I must apologize to you that my letters have been rather scarce lately. As you know, our current campaign into Asia is proving a bit difficult. Not so difficult that it will not eventually be won, of course. Alexander continues to amaze me with his insight and wisdom, which grows by leaps and bounds each day. I know that lately you two have been having disagreements regarding how Alexander is running his campaigns, but I am confident that you will eventually see that his methods are correct.
But enough talk of politics. I am writing this in order to remedy our current lack of correspondence, which I do sorely miss. Alexander has sent me on a mission of diplomacy that requires my presence in Pella in a few weeks time; Alexander himself remains on course to the Indus. As always, it is difficult to be apart from him. You once said that Alexander and I were "one soul abiding in two bodies." But you can not imagine how much it pains this one soul to be separated for too long. I can only hope that my business in Pella will not take too long and I can take my place by Alexander's side once again.
Perhaps I will visit Mieza before I head to Pella. I have some time, after all, and reliving cherished childhood memories is certain to keep my spirits high. That is all I can write for now, but I will add to this letter whenever I have a few moments to spare.
I have arrived in Mieza. I admit that this may very well be my bias speaking, but Mieza is and always will be the most beautiful part of Macedonia. There is no place else where the grass is so vibrant a green, where the sky is so open and blue. The Mieza of today, however, is so different than the one of my boyhood. I visited the shrine of the Nymphs and saw that it had half the visitors of old and that I recognized none of the attendants. I walked the shady paths where you were so fond of philosophizing and saw that the well-trodden dirt paths had been encroached upon by new plant growth. And though it may sadden you to hear this, our old school seems to be at the start of falling into disrepair. The stone around the entryway is crumbling ever so slightly, as are the benches where we use to sit and listen to your lectures. I fear that the day when the school is also overcome with new shrubs and vines is not terribly far off.
Despite all that, it feels better than you know to be back on familiar land. After setting up camp, I trekked to the cave that Alexander and I were so fond of exploring. Do you remember the one? Half-hidden behind dense foilage, from the mouth of it you could see a small grove of olive trees and the rolling hills east of the school. I am not sure if you knew, but down one of those dark paths in the cave is a pool of water, large and deep enough to swim in. A few lanterns will reveal that the water is crystal clear, with just a hint of blue-ish white at the surface. The color is from the reflection of the array of stalactites that are suspended above it, which look like icicles forever frozen in time.
Alexander and I used to come to this pool when the company of the other students grew tiresome. When we just wanted to be alone we would come and swim and frolick in the nude for hours, until some lesson or the other would call us away. It was a world for just the two of us and it was a magical one, seemingly untouched by the presence of any other being.
After visiting the cave I made my way back to the camp, and on the way I must tell you that I made the most amazing discovery. Almost hidden between two large trees was a perfectly rectangular prism, the likes of which I had never seen before. As I came closer to it I realized it was made of glass and metal, but not like any glass or metal our artisans are capable of crafting. The glass was clearer than any I have seen and shaped into large, rectangular sheets; the metalwork was more precise than anything I have seen, without the variation inherent in the process. Strange symbols ran across the top of one of the sides. After some investigating I found hinges on the prism; one side of it was a door. I opened it to find, mysteriously enough, empty space, except for some strange metal device mounted to its back wall.
I had my men come and carry the object back to camp. We will make inquiries into its origin among the townsfolk.
Today I spent the day in the village. As I strode through the market, enjoying the sights and sounds of the exuberant citizens, I was shocked to see that the elderly woman who used to give us free apples from her stall was still there! Amazed by the fact that time had seemed to have forgotten her I struck up a conversation, only to find out that she was the daughter of the kind fruit vendor of our childhood. Of course I was chagrined by the discovery, but we all have those moments, I suppose.
I also took the opportunity to question citizens about the object of before, but to no avail. No glassblower or blacksmith in town knows anything of it. We took a few artisans back to the camp in order to inspect the object, but they were baffled. They weren't even sure what kind of process could have created the object in question.
Is it some artifact of an ancient people? But in that case, why was it just discovered now and why did it look so new? Perhaps it is an object left by the Gods for us to discover. I have decided that while we are camped here we will keep it safe, in case it proves itself useful in some way. When we depart to Pella we will take it with us; perhaps the artisans there are better equipped to discover its secrets.
A possible lead about our mystery object has appeared, in the form of two men who tried to sneak into our camp last night. Of course they were caught and kept for questioning. Unfortunately, they speak no language that I, or any of my men, have ever heard. At one point one of them picked up ashes from a nearby fire and scattered it into the wind; from the look on their faces, it seemed as though they thought this strange and random action would garner a favorable response from us. Obviously, it did not.
