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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 11-06-00 01:05 ET (US)     1 / 220  
In an alley near the wharves of Tyre, two small cubes of carved bone clattered against the wall of a building. The clattering of the cubes and the voices of men and one other echoed up and down the alley, some voices excited and pleased, other voices downcast and growling. The clinking of coins soon followed. Then again came the clatter of cubes and again the voices and again the clinking of coins.

Among the voices was that of a manchild, 18 years of age, not a boy's, but also not yet a man's. Edes pushed back the curled black hair on his head with a swipe of his left hand. It was a habit of his, this fussing about his hair, especially when he was nervous or unsure. Before him on the street was a pile of coins. He looked again at the cubes in his hand.

Each side of the six sided objects had painted circles like the black pupils of a man's eyes. One eye on one side, then two eyes on the second side, three eyes on the third side... and so forth. He held two of these crudely hewn cubes in his right hand.

He looked at the four fully grown men through his brown eyes and wondered if any had noticed the switch he had deftly made only moments before. The pot of coins was huge... it was the right time, he reasoned, to bring out from the place in his sleeve, the special cubes he always carried, the ones that always rolled four spots on one cube, and three on the other. His hesitation ended and he threw the cubes against the wall.

Four spots on one cube... three on the other... "Well, Tyreans, it looks like my luck is with me today," he said in his manish boy's voice. Then as he reached for the coins Edes noticed that one of the men picked up his cubes as if to return them to him. But the man was ham fisted and clumsy and dropped both cubes even as he was trying to pick them up. The cubes fell to the ground... four spots on one cube... three on the other. All four men went silent, looked at the cubes and then looked at Edes.

Another of the four men picked up the cubes and rolled them against the wall... Four spots on one cube... Three on the other. Perspiration began to bead on Edes forehead. A third man grabbed the cubes and rolled them... same result. Edes knew he couldn't run very fast carrying the coins, so when all four heads turned and glared at him, he did the only thing he could think of. He threw the coins at them, jumped to his feet and ran.

The echo of angry, shouting voices and heavy footfalls preceeded him up the alley as he fled for his life. He didn't have to imagine what they would do to him, their words and threats perfectly illustrated their intended mayhem. He ran and ran as far and as fast as he could towards the wharves, then rounded the corner of another alley and ran right into the center of the body of a stranger and fell backwards onto his backside.

The stranger was a tallish man, over 6 foot, slender of build but possessing a calm, soothing voice. "Something the matter, boy? Someone chasing you?"

Edes looked suspiciously at the tall man. How did he know? "Yes, I must hide."

"Try that ship over there. I know the Captain. Whoever you're running from won't find you there. Give the Captain this and he'll know it was I who sent you." The tall man threw an oddly shaped slender piece of bone about the size of a small coin to Edes. "Now go... and don't worry about those men."

Those men? How did he know it was men who were chasing him? But Edes always put his personal safety first and didn't pause to ask the questions pulling at his mind. He jumped up and ran to the ship. He found the Captain and showed him the object. It was exactly as the tall man said. Edes was hidden and safe.

The tall man watched Edes run down the alley and towards the wharf. Then he smiled. Young man, he thought to himself, your adventure... and indeed your real education has just now begun. Then the tall man turned to walk down the alley and deal with the four men who sought to harm Edes.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 11-06-2000).]

posted 11-06-00 06:17 ET (US)     2 / 220  
Though Edes know he is absolutely safe inside the stern compartment of the ship, his lips was dry, hands was shaking and sweat falling like rain.
"Calm down, Edes. You've been worse Edes... just calm down. Calm down." He says to himself.

Suddenly... "Clook, clook, clook..." There's the sounds of footsteps outside, heavy ones. And to Edes' most fear, it's coming his way. Edes' heart beated as heavily as the footsteps, and his breath goes faster and faster as the steps draws nearer and nearer. The time seems to have stopped as the footsteps stopped by the door.
Crank... the door opened. "How long do you want to stay in there, young man?"
It was the old Captain.

"They're gone, and you owe me one. Tell me what's going on?"
Edes told him the whole story, the biased cubes, the men.
"Hey, why did you do that? What's your name? Where do you come from?" the Captain keeps asking.
"Now old George, this ain't interrogation." The tall man came, carrying with him a suit of new clothes, looks like academy ones.

