"Time, As It Grows Old, Teaches All Things"
(Quote from 'Prometheus Bound' by Aeschylus)
“It’s almost as if an eagle is eating up my stomach each day and it grows back as painfully as it was devoured” says Alfred at the healer his wife has insisted that he saw although he, himself, knew that there wasn’t anything that anyone could do for him.
He felt Death breathing down on his neck, and strangely She seemed the one that had his health most at heart, because she told him to calm himself, to sleep and to simply let go of all his earthly worries.
And yet the pain of that eagle that the sickness he had been born with never faltered and never eased itself, no matter whatever horridly smelling potion he is given.
Sometimes he wonders if this pain makes him some kind of Prometheus.
He does feel the similarity with the Titan who stole the fire for mankind and was punished so harshly to be made an example of to everyone who dared disobey the old gods.
Alfred would like to say that his God isn’t as ruthless as those, but after having been in all the battles he fought, he can’t deny that his sole Sureness and Guide is as inscrutable as the old gods that stayed far away from humans and just punished them.
He knows that what he is being punished for is the same fault as Prometheus’.
He reached too far.
He wanted a united England.
Britain all under his control, under the pretense of peace and calmness, protection from the Northern invaders and safety from the ones that had settled themselves in ‘his’ land.
He knows that his project is still far from being succeeded, but he hopes that his children, who he has shaped after himself, will bring it forward, learning from his mistakes.
Many believes him to be an hero and that’s how he wished to be remembered in his records, but he knows the unease of everyone that sees his arrogance and his willingness to defeat all the limits God has created for humankind.
He knows what his nephew whispers whenever he thinks himself to be alone and is eager to say that his ‘dear and merciful uncle’ stole his sight and his kingdom.
Uhtred told him that he is so arrogant in everything he does and that it’ll be his ruin.
And Alfred knows it’ll be his ruin.
It has poisoned his blood and sickened his mind.
And yet, he can’t help but look out for the day when the pain he feels at the hand of Zeus or God’s horrid eagle will one day subside to nothing and he’ll be free.
But he knows that although he smells of Death, his eternal sleep is so far away.
There’s more to do.
More limits for him to defeat.