“Easy does it Miss. Annabeth, you don’t want Samuel to bolt.” Annabeth’s dearest friend and animal whisperer, Grover Underworld was a short but sweet boy. Grover’s bright hazel one’s held onto Annabeth’s. His loving attitude towards all creatures made the king fairly fond of Grover. Since he had saved his own horse’s life from a monstrous flood when Annabeth was a child, King Aeron had raised Grover like his own child since his mother and father both had left him.
Grover raised his hands and Samuel paused for a second. His golden-brown legs quivered for a minute. Grover dropped his smallest finger and the horse reared, Annabeth’s golden hair flew back behind her. Her heart pounding inside her chest at a hummingbird’s wing speed, she laughed out. Samuel pounded into the gravel and sand beneath her, his hooves leaving fresh marks behind. “Grover! I haven’t had this much enjoyment since Ari, fell from her horse for a wedding portrait.” Annabeth cried out to her friend.
Grover’s lips curved into a grin “Slow him a bit now miss, he wants to accelerate but deny him that.” Annabeth pulled back on the leather reigns, her heart beat had slowed to a near normal rate, but her hair spread across her shoulders like a shawl. Grover looked at her as the horse came to a stop. He stepped to her and offered her his hand, “Your hand, my beautiful Annabeth.” His words made Annabeth flush as she gripped his hand and leaped down into the sand.
“Since when my dear friend, are you a charmer?” Grover looked dumbfounded.
“Whatever do you mean Annabeth?” She rolled her eyes and stepped out of the paddock. Grover followed behind her, “My lady, I must ask you…a-uh a question. It’s probably more of task on your part, but I-I would like to ask if you would-ˮ Grover never got the chance to finish his sentence, a call from Annabeth’s nurse erupted from one of the spires of the palace.
“Annabeth! Annabeth! Where is that girl?” Annabeth laughed and waved to Grover.
“Hold that thought for just a moment, Grover.” She dashed to the palace; the skirt of her dress was splattered with mud like a crude painting. As she ran past she attracted stares from slaves and knights passing by. But the princess hardly noticed them; she flipped onto the staircase, sliding across the cool, marble steps with grace. Her hair tangled in the back of her corset but she hardly noticed, Annabeth had never been one to care for her appearance.
“Lia! I have just reared on a horse and I have learned a new fighting technique! Ah! What is that, may I ask my dear nurse?” Lia stood in the princess’s room, her fingers wrapped around a long, white dress. It was beautiful, but Annabeth only knew one dress that had ever appeared to be so white. “Lia? Oh so help me gods, no! Who-He-Who is i-it?” Her voice quavered, and the adrenaline sunk deep into her stomach. She could feel bile settle in her throat, and a strong overwhelming urge to regurgitate her breakfast came ever so fast.
“My lady, please sit. Annabeth, you’ll give yourself a fit.” She pushed the girl into a firm chair next to the princess’s bed. “King Aeron wants to see you Annabeth. He wants to explain, he knows your place here cannot stay for eternity. The king must gain power, even if you do not see it. You know my sweet child, he must.” Annabeth bit into her lip as hard as she could, she could taste the sharp, metallic taste of blood. She squeezed her eyes tight; she never thought she would see the day when her father chose power over her.
“Very well Lia… I will go see the king, whomever it is that he has entitled me to, must be a wonderful man.” With a swift toss of her golden mane, she walked out of her quarters. The palace was cool despite the blistering day outside; Annabeth felt a cool bead of sweat run down her forehead. She could feel her heart pounding inside her chest, please don’t be true… Annabeth begged to herself, knowing that with absolutely no hope, it was exactly what was happening.
King Aeron’s study was a tall room, endless reaching books, and overstuffed chairs. The floor was marble, but inscribed in a circle was the universe, or at least how Athenians saw it as. Athena was portrayed across the ray of stars, her glittering hair shined like a beacon of silver. Her eyes so full of life and knowledge, in all her life Annabeth had always felt a strong connection with the goddess. When she asked her father once about this, he had replied she was closer to the goddess than she thought.
The rest of the room was warmly lit by the fire filled with blue flames, silvery sculptures of past kings of Athens rested along the walls. A thin brown desk, handcrafted for the king, was bordered with gold. Piles of books and various other documents rested on the king’s desk, the king sat at his desk now. He was deep in thought; Annabeth had always been able to tell when her father was. Her father always had a simple lift of his brow, a steady hand in his hair, and a deep-set eye contact.
“You wished to see me Father.” Annabeth spoke out as calm as she could manage. King Aeron turned to face his daughter, everything in his face read of sorrow.
“Oh my Annabeth…I-I-I had to do my love.” He cried to her, tears welled in his eyes. Annabeth knew if she spoke she would scream at him, and she knew it had been her duty all along to become a king’s wife. She tried to control her tears that began to stream down her cheeks.
“Might I ask Father, when I became nothing next to power? Or when I no longer “completed” your life?” She snapped at him harshly, a lump filling her throat. He sobbed into his hand.
“Annabeth, you know I cannot send you away… Oh gods why is she making you go?” He cried to no one in particular.
“You are the one sending me away!” She screamed at him, a horrible sob erupted from her. Annabeth’s strong will and fearlessness all broke. Her scream echoed off the cold walls, it sounded like every bit of happiness she had ever had in the study was gone. The king was beyond speech, all he could do was mourn for his daughter’s pleas. “To add to that King Aeron, you are a coward! You cry in front of me, I am your daughter! I am not your journal Father, where you write and reflect on. Do not spill your tears in front of me, you ass!” She cried out, her every anger pouring out onto her father. She sank to the floor cradling her head in her hands, tears splashed upon the floor like tiny floods.
