Alexios is tracing breadcrumbs to find his mother and that will only lead him to one big heartbreak. Join me in this new episode from The Odyssey series to continue the journey of Alexios from English Plus Podcast.
Episode Narration Transcript
After enjoying Athenian hospitality that could last him a lifetime, Alexios left the symposium and Athens with breadcrumbs that may finally get him some answers. His mother did not have a long time before the Cult caught up with her. He needed to act and he needed to act fast. He set sail to the Island of Keos to talk to a pirate called Xenia. Of all the clues he got from the symposium, that sounded the most promising. Alexios could imagine his mother turn into a pirate, but not a hetaira. Maybe, he just wanted to believe that and he wanted it to be true.
Who knows what that poor woman had to suffer after leaving Sparta. She was childless, homeless and penniless. A mother stripped of her purpose, a lioness with no cubs to defend anymore. And even now that Alexios knew Kassandra lived. It was highly unlikely that his mother Myrrine knew about that. She must have probably thought that she lost both of her children. Would she turn to the gods, to pirates, to prostitution? What could a wounded lioness do against an unjust world. Maybe Alexios didn’t want to know the answer to that question.
Alexios didn’t want to do anything on the island except for talking to Xenia. He started to forget who he was. He was not acting like a mercenary anymore. The first place he would usually visit whenever he got to a new place was the message board looking for mercenary contracts, but not this time. A lot was at stake and after the war, the Cult, and what he learned in Athens, he started to believe that there was more to his life than just being a mercenary.
Keos was an island run by the great pirate Xenia, so it was not that easy to get close to her without cutting a few throats along the way. Alexios would consider a more diplomatic approach, but he didn’t have time for that, and Xenia’s guards gave him no choice. They didn’t even ask questions. They attacked him so he had to defend himself. He didn’t want to start on Keos this way, especially that he was not here on business; he was here only for information. He had to risk being on Xenia’s blacklist and not getting any information, not willingly anyway, but he had to fight his way to get close to the great pirate of Keos.
Xenia was a fearsome pirate but one with principles; Alexios saw her severely punishing a man because it seemed that he was a slave trader – a unusual thing for a pirate to get that angry at. This is the kind of pirate Myrrine would take the seas with.
Luckily for Alexios, Xenia was a real pirate, so she didn’t take what he did to her men personally, and she was ready to make a deal to forget about what happened on Alexios’s way to her. That was no time to save drachmae, so Alexios paid her well to forget about what happened and it seemed that Xenia did know his mother, Myrrine.
(Cut to Conversation between Alexios and Xenia)
Home isn’t a place; it’s the people who you live with, so true were the words of an extraordinary pirate, the only kind Myrrine would hang out with. Alexios was happy to learn that his mother was still as strong as he remembered, and in search for a greater calling, so that dissipated most of Alexios’s earlier worries. However, the information he got from Xenia was a good start, but it was not enough. Alexios knows now that his mother is no longer known as Myrrine, but Phoenix, a good name for a pirate and a clever way to confuse her pursuers.
Alexios knew Myrrine was up to something much bigger than just survival. Xenia Told him that while Myrrine could simply continue her life as a great pirate, she wanted something more; she had a greater calling, and she was interested in politics and war. She was a true Spartan even if she left Sparta a long time ago.
The information Alexios had was heartwarming, but that didn’t mean his mother was not still in danger. Maybe, she knows about the Cult, maybe she doesn’t, but Alexios still had to beat the waves of Poseidon as fast as he could to look for more clues. Myrrine may be as tough as Xenia said, but she would need Alexios’s help to stand against the Cult.
So Alexios’s first stop was not a waste of time, but now he sailed to Argolis to meet Hippokrates and learn about whether he knew anything about his mother. Alexios hoped he would learn more and that may lead him to the whereabouts of his mother in Argolis.
