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Jan 24, 2021 8:55 PM
James is left for dead on a deserted island right before the Trojan War
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"Not personally," he is unashamed to admit.

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"Uh huh. And has anyone you personally know asked a nereid for something and been poisoned?"

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"Not that either," he says, with what a trained ear might catch as some forced levity inserted into his voice. "Naiads did kidnap a very good friend of mine." The smile disappears from his face. "He might be dead now. Or not. So I am a little wary of asking nymphs for favours."

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".... Okay, a reasonable precaution, but naiads are not nereids, would you also blame and insult Hestia for the things Hera does?"

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"I did not blame nereids for anything, nor did I insult them, I merely said that asking them to clear water so I could wash my wound would not previously have occurred to me," he replies simply, his joviality all back. Then he gets to his feet (or mostly just the one foot) and starts limping towards the ocean, eyes still shut.

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"It is in fact insulting to imply that a nereid would poison you," informs his mysterious benefactor, a little tartly. "Don't try and do something stupid like drink seawater and expect them to aid you, but every single nereid I've ever met—and that number is many, before you ask—has not meant anyone any permanent injury at all. Ever."

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"Very well, I apologise for my poorly-thought-out joke," he says, grinning in the direction of the ocean that he still cannot see. "Might you instruct me on what one would do to ask nicely? Beautiful nereids, sea nymphs full of kindness and joy, I would request your aid in cleansing the water of whatever foul humours and toxins it might contain that I may clean my wound once more."

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"That's the right sort of tone. Pretty things are more likely to draw their attention, so—songs, or flowers, or poetry if you know any that's not particularly bloodthirsty. They despise violence and bloodshed, tales of battles are likely to scare them off."

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He has long since removed his shoes, so he notices when his toes reach the wet sand and halts his advance there, settling back down onto the ground. He crosses his legs, using his hands to carefully position his hurt ankle so that there is as little pressure on it as possible, then straightens his back and, eyes still closed, starts reciting:

"By waves haloed, immortal nereids!
Children of gods kind, I implore you,
Slay me not in this distress and anguish,
Ladies of beauty.

"Hither come as I wish for you to join me,
As from afar you hear my voice lamenting,
Hear and come, leaving your glorious patron's halls blue,

"Gliding the currents, true their aim,
Swift to the darksome earth their course directing,
Weaving the seas from deepest ocean,
Up through the waters.

"Quickly they bear you. Then you, O joyous nymphs,
All in laughter wreathed your faces immortal,
One of you shall bid me tell thee the cause of my suffering,
Why now I call you.

"What for my maddened heart I most was longing.
'Whom,' you cry, 'dost wish that sweet Persuasion
Now win over and lead to thy love, my Zotikos?
Who is it wrongs thee?

"'For, though now he flies, he soon shall follow,
Soon shall be giving gifts who now rejects them.
Even though he love not, soon shall he love thee
Even though thou wouldst not.'

"Come then now, dear nymphs, and release me
From my anguish. All my heart's desiring
Grant you now. Now too, and forevermore,
Be you my allies.
"*

The poem is meant to be sung along with a lyre, but lacking that he just sings and hums, and every now and then softly hits the sand or the pants of his legs following the rhythm. His eyes remain close throughout, but the cast of his face and the movement of his body could fool one into believing he was gazing upon the most beautiful face he'd ever seen. The poem dies down, and he hums it to its end, but his smile remains and he continues to sway lightly from side to side as if influenced by an unfelt wind.

* Adaptation of an English translation of Sappho's Hymn to Aphrodite.

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There is a splash of sea water, accompanied by the soft and sweet sound of unfamiliar feminine laughter. Weighing on him as softly as a cool breeze, there is a feeling of something with just a little bit of power being present. A wave catches his ankle in a small tide of motion. Just above, on the uninjured skin of his calf, there is a faint wet touch of soft lips giving him a quick mischievous kiss. With another faint giggle, the sea’s water recedes, and the presence is gone.

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He still does not open his eyes, but he grins more widely. "That was nice. Thank you!" he calls out.

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There’s a little happy splash from the sea that might be an answer, or might be imagined.

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His mysterious benefactor is completely silent, of both praise and critique.

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"So now can I wash the wound properly, do you think?" he asks, turning his head in the direction the mysterious benefactor's voice was coming from before.

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“Mnrmhmm,” hums the more familiar voice, sounding somewhere between choked, pained, and sort of like she’s on the verge of tears. “Yep, good job, you charmed them like a champion.”

... something in that last sentence sounds kind of harsh. Bitter, maybe.

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...eh? "Are you alright?" he asks as he starts undressing both his wound and his self.

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“I’m fine,” lies the voice, and not even very well. “I-I’ll be back at dusk, if you fall unconscious in another mud hole in the meanwhile you’re on your own.

Then there’s a splash, and then silence.

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He is very confused by this person. And he did not even get her name.

Also how obvious should it be that she's not human by now? Because the answer is "quite". Well.

Since she's gone he can open his eyes and then finish undressing and gingerly submerging his ankle that's gonna hurt a lot isn't it he braces himself -

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It does turn out to hurt a lot, actually. A lot, a lot. But it’s cleaner, now, that’s something.

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He hisses but otherwise doesn't make any noises, and once it's gotten dull enough he rubs the ankle with his hands and tries to squeeze out some of the pus and blood. When he's done with that, he submerges himself more fully and tries to do his best at cleaning himself up in salt water. Once he's done with that he walks back to the beach, thinks about it for a second, then grabs his chiton and rips a long strip of it to rebandage the wound. Then he finds a likely-looking stone where he could sit while tending to a fire, and he goes about making a new fire there for the food. He drinks some more of that clear water and waits for the fire's heat to dry him and cook his food.

After he's done eating, he drinks the rest of the water and then fetches his undergarments. He shakes them as free of sand as he can and then puts them back on, trying not to get too much more sand in them in the process. With the limp, the whole setup will probably take longer than it otherwise would, but it's good to have something to occupy himself with.

And that's only until his wound is healed enough that he can get to work on making a boat.

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It'll likely take longer than two days to heal, so he's got a while to plan what sort of boat he'll be making, and which direction he'll be taking it. Maybe his mysterious benefactor can help him with directions to the nearest inhabited island?

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Maybe, when she shows back up at dusk. For now he'll just sun himself.

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The sun is nice and warm, and the island is very peaceful and idyllic. Also boring, it's also boring.

Dusk is a while away. Is there anything he'd like to do with his time until then?

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Nope! He'll just nap again. Or try to. Rest is good for injuries right? Maybe if he sleeps a lot he'll recover faster.

That's his theory and he's sticking to it.

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Time crawls by at the fast-paced, breakneck speed of a galloping, drunken snail. Auuuuughhhhhh he's just sitting here waiting for the sun to set, Helios hurry it up, whyyyyyyy.

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