The morning tide was coming in, and the otherwise still waters were clawing their way up the shore, breaking over the rocks and spreading out over the sand before slowly withdrawing and coming in again. A slight breeze swept over the water and through the King’s coarse ash-colored beard and to the discernment of his entourage, the great man audibly shuddered.
“Posiden approaches,” Agesilaus cooly announced.
The men all trained their eyes, several meters they could see long white hair drifting in the water. Everyone behind the King took a step back when they saw a wrinkled forehead break through the surface followed by eyes with the electric glow of lightning.
He was still far out, but already his broad shoulders and impossibly sculpted chest were already several feet above the water. King Agesilaus peered over his shoulder and saw his metal-plated bodyguards taking a few small steps back.
The enormous Posiden was still a way out from shore with the waves lapping around his waist. As the sea-god drew closer, it revealed more and more of his divine body. His human form ended at his waist and below that weren’t legs but a fish’s tail made of shimmering emerald scales that he used to slither up onto the sand.
“I hope you have good cause to ask me here today Agesilaus.” Posiden’s voice boomed
“Posiden God of the sea I Agesilaus King of Athens asks for your assistance in defeating the armies of Artaxerxes!” The King beseeched the god.
Posiden’s long shadow preceded him as he slithered up the beach. The silhouette cast itself over the King’s quivering men.
“But Artaxerxes has already paid tribute so that I should not trouble his ships,” Posiden said peering down at Agesilaus. “Why should I go back on my word to him?”
Agesilaus gave a wave, and with that gesture, two men walked over and dropped a chest laden with gold in front of Posiden. The god looked down at the treasure and grimaced.
“I’m Posiden God of the sea, not a common whore!” He bellowed.
“And as the god of the sea you should know, no people on earth are bound to you like the Athenians.” The King pleaded. “We have more for you than just crude coin. I have ordered a temple to be built in your honor on our highest hill made from our finest marble with idols made of our purest gold!”
Posiden looked down at the chest again and scratched his chin. “A new temple, you say?”
“Posiden might see his way to forgiving you for this insult. If the proper offerings were left at this temple in a timely, consistent, and recurring manner.” The Posiden said contemptibly. “There’s just one thing though..”
“I’ve also ordered all the brothels in my kingdom to open their doors to you for no charge.” Agesilaus blurted.
While the King and god were striking their bargain, Artaxerxes was standing on the bow of his mighty warship. A favorable wind pushed against the sail and the fleet glided effortlessly over the water.
Artaxerxes was a skillful commander more than that he had the confidence of a planner who had no doubt he had seen to every detail. Athens was less than a day’s sail away, and thanks to the bargain he had struck with the god of the sea, Artaxerxes knew sailing would be smooth. For now, all the great commander had to do was breathe in the crisp sea air, feel the cool mist against his skin, and dream of his imminent glory.
“Artaxerxes, Artaxerxes!” a panicked soldier interrupted his daydreaming.
Artaxerxes gritted his teeth. “Yes, what is it?” he asked, visibly irritated.
“It’s the oracle she says Posiden has made a deal with Agesilaus and he’s going to sink our ships!”
“I already gave Posiden more gold than the Athenians could ever hope to muster why would he betray me now?” Artaxerxes asked skeptically.
“The Oracle says it’s women!” said the soldier.
“Women?” Artaxerxes repeated.
Suddenly the air became still, and the sails on the ships fluttered before falling limp. Dark clouds began rolling across the glassy sky. A forked bolt of lying lashed out from the billowing clouds and struck one of the wooden ships igniting a fire.
“Posiden, you whore,” Artaxerxes muttered.