FEELING THE CRUSHING OF THE WALLS WITH IN
I hate sewage I hate the smell, smell is an issue to me unlike human beings when you become a werewolf your sense of smell increases. The upside of this is that the smell of cooked meat becomes even more intense and things you never smelt when your human suddenly light up your senses. The downside is that the things that smell awful become truly awful it's like an assault on your senses, which makes it harder not to want to throw up. There's no way around this I have to do it, it wouldn't be the first time I've had to do something I hated. It's the only way in side the city but it doesn't make me feel any better. We have walked for some time and I can see the frozen sewage lake even from here and the huge open end of the aqueduct the men and women who have been picked have been travelling with us. Idomeneus wasn't wrong when he said they are out of the ordinary and they are as they are more like Iona's men in that they seem closer to assassins. They are all middle aged and all have hand made weapons which have grapples hooks as well as specialized swords which have double blades and axes and war hammers which are bigger and heaver than normal. One woman has even fashioned claws on her wrists which are clearly for creating huge wounds. All of these men and women have specialist combat skills. Gabrielle turned to Idomeneus. "Are all these men and women mercenaries?" Idomeneus raised his hand. "Some of them used to be yes but once they were turned they were forced to serve under Bastiaan which they didn't like, as they were forced to kill other werewolves if the Imperial Council demanded it or so I've heard." Gabrielle felt her body tense. "Everything you have heard about Bastiaan's unit is true they kill other werewolves to keep them quite but I have never heard of anyone from that unit leaving."
Idomeneus eyed the men and women. "Well all of these men and women did much to the Imperial Council's annoyance and came to Corinth it was my mother's idea to keep them together as a lot of the rebels wanted to separate them because they were scared of them." Xena eyed the men and women. "Well they look the part for what we are about to do." Iona folded her arms. "Look I don't mean to rain on any one parade but I really don't but how are we going to get through that tunnel it will be pitch black and we can't light fire torches in there the place will explode. Believe me I know, one of my warriors did it once he died as did three people who were guarding the other end of the aqueduct. Granted they were part of a warlord's army the Empress had sent me to kill but that's not the point, open fire in a small space is very dangerous." Idomeneus smirked as he pulled out a round glass ball which had an opening at the top. In side it had a huge glob of red candle wax and wick. The glass ball was attached to a bronze prop. "What do you seriously think that werewolves don't think off that kind of thing?" He eyed the ball. "You light one of these and the fire is contained and the candle wax burns a certain colour. These can be attached to armour so you find your way around at night though we can see in the pitch black, even we like a little colour." Gabrielle eyed the glass ball. "These are used in the underground cities to light up homes and streets." Iona put her hand on the glass ball. "How in Tartarus do you people make these so round I mean I've only seen glass that is flat?" Idomeneus eyed the glass ball. "That's easy you just blow in to it while it's hot?" Iona blinked in confusion. "You can't blow in to glass when it's molten." Idomeneus looked up sharply. "Sure you can you just use a metal pipe which is hollow and you blow down it, the glass expands and creates a bubble." Iona raised a ringed finger. "I don't care what it takes I want to see this done." Idomeneus smirked eyeing the glass ball. "Oh when we have time I'll show it to you and prove it."
Gabrielle turned watching as a man came running through the trees behind them he stopped catching his breath as he raising a bag. "Sapphira would like you to wear this for your own protection as you don't have any armour." Gabrielle carefully took the bag from him pulling out a light metal chest plate and stomach plate which also had shoulder guards it was made from red and black metal parts which had been woven on the interlocking plates to create a pattern. At the edges a large leather skirt hung down it was there for if she transformed to cover her privates, she looked at it for a long moment. "Thank you." The man felt a big smile form. "It's made from werewolf steel but our version is sadly not as good as the real thing." Gabrielle eased the straps off her shoulders which held her swords then pulled on the armour which lay very flat against her shirt which she'd changed to an old one along with her trousers. She slowly pulled the leather ties adjusting the shoulders armour so it fitted better. "That's fine I never liked full werewolf steel anyway." She eased her sword straps back on as she turned to him. "Give her my thanks." The man nodded as he walked away. Xena eyed the armour. "It looks good." Gabrielle adjusted the armour again checking that the sections had movement. "It'll do." Xena felt her smile fade as she walked towards the frozen sewage lake. "Let's go." Idomeneus nodded watching as the men and women lit up the glass balls which burned with red light. She turned to Gabrielle. "You should lead I'll be right behind you." Idomeneus threw his glass globe watching as Xena caught it. "You'll need this it'll help you see." Xena eyed the glass ball. "Thank you." Gabrielle breathed in as she wrapped a cloth around her mouth which she hoped it would keep out some of the smell.
