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Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-06-00 00:49 ET (US)         
BEYOND POSEIDON'S THRONE
A Story of Ancient Times and Ancient Mariners

TYPE: EPIC ADVENTURE.
STYLE: 3RD PERSON; MEDIUM TO LONG POSTS.
MOOD: DRAMA, ROMANCE AND COMEDY PERMITTED, EXCEPT SILLY.
CHARACTERIZATIONS: RICH, DESCRIPTIVE, IN DEPTH. FULL DEVELOPMENT ENCOURAGED.
LEVEL OF VIOLENCE: LIGHT TO MODERATE

CAST OF CHARACTERS:
Player Characters
AYTHADIS: The tall man.
BARTUC: 17 yr. old Tyrean boy and friend of Edes. Albino-like physical features. Free spirit. Has spot changeable cubes.
CEREK: 32 yr. old Spartan warrior. Dark hair, dark eyes, battle scarred. Seeks adventure.
COOK: Ship's cook. Secret real name: Yonah. Hebrew emigre. Has no knowledge of Yanil's secret.
CORONIS: Young woman, early 30's, braided brown hair and sharp green eyes. Ship's healer on the Nautica Prima.
EDES: A youth of Tyre. Nearly 19 years old.
EDUSSE: First mate. A Celt formerly named Flynn.
HAMID: An Arab crewman on the Phoenician trading ship. No. 1 Tillerman.
MACXUTEQUA: Aztec warrior
MEREDA: Tallish merchantlady/herbalist. Has violet eyes with gold highlights and long braided red hair.
NAUTICA PRIMA: Name of the Phoenician ship.
THANATOS: Thracian Ares-worshipper who stowed away on the Nautica Prima and who seeks a red jewel from the thief who stole it from a temple of Ares.
THANOS: Ne'er-do-well 21 yr. old, youngest son of an Athenian family. Joined ship's company at Ephesus.
YANIL: A 15 yr. old girl (now 16 yrs old) named Ilyena secretly disguised as a cook's boy. Coronis knows her secret. Aythadis learned it in MesoAmerica.
ZEOS: A burly seaman, slow witted with somewhat poor personal hygiene.

Non-Player Characters
BURNING MIRROR: Olmec spiritual and tribal leader.
IDOMENUS: Nicknamed "Old George". Captain of the Phoenician trading ship.
JADE RAIN: 18 yr. old Olmec girl and friend of Thanos.
RIVER SUN: 18 yr. old Olmec girl and friend of Bartuc.
SEVEN DEATH: Mayan High Priest of the city of Altun Ha.
THREE MONKEY: A 13 year old girl rescued by Thanatos from what seemed to be the attack of a wild animal.
VALYGAR: Sailor and assistant to Coronis. Seldom speaks.
OTHER UNNAMED CREWMEN: 10 each. Only 5 are left now due to the Aztec attack.


Team Writers: To find a summary of this story and to communicate with other writers, please use the thread found HERE

Members of the Writing Team: Benson, Caylynn, Civis Romanus, Cyber Paladin, Darthbane, Fortuna, Jaguar, Jayhawk, latus, Micah Aragorn, MRed94, Nutmegger, Smack, Windplume. All members of CH are welcome.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 01-23-2001).]

AuthorReplies:
Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 11-09-00 05:12 ET (US)     26 / 220       
The sun rose above the Eastern desert. The rose-fingered pre-dawn had painted the sky a delicate pink, that now deepened to red as the solar disk rose on it's proscribed path through the heavens.

A couple of boys carrying boxes followed Aythadis to the harbour. The water of the Mediterrenean was flat as a silver mirror. Gulls cried as they neared the Nautica. Idomenus was on the bridge, scowling, while Edusse was ordering the crew, both old and new about. The proud ship lay deep in the water, it's cargo of wine secured in the depths of the hold.

The boys handed the boxes to Edes and Bartuc who stowed them in Aythadis stateroom. Aythadis himself handed some small coins to the boys, then climbed aboard and joined Idomenus on the deck.
"It is time."
Aythadis nodded.

The ship's boat was lowered and crew poured overboard into the little boat. Lines were attached to the ship's stern and the oars were put in the water.
The land lines were cast loose and Edusse shouted orders to Hamid who as third mate, was in charge on the ship's boat. Backs put themselves into the oars and slowly the larger vessel began to move away from the quay.

Out they went between the piers, passed the lighthouse and out into the open sea. When they had put enough distance between them and the harbour, the boat was raised again and sailors swarmed the rigging. The sail billowed like a bright wing with white and pale blue stipes as it caught the morning breeze. The Nautica picked up speed.

Bartuc looked at his friend.
"We're really going aren't we?"

Cyber Paladin
Pleb
posted 11-09-00 06:16 ET (US)     27 / 220       
Idomentus did not want to get the boat into full speed yet, for safety reasons. So the ship was actually drifting along instead. They are heading northwest. Into the vast ocean. The wind was in their favor, so the sailors were given a very easy job.

Most of them are now free to wander.
Some noise of fighting and shouting begin on the deck... "Now come get some!" "YOU come get some..." That's Zeos challenging the Spartan soldier. The fight didn't even begin as the noise attracted Idomentus. "Come on children... calm down"

In the mess hall...
"Yanil, so you're better?" The cook suddenly show sypathy... "Well... I'm fine now..."Yanil, always cautious, replied keeping her tone down, while Coronis is just outside the door. Secretly observing and try her best to help the poor girl, whose intention of getting onboard is still not known...

