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What Lies Below the Surface was a virtual representation of one of Kassandra's genetic memories, relived by Layla Hassan through the Portable Animus HR-8.5.

Description

Kassandra met with two warrior brothers to defeat the Minotaur.

Dialogue

Kassandra walked over to two warrior brothers, Ankos and Araxis, who appeared ready to slay a Minotaur.

  • Kassandra: And you must be... the "warriors."
  • Ankos: Look, brother—the final member of our Minotaur-hunting party has arrived!
    When the best sees our assembled might, he will moo miserably in fear!
    ...Do Minotaurs moo, or... ?
  • Araxis: If it's all right with both of you, I'd like to strike the killing blow.
    Or, can we at least
    say I struck the killing blow? ...I'm willing to haggle down to "played a key role in distracting the Minotaur while allowing the killing blow to be struck."

  • Kassandra: The Minotaur is a mythical creature—only someone just as mythical could slay it.
  • Araxis: ...You're talking about me, right?
  • Ankos: The only "myths" about you, little brother, are the ones pater paid to keep quiet.

  • Kassandra: The killing blow will go to the warrior with the greatest skill and courage in battle.
  • Araxis: Then I shall wear the Minotaur's entrails as my necklace!

Kassandra sighed.

  • Kassandra: This can only end well.
  • Araxis: Are you ready to ride?

(Accept – "Let's go.")

They mounted their horses and rode out of Warrior's Rest, chatting.

  • Araxis: ...If the Minotaur eats humans and lives right next to the population of Pephka, how are they all still alive?
  • Ankos: Perhaps the diet of Pephkans disagrees with him?
  • Araxis: Good thinking, brother! Let us dip our blades in rich oils and onions to gain an edge in combat!

They rode through Death Gorge to the Cave of the Brave.

  • Ankos: Behold, brother; the home of the Minotaur!
  • Araxis: Isn't he supposed to live in a labyrinth?
  • Ankos: That's a myth.
  • Araxis: Isn't the Minotaur a myth?
  • Ankos: No, he's the half-bull, half-human bastard son of King Minos' wife.
  • Araxis: ...Sounds like a myth to me.

They dismounted near the entrance to the cave.

  • Araxis: I hear the Minotaur was slain by Theseus.
  • Ankos: Impossible! If Theseus killed the Minotaur, how can it be here?

They walked to the cave entrance.

  • Ankos: BEWARE BEAST! For soon I shall use your spinal column as as an eating utensil!
  • Araxis: Don't warn him.

As if in reply, they heard a roar.

  • Unknown: ROOOOOOOOAR!!!
  • Kassandra: Ominous. Must be in the right place.

The three entered the cave, and the bearded mercenary was immediately overcome by cowardice.

  • Ankos: There's no glory here... only death.

A voice roared out at them from the depths of the cave again.

  • Unknown: ROOOOOOOOAR!!!

The bearded mercenary turned tail and ran out of the cave.

  • Ankos: No-no-no! I only ever wanted to be a baker!
  • Araxis: Brother! Wait! There's more glory in beast-slaying that [sic] in bread-making!

Kassandra and the armored mercenary continued, until the voice roared again.

  • Unknown: ROOOOOOOOAR!!!

The armored mercenary turned tail and ran out of the cave.

  • Araxis: Uh, I should check on my brother. The baking business is fierce, you know!
    Good luuuuuuck!

Kassandra let out an annoyed grunt.

  • Kassandra: Pephka, home of heroes.

Kassandra continued onward with enough courage for all of Pephka. She spied the pit at the bottom full of corpses and some snakes, which she killed.

  • Kassandra: Whatever lives down here must be a monster.

She inspected the bodies more carefully.

  • Kassandra: These bodies haven't been torn apart by a Minotaur, they've been... arranged?
    These bodies have arrow wounds and cuts from weapons too small to be wielded by a Minotaur.

She continued onward and heard the roar again.

  • Unknown: ROOOOOOOOOAR...!

The roar ended in coughing.

  • Kassandra: Did the Minotaur just... cough?
  • Unknown: This is your last chance to flee, mortal!

Kassandra, unimpressed, continued into the chamber. She placed her hands on her hips as the man-sized Minotaur presented himself.

