Monday, April 23, 2007
“Water latin.” – Soern
“Water dragon.” – Sigrid
“Waterdhavian.” – Blank
“Water latin.” – Soern
“Water dragon.” – Sigrid
“Water latin.” – Soern
“Watch your latin, young man.” – Blank
“Ah hah hah hah hah hah. Yer can’t use magic. It’s like you’re illiterate.” – Captain Blank
“Splice the main brace! Hold fast the riggings! And get me to that fucking island!” – Captain Blank
Things that never happened:
“That’s why I don’t like books.” – Captain Blank
“Paladin!” – Soern
“Of trees?” – Sigrid
“I could blind Illiam . . . if I were level 40.” – Blank
James informed Captain Blank that he had invited four of his "friends" to join the ship's crew. Captain Blank wasn't particularly happy about it, but they seemed competent enough, so he reluctantly acquiesced to their addition to the crew.
Most of the voyage was spent talking to Gannen, talking to Captain Blank's new henchpersons, and goofing off.
As they approached the Order of the Axe chapterhouse island, they discovered that it was on fire. Probably because of the pyrohydra rampaging about the docks.
They also saw a ship with familiar red and black sails fleeing the scene. Captain Blank suspected it was Illiam, so he ordered James (secretly, as to avoid arousing suspicions in Sigrid before it was too late for her to demand they continue to her organizations island) to head for the black and red sailed ship. He, naturally, jumped off the boat. So Blank gave Mark, and the rest of the crew, the same orders publicly. Which, naturally, displeased Sigrid, but there wasn't much she could do about it without starting a mutiny, and she went along with the plan after extracting a promise from Blank that they would head for the island next.
The other ship was bit faster than the Ocean's Blade, and mostly out of reach of all their weapons, but it happened to be just within range of Soern's sorcerous blast He cast the acidic variation thereof, doing minor damage to it, killing most of the crew, and leaving it dead in the water.
They boarded it and negotiated a surrender from it's Captain, who turned out not to be Illiam, but rather a human named Parrel. They learned from him that Illiam now had a fleet, though he would not reveal its size. They tied him up, dispatched the rest of his crew (a task Sigrid delegated to Gannen), and began a search of the ship.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
“I need to get a bar, I, uh, a beer, a drink, an ale, a rum, an alcoholic beverage.” – Blank
“Wow, you’re really, really sober. You can’t even talk.” – Sigrid
“It gives me guidance. It tells me what to do. Hmm, feathers.” (cuddles hat) – Blank
“Is it your precious?” – Sigrid
“Goodness no. That’s my rum.” – Blank
“Would you happen to have . . . in your stock . . . a cape? Make me fancy.” – Blank, being all Sparrow-esque
“I think he would follow you to your grave, Captain Blank.” – Sigrid
“No, he would follow me to his grave!” – Blank
“Oh, my god, you found me out! I’m . . . really a weasel!” – Blank
Sigrid got back to Ao-Manasa on the 24th. While waiting for the others to show up, she gathered information and talked to Tillienne about the two guards Lord Morek had told her about.
The others got back on the 26th. Sigrid told them what she’d learned from Lord Morek. The scholars of the Order of the Axe had uncovered a few references to the Hora Quan, including a poem.
Free the fire,
From icy fist,
Meet seed with flame of earth,
With storm and stare,
With will of heir,
Of right blood and right worth.
Apparently, it had something to do with “restarting the volcano.”
She also told them about the plan she had devised, to get Gannen out of prison. They would bribe a guard. Morek had suggested two: Tar-Namor, who had the keys for that part of the stronghold but also had probable Nightwalker connections, or Oa-Tenasil, who didn’t have Nightwalker connections but also didn’t have the keys. They discussed the details of the plan, and decided on bribing Tar-Namor.
