The Greek Wars

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The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-02-22, 18:00

This is a story thread which anyone can feel free to join. It is much like a +1 -1 game except with a few differences-
1. This is a creative thread, not a game thread.
2. The story will drive the point scoring system, not the other way round.

Athens-8
Argos-8
Sparta-8
Corinth-8
Megara-8

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The advisor stood and watched the man hurry towards him up the steps. He was sweating in the summer heat and wondered, with a slight hint of a smile, how the messenger was feeling after riding through the city and now having to climb up to him. The messenger reached the top panting and held out a scroll. The advisor took it and unravelled it. A brief glimpse of its contents confirmed his fears and he turned on his heel and walked inside the palace.

Being the bearer of bad news the advisor did not wish to hurry and as such kept a steady pace through the corridors towards the throne room. He reached the door of the throne room and could hear the king of Argos, Aristippos, talking with someone. The advisor pushed open the door and found the king in conversation with a diplomat.

"My lord," the advisor said. "The Athenians do not intend to honour the terms of our alliance with what we have offered them. They say that if we do wish to go to war with Megara then we will stand alone."

The king stood silent for a minute thinking. He was a wise man and was as fair as a king could get although the strains of the past few weeks were beginning to show in the lines around his forehead.

"We will have to offer them more then." The king said slowly. "You will ride to Athens yourself and review the situation. I trust your judgement in these matters."

With that the king returned to his conversation with the Theban and the advisor bowed and exited the room. The ride to Athens would not take long.

The advisor mused over the situation building up in southern Greece. Aristippos had expected the Athenians to accept the gifts and join the war but in an unexpected twist they had refused. Only one year ago they themselves had wished to go to war against Megara. For those in Argos the Megarans had overstepped the line. War was coming.

Argos -1
Megara +1

Athens-8
Argos-7
Sparta-8
Corinth-8
Megara-9


Last edited by Volksie on 2008-03-30, 05:51; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Kasey on 2008-02-24, 10:31

"Well Nicodemus, what should we do?"
"My Lord King", I replied, "Argos is taking and agressive stance towards Megara, unless they which to send their forces via the sea, they will have to cross the Isthmus"
"Why should this concern me?"
"Because if you let them through then you will be seen to support them, but if you block their passage, then it might seem that Corinth sides with Megara"
"You are my military advisor, what is your advice?"
"Argos is powerful, and if Athens, as their ally, supports them then they will overpower Megara, I feel we have no choice, sire, but to side with Argos"
The King dismissed me, despite my strong advice to King Appolinius, I was still concerned that supporting Argos was a bad idea, it was never good to let one state rise above the others, I would need to keep an eye on Argos
"Lysander, ride to Argos, tell them Corinth will support them if they decide to go to war with Megara, in return we wish for more trade between our two cities"


Megara -1
Corinth +1

Athens 8
Argos 7
Sparta 8
Corinth 9
Megara 8
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-02-24, 15:40

It was here, I knew, in the wonderous city of Athens, that the greatest political decisions of the age were to be made. The Megarans thought themselves wise. Pah. Athena herself granted us the wisdom of the Gods, and the ability to use it. Sparta thought herself strong. Perhaps, but Athenian soldiers had many times over proved their worth, and despite having lost his bid to be patron of our city, Poseidon had often granted us supreme power over the seas. Athens had the ability to shape the world to her own purposes. And we would weild that power for the betterment of all- whether they wished it or not.

The diplomat from Argos had arrived with their terrible proposition but a week past. And although we had refused it so strongly, I saw the profit to be made in such a move. And now a new messenger had come, with far more generous terms. I smiled inwardly. They were putty in our hands.

I, Aristoxenus, was a junior member on the council, and had only recently become a strategos. But all that said, I could still see the decision already made in each council member's eyes. A decision that could only work in our favour. The council went into hushed decision over the matter as a pretence, but in truth everyone in the hall on that fateful day could see that they had silently agreed on their decision long before.

Finally, Tamaeros, eldest of the council, adressed the messenger from Argos. "We have come to a decision. Tell your master, we accept these gifts that you offer us. However, we do not see that an avoidable war with a city as great as Megara should be started needlessly. Tell your master that in the event of your invasion of Megara, we shall speak to their king. We shall demand a monthly tribute from them, and one quarter of this shall go to the city of Argos. Should they refuse these terms, we too shall declare war upon them. So speaks the Athenian council".

"As you wish" came the reply. It was done. The King of Argos could not refuse this- war with Megara was inevitable for him, and without our financial or military support it was a battle he could easily lose. And so we awaited the reply, and the Megaran powers felt their support crumble from underneath them.


Megara -1
Athens +1

Athens 9
Argos 7
Sparta 8
Corinth 9
Megara 7
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-02-24, 23:16

The messenger's voice startled me back to reality. "I said, I'm here to see your master!" With an apologetic bow, I opened the flap of the tent and stuck my head inside.
"My lord," I said, "a messenger from the city is here for you." Commander Byzas looked up from his parchments. "Send him in, Dragos. I have been expecting him."

I let the messenger enter. Standing guard in front of the Commander of the Spartan army's tent was a good place to catch wind of all the political goings on in Greece. I could hear everything that was said in there.

"The Great King commands you break camp and march to the city of Megara immediately. You are to support them in battle, should the need arise." I nearly dropped my spear when I heard that. Sparta, supporting Megara? This is not good news. The other city states would not find this amusing, indeed, all out war seems certain. "Tell my King we will leave at once. You are dismissed" I heard Byzas say. Dazed, I did not even notice the messenger leave. The Commander strutted out of his tent. "Prepare to break camp. We march at dawn!" he shouted.

All of a sudden the camp was no longer quiet. Men began gathering equipment, getting dressed in full armour. Fires were put out, and games of dice stopped instantly. The Commander stood staring at the sky for a moment. "Zeus protect us," was all he said before stepping back inside his tent to start preparing for the march. A march, I am sure, he dreaded as much as I did.

Sparta -1
Megara +1

Athens 9
Argos 7
Sparta 7
Corinth 9
Megara 8
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Kasey on 2008-02-25, 09:27

"Lord"
"What, Nicodemus?"
"Argos has sent word, Athens too will support Argos in their war against Megara"
"Good, do they want troops?"
"Yes my Lord" I replied
"Get the men ready, you will lead the men"
"Thank you for this honour, my Lord" I exited, I was on my way to ready my forces when a small squat man wearing a cloak grabbed my arm, I spun round, and saw who it was, Arrichion, my spy"
"Sweet Zeus's beard! You startled me!"
"Sorry, I am sure" he paused "My Lord" he added sarcastically, I had known Arrichion from childhood. He had been the son of one of our family slaves and we had developed an odd friendship, which my father hadn't approved of.But when the old man had died, tragically murdered by a robber, I had freed Arrichion, the favour of disposing of my father was just the start of Arrichion career of subderfuge for me.
"So, what news, what plan the other states?"
"Athens as I am sure you have heard will support Argos, as will your forces for Corinth"
"Good, Megara will be friendless!" Arrichion looked doubtful
"What, Arrichion, what have you heard?"
"There are rumors among.....the helots"
"WHAT!!" I shouted, causing other people in the street to turn and stare at the proud soldier and statesmen, talking to the small hooded man "The helots....? That can only mean...."
"Yes, they say Sparta will support Megara"
"But...But.." I was shocked, Sparta never risked their Spartiates on affairs that didn't threaten Sparta, for them to become embroiled in the petty Greek squables was unheard of. I dismissed Arrichion, who would doubtless travel to some wh0rehouse for the night.
My mind was in turmoil, there was something sinister going on hear, I could feel it, I knew not what to do, if I showed King Appolinius that I was afraid of the Spartiates then he might dismiss me for cowardice, the King of Corinth was not a kind or sentimental man, I was useful to him, but their were other men just as useful, finally I began to see some good in this, if King Appolinius was seen to send his men against the mighty Spartans. He would surely lose popularity in Corinth, especially if his men were defeated, and with command of the army I was in a unique position to see this happen.Yes , I thought, if I could let Sparta and Megara win, yet heroically save my men, Appolinius would lose face and I would become a hero. Then I could close my net on the Corinthian King, removing him from power, and sitting myself on the throne....

Corinth -1
Megara +1

Athens 9
Argos 7
Corinth 8
Sparta 7
Megara 9
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-02-25, 10:57

"So, the greybeard was right".
Artemios leaned against the pillar nonchalantly, batting his eyelids lazily as he enjoyed the bliss that was the cooling shade that the roof of his porch afforded us, a huge contrast to the opressive heat outside. It was to be a hard summer, I could see. The very furnaces of Hades seemed to have descended upon Greece. I shuddered. That did not bode well for any of us.

"Spartans were ever pompous fools, Artemios, fools far too proud of their own strength to see the weakness in their decision. A halfwit could have predicted that they would side with Megara". I took a sip of wine as I replied, savouring the rich and full flavour of Artemios' own vineyards. Like myself, he had been born into one of the traditionally richer families in Athens, near the outskirts of the city. His father was a portly man, jovial and generous- or at least, he had been up until his death from some mysterious malady several years before. But not until he had managed to squander the vast majority of wealth that his family had accumulated over the years. Naturally, as his only son and heir, Artemios had inherited what was left of his father's lands when this had happened- and immediately went about retrieving what his father had lost. In a short few years his family name had once again become one of the most prosperous in all Athens- and with it came a reputation for shrewd decision-making and ruthless determination that belied his seemingly lethargic and apathetic approach to life. His vineyards were some of the most profitable in Greece, and his olive groves a great blessing to the area- and his pockets.

We had been friends ever since our educational days- in the same class, we always sat, worked, argued and discussed together. Our teacher had been a wizened old man with a strange cough like a file rasping at metal. He loved to tell us of the old times, of when Zeus walked the earth, and Achilles slew thousands upon the battlefield. And, like Achilles, that teacher now lay dead, another memory now long gone. Throughout our schooling, Artemios had excelled in all we studied, whilst I merely did well. That said, it had always been clear that Artemios would never make a military man, whilst I had inherited the fine tradition of fighting in the wars in my family. As such, we made an unlikely team in the council. It was he who had persuaded the council to allow me to take command during the Dacian crisis but a few years ago- the success that allowed me to enjoy my current role as one of the ten Athenian strategoi. And now we stood outside his sprawling, ornately decorated house, discussing the events of the last meeting.

"I suppose you realise that your orders down to Corinth are a great compliment from the elders? Only the best would be comitted to an action that could lead to conflict with Sparta". Artemios looked at me over the rim of his cup, awaiting a reply.

"Ha. I noticed how Cleitos responded when he discovered his force would remain in Athens," I said, smiling. "He looked like Zeus himself, about to smite us all with some angry thunderbolt".

"And quite right too. A foolhardy youth like you are I should not be entrusted with such high favours", said Artemios, his face completely serious. However ridiculous the joke, Artemios would never break into a smile. His control of his emotions had ever been an object of some wonder to me- it was a skill I had never mastered.

"Ah, and indeed they shall all see the error of their decision when I come crying back to my mother, having cut myself on a spear". My sarcasm was far more obvious. "But joking aside, I begin to doubt the wisdom of the council in this move. Surely sending an army in support of Corinth even before a war has begun can only weaken our position should Megara choose to strike at us first?".

