The first thing they did was tear her dress and that's a shame, she thinks. It was her favourite, soft white fabric that swayed around her legs with gold brooches at the shoulders, and she was meant to be married in it. She'll never be married now, so maybe the dress doesn't matter after all.
The man who should have been her husband watched two clumsy-handed soldiers rend the fabric she was wearing and send her brooches skittering across the wide stone dais, right up to the cliff edge. She didn't understand then - she still thought she was meant to be Achilles' wife and wait for him in Phthia to come home from her father's war in Troy. But then the soldiers turned her, naked, to face the crowd at the foot of the steps that led up to the cliffside altar. And though Achilles was present, he was not the one that mounted the steps to meet her.
"Princess," said King Odysseus, and Iphigenia recalled her father's stories of how her uncle claimed his wife; Odysseus of Ithaca is not necessarily a good man or a kind man as much as he's a man of wiles, a man who resolves issues to his own advantage, and so she could not trust him.
"Why am I here?" she asked, as she blushed, as she tried to stand up tall and retain her strength as any daughter of Mycenae. But his eyes wandered like the soldiers' did, over her bare breasts and down between her thighs, before he turned his steely gaze back to her face. Her voice dropped. It thinned. "There will be no wedding, will there?"
He shook his head. "No," he said. "The Greek army is becalmed here. We cannot sail, for either Troy or home. So Artemis, who your father has offended, must be appeased."
Her heart beat sickly in her breast. She smiled at him. "A sacrifice, then?"
"Yes, a sacrifice."
"Will it be you?"
"I won't strike the final blow," he said, "but I was sent to take the first." She frowned. He shifted, almost seeming awkward, this great man of all the Greeks. "The seer said the sacrifice must not be a virgin or the goddess will not accept her. And he said the sacrifice must be Agamemnon's daughter."
She looked at him, in the clear light of the goddess's full moon. She looked at him levelly, though she pressed her nails into her palms. She willed him to flinch, to look away, blinded by her purity and piety before Artemis' altar, but he held her gaze.
"Only you?" she asked.
"As many men as want you while the moon is full. It's for the men's spirits. And to ensure Artemis knows you're not a maid." He stepped forward. He rested his broad hands on her bare shoulders. "I'll make the first as good as it can be," he said. "But for the rest, I can make no promises."
She supposes she was meant to be grateful to him for that, but she couldn't summon gratitude. Past his shoulder she could see a hundred faces, more, all watching as he walked her backwards to the altar. When she'd arrived in Aulis, she'd thought the petals covering the stone were pretty, but right then she saw the rusty red stains in the surface beneath. Small bubbles of urgent, effervescent panic rose in her, but he slid one hand into her long hair and murmured, by her ear, "Don't struggle, princess. I won't stop, and it will only hurt you more, not me."
He turned her away from him, to face the altar and the sea over the cliff beyond. In the moonlight, she could see the ships as they sat motionless in the bay below, waiting for the wind to rise so they could hoist their sails and fly away to war. She didn't care if they never reached Troy. She didn't care if the Greek fleet's boats sat there till they rotted and took all their men down to Poseidon. She didn't want to die but Odysseus' hands ran down her bare back and bent her down over the altar. His sandaled feet nudged her own apart. And he reached one hand around her waist and slipped it down between her thighs.
At first, her body gave no response except to tense at the sudden foreign touch, but Odysseus was undeterred. His fingertips teased her lips, stroked the line where they met, then eased just one fingertip in past them. She felt her cheeks blush as the places in between her legs flushed warm and wet. It didn't seem to matter to her body that this was almost the very last thing that she wanted, or how many men were watching. His fingers coaxed her into readiness, his skin rough, his touch firm but careful.
Then he drew back. She heard the rustle of fabric and as she glanced over her shoulder, she saw his tunic fall. He was naked beneath, and his manhood huge and hard. She turned away quickly so she wouldn't have to see and someone laughed, but it wasn't him.
She heard him step close, sandals against stone. She felt his hands on her skin, pressing her low to the stone, so close she almost believed she could smell blood under the scent of flowers. He parted her lips with his thumbs and then she felt him there, too, slipping in the slickness that he'd forced her to produce, until he pushed himself inside her. Someone watching hooted in amusement, but it wasn't him. All he did was breathe in harshly.
