The wildness of grief has passed, the storms of anguish and loss have blown their course, and I can look upon your face. It is unblemished from battle, as though you are only asleep. The Gods have cleansed your body, preserved from corruption its essence and given you back the noble bearing you had before you were mauled by a hundred men fighting for your corpse. They gave you back to me naked, but I have clothed you in finest silk and strongest armour. I have placed a coin of gold beneath your tongue, and wept tears of lamentation over your mortal form. I have sacrificed twelve noble youths, and slain those dogs you and I loved best. I have killed Hector for your sake, and kissed your cold pale lips from which only death exudes. With my own hands I have tended your hair, and smoothed it back, folded your hands around your sword, and lain beside you at night so you would not be cold.
The winds of death blow chill, and I am tormented with dreams as I lie in your unmoving embrace. We never value anything but what we lose. Only then is its true value revealed. I am no woman yet I wept by your side, and snarled like a beast at those who would have taken you. Antilochus held my hands to prevent my joining you on the funeral pyre, and I live only to avenge you. What more can I do for you?
I have done the deed, which you would have wished me to do most. I have learned from you, learned as you must have despaired of me learning. Not mercy, for you showed none, nor forgiveness for you did not forgive. I have learnt that to eat carrion is to die, to show bitterness to an old man is an insult to the Gods and a needless evil. I have learnt that a body is only a body. Yet still I sit with your hand in mine and tell you this. I dreamed once we would enter Troy's ruins together, the only ones left alive amongst the carnage and the ruin, and that we ruled as solitary kings, the barren wastes that were once so fertile our only dominion. I dreamt this, and I could dream of no better. You go before me to prepare the way, perhaps in the kingdom of death we shall share twin thrones, and taste the bitterness of despair, and savour it like honey. The taste of death on your lips, and mine, two blind unseeing rulers, united by the touch of one hand, the warmth and strength such bonds bring.
Or perhaps we shall be youths again, fleet in the verdant green of our homeland, dashing through streams of icy water under blue skies, unknowing of fate, believing we shall live forever. There are worse ways to spend eternity to be sure. I can think of worse fates than to waken in your arms forever.
I ride to war, to a valiant death and to your embrace.