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Topic Subject:Beyond Poseidon's Throne - A Story Of Ancient Times
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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:
Nutmegger
Pleb
posted 11-14-00 17:27 ET (US)     51 / 220       
The cook glanced at his candles. Where was that boy? The cook said a quiet prayer that Yanil had not been jumped again. The boy looked so frail at times. Being on the streets alone was just not the best thing for him. Still, if Yanil was to be any use as an assistant, he'd have to be allowed to shop the markets alone, and that meant trusting Yanil with money too. The cook started the stew pot and slicing meat and vegetables for the evening meal. There had been some excellent breads at the market and the cook had picked up some fresh oregano and basil, which were so hard to find in Tyre. Not that the crew would notice, of course. They'd probably get drunk and stay ashore, missing the cook's efforts entirely. Served them right to eat it cold for breakfast tomorrow!
Smack
Pleb
posted 11-14-00 20:03 ET (US)     52 / 220       
Hamid was gambling in a foreign city again. He was not doing too well, as could be expected, but it was a better way to pass the time than sitting around the ship. He would do plenty of that when it was his turn to watch it, and even more as they continued on to Syracusae.
Not very gregarious, he had refused Edes' invitation to go to the baths. Not even the prospect of seeing Zeos get a scrubbing could force him to come. Besides, he had seen that at Ephesus. More favorable was the idea of a solitary trip, perhaps tomorrow morning.

A harsh yell jerked him back to the present. It seems that someone next to him had been cheating. A thug sitting across the table had figured it out. He threw a wooden cup full of wine at the cheater. But because he was drunk, he missed, and the cup struck Hamid in the arm and splashed all over his body and the cheater's.
"You feelthy **** cheater! Shew me those diice!"
"There's nothing wrong with my dice."
"I don't care. Shew me tham anyway!"
"Why? They're just normal dice."
"No, tharr not." The thug picked up the cup of the man next to him, and moved as if to throw it too.
"Come on, Petros, calm down. And give me my cup back."
"Noo." The thug ignored his friend's words and ripped the cup out of his hand. It flew across the table, also hitting Hamid.
"Okay, that's it. If you don't stop throwing things, you'll have half the tavern on your back in a minute."
"Shut up, darkie. And where did you come from, anyway?"
Hamid was not the only one angered by this remark. He, the cheater, and the Petros' friend stood up, and a couple of others followed. They picked up the kicking and screaming Petros up by the arms and dragged him outside into the cold, fresh night air. Hamid himself calmly walked back to the Nautica Prima.

It was no more than two hours before midnight, not really late. The cook had made supper long ago and was dozing on a stool, but the pot was still more than half full. Hamid took a stew-encrusted ladle and poured himself a bowl. It was cold, too. He thought there was something different about this stew than last night's. Even if there was, it mattered little.

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

Windplume
Pleb
posted 11-14-00 20:50 ET (US)     53 / 220       
Meanwhile,Zeos was having a lovely time in the baths. Instead of the scrubbing he'd been led by Edes to expect, the threee were attended by a half-dozen young ladies,with what looked like the clothing for 3 ladies split between them. They joked and talked,while being attended by the bath ladies.

"I could get to like this" Zeos chuckled.
Soon the other two were laughing too.

"I can't say I mind either" replied Edes,winking at one of the maidens.

Zeos perked up suddenly,and heard the quiet sound of footsteps entering,accompanied by an increase in the giggling of the bath girls. Sliding into the steam, he circled closer to the noise,leaping forward as he heard the rasp of steel.

The man drew his dagger,and looking into the surprised face of Edes as he prepared to injure him.

Suddenly, a fist like a huge,hairy ham came thundering out of the fog and struck him on the side of the head. He dropped the dagger and collapsed into a heap.
"Make haste,we must run" Zeos shouted,pulling clothes on,as the other two struggled to do the same.

The trio fled back to the ship,where they armed themselves and sat on deck.

Watching.Waiting.Wondering.

Jay,feel free to delete this if the description of the bath ladies is a little risque.