Bartuc and Edes, recovered from the hard work and beginning to grow the physical endurance, are standing by the rails of the stern.
"So Edes... do you think we can make it thru?" asked Bartuc, very anxiously, not like the usual himself. "Come on Tuc, it's not like you." "I'm serious." "Well... Idomentus looks like an experienced captain. We're safe with him." "Edes, don't you think we are too lucky right now? We get on for free, even with no knowledge!"
Edes noticed that something's not right with Bartuc, who is always too optimistic. "Now look like someone's getting home sick!" Aythadis appeared from nowhere. "Come on Bartuc, you're much better than others, at least you got a friend." slowly said Aythadis in his hypnotising voice, patting the boys shoulders like what fathers do to their beloved sons.
Suddenly, deep inside both Edes' and Bartuc's heart, a huge shock striked hard. "I know him! From somewhere, I'm sure!!"
Yet the sudden feeling tells them, Aythadis must be helping them, always be...

The ship drifts with the clouds high above, on the sea sparkling with the golden setting sun... Everything seems peaceful (Except the ever-to-energetic Zeos and Cerek) right now... yet there are so much for them to overcome... very soon...

Oops... sorry guys... needs a geography lesson...

[This message has been edited by Cyber Paladin (edited 11-09-2000).]

Nutmegger
Pleb
posted 11-09-00 14:10 ET (US)     28 / 220       
The cook busied himself trying to make something edible out of the supplies on hand. With relative calm seas, and relatively fresh supplies, he thought he'd try a stew of dried lamb with the fresh onion and garlic for seasoning, with a mashed fig sauce, and some cucumbers. The crew always grumbled, and he could not blame them, but working with flame on a wooden boat was a tricky prospect, and he could not just run down to the market for fresh produce and meat. He glanced over at Yanil. The boy meant well, but trouble seemed to follow him around. The cook tried his best to keep a close watch on the boy, but the boy seemed to prefer his own company, or that of the healer.

Saying the appropriate blessings, the cook assembled the ingredients and started the stew. The cook looked over his supplies and shook his head. The north was fine for traders, but everyone knew that these barbarians raised none of the herbs or spices favored in the eastern lands, and he was sure to run low along the way. And every time he tried some of the northern varieties, the crew called the food worse names than usual. His was a thankless task, he told himself, but better than rowing.

[This message has been edited by Nutmegger (edited 11-09-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-09-00 16:04 ET (US)     29 / 220       
"Where are we bound for, Edes? What's our first stop?" asked a curious Bartuc.

"I overheard someone say Epheses, Tuc," replied Edes. He was only paying minimal attention to his friend's questions. Edes attention was drawn to Yanil as the boy went about his chores outside of Cook's galley. A lot of the work was done outside of the galley as there was little space for more than one worker at a time. Yanil seemed to be cutting up vegetables for something Cook had in mind for the day's meal.

"How old do you think he is, Bartuc?" asked Edes absentmindedly.

"How old is who? Who are you talking about?" replied his friend.

"Hmmmm? Oh, the cook's boy over there."

"Hamid said he was about 15, just a child."

Edes said nothing, then a stray thought crossed his mind and he looked at Bartuc. "But you are only 16, Tuc. He's only slightly younger than you."

Catching the implication, Bartuc's annoyance slightly pinkened his pale white face. "I'm nearly 17... and no child, I might add Edes! You're the one they call 'Boy' around here if you remember!"

Now it was Edes turn to pinken slightly. "I am getting a little tired of hearing that. One more time and I ..."

"Hey Boy! Get down here! There's work to be done!"

This time Edes' face turned from pink to red and his eyes narrowed perceptively. He clenched his teeth and tightened his fists, then turned to the source of the voice. Zeos stood there expecting Edes to come running as called.

Bartuc saw the look on his friend's face and knew what was coming next. He looked at Zeos and then at Edes... He really, really liked Edes; too bad his friend would never see his 19th birthday.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 11-09-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-09-00 21:14 ET (US)     30 / 220       
"Try that again, Zeos," said Edes, his face red and the veins on his neck beginning to distend.

"Huh?" Zeos was never the quickest thinker among the crew, just the strongest. "Try what?"

Edes held his ground. "Try asking me to help again."

"What for, Boy. I already told you there was work to do."

"Drop the 'Boy', Zeos, and I might listen to you," countered Edes.

By now the crew on the maindeck had become silent as all ears strained and all eyes stared at the two. Work had stopped, except for the tillerman who kept his arms on the tiller, but allowed his eyes to wander from the heading point to the confrontation on the maindeck.

Bartuc stepped a little closer to Edes. "Are you sure you want to do this, Edes. Look at his arms for the love of the gods. They're huge."

Edes glanced, noticed, but carried on as before. It was too late to back down. He noticed from the corner of his eye that Yanil had stopped cutting vegetables and had moved towards a railing to get a better view. So they were all watching him. Zeos stared somewhat expressionless at Edes, that is, until the nature of Edes' challenge finally sank in. Then his face slowly folded into a deep, purposeful frown. It had mayhem written all over it.

Another, but different voice interrupted the heartpounding silence. It was Edusse. "What's going on here?" He had just come up from below and saw the crowded deck around the two seamen. He was told.

"This ship's too small for this. You'll settle it without a fight or both of you will be on shore next port."

"Hey, Edusse... let them arm wrestle," one of the rowers called out. Even slow Zeos comprehended this. "Sure, let the Boy and me arm wrestle, that'll settle it. Won't it Boy?"

A deliberate, purposeful response came from Edes. "Yes, let a contest settle it. You, Zeos, when you lose you will do two things."

"What are they, Boy?"

"You and every member of this crew will stop calling me Boy; and you, Zeos, will take a bath before we leave the next port." The sailors on deck roared with laughter and approval. Zeos had no choice but to agree.

"And when you lose, Boy?" countered Zeos.

"Call me Boy if you want, but let me row on the other side of the ship." And Edes held his nose between his index finger and thumb to make his point. The crew burst out in laughter again. Zeos face darkened even more. Bartuc simply shook his head and began to consider what words should be said at the ceremony when Edes was deposited into the sea.

