The house of Achilles ~ Chapter four

The house of Achilles ~ Chapter four

A Chapter by AliceBarnes
"

Aedia becomes lost in the woods and happens across Patroclus. She then meets his Aunt Thetis, the legendary sea nymph and mother to Achilles.

"

Chapter four ~ In the time of Achilles 

Phthia forest, Greece 1190BC 


Two days had passed since the night that Patroclus had taken Aedia to the theatre and as she had been kept busy helping her father and the slaves with the harvest, she so far had been unable to see him since.


Earlier that day she had been with Adonia cleaning the clothes and hanging them out in the sun to dry, but now, she had been officially ordered to take a break and so had wandered into the cool shade beneath the trees for a short walk.


She had come across the same old man from the market, and while she had been worried for his safety out in the heat of the day, Aedia could not help the chills that went down her spine as his dark, old eyes bored into hers, he reminded her of the many paintings she had seen of Hades, king of the Underworld.


Birds sang their melancholy tunes among the treetops as the leaves swayed gently in the wind. Twigs snapped beneath Aedia's feet as she pushed her way through the undergrowth.


 She was more than a little lost in the wilderness but had remained calm in the hopes that she would bump into someone eventually. It had passed midday, and as time went on Aedia began to push the low branches of the trees away with more determination, she was going to get out of here. 


After hours of wandering aimlessly in the hope of finding an exit or someone who could send her in the right direction, Aedia heard the distinct sound of arrows flying through the air and wild pigs running through the undergrowth. 


She paused, listening more closely as more arrows were released. Surely that must have meant a hunter was nearby. Pleased with her discovery she pushed herself on, growing closer to the sound with each step she took. 


At last, Aedia pushed aside a low tree branch to find a man, stood holding a bow at his side, and a dead wild pig just meters away from him with an arrow protruding from its side. 


"Looks painful" She muttered under her breath, causing the man stood before her to reveal his identity and turn round to greet her. 


"Aedia?" Patroclus smiled and made his way towards her through the undergrowth. 

"I take it you are lost..." He gestured to the scenery around them, which was most likely miles out from town. 


"Who says I'm lost?" She shot back, crossing her arms over her chest and tilting her head to the side questioningly. 


"Where are we then?" He smirked, lifting an eyebrow as she fell silent. 

"Exactly, you are lost. Admit it" 


"Ok, Ok. I am lost, it's just I don't come here very often" He let out a laugh, shaking his head in disbelief as he made his way to the dead pig, grabbing it by its hind legs and lifting it from the ground. 


"I can tell..." He trailed off as he turned, waiting for her to walk beside him. When she finally caught up and started to walk with him a light tan Molossus dog ran up to greet him, licking Patroclus's hand and wagging its tail furiously. 


"I bring Cerberus with me for protection, sometimes the pigs are too big to handle, especially one you start hunting them" Aedia smiled adoringly down at the dog as he trotted happily beside Patroclus, taking in the sights and smells of the forest, named after the three-headed dog that was said to guard the door to the underworld.


"I must admit I did not expect to see you here. In fact, you are the last person I thought I would see" Patroclus said, pushing aside low hanging branches and brambles, holding them until Aedia had stepped past them. 


"Nor I you..." She replied, taking his hand momentarily as he helped her over a large fallen tree in the middle of the path. 


*** 


Exiting the forest, they walked side by side until they reached a whitewashed house with a view of the sea on the edge of a large field; full of an array of wildflowers, bees going about their daily business, and a large black horse grazing away at the knee-high golden grass, which lightly danced in the wind. The front door opened with a loud creak, stepping out of it was Achilles, who was quick to spot his cousin. 


"Patroclus! You have been gone such a long time I thought I was rid of you" From beside Aedia, Patroclus let out a laugh, handing the bloodied pig to Achilles and making for the bowl of rainwater outside where he could wash his hands.


Achilles briefly glanced at Aedia, who in order to avoid having to return his intense gaze, bent down and began to stroke Cerberus who plopped himself happily onto the dusty ground, panting in the warmth of the sun, heartily enjoying the newfound attention he was receiving.


 Daring to look up, Aedia noticed that Achilles was sending Patroclus a look of 'what is she doing here?', when a women stepped out from the house, dusting flour from her hands and turquoise dress. 


