Macar brought Elpenor's seashells today. -That was fast.

Unfortunately, Elpenor was a little dissappointed with the number of shells that were broken.

I guess he did only want whole shells after all.

I told him it wasn't Macar's fault, and that he should've been more specific in the first place. Elpenor wanted to order more whole shells, but I told him to make do with what he had. -Luckily, Macar wasn't there when Elpenor picked them up.

Odysseus dropped by again today. He wanted to thank me for finding the belt. I guess he was pretty impressed with the fancy clashing-centaur buckle.

I told him about Epeius' collection, and how I bought the belt from him. Upon hearing that, the General responded: "Great! I'd love to have one of these for myself. I'm sure if he has so many, he won't mind parting with another!"

The general then asked me where he could find Epieus. -That poor bastard.

Anyway, before he left, Odysseus asked me if I'd go with him tomorrow when he delivered Priam's birthday present.

I appreciated the invitation, and I told him I would.

However, to be honest, I am a little concerned about the security. -I think we've been pushing our luck with these diplomatic missions.


I decided on a fancy belt for Priam’s birthday present.

At first I considered sending a meal cooked by Epeius, but Polites suggested it wouldn’t be fresh by the time it was delivered. He said even if it was, Priam would probably suspect poisoning and just toss it out anyway.

Polites thought a sword would be great, but that seemed too typical. The last thing I want is Odysseus to present Priam with his fifth birthday sword. -I decided against a shield for the same reason.

I thought some wine might be nice, but all of our wine is Trojan.

It was Elpenor who suggested the belt.

I had never noticed, but Elpenor told me that Epieus is somewhat of a belt connoisseur. -He says it’s all about the buckle.

This afternoon, Elpenor took me over to Epieus’ tent to have a look at his collection. -I was very impressed.

Epeius must have more than thirty belts. Unfortunately, he kept referring to them as his “little soldiers”. –To be honest, the way Epieus talked about his belts kind of freaked me out.

Anyway, I told Epieus about Priam’s gift, and he immediately insisted: “Yes! You simply must give the King of Troy a fine belt!”

However, when I inquired about one of his little soldiers, Epeius quickly changed his tune.

Luckily, I could draw on Elpenor’s loyalty to Odysseus to recruit his help.

It took a lot of persuasion, but we finally talked Epieus into selling one of his belts. It's pretty neat. It is composed of two bronze centaurs apparently clashing against one another in battle. -You link their bows to clasp the buckle.

I am sure I paid Epieus twice its value. Still, he seemed pretty pissed at Elpenor about it.

After acquiring the belt, I stopped by Odysseus’ tent to drop it off.

The General called me inside, but he didn’t get up to greet me. Actually, he was kneeling on the floor with some guy who was wearing white robes. Odysseus and this guy were facing each other and clasping their hands above their heads. The guy was humming loudly. I don’t think they were praying. -I’m not sure what they were doing.

Anyway, I told Odysseus that I had brought the belt. Without turning towards me, he told me to toss it on the bed.

On the way back to my tent, I ran into Achaemenides.

Looking very grave, he stopped me and whispered: “I think Dolon is a Trojan. Captain Eurylochus, I think the Trojans have Hermes!

I nodded, doing my best to look serious, and then told him to look into it.

I spent the rest of the day watching crab races. Apparently, betting on sand crabs is all the rage about camp right now. -One guy’s crab was named “Mighty Menelaus”.


It was a pleasant day.

Early this morning, Macar came by for his weekly supply order.

In addition to their usual supplies, Elpenor and Epieus put in a special request for a few bushels of some specific kind of seashell.

I felt a bit uncomfortable asking for them. -Although Macar is our supply officer, I don't think gathering seashells qualifies as one of his responsibilities.

In any case, Macar didn't seem put-off by their request. In fact, he dutifully asked whether whole shells would do, or if fragments would be sufficient.

Although I didn't really know, I told him that fragments would be fine. -Macar is a hell of a guy.

He then invited me for a cruise on the Lil' Tethys.

This afternoon, Macar, Baius and I sailed up the coast to the north of Troy. They too had heard about the Percotian brothel, and we decided to have a look for ourselves.

We actually encountered her at sea.

The Percotian vessel was not much more than a large fishing boat topped with an oversized shack. I'd guess that she'd hold about forty crewmembers, but we only saw a handful of passengers on deck.

All but one of these seafarers was naked, and they were obviously proud of it.

As we cut pass them, one couple graciously demonstrated some creative fornification for us on her stern. -I had to laugh.

When I got back to camp, I found Odysseus waiting for me in my tent.

Luckily, he had just arrived.

Odysseus had come to dictate another letter to Penelope. It was his usual awkward drivel, but this time he finished it off with a surprise postscript:

P.S. My dear dear Penelope, I think that you will see your General soon!

Odysseus was obviously looking for a reaction as he dictated that last part. -I intentionally didn't give him one.

Of course, the Horse is going to be done soon. However, it seems to be such an incredible longshot. -I don't understand Odysseus' newfound optimism.

Anyway, after finishing the letter, the General inquired about the Horse. I told him that it was going fine, and that Epeius plans to be done within a couple of weeks.

Odysseus was very pleased.

Before leaving, the General asked me to arrange for a birthday present for Priam. Apparently, the King of Troy turns sixty in three days, and Agamemnon is planning to lead a small gift-bearing envoy as a show our goodwill.

As we have been trying to sack his city for several years now, I think we might be sending him mixed messages.