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TROJANS WERE A PITEOUS BUNCH.

Andronika knew well of their city's structure, of their great ruler Priam and the dozens of sons he fathered, of the insolence Paris disgraced his people with. The gods that sided with them - Ares, Aphrodite, and Apollo - when joined together, became a feat to overwhelm. Yet, after ten fierce years waging battle against the Greeks with the force of the three greats on their side, the Trojans remained cornered in their woeful walls.

She could retell their bitter tale verbatim. Sarpedon perished. Patroklos, murdered by both Apollo and Hektor, foretold the latter's fated demise. Akhilleus, the great warrior and nearly immortal, was killed by a mere flesh wound nearby his heel. Still the Greeks prevailed, as determined by the gods and Moirai.

Andronika shook her head in disgust, crouching on her balls of her feet on the rocky outstretch that overlooked her grandfather's dwindling troops. With her staunch sword having been wiped clean hours before, she would have sent Akhilleus to the slaughterhouse if given the propitious opportunity. Blinded by something as simple as rage, he was swathed in the underworld's cold arms, welcomed by Hades.

But not her. Andronika would not fall as easily as the Trojans. She refused to succumb to death's clout. Not while her breast rose and fell with each certain breath.

"Dark-haired Andy, you've been relieved of duty," a stout man called from below. One of her grandfather's vestigial commanders, Akakios stood decorated in bronze mail and bright draperies to betoken the position. Barely her age yet twice the size of her, Andronika understood he was a force to be reckoned with.

For all that, he remained no match for her, daughter of Ares.

Mayhem was her calling. The quiet lull of peace was suffocating; the freshly-spilled blood of victims piling beside her boots, the crunch of human bones, the taste of freedom as she tore flesh from limb were intoxicating to the girl. And now, the frivolous immortals overhead would become her newest pawns.

"Please stop calling me that," she huffed, giving the teen a cold shoulder. "Akakios, I was positioned here by Lycurgus, son of Isocrates and my only grandfather. He entrusted me with the post of guarding the west flanks, and until I receive word from him and only so, you shall not see the day in which I leave without just cause." Her sword's tip was planted in the earth's dry clay, and wind brushed dark strands of hair from her forehead.

Akakios sighed. "Remain level-headed, child. You've been tasked with gathering twelve ewes as an offering to the gods."

"Child? To whom do you refer to as a child?" Andronika squared her shoulders, slowly inching her sword out of the ground. Akakios caught sight of the subtle movement, and he too stood his ground, daring the girl to make a move. He knew not of her skill, as he had yet to face her in the turmoil of battle. She would be victorious, undoubtedly. He, however, would lie in an unmarked, earthen grave.

"To the hot-headed daughter of heavenly Irene, bloodthirsty as a starved lion prepared to pounce on a pack of gazelles," he spoke, hearty voice resonating in her ears. "Do not argue with the commands of Lycurgus, grandfather he may be to you. The enemy has prepared its next attack, which may be its final given we are at the end of our rope. Gather the ewes as offerings and pray to the war god. It is only with his assistance that we can prevail."

"You are a fool to think Ares would give a damn about the fate of our lives," Andronika spat.

"And you are like a stubborn bull, to scorn the gods that brought you into this world." Andronika laughed, a choppy sound carried by the cliff's rough winds. At that point her chest, veiled in a golden plate, was pressed against his own; she was tall and he was taller, but her courage was tenfold of his. Dark eyes screamed taunts and provoked the suppressed rage shared by only one god. But Andronika said nothing and turned her head, the warnings of Lycurgus echoing within her mind.

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