"Boys hurry up and get that pig skinned and gutted, we are to have it for dinner tonight." Achilles was quick to escape, removing the arrow from the pig and throwing it to the ground, sparing one last glare back at Aedia before entering the house. 


"You must be Aedia. Patroclus has not stopped talking about you" She greeted Aedia with outstretched arms and a beaming smile, looking to Patroclus proudly, who moved to join them. 


"Aedia, this is my Aunt, Thetis" 


"Will you stay for dinner?" Thetis asked to which Aedia's eyes flashed to Patroclus, who raised his eyebrows in silent question. 


"I couldn't possibly, especially when you had no knowing of my arrival-" Thetis stopped Aedia short with a simple raise of her hand and a loving smile over at Patroclus. 


"Nonsense. You shall dine with us tonight. Although, you must forgive my appearance for I am not dressed for dinner. Come, join us inside" Following them both inside, Aedia stepped into the coolness of the entrance hall, immediately being guided past freed slaves working to clean the house and into the Atrium. 


As Aedia stepped into the room, she was in awe of how beautifully decorated it was, her father, Helios, had always had simple tastes and so decorated the house in the bare minimum that he could, but this was perhaps the most beautiful Atrium she had seen.


 Thetis's love for the sea was evident in the detailed paintings of the fish and sea along the walls, with a small lowered pond in the floor, where rainwater collected from the opening in the ceiling. A melodic laugh sounded and echoed off the walls as Thetis caught Aedia wide-eyed looking in awe at her surroundings. 


"I dare say we can safely agree that you like it here" Aedia smiled her eyes flickering to her sandals, as she regained her composure and nodded slowly, her cheeks flushing as red as her gown. 


"Come, take a seat" With a long, elegant extension of her arm, Thetis led Aedia to a soft, plush seat beside the pond. "Now, would you like some fresh honey mead? I made it myself" 


"Yes, that is very kind, thank you" Within moments, Thetis had left Patroclus and Aedia alone, the only sound being that of the trees swaying in the offshore breeze from the sea beyond the rocky cliffs of the house, drifting in from the opening in the roof and the soft chatter of the freed slaves in the background. Footsteps sounded and grew closer to Aedia as Patroclus took a seat beside her. 


"You have a lovely home here. Have you lived here all your life?" It seemed like a simple, small talk question to Aedia, but she couldn't help the pang of guilt that overcame her when Patroclus flinched, his eyes looking to the pond, lost in the past.


"I came here as a child when Achilles was not much older than we are now-" He paused, looking to Aedia with breathtakingly sad eyes, full of remorse.


"I...I got angry at a friend of mine over a game of dice...I believed that he had cheated and so I fought him, he managed to catch my eye with a punch. Being the passionate child that I was I found a rock and hit him over the head with it." 


"He just fell to the floor in front of me, and I knew then that he was dead. My father, Menotius, sent me here, where I could live in exile, but in safety under the protection of Achilles and his father. There hasn't been a day when I haven't wished things could be different, that I hadn't killed my friend...but I did, and I must live with the consequences of that" 


"It was not your fault Patroclus. You were just a boy" Thetis's voice carried over to them, and Aedia turned with a jolt, her brown waves flying through the air and over her shoulder at the sudden movement. 


"Here you are, the finest honey mead in all of Phthia" Thetis smiled kindly as she handed Aedia and Patroclus the honey mead, her wise eyes twinkling ever so slightly as she smiled down at Aedia, almost as if she could forsee the future. Humming happily to herself, Thetis took a seat opposite them, positioning her gown so that it did not crease. 


"I have been told by Achilles that the first time you met him you insulted him" 

"Y-yes, I did..." Aedia took a sip of the honey mead as Thetis moved to the edge of her seat, staring intensely at Aedia.


"You should be proud, most women who meet Achilles fall straight into his arms...but you have taken a liking to my nephew instead I see" The room fell silent as Aedia dared to peek over at Patroclus, who she was pleased to find shifted uncomfortably in his seat at the comment.


 A sudden laugh and the tense atmosphere dissipated, as Thetis smiled, a teasing look in her eye as she smoothed down her hair in thought, a mixture of brown and grey streaks, tied back in a half up half down fashion. 


