Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L. (emo_snal) wrote,
Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L.

Chasing the Wind

This was posted last week to my other account in "second chance" idol, but since apparently getting knocked out of main idol automatically sends you to second chance there's no point in continuing a second account over there, and I wanted to move this over here to be with the other Argonautica stories.

   The turquoise sea sparkled in the sun, seagulls circled overhead, and the large square sail pulled fitfully, propelling the ship along. The crewmembers relaxed at their oar benches, trying to enjoy every moment of not rowing to the utmost. Jason stood near the steersman in the stern, watching the green hilly coast slide by to their right. He enjoyed the fresh salty breeze and warm sun. They sailed past a series of forested islands, and shortly they began to discern the great gap in the coast up ahead, where a great channel of the sea led through to the hills to the further sea beyond. As they approached the entrance, one thing was clear to everyone: the wind wouldn't suit, they'd have to resume rowing. Some crewmembers began to stretch in preparation, others took the last opportunity to grab a quick bite, others rested their head on the gunwales with every appearance of being asleep, trying to truly eke out the very maximum of rest before it was time to get to work.
   Jason observed a small cluster of huts on a mound near the nearer point marking the entrance to the famed Bosphorus channel.
   "Alright lads," Jason announced, "let's get the sail down." The experienced volunteer crew knew what to do, and in a trice the sheet-lines holding the lower corners were cast off, the sail was furled up, and the yard and mast stowed safely amidships. The gentle flutter of the wind in the sail was soon replaced by the rhythmic grunts of the crew pulling their oars in practiced unison and the creak and thunk of the oars in the greased oarlocks.
   White-bearded Idas, standing in the stern beside Jason, pointed to a broad inlet on the far side of the Bosporus entrance. "We should shelter there for the evening, that's where I believe we will find Phineus." Jason pulled the brim of his straw hat low to shield his eyes from the glare, as the late afternoon sun reflected from the water in the inlet with golden brilliance.
   "Okay," he agreed, and he nodded to the helmsman Typhis, who was beside them with the steering oar, and they turned to larboard and made their way into the golden horn-shaped inlet. There were a few more huts among the trees on the left side, but Idas pointed to the right side, saying
   "By those fig trees on the far side."
   They sighted a sandy beach by the fig trees and rowed hard directly for it.
   "Now boys!" Jason called out, and the rowers leapt from their benches to rush aft. The bow consequentially rose up, and as the crew braced themselves the boat lurched as it hit the beach, but smoothly slid up the sand with a guttural hiss to come to rest half out of the water. The crew jumped down to the beach. Some locals came from the huts to cautiously greet them.
   "Ah Phineas, he lives up there" a man who had introduced himself as Paraebius said, pointing to a larger stone building on top of the hill. "I believe he's been expecting you."
   "Ah yes, he's a renowned prophet" mused Jason. "Butes, could you hand down some of the fruits we picked up in Amycus we need to bring Phineas a gift!"
   "Uhh," Paraebius held up a warning finger, but then reconsidered, lowering it, saying "you'll see."

   As the crew approached the stone house on the hill they could see it had once been grand but had fallen into serious disrepair, it's walls cracked and unpainted. An old man hobbled out the front door as they arrived, he was extremely emaciated and stared about with blank sightless eyes, but greeted them:
   "Bravest Hellenes, long have I awaited your arrival, for it is foretold that you shall deliver me from my miserable fate!"
   "What is that terrible fate?" asked Jason, and continued "by jove you look like you haven't eaten in years, please, take this food we have brought you!" and waved forward the men with the baskets of fruit. The men began to come forward, but then
   "SQUAAAAK, SQUAAAAAAKK" there was a great shrieking and flapping, startling everyone. Two hideous bird-like creatures with the heads of human women had suddenly swooped into their midst! They grabbed the baskets of fruit and swooped off low over the ground along the ridgeline to the northwest. In the silence that followed a single pomegranate could be heard bouncing down the hill, and a repugnant smell hung in the air.
   "You see" said Phineas, "Zeus has punished me for revealing to much of the future by taking away my sight and sending down these two harpies to steal almost everything I attempt to eat, leaving me just enough to keep me barely alive."
   "Hmmmmm" said Jason. "Well. I guess we'll entice them back, but this time we'll be ready."

   Four crewmembers came up the hill, each pair carrying a fat freshly slaughtered sheep between them. The rest of the crew had secreted themselves behind bushes around the house or just within windows, ready to leap out. They all had their weapons at ready, gleaming bronze swords, sturdy spears, or ready bows. Just as expected as the sheep reached the house the harpies came shreeking in. Everyone jumped from their hiding places but even having been prepared they weren't quick enough to land a blow on the harpies, nor to hit one of them with an arrow. Jason watched them swooping away, barely over the tops of the grass weighted with their heavy loads. He was about to cry out in rage when he saw Calaïs and his brother Zetes sprint after them, each with a small bronze sword. They disappeared after their quarry over he next ridge.
   "They are fast and enduring like the north wind" Jason told Phineas. They will surely catch those harpies.

   Sure enough, by that evening Phineas was enjoying a feast of turkey and delicacies, and telling the party about their journey ahead (though careful not to go into so much detail as to anger Zeus once again.

Tags: argonautica, fiction, historical fiction, lj idol entry
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