Said. Baxter snorted. Not long enough. A

Fed them tidbits on our habits, our supersions and traditions, deceiving myself into believing I could still be useful to our doomed resistance google by misleading them. I told them the Spartan Carneia--the holy games of peace that presently kept the bulk of the Spartan hoplites off the battlefield--would end when the full moon rose over the August nigh. It actually lasted a full week after that! I would lead the Persians into a lethal trap. They beat me for that, too. So I told the truth instead. Just enough to save my skin, to go on hoping I could escape and reunite with Demostrate in Athens. My hopes waned each mile imobiliare bucuresti we marched into Attica. Xerxes' mobile polyglot nation burned our fields, stripped our crops, and flooded into Athens, which had been evacuated except for a skeleton imobiliare bucuresti force to defend the Acropolis. An empty gesture. Its walls went up in flames. Was Demostrate there? Somehow cut off from wherever the rest of Athens had run off to? If she'd made the trip, had she survived it? Or been raped and butchered imobiliare bucuresti by Persian scouts? Caught, even, by her own countrymen, starving Greeks displaced by the invading swarm? I had no way to know. If she lived, sooner or later she'd hear I hadn't--that I'd fallen into the straits, where my armor had, no doubt, taken me to the ocean's black bucuresti floor. Each day I spent in chains was one more day for her to mourn me. To forget me. To replace me. As the Persians marched on, their victory as unstoppable as their masked Immortals, I began to forget my own life, to accept my place as a prisoner and slave. I learned their language. Pla games with the cooks and wagoneers and logisticians, who found it hilarious that a mongrel like me could beat their friends at knucklebones and the athletic contests they held with strange, tapered pins. It was a laugh riot for us all. I had been captured in August of 480 BC. So what if the Greeks won some battles? So what if they fought and fought and fought until my chef friends began to mutter that maybe Xerxes had stra too far from home? By June the next year, with the Allied troops breaking Persia's back at Plataea, I no longer cared. They would kill me rather than feed me all the way back to Susa. Demostrate, if she lived, wouldn't know I pictured her face every night. It was a stupid world, cruel and uncaring. When the Persians carried me back across the Hellespont to sell me into slavery, I'd grown to reflect the world's disinterest. Some part of me laughed when I was taken to my new master in rebellious Babylon. Had the homeland of my birth demanded me back? Then let it have me. If I'd found Demostrate at that point, I doubt she would have recognized me. The Greek victory meant nothing to me. I couldn't laugh unless I saw someone else get hurt. I was property, a useful dog. Shelby was being taken off to a labor camp of her own. By the time she got out, New Houston and its people would look as cold as the winds beyond the domes. * * * I'm going to get drunk, I told the others, which was a bit of a trick, since I already was. Then I'm going to go crack that old bartender's face like the Liberty Bell. That won't be por among his regulars, Pete said. He sold us that video, then turned around and peddled it to