Southern Seas - Act 21 - At Sea to Ramathia

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19 Dec
Southern Seas - Act 21 - At Sea to Ramathia
Summer 39, 57 AD - At Sea heading to Ramathia!
Up and down... up and down... up and down... The elven ship pitches back and forth, up and down in a rolling motion and once again, for some of you, the food you ate in the morning threatens to come back the way it came.
In the morning as you left, it was quite the spectacle. Pennants flying from the three highly decorated Elven ships fluttered in the wind, and there were many banners raised along the Skalfier docks and warehouses, as well as the buildings visible on the hillside overlooking the harbor and bay. Small ships sailed around the expedition and there were horns, bells and cheers at the sight. The two smaller ships accompanying the elves as guides and support sailed ahead. As the harbor grew smaller, and the sounds of celebration grew fainter, the elven sailors began the work of getting properly underway.
Songs came from the sailors scurrying through the rigging, across the yards and along the decks. The ships began a tacking journey back and forth, as the journey to Ramathia leads into the winds. It will take fives days to reach the fabled island, and everyone seems to settle in for the short journey.
The guide ships lead you out towards the "Outer Islands." The sailors talk amongst themselves that if piracy is to happen, it would be near these wild islands. The Skalfier fishermen love to come here for the heavier catches, but they told the elves of the dangers of pirates, or worse. The elves are skeptical, but wary.
19 Dec
For some of you, this is the first time you've been off the mainland on a ship. Claudia takes the first day at sea hard, turning many colors of green and gray as she tries to acclimate to sea-legs.
(The rest of you, except GRAIAN, make a saving throw versus poison. Littlelings are at a -2 for this. This will affect you for the day. We'll check again tomorrow for those that fail.)
19 Dec
TAKASHI rolled 1d20 for a total of 7. That is a failure, according to OSRIC Fighter saving throw table (needed 13+).
19 Dec
CALLIN: rolled 1d20 for a total of 8. Ugh needed a 9!
19 Dec
BELLESH shows great excitement at the start of the trip, but his seasickness will mellow it quickly.
19 Dec
ATACIUS rolled 1d20 -2 for a total of 5.
Now he knows why the elves walk so funny on land!
21 Dec
As the day wears on, you find that the best place to be is in the middle of the ship, where the rolling motion is not as prevalent. It helps, a bit... but being sick like this means that you're not really in the mood for being on deck that much anyway.
Near the time that you hear the sailors call out "Second Dog Watch!" up above, one of the crewmen comes looking for you all. You are invited to have dinner with Shaiman and several other elves in the Captain's Quarters. He promises that "some good soup" will be available for those with queasy stomachs. Claudia, much too miserable to move, begs off, so it is only you five who go.
Upon being ushered in, you all see Shaiman, the Captain of the ship (named Merillian) and several other elves... and one of the oldest beings you've ever seen in your life. It is an elf, dressed in robes and sitting in a well-cushioned chair. It's impossible to say how old he is from looking at him, but the lines on his face, the lack of any hair except the few above his eyebrows and aura around him, it all says "ancient" to you.
"Ah, GRAIAN and your faithful friends." Shaiman stands. He introduces you to the Captain, to those around you ... and to Eraiel, whom he calls "The Elder." All nod to you graciously and you are seated.
The food is excellent and indeed, the soup that you are served does much to quiet the stomach. Shaiman and several other elves talk about the voyage and the good weather of the day and their pleasure at having reached the Outer Islands without trouble.
"May the seas and winds allow us to get past them without much trouble." Shaiman says.
28 Dec
CALLIN doing his best to not look as green as an GOBLIN as he speaks. "Thank you Shaiman, Captain, and Eraiel the Elder for your hospitality, good food, and allowance to join you on this journey. May the LIGHT shine upon us all and help us in our journeys ahead. And may the seas and winds continue to keep us in their good favor."
28 Dec
*grin* DM note - only goblins are green in my campaign. Orcs are brown, colored similar to gorillas from Planet of the Apes. ;) PS. I'm teasing you about this because a good friend of mine just cannot let go of the fact that I paint my orc minis brown. He's constantly teasing me about it.
28 Dec
hehe No worries! It has been corrected!
28 Dec
:P It was more of a running joke than anything.
26 Dec
ATACIUS "And may our stomachs learn to keep the food where it belongs!" adds the pale and misserable littleling.
26 Dec
GRAIAN: Chuckling, "Forgive my friends they are not used to travelling the waves as we are, this is very strange for them, Thankfully the weather is good, otherwise we may lose them." As he takes another spoon of soup, "Ah, this will help settle them, indeed a fine soup Captain, your Chef is to be commended." Turning his attention to Eraiel, "The Elder, I am glad that you are with us, I hope this journey will be worth your while. We have gathered some infornmation about Ramathia that should prove helpful on our quest."
2 Jan
Shaiman nods. "Like children, but they will get used to it. And yes, blessings that the weather is good! Let us hope it stays that way."
Eraiel nods his head a bit. "I have heard of your findings in the human place of books, GRAIAN." he says in Elven. "A shame that some were lost in that place. Let us hope those ill winds do not blow as we journey on." His voice is light, faint and gravelled from age. He does not change to Common tongue.
Eraiel nibbles on bread and he arches his white crazy eyebrows, looking at each of you intently. His eyes seem to peer into you, almost like a grandparent assessing their grandchildren.
"So, I am told by our fishermen guides that the Outer Islands can be interesting places." Shaiman says, to fill in the silence. "Some say there are sea monsters here, others say that the waters are rife with pirates. We shall see. I don't think we'll need to stop at the islands, but rather they serve as a way point for us to orient correctly to make the run to Ramathia. I intend on sailing straight into her harbor! Hopefully, your information will help us in that regard, GRAIAN. It seems that the humans at the Merchants Guild became quite stingy with their books and maps once our Search arrived."
28 Dec
BELLISH frowns into his soup bowl. He was already in a foul mood from being seasick, and Eraiel's stares and Shaiman comparing him to a child hasn't improved it. He takes a slow sip of soup from his spoon, but he doesn't feel much like eating. He stirs the soup around a bit with the spoon.
29 Dec
ATACIUS elbows GRAIAN "What's the Old One there saying? The soup is great, but not all of us understands your language, you know?" as he points Eraiel with his spoon.
1 Jan
GRAIAN answers Atacius, a slight frown on his face regarding the rather uncivilized method of getting his attention, "He was lamenting the loss of books in Athenum and hopes that bad luck does ot continue. We are also heading straight to Ramathia, no intention of stopping at the Outer Islands."
1 Jan
ATACIUS: "Yes, the sooner we set foot on land the better!"
2 Jan
TAKASHI tries to take all of this in stride. The queesy feeling, the rocking of the boat, and the elf elder not speaking in the common tongue. He focuses on the soup, and on getting one spoonful of it down at a time.
2 Jan
"We should see the island in five to six days, if the weather holds and we have no issues!" Shaiman says, overhearing the littleling's exclamation. "Hopefully the soup will help to ease your stomachs. We serve it to those who need it."
He looks at GRAIAN. "Were you able to learn anything further? It seems that superstition has kept many away, and the humans have not returned since the volcanic eruption during the time the humans call 'The Doom.' I find that surprising, considering the riches and history of the place, but between the sickness that causes them to become ... what's the term... 'The Damned' I think, and the attacks of sea monsters and crab men, it was just too much. It does make me wonder what we'll find when we get there."
3 Jan
BELLESH's ears perk up and he interrupts to ask, "Crab men? Do they really exist? Do they have pincers for hands?"
3 Jan
Shaiman nods. "Indeed they do. They are not truly 'men' in that they are related to humans, but they have some form of humanoid bodies and that was the name that seems to have stuck with them. They do have claws for hands, and some ability to live both under water and above. We never thought of them as being large in numbers, but they came by the hundreds during the downfall of Ramathia and seemed to enjoy killing and destroying the human ships and docks. None really know why, any research on them was lost and none have really given them much thought since."
(If you have any more questions for Shaiman, Eraiel, or others, let me know, otherwise we can proceed...)
3 Jan
At the mention of the Damned, TAKASHI's ears perk up (not as much as en elf's but...).
TAKASHI: "We have had to deal with some of the Damned, and have even managed to bring one back from that state to return her to humanity again. I wonder if there is a way to cure them all, to wipe out this plague on the continent? What could have caused such an illness?"
3 Jan
Shaiman and the rest of the elves stop their discussion at TAKASHI's words and look at him incredulously.
