The Greek Wars

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-03-04, 00:25

It was barely an hour after the King's State funeral, on a rainy evening. I sat in my room, nursing a goblet of wine in the darkness. I was now the defacto ruler of Sparta, as the King's son, Athanaikos, was barely 13 years old. The people looked to me for guidance, militarily and mentally. I felt grossly inadequate at that moment. A mere week ago I was but a Captain, now I rule. Some might jump at this opportunity, indeed, people have killed to be in my type of position. Yet, my loyalty remained with the House of Leonidas, and his heirs. I would not usurp rule.

I got up and walked, somewhat unsteadily, to the window. I could see the glow of many torches in the city streets, as the people returned home from the funeral. I sighed. The surviving Argives were trying to make sense of the slaughter that took place inside their walls. I felt a pang of guilt, but quickly shook it off. They died by our hands, yes, but it was the only way to shock Aristoxenus into the present. I do not think he completely grasped what he had done. Sending an assassin to eliminate a King? This is not the Greek way. Or did he perhaps expect the assassin to fail?

It didn't matter. The King was dead. Spies reported that the armies were no longer advancing on our city, and that there was enmity between Nicodemus of Corinth and Aristoxenus of Athens. If they don't come at us together, they will face certain defeat.

As for our next move, I had to consider it carefully. Another march on Corinth? Besiege Argos again? A naval attack on Athens? Hmmm…tomorrow, at the war council meeting, we will decide…

Sparta +1
Corinth -1 (Nicodemus' plan cannot succeed without support)


Athens 11
Argos 4
Corinth 10
Sparta 7
Megara 9

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Kasey on 2008-03-04, 10:30

Sh!t! I had always known that the Athenian hadn't liked my plan, but to pull out, on the march? No something was wrong. He also knew what this meant, without the Athenians my army was not big enough to march against Sparta, the only way to combat the Spartan skill was to outnumber them, without the Athenian troops, I would be outnumbered. But that was what Aristoxenus wanted, wasn't it? Yes, he strived for peace like a dog goes for a bone, it was his greatest strength, it gave him the strength to carry on whatever the odds, it let him inspire his troops, it kept him going. But it was also his weakness, when he had his enemies in a corner, with nowhere to go, I don't think he sould strike the death blow. He wasn't weak, but he valued peace to highly, and that could stay his hand, make him merciful when he had to be ruthless. No I had no problem with ruthlessness, mercy wouldn't stay my hand, I did not become advisor to the Corinthian King by forgiving my enemies, just to have them stab me in the back.

This, however was what Arsitoxenus wanted to do, we could have beaten them!It would have been a bloody and costly battle, but we could have crushed Sparta, they had no King, and their King was dead by Arsitoxenus' orders, yet he wouldn't finish the bloody city off! But I did turn back with Arsitoxenus, for what choice did I have? None, so we began the long trudge back to Corinth, we had won the battle, but I couldn't help feeling that we'd lost the war.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Lord Nicomedus, you have done well"

"Thank you sire"

"Yes, the defeat of the Spartan army leaves us room to…" he trailed off, leaving me to finish of his sentence

"…to assert our authority in the Northern Peloponnese?"

"Yes, yes…"

Gods! How I hated him! He was blind and deaf but for his advisors, he knew nothing of what happened in Greece, but my plan was coming together, yes soon I and my comrades would set up the King's "Tragic" death, yes it was all coming together……

Sparta +1
Corinth -1

Athens 11
Argos 4
Corinth 9
Megara 9
Sparta 8
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Seleukos of Olympia on 2008-03-04, 13:22

The pain in my leg was trivial compared to the terror of my sudden predicament. There I was, running away from the rampaging army of Sparta, like a man minding his own business, when a flash of a man sprang up in front of me, knocking me down on the ground. The ground was sufficiently rocky to be unpleasant and my encounter with it was sufficiently unpleasant to leave me limping in pain and cursing at the man who, it should be noted, did not seem to be faring better than me. Yet the sentiment that overwhelmed me was that of fear. The Spartans were sending their lackeys after me! This time I got lucky, but any second now more could appear and I was in no condition to escape them. And even if I had a head start, this poor knave, probably a helot by the looks of him, would tell them he had seen me and they would be after me like blood-hounds.

He looked unconscious. A ploy to get me to drop my guard, for all I knew. I drew my sword and felt marginally less unsafe. "No time to grapple with ethics, poor Iphitos", I thought to myself. One quick stab and I would limp away with one less loose end on my mind. I drew closer and closer, feeling my sword slide as my palm became sweatier. The man on the ground was still but for a slight heaving of his torso as he breathed. I had never before killed a living being larger than an insect and my blood froze at the realization that it was something I did not know how to do. The basic idea was simple; thrust sword, pull sword out, wipe sword, be on your way. However, the implementation seemed almost impossible.

I stood like that for a few moments, when suddenly I noticed movement in the nearby trees, and a young man, obviously armed but unarmoured and too well dressed to be a poor light infantryman, stepped into view. He pulled out a short sword and walked calmly towards me. Panicking, I touched my blade on the unconscious man's neck and yelled out "don't come any nearer or I'll kill him!"

The newcomer stopped in his tracks but seemed unperturbed. He said, in a calm voice,

"Why would you want to kill him?"

I was no less panicky, and instead of answering him I looked around frantically for others sneaking up behind me. He spoke again,

"You are clearly not Spartan. And I'd venture to guess you are not affiliated with the Spartans either. I'll make this easy for you. Step away from this man and forget you ever saw him. In return I'll forget this ever happened and we'll be on our separate ways. How does that sound to you?"

It did not sound well to me. It had to be a trick. They wouldn't just let me go after they had seemingly resolved to wipe the Argives off the face of the earth. Unless...

I began to think more clearly.

"You are not Spartan either, I presume", I said.

The other man nodded affirmatively.

"And I take it you are not on friendly terms with the Spartans either."

He nodded again.

"Then it seems we have a common enemy. My name is Iphitos and I am a man of great influence in Argos, forced into circumstances unbecoming my nature. Do not be alarmed by my earlier threat. I would not dream of stabbing an unconscious man like a common murderer. I had to resort to these theatrics to gauge your character. I am satisfied with your response. Now come, danger lurks around us, and the three of us should make haste to escape into friendly ground. A god has surely arranged it so that our paths should meet today."

I lifted my sword from his neck, conscious of my calculated risk. The other man thought about the situation for a few moments, but at last urgency superseded caution, as I had anticipated. He said

"My name is Galen and this man is called Getas. Help me get him off the ground."

I sheathed my sword and happily obliged, content in the notion that I was no longer alone and that I would, no doubt, soon find myself in a place where my skills would be of service to Argos. Tragic, undying Argos. I should prepare a speech...


Argos+1 (Argos gains a voice in the intrigues of the powerful anti-Spartan states; or an accomplice in the plots of Adrastos, whichever outcome materializes)
Athens -1 (Galen and Adrastos have to put up with Iphitos. Not their idea of an ideal situation, in the short term)

Athens 10
Argos 5
Corinth 9
Megara 9
Sparta 8

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-03-05, 00:45

The first thing i was aware of was a terrible throbbing in my head. The incredible fear and panic that had gripped me seemed to have been knocked out of me and i began to regain my senses. The last thing i had been aware of was running through the trees away from Argos before another figure appeared. We had collided and i had fallen to the ground. I knew i had been moved. I had fallen face first but was now lying on my back.

Voices came from nearby and i nearly shouted out in joy when i heard Galen speak. The other voice i did not recognise but they were talking peacefully. I opened my eyes and sat up slowly. Shots of pain rocketed through my head and i moaned and clasped a hand to my head.

"Getas! Are you alright?" Galen said and ran towards me.

"Getas? My name's not Getas." I groaned without thinking.

"What are you talking about Getas? You must have suffered a terrible bump if you can't remember your own name." Galen explained as he helped me up.

"Yeh. I had no idea what i was on about for a moment there." I said, seeing the stranger watching me nearby and catching on. I pulled Galen close to me and whispered in his ear. "Getas? Are you serious?"

Galen punched me in the arm and introduced me to the newcomer. A poet from Argos named Iphitos. I rubbed me arm where Galen had punched me and shook hands with the man warily. He was the one i had run into. I could tell from the large bump on his forehead.

"Iphitos says that he is acting as an emmissary, told to deliver a message to Corinth and Athens." Galen told me as i sat down next to the small fire they had made. "Something about the war effort no doubt, ay Iphitos?"

"What? Oh...yeh. Something like that." Iphitos mumbled.

"So you're a poet?" I asked and he nodded. "Could we hear a few lines?"

"Well i haven't really prepared anything and normally i just write them and get someone else to read them." He spurted and appeared to be uncomfortable. "You know how it is? Never been much of a dab hand at speeches. Don't like crowds, you see?"

"That's ok." I said, relishing every moment of seeing him wriggle and become embarrassed. "How about i start us off?" I said and cleared my throat.

None were more beautiful than sweet Daffodil,
She was a true flower among women.
Proud and Imperious, she walked with great confidence,
Never letting any man near.
All desired her, but she desired none,
And would make fools of all the greatest men.
Until one day, she was out walking alone,
And poor sweet Daffodil was plucked. Daffodil.

Iphitos was shocked at the poem and blushed at the last line. I hid a smirk. It's amazing the things you can pick up in the slums and whorehouses. Even strains of poetry.

After a few minutes of trying to get Iphitos to give a recital we finally managed to get a short poem out of him, which he explained as a poem he had written for a lady friend in Argos. By the end of it i had become a little bit bored at the gushy and lovey dovey language of the poem. I'd say that love poems weren't really his thing.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As night fell Iphitos fell asleep quickly and Galen ushered me a little way away from him.

"His story about delivering a message is a blatant lie." He whispered. "I don't know what he's really up to. We must keep a close eye on him." Galen looked towards the fire and the sleeping figure of the poet. "He may seem like just an ordinary poet..."

"Very ordinary." I cut in.

"Yes. Very ordinary." Galen continued. "But he may be something more sinister."

I looked to where Iphitos was slumped over, in a position which he would regret in the morning, and couldn't imagine the man to really be any danger.

"I don't think so, Galen. He's just a sort of...wet fish, really."

Galen didn't seem convinced but i told him not to worry.

"Where to now?" I asked.

"We have already killed one man but the repercussions weren't what we expected." He said with a glance in the direction of Argos. "I say that we return to Corinth. Seek advice from Aristoxenus. He will have a plan. This poet will be going that way too"

"First though." I said and rubbed my hands together. "Sleep.".

Argos -1 (losing Adrastos, the only person around who is in a position to help Argos)
Sparta +1 (Adrastos is heading back to Corinth)

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

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-03-05, 01:07

"...and therefore I don't think there's much to gain from besieging Argos again. We'd be better off marching on Corinth." Commander Kleomenes was the oldest man in the room, and his opinion carried a lot of weight with most of the other generals. No matter, I didn't want to attack Argos again, anyway. There was nothing to gain there. Only smoldering corpses.
"I agree to an extent. Argos... is dead. But I believe it is time to fully exploit the enmity between Corinth and Athens. Nicodemus seems... ambitious. Maybe we could offer him our friendship? I've got a feeling he will prove more reasonable than Aristoxenus the Fool." Most of them seemed to agree with my statement. I stood up and started pacing around.
"If Nicodemus agrees to an alliance, Athens and Megara would be under immense pressure. That would essentially put Western Greece under our control. I'm not bothered about Argos. They've got a fraction of their army left, and we pretty much razed their farmland on the way here." I looked at Kleomenes.
"Is this plan acceptable to you, old one? Or does your hatred of Corinth override common sense?" Kleomenes lost his son in the battle of Corinth not so long ago, and the grief was still evident in the grizzled old veteran's eyes.
"I... will go along with this. But... I cannot guarantee my actions if they betray us... You know they will, don't you, Dragos?" I nodded.
We will plan for this eventuality. For now, dispatch messengers to Nicodemus of Corinth. It is his friendship that will sway Corinth our way, not their ruler's."


