The Hydra's Nest was an altered representation of a fragmented genetic memory.
Darius' son has been captured. We offered to help the old warrior, but he refused, and left to chase down the cultists on his own. The fool will get himself and his boy killed.
We followed Darius' trail to the mouth of a dark cave. There were a few guards, but they were already dead when we arrived. No doubt the Order is using it as some sort of headquarters or gathering point.
We are going in after Darius. The old man is in trouble, and, whether he wants it or not, we're the only help he is going to get.
The mercenaries gathered inside the mouth of a cave.
- Mercenary 2: Lots of tracks leading into this cave.
- Mercenary 1: The Order must be using this as a hideout.
- Mercenary 3: If they're in there, Darius is too.
- Mercenary 2: Let's get to work.
The mercenaries proceeded through the cave, eliminating all Spartans and the two Order members they encountered until they reached a central cavern. There, they saw six Order members and a Spartan ekdromos had gathered with the restrained Natakas near a circular stone slab prepared for a ritual sacrifice. Unbeknownst to them, Darius had also tracked the Order to the cave and had hidden behind a stalagmite deep in the cavern. As the mercenaries approached the Order, Darius dashed from his hiding place to flank the group.
- Order Cultist: Halt. No closer, or this one DIES.
- Mercenary 1: Natakas?
- Natakas: Ye... How do you...
- Order Cultist: Silence!
- Mercenary 1: We're here with your father.
- Order Cultist: Darius? Where is he?!
- Mercenary 1: Right behind you.
- Order Cultist: What?
Using the distraction created by the mention of his father's name, Natakas knocked down the Order leader. In response, another Order member and the ekdromos engaged the mercenaries in combat, but were killed. The Order leader rose to their feet to retaliate when Darius suddenly came from behind and assassinated them.
- Darius: You are a goat chasing a lion. You will never touch my family again.
- Order Cultist: You'll never be free of us Artabanus! You and yours will die and The Tainted Ones will be scoured from this earth. We have called The Huntsman.
- Darius: The Huntsman... Pactyas...
- Order Cultist: Hah. You have no idea the beast you've awakened. I die happily, knowing you will soon reside in the House of Lies.
The leader collapsed dead on the cavern floor. As the remaining Order members fled, Darius freed his son.
- Natakas: It is good to see you father. I might be dead now, if not for these strangers. Thank you!
- Darius: Hm. They provided a useful distraction.
- Mercenary 1: Why in Hades do these people want you dead so badly?
- Natakas: My father has caused them a great deal of... trouble.
- Mercenary 1: Heh. Hopefully it's the last we see of them. What shall you do now?
- Darius: We must remain on the move. I know this Huntsman their leader spoke of. A dangerous foe.
- Mercenary 1: Well, we make for Amphipolis to join the crew of the Eagle-Bearer. Riches and adventure old man! You two should join us.
- Darius: I would not drag anyone else into this feud...
The mercenaries turned to leave, but Natakas approached the lead mercenary, his curiosity piqued by the epithet.
- Natakas: Wait... Eagle-Bearer? Who is this Eagle-Bearer?
- Mercenary 1: Ha! I suppose you have been living in caves! A great warrior! Fearless! Let me tell you about the Eagle-Bearer...
- Darius: ...
The mercenaries saved Natakas from the gathered Order and Darius assassinated the leader. Before dying, the leader taunted Darius, boasting that the small group was a vanguard for a larger force lead by the Magi Pactyas. The mercenaries then invited the two to join the Eagle-Bearer's crew, which Darus declined. However, Natakas was intrigued, and as they left the cave, the mercenaries regaled him with the warrior's deeds.