"Perhaps," Artemios said slowly, staring at the side of his cup in contemplation. "But this move will aid us in the long-run twofold- firstly, the new alliance with them is very shaky- your presence will strengthen their resolve to hold against Megara and Sparta should conflict arise. And secondly- well, a little intelligence gathered here and there can never hurt us..."

Just then, footsteps rang out, signalling the approach of the herald from the council. He arrived, breathless, in full armour. He was obviously a man who valued pomp and honour far greater than personal comfort, I saw, as he slowly stewed inside the metal coverings. Still, we could all be in that position when- no, if- war broke out. He spoke, his high, nasal voice piercing as it echoed off the marble surfaces

"My Strategos Aristoxenus, your troops are assembled. Your orders are to meet with one Nicodemus of Corinth. All else of your mission you will be told in private as you board your ship. May the wisdom of Athena and the power of Zeus go with you."

"And with you", I replied. And we strode off toward the future of Greece.

Corinth +1
Athens -1

Athens 8
Argos 7
Corinth 9
Sparta 7
Megara 9
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-02-25, 12:12

Why are we protecting this city? Why are we putting our lives on the line for a city in a weak strategic position from our point of view? Why are we meddling in the affairs of weaker cities? I'll tell you why. Our king has a plan. Gods only knows what that plan is, but Sparta did not become the strongest military city in Greece by making careless military gambles.

We arrived at Megara by sea, foregoing a long march through enemy territory. Our arrival was a welcome boost to the people of the city, as their army was nowhere near as powerful as the mighty Spartan force now camped near the walls.

It was barely midday when Byzas summoned me to his tent. He had a mysterious look on his face as he adressed me. "Our army being sent here is nothing but a diversion. The King is moving another force to assault the city of Argos, while their attention is focused Megara. By now, the city should be under siege. We are to abandon Megara, and march on the city of Corinth. Any questions?"

I snapped to attention. "No sir" I replied. "Things make more sense now, I'll admit."
He cracked a smile. "We leave at night. Prepare the men, but keep it quiet."

"Yes sir!"
Sparta +1
Megara -1

Athens 8
Argos 7
Corinth 9
Sparta 8
Megara 8

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-02-25, 14:21

It became obvious very quickly, I discovered, exactly why joint actions between City States were so rare. Already I and my men- a full sixth of Athens' standing army, along with a few militias and mercenaries- had been in Corinth for a week, aiding with the local garrisons, and whiling away time as events unfurled around us. And still Nicodemus, my allied commander, without whom I could not make any move with the Corinthian troops, had put off any meeting between the two of us. For the third time in five days, I was told that he was busy thinking over our position and that he would not have time to speak with me until some later date. I seethed. We needed to act!

It had not, against all of our expectations, been Argos who had made the first step, the first act of war. Sparta, proud and headstrong Sparta, had instead taken the initiative, and the messenger who had reached me but a day past had told me that Argos had been placed under siege by a Spartan army. Furthermore, intelligence reports told us that the second Spartan army sent to Megara had moved out overnight, and not in the direction of Athens. This could only mean one thing. Corinth was under threat. And still, Nicodemus had turned me away, whether a pretence fabricated to flaunt his influence over me in this situation or out of a true misguided sense of priorities here, I did not know. All I knew was that there was an army of Spartans approaching the City, and to allow them to besiege us rather than meeting them in the field would be a great folly indeed.

Of all Greeks, the Spartans are the most heartless, cruel wretches, whose only goal in life is to slay as many good Greeks upon the end of their Doru as possible. They are the opposite of we Athenians: rash where we are wise, barbaric where we are civillised, warmongering where we are calm. And I am sure that they realise this, deep down- for ever Athens has been the envy of all Greece. And ever their jealousy leads them to doing all they can to destroy those around them.

As I strode back to my quarters, still fuming, I noted the great beauty of this richer section of the city. Brilliant white marble shone out covering every house and living quarters. To my left as I traversed a bustling square, a majestic temple rose up against the sky. Every surface on it was polished to perfection, a glimmering jewel amply projecting the beauty of the gods. Onyx blocks supported intricately-decorated marble pillars, beautiful constructions covered in carvings of our legendary sires- here, Herekles fought the Hydra, proudly standing out against the innumerable serpentine heads. There, the minotaur gasped its last as Theseus ran it through. Above this, the gold-plated roof reflected in all its glory the brightness of the morning Sun as it rose for another day. I sighed and shook my head. Such wonders could not be allowed to fall to Spartan hands.

I had eaten, washed and sat in thought for two and a half hours before the runner arrived. A sharp knock came on the door. I looked up as my slave opened it to the man, sweating, clutching in his hand a roll of parchment.

"Lord Aristoxenus of Athens?" he enquired, between ragged gasps for breath.

"That is me." I rose to greet the man, as I beckoned for the servants to bring him water. "What do you have that requires my attention?"

"I bring a letter addressed to you from your hometown. It brings urgent news about recent developments. That is all I know."

"Thankyou," I replied, taking the letter, "I am grateful of your service. Take these coins and have a drink before you leave".

I turned to the letter. It bore the seal of Artemios' house. I unfolded the parchment, still damp from the sweat of the runner's palm. On it, in Artemios' instantly recognisable script, was written;

'My good friend Aristoxenus,

Greetings from myself and the Council. I have been instructed to inform you of the latest developments from our city. Doubtless, you already know of the Spartan army that landed near Megara, and of its subsequent movement toward Corinth. The Council wish you all the guidance of Athena as you deal with this threat.

I am writing to assure you that the Council is not remaining inactive whilst you prepare to fight such a great threat. It was my suggestion that, now that the Spartans have committed themselves so fully, it would be a good time to thrust a knife into their back- diplomatically speaking, that is. I put it to the council that we should send an envoy to the Megarans, offering mutual friendship and diplomatic pressure upon Argos and Corinth not to attack them, should they allow our troops free access overland from Athens to Corinth, and should they not fight alongside Sparta. Obviously, these terms alone would not convince them to turn against the Spartans. And so we are also offering them a large financial incentive, should they accept our terms. The majority of the Council agreed with my move. I noted Tamaerus voted against. The old man has been acting very strangely ever since the beginning of this affair. But I passed my suggestion, and the messenger should have reached Mesana as I write this. I am sure, even if they do not accept, we shall sow enough doubt in their hearts as to render them impotent until you have dealt with the immediate threat.

How is it in Corinth? Are the views any fairer than those we can see from the walls of Athens?

If you do not reply, I shall assume you have been slain and your corpse is feeding the carrion birds, in which case I can only hope you do not give them stomach ache.

May the wisdom of Athena and the power of Zeus go with you,

Artemios'

I grinned. This was good news. Hopefully the financial incentive would be enough- even Spartans could be destroyed if attacked from both East and West at once.


Athens +1
Sparta -1

Athens 9
Argos 7
Corinth 9
Sparta 7
Megara 8
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Kasey on 2008-02-26, 09:30

With the news from the messenger that Argos was under Spartan siege and that armies were moving for Corinth there could be no doubt that We had to act. I stopped to think, this had ruined everything, now was not the time to execute my plan, the freedom of Corinth hung on the descisions tha I made now. I had to talk to the Athenian,Aristoxenus to agree opon a plan, already one was forming in my head, I did not wnat to be besieged, and with the armies of athens boosting my numbers the time to take the initiative had arrived.

I sent a messenger to Aristoxenus telling him to expect me presently, I readied myself for the meeting, I wore a fine white cloak, I hoped that the Athenian would be easily impressed because my plan would leave Athens in great danger, not to mention Corinth.

I arived at the quaters that had been granted to the Athenians, I made my way to meet Aristoxenus, as I entered the room, i saw a man standing in the corner, as I entered he moved to greet me
"Ah, Lord Nicomedus, I am glad you made time in your...busy...scedule to greet me"
"Lord Aristoxenus, greetings, I trust the accomodations are to your liking?" I was carefullly avoiding why I had refused to meet with the Athenian, "Right, to business, I trust you have heard of Sparta's movements?" Aristonexus nodded his affermative, "Well I have a plan, if it meets with your approval we can act on it as soon as possible"
"This plan is....?"
"Well, with your men my,...I mean our forces now outnumber the Spartan Army that moves on Corinth, i do not whish to be besieged, so we will assemble North of the city, and fight them!"
"In the open field...?" he sounded sceptical
"Yes" I enthused "The Spartans are not invinsible, they are outnumbered, we smash their army north of the city, then we come to the second phase of my plan..."
Aristoxenus interupted "We break the siege of Argos?"
"No, although I am confident that we will beat the force coming from the north, I will not deny that we will suffer large causulties, I feel that to attack the larger army at Argos could ruin us, no, we go for the throat! We march on Sparta itself!" I was exited, the audacity of my plan was showing itself to me,
"On Sparta...?" he still wasn't convinced, bloody cowardly Athenians! By Zeus they may be wise, but bravery surely isn't a virtue that passed from their godess to their leaders
"If we march on Sparta, all the Spartan forces will rush to defend it, the Helots may even rise up! The Spartans will be out of action for the rest of this season, so my good Athenian, does this plan meet with your approval? Or does your....senate" I said the word distastefully "have a better plan....?"

Argos-1
Megara+1

Athens 9
Argos 6
Corinth 9
Sparta 7
Megara 9


PS>Just thought I'd say the reasons for my slightly erratic points, Argos loses 1 because Nicomedus' plan won't brake the spartan siege of their city, at least not straight away, whilst he plans no offensiev actions against Megara, so they gain a point

PPS>Thanks for the friendly remindr to post Tombles :p
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-02-26, 12:11

I ducked under a clumsy swipe by a Corinthian soldier, countering with a low thrust that penetrated his armour below the chest. He slid off my blade, and joined the multitude of corpses already littering the field. I looked around and saw the remaining Corinthians routing. They had been harrassing us for days now, until we finally cornered them here. We are now within striking distance of their capital, with only a few casualties along the way.

That night, Commander Byzas called me to his tent.
"I have a mission for you, Dragos. Take this message to the Athenian Council. It is a detailed offer of co-operation , which would be profitable to both our cities. The King is prepared to offer Corinth to the Athenians, if their army assists in its capture. We can deal with Argos on our own. After that, Megara can be sacked without a problem, and can also remain in Athenian control. We only want Argos, and some of the spoils of Megara. Surely this is something they cannot reasonably refuse?"

I nodded. We have no quarrel with Athens, indeed, of all the greek cities they are our best trading partners. In fact I have some friends on the council, myself. Aristoxenus and I studied philosophy together, many years ago. I wonder how he is? Gathering my things, I set off on the journey to Athens.

Sparta +1
Corinth -1

Athens 9
Argos 6
Corinth 8
Sparta 8
Megara 9

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-02-26, 13:24

I rolled out of the bed lazily and stretched. Over-exercised muscles pulled tightly and I winced. The wh0re behind me rolled over too but went back to sleep. Rising, I put on my clothes and walked out of the spacious room into the wide landing. There was little activity in the brothel early in the morning and the doors down the corridor remained shut and silent apart from one far down the end.

A quick jog down the stairs woke me up somewhat and I entered the bar in a good mood. The bartender and owner of the large brothel stood behind the bar and I ordered a breakfast. As he shuffled around I sat down at one of the tables and enjoyed an early mug of ale. After wiping the frothy foam from my stubble I noticed another man sitting in the room idly. I made brief eye contact with him and he nodded greeting.

