Prologue.   Posted by Life and Death.Group: 0
Life and Death
 GM, 30 posts
Mon 6 Aug 2018
at 22:23
Prologue
It was one of those days.

The pleasant weather of spring had permeated the whole of the empire, it seemed;   the sun shown above, illumining all the land in sweet, mellow light and setting the sea resplendently aglitter. The breeze was pleasant, soft, and invigorating.    Promise filled the air, and life felt rich and worth savoring.    Whatever troubles one might have had, they were hard to keep in mind on days such as this one.

The sea port of Aegina Isle was busy as usual, this month;   a myriad of coming and goings, of arrivals and departures, of destinations and homecomings.     Indeed, as a sea power, Aegina was almost a rival of Poseidona, the empire's capital that was named for the Sea King, greatest of all the gods.  It was not quite as strictly policed, however, by Poseidon's temple and its sea-sentinels who enforced the empire's oceanic laws.

And, this made it a somewhat more desirable port of call, for more interesting sorts of people, pursuing more unusual sorts of business.

The Lelantos was a rather baroque sailing vessel, of a style that had been popular some half century ago. It was named for the titan god of the winds and the unseen, and had belonged originally to a semi renown treasure hunter, one Belen of Argos. Belen had made some very bad decisions with his gambling, and other things, and the ship had ended up being auctioned off to try and cover his debts.     Whereupon it was acquired by its current owner --  a rather mysterious woman whom some reputed to be a witch. That too was hard to believe, on a day such as this;   the Lelantos looked splendid and proud, moored at the pier, its crew making final preparations before embarking on a southward journey.

There was, however, nothing at all bright, or warm about the destination of that journey...

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:27, Mon 06 Aug 2018.

Chloe
Mon 6 Aug 2018
at 22:26
Prologue
Chloe of Chalcis, a raven haired woman betwixt two and three decades age, with a prettyish face in spite of a somewhat weathered complexion, was the navigator of the Lelantos, as well as the assistant of its captain.    Calling out instructions to several of the crew, she then turned toward a number of the others and informed them:

"We set out for sea in two hours!  If you've anything else you wish to do in town, now is the time!" 

Overhead, a trio of Andouin gulls wheeled and cawed plaintively, almost as if they were voicing their agreement.     Or, a warning - ?

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:40, Mon 06 Aug 2018.

Solon
 player, 14 posts
Mon 6 Aug 2018
at 22:53
Prologue
Solon's eyes hardly ceased to roam as he openly admired his surroundings. There seemed to be a promise in the air, one which, if he was more experienced, Solon would likely have taken as an Ill omen. As it stood, however, he had no idea of just how fickle life could be, and he positively basked in the glow. Even the sea, which was a familiar sight, had become enchanting, its rolling waves dressed in gowns of glittering jewels. The sea air, at least, hadn't changed, and it granted him a semblance of familiarity as he gazed about the hustle and bustle of the port with new eyes.

He was stirred from his reverie by the Raven haired woman, the ships assistant... Chloe, his father had told him, when naming off the important names of the crew, and she was assistant to the captain. The soft smile that had lain on his face grew into a broad grin at the thought of departure. He would finally be leaving behind the bosom of safety and comforting familiarity. He was sure to find great prospects and adventure, he knew. Solon didn't have anything left to do in town, how could he? He had prepared for this day for weeks! Packing, unpacking, and repacking his bags, trying to find the optimal mix of ingredients and parts and tools, the only constant being his master list of inventions.

With a grin and a wink at any sailor standing nearby, Solon bounded up the gangplank. He was dressed the part of the adventurer, canvas pants, a rough spun shirt, simple boots. No one who didn't know him or of him would be able to tell he was the son of a nobleman, if a minor one. The most striking feature of this young man, right behind his eagerness, was the big pack he carried on his back. Thankfully, it wasn't very heavy, most of his ingredients being rather light. Though he ought to find his room and unburden himself, he couldn't help but to bound straight to the fore of the deck, leaning over the rails just above the figurehead.

His grin having never left his face, he turned to the nearest person to him, whether passenger or sailor, and exclaimed Isn't this so exciting?! I hear the isle we're sailing to is enchanted, do you think it's true? I wonder how much treasure there'll be! Not that I want jewels of course, but hopefully there'll be some blueprints or maybe a machine to study!
Aetius
 NPC, 1 post
Mon 6 Aug 2018
at 23:15
Prologue
Aetius, meanwhile, couldn't be more out of his element. He hadn't even set foot on the ship yet, and already he was regretting his choice. Despite the warm sun, and the invigorating sea air, he felt already as if the ghosts of the isle to which they were sailing had reached through the miles and gripped his heart with cold clammy hands. He was fiddling with the sleeves of his red, gold trimmed robe, as he was wont to do when he got so nervous he could hardly think.

