Flying the colors of the Drákon League
, the ship approaches from the south along the coastline of Megálo nisí
, the grand harbor of Asteriápolis comes into view. The natural harbor is ringed by three sets of city walls that extend out into the sea.
The buildings of the city, marble foundations complimented by sloping tiled roofs spread out across the city. As the ship slows and pulls into an empty berth, Otlyn first notices her sponsor at the academy. As the crowd resolves, Cille
also notices Danaë
who appears intrigued. Vulcan also notices his sponsor. Magnus, not being sponsored by any one family, recognizes several individuals, but not with the feeling of "home" experienced by the others.
Kallisto's parents come into view, and Kallisto stiffens at the sight of her father. Magnus places a brief hand on Kallisto's hand in a show of support.
Otlyn recognizes that no one is here for Ianthe
and places an arm around her shoulder. As Cille
also recognizes this, her smile fades and she says "I know this is going to be difficult for you. You're welcome to come stay with us if it's too much to deal with at once." Ianthe doesn't respond, and simply stares out over the crowd with a deadened expression.
As the individual reactions continue, Magnus recognizes that all of the Archons are present. "Interesting. All of the archons are here."
Ianthe breaks from her reverie, and looks over to Kallisto who heads down. "I suppose it has to happen sometime." And she heads down.
Cille asks Magnus, "Do you have a place to stay?"
"With your permission, Captain?"
"I'm not really the Captain, " says Cille. "It may be my ship, but not for long."
"Perhaps, perhaps not..." trails Magnus.
"You are welcome to come to my home."
A small group of citizens surrounds Ianthe and Kallisto who begins to share what happens. Hippolyta
, places her hands around Ianthe's shoulder and says "Now's not the time." There's visible frustration from several of the surrounding nobles. Ianthe gestures towards the ship and continues, and the first mate is summoned. After a brief exchange, a number of dock workers come up the gang plank to collect the bodies.
The remaining party descends the gangway and joins Kallisto
. Kallisto sighs and says "We're not going to get much rest. The Archons have requested our presence. The dock authorities will help sort the bodies."
The group is led away with an escort of Rávdoi
to the meeting with the Archons. As the group heads towards the government building, they connect that Kallisto is Hippolyta
the Archon's daughter.
As you are entering the building, the Rávdoi stop outside and led to a smaller private chamber.
Ianthe begins with a tail of the attack on the Kyrenia
and its sister ship carrying the family were accosted by a Norjord ship (The Xifia
) and a couple of smaller raiders.
While they were making good time and staying ahead, suddenly they mutanied. She describes in horrific detail how as her cousin and adopted sister, Philea Meletitís
prepared to engage, an assassin
posing as the first mate of the Kyrenia
killed her by shoving a sword clear through her back and severing her head. A number of members of the crew suddenly turned and began slaughtering the unarmed family members, including the young ones. She was knocked unconscious and doesn't remember any of the rest of the attack. While she didn't see what happened to the other ship she assumes it was sunk in the attack.
The group comes to understand that Ianthe was adopted into the main branch of the family
after her mother, one of Phlios Meletitís
's daughters, died.
When she came back to, the crew members and her were kept chained and drugged. She had heard conversations from the attacking Norjord that they were going to be rich from selling these captives to the Grung.
She relates seeing the assassin come in and grab Phlios Meletitís
, sprinting from the room. And then the raider coming in for her and carrying her out, killing him after Otlyn
blocked his way and distracted him.
At this point the archons engage in several rounds of questions. "Did you recognize anyone?" "Dd you know any of the assailants?"
Ianthe did not. She shares that the trip was only planned 2 or three days before the departure. It was clear that Philea
was on edge the whole trip as was Phlios
. Ianthe thinks that this was why she was focused on the raiders, and vulnerable to the assassin.
From snippets of conversation overheard on the way to the Dikteon Caves
and during captivity they were expecting to be rewarded handsomely, and that someone had tipped off the assassin and the raiders about the trips.
The questions continue, "Do you have any proof?" "Do you know who might be behind this?" Vulcan
notices Kallisto tensing at this point in the discussion, but she says nothing.
The Archon from the Aerasópoulos Family
says "That's quite the accusation of treason. I find it hard to believe that anyone could pull this off without years of planning. It's a tall tale." Otlyn considers speaking, but says nothing.
At this point, Kallisto speaks. "As you know the Xifia was dispatched from the island of Froúrio
on a routine sweep of the Dikteon Caves. We were on a training exercise, and expected none of this."
