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[D&D 5E] Whispered Curse, Day 60- Offshore/Abbott of the Eternal



  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular
    Grigmar nods back to Oak in conciliatory fashion, tapping his broken nose with a wry grin. “No ard’ feelings!” he replies emphatically, glad to have resolved the issue on both sides.

    The Orc assures the barbarian that the Queen’s Men will be pursuing the imposters as well, with fervor. “They’ll be goin’ to the top o’ the Hunter’s Guilds wanted list, ken’ tell ya’ that! We’ll have one eye out fer’ em…hell, the whole ocean will, once they find out what’s ‘appened here! Changelins’ an’ Doppelgangers’ are going straight to the top o’ the menu again…” Although Grigmar seems resolute, he sounds less than pleased with this result. From his tone, you all get the distinct sense that the tide of public opinion is very much about to turn away from the Changers within the Expanse. “Listen,” Grigmar says, in a halting manner. “If yer friend…Arno…pops up again, we’ll do what we can to keep em’ safe, I promise. Just know…da’ attitude towards the Faceless…it’s gonna get ugly again.”

    Gorgeous Grigmar nods along to Oak’s chores list. “Yep…yep...standard shore leave. Tell ya’ hwat’ I ken’ do….can send word round at the Shipyard, and the Marauder’s Market...try to see if we ken’ cut you all in on our “Veteran Prices”. Might not be much, with all the damages today and the strike…wish I could do more, but if we ken’ save ya a copper here or there…”

    He shakes his head sadly at the Issue of the Writ. “Ehhh…that one may be an issue in the immediate, sadly. Vault got damaged in the riots. They cracked the lobby, an’ now protocol says they have to do a full recount. This, all right after the run on the place by the Rak’ta withdrawls! That bein’ said, they told me they’d be ready to open again in…” Grigmar flips once again through the notebook, towards the back. “…couple o’ days?” Grigmar finally answers, tentatively. “I’ll have em’ send ye a message by Harrier Express-Post when they reopen an ken’ exchange with ya’!”

    Gorgeous Grigmar beams noticeably when Oak offers to help, and his approach gets jarring and overeager. “Yeh! Yeh! Excellent, glad to hear it! Tell yer friends, tell yer crew! We’ll take eny’ elp’ we ken get! I’ll send Marodath around to find yeh’ tomorrow afternoon, after we get a better idea o’ all the jobs we’ll need doing. Ye’ll know her; she was the great big woman what sat next to ye’ at El Gordo Loco this mornin’. An’, er, thanks.” Grigmar says, akward and avoiding eye contact, but clearly greatful. “’Preciate it personally. Helps me’ more en’ you know!”

    He listens as the Tiefling finally speaks up, and seems relieved to have his suspicions confirmed. “Ahhh, so it was just er’ coincidence!” He smirks and sits up a bit straighter, his day finally starting to turn around for the better. “I knew he were still dead! People get to caught up in these myths an’ stories, ye’ know…start to forget how the real world works, start depending on heroes an’ legends et’ don’t exist…”

    “But ya’, if you wanted to read up on it, the library’s still there! Othro’s Oddities has a big ol’ book section,” However, then Grigmar frowns, pained to be the bearer of more bad news. “…course, Othro’s is one of the places yer imposters hit when they came through. Heard they fooked the library up pretty bad! Plus,” Grigmar doesn’t seem sure how to express this next bit, fumbling for the proper words. “Othro’s a bit….different. Bit of an odd bird, that one. Might be an issue, gettin’ im to understand what you want, er’ to get him to help you.”

    “Alright, well,” says Grigmar, straightening up. “Think that should be all, then, less’n you have any questions for me? I’ll send Marodath around to find ye’ tomorrow, at some point to pull ye’ in fer fixing the place! Stop by the Athena or send a post, when y’all figure out where yer’ headed next…might be able to point ya’ in the direction of an Outpost or Colony o’ ours along the way, help out yer’ voyage.” Despite his exhaustion, Grigmar’s pride shines brightly at ever. “Queen’s Men ar’ still a “Safe Sight in Unsafe Waters”, Dogs be damned!”

    Gorgeous Grigmar suddenly turns to Fiver and Whistler surprised, as if considering them for the first time. “An’ ye’ two? The parrot and the rabbit? Were ye’ ready to go as well…?”

    Oh no, I’m ‘fraid not!” says Fiver, suddenly taking on a dramatic, hacking cough out of the blue. “Gonna stay right here for at least the night, Mister Orc! Smoke still ain’t out o’ me lungs…” Fiver looks right up at Grigmar, smiling his unpleasant grin, but makes every effort to avoid looking anywhere near the Wild Bunch.

  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    Jack digs through his backpack and manages to produce some sort of sweet snack from it. It's seen better days, frankly, but it's still recognisable as a cupcake-type item. He puts it in orc's free hand and immediately switches into the universal gesture language of "oh no, you keep that, I insist!" at any protest. Coffee and cake would make anyone feel better, it is well known. He watches Grigmar with a happy, expectant smile.

  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular
    Gorgeous Grigmar barely hesitates this time, before tearing into one side of the small cake Jack offers. He soon inhales the sweet in a manner which Jack can personally relate with, and washes the rest down with the gritty remainders of his coffee. He grins wryly up at Jack, nodding with appreciation.

    "Heh...yer' alright kid! Thanks fer' looking out, ain't had a chance to sit today, much less catch a nip'..." From somewhere unexpected, Grigmar burps, and looks on afterwards with satisfaction. He sighs deeply, and leans back in the chair, resting his eyes for a single, contented moment. "S'kinda funny...the Lupine in the tower never had a face, an' it mystified the shit out o everyone. But you? Yer' just a sweethearted fella, ain't cha?"

    "Heya, kid," Grigmar says to Jack, before he goes to leave the room. "I owe ya' one, yeah? Yer' ever in a spot around here, you just mention Gorgeous Grigmar..."

  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular
    The Wild Bunch takes in a night of elegant, opulent splendor within the Copper Camel. They are each brought trays of nuts, cheeses, meats, fruits, and wine to their individual, over-large rooms, and that night, they all sleep upon sheets of satin. Weary from the day’s events, each man finds an opportunity for rest in the luxurious accommodations. It’s almost enough to make them forget the state of the city outside…


    Jack makes his way from the Camel through the smoldering city, back towards the Shipping Warehouse. He still gets the occasional odd look from the random citizen on the street, but the tones are more muted and confused than angry now. Everyone is too busy, or too frightened to approach the Shifter.

    Lucky Jack finds the Professor amidst a swarm of Modrons, apparently all busy packing up his kit and equipment into a series of crates. What remains of the Balloon apparatus has been broken down and disassembled, and only the odd bit of machinery or equipment still sits out.

    As the Professor sees Jack approaching, he drops an armful of pipes out of his arms and approaches fuming, fists at his hips. Around and underneath him, tiny Modrons swerve out of the way of the rolling pipes. “You!”the old man says, half awed and half furious, turning bright red and ears aglow. “What did you do?!

    Oak makes his way from the Camel through the ruined city, looking for familiar faces from the Curse. He soon comes upon the Edgar trio taking in a smoke and morning coffee near the center of town. After some jabbering back and forth, Oak eventually comes to understand that they fared well during the riots (helping a group of citizens to safety, and beating the hell out of a man who turned half into an Elephant and tried to attack them all), and are now helping the stripping and rebuilding effort in the city. Upon further questioning, they confirm that they have seen Baron Reynard, and he’s doing the same sort of thing at the moment….except up in the Murderer’s Row district, where they’re currently digging out the slums from the smoldering ruins of Tick Tock Tower.

    Oak walks the again-unfamiliar boardwalks back towards where the SS Oak had once been tethered (where did that little dingy end up, anyway?). It takes him some time, but the barbarian eventually finds Cardan Byrne shovelling debris into the ocean. He’s stripped off his fancy clothes, and sweat beads upon his brow and chest. The former Baron smiles gladly to see Oak, and approaches with a hand extended (after he finds it to be grime covered, and wipes it clean upon his shirt).