She could see the others doing the same along with her lover who then put on her leather gloves she pulled on her own gloves pulling the cords as tight as possible. She eyed the sewage lake part of it was ice not that, that made her feel any better. She moved her boots over the icy black surface taking slow steps once this was over she wouldn't let Thaleia scrub her boots clean or any of her other clothes she would do it herself it wasn't fair to make her friend clean up crap. She could see the huge opening which stood out as its stone was white, there were large frozen icicles hanging off the edge. She pulled herself up on to the edge instantly smelling the awful fumes even through the cloth on her face. She slowly moved forward on her hands and knees through the half frozen sludge which became less and less frozen as she moved further down the wide tube she could see the red light as her lover followed her slowly behind her. "This aqueduct doesn't get any smaller does it?" Xena carried on moving hearing the others behind her. "I have no idea I didn't have this place built I just had it extended beyond the wall the sewage used to flood the streets it was awful, why do you ask?" Gabrielle moved through the sludge was getting thicker now and it was getting warmer due to the fumes and the heat. "No reason." In the darkness she could make out the lines of the walls and feel the sweat under the collar of her armour she didn't even want to think about what she was crawling through as it hard enough to not want to throw up.
Iphicles eased up his bloody sword eyeing it as he slowly moved through the dark tunnel. The warriors who had taken over the city had tried to take him prisoner but they had failed, his rope bounds had been to loose and he'd been able to free himself. Killing the two warriors though that had been hard as they were both unbelievably strong and what ever there weapons were made from it was unlike any metal he had come across. They had shattered his weapon he'd had to use the broken end to stab one of the warriors through the throat. The other he had stabbed through the chest using his own sword. Sadly he was now stuck in the dark maze of tunnels under the city which stretched out for miles and it was slow moving as he had no idea where he was and he had been trying to avoid the warriors by taking other empty tunnels when ever they passed by. Unlike the others in the army he was trained in this kind of warfare, he knew the stakes and he knew what was necessary to achieve his goals many years fighting to liberate the Greek Empire had taught him that. He had fought along side Xena or the Empress as she was now known to everyone else and had both been good friends for many years. They had become lovers later on but the relationship had not worked out. There had been no arguments or anger between them and they had not spilt up on bad terms as they had still remained friends even after wards. It just wasn't to be they didn't connect the spark just wasn't there and he realized now that some of the sexual emotion had come about because of the war. War and sexual drive sometimes got messed up together it came about as you needed to feel human again and sex could help that along even if the person you were with wasn't the right person. Looking back though he wouldn't take it back for the world they had, had good times together and he'd learnt a lot about relationships from it.
Rumours were forever flying around that Xena was a rampant lover who had constant sexual conquests this was rubbish. She had only ever had one relationship at a time with one person of ether gender, she had no interest threesomes. Though she had been to one or two orgy parties but who hadn't? Most people did it at one time in their lives men and women sometimes did it as a right of passage in to adulthood in some cases. Xena had just never found the right person and she always leapt in with both feet and tried so hard but it never worked out and it was always so sad, as Xena was a deeply loving being who had the warmest heart and people sometimes took advantage of that. He remembered meeting Julius Caesar years later and frankly he didn't like the man he had even told her openly that he didn't approve. Despite that the man had lots of charisma, charm and was polite but he wouldn't deny that something about that bastard had really not sat well with him. He just didn't seem genuine and he'd hated that his instincts had been proved right. He had heard that, that horrible man had tried to have Xena murdered as he wanted the Greek Empire for himself but it had gone the other way and she'd killed him after which she had fled from Rome. He'd heard that she'd had a string of failed relationships after that which had not lasted more than a week, then her love life had gone in to silence. He had felt so bad for her all she'd ever wanted was to be loved and to give love and to have children and raise a family. It wasn't until recently that rumours had resurfaced that she was with someone but who that person was, was unknown. The only thing that was known was that she was a woman, frankly he hoped she was a decent woman as he had seen to many women break Xena's heart in the past.
He carried on moving forward leaning up against the wall as two guards passed by chatting in some language which he didn't understand. All of these people were from all different lands and descents but that was normal as the Greek armies were full of people from many lands, but the language he just couldn't figure out and he'd been to many places. They also weren't human ether as their eyes reflected in the darkness of these tunnels which weren't that well lit. He eyed the sword in his hand he needed to find Yalena, much like Xena he had moved on relationship wise and they had been together for quite sometime now. It was no lie that Spartan women did have a fire about them and he loved her for it. Xena's family were of Thracian decent and he had been used to that kind of fire from her when she had been a bad mood, which during the wars for liberation had been quite often, she had changed though after her trip to China. She came back much more focused and with a completely different take on the war and she knew how to channel her rage on every level but it hadn't been the same. He'd always liked that fire and had missed it, Yalena was all fire and she could handle herself with anything but this event had caught them both of guard. He knew she had been taken down these tunnels like his men and women but he had no idea where they were being kept. He had noticed that the guard's numbers were getting more which meant they were protecting something. How these people had built out these massive tunnels and no one had ever heard it or seen it was beyond him, it must have taken them many years which meant that this had planned, he just didn't understand why. The only land that was a threat to Greece right now was Egypt Rome was less of a threat but still a land to be wary of.
