They all met back downstairs in the saloon, with everyone else drinking beer and Father Cypriano ordering sarsparilla. When this comfortable little ritual was over, the clergyman cleared his throat to speak.
"Digame, capitan. What do you know of Greek mythology?"
"I've read translations of 'The Iliad' and 'The Odyssey' by Homer," replied Lewis: "But, only as they pertain to military history."
"Likewise, mein hauptmann," added Fleischer: "That is why I searched the gut vater's covered donkey-cart when first he arrived. To determine whether or not he was a latter-day Trojan Horse. No offense, mein herr!"
The priest grinned: "No problema, mi hijo."
Just as quickly, however, he became deadly serious
"What I am about to tell you is based mostly on ancient records that were found--and translated--by the Knights Hospitallers, during their brief exile on the Greek island of Rhodes. These records concern a she-demon who has been known by many names, in many lands. To the pre-Roman Iberians, she was Xana of Asturias. To the Phoenicians, Ishtar; to the Mayans, Ix-chel; and, to the Aztec, Coatlicue Yaocihuatl. But, to the ancient Greeks? She was Heraclitoris! Either the daughter of Echidna and Proteus; or, of Lamia and Priapus. Whatever her parentage, she was worshipped by the Gorgonian Amazons of Libya, even after the suppression of their cannibalistic cult by (and their forcible marriages to) the Argive army of Perseus."
According to Father Cypriano, the records stated that Heraclitoris, herself, tried to intervene on her worshippers' behalf. Forcing the goddess Athena to confront her, directly.
"Their battle is said to have ranged from Libya to Santorini to Lesbos. Resulting in a volcanic eruption on the former, and the petrification of an entire forest on the latter! But, at last, Heraclitoris was defeated. And, for her anthropophagic crimes, she was sealed in Hyperborean amber, shrunken to the size of a sprig of amaranth, and, then, hidden away in a land far beyond the Garden of the Hesperides."
"That's a right pretty story, padre," said Lewis: "But, I still don't see what that's got to do with what happened here."
Father Cypriano looked straight into Lewis' eyes: "It has been said that the sins of the fathers are visited on to their children unto the third or fourth generation. And, it is your abuelo, mi capitan, that released Heraclitoris into the 19th century!"