    “Mr. Oak!” he says pleasantly, looking to catch his breath. “Do what do I owe this fine honor….errr, I mean, how’s it going, man?” He laughs, embarrassed at the slip up.

    Urixes makes his way from the Camel through the wounded city, past the center of Chaff and towards the strange looking craft known as Othro’s Oddities. It looks to have been partially scorched on one side of the Ship, but seems to have otherwise avoided damage from the riot.

    But when the Tiefling enters the strange shop, he suddenly isn’t so sure. Glass and wood broken…everywhere. Shelves have been damaged, their contents tossed to the ground (and occasionally broken into bits). Once fine chandeliers overhead have been shattered, and there’s deep gashes and puncture marks in the walls of the place.

    At first, Urixes thinks the shop might be abandoned. But a distant smell of a thick, druggy sort of smoke, and the quiet sound of flipping pages draw Urixes past the first few rows of shelves, deeper in towards the very back of the shop.

    There, at what must be the stern of Othro’s Oddities, the Tiefling finds a surprisingly large library. The shelves are sunken in to the craft itself, and stretch from the deck to the top of the roof. Ladders, built into the shelves and sides of the Ship, creak back and forth slowly, as the waves rock the craft from underneath.

    The source of the sounds and smoke turns out to be an ancient, rotund Halfling, sitting cross legged among a nest of stacked books, pages, and tomes. He’s lit and hung a lantern overhead, but overwise sits in the near-dark, whirring through the texts like a creature possessed, and puffing his pipe like an active volcano. One of his eyes, still bearing scratch marks, is covered by a brand new eye patch, and his beard curls down over his large belly. The Halfling’s eyes are bloodshot, and he occasionally halts his organization to read (or reread) a passage he has come upon as though entranced.

    It isn’t until his pipe goes dead, and the Halfling picks up his pouch to fill it, does he discover Urixes, standing amongst the shadows. The pouch goes flying into the air, but the shopkeep manages to retrieve it before it can spin underneath one of the shelves. “Saint’s Bells!” the Halfling cries, staring at Urixes like he’s tricked him. “Thought you was the devil come to take me!” Hands shaking, the Halfling refills his pipe, and lights it, all the time unable to look away from the Tiefling. Once he gets a good puff going again, he asks, nervously “Who in the blazes are you? Whadye’ want?”

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Oak grasps the other man's hand for a moment, caring little for the cleanliness of the other man's hand. "Bryne. Been lookin' fer ya. Glad to see someone helpin' out with all this." Oak motions to the debris they were standing in.

    He leans in a little closer and lowers his voice, "Be needin' yer help. I'm lookin' fer the Queen." Oak glances around, to ensure there aren't eyes on them that might be paying too much attention to their conversation. "Had a chat with Grigmar yesterday, didn't say nothin' but it's clear he's taken charge 'round here which means the Queen ain't around. Need to know why that might be."

    Geth, roll 1d20+3 for Perception

    1d20+3 21 [1d20=18]

  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    Jack ums, stepping behind the closest Modron, "Heya! So we flew your balloon to the tower, and everything was going real great, but then the people on the tower shot at us and they hit the control box, and we had to use magic to make an emergency landing on the tower, which then got set on fire, and... um..." He pats down his pockets, pulling out the chipped mug he absentmindedly stole, "Coffee?" If there was any left when put in there it's long since soaked into his pockets.

    He whispers to the griffon on his shoulder, "I think we're in trouble." Mister Fusspot appears unphased.

  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular
    edited February 4
    The Professor listens on raptly, slack jawed, hands to his hips and ears beaming red. His face goes through a mixture of emotions during the story, but by the time Jack pulls out the cup, he simply seems dumbfounded; at a loss. Wordlessly, the Professor puts up a hand to politely decline the offer of “coffee”. Deep in thought, the Professor slumps down right where he stands, hand to his chin and his goggles pressed forward against his nose. The busy Modrons, clicking slightly without emotion, almost immediately diverge their walking paths around him.

    The Professor sits for some time, fretting silently. Finally, he remembers Jack and Fusspot are there and addresses them, encouraging them to come over and sit. He seems to be picking his words carefully, before revealing, “It’s not your fault, you know. Should’ve gone up with you myself. But I keep trying to help everyone, and keep making…” the old gentleman's face looks frustrated, contrite. “….mistakes.”

    “You see,” the Professor whispers, looking nervously around the warehouse for a moment, before turning back to Jack with a conspiratorial stare. “…I’m not from here. Not just the Expanse, I mean; here-here. I’m a Traveller, between worlds. Or at least, I was.”

    The Professor continues to spill secrets to Jack: “I was able to “Blink” to other worlds….places very like this, and places very unlike this! I learned things any scientist, any man would sell his soul for the knowledge of! But then…I delved too deeply, and too greedily. On my journeys, I accidentally lost my Way home. I’ve been trying to find it, or a way to duplicate it, ever since.”

    “I came to this place because, with its Rifts, with its abundant Wild Magic, the windows into other worlds, the vast repositories of knowledge and impossible geography…it seemed like the best place to search for a solution to an impossible problem.” Maybe the Professor sees Jack give him a quizzical look; or maybe, now that he’s revealing himself, the Professor is simply on a roll. “Ah, you see, I could “Scry” into the different worlds before entering them…get a basic sense of the makeup of the place, the history, and the players involved. Sort of like, errrm, reading a rather rushed history and geography book all in one.”

    “It’s how I knew who you all were…or at least, I thought I did.” The Professor now turns to look straight down his goggles at Jack, examining him with the thoroughness of a physician. “Which reminds me…what is your story?” The Professor doesn’t seem to be trying to be rude by asking this, but his manner is rather pushy. “Are you Fae? A creature from the Outer Planes? Maybe even, a Possession? My Scrying’s gave me a fairly good picture of Urixes and Oak, but for some reason you…the manner of your mind and motivations were a mystery.”

    mrpaku on
  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular
    Cardan Byrne leans on his shovel, looking off into nowhere, deep in thought. He replies gradually, like he’s putting the memories together for the first time in a long time.

    “You heard the Queen’s deal, right? The drow, before she was ever “the Queen”?” the moustachioed Half-Elf asks calmly, with a hint of nostalgia. “Toughest survivor from the Sanguine Seeker, bar-none, an’ that’s counting,” he counts them off on his fingers. “Urixes the Eternal, Rax the Revolutionary, a Dragonborn strong enough to crush a giant’s head with his bare hands, and a Dwarf strong enough to save everyone!”

    Unthinking, Cardan smiles at the memory. But his face goes dark once more. “Jennie dyin’ probably broke her more than it broke anyone, the exception being Crolthear, who never spoke a word to any of us again. But where the Dragonborn just dropped his arms and walked away, N-The Queen, I think she knew this would never stop before the rest of us really did. That even though we’d left the Teeth, gotten away with our lives and stopped Iquim from opening the door….we would never really get away.”

    Cardan Byrne looks tired and old again, his years as the Baron weighing heavily on him. He sighs, resigned. “Anyway! While the rest of us were making plans to leave, she was already making plans for this. For Chaff, for the Expanse. “I’m gonna bring em’ together, Cardan, under one flag” she told me one night. “Band together the pirates that’ll listen to sense, get some civilization and shelter out in the Wilds. “A safe place to come home to”.” An I asked her, for the love of God, for what?” After a moment, Cardan shrugs at Oak, as if he still doesn’t understand her answer even today. “She said it’s what she would do (meanin’ Jennie), but can’t anymore. That she couldn’t make it up to Jennie, but she could make the Expanse a bit of a better place instead. An’ then she said, “Fer’ next time.”

    Cardan Byrne lets the story sit a moment, a single tear coming to his left eye which he wipes away with a wistful smile. “Well, I didn’t know what she meant then…but I found out, soon enough, didn’t I?” He turns back, all-business, to the Big Man. “Oak, this place is her “baby”. She wouldn’t leave it, not without letting her people know, and not unless the reason was that it was the direct safety and concern of this place!”

    “I had hoped to visit her myself this evening, but it had been postponed fort obvious reason. Please,” he beseeches you. “We weren’t always close, but if something has happened to her, I need to know. Go find this Grigmar, and tell him that “That Warbling Moron” has sent you to seek an immediate parlay…with Nagara.”

