The Mediterranean in antiquity is littered with small islands inhabited with strange and exotic people and creatures, each offering the chance of glory and adventure.
Our heroes sail amongst these islands at the command of the gods doing their bidding and serving their will.
The reward on offer is glory, each hero adding to their individual legend with their deeds and hoping that their name will echo down the corridors of time forever more.
Sharp-eyed Socus played by Giro
Alexis the swift played by Karl
Chevin the industrious played by Michaela
Lycomedes the wanderer played by Mark
The Stone of Songs
“Seek the Stone of Songs in the Ruins of Nomos and deliver it to the Underworld before spring arrives and Persephone’s absence once again brings anguish to Hades. The gift of song may ease his sorrow.”
When Hermes has a task for you it's always urgent. With no time to waste the heroes set about their work.
Lycomedes had wandered far and wide in his youth and learned much about the islands of the tide-less sea. He informed his companions that the ruins of Nomos were lost to antiquity but were believed to be on the island of Kimolos, a parched land of red rock and hot sun.
Our heroes set sail on their ship Syntaxis, which in today's tongue means 'fighting together', and made for Kimolos, reaching it after only seven days of travel.
They docked at the port of Petrinos where they were greeted as the heroes they were and made their way to the famous oracle of that place, the smiling face of Petrinos in order to seek help in finding the ruins of lost Nomos.
Alexis wasn't impressed with the oracle's message but, after discussing it with certain locals who professed to be experienced in such things it was decided that the oracle was referring to another, less popular oracle which resided at Pisina a small settlement next to an oasis deep within the interior of the island.
Our heroes found a supply caravan heading to Pisina which was more than happy to show them the way in return for the safety their presence would afford for Pisina was renowned to be in an area inhabited by fierce bandits and terrible beasts.
On the second day of travelling the sharp eyes of Socus detected movement in some rocks ahead and Alexis swiftly moved forward to investigate.
He spotted bandits lying in wait for the caravan and used his cunning and stealth to move unseen into the rocks above them.
With a mighty effort he heaved rocks and stones down onto the unsuspecting bandits injuring three of them.
Jumping down amidst the confused bandits Alexis struck at the remaining standing one with his sword as the rest of the heroes ran to help restrain the rest.
As soon as the caravan was left unguarded a second group of bandits rushed forward attacking the caravan leader and attempting to steal his horse.
Hearing the commotion Chevin and Socus spun around and killed two of the new raiders with their swift arrows.
In a matter of seconds the new bandits were slain, falling to more arrows and the sword of Lycomedes.
With two of the bandits as captives the caravan resumed its journey.
The following day the sharp eyes of Socus alerted the party to more danger when he spotted strange tracks in the sand. Lycomeded said they looked like scorpion tracks but were much too large to be such.
Unfortunately he was proved correct when the sands boiled and two monstrous, armoured beasts erupted from their lairs throwing the caravan animals into confusion.
Alexis ran forward and nimbly leapt upon the back of the nearest scorpion hoping to spear it from above. The scorpion retaliated with its stinging tail and Alexis was thrown from his perch as he parried the strike with his shield.
As Lycomedes moved to support Alexis, Socus and Chevin peppered the further scorpion with arrows that staggered it.
Despite much of its blood draining away on to the sand the beast managed to close with Socus who was forced to dispatch it with his spear.
The other scorpion was felled by Lycomedes and Alexis who carved off plates of its chitinous armour in the hope of turning them into shields later.
As the flaming chariot of Helios sank below the horizon the caravan arrived at Pisina.
The caravan master was so grateful for the help afforded him by the heroes that he gave them one of his donkeys as an extra payment.
Heartened by this gesture of goodwill the heroes consulted the imposing oracle which fixed them with a belligerent stare as it gave its answer to their questions.
Once again wise locals were able to help with the interpretation. "In the nearby village of Erimos which stands on the banks of a wide river there is a cult known as the River Dancers," said one.
Early the next morning our heroes set off to find Erimos.
A day's march saw the heroes reach Erimos without mishap.
They observed the strange women dancing their confusing and intricate steps by the side of the river and were puzzled. But, after watching the dances repeated a few times they thought each dance might represent the path of the river as it split into five distinct channels before flowing beneath a nearby mountain. The fifth dancer's steps took her past a lump of ancient stone on the riverbank. Could this represent the ruins of Nomos?
Deciding it was worth a try our heroes traded their two captive bandits for a small boat and began to row towards the imposing mountain and the five dark, cavernous entrances that each swallowed a section of the river.
There followed a nightmare journey through tortuous caverns as the small boat was carried along by the river beneath the mountain in pitch darkness that even the keen eyes of Socus could not penetrate.
Eventually however the heroes' brave decision was proven to be correct and they emerged once again into sunlight where the river flowed through a hidden valley at the centre of the mountain range.
