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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:
latus
Pleb
posted 11-19-00 23:50 ET (US)     76 / 220       
"You've got to be joking! Aren't you?"

Edes looked at Zeos with genuine shock at the sudden revelation of his refusal to bathe this time around. Somehow he believed it would become part of their regular routine... and hoped it would become part of Zeos' life-long routine as well, for his and all his friends' sakes.

"No bath this time. Last one too fresh in mind."

Edes now decided to try a little reverse psychology on his burly friend, and turned away from him. He leaned on the rail and looked out into the vast blue ocean, pretending to be deep in thought. Sighing softly, then loudly for good measure, he said in a barely audible voice "well, fine. Don't take a bath. I won't make you. And you're right, who needs to bathe? I know I certai..." His voice completely trailed off as he turned back to look at Zeos and realized he was no longer there.

"Zeos? Where did you go? Hellooo? Zeeeeoooosss?"

Chuckling to himself, Zeos made his way through the streets of the city, looking forward to seeing her again. It had been over a year since they last met, if only for a fleeting moment before they took her away. But that's what their relationship was all about. Zeos would seldom get a chance to visit her, and the time they spent together was a cheerful time indeed for the both of them. He thought of how good it would feel to hold her again... but he was snapped out his rÍverie by a merchant who literally stuck his hands full of produce into Zeos' face. "Sugar dates! Sugar dates and figs! Fresh from today's ships!" Pushing the man away with a grunt, Zeos spotted a greenish door with a tiny red border around it's edge, just like the one they had told him to look for.

Knocking on the door, he wondered if she'd even recognize him after a year, it had never been that long between visits. He quickly looked back at his life lately and reprimanded himself for not coming down to see her earlier... he should've had.

The door opened, and an old lady with a dried up face eyed him suspiciously. "What do you want?"

"My name's Zeos, I come to see Helena."

At the mention of those names, the old woman's eyes lit up and walking away she murmured, more to herself than anyone else, "maybe this will cheer her up... she's been so sad lately."

After about a minute, the old lady had not yet returned, but an orange cat had come into the open doorway. It stood at attention for a second, and then softly purred. Zeos' eyes were watery as he ran to the cat. "Helena! I haven't seen you so long! I'm sorry, do you forgive me?" A meow quickly acknowledged the forgiving part, and another meow exclaimed the happiness at seeing the man who had saved her from the huge hungry beast a number of years ago, when she was but a tiny feline baby. He had taken care of her by himself for a while, but his solitary and nomadic nature finally forced him to let someone else watch her, and their time together consisted of occasional visits wherever the Gods would let them meet. As for Zeos, he truly loved Helena, caring for her like a daughter.

______

Later, as Zeos came back onboard the Nautica Prime, Edes jumped out of nowhere, "where have you been?! One second I was talking to you, and the next you were gone!" Zeos only said "sorry" before walking away, whistling to himself.

Hamid joined Edes, "what's our giant so happy about?"

"I truly have no idea..."

______

[This message has been edited by latus (edited 11-20-2000).]

Cyber Paladin
Pleb
posted 11-20-00 08:14 ET (US)     77 / 220       
Bartuc was still in bed when the ship docked, he didn't wake up till evening.
"Ah... my head..." Though a little headache struck Bartuc, he was fine overall. And he went off the boat for the "routine" action: Bathing.

The water was nice and warm. As Bartuc nearly finishes his bathe, he notices that every single person has gone, even the bath girls. A sense of suspiction arise in his mind, reminding the last assault in the port of Pireaus. Lucily since that time he always brings his papyrus armor under his clothes. He quickly put his clothes on and plans to leave.

Bartuc hurried onto the street. The stars shining above him like flickering diamonds with the sun just above the horizon, making the sea shining with golden light. Bartuc took a quick look around, then hurried back to the ship. The streets was normal with passers bys. Bartuc heard a noise from his back, he turned around...

It was too late...

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-20-00 16:25 ET (US)     78 / 220       
Poor Yanil - totally ignored, even with an arrow sticking out of a leg.

Yanil lay once again on the bunk at the sick side of Coronis's compartment. This time it wasn't his head, it was his leg.

At Idomenus' cry, Coronis and Valygar had hurried over and gathered up the woosy, injured cook's assistant, carrying Yanil to the bunk. The procedure was simple: extract the arrowhead from the wound it had made.

Coronis told Valygar to go boil some water. There was no reason for him to be there and the location of the wound would make matters that much more difficult for Yanil's secret to stay that way.

Luck was with Yanil. The arrow had spent its energy while in flight. It had struck Yanil with only enough power to break the skin and penetrate up to the very back edge of the arrowhead. It could be removed smoothly without tearing flesh, but with some pain. There would be a scar to remind Yanil of this adventure and the pirates, but no other bad effect. Coronis sealed Yanil's wound with salve and stitching, then closed the wound in Yanil's breeches with some thread, just for good measure.

Now, a short while later, Yanil leaned head on hand and elbow on the bunk watching Coronis' collection of small clay vessels slide a little on their shelf as the ship bobbed up and down at anchor in Syracuse's harbor. The cook's assistant flopped back on the bunk saying out loud, "I am soooo bored!"

As if in answer to a plea, the door to the compartment opened and one of the crew walked in. "Hello, Yanil."

Momentary panic mixed with a rush of pleasure brought a range of pink colorations to Yanil's cheeks. "Hello, Edes. Why are you here?"

"To see how you are doing, of course. Are you well?" he asked.

"Well enough." Coronis says I can begin to walk about today. The wound shouldn't open up or anything bad happen."

"Hmmm. I have a present for you."

Yanil frowned. "A present? For me? Why?" Then Yanil's expression took on a more suspicious note. "Where is it, Edes? If you have it I certainly don't see it."

"It's outside."

"But I can't leave, Coronis said..." Just then the door opened and Coronis stood in the doorway.

"You still haven't convinced him to get up and out, have you?" said Coronis.

"No, I guess not," replied Edes. Coronis looked at Yanil and shook her head. "I would think you'd want to be up and out of that bunk by now."

"But it's true, I do, it's just that... Oh, never mind, here I'll get out now." Coronis stepped forward to assist, bumping into Edes who stepped forward to do the same. "Wait for Yanil outside, if you don't mind. He will be there shortly," Coronis said to Yanil.