It is hard to describe exactly how strange these two beings are. Their manner of dress is unlike any I have ever seen. They wear trousers, but trousers quite unlike the ones worn by the northern barbarians. Their trousers are made out of stiff fabric and held together at the waist by a strange, metal fixture. From their repeated exclamations when we tried to examine the fixture, we think that it is called a "whoawatchit." They wear some type of short-sleeved tunic, one with an amazingly realistic painting on the front of it. And over their tunics they wear strange over-garments of inexplicable shapes.
We spent half the night questioning them and have received absolutely no new information, except that one or both of them appear to be named "Dude." They seem harmless enough and don't seem intelligent enough to be spies, but of course we will be prudent in dealing with them. At the moment they are being kept isolated and guarded. Perhaps the townspeople know who they are.
Once again, the townspeople were no help. You will most likely not be surprised to find out that no one knew anything about these two strange men. For now the men haven't caused any problems, and there's a strong possibility that they are just two drifters who lack soundness of mind. My men are conducting routine sweeps of the area in case they are enemies and they have any allies nearby, but the chances of that happening grow increasingly slim. As the drifters seem to present no threat, we are mostly free once again to enjoy the countryside and make preparations for Pella.
As a method of keeping morale high and making sure the men remain active, today we held a hunt. It is, after all, the perfect season for chasing boar. It was great fun, reminiscent of the hunts we often had during our previous time here. We awoke before dawn to start, our spears having been readied the night before. Eventually some of the dogs cornered a particularly large and violent beast. The dogs clung to its neck as it charged and clamored through the woods. A group of eager young men appeared beside it, making their own charges and attacking with their spears. When all was said and done it took the spears of five men to bring the beast down; the smell of its smoking meat still fills the campsite now. It will no doubt keep our stomachs well and full for some time.
Alas! The two men are no innocent fools after all. We awoke today to find them gone, along with that strange glass and metal box. What's more, what amounts to a small army of Thracians is calling at our campsite. While the two men did not appear Thracian themselves, the clear deduction would be to say that they were scouts.
The Thracians claim to be a tribe from the mountainous regions of their country. They claim that they aided Alexander when he crossed the Hellespont and were never compensated for their actions; this is an obvious lie. I would not be surprised if they were a band of slaves who had escaped from their masters. I told them I was in no position to promise them money, but they answered with, "It is known that Hephaiston's word is the same as Alexander's."
Normally it would be an easy thing to simply slaughter them; however, they have managed to infiltrate the city and are holding it hostage, threatening to sack it if they are not promised their due. Strategically it would not be an easy thing to rid the city of them, and we were to depart for Pella in less than two days' time. And so I must come to a decision: do I leave the townsfolk to their fate, or do I attempt to aid them? Meiza holds a place dear in my heart, but sometimes sacrifice is necessary in the course of developing an empire.
Aristotle! You will never guess how the matter of the Thracians has resolved itself. I came to the decision to free the city from the barbarians; however, the undertaking proved to be more difficult than I expected. We fought our way through the city, but they had hidden themselves in choice vantage points in advance of our approach. The blood we spilled seemed never enough; their number seemed to never decrease.
And then, somehow, one of them was upon me. He had me on the floor, his sword held aloft and about to strike down upon my neck. My last thoughts were of Alexander and how I had failed him. The diplomatic mission would be a failure; Alexander would have to abandon his campaign and come back to deal with problems at home. Because of me, his ambitions would have to be put on hold. I prayed to the Gods that Alexander receive everything to which he aspires and so clearly deserves, but my prayers were interrupted as my would-be killer fell down. He had been struck in the head by one of the strange men that we had captured before!
After the man helped me up I was approached by his friend, an man in old Athenian garb. His name was Socrates, just like the famed philosopher, and he explained that these two men were travellers between worlds. As fantastic as the notion was, as I looked around at their other allies I could almost believe it. They all looked so strange and different. There was a burly man covered in furs, a short man with a frilly hat and rigid clothing, another man swinging a thick rope above his head and using it to capture Thracians. It would be so easy to believe that they all came from separate worlds. And the details hardly seemed to matter; they were aiding us and, somehow, completely turning the tide of battle.
In several hours it was won. The Thracians were repelled and the city was free. We feasted with our strange visitors, and Socrates explained that the two strange men were returning their friends back to all their worlds when something went wrong with their device and they all ended up here. They had manage to find all their allies when they saw the town was in trouble, and so came to aid us. I'm still not sure if I believe such a tale, but I care not. These men had helped us and were free to tell whatever stories they wished.
But then, at the end of the feast, we were treated to an incredible sight. We accompanied the men to where they had hidden their prism. The two men turned and begin to step into their contraption, the last of their band to do so. Before they completely stepped in, however, they turned to face us once again. Their voices bellowed through the air, "Be excellent to each other," and "Party on, Dudes!" They stepped into the contraption, a flurry of Zeus' bolts surrounded it, and thus did they leave: disappearing into nothingness. There is no doubt from that spectacle that they must be Gods of some sort. We have no idea what their words meant, but we will surely take them to heart.
Be excellent and party on,