"Really?" says one othe other elves. "Our finest mages could not discern an easy way to remove the affliction that struck several elves affected. What method did you use to cure the sick one? Were they truly infected with the curse?"
All eyes, even Eraiel's, are on TAKASHI now.
3 Jan
TAKASHI is uneasy with the sudden focus, and quickly looks towards BELLESH and CALLIN.
TAKASHI: "BELLESH was able to calm one of the Damned with arcane magicks, and with it subdued, we travelled to Skalfier to see if treatment at the temple was a possibility. Brother CALLIN can probably explain it better than I from this point, as the LIGHT burns brightly within him..."
5 Jan
BELLESH frowns slightly; remembering that day when they fought with the Damned also reminds him of Claudia. He leans over towards ATACIUS and speaks softly. "Atacius, do you think we should see if we can take some soup to Claudia, and see if she wants some?"
5 Jan
@Joseph Schnurr - if you want to jump in on this, feel free, otherwise, I'll continue as if you're too sick to speak :)
5 Jan
ATACIUS comes back from his thoughts as BELLESH address him. "Yes, poor soul has eaten almost nothing since we set sail." he replies in the same soft tones. He looks around the room if there are any servants. If so, he motions one to come and asks for some soup to go, as he slips a spoon into his pocket. Are they silver?
8 Jan
One of the cooks goes off to take some soup to Claudia. It's easy enough to slip a spoon into your shirt, but to your disappointment later on, you find it's simple metal. Finely made, with elven script and designs, however - you know you'll be able to sell it to some yokel for 10 gold crowns, based on the rarity of it and your winning personality at fencing odd items.
6 Jan
CALLIN: "It is the LIGHT that has cleansed those that have been inflicted. It is a tedious process that I am not yet strong enough to cure, but through the LIGHT and prayer I have learned the ways it identify the damned. Removing the curse while difficult, shows the Faith in the LIGHT, the fire that burns within all of us can remove the stain of darkness upon our world."
9 Jan
The elves all listen politely but their faces fall as CALLIN mentions 'The Light.' One of the elves, Almanin, finally bursts out in a voice full of disbelief. "So you are saying that one of your... prayers and such... it cured the affliction? Did I hear that correctly?" He turns to the other elves, who either shrug or shake their heads.
"It is the way of humans, Almanin." replies Eraiel. "It makes no sense, but they are capable of doing these things, in the name of some belief in an all powerful being.. or a mysterious unknown thing, like a force. I have seen it over and over in my years."
Almanin looks at you all. "And how does this power manifest itself? What did you do to make the disease go away?"
He looks specifically at BELLISH. "Your friend said you brought one under your control... you calmed it. How did you do that? Was that more prayers and wishing?"
9 Jan
BELLISH frowns at first at what he perceives as dismissiveness of CALLIN, but then he shrugs and says, "It was just a charm. That's the first spell what I ever was able to make work. I don't think charms work on elfs; I guess that's why you folks didn't figure it out with the ones you saw."
9 Jan
The elf laughs a friendly laugh and nods. "Indeed, very perceptive, young man. You are learning the arts, indeed, if a charm can soothe the rage of the afflicted. Should we return from this voyage, I will make sure that is known to our own practitioners. Are you a student of GRAIAN's perhaps?"
9 Jan
BELLISH suddenly appears to be very interested in his soup again, not liking where this line of questioning might lead. "Umm, not exactly. But I do try to learn things from him when I can."
10 Jan
The elf nods and continues in a friendly voice. "I see. There are several practitioners aboard the vessels. Perhaps you would be willing to show us your take on charms -- it would be useful to share knowledge like what you shared about the afflicted."
10 Jan
"Sure..." BELLESH can't help but grin a little in pride at being asked about his magical knowledge.
10 Jan
"Excellent!" Almanin says, pleased. "Perhaps when you have gained your sea legs, you'll be able to show us. I have no doubt you'll soon be walking the decks like an elf! If there are things you'd like us to show you, it would make for a much more interesting and pleasant voyage. Far better to discuss magicks than to just watch the endless waves!"
"And, of course, GRAIAN, you are always welcome to join us at the discussions. Your knowledge and insights into humans and their magicks would be most welcome!"
9 Jan
GRAIAN: "Almanin, indeed the religion of man is strange to us, but do not belittle it, I have seen what this belief in gods can do, both good and bad." Smiling at Callin, "Fortunately for us Callin uses it for good."
9 Jan
"Oh, I do not belittle it, GRAIAN. Skeptical, yes. Believing that is the providence of strange beings who want you to do their deeds for them... no, I do not. I am surprised to see that is has brought about a possible cure to the affliction, but as you say, it does do something."
Shaiman chuckles. "Were the Seadreamers here, my friends, I doubt they would be as ... kind in their words on how they feel about humans and their religions."
9 Jan
TAKASHI: "I have found that in my travels, those who are able to bend with the strong winds of change like the willow do better than those who are are stubborn and rigid in their thinking, and snap. The willingness to challenge what is accepted, to delve into what is unknown, and to form new paths of action with the information gained - that is what has lead us to this very expedition itself."
10 Jan
Shaiman nods at TAKASHI's words. "Indeed, although the Seadreamers see themselves more as the foundation, the bedrock, as versus a tree. They feel that we are somehow "lessening" ourselves by our friendship with humans, by our searching for our home, by our flexibility. They would see themselves sailing through the worst storm, staying true to course and defeating Nature in her battles."
He shakes his head.
11 Jan
CALLIN smiles at the group. Happy in their response to the LIGHT. He knew going it that it would be hard for the Elves to understand, but they seem to be taking it in stride. Like the Willow then. "Indeed it makes sense to be skeptical of the LIGHT. it is something that must simply be trusted. It can't truly be learned, while there are rituals, prayers, and traditions, these are just formalities that help align your Faith. That is the true power of the LIGHT though, the Faith. That is why it can cure the damned, it is Faith in people, it provides hope in the future for us. Much like GRIAIANs information has filled the Elves with Hope on this wonderful voyage. For me this is proof that the LIGHT wishes to shine upon us all."
12 Jan
Almanin smiles a polite smile. "Certainly we understand that humans have tapped into something that allows them to perform feats beyond the ordinary. You call it divine, but we believe that it is most likely of lexius or chaosius, given that you associate those abilities to what you call deities or faith. Those sources of arcane power are usually identified as arcane powers, but it is true that the way you derive your abilities seems to alter that. It has been a puzzle for our kind for as long as we have studied humans."
Shiaman laughs, interrupting. "My friends, I believe that if we allowed it, Almanin and CALLIN would debate on this all evening. Tomorrow, we leave the safety of the Outer Islands and proceed to open seas towards Ramathia. The waters and waves call and we must answer! But for now... we must sleep."
He stands and bows to Eraiel, who nods graciously and allows himself to be helped out of the cabin by other elves. All of the elves bow and nod to you all.
Indeed, the soup has had some restorative effect as the quick trip to your quarters in the center of the ship are not as nausea-inducing as before. Claudia has even recovered enough to be asleep as you enter the dark room, lit only by a single swaying lantern.
13 Feb
Summer 40 - At Sea
The morning comes soon quickly enough... with what faintly sounds like shouting from the deck above! You hear the sounds of feet running in other parts of the midship-deck that you are on.
12 Jan
What do you do?
12 Jan
TAKASHI, worried that there may be pirates or other nasty surprises on the high seas, retrieves his bow, arrows, and sword and instructs Claudia to do the same. When equipped, they will jog to the main deck above, rousing anyone else in the party not already awake.
TAKASHI: "There's some kind of commotion above! Let's investigate."
12 Jan
CALLIN will grab his hammer and holy shield and head above deck to see what is going on.
12 Jan
ATACIUS half awake, half asleep asks "Wait, what about breakfast!?". As he sees everyone rush to gear up, he sighs, dress up and follows.
12 Jan
Are we getting to the land already? Bellish wonders as he scrambles up the stairs excitedly.
13 Jan
GRAIAN rushes up the stairs to see if this just the normal ship activity or something more troubling
15 Jan
Coming up to the deck, the sun is blinding as it beats down upon you. Once your vision clears, you can see many elves at the port side of the ship, looking excitedly at the water and pointing. Beyond them, on the horizon, are several islands. This is not, however what the elves seem to be looking at.
Upon getting closer, you can see they're pointing to the water. There are dozens of sleek, grey forms swimming there, and they are starting to surround the ships.
"Sharks!" says a sailor close to you, his eyes squinting in the sun. "Haven't seen so many in one place though, not natural." That is the general buzz you hear from the other elves - cries of wonder and surprise.