This is the only time for Edes to have a good look at them.
The Captain, apparantly called George. Big and tough. You can tell he's battle hardened in just a glimse. Though time surely has taken it's toll on him. His hair is shining white now.
The tall man. Quite slender and agile looking. Have coarse brown hair running to his back. His sparkling blue eyes seems to be able to see what you're thinking.
One thing immediately draws Edes attention, it was the ring which the tall man was wearing. Strange it is pretty big and is worn on the thumb. It doesn't look like if it's made from metal.
But before Edes can take a careful look, the tall man noticed he was observing his ring. And very quickly hid his hand in his pocket.

"Now put on these clothes and come with us." The tall man ordered Edes, the ring was gone. Though Edes hates obedience, he can't find himself resisting the tall man's order.

He led Edes into a small, empty shack near the wharves.
"Let's have a dinner, and tell me about yourself."
Again Edes tried not to tell, but he find himself really attracted by the tall man. And he can't particularly escape from his piercing gaze.
Edes told him about himself about getting lost from his family in his very early years in a war. Getting to Tyres and brought up by a fisherman, and cheat-gamling for a piece of bread since the fisherman died when he was twelve years old.
"From now on, follow me. As long as you're with me, you're safe."
Though suspicion clouds Edes' mind, his countless enemies are always out there. So he decided to follow the tall man, whose name is not even known...

[This message has been edited by Cyber Paladin (edited 11-06-2000).]

posted 11-06-00 07:37 ET (US)     3 / 220  
Idomenus of Tyre stroked his short black beard while looking at the bone counter in his other hand. He opened his pouch and put it with the handful of identical chips he'd already received. Each chip, he had been told by the tall stranger who had introduced himself as Aythadis, represented a fair amount in gold coin.

He wondered where this latest lad had come from. The kid looked like any other of the young bloods that could be seen in the gambling dens and wine houses. Probably not a rich kid, to judge by the state of his clothes, though.

And why would any of them join on a trip that would take them past the Pillars of Hercules to the barbaric northlands where he was going to trade wine for tin. The local celts were canny enough traders, but it still didn't explain any of this...

posted 11-06-00 16:00 ET (US)     4 / 220  
Edes studied the tall man sitting at the table across from him. He had finally told Edes his name. He called himself Aythadis and said he was from a place far and away. Edes had never heard of it, not even in Phoenician legends.

Edes' people were a seagoing people and many a story was told of high adventure, mysterious places and great monsters that trapped and devoured whole crews. In the stories told at night by campfires and in public places, there were strange peoples who inhabited distant shores. A few were friendly. Most were not. It didn't matter, for the stories simply fueled the curiosity possessed by so many Phoenicians who desired to see what lay beyond... and what wealth could be found in these places.

Aythadis suddenly ended his conversation as his eyes took on a distinctly different and distant look. "Come, Edes, we must leave. There is another who needs my... our help." There it was again, that soft spoken commanding voice. Despite his conservative, self-defensive nature's attempt to take control, Edes obeyed instinctively and walked with Aythadis out of the small structure and into the Tyrean night.

A shape in the shadow moved at their passing and followed behind them.

posted 11-06-00 16:09 ET (US)     5 / 220  
Idomenus wondered why the crew was suddenly feeling in such a gloomy mood. They had been capricious for a short while now, as if some malevolence has boarded the ship.

Then there was a shape, half formed, moving, could it be a person? He got up to look, but it was just a shadow. was his mind playing tricks on him? Was it something in the air? Who knew?

Is this okay? It was my first serious attempt


[This message has been edited by DarthBane (edited 11-06-2000).]

posted 11-06-00 19:09 ET (US)     6 / 220  
"Boy, go find me those supplies we ordered!!!"

The cook was shouting at a boy about 15 years of age. Nobody knew where he had come from, but he had been on the ship since the last voyage. Yanil made a good cook's help and seemed to know his way around so nobody thought he was a bother.

"Why aren't those guys here yet with the hard tack?" The cook was still muttering to himself as Yanil walked away to check on the deliveries.

Yanil's walk reminded some of a quiet scurrying mouse out to look for cheese while the cat was sleeping 3 feet away. As he went ashore, a cart loaded with barrels stopped at the gangplank.

"What have you got here?" Yanil asked.

"Hard Tack. You with the ship?" was the reply.

"Yes, Cook just told me to check where you were. You're late."

"There was some commotion at the local watering hole and we were forced to cut back through the East part of town. Besides, you're still here and we delivered. Now where is our coin?"

Yanil ran back to Cook and told him the hard tack just got delivered and the men were looking to get paid. As the cook scampered off to oversee the unloading, Yanil skittered off below deck.

[This message has been edited by Jaguar (edited 11-06-2000).]

posted 11-06-00 20:43 ET (US)     7 / 220  
Major newbie post coming on...