____________________________________________________________

Determination was painted all over Zeos' face, his face only moderately red from exertion. Edes' veins stood out on his neck and on his temples. The 18 year old's arm ached with the strain of keeping burly Zeos from slamming Edes' arm to the table top and thus ending the contest. The crew cheered on, a few for Zeos who hardly cared, and many for Edes, which was small consolation for the pain climbing up his right arm. Perspiration began to flow from Edes' forehead and other body parts to add to his discomfort.

Strangely, Zeos' arm started to move backwards towards the table, as if Edes' arm was having an effect on it. Edes glanced at Zeos' face. There was a craftiness there that alarmed Edes. The 18 year old redoubled his pressure just in case.

Inches above the table top, and at the last minute, Zeos began to assert himself once more and now it was Edes' arm seeking the table top.

"Well Boy," said the confident sailor. "It looks like I'm about to be crowned the winner." Edes had a desperate thought.

"Crowned is right, Zeos," said Edes. "But by that great gull over your head... and it won't be in gold either!"

"Huh!?" Zeos looked up and relaxed his grip prematurely. Edes sensed the advantage and put every last ounce of strength he had into a final push. Down went Zeos' arm... right onto the table top. Zeos looked down barely able to comprehend what had happened.

The crew erupted into laughter and congratulations, then fell fearfully silent as Zeos stood up wordlessly and glared at Edes. The first mate wondered what he should do... just in case. Edes decided to take a chance, gulped, stood up and held out his hand to Zeos. "Hello Zeos, my name is Edes. I am pleased to be your shipmate.

The burly seaman stared at Edes, hard face focused on nothing else. Then a slight crinkling appeared in the corners of his eyes... followed by a softening of his expression. Then, his burly body began to shake with hidden laughter and he grasped Edes' hand with his. "Well met, Edes, said Zeos. "But there is work to be done. Will you be of some help to your shipmates?"

"Certainly. What shall you have me do?" Laughter, back slapping and good cheer settled in as they all went back to work. Edusse looked up towards the cabins and saw the Captain and Aythadis standing in their respective doorways. Both smiled and turned to re-enter their rooms. All goes well, thought Aythadis. And the young man now has a very powerful even if slow thinking new friend, whether young Edes knows it or not.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 11-09-2000).]

Cyber Paladin
Pleb
posted 11-10-00 04:27 ET (US)     31 / 220       
"Now it sounds like Yanil and I are the only "boy" on the ship huh? Buddy?" Bartuc ridiculed. If it wasn't Bartuc who said it, a fight definitly comes again. The "boys" quickly finished their job, shocked Edusse a little bit, and resumed hanging around.
"Hey Edes, next time try to use cubes as contests, we never lose huh?" Both of them laughed. "Edes, that was great! You beat the big trunk!" Yanil silently appeared and joined the chat. "Well, that was nothing..." They chit chatted on and on, until Bartuc asked "Oh, by the way Yanil, where do you come from?" Yanil's face suddenly darkens. Edes immediatly notices this and tried to change the topic. "Oh what'll be the meal tonight? Sea cucumber with dried meat again?" But Bartuc seems rather unconscious about that. "Hey, Yanil didn't answered the question yet!" Yanil's face darkened even more. Edes slightly elbowed the careless Bartuc, indicating him to shut up, but obviously it is too late. "I forgot to chop the veggies... see ya later" said Yanil in a very low voice, then she turned and ran away.
"Tuc, be observative!" complained Edes. "I have been, Edes. And something is not right about this boy." "What are you talking about?" "Have you noticed that when he looked at his hands, he looked from the back of the hand, instead of from the palm which most boy and man do." Doubtly, Edes raised his hand, and founded out the same thing. "Only women looks at hands like that!"
The boys looked at each other, and nodded. Without a word they know what to do: follow her and find out what's behind.

Silently eavesdropping, Coronis was shocked by this. "Boy oh boy... you must be bored stiff!" Plans begin to roll on her head on how to stop the boys.

Benson
Pleb
posted 11-10-00 09:41 ET (US)     32 / 220       
Edusse shook his head as he stoop of the stern deck next to the tiller-man, Hamid, watching the crew. He was watching Edes and Bartuc banter on about Edes recent victory. Edes was definitely a clever person and in his experience clever people tended to be more trouble than they were worth. A clever friend "helped" him choose his carrier as a sailor after all. At lease his letting them arm-wrestle had the desired result and at lease someone found a way to force Zeos to take a bath. Of course he would have to keep and eye on Edes and Bartuc.

He continued to watch the crew in w way only the first mate could. He watched the seasoned sailor and the new one making mental notes about each one. It was his job to make sure every thing runs smooth and with all the untrained men Aythadis recruited it made his job a little harder. This he did not mind; he thrived on the challenge of it all.

He looked out to the horizon the closed his eyes. He listened to the sounds of the ocean trying to discern the message she was telling him. "Hamid looks like we will have another good day of sailing ahead. Why don't you take a break. I'll take over for you here."

A grateful Hamid turned to tiller over the first mate and started to head to the galley to see if he could get some lunch.

"Hamid, send me the Spartan. I'd like to see if he could be taught to work the tiller. We'll need one more person who know how to do it."

"You sure you don't want to reward one of the more seasoned men instead of this new guy."

"Hamid, I have my reasons and they are not for you to question."

With that Hamid headed off muttering under his breath. Edusse watch him go. Hamid this is nothing personal. My job is to make sure I get the right people in the right job to get us there safely and yes sometime that means doing things that seem unfair he thought. He turned to guiding the Nautica Prima thought the sea.

