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Through The Ages - chapter 6
By
Kari

Through The Ages - chapter 6

Tags: action, humor, romance,

“Please madam, these are kilts, why are you asking us to wear men's garments? “

Knossos

Gelo signaled the horse to move forward toward the far northeast end of the elaborate grounds. All of us were still gazing at the richness of the buildings, as well as the surrounding property. When the horse finally came to a stop, we found ourselves at the western end of the palace complex. Gelo jumped down coming around to the back of the cart.

Glancing up at us, he smiled before announcing, “As I am sure you know, this is the end of the road for you all. A whole new world is now opening up for you lucky boys and girls. Come on!”

Kori was the first to take his extended hand and jump down to the ground. As he helped the rest of the girls down, the boys quickly jumped out of the cart and helped with the smaller ones. Once we were all on the ground, we noticed a man in a white kilt standing near a gate. Lifting his hand, he beckoned us to come over to him. Hand in hand, Kori and I went forward first, followed by the others. We stopped as one group a few feet in front of him and waited for him to speak. He looked us over, not unkindly, but with an eye toward what he hoped we would one day be capable of becoming.

Once he was done, he smiled briefly before speaking, “Greetings young people my name is Andros, I am the man who is responsible for the care and training of you all. Just in case you're not fully aware of the reason you were chosen, make no mistake, it is for the famous Bull celebrations that are to take place six months from now.”

Turning, he opened the gate indicating that we follow him. As we filed in behind him, we noticed that we were entering a rather huge garden with different kinds of buildings along the eastern end. The western side had a high wall with a walkway connecting to the north wall. I was able to see some people walking along the top of the northern wall. This place was gigantic in magnitude to anything in our experiences. At the base , you could see a stream running the length of it. Northward, we saw that same stream flowing through an archway in the wall running down a steep hill. The southern side was open with a large portion that was made up of grassland with trees here and there. When the last boy had passed through , the gate swung back closed seemingly of its own accord, giving us the feeling that there was now no turning back. We anxiously glanced at each other before hurrying to catch up with Andros.

He briefly described what the various buildings were used for waving his arm as he explained, specifically pointing out where we were to sleep, eat and meet during the day. He pressed on about how the boys and girls would have separate sleeping areas, but would otherwise always be together, for training, eating and any other activities that would be coming up. As he drew near the end of his speech, we noticed another man in a similar kilt, only it was yellow come towards us. When he drew near, we stopped and waited as Andros spoke to him for a minute, finally turning back to us. We nodded respectfully when he was introduced as our trainer Duris.

Duris walked around our group looking closely at us as if he was buying a horse. Kori bristled at this treatment, frowning at him when he got too close.

He laughed glancing at Andros briefly before adding, “Looks like this one has lots of spirit . I like that. Now I want you all to listen up, I am a hard task master, but you will find I am a fair one too. I won't lie to you, there will be long strenuous hours ahead for you. But in the end you'll become the best bull leapers we have ever had and when you do I promise you this, you will be highly honored for your spirit and showmanship. This is what the gods want and expect to see. The reward is to have plentiful harvests and trade for another seven years. It's been a long journey and I know you want to get cleaned up before the supper hour. I'll take the boys to their quarters and you girls will follow Andros. I see that some of you look like you want to ask us something, let's hold off on the questions for now. There will be plenty of time for them in the next few days.”

With that he signaled the boys to come with him towards one of the buildings to the north. Kori and the girls followed Andros to a building on the south.

Not long after we followed Duris inside, a fair sized building. I couldn't believe the richness of the frescoes on the walls. The scenes were of various youths, both girls and boys, in what looked like teams of three in various stages of leaping over huge bulls. I was surprised to see that the girls in the paintings were dressed like the boys, just in short kilts, also known as long loin coverings. The floors we walked on were of smooth stone-like tiles. I itched to take my dusty sandals off and walk on the cool tiles.

Finally, we were shown where to wash up. It actually turned out to be a good sized pool. We gleefully shed our dirty kilts and sandals and jumped in. A servant boy handed us soap with which to wash. Twenty minutes later Duris waved us out. As we climbed out of the water, we were handed towels and clean dark green kilts by the servant. We quickly slipped our kilts on, I laughingly swatted the nearest boy with my wet towel causing the rest of them to join in, before getting a "That's enough" look from Duris.

