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  #166  
Old Aug 5th, 2023, 03:28 PM
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Tempest, Sneaky Scout Siren
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Bingle was in a mood like an angry, irritable yellow and brown spotted needle-toothed rock eel. Tempest knew better than to engage in conversation for fear of being bit, so wandered around the ship, eating a very dull, watered-down apple. She offered one to Fela, then to Falco who could feed it to his cocooned pet. Staring up at the confined Nilfil, the Siren wondered aloud. "Ahoy, pet! Are you good with dice? If so, we will play when we have succeeded in overtaking the other ship and you clean up." Tempest was looking for a good game, and really ought to ask the Sisters if they will play with her.

Tempest was troubled by the news Briony had for her, and at supper time, while breaking a one of many legs off of an ill-imagined roast chicken, she decided that everyone ought to know the situation. Fela was not going to be pleased. "I received word from Briony that they arrived safely and are next to a strange island, guarded by spiders. They were drugged, which surprised me. I don't understand why this was necessary. They have not met Vorn, and this also surprises me. I thought he would want to speak with at least someone who would make for good company. Well, they are safe, just puzzled."

Before she went to sleep that 'evening', not really enjoying the odd quiet of the Underdark, Tempest tried to contact her wondrous, golden and bright as the sun Father just to let him know what she's up to. "Father, found Mermaids turned into undead. Some saved. Saughin Priestess and 4-arms gloriously killed. Found friends to protect territory. In Glimmersea. Love you both."

Maybe the Siren should have told her Dad that she met an eel dragon and lived. How impressed would Mother be with such news? Mildly, but at least she would have received a nod of approval, that of which would brighten her heart.

Upon waking to a new darkness-filled day, they were told of Falco's ship being near. Tempest prayed on the smooth deck, looking out to the black sea, seeking strength for herself and her friends, even though they were not under the sky or winds or sun. No birds flew here except Harlan, and that just proved how more important Bingle was with such a blessed friend. Once completed, she joined the group and asked Gary. "If we are not going to attack openly, then would it be wise to cover our movement by a patch of fog? Are such happenings commonplace for this Underworld sea?" The Siren eyed Falco, then smiled at Bingle and Fela before returning her gaze to Falco. "I can weave the water walking on everyone if you believe that to be a good strategy, Falco Captain. And, as I prayed to Her, Aerdrie Faenya," Tempest tapped her blue shield with the flying heron emblazoned upon it. "I came to the magic for the Sun, believing this would also please my sister at arms, Fela Markwig Springer. I could call down the daylight and bring fear to these monster-pirates that have stolen your ship. We will burn their eyes, and then wash the deck in their blood. Perhaps, I can drown one or two as well, because it is such a pleasing…" And the Siren stopped there, not wanting to be considered an absolute horror of a wondrous companion. Though drowning was fun on the well-deserved, others my not find glory or laughter from the mercy of a quick death.

"I will go scout, yes? I will bring back news and not call upon anyone on deck unless I must. I will try to follow your rules of, um…engagement. But perhaps I can sing later?" Denying a Siren her song is unheard of, but Tempest had to admit to herself, through the ego that she held fast to, that this was not her element, and the rules were beyond that she had learned in books, ship's log, or experience when playing with pirate ships. 'Monsters'. Indeed. Tempest eyed the dark depths, in the mottled grays, knowing she will not see her familiar fish, or even forests of green or gold-brown kelp. Ah well. She dove in fluidly, tail splashing once in a 'good bye' to the ship's crew, her newfound friends, and swam perhaps ten feet under the surface as she went to the Maiden ship. Her first lap was to search from under a layer of water. Her second lap mirrored any curious creature surfacing here and there for a better look, noting dinghies and nets, people on deck and through portholes she may see through. It was business as usual, scoping out the enemy's business.

When Tempest returned to her companions, she would be full of news and probably a count of barnacles or bruises on the undersurface of the ship.
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  #167  
Old Aug 7th, 2023, 07:42 PM
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RECON
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Bingle, you do more sends that day: CHILD! NO MORE! You are in SLATMRASH?!? Stop paddling about as if history is your play pond. You endanger your village, your precious, precious life —

Your father is not a thunder-er. But is he very on his dignity, and you hear the grumble of old thunder in his words. All that dignity means that he is angry back, and also hurt, and also worried sick.

He is too fraught to answer your very sensible question about WHICH OTHER WIZARD. Which wizard of all the wizards in the village, of all the visiting wizards, of all the wizards you ever met before you left, WHICH OF THE EXACTLY ONE WIZARDS SAID YOU WERE A SCUTTLER WHO WOULD SCUTTLE HOME?

Bongle takes your SEND like she has been sitting in a hardback chair since you left with her eyebrows up and a close-mouthed smile, spine straight, words loaded, ready to lecture and instruct at the first opportunity. What you say surprises her, though; you can hear it in the pause. But she answers your question, at least, instead of saying whatever she planned to say if you SENT. It is too much of a pleasure for her to resist:

Yes. Pimbal Wildwander. Eldest of the Cleric. You’re named for his sister, actually. Which you’d know. If you ever studied the Book of the Begats.

