Monday, April 5, 2010

Introduction, Golos

Thursday, June 5, 1650

The view is that of the Pagasetic Gulf, looking away from the market town of Golos towards the opposite side of the bay, with Mt. Pelion behind and stretching away to the left, to form the hook peninsula that encloses the Gulf.  Symeon Kokolas knows from growing up near here, in the town of Alos, that the peninsula and its heights are occupied by groupings of centaurs, who are standoffish but friendly to the folk on the shore.

The region is known as Magnesia, a part of Thessaly, and is under the thrall of the Ottoman Turks, who have now ruled here for almost two centuries.  It is a difficult country for Greeks who choose to remain Christian; heavy taxes are levied against them, and many rights are denied them.  Magnesia has been thoroughly subjugated ... the country gives no hint of rebellion, though there is dissastisfaction.  The people are cowed, accepting of their condition, submissive to their foreign overlords.

Earthquakes are common to the region, and light winter rains ... though Golos is a supremely sheltered harbor, and is exempt to the tsunamis that strike other parts of Greece during the winter months.  This being June, that temperature has climbed into full summer, with temperatures mildly uncomfortable most days, and the dry season has begun (except for fogs drifting from the sea or down from the mountains on some mornings, the will probably be no rain until September).

21 comments:

Symeon Kokolas said...

Symeon will take in the view of the coast for a short time, then head to the markets. He's looking for a belt, a belt pouch, and a sheath for his dagger from the leatherworker. He will also look for a few days' traveling food. Along the way, he keeps his ears open for any news from the merchants and townsfolk.

Symeon Kokolas said...

(He is fairly tall for the region, dark hair and eyes, and wearing blues and greys. His clothing is nothing special and looks to have seen time on the sea. Today he has only his dagger at his waist and a pocketful of coins. The rest of his belongings are in his boat, watched by his trusted sailor.)

Symeon Kokolas said...

(belt, 15 cp; belt pouch [10"], 3sp; scabbard [dagger], 8 sp. total: 12 sp 3 cp to be deducted once confirmed)

Alexis said...

(I know that the process of buying multiple kinds of food is a pain - but so it is in real life. How you manage your food, and what you eat, matters).

Regarding what you may hear, there is little to say. There might be some news that the Turks burned a village in Epirus weeks ago, and the news only just arriving now. There is a new tax on Christian weddings. A posting offers payment in exchange for slaves to work the silver mines in Laurium. Another posting gives a 5 g.p. reward for anyone who can find Stavros Kapilokos, a bandit who patrols the backside of Mt. Pelion.

Symeon Kokolas said...

Symeon will assemble the following:
Bread, loaf, 6.4oz (4 cp) x4 = 1 sp 2 cp
salsiccia de coniglio, 1.3lb (10 sp)
Bacon, smoked, 1.3lb (2 sp)
Cheese, local, 24oz (14 sp)
Potatoes, dozen, 2lb (2 sp)
Orange, 5.6oz (2sp) x4 = 8sp
Vegetables, sack, 22.2lb (2 gp)

total: 4 gp 5 sp 2 cp
after 12 sp 3 cp for leather goods, total is:
5 gp 1 sp 5 cp

He will bring his purchases back to the boat. He asks his servant if he is prepared for a short journey.
(If there is a viable water route to a spot on the peninsula near the centaurs, I will take that route, casting the fishing net along the way and hoping to get lucky. If not, I will pack and head there by land on my own. If that is the case, I will detail my inventory before departing.)

Symeon Kokolas said...

I will also fill my wineskin with clean water before departing.

Alexis said...

Not being a fisherman, you are not likely to do well at all; but your companion would likely have some skill. I'll do some looking to see what sort of take you might manage in fishing and travelling at the same time.

Yes, it is simply a matter of sailing to the end of the peninsula and back again ... but while you could walk there in about 4-6 hours (8 miles, over rough terrain), it will take the boat three days to make the same journey (as it is about 80 miles, and the boat does about 2.25 knots).

Alexis said...

I may not have been clear: the place you wish to reach is on the other side of the peninsula ... on the Aegean side, opposite the gulf.

Symeon Kokolas said...

I will travel on foot, taking my weapons and shield. I will take my wineskin, two loaves of bread, two oranges, the sausage and bacon and cheese, four potatoes, and about two pounds of vegetables.

Alexis said...

Very well. You find a marked path, starting at the village of Agria, directing you up Mt. Pelion, and leading to the village of Zagora. These two little communities each have less than a hundred persons, and are not on the map.

Initially, it is a fairly gentle slope; for the first quarter mile from the sea, the land is occupied primarily by olive groves and vinyards ... the grapes have begun to grow - in a few weeks the hundreds of poles that can be seen now will disappear within a dense growth, as grapevines grow very rapidly.

Soon after, however, as you begin to round Pelion, the slope becomes quite steep. You reach a place where you can stop, and take a few bites to eat, and look out at the sea. The day has not gotten any warmer, but it seems so from your exercise.

Looking down the slope, a hundred yards below you, you see an old man - eighty, it seems like - very slowly making his way along the path where you've just come.

Symeon Kokolas said...

I will head back down the path. As I get to polite speaking distance, I will greet the man. "Hello, good sir! Praise my good fortune in finding a fellow traveler this fine day. May I walk with you for a while?"

Alexis said...

He's clearly Greek, and judging from his outward appearance, not about any business that would suggest he is working ... his hands are clean, his face has recently been washed, he has shaved and - while it is considerable toil for him to climb along this path - he does not look to be unhealthy. But he is definitely old. Upon getting closer, your first impression does not change.

"Who are you, youngster?" he will ask.

Symeon Kokolas said...

My name is Symeon, of Alos. I was on may way to visit with the centaurs. May I walk with you while our way runs together?

Symeon Kokolas said...

If it looks to be less than an hour or so out of my way, I will go with him. Otherwise, I will continue on my way.

Alexis said...

No, it would take the rest of the day to reach the top of the mountain - there would be some question if you could reach it by sunset.

The old man nods to you, and without hesitating to rest, continues forward along the path, in the direction you were going.

Symeon Kokolas said...

I will continue on my way to Zagora. After a few hours of travel, I will eat half a loaf of bread, an orange, and a little cheese.

Alexis said...

Symeon will come to a play on the trail where a stone block has been placed, and atop the block a wooden frame showing four weathered, hand drawn images of four different men (looking similar to one another). This Symeon recognizes as a grave marker ... it states below that these men died twelve years ago in an earthquake, that caused the mountain to bury them.

Ten feet from the marker is a thick wooden post, with a metal piece attached from which hangs a two-foot-long iron bar; there is no indication for what the purpose of this bar might be.

Symeon Kokolas said...

Interesting... I will make a mental note of it and move along.

Alexis said...

Symeon,

I will be adding the next post, with your arrival in Zagora, later this evening. I have been preparing something today.

I had overlooked it, but I was wondering if you might find an avatar for your character and add it to your blogger comments.

Symeon Kokolas said...

(will do)

Alexis said...

The next post is up.