The Odyssey of BARYPOS of TEGEA
Chapter 2 part 2
The adventures in Hellenistic times of four adventurers [set in 270bc]
After a nights rest at Alexander’s Tavern they now only have four days to ransom or rescue Gisal, they break their night fast just after sunrise with bread dipped in wine. Over this early meal they talk about what to do next, they still need to find Conon and where he has Gisal they also need to decide whither to pay the ransom or attempt a rescue knowing that Conon and his men must know they are being sought after. Telamon decides to go to see Telamon the Gold their prospective next employer and friend of Lydus. Archi and Barypos head down to the gymnasium to make inquires there.
Telamon gets to speak to Telamon the Gold who speaks to him about the job he has in mind. Telamon is in his mid fifties but looks much older with a full head of silver-grey hair, a well-trimmed beard (worn in waxed ringlets, an Persian style still found in people of his generation) and sad, brown eyes. Telamon is very successful and very wealthy as can be seen by his home and clothes. He moves slowly and must pause frequently to catch his breath, but he never lets this stop him from what he wants to get done. He explains that he wants to undertake a last personal trading mission and requires good, loyal companions to protect him. He is willing to pay each character 100 Drachmae for each whole or part of a months work, paid at the end of the journey. In return, they must say nothing of their task and swear a oath to protect him and keep quite about the mission for all time. Telamon asks what Gold knows about Conon and Vaumisa the Persian, he finds out that Conon is the local rogue leader in the area. He is a big man in all ways just short of 2m tall and 140kg. He has his finger in many pies but in particular protection around the docks. He always has some men around him even if they are unseen. Whereas Vaumisa is a Persian who wants to get a hold into the city, barbarians do not have rights in this Greek city, he has wealth and makes loans he often uses Conon to enforce payment. Telamon then tells Gold about the kidnap and the ransom demand, Gold offers to lend Alexander 1,500 Drachma if it will help and free them up for his journey.
Archi and Barypos try to find out about Telamon the Gold they find he is one of the most successful of the Greek merchants of Sinope. Telamon is very successful and very wealthy; he commands much respect throughout Sinope and is known for his shrewd mind, keen wit and an eye for a bargain. He is easy to talk to, likeable, and respectful of others. He looks older than his years: and has had many ailments and constant fatigue in recent months. He moves slowly and must pause frequently to catch his breath, but he never lets this stop him from what he wants to get done. His ships have sailed the Seas of the Known World and brought much wealth to his family and the city-state. The ageing merchant has retired now, and his trading empire is managed by eldest son, Eurastanos and his daughter, Hermestone. He has a good honest and fair reputation as does his family. While there they ask about Conon and meet a lot of anxious and worried stares but no information. But then they receive a whisper from a passing person, ‘go and see Pelias’
Back at Alexander’s tavern Archi and Barypos wait for Telamon and then they all catch up on what they ahve found out. A slave tells them who Pelias is, a old dishonest Persian street vendor. They see that they have two options: 1- borrow the money and pay the ransom; 2- Continue to investigate. They talk to Alexander and ask about his view, he wants his daughter back and if a loan will do it he is happy. However he is not sure he wants to pay Conon or let him get away with this. The group then have a long discussion about loyalty, who feels they have to do what and how much they need to do in this case. Eventually they come to agreement, Telamon has loyalty to Lydus as a friend and therefore to Gisal and Alexander the others have no such pull but decide they can not leave their friend or the family in the lurch. So they all go to see Telamon the Gold, They want to know whether he or the city would want a war with Conon and his compatriots? Which might happen if they take out Conon or try and fail. Gold explains that what ever they do they must succeed, or not only will the city suffer along with Alexander but their future job will disappear as they will not have proved to be who he had been told they were. Thanking him they go off to make there next action.
Archi and Barypos go to find Pelias, when they do they bribe him with 30 Drachma and he opens up about Vaumisa and his tricks and knows that Midas a petty thief knows about Conon. They work the streets and find Midas a small scared thief who does not like Conon [he caused some of the scares] when bribed he directs them to Evios a Thracian seaman. Heading to the docks they find Evios a tall and muscular seaman who knows the docks, who directs them to the area Conon uses for holding things again for a 30 Drachma bribe. They now know the house Conon uses to store people or things in the lower city near to the dock wall.
All this wandering and questioning has allowed them to find out a lot about the city. Pop – 5,000 Greek citizens appx [plus 10,000 women and children with another 5,000+ slaves]; Area 165 Acre’s = 820x810m; Hinterland = 10sq miles. It is surrounded by a 20 foot high wall which runs for around 3km with two external gates. The harbour is protected by a mole and a chain, it also has a internal wall linked into the main city wall. This wall has two gates.
