2. Alekis martyrdom

After the rituals of the dinner were over, I watched my father as he offered to the gods. With the left eye i glanced furtively towards Nikos sitting at the table with the priests. He gave me a small imperceptible sign with his eyes. It was the moment. He slipped out of the room, imperceptibly. Yesterday we had been at our secret cave, we had met quickly at the place of the village, slipped behind a bush to speak qietely. He had told me that his father had told him yesterday, out of the blue, that he had to leave soon, going to an apprenticeship with another priest far away up in the north. Holding together, kneeling behind the this small bush  in our improvised hide out, in the chilling evening wind of early spring, we had forsworn eternal brothership, had exchanged our blood, piercing the blood vessels of our left palms and rubbing both palms together. What we did not know is, that we had been spied by a follower of the high priest. The priest had set upon having us followed. They watched us, as we climbed the sleep stop to the cavern. We had promised each other to see us today while there were the festivities, and everybody was engaged elsewhere. What we did not know either, was that we were being watched. Nikos went straight to his secret cache. Then he took the steep way,  had to pass before the Zeus temple. A hooded person was standing before the entrance and singing hymns to the sacred forbears. When he saw nikos going along he gave a secret sign to a man who swang a whimpel. But nikos had changed his clothes, put on some clothes of mine and a hood which hid his head. We did this to exchange our personalities. From there emanated the terrible exchange which was the reason of all the following meddle. I could not leave the party so quickly, no possibility offered itself to me. Finally I took the only way open to me. I had to faint which was not difficult, as i get sick when i see too much blood. My father sighed and a nurse pcked me up. Everything had been planned meticulously. As soon as i was in my room, and the nurse gave me healing tea. I feigned to sleep. The nurse who had already sworn to all Gods as she thought she had been forced to renounce seeing her friend because of this brat, sighed  relieved to take a break and left me alone. Under the bed cover i changed into the closes of nikos and ran away jumping over the open window. Certainly the nurse would not come back till dawn and by then I would be safely back sleeping in my bed, I thougt. It was the last time we could be together. I had a longing after Nikos´ soft-skinned hairless body. Just to take his hot, panting body between my arms, kiss him everywhere, kneel down, suck his jack which I so much longed for. He would be hot and panting, after having climbed up to the riff looking over the greenblue waves of the sea. thinking about this, I stroll up the  steep hill, my bare feet feeling our paternal soil. It´s spring, and again a chilling wind is coming up, the sun has gone down We stand both on the crere, give each other warmth holding fast together. We kiss and exchange our last presents, I, a shell where you hear the nymphes singing as the sea waves. When suddenly i hear a loud cry by nikos and my limps are bound together, a acid liquid is thrust down my throat. a hard object strikes my hind head, and a loose conscienceness.
The four hooded men pack each one of the boys into a linnen bag. They make one cross where alekis is and a circle where nikos is.
Two of them took the pack with the circle, the other two the one with the cross and took good by. The two carrying the cross signed bag followed the cliffs for another twohunderd meters, then crossed a small denture leading into the interior of the country. They took the bag down than slided it down for a one hundred meters on the fine sand of a steeple mule way. On a small even terrace a primitive ox cart of a peasant was waiting. The bag was slipped under the onian load and the peasant was sent away to the tross of the ennemy´s camp. The two hooded person took of their hoods, set on their small ponies and rode towards the frontier. The other two carried bag on their shoulders down the steep slopy way down to avoiding to approach the palace, down through the oak woods to the zeus temple. They took them through the back door directly down the cellar, into a small reduit and issued. Ten minutes later Nikos the elder came down the cellar steps, smiling and whispering. His slave opened the bag, then shouted and recoiled. Nikos went to the bag, thrust the body out of the bag, and, looked directly on the severed head of his son, his sloat cutted. He went white in the face, then swore, pushed the whole body into the bag. Loaded the bag onto his shoulders and went down another flight of secret stair down to the secret gangway than on hands and knees pulled the bag behind him, through the low secret gangway which led to the bridal chamber. He led his son´s corpse down and the double axe who had been kept in a richly carved oaken chest, wetting it with blood from his son and laying it besides the corpse of his son. Then he advise the supervisor of his slave, whose vocal cords had been cut through, to fill up the secret gang with earth.