He went to Hippokrates’s clinic but he couldn’t find the great doctor. Instead he found his apprentice engaged in a heated argument with the high priestess who was obviously not happy with what Hippokrates was doing. The great doctor was drawing a clear line between what gods could do and what man could and should do to lead a healthier life. He was a man of science. He was not offending the gods, but the people who spoke in their name. His work did not please the priestess who didn’t want to lose the lucrative income the sanctuary of Asklepios was getting. If people started to trust Hippokrates and his methods, no one would seek a god they could not see in the hopes of healing themselves or the ones they loved. And even worse, Hippokrates was doing most of his work free of charge, so he was definitely not good for business, or he was impious as the high priestess accused him.
(Cut to the conversation between Alexios and Sostratos, then the conversation between Alexios and Hippokrates, then Dymas then Back to Hippokrates.)
Hippokrates did meet Myrrine and still remembered her vividly, but he was not the one who helped her. He was a young inexperienced healer back then and he sent her to the sanctuary of Asklepios, but she left an unerasable impression. Myrrine left the same impression on the good doctor although she must have been broken and weak when she saw him. This is how Alexios remembers his mother. Every step was reassuring him that despite all her suffering and heartbreak, she did not lost herself.
Helping out Hippokrates was not a waste of time. Alexios knew what he had to do next. The priests of Asklepios keep written accounts of every person they treated and they must know something about Myrrine.
However, Alexios was just like Hippokrates in Argolis, his presence was not welcomed by the high priestess, Chrisys. He talked to the priests, but they seemed to know of his coming and the purpose of his visit, but they were all afraid of Chrysis who obviously threatened to kill them if they opened their mouths and talked to the eagle-bearer. She knew he was coming, but how? Could that Chrysis be working with the Cult, but even if she was, how did she know Alexios was coming to Argolis to ask about his mother. Very few people know about that, and most of them are on his ship. However, Alexios did not have time to dig deeper into that matter as he already knew that the Cult was always two steps ahead of him, with Deimos, his own sister on their side, they could easily know his every move.
Alexios tried to be friendly and helpful with one of the priests, but this first priest didn’t know anything about his mother, or he didn’t want to tell him, so Alexios tried to talk to another priest, who seemed to know about his mother, but he was also afraid of Chrysis. However, the second priest was willing to help Alexios and took him to the stone where the story of his mother’s coming to the sanctuary was inscribed. After passing by some other accounts of healings, they got the stone in whose story Alexios was most interested.
(Cut to the conversation with the first priest)
It seemed that Myrrine didn’t leave Sparta alone. She brought baby Kassandra with her in an attempt to save her life, but what happened after that? If Myrrine knew Kassandra was alive, how could she abandon her? She would never do that. Alexios needed to learn more about what really happened that day.
(Cut to the conversation with the second priest)
The story was just getting darker and more puzzling than ever. So Myrrine came to Argolis with baby Kassandra, but left without her because she was dead. How could that be? Alexios knew for a fact that Kassandra lived as the Cult’s puppet, Deimos. Is it possible that this treacherous plot had been going for a long time. The Cult must have been involved in all this; they must have been after Alexios’s family for a very long time. Alexios knew that Kassandra was raised by the Cult, but he thought that happened as a coincidence or that the Cult found the baby not dead and took advantage of her bloodline, but he didn’t know that they must have lied to Myrrine and told her that her baby was dead. Myrrine would have never left Kassandra behind. This was all the doing of the Cult, and now Myrrine doesn’t know that both of her children are still live. She has lived all these years without knowing that the greatest tragedy of her life never happened in the first place. It was all an elaborate plot and some unfortunate consequences.
This poor priest paid for helping Alexios with his life. Alexios is sure by now that Chrysis is indeed working with the Cult. Among the men who attacked them at the Tree of Heracles were the same abominable Cult guards.
There were still missing pieces of that puzzle and Alexios needed to learn more about what happened that night so he talked to another priest and helped him fetch the heart of a white bull to save one of his patients in the hopes that by helping this priest, he would tell Alexios about Myrrine and everything that happened that night.
(Cut to the conversation between the third priest and Alexios)
Alexios finally learned that Mydon was the priest who treated his mother. Mydon must know exactly what happened that night, but it seems that getting information from him would not be that easy since he had cut off his tongue, but he was Alexios’s best bet to learn more about what exactly happened on that fateful day.