Still, he could hardly back off now- not for any resolve on his part, though: when he had mentioned his idea to his master, Theon had turned the idea into an order, doubting his charges resolve, and rightfully so.  His eyes widened in panic as the bold, confident woman who had been shouting orders loudly informed everyone that there was only two hours left until the ship set off, though truth be told Aetius felt he was already trapped upon it.

He watched in amazement and shame as a young boy, barely a man exuberantly rushed forward in vibrant excitement. His eyes cast downward as he thought of his own racing heart, though his beat with fear instead of adventure. He hardly had time for any other musings, however, as he was gripped with a certain panic. Had he brought everything?? Clutching his pack, he all but ripped it open, causing pens, scraps of paper, and a book spilling out.

Too look at him, you'd have thought he'd dropped his heart, the way he dove for the book, and cradled it gently before scrambling for the pens and papers. He was supposed to record the journey, after all, and he didn't suppose anyone on board would have any paper to spare. Everything more or less in order, he scrambled off to find a curio shop. Despite the fact that he should know better, he was going to buy several trinkets "guaranteed" to provide him safety and protection.
Captain Nestor
 NPC, 1 post
Tue 7 Aug 2018
at 00:38
Prologue
As it happened, the person closest to Solon the merchant's son was no less than the ship's burly captain, Nestor.

He turned to face the excited youth, a hard, sleight, but not unfriendly smile cracking his bearded mouth.

"Not want jewels, you say?" the captain gave a short, low bark of a laugh.   "Well, good, then.   All the more for me!  As for blueprints, machines, enchantments..."  he snorted, cast a glance out seaward, then back at the merchant's son:

"You do understand where we're headed, right?    You've heard the talk about Tragodia Isle, surely?   Most say that it's cursed ground, you know.   You want to call that enchantment, well alright then."   Nestor grunted, reflectively.

"What did your father think of you undertaking this voyage, mm?   He encourage you to do it? Make a man of you, and all that?"   
Solon
 player, 15 posts
Tue 7 Aug 2018
at 01:23
Prologue
Solon didn't mind at all the captain's rugged demeanor, or outlook for that matter. Oh, aye, I've heard tales. Soon as Da told me where the ship was headed to, i tried to learn all i could. Most say the isle is curse, haunted more like. 'strange shadowy things can be seen from afar, faintly wavering amid the ruins as they pass to and fro', he said, as if recalling from a book. I'd sooner believe its spells thats the trick of it. Makes more sense, y'know? he turned torwards the captain, his eyes bright, intelligent, if ill informed. Tell me, have you ever seen a ghost, Captain a small, playful smirk lingered on his lips.


My Da? No, he didn't want me to go, it was my idea. He knows me, though, knows that once my mind is set its right difficult to change. I might've ended up a stowaway, and none of us would be happy! he said, laughing. He fought me on it, to be sure, him and Ma both. i wasn't to be dissuaded, however, as you can tell, this with a slight chuckle, and a shrug that might be his only admission of possible error on his part.
Captain Nestor
 NPC, 2 posts
Tue 7 Aug 2018
at 23:59
Prologue
Nestor nodded, apparently satisfied that the one he conversed with was sober enough, and in a reasonable frame of mind for what could lay ahead. Of course, he hadn't forgotten the motives of youth, and Solon's rationale sounded like it was merely honest.    He smirked a little.

"I've seen some pretty strange things in my day. Including a ghost or two.   Had a lot more trouble with the living, though.   And the sorts of ghosts that plague men in their heads, for things they've done that they shouldn't have.    Or, things they didn't do that they should have. Of those sorts of ghosts, I've had a fair bit of experience.   Try to avoid having any of my own."   Nestor glanced out to sea again.    Then back at Solon:

"You're some kind of a tinkerer, if I've heard right.  What sorts of things do you work on?"     
Solon
 player, 16 posts
Wed 8 Aug 2018
at 00:43
Prologue
Solon considered the captain's words solemnly, though he was quick enough to forget them once the man asked his next question. Solon brightened visibly, a contrast from the brief gloom the captain's musings had brought upon him.

I mostly mix together potions, sir. Poisons, smoke, bottled fires and gasses... I even dabble in the healing arts, some, though it's terrible at best. I also work with machines, simple wind up things really. some are quite loud and fast, while others make quite a blast. I do better with traps, though. Snares, wires, jawed traps, you name it.

He chuckled, shrugged. He knew his role, knew his abilities were a support function at best. He looked out over the sea, then back. Seeming to return to the captain's previous words he said More than ghosts, of which there has been plenty talk, what concerns me more is the tell I've heard of a Witch.

