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A Call To Arms

A Short Story based on something I read about the Amazonian warriors from Greek Mythology

By M.N. NegusPublished about a year ago 10 min read
1
A Call To Arms
Photo by Some Tale on Unsplash

The salty sea air burned her nostrils like poison. Waves rippled against the vessel, splashing droplets onto her skin. The winds of Zephyr sent her bones shivering as she sat, exposed to the starry night sky.

Melanippe gasped. Every intake of breath reminded her that she was no longer on the beaches of Themyscira, but bound with rope on a hero's ship.

The hero. One wearing the pelt of a lion like a set of armor, divine blood flowing through his veins. It must’ve been potent with enough strength to strike down dozens of her sisters and their queen. Her queen.

The Fates were unkind to have set such a monster against them. He was like a snake in a beautiful garden. Their garden. He and his crew came to speak with Hippolyte, Queen of the Amazons, in all her regal glory. The snake slithered an arm around her shoulder, leading her away from the protection of her army to have a word with her. Alone. Whatever words were exchanged mattered not in the end, as his true intentions were brought to light by one of her sisters.

He has come to take the queen.

Melanippe hung her head, tears like fingernails scraping down her cheeks. She couldn't deny her sisters' valiant efforts to protect Hippolyte from the filthy hands of the foreigners, from the hands of filthy men, but at what cost? Perhaps the queen would still be alive had Melanippe been stronger. If she hadn't allowed herself to be captured by the beast of a man. The words he spoke still haunted her ears.

"Give me the belt, or I will take her life."

What else could the queen do but as he requested? What more could he have possibly needed? If Melanippe hadn't opened herself up to such an attack, then perhaps Hippolyte would still be alive.

In the end, it had been her fault. She should have died with honor among the rest of her fallen sisters, but The Fates would rather see her become a prisoner, stripped away from her home and everything she'd known. What would await her and her captive sisters once the boat reached its destination? Would they become slaves? Remain prisoners? Melanippe couldn't fathom what these so-called heroes would do with the four of them. She didn't want to. At this point, death even in the middle of the ocean, would be a welcomed mercy.

The boat continued on through the foamy sea as two men began to speak.

“We’ll be back on the mainland by sunset tomorrow,” one of them said.

“Thank the gods! I can’t wait to get off this wretched boat!” the other exclaimed, “My sea legs are only good for so long before I’m as sick as a dog.”

“Aye, and the sooner we get these women off the ship, the better,” the first man leaned forward, whispering something into the other man’s ear. Something Melanippe wasn’t able to discern.

After a moment, the woman watched as the men broke out into booming laughter. The sound was wicked and profound, like the sound of thunder crashing. Her teeth gnashed together as anger rose in her chest. The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them.

“You can’t sell us! We are Amazons, not slaves!”

The first man let out a sneer, his lips curling into a vindictive sneer.

“Oh, but can we?” he smirked, “We came to you lands in peace with our noble friend, and despite your queen’s request to lay down your arms, you attacked! Where was your gracious hospitality? Where was your respect?”

The man had sauntered closer and closer to the mast where Melanippe and the rest of the women were bound. His knees folded in front of her as he bent down to her level.

“Your sisters killed our captains! Poor Hercules is beside himself! No one was supposed to get hurt. Not even your precious queen.”

With a snap, he grabbed Melanippe’s face in his grubby hand, blood-stained fingers pressed into her cheek. He forced her to stare into the dark pits of his soulless eyes, leaning close enough for her to smell his stench.

“Everything that transpired happened because of you.”

Melanippe launched a wad of saliva into his face. The sudden act sent the man back on his heels, wiping the spit out of his eyes. Before she could relish in his reaction, her head snapped to the side with a slap. Pain pulsated across her cheek.

“When we get to shore, you’ll be sold last!” the man shouted, “You’ll watch as the rest of your sisters are sold off one by one to the men with the most coin! And when you’re the only one remaining, I’ll split your skull!”

“Enough, Telamon!”

A voice echoed through the dark, one that set Melanippe’s ears on fire. It was him.

“There’s no need to hit them. We’ve seen enough combat for today. We all mourn the loss of Queen Hippolyte and the rest of the women who died to protect her as well as Tiamedes. Let’s not add more to the list of souls sent to Hades today.”

The man called Telamon dipped his head, “Of course, Hercules.”

The boat fell silent once more, and suddenly, the weight of the grief fell upon her like the force of a tidal wave.

Incomprehensible.

Indescribable.

It was all she could do to keep herself from screaming. In one day, she had lost her family, her queen, and everything she knew.

Her honor.

Her pride.

Her warrior spirit.