Edes stepped outside without hesitation. He decided he had had worse bumps in his life. Very soon afterwards Yanil stepped out, Coronis supporting him on the side with the wound. A great cheer arose from the ship.

Yanil was shocked. All of the crew still on board, and this was the majority of the men, had gathered on the maindeck to greet Yanil. Edes stepped forward once more and handed to Yanil a single crutch carved from the straightest tree bough they could find in Syracuse. "That's from the men, your crewmates." Then he handed Yanil a small reed-like carving.
"That's from me... Go ahead play it. Just put your fingers over some of the holes and blow through this end."

Yanil took the crutch and placed it under his shoulder on the side with the wound, then took the flute and did as Edes said. A sweet sounding note came out of the flute, much to the delight of the men and of Yanil. The boy smiled, then looked at Edes. Moisture welled up in Yanil's eyes and tears began to drop. Yanil quickly turned so as not to let the other's see too much.

Edes looked at Coronis. The woman had a funny expression on her face... bemusement mixed with a certain knowing. Edes couldn't understand what was behind it. "I didn't mean him any harm," he said, confused.

"And you have done Yanil no harm. It's just the wound and things bothering him. I'll take him around the ship for awhile until Yanil is used to the crutch. Thanks, Edes."

Edes nodded and turned around to walk away, then hesitated. He turned and looked back just in time to see Yanil's head turn as well. Even though teary eyed, the boy managed to smile at Edes, before turning his head forwards again. Then Yanil began to walk, crutch under shoulder, off into the direction pointed to by Coronis. The crew and Edes dispersed to go about their daily business or to go on shore as was their assignment or desire.

Unless some matter interfered, they would be leaving Syracuse tomorrow. Destination: Carthage.

Nutmegger
Pleb
posted 11-20-00 16:48 ET (US)     79 / 220       
The cook was even more sour than usual. An hour spent with the captain trying to persuade him to buy a new stew pot. The old one would take weeks of soaking and scrubbing to get clean, and Yanil would be little help for the immediate future. And not a single thanks from the rowers.

The cook made his way into Syracusae. It was a large enough city that it's Jewish population lived in the open. Still, he took no chances, and made sure he wasn't followed. He recognized a few faces from his last visit to this port, but people did not welcome strangers here, and he avoided making close friends. This was likely to be the last port where he'd find an emigre community. Few Jews had ever visited the Western Mediterranean, let alone moved there.

Smack
Pleb
posted 11-20-00 20:20 ET (US)     80 / 220       
Yes, it was gambling again for the Arab sailor. Syracusae was a large enoug city that Hamid could find a tavern where he could play without getting involved in a conflict. The insult he had taken in Piraeus, and the fight that ensued, were still fresh in his memory.

Yes, the cook did need a new stew pot. He had overheard the conversation on his way off the ship. Idomenus would not like his stew to taste like tar any more than the rest of the crew, and the things weren't very expensive. At least not when compared with the profit Idomenus stood to gain upon returning to Tyre with the cargo of tin. Maybe Hamid had enough vested interest to actually help the downtrodden cook get a new pot...

He found a reasonable-looking tavern, where he couldn't expect the people to be too skilled, ordered a glass of beer, and sat down to a game of craps. No, these brutes weren't the most intelligent types. One of them couldn't keep a straight face. It actually seemed as though Hamid would walk away from this table with more money in his pocket than when he started.

It was very late. Everyone in the tavern was either dead drunk or half-asleep and leaving. Hamid decided to let the former group fall asleep on the crude benches and fall backwards on the floor. They would not be very happy when they did that, so it was best to be back in his berth on the Nautica. So there he went. Zeos was still awake, too. It seemed that instead of bathing, he had decided to go get drunk at another of the city's taverns. You can't teach and old dog new tricks, Hamid thought as he took off his coat and tried to get somewhat comfortable in the hammock.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-20-00 21:20 ET (US)     81 / 220       
The morning of the next day found the entire crew on board in various states of wakefulness and readiness. Aythadis walked out of Cook's quarters with Cook following directly behind the tall man grinning from ear to ear. In his right hand Cook held a brand new stew pot. He said nothing but hurried to the galley to add it to the newly acquired selection of ladles he was permitted to purchase.

Idomenus relented and permitted the purchase after a quiet conversation with Aythadis the evening before. It was Aythadis who sought the item out in the local Syracuse bazaar and brought it on board. Cook had spent the night on shore and had returned early this morning, only to find Aythadis standing at the door to his compartment holding the new stew pot.

"Twood think Cook just met his lifelong love," said one crewmate to another. The other crewmate started to laugh. "Twood be like Cook to find one that looked like that there pot." The guffaws rang out on the maindeck among any crewmates that were in earshot.

Thanos was one of the few nearby who didn't laugh; but then, Thanos seldom found anything these days to laugh about. There was even a moment when the pirates attacked them that Thanos hoped for a Silesian arrow to find his chest... It was only a moment... but it was a very real moment.

Idomenus continued to fret and worry about everything. Pots, ladles, supplies, men... everything. And then the Carthaginian cargo ship entered his mind. So timely an arrival, as if it knew to be there. Could it be it was there to tithe the spoils captured by the Silesian pirates? That is why a simple Carthaginian cargo ship had no fear of appoaching an engagement between pirates and a Phoenician ship? Did the Carthaginians expect the pirates to win and were there to collect their share of the booty? Could this be the arrangement that kept the two, Carthaginians and Silesians, from warring with each other and both benefitting from the loot? Could they survive this next leg of the journey?

The Nautica cast off its ropes and the rowers took the vessel out to sea once more ahead of the waning tides. They were bound southwest for Carthage.

Cyber Paladin
Pleb
posted 11-21-00 03:50 ET (US)     82 / 220       
I'm left on shore!?

"Ouch... oh.... ah..." Bartuc's vision began to clear up. And he found himself lying on a ship... right next to Nautica, which is beginning to move.

"Argh... wait!" Already he know he has been sleeping too long, the ship is departing. With his last strength, he jumped towards the ships starboard railing. He can barely reach the railing, hanging on it. It can be an easy jump if he was in full strength, but now he can't even pull himself up.

Fortunately Edes passed by.
"Hey buddy, where've you been? Aren't you in the cabin?"
"Darn! Pull me up first. You guys are leaving me here!?"