Bingle, no one can study the Book of the Begats without dying. It is nine books, each thick as a brick and filled with crabbed gnomish handwriting listing every gnome and when they were born and what profession they chose and who they married and what children they had (if they did any of that) and when they died. As Cleric of the village, your father knows all the alive people and all the people the alive people might remember and also the important ones like Fargi Dinglefiggle, who cross pollinated the Cloaker Ferns to amplify illusion magic soon after the village was founded, and Presbo Springsap, who negotiated the Beaver Peace six hundred years ago. This is expected. But if you think Bongle stopped there…She has claimed she has the whole thing memorized, and who can test her?

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Tempest, Gary Gonme says that yes, the Underdark has mists that move across the waters. And even dirty rain. Rarely. Condensation happens with heat, no sun needed, and there are warm airs and seasons; water collects on the ceiling and then drips down.

You slide into Glimmersea. It is less buoyant. A lower salt content, you think. It was hard to tell in the cave, but here in the open sea…You can see in grayscale but black on black on black is black. Vague shapes of darkness in darkness. Fish? Monsters? Aboleths? You don't see them, and they do not see you. You are an arrow in the dark, displacing little water. You see the boat because they have attached LIGHTS to the front, like bug eyes, that shine down into the water. They are trolling, using the light to look at the bottom, seeking what? A rare fish? Maybe shipwrecks?

At the ship, you can’t go the front as the lighted area will be monitored, you are certain. You also cannot get up over the edge without being absolutely SEEN, but you can look in the portholes in the back of the ship.

In the back, you see a war room. Table, nautical charts, steins, chairs. Here the Cloaker Captain paces, unfurled, wearing an extremely fancy hat, speaking with a GIANT whose head—heads! A two headed giant! Whose heads are in some fuss both with him and each other. Some sort of lizard is all the way across the room with a mop. And some dingy dwarves, gesticulating. Past them, you see a door that leads aft. Your knowledge of ships would indicate this is a captain’s cabin. But. It is chained shut with gleaming silver chains. Another door that would traditionally lead to the deck wizard’s cabin on the other side is also chained shut.

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You go around. The captains cabin portholes have heavy drapes. Drawn. The Deck Wizard’s cabin does too. But. There is a crack. You peer through, and the silvery gleam of a luminescent eye peers back. Then the curtains slam shut.

Falco, Halran reports to Bingle that the ship is fully— FULLY staffed. At least half a dozen dingy dwarves on deck, working, three staring down into the bug-light eyes light on the front, seeking. There is also that gooey cube you saw before, filled with bones and hats, and a skinny, smirky drow in a plumed hat and striped stockings. He is talking to a THING that Harlan —-uhhhhh — he don’t know what it is. A THING THAT IS BAD, A MONSTER.

Halran is sure that at least one of the look out dwarves clocked him. But had no reaction. Well, he is a bird. The Underdark has birds, and they are nearing a shore.

Falco, that is a lot of stuff. That is a lot of very bad stuff, when you put it together with what Tempest saw. A lot. Well. What did Bramble say when she gifted you the star chart? You remember exactly what Bramble said.

It leads to a place that hasn’t happened yet. When you can read it, then it’s time to go. Here’s the part that might save your friends, should you live to tell ‘em: Fighting is death. You can’t win your boat that way. You travel with beautiful liars, Falco---more than one. Make use of them.

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  #168  
Old Aug 9th, 2023, 11:56 PM
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What we know an' how best to apply it
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Th' situation were worse than he'd hoped fer. A full crew complicated things all th' more. It were just as Bramble said it'd be and she'd warned 'im against rushin' straight into a fight. They weren't strong enough yet, they'd be needin' an angle here. "When Bramble gave me this chart, she told me fightin' is death an' that we'd need our beautiful liars. Maybe we should wait fer 'em to dock an' some o' th' crew t' go ashore. Then we could sneak aboard or maybe talk our way on." Falco shrugged, Half o' piracy were just lyin' anyway.

"I've still got th' four potions what can make ye look however ye want. We could be drow, dwarf, or even like Gary." Falco smiled at th' older gnome and continued, "Once aboard, we could see about enlistin' some help from behind th' chained doors. I suspect my mentor is still alive on that ship. Especially after what Nilfil said about a ghostly half-orc."

Falco wanted t' know if Harlan saw any red feathers amongst th' current Dusk Maiden's crew, be they real actual feathers, medallions, earrings, or tattoos? "Our cocoon also confirmed th' Black Eye be th' one makin' all th' undead. Even from th' ranks o' Red Feathers. Doesn't know any hows, whys, or wheres though an' barely any who's at that. I'm afraid that's about all th' use we'll be findin' in Nilfil." While a plan begins t' form, he does think of somethin' else t' ask th' half-elf. Falco approached th' bundle hangin' from th' mast again and asked if both Captain's quarters an' th' Deck Wizard's cabin was locked when he were on th' Dusk Maiden?

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  #169  
Old Aug 10th, 2023, 04:37 PM
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PLANSFalco, you lay your plans out for the others to consider.

Gary can tell you that the place they are making for is little more than a series of docks fronting a single line of a dozen or shacks on a narrow rocky shore. The locals are all free drow and deep gnomes. As a way station for ships, it is too convenient to be destroyed and not profitable enough to be tempting.

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The islands (there are several but only one is inhabited) are sprinkled over hot springs, so there is steam rising and dripping off the ceiling, a near constant misery of slow, desalinated rain, creating a dense fungal forrest. The rain is the source of the musty fresh water that can be bought in barrels, and the fungus provides vegan jerky and the thin, fermented liquor the locals call “drink.” There’s a rickety longhouse often stocked with free sailors looking for a berth. That’s all you can get there: Water, rations, “drink,” and maybe sailors for hire.

