menelaus says.
"What do you mean?" Athos calls out, his voice is hoarse.
"I am not sure if this is true, but if it is, the consequences are deadly. I have it on rumor that the Giants have waged war against the gods themselves."
Christos' eyes open at this.
"What do the giants hope to accomplish by waging war on the gods?" Christos asks.
Everyone turns to look at him.
"We are not sure, we can't even be sure this is correct information. But if it is, then we are to be defenseless should an altercation arise. This is where me coming to you comes in."
"You want to have our recruits as soldiers," Acheron says.
Menelaus turns to Acheron and has a weird look in his eyes.
"You and the other mentors shall train your accomplices as you normally would have," Menelaus begins. "…But they shall also be joining the ranks much quicker than normally expected. They shall also be expected to go gather reconnaissance, to assure us of our threat."
"You're expecting to send them off without proper training?" Acheron argues.
"I'm expecting you all to prepare them so that they do have proper training. Or, am I placing the wrong person in the mentorship?" Menelaus asks.
"N-No, sire." Acheron backs down.
"You're lucky I'm letting you continue on in the program, Acheron. I would think it would be wise not to fight my words."
"Yes sire," Acheron responds.
Christos hears giggling around the room.
"Now, I hope that everyone has already paired up and chosen a mentor, because we're shipping you all out tomorrow morning," Menelaus says.
"T-Tomorrow?" Christos asks, nearly at the same time as everyone else in the room.
"As a kingdom, we are defenseless currently. Would you all prefer we get raided by bandits while you loll around here? I'd hope not."
"That'd be swell," Christos mutters to himself.
Myron shoves Christos silently.
"Now, I shall be leaving you. You should all prepare your things. You shall be tested once we arrive at the Spartan mainland for your placement in the army. It shall be conducted as your normal Agoge testing, except that this is for real," Menelaus explains.
And like that, he walks out of the room; the other Paídes and mentors clearing a path for him. Once he exits, the other Paídes are the first ones to be rushing out of the room. They're in a hurry to make it back to their rooms to gather their belongings. Christos, Myron, Acheron, Athos, and his mentor are the only ones left sitting in the Conference Hall.
Christos takes a good look at Athos' mentor. He looks to be about twice Athos' size, and about four times Christos' size. He is sporting a thick black beard, matching his long black hair. He turns around and Christos notices that one of his eyes had been scratched out; the other is a menacing black.
He scowls at Christos, and then he sees Athos look over towards him. He whispers something in his mentor's ear, and they both laugh. Once they do they leave just as the others had before them.
"It makes me sick, how we're expected to go out and protect his sorry ass," Christos says, standing up.
"I don't know, Chris. I mean, he's our king. And there are much more important things to be worrying about now, like those giants."
"He is no king of mine," Christos says.
"I'm not the biggest fan of him either, but Christos, you aren't in Troy anymore. You can't keep hoping to just one day exact your revenge or whatever. You have to let the past go," Acheron explains.
"You wouldn't understand," Christos says.
"Wouldn't I? Christos, you have had the joy of your memories. You know where you come from, and you are lucky to be alive right now."
Christos is silent.
"Don't get yourself killed because of what happened over ten years ago. There's much more to worry about, and you'd be putting your families' deaths in vain."
Christos runs up to Acheron and grabs his collar.
"My family died and I'm the only one alive. They were murdered by the Greeks, and I can never forgive them for that," Christos says.
Acheron stands still while Christos breathes heavily.
"Myron is a Greek citizen, almost Greek soldier. Do you have qualms with his presence?" Acheron asks.
Christos looks at Acheron for a moment, and then back to Myron, who is still sitting down, watching it all.
"So, it is not all Greeks you have a problem with. Do you have problem with me? I am essentially a Greek citizen now," Acheron asks.
"Then your problem is with the King?"
"Him…and the one who brought me here."
"The…who would that be?" Acheron asks.
"It was a soldier. His name was Sinon. He was the one who brought ruin to my city."
"I had heard of him. I'd heard he'd actually been a very versatile sellsword who had been the pivotal spy for the Greeks during the Trojan War. With the help of Odysseus' plan of the Trojan Horse, the Greeks were able to invade Troy and overtake it. Am I correct?" Acheron asks.
