Two Acts of Troy
The Tales of Aquarius, Aquila and Gemini

Chapter 7: Agamemnon's Return

Clytemnestra hummed as she arose from the bed she shared with Aegistheus. Her husband's cousin, the cousin Agamemnon deposed when he killed his uncle Thyestes and took the kingdom of Mycenae, now joined her in the royal chamber. It was no secret that he was there. Furthermore, she didn't care that everyone knew, especially not today. The string of signals Agamemnon had prepared to announce his return when his ship was sighted, the beacons stretching from Mt. Ida near Troy to Argos, had been lit. Agamemnon's ship would arrive today and Clytemnestra had long been preparing for his homecoming. She and Aegistheus had a plan that even the gods could not interfere with. Hermes had sent a dream to Aegistheus to frighten him from the plan. "The son will avenge the father," Hermes had said in the dream.

But when Aegistheus told this to Clymnestra, her response was, "And the cousin, the uncle, and the mother, the daughter." Clytemnestra had planned her vengeance for the murder of Iphigenia and Aegistheus planned his retribution against his uncle Atreus through the son. Soon their will would be done.

Trumpets rang out from the city walls, "They're here," the servants said in excitement. "King Agamemnon has returned." The people of Mycenae crowded along the triumphal route from the gates of the city to the palace doors. Their patience was rewarded with a look at the royal chariot heading the procession. In the cart was their victorious king and seated next to him was a strangely beautiful wild-eyed woman. As the king waved and smiled, the woman solemnly fixed her gaze on individuals, locking on their eyes as she passed. Who she was, they could only guess.

Those near the palace heard her break her silence as the cart stopped and she stepped from it, examining the high doors ahead. "I hear the cries of children within these doors, and I smell burning flesh. Blood flows down these steps. Our feet will be bathed in wickedness and cruelty if we walk upon them." She paused, but Agamemnon was the only one who did not listen. He walked up the steps and turned, motioning her to join him. She followed. At the top of the stairs, she stopped and looked around at the city and those people looking up at her. She breathed deeply of fresh, clean air one last time before stepping through the palace doors. They clanged shut with the ring of finality behind her.

"Welcome to all of you who have served my husband so well and brought him safely home to me," Clytemnestra greeted the party as she stroked Agamemnon's hand. "Electra, darling, please serve this wine to your father's guards to honor their courage." Electra dutifully did as she was told. Clytemnestra clapped and servants came immediately, "prepare a bath and feast for your newly arrived master. Yes, dear," she turned to Agamemnon, "just a slight indulgence for me. I wish to feed and bathe you at the same time. Let me settle your lovely Trojan princess and I will immediately join you," she cooed as though she were her sister.

The master plan was synchronized to perfection. By the time Agamemnon was naked and vulnerable in his bath with his mind focused upon the feast surrounding the tub, his men were drugged by the potent wine. As his guards were overpowered by Aegisthus' guards, Agamemnon's throat was slit by Aegisthus as his enemy attacked noiselessly from behind. As the life drained from his body and he heard Cassandra's screams, his lionlike eyes came fiercely alert. He knew instantly that his hard won concubine was dying, stabbed by the hand of his wife, but there was nothing Agamemnon could do as he felt his own life slipping away.

"Success!" Clytemnestra said, approaching Aegisthus above the limply floating body of her husband. She spat on Agamemnon, "Now you have all the love you deserve, you murderer." She picked up grapes and fed them to her lover. "Now we will rule unencumbered," she said as she took his hand and they left the chamber.

From a doorway concealed by palm fronds, Electra emerged and approached the tub. Tears streamed down her face and she knelt by her father's head. "Oh, father, how could she do this to you?" His face gazed at the ceiling in eternal horror, for he lay with mouth and eyes wide open. "She doesn't even have the respect to place your soul at peace." She gently brushed her hand across his face, closing his eyes. She lifted his bloody neck and head and cradled it on her lap to close his mouth. "Oh, father, I pray that your son Orestes has heard your call and will avenge your honor." The dead king's face was washed a final time by his daughter's tears.

Chapter 6: Prince Paris and Queen Helen | Myth Index | Chapter 8: Guilt and Forgiveness

Tales of the Immortal Night ©2003, J.J. Kuhl


Website designed by Business eSolutions Contact them at