June 6 - July 15, 2017
Learning New Things
Tuesday October 31
Scouring the Caves
Moonscar has gotten his ritual tent set up with Arn and Sings to Moon keeping him company. Valinya, Gorg and the Gnome, Sindri, have determined that a cleansing gust of air is not the answer to the mental assault seeming to originate from the botany chamber. Silver, Seeker and Erred have discovered a few items of interest in the chamber of the flayed man. There was a heavy, curved sword with a silver hilt with griffon carvings on it which Silver noticed was glowing with a magical aura and Seeker found a ring still on the finger of the deceased. The ring is gold with numerous light blue stones in it. Seeker noted that it appeared that several stones were missing from the ring. Silver did not see the ring as magical. Both items were deposited in Seeker’s amazing, bottomless satchel.
“Well,” Valinya sighs, “that’s disappointing. If it’s not something in the air, then maybe it is something that radiates from the plants … like heat from a fire. There’s definitely a zone for it that hasn’t really changed much. That leaves moving the source.” Looking at the gnome and ogre, she asks, “You were both closer to whatever is the source in there. What plant like thing or things did you see that maybe be the source?”
Gorg describes what he, and Arn before him, had seen. Sindri confirms that is what he had seen as well. Sindri says he thinks he remembers examining one of the plants in a glass container before he blacked out. The room is covered with a fairly even layer of sand and the air is very musty. Large pottery urns line the walls of the cave and within each grows a riot of strange mushrooms, fluted toadstools, phosphorescent molds, greasy looking fronds of pale lichens and all manner of strange fungi. Several large glass terrariums, their walls beaded with condensation, stand along the far wall. One of these is shattered, the loamy soil within spilling out onto the sand floor near a low table heaped with flasks, jars, bottles, and tools.
Having finished her search of the other room, Silver loses interest in continuing there. “Well, do we think we’ve found everything here? I wonder if there’s more - would a pirate accountant really keep his important stuff on the top of his desk to get messed up like this? Maybe someone with quicker fingers should search the desk more - or maybe just smash it up and see if more than wood falls out of it.”
Silver looks around the room once more, looking for something else of interest, but doesn’t seem to find it. “I’ll leave the rest to you guys, I’ll go see how the others are doing.”
With that, Silver trots out of the room, and returns to the others still scratching their heads at the border of the pain field. Silver sighs, continuing the chorus of sighs that seem to be going around.
Shortly after Silver vacates the area, Seeker and Erred follow her back to the main chamber where the others are pondering the mysteriously dangerous greenhouse room.
Silver’s eyes suddenly narrow, and she says “OK that does it…” Silver coils herself momentarily, then rushes to the room in question. She looks around quickly, but finds it somewhat too dark to make out details, even for her. She picks out a nearby pottery urn in the gloom and carefully breathes fire into it, causing a small “foof” of burning spores, but otherwise lighting its contents on fire for a few moments. She looks about the room quickly and picks what she thinks is probably the problem plant. Remembering the spores that caught the gnome, she ensures her inner eyelids are firmly closed, takes a deep breath and holds it. So prepared, she quickly moves up to the broken terrarium for inspection. Following the breakage, she ducks her head down to inspect the dirt spilled on the floor. Peeking under the table, she catches a face full of spores, but reacts instinctively by letting her fiery breath out to blast flame under the table at the source of the spores.
Still sitting on the floor recovering, Gorg watches incredulously as Silver bolts off to the deathcloud-room. "Umm, that might not end well.... Anyone up for a rescue mission?" While waiting for any responses he adds in, "and maybe we just bypass this room after we get everyone clear?"
The sound of Silver’s fiery breath can be heard from the greenhouse room around the corner. A brief flash of reddish-orange light and then the sound of Silver coughing comes next. “Think I took care of it!” Silver announces when she realizes that the nearly-unbearable mental assault had ended. Small flames poked out from beneath the long table stretching across the wall of the room, giving Silver enough light to see all throughout the room. She sees more potted plants and glass jars all throughout the room. An overturned stool sits nearby and an unkempt bedroll lies along the side wall of the room.
Since the assault on her mind seems to have subsided, Silver makes sure the fire under the table doesn’t spread too far, going as far as casting Extinguish Fire before it gets out of hand. She also has another peek under the table while waiting for the others to enter and look around. “Now what was it that caused such a problem?”
