Jordan's Page of Useless Babble

Chapter 3: The Lion's Roar

Weeks passed again and the heroes were once again summoned before a perplexed Damocritus. The general explained to them that Polybius's next hunch was so extraordinary; a pipe that used air to fire large stones at a target.

    Polybius elaborated by telling the heroes about a curator from the Great Library named Ctesibius. Some time before, as the heroes were returning from Sicily with Critolaus, a messenger from Egypt arrived bearing a message from Pharaoh Ptolemy VI Philometor, a secret ally of the League. The message stated that information about a book written by Ctesibius, named Memorabilia had been uncovered that detailed all the man's many inventions and theories, mainly relating to air. Among them, was supposedly this weapon. Ptolemy couldn't risk sending his agents to recover the book and send it to Corinth for fear that the Romans would intercept it, but requested the League send its own men to do the work instead.

    So, the heroes chartered a boat for Alexandria, capital of Egypt. During the long journey however, the ship was attacked by a ravenous sea serpent, who managed to kill a couple sailors before the heroes were able to subdue and slay the beast. They kept the corpse, hoping to harvest powerful magic from it in Alexandria.

    As a point of pride, the heroes set about having their prize butchered upon arrival in Egypt, making steaks and a drawing blood for an alchemical concoction from it. The steaks they ate, selling the leftovers and the alchemical potion, which imbued the drinker with the ability to breathe underwater for short periods of time to an innkeeper who planned on making 'sea serpent' a regular dish after it sold out in a spectacular fashion.

    With the heroes' pride sated, they got to work, searching the Great Library for Memorabilia. They would have no luck, as the curators found the book missing for nearly a century among the countless others. Their only clue was a ledger showing the last visitor to read the book, a poet and philosopher from Athens named Arcesilaus.

    Again the heroes set forth, this time north to Athens, to search for clues about the whereabouts of Memorabilia. They discovered that Arcesilaus was a friend and patron of Ctesibius, and regularly visited Alexandria to bring him money, food and medicine. He was also a teacher of Socratic philosophy and much respected and admired for his life's accomplishments.

    A philosopher at the school pointed the heroes to a cave where Arcesilaus taught a riddle to new initiates and Sirius, very curious about the teachings of the school learned the riddle himself.

    As the Roginous, Eonus and Kratos fruitlessly searched the caves, Sirius managed to puzzle out the riddle and managed to open a portal that lead to a demiplane consisting of a series of platforms connected by bridges and floating among an endless ocean of air.

    The creatures, guardians kept by Arcesilaus to protect his friend's work, barred the heroes' way, but they struck first, defeating imps, otherworldly birds and creatures composed entirely of elemental air. Finally, they reached the end, where they were set upon by a living version of Ctesibius's cannon.

    Their weapons having no physical effect on the dangerous weapon, forced the adventurers to come up with a plan. Roginous and Kratos stood to either side of the cannon, while Sirius rushed forth, attempting to tackle it over the side of the platform. As he charged forwards, Sirius pleaded to the gods for assistance, and it was answered. His muscles surged with energy and lightning cracked off of his medallion as the mercenary was able to push the cannon off the edge, ending it's threat.

    After finding Memorabilia in a coffer, the heroes returned to Athens and began their trek back to Corinth to present the book to Damocritus and bring Greece another step closer to victory.

    In Corinth, the heroes were praised for their work and began to puzzle over the nature of Sirius' new found ability, which was now manifesting on a regular basis. Asking Polybius to help, the bardic historian used magic to determine that the medallion Sirius wore was an item of great power known as Zeus's Mark, but that could not yet account for the other ability.

    The heroes, worked the next few weeks gathering funds to hire Polybius to sail south to Alexandria to research the item in hopes of solving the mystery. Eonus worked at the temple of Apollo, providing healing and divinations, while Roginous and Sirius taught new League recruits.

    As his teammates labored, Kratos began to question his path. He had been involved in the destruction of a powerful weapon, an act that he did not believe to be pious in the eyes of his god Ares. He finally decided after much deliberation to retire from the League and establish a safe house in Sparta, his home and a land of much unrest as of late. His parting, full of sorrow, left a hole in the group, which until now had been unstoppable.

Doubt was beginning to set in.

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