"Only the wicked drink before dawn." He said with a slight smile.

I didn't reply and he drank from his mug too. Soon my breakfast came and I dug in hungrily. All the while the man watched me and I became unsettled. When I had finished I sat back and looked back at him.

"Adrastos?" The man asked eventually and I started at the sound of my name.

"How do you know me?" I asked suspiciously and instinctively placed my hand on my knife.

"I was given a description of you."

"By whom?" I demanded.

"A man of great standing in Megara and Greece." The man answered again simply. "A man you know, a man you have met, a man who you have killed for."

A knot tightened in my stomach and I looked fearfully towards the bar. The bartender had disappeared out into the kitchens. I rose quickly and sat down at the man's table.

"What does he want?" I asked quickly and quietly. "I don't kill anymore. That was years ago."

"My dear Adrastos," The man said with a lazy smile. "You never stopped working. You're just on holiday." His manner suddenly turned cold and he leaned in towards me. "Don't forget what we can do to you. We can find you…and we can hurt you."

"Just tell me then!" I lost my patience. "If your master finds his senators too much trouble for him again then I'd be happy to put politics aside and just crack one over the head in a dark alley somewhere." I said sarcastically.

The man chuckled and became warm again.

"No no no, not that. You've been in self-retirement for too long. We're giving you something to get rid of the dust you've collected sitting on the shelf."

The man rose and made ready to leave. I caught him on the collar and pulled him towards me, face to face.

"Listen, you rotten bastard, tell me now or I'll open your guts and your masters can go be damned in Hades for all i care!"

"You've grown a spine as you've gotten older," The man said in a bored tone and he removed my hands. "Just remember, a spine can be easily snapped. You're to travel to Corinth," He said as he moved to the door. "Kill Aristoxenus of Athens or Nicomedus of Corinth. We don't really care which one but both would be great. Enjoy your whores, Adrastos."

Megara +1
Corinth -1

Athens 9
Argos 6
Corinth 7
Sparta 8
Megara 10
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-02-26, 13:28

As I sat down waiting for Aristoxenus in the antechamber of his house I wondered how the years had treated him. Would he still be the same man I knew back then? Or would he be a high and mighty Athenian council member, like the rest of those know-it-all fools? I felt sure I could persuade him to listen to my king's proposal. After all, it would be very advantageous for the city of Athens.

I heard the town crier outside shouting exitedly.
"Spartan Army crushes yet another Argos army attempting to break the siege. The city is in dire trouble!"
I smiled.

Sparta +1
Argos -1

Athens 9
Argos 5
Corinth 7
Sparta 9
Megara 10

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-02-26, 13:29

"Why do I do these things to myself," I thought as I squeezed myself against the wall of Corinth. I was busy scaling the walls by rope, as the city was holed up for the impending siege. A gust of wind made me lose my footing, nearly causing me to fall to my death. I clung to the rope as I swung about, struggling to regain a foothold. Finally, I managed to stabilise myself, hoping I didn't alert the guards on the wall.

When I found out that Aristoxenus was not in Athens, I was quite angry. Even more so when I found out he was in Corinth, the very city that we were marching towards. I had to get in, and get that message to him somehow. Unfortunately, the city was being sealed, and everyone searched at the gates. So, I had to find another way in. Weighing my options, I decided to wait for nightfall, and then scale the walls. Crazy, I know, but I am Spartan, skilled in physical things, not tomfoolery and trickery.

Finally I reached the top of the walls. The patrolling guard had just passed this position, so it was unmanned. Swiftly, I unhooked the rope from the wall, and let it drop down over the edge. No need to alarm an alert guardsman by leaving evidence. Now, to get off the wall.

I saw a tall building quite close to the wall. With a bit of luck I could jump from the wall onto the roof, and then escape into the city. Seemed as good a plan as any, so I went for it.

I landed loudly... very loudly in fact. The building was older than I thought, and when the roof began to creak under my weight, I knew I was in trouble. The roof gave way, crashing me down into what seemed to be a storage chamber of some sort. I landed heavily on my shoulder, grunting as pain shot through my arm. Ignoring my discomfort, I scrambled to my feet, and rushed out of the door. I could hear an alarm bell tolling nearby.
"Damn," I thought, "I have to get out of here."
Thankfully the street was empty, although I could hear people running in my direction. I hurried around a corner, keeping to the shadows as much as possible. I hid in a dark alcove as the guards rushed by me. After staying for a few moments to catch my breath, I made my way deeper into the city, hoping to find Aristoxenus sooner, rather than later.

Sparta +1
Argos -1

Athens 9
Argos 4
Corinth 7
Sparta 10
Megara 10

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Kasey on 2008-02-26, 14:53

This was a nightmare, not only had I been humilated by the Spartans but now a Spartan siege of my beautiful city seemed inevitable! If I carried on like this I'd be the most hated man in Corinth within a month. I had my agent, Arrichion out spreading propganda about my superhuman feats at the battle, but I doubted that the people of Corinth would belive that any more than they'd believe that Hades was giving out gifts in the streets! No, I had to survive this, bloody Argonites! If I had only advised neutrality this would never have happened!

I was worried about the loyalty of the Athenians as well, the Spartan Army had marched away from Athens to reach Corinth, so thet=y probably wouldn't attack it now, the cowardly Athenians would probablyu want to see peace with Sparta, and I doubt that they'd care if Corinth feel because of their spineless cowardice,At least I consoled myself I have their rising star, and 1/6 of their men here, they won't want to lose them, at least I hope they won't, if I lost the Athenians I might as well give up, at least with them I still had the Advantage of numbers, but but the men were demoralised after the loss, and feared the Spartans greater skill in warfare, "Ahhhhhhh!" I screamed, then noticed there was a messenger at the door,
"Lord Nicomedus..." his voice trailed off nervously
"What?!" I said agressively, I was in no mood to be bothered
"The guards say they have spotted an intruder"
"An intruder...?"
"Yes Lord"
"Where....?"

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Sparta -1

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Argos 4
Corinth 8
Sparta 9
Megara 10
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-02-26, 14:55

Standing in my chamber, I went over the events of the last few days in my head. Most important, I thought over my conversation with Nicodemus, our decision over what we had to do in preparation for the inevitable Spartan attack. To my delight, the Corinthian was not completely idiotic. He too saw the wise path to be that of meeting them in the open, rather than waiting out a siege whilst the Spartans strengthened their position in the rest of Greece. Obviously, I had pretended to be sceptical. Ally or not, I did not trust this man. His over-friendly manner, his fixed smile, his visible greed... He had motives beyond the mere protection of Corinth. That much had been obvious even before his preposterous proposition of an attack on Sparta itself.

Attack Sparta? What was he, insane? Yes, he was right when he said that the Spartan army besieging Argos would lift the siege and move to defend Sparta. But how could he not see, this would then sandwich us in between the Spartans in the city and those bearing down on us from the north? His plan offered no time for Athenian reinforcements, so would rely entirely upon whatever I had left from my army after the clash for Corinth, and Corinthian troops. Corinthian troops whose strength I would not trust if attacked from North and South by Spartans. All this I had barely restrained myself from shouting when he proposed it. But no. I had to maintain a relatively compliant approach. After all, Nicodemus was not the only one who had hidden motives. I had a good idea, from my orders, exactly what the council were planning.

I had, instead, suggested that after the defeat of the Spartan army near Corinth, we would await a further, larger Athenian army, led by Cleitos. When it arrived, we would follow Nicodemus' plan, but with Cleitos' army shadowing the movements of the Spartan army currently at Argos. When the Spartan army had gone far enough from Argos, we would double back, and hit the Soartan army from the South, with Cleitos' force joining us from the North, so as to surround the Spartans on two sides. Nicodemus had seemed angered that I had not followed his original plan, but had grudgingly accepted. And so it was agreed.

My thoughts were interrupted by a low thud from the direction of the window. A shadow appeared on the wall in front of me, a caped shadow, panting. This could be no assassin- he had made no attempt to disguise his coming. And neither could he be a lawful member of either army, or else he would not steal in so. Yes. I knew what this was about. Still staring at the wall in front of me, I spoke, my hushed tones echoing sarcasm about the room.

"So, Sparta has sent a messenger at last? You took your time, did you not? Tell me, who do I have the pleasure of speaking to?"

"I think you know me already, Aristoxenus" came the reply. I froze. I knew that voice. I was sure of it...

I turned. There, in front of me stood Dragos, the Spartan who had come to study in Athens in my childhood. He had not changed much in that time- bulkier, with more facial hair, but still the same basic features. Looking into his eyes I saw that same piercing gaze that had so often met mine when we had studied together all those years ago. He was dressed in brown and black cloth, hooded and caped. From the shadows of his cloak I caught a glimpse of a pommel. Instinctively, my hand inched slightly toward the handle of my own blade.

I had always felt a faint disgust towards this man when we were boys studying philosophy together, though why that was and whether he knew I could not say. We had been friends of a sort- although I would be lying if I said that I had ever liked him more than your average acquaintance. He had ever stuck out at the academy- the barbarity of Spartans could never truly be hidden. That said, with it went a sense of honour and pride that made him one of the most honest men I had ever known. Hopefully his servitude in the army of the Spartan monsters would not have changed this.

"Dragos," I said, rising slowly to my feet. "It has been a long time."

"Indeed it has." said the Spartan. "How is life on the council treating you?" His eyes communicated honest curiosity about me. Well, this was not the time nor the place.

"Look, we can spend an hour on the little niceties and pretences of politics if we must, or alternatively you can say what your masters have sent you to say. We are at war, in case you had forgotten"

"But are we, my friend? We both know that our great cities are the most powerful in Greece- and although we may differ greatly in opinion, our cities make the most excellent of partners."

"Get to the point, Dragos" I muttered, feigning a cocked ear and dropping my voice to an even lower whisper than it had been before. "I think I hear the guards outside of my quarters moving about".

His eyes didn't even flicker, and neither did he give any other sign of fear. Obviously messengers from Sparta were a lot harder to trick into a sense of urgency than ones from less militaristic states.

"My master, Commander Byzas, told me to deliver this message to you, from the most glorious City of Sparta. Sparta has ever valued Athenian support, and hopes to see it continue through this bloody affair. Indeed, the rulers of Sparta are prepared to offer Corinth to Athens, should her army assists in its capture. And, of course, given that Athens abandons her alliance with Argos. After that, Megara can be sacked without a problem, and can also remain in Athenian control. His royal highness only wishes the governship of the rebellious state that Argos, and some of the spoils of Megara. These are the terms. Tell me, will the council accept, and how long will it take for them to give a formal reply?"

