The Odyssey of BARYPOS of TEGEA
Chapter 2 part 1
The adventures in Hellenistic times of four adventurers [set in 270bc]
A month after their first adventure, its mid summer, and they are still in Mazaca Barypos and his friends are ready for a new adventure. Mainly they could do with some cash as theirs is getting low. Lydus comes to Telamon and says that as Telamon knows he loves Gisal the daughter of the Tavern owner Alexander, in the city of Sinope, he wonders if you will take a message and a pouch with a broach in it to her on your way to see Telamon the Merchant, his friend he has spoken about, who has a job for the group. He gives 50 drachmae for your trouble. Telamon takes the pouch and the sliver and goes to find his friends, he explains that Lydus has found another employer for them in Sinope Telamon the merchant and has a small delivery for them to make as well. They wonder about the cost of travelling that far, it is around 4,000 stadion or 133 Leagues most foot travellers make about 6 leagues a day, about a three week journey along the valley of the river Halys. They wonder if they can get work guarding merchants, but soon find out that as this is a main trade route it is patrolled by the local nobles. So Barypos and Jason decide to work their journey as musicians, while Archi decides to use his knowledge of herbs to collect and sell rare ones on the way, this only leaves telamon to pay his way and he uses part of the sliver for given to him by Lydus.
The three week journey is along a well used road, mainly following the valley of the river Halys, which curves west to east and then north west to the coast, with cavalry patrols along it. The road, like the river, drops down from the high plateau around Mazaca to the coast through the lush farmlands and prosperous villages of the river valley and into Pontus. The river is low at this time of year and the fields are ready for harvest, the villages are of moderate size and untouched by war. Each evening they stop at a roadside village tavern, there is only one tavern per village. Most of the time Jason and Barypos get work entertaining and when they don’t Archi earns enough, from the sale of healing herb and such, to cover the cost of staying in a common room with a standard fare meal. Telamon joins them in the meal and the room which along with his horse costs him 20 Drachma for the whole journey. The journey is easy and pleasant, if long, and they see many patrols of local cavalry. Barypos’s eagerness to put his noise into others business is fed as he meets so many people on this trip. Archi gains more knowledge from talking to others and inquiring into the local ways.
They smell Sinope and the sea before they see its old walls. It is a old Greek colony with a Greek layout and Greek buildings, a bustling port and trade centre, trading across the sea with many other cities, some Greek and other Barbarian. It is a independent city within the kingdom of Pontus, a independent state which has arisen after the fall of Alexander’s empire. Pontus is ruled by Hellenized Persians with local Greek support. Pontic culture is a mix of Greek and Iranian elements, the most Hellenized parts of the kingdom are on the coast, populated by Greek colonies such as Trapezus and Sinope it is ruled by Mithridates I Ctistes.
Sinope has a main temple to Poseidon, as a sea fairing city, this temple is on the heights overlooking the city and sea, the city also has many small shrines to the other Greek gods in a central complex. As they enter the city the smell of the sea, fish and bodies assails their noses as they move around in it. At the main gate they where told that it is illegal to carry military equipment around with a fine of 5 Drachmae per item, it is suggested that they leave such sporting equipment at the gymnasium. The city patrols consist of four Thureophoui armed with Akon, shield and Kopis.
Archi decides to head to the local Philosophy, school to touch base and see what they teach, on the way he notices a young pretty female trying to pick his money pouch as he spots her he waves bye bye at her as she runs off. The school is happy for him to tell them about the beast. Barypos and Jason head to the theatre to talk to the local thespians, Barypos notices a young ugly dwarfish male trying to take his pouch and fills the air with abuse about what he is the offspring off. The dwarf runs away crying while Barypos receives the applause of the locals. Jason also sees the attempt of a average looking woman trying to take his pouch while he is nosing around. Telamon heads to the tavern of Alexander to drop off the pouch.
