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The Siege of Aornos – Chapter 1

 
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MessagePosté le: Sam Déc 08, 2018 11:37 am    Sujet du message: The Siege of Aornos – Chapter 1 Répondre en citant

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The Siege of Aornos – Chapter 1

I, Episténe, being in the service of Alexander the Great III, wish to testify in the twilight of my life, about the fabulous events I sometimes witnessed, such as when the Macedonian army conquered Nicae and the shores of the Cophen, beyond the Paraponisades Mountains. None of us knew the remote and mysterious regions that we approached. Alexander and I liked to converse on the memories of Ctésias, or on the manuscripts of Herodotus, which constituted all that we could learn about.

The condition of our journey was desperately poor. The heat and the unhealthy air exhausted the soldiers. Humidity was a constant annoyance, and yellowish grime formed into masks on the faces of the soldiers, and the slightest scratch became immediately infected. Drinking water became scarce, and food became rotten after a few days. Some took fatal fevers that left them for dead. The hapless contingent moved forward on roads unworthy of the name, torrential rains that came at the end of each day turned them to quagmires.

And at last, one beautiful morning, we reached ancient Aornos, refuge of the Assacéne people, that our good king called his enemies. Four immense silver towers formed the corners of the fortifications that protected a unique city. The city was built on a hill. At its summit, one could see what had to be a temple, topped by a sort of minaret covered with gold and precious stones, which hung over the city itself, catching on the sides of the relief.

Alexander did a meticulous inspection of his troops, then made a captivating speech on self-denial and the public cause to raise their moral. He then met with his generals to discuss the strategy to take. The generals were agreed that a headquarters should be organized, and Alexander made this remark full of common sense: “We will throw a few cannonballs to let them know that we are here. That would take care of the catapults!” And so it was done according to the will of the sovereign.

Our enemies responded to the first salvo in a very peculiar way. We saw, coming in our direction, a group of three riders that constituted a delegation of Assacéne. One of them went straight to Aristotle, the tutor of Alexander, and a man of incredible wisdom, and since these events, a man whom I believe to be holy. He fixed a look on our philosopher and made this speech: “We have awaited your coming. The Great Manitou, the Cosmic Snake, prophesied your coming.” Then he addressed himself to Alexander in distressing terms: “Sovereign of Macedonia, you will destroy Aornos very soon, but before we can accomplish the Great Design, we must show Aristotle our city and how it works. When he returns you will be able to begin the assault.” Alexander, fearing a trap, declared his distrust, but Aristotle said to him: “If I do not satisfy my curiosity, I cannot die in peace.”

Alexander: “But if you go there you will die sooner.”

Aristotle: “If I do not go, I will die later, but much worse than to die, I would die unsatisfied. In either case, I am dead.”

Alexander: “That is how you see it.”

That was not without raising my curiosity. I discreetly asked my king if I could follow the philosopher in his visit. My request was accepted and the Assacénes did so as well.

_________________
His Excellency the Most Reverend Monsignor Prof. Dr. theol. Policarpo von Wittelsbach
Bishop of Würzburg
Archabbot of the Abbey of Heiligenbronn
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