The Greek Wars

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Seleukos of Olympia on 2008-05-28, 10:30

As the sun went up in the sky, it slowly dissolved the morning mist into pools of dew. But it was still cold on the road, and now it was also wet. Adrastos was leading our little party, with Myrto trailing in his footsteps like he was the most peculiar thing she had ever seen and didn't want to keep it off her sight. Galen followed, watchful and serious, and I formed the rear guard, on account of me occasionally taking the time to look back on the majestic sunrise, while the others walked on westwards.

I was forgetting myself in such a state again, when I realised that I had fallen behind and ran to catch up with the others. They were nowhere to be seen and I started to fear that I had been lost and would be eaten by the wolves or captured by Otis' men, who would undoubtedly be just as omnipresent and ferocious. I was visibly sweating, despite the cold and the dew, and started to feel panic coming upon me, when something grabbed my foot and I fell to the ground. Looking back I saw Galen holding my leg from within a bush and waving at me to be silent and hide. I stared dumbfounded at him for a few seconds and then turned my head to the road, to which I was heading.

Aristoxenus and his little band were standing still, surrounded by a group of soldiers who looked Megaran. They were nearly twice as many as Aristoxenus' men, and they exchanged some inaudible words with him. I looked back at Galen and Adrastos and Myrto in an adjacent bush. They were still as statues, their eyes fixed on the scene. I looked back on the road and saw that the lead Megaran was getting restless. He gave a nod to his men and they started to advance on the opposite group. At a shout from Aristoxenus his men unsheathed swords and rushed at the Megarans. Less than five seconds had passed when I saw the figure of Galen jump up in my field of vision, and run towards the road, with what speed his mending wound could allow him. Soon afterwards Adrastos followed his example and shouted to me,

"Come on poet! We have a fight on our hands!"

He rushed down before I had a chance to react. I was laying down and moved my head to see Myrto staring at me expectantly. I got up embarrassingly, and made a step in their direction. I stopped for a second, thinking that there had got to be a better way to deal with that situation and in a moment of inspiration started gathering rocks. I turned to Myrto and mumbled

"They need skirmisher support! That's what Adrastos meant. You can't have a balanced fight without support. I know these things! I've been in the army!"

Content that I had dispelled all notions of disparagement from Myrto's puzzled face, I ran to the side of the road, at a safe distance, and started hurtling my rocks at the Megarans. They had three or four wounded, one or two possibly seriously, and Aristoxenus had two wounded men, when the Megarans retreated. At that sight I pulled out my short sword and ran discreetly among the victors. Aristoxenus was unscathed and was greeting Galen and Adrastos with much surprise. So much for trailing them without being seen.

Argos -1 (rebalancing)

Athens - 7
Argos - 6
Corinth - 7
Megara - 6
Sparta - 9

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-05-29, 13:55

As soon as I had left the council chambers, I had rushed to my house. I didn't know whether the council would try to stop me or not. So I wouldn't give them a chance to. Kilissa had looked shocked at my sudden arrival and said something, but I ignored her. I had grabbed my armour and my sword and strapped them on quickly, deciding that my spear and shield would only slow me down. I found Lyra with a few of the servants, eating bread quietly whilst the servants chatted around her. I ordered her to come with me immediately, and she followed. I didn't know if she could ever help, but if by some chance we ran into Artemios' murderer, Lyra was the only one who could tell me who he was.

We headed for the Western gate from my house, hoping blindly that the guards would allow us through. As the grand archway drew slowly into view, I became more and more tense. Surely the Council wouldn't order the guards to stop me. Would they? What if the guards did block my path? Could I take them all on? Could I live with myself for spilling the blood of good Athenian soldiers?

I was close to the gates now. 10 metres away. 8. 6. 5...

A guard stepped into my path, carrying his hoplon and doru and wearing a full helmet that shielded most of his face from sight.

"I am Startegos Aristoxenus of Athens. Leave me be, soldier", I ordered, hoping that he would step away.

"I'm afraid I can't do that," He said. I stiffened for a moment, but realised I knew the sound of that voice well. Damon. My hand slipped back off the hilt of my sword as he removed his helm.

"Surely you're not going to stop me, Damon," I pleaded. "I have to go to Corinth..."

"Yeh, I know that Aristoxenus," He said, "But I'm not gonna let you go alone. Especially not with such a pretty girl". He smirked, and I relaxed. He nodded towards a group of five or so soldiers at the gate, including the two Spartans who had joined my company after the battle outside Sparta. "This pair want to come on our little trip too. They say they're worried that once you'reout of the city, there'll be no-one to protect them from being executed as evil Spartans".

I glanced at them uncertianly, lowered my voice and asked, "Can they be trusted?"

Damon shrugged. "They don't seem to like Dragos-" he spat "- much. He killed their beloved little princeling, after all. Besides, there's two of them, and two of us. We could take 'em if they tried anything. You could always ask that girl of yours to woo them so we can hit 'em when they're not looking"

I went red. "She's not..." I trailed off. Damon smirked again.

"Nah, I know I'm the only one for you, dearest" He laughed. I went even redder. He cleared his throat and became businesslike again. "Now, we've got enough food and wine for the journey to Corinth. If we set out now we should get there before tomorrow night. Once we're there we'll have to rely on soldier's rations."

I nodded. We left the city and began the long walk to Corinth.
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Alexios Komnenos on 2008-05-29, 14:45

"Men of Athens, we are here to acknowledge the work of Demetrios, commander of our field armies in Anatolia, who has beat back the Persian threat time and time again, keeping Greece safe. He has done great deeds, and we are here to thank and reward him with ample payment for his services."

The speaker seated himself, and several bags full of coin were brought forth and given to my servants, who departed with the cash. I gave my thanks.

"No, we thank you for returning to us in triumph." He said, acknowledging me. That was all I got? A little thanks and some money? That was how Athens rewarded it's commanders? "Also, Demetrios, we thank you for bringing home additional soldiers to our armies."

I choked on air. "What?" I asked. They simply took my armies away? Tamaeros was smiling. Harpalos applauded quietly. Cleitos wore an expression of blank disinterest, looking away into the distance. The various members of the council seemed indifferent at best, celebrating at worst. What had happened? Had the blood of Athens run so thin in my absence that our men were like women, impotent and weak?

"How can you do this?" I asked, my rage barely suppressed. "The council knows nothing of the dangers we face every day out upon the battlefields of Ionia. Greek courage has so long held, but we cannot merely bicker politically. I came here for renforcements, and you take away my command? What madness has compeled the esteemed council to such rash action?" I stood, pacing back and forth like a cobra waiting to strike.

"It is not the council who acts rashly, but you; my old friend." Tamaeros stood. "To accuse the council, in it's wisdom, of madness seems a little..." He laughed. "In your long absence, have you forgotten Athens is a democracy? Pytheas is an up-and-coming politican, a noble man who will lead our armies well. He can take your place. The people will elect him."

"Only because they have no choice!" I said.

"Silence!" The speaker said. "Demetrios, sit down. The esteemed members of the council will not accpet being so blatantly insulted."

I turned away, walking towards the doorway. "There is no strength left among my people. The lies of cowards distract them from the truth, and they bicker over trivialties while they decend into decadance. I am of no more use here. Follow whoever you will. The council began muttering. Who was this man to challenge the decisions of the council? Demetrios had changed. He was not the same as he once was.
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Strohble on 2008-06-02, 09:16

My mind was a whirlwind of thought as I approached the sentries standing post in front of the massive doors to the inner chamber, Aetos' footsteps echoed faintly as he hurried back to the western gate.

"General" said the taller sentry with a nod of his head, as he opened one of the doors just enough for me to gain entry. As I step into the gloomy interior of the central chamber, the smell of urine and pungent body odor washes over me like a wave as I let my eyes adjust to the few smoking oil lamps that were struggling to keep the darkness at bay. As my vision improves I notice the chamber lay bereft of any grandeur it once held. In a room where there was once opulent works of art and sacraments to the gods, now holds only a short table littered with scraps of parchment, an overturned stool, bits of moldy food. I am touched with incredulity and shock, 'what has happened here?'

"Your journey was smooth General?" I turn towards the voice to my left as an apparition appears from a darkened corner and can't believe the sight my eyes behold. A frail old man with matted hair and a long dirty beard wearing nothing but a filthy chiton approaches, a frail old man that once ruled a once proud city, an old man that is Aristippos, King of Argos.

"Yes my King, the journey went well." I reply in a clear voice. As he nears, the eyes that look at me are bright and penetrating.

"And you have informed no one of your plans, have you General?" He stands in front of me now, the reek of him suffuses my senses and I struggle not to take an involuntary step away from the stench, the sight of him.

"No my King, I have informed no one." I say in a clipped voice.

He smiles at me with blackened teeth and lets out a low cackle, eyes growing wider and bright with glee. "Then the time for reprisal is at hand. You shall be my instrument of vengeance and lead my army to crush those which seek our demise." He looks about wildly, then comes even closer, "The gods themselves speak to me." he whispers. "Argos is destined for everlasting glory. Glory that will come with the death of us all." His voice rises, "Our blood will flow as a river into a sea of blood that we will extract from our enemies." He turns abruptly, takes a few steps and raises his head to the ceiling, outstretched arms, "Cities will burn, lands will lie barren, this I have sworn to gods." The strength of his conviction echoes around the chamber as I stand there as if carved from stone.

'This is happening too swiftly,' I think to myself. 'He is truly mad.' My vision grows bright as if a veil is removed from my face, smoke from the lamps hangs in a pall just over our heads, shadows are cut into distinct lines, intricate carvings in relief spring to attention. The hilt of my spatha is warm as I grasp it and slowly draw my weapon from it's scabbard, a movement I've taken a thousand times but don't remember reaching for it now. Aristippos slowly drops his arms and cocks his head as the scrape of metal on metal is heard. He turns to face me with a fading smile on his face,

"What is the meaning of this?" he challenges.

I stand there with feet squared, spatha now at my side, look into his bright eyes and calmly say, "Your time is over. This war was caused by your arrogance and foolishness. The near destruction of Argos lies with you and I will not be a willing participant in your appetite for our annihilation." The sound of many footsteps and voices can be heard mutedly through the doors. "Argos will be rebuilt, it's citizens restored and our enemies vanquished, but you will have no more power here."

"You would not dare depose me. I am your King and my word is law." He thundered, regaining some of his regal form, not the old man he was a moment ago.

"You forget yourself General. Lay your sword at my feet. Guards!! Guards!!"

The doors swing open behind me and with a glance over my shoulder I see Aiolos and Aetos, grim but determined, followed by 50 of my most faithful Logades at the threshold.

"It is done?" I ask Aetos, my eyes fixed upon the old man in front of me, my sword held loosely in my hand.

Aetos replies,"It is done my Lord. My men and your Logades are in full control of the gates and walls. Mercenary captains have been informed per your instructions and await the outcome, albeit with some amusement. Most say they don't care whom they serve, as long as they and their men receive payment."

"Good." I reply still staring at Aristippos standing stiffly in front of me, mute with anger and shaking with rage.

"Aiolos?" I inquire.

"Small parties of your most trusted are setting out through the city and countryside as we speak General. The most affluent and powerful men that remain will be found and asked to come directly here." He answers.

"Very good Aiolos." I direct my attention to Aristippos once more, "Argos will be a free society now, run by men who will not abuse their position nor their fellow citizens. Our city will rise from the fires that you kindled, and your name will be forgotten."

A moan escapes the mouth of the former King as reality sets in, a panicked look upon his face. "But the gods, I swore an oath to the gods. Surely you won't fight the will of the immortals." He pleads.

"I am acting in accordance with the gods wishes right now old man. You are the one that has stripped their temple and perverted their will in your madness." I say coldly. "Your remaining time will be spent alone with your thoughts."

He stares at me and I can see the light grow dim in his eyes, a frail old man once more. He slowly turns and shuffles over to the table, beaten, tears coursing down his filthy cheeks muttering inaudibly. He turns his head and gestures for me to come to his side. I sheathe my spatha and walk over to him, not knowing what to feel at this moment, the gravity of the situation not settling in yet.

With head hung, hair obscuring his profile he says, "Allow your King to depart this world with an ounce of dignity."

Without a word I draw my dagger and lay it upon the table.

"Leave me." The last words I will hear from this man.

I walk to the doorway where my men look at me with new understanding, respect and awe on their faces. As I close the massive doors my thoughts are on Argos, the end of an era, new beginnings and the inevitable war that must still be fought.
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-06-02, 10:14

The sky was grey and the wind bitterly cold as we trudged along the road. The drizzle began about an hour into our trek, filling the grey air with a feeling of despondency and gloom. Damon and I chatted for a while, trying to keep our spirits up, but soon we fell silent. Orthaeus and Python walked out in front, and Lyra followed from behind. And so the five of us went on for hours, trudging slowly on along the long road. Eventually darkness fell, and so we made camp under a few scattered trees by the side of the road. The drizzle had finally stopped, and so we made a small fire and sat around it as we ate.

Damon and the Spartans were in the middle of a lively conversation. I looked across to Lyra, who sat next to me. She hadn't spoken a word all day. And, I realised, no-one had spoken to her since I'd ordered her to come with me.

"Lyra, are you ok?" I asked. She looked up from her hunk of bread. She'd only eaten one bite.

"Y… yes, my Lord" She stuttered. Her gaze dropped down to the fire flickering in front of us.

"You haven't eaten much. You'll need the energy for tomorrow's walk."

"I'm not h… hungry, my Lord".

This time she didn't even look up to reply. It was no good, the girl simply refused to even try to enter conversation. Well then, it was her fault if no-one spoke to her.

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

Damon and I took it in turns to keep a watch, not so much because we were wary of brigands but because we didn't feel safe enough around the two Spartans to let our guards down. I made sure that Lyra got the privacy to sleep away from the rest of us. And so the night dragged on, flitting between restless sleep and watching the Spartans' every move. We breakfasted before sunrise, broke camp and walked on. The cold and the damp pierced our flesh like a harpy's claws, beating down our wearied souls. But we kept going. We had to get to Corinth before the day was out. It was my only goal, my one objective, the only meaning I could find room for in my mind. We must get there.

We rested again a little before midday, in an area of scrubland, filled with dense bushes and ferns. We sat on the road, sitting in an inward-facing circle to eat what remained of our supplies. I started talking with Orthaeus, discussing his delusions of the Spartan monarchy's superiority over Athenian democracy. For the first time in weeks I allowed my mind to wander from the task I had set myself. And so I did not notice at first when Damon fell silent and stared upwards.

Around us stood soldiers. Megaran soldiers. Ten Megaran soldiers, armoured and carrying the full gear of a light hoplite. They must have hidden in the scrub around us. They must have known we were coming.