Captain Blank executed most of the plan. It involved magic, sneakiness, and diplomacy. And alcohol. (And pretending to be named Illiam.) At the Wicker Goat, the main guard hang-out, he made friends with the guard and proposed that he help them get Gannen out of jail in exchange for gold. Tar-Namor agreed to help them. He told them to come by the back entrance of the stronghold, just after midnight.
They killed time, meanwhiles, by hanging out at the Black Angle for a bit. Captain Blank purchased a cape of fancy charisma +2 from Cer-Athane. (He just happened to have one on hand.) Then they decided to interrogate Ratham, but first Sigrid had to go to the market, to go buy cheese.
On the way to the market, they ran into James, who had a story, with about the usual level of coherence, about getting captured by Illiam, and then getting let go, and then losing the people trailing him via the sewers. Captain Blank then cast hygiene on him, and finally agreed to let him join on with his crew.
They found Ratham at the Mevarin mansion. Talking to him was not terribly enlightening—he trusted them even less than he had last time. His explanations for why they pirates were even more nonsensical than they’d been originally. He mutter something along the lines of “why do all the scary people have to bother old Ratham?” but wouldn’t say anything more on the subject, even when Sigrid asked him who the scary people were, and told him that she could help.
Later, at midnight, they met Tar-Namor, at the back door, with Gannen. (Who made inexplicable faces, but didn’t say anything.) Then they headed down to the docks, and the Ocean’s Blade quietly set sail.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
I'm not in the greatest of moods today. Soern accidentally dropped the trapdoor on my head, and I've had the nastiest headache because of it. And it has been raining again. I don't particularly like rain. It's all... wet. We're in the ocean, why by the bitter suns do we need more water?
Today was a better day than yesterday, however, it is still raining. Captain Blank predicts the rain will stop tonight. I hope he's right. I made another wager with Mark about Blank's prediction. Even if he's been cheating me during our wagers before, there's no way he can cheat about the weather. I do hope it stops raining tonight so I can finally beat Mark at one of these wagers.
It's still raining. Mark is a little richer, and I am a little poorer. By Malleus' Beard, I will beat him one of these days. An otherwise uneventful day.
How is there still rain in the sky? So much has fallen, I would think it would have run out already. I heard Blank arguing with Soern today about his spell that creates food and water. Blank is concerned that our rum supply is “dangerously low” and wanted Soern to create more. Soern, however, claimed he couldn't create rum. Blank was upset about this, exclaiming something about “Rum being more important than any cursed food and water.” He also called him a “little worthless biter,” but I think that was the soberness talking more than anything else.
It isn't raining anymore, but it's suddenly really cold. I think the Captain's bad mood over our diminishing rum supply has caused him to bewitch the world or something.
Blank says the winds are Niashra's Gift this week, and that we should arrive back at Ao-Manasa within a day or two. I think he's just trying really hard to get back to port before we run out of alcohol. It's probably wishful thinking. It took us weeks to get to the Temple of the Hor Quan. It hasn't even been one week since we turned around to come back. Mark and I made another bet about Captain Blank's prediction. There is no possible way we will arrive within two days, so I felt comfortable betting against the Captain's guess. I will win this time for sure.
We ran into a merchant ship today and the Captain decided to attack them. I didn't think it was really the best course of action, but I trust Blank's judgment enough not to speak up. We pulled up along side them and I tried to board their ship. Unfortunately, my “piratey skills” are lacking and I landed in the ocean. Again. The next thing I knew, there was this loud wooshing sound. I pulled myself aboard the merchant ship and found that the whole crew (except the Captain) had apparently fallen over dead. I turned around and looked at Soern, who had a smug look on his face. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate magic users? We tied the Captain up and knocked him out. We looted the ship, getting a pretty good haul. Blank then made the decision that we had to kill him so he wouldn't turn us in to the Diamond Throne. I was a little hesitant. He was an innocent man, but if I helped him, he'd only tell the others what we'd done. I cut his throat. It was only the second time I'd murdered someone. It didn't feel good. I've never really liked killing people. Sometimes it's necessary, and I'm not entirely opposed to killing, but I don't really like it. Murdering someone feels much worse than justly killing them. I got this awful feeling in my stomach and didn't talk to the crew for the rest of the day. I should go to sleep now, but I can't. I just feel bad.
