Sciamachy by Bader A. Shehab


Sci·am·a·chy noun [sahy-amuh-kee]an act or instance of fighting a shadow or an imaginary enemy.


It troubles me to think my opponent shed drops of more a sweat, a blood, a tear than I. It troubles me to think, he who bestows to fend me from those walls, as I speak of breath I could use in bettering me, is leathering their arms and spears, the very ones to be wielded at I. It troubles me to think my foe, fore foes, and upon the Four Emperors[1] I swear. That he who eyes the eagle’s afar, fearless and in no doubt, to strike with no mercy nor loss. 

And as I eyed in horror, the suicidal Gaul[2] whom we conquered into surrender, take his own life before my eyes, and that of his lady’s. What power of a person does it take to astonish my eyes? The eyes that have seen all, watched all die before my hands, crushed foes beneath gauntlets forged by gods and swords swung at thunder length with roar and emphasis, to kill my enemy. That Gaul was the talk of Legends, the enemy yet the Dirge of my thoughts; brave, proud and fearless he is, taught me not to lay these arms of mine. For I am burdened with a glorious purpose, I am the son of the king of kings, conqueror of Eratosthenes and ruler of the Farlands. I am Heracles[3] of Agrigento and I must crush them all, “under abhorring!”[4]

Pray I train every day, pray I muster every exhumation, the sinister ways of my armaments that shone, below the spotless shades of melancholy of shadows. Under her Nyx[5] she indulges over my rapid and blinking movements at arms, keeping up with my shadow; pray the feel of it possessing these dungeon walls.

Witnessing my pre-warrior-parting-to war rituals, playing at the sporadic flaming torch glows against rows and rows of shadowless shadows. O! Speak to me Erebos[6]; guide my well-taught eye and hand, spear and sword, shield and armor. For I will still beg to differ of why, of all man, a phantom portrays my errors. Yet of which, I cannot repel nor catch. Better me for I, under you, only but a mortal.

Fellow one, here you are, under Helios[7] as he shone upon you and I. You never fail me but knock me down, only to raise me a better man, warrior and brother to thee. Shall we part this journey at once, for I am a shroud of mystique I’d pray to render open. Now old shadow, show me my ways, my enemies from behind, blind them with your shine and protect me from heat. For you and I, shall flourish in this battle and beyond.


[1] The Year of the Four Emperors was a year in the history of the Roman Empire, AD 69, in which four emperors ruled in a remarkable succession.

[2] The Ludovisi Gaul Killing Himself and His Wife (sometimes called “The Galatian Suicide”) is a Roman marble group depicting a man in the act of plunging a sword into his breast, looking backwards defiantly while he supports the dying figure of a woman with his left arm.

[3] Heracles was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene

[4] Lines from a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1605 and 1608. The play is based on the life of the legendary Roman leader Caius Marcius Coriolanus.

[5] Nyx is the Greek goddess (or personification) of the night, a shadowy figure.

[6] Erebos meaning “deep darkness, shadow” Greek god representing the personification of darkness.

[7]Helios was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology.

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