He breathed in turning the corner seeing that it was surrounded by warriors and far too many for him to take on at once. He moved up against the wall eyeing them, they were guarding a huge open area which was the size of a temple and had huge prison cells filled with people. Some were the remained warriors of his army but he had no idea who the rest were. One older man though had been separated from them and had been chained to a flat rock table, he had been stripped of his clothes his back was a mess of bloody scars. He was clearly being punished for something he had done he shook his head as he eyed the people in the cage behind him. They didn't look dangerous at all they all looked like normal town's people why chain them up and lock them away? He turned catching sight of Yalena she had been chained to a table opposite the leader though they had not stripped her of her clothes but she had clearly been put on display to die. He felt the twinge of anger as he caught sight of the blood staining the stone which meant that she was bleeding and had serious wounds. He moved further back as a warrior came closer to him eyeing the area, he didn't think as he grabbed the woman covering her mouth muffling her cry of pain as he thrust his weapon straight in to her throat feeling the cold blood as it wet his hands. He brought her dead body down carefully pulling it out of sight down the tunnel opposite. He eyed her armour which had strange shifting plates which could expand clearly any gender could wear it. Maybe this could give him an advantage maybe he could put it on and pretend to be one of these people and get closer to these heavily guarded cells. It was his best change he wasn't going to let these people hurt the woman he loved anymore he was going to have their heads.
Yalena felt the agonizing pain everything hurt so much she could feel her face touching the cold stone which she had been chained to. She had been in battles which had hurt less than this, now she was in some dark underground prison though she couldn't remember how she had gotten here as she had lapsed in and out of consciousness more than once. She closed her eyes her wounds were still bleeding and she was starting to feel light headed. She was no fool she knew why she had been chained like this she was on display as a warning to all others. They also wanted her to die on this cold stone that was why they hadn't healed her wounds they wanted her to bleed out. She took in a slow deep breath steadying her self mentally she needed to have focus and resolve as she opened her eyes keeping a firm focus on her surroundings. She could see the unconscious naked elderly Egyptian man chained down opposite, clearly she wasn't the only one on display here. His back though was an awful mess of horrific bloody scars which had cut through the muscle and bone, whether he was still alive she had no idea but she was doubtful, there was so much blood all down his body and the wounds were far too deep. She turned looking around her she could hear lots of voices from the prison cells, which meant lots of prisoners. Her lover Iphicles was not among them or he would have spoken up which meant that he had gotten away and that bastard werewolf general had not captured him. She knew that she was too weak to try and pull on her chains and she knew it would be counter productive she needed to save her energy and choose her moment to free herself. She closed her eyes slowing her breathing down if Iphicles was free he would get down to her soon. After all that was one of the reasons she loved him he had endless skill and she admired skill but only worthy skill such as his, she would expect no less, she was Spartan it was just in her nature.
I thought this tunnel was going to be wide but it's gotten smaller and tighter! I'm now having to crawl on my belly through the crap the smell is awful and the heat is stifling. It's torturous and I've been down here for what feels like hours I know it's in fact not hours but because this work is so slow going time passes slower in your head. I just want to get out of here I'm starting to feel trapped and it's not a nice feeling I hate the feeling of being trapped and its not like I can turn around and go back despite theses feelings which are starting to eat away at me. Gabrielle looked up in surprise as the scratching of claws hit her ears it had to be rats she stopped moving as it got closer realizing that it was in fact a cat which was running towards her. She pulled herself up slightly only for the animal to go right through her body and come out the other side behind her. She took in a deep breath great there were ghosts down here that was the last thing she needed right now. She crawled forward only for five more cats to fly through her body going in the opposite direction ignoring her as they meowed and fought. What was with all the cats did they just like to play down here or something? Ghost animals were even worse than ghost people, because she couldn't tell the difference till they went through you or you went through them. She'd found that out at great cost once when she'd attacked a deer only to go right through it in werewolf form and slam head first in to a tree which had knocked her out instantly. She'd woken up an hour later dazed and confused wondering what had just happened to her as it made no sense. She had been trying to survive through that bitter first year and she had blamed herself for being stupid and making a mistake. In truth it had been the first ghost she'd seen before being taken to the werewolf city to be trained but at the time it had not clicked in her mind that what she saw wasn't real and she couldn't understand it.