Anotehr surprise,an assassination attempt.Have fun with it...

latus
Pleb
posted 11-14-00 21:32 ET (US)     54 / 220       
Hiding behind a tree larger than any of the columns at the temples, he carefully peered out and glanced at the ship. The three men from the baths were ready for a direct assault now; it would be utterly pointless to try and surprise them. Sparks almost flew from his head as he strained his brain to find a way of striking those three. They were but the first group he had to do away with.

Nobody, he thought, but really nobody messes with this family. Not even their own blood.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-14-00 21:49 ET (US)     55 / 220       
Bartuc sat there looking at his friend. "Didn't you get a chance to see who it was?"

Edes shook his head. "No, the steam clouded my vision and the man's face. I saw nothing but the glint of the knife."

Zeos looked with concern at Edes. "Why would someone want to hurt you? I don't understand."

Edes expression softened. "No, Zeos, you probably wouldn't understand. I have done things that make some people unfriendly towards me. Most have forgotten me and what I've done, but there are a few who remember. I really only have one friend in this whole world... that's Bartuc, here. But I thank you, Zeos. I owe you my life."

"I told you before, for what you said to the crew, it was I who owed something to you, Edes."

"Well, we're even now, I would say, Zeos."

"Yes, we're even," replied Zeos. "Now I can be a true friend to you. So you can say two friends now, not one."

Edes looked at Zeos and blinked a few times. "Zeos, I am honored to have you, a far better man than me, as my friend." Zeos smiled and gently placed the broad palm of his hand briefly on Edes' shoulder then removed it.

Edes struggled in his mind to understand these turns of events: an attempt on his life, the friendship of two completely different people - Bartuc, the young oddly appearing, long suffering and tolerant companion; and Zeos, the big bear of a man possessing a heart of gold.

I am not worthy, he thought to himself... as the man outside struggled to control the youth's emotions welling up from within.

Cyber Paladin
Pleb
posted 11-15-00 04:04 ET (US)     56 / 220       
The trio started chatting instead of alerting for the oncoming assault. The stranger, cloaked in black, decided it was the chance. He loosed an arrow, trying to hit Zeos.

Swooosh! Luckily Zeos was the quickest to react after he heard the arrows sqweak across the air. He pushed the boys out of the way, and successfully dodged the missile, which is obviously well off the mark. "He got a bow, take cover boys." He quickily led the boys into the cabin, closing the door behind them. Then Zeos cofidently picked up his hand axe, charging at the stranger who is drawing his dagger.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a hand holded Zeos back. That was Aythadis, wielding a long wooden staff, charging at the stranger. Strange that the stranger seems to know Aythadis, and sheathed his dagger. "I've told you not to touch my crew!" Shouted Aythadis, his voice is not soft now, but is striking fear even in Zeos. "Now you pay the price!" Seeing that Aythadis is not going to stop, the stranger quickly dispersed a huge amount of lime powder in the air, then disappeared.

Aythadis surely know his whereabout, but he don't want to show his ability to the already frightened crew. So instead of giving the chase, he shouted in voice like thunder "As long as I'm here, I won't let you touch my crew!"

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 11-15-00 05:16 ET (US)     57 / 220       
Earlier that afternoon.
"Yes?"
Aythadis raised an eybrow as he looked at the young Athenian.
"I...I need to speak to you," Thanos stammered.

The green-eyed man showed him in. The cabin was not as large as Thanos had expected, but neat in a strange way. The bed was made, a small table stood empty except for a flagon of wine, two cups and a few scrolls. One of them looked like a map.

It took him a while to realise there seemed to be no personal effects whatsoever. No clothes draped over a chair, no knick-knacks, nothing. Unless Aythadis was extremely tidy and everything was stored in the sea-chest that was standing in a corner.

Aythadis walked over to the small folding table and asked:
"Wine?"
Thanos nodded,
"Yes...please..."
He accepted the cup and felt himself colour slightly under the gaze of the stranger.
"So, tell me? Your father refused to see you?"
Thanos nearly choked on his wine.
"Yes...how did you know? I came home and they wouldn't let me in. My father's steward told me my father refused to see me, or even speak to me. He...he almost set the dogs on me...
Aiode, my sister, she was waiting for me on the corner of the street as I walked away... She told me father was fuming when I left and it only got worse. It seems Neleus, my cousin has been poisoning his thoughts. He wants to marry Aiode. He wants to get his hands on my father's fortune."

