When she was done with Haimon she sent him down to his basement room.
Never would an Amazon spend a whole night with a man that she hadn't taken before the Goddess to be her consort. With a free man, maybe. As she had never been with one she couldn’t tell. Where she had lived the only men had been slaves. Sighing, she stood up to lock Haimon up as she was sure he would still seize the chance to flee during her sleep.
Time flew. It took moons for the Amazon queen to settle in her task and to be recognized as their teacher by almost all of the warriors. Still, most stopped attending the training with Echion as the first of them. Soon Simachion was the only Arythion who attended regularly, sometimes bringing along young Praios or his friend, Amphion. But the latter one wasn’t made for the hard training Penthesilea imposed on the men.
No woman of Zeuxippe’s tribe ever appeared at the drill ground.
A greater surprise was that Phineas of the Borathions didn’t show up any more. However, the other three adult male members of his tribe still came. Serkon kept coming, too but left his two clansmen at home. Goron was supposed to guard the king’s possessions and Arenos had eventually succeeded in convincing his leader he would never become a warrior. His many failures in training had probably done their part, too.
Anyway, the queen was grateful for Serkon’s support even though she didn’t need it with the few warriors who still remained. But it gave her kind of a legitimization for what she was doing and the time they spent together made her look upon him as her best – and until then only – male friend. It was a somewhat weird feeling to have a man as a confidant. Not that she knew many women to befriend in her new home, anyway.
Then, she was invited to a celebration in the Sea God’s temple.
“It’s for everyone”, Serkon explained. “The only reason is to meet members of the other tribes with the hope of some of the young people to find a spouse. We’re always having lots of fun even if we don’t take it serious. But usually, there are far more men than women.”
“So you’re hoping I would help out and balance this a bit?”
He laughed heartily. “Sure I’m not the only one.”
“Well, I think I’ll attend. I can’t leave you men alone.”
When they got to the temple after training in the afternoon, Penthesilea was surprised.
“Quite an impressive building considering the size of your tribes.”
“Arythions run it, mostly. They still have huge reserves.” But Serkon appeared to be proud of it as well. “Let me introduce you to the priest. He’s one of the most powerful men and certainly the second powerful in whole tribe Arythion what makes him Evandros’ right hand.”
Having spotted the guests, the priest was already on his way to welcome them.
“My, my! If this isn’t Serkon having found a girl at last!,” the man said smirking while his green eyes flashed.
“Let me, Alexandros of Arythion, present you with the symbol of beauty and love in order to assure you the god’s blessing for your union.”
This went much too far and Serkon didn’t object but only stood by, watching and smiling in a silly way.
She decided to accept the rose in order not to insult the priest or, even worse, the god himself. Nevertheless, she rolled her eyes up to the sky.
“Why, my lord, I am flattered.”
“But to tell the truth, there is nothing with Serkon and me. Or is it, Serkon?”
“My!,” the priest repeated. “She’s quite a bit to handle. Are you sure you can manage her, young king?”
Still smiling and somewhat proud, Serkon replied: “I’d be if she was my consort. However, she’s right. The god must have deceived you this time, Alexandros.”
The priest sighed, claiming he was disappointed. “Still, I hope you will enjoy this evening. Be welcomed by the great Sea God himself. May he lead you to find love today.” Bowing closer to her, he added: “And if one day you decide to taste the pleasures he provides, I’ll be here. I’m a patient man.”
“You better,” Penthesilea countered, already leaving to join the other revelers, “because you will be forced to wait forever.”
She found Zeuxippe with some of her women and knowing it would be better to assure of their support in the council, she went over to greet them as the first ones.
“See who comes there.” The other queen spoke to her clanswomen when she saw Penthesilea approaching. “A princess believing she’s a queen only because a king woos her.”
“Is it because of Serkon that you give me a hard time? I haven’t asked him to befriend me.”
“Oh, so he came to you all of his own? Congratulations, my dear. Your charms have worked well.” Her women sneered as she clapped in feigned approval.
Although Penthesilea had planned to keep calm, Zeuxippe managed to enrage her by exposing her in front of the other Amazons.
“Do not envy me because he chose me before you. As I have already said, I never asked him to be nice to me. He just was. Certainly, there is a reason that he is not to you.” All of a sudden, Zeuxippe ended the cruel game, too.
“You have no idea, have you? Coming here and have everything thrown at your feet. All men going mad as soon as you appear. Forget Serkon. I’ve never been after him, he’s too patriarchal for me. No, you pull wool over their eyes and they don’t even notice it. That’s what makes me furious.” Penthesilea turned around, not willing to listen any longer.
“I have had to struggle too in my life. It is hard to be younger sister to a creator heiress. You should not be jealous about it.”
Pose by Mrs.Nobody
Lot (Sea God’s temple): "Poseidon temple" by floschumue