I didn't have much time to dwell on the merchant Captain's death today. We arrived in Ao-Manasa in the afternoon, causing me to lose more of my wealth to Mark. I hate him sometimes. Anyway, we headed to the Twisted Fish to hear of the month's events. Apparently there had been some problems with a rat plague and there had been a traveling carnival in town. The two events were most likely unrelated. The Steward's son was set to marry the daughter of a noble in the Queen's court on the 19th of Fourthmonth, though I didn't particularly care. Blank thought it might be profitable to kidnap the bride-to-be. I told him it would be a bad idea. The entire Ao-Manasa guard would be sent after her by the Steward, and for a noble of her standing, the Queen herself may send some of the military. Kidnapping a Diamond Throne noble is punishable by death for ALL involved, which is why my Order does (as a rule) not support it. Finally I got some information on the only thing I really cared about: Gannen's trial had been set for the 1st of Fourthmonth.
I went up to the castle to see Ea-Shamar. The others chose to accompany me. I informed her once again of her error in arresting Gannen, but she assured me she had a witness. When I asked about the witness, I was surprised to hear that it was Ratham, the Mevarin butler. He had told the guard he had seen Gannen murder Mischa. I knew this to be impossible, but of course I didn't say why. She also told me that Gannen had specifically been asking to see me, so she gave her permission to go see him in the dungeon. There was also an akward moment where it seemed Blank was flirting with Ea-Shamar, but he later assured me he wasn't.
Gannen seemed in low spirits. He was rather apathetic about the fact that he may be put to death for a crime he didn't commit. In general, he seemed very... jaded. He told us that he had a key that might help us with the Aur Xica. He told us it was in a box and said we could go retrieve it from his house near the Black Angle. I asked him how he knew about this stuff with the Hor Quan and the Aur Xica. He told us that family legend connected him to it, but that he didn't really buy into legends. Could he be the lost heir Morek had told me about? I decided I needed to talk to Morek. We went to Gannen's home and retrieved the box. Soern and Blank searched his house for other items of interest but didn't find anything.
Rellik was pretty adamant about going to report back to his superiors. I didn't really want to go, as I was concerned that poor winds may make me miss Gannen's trial. They decided they would leave me in the city and head off to Rellik's island without me in the morning.
I got woken up early this morning by Blank. He wanted me to unload our pirated (and legitimately found) stuff so I could sell it while everyone else was away. I went out onto the docks and rented a cart from a vendor and began loading it up. It was pretty full when we'd finished loading it, but not so much so that it would be unmanageable for me. I headed up to the market while the others set sail. I spent the morning selling everything, haggling for the best prices I could get. I got better prices than Blank had expected. I suspect that may be because I look pretty legitimate, so merchants assumed the goods were not stolen. Well, you know what they say about assumptions...
I still felt like I needed Morek's guidance on what to do about the Aur Xica and Gannen, so I needed to meet with my Ao-Manasa Order contact Scholar Ulray. He lives up in Oldtowne, past the castle, where the roads are all hilly and winding. It was a nice walk. When he opened his door and found me on his doorstep, he pleasantly greeted me as “Miss Halstead” (we don't usually use titles in public) and invited me in. After we got inside, he asked me “So, Dame Sigrid, what do you need today?” When I told him I wanted him to teleport me to the Chapterhouse, he was a little annoyed. He informed me that that was what boats are for, and that teleports are only for matters of emergency. I convinced him that I needed to see Lord Morek urgently and that I was on a tight schedule, and he finally agreed to cast the spell for the standard Order fee.