  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    Jack is eating the story up, this is right up there with late night sailor tales of horrors lurking just beyond the horizon, fish that want to kiss you until you die (he could never keep mermaids and sirens straight) and undead pirates forever sailing their hole-riddled ships in search of their misplaced treasure.

    He's kicking his feet in excitement as the man wraps up his tale, hungry for more. "Oh, me?" Quick glance around, anyone here but them and Modrons? No? "Well!" He heard a good story and he wants to tell a good story!

    "See, there I am right, minding my own business, eating a chicken when BANG! Suddenly I'm a naked human and there's an angry hag running at me with a broom! It's hard to learn to walk on two legs in such a short span of time, let alone run, let me tell you, but when you've the fury of a hag pelting your hide with a broom, you learn real quick!"

    He leans back, nodding in a We've All Been There manner, "I'm here in the Expanse lookin' for a way to be me again. No luck so far, but hey? What's the use of being miserable in the meantime, right?" Jack pulls the little griffon into his lap and pets him, "We all got problems we need to deal with, at least we can be happy between them." Dreamy sigh, "There was this pie I had aboard a weird metal ship, boy, you don't forget a pie like that any time soon.

    Oh, sorry." The youth scoots aside to let a Modron get on with its task, "These guys with you? They're nice."

  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    "My name is Urixes, I'm looking for some very specific information."

    Urixes looks around, careful not to touch any of the books. "Are you Othro? I hear you might be able to help me."

    Geth, roll 1d20+4 for Persuasion Check

    Persuasion Check:
    1d20+4 19 [1d20=15]

  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular
    The Professor listens breathlessly, intent on every word of the story. Once or twice he cocks an eyebrow, and looks as though he’s about to make an interjection, but refrains. Except for the once, as Jack describes the encounter with the Accursed Hag. The elderly gentleman reaches up a patient hand, and then asks, “The Hag…was she draped in animal pelts? Bones and skulls? Just, absolutely covered in them? And…did it happen to be a full moon that evening?”

    As Jack finishes his tale, the old man shakes his head, with an incredulous but gleeful look on his face. “A young cub…just a simple, Polymorphed wolf! The void in the search for your “face” makes perfect sense now! If you only knew, young Jack, how many scholars and schemers sought your identity, or guessed at it in vain! Or, in the case of the Prince’s Shifters, had used the mere suggestion of it for their own benefit…”

    The Professor seems noticeably cheered by Jack’s heartfelt pep talk. The old man sits a little higher, and smiles up at the ceiling of the Shipping Warehouse. “You know, you’re not wrong about that! Sometimes, I get so caught up in the memory of my lost home, that I forget how much I have found and achieved out here in the unknown! Physics untold…gods unheard of! Sights that mortal eyes were never even meant to glimpse…” Although the Professor almost manages a moment of relaxation in all this, the situation soon brings him back to reality again. He notices the gun in the holster at Jack’s belt and sighs, nodding over towards it. “Like that. I made great large versions of that pistol you’re packing for the Expanse and shared them, thinking I could help these people, if I gave them a leg to stand on. But, all it did was make things worse…” He looks around, at the towers of stacked wooden boxes and disassembled parts, and sadly back at Jack. “The plan tomorrow was to share these with them as well…the technology for the Balloons, and the Submersible. But, just like the rest, and like you proved to me last night, if I give them something they shouldn’t have, I’m just going to make things worse…right?” The Professor glances over at Jack, at a loss for an answer.

    The old man looks around at the bots’ with Jack’s mention, mostly irritated. “The Modrons? Found them recently, on an excavation trip to Playa Del Perdido. A rift from Mechanus opened while I was digging, and a few hundred washed up on the beach.” He shrugs his shoulders, clearly annoyed with the ever-present nature of the machines, but having resigned himself to their presence. “They watched me dig up and restore some ancient tech, then started following me like faithful hounds. From what I’ve gathered, they seek to build a safe haven within the Expanse, and create some sort of “anchor” construct back to Mechanus, to link their realm with this one, and create “Order”. And apparently, they think following me is the quickest way to accomplish their goals so…..”

    The Professor gazes upon Jack with the air of a concerned father. Leaning in, he asks, “Jack, when you say you want to be you…do you mean return to your wolf form? Forever? Leave all this, “people” nonsense?” The Professor is curious, but cautious around the topic. “I can understand the instinct, myself…gods know how many times I’ve thought to simply turn into a dolphin, and dive into the depths of the ocean!”

    “These waters, the Expanse, Jack…it holds the answers to your heart’s desires.” The Professor says solemnly. But his tone turns warning, and bittersweet. “But…it may drag you to a down to a deep, dark, place, if you’re not careful. Selune’s Lighthouse follows the moons, but Malar haunts the Wilds…”

  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular
    Othro’s pipe puffs and he works himself up to getting annoyed, nearly wagging a finger at the Tiefling. Then, at all once, the Halfling catches himself. His bloodshot eyes light up in solemn recognition, and he nods, as though utterly terrified by the stranger he recognizes entering his library. Urixes’s reputation proceeds him once more. “Yeah. Yeah, I can help you… Lord.”

    As though entertaining royalty (or in deference to a ghost), the half-blinded Halfling walks Urixes over to one of the more central stacks of books; knocks it down to floor and scatters it in search of a couple titles. Panting and looking in awe, Othro brings the books over to Urixes, offering them up with deference…

    - Urixes has been handed the tome: Physical Relativity and Theory within the Twilight Expanse

    - Urixes has been handed the tome: Account: Rak’ta Revolution Against Elven Oppression, 3rd Century
    As Urixes takes in the titles and rifles through the first few pages, the Halfling disappears to a sideroom, to return soon afterwards bearing two additional texts. “These were put in the “Reserved” section, under order of the Queen! Weren’t damaged when that nutcase tore through the library. Queen said the time would come someone special would come looking for these, and I’d know it..”

    - Urixes has been handed the tome: Undying of the Expanse: Myth and Fact

    - Urixes has been handed the tome: What Lies Outside the Door

  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    Ooh, more story! He's sucked back into the old man's tale (like anyone his age, Jack thinks of any person older than him as An Old Person), earning himself a painful bite from Mister Fusspot when he absentmindedly strokes him a bit too roughly, the little beast returning to its spot on his shoulder.

    There's a confused look on his face at the bit regarding the scholars, however he's well used to ignoring information that doesn't make sense, in one ear out the other. He finally comments when asked of the hag, "Skulls and hides? Maybe, but back then I wasn't really myself when I was made like this, it took me some time to learn how to think." Wistful, "But the wolf... yes, I remember the moon, the night was clear, moon like a cold sun in the sky, the chickens right there..." Dreamy sigh.

    He looks down at his pistol when mentioned- it's seen better days, he's not exactly keeping his weapons in tip-top shape, "It's saved my life at least! On multiple occasions now I wager, this place is pretty dangerous." He leans closer with an apologetic look on his face, "And to be honest, maybe I wasn't really paying attention when you were explaining how the balloon works, it was just so... exciting. 'tween you and me, this place could use some help right now, poor Grigmar looks like he's not slept in weeks."

    Geth, roll 2d20k1 for Persuasion

    Hm. "Well..." Uncomfortable squirm, "Being a..." Gesture over himself, " a lot more complicated and confusing. When you're a wolf you run, you eat, you fight, when you die you die. You don't..." Another pause as he considers his next word, not one he uses much, "Con-tem-plate. I can make myself look like a wolf, but I don't think like a wolf, this... follows me." In a small voice, "And the other wolves always know."

    Jack reaches to his shoulder, scritching under the griffon's beak, "At least when I look like this, it's not complicated, people feel a way about me, they say it, it's simple." He entirely ignores the warning, smiling broadly, "Really, the answers are here? I told them I did, my gut is never wrong."

    Geth, roll 1d20 for Religion

    Oh! "Before I go, gotta go find out friend Arno, do you know where I can find either, um..." He stares up at the ceiling, reading a mental checklist, "Barnabas. The Batter Rays. One more, one more... oh! And a Harrier Express." Bright smile, "There was this nice lady staying in town, I want to make sure she's okay."