She felt it when his manhood tore her maidenhead, a sharp pain that made her cry out softly though she tried so very hard not to. He didn't stop, didn't hesitate; he pushed in to the hilt in one long, slow thrust, till his thighs met hers, his warm hands at her chilly hips. There was more sound from the crowd then, eager sounds, like Pan was stalking in amongst them, like they liked what they saw but they wished for more. So he moved, in reaction to them or perhaps just of his own accord. He thrust with his hips and he moved inside her and when he brought his fingers back down again between her thighs, when he touched her, slicked her with the proof of her own arousal, rubbed her, she felt her knees go weak.
She didn't want it. She wanted marriage, and a home in fertile Phthia, long life, old age, a brave and loyal husband. But Achilles stood by and watched as Odysseus of Ithaca took her in his stead. The whole Greek army watched as he rubbed her with his fingers till she shuddered her release around the wide girth of his cock. And then, as she trembled against the altar, shamed, betrayed by her own body, he spilled his seed inside her.
Odysseus withdrew. He left her there, shame-faced and dripping with his semen, so that the next man could mount the steps and take his turn. That was what the seer told them they must do to sail to Troy and wage their war, and so they would do precisely that.
She counted twelve more men the first night. They fucked her vigorously, gripping her hips till they felt bruised, and likely were. Once forced his cock into her throat and fucked her mouth till tears leaked from her eyes; she remembers how he just laughed and did it harder. Then the moon began to set and the sky began to lighten, and Calchas said to please the goddess they must stop.
She spent an hour huddled to herself behind the altar, out of view, wrapped in what remained of her fine dress. Then a slave came, a man, with a bowl of steaming water and a cloth, and the Greek men laughed and jeered as he sat her on the altar stone and washed their drying seed off from her skin.
"Who are you?" she asked, her voice small and rough.
"I tend Odysseus' horses," he replied. "That's why they laugh. I'm readying you for them to ride."
She's not sure if her face felt hot from shame or anger then, or a mingling of the two.
When the sun set and the moon rose, the army pressed around the altar. They sat around campfires, cooking meat, greasy mouths and fingers everywhere she looked, with hungry eyes. Some fought when King Odysseus asked, "Who's next to please the goddess?" And they scuffled down by the fires, by the foot of the steps, vying to be the next to have her.
One man pushed up to the front, past all the others. There was no complaint, no further squabble, when Ajax of Salamis, great Telamonian Ajax, made his way toward her, and stripped off his tunic as he walked. The lesser Ajax had been among the men who'd had her under the moon the night before; now it was the turn of the greater.
As she stood naked by Artemis' altar, he towered above her. He was a giant of a man, like a Titan raised from Tartarus, tall and thick and strong. He told her to stroke his cock till he was stiff enough to have her, and he was big enough she had to use both hands for it. Then, when he pushed her down face-first over the altar, she couldn't see how he'd fit inside her; neither could he, it seemed, so he put his fingers in her first, while the men that watched him jeered and cheered him on.
In the end, great Ajax sat down on the altar and he lifted her up onto his lap, her knees both parted wide. He spread her open with his huge hands and lowered her against his cock. Her breath caught. Her hands went tight at his shoulders, broad and almost firm as stone. And then he set her down on his great length and she felt herself begin to stretch to take him in. He spread her wide so the men could see it, or perhaps so that the goddess could.
He did the work because she couldn't. She was limp with the size of him, filling her up, so he held her by the thighs and pumped his hips to push his cock up into her. It didn't hurt, not precisely, but she whimpered as he moved in her. Between her thighs, she tingled shamefully as the men behind her cheered him on, but she knew she dare not touch herself. She didn't want this. She didn't want him, brave Ajax, descended from the gods just like her beautiful aunt Helen is, let alone any one of the others gathered there, and when he came, when he roared out loud and pulled her down, when he thrust up hard and shivered, she very nearly wished him dead.
