Waking with sunrise, Penthesilea stood up and stretched her limbs. As she knew she would need all of her strength this day, she went and got a meal Haimon had made the day before. He really wasn’t good at cooking. At all. If only she had the means to buy another slave who was more experienced in such things! This way, he would have to learn how to prepare meals that not only were eatable but enjoyable, too.
After her small breakfast, she set out for the drill ground. As expected, no one was there yet so she could take the time to explore the place where she would train the young warriors. Nothing special, rather small in comparison to the broad area she was used to from her home tribe. But one could work with it. Some punching bags, free space in order to show some moves and engage in training fights, a swimming pool to enhance stamina and a building with bath tubs to wash oneself after an exhausting day.
While she still was doing her warming up, Serkon arrived followed by two other men, one of them muscle-bound. She finished her push-ups to welcome them properly.
“Good we arrived in time. I wanted to be the first one to greet you at our drill ground which is yours now, too. But I didn’t assume you would come so early.”
“Early? It’s long since sun has risen.”
“Usually, we come here in the afternoon, settling our affairs at home first. Today will be different, though. The others will be driven here by their curiosity to see the woman that will train our warriors from now on.” He gave her a conspiratorial look. “See whom I brought.”
His finger pointed at the muscle-bound guy. “Goron is my bodyguard. If nothing else helps, he’s going to scare off everybody so we won’t have to dirty our hands.”
“If we indeed get into a situation like that, I’ll be fine taking care of it by myself.”
“As you wish. The other guy,” he pointed at a small skinny one, “is Arenos.”
“Doesn’t look like a warrior at all”, the Amazon stated matter-of-factually.
“That’s what we wish to change.” Arenos didn’t seem to appreciate his kings wish.
“My king, look.” Goron directed our attention to two other arrivals.
“Surprise,” Serkon commented ironically while turning around, “Arythions are here, too.”
The man approaching the little group wore a grim mien on his sharp-featured face and was in the great shape of a fighter. A youth that had come with him stopped at the other end of the drill ground. Fearlessly, the Arythion withstood Serkon’s derisive gaze although the Dekanos’ leader had to be much higher in rank.
“We always come,” he responded. “But unlike you, we don’t need to be the first. And you must be the woman meddling in men’s affairs.” He eyed Penthesilea suspiciously. “You’ll have to convince me and I justly doubt your ability to do so.”
And with this words, he left to the youth. Goron shared a knowing gaze with Arenos who had already resigned in expectation of his training.
“They will never give up. It would do no good to their tribe’s honor.”
“And reinforcement is about to arrive,” the other one nodded towards the drill ground’s free side. Two more young men joined the Arythions.
“Echion,” Serkon spat out. “Enjoys a good reputation concerning his physical skills but never got anywhere. That’s everything one has to know about a man. And this one is definitely embittered because of the lack of recognition. It speaks volumes that Evandros has allowed him to lead his warriors today. Kind of a last test and I’m not actually sure for which of you both.”
“Did he bother you?” The four men seemed to have appeared from nowhere. Their spokesman addressed Penthesilea directly. He had the great charisma of someone who knew he could rely on his strength. At first, she was stunned: all four had light blond hair and three of them fair eyes. “We would be honored to take care of him.”
“No need of this,” Serkon interfered quickly.
“Thank you for your generous offer. But I can handle this myself.”
“Be assured of our help if it will be necessary. Tribe Borathion is at your command. King Boras sent us here.” A smile stole to Penthesilea’s face.
“Boras is a kind and noble man. Who is it I am speaking to?”
“My name is Phineas, representative of King Boras. The young ones are Taunus and Aias along with Iasion, second in command.” Still amazed by their bright hair and eyes, the Amazon nodded.
“Surely, we’ll get along well. Do you know if anyone’s still on their way?” It was Serkon, still highest in rank, who answered her question.
“Tribes Arythion and Borathion are here, mine as well. Vauros simply has no young men except its heir who has other duties. Same with Chonar whose only warrior is their leader himself. And Orcheon won’t attend, Zeuxippe will see to that. So no other groups are to be expected.”
She would have to deal with that queen later on for she was defying any authority Penthesilea had eked out of the Council of Nobles.
“According to this, we can proceed to training at last?”
Phineas turned to his second in command. “Did you hear, Iasion? Make sure that they work out properly but don’t overexert themselves. They might need their strength if the Arythion causes trouble.”
“You know we would enjoy putting this braggart in his place for his unbearable showing off.” In spite of his bold words and slender yet tough build, Penthesilea doubted the young man would be able to take Echion on.
“Let’s begin with the training,” she announced openly to the other leaders.
Suddenly but not unexpected, Echion barred her way.
“Never will the Arythions attend an ordinary woman’s orders.”
Lot (Drill ground): "Natural fit" by Mortelena