In the year 338 BC on the plain of Chaeronea, a war was fought between the allied armies of Thebes and Athens, against the might of Macedon ruled by King Philip and his son Alexander the Great. In that bloody battle Thebes was defeated and lost almost every man of its exclusive fighting force called the Sacred Band.
Nikanoras, born the only son to an aristocrat, is sent to train with a mentor and find a male lover in order to be selected to serve with the Sacred Band of Thebes. Unknown to Nikanoras his mentor holds a treacherous secret over his father and is in love with his mother. After Nikanoras is sent away for training, his mother and mentor kill his father and hope Nikanoras will die in war. Throughout the murderous intrigue, Nikanoras' one saving grace is his lover, beautiful Meleagros, the only thing in his life that is stable. Together they face their destiny- to live or die in battle.
*this is a fictional story- based- on the history of the sacred band.
As he ran, gasping for air, Nikanoras burst through the door of the darkened hallway. Half out of his mind, he searched the warren-like lower floor, checking every cot. When he located Meleagros, lying still, he rushed him and took him into an embrace.
“What have you done? What have you done?” he wailed.
Appearing groggy, Meleagros opened his eyes. “Why do you care? Do you possess a guilty heart?”
“No! I possess a lover’s heart. Oh, Meleagros, you silly fox. What have you done to yourself?”
At first Meleagros turned his face aside, as if the pain of Nikanoras being there was almost too much to tolerate. Then, gradually, he released his pride and collapsed against him.
Not realizing what Meleagros had meant to him, Nikanoras burst into tears and squeezed him as hard as he could to feel him close. “Do not underestimate my love for you. Though I am confused and alone in my thoughts, I will always love you and be devoted to you. Forgive me, lover, forgive me.” Nikanoras clutched Meleagros to his chest tightly. He knew Meleagros was the only security he had. His life seemed to be crumbling from underneath his feet.
When Meleagros’ caress pushed Nikanoras’ long hair back from his face, they met his gazes.
Meleagros’ tight muscles unwound and that mischievous light returned to his eyes. “Dear, Nikki...”
With the tears streaming down his face, Nikanoras knew, he did indeed have the bond they required of them to be included in the Sacred Band. Who else cared for him? What other human being in this violent and battle-ridden land thought of his happiness? Quite simply, no one. He was alone and love starved for the kind of nurturing only Meleagros seemed to share or was available to give.
Knowing Euridises would be proud, he once again imagined speaking with her to explain that he and Meleagros had indeed become like Achilles adoring his Patroclus.