Berenike listens carefully. Alcaeus always seemed to be at the right place, right time. This is likely a gift from his father,
she muses. Though, there is a part of her that smiles and thinks, "or it could be a curse, because invariably it is bad news. But every occasion of ill is an opportunity for good to overcome"
Of course, she is referring to Alcaeus just happening to be visiting centaur kinsmen that roamed along the lowlands of Mount Parnassus, heard the alarm at Delphi, responded, and then was burdened with the terrible news of the Oracle's death to bring to her. Just as quickly, he bore her swiftly here the following day.
She thinks several long seconds over what Agamemnon had said. She couldn't deny that it seemed that Hecate and Hades grew more bold, and she even had to deal with Ares being a pawn back in Illyria and Corcyra. If there is any fault, it is not with one, but with both parties - Man and God. She was not going to give up worship of Athena
unless revealed Herself as an enemy of Man ... which, considering Her portfolios, would seem to give her no purpose.
Berenike looked long and hard at the assemblage, reading what auras and thoughts were evident, but reading them even without the aid of magic.
Here was Agamemnon, the mighty king of a city dedicated to the Friend of Man, spouting blasphemy. And yet, the Oracle lay dead. Could what is being told here be what was really said, or is there some personal ego-agenda at work here?
But the fervor of those Kings and Queens well above her own in esteem was evident, and she knew that Menelaus, Leonides, and especially Agamemnon were poised for war. Peace was strong of late, and warriors idle. Even her own home has since recovered from her sister's defeat several years ago. No, these kings will have their war of ego in the heavens, and nothing will stop them. Aeson and many of this throng will likely follow Agamemnon and the Spartans by his reputation and standing alone.
She stands, her platinum hair and azure blue eyes striking in the light of the sconces, and speaks in High Grecian. "For those that do not know me, I am Queen Berenike of Naxos, second island of the Delian League. My home was ravaged by war several years ago due to the machinations of two gods."
She waits for the inevitable murmur to die down. She then proceeds to commit social suicide. "Two gods ... gods known for their evil. True, Hades is more active on our world of late. But only two gods, maybe a third ... the bloodthirsty Ares. Naxos, indeed the kingdoms of my fellow members here of the Delian League, live in a relative peace. My home, specifically enjoys the strong and open support of such gods diverse as Athena .... Dionysius ... Demeter ... Diana .... and even Ariadne.
"We do not serve the gods there because we are slaves. We serve them because we are thankful. True, some are more fickle than others. But I do not wish to trade the patronage of the real gods that give real boons and protections ... for those that would make themselves gods and yet only boast the ability to shoot an arrow or thrust a spear.
"I have a keen mind; it may be my own or may have been helped by Athena. I have spent my life mastering a few helpful magics for battle; that may or may not have been helped by my patron. What I do have is a strong respect and love for the Goddess that has ever been good to me, has ever given me powers that I did not work to achieve, a sense of purpose and stability and tradition and love. What I do have are many powerful divine gifts .... divine gifts, meaning they are gifts ... things given me by another, ... and they are divine, coming from a deity.
"Prophecies have an interesting quality. Unless they are known, then they cannot truly be prophecies. If known, they cause a reaction in others. That reaction, often in desperate counter to what was foreseen, is the very thing that brings about the prophecy in the first place.
"Battle against evil. Battle against the rampaging monsters. If the gods themselves indefatigably contend against you and are known in this regard, then fight .... against those gods, and seek help from those that have always watched over you. Perhaps they are actually giving you the chance to test your mettle once again; giving you, long-honored warriors that you are, the chance to strengthen yourselves for some greate ill that may yet lie on the horizon from another source ... the long-believed escape of the titans, perhaps? But do not battle blindly in the dark or simply to war for its own sake. We will do more to hurt ourselves in the end.
"I seek peace. Not because I am a coward, though surely to advance a cause of war perhaps you will say so. But I believe that any fault that leads to a war with the gods lies more with Man. Some gods may be at fault, Man and God might misunderstand each other, but in the end I have seen that we - not possessed of the wisdom of a god - therefore demand we have their power.
"I advocate peace except against what specific evil is known. Track that evil to its source, but do not break down the wall because somebody stubbed their toe when they weren't looking."
She sits down, full well knowing that her plea has likely fallen on deaf ears in the Spartans and Athenians, but hoping to at least help others (perhaps even clever Odysseus and wise Aeson) to understand her reasoning. That said, she knows that she must weather the vitriol that is about to come her way.