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 11-10-00 09:54 ET (US)     33 / 220       
Awhile later when Edes and Bartuc where busy splicing ropes a shadow fell over them. They looked up furtively, swallowing what they where talking about when they saw the slender shape of Aythadis above them.
"Well, well, " Aythadis spoke, "I am told you're planning misschief with Yanil? What's the boy done to deserve that?"
"But, sir, " Bartuc piped up, "that it. She's not a boy."
Aythadis frowned.
"What ever gave you that idea, Bartuc?"
"Well, " the pale skinned boy said. "Look at your hands, she looked at the back of them and a man will..."
His voice fell silent. He looked at the tall stranger who held one hand in front of him, the palm turned downwards, fingers spread wide.
"A man will what, Bartuc?" Aythadis asked, his green eyes locking with those of the boy.
"Nothing, sir. Never mind, sir." Bartuc looked confused.

Aythadis turned away from them and behind him overheard Bartuc whisper:
"He too looked at the back of his hands!"
"I'd say he's a man, Tuc." Edes answered whisper,
"You're probably mistaken about Yanil being a girl then too."
"Oh, man..." Bartuc grumbled.
Neither saw the smile that played around the corneres of Aythadis mouth as he walked back to his stateroom.

A few days later, sometime in the afternoon, the Nautica makes her way between the rocky promontories that guard the Ephese Harbour. A fortress crouches on the hill to port. The smell in the air changes as sweet water is mixed with the salt water of the estuary. Before them the busy Ephese harbour front showed up. The high buildings behind the quays, the cranes working busy and behind it on the hill the grand theatre.

The Nautica was rowed to it's berth and Idomenus started his regular discussion with the harbour master on harbour fees and cargo taxes. Aythadis found Coronis in the galley, cutting herbs.
"Lady Coronis?"
She looked up and replied
"Please call me Coronis, sir."
Aythadis smiled
"Then I can't but ask you to call me Aythadis, Coronis?"
"Can I help you, sir?"
An eyebrow lifted above a green eye.
"Can I help you, Aythadis?"
"I intented to make a visit to Celsius' Librbary and wondered if you would like to come along. Their collection of books on medicine is quite astonishsing."
Coronis looked at the tall man in front of her and smiled.
"I'd love too."

The two of them walked up hill passing shops carrying wonderful goods, fountains on which water gurgled from the mouths of dolphin statues and men and women from all corners of the Greek world.
The facade of the library was a rich veined marble with elegant statues placed in the multitude of niches. As they walked to wards the entrance a dark haired woman came out. The sunlight tweaked a star of light as it reflected of a large ring on her finger.

Aythadis stopped, then swept a bow.
"Coronis, may I introduce you to the Lady Merede?"
The lady in question looked up, looking confused for a second then smiling at the two of them.
"Aythadis, how wonderful to see you. Coronis, a pleasure to meet you"

As MRed was still missing, this seemed a nice place to introduce her.

Jaguar
Pleb
posted 11-10-00 10:46 ET (US)     34 / 220       
With the ship ashore for a while, Edes decided to ensure that Zeos kept his part of the bargain. "All right, Zeos, time for your annual bath." The crew laughed as he took the burly man by the ear and lead him to the nearest bath house.

Meanwhile, Yanil was sent out to shop ofr more supplies. He didn't want to spend the whole day on this, so decided it was best to get an early start. Once the meats and bread were looked after, he continued to wander the market. One stall particularly caught his attention. A number of different knives were displayed and the man in charge looked like he knew how to use them.

"How much are those knives, Sir?" Yanil asked. "You wouldn't be able to afford those, kid, but I may have something more in your price range." He pulled a box from underneath the display and lifted the lid. Inside were a number of very plain daggers that looked like they had seen better days.

"But those are no good. Wait." Yanil spotted a dagger mostly hidden by the others. "How much for one of these daggers?"

"Two copper." the merchant replied.

At that, Yanil dug down to the dagger at the bottom and tried its weight and balance. The merchant started to shift a bit when he realized that Yanil meant to take that particular dagger. "You don't want that one boy,it seems that any who own this dagger suffer for it. Many people have lost their riches or even their lives. See that symbol there? It is the sign of evil in one of those far away lands."

Yanil, however, had already decided that this was the one he wanted. "Here is your two copper, sir" and off he went, back to the ship.

"At least now I have something to protect me with." he said to himself. "No more trips to the infirmary for me."

As he reached the ship, he saw Edes return with a burly man that he didn't recognize. Trimmed beard, cut hair and clean clothed, he wondered if this was a new crew member that Edes had found. Upon closer inspection, he realized that it was Zeos and started to laugh. "I guess the barbarian cleans up pretty good." "The ladies will be wanting to dance with him tonight." The crew was having a great time heckling the now clean and fresh smelling Zeos.

[This message has been edited by Jaguar (edited 11-10-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-10-00 15:40 ET (US)     35 / 220       
Big bear of a man that he was, Zeos was usually slow to anger. He really didn't mind the teasing, even little Yanil's tease about dancing with women didn't bother him. He didn't care much for women anyway. They were unstable creatures, very confusing to his way of thinking and they usually paid him no attention. So he paid them no attention as well. He wouldn't hurt a woman, but he also never went out of his way for one either.

"Aww fellas, give him a break won't you," protested Edes. "He's been a good sport about all of this. He suffered a right and proper scrubbing just as we agreed. He's been true to his word in every way." The laughing died down and stopped though knowing smiles greeted Zeos and Edes wherever they went about the ship that day doing chores or whatever else was necessary.

It was hours later that Edes heard a gruff voice near him say, "Thanks, Edes... for saying that." It was Zeos.

"For saying what, Zeos?" Edes couldn't remember what it was he said that Zeos should thank him. He had hardly said anything to anyone for nearly two hours.

"For telling them I was true to my word."

"Well, you have been, Zeos. Our shipmates should know that."

"Yes... I owe you, Edes."

"What do you owe me?" asked a puzzled Edes. He knew he had tricked the big man and then led him into a humiliating experience, albeit necessary one. Edes felt guilt rise within. "You don't owe me anything."

