Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

Hoseidon's Tear, Act III

Of Councilors and Kings

  • Hesper awakens, much to her surprise, in bed in her old room in the palace of Stymphalos. Her mother, Queen Delphinia, is on hand and is relieved at her regaining consciousness.
  • She tells her the ship arrived in orbit a few days ago. She’s been fevered and delirious since they found her on board.
  • She says that while the king is displeased with her presence, Delphinia insisted she be allowed to stay until she was well and her strength returned.
  • When Hesper asks about the pearl, a man standing in the doorway speaks stating he has it and it is safe. Her mother introduces her to Councilor Nicias, First Citizen of Stymphalos. He expresses his relief she is feeling better.
  • Hesper again asks about the pearl. He says that her step-father ordered the pearl confiscated, but rather than let King Agrios’ men take it, he claimed it himself for safe keeping. It is, of course, hers at her request.
  • Nicias suggests Hesper come dine at his home this evening, if she is feeling well enough, and she may inspect the gem then, or take it as she sees fit.
  • Hesper initially balks, suggesting the King might be unhappy. Nicias suggests that the king will be rid of her as soon as he is able, but is currently bound by the laws of hospitality. Once the king’s hospitality runs out, it would be good for Hesper to have powerful friends. Hesper agrees.
  • After bathing and changing for dinner, Hesper leaves her room and is stunned to see new levels of opulence in the palace, including multiple statues of King Agrios in heroic poses. As she takes in the excessive splendor, she feels as though she is being watched. Her eyes are drawn to a high veranda where her half-brother is sitting, watching her with a dark look in his eyes. As soon as she sees him, he turns his hover-chair and disappears through an archway.
  • At Nicias’ home, Hesper is welcomed to dinner with Nicias’ family and a few other friends. She learns Nicias is very devout, and that he speaks frequently of the liberty and freedom of the people.
  • In private discussion, Nicias informs Hesper of recent events including a trade war between the Peloponisian and Aegean Leagues, which has severely hurt Stymphalos economically. Using emergency provisions available to the king under Stymphalean law, the King has granted the Royal Court unlimited discretionary spending.
  • The king insists that if the court spends money, it will aid Stymphalos’ economy, which he elected to spend on the new found opulence of the palace, as well as statues of himself in various ecumenopoli around the planet. However, as the king also only wished the best artisans for capturing his image, he has hired many from off-world.
  • Many are unhappy with the king and there is a growing dissent that may lead to a forced re-election if it gains enough support.
  • The king is very concerned with image, Nicias says, and her sudden appearance having achieved one of his “impossible” labors has embarrassed him. She can use this to further humiliate him and weaken his position.
  • If she continues to succeed at her tasks, then the king may grow desperate and move against her. If he does so, she should bring the evidence to Nicias, so he can be sure it’s revealed to the Forum.
  • Hesper takes the pearl from Nicias’ vault and asks one of his servants to sew it into her himation so it cannot be easily found.
  • Hesper returns to the palace to sleep that night and when she awakens the next morning, finds her room had been searched and left in disarray while she slept. The pearl, however, remains in the lining of her himation.
  • Councilor Nicias sends a car to bring Hesper to the Agora so she may publicly present the pearl to her mother.
  • Hesper’s presentation of the pearl causes an uproar in the Agora, with the people cheering it’s return. The king tries to feign his gratitude for it’s return, but emphasizes her other tasks remaining undone. She announces her intention to do those next, with the Blood of the Hydra being her next priority. The king insists then that they would not wish to detain her further.
  • When leaving to prepare for the celebratory feast, Nicias tells Hesper that he cannot give her any direct aid, but if there’s anything he can do to help that would not make the king insist that her tasks are being performed by his rivals, then he will do it.
  • Hesper asks to know who the greatest thief on Stymphalos is. Nicias says he cannot provide that information, but he is friends with the Chief Magistrate of the Astropolis who is always keeping tabs on all known criminals in the system, and Nicias will introduce her to him.

NEXT: The Sword of Odysseos

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