Yanil bumped into Hamid, one of the sailors. He was a foreigner, an Arab, who had been with the ship for the past couple of trips.

"Have you seen?" asked Yanil. "Idomenus found a new man for the voyage."
"What's he like?"
Hamid looked remote and disinterested, as always.
"Looks about 20. I don't think he's ever been sailing before, but he's not stupid."
"Aw, great. Another greenhorn. Where is he?"
"Don't know. Some tall man took him somewhere. The greenhorn looked scared when they walked away."
"If anyone asks, tell them I'm out gambling."

Hamid walked up the narrow stairway and out onto the deck, where Idomenes was helping the cook carry a heavy crate of hardtack to the ship's cavernous hold. He dragged another one to the top of the stairway, and departed for the gambling house that he frequented during those brief periods when he was in the city.
He thought about the voyage, which would be departing in a few days. They were going far north, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, he knew that. The local tribes were not civilized, but they had an ample supply of tin. But Hamid had never been on a voyage this long. He did not know Idomenus to be one of the daring types that would risk life and limb in a distant land. But the seasoned captain no doubt knew what he was doing.

posted 11-06-00 21:43 ET (US)     8 / 220  
Write in

Zeos moved closer to the tall man in the bar. He had seen him flashing a few bone tokens as he gave them to various burly men who had been quaffing and roistering that night, and he figured that he was deserved one,being the unofficial arm wrestling champ of the city,with arms like treetrunks.Unfortunately,he was very poor and dirty,with his matted beard and long hair cascading down his front and back.He edged closer still,and managed to silently grab a bone piece from the pouch the man carried. His hand begin to tingle,and he dropped the piece with a yelp. As he reached down to pick it up,he felt eyes upon him, and rose to see the strange man looking at him,with eyes like ice.

"So,you wish to be part of my crew,eh?" the man asked,handing Zeos a token.

A "yarss" was all the shaggy man could manage.With that the chugged his beer and ran off to his home by the docks.

Upon getting there,he found the ship,then went to his hut,resolving to join the crew in the morning.

posted 11-06-00 23:25 ET (US)     9 / 220  
meanwhile, in the land known to us today as Mexico

He washed his hands and face as he prepared for the good meal ahead. Macxutequa's little brother had caught a duck earlier in the morning, and his mother had spent precious time plucking it's feathers and cooking it over a fire. This was definitely a nice change from the regular serving of maize and beans.

This must be a good sign, he thought about the duck, maybe my future does hold war honors for me after all. Macxutequa had always dreamed of rising in the social ladder, and he knew very well the only way was to capture, single-handedly, many prisoners during battle. He hadn't been lucky so far.

Macxutequa was somewhat of an oddity among his peers. He was last to still live with his mother. Nobody questioned it however, since it was obvious he wanted to take care of his newborn sister, what with his father gone to Quetzalcoatl's heavenly kingdom just weeks before her birth. His mother was simply too weak to do it all by herself.

In the Temple of Tlaloc, Rain God

"What can this possibly symbolize?"
"Nobody can tell for sure, but the Eagles in Tlaloc's domain must mean something big is coming. Possibly very heavy rain. Let's watch for more signs which might indicate when and where this will be."

back to Tyre

posted 11-07-00 05:32 ET (US)     10 / 220  
The room was filled with characters whose body language suggested they were more interested in the feeling of drunken bliss and lazy conversation than what may have happened today or will tomorrow. With three exceptions to the lethargic group.

The young boy looked at his surroundings with a curious glance. But his watchful eyes were even more bewildered by the tall man that accompanied him. This man was here for a reason and his words and actions were carefully being heard and watched by the third exception.

Cerek sat rigid in his chair eating his meal as someone who thought of it as nourishment and not just to fill his belly and cloud his thoughts. All the while cautiously observing his surroundings and the tall man particularly.

After all,Sparta had trained him from the early age of seven in discipline,resistance to pain,use of weapons and military tactics. And at the age of twenty required to join the army of Sparta. For twelve years more his body reflected the scars of Sparta's training except in his mind. For each battle he fought the more he questioned his existance. He longed for the excitement of adventure not marching. For a quest not sharpening his spear. These things he saw in the boy and man who were now getting up to leave. Cerek knew the gods held an adventure for those two and followed behind them eagerly.

posted 11-07-00 06:12 ET (US)     11 / 220  
The next morning in Tyre

Edes was hanging around onboard Nautica Prima, the ship he'll be working at and will be off to the Great North the next week. Suddenly he saw a white figure waving at him. It was Bartuc, a counterpart of Edes, a couple of years younger. No home, no family, lives by cheating. He is Edes only friend, and only cheating mate. And the makers of the biased bone cubes. "Hey Tuc, what wind blows you here?"