"I do, Edes... and you'll see. I pay my debts... You'll see." With that, Zeos walked back to his berth, his chores being finished for the day. Edes stood there puzzled by the childlike honesty of the big man, and more than a little guilty of the trickery he used on him. I'm not sure I'm that deserving, Zeos, Edes said to himself.

His thoughts about Zeos were ended when Edes caught sight of the Spartan sharpening his sword near one of the ship's railings. Cerek looked up disinterestedly as Edes approached and returned to his sword and labor.

"Cerek... will you teach me the use of the sword?" asked Edes, without waiting for the Spartan to speak first.

"Why would you want to learn the sword, young Tyrean. It is not the sailor's first choice of weapons."

"I don't intend to be a sailor forever," replied Edes.

"It is an instrument of death, Edes, striking those who feel its point and eventually those who grip its handle." Cerek turned his dour face to look into the eyes of the 18 year old standing before him. "Have you seen death delivered by a sword?"

"Yes... once... when my father died."

"And the deliverer?"

"Escaped me because I was too young and had never been taught the sword."

"Do you know the man or where he is now?"

"Yes, by the purple scar on his face that runs from his hair to his chin. I am told he is in Carthage."

"I will teach you the sword, Edes. But you will have to learn on your own when it is the right time to use it. We will begin... now."

Meanwhile, on the steps of the Celsius Library...

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 11-10-2000).]

Nutmegger
Pleb
posted 11-11-00 09:26 ET (US)     36 / 220       
The cook left the ship quietly. He'd heard rumors about this port, and decided to check them out. He went quickly to the residential portion of the town and checked the doorposts. Nothing, nothing, nothing, finally, there. He had heard correctly. He knocked at one door and waited. After a few moments, the door opened slightly and a woman looked out suspiciously. "What do you want, stranger. You must be lost, or from the government. In either event, I have nothing to offer you." The cook bowed his head slightly, and said quietly, "Shalom, madame, I am Yonah ben Ya'akov, and I come looking for a minyan to say evening prayers." The women frowned, but said, "The rebbe's house is two streets up and one over. It is two past the red door, on your left. Let no one see you enter, or you will bring danger to us all." The cook thanked the woman quietly and made his way to the designated door. He knocked and waited. An older man answered. The cook nodded, "Good evening, rebbe, I hope I am not too late for ni'ilah." "I am not the rebbe, and your presence is a mixed blessing, at best. Come in quickly. If you are not a spy, you should have no trouble davening with us. If you do, you will never leave this place alive." The cook was lead into a back room with eight other men in a circle. One of them glanced up and said, "The Lord has granted us a minyan this evening. Let us start with the blessings. Stranger, will you lead us." With that, the cook joined the circle, and began the chant, "Baruchu et Adonoi, hamevorach..."

Much later, the cook returned to the ship and began preparing for the next meal. Another port he could seek refuge in. Such things were important. Since the exile, there were few places the cook felt safe. Each one was a treasured memory. Today's memory would join the collection.

MRed94
Pleb
posted 11-11-00 12:05 ET (US)     37 / 220       
Coronis and Mereda, quickly becoming acquainted, continued to talk, and found that they had much in common. The talk soon led to herbals, and remedies, and Aythadis knew that he could leave them safely alone.

He made his excuses, with the ladies barely acknowledging him, and left them talking on the steps.

Meanwhile,

Micah Aragorn
Pleb
posted 11-11-00 17:28 ET (US)     38 / 220       
Edes rubbed the spot on his rear where the flat part of Cerek's sword had just landed. Bartuc snickering at his friends lack of sword play.

"Your friend seems to think your efforts are wasted",Cerek said to an embarassed Edes.

"You try this if you think it so easy",Edes replied as an anger started to swell from his mistakes and his friends sense of humor at them.

"No,that's alright. I like it better watching you make a fool of yourself."

"Grrrr...",sounded from Edes throat while with an anger flushed face and his friends irratating comment he lunged at Cerek. But the result was the same as the pain now was on the other side of his rear.

"Don't use anger as your guide for combat!"Cereks voice and facial expression eminated his expertise."Use your anger to harness the power behind your sword but use your mind to control that power. You must...."Cerek stopped short his lesson.

"Spartan!",Hamid shouted getting Cereks attention."Edusse wants you at the tiller."

Cerek acknowledged Hamid and turned to his pupil,"This lesson is far from over but I have given you food for thought." Cerek sheathed his sword and walked away to the vessals tiller.

Edes and Bartuc staired at each other contemplating Cereks words.

"I need to lie down,"Edes' face grimaced with pain while rubbing the source. "I don't think I can sit for awhile."

[This message has been edited by Micah Aragorn (edited 11-11-2000).]

Smack
Pleb
posted 11-12-00 14:51 ET (US)     39 / 220       
Hamid stood watch over the Nautica Prima. He did not want to gamble, as he had not been to Ephesus in a while and did not know the people. The hot Anatolian sun beat on his head. He thought about Yanil's encounter with the shadow. It was still a phantom, whether Yanil wanted to believe it or not. He thought about the Northlands, and how his friend had almost been killed by the barbarians. If the tale as he had heard it was true, phantoms must surely have been at work there too. Hamid shuddered as he thought of what would happen to the crew if someone got on the phantom's bad side.
At least, he realized, someone would put up a fight. Zeos, Cerek, and maybe even Edes, he thought with a faint smile. Most of the crew carried daggers or knives with them at all times, but the phantom was bound to know that. The cook returned with several baskets full of food - probably vegetables. Hamid knew that he liked to keep only a small supply of those kinds of food, and restock as often as possible.
Some clouds floated overhead, but they were not dangerous. Clear weather could be expected, maybe even until they reached Sicily.
Fortuna
Pleb
posted 11-13-00 00:41 ET (US)     40 / 220       
The sun was already up when Thanos awoke. The young man felt as tired as when he had collapsed in his bed in the early hours of the day. While trying to emerge from a deep sleep, Thanos suddenly realized that something was wrong. He was supposed to do something important today... but what was it? While he searched for an answer, Thanos went down the stairs to the dining room of the inn. There, he ate a light meal in an effort to completely wake himself up.

