“Amazing,” says one.
“And the weather!” another scout stretches out on his back and bites into a fig. “I could get used to this.”
“Look at them,” says another, gazing down at the busy harbor. “They have no idea what’s about to hit them.”
“I don’t know, it looked like they were running about a thousand troops through drills to the north.”
“Little boys and old men. The real warriors are in Thrace. Constan-tin-no-pull..”
“What does that make us?”
“We get the Greek booty.”
“Sshh. I hear something.”
They look down toward the cove beneath them.
“We don’t have much time,” says Hellen.
“There’s never enough time with you.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I have to rehearse! I have to get bread!”
“Well, I do!”
The soldier scouts muffle their chuckles behind their hands. One of them mock chokes himself.
“Hellen,” the young man holds her face in his hands. “Be with me.”
“I’m with you.” They embrace and murmur to one another.
One of Alaric’s scouts grasps his hands in front of his chest and mouths, “I’m with you.”
“No! Stop!” Hellen shouts.
“Helen!” they young man pleads.
“I can’t do this! I have to go!” she says. She turns and rushes up the path away from the beach.
“Greek booty,” says one of the scouts.
Hellen rushs up the path, half blind with tears. The scouts seize her, covering her mouth. She struggles, bites the finger of one, slams the back of her head into the face of another (breaking his nose), jams her thumbs into the eye sockets of a third. The fourth scout knocks her on the head with a club and, while his companions nurse their wounds, he drags her off into the thicket.
The young man on the beach holds his head in his hands. “Stupid, stupid,” he berates himself. He slaps his palm against the cliff. Kicks the cliff. Limps a little because it hurts. He takes out a small drawstring bag and brings out the necklace he was going to give Hellen. He kisses it and puts it back in the bag. He shakes himself and rushes up the path to catch up with Hellen, shouting, “Hellen!”
“Hellen!” he continues to shout. “Where are you?”
CUT TO THE FAMILY HOME
“Helen!” the young man bursts in on Sophia and Eirene cleaning up after dinner. “Where is she? Please.”
“What is this?” says Sophia.
“Is she here? I have to talk to her.”
“No, Hellen is not here. Perhaps the theater?” says Sophia.
The young man runs off without another word.
“He has been pierced by Eros,” Sophia says to Eirene.
“Does that mean he loves Hellen?” says the child.
“She could do worse,” says Sophia.
The young man bursts onto the stage, interrupting the Hymn to Zeus.
“Where is Helen?” he insists. “Please, I need to talk to her.”
Agnas approaches him. “What’s this about?” she says.
“We were at the cove. We had an argument.”
“Then where is she?” says Agnas.
“I don’t know!” he says.
“She’s probably at home.”
“I just came from there!”
“Where could she have gone?” says Agnas.
A messenger runs onto the stage, breathless. “Alaric’s army approaches!”
Agnas grasps him by the shoulders. “What!” she shakes the messenger.
“The army! It’s marching this way.”
“I must find my daughter!” says Agnas. “My daughter!” she shouts.