I listened, astounded. As he ended his speech, I took a deep breath, considering deeply what words I was to say. And when they came, they came with a gale of fury shook my frame to the core

"Tell me, Dragos, do your people really consider us such honourless blackguards? Do you honestly think that friendships in Athens are really considered so worthless? Let me remind you, Argos has been the closest ally of Athens for many a long year. And I would never think- nay, dream- of treating my hosts, these good and honest Corinthian soldiers, with such indignity and malice! Your people are shame by the mere suggestion of these atrocities!" I seethed, glaring at him. "Now tell your Commander Byzas this: These are the conditions that I, Aristoxenus, Strategos of Athens, have been permitted by my revered Council to deliver to you. Firstly, Sparta will abandon her siege of Argos. All Spartan troops in the area of Argos, Corinth and Athens will immediately be withdrawn. In return, Sparta will be granted the right to retain lordship over the 17 townships and villages originally Argos that she has occupied in this conflict. Should the Spartan army wish an assault upon Megara to be made, Athens would gladly help- on the condition that Megara was placed under the control of Athens, not Sparta, upon its capture. Naturally, half of the fighting men from Megara will be given unto Sparta, and Sparta will receive each year a tribute equal to half of the annual surplus in foodstuffs, wine and money produced in Megara, as recognition of the equal role that Sparta played in her capture. For the first year, this produce will be granted by Sparta to Corinth, as repayment for Furthermore, tell your commander that, should he refuse to meet our generous requests, we shall gladly meet him upon the field of battle. And there he shall meet his death. So speaks Aristoxenus."

I glared at Dragos. My breath came in rags, broken by the furious whispers in which I berated him. His face was imperceptible- whether because of my consuming anger, or superb skills of concealment on his part, I shall never know. And with that, he moved to leave. I grabbed his arm, and in a vicious whisper, said to him "Athens will defend Argos. You have my oath." I released him, and he left my chambers the same way he had come.

I waited a full five minutes after he had gone, before going over to the window and looking down. Yes, he was not hiding to listen in on me. I looked back up. "He is gone," I said. And out from the shadowed furnishings in the corner of the room, stepped the Corinthian soldier who had listened to our every word. "Good, soldier. Now you know your duty, as your lord Nicodemus instructed you before the arrival of our guest. When you have followed him to the Spartan camp, report back to us as to where he is. That will be all."

Finally, with the soldier gone, I took a deep sigh. Nicodemus had forced my hand here- sending a spy to the Spartan camp could only lead to worsening in our relations should he be captured. Still, hopefully my diplomatic requests would be granted. Or else I knew the whole of Greece would be enveloped in the flames of war…



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Argos 5
Corinth 8
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-02-27, 00:04

Corinth's walls were much larger than they had first seemed from the ground. The rope swung lazily and I nearly slipped again. I clung helplessly to the rope for a few seconds and tried not to look down. Gathering my wits I started to climb again. A few minutes later I had my hand on the ramparts and was pulling myself over. I steadied myself and then felt two pairs of hands grab me from either side. Two guards stood smiling at me.

"Are you just looking for some exercise or is your business in Corinth enough to rouse suspicion among us, the authorities." one asked amused. "You're not the first to have climbed these walls tonight. Perhaps we should start a climbing tax, ay, Nieander?"

"Just a late night climb." I answered pathetically.

They both chuckled and dragged me off.

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Argos 5
Corinth 9
Sparta 8
Megara 9
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-02-27, 00:12

Damn that Athenian fool. Why would he squander an opportunity to affirm his city as the powerhouse of northern Greece? He has definitely changed since I saw him last. Confounded Athenian politics must have swayed him. No matter. I have done what was asked of me.

I made my way through the dark streets of the city, wondering how the hell I'm going get out. The guards were on alert, after my "noisy" entry into the city. Word was, they caught another fool trying to climb the walls. Haha, lucky I did it first! Still, I don't think I'll be able to exit the way I came. My shoulder was quite sore, and probably wouldn't last the climb.

Ah, there he was. Ever since I left Aristoxenus, I felt sure I was being followed. The man was quite skilled, but I did not become Byzas' most trusted guard by being easy to deceive. Hmmm... maybe I could use this to my advantage. Giving no indication that I had seen him, I let the man follow me to within sight of the city gates. As I rounded a corner, I ducked in behind a cart outside a shop, where I remaining deadly still. He stepped round the corner, and as he passed my hiding place, I put my hands around his neck, stifling his attempted scream.
"Tell Aristoxenus to stop underestimating me. He should know better" I whispered just before I knocked him unconscious with the hilt of my dagger.

The second part of my plan was risky, but there wasn't much choice. I started yelling at the top of my voice, trying to mimic a common Corintian accent.
"MURDER! MURDER! THEY'VE KILLED HIM!"
Three of the four guards at the gate sprinted in my direction. I had to move quickly and quietly to avoid them, but I just managed to do so. Running half crouched along the buildings I reached the entry plaza. I drew my blade and rushed the single remaining guard. To his credit, the man overcame his surprise swiftly, levelling his spear and raising his shield as I approached. He did not see the dagger in my other hand however, and when I flicked it at his exposed throat, he couldn't react quickly enough. It pierced his throat, knocking him backwards. I ran straight past him, hearing his weapons clatter to the ground.

The danger was not past, however. Arrows where whistling past me as I ran towards the Spartan camp. I kept my eyes fixed on the glows of the many campfires, praying to Zeus for just a bit more luck. They were firing randomly into the night, but they might easily get a lucky shot. An arrow grazed my already sore shoulder, but I didn't cry out, knowing that it would give away my position in the darkness. Drawing on all my strength, I kept running at full speed, away from that accursed city. Soon I was in the clear, but I didn't slow down until I reached our camp.

Athens rejecting our proposal was a slight setback to our plans in the north. I wonder what the powers that be will do about this?

Corinth +1
Argos -1 (because of the ongoing siege)

Athens 9
Argos 4
Corinth 10
Sparta 8
Megara 9

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-02-27, 09:46

I strode into Nicodemus' lodgings that next day uninvited, glaring with fury. Two guards crossed their spears to stop my access, but I knocked them aside. The Corinthian looked up from his drawn out plans and strategies in surprise.

"You fool! Why did you force me to send a spy after the Spartan? Now there's no way we can avert war and save all our peoples!" I couldn't conceal my fury and the Corinthian for a second was too startled to react. But, like any good statesman, he was quick to take control of his thoughts and gave me an infuriating half-smile.

"I seem to remember, Aristoxenus, that to spy on him was not my initial order. If you had only not argued with me and allowed my guard to kill the Spartan in your chamber..."

"And then diplomacy would still fail! Can you not see, through your greed for information and desire of revenge, we have squandered our best chance to end this peacefully and give all our cities- yours included- an outcome in our favour. Now many thousands of Corinthians will die. Whether we win or lose this struggle, they will die. Think upon that, Nicodemus. What you made me do has condemned far too many good Athenians and Corinthians to death."

A clamour suddenly erupted from the direction of the guards. "My lords!" A guard cried, stepping forwards. "This man was caught climbing into the city via the walls. What would you have me do with him?"

Nicodemus smiled at me slyly. "Perhaps you could show us the proper way to interrogat an intruder, my friend" he said.

"Very well." I replied, trying not to show how relieved I was that this prisoner I could handle on my own. "I will report back to you in an hour."


I and the guards led the man down the crowded city streets, his hands bound and his face a picture of terror. I took him into the prison to interrogate him- I knew if I were to use my quarters, Nicodemus would have a man listening to our every word. And that I did not need.

We reached the interrogation room, and I motioned to the guards to leave. The fear in this prisoner's eyes had only grown when we entered this room- devices of torture lined the walls, cruel thumbscrew, flails and strange-looking sharpened implements glistening evilly in the morning light that filtered through the small, square window. I too blanched when I saw them, but quickly hid my disgust. I was not a man to use torture, but this man did not know that- and I could take advantage of it.

"I want to make this easy for you, so answer my questions truthfully and honestly. I'm sure I wouldn't like to see you come to any harm..."

The man gulped. "Neither would I" he quipped. Obviously his fear could not quite master his humour. I stared him in the eye, trying to read his thoughts. Suddenly, I spotted something brightly relfelcting the beam of light that came down through the window, tucked into his belt and hidden on his left side. I grabbed it, and pulled it out.

It was a short dagger, about 4 inches long, honed to a fine edge and weighted perfectly for stabbing and throwing. Along the black leather strapping that wrapped around the handle, gold filigree wormed its way intricately from blade to pommel. The pommel was shaped as a snake's head, gaping wide, fangs glistening, fashioned from fine silver. Yes. It was the very same weapon I had been told to watch out for, all tose weeks ago in Athens.

"Aha. I'm glad to meet you, Adrastos." He started when I mentioned his name. "Men in Athens think very highly of you. It is unfortunate for you that your Megaran masters are so unobservant of spies when discussing their plans for their... tools. I assure you, true Athenians would never treat such fine gentlemen as yourself in such an un-secretive manner. Now, tell me, what is your mission here?"

"I heard that Corinthian wine was the finest in the world. I just had to risk everything for a sip-" I slammed the knife into the table, cutting his lies short. I moved my face close to his, until our noses almost touched. I spoke, quietly.

"That's not what I heard, Adrastos. I heard that the Megarans were looking for a way to remove Lord Nicodemus and myself. And I heard that they were going to be quite... presuasive... in making you agree."

He sat there in silence. A silence as condemning as any admission of guilt. I spoke again. "My Athenian masters on the council have a proposition for you, Adrastos. They knew you were coming here. They placed me here with Nicodemus for that very possibility. Well, and to provide their army support. Now, I want you to listen very carefully." I glanced up at the oak door, huge and heavy. It would be impossible to evesdrop from behind it. "We Athenians are far more appreciative of men of your talents. And we have but two requests of you..."

"What if I choose to decline?" He said weakly.

"I am sure that Nicodemus will want to interrogate you further after I am finished. I am also sure that he will make far more use of these implements than I have done." I gestured to the torture devices hanging on the walls. "So I suggest you listen to me, and I can save you the pain. Now, Athens has no intention of seeing the Spartans become the most powerful state in Greece. You are to travel to Argos, and kill their general at the head of their army. Once that is achieved, you are to head south to Sparta itself. You are to put an end to its dual leadership at the point of a knife. And finally, we will give you all the help and aid you need to put an end to the man who has employed you so often, and now threatens you out of retirement. Once he is dead, you need never kill a man again. On this you have my word." I sat back, and out of my sleeve I drew a long iron needle. This I handed to him. "If you agree, I will make sure that Nicodemus does not torture you. You are a diplomat, sent by Megara to talk about the possibility of not fighting with Sparta. Remember that. I will tell him the same. I am sure you can invent a background, seeing as you know the underground of that city so well. This needle should be all you need to pick the lock on this door when he leaves. I will draw Nicodemus and the guards on his door off to discuss your fate, and then you leave, and await my return with your weapon and to untie your bonds. Do not think of running from me. You will be watched. I have eyes and ears everywhere in this city, Adrastos. I will know your every move. Should you try to betray me, my wrath will be swift." I leaned against the wall, still staring into his eyes. "So, what is your decision?"


Athens +1 (they have gained the possibility of using a skilled assassin)
Sparta -1 (their leadership's days are numbered, if Adrastos agrees)

Athens 10
Argos 4
Corinth 10
Sparta 7
Megara 9
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Kasey on 2008-02-27, 12:32

"He has sent the man to Argos, he is to kill the Spartan General, it seems that the Megarans sent him to kill you and the Athenian"
"Megara?"
Arrichion was filling me in on Aristoxenus' "Interrogation" of the prisoner. Although the room had a thick oak door, I had made sure that anyone could listen from the cell next door if they removed a thin brick that could easily be pulled out.
"Yes, but it was strange...." I motioned for him to continue "Well, it sounded like he was expecting him...."