After a while, Coronis came to inspect Bartucs wound on his head. "Hit by a hard object... hummm.. looks like a stone? Perhaps. Well, nothing serious. Get some rest, your sickness is not yet fully recovered." Bartuc was in fact quite happy when Coronis told him to get some rest. At least he won't be working.

Bartuc then was led to Aythadis' cabin. "What happened? You're supposed to be on board resting..." Questioned Aythadis, emotionless. "Well..." Bartuc told him the whole story... "It was he again... sigh... what a nuisance.. Well I'll look into it. Don't worry Bartuc." Assured Aythadis. "BUT, Coronis told me that you are OK indeed, so don't be lazy boy. Off to work"

[This message has been edited by Cyber Paladin (edited 11-21-2000).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 11-21-00 08:23 ET (US)     83 / 220       
The Nautica plowed on through the waves. Sometimes accompanied by small shoals of dolphins, which delighted Yanil and seemed to mesmerise Aythadis for all he stood at the railing when they were close.

On they sailed to glorious Carthage, where once Aeneas landed, fleeing from the burning walls of fabled Troy. Where he'd met Dido, fair beyond belief, and a city, Carthago. A city around an island in a bay, a natural breakwater. With high cliffs on the one side, topped by verdant forests. With caves and fresh water on the other.

With an acropolis and temples to Baal Hammon, Baal's consort, Eshmoun, Melqart, and Tanit, Carthago most worshipped gods. Her signs were everywhere. The thousands of doves in the city, the vineyards and palmgroves, and the cresent moon, depicted on the houses and the gravemarkers.

Aythadis looked forward to visiting Carthago, the warrens of housing nestling in the rocks like toadstools on a treestump.
If only there were a way to forget about the Tophet.

Jaguar
Pleb
posted 11-21-00 10:41 ET (US)     84 / 220       
Thanks Civis. I felt it was up to others to take care of Yanil...

Yanil practiced playing the flute a fair amount. He even played for the dolphins a bit. Aythadis stood by and watched him play, occasionally making a comment on the tune. Yanil corrected the notes right away and lo and behold, recognizable tunes could be heard.

One evening, Bartuc requested that Yanil play for the crew. After all, everyone could use a break. Yanil played one song after another and the crew started singing along to any that they knew. There were some songs that Yanil didn't know, but he listened while the crew sang and vowed to have those songs memorized in as short a time as possible.

The next day, Yanil was put back to cutting vegetables and doing some of the less taxing jobs around the kitchen. "If you are healthy enough to entertain the crew, you are healthy enough to put in a few hours of work" was the gruff comment from Cook.

Yanil went to talk to Edes that afternoon and thanked him for the flute and the crutch. "Don't thank me for the crutch, that was entirely the crew's idea", was Edes' response. Although I've got to admit that I thought those fingers would know how to play a flute, and it looks like I was right." Yanil didn't know what to say and tried to stop blushing, but a hint of pink flushed his cheeks nonetheless. "Well, thank you" stammered Yanil. "I really like it. Aythadis has helped me a bit too though. He seems to know music." Edes smiled. "Well, kiddo, let this be the last time you get hurt, ok. I better get back to work, but I'll be there tonight when you play." Yanil smiled and started to practice more. After all, the music should sound perfect. Especially if Edes was going to be there.

And so the days wore on.

[This message has been edited by Jaguar (edited 11-21-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-21-00 16:08 ET (US)     85 / 220       
You are most welcome, Jaguar.

Edes renewed his lessons on sword use with Cerek. After all, it was Carthago they were sailing to, where last he heard now lived the man who killed his father. Perspiration moistened his brow as Edes repeatedly parried, blocked and countered every attempt by Cerek to break through Edes' defense. At last, Cerek ceased to swing his sword, stepping back breathing hard and rapidly.

"You need no more lessons from me, Edes. I declare you competent with the sword," said Cerek.

"Thank you, Cerek. My skill is a result of your excellent teaching... and I shall not forget that." Cerek bowed accepting the complement. Edes continued, "I shall return this sword to you now. It is yours afterall."

"No, Edes. It is now yours. With more experience you will see that the man becomes the weapon and the weapon becomes the man. The sword is as much a part of you now as you are a part of the sword."

"But Cerek, the sword was meant for teaching me," protested Edes.

"No, warrior. I knew that should I be successful in teaching you its use the sword would become yours. I would not take it from you now any more than I would cut off one of your arms. It would be one and the same. I have something else. Wait here." Cerek walked back to his sleeping area and drew a round object from among his belongings. "This, Edes, is the shield that belongs with your sword. Please accept it as well. The two have never been separated in the past and shouldn't be separated now."

Cerek looked at the shield and its engravings, surprise registering on its face. "Why Cerek, these markings are
Trojan... from before the fall."

"Yes, that is so. Keep them, they are yours."

"With gratitude, Cerek. And should you have need of them again, call on me. I will make sure they and I are at your side." This time Edes bowed ceremoniously to Cerek as would the successful student to his master. Cerek smiled.

"Let's hope neither of us is in such a predicament, shall we," Cerek said. A tune on the wind caught their collective ears. They looked to the upper deck to see Yanil playing the flute, chores finished. The boy stopped playing, smiled and waved to the two men. They waved back. The winds picked up a little more and the ships bow wave crested higher as the windfilled sail propelled them ever closer to Carthago.

Aythadis opened his compartment door and motioned to Yanil to join him. Soon the men on the maindeck heard more of Yanil's flute, this time accompanied by a different instrument, a string instrument. Someone was playing a lute.

Cyber Paladin
Pleb
posted 11-22-00 04:38 ET (US)     86 / 220       
A loud applause roared up from the crew as Aythadis and Yanil finished the harmonic combination of lute and flute. Surely he has some talent in flute. This time even the cook was stooding there listening.

In the evening, the ship docked at the port of Carthage. "Hey buddy, going for a bath?" Suggested Zeos, surpirsingly. But even more surprising, Edes shooked his head. "I've got things more important to do." And without another word, Edes put on the papyrus armor, belted his sword, and carried his shield on his back. Then alone his hurried onto the streets and disappeared into the evening town. Leaving behind the puzzled Zeos.

