Relics of the Gods
They reach the statue, both Atheas and Sirosa start looking for clues. They know of the inscription on the statue that reads “the power of a God” so maybe this is what they first must find, but now they must place their hand upon Achilles. Achilles, one of the greatest warriors to have ever lived but he has been dead for years. "How are we going to place our hands upon Achilles if he is dead" asked Atheas, "I am not sure" said Sirosa? They continue to scour the statue for clues of Achilles, but there is nothing. Over and over, they search the statue but find nothing of Achilles. Finally, after hours of searching the statue Sirosa turns to Atheas with delight and a kind of stupidity. "WAIT!" He yells, "how could I have been so stupid, Atheas? how did Achilles die?" He asks. "At the battle of troy", she replies. "Yes, but how", he asks again. "He was shot with multiple arrows by Paris, prince of troy". "And what was the killing blow to Achilles" Sirosa asks. "The killing blow was to his he-". She had finally realised what Sirosa was getting at. "The final blow was to “Achilles heel"".
With both standing with smiles on their faces they both at the same time turned to the statue and looked at the heel of Athena. Sirosa placed his hand upon Athena’s heel and just like that a circular glow appeared, and the rock around the heel started to crumble. They both stepped back out of fear of what was happening. When the rock had stopped falling from the heel, they stepped closer to see what had happened. As they approached, they seen something glint in the sun. When they got closer, they could see that it was gold drachmas. "Drachmas?" Said Sirosa with a surprised look on his face. "Ok", said Atheas, "so now we have our payment to the underworld, but how do we find the entrance to the underworld? I think we need to visit the library again", said Sirosa. as they both arrive at the library they head straight for the book about the underworld, looking for any clues on how to enter the underworld and a way out of the underworld, hours pass, and they find nothing about the entrance to hades. "Ok what do we know about the underworld" asks Sirosa. "We know that it is the domain of hades and his wife Persephone, who he kidnapped and forced to marry him, now trapped in the underworld with hades forever. We also know that Tartarus is the deepest pit of the underworld and reserved for the worst transgressors of the world". "Wait!" said Atheas. "I think I found something". She turns to Sirosa and shows him the map of Greece, she points to a small location just outside the walls of Argos that reads “the bottomless Alcyonian lake” could this be something to do with the entrance to the underworld. Sirosa sees this location and scrambles to a book he was reading before about Hades and lands on a page about Persephone, "listen" he says to Atheas, he begins to read a passage from the book,
“and when Hades stole Persephone, he returned through his bottomless lake”.
"Maybe that is the entrance to the underworld" he says to Atheas. "Ok if we are to travel to the Alcyonian lake, we need to find out a little more about it". They both agreed they would not leave for the lake until they were fully prepared for the adventure ahead.
The next morning, they begin to rifle through the books and look for information on the Alcyonian lake, after hours of searching they found very little but the information they did find was invaluable, they discovered that the lake is guarded by a great beast known as a hydra, a giant three headed water snake, with one head blessed with immortality, the hydra cannot die and if one head is removed two more grow back in its place. "Ok we need a strategy if we are to fight this beast to get to the underworld" said Atheas, "I agree", says Sirosa. As they both contemplate their plan, sharpen their swords, and shine their shields, they plan their attack and research the hydra. Sirosa turns to Atheas and reminds her of what Medusa told them, they are not to return to her without her drachma or she will kill them and given that they must pass through the black trail to get back to Argos, this is not going to be an easy task for the two.
"I think we need to do some research on medusa also" said Atheas, "if we are to face her again, I would like to be more prepared than the last time we met". "Yes, I agree I do not want to be turned to stone" replied Sirosa. Gathering their things to make their way back to the black trail they both discuss the task ahead of them as they both realise they could be killed by the hydra or even worse, if they make it to the underworld, they could be tortured by Hades forever if they are caught, but first they must deal with Medusa along the black trail. "How are we going to beat something we cannot even look at", asked Atheas, "it will be difficult, but from what I have read in the library we can look at her reflection, we just cannot look at her directly in the eyes", replied Sirosa. "That is going to be difficult", said Atheas. As they prepare themselves for the journey, Atheas turns to Sirosa and says, "wait, I have an idea, I’ll be back shortly", and she got up and headed out into the town of Athens.
A short while later as Sirosa sat getting his Armor ready for Medusa, he heard a loud bang like metal crashing against stone, with a fright he jumped up with his sword in hand and ran to the entrance to see what it was, it was Atheas returning after a few hours in the local town, she had brought back two sheets of what looked to be bronze, "why have you got this" asked Sirosa. "Well let me explain", Atheas replies, "bronze is a natural mirror, so if we line the inside of our shield with it, it will act as a mirror for when we face medusa so we can see her reflection and avoid being turned to stone and it will reinforce our shields slightly as well". "That is a brilliant idea Atheas we will have the advantage when we face Medusa now". As they improve their shields Sirosa explains to Atheas that the only way to stop medusa is by cutting off her head, so they will need to be swift and fast in killing her.
As they make their way back to the statue of Athena and the entrance of the black trail, their hearts begin to pound faster and faster as they get closer and closer. They make it to the entrance and just like before surrounded by mountains they slowly make their way into the black trail, walking backwards using the insides of their shields as mirrors. "I do not like this", said Sirosa with a nervous quiver in his voice, "I have faced countless enemies in the past and none of them frightened me, but knowing that I could be turned to stone, that terrifies me". As they make their way deeper into the black trail they start to get a strong smell of snake skin, they know they are getting closer to medusa’s lair again, their pace slowed even more as the smell got stronger and stronger, they approach a bend in the road and slowly peer round to see what is on the other side but before they can make it all the way round Sirosa spots a scaly tale on the ground, he slowly moves forward and sees the rest of the beast that is medusa, once again sitting on a rock eating what appears to be a goat this time, blood dripping from her mouth, her snake hair slithering left and right as she tears the flesh from the bones of her meal, as Atheas turns the corner to see the sight of medusa she shivers with fear.
Sirosa quickly turns his back to medusa and slowly makes his way towards the beast, still occupied by her food she does not even hear Sirosa walking towards her. Slowly walking towards her, he is now a mere five feet away, he raises his sword to strike medusa down and suddenly he steps on what appears to be a bone, the crack of the bone causes medusa to react and swiftly turn to face Sirosa, "You!" She speaks. Still using his shield as a mirror, he slashes at medusa and in one swift chop her head flies from her shoulders and onto the ground. "You did it", shouts Atheas, "you cut off her head". "Wait do not move" he shouts, "keep your shield up" he commands. Still looking in his shields reflection he spots a rat walking past the head of medusa, suddenly the snakes of her head react and turn the rat to stone. "The head still petrifies even though it is not attached to her body", says Sirosa. "Quickly put it in your satchel", he says to Atheas. "what I am not carrying that around with me", she says angrily. "The head still works Atheas, we could use this to our advantage in the future", he says to her with excitement in his voice. "Ok" she replies "but I am not holding that thing". They continue their way through the black trail as they make their way to Argos once more, but this time they seem more relaxed walking through the black trail, as they now know that there is no threat of medusa anymore. They finally reach the end of the black trail after two days of walking, once again they lay their eyes on the great city of Argos, but there is still a way to go before they reach the bottomless Alcyonian lake. "I think we should rest Sirosa", said Atheas. "Yes, I agree we should take some time to eat and rest".