Thanos was neither especially handsome nor strong, but he was fairly tall and had a casual attitude that served him well. His life was comfortable and he had never suffered from hunger, illness or poverty. Although Thanos was 21 years old, he had not accomplished much in his life. The youngest of three brothers, he had never been expected to excel in anything in particular. His eldest brother was a prominent man of law and would soon replace his father. His second brother would become a renown doctor. Thanos himself had been schooled in Athens in the subjects of philosophy and poetry. Although not particularly gifted, he could play the harp too. However, the young man spent most of his days idly. Eating, drinking and gambling constituted the bulk of his activities. He also had some fighting experience from bar brawls.

His meal finished, Thanos saw a few men enter the inn. The sailors had an immediate impact on Thanos. Suddenly he remembered everything. Today was the day of his departure home to Athens. How could anyone forget such a thing? Thanos considered running to the port to take his place on the ship where he was to be a passenger... but he realized that this would be futile. After all, the ship was to leave at dawn and that time had passed long ago.

Fortunately, the lost money was no object. Thanos rose and decided to make alternate travel plans. The only constraint was his need to be home as soon as possible. Thanos himself was in no hurry to be home. Ephesus was a lovely city, but he had to obey paternal orders. Surely, he could find a ship later today. Any trade ship would do...

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 11-13-00 06:18 ET (US)     41 / 220       
Thanos rose, took a glance at his clothes and decided they would do, no need for a cloak on a day as lovely as this one. He wandered around the city for a while, peeking into the various shops, selling goods from all over the Eastern Mediterrenean. Purple died fabric from Tyre, knives from Damascus, Egyptian linnen. He marvelled at some of the things that came from even further away. A lovely light fabric, brightly died, supposedly from a country called Ch'in, where people were said to have yellow skin. Ivory carved from grey monsters, called elephants out of Africa. Amber from the Northlands.
It was good to be in Ephesus.

When he started to feel hungry again he walked down the main avenue and entered a tavern on the side. A couple of scantily clad girls where playing at pressing grapes in a tub near the entrance. He had to admit to himself it was a pretty sight. He sat down at one of the small table just outside the atrium. The light there was bright, but the shadow gave enough cooling to be enjoyable. He ordered himself some watered wine and a plate of bread, goat cheese and some olives.

A shadow crossed his sight and as he looked up he met the green eyes of a tall stranger. While tall for a Greek, Thanos realise this man was a few hands taller than even he.
"A barbarian?" he wondered.

Much to his suprise the stranger spoke to him in a Greek as rich as any the Blind Poet had ever written, yet with a strangely old-fashioned accent.
"May I join for some wine?"
Intrigued Thanos agreed.

"My name is Aythadis of Pytho. I hear you are looking for a ship?"
Startled Thanos took a closer look at Aythadis.
How did he know of his failed appointment with the Waverider? Why did he refer to being of Pytho? That ancient name of Delphi was hardly used, except by the odd poet. This was getting stranger by the moment.
"How, how do you know? Who are you?"
Aythadis, finished his wine and steepled his fingers under his chin. His eyes seemed to reach down Thanos eyes into his soul.
"A friend," was the simple answer.

The tall stranger stood and tossed something at Thanos who cought it in a reflex.
"Present that to anyone on the Nautica, if you want passage. We leave tomorrow morning." Aythadis walked out, tossing a smile and some coins to the girls in the winepress.

As Thanos opened his hand he saw a small bone token. It was roughly triangular in shape, a figure that could have been a winged Nike was depicted on the one side. The lettering on teh other was worn too far to read.

Cyber Paladin
Pleb
posted 11-13-00 06:46 ET (US)     42 / 220       
"Hey Edes! Edes!, come here, I have something for you!" Shouted Bartuc at Edes, who is practising sword alone. "What is it Tuc?" "Try this on!" Bartuc handed him a suit of breast armor, which does not look like nor feel like metal or leather armor. It is brown in color, very rough and tough, yet quite thin and light, no heavier than a thick robe. "Oh, what is it" Questioned the astonished Edes. "This is the "Zi Garb", that is papyrus armor. Legends says in China, people can forge tough armor, out of papyrus. It features thin and light, yet tough and durable. It's also very easy to make... for me of course! I also heard of the forging method. So I decided to make one, er, actually two. I think it is not perfect yet, because legend says that in China, the papyrus they use is not the same as ours. They make papyrus out of wood, not weeds. And surely this one is not made from papyrus, it's from homemade weed-water mixture." Explained Bartuc, who enjoyed the admiring look of his buddy. "It's thin and can be worn under normal clothes. It can provide some warmth too!"

"Excellent boy, excellent!!!" Aythadis again appeared from nowhere, his admiring sight runs from the armors to Bartuc. "Brilliant craftsmenship! I'm sure your armor is better than that in legend. Now can you make one for me too?" "Sure I can!" Bartuc is already up in the sky. Aythadis gave Bartuc a pat in the shoulder and turned away, no one notice his mutter to himself "Good boys... you're really advancing fast. Looks like this will turn out as an happy ending afterall..."

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-13-00 16:13 ET (US)     43 / 220       
Aythadis opened the door to his cabin and walked in, closing it softly behind him. He poured himself a small goblet of wine and sat down to sip the liquid and enjoy its full fruity flavor. He sighed. Nectar of the gods, he thought. It was indeed a fine gift to the mortals this extract of the grape, and while he didn't need the drink per se, Aythadis always appreciated the way it treated his palate and created warmth inside.

