Note: This thread is reserved for the in character actions and dialogue of approved and active characters only. Please ensure you indicate any O O C portions of a reply as such.
Welcome to Sparta is all the you hear as you enter the Polis (City). You are struck by how austere the town is considering it just beat the richest city in the world in a long war. You look around and note there isn't even a wall surrounding the city. Can it be so poor it can't even afford a wall? You hear a man, possibly a Roman, ask a pair of Spartans walking by, "Why do you have no wall?" The woman replies, "Our men are our walls."
He looks at her dumbfounded. "I was speaking to your husband, watch your place madam."
She looks at him coldly, "I have no husband. This is Agathon, my friend and training partner. The gods gave me a tongue for more than what your Italian women use it for I see. And they gave me a brain to power it."
You smile slightly, this will be interesting you think. You know that Sparta won the Peloponnesian War just two decades ago and now reigns supreme over all of Hellas (Greece) and the broader Hellenic world. Her soldiers are feared and even the vast Persian Empire will not challenge her might. You look to the fields outside the city and you see children, no more than ten or twelve years old training for war. They look lean… and strong.
The Spartan woman looks at you, "This is our way. We don't believe in vast wealth or flaunting it. We believe in having enough, and in service. They train now for war when the sun is at its highest. They will know how to fight and the heat of the day won't stop them when other Polis' armies wilt. At night, they train their brains. They learn rhetoric and the art of winning the conversation in few words."
Then she looks at the man from Italy, possibly Rome, "And women here train too. I train to run the farm while our men are away at war. I train to defend this city too. Both mind and body. And if you ask me how I have the temerity to speak to you I will convey a story. Queen Gorgo, the wife of King Leonidas who held off 100,000 Persians with a handful of Greeks, was once asked, Why are you Spartan women the only ones who can rule men? Her reply was, Because we are also the only ones who give birth to men. You had best remember that."
Then she runs off with her friend, Agathon. Clearly they are competing against each other. You smile, clearly this will be an interesting time indeed. Then you remember why you came here. Ever since that star with the long fiery tail that always pointed away from Earth was seen strange things have been happening. For the past ten years magic now works. At least for some. And what's more, there have been strange creatures roaming the Earth, creatures not seen since the time of Heracles. Mount Olympus has awoken as well. Fire rumbles in her belly daily, the gods must be angry… but why?
This is why Pausanias, the King of Sparta, has called a council and invited representatives from all over the Hellenic world, even from Syracuse and the Hellenic cities of Asia Minor. He has also invited foreign representatives from as far away as Persia, Aegyptus, and the small Italian towns sprouting up with growing regularity. They are led by a town named Rome.
People are pouring into this city and it is bursting at the seams. It was never meant to hold this many foreigners. It is not Athens with her broad streets, many brothels, and mighty Agora where people meet. No, this is Sparta. The very name means austere. In the region of Laconia, where Laconic is a way of life. There are representatives from all over, even from the barely Hellenic people of Macedonia and Thrace, and across Persian, even Aegyptus. The Barbarian tribes of the north even sent representatives. And there are people who came to watch the spectacle too, or to profit from it, cutthroats and cut purses.
But it will all soon begin. Tomorrow is the day the King of the Spartans will say his piece. Tomorrow is when the council will start. For tonight, you need to find a place to eat, share some stories, and rest. For tomorrow your real work begins.
Edited: Abnninja on 11th Sep, 2017 - 5:23pm
The day appointed to start the council is a brisk day in early spring. Sparta is bursting with activity, even though Helios has just driven his chariot up on the eastern horizon. Never have there been so many people here, not even after Sparta won the Peloponnesian War and brought all her defeated foes in to hear the terms of their surrender. But Sparta always rises early, and this day is special, for it seems all the world has sent representatives to the council King Pausanias, one of the two kings of Sparta, called.
Spartan soldiers line the streets and all the entrances to the Polis. These are her walls indeed. If you listen, you can already hear the children training in the agōgē, the rigorous education and training program mandated for all male Spartan citizens. As explained to you last night, while eating a black gruel for dinner that tasted worse than it looked, the training involves learning stealth, cultivating loyalty to Sparta, military training, pain tolerance, hunting, dancing, singing, social preparation, and rhetoric. And they start at seven years old… and women have something similar. These Spartans certainly were odd.
The council is being held outside of Sparta proper, on a plain quite near the city that has been flattened and laid bare of vegetation by the trampling of Spartan feet training for war on it for the last 400 years. Because of this, dust swirls from all the sandaled and bare feet walking towards the gathering.