A man from the Megaran group stepped forwards as we stood. "Welcome, oh most honourable Aristoxenus" he said sarcastically. "I see you've brought friends. Wonderful. More of a party for us." He grinned a broad grin, baring yellowed teeth through his messy stubble.

"Let us through", I said, trying to sound calm. Instinctively I stretched out my arm and pushed Lyra into the centre of our circle. The Megarans had us completely surrounded. There was little hope of surviving this.

"Let me think about that," the captain said, pausing to mock me. "Hmmm, no, that doesn't sound like much of a plan to me. Lads, lets put these dogs out of their misery, shall we?"

The Megarans closed in around us. It was hopeless. They had shields and spears, we only had swords. But we would make sure we took as many of them with us as we could.

A Megaran soldier lunged at me with his spear. I knocked it aside and jumped in, closing the gap and making his spear useless. I smashed the hilt of my sword on his helm, and he dropped to the ground in a momentary daze. Another spear thrust at me, and I dodged backwards just in time. The rim of a shield caught me in the stomach and I bent double, winded. Their captain stood opposite me triumphantly, his spear poised and ready to deal the final blow.

But it never came. A flash of flesh and steel bulled into the Megaran, bowling him over. He would never rise again. Seconds later another figure sliced at a Megaran soldier from behind, paralysing him in agony. The Megarans were thrown into complete disarray, and ran. A rock whizzed through the air and struck one of the Megarans on the rear as he fled. Relief filled my system as I watched our foe run. I had survived.

But what of the others? I looked around me. Orthaeus was unhurt, standing over a Megaran who clutched at the crimson stain spreading across his stomach, his face pale and his breath coming in ragged gasps. Damon nursed a thigh that had been stabbed by a lucky Megaran spear. Python still stood, but his left arm stuck out at a painful angle, his shoulder dislocated. Three Megarans lay too badly injured to run, and their captain was dead, killed by our mysterious and timely friends. But who were they?

I turned. In front of me stood Galen and Adrastos, carrying daggers. I nodded to them.

"Galen. Getas."

These two had been to Megara. Had they had spied on its rulers? Had they killed the mysterious assassin master of the city? They had much to explain, and so did I. And so I awaited their reply.

Athens +1

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

Post by Volksie on 2008-06-02, 15:22

After we had made sure the Megarans were truly gone I called out to Iphitos to bring Myrto down and then called back to him to wait after a seconds thought. Aristoxenus eyed me with a query. I asked him if we could camp away from the bloody encounter while we rested. He nodded and told his small band to move along and find a suitable place to rest for a moment. They were a motley looking group; Aristoxenus stuck with another of the men and the other two men stayed together. A woman stood in between them, staring off into the distance and seemingly unaware of the carnage that had recently taken place around her.

"Damon," Aristoxenus said to one of the men as the other two started to walk down the road. "Look after Lyra and watch those two; i must talk with Getas here. He is an old friend." Damon bowed his head slightly and lead Lyra after the other two men.

"Galen, go back to Iphitos and Myrto, take them after the others," I said. I wished to have a few words alone with Aristoxenus.

"The poet is with you?" Aristoxenus asked with bemusement and i nodded with a grin. "I should have guessed. Who else would be providing ranged support?" I laughed and Aristoxenus smiled. He seemed different for some reason. Then i noticed his cloak.

"You wear the colours of one who mourns," I stated and became serious.

"Yes. A good friend of mine was murdered."

"I know," I said quickly. Aristoxenus was stunned. "It is a long story but i know of Artemios' death."

"How do you know this?" He said angrily.

"Because i know the killer, well, killers, that is," i said quickly and pulled the incriminating note out of my cloak. "They are the same people who knew of your departure from Athens and ordered these men here to kill you, they are the same people who are causing the turmoil in Athens and are stopping Athens aiding her allies. We are hunting the same people, Aristoxenus."

Aristoxenus was reading the note incredulously. When he had finished he asked if he could keep it and i nodded. He sat down heavily on the ground and shook his head, as if to clear his thoughts. I sat down near him and waited for it to sink in.

"We can hunt together, Aristoxenus," i said as i placed a hand on his shoulder.

"Where once i called you mutual ally," He said after a moment. "I am now prepared to call you friend, Adrastos. Now, tell me about your time in Megara."

I spent the next ten minutes sitting by the road talking with Aristoxenus about my findings in Megara. I told him of how Galen and i were making little headway, other than to kill a few agents of Otis', until the poet came along and changed our fortunes. How he found the house of Otis but it was empty and we knew he was no longer in the city. Aristoxenus took particular interest when i came to tell him of how we found the note by following Myrto to a dumped body and how we had decided to speed towards Athens in the hope of finding him. Then Aristoxenus told me of the murder of Artemios in detail and his subsequent expulsion from the council of Athens.

"I now seek to aid my one time ally of Nicomedus and possibly receive his aid back," Aristoxenus concluded.

"Whoa," i shouted as memories tumbled back. "I will happily travel with you Aristoxenus, but if we're knocking on the door of that pyschopath then i'm staying outside. Last time we met he tried to torture and kill me, and this time i won't have your influence to save me. Remember, he may have been your ally once but you two hardly got along and he may be less accomadating if he learns of your expulsion from the council."

Aristoxenus thought on it for a moment. "I still wish to go to Corinth's aid. But from there, where do we go, Adrastos?"

"We know Otis is not in Megara," I said, thinking out loud. "It is unlikely he would travel to Corinth but prehaps we should not rule it out. Argos is a possibility and so is Sparta. I'd say it is more likely he has gone to Athens to meddle in the politics a bit more but we should consider the other cities anyway."

"I am not yet ready to travel home," said Aristoxenus simply.

"Well then, Corinth, Argos and then Sparta. We go to visit the three mad kings."

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

Aristoxenus and i joined the others after a good twenty minutes in conference with Getas once again becoming my name. Aristoxenus introduced Damon and Lyra and the two Spartans Orthaeus and Python. Damon and Python were attending to their wounds. I introduced Galen, Myrto and Iphitos.

The small camp was an awkward place for the half hour we rested there. With the joining of our two companies we now numbered nine and stealth was no longer an option. Myrto had been uncomfortable while i had been away but moved next to me as soon as i sat down. Galen and Iphitos helped Damon with his wound and the two Spartans sat apart from the rest, muttering to each other. I could see why Aristoxenus did not trust them. Lyra sat by herself, not moving or looking at any of the others. Aristoxenus cleared his throat and the group fell silent.

"Fortune has brought us together today and has saved our lives. For that, i would like to thank you," Aristoxenus said sincerly towards Galen and myself. "I have talked extensively with Getas and we have agreed to travel together to Corinth. If we leave now then we will arrive before the day's end. From there you are free to do as you please; whether this means leaving or continuing to travel together. Whatever you choose to do i intend to travel with Getas for some time."

Aristoxenus finsihed his short speech and made ready to leave. I felt something was needed to break the tension and let out a small cheer. When there was no response i shrugged my shoulders and joined the others on the road.
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-06-03, 00:17

I wiped my blade on the tunic of the assassin that burst into my bedroom. The man was a citizen of Sparta, of that there can be no doubt. Why would he throw away his life in an attack on the palace? He must have known he would fail. The noises of battle had died down in the halls, but you could still hear the moan of the wounded and dying.

I turned to where Lydia was sitting on our bed, seemingly unperturbed by the armed man that was just killed in front of her. Instead, she merely looked annoyed at the pool of blood that was sure to stain the carpets. Before the man entered, I was busy apologising for my little... mistake of the previous day. The apology was not really going too well.

I cleared my throat and carried on where I left off.
"As I was saying, my love, I was just going to take a peek. I was not going to touch or kiss it, I promise. But as you know, it was quite dark in that room, so I had to get quite close to see properly. And then you startled me, making me lose my balance and falling face first into her..." Lydia jumped to her feet.
"Enough, Dragos! This has got to be the worst apology ever. I know you're sorry, and all that. You have a weakness for pretty women, and I've accepted that. I've known it from before we were married." She sighed. "At least it wasn't a skanky servant girl." A sudden fire came to her eyes. "Next time you see that woman, come get me. I would like a word with her." She cracked her knuckles sharply, making me wince. My wife could be very scary...

I strolled out into the corridors, watching as the Palace Guards removed the bodies of the attackers and piled them in the courtyard. There were about a dozen of them, ranging from teenage boys, to middle aged war veterans. I shook my head as I looked upon their corpses. Such a waste.

The Commander of the Guard walked up to me.
"We lost three, my King. Four carry minor wounds, but they're fit for duty." He nodded at the pile of assassins. "Do you want me to burn the bodies, King Dragos?" I thought about it briefly.
"Find out who they were, first. Then burn them, and send men to kill their families. No survivors." The Commander nodded and proceeded to shout orders to his men.

As I left the courtyard, a profound sadness washed over me. Kill their families? It is because of cruelty like this that they came for you in the first place. Killing their families would only cause more anger and resentment towards me. So utterly pointless. I stopped and turned back to the Commander.
"Banokles! Disregard that last order, would you?" He walked back to me with a quizzical look on his face.
"My King? What do you mean?" he asked.
"I still want you to find out who they were, but instead of burning the bodies and killing their families, I want you to return them to their homes along with a bag of gold coins. If I have time, I will apologise to each family personally."
Commander Banokles smiled and saluted smartly.
"I was not looking forward to killing women and children, my King. Thank you." I nodded at him. For some reason, I felt more at peace as I left the courtyard again.

Later...

"Are you sure about this, my King?" Polites was sceptical about my latest choice of action, and rightly so. It was a gamble, but a necessary one in my eyes.
"Yes Polites, I AM taking the supplies to Argos myself. No, I am not going alone, I'm taking four hundred Elites with me. All you need to do, is keep my wife safe. If you hear anything from Corinth, let me know immediately. Understand?" He nodded.
I looked over my soldier to see if the wagons were ready for departure. This would be an interesting trip...

Megara +
Argos - (rebalancing)

Athens - 8
Argos - 5
Corinth - 7
Megara - 7
Sparta - 9

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Strohble on 2008-06-03, 14:42

The long day was finally beginning to wind down for Pelagius. After a few turns of the hourglass he would be free to resume his efforts in breaking down the resistance of the tavern keeper's daughter, but until then he must do his duty at the western gate.

"Thinking about that rosy cheeked cherub at the tavern eh Pelagius?" Pelagius smiled and turned to face his good friend Hilarion. "You know it." He replies.

They both look down from the watchtower as a group of mercenary hoplites wearily enters the gates from the muster field after a full day of training and maneuvers. "I thought the General worked us hard but after seeing what the new men are going through I thank Zeus at the end of every day." Hilarion says gesturing at the hoplites.

"Aye. The General's a hard man but look at what he's done in such a short amount of time." Pelagius looks hard to the horizon thinking he saw something, dismisses it and continues, "Almost 1800 of the best hard fighting men I've ever seen from all points of the compass learning to work together as a single unit. Our ranks are filling out again and the Logades are the most fearsome lot I've sparred with. I wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of their blades."

"3000 regulars and 700 Logades is the count I've heard." Hilarion replies. "The General works miracles. Did you see the wagon train that came in two nights ago?" He asks.

'No, but I heard what it consisted of. Plunder and grain. The amount of slaves alone will bring a great amount." Pelagius grins devilishly. "Maybe wages will increase."

"Fat chance that. Those slaves are going straight to the quarries."

Another glint from the low hills to the west catches Pelagius' eye again. He elbows his friend as he stares into the distance. "Did you see that?" He asks.

"See what?" Hilarion asks,also staring now. A faint line of dust is just barely visible through a cleft in the low hills where the road lies,a single rider comes into view barreling down the road hell bent. The two guards look at each other in concern.
"Call the lokhagos Hilarion." Pelagius orders "I've a bad feeling for some reason."

Hilarion turns and swiftly descends the ladder while Pelagius watches the rider approach the gate, unease growing in his gut. A great cloud of dust builds in the cleft of the hills far behind the rider signaling the approach of some large body. The rider comes into clear view and looks up at Pelagius with a terrified look upon his face,
"SPARTANS!!!! A SPARTAN ARMY APPROACHES THE CITY!!!!!!!"

Color drains from the face of Pelagius as the rider tears through the gates yelling at the top of his lungs. He pauses for a second, collects his thoughts,"CLOSE THE GATES!!!!!!"
He bellows as trumpet blasts are heard in a crescendo, soldiers appearing and taking stations upon the walls. He looks down and points to a mounted soldier having just made it into the gates, "You. Ride to the council chambers and summon General Thanatos immediately."

As the soldier spurs his horse into a gallop Pelagius turns and looks to the horizon once more, at the growing cloud of dust and the approach of the unknown.
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-06-04, 00:23

I watched the gates of Argos slowly close from the hilltop, and the scurry of troops on the walls of the city. From this vantage point I could see that much of the fire damage had been repaired, and that the troops were organised. Very organised in fact.

So the agent was right. A general named Thanatos had taked control of the city in a bloodless coup, and King Aristippos lay dead by his own hand. I did not know much about this 'Thanatos,' but rumour has that it was he who commanded the logades at Sparta. They were very organised back then, so the man must be a good leader, knowing how to bring the best out of his soldiers. Hopefully he has more sense than I do. I smiled wryly. This has got to be one of the stupidest things I have done in my life.

"Banokles!" I shouted over my shoulder "tell the supply train to stop, and take defensive positions. If things go... badly... down there, I want you to leave the wagons and get these people back to Sparta in one piece." He came up to me with wide eyes.
"My King! Surely you're not intending to go up to the walls alone? You've got no heirs, so if you die..." He left the thought hanging ominously.
"I know, Banokles. I left instructions with Polites in case something happens to me. But, Zeus help me, Ive got a feeling it won't end here. Now go, I've got an alliance to form."

I rode closer to the city, dressed in full armour and helmet, white banner fluttering I the wind. Entering arrow range, I tightened my grip on my shield in anticipation of shafts flying my way. If that happened, I would be a dead man. But, no arrows came. Just the unerring silence, a silence that chilled my bones as I stared at the motionless men on the walls.
"What the hell are you doing, Dragos?" I muttered to myself, suddenly angry at my rashness. I have a city that depends on me, and here I am, putting my life in mortal danger.
"HALT!" Shouted a voice from the battlements. I complied, nearly dropping my spear at the suddeness of the shout. "What do you want, Spartan?" There was contempt in the man's voice, contempt that suggested willingness to kill. I would have to be careful here.
"I am here to request an audience with the ruler of the city. I bring word from Dragos of Sparta-"
"That cur holds no sway here! He has brought immense suffering on the people of this city..." I became a bit irritated at that point.
"He knows that! Do you think him a fool? Do you think Dragos of Sparta-" I shouted as I ripped my helmet from my head and hurled it to the ground, "Do you think Dragos of Sparta does not know this!?" The soldiers on the wall gasped in astonishment, whispering among themselves. For a moment I thought they were going to fire, ending my life there and then, but a tall man in full armour raised his fist. The soldiers went silent instantly.

