4 Anthesterion, on the road to Miletus
I flee. I rise now from a vision in which all is made plain to me. As much as I wish to linger over the fond memory of the night spent in the arms of Mithradates, this hurried note will convey, while I rest along the mean track, the sharpness of the moment for me, for I am convinced that, for my position and my leadership, for the success of this invasion, I must not again make such adventure, and that I have committed a grave offense to the god. For this I ask what sacrifice I must make, and am told:
For this defiance, and seduction to pleasure, will I see the death of all I hold dear. And for this, I will be forced to abdicate my leadership before any true empire is founded from my loins, and I will not prevail to history. My line will die with me. My grief is profound, and yet there is the coldness of justice in it. I did not heed my god, and yielded once again to Dionysion, and this is my cold reward.
I plead with Ares, and with Zeus, to have pity upon one who erred no more than Zeus himself in his pursuit of Ganymede. However, I know with the certainty of the coldness that envelopes me in this early dawn, that it is not my adventure with my enemy that offends the eyes of the god, but the risk in so doing, that I have made to my countrymen, to my mission, and to the army. In this, I deserve all the wrath, and concession of my place to one more worthy to lead. Parmenion was right: these risks, if known, would cause my leadership to fail; and when it is eventually discovered, my leadership will fail.
This I have learned in vision. I write this as smoke of the sacrifice rises into the dark and cloudy dawn - I am still several hours from the camp we made at Miletus, and can ride no more for now, for I spent the night waked, in the bed of this uncanny man, and learned things of myself and my own passion that I had so many times wanted to learn, but could not, in the clutches of my hated lover, Hephaestion; all of what is broken in me, and what, whole.
My assignation was not what I expected, nor what lay in the idle fantasy of dark night; but something both more sinister and more revelatory of what I am; what I truly am. Since I cannot rest, nor sleep, the passion and the pain of the god has sundered me from sleep, and all the evidence of sleeplessness is in the tingling of my limbs, and the vagueness of my eyes as they scan the horizon, a certain lack of attention that comes and goes. And a lingering soreness from the rage of excess lust, which slaked my passion entire. And the vision that follows which leaves the future empire in ruin.
First was my turn, from the slight tendernesses that opened, there emerged from me a rage of rapine - that was his desire to have of me -- and only a few times had I had this rage on me with my love, to subdue him; and only those times had I seen this glimpse of myself as conquerer in sexual terms; the mere reflection of that I felt with Scheravasana in the night before the battle at Samos. His were different, here was my enemy at large, taken by stealth, and in my power entire. His desire made him my slave, and his attraction to me was as much for my learning and culture as for the shape of me. The wound upon my collar, still ripe, intrigued him that I lived so close to violence that was for him, mere theory, and many times during that endless night his hand wandered to the place where my shoulder was marred, and caressed it, the symbol of my violence, to match the rage of unfulfilled desire that poured itself into him.
But there was more than this, far more, for as I loved to talk my way through passion, so did he, and when our bodies were spent we lingered in deep study of the empire he served, and which I opposed. We were both comrade and enemy, allied together by desire, but more -- a common belief and common theory; for he well knew the ancient theories of warfare, though he had little experience of same, and shared with me all that dogged him about the poor politics and strategies of his new emperor, Darius. These I was fascinated to learn, nearly as much as learning the depth of my own desires.
Now the morning rises fast and I lose my stealth. There is no time for beard to grow again, and as I plan my reapproach to the camp I must rely upon the anonymity of my mean clothing, rumpled with use and travel and sweat, to conceal me in the rough terrain as I resume my place. My original plan is to reapproach by way of the campfire of Schera, who will use her own divine method to know when to await me. More on the morrow, when I have rested.