Later that evening...

Why won't this accursed nightmares stop? Again I woke covered in sweat, gasping for air. I can never remember the dreams, only that it left me with an intense feeling of dread. Every single night since I returned from Argos. Every single night. Apparently, I almost choked my consort to death two nights before. She has refused to see me ever since. It bothers me greatly that I cannot remember doing it. What is happening to me? Was it... guilt? No, surely not. I don't feel guilty for the slaughter of Argos. At least, I don't think I feel guilty. I walked out onto the balcony and stood staring at the city, oblivious to the drizzle as it fell on my nude body.

I shook my head vigorously. No, I am not some cowering weakling. I am Dragos, Regent of Sparta. I command the strongest military force in Greece. I will crush our enemies. I will...

All at once, the facade crumbled. I fell to my knees, weeping uncontrollably, with the rain mixing with my tears to form pools around me. The dream became clear, then. Burnt faces of people unknown to me, reaching out as the skin melted from their faces. In the midst of it all my King stood, dagger in his throat, mouth forming words, but nothing coming out. I started shouting, but then she was there, holding me, shielding me from the rain. Lydia...

Sparta+1
Athens-1

Athens 9
Argos 4
Corinth 9
Megara 9
Sparta 10

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-03-05, 12:40

The amosphere in the meeting hall was... strained, to say the least. On one side of the table sat Cleitos and I. On the other, Nicodemus and some other lesser military advisor to the King of Corinth. There was a long silence, all of us pondering our words carefully, planning what to do next. Nicodemus was the first to speak. He rose imperiously, and said in a clear voice,

"In abandoning our march on Sparta, we have given the Spartans breathing space, and they will use it to gain the initiative once more. I am sure a second march on Corinth cannot be far off. If only we had-" Cleitos cut him off.

"What's done is done boy. We've got no time for 'if only's." He sat back in his chair calmly, Nicodemus standing over him.

"But would you say that if it were Athens under threat? What would you do if your city were under attack?! But you do not care- not until Sparta has razed all the fields of Greece to the ground, and Athens is the only city left standing for them to destroy, will you truly care. We should have ended this war when we had the chance." He looked at me accusingly

"You know that attacking Sparta on her home soil whilst her entire army was inside would have been suicide", I said. "Yes, it would have ended the war. For us. We would lie face down in a Spartan ditch by now, had we continued our march. No, we must be both resilient and cunning in our battle against these men."

The other Corinthian spoke out in a low growl.

"So you counsel that we just wait them out here and let them burn themselves out on these walls? Use us as a shield whilst Athens remains unscathed? Pah." He spat, spewing mucus and saliva onto the floor like a common peasant.

"You need only face them on the field once more", I replied, "if you listen to my plan. The Spartans will doubtless march on Corinth again, leaving their city lightly defended- after all, with Argos in flames and our armies trapped here, who could attack them?"

"You're only strengthening our point", Nicodemus grumbled. "That's not much of a plan."

"No. But I have not finished. Hear me out. The Spartans will leave their city with a relatively small garrison. That allows us to act. The Spartans may have the best trained hoplites in nthe world, but there is one thing in which we have the upper hand- the navy. If the Athenian and Corinthian navies were to combine, the Spartan navy would be hopelessly outnumbered and outclassed. Athenian marines are second to none. If the Athenian armies were to be taken down to Sparta, with the full support of both our navies, whilst the Spartan army was marching to Corinth, nothing could stand in our way. The wind should be favourable for a long time yet, and with good rowing teams, we will easily reach Sparta before the Spartan army reaches Corinth. We can set out as soon as our intelligence reports that the Spartan army has left the city."

"This would mean that Corinthian forces would have to face Sparta's wrath alone..." Nicodemus was sceptical as ever.

"No, not quite. Megara still feels bitter about how Sparta used her and abandoned her when they first marched on Corinth from the north. We have sent envoys to the Megarans, telling them of what the Spartans did at Argos, how the Spartans will continue in an attempt to become sole rulers of Greece if we leave them be. And, of course, we have once again reminded them of the fact that they have no quarrel with Athens or Corinth, and that Athens will recompense them for any losses they take if they aid us. I am fully confident they will come to your aid." I spoke firmly and with assurance, hiding my uncertainty. The Megarans were still reserved about joining us, neither saying yes or no. But I had to convince Nicodemus that this would work. If he came round to seeing this my way, then the plan would succeed.

"We will think this over," Nicodemus said. "Return to here an hour from now to hear our decision."

I left. Corinth's acceptance wasn't vitally important to the plan. But it was important- if Nicodemus did not agree, and we left, he might choose to side with the Spartans and allow them to continue through to Athens. I sighed. Hopefully, he could see there was more to be gained this way than through opposing us.

Athens +1
Sparta -1

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

Post by Kasey on 2008-03-09, 03:41

The council meeting had been….interesting. I had to admit that Aristoxenus was a good tactician, his plan would divide Sparta's forces and take advantage of our strengths and their weaknesses, but it would leave me no room to manoeuvre, with the Spartans at the gates, we would have no choice but to stay loyal to Athens, I sighed, sometimes I wished that I could just turn off my brain and become an ordinary merchant, but I knew that wasn't possible, I could never leave my ambition behind, it was like a shadow, always there, following me, or leading the way.

"Lord Nicomedus!" a servant ran up to me

"Yes what is it!" I snapped irritably, I needed time to think, I was loathe to be interrupted

"There is a messenger, Lord, from.." his voice dropped to a whisper "from….Sparta…my lord"

"Stop being so bloody melodramatic you fool" I sighed deeply "Well send him to me…"

I met the Spartan in my rooms at the palace. "So, what is it you have come to me with, Spartan? Your surrender" I was mocking him, I knew exactly what he'd come for, my, and therefore Corinth's loyalty

"My Lord Regent Dragos sends you a message, he says that if you stay loyal to Athens, your city will burn with theirs, but if you side with Sparta, the military power of Greece, then you will be an Ally of great importance to her, half the spoils from Megara and Athens will go to you, and the Town of Megara and its lands will be ceded to you, Athens and Argos Sparta lays claim to, but if we stand together as Brothers-in-arms, who in all the world could stop us?"

"Finished yet?" I asked sarcastically

"Yes Lord, what is your answer, do you choose the life of a helot, or will you be a man of power and…."

"Oh shut your fat mouth!" I rudely interrupted "I get the point" He didn't seem perturbed by my outburst but merely waited quietly for my answer, and wait he would have to, I sent him out while I mulled over his proposal, to side with Sparta would ensure that their mighty soldiers would Support me, and it had been made clear that the Corinthian leader would be me, not King Appolinius, yet I was still hesitating, the Spartans would hate me for the defeat of their forces, and I am not totally without honour, I do not think I could sack Athens quite so treacherously, also there were practical reasons to turn this offer down, I sided with Sparta, what was left of Argos would oppose me, Athens certainly would, and I imagine the Megarans would side with their powerful neighbour. As well as this Aristoxenus' plan had a real chance of succeeding, it was a good plan and I wanted to be on the winning side, my intuition pointed to Athens as the horse to back in this vicious race, Aristoxenus was also an honest man, if he and his allies had sufficient power in Athens then I had nothing to fear from that Polis, yet if Sparta had disposed of its enemies, it would turn on me, and that was a fight Corinth couldn't win. So for better or for worse I had made my decision, I would fight side by side with Athens still.

Back in the meeting room I waited for the Athenians to come back in, when they did I rose again and told them my decision.

"This plan would leave Corinth stranded, even with the Megarans supporting us we would struggle to hold off a Spartan army for long, and without our navy we would be at the mercy of the Spartans" I could see the disappointment on Aristoxenus' face, "However I continued, this plan is the best we have for dealing with the Spartan menace, I agree to the plan! All I ask for is a few of my ships held back to protect our supplies at sea, and maybe a few more Soldiers to defend my city, also there are some fine points to be sorted out, will you be wanting any Athenians to complement your men? Other than that I agree, we will follow your plan, Aristoxenus of Athens"

Athens +1
Sparta -1

Athens 11
Argos 4
Corinth 9
Megara 9
Sparta 8
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Seleukos of Olympia on 2008-03-09, 05:37

I had fallen asleep exhausted and I woke up sore. Much to my relief, my new-found companions hadn't abandoned me while I slept. Getas seemed like a good-humoured, if vulgar, person, and Galen, though appearing a man of calculating determination when I first saw him, was a bit less intimidating once I warmed up to him. I could tell he was Athenian by his accent but I didn't dare inquire what either of them were doing outside Argos yesterday. The important thing now was to keep on their good side until we reached Corinth, where I would think of a way to inspire the people to take action against Spartan tyranny. Giving speeches was never my strong point; in fact, my rhetorical exercises in middle school were the subject of some ridicule that haunts me to this day...

But now, I knew it was time for me to stand up to my fears and be a man. Destiny required it of me. I thought of Getas and his coarse ways; how would he understand what it was like for a man to be the agent of history? I chuckled at my arrogant thought.

Ah... Thyona. Fair and lustrous Thyona, brightening the gloom of the besieged citadel with her silent presence... One day I will return glorious, the saviour of Argos, and then she will look at me differently; then I will be able to talk to her - preferably with better articulation that in my single previous blundering attempt...

During the next few days we made our way towards Corinth, and I tried my best to retain my composure at Getas' constant vulgar jestings. After the first day I entertained the suspicion that he was doing it on purpose to entertain himself with my - perfectly justifiable - embarrassment. But what can you expect from such prosaic people? Galen seemed to find me amusing as well, but I could tell he was also a bit guarded in his mannerisms Probably just his character.

When we finally reached Corinth, we found a city on the verge of martial law. People in the streets were talking about how no peace had yet been made with Sparta and that they should be preparing for a new siege. Others were arguing that their army, along with the Athenians, would deter any Spartan action against them, so they should resume farming and commerce like in peace time. Galen left us to attend to some personal chores, as he told me, and I was left with Getas, walking along the main avenue of Corinth.

"Well, poet", he said, "this is your crowd. Are you going to give a stirring speech in the agora? Or are you going directly to the king?"

I felt a knot tightening in my gut.

"Erh... yes. Right. The people here are clearly very preoccupied. Perhaps I should wait for a more ideal opportunity to relay my message."

We had reached the square, and I was beginning to get a little agoraphobic - literally. Then, before I could react, Getas shouted at the top of his voice

"Citizens of Corinth! Iphitos, an emissary from Argos wants to make a statement!"

Dozens of strange faces turned towards me, and I felt like I couldn't breathe. I looked to Getas, but he had stepped away, disappearing into the crowd. After a few eternal seconds, I falteringly said

"People of Corinth! Argos... Argos.... Argos..."

"Argos what?" a curious Corinthian inquired.

I could feel the sweat tingling on my face.

"Argos... is... no more. The flames of tyranny and hubris - Spartan hubris - have consumed it. No words can express the horror of Spartan atrocity. No verse express the tragic heroism of the Argive defenders. No city should endure that pain."

My heart was racing and I felt faint. I could actually pull this off!

"People of Corinth! Argos may have burnt, but its spirit is alive - alive in the resolution of its survivors; the resolution to rebuild, to recreate, to reproduce -"

That last unfortunate word drew chuckles from the crowd. That was not the response I wanted.

"- to keep fighting the noble fight, until justice is once again the value that defines Greece! Yesterday it was Argos. Tomorrow it will be Corinth, Megara, Athens! Nothing that we hold dear will ever be safe as long as warmongering arrogance is left unchecked! Greece, all of Greece should unite in a sacred alliance against those who went against the laws of men and gods to slay innocent women and children! Sparta must be attacked!"

That was my grand finish. Some people applauded. Some talked between themselves. Some seemed to have lost interest and were walking away. And one said

"Wasn't Argos the city that started this whole war? Dragging us Corinthians, the Athenians and half of Greece in a war that profited no one? You say the Argives suffered; well, maybe they deserved to suffer!"