He then notices that you've come up armed and chuckles. "Don't worry... sharks ain't been known to jump on decks and eat passengers."
15 Jan
CALLIN nods at the sailor "Indeed, I don't think a hammer would do much good against them. Having that many around? Does it suggest a recent amount of food in the area? Perhaps a sunkin or wrecked ship? Should we be concerned?"
15 Jan
ATACIUS will move aft towards the stern of the ship to get a better view of the islands.
15 Jan
The sailor frowns. "Well, truth be told, haven't seen this so much - you're right, most of the time fish gather then there's food to be eaten, but don't see what has these sharks so damn thick... and they're not in a frenzy either." He scratches his chin in puzzlement. "Unless the sharks be start flyin' out the water and landin' on the decks, we should be fine. Don't fall in!" he snorts a laugh.
ATACIUS, you see several larger land masses and smaller ones. The ships seem to be on a course that will avoid them. From this distance, there's not much else you can see.
15 Jan
Are any of the elves using a spyglass?
15 Jan
Not at the moment, no. They seem more focused on the sharks that are in the water near the ships.
15 Jan
ATACIUS will try to count the islands, and make mental note of their estimated sizes to later update his map.
16 Jan
BELLISH stares down at the swarm of sharks, the worry plain on his face. He turns to GRAIAN and says, "Do you think it's... Him?"
16 Jan
GRAIAN turns to answer Bellish, "I don't know, this is certainly a little different and I have not come across anything like it before. Of course we are close to the islands and these are known to be be strange waters."
17 Jan
Chuckling, TAKASHI eyes the sharks cautiously. He recognizes creatures that are perfectly honed for hunting and killing when he sees one, and these sharks definitely fit that description.
TAKASHI: "So long as the fish stay in their place, I'll do the same". He plants his feet firmly upon the deck, as if to test the strength of the boat itself.
18 Jan
ATACIUS - There is one large island directly port-side and four or five smaller reefs or outcrops surrounding it. To the north/northeast of that, you can see another large island on the horizon. You are heading in a southwest direction.
18 Jan
So we're approaching Ramathia from the northeast in this map? Aiming for that bay on the east coast maybe?
18 Jan
Roughly speaking, yes.
ALL - As TAKASHI plants his feet firmly and grins, the ship suddenly LURCHES and there's an odd thump below. You all have to grab something in order to not fall and the wood of the vessel groans. Cries of alarm can be heard on deck and below.
"Did we hit something?"
"What was that?"
"Check the bilges! See if we're taking water!"
Then one elven sailor shouts "The sharks... they're swimming away quickly!"
17 Jan
CALLIN: scans the around the railings looking for any signs of what might have caused such a thump on the ship...
18 Jan
TAKASHI scans the sea with a worried frown on his face.
TAKASHI: "The only thing that makes a predator run like that is another, larger predator. We might want to ready ourselves for the unexpected."
18 Jan
BELLESH tries to find something sturdy to hold on tightly to and brace himself in case the ship decides to lurch again. Then he scans the deck for anything else that might be useful.
18 Jan
ATACIUS gets hold of the rigging in case it happens again. Is the water clear or dark? Is there a watch on top of the main mast? "How can no one saw whatever hit the ship coming?" he wonders aloud as he looks up the mast.
18 Jan
The water is not especially clear, you can see a few feet down, but not much further. There are watches on the masts, but they just about fell off when the ship suddenly lurched. They are quick to recover though, and everyone is scanning below them.
Then, someone on the bow shouts and points -- the boat in front of you lurches as well and two sailors fall off the rigging and yardarms into the ocean!
A few moments later, you see an extremly large fin or shark's sail jut out of the water. If what you're seeing is to be believed, the "hump" of whatever the fin/sail belongs to is easily as large as the ship you are on!
Screams erupt from the waters as several opportunistic sharks come darting in to attack the overboard sailors! Cries of alarm come from all three ships as elves grab for ropes to toss into the water.
23 Jan
CALLIN will brace himself on some of the rigging, and look to help mend the wounds of any they manage to pull back on deck, while keeping a watchful eye on whatever giant fish is trying to consume us
23 Jan
GRAIAN shouts to Shaiman, "This does not look promsing, I have not read of anything like this, have you? I do not see that we can outrun this creature if it decides it is interested in us" He will then prepare sleep in case the beast returns.
24 Jan
"WE'RE TAKING A BIT OF WATER, BUT THE SHIP WILL HOLD!" a voice yells up from the hold. The captain is calling forth archers and even four mages have come to the bow.
It is too late for the sailors of the forward ship who fell overboard. The water turns red and there is a frenzy of sharks, but the screams have gone quiet and the ropes are being retrieved.
The sudden silence is ominous as eyes strain to see something... anything...
Shaiman looks grim as he answers GRAIAN. "We have encountered such beasts before. It usually does not end well for either us... or the creature. It is a huge beast and needs strong magics and weapons to oppose it. May the wood hold if it batters our ship again..."
A shout goes up to the starboard side and the prepared sailors rush over to see. A giant fin glides through the water, pointing at the rearward ship! A huge body can be seen under the surface and you can even catch a glimpse of a huge black eye. The fin suddenly plunges beneath the waves and cries of warning come from the third vessel!
29 Jan
The ships are several football field lengths away from each other, but you can see what is going on with each ship. The giant shark is heading towards the third ship.
On each ship is approximately 40 crew, half of which can use bows. Each ship has two ballistae, manned by three sailors. Your ship has four mages. (One of them, you know!). The other ships have one mage each. (You know one of them too!)
For some of these rounds, you are out of range and wouldn't be able to attack. You can do things in those rounds like prepare, help out others, etc. Just let me know what you want to do and we'll figure it out!
29 Jan
 @Gabriel Perez Gallardi, @Joseph Schnurr, @Alan Krause - any thoughts on what you might want to do. There is nothing in range, but if you want to do any preparations for a possible attack, please let me know.
ATACIUS - "Shaiman, is there an elf on board that dabbles in alchemy?"
BELLISH - glances over to make sure that Claudia is safe. Then he looks around at what his companions and the crew are doing, with an eye out for an opportunity to lend a hand.
CALLIN - will begin chanting of hope, of the LIGHT and of survial.  When the time comes ( should the beast head their way, he will infuse the power of the Light into the prayer and cast Bless )
GRAIAN - will keep sleep prepared for now, ready to use it as soon as the beast is within range (85' would be the limit) but more than 15' from any ship. He asks Shaiman, "What magic have you used before that has had an effect on these beasts?"
TAKASHI - will ready his bow and instruct Claudia to do the same. "There is no sense wasting our arrows when the creature is too far away, or too deep. Wait until you are almost sure to hit before letting fly!"
Claudia - Claudia nods grimly, her face taut with emotions. She seems a bit more steady on her feet.
Your Ship (at least what you hear happening) - Twenty elves, now armed with bows, watch with mixed emotions (anger, helplessness) as the giant shark looks to ram the following ship!
Elves, armed with bows, line the starboard and port sides, watching the giant shark prowl around the three ships. Cries come from the rearward ship as the shark approaches. Arrows fly from the ship into the water and blood can be seen from hit! The ship's starboard ballistae fires a huge bolt, but it misses, splashing into the water beside the beast. A crack of lightning is heard and for a brief moment, the mage at the bow of the ship is outlined in a harsh blue/white light as a bolt arcs from his hand towards the beast, and seems to have hit it.
Then the ship lurches as the giant shark rams into it! The rigging twangs and the masts shudder but hold from the shock. The shark seems to dive and cannot be seen.
Shaiman watches and shakes his head. He turns to ATACIUS. "What do you mean, littleling? What do you need?"
To BELLISH's eye, the crew seems prepared to fight. Aside from the elves with bows and two ballistae Two mages are at the bow, two are at the stern.
Shaiman points at the mage to answer GRAIAN's question. "Powerful magics are needed to fight these beasts. If you have a spell like that, assist the mages!"
Claudia nods grimly to TAKASHI's words, her bow at the ready, her face taut with emotions. She seems a bit more steady on her feet.
The rear ship rolls a bit and then steadies itself. Cries can be heard from the ship, but it's hard to know how much damage it took.
Tense moments pass as all eyes scan towards the port side, to see where the shark went. Then, a shout from above. "It's approaching the Celesta again!" Sure enough, a fin is cutting through the water towards the third ship!
Shaiman shakes his head. "I don't know if the mage has another such spell prepared. May the archers and bolt throwers have good aim!"
30 Jan
(Round 2 was the watch for where the shark would go next).