I don't like teleporting. It feels strange. It's disorienting. It doesn't hurt, but it's an uncomfortable sensation. I don't know how else to explain it. Some people like teleporting. I will never be one of those people. I will never get used to a lot of magical stuff. I grew up with magic and I'm aware it's a hugely important part of the world, but it doesn't mesh well with me. My former employer (a blacksmith named Loghan) was a mageblade. He tried to teach me to be a mageblade as well, but it didn't turn out too well. I could do the “blade” part just fine, it was just the “mage” part that I had serious issues with. I never learned enough magic to even be able to call myself a novice mageblade. I was pretty talented with the sword though, and to this day, I still wield one, even though most warriors within my Order wield axes. I suppose one could argue that my Champion abilities are magical, but they've never felt like it to me. To me they feel like an extension of my own inner strength of conviction. When that falters, my abilities falter. When I lost faith in Justice, I lost the ability to enforce it.
Anyway, I arrived at the Chapterhouse a little dazed, but otherwise unscathed, and went to talk to Lord Morek. He was a little busy, but he still allowed me to speak with him as soon as I got there. I told him about our trip to the Temple of the Hor Quan. I also told him about my suspicions that Gannen was the heir to the Hor Quan Empire. I also informed him of Gannen's incarceration. He told me the information he had sent for from the Eye of the Axe. He reiterated much of what the Aur Xica had already told me about the heir, the isle of the jeweled trees, and the heart of the sea. He said he would allow me to look over the actual documents in the morning. We discussed what to do about Gannen. We decided that leaving his fate in the hands of the Diamond Throne magistrates was probably not the best idea. We also decided that a full-out jailbreak wouldn't be a possibility either (especially after the incident with Knight-Brother Calaudus last Eleventhmonth). We finally decided that we should use the corruption in the Ao-Manasa guard against them. If I have one of my shipmates bribe some corrupt guards to get Gannen out of jail, I'll be able to get him away from the Diamond Throne, and as a bonus, I can report the corrupt guards to Ea-Shamar. I can kill two birds with one stone. Morek says he will get me the names of some corrupt guards tomorrow, along with the documents from the Eye of the Axe. He told me to go find an empty bed in the barracks and get some rest. I'm away so much I don't even have an assigned bed anymore, yet I feel more connected to the Order than I have in a long time. Perhaps focusing so much on Justice drove me away, but focusing on Loyalty is bringing me back. I wonder how the Order will be involved in all of this Hor Quan stuff...
“Why do you have to say everything?” – Sigrid
“Because. I’m the Captain.” – Captain Blank
“You might be keeping this stuff from the poor proletarians of Ao-Manasa.” – Captain Blank
“Yes, that’s exactly I’m doing, Captain Communist.” – Captain Yaltef
“Wait, what about the captain?” – Sigrid
“Oh, well, he’ll be fine.” – Captain Blank
“And by fine you mean dead?” – Sigrid
“Well, that depends on . . . how well he can swim.” – Captain Blank
“While unconscious and tied to a boat that’s sinking?” – Sigrid
“Oh, I know. He’s unconscious. We untie him. We throw him over the boat.” – Blank
“Right.” – Soern
“We have a shark.” – Blank
“Oh, and we’ve got a witness. Mevarin butler, Ratham, says he saw him kill Mischa.” – Ea-Shamar
“And what’d you find near her body?” – Captain Blank
“Wait, Mischa’s dead?” – Sigrid
“She died?” -- Captain Blank
“Well, I . . . I . . . mmm, rum.” – Captain Blank
They returned to the ship, and spent the next eight days at sea. (Until Thirdmonth 21st. It rained from the 14th to the 18th, was severely cold on the 19th and the 20th, and was still cold but not as cold on the 21st.)
