A/N: We're off to a great start, hopefully we'll get more feedback than we did last time. Again thank you to my coauthor DK and to my readers, enjoy, and please post reveiws. I don't know about DK but that's how I get my ideas. -Rei
Bion laughed among his syssitia brethren as they wandered the market square, all dressed in long white kilts, without shirts or sandals, their gleaming bronze spears and shields close at hand. It was a hot day in all of Lacedaemon, and the fires burning in the south only made it hotter. A sure sign that the season's crypteia was a successful one, he couldn't bring himself to be proud. As long used to the stench of burning flesh, and screams in the pitch of night as the Spartan was, he could never truly take relish in what was ordained he and his brethren were born to do.
For, Bion was a rarity in the sea of obedient swarms of Spartans. Bion, who was not really all that fare of face, or fierce of warrior, was however one of the most cunning in mind. And it was this cunning mind that led him into a disturbing revelation. All his life, he had been taught to do the right thing. That it wasn't enough to just know that it was the right thing, but he must do the right thing. And yet he did not speak out when it came time for his own crypteia, nor when he saw the very public and very abusive ritual humiliation of various Helots.
"They are slaves." He was taught from a very early age, "weak and thus inferior, Spartans have every right to them." This logic didn't make sense to a very intelligent seven year old, seeing as it was the Helots that worked the lands of Sparta, and still endured despite being subjugated. He had told his teacher quite innocently that if they were weak, the Helots would have never survived. His lashings were harsher then those of his agoge ever since. And quickly young Bion learned to keep his thoughts to himself, and obey swiftly and without question.
But now at the age of thirty two and in his second year of being a hoplite, the espresso eyed son of Chryses couldn't help the doubts niggling in the back of his head. "What are you thinking so deeply about Bion?" Abruptly the stocky man snapped out of his thoughts and looked to the most boisterous of his syssitia. Nikias was also the eldest of their' group. The only child born of his mother, Helen gave her son a truly fitting name with her dying breath. It was a shame that she couldn't be there to watch her victory become a true Spartan.
Bion shrugged off the dirty blonde's poorly concealed worry, "you know me well Nikias, sometimes, I just get lost in thought." Another of his group, Eugenios laughed as he called out, "aye and Nikias fears if you get too lost in thought, you might never return." Infectious laughter broke out amongst them. But just as suddenly their' laugher was drowned out by a howling wind. Automatically ever last Spartan brought their' weapons to bear. Even the women unsheathed their' daggers, backing their' little children behind them.
The sudden wind kicked up the dust blinding them. 'What in the name of the gods is this?' Most of them thought, trying to shield their' eyes while still hold their' weapons at the ready. It was only because of their' training that any of them were able to keep hold on the heavy arsenal. But just as suddenly the dust began, it ended. And the market was left a dusty mess. Angry confused muttering filled the air. This was the doings of a god, but which god, and why needed to be determined. And it was then that Bion noticed them. In the middle of the chaos of left in the storm's wake were five beings, because there was no way, despite their humanoid form, were they human.
Kane was still, utterly and completely so, even as he stared at the people surrounding him and his family. Everyone but them seemed to have weapons and each of the metallic menageries was pointed at the Calloways. Many would think the big red machine would immediately attack, fight his way out of a threatening situation, but Kane despite popular belief wasn't stupid. Stubborn as hell, yes, stupid? That was a resounding no. He knew all too well that if the sheer numbers wouldn't get him, various pieces of weaponry will.
"Take?" His brother grunted, stepping forward at his side in front of his wife and daughters. "You think they'd believe us if we said we took a wrong turn?" The amused yet incredulous look Mark bestowed upon him was all the answer the younger Calloway needed. "Me neither." Suddenly one of the guys holding the spears stepped forward and called out something that the demon in chrisom didn't understand. "It's Latin, he asked us who and or what we are." Taker furrowed his brow. "Mark, how good is your Latin?" Sara asked, making sure to position both their' daughters behind her. The big man scowled thunderously, "not good enough."
