Wednesday, September 1, 2010

9/1/2010 - To the Skies and Beyond

9 -1 – 2010
After the events of the previous day, the next couple of days seemed to fly by quite quickly.  Ariadne was a flurry of activity, gathering up crew and authorizing different people to come along.  Otso was particularly interesting.  He floated!  Well, actually kept a mass of clouds beneath his feet so he never touched the ground.  Something about a curse or some sort.  And all it would take is a single touch to the ground for the things after him to locate his position.  

It made us scratch our head but Ariadne swore he was the best and it was her ship after all.    He brought with him a bunch of plants, something that made Twink incredibly happy.  She snipped off a few leaves, which he scolded her for (but not really meaning it).  The plants were known as Oxygensus though most knew them by their nom de guerre of “oxygen leaves”.

Ariadne also employed Kain, bringing him on as a handyman and crewmember with the promise of a portion of profit and who knows what else.  Twink spent some time looking for more herbs to add to her collection and who knows what Sultrani did.  Spoke to Collin at least.  He had used an interesting martial move know as the “Wolf’s Fangs”.  He was closed mouthed about it but they had a friendly conversation, nonetheless.  She did convince him that the name he overhead when she cast it into the moon pool was Ariadne’s to give and not hers.  He looked skeptical but acquiesced after she pushed.

While the crew slowly showed up and everyone else was busy, Sultrani took some steps to keep pursuers (wonder who she thought was following…?) from tracking them down.  She spent freely to book passage on several caravans and carriage routes out of town as well as some billets on airships and skyships.  Quite a busy bee.  In fact, she was near the docks doing just that when a freak swell caught her by surprise and right into the drink.  Sucked in by a riptide, she was pulled out but managed to fight her way free of it.  She was a bit out then but started swimming back.  She was sucked in by another riptide but was pulled from it by another merman.  Thinking it Reiner she went along.

She was quite surprised to find out it wasn’t when they neared shore.  He noted his name was Fin and while not Reiner he was aware of the man.  Sultrani, for her own reasons, introduces the too.  After some conversation with Ariadne and Reiner, Fin joined us.  Their discussion was behind closed doors but in private she assured us he was trustworthy.

The week pulled to a close with the crew going on board.  They were an interesting and tough looking bunch, reconciled to potentially not coming back for years.  Just like we were.  That conversation with Araidne after she laid out that she had acquired a ship had hit us like a stone.  Everyone talked, even Sultrani! At least for a little bit.  Regardless, the sense of adventure and fun in flying across Khaora seemed to much to turn down.  Anyway, the crew were as follows:

Ariadne:  Captain
Navigator:  Otso
First Mate:  Hignphaxis
·         Geof
·         Marjorie
·         Antel
·         Shayn Duomo
·         Sable
·         Kurtag
·         Mina
·         Draj
·         Endil
·         Cade
·         Vangtse (hawkman)
·         Ryx
·         Kain

Twink was our medic and cook.  Sultarni was, well, herself.  We had one other passenger who didn’t muster that came on board with Fin.  She was something special, I guess, and there at Kolera’s insistence.
Twink left food outside her door, as she didn’t seem to come out at all.  Maybe late perhaps. 
Leaving Khurahaen was a grand adventure that quickly grew boring.  Time slipped away as the drill of sailing the skies took over and we fell into a rhythm.  The first push was to gain altitude to clear the Prismatic Mountains, which meant pointing the ship skyward at a steep angle and rising.  Otso took it easy on us, taking his time guiding us upward.

In fact, it was rather boring for a while.  At least, until we actually got up into the upper layers of the atmosphere.  Even the mountain tops looked rather small below us through the clouds.  It was dark and cloudy when the watch saw them first.  Multicolored lights, dancing and moving in patterns with the clouds as a backdrop.  One did not concern them.  It was when it grew to three and then seven and then more when they (Ryx) set off the alarm.

Ariadne orders the weapons locker to open and everyone arms up.  Fighting them seemed impossible as they moved and zoomed across the ship.   After some rather dramatic  failures, Sultrani landed a blow on one that destroyed it.  I think.  She grew very agitated after failing to defend or attack them and landed upon one of them with a horizontally spinning kick then thrust her hand inside its core and ripped out its lights.  Her hand went dead; numb at the least, maybe more.  That seemed to animate them even more.   It was Otso who struck them with lightning forcing them away.  It charred the ship in the process and Ariadne orders an immediate payment of 1 GP in hazard pay!

The next day saw some sore heads from celebration of surviving the first conflict.  It was quiet during the morning as we passed over the mountains but a little more hectic as we got into some rougher weather that forced us up a little higher.  Everyone was on oxygen leaves then and during the afternoon count we realized that Kain was missing!

A search of the ship revealed nothing but Vangtse in scouting the area finds trails of Kain’s hair near a strange creature.  It looked, for the lack of a better term, like a slowing turning mirror floating through the sky.  Fearing it had devoured Kain we sailed over to it and it ignored us, making no attempt to move away or attack.

Unknownst to us, Kain had been snapped up by the creature, which was a bizarre thing that consisted of little more than a giant stomache attached to an open aperture.  It lived on bugs and small things mostly with an occasional larger prey (high Kain!) once and a while.

Kain was not still why we struggle to figure out what to do.  He quickly realized he was getting weaker (it drained the life out anything inside) and scrambled his way through the debris of insect husks and bodies to try to find a way out.  He had no luck but did stumble a spirit of another victim.  She had been swept off a skyship as well and died as he would if nothing changed.  Her spirit was trapped within and wanted only escape.  She told Kain she had a powerful voice and knew that the right vibrations would force it to regurgitate its stomach if they hit the right vibration.

She (Tentari) had been doing that before she died and has nothing but time to figure out what was needed since.  If he would let her possess him, she could sing them free.  Kain quibbles but given a lack of any choices, agrees.  She possesses him without a hitch and moves to a point indecipherable to him but where she says they must stand.  She opens her mouth tossing  when it happens:

Back on the ship, no one could figure out what to do.  After a lot trial and error, they find it can take things in but nothing seems to come back out.  Lacking options, we decided to empty the bilges and septic tank into it.  Poor Kain was starting to sing when he was deluged with water and shit!  He survives the shitfall and still manages to sing and nearly contemporaneously it belches him and a lot of the shit, water and insect corpses.
It floods our ship and sends it canting to one side and we nearly lost two.  Luck was with us (even though nearly all the food was spoiled and the ship stank for days).

Tentari, freed pulls from Kain and begins to fade.  As a last gift she burns some of her passing essence into the ship, building it into a song that brings a gentle rain.  It doesn’t last, at least the rain, but the song lingered, always there with the ship like a haunting air.

We thanked the gods the next couple of days were quiet as we left Arduin behind us and travelled high across the plains of Falohyr.  It ended, sadly, when late one night as we were heading towards some horrible place called The Withering Lands we caught sight of a large serpentine form wriggling through the air.  Figuring it a dragon we dodged it and went higher to hide.

We were lucky and dodged it.  Some time passed without problems until we slammed into something we couldn’t see.  It rocked the shop and our tempers.  We rushed out to find out what was going on.
A quick recon showed it was some kind of translucent webbing that didn’t show up against the cloud background.  Where webbing exists, spiders always follow and we quickly found ourselves fighting translucent spiders.  They fell quickly to our blades without much effort.  Getting out of the webbing took longer and was interrupted by what I can only call a hail of jellyfish, or so it seemed.  That complicated things but once we had swept them off deck, we used the webbing to replace some damage (it worked really well) and their saliva to burn away the webs otherwise.