That also drew applause. I felt like I was hit with a hammer.

"Erm, your point, erh... you are wrong. I can explain but... it's complicated. It would take too long. The point is, the Spartans are your enemies now. And they have shown in Argos that their cruelty knows no humanitarian bounds, nor recognizes the laws of war. So... down with Sparta!"

My conclusion drew some applause. Mostly I felt relieved that I could step away from the center of attention, something I rushed to do in fear that someone else would ask me something. I walked trembling to a colonnade and rested my back on a pillar, facing away from the center of the square. Damn Getas and his sick sense of humour! I needed some time to recover. I needed a drink.


Megara +1 (the latest events have not affected its armies or power)
Corinth -1 (Corinth is in turmoil)


Athens 11
Argos 5
Corinth 8
Megara 10
Sparta 8

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-03-10, 04:35

Iphitos sat at the edge of the square and as the crowd that had gathered around him dispersed, i walked over to him. His speech had started shakey and had ended shakey but the middle deserved compliment. I told him so and, seeing he was a bit flustered, helped him up and took him to find a drink somewhere.

We stopped by a small fountain a few streets away and Iphitos shoved his head under the water before emerging and shaking the water from his usually well-kempt hair. Even though Autumn was approaching the days were still hot and i decided i needed to cool off too. My hair had grown long since the day i had been dragged from Megara into this infernal buisness and stuck to my face in wet clumps. Iphitos chuckled at seeing my wet dog-like appearance and i felt it neccessary to push him into the fountain. His laughter abruptly stopped as he sat with surprise in the water and mine started. After i had had a good laugh i dragged him out and we began a search for some real food and drink.

With my nose for depravity i took us straight to the less respectable areas of the city. Iphitos glanced around with bewilderment at some of the more exposed peoples around but i did not heed his startled outcrys. We rounded a corner and ahead of us were a group of large men standing in a group. When we came into sight they eyed us and moved slowly to face us.

"Perhaps we should go back, Getas." Iphitos said nervously in my ear.

"If we turned they would chase us." I stated and continued walking. "Just don't make eye contact. Walk confidently."

Iphitos audibly swallowed but managed to stand tall and continue walking. We passed the group of men and they didn't move towards us. One called out to Iphitos but Iphitos did not respond and soon we were around the next bend.

Soon i found the sort of establishment i was looking for. A mildly respectable brothel with food and drink. I dragged Iphitos in and we sat downstairs at a table.

"Is this a...?" Iphitos asked me quietly.

"It most certainly is." I said happily and indicated to the barman to bring food and drink. "It's Zeus' house."

A few other patrons sat around eating and every now and again one would move upstairs and would not return. The food came and i began to eat. Iphitos eyed the food warily, as if he would catch some sort of disease, but eventually his stomach overcame him and he dug in greedily.

The door opened again and two men entered. They sat down at a table behind me and i heard them refuse food and drink. Instantly my hairs stood on end and i felt unsafe. I beckoned Iphitos to come in close.

"Listen, Iphitos." I whispered. "Two men just entered and are sitting behind me. What are they doing?"

Iphitos, who had just started to feel comfortable and gotten over his unease of being in a house of ill-repute, startled again.

"They're just sitting there. Why?" He asked nervously.

"They came in just after us and refused food or drink and aren't going upstairs." I whispered hurridly. "Why are they here?"

As i finished speaking i saw Iphitos' eyes open and i instantly dived off my chair onto the ground. There was a loud crash on the table as a club smashed into it and Iphitos squeeled and jumped up into the air. I rolled over to see the second man standing over me with a knife. I rolled away and the man swore as his knife plunged into the wood. People around the bar screamed and made for the door or upstairs. As the man bent to pick up his knife i kicked him in the head and he fell to the floor unconcious.

The other man came at me with the club and i dived away from him again. I was too late this time and the club caught me on the shoulder. I fell to the ground and the man cried out triumphantly as he swung a chain around my neck and started to squeeze it tighter. My fingers fumbled uselessly at the chain and my vision swam. Suddenly the man's grip loosened and i fell to the floor coughing. A thump sounded as the assassin fell to the floor next to me. Iphitos stood above him with eyes wide and the unconcious man's knife in his hand. The body next to me had blood trickling slowly from his back.

I climbed to my feet hurridly and made for the door. When Iphitos didn't follow i ran back and grabbed him by the shoulders.

"Come on, Iphitos! Let's get out of here." I shouted and Iphitos snapped out of his dream-like state and we made for the door.

"What's going on?" Iphitos shouted out to me as we raced down the street.

"There are Megarans in the city!" I yelled back as we turned the corner. "None of us are safe. We must find Aristoxenus!"

Megara +1 (know about their assassin's disloyalty)
Athens -1 (their assassin is now being targeted as are other prominent Athenian/Corinthian figures)

Athens 10
Argos 5
Corinth 8
Megara 11
Sparta 8
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Kasey on 2008-03-10, 11:19

"What do we tell the King?" I asked
"What do you mean, Nicodemus?" asked the advisor from the meeting with the Athenians, Selios
"He is not going to be too happy that we've agreed to leave the city as bait for a Spartan attack"
"Ah…" Selios paused as a servant came in with drinks, the servant turned to leave and then in one quick move threw done the tray drawing a stabbing sword hidden under it, and stabbed at Selios, catching him unawares in between his shoulder blades, he tugged the sword out as Selios sank to his knees, he jumped towards me, and I scrambled out of the way, recovering my wits enough to scream "Assassin!" at the top of my voice, the man snarled before leaping at me again, but I was recovering fast now, I drew my sword quickly, and parried his blow, I then struck at him with the sword, the assassin seemed surprised by my skill, and backed off a little, as he moved backwards he tripped on the tray, seeing my opportunity I lunged towards his defenceless torso, before realising in horror, that it had been a trick, he lunged at me with his sword, aiming for my neck, but I had realised just in time what he had been planning to do, and the blow hit my leather breastplate, winded I stumbled back, witing for the killing blow, when I looked up I saw the assassin staring wide-eyed towards me, with a spear protruding from his chest "No!" I shouted, I grabbed the man by the chin, "Who sent you?!" I asked frantically, "Who was it?! Tell me!" I screamed, but it was no good he was dead, I swore, and realized the guard who had stabbed the assassin was talking to me
"Lord, Lord are you alright?"
"I am fine, just winded, thank you, what about Lord Selios?"
"He's dead sir, I am sorry"
I was thinking furiously, who would want to kill me? The Spartans? Athenians? Megarans? Argives, who? Then a thought crossed my mind, Aristoxenus, the Athenians! They would have been attacked too!! I had no love for them but we needed Athens to survive Sparta, they couldn't die
"Guard!"
"Lord?"
"Run to the guard house, tell them to seal the city, there are assassins loose" He ran off "The rest of you, with me, we're going to Aristoxenus' accommodations! Quickly run!"

Corinth +1(Nicomedus survived)
Megara -1(One of Their assassins is dead, and there is a chance the rest will be captured)

Athens 10
Argos 5
Corinth 9
Megara 10
Sparta 8
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-03-10, 12:02

I didn't notice Galen's approach until he was right behind me. His footfalls were light, making no sound against the marble slabs of the floor. He truly was an expert. I turned with a start as I heard his voice.

"My lord." Galen bowed low, ever the courteous gentleman. It never ceased to amaze me how one so sharp and cunning could be so friendly and respectful. He had been in the service of Athens for a good number of years, though his youthful looks would not have suggested it. None of us knew his true name- he had told the council to call him Galen when he first approached them, before I was even a member. His past was shrouded in mystery up until the point that he had offered his services to Athens. And since then he had been an incredibly effective spy and soldier, ever succeeding in all we sent him to do. His speed and agility were second to none, and doubtless he would have made the perfect assassin- except that he refused to kill in cold blood.

"I hear that your mission was succesful, Galen," I said, when he rose, "Though the reaction of the Spartans was... vicious."

"None could have predicted it, lord," he replied, as if trying to reassure me. "But what are my orders now all this has come to pass?"

I opened my mouth to answer when I noticed the curtain to the next room slightly open. A faint silhouette seemed to play across it... and something glinted in the gap.

"DOWN!" I cried, launching myself to the floor. Galen dived too, rolling before jumping to his feet. In a flash of sharpened metal a dagger embedded itself in the table behind where I had stood just a second ago. I scrambled to my feet and reached for my sword...

And realised that I was not carrying it. A dark figure rushed from behind the curtain and leapt towards me. Instinctively, I sidestepped, catching the man and throwwing him across the table, using his momentum to carry him right across. Papers, quills and cups were scattered everywhere as he was propelled across its length, before falling from the other end with a crash, the table collapsing on top of him. He slowly tried to stand, but I was upon him, smashing a chair across his back. He went limp and fell to the ground.

I looked around me, trying to regain my bearings. Galen was gone- disappeared. I looked around, puzzled. How could he have disappeared so quickly?

I heard a thud behind me. I span around, preparing for another attacker. And there, on the floor, was a second body, dagger in hand, poised to throw. His mouth was agape and his eyes misting over. His back must have broken from the fall. A second assassin. I looked up. There, clinging onto the rafter that the second assassin must have been squatting on just moments before, was Galen. I smiled my thanks to him. I would lie dead on the floor in this man's place now were it not for him.

There was the sound of running feet outside, and I heard the voice of Nicodemus shouting, "In here, quick!"

Galen quickly withdrew into the shadowed corner of the roof, hiding himself from sight, as Nicodemus and five guards burst in. They looked around at the chaos, the overturned table, the broken chair, the parchments littering the floor. The two bodies, hooded and cloaked, lying on the cold stone floor. And in the centre of it all, me. My hand was bleeding from where the chair had splintered, but aside from that I was unhurt.

Nicodemus visibly relaxed.
"Thank the gods", he said, breathing a deep sigh. "I see you noticed our visitors too."

"There were more of them?" I enquired, surprised. Of course there were more of them, I could not be the only target in this city- but I had not yet had time to think. My mind still raced. Who were these men? Spartans? Or maybe an elaborate plot by Nicodemus to remove me?

"Another attacked Selios and I in the meeting hall. Selios is dead. So is the assassin," Nicodemus panted. The run from the meeting hall to here had obviously winded him. So, not a Corinthian plot. That at least was good news.

"My lords!" one of the guards cried. "This one is still alive!"

He was stooped over the first assassin, holding his wrist and feeling the faint beats of a pulse. My blow with the chair had not killed him, only knocked him unconscious. Nicodemus smiled.

"Good," he said, walking over to the guard. "Take him to a cell. When he comes round, we will have to... persuade... him to talk." Two guards took hold of an arm each, and dragged the bleeding man out. I raised my eyebrow.

"He might be an assassin," I said, "but torture can never be justified." Nicodemus replied with an evil grin.

"Oh, don't you worry, I'll take care of him just fine," he responded. "After all, we both know how effective your methods of interrogation are..." I smarted at the dig, but decided to ignore it. There was no point going back to that argument, not whilst we both needed to work together as closely as possible in removing this threat. "If you want me to post guards at your door, just give the command."

I thought this over.

"No," I said eventually. "I protected myself from these two, I'm sure I can look after myself."

"As you wish." Nicodemus beckoned to the three remaining guards. "Come, we must return to the meeting hall."

I waited until they were gone before I beckoned to Galen for him to come back down. Nimbly he hopped off the beam on which he had sat, landing gracefully on his feet. He nodded to the window, and two faces appearing wround the bend in the road outside- one familiar and one that I had no knowledge of.

"Our friend has come to see you."

I allowed Adrastos in with a suspicious glance at his companion. Both were out of breath, and the man I had never seen before looked absolutely terrified. Adrastos was also flushed and glanced around nervously at the chaos around us, but was at least less frightened than the man who came with him.

"Getas, my old friend," I said hurriedly. I didn't know how much the man with him knew about us- and I wasn't going to let something slip that it was best he shouldn't know. "I think you can see you have come to me at a… hectic… time."