Words spilled out of them, like water bursting a dam.
"I...I need a place to go. I need to make my father think good of me again. Neleus can't marry my sister. She hates him..."

Thanos seemed to collapse in himself, as the words flowed out. The last sentance wasn't more than a whisper.
Aythadis looked at him, his face unreadable.
"You were taught your figures and trade. Assist Idomenus on this trip, be his trader. If you turn a tidy profit, he might, when asked, intercede for you with your father."
A smile broke his face, like sunlight.
"Chin up, young man, not all is lost."

The next morning the Nautica was rowed out the Pireus harbour again and set sail for the Phoenician colony of Syracuse.

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

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 11-15-00 05:25 ET (US)     58 / 220       
Hmmm, Paladin?
Me again.
Just thought I'd mention Aythadis is one of the aliases Jayhawk goes by. He won't use weapons, or attack people, as he's forbidden to directly harm people. He can normally talk himself out of most situations and would sooner resort to trickery than to violence. His charcater is slightly distant and hardly ever does he show emotions (other than a general love for life)
You might want to reread some of the older stories to get an idea of how he behaves.
Just thought I'd mention it
Micah Aragorn
Pleb
posted 11-15-00 15:28 ET (US)     59 / 220       
Staring out over the waters as the Nautica Prima sailed to its next port, Cerek heard the soft footsteps approaching him.

"Good morning,Cerek.",the soothing voice of Coronis spoke like the calm waters he sailed on.

He turned and politely greeted her back,"Good morning".

"I noticed you didn't leave the vessel while we were in port.",Coronis questioned.

"It would not fair well for a Spartan to be wandering the streets of Athens," his tone showing the concern for his well-being."Our cities do not show a great love for each other."

"That's too bad,"she answered,her green eyes reflecting pity at the two great cities,"Both have much to offer the world. As a healer I look only at the person I treat as someone who needs my help not their culture or philosohical beliefs."

"I wish it were that simple,Coronis.",replied Cerek his eyes staring at the penetrating green of hers.

Her voice questioning but not alarmed asked,"Why do you stare at me so?"

Cerek, blinking his eyes and returning from his glassy stare answered,"I'm sorry,I didn't mean to.It's just...I know in Sparta our women are trained from a young time in the knowledge of things other than warfare. You remind me of those women....and their beauty."

Coronis'cheeks flushed with pink at Cerek's comment. As she stammered for a reply she saw the figure now approaching them and turned to Valygar.

"Are you Ok?,"asked Valygar noting the coloring hue of her cheeks as he approached.

"Yes,Valygar,I am fine."she said while glancing up ever slightly at Cerek still flushed at his words.

"I must attend to other duties,good morning again."Cerek turned noting her embarrassement yet unaware of the continuing glance that Coronis fixed upon him as he walked away.

[This message has been edited by Micah Aragorn (edited 11-16-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-15-00 16:29 ET (US)     60 / 220       
Idomenus leaned on the outside wall of his cabin lost in thought. Piraeus was the same distance-wise from Syracuse as the distance between Tyre and Piraeus. The sailing time was nearly the same due to the peninsular nature of the lands in the Eastern Mediterranean.

These ships of Phoenicia were no different than others of their day, just more plentiful and better sailed. Years of training and even more years of experience taught Idomenus the value of keeping the shore in distant sight whenever possible. Open sea still was far too intimidating to many of the most expert sea captains and their crews and the ships were too vulnerable to the whims of the sea god, Poseidon. So these ships hugged the coast for navigation purposes and for safety.

Idomenus felt confident Poseidon would not be a concern of theirs until the Nautica Prima was sailing beyond the Pillars of Hercules. Of more current concern was the Silesian pirates who plundered passing vessels from their southcentral Mediterranean lairs... and the Carthaginians.

Yes, the Carthaginians... cousins to the residents of the cities of Greece and Phoenicia by heritage, but unpleasantly difficult to deal with. There was ambition aplenty to be found in this Greek colony. It is said the Carthaginians envy Phoenicia's success at sea trade and seek to supplant them. Already Carthaginian influence is strong in Syracuse. The Elders of Tyre fear that someday Carthage will control Syracuse and then be in a position tactically to deny Phoenicia access to the Western Mediterranean and to all trade in that area.

