Fall of the Trident @lord22

Chapter Seven: Consequences

A swift wind blew through the sails of the Atlantean fleet for a week afterward. Their progress was swift and sure. Scout ships brought Arkantos word of Kamos' operations. It seemed that he had established himself on an island of divided loyalties. On the one side was a Greek colony that paid homage to Atlantis.

On the other, the Egyptian Empire had many holdings. Kamos had apparently taken control of it. And so Arkantos had set course, hoping to kill the minotaur at last.
In this, he soon learned, he had competition.

Word had come to Arkantos that the fleets of Athens and Themyscyra had set out their fleets. Theseus had apparently made an alliance with the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta. Arkantos was worried by this. By the time he met Kamos' base, he feared the pirates might have been killed and his fleets destroyed.
Such a defeat would be a blow against the pride of Atlantis. No doubt why Theseus had sought to do it in the first place. In addition, so powerful an alliance could lead to defeat for Atlantis in the coming war.

It would be far better if they suffered a grievous defeat while weakening Kamos. And so Arkantos prayed that Kamos would gain victory against Theseus. Following by a prayer that Arkantos would gain victory against Kamos.

It was a complex prayer, but he was certain Poseidon would understand.

Certainly, the weather could not have been better. Arkantos reflected as they neared the island. At the center was a great mountain. Around that mountain, the towns and settlements were all established. Gold was mined here, in particular at the northern reaches.

"Perhaps setting out on this errand really was all that was needed to appease Poseidon," said Arkantos, more to himself than anyone else.

"Black sails! Portside!" said Zethos.

Looking up, Arkantos saw the ships of Kamos. And on them was the banner of the Minotaur himself. The Pirate King was here at last. "And he leads us to Kamos, too.

"Archers! Ready your bows! Prepare to come about! They're going to pay for insulting Poseidon, and Atlantis!"

The Pirates reacted slower than usual. Obviously, they had not anticipated their presence here so quickly. Soon the ships of Atlantis were surging forward. They fired arrows and flaming stones from machines. Several of Kamos' vessels were set alight before he could respond. Then the battle began in earnest.

Arkantos saw his fleets engage the pirates, and battle was joined on virtually every deck. The fighting continued in a gruesome display as both fought one another. Arkantos speared a pirate through the heart, watching Zethos shoot down several.

On went the conflict. Both forces seemed an even match, and Arkantos thought they would fight forever. Yet little by little, Arkantos' men were gaining the advantage. He could see Kamos on the deck of one of the ships, however. The one-handed minotaur was laying about him with his sword arm, cleaving down men easily. A shield warded off arrows as he led his warriors to seize the very ship attacking him.

Arkantos desired to face him. To slay his enemy at last. Yet he knew he must remain focused on what he could do.

Then, suddenly, a great wave passed through the fleets, and they were separated. The Atlantean vessels were scattered to one side, and Kamos' fleets to the others. Soon enough, Kamos turned to flee back toward his harbor.

"Admiral, the field is ours," said Zethos.

Arkantos, however, was troubled. Why had Poseidon separated them when the fighting was going in their favor? Perhaps they were needed elsewhere. "Make for our colonies with all speed. They may be under attack."

His fear proved founded.

The main city on the island that belonged to Atlantis was set at the western side of the island. It stood between the mountain and the shore and was heavily fortified. A set of walls to the north and south defended them, and in this enclosure, an entire city could survive. The seas provided their food, and they had all they needed to survive for a long time.

And one of the walls had fallen.

Even now, Arkantos could see numerous red-clad warriors fighting with the defenders. The hoplites had formed a line of defense before the Temple of Poseidon. Stone throwers were hurling rocks to smash against the walls. The outlying farmsteads were on fire, and screams could be heard.

"Forward men!" said Arkantos. "We must go to their aid!"

Arkantos leaped ashore before the ship had even reached dry ground. Wading up, he rushed to join the phalanx, calling aloud to his men. Shoring up the defenders, the enemy recoiled at the strike. Soon enough, more men from Atlantis came to aid them. The Egyptians broke, driven back through the breach.

As they turned to flee, however, arrows were launched into their backs from behind, and many fell dead. Even as the pursuit began, however, groups of slingers took up a position to cover the retreat. Egyptian slingers hurled stones with great skill, and one bounced off Arkantos pauldron.

"Draw back." said Arkantos. "Kamos' men are well trained. They'll bait us into a trap, and we have other matters."

Turning, Arkantos soon enough was greeted by the sight of people trying to put out the flames. Moving up to his captains, he spoke. "Get some men to help with the fires. Gather the wounded and get our physicians down here and evacuate anyone who needs it. And send scouts to find what damage has been done."

Then an old man came forward to greet him. "Admiral Arkantos, thank the gods you are here. The pirates came upon us a few weeks ago, and we've been hard put to it.

"We had begun to give up hope."

"Hope was at the bottom of Pandora's box, as they say," said Arkantos. "For now, I want the walls of this settlement rebuilt, have them set up quickly.

