As Bayek approached, he heard the Storyteller speaking to those gathered.
- Storyteller: Have you heard the story of courageous Captain Phoxidas? The magnificent Greek mercenary who single-handedly defeated the despised Gabiniani fleet in epic battle on the high seas? The gather around, and I will amaze you with the legend of Phoxidas and the Goddess of Siwa! Listen closely and you will hear how alone on the wide, naked Mediterranean Sea, the two fearless titans sent no less than sixty Gabiniani ships to the bottom of the ocean!
- Bayek: You said goddess of Siwa? What was her name? Which battle are you talking about?
- Storyteller: You have not heard? Oh, my friend, then you are in for a treat!
Let me tell you how it happened... Legend has it, the noble Greek captain and the Egyptian goddess sailed from Alexandria's golden coast, in search of the feared Gabiniani fleet.
The scene changed to one of the sea, with an eagle flying towards a single boat in the distance, and circling it.
- Storyteller: With only their sturdy trireme and loyal crew against the Gabiniani's fabled warships. Floating mountains carrying ten-thousand men, bristling with oars and fire...
The scene now shifted to the deck of the boat, where Aya and Phoxidas stood, commanding the crew of rowers.
- Phoxidas: Where are these mongrel Gabiniani? My informant assured me they would pass here. I'll throttle his scrawny neck if he told me wrong.
- Aya: Who are the Gabiniani? Where do they come from?
- Phoxidas: Exiles of Rome who took Egypt as their home. Traitorous rats, every one, with the discipline of Rome and the ruthlessness of Ptolemy. Worthy opponents for the likes of us!
- Aya: Well, we have to stop them before they can join Ptolemy's fleet.
- Phoxidas: We'll find them, Aya, and send them to ruin. Not one of the salt-soaked hull rats will pass us alive. What say you, shield boy?
- Damastes: We are with you, Captain! Alala!
The fleet appeared in the distance.
- Phoxidas: There!
- Aya: Is that their whole fleet?
- Phoxidas: Poseidon's piss no, woman! That's only part of their full strength, and the lesser part by the looks. Triremes only. There's no sign of their damned Octareme. This works in our favor. We can work them down, ship by ship.
- Aya: Strike oars and ready your bows! We attack!
- Phoxidas: Give no quarter, men! These devils will give us none!
- Damastes: They have an Octareme? How will we face it?
- Phoxidas: Show no fear, Damastes! They've not met our kind before. Their bloated barge won't save them.
One by one, the Gabiniani ships were sunk.
- Aya: That's two down!
- Phoxidas: There's one more yet for Poseidon's collection!
The storyteller continued as Phoxidas' ship sailed.
- Storyteller: The Gabiniani were vanquished! All twenty mountainous warships lay in Poseidon's slimy embrace. Alone, and with the fury of the wind and sea railing against them, they prevailed!
- Bayek: Twenty warships? Pompey himself wouldn't claim so many.
- Storyteller: You must not doubt me! I was told it by someone who saw it happen!
Back on the deck of the ship, the crew were ready to celebrate.
- Damastes: Captain! We bested them! The Gabiniani are finished!
- Phoxidas: Don't be hasty, boy! My spies gave me a greater number than that. They must have split their fleet. We should head east.
- Aya: Straight into the jaws of the crocodile, if your spies tell the truth.
- Phoxidas: Hahaha! What of it? I've wrestled more fearsome beasts!
- Damastes: And none were a match for our Captain!
- Aya: Your bravado will be your undoing, Captain. And ours!
As they headed east, more ships appeared on the horizon.
- Storyteller: As if rising from the very depths of the Underworld, a second bristling wall of hulls appeared. This time an unbelievable forty Gabiniani death ships faced our lone heroes.
Then another ship rose behind the fleet, the size of which has never been seen before or since! Ten thousand warriors crowded its massive deck, smashing sword and spear against brazen shield.
- Bayek: This may have been the largest fleet ever to sail the Mediterranean!
- Storyteller: Silence... fell like fog. Suddenly one-hundred balls of fire leapt up from the Gabiniani decks and and bore down upon Phoxidas and his stricken crew...
The focus returned to the battle.
- Damastes: The way they spring from the fog. It is like a nightmare!
- Phoxidas: Pah! Don't let their tricks trouble you, Damastes! It's a ruse to shake our nerve. They gain nothing by it.
- Damastes: And their flames! The fire is intense!
- Aya: Phoxidas! This weapon could really help our cause.
- Phoxidas: I might know someone who knows someone. We could make it happen.
Keep inside the range of their catapults, and the day is ours!
- Aya: Let us finish this!
The last ship sank.
- Storyteller: The heroics were spectacular! They fought like gods! But it was all to no avail. Yet more ships appeared. A vast, burning armada of war bore down upon them as if from Mars himself! The crew fainted, but were borne up again by the wild, thunderous cries of their fearless captain and the goddess!
More ships appeared on the horizon.
- Damastes: Yet more ships! From the east!
- Phoxidas: Hades' balls! This must be the full count of these bastards. There! Gods and piss! This is it, slackers! We win or we die! Alalala!
- Aya: Prepare to evade!
- Phoxidas: Aya! Damastes! Slackers all! Listen to me! Scribes will break their pens writing of this day, on this blood-smeared ocean, we'll send these cursed Gabiniani to the Underworld! Let's see them tell that story without tears running down their face! The gods themselves will lift cups to our glory!
- Aya: Steady, old man! Let's not bait the gods! Strike oars!
Victory! By Amun, well done, all!
- Phoxidas: Alalalala! And that is the game! Alalalalala!
The story ended, and Bayek regarded the Storyteller.
- Storyteller: So Phoxidas and the goddess sailed into legend, over the backs of ten times ten thousand drowned Gabiniani! I tell you, I weep just to tell of it! And they say, if you whisper a prayer into a wave, or a fold of the sea, you can hear their war cry answer back. Alala, alala! And that is how it happened, to a word!
- Bayek: What a tale. The goddess' name was Aya. And a goddess she truly is. That may be the only honest part of the story
- Storyteller: What is truth? All is permitted in the realm of greatness! One must believe in the act of creation, or else they will join the Gabiniani!
- Bayek: You are a fine storyteller, seni. Though I cannot tell if you are playing a game with me or telling a story.
- Storyteller: They are one and the same, my friend! Married to each other like the oceans and the rain.
- Bayek: Alala!
- Storyteller: You see it now! Hahaha!
Bayek listened to the tale from the Storyteller.