The air stank of war and hatred. The letter had come giving us all the notice that we were being attacked by the Persians. Us, the Spartans, the favored of Ares. Who would think of such a thing? My beautfiul wife handed me the hankie she always gives me when it comes time to leave, a come home token, the silent and unspoken sign of love, honor, and power. I pulled my thick cloak around me, turned and didn't look back as I drifted into the folds of warriors.