He then led us to our sleeping area. It turned out, it was a large well ventilated room with beds along the walls that were again decorated with the bulls and youths. I noted a small chest at the bottom of each bed, which I figured would be for our belongings. We didn't have any possessions now , but he assured us we would in time. I claimed a bed for myself laying my damp towel on top of my chest and watched as the others did the same. We were now ready to find out where the eating area was.

Meanwhile, Kori with Andros' encouragement walked beside him as they made their way to the most southerly building. He smiled at Kori and the girls behind them advising, “Life here is hard work but good, with opportunities that country girls like yourselves never dreamed of. When you have had time to become acquainted with your new home, I'm positive you all will be happy here. One thing I would like to say now, it is critical that you adhere to the rules that are set for both you girls as well as the boys.”

At this moment, the girls stepped into the building looking in astonishment. As he continued talking, “We'll go into some of those rules tomorrow, but for now I want you to wash up. I do believe you will be pleased. Afterward, I will briefly show you your sleeping area before we carry on to the building where your dinner will be served.”

The girls' building turned out to be a little different from the boys. The walls depicted a few bull leaping frescoes but, in addition, were many lovely nature scenes with birds, and blue monkeys surrounded by papyrus reeds, as well as marine paintings. All the frescoes were done in beautiful bright colors.

Kori found them breathtaking, what with the way they seemed to come alive she couldn't help but ask, “Is this truly where we are to live? I have never seen such lovely paintings before."

He again smiled, as he nodded yes to her question, replying, “I agree it is beautiful here. Where the gods are concerned, we mortals have an obligation to make their special places as lovely as can be. Now I will wait for you all to wash up, but please don't be too long, dinner will be in twenty minutes. Just go through that doorway."

Like the boys' building, there was a pool but, also, this room had beautiful marine frescoes on the walls. The girls quickly took their robes and sandals off and jumped into the refreshing water. Servants handed them soap to wash with and waited with fresh towels, as they came out of the water. They were given clean light green robes and soon were ready to rejoin Andros outside. He looked up from a tablet he had been going over and smiled at them, "I see you're all ready. Come with me, I wish to show you where you will be sleeping before we leave this building and go to the eating hall where the boys are probably impatiently waiting.”

They followed Andros to a large room off to the side that turned out to be just about as lovely as the main room. Their beds were located along the walls with a small table at the side plus a small storage box at the foot. The walls had more paintings of nature with a high ceiling and plenty of air from the windows. Kori took a bed near a window, the other nine claimed theirs as well. Soon after the girls were lead outside again where they walked towards a building located midway along the east wall. This was where they found the boys, inside waiting for them at long tables. Kori quickly spotted Nikos at the end of the table. She smiled at him, as she sat across from him. 

Food bowls were being set along the tables, giving off wonderful smells. Kori saw at a glance, there were plenty of varieties. Bowls of different grains steamed fragrant with herbs, others of root vegetables as well as greens and many fruits. Once everyone was seated, two servants came with large pitchers of watered down wine and started to fill the cups by each plate.

Andros took that moment to announce, “I will leave you now with Duris, who will stay close by and have you escorted to your sleeping areas. Enjoy your meal and sleep well, you have a big day tomorrow.”

Andros bowed his head slightly and made his exit. Most of us gave a sigh of relief. Now we could eat in comfort, well sort of we did still have Duris nearby. But he seemed to have his attention on some writing tablets that someone had just brought him, so we were able to relax and enjoy our meal. After all, we were famished. Some of the food was unfamiliar, others we had had all our lives.

We teased each other into trying everything. In the end I know I was overfull having tried all the dishes. Kori too looked like she was going to burst. She patted her tummy, looked at me and laughed. The others saw this and started to imitate Kori, laughing out loud until we drew Duris' attention from his tablets.

He gave his work back to the servant and stood up before announcing, “OK everyone, it looks like you're finished with your meals, a good night's sleep is what you need now. You girls will go with Nina, who is responsible for you from now on. If you have any questions or needs, she is the one to you will talk to. Off with you now, I will take the boys to their building.”