"Yes, my Lord Aristoxenus." He replied, breathing heavily. "That is what I have come to talk to you about. In private." He gave a sidelong glance towards the other man. Galen immediately went over to him and began to talk, as Adrastos and I went into my private chamber.

"My lord, the assassins- they came after me too."

"You? Why?" I was incredulous. Suddenly, realisation dawned. "Megara…"

"It's the only possibility my lord. They must know of all our dealings." He glanced left and right fearfully.

I pondered this for a moment. Megara seemed quite willing to aid Corinth and Athens in negotiations. Had she truly been lying all this time? Or was it something else?

"Here's what you must do, Getas," I said, using his pretend name, just in case. "Go to Megara with Galen. Find out exactly how deep this runs. If we're lucky, this wasn't authorised by the king himself, but simply your old employer seeking revenge. If you get a chance, terminate the plot. But do so with the utmost secrecy. No-one must know of this."

"One more thing…" Adrastos said hesitantly. "The man we picked up on the way here- his name is Iphitos, he's a poet from Argos- what do we do with him?"

I stopped to think. From the other room, I could hear Iphitos babbling to Galen in a loud, high-pitched voice.

"… And there was a man- with a club- a great giant of a man- and he attacked us. And we were in… we were in…" his voice dropped to a loud whisper, "a house of ill repute"

Adrastos stifled a chuckle. I turned to him, and said quietly,
"Does he always talk this much?" Adrastos nodded, still grinning. That could prove a problem… it would be hard to keep secret if the man they were with never stopped chattering on and on. And then I had a thought. A cruel smile slowly lit my face. "A poet, you say? I am sure Lord Nicodemus could benefit from such learned friends. Why don't you leave Iphitos in his company?" The man and his ever-open mouth would drive Nicodemus mad, I knew. And then I added, "Unless, of course, you have a better use for him."

Sparta +1
Megara -1

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

Post by Seleukos of Olympia on 2008-03-10, 12:11

I had blood on my hands! It took me minutes to actually realise it and after that mere seconds to realise that that blood was not my own. I had killed a man - in cold blood with a knife in the back. It all happened so quickly; the attack, the struggle with Getas, the knife in my hand, bloody knife in my hand, bloody hand, the blood, cold blood from the body of a strange man I had just killed - bloodily. I would have stood there staring at that blood for ages if Getas hadn't pulled me away. Running made the thoughts go away for a little while. It made everything better. When we found Galen I had already half-rationalised things in my mind. That is, to whatever degree such a random attack could be rationalised. At least I was re-asserting my self-composure with the thought that I had acted reasonably. They could not charge me with murder. It would be inconceivable. We were attacked first, our very lives threatened!

I said all this and more to Galen, unconscious of where Getas had taken me. At least my instinct assured me that we were in a much safer place now. A bit untidy, but I barely noticed.


Soon Getas came back into the room with another man - one of some distinction by the looks of him. Getas was smiling. For the life of me I could not understand how he could be so calm after what had just happened. He said

"Iphitos, this is a very important man that you will want to meet. General Aristoxenus of Athens, commander of their army in Corinth."

For a few moments I was speechless. The transition from that... place where we were attacked to the house of an Athenian general and from our mortal danger to a meeting of such high political importance overwhelmed me. Aristoxenus seemed a bit disappointed and said to Getas

"I think I misjudged him. Maybe he's not right for what we talked about"

Upon hearing that I snapped out of my shock and addressed him as courteously as I managed.

"Honoured general; excuse my momentary detachment - for the fact is that I and this good friend of mine were just minutes ago the victims of a most violent and unprovoked murderous attack. It's a wonder we are still alive! But, surely the proper authorities must now be notified of that event. So horrible! And to think that I came here as an emissary of peace! Well, not quite peace, as I would very much like to see the war against Sparta intensifying, but, nevertheless, peace and understanding among the other Greek cities! Such senseless violence! And during war-time on top of that! Not to say that war isn't violent - just one would think that citizens of a particular city in war would have some measure of solidarity..."

Aristoxenus murmured to Getas

"I take it back".

He then addressed me.

"I hear you are a distinguished poet, and a representative of war-torn Argos."

"Well, I don't know about 'distinguished', although my poems have met with some favourable reception of late. There were talks of putting some of them to music but... the musicians who said that died fighting the Spartans, so those plans have been postponed..."

"As I said then, a distinguished poet. These are trying times for Corinth and men like you are in great need. Great need indeed!"

My eyes opened up as pride started to gain ground over my previous unsettling emotions. Aristoxenus continued.

"I can introduce you to Nicodemus, the leader in charge of Corinth's war effort, who is also a great patron of the arts. I'm sure he will be delighted to make the acquaintance of a man like you. And I'm sure you will be aware of the unique opportunity that will present you to make your case for Argos on the highest level. Nicodemus has the ear of the king, and his ear will be listening to your verses. So what do you say?"

"My lord, I am humbled by your generosity! You can be sure that there will be a military idyll extolling your wisdom and victories - past and future, for who can doubt that such wisdom will not be triumphant in whatever circumstances arise against the vile Spartans - within days. In fact, let me tell you how the first verse will begin..."

"Save it for Nicodemus!" Aristoxenus interjected. "You will need all your talent to impress him!"

I obeyed his suggestion as if it were an order.

"I will meet with Nicodemus in a short while. I will introduce you to him then. In the meantime say good bye to your friends."

I looked at Getas and Galen.

"You are leaving? So soon? You must stay! Now that I have a chance to be an ancillary of Nicodemus I will use whatever means in my power to extend my comforts to you as well."

"I'm sure you will," Getas said, though he sounded more cryptic than kind, "but right now we need to get going. Maybe I'll see you again soon. Then we'll head back into town for another go at that brothel. I don't think today's circumstances gave that place justice."

I was too shocked by the day's events to take his last statement with anything more that good humour. I might have only met the two of them a few days ago, but we had gone through fire and blood together. I was sure we would meet again. But for now I should worry my mind with greater things. I was going to meet Nicodemus, a patron of the arts, with the ear of the king of Corinth!

Athens+1 (Athens regains the initiative in subterfuge)
Corinth -1 (Iphitos is loosed upon Nicodemus)

Athens 11
Argos 5
Corinth 8
Megara 9
Sparta 9

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-03-10, 14:21

I would miss the poet. Seeing as i was heading straight into the lion's jaws i didn't expect to see him again and over the past few days i had found his incessant chatter almost comforting.

Galen planned to head out straight away and i found myself cursing him silently in my head. He was the only reason i hadn't slipped straight away from Argos and left this accursed place forever. Instead i was being sent to my likely death again with only a knife for protection.

Galen told me he was going to organise supplies for our short journey and that i should freshen up. He moved off and i began to wander Aristoxenus' household. Corinth hadn't spared Aristoxenus the finer comforts of life and i found myself walking through the corridors in mute astonishment at some of the beauty of it. Eventually i found what i was looking for; a large indoor bathing fountain. A few people moved around the courtyard and some sat lazily by the water. Servants handed out drinks to Aristoxenus' guests and high command.

I walked over and splashed water on my face. The fear i had been suppressing washed away with the water and i came out feeling a better man for it. I wiped the hair from my eyes and caught sight of a beautiful dark haired young woman watching me.

"Are you supposed to be in here?" She asked, more curiously than harshly.

"I am a guest of Lord Aristoxenus." I said as formally as i could manage. "If you find my presence unwanted i will remove myself."

"No no." She said quickly. "I don't mind at all. Just sometimes the guards are a little lax and we've already had a few security scares lately." She paused for a moment and walked over to me. "My name is Eleni," she said with a little smile.

I could see the signs and changed my manner from one of formal to one of playful.

"Eleni. It is my pleasure." I said, taking her hand and sitting down next to her. "My name is Pan."

Eleni giggled. "Pan? You wouldn't happen to be named after the Pan, now would you?"

"Well, my good lady, names tell us a lot about ourselves."

"So what are you visiting Lord Aristoxenus for?" She asked with a tilt of her head.

"I was looking for some help." I answered simply. "Aristoxenus gives me some help every now and again so long as I do as i'm told."

"And do you do as you're told?" She leant in with a whisper.

"So long as i like what i'm told." I said with a smile.

Just then Galen came bounding into the courtyard and waved at me to hurry up.

"Excuse me." I said with a hint of annoyance and stood up. Eleni stood too. "I have to go now but i trust that if i should chance upon this house again in the future you shall still be here and we may continue this brief conversation?"

"We will have to see." Eleni said and turned and walked away with a small smile on her face.

A servant walked past me bearing drinks and i stopped him.

"Who is that lady?" I asked with my eyes still fixated on Eleni.

"Lady Eleni, my lord." the servant answered. "She is the wife of the senator-emissary sent from Megara. I'd say she holds more sway in Megaran politics than he does."

For a moment his words did not impact on me and then they struck home. My fears instantly returned and i strode over to Getas quickly.

"Let's get out of here."

Megara +1
Athens -1

Athens 10
Argos 5
Corinth 8
Megara 10
Sparta 9
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-03-11, 00:37

In the days that followed, I almost led a double life. During the day, I was the regent of Sparta, confident, inspiring, commanding. At night I was a broken man, lying next to Lydia, trying to figure out how to overcome my emotional turmoil. It was all I could do to keep the façade from cracking in public. Sometimes, during the long and often boring speeches, I just wanted to lose it and maim everyone in the room. Talk gets us nowhere. Nicodemus of Corinth is proving as stupid as Aristoxenus, rejecting our generous offer of peace.. Why won't they learn? Sparta will not be taken by force, not as long as I command.

Hypothetically, if they WERE to somehow destroy Sparta, what then? Their severely weakened armies will most likely be at each other's throats as soon as the last Spartan head hits the ground. Aristoxenus is naïve to believe that Nicodemus will settle for JUST Sparta.

After much deliberation, a plan of action has been decided. I will take two armies north, first up to Corinth, where I will attempt to reason with Nicodemus personally. If he disagrees, we will act accordingly, burning the city if neccessary. Then we will move past Megara, circumventing the city, and attack the feeble Athenians. If Nicodemus joins us, we might even sack Megara and give it to Corinth. Why can't the others see my good intentions? War is inevitable. We have grown apart as a people, and complacent men rule the cities. And, contrary to Athenian propaganda, Greece is no longer the center of the world. To the east, there are rumours of an all conquering Empire, marauding through the middle east. Greece needs unification, under Spartan rule, to remain strong. I will make this clear, be it by the pen or the sword.

Two days later…

The march on Corinth was well under way. We kept to the coastal roads, bypassing Argos. A troop commander had questioned this, but after I punched him squarely in the face, hurling him from his horse, the men decided that it was a wise decision. I had deployed our navy as a screening force, patrolling the Spartan coast, keeping an enemy army from flanking us. The navy was probably our weakness, with the best Spartan men not wanting to waste their time on the seas. We had bolstered the fleet with mercenary ships, but they are undependable at best. Still, they would do in a pinch.

As for the dreams, they were still there. But I find that Lydia calms me. When she announced that she was coming with me, I forbade it at first.

"I will not put you in danger. As you well know, the battlefield is no place for women," I stated brusquely. She smiled.

"I can and will deal with battle. But I will not remain here, where their assassins can stalk me in the shadowy halls of the palace, and then disappear into the bustling city after they have done their dastardly deeds. You are concerned for my safety? I ask you this, then. Where in Greece is there a safer place, than on the arm of Dragos of Sparta?"

She had a point. It would be risky for her in the palace. Our enemies no doubt know of our engagement, and could in all probability attempt to harm her to unsettle me. Finally, I agreed to let her come with me. Her calming influence would be helpful in the days ahead.

