Title: Mercy of Alexander
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: Alexander (the Great)
Genre: AU, Drama
Rating: M / FRM
Characters: Alexander, Cassander, Hephaistion, Ptolemy (, OC).
Summary: When sent off to meet and negotiate with a foreign leader, Hephaistion soon realises that things are about to get very difficult – not only to his king, but to himself as well. Soon Alexander himself learns of the insult made against him – both as a man and as a king.
Warnings: Slash, violence, death, rape.
Beta: Leonida (huge thanks for betaing this story – and for all the great reprimanding and schooling you have given me ;) I will be a lot better writer when I learn to please your eye!)
Disclaimer: None of the characters or places belong to me, but to the history and Intermedia Films.
Feedback: Yes, please, be so kind (if you think I am begging… you are absolutely right!). Please and thank you, review: I would love to know your opinion/judgement/whatever you prefer to give me.
Author’s Notes: English is not my mother tongue, so it isn’t perfect. I am a human, too, so that might cause some more mistakes…
About Mercy of Alexander: This never happened. Or well, if it did, I do not know about it… But there is still a lot I do not know about the life of Alexander! AU-marking is there only because I do not know if this could have even possibly happened. So better to be careful with these things ;)
This story, basically, is one of those (again) that are formed while I am walking my dog. It has been there about a month or so, and now I think it is bout a time to write it. Think what you like!
Both the city of Rhadia and its lord, Mazaces, are my imagination! Nothing to do with the reality!
Chapters and their status: Here below you see the writing process of the story’s chapters. If there is no text after the chapter’s name, then it is finished and checked (until someone of my dear readers points me out some mistake, or I will do some updating…) so, check this page, because here I will mark the dates of the updates…
Chapter 1: Assembling Plans
Chapter 2: Negotiation
Chapter 3: A Macedonian
Chapter 4: Bow before your King
Chapter 5: Trial and Mercy
Alexander leaned over a wide table, large map rolled open before him. Brown eyes searched the details marked on the chart, frown deeply set on the golden forehead. It was obvious the king was deep in thought. Silence filled the inside of the tent, only sounds drifting from the outside world, hushed and ignored.
Behind the king, sprawled on a divan, lay another man, gaze focused on a letter in his hands. Dark brown hair came down over his shoulders; bright, intelligent blue eyes absorbing every bit of information from the parchment. His left hand kept tracing his lips in a thoughtful manner, mind trying to search hidden meanings between the lines. Hephaistion had read the message numerous times already, and would do so until he knew all it had to say.
Alexander let his breath out harshly – a subtle signal Hephaistion had been waiting for. Slowly getting up from his place, he walked to his king, halting beside the great table. They stared at the map, in silence. The distance between their bodies was nonexistent. When Alexander shifted, his shoulder brushed against Hephaistion’s, making him froze for a moment. Hephaistion did not move either, chewing his lower lip in thought. “Have you reached a decision?” he finally asked, voice smooth.
“I know what to do,” Alexander responded, sounding anything but a king counselling his general. Here, alone, they were friends – equals. That was how Alexander had said he always wanted it to be. “The city is to far away from our route: I cannot take my whole army there.” Hephaistion nodded, knowing this himself. “Yet I need to get it under my control,” the young king of Asia went on. “With the leader of the city, willing to submit before me, this should not take long.”
“You have a plan,” Hephaistion smiled, dropping the letter to the table, his eyes turning to Alexander.
“I will send a small troop there, to negotiate. As no battle or resistance is expected, less than thousand men should do.”
“And who is to negotiate with this foreign leader?”
Alexander turned fully to his companion. “The best I have: a man I can trust to make swift work with the negotiations, so he may join my main force again.” Hephaistion lifted an eyebrow, waiting the name to be announced. Alexander liked this far too much, holding back information before spilling it. “I shall send you,” the king said with a resolute look.
Hephaistion shifted, crossing arms over his chest. “Are you sure your plan is… one of wisdom?” he asked carefully.
Alexander, as Hephaistion had expected, assumed a wounded expression. “It is completely reasonable decision: you are the one of my generals that I can trust with such mission. You have the gift of words and an intelligent mind, and it will not take you long to return at my side again.”