The shark is heading towards the rearward ship again (the Celesta)!
30 Jan
ATACIUS: "I used to know this old crazy littleling that did all these experiments and stuff. He had a booth in the market where he made all his tricks. I remember this phosphorescent water, and also this smoke and fire he made by throwing some minerals into water!" recalls the littleling in an excited voice. "Maybe your elf can do the same and scare the beast away without enraging it any further!" he tells Shaiman.
BELLISH: will keep an eye on the bowmen, ballistae crew, and mages. He'll try to keep any lose objects from getting over where they are; he figures at the very least he can try and keep those folks from being distracted from what they're doing!
CALLIN: will continue his prayers, waiting to cast bless when the time is appropriate.
GRAIAN: will prepare Magic Missiles, waiting for the shark to come within range (100')
TAKASHI: "Stay on target..."
The ship (Aramisa):
"WHEEL AROUND! WHEEL AROUND!" the Aramisa's captain calls out and the wheelman spins the ship's wheel. The elven ship groans as the ship begins its turn. A glance towards the foremost ship - the Lustrina - and it is doing the same.
It looks as if Shaiman's words were correct, as instead of a lightning bolt, the Celesta's mage casts some sort of spell that sends three small glowing darts arcing towards the approaching creature, joining another volley of arrows and ballistae shot. The arrows seem to be ineffective, but the ballista bolt opens up a huge gash in the creature's skin, causing a gout of blood to be seen.
"I used to know this old crazy littleling that did all these experiments and stuff. He had a booth in the market where he made all his tricks. I remember this phosphorescent water, and also this smoke and fire he made by throwing some minerals into water!" recalls ATACIUS in an excited voice. "Maybe your elf can do the same and scare the beast away without enraging it any further!" he tells Shaiman as the ship turns. Shaiman seems distracted as he watches the Celesta.
The rear ship shudders again as the giant shark rams into the ship. The *thud* and groaning of the ship can be heard, as can the scream of an elf who falls into the ocean! As the creature comes up on the port side of the ship, it opens its huge maw full of razor sharp teeth and grabs the sailor, biting again and again! The poor sailor's screams are mercifully cut short.
The giant shark submerges, leaving behind a noticeable red stain on the ocean surface as the Celesta sails by. Cries of alarm and concern can be heard. Once again, eyes strain, looking for signs of the shark returning.
Then, a call of warning comes from the Lustrina! On the port side of the fore ship, another fin can be seen, heading towards it! At the same time, the first giant shark's fin can be seen once again heading towards the Celesta!
Shaiman turns to ATACIUS, a desperate look on his face. "What chemicals do you need, littleling! We do have an apothecary stores and a surgeon who handles the treatment of injuries! Two of these creatures is a great danger to us!"
2 Feb
(Round 4 was the watch for where the shark would go next).
The first giant shark is heading towards the rearward ship again (the Celesta).
A second giant shark was just spotted, heading towards the foreward ship (the Lustrina).
1 Feb
ATACIUS: "Where's the surgeon?" he asks Shaina before running below deck.
31 Jan
"He's down below, surgeon's quarters, starboard towards the stern!" Shaiman responds, then the elf turns to watch the two sharks approach the ships.
Running below, you almost knock over an elf who is coming around to the stairs. Upon inquiry, he assumes your looking for the Surgeon means you are injured, so he takes you by the arm and leads you to them. The surgeon's quarters are bare-bones, with several human/elf sized tables and a tray between them with some ominous looking instruments. The surgeon is talking to another elf, who is trying to get a small crate from atop several other crates.
"Careful with that! You drop those potions of healing and we don't have anymore for the voyage. There aren't any druids where we're going, I doubt!" the elf says to the other and the one with the crate nods vigorously and moves. much. more. slowly.
The surgeon sees that you've entered and whips his head around. "Yes, what's the injury?" he snaps once he gets over a momentary surprise at seeing a littleling in front of him.
31 Jan
ATACIUS: "What? Oh, no, no, no, I'm fine. Shaiman says you know alchemy and I recall this old littleling that did these tricks, you know, mixing things to make glowing water or dropping minerals in water to get these explosions, and I wonder if you can make something like that to scare the sharks!" he says in a hurry and gesticulating as he speaks.
1 Feb
The surgeon at first has an impatient look as ATACIUS begins his explanation, but as he finishes, the surgeon rubs his chin.
"I do have chemicals and compounds that can have rather violent reactions when combined with water, but not in enough supply ... and did you say sharks? I had heard there was one!" the surgeon says.
Then he stops and thinks for a moment. "You may have something though..." he says and a look of astonishment comes over his face. "It might work!" He pushes past ATACIUS and dashes off towards the bow and the stairs leading above.
Once you both get to the main deck, the shouts from both the Lustria and Celesta can be heard as the giant creatures near their targets. The surgeon shouts at one of the mages and they begin a rapid discussion/argument in Elven. Those who speak Elven hear a discussion about salt water, cold and a spell... then one of the mages points to GRAIAN and BELLISH. "You two! Come here!"
"Do either of you know the spell to cast a ball of fire or a bolt of lightning?" the mage, a woman, asks in an urgent voice.
1 Feb
BELLISH hesitates only a moment before shaking his head. Then he shoots GRAIAN an apprehensive look.
1 Feb
GRAIAN looks quizzicaly at Bellish and then replies "I have a scroll of ignite ti hand, but I am not sure that will be enough, what are you proposing?" Looking back at Bellish with an obvious question in his eyes he continues, "I am sure if anyone had anyhting more useful they would use it, now is not the time to be holding back."
1 Feb
The mage sighs. "Wait here." she says and runs to the stairs leading to the hold, yelling as she goes down. "Get out of the way!"
The surgeon turns to ATACIUS with a smile. "The mages can cast a spell that will make the water around the ship cold. Very cold salt water can cause burns... as the properties of the water change with salt. If you hadn't of mentioned those chemical reactions, I would have never thought of it. You might have come up with a way of keeping those damn beasts away from the ships... of course, as long as the mages can cast such spells...." and he gets a worried look.
BELLISH: watches ATACIUS race belowdecks, but doesn't know what to mix together to make what he was talking about. He scans the deck frantically for something useful... maybe something that would make as good a weapon as that ballista bolt seems to be, or maybe a giant hook!
CALLIN: @Joseph Schnurr - assuming you are continuing to watch (the dice are telling a story of leaving your ship alone!) - YES.... it seems range is the Darkness that CALLIN's LIGHT cannot penatrate!
GRAIAN: has his Magic Missiles prepared
TAKASHI: "We must wait until the beasts come into range before we can loose our feathered messengers of death."
As the mage rushes below deck, the elves on the Celesta launch another rain of arrows at the shark, but it seems unfazed, and the strike by the ballista bolt seems just as ineffective. Captain Merillian shouts "She's taking another hit!" and the THUD of the Giant Shark ramming the rearward ship can be heard. The Celesta dips towards the port and although it rights, it doesn't seem to do so as quickly as before and there might even be a slight list to port.
All eyes turn towards the front as a KRACKA-BOOM is heard - the outline of the Giant Shark attacking the Lustrina is lit in an unearthly blue/white nimbus as the bolt of lightning from the mage on that ship arcs at the creature. Arrows pierce the shark's skin and the ballista bolt impacts it. The shark smacks into the Lustrina, but instead of swimming through, it pauses and then turns and swims away! The Lustrina and Amarisa (your ship) crews cheer at the sight!
"That's what's supposed to happen!" crows one of the mages but then all eyes turn back towards the Celeste.
In a few moments the Amarisa draws aside the starboard side of the ship and all eyes are to the right as the elves look for the attacking shark. The mage comes dashing back up the stairs and yells at Merillian "Stay between it and the Celesta!" She thrusts a scroll at GRAIAN/BELLISH and says hurriedly "Here! Take this. Start reading it after I begin to cast my spell, I will finish before you. If I can make the water painful to that thing, then this FIREBALL might persuaded it to leave as well... or kill it!"
She dashes towards the starboard rail yelling "Make way!" as she's unrolling another scroll. She begins watching and then all yell out as a fin is seen, heading straight towards you and the Amarisa!
7 Feb
(Round 6 was all movement)
The second shark has suffered mightily at the hands of the dour crew and mage of the Lustrina and has apparently retreated. The first giant shark is now headed towards the Amarisa, which has put herself between the creature and the wounded Celesta. Thanks to an idea brought about by ATACIUS's memory, a mage from the Amarisa is about to hatch a desperate plan to quickly kill or frighten the creature, which seems unfazed by the wounds it has taken.