It has been a long time since they last met. Bartuc went to "make a fortune" out of those cubes, and ended up just like Edes, he has enemies everywhere. They chatted on and on and on. About old times when they "team up" to cheat, undiscovered, everywhere. About the legendary China where the roads are paved with gold and the buildings are made from silver...
The sea is glowing yellow with the setting sun. ".... but I have no where to go right now..." said Bartuc. Edes "invited" him onboard, to be a sailor just like him. But Bartuc, as disobeying as Edes, gave him a quick "no". After a long debate, and considering his current situation. Bartuc had no choice but to accept.

Edes was waken up by a strange noise. Sounds like hammering of nails, yet a little bit too loud. Not conscious of what's going on, he went out of the sailor's sleeping quarter and off, searching for the noise. Only he and Bartuc was sleeping on the ship, as they have no home. "Who the hell? Someone's sleeping..." He was muttering to himself. As he finally drifted to the storage compartment, the hammering noise was replaced by a noise made from the friction of wood.
"Can you keep it down, someone lives here..." Edes grumbled inside "Oh, what the!!!" Edes pops out his eyes in fear...

posted 11-07-00 07:39 ET (US)     12 / 220  
Aythadis was still awake and standing on the roof terrace of the inn he was staying in. Above him the skies were ablaze with stars. There was no moon to dim their glow and colours. Bright red Aldebaran, Orion's belt, even the Dogstar was glowing dully.

"How wonderful, " he thought, "how sad all of this splendour would grow less and less until a time where people lived in places where they would never ever see a single star. Where all this glory would be drowned in the light of the cities they built."

Aythadis shook his had and stretched, lazily like a large cat. From the table next to him he picked up a scroll and looked at it. As he unrolled it a map appeared. The T shape of the Mediterranean, the Northlands and something else. Far to the west of Hercules' Pillars there was another land, shaped like a snake, a thin stretch of land curled down from a larger shape then bulged, thinned and spread out again. The colours were glowing vaguely in the star light. Lines of pure silver crossed the seas, like rays appearing from a single point far North of the Northlands. A slender finger chased on of the lines down.

Aythadis smiled softly, the starlight lending a strange cast to his seagreen eyes. He unrolled a second scroll this one covered in what looked like astrological calculations performed by a crazed follower of Apollo. Aythadis pinned the edges with a bronze knife and a few pebbles, then cast a handful of bone chips on the scroll. He studied their alignment for several moments, then swept the chips back into his pouch.

"Oh yes, " he spoke softly, "things are difinitely moving into their desired places"

posted 11-07-00 10:17 ET (US)     13 / 220  
Coronis walked through the market, a covered basket swinging from one arm, her money pouch tucked well out of sight so as to not tempt pickpockets. A well-muscled man accompanied her, a sailor on the boat where she served as ship's doctor, herbalist and medicine woman. Although Coronis could take care of herself - the long, thin blade that she hid under her skirts could be wielded with no small amount of skill - it was still prudent for a woman to have an escort. It generally helped to prevent any problems before they might occur.

Although it was generally deemed unlucky to have a woman sailing aboard a ship, the captain and crew had no qualms about having Coronis along for their trips. Her skills with herbs and her ability to treat all but the most serious wounds were more important to the ship than some silly superstition. Not that the sailors weren't superstitious, for they were. They just knew that Coronis was an uncommon woman and so she brought them luck, instead of chasing it away.

Glancing up at her companion, Coronis commented, "Well, Valygar, any news flying about?"

Grunting, the sailor replied, "Not anything much to speak of. Just the usual."

Coronis nodded, "Hopefully that means the market will be quiet, if busy, and I can find the herbs I need to restock." She hefted her basket.

Valygar grunted his assent. "'Spect so."

Smiling to herself, Coronis flicked her long, brown braid over one shoulder. Valygar might not be one for conversation, but he was nevertheless a good companion. They continued walking in silence until they reached the market square.

Eagerly, Coronis began looking about, her sharp, green eyes seeking out the supplies she needed. Putting her market face on, she prepared herself for the haggling that would quickly ensue.

[This message has been edited by Caylynn (edited 11-07-2000).]

posted 11-07-00 16:29 ET (US)     14 / 220  
On the ship:

The seaman who had found him dragged Edes out onto the deck.
"The captain says time for your lessons, boy... No slacking off below decks for you if you want to learn the ways of the sea!"

Edes shook slightly as the original fright of the man's appearance began to wear off.

