The love of Padakles is my theme, that life-giving love which in fulfillment brought peace to the lands of the besieged Trojans and sent the Greek invaders sailing home over the salt sea in their beaked ships. Let us begin though, gentlefolk, with the first meetings of golden Padakles son of Peleus and his lover the hero Jensen Ackleites, son of Priam, before even great Zeus foresaw conflict turned to harmony.
Here in the Greek camp, the resourceful Trojan Jensen, beloved of Aphrodite, stepped hooded between the watchfires of the Greek warriors and spoke of home and grieving wives to his enemies, men who had camped for five years on a barren shore for the sake of an oath. Here too his enemy, quick-laughing, strong-armed Padakles, tirelessly encouraged his loyal Myrmidon soldiers, speaking of glory and gold. It was inevitable that, not recognizing each other in darkness, these two heroes beloved of the Gods would meet. Each night they met and talked, golden Padakles intrigued by Jensen's quick wit and wily Jensen, the lover of men, dry-mouthed and helplessly entranced by the golden Greek hero. Unknowing enemies, in the dark they were equal and equally unknown to each other.
The fire was embers, and Night's daughters clouded the sky with their dark tresses. Even the stars went veiled and the sounding sea washed hushed against the sand. Crouched by the ashes, golden Padakles, anonymous as a common soldier in his cloak and hood, fell into silence.
"You grieve for your homeland," the man beside him observed. "Your father ages. Your womenfolk mourn for you. Why, then, stay?"
"I swore an oath," answered Padakles, but his voice was slow.
"For another man's wife, who left her husband's bed willingly?" Under the hood of his cloak, Padakles' companion looked up. "You are a king in your own country," he said. "Here, you do another man's bidding. You hand over your slave girls to warm his bed and gift your hard-won prizes at his word. Did your father then raise you to bow your head at another's word?"
Rich as the notes of a soft-tuned lute and low as the call of a war trumpet, his voice stirred the golden Padakles. Aroused by the challenge of the other's words, Padakles' heart clenched in his breast, but true to his oath he answered, "We cannot all be kings here." His voice was harsh, and anger disturbed his limbs into reckless activity. Although Dawn had already risen from the bed she shared with her husband Tithonus, Padakles kicked the watchfire into fresh life, scattering sparks against the dark night. In their light his companion's eyes glinted green, and under the concealing folds of his cloak sharp-eyed Padakles caught the gleam of gold at his wrists and neck. Slow as he was to suspicion, even trusting Padakles knew that no common soldier wore a prince's torc or ivory inlaid greaves, and his blood ran cold in his veins, for his companion was dear to his heart and many were the nights they had spent in talk. Saddened, he said, "No Trojan would brave our sentries. And we have shared the same fire and the same wine-cup for many nights. Yet this is the first time you have talked to me of the war, and you hide your face as a man with something to hide. What is your name, stranger?"
Knowing that his disguise had failed, for a moment, his companion stilled. Then he put back his hood, and golden Padakles gazed upon a face made beautiful by the Gods. In all the nights they had sat by the watchfire conversing, this was the first time Padakles had been allowed to see beyond the concealing folds of his companion's cloak, and with that unveiling Cupid struck his arrow true through Padakles' stout heart. Fatal that wound and everlasting, foretold by the Fates from the moment Padakles son of Peleus came forth from his mother's womb. For the Trojan hero was beloved of Aphrodite and both noble and beautiful to the eye, and on seeing his face Padakles was struck dumb: his heart leapt within his breast and his lower parts stirred.
Swift on the flights of Cupid's dart came despair for the Greek hero. Rejecting dissemblement, his companion said proudly, "I am Jensen Ackleites, son of Priam, King of the Trojans. I am your enemy."
Long indeed were the minutes both heroes gazed upon each other over the dying watchfire, and Dawn's rosy fingers had brushed the sky crimson before great-hearted Padakles said, "I will not harm you. Go in peace. Do not return."
As the Trojan hero slipped away through the sleeping Greek soldiers, Padakles returned to the hut he shared with his boyhood companion Chaddeus, turned his face to the wall and lay in silence, his heart full.
Many were the skirmishes fought on the Trojan plain, and many were the souls of great warriors sent to Hades, but never did Padakles and Jensen Ackleites meet on the battlefield. Golden Padakles, even in his warrior fury and brave beyond telling, yet for the sake of friendship turned away from the paired black mares of the Trojan prince's chariot. Equally, wise Jensen, for the sake of Padakles' smile, turned his long-maned horses away from the golden gleam of the Greek hero's helm, glinting in sunlight as his strong sword arm hewed through the Trojan defenders. Many the bitter battle was fought, and many the gallant heroes lost to Hades' dark realm, but Padakles and Jensen Ackleites never again met by the Greek watchfires to talk of chess or horses or music as they had once done, finding respite from the years-long war in each other's company.
But golden Padakles could not forget the Trojan prince's words. His heart was full of longing for the green fields and gentle winds of his homeland, and he turned a critical eye on the Greek leader, Agamemnon. Padakles saw that Agamemnon lingered in his tent whilst other men fought, drank his wine unwatered and clung to his prizes, not gifting them to his brave warriors in the way a great king should. Quick to anger and hasty with his words, Padakles could not hold his tongue, and spoke up in the Greek council. Both men argued, and many Greeks were troubled by the truth of Padakles' words, although convinced that the war was just. After the quarrel, though, only Padakles, sulking, returned to the hut his beloved Myrmidons had built for him.
Thinking to cheer the disheartened Greeks, the friend of Padakles' childhood, his sword brother, Chaddeus son of Mikeleus, drew on his bronze armour and went out to battle with the Trojans.
