The Odyssey of BARYPOS of TEGEA
Earlier parts of the story here
Chapter 3 [Part 2] All at Sea
The adventures in Hellenistic times of four adventurers [set in 270bc]
As they sit discussing their next step around the fire, eating supper, on the beach listening to the sound of the waves and the night and with the Iris pulled up close by Jason has a divine inspiration. What if these barbarian Thracian’s are preparing for a Cotyttia? This relates to Kotys, a goddess worshipped with much revelry by Thracian tribes such as the Edonians in the festival Cotyttia. According to Athenian sources her priests were called “washers” because their pre-worship purification rites involved bathing. Her worship included midnight orgies. Her name is believed to have mean “war, slaughter”. Known in Athens and linked with Dionysian mysteries although not seen as such by Greeks. If this is the case then they will have till midnight to save the captives. Jason also mulls over the need to still allow Clio to be ravished in the name of the goddess so as not to upset the deity. Telamon hits Jason over his remarks, we are here to save her not help her survive multiple rapes. Braypos is sure this is a perversion of the mysteries and of no real account, he doubts that Kotys is more than local distortion of the proper mysteries and there will be no divine comeback.
After tossing a lot of ideas around trying to work out how to rescue the two captives from a camp of around 20 plus warriors plus others they think they have one but it needs them to deal with the hemioloa as well. They wonder if they can cut out the galley but have limited knowledge of dealing with ships so Telamon the Gold suggests they ask the helmsmen. Timon tells them that the hemioloa will be pulled up two far on the beach for them with the limited number of rowers to pull off and it would take the whole crew a quarter to half an hour to push into the sea, but once done they could put ten men or so aboard to sail it along with them. Knowing that they would never have that much time our heroes realise that they will have to disable it instead. So they turn to wondering about burning the galley instead. They talk to Timon again along with Archi’s knowledge and think that with a amphora of oil, about 30lt, they might get one going as long as they have something to set it going. So they takes the Iris’s charcoal box which has hot coals on with them.
1 – move through the forest to the palisade with the amphora then move to the beach end of the palisade.
2 – move round the edge of the palisade going into the water to the inner side
3 – move to the galley and set it on fire
4 – move to the hall area and keep out of the way
5 – wait till fire is seen and people head to it then rescue the captives
6 – leave by the east gate and head back to the ship
Archi with the hot coals also takes a ships awl with him to make a few holes in the hull. The group decide they need a couple of sailors to carry the amphora to keep them free at least until they reach near to the settlement. But Telamon the Gold says they will need to check that the way is safe from lions and other dangers before he could risk the sailors. So they send Jason off to check the way to the settlement. He sees nothing out of the ordinary as he moves through the trees, he disturbs a few night creatures and hears some wolves far off but encounters nothing dangerous. As he reaches the forest edge he can hear the sound of bad singing from the settlement, loud enough to cover a lot of noise. He also sees a patrol of two Thracian’s heading up from the beach looking like they are circling the palisade. Jason then heads back to the Iris again meeting nothing dangerous on his way.
Jason reports back and then they influence the sailors so that two ‘volunteer’ to carry the amphora through the forest but no further. As they set out the sailors start to sing the hyporchema which Telamon joins in. Jason and Brypos scout ahead while Archi and Telamon guard the sailors and the oil. They reach the edge of the forest without incident and the scouts can see no patrol. They send the sailors back to the camp with their thanks. Archi and Telamon take over carrying the amphora covered by the other two. With the sound of drunken singing around them they move to the beach end of the palisade. Archi looks around the end and sees two Thracian’s leaning against the galley’s side singing together. Telamon staggers up to them pretending to be drunk and uses his Pankration to hit them both in the head stunning them and then using his kopis. He then props them in a sitting position against the side of the ship to look as though still there.
The other three then float the amphora around the palisade and along the beach to the galley. While the others lift it into the ship Archi gets busy with his awl making holes in the bilge of the ship. They then put all the oars in the bottom of the galley and cover them with the sail which they find aboard. Then they pour the oil all over the sail and the oars, the sound of singing drowning out any noise they are making. Archi takes a coal from the box and puts it in his sling and swings it around his head making the coal come alive and red, he then drops it into the sail and oil. Slowly the sail catches fire and after a few minutes the sail is afire and they leave the galley. With wisps of smoke coming from the galley they walk as though they belong past the huts towards the hall, they can see the captives tied to wooden stakes in front of the hall by a fire with some children making fun of them, poking them with sticks etc. as well as 2 slave women watching the children. They head to the side of the hall and wait.
They see various, what they assume to be, slaves coming and going bringing food and drink to the noisy hall, no one seems to notice the galley starting to glow. Suddenly the galley flares as the fire takes a real hold and flames shoot up. Jason tries to see the gate but can not get a clear line past the huts in the dim light of the fires. Suddenly there is a female scream picked up by others and the children, they have seen the galley and the flames. A couple run into the hall and more shouting follows then the men stagger out of the hall and start heading the slaves towards the beach to fight the fire. Jason looks out for the big man but does not see him.
Telamon cuts Clio and then Geleon free, she throws her arms around him and sobs. Archi tells his cousin to carry the fire box, Geleon says ‘always telling me what to do aren’t you?’ Archi slabs him and gives him the box. Telamon with Clio still hanging onto him moves with Geleon towards the gate, Jason and Brypos cover them and Archi picks up some fire brands and throws them onto the hall roof and the nearest hut. As Telamon approaches the gate he sees two guards leaning against it. He tells Clio to let go she just screams and holds tighter. Telamon just pushes her off and she falls sobbing to the ground. Telamon and Jason attack the two guards before they realise what is happening. Telamon again smashes his fist into the guards head and then stabs him while Jason stabs his sword twice into the abdomen of the other guard.
Telamon and Jason remove the bar on the gate and swing it open, they slip out with Archi and Brypos following. Geleon stoops and picks up Clio before following. They then head around the village to head back to the Iris through the forest. telamon and Jason go first with Barpos and Archi behind. They hear a noisy patrol talking and moving as if drunk. Archi tells his cousin to keep Clio quite and the four pretend to be drunk. As the patrol comes near they shout ‘enjoy the slave’ in Thracian, which of course the Greeks do not understand. They just wave back. Once the patrol is lost in the dark night they continue into the forest and then back to the Iris and its camp. Clio jumps and screams at every noise all the way, Geleon tries to claim her and she starts to see him as her saviour. Once back at the camp Telamon the Gold says the stories can wait and it would be best if they left now and set sail back to Morska Riba before the locals start to look for them. Telamon asks Geleon to look after Clio which he is happy to do. The sailors lift the anchor and row the Iris out into the water and then set the sail to head back to Morska. A successful rescue, but Mucatra has not been dealt with.
What will they find on the journey and what will they find at the village?
Find out next time