Meanwhile, on shore:

As was his usual way these days of beginning a morning in Tyre, Aythadis left his room at the inn to stop by the Nautica Prima. As he approached the wharf where the ship was berthed, he could see young Edes and his oddly complexioned friend, Bartuc, being talked to by one of the able seamen.

Edes had a length of rope in his hand and was working it with determination. Knots... yes, that's the first skill a new seaman learns, tying knots. A seaman who could not tie a knot is no seaman at all. The youngster seemed to be doing just fine as the older seaman's frown changed to a warmer, approving expression. And so the lesson continued.

Then Aythadis's attention was drawn to a figure standing by the boat plank, staring at him with appraising, unwavering eyes. Aythadis recognized him at once. Not much got passed Aythadis's notice wherever he traveled. The man was one he had seen in the public house the night before.

The man looked travel wise and scarred, just like a battle-hardened warrior should. Aythadis didn't give the medium heighthed, dark haired, dark eyed warrior a chance to speak first. "What does a Spartan want with the sea?" Aythadis asked the stunned man.

"How do you know I'm from Sparta?"

"It would only matter if I were wrong, don't you think?" replied Aythadis, answering a question with a question. The man hesitated then answered the original question. "I seek adventure whether it be on land or sea. There is talk this ship will make a great voyage. I expect adventure will be found through this voyage."

"It may," replied Aythadis. "But you will be of no great value as a seaman."

"Maybe... But a ship is nothing more than land that moves; and the seas are all bordered by land. There will be plenty of need for a land wise warrior when barbarians and monsters make their presence known. I have this to answer their challenges." So saying, the man pulled his sword from its scabbard and pointed it at Aythadis.

Calmly, Aythadis replied, "Put your weapon back in its scabbard, man. I am neither a barbarian nor a monster. What are you called?"

"Cerek... of Sparta," replied the man.

"Then, Cerek of Sparta, take this object and present it to the Captain. There is room on this voyage for a willing warrior who will work out of character and expertise for his subsistence... for the adventure he might find." Aythadis opened a pouch and tossed a piece of worked bone to the Spartan. Then the tall man turned and made his way towards the interior of the city. Cerek picked up his bag of belongings and walked down the plank to the ship moored below.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 11-07-2000).]

posted 11-07-00 19:52 ET (US)     15 / 220  
Hamid had grown tired of gambling. He had lost some small money, drunk some beer, and almost gotten into a fight. The moon was nearing its highest point in the sky, and he was getting sleepy. He went back to the hut that he had rented to get away from the cramped berths on board the Nautica Prima.

Hamid woke up late the next morning. People were bustling about in the street, heading to various destinations around the city. His was the ship. Coming on deck, he found a strange-looking young man, perhaps sixteen years of age, fuddling with two ends of a frayed rope.

"What is your name, boy?"
"Bartuc." The boy in question barely looked up from his rope."
"Ever been sailing, boy?"
"Who brought you here?"
"Edes. He just joined the crew two nights ago." Bartuc looked at Hamid with apprehension.
"Oh, him. So, Bartuc, do you know where the ship is going?"
"No, why?"
"The wild Northlands." There was a pause, as Bartuc tried to make sense of this new development.
"Interesting..." he replied slowly. "Have you ever been there?"
"No, and I don't know if the captain has, either. Have you heard of that place?"
"Only a bit."
"Strange people, they are. Don't have cities like we do. Just small towns here and there. No ships, either. All they know is that a big boat comes up every once in a while and buys stuff. You don't want to cross them, and neither do I. Chap that told me that had a crewmate murdered in a dispute. The rest of them managed to get away, though."

Bartuc shivered. Wait till Edes hears about this, he thought.

posted 11-07-00 21:13 ET (US)     16 / 220  
Zeos woke up cold,much like every morning. He woke up slowly, and munched on something better left undescribed.Suddenly, he felt a sharp pain in his side. Rolling over, he discovered the bone from the previous night, and noticed the name Nautica Prima on the side. Resolving to see what it was about, he set out of his hut, and wandered the length of the dock a few times, before finding the vessel. He was setting up the gangplank, when suddenly a shout of "Boy,hold those casks" follwed by a crash sounded. Suddenly several of the casks rolled down the planks,toward him. Lifting a burly foot, he proceeded to kick the assailing barrels into the water. Unfortunately, they were followed by the storemaster,with an angry look in his eye.
"What in Zeus's name did you do that for,fool?"
Zeos mumbled a reply,which seemed to relax the master, and proceeded onto the deck.Scanning quickly, he found the largest,most decorated doorway and entered it. Inside he found the man he knew as Old George, and the tall man from the bar.
"so, my friend, you have returned".Zeos stood nonchalantly as the man spoke. When the mysterious man had finished, Zeos flipped the bone token to George, who took and and said
"Welcome aboard the crew,friend.They call you Zeos,do they not?"
Nodding,Zeos allowed himself to be show around by the two men, and nodded when he was given his tasks, which comprised the heavy lifting and work which required strength. Add he set to work, humming a drinking song, he could not begin to guess what was instore for him Beyond Poseidon's Throne
Had to do that
posted 11-08-00 05:50 ET (US)     17 / 220  
Early that evening.