After using her magic to extinguish the fire before the whole room was filled with noxious black smoke, Silver pokes her head under and looks around. All she sees is a crispy mass of what was recently some plant like material, though no details can be discerned from the burnt mess. Valinya, Gorg and the Gnome, Sindri, join Silver in the now somewhat crowded chamber. The Gnome moves slowly and is clearly still quite injured from his previous encounter with the spores and mental assault.
Silver almost sniffs at the charred lump under the table, but thinks better of it at
the last moment. Having satisfied her curiosity, and not seeing much else of interest to her in the room, she steps back to make room for the others. Trying to be out of the way - but not quite succeeding - she takes stock of how hurt she is.
As the others start poking about the room, she asks “It’s all boring plants and stuff. Are we ready to leave yet?”
The Gnome carefully slides past the other and goes to the unburnt parts of the table, examining the remaining plants. He carefully looks at them all before removing a knife and cutting some leaves, stems and other parts from a few of them. He then stuffs the acquired plant material in a pouch, wipes the knife off and re-sheathes the knife.
Seeker eyes the Gnome and his horticultural pursuits, and memorizes the plants that he took samples from. “So, Sindri, what are these plants? You seem to be taking an interest in them.”
Valinya notes the plants that the gnome find so interesting as well but says nothing as Seeker is already asking. Instead she searches through the remains for anything interesting.
Besides the plants, some ill-cared for gardening tools and the bedroll, all Valinya finds is a sack with some dirty clothes in it.
Arn continues to wait by Moonscar’s side making sure that his small furry companion is safe and undisturbed. He takes stock of the noises and sounds he hears as Silver and Seeker and the others carry on. He calls out much later, “Well done Silver…..sounds like ye fixed our brain pain problem! We done indeed!” With that, the dwarf pours himself another ale and chews on some smoked pork he had handy.
Gorg eases into the room after everyone else, still cringing a bit thinking of his last visit, looking like an ogre that would rather be anywhere else but here. "Anybody want to investigate that one remaining hallway, rather than stick around here?"
Sindri looks (way) up at Seeker, gesturing at a few of the plants as he speaks "Most are exotic herbs, with a few quite delicious fungi here and there, and this one's quite good as a poultice for rashes, but this one's the gem here, a rare emetic that really opens up the sluices at both ends." Continuing to store the various goodies in his pack he looks around the room and asks the group, "So what brought you all to this side of town? I can't imagine it's hit Fodor's Guide yet, and you don't look like you've been in those back-room cages, so...."
As the Gnome and Seeker talk plants, Gorg peeks down the hallway and realizes that's the direction Arn had charged of earlier on his way to discovering the prison chamber and their new friend Erred.
Valinya chimes in quickly, “I think the more pertinent question at the moment is if we are done with our searching and exploration of these interesting but hauntingly sad caves. If so I believe we have another journey to take … up river.”
The Captain’s Story
The group rests and contemplates their next move while Moonscar completes his ritual of speaking with the spirit of the female Captain Harliss Javell. Eventually, the Druid, accompanied by Arn and Sings to Moon, rejoins the group. He sits down on the sandy ground and explains what he learned. Moonscar explains that Captain Javell does not know where Vanthus ran off to after he caused all the commotion here at Kraken’s Cove. She says she confronted him when he was trying to steal the Shadow Pearl. She attacked him, he dropped it on the deck of another Captain’s burning ship. When he grabbed for it to make his escape, it cracked open and let out a billowing green smog which in turn caused her companions to mutate into degenerate pirates and attack her. Vanthus then took up the cracked parts of the Pearl and leaped overboard. The Captain had told Moonscar that she had not trusted Vanthus from the start and as an insurance measure, had sent one of her trusted mates back to Essanos to strike at him in the case of a double cross. She admits to having sent magical word to her mate, Denboraz, and she assumed he would make a move on Vanthus at his home, Vanderboren Manor. The Captain had no idea where the Shadow Pearl came from, only that Captain Kigante was bringing it in from the south and that it was destined somewhere else, possibly Essanos or Llorn. She was unaware that it was a dangerous item and only believed that it was a valuable treasure to be sold.
