Relics of the Gods
The Walls of Sparta are the defensive gates that protect from outside invasion, it is one of the reasons why Sparta is so successful in war, not many enemies can breach its walls, at a height of one hundred feet and wooden spikes going up the wall every five feet it is impossible for anyone to climb the walls making Sparta a fortress for its people.
As Atheas and Sirosa reach the walls of Sparta, they are stopped by The Guards, The Guards are the first line of defence for Sparta and are highly trained soldiers, when guarding the walls each soldier must guard the wall for four days and four nights at a time with no rest.
"State your name and your business for leaving Sparta!" Asks the guard. "My name is Atheas daughter of Lysander your general and commander of the spartan army", replies Atheas, "and I am Sirosa spartan soldier and personal guard to Atheas", says Sirosa, "our business leaving Sparta is to find the general Lysander and bring him home to Sparta". "Very well you may leave Sparta but remember if you bring anything else other than general Lysander back, we will not open the gates to you again and you will be left to perish in the sands outside the walls", said the guard with a very serious and cold look on his face, as the gates open, Atheas and Sirosa walk through and out into the scorching dessert nothing to be seen for miles just sand and mountains. Atheas turns to look at the Walls of Sparta for the first time in her life as she has never been outside the walls before, thousands of five-meter-long spikes line the entire wall from top to bottom and from left to right, she gasps at the sight of this extraordinary site and continues to walk further out into the desert with Sirosa.
They both cover their faces from the swirling sand storms and battle against the winds for the first few hours until they come across an abandoned campsite, Sirosa checks the camp site, the ashes are still warm from the fire, "we need to be careful, whoever was here may not be gone too far, this is where we will rest for the night so make yourself comfortable Atheas", Sirosa says with a smile on his face. Atheas spots a small cave beside the campsite, "I’m going to check inside for any supplies that may help us", she says. inside the cave there are bones scattered on the ground, skulls of small animals, snake skins and blood stains, as she goes further and further into the cave she gets a strange feeling that something or someone is watching her, she continues to take her time while keeping a close eye on her surroundings, she finally reaches the end of the cave and finds nothing but bones and blood, as she turns to leave she feels something hit her shoulder, she looks up and there is nothing there, she shrugs her shoulders and continues out of the cave, just as she has reached the entrance of the cave something grabs her leg and starts to pull her back in, "HELP! Sirosa HELP! Something has my leg", As she holds onto the outside of the cave entrance Sirosa runs to the noise of the screams, pulls his sword from his buckle with his right hand and with his left he grabs hold of Atheas and pulls her enough forward he can get a strike of what is holding her leg, he strike's down at what appears to be a black bone covered in black hair, he chops through it like warm cheese and frees Atheas, he pulls her out. "Are you ok Atheas" he asks, "yes, I’m fine" she replies, "what was that thing?" She asks. "I’m not sure but I don’t think it is dead I think we may have just made it angry, let’s get out of here before it comes back", the two jump to their feet and run to the campsite to collect their bags and get ready to leave but as they turn around Atheas and Sirosa gasp as if they have just seen a ghost, as standing in front of them is a creature with the lower half of a spider and the upper body of a woman, they both scream and start to run back into the sandstorms and winds but the beast spins a web and captures Sirosa, trapping his legs and unable to move he screams for Atheas to help him, Atheas frightened for her life, she takes a deep breath and unsheathes her sword with the encrusted gold and charges at the creature at full speed but is knocked to the side by a black hair covered bone leg she sits up dazed and confused she grips her sword and takes another charge at the beast, this time the skills her father had thought her had started to shine, she slid under the next strike and dodged two more until before she knew it she was directly under the stomach of the beast, she plunged her sword deep into the gut of it and heard a defining screech from the dying creature. As it fell to the ground the face of a woman looked up at Atheas and smiled then it muttered two words to her before it died, “Th-thank You.” And with a last breath the beast died.
Atheas got back to her feet and cut Sirosa free of the web and pulled him off the ground, "what was that?" she asked him. He replied with a sad look on his face, "that was Arachne, she was once a weaver but years ago she challenged Athena to a weaving contest and beat her and for that the goddess Athena transformed the lower half of her body into a spider for humiliating her in front of the other gods and goddesses, nobody knew where she had gone to for centuries, rumours said she had tried to hang herself with her own webbing because she could not deal with the shame of how she looked, but because it was her own webbing it could not kill her, now we know she has been hiding all this time trying to keep out of site", Sirosa explained.
With a tear running down her cheek Atheas said, "she thanked me, just before she died, she thanked me for killing her, why?" "She has suffered at the hands of the gods for centuries maybe she was thanking you for freeing her from her torture, I can’t imagine what it must feel like being tortured by the gods for hundreds of years, that is probably why she has been waiting, to be freed, and you have done that for her Atheas. You should be proud Atheas, you killed and freed and ancient creature of the gods, not many people can say they have overcome something like that, not even your father". Three days later As Atheas and Sirosa finally come to the end of the desert and climb the last sand dune, when they reach the top, they see a vast city surrounded by water and palm trees, they had made it to Argos.
