goes like this... Following skirmishes between the
Thracians and Macedonians, the parents of three
brothers were forced to leave their firstborn, Jonas,
with a family of friendly centaurs because someone
may have been after them. They settled in the town of
Olympia, and raised their two other sons there,
Wakari and the youngest, Vitalis,
but were killed by unknown hands before they could
He was raised by the centaurs until his early adulthood, when the tribe was wiped out mysteriously. Finding them dead when he returned from a hunting trip, he traveled Greece looking for his real family, and becoming a warrior and sorcerer in the process. Eventually, he found Olympia and his two brothers.
By then, having grown up without their parents for most of their lives, the somewhat badly adapted Wakari had become a tinkerer working in his father's workshop and Vitalis, calling himself "Assos", became a roguish sailor and player of games. Jonas' goal thus became to reunite his family and keep his brothers out of trouble.
And then... When Simone came to town, she shook things up, and not just with her beautiful voice. All three brothers found her interesting though it would be Assos who would court her more actively.
Not that it was all fun and games! Assos had to deal with a rather untrustworthy slave by the name of Oily Periander, and Jonas had to contend with the intolerant magistrate Vonargos. And what of "model" citizen Darkos, a rich merchant who knew their parents and seemed to be hiding something? It sometimes seemed like their only friends were the king Thessaly, who was a friend of their parents, and young Jekkrates, Jonas' myth-addicted apprentice.
They were never able to prove that Darkos was behind the hijacking of multiple convoys bringing supplies to Olympia by pirates bearing yellow shields, and when the supplies ran too low, the brothers went (not all voluntarily) to the centaurs to trade for some.
After some island challenges, they had the stuff, including an old scroll and a dagger with a strange inscription. This clue led the brothers on a quest to find its owner, a thief who may have stolen and hidden a golden chalice of great value. But before they follow up on it, the centaurs that helped them now attack Olympia because they've fallen victim to a disease from something traded to them. The town is defended, and in the process, Assos makes friends with one of Dark's soldiers, sympathetic Sryko the Sword.
Now following their leads, they travel to a number of coasts, all the while disturbed by dreams of beasts come to revenge themselves on the owners of weapons used to kill the centaurs. The chalice will be found in a cemetery defended by the souls of the dead, and it allows the brothers to at least pay off Assos' debts.
On this trip, they meet Luciana, an Etruscan pirate Jonas wants to bring to justice, but she gets away (without her merchandise). Wakari seems interested in her, but he kinda smells, you know?
Back home, Assos decides he'll go to Ithaca soon to compete in a dice tournament, and then there's another attack on a convoy. Jonas goes out to stop them and his boat loses the wind and isn't able to help. Deep questions as to the effects of a first Shift are explored, but no answers come up. Investigations into the convoy hijackings turn up nothing even with the help of Aunt Melissa, an exiled centaur known by Jonas.
When Periander asks Assos to throw a game at the tournament, Assos refuses, but still gets his ass kicked by the mysterious Luciana who may be cheating. The event will end in a disaster when lightning strikes right there, gravely injuring Sinone and Darkos, the latter pulling through rather easily. The brothers visit Simone's bedside and again mystified by a Shift, they try to collect their wits before they are sent on an expedition along the fjords to survey for a precious metals. On the way, they find a clue to the identity of the convoy hijackers - a piece of yellow shield that a vision from the gods tells Jonas have a connection with Darkos...?
The brothers come across a wounded hydra that attacks them, and which they must drive away. Following its steps leads to a cave in which they find an egg! As they reach the surface with their prize, the animals ensorceled by Jonas' spell inform them that fire has hit the already sick tribe of centaurs, and destroyed it completely.
Upon their return to Olympia, it is attacked by lions, and Darkos claims someone has angered the gods. The brothers are sent to make amends since it may be them.
They find the true culprits, Spartan raiders camped out near the village. They also discover that they are working with Darkos and are most probably the pirates that have made their lives difficult. They beat the bad guys, but also confront Darkos, who shows his hand by admitting he killed their parents, as well as hinting that he too, shifts. The confrontation turns violent as Darkos squares off against the brothers by calling on Hades himself. Olympia is badly damaged in the ensuing earthquake, pitching the town into chaos, and then Darkos is finally killed near the coast. His body is not recovered after it falls into the sea.
Through this incident, Olympia gets wind of a dark plan by other allies of Darkos', hill giants, to kidnap Olympians, eat them and in the process become smarter. Investigating, Jonas is kidnapped as well. He's rescued, of course, and Thessaly commands an attack on the hills, where Darkos' secret underground temple is apparently hidden - an attack and rescue, as it turns out.
The damage of the last few days leads to a trial (of course requested by Vonargos) in which Periander tries to frame the brothers. Assos proves him a traitor instead and kills him during an oily escape. The other fallout from this is that Wakeri is offered a place on an expedition to a far island to further keep him out of trouble (outside his brothers' influence). He leaves by ship for a new world, but leaves his brothers their parents' journal, in which they find mentions of possible shifting on their parts too, as well as examples of a strange language that never changes from shift to shift.