Sparta +1
Corinth -1

Athens 10
Argos 5
Corinth 7
Megara 10
Sparta 10

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Kasey on 2008-03-11, 10:25

"Lord Nicomedus"

"Aristoxenus" I said slightly worried, I was eyeing the man next to him, he was fussing nervously with his tunic

"I present to you Iphitos of Argos" Arsitoxenus said grandly, the moment was slightly ruined by Iphitos seeming not to notice what Aristoxenus had said, he nudged Iphitos

"What? Oh Gods sorry! Lord Nicomedus I presume I am honoured, truly I am, I am having such a strange day! First I made that oratation in the square, a marvel of oratation I must say, I surprised, myself, I did! Then a man took me to" his voice dropped "a house of ill-repute" He shuddered slightly, and I wondered what he had against wh0res "when we were there we were attacked! I know attacked with knives, I think they wanted to…hurt us! How odd, why would they want to hurt me!" He carried on in this fashion for 5 more minutes, I never heard such a fast flow of language, it hardly endeared me to the man, Aristoxenus spoke to me before the man, who I gathered was a poet of, apparently, some fame in Argos, could launch into another bombardment of speech.

"May I just speak to Nicomedus?" he pulled me away before Iphitos could answer "The Spartans are on the march"

"Here?"

"Yes, shall we begin our plan?"

I thought carefully "We can no longer count on Megaran support" I pointed out

He sighed, "If I ask for Athenian troops…."

"Then I think we can last them out, if you are quick"

"Good" he moved to leave, but I grabbed his arm, "Who in Hades is that fool Argive poet?"

Aristoxenus grinned briefly "Well seeing as your such a patron of the arts…."

I was confused now "Patron of the arts…"

"Yes" he said calmly "I am honouring you with the patronship of a great poet, he also knows much about the situation of Argos"

"Fine" I said eventually "He can join my household" I wondered if Iphitos was a spy, but I doubted it, he didn't seem cunning enough.

Two days later most of the Athenian troops were readying themselves to leave on the Athenian fleet, it had already been taken across the Slipway, so the men had only to march across the isthmus and then they could be off, I would stay in the city, and lead the defence of the city, 150 well-trained Athenians would stay as well, plus the whole Corinthian Army. The city was being readied for a siege, the trees around the city were cut down and burnt, in an effort to stop the Spartans building siege weapons. I saw Aristoxenus off from the main city gates, I watched his men march away for 5 minutes before striding back into the city grinning, Sparta would have a nasty surprise soon, they would regret crossing spears with my city.

Corinth +1
Sparta -1

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Corinth 8
Megara 10
Sparta 9
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-03-15, 16:01

I left Corinth with a grim sense of foreboding about what was to come mingling with my sense of imminent victory. There was no way the plan could fail. So why did I feel so nervous? It was not about the Spartans, certainly- the battle to come could only result in victory. So what was it that ground away at my soul so? Why did everything look so dark, so threatening, so... evil? The clouds in the sky were huge and grey, mighty leviathans waging a greater war in the empiness above us. I shook myself. This was no time to get contemplative. There were greater matters at hand.

The ships had been supplied and filled in preparation for this event a good week ago, and so all there was to do was march out to the ships and let the mariners do the work until we reached Spartan soil- or faced the Spartan fleet in battle. It was an unforetunate necessity that the horses had to be left behind in Corinth, but transporting them and their fodder along with all of our troops and supplies would have been simply impossible. Instead, we would have to rely on our superior archer support to disrupt any Spartan troops we met before we engaged. I had every faith in the Athenian archer marines- in terms of archery, they were second only to the Cretans, and far better than any archers the Spartans possessed.

It took three hours to march to the ships from the city, and almost two hours to load all of the troops onto the triremes. I was impatient- every hour we lost was an hour gained by the Spartans. They had been on the march two days now, and the scouts reported that two armies had left from Sparta. This could only leave a skeleton force within the city itself- although whether that would include the Royal Guard or not I did not know. Would Dragos, as regent, claim them as his own bodyguard? Would Athanaikos accompany Dragos on the march and bring the Royal Guard with him? I hoped so. True, our weight of numbers could eventually destroy them, but we needed to act as quickly as possible in securing the city when we landed, and they would be a serious stumbling block. Still, they were not super-human, and it would not be the first time they had been defeated in battle.

Finally, they were at sea. Great grey hills of water rose and fell around the hulls of the many ships, a full two thirds of the Athenian and Corinthian navies. It was the greatest fleet to have sailed under one flag since the days of Troy. Near the centre were the ships carrying all of the supplies and many of the troops, protected from combat as far as possible so as to minimise loss of land troops and food should it come to a naval battle. And at the head of the fleet sailed the great flagship on which Aristoxenus stood, a colossal wooden beast with a snarling face daubed in bright colours across the... front. Aristoxenus sighed. Nautical matters were not his forté. His fate, and the fate of Corinth and Athens, now lay in the hands of Admiral Amphion and his mariners. Good Athenians one and all, skilled and experienced in what they did... hopefully, it would prove enough.

Athens +1
Sparta -1


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Corinth 8
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Seleukos of Olympia on 2008-03-15, 16:07

...But Spartans trembled at the sight
Of mighty Aristoxenus' strong arm
When, leading the horses' thundering charge,
A new Theseus he appeared thus.
Scattered were the Spartan troops,
Broken and fled their fierce phalanx;
Red Ares did withdraw his gaze,
Nor bear to see Lacedaimon's loss...



I was feeling more and more at ease in my elevated new state. Nicodemus had proven somewhat less receptive to my works of poetry than I had anticipated, but I attributed that to his worried state of mind with all the war preparations going on. However other noble people at the king's court were much more interested in my fresh poems, and no-one more that the fair Eleni, wife of a Megaran senator and a magnificent woman of great learning and culture. At first I was too nervous to recite my idylls in public, but she really tried to make me feel comfortable about it and I could do nothing less than try to live up to her interest. When I finished my passage, stating quite explicitly that it was a work in progress and not necessarily indicative of the finished idyll, she said:

"You paint such a vivid picture of general Aristoxenus with your words! It felt like I could just see him galloping through the courtyard, with his spear pointed at some poor Spartan. But... it seems odd that I have not seen him of late. I really hope he is not involved in anything too dangerous. It's not like him to disappear without saying anything to anyone and I'm beginning to worry... What if he is patrolling in the south of Corinthia and the Spartans ambush him?"

I felt a bit uneasy at her worried posture, and jumped at the chance to cheer her up.

"My lady, you should not burden your soul with worry. I can assure you that there is no chance of such a dire predicament happening! Humble though my position may be in the grand scheme of things, I did happen to hear that Aristoxenus was, in fact, embarking on a sea voyage. Why, I would wager that a large part of his army is with him and, with the Athenian and Corinthian naval superiority over the Spartans he should have nothing in the world to fear!"

The lady Eleni smiled and I felt a warm, fuzzy feeling inside at having done something nice today.


Megara+1
Athens -1


Athens 10
Argos 5
Corinth 8
Megara 11
Sparta 8

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-03-16, 00:33

A bead of sweat rolled down my forehead and i wiped it away quickly. Focussing on putting one foot in front of another i continued to make my way down the crowded street. Twilight was falling and i wanted to find some sort of accomodation before it truely got dark. Sinister beings walked the streets of Megara at night. I used to be one. For some reason the city seemed unfamiliar to me now.

Galen followed me at a steady pace twenty paces back. If i were to be jumped then he stood a chance of helping me. If he were jumped first...

We had waited outside the city walls until the citizens of the city began bringing their goods inside the walls and then came in with the crush. Hopefully those i feared would not expect me to come for them headfirst. If i were caught here my life would not be mine for long.

For twenty minutes i sweated out the long walk through the city with Galen padding along behind me. Eventually i came to a humble bar with lodging. I entered and Galen remained outside to see if anyone was following. The room given to me was simple and underfurnished but it would do for me. I settled in and tried to sleep but spent the night tossing and turning. When i finally slept i dreamt of Lady Eleni. Beautiful and, at the same time, sinister and foreboding.

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

When i woke i was pleased to see i was not dead. It's always a pleasure for me to find out i'm still alive first thing in the morning.

For now i had to lay low. Grow my hair and beard before i could begin my work. This was going to be a long operation. Scourging a whole city of it's rats takes time.



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Corinth +1


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Argos 5
Corinth 9
Megara 10
Sparta 8
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-03-17, 02:34

Something was amiss. I could feel it in the very fibre of my being. We were in sight of Corinth itself, yet no armies had marched out to meet us. Looking at the walls, the defenders seemed sparsely positioned, as if they didnt have all that many men in the city. Could be a ploy though. And where was Aristoxenus with his army? Did he completely abandon Corinth? It seemed too good to be true.

They were playing right into my hands. I would leave the 2nd army here, to lay siege to the city. This would effectively trap the defenders inside, enabling me to take the other army on a forced march to Athens. It was then that I noticed the lack of ships in the harbour.
"Aristoxenus, you sly devil," I muttered. If there was one area where Sparta was vunerable, it was on the seas. That Athenian dog has taken his army by sea to attack Sparta directly!
"Kleomenes! Get your men ready to commence the siege. The rest of you, form up your men, and meet me in my tent. A... situation has developed that requires unorthodox tactics."

This was a critical time. I had to think up a way to assist Prince Athanaikos in Sparta, keep Corinth occupied, strike at Athens, and I had to do it fast.
"Commander Dromichetes. I want you to dismount your cavalrymen, and merge them into Kleomenes' force. Bryzos, I want you to prepare 400 Elites for departure. They will leave by horse, back to Sparta." Bryzos gave me a quizzical look.
"My Lord Regent, you realise the Elites are infantry. They cannot fight from horseback, as you sho..." I cut him off.
"I know this, Commander! Do you take me for an infant? We need those men back in Sparta post-haste. I believe the city is under threat by a Athenian Naval invasion, and our Prince is there. Granted, he has his royal guards and the local militia to protect them, but I'm not going to leave anything to chance. The Elites will travel by horse, at full gallop, back to reinforce the city. I don't care if they kill the horses doing it, but they must get there in time." He saluted and left the tent, still a bit stunned at my radical orders. Dromichetes stood as well.
"I will trust your judgement, my Lord. Do you wish me to accompany the elites to Sparta, or shall I stand with my cavalrymen?" He stood at attention, as he waited for my reply. I liked this man.
"Stand with your own, Dromichetes. You know them best." He saluted and left.

I was still staring at the flaps of my tent when Lydia put her arms around my neck from behind me.
"And now, my love? What does Dragos of Sparta do now?" Her smell was intense as she whispered into my ear, sending ripples of excitement down my spine.
"Now we march on Athens..." I started to rise, but she pulled me back. She moved around my chair, brushing her fingers through my hair as she did so, and sat on my lap.
"Do you think the men can do without you for a few minutes, Dragos? Surely you have a few minutes for me..." She left the thought hanging, staring at me with those glorious orbs of light she calls her eyes. I smiled and pulled her towards me.
"You really know how to raise a man's loincloth, my dear. The men can wait, but it will be more than a few minutes." Our lips met...

Corinth -1 (they are under siege)
Argos +1 (they have some time to recover)

Athens 10
Argos 6
Corinth 8
Megara 10
Sparta 8

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Kasey on 2008-03-17, 12:22

The Spartans had arrived, I watched from the walls of the City as the army set up camp, I smiled grimly, they'd have trouble finding wood for their ramparts, there wasn't a tree within miles of the city. I turned my mind back to the day before, and the torture of the Megaran assassin. I had had him taken to the basement in my house, more secure, less people listening, then Arrichion had beaten the man bloody, till he was screaming for his mother, bleating like a lamb, he'd then been shown the severed heads of his former comrades, we questioned him about his employers, but beaten and scared as he was, he was tough, he refused to give them up. We asked hi if he worked for Megara, he denied it, but I could see in his eyes that he was lying, yet he still wouldn't talk, so Arrichion moved onto more….sophisticated methods, he fetched the thumb screw, the man twisted and writhed in the chair, but one of my guards smashed him with his spear, and he fell still, Even with the screw positioned over his left thumb he wouldn't talk, then Arrichion tightened the screw, the assassins screams were agonizing, I had known Arrichion since childhood and there was no man I trusted more, but the sadistic glee in his eyes as the assassin contorted in front of him, scared even I. We continued, the man held on until all of his left hand was bloody and broken, but when Arrichion moved onto the right, he finally broke, he confessed everything, he was a Megaran assassin, they were avenging the attack that the Argives, Athenians and Corinthians had planned so long ago, they also wanted revenge for the theft of their prized assassin, it also appeared that they had known all along about Sparta's intentions, they had known the Spartans would attack Corinth and Argos, and they were, in a way, helping them even now. I had wondered if they Megarans knew that once Corinth fell, or switched sides, Megara would be the next target, I had presumed not.

