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Topic Subject: Beyond Poseidon's Throne - A Story Of Ancient Times
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posted 11-06-00 00:49 ET (US)   
A Story of Ancient Times and Ancient Mariners


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).]

posted 11-29-00 22:04 ET (US)     101 / 220  
Laughing, but out of breath, Yanis finally stopped running all about the ship. Bartuc, only a few steps behind, and enjoying maintaining the chase rather than attempting to truly catch the younger boy, came to a stop next to Yanis. Bartuc also was nearly out of breath.

Pink flushed Yanis, hands on knees and bent over, turned his head to look at Bartuc. "How long have you known Edes?" he asked the white faced friend of the Phoenician.

"A few years... why?" said Bartuc.

"Oh, no reason... just curious. He seems to be different now than when he came on board."

"Ummm, maybe... In some ways. He was pretty scared. There were men out to do him harm in Tyre."

"Why?" asked Yanil.

"Uh, they didn't like the way he was winning with the cubes," answered Bartuc.

"What are cubes?" asked Yanil, his brow wrinkling in a puzzled frown.

"You don't know what cubes are?" said Bartuc, surprised.

"No. Can you show me?"

"Uh, yes. As a matter of fact I have a pair." Bartuc hesitated. "Usually, when you play with the cubes, it's for coins or something valuable."

Yanil's face dropped. "I don't have anything valuable."

Bartuc shrugged his shoulders. "Well, never mind this time. I'll show you how to play just pretending, all right?"

The smile returned to Yanil's face. "Yes, that will be fun. Teach me, please." And Yanil thought to himself/herself, so someday maybe Edes will play cubes with me... if he knows I know how.

Coronis leaned against a railing and watched the two youths play with the cubes. She smiled to see them both enjoying themselves, but she wondered as well. How will Yanil keep her secret through the entire voyage? Time and nature were against her. Coronis quietly considered how to deal with the problems ahead for Yanil.

Meanwhile, Aythadis, Thanos and Idomenus were scouring the city market for needed things. Edes and others were sampling Malaca for whatever suited their fancy... wherever they happened to find it. No doubt due to the strength of their defenses, the citizens of Malaca were relaxed, pleasant and friendly to strangers. The crewmates of the Nautica Prima were truly enjoying their visit.

posted 11-30-00 06:45 ET (US)     102 / 220  
After some quiet days in the city, the only strangeness occurring foodsftuffs gone missing from the kitchen, the Nautica set sail again.

The wine coloured see was distinctly more blue-green here and choopy in the frisk breeze. Some time later the grey white bulk of of the Pillars of Hercules came into view. A small fishing village at it's point, with a beacon for sea travellers.
It marked the End of the World, not really the known world, but definitely the civilised world as far as the Greeks and Phoenicians were concerned

Aythadis looked at the Rock rising from the sea, and thought about what it would become, years after the berbers would conquer it. How strangely quiet it seemed now.
He shook his head, sadly.

The Pillars disappeared behind them as the Nautica let the Mediterenean and set sail for Cadir.

posted 11-30-00 21:40 ET (US)     103 / 220  
Land was now observed on the starboard side, not the port side as before. Aythadis knew these terms but the others did not. They were commonly used in an age yet to come, but in this age their meaning was still unknown. Aythadis used these words only when alone. The words would not help him here.

Cadir lay just ahead, a small pinpoint made up of even smaller lights. It was a city that upon closer approach might seem to the crewmates to be much like home; for Cadir was a Phoenician colony and its citizenry remained mostly Phoenician, although intermarriage with locals was beginning to change that.

"Put your backs into it men!" cried out Edusse. "The Captain promises shore leave ere we row ourselves in and make fast and tidy this vessel. We have but a few hours to go! Row, now... row!"

This was a good crew and responded well to the Captain's men and to the Captain himself. In turn, they were treated humanely and fairly. Though it was his perogative, Captain Idomenus seldom resorted to corporal punishment. The crime would have to be grievous to warrant such punishment on the Nautica Prima.

Yanil lay in a hammock, duties completed for now. A small scrap of sheepskin with marks was in his/her hand. "Yes, that seems right," Yanil said to the empty compartment while looking up from the scrap of sheepskin. "By this count I should be 16 years old now. Well, it was quiet enough. Just like the rest." He/she rocked back in the hammock in response to the forward surge of the ship as the oars of the rowers dipped into the water of the cold sea and propelled the ship towards Cadir. Soon Yanil was asleep.

Cook was still trying to understand where the missing foodstuffs had gone...

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 11-30-2000).]

posted 12-01-00 01:02 ET (US)     104 / 220  
Hamid enjoyed the final rowing into port, when the entire crew was anxious to put down the oars and run ashore. He himself, though, had grown used to shipboard life, and retained all of his usual calm and composure as he got up and walked down the ladder onto the dock.

He thought about whether to gamble or join Edes and his friends on their now-ritual bathing trip, and decided on the former. Not an hour had passed since he had sat down in the tavern, when an eerily familiar face showed up across the table. Hamid picked up his dice, the few coins he had gained, and walked slowly towards the man.

"Do I know you from somewhere?"
"Maybe you do. Hamid?"
"What brings you to this lonely colony?"
"I wanted to get as far away from our homeland as possible. The thought of returning to the land where our parents were killed was simply too much. I decided to put an end to my desert life and make a new one."
"I too. After we parted ways in Tyre, I found a trading ship and joined the crew. Been with them ever since. The captain is a good man, the crew is nice. I rather enjoy it."

