Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sigrid's Journal 22: Swimming with the Fishes


Fifthmonth 4 (Continued again)

Arriving in Xanadu was strange. The city is a complicated web of stone platforms, blocks and pillars. Some of these stones are magically suspended. Soern seemed quite fascinated with it. I suppose I may have been too, if not for the fact that magic bothers me. We really weren't there to sightsee though. We made our way as far into the city as we could on the ship before docking at a harbour-like place. From there we continued walking towards the centre of the city. Standing on a large, central pillar was Monala. I glared at her and tried to pull myself through a dimensional door to her, but it didn't work. I suspect she was too far away. After that I tried a more direct approach. I charged towards her. Well, actually, I tried to charge towards her. I didn't get very far before Gannen and Jocelyn decided to hold me back. Monala looked at us, laughed, and then descended down into the pillar, presumably down some sort of staircase. I struggled against Gannen and Jocelyn's grasps.

Let me go!” I yelled.

If we let you go, are you going to take off?” Gannen asked.

Impatiently, I repeated, “Let me go.”

Not until I know you're not going to take off.”

Just let me go.”

Jocelyn and Gannen looked at eachother. Jocelyn shrugged and they both released me. I did take off, drawing the Aur Xica. I only got about ten feet when I stopped. I was angry at Monala, but charging off to my death wasn't going to do any good. I cursed at no one in particular and struck a stone wall with the Aur Xica.

What the... don't do that!” it yelled at me.

Shut up, you cursed weapon.” I took a deep breath, regaining my composure. Turning back to the group, I noticed they were all staring at me with concerned looks on their faces. Well, Jocelyn, Paerk, Soern, Mark, and Gannen had concerned looks on their faces. Rellik had his usually homicidal expression, and Blank simply looked annoyed.

Are you done with your little tantrum now?” Blank asked, impatiently. I didn't answer him, but I glared at him and re-sheathed the Aur Xica.

So, are we going to follow her?” Jocelyn asked. It was a good question. No one immediately answered it.

That's just what she wants us to do,” commented Blank, “which means we should something else entirely. Catch her all unsuspecting-like.”

I doubt we're going to catch her off-guard in her own lair,” Soern added, “I mean, she's basically taken this place over. She probably knows what's going on all throughout the city.”

We shouldn't just march on down that staircase and knock on her front door,” Mark said, “We can at least try to be stealthy.”

What, you think there's some back door we can sneak in through?” I asked.

Blank grinned. “Hahahah... this is just like that time we tried to sneak into Sa-Follen's house to kill him.”

I looked at him, “No it's not... it's nothing like that at all.”

No, no, no, it is, you see? Sa-Follen was corrupting the guard; Monala's corrupting the weather. Now we're going to sneak in the back door to go kill Monala, just like we were going to kill Sa-Follen.”

That... doesn't even make sense,” Jocelyn commented. “Besides, shouldn't we bring Monala back for trial or something?"

Of course it makes sense. You just weren't there the first time,” Blank waved her off, “I suppose we could bring her back alive, but wouldn't it be easier to just kill her now? Or, even better, we get down there and find out that Gannen already killed her, just like Sa-Follen!”

You do remember that Gannen isn't actually the Yellow Rose Killer?” I asked.

Details, details. Lets go find the back door and go deal with Monala.”

Yes, because we're just going to randomly find some back entranceway,” I said, annoyed.

Well, there's one underwater, if that helps,” Paerk chimed in.

What?” I asked.

A water spirit told me,” Paerk said, “There's a passageway into the city under the water.”

Look at that! The little biter's actually useful!” Blank exclaimed.

There's one problem with that,” I pointed out, “We don't breathe water.”

Well, I can,” Mark said.

Oh, yes, that will work splendidly. Mark will go in the back way and deal with Monala all by himself. What a wonderful idea!” I replied, sarcastically.

Well, there is a spell that will allow us to breathe water,” Soern told us.

A spell? Perfect. Let's cast the spell, swim to the passage, sneak up on Monala and BAM! We hit her in the back of the head, drag her back to Ea-Shamar and collect our reward,” Blank enthusiastically said.

Exactly!” Paerk responded.

Don't you think it will be a bit more complicated than that?” I asked.

Why would it be?” Blank replied.

It was at that moment that Blank was, indeed, completely insane. The more I think about it, the more I realize that everyone on this crew is, as well. We're all a bunch of eccentric misfits, not really belonging anywhere.

