The ship sliced through the water with ease. Before I knew it, the Capital was looming over my head, Athinia.
The walls were marble, looking gold in the light of the sun. It supported a huge harbour brimmed with boats coming in and out. The acropolis was massive, rising like a beacon into the air, the temple was clearly visible even from here with its gigantic columns and steps and slightly further back, the Kings palace and courtyard.
I approached the harbour, nodding at the workers who took in my ship, helping me tether it to a port and guiding me into the city. The entrance took on a u shape, the walls continued to the very tip of the water but there was a large indent allowing for a great oak door. Two guards stood in full, King's Guard uniform sporting gleaming bronze armour, sword and shield with a blue horsehair helmet.
There was a call from the guard closest to me. Then silence.
Suddenly there was a clinking of gears and the doors opened inwards.
We took a marble path, several rich villas lining the roads. Guards on foot, nobles on chariots, messengers and merchants walked the streets. The atmosphere hummed with the air of importance and business, but moer prominently was the smell of fear derived from the all to well known war and threat of invasion.
It was saddening.
Slowly the pathway curved as it ascended towards the acropolis.
Two bronze statues of two Gods Zeres and Hara stood before marble archways. Past these, the Temple robbed me of my breath as it always did.
Reluctantly I went beside this and into the palace courtyard. There were two more Guards that nodded as I passed. The scent of fruits and exotic plants filled my nose. There were two long pools, narrow pools that took up the perimeter of the path.
Upon entry, we were led through a marble hallways and into the throne room.
It was simply furnished, more pillars, a long red rug that led to a platform holding two thrones.
"King Theophilus," I bowed to the ground.
"My dear friend, it is good to see you once more," he smiled happily and stood up and moved to a door. I got up and followed him.
He led me into a dining hall and sat down at the head, the queen took the opposite seat. A servant led me onto a seat somewhere in the centre.
"You know of why you are here I trust," he sighed tiredly, "if it were up to me we would not be having this war, but unfortunately the Magi make that impossible," a servant appeared bringing a large platter of olive bread and cheese, a second bringing a jar of wine, filling up our goblets.
"They are relentless," I nodded in agreement and took a bit of bread.
"Indeed they are, and we are running out of soldiers-"
"-This goes beyond just me doesn't it," I muttered, slight anger in my voice, he sighed again, "this will tear your beloved kingdom apart, you may have a civil war if you are not careful."
"Yet conscription is the only way I am afraid, but that is not what I wish to talk to you about however important your advice is to me, as it has always been in the past," that wasn't completely true, "you know I need you back out there fighting, therefore you are to go to the front line but first I must ask you to visit the leaders of Thessalian and Willowin," he took a sip of wine, not touching the bread. I took this oppurtunity.
"Please milord, I cannot go to the front line, my wounds still hinder my training, I am much too weak and my wife... is pregnant," he frowned deeply and placed his hands on the table.
"Unfortunately I am unable to give you any more time, full fitness will return in time but injured or perfect matters little to me now, please, you must visit them, we must push them to create and army so great even the Magi cannot stand against it... you must make an assault on Knoss," his voice had risen higher and higher.
"Attack the motherland of the Magi, but that is insane, we will be slaughtered!"
"Pre-empitve action is the only course of action available to us right now, attack them before they attach us and destroy us!"
I finished my bread and stood up.
"I have no say in the matter?" I asked hotly. he shook his head in reply, "then I shall leave now."
I stormed out of the palace, out of the Capital, into the wilderness.