Silver listens intently to the story that Moonscar presents. “Right, so it sounds like we have two options - try to follow Vanthus up the river, or rush back to Vanderboren Manor. It sounds like a fight is going to go down there, although we’ll probably be late to that too.” Silver shakes out her wings a moment, then re-folds them. “Either way, let’s get out of this awful cave first.”
“I agree with leaving these caves,” Valinya says, “but then let’s have a ‘what next’ discussion in private, away from those who have no need to know.” With a meaningful glance at the boy and gnome she indicates who is not invited to the party. “So,” she says loudly, “let’s head for the surface lest some new menace erupts and becomes a problem.”
Moonscar states that he too would like to leave this place but says he wants to lay Captain Javell’s smoke to rest. It shouldn't take too long, his ritual space is already set up in there. Sings to Moon gives a mournful whine, possibly letting her companion know her thoughts on his proposition. The Druid’s eyes then sparkle and he asks if he should also try speaking to the spirit of the other deceased in the more lavishly appointed cave. He suggests that could be the other Captain that had been spoken of. Captain Kigante. The captain that brought the pearl here to Kraken’s Cove in the first place.
Gorg interjects, “it can't be much later than noon. The Captain isn't expecting us back till daybreak tomorrow, though there is the issue of the walkway out of here being destroyed and the mutant crocks and who knows what else out there to deal with.” He scratches his head, having just talked himself into and out of sticking around longer.
Arn concurs with Gorg vehemently. “Aye, we should keep moving while we can. To hell with who can hear us or not…..maybe if they know we’re coming they will make a mistake in their haste to avoid us. We have the time, let’s use it wisely and get moving instead of wasting more time here. We already lost enough time dilly-dallying around this place.”
Silver asks Moonscar “How long would it take to talk to the dead Captain Kigante? You have a point, he should know where his cargo came from -- who or where he got it from. Yes, we need to hurry and chase down Lavinia’s idiot brother, but after that we should search for the source of these things. That splatter on the floor may be our best clue. Should I drag what’s left of him here, or do you need to dance around where he died?”
The Gnome, Sindri, listened intently during Moonscar's retelling of the Captain’s story, quietly sitting back afterwards to observe the company's interactions. After Val's request to continue the talks away from the gnome and boy he finally speaks up. "So, Val I believe it was? A couple questions if I may, really more for the group as a whole... What are your intentions with regard to me, and as a corollary, for this young lad here who's name I haven't quite caught? If you all plan on leaving us here and going about your business, I'm quite confident that I'll find my way out of here, after a quick inspection of a few other caverns I noted on my way in. The boy however may be another story. I would hope you see your way to assisting the lad in getting back to civilization, this really is no place for him to be. On the other hand, if there is still some question in your minds as to how you should deal with us, let me at least interject my thoughts before a final decision is made. It occurs to me that I am greatly indebted to all of you for pulling me out of there, likely saving my life. After hearing the tale of this Vanthus character and his Shadow Pearl, it also seems likely to me that I could assist you in your quest. I have a few talents that could be useful in an endeavor like you're embarking upon." With that he pauses to step over to Arn, returning the blade that had previously hung on his harness. "Additionally, from what I've seen this boy is a skilled healer, and...." glancing at Seeker, Arn and Gorg "you all look to need that help. Naturally I can't speak for the boy, perhaps he just wants to get back to whatever his life was. But as for me, I would be happy to assist if you'd have me."
At the mention of himself, Erred looks up and stands, “I am Erred of Dragonwright,” he says in the broken Eastern tongue that everyone else is conversing in.
Valinya nods. “I appreciate your candor, Sindri, and my name is Valinya not ‘Val’. I believe we should first exit this cursed place and then we can continue our discussion. Shall we?” With a hand motion Valinya indicates leaving using the entrance through which the party entered.
“Roger that, Val. Brother, maybe some other time. While we’re on the move, Val, maybe you can think of a way to get a warning to Lavinia. If Vanderboren Manor is to be attacked, she could use all the warning we can give her.” He looks grim. “If they have already triggered their agent, there’s no way we could get back there in time.”
Silver interjects again “Sindri, you sounded almost like you had an alternate way out of here? You should know that the walkway out of the cave entrance was destroyed. Valinya and I can fly out, but everyone else may have problems with the chaos-infused wildlife in the water there.”