"Mother?" Achilles was the last person to join them, as he too entered the room, stopping beside Thetis and bending down to softly press a kiss to her cheek. 

She smiled up at him adoringly but gestured subtly for him to properly greet Aedia. With a sigh, he did as his mother commanded and made for where Aedia was sat. 


"I am sorry for my harsh words to you at the festival" Aedia spoke up, hoping for both her and Patroclus's sake that he would forgive her. He was after all one of the greatest warriors in all of Greece, if she was to be afraid of anyone besides her father, it was him. Achilles simply sent her a small smile of gratitude and waved away her apologises half-heartedly with his hand. 


"They are long forgotten" 


*** 


The dining room was equally adorned with expensive decorations, finely painted walls of red and gold, with Aedia being sat opposite Patroclus in front of a bowl of mixed fruit, plates full to the brim with green olives, cheeses, and bread, it may as well have been a feast. 


From her own plate of food, Aedia looked up in the hopes to catch a glimpse of Patroclus when he was not looking at her, only to find that Patroclus was already gazing over at her, the candles soft light shining on his tan skin.


"Aedia, how did you and Patroclus come to meet?" Thetis asked from the other end of the table, her gaze fixing steadily on Aedia, who paused in eating the food before her.


"I passed the ruins when Patroclus and Achilles happened to be training there." Aedia looked away from Thetis to meet Patroclus's bright blue eyes, which remained on her with an unknown look in them as she continued.


"I had been watching them fight from behind the olive tree, and for quite some time I was unnoticed until they disappeared from sight, and I found myself confronted by Patroclus"  


"Oh yes, I do remember them both coming home that evening, Achilles was amusing himself with teasing Patroclus" They laughed, and Aedia took a sip of the watered down wine from her intricately carved goblet.The dinner went on long into the night and it was nearing midnight when Patroclus and Aedia began to make for her house.


One of the family's freed slaves handed Patroclus the black horse Aedia had seen from afar in the field, but now it was close up she drew witness to its beauty; from its silky mane that Patroclus used to help him mount, to the way it's muscles rippled beneath its fur, shining in the moonlight as it stomped the ground with its hoof, eager to leave. From atop the horse, Patroclus held out his hand expectantly. 


"I cannot ride a horse, Patroclus" Aedia muttered, slightly annoyed with herself that she had never taken the time to learn. 


"Don't worry, all you have to do is hold on with your legs and wrap your arms around me, I won't let anything happen to you" After a moment of hesitation, she took his hand, swinging her leg over the horses back and climbing on behind him. 


"I'll take your word for it" He laughed, looking over his shoulder at her as she wrapped her arm around his waist before urging the horse forwards, moving it into a canter, but slowing to a walk as they began to climb the long, steep rocky hill to Aedia's fathers house in the hills.


Trotting up to the outside of her house, Patroclus pulled the horse to a stop, dismounting before placing his hands firmly on Aedia's waist and guiding her to the ground. For a moment, he held onto her as she kept her hands wrapped around his forearms, looking up at him and finding herself getting lost in his eyes. 


Slowly, he began to inch closer and Aedia'a heart began to race at the thought of his soft lips on hers until Adonia flung the front door open and all but ran outside towards them, causing the moment to be broken and Aedia to quickly pull away from him in shock. 


"Aedia, it's your father, he collapsed this afternoon, the doctor is with him but they don't think he will last" 




© 2017 AliceBarnes



Author's Note

AliceBarnes
What did you think of this chapter? Do you think that Aedia and Patroclus are meeting too often? Or, do you think there are too many cut scenes in this chapter?

My Review

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Featured Review

This is a great chapter. I look forward to reading more. Please send me a read request when you post the next chapter.

Let's see... I love long drawn out courtships, so the more you space the meetings out, the happier I am. However, I have a pretty high tolerance for passages that don't give me immediate gratification, but many people do not. So i don't know if you should listen to me, lol.

I do think it might be too soon for Patroclus to confess the reason for his exile. People have to build up a lot of trust to admit something like that.

I think I would like to know a bit more about Aedia's personality and past times. I enjoyed her fishing expedition, and wouldn't mind seeing her play a game of some sort with Adonia. I assume they had games of skill and games of chance in ancient Greece, played with dice or markers or stones.