We quieted down, as he spoke wiping our mouths with the small towels provided. The girls said their good nights and went off with Nina while we went northward to our sleeping quarters.

Once in our room Duris said, “Get some sleep, you will be expected to be up at sunrise, you have much to learn and I like to get an early start. Good night and sleep well.”

Meanwhile, Nina escorted the tired girls and waited while they each went to their chosen bed. The sun was setting, as she lit a small oil lamp so she could see everyone better.

She quietly remarked, “I will be back at day break to wake you all up. So you will have plenty of time to wash and get ready for the day. Breakfast will be in the same building you had supper.”

She waited as we undressed and put on a night garment that had been laid on each bed, we then got into our nice clean, soft beds. You could hear sighs from all of us. Nina smiled to herself as she added, “OK...good night and sleep well girls.”

She carried the small oil lamp. As she left, the large room plunged into semi-darkness. The moon was full giving the girls enough light to see. Kori sat up and whispered, “Is everyone OK? “

At the various hushed whispers of yes, she also heard a few sniffles as well. She waited until it was quiet again before continuing, “Listen to me, so far we have been treated well, like royalty. This is good, we have a chance to see and know things we would never in a lifetime experience back home in our small villages. I know you are feeling homesick, so am I. Let's make the best of this, but most important we must always look after each other. If there is a problem, don't keep it to yourself, come to me or one of the other girls and work it out. We need to have each others back at all times. I believe it's the only way we will survive this adventure we have somehow gotten ourselves into. OK get some sleep now, tomorrow should be interesting.”

The next morning, Nina entered the sleeping chamber just as the sun was coming up. She looked at the slumbering girls hoping they would all be up to the challenge of becoming bull leapers. She knew from past stories that anyone of them could have a tragic end. She shook her head thinking, (this is no time to let my mind wonder over dark times).

She pulled out a metal disk and wand and started to bang on it cheerily shouting, “Come on girls rise and shine. We have a very busy day in store for you all.”

As the various girls opened their eyes, some groaned when they realized how very early it was. Others like Kori were instantly awake, jumping out of bed and stretching.

Nina stopped banging the disk smiling warmly before starting her little speech, “After a light breakfast you will all be taken to the exercise area where Duris will take over. He will explain your activities for the rest of the day. Around noon, there will be a lunch break plus afterward you will be given a well earned rest period. In the afternoon, you will begin your training, but Duris will go into that in more detail, for now I want you to slip these kilts on, wash up and join me outside.”

As she talked, she had been handing each girl a kilt. Since they wrapped around the waist and were adjustable there was only one size. Once she was done, Nina turned around and went outside, leaving the girls to look at this garment that only boys and men wore.

Kori looked at the kilt thinking, (there must be a mistake!) and ran after Nina, “Please madam, these are kilts, why are you asking us to wear men's garments? “

Nina thought for a few moments on how to explain, “Kori when exercising or training this kilt will be the only garment all of you will be wearing both boys and girls. I know you girls are not of an age where you wear the traditional women's robes. As for this kilt, believe me, there is a good reason for this rule. The less you wear for the activities you will be doing, the more comfortable and safer you will be. You'll soon become accustomed to the kilt believe me. Duris will explain it in more detail later when you're all together. Now please go back in and put your kilt on, your breakfasts are waiting.”

Kori had no option, but to go back in and tell the girls there was no mistake, “We have to put these kilts on, like it or not. For now I suggest we go along with their requests.”

There was mumbling, but soon the kilts were slipped on and adjusted to the various sizes of the young girls. When they were ready, Kori led the way out the door, while holding her hands over her small breasts. The rest of the girls followed suit. Nina nodded her head before leading them back to the building where breakfast waited for them.

Once they arrived at the doorway to the eating hall, Duris stepped out to have a word with Nina. Looking over the girls, as he talked, his expression showed satisfaction that they had complied with the kilt attire. Once they were done, he nodded his head and with a sweep of his arm he ushered the girls inside. Kori led the way holding her hands over each breast followed in single file by the rest of the girls. The boys all seated on one side of the long table were bare-chested wearing only their kilts. Nikos and the rest of them looked up at the extraordinary sight before them. The girls moved toward the other side of the table seating themselves like the night before while still holding onto their breasts and waited.

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