Flames burned all around, and all I could salvage was a rapier, one of the weapons I had never used. Talking Heph with me, I rode away, crying tears that were someone else's.

Al reclined on a prim and comfortable silk chair. Sweat balled down his face, but his expression oozed warmth and thunder. He was very much a king and even in his weakened state he did not lose his majesty.

If anything, he complained to his inner circle about the heated weather. The Subcontinent was cruel and foreign, but most of all the hot wind was most tiresome. It drained the fighting will from his troops and drew the war animals into lethargy, and in the afternoons, holding meetings was impossible, and the cooking flames were intolerable to the few chefs of the camps.

And then, there were the mosquitoes. They have been more daunting foes than any general he's come across. Al could bluff, but he wouldn't be as energetic in a few weeks. Worst come, he might even lose his life if he continued to advance untreated.

There was someone he made a promise to. A childhood friend and comrade-at-arms, perhaps even a best friend. With a bygone person, he discussed the impossible with a child-like enthusiasm, itself a great source of power, now gone, and the concept made impossible.

Al was already half asleep as he talked and became bored in presence of the equally nigh-slumbering attendants and captains. To conquer the world was impossible, but at the very least, if he could reach the ocean, he would die happily.

The Eastern Sun was far nicer than the sun of Apollo, and at least it had the courtesy to leave the men until tomorrow, when hopefully some better preparation could take place. Equally so was the sudden, but gentle rain, which would not impeded but instead nourish the hegemony Alexander created.

He closed his eyes, and instead of dozing off immediately, he imagined a tear come across his eye. A tear however, is not an ocean.

When he opened his eyes, he was disorientated, as in a fever dream. He close his eyes hard, and opened again, but he was still there.

The smell and sound of the ocean felt caustic to him, and when he came to, he grunted, only, his voice was not his own. He tried to sit upright, and to his surprise, his body felt much lighter and a little healthier. He felt a lock of hair, blonder and longer than he remembered, fall across his chest, and a heavy golden locket hit straight onto his sternum. He got to his feet, but his sense of balance was off, and he struggled dizzily until two uniformed guards came to him, only, they were not from his army.

Not only where they foreign-looking, but the Indian environment had been replaced with a stark landscape of green all around, and quickly looking around, Al saw a beautiful cliff and a clean sandy beach under it.


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