Ahead you can see chairs set up for the dignitaries, They are all simple wooden chairs and you note King Pausanias and King Agesilaus, the dual monarchs of Sparta, are already seated. You also note there is no dais set up nor are their chairs any different from any of the others set up on the field.
There must be close to 1,000 Spartan hoplites there as well. This is just portion of her army, but looking at them they are impressive. Standing there, not moving, holding their heavy hoplon (Shield) up off the ground. Each hoplon with the Greek letter Lambda (Λ). Long spears with deadly tips in their other hands. Their long wavy black hair perfectly oiled. Their helmets down and yet the fierceness and determination etched on their faces almost palpable.
I'd like each of you to introduce your character by describing them, how they arrive at the council, and provide an interesting observation or two that your characters see at the council or among the people gathered. Also, discuss where you are in the throng of people. Are you pushing to the front, seeking safety in the middle of the people, or hanging towards the rear?
Edited: Abnninja on 3rd Sep, 2017 - 10:20pm
Walking among the throes of people, Manos is eager to set up shop. Stationing himself near the city entrance proper he keeps an eye out for damaged or worn carts or wagons.
Hearing about the great summons and the upcoming announcement from the Spartan King; Manos, like so many, is here to make a lot of coin. With vehicles coming from all over the known world, it is not a matter of if he'll find work, but how much.
He sees the young boys off in the field training and thinks to himself, back to the days of his own childhood, to those hot days of his uncle Torgo training him.
He over hears the woman's conversation and just shakes his head. "You never anger a Spartan woman." He thinks to himself and smiles. Of all the people he's met in his long life, his Spartan mother is the only one that has put true fear in him.
Seeing an approaching carriage, he notices how the front wheel is limping. It will need some work, especially if they plan to return home. He approaches, patting dust off his robes. He presents his tools before him and asks them; "Do you speak Greek?" He then switches to Persian and asks again; "Persian?" Switching back to Greek; "Your wheel is in need of repair, I can aid you for a modest price."
Out of Character: If another PC wishes to be the person Manos is speaking to, that could be interesting.
Brathark heads out on the plain in the early hours to stand with his brothers in arms. He finds himself not far from the kings and he is a bit uncomfortable being a little close to them as one wants his head. Maybe he will not notice the read hair while it is oiled back and looking dark like the rest. He watches as people begin filing onto the plain. This is going to be a interesting meeting to say the least.
Edited: KNtoran on 3rd Sep, 2017 - 8:52pm
Keitha very much felt out of place among the people of Rome and the city of which she found herself in. Much more comfortable in the forests and wild places, this hussle and bussle left her a bit overwhelmed but kept a calm demeanor.
She was a tall woman, keeping ahold of her staff, who moved with a certain grace that was different from those around her. With red hair trying to go astray and wearing her fine clothes to make a better impression though she much preferred that which she traveled in before arriving at Rome.
With the call given by the ruler of Sparta, Keitha found herself as an envoy of her people though raised by the fair folk who took her in. Perhaps she can gain favor for both by her deeds in such a fair off land most strange even by the standards of that most wild.
Yet despite wishing to keep herself from drawing attention to herself, Keitha made notice to how one soldier was trying to calm a horse that was not staying still. Seeing him pull at the room as he did, the woman steps forward and stills his hand.
"Please, let me help to calm him," Unless stopped, she will focus her attention on the horse giving soft whispers and sounds as she offers a soothing tone. Keitha will have her eyes connect with the animal's, her soft touch to move his head towards her.
Edited: Thomaslee on 4th Sep, 2017 - 1:52am
Elymas ambles through the streets, taking it in. The discipline on display here was certainly impressive, but the price paid… Too much in his opinion. There appears to be no life to this place, just a bunch of willful automatons fulfilling duty. Even the children seemed to have forgotten how to be children.
Ah well, there were certainly stranger customs in this world, and this one was certainly more useful than many he had heard of. Perhaps the next time Aetes acted like a brat he could be threatened with going here for training.
The philosopher was never a particularly imposing man, though he is not physically unfit, even in these latter years of his life. Dark skinned, and with black hair save for where it is going grey, at least part of his ancestry is clearly African. His thick beard is heavily curled in the Greek style. Elymas does not like messing with the hot curling irons, but he had to admit the look was rather fetching.
The tebenna and leggings he wears are well made. Fine dyed cloth. They speak of means, if not great wealth. His belongings have already been stowed away, and he only carries a simple bag at his waist. Occasionally, a small avian head can be spotted looking about from within.
As people gather for the meeting, he refrains from pushing his way forward, that's a young man's game. Instead, he finds a place to rest well in back, and addresses his small companion on a mental connection none else could perceive. [Enjoying yourself Kria?]
