wcshir_icon-iakos

(The narrator Iakos is fighting his second battle)

With neither steersman nor ship-leader, there was confusion aboard the Sardinian vessel, and she didn’t counter our sharp turn to starboard. We crossed their stern at thirty paces. There was no time to think. I was looking lengthwise down two rows of unprotected Sardinian oarsmen. It would take a perfect shot to hit the port row directly in front of me; but a blind man could hit the starboard row just to my right, angled as it was ever so slightly left to right, waist overlapping waist, belly overlapping belly, chest chest. I got off two shafts, hardly bothering to aim, just sighting my arrows up the row of oblique bodies and letting Zeus pick who would die. As we passed by her stern, the angle shifted, and now the port row was one long, oblique target of flesh. I loosed two more shafts. Both struck home.

Time stood still and yet flashed by in an instant. An arrow hung motionless in the air to my left. Blood spurting from a severed jugular was a frozen icicle. Foreign faces never to be forgotten recoiled in fear or winced in agony. And two rows of oarsmen stared into my eyes for eternity. And yet I blinked, and we had reversed course back the way we had come.