Even worse, it is said Syracuse fears Carthage less than it fears a small city to the north. That it might even welcome Carthage as a dominant ally if their fear of the northern city proves justified. After all, Carthaginians are their cousins by heritage. But that city in the north... No, these... these... Latins, as they call themselves. They are not like us at all. They try to be, but they just can't be Greek. Only the Greek can be Greek...

It worried Idomenus to think that perhaps the Silesian pirates were allied with Carthage in some secret way, for it was whispered in all of the inns around the Mediterranean that there was no record of Silesians attacking and taking a Carthaginian vessel... ever.

Idomenus ended his musings and decided to return to his cabin to consult some charts. Meanwhile, the crew carried on as usual, each to their individual duties and then to their individual pursuits.

Yanil was helping Cook. Valygar was mixing herbs according to Coronis' instructions. Aythadis was in his cabin. Hamid was at the tiller. Edusse was keeping a watch on the crew in general. Edes was getting another lesson in swordplay from Cerek.

"Very good, Edes. You are improving greatly each day. You seem to have a knack for the weapon," said Cerek.

"Thank you, Cerek. Do you think I am ready to go soldiering if I ever want to?" asked Edes.

"Hmmm... You have the skills now, but I'm not sure you have the endurance. Your youth will help, but... well, I'm not sure, Edes. One thing I am sure of, you need experience. But the kind of experience you need will put you in danger. It is as two-edged as your sword. You need combat experience to hone your newly learned skills, but at the same time, you may not survive the lesson. There is always room in the world for a new warrior, but that's because warriors are always leaving this world for the realm of Hades. You, Edes, are the only one who will know if you are ready."

Edes looked at Cerek through brown eyes fronting for a troubled mind. The youth brought his left hand up and brushed his curly hair back from his forehead. To those who knew him and his ways, it was obvious Edes was unsure about something. Edes knew what he was unsure about... his own readiness for anything.

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

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 11-16-00 06:06 ET (US)     61 / 220       
Aythadis cabin door opened and it's tall, dark-haired occupant stepped out on the deck. He climbed the stairs to the bridge and watched Hamid for a few moments, then his gaze seemed to cloud and it swept out over the wine-coloured sea.

He seemed to look straight at the lowering sun. Hamid wondered why Aythadis didn't shade his eyes, then he wondered what could be seen.

Aythadis looked at the crow's nest and called upwards. The sailor there looked in the direction the man pointed. Then he bellowed:
"Sails! Three sails on the horizon!"

Idomenus came running to the bridge looking out. He could see the three small flecks closing in on them. Homing in like a falcon on a fat dove.

The captain started shouting orders, maybe, just maybe they could outrun them.

Cyber Paladin
Pleb
posted 11-16-00 08:49 ET (US)     62 / 220       
Hamid quickly changed the direction of the ship heading straight with the wind, trying to outrun the potential threat, while Idomentus was shouting orders.

"Edes, Bartuc, emergency surveillence. Up to the mast! Go quick! Edusse, go lead the oarsmen. Cerek, lead the rest and arm yourselves..." The orders just go on and on and on.
What Edes and Bartuc saw confirmed Idomentus' fear: The flags were striped black.

Nautica was going as fast as it can, but the three pirate ships draws nearer and nearer.
"What should we do... we only have about 30 men. But there're at least a hundred..." mustered Idomentus. His experience tells him to run, but the ship is on it's limit. As Idomentus was musing, about ten crew stood on the deck. They were armed with hand axes and hammers. It can be told that a direct conflict means instant death...

Nutmegger
Pleb
posted 11-16-00 09:12 ET (US)     63 / 220       
Upon hearing the cry, the cook immediately dumped out the stew pot. If we won, there would be time for more later. If we lost, it was all irrelevant.

"Quickly, Yanil, help me drag this to the store room. We may still have time."

Yanil gave the cook an incomprehending look, but moved to assist. When the cook acted like this, it was best to stay quiet. The heavy pot was dragged down the hall into the store room.

"Get Coronis, she knows the formula better than I."