On his way to the village of Sfax, where lives the notorious robber Siead the Iron Man, Edes was caught up by Zeos and Bartuc. His mouth dropped open in astonishment. Before a single word can drop out from Edes' mouth, Zeos said, "Bartuc told me all of this, Siead killed your family. And we will kill him, in revenge! We are with you, we are friends right?" Edes looked at Zeos, who look like a fearsome giant with a huge double axe in his hands. His eyes begin to moister.
"Don't cry buddy, if you cry, you can't revenge~" Pestered Bartuc, who is cloaked in black and armed with a long bow, with a wooden shaft. "You know I'm no good at fighting, so I fashioned this. I call this "crossbow". It required little aim, little strength, but can easily pierce through the thickest armor..." Soon Bartuc found out that his friend isn't listening, as he always will be if he starts talking about his "new inventions". Feeling a little bit embarrassed, Bartuc shuted up. The trio then walked wordlessly towards the village of Sfax.

Finally Bartuc can't bear the silence anymore, "We need to be careful though. This Siead is real professional, he owns the village and it is made up entirely by trained killers, his henchmen. So, we can't win if we go on a direct assault...

Micah Aragorn
Pleb
posted 11-22-00 05:07 ET (US)     87 / 220       
"Yanil,have you seen Edes?",a concerning tone in Cerek's voice.

"Yes.He went ashore not too long ago."

"Did he say where he was going.",Cerek probed him.

"To the village of Sfax. But I should not be alarmed because he would return.",seeking to give Cerek some sort of comfort.

But Cerek knew what Edes was attempting and even though he had taught him well the use of his sword he could only relay to him that he must keep his wits as sharp as his blade.

"If it will comfort you,young Bartuc and Zeos followed him."Yanil making it a point to tell him.

It did ease his mind but he still knew of the danger that could easily present itself to the untried Edes. And with that thought Cerek left the Nautica and followed in the trios footsteps to keep Edes out of harms way.

[This message has been edited by Micah Aragorn (edited 11-22-2000).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 11-23-00 05:36 ET (US)     88 / 220       
Aythadis watched the Spartan slip the large hoplon about his shoulder. The red sigma bright agains the faded bronze. The sword slung about the other shoulder and the lang spear in his hand Cerek strode off towards the Carthagenian hinterland.

A soft cough broke through his reveries and as he looked up he saw Thanos.
"Master Aythadis, " the youth began.
"Just Aythadis if you please, " the green-eyed man answered.
"Aythadis, that instrument you played last night. What is it? It looks nothing like the lyre. Where does it come from?"
Aythadis smiled
"It's an old instrument, " he answered, "and is named 'ud. I found it long ago in Persia, where it is said to have been given to mankind by a celestial being."
His smile broadened
"I could not say whether the latter is true, though."
Thanos nodded, then looked longingly towards the city. Aythadis saw and said.
"Care to join me, Thanos? I'm set to visit the temple of Tanit."
After a brief pause the youth nodded.
"I'd be pleased to join you."

The two of them walked up the hill towards the Acropolis. The sky was a flat grey, the sun a hazy spot of light crawling towards the zenith. It seemed the greyness of the sky leached the colour and spirit out of the people they met. Furtive glances followed the Athenian youth and his tall companion. They were starting to make Thanos nervous.

Somewhat later they reach Tanit's temple, It's bulk with moon carved reliefs rises up from between the olive groves around it. A patch of sunlight brightens the white doves settled on the facade.

Aythadis enters between the columns and lights some incense before the altar. An old statue of a woman in long dresses faces him, a cresent moon carved on her brow. Thanos wonders at it, it does not have the clean lines of the Athenian sculptures, but it still breathes power.

As Aythadis rises one of Tanit's priestesses walks towards them. The woman is of average height, handsome rather than beautiful with an ageless look to her features. Her hair is an odd chesnut colour, while her eyes are the clear blue of saphires.

"Aythadis"
Her voice is melodious but seems full of hidden echoes.
"It has been long since we have seen you here.
"Lotis, " Aythadis answers and for a moment Thanos thinks he sees his companion's eyes go golden.
"It is true, it has been long, longer than I'd like, but as much as I love Tanit, the Tophet makes me stay away. I cannot truly bear what happens there."
Lotis eyes cloud for a moment. She reaches out and touches Aythadis shoulder.
"I know, old friend, the taint of the Tophet even worries our Lady. It's sucking the soul out of her people as well. I cannot forgive the Phoenicians for bringing Baal to bright Carthago."

"Bright?" Thanos asks in a low voice.
"How can you call this city bright? It pains even me, a visitor, to see a people so dejected."
Two pair of eyes focus on him and a slight blush colours his cheeks. Then Lotis looks back to Aythadis.
"Your companions are as surprising as ever."
She smiles.
"I wonder why I'm still surprised by this."
Turning back to Thanos she speaks.

"Before the Phoenicians came, Tanit ruled supreme in Carthago, but Baal was brought and the brightness changed. Now her children are sacrficed to the great god and my goddess is powerless before his many priests and followers. Her bounty is chained and violated. Those who follow Baal are ruled by greed and lord his power over the goddess and her children. Even my priestesses are not safe from their greed. They say the god does not allow women power and try to force their will on us.
Thank Tanit we still have our support."

She turns back to Aythadis
"Another sacrifice is planned. A hundred children have been chosen, taken from their mothers, drugged. They are kept in the Holding. I would advise to leave before the sacrifice starts tomorrow night.
I doubt you can stand the pain it will cause you.
Tanit be with you Aythadis. I hope to see your precense grace our temple again."
Lotis accepts Aythadis bow and leaves the two men standing near the altar.

"What did she mean, "the pain it will cause you"?"
"I, " Aythadis voce seems to come from deep within, "I can not stand the pain of children suffering.
However, my hands are tied, if Man chooses to make this sacrifice I can not stop him.
Come, let's go back to the harbour and see i fthere are goods for you to trade."

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-23-00 18:18 ET (US)     89 / 220       
How many inquiries in how many public places did it take to finally lead Edes to this place? He lost count many doors ago. Now he was standing in the last of the public places he had been guided to, facing a man a hand taller than he and 20 years older. Siead's hair was streaked with a lighter shade up to the upper edge of the purple scar that ran from crown to chin. Around the scar where he had hair it was white as if the color had been chased away by the violence that begat the wound.