Harlan confirms there are no red feathers. The fate of the Duskmaiden is pretty clear: Cinderrabbit took it, then gave it to the organization to stock with pirates. That crew attacked a sloop, lost badly, ran to Quiet Water, got caught in the funnel, and are now in Vorn’s holding pen.

The Red Feathers, Cinderrabbit, the Black Eye, even the Fey don’t have a lot of traction down here in the dark-beneath.

Nilfil says no, it was not chained shut. But. It felt weird. The ship felt weirdly weighted and wrongful. Strange noises in the night. Some, not him, but some superstitious weak-livered sorts claimed the boat was haunted. A couple of dwarves claimed they heard whispers in the night, soft footsteps down low in the ballast, but - . He tries to shrug ans best he can in the webbing, ans if to say, You know how dwarves are. But there was that that strange orc, rising up from NOWHERE to beat Nilfil down when he and his attacked the sloop.

Maybe the monsters think it feels haunted, too? Nilfil says.

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Old Aug 10th, 2023, 11:39 PM
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Tempest, Siren
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Tempest leaned against the smooth wood of the ship, listening to Falco with great, intense interest in what he had to say. After she tried to take it all in, she stood up straighter, pushing away from the railing. "Beautiful is spot on, though I have no real need to lie when those on a ship fall under my song. Perhaps Lizard people and Drow are different, but they all cannot deny me if I offered them assistance in finding whatever they are seeking down below."

The blue figure stretched onto her toes, still damp from her swim and considered what Falco wanted to achieve. "The porthole window was cracked open, Captain Falco, and the lovely eye of whomever closed a curtain on me could be easily reached. I could speak, or you could come with me and talk through the window. That would at least lessen the risk. We could try the other window as well, but one is better than none, yes? Do you want to go with me and try to make contact?"

"A haunted ship? This could be used to our advantage, especially with these potions. I, being a Siren, could say that I heard the ship speaking and murmuring, and I needed to board it. Her. Is the ship a She? With Bingle's underwater fire bugs, we could dive deep and see if anything is unusual on the outside. I do desire to see what they seek in their planning room. Do you think they seek treasure? Or information? Books, perhaps? Bones? Oh, how we can offer to light up the ocean with sunlight…or we can use that for ourselves in a more controlled manner and take a look ourselves. We have much to speak with this pirates about, with grand offerings. Who is ever offered to work with a Siren instead of drown? This will be magnificent. Let us go speak with the one locked up. We may be able to squeeze a pickled lime through the window if we can give it a good pull."

Oh how confident and full of herself Tempest is, grinning delight at the prospect of both treasure and getting on with these 'monsters' they were first supposed to kill. Now she must give them a chance to honor her rare presence when she is not wanting to sink their ship? The challenge is worthy of a Siren, most definitely. "Gary, are they all 'monsters'? Even the Dwarves?" As much as she would like to call those onboard monsters, as odd as the Cloaker was, he was more like a strange Stingray in a fancy hat (one she would enjoy), and the Lizard was odd, but…it wasn't like the Lizard was a monster like a Saughin. Or maybe the Lizard was, but more so than she? Her graceful shoulders lifted into a mild shrug, not expecting an answer, feeling as though Gary would find her a monster, though beautiful and perhaps a liar, as well. "Captain Falco, it may be worth a try. Plus, we could tempt the person with a gold piece through the open space. Or a jewel. That would certainly whet my curiosity."
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Old Aug 11th, 2023, 06:04 PM
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Bingle Curiosa Wildwander, Forest Gnome Wizard/Warlock
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Bingle, with her head bent over the locket, green hair nearly touching blue hair, says to Tempest in hushed tones: "Wow, she's so beautiful. And yes, I think that must be her. Vorn's lost love. I saw her in the spyglass in some kind of dark prison. I think he loved her and she was a revolutionary! And she got caught, and got punished and he got punished. He got turned into... he got turned into..." Bingle struggles to find words to explain Vorn shoved biologically into a mechanism. Organs to gears. Blood to oil. "He got punished," she finishes unhappily. "I'm sure he's very evil and she's probably also very evil, but I wish it wasn't so sad. It's like a story, isn't it? But with a terrible ending. I wonder what she wanted to rebel against? Maybe, if she wanted to rebel against Vorn's mother, she wasn't evil, but good."

The Nuderdrak is cold and close, as much as it is vast and dark. She was afraid of the horizon, now she is contained, but so deep. She feels the distance, in Bongle's scolds. As if she is removed a world away from her sister, as well as a hundred years. Nothing could make Old Bongle be normal. Her father with his inappropriate zeal. If he only knew the extent of it. She can never go back there. She will sail farther and farther away until she dies and everyone dies.

She explains to Tempest about Pim, and over the three days of travel she has spent some time getting her new friend up to date on her story, their story.

"When I left my village, I had a bag of coins," she says. "They all contributed, all of them, so I could leave. Because I didn't fit there anymore. I was paralyzed as stone for one hundred years because of a basilisk and they didn't try to get me un-paralyzed because they couldn't risk the exposure. Our village is secret, you see. I only got un-paralyzed because a traveling wizard happened along. Anyway, one of the coins was bubbling when I washed it, so I opened it up and it had a magic paper inside to write messages back and forth. Someone named Pim was writing to me, and I thought he was from a vision I had of an evil trapped behind a dwarf door, but that turned out to be a vampire and Pim actually turned out to be... a gnome."