He himself set on his fastet horse and rode the whole night till he encountered the oxcart where Alekis was been carried. Nobody of the guards of the palace seemed to have noticed anything.
I woke up, all my limps ached, in my head there was a loud waterfall, I felt completely dumb. Several minutes elapsed till I realised that I was standing, roped by my arms upheld behind my head. The rope tore in the flesh of my wrists. My feet we fastened by tight ropes and I was forced to pull my ass backwards, to stand in a halfsitting position, my feet fastened to something feeling like cold iron with the rope biting in the thin flesh of my ankles, so deep that I felt the rope biting into my bones. My body was so tensed, I tried to slide back with my heel. I felt a hard ridge and no further soils under it. I shivered. Contorting my body I tried to look straight under me. A black hole was there and a kind of damp warm mist immerged from this crevice. it was smelling of some foul rotten substance and now I realized why I was so tired dizzy in my head. I was constrained to remain for an eternity in this painful posture and the gases emanating from the earth brougt me into a stance. I was certainly in  a cave which had been inhabited by remote forbears. My father had shown me such places which were holy. Where was I? I remembered now, how I had been hit on my head and in the stomach. Had lost consciousness. And awoke now, bound like one of these dears painted on the wall of the cave. Who had attacked me? What had become of Nikos. What did they want with me? I remembered having heard by some  young warriors who had taken parts in one of our last large raids to secure our frontiers, that in the wilderness of the mountains there lived such barbars who ate human flesh.  Later on i got on very good terms with one of these. And once we had taken our hide out in the woods and he lay there, i wriggling my body between his arms, rubbing the skin of my thighs on his nice dark skin, he told me more about his experience. I was feeling so proud that i had such a courageous friend, I, who faint by the slightest drop of blood, I, who prefer  listening to stories told by the elder, who prefer meditating in the temple praing with my God, Appollo, who am always trying getting better in the art of painting and philosophie, speaking with all phiilosopher who came through our kingdom. I hated taking up arms, staid all the time in the kitchen learning how to cook or in the nurserey listening to the stories told to our maids and young children. On the advice of my father I had begun with a noviciate at Nikos temple to Zeus but I got into a squirmisch with Nikos the old, because he surprised me and Nikos once as we were lying the one beside the other before the high altar kissing one another. He punished us, locked us in a iron cage. Before his eyes we had to whip each other till the blood run. Just then I felt the first time lust and since then I could never miss the pains when I wanted to enjoy the act profoundly. Strobocles, the aforementioned warrior whom I dared approach with this desire that he inflict me pain, and who played the game, not making any bad face or telling it the priest. was the first who solved this riddle, I had seeked several persons, included my father to have it sold. I had overheard my father talking about this problem, as he said. Strobocles told me what he had experienced during this campaign which was hold secret by everyone participating. There Strobocles was a great help to me. He had nearly been catched by these people. He had succeeded running away. But his comrade had been catched, and he had to lay there, hiding behind a bush, smelling the fire on which they roasted his poor slain comrade after he had been killed and quartered. The roasted flesh smelled a bit sweet and they ate it noisily and drank something smelling like beer., the greatest hero in our last war against the hyppolites, he suddenly began to weep. He said I would be disappointed but he wanted to tell me what was the greatest shame in his life. Would I forgive him for it? and he told me something from which I got the shudder. Soon they had become so drunk that he managed to crouch to the fire. He had got so feeble and hungry, he had to eat something before running away. But maybe his appetite had grown by smelling the roasted human flesh. There was plenty around, he took one bit and tasted. It tasted like the flesh of the roasted chicken, he said. I was upset, i could not understand his act, let alone forgive him. To my great shame he died soon after, having retired into the woods and i always regret that i had not been able to make amends for my shameful behaviour. Then all this was only interest. But now I think that some God awakened in me this interest, then. Why am I here, bound like a deer. Is it  the wrath of the gods who come upon me? Have they delivered me to some savages eating human flesh. Am I now being prepared for the sacrifice?

