An offer of marriage ~ Chapter five

An offer of marriage ~ Chapter five

A Chapter by AliceBarnes
"

Aedia and her father talk about who she is to marry and Dymas proposes

"

Chapter five ~ In the time of Achilles

Helios's house, Phthia, Greece, 1190BC


Aedia awoke the next day with her head resting on the mattress of her father's bed after Patroclus had left she had come inside to sit with her father. Her eyes moved to where he was lying peacefully, his chest slowly rising and falling as the morning sun hit his face, his old, weather-beaten hand limp in hers. From beyond the window birds chirped and sang their tunes, hidden among the trees, as a gentle breeze blew through the window and into the room.  


A few moments passed where Aedia simply watched her father, she rarely saw him without the worries he carried throughout the day. His eyes began to move beneath his lids, as he started to wake and slowly his eyes opened, moving to Aedia as a small, weak smile appeared on his lips. 


"Where were you last night? I asked for you but Adonia told me you were not to be found" She swallowed hard as her gaze moved to their entwined hands as she thought about what she was going to tell him. Aedia knew that if he found out about Patroclus she would never see him again. 


"I went for a walk and got lost" Helios frowned at her, sitting up slightly with a pained grunt and rearranging the pillows so that they were supporting him more. 


"I had a dream while I slept..." He trailed off waiting for her interest to peak.

 

"Yes?" 


"Zeus told me himself that you are to wed Dymas and that should you do this all of our problems will be solved. I heartily believe that this dream was true and that I really did meet the great God!" His voice rose as he gripped her hand, a crazed look in his eyes as he smiled down at her before he grunted in pain and with gritted teeth rested his head back down onto the pillows.


"Sometimes dreams are just that..."Aedia trailed off, her heart falling when her father snatched his hand away from her grip and reached over to the small bell beside his bed, shaking it once to gain Adonia's attention. She shortly appeared through the doorway, making her way towards the simple wood bed as Aedia stood, straightening out her dress and smoothing down her hair, still pinned back and curled from the day before. 


"I wish to see Dymas. I think it is time I made him aware of my plans for his marriage to Aedia. Adonia, you are to fetch him" Adonia nodded shortly, sparing a fleeting glance to Aedia before she had left in a hurry, knowing that if she did not bring Dymas back as soon as possible Helios would grow angry. Aedia turned her attention back to her father, taking a deep breath in to steady herself. 


"Father, I don't want to marry Dymas. I am sure he is a good friend and an honourable man, but he is too old for me, please, I beg of you, do not force me to marry him" She bit her lip as a lump rose in her throat, her chest tightening as her father's eyes fell onto her. Sweat beads on his brow and slightly out of breath with what looked to be tears unwillingly welling up in his eyes. 


"I am sorry-" He began, his voice weak and out of breath, as he struggled to get out what he needed to say.


"I know I have never been the best father to you nor the kindest, but I hope that in marrying you off to a man I know I can trust that you will be secure and protected" 

"But mother would not wish me to marry a man twice, maybe even three times my age!" The cold glare that Aedia's father sent her was what made her stop in her tracks, as she averted her eyes obediently away from his blazing ones, looking to the paintings on the walls of the bedroom where soldiers fought and died in one of the many battles her father had fought in; the paintings served as reminders of how lucky he had been to return home as well as the great victory the Greeks had won. 


"Do not speak to me of your mother! I am doing the best I can to ensure you live a good life!" He panted heavily and began to choke, flapping his hand at Aedia for her to fetch some water. She was quick to get a goblet from the metal round table in the middle of the room, where an intricately carved wood statue of Aedia's mother was placed; carved by Helios himself not long after she died. 


Gently lifting her father's head from the soft goose feather pillows, Aedia put the goblet to his lips allowing him to take a few sips to clear his throat before laying him back down onto the pillows. She reached over to the wood bedside table and picked up a white cloth, using it to dry her father's forehead and lips, just as she was about to leave him to sleep, he grabbed her wrist, causing her to turn back to him with wide eyes. 


"Yes?" 


"I loved your mother, Aedia, more than you will ever know, and it is with that love that I am doing everything in my power to make sure that you are kept safe. I won't watch you ruin your life, I won't!" Slowly, she nodded giving him a small but reassuring smile as he sighed, content that she had gotten the message and dropped his hand back onto the bed, closing his eyes. 


After washing and dressing for the day, Aedia made her way outside the house, taking a seat on the swing her father had made for her as a child. The swing consisted of a wooden seat with strong rope tied around the largest branch of the Oaktree beside the cow's field and meadows that surrounded the house. Adonia, knowing of Aedia's love for flowers had tied purple Greek Valerian flowers to the rope, which Aedia carefully avoided breaking when she took a seat on the swing.


Her gaze moving from the glittering sea in the distance to the slaves working hard, the sun beating down on their backs and deeply tanned skin as they fed the cows, watered the crops, removed weeds and cut away dead bits of fruit and vegetables.

Twisting the swing round in circles, Aedia lifted her sandaled feet from the dusty ground and let the swing spin, due to the rope being so long, and tied to one of the highest tree branches, she kept spinning for quite some time, enjoying the feeling of her hair flying through the air as the slaves blurred forms morphed into the sea, and then the forest that sat just a few hundred yards from the Oak tree. 