The cook looked at the barrels and boxes. Pitch, potash... He began to assemble the Greek Fire pot. It was like cooking, assemble the right proportions and it was fine, the wrong ones meant something unusable.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-16-00 15:43 ET (US)     64 / 220       
Edusse opened the armory and began handing out the few weapons available to the other crewmen. Cerek, Edes and Bartuc needed no weapons as they had their swords in hand from the weaponry Cerek brought on board at Tyre. Others, lacking any weapons whatsoever, grabbed anything sharp or capable of being wielded as a club. Zeos found a large piece of wood especially to his liking and stood on the maindeck waiting for the next order.

"Everyone to the oars!" shouted Edusse from the tillerman's position. Hamid, however, maintained both hands on the tiller to keep the vessel under tight control. The crew jumped to their rowing stations but kept their heads down so as not to give away their numbers to the approaching pirates.

Cook, Yanil, Coronis and Valygar were busy mixing the pitch-based concoction called "Greek Fire" by those who have in the past been victims of its effects and survived. Quickly finished with its mixing, Cook dipped a metal spoon into the black, viscously oozing substance and applied a flame from a nearby oil lamp. The flame took hold on the surface of the goo and gently dancing flames spread across the substance causing the surface of the goo to bubble in response.

Cook looked at Coronis. The herbalist smiled and nodded. It was true and ready. But how to deliver it to the approaching pirate ships? Too distant and they wouldn't be able to reach the ships. Too close and they would risk sending the Nautica Prima up in flames along with the pirate vessels. Then Cook thought of a solution.

Cook remembered how he would skim the surface of a soup or stew with a ladle and then throw the unwanted substances overboard. Maybe they could fill the biggest ladles they had with Greek Fire, ignite the substance and then throw the ladles at the pirate ships like throwing wooden clubs. The goo would stay in the ladle in midair and would remain on fire so long as goo was there. Once it touched the ship there would be no stopping the advance of the flame.

They had no other ideas so Yanil ran for the ladles while Cook and Valygar, followed by Coronis, grasped the great stewpot and wrestled the now heavy container out of the compartment and up to the maindeck. They motioned to the man they thought could best deliver the contents of the stewpot to the decks of the approaching pirate ships.

Zeos left his rowing position to be quickly replaced by a standby rower and walked over to Cook to see what he and Coronis wanted. They finished their instructions to Zeos just as Yanil appeared with both arms filled with ladles, big to small. He deposited them on the deck, then turned and ran back to the galley saying something about getting a few more that he couldn't carry.

It was then that Cerek appeared before them carrying a bow and a quiver of arrows, his sword in its sheath at his side. "Think this might help?" he asked.

Coronis smiled. "Yes, Cerek. It certainly will. Just dip the arrowhead into the pitch, let us light it with this torch and you can pick your target.

"Would a sail or two suit you?" asked Cerek.

"Perfectly," replied Coronis.

Cerek turned to look at the pirate ships. They were twice as close now and closing fast. The Phoenician ship, laden as it was, could not hope to outrun the pirates. But there was a greater degree of confidence now among the Phoenician crew. Greek fire would make the odds just about even... Provided nothing unexpected happened.

Writers: Please don't rush through this action sequence. Allow all of the key characters and active writers a chance to participate.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 11-16-2000).]

Smack
Pleb
posted 11-16-00 19:22 ET (US)     65 / 220       
Hamid, standing at the tiller, was perhaps the first to notice the sail begin to droop. The quick, steady wind that had taken them out of Piraeus was slacking. Now it was mostly up to the twenty or so oarmen down below decks to propel them away from the pirates. Most of the crew had taken shelter there, and only Hamid, Aythadis, and the Nautica's ragtag army remained. Even if arrangements had been made for the oarmen to come up to the upper deck and put up a fight, the crew would not stand a chance in hand-to-hand combat against the hundred-odd marauders.

Now it was not only the sails that were visible. All three ships were in sight - small, big-sailed, and no doubt very fast. Their decks were no doubt teeming with pirates, but they were most likely manning the oars. Cerek had given his other bow to another crew member, who would use the Greek Fire against the sails, while the Spartan himself would pick off the varmints individually.

