A marker with a shrine for Bel Marduk was built for Scheravasana's remembrance, and her family, who were in the followers of the army, were ransomed and released to return in safety to Sardis, with such gold as a bounty for her good service to me, and for her loss. I grieve, bitterly. And if she were wife to me and this happened? I have wept these two nights, despite the consolation of these women, the deep consolation of the long-haired concubine whose lust for rough conquest is as great as my own - for she grew deeper in passion after the angry assignation the night of Schera's death, and itself intoxicated me. She releases of inhibition, and less and less did I feel the strain of anxiety of being interrupted, for Hestes did not approach me. He was abashed, somewhat, at the utterness of my rage with him that night, although my second and Cothon and Aristobulus counseled with him and explained. I could not be expected to react any differently, and I would be within my justification to kill him if I had but mere suspicion of him. And suspicion I had much. I could anticipate that while his rage at rival males would be hot, his rage at women might be far greater, since he had voiced it to me, and broke down in bitter tears the very night we spoke of it.
We are, at my best estimate, 7 days' hot march to the gates of Halicarnassos, and my anticipation of again seeing Mithradates rises in me, and I dream of him. Though now my dreams of passion are intersected, oddly, but the smooth thighs and pointed breasts of my courtesans, whom I took two to my bed this night. It were Elibatan's notion that she and her fellow could more completely please me if the both lay with me together, and while awkward at first, I did in time respond to the mouth of one in one part, and the loins of another in another part; though I would not have wanted to be interrupted in such a confusion of bodies by any of my officers, least of all by Cothon. Though I felt little shame in the doing, I felt some in the contemplation after, and would not want the image of myself abandoned to such excesses of lust to be placed into the eyes of those who would respect me. But Apollion spake nothing, I believe him content that I touched Hephaestion not. And that there were no further incidents of shouting or violence. Hestes had his own labor to perform, and while we marched, a thousand things to do. Parmenion took the flank column, for after we settled Halicarnassos, he would to Phrygia.
Now I must direct some of my energy previously spent in lust to planning, and receive in the evenings the messengers who reconnoiter the land and resources that lay between us and our goal. It is rough territory, which is why we had to wait so long to re-provision, for we must now provision heavily, and our baggage train is lengthier than it had been previous. We march through barrenness, which is what lies on the royal road, few wells, no trees, and very little arable farm. Not enough for us and the reinforcements sent from the Troad, including the newly-trained cadre of Pergamese and the now-taller Alexander who had parted from me in some pain at Abydos. The youth were directed to haul up our goods from the sea, and their strong backs saved our older warriors from excessive labor in the sun, for the sun begins to grow fierce as the summer begins.
I saw Hestes not, though many times I sought glimpse of him along his column in the cavalry, but each time I thought I had, ever in my eyes was the tireless Cothon, who appeared to be everywhere, and Philotas, busy with his new command and anxious to appear industrious before his king. I walked alongside my leaders, not at horse, and my groom led my horse somewhat to the rear as we marched at great pace in the sun, our heads covered not only with helmet but also with cloth to screen from the broiling sun. We were winded and hot, and the sweat poured freely from us. This, this is living! I felt a joy soar in me that blotted out the pain of the nights, the memory of the shattered skull of one whom I had shared such tender moments and such exquisite joy of sexual awakening - for she was the first female I had touched in innocence and joy. Had Hephaestion brought upon her death he would die, and in great pain; and this I remain fully prepared to do if he transgresses, but I cannot afford to make haste in response to events in my camp - I had made a significant error with him in the case of her death, but according to Apollion, it served a good purpose, for Hestes now knows the extreme of my mind, and my true attitude to him: utter mistrust. Let him live with it! I counsel myself.
I spend my nights, rather than in the arms of a willing female, in the throes of map-drawing with Aristobulus, and we grow weary with the smoke of the lamp, as we draw out the detail of the countryside surrounding Halicarnassos. And with my commanders, as we plan not only for siege and battle, but also for the dividing of the army and the months to follow. There is much to do, and my assignations must not impinge upon the long hours of planning yet to do.
We argue endlessly on approach, and on supply. Parmes would opt for larger baggage, and less reinforcements. I would argue for speed and strength, and forced marches, but then I am ever impatient. Cothon is dissatisfied with the quality of the metal on the points of the sarissas, and many of the infantry are without proper sandals for marching. How much more leather could we ship from Corinth, and would there be time if battle were nigh? Ours is a great city on the march, without market or field to provision us, but only the 30 cargo ships of Nearchus which have now emptied for us and fled back to Pella and to Asklepios and Crete, for more of that rare supply that we cannot raise from the land, including fruit which my men now crave badly. It becomes a rare delicacy, more delicate than the finest wine or meat, and all I have, I share out to them, each to each leader, for them to portion to the most efficient and smart.
I take the young Alexander briefly to privacy and counsel, and find he is well content with his new place, and his regret of me passed in the blooming of his youthful passion for the girl he took to wife. For this I was glad, moreso than before, and made it known to him that I too had had some fortune in this same matter, but no wife as yet. I parted from him with gift of bread for his wedding (which had not happened at the time we had parted), and such of the fruit that was my personal portion and which I was loath to eat, hating sugar.
And we are provisioned well for siege at Halicarnassos, though we may yet lack in wood for upbuilding our siege engines. I expect siege, and all manner of attack upon the walls of that fortified and rich place. Or, at length, stealth, if I can engage the garrison upon the field, for my enemy, Memnon of Rhodes, has fled to that place, and may yet mount an organized sally against me. It cannot be that after so round a defeat and 20,000 of their dead at Granicus they can mount the same level of assault, and only Memnon's legion, of the Greek mercenaries, is truly at large in the area. This is my only fear, for it will be next spring before I could encounter the main Persian horde, only their hired troops abound here, and I am hot to meet them in battle. They are traitors, and worthy, all, of execution in my mind. I have also brought forward masons with much mortar and brick for building our own walling, which may be necessary, to breach the moat and make our own defense against their towers.
I am exhausted from the planning of strategy, from the redesigning of siege tower for the high wall of the city, and the drawings that call to me for completion. Were that Callisthenes were not abed with his new woman! I must bring him forward to work with me more closely, if he can stand the regard of his king. The morrow, then