“I will think on the communication question, Seeker, an excellent idea,” responds Valinya. “As to the incorporeal interrogation of the other captain, it would be very handy perhaps to know where the pearl came from. It could be - just a conjecture - that there is a transformation the pearl goes though. Could it be the one that caused the initial problem? And could this mutation situation be another phase? From what we know it was broken but perhaps that was part of its transformation to another phase or a rebirth. If the shattering ended the threat I would think we would know. So any information could be helpful but we can’t afford to wait around. Could we … um … bring some bones or whatnot with us to do the questioning and summoning at a later time or is the shade or spirit tied more to the location of death rather than, say, the deceased body?”
To the questions of speaking to the other dead captain, Moonscar replies, “I already have my tent set up back there, close enough to the body, shouldn’t be too much trouble to do it from the next room over, he hasn’t been dead long. Probably only half an hour, though I do want to lay both of their spirits to rest as well. Probably another half hour or so for that as well. Our ride won’t be here anytime soon. Should I go ahead and do this? Can we wait on leaving just a little longer? While I do this, maybe you all can try to figure out another way out of here since our boardwalk seems to have been destroyed!”
Several eyes go to Sindri and someone asks him again if he knows of another way out of the Cove, but he shakes his head and says no.
Don’t Miss the Boat
Silver nods hearing the time estimates. “I can go get the rowboat while we’re waiting for the spirit interrogation. Valinya, did you want to come along in case there’s trouble retrieving it?” Silver looks around at the rest of the group “I’ll wait for everyone at or near the beach where the ships were burning. Although, it may take longer to bring the boat around the point than it will take for the rest to finish up here.”
As Silver heads out, she says to Valinya “You should perhaps warn Lavinia while I start squeezing through the cracks to get out of here. I’m sure you can catch up...”
Valinya nods and sings a short, melodic song then stands there, quietly mouthing some words. “Ok, warning sent to Lavinia.” She then agrees to go with Silver to get the boat, which will no doubt take some time, while Moonscar performs some further spirit talking rituals. The howling and screaming from the prison area reminds everyone that there are still some folks under the influence of the Savage Fever.
It takes Moonscar more than an hour to perform the ritual to summon and speak to Captain Kigante and the Druid seems to be frustrated during the ritual, as if things are not going as planned. He pauses for a moment and explains that Captain Kigante was not as pleasant or forthcoming as Captain Javell, though he did learn a few important things. He wants to complete one more ritual to lay both spirits to rest. He believes that with their proximity, both physical and time of death, he should be able to send both smokes on at once. He gets his stylus out and draws more symbols on the bodies themselves and then begins chanting and dancing one final time. After another half hour, he stops. He rejoins the party, panting and taking a long swig from his waterskin.
Just then, Valinya floats back in announcing that she and Silver, well Silver mostly, has returned with the boat in tow. Silver is resting on the beach watching over the craft. Moonscar gathers up his ritual tent and other gear and everyone makes their way back out to the beach where they find Silver resting quietly. Before piling into the boat, Moonscar tells what he learned from Captain Kigante.
Moonscar explains that the quite angry Captain Kigante was very uncooperative but he did leak some information that could be useful. He said he took possession of the Shadow Pearl in the city of Orisai located along the edge of the Old Kingdom, though officially part of the Western Empire and cut off from the Empire by the Straits of Shinkasa. He said he initially took the job as favor to Cold Captain Wynter, one of the leaders of the Red Sails. He would not give the name of his contact there but only said he “didn’t trust that snake farther than he coulda thrown em” He also admitted that he had been paid a good price to transport the Pearl, which he assumed was just a valuable bauble, albeit magical. He swears he did not know it was such a dastardly weapon. He says he does not know who this Vanthus character was but he plans on catching up with him at some point and dealing with him. Moonscar says he then attempted to explain to Captain Kigante that he was dead but the Captain didn’t seem to care about that much. Moonscar said he went out on a limb and asked the Captain what lied to the north of Blood Bay and he seemed confused. He said the north end of Blood Bay wasn’t much more than shallow marshland and even the rivers that fed into it were not navigable by any vessel deeper than a fishing skiff or raft. He said the only things up that way were bullywugs, troglodytes and other slime-sucking swamp dwellers. Moonscar was not able to get much else out of the deceased captain before his smoke turned into a flickering ball of flame that puffed out in a dark cloud of ash. The Druid said he was successfully able to lay both Captain’s souls to rest after that in another ritual.