"I had heard Dragos was deranged, but this is beyond anything I would have imagined. A King, approaching a hostile city alone? This speaks only of insanity!" I was about to respond, when he continued:"However, I am intrigued as to why a mighty King would take such a risk? Surely a simple messenger would have sufficed?" I swallowed before answering in a calm tone:
"A messenger's integrity may be questioned. Mine cannot." I looked him straight in the eyes. "I am called many things, but "liar" is not one of them. I ask only to speak to you in private, General Thanatos. I presume that is who you are?" He nodded.
"I am Thanatos, yes, and I will hear your words. But any hostile action, and you will die, Dragos, King or not. Zeus knows you deserve it."He said it with a finality in his voice that sent a shiver down my spine. This was a man with nerves of steel!

I was ordered to dismount and walk ten paces back. I left my spear and shield tied to my horse, but my sword was still buckled around my waist. Slowly, the gates opened and Thanatos strode out, flanked by four logades. They remained by the gate as Thanatos himself approached me.

"Speak, Spartan. What brings you to the site of your greatest evil?" I looked him straight in the eye.
"I propose an alliance." His eyes widened, but I kept going. "I believe the events that caused my actions, and thus the destruction of your city, were spurred on by Megaran agents, people from the very city I am allied with. It is my belief that every effort must be made to eliminate them as a power in Greece." Thanatos stood staring at me incredulously, seemingly at a loss for words. I decided to go on:" I have sent several Spartan warriors, disguised as mercenaries, to aid Nicodemus in retaking Corinth from the Megaran occupation forces. My agents are also attempting to locate Aristoxenus of Athens," I grimaced slightly, "but that is proving difficult." Finally, Thanatos spoke.

"Just like that, Dragos, the Butcher of Argos, wants peace. So what, just because you were deceived by Megaran agents, your murdering countless innocents should be set aside? I don't think so, Spartan." Veins bulged on his neck and forehead as he struggled to contain the anger seething inside him. I did not blame him.
"I should hack your worthless head from your shoulders right now for what you did!" He took a step towards me, fires burning in his eyes. My hand dropped to the hilt of my sword almost unintentionally, causing a flurry of activity as the archers on the walls notched arrows and logades readied themselves. Thanatos kept going, "Good people died that day! Old Naxos the baker watched his daughter writhing in agony as the flames consumed her, before dying himself in a futile attempt to rescue his grandchild from his house! YOU WANT ME TO JUST FORGET THAT, YOU HOUND OF HADES!?"
He tore his blade from its scabbard and swung at my upper body with such fury and speed that I barely had time to react. I felt the cold steel slicing into my right arm, tearing through my armour like it wasn't there. Blood gushed from the wound as I spun to my left to avoid the full force of the strike. I did not draw my blade as he kept coming.
"Laodike the florist died when a burning building collapsed on her and her tiny daughter! The baby was barely a month old!" His blade snaked out towards my chest, cutting a furrow in the metal of my breastplate. Still I refrained from drawing my sword, as I attempted to avoid the raging Argive general. I tripped over a molesheap and fell heavily on my injured shoulder. Then he was on me. I closed my eyes and braced myself to meet the ferryman, but the deathblow never came. Instead, I opened my eyes to see his filled with tears. He let his blade fall to the ground as he collapsed to the ground, sobbing uncontrollably. I put my arm around his shoulders and wept with him there, under the eyes of the Gods, two generals embroiled in a war that should never have been.

The next morning, as my troops helped the Argive Logades unload the supplies, Thanatos and I stood off to one side, discussing the Megaran dilemma.
"I do not believe our peoples are ready for a full alliance," Thanatos was saying. "For many of these people, Sparta is the enemy. Many, including myself, would probably never forgive you." I nodded sadly, conceding his point. He continued:"But, I do agree that Megara is the greater threat to stability in Greece. You have my word that no army will march on Sparta as long as Megara remains a threat." I felt a great relief as he said that, knowing that my risks were not in vain.
"I will make that same promise, but I will take it a step further. As long as I remain King of Sparta, I will not march another army to Argos. Even after Megara burns, the House of Dragos will not initiate hostile action against your city." His serious face relaxed slightly.
"I will hold you to that promise, Dragos of Sparta."

As we rode back to Sparta, I couldn't help but wonder if peace in Greece was nothing but a madman's dream. Could the great city states really put their differences aside? I sighed. Only the Gods knew the answer to that.

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-06-04, 07:00

Adrastos was a different person from the one I had met in Corinth all those months ago. Back then I had thought him a coward, likeable enough but only out for his own survival. But the time he had spent free of his old master's power had changed him. Now he stood tall, proud, a man I felt truly honoured to count as a friend. This was the true Adrastos, not the one cowering in the shadows afraid of Otis' men sending him to the eternal grip of Hades.

Otis. So, that was the shadowy puppet-master's name. A man who held the leash of half of Greece's assassins, spies and thugs. The man who was behind Artemios' death. And a man I couldn't reach. The thought burned in my soul. Well, perhaps I couldn't reach him now, but I would have my revenge. Adrastos would eventually search him out. And I would not like to be on recieving end of his anger when that happened.

The grim silence in our company had lifted since we had joined with the others. The poet, as always, chatted away incessantly, telling us all how glad he was to be in our ilustrious company again, and how honoured he felt to have helped us against those terrible men. Galen walked at my side, asking me to fill him in on what had happened in our city whilst he ahd been away. The girl with Adrastos had at first walked with Lyra, but Lyra didn't even seem to notice her. Now she walked close by Adrastos.

I finished telling Galen about the various disputes and decisions in the council, and dropped back. Lyra took no notice, lost in thought. I put my hand on her shoulder.

"When we reach Corinth, it's likely I'll be thrown into the fighting. You can't follow me into it. Are you ok to stay with Adr- Getas, whilst I'm gone?"

Lyra looked up at me fearfully. "I d... I don't know him, my Lord", she stammered.

"Getas is a good man, Lyra", I said, trying to sound as reassuring as I could. "He'll take care of you."

She looked back down at the ground sullenly. "Yes, m... my Lord"

I chuckled. "Heh, I'm no-one's lord any more. I lost that title as soon as I left Athens against the council's will. I don't know if I'll ever get it back. But whilst we're here, we're equals. Just call me my name."

"Aristoxenus", she said. And for the first time since I'd met her, she smiled.

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

We reached Corinth just as the sun was going down, filling the sky with vivid purples and oranges. Nicodemus' camp sprawled across either sides of the road. We were stopped by the guards almost as soon as the camp came into view. I informed them that I was Aristoxenus of Athens, and I wished to talk to Nicodemus about aiding him in this battle. My companions, I said, were my entourage and guards, and Nicodemus need not trouble himself with meeting them.

The guards took my weapons and lead me to a tent near the centre of the Corinthian camp. Near the entrance to the tent I saw the man who had tailed me through Corinth the day when I had gone to meet Adrastos in secret. I smiled at him. He scowled back. Nicodemus welcomed me, although his face fell as soon as I said I was acting on my own perogative, without the aid of Athens. And then he outlined to me a plan, a plan that required my participation and that would hopefully win back the city from the Megarans...
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-06-04, 08:09

Two months before the outbreak of war
------------------------------------------

"Myrto! Myrto!" the shouts of the woman drifted down the hall and into the study where Otis sat. She rounded the corner and pulled up short at the sight of her master. "I'm sorry, master. I did not realise you were back yet."

"Do not worry," Otis said, lost in thought. "She's in the next room."

"Sorry, Master Otis?" the woman asked in confusion and Otis snapped back to reality.

"Myrto," he said. "She's in the next room."

"Oh, thankyou, master."

The woman bustled into the next room and Otis stared out of the window dreamily. The sounds of the slave girl being punished for some unknown mistake drifted through the walls but Otis took no heed. After many minutes the sounds subsided and not long after a knock came at the door and a man entered.

"Come in, Linus," Otis said and beckoned to a chair. "We have a problem."

"What did you find in Argos?" asked Linus.

"Our agents are dead."

"What do you mean our agents are dead?" Linus reeled.

"They're all dead," Otis said simply. "Aristippos is cleverer than he appears. All of our agents are dead, each one confessing under torture and leading him to the next one. It is also quite likely he knows that they are my agents."

"What will we do?"

"I will send my daughter to Sparta to strike an agreement with King Helikaon." said Otis as he leant back in his chair and put his feet on his desk. His eyes, once more, drifted towards the window and he eyed an untidy hedge with contempt.

"What good will that do?" Linus asked, his eyes following Otis'.

"I am going to try and kill Aristippos and if I fail I would like some guarantee of protection. If our agents talked he knows too much. Sparta, or to be correct, King Helikaon, will be the most open to the idea."

"I see," Linus nodded slowly. "What will you offer him?"

"Anything he wishes and is within my means. My daughter will leave in the morning after I have seen her." Otis said, finally turning from the window. "You will find me an assassin."

Linus thought for a moment and then shifted uncomfortably. "Do you think it is time to retrieve Adrastos?"

Otis closed his eyes and drew a breath as he thought. "No," he said eventually. "Soon though. When I do retrieve him I want to make sure he will die in his mission while at least having some chance of success. That man is a thorn in my side," Otis opened his eyes and sighed. "What is he doing lately?"

"Still drinking and whoring," Linus answered. "We can always just kill him, you know?"

"I won't do that," Otis answered, a tone of finality in his voice which stopped any objection from Linus.

"Find an assassin, anyone," Otis said sharply and got out of his chair. "Now I have a hedge to attend to."
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-06-04, 08:14

It was a beautiful autumn evening in Sparta, with the sun casting its last rays on the unwalled city of warriors. On the balcony of the King's Palace, Helikaon of Sparta was entertaining Eleni, daughter of Otis of Megara.

He was staring at the beautiful woman in front of him, entranced by her flawless beauty. Her skin was as smooth as the cheeks of a newborn baby, with a healthy reddish tinge to her cheeks. Perfect white teeth glistened behind her full lips as she spoke, seemingly inviting him to plant his mouth on hers. But the eyes were what grabbed him most. They were a deep blue, possessing a luminescence beyond words, and yet, sparkling with intelligence. Perhaps too much intelligence for a woman...

Helikaon leant forward, feigning interest in her words, while in fact only looking at her perfect breasts. Her dress was tight around her chest, and the chilly breeze made here nipples harden, accentuating her overwhelming sensuality. Helikaon swallowed, trying with all his might to supress the warm feeling in his loins. He failed.

With a low grunt, born entirely of lust, he grabbed her in his poweful arms and planted a kiss upon her mouth. To his surprise, she didn't resist, returning the kiss with more than a hint of tongue. All coherent thought vanished from Helikaon's mind at that point. He forced her up against the wall, hands gripping her firm buttocks as he thrust into her. She let out a low moan, her arms wrapped around his neck as the throes of ecstacy overcame them both. Aphrodite! Surely this woman was Aphrodite in the flesh?


The next morning...


"So, great King, have you decided on your terms? What do you want in return for your help against Argos?" They were back in the King's throne room, after spending the entire night in eachother's arms. Eleni was all business today here in front of the King's closest advisors, but she carefully avoided making eye contact with Helikaon.
"So I can have anything I want?" His gaze was fixed on her breasts even as he spoke. No man in the room noticed. They all were looking at the same thing. She was wearing a very risque gown, suggesively low cut to reveal the fullness of her breasts in a most prominent fashion.
"Anything, my King." She glanced at him demurely, as she feigned shyness. It was working. He was totally enthralled by her feminine chams.

"Tell Otis, he will have my allegiance. But in exchange," he said as he rose from his throne, "I want his daughter as my wife." He lifted her chin and kissed her full on the mouth. He felt her tongue flicking his, briefly, just enough to make his knees buckle for an instant. She pulled away, making Helikaon take an involuntary step towards her. She smiled.
"I will inform my father, Great King." Still smiling, she walked out of the room, confident, knowing that all the men were focussed on her alone. This was too easy.

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-06-04, 15:27

One week before the outbreak of war

Linus slowly opened the door of Otis' study. It was the middle of the night but Otis sat and read by candle light. His face almost seemed calm in the dim light but as soon as Linus entered he looked up expectantly.

"He has failed," Linus said simply. "Aristippos knows."

Otis nodded and put down his book slowly.

"Send word to Helikaon," Otis said and waved his hand at Linus to leave. "He will have my daughter's hand in marriage when Argos is crushed."

With that Linus left and Otis sighed. He watched the dancing flame of the candle for a moment before blowing it out and plunging the room into darkness.
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Kasey on 2008-06-10, 04:20

Aeneas turned back to look at his chosen men. 10 of the best troops Corinth had to offer. All of them dressed in the full war garb of the hoplite; Helmet, Breastplate, Spear, Hoplon and Sword. It had been a tricky decision as to whether they should move light, or wear full armour, but in the end Aeneas had decided the risk of detection was too great to go without proper war gear.

He embraced his Second-in-Command, Lysander, one last time, before striding to the edge of the acropolis and beginning the tricky climb down the cliff walls. When they finally reached the bottom Aeneas gathered them round for one last quick talk.

"Alright boys. We have to get to the gate, but we are gonna have to go slowly, otherwise the Megaran dogs may look twice at us. If that happens then we are going to have to fight our way down. Ready?" He scanned the faces of his men, they were ready.

At first all went well for Aeneas' small party, no one looked twice at a few hoplites moving brazenly through the dark city. But just a few streets from the gate, disaster struck. A Megaran Soldier who had been lounging against a wall suddenly shouted at them, wanting to know where they were going.

"We are heading to the walls," Aeneas informed him

"And my wife is Aphrodite! All of you? Those curs aren't going to try anything" His eyes scanned the men suspiciously. His eyes alighted on one of the men's shields, which bore the Symbol of Pegasus, the winged horse. His eyes widened, and his jaw dropped. For this was the symbol of the Corinthian Royal Guard. Aeneas plunged a spear into the man's throat, but not before he let out a desperate shout. Aeneas cursed as he heard a commotion coming from what must have been made a barracks. He pointed to 3 of his men

"Get to the gate! And bring me help! Rest of you! With me!"

And with that the remaining men charged at the door of the barracks, where confused Megarans were already starting to spill out. Those men were cut down in seconds; Aeneas speared a Megaran and led the charge through the door, and into the room thronging with enemies. It was time for his sword to swing, and for the Spirit of Ares to be unleashed.

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Outside the city, we heard the first cries of a battle flying over the silent city. My men and me were right up against the city's wall, waiting for the gates to be opened. Then suddenly, with a great groan, the gates swung inwards. For a few moments I stared dumbstruck at the gates. It had worked! It had actually worked! Then I recovered, and leaping to my feet cried out

"Up! Up! Into the city! For Corinth and the Gods on high Olympus!"