That afternoon the Assassin was take to a gallows set up in the town square, he looked a pitiful state, his fingers twisted and his face beaten, but the citizens needed a morale boost, so they were told that he was a Spartan agent, sent to disrupt Corinth, this was partly because this would make the citizens happier, and partly because I didn't want the Megaran delegation to know we were onto them. For that was the last thing the man had revealed, and as I watched him kick out his last at the end of the rope thought of what he'd said, he'd confessed that a member of the Megaran delegation had been giving them orders, he knew this because his commander, killed by Iphitos, had received his final orders in the city itself. I had a guard set on the entire delegation, even the senator-emissary's wife.

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Corinth 9
Megara 9
Sparta 8
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-03-17, 16:02

We passed the Spartan army on the second night after setting sail. All lights aboard the ships were doused, and an eerie silence filled the air that seemed louder than the cries of a mighty host. We could see the multitude of fires, lamps and brightly-reflecting shields of the Spartan camp far off on the coast, and the sheer size of it was both awe-inspiring and terrifying. I sincerely hoped that it was just the night making them seem more numerous than they were.

We passed them without event, gliding like silent wraiths across the vastnesses of the water. I hated being at sea. For all of the last days I had paced about restlessly, walking up and down the deck countless times. I felt trapped, stuck on a giant piece of floating wood, with nowhere to walk to, no beautiful temples or magnificent agoras, only the lonesome call of the wind and the creaking of the sails, the shouts and heaves of the rowers and the monotonous beating of the waves. Admiral Amphion was constantly animated, brightly checking the winds, looking at charts, and dipping knotted ropes into the water. His methods confused me, but I supposed he knew what he was doing far better than I.

But on the third day, the monotony of it all was to be broken. With the dawning of the next day after passing the Spartan army, sails were spotted not far from where we were. It could only be the Spartan fleet. Admiral Amphion shouted and order, and a flag was raised, signalling our fleet to turn and face the enemy. Our sails outnumbered those of the Spartans, who turned tail and ran, but to no avail. Within half an hour, we were upon them, and an almighty clash ensued.

Naval warfare is something I was hoplessly ignorant of, and I hope never to have to undergo it again. Admiral Amphion gave a great deal of orders to one of his officers, who went below decks to the rowers. With a sudden burst of speed, the triremes of our fleet burst forward, charging down the Spartan ships who seemed desperately to be trying to turn to face us. But we were too fast for them. They were caught mid-turn, side-on to our ships. Good, I thought. That had to be good, didn't it? Archers were showering our opponents with a lethal hail of arrows, and the enemy's response was less than adequate. We seemed to be winning.

But, for some reason, the ship did not stop. We did not even drop speed as we hurtled ever closer to the side of the enemy flagship. I looked around at the admiral, wild-eyed and incredulous. He was watching the other ship, smiling. Did he want us to crash? What was he doing?

With a sudden jolt, the ship halted with a sound of splintering wood, and I fell to the deck on my face. I looked up. We had stopped only a few feet away from the side of the enemy ship. Why had we not collided? My puzzlement must have been obvious, as the Admiral's lieutenant approached me and said in my ear,
"The triremes have great bronze spikes beneath the water. We just hit the enemy with it. They're paralyzed."

Realisation dawned, and I smiled and nodded. Now mariners were pushing a board and slinging hooked ropes onto the side of the enemy ship, and the Spartan sailors were drawing out knives, swords and spears. It could only mean one thing. We were boarding them.

I charged across onto the enemy deck with the marines, slashing an enemy with a short spear who stood in my way. The Spartan prowess at fighting seemed not to have been transferred to their sailors, and as my Athenian troops rushed across onto the enemy vessel, the Spartans were dropping with remarkable ease. It seemed the Spartan navy of old that rivalled that of Athens was long gone. In a few minutes the remainder of the Spartan crew were putting down their weapons and surrendering. Across the water, many other mercenary and Spartan crews were doing the same. We had beaten them.

I went over the battle with Amphion back on the flagship. I seemed 2 Athenian ships had been sunk, along with 5 Spartan vessels. The remnants of the enemy fleet were claimed as the prize of the Athenian and Corinthian allies, and the irreperably-damaged vessels left to burn. The mercenary captains from the Spartan fleet had, for the most part, surrendered early on in the clash, and were now offering us their services, knowing when to give in. The Spartan crewmen were chained to the oars and dispersed amongst the ships. Now nothing stood between us and Sparta.

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Argos 6
Corinth 9
Megara 11
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Seleukos of Olympia on 2008-03-17, 16:11

As the Spartan army drew closer to the city, I constantly found excuses to be in Corinth's citadel, Acrocorinth. It was an instinctual drive, left over from my previous experience in Larissa, the citadel of Argos, where I was lucky to be when the Spartans overran the city. From the unassailable heights of Acrocorinth I could see the Spartans setting up camp, marching around like little red ants. If they remained like little red ants it would be tolerable. Little red ants don't impale you with a spear, generally speaking.

It looked like it was going to be a loose siege. There wasn't a tree in sight for miles and the Spartans would, no doubt, have preferred a less exposed environment to hide in. They're sneaky, those Spartans! I've said so to Nicodemus, over and over again.

I spotted a group of little red ants galloping away to the south, leaving a fine trail of dust suspended behind them. I held out my hand, bringing them between my thumb and index finger in my line of sight. Then I pushed them together and muttered "crush!" with a chuckle.

There are worse things in a war than being behind the walls of the strongest citadel in Greece, I suppose...


Sparta+1 (the siege of Corinth has began, albeit loosely)
Sparta -1 (their movements are visible from the citadel of Corinth)

Athens 11
Argos 6
Corinth 9
Megara 11
Sparta 7

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-03-18, 02:45

Lady Eleni strode quickly down the corridor and out onto the paved road outside Aristoxenus' household. A glance behind told her that she was still being tailed and she frowned in annoyance. The two guards followed Lady Eleni down the winding streets of the citadel until she came to the household of Nicodemus. A courtier announced her and she asked for Iphitos.

"My dearest Lady Eleni!" Iphitos said happily, rising from his chair from which he had been watching the Spartan army assemble. "Such a shame these Spartan devils have arrived. It is such a nice day it would have been wonderful for us to have strolled out in the fields together but, alas, they are now covered in ants." Iphitos paused for a moment. "I mean…Spartans."

"Do not worry sweet poet." Lady Eleni said and sat down next to Iphitos. "You and I may talk together here. It does not worry me where we talk." She paused for a moment. "However, these guards trailing me do become so bothersome."

"I would imagine they would!" Iphitos said quickly and rose with indignation as the guards walked onto the terrace. "How dare you stalk a woman of fine stature like this, especially one who has come to this city in peace, to try and make reparations between these cities." The guards looked at each other and took a step back. "If your Lord Nicodemus was truly interested in peace he would be using words not wars between Corinth and Megara! I will warn you now that your treatment of the Lady Eleni will not escape my writings!" Iphitos said, pointing a warning finger at the two startled men.

"We were just ordered to watch all foreign…" one guard started but Iphitos cut him off.

"Ordered? I order you to leave this premises at once!"

With these words the two guards shrugged and left the terrace.

"Oh sweet Iphitos, you are too kind to me." Lady Eleni said with a smile.

"There is no need for thanks except on my part." Iphitos said sitting again and smiling back. "Why, you are the inspiration for my new poem. You have brought great creativity to my writings and my new work is sure to bring me great renowned throughout Greece."

"Such talent as yours deserves recognition." Lady Eleni stated and turned to watch the Spartan army far away. For a moment they sat in silence. "I was wondering if you could do me a favour?" Lady Eleni said turning back to Iphitos with a slight look of sorrow in her eyes.

"It would be my greatest pleasure." Iphitos said eagerly.

"Well, with these guards following me and restrictions on my movements I am unable to send any letters to my loved ones." she said with the hint of a tear in her eye. "All of my letters are read and some are private to me. The Corinthians will try and smuggle important letters out of the city to their allies and I wanted to send a letter to my poor sick father in Megara telling him I am alright. Could you slip my letter into those that are to be smuggled out? I would hate for him to worry." Lady Eleni stuck out her lip and looked at Iphitos with large round eyes.

Iphitos looked teary and fell to his knees in front of her. "My Lady! Of course I would do this for you."

Ten minutes later Lady Eleni left with a smile as Iphitos tucked her letter into his cloak.

Megara +1
Corinth -1

Athens 11
Argos 6
Corinth 8
Megara 12
Sparta 7
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-03-18, 13:50

A faint drizzle was sifting down on the army of Sparta as we marched towards Megara. I looked up into the rain, and was rewarded with a raindrop straight in the eye, causing me to curse under my breath. This had carried on for the better part of two days, and it was really getting on my nerves. The ground had turned into a sludgy mess, slowing us down when time was of the essence. The supply train was using the road, as was most of the cavalry. The Hoplites were forced to trudge through the mud, tiring them out as we neared Megara.

It was about midday when my worst fears were confirmed. Scouts found wreckage on one of the nearby beaches, as well as corpses dressed in Spartan clothing. There had definitely been a naval engagement, and it looks like we lost. At least the Elites should have made it back to Sparta by now. I bit my lower lip. Should I have rushed back to Sparta? Can the city hold? But it was too late now. I will take this army to Athens, and tear it apart. By Sword and Strength, so swears Dragos of Sparta!

Later...

It was still raining. We had set up camp for the night, to the men's relief. I was enjoying supper with Lydia when a soldier interrupted.
"My Lord, we have captured a messenger. We've confiscated the letters he was carrying, if you want to look at them...?"
I frowned. Should I allow the messenger to continue on his way? Or should I kill him and send one of our people in his stead? No, chances are he is a personal messenger to a Megaran noble, who might expect him personally. I excused myself from the table and followed the soldier.

I decided to leave the sealed letters alone, save for one addition: I added a message to the rulers of Megara, asking for their co-operation in the coming conflict with Athens and Corinth. I pointed out that they were sandwiched between two enemy cities, that were planning to attack them before Sparta intervened. I also apologized for leaving them without warning, but stressed the fact that it was not abandonment, but aggressive defense. With that, I gave the messenger warm food and drink, and sent him on his way.

Meanwhile...

Kleomenes looked at the written orders left to him by Dragos.
"Besiege, but do not attempt to take the city by force. Your goal is to keep the Corinthians trapped, and keep our losses to a minimum. You are not to engage in a major battle with them, except in the event of a sally."
He swore. His son's killer was inside that walls, laughing at him. He thought of his son's mangled corpse lying in a field not far from there, torn apart by animals and the elements. With a thunderous roar, he surged to his feet, knocking over his table and chair.
"I can't stand this, Dromichetes!" he shouted at the startled cavalry commander. "why can we not torch this eyesore of a city! We are Sparta, they will fall before us!"
Dromichetes sighed.
"Calm down Kleomenes, you'll hurt yourself! Their entire army is inside, ready to defend their capital. Most of our best soldiers are with Lord Dragos or back in Sparta. My cavalrymen have to fight on foot, because we have no horses. It is not a viable option to attack-" Kleomenes cut him short.
"To hell with you and your timid thoughts! You're just like that madman regent of ours! Don't tell me you have not heard him gibber like a fool at night, or their moans as that %*!@% of his "calms" him with her body? No, tomorrow we will attack! Attack I say!" He was foaming at the mouth now. Dromichetes grabbed him by the throat and slammed him down on the floor.
"Listen to me, you crazy old fart! I will not have you sacrifice my men in a futile attempt to capture a city that does not need capturing! You will get a hold of yourself, or I will have you clasped in irons. Is that understood?" He could see the madness in the older man's eyes. Finally, it faded.
"You... you are right, Dromichetes. I overreacted." Dromichetes relinquished his grip on Kleomenes' throat and pulled away. "But, if you ever touch me again..."
Dromichetes stood.
"If you restrain yourself, old man, that will not be necessary. Good night." He left the tent, leaving Kleomenes on the floor between his broken table and chair.