"Now, you, what happened here?"

"All was peaceful until a week ago." said the old man. "The Egyptian colonies in these islands have often traded with us. However, something happened in Egypt. Apparently, the priests of Set have taken control of the land.

"Kamos was given dominion over these lands. He pulled his Black Sails into the harbor en masse."

Arkantos could hardly believe his ears. Kamos had been a hated enemy of the Egyptian Pharaohs since the days of Theris. He might have been raised by the Goddess Bast, but that hardly afforded him honors. "Kamos has been gifted Egyptian holdings?

"That is a violation of our treaty."

"Whatever the reason, what will we do now?" asked the old man.

Arkantos almost laughed. "Now?

"That is simple. We will conquer the town in this region, kill Kamos, get back the trident, and take this island for our own. We will take this island as recompense for this assault."

"Trident?" asked the old man.

"The Trident of Poseidon was stolen," said Arkantos, feeling bitter at that. "We're here to get it back."

And then stones began to rain down from above. One of them nearly caved Arkantos' head, and some locals were not so lucky. Screams came out, and he looked to the knees of the mountain. On a cliff, there were slingers casting their stones.

"Archers, return fire!" said Arkantos. "Hoplites, raise your shields and prepare for another assault."

No assault came except more stones.

When the archers launched their arrows, the slingers fled. Yet they would return now and then. And so the battle became a series of skirmishes, with Kamos' men getting the worst of it. Even so, Arkantos had a feeling that things were going to become far worse.

And then the scouts came back.

It seemed that Kamos' had set the trident here, on this very island. However, he had led away a large part of his fleet to fight Theseus. He'd only just returned and had launched a fullscale attack right afterward. Arkantos guessed that Kamos had planned to land on the shore while his men attacked the walls.

If he had arrived any later, the town would have been overrun.

Unfortunately, more pirate ships had been spotted by the hippocampi. They were converging on this location. If things dragged out, it would go badly for them indeed.

Fortunately, they'd had a stroke of luck as well.

A ship had wrecked on the shore and been found by his men. In addition to a great deal of gold, they'd also found a party of survivors. Theseus and Queen Hippolyta had been among them. Naturally, Arkantos ordered them conveyed safely to him, meaning to make them an offer.

Arkantos, for his part, intended to remain courteous. His last meeting with Theseus had not gone well, but that had been years ago. He would hope that both of them could move past that.

And so Theseus and Hippolyta came forward, accompanied by their strongest warriors. They were quite a sight. Theseus himself was more akin to a human statue than a man. He had a complexion and handsome features undimmed by his ragged armor. A sword far finer than Arkantos' was at his side. Despite coming from battle, he seemed far more than Arkantos felt.

Hippolyta, meanwhile, was radiantly beautiful with her hair falling long over silver armor. A bow was over her back and a sword at her side. With her were many of her warrior women.

Arkantos motioned to a servant who brought forth wine. "It has been many years, Theseus."

"Arkantos," said Theseus, voice hard. "How fairs your horse."

Ah, so that was how this was to go, then? Well, if courtesy was not to be observed, Arkantos saw no reason to give it. "Quite well.

"Is Pirithous well? How faired your mission to the underworld?"

Theseus reached for his sword, while every single guard lowered their spears. Arkantos expected he could probably kill the man, eventually. Hippolyta put a hand to Theseus' own. "Theseus, wait. This is not the time." Then she moved forward. "We stand in your debt, Atlantean. Our fleets met Kamos in battle, and our fleet has been scattered in battle. If not for your scouts, we might have been overrun."

"Then the battle went against you?" asked Arkantos, controlling his glee. One of Theseus' primary accomplishments had been killing the father of minotaurs. Now here he was, having been humiliated by Kamos.

Best of all, Arkantos had nothing to do with any of it. Well, most of it.

"We Amazons are not blind to events in the outside world," said Hippolyta. "These pirates need to be taught a lesson in steel. We had not anticipated Poseidon's wrath, however.

"Given the situation, it would seem wise that we should cooperate."

"I would agree." conceded Arkantos. "Theseus, Athens, and Atlantis are both enemies of Kamos. To kill him, I am willing to put aside our vendetta. Will you?"
Theseus halted for a moment. "I will.

"But I never needed your help to deal with bandits."

"That you did not," said Arkantos, containing the contempt he had for the man. Theseus had hunted bandits, Arkantos pirates. "Very well, then. I will call forth the hippocampi of Poseidon and dispatch them to locate your fleets and bring them here. Once we have gathered our forces, we will strike.

"For now, we must make our plans."

And so they did.

Arkantos had to admit that he couldn't have planned any of this better himself. Never before had been hunting pirates been so thrilling. He'd get to humiliate Theseus, kill Kamos, avenge his wife and then sack Troy. Up until now he'd prayed for peace, and desired war. The death of young men was not a good thing, but in war was where his true calling lay.

Now the call had sounded again.

And Atlantis would it would be until the end of this world. An age of heroes awaited.

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