His eyes were bright, though, and it was clear his concern was more of curiosity than fear. Is it true? I've never met anyone who could use magic. You think she'd be willing to show me some things? It's a shame that people still persist in hating what they can't understand, he added as an afterthought.
Captain Nestor
 NPC, 3 posts
Thu 9 Aug 2018
at 01:05
Prologue
The captain grunted thoughtfully, as Solon iterated what he could do.   Possibly envisioning how some of it might be of use, in whatever lay ahead.    When the topic turned to the ship's owner, she who'd conceived the venture upon which all were about to embark, the young woman who some did call a witch, Nestor said honestly:

"It is true enough that she works real magic.   If that alone marks a woman a witch, then I suppose she is.    Though there are more polite ways to put it -- the lady titles herself an elementalist.  Not the sort that throws fire, thank Poseidon!  Some of those are as dangerous to their friends, as their enemies.   As for her showing you things -- " the captain gave that gruff bark of a laugh again --  "I reckon you'll see some things, without having to ask.  Or maybe not see, precisely, but experience all the same.   Let's just say, the winds will be favoring us on this journey." Nestor nodded sagely, as he said so.

Then a somewhat wicked smile parted his lips.   "But, it's her guardsman you'll want to enjoy some chat with.  Most engaging fellow, that one!  Charms birds from the skies, he does...then eats'em for supper. Oh, he's a talker, that one!"
Solon
 player, 17 posts
Thu 9 Aug 2018
at 01:55
Prologue
Solon noted the title with curiosity. An elementalist, but not the kind that threw fire. Was that because she couldn't throw fire, or because she concurred with the captain about the danger of doing so? Apparently, she was the sort to summon gusts of air, judging from the captain's comment. Given the choice, Solon would choose air over fire, for sheer versatility, but he hadn't found a way to bottle the wind. Yet, anyway, he added hopefully. The choice of 'elementalist' as opposed to simply being called a wind mage, most likely signified the usage of two elements, but Solon was more inclined to think three.

More interesting was the fact that she had a guardsman, and that he could also use magic. Solon instinctively felt a distrust for the unknown man, simply from the fact being made known that he could charm birds from the sky. Solon had learned to judge men by their words, and their actions, rather than appearance and demeanor. How could you trust a man who had it in his capability to charm you? Solon noted his aversion, and stored it away.

Solon said none of this aloud, however. His father had taught him to keep his own counsel, in the absence of those he implicitly trusted. He looked back to the captain. Perhaps you could afford me an introduction? I'd love to learn more about magic, its one of the things you cant truly study in books. he shrugged, gazed out at the sea. In the break, he queried I'd hate to be an idle hand during the journey, and I doubt I'd have the patience to be so, at any rate. I know nothing of ships, but is there anyway I might be of service on the voyage?

This message was last edited by the player at 01:57, Thu 09 Aug 2018.

Aetius
 NPC, 2 posts
Thu 9 Aug 2018
at 02:35
Prologue
For his part, Aetius walked away from the curio shop with a considerably lighter purse, but his mood better than had been in a very long while. In addition to charms for safety, he had bought one that was supposed to bolster his constitution, and another which was purported to banish fear. A smile played about his lips, he could already feel them working! Normally he felt quite unsettled amidst a large crowd, despite them having been a staple of his everyday life since being a youth.

Next up was the bookstore. He had two of his own books, which he had painstakingly copied out from the Libraries vast store, yet he was always on the lookout for valuable gems which he might purchase for himself. It never hurt to keep a professional eye out, either, it was not unheard of for a great time or some such to wash up in some back alley store. He walked in, and the owner vowed courteously, all the book owners in the city knew what his blue collar meant. He smiled, and it grew wider in the absence of his usual anxiety. He began to peruse the shelves grinning to himself, looking like a loon.
Captain Nestor
 NPC, 4 posts
Thu 9 Aug 2018
at 02:38
Prologue
The captain laughed more heartily, and clapped a great, beefy hand on Solon's shoulder, though not in the aggressive way a roughneck did when trying to intimidate.

"Worry not, on that score, merchant's son - you will be of use.  Don't tolerate no dead weight on the Lelantos!  Hmm.  As a tinkerer, you might have the makings of a sail rigger.   But, that's something that needs training, before you set out. Wouldn't have you climbing the masts without it - hate to have tell your father some day that you fell from a mast, and snapped your neck!  Hm.  We could use a dedicated boatswain -- someone to oversee the maintenance of the ship, and the supply stores. Inspect the ship, and the sails each morning, and report what you see.   Think you may be sharp enough for that, I do.   As for introductions to the lady herself -- I'm sure you will have one.   She doesn't like to travel with complete strangers.   Understand, though -- she's a private sort, with much on her mind.  Wouldn't go overboard asking too many questions -- or you may you go overboard."
Nestor guffawed at his own jest.

"We'd at least toss you a hunk of driftwood to float with, though."
Solon
 player, 18 posts
Thu 9 Aug 2018
at 02:58
Prologue
Smiling at the gesture, not unlike something his father or one of his friends would do when Solon amused them with something he had said or done. It was a familiar one, and well appreciated; helping to esteem the captain in his eyes. I think I could manage that well enough, Sir. I might even be sharp enough to know if something is wrong, he said with a wink. In seriousness, though, to whom would that report be made? Yourself, or perhaps Lady Chloe? He laughed at the captain's jests, yet took note of the warning all the same with a slight nod. It wouldn't do to upset the proprietor of the ship, and a mage at that. Might be that he would prefer being tossed overboard, all said and done, if he managed to earn her ire.

