A Greek Tragedy ~ chapter three

A Greek Tragedy ~ chapter three

A Chapter by AliceBarnes

Aedia finds out about an arranged marriage and Patroclus takes her to the theatre.


Chapter three ~ In the time of Achilles

Hills of Phthia, Helios's house, Greece 1190BC

"Love does not begin and end as we seem to think it does. For love is a battle, love is a war..."

Among the hills of Phthia, several miles out of town sat a house, moderate in size, well built, shrouded by the trees and hilly terrain in all its vastness. Beside it was a patch of farmland, where fruit and vegetables had been growing plentifully and were now being collected by the slaves that Aedia's father had temporarily brought in for the harvest. Inside the house sat Aedia at a long dark wood table surrounded by a basket of eggs, bread, a beaker of water and an unpainted stack of plates.

She was occupying herself with watching Adonia as she cooked the roasted fish and vegetable lunch. Having been forced by her father to stay inside, as to avoid both contact with the slaves and the heat of the midday sun which would tan her skin to that of a field slaves, an uncomely feature among women of her rank. Aedia was no princess nor a great lady, but her father was an ex-Greek soldier, a good one at that, which lifted her status in society slightly higher than that of a slave or citizen. 

"You can't stop thinking about that boy can you?" Adonia briefly paused in stirring the vegetables around the pan to look at Aedia, who was resting her face in her hands, daydreaming, staring unblinkingly at the whitewashed stone walls of the kitchen. 

"No..." Shifting in her seat, Aedia sat up straight and opened a cookery book in front of her, anything to distract her from the slow pace of the day. 

"Why don't you go and see him?" 

"Because if I do my father would never trust me again." Unable to concentrate on her book, she pushed it away from her across the table, leaning back into her chair and wrapping her arms around herself for warmth as a cool breeze came in through the window. 

"Who says he needs to know?" Adonia trailed off, smirking over at Aedia playfully. Adonia was the sister that Aedia never had, she was kind, spirited, but also capable of reminding Aedia when she was at fault, despite being a whole year younger. 

"Aedia?" From the hallway, Helios's voice echoed off of the cold stone walls as her father's footsteps grew closer to the kitchen. Rising from her seat, Aedia stood to greet her father as he entered the room, a smile on his face, cheeks slightly reddened from the heat and small beads of sweat gathered on his forehead where he had been pacing.

"Come, we are to go into town" With that, he left making for the front door without so much as a glance back to check that Aedia was behind him. She was quick to follow swiftly after him, taking her cream veil from her room on the way out, as was custom with an unmarried woman. Silently, she obediently climbed onto the empty cart beside him, positioning her cream gown so that it did not fall onto the ground, and placing her veil around her head and shoulders.

"Why are we going into town?" Aedia asked, as her father urged the cows pulling the cart into a walk with a click of his tongue. It was much cheaper and more worthwhile to buy cattle as opposed to horses, or, so her father thought. Not only did they provide meat, grazing, and milk, but her father knew how to look after them, while horses brought a whole new aspect of care that he was unfamiliar with. 

"We are going into town because we need to get your dowry" There was a short moment in time where the trees and hills seemed to pass by more slowly, as Aedia's heart plummeted in her chest. 

"But I am not to engaged to anyone" 

"You soon will be" Her father replied, a knowing look in his eye and a smirk tugging at his lips as he turned his attention back to the cows, who slowly but surely were making their way down the dusty and windy tracks into town.

From here you could see the sea in all its glory as it glittered and shimmered in the sunlight, a blue mass as far as the eye could see. A few minutes passed where Aedia simply admired the scenery while thinking everything through, the distant creaking of the old cart becoming a background noise as time went on. 

"Father, I am not ready to marry. I do not love Dymas, I barely know him. Please, you promised me I could marry who I chose." Aedia swallowed hard as her father continued to stare blankly ahead, blinking rapidly in an attempt to clear the tears welling up in his eyes at the sadness in his daughter's voice.

"I am no longer in a position to allow you to marry who you choose. Dymas is a respectable man of wealth and status, and I do believe with time you will grow to love him" He grew silent as they passed some slaves labouring back up the hill, heavy buckets and vases full of fresh water from the town well in their hands. 

"I am sorry, Aedia. But you must have realised why I was introducing you to him at the Spring festival last week. If it were not for the fact we are running out of money I would let you marry whomever you chose, but I would rather you marry well than stay with me and suffer." 

"I can work, maybe serve a great lady in town. Marriage is not the only way I can be less of a burden to you" Her eyes glistened with tears as she came to the realisation that her father was not going to back down, nor was he going to allow her to pick another man to marry.

