“You should have been there, brother. It was incredible! They came at me like giant mountainous beasts, wanting only my blood and bones to eat, and I beat them back, single-handedly. When I won the fight… this incredible shout went up through the amphitheater like raucous thunder.” Cupping his hands around his mouth, Galenus demonstrated the sound.
Aricles smiled at his brother’s exuberance while Galenus went on to illustrate his expert sword skills that had won his match two days ago. “You know what would really impress me, Galen?”
His brother froze in the middle of his mock sword stroke with a frown. “What?”
“Help with laying down the fertilizer in my field.”
Galenus scoffed indignantly as he climbed up on the fence and grimaced. “How can you stand it here? I hate farming and tending animals and fields… You should come with me next time and participate in the games. Together we’d be invincible… and win enough money to make the king, himself, look like a pauper.”
Aricles paused to wipe the sweat from his brow with his forearm before he cut the cord on a fresh batch of manure. Unlike his brother who was dressed in noble finery to rival a prince’s chiton, he was shirtless with only a short brown breechcloth and worn leather shoes to cover him while he worked. Even so, sweat rolled down his back and plastered his short, reddish brown hair to his head. “It’s not so bad here. Father needs the help.”
“Bah! He has plenty of servants for that. Why work us like dogs in the heat of summer? We were born to be better than this.”
Disagreeing completely, Aricles hoisted the barrel up on his shoulder to carry it to where he’d left off covering the plants. “There’s nothing wrong or undignified about a good day’s labor. You should try it sometime.”
“Says the man covered in cow shit.”
Aricles threw a handful of it at his brother. It landed in the middle of his chest, staining his stark white chiton.
“Ugh! That’s disgusting, Ari! I can’t believe you did that.”
Laughing, Aricles began spreading it around the sprouting plants. He’d never understand his brother’s love of or need for war. Personally, he hated conflict and fighting. He’d much rather create and build, than kill and destroy. Conquest and battle games didn’t appeal to him in the slightest way. The only reason a man should ever pick up a sword was to protect those he loved, not to willfully take the life of someone else’s beloved.
Still sputtering in fury, Galenus stormed off.
“One day, Galen,” Aricles called after him, “you’re going to learn to love farming. I promise you!”
“Should that day ever come, I hope Misos spears my idiot head to the wall!” he shouted back as he went to wash and change clothes.