The men took up my cry, and screamed the challenge of "Corinth and Olympus" as they charged through the opened city gates. Aeneas' men were waiting for us inside the city, the guards dead at their feet.
"Nicodemus?" one asked quickly, I nodded the affirmative, "Aeneas is in trouble, he's fighting inside one of the barracks, outnumbered"

Quickly I pointed to one of my commanders, and ordered him to take his men to Aeneas aid. The men ran off, following the soldier who'd talked to me.

"The rest of you know what to do fight!"

The men ran off, some with Commanders to capture strategic points, but most followed me.

"Pylades! Sound the horn, let the Acropolis know we are here"

The clear notes reverberated through the city. I grinned at the panic that would be going through the fool Narcissus mind. He had no idea what was coming for him.

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Lysander heard the horn. His men were ready. He twisted in the saddle of one of the few horses that they had saved from the Megarans, the King and a few Guardsmen were mounted up behind him. Although only middle-aged, the King looked old, and worn. His hair hung long, lank and grey from beneath his Great War helm. His hands, grabbing his reins, were pale and wrinkled. He wasn't a man to inspire his fellow man, thought Lysander.

Lysander licked his lips nervously, he was always nervous before a fight, everyone was. Those who claimed not to be nervous were either liars, or the worst kind of men to face in battle. Those without fear fought like a She-wolf protecting their cubs, they never gave up, and they fought till they bled to death from their wounds. Aeneas was one of those men, once he entered battle, all fear left his mind, to be replaced only by the brutal animal instinct of inflicting pain and death on any that opposed him. Lysander shuddered. Turning once more to the king he asked,

"Are you ready, sire?"

"Oh yes my dear boy!" the King responded brightly, "to war!" he shouted and drew his sword; he slightly ruined the effect of his heroic gesture by giggling as he raised his sword in the air. Oh well thought Lysander, at least the King's time in the Temple of Dionysus had given the King some Persian courage. The men around Appolinius twitched nervously at their King's tipsy behaviour. But Lysander just smiled to himself, Aeneas had told him to make certain the King did not survive the battle, and Appolinius' drunkenness could only make that task easier.

"For Corinth!" Lysander shouted out, "Ride forth and strike down your foes like a thunderbolt from Zeus!"

The horses moved forward in a walk, then trotted through the gate, before moving into a canter on the ramp down from the Acropolis. Lysander could see the Megarans assembling in the square below the Acropolis. The fight was about to begin.

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

I ducked under the clumsy swing of a Megaran blade, and brought my own sword up into his belly, I grunted as I twisted the weapon, and then yanked it out of him. The man toppled lifeless to the floor. I ran onwards with my men. We ran towards the Acropolis, we turned a corner, then in front of us was a Megaran shield wall, blocking our passage to a square were the beleaguered Royal Guard were fighting a losing battle under the Royal Banner. I stopped dead in my tracks, and signalled to Pylades,

"Form up!" we cried to the men, "Form up!"

My men formed up into the Hoplite formation, then moved into the deadly, "Tusk" formation. At the front of the "Tusk" was one man, behind him, two behind them four, and so on, until the rough shape of a triangle was formed. Me and Pylades formed the second rank, whilst a great bear of a man known as "Ares" took the crucial point position. He was well named, in battle he did indeed fight like a God of War.

We marched forward slowly, shields held high. At the front Ares advanced calmly. We were just a few feet from the Megarans when Ares, sped into a trot, and hurled himself at the gap between two of the Megarans. His spear took the throat of one of the Megarans, then a split second later, the other. He'd opened a gap. Me and Pylades pushed into it, taking down the men on either side of the gap. We were smashing a hole in their shield wall through which the rest of the Tusk came in. The Megarans tried to fight back, but they had no chance, they broke, and fled backwards, we followed, slaughtering the cowards as they ran. We accelerated, aiming for the backs of the Megarans engaging the Royal Guard. Their rear ranks died before they even knew what had happened, the bloodletting had begun in earnest.

This battle wasn't two shield walls, just a punishing melee of fighters stabbing, slashing and swearing at each other, into this press of bodies, I brought my men.

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

Lysander blocked a blow on his shield, parried a spear thrust, and lunged forward with his own spear. He was on foot now, his horse lying somewhere in the reeking Charnel house that the elegant square had become. The fountain in the middle ran with blood, the floor was littered with gore and corpses, men screamed for their mothers, and to the gods. But no one could save them now; there was no lull to collect the wounded, just a long heard slog, as the sun slowly rose in the east. It was nearly dawn, Phoebus Apollo had yoked his steeds and his chariot now began its climb through the heavens. The light from the sun turned the already bloodied square bright red, in the dawn's brilliant glare.

Lysander saw the King, on foot too, but disappointingly still alive. Bloody Megarans couldn't even kill one drunk, he thought miserably. He began to cut himself a path towards the man he was tasked to kill. The King wasn't doing much fighting; he was being protected by his loyal bodyguards who were fighting off the Megarans who were gathering, like moths to a flame, around the King's Royal Banner. The men most loyal to Aeneas were at his back. He was ready. He stalked towards the bloodstained and sweating company, pushing aside the men who blocked his passage, their was nothing left in the world for him now except Appolinius and his guards. He stabbed his sword brutally into one of the King's guard's spine. The man next to him twisted suddenly, surprised to find his companions attacked from behind, his eyes widened as he saw Lysander, sword dripping with blood, his mouth opened to shout a warning, but Lysander felled him before he could utter a word. He turned to face the King. In the King's stupefied state it took him a moment to register what was happening. He didn't notice the blade that came behind him and took him through the back of his neck. Lysander looked away as the tip of the sword emerged from the front of Appolinius' throat. The King fell to his knees, then pitched to the floor, blood gushing from his neck. Lysander was now in an oasis of calm in the turbulent sea of the battle, around them the last of Appolinius' bodyguards were slain. Lysander glanced at the floor, and saw the Royal Banner. He picked up the ragged, bloodstained banner, and began waving it frantically above his head,

"To me! To me! Avenge the King!"

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

I heard a voice rise above the noise of the fighting. I killed the Megaran in front of me, and looked up. There, flying in the first light of the day was the bloodstained Royal Banner of Corinth. The soldiers around me had heard the words all too well, the King was dead? They thought in panic, I flashed a quick grin at Pylades, brfore shouting at the top of my voice,

"Rally! Men of Nicodemus! To the King's banner! May his soul rest for ever at peace in the Elysian fields!"

My men gave a mighty roar of defiance, and we doubled our effort, hammering our way through the Megaran soldiers, and towards the banner. I cut down Megaran, after Megaran, Pylades at one shoulder, Ares at the other. Until finally we broke through to where Lysander and a few members of the Royal Guard fought. On the floor lay Appolinius' bloodied corpse, and next to it the body of a Megaran in which the Royal Banner had been planted. Lysander was fighting bravely to protect the King's body. One hand held his sword, which was spilling much Megaran blood, whilst the other hung limp at his side. We fought on together. Two of my men picked up the King's body, and we slowly hacked a way back to the Corinthian lines. We finally broke free of the encircling Megarans, and then me, Lysander, Pylades and the bearers of the King's body trotted up to the Acropolis.

We laid Appolinius to rest in the Temple of Poseidon, leaving the priests to clean up his Royal body. I gathered up all the remaining soldiers in the Acropolis and together we went back down into the charnel house of the square, it was time to secure my crown with Megaran blood.
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Alexios Komnenos on 2008-06-10, 04:39

The next council meeting began just as the last. The people had again voted. Demetrios was not chosen for a position on the council, much to his anger. He was a popular choice, but the council had forced those who would have elected him away, or simply ignored him as a candidate. They were willing to do this, for Demetrios, as they would soon learn to their terror, was a threat to their power and prestige.

A large contingent of soldiers was meeting in the mountains and woods outside of Athens with Demetrios today. In this secret hiding place, they could escape the prying eyes of the council, and meet without another's knowlage.

"The council has decided not to pay you for your services." Demetrios said, standing before them on a rough, wooden pedestal. A lie, but one that fit his objectives, to restore Athens to glory. The pay had been intercepted and repackaged by Demetrios. "I will pay you, however. I will support you, because I can see through their political treachery. They would seek to undermine me, but I will not allow that to happen. I plan on taking our issue to the council and forcing them to acknowledge me, and all of you, who have been trivialized by the council. To them, you are not worth respecting, mere tools to be used when they need them to be used, and thrown out like dogs when not of use to them."

The soldiers cheered.

"Would you then help me, show the council that we are to be respected? If so, follow me. If not, I pray that you will not speak of this to anybody, but I will hold no grudge against you."

The soldiers divided themselves into two groups, some 25 leaving, but the overwhelming majority, some 200 soldiers, staying, and cheering Demetrios.

Demetrios looked over the assembled men. "Well then - tomorrow we march."

The plan was executed with military precision, befitting of the finest soldiers in Athens. Demetrios' picked soldiers entered the city without a fight. After all, they carried the banners of Athens, and the guards could pick up no ill intentions from them.

They paraded through the streets, making no hint of secrecy - the council was deep in session, and few would realize their malicious intent until it was too late.

The men halted their advance in front of the marble columns of the council chambers, where the erudite and wise of Athens debated policy with silver tongues. But no longer. Demetrios now was in control of Athens, even though the first stroke hand not yet fallen.

100 men encircled the chambers, as the sounds of heated debate rose from the building.

The remaining hundred marched, in full battle gear, spears and swords at the ready, into the hall, led by Demetrios. The council members stood, echoing cries of shock coming from all sides alike. Demetrios leveled his sword. "Kill any that resist." He ordered, laughing at the helplessness of his weak victims.

The senators picked up their tunics and fled, tumbling over each other, as the soldiers advanced mercilessly, their swords and spears cutting any who even thought of fighting back. The rest found blades placed at their throats, and were bound and led away in carts.




The next morning, the council met under a blood red sunrise, despite the fact that all but three members were in abstention, and the three were lackeys of Demetrios, paid to vote for him. They knew exactly how to vote, and this council was a show, a façade.

"All in favor of giving Demetrios the power of a general, a seat on the council, emergency veto power during any session of council on any law, and the ability to make edicts at will without vote, cast your vote now."

It was unanimous. Demetrios was given the title of Tyrant, and supreme power. He left as soon as the meeting ended, hurrying back to a storehouse by the ports that he had rented for this very purpose.

He entered the building, seeing the elite and wealthy of Athens bound and gagged before him. Soldiers stood around each group of bound prisoners, threatening them with spear points should they move. So, they lay on the cold marble, awaiting their fate.

One by one, they stood, and were either executed, (the most common) in which case the were pulled aside to a quiet corner and slain, exiled or allowed to remain on the council, for the politicians Demetrios could trust or he knew were weak.

Tamaeros was exiled after he paid a hefty fine. Cleitos was allowed a generalship, and a seat on the council, provided he be subordinate to Demetrios. Harpalos was slain, for Demetrios took a dislike to him instantly.

But at the end of the day, there were always more weak fools to be thrown into positions of rank, nice cushy jobs with good pay, where hard choices could be made for them, so long as they were unquestioning of orders coming from Demetrios, the tyrant who made them his puppets.

He did not dare seat himself upon a throne, but he insisted upon a raised and ornate chair, with which he presided over the council, although now, it was more akin to the squabbles of small children, but quickly silenced by an attentive parent, Demetrios, who ruled with an iron fist.

Messengers, sometimes accompanied by soldiers, were dispatched to the Ionian protectorates and the Northern Greek states part of the Delian league, informing them that, in spite of the unrest in Athens, they were still to pay dues of tribute to Athens.

His power secure, Demetrios left the council chambers. There were thousands of citizens waiting for him. They held pitchforks and blades, torches and hammers. And they shouted violently, with unsuppressed rage when the saw him.

But he held his calm. As they rushed forwards, a line of hoplites formed a Phalanx before him. Slingers and javelins were unleashed.

The brawl lasted about 1hour, but, at the end, the white marble streets were dyed red with Athenian blood, and parts of the city were aflame. Demetrios watched all this from the Acropolis, looking down over the fire and flame, the screams of protesting citizens.

Then, it all ended. Demetrios called back the sack before widespread death could ensue, and the fires were put out. But fear was now rampant. Just the way he wanted it.

Sorry, but I'm just doing a negative. If anybody has somebody who needs a +1, tell me

Athens - (they have lost their democracy and popular unrest will effect them)

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

Post by Volksie on 2008-06-10, 07:12

The silence that had hung over the clearing broke as the sounds of footsteps approached. I looked up and saw Iphitos prowling around the edge of the line of trees.

"Iphitos," I sighed. "What are you doing?"

"Just keeping watch, Getas," he replied. "There may be Megarans outside of the city. You and I have been left to protect the women," he said, gesturing towards Myrto and Lyra. "And our honour will be tarnished if any harm befalls them."

I just nodded and he continued to pace around in a circle, occasionally stopping and peering into the trees. Aristoxenus had left with Damon, Galen and the two Spartans to assist Nicodemus in Corinth, leaving the poet and myself to look after Myrto and Lyra.

Lyra was watching Iphitos patrol with silent curiosity and I wondered how she could become so timid. Surely the events she had witnessed could not have caused such odd behaviour. Perhaps there was more to her, more in her past, to which the horror she had witnessed had simply been a catalyst.

I sighed and turned to where Myrto sat and poked at the ground with a stick. Her eyes darted towards mine and held my gaze for a few moments before she turned away. Myrto's constant attentions towards me were starting to become unsettling and I shifted my weight uncomfortably.

In the next few minutes Myrto cast her eyes towards mine a number of times and eventually I rose to my feet and walked across to where Iphitos clung to a tree and peered out into the trees away from the setting sun. I put my hand on his shoulder and he jumped with a slight squeak.

"Help me gather some firewood, night is coming," I said and pulled him away from the awkward clearing.
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-06-10, 07:34

"Penelope! PENELOPE! Come on, we've got to go NOW!" Sekundos was getting frantic as he stood in the door of his house, looking out on the poor district of Corinth. The city was a total mess, with the Megaran army under full attack from Nicodemus and Aeneas' forces, and that did not bode well for civilians caught in the middle of it. To make things worse, a fire had broken out a few houses from them, and was spreading rapidly. Where the hell was that woman? Always late, even on their wedding day. He was about to storm back into the house when his wife staggered down the stairs with a massive bundle of clothes and jewellery.
"Dammit woman!" he exclaimed as he rushed towards her, "Do you want to get killed? How are you going to dodge arrows carrying all that!?" He knocked the bundle out of her hands and pulled her towards the door, despite her protests. The fire was getting near now, he could feel it. Smoke was billowing from the house next door, making his eyes water as he pulled Penelope out of their front door.