Later, when they are strategizing, sitting in the hold with the hammocks swinging toward their heads, brought close by the need to keep the plans between just the four of them, until they decide, she brings up the results of her Sending. She's not mad about it anymore.

Pim is lod. He's lod. Lod people, you have to make allowances. They've been alive forever. They can't help it. If she had the coin to write in now, she would be nicer. But she already wrote in it angry and bossy and now just has to wait for him to answer. He's lod, lod, lod. From the Book of Begats, who knows what page. The only reason she ever cracked that murderously repetitive tome was to try and trip up Bongle, who claimed to have memorized it all, by spot checking random facts. She explains to Falco and Fela and Tempest that Pim is old.

"He's an important gnome and trapped, which is why they probably left him to it, because they are afraid of the vampire."

She says it very resigned and sad. She'll also let them know that it's her own village folk that are in hiding from Xolec, not the swamp gnomes as she had thought. They're in hiding from something that's been trapped itself, for 1000 years. Her father is afraid, right now, of a vampire they already looked at and talked to and stole a fairy from. And is shouting at her not to play in ponds.

"I can never go back there," she says. "Not that I ever wanted to. I don't want to find Griselda Erevyn either because she told my father I would scuttle back. I guess I will just have to become a famous pirate wizard and defeat The Eye and save Saltmarsh and gain overwhelming power and travel the whole world with you guys and become the best warlock in hell."

And then go back, she thinks but does not say. And show them whose pond history is.

About the ship she says, "Silver chains? Luminous eye? Is your friend Garrick a werewolf, Falco? Chained with silver in the captain's cabin... that sounds like... why silver? Do you think he could have convinced them he's a werewolf, when actually he's a druid shapeshifting? Maybe we should approach the ship pretending to be clerics who have a solution for their werewolf problem."

Bingle is very curious to see this luminous eye, and get onto the bigger ship and get on with being a famous pirate wizard. She will save Pim probably. But she will never Send to her father or Bongle again. Never ever. Never. Not ever. Never.


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Old Aug 11th, 2023, 11:58 PM
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An eye fer an eye
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"Aye, ye know the limits o' yer song better'n me. I s'pose they've all got ears though. Well, maybe not th' jelly fella." Falco shrugged an' thought more about th' beautiful liars. Tempest were right, it might not be literal outright deception when a charm could work jus' as well. Hells, it almost worked fer Xolec. "I'f ye could charm their strongest an' me mentor still be aboard we might could just do it. Still might be best t' try when they dock an' some crew go ashore fer supplies."

"I'd love t' go an' have a look in that window t' see if'n Garrick is there. An' th' ship ain't never been haunted 'cept maybe in the same way as Anabell's farm back in Glotten or that old smuggler house outside o' Saltmarsh." Falco smiled an' chuckled softly imaginin' big Garrick sneakin' 'round pretendin' t' be a haint. "All ships are Shes, they carry us safely in their bellies, don't they? An' men be fightin' over their beauty."

"I've no idea what they might be out here trawlin' fer but wouldn't th' lights just be attractin' somethin' in all this black? I'm not sure we'd want t' be swimmin' 'round with our own lights." He's heard tales about strange-lookin' fish with mouthfuls o' needle teeth an' little lamps danglin' from their heads, who knows what's down here? Falco turned t' Bingle with 'is wide smile an' said, "If'n he's a werewolf, he's th' best secret keeper ever t' live. But, aye, he could be pretendin'. Doesn't explain why both doors are chained though. Maybe there do be a monster?" Suddenly somethin' else came t' mind an' he exclaimed, "Oh! Y'know, Cap'n Kieran an' Garrick were t'gether. I wouldn't be surprised t' find a hidden passage b'tween their rooms. That could be why th' chains."

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Old Aug 13th, 2023, 03:56 AM
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Tempest, Siren
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Oh how Tempest was fascinated by what Bingle had to say about Vorn. "Vorn and his lost love, and his evil-er mother. Bingle," The Siren lowered her voice as she spoke of this mystery. "...I think she may have been a Moon Elf. The locket has two beautiful cities, and one my wonderful sunlit Father has described to me. The other architecture is strange but Elven-ish with how the peaks of the buildings have pointed spires, most without the loggia, the flare of a steeple in a space one could lounge and gaze upon the lights of a city. His mother, a Duke, and she…could be a royal Moon Elf who wanted to escape with him to a place with real stars, and wind on his face." She nearly swooned at the thought of the Nuderdark Elf being stolen away by love to a place of the Moon Elves. Poor Vorn, evil or not.

"So, you were sent to find your own territory and way once you no longer fit. My Mother should have tried to kill me by now because I am to find my own territory and way, too. You deserved all the coins so you could prove your nobleness. I understand these things, Bingle." Clearly, Tempest understood much about surface life. "But I am wondering if they left you as stone because someone did not want you to survive and thrive and become stronger. You showed them when you were freed. You have your tavern on the sea, and Mermaids as your new friends. Yes, Bingle, you are very impressive. You are no scuttling crab. What a jealous thing for anyone to say." Tempest said this puffed up with pride, knowing someone such as Bingle was pure brilliance. She certainly was in perfect company. "Perhaps you can free the old Gnome if he is not a vampire. If you ever return, you can with us, and they will know you keep the company of Queens. You are already great or you would not have the company you currently keep. You, Bingle, will simply become greater, as I will as well - as all of us will. We are fierce forces of nature…all in their own way." Her Father certainly believed this, and her Mother positively was a wild force to be feared.