Arrichion's report had given me a lot to think about, it seemed like the Ahenian was keeping as much from me, as I was from him. Apart from the worrying fact that the Athenian Council appeared to know about the movements of a Megaran assassin, Aristoxenus' plans couldn't hurt me, surely the death of a Spartan general could not hurt Corinth.....

The next morning I went to see Aristoxenus, supposedly to learn about what information he had prised from the prisoner,
"Welocome Nicodemus"
"Hello Aristoxenus, what did that dog tell you?"
Aristoxenus the spun me some made up story about him just being a messenger from athens that had been told to give his message to him, Aristoxenus, only, I raised an eyebrow "He was in such a hurry that he forgot to use the gate?"
"He was afraid that he would be taken before the King, and asked to give his message to him"
"Really?" I said sarcastically
"Yes, he is instructed to return to Athens once he has delivered his messge"
I had debated long into the night wether to let the Athenian know I was onto him, I had resolved not to tell him, as it could produce no possible advantage, but now I was here I found myself to arrogant to let the treachorous b.astard think his story had fooled me
"Athens,....or Argos?"
He pretended to seem confused, "Argos? But Argos is under siege...." he stopped because I grabbed his tunic and pulled him closer to me,
"Listen to me you snivelling little tw*t! I know what you said in there, how did your council know he was here?! You've been lying to me ever since you got here!!" By this point I was screaming at him, and the guards seemed unsure whta to do, they were Athenians, but knew hurting me would make life very difficult for them
"And you have been truthful" Aristoxenus retorted angrily "You've been lying to me, and tricking me all the time I've been here!!What are planning?!
I bristled at that, how did he know "Just because you're a lying dog, doesn't mean everyone else is!"and with that I stormed out, pushing aside the Athenian who made a feeble attempt to stop me.

Argos +1 (Nicomedus made no mention of refusing to release Adrastos)
Athens -1 (their general is now on bad times with the lead commander of Corinth)

Athens 9
Argos 5
Corinth 10
Sparta 7
Megara 9
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-03-01, 19:36

My stomach rumbled like thunder and i looked around the chamber for something to eat. Unless i was prepared to scrape the horrid looking things off the torture devices there wasn't much i could do in the way of nourishment. Nicomedus had left a few minutes earlier after an interview which had shaken me to the core. He had spent more time explaining to me the agonising ways in which he could torture me than he had questioning me. I had told him plainly my story of being an Athenian messenger but he had obviously not believed me and told me that when he returned he would randomly select one of the devices off the walls to use on me.

I had contemplated, during his interrogation, taking the iron needle Aristoxenus had given me and completing part of the job i had been given in Megara, but in the end i had decided against it. If i were to do that then i would have no chance of escape. Instead i thought about the offer Aristoxenus had given me. His plan involved me killing a lot more people than i had already been charged to do but i wasn't really in a position to refuse. I didn't doubt that the earstwhile friendly Aristoxenus could become just as bloodthirsty as Nicomedus. Like two peas in a pod who didn't realise it. They also seemed to be more concerned about their petty feud and other politics than removing the Spartan army less than a days march away.

A further twenty minutes spent in thought and hunger pains lead me to make a decision. I moved to the door and began to pick the lock. A few minutes was all it took and i listened for guards for a few moments. Outside it was silent. I eased the door open and took a peak. Not a soul moved. While Aristoxenus had promised i could escape i doubted Nicomedus would feel the same. It appeared that way though.

The door opened onto an empty courtyard and i edged around the sides keeping to the shadows. I could have waited until nightfall but i feared Nicromedus would return and i didn't like to think about what he would do to me. On the otherside of the courtyard there was an opening onto a street. Seeing a crowd of Corinthians i darted out into the crush of people and, with all the skill of someone who had spent their entire life keeping to the shadows, i disappeared into the city.

Sparta +1 (because of their military position)
Corinth -1 (because of their idleness)

Athens 9
Argos 5
Corinth 9
Sparta 8
Megara 9
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-03-02, 08:41

I was angry. Far too angry for words. How dare he? The Corinthian whelp was far too pompus for his own good- it would be the downfall of us all yet. Well, I had expected that he might spy on us. But to react like that?! Could he not see when a situation benefitted him, did he not realise now that to strain our relations so tightly just before a battle was possibly the most oafish thing he could have done? I paced about my room, desperately thinking over what to do. Well, my public front must be apologetic. Corinth and Athens must work together. Sparta's offer now looked far more inviting...

I shook my head. No. I realised how badly everyone involved in this fiasco must see my honour- I would not tarnish it any further. After all, to win a war but lose your honour is no victory at all.

I glanced at the sundial. I had to meet with Adrastos now, regardless of Nicodemus' knowledge about my dealings. Surely he would not try to stop me, not when he knew my plan was in both our interests- but this Corinthian did not act logically. His only interest was his own power and position, and any undertaking that could undermine my authority as part of the alliance he would attempt. Fool. Internal politics are what lose wars. I knew that, I knew we had to look outwards and not inwards if we were to defeat Sparta... especially with Nicodemus' ambitious plan. Every time I thought about it, I realised more just how self-serving he was. This march on Sparta was not something he was using to gain victory over the Spartans- it was a tool to make him into a hero, the valiant Corinthian who had over-ruled the cowardly Athenians and destroyed his enemies. I sighed. To work with such a man was torture, but it was a torture I must undergo. Athens must emerge victorious against the Spartan threat.

I walked out into the city at a brisk pace, pushing through the dense crowds of soldiers readying for action. We would march out in but one and a half hours, and meet the Spartans as they marched down the West road, 1 mile from the city. Time was short. I had to be quick.

The Corinthian who had been following me for the last five minutes was a natural, I could tell. He dodged in and out of the crowds, dressed like any light soldier, and never lost sight of me. I had weaved my way through tangles of people, ducked under canopies for a pretend rest, and tried to evade him in every other way I knew, but he kept on my trail like a terrier. He must be Nicodemus' man. Although I was loathe to commit my next action, I knew it had to be done.

I turned a corner into an alley, the perfect place to meet an assassin. When I was out of my tail's view, I ducked into a doorway and pressed myself against it. 30 second later, he appeared and began walking towards me, unable to find where I was. He was 6 steps away. 5. 4. 3. 2...

I span out and delivered a punch that knocked him to the ground. Grabbing him by the scruff of the neck, I hauled him up and slammed him against the wall, holding him there.

"Now, I wonder what your master would do at this point, eh Corinthian?" I panted, tightening my grip. "I reckon if you were following Lord Nicodemus, and he found you, he would personally torture you within an inch of your life. Well, you're lucky. I'm not like that. I'm going to make this nice and easy for you. Stop following me. Now. Go to your master, and tell him this; Aristoxenus is tired of playing games. Your master can either put away his petty dreams of mastership and join me to fight against our true threat, or he can plan and spy about less important matters whilst Sparta takes this place down stone by stone. We must put our differences aside and fight for this common cause, or all will be lost. Do you hear me, Corinthian?" He glared at me. "I said, do you hear me?!"

He brought his knee up sharply, aimed perfectly between my legs. He winced, and gasped. I smirked, and said to him, "I'd never get ready for a battle and leave myself unarmoured, especially not in such a delicate area. Now, do you hear me?" This time he was far more compliant, and nodded vigorously. "Good. Now, leave me, and don't think of trying to follow me again."

I dropped him down to the ground. "Oh, and tell your master this also; Athens acts towards him with great kindness in all we have done so far. He should be grateful. Now go."

He glared at me, with a look like a vengeful serpent. He spat on my sandal, and ran back the way he had come, limping slightly where the edge of my armour had bruised his knee and wiping. The blood from his nose. I waited to make sure he had definitely gone before carrying on to my rendez-vous with Adrastos. And this time, I was unfollowed.

When I arrived at our meeting place behing a large market stall, he was already there, hopping from one leg to the other nervously. He saw me immediatly, and for a moment braced as if to run, before he recognised me and relaxed- slightly. I approached him.

"Adrastos."

"My Lord." He was still obviously nervous, and his gave kept skipping to my sheathed sword on which my hand rested- I could not yet trust this man fully. But he seemed honourable enough, in his own twisted way. I would far rather deal with a man such as him than a power-hungry fool like Nicodemus.

"Here is your weapon, as promised." I handed back to him the knife I had confiscated earlier. It was the only valuable thing he seemed to own. Strange, that. In his time, he had been one of the most well-respected assassins around. What had he squandered all his money on? "Now, how to get you out of here..."

"Preferably in one piece" he added. I chuckled.

"Yes, that was the plan. Now, listen closely. In about-" I looked at the sun and marked its position -"an hour and ten minutes, the Athenian-Corinthian army will march out of the city. You are to dress as an ordinary soldier, and take up your position at the back of the Athenian peltasts. The drill-sergeant will pay you no heed- I have made sure of that. When we pass a large rock with a carving of a minotaur, you are to leave the ranks as surrepticiously as possible. The drill-sergeant will quell any noise that anyone who spots you makes. Continue in a straight line, following the course of a small stream you will see immediately to your right. When you reach the treeline, you will meet a man who will give you further instruction."

Adrastos looked down at his feet. "So, I am to become your lackey..."

I interupted him. "No, I am a man of my word. And I tell you this, fulfill our requests and we will make sure you never have to work again. Plus, of course, at the end you gain the satisfaction of killing the man who has maipulated you so badly over the last few years."

He still looked uncertain. "Megara offered to pay me..."

"Of course," I responded, flashing him a smile. "Once you have completed your tasks, you go to Athens. Find a man called Artemios. I am sure you will not find it too difficult. When you find him, present him with your knife and this seal-" I handed him a large bronze oval with a portrait of my face on-"and he will give you enough money to prepare you for your retirement quite happily".

Adrastos nodded. He knew a generous offer when he saw one, and considering his position this was immensly so. He took his leave, picking up the armour and shield that he would need to fit into his place in the marching column. I smiled as he left- he was a murderous, cowardly rogue, but for the first time since I had arrived in Corinth I felt I was speaking to someone who was not lying through his teeth. I once again made absolutely sure no-one was spying on us, and walked off to join Nicodemus in our position in the column.

Corinth +1 (The plan with Adrastos aids them at no cost, and Aristoxenus is not seeking revenge against Nicodemus)
Sparta -1 (Corinth and Athens are marching out to meet them, so they can't lay siege to the city)

Athens 9
Argos 5
Corinth 10
Sparta 7
Megara 9
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-03-02, 08:48

There was a lot of tension amongst the men. A lot of them only just found out that an Athenian army was approaching to reinforce Corinth, and this had caused a certain degree of worry. Only the Elite Spartan Hoplites were calm. They are a separate breed, made for war, and I am proud to number myself among them.

We formed up in a standard phalanx formation, on top of a hill. I could see the Corinthian and Athenian armies converging on our position, and while they outnumbered us by some margin, I was not overly concerned by their infantry. They were not professional soldiers, like us. One of us was easily worth 3 or 4 of them.

What did bother me a bit was the fact they had a lot more cavalry than us, and they looked better armed.

They converged on us from all sides. General Byzas himself led the charge on the enemy cavalry swooping in on our right flank. For a while, things seemed to be going well, with the Elites pushing their centre back down the hill. But then, General Byzas fell, and with him, the right flank. I ordered our men back, to prevent them from completely surrounding us.