"The isolation of this lonely place is really getting to me. Do you think I could find a spot on your ship?"
"By all means yes, but I would advise you not to. At least not on the outward leg of our voyage."
"Why?" asked Abu with great surprise.
"First of all, we're going to the Northlands. Very dangerous place. Normally, that would not be much of a problem, but there is just something very wrong with what has been going on. Someone knocked out the cook's boy. I don't think that it was a mere mortal. Then we ran into one of the Phoenician gods..."
"...WHAT?" Now Abu was totally confused.
"Just like I told you," continued his elder brother. "We ran into Poseidon. The owner - very strange character, I don't know if he's a mere mortal either, rescued a bunch of kids from a sacrifice to Baal in Carthago. Of course, we could not tarry in the city for another hour, so we sailed immediately. The Carthaginians pursued, but Poseidon came along and swamped them, along with the priests of Baal."

"No, no, what do you take me for? A coward? I want on that ship."
"Well, if you really want to... Okay, fine. Nautica Prima, on the northernmost dock. Meet me there tomorrow at sunset, I'll show you to Aythadis. He's the strange guy with green eyes."
"Thank you, brother. There's just nothing to do in this place. See you tomorrow morning."

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

posted 12-01-00 05:46 ET (US)     105 / 220  
Nice one, Smack, though I'm not the First mate, that's Edusse. I think most people would see me as the owner of the Nautica or at the least a major shareholder, joining for this trip to look after his affairs in the Northlands. Minor detail, though.
Also, while Abu will most definitely be welcome, he'll miss Aythadis in the morning, as that worthy will be off to Tartessos.

Shortly after the Nautica had docked, Aythadis accompanied by Thanos and Cerek had organised horses and set of to Tartessos.

Their path wound through the city, and into the hills. Vineyards dotted the slopes, the white painted, red roofed farmhouses adding an air of jolity. The sun was a hammer in the cloudless sky. They crossed a few streams and ended up in a slightly less populated area, with fields and cattle. The soot black bulls impressive with their wide horns.

Thanos could see the people change as well, not longer the wiry Phoenicians, but a slightly taller, broader people. Dark eyed and hawk nosed. Their features different, but also their clothing, some of the women wore elaborate headdresses, with something like circular ornaments next to their ears and red seemed to be the predominant colour.

Then they rode along a river, flowing beneath a cover of pines, which gave a welcome shade and added a lovely scent to the air. The buzz and humming of insects was a constant noise in the background. The forest broke on a well fielded plain, dotted with cottages and small herd of sheep and goat. A hill rose next to the river, walls circled it, wide and sure.
Shapes of towers and high roofs rose up behind it.

Cerek's military eye noted the defences and approved. This city, if attacked would hold out a long time. The hill seemed to have been cut by the river and connected to the other shore by a high bridge stood what looked to be an acropolis. Smoke, that only could be incense, rose from that part of the hill. Birds wheeled above it.

The threesome appraoched the open gate and mingled with the ox-drawn carts and a few more riders. Among them a squad of light cavalry, also dressed in red, with close-fitting, open-faced bronze helmets, spears and long swords at their hips. The swords had a curious kink halfway down the balde and a single cutting edge. The leader of the squad had two black feathers on either side of his helmet.
They looked hard as nails, Cerek thought, as hard as any Spartan.

Aythadis greeted the guards in a language neither of his companions had heard before. Not the Phoenician or Greek they were used to but a language where gutteral sounds mixed with round vowels and sibilant hisses.
Whatever he said, it must have been enough as the guards waved them on.

The rode toward the main market, where even more people were crowded, including Berbers and a paler-skinned, dark-haired people with grey eyes.
"What people are they, " Thanos wondered.
"Celt-Iberians, " Aythadis replied, "A wild and proud folk, related to the tribes of the Northlands."

Fountains sparkled in the sunlight as Aythadis, rode to what must be an inn. He handed their horses to a young man and entered. In the shaded courtyard, with another small pool, he ordered wine, olives,cheese and bread.
The threesome drank deeply and enjoyed their food.
"We will sleep here tonight. I've ordered two rooms and hope you don't mind sharing. I'm sure you can forget the strife between Sparta and Athens for a while longer. You can order food for the evening meal if you want to, or go out and look for a different place."
Aythadis tossed a small pouch to Thanos.
"I'll leave you for know and meet you in the morning to break fast. Enjoy the city."
As Aythadis rose, Cerek asked
"Where will you be going?"
"I have business at the temple of the Lady."
With that the tall man turned, his cloak sweeping round him and walked off into the city.

As Aythadis walked to the city the sun moved closer to the Western horizon. He reached the bridge across the Arzana and stood there for a while watching the sun turn red and fiery, painting the sky first the colour of blood then a lighter pink that slowly bled into the nightsky. The planet Isthar was a bright spark in the west.
He turned and walked on.

posted 12-01-00 10:40 ET (US)     106 / 220  
As the usual trio of Edes, Bartuc and Zeos was about to go ashore, Yannil came running up with his flute in hand. "Would you guys mind if I tag along for a bit today?" I don't have to go out for supplies yet and don't want to be stuck here without anyone for company. Cook even gave me a bit of coin to spend."