Lots of Ideas But Which Direction
Everyone stands around on the beach, taking in the remainder of the information Moonscar had gleaned from Captain Kigante. Erred and Sindri standing quietly at the rear of the group while the others look around, hoping to find answers or at least ideas on the faces of their companions.
“So we have two basic questions … where do we go and who goes with us. We get picked up soon, but from there, who knows? I could try to magically seek Vanthus again. Maybe it would work. Otherwise we could choose to trek north through what we are told is bleak going and dangerous and hope to get lucky. Or I could divine our next step. Thoughts?”
Gorg speaks up, "Seems to me that since we're already at the bay, we should get back on the boat and check out the shoreline, see if there's anything we can spot. If we don't see anything worth investigating we head back to town."
Gorg considers his comment and then remembers that his Captain Tahir had stated that he would not take the Tiny Titan into the Blood Bay and in fact was wary of even being in the vicinity due to the high chance of pirate encounters. The Red Sails and other pirate organizations were known to frequent these waters.
Arn is starting to get impatient and grumbly. He growls out, “Well let’s decide to do something, even a bad decision at this point is better than no decision! We wasted way too much time dilly-dallying around here. Let’s get moving somewhere so we can at least pretend to be productive. Valinya, if ye want to use yer magics to help guide us, I urge you to speed it up before we give our quarry any further lead”
Rowing through Rough Waters
Everyone piles back into the rowboat, a much tighter fit this time with two additional passengers and begins to row out of the sea cave. Silver and Valinya accompany the boat nearby on wing and breeze.
The water is relatively calm while rowing through the sea cave but becomes much more rough and choppy as soon as the boat passes out into the Blood Bay. The rain from earlier this morning is still falling. A moderately strong wind from the north buffets the group as they row out and Valinya is blown away from the boat violently. Silver has to flap her wings hard to stay on course but is able to spread he wings a bit more and fly out to gain some altitude.
Seeker puts his back into it, struggling against the wind and current.
Silver swoops here and there as she makes wide circles about the rowboat. She seems to be able to use the wind to her advantage, and doesn’t have any particularly serious issues.
Seeker’s muscles burn as he pulls on the oars of the overloaded craft. Those in the front of the small boat see rocks and obstacles all around through the choppy water, visible for one moment, then hidden the next. Seeker, toward the rear of the craft and sitting backward cannot see any of them and the prow rises and then slams down onto one of the rocks, sending the boat careening sideways. Seeker uses all of his skill to keep the boat righted, but it is quickly apparent that someone will need to keep an eye out front and navigate for him.
Seeing that the seas are getting rough, Arn calls back to Seeker, “Do ye want me to row or even take one of the oars for ye?” Seeker shakes his head, suggesting the dwarf that he can handle it. Nodding his head toward the front, Seeker calls out to Arn, “See if you can guide me, steer me in the right direction and we should get through this!”.
Arn nods in agreement, and takes up point position in the bow of the rocking boat. Keeping an eye on the rocks as the waves hide and reveal them between swells, Arn uses his best judgement to try and guide Seeker as the young, strong Wolfen puts his back muscles into the rowing.
Seeing a pile of rocks revealed on the right, Arn yells out, “Hard to Port! Hard to Port!” Seeker complies, dipping the left oar deep into the water, guiding the boat past one danger. More rocks ahead, Arn calls out, “A Quarter turn to starboard!”, and again Seeker complies, trying to avoid the rocks. The question will be if Arn and Seeker can manage to work as a team and navigate through the treacherous coast.
Moving as best she can against the wind Valinya tries to get in front of the boat to aid in navigation using her perceptive sight.
Silver and Valinya both call out warnings about rocks and such from the air above the small boat but the whooshing of the wind and crashing of the waves makes their help go unnoticed. From the front of the boat, Arn is able to direct Seeker enough to avoid most of the larger rocks, though the boat occasionally grinds past something no one saw below the frothy waves. Gorg does his part, leaning from side to side of the boat and using an extra oar to push off rocks that are dangerously close.
This battle with the sea and rocks goes on for quite some time, and before the group is even halfway to the point, Silver sees a ship, probably a mile or two out, heading into Blood Bay. A moment later, she spies another one, just past the first. Both are heading in the general direction of the rowboat.