It was too late. The levies were running, getting mowed down by Athenian horsemen. I knew then that the battle was lost. I sounded the retreat, ordering the Elites to fight a rearguard action in an attempt to save as many troops as possible. Luckily the Corinthian pursuit seemed half-hearted, with the men reluctant to leave the way to their city open. Seems there were trust issues between the allies after all.

We reached the coast a few hours later, weary from hours of fighting small skirmishes against pursuing Athenians. Our king was arrogant, but not stupid, so he had ordered several Spartan ships to remain in the vicinity, in case our army was defeated . By that evening, we were on our way back to Spartan territory, defeated, but alive to fight another day…

Sparta -1 (we lost)

Corinth +1 (their city was now safe)

Athens 9
Argos 5
Corinth 11
Sparta 6
Megara 9

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Kasey on 2008-03-02, 08:58

The Spartans were set up on the top of a hill near to Corinth, I had command of the Corinthinan Infantry, while Aristoxenus had taken command of his Athenian Cavalry. Our men sat at the bottom of the hill, whilst we commanders tried to muster their courage for the attack, they still remembered how this army had betean them, not a few weeks ago.

Aristoxenus began the battle, he led his cavalry towards the enemy flanks, whilst I ordered the infantry forward, I was on horseback, so I could see how the battle was progressing, and were reinforcements were most needed, we laboured up the hill, and I coaxed my men forward, until the men of Corinth and Athens met the proffesional soldiers of Sparta, the Spartan elite was holding the center, showing that it was they who were on the defense. The lines crshed and suddenly the sound of spear ringing out against bronze shield and the screaming of injured men filled my ears. The fighting was fierce, we were numerically superior, but the Spartans had better training, and the better position of the hilltop, they were slowly pushing my center back, I was behing the center encouraging my men to glory, but the spartans were relentless and the center was slowly buckling under the pressure, desparately, I dismounted and led my own elite men into the fray, to try and hold, this managed to slow the spartan advance a little and the pressure eased, then, suddenly I saw the spartans moving slowly back, and in the same instant bI saw that Aristoxenus' men had routed the Spartan cavalry and were about to encircle the Spartans, a Spartan commander was calling for them to retreat, but it was no good, their levies of helots and perioki broke and suddenly the proud and mighty spartans were fleeing, but not all of them, the elite spartiates were fighting a rearguard battle, trying to stop the Athenian cavalry from wreaking to much havoc on their retreating comrades.

Aristoxenus pursued the enemy back to the coast were they escaped by boat, but I had kept most of my men behind, I did not wish to risk the city, after Aristoxenus' return I greeted him, he was still angry, and I could see a slight repulsion in his eyes as he talked to me, "lord, well done, your cavalry won that battle, I heard that the General was killed by your men?" silince greeted my words, I sighed deeply and ran my fingers through my sweat streaked hair "we do not need to be friends, but we need to trust each other, it was my fault that we tore apart so let me try and mend things, I am not asking to be told your secrets, nor am I willing to tell you of all of mine, but I just wish that we could trust each other enough to not worry about what the other is planning, so are we in agreement?"

Sparta -1
Athens +1

Athens 10
Argos 5
Corinth 11
Sparta 5
Megara 9
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-03-02, 21:52

It felt good to have a weapon back in my hand. I had felt naked and vulnerable when Aristoxenus had taken my dagger. Now it was back i felt like i had more control despite the fact i was still a pawn in a greater game. Something wasn't right in Greece and if i was to be dragged out of retirement for it then i would find out what it was. My chief purpose now was not to kill those whom i had been charged to kill, it was to put an end to whatever had gone rotten. The Megarans might think that i'm in their control, Aristoxenus might think i'm in his control. I am in no one's control. I am a free man and while they see me as a useful tool to their purposes i will not hestitate to show them that they do not own me.

I owe Aristoxenus somewhat. Being indebted to someone is something i try and avoid and to remove that debt is high on my list. I will do as Aristoxenus asks of me, for now.

The column of Athenian soldiers marched quickly and the drill sergeant at the front turned to me and nodded. Wasting no time, i moved out from the column and darted past the rock carving of the Minotaur Aristoxenus has told me about. No shouts came from the Athenian soldiers other than that of the drill sergeant barking orders to pick up the pace. I rested against the rock and caught my breath. A line of trees stood about one hundred metres from where i rested. A few moments of rest and then i made a dash for the trees.

Once the green canopy had closed over my head i breathed a sigh of relief. I was free after only a day and two nights of captivity. I'd been through worst. The sounds of the Corinthian/Athenian army still reached my ears and i made the choice to move away from them as far as possible. For a moment i considered not meeting with Aristoxenus' man but then decided against it. I was indebted. The stream lead into the trees and i followed it's course with dagger drawn, just in case.

I stopped briefly and listened. There was someone nearby. From behind a tree stepped an Athenian with his arms spread out wide in a sign of peace. I sheathed my dagger and walked towards him. He was as tall as me and slightly skinnier. Young and athletic would be the best way to describe him. He was only lightly armed and his eyes were keen and sharp. No doubt a man of many skills. We stopped in front of each other and i could see him weighing me up, just as i was him.

"Adrastos. My name is Galen." He said after a pause. "Let's go."

With that he turned and darted into the trees at a quick pace. Startled, i took a moment before i took after him into the trees.

Argos +1 (Brave brave Adrastos is on his way!)

Athens 10
Argos 6
Corinth 11
Sparta 5
Megara 9
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-03-03, 00:12

About three days had passed since the battle, and we were nearing the Spartan coast. Despite our losses, there were still plenty of strong warriors, ready to fight. I realised that we were sent to Megara as a diversion, but a diversion that could have ripped the heart out of Greece. If foolish Aristoxenus had only sided with us, Corinth would be in flames now, and Argos' fate would be sealed. Instead he made a silly choice, based upon honour. He has left his city unprotected, and follows that insidious dog, Nicodemus, on a march to Zeus knows where. Does he think us ignorant fools? Sparta is by no means undefended. Every man in that city is quite capable of holding their own in battle, indeed, many are relishing the prospect. Also, has Aristoxenus forgotten about Megara? What would he tell the council if they suddenly marched on Athens?

"Fools," I breathed, and spat into the sea.

Later that week…

I was amazed at the lack of damage done to the surrounding countryside of Argos. The villagers carried on as if nothing major was happening, barely ten miles from them. Hell, they even seemed friendly as we passed through their streets. I had been placed in command of a second army, intended as a relief force for the besieging army. I would assume command of the siege, and the King would return home with half his force.

Smoke was rising from Argos. The defenders were putting up a hell of a fight, even though the city proper was under our control. Only the inner walls were under Argive military control. The civilians were evacuated from the city, to prevent casualties. Housed in large camps, they were well looked after and under military guard. As soon as the siege was won, they would be allowed to return home. There would also be compensation for destroyed houses and property. Why their military kept resisting was beyond me.

I met the king at his command building in the city. He was a huge man, in his mid forties, with a voice to match his stature.

"Ah, General Dragos," he boomed, rising from behind his desk, "it is good to lay eyes on Sparta's newest general. I heard you fought bravely at Corinth, and did an excellent job of getting most of our men back to the ships." A look of sadness washed across his face.

"I am saddened about Byzas, he was a loyal soldier. But he knew the risks, as I'm sure you do."

I nodded.

"My King, I stand ready. I will see this city fall, or die trying."

He grinned.

"Don't be too eager to die, Dragos. The city will fall sooner or later. I have some other plans for you… but that can wait. Go rest up, I leave at dawn."

I saluted, and left his office.

Sparta +1

Argos -1

Athens 10
Argos 5
Corinth 11
Sparta 6
Megara 9

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-03-03, 00:13

I rose before dawn, and made my way down to the courtyard to see off the King. He was already there, waiting.
"Ah, Dragos. I was just about to come fetch you myself," he said with a smile on his face. He handed me a sealed document.
"This is your new orders. Open it in private, I do not want the contents known to anyone else."
"It will be as you command, my King. I wish you a safe and speedy jouney back to Sparta."
He mounted his horse and turned his head back towards me.
"We will meet agai…"
There was a meaty sounding "thwack" as something struck him in the throat. The force of the blow catapulted him from his horse, and onto the flagstones of the courtyard. Chaos erupted. The assembled bodyguards instantly drew their blades, and moved to protect the King. I caught a glimpse of a shadowy figure disappearing from the roof on the opposite side of the courtyard.
"ASSASSIN" I shouted, pointing in that direction. "After him!"
Some of the guards ran off in pursuit. I knelt down next to the King, cradling his head. A throwing dagger was protruding from his throat, blood gushing from the wound as he struggled to breathe. As I saw the light fade from his eyes, an irripressible anger welled up inside me. This was no doubt part of Aristoxenus' plans, a murder most foul. I tore open the King's orders.

It was a writ detailing his plan to sandwich the armies of Corinth and Athens between our two forces. I crumpled the paper in my bloody hands, and stood up.
"Attend to the King's body. After that, assemble the most senior commanders in my quarters."

Later…

"No sign of the assassin, General. He's disappeared." I could clearly see the tears in the soldier's eyes. The King's death impacted the men greatly, and me as well. Athens will pay. And Corinth right along with them.
"Right, this is what we're going to do." I stood up and stared out the window. "We're going to move the troops out of the city. We're going to let the people return to their homes. And then, we're going to burn it to the ground." The assembled commanders looked startled.
"Sir, you're talking about a slaughter. These people did nothing to us," one of the men said.
"That is not for you to decide, Captain. Athens has used barbaric tactics to murder our King, "for the good of Greece." The blood of the people of Argos are on THEIR hands, not ours!"
There was a murmur of assent. Whether they were scared of me, or they wanted revenge, I do not know. But I also didn't care at that point.

That night, we herded the scared townsfolk back into their city, barred the gates and launched flaming arrows over the walls. We had coated the roofs of the buildings with flammable materials and liquids, turning the once beautiful city into a firestorm. We could hear the screams of the people caught in the streets as the conflagration overwhelmed them. Some jumped from the walls to their deaths, preferring a fall to being burned to death.

I sent a few survivors to the Allied armies to say what they witnessed here today. "Tell Aristoxenus, Dragos of Sparta is coming for him. Tell him he had his chance to prevent this. Make sure that he understands that I know he is to blame for the King's death. I await them at Sparta." I turned my back on the city, and rode back to my army.

Sparta +1
Argos -1

Athens 10
Argos 4
Corinth 11
Sparta 7
Megara 9

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-03-03, 10:32

It was long gone mid-day when we arrived at the shallow hill on which the Spartans waited, but still the heat was oppressive. Bronze and iron glinted dully in the sunlight, as our men assembled into position. Nicodemus, armoured and sat upon a horse, was in the centre of his infantry reserve. Our scouts had noted something of great not in the Spartan deployment- strangely, they had deployed their elites in their centre, placing their weakest levy troops to take their right flank. Obviously they were planning to punch through the centre of our line… but why? Why leave their strongest flank to be taken by the levies?

And so I decided to take full advantage of this strange deployment. Bringing the entirety of the Athenian and Corinthian cavalry in behind me, I prepared on the left flank of our own position.
Finally, I was back in the saddle. Finally, I was back home. I closed my eyes, and soaked it all in. The smell of horse, the sound of shields scraping against armour, the feeling of pure exhilaration mixing with fear and consuming my whole frame. The memories flooded back, vivid as if I was living them right now. Yes. This was where I belonged.

