BlogNomic has moved!

The game is now running at

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Chapter 1: A Dream Deferred? (With Epilogue)

Kevan, the great tactician, captain of the SS Odyssey, awoke with a start, his flowing peppery beard drenched with sweat. Instantly alert, he leaped out of his cot, whipping his head around, his mind trying to reconcile half-remembered images of a great battle with the calm darkness of night surrounding him. Gradually the truth dawned on him, and he breathed a sigh of relief. No, his brethren on the Eriphyle had not forcefully boarded his ship, dragging him to the underbelly of their dank ship as captive. It had been a dream -- brought on, no doubt, by the fever that had wracked his crew of late, already claiming half a dozen lives and reducing the once-great Odyssey to a second-class ship on a dangerous sea.

Kevan lay back down, letting the darkness sink in. His visions had been a dream and nothing more; whence, then, the uneasy feeling stirring in his breast? Perhaps it was just the random wanderings of a fatigued mind, but for a moment the captain felt as though he had been touched by the hand of some god. This was a most uncharacteristic feeling for the pragmatic Kevan, who considered the ceremony of religion to be largely nonsense, and did not genuflect nightly to any patron god as did most of his crew. Still, though the tactician tossed and turned, his malaise did not vanish with time, and the rest of the night brought no sleep for the weary mariner.
Kevan, please select an option. What would you like to do about your nightmare?
1) Ignore it. It was just a dream.
2) Consult Sister Keitalia, seeking her insight.
3) Instruct the sharp-eyed Est to keep his gaze trained on the nearby Eriphyle.
When next Dawn with her fingertips of rose mounted the horizon, bleary-eyed Kevan could be heard barking out harsh orders to the sharp-eyed Est. "Lower the starboard squallnoggin and keep wary watch over the Eriphyle. Captain's intuition," he added, in response to Est's raised eyebrows. "If they give us trouble, we'll be all over them." Est tossed off a salute and went to work, not understanding his captain's order but obeying with a soldier's discipline. Kevan nodded, feeling somewhat more at ease, and knowing that Est would do well the job he had been told to do. Little did Kevan realize that Est had not been the only listener.

Below the ship, nereids sped the news of Kevan's reaction to Poseidon, brooding lord of the deep. "Infuriating fool!" raved the sea king. "I twist the unbeliever's ship in a gigantic whirlpool, end the lives of his crewmen with a horrible fever, and afflict him with a night terror about treachery at sea, and he still refuses to recognize the supremacy of the Maharajah of the Mediterranean? Why, I have a good mind to..."

"Cram it, Poseidon." An unexpected female voice echoed through the lavish throne room. A queenly figure entered, the decorative nets in her hair swaying in the water's current.

"Amphitrite," Poseidon growled. "Long has it been since your haggish face offended my senses. What brings you back to my palace?"

"Business," Amphitrite replied, her lip curled. "But no matter. This Kevan... the one called the great tactician, and who you now propose to smite for the fourth time this week. Why, exactly, do you feel the need to end his existence?"

Poseidon worked himself up until his voice was a thundering bass. "The seaweed-ridden dog refuses to pay his proper respects to me -- me, the god of the very sea over which he hopes to pass! And now he refuses to cower before me as the dream I sent him clearly requires! I demand that just deserts be inflicted upon him for daring to transgress against the will of the Almighty!"

"Oh, I'm sorry, dear," Amphitrite replied, her voice dulcet. "The supreme lord of the waves feels threatened by the mortal sailor and has to show off. Well, stallion, you might do well to remember that the tactician did act on the dream as he saw fit. He didn't ignore you; he misinterpreted you. Maybe if you would learn to communicate..."

Poseidon slumped. "Enough," he mumbled. "There will be no vengeance. I, uh... I'm tired."

"There, there," Amphitrite consoled him. "Go and get some rest, sugarplum. And no smiting till I say so. Idiot." With that, she stalked out of the throne room, bound for points unknown.

Much higher up, Est spent an uneventful day keeping watch over the Eriphyle. At eight bells he descended from the Odyssey's crow's nest, murmuring a brief prayer to his goddess Athena, and another to Artemis, whose silvery moon was just peeping over the horizon. Est had nothing to report to his captain, but hoped that at least the lack of news would comfort his clearly affected leader.

Kevan's choice is neither a boon nor bane to his ship or crew. Had he chosen the first option, a furious Poseidon would have calmed the winds to keep the Odyssey from sailing. Had he chosen the second, Poseidon, mollified, would have sent a school of fish for the Odyssey to capture and add to their Supplies. Congratulations to Kevan for averting disaster.