About halfway through the goblet he put the cup down and reached into his shirt. From a compartment somewhere inside he drew out a small scroll, unrolled it and laid it on the table. These were notes he had taken from a series of scrolls he found in the Celsius Library, into which he had walked after leaving Coronis and Mereda to their conversation on the steps. As he read through his markings, he frowned, then looked at the door through which he had just passed. He could see in his mind's eye each of the crew, their individual faces. He knew them all by name, by their ways of speaking, by their habits and quirks. He should, he thought, he recruited all but a few of them.

Aythadis was troubled by the sum total of the knowledge he had gleened from the scrolls and recorded on his smaller personal scroll. He should be encouraged, he thought. But knowledgeable as he was of many things, he did not have full knowledge of, nor control of the one variable in his plan that could doom any or all of them... the unpredictable whim in the webs woven for mortals by the three Sisters called... the Fates.

____________________________________________________________

Coronis returned to the ship thinking about her conversation with Mereda. Interesting person... I hope she follows through on her plan. It would be a good thing for both of us, she thought.

____________________________________________________________

"Again!" cried out Edes.

"Oh, Edes," moaned Bartuc. "Haven't you had enough yet. All of this sword stuff is wearing me out."

"No, not enough yet. Soon, maybe, after this..."
Clang, clang, clang.... clang, clang, CLANG! Klump.

"Wait a minute, Edes, I dropped my sword." WHACK! "Hey! That hurts!

"So don't drop your sword," replied the unsympathetic youth.

"Not fair, Edes. You waited till I bent over to pick it up to do that!

"So?"

"So, it isn't fair. Even Yanil doesn't think it's funny."

"Yanil? Where's Yanil?"

"There." Edes turned around to see where Bartuc was pointing. WHACK!

"Owwww! That hurt, Bartuc!" exclaimed Edes.

"Yeah? Serves you right!" retorted Bartuc.

"Oh yeah?" Edes dropped his sword and ran at Bartuc. Reacting immediately, Bartuc dropped his sword and started running away from Edes. Down the steps, across the maindeck, around the tiller, back across the maindeck, up the steps...

"WHAT DO YOU TWO THINK YOU'RE DOING!!!"

It was the Captain.

"If you have that much energy, you two can find something productive to do. Now, grab those buckets and start washing down the decks. And don't let me see you stop until supper. Do you understand!"

"Uh, yes sir," Edes answered.

The Captain re-entered his cabin. "Thanks, Edes. I really wanted to wash the decks today," said Bartuc sarcastically.

"Be quiet, lest the Captain comes out again and gives us even more to do." The two of them, sobered and silent, walked over to their swords, picked them up and moved them out of the way so they could wash the deck.

The captain peaked out of an opening in the wall that vented it on the hottest days. He chuckled, looking at the two. He remembered a time in his own youth filled with high spirits and high jinks with a friend... the one he lost to a storm tossed sea, beyond the Pillars of Hercules. The smile quickly faded from his face and he turned so as to not watch the youths nor permit a sad memory to return.

The crew will be back on board tonight. Tomorrow we sail, he thought. It's a good thing not to stay too long in any port, and we've been here long enough. He knew this instinctively, because too long in any port and the memories start flooding back into his mind. Only the open sea could wash his mind of memories... and that is why he sought its company every day that he could.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 11-13-2000).]

Fortuna
Pleb
posted 11-13-00 17:21 ET (US)     44 / 220       
Contrary to his custom, Thanos rose early the next morning and promptly walked to the pier. His eyes scanned the numerous ships as if looking for a particular one. He observed the small fishing boats and the large trade ships. There it was, the Nautica Prima: a nice size ship with a large deck, a few cabins, and an apparently able crew.

This time, I'm checking carefully before I board any ship, he thought. Although he was in the habit of travelling as a passenger on trade ships, his last voyage had been different. A memorable experience indeed. Rushed as always, he had boarded a fishing boat at the last minute. The pungent smell of fish had been noticeable for three days. This time would be different.

A bag full of his possessions on his shoulder, Thanos proceeded to board the ship.

Smack
Pleb
posted 11-13-00 19:11 ET (US)     45 / 220       
The afternoon heat had subsided a bit, and Hamid was still standing watch over the Nautica. The sunset glowed red over the ocean to the west. People were not running about as hurriedly as they had been during the daytime. This voyage was not the most ordinary one Hamid had ever been on. The phantom stood out over a number of strange occurrences, the latest of which had taken place a couple of hours back. A tallish Greek man had come up to Hamid and given him a token. Why had Aythadis approved this man for the crew? He surely didn't look like a sailor, and he was obviously wealthy. His story about missing his boat did not seem too plausible. On the other hand, Aythadis always had his reasons. And Idomenus was not exactly put off by the mention of the large sum of money involved.

After supper, Hamid ran into Bartuc near the galley.
"I see you've been practicing the sword again."
"Yes, why?" was the nonchalant reply.
"Isn't there something else you should be practicing?"
"Maybe, I don't know."
"KNOTS, you imbecile!"
Bartuc skulked away with a sheepish grin.

arrrg... not my brightest moment up there, thanks jay...

[This message has been edited by Smack (edited 11-14-2000).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 11-14-00 06:30 ET (US)     46 / 220       
Cyber Paladin, I don't think you'll ever see Aythadis wear armour (or arms for that matter) They would be as out of place as wings on a frog. Thanks for the offer, though
Erm, Smack...sunset glowed over the coast in the East?

The sun had made it's way down into the wine coloured sea. Helios chariot was working it's way East again to rise in the morning. The ship sailed on, slowly with half reefed sails, just a skeleton crew manning her deck.

Aythadis stood near the bowsprit, looking out over the gently swaying sea. The stars above were bright as lamps, bright as fires. Ayhtadis' eyes picked out other lightsources at the horizon. Some of them were other ships, but a bunch of them were the signal fires burned near Pireaus. They would reach Athens by the next afternoon.
A chattering sound beneath him made him look down.

