Jordan's Page of Useless Babble

Chapter 16: Scouting

As the heroes returned to Corinth, they were greeted by a small retinue of the Egyptian sorcerers they had brought back with them a couple of months before. They informed the heroes that divinations had revealed that through the machinations of Pharaoh Ptolemy VI, Alexander Balas was no longer completely in control of Syria. Alexander's wife, and Ptolemy's daughter Cleopatra Thea had fled back to Egypt. With Syria at civil war, additional reinforcements could not be counted upon.

    The news at home was also less than encouraging. Both Critolaus and Rogerius had moved on with an auxiliary unit to help short up the existing defense in Scarpheia. Medea had disappeared, leaving only a note indicating that she wanted Apnea to lead her units in the upcoming battle. Dieaus had refused a peace treaty offered by the Romans as it would have effectively turned the Greek city states into Roman provinces. In addition, the Roman messengers bearing the treaty had their throats slit, effectively signaling the beginning of the war.

    Dieaus, after summoning the heroes to the Achaean command center, revealed his plan to send the heroes in advance of the League's armies. The Roman army was likely already on the move, and before them, saboteurs might already roam the battlefields, setting traps. Dieaus wanted the saboteurs stopped and their traps disarmed or turned to the Greek cause.

    It didn't take long for the heroes to set out on horseback to the battlefield where indeed, saboteurs were already hard at work. Surprisingly though they were Cretan mercenaries working in small isolated groups. The heroes were able to attack the groups in turn, slaughtering the mercenaries and destroying their pitfalls.

    Finally, the battle turned to the mercenary captain and his lieutenants. The captain was revealed to be Lasthenes, the father of Sirius, whom the heroes had faced before when they had previously hunted Crete for the legendary Bronze Man. This time, Lasthenes didn't rely on trickery, but rather on the strength of he and his men.

    The battle was long-fought, with Lasthenes' scourge flailing wildly into the melee and cutting large swathes of damage. It was Sirius who finally faced down his adopted father with his scindoa and the power of his divine heritage. Finally killing the man who had driven his mother to suicide and as a boy, sent him running away from his homeland, Sirius was avenged and the upcoming battle now seemed more certain than ever.

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