Edes drew his sword and slid his shield off his back. No words were spoken. None were needed. Siead knew the young man before him as well as Edes knew Siead for the killer he was. The young man stepped back to reposition himself. As he did so, some of the thugs around him drew weapons of their own, mostly knives. Edes did not take his eyes off Siead, but he heard the short blades leaving their belts and sheaths.

A voice interrupted his focus... a familiar voice. "Gentlemen, return those blades to their places or two of you will be looking at yourself from the floor." The noise of a long blade sliding from its scabbard followed. "The question is: Which two of you will be the ones." The thugs looked at each other as if to say 'him not me.'

"Cerek, this is my fight... Stay out," said Edes. "You too, Zeos... and you, Bartuc. You shouldn't be here."

Cerek shook his head. "If you have a fight, Edes, it's with that man before you, not these others. We're going to see that they mind their own businesses... Right gentlemen?" Knives returned to sheaths and belts and the area around the two combatants widened.

Cerek continued. "You sure about this, Edes? Do you remember what I said."

"All of it, Cerek," replied Edes.

"I hope so, Edes. I hope it was all of it."

Siead wasted no more time with the youth before him. He charged, sword raised, ready to deliver an immediate mortal blow. Edes parried, swung his sword down and sideways only to have his sword blocked by Siead in turn. Edes spun about bringing his sword back from the opposite direction. Sword met sword with a resounding metallic clang. The vibration and shock travelled up Siead's arm causing him to loosen his grip on the sword. He backed up to regain position and grip.

Edes advanced on Siead, sword raised. Down came the blade... blocked! Down came the blade again... blocked again! Siead's grip further weakened. Edes brought the blade down once more and then swung it up, down and sideways. Siead's sword flew out of his hand and landed across the room, scattering men who were trying to escape its flight. Siead, unbalanced, fell to the floor in a sitting position, with Edes' sword pointed at this throat.

Unbridled hate raged in Edes' eyes. It was Cerek's calm, matter-of-fact voice that prevented the worst. "You've won, Edes. There is nothing more to prove."

"He lives," replied Edes. "It is not over."

"Kill him and the true Edes dies with him. You become no different than he," Cerek said in as soothing a voice as he could generate.

Edes, breathing hard, stared at Siead. Then the young warrior stepped back and put his sword in his scabbard. "You're right, Cerek. He isn't worth it. He is refuse, nothing more." Edes turned to walk away. He had just passed Zeos when Siead jumped to his feet, a previously hidden blade in hand. Siead ran towards Edes, mayhem on his mind, and collided with Zeos' fist. Siead stood there momentarily stunned, face crushed and beginning to bleed, eyes rolling back into his head. Then he fell to the ground unconscious.

"I don't like that man," said Zeos as all four walked out of the establishment and back onto the Carthaginian street.
Cerek turned to Edes and said, "Today you have truly become a warrior and a man."

"But I don't see what's different," protested Edes.

"Today, Edes, you have shown your mastery of the weapon... and your mastery over yourself. Let's go back to the ship, if you will, warrior."

"Yes, Cerek. Let's go back to the ship."

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 11-24-2000).]

Cyber Paladin
Pleb
posted 11-24-00 05:11 ET (US)     90 / 220       
"What a pity that my babe crossbow can wreak havoc." It's Bartuc again who breaks the long slience, as everyone didn't know what to say.
Obviously he chose the wrong topic. No one really pays attention to his words, except frowns from his companions.

Slience...

As they reached the dock, it's late afternoon.
"Well... er... how about having a bath? I'm sure we've sweated a lot..." Bartuc again breaks the silence.
"Oh that's good. Let's go then." Zeos replied after a few long seconds.

As quartet headed back to the ship after the bath, they saw Aythadis and Thanos hurrying back, with lots of supplies they bought from the market.
Then they saw Idomentus on the deck, shouting to them.
"Hurry up will ya! We'll depart before night!"

"What's going on? Isn't it somewhat unsafe to depart nearly at night!?" That's Zeos puzzled voice...

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-24-00 19:01 ET (US)     91 / 220       
Edes sensed something was terribly wrong, though he couldn't quite understand what it was. Aythadis had a strange expression on his face as he hurried along, and Thanos looked mostly miserable.

"Captain, if it pleases you Sir. Please wait one moment," cried out Edes. "I must advise Aythadis of something about Carthage." It was slightly an untruth, but it would suffice for now.

All four of the recently returned and bathed crew members approached Aythadis, who had stopped in his tracks and was now staring expectently at Edes. Just as the young warrior reached the place where Aythadis stood, the tall man said, "It felt good, didn't it?"

"It what?" asked a suddenly surprised Edes.

"It felt good to bury the past and replace hate with honor and the present, didn't it?"

"But Aythadis, how did... I mean... where did you... Oh, never mind! I think you are in trouble and need some help now!

"Not Aythadis, but it is many others..." Thanos interrupted the tall man and spilled out the whole situation about the children to be sacrificed to Baal. The faces of Zeos, Edes and Cerek turned as white as Bartuc's face as they listened to what was to be the childrens' fate.

Aythadis eyes flashed gold amidst highlights of blue and green. "I cannot do anything about it by myself and so I cannot abide another moment in this city. That's why we hurry to leave."

Edes looked around him at his companions. "Could the four of us help you to change your mind about leaving this quickly and maybe doing something for those children?" Before Aythadis could answer, Thanos interrupted him again.

"The five of us, Aythadis, is what he meant to say..." said Thanos. Edes smiled and repeated Thanos words. "Yes, the five of us."

"A moment please..." Aythadis left them and propelled himself with his long gait to where the Captain stood. They conversed for awhile. The Captain nodded. Aythadis returned to the five men. "Make that six. The Captain will sail on the morning tide with or without us, that is our understanding. Now follow me, we haven't much time."

Bartuc, on shorter legs than the rest, followed closely behind the other five, led by the tall man's long stride. He said himself, "Well, crossbow, the day isn't over for you yet, is it."

The Captain watched all six depart and wondered if he would see any of them on the morrow. Then he turned his attention to completing the preparation of his ship for sailing west towards the Pillars of Hercules.

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 11-27-00 06:56 ET (US)     92 / 220       
Thanos, close on Aythadis heels could hear the tall man mutter. He seemed to be worried about being called to task for whatever it was they were going to do that night. He wondered who would do such a thing. Aythadis seemed to him very self assured and not likely to owe much to what other people thought of him, but ever since this priestess, Lotis, had spoken the man had seemed upset.
This whole thing was growing stranger by the minute.