All these ideas queer my dizzied head. Soon it seems to me that the cave is rotating around of me. Faster and faster. With time, the deers, the bears, the fishes these great artists had painted, began to dance around, to threaten me by pulling grimaces and I was so freightened,thinking I was to be killed, roasted, eaten, maybe even kept as fresh  meat, to be eaten limb after limb, and the gases kept on acting on my thinking, making me more dizzi minute after minute, I lost my conscience. There I hang in the tight ropes and my mistreated body felt nothing. But soon i woke again. Somebody was rubbing between my thighs with something raw, scraping my sensible skin. I felt the warm blood dripping over my thighs, shuddered but didn´t wake up. The pains mingled with the ones I felt on my ankles and wrist. I felt a prickling in my penis and automatically contorted my ass as I had when we played these little pain games at the ripening ceremonies with the priest  and later on with Nikos when we played together. But suddenly some hard stick was thrust into my anus. I awoke, cried, heard a masculine voice shouting: do it, he is queer, he likes it. I realised, i remembered the sound of the voice! It was Nikos the elder, my worst enemy. Why? Because I told him once that he was nice and I liked him? What did he want with me? Then suddenly, they left me alone. Disappered into the misty dark inner portion of the cavern. At last I could stretch my body. Lift my head, try to find out where I was. All was dark around me but with the time I began to make out some details. To my left a sensed a slight coming up of light. My heart bumped as I heard a distant thundering, and I realized that it must be the clashing of the salty flood crashing on the rocks. The noise lead from the entrance of the cave. And wasn´t it the crying of seagulls? I listened attentively, were could I be? Still, I could not keep my sense of perception very long. Soon I fell again in a dizzling. I heard cymbals, drums and chanting. My head felt again in the direction of the floor, I suddenly sensed  a whole horde of barbarians swarming around me. All of them were masked. A black and red painted face with a long nose touched my face, I shuddered, fell back and felt the pain of the strings cutting into my wrists bound up on my back. It took all my energy to evade this feeling. Again I highted my head and now I perceived, far in the distance, to my l right, small, red, flickering lights, small fluttering voices and chants. Not far away to my right there was a glimmering fire, nearly 10 yards in diameter. It did not block my view, as there was only a  red light flickering around. But I distantly perceived the chanting in the far distance, the dancing of small red lights. I tensed, I felt how several men slurped towards me. But they stopped in a certain distance, I relaxed and my members calmed down. I heard a silent barely perceptible murmuring. I pricked up my ears and heard three distinctly perceptible voices. A high pitched voice said something very disrespectful about my father, a very deep voice answered and clicked with his fingers probably making an offer. The high pitched voice was the high priest Nikos. For what? For the life of my father? Was he now in a mood to sell my father the his enemies? Now a 
third voice answered. It was my uncle! Last time I had seen him I had been getting my real teeths and loosing my milk teeth. Father had been very angry, I heard their angry discussion in the big stone-arch ceilinged room which served as meeting room of the tribesmen a long time ago. Now there was only a king and the tribes family were no longer involved in politics. But back then there had been quite an ugly struggle for power which resulted in a war which happily was soon over. My uncle and his followers succeeded in pulling up a big army, but they were defeated by my fathers faithful followers in a few weeks time after having raviged the country to a terrible state. My uncle succeeded to escape over the border with some of his followers. He was received by one of the little bordering states, old inhabitants who had been chased up the mountains to the barren lands by our forbears when they had to flee from their country on the eastern shores when the horse people from the eastern steppes took their country. They have been raiding on our country since the dawn of time. my uncle succeeded in uniting the tribes and building up a powerful army from these barbarians. Till now they have never dared to attack the modern conceited and technically well equipped army of our country which is economically strong and has a hegemony on the whole peninsola. As we are allied to different eastern kingdoms we could not be attacked openly.
