By the Gods...
Was a simple break too much to ask for?
It hadn't even been an hour since Kassandra's mater had sailed away, taking the journey back to Sparta.
All Kassandra had wanted, just for these few moments, was to lean over the balcony of her maters home, imagine the adventures they would have had - whether by sea, or by road - and just enjoy the feeling of finally having her mater back in her life. She didn't want her gut to be telling her that someone was stood behind her, that she should grab her spear and throw it at their heads.
She honestly though it may be Deimos, which meant that when she did throw the spear, she made sure to aim it just right of their head. That would get him back for shooting that arrow at her.
Except, when she turned, the spear jutting out of the wall a few inches away from a hooded head, it was too small to Deimos.
Still, whoever it was, they hadn't even flinched,
"You missed" a womans voice said, Kassandra folded her arms, "I assume you meant to do that" the woman pushed her hood down and stepped in to the light. With brown hair tide in a bun, and dark eyes on sun-kissed skin, the woman was no more than twenty.
"Lets assume I did" Kassandra said, the air around them had grown stale, cold; the city had gone quiet. The girl pulled the spear from the stone and Kassandra went to grab it from her hand but, she turned and held it out to Kassandra without hesitation, no want to keep it like the others that had touched it, "Who are you", Kassandra took the spear back, not before noticing how she let the spear drop in to her hand. The girl wandered over to the table of food, picking at some of the left-over fruit,
"Right now, that doesn't really matter. Just know that we have a..." the girl thought about it as she popped a grape in to her mouth, "A common objective" she was holding something in her hand,
"And what is that",
"To take down the cult of Kosmos" the girl held up the artifact fragment and, in seconds, the both of them were on their feet, back to back as masked guards came at them from each side.
"Time to die eagle bearer" one of the nine said,
"Do you always get so much attention" the girl asked, "I was kind of hoping of having you all to myself", Kassandra smiled, the guards started to circle them,
"Can you fight", the girl snorted,
"You think I stole that fragment from a pocket" the girl lunged forward on to one of the guards just as one swung at Kassandra with a shield. She dodged it, sticking her spear in to the soft leather near his belly and yanking it out before she turned and swung her sword at another. She'd never seen this many before... Never out in the open...
Had they come to kill her mother?
Kassandra glanced back at her new companion, she was already on her third. She worked fast. Too fast maybe. One of the fallen had started to pull himself away, towards his sword but then, the girl stepped back, her heel choking him before a third fell on top, her fourth man had started to back away, fumbling around with his bow,
"Watch out" Kassandra heard her say as she turned back, narrowly missing another hit by rolling away. Kassandra pulled over her own bow and shot the man in the chest, stunning him for a moment whilst she stabbed another in the throat. Pulling her bow over again, she went to aim for the man who had started to back away but, just as she let her arrow go, something gnarly and black jumped at him from the shadows.
He screamed out in agony at first, only for a sickening crunch, that made both Kassandra and her left over guard flinch, to silence him completely.
Kassandra hadn't realised she'd froze until the girl threw a dagger at her, missing her head by a few inches and slamming in to the jugular of the last man who was about to swing at her head with a sword.
There was quiet then, if only for a moment...
Then, the world, the people, it seemed to erupt in some sort of frenzy. Multiple arms grabbed at the girl and somehow, Kassandra was now surrounded by her crew. Barnabas had his hand on her shoulder,
"Commander, we're..." it had only just occurred to him that the masked men they'd seen her fighting from the ship were now lying dead at her feet, and the girl that the crew were holding down was no more than a kid. It was fair to say that they were a little late to the party.
"Is this really necessary" the girl asked from where she lay. She looked at the sword points aimed at her face, the crew jeering at her as if they'd overcome some great feat. Honestly, she'd seen them before Kassandra had - lying down seemed to be her only option.
"Stand down" Kassandra said, her eyes were still on the spot where the bowman had vanished. She took a step closer, a want to peer around the corner, to see if whatever had taken him was still there, but then they heard it. Even the crew all turned to look. The sound of bones being crunched and splintered,
"Did you think the Gods only favoured you" the girl asked. Ikaros flew on to the balcony then, raising his feet high as he walked across it towards Kassandra, as if on some sort of mission, she ignored him, the girl smiled at him and he tilted his head, as if he was sizing her up. The girl got to her feet,
"What was that",
"A lycaon" the girl said as she pulled the dagger, which had a serpent twisted around it's handle, from the mans neck, blood spurting upwards as the man gave a few more jerks before dying,
"A lycaon" Barnabas said, "By the Gods, that's a creature from Hades", the girl shrugged, not looking at them, she put the dagger back in to its sheath,
"Actually, he's more like a wolf" the girl turned and held out her hand, sticky with blood, "My name is Eos and, I assume you are Kassandra" she glanced over at the eagle was also staring at the space where the guard had vanished. Kassandra took her hand, about to say how impressive her friend was but, she felt the coldness of the artefact fragment between them, and then...