The pirates were advancing. Both banks of oars on the ships moved rhythmically up, down, up, down...
Mercifully, the wind did not pick up, meaning that the distance between the Nautica and the enemy would close only slowly, and the bowmen would have time to do plenty of damage before the pirates would swarm on board, slaughering everyone and drinking the precious cargo of wine...

Micah Aragorn
Pleb
posted 11-17-00 06:15 ET (US)     66 / 220       
"Row....Row harder men!",Edusse's voice shouted."Unless you wish to become part of Poseidon's realm...Row!" The oarsman's muscles strained as the oars in unison dipped into the sea and the sweat flowed off their tired bodies. They couldn't see how close the pirates were but they each had a single mindedness of purpose....to live!

Cook,Valygar and Zeos dragged the pot of "Greek fire" to the stern of the vessel where they had a better chance of succeeding in their plan.

The pirate's could no more take advantage of the wind as could the Nautica. Their sales hung just as listless. But their manned oars were an advantage and they continued to advance,narrowing the distance. Their ships aligned with two on the port side and one on the starboard. In this way they could overtake and block their prey from escaping. The two on port side were angled one behind the other.

The vessels were very close. Close enough to see the archers on their decks readying their bows to let loose a volley at the Nautica.

"Find cover quickly.",shouted Idomenus,his words frantic to save the lives of his crew. And as he shouted his warning the pirate archers released their arrows.

They whistled through the air with only the oars breaking water to disturb their deathly sound.

The first volley missed their mark as the arrows hit the deck and mast and fortunately no human targets. But as the first volley was released a second was being readied.

"Bartuc,get down!",yelled Edes as he pulled on Bartucs clothes."Do you have a death wish?"

"I can't see anything if I'm down th..."his words cut short as the second volley was released and the whiz of several shafts passed by his head."Okay,you convinced me.",Bartuc,wide eyed and breathing quickly,sat down with no further help from his friend.

The pirate vessels continued to close the distance. The time was right to set the Nautica's plan in action. Cerek and the crewman rose from their position, each dipping their arrow in the ooz and lighting them from the torch. Pulling back on the bows they released the shafts and found their marks high in the first vessels sail so as the now spreading flames couldn't be extinguished before the damage had been done.

Zeos dipped the first laddle in the concocted mixture and lite it. Reaching back, he hurled the burning ladle towards the approaching vessel. As all those on deck rose from their hiding place to watch.....Splash!!! The first ladle had missed.

[This message has been edited by Micah Aragorn (edited 11-17-2000).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 11-17-00 09:05 ET (US)     67 / 220       
Fire blossomed in the sail of the first pirate ship as the mix of naphta and phosphorus ate it's way through it as a starving man eats through a piece of bread.

Aythadis stood on the aft deck watching the three ships. His face was tense, and, if some one had been standing before him, that person could have seen a golden glow in Aythadis' green eyes. A volley of pirate arrows sent the rest of the crew scurrying for cover, but non seemed to come close to where the tall man was standing, hands clenched on the railing.

A few gusts of wind fanned the fire on the sail and burning bits of it fell down on to the oar-benches. Men screamed as the fire touched them. The oarsmen broke their rythem and the long pieces of wood tangled together. A sudden wave shifted the ship closer to it's companion.

Too close it turned out as their oars entangled and the burning rigging fell on it's sister ships sail.
The two ships lost speed rapidly, a tangle of broken wood and burning sail preventing any further thought of a chase. Pirates frantically tried to douse the fires that had started now on several places.

Only the one ship was still following. It's bronze plated ram glistening with the wave's foam.

[This message has been edited by Jayhawk (edited 11-17-2000).]

Nutmegger
Pleb
posted 11-17-00 09:19 ET (US)     68 / 220       
Ducking below deck, the cook took his water jerkins and filled them with water. Running as quickly as his burden would allow, he made his way to the rowers. "Who needs water?" Cries went up from the exhausted men. The cook raced from man to man, pouring water on their faces. Precious gulps for each man, with any spillage running down their faces and backs to cool them. They may curse his cooking, thought the cook, but none refused his present efforts.
Cyber Paladin
Pleb
posted 11-17-00 10:08 ET (US)     69 / 220       
"Edes, grab this!" in the turmoil, Bartuc got himself two bows. "What are we going to do without arrows?" Shouted Edes, in the opposite side, taking cover.
"Grab a small piece of anything, dip it in, lite it, and loose!" Bartuc is losing his voice now. "USE YOUR BRAIN!!" Bartuc's mischievious nature seems unaffected by the war.