The Ocean’s Blade encountered a merchant ship. They easily caught up to it, boarded it, dispatched the entire crew, and captured the captain. (Captain Yaltef.) Who they interrogated. Then they took all the shiny things (gold, spices, silk, fluffy pillow, etc.) off the boat. Captain Blank knocked the Captain out, and Sigrid slit his throat before they tossed him overboard, for the shark.
Then they went on their way. And Soern sank the other ship. With magic.
They returned to Ao-Manasa on the 22nd, and found out that, while they were gone, a plague of rats had bothered the city, and a traveling circus had come and gone. The steward’s son was getting married on the 19th of Fourthmonth, and Gannen’s trial had been set for the 1st.
They went up to the castle (thing) to talk to Ea-Shamar, and found out that the guard had a witness who claimed to have seen Gannen kill Mischa Mevarin—Ratham, the Mevarin butler. They also talked to Gannen, who had asked for them, and gave them (Sigrid, mostly) the location of a key. An important key. Something about the Hora Quan, and all that.
Rellik, Captain Blank, and Soern sailed to “Rellik’s island” so he could report on his successful killing of Mischa. Sigrid teleported to the Knight of the Axe island so she could get urgent consultation with Lord Morrek.
Sunday, April 1, 2007
There was finally land today. I was so happy to see it, I nearly jumped off the boat to swim in. We put down the anchor in a little cove and went to explore. The whole thing was a little surreal. I had the feeling I'd seen jungle like this before recently, but I couldn't put my finger on where. We set off into the jungle and were accosted by a group of giant lizards that Soern called “Velociraptors!” Upon seeing them, I had this terrible moment of déjà vu. These were the creatures in my vision that had killed Soern! I was not about to let that happen. I charged two of the beasts with Rellik, but they ran around us and attacked Blank and Soern. Soern got hit by a pretty major blow, but seemed to be okay. I ran back towards them and beset the first velociraptor I came to. I hit it, but Soern got hit again. He wasn't looking too great at this point, but he was still standing. I ran back to Soern. I wasn't entirely sure what I could do, but I couldn't let him be mauled to death by one of these things like I'd foreseen. I put my hand against him and tried pushed some of my life energy into him. I was surprised that it worked. It tired me, but he did seem to heal up a bit. I went back to the velociraptor I had been attacking and struck it down with one more blow. I turned to check on Soern, and I saw what I had seen mere weeks before in my head. A velociraptor pounced on him and started tearing him up. I ran over and hit the velociraptor as hard as I could. Blank attacked it and I bent down to Soern. He was nearly dead, but I wasn't going to let him die again. I put both my hands on him and once again willed my own life into him. This time the fatigue was almost painful, but he woke up, still badly injured, but far from dying. I sighed. The spike of energy that sometimes hits you in battle and makes your heart race (One of my old Knight Masters called it hotblood) was pulsing through my veins at that point. The rest of the battle is a little hazy because of the hotblood rush, but I know I fought fiercely. Afterwards, we all decided to head back to the ship to rest. When we arrived at the boat, we found that a group of monkeys had climbed aboard. I climbed up the rigging and shooed them away while Blank screamed obscenities at them. They fled back into the jungle, allowing us an evening of peaceful rest.
We had a long day of trekking up the jungle covered mountain. No one had been up this way in quite a while. I had to cut through a lot of brush and vines with the Aur Xica. It was tiring work. Sometime in the early afternoon, we stumbled upon the ruins of an ancient city. We wandered the streets for awhile, finding various artifacts. Everything was a charred, as if some great fire had roared through. I found a cloth child's doll half-buried under some rubble. It was a sad sight, all worn out and half burned. I imagined a child once played with it,before whatever terrible occurrence happened here. I tucked the doll into my belt. I don't really know why, it just seemed like a good idea at the time. At one point we stumbled into some sort of armory, where we discovered a magical bow, which had some similarities to the Aur Xica. In the center of the city, we found a building that was, surprisingly, not terribly damaged. It was a large, round stone building. Inside we found some sort of well. Soern went down in the well to check it out and told us there was a passageway, leading off in two directions. We decided we would come back here later, and we left the building.