5 Feb
ATACIUS stays on deck watching wide eyed from the mages to the giant shark and back at the mages, expectant of what will happen.
BELLISH heads to starboard, following the elven mage, and watches her closely to see when she's going to begin reading from the scroll. (I'm unclear who has scrolls - was there one each for me and Graian? Nope, one scroll - you two can decide who's going to read it... [as a side note, since the scroll is already 'known' by the mage, I'm ruling that her telling you what it is passes on that knowledge, so that you don't have to use read spell to know what scroll it is. Obscure, but there it is.) Once she starts, he'll look over at Graian to make sure he sees too. (Graian's reading the scroll unless he doesn't want to)
CALLIN: seeing the desperation in the mages eyes when handing the scrolls to GRAIAN and BELLISH, CALLIN deams now is the time, and channels the LIGHT into his words, and casts BLESS on those around him, to help ensure that their castings strike true, and arrows strike deep. CASTING BLESS.
GRAIAN: will read the scroll aloud (@ChrisAre you going to read it at the missle spell phase, or wait for her as she instructed? @Michael S (chgowiz)Will wait as instructed)
TAKASHI readies himself to loose an arrow (or two, depending upon the range considerations) at the attacking shark.
The giant fin that juts up out of the water causes a small wake to form as it comes towards the Amarisa. You hear sailors calling out oaths to "Sea and Wave" "Sky and Wind" "Sun and Stars" as they prepare their bows. The ballista's crank makes a metallic grinding sound as they cock the large weapon, aiming it at a point in front of the shark.
Claudia looks at TAKASHI and nods, drawing her bow and settling herself to shoot when the elves let fly.
The mage unfurls the scroll, watching the creature approach...
... then she turns to GRAIAN/BELLISH, nods and begins to intone words in a flat, harsh voice, the syllables seeming to stick in one's ear, and yet vanish to be forgotten. It is an intricate spell, as BELLISH/GRAIAN can tell, it will be a powerful one.
"And LOOSE!" the marine command calls out and the elves let fly with their arrows, Claudia and TAKASHI's shots joining in. The ballistae "twangs" as it lets off its shot as well. The arrows seem to do little to injure the creature, but the ballista fires true, the bolt ripping into the beast's skin in what seems to be a serious wound!
GRAIAN begins to read his scroll aloud, with similar harsh words coming from his mouth. BELLISH, his words are familiar to you, in some way, almost as if this 'feels' the same as the spell you cast at the group of cultists.
Then, almost at the same time, the spells that the mage and GRAIAN are casting seem to go off. An icy gust comes from the lips of the mage as she blows towards the creature... but actually in front of the creature as it draws very close to the ship! The water in front of the creature seems to freeze in some places, and even flakes of snow and ice can be seen drifting in the air as the mage blows.
As GRAIN finishes his scroll, it suddenly burns up into a small coal that quickly expands and flys off in the direction that he points to. It hits the cold water and creature at the same time in a huge explosion that causes a giant cloud of steam and ice! The stuttering detonation of the fireball and it's heat forces everyone back for a moment from the starboard rail.
As everyone recovers their hearing and peers through the temporary fog caused by the cold water and fireballs, cries and calls can be heard: "Is it there? What happened? Where's the shark?"
And then... as the fog lifts, you see that the rail and rigging are covered in bits and pieces of flesh. A glance over the side of the ship shows larger floating, charred pieces of flesh... the remains of the shark that is now quite dead!
The crew cheers and impulsively lifts the mage, GRAIAN and BELLISH on their shoulders, huzzah'ing in celebration. The elves around TAKASHI, Claudia and CALLIN slap them on the back, congratulating each other.
The surgeon turns to ATACIUS with a grin and a salute.
"Well done, little one. I remembered that making salt water very cold will cause even more intense pain and transmission of injury. The mage made the water very cold, and the effects of the fireball blast were make more severe on the creature. Looks like we cooked that damn creature good."
Once things have quieted down a bit, the mage (introducing herself as Avanara) explains similar to BELLISH and GRAIAN. "That'll help us in the future. It's a very complicated spell, one that I'm not quite learned enough to cast on my own. Those two scrolls were passed to me from my mentor. Better to use them now to save our skin - let us hope we don't need them later on!"
The ships come closer together and the captains begin shouting to each other, determining injuries to both crew and ships. It seems that the Celesta suffered the worst, with light damage to her hull and the loss of six crew. The Lustrina suffered very light damage and only three crew were lost. The Amarisa has no real damage, with no crew lost.
8 Feb
BELLISH looks very relieved when the shark dies, and not just because the ships are now safe. I didn't have to do it, he thinks to himself.
He doesn't protest being lifted on shoulders with the others, but looks awkward. He's also lost in thought, thinking about Avanara and some things he needs to talk to her about...
8 Feb
TAKASHI claps Claudia on the shoulder affectionately.
TAKASHI: "Sometimes, waiting is the hardest part. Time seems to stretch and elongate just before the first arrow is loosed, or the first sword is swung. You did well today, Claudia. And it's good that all of us don't look so green in the face as well!"
8 Feb
CALLIN: "Well done all! Courage and grit have once again dealt a heavy hand to the darkness in the sea. May we have favorable travels the rest of this voyage!" CALLIN will tend to any injured crew, and should there be any aboard the Celesta that would need his services he would make the trek to that ship to help.
8 Feb
A very proud ATACIUS shakes the surgeon hand anyone else's who comes to congratulate him. "Thank you, thank you. It's Atacius Lightfoot, yes, A-t-a-c-i-u-s."
8 Feb
GRAIAN feels relieved that the battle has been won, as one who has travelled he knows only too well of the many perils that lurk within the waters. However, part of him wishes he could have copied that spell down, even knowing it is somewhat above his current capabilities. Perhaps a chat with Avanara would be useful, if nothing else they may be able to swap spells.
13 Feb
The evening is a somber one. Sounds of pounding can be heard from the Celeste as her crew reinforces the areas damaged by the giant shark attacks.
Later, at dusk, the elven crews gather on deck. One by one, from the Captain of each ship on down to the most junior of sailors, each elf raises their voice in the death-dirge. GRAIAN would know the words:
May the life of the one passed be remembered in the hearts of many
May the sun, the stars, the waters, the winds bear what remains ever onward
May they rejoin their ancestors as they travel to the great unknown
May they see our lost homeland and their light guide us towards it
This lasts for awhile and then abruptly ends in reverse, the junior to the highest rank. Then the elves go back to their tasks, or to dinner.
Two elves approach CALLIN.
"Here now." one says. "My mate here says you did something that he says made him shoot better. I say rubbish. Everyone goes on about you humans and your ways. So tell me the truth - what did you do during that battle?"
14 Feb
CALLIN smiles at the elves. "Indeed I made a prayer to the LIGHT. It is my faith, it is what drives me, it is a force that gives us to power to move mountains, stand against an orc rush, and even stand against a sea creature larger than a ship. The prayer simply calls to that LIGHT, to have it shine down on all those that strive to do good, to battle that which is darkness. In that moment, all of us standing against the sea creature were on the side of LIGHT, and therefore the prayer shined the LIGHT upon us all. I know it sounds strange to put your faith in something you can't see, touch or hear, but you can feel it, if you try."
15 Feb
The second elf pokes the first one. "See? I told ya I felt odd, like something were steadying my aim. And ye can't argue that the two mages cooked the damn beast. Who says this here human might not have done something?"
The first elf shakes his head and turns back to CALLIN.
"Look, ye're a fine human, a lot more nice mannered than most I meet, I'll give ye that. Those mages be speakin' some powerful magicks to burn the beast, for sure. But ye're sayin' that ye just pulled something from the air to make us shoot better, even though ye can't say what it was, or how ye did it? Just that some light was floatin' around and happen to make us better because ye sing some songs? Now ye be sayin' yer like a bard, then. Is you a bard, to sing songs to stir the blood?"
The rest of you see that a few elves are surrounding CALLIN, listening in. It doesn't seem dangerous, but clearly he's now the center of some interest.
15 Feb
CALLIN: "While I do enjoy singing a song or two, I'm afraid I do not do it well enough to consider myself a bard. But just as the bard's music and tales inspire us to be greater than we can imagine, just as the flag of your ship summons your pride as you set sail, the power of the LIGHT lifts us up against the darkness. I can't explain it any more than how the wood of this ship makes you feel at ease and at home. How the waves sooth you in a way that no bed in an inn can. The LIGHT is the same within me. Only I have been blessed to be able to channel the LIGHT in a way to help fight against the darkness. Similar to how your mages can summon fire from thin air without tinder or flint. There are many things in this world we cannot explain with logic, but that does not mean they simply do not exist."