"Y-Yes. The one and the same."
"Christos, I am sorry that you've lost so much, but you can't think of me as your enemy. Not all Greeks wish death upon those who are different."
Christos lets go of Acheron and moves to the door.
"Let's just go. We might as well go prepare our things as well," Christos says.
Acheron looks over towards Myron and extends his hand to help him up.
"Is he always so dramatic?" Acheron asks.
Myron looks at him for a moment, thinking.
"Yeah. You get used to it," he replies.
"I thought so."
Christos exits the Conference Hall, stopping only to keep the door open for Myron and Acheron.
"When Menelaus was talking about shipping us out, did he mean by boat?" Christos asks.
"I believe so, why?" Acheron replies.
That had been a lie. There was a very big reason. Christos doesn't like to admit it, but he's terrified of the seas. It reminds him of when he was brought from Troy to Greece. He remembers the loneliness he'd felt on the boat. The endless turning and heaving.
"Chris, are you okay?" Myron asks, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"Y-Yeah, I'm alright."
"You're looking a bit pale," Acheron says.
He breaks away from Myron's grip, and continues walking down the hall.
"Well, all right, if you say so, man," Myron says.
They reach their quarters, and Acheron goes down to Myron's with him, since he has a bigger assortment of goods to pack.
Christos, well, he doesn't have much at all except for his old wooden sword. It had been found in the wreckage of his old home, and Sinon had given it to Christos as some sort of sick joke. He still holds onto it tightly because it is the only thing that he owns of his old life.
He walks over to his bed and picks up the sword in his hands. He grips it tight in his left hand as he did the day he'd tried to use it. He gives it a few swings in the air.
"You're left handed?" he hears Acheron say.
Christos looks up to see him standing in his doorway, and he quickly puts down the sword.
"Y-Yeah. My mother had always said it was an oddity in the family. A lot about me was always odd," Christos says.
"What do you mean?"
"My hair has always been different, my eyes different, and even how I hold things. It's been one thing after another. My…my younger brother had been more like my father than I ever had," Christos says.
"Tell me about your family. I'm interested," Acheron says, shutting the door.
Christos takes a deep breath and closes his eyes.
"My mother…she was the sweetest woman. She would always bake these loaves of bread that were just to die for. When my brother and I were done playing outside or helping our father out, we'd walk back in the house to a piping hot meal that was always top notch."
"I see, and you mentioned your father, what'd he do?"
"My mother helped him out quite a bit too. He was a blacksmith. He knew his way around the forge. Even though I was too young for a real sword, he crafted this wooden one for me to play with," Christos says, playing with the wooden sword in his hands.
"I see. So, he was a busy man, I presume?" Acheron asks.
"Yeah, he was the top blacksmith in all of Troy. He'd gotten so many requests for weapons and armor because of the war."
"And it seems even the blacksmith's home isn't impervious to fire, it's kind of ironic," Acheron says.
"I guess so."
"What about your brother?"
"My brother, Demetrius…He was younger, two years younger. He was always a fighter. I could tell it even then, his heart wouldn't give up for anything. He was only five at the time, and he was already doing his best around the forge. He'd been around actual swords more than I have. He was also the only one I didn't see die that day. Well, him and my mother," Christos says.
"I saw everyone else, but I don't remember seeing Demetrius."
"Is it possible that he and your mother could have escaped?" Acheron asks.
"I don't know. I don't know where they'd have gone, or why she would've only taken him. I saw the house collapse as I was being taken away, so if they were still in the house…"
"Hey! Are you guys ready to go do some training? I think I'm all pumped up!" Myron says, bursting open the door.
"Y-Yeah Myron. We can go out into the Practice Hall and do some sparring, if you're interested," Acheron says, looking at Christos.
Christos looks ahead for a moment, and then back down to the wooden sword in his hands.
"Yeah, I could go for a bit of sparring."
He stands up and leaves the sword lying on his bed. Acheron nods and all three of them leave throughout the door. Christos is the last to leave, and he looks upon the sword one final time as he shuts it completely.