They saw ancient ruins flashing by on the bank as their boat surged ever forward and it took all the boating skill of Lycomedes for them to beach safely and drag their craft from the torrent.
The heroes set about exploring the ruins. Overhead winged creatures screeched horribly as they circled in the sky watching the heroes below.
Socus determined they were winged people of some description but even he could not be sure exactly what they were so he climbed part way up a cliff to get a closer look.
They were harpies as he'd suspected but that wasn't all the sharp eyes of Socus saw. Lurking in the ruins hulking shapes were moving furtively, always keeping to the shadows.
The other heroes had followed the sound of singing and located a stone head which was apparently the Stone of Songs. Lycomedes and the stone were singing a loud duet of surpassing skill and beauty when Socus returned and warned them that they were not alone.
The heroes readied their weapons and awaited the arrival of the strangers with resolute hearts.
From the shadows emerged two giant bronze men forged by Hephaestus himself.
Although the bronze men were intimidating with stern faces and their great bulk they did not attack and Lycomedes stepped forward to address them.
In an unwavering, strong voice he explained their mission was at the behest of Hermes himself and that the bronze men should not interfere with it.
Chevin remarked that perhaps the bronze men could move the stone of songs for them as it was much bigger than the heroes had anticipated and Lycomedes instructed them accordingly.
Without a moment's hesitation the two bronze giants went to the stone head and tried to lift it. They strained mightily until their rivets began to pop but the head remained immobile.
Immediately one of the bronze men strode away into the ruins and returned after a short while carrying the inert body of a third, even bigger, bronze giant.
The heroes saw that this bronze man was missing the valve in its heel and the ichor that powered it had drained away leaving it a lifeless husk.
Laying the body on the ground the smaller bronze men pointed at the cliff top where the harpies were roosting, watching the proceedings in the valley below.
I t was clear to the heroes that the harpies must have the missing valve and they resolved to climb the cliffs and retrieve it.
The climb was long and arduous and ledges were few and far between but the strength and grace of the heroes saw them ascend quickly none-the-less.
As they neared the summit the harpies swooped down to attack. Their shrieks were unnerving and their hideous faces struck terror into the heroes who had to struggle to remain where they were and not flee in terror.
Chevin and Socus shot arrows at the attacking harpies with some success and and one of the creatures veered away before it could press its attack.
The others raked at the heroes with their brass talons, shredding armour and shields like paper and befouling everything with their droppings.
The heroes fought back valiantly. Lycomedes was thrown from the cliff and only stopped himself falling to his death with a supreme act of agility that left him hanging by one hand as a harpy continued to attack him.
Alexis and Socus were forced to give ground but, even so, they both wounded harpies which retreated follows by more of Chevin's arrows.
Slowly the heroes forced the harpies back as they advanced step by hard-won step. First one, then two and finally all of the disgusting beasts fled before them and they gained the ledge where the harpies roosted.
Here they found the missing valve and, wonder of wonders, pools of ichor which they could collect using their helmets as scoops. The ichor was befouled with the dropping of the harpies but the heroes strained it through the cloth of their tunics to remove the worst and transferred it into their wine skins for the difficult climb down.
Back on the ground the heroes tended their wounds and washed their stinking clothes in the fast moving river while the two bronze men set about repairing their leader.
Before long he stood before the heroes, restored to life.
Together the three bronze giants managed to heave the stone of songs, to its delighted musical accompaniment, out of the ground and transfer it to the boat which sank low into the water under the weight but seemed able to manage the burden.
The boat and the dinging head where soon pulled by the current and whisked away into the darkness where the river returned to its underground journey.
The songs of the head echoed back to the heroes and the waiting bronze men until they could hear it falling into the Well of Sorrows that led to the underworld and its new home.
As the heroes started making plans for their difficult return journey Hermes appeared before them once again and thanked them for their service, a rare thing indeed. He seemed surprised to see the bronze men and returned them immediately to Olympus where they had work to do for Hephaestus.
He transported the heroes back to their ship, letting them ride on the wind by his side before he himself returned to other, pressing duties.
Scarred and weary our heroes sailed away from the island of Kimolos where they had gained much glory from their exploits and the legend of their names grew even greater.
The Smiling Face of Petrinos
"Only happy things can I speak
Your quest is dire, of death it reeks
My sadder twin is whom you seek
For sage advice within the week"
"Time is short, your peril high
Travel far and see the sky
Reflected in the desert dry
Where evil monsters lurks nearby"
The Morose Face of Pisina
"The Well of Sorrows sends its call
And mournful streams flow swift to fall
Over the final chasm wall
That leads to Hades’ dreary hall"
"Coursing deep beneath the sands
The rivers flow through hidden lands
And above them all with feet and hands
A Dancer shows where Nomos stands"