They hastened across the cobbled street, opting to stick to the alleys as they attempted to reach the relative safety of the harbour. A boulder smashed into their house, presumably a stray catapult shot from the Megaran position on top of the hill. Their house started to crumble just as the fire reached it, causing Penelope to wail in desperation at the imminent destruction of all their possessions. Sekundos glanced over at the house they were hoping to raise their children in, as it slowly sagged in on itself. There would be another house, he was certain. Once more he pulled Penelope after him.

They were about to run out of the alley into the next street when they saw black shafted arrows streaking past the mouth of the alley. Sekundos skidded to a halt, barely avoiding an arrow as it flew by, inches from his face. Squeezing his body against the wall, he peeked down the street. A large group of soldiers were advancing uphill, seemingly unfazed by the constant barrage of arrow fire. They looked superbly trained, using shield and helm to deflect arrows as if it were flies buzzing around their ears. The Megaran forces at the top of the hill were very worried, judging by the frantic screams of their officers. Sekundos decided to wait until the soldiers had passed before continuing on, intending to use them as a shield against the archers. But fate decreed otherwise.

A hastily aimed flaming boulder struck the wall of the building they were hiding behind, bursting through mere feet behind Penelope as she crouched next to her husband. In a desperate attempt to avoid the burning debris, they lauched themselves into the street, sprinting for an alley on the opposite side. Arrows whistled past them as they ran, hoping against hope for a safe crossing. It was not to be. The rumble of hooves to his left sent a surge of energy through Sekundos' body. Using his momentum, he grabbed Penelope and hurled her with all his might to the safety of the alley. Moments later, a charging horseman crashed into him, sending him flying. Sekundos cannoned into a doorway, the force of the impact snapping his spine. As the life drained from him, he wondered if his wife would be okay without him. She was so useless alone...

Sekundos did not see the black shafted arrow pierce his wife's chest as she attempted to rush to his side. He did not see her stumble and fall as the strength drained from her limbs. He did not see her lifeblood gush from the wound as she wrenched the arrow from her body in futile act of defiance. Sekundos did not see his wife's final pitiful movements as she tried to reach him one last time. For Sekundos was dead.

Later that evening...

Dromichetes wiped his blade on a dead soldier's tunic as he surveyed the carnage around him. The city was back in Corinthian hands, but at what cost? Buildings were on fire, scores of civilians were dead, and, if rumours were to be believed, the King himself had died. Of his own soldiers, about 53 of the original 300 had died in the carnage, with an additional 36 carrying serious wounds.

He could still see that poor man fly through the air after the horsemen had hit him. And his wife... if only she stayed down, instead of running to him. His heart wrenched as he saw her crawl towards her dead husband in his minds eye. So many needless deaths. So much pain and suffering.

It was with a heavy heart that Dromichetes made his way back to the gate to meet up with General Nicodemus. Hopefully, this mess would be over soon.

_________________
*Burp*
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Alexios Komnenos on 2008-06-10, 11:14

A cold wind blew through the acropolis of Athens, chilling Demetrios to the bone. The skies were cloudy and gray, and there was a feeling of gloom. Citizens and disenfranchised soldiers had now ducked down into private houses, hoping the advancing columns of usurping troops would not find them. Today was quiet, but yet eerie, with some unearthly silence had descended upon the great city, as long shadows blended into the darkness, even at the height of midday.

People no longer joked and made conversation in the lanes and plazas. Those who went out of their homes wore hooded cloaks and did not look at the ranks of soldiers patrolling the desolate city. It seemed that all life had abandoned the heart of democracy, as the council debated trivia and the citizens suffered under oppression, but their cries were inaudible under the sound of marching soldiers.

Demetrios made his residence at the acropolis, having moved many of his possessions there. He could not afford to leave Athens, nor wander the streets, so he bunkered down in the citadel to wait out the storm of angry citizenry. But today was silent, depressingly so.

The long hours of the day turned to an evening just as bleak as before. Long dead leaves blew through the deepening darkness. He could look out over the vastness of the city as all color faded away into the ubiquitous black of dusk, as the monument and temples of the acropolis faded away into the darkness.

His attention was turned from outside the window to the door. Two soldiers entered, bowing low. "My tyrant, we seem to have suppressed the city in the large part. All is quiet, although there have been many civilian deaths. Almost all the Delian League states have remained loyal to Athens, and those who did not will be punished."

"Thank you for that report, Nicomedus."

The Athenian officer turned and left without a word, making sure to bow to Demetrios on the way out, however, as it was now required.
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-06-11, 07:44

"If Aristoxenus does not return by daybreak we leave," I told the others quietly. "Now get some rest. Iphitos, you take first watch and wake me when you get tired."



Iphitos nodded and took a seat just beyond the glow of the dim campfire. He had been talking to Myrto about his poetry but she didn't appear to have been listening. Lyra stayed sitting by the fire, her eyes lost in the playful dancing of the flames. I watched her briefly before turning away and resting my head on the ground with my eyes closed.



The rigours of travelling overwhelmed me and the little sounds of the crackling fire grew as I slipped into a dream. Before my eyes a great fire was spreading and a child's wailing scream came from its depths. I thrust my hands into the fire, to try and pull the child from the flames but my hands flailed uselessly.



A hand gripped mine, a strong arm, the arm of a man, and began to pull me down. I pulled back and the face of King Helikaon appeared with a wide grin



"Come join me, murderer," he hissed and tugged my arm. I tumbled into the flames and the sound of evil laughter filled my ears. With a jerk, I awoke.



My eyes opened onto the camp. Lyra had fallen asleep where she sat and the fire had finally burned out. Iphitos dozed by a tree. To my surprise Myrto had slipped my arm around her and was fast asleep in my arms. I shifted uncomfortably and tried to remove her without waking her but she rolled over and slipped her arm through mine again.



I swore softly under my breath and tried to will Iphitos to wake and save me from my predicament. He muttered something in his sleep and twitched slightly but he did not wake. It appeared I was going to have one more problem on my hands and I began to wonder if bringing Myrto along had been the right move after all.



I needed a few moments to brood on my dream, which still rested uneasily with me, and taking the watch now would give me that time. Once again focusing my mind on the poet I willed him to wake.
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-06-11, 07:44

Light fell on the camp and I sighed. I got to my feet and shook Iphitos awake. He blinked at me sleepily and then helped me wake Myrto and Lyra.

"Aristoxenus has not returned," I told them grimly. "It is likely he has been held up, however, it is also likely he has been killed." Lyra cast her eyes to the ground but did not make a sound. "Iphitos and I intend to travel to Argos, you two may depart with us if you so wish."

"I will come with you, Adrastos," Myrto spoke quickly ad moved across to stand next to me.

"Will you accompany us, Lyra?" I asked softly and she shook her head.

"I will await Lord Aristoxenus here," she mumbled.

"If Aristoxenus does return, it is likely we will meet again in Argos, Lyra," I told her and nodded to Iphitos, who lead the way out of the campsite.

Before the camp became obscured by the trees I cast my eyes back to Lyra. She was sitting by the dead fire with her head in her hands. A lump formed in my throat and I turned away and set my mind to the task at hand. I could not hope that Aristoxenus had prevailed and risk myself and the others. I could also not force Lyra to come with us. If Aristoxenus lived I hoped he would be able to understand.


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

"Argos has recovered mightily since its destruction," Otis stated as he observed the thriving market place. Eleni walked next to her father and nodded.

"Where is the man of whom you have spoken, father?"

"Not far, not far," Otis said dreamily. "You know, my little Amara, I feel peaceful now that Aristippos is removed." Eleni frowned at his complacency.

"But surely Thanatos still poses a danger if this man we are meeting has already contacted him?"

"Do not worry, little Amara," said Otis forcefully. "The man is a commoner. He would have to request an audience with Thanatos to have been heard and Thanatos has been too busy rebuilding to have listened to the woes of a commoner."

The two Megarans strolled through the market place, one admiring the sights and occasionally stopping to inspect a stall, the other impatiently awaiting the attentions of the other.

"Father," Eleni said, annoyance clearly showing in her voice now. "Surely haste is of the essence?"

Otis stopped in his tracks and turned slowly to his daughter.

"You talk to me of haste, daughter?" he said, a frown wrinkling his brow. "Did I not give you a task to do some months ago which you have so far failed to carry out?"

Eleni, realising her mistake, had cast her eyes to the ground.

"You hand over a very important mission to Chrysander..."

"The mission should have belonged to Chrysander in the first place!" Eleni burst out, finding strength. "He is your second in command after all." Otis' clenched his fists and grabbed Eleni by her arm, leading her away from the crowds.

"Your stupidity astounds me lately, girl," Otis spat. "You would trust that worm? That man holds a position which has become one of my greatest weaknesses. The Hades commands a faction powerful enough to overthrow me and you send him to find a man who has sworn to overthrow me. An alliance between those two would be deadly."

Otis' grip on Eleni's arm tightened as they finally exited the marketplace and drew a tear from her eye.

"Father..." Eleni said softly.

"Quiet, girl!" Otis hissed. "I will kill the man Aristippos confided in by myself. You find Adrastos and kill him. Don't come to me again until you do."

Otis flung Eleni to the ground in a back alley and walked away to continue his dirty business. Eleni remained on the ground massaging her arm with a single tear rolling down her cheek. The traumas of her childhood flooded back and she soon found the tears flowing freely as she sat in the dust with her knees drawn up to her chin.

Repressed visions of her father standing over the dead body of her mother while she stood hidden in the shadows filled her mind and she beat the ground and swore to the gods. After some time her sobs subsided and she lay face down on the ground, her face smeared with dirt and tears.

"I will find Adrastos," Eleni said softly after she had regained some composure. "Whether I kill him or not remains to be seen," she added, malice running through her voice.
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-06-18, 15:34

The sun rose, steeping the clouds in a blood red hue that set the sky into turmoil, as if the gods on Olympus were fighting a great battle themselves. Was it an omen? I shook the feeling off. If it was, it was an omen for the Megarans. They would die here today in droves, and a great mourning would come upon the city of Megara when they learned of the slaughter. Despite myself, I felt almost sad for the families of those soldiers, many of them innocents caught up in the fires of war. Few men in war deserve to die, and yet it was up to us to ensure that they did.

Atop the walls of the city, hundreds of faces peered down at us warily. Here I, and 800 Corinthian hoplites behind me, had waited through the night, just out of range of the Megaran bowmen. We were the blind: drawing the defenders to the eastern gate when the true assault would come from Nicodemus' forces and the Corinthians inside the city. And so we waited, hoping against hope that the forces in the city would be successful.

Suddenly, the sounds of fighting flitted dimly from the city. A flaming arrow arched into the sky. It was the sign, the sign for Nicodemus' troops to pour out of the camp and march towards the city. If all went to plan, Nicodemus' army would be at the gates of Corinth before the Megarans had time to react. To my right, Damon shifted impatiently on his feet. Now all we were waiting for was the horn.

It came only minutes later, a long blast that carried easily over the clashes of spear upon shield that resounded from the city, coming ever closer. It was a blast to say that the gates were open, Nicodemus was in the city and it was time to act. I turned to the men assembled under my command.

"Men, this is your city, the pride of your people. A jewel amongst the cities of Greece, and a home to many of you. Those Megaran cowards took it from you, not in honest battle but with trickery. Will you let such treacherous animals hold your city? Or will you fight, fight to regain your pride, your homes, your families?!"

My speech was met with a half-hearted cheer. These men were veterans, jaded by a lifetime of battles. They'd heard speeches like the one I had just given countless times before, and weren't likely to be thrown into a frenzy by yet another. But neither would they be thrown by the horror into which we were about to charge. I looked to the Corinthian captain and nodded. He shouted the order, and it began.

We marched forwards. Arrows buzzed passed our ears like angry hornets, smashing into the ground, bouncing off armour or biting into unprotected flesh. A man a few metres behind me fell to the ground with an agonised shriek as a dart embedded itself in his eye. But still we marched on. I heard the captain's bellowing voice cry out to stay in formation, not to stop, not to run. More arrows fell, more men cried in pain and more bodies slumped to the ground. The few who fell were trodden into the mud, the formation too vital to risk going around. And still we marched on.

After what seemed like hours we reached the gates. Two massive slabs of oak, they had been built to withstand the most terrible of sieges, and now they stood in our way. Iron bars and filigree were bolted to its frame, reinforcing the already indomitable structures, and at the sides were hinges thicker than a man's arm. It was said that the bar holding them closed on the inside took eight strong men to lift, and in times of battle it was shackled in place with strong iron chains. Such an obstacle would be a dread to any attacker, barrier against which armies would break and be destroyed. But we had no need to worry, since they would be taken care of us by our allies inside. The gates would open before us and we would charge into the city to meet up with the main force. Or at least, that was the plan.

I could hear the sound of fighting right behind the gate as we approached, the clash of spears and the din of men crying in pain and in triumph. Something was wrong. The Corinthian- what was his name, Aeneas?- should have beaten back the guards at the gates by now, and have established a perimeter to intercept soldiers coming down from the walls. I gave the order and we halted a few metres from the gates. The men expected to be greeted by the sound of timbers grating across the cobbled floor. Instead, we were met by a shower of javelins that dropped over a dozen of my men. Panic began to spread amongst our ranks. Raising my shield to deflect a spear that flew directly at me, I shouted "Hold steady!". Still the gates did not open. A man from the rear of our group lost his nerve and, dropping his spear, ran back the way we had come. He had barely gone 20 metres when a lucky arrow hit him square in the back. The noise of battle on the other side of the gate was becoming less, but I could only hope it turned our way as slowly our ranks were thinned by the hundreds of arrows, rocks and javelins that came from the walls. If the gates didn't open soon, we would be slaughtered. If we ran, we would be slaughtered. All we could do was stand and wait.

A stone arched up into the air, then plummeted down and struck me on my helm helm. The impact shook me and I sat down dazed with my back against the gates. In front of me I could see maybe 600 of my men remaining, despair on all their faces as the missiles continued to fall. So this was the end. All I could do was wait here until the last remaining few of us, huddled under the overhang of the wall over the gate to avoid the missiles, were rounded up and killed by the Megarans. I closed my eyes and leant against the gate.

…Which moved. Startled, I picked myself back up and turned. With a grinding of hinges and the scrape of wood against stone, the massive gates were hauled open. There, on the other side, waited hoplites bearing the emblem of Corinth on their shields. A surge of hope filled me, and I was dimly aware of the captain shouting out the order to march into the city. His order was unnecessary; the men poured into the city with the speed of men who have just approached the entrance to Hades and noticed a way back. We took the walls quickly, the men all too happy to see the foes who had just pelted them with arrows skewered on the end of their spears.