Bion watched the interaction between the two large beings, brothers by the look of things. The language that flowed from them was a strange one, it was unlike anything that he had heard, and it cemented the thought that they were indeed gods. Or rather, messengers of one of the gods. Besides him Nikias stood blinking, the beauty of the blonde haired woman, if that was what she was, had taken his breath away. She would make a fine female servant in his home, he was certain that he could find suitable places for the little ones. After all the only children that would be running around his home would be his own.
"Mark, I don't like the look of this." Sara said as she placed a hand on Marks arm. She could feel the curiosity and the animosity flowing off the people around her and it made her hackles rise. One of the half clothed men was staring at her as one would stare at a horse on the auction block. She could feel his eyes flick from her head to her feet and back again, only stopping to spend time at her breasts. She felt Mark tense besides her and knew that he had seen it too. This was looking to get ugly and fast.
"Mommy?" Chassie said softly as she tugged on the hem of Sara's chiton. "Yes Darlin?" Sara knelt down and pulled both girls in to her grasp, making sure that she kept her eyes on the crowd around them. "I thought you said that it was bad to play with knives." She said, pointing to the men and women surrounding them. "It is sweetheart." Sara said as she tried to restrain her smirk. "Then someone needs to tell their mommies and daddies. They could get hurt." The little girls' face was set in a serious mask and Sara heard both Mark and Glen snorting as they tried to contain their own humor at her statement.
Glen looked over and couldn't help it; the complete innocence of his niece coupled with the seriousness of the situation had him in stitches. His laughter exploded in a bark and was followed by deep bellied guffaws. The mass of people around them shrank back and looked on in fear. The mask muffled some sound, making it sound a little deeper and demented than it really was. Besides him Mark was shaking his head. Only his brother would find something funny about what they were facing. Although with Glen laughing, Mark didn't have to worry about him attacking with little to none provocation. He'd never admit it, but he still thought that his brother was terribly unbalanced.
Mark looked around the crowd and his eyes landed on one that was watching them interestedly. He was of average height with those around him, light brown hair and dark brown eyes. It was his eyes that held Mark's attention. They were wise beyond their years, and held an intelligence that Mark had seen in few others. The spear and shield in his hand seemed ridiculously out of place and he looked like he would rather be in a library or hall lined with scrolls learning everything they had to offer. The youth next to him had Mark grinding his teeth as he watched him check out his wife as she comforted their daughters. He knew that look well, hell he'd seen some of the other wrestlers stare at her so.
But at least they waited until they thought Mark wasn't around to do so. "Are you quite finished?" He asked as he turned to look at his brother, whom had dropped down to his knees during his laughing fit. Glen looked at him, his hair falling over his face and his eyes still sparkling with laughter. He drew in a breath and got back to his feet, sweeping his hair from his face as he did so. "So got a plan as to how we're going to get out of this?" He was still trying to catch his breath, making his voice breathy and slightly softer than normal. "I have no idea."
Even as the big men quipped back and forth, the Spartans were growing more and more agitated. Bion had yet to receive an answer to his question, and he wasn't blind to the lustful looks Nikias was shooting the flaxen haired creature, nor did he miss the suddenly dead stare focused on him from the emerald eyed one. The look wasn't even focused on Bion, and he still felt the shutter quake through his bones. And he wasn't all that surprised when Nikias flinched. Oh, he didn't retreat, that particular reaction was beaten out of each and every one of them since childhood. But he did flinch, which said a lot about the red haired giant standing before them.
Quickly Bion focused his attention on the larger of the two monstrous beings and nearly flinched himself when he was confronted with a red and black visage, and mismatched gaze. They were no less hostile than his counterparts, only made slightly more frightening by the fact that one of his eyes while slightly more humanistic night blue, the other was the iciest shade he'd ever seen. Suddenly the red haired one spoke one word in barely decipherable Latin, "lost." And just like that the dark skinned Spartan's brain started up at warp speed, putting the pieces together with the precision of a computer in the distant future.