Ever since her mother had died her father had become closed off with grief, sometimes going through bouts of depression and unable to talk to anyone for days on end. The year Aedia's mother died she took a piece of Helios with her, a piece that was never going to find its way back to him until death. 

The rest of the cart ride into town was in melancholy silence after that, the closer they got to town the more people they passed. They pulled to a stop outside of the grand stone Theatre, it's large archways allowing for hundreds of people to move back and forth beneath them, coming and going as a new play began behind the towering walls encircling the stage and seating areas.

"I will be back soon. Don't wander off" Helios muttered in a low grumble as he snatched his bag from the cart and strolled away, his red toga billowing behind him, as he left a dusty trail in his wake before blending into the crowds of people. 

"Announcement! Good people of Phthia, tonight in this very theatre we shall be hosting three playwrights from Athens who wish to compete for the best Greek Tragedy." Aedia had always loved the theatre, and so when the announcement began to sound from a middle aged extremely tanned man stood before the theatre she could not help but be interested. She would never be able to go, of course, her father never liked plays, especially tragedies, he always thought that people had enough tragedy in their lives without paying to see such things. 

"Are you going to see it?" Beside her, Patroclus's voice sounded. Aedia smiled softly to herself before turning to greet him. 

"Oh, no. My father does not think such things are worth his time" Patroclus looked to his feet before he lifted his gaze to meet Aedia's again, this time with a small spark of an idea in his eyes.

"We could always go together" Aedia briefly found herself unable to say anything, her lips parting slightly in shock. Picking up on her hesitation Patroclus was quick to try to rectify the situation. 

"That is if you want to..."He trailed off and swallowed hard, his eyes dancing from side to side, looking at anywhere but Aedia, as his breathing picked up in speed while he waited for Aedia to reply. 

"Yes, I would love to. Thank you" He smiled, letting out a sigh of relief.


"Patroclus?!" From across the crowd stood his cousin, Achilles, making his way over to them in a series of long strides. 

"There you are. I've been looking all over for you and this is where I find you? We need to train, come. And don't dawdle any longer or we will never reach the ruins" Achilles turned and left, while Patroclus reverted his attention to Aedia. 

"You aren't planning on not showing are you?" Aedia grinned and shook her head no, finding it hard to look away, and even harder to hide the rosy blush that now was rising on her cheeks. 


At the Theater in Phthia, a great Greek Tragedy was being shown before a crowd of hundreds of spectators, music filling the night air. The stars were shining brightly as there was no cloud cover, making it all the more pretty. Torches lined the seating area and stage as to ensure the crowd and actors could see. A soft breeze blew through the archways and windows of the walls of the Theater from the nearby sea, which was now a mere dark blue mix of water just beyond the Theater walls.

Aedia and Patroclus had sat in the middle of the Theater, hands almost touching as they sat on the cool stone seats, watching the play unfold. As one of the actors fell into another's arms in sorrow for grief, Aedia found that her attention was no longer on the play, but on the man sat beside her, who until now she had not noticed was occasionally glancing over at her, anxious for her to enjoy the play. 

Once the play had come to an end, they walked side by side through the streets of the town, slowly making their way up the hill where they reached the ruins. Upon seeing them, Aedia turned off of the path and began to stroll among the ruins, taking in the view of the sea and the lights from the houses below them. 

"Did you enjoy the play?" Patroclus came to stand beside her, to which she looked over at him and smiled. 

"Yes, thank you for taking me" Pleased with her answer, his eyes moved away from her to the sea, as he also took in the view, placing his arms behind his back and staring out to sea. As he stood taking in the scenery, Aedia couldn't help but stare. With his hair and deep low cut blue tunic blowing gently with the wind, he looked as handsome as ever, and she found herself wondering why a man such as he would be so interested in her, she was pretty yes, but not stunningly beautiful like some of the women in Phthia who also had wealth and status attached. 

"Why did you ask me to come out with you tonight?" His bright blue eyes moved from the sea to her, as he looked at her momentarily taking in her appearance while thinking about his answer. 

"Because I thought it would make you happy" He sent her a soft smile before meeting her eyes as she began to find herself lost in his blue orbs. 

"Is that the only reason?" She dared herself to ask as they almost automatically inched closer, their hands now brushing ever so slightly. For a brief moment, Patroclus looked away from her, as if gathering his courage before responding to her question. 

"No" Butterflies began to awake within her as she tried to ease the tension that filled the air between them by moving away, strolling around the ruins. Running her hand along the stone, taking a seat on a set of steps. 

"I feel there is something you should know..." Aedia trailed off nervously biting her lip, as Patroclus took a step closer to her, his brows furrowed slightly in curiosity. 

"My father has arranged for me to marry Dymas. He is far older than me and I don't even have a say in the matter." With a concerned expression on his face, Patroclus took a seat beside her on the steps, resting an arm on his raised knee. 


