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Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on the World's Greatest Scientific Expedition by Stephen R. Bown My rating: 4 of...

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Story of Troy Part 2

Part one is here.

Anyhow, somehow in a long-convoluted way that isn’t very important and happens again and again in stories, Paris discovers who he is and is accepted back into the royal family of Troy, despite Cassandra suggesting that they kill him.  Who wants to listen to a girl after all?  Especially a blonde one with big boobs?  Then because after all, who makes a better ambassador than an uneducated shepherd, Paris was sent by Priam to Sparta.

                The second, the Nano-second, that Helen and Paris set eyes on each other it was “WOOHOO!  EIGHT PACK!  Hot MAMA!  Whoa Baby!  I need me some of that honey.”

                Which means, of course, that Menelaus didn’t notice anything.

                Menelaus was so clueless that he actually went on a “business trip” for a few days.  When he got back, he was missing a couple things.

                They were, in no particular order:
1.       Helen
2.       Most of his treasury

Helen had left him something – his daughter Hermione, who kept pointing in the direction her mother and Paris had gone.  Like any younger sibling, Menelaus went running to his bigger, stronger, meaner older brother to deal with those bullies the Trojans.  Agamemnon said, “What up bro?” and Menelaus told him.

                So, the Greeks started to get a posse together and discovered they were missing two people.  The first was Odysseus so the oldest king Nestor (he had fake teeth made from peacock teeth) went to go get him.  Odysseus was so mad, said Penelope from her loom, that he was trying to plow rocks.  Nestor, who was not related to the Long-Eared Donkey who shows up in Christmas Specials, took Odysseus’s son Telemachus and put him in front of Odysseus’s plow.  Odysseus stopped plowing thereby proving that he wasn’t mad.


                Penelope slapped Nestor upside the head for being a smart ass.

                The other person the Greeks were missing was Achilles, the greatest Greek warrior, even though he hadn’t done any real fighting yet and hadn’t been old enough to marry Helen at the time.  He was to take the place of his dad who was too old.  Now, Achilles’ mother Thetis was foretold to give birth to a son who would be greater than his father, so Zeus didn’t want to sleep with her.  Makes one wonder why more women didn’t try this method of birth control.   Thetis ended up marrying a human king. In fact, this was the wedding that Discord crashed.  Greek stories have a funny sense of time.  I think they all knew Dr. Who or the Master.  Anyway, Thetis loved her son and dipped him in the River Styx when he was a baby.  Most of him, just not the bit of the heel she was holding, and she had been schooled not to double dip.  This christening as it were, made all of him except that bit of heel invincible.

                So of course, he never put concrete around that bit of heel.  He even wore sandals.  Sandals, I ask you.  Men.

                Now Achilles might be a beefcake with a little brain, but despite her flaws, his mother had part of one.  She knew that it was foretold that her son would win great fame but die in Troy, and like any mother she didn’t want this to happen.  Therefore, like any mother, she dressed him up like a girl and hide him at a court of someone else because no one ever thinks to look there.  Mel Brooks’ History of the World hadn’t been invented yet, after all.  The disguise couldn’t have been that good because he got one of the court ladies knocked up.  Anyway Odysseus, the crafty bugger, showed up and threw a bunch of goods on the ground.  These included fabric and a sword.  Achilles picked up the sword, Odysseus said got you.  Achilles shrugged and wondered why his beard wasn’t a giveaway.

                But now there were other problems.  The Greeks assembled quickly, but discovered that there wasn’t any wind.  And no one could fart enough to get the ships to go across the sea.  A soothsayer said that a noble princess must be sacrificed to insure the wind and everyone looked toward Agamemnon.

                “What?” He demanded, and then conceded that okay, fine, he would sacrifice one of his daughters, after all he had two.  So, Aggie sent a letter to his wife, telling her that he had arranged a marriage with his eldest daughter Iphengia to Achilles.  Clemmie, short for Clymmentstra, screamed yes and jumped up and down in joy.  Her daughter was marrying the most eligible bachelor in Greece, and she hadn’t even had to go on that television show or take a naked selfie.  She got together a great wedding party.  Penghu, on the other, took down her posters of the great poet Homer and put up ones of Achilles.  She liked the dresses, at least.