From there, it was far more simple. The Corinthians knew their city well, and knew how to avoid winding roads or intersections where an ambush could be laid. It seemed that we were the last group into the city, and much of the butchery had already been done. Here and there, huddles of Megaran soldiers still remained, to be squashed like gnats by our phalanx in the broad city streets. We found the main Corinthian army near the centre of the city, fighting against the last stubborn pocket of resistance. We hit the enemy's rear, trapping them between two forces. Only 3 hours after the first signal had been given, Nicodemus entered the central square of the agora that had been the Megaran's headquarters, and declared victory for his forces.

* * *

It was mid-afternoon. The corpses still littered the city, and the stench would linger for weeks. In time, they would be collected and buried, or burned. But for now, there were more pressing matters at hand. We stood, a collection of noblemen, generals, and anyone else influential enough to get a prominent position, outside the Temple of Poseidon, where the king still lay. It was a rushed and impromptu ceremony, hardly fitting for a man who had ruled the city for so long and so faithfully. Underneath the façade of quiet respect, I simmered with anger.

It had been an hour ago that Damon approached me, sitting alone and nursing a mug of the ale that the men had relieved from the Megarans.

"Hey," he had said, squatting down next to me, "don't wear such a long face. It makes you look like a horse"

"You know I will still knock you out" I replied. His face contorted into a look of mock indignation.

"I never said I didn't like horses! I know some beautiful horses. That mum of yours, she was a fine one…" He jumped nimbly to the side as I hit the wall where he had just been sitting. "Temper, temper, Aristoxenus. I don't wanna die now after surviving that whole battle."

"Well then stop being an idiot and give me a report on the losses, soldier" I said with a smile.

"We lost about 350 men. Another 43 were injured. Oh, and sir…" he trailed off. He only called me 'sir' when something bad had happened.

"Yes?"

"The king… he's dead, killed in the battle. His son would be crowned, but word on the street says Nicodemus is callin' him a traitor."

"Hmmm. I always thought Nicodemus wanted the crow- wait a second, what was the king doing in battle? He's far too old to fight!"

Damon shrugged. "Dunno. They say he was drunk, too."

"But why would they send him to fight when they knew he couldn't survive? Nicodemus must have known…" I said thoughtfully. And then it struck me. "Unless… unless he planned it all along. He wanted the throne, so he convinced his lackeys to send the king out to fight. Then they leave him on the front line, he's butchered, and that's one more obstacle out of the way."

"Could be. Either way, they're holdin' a funeral for him up at the acropolis. They took his body to one of the temples when he was killed. I think they want you to go"

"Oh, I'll definitely attend. I need to have a word with my good friend Nicodemus…"

Now, an hour later, I waited for my opportunity. Nicodemus was, of course, at the head of the procession, and delivered a long speech about Appolinius' greatness, and how greatly his death would hurt Corinth. It was convincing, definitely, but things were just too convenient for this to have been an accident. I didn't know what I'd say to him, or when and where I'd be able to, but I had to do it. Enough kings had been killed already with the deaths of the Spartans, and a regicide on the throne of Corinth was something I would not allow.

As the ceremony finally ended, and the crowd broke up, I hurried up to Nicodemus, who stood with his back turned to me, idly drinking wine and talking to a few courtiers. I grabbed him by the arm, and he turned, startled.

"So please, tell me," I hissed, "How do you expect to get away with killing a king?"
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Kasey on 2008-06-26, 12:49

I put the goblet down on a nearby table, and went quite still.

"Excuse Me," I said to the men I had been talking to. Then, lightly but firmly grabbing Aristoxenus' elbow, marched into an antechamber. He snatched his arm angrily from my grip. I ignored this gesture,

"What did you say?"

He threw me a look of utter contempt and replied, "You herd me well enough"

"Then where, may I ask, did you get such a preposterous idea?"

He treated my question with the scorn it deserved, "Don't play games with me, Nicodemus. We both know why that man died. I tell you now. I represent Athens here, I carry the decisions of our alliance" with each "I" he was gesticulating energetically with his finger, "and I will report your treachery and regicide to the Senate"

"You tell me not to play games" I said quietly, "Yet you yourself are playing a dangerous one" my voice hardened, "I know under what circumstances you left Athens. You have no power there any more, and furthermore. You have no friends there either" I paused, and Aristoxenus opened his mouth to protest, but I cut him off, "No! Listen to me. I've news of what is happening in Athens. You may remember a General Called Demetrios?"

Aristoxenus nodded warily, "He fought against the Persians in Asia Minor"

"Quite. He has returned to fair Athens" I said sarcastically, "but it seem she lacks your faith in democracy. Soon after he arrived he affected a coup in the city. Your precious Senate is either subversant, dead or exiled." I paused again and watched Aristoxenus' reaction with wry amusement. For a moment his stone visage slipped and his apaullation showed, but then the mask was back up,

"I don't believe you. It…it isn't possible"

"Oh but it is, his army was discontented. Sure, the general populace isn't happy. But he holds the Acropolis, and as I. We, have just proved the Acropolis is the key to a city. So you see, Aristoxenus that you have no leg to stand on? All your power is gone."

Whatever he was thinking inside, didn't show on the outside, he still remained defiant, "Be that as it may, I will not stand by and watch this" he paused and spat out the next word venomously, "Treachery, take place"

I sighed at his stubbornness, "Aristoxenus. Surely you can see the impossibility of the situation, you are now practically stateless. I am going to offer you a chance. Support me, or at least didn't make trouble, and I promise you. I will move against Demetrios. You want peace for Athens? For Hellas? Then help me."

He glared at me, then spat onto the floor, this surprised me, I wasn't used to such coarseness from him, "Fine. You shall have your city" he said contemptuously, "But you will freeze in Tartarus for what you have done" with that he turned on his heel and stalked out of the chamber. I sighed heavily, and slumped forward, resting my face and arms on the cool marble wall. It had gone no worse than I had expected, and now I could at least count on Aristoxenus leaving me alone to take control. I hoped. I pushed myself upright and followed him out into the main hall. I had business to attend to.

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

I stood at the top of the steps to the temple, and stared out at the sea of faces in front of me,

"People of Corinth. We have won a great victory! But we have also suffered a terrible loss! Our beloved King lies in his tomb! Who will rule in his place? His son, Melios, was found in the enemy camp! He is a traitor! So who will rule our people? I shall! I will rule as Regent of Corinth, as our Prince is unable to do his duty!" I paused to let my words sink in, and watched the people's faces, most looked happy with my announcement. I was popular with them after my successes against the Megarans and the Spartans, it also helped that Prince Melios was seen as a drunken wastrel, so they had no desire to let him rule them.

Then they began chanting, "Nicodemus! Nicodemus! Nicodemus!" I smiled happily, now I knew that the people at least were happy at my appointment, I looked at the men at the front of the crowd, the more privileged and important citizens. Most of them looked slightly less pleased than the general populace, it had to be said. However in amidst them I could see a few grinning faces; there was Pylades, grinning inanely at the crowd's noise, Lysander; who wore a look of satisfaction on his face, and finally Aeneas. How mighty he looked then. A big, tall man he had always been, but he looked truly fearsome now. For he had lost an eye in the battle, and now had a long scar stretching from his scalp, to his cheekbone. It made him look even more mighty and terrible than ever. But apart from those few smiling faces, or as near a smile as Aeneas could muster, the rest of them looked stony faced. I sighed inwardly; they could be dealt with later, now I had to clean up the mess that the battle had caused.

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

The soldier limped through the city's streets. His armour was tattered, and his right leg was streaked with blood. In his left hand he carried a bronze hoplon, carrying a symbol of Corinth, whilst in his right he gripped a spear. He limped through the streets until he reached his goal, the city's stables. Outside the stable were two guards, one nodded civilly to the wounded soldier. The man ignored him, and continued his slow progress forwards until he was standing between the two men. Then, as quick as a snake, he jabbed his spear into one of the men's throats, and slammed his shield into the face of the other guard. He let go of the spear and drew his sword, he twisted to face the man who he had rammed with his shield, who was reeling backwards, hands clasped to his newly broken nose. The apparently injured soldier lunged with his sword, which pierced the guards armour, and plunged deep into his heart. Blood welled on the blade, and then it gurgled down the unfortunate guard's chest and onto the floor as his attacker yanked the blade free. The man glanced around him; the encounter had taken less than a minute. No-one had seen what he had done. He pulled the bodies into the stables, obviously uninjured now, and checked for witnesses one more time. Satisfied, he mounted the best horse in the stable, a fine chestnut. It was Narcissus' horse, his horse. Kicking with his heels he trotted out of the stable and down the city streets, then finally out of the gate. He rode down the road to Megara, but he would be back, he would take his revenge. On Nicodemus.
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Strohble on 2008-06-26, 13:23

I lay face down on the muddy bank where I had fallen. Pain gripped me, a tight steel ring around my temples. I gagged on the taste of earth and dung but my throat was dry and I could not spit. I forced my mind to see outward. My eyes remained tightly shut.
The carnage of battle seemed blurred beyond the low fire. All was quiet. The advancing, encircling flames were yellow and crackling, arising like pointed tongues from the ground itself, from the mud and from the blood, but as they rose and joined together they became almost colorless, like a thick lace curtain rippled by a strong breeze. I vaguely became aware of the heat.
My right hand, numb and beyond my control, stretched out toward a small stream. The flames reached my hand as they gradually encircled my body. The cuff of my tunic under my armor began to smoke as the material smoldered with the heat. I could not move my arm despite the growing pain. The flames engulfed me completely, and I saw nothing but the fire before my now open eyes. I breathed the flames. Tasted them. Harsh and fiercely hot. I could hear a singing, a rhythm, a chant. I listened intently, hearing the song but not the words. Increasingly I felt the sadness of great loss, but couldn't remember why.
I became nauseated by the tastes and smells of my own burning body, sweet, greasy, corrupt. The fire inside burned my leg bones to agonizing red heat, and the bones cooked the muscles of my legs from within. I felt my lungs flare hotly like old dry leaves, and empty without a sound. I felt and heard a dull pop as my skull exploded. The last flames died and the darkness and silence were total. Somehow I felt the sudden rush of cooling rain. I tremble violently at the chill.

My eyes open to the familiar surroundings of my bed chamber, a cool breeze suffuses my sweat soaked body as I stifle a bellow of terror. The dream fades quickly as I struggle to remember the details. I hear Aiolos greet the lieutenant at the door as I slowly dress, the dream and it's meaning still on my mind but knowing that more pressing matters will soon encompass my day.
"Good morning General." Ailos greets.

I nod to him as I walk out the door and exit the garden gate and head to the Citadel. My personal guard fall in behind us as I ply my way through the morning shoppers, merchants, citizens and foreigners that go about their business in my newly revitalized Argos. Smiles are becoming more commonplace as the city slowly rebuilds and trade has returned. Handshakes and salutations are offered by many as the sun bursts into brilliance over the city walls and I enter the Citadel proper.

I am consumed in my thoughts as I enter my office chamber followed by Aiolos. I look at my friend and say,
"We need to get word of what is happening in Corinth. Not rumor or conjecture but solid information. Our network is severely lacking and reliable spies are hard to come by these days. If we need to assist our allies we will not hesitate to do so but I need to know the situation. Also why haven't we received any word from Athens? Surely Aristoxenus isn't angry about our abrupt departure."

"I am not sure my lord. No word from Athens has been received in some time." Aiolos replies. "As far as our network goes, spies are being recruited but it is delicate and these things take time. We have some agents that could be utilized at this time but not many. Gaining access to Corinth shouldn't be a trial for the more gifted ones." A smug look upon his face, his being the final word in recruitment.

A thoughtful look upon my face, "I realize our allies have their own problems but it seems comic that Sparta is the only city to have sent aid. Who would've thought Dragos had any humanity about him?" I shake my head, "Nevertheless emissaries need be sent to Corinth and Athens to feel out the political situation and to re-establish trade relations. We are still at war and our position is much stronger than it was not long ago and our allies must be made aware of it."

"Do you wish to address the council first general?"

"Of course. But I want the preparations taken care of immediately. The emissaries must be sent on a moments notice, we need to know which way the wind blows and I refuse to be caught unawares ever again as we were with Sparta."

"Will there be any word to Sparta General?" Aiolos asks.

Thoughtful once again, "Yes. Sparta. What to do about Sparta?" I turn and face the tapestry on the wall. After some thought I reply, "Send Dragos word of thanks in our…..our time of need. Tell him reciprocation will be forthcoming if the tables are ever turned. To ease tensions between our peoples." I turn back to Aiolos. "And there will be no need for a formal emissary Aiolos. Send my personal messenger."

"It will be done general."
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Alexios Komnenos on 2008-06-26, 15:41

Percles had arrived in town just for the meeting. It was not held in the council chambers, but rather at Demetrios' dining table, which was being used for more and more important decisions. It wasn't the council's job to debate, rather quite the opposite. It was their job to blindly say yes.

"Nicodemus has taken a regency in Corinth. Kings are becoming more and more prevalent, it would seem." Percles said.

"Good - I have no faith left in bickering politicians anyways." Demetrios said with a slight chuckle, taking the breast of a chicken from the plate and chewing it slowly.

Thanos, one of Demetrios' higher ranking officers, now spoke. "Perhaps we can take this opportunity - with Nicodemus king, we have a potential friend. I say we jump on this chance."

Percles looked up from his ham. "I say we send a letter to Argos as well, opening relations with them as well."

Demetrios nodded. "Send Nicodemus a letter then, make him a friend and ally, and send another letter to Argos, opening relations." He turned to the captain of the Athenian garrison, Cleon. "Captain, report. How go the affairs of the city?"

"The rebels wane. They have much to throw at us, rocks and sticks and the like, but they lack spirit. Democracy, in some weakened form, still exists, after all, so the protesting crowds are giving up as they see our endless lines of shock troops swarming from door to door. The entire army stands behind you, your empire is intact. But yet, there is still much disorder. Do not yet leave the city yet."

"Fine. Are you sure that every last politician has been either won over, killed, or had their property taken and themselves exiled?"

"Yes. All but one man, Aristoxenus, an Athenian politician who was once on the council. He's the only Athenian who presents a threat to us. The others are dead, reduced to the status of beggars and thrown from the city, or your lackys. A revolt could form with him at its core, and he might still be able to do harm, if he got soldiers from somewhere." Cleon said.

"Let me think about that." said Percles. "I may have an idea, but I want to talk to your majesty privately about it."

"Very well." Demetrios said. "Leave us."

The others left, leaving Percles alone with the tyrant.

"He is still in Corinth, as of one nights ago, according to our spies. After Nicodemus was proclaimed regent, he might leave in disgust, and after that, there are two roads for him. Either he'll try to rally support or he'll head back ASAP. The town guards know his face - if he comes back, he's done for. But he's not stupid. He won't run back to Athens."

