Daughters of Sparta by Claire Heywood

Daughters of Sparta by Claire Heywood

Author:Claire Heywood [Heywood, Claire]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Published: 2021-06-22T00:00:00+00:00


Klytemnestra sat on her carved seat in the Hearth Hall, sewing sequins of gold onto the front of her husband’s new mantle. There was a chill wind blowing through the palace today so she had come seeking the warmth of the hearth fire. She smiled as its light caught the gleaming disks, rippling across the work she had already done. It gave her satisfaction to imagine how magnificent Agamemnon would look in his new robe, and to know that the eyes that admired her husband would also be admiring the work of her own hands.

She was starting to feel as if her life were going the way it ought to. The few years after Leukippe had left had been difficult. Klytemnestra had thought the girl’s departure would be the end of her trouble, but really it was only the beginning. The hope that had been stirred by her own pregnancy, so soon after reconnecting with her husband, had turned to bitter ash when the baby had finally come. It was blue and still. And the one the year after too, just the same. It was an ill omen to bring forth death where there should be life, but twice in as many years . . . She had been convinced that she and Agamemnon were being punished, that Artemis was still angry about what had happened with Leukippe. Had her husband’s accident not been enough? He had recovered, yes, but not fully. His leg was still twisted and he walked with a permanent limp. But then again, perhaps it was not Artemis who was punishing them. Perhaps they had done something to offend Eileithyia instead, forgotten her in their sacrifices or neglected her shrine. Both goddesses had power over childbirth; it could be either one who was set against them. Klytemnestra had spent many sleepless nights churning over such things, wondering how she might mend them.

To her relieved surprise, Agamemnon had not blamed her for any of it. She had felt as if she were failing him as a wife, and yet he had stayed by her side, had kept telling her that a child would come. If anything, that dark time had brought them closer than they had ever been.

And then a child did come. Chrysothemis, they had named her. Another girl, yes, but after what had happened, Klytemnestra was happy to see a live child come out of her, pink and screaming like it should be. She could have had twelve toes for all she cared; it was a new, warm life to hold in her arms, and that was all she wanted. Even Agamemnon didn’t seem to mind that she was a girl. Heir or not, she was a sign that their fortune had changed, that their punishment had ended.

Klytemnestra had still been worried, though. For at least the first couple of years, a part of her had been sure that Chrysothemis would fall ill and be taken from them after all. But she had survived.


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