                IT didn’t take long for the ladies to arrive and then Iphengia was quickly seized and sacrifices to the gods.  (Or Artemis saved her at the last moment.  Whichever you prefer).  Aggie said, “Just kidding sweetums.”  Clemmie left swearing, “I’ll get you and your little dog too.”
                Aggie really should have listened.

                Anyhow, the Greeks sailed to Troy.  I’m really not sure what they ate on the way.  But they got there.

                The Trojans were not happy to see them.  But the men in Troy were manly men and didn’t listen to the women who suggested that they bake Helen in a cake and send it to the Greeks. 

                There was lots of fighting, which meant there was lots of dying of little people that no one really cares about because they only ones who get good press are the heroes.  Who cares about the guy with the squint who didn’t dodged the arrow?  He only has six children.

                All that fighting made the gods a bit bored.  Which meant they got picky and touchy and don’t piss me offy.  See, Apollo had a temple, you would think from the way he kept acting about it that it was his only temple, but it wasn’t.  The Greeks lay waste to the temple – this means they ate all the food, drank all the booze, killed all the men who couldn’t escape, and took the women as slaves.  One of these slaves was a woman whose father was a priest of Apollo, and unlike some men I could mention, this dad was a good dad.  He wanted to save his daughter.

                This is best explained by the fact that he was not a priest of Zeus.
 
                This priest got together as much wealth as he could find and sent it to Agamemnon as a ransom for his daughter.  But the great leader Aggie declared that really didn’t any more tripods and horses.  He was a high king, thank you very much.  What he didn’t have, he went on, was a lovely young woman with pillow like breasts and the inability to speak.  Well, that was he didn’t have her until he took the priest’s daughter.  He really didn’t want to make a return, thank you. 

                The priest snorted.  There was a reason he was a priest and not a warrior.  Gods were nasty when they were pissed off.  The priest prayed to Apollo who visited plague upon the Greeks.  After all, he didn’t like the Greeks, so really, he just needed an excuse, and this priest was a good priest.  The Greeks started dying like flies.  Actually, not like flies – flies are beggar all hard to kill.

                Now, it’s important to note that no one famous was killed by the plague of arrows, but the kings were getting snarky.  No one likes it when your chef gets shot in the chest and dies in the stew.  It becomes messy.  Aggie was not happy at all.  First, he had to sacrifice his daughter, and now the kings wanted him to give back his soft pillow.  And why was Achilles sticking out his tongue?  Stupid beefcake warrior.  What was the use of being high king, Aggie thought, if all you got to keep was tripods?   And now Menelaus was whining.  Aggie sighed and gave his pillow back to the pillow’s father.

                Then Achilles stuck out his tongue once too many times at the high king.  Right, Aggie declared, “that cuts it.  Since you don’t like women anyway, give me your womanly pillow!”

                Achilles was not too thrilled about this.  It was true that he preferred to share a bedroll with his man Patroclus, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have a use for women.  He had to have a son somehow, and the gods weren’t listening to his request to get Patulous pregnant.  In fact, his mother just looked at him strangely.  

                No one bothered to ask the women what they wanted.  That wasn’t important.  They were little more than pillows.  Just remember never to give them a dagger and all would be well, if you were a man.

                Achilles decide to go on strike and sulk.  After all, it always worked with his mother, it should work with King Aggie too.

                It didn’t really.

                At first the Greeks didn’t care much.  Achilles might be able to cleave a piece of wood in two, but you always had to explain everything to him.  Where did the sun go?  Why is it dark?  What is that red stuff?  It was like fighting two battles.

                The Trojans on the other hand were absolutely thrilled.  No Achilles! They each rushed to be the first into battle.

                It wasn’t a good day to be a Greek.

                It wasn’t a good few days to be a Greek.  The Greeks started to care.  It wasn’t, some of them realized, that Achilles was such a great fighter, but more that his reputation allowed the others breathing space.  Mumbling began to start behind Aggie’s back. 

                Again.  At this point, Aggie was more than willing to chuck being leader.  It seems to be nothing but headache after headache.  Ruling was overrated.  His wife, however, had never been much of a pillow.