The sun had died a resplendant death in deep crimson and pale pinks. Stars had started peeking on the heavens and the Evening Star was a bright fire a hand's width above the horizon.

Idomenus looked at Aythadis, a goblet of watered wine in his hands. The slender fingers cradled the vessel, while the tall man leaned back in his chair. He seemed comfortable as a cat in a cradle. Between them lay the remains of a meal of roast, honeyed mutton and bread.

The captain cleared his throat and asked
"When do you think we can leave, my Lord?"
Seagreen eyes met brown, an eyebrow raised quizzically.
"I told you be fore, my friend, I'm not a lord. Still, it seems you have set your mind upon me being one."
"Anybody with that bearing and that amount of money must be a lord, no matter what he says, " Idomenus thought to himself.

The eyes across him flickered a golden glint showed briefly. Idomenus attributes it the candle on their table.
"I think, Idomenus, we could leave tomorrow. It seems unlikely anyone elsse will show up, if you're stores are packed, that is." Aythadis said.

The man's voice reminded Idomenus of the bells in the temples, rich and warm. His own sounded rough in comparison, even to his own ears.
"The stores are packed. The trade goods are ready. Our itenery is planned I say we leave tomorrow, when the tide turns out."

Aythadis nodded.
"I'll have the last of my things moved into my cabin at first light then." he replied.
He raised the goblet in a toast.
"May we have Poseidon's blessing."
Idomenus lifted his own goblet.
"Poseidon's blessing."

posted 11-08-00 06:17 ET (US)     18 / 220  
Cerek boarded the Nautica Prima. He wasn't unfamiliar with sailing vessels as Spartan armies were often transported to other shores, marching to conquest. Unfortunately the only view of water he saw was upon boarding or unboarding the vessel. Soldiers were constantly busy practicing or readying their weapons.

He noticed the young boy seen the night before with Aythadis and walked towards him.

"Boy,where is the captain of the vessel?," Cerek asked,using an officers tone to a subordinate.

Edes stopped his knot training. Annoyed at the interuption and arrogance of this man seeking the captain.

"My name is Edes not Boy,"replying a youths attempt to gain respect,"but you will find the captain aft in his quarters."

"A name doesn't earn respect...actions do."Cerek replied sternly while seeking the captains quarters.

Cerek handed Idomenus the bone piece that had been given him. The captain, of course, wondered how a Spartan would benefit this voyage. But "Old George" felt that Aythadis must see some value in retaining him.

"The crews quarters are below. You can stow your belongings

As Cerek turned and walked he thought to himself about what posibilities lie ahead.

posted 11-08-00 08:25 ET (US)     19 / 220  
The night before setting off
The crew are all requested to stay on the ship to ready themselves as the ship is setting off very early tomorrow. Though a few did escaped to gamble, most of them are strolling around on the deck. Except three.

"Come on boys! This ain't playing house! Get your butts moving, and make it QUICK!!!!" Idomentus seems to be very upset about the quality of these two young sailors. "Arghhhh...." yelled in pain the two boys raced up and down the mast. "Emergency surveillance drill", surely too much for green boys like them.
"Harrrrr..." both of them collapsed as Idomentus finally decided they have enough.

In the cabins, lays two semi-dead boys.
"Now Bartuc, if I've been given the choice, I'd..."Edes seemed too tired to continue. "Hey Edes... Edes! It's important, listen. I've heard... DON'T SLEEP YET!! I've heard that this ship is going far far North into nowhere! What? You already know that? Hey, there's something called "Barbarians"! Legends said they eat man like peanuts! They smash heads with a single squeeze in their thumbs!... Hey are you listening?... damn..." Finally Edes had enough of Bartuc's bedside story.