This message was last edited by the player at 03:34, Thu 09 Aug 2018.

Captain Nestor
 NPC, 5 posts
Thu 9 Aug 2018
at 19:38
Prologue
The sea-captain laughed again, seemingly in a bright mood, for a man about to undertake a quite probably dangerous voyage to a dark place.

"'Lady' Chloe, is it? Ah, I think you and she should get along just fine.  But, yes, indeed it is myself or her to whom you will report.   You can consider Chloe my eyes and ears, when my own aren't present.   She's been with me the better part of four summers now, and a better navigator and first mate I've not found.  We've an excellent crew in general, for this jaunt.  Everyone is here for a reason.  As it should be.   As it must be, for something like this."


Nestor turned and shouted several succinct and emphatic orders to a nearby pair of ship's hands, then returned his attention to Solon.

"Well, young Solon, I've some duties to be seeing to err we leave.   I'm pleased our lady proprietor has seen fit to bring some well learned sir along to record events.  For I've little doubt we're in for some events worth recording.  Not only might we all retire rich afterwards, but we'll also have tales to wag on and on about for the rest of our lives.    Who can beat it, eh?"   

:: Barring anything else you may wish to do with your character or npc, we can end this pre-journey bit, and cast off to sea.   Solon would know, based on the distance involved, that the ship will put into at least one other port on the way, or more likely two.    To restock supplies and such.   So, there'll be more chances to go ashore and get or do things, before the isle.   
Aetius
 NPC, 3 posts
Thu 9 Aug 2018
at 20:25
Prologue
Solon chuckled, more from the captain's amicability than anything. It made him feel more confident about the voyage ahead, knowing their captain wasn't just some grizzled, angry man. He waved goodbye, then set off to his cabin.
~

Aetius felt a glimmer of anxiety return as he made to purchase his books. The shopkeep tried to save away the payment, but Aetius insisted. It wasn't much else he had to spend money on. He gnawed on the seed of anxiety, fretting over it, until it grew again. Too late, he tried to backpedal away from it, but, awakened, it gave chase, even as he scurried from the shop. Well, damn, so much for the newfound confidence.

Still, he hurried back to the ship, where his berth awaited him. He didn't suppose he'd be lucky-or important- enough to have landed a room of his own, but a man could hope. He was just thankful he wasn't the type to get seasick, he thought as he gazed into the water as he crossed the gangplank. Studiously avoiding everyone's gaze, and hurriedly moving out of everyone's way, he headed straight for his room, where he sat with one of his new books.

Okay, im all done :)
Xeno
 NPC, 1 post
Fri 10 Aug 2018
at 00:36
Prologue
Indeed, as the fates would have it, scholar Aetius was not assigned to a single berth cabin. Although this truly had more to do with the size of the ship, and its capacities, than to luck or importance.

And, the cabin's other occupant was there when he went in.

The robed man, with the odd cranial tattooing, might have been a member of some esoteric priesthood, sitting silently upon his bed as he was, eyes shut in meditation. Save that he bore no visible holy sigil, such as priests virtually always wore, proclaiming their chosen faith to the world.

The eyes opened suddenly, meeting Aetius' with one of the most dead calm, level gazes the scholar had ever encountered.    The man's face remained utterly void of any sort of expression.

"I am called Xeno," he said, almost as if that explained everything. The odd accent one that most Aegeans would be baffled to try and place.

"I care not if you make small sounds.  But if you wish to speak, do it after I am finished with meditation."    It was a statement;  not a request.    So said, the shaven headed man closed his eyes once again.  So still he might have been stone.

Yes, most people would have been at a loss to name the people this bald, baffling, bizarre figure of a man belonged to.  But, Aetius wasn't most people when it came to unusual knowledge and obscura.

The tattooing...the litlted accent...the swarthy complexion, the aquiline nose...the obvious devotion to meditation...a few other details...yes...

There were a people called the Pykts, north and east of the empire.   A culture bound in ancient, unchanging tradition, that was said to produce mystics of deep insight.   And assassins of most deadly skill.  And, sometimes, men whom were both of those things.

As the fates would have it, Aetius was sharing his cabin with one.

::Couldn't resist introducing Aetius to his roommate!   Write his reaction if you want, or just let it end here.  Either fine.   Probably last post from me till sunday.   
Aetius
 NPC, 4 posts
Fri 10 Aug 2018
at 01:48
Prologue
Fear coursed through the scholar at the mans fearsome appearance, and the flat, almost dead gaze which pierced him to the door. Stunned, he didn't even break the eye contact, as he was wont to do. Indeed, as the man resumed his meditation, scholarly fascination overrode his amygdala, as the pieces of recognition glommed together in his mind. Of course, his academic knowledge immediately brought his fear back to him, but curiosity remained, and would war inside him. For he who was afraid of most men, a deadly one was especially fearsome. And yet, there was so much that Aetius could ask of the man, were he to find, not only his courage, but Xeno's amicability. His mouth half opened to give reply, but he shut it when he realized his introduction was precluded by the mans meditation. Shrugging, with not a few curious glances, he sat down and began to read.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:51, Fri 10 Aug 2018.