Aythadis led his companions first up the cliffs then down towards the shore. A large statue of Baal stood on a dais close to the waterline. Wood was stacked high behind it and and the bronze statue was glowing softly. The belly behind it's outstreched hands was a pale red from the fire burning inside. The large gaping mouth glowed as well and smoke, tinged with the smell of resin rose and curled around the horns on either side of the bestial face.

A smaller temple building was tucked to the left of it and on the other side, some smaller buildings were glued to the cliffside. A number of lightly armoured guards was posted here. Pacing up and down in front of a gate set in the cliff. A soft crying could be heard whenever the wind shifted and and drowned out the sound of the surf.

Edes' hand shifted to his weapon, but Aythadis stopped him from rushing towards the guards. A short whispered conversation later and Edes, together with Bartuc, Cerek and Zeos left their companions and started for a trail that would get them opposite the gate and its guards.

Aythadis kneeled in the sand, and with a gull's pinion feather wiped flat a piece of sand. He then used the sharp end to scribble symbols in the sand, that made Thanos think of bit's he'd seen of the works of Hermes Trismegistus. Some resinous wood was placed in the center and lit. Incense followed and the green-eyed man started to intone words accented in ways Thanos was sure no one had accented them for generations.

As he spoke, clouds slipped in from the see and covered the sky except for a small hole that allowed the crecent moon an unobstructed view towards the beach. Lightning started to crackle at the horizon slowly moving closer, but no rain fell. Wind picked up and waves rolled up the beach, licking at the dais.

Suddenly the chanting stopped and in the silence Aythadis spoke.
"Come."

Thanos follwed him, hiding in the shadows towards the gate. Suddenly a fire arrow arched out from the cliff behind them and came to rest on the stack of wood, quickly followed by several others. The guards started to shout, their voices lost in the sound of the wind that had taken on the shape of a storm, for a moment Thanos thought he could see Borealis, the god of the Northwind, striding accross the sky. Thunder increased in volume as the lightning increased in violence, yet still the moon looked on.

As the guards left their posts and ran for the supply of fire wood, Aythadis and Thanos found their way to the gate. Luckily the only thing keeping it shut were two beams of wood which were quickly dispatched by the two men working together. The gate was pulled open and Thanos could see the kids huddled togther. Boys and girls, none older than half a dozen years it seemed and many younger.

"Come!"
Aythadis voice sounded over the noise of the storm and still remained compasionate. The children came, running, clutching at each other, into the storm. Aythadis snatched up a little girl, no older than four, who was cowering in a corner, while Thanos led the others towards the trail.

Two guards came running back their swords drawn. Thanos, unarmed felt his skin crawl, he was going to die. There seemd no doubt about it as the first guard swung his weapon at him.

"NO!" Aythadis cried behind him and the weapons stopped as if it had struck a rock. The guard dropped it, clutching his wrist. The other turned and ran as lightning ran up along the beach and it's fiery tongues struck the burning wood.

Pulling himself together, Thanos rushed on. Followed by a river of children he led them up the narrow trail. He could feel Aythadis running on behind him, herding the frightened children. Yet none of them seemd to frightened to go on.
As he reached the top of the trail he stumbled to a halt. Before him stood a figure. Another bolt of lightning showed him it was Lotis, behind her several more of Tanis priests appeared. As he looked round to search for Aythadis he saw hiss other companions arrive, breathing hard from their excertions.

Then he saw a shape in the clouds, a bearded face he'd seen in many a temple. The eyes flashed and it's hair flowed in the wind. An empty hand reached back and threw. Where nothing was a lightning bolt appeared and widened, crackled, jagged and struck the dias in front of statue of Baal. Slowly the statue toppled forward, gathering speed as it fell and crashed in the surf. A wave washed over it and doused the fires burning in it's stomach. Behind him he thought he heard Aythadis say
"Now I've done it"

But as he looked round the tall man turned to Lotis, who took the little girl from his arms and smiled.
"Hello Cassandra, " she said to the little girl, then reached up and kissed Aythadis.
"Thank you."
Then she left them, her followers taking the children with them.

Aythadis sighed and turned to his companions as the storm lost it's strength and the clouds skidded away to the South.
"We'd better get back to the ship before anyone notices us."

Cyber Paladin
Pleb
posted 11-27-00 09:16 ET (US)     93 / 220       
Then the Edes quartet met Aythadis on the way back, not in a nice way...
"Oh no..." cried Thanos as he noticed that the quartet was obviously traced, by an army of priests and guards.
"We know that already, but we have to pretend not knowing it..." whispered Bartuc. "Look, hundreds of them..."

"OK now, everyone's here. The dock is straight ahead..." said the experienced Cerek in a low voice. "NOW RUN!"
In the pace like wind, the six man flee to the ship for their lives.
Very obviously the army behind them began to run as well, but not as fast because most of them are Baal's priests.

"Depart now!" Ordered Idomentus, who knew it all with just one glance. The board raised just in time to let the last one pass thru. The ship then gathers speed and leaves the port. The priests stood on shore, waving their metal scepters, and chanting the most harshest words at them.
"I don't like them! How rude?" Complained Zeos.
"Let me show them how to shut up." Said Bartuc, with a mischevious smile on his face. He took out his small crossbow, and aimed.
Swoosh, crank! The arrow went straight thru the wicked statue of Baal on a scepter. All the priests' jaw dropped in astonishment, nothing came from their mouth.
"Oh it's better, thanks" That was Zeos, with a smile as mischevious as Bartuc's.

Nautica left the port finally.
"Oh... that's probably too much for the day." Edes collapsed.
"NO! Look! Carthagian ships! They're geared up and heading for us!" Cerek shouted.
There are four Carthagian ships, clearly seen. They're all fully geared with their battle ram up, archers with their bows in hand, and warrior with swords waving.
It seemed impossible for Nautica to outrun them as both the wind and tide are against their favor. And the Carthagian ships are three tiered...
"This doesn't look good..." muttered Yanil... "Let's hope this time it's not me again..."

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-27-00 12:04 ET (US)     94 / 220       
Suddenly the water between the Nautica Prima and the pursuing Carthaginian ships changed color from bright blue to a turbid purple. Then the surface began to boil as if some great disturbance below was forcing the waters of the deep sea to the surface. A great irridescent sea green scaled tail broke the surface, rose high in the air and splashed down on the sea's surface. The angle of the tail generated a tidal wave that rushed in one direction only... straight towards the pursuing Carthaginian warships.

