Morning, 40th of Ashan, Arc 719
On the island of Tyros, the town of Miletos hummed with the early morning affairs of the citizens. Merchants, traders, laborers, sailors, and otherwise gathered in parts of the town where their respective businesses would unfurl over the course of what was expected to be another long trial. In Miletos, the sun rose at an early hour and twilight never dawdled for long. The people of Miletos were as eager to awaken and begin their lives again with the blessed golden rays that washed over the arid landscape. Throughout the town, pockets of greenery unfurled as the trees hurried to also soak up the warm light.
Along the top of a slope, at the end of the main town road and on the highest point of the area, a modest basilica sat – the shared estate of the Argonis. Made from a mixture of brickwork, flint, the perimeter pillars were lined with sun-bleached stone. No doors were necessary in the council’s pavilion because everyone in Miletos respected the Argonis and it had remained that way for many, many generations. As such, open archframes led into the polished stone-floor interior. Walls seemed as unnecessary as doors, with sections of the room carved out by the placement of furniture and décor rather than actual stone or wood.
In the back, set up on a raised platform with seven steps, the Kókkinos players gathered. This morning, they would be discussing something of great importance, and awaiting the expected arrival of the lord who’d taken Koros and who wished to earn alliance with them.
Kyriakos had been the first to arrive. Dressed in a thin robe of green that mimicked the colors of palm fronds in a pattern, he wore not much else. Though narrow in his frame, the exposure of his chest proved he had firmly corded muscle packed in his tall silhouette. His legs were similarly bare, except for a thin wrapping of blue fabric around his hips and a pair of skin-tight green shorts that stopped just at the top of his thighs. His sandals twisted up along his lower legs in gilded string, ending in tightly drawn bows at his knees. The black-haired Miletian took a seat on a lounge couch, then stretched as he awaited his team-brothers’ arrivals.
It came as no surprise when Demetrion arrived next, with Tylema at his heels. They’d come together and both had beads of sweat on their brows.
Demetrion wiped away the moisture with a handkerchief, then tucked the luxurious swath of red cloth in the leather waistband around his tapered torso. His tunic was minimalist, but not simple for the ivory-dyed fabric reflected the sunlight in shimmers that followed the flow of the rich folds. The skirt of the tunic was short, the hem barely cut-off at the undercurve of his toned rear. He fixed the asymmetrical sleeve on his tunic, adjusting the gilded clasp of a panther-like engraved visage – his own symbol used in the Games and what the people of both Miletos and all of Tyros knew him by. He thinly smiled at Kyriakos as he approached the back platform.
Kyriakos stood, then, to meet his approach and outstretched his arms. The two raven-haired, fair-skinned lithe men hugged to greet one another. Demetrion kissed Kyriakos on the cheek, whispered a good morning, then seated himself on an airy wide chair.
“Morning,” said Kyriakos to the two. He offered his outstretched arms for Tylema next.
Tylema jogged over from where they’d come in. He leapt up the seven steps with ease, then skipped over. He grinned. Out of the three men, he was the most scantily dressed: only a pair of simple brown shorts adorned his form perfectly like a second skin with a thin gold chain that laid diagonally around his hips with a gilded tassel at the end that bounced against his thigh with each energetic movement he made. His build was much broader than the other two and packed with trained muscle.
“Morning, Ky!” He rushed into Kyriakos’ embrace, gripped the older man around the waist, then spun him about in several twirls before tossing him over to land on the couch. Tylema didn’t pause, however. He leapt on top, straddling over Kyriakos’ fallen form, then he stood with his feet to either side of Ky’s waist to stand above him. He placed his hands on his hips and boisterously laughed so loud that it resounded in the open space. “You have grown weak! Like woman!”
Kyriakos smiled, then he grabbed Tylema’s leg and forcibly pulled him down from the couch. The two sprawled onto the stone floor. They wrestled for many bits before Demetrion cleared his throat.
“Perhaps we should discuss matters before Arios arrives with this Venora man? Or prepare a scene for him,” suggested Demetrion.
Tylema looked up, his palm pressed into Kyriakos’ shoulder as he kept the other man pinned down in a seeming victory. “Okay, what more is there to talk about that we haven’t said with Arios? He’s a powerful man, I’ve heard, like us. The people talk well of him. My sister saw him when he arrived and she said he looks like Arsinos. Should I perform a show of my strength?”
“He doesn’t want to see you flex, Ty,” laughed Kyriakos. He swiftly drew his leg around, broke out of the pinning hold and straddled Tylema’s chest. “We should prepare something though, like Demetrion says. Perhaps… the Growl of the Wild?”
“Without Arios?” asked Ty, who simply threw his hands back and surrendered to Kyriakos winning out in their wrestle match.
Demetrion made a quiet hmph sound. He stood, suddenly, and said, “Arios.”
Both Tylema and Kyriakos swiftly looked in the same direction. Across the way, in approach to the platform, was Arios and the man they’d been discussing for the past two trials in length. Tylema grabbed Ky around the waist and lifted them both to their feet in one fell jump. He shook his shoulders, sending sweat droplets out like a dog shaking its wet fur.
Kyriakos simply fixed his green open-front robe and then his hair. He smiled in a friendly manner, then folded his hands at his lower back with a soldier-like posture.
The three men of varied ages stood still on the platform. For a moment, they simply awaited the other two men. Before Arios reached the platform, Tylema hopped down the first two steps. He took a wide stance, as if to pose for a statue, lifted an arm out and then flexed his muscles in a show of his bronze tan skin – still sweaty from the wrestling match. He laughed then, the noise echoed, and he said in a booming voice, “Welcome Lord Alistair Venora from Koros! You walk into the esteemed council of Kókkinos of Tyros, and at your feet lies the stones of our ancestors, testament to their grand achievements.”
He shifted his pose to the other side, to show his back. “I am Tylema of Kókkinos, champion of the Games and avatar of Arsinos himself in the Arsinaeus Medea, honored by all of Miletos!” He turned back around, outstretched his arms for Arios - and even Alistair if accepted - to greet him in a brotherly embrace as he added in a theatrical conclusion, “I am certain you have heard of me.”