Which way is South? Around me is an echo of rodents scuttling across stone floors. Orange blossoms invade my senses. The sun is dying, spilling red all over the sky. There is no West, there is no East. There's only a never-ending dusk. Dewy palms (Phoenix dactylifera?) stroke my bare arms as I walk onward towards the gaping chaos. My feet sink into sand on occasion, glinting furiously in the glare.
(i) I stand on mosaic floors stretching to the beach. The beach strewn with wreckage from battles against men and gales. Sea-gods stare from their crashing coves, clashing among their own. Their disputes fatal and unfair. The lawyers stand between them, gold slipping between their fingers (piles and piles of it). A smoky haze wears me out, a torched Laurus nobilis once stood tall now a phantom crisp. I see a bird fall from fatigue or torched wings. It spirals and vanishes in the snarl.
(ii) Olive branches teeter in the howling god's grasp. I cannot see through the whipping strands of hair, stinging my raw skin. My eyes water, saltier than sea breeze. I hear my name screamed on the wind. From this land or across the sea, there is no way to know. The air is permeated with cries of despair and curses to my name. I've reached a shore devoid of hope. Tonight there is but one flaw, and it is that of the entitled, claiming what was never theirs. They are the villains. But I am to blame.
(iii) The red woman rises in the storm. I glance at her and we exchange a nod. A mutual understanding passes in that ember glance. We watch as drowning men fight against their fate. We close our eyes to burning men as they wail to a louder god.
(iv) Thunder and lightning kiss jasmine flowers. Juniperus communis vanishes from sight. Vegetation spits out into nymphaea caerulea. I see my way clearly now. Away from the sea. I transpire as the air thickens and moisture is ****** out. The blazes simmer as the smokes darken. Darker than night, darker than sin, darker than Egypt.
(v) Flames burn ships on the Mediterranean tonight. Fire gods exhaust their powers on mere mortals. I turn and follow the ancient paths, in search of fresher waters. This winding snake spilling into the sea must lead to calmer roars.
(vi) Helen has escaped them all. Warmongering men, warmongering gods, flaming ships, drowning chaos, and dashed hope... The desert beckons her now.