Edusse looked up from his watch and saw Aythadis look down. Beneath him a small group of dolphins broke the surface. The dolphins, sacred to Apollo, seemed to speak to the tall man. The mate watched them for a few minutes, then they dived and disappeared again. He shook his head. Not a trce of them remained. Even Aythadis had disappeared.
He yawned.
Had he been dozing?
Had he dreamed this?
Somehow he was sure he hadn't.

Cyber Paladin
Pleb
posted 11-14-00 09:14 ET (US)     47 / 220       
Well, AJay, that was just an old mans praise to a young boy. He didn't mean to have one... he don't even need it~

"Ouch... I really shouldn't drink too much.." Edusse think to himself. "But I didn't drink yesterday!" He realize it couldn't be a hallucination. With a troubled mind, he gave the work to Hamid, and wanders around the ship for Aythadis. "Have you seen Aythadis in the past few minutes?" Everyone shook their heads, even Idomentus don't know the whereabout of the tall man.

Finally, exhausted by running to and fro the ship, Edusse sat down on the stairway to the bridge. "Edusse, Edusse..." Edusse looked around, but he can see no one.. "Hey, who is it?" "I'm here, I'm here" Edusse suddenly feels strength rushing back to his body, he stands up, and saw a white figure in bright yet soft light. "Be alert Edusse. Great dangers lies ahead. Even I don't know what will turn out. Be alert Edusse, cause you are the one who shall be the protector..." The white figure faded away slowly. "Hey, protector of what? Hey, answer me? What lies ahead!?" "You shall know, very soon. Don't hurry yet, just be alert."

The figure disappeared, leaving Edusee behind, alone collasping on the ground. "What can it be?" He keeps asking himself...

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-14-00 16:09 ET (US)     48 / 220       
The Port of Piraeus, gateway to the City of Athens, loomed before them. In the far distance the crew could see the graceful, highly colorful columns that supported various structures in Athens. High on a hill in the center of the city were newer structures, some still under construction. One appeared to be a temple. They didn't know to which of the Greek gods it was dedicated.

Water crested just below the ship's all seeing painted eyes on the ship's bow, but they were too close now to the harbor to use the power of the wind. Edes helped his shipmates lower the crossbeam and wrap the gaily painted sail around the wood beam for stowage. Then it was time for the oars. And so the ship's crew, guided by instructions from Edusse, ended this leg of the journey as they had begun it, by rowing through the quiet water of a city's harbor to the dock indicated to them by the harbormaster's aide.

The ship being secured by ropes and with no further work by the crew required that day, the crew was permitted to enter the city and partake of its offerings. Edes leaped down from a slightly elevated part of the maindeck, Bartuc by his side. "Ho Zeos! Ready for another bath?"

Zeos looked at the youth warily. "I met our agreement already, didn't I?"

"Yes you did, my friend; but I thought you might have liked it enough to try it again. Come with Bartuc and myself. There is a place where the waters are sweet and the fingers that massage are expertly applied. Did I talk you into it?"

"Wellll..."

"Aw, come on Zeos," pleaded Bartuc. "It's no fun without you."

"Wellll... Alright, I'll go."

"Great, Zeos! You won't regret it!" said Edes.

"We'll see," replied Zeos. And before long they were winding their way through narrow Athenian streets looking for an establishment called "The Bower".

____________________________________________________________

Thanos collected this belongings and placed them one by one into the sack as if to delay the leavetaking as long as possible.

He had no idea what his welcome would be. Either the harsh words between his father and himself would have been forgotten; or something much colder would have solidified between the two. If the latter was the case, Thanos would no longer harbor hopes of having a home here and so would have to seek his way elsewhere. Thanos didn't care anymore which direction fate took him.

And so, filled mostly with dread and with only a little hope, Thanos departed the ship for his family's villa on the outskirts of Athens.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 11-15-2000).]

Jaguar
Pleb
posted 11-14-00 17:12 ET (US)     49 / 220       
Ilyena watched Edes and Bartuc leave. Edes was pretty goodlooking and she cringed every time he got hurt when practicing the sword. She had to decline when Edes came up to ask Yanil if he would like to join them. After all, it would be no good letting her secret out now.

Ilyena went ashore to look for a bathhouse that was not being frequented by any of the crew members. Preferably one that was a ways away and off the beaten path.

When she found one to her liking she went inside, musing to herself about home. "There is nothing to go back to. Anything is better than being promised to that oaf. Besides, I really like Edes. And the cook would be lost without me. Perhaps I should find someone who could write a little note for me. Maybe Coronis can help. I should let mom know that I am ok..."

There were no patrons to disturb her. When she got dressed and headed back to the ship, she was shocked to see that more time had gone by than anticipated. Yanil would be in trouble if he wasn't at the galley when there was food to be prepared....

[This message has been edited by Jaguar (edited 11-14-2000).]

Fortuna
Pleb
posted 11-14-00 17:24 ET (US)     50 / 220       
Gee, Civis beat me to it...

When Edusse looked up from his work, he was surprised to see Thanos before him again. Looking at the sun, he figured that at most, three hours had passed.
- Did you forget something, sir?
- No, was the terse response. Thanos looked different. His everpresent smile and casual attitude were gone. Instead, he looked very serious and formal. He seemed uncertain but continued: Where's Aythadis?
- Over there, answered Edusse, pointing to a door.

Thanos returned to his earlier thoughts. Sir, I had words with my father and.... No, that wouln't do. Who would accept a pennyless passenger? I seek adventure and would like to stay aboard... No, that was even worse. He had no practical skills and could hardly claim to be a sailor. Although he had been walking at a snail's pace, Thanos had reached the door. Standing there, he almost knocked. Then, as he was ready to turn around and leave, the door opened, revealing Aythadis' face.

[This message has been edited by Fortuna (edited 11-14-2000).]

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