19 Feb
The first laughs. "Oh, you speak as flowery as a bard, I'll give ye that. But look here, I can know what stirs the blood, it's the music, the feel of the ship, the smell of the sea, the sound of the waves. Those tell a story of a home long lost, that we will find again some day. I've seen what the mages do, and they call their power 'theer ee us' or some such thing, but they know. You humans with your symbols and such, you won't admit to that power coming from there, you talk of beings of power, and of 'things not explainable' when we all know that things can be explained. Now look, I get that the healing and miracles thing, it pays the taxes and puts food in the stomach, but don't you think really that believing that just because you can do something, it'll magically happen through faith... that's rational or not mad?"
"Aw, now don't insult the human!" the second elf protests but the first elf shakes him off.
"No offense meant, but you have to see that it's a bit... well... crazy!" he insists.
20 Feb
CALLIN: "It is not an insult by any means" CALLIN assures the second elf. "It is always good to question that which we don't understand. For me to blindly trust in the LIGHT would be just as foolish. But FAITH is not blindly trusting in something. It is believing in something you can't explain. That doesn't mean there isn't an answer out there, it is simply an answer I do not know yet. It is the glory of widsom to be enlightented. But it is not a quick or easy road to get there. It takes time, and a journey. And I am currently on that journey. What I can say is that MY Faith in the LIGHT has helped me stand against darkness that I would not have been able to do with only a hammer at my side. And yes I will say that this symbol" CALLIN hold out his holy symbol "is indeed more than just metal strapped upon my neck. It is a symbol of my Faith, of my belief that all men are capable of great things should they desire to do so. This is the same Faith I see at work, when a young mother lifts a colapsed building wall after a mudslide to save her child. Or perhaps the loan farmer standing against a sea of Orcs to protect his family. These things are not rational, logical, or by any means possible without Faith. Faith in knowing that if you believe enough, that it could happen. That IS a powerful thing. So perhaps I am a bit crazy. But I am happy with my lunacy, as it has helped to save a great many people. Humans, Elves alike. I only hope that my Faith can continue to be a beacon to help save and light the way for people many years to come." CALLIN smiles at the elves as he lowers his symbol back down.
20 Feb
The first elf listens, his mouth somewhat agape and when CALLIN finishes, he roars in laughter and claps CALLIN on the back in a friendly way.
"Well, mate, ye be the first o' your kind to even admit ye might be crazy, so I'll give ye one for that."
He stops laughing and shakes his head. "Look, all those things you mention can be someone becoming more than what they are, I'll grant you that it might not be explainable ... but puttin' it on some invisible thing or person or force... that's a little much. Maybe ye are deludin' ye'self, but as long as you keep doin' good, I'll sail w'ye."
He stands and moves on.
The second elf comes forward and smiles apologetically. "Sorry for that. I don't know what ya did, or why, or how, but I know I shot straighter and better than anytime before. Whatever it was, it's not bad, and like my friend said... I'll sail with ya as long as ya keep doing good. So thank you. Between ya chanting and the mages, we done kilt something that was going to cause us a lot of deaths. Too many Searches have found those damn beasts and lost good ships and crews of it. To have faced two and only lost a handful of crew and no ships... that's something worth whatever you call it."
He claps CALLIN in the same shoulder (which now has a bit of a sting from the rough hands of the sailors!) and walks off as well, whistling to himself.
20 Feb
CALLIN will join the rest of his group after. "Well I didn't get hung from a yard arm. I must be doing something right"
20 Feb
Summer 41 and 42
The next two days pass quietly, as the ships sail in a WSW direction, tacking along as they go into the direction of the wind.
20 Feb
The 42nd day bring a welcome diversion! Sounds of laughter and calls bring everyone to the deck. The waters around the ships seem to gleam with all colors of the rainbow, as countless fish swim and jump alongside the elven vessels! Sailors quickly cast out nets and lines to catch the decently sized fish! The next hour is filled with a frantic harvest as the fish continue to swim with the ships, entertaining with their iridescent colors and promising to fill stomachs once they are cooked and smoked.
Once the crews have finished cleaning and preparing the fish, a fine feast develops, with more singing, poetry and even dancing among the elves. ATACIUS is encouraged to share any stories, songs or dances of the littlings that he might know - "We hardly hae a chance ta spend time wi' the likes a'ye!" one sailor enthuses, trying to encourage the littleling with food and wine. A blushing Claudia is shown some dance steps by the elven mage who killed the giant shark, both women earning calls of appreciation and requests for encores.
"Tomorrow... sometime tomorrow, we will set eyes on the island of Ramathia!" Shaiman shares the news with the assembled and they cheer!
23 Feb
BELLESH watches the celebration from a distance, with his hood up and with a good dose of teenage angst. The sharks are gone, but he's still worried that he's being hunted by a powerful predator of a different sort.
20 Feb
ATACIUS will gladly indulge the request of the elven sailors. He will tell one of the most popular stories of the littleling folklore, a couple of spicy songs and even join Claudia and the elven mage in the dancing!
23 Feb
The elves cheer, stamp and laugh to the littleling's stories and songs. Their cheers grow louder as the littleling joins the two women in dancing. Soon, the entire ship is echoing the sounds of feet slapping the wood deck, flutes, violins, tamborines, drums and hands all making music and the sounds of laughter dancing off the waves as the starshine is reflected back.
Claudia swings over close to BELLESH and and sits down next to him, laughing in pure joy. "Oh come on, TOBIAS... uhh... BELLESH... come dance with me!" She stands and has an impish grin as she holds out her hands to him, inviting him to join her.
23 Feb
TAKASHI eyes BELLESH warrily, then grins as Claudia grasps for his hand.
20 Feb
BELLESH frowns when Claudia first comes near him, staring down at his feet, and grimaces slightly when she uses his old name, but her playful enthusiasm is too much for him to resist. He looks up, and with a small sigh, raises his arms and timidly takes her hands.
23 Feb
GRAIAN enjoys the sound of his kinfolk enjoying themselves and celebrating and will join in the merrymaking. While grateful that they are close to Ramathia, he is concerned about what they may find there. If the Athenum was anything to go by this will not be an easy foray.
He watches Bellesh and Claudia dance, a smile crosses his face, perhaps there are many good things that will come of this journey after all.
23 Feb
CALLIN smiles seeing BELLESH step out of his teen angst shell. "It seems the LIGHT does indeed shine bright this day. It even pierces BELLESH's cowel!" he says with a chuckle.
23 Feb
With a laugh, Claudia pulls BELLESH into the middle of the dancing, swirling elves. She doesn't quite have the grace of the elves, but the sheer joy of being caught up in the music and moment propels her feet and body into motion. The music plays on, and then, they stop - the only sound now is the deep breaths and pants from dancers and musicians alike. Then, more laughter and chatter as the sailors prepare for evening sleep and over-night watches.
Claudia's eyes sparkle as she wraps BELLESH in a hug and then, impulsively, she kisses him on the cheek, and lets go, almost as if she is embarassed or overwhelmed by emotions. With the others, she goes belowdecks to sleep.
Soon, all is quiet again, except for perhaps a sailor or two humming the tunes above deck, or lying in their hammocks, softly singing to put themselves to sleep.
20 Feb
TAKASHI, enjoying the excellent weather and cooling breeze, will instruct Claudia furhter on an open spot of the foredeck.
TAKASHI: "Feel the roll of the boat in your heels, and let your body adjust to keep you stable. See, even as I advance, lunge, and thrust, I keep myself centered and balanced, ready for any move that my opponent may make. Never lose yourself to anger or frustration! It is the quickest way to defat, and what seperates us from the beasts. Now, come at me and keep those ideas in mind..."
26 Feb
ATACIUS might have fallen asleep on deck over a coil of rope, after indulging himself on whatever elven beverage these sailors had.
28 Feb
Summer 43
The day dawns and there is an anticipatory energy among everyone - a thrumming of excitement and curiosity. By midmorning, the sharpest eyed of the crew have spotted a dark shadow on the horizon - the island of Ramathia! For the remainder of the morning, the bow is full of sailors who are not busy, craning their necks and straining their eyes to see ahead.
TAKASHI, enjoying the excellent weather and cooling breeze, will instruct Claudia further on an open spot of the deck.
