Patriotic Deception

Ezra Azra

© Copyright 2024 by Ezra Azra
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Four soldiers of the invading Greek army attacked a lone Trojan farmhouse that was far away from the City of Troy, which was the main battleground of the war. The war was in its fifth year.

Of the four soldiers, one was a woman, named Horsin. She was uniformed as a male. For this mission, she was allowed to lead the attack, because she had been the undercover agent who had infiltrated Trojan communities and, hence, knew which Trojan civilians to arrest or kill. It was by her report that that Trojan family was to be captured, tortured for information, and then killed in their own home. The house would then be burned down, with the corpses inside.

This would not be the first attempt of its kind to intimidate into subjugation Trojan civilians; nor would it be the last attempt.

Nonetheless, there would be some facts about this attempt that would happen for the first time, and, the Greeks would hope, never happen again.

That treatment of Trojan civilians by the invading Greeks, was common practice since the war erupted five years ago.

A few times, Horsin had been an invited friend of the Trojan family who had lived in that house.

Her superior officer, Captain Klaitus, let her lead the attack. If the mission were a success, Horsin would be promoted to Captain; the first woman Captain in the history of Greece. Horsin promised herself she would dress as a woman when she attended that ritual of her military promotion.

She ordered one soldier to cover the back door. She was puzzled a little to find the front door of the home ajar. She remembered advising that Trojan family to keep all doors and windows closed in these dangerous times of war.

When they were inside the house, she ordered a soldier to search the back room.

The two soldiers returned to the front room. They reported they had found no signs people had been there recently. Another mystery was that the back door, too, was ajar.

Horsin was so perplexed, she blurted out unwisely, though mainly to herself, "They said they would wait for me!"

Captain Klaitus, looking sternly at Horsin, spoke his disappointment, "General Diomedes ordered me to bring at least one Trojan women back to him for interrogation."

Horsin, "I know that, Captain. It was I who informed the General of their whereabouts."

"And whereabouts is that, soldier Horsin? Not here where you assured the General they would be."

Horsin saw two jewel necklaces hanging on the backrest of a chair at the table. She went to the chair and took the necklaces in her hand. Again unwisely, though, again, mainly to herself, she blurted out, "They knew."

Klaitus, with a menacing grimness, "Knew what, Horsin?"
“That we were coming, sir.”

"Of course, they knew. You yourself told General Diomedes you promised the family you would return."

"Sir, I promised them I would return in order to guarantee they would be here when we got here. As an added precaution I gave to each of the two daughters one of these."

She held out the two necklaces to Captain Klaitus. He looked at them, but he did not take them.

"Cheap jewelry?"

"Perhaps cheap, sir, but magnetic Like this one." She took a third necklace from one of her pockets, and showed it to him. “These cheap items of jewelry, sir, are drawn to one another. With mine, I could track them wherever they were."

"They knew this?"

"Yes. I told them. They were happy. We played hide-and-seek to demonstrate the magnetism."

"And here these are; but they are not."

Horsin, desperately, "Sir, they spoke of fleeing to a mountain cave."

One of the other two soldiers spoke, "Captain Klaitus, sir. Permission to speak, sir."

“Speak, soldier.”

Soldier, indicating the necklaces, "Sir, those items look like jewelry all camps were ordered to watch for. Three items like these were cowardly stolen from the tents of our Captain Achilles, by Trojan soldiers, sir.”

Klaitus, to Horsin, "Are those the Greek items?"

Horsin, truthfully, perhaps, "I do not know, sir."

Klaitus, "Give them to me. I'll give them to the General."

She handed him the necklaces. He saw a ring on her finger.

Klaitus, "Has General Diomedes seen that ring?"

"He must have, Captain. It's not hidden."

Klaitus, "A woman favourite of General Diomedes is missing. He said she wore a Trojan ring. Description fits that one you are wearing."

Horsin, "I don't know anything about the General's other women, sir. You know I am the General’s wife."

“You told the General, your surveillance of these Trojans brought about close friendliness with them.”

“Yes, sir. Many times they had invited me to dine with them here.”

“Close enough to have good knowledge where they might have gone from here?”

“Sir, they expressed keen interest in Princess Cassandra's plan---”

“Insane Princess Cassandra?”

“The insanity could be a pretence, sir.”

“Pretence? She runs onto a battlefield stark naked, screaming God Apollo's after her. Armed soldiers run away from her. Her Father, King of Troy, declared her mad. What evidence is there it is all an act, soldier?

“Her Parthian Movement, sir.”

“I have heard of that rumor. Others, too, I know who have heard. I have yet to find someone who knows more than just ‘having heard’, soldier. Allegedly, you've been our spy for years. You have a name, besides the mad Princess, of anyone involved in that alleged Parthian Movement? Soldier?”

“No, sir. But now that I am working in the Palace---.”

“Soldier, Horsin, I am arresting you for failure of this mission.” He drew his sword.

“Sir, I am a loyal Greek soldier. I am the wife of General Diomedes. On orders from General Diomedes I infiltrated Troy so well, I have been accepted to be employed as a servant in the Royal Palace in Troy.”

Klaitus, "You say. You say, as well, you're friends, close friends with Trojans, who, you say, knew we were coming to arrest them." He pointed his sword at her. "Why not you are a Trojan spy pretending you are Greek pretending to be Trojan? Why not this was a trap? Your Trojan allies got cold feet? Why not?" He called out to the two soldiers. "Restrain her."

Horsin, "Please, Captain, I will come with you, disarmed, but unrestrained, sir.”

Klaitus, "Restraining is procedure. Turn around."

Horsin stepped back, and drew her sword. "I will not be restrained! I am a loyal Greek soldier! I am the wife of Greek General Diomedes who sent us on this mission. I was among the first wave of soldiers who landed on these shores from Greece, five years ago. I will submit to being arrested, Captain Klaitus, but I will not submit to being restrained. Sir!”

Klaitus, to the two soldiers, "Stand ready."

The soldiers, drew their swords, and held them ready, pointing at Horsin, "Yes, sir."

Klaitus attacked Horsin. They fought. Horsin drove her sword into Klaitus, and pulled it out. Klaitus, seriously wounded, staggered back. The soldiers attacked Horsin. Both of them drove their swords into her. She slowly sank to the floor, and died.

Klaitus, in a chair at the table, ordered the soldiers, "Bring her head, and the ring." He walked slowly and awkwardly, out of the house. He used his sword as a walking-stick.

The two soldiers knelt beside Horsin's corpse, with their knives drawn.

Soldier, "So, now Greek soldiers are killing Greek soldiers?"

They removed Horsin’s ring by cutting off her finger. One of them cleared her throat area in order to remove her head.

The soldier who was about to begin severing the head, paused when he saw a necklace around Horsin's neck. He pulled on the chain, and took up the horse-charm. He looked at it. He let the other soldier see it.

"Our orders were to be on the lookout for three of these. Did she not show the Captain three?"

"She did."

"And she has a fourth?"

"Klaitus is right. She was up to no good."

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