    2d20k1 8 [2d20k1=[8], 8]
    1d20 5 [1d20=5]

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Oak slowly nods. Byrne's assessment of the Queen fit perfectly with what Oak had registered from Grigmar's talk. The people at the top cared too much about this place to disappear, no matter what the rank and file pirates that walked on the streets might lead you to believe about loyalty. It seemed the mystery of Chaff was expanding further now.

    "Right then." The Shifter responds, "Looks like Grigmar and I need to talk. I'll find ya after."

  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular
    The decks of the Apollo and the Athena are abuzz with activity. Everywhere, hands (both of this place, and some clearly not) are lugging 2x4s, pushing baskets of ingots, stacking scrap debris to be picked through for salvage. The city’s inhabitants are all pitching in, busy at work trying to heal.

    It takes Oak quite awhile to push through the busy crowd towards where he can see anything, and evenlonger to find Gorgeous Grigmar. As it turns out, the Orc is conducting business from the stern, charts and lists out among a group of a dozen or so other pirates and hard at work discussing the logistics of the riots damage and their efforts to mitigate them. Oak has to convince a handful of tough brutes to let him pass, as they try to box him out and ask what he thinks he’s doing. Before Oak can react, Grigmar looks over at the commotion and notices Oak. With a slight, almost unnoticeable smile, the Orc waves off the brutes, and waves Oak over. Around him, the pirates who were busy at discussions look at the newcomer, annoyed.

    “Mates! This here is Oak, one o’ the fellas I was telling you about!” Gorgeous Grigmar walks up, gives Oak a nod, then a quick and firm handshake. “We’re here coordinating the relief effort, gettin’ food an temporary housing figured out. How can I help ya’, man?” He grins, hopefully. “Ye’ here to volunteer early?” The other organizers look on at the conversation, staring at the gruff Shifter and waiting impatiently for his answer so they can move on with business.

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Oak returns the handshake. "Yeah, lookin' to help out." he says loudly, but then lowers his voice to that hopefully only Grigmar can hear him. "But got another thread you and I need to talk 'bout first. Got somewhere we can chat privately?"

  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular
    Gorgeous Grigmar catches Oak’s intention. He nods subtly before dropping his eyes, and turns back to his companions. “Yeh, just gonna check in with the Big Guy here for a minute…apparently, some o’ his crew might have the magic to help out with clearing the wreckage from the Public Village, but they’re afraid to pop their heads out due ta’ criminal records…”

    “Grigmar!” one of them says, irritably. “We still have to discuss which direction we’re gonna send the schooners out to pick up emergency supplies, or this place will starve inside of three weeks!”

    “Heavy hangs the crown, alright?” Grigmar responds glumly, a sharp edge under his tone warning the pirate not to respond. “Look, just finish writing up who’s available, and who’s ready to pull up anchor now. You can handle that much on yer own. I’ll be back shortly.”

    Gorgeous Grigmar points his head over towards a secluded corner of the Ship, near the railings at the Bow. “No news is good news,” the Orc mutters thicklyas they walk, the bitterness at his situation growing more acute by the day. “Assume you’re not pulling me aside to tell me what a good seamstress you are.” Taking a deep breath, Grigmar grabs the railing, looking out over the ocean and away from the Shifter. “Well? Hit me. What’s this thread you’re on about?”

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    edited February 8
    "Look, I ain't the type to try and beat around the bush." The Shifter says "Yer Queen has left you with a load of work and probably ain't 'round."

    Oak holds up a hand. "Now, before ya get all tangled, I kept my mouth shut 'bout it. Don't need too many in yer business."

    He pauses for a moment, then continues. "Did look fer someone who might be able to help, though. So, uh...“That Warbling Moron” has sent me ta seek an immediate parlay, with Nagara."

    AustinP0027 on
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    "I take it you've met me before," Urixes says as his arms are filled with books, "I get that a lot. Tell me, what was I like? Not the imposter that ransacked the town. The ... real one, I guess." As he waits for an answer, Urixes starts looking around for a desk or table, something to set up at to start studying.

  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular
    edited February 8

    The Professor nods thoughtfully at the Hag’s description, his suspicions seemingly confirmed. “A Witch of the Wilds, Mistress of the Hunt…just as I suspected! If you don’t mind, my lupine friend?…” The Professor, far too familiar now, moves in directly behind the Shifter. He grabs Jack by the neck and obtrusively begins to part the hair along the nape, searching for something at the back of Jack’s head. As he roughly pulls another large patch of hair aside, the Professor gives a triumphant noise. “Ahhhh…indeed! I’m guessing you didn’t know about this…a magical insignia, carved into the base of your skull! The Mark of the Hunt!

    “You see,” the old man explains to Jack, “Every third full moon, a High Hunt is held by the adherents of Malar. Those who have been “Marked” are stripped, given meager equipment with which to defend themselves, and pursued by the Hunter’s inside an enclosed space (usually an Island, but not always), for the “glorification” of the Beast Lord.”

    “The Marks present themselves in three distinct manners. An Active Mark will be blood red, and itch and burn ever so slightly. It is a sign of great, impending danger! A Deadened Mark can be found on the necks of those who have partaken in a High Hunt, and survived the ordeal. Usually just a bit of healed scar tissue, in the familiar shape.” The Professor looks on the young Shifter with resigned pity. “Yours is a dark blue shade…an Inactive Mark, someone who has evaded the grasp of the Hunt, but still is bound by it.”

    “This Hag of yours not only transfigured your body, but she branded you as well!” The Professor shakes his head with quiet disbelief. “I imagine she must have let you go to prolong your suffering. Send you off, alone and changed into the Wilds: either to die scared, or to last long enough to be be found and imprisoned, or hunted.”

    “It’s amazing though…” the old man says in quiet awe. “In all this time, you haven’t been rounded up by Malar’s Hunters? Even with all your ship-hopping? (whistles) My lupine friend, you are either incredibly clever, incredibly quick, or incredibly lucky!””
    Malar’s Hunters seek Jack, and all others who have escaped the clutches of the High Hunt. Should they find you, it will be serious trouble

    The Professor nods sadly at the gears and widgets being carried in boxed atop the heads of Modrons. “Yes, well, I’ve already discussed with the interim head of the city having myself and the Modrons assist in repairing the Cannon Arrays. Chaff shouldn’t be left as an easy target for the Prince’s Elysium. But as to the rest…” He hesitates, but after a few conflicted moments shakes his head with finality. “They’re not ready for the people of this place. Yet. Perhaps, with more time, or more refinement, but with a war building, the last thing I need to do at the moment is add more weapons into the mix. I don’t need any more mistakes on my conscience. Maybe one day, if it becomes absolutely necessary…”


    A Lighthouse tied to the phases of the moon sounds fun! You’re not sure how you’d find such a place, but you could probably ask an old hand aboard the Curse, or seek rumors in the local taverns, or seek out a Cartographer's Shop

    He probably doesn’t mean literally haunt the Wilds. He must just be referring to Malar’s Hunters. Right? Yeah, that’s probably right…

    Malar and Selune feels like the Ying and Yang of Jack’s struggle with his Wolfhood/Humanity. The feelings he gets at the name Malar are fear, and anger, and pain. Spite and malice. Hatred and revenge. The feelings he gets from Selune are warm, and reassuring. The memory of his friend’s acceptance at the reveal of his were-nature; a warm meal in Jack’s belly from Michael inside a overcrowded and noisy Galley; flung by a dinosaur and flying into the air, feeling untethered and free

    The Professor is unable to provide Jack with any answers about the people and places he’s looking for. Fortunately, he’s able to coax over a trio of Modrons, who after having the words carefully repeated to them, are able to point Jack in the proper direction:




    The Professor is already back to double checking the Modrons work, reorganizing equipment and wiring. He waves goodbye kindly to Jack. “Thank you! For the meeting, and the kind words! As I said, I’ll be in the City one more day, to help fix the Cannon Arrays. After that,” he looks over with quiet annoyance at the Modrons. “I’ll be shipping out with the Modrons again. I’m hoping to find an island with a large enough metal ore deposit to get them toleave me alone, and get back to my research properly.” He smiles, looking back and forth between the young Shifter and Fusspot. “I am glad to have met you, Jack the Lucky Lupine! I have the firm feeling you and I may meet again one day soon. Until then, take care; you and your friends!”