She goes on to describe the fights within the cave and killing the Grung slavers. She passes to Vulcan who describes the chase with the assassin and describes her as a darker skinned, armored woman who had no trouble carrying Phlios Meletitís
. She managed to send spiders after him while he was chasing them and managed to escape. He doesn't share anything about the dagger.
Kallisto picks back up the story, describing the defeat of the raiders and Vulcan returning being pursued by giant spiders. She describes the flight of the remaining raider. She describes the magic of the Norjord shaman and also Otlyn's magical intervention.
Ianthe confirms that this is consistent with her memory. They describe the evacuation of the group from the caves. Vulcan is asked to describe the decision to go north and get back in the shortest possible manner. At that point Hippolyta asks "Why not just use a simple sending spell." Kallisto (and several others) hang their head and respond with "Ummm. I never was able to learn that one." Hippolyta eyes her daughter and her swords and shakes her head in disgust. "Continue."
The member from the Petrópoulos Family
joins the conversation. Glancing at the member of the Aerasópoulos family, "I know the caves of which they speak. They are commonly used for less than ethical... or tax-free activities." After a moment letting the unspoken accusation linger, he nodes for them to continue.
family member intervenes and turns to Cille Flokisdottir
. "Did you know any of these raiders?"
Cille says "They were members of the Cave Bear Clan
." He shakes his head and mutters "Why do you people name yourselves after animals..." and Cille clenches her teeth before he continues. "Was this a normal raid, or did you see anything unusual about this."
"Treachery is a hallmark of that clan," Cille continues. "However I cannot see them infiltrating the ship of nobility on their own. But, capturing, taking slaves and selling them for profit is something that I can see them doing on their own. However, they would not hvae been able to take that many Drákon warships with so few."
The member of the Petrópoulos interjects "What about Phlios
Otlyn reinforces the earlier testimony about the assassin escaping. Cille relates that once the group took the Røyskatt
, that the crew confessed that while the assassin had returned to the ship but did not have Phlios. With Ianthe and Cille nodding their agreement, Cille relates the decision to shoot the Maelstrom
. Two of the archons interject "At midsummer?!" Kallisto interejects "It seems like a good idea at the time." Magnus adds "The little girl," gesturing to Ianthe, "was most persuasive."
Cille describes the engagement of the Røyskatt
as they entered the maelstrom. She describes the battle and the ships separating as the remaining team members nod for her to continue. Cille says "We were in the process of escaping..." Kallisto interjects "I think that's an optomistic view. A long process being dragged down was more likely..." Cille counters with a grin while Kallisto continues "Need I remind you that you were the one who wanted to cross the mountains?"
The group turns to Magnus. "So you boarded the Røyskatt
, defeated their crew, and the ships are now separated. Could either of the ships have escaped?"
Magnus confirms that the Xifia could have escaped. "What happened?" At this point Ianthe looks at Kallisto, Kallisto looks at Magnus, ... and Vulcan finally injects "We were assaulted... by dragons."
At this point half the room laughs, and the other half looks aghast. Kallisto and Ianthe both look at each others and say "What we can say for certain is that two great white beasts emerged from the Jotunheimen Range
while we made our northern pass on the maelstrom. The Xifia
fired its ballista at the beast. A magical storm came from the beast and froze the decks of the Xifia. We heard the Xifia crack, lose its mass and sheer into peices and go under." They stop and let the silence continue.
The Thalasópoulos member asks "How many souls?" The group responds "None of the Xifia crew." Magnus continues "A group of the Kyrenia
survivors organized to board the Røyskatt were on our ship, but fell victim to the same type of attack from the other beast on the Røyskatt. Only the first mate of the Kyrenia survived."
"How if this beast destroyed a fully crewed warship, were you able to survive?" asks Hippolyta.
Vulcan interjects that it was luck and the maelstrom itself. "A great storm appeared and damaged the beasts."
"So the storm attacked the beasts for you?" asks Hippolyta?
Otlyn corrects "No, the beasts were engaged with us and took several direct hits from lightning from the storm."
"Fortuitous." she adds.
Magnus then injects with the tale of the battle with the great beasts. "We brought fire and fire arrows against the cold." As he shares the contributions of the team, particularly both Ianthe and Kallisto, he adds "I managed to get a lucky shot in the eye and fell it in the ocean..." That and the fortuitous nature of the storm we were able to kill them both and escape.
"So both beasts were lost to the sea?" asks Hippolyta. "We don't know if they're dead." states Otlyn.