As a youth in Athens, I had the privilege, like any son of an important landowner and general, to train not just in the hoplites but also in the cavalry, a force often looked down upon in all of the Greek City States. I had proven myself in both infantry and cavalry in training, and I was accepted into the officer ranks quickly when the Dacian Crisis broke out. And it was then, in the battle of Charae, that I was given my opportunity to shine. Leading a dangerous but successful charge through a gap in the Dacian lines, I and my cavalry command had raced past the Dacian spearmen closing in on either side, and came out at the rear of the Dacian formation, then hit them in the back and routed their left flank. That battle had been the command that had won me my status as Strategos. And now I had to try to replicate that success against the Spartans here.

I spurred my horse to a trot, moving out to address my troops. The majority of the cavalry was Athenian, with a few rag-tag Corinthian scouts and irregulars to supplement my force. That said, even the Athenian cavalry was undertrained and lightly armed. How I would love that Greece could produce cavalry to rival those of the Scythian horsemen to the northeast… but it was never to be. I must make do with the men I had.

I halted three metres in front of the first line, and turned to face my men. "Men of Greece!" I roared, drowning out the noise of the men and the horses. "We come here today not from a desire to fight. No, we come for something far more important than that. We come here today to protect all that we hold dear! Our wives, our women, our children, all would be destroyed if we yield to our foe today. And so I charge you, do not yield! Fight to the last!" The men cheered. I continued.

"I look into your eyes now, and I see a great array of men before me. Some of you I know well, some of you I have fought alongside many times, and some of you have come to this field of battle with no knowledge of my exploits before this day. Some of you have great experience of previous battles. Some of you have never fought in a battle before. Some of you fight for Corinth today, and some of you for Athens. But I tell you this. In every man assembled here today I see a fighter, a warrior, and a great soldier! Now, for Athens! For Corinth! FOR GREECE!!!"

The lines erupted with the cry, a cry that rose into a crescendo and drowned out all other noises. "For Athens! For Corinth! FOR GREECE!!!" I nodded to Nicodemus. He barked an order to his mix of Corinthian and Athenian hoplites. And with that, the battle began.

We rode at a walking pace at first, saving the strength of our horses for when it would be needed. I led the men in a wide arc, trying to avoid the Spartan infantry line. We were parallel with the two phalanxes as they clashed, the sound of metal on metal and cloth and flesh erupting across the battlefield. I spurred my horse into a canter, and the rest of the cavalry followed suit. We needed to be behind the Spartan lines before we made any attempt at a charge.

A cry arose from one of my men. The Spartan general had spotted us, and was leading his own cavalry rapidly towards us. We charged. The two cavalry line clashed in a ring of iron and a thunder of hooves. I hit a Spartan horse in the neck with my spear, and it screamed a piercing whinny before falling to the ground on top of its rider, my spear still embedded in its flesh. I drew my sword, and fought on. A Spartan rider drew level with me and thrusted with his spear. I leant back, narrowly dodging the thrusting blade, and brought my sword down on his hand. His face contorted with pain, and I drew my sword back and swung it in a wide arc across his stomach. He fell from his horse, dead.

The Spartan banner was but a few metres away, planted firmly into the ground, and by its side, the Spartan commander picked himself up from being thrown by his horse, resplendent in the full battle armour of a Spartan general. I drove my blade through another Spartan horseman, and dismounted. I would kill their leader honourably, treacherous Spartan though he was.

I approached him, and he levelled his own sword, waiting for my attack. We slowly circled, waiting for the other to make the first move. Suddenly, I lunged at his chest; he parried, and swung his blade back towards my face. I ducked, and drove my shoulder into his chest, throwing us both to the ground. I leapt back up, but the Spartan was quicker, and it was all I could do to parry a blow that would have severed my head from my neck in one fell stroke. He thrusted again, but this time I was ready, and nimbly dodged the thrust. His impetus carried him forward, and I sliced at his back. The blow glanced off the polished bronze armour. He span around and I jumped back as his sword came narrowly close to slicing through my calf. Again he leapt towards me and swung-

And fell to the ground, my sword deep inside his windpipe. I bent down over his body carefully, and drew my sword back out. He was dead. A clamour arose amongst the Spartan horsemen and they began to fall back, chased down by my own men. I shouted out "To their rear! Hit the rear of the left flank!"

The remaining Atheno-Corinthian horsemen hit the backs of the Spartan levies like a hammer, routing them instantly. I heard a Spartan captain crying, "Fall back!" But in truth it was a pointless order- his flanks were running anyway, and the rest of the army looked soon to follow. I had quickly found a mount, and having clambered into the saddle I let out another cry of "For Athens! For Corinth! FOR GREECE!!!" and we pursued, slaughtering the running levy troops in droves. The Spartan hoplites themselves were fighting a rearguard action, falling back whilst protecting the rest of their troops, and still their commanding presence made it difficult for our horses to attack them. Instead, we chased the routers, herding them back for over an hour before they entered the forest and we left them to go back to their ships demoralised and defeated. We had won.

I was greeted by Nicodemus as I returned to the battlefield. He appeared intent upon patching relations between us- obviously my 'chat' with his lackey earlier had persuaded him. As we entered the city, our names were cheered from the walls, and great crowds of people came to celebrate our victory. Casks of ale were opened, and the streets were filled with soldiers drinking and singing songs of joy.

I turned my back to it all. There were more important things to do. I could not face the grim task of collecting and counting the dead myself- I knew at least three soldiers who I had fought beside many long years now lay dead on the battlefield, and probably a good deal more. I dispatched some of my more trustworthy, and more importantly sober, men to do the job, trusting them not to pilfer the corpses but to give them an honourable burial. The Spartan corpses were burned on great pyre- no soldier deserved the shame of being left for the carrion birds.

It was another three days before I received word from Athens congratulating me on my victory, and a promise from the council that Cleitos would arrive within the week with a relief force. Along with it came a letter from Artemios. Smiling as I saw his familiar seal on the paper, I carefully opened it and sat back to read.

"My dear friend Aristoxenus,

I hear that congratulations are in order. The men tell me that the fates have lent you a charmed life once more, and you have escaped another battle with all limbs intact. It seems I will have to wait a little longer yet before I can be rid of you.

You will, of course, be glad to hear that Cleitos is coming with more troops to supplement the ones under your command. I must say, the council were a little loath to agree to this- the greybeard delivered a great speech on how having only half of Athens' army in the city was a gross folly. It took me all my skills in rhetoric to convince the council otherwise, and even then it seems the matter has created a great divide in our fair council. Still, you have your reinforcements. Be sure to use them wisely.

I would counsel you against the plan you tell me the Corinthian leader has devised. An attack on Sparta at the moment is both rash and an overlooking of our duties. But if you are convinced you can draw their army away from Argos through this course of action, I am sure you must do what you see fit. Act honourably, as always my friend. I know you are not overly fond of the orders you have been given, but remember, you cannot be blamed in this. You are our lifeblood. Athens trusts you with her future.

May the wisdom of Athena and the power of Zeus go with you,

Artemios"

His words were a comfort to receive after the pressures of the last few days, and I hastily wrote my reply before I knew I had to begin the slow march West and then South. I too had doubts about our plans on Sparta, but there would be no way of convincing Nicodemus to abandon his plan to attempt to break the siege on Argos, an undertaking in which he had no interest. I had to defend Argos- and it seemed the only way to do this was to draw the Spartans away in a risky attack.
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-03-03, 10:33

We had been on the march for four days, and our progress was slow. The heat of the summer was overbearing, and the men sweltered under their loads. I glanced at Nicodemus. He talked little these days, seemingly deep in thought. Sometimes he looked trouble, and sometimes he gave a foreboding smirk that I did not like. If only I could tell what he was thinking…

Cleitos had arrived in Corinth the day after we received the letters, grinning broadly and holding his arms wide in welcome.

"Aristoxenus! Congratulations on your victory, I hear your cavalry was instrumental in defeating the scum."

I smiled back. He was a bear of a man, muscular and tall, with a huge bristly beard and an incredibly deep voice. He was the most experienced of the Athenian Strategoi, and it had come as a surprise when I was picked to lead the Athenian force in Corinth over him. He was a man quick to anger and quicker to laugh, well liked in all the council. I had quickly explained Nicodemus' full plan to him, and he looked puzzled. "I trust the Corinthian devil knows what he's talking about, Aristoxenus. You never know when these Spartans will pull a defeat on you, especially if you're attacking them in their own city." But still, he had agreed to lead his force with ours as long as I was satisfied in Nicodemus' decision. I had decided to keep my doubts secret, for the moment.

My thoughts were interrupted as two scouts came galloping down the line. Between them rode a man who bore an imperious look, holding his head high and staring condescendingly at the men who trudged past him.
"Lords, we found this man two miles ahead on the rode, coming this way. He claims to be a messenger from Sparta."

I looked at Cleitos, who turned to Nicodemus and nodded. Nicodemus turned to the messenger and spoke.

"I am Lord Nicodemus of Corinth. Tell us what conditions your masters bring to us, and be swift."

The Spartan took a second to respond, looking us up and down as if we were unwanted insects he had just found in a bowl of fruit, seemingly completely dismissive of the power of the men he was talking to.

"I bring word from the mighty General Dragos of Sparta. I will not speak this message unless in the presence of one Aristoxenus of Athens."

"That is I," I said. "Speak your piece."

"This is what the mighty general says; he hopes that you are happy to know that your treacherous plan to murder our king has succeeded. It will be the last thing that ever fills your accursed face with a smile. My Lord Dragos wishes me to tell you that Argos has been burned to the ground, because of your decision. The blood of the innocents is on your hands, Athenian. The pitiful remnants of the Argive army will starve in their hideaway with no land to grow crops and their livestock slaughtered and left to rot. Dragos awaits you at Sparta, Athenian. And there you shall perish". And he spat at my feet.

The news struck us all like a hammer blow. Argos, razed to the ground? It could not be! The inner-city at least would survive, it's buildings crafted from stone, and its walls high and strong. But the outer city… the countless people who lived there…

It was Cleitos who recovered first, and he spoke to the Spartan messenger in a voice filled with the rage of a great river in the spring floods.

"How dare you address a man of such position with such insolence? Cur! Your master is nothing but a slaughterer of innocent, harmless people! We will not deal with such evil wretches. Begone, before I have my men slay you were I stand."

The Spartan sniffed, and said,

"Argos paid the price for the death of our King. Sparta does not send me here today to haggle for a treaty, but to inform you that all of your deaths are near."

And with that, he rode away.


******************************************************************************************************


That night, I sat in my tent, still in utter shock and disbelief. We had sent scouts to confirm the Spartan's story, and it was true- even now, with the fires finished, smoke rose in huge billows above the city. And it was my fault.

So deep in thought was I, I didn't even notice Cleitos stride into my tent until he placed one of his huge, hairy hands on my shoulder.

"Don't blame yourself, lad. You simply obeyed your orders. It's the Spartan who is to blame. After all, It was they who attacked Argos in the first place." With that, he left. He knew when the best way of support was to leave someone in peace.

I pulled myself together. No, I could not and would not blame myself for these atrocities. But I would make sure they were avenged. And vengeance could not be achieved by marching to our deaths, however glorious. I got up, and quickly paced over to Nicodemus' tent, where he was busy talking to one of his captains. I interrupted them.