"He hasn't even proposed yet, but if my father has his way, soon" Huffing, Patroclus looked away from Aedia, clenching and unclenching his jaw, his gaze moving to the olive tree which swayed with the off shore breeze. The smell of salt filled the air from the sea, as the faint sound of the waves colliding with the beach and rocks below drifted up to them.

"And will you? Will you marry this man?" 

"I will only marry a man that I love" At that, the tense atmosphere dissipated, as Patroclus let out a laugh. 

"Why do I get the feeling that you don't like being told what to do?" He laughed again, shaking his head slightly in disbelief as he looked over at her with a large smile on his face. 

"Does your father even know you are out tonight?" Aedia shook her head no, now worried that Adonia's cover had failed and that any minute her father would come round the corner in his cart looking for her. If he did, it would take him a long time to forgive and trust her again. He had never been the most forgiving of men. 


It was early morning when Patroclus and Aedia arrived back at her father's house. He had walked her back in case anything should happen on the way home, for which she had been grateful. As they silently made their way to her front door, Aedia kept an eye out for any slaves.

Patting one of the cows who was grazing away at the little grass there was, sparsely scattered across the cow's field Aedia beckoned for Patroclus to follow. Slowing to a stop at her front door, Aedia turned back to Patroclus who had been admiring the house and farm in its entirety. As he grew closer Aedia put a finger to her lips, warning him to keep quiet in case they should wake her father.

"Thank you for last night and for walking me home" She whispered to him, a smile tugging at her lips when he grinned at her. 

"Thank you for coming...I suppose I will be seeing you again soon?" When she nodded yes, a large smile on her face, he left, turning back only once to send a wave and a breathtakingly gorgeous smile over his shoulder.

© 2018 AliceBarnes

Author's Note

Thanks for reading, I hope you are enjoying it so far! Please feel free to leave a comment about what you thought of this chapter, I welcome constructive criticism and will be sure to return the favour with regard to reviews.

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Featured Review

You haven't even properly introduced this "Dymas" and I already don't like him. I really enjoyed the scene between her and her father, it really added a good emotional element to the chapter.

There were a few errors, but honestly, they were minor.

Posted 10 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


10 Months Ago

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! I was wondering whether or not the father scene was mak.. read more


Another good read for me. You are building tension in a classic style, the words flow and the story is easy to follow. I am truly enjoying this and will continue to read because I am hooked on this young couples future activities :) Cheers!

Posted 4 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


4 Months Ago

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! I am so happy that you are enjoying this book so far an.. read more
I liked the thoughts and the decisions made in the chapter. I liked the feel of personal thoughts and real life in the chapter. You have made the main character come alive and she is worthwhile. Thank you for sharing the amazing chapter.

Posted 6 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


6 Months Ago

Thank you so much for reviewing and reading this chapter, I really appreciate it.
Coyote Poetry

6 Months Ago

I enjoyed this chapter and you are welcome.
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Patroclus and Aedia are being very daring here, especially in view of those times when any deviation from proper conduct could have disastrous consequences. They already made a connection in the last chapter and here we see that bond get stronger. It will be interesting to see how Aedia beats the norms. Another finely crafted verse from you, Alice!

Posted 6 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

You haven't even properly introduced this "Dymas" and I already don't like him. I really enjoyed the scene between her and her father, it really added a good emotional element to the chapter.

There were a few errors, but honestly, they were minor.

Posted 10 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


10 Months Ago

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! I was wondering whether or not the father scene was mak.. read more
This turn of events seems rather quick. Somehow, I expected things to draw out more before they got to hugging and gift giving. But that's just me, I love long, drawn out courtships.

I had a good image of the theater, and of the cows, and of the marketplace, but still don't know what the ruins really look like. Or what they are ruins of.

You've got me hooked with this Dymas thing. I can't stand the idea of her marrying him. Perhaps Patroclus might make an offer of marriage before that comes to pass. Juicy developments.

EDIT: whoops you told us about the ruins in the first paragraph of the first chapter.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 10 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


10 Months Ago

I was half thinking whether or not it would seem slightly rushed, but I was worried I would begin to.. read more

10 Months Ago

Since I too was worried about the rushed feeling of this chapter, I have edited it slightly so that .. read more

9 Months Ago

I read this new version and it is tantalizing. Good job!

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5 Reviews
Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on July 15, 2017
Last Updated on January 10, 2018
Tags: Greek tragedy, first date, falling in love



Bristol, South west, United Kingdom

I love reading, daydreaming, horse riding and going for long walks. Frosty spring mornings and cool autumn evenings are my favorite. I love to write as I find it allows me to escape modern life and ti.. more..


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