"So…"

"Send in 24 of your best cavalry, under Captain Cleon to bring him in alive. Not dead, alive. If he is already in open rebellion, then they kill him."


Letter to Nicodemus, regent of Corinth:

Noble Athens and her wise rulers send you greetings, regent Nicodemus. We seek friendship with your noble State, a friendship that would be in both our interests. I ask only for some help with Aristoxenus. If you would be so kind as to delay his departure until we take him captive and return him to the city, as he is a wanted outlaw.

You would be forever in our debt.

Demetrios of Athens



Letter to Argos:

I send greetings to the fair city of Argos and its just ruler. May you always prosper and grow.

You may not be aware, but Athens has fallen into disarray recently, caused by a corrupt senate, which we have dealt with. This senate is now subservient to an elected executive, me.

Demetrios of Athens




Athens - (they are in disarray)
Argos + (rebounding from the damage done to them by Sparta)

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

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-08-12, 08:36

"You... you're... WHAT?!"
"Pregnant, dear. I'm pregnant."
"Preg... oh! Like having a baby, pregnant?"
"What other kinds of pregnant are there, Dragos?"
"Er... well..."

This was not going very well. My wife was getting increasingly irritated with my abject failure to react in a satisfactory manner, and my retarded expression was not helping at all. But I was dumbstruck. Me, a father? Sure, I had given the idea some thought, being King and all, but I was woefully unprepared for this news.
"So is it a boy or girl?" I blurted out without thinking. Bad move. Lydia was angry now.
"You... you absolute moron. What kind of question is that?! You think I can see inside my womb?! I swear, sometimes I wonder how in the name of Hades you managed to become King!" She strode away angrily.
"I love you, honey" I offered meekly. She answered with an expletive before slamming the door so hard that a portrait fell from the wall. I sighed. This day was not starting well.
"Banokles! Get in here, and bring some wine!"

Later...

"Ish jus, I dunnno how to be a father...much. You know? Whaddo I know about poop and breashtfeeding and yelling and *HIC*... actshually I know about breashtsh. They purdy." I laughed stupidly, drunk out of my skull. Banokles was not much better off.
"My King, you shoud name the lil guy Ban *BURP* Banokles. Ish a good strong name for a boy." He poured another cup of wine, but ended up spilling most of it on the table. He looked really stupid as he tried to lick it off the table, especially when a piece of parchment got stuck in his wine-soaked beard.
"Banoklesh. Banok... nah I'll call him Aresh, like the god of *HIC* war. He will defeat all hish enemiesh...like hish daddy." I reached out and pulled the stained document off Banokles' face. This was the message Dromichetes sent from Corinth. Unfortunately I couldn't remember what it said at that stage. More wine...

Even later...

It felt like a mule had kicked me in the head. No, not a mule. Five Mules. Five mules taking turns to stomp on my fragile skull. The agony! I slowly opened my eyes to take a blurry look at my surroundings. Where the hell was I? And what is this hairy thing... oh, Banokles. Lying inches from my face. I attempted to surge to my feet, but did not keep in mind that I was, in fact, under my desk.

A few minutes later, and nursing a massive lump on the back of my head, I was slumped in my chair. My efforts to rouse Banokles had proven futile, ending with him grabbing my leg lovingly and calling it "Boros" as he cuddled it. Which was disturbing in itself, because Boros was his horse, if I recall.

I pulled Dromichetes' wine soaked message off my desk and started to read through again:

"My King,

I have informed Aristoxenus of your wishes. He has not agreed on a specific meeting place, but he does not seem totally against the idea. It seems he is preparing to leave for Argos soon, so maybe you could meet there, or somewhere along the way?

As a matter of interest, were you aware that he has two Spartan bodyguards? Orthaeus and Python, former Royal Guards, now mercenaries. I think they would have gutted me if Aristoxenus had given them leave to do so.

I am on my way to Nicodemus, who is now in total control of the city, to see if he wants in on the meeting. After all, Megara has hurt his city most. After that, I will return to do your bidding.

Dromichetes"

I hoisted myself to my feet and staggered out into the corridor. Polites was due back soon, and would have more information on recent events in Athens and Megara. But first, I need to sleep. I can't think with Zeus' Thunder Orchestra pounding in my head.

_________________
*Burp*
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-08-28, 18:35

A long, shadowy passageway. Here and there, torches flickered in the still air of the cellars, dancing red tongues in the heavy sea of gloom. It had probably begun life as a simple way of transferring goods between cellars in the city long ago. But times change, cities shift, and the old relics of its former days lie empty and forgotten. Or at least, forgotten by most.

A door at the end of the passageway opened, and three figures walked through. The two on either side were large men, dressed in simple clothes but somehow exuding a sense that anyone who messed with them was the type of person who had 'accidents' late at night, accidents that involved knuckles and sharp edges and various internal organs being found half a mile away from the rest of your body. Most private bodyguards wear huge imposing weapons and exotic armour to look threatening. These two just wore an impressive set of muscles and a smile that said "Letting you live is a gift. Don't make me take it back." They didn't need to carry a huge battleaxe to make people worried. Their very presence implied bad things were about to happen to you.

The third figure seemed strangely out of place between the two behemoths. An old man, his back crooked and his head bowed under a large hood, he hobbled along slowly between his gargantuan companions. Every now and then, the two men had to stop to let him catch up, their long, striding gait simply too much for the quaking man to match. The sight would have been almost comical, were it not for the complete absence of watchers and the risk that a chuckle would result in your arms sticking out through your chest for the rest of your (short) life.

Eventually, the trio reached the door at the far end, a solid affair made of heavy oak planks. One of the two bodyguards walked up and knocked on it twice, as lightly as he could manage. The force of it shook dust from the ceiling.

A sharp voice came from behind the door, muted by the thickness of the wood.

"I'm sorry, we're not entertaining visitors".

"Too bad. Let us in or I'll knock the stinkin'"- the big man was interrupted by an angry whisper from his fellow- "Oh, I mean 'neither does the hare, but the snake will sneak into its burrow nonetheless.'"

There was a sound of bolts being drawn open, and the door swung inwards on well-oiled hinges. The man who stood in the opening was dressed similarly to the old man between the two mountains of muscle. He eyed them suspiciously. The fossil looked up at his two compatriots, and wheezed,

"That will be all, thankyou. Wait for me on this side of the door."

His guardians nodded and grinned, and he hobbled through into the dimly-lit room. The door closed behind him. It slammed back into its housing with a thud. His back straightened, as if the impact of the door had shaken the weight off the years off him. His step, once a pained limp, became a brisk pace without missing a beat.

"Ah, the old cripple act. Always one of my favourites," Tamaeros stated happily, shaking his hood loose. "Now, what's to eat?"

* * *
Tamaeros' political career had begun a little under 40 years ago, as he entered into his early twenties. A bright pupil who had risen from amongst the ranks in the academy, he had been taken under the wing of the then-leading politician and amateur philosopher, Metrodoros. And under this careful tutelage, Tamaeros thrived. He quickly became adept at dealing with the ever-shifting political mire that was Athens, and at the age of 27 he was voted into the council. At that point, most men would have been satisfied to rest on their laurels, content that they had a say in the affairs of a great City State. But not Tamaeros. His were far greater ambitions.

His true rise to power began three years later, in a simple debate over taxation. Metrodoros, looking for a supporter amongst the assembled senators for his proposed increases, placed all his hope on his esteemed pupil. And Tamaeros delivered a speech so damning that Metrodoros was jeered out of the council hall. Over the next few months, Metrodoros' carefully-planned policies crumbled under heavy criticism. Despairing over the betrayal and his loss of power, Metrodoros left the council and turned to drink. He lived the last few years of his life a drunkard, despised by the council and forgotten by the people.

The fall of Metrodoros created a vacuum for power in the council, for which many aspiring politicians raced. 4 years later, Tamaeros was indisputably the most influential of the council members, using skill, demagogy and bribery to win over or dispatch with his opponents one by one. And for a long period of time after that he remained virtually unopposed, his word always the last say in any council disagreement. And then, at the age of 48, he suffered his first ever political defeat at the hands of a coalition under a politician called Zopas, and a Strategos by the name of Demetrios was sent with a large army to battle the Persians in Asia Minor. He lost the vote by 1 crucial point. It became clear to him that no matter how skilful and practiced a senator was, no one man could control the council in all its decisions.

But Tamaeros did not give up on his aspirations. He secretly approached Zopas, and four other popular and like-minded politicians, and proposed a way of controlling the council completely from the shadows. And thus the Council of Six was born. They met in the little-known nooks and crannies of the city where no-one would ever think to venture, using old cellars and forgotten structures. To let knowledge of it pass on to anyone else would spell its destruction. And so they kept it secret, an elite group in which Athens' business- both official and otherwise- was decided. With the huge amount of influence the six collectively held, the true council could always be brought to the same decision. And so, for another 11 years Tamaeros and the Council of Six held complete sway over Athens. And then came the war, and the whole system was shaken to its core

* * *
Five men sat around a hexagonal table, the sixth seat empty. In front of them lay meat and bread and wine. The four men who remained hooded had left theirs untouched, but Tamaeros was digging in happily. A brief flicker of candlelight caught an angered look in one of the hooded men's eyes.

"We do not bring outsiders into the secret meeting places, you know that." He growled, indicating toward the door behind which the two bodyguards stood.

"Ah, them? Nice boys. Always do as they're told. Try some of this wine, lovely stuff." Tamaeros replied, not looking up from his plate. "They can't hear us through that door anyway. Or at least, I hope not. I doubt we could persuade poor Abantes to make us an even thicker door after what you did to him after he finished on that one." Five heads monetarily turned to a full and evil-smelling sack in the corner of the cellar. Its base was stained crimson. Turning back, Tamaeros added "I do hope you're going to get rid of that soon. It makes the place rather less homely, don't you think?"

"That's beside the point. What if they tell someone how to find us?" Another, younger voice asked from beneath the shadow of its hood.

"I shouldn't worry about that. I think you'll find them rather sympathetic to our cause. Although, of course, you can always go out there and remove them if you want?" Tamaeros said, flashing him an innocent smile. It was something that had taken years to master, but was worth every second of it. There's nothing in the world more foreboding than an innocent little smile.

"It's of no consequence. We meet here with more pressing matters at hand." This was an older voice, around Tamaeros' age, and one of a deep thinker. "Demetrios now runs the city as a tyrant, and all our work threatens to collapse around us. Orestos has already fallen victim to Demetrios' whim. Tamaeros has been exiled from the city, and can only be with us now because of our knowledge of the underground. We are falling apart, gentlemen. We need a plan."

"Otis" the first voice stated immediately. "We used his services when we were threatened before. Now we must use them again."

"Artemios was a rather… special case, as it were" mused Tamaeros, still eating hungrily. "No, we don't want to owe him too much. He is our last resort. I'm sure a foreign power could be convinced into aiding us, for the good of the democracy of course."

"Or Aristoxenus. He was always a great supporter of the council." Said the older voice. "What's more, he's popular with the soldiery. Whilst they won't rise under our leadership, they might be better incited by him. Cleitos could prove useful, too."

The fourth figure, who had not spoken yet, leaned forwards. "I thought Aristoxenus was marked for death? He still may find out something, if he gets close enough to Otis."

Tamaeros considered this for a few seconds, before replying "It would be a rather delicious twist of fate to have the vengeful Aristoxenus working for us, would it not? He's always been very trusting. Yes, I think we should keep him alive a little while longer. Though I fear if Demetrios gets to him first, we shall have little choice in the matter."

"One of us must go and meet him then." The second figure added. "He won't be in Corinth long, and people disappear too easily at times like this."

"Oh, Aristoxenus will be headed for Argos, I believe," said Tamaeros, smugly noting the looks of surprise on the others' faces- or at least, the looks of surprise that would have been there were their faces not completely hidden in shadow. "Really, his movements are not all that difficult to trace. I shall go and meet him there." Tamaeros ate the last mouthful of food, and stood to leave.

"And if he's not there?" asked the older man.

"If Aristoxenus is not there, then Otis will be. I can always meet him instead if events turn out as such."

"One question" the fourth man said. "The annoying assassin is still with him. What shall we do about him?"

An evil glint was in the first speaker's eye. "We allow our friend Otis to stamp him out"

"Very well, gentlemen. I take my leave of you now." Tamaeros said, and began walking towards the door. He pasued. "Oh, and one last thing."

"Yes?" came the reply

"The lamb was excellent. Get some more of it. But leave off the fish a little, it clashes with the wine. Good day to you gentlemen." And with that, he left.
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Kasey on 2008-08-28, 18:49

Aeneas strode through the damaged streets of Corinth, headed towards the villa in which Aristoxenus was briefly residing. Nicodemus had sent him to discover what the Athenian planned to do next, and where he planned to go.

The street outside the house was deserted, and to Aeneas' confusion, 5 horses were tethered outside of the house, he grasped the hilt of his sword and walked slowly towards the entrance. Then stopped still as one who has met the Gorgon's stoney glare. For lying slumped in the doorway was a Corinthian soldier, his neck gaping from a spear wound. Blood seeped from his neck and onto the tiled floor. Aeneas tore his gaze from the dead man, and advanced warily into the house. He heard voices, angry voices, coming from the courtyard, the voices escalated and then came the rasping sound of a sword being drawn from its scabbard. A second later came a Great War cry, followed by a high scream of pain. Aeneas began to run.


Theokles watched silently as his Captain argued with Aristoxenus. His attempts at persuading the young general to come peacefully with them to Athens were proving futile. Finally, tiring of the argument, the Captain drew his sword and threatened to take his head right this second. At that moment came a great war cry, Theokles jerked his head around to see a man jump from the shadows, and spear an Athenian in the throat, then stab him brutally in the stomach, even as the unfortunate man screamed his last, another man burst through into the courtyard, holding an oddly long sword. The big barrel-chested man backslashed his longsword into the side of a cavalryman's neck before anyone else could respond. Theokles recovered his wits enough to lunge his long cavalry spear at this new threat, but the big man parried the stab with contemptuous ease, and then with surprising agility, leapt forward, and slashed his longsword over Theokles' eyes. The cavalryman dropped his weapons and put his hands to his lacerated face, just as his attacker ran him through with the longsword. Blood gurgled in Theokles' mouth as he fell to his knees, then pitched to the floor as the support of the sword was removed, the blood spilt from his mouth and onto the floor. Theokles' last thoughts were of his mother as he lay twitching on the floor, then he went quite still as his vision went black and his soul fled his violated body.

Aeneas looked around him, before ramming his longsword home into its scabbard. The sword was of Gallic origin, and although it was of no use in the shield walls of most Greek battles, it was brilliant in open combat, so he carried it whenever he could.