"Sure, kid, come along. We are off to one of the local waterholes for a bite to eat and some games. With a bit of dirt on your face you may even look a bit older than you are." Bartuc said. "Maybe we'll see how much you've learnt with those dice."

"I'm 16." Yanil said defiantly. "Nobody should have any problems with that."

"I thought you were 15." Edes piped up.

"Actually, it was my birthday yesterday, but I didn't want to make a big deal out of it."

"Well, perhaps we need to make a different kind of visit" Bartuc said with a wink to Zeos and Edes. "But not until after we eat something."

At that, the four entered a local taproom and sat down for something to eat.

posted 12-01-00 11:52 ET (US)     107 / 220  
Eddus stood on ship looking out over the port area. They were getting unconfotable close to what he you to call home many years ago but not now. When he left he vowed never to come back but now it looked like he was unless some other power interviened to stop it from happening. Did he dare go ashore he wondered.
posted 12-01-00 12:55 ET (US)     108 / 220  
The cook looked about the store room. He'd abide with insults to his cooking, but no one took his food stores more than once. He had sent Yanil off. No need for the boy to see this. The cook loaded in the new supplies, moving the newer boxes to the back and rotating the older boxes to the front, to insure that nothing went unused too long. He then carefully prepared papyrus sleeves with an emetic powder he had gotten from Corolis. The cook took one of the timing candles waxed the sleeves to the lids of the flour, salt and baking powder. Open the lids properly, and the food would be fine, but open them from the wrong direction, and anything prepared with the ingredients would bring terribly nausea and vomiting. Then he'd know... and the cook's revenge would be poetic justice.
posted 12-01-00 16:21 ET (US)     109 / 220  
By the time Edes, Zeos, Bartuc and Yanil entered the taproom Edes had put all of his apprehensions behind him.

So... today, err yesterday, was Yanil's 16th birthday, thought Edes. While Yanil stood in the entranceway looking around the taproom Edes motioned to Bartuc and Zeos to step back with him. He whispered something into their ears. Grins on his companions' faces followed his whispered message. Edes thought (prophetically) this will be a party Yanil would never forget.

The taproom was filled with the usual clientele: merchants, sailors, thugs... and women. "Keeper!" bellowed out Edes, "Four tankards! This young lad has a birthday to celebrate! His 16th!"

"Edes, no!" protested Yanil as all eyes turned to stare at the smallest of the four crewmates. Nothing unusual there... at 16 in these times a boy or girl would be considered past the perception (and protection) of childhood. Only the women sitting here and there continued to watch. The other men in the room turned away with various expressions ranging from amusement to irritation at the interruption imposed by these sea-going foreigners.

They guided the reluctant Yanil to a nearby empty table. Its top was soon populated by four nearly overfilled tankards of brew. "Here Yanil, that one's yours." Edes pushed one of the tankards towards Yanil, some of the brew sloshing out and onto the table top. "Drink up, Yanil! Here's to you on your 16th!" The three older sailors picked up their tankards and banged them together over the middle of the table waiting expectently for Yanil to join his tankard to theirs. Sheepishly, Yanil picked up his tankard and joined it to theirs. The three companions launched into a short birthday song known to most Phoenicians. Many of the other men in the room joined in. Some of the women stood up and walked to tables closer to the four from the Nautica as the song progressed.

So today is your day,
It's what all heard you say.
It's your 16th Birthday,
We salute you this day!

"Right! Let's drink to Yanil!" shouted Edes. More than just the four tankards held by the crewmates were raised and drained. The bottoms of many tankards slammed down on the round, crudely carved wooden table tops. Shouts of "Keeper - more brew!" filled the air. The Keeper rang a small bell and a group of three musicians entered the taproom, took up instruments casually laid to rest in a corner and began to play lively little dance tunes. The merriment grew accordingly, even among the mean-faced thugs.

Yanil barely was able to drain the tankard before a second vessel appeared. Zeos launched into his second serving with glee. Yanil tried to keep up with the others, but could not. Three gulps of the second tankard and Yanil's eyes were as wide open as an owl's. The room seemed a little fuzzy and other things as well weren't so clear.

Some of the ladies began to walk expectently around the table. One reached in and drew Zeos away from his tankard. The burly sailor wasn't impressed, but he was kindly enough not to want to disappoint the woman. So he stomped around as best he could to the music being played. Another drew Bartuc up as well. Hmmm, women and curiousity, thought Edes of the white-faced, white skinned Bartuc and his partner.

Three woman were trying to coax Yanil into dancing. Edes leaned back in his chair a smile spreading across his face. "Come on, Yanil. Choose at least one of them... Have some fun, lad!" he shouted. Yanil's face pinkened even more. Finally, one of the women pulled Yanil out of his chair and into the midst of the dancers. Yanil struggled to do the steps even as men all about the room were laughing, some with Yanil and others at the unfortunate shipmate.

Yanil heard a voice nearby. "It's easy, lad. Like this!" Yanil turned his head to see Edes prancing about with two women, both of whom were intent upon dancing closer and closer to Edes. Something began to twist and turn in Yanil's insides, a kind of tightening knot on a rope hanging down from the center of her soul... Those women, those... those... tarts! Hanging onto him like that; and he's liking it! Oooooo! I'm so mad! No... I'm... not mad. I'm jealous! By the gods I'm jealous. Why am I jealous? What's happening to me!?

