8th Anthesterion, Mylasa
We are camped at the gate of Mylasa, and Apollion brings a strong force to issue the demand to Ileus.
As my eye alights on the wall of the city my pulse quickens, and I find an unreasoning dread in me that among those who may approach for parley is one slender figure but he is gone, I know, in rapid retreat to his his fastness at Halicarnassos, to prepare his host to meet us in battle. I know Mithradates intends to resist. It would seem Mylasa was undecided, but my choice to bring great force to bear may sway them soon. I pen my strongest demand to them, with mention of the supply trains Nearchus has intercepted from the coast, that were their food supply to withstand me.
Ileus delays answer a night, and Philotas, newly leading my hypaspists to replace Seleuccus, chased to ground a messenger leaving Mylasa heading southwest. Their reinforcements will not be forthcoming.
This night another celebration of Gamelia, and this time I declare the holiday Gamelia Mylasion, after the peak we have mounted to lay siege. Several of the Trojan women are visibly with child -- how can this be? I wondered, until Paulos explained. It has been three months in total since the surrender at Troya, these wives, already pregnant from their previous men, I learn, are more desirable thus, because they are proved fertile. Thus my men will rear as son or daughter the offspring of an enemy fled, or killed, or sold as slave.
I have had desire to take Schera to wife, tonight, but am warned off by the memory of the events when Philip took his concubine to wife, and his leaders turned against him for his impropriety. Her station is not high enough, and she is, in the eyes of my leaders, a barbarian, and a barbarian priestess moreover, of some hostile religion; perfectly suitable for copulation, perhaps for healing, but not more. While they heartily approve of my new choice of mate, whom they do not fear as they feared the power of Hephaestion in both bed and council, their feelings against the station of my concubine forbid it.
Thus, I refrain, with regret, and due to her bleeding, I leave her be, and spend my night alone in contemplation, in preparing possible strategies for open battle if Mylasa gets relieved by Mithradates' cavalry during the siege. When I lay abed I fell into reverie, and remembered Chaeronea, briefly, and again, Granicus, when the Persian leader Spitamenes split my helmet in two from off my head with his axe, a blow dealt during the melee that would have felled a normal man, and left me standing, briefly, and his other chiefs encircled me to end me. I never felt so alive as in that moment, when I knew myself as king, and the object of all the hatred and wrath of my enemy. Had not black Cleitus struck Spitamenes' very arm from him, a second blow to my skull would have ended me for all time, and left my monument hard by that of Achilles. As it was, I swooned completely, fallen on the ground, and my men fought over me as though they were avenging my very death. I felt so different in that battle; and I longed again now my lust rose with, as I recalled the smell of dust and the cry of screaming horses, the clash of spears; I was provoked with desire, and my breath came quick in me, my heart tripped and I grew aroused and rigid. The god came upon me then and I had a vision of a battle, an intense struggle against terrible numbers, and in the press I screamed in blood lust for my enemy, and encircled him, and laid waste with all my numbers and the spears and javelins raised in concert by the phalanges that flanked me in my charge - and I was fully alive, wholly aroused. As the thrust of my fantasized revenge was loosed, I spent myself suddenly, and slept for many hours. I was like one dead, and when I woke, it was to greet the grey-eyed morning that promised a spring rain.