Not wanting to attempt to hover, Silver circles around and drops down to pass over the rowboat, and bellows her message out as she passes them above. “Two Ships a mile out coming our way, one after the other!” She loops around higher up, then makes another pass in case they want to yell something back but she cannot hear if they said anything or not.
Silver breaks from following the rowboat, and gains some altitude again, attempting to get a better look at the ships, and trying to identify if one or the other is the Tiny Titan.
Looking for a respite from the battle of the wind, Valinya floats to the boat and tries to huddle in the lee caused by Seeker, seeking asylum.
Red Sails, Ahoy!
Valinya finds it quite difficult to remain in place on the boat as a body of air, the cold, wet wind blowing off the Blood Bay seems to push and pull her every direction. She quickly realizes that she will either tire herself out to exhaustion trying to fight against the wind if she remains gaseous or must solidify herself and trust in her companions to not let her drown. While she is accustomed to trusting her more than able friends in many cases of life or death, she finds herself balking at the thought of falling into the choppy waters beneath her. Another gust of wind that she feels might actually tear her airy form in half helps her make up her mind and she settles down into the the stern of the small craft, hunkering down and curling into a little ball to keep out of Seeker’s way as he works the long oars and to keep the sight of the aggressive waves from her eyes. She groans as she realizes how dirty and inelegant her current situation is.
Up above, Silver circles and tries to get a better look at the two ships. She does not have to get too close to realize that neither ship is the Tiny Titan. Both ships bear dark red sails. Pirates!
Seeing the sails are not what she expected, she is about to drop back down to report, but has a thought and mentally berating herself casts a spell instead.
All who are aboard the rowboat clearly hear Silver’s voice, despite her maintaining her altitude much higher up. “Both ships coming our way have dark red sails, looks like neither one is the Tiny Titan. I’ll let you know if I spot any activity or interactions between the ships.”
With that, Silver watches the ships for any notable activity.
Seeker continues to row the boat along the rocky shoreline while Arn and Gorg provide navigational assistance. Silver sees one of the two red-sailed ships alter its course a bit and turn back toward the point while the other one continues on toward Kraken’s Cove. Based on how fast Seeker is rowing and the ship is moving, Silver believes that the the two will cross paths just off the farthest east point of land. Hearing Silver’s warning from above, Seeker pulls on the oars even harder, trying to get the small craft behind one of the larger craggy islands nearby.
Upon the new information and dangers approaching, Arn continues to help Seeker guide the ship to a point where they can land upon one of the island shoals. Arn starts to concoct a plan. “Boarding them may be possible, I have a plan. Valinya, do ye have a spell that can move me through the water, or allow me to levitate? I have a water breathing potion, if needed I can function under water, sort of, or at least survive anyway.” Arn looks back at his friends, “Gorg, I have rope and a grappling hook in my backpack also, we could use that to secure ourselves to the other ship if needed, and find a way to get on board.”
“Does anyone else have any other ideas?”
Valinya replies, “I could levitate you, or change you into a body of water, though you’d be without all your equipment. Oh - what about walking on air? That might be your best bet. It’s like flying or levitating only you walk … it’s actually fun.”
Gorg continues to assist in any way possible, but looks rather dubious about Arn's 'plan'... "Why don't we just stay behind these rocks and let them pass? It doesn't look like they've spotted us, and I don't like the idea of taking on two ships full of pirates. Let's wait it out here, then continue south once they've gone." A few moments later he continues under his breath, “Besides, I’ve seen you all getting around on the Titan, it didn’t exactly inspire confidence…”
Hearing none of the conversation about boarding actions, Silver projects her voice down to the rowboat again. “I think it is possible that the pirates only see me circling about and the smoke coming from their cave. I’m going to loop around to the cave and then over-land out of sight. Hopefully that leads them away from you guys. I’ll try to find you coming up the coast from the west in a bit. Oh, uh wave at me if you disagree…”
She continues to watch the pirates, but widens her circle and starts to arc her path to the north, back towards the cave and its plume of smoke. She particularly watches to see if the pirate ships change course to follow.