Mercifully, the music stopped and so did the dance... The crewmates found their chairs and the women found the crewmates' laps. Edes had the attention of two women, the others had one each.

Yanil paid no notice to the one seeking her attention. The galley assistant's eyes were focussed on Edes alone, and the two tarts on his lap. Fire crawled up Yanil's throat from deep within and below. The galley assistant's eyes begged for moisture from tear ducts to cool the heat rising from Yanil's reddened cheeks. Yanil reached hastily for a tankard and drank multiple gulps. That didn't help either as the heady liquid collided with Yanil's stomach and set the top in his head to spinning once more.

Finally, unable to cope any longer, Yanil stood up tumbling the woman to the floor. "Edes thanks for the party. I've got to go. Cook needs me." Having said this, Yanil walked quickly out of the taproom and onto the street just as tears began to flow like a river down his face.

Five thugs immediately rose from their table and followed...
Bartuc stuck an elbow in Edes's and Zeos' ribs pointing to the thugs just as they walked out of the taproom. The three knew immediately that the party was over, so they left the brew, the music and the women behind to see what the thugs were up to.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 12-05-2000).]

posted 12-03-00 02:33 ET (US)     110 / 220  
Yanil wiped the tears from her dirt streaked face and tried to hold back the emotion which welled up in her broken heart. She desperately wanted to tell Edes who or what she was keeping secret but knew she could not.

"Oh,where is Coronis when I need her most?",Yanil said despairingly aloud.

"I don't know who this Coronis is", came a grizzled voice from behind her,"but I'll be glad to help you!"

Yanil,startled,turned quickly and her eyes fell upon the five men she could recognize fom the taproom. They were not the kind you would like to meet in the dark and dusty paths of any village or city alike.

"Thaaat...Thaaat's okay I..I really don't need any help."Yanil stammered to get out while taking small steps backward.

But her progress was too little too late. The five thugs had nearly surrounded her and she knew their intentions did not included her safety.

"Don't worry lad we'll only hurt you a little,"the tallest and definately the ugliest of the thugs said. His foul breath smelling of the brew he had been drinking."But if you don't give us what we want then you will hurt a lot."

"Actually,I'm not a la..."Yanil stopped short her words as she thought about what telling them her true identity could cause.

Yanil decided her only chance was trying to run.But as she turned to flee she was quickly grabbed and thrown to the ground.The dust of the pathway floating up chocking her as she lay there. Above, the thug leader was leaning over her,"Now why did you go and do that?"
His hairy arms reaching down at her.

The night air was broken by the whistle of the shaft as it left Bartuc's crossbow. Finding it's mark in the backside of the thug who had been leaning over Yanil. "Yes!",Bartuc taking delight in his accuracy.

"AAiiieeee,AAiiieeee,"came the squeeling of the ugly thug as he desperately tried to pull the arrow from it's resting place. All the while running up the path in fear as well as shock and pain. The others turned to see who had disrupted their fun.

[This message has been edited by Micah Aragorn (edited 12-03-2000).]

posted 12-04-00 00:08 ET (US)     111 / 220  
Hamid was returning from another gambling trip. Then, he saw Edes, Zeos, and Bartuc staring down three thugs. Bartuc was holding his crossbow as if he meant business. Edes had drawn his sword, but he obviously wasn't going to attack, and the thugs weren't taking him seriously. Hamid drew his dagger.

"Hey! Hamid! Give us a hand!" Bartuc yelled at him. The thugs turned. Hamid whacked one of them across the face with the blade, and kicked him towards Zeos. Zeos gave another kick, and the thug sprawled on the ground. But the other two thugs were not happy. One of them dove at Zeos, and they began to roll on the ground. The other went after Hamid. Edes managed to knock out the grappler with a flat sword blow to the head, but Hamid had to stab his man in the leg to get him off. Meanwhile, the thug with the arrow in his backside was still bellowing and trying to free himself.

"I guess these guys won't be doing too much damage any time soon," commented Bartuc.
"Yeah, but there's not much to do here. Let's go back to the ship."

posted 12-04-00 04:49 ET (US)     112 / 220  
Hamid was not going back, spenting another month on the ship was enough for him to express his love to Nautica. He went to another tavern for the night instead.

On their way back, Bartuc noticed that something was not right with Yanil. Her eyes were water logged, and her cheeks was through red like the evening sun.
"Hey Yanil? What's wrong? Yanil... Yanil?" Asked Bartuc, but he soon found out that Yanil wasn't actually listening, she was looking at Edes, with a strange look in her eyes.
"Huh? Oh... what is it Bartuc?" She finally noticed when Bartuc waves his hand in front of her.
"What's wrong with you? Don't be afraid, they're gone." Assured Bartuc, who thought Yanil was probably too frightened.
"Yeah, and I'm sure they can't even get out of their bed for a few days... heh heh..." laughed Zeos. He in fact quite enjoyed beating up thugs.
"Hey, Yanil come on. As long as we're here, I won't let anyone harm you." Added Edes. He immediately noticed the change of expression of Yanil, whose water logged eyes instantly changed to joyful eyes, looking directly at Edes.

..... silence.... they stopped walking....

"What?" It's Edes who said somthing first instead of Bartuc... Quite embarrassed by the stare, he decided to stare back. The couple simply stared at each other...