"We turn back."

Nicodemus turned to me, startled.

"We do what?!"

"We turn back. We return to Corinth, and think over our next move." Nicodemus looked dumbfounded. He quickly attempted to appeal to me, striking at what he knew would be closest to my heart.

"But Aristoxenus, what about Argos? Do you abandon your allies so easily after they are dealt such a crippling blow? We should attack Sparta, scatter their corpses to the corners of the world, and then we can relent. But not now."

"I never said that we would give up. But to attack Sparta now is a fool's errand. The entirety of the Spartan army awaits us there, and I am sure they plan some trap to spring when we arrive. They would not send such a challenge if they were not planning something of the kind. We will not give them the pleasure of falling into it. No, in burning Argos, Sparta has destroyed all that she gained. We should not risk handing them back the advantage so easily."

Nicodemus flew into a rage. "We cannot give up on our plans now! Not now! Sparta must fall to our forces! We must take the city"

I looked at him coldly. "And tell me, why is the city of such vast importance to you? You never told me- who was going to inherit the city, when we defeated the Spartan army?" Nicodemus went silent. "You are welcome to lead the remainder of your Corinthian troops to Sparta. But you know they do not have a chance of succeeding. Or you can turn back with us. It's your call." And I turned and left.

Cleitos was outside the tent, obviously having been listening. "Good speech lad. I'll gather the troops."



Athens +1 (Cleitos' army has arrived, and troops aren't being thrown away in an assualt on Sparta)
Sparta -1 (They've lost their king, and the armies aren't going to walk into their trap)

Athens 11
Argos 4
Corinth 11
Sparta 6
Megara 9
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Seleukos of Olympia on 2008-03-03, 12:45

Divine Diomedes, his gaze matching the glow of the sun,
Basking in its glory, like a royal eagle, gazing an equal,
His mighty spear he took in arm, and shouted -


"Man the ramparts!!"

I gave a shrill cry and knocked over my pot of ink, startled by the soldier's harsh voice. This was intolerable. How was a poet like myself expected to write about war when there was a bloody war going on outside! I got up and walked up to the battlements of our citadel. I could see the second citadel of Argos in the distance, its white banners defiantly saluting our own, and in between, the city of Argos. Now that was intolerable. The most historic and glorious city in all of Greece in the hands of those filthy, treacherous... Spartans. For a moment I was going to say 'Dorians', but those war-mongering purists were a disgrace to our tribe. Argos, the principal Dorian city, had developed culture, the arts, higher concepts in the eternal grappling with the great questions of existence. The Spartans only produced war, and they shamelessly turned their arms against other Dorians, their own cousins! First the Messenians, then the Corinthians and now us. It was depressing to think about it...

I walked back to my lodgings, when a soldier came up to me.

"Iphitos! The assembly wants to see you!"

I was a bit incredulous, and not a little suspicious.

"The assembly? Surely they have more important things to do than talk to a minor poet like myself."

They did not have more important things to do.

The emergency assembly of the King and prominent citizens met in the temple of Athena. Her statue's calm face was in stark contrast to the demeanors of her assembled guests, and the statue of Zeus nearby looked out of its three eyes in perpetual mystery. The third eye on its forehead always gave me the creeps and today was no exception. King Aristippos, prominent in his stature and fairness of manners, was the only one who seemed calm and determined, although somewhat sad, in the small crowd. He saw me and called me by name.

"Iphitos, our accomplished poet! How is your day?"

"Fine, my lord. That is, as well as can be expected."

Aristippos nodded sadly. He was a brave and honourable man, but he seemed to struggle with something deep and dark in his soul. He talked again.

"We have reached a terrible point in our long and glorious history. Right now, the Spartan army holds our city and has imprisoned many of our citizens. All our counterattacks have so far been in vain. They are too well established within the city. All we can do each time is retreat to our citadels and hope the next time we will be more lucky and catch them off their guard. These are desperate times, and we are fast becoming desperate people."

I nodded in acceptance. I did not like where this was heading.

"We have planned a new counterattack. This time not in the city, where they will be expecting us. Our men will slip out of the citadel a few hours before dawn and attack the Spartan forces outside the city. Hopefully they will think an allied army has come to our aid. Then, when they rush out to deploy for battle, our remaining forces will storm out of the citadel and take back the city!"

I nodded again in approval, and exclaimed

"An excellent plan my king! Your brilliance will be sung by generations of Greeks through my poems!"

Aristippos smiled a little.

"That is not why we called you here today. You are a brave man and an inspiring poet. Indeed, no man could write with such passion about the heroic deeds of men and demigods and not be motivated by those same virtues. You must be aching to experience the glory of battle! For too long we have kept you in reserve, but now is your chance to shine! You will lead the heroic team that will exit the city and engage the Spartan army to allow us to reclaim Argos! No need to thank me. I can see you are overwhelmed by your excitement."

I was overwhelmed alright, but not by excitement. Singing about war was one thing, fighting in one was another, and king Aristippos was crazy to think that I had the least heroic inclination in me. When I could control the shaking of my jaw, I spoke back.

"My wise and illustrious king - great men of Argos in the assembly - this is a bold and heroic plan, no question. But, and I propose this with all the modesty of my position, but wouldn't it be more advantageous if there were an actual allied army attacking the Spartans from outside the city? I know what you are going to say, our allies are busy fighting the Spartans elsewhere, and what Dorians are we if we cannot expel a bunch of enemy Spartans from our own sacred city. But, again with all the modesty of my position, wouldn't it be more advantageous to send an inspiring emissary - say, a poet - to stir our allies into action?"

The king thought it over, and he and the assembly talked in low voices between them. At last he turned back to me and said

"No. Our plan is better. We attack this morning. The guard outside will direct you to your unit".

I gave a half-hearted salute and walked outside. The sky suddenly seemed darker for me. I had time to write a short ode to my imminent demise before I joined the other soldiers in my unit.


*******************************************************************************************************


Our night-time climb down the citadel cliffs was tiring to the body and nerves. But it was nothing compared to what we would have to do next. The soldiers on the walls lowered our armour and weapons down to us with ropes, and we prepared for our attack. It was morning when we had moved in front of the city and arranged for battle, when the thing I least expected happened. The whole Spartan army moved out of the city gates, in column formation. The hoplite next to me shouted

"This can be no less that a sign from the gods that they are with us! Those Spartans are moving out perfectly for our attack! Our soldiers will take back the city and we will fight a battle worthy of the Heroic Age of the poets!"

He shook my shoulder with glee, and laughed as the rest of our group lined up in phalanx formation. He looked at me and I was speechless. At length, seeing that words escaped me in that glorious moment, he gave the attack order himself.

We marched in perfect formation, gradually picking up pace to charge the Spartans with running speed when we were close enough. As I started running in the honourary right position in the phalanx - incidentally the most exposed position - I knew in my heart that I wasn't supposed to be there. It was all a mistake. A terrible mistake. A phalanx is a formidable formation, and the Argives were proud of being the ones who had invented it. But it was only as efficient as its weakest link. And I had no delusions. I was its weakest link.

I pretended to trip and signaled the others to run on without me, to not lose their momentum. Then, as they charged with mighty screams into the reforming Spartans, I threw down my shield and started running away, not knowing where I was going, just away from the noise and the shouts and the blood. I ran for many minutes, going into the nearby forest, and I never looked back. When I thought I was safe, I stopped under a tree to catch my breath and my thoughts. The king's plan was good but my plan was better. It was obvious now. Argos wouldn't be served by me getting killed in front of its walls. I had much greater services to offer it. Thus, with my conscience less troubled, I looked around the forest and thought about my next moves.

Looking towards Argos, I could see strange pillars of smoke rising up in the sky, until they blotted out the sun.


Argos +1 (The troops sallying from the citadel had a lucky chance to save many citizens from the fire)
Argos -1 (No matter how you look at it, they're still the losers in this situation, and their valiant attack was hopeless against the Spartan numbers)

Athens 11
Argos 4
Corinth 11
Sparta 6
Megara 9

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-03-03, 14:40

If there was one thing i have always been proud of in my life it's my good throwing arm. I used to run around the farm as a child and throw sticks and rocks at the ducks. When i was a teenager i could throw further and more accurately than anyone else in my school. My parents used to say that i would make a great athlete one day. Pity i found the drink and the slums and the w.hores and, eventually, my career. If there's one thing an assassin needs it is natural skill. I had natural skill in droves.

Many years have passed since i thrust a knife into another man. Today i broke the drought, as some might say.

Another group of Spartans rushed past, enraged and purposeful. I crouched lower and huddled into the blanket. After the Spartan king fell i knew i had very little time to get out of the city. I had made it all the way to the outer walls before they caught up with me. Now i was under a blanket, in a pile of trash, in the slums, a bare twenty metres from the wall and freedom. Galen was somewhere on the other side.

Risking another peek, i lifted the blanket slightly and eyed the wall. To my surprise i saw the Spartan guards moving off. As the last guard left the wall i threw the blanket off and looked around warily. Why they were leaving i did not know but i would get out while i could.

I darted towards the nearest guard house and climbed the deserted staircase. Inside were a number of paraphernalia and i searched hurridly for a rope and grappel hook. After a search lasting a few frantic minutes i found what i was looking for under a pile of assorted pieces of armour. I took the last set of steps four at a time and hooked the rope to a lantern bracket. The rope dangled over the edge and i paused to gather my courage. Then i saw the Spartans. They were marching through the gate far to my right in large numbers. I had no idea why but i was going to use this to fuel my escape. For the second time in a month i found myself on the outside of a wall on a rope, this time going down.

Half way down my hands slipped and i saw my life flash before my eyes before i regained my grip. The rope burned and tore away my skin and i cried out in pain. My back bumped against the wall as i swung around aimlessly and took several deep breaths. I started to climb down again but my hands slipped again with the ever increasing pain and i let go of the rope. I screamed and shut my eyes but found my body hitting the ground a second later. A hurried check of my body showed no serious injury other than my torn hands and a bump on the back of my head. Scrambling to my feet i made a dash towards a line of trees just a short distance away.

The trees were thick and i left the sounds of the city behind. A glance back stopped me in my tracks. Now i saw why the Spartans had marched out. The city was burning and smoke filled the skies. Columns of swirling smoke polluted the air and were whipped far into the sky. A man made storm was brewing. Black clouds tinted red and orange loomed like oppressive demons over the slaughtered city. Even i, who have seen death in my life, blanched at the sight. Fear gripped my insides at the atrocities being committed behind me and before i knew it my legs were moving of their own accord. They had turned numb and with them, my wits had gone too.

Branches whipped my face and legs but i barely noticed. I jumped logs and dodged trees to escape the doomed city. Panic gripped my soul again as i imagined the fires tearing through the forest after me and i ran faster. Panting and wheezing i jumped another fallen tree and out of nowhere, a figure came running from the trees to my left. We smashed into each other and both fell to the ground. My head smacked against a tree root and the last thing i saw was a terrified man in full soldier outfit rolling around in pain.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Argos +1
Argos -1

(My retelling of the same event. Taking away points doesn't make much sense)

Athens 11
Argos 4
Corinth 11
Sparta 6
Megara 9
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Re: The Greek Wars

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