TAKASHI: "Feel the roll of the boat in your heels, and let your body adjust to keep you stable. See, even as I advance, lunge, and thrust, I keep myself centered and balanced, ready for any move that my opponent may make. Never lose yourself to anger or frustration! It is the quickest way to defeat, and what separates us from the beasts. Now, come at me and keep those ideas in mind..."
Claudia nods, shifts her balance too much and almost stumbles, but is quick to recover and keep her guard up. She meets TAKASHI's attack very well and then takes advantage of a sudden lurch of the ship against a wave to weave under his guard and lightly poke him with her practice sword!
Midday, the lookout shouts "Rocks ahead!" and the captains of the ships adjust slightly westward now. A small atoll peeks through the waves, barely visible. Oddly, there appears to be some sort of wood lattice, grey with age and salt, encrusted with mussels and bird effluvia, lodged in the rocks. Sailors whisper about that sight - possibly the remains of a ship that wasn't as lucky to spot the atoll as they were. The sails are shortened to slow the ships down and they approach more cautiously as other small outcrops and atolls are seen.
Mid-afternoon, and the outline of the island is clear to all. To the "left" (what would be south) seems to be a hilly area, flattening downwards towards the edge. In somewhat the middle/right (central-north) of the island juts a huge moutain with a flat top - the firebreathing volcano of Ramathia, though it seems quiet at this time, with no visible signs of smoke or fire. To the right of that, tantalizing, there appear to be some sort of gleams, and the sharpest lookouts say they think those are towers!
Shaiman and Captain Merillian consult maps and wave flags at the other ships, as they communicate with each other on how to approach. The ships swing a bit to the right in a northwesterly direction.
1 Mar
If they do this on deck, ATACIUS wil try to take a peek on those maps. :-)
1 Mar
The space is small, but you get a peek and can see that they are more detailed than what you have seen. A combination of nautical elements and, from the quick glance you are afforded, a layout of the city that looks more detailed than your own map!
But you are quickly blocked from seeing more as other elves step forward to talk to the two.
1 Mar
That's fine, ATACIUS will try to do that wheneever possible and then update his map with what he saw, both on the elves' map and from his own experiences.
Late afternoon, Eraiel, the Elder, comes to the deck. The island is much clearer. The area to the left/south is obviously forested with some sort of vegetation as it looks green. The volcano is definitely quiescent and the area with the gleaming is indeed some sort of structures. A spyglass is produced and the lookout describes seeing "white towers wi' vines and such growin' all over 'em... and a wall, but it looks broken!" The harbor area, the Bay of Ramathia, is where the ships are headed - they will sail north of the harbor and then come straight south at it.
23 Feb
BELLESH will stay at the bow, trying to take in all the new sights.
23 Feb
CALLIN will begin the day with a prayer to the LIGHT that the crew and his companions are bathed in the LIGHT and help them stand against any darkness that may still thrive in Ramathia. Once that is done he will move to the bow and take in the sights with BELLESH. "Good morning BELLESH, quite the exciting morning! How are you feeling after that dance with Claudia?"
23 Feb
BELLESH: "I... don't know, CALLIN. When I first heard that she was coming with us, I was worried for her, because of where we were going and because of... what's happening with me. But, now... I'm glad that she's here."
"I'm really curious about what we could find... the lookout's already spotted some towers. The thing is, I don't feel afraid of what might be in there, I think I'm just afraid of what we've already left behind."
23 Feb
CALLIN: "Fear is normal, it is how you handle that fear that defines you. It is also good to care for Claudia and fear for her safety. That is what makes you a good man. Have Faith in our choices and actions BELLESH. We have stood before darkness many times before, and surely we will do it again. Having friends to shine light upon that darkness however, is the greatest light of all." CALLIN ponders the last of BELLESH's statement. "As for what has been left behind. There is nothing left for us but to move forward. Dwelling upon that which we cannot control or affect only clouds or judgement of the present. Focus on the now BELLESH, focus on what we can control, and what we can affect." CALLIN puts a reassuring hand on BELLESH's shoulder "We face this journey together, we will see it through the same...together."
23 Feb
TAKASHI shakes off the frustration of staying on a ship for so long, struggling to exercise and stay sharp. He can't remember ever being so static in his life than this voyage, even though while he was not moving, the ship was. Later that afternoon, seeing CALLIN and BELLESH at the bow of the ship, he joins his friends.
TAKASHI: "It will do me well to get back on the land. My sword arm twitches and my legs ache to be put to the test. It appears as if we have finally found what the Elves have searched for so long. I worry that the most difficult part of the journey still lies ahead."
23 Feb
CALLIN: "Yes traveling by ship is quite different to what we are used too. Hopefully my skin will look less like goblin hide once we arrive on land again! And yes I'm sure there is a reason Ramathia has been hidden from all for so long. When a land is shrouded in darkness for so long, any sort of nightmares can be born. May your sword arm strike true when it must, and may the Light shine upon us as we explore this strange new place."
24 Feb
GRAIAN will join his friends, "We are finally here, all told quite uneventful given the stories. One way or another there wil be much to find here." Pausing he looks at Bellesh, "There may be many trials while we are searching and I know you feel you have a darkness chasing, or even within you, but remember you are surrounded by friends and together we can defeat it. Trust in us." Briefly puting his hand on Bellesh's shoulder he returns to look at Ramathia as they get closer.
28 Feb
As the sun grows low, the ships are finally in position to make their approach to the Ramathia Harbor. The sun shines orange and pink onto the ruins of white buildings that spread out behind the harbor, fading into the background of the lost city. Many towers rise above the buildings, laced with vegetation, some broken, a few appear intact.
Beyond that, the city rises with the slope heading towards the volcano. The remains of the fabled Terraces on the slope can be seen here and there, shining in the fading light, but the devastation from the eruptions during the Doom can be clearly seen.
Of more immediate concern are the various masts jutting out of the water like bones peeking above the surface. It's clear that many ships sank in the harbor at some point.
The captain of the forward ship, the Lustrina, slows his approach down and cautiously swings into the final approach to the harbor. Immediately cries of alarm come from the ship and you see it try to swing around.. but it seems to be pulled sideways!
"There's a whirlpool in the harbor!" the Amarisa's lookout yells to you all below. "Turn away! Turn away!"
Captain Merillian curses and gives the orders, sailors springing into action across the rigging. The ship shudders as it begins to wheel around, everyone holding on!
28 Feb
TAKASHI: "A whirlpool in the harbor? What sorcery is this!?"
28 Feb
BELLESH: "Sorcery?"
The youth holds on tight, but tries to scan the shore for anyone that might be there casting a spell to cause this.
1 Mar
BELLESH, you do not see any obvious signs of spell casting, and the "feel" that you've come to associate with feeling magic being manipulated near you (the way you'd know that you can counterspell another arcane caster) is not there. This is either natural, or something that is magic in and of itself, requiring a spell to discern it as such. (such as Detect Magic)
2 Mar
CALLIN: grabbing on to the ship tight. "It seems the islands has already told us it's intentions! May the light shine upon the Captain as he navigates through!"
3 Mar
GRAIAN gets a firm grasp on the nearby rigging "This will certainly make our landing on the island interesting. I hope the crew of Lustrina get control."
7 Mar
The Amarisa leans to port as it turns. It seems to make the maneuver slowly, but the ship does respond and makes the turn safely. The following Celesta turns to starboard, seeking to avoid the whirlpool itself!
Once the ship has turned and is sailing away, Merillian yells for shortened sail to slow the ship down. The command is obeyed slowly, as all eyes are on the Lustrina to see what happens.
The foreward ship slowly attempts to turn away from the vortex, but it's fate is sealed. Inexorably, the ship is dragged towards its doom. At the last, sailors can be seen leaping from the bow of the ship in a desperate attempt to escape death, and their screams are terrible, echoing out of the silent harbor. The ship enters the vortex nearly on its side and the loud cracking of its sides, deck and masts comes in a series of sharp cracks that drowns out the cries.
Gasps and shouts of disbelief come from the watching ships as the Lustrina disappears from view.
"Man the small boats! Set out rope so that we can drag them back if needs be!" snaps Merillian and sailors leap to the order, many of them with tears streaking down their faces.
It is a grim dusk and sunset as the small boats return to the Amarisa and Celesta. Only 8 crew survived the loss of Lustrina. The dirges and songs are loud and sorrowful long into the night and even Shaiman's optimism seems to have descended into a shocked disbelief.
At the middle of the night, you all are awakened by an apologetic sailor and brought to Merillian's cabin. Assembled are the Captain, the Celesta's Captain Asilmona, Eraiel, Shaiman, Sinyr of the Seadreamers and several other elves. It is a grim discussion among the group and they fall silent as you enter.