"Er.... I can't help you if that was the cook..." It's Bartuc again, trying to be funny in order to break the silence. The irritated gaze from both Edes and Yanil immediately, though not pleasantly, notifyed Bartuc that he again has talked too much.

In silence, the quartet walked slowly back to Nautica.

posted 12-04-00 09:59 ET (US)     113 / 220  
Thanos and Cerek had found a place on the small court yard of the inn they stayed in. Beef, bread and wine were on their table in copious amounts. A dark haired main played an instrument that looked like a bag with pipes sticking out of it. It's sound the most forlorn either Thanos or Cerek had ever heard.
"Have you ever heard so sad a music, " Thanos mused.
"No, " was Spartan's the brief answer.
"I don't think I have," he added after looking at the Athenian youth.

A singer joined him, a girl with long dark hair framing a face almost as pale as Bartuc's but with eyes of amisty grey. Her voice blended with the music in a way that made it heart rending. From somewhere a deep pounding sound blended in their song and Thanos noticed an older man playing a very flat and wide drum with his fingers, hile holding the skin vertical.

Aythadis meanwhile had found the Temple of the Lady and had made himself known to it's high priestess, whose build and colouring resembled Aythadis' but for her eyes that were deepest morreion and her hair a touch more chesnut.
She greete dhim with a hug and a kiss on his forehead, the latter only possible when she stood on tiptoes.

He spoke in his soft melodious voice of the adventures they had had so far, and of this feeling he had they would not see the Northlands.
"Then it is meant to be. You're foretelling doesn't play you false very often, does it?" the priestess asked.
"Does it give you an idea of what is going to happen or where you are going?"
"Not really, though, I've see images of the feathered serpent. I haven't an idea about the why, though.
We do have this strange happening son board. I'm almost certain we have an extra passenger onboard, and maybe it is his involvement that will guide our way."

They talked awhile longer remeniscing of times long gone, of Ithaca and fabled Troy, of mighty Knossos and times even earlier when the Land of the Two Rivers was young and reckless in it's power.

Later, when the moon was high, they moved into the sanctum. A plain and bare room, devoid of ornaments or staues, but steeped in the presence of the Lady.

Morning broke and Aythadis made his farewells.
"Be careful, Aythadis" his friend wished him quietly as he walked back towards the city.

posted 12-04-00 15:42 ET (US)     114 / 220  
"Geesh, Edes. Yanil is sure strange," said Bartuc to Edes the next morning as they were loading bags of grain into the hold of the ship. The Captain had decided to trade some of the wine for bags of grain to supplement the revenue the journey was expected to realize. He had heard that grain was in short supply.

"Yeah," was the only reply Bartuc could muster from the older Phoenician.

"I mean, the way he behaved yesterday, you would think he was 12 instead of 16, don't you think?" continued Bartuc.

"Umm? What was that, Bartuc?" said Edes, idly.

"Weren't you listening to me?" Bartuc replied, irritated.

"Listening to what?" said Edes, accepting the last sack of grain and passing it up the ramp to Bartuc.

"About Yanil!"

"Yeah? What about Yanil?" said Edes as he rubbed his hands together to brush of the residue of the bags. "Well, that's the last one. What's next, Edusse!?" he called to the First Mate.

Bartuc fumed. "Alright, don't listen. Don't pay any attention!"

"Nothing more Edes. You and the others take a break. I'll call you together if we need anything more," responded Edusse.

"Right Edusse!" Edes turned to address his friend. "Bartuc, I don't know what you are going on about," said Edes at last. "Let's see if there is something to eat and maybe we can get some hammock time, okay?"

"Sure... fine. Eat something and hammock time. Great! Later Edes. You eat and get hammock time. I'll just go over there and do something else."

Zeos walked by at that moment and noticed the two squabbling. "Why is Bartuc angry at you Edes?"

"Zeos, I have no idea. Everyone seems to be angry with me."

"I'm not."

"Well good. Everyone is angry with me except you." Edes walked away towards the place where his hammock was hung.

Zeos watched Edes walk away then shrugged his shoulders. "It will be good when Aythadis and the others return. Then we sail for the Northeast. It will be good to leave Cadir behind." The burly man sat down on a biscuit barrel still left on the deck and began to whittle a piece of wood. He could feel the gentle upwards and downwards movement of the ship.

Beyond the entrance to the harbor of Cadir, however, the seas were not calm, nor blue. The grey waters surged up and down. Waves pressed themselves onto the sands of the nearby beaches... And Poseidon, his wrath now grown to a monumental size,waited there for the Nautica Prima.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 12-04-2000).]

