Jordan's Page of Useless Babble

Chapter 6: The Odyssey of Homer

The heroes returned to Corinth in surprise. The tensions between the Achaean League and Sparta had finally erupted into war and Damocritus had marched with his armies to sack the city state. In charge now was Critolaus, who saw little value in the manual of Hannibal's tactics that had been recovered by the league.

    To make matters worse, news from Macedonia had also arrived, bearing ill tidings. Andriscus of Macedonia had fallen, placing all the land back under Roman control. In light of the circumstances, Apnea, a native of Thessally was allowed to join the League in order to assist her now oppressed homeland.

    As usual, it was Polybius who supplied the most hope. He made mention that the famous blind poet Homer, although blind, had written remarkably detailed accounts in the Iliad and the Odyssey. Polybius believed that Homer could not have written these important works if he was an ordinary man. Homer might have had scrying equipment, powerful enough to pierce the veils of time itself. If they existed, they had to get into League hands or be destroyed to keep them from becoming property of Rome.

    And so the heroes trekked south towards Argos, one of many cities that laid claim as Homer's home and one that worshipped him as a demigod. The city, priding itself as a neutral force in the constant wars between Athens and Sparta, and more recently, between the League and Sparta, gave cool reception to the heroes, but readily collected their money for food, lodging and supplies.

    The heroes discovered that the Homeric cult had fallen to hard times, being replaced by worship of Poseidon. They easily found the ruins of the temple outside of the city and entered cautiously.

    The temple itself was badly decayed from decades of neglect and had become home to a number of bizarre and hazardous creatures. Finally, after destroying the mad guardian, they came upon their prize, a small carved phoenix and a cloth map, showing the Ionan Sea and very roughly, the city of Smyrna.

    As the heroes booked passage to Smyrna, they came upon their old ally Kratos, who had escaped the war in Sparta to travel the seas. After an initial conflict with Apnea, the Aries-touched warrior rejoined the group for the trip east. However, not a week into the voyage, their ship disturbed a roc's nest and the furious beast attacked, seriously injuring Kratos, Roginous and some of the crew before it was finally destroyed.

    As Tyche granted, the rest of the trip was smooth sailing, and the party found themselves in Smyrna. Once a Greek city, it had voluntarily given control to the Romans and had become the center of a cult surrounding a city-deity named Meter-Sipylene.

    After giving officials a cover story about starting up a fletchery, the heroes explored Smyrna for signs of the Homeric Temple. However, in the transition to worship of Meter-Sipylene, all other religions had been declared illegal and their temples were looted and razed.

    Within a great theatre, the heroes came upon a strongly sealed entrance to the temple, but solid stone seemed to block off the entire doorway for many feet. Roginous found a small skullcap in the cavity and pocketed it for further investigation. However, it appeared as if this particular temple had been destroyed entirely and was lost.

    While researching for more information, Roginous discovered that the cap was a religious symbol used by followers of the god Iehova. After much investigation, they managed to find a secretive worshipper and convince him to lead the party to their temple.

    The temple rabbis were wary of the heroes, but sympathetic to their plight and not at all pleased with the followers of Meter-Sipylene or with the Romans. They explained that they believed a resolution could be made in time, but a rogue rabbi named Abraham had barricaded himself below the hidden temple in and among the treasures that the Jews had been able to save from the various temple destruction in years past.

    The Jews were fearful that Abraham was amassing large amounts of dark magic and monsters in the sub-temple, but were unable to capture him, due to those same monsters, who attacked and killed any who had ventured in before. They offered all that lay below their temple in exchange for the safe return of Abraham.

    Quickly agreeing, the heroes traversed the sub-temple and fought off many foul monsters, one of which was able to turn Apnea, Sirius and Eonus to stone with but a single glance, an effect, which thankfully, the others were able to reverse with the help of one of the rabbis.

    Finally, they came to a summoning chamber, where Abraham's corpse lay after the fallen-priest had put forth all energy into creating a massive constructed man made from clay. The golem threw itself at the heroes, but after a lengthy battle, they were able to subdue and destroy the abomination. They recovered Abraham's corpse, along with another cloth map and a small carved serpent.

    The rabbis, while devastated by the fall and death of Abraham were overjoyed that his destructive path had not consumed their temple or the city of Smyrna and gave their thanks. The heroes said their farewells and began preparations to follow their newest map, which pointed the way to Alexandria. At the docks, the heroes said their good byes to Kratos who's path lay in a different land than Eygpt and they set sail towards the South and Egypt.

    The city of Alexandria was as they left it, a bustling cosmopolitan metropolis. With the approaching summer, the streets were hot, bright, and dusty. The party found refuge in the Great Library, where Roginous and Eonus went through historical treaties regarding Homer's legacy in Alexandria.

    It was in these parchments, where they came upon a strange tale. The grandfather of the current Pharaoh Ptolemy VI Philometer, had been a great admirer of Homer and was rumored to have even worshipped the man as a demigod. It was with this information that the heroes requested an audience with the Pharaoh.

    After much waiting, the party was granted a private audience with Ptolemy, who was extremely warm and personable. He expressed doubts that his grandfather had worshipped Homer, as the family had converted to the worship of the Egyptian pantheon from the Greek after taking control of the land. He nevertheless, granted the heroes small leave to investigate the throne room in solitude, while the Pharaoh kept his courtiers, Egyptian and Roman alike, occupied.

    It was in the throne room, where they discovered a small carving in the shape of the morning star, which, when coupled with the carvings, created a small wheel. The wheel, when turned, revealed a hidden passageway that dropped to depths unexplored in nearly a century. Roginous took the duty of guard, closing the passage behind his allies and making sure to open it up again when they gave a secret knock.

    In the first room, the heroes came upon an oracle in a garden of statues. She claimed to see visions from within eyes and pointed the heroes to the city of Sparta for the scrying equipment. While his guard was down, the oracle struck at Sirius with a serpent, who bit the warrior full in the face. Throwing off her garments, the 'oracle' revealed herself to be a medusa, whom the heroes promptly destroyed.

    Within the second chamber, the heroes faced off with a chimera, who's fiery breath was nearly the ruin of Apnea. It was in the final chamber where the three faced off with a blind terror that came from a place beyond the stars. The creature's massive mouth released horrible screams that eventually sent both Apnea and Eonus into unconsciousness, and if it weren't for Sirius's sure strike, it might have had the opportunity to kill all three of them.

    Once he recovered, it was Eonus' quick eye that revealed a hidden compartment in a chest, within which he discovered an epic poem named 'The King'. In great detail, it told the tale of the Golden Fleece and the efforts undertaken by Jason and his Argonauts to retrieve it. While not scrying equipment, it was incredibly valuable: a lost poem written in the very hand of Homer.

    As the heroes sailed north towards Corinth, they reflected on how coincidence kept throwing them together, no matter how far away they seemed to travel from one another. They also feared, for if Macedonia had fallen, how long would it be until Greece came under the knife?

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