(Atenkamenwati is narrating his history to the rest of his ship’s crew) In my sixteenth year I marched into Nubia and Kush. I fulfilled well my obligations and through the will of the Aten rose among the soldiery. At seventeen was I appointed leader-of-fifty. There I came under the eyes of Amun-Mose the-light-of-Egypt, who was…

Read More


Rah Kul

(Iakos the narrator is describing a slave girl) When I first saw Rah-kul after reaching Natta’Isha last October, I didn’t recognize her. A healthy diet had added flesh to her bones, in all the right places. On the auction block she was wan and spindly. Now, if I looked at her too long, I felt…

Read More


Old Man of the Sea

(With Aithon on his deathbed, the Old Man of the Sea is narrating Aithon’s life story to his nephew Iakos) I was the property of Aithon’s father. I earned my bread as a herder of pigs on the Old Lord’s estate. When your uncle’s eyes first beheld the light of day, I was in my…

Read More



(The Old Man of the Sea is narrating the life story of Aithon, who is on his deathbed) To hear my Lord Aithon tell it, no one could compel Eleni to anything. The girl was as high-spirited as an unbroken colt. Young and sure of herself and bursting with the pure joy of being alive.…

Read More



(Iakos the narrator is speaking to his Uncle Aithon) “The destruction of Ismaros wasn’t your fault,” I said. “Yes it was,” Aithon answered. “Innocent people were slaughtered. The details don’t matter. In my youth I helped sack Thebes. Were their citizens any different than those of Orchomenos, on whose side I fought? Agamemnon was at…

Read More



(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…

Read More