    For a long time, Gorgeous Grigmar says nothing, continuing to stare out over the waters in the distance. Finally, he fatalistically remarks, “The Doppelganger wearing your Tiefling friend’s face used one o’ the “signals” too. Know that ain’t on you, o’ course. The Queen, she said any o’ the Sanguine surivivors that came through here, knew the right things to say would be friendlies, but…” The Orc sighs, and shrugs, the heavy weight on his shoulders almost visible by now. “Above me’ pay grade, I guess, like the rest. I just follow orders, when I can.”

    Grigmar pulls himself from the railing, with a resolute, defeated air. He looks straight at Oak once more, a strange, detached look upon his face. Licking his lips, he moves past the Barbarian and towards the stairs to the Lower Decks. “Fine. Fook it. Follow me.”

    The Orc leads Oak through the corridors and stairways of the Athena, past countless pirates and ship hands hard at work within the Ship’s structure. This place is bigger than the Curse, by several stories, but the architecture is familiar to the Barbarian. They should soon come upon the Athena’s Orlop Deck, and a Hold behind it…

    At the door of the Lower Decks Hold, two pirates stand ready guard, playfully bickering between each other. They tense up at Oak’s approach, and the swashbuckling male reminds Grigmar, “Eh, no one allowed in this area! Those were your orders, “Cap’n”…”

    “I know me’ orders, Finlan,” Grigmar responds gruffly. “He gave me one er’ “signals”. He’s a friend. Let us in.”

    Finlan looks wary, as does his companion. “But Grigmar, the l-”

    Now.” the Orc says firmly.

    The pirates, still unsure, find a ring of keys between them, and open the door to the hold. Oak walks in, slowly…

    Within the room are fine, wooden drawers and built in shelves, and bay windows that look out onto the ocean. On a chaise lounge at the center of the room, sit a hefty pile of crystals and transparent stones, which seem to resemble a feminine shape. Except….


    “Oak Demon-Crusher,” Gorgeous Grigmar says, the words sticking in his throat. “Meet our Queen, Nagara.”

    Othro, a ring of smoke constantly encircling his brow, shakes his head sadly. “Never got the chance, me’self…although I’ve heard the tales! Me’ granda, he’s the one who wrote the Introduction for the “Myth n’ Fact” book an’ got to meet the Undying…er, youself.”

    The Halfling, half in a daze but highly attentive to the Warlock’s needs, helps clear a table for the Tiefling, finds him a chair, starts a kettle boiling. When he returns, old memories seem to have stirred for the one-eyed Halfing. Serving a strong, bitter tea to Urixes, he remarks, “Granda, he said he met you twice in his life: once at the beginning, once at the end. When he was but a wee’ child, he was on board a Clipper, where “the Undying” forcefully boarded, burned the place down. Granda’ had to cling to the side of a wreck for three days, alone, before he washed to shore…”

    Sipping from his own cup of tea, the Halfling refills his pipe, watching the Tiefling at his study. He continues, “Granda’ met him once more, near on thirty years ago now. Came into the store to do the same as’ you: copy some spells, do some research.” Eyes glazed, Othro stirs his tea, staring of into the distance. “Granda’ said he never mentioned anything, but the Tiefling….he weren’t the same guy. Was real nice, gentle…gave me Granda’ a large tip at the end, and read his fortune. ’Pparently fore he left, he even mentioned he remembered me Granda’, an said he was real sorry for what had gone down…”

    Othro shurgs, once more lighting up the pipe. “That always impressed Granda’, specially cause’ it were near his last days. He said, “Gods can change, too, me boyo! Ain’t nothing permanent in this universe…”

    Urixes reads the text of Undying and the Expanse: Myth and Fact:
    The tome a chronological history of Urixes’s many lives and resurrections, written in equal part by cultists, fanatics, witnesses, and scholars, and dating back over a thousand years (at which point, the stories became far more conjecture and myth, and contain far less “truth”.)

    …There is little here that Urixes doesn’t know/hasn’t remembered already. He has lived many lives (Old Boy, Waverider, the Champion of Ghanadaur), all of which seem to end violently, and at the end of which he finds himself suddenly reborn, on a distant shore. Urixes never leaves the Expanse and in fact, seems to be somehow tied to it.

    The vast majority of the Tiefling’s lives have been violent, bloodthirsty affairs, ripe with stories of mass murders, consorting with demons, and the destruction of entire civilizations. Occasionally, the Undying would make common cause with a people (the Wild Kind, the Koa Toa, the Rak’ta), becoming a temporary hero for a span of time, but each of these affairs would usually end in bloody, personal betrayal.

    The sole exception (written in a fresh hand, at the end of the text) seems to be the most recent incarnation of the Undying, who returned to Chaff at the end of a treacherous journey, seemingly a changed “man”. This version of the Undying (“The Old Boy”) came back to Chaff, donated a sizeable portion of treasure to the Orphan population, stood with the Queen as she assembled the Great Union of Ships (which would lead to Chaff as it is today), and worked with the Hunter’s Guild to clear the waters around the City. He was later said to have travelled to the underwater village of the Kents (to secure a peace with their moss-people that would prevent them from attacking Chaff), and even to the Far Realm, to trick a demon (although the facts around this event are conflicting and unsure, and the story reads more like a tragic fable).

    When questioned by the most recent Author, the Old Boy’s goal was stated to be an attempt to remove the stain from his soul.

    Urixes finds several other interesting facts as well. The Undying seems to have been highly aware of his transitory nature, and would “prepare” ships beforehand to create a safe space for his next life. This usually involved placing a “piece” of himself in the next craft before he died, hidden (a lock of hair; a lost eye; a removed heart), which would subtly call to the next iteration of the Undying, linking them in an endless chain…

    Each time the Undying was reborn, he also seems to have taken it upon himself to find and recover his previous body, and place them all together within a cave on the island of Blackrock Mound. According to the writing, at one point, the cave contained several hundred Tiefling skeletons, until it was discovered and destroyed by a demon, who smashed the bones into powder. The resulting powder seems to have found its way back to Chaff, and into the crafted works of a Famed Shipwright named Geoffrey.

    mrpaku on
  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Oak can't help but feel uncomfortable as he's lead around. The sudden shift in the air was palpable enough that he felt a strange weight building with each step. Getting stopped at the door and almost denied entry did little to ease the pressure, so when they stepped through and Grigmar showed him what looked like a pile of crystal, a single word escaped his lips. "Fuck."

    He stares silently ahead for a moment, his eyes never leaving the vaguely feminine form. Until finally, he speaks again. "How long?"

    Which was quickly followed by, "And how can I help?"
    Geth, roll 1d20+2 for Nature

    1d20+2 14 [1d20=12]

  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular
    edited February 8
    The pile of crystal and quartz-like rock radiates heat when you come close enough, growing and glowing. Oak nearly reaches out to touch it, before realizing that the edges of the stone are quietly alive, and dripping with a gritty, grainy residue that spreads and solidifies like concrete even as he watches. A single touch, possibly even inhaling too closely to the process, would likely spread the infection elsewhere!

    The Barbarian has heard of this dread malady, among his shipmates on the Whispered Curse on nights where tales of terror were shared: the Crystal Rot. A condition where the body is infected by malignant precious gems, and is eventually transformed into something resembling an Earth Elemental. The diseases progresses slowly in a humanoid body, as Oak understands it, by the victim first finding sharp, rock-like protrusions embedded in the skin. This is followed by itching and scaling around the infection site, which is hard to the touch, and eventual blindness shortly thereafter. Soon, the dermis is gradually overgrown by an increasingly bumpy, stone-like collection of rock and crystal growths, replacing the infected with time, and eventually dissembling them among the mineral composite.