Tempest made herself comfortable on the bollard and held onto the rigging tied to it as she looked at Falco thoughtfully. "The light could attract something or scare something away since bright light is not a natural occurrence. We could offer to help once we know their plans. First thing's first, yes? Before we risk ourselves onboard, Captain Falco can travel with me to the port window and see if we can strike up a pleasant conversation. If we do not make progress, Bingle could use her wiles and that would be that."

The Siren looked rather satisfied and smiled over at Fela. "And if all goes well, I will contact Briony for an update."
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  #174  
Old Aug 13th, 2023, 05:39 AM
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Fela, Barbenheimer
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It seems designed to drive her crazy. Stuck on a boat is bad enough, but above there was at least space and light, a horizon against which to judge the rocks and tilts of the ship. Fela has no clue how high above the cavern ceiling is, but in the deep and total darkness it might as well be just above her head, pressing down on her. A prison cell holding her tight, the subtle movements of the boat a torture on her stomach, not the thrill of falling but a constrained, malicious shaking.

Little to do to dwell on the last few days. How could her ill-considered vow to Vorn, a thing of haste and necessity, turn out better than her horrible deals with the Fey? What was happening to her family, Templetome -- to Saltmarsh? The Eye's Wedding and all it entails could happen any moment and she felt as though she were hiding in a closet, wrapped in blank, rocking back and forth.

There was the rest of the crew to make things bearable, yes. But it didn't seem as bad for them. Falco and Tempest belonged on the sea, but Fela was a soldier, not a sailor. Tempest and Bingle both had a default cheeriness, and their magic to occupy them, but Fela had all of the brooding and none of the wizardry. Bingle and Falco came from small, hiding away peoples, but Fela was a noble, not a hermit. They spoke and planned but it couldn't shake her free or occupy her like just knowing Briony was on board had occupied her on their sail out of Saltmarsh had. None of them were Briony and she blamed them for it.

Gary she avoided. Gary the mechanic, the tinker, his spiders tailors weaving webs.

Fela, the soldier, was stuck waiting. But soldiers everywhere we used to waiting, and it was only falling into old routines that made things bearable in the end. Stretching and practicing forms. Obsessively checking and rechecking gear. Sharpening. Polishing and cleaning that in better times she would have dumped on Rickardt as thankless chores became valuable, cherished ceremonies with nothing else to do. Praying all soldiers do, yes, but Fela gives it extra these few days, after Saliber's recent shining presence, with her constant nagging doubts and insecurities.

Tempest and Halran, the spies. Fela, the blunt instrument, was ready to attack, but something something know your enemy. She tried to think like a general and not just a bruiser.

"Our opponent. Below: we had the cloaker, the captain, the two headed giant -- the lizard's probably just a flunky, holding a mop? Above: the jelly cube thing. The drow seems serious, Vorn called him the first mate. And then there's this monster thing -- what did it look like again, Bingle? Plus all the dwarves, probably crew and not serious fighters but there's a lot of them and some might pitch in. And that's just what we've seen; there could have been more below decks, sleeping. A direct fight doesn't sound hopeless, especially if they don't know of us yet, but it's not clearly in our favour. Too much uncertainty about this crew of monsters and their capabilities, even before you take into account Bramble's warning. I don't think we should underestimate them -- what are they looking for, anyway? And why are they doing it on the Dusk Maiden in particular? It's too neat, them showing up right after Vorn found it and overpaying. Like they were waiting for it, and didn't want Vorn to search it, as though there were something on the ship..."

Then there was the rest of Bramble's warning. "Beautiful liars? Kasja, obviously. But I reject not just the Liar part but the Beautiful as well, and it doesn't seem to fit Bingle or Tumble either. I'm not sure how lying would help us, anyway, at sea -- we want their ship, but they have nowhere else to go. Maybe on the island we could somehow trick some of them off, sneak it off to sea, and then deal with the rest, but in the meantime the mystery of the chain seems our best lead. Or..." she looks consideringly at Tempest. "How does it work, exactly, when a Siren takes a ship?" Delicate but direct. "The monstrous officers might be immune to your song, but probably not the dwarvish crew? Could you make them all mutiny, help us in a fight? Might be enough to turn the tides in a fight. Or if they all jumped overboard, they'd be sailing with just a skeleton crew, and we could ... outsail them over time? Naval attrition?" There's doubt in her voice as she looks at Falco, doubt in how exactly this would work, doubt in the wisdom of a long drawn out battle down here when so much is happening up above.

Doubt in unleashing Tempest's powers at all. It was bad enough, Fela's charming curse -- er, charming power. And that was just one person fawning over her for a while. To charm a whole ship, make them not just friends but lovers, and then to destroy them all, without a fair fight... And the dwarvish crew, who she was discussing like pawns on the dragonchess board. "But the crew must just be slaves Vorn threw in with the ship. It'd be better if we could free them instead of just destroy them. I guess trying to make contact with that eye without being noticed may be our best bet?"

Thinking like a general sucked.

Actions, etc.
Dice History, I guess, seeing what Fela would know of cloakers, ettins and unnamed monster things:
d20+3 (6)+3 Total = 9


Aura of Protection: +4 to saves for Fela and any friendlies within 10'

 
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  #175  
Old Aug 13th, 2023, 06:12 AM
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Bingle Curiosa Wildwander, Forest Gnome Wizard/Warlock
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Bingle nods, convinced.