"Aedia" At the sound of Adonia's voice, her feet fell to the ground, bringing the swing to a stop and a few of the valerian flowers to fall onto the large tree roots and rocks below at the sudden movement. 


"Dymas is here" Aedia glanced to where Dymas stood just behind Adonia, beads of sweat gathered on his forehead and his cheeks a bright red from the heat. Standing from the swing, Aedia hesitantly made for Dymas, lifting her chiton gown off of the ground so that its olive green colouring did not turn brown from the sand and dirt. 

"Aedia" He sent a soft, weary smile, as he pulled out a cloth from beneath his red robes and used it to wipe the sweat away from his forehead. While he was momentarily occupied, Aedia turned her head over her shoulder to look at Adonia, silently pleading with her not to leave; to her dismay, Adonia's lips lifted into a sly smile as she headed back into the coolness of the house.


Sighing, Aedia now had no choice but to listen to what Dymas had to say, her attention turning back to the man before her. Dymas cleared his throat, gesturing with his arm for them to walk towards the forest. 


"I understand it is your father's wish that we marry." He began as they entered the forest, the canopies of the trees protecting them from the harsh rays of the sun, as the air grew still and the birdsong ceased to a halt, while the grip that Aedia had on her dress grew tighter.


"I think it is important for you to know that our union would be my father's wish, not mine" Dymas stopped in his tracks, and for a moment Aedia thought that he was going to be considerate of her own wishes and not press the case further. That thought soon left when Dymas's expression turned determined. 


"Your father is dying, would you really deny your father's last wish? He only wants to see you happy" Aedia scoffed and kept walking, making sure to keep a reasonably large gap between her and Dymas, from the look on his face she worried what he would do next. 


"If you deny me you deny your father!" Aedia tensed, spinning round to face him, her mouth agape, as she glared over at him. She went to speak but he cut her off, lifting an accusing finger at her.


"I suppose your youth is the root of such naivety. If you don't marry me who else do you think will have you? You have no great fortune, no titles. You are nothing to some of the other women I could have!" 


"Take them then! I have no wish to marry you. I do not mean to offend you, but you must understand that when I tell you I don't want to marry you, I will not, no matter what lengths I have to go to make sure of it" Slowly, she backed away from him, trying to increase the gap between them, as Dymas took bold, confident steps forward.


"Your father has named me in his will and since he has no sons everything he owns will go to me. Including you. I would think long and hard about your next choice of words, Aedia" Biting hard down onto the inside of her lip, she turned her gaze onto her surroundings, watching as the trees and fern gently swayed in the wind, and the songbirds danced and dived between the tree branches.


And then suddenly, time seemed to slow, as Aedia thought about what her mother would want for her, just as a small ray of sunlight managed to fight its way through the leaves of the trees above her, passing over her face and pinned back hair.

As Aedia's mother had died when she was still very young, she had never known much about her, and remembered even less. But she knew, that despite her father's best intentions, she would marry who she chose and that somehow everything would work itself out. 


"Dymas" His eyes lifted to meet hers, as she clasped her hands together and took a deep, reassuring breath in.


"I know that you want to follow my father's wishes, I also know that you have always been close since you were children. The world is not going to change fast enough for me to be able to inherit this house, my father's farm, or any of his belongings, for I am only a girl." Inching closer to him, she grew bolder, more confident in herself. He would not threaten her and get away so easily. 


"But it is changing fast enough so that I don't have to marry you. You are not related to my father, therefore, you have no control over me. You do not say who I marry and you do not say where I live. That is for my uncle and cousins to decide. Now I know that they want me to marry for love, that has always been their wish for I am very fortunate to have a family that accepts me for being a girl." 


"So do not think for one minute that I am going to let you blackmail me into marrying you and that I think anything of your threats. Because believe me now, I may only be a girl but my family would never let you force me to marry you, and that is the only way I will ever be your wife. Upon my father's death, you can have the house, you can have the farm...the slaves, even the cows, but you will never have me" For the next few moments Dymas simply stared, a frown on his forehead and disbelief written all over his face. Due to her father being an ex-Greek soldier Aedia had always been strong and that was not about to change. 


"Do not think I will forget this, Aedia. This is only the beginning" With a whirl of his red robes, he turned and stormed off back down the rocky hill, muttering curses under his breath as he went. Making her way back to the house, Aedia ignored the curious gazes that the slaves sent her way as Adonia stepped outside into the heat, lifting a hand to shield her eyes from the sun as she followed the disappearing form of Dymas. 


"What happened?" She asked, her eyes moving to Aedia questioningly. 


"I turned him down"




© 2017 AliceBarnes



Author's Note

AliceBarnes
Hi! So I'm back. Since going back to college things have been really busy, and the past few months there has just been very little time to update. I have really been itching to update this story so I hope you enjoyed this chapter and please feel free to leave a review. Thanks for reading!

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Added on October 8, 2017
Last Updated on October 16, 2017


Author

AliceBarnes
AliceBarnes

Bristol, South west, United Kingdom



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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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