Megara +1
Corinth -1

Athens 11
Argos 6
Corinth 7
Megara 13
Sparta 7

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Seleukos of Olympia on 2008-03-18, 15:29

It was well past noon on the hill of fate
That had stood between Corinth and Megara,
When the lion of Corinth and the eagle of Athens
Set eyes on the serpent of Sparta.
Like fire the round bronze shields did gleam
On the hill-top that terrible day,
Like a promise of fire, death and dismay
To the city that lay in their way.
The brave hoplites of Corinth, steady and sure,
Marched forward with war in their eyes,
Their red shields a symbol of blood to be spilled
Of their impudent foes on that rise.
Valiant Nicodemus, leading the march,
On his steed did the arrows defy,
Like a blood-thirsty lion he roared with glee
And his men felt their spirits rise.
No man in Corinth, save only the king,
Was so high-born as he,
No man could match his bravery,
His wisdom and his speed.
Without a doubt all generals
Him, greater than all proclaimed,
Commander of all infantry,
Corinthian and allied made.
Meanwhile, in the cavalry,
An eagle marked its prey.
Enlightened Aristoxenus
Of Athens led the way.
Most fitting representative
Of a city so storied and just,
Like a brother to Nicodemus
He bolstered him in arms.
So they, like ideal images
Of cities wise and brave,
Their forces joined around that hill
Where Sparta's might prevailed.
The phalanxes of Nicodemus
Pressed hard upon their foes;
Their storied invincibility
Seemed almost like a joke.
Like hunting dogs that bark and snipe
At a cornered angry boar
And the boar leaps out at a near dog's throat
But retreats while the hounds come close,
So the warriors of Corinth pressed on their foe
Who would handle his spear with mad rage,
But then fall back with caution in his place
While his enemies fought in their pace.
Nicodemus was patient at the hunt
Knowing that prudence wins the day.
The Spartans knew nothing of his plan
Content in keeping his infantry away.
But Spartans trembled at the sight
Of mighty Aristoxenus' strong arm
When, leading the horses' thundering charge,
A new Theseus he appeared thus.
Scattered were the Spartan troops,
Broken and fled their fierce phalanx;
Red Ares did withdraw his gaze,
Nor bear to see Lacedaimon's loss.
The victors, glorious and proud,
Met with respect on the hill, now theirs,
And many swore it to be true
That a dove was seen flying overhead,
That a falcon stalked and dived to kill,
But an eagle came and scared it away,
Then the dove flew thrice above their heads,
Circling thrice that bloody ground
And so, by divine portent and sign,
Peace in victory on that day was found.



I had never felt comfortable reciting my poems in the past, but now, here in Corinth, with majestic Eleni encouraging me, I was doing better than I expected. I had planned to make my recitation in the agora, but at the last moment I felt it would be easier to do it in front of the temple of Aphrodite on the Acrocorinth. For one there were fewer people around, then I wouldn't have to leave the citadel, and finally I felt reassured with the armed Aphrodite watching over my back - the only such representation of her in the Greek world that I knew of. She was the protector of the citadel and the representation of an ideal that I admired, though not exactly emulated: love is a fighter!
I thought about beautiful Thyona back in Argos. I felt sure she would love Eleni. She was so cultured and beautiful and elegant and kind... and married. Yes, she and Thyona could be good friends when I returned to Argos a hero and won her heart. Now, here, lady Eleni would be the receiver of my admiration and services as much as I could provide them.
The small crowd seemed to like my poem, although there were some murmurs and laughs at some point from some individuals. Probably jealousy at the account of Nicodemus' brave deeds. People can be so petty at times...
Maybe this was my calling. To prepare the people of Corinth for their struggle ahead with my heroic songs, like the old Athenian poet in Sparta. I felt a little exhilarated and walked down the temple steps a bit higher than I used to.


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Sparta -1

Athens 11
Argos 6
Corinth 8
Megara 13
Sparta 6

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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Tombles on 2008-03-18, 15:49

The rest of the voyage was uneventful, the Spartan navy utterly broken. I was sick once over the side of the boat on a particularly choppy day, much to the delight of the sailors. But now we had arrived, sailing as far up the Eurotas river as possible before disembarking, and the city of Sparta now in sight. It had never ceased to amaze me that the Spartans, ever the tactical warriors and proud of their ability to out-think their opponents in war, had never thought to give their city even the most basic of walls. That would prove to be their undoing…

Admiral Amphion stayed with half of his marines on board the ships. I charged them with defending the ships should the Spartans try to take any back, keeping the oarslaves well fed and in order, still chained to their oars. He had thought it far wiser to blockade the port of Gytheum, cutting off Sparta's sea trade and finding any ships under construction to be destroyed. But there was no time for that. We had to take Sparta herself, forcing her armies into a state of disruption and confusion. And so now here we were, a force of 2850 Athenian hoplites and 500 marines. There were also a great deal of militia troops, mainly peltasts, who I charged with the defence of the supply lines we established between the ships and the army.

We were 5 miles from the city when the Spartan horsemen attacked. A force of lightly armed cavalry were spotted on the horizon, coming rapidly towards us from the city. I had to react quickly.

"Form up lines!" I cried, from my position in the centre of the column. "Archers, prepare to loose arrows!"

The phalanx was only loosely assembled when the Spartan cavalry struck. Hurling javelins as they came, the cavalry came close to our lines before breaking away. A number of hoplites dropped to their knees, dying or badly wounded. The marines replied with a volley of their own, and a great number of horses and men fell. Their javelins spent, the remnants of the Spartan cavalry withdrew rapidly, as more of them fell from their saddles, their lives claimed by Athenian arrows.

The damage done to our forces was, thankfully, minimal. The hoplon shield had proved its worth, with much of the javelins clattering uselessly against them. At least half of the horsemen who came to attack us were killed or captured. But the Spartans knew we were here. And not all of their forces would be lightly armed cavalry.

We reached the edges of the city at nightfall. I knew that to enter the city in the dark, when the Spartans knew of our approach and expected us to attack, would be futile. They knew the city streets far better than us, and even outnumbered troops could defeat an army if they could use the terrain and the cover of darkness to their advantage. And so I waited until daybreak to launch my offensive, posting guards across our camp throughout the night to watch for a Spartan reprisal. But none came.

The dawn came, a vast and wonderful collage of reds and blues and purples across the canvas of the sky. But now was not the time for poetry or staring at the heavens in wonder. There was grimmer business at hand. Today, Sparta fell, or we fell in the attempt.

We entered the city early after sunrise, moving slowly and carefully through the maze of city streets. Here and there skirmishes broke out between militia forces of the Spartans and some of our forward troops, or an anguished and patriotic member of the citizenry tried unsuccessfully to slow our forces. But our progress continued, grinding through the city streets like a slow but unstoppable rock slipping down a mountain slope, destroying all in its path. Our progress was going well. Too well.

We were marching along the central road leading up to the central Acropolis when they struck. The road was long and broad, and the entirety of our phalanx and the marines were on the road when, at either end, they appeared. Spartan hoplites, true agoge-trained elites, marked by their red cloaks as amongst the best of their kind. 200 came from both the South and North ends of the road, surrounding us. They marched quickly, steadily closing the gaps between our forces. I cried out orders for the rearguard to turn and face those approaching from the South, whilst the other half of the Athenian hoplites readied themselves in phalanx formation to take the assault of the Spartans approaching from the North. The marines remained in the centre, sending clouds of arrow across to the Spartans. Precious few found their mark.

With a great cry, all four phalanxes charged, and each met their opponent in a clash of spears and shield and tearing flesh. The archers stopped, fearful of hitting our own men. It was down to the push of the phalanxes now.

Although we outnumbered them, the training of the Spartan hoplites was proving tough to beat. For every one Spartan killed, three Athenians seemed to go too. I and my bodyguard fought on the right of the Northern phalanx, two rows from the front. I struck out at a Spartan who had come just within range of my doru. He repelled the blow, but the hoplite in front of me took advantage of the moved shield to stab the Spartan in the stomach. A few seconds later, the Athenian hoplite to his left fell, a spear having stabbed him clean through the face after his helmet was knocked from his head. The air all around us was filled with the cries of wounded and dying men, the battle a claustrophobic mess of stabbing spears and wildly-blocking shields. Someone had to break.

It took over an hour for the 400 Spartan hoplites to be killed. They had fought to the last- not a single man amongst them routed or attempted to run, instead choosing to take as many of us as they could with them. And the price we paid was terrible- at least a thousand good Athenian men, all trained soldiers, died with them on that bloodstained road. And now, from the Acropolis, came an even greater threat- the Spartan Royal Guard.

The 300 men of the Guard were the best trained, most powerful unit of soldiers ever to come out of Greece. Their full red robes and bronze, polished armour made them appear almost inhuman, monsters born only to fight. And now they approached, spears ready, shields held in front. My men, wearied already from the fight, prepared for an attack…

… which did not come. Three men stepped out from the 300 arranged before us. No, not three men. Two men and a boy, who stood in the centre of the two, resplendent in a fine and ornate breastplate and helm, fit for a king. They approached, and when they were halfway between the Royal guard and my own forces, the man on the left cried out,

"Here approaches his most Royal Majesty, Prince Athanaikos of Sparta. His Royal Majesty wishes to speak to a General Aristoxenus of Athens."

"I am he," I said, stepping out from the phalanx. "Speak your piece and be done, Spartan."

The Prince removed his helm, revealing a youthful face. He was, I knew, over 12 years my junior, barely in his teens. He spoke in a shrill voice,

"Come forth, Athenian. You may bring two guards, as I have done. I wish to speak to you."

I ushered to my two best men, who joined me on either side. Damon and Kaenas had fought at my side during the Dacian Crisis, and each had taken many men to the grave who might otherwise have claimed my own life. They were truly fine warriors, from the best military school in Athens. Damon was the taller and older of the two, a great swathe of brown hair and a shaggy brown beard covering his rugged features. A large scar ran across his cheek where a Dacian falx had come far too close to doing far more damage. He was in his mid-thirties, silent and imposing, but a good friend whose advice was ever sound. Kaenas was younger, only one year older than I, and broader. His flair and talent had brought him this far already in life, and I was sure he would go on to far greater deeds in the future. Now they flanked me, proudly representing the great city of Athens against the Spartan warmongerers.

We approached the prince and his guards proudly, and stopped a metre away. I looked down on the youth and said,

"What is it you wish to speak of, Prince? Are you going to beg us to drop our weapons, or maybe asking us if we would very kindly leave?"

The Spartan sneered back, and replied,

"No, I offer you no such satisfaction. However, I bring you a parley as the true ruler of this City State. I have no wish to be usurped by my regent. He is a fool, leading our forces away from the city at so vital a time. What's more, he's a fool who has taken control of my army. And that is what I want to discuss…"

Athens +1
Sparta -1

Athens 12
Argos 6
Corinth 8
Megara 13
Sparta 5
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-03-20, 00:37

Lady Eleni stood silently, peering out into the darkness. A few other figures moved silently behind her, readying themselves.

"My lady?" A man asked cautiously. "My lady, are you ready to go?"

"You have not seen that man, Pan, anywhere?" Lady Eleni asked without turning.

"We have not seen any sign of him."

Lady Eleni sighed and turned away from the open terrace towards the blackened room and busy Megarans. "I am ready then."