Life and Death
 GM, 34 posts
Sun 12 Aug 2018
at 21:07
Prologue
Naturally, the very last thing done was to supplicate for the favor of the Sea-King.   Wine was shared by those on deck to honor Poseidon, as well as a number of other gods, and then specially blessed water was poured on the ship's prow to sanctify it.   This respect for the powers of Olympus, most especially Father Poseidon would not end there, either.    As with most sailing ships of any size, the Lelantos had an onboard shrine, situated on its quarterdeck, where proper worship might be conducted.

As the graceful, baroque craft launched from Aegina Isle's harbor, on that lovely, clear spring day -- the aesthetics and elegance of the sight were such that one passer by, whom happened to be a poet, would later write one of his more memorable works about the experience.    Little could he guess, albeit, how many works would one day be written about this particular voyage...
Chloe
 NPC, 1 post
Sun 12 Aug 2018
at 21:17
Prologue
Predicated weather was what anyone would have hoped for.    Which was a factor in undertaking the journey at this particular time.     Enough challenges lay ahead that, it would have been madness to have undertaken this little enterprise and added foul weather to the list as well.

For navigator and first mate Chloe, this initial part of the journey was merely business as usual.   Though only Nestor knew it, she had gone to sea primarily to escape a particular life that she vehemently no longer wished to live.   And that bid had been successful for her;  not only did she make good money alongside the burly, canny captain, but the sea soothed her heart, as well.    She loved what she did, and was often happier than when she was on land.    She worked with her usual efficiency this first day out; ordering tasks of several hands, while Nestor was momentarily out of sight, below deck somewhere.
Kassandra
 NPC, 1 post
Sun 12 Aug 2018
at 21:49
Prologue
As Solon left his cabin, possibly to get some air, take in the glorious view, or see whom might be about --  he spotted a lone figure near the railing, over on the ship's starboard side.

Seen from the backside, little detail was discernible -- a light, grey travel cloak was thrown over the shoulders, and the cowl was up -- yet general size and stature suggested a woman, rather than a man. Could it be -- the craft's enigmatic, elementalist proprietor?    Nestor had said, after all, she was a private person.  And this one rather seemed to be keeping to themselves...

As Solon's foot made the deck creek just faintly, the person in question appeared to hear it, and turned to peer backward toward the young inventor-alchemist.

"What do you want?"  came the brusque inquiry, voice and visage plainly belonging to a young woman.   Perhaps just a bit older than Solon himself, if at all.
Solon
 player, 20 posts
Mon 13 Aug 2018
at 00:46
Prologue
Solon stopped, momentarily taken aback by the strangers brusqueness. He quickly recovered, however, retorting A view of the sea, so move over. his tone conveyed his light-hearted manner, however, as he moved to join her at the rail, resting his hands upon it lightly. My name is Solon. Is it always your manner to treat strangers so roughly? this was offered with a warm smile.

This message was last edited by the player at 02:21, Mon 13 Aug 2018.

Kassandra
 NPC, 2 posts
Mon 13 Aug 2018
at 20:08
Prologue
"Mmm," came the initial, sort-of-reply which was not-really-a-reply.  She glanced at him momentarily, then turned her gaze back out from the ship.

Off this side was a rather splendid view of the peninsula of Argos, with its fertile, sprawling plains, and its stately structures.    The breeze was cool and near perfect, at variance with the sullen, stormy mood of the one Solon stood next to.

"Solon, is it?" she finally said after a time, and seeing that she hadn't succeeded in chasing him off.

"What'd they bring you along to do?" 
Solon
 player, 21 posts
Mon 13 Aug 2018
at 21:01
Prologue
Not combative, not really, but quiet, sullen, and nonresponsive. He gave a small toss of a shoulder, leaned more onto the railing, and gazed out over the sea at Argos. He was good at waiting, he thought with an internal chuckle. She broke the silence first, causing him to smile and turn back to her.

That's right. Solon, son of Demetrius. Rather than letting her slide on withholding her own name, he didn't hesitate to nudge. And how might I call you? he said, his hazel eyes twinkling, but nevertheless boring into hers.

Chuckling, he gave a small shrug in response to her question. Oh, you know, a little of this a little of that. Two could play the silent game, after all.
Kassandra
 NPC, 3 posts
Mon 13 Aug 2018
at 21:27
Prologue
"Kassandra."     she said flatly.     Then, lips curving into the faintest of smiles, "I'm along to shoot arrows at things.  Mostly."