He lifted her off when his strength returned sufficiently and draped her, limp just like a doll, face-down over the altar. She was aching down there, dripping with him, but that didn't deter the next man. Teucer, his brother, the great archer, sank his arrow in with gusto. He added his own seed only minutes later.
She ceased counting at fourteen that night. She ceased putting names to faces, even if their face seemed familiar. And when the sun began to rise, they left her, shivering, shuddering, all swollen cunt and come and tears.
They didn't wash her till the evening, when the sun began to set. Odysseus' horse slave tended to her, shaved the come-matted hair from between her thighs and cleaned her up as best he could. Then someone from the field below shouted, "Why not let him have her?" Others agreed. No disagreement followed. And so, tonight, the first to spill himself inside her was a common slave from Ithaca.
Others followed. They fucked her mouth till her throat felt raw. They groped her breasts till they felt bruised. They came on her skin and smeared it, laughing, in symbols like the letters of their names. They came in her cunt, or on it, against it, in hot spurts that slicked her thighs and dripped onto the ground. There could be no doubt at all that Iphigenia of Mycenae would be no virgin sacrifice.
Eventually, the men began to tire of it. The novelty of the royal girl, Agamemnon's eldest princess, started to wear off. Some, drunk and chuckling, jerked themselves half-heartedly onto her back then washed it off with a splash of wine. And now, now that she's slumped there, dripping, naked and defiled, exhausted, now they've had their fill of filling her. she hears one last set of footsteps on the stairs. She hopes that it's her father, Agamemnon, come to rescue her. She knows it's not.
He pushes her down, till her bare breasts are pressed against the altar and the chill of stone makes her shiver down the full length of her spine. He spreads her legs roughly and when he slaps her bare-shaved cunt with the flat of his hand, she cries out loud at the sudden sharp pain of it. She's been used so frequently and well that everything she has between her thighs is sensitive and swollen, but that doesn't stop him. He does it again; she hears the slap as well as feeling it. Again. Once more, twice, ten times, till she's aching, till he's rubbing her between the blows and not all of what's wet between her thighs is what other men have left on her. She hates herself for liking it as much as she hates him for everything this is.
He pushes two fingers inside her, thrusts them in, pushes deep, and somehow she can't help but push back to meet them with whatever weak effort might remain to her. He pushes his cock inside her next, thrusts it in, pushes deeper, and she meets him in that, too. The men are almost silent now, their voices only murmurs, and she understands; this man is Achilles, great Achilles, son of Peleus, the man her father told her she would marry at this altar. He fucks her instead, in great jarring thrusts that press her breasts and thighs against Artemis' stone.
Then, he stills. He presses a finger in beside his cock, and stretches her though not so much as Ajax did. The slick finger he slips between her cheeks and her face flushes hot in shamed embarrassment as he rubs it at the hole there, pressing firm with just the tip as he lets her cunt pull tight, alarmed, around him. He pulls out and leaves her wet cunt gaping. He presses the tip of his cock to her hole. None of the other men have thought to violate her in this way, but he does; he spreads her cheeks and pushes in and takes what little dignity remains to her. And, since that's gone now, since she has nothing left at all, she slips one hand down low and rubs her swollen cunt that's still so slick with come and her own impious arousal. Her tears are bitter as she brings herself to her release with his cock inside her arse, and he spills then, too, with a groan, pushed in deep.
When he pulls out, she feels her hole expel a glut of his thick come that trickles down between her thighs. And he leans forward. He eases her up by her bare shoulders, pets her long, tangled hair, squeezes her aching breasts. She wonders if it would have been like this, if she'd been his wife, or if this is all because he knows she won't live past this night. And then, he picks up the knife, and she knows it's time.
"Fair winds," he says, as if he speaks a prayer to Artemis for all the Greeks, but Iphigenia has prayers of her own.
He puts the blade up to her throat, still standing there behind her. And her thoughts are this: great Artemis, please send them there, but please make it hard on them. She doesn't care a whit for her aunt Helen, who chose Paris, and Troy, adultery, over duties to her king and Sparta. And she hopes if her father returns home from Troy, her mother will avenge her.
And this, this last, as Achilles' blade begins to bite:
Great Artemis, for Greece, please let them win. But don't let him come home.