"A moon elf. Yes." It's easier to focus on Vorn's problems since they are so massive and dramatic, unlike hers. (My father wants me home.) "What do you think it means, about the trees, the two trees?" (My sister acts superior.) "Do you think it's because they are both trapped? Her in prison and him in the chair? I never thought of trees as trapped before but I suppose --" (In the dagger, in the stone.) "--you could look at it like that."

Bingle affirms Tempest's interpretation that she didn't fit in at the village anymore and that's why they allowed her out. It wasn't a mission or a quest or anything. Just permission to go. Almost -- was it a push? But now, her father wants her back. As if she isn't 100 years younger than her sister and friends. Pim is lod. She is lod. Everyone in the village is lod, lod, lod. But here, with Tempest, Fela, and Falco, she is young. And they are all young. And everything is possible.

Bingle teaches Tempest some gnomish. Pirson. Tarpped. Lef. Vapmire. Weerwlof.

"Do they have any vapmires and weerwlofs under the sea?"


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  #176  
Old Aug 14th, 2023, 05:28 PM
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PLANNING
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Fela, you don’t know much about Underdark monsters, but Siren are Fey; Fey are what Watchers study. Tempest was born here, on the Prime, which makes her different (you hope) (surely it must!)

Here is how a Siren takes a ship. She sets wards to know when a vessel has entered her territory. She has to stealthily intercept, as she is slower than most ships. She attaches herself to the hull, then begins to breach it in multiple spots while singing off first this sailor and then that one. The older she is, the more powerful her song. The young only attack at night, when no one might notice as she sings the watch off, one by one, into the water. Older sirens will attack even in the day, calling multiple sailors to leap into the waves. Once they are in the drink, she sets new targets, sings again. More and more are in the water, spread out, while others try to bring the ship about, and all the while, she is tearing the hull open here and there. Once the ship is too breached to be saved, they are all hers.

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young Bongle
Tempest, Bingle share-ishes about Vorn (Yikes?) and wonders about Moon elves. How much do you know? You know the sea better. You share your ideas with Falco and ask if the gray dwarves are people or monsters. It is a tricky situation to be sure, and an important question, because your song only works on people, not monsters.

Falco, you theorize. There is no way Garrick is a werewolf. You would have KNOWN. How many full moon nights did you sit out on deck with him and pass a bottle back and forth. More than thrice, to be certain. Unless he became one very very recently? Nilfil swings in his cocoon, eyes tracking you all.

Falco and Tempest
, by the time you feel a plan coming together, you have about four hours before the Dusk Maiden makes harbor. What are you going to do?

Bingle you BARELY remember any of the Book of Begats. You did know your name was from it, but BIG WHOOP because almost every name in the village is from it. You remember when Bongle was yonug, and even then, she was lod - sumgyl set in her ways. Did they push you out? They said, DO NOT GO, with their mouths but everyone was SO uncomfortable around you.

Griselda Erevyn said you should go and not listen to any, Fusty, musty cautionary tales from fusty musty sisters. She said a good motto for girls recently returned from being stone was: Run and find out! She gave you a spell book. She gave you Pemmican. (It looked like shoe leather and smelled like old meat, and you threw it away, but still, she gave a BUNCH of it to you.) You remember her smile (BOLD! DASHING!) And her eyes (BRIGHT! CURIOUS!)

Would she give a spellbook to a scuttler? Or two weeks worth of weird gross road meat to a person who would tuck tail and be home in two days? In your time of running and finding out, you have run into and found out about the fey. Griselda Erevyn is not a fairy, but still. Eladrin are Fey. Maybe she did tell your father you would scuttle home, but you have a pretty good insight into how Fey work now, and this you know: Fey things lie.

OOCOKAY TEAM it sounds like you are close to a plan? If you are going over, let me know who all is going over, and how will they go? Lit or unlit? In animal forms or with underwater breathing? Also, I want a GROUP stealth check. Tempest can keep her good stealth roll from last round. You can get to the porthole for sure and do a thing there, no matter the stealth roll.

People who do not go should roll survival for how well you do following the Dusk Maiden without getting spotted


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  #177  
Old Aug 16th, 2023, 02:12 AM
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Tempest, Siren
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"I am not underestimating any of them. They are following plans, at a table. It all looked very important. If they are scared of a haunted ship, is there a way to make them uncomfortable enough where they would allow us on board to un-haunt the ship? Captain Falco knows the interior of the ship. Carvings in the wood below deck - I see that..it is called 'initialing'? Markings, yes? He could tell Bingle, for example, that there is charred wood in the corner of the galley and with this intimate knowledge, she could tell the Drow that is where someone died. We can be beautiful tricksters who will convince them we need to walk around the whole ship. Fela Markwig Springer, then you can seek what may be hidden. And maybe we can scare them all off the ship." Tempest grinned, slowly churning through her thoughts, her story knowledge of haunted manors, and what it was like to be lying but not totally lying. She found this challenge intriguing, not sinking a ship, and not necessarily killing everyone on board. This unfortunately meant no presents right away, and this caused her to crinkle her nose. Then the Siren tilted her head to the side and eyed Fela with brows furrowing curiously.

