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.