To their left and forward, some distance away, several bottlenose dolphins broke the surface of the water. Filling their lungs with air, before gracefully diving back under.

"Are you a thief?" she asked casually, apparently trying to add more clarity to the fuzzy picture Solon had drawn of his skills and purpose here.
Solon
 player, 22 posts
Mon 13 Aug 2018
at 21:47
Prologue
A smile! A small one, admittedly, but hey, it was progress. Small as it was, it elicited yet another from the young man. You must be a helluva shot, if it landed you a spot on his voyage, he said, laughing slightly, just a hint of a question in his tone.

He watched the dolphins surface, and dive, looked up at the sky, a smaller, more private smile on his lips. It broadened a bit as he looked back at her. No, not a thief. You can say I'm along to, Stir things up. I'm quite a Blast, he said conversationally, a smirk playing about his lips.it wasn't that he minded telling her, but it was more fun this way.
Kassandra
 NPC, 4 posts
Mon 13 Aug 2018
at 22:34
Prologue
"Ah, good.  I hate thieves.  And I am a 'helluva' shot," she said affirmatively, while nodding.    "Much experience hunting, out in the woodlands, around Thessaly."       

She was quiet again for a moment, then: "Are you a pyromancer, or something of the sort?"   
Solon
 player, 23 posts
Tue 14 Aug 2018
at 00:00
Prologue
I don't think many people do like thieves, he said with a shrug. He left the silence to sit, leaving Kassandra with her musings and he to return to his contemplation of the beauty around them. He shook his head at her next question, turned to look at her. No, I'm an alchemist... mostly, he said, imitating her again. Though it would backfire if he had read it wrong; if she hadn't meant mostly in regards to what she did as much as to why she was here.
Kassandra
 NPC, 5 posts
Tue 14 Aug 2018
at 00:23
Prologue
It did not seem to bother her, if she understood that he was mimicing her.    She nodded.  "Alchemist.  Good.  I hate pyromancers."   

It was a little hard to tell if her demeanor was truly as taciturn as it seemed, or if there might in fact be an underlying sense of humor, there.

From somewhere behind the pair, the sound of a hatch opening could be heard.   And there came a snorting sound --  more akin to a beast, than any sort of grunting a human might make, in the effort of heaving open a heavy portal.

Kassandra glanced back.    "Ah, it's Allax.   Have you met him, yet-?"
Allax
 NPC, 1 post
Tue 14 Aug 2018
at 00:30
Prologue
Emerging from the opened hatch onto the deck, was a creature distinctly not human.    Even if one had not seen one before, the general aspect of a minotaur was well known to most Aegeans.

Though sometimes reputed as being ten feet in height, the truth was that this individual, somewhere around seven foot tall, was more average of the species.    But, minotaurs weren't fearsome for their height, but rather for the rippling, inhuman muscle that bedecked their broad frames, and the savage ways which they put it to use.

This one seemed restrained enough, for the moment --  standing upon the deck, stretching, and sniffing the briny air.   Almost surely enjoying release from quarters that weren't designed for an inhuman creature of such bulk.

Most of the crew seemed comfortable enough with the beast's presence -- though there were several nervous glances cast, as well...
Solon
 player, 24 posts
Tue 14 Aug 2018
at 01:00
Prologue
That seems to be the general sentiment when it comes to Pyromancers. Though i can't say I've ever met one, it seems to me that I wouldn't mind, if they were smart about it. Using controlled bursts rather than just spraying wildly.

He imagined that he could sense the humour in her demeanor. Certainly, she wasn't entirely unsociable, else she'd have left the rail to him. He looked like he might say something else, when he heard the hatch being opened. He started to turn, but looked back to Kassandra as she spoke. He shook his head No, looked back... Impressively, his jaw was dropped for a few brief moments before he had the presence of mind to close it again.

Swallowing his fear, which seemed to be mostly from the reputation, as well as the impressive display of muscles. He smiled, but Kassandra would not, if she had paid more than passing attention to his previous ones, that this one, though genuine, nevertheless held just a trace of tension. He raised a hand in greeting, waving, and said H-ello, Allax, his voice wavering Juuust slightly before straightening out.
Allax
 NPC, 2 posts
Wed 15 Aug 2018
at 20:35
Prologue
The bovine head shifted in Solon's direction, as he offered greeting to the creature.   Solon traded a brief glance with a pair of green eyes, that to the young alchemist gave an impression of intelligence, not dull-witted bestialness.

The minotaur gave the briefest inclination of its head, that were Solon less perceptive he might have missed altogether.    Some acknowledgement in return, it seemed.   Of course, the creature's face was incapable of the myriad expressions a human might make.    And if it was capable of speech, it gave no indication of it, here.     Its attention went out to sea, as several more dolphins again broke the sun-sparkled waters.
Kassandra
 NPC, 6 posts
Wed 15 Aug 2018
at 20:37
Prologue
"He is the guardsman of Dysis," Kassandra put in.