"I do not know if these cranky-serious Dwarves are seducible by my magnificent, melodious self. I've not asked anyone to fight for me, but they have stood in support of my being on a ship. Sometimes I must take care and not ask for too many shiny offerings, but one by one, they fall under the enchantment of the evening." Tempest said with such a cat-eating-the-goldfish smile, that of which is a bit feral. With a few steps, she mimed a little waltz on deck as she spoke. "First it's one, then two, and some lovely conversation. We find the musician who wants to impress me, and soon there is singing, and stomping, and dancing as they learn how wonderful a night it is under the moon in my company. Soon I'll have books offered to me, jewels around my wrists, and a bag full of treats from the kitchen that I can share with my Father. I always ask for honey and butter and baked bread, or pickled anything." Tempest sighed and stopped with an expression of a dreamy wildness about her. "And maybe a few try to follow me into the ocean. Or maybe I call a few into the ocean and skip the dance altogether." The Siren shrugged, smiling widely - all teeth and merriment. "I'd be more than happy to try to call someone to me, Fela Markwig Springer, but if this is witnessed, I cannot simply swim away. The ship will be up in arms. The rest of the ship needs to be asleep, and these would be those on deck being watchful." For some reason, the Siren didn't seem to have an ounce of remorse for these actions she described. Surely they have heard the legends, and indeed they are true with a tablespoon of hyperbole. She had a feeling that Fela would not be happy to ask a Siren to call people to her for a good drowning, but why would that be different than asking someone to fight with them in bloody combat? At least this was clean and entertaining. "I can at least try to make friends with a few of them if our presence isn't appreciated. Then they can listen amiably to what we have to offer, and they, being enamored by us all, will share their plan."

Tempest sat down with Bingle and removed a leather-bound maroon book, strapped closed, from her colorful satchel-bag. Opening it, she started to write down the Gnome words, and then the Common, followed by Elven. The Siren was very careful with her inkwell and fancy wood pen with how she dipped it with intent, never pressing on the nib too hard as she scrawled neat lettering across the parchment. Doodles followed. Proudly, she held open the book to show Bingle the words she knew, and the creatures she's seen. This was her identification book of things that she had seen - bees on flowers, gulls and birds, and some sea creatures. "My Father explains to me what we see on the island, and in turn, I will show him what I see in the ocean - and he will give it a name that is clearly different from Aquan, so I write it down." The Siren is not lod, and she's studious, constantly learning. "There are wolf eels, and creatures that have a ROUND mouth with rows and rows of sharp teeth that latch on, never letting go. There are many things to avoid besides Kuo Toa and Sahuagin. There are things I've heard of, but I've never seen…like sharks that aren't sharks - like bad-people-sharks, and the round-mouth-many-teethed-sucking monsters, and turtles and squids the size of a ship or a whale. Falco Starseeker being a shark was ….in all honesty, gave me a touch of fleeting fear. Let us draw the trees. My Father has told me many tales of the Eladrin and Elves, and he is the best storyteller there is under the sun. This is part of why, I believe, my dear Mother did not eat him. Do Gonme females do the same eventually? Do they rid your village of bothersome males once they are no longer amused with them? Do you think Vorn's love left him willingly because she was a Moon Elf or she is in a pirson too? The longing love that went into each tiny brushstroke in the locket is that of stories." The colorful eyes, dark and amused, glance upwards to take note of the squirming captive as she wondered if the Half Elf was dismissed by his village and has now found himself in such a bind.

Once the fun was over, and Tempest packed her book and ink away, she stretched and wandered until she found Falco. "Are you ready? Bingle did not have a problem hanging onto my armor, and I am more comfortable than a spider to ride." The sultry blue Siren smirked at the Hin. "I'll meet you at the end of that rope." With that said, she wasted no time and dove into the dark, unusual water that was strange but fascinating. The life that teemed underneath was something she knew she could not see all of, and that motivated her swim, with Falco holding on, efficiently and direct, swift, and stealthily smooth across the Glimmersea to the 'monster' ship.

As the Siren pushed through the sea with her powerful black-striped blue tail, she skirted around the ship until she found the cracked open port window again. Rising up, with Falco still attached to her, she tapped lightly on the window and softly, quietly talked into the narrow space. "Hello there? I have returned to give you delightful company." She turned to look up at Falco awkwardly, pleased with herself for the moment. "Perhaps a gold coin, or … I have emergency tinned fish in my bag."
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  #178  
Old Aug 17th, 2023, 07:50 AM
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Siren
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Tempest, trees, trees, trees. Elves and trees. There is almost too much lore. Wood elves are the worst with their, Oak means this, Ash means that. Your father had a sort of fond contempt for them. Woo-woo, he thought them. The dirty hippies of the quendi.

Among non-wood elves, a tree, like a moon or a crown or a flower, can mean a thousand things depending on how the artist uses it. This tree around the locket and the cigarette case has been torn asunder. Split. Both sides of it still grow, but each is lessened, each now twists up into odd directions, still beautiful, but ruined.

You look again - The woman in the locket is no moon elf! She is drow, as Vorn is drow. Perhaps pale for her kind, or that could be the moonlight. What does it mean? Well it is art. You are the looker. You decide. What you have here is:

A bisected tree locket holds a painting of a moon elf city above an unfamiliar but definitely some-kind-of-elven city below, a huge moon, and a drow princess in a brutal crown.

Ah well, enough art!

Will you be sad when Bingle eats up Banx? Ahwell, enough philosophy!