(Cut to the conversation with Mydon and his servant)
Alexios knows by now that Mydon was forced to lie to his mother and tell her Kassandra was dead. That Cult witch has been terrorizing everyone around here for far too long. She must have had Mydon cut off his tongue to never tell the true story of what happened that night. Chrysis planned that all along, and she did the cruelest thing one could do to a mother. She convinced her that her baby was dead, and Myrrine had to live decades of pain and suffering because of that. There was nothing more to learn in Argolis, but it was time for Alexios to put an end to that Witch.
Alexios headed to the altar where Mydon’s servant told him mothers come with their babies, and some of them leave them there. Chrysis is a far worse of a monster than any of the ones Alexios had to face so far. How could her heart be that dark, and she is a woman. How could she do that to another woman, to a mother? Chrysis’s time in this world was coming to an end.
(Cut to Conversation with Chrysis)
There were no words to describe the shock on Alexios’s face when he learned of what happened that night. Chrysis is a heartless woman, and she even had the audacity to ask Alexios to join her and her Cult. It seems that there is something important about their bloodline, Myrrine’s bloodline that the Cult wants so badly. They want to capture Myrrine to give them more children. This Cult and their sick and disgusting plots have to be stopped.
Chrysis, that coward was able to escape for now. She lit the altar on fire with that little baby on it, so Alexios had to save the baby and allow Chrysis to escape for now. However, he learned that his mother went to Korinth after she left Argolis, so that final clue he got from Alkibiades was right. Alexios wanted Chrysis dead to end her reign of terror, but her time would come. Now he has a more important thing to do, one last clue that may finally lead him to his mother. Anthousa of Corinth must know something about his mother. Who knows? Maybe, Myrrine is still in Corinth.
Alexios arrives in Corinth but it seems that it is not that simple to find Anthousa. She is the leader of the Hetaira and she is being threatened by a thug Chrysis mentioned earlier. That Monger is a member of the Cult, and he was without a doubt looking for Alexios’s mother, too.
(Cut to the conversation with the prostitute and then the other, and then Anthousa)
Corinth was under the thumb of that thug, and he was a threat to everyone. Anthousa is a clever woman, she knows the value of information. She was willing to share what she knew about Myrrine with Alexios but she needed his help first.
Anthousa was actually expecting Alexios thanks to Aspasia and her emissary Phoebe. Alexios started to think it was a dangerous life and a dangerous place for Phoebe to be in. Well, at least he is around to protect her, but there is no telling what kind of trouble this girl might get herself into, but Alexios knew that he would always be there for her. He was her protector after all.
So Anthousa and Alexios had a mutual enemy. Anthousa wanted to get rid of the Monger because he was bad for business and Alexios wanted to kill him because he knew he was a member of the Cult who was looking for his mother, but before facing the Monger, Alexios went on to help two of Anthousa’s friends. Anthousa wanted to make the most of Alexios’s time while he was still in Korinthia.
(Cut to Damalis’s Conversation then to conversation with Phoebe)
The Monger was not only a merciless thug who was after money. He wanted like any other man of power to extend his power to everything and everyone. He wanted to lure Damalis to his sex andron. The Monger was not only a thug but also a psychopath.
Alexios dealt with the man who was trying to lure Damalis to the Monger’s andron, but Phoebe was caught by a Monger’s thug, and she was lucky this time Alexios was right there. That girl needs to listen to Alexios and be more careful. He wouldn’t always be around to save her.
Alexios also helped Erinna and saved her friend Kleo who didn’t want to come back to Korinthia. Maybe, she was tired of this kind of life and wanted to go to Mykonos.
Now with the problems of these two girls solved, Alexios focused all his attention on the Monger and he hit him where it really hurt. Alexios lit the Monger’s warehouse on fire and burned his merchandise. Nothing would hurt the Monger more than someone sticking his hand in his purse and burning all his money. But the warehouse was full of guards and although Alexios was well capable of dealing with them alone, he had the help of a Spartan who came out of nowhere. Alexios could definitely use a new Spartan friend.
The man’s name was Brasidas, and the Monger was on his enemy list, too. Brasidas knew who Alexios was and told Alexios that his mother Myrrine left Sparta the same night her two children fell off the mountain.