posted 12-04-00 17:03 ET (US)     115 / 220  
The cook checked over the galley for the tenth time that morning. Everything was in its place and secured for the voyage. Still, the cook felt this odd sensation that something was not right. Ever since the visible gods had made their presence felt, the cook had a growing disquiet. He recited the Shema. He re-inventoried his stocks. But always with half a mind. It was as there was something just out of sight. His people had always kidded him that a man named Yonah would work on a boat. "Aren't you afraid of being swallowed by a giant fish?", they'd say. The cook always laughed politely, no matter how many times he heard this. And always he responded, "If it is God's will he would find me, even in Yoppa, as he found my namesake." He had full confidence that his God, the invisible God, would protect him, but he always grew nervous when the visible gods took an interest in those around him. When Yanil came in visibly agitated, the cook quizzed him, "So, you feel it too?", but the boy's mind was seemingly elsewhere.
posted 12-05-00 08:35 ET (US)     116 / 220  
As Cerek and Thanos were having breakfast, cheese, bread and cold slices of lamb, Ayhtahdis joined them at the table.
"Did you enjoy yourselves?" Aythadis asked.
"Very much so, " Thanos replied.
"The music was eeriely wonderful and the dances"
A blush coloured his cheeks. Cerek smiled at his younger companion, then fought to hide a blush of his own as Aythadis eyes met his.
"The dances were...different, " he said, trying not to linger on those slender legs he'd seen move.
"Did you..." Thanos started.
"Yes, I met those I needed to see." He looked at the young Athenian and smiled.
"I thank you for asking."

After breakfast the walked accross the market where Aythadis bought a deep blue cloak, Thanos a well made knife and Cerek admired the swords the Tartessians made. However, he did not want to part with his own blade, so let them be.

When the sunligth started bleeding from the sky, the threesome returned to the Nautica, where Bartuc eagerly told the story of what happened to them the night before.

Hamid told Aythadis of Abu's desire to join the crew.
"I will see him in the morning, Hamid. Then he can make his choice."

Morning broke with the crying of gulls on the waterfront. Aythadis awaited the coming of Abu, wondering about the dreams he had that night. A few moments later the Arabian showed up by the Nautica. Aythadis eyes narrowed as he saw, what could be no other than an aura hanging around him. It looked as if Abu would find his death at sea.

The two spoke, with Aythadis asking whether Abu was certain he wanted to come along. Abu, however, bored with Cadir wanted nothing more than to join the crew of the Nautica. With a whispered, "On your head be it, " he passed Abu a bone crew chit.

An hour later the Nautica slipped out the harbour, carving a white trace in the blue sea. Course was laid for the Northlands as the white wing of the Nautica's sail swept her on. The sky was clear, but for a few fuzzy white clouds, the water calm beneath the stiff northerly wind.

Hours passed when suddenly the wind picked up, clouds gathered from all four directions, high, dark and grumbling with thunder, spitting lihgtning. The waves rose higher and higher and Idomenes shouted for the sails to be reefed.
Then, with driving rain the storm fell upon them.

posted 12-05-00 19:30 ET (US)     117 / 220  
Abu, who had little experience with ships, watched as Hamid helped reef the sails and ran back to his usual post at the tiller. Solitary though it was, the job of tillerman was by no means easy at this time. He had to hold the thing with both hands, and anchor his feet against some boards that had been nailed to the deck. On several occasions, a sudden roll would sweep the deck from under him and leave him hanging from the tiller as it quickly rotated and nearly slammed him against the railing.
Abu had stayed up on deck when the storm hit, preferring Hamid's company to the safety of the lower decks. Now he hunkered down next to the railing. He had slipped his legs on either side of a post, and hung on for dear life with his hands.

"How often does this happen?" yelled the novice seaman against the howl of the wind.
"Every few weeks, more often in the Atlantic Ocean. But, by the ship's mast, I've never seen anything like this before." Another roll sent Hamid scrambling for a grip, but when the ship returned to a passably upright position, he began talking again.
"I told you that you shouldn't have come."
"Yes, I definitely agree with you now. Aythadis told me that he felt that I would not live to see the end of the voyage, but I didn't believe him."
"Ever the skeptic, you are. Sometimes, you should take people on faith. Especially if they're like Aythadis. He's not human, I tell you. The gods are involved with us."

Abu's strained voice suddenly stopped. An unusually strong roll to port had tilted the ship so far that the railing hit the next wave from that side. Abu was stunned by the cold, salty water and momentarily relaxed his grip.
"ABU!!!!" Hamid screamed out in horror. His brother had been knocked off of the railing. In slow motion, as the ship rolled back to port, he tumbled across the deck, smashed against the railing, and then he was gone...

May the gods spare his foolish, innocent soul, Hamid thought, nearly crying. Not even the tiller could put Abu out of Hamid's mind.

[This message has been edited by Smack (edited 12-05-2000).]

posted 12-05-00 20:25 ET (US)     118 / 220  
Hamid's tears were washed away by the everpresent rain. He continued to hang onto the tiller... he had no other choice. Wind whistled through the rigging and around him. He squinted into the rain and through the foamy spray tossed violently onto the ship by each tumbling wave.

Ahead of him Hamid saw something he had never seen before: eyes... giant eyes... staring straight down at the storm tossed vessel he was trying to steer.

"Captain! Aythadis!" he called out trying to make himself heard over the wind. No answer. He called again,"CAPTAIN! AYTHADIS! ANYONE!" Still no answer. Hamid reached inside for every bit of voice he could find and called once and finally.


Cabin doors opened this time and both men called upon by Hamid appeared. They staggered to the tiller, questioning looks in their eyes. Hamid said nothing but instead pointed towards the bow. The great eyes were there still. Aythadis' face creased in a deeply worried frown. Then he turned to look past Hamid and beyond the stern of the Nautica Prima. What he saw there chilled his heart almost beyond the chill brought on by death itself...