Tavern of Alexander
When Telamon gets to the Tavern of Alexander which is a medium sized tavern with stables, bathhouse, accommodation and kitchen in reasonable repair and it seems busy. Alexander, Gisal’s father, runs the tavern with a couple of sons, his wife and some slaves. Telamon stands there and then asks for a drink at which point he finds that his money pouch has been lost, he thanks Hercules that it is his and not the one with the message and broach for Gisal. At least he has the sliver in that still and uses some to pay for his drink. He then asks the slave about Gisal and she takes him to Alexander. Telamon tells Alexander that he has a pouch with a message for his daughter and gives it to Alexander. Alexander says to Telamon that she has gone missing and he has not seen her for a couple of days and is quite worried. Telamon sees he is distressed and pushes Alexander who soon opens up and tells him that Gisal has been taken by Conon, for a group Alexander owes 1,000 Drachmae to, he has been given a week to find 1,500 drachmae to pay off his debt or else, he has 5 days left. Alexander does not have that kind of cash but does have 200 drachmae, he says he could sell the Tavern for a lot more than that and suspects that is the point of the kidnap. Telamon asks if he can help with his friends, Alexander says if they can find her he will give them the 200 drachmae but they need to keep it quite so as not to risk Gisal’s life.
Later that evening they all end up at Alexander’s tavern, Archi has bought them all a new money pouch with a long leather strap to put round their necks to carry a small amount of ready cash in. Telamon explains the situation and they all talk to Alexander before settling down for the night.
Next day they split up to look for leads, Archi goes to the school again paying 5 drachmae but gains no insight, while Barypos watches over him. On his way back through the city he keeps a lookout for the thief, when he sees her he waves his money pouch towards her and heads to a tavern. She follows, they sit and he orders best wine and mugs and puts 5 drachmae on the table. He asks her name ‘Circe’ she says ‘do you know Conon?’ he asks. She looks agitated and he then says’ if you do not tell me, when I find him I will tell him you told me how to find him so you will suffer any way.’ ‘Do you want his sliver? he asks, ‘what sliver’ she says. The sliver has gone, presumably into her hands. She leaves. Barypos follows with Archi following him. She leads them through the city towards the harbour where she enters a tavern by the docks. Barypos goes in for a drink looking around while trying not to be seen. He sees that she is with a large man which fits Conon’s description, he tries to listen in to the conversation. She is telling him about her encounter and gives him part of the sliver. By his speech Barypos thinks he is from Argos, he also notices six thuggish looking men hanging around obviously guarding him.
While Archi and Barypos are doing this Jason and Telamon are out looking for the dwarf. They fail to find him even after spending hours walking the city. That evening they all met up back at the tavern where they start to plan a raid on the tavern to release Gisal. With Rhodian and Cretan ships in harbour, Jason checks the omens, divination with 7 other witnesses, and sees that a fight will break out. Deciding to use the fight as cover they hatch a plan.
They go back to the tavern by the docks, the Bireme, and leaving Archi outside the other three go in. The three hire a girl each and head upstairs to one room. Once the fight breaks, as predicted Barypos and Telamon leave Jason to keep the girls busy while they check out the other seven rooms looking for Gisal. The sound of the people they disturb is downed out by the ongoing fight. They find a man with a boy and a man with a young girl and other variations but no Gisal. maybe Conon is keeping her in the store room they think. So going down stairs and trying to avoid being drawn into the fighting they check out the store room. No sign of her there either. They head back up to Jason and tell him and then head back to the main area again avoiding the fighting and look for Conon. He does not appear to be there either, Jason wonders why he did not check the omens for that instead. They go to join Archi outside and decide to wait to see if Conon turns up.
Over the next hour the fight subsides and the seamen head back to their ships. Luckily after a couple of hours Conon he turns up with 8 thugs around him and enters the tavern. He leaves around a hour later while Archi and Barypos are on watch having send Jason and Telamon back to Alexander’s for a rest. Barypos follows followed by Archi, however he is seen and 4 thugs approach him. Barypos waits for them but when they ask him why he is following them and throw a punch he dodges and runs. Archi takes over following but is also spotted and recognised as the man who is looking for Conon. Four thugs run up to Archi who seeing them runs for it. Once the two met up again they try to work out where Conon and his men were heading. They can not pick up there train or see where they have gone, so head back to Alexander’s.
Where is Gisal being kept?
Can they find her in time?
What job has Telamon in mind for them?
Find out next time.