Alone watching the ceiling of their quarter, Bartuc wonders to himself, with every muscle aching by the drills, "Can I go through this?" And preyed clenching his small metal badge of "Lucky Polaris"... not even Edes knows of this badge. It's the most important thing to Bartuc, it's given to him by his dying mother... Thinking of his family, nobody noticed that a small bead of tear rolled down the white cheek....

posted 11-08-00 11:45 ET (US)     20 / 220  
The first mate stood alone leaing against the sternrailing of the ship looking out to sea. He was a man of medium hight with sandy blond hair with grey/blue eyes. Back to the northlands he was thinkling. WHy? How long had he avoided this trip back but now Old George, over some protest from him, desided he wanted to go there. Would they still remember him? Whould they still want his head? the quesitons rolled in his head. Why now he thought.

What was he know as back then? His grey/blue eyes staired into the void trying to remember. Slowly a name not spoke for over 16 years came to his lips. Flynn, that was what he was once called. But now he was gone and replaced by Edusse, the salor who has spent the last 17 years making his living on the seas.

He looked up to the sky. Well it had to be around midnight he thought; time for the watch to change and time for me to get some sleep if we getting off tomrrow. He shook his head took one last look out to the sea before he headed back to his cramped little cabin "atlease he had a little place of his own." he said to noone walked along. At lease we had a red sky at sunset which sould boad will for the start of the voyage in the morning.

posted 11-08-00 11:52 ET (US)     21 / 220  

On Mt. Tlaloc
"The Priests from the Temple of Atlaua (Master of Waters), the Temple of Chalchihuitlicue (Goddess of the Sea and Lakes) and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (The God of Wind, and the main God) have arrived."

Potiquexa, High Priest of Tlaloc, acknowledged the servant with a slight nod of his head, though he didn't even cast a glance in his direction. He seemed fascinated with the Eternal Flame today, and he'd been that way for four days already; barely eating, barely sleeping... just staring into the Flame.

"My friends, I have called for you here because of terrible signs from the Gods. At first I thought it was news of a good rainy season, but that prediction was falsified by further revelations. Tlaloc, Mighty God of Rain, has revealed the future. A terrible storm will hit the Great Lake to the East."

The three other priests all nodded with consent. "We've been getting the same signs from our Gods. It would seem they are teaming up to create the biggest storm ever seen by these lands. But it should not worry us, the signs are clear: the storm will be far away from our city."

Potiquexa looked at them. He turned away, and stared into the Flame again. "There was one more revelation in the message from our God Tlaloc. The storm will bring to us strange men, from far away lands. Their intentions are unknown, but to be safe, Tlaloc has informed me that we should give them a warrior."

"That will not be a problem, we have many warriors."

"It must be a warrior who has not yet captured slaves in battle. He will be revealed to us in due time, do not fear nor question it."

later, at night

Macxutequa woke with a start. He stared into the black in front of him, just noticing the perspiration on his chest and face. Bad dream, he thought, must have been a bad dream. What he had seen in his dream was a huge wooden structure, like a very big canoe, with huge pieces of cloth on it. It sailed on the Great Lake, and bearded men jumped out of it. They asked for him.

Shaking his head, Macxutequa lied down again and drifted off to sleep, not noticing the tall figure stepping out the door. Something gold twinkled for a split second in the place where eyes should be.

Back to the ship

posted 11-08-00 14:13 ET (US)     22 / 220  
Yanil, sleeping in his berth among the sailors, awoke to commotion and disorder. Many of the new recruits were looking at the experienced sailors with awe. Yanil smirked to himself “Great, another group that doesn’t know bow from stern…”

As he made his way to the galley, the ship was being readied to sail. Coronis was taking a last look through her medical kit and Yanil walked over to talk for a minute.

“Do you think you have enough to keep these guys from being seasick for the voyage? It doesn’t look like this crop of recruits has many experienced sailors and you know what the seas can be like.”

“I certainly hope so. The price for some of these herbs has gone up considerably since last time we docked here and I couldn’t even haggle my way down to a reasonable price. I did manage to find some of those herbs for you though. Should be enough for the next few months. You owe me two weeks of pay for this stash.”

Yanil smiled. “Thanks a lot Coronis. You know what they’d do to me if they find out. I was amazed that they let you aboard. But two weeks of wages? That’s pricey. Could we work something out?”

Coronis pensively looked at Yanil and said: “I am sure we can come up with something. Just keep those nimble fingers out of people’s pockets. You may find yourself kicked off the ship for reasons other than you are worried about. I’ll keep the herbs with me. People may start wondering why you are carrying them otherwise.”

At the last comments, Yanil laughed and continued his way to the galley to prepare food that had to pass for breakfast.

posted 11-08-00 14:22 ET (US)     23 / 220  
As Yanil was walking along, he heard an odd noise behind him. He spun round on the spot to ascertain where it came from. He shouted "Hello, is there anyone out there?"
His reply came in the form of a pain in the back of his head, and all he saw as everything faded away was a dark shadow. He called out, and then hit the ground with a thump as the world disappeared into the darkness.