As for things being choppy... I think the last break indicated by *** could be eliminated and some sort of bridge created to transition us from one room to the other.

And please remember, these are just my opinions. Take them or leave them as you like. This is your work and your party.

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

AliceBarnes

3 Months Ago

Thank you so much for reviewing, I really do appreciate it and I value your opinions as you are a ve.. read more



Reviews

The meetings are fine. You are create friendship and some history. History of the characters are important. The movement of the story was okay. I didn't lose interest in reading. A very good chapter and you left a open ending.
Coyote

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

AliceBarnes

2 Weeks Ago

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing, I really appreciate you taking the time to do that
Coyote Poetry

2 Weeks Ago

You are welcome. I enjoyed your work.
I'll begin with general remarks. I LOVE the interrupted kiss! I'm a big fan of interrupted kisses. They leaving you hanging in the most frustrated state, and a frustrated reader will want to read more to finally get to the real kiss.

You did a good job of ending the chapter with many unanswered questions that lead the reader to want to know more.

I don't know, there is always a fine balance between showing enough detail to allow threader to picture a scene, and too much detail, choking the reader with having details shoved down their throat. That being said, I think I might like more detail about the courtyard. That's just me though. Others might not want to be bogged down with more details.

I am wondering what time of day it is... it takes a long time to skin, gut and roast an entire wild pig. It is usually a big event involving the whole family and neighbors as well. I think (I'd have to do research to be sure) you have to immediately slit the throat of whatever animal you plan on butchering and hang it up, then you can leave it to deal with later.

Now for small comments about the mechanics of the writing.

1. his dark, old eyes bored into hers, he reminded her of the many paintings

Need a period to separate "old eyes bored into her" and "He reminded her of the many paintings"

2. I'm curious to know where she had seen these paintings. Temples, houses, public places?

3. Aedia smiled adoringly down at the dog as he trotted happily beside Patroclus,

adoringly is a bit strong

4. The front door opened with a loud creak, stepping out of it was Achilles

Need a period between "with a loud creak" and "Stepping out"

5. dusting flour from her hands and turquoise dress.

It took me a little while to understand that she was dusting flour off her dress as well as her hands. Maybe you could clean this up so it is more clear.

6. how beautifully decorated it was, her father, Helios,

I think you need a period between "beautifully decorated it was" and "Her father, Helios"

7. She smiled up at him adoringly

second time you used the word adoringly

8. with Aedia being sat opposite Patroclus

being seated

In the future, I can do the small nit picky comments or leave them out as you desire. Some people don't want the little stuff, so let me know what you prefer.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

AliceBarnes

1 Month Ago

Thank you for reviewing, I am glad you liked this chapter. Also thank you so much for looking throug.. read more
I like reading Greek plots and watching movies likewise. This story of yours is very well written. Bravo

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

AliceBarnes

1 Month Ago

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing, I really appreciate you taking the time to do that. I'm.. read more
Suhd

1 Month Ago

Oh my pleasure!
This is a great chapter. I look forward to reading more. Please send me a read request when you post the next chapter.

Let's see... I love long drawn out courtships, so the more you space the meetings out, the happier I am. However, I have a pretty high tolerance for passages that don't give me immediate gratification, but many people do not. So i don't know if you should listen to me, lol.

I do think it might be too soon for Patroclus to confess the reason for his exile. People have to build up a lot of trust to admit something like that.

I think I would like to know a bit more about Aedia's personality and past times. I enjoyed her fishing expedition, and wouldn't mind seeing her play a game of some sort with Adonia. I assume they had games of skill and games of chance in ancient Greece, played with dice or markers or stones.

As for things being choppy... I think the last break indicated by *** could be eliminated and some sort of bridge created to transition us from one room to the other.

And please remember, these are just my opinions. Take them or leave them as you like. This is your work and your party.

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

AliceBarnes

3 Months Ago

Thank you so much for reviewing, I really do appreciate it and I value your opinions as you are a ve.. read more

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Added on July 19, 2017
Last Updated on November 5, 2017
Tags: Achilles house, Patroclus, Thetis, dinner


Author

AliceBarnes
AliceBarnes

Bristol, South west, United Kingdom



About
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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