- The entire Zoran fleet appears in Slipspace in pursuit of The Calypso.
- Staros the Wayfarer plunges the ship into the Deep Void, and flies directly into a slipspace storm, believing the Zorans would not be so foolish as to follow them.
- The ship is buffeted by the storm and Staros loses all control. By the time the ship is free of the storm, they are several parsecs from their previous location, with the ship damaged.
- Staros identifies two possible ports of call they could reach to repair their damage, which would be necessary in order to make the trip back to Pherai. Hesperselects The Goat’s Horn, a former luxury cruiseship that is now a space station used by pirates and scoundrels. It will take them several days to reach it
- Staros is doubtful of the story the Zoran slave told Hesper, and says that they will confront Klekus about it when they return.
- Hesper decides to awaken Pendar to question him. When he awakes, he does nothing but repeat an alpha numeric code. Hesper makes note of it and puts him back into stasis.
- Hesper decides to “investigate” (i.e. appropriate) some of the artifacts they retrieved. She quickly learns that none of them appear special, all are mundane items and could not be mistaken for godly gifts by anyone.
- Staros identifies the code as a set of slipspace coordinates. They’re somewhere in the Aegean Solar Sea.
- Upon arriving on The Goat’s Horn, they look for aid in repairing their ship, which is found in the form of a clunky and loquacious machina named Seras 743.
- While repairs are under way, Hesper spends some time gambling with the ne’er-do-wells and scum aboard the station. Along the way, she learns the Zorans have broadcast a message offering a substantial price on her head. It’s likely the Zorans are aware of where she is by now.
- Once the ship is repaired, She and Staros go aboard the station to get their last hot meal for a few weeks. Hesper is approached by a prostitute named Sibyl. She inquires about Pendar, claiming he was a pilot and scout well known in these parts, and her lover.
- Hesper learns that Klekus had come to The Goat’s Horn some months ago, demanding conscripts for his war, or he would destroy the station. Pendar volunteered. He had told Sibyl in a letter that he was sent to find a great weapon from the First Age for Klekus deep in slipspace, and once he had found it, he would be home soon after.
- As Hesper takes in this new information, two of the Prince’s mercenary heroes, Far Reaching Preban and Euphemia the Goldenskinned enter with a small contingent of Zoran soldiers.
- Preban demands Hesper’s surrender. Knowing that Preban helped to frame her for murder, he would be unlikely to let her live long enough to tell the prince the truth. She refuses.
- Preban is delighted with her choice and combat ensues. Preban and his soldiers keep Staros and Hesper hard pressed, while Euphemia uses her oratory skills to bolster the courage and effectiveness of Preban and his men.
- Hesper uses some Krokus to silence Euphemia, while Preban skewers Staros.
- Hesper goads Preban for fighting her in full armor, as she wears none. He strips naked in response, and raises the stakes by also casting his weapons aside.
- Hesper does likewise and the two engage in a wrestling match
- Both heroes are a difficult match for the other, and the battle rages throughout the taverna.
- Ultimately, Hesper is victorious, only just barely, and she renders Preban unconscious.
- Staros recovers from unconsciousness, still badly injured, but alive.
- Hesper uses Euphemia’s suggestive state to convince her to work together to bring Prince Ikari and Klekus together. Should the two men face one another, then the war can be brought to an end.
- Hesper gives Euphemia the coordinates as well. They agree to try to bring both fleets there, using the weapon as bait. Hesper would race to get there before either side, and destroy the weapon.
- Hesper and Staros leave The Goat’s Horn in all due haste, as Euphemia confirms that the Zoran fleet is not far behind her and Preban. Hesper takes the unconscious Preban back to the ship with her, and inserts him in a cryotube.
- The Calypso receives an urgent message from Klekus: his fleet is on the move, heading their way. They are to fly out to meet him with all haste.
- Upon reaching the Hellene fleet in slipspace, they moor the Calypso to the command ship. Klekus has The Calypso searched, and when Pendar is found, he orders all the other items – including the colonists – to be thrown overboard. Staros and Hesper both balk at this, and demand the cryotubes be turned over to them. Klekus sours, but agrees.
- He then pays Hesper only two thirds what he promised her, claiming she was late, and did not deserve full payment.
- A silver-skinned Machina arrives to take Pendar below decks. He uses a strange technological helmet to silence and control the young man.
- Hesper confronts Klekus with his history with Ikari. Klekus brushes it off, saying that the Zoran only wants vengeance for some “zoran whore” while he, Klekus, has grander ambitions.
- Klekus declares that once he as the weapon, which he calls “The Ash Spear”, he will destroy Ikari and then proceed to claim his destiny as Ruler of the Known Worlds!
- Staros declares Klekus as mad. Klekus dismisses them both, saying they may do what they wish, as long as they stay out of his way.
- Staros and Hesper leave immediately on The Calypso, flying as deep in Slipspace as they dare, in a mad dash to find the Ash Spear before either Klekus or Ikari do.
- Hesper decides that the stakes are high enough that she needs to risk waking Preban and trying to convince him to help.
- The awakened Preban is found to be both affable and very mercenary. He agrees he _could _ help, provided he is adequately compensated. Hesper promises him spoils, but his tone and the glint in his eye indicates he would prefer something other than money from the Hellene…
Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone
A Legacy of Ash, Act 2
The Madness of Klekus