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Byzantine Pandora

by Trent Walters

In 1203, A.D., Pandora yawned and rolled aside the stone covering her box (well, coffin). A walk to Byzantine might do her good.

Her feet grew sore from walking, so she rubbed her tootsies by the gently lapping shores of Stone Lake--which, despite its name, was not a lake of stones but one of water. Dusk had fallen when she spotted knights in shining armor, rowing toward the palace docks. A hundred boats, at least.

She whistled shrilly. "Fishermen!" She waved.

"Shh! Keep it down!" one whispered, motioning his axe to emphasize.

Their chivalry did not impress her though the palace guard had waved at her atop his Byzantine wall. But, employed, he lacked the necessary gondola.

She wouldn't let those Sunday boaters get away with skimping on their manners. "Over here!"

A knight looked at the guard (who sighed at the female), shot an arrow through the guard's poor pounding heart, and told Pandora, "We will pick you up if you will shut your trap."

Pandora clapped her hands. She'd never played a game of catch the castle.

On the other side, she let herself be lifted out the boat and on the dock. She ran beside them as they clattered down the corridor. Somehow the residents were not surprised to see them. She gave pointers, helping knights to better slash and gouge. One knight paused to grab her by the shoulders. "This is not the time to play. When we go forward, you go back, lest one of us fortuitously lop your head off."

"Aw, shucks," she said and shuffled to the water gardens.

Someone yelled, "We've got the emperor!"

Pandora, skipping rocks into the pool, was roughly whipped around. "Who are you?" asked a handsome Byzantine. "You don't belong here. Tell me where you come from."

"From going to and fro across the earth."

His face was horrified. "Miss Fortune!" Maybe he'd have plunged her in the pool, but from a window, cheers arose, which made her glum--their having fun without her.

"The knights have seized the emperor," she said.

His face grew pensive. To his side, he drew Pandora. "Hastily, I judged you, oh, my good luck charm. I'll exit to Nicea. Meanwhile, next in line is witless Isaac Angelos. I, Constantine, will reign thereafter!"


He was right. He ruled the Byzantines--although without a crown--a reign that lasted months.

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