Hephaistion made a small move with his head, a sign of approval. He knew what he was capable of, as did Alexander. Hephaistion was a competent warrior, skilled with both spear and sword – indeed, he was the only man to have wrestled Alexander himself to the ground. But if he was a sufficient soldier, his true calling was in the arena of politics, the verbal cut and riposte far more appealing to him than the bloody stench of the battlefield.
“Are you going to inform the other Generals of your plan?” Hephaistion asked as Alexander rolled up the map.
“They would see the matter as I do,” the king replied, taking his leave from the tent, Hephaistion on his heels.
“I think you still should –” Hephaistion began, then lifted his voice in greeting: “Ptolemy! A good day to you, my friend.”
Ptolemy, who was walking across the empty area between the rows of tents, halted and waved in greeting as the two men reached him. “Alexander, Hephaistion,” he addressed them, a frown suddenly darkening his features. “Is something about to happen?”
Hephaistion smirked at Alexander. “I knew this was coming.” As Ptolemy looked none the wiser, Hephaistion turned to him. “Alexander has decided to send me off to negotiate with the lord of Rhadia, a city somewhat outside our course.”
Ptolemy nodded. “I heard of this letter. Was it not a plain peace-offering, the lord promising to join us without a fight?”
“Yes, though in many more, gorgeous words,” Alexander snorted.
Ptolemy expressed his acceptance yet again. “Then I agree with my king: you are the best option to be send forth. He is not going alone, is he?” he questioned Alexander.
“Of course not,” Alexander almost barked. “A thousand men should be enough, if any of the enemy tribes might get an idea to attack him on the way.”
Ptolemy pursed his lips, probably already pitying anyone who would dare to approach Hephaistion’s company: Alexander’s infamous, short temper, added to the fear for his dearest friend… Many might not have understood it, but whereas most romantic relationships between youths ended when reaching adulthood, Alexander made an exception. Hephaistion still had a special place in his heart and that would not be swayed by none – not even death.
“Do you wish to consult the Friends of this move?” Ptolemy asked casually.
“A short meeting has to do,” Alexander decided. “I wish too see Hephaistion off as soon as possible.”
So he can reunite us again, Ptolemy added to himself with a secret smile. They all would sleep their nights more peacefully when they knew Hephaistion was there to soothe Alexander on his most flaming moods. It was a task given to no other – for several reasons. For one: none desired to end up beheaded, and two: it was must more efficient to allow Hephaistion to take care of their king – it saved both time and effort. I will send an extra prayer to the gods tonight, Ptolemy decided as they set off to find the other commanders.
Hephaistion mounted his horse, shifting on the animal’s back before riding to meet the king. The meeting with other generals had been rather swift an uneventful: all had agreed with Alexander. It was to be expected, of course, as Hephaistion was more than fit for the task.
Halting before Alexander, the auburn-haired general saluted his lord. Alexander returned the greeting, stepping forth with a flag in his hand. Hephaistion took the it without hesitation. He would present himself to this foreign lord, carrying Alexander’s sign. Any man in the army would have died for the honour of doing so. To Hephaistion, it was a task to be done with care and devotion, knowing what most men believed: he too was Alexander. Words said by the king, back at Babylon, would not vanish in the sands of history. They would live on, and Hephaistion was about to act worthily of them.
“May gods bring you back swiftly,” Alexander murmured, his hand pressed against the side of Hephaistion’s mount, close to his thigh.
“I will try to make haste,” Hephaistion smiled secretly. The other man’s fingertips brushed against the skin of his leg, reminding him why exactly Alexander wished him to return as soon as possible. Neither of them liked to be apart longer than necessary, even if their relationship was not as intimate as when they had been youths. Still there were certain comforts they could give to each other, and which no other could ever replace. “I shall bring with me as many new men as possible.”
Alexander absently licked his lips. “I shall move on as I planned. If any changes occur, I shall send word to you immediately.”
Hephaistion nodded, then sat up straight, saluting his lord for the final time. Raising Alexander’s flag above his head, he signalled his troops to move forth. It would take four days to reach this city, Rhadia, and swifter they were on their way, the quicker he could return to Alexander with fresh men and supplies.
to be continued…