There was a wide road out of the city to the summit. It was paved, though time and plants had destroyed and displaced most of the paver stones. After a brisk walk, we arrived at the top of the mountain. As we approached, we saw an altar. Soern went to approach the alter, but suddenly stopped. He seemed dazed, though I didn't realize why at the time. I took a step towards him and felt this strange buzzing sensation inside my head. It wasn't enough to phase me, but it was quite annoying. I looked around and finally spotted the source. It was a fuzzy black flying bug that was no larger than a bobber. It flew towards me and bit me on the nose. It stung quite badly. I flailed the Aur Xica at it, but missed. Blank sent a mighty magical gust of wind at the thing and knocked it out of the air. Unfortunately, the wind blast also hit me and I was flung to the ground with some force. Mark ran up and stepped on the bug, ending its mind-hold on Soern.
We went up to the altar and found it was right on the edge of this big crater. Soern said this was a volcanic crater, and that the mountain we were on was a volcano. I've heard of volcanoes and how they spew horrible firey rock fluid called lava, so I wasn't exactly thrilled to hear this. Soern told me that the volcano was inactive and wouldn't kill us, which made me feel a little better. We investigated around the altar and found some rocks that looked like feathers, some crystals embedded into the altar itself, and some various beads. On the altar itself sat a rather creepy looking skull with lots of carvings on it and a yellow egg-sized gem with colours that seemed to shift around inside it.
At this point, the Aur Xica seemed very excited. I unsheathed it and placed it on the altar, with its hilt against the skull. This apparently unlocked the Aur Xica's ability to speak. It spent a few minutes talking about how annoyed it was with us and berating us on our incompetence. After that we talked about the Aur Xica itself. It mostly just complained about Tai Faren, the dramojh, and us. It told us we were at the temple of the Hor Quan, but that we couldn't actually unlock its powers. It mentioned something about restarting the heart of the sea, or something like that, and how it had to do with an island with jeweled trees. Yes, an island of jeweled trees. I do hope the Aur Xica has not simply gone mad from its millenium alone in a tomb. I have never heard of such an island.
We headed back down the mountain into the city, stopping at the circular building to explore the passageways underneath. The tunnel (which the Aur Xica called a “lava tube”) lead in two directions, up the mountain and down. It was also a full head shorter than I was, and I had to duck down to avoid hitting my head. We decided to proceed up the mountain, but were soon beset by four more of the awful buzzing fuzzy bugs. I was really annoyed, so I called upon power, and was ridiculed by the Aur Xica for doing so. I believe it's comment was “You're calling upon power to squish bugs?” This just made me angrier, so I swung the Aur Xica particularly hard at one of the bugs and squashed it. My swing stopped abruptly with the Aur Xica clanking loudly against the stone wall. Soern then blasted the rest of the bugs with some sort of spell. I AGAIN was hit and was mildly injured. Spellcasters really annoy me sometimes. Hopefully someday, Blank or Soern will cast a battle spell that does not hit me. We kept going up the lava tube and ended up IN the crater of the volcano. We explored for a little while, but found nothing of interest, so we proceeded back down the lava tube. We passed under the well in the city and kept going. We eventually came out on a beach, within sight of the Ocean's Blade. After a quick walk down the beach while watching the sunset, we climbed back aboard the (monkey-free) ship.
We're leaving for Ao-Manasa in the morning. Perhaps we can ask around about the “island of the jeweled trees”. At least I'll be able to see how things are with Gannen. I feel like his arrest is my fault, and I feel I need to make things right. Hopefully we don't have any warrants out for us. I would be most displeased to step off the ship and into shackles. I have had my fill of the Ao-Manasa guard and magistrates, and not just because of my little run-in with them a month and a half ago. Let's just say, some of my Order's missions don't exactly follow Diamond Throne laws...