All my limbs ached. My calfs and wrists were bound with ropes cutting in my flesh. I was bound, my breast leaning forward on partially knicked legs, my arms bound behind my back and pulled upwards. To avoid inhaling the intoxucating perfumes from the hole, I leant my head backwards and tired much in this posture. They wew speaking in low tones together and only by did I understandd only partially what they were talking together. But it seemed clear that they had mistakenly killed Nikos and had intended to kill me. Now they wanted to learn as much as they could from me and keep me as bait to sell me against a high price back to my father. "His "sweetheart" they called me and imagined to get a high price from me. Nobody even mentioned the accidental death of poor Nikos. I knew what to do. I had to flee this place under all cost! What to do now? What ? My father was now under stress. He could not act according to the interest of the state! What could I do to get free from these blackmailers? But I sensed how the ropes that cut into my wrists and my ankles had loosened. Again I tried to throw them off, shifting my body, shaking my quenched limps, which gave me shivers all over and to my embarrassement excited me sexually till my princk stood out like the dried out bough of an apple tree in winter. This exercice brought me not much more liberty from my chains but exhausted me considersbly, my neck muscles ached and my head fell again down with my chin falling again down to my breast.  Again I inhaled this cursed hot and damp air climbing out of this whole in the rocks, from indefinable depth. I got dizzy and again I heard shuffling feet, chanting voices in different pitches, felt cold, hard edges like knife edges passing over my skin, a warm, sticking liquid drip over my skin. And then everything got quieted, I had regained my senses, because my head was no longer tied in ropes and pulled forwards towards my breast. I woke completely up again. I shifted my body, and felt that the ropes got wider.. Again besides my fatigue and pains I, shaking my quenched limps and o wonder, the tight ropes had loosened. With infinite pains I succeeded slipping  the ropes out of the handles were they were fixed to keep me tied. I slouched down falling on my knees, kneeling before the fissure. I was completely exhausted.. What I had sensed as a dream while I was embizzled by the foul vapour from under the earth had really happened. In a kind of enwitching dance they had whipped me with horny branches of acanthuses, had cutted into my skin with sharp knives. I bled over the whole body. I wanted to disappear from here as soon as possible, but how to make it without leaving a broad blood track behind me? They had stripped me bare before hanging me up.they had not been squeamisch. Sometimes when it didn,t come off as expected they tore my expensive clothes to shreds. But these shred must still be around! With my digged up hands I felt the whole rocky body around my and found some pieces from my tunic. I noosed the spare bits of the silken tunic around my legs,knees and hands. Then I crawled on all fourth towards the side I could see some light. Fortunately it was the right side. Soon I heard the saugh of the waves of the sea. I got up and rushed towards the low hollow where I could see the stars shine through. But in my pleasure to have escaped I was too nervous. I bumped my head against a low prodrudding sharp piece of rock. I lost my balance, stumbled over a threshold and fell headlong out to the rock. Fortunately there was a rock to keep me from falling down the rocky wall of forty miles down unto the shallow water of the sea and my body being pierced by one of the rocky needles in the sea. I was lying on the edge of the rock, unable to get up because I had broken or clinched something when I fell, looked down unto the foaming wafes of the dark blue sea far below. Some unkown good spirit had decided that I was worth being kept alive. now I could only hope that this spirit would send
along some good human being who would save me without selling me to my enemies. And tell my father that I was still alive. I was totally exhausted. Everything pained, the wrists and ankles bleeding, the cuts burning.
I have no definitive stand. With both my hands I have to kling to the rocky edge not to slip down and fall down the rocks. Sometimes thinking of letting me go, but always hoping that the angel of salvage I cling to the last hope of my life. My life always elapsed as it should till now, and when I close my eyes and imagine how it will be to fall down the rock, I shudder. And when the people inside the cave realise, that I am no longer at the same place, and will find me....Suddenly I give myself a jerk. Somebody has touched me on my shoulder. I have nearly lost my balance and and let go my grip. I yell, but a well known voice murmurs in my ears: "Don't panick, Alekis, it's me!" It's Pedro, the herdsmam, and realising it I fall unconscious.




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