marches at the head of a ferocious force of 7,000 Spartans to Thermopylae. His elite warriors chant battle cries behind him, ready to dispatch the treacherous Persian armies of Xerxes. It’s likely a suicide mission. They’re greatly outnumbered but Leonidas was the only Spartan warrior king forged in agoge training. Through the trials he has become an expert in combat, pain tolerance, stealth, communications and most importantly - loyalty to Sparta. It’s this loyalty to the greater good of Greece that allowed him to say goodbye to his family and go to war.
Leonidas casts a glance back at his mighty Spartans and the moment he does, a sixth combat sense kicks in. He screams out, “SHIELDS!” and without hesitation, 7,000 Spartans lock into an air-tight phalanx formation just as Xerxes’ assassins fire a deluge of arrows from the mountain flank above them. With their bodies tucked tightly behind their shields, the Spartans weather the storm. The moment the arrows stop, Leonidas yells, “Attack!”
The Spartans draw swords, prepare to sprint when…
The cliff-side rumbles with earthquake energy, throwing them off balance. Leonidas looks out to the sea to find crashing waves laced with purple froth that transmogrifies into a massive, growling whirlpool. Leonidas turns to push his men backward and as he does, the cliff-side crumbles underneath him, plunging Leonidas into a swirl of a million furious bubbles. His body spins uncontrollably until he’s forced into unconsciousness as he crosses the rip in space/time…
The King awakes in the sea, gasps and swallows salt water. The aura of sunlight breaks the dark and provides a true north. Leonidas fights his way to the surface, breaks the plane to oxygen and coughs violently just as a wave picks him up in a barrel roll and discards his body on the shore. He vomits saltwater, flips onto his back and finds himself staring at…
ASAD MAHMOUD a 9-year-old boy blinking over him curiously. Leonidas stumbles to his feet with uncertainty. What am I doing here? What happened? He barely manages to say his own name… “Leonidas.” Asad leads him to get food and water, revealing that Leonidas has landed in the year 2023. He’s in a Syrian refugee camp in Greece. The confusion triggers his violent muscle memory when a peace-keeping soldier attempts to lend a hand. Leonidas reacts on instinct, Leonidas nearly snaps his neck until he’s tackled to the ground by an entire regiment and finds himself flex-cuffed and clocked in as a “refugee.”
Weeks pass with Leonidas in “solitary” confinement, except for one visitor, Asad. The young boy sneaks barefoot into the tent every night to share food and tell stories of his people’s diaspora. Though King Leonidas cannot remember who he is, he finds connection and solace with Asad who vaguely reminds him of something in a past life. It’s this connection that allows Asad to help Leonidas transition from Spartan warrior king to patient prisoner so that he can secure his release into the general population. This father/son relationship gives purpose to Leonidas as Asad teaches him how to play football with the other kids and adopts him into their refugee family.
Everything is going well until…
Late one night, Asad wakes Leonidas and they sneak out to find mercenaries dressed in black with the insignia of Ares International, a serpent in the shape of a triangle, devouring its tail. They’re financing the refugee camp and smuggling black-market artifacts that have been looted from the Mosul Museum. Leonidas and Asad begin to hatch a plan of escape…
Leonidas disguises his Spartan agoge training as “football practice” with the young boys of the refugee camp as he teaches them the lethal arts that flash into his memory. They develop into a powerful unit and the courage is infectious with the destitute refugees. They inform Leonidas of a nearby dig site and when they sneak into it, he’s reunited with an ancient doru (spear) and the moment he wraps his fingers around the handle, the memories of his past life course through his veins in a rush of energy as he wipes out the security guards and quietly sneaks back into the camp.
The King realizes that the boys’ Syrian culture is being erased and that their refugee status has them imprisoned indefinitely. He decides now is the time to act. They fashion weapons out of household objects and shields from crates, pallets and storage bin lids.
Together, they form a motley phalanx, overtake the Ares International security force and steal one of their black-market supply trucks full of ancient artifacts.
They drive through the night until King Leonidas finds an honorable olive tree farmer, happy to feed and house the refugees. His peace is short-lived. A throbbing pulse of energy reaches out to his keen senses… Leonidas knows his Spartans are out there. He hugs Asad goodbye, takes a horse from the farmer and rides off into the night with his doru.