The Petrópoulos continues, "Regardless of the myths and legends. We have two beasts that bear an uncanny resemblance to the divine ancient beasts of old. Your team was able to fight them off and return two of our citizens to us. Thank you. We have much to discuss."
The group is escorted from the room for deliberations.
The group catches snippets of an angry conversations.
While they wait, Cimon
is escorted by the Rávdoi
into the Archons chambers.
Eventually the group is brought back into the room, with Cimon standing in the corner.
"You have left us with a difficult decision. Your tale of bravery... and stupidity... is difficult to prove."
Otlyn glances at Magnus, who briefly returns the "not a good plan" look.
The monologue continues, and finally Hippolyta stands. "Given that we have a third party's confirmation of the portions of the story, we are inclined to set aside our skepticism and say that you believe that an attack occured, and no one can say otherwise."
"As you may have been aware, there was a reward for information on the disappearance of the Kyrenia and return of its citizens." She goes on to describe the bounties that are awarded to the group for the return of Ianthe and the first mate, news of the treachery, and the return of the dead who fell in battle.
injects "Which brings us to the loss of the Xifia. You will need to come to settlement with Froúrio
on the damages..."
"Yourselves" adds Hippolyta. "And while the Røyskatt
is naval spoils, it is unclear whether it belongs to your group or Froúrio
as the expedition sponsor."
"The further investigations of the accusations of treacher and matters of the Meletitís Family
will be brought to the full assembly. As you are aware, as a minor there are issues of succession with Phlios
being presumed dead."
Ianthe interjects "He's not dead!"
"Nevertheless, there are matters of law that need to be pursued. Until the assembly, you will be be allowed to sort the matters of urgency and we will provide temporary authority delegated by this council to execute contracts and make payments as necessary."
Hippolyta turns to Magnus. "I understand you're a guest here. You are more than welcome to join us at our estates while you are here in Asteriápolis
Emotions getting the better of her, Ianthe growls and interjects, "He can stay with us!" The tension is palpable as the long simmering differences betweent he families becomes clear.
Magnus breaks the tension and incluines his head. "Your offer is generous, but I have already accepted an offer to stay with Cille until matters are resolved."
The group withdraws.
Kallisto and Ianthe breathe a sigh of relief and Kallisto suggests the group retire for a drink and further discussion.
The group heads to a cafe/taproom, with a quiet corner where they can continue their discussion. The group is served refreshments, and Cille persuades the server to bring an alcoholic beverage.
Kallisto looks at Ianthe and begins, "I'm sorry." Cille offers Ianthe her drink, and Otlyn collapses on the table.
Vulcan breaks the ice with "I'll have the armor in the next two weeks." "If we're not in jail."
Cille asks, "Isn't this exactly what the perpetrators would have wanted? The power vacuumn..."
Magnus adds, "We might be victims of our own success."
"Or worse, heros." adds Vulcan.
Conversation shifts to the Røyskatt
and how they will raise the 100 gold talents to replace the Xifia
. Cille raises the possibility of negotiating with her family to reduce the costs.
Kallisto shares her regrets at the situation with Ianthe, and says "I won't let anyone take your house and your inheritence from you." Cille, sluring slightly, starts to walk through the family dynamics. Magnus nods, realising that he's now subject to these politics. Vulcan begins to add pictoral representations in the salt on the table.
"We have a problem," and quietly exchanges a look with Kallisto. Kallisto adds "We have a suspicion as to who might have been the employer, but it's nothing other than a guess at this point."
Ianthe glares at Kallisto for a bit and then says "I don't care, I just want my grandfather back."
After a bit more discussion, Magnus tells Cille "Drink does not seem to suit you very well." He then pledges, depending on her liberty, to help Ianthe "in any way he can to help see her grandfather rescued or her raised to lead your family." Cille, drunk, tells Magnus "You're very loud."
After a brief bit of speculation as to who could benefit, Kallisto helps the group to lay out a plan:
Vulcan and Kallisto will continue the investigation into their "lead", and Vulcan also needs to complete the additional suits of armor. Kallisto nudges Ianthe to connect Vulcan to a local artisan for workshop usage.
Ianthe needs to look in on the affairs of the house. Kallisto asks Magnus to help.
Cille is going to see about a friends and family discount for the Xifia replacement, though they all expect that the bounty will be needed to cover the replacement costs.
As the group wraps up their dinner, a house servant arrives with a message for Kallisto. She visibly pales as she receives the note. As the group inquires as to the contents she simply says "Father" and excuses herself.