She was in Athens again... the temple.. Periklese... her brother... Stay out of my way... no... there was something wrong... she could see herself standing there... saw herself lunge at the guards... Kassandra felt the need to turn... felt the pain in her head as she caught sight of a mask... felt herself falling... felt the heat.. the flame... she was...
Eos was the one who pulled away, snatching her hand from the tight grip Kassandra hadn't even realised she'd had; the fragment falling to the floor as the girl stumbled over to the balcony and threw up over the edge.
"What happened to you" Kassandra asked, she could still feel the heat on her skin, the pain in her head. The girl had been watching them, all the way back in Athens, she'd been there when Periklese had died. Eos took a few more moments to catch her breath, to make sure there was nothing else coming up before she turned her head to her. Using one hand to steady herself and the other to wipe her mouth with the sleeve of her robe, she snorted a smile that looked far too forced.
Eos began to unwrap her shroud and, despite the darkness, Kassandra could see the red blotchy skin all over her neck, the small red spots on her cheek. It was blistering and sore-looking, it couldn't have been more than a few weeks old.
"They threw me in a volcano" Eos took a deep breath as she put her head down on her arm, she still felt a little queasy "Guess that beats getting thrown from a mountain" she mumbled. Kassandra went to ask why, but then she felt the hair on the back of her neck go up, the crew go unnervingly quiet and Barnabas pull at her armour; she turned around slowly, a low growl making her grab at her spear.
The shadow that had attacked the archer was now standing on her mothers roof. It was a wolf, at least she thought it was; its fur was as black as the night; it had beady yellow eyes that drew you in, that made you feel all sorts of dread and, a magnificent set of white teeth that looked like it could bite through her skull no problem. It snarled at the crew and they raised their weapons, their hands shaking as they decided whether or not they should run,
"Behave" Eos said. The creature sat almost immediately, a look of sarcasm in its face that Kassandra couldn't understand before she remembered what a Lycaon was. There was something horribly human about it, the way it looked, the way its face twitched. "Probably best not to keep staring at him" Eos said, "Making eye-contact usually means he's about to eat you". Kassandra looked over at her, saw the small smirk on her lips as Eos leaned her head down on the stone wall, hoping it would cool off the ache inside.
Then, Kassandra saw the artefact fragment she'd dropped. Not really taking her eyes of the creature, who was also in no hurry to take his eyes off of her, Kassandra picked it up. "It's from the Chimera" Eos told her, she pulled something from her robes, "This here" it was a scroll, a bit blood soaked, but readable, "tells us that the silver griffin is held up on Prasonisia island. Now, as much as I like sailing, and killing them, I don't really feel like getting my feet wet once I get myself back to Attika" she held the scroll out to Kassandra,
"What did you do to deserve getting thrown in to a volcano" Kassandra asked as she took it from her, placing it in her pocket. For one, it seemed a bit dramatic; for two, getting thrown of a mountain was one thing, but getting thrown in to lava... The Gods either had a heavy hand on this one's life, or she was extremely lucky.
"I took something the cult wanted" Eos said quietly, she turned around, so she was facing her. Before Kassandra could asked what it was, Eos raised her hand, "It's long gone Kassandra" she smiled, "Even if I could bring it back, I wouldn't" she put her head back, "I really am going to hell" she added quietly. Eos looked back at the mystios, she didn't seem all that amused anymore,
"What is it you want with me then" Kassandra asked, the fragment was a nice offering - it had her attention at least.
"I'm looking for something Kassandra" Eos said, she pushed herself away from the wall, "Something I think you might end up destroying without even knowing", hell, Eos wouldn't blame her, not after what had happened.
"And what's that" Kassandra asked,
"Tell me 'mystios'. If there was one thing you could have, in this world, what would it be",
"My family" Kassandra said it without any hesitation. That's all she'd ever wanted. Her mater, her pater, her brother. And she would, despite the things that had happened, despite what the cult had turned her baby brother in to - she would stop at nothing to get them back, and she wasn't going to let a little girl and her pet wolf get in the way of that, no matter how humanly it looked at her. Eos smiled, nodding her head,
"So, as well as killing cultists, we have another thing in common" she sat down, "I'm looking for my family" she put her hand on her chest and sighed, "Except, their not some lone spartan warrior, lost baby or pirate queen" Eos almost laughed, "Their terrible, terrible" she had to emphasise that, "Human beings that have known nothing, but pain and suffering and..." Eos shrugged, if anyone could understand, it'd be the eagle-bearer, even if she didn't want to admit it, "And, I feared that if I never got to you, you'd kill them all and you'd never even know".
"Know what" Kassandra asked, "Who are you" her hand tightened around her spear. The creature stood up, baring its teeth at her before it vanished in to the black of the night.
This time, Eos gave her the only answer that mattered.
"A very lost child of Kosmos" Eos felt the lycaon rub itself against her leg as it emerged from the shadows next to her, "I'm one of Chrysis' tortured little babies".