Seeing his brother in arms nodding to himself, Eugenios scowled, "you want to share with the rest of us Bion." Bion fought back a blush. "They're lost, think about it, obviously the red haired one is the only one that even remotely understands our language and they are just as confused as the rest of us. I think we should take them to the Ephors." The market was quiet, listening to the cunning Bion was famed for. Nikias was disappointed, with the logic that his fellow Spartan presented, there was no way he would be able to steal away the golden skinned creature from her red haired keeper. "What of King Anaxandridas, will he not be informed?"
Had he not been trying to outwit him, Bion would have applauded his friend for his sudden cunning. Anaxandridas would never believe any story like that without seeing it with his own eyes, meaning they would have to split the unwitting intruders up. Bion had no idea who or what these creatures were, but he wasn't about to let them be the subject of Spartan cruelty with his quilt already smarting from the rancid smell of charring flesh still fresh in the air. Finally nodding with a smile Bion turned his attention back to the five that unwittingly were about to change their' world.
As soon as the man turned half pleading half apologetic eyes on him, Taker knew he wasn't going to like what was about to happen. The olive skinned bookworm pointed to himself, then to him and his eldest daughter Chassie, and then toward the sprawling city behind them. "See the king." He said very slowly, very precisely. Then the dark eyed spearman pointed to his wife, brother, and younger daughter. "See Ephors." Twin growls thundered loudly in the otherwise still air. Kane might not understand the words, but he was the master of body language.
Sara held her two little girls close, more frightened than any self respecting Texan would admit to. She too understood what the people still holding weapon at them intended to do. And she know that both her husband and brother would do anything and everything in their' power to prevent it from happening, but the odds were stacked against them a little more than usual. It could prove fatal any of them resisted. The bonze diva didn't even what to think about what would happen to Chassie and Gracie in a place like this.
But before she could move to interfere, Mark's voice boomed with the command of a thousand long dead kings, "No." Immediately the one with dirty blond hair moved forward, his gleaming spear thirsty for immortal blood. He was joined by many others. Bion let out a vile curse and turned on his cohorts, "stop, Nikias they are not enemies of Sparta." The taller warrior's gaze didn't waver from its intended target, "that has yet to be determined." It was all his friend could do not to find a wall to beat his head against.
Meanwhile Sara shoved herself in front of the two behemoths that were currently ready to rip their' unwitting host to shreds. "Mark, Glen, don't you go doing someth'n stupid." Just as Nikias's gaze didn't waver neither the big red machine nor the deadman's stare incline in the slightest. Sara became even sterner, even as her eyes all but begged her husband to understand. "Don't you dare leave your daughters and I here alone." She hissed urgently, desperately trying to avert the blood bath sure to follow. Finally those ethereal green gems she had fallen hopelessly in love with years ago focused on her. A promise was silently given, then they swung back to their' would be attackers.
Mark stepped forwards, knowing that maybe their only chance to find a safe way out of this mess. Chassie's hand was grasped tightly in his own, but as he thought about it, he figured that the trip would be quicker if he carried her. "Where are we going daddy?" She asked as she wrapped her skinny arms around his strong neck. "We're going to see the king." He said as he nodded to the one that spoken to him. "The king? I thought they only existed in fairy tales." She questioned. "England has a king." Mark said as they started walking through the crowd. "Na-uh, they have a queen." She protested. "Well think of him like boss of everything. We have to have a meeting with him." He scanned the crowd, his muscles tightening in case he had to make any sudden movements.
"Like Mr. McMahon is the boss of everything Daddy?" Chassie wasn't sure how she knew but she knew that if she didn't keep her father talking then something bad would happen, so she tried to keep up an endless storm of questions. "Sweetheart Vince only thinks he's the boss of everything." Mark snorted as he pressed his forehead to hers, a minuscule grin on his face. Bion looked over his shoulder and watched the scene between father and daughter and found himself curious about their visitors. They looked like none other that they had seen, and their language was foreign as well. He wondered what stories of the world this tall green eyed giant could tell him, and what knowledge he had to share.