There's Soern, so preoccupied with his magics and his books the he sometimes misses out on the rest of the world. Blank is the lone pirate, doing what he wants to do all the time without caring about what is proper. Mark is one of the least personable people I have ever met, more fishlike than human. Paerk's only interest seems to be plants, at the expense of everyone else around him. I've spent my whole life searching for a purpose, only to have a purpose find me. Then there's Gannen, with his mysterious past and swirling destiny of lineage. Then we have Rellik, who I don't even need to comment on.

Yet somehow, we ended up together, and it's fit. And now, here we are. The only thing standing between Monala and the world is us. If we don't stop her now, it will only be a matter of time before her plan of necromantic world domination goes into full effect.

We decided to go forth to Paerk's hidden underwater entrance. After being enchanted with water breathing, I dove into the sea, not quite trusting the magic to work. I dipped my face underwater and took a tentative breath. It wasn't painful, but it felt strange. The water exerted more force on the inside of my chest than air did. It was quite unnatural, but I didn't feel like I was drowning, so I supposed it was probably okay. After a seemingly long swim (which honestly might have been shorter for everyone else without me; swimming isn't my strong suit), we emerged into the air-filled passageway. I sat on the ground coughing, trying to get the strange pressure feeling out of my chest. We all dried off as best we could while looking around at the room we were in. The walls were covered in intricate carvings not unlike the ones at Ozymandius's tomb. It seems so long ago, but looking back through this journal, I realized that we entered Ozymandius's tomb three months ago to the day. It's amazing how much can change in three months.

The room we were in connected to a passgeway, which we followed. Unfortunately, we didn't get far when we were ambushed by giant undead monsters. No one was seriously injured, but several of us were moderately injured enough that continuing on might have been a bad idea. This didn't deter Blank, who was eager to press onwards.

We're not going to defeat Monala by resting,” he protested.

We're not going to defeat Monala at all if we don't rest,” Soern pointed out as I bandaged him up.

I agree,” I added, “There's no need to be hasty.”

But that's what we do best!” Blank said.

Look, why don't we just rest here and figure out what we're going to do,” Jocelyn suggested.

Monala knows we're here. We can just fall asleep. Unless your intention is to never wake up again,” I said.

Always the pessimist. Why don't you shut up once in awhile? We don't have any proof that Monala knows we're here anyway,” Mark argued.

Yeah, well, why don't you shut up, Mark. No one wants to listen to you anyway,” I replied.

Mark glared at me.

Oh blurty-blurty-blur,” Blank broke the silence, “I am your Commodore. You should both be following my lead anyway.”

Yeah, following your lead. Right off a cliff maybe,” Jocelyn commented.

Hey, that's unfair,” Blank said, before mumbling under his breath, “Not like there are any cliffs here anyway...”

I glanced over at Gannen, who had thus remained silent.”

What do you think we should do, Gannen?” I asked.

He shook his head, clearly giving me a 'leave me out of this' look.

Soern finally chimed in, “Let's just go back to the Ocean's Blade to rest and regroup. We'll at least be a little safer out on the water.”

I sighed. I knew this was probably the best course of action, but I wasn't exactly thrilled to be getting back into the water again. We returned to the room at the water's edge. I looked down at the dark, foreboding seawater. I really didn't want to do this again. Gannen walked up beside me and reassuringly held my hand. It was a subtle gesture, but it made a world of difference. I slipped into the water without a care, my mind preoccupied with the short, silent connection we had made.

The ascent was seemed quicker than the descent had been. I think perhaps I was more eager to be swimming towards the surface than I had been swimming to the dark depths of the sea. We climbed aboard the Ocean's Blade and set sail, trying to get some distance between us and Monala. We met up with our crewmembers on the Fearful Lightning, and decided to call it a night. Gannen offered to take first watch and I immediately volunteered to help him, even though I was entirely ready to sleep at that point.

I wish I could write that Gannen and I spent our watch together talking about profound things like life and death and faith and love, but that wasn't the case. I suppose there's not much to say until after we get this business with Monala sorted out. I've spent much of my time this watch writing.

It's unfortunate that Monala still stands as a barrier between Gannen and I, even now that we're not physically separated anymore. I hope once Monala is dealt with once and for all, we can begin a new chapter in our lives. We woke up Jocelyn and Mark before calling it a night. I will be glad to be done with this.


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