  • Unknown: I. Am... The Minotaur! Roooooooar!!!
  • Kassandra: ...What?
  • Unknown: Drop all your valuables and flee in terror, mortal!
    L-leave me your drachmae and you shall be spared! otherwise, DEATH BY HOOF AWAITS YOU!

Kassandra stepped forward with a raised eyebrow.

  • Unknown: FEAR MY MOO!!! ...Fear it?

Three bandits appeared from the side to confront Kassandra. At this point, she'd had enough.

  • Kassandra: Maláka... I'm going to start stabbing until someone tells me what's going on!

She engaged the bandits as the Minotaur called out to her.

  • Unknown: Don't kill me, don't kill me, don't kill me!
    They made me do it! Their masks are even scarier than mine!
    It's worth it... it's worth it... I-I'm not a bad man...

Kassandra finished killing the bandits and made her way to the "Minotaur."

  • Kassandra: The last Minotaur I killed talked less.
  • Unknown: Killed?! No, uh—we don't have to use the "K" word! I mean, grrr!

  • Unknown: Please, no—they made me! Don't kill me!

She spoke to him. He tried in vain to scare her off.

  • Unknown: ...Grr! I said GRRR!!!
    Oh, fuck it. Hi.

  • Kassandra: There's no need for more blood. Just keep your horns away from me, and tell me what's going on here.
    You can take off that mask.

  • Kassandra: Tell me what's going on, or I'll cut it out of you. And take off that malákas mask.

The "Minotaur" took off his mask to reveal a familiar face.

  • Kassandra: Leiandros?!
  • Leiandros: I told you nothing is what it seems in Pephka!
    I'm happy to refund any expenses incurred—

Kassandra crossed her arms.

  • Leiandros: Please, it's my daughter, Amara! Masked men are holding her captive deep in the canyons of Dikte Plateau.
  • Kassandra: "Masked men." What kind of masks?
  • Leiandros: Uh, uh—white like marble, bleeding from their eyes. Horrific.
  • Kassandra: The Cult.
  • Leiandros: They control everything in Pephka... lure champions from all over with the promise of Minotaur-slaying glory, only to swindle and ambush them down here in the dark. Honorless.
    If I don't do as they say, Amara dies. If I take off my mask, or tell my wife, or ask for help... she dies.

(If players asked "What can you tell me about Amara?")

  • Kassandra: Tell me about your daughter.
  • Leiandros: Amara... the sound of her laughter is sunlight on my skin. She is joy, misthios.
    ...One night the Masked Men took that joy from me. They needed my silver tongue to lure wealthy warriors to their Trials.
    In Amara, they found all they needed to control me.

(If players asked "Where exactly is Amara?")

  • Kassandra: You said the Cult—the "masked men" have your daughter in the canyons of Dikte Plateau——
    There are a lot of canyons.
  • Leiandros: But only one holds Amara. There's a place called Zakros—an ancient ruin, and a bastion of the masked men's power. I go there every night, hoping to catch a glimpse of her.
    But I never have. I fear they keep her underground, where she'll never see the sun.

(Leave – "I've heard enough.")

  • Kassandra: How many men have you sent to their deaths with a speech and a smile?
  • Leiandros: Thousands. More. But their lives will never outweigh my Amara.
    She's all I have... but now I have you, don't I? You... you can free her from those
    malákes masked men!

  • Kassandra: Tell me, whose face would Amara wish to see rescue her? Mine? ...Or her father's? Be brave, Leiandros.
  • Leiandros: Bravery. Yes. YOu are right, misthios. No matter what, I must be there for my Amara. Please, will you join me?

  • Kassandra: She's your daughter. You must save her!
  • Leiandros: But they'd cut me down! You think she would want to see her father die?!
  • Kassandra: She would want her father to protect her!

Kassandra spat on him.

  • Kassandra: Coward.
  • Leiandros: You're right. I'm a coward. And a man cannot be any more than he is. That's enough for me, but... it's not enough to save Amara. For that, I'll need your help.

(Accept – "I'll stand with you.")

  • Kassandra: We will save your daughter... together.

Leiandros put his mask back on.

  • Leiandros: Thank you, misthios. Meet me outside the ruins of Zakros on Dikte Plateau. That's where my daughter is, and where I must be.

Outcome

Kassandra confronted the "Minotaur", only to discover it was a ploy by Leiandros, who had been forced to perform the guise with the safety of his daughter at stake. He agreed to fight alongside Kassandra to rescue his daughter.

References

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