The Carthaginians saw the tail slap down onto the surface of the sea and saw the wall of water form that would be their doom. The foam topped monsterous wave was now rushing towards them. The Phoenicians heard the tempo of the Carthaginian drums accelerate to a nearly impossible rate as the Carthaginian rowers desperately attempted to swing their ships about and row away from the oncoming wave. Too slow, too little, too late...

The wave hit each of the Carthaginian vessels midship turning them turtle before passing over and rushing for the coast. The wave finally expended its remaining energy by crashing upon the fallen idol of Baal and sucking into the sea all of its priests and followers gathered there bemoaning the fate of their god.

The great tail appeared once more accompanied by the sea weed crowned head of the great being to whom the tail belonged. The god Poseidon, expressionless, raised his trident and slowly, gently sank below the surface of the sea to the cheers of the Phoenicians looking on in awe.

But even as the tip of the trident, the great tail and the head of the god disappeared below the surface of the Mediterranean Sea a cruel, ungrateful act occurred that would seal the fate of the Nautica Prima and its crew once they were beyond the Pillars of Hercules.

A slender, silent figure eased its way over to the far side of the ship, away from the crew and the god now gone and withdrew from a pocket in its shirt a grey object. The object was a small statue carved in the image of the god of war. In a whispered voice, the figure said, "Ares, God of War, I serve no other, not this sea-bound god of fish and water weeds. I honor you, Ares, and disavow Poseidon. Let my fate be governed by you, not by the god of the sea." Then the figure cast the statue into the sea in a final act of allegiance to Ares and of defiance to Poseidon.

The God of the Sea, who missed nothing that occurred in his realm, was not pleased with the crew of the Nautica Prima. Poseidon decided to wait patiently for the right moment to register his anger. That moment would come, so the god planned, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, when the Nautica Prima was sailing the unfamiliar waters of the outer sea.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 11-27-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-27-00 21:54 ET (US)     95 / 220       
The jubilant, unsuspecting crew of the Nautica Prima settled into their rowing seats and began one of the songs that sailors sing to pass the time of day as they rowed.

(The tune is borrowed from the theme to the motion picture The Horse Soldiers)

I left my love, my love I left
A'cryin on the pier.
She waved to me as I rowed off
With my crewmates here;
Yes, with my crewmates here.

Heave Ho! Pull those oars!
Make that bow wave rise.
We're rowing west to lands unknown
Beyond Poseidon's throne;
Ho! Beyond Poseidon's throne.

They say there's gold enough for me
And nothing there to fear.
I plan to fill my sea chest full,
Like my shipmates here;
Yes, like my shipmates here.

Heave Ho! Stow those ropes!
Make that bow wave rise.
We're going west to lands unknown
Beyond Poseidon's throne;
Ho! Beyond Poseidon's throne.

And when we take this ship back home
She'll be there on the pier.
I'll tell her I'll not sail again
No more a crewmate here;
Yes, no more a crewmate here.

Heave Ho! Raise the sail!
Make that bow wave rise.
We're sailing west to lands unknown
Beyond Poseidon's throne;
Ho! Beyond Poseidon's throne.

Aythadis smiled, enjoying the camaraderie and the tune. Then he turned to enter his cabin. Two shimmering figures greeted him there. "Mother... Father... I guess I am not surprised to see you..." said Aythadis cautiously. "I suppose you want to hear my explanation for the events in Carthage?"

The larger of the two images seemed to nod its head. "Yes, begin," it said. And so Aythadis began his explanation.

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 11-28-00 06:42 ET (US)     96 / 220       
Hmmm...should I write my own defence?

Aythadis sat down on his bench and poured himself a liberal glass of wine. It wasn't really because he needed the wine, but the goblet would keep his hands busy. He took a deep breath and looked at his parents.
It still struck him after all these years how truly stunningly beautiful his mother was, he smiled inside, thinking, not that his father was terrible to behold.
Then again, when he looked as stern as he did now it was hard not to feel like a six year old caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

"Well, " the deep bell like voice sounded, "explain yourself."

"You know how much I love these humans, " he began, "and you know how I abhor the sacrifices made to Baal, or any of the elder gods for that matter. Tanit was so sad..."
"Of course, Lotis had nothing to do with it."
Aythadis blushed as he caught his mother's whisper.
"I...I just couldn't let them sacrifice the children. They're too young to know, too young to choose. Tanit...
I tried to be careful, the young humans were instructed not to kill anybody, just to cause a distraction, a diversion."
He had to repress a proud thought at how well they had done that.

"I did not know Zeus ws going to topple Baal's statue, although I might have guessed, there's not much love lost between them. However, Poseidon's wrath? I truly do not know why he was so angry, why so many were killed.
I...I did not ask for that kind of intervention."

Aythadis paused, his voice dropped to a mere whisper, almost lost in the sound of teh waves against the hull.
"Still, I saved the little ones and pleased Tanit."
Not to mention Lotis, a small voice whispered inside him.

"I bow to your judgement, my elders." Aythadis concluded formally.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 11-28-00 16:12 ET (US)     97 / 220       
Whom better? Though I thought I'd give you some help... just because I got you into it to begin with.

The taller of the two ethereal images released a long sigh.
"My son, we know well how you favor these beings called humans. It is why we came to you with this assignment to walk among them. We could not trust the others to behave as we would want. In this regard, our judgement is and will prove to be generally correct; but even you from time to time surprise us with your disregard of our instruction to not interfere in their affairs."

The image paused a moment as if considering what next it would say. "I know you are very young... It has been only a few millenia since your mother and I... well, since your aura was created. But we have warned you before about the gods of Olympus. They are difficult to control and prone to anger. They can be high-handed with mortals. You risk much by associating with them or calling on them to take an action."

The smaller image shifted position and a thin shaft of light reached up to the taller image as if to touch it. "But it was for the children he did this...," spoke the smaller image, "for the innocents who had no choice. The priests were chosing for them, and their choice was death... needless death. You know we do not want these sacrifices of living things. It is the priests who cause it to be so."