"We are discussing options." Shaiman says by way of introduction. "My apologies at the late hour, but you all have investigated old texts and readings of Ramathia and we wondered if you had gained any knowledge of the island beyond the city itself. It seems our plan to gain the harbor are now in disarray and we must make new plans."
5 Mar
BELLESH says nothing for a few long moments, but when he realizes the others are remaining silent as well, he says, "I don't remember seeing anything useful. At least, not anything what would get us around..." He shudders, remembering the sight of the Lustrina being pulled under and the screams of her crew.
6 Mar
GRAIAN, nods "I cannot remember anything specific about the island that would help us get on it, one of the local fishermen may know somehting. Is there nothing in the information you found at the Guild that may help us?"
6 Mar
ATACIUS: "I have a map of the island. Maybe we can compare maps to see if there's anything useful?" suggests the littleling to Shaiman.
6 Mar
CALLIN simply shakes his head with the others noting that he doesn't have any useful information to make shore. Sea life is very foreign to him although he eagerly looks at ATACIUS' map when presented in an attempt to quickly find a way to shore.
6 Mar
TAKASHI: "We may have to take launches to the shore and anchor the boats outside the harbor wall. Perhaps we should sail around the entire island to survey it better and look for any promising sheltered bays?"
7 Mar
Shaiman says to GRAIAN "I wish that the locals had more information for us. The few guides we had were in their own boats and they left us for our own once we were past the Outer Islands. That was planned. None were willing to come as far as the "Cursed Island" ... although I start to understand their fear!"
He says to ATACIUS "Of course." and beckons him to bring his map over. A quick glance at what the elves has shows that their map is somewhat more detailed from a nautical perspective - but there is just as little on the interior as what you have.
"The Guild showed their greed in wanting too high of a price for the more detailed and historical maps." Shaiman says with a bit of edge in his voice. "We decided to make do with what we have. We know that the explosion of the volcano caused a great deal of damage to the city and changed some of the landscape, especially to the west."
He nods at TAKASHI's words. "We have been discussing exactly that. A reconnaissance makes a great deal of sense. Our eagerness to complete our Search has led to the loss of a ship and nearly an entire crew! Not a mistake that we will make again, I swear it."
"Do you wish to stay aboard or go with the Celesta? We're resolved to encircle the island from opposite directions and meet again before this harbor to discuss what we've seen/found."
8 Mar
ATACIUS: "Excuse me, but wouldn't we have more chance of defeating anything if the ships stay together?"
8 Mar
TAKASHI: "ATACIUS has a point. During our voyage in these uncharted waters, we have twice found that there is relatively more safety in numbers. Perhaps it would be wise to do the same now."
8 Mar
Shaiman muses. "Perhaps, but the captains believe that we can outrun any possible dangers from the land. Our intent is to scout, not to confront. And if there was something strong enough to threaten an entire ship, it would probably be able to defeat two ships. I trust the Captains in this."
12 Mar
CALLIN: Looks to the rest of the group. "I think it best we stick with the crew we know. We should stay aboard until we find a way to make shore."
12 Mar
Shaiman looks at the rest of you. "Are you all agreed to stay aboard the Amarisa (oops). You are very welcome to!"
12 Mar
12 Mar
As does TAKASHI.
12 Mar
aren't we aboard the Amarisa ?? maybe I'm confused. Heh. Fixed that. :)
13 Mar
Summer 43, Evening - Summer 44, Late afternoon
The Celeste sails to the west as the Amarisa sails to the southeast. All eyes are on the surrounding waters as the ship carefully navigates its way down the eastern coast of the island.
The city, what can be seen from viewing from the deck and through spyglass, tells the tale of Nature reclaiming what is its own. The walls gleam white still, but it is a green-stained white, with vines, grasses and trees covering them, the buildings and terraces of the mountain side. Birds and other creatures are glimpsed, but nothing of humans or demi-humans can be seen. The damage from the volcano exploding is clearly visible, with areas of the city demolished. The lava flows, now hardened, intrude on the terraces in small rocky rivers.
As the ship sails further sound, the city gives way to forest, with the silent volcano a clouded background object. There is no sign of inhabitans, just a thick verge that ends at the beach. There are rocky outcrops and some reefs that must be avoided. At evening time, Captain Merillian decides to drop anchor and wait for dawn to continue.
At dawn, anchors are weighed and the Amarisa continues on. The forest is unbroken, though there are areas where it looks like tree-covered foothills break the canopy line. Mid-morning, the ship comes upon the Celeste, sailing towards the east. The ships slow next to each other and shouted messages reveal that the Celeste has not encountered any dangers, or signs of life beyond creatures and birds.
The Amarisa continues west and then north and it is early afternoon that the full destructive nature of the volcano's explosion is revealed. It looks as if the west portion of the volcano blew apart and away from the island. The lava flows are huge and form rugged valleys and troughs, although the vegetation has returned in parts to the area. There is no sign that the mountain is still alive, no smoke or sign of molten rock. Several dark holes at the base of the mountain give hint to possibly caves.
It is late afternoon that the two ships meet again north of the harbor. The captain of the Celeste again comes aboard the Amarisa to confer. Shaiman invites you all to join.
The conversation is short, but the two captains, Shaiman and many of the officers agree that the best approach is to send parties to the beach on the east side close to the city. They are wary of the implications of the strange whirlpool in the harbor.. that not all might be as it seems!
Shaiman looks to you all. "Of all of us, oddly enough, you are the most experienced in going into old, abandoned and possibly dangerous places. I speak of your adventures to the Athenum. I think you should be among the first to land and perhaps scout for us."
Sinyr of the Seadreamers begins to object, but Shaiman cuts him off quickly. "I am the First of this Search." he says in a hard voice. "My decision is thus. You may, of course, send someone from your clan to be a member. If you wish to enter a possibly dangerous place..."
Sinyr nods curtly and reponds in Elvish, not common. "I would. I do not believe that these... humans [he uses the elvish derogatory name]... are what you think. After all, several searchers died at that Athenum with these ... lessers ... in charge."
13 Mar
GRAIAN looks at Sinyr and responds in common "Be careful of where you lay the blame Sinyr, leadership was not the cause but selfish actions. Your and your clan should perhaps stay and protect the ships, after all they are very important to us all." Not waiting for a reply he addresses the rest of the group, "Indeed Shaiman, we are perhaps the most experienced in such matters, however, I do believe that Angon and her party would be willing to join us." As he finishes this statement he throws a look of contempt at Sinyr.
14 Mar
BELLESH is staring daggers at Sinyr, as well.
14 Mar
CALLIN: "I agree and feel we are up to the task at hand. The LIGHT will shine upon us and light our way through this place."
14 Mar
Sinyr snaps his mouth shut and looks a bit surprised and thrown off at the heat in GRAIAN's words. Shaiman, on the other hand, looks extremely pleased to hear GRAIAN's response and put a supporting hand on his shoulder.
"Indeed. Angon will be very pleased to join you again as will Almanin. He very much enjoyed discussing charms with BELLISH and even thinks he might have found an avenue of study on that with the Damned. You'll have to ask him about it, he'll tell you all the details. In anyrate, we will send the boarding party tomorrow morning." He begins to turn to leave and Sinyr interjects.
"The Seadreamers will also represent on this voyage, since we are funding a ship and crew. Even though they are now lost, we are still due the representation."
Without turning, Shaiman nods. "Of course. Have your two party members be on deck at dawn." he says in a neutral voice. He continues away from the bow of the ship, past the two Captains conferring and down towards the stern. Sinyr looks to be regaining a bit of confidence again and he too sweeps away from you all, not even looking at you or acknowledging you.
(If there is anything you'd like to inquire from ship's stores at the last minute, now is your chance, otherwise, what you have on your charsheets is what you go with!)
14 Mar
TAKASHI: "We should make sure that we all have lighting implements (torches, or lanterns and oil if they have them). Some rope could also prove helpful, if the destruction wrought by the volcano is as bad as it appears. I think it would be wise to make camp near the shore, and base our explorations from there until we've got a better lay of the island. What say you all?"
14 Mar
BELLESH nods. "We should probably get some food from the ship's kitchen, and see if they have any tents they can lend us too, if we're going to make a camp."
15 Mar
The landing party will be 12 in number. They are already planning tents and to have several dozen torches, although mostly for keeping creatures away - as the elves can see in the dark. They can give you a dozen flasks of oil for lanterns, and spare two lanterns as well. Food is already to be provided, although they are planning on hunting/fishing to keep stores up, as well as forage for food on the island.