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I, Ilya Muromets, do hereby avow on my deathbed that the following tale is true.
In the Year of Our Lord Eleven Hundred and Ninety-nine, I was captured by slave raiders of the Volga Bulgarian Khanate, and sold at auction to a cotton merchant from Egypt. Upon his return, to that ancient land, he did put me to work in his cotton fields as one of his harvesters. A sad fate, indeed, for a might bogatyr such as myself!
Twelve years, did I labor in those fields. Each day, praying for deliverance from my bondage. Then, one day, the Good Lord finally saw fit to answer my prayers. I was ransomed by a Basque Mercedarian named Lupo De La Cruz, who would harvest cotton in my stead. When I asked how I could repay such selfless generosity, he replied:
"Repay the debt forward. Help the Dane return home."
Naturally, I was puzzled.
"Dane? What Dane?"
"The Carolingian paladin, Holgar, son of Gudfred. He is held captive in the Land of Apples, which is far to the east of here. Held captive by the giantess Ovaria. Middle sister of the evil Melissae!"
I had never heard of these Melissae, and admitted as much. Whereupon, he nodded and bade me journey to the Greek monastery on the island of Chios.
"Seek out Brother Iosef, the head monk. He will tell you more about them than I can. If they do not grant you admittance, right away, show them this."
Whereupon, he did give me a white silk hand kerchief with a most strange emblem upon it. The head of a stag with a golden cross between its antlers!
Before I could inquire as to the significance of this emblem, he was escorted away by the burly bodyguards of my former master. So, with no other choice, I did as he bade me and journeyed to Chios. Arriving there within two weeks of my freedom's restoration.
As anticipated, the monks who kept the front gate of the monastery initially declined to admit me. Whereupon, I did show them Brother Lupo's hand kerchief. And, their faces became flushed with puzzled excitement!
One of them immediately went to show the hand kerchief to Brother Iosef, remaining gone for twenty minutes. Upon his return, he told me that Brother Iosef would see me now. Whereupon, I was guided to his private chambers.
Upon my being left alone with him, the head monk did gesture for me to take a seat. He then asked me where I had obtained the hand kerchief. So, I told him. And, the expression on his face, as he sat down, was most troubled.
"So!" he muttered: "One of them still walks the Earth, then."
"One of whom, good brother?" I pointedly inquired.
He looked up at me, and replied:
"The Melissae! The evil daughters of Priapus and Lamia!"
Upon seeing, by the blankness of expression on my face, that I did not know of whom he spoke, he stood up again. Beckoning me to follow him. This, I did. And, soon, we were in what I initially thought a mere wine cellar. That is; until Brother Iosef did lead me to the rear wall of that cellar.
Upon touching a certain brick in that wall, the entire central portion did slide open and inwards! The pair of us then entered. Whereupon, I did see row after row of items that beggared description or counting.
"What...? Where...? How...?" I stammered.
Brother Iosef smiled.
"What you see before you is but a small fraction of what was once stored at the Library of Alexandria. Stored (and, later, rescued from destruction) by my ancestors."