The little brown and white spotted owl clambers out of her bag and stands on her master's thigh as he absent mindedly scratches behind her large eyes, Source 3f [The people here are interesting I guess. Why are we here again?] [The kings here have called for a meeting on the nature of magic, they need our perspective. Speaking of perspective, could you fly a little closer to the front? I would prefer not to miss anything said] [Fine, but, I expect extra servings tonight if anyone tries to mess with me.]
Kria flies towards the front, finding a perch near where the two kings sit. Elymas' eyes close, and suddenly he is seeing and hearing from the perspective of his familiar rather than his own. He now has a better view than nearly anyone else here, no elbowing required.
Out of Character: I should note that I prefer treating familiars as actual living beings rather than the shapeshifting spirits the 5E spell suggests they are. It just feels more appropriate, allows for them to be relatable characters rather than just a class feature. Kria's species is Athene Noctua, and is usually just called Little Owl. They're very often associated with Athena, so I felt it particularly appropriate.
Edited: daishain on 4th Sep, 2017 - 4:20am
The young Amazon approaches the massive gathering. She looks down upon almost everyone in the crowd at just over six feet tall. Her raven hair sways from side to side in a braid as she walks. The studded leather armor that she wears covers most of her body except for her lower thighs. A scar is visible across her left thigh. She is an attractive woman and many stare having never seen an Amazon. A green cloak billows out behind her as she walks.
Along side of her walks an unusual sight. A black bear named Arcad strolls right at her side. He sniffs from time to time as they near the gathering. Briadia looks around nervously. She isn't used to being around this many people. The Amazon is also not used to being around men. She studies everyone with suspicion.
They reach the edge of the gathering and she is content to stop there. Her height allows her to have a good view and she doesn't feel comfortable mixing into the crowd. Her clear blue eyes scan the crowd. The people around her gawk at the sight of her and Arcad. They leave a little circle of space around them. Briadia studies the Spartan warriors and is impressed by them. They would be worthy foes to challenge her abilities.
Her attention is brought back to the immediate area. She hears a crunching sound and looks to Arcad. He is sitting there chewing on some type of food that somehow fell out of a person's belongings in front of them. Blushing, she apologizes for him. " Arcad, you are not starving. You eat well. These people do not understand you. You must be careful. " She sighs and shakes her head but a grin is visible on the corner of her mouth. Briadia looks to the King's chair expectantly.
Edited: Kyrroeth on 4th Sep, 2017 - 11:35am
Tellias made his way from his villa towards the gathering. Having had breakfast and dressed in his Ekklsia attire of toga, laurel headband and sash of office, he prepared to attend the gathering. He had tasked Exadius to bring the whole of the gladiator trainees and his gladiator champions to be in attendance at the gathering, forming an impromptu, but very imposing entourage.
The week before the gathering Tellias had been requested to attend an audience with King Pausanias.
"Welcome Tellias." Pausanias said as his most trusted ally in the Ekklsia entered his private receiving chamber.
"Greetings my king." Replied Tellias somewhat formally.
"Tellias, I have asked you here informally and as a trusted friend rather than a representative of the Ekklsia or Grand Champion of all Hellas!" Pausanias laughed heartily and Tellias laughed in return. They clasped arms and Pausanias slapped Tellias on the shoulder in a familiar Spartan greeting.
Since Tellias's victory in the gladiatorial arenas, the king had taken a great interest in the Spartan, knowing all too well the prestige & status his achievement had brought to Sparta. And when Tellias took his place in the Ekklsia, Pausanias made it his mission to determine his political sensibilities and his loyalties. Having found Tellias to be a true and devout Spartan, strongly believing in the Spartan ways & traditions and a firm supporter of the monarchy, he ensured to befriend the impressive Spartan.
Over time Tellias saw that their initial friendship was somewhat of a tactical political move on Pausanias's part, but his heart warmed to the personality of his king over the following weeks and months and they indeed found a great many things in which they could converse and their respect & trust in each other grew to a firm bond. Although they may not spend every minute of the day in one another's company, this unspoken bond was incredibly strong and they relied upon it to help bolster their positions respectively.
"I wish for you to take a prominent role in the upcoming gathering my friend. Not necessarily in an official capacity but I trust in your judgment and restrain, and I know that you will find a way to influence what goes on there to help bring reassurance to all of Hellas and to those delegates from abroad." Pausanias stated.