Coronis heard a cry coming from the direction Yanil left in. She ran round to find out where it came from, only to find Yanil laying on the floor, unconscious. He was still alive, but needed to have some bed rest before being able to return to duty. She definitely had to talk to the captain about this.......

Is that ok, or shall I edit it?

posted 11-08-00 22:05 ET (US)     24 / 220  
Yanil awoke to see Old George leaning over him in the sick bay side of Coronis' compartment. "Feeling better?" he asked.

"Yes sir, somewhat." Yanil winced as he shifted in the bunk and the stones in his head rolled together to collide in one specific spot at the rear of his head.

"Can you remember what happened?" Idomenus asked.

"Only that I was leaving Coronis' cabin, heard a noise, and then lights exploded all over the place... and I woke up on the deck."

The captain stroked his long pointed beard. Bizarre, he thought. Maybe a member of the crew; but why? We have many strangers in this crew, but I detected no malice towards the boy. Not even that creature Zeos seems likely to have done this. I must talk about this with Aythadis. Then he spoke to Yanil. "Well, rest some more, lad. We will not depart today. There are additional matters needing attention so we will depart tomorrow. Tides will still favor us."

Coronis returned just as the captain was leaving. They exchanged comments quietly so that Yanil would not hear. After the captain left, Coronis turned about to see to Yanil. He/she had anxiety in his/her eyes and voice. "You didn't tell him did you?" asked Yanil.

"Only what he needed to know. Do not worry so much," answered Coronis. Yanil sighed in relief then laid back in the bunk and wondered what the others in the crew were up to... especially that new boy... the one called Edes.

Later that evening.

Aythadis was returning from the inn having settled his expenses and other affairs there. He took to the street in measured strides, his footsteps echoing off the nearby damp walls. From his very first footstep out of the door of the inn he knew he was not alone.

The figure in the shadows followed as closely as it dared, silently for some, but not silently enough for Aythadis' hearing. So as to afford the figure a feeling of safety even though confrontation loomed, Aythadis stopped in a particularly dark section of empty street and suddenly turned. He could just barely see the figure hidden by its dark, body covering cape disappear into a nearby shadow.

"Why did you strike the boy?" asked the tall man.

There was an intake of breath from the shadow. "I mistook the boy for... for... but that is my business. I erred... that is all I'll say about that. How can you know I am here?"

"That doesn't matter. Why do you stalk any member of this ship's crew? Answer me or be prepared for a very unpleasant experience." The tall man's smooth, persuasive voice did not kindle fear in the shadowed figure, but strongly demanded a reply.

"A god compels me."

"The gods are not always to be trusted by a mortal."

"This god is."

"Are you a member of the crew?" asked Aythadis.

"You will know the answer in good time... a time of my own choosing."

Aythadis considered the figure's words. He made a decision he hoped he would not regret. He reached for his pouch, opened it and pulled out a distinctly marked, flattened piece of bone with the brown painted image of a man's hand. "When you decide the time is right, show this to me. If your purpose is just, you will then gain what you seek... but do not harm any member of this crew again, or you will gain nothing except passage to the Underworld. Do I make myself clear?"

"Clear enough."

Aythadis turned about and made his way directly to the ship. He did not care if he was followed or not. His message was delivered precisely and he knew it was understood clearly.

posted 11-09-00 00:32 ET (US)     25 / 220  
With Coronis' permission, Hamid had entered the sick bay. One of the few other people on board that had not been drafted during the past few days in port, he had befriended Yanil some time back.

"So, what happened?"
"I really don't know. I was talking to Coronis, and turned around to leave. I had not gone more than a few paces when something hit me in the back of the head. Must have been a bludgeon of some kind. Coronis did not see who did it."
"Strange. A phantom, perhaps?"
"No, I don't believe in that nonsense," Yanil replied in a disparaging tone.
"Well, I have seen some strange goings-on." Hamid's tone indicated that he was greatly understating the case.
"I still don't believe in phantoms, ghosts, and any of that."
"Well, if it's not a phantom, it's probably involved with the gods in some way."
"I don't know. It just sounds strange. Why would a god have anything to do with a trading ship?"
"They have their reasons. And besides, it's not easy for an ordinary person to hide like this on a ship, even in port."
"I hope Aythadis or someone figures this out quick. Whatever weapon that idiot has, it hurts. Perhaps he'll be able to use it against a barbarian or two."

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

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