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 12-05-2000).]

posted 12-06-00 08:50 ET (US)     119 / 220  
Behind the Nautica wave upon wave climbed higher and higher and in their midst a face could be seen. A foam pale face, with sea-green eyes and dark, kelp-coloured hair and beard. Aythadis closed his eyes for a moment, hoping the face would go away.

It didn't.

Throwing his not full weight against the tiller, he helped Hamid and Idomenes pull the Nautica perpendicular to the waves. The Kraken seemed to bar their way North and East so South and West they floated.

Foam and seawater whipped their faces, as they struggled to keep the Nautica from being swamped by waves that seemed higher than the Pillars of Hercules. Suddenly Aythadis realised someone was missing. He'd seen Abu take shelter close to his brother, but now the man was gone. His eyes met Hamid's across the tiller.
"Abu?" he mouthed.
Hamid closed his eyes a moment and shook his head, which made Aythadis feel like he'd been kicked in the stomach.
His vision had been true.

posted 12-06-00 16:25 ET (US)     120 / 220  
Screams of "Kraken" could be heard throughout the ship.

Cook and Yanil were having their hands full in trying to keep crates and boxes from sliding all over the place and breaking open. Luckily the wax held in most cases. As Yanil was starting to salvage the spilt food and putting whatever he could back in the crates, he was starting to feel a bit nautious.

"I'm not getting seasick now, am I" Yanil muttered. When cook looked up, he quickly told Yanil to put down the crates and the foodstuffs. "I'll take care of those, Yanil, why don't you make sure these boxes don't slide."

Cook was a little concerned to see that just by touching the crates and foodstuffs Yanil was starting to exhibit signs of nausea. As none of the crates had been opened prior to the storm, nobody should have been getting sick. And Yanil certainly did not have a weak stomach when it came to storms. Carfully, the cook put the food back in the crates and marked them spoiled. Sadly he would not be using these except to feed the kraken...

"That's it!" Cook yelled out, startling Yanil. Yanil, get Edes or some other strong fellow to come down here and give me a hand." Yanil ran off to find the first available set of arms.

As luck would have it, Zeos was not far away and when they returned, Cook had the three crates that broke open stuffed with food. "But cook, that food can still be eaten" Zeos said as he looked at the crates. "No complaining. I put some herbs and poisons in here to feed to the kraken. Let's get this above deck and see if the kraken will go for it. Perhaps an upset stomach will see us through this."

[This message has been edited by Jaguar (edited 12-06-2000).]

posted 12-06-00 17:08 ET (US)     121 / 220  
As Zeos and the cook hauled the crates up onto the deck, they saw a cloaked figure stride quickly across the deck, past the steps they were walking up. Perhaps this was the same cloaked stranger who attacked Yanil? They noticed that his figure underneath the cloak was quite bulky, and that he was wearing a large black helmet. Zeos was about to attack him for what he did to Yanil, but cook stopped him.

"He walked past us and ignored us, so his quarrel must be with Poseidon," The cook said, "so let him die in the seas if he wants."

Zeos grumbled, but stayed back, and brought up the third crate for the Kraken.

Cerek, Idomenus and Athaydis also saw the cloaked figure walk out across the deck. They came out to see what was going on, but stayed well back. The cloaked man threw off his black cloak to reveal armour often worn by Sparti, but as black as a moonless night, and with sharp talons ending each finger. He pulled a sword out of its scabbard, and started shouting at the sea.

"Come on Poseidon! One little storm and one of your pathetic sea beasts, is that the best you can muster against me?" He held up the sword, which started to glow an orange-red colour. A deep red aura started to envelop his armour, glowing fiercely. His sword then seemed to reach a bright orange glow, and then the surface burst into flames.
"I have been given the finest weapons and armour by my lord! This armour, forged by Hephaestus, will protect me from anything you could throw at me! This sword was also forged by Hephaestus, and blessed by my master, Ares himself! Just let your pitiful excuse of a Kraken try and get me!"

With that, the Kraken rose above the surface, mere metres from the ship. The Ares worshipper leapt from the ship, which seemed to be an unnaturally long jump - perhaps guided by one of the gods - and gripped the Kraken's wet hide with a taloned hand.

posted 12-06-00 23:41 ET (US)     122 / 220  
Suddenly the seas ceased to roll as did the ship. The strong winds of Poseidon's storm promptly went still. Nothing moved in the sea or on the ship, except for two beings. One was a god; the other was Aythadis.

The tall man, his eyes flashing blue, green and gold hues met Poseidon's stare with aplomb. The formerly hidden god had risen from the depths of his kingdom to observe the effect of the Kraken on the Nautica Prima and its crew. To Poseidon's delight, the creature's attack had at last goaded into revealing himself the mortal who honored Ares above Poseidon on the surface of the Sea God's own realm. To the god's irritation, it was the tall man with the flashing eyes who brought this halt to mortal time and ended the god's pleasure for the moment

Aythadis called to Poseidon. "Enough God of the Sea. These mortals mean you no harm."

Poseidon's deep, rumbling yet liquid edged reply came promptly. "Angel - It is not your role to interfere in the ways of these humans."

"I do not interfere with the humans. I address a god as I did once before. Withdraw the Kraken. These men have not done other than treat you with respect."

"They honor Ares above me," retorted Poseidon.

"One man yes, not so the others. They are seamen to their souls. Do not harrass them further, Poseidon. And let the Ares-worshipper be free of the Kraken. He is misguided in his mission. The other humans have the way to change him."