The Acropolis 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 temples and shrines to the other gods in a central complex below Poseidon’s temple. Major Temple to Poseidon, Minor Temple’s to Zeus, Hera, Athena, Modest Shrines to the 9 others mayor deities. The Agora is in the middle of the lower city between the two gates. and the dock gates. The upper city leads to the Acropolis and is where the wealthy live. The lower city is divided into the Agora, bordered by the merchant and craft quarters. The Gymnasium and theatre quarter; the Docks and warehousing area; lower level housing.
There are 15 Taverns – five around the Agora – Alexander; Sinope; Mithridates; Gorgo; Cheiron.; five around the Gymnasium – Heraklides; Hoplite; Aspis; Hippeis; Thorax; five in the Docks – Trireme; Euxine; Bardas; Pollio; The Oar. The city patrols consist of 4 Thureophoui with Akon. If caught [20% change] with military equipment there is a fine of 5D a item. Trade – Outward- wine, olive oil; cherries, apples and pears dried or fresh; dried fish; copper, sliver, lead, zinc & arsenic from the interior; weapons & armour. Inward- grain and other foods; hides; furs; horses; pottery; fresh fish from local costal villages. Crafts – Weapon and armour factory; Ship building; Wine making; oil making;
Barypos and Archi head back to Alexander’s and the group start to plan. They come up with a two part plan 1- to pay and retrieve Gisal; 2- to then retrieve the sliver and kill Conon leaving it open to who did it. So first Alexander with his sons and four slaves escorted by Barypos and Archi go to Telamon the Gold to collect the loan of 1500 sliver pieces. Meanwhile they send a message to Conon to arrange a meeting by the Gymnasium entrance tomorrow midday, just four each side to exchange sliver for Gisal. With the sliver collected Jason does a Divination to find out the best place to ambush Conon the day after he has the sliver. First he sings the Hymnos, a Religious hymn. Sung by worshipers to honor their deity during a festival or as a prayer to persuade the god to offer a favor,. accompanied by Barypos. This goes well and he follows it by asking Apollo for help with his divination, that seems to go well as well. Finally he looks at the birds and looks into the future of the encounter with Conon. He sees a ambush outside the city walls around midday in two days with him carrying the sliver, the outcome of the ambush is unclear but it looks promising.
After all this work they retire for the evening to be ready for the exchange tomorrow miday. They awake before sunrise and break their fast before making sure all is ready. Jason and Telamon are to get there early and set up to watch the exchange and intervene or follow as needed. Later Barypos, Archi, Alexander and one son with the sliver head to the gymnasium for the meeting. Four thugs turn up with Gisal just as the sun reaches its height. The exchange goes off smoothly and easily and soon Gisal is on her way home and into the arms of her family. There is much celebration at the tavern and in the family, Alexander is overjoyed and can not thank the four enough for their help. There is a party atmosphere all evening and the party finishes late that evening.
Next morning our four heroes arm themselves and head out of the city, to lay an ambush. Jason, Archi and Barypos hide in the rocks and bushes beside the trail while Telamon on his horse waits 200m away off the trail to stop any one trying to flee back to the city.
The story of Conon of Argos.
Conon is a happy man, he has managed to avoid the girl Gisal being found and rescued and now he has the sliver to give to Vaumisa and keeping his own cut. He rides out of the city with his eight men heading into the interior to met heading into the interior to met the Persian. He and his men are armed with Javelin and Pelte Shield and he has the sliver on his belt. The sun is in his eyes but it is a lovely day for a ride.
Suddenly things go wrong, first he takes a blow to his abdomen which knocks the wind out of him then a arrow whistles past him, then he can just make out a figure in the dazzle of the sun moving towards him. He feels rather than sees his men readying their weapons around him. The next thing he knows is being hit by a thrown spear from the figure running at him. its smashes into his right arm, knocking him of his horse and into the hard ground. That is the last thing he ever knows.
The ambush has gone off without a fault, Conon is down hit by Barypos javelin which impaled his arm and knocked him of the horse. Hitting the ground ripped the javelin out and smashed his arm as he passed out.
The next 15 seconds see’s four of the thugs dead or dying on the ground with the others fleeing. Barrpos took two of them down and Jason and Telamon the other two. With the fight over they loot the bodies and collect the horses. They end up with the 1500 Drachma, five horses, 140 Obal’s, and another 40 Drachma. Once back in the city they sell two horses for 250 Drachma and give the 1,500 back to Alexander. He gives them back 500 as a reward, leaving him owing Telamon the Gold 500. From the 813 Drachma left they give back the bribe money each of them spent and give Jason 60 for his temple costs leaving them 150 Drachma each with 93 for the kitty. Jason uses the 60 to pay for a sacrifice to Apollo to regain his standing with him after calling on his help. Telamon makes offerings to Hercules and Apollo as well of 10 Drachna each as a thank you for their aid.
With Gisal free and a very happy Alexander and they expect Telamon the Gold they look forward to working with him on his voyage.
What further adventures await Barypos and his friends?
Find out next time.