Transcript of The Epic of Hebe
Epic of Hebe excerpts[edit | edit source]
Here is to Hebe, the hero of legend - long may her deeds live on in the hearts of all icyene. She is a lesson unto us all - Twilight Knight, the Unwound, Tamer of Lions, Headhunter, Bull Fighter, Guardian of the Underworld.
We all know of her humble beginnings, a simple artisan's daughter. Her father wanted for her to have a better life, living beyond his means to provide for her a better education, martial training and private tutors to teach her music and the arts. His hope was for her to become more than him, to attain a higher station in life for herself and their future family.
Unfortunately, her music tutor was a man filled with lust and greed, an abusive soul to his students. But Hebe was a strong-willed individual even from a young age, and did not stand for it for even one second. Her rise was first to infamy, when she was found stood over his beaten and bloodied corpse, broken lute in hand.
It was ruled an act of self-defence, of course, but the tutor was a man with connections, and so an unjust sentence was meted out on Hebe. She was spared banishment, but only by being placed in the service of the Twilight Knights. There she learned to stand facing the encroaching night, protecting her migrating brothers and sisters, rescuing any she could who were swallowed by the darkness.-Excerpt from 'The Epic of Hebe'
The role of the Twilight Knights was a treacherous one, forever walking within and ahead of the slow-moving sunset meridian of Hallow. Primarily, the task was simply to provide assistance to migrators and evacuees - hard manual labour, but not dangerous. Most creatures that live and thrive within Hallow's night are afraid even of the weak sun of the twilight, and would not venture out of the dark, but rarely there were attacks from creatures emboldened or hungry.
However, the role was most dangerous when fellow citizens fell behind and into the night. The Twilight Knights had to brave that darkness to retrieve the lost - alive if they could, or their bodies if not. It was considered sacrilege to allow a non-banished citizen's body to remain in darkness until the sun arose on it once more.
On one such trek into the night, Hebe herself was accosted by a skolex - nocturnal sea creatures that latched onto an icyene soul and made it something other. Victims of a skolex could sometimes be recovered, if their exposure was short enough. Hebe's cohorts were able to get her to a healer quickly enough, but even then, most icyene who undergo an unwinding procedure with a rod of Asclepius still end up dying, or worse, within a living death - an unresponsive blank slate requiring constant care, and useful only for simple, repetitive tasks. Hebe was one of the lucky few, however, to return to her true self after her unwinding. From henceforth, she was known as the Unwound, freed of the Twilight Knight punishment and allowed to return to her old life.
It seems, however, her experiences had still changed her, and filled her with a sense of wanderlust and adventure. She volunteered to travel to Gielinor on our Lord Saradomin's latest campaign the moment it was announced.-Excerpt from 'The Epic of Hebe'
Hebe had achieved a certain level of infamy among her fellow icyene by this point, and she was spared conscripted military service. Her skills laid out another path for her. Saradomin himself intervened, and awarded her the rank of hetairoi, leader of her own house - a rare honour indeed. The hetairoi were free to engage in any war as they saw fit, so long as they were contributing towards the greater good.
Hebe's contribution was to somewhat reprise her role as a Twilight Knight, wandering along around icyene territory and on its outskirts, seeking out dangers and quashing them. One such danger that she came across was that of an untamed lion living in the Hallowglade near a human settlement. Its mother and siblings had been killed in some previous melee, and it had manged to escape and survive. Lions were brought here by Saradomin and raised as loyal allies, however this one had grown up feral and wild, not knowing an icyene until it met Hebe.
It of course, stalked and attacked her on sight, but she wrestled it to the ground, and while in her grasp she soothed its many wounds. There is, no doubt, more to the story than this, but Hebe never shared it, yet from that encounter onwards, the lion became her steadfast companion, patrolling with her, guarding the lands of the icyene. Anax was its name, ever ferocious and wild, but also ever loyal to her, to the extent it is rumoured that, upon her eventual death, it lay by her side until its own end, guarding her body forever more.-Excerpt from 'The Epic of Hebe'
The patrols of Hebe extended beyond the stronghold of the icyene, and upon one such venture beyond the river, Hebe fell upon a warfare of hydras fleeing to the east. These were the Spawn of Loarnab. Among Zaros's empire, they were considered akin to vermin, living off the scraps of the capital's citizens, hiding in the sewers. Yet since the fall of Zaros, the vermin hydra had grown larger and become emboldened.
Hydra are said to continue growing for as long as they live and have an abundant source of food, be that growing in size or growing additional heads. One of this warfare in particular had indeed become quite large - about the size of a large auroch. That became Hebe's target. Fell that beast and the others would scatter in fear.
With xiphos in hand and her trusted lion ally at her side, they attacked, lopping off head after head, withstanding the many bites of the smaller hydra. With each head removed, Hebe burned the neck stump with her hallowed lantern - a fragment of Everlight which she carried with her wherever she travelled - slowing the regrowth of heads for long enough to slay the beast. With a final sword thrust through its heart, and the lion clawing out its guts, the largest hydra fell, and the smaller ones became vermin once more and ran away.-Excerpt from 'The Epic of Hebe'
There are many more fabled stories of Hebe, though the veracity of many of them is debated by our scholars. Over the course of her life, she ventured alone further and further away from Everlight. A light in the darkness for our kind. There were sporadic reports of her assisting our troops in various battles to the west, of her hunting down monsters and beasts just as fabled as she herself had become, and even of her supposed death and rebirth.
The stories suggest she somehow fought her way both into and back out of the Underworld itself! Surely, this is where history becomes mythology, but so revered has she become by the icyene, many believe it. One rumour that does appear to have taken hold within the public consciousness is that Hebe was eventually defeated in some far off jungle, and that Anax guards her still to this day, laying in the warm light cast by her hallowed lantern.-Excerpt from 'The Epic of Hebe'
Vanescula Drakan[edit | edit source]
- Vanescula Drakan: We've made some good progress, but we need to find more clues.