"Naturally, he will accompany her and the rest of us, once we disembark onto the island."     
Solon
 player, 25 posts
Thu 16 Aug 2018
at 00:00
Prologue
Staring into the Minotaurs eyes, and seeing the bright intelligence that laid there served to put his troubled nerves to rest. He turned to Kassandra as she spoke, his eyes alight with curiosity. He nodded,then turned back to Allax. Ah so you are the one the captain told me could charm a bird out from the air, then!
Allax
 NPC, 3 posts
Thu 16 Aug 2018
at 23:51
Prologue
The minotaur snorted once again; a sound that almost seemed a remark on the absurdity of that idea, for all it wasn't a human sound.  Minotaurs were known for having some issue speaking human dialects, not having lips like a human.    Some held them as too bestial to learn or comprehend human dialects, as well.   Though others would advise that was a dangerous assumption to make.

As for Kassandra, she laughed a little, then offered:    "I wouldn't go treating everything Captain Nestor says like an oracle's truth!   He likes to have his fun, he does.   If he tries to tell you that a man who mops the ship's decks is blessed by the gods, don't listen!  Or that a pegasus awaits the man who gives all his silver to a captain."   
Solon
 player, 26 posts
Fri 17 Aug 2018
at 05:56
Prologue
After Kassandra cleared the air, Solon laughed at himself. Looking back on it, the captain's words had held the tone of a jest. Still, he retorted My situation here is hardly comparable to those outlandish examples he shrugged a little, then turned back to Allax. How is it you came to be in Dysis' service, Sir? he asked Allax the question, but it was Kassandra he turned to for an answer, an eyebrow cocking as he glanced at her.
Kassandra
 NPC, 7 posts
Mon 20 Aug 2018
at 01:39
Prologue
"Goal in common," came the basso, grunting response of the horned one.

Kassandra shook her head, "I've not long been with them.   I knew the captain, and Chloe, from a previous venture.   And was recommended by them.   That is how I came to be along.   I was told only that Allax has been guarding Dysis for some time. And that, on the isle, there may be some sort of maze that we will need to pass through.   Minotaur have a natural instinct for mazes, you know."

"So.  Tell me, alchemist - are you trying to figure out how to turn lead to gold?  That would be a safer way to gain riches, than stalking about on haunted, forsaken isles.."
Solon
 player, 27 posts
Mon 20 Aug 2018
at 02:19
Prologue
Note to self: Don't assume. Solon silently chided himself. He had erroneously assumed that the Minotaur couldn't talk. That aside, however, this Dysis lady must have one helluva goal to have so assured the service of Allax. He thought of querying the Minotaur again, but thought better of it, smiling at... The man? The bull? At him before turning to Kassandra.

I must admit, I haven't tried my hand at transmutation, I mostly just make potions. However, from what I've read, one must work on transmuting themselves before trying to transmute matter. That sort of science is the understanding of the mind as it relates to matter, and vice versa. So the alchemist in that work is focus for the transmutation in question.

It was immediately clear that Solon had no passing interest of the subject, which might lead one to wonder why, if he was so interested, he hadn't pursued it himself. Anyways, though, I'm not really interested in gold. If need be, I have many a thing I can craft and sell. Nay, my interest, Kassandra, is in the adventure of the whole affair! Not that I'm kidding myself of the danger that we're like to face, just that I'm terribly excited. To test my mettle, survive by the skin of my teeth, and smite evil! he flashed a smile, then continued And, mostly, to find my niche in a team facing incredible odds, each with a specific function, and all brought together with trust forged in battle!
Kassandra
 NPC, 8 posts
Mon 20 Aug 2018
at 19:37
Prologue
The archeress listened with authentic interest, as he related a little of his goals, mindset, and general philosophy.    Then smiled and chuckled some, on the last bit:

"Hmm.  Battle.   And, have you seen battle?   Do you know what that is really like-?   The songs and the sagas all make it sound romantic, and splendid, but the reality, let me tell you..."  she trailed off, perhaps recollecting something specific.
Solon
 player, 28 posts
Mon 20 Aug 2018
at 20:37
Prologue
Here, the young man ceded To Kassandra, smiling, tossing his shoulders lightly. I will admit, I have not seen battle. But one must begin somewhere, go get anywhere. I'd rather dive headlong into danger than skirt about its edges; at least to start with, generally speaking, as opposed to being headstrong and foolhardy.

As to the songs and sagas... I will not deny the influence they have had on me in making this decision, but I have also read accounts of soldiers, and historians accounts of various wars. I'm aware that battle is not romantic like it is made out to be, and yet there is something of battle which I must experience. Both for my own sake as a man, and to Ste the urge I have to combat the evil of our world.


He seemed to blink somewhat sheepishly, then said But please, co tinue, i am quiye interested to hear your account.
Kassandra
 NPC, 9 posts
Tue 21 Aug 2018
at 01:56
Prologue
Although she said nothing, she was reassured that he'd at least studied the reports of fighting men and (hopefully accurate) historians.   She'd already met far too many young men eager to charge headlong into melee, emboldened by the lyrics of some doggerel tune they'd heard at the local kapeleia*.