    By Oak’s estimation, the Queen’s infection must’ve been massive: in most cases of Crystal Rot, weeks, even months pass while the victim transforms to rock slowly, limb by limb. Here, it looks as though the rot spread rapidly and immediately, like the disease’s effects had been sped up intentionally. The disease emanates mostly from her hands, and her eyes.

    If he stares very closely, the Shifter can make out at the exact center of the crystal mass the clouded, foggy sight of a Drow woman. Though her eyes usually appear to be closed, they occasionally flash open, as though she were dreaming, or possibly becoming aware of the room and space around her once more…
    Two weeks,” Gorgeous Grigmar replies hoarsely in response to Oak’s question. “Ther’ Urixes-Doppelganger came in a bit before thur’ others, quiet-like, an’ made parlay with the Queen two weeks ago. Told er’ he had to lay low for awhile, an’ handed her a pair o’ gloves e’ told er’ to watch fer him!” Grigmar’s face is expressionless, but it’s clear from the sound he’s making that he blames himself for what happened. “She lost er’ hands first. Couldn’t write, couldn’t open doors no more. Helped er’ as best I could, but within a few days she’d scratched her face on accident, an’ wasn’t too long after that…” Grigmar closes his eyes, and growls.

    “Usually,” the Orc eventually continues, “Ozoro’s remedies would have something fer’ the Rot in its earlier stages, but as luck would have it, the ingredients needed fer’ the cure were one of the items Pom an’ the Prince’s Dogs were holding up! Pretty soon, was jest’ too late…crystals had advanced too fast, an’ she fell asleep in there an’ didn’t wake up…”

    Grigmar’s eyebrows raise at Oak’s offer of help. He looks happy, like a load has been lifted….but reticent, and nervous. “I mean…I need to find er’ a cure! The Groundlings from Geo-Prime probably have something, but I can’t spare the men to go past the Inner Circle, an’d be scared to risk it regardless. I can’t let anyone know about this, lest’ Chaff take another hit to it’s morale. And I need to be careful, because whatever it was that took her,” Here Grigmar points to areas around the chaise lounge and floor where the chair sits. Part of the couch has become rock hard and calcified. At speckled portions around the body, tiny stalagmites rise from the floor. “…it seems to be spreading!

    mrpaku on
  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    "Who else have ya had look at her?" Oak says in response. "I tell ya Grigmar, I am out of me waters on this, I would want someone far more 'nto the arcane to look but I dun' see no way of dealin' with this short of findin' yer Geo-Prime."

    Oak steps around the crystal structure carefully. "How long ya figure until the spread becomes a bigger problem?" He shakes his head sadly. How was he going to convince the Captain to save the Queen here by risking the ship and sailing further inward? The thought of leaving the Queen as she was never crosses his mind for a moment, only bits of calculating how to get the job done.

    "I'll tell ya straight. I will do whatever I can to help yer Queen. You have my word and honor on that. Dun' know what it'll take to convince everyone else, but figure we should start understanding that real fast."

  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    Urixes has fully settled into his reading as the hours go on, sipping tea and occasionally asking Othro a question or two. As he sets down Undying of the Expanse: Myth and Fact, he leans back for a moment, looking thoughtful, then dives right into the next one, What Lies Outside the Door.

  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    Jack listens, asking with a tone of disbelief in his voice, "You sure about that?" He reaches back to scratch at the area, "I always figured it was just Fusspot pulling out my hair there, he does that. You sure it's not just scars? No? Oh..." He's not entirely convinced, however he has no reason to distrust the man, so he puts the information in the Deal With Later pile. Which is a great deal taller than the Dealt With pile.

    "Well, I'm familiar with hunters, can run pretty fast if I need to." Would rather not need to. The professor addressing the Modrons returns his focus back to the now and he listens intently, making an effort to remember it all. Ahuh. Ahuh. Yep. Yep. Got it!

    He waves enthusiastically to the Professor, "Thanks for your help! Good luck getting home! And thank you, metal men, hope you find your way back too!" He slaloms between the rushing Modron to exit the building. Right!

    Jack is hitting the Harrier-Express first, however since it's right next to the battery arrays he'll try to have a closer look, juuuuust in case Arno happens to be right there and simply no one noticed them. Prolly get shoo'd off by the guards.

  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    Having had unusually good luck with the gab today, Jack decides to try the direct approach. He waltzes up to the guards and smiles broadly, "Hi! A friend of mine was last seen here and I'd like to have a look around, see if maybe I can spot something to help me find them? Won't be long, promise!"

    Geth, roll 2d20k1 for Persuasion

    2d20k1 6 [2d20k1=[6], 1]

  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular
    edited February 9

    Urixes reads the text of What Lies Behind the Door:
    Despite its short length, Urixes has to reread this book several times to properly put it all together. The story is surreal and confusing, as though someone had written it after having awoken from a bad dream.

    It’s a short play, in three acts, and containing only three characters: “The Sun”, “The Moon”, and “The Stars”. The characters live together in a small room containing three chairs and a fireplace, which is the only location within the story. The dialogue is strange and stilted, with the characters seeming to talk past rather than “to” each other. They “discuss” mundane things, such as the weather, and the machinations of gods, and the growing of crops, but there is an underlying sense of foreboding to the whole affair. The chairs are constantly moved about the room, whenever the occupant has stood to deliver their lines. The fireplace is constantly extinguished, and relit. The characters often forget who each other are; forget themselves. Time seems to have no purpose within the story, and characters repeat previous lines out of turn, or repeat entire scenes as though for the first time.

    The only consistent plot in the play is that all three characters live in mortal fear of the door to the room. They try not to go near it, avoid looking at it, and will sometimes obliquely reference it with dread within their lines. The play finally comes to a conclusion when a slow and steady knock begins to emanate from the other side of the door. The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars each step forward one at a time, say something strangely mundane, and then the fire dies down for a moment. When it relights (by itself, this time), the current speaker has disappeared. This continues until only the empty room is left, at which point the door suddenly swings open, revealing a black void beyond…
    For a long while, Urixes is confused, wondering why this book in particular would have been put aside for him. On the third read through, he has a sudden epiphany: the play’s strange plot and tortured metaphors aren’t meant to be taken literally, or even figuratively. It’s a Ritual Text. The character’s bizarre actions and airy words are a sequence of sacraments by which to open an actual door somewhere. “What Lies Beyond the Door” seems to be a place far, far away from “The Sun”, “The Moon”, and “The Stars”.

    Urixes tucks the book away somewhere safe, for later. The Old Boy had told him that he would “join you back at where it all began, below the ocean and beyond the stars”. The Tiefling still hasn’t found the location of “Midlight’s Deep”…but now, he seems to have found the key!

    Urixes has gained the Ritual Text- Midlight’s Deep

    mrpaku on
  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular
    The strapping, loud, rather stinky pirate turns on Jack like a snake.

    "Oh yeah? You lost your friend, huh?" He asks, mockingly, smoking a cigarette two inches from Jack's nose. "T'was a fucking civil upheaval, sweetheart, near everyone lost a "friend"! Now obey the ropes, an' stop wasting our time!"

    "Hazardous zone," his companion drones on drolly. "Nothing to see here. Please move along, and stay out of the waters."

    "Yeh, piss off!" Stinky follows, plucking the lit cigarette from his lips and flicking it at Jack as he goes...

  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    Still standing behind the rope he yells out, "Arno! You out there?" Pause. "No? No." Oh well, worth a try. He heads around the area for the Harrier-Express.

  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular
    edited February 9
    Jack finds the Harrier-Express just as the Modrons described it. The large, Galley-type ship has been scorched from the front towards the midsection of the Ship from without, but the interior seems to have remained mostly untouched.

    Aarakocra, roughly a dozen of them, move about the craft. Some are hard at work cleaning, or clearing debris. Four in the back organize a countless amount of letters, postcards, and boxes into a complex looking series of cabinets along a deck wall.

    One of them, a female, notices Jack enter, and approaches helpfully. Through her strange and thick bird-accent, she asks. "Name's Flutter! How kin I help you?"

    mrpaku on
  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    Ooooh! Jack hadn't seen this many bird folk together before; there's Whistler of course, but between him being part of the crew and lacking wings it doesn't really count in his head. He smiles broadly when approached, "Hi! I'd like to send a letter! Only..." Uncomfortable grin, "I can't really write that well, can someone take it down for me please?"

