Desmondius bathed in the crimson liquid that surrounded him, this was it. This was his christening, born into the world of violence and war. He held up his arms in victory. It was glorious. A valiant cry rose from the lips of all Spartans gathered around them as they brandished their weapons to the blood-red skies.
The battle had been won, but the war raged on.
He ripped his sword from the chest of the Athenian that lay at his feet and sheathed it, before walking with his head held high, his heart pumping pure adrenaline to his veins. He followed a few of the other crimson-clad warriors to the beach that lay a few miles from their town. They lay their shields on the golden sands and threw their cloaks away with triumph. The crystal water had become ignited by the falling sun and they bathed in the fires of their conquest.
The salt flowed into his wounds, causing a pain to shoot through his body. He did not care; he waded into the water with a grin plastered across his face. As they bathed away their adversaries’ blood and their own the water became stained with glory. Desmondius took a while to stare into the scarlet fire facing him before emerging from the ocean and gathering his possessions once more.
“Let this be a warning to all Athenians!” Desmondius cried to his fellow warriors, “Let these sands, now tainted with their blood, be a warning. Sparta will not fall!” His deep voice boomed through the dense air and all turned to him with similar looks of violent bliss.
“For Sparta!” They responded, once again brandishing their weapons and shields into the air. Desmondius would never forget this day. It was forever imprinted in his mind and it would mark the dawning of his life.
The warriors trudged back to their town, sharing their tales of valour in the previous battle, but Desmondius remained silent, focusing only on returning to the barracks and preparing for the next encounter. He, like many of the Spartans, knew of the war that raged on between them and the diplomatic Athenians.
The warriors had soon returned home, to Gytheio. A harbour town in southern Greece, it lies forty kilometres away from the capital city of Sparta and was Desmondius’ home-town. He trailed the streets in a speechless stroll, they were desolate and none were there to greet them as they returned.
“I expected a warmer welcome,” one man whispered behind Desmondius.
“Yes, but it is dark and we have no idea what has transgressed here while we were gone,” another replied solemnly.
Before long the cold walls of the barracks was in sight, only the faint orange glow of lanterns welcomed them home. The first few soldiers that walked through the arch headed to the mess hall to eat, while the others returned to their quarters to retire, as did Desmondius. He agreed that they all needed rest, and announced so. After all, he knew some news awaited them in the morning.