                One day, the Greeks were badly routed.  They fled screaming from the Trojans who were raining fire and brimstone on them.  Maybe not the brimstone, more like flaming arrows and whatnot.  Maybe Greek Fire.  Did the ancient Greeks have Greek fire?    Well, if they did the Trojans were using it.  And flaming poo.  Flaming poo always grosses people out.  The only thing new about the dog poo in brown bags was the brown bags.

                Achilles saw the fleeing Greeks and smiled.  Not so much in pleasure, but that self-righteous, I told you so type of smile.  You know that teacher caught the student cheating type of a smile.   He began to make bets in his mind.  If an arrow gets that solider there, I will do pushups.  He was about to share this idea with his buddy, pal, mate or just platonic friend Patroclus.   When the man in question, jumped up from his couch in angry and began storming about the tent.

                At this rate, Achilles thought, he should just get himself a wife.  Women made less noise.

                “You’re just going to sit there eating grapes and olives?” Patroclus demanded. 

                Achilles nodded.  He couldn’t very well eat popcorn as it was still in North America at this time.  Undoubtedly some Europeans would claim that it hadn’t been invented yet, but that is very Eurocentric. 

                Patroclus snorted in disgust.  “You should have stayed with the women,” he mumbled before leaving the tent.  Achilles signed.  He had learned that sometimes it was just best to let Patroclus rage a bit before beating it out of him in a wrestling match.

                He really should have followed him.

                Patroclus stole Achilles armor and went down to rally the Greeks.  Everyone thought it was Achilles because it never occurred to anyone that Patroclus would pretend to be the other man. He never did anything without Achilles.  He always stood in Achilles’ shadow and let the stupid strong man do the hard work while offering critiques about sword swings.

                Those who can, do; those who can’t, offer constructive criticism. 

                This was something that Hector, prince of the Trojans, remembered all too well.  Now, Hector wasn’t the strongest, he wasn’t the child of a nymph, and he fathered children who aged very slowly for some reason.  But at heart, he was a good man because he was strangely, the only Trojan, or even Greek for that matter who was faithful to his wife.

                That’s an important to thing to remember because it explains quite a bit about what happens to Hector.

                Hector was watching the battle and he noticed something a bit strange about Achilles (who we know was really Patroclus).  Achilles would bash someone over the head, and then stop looking to see what his soldiers did.  This in and of itself was not too unusual, Achilles was a battle leader after all. But then, Achilles would shout out to some nameless solider, let’s say Spiro and point out that he was wielding his sword like a woman making bread, whatever that meant.  It’s okay Hector didn’t know either.

                Hector did know that the man in Achilles’ armor was not, in fact, Achilles.

                And the armor was really shiny.  Incredibly shining.  There was this nice embossed breastplate with two horses on it (but of course, nothing covering the heel.  And why did Achilles need armor after all?).  Hector decide that he wanted the armor, and since it wasn’t Achilles, he figured his chances were pretty good.

                His chances were better than good.

                It was wham, bam, and thank you for the head man.

                The second that Particular’s head fell from his body, the action, on the battle field paused, mostly because Ares, the god of war, had let out a shout of victory – he had thought it was Achilles, you think gods would have known better.

                Perhaps he and Achilles were related.

                What did happen next would not occur again until Ophelia was buried thousands of years down the line. 

                Tug of war with a corpse as a rope.

                Hector didn’t want the corpse, what would he do with it after all, but the armor was another issue. 

                Hector got the armor, the Greeks got the body.

                Achilles was not pleased by Patulous’ death.  He threw the tantrum of all tantrums.  You know the type that a child throws in the story when a parent will not buy a toy. 

                But worse.  Achilles was somewhat divine after all.

                Eventually to stop his temper tantrum, Aggie sent back the girl, his mother got him new armor, and he was given a birthday cake even though his birthday wasn’t for months.


                But did that make everything better?  Nope.  Achilles wanted his best buddy back, his bedroll mate, his course friend of no relation.  Who cares that they had attacked the Trojans for no good reason?  Who cares that it was a war?  Achilles wanted Hector chopped into little teeny pieces.

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