This is what it felt like to lose.

Lose? Lose?!

Melanippe swiveled her head around, searching for the source of the echo, but no one had spoken. Perhaps she was finally going mad?

Melanippe of the Amazons, you have not endured for so long to give up now! Your queen, my daughter, would be disappointed to see you in this state.

Her eyes widened. Could it be? She recalled the stories from Hippolyte of her father, the mighty war god, Ares. Stories of epic battles and the rage that empowered the deity in combat. Stories of the gods aiding heroes in their quests, testing the boundaries The Fates had put in place. Surely, Hercules had received helped from them. He teetered at the edge of immortality, and it suddenly occurred to Melanippe how weak she truly was. Hot tears poured down her face.

You are not weak. You tasted defeat. It’s enough to make anyone angry, Ares spoke. The sailors kept maintaining the ship, unaware of the war god’s interference.

Something warm pressed against her cheek, as if to caress the tears away. Melanippe let out a gasp. She could feel his presence here, on this boat, invisible to the eyes, but not to her heart.

“Lord Ares…”

Shhh… I see your pain. I can feel it. I know your anger. I also know that you haven’t lost your warrior spirit. It’s still within you, caged, but present. So, what will you do with it? What will you do? Will you remain a slave to your grief or will you free your warrior spirit and fight?

“I… I can’t do this alone…” Melanippe stammered under her breath, “I’m… I’m not Queen Hippolyte… I don’t have her girdle, nor her strength…”

You’re not alone. Free your sisters, and you’ll be able to fight.

A moment of silence hung in the air.

I may not be able to interfere directly, but I can remind you of your rage. Embrace it and let it give you strength. Do. Not. Give. Up!

A gentle breeze brushed against her body. As Melanippe shifted her wrists against the mast, she could feel the ropes begin to loosen. Her heart stopped.

You’ll be sold last! You’ll watch as the rest of your sisters are sold off one by one to the men with the most coin!

The Amazons were one of the fiercest warriors in all the lands, not because of their physical strength or their weapons, but because they fought together. The women who’d been captured with her felt the same pain as she did. Their queen may be lost, but their spirits were not.

Melanippe continued to move her wrists, slowly but surely undoing the shifty knot that had held her for hours. Suddenly, she could feel the pressure release as the rope came undone. This drew the attention of the woman to her left, Lykopis.

Their eyes met, first in anguish, and then, in understanding. Melanippe gave her companion a tight nod as her fingers began to untie her wrists. Her eyes darted around the ship, ensuring that the men weren’t paying any attention to them. Once Lykopis had her hands free, she gave Melanippe a gentle nod and turned to her left to start freeing the next woman. Melanippe did the same, turning to her right to free Molpadia.

Footsteps began to pace across the deck. She watched from the corner of her eyes as Lykopis hastened her hands against the hemp binding Toxaris. One tug, and the final warrior was free.

“Hey! What are you doing?!”

With the rage of her fallen sisters, Melanippe launched herself at the first man she saw, fingers latching onto the sides of his head. Snap!

All at once, the boat erupted with a roar. Swords whooshed from their sheaths. Bowstrings snapped. Hands reached for her, but all she could feel was rage flowing red hot through her veins.

“Melanippe!”

The Amazon turned to Lykopis as she disarmed a man and tossed his sword in her direction. She quickly took hold of the hilt and swung. The blade clashed against another. Melanippe found Hercules at the other end of the sword.

“You’re making a mistake! This isn’t supposed to happen!”

The weight of the hero’s blade began to press against hers. Melanippe pushed back against his sword.

“We… will not… give up!”

With one final battle cry, Melanippe pushed back against his sword. Toxaris rushed behind the hero with a dagger, driving it into the man’s shoulder. He screeched in pain, and the women used the distraction to push him over the boat.

One by one, men were relieved of their weapons. One by one, men were thrown over the ship until it was only the four women standing.

The air was silent. A hand brushed against her shoulder.

“You saved us…”

“No…” Melanippe let out a shaky breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding, “it was our spirits that saved us. Just when we thought they’d been lost to us.”

“What will we do now?” Toxaris wondered.

As Eos signaled the beginning of a new day with the dawn, Melanippe felt a warm presence against her back. She closed her eyes, taking in the smell of the salty sea water.

“We sail back home.”

Short StoryFantasyAdventure
1

About the Creator

M.N. Negus

M.N is a mother, cosplayer, nerd, and writer. She loves Marvel Comics and creating fiction. She hopes to inspire others with her stories and success.

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  • Faisal Bilal11 months ago

    https://vocal.media/humans/the-renaissance-a-resurgence-of-human-achievement

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