You offer Falco a lift and slip into the sea, trusting he will work out how to breathe on his own. You fly silent and true as an arrow to that port window, stealthily poke up your head, then raise yourself high in the water with your lashing tail, quiet as you can be. It helps that there is noise above: the water lapping the sides, a growly sea chantry sung in dwarven, the stamp of monster feet.

You surge up until you can see in the window. The drapes are closed. There is no response to your tapping or your soft words.
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  #179  
Old Aug 18th, 2023, 12:17 AM
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A dip in th' dark
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Before he left, Falco looked t' Nilfil who'd been watchin' 'em all, "This goes our way, I'll be pretty inclined t' leave ye on that island. Ye somehow make it hard fer us or make me regret anythin' I'll drag ye up an' deliver ye t' th' Eye meself." He looked at how far a swim it were an' decided t' look fer some sort o' reed or tube. Where would a reed be down in a dark ocean though? No plants without sunlight save th' glowin' mushrooms an' those wouldn't do. If'n he had 'is pipe, that could maybe even work t' breathe through.

But he left it with Banx. Falco asked Gary if'n he had any spare tube or pipe, maybe fer spider repair, what he could use t' breathe through so as t' swim more stealthily. If'n Gary don't have anythin' fittin', he'll ask Fela an' Bingle if'n they might have a magical solution. "I can't do th' magic fer breathin' underwater," he shrugs. Worse comes t' worse he can shark but, that'd leave 'im unable t' talk or with th' same problem fer th' swim back.

Finally, Falco slipped down in th' black water an' tried not t' think about what he couldn't see. Instead, he held onto Tempest's shoulders an' thought about takin' back 'is ship. That part were easy. Bein' th' one holdin' on instead o' th' one swimmin' or climbin' were an entirely different thing fer Falco. He maybe weren't as graceful as he coulda been. But 'is heart were racin' an, soon enough, they was right there with th' Dusk Maiden. He reached out an' touched th' familiar wood o' th' hull.

After Tempest made her introduction, Falco smiled an' nodded at her then pulled 'is face up close t' the window an' made 'is own. "It's Falco," he spoke in an almost whisper. "I found ye jus' like they said. I'm takin' th' Dusk Maiden back, an' I brought some new friends Garrick." He'll wait fer a response but try t' listen fer any movement or sign o' life beyond th' window. He'll try t' find an angle where he might get a small glimpse past th' curtains an' if'n nothin' happens, he'll say, "We might need t' be tryin' th' other window too."

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  #180  
Old Aug 18th, 2023, 07:36 AM
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Fela: Watcher or Watchee?
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It's a little hard to listen to the details of How Sirens Charm And Kill, but in the end it's more of a relief than a disappointment that their capabilities don't seem appropriate for taking the Dusk Maiden. "Ah, it's a gradual drive a few crazy at a time thing, not plunging them all off the cliff at once like those little mouse things up north. Lemmings?"

But she's not convinced fully convinced by the alternate plans, either. "The haunted ship thing...I could see it getting their guard down, giving you some time on board to see what's up. But we want to take the whole ship, and they seemed pretty desperate to get this ship from Vorn. I don't think they'd just abandon it that easily -- and where would they go, anyway, in the middle of this dark sea full of monsters? We might have a better chance while they're docked here -- strike while some of them are off board anyway, scare the rest away whether by a trick of ghosts or a fire or just force. They'd be much more likely to turn and run aground where it didn't mean certain death, just like hardened mercenaries are more likely to turn and flee than untrained farmers defending the local village. But they're almost there, and we don't know that much about them -- Falco, you know the ship...do you think you could sneak aboard unseen -- like, as a rat or something -- and spy on them until they make land? The rest of us could maybe dock off to the side of the island, unseen, and meet up and figure out our next step?"

Fela's a bundle of nerves after they set off. "Don't lose them -- maybe they're onto us and heading for the port is just a ruse to lose us -- but don't follow so close that they see us." She has no idea how visible they'd be, down here, and is equally clueless about how to navigate the ship to make that happen, but being a noble and a soldier she'd seen more than enough impossible, difficult and dangerous orders given out as lightly as if they were a request for a cup of tea. So, she gives the order to Gary, mouths "Help him?" with a questioning face to Bingle, and paces the deck, looking broodingly into the darkness where she knew the sea must be, occasionally touching her amulet with a slight glow when she thinks she's heard a wave that was...different.

A few things occur to her, thinking about following and watching. Maybe sparked by thinking about Siren's Songs, she thinks about her own charms, her kiss mark, she wonders if she's being watched by Nexa at the moment, just as they're watching the Dusk Maiden. And then it strikes her. She finds Bingle (if she's still around) "Othokent gave Tumble that magic tattoo -- do you think the Red Feather tattoos could be magic, too? Maybe the Eye knows one of his crew is where we are right now...I could have checked. I should have checked. But I don't want to spend my energy now when it could be needed any moment..."


Actions, etc.
Not taking the Survival Check, passing it to Bingle and/or Gary. Maybe the words with Gary could be a help action for him? Persuasion check on that if required:
Dice Sail Good Now, Gary:
d20+7 (4)+7 Total = 11


At a few intervals throughout her watch, Fela will burn a Divine Sense for monsters in the water.

Dice Perception Check, disadvantage because dark and mostly listening:
2d20-1kl1 (10, 1 (keeping 1) )-1 Total = 0




Aura of Protection: +4 to saves for Fela and any friendlies within 10'

 

Last edited by ptwiddle; Aug 18th, 2023 at 07:38 AM.
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