Excerpts from ARKHON by Robert M. Lowry
The poison had made the boy thirsty, but he still thought on his father’s words: “Some people do what is right, many are mistaken and others deceive.” He could no longer be the child as he marched on up through the pass. “Knowing what the truth is is one thing, understanding the truth is another.”
The blueness of the sea was as calm as the still air of the clear sky. The bright sunlight danced on the water. Dark leaved trees stood out across the pale dusty slopes that rose up from the shore, up to the rocky hilltops. All this had once been the sweetest sight for many a homeward bound soul. Not today. In the distance, across the bay, where gentle waves caressed the beach, black smoke plumed upwards. It was that dark cloud of the burning city that had concealed the boy from danger.
Over the brow of the hill the view had gone, the image would stay and the anger would come, but for now there was just a numbness – no tears. There was small comfort from tales of ancient heroes and knowing that others before have made fearful odysseys from sacked cities. Yet still he clasped the arrowhead tightly that his father had pressed into his hand. “From the god of the silver bow: it will keep you safe,” he was told, and it instilled strength in his heart against the insatiable strife. “If we are guilty we must accept our fate. If we are not, then there will be a time for reckoning. Understand the will of the gods.”
He would never see his father, mother, sisters or brothers again.
He walked on until he reached a small stream away from the swords and spears of the blood-spattered soldiers, away from the screams of slaughtered kin, and away from the poisoned waters. Kneeling down where the coolness cascaded over the rocks, he drank and drank. Then onward he marched never more to be homeward bound.
“Understand the will of the gods,” the boy would one day say to his own son. “There will be a time for reckoning.”
... and on they debated
“Bring that equality here and you would be the hen that hatches the viper’s eggs.”
“Choose a group of the best men and delegate power to them. The best men will make the best decisions.”