The man who had screamed the war cry had finished off his second Athenian Cavalryman, and Aristoxenus had brought their Captain to his knees, and held his sword at the man's throat. Aeneas smiled grimly as he thought of the questions Nicodemus would ask of this man.


Dear General Thanatos,

We have remained firm allies throughout this terrible conflict, which has seen your city burnt, and mine occupied by a foe. Therefore it warms my heart to hear that you still wish to continue with our war against the serpent knowing at the breast of Hellas, Megara. That snake must be killed if we are to ever again have peace. I therefore recognize our need to unite against this common enemy. They are weak now, so an attack soon would be much to our advantage.

There is also the matter of our erstwhile ally, Athens. I must say it displeases me greatly to see the men with whom our alliance was struck, hunted out of the city like rats. I have already found means to suggest that Athens' new ruler, one Demetrios of Athens, is not to be trusted, I wont go into detail, but I found armed men in his service acting without my permission in Corinth! However I am willing to hear your counsel on this matter before I act.

Indebted to you,
Regent Nicodemus, ruler of Corinth and the Isthmus

PS: Along with the messenger I have sent some grain and captured weapons as a token of my continued friendship. I have also sent an architect and a team of builders to help rebuild your once beautiful city[i]




To Tyrant Demetrios of Athens,

I am somewhat bemused at the presumptuousness of sending a letter asking for the extradition of one of your citizens along with what I can only describe as a "Snatch Squad". May I presume that your request was a rhetorical one? Even so sending armed men into my city to capture a friend of mine isn't a particularly impressive gesture of goodwill.

So in case you are unclear I am now informing you that Strategos Aristoxenus is still a friend of Corinth, and therefore I would advise you to consider carefully and planned moves on him, our risk my displeasure.

Yours tersely,
Regent Nicodemus, ruler of Corinth and the Isthmus
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-08-29, 00:03

The weariness of travel had gripped our trio. Iphitos was wiping sweat from his forehead and Myrto walked with her head down. I felt hunger pains in my stomach and looked for a place where we could rest from our weary trudge.

The sun was setting quickly in the sky now and the street vendors of Argos were packing away their goods. We would not have made it in time to buy anything even if we had the money to. When we found a place to stop we would need some sort of goods to bargain with.

I touched the knife that never left my side. It had been one of a pair I had owned until I lost the other one the last time I had been in Argos. It was too precious to me to hand over. However, it was the only object of any value I had on me and looking at the other two I guessed probably the only thing of value we had between us.

"Poet," I said, touching Iphitos on the shoulder and looked back at me. "We need a place to stay and some money. This is your city."

Iphitos nodded and we stopped walking as he thought. "Well there is an inn we could stay at which would be near here. I've never been there myself but members of Aristippos' court did frequently. But, as you say Adrastos, we have no money." He stopped talking to think again and rubbed his chin, which had grown some light stubble, as he thought. "Perhaps we could visit some of my old friends?"

I thought about it for a minute and then shrugged. The risk of letting our presence become known was probably equal to staying on the streets at night with an empty stomach.

"Who would we go to?" I asked.

"There are a number of people I could take us to, after all the time I have been away though I do not know who..."

Iphitos trailed off and I realised what the return to Argos had meant for him. When I had first run into him, not far from the walls of Argos, he had told a story of carrying news to Corinth. Since I had gotten to know the poet I had dismissed his original story but had never actually found out what he had been doing outside of Argos just before it burned. Whatever it was it seemed to be bothering him now. Myrto looked at me as Iphitos became lost in his memories and I said his name softly.

"Oh, sorry!" Iphitos jumped at the sound of his name. "Yes. Well there are a number of people. There is Lykaios, he lives on the other side of the city though and he has a large family so may not be entirely welcoming to three travellers.

"There's Sofronio," he continued. "He was a laugh but I think he planned to move to the countryside after the siege was broken.
Iphitos snapped his fingers and smiled. "Timoleon!" he said with excitement.

"Who's Timoleon?" Myrto asked, beating me to it.

"He was a good friend of mine and was in favour with Aristippos. Timoleon was a commoner who rose to recognition with the court for his poetry, just like me. He lives not far from here and has chosen to live alone. He'll aid us for the night, at least."
I nodded my head, agreeing that he sounded ideal. "Take us there."

Iphitos started to walk again and Myrto and I followed closely. The sun was only just visible on the horizon now and the light over Argos was a bright orange. Within minutes it would be dark but Iphitos assured us it was not far.

Suddenly Iphitos stopped and Myrto nearly ran into him.

"Thyona," Iphitos whispered.

"What?" I asked and Iphitos spun around in surprise, as if he had forgotten we were there.

"Nothing!" he said hurriedly. "I didn't say anything."

He turned back around and continued walking. I watched him with confusion for a moment and then followed after him again. Myrto looked to me and I shook my head.

After a few more streets the light disappeared from the sky. Iphitos turned to us and told us that Timoleon's house was just round the corner. As he turned back towards the end of the street a shadow flickered across in front of us. I grabbed Iphitos and pulled him back. The three of us crouched back into the shadows and looked for what had just passed us.

Within moments another figure ran silently passed our side street down the street Timoleon lived on, followed closely by another. I told Myrto and Iphitos to stay where they were and edged down the street towards the corner, knife held tight in my hand.

I glimpsed around the corner and saw what appeared to be an empty street. After a few seconds though I saw the figures moving along in the shadows. They started to move towards a house and I saw blades being drawn. They had nearly reached the door of the house when sounds came from the other end of the street and they quickly retreated back into the shadows. If I hadn't seen where they had gone they would have been invisible. From the end of the street came the source of the sounds; a group of young men, obviously drunk, calling out happily.

As they wandered down the street I felt a hand touch my shoulder and my reflexes kicked in. Before I realised what I was doing I had my knife to Iphitos' throat and he was squealing in alarm.

"Sorry," I whispered to him and gestured for him to be silent. Myrto crept up behind him and tried to see what was happening.

The group of revellers reached the entrance to our street and I prayed they would not turn down it and stumble upon us. My prayers were answered and they continued on. My heart was thumping heavily. I did not know what was going on but whatever it was it chilled me to the bone.

Iphitos peered around the corner and I could see him straining his eyes to see what was going on. The figures emerged from the shadows and he stifled a noise of surprise. The figures reached the door of the house and Iphitos turned to me hurriedly.

"That is the house of Timoleon," he said, the concern and fear evident in his voice. "We must do something."

I shook my head. "Don't be a fool Iphitos!" I hissed. "There are three of them, all armed, and the three of us with one weapon between us. Just watch and hope."

Iphitos thought on my words for a moment and nodded his head in dismay as he found the logic in them. We turned back to watching the street as a light knock came from the three men standing on the doorstep of Timoleon's house. Light spilled out onto the street as the door opened and the three men jumped on the man who had opened it. No sounds came from inside as the door was shut.

After many moments of watching still no sounds came from the house and nobody emerged. I looked to Iphitos and he sent me a questioning look I could not answer. Then another figure appeared, strolling down from the direction the revellers had come, and my heart jumped into my mouth. It was Otis. I heard Myrto draw in her breath behind me and cower back into the shadows. Iphitos had never seen the man.

Otis reached the house and knocked twice. Light appeared again and Otis disappeared inside. My heart was beating faster than ever.

"Stay here," I said forcefully. "I will return."

Iphitos eyed me quizzically and I told him to ask Myrto.

I jogged as quickly and quietly as I could down the street until I reached the house of Timoleon. A sliver of light shone out from under the thick wooden door and I could hear the sounds of voices inside. Looking for a good vantage point I crouched behind a pile of broken crates on the other side of the door and waited for the four men to leave again.

To my dismay I heard the sounds of a struggle coming from inside which did not last long. The door opened and the three men in black slipped out, followed closely by Otis. I clenched my fist. I could throw my dagger and end Otis' life right then but would be killed instantly by the three other men. Instead, I chose to follow them until I had an opportunity to kill Otis.

As Otis and his agents disappeared around the corner I got to my feet and went after them. Otis was old and not as nimble as he had once been; I had no trouble keeping track of him through the streets. As the four men slipped through the streets with me following them I had a sense of being watched and a fear gripped my heart. Almost as soon as it did a figure jumped from the shadows and I fell to the ground; Otis and his men disappearing into the streets.

I grappled with my assailant for a few minutes and was shocked to feel a distinctly female body. I stopped moving when I felt a blade touch my throat. The hand of the assailant whisked to my dagger and removed it.

"Get up," the woman's voice said quietly. I did as she said. Moonlight fell across her face and memories flooded back to me.

The first was from Corinth on a pleasant summer's when I had flirted with this woman by a bathing pool, telling her my name was Pan. The second was from the depths of winter, standing in a street with Iphitos as he told me that she was the daughter of Otis.

"Eleni," I said in shock.

"Pan," she said, equally surprised.
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Seleukos of Olympia on 2008-08-29, 05:53

Argos! My home city! Site of so many happy memories, and of enough unhappy ones to give a bitter taste to the sweetness of nostalgia. They were now all evaporated in the cold night air as I stared down a dark and motionless street from behind a corner, feeling the silent breath of Myrto chilling the sweat that ran on the back of my neck.

"Where is he?" she whispered behind my ear. "What has happened to him?"

I didn't know what to answer.

"Is there anyone still out there?" she asked again.

I raised my shoulders nervously to express my uncertainty. It was a dark night and I couldn't see a thing. I had seen some shadows move away ten minutes earlier, and then nothing. What was that woman expecting of me? The sight of Lynceus?

"Let's just wait another ten minutes" I whispered back at her. "I'm sure Adrastos is fine and means for us to stay where he told us to stay."

Her breathing on my neck came at a pace that didn't hint at a reassured person. She'd be even less reassured if she could see the expression on my face. Of all the nights Timoleon could choose to get assaulted in his own house, it had to be the one night I had come to visit! That was Timoleon for you, always a flair for the dramatic! That's what won him those poetry contests when I...

Suddenly I realised that the breathing on my neck had stopped. I opened my eyes wide in astonishment, and noticed Myrto's outline running stealthily towards Timoleon's house. I opened my mouth to scream at her to come back, but I shut it again without making a sound. For over a minute I just stood there, trying to make out something out of the spreading darkness. Finally, when I started to worry that some danger could be just behind me while I stared in front of me, I ran for the house after Myrto.

When I got inside, I felt something soft and bulgy under my feet. Stepping back and looking down I saw what it was; the lifeless body of Timoleon, his blood now smeared on my sandals. I nervously backed towards a corner and I let out a shriek when a hand touched me from behind. I turned around and saw Myrto in a state of shock. I stared at her dumbly for a few seconds, and then artlessly took her in my arms and tried to calm her down.

"There, there. I'm sure he'll be alright. There's nothing to be afraid of."

"Alright?! He's dead!"

"Dead? I don't know about that. I don't know about that at all. I'm not a doctor. Are you a doctor? Didn't think so. You see, my dear, he's just rather unhealthy at the moment. There's no need to jump to morbid conclusions."

"You stepped on his body! There's blood everywhere!"

"Yes, quite unhealthy. Poor buger. But let's not stare at him while he's resting. It's rude."

I slowly moved her over to a chair and sat her down. I gently disentangled myself from her and got up, walking nervously around poor Timoleon's body. He was a good poet and a good friend. I would have to write an epitaph for him. I was sure he would have done the same for me. At that moment I felt the only reassuring thought I had had all night. I was glad he wasn't the one writing the epitaph for me at that moment...

I looked around the room, the main room of his modest house. It was then that I noticed that Timoleon's bookshelf, the one that contained his poems and personal documents, was empty. And then I remembered that we still had no idea where Adrastos was. I sat down on a chair opposite to Myrto, with Timoleon's body partially hidden from our view by a table. I held my chin in my hand pretending to be in thought. But in reality I didn't know what to think. I just sat and stared into empty space for minutes and minutes and minutes...

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-08-29, 06:15

"Why are you following my… those men?" Eleni inquired after we had climbed to our feet.

"Why were you following those men?" I asked her.

Eleni tried to make out my face by the light of the moon but I kept my expression blank.

"Ok," she said eventually. "I will not ask you if you do not ask me." I agreed and we stood in the street awkwardly for a moment. Then I asked for my knife back and she handed it to me warily. It appeared my luck was holding out and that she still new me as Pan, a minor agent working for Aristoxenus.

"I will not ask you why you are following those men," I said. "However, I will ask if you know why that man back there was killed."
Eleni studied me for a moment again and her piercing eyes gave my hardened stomach butterflies. I could not hold her gaze.

"I do not know," she said and I knew she was lying. I feigned belief though and nodded my head with disappointment. My act was interrupted by the groans of my stomach and I realised I still had not eaten. The terror and excitement of seeing Otis had chased the hunger from my body.

"You are hungry?" Eleni asked and I nodded. "Come. I will take you to a place where you may eat."

I thought quickly about Iphitos and Myrto streets away but knew I would not receive another chance such as this again. If I could take Otis' daughter I could bring the old man within reach. My left hand moved to the hilt of my dagger and rested there as I watched Eleni move into the night. Without hesitation I followed. Myrto and Iphitos would have to wait.

"You left Corinth very quickly after our last meeting," Eleni said as we walked.

"Urgent business elsewhere," I said simply. "Is it far?" I asked after my stomach groaned again.

"No, not far."

We weaved through the streets for a few minutes before Eleni stopped outside a non-descript house in the middle of an empty street. She pushed on the door and it swung open to a cold and dark interior. Eleni led the way in and shut the door behind me. As she did so her arm brushed mine and for a moment I thought it to be on purpose.

I followed Eleni into the front room and waited near the doorway while she lit the fire. When it blazed into life I was stunned by the nice and welcoming homeliness of the small place. Rugs were piled on the floor and seats sat near the fire invitingly. Eleni stood up from the hearth and smiled at me.

"Sit by the fire, Pan. I will get us some food."

I sat on a seat by the fire and welcomed its warmth while Eleni moved into another room. After some minutes she came back out with bread and cheese, which she placed on the table near us. To my surprise she sat next to me and stretched out an arm languidly towards me. It rested on my shoulder and she sidled closer. I swallowed as she rested her other hand on my thigh.

"You know Pan…"

She didn't finish the thought. Instead she started to slump down to the ground and I caught her in my right arm so she wouldn't fall heavily. With my left arm I replaced the metal fire stoker I had hit her over the head with.

Moving quickly now I checked her pulse and breathed a sigh of relief that I had not hit her too hard. Then, with as much care and delicacy as I could manage, I hoisted her over my shoulder and made for the door. Just before I reached it I backtracked and took the bread and cheese from the table before making for the door again. Hopefully Myrto and Iphitos had stayed where I had bid them.
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Re: The Greek Wars

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