At Gorg’s suggestion and Silver’s ploy to lead the ships away, Seeker maneuvers the rowboat behind one of the larger rocky spurs. As Silver predicted, the boat that had changed course turns back and follows the other one. After the the two ships are back on course for Kraken’s Cove, Seeker continues rowing back toward the beach on the other side of the point. Silver does a few loops in the rain, keeping in sight of the pirate ships but not getting close at all. She then flies out over the marshy point, keeping low to the ground and out of sight of the Red Sails. Eventually, everyone meets back up on the sandy beach where the troop of savage monkeys was encountered. Everyone is tired from the trip here but on the bright side, the rain is letting up a bit, down to a light drizzle at this point with some breaking up of the clouds above.
Gorg drags a few pieces of large driftwood over and tries to fashion a lean-to type shelter. “The Captain said to wait here until morning and he would be back to get us,” the Ogre explains, “unless of course he ran into trouble with those two Red Sails!” He seems to get a bit anxious and upset at this course of thought. “Do you think those ships could have found the Captain and the Titan? I’m sure he could have outrun them, but I don’t think they could have fought off two pirate ships, especially without me there.” He blushes a bit at this statement, realizing what he was saying. “Is there any way we can contact him, to make sure they are ok or even still around waiting for us. If they had to flee the pirates, there is no telling where they might be or how long it will take them to get back here to get us. We’re about 60 miles from Essanos, but that’s by sea. The land route, though, would probably be much longer. The coastline is pretty wild between here and there, lots of wetlands and marshes. It could take us two weeks to make that hike, and we don’t have the supplies for that at all!”
Valinya, glad to be back on solid ground again, says, “I could attempt to reach his mind and see. It would be helpful to know whether we should wait or not.” Following up on her thought Valinya sits down and settles herself to focus and sing her magic, reaching out for the captain’s mind.
The Elf maiden sings her song and reaches out with her mind, trying to locate and connect with the mind of Captain Tahir of the Tiny Titan. After a moment, she encounters his mind. At first her communication seems to be resisted, then, realizing what is happening, the Captain opens up his mind to her. As she establishes communication, she senses that he is preventing her from probing past his active thoughts, though Valinya believes that she could overpower his meager mental defenses.
Broadcasting her thoughts to the Captain Valinya says, “Captain, this is Valinya. We are at the rendezvous site. Are you on the way? We ran across some pirates here and are hoping you were not attacked.”
Captain Tahir, in a confused sort of mental voice, replies, “Yes we are fine, well, not fine, but well enough. We spotted two pirate vessels, possibly the same ones you saw, and in our attempts to hide, took some damage from the rocks. We are nearby but taking on some water, trying to fix the breach but really need to get back to Essanos to fully fix it. I am glad you have summoned us, I am not sure we could have weathered the night until our rendezvous with you in the morning. We are on our way and should be there within the hour.”
Valinya replies, “Thank you.” and cuts the connection. She then relays the message to the others.
The group prepares to wait for an hour or so until they can be picked up by the Tiny Titan. Some thoughts go to what they will do once they arrive back in Essanos, whose harbor had been shut down abruptly just yesterday after the chaos that ensued after the death of the Harbormaster and fires in the Sunrise District. Will the Tiny Titan even be able to dock? Will the Guardians even be granted access to the city? And then the more pressing and upsetting thought, was Lavinia warned in time?”
“Well,” Valinya says into the sudden silence, “since we seem to be at a crossroads with how to proceed in our quest for the pearl, I think I’ll do a divination while we wait … see what the winds have to say about the future.” So saying, she transforms into air herself then floats up to meditate and listen, singing her song of divination.
A Cloudy Vision
As Valinya floats high above her companions on the rocky beach, she sings her song of knowledge, hoping to find some answers as to the group’s next steps. As she floats, she looks around and watches as the light rain, now just a drizzle, falls down around and through her airy form. A light misty fog and low lying clouds swirl around her. Suddenly she cannot see her friends below her anymore and in a moment of panic, starts to descend, then she realizes that the fog and clouds beneath her have coalesced into a shape. It looks like a coastline. She follows the line of the coast back to a city, Essanos. Then the clouds swirl again and she sees the face of Lavinia once again. The young Human woman smiles at her, then turns and heads south, disappearing into darkness. A stiff gust of wind then blows the cloud fragments and fog away. Slowly Valinya floats back down to the beach to tell her friends what her vision showed her.