In the silence between them, Annabeth slipped a glance at the worn king. Her father had held his shoulders strong at one time, now they were slackened with age. His brown eyes once youthful and bright were dull and sad. Lines of age and wisdom creased his face like writing on paper. “King Danus of Crete.” He spoke after a long silence. Annabeth only could look at her father with remorse and hate at the same time.
“You once said I could chose, Father. Whatever did that disappear to?” She gathered her skirts and walked to the door. As she slammed it shut behind her, she could hear the king’s anguished yelp as he kicked the door behind her.
“Amor ex duobus corporibus unum animum habitantes. Although, many have heard of the philosopher, Aristotle, many do not know that Aristotle believed not only in science, but in the art of the Fates. ‘We are joined as one, individual being. We are meant to be connected; woman and man share only one difference: sex.’ Aristotle also believed that by the diversity of-ˮ Perseus looked up from his reading, a single rap at the door and he knew exactly who it was. “Charles!” He shouted, Latin was a dry and rather unfitting subject for Perseus.
The young prince’s friend burst through the door, Charles was quite the curiosity just by looking at him. His broad shoulders were intimidating but his hands could create anything. He was extremely good with mechanisms, any type of machine Charles could build. His dark curling hair was just long enough it touched his brows, but his eyes had a certain twinkle. One wondered if he had just stuffed an insect down your shirt.
“Perseus! My friend, I have news!” He laughed and in one smooth gesture pushed everything off Perseus’s table. He sat on it with an amused expression on his face. The green eyed boy gave his friend a skeptical look.
“What kind of horrible entertainment do you have planned?” Charles laughed at Perseus’s comment.
“Perseus look at me, am I the kind of person who looks to be a bad spirit?” Perseus took one second of pause and then said,
“Yes.” The prince’s friend laughed once more.
“Fine there is going to be a party in Athens in three days’ time. It’s for the princess’s marriage to that Crete fellow. We could wreck it; those stupid Athenians would never see it! Perseus it would be a thrill, I swear to you!” Perseus rolled his eyes; in his older age he was beginning to see no point to the wars between Athens and Argos.
“Charles you are a dolt, if ever there was one.”
“Why thank you lad. Now, how about it?” He rubbed his hands together excitedly. Perseus could only stare at Charles. He had always been a little off his wagon, and since he was like Perseus’s only brother or even sibling, he had loved him like one. Charles was what he always appeared to be. He always chose to speak his thoughts at the front of his mind, without even thinking them through first. Sometimes this was not always good for Charles; usually the young prince had to swoop in and save him once or twice.
“Charlie I have a lot of work to do, I’m only on summer break for a short while. The university is going to stick a spear through my heart, if I have nothing finished. Besides do you think philosophy is something I can afford to miss, my dear friend?” Charles looked bored.
“Do you ever not work? I mean really, Perseus you tend to do tedious things, when you should enjoy life. You’re a prince my friend! You could do anything you ever wanted!” Perseus laughed into his sleeve.
“It’s not that simple, I take orders from Chiron. And I suppose Ly at times.” The prince looked thoughtful for a minute, almost melancholy in the sunlight of midday.
“What I don’t understand is why you haven’t taken a maiden yet? There are thousands out there for you Perseus, and you still haven’t offered hand to one. If I were you I would pick that pretty Roasalene, she’s the princess of Gibraltar.”
“Ha! Women, are they really all you need Charles?” Charlie picked up a apple and bit into it,
“I suppose not, but your mother wants you to have a child before her…you know.” Perseus fell silent. His heart wrenched at the thought of his poor and worn mother. Sylvia had always been saddened by Perseus’s father’s leaving. She was still in love with him; Perseus could see it on her face in times when she thought she was alone. The queen’s expression would morph into a peaceful face, all trace of worry and concern gone from her face. A dream-like smile would play on her lips, and Perseus could not help but smile himself.
“Perhaps Charlie, but I would prefer not to dwell on that for now.” Charles gave him a sympathetic glance and leaped down from the prince’s desk. Perseus could feel his eyes on him, “Fine, Charlie. I suppose I will.” The boy leaped up and down.
“Very well my dear friend, I will make arrangements. Prepare yourself a mask Perseus, we cannot be known.” Perseus nodded and stared out the window, his fingers lightly touched his lips. The horses below grazed in a pasture of green, the horses of Argos were the best in all the land. Poseidon himself had handmade them, there was a legend Poseidon’s first horse still roamed the hills of Argos’s empty, beach plains. Perseus turned to see the ocean touching the bit of pasture. The fence went around the pasture, but the ocean lapped against the cliff’s face. The water held a silvery color in the clear sunlight; Perseus was reminded of the flag of Athens.
As a child Perseus was taught by Ly to never respect anyone from Athens. They were dirty, rotten Neanderthals according to Ly. Only the scum of the Earth were to be called Athenians. Although Perseus’s uncle always said he hated Athens for many reasons, he had always known why. Ly hated Athena. Since Athena had slain one of Poseidon’s best stallions, he had hated her. He hated everything about the Athenians their skill, education, and craftsmanship. Argonians were good with water. Water was one thing that was never an obstacle to get over, for Argos it was an advantage.
Athens was also a sea-fairing city. They had skills and well-made ships, Argonians could try as hard as they might to destroy their ever eternal light, but it would never prevail. Athens was just too strong and their technical measures and factual lineups were too brilliant to even compare to.
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