23rd day of Julius, 1669 AV
Isabela wakens suddenly, a feeling of loss and anxiety overcoming her. Whether a dream, a premonition, or the results of another of the cook’s unsavory concoctions she could not say, but her heart pounds wildly within her chest. Even as she wills herself back to calm, a ghostly apparition materializes at the foot of the small bed. Instantly, a slim dagger appears in her hand, drawn from its hiding place beneath the pillow.
The ghostly woman is clad in ancient looking armor, Hellenic in design, holding a long spear in her hand. Her other arm reaches out to the courtesan, more a gesture of greeting and welcome than one of danger.
I bear great but ill news, honoured sister. Your brother Theseus has fallen in glorious battle and will be revered through the ages. Tales will be told of his exploits and his bravery, but his sacrifice must be recognized. It shall fall to you to take up his mantle and continue as champion. Tell me what you would ask as a boon and if it is within my power it will be yours.
Confusion reigns at the spirit’s proclamation. Brother Theseus? The statement made no sense, yet the sense of foreboding that had woken her began to grow. Miro? Has something happened to Miro? And what ‘boon’ was this woman talking about? She is talking of Theseus, her armor is Hellenic, is this… no it can’t be…
“Athena? …my… my brother is dead?”, Isabela wipes a tear from her eye as Athena nods, “I will avenge him.” Isabela looks down. What started out as a simple statement fueled by anger turns into a dedication of purpose, a destiny revealed.
“I pledge my life to your service, Athena. Though I don’t know how I can be of service. I know something of combat, I have sparred with…”, Isabela wipes away another tear, “I have sparred with Theseus, my Miro, but I am no warrior. If you accept my pledge then as a boon, I ask that you grant me the power to stand up to your enemies and have them fall before me.” Isabella looks back up at Athena, the tears running from her eyes ignored.
Athena moves forward, opens her arms and hugs Isabela comforting her.
Honoured sister, I accept you as my champion.
Isabela wakes up the next morning on the floor of the cabin to the sound of Bron’s snoring. The feeling of loss and the vision of the ghostly Athena coming back to her. She starts crying again and is startled by the sound of a loud thud coming from Bron. She turns and sees him rubbing his head where he bumped it on the roof of the cabin when he tried to get up from the top bunk.
“What is it girl?”, Bron says as he sees the tears.
“I fear my brother Miro is dead.”, Isabela says as she wipes her face dry. Isabela is sure she sees a look pass over Bron’s face but he quickly covers his head with both his arms.
“Damn ships, they make them sized for women and children.”, Bron eases down from the bunk, “I’m sure its nothing girl. But how could you have gotten any news while on this stinking ship?”
Isabela explains about the ghostly apparition, “And I can’t believe it but I think I kissed her.”%, she continues quickly with the startled look on Bron’s face, “Well she was just so… hot.”
“Silly girl, are you sure you didn’t bump your head too and dream this all up?”, Bron asks as Isabela stands. “Girl… I mean…”, Bron’s mouth drops wide open, “Woman, you can’t possibly have changed that much over night.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Look down. You’ve gotten bigger, 2 inches taller, 20 lbs heavier, 10 lbs of muscle, and bigger… ummm… how you say… tits?”
“In polite company, you’d say nothing of the sort.”, Isabela looks down and blushes while smiling.
She turns to the netting where she had stored her few meager possessions, looking for a brush for her hair. On the floor right in front of the netting stood a spear, a suit of chainmail and a shield emblazoned with the symbol of an owl.
Isabela reaches over and grabs the shield, “Explain this then will you?”