"Wow its beautiful", said Atheas. "Yes, it is", replied Sirosa. "But be careful Atheas, the people here are not very friendly especially to Spartans, Spartans they are not very fond of. We should just keep our distance and just try and look for your father, if there is no indication he is here then we leave as soon as possible is that understood", asks Sirosa. "Yes, I understand", replied Atheas. The two decide to rest for a few moments and take in the view of the beautiful city of Argos before making their final walk down the dune and to the city gates. "Sirosa why do the people of Argos dislike Spartans so much?" Asked Atheas. "Well Atheas, it all started when Sparta and Argos had a great battle over the coastal city Thyrea, both sides wanted the city for it's resources and water, the Spartans brought ten thousand soldiers and so did the Argives bring ten thousand soldiers, but their commanders both agreed that losing so many lives would be foolish, so both commanders chose three hundred of their best soldiers and retreated the rest, the agreement was that the last man standing on the battle field would declare victory and claim the coastal city for their commander, so six hundred fierce and brave men battled from sunrise to midday, after a grewsome battle of five hours there only remained three soldiers, two Argives, Alcenor and Chromius and one badly wounded spartan named Orthryades.
The Argives believed they had killed all of the Spartans and retreated back to their camp and declared victory over the Spartans, but as both commanders agreed that it would be the last man standing on the battle field, they left the wounded spartan, presuming he was dead but instead the spartan made it back to his camp and declared victory for Sparta as the last man standing on the battlefield, you can imagine this got confusing as to who won the battle of Thyrea. Orthryades was indeed terribly wounded and likely would have died from his wounds. He instead took his own life, being disgraced by the fact that he was the only man from the three hundred to survive. This made it so that the last Spartan was not killed by an Argive’s hands, giving the Spartans claim to a technical and honourable victory.
The Argives claimed that their men survived the battle and they had two survivors, outraged by this, the Argives decided to just attack the Spartans with their full force. The large-scale battle was fought on the same disputed fields. Because the training of a Spartan was much more skilled, Sparta won the day in the larger battle and the remaining Argives were sent back to Argos, leaving Thyrea in the hands of the Spartans. Because of this loss no Argive man can grow out his hair and no woman can wear gold until Thyrea is recovered from Sparta".
"Wow that is an incredible story", said Atheas. After a little rest, the two start to walk towards the gates of Argos, here they will be faced by the guards of Argos and will need to convince the guards so they may enter Argos. As they approach the gates, they hear a solider shout, “who approaches the gates of Argos!”, "Sirosa! and Atheas!" Sirosa replies. They approach the gate and the guard questions them, "where are you traveling from?" He asks. "We are lonely travellers, we are Argives returning home from a long day hunting", replies Sirosa. "Very well", the guard says, "raise the gates! Let them pass!" He shouts to the other guards, as the gates open, they start to walk through and suddenly the guard shouts, "you are not Argives, the woman’s sword has a golden handle, Drop the gates!" He shouts back to the guards, and the gates slam shut in front of Atheas and Sirosa, they turn to find the guard with his spear pressed into the neck of Sirosa. "Please don’t hurt him we will leave", Atheas pleads with the guard, "who are you really?" He asks.
"We are Spartans, on a journey to find my father, he has went missing and it is my job to bring him home, Argos is where I need to check first, please let us pass, we will not be too long only a day maybe two at the most". "Spartans!" Shouts the guard, "leave Argos at once before I have the two of you beheaded and feed your corpse to the dogs", "ok! we will leave" says Atheas. The guard lowers his spear and shoves Sirosa away from him. "Now leave and never return to Argos", demanded the guard. As they walk away Atheas ask, "now what are we going to do?" "We can sneak into the city through the sewers, come with me Atheas", said Sirosa, "quickly before they see us", Sirosa spots a gap in the gates wall to the right of the entrance that seems to lead into the city sewers, "quickly let’s go we need to get into the sewer now before they see us".
They both scurry towards the gap and slide in just in time before the guards can see them. With a loud splash they fall into the city sewer covered in human excrement and urine, they both begin to heave and choke from the smell, "ok let’s move, the quicker we move the quicker we get out of here" said Atheas. "Yes, I agree" said Sirosa, "let’s move fast", after a few moments of fighting their way through the urine that is knee high, they finally find an exit where it is away from the guards.
They climb out sticky and smelly, with dirt dripping from their clothes, they step out into the street and they seem to be at the edge of a village, The houses are small and cramped, the air is thick with the smell of the sewer, "ok first we need to find new clothes" said Sirosa, "because you smell horrible for a woman", he says, while smiling at Atheas. "You don’t smell so great yourself", replied Atheas. They both find new clothes that are not much of an improvement from the last, they are still mucky with rips and holes in the trousers and tops. They both decide to leave their weapons and shields hidden under their urine-soaked clothes as to not attract any more attention.