Ghosts animals did exist though they were everywhere just like ghost people they could walk through walls and go in to odd places as they weren't limited by having a real body. She tensed feeling the pain as she pushed through the uncomfortable tight space which was getting even tighter, she felt her body go still, it suddenly felt like the walls were closing in around her and a painful light headed feeling started to take over her mind making her feel sick. She stopped finding it difficult to breath as her own heart beat started to pound violently in her ears. By Ouroboros she hadn't wanted this to happen not in here not in this tunnel! The awful sensation of claustrophobia was overwhelming her senses forcing her to freeze on the spot in fear. She wouldn't panic she wouldn't cry out if she did everyone would know she was a pathetic coward. She thought she had gotten over this and that it wouldn't be a problem again she felt her teeth grind together as she tried desperately to keep it together. In her youth as a trainee she had attacked a wagon in werewolf form along with the other trainees up in Snow Mountains of MountAmaro the wagon had been owned by Chinese merchants. The whole attack had gone wrong the merchants had pulled out gun powder fire rockets and fired them at her and the other trainees. They'd had to flee back to the tunnels which were built in to the mountain but one of those rockets had gone inside the tunnel blowing it apart and causing a cave in. Unlike most werewolf tunnels these tunnels were never coated in cement as the freezing temperatures in mountains kept the earth ice solid, all of the other trainees had made it out apart from her. She just wasn't fast enough and had found her whole body pinned under the earth and rubble she had been stuck in a tiny space where she couldn't move and had struggled to breathe the stale air for hours. Worst of all she had transformed back which had caused the rubble to crush down even more on top of her body she'd had to wait for almost a full day before she'd been dug out.
Time passes slower in a situation like that every second was about staying alive and it had really gotten to her. No one had ever talked to her or helped her through her emotions after being dug out her trainer had told her to just suck it up and stop being weak and pathetic and act like a warrior. Well here was the truth no amount of sucking it up had changed the fact that she had issues with incredibly tight spaces and here she was now being pathetic once more as she was stuck in a tunnel frozen unable to move, because that fear was coming back to her along with the memories. At a part her longed to be able to unfreeze her muscles and use her pipe to smoke some Coltsfoot but that in itself would be counter productive as any open fire in here would cause an explosion. Xena crawled forward realizing that her lover wasn't moving at all she'd frozen solid up ahead, she paused seeing that everyone was coming up behind her unaware that Gabrielle had stopped as she had been moving faster than everyone up until now. "There's something wrong I need you to stop!" She watched as the others stopped leaving enough space that they wouldn't hear their conversation she moved towards the younger woman putting a hand on her armoured back which caused her to turn around the surprise her glowing green eyes darting in the darkness. She kept her voice as low as possible. "Are you hurt?" Gabrielle tried to steady her breathing as she spoke in a truly weak voice. "I don't think I can do this it feels like the walls are closing in..." Xena blinked as it instantly dawned on her what was going on as she'd seen this same behaviour in warrior in her army over the years it wasn't uncommon. Her lover was claustrophobic, which was a shock in its self as she had never expected werewolves to have this problem as they lived underground. She tried to ignore the stale air and rancid smell as she spoke in a gentle tone. "Sure you can."
She looked up the tunnel. "Its just a little further then it opens out in to a wide area." She put her hand further up the woman's armoured back. "Come on you can do this sweetheart." Gabrielle felt the other woman push against her forcing to crawl forward very slowly, each movement was painful and slow but she was moving again the close contact helped. Xena moved the glass touch around as Iona's voice hit the air. "Are you both okay down there!?" Xena moved keeping pace with her lover while keeping hold of her armoured back. "We are fine you can all keep going now." She eyed her lover she could feel how difficult this was for her, her whole body was tensed up and ridged. She hated to push her like this but they were so close to getting to the point they needed to be. Once the tunnel opened out again it wouldn't be nice or pleasant it would mean wading through knee high sewage and then breaking down the wall on their side to get through to the other side. It would have to be quick with no delay because the breaking of the wall would cause echoes which could alert the army on the other side. Gabrielle could still feel her heart racing but she was moving somehow it was comforting having her lover this close even if she was just pushing her on, it took her mind of her feelings. She pushed harder trying to move faster she needed to get out of here she couldn't stand this place any longer it was messing with her mind and she didn't need that right now. This was not how she had considered spending her day sweating and feeling caged in, in a sewage tunnel. She so needed to get her head in the game because right now she wasn't doing very well, she was just muddling through this as best she could and that just wasn't good enough.
End of part 29
Iphicles was in Hercules The Legendary Journeys he was Hercules brother, he looks very similar to Ares but has none of his toxic, abusive behaviour and is an all around nice guy. As Hercules was never born in this Universe Iphicles is a child of Alcmene and has a sister Laonome as in the myth. Iphicles in the mythology was Iolaus's farther but like Hercules Iolaus has not been born.