    The entire time he's craning his neck this way and that, getting a good look at all the Aarakocra around him. You sure find all kinds in the world!

    "Oh, yes, the letter is for Ilmin Dach, at the Sea of Sighs. Ahem. Dear nice lady! We arrived at the Chaff just in time to get caught in the middle of this fight, are you okay? We are fine, well mostly, Arno is missing but I think that is just Arno bein' Arno really, they do that sometimes, still I am looking for them just in case. We will be staying at The Copper Camel for the next few days if you can respond! Jack!"

    He draws a niiiiiice big X to sign it and nods proudly. "5gp was it?"

    ((OOC: He will head to the Copper Camel to drop off his stuff there, if Oak wants to find him there! ))

  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular
    The Aaracokra (who introduces herself as Yekka), is able to patiently take dictation from Jack. “It comes up a lot, you know. Nothing to be ashamed off!” she stresses, trying to make Jack feel better. “I’d be surprised if, half the pirates on the streets out there know how to read an’ write!”

    Yekka nods, an expression on her face that might be a smile. “5GP! Is correct. An’ this address…well, right in town! Your lady friend will probably get this before we close out doors today…you may even hear back from her as soon as tomorrow! We’ll be sure to track you down, if that’s the case…it’s what we do best!”

    She waves Jack off, already getting back to work. “Thanks again! Let us know, if you need to send any other letters or packages!”

    For expediency sake, let’s say that shortly after arriving at the Copper Camel and dropping his stuff off, Jack recognized Oak through a window on the streets outside leaving the Athena, *waved him down*, and joined him outside soon afterward to take the stroll to Garrety’s Redemptions

    Gorgeous Grigmar finds a chair, and sinks down into it with a long, deep sigh of relief. “Oh, thank the gods! I was ‘fraid ye’d rat us out, or turn tail! Ye have no idea, what it means to me, offering to help her.”

    “Listen, talk to yer people: figure out how ye’ wanna do this. Above all, keep it to yerselves, please. Only reason this place is runnin’ even this well is cause they still think there’s a power behind the throne, as it wer. If it gets out there ain’t, well…”

    Grigmar pumps Oak’s hand again, his face shining with gratitude. “Thank you, Big Man…thank you. Come back an’ see me when you’re ready; I’ll be waiting!”

    After meeting back up, Oak and Jack walk through the smoking, charred city on their way to the far north end of town; a place known as “Garrety’s Redemptions”.

    Crude the Rak’ta meets you both just outside, several small lizard-children crawling over her person. She greets you both kindly, but it’s clear she’s irritated, stressed out, anxious.

    “Sssorry I brought the children with. Arno wassss to watch them, but well…I’m sssure you’ve heard. I’m…very ssssorry for your lossss.”

    Crude rocks the one child at her chest while the other two run around her legs, literally nipping her ankles. “Thissss isss my lasssst official act, as Deckhand aboard the Curssse, asss I reminded the Captain. I am to help you ssstaff the Ssssship, pick my replacement, and then I will be departing with my wee-onesss to the Inner Circle. Our passsssagesss have already been bought. I musssst protect my family, now…and I cannot do that, on a hounded Ship, or by joining in Rax’ssss nonssssenssse.”

    The Shifters and the lizard folks enter Garrety’s. A greasy, bespectacled man has his legs up behind the desk, and is opening admiring what appears to be hand-drawn pornography. He takes his time before he looks up at the newcomers, then goes right back to leering at the pictures. His voice dull and emotionless, the man kicks over a leatherbound ledger with one boot, and nods listlessly at it.
    “Welcome ter’ Garrety’s,” he monotones. “Widest selection of scabs, scoundrels, service workers, an’ staffing this side o’ Civilization.” He begins to rattle off a disclaimer from memory, bored. “Note: Garrety’s is not responsible for the quality, condition, or criminal record of your hired hands. Up front fee is one time, after that’ it’ll be on you to keep em’ engaged in…” The man grins at your group, teeth black and glistening “…whichever manner you’d like!”

    The man (likely Garrety himself) continues. “Staff locked up below should be able to be brought up shortly, after we clear out whatever bounty remains on’ em, after which they’ll be at your disposal post-haste. Few hours, maybe. Staff situated in town will be contacted shortly through Harrier-Express, and should be available to be on-call within forty-eight hours.”

    All sales are final!”


    Urixes reads the text of Account: Rak’ta Revolution Against Elven Oppression, 3rd Century:
    Elves and Elven culture were once a much larger influence on the Twilight Expanse. But these were the “boots on necks” sort of elves, who banded together politically and forced their “lessers” into submission. They had a magnificent capitol city from which they ruled, Ilyf Dorei, which was an architectural wonder half in a mountain and half underwater.

    One of the more egregious examples of the elves cruelty were the Rak’ta people, who the Elves mercilessly exploited for labor purposes. This continued for some time, until (in secret) the heads of the separate Rak’ta clans banded together, and begin to devise a plan to rout their oppressors.

    Supplies, weapons, and tools were stolen a bit at a time and put aside. Agents were placed in secret in Ilyf Dorei, to seek information and undermine the enemy. And a deal was struck with an outsider: The Undying, who supposedly had his own reason to take issue with the Elves.

    After two years of patient preparation, the Rak’ta struck Ilyf Dorei all at once! Although the specifics aren’t all covered, what is known is that the lizard-people’s efforts quickly led to Ilfy Dorei’s destruction, flooding and eventually, the entire city’s slide to the ocean floor below. The Elven people were scattered, their influence reduced, and it would never recover.

    The final chapter details the Undying turning on the Rak’ta once his own ends are achieved. However, his betrayal was expected, and the Rak’ta had a few tricks of their own ready! Before the Undying has a chance to backstab the Rak’ta people, his Magical Gloves are removed from his hands one night while he sleeps. The Tiefling, somehow unaware of his missing gloves, goes into battle the next day, and without the magical boon of his Patron’s gloves, is destroyed.

    The gloves themselves were taken by the Rak’ta people to be sunken within Ilyf Dorei, so they may do no more damage. And, to be sure that no one would dive down to find them, they were fed to a great beast, somewhere within the sunken city…

  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular
    ”The cowardly Half-Elf? E’ heard about some Rift opening up during the riots near the center o’ the city, went to check it out. That one it too fascinated by the Expanse….gonna get himself killed by it, eventually…”

    Tai Wan’s Ambition is: Travel. The Half-Elf’s Loyalty can be earned by visiting ten separate locations aboard the Whispered Curse with Tai Wan assisting as Cabin Boy
    ”The pushy Triton woman? She’s currently running a volunteer security squad for Grigmar. I swear, that woman thinks she’s the authority out here…”

    Vloryn Jahragath’s Ambition is: Protection. The Triton’s Loyalty can be earned by having her survive three seperate enemy incursions of the Whispered Curse
    ”Silent miss sally? Imprisoned, until you! Apparently, a few hands in the local tavern made a particularly unsubtle pass at her, and she chewed one of their noses off. Made a weird bed in her cage later, outta paper an’ trash…”

    Lenet Tarak’s Ambition is: Safety. The Genasi’s Loyalty can be earned by finding her a safe place to call home for once the voyage has ended
    ”The Tortle is a piece of garbage; we’ve dealt with their like before. Currently in jail, but you can release them. Problem is, debtors are still hounding their trail…

    Rocky’s Ambition is: Money. The Tortle’s Loyalty can be earned by giving them enough money to pay off the various dangerous parties they owe debts to (2,000 GP)
    ”The loony, loud wee’ Gnome? Locked up, at the moment. Hopeless romantic, but terrible taste in men. That one would figure her shit out quick, if she could ever find someone to love er’ an’ tell her “no” to the rest…”

    Simma Glenmire’s Ambition is: Love. The Rock Gnome’s Loyalty can be earned finding her a potential mate and assisting the blossoming relationship
    ”The Orc’s a fucking brick-shit house! But arrogant; constantly trying to prove himself. You’ll be hiring a hell o’ a Striker, but one giant pain the arse…”

    Ront’s Ambition is: Strength. The Orc’s Loyalty can be earned by competing in three competitions of Strength with him during down-times aboard the Whispered Curse
    ”The wee’ frog woman’s been a cook at Ratshit long as I can remember. Ameniable enough, but talks en’ talks. A bit to experimental fer’ my tastes, as well…”

    R’Lup’s Ambition is: Cooking. The Grung’s Loyalty can be earned by consuming three of her Constitution testing, *experimental* meals
    ”The Loxodon is a lot. Ran er’ two-sided pickpocketing scheme, though we never caught their partner. Bit o’ a moron, but loves their fancy clothes an’ jewels…”

    Dobron’s Ambition is: Money. If the Loxodon ever makes 2,000 GP from their journey aboard the Whispered Curse, they will*immediately* become loyal
    ”The Warforged is a *nutter*. Thinks he’s some kind of fancy royalty! Loyal, but like talking to an’ expensive brick wall….”