Poseidon considered, knowing the Angel's reputation for honesty and forthrightness. "There will be a price, Angel."

"What is this price?"

Poseidon smiled meaningfully. "Your humans shall be given a trial. They shall be tempted by unknown mortals and unknown ways in a heretofore unknown land, but should they honor me still, even after this, I will return them safely home. Should they fail to honor me, I will send them to their deaths at the bottom of my realm or into the maw of the Kraken as I see fit."

"The Ares-worshipper too?"

"Yes, the abominable Ares-worshipper too," replied Poseidon, the anger in his voice barely masked. "Hear me, Angel. You must not directly interfere or take personal action that would protect the mortals. Is it understood and agreed?"

"It is, Sea God."

"Very well, I shall abide by this agreement. The Kraken shall be withdrawn."

With similar suddenness to its sudden stoppage, the seas again began to rage and the wind blow. The man in the dark armor was grasped by the Kraken, torn from his grip, and cast onto the deck of the tossing ship. The man lay there, armor battered and body bruised. The Kraken then sank below the surface and disappeared.

Where the Kraken had been the water began to swirl. A gold object with three pointed tips rose above the water continuously moving in an ever widening circle. The water swirled faster and faster.

"The Maelstrom!" called out Hamid. He gripped the tiller to turn the vessel. It had no effect. The ship was unavoidably being drawn into the rapidly swirling water. The trident's three sharp points now sank below the surface. The Nautica Prima followed its path, bow first, into the depths of the Maelstrom.

The ship could not be steered, no one could move from their place, yet no one was in danger of being thrown from the ship. Water swirled on all sides, yet air to breathe was plentiful. The ship coursed through the Maelstrom at an impossible speed, first down, then level, then in an upwards direction as if the ship were travelling through a tunnel through the deepest sea.

Light shined before them. The ship raced over the lip of a whirlpool spinning in the opposite direction. The swirling water began to slow and then finally settled into calm. The ship from Tyre gently rocked on the sea as if there had been no storm at all. In the distance was land, but not like any shoreline any except Aythadis had ever seen before.

Idomenus loosened his grip on some rigging and turned to look at Aythadis. "I don't think we are near the Northlands anymore," he said.

"No," said Aythadis. "We are truly beyond Poseidon's throne."

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 12-06-2000).]

posted 12-07-00 05:20 ET (US)     123 / 220  
Each person on board the Nautica Prima took their turn to witness the new land they were now a short distance from. None had ever seen this shoreline now visible with foliage beyond the beaches newly seen by these seafaring travelers.

"What just happened?", Coronis voice breaking the silence of the gawking crew."And where are we?"

Each of Nautica's crew looked at each other and together they shrugged their shoulders and answered,"Don't know!"

Cerek,although as puzzled by his new surroundings, felt an anger growing. Pulling his sword from its sheath he turned and stood above the Ares-worshiper who was now trying to stand. The Spartan used his foot to push the worshipper back to the deck and held the sword to his throat.

"Your foolish assault on Poseidon and the Kraken has lead us to this unknown land",Cerek said between gritted teeth."Tell me why I should not finish what the Kraken was about to!" The blade tip pushing into the worshippers neck.

"But first, who are you and why did you choose us to carry you to your doom?"

[This message has been edited by Micah Aragorn (edited 12-07-2000).]

posted 12-07-00 06:01 ET (US)     124 / 220  
Strange smells wafted in from over the sea and the sounds of unknown creatures could be heard vaguely over the roll of the surf. Low grey cliffs sheltered sandy beaches and verdant trees covered most every bit of land behind it.

The crew hardly noticed it and neither did they notice the bulk of rectangular buildings perched on one of the cliff faces. Their attention was rivited on Cerek and the dark-helmeted stranger. The latter was breathing hard but made no move to comply with the Spartan's demand. A thin rivulet of blood appeared where the sword met his neck.


Aythadis voice cut through the silence like a sword. Cerek slowly withdrew his sword. The strange warrior moved into a sitting position and removed his helmet. The face was younger than most of the others expected, late teens at most early twenties. Shoulder length blond hair hang in wet tangles, his face pale and so were his eyes. An unpleasant sneer curled his lips. He looked at the crew and Aythadis. His eyes narrowed.

"What are you, that makes you think you have a right to ask questions of the Chosen of Ares?"
The voice sounded harsh.

"Well, for one I am the owner of this vessel.
So speak, what is your purpose amongst my crew?"

posted 12-07-00 19:37 ET (US)     125 / 220  
"You already know, tall man, why I am here. One among your crew has stolen a jewel that rightfully belongs in a temple to Mars."

"Do you know this man? Identify him," replied Aythadis.

"I suspect one in particular among you..." Here the black armored man lowered his gaze. "But I do not have all of the proof I need. I fear a false accusation would only result in making it more difficult to uncover the thief. When I am ready, tall man, I will reveal the person. I have the chit you gave me. I will show it to you when I am sure."

With the tempest gone and the ship calm in the light blue, warm seas of this unknown region, the entire crew felt secure enough (and curious enough) to gather on the maindeck to watch the exchange between Aythadis and the black armored man. Aythadis asked the obvious question on everyone's mind. This warrior was not seen among the crew at anytime. He must have hidden somehow and was never found.

"Who are you, stranger?" asked Aythadis.

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