"The priests... Yes, the priests," responded the deeper of the two voices. "I have always wondered why followers never see into the ways of these priests. It is never the children of the priests who are sacrificed, just the children of the followers. It is never the priests who give up their food, their wealth or pleasures for their god, only the followers. The priests prosper while the followers suffer and sacrifice." The deep voice trailed off in contemplation.

The lady's voice broke the brief silence. "And you know, he didn't really do anything except tell Zeus and Poseidon about the priests of Baal. What the Olympians did was strictly on their own."

"Yes," the taller image said. "That is true, except for leading the children away."

"Mmmm... yessss.... He was there and the children came to him after the humans with him chose to free the children. It wasn't anything he did that freed the children. The children made the choice to follow him, it seems to me. Most likely the Olympians frightened the children and they sought him out for comfort."

"I think you are twisting things a bit, don't you think?" the deeper voice suggested pointedly.

"Twisting? No... I would say I'm looking at it from a different perspective: Once freed by the voluntary act of the humans the children chose our son to lead them away from danger and to another for comfort and protection. The gods of Olympus, independently of our son, took advantage of the situation described to them to satisfy their petty hatred of Baal, and its priests and followers, by disrupting their sacrifice of these children. Poseidon certainly intended the doom of the priests and the insulting idol built upon the shoreline of his domain. The three Carthaginian ships simply were in the wrong place at the wrong time and were destroyed by the wave intended for the idol and the priests. Such can be the fate of unwary mortals when it comes to these Olympians."

The taller image shifted position as if turning to face its companion. "Do you really believe this?"

"And why shouldn't I? It is as easy to believe as the story you tell of our son's interference." A silence settled over the room once more. Aythadis continued to sit in his chair looking at the goblet in his hand, occasionally running his hand over the smooth stem, waiting for his fate to be decided.

The taller image spoke once more. "Well... it seems the matter is less conclusive than I thought. We shall defer judgement on this matter for now; but be warned, my son. You risk much in what you do. You may find you are not as appreciated by these mortals as you might expect, and that we who created you may find fault in what you are doing... if not today, then sometime later. Remember our warning. Do not interfere directly in the acts of these mortals. It is not your purpose in being here."

Aythadis put the goblet down on the table and rose from his chair. "I shall remember, Father. Goodbye, Mother... Do not worry so about me. I know my purpose."

"Yes, my son, you know your purpose. I have always trusted you to know your purpose," said the smaller image. If a shimmering image could possibly smile, Aythadis was convinced his mother was smiling at him. But then to his infinite surprise, as the images faded away he thought he saw his mother do something else, something a human might do... she winked.

Smack
Pleb
posted 11-28-00 19:45 ET (US)     98 / 220       
Yes, this was certainly the most interesting voyage Hamid had ever been on. First Yanil's incident, then the run-in with the Carthaginians, then Edes defeats a famous warrior, then this. The events in Carthage were definitely of supernatural origin. Now probably even Yanil the skeptic must realize that something very strange is going on. He couldn't have not seen the giant wave, and Poseidon.

Anyway, it seemed to Hamid that Poseidon was on their side, and would provide some degree of protection when they arrived in the distant North. Little did he know, Poseidon would soon be very angry with the Nautica...

The sailor stood at the helm, watching the glow of the coastline to the left, lit up by the first rays of the rising sun. He hoped that the voyage would, at least for a while, be uneventful.

[This message has been edited by Smack (edited 12-01-2000).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 11-29-00 04:19 ET (US)     99 / 220       
The next few days passed in relative quiet. Dolphins still chased the Nautica and the weather held exceptionally well. They pulled into the port of Cartenna and turned a handsome profit before setting sail again for Malaca.

The huge fortress above the city could be seen clearly as they sailed in the harbour. A multitude of small fishing vessels crowded the docks unloading fish that was quickly taken away to be salted.

Aythadis stood on the deck and looked at the changes the Greeks had wrought to the original Phoenician fortress and wondered about the changes the Romans and Berbers would make to it in later times.

The quiet trip had brought rest to most of the crew, had given Edes time to spar more with Cerek, and had given Thanos and the others the time to order their thoughts about what happened in Carthago.

Idomenus called the crew together once they had found a spot for the Nautica on the quays and had paid their dues to the port officials. A roar of joy met his promise for a full day of shore leave, after the Nautica had been seen to.

The men scrubbed and cleaned and ment the sail and ropes where necessary and disembarked for the town. Aythadis joined Thanos and Idomeus for the trading and thought about things to come. The day after tomorrow would have them set sail for Cadir. He was looking forward to see it's wonderous temples again and maybe most of all to meet again the proud Celt-Iberians of Tartessos.
He was definitely looking forward to that.

Cyber Paladin
Pleb
posted 11-29-00 05:54 ET (US)     100 / 220       
Swoosh! Dak!
Another arrow hit the bulleye that Bartuc drawn on a piece of wood.
Bartuc was alone on the deck playing with the bow after bathing with the Trio.
Edes and Zeos went to sight seeing, but he is not interested. He simply hates the Greek fortress.

The fortress placed right in the middle of a saddle, the perfect site for defense. And towers are built on the adjacent mountains. The port is heavily fortified.
But what Bartuc sees is that it simply ruins the should-be beautiful view. The fortress is an eyeshore. In the eyes of Bartuc, it is a prison. A prison of mankind. Locking mankind away from the nature.

Swoosh! Crack!
An arrow ripped its way through an arrow fired before.

"Oh that's not bad!" Complimented Yanil, who is carrying bags of flour from the market. But Bartuc was not in the mood of talking.
"Where's Edes?" Yanil peeked around, hoping to find Edes, somewhere.
"He's off with Zeos, sight seeing." Bartuc fired another arrow, paying little attention to the cook's boy.
".... nothing now..." muttered the dis-interested Yanil, "What an odd ball..."
"I heard that Yanil!" Shouted Bartuc, pretending to be angry. And started chasing him.
Yanil jumped to his feet, dropped the bag of wheat, and tried to escape from Bartuc.
The boys chased around the ship, laughing and screaming.

The cook's angry explosion was stopped just in time by Coronis. "Come on, the boys don't have much time enjoying themselves."
"Hey, but there's lots of work."
"Oh, face the reality, our master Chef. I bet there will be no one having dinner on the ship." Joked Coronis.
"Well, lets see..." commented the cook, who then turned around and left the boys playing.

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