The responses that the old man gets to his inquiry lead to an even more furrowed brow. He looks at the other heroes to see if any of them share his unease. His voice is soft, and hard to hear among the many passionate speeches ringing the hall.

"My lords and ladies, I am dreadfully sorry to hear of your troubles. Certainly, it is a great and lasting sadness to hear of the death of any child, to lose any ship at sea. But there have been plagues and storms, invasions and death in the past.

"Perhaps, my friends, we should select one of these calamities - one with a more, ah, direct source, such as the minotaurs or harpies - and investigate, before we storm the heights of Olympus with our grievances. It may be that these incidents are not the work of the gods at all."


The old man wrings his hands in dismay.