As Edes was about to stick his neck out for an aim. A wave of arrows hit the deck.
"Watch out! Wait till the gap between two volleys, that's our chance!" That's Cerek's voice, from no-where.

"NOW!" A volley of fire spilled out from Nautica Prima, straight to the remaining pirate ship, which in no time being consumed by inextinguishable fire. The pirates are paralysed in fear, they have never seen such strong fire and choking smoke before.

"Oh, help. Mama, someone, help! Help!!!" A pirate got on fire. He is not the only one. Someone even jump into the water, trying to extinguish the flame, but the sea itself is also burning due to some oil which was floating on it caught fire "Leave them alone! Apollo is with them. We have no chance! Please go!"

Jaguar
Pleb
posted 11-17-00 10:48 ET (US)     70 / 220       
Yanil was a little shook up by everything and was staying low to avoid the arrows. When Coronis spotted him, she said “Yanil, could you go down and grab some extra sheets, bandages and anything else you may find that could be of any use if someone gets hit?”

Yanil nodded and took off. He managed to get below decks without getting hit by arrows, although one came close enough that his hair moved from the draft. Once in the sleeping quarters, he grabbed some sheets and saw some practice rope as well. The rope went over the shoulder and back up he went with the sheets.

Above deck he noticed that two of the three pirate ships were left behind, although the third was closing in fast. Something needed to be done soon. He handed his rope and the sheets to Coronis and went back down to look for other items that could be of use. In the kitchen he picked up a couple of the large carving knives. Cook would sure hurt him if anything happened to them but he’d rather be alive and hurt than killed by pirates. From the kitchen he went to the rowers and checked for some spare oars and with his new load went back up. He had no idea if the oars could be used for anything, but perhaps they could serve as braces so the two ships wouldn’t meet in a deadly embrace. That ram on the front looked awfully big and could put a big hole in the side.

Arrows whistled past him as he dropped off this new stash of goods. Yanil turned around to see if cook needed any help when he felt his left leg go numb. Then the pain hit him and he went down. Yanil made sure he had his knife handy, but before he could do anything, he passed out from the pain.

Hey, what’s a good fight without at least a few people getting hurt?

Benson
Pleb
posted 11-17-00 11:03 ET (US)     71 / 220       
"This isn't over yet," shouted Eddus. "Keep up the rowing." He looked out from his position at the stern of the boat. In the distance he could tell that the pirates were getting the fire under control and were working to disengage themselves and limp back to their homeport to lick their wounds.

The third ship was still on fire with the crew scurrying about like ants trying to save the ill-fated ship. He watched the slow demise of the other ship. He did feel pity for the crew. Even if their goal was his death, having you ship burned out from under you was not an honorable way to go in a battle. The only way to go was face to face with you enemy.

He roused himself from his musing. "Where was the fourth ship?" he muttered to himself.

"Fourth ship?" said Hamid, "there was no fourth ship."

"Sorry Hamid. I was talking to myself. The pirates in this area tended to work in even numbers. One of their tactics is to give chase with some of the ship and try to drive you toward the other ship." Explained Eddus.

Before he could continue a shout came from the crows nest. "Sail ahead! Sail ahead! It coming strait for us."

"Dam it all!" muttered Eddus, "I should have been paying more attention." Well maybe this time we'll have a proper fight he thought tightening his grip on his hand ax.

[This message has been edited by Benson (edited 11-17-2000).]

Smack
Pleb
posted 11-17-00 12:32 ET (US)     72 / 220       
Cerek had lent Hamid a shield. After all, standing at a tiller and having arrows shot at you is not the safest thing in the world to do. So there he crouched, wondering how much the shield would have resembled a porcupine if it had been made of wood and not metal. But no, he had no time to wonder about that. The fourth ship was closing in quickly, at an angle to the wind. If only they could outmaneuver it before it rammed them and water rushed into the hold and the Nautica went down...