The group of Megarans moved quietly out of the silent house of Aristoxenus. The Corinthian men ordered to restrict their movement lying dead. Many of the other guests had departed after Aristoxenus had left for Sparta and they were not stopped or discovered in the nearly deserted household. The guards around the entrance courtyard were dispatched quickly and soon the stealthy group were out into the streets of Corinth with Lady Eleni in the middle.

After nearly a week of siege Eleni had decided that it was time to move. With Aristoxenus fighting in Sparta and the Megaran diplomats being watched nothing more could be achieved in Corinth at this time. She needed to return to Megara.

It took the Megaran retinue two hours to creep through the streets and reach the walls without alerting the guards patrolling the streets. Marshall law was in place. They made it to the walls without incident. The plan was flowing perfectly and they found the gatehouse manned with Megaran sympathisers and Megaran agents. The gate was opened and Eleni and her retinue escaped into the night.

Lady Eleni moved with graceful ease and, compared to the fat and decadent retinue she had collected, she moved quickly. It wasn't long before they caught sight of the Spartan picket line and Spartan guards called out to them in astonishment, asking them what their business was. Eleni approached the Spartans with her hands raised.

"Good Spartans." She spoke confidently. "We are the Megaran diplomats from Corinth. Nicodemus of Corinth has made it very difficult for us to achieve our goals in Corinth and we seek passage back to Megara. We wish only to pass."

When she had finished Eleni stood apart from the other Megarans and awaited the Spartan reply. The Spartans talked hurriedly for many minutes until a commander waved Eleni forward.

"I will show you through the camp." He said and the Megarans rushed forward and they began to make their way through the Spartan camp. "We have deemed your numbers as unthreatening and we can see you are Megaran. We intend to honour our alliance to you if you do so to us."

"I assure you, good soldier," Lady Eleni said confidently. "That Megara intends to stand by Sparta's side through these terrible times."

"I am glad to hear that." The Spartan said. "If you had but come a day earlier i would have taken you to see Lord Dragos. Unfortunately he has left for Athens."

"Is it wise for your Lord Dragos to go to such a hostile city?" Eleni asked with surprise. "Surely the Athenians will not hesitate to cut him down where he stands!"

The soldier laughed. "Do not fear, dear lady. He has an army at his back."

Lady Eleni was truly surprised now. "That is very bold of Sparta. Seperating your armies so much."

"To be bold is to be Spartan." The Spartan answered simply. "What is your name?"

"I am Lady Eleni. I work for my father in Megara."

"Your father? He must be a senator, i presume?" The man asked as they reached the outskirts of the Spartan encirclement.

"He is." Eleni answered. "I would tell you more but i quite like you and i'd hate to have to have you killed."

The Megaran retinue jogged out into the night away from Corinth, leaving a startled Spartan soldier staring after them.
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Kasey on 2008-03-20, 14:50

I stared at the Spartans encamped outside the city. A lot of their force had already left 400 or so men had ridden off at the start of the siege, and a few days or so ago much more of the army had North-East, along the isthmus. That left just enough men to keep the Corinthian Army stuck inside the city, but too few to actually assault the city. I was no coward, but to sally out and face them wouldn't benefit us unless the Spartans destroyed Aristoxenus in Sparta, freeing up more of their forces. So we were stuck in the city, with neither force daring to attack the other.

There was more bad news as well, the men I had set to guard the Megarans were dead, and the Megarans escaped, to be welcomed with open arms by the Spartans, I guessed. This was a nightmare; the only person left in the city who had had significant contact with any of the Megarans was Iphitos…. My thoughts turned to him, I couldn't torture him, who new what influential friends he had, yet he could be questioned, subtly. This would be one job Arrichion could not do for me.

Twenty minutes later I was at my accommodations, I went to Iphitos' rooms, and found him strumming on his lyre and humming softly ,"Iphitos" I said sternly, startling him out of his daydreams

"Ah good Lord! Hear for another telling of my epic?"
Good Gods no I thought, that awful poem would have made Apollo break his lyre on his knee.

"Err….No; have you heard of what has happened to the Megarans?"

He leaned forward eagerly, he always was a gossip "No Lord, do tell…"

"They escaped from the city through deceit and treachery, killing my guards in the process; even now they are probably telling the Spartan commander all they know about the city's defences."

Iphitos looked shocked "But Lord, why are you telling me?"

I leaned forward and grabbed his chin "Because you…poet..." I spat out the word "Had a lot of …..Conversations with the Lady Eleni. What did you tell her?!"

"Nothing, nothing" he whimpered, "Except…I may have mentioned Arsitoxenus' plans to her, but only because…."

He was cut short by my hand closing round his throat, "You told her of what?! You worm! You useless, stupid, son of a wh0re! Why in the name of almighty Zeus did you tell her that?!"

"She wished to know his whereabouts…."

"What sort of reason is that?! You told her nothing else?"
"No Lord, nothing else……"

I was still fuming with rage as I arrived at the Council meeting, it was beginning to get tense, many men were annoyed with me, saying that with so few men surrounding the city we should sally out and attack them, they also had heard of the escape of the Megarans, and though they knew not that I had had them watched, they still were irritated at this obvious act of treachery by the Megarans. Because of all this the council was starting to slip into two separate factions. One with me and my supporters, most prominently Aeneas, commander of the King's Royal Guard, and the opposing faction, led by Hecateaus, a wealthy merchant and politician. For the moment I held the King's ear, so all Hecateaus could do was spread malignant rumours, but Apollonius was fickle, and if I fell out of favour, Gods only knows who would have power in Corinth. Hecateaus and his cronies were in favour of attacking the entrenched Spartans, before looting Megara for their treachery, I pointed out that there was a large Spartan army loose somewhere, but they refused to listen.

But the King still listened to me, and so we waited, and watched for a ship brining message from Aristoxenus, and if the news didn't come then the King would probably sway to the side, and we would sally out, and lose lots of men in the process, I needed word, to secure my future, and my plans…..

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Argos 6
Corinth 7
Megara 13
Sparta 5
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by Volksie on 2008-03-20, 18:01

"Pan?"

"Yes, Pan."

"Why?"

"I left some papers with him."

"Is he one of ours?"

"No...he...I asked a favour of him."

"You left papers with a man who wasn't one of our agents?"

"I recruited him. He's trustworthy."

"Where did you meet him?"

"In Aristoxenus' household."

"You recruited an agent from Aristoxenus' household?"

"Well...no. Don't worry about it."

Otis sighed and turned his back to his daughter. Eleni looked down at the ground and felt her cheeks turn red.

"My dearest daughter," Otis said slowly. "I raised you to be proud and cunning. To stand shoulder to shoulder with powerful men. You have done that. A better daughter i could not ask for." He turned to his daughter and lifted her head to look in her eyes. "You take on all of the powers of Greece, you manipulate with your charm and bedazzle all who you come across. All of Greece could be yours one day and, if our plans succeed, it will be." The ageing man turned away from his daughter again and poured himself a drink. "And yet you have one weakness. You have to fall in love at the lift of a finger." Otis sighed and sat in his simple wooden chair.

"Father, I Just wanted to see if this man had escaped Corinth." Eleni said, finding her voice at last.

"Really? And how long have you known him for?" Otis asked, talking to her as if she was just a young girl again.

Eleni hung her head again and did not answer.

"Do not be ashamed little Amara." Eleni's father beckoned Eleni to come to him. "We all have our weaknesses. I am just worried that yours continues to present itself. I am also concerned that you think i am too old to realise when you're trying to manipulate me." Otis said with a smile. "I use my power to keep my power, which will be yours, i don't use it to satisfy my little Amara."

"You're right, father." Eleni said and smiled. "I have work to concentrate on."

"You certainly do." Otis said, jumping to his feet and walking to the door. "Walk with me through the courtyard and i will tell you your task."

Eleni took her father's arm and they walked out of the small sitting room and into the dusky light of the richly adorned courtyard. No guests stayed in the house of Otis but the household was rarely empty. Loyal agents crawled like ants over an anthill and the house was nigh-impregnable to anything other than a full scale attack.

"Some months ago i decided to awaken an agent of mine," Otis began. "He'd done a lot of work for me earlier in my career and was my right-hand man. Eventually, as my ambition grew and his taste for the simpler pleasures grew, we parted and i made him promise to me that he would come back to me when i called. He's regretted that day for the rest of his life."

"You're the shadow over his head." Eleni smiled. "Poor fool."

"I gave him a very important task," Otis continued. "And he betrayed me. I want his head on a plate."

"What poor fool dares cross my noble father?"

"Poor fool Adrastos. Find him, he could be anywhere in Greece, and kill him." Otis said simply. "Or even better, bring him to me alive and kicking."

The two stopped walking and Otis turned to his daughter.

"And on no account," Otis said showing Eleni to the door. "Fall in love with him."
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Re: The Greek Wars

Post by RedAkbar on 2008-03-21, 02:42

Nightfall. The Spartan army was camped near the city of Megara, enjoying the rest after trudging through the muddy countryside for almost a week. I could see the multitude of campfires and torches as I watched from the battlements of the city itself. The meeting with the Megaran representatives had gonebetter than expected, with them promising military and naval aid, in exchange for Spartan benevolence and support against Athens and Corinth.

I heard someone coming up the stairwell behind me.
"So you are the mighty Dragos of Sparta," I heard a female voice behind me say.
"I am he, yes. Who asks?" I replied brusquely as I turned to look at her. She was beautiful, of that there can be no doubt, but there was something sinister in her eyes that made me apprehensive. She flashed a smile before replying with a laugh in her voice.
"Wow, every bit as serious as they said." She looked me in the eyes before continuing:
"I am Eleni, daughter of Otis, and I am pleased to make your acquantance." I held her gaze for a few moments before replying. Those eyes... they are piercing, beautiful, but oh so dangerous.
"Likewise, my lady," I said, cracking a reluctant smile.
"What is a lady of your station doing on the battlements between Spartan soldiers, on such a cold and rainy night?"
She shrugged.
"This is my city. I go pretty much where I please."
I stifled a laugh. "My city" indeed. But then, with those eyes and that smile, it might as well be hers. She walked to the battlements and leaned against the parapet, looking out over the city and the Spartan army camped in the distance.
"So, what do you think Megara, Dragos?" Her instant familiarity startled me a bit.
"Quaint," was my stammered reply, drawing yet another stunning smile.
"You really don't talk much, do you Dragos?"
"I'm a soldier, not an orator, my Lady." Zeus, those eyes. I had to get out of here. Luckily, she budged first.
"Well, I just wanted to see with my own eyes the man they call the Butcher of Argos. Funny," she frowned faintly, "you don't look like a double headed serpent to me?"
I couldn't help myself.
"Well, I do have two heads, but not a serpent..." She gave me a amused look.
"I mean I HAVE a serpent but not a double head... ah..." She burst out laughing.
"I hope so, I really do."
And then she left, as quickly as she came, with me still trying to figure out what the heck I was trying to say.


Meanwhile, in Sparta...

Young King Athanaikos sat slouched in his throne with several Royal Guardsmen in attendance. Aristoxenus was there, too, busy outlining his reasons for attacking Sparta directly.
"...we are here, and we outnumber you. We could burn this city. However, this... proposal of yours interests me. I am willing to go along with this, Your Highness, on your word that Athens and Corinth will be left in peace."
The young king furrowed his brow before replying.
"Aristoxenus of Athens. You have my word that the armies will not move on your city again in my lifetime. So swears Athanaikos. Now, send the messengers to Dragos. Tell him the House of Leonidas is no more, and that Sparta is occupied. He will rush back, and when he enters the palace, he will be arrested, and tried for treason."

Aristoxenus walked back to his assembled troops a happy man. It seems the war would end soon, with minimal bloodshed. At least the boy had some sense, more than Dragos anyway. The messengers were already on their way, so only time would tell how events will unfold...

Corinth -1
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Athens 12
Argos 6
Corinth 6
Megara 14
Sparta 5

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