(Cut to Brasidas’s Conversation)
Brasidas seemed to be a man of honor, a man Alexios could trust, but Brasidas wanted to handle the Monger in a different way. Anthousa wanted the Monger’s execution to be public and humiliating to send a message, while Brasidas wanted to deal with the Monger in a more discreet way. Alexios had no choice but to do it Anthousa’s way because he still wanted to learn more information about his mother from her.
Alexios gave Anthousa what she wanted, a public execution of the Monger that brought back the city under her own control, and now it was time for Alexios to learn more about his mother as Anthousa promised.
(Cut to Anthousa’s conversation)
Anthousa did not add much to what Alexios already knew. He already knows that his mother was a strong woman who left a strong impression on everyone she met along the way, but he did learn something that might be useful. He now knows the name of the ship his mother traveled in, the Siren Song. It was time to go back to Athens and talk to Aspasia who might know something about that ship.
But what if Aspasia knew all along the information Alexios just needed and she didn’t share the information with him right away. Did she send him to these places on purpose? She seemed like a cunning woman, but only a cunning woman would rise from being just a commoner to become the most powerful woman in Athens.
Alexios arrived in Athens, but it was so different from the Athens he left no so long ago. The city streets were empty, a plague struck the city and the mob were angry and there was Kleon who was adding fuel to the fire that was sweeping across the once civilized and beautiful city.
Alexios hoped he was not too late to learn anything from Aspasia. The whole city was in chaos, and Perikles was in deep trouble this time.
(Cut to Sokrates conversation and Kleon’s conversation then Aspasia then Perikles)
Perikles was not the same man Alexios met a few weeks ago. He was sick but that was not the real problem – he was broken and weak, and Alexios felt as if the man lost all hope and his dreams were all but vanished by now. He would never see the Athens he dreamed about. It hurt Alexios to see Perikles in this shape. Perikles was a man Alexios respected and there were very few men Alexios can say that about.
But there was only one problem that can be bigger than Perikles’s condition, the plague in Athens, and even the problem of finding Myrrine herself; Phoebe seems to have been in trouble. Aspasia sent her so foolishly in a city drowned in chaos to run an errand for her. Of all the servants she had, she couldn’t choose anyone else but Phoebe, but luckily for Phoebe, Alexios was there, and whenever Phoebe was in trouble, there was nothing more important for Alexios to do but to save her.
Alexios tried to save Phoebe, but this time he was too late.
There was nothing Alexios could do. He was there for her every time, but not this time, he was too late. Phoebe was already gone. The death of Phoebe cut a fresh wound in Alexios’s heart that would never heal or mend.
Thought one day would soar up the sky
her wings were still too small to fly
Like a father she never knew and a protector
I was her guardian angel but she was my doctor
She stopped the bleeding in my heart
She showed me how to get a fresh start
A little nightingale who dreamed of an eagle
Predators are many and Phoebe alone in a jungle
I would’ve…but this time I was far far away
Little Phoebe’s gone and I couldn’t even say goodbye
Alexios went to the Parthenon to find Aspasia and he was too angry with her that Hippokrates and Sokrates hurried there with him fearing Alexios might kill Aspasia. Alexios found Aspasia at the entrance of the temple. She had her own problems as Perikles was inside away from the safety of the villa.
Alexios hurried inside, but once more time, he was too late. He couldn’t save Perikles, either. There was his sister, Deimos. The Cult got to Phoebe and now to Perikles. Who’s their next target? Is it going to be Myrrine this time? Alexios had the worst day of his life. He was the mercenary who saved people’s lives, especially those whom he loved, but today he failed Phoebe and now he failed Perikles, too. He cannot fail Myrrine. He has to be there for her before it is too late. But now they all have to flee the city. Kleon controlled the city and he was obviously working with the Cult, so Athens was no longer safe for Alexios, Aspasia and the others.
(Cut to the conversation with Aspasia)
Well, not all is lost. At least Alexios has a lead to where his mother might be, and he set sail to Naxos as soon as he learned from Aspasia that his mother’s ship was last known to have docked there. Alexios only hoped to reach Naxos in time. He couldn’t afford to lose any more of his beloved ones, not on his watch.