Attending Periander the Oily's funeral, Assos is challenged to a fight by his brother, another slave called Gillios the Greasy. It will end badly for Gillios, who gets his ear sliced off and falls off a cliff. Meanwhile, Assos can't see Simone because her father Horace has come to town to see how her husband selection is going in his cousin's court and doesn't approve.
Thessaly is later murdered and Vonargos asks the brothers for help in the investigation. They find that he didn't want to trade with dangerous supporters of the Athens-Sparta conflict, and they had him killed. Jonas and Assos eventually stop a plot by these zealots to ask Poseidon to drown all of Greece, which causes a storm but nothing more. Gillios returns briefly during this episode, minus the ear.
As Horace takes becomes the new king of Olympia, putting the brothers' positions in jeopardy, they have a scribe, Brasidias, investigate the strange script in their parents' journal. He makes headway, but it is stolen by the demi-god Pollux, recently arrived from an 80-day quest at sea. Confronting Pollux, they discover he's an artificial man of bronze.
When they bring the artifact that was at his core to Brasidias, it gives him they key to the alien alphabet - it's from the lost island of Atlantis! Jonas then has Melissa call on Hermes himself who brings them to far away Atlantis. They are all captured there, and the brothers, referred to by the people of Atlantis as "shifters" are thrown into a different cell... with a man called Dodeka. [Click here for Dodeka's history]
They discover that Dodeka is a shifter too, and while they compare notes, Hermes breaks them out. In getting back to their ship, they discover that Atlantis seems not only to know about the Shifts, but may be able to control or at least initiate them. They succeed in their escape and hightail it out of there, and when they get back to Grecian waters are told by Aunt Melissa that any debt owed her is wiped clean. Olympia is in mourning, however for the loss of Simone. She's been taken in the night by satyrs. Mad with love, Assos goes after her, and with the help of Jonas and Dodeka, reaches their forest lair.
They only want Simone to sing a song that will make their orchard of immortality-granting apples grow, so after a game of drafts won by Assos, an alliance is made with the satyrs that Simone will be brought there to sing every 10 springs. Returning home as heroes, the King warms up to the brothers, and even offers Dodeka his freedom.
That freedom is contested by Vonargos, but it is finally given, though a vision he has of a sinking galley makes the Olympians wary and start to plan their next expedition a little better.
The heroes are sent on a naval patrol to catch up to the galley from Dodeka's vision, and try to find the enemy agent aboard who plans to scuttle the ship. They are successful and through their deeds, continue to rise in the King's esteem. Young Jekkrates even graduate to journeyman. But while Jonas and Dodeka ship out with the kid for Egypt, the "benched" Assos gets wind that Wakari is no longer sending reports from his volcanic island home. Assos undertakes a rescue mission alone with a borrowed crew and finds his brother in a bath surrounded by a pentacle. In the shadows, Darkos lurks, alive and well somehow, and he's stolen something from Wakari. Some kind of shimmering liquid extracted from his body! In pursuit, the two brothers are distracted by a grouchy dragon while Darkos escapes. SHIFT>
Recently... Getting back to Assos' ship, they are surprised to find Wakari remembers things differently, i.e. he doesn't have memories native to the Mythic Greece reality, and still believes himself a time agent, with all the requisite skills. In fact, the only reason he can understand anyone is a translation implant that shouldn't exist (it's not so good for the written word, however). He hasn't properly shifted with the rest of the world! It also makes it more complicated for the brothers to figure out where Darkos discovered the process he put Wakari through, because it hasn't translated in his mind. Speaking of a "cyclical time loop" makes Assos twitch to the Aegean archipelago of the Cyclades, and they start pouring over maps to find a possible island where Darkos might have developed his magics, in the hopes of curing Waraki's shiftlessness. The set sail for Skotadi, the old Greek word for Darkness, and the entire trip, while Wakari learns the basics of sword fighting from the crew, Assos is plagued by prophetic dreams about bee hives, winged serpents, and insects leading him to Wakari's naked body. Who wouldn't wake up in a start?
They soon discover the island's inhabitants are willing - or at least ambivalent - slaves to Darkos, and have been so since the Gods of Olympus were young. Helped along by Athena herself, the heroes use an oracle's temple to walk back through time before Darkos has completely taken over the island, though his cult devoted to Eris, Goddess of Discord, has released evil birds into the Eastern swamps and made life there uninhabitable due to a toxic stench. Assos and Wakari are forced to go West to a beekeeper's lands on the North side of the island where their bravery rewards them with stench-protective masks, restorative honey, and a shortcut to the Cyclopean Citadel where the visions ultimately lead. There, they will find a box, riddle a sphinx, and free a teenage Hermes who restores Wakari's ability to shift and promises to help them in the future (and in fact, already has). Then, with the help of their new allies, they destroy the cult of Eris in the past before returning to the present where, lo and behold, Darkos now never enslaved the population. After the feast, they board their ship and return home. Paradise is in sight, when they SHIFT>