Gods' Chosen

Smoke from the burning city filled the air. Some detest the smell of smoke, others complain that it burns their eyes and throat. For Philip the Second of Macedon, however, smoke only meant one thing. 


His eyes stay focused on the city of Potidea. Shouting, screams, and the sound of crackling fire reached Philip's ears, but he did not seem to be affected by it in the slightest. The man was the perfect picture of poise and power. He would never look away from the battle when started, for even the slightest moment. If he faltered for even a moment, then all of his plans could come crashing down. No, he would wait patiently for his field general to come back proclaiming victory in his and Macedon's name. Until then, he would wait here surrounded by his most trusted generals and guards. Philip only ever felt more home in one place. That being his fourth wife, Olympias', bed. He would often switch between the two things. His current battle, and his wife at home, whom, to Philip's delight, was pregnant. A son is what he hoped for, and one sired by him and Olympias was sure to be a boy of the strongest blood. She was getting fairly large at around the time Philip left for his current campaign, and while waiting for victory to be announced, Philip realized something. 

"Polypias." Philip called out to his general, but still kept his eyes peeled to scene of chaos and destruction before him. 

"My Liege."

"How long have we spent sieging this godforsaken place?'

"Around three months, my liege." 

"I thought so. Prep-" Before he can finish giving his command, a cheer goes up from the burning city. 

Philip hears him before he sees him. "Victory to Philip! Victory to Macedon!" The man you've been waiting for, the field general, gallops out of the burning city with the city's flag on a chestnut war horse. In his right hand is a spear, and on that spear is the banner of Potidea. The field general, Philip can never seem to remember his name, decided that it'd be a great idea to set that same banner ablaze. Philip reminds himself to give the man a promotion. 

The question Philip was going to ask Polypias is forgotten in the addictive wake of total victory. 


The sheets of Olympias' sheets are soaked. Maids run in and out of the room frantically. Some carry sheets, while other's carry buckets of water, but among the throng of the people surrounding Olympias, one stands out more than the others. A young maiden stands with a bow and a quiver of arrows over her shoulder. Her face is a mix of approval and joy, and her very presence radiates silvery light and power. 

Philip gazes around the room in awe. None of the maidservants seem to notice him, and in fact, Philip notices, ignore him entirely. Perplexed that his servants would disrespect their king so easily, Philip reaches out to rebuke the closest servant for their flippancy, but his hand goes right through her. He tries again with nearly all of the servants, save the maiden, yet none of them respond to his attempts in the slightest. Still confused, Philip walks to the opposite side of the bed from the young maiden and approaches Olympias. Surely his wife will remember him. 

"Olympias," he says, then tries to touch her shoulder. His hand passes through, and he cries out in frustration. 

Olympias cries out as well, simultaneously startling Philip and knocking him to his senses. Philip re-examines the room, and after a few seconds of thought, realizes that his wife is giving birth. Instead of being frustrated at his predicament, Philip watches and waits.

A maid, apparently the one in charge of the lot of them, shouts, "It's happening!" Maids move around nearly in unison and in preparation of what's to come. The head maid positions her hands below Olympias' midriff and starts moving her hands amid a mix of blood and skin. Philip looks on excitedly. If this is a vision like he thinks it is, then he really is seeing his son being born. 

Some moments later, the head maid withdraws her hands from Olympias holding a baby that looks as if it had been bathed in blood. A beautiful sound echoes throughout the room, and as much as he's glad to see his baby born, Philip can't help but feel a sense of foreboding. That sense intensifies when a new sound joins the glorious cries of the baby. This one not nearly so pleasant. 

Olympias' screams overpower the baby's cries. It spurs all of the maids back into action, for at the splendor of the baby, they forgot their first priority, keeping Olympias alive. 

"No, no, no..." Philip starts muttering incoherently as he realizes what's about to happen. 

The maid's are fast and efficient, but no where near as fast and efficient as Philip wants them to be. Every scream of Olympias he hears marks another maid's face he memorizes. If she dies in the care of these people, then there will be eternal suffering for them to pay when he returns. Olympias' breaths turn from heavy, to shallow, then ending at virtually non-existent. Some of the maids start crying, but the head maid keeps working until she feels the last breath go out of her. Only then does she start crying as well. The baby lays in the arm of another nameless maid at the foot of the bed. 

Philip's heart skips a beat, and it's all he can do to stop himself from crying as well. Of all the wives he'd ever taken, Olympias was the only one he could say that he truly loved. And now she was dead before his eyes. The reality of the situation hits Philip harder than it should, and despite his best efforts, Philip breaks down into tears. 

"Please. Zeus, Hera. If there be any Gods out there, Please don't take Olympias away from me." He doesn't usually pray so earnestly, but the situation seemed to call for it. 

Even though he was the one asking, Philip was more than startled to hear a response. It came from the young maiden on the other side of the bed. "Are you sure?" The voice exudes power unlike any other he'd ever heard.

Philip looks to the young maiden. Her ancient silvery eyes look back at him, and her eyebrows are raised in question. Philip nods and manages to mumble a "yes." 

"You may come to regret this." Before Philip can ask what she means, the Goddess leans over and kisses Olympias on her brow. With that action she disappears leaving Philip, the maids, and Olympias alone. 

Olympias breathing goes from shallow to deep, and her wound seem to heal themselves. If the maids had been paying a little more attention they might have seen the miracle occur, but amid their despair and Olympias blood no one but Philip saw what happened. 

"Give him to me." The voice starts out as a whisper, but it grows steadily louder until the maids realize that their queen is still alive. The chaos that filled the room moments before the birthing reenters the room as the maids clean the baby and her mother up. Philip stands beside Olympias with his eyes rimmed red, but his expression a mask of joy. 

Prior to this, Olympias and Philip discussed what your name should be if you were to be a boy. 

It is there, in your mother's arms that she calls you by it for the first time.