After descending and solidifying again Valinya shares her vision with the others. “I’m not sure of the details but we definitely need to go see Lavinia and after that… well, maybe something Lavinia has to say or share will give a clue about heading south.”
Sindri turns to Valinya, "Just so I'm clear on all of this, you're chasing Vanthus, who has a magical pearl that can turn people into mutated raving psychos, and who, after talking to a few spirits, we think is heading north of here. At the same time, you want to head south to Essanos to help this Lavinia lady, who I take it is Vanthus' sister, fend off an attack on her manor? Please don't get me wrong, I'm not critiquing, just trying to get it all straight. Truth be told, I'm loving this! This is a far cry better than my typical day-to-day drudgery, I'm all in! Tell me this though, as I think I was left out of some of the discussions back there in the cave... why do we think it's better to head south? Seems to me that we're not very likely to ever find this guy's trail again if we abandon it now, and there's a distinct possibility that we won't make it back to Essanos before this theoretical attack takes place. You've already warned Lavinia, sounds like she has the resources to take care of herself at this point. Why don't we continue to track this jerk and his anomalous jem?" A few of the group distinctly note a slight emphasis on the 'we' in the last sentence...
Valinya arches an eyebrow at the presumptuous gnome’s self-insertion. Ignoring that though she says, “I agree, it seems odd but that was my divination. It clearly showed the path to be Essanos, Lavinia and then a southward journey. However, perhaps I can help clear things up. I could just take a quick trip to see Lavinia and talk to her. That may give some insight. I can do that and hopefully be back before the ship arrives. Teleportation, you know - it’s risky but also quite handy.” She pauses before continuing, “Though truth be told I haven’t actually gone that far before. I’d have to make some adjustments… probably go in vaporous form and shoot for an elevation of, say 50 feet above the manor to account for potential errors… still, it could save us a lot of time. Plus if we want to head north I’m not sure the captain would take us since his ship needs repairs in Essanos. A trek through the swamp or rowing a boat with pirates around doesn’t appeal to me very much. What do you think, my ‘old’ comrades?”
Seeker nods. “We are in the dark here. Any information that could make our course clearer would be most helpful.”
The Titan Arrives
After a while, the Titan finally comes into view. As the rowboat launch is pushed back out into the frothy waves, the light drizzle finally subsides though the sky remains a dismal shade of gray. Silver does a quick flyover, checking for pirates, but sees none. Seeker, Arn and Gorg skillfully pilot the craft out to the waiting Titan and everyone makes their way back on board. Wasting no time, the Captain calls for sails and the voyage back to Essanos begins.
“Depending on this wind, and a hopeful shift, we should reach Essanos before noon tomorrow. That is if we don't run into any of those Red Sails,” the Captain says as he scans the mouth of Blood Bay as the Tiny Titan cuts through the choppy, gray water.
While her friends climb aboard, Silver swoops in to the bow deck of the Titan. After pausing for a moment for the sailors to scamper out of the way, she lands softly. Once stopped, she takes a few moments to concentrate. Her form blurs and shrinks into her smaller elven form. Smiling at the nervous looking sailors, she takes her time wandering down to mid-ships where the rest gathered to listen to the Captain.
To the Captain she replies “I suspect there aren’t very many red sails about right now. There were a several ships destroyed in the cave we explored. I presume they were red sails, although they were aflame and abandoned by the time we arrived. Oh, and there were two red-sailed ships that were headed back to that cave a couple of hours ago. We didn’t check, but I think they are still there. We should probably be on our way quickly if we want to avoid them.”
After listening to the others for a few minutes, Silver wanders around the ship for a while. She tries to stay out of the sailor’s way, but fails a few times, and eventually finds a quiet place out on one of the upper spars of the main mast. Until nightfall she spends most of her time sitting or laying there, alternately watching the coastline and horizon and looking rather bored.
Cast of Characters:
Arne J plays Seeker, a teenage Wolfen Warlord
Mike B plays Arn, a surly Dwarven Warrior
Amergin O'K plays Moonscar, the esoteric Kankoran Druid
Daniel W plays Silver, a young and curious Dragon
Mike W plays Gorgukk Torgnaz, an Ogre sailor and mauler
and Jason GURPS as the GM
Mike W plays Gorgukk Torgnaz, an Ogre sailor and mauler
and Jason GURPS as the GM