Under the sword of the Trojan hero Hector he fell, his blond hair sullied with blood and his blue eyes sightless forever. Swift Hermes gathered up his soul and carried it to Elysium, there to feast with the heroes of old, but Chaddeus' body lay on the battlefield untended, stripped of his bronze armour by the victorious hands of the Trojan hero and left for carrion.When the news was brought to Padakles his anger was terrible to see. Riven with grief, he strapped on his great sword and, without even pausing for his golden armour, set forth to the field of battle. Long and fierce was his duel with the Trojan prince Hector: great was the rage between them, high their tempers, powerful their sword arms. When they fell together in strife the sound of their weapons clashing was as brazen as the scream of a harpy, and their red blood ribboned their skin as they fought. But it was Padakles, fearsome in his grief and anger, who at the last raised his sword and struck true, cleaving Hector's head from his shoulders in a single blow.
Half-mad in his grief and bitterly weeping, bespattered with gore, unconquered Padakles raised his voice to the heavens where the Gods dwelt and swore, "As he himself stripped and abandoned Chaddeus' body, so too will I treat Hector, Priam's son. In dust will he lie, and the dogs and birds of prey will make free with his flesh. Thus I swear to repay the Trojans for Chaddeus' death."
Above the Greek hero great Zeus witnessed his oath and grieved, for golden Padakles was beloved of the Gods. Dishonorable, though, was the oath Padakles swore over Hector's body, and the tears of gray-haired King Priam, riven with despair at the death of his son, softened Zeus' heart. In his wisdom he sent Hermes, messenger of the Gods, to Priam's son the wise Jensen Ackleites where he lay sleepless in his father's house within the great walls of the city of Troy.
"Arise," Hermes said to the Trojan hero. "Arise, gather your cloak, and walk forth. I will turn the eyes of the Greeks away. Go to Padakles, slay his grief, and bargain with him for your brother's body that your mother Hecabe may tend her son the dead prince Hector with her own hands and lay him honorably on his pyre, and your father's pity be assuaged."
Not stopping to question the God's words, the Trojan prince rose, strapped on his sword and drew on his cloak. As the God Hermes had promised, he walked unseen and unchallenged through the Greek camp until he came to the hut of Padakles. The noise of women keening rent the air, and the shouts of men preparing for the funeral games, but Jensen paused only to regard his brother's corpse. By the compassion of the Gods, Hector's body lay as fresh as dew, his wounds closed as if he lay sleeping. For many hours, beside his brother's body, the hero Jensen grieved.
At last he raised his head, dashed the tears from his eyes and went down to the shore. There he found, unsleeping as himself, the hero Padakles.
Only the Gods know what words passed between golden Padakles and wise Jensen on the Trojan beach. Heated in his anger and enflamed by Cupid's dart festering in his heart, Padakles was not gentle: Aphrodite's beloved, Jensen Ackleites, could deny the hero nothing. Between the sounding sea and the shore, rolling in the salt waves, Padakles took the Trojan prince over and over again as a man takes a woman, spending his grief in the hero's embrace. Equally, overcome by the golden Padakles, the warrior Jensen spread his strong thighs willingly and granted the Greek hero surcease, finding in the taking his own grief assuaged. At the last the two heroes slept under a single cloak, their limbs entwined and their breath mingled, and there great Zeus saw them and smiled.
Thus it was that, as Dawn approached on crimson toes, Jensen Ackleites of Troy, son of Priam, and Padakles of Phthia where the Myrmidons dwelt, son of Peleus, walked hand in hand from the beach to the Greek camp. Together, they instructed the women to clean and dress brave Hector's body, and then carried it to share the byre where brave Chaddeus lay in state, surrounded by the prizes of his sword arm.
It was Jensen Ackleites who called his father King Priam from the walls of the city where he stood tearing his gray locks in grief, and it was Padakles who took the old man by the hand, led him to the shared byre, and put the torch in his hand.
Amazed by the two heroes and united in grief, the Greeks and the Trojans participated together as equals in the funeral games of Hector and Chaddeus. Many were the contests fought and many the prizes won: many heroes, both Greek and Trojan, tested their prowess on the Trojan plain. Only King Agamemnon sulked in his tent, disconsolate and angered. Even his brother, Menelaus of the loud war-cry, Helen's husband, bestirred himself to walk among the Trojan warriors and feast with King Priam in the funeral pavilions. Many were the toasts drunk, many the friendships forged, many the alliances made, during the funeral games of Hector and Chaddeus.
None more so than that of Jensen Ackleites and golden Padakles, son of Peleus. Blessed by the Gods, shield to each other's sword arm, laughter to each other's heart, all men marveled at their happiness and wondered at such enemies made friends.
When the twelve days of the games were over, before the walls of Troy lined with brave warriors and the Greek heroes massed on the plain, under the eyes of the Gods, golden Padakles took Jensen, prince of Troy, to be his own. "As Paris took Helen from her husband's arms," he said, "So I take Jensen from his father's kingdom. Even as Helen will never see the green fields of Lacedaemon again, so too will Jensen Ackleites never again set his eyes on the walls of Troy. Lost to him forever is his father's face and his mother's embrace, as Helen will never again lie in her husband's arms."
Grave faced, clothed simply as befits a warrior, Aphrodite's beloved Jensen affirmed the Greek hero's oath. Drawing himself from his father's arms and leaving his mother weeping bitterly, wise Jensen Ackleites set his face from his home and sailed, never to return, on the ship of his lover Padakles to the country of Phthia. Along with them sailed, in their beaked ships, the Greek heroes, returning thankfully to their homes and wives with many golden prizes and an honorable alliance. Thus with his own body, Jensen Akleites, son of Priam, sealed peace between Greece and Troy, and to this day never again have heroes met in battle on the Trojan plains.
were the wedding rites of of Jensen Ackleites and Padakles, jointly
beloved of the Gods.