When he inquired of her own experience, her eyes strayed out to sea, and she was silent for a time.   The taciturn demeanor she'd begun with returned.   Eventually she shrugged.

"I suppose I could speak of the first.  Which was also the very worst.   Bandits attacked the village where I was born --  but, they didn't attack in an honest, straight forward way.  They were attired to look like soldiers of the nearby city -- and they ordered everybody to the front of the village.   Where bowmen began picking people off from cover.   While those in the soldiers' garb speared anybody within reach.  My parents were among the first to die.  I ran then, as did most of the other children -- some of which they slew, but they were not really interested in the very young, or the decrepit.   Only those who might fight them.  A few older girls they spared for -- well, you know.   I managed to make it back to our cottage, and hid inside, sobbing hysterically.    When I heard someone approaching the door, I got my father's short bow and an arrow.   He'd already strung it, in anticipation of hunting, that day.   I wasn't strong enough to draw it back with one arm -- I had to brace it with my feet, and use both hands.   I sat there some ways back from the door like that -- till it was forced open, and I saw the reddish, scowling face of one of the bandits.   I let the arrow fly -- and it struck him in the gut.    He toppled back, with his eyes bulging, jaw gaping.  I knew for certain others would come and kill me, if I only sat there.    So, I ran to the back, out a window, and fled into the woods.    Where I wandered miserable and half out of my head, till I was found.   By the one who took me in, and trained me."   


*kapeleia = old Greece equivalent of a bar.
Solon
 player, 29 posts
Tue 21 Aug 2018
at 03:26
Prologue
Solon listened to her account somberly, his hands gripping the rail as if in anger, but otherwise betrayed no sign of his countenance. He looked at her as she told her story, but as she concluded her tale, it was his hands he turned his gaze to, unclenching them from the rail. They were soft hands, could say they were pampered, even. Only a few tracings of scars, whispers of callouses. It was then that he resolved to take up the blade, instead of merely playing at inventions. Though he didn't quite know it yet, as the resolve yet lay half formed.

He turned back to her, his eyes hardened. It is for your story, and all others like it, that i wish to fight, he said quietly, Though in livelier moments I am like to slide over the gloom in tones of cheer and words of valour.

He had another silent moment as he looked at Allax, then about the ship. Warriors, all, and all with their share of tales, some cheery and bright, but others dark and grim. Scarred, not just in body, but in mind as well. The captain's words of ghosts came back to him then,in a haunting tone. And he, son of Demetrius, wished to fling himself headlong into this life, when he had had a soft, cushiony life.

What they must think of this one, who spoke with the bright tones of naivety, for little reason but he had few words to describe what lay underneath? He struggled for a moment, then said I just, have to do something, you know? My dad was grooming me to take over his business, but I just couldn't... I don't know when I decided that adventure was me, I just knew I couldn't sit in some corner of the world and call it mine.
Kassandra
 NPC, 10 posts
Thu 23 Aug 2018
at 01:00
Prologue
Kassandra gazed at Solon earnestly as he spoke.   Appearing perhaps a little surprised at the honesty and sincerity of his words.    From a distance off, Allax's horned head shifted their direction, seeming to overhear, and to take note.

She smiled a little wistfully, and arched a brow.   "Well, be in no hurry to rush off and lock blades with death, no matter how noble the cause.  The reaper is good enough at finding us without our help.   But, I respect you for feeling that way.   It is rare enough to find someone who possesses a conscience."  She smiled.  "And please don't think that words of cheer are a bad thing.  Sometimes, those are all there is to brighten the darkness."     
Solon
 player, 31 posts
Thu 23 Aug 2018
at 01:43
Prologue
Solon smiled back at Kassandra, even turning to shine it at Allax, whom he'd noticed shifting to look in their direction. I'll certainly keep that in mind, Kassandra. though I think, for now, Ill leave the charging to Allax, there, he said laughing, inclining his head towards the Minotaur.
Life and Death
 GM, 37 posts
Mon 27 Aug 2018
at 00:36
Prologue
She enjoyed a good chuckle over that as well, and, it seemed even the minotaur may have been faintly amused.  If one could discern from the sleight and wry tilt of his head at all.     The laughter, the sunshine and pleasing weather made it almost hard to keep in mind where the ship and its diverse, competent crew were en route to.

But then, it was said that the path to the Underworld was lined with lovely spring blossoms.  Set there by Hades' wife Persephone, so that souls leaving forever the mortal world might scent and see the beauty and bounty of life one final time...

In any case, the growing comradery betwixt several of the journeyers was warming, and laid the foundation for the sort of trust that those whose lives would depend on one another had to have.

The Lelantos was making good speed on this initial stage of the journey.   And, as the captain had promised Solon, the winds did favor the ship.