No, he could not think about that either. Which way to steer? If he went away from the pirates, they would most likely turn more quickly, and the ram would come anyway. Turn into the pirates, and you do the archers a favor. Okay, Cerek, keep shooting that nasty black stuff...

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-17-00 16:13 ET (US)     73 / 220       
But there were no ladles left near the stewpot and no arrows left in anyone's quiver. A feeling of doom washed over Idomenus as he realized the next phase of combat would be hand to hand. He took some satisfaction in knowing that his hard charging crew already destroyed three of the four ships and their occupants. The sharks would finish the pirates still floating in the sea.

Just then he heard another call from the crow's nest. "Captain!" he heard the lookout shout. "The sail, Captain! It's blue striped! It's a Carthaginian sail!"

A cheer began to swell in the voices from the maindeck. Carthaginian! Not pirates! We're saved!

Idomenus felt relief climb from his belly and take root in his chest. Then he paused... Odd... The Carthaginian vessel's timing was impeccable. Something gnawed at him... Could it be true?

"Lookout!" cried out the Captain. "Are they preparing for battle?"

"No, Sir. They appear peaceful. The ship has no battering prow. It looks like a merchant ship, Sir."

Curiouser and curiouser. Then a soft moan from an area below his deck caught his and the attention of a few others.
A small body lay prostrate on the deck just outside of a doorway. It was Yanil, he realized... and then he saw the feathered shaft of a Silesian arrow protruding through the cloth covering the boy's right thigh.

"Coronis! Hurry, it's Yanil," he cried out...

Cyber Paladin
Pleb
posted 11-18-00 00:22 ET (US)     74 / 220       
"Ah.... finally..." yawned the exhausted Bartuc, with the bow still in hand. He collasped onto the ground. This is not the first battle he has seen, but the first he actully participates. Surely the heat of battle was too much for the boy.

Splash! "Feeling better Bartuc?" That was Aythadis, pouring a bucket of fresh water on Bartuc. "Woo, that was like the gods nectar! Thanks.... Aythadis..." Bartuc could barely keep his eyes open. Aythadis took the boy on his shoulder and carried him towards the sleeping quarter. "Oh boy, you're too tired. Have some rest"
He suddenly felt something wrong with Bartuc when they reach the sleeping quarter. Bartuc was fevering. Though it is not too serious, it can be told in Bartuc's face that he is suffering really. "Come on boy, have some rest." Said Aythadis in his hynotising voice, and sang the boy sleep.

After a few hours, Bartuc was awake, and the fever left him. Still he was too tired to move, his face are paler than ever. "So you're awake Bartuc" That was Aythadis, holding a bowl of brown liquid with a spoon. But in Bartuc's blurred vision and confused mind, he saw different. "Father?... No.. Oh Aythadis, sorry."
"That doesn't matter. Coronis make this for you, it will make you better." Said Aythadis in his soothing voice, the words itself make Bartuc feel better. Aythadis put the spoon near Bartuc's mouth. "Tell me Aythadis, were we too cruel to use that fire against the pirates?"
"Yes we were, but think, do we have other choice?"
"Why didn't we surrender?"
"They would kill us anyway. They enjoy killing."
"......"
The boy finished the bowl of medicine with the help of Aythadis, who then again sang the boy sleep.

"Sleep Bartuc, when you're awake. All will be over."
Whispered Aythadis. Then he walked out of the care quarter, into the evening sun. The wind is now with Nautica Prima, giving a chance for the oarsmen to rest. The water behind them are still burning.

Smack
Pleb
posted 11-19-00 02:32 ET (US)     75 / 220       
At long last, the Nautica Prima entered the port of Syracusae. They were supposed to have been here as early as the evening before, but the run-in with the pirates had set them back considerably. The ship's food stocks were not doing too well, either. Everyone on board was eager to go on shore again. As they rounded the long, narrow peninsula separating the harbor from the sea, Hamid helped pull in the sail as the Nautica switched to oar power.

The crew ate a cold breakfast, and went out into the city. No doubt, someone would make Zeos take another bath. And Hamid had some gambling to do.

I know this post sucks, but someone had to get the storyline going again.

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