"Of course. You know your command is my duty, and whether in an official capacity or not I shall do as you request without hesitation. I have seen the fear in the eyes of non-Spartan visitors since you announced the gathering, and they fear the consequences or implications that the growing occurrences of magic & monsters from legend & myth might bring. Although Sparta will stand strong to whatever comes, I understand your reservations about those from outside the Polis. Let us hope the bravery does not leave those who attend." Tellias replied reassuringly.
Pausanias laughed "As ever Tellias you prove yourself not only a true friend, but also as insightful and aware of the situation as ever. Let us hope that the fear of those from outside Sparta does not overwhelm the gathering and we can at least form a reasonable and forthright response to this menace. It is still one of my greatest disappointments that your physical stature prevented you from becoming a soldier my friend, for I have no doubt that you would be my general by now, even given your age." They once again laughed at this now familiar, but sincere statement. "Until the gathering my friend." They once again clasped one another's forearms and Tellias departed. Pausanias watched Tellias leave his chamber and indeed rued the fact that his friend could not be at his side during times of war, but he took solace in the fact that he would be there for him in all other times that he was needed.
Tellias and his entourage made it's way through the polis, towards the plateau where the gathering was being held. As they passed by groups of people, on their way to the same location, whispers and gasps of recognition flew from one bystander to another. Although Spartan's knew all too well who Tellias was and had become accustomed to his presence walking the polis streets, either attending the Ekklsia or visiting his king, the visitors from other poleis and regions of Hellas were not so use to being in his glorious presence. Soon the whispers turned into shouts and then, as the throng grew, cheers and songs broke out, accompanying Tellias through the streets. Although he was a little embarrassed by this attention, he by no means disliked it, after all the life of a gladiator is to entertain and no gladiator could claim he was great unless the crowd truly loved him, although that love could sometimes be rather inappropriate and unwanted. His entourage raised themselves up in their pride of their leader and took their parts in his procession more importantly & seriously than they might of before, seeing themselves as ambassadors to not only Stable Kallisthenes put to Sparta herself!
By the time they had reached the edge of the polis a sizable mob was following Tellias and his cohorts. A woman rushed forward and threw a flower at Tellias, then feinted at his feet. Tellias stopped and helped the woman to her feet, she took this chance to spring her trap, throwing her arms around Tellias's neck and kissing him passionately. A voice shouting a woman's name angrily was washed out by the cheers of the crowd of onlookers. Tellias was used to this sort of thing by now, and the woman was indeed attractive, on another occasion he might of retired to an inn or his villa with her, but this was not the time nor the place. He let the woman kiss him for a few seconds, responding to her kiss with his mouth, but no other part of his body showed a response, then he gently but firmly grasped her by the shoulders and pulled her away, winking at her as he did so. This time the woman feinted for real and a man, who looked not too pleased by this show of lust, caught the woman and dragged her away, most likely her boyfriend or husband.
The gathering delegates all turned to see the commotion and watched as Tellias and his gladiators made their way to the plateau. They felt the need to part way to allow the short toga attired man entrance to the inner circle of the gathering. At this moment, Tellias size had no importance, as the show of affection and admiration being showered upon him made him seem taller than a giant! As he approached the inner circle the gathered Spartan soldiers give a quick, sharp clang of their spears on their shields and Tellias responded by slapping his closed fist and forearm across his chest. Tellias stopped, turned and raised his hands aloft to the crowd that had gathered to get his attention. They cheered his name and then he swept his arms sideways and the crowd grew silent.
Tellias turned again and made his way to an empty seat at the side of King Pausanias. He nodded his greeting to King Aegyptus as he did so, Aegyptus returning the show of respect in kind to Tellias, hiding an inner smile and a knowing sideways glance to his fellow king. Pausanias had a wry smile on his face also, all too well knowing that what had just happened would happen and that having such a spectacle and this famous figure at his side would only aid him in the coming meeting, as had Tellias in recognizing the kings subtle request for him to be such a display of prominence and a trophy of the Spartan peoples. He didn't mind being seen as a trophy to outsiders, as the only respect he needed was that of his fellow Spartans, and that was not in short supply since his success, although the praise of the foreigners was still very gratifying and something he had never tired of.
Tellias's gladiators made their way onto the edge of the circle behind the seats, after their leader had taken his place, and watched intently for the proceedings to start. A tall woman, who's startlingly attractive head stood above most of those gathered, caught Tellias's eye and he smiled at her before returning his gaze to inspect the rest of those in attendance. An owl swooped past and perched behind him a ways, as always Tellias respected the forces of nature and her children, having faced many creatures in the arenas, he found their power, elegance and splendour beyond measure. He nodded in the owl's direction and then returned his attention to the gathering.
Edited: Glarion on 4th Sep, 2017 - 1:20pm