    Spike’s Ambition is: Prestige. The Warforged’s Loyalty can be earned by letting him participate in a meeting with Royalty.
    ”Ahh, yes, the fiery Kobold. A laborer at the Shipyard, but been looking fer’ a way to ther seas. I….urhm, I wouldn’t take an *eye* off this one! Seems to like *breaking* far more than *building*…”

    Meepo’s Ambition is: Destruction. The Kobold’s Loyalty can be earned by letting him participate in the scuttling of at least one combatant Ship

  • mrpakumrpaku MichiganRegistered User regular

    Urixes reads the text Physical Relativity and Theory Within the Twilight Expanse:
    The Spellplague would come to define this place, created as it was by the event, torn between a countless number of worlds. Magical fallout from the Spellplague was driven through this land like a literal screw (which is why the Wild Magic palings spin against each other as they do). The Rifts ebb and flow in and out of existence as part of this process, creating temporary wormholes through other worlds that open onto distant parts of the Expanse. A small number of these create permanent portals; stable shortcuts around the waters that experienced sailors know and use to travel vast distances in a short amount of time.

    The text is very dry and hard to get through, written in an advanced scientific manner, and broken down through the disciplines of roughly a dozen scholars of varying backgrounds (magical, biology, alchemy, etc etc). Many explain how the conflux of overlapping ecosystems from other places generate the strange phenomenon witnessed inside the Expanse: from the diseases unheard of, to potions generating impossible effects, to the demons able to casually able to wander in and out of the Expanse through doors of their own.

    Much of this, though interesting, is either theory, conjecture, or part of a running body of research with more work to be done. Fascinating to the right sort of mind (perhaps the Professor you all had met), but little practical knowledge to be gained. However, several vital bits of information stick out to the Warlock:

    1.Of all the islands of the Twilight Expanse research experiments were conducted on for this book, two of them stood out as particular note: Playa del Perdido, which seems to be equally split between all worlds, exists in a non-constant physical state (ie. the landscape shifts even as you watch it, is never the same twice, and is said to be where all lost things can eventually be found. The other is Blackrock Mound, which to a casual visitor seems to be a simple nondescript island, but is somehow massively bigger on the inside, and impossibly deep (for those who know where to look). It is also said that the deep inner depths of Blackrock spread to nearly every corner of the Expanse, and to “places deeper still”, which is a strange phrase the author doesn’t elaborate further on

    2.The bulk of the magical energy which course through the waters, creating the rifts, pulsing out from the palings, seems to emanate from somewhere at the very center of the Twilight Expanse, in “The Teeth”. It’s been theorized by some that the Wild Magic energy which defines the Expanse is not as random and unpredictable as it may seem, and in fact, might be being controlled by something or someone, or an advanced mechanism of some kind. A few theorists within the book (all considered mad by their counterparts), further conjecture that were one of find the specific location within “The Teeth” which the magic flows from, they could possibly find a method to control it: either by sealing it off completely, harnessing the power through an individual, or fully throwing open the valve which contains it.

    Garrety snaps the binder shut. “That should do it, then! Your Cap’n’s already paid up fer this lot ahead of time, so you’re all taken care of. Your new hires will all have forty-eight hours to get their shit together and get to the Whispered Curse. If you get any no shows, lemme’ know: we’ll throw a bounty down on em’.”

    Crude the Rak’ta, taking a quick break from her children, comes over and wishes Jack and Oak the best. “Take care!” the lizard woman says, showing her teeth. “I haff come to love the crew of the Curssse, dessspite my mate’sss passssing. I wisssh you all the bessst of luck, and zank you for bringing ussss thiss far!’

    Their business completed, Jack and Oak leave Garrety’s and head down to The Nimble Weasel tavern, to meet up with their Tiefling companion…

    Oak and Jack arrive at the Tavern Ship, fairly crowded this evening as workers and volunteers drink away the cares of their day repairing the city. The bartender (a weasel-kind, named Rikki), kindly ambles over and drops down a couple glasses of ale. “All we got, I’m afraid!” Rikki says apologetically. “Those blokes who stole your appearance came in and bout’ drank us dry the other night! I heard about yeh, though, what you all did….drinks on the house tonight, yeah?”

    Not too long afterwards, Urixes arrives, and the Shifters wave him over to their table.

  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    ((OOC: *cough!* I had a least weasel called Rikki in a 4E campaign some years ago. She was an adorable little scamp who was a cold-hearted assassin on the side, so I hope our bartender is more pleasant! :)

  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    Jack walks over to give Crude a hug, "I wish you and your cubs the best!" He leans in and whispers conspiratorily, "Teach them not to upset any hags, eh? Doesn't end well."

    With that he leaves with Oak, sitting down with a happy sigh at The Nimble Weasel, "Boy, it's been a while since we've had a proper sit down in a tavern. Wanna play a game?" He glances at his missing finger, "Then again, maybe just a drink is fine."

    Jack watches the barkeep with great interest (and an even greater grin), nodding gratefully, "Thanks!" He offers the foam to Mister Fusspot before taking a loud, slurpy sip, "Can't complain, still tastes better than half the ale I've ever had..." His eyes scan the crowd and he asks with a forced-sounding voice, facing away from Oak, "Do you also believe Arno's gone? Like Crude does?"

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    "Hopin' fer the best there Jack. But, dun like the odds." Oak replies slowly. "Still, we got more time in Chaff. Can spend time lookin'."

    The older Shifter takes a drink of Ale. "We got more problems, though. Either of ya heard of Crystal rot?"

  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    "I dunno... we've come through worse, had an entire island sink on us, a small uprising feels like just another day really." He takes another loud sip and is quiet for a few seconds, then faces Oak again, back to his normal self, "Mind you, I'm looking forward to a good night's rest!"

    Mister Fusspot hops on the table and tilts his head this way and that at the other mugs around him, pondering theft.

    "Crystal rot? Can't say I have, worst thing I had cleared up with more regular bathing." He furrows his brow, "Why, something you catch?" Whispered, "How did you get it? Was it... embarrassing?"

  • AustinP0027AustinP0027 Registered User regular
    Oak sighs. "This one ain't a joke, Jack. Crystal Rot slowly turns ya into a crystal. Normally, can be treated s'long as ya find it early enough."

    The Shifter glances around, looking to see if anyone might be paying attention to them, then leans in a little more and lowers his voice a bit. "We have a problem though. And we need to keep it quiet." He looks directly at Jack as he says that.

    "Appears whoever has been wearin' our faces came and gave the Queen of Chaff a little gift. Cursed it seems, caused her to get an extreme case and now we got ta find a way to cure her and fast."

    He leans back again and looks at Urixes. "Was the one wearing yer face. Now, we need to figure out how ta help, and how to do that quick."

  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    "Of course it was," Urixes sighs. "If it wasn't so troublesome I'd be impressed by how hard my doppelganger was working while he was here."

    He takes a long drink and stares into his cup, thinking for a moment. "I've had my face in books all day, but I wasn't looking for magical maladies. How'd the hiring go? Any of them a healer? Maybe they can do something."

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