Return to the Southern Continent

As we play, occasionally we'll close a thread and open a new one to keep the size of threads (and relative complexity) down to a dull roar. Here's where we store the closed posts from the history of Errant Road.

Re: Return to the Southern Continent

Postby Jack Rothwell » October 12th, 2012, 4:28 pm

By the mid-morning the next day the group were sailing away from the Port aboard The Curious Narwhal. Tamina waved the city goodbye as it grew small in the distance, already humming the 'yo-ho' song under her breath.

The ship, on inspection, had turned out to be nearly as ostentatiously dressed as it's owner; the prow was painted to resemble the head of it's namesake, including a twisted 'horn' of carved wood that jutted out over the ocean like an accusatory finger. The sail was the same bright red of the garments of the ship's Captain, with a highly-stylized depiction of a sea-creature (it actually looked like a style of drawing used by one of the kobold tribes further south to Tamina's eyes) etched on it in black. It was well-armed for a merchant vessel, but not suspiciously so, pairs of small cannons and the swords of a few crewman was all. The smell of spices drifted from the cargo deck below them.

The crew were friendly enough to the passengers, although a few had started slightly at the appearance of the elf. One or two had offered token greetings in Tamina's native tongue as she'd clambered aboard, showing that Moriarty's attitude of learning foreign cultures had been passed on to the people who worked under him, at least in part. The Captain himself was currently under deck, citing something 'the itinerary' before disappearing.

"<A couple of days.>" The young humanoid whispered, as Kiyoka finally dropped out of sight. "<Nearly home now.>"
User avatar
Jack Rothwell
Teller of Tales
 
Posts: 2212
Joined: June 17th, 2010, 7:35 am
Location: Liverpool, England

Re: Return to the Southern Continent

Postby Alberich » October 12th, 2012, 6:35 pm

Hours passed. The passengers, their passage paid, had no duties, only to walk the deck and accustom themselves to life aboard ship. Udo had stowed most of his gear and checked out their cabins, idly eyeing the walls for strategic peephole drill-spots. But of course he was too mature for that now. And hadn't brought his centerbit. For whatever reason, whenever Drusia seemed to be clustering close to Tamina, Udo did so too; but when not, he gave her some room. What this ship needed, he thought, was some good boardgames. And some good boardgamers who weren't busy with ropes and sails and stuff.

Part of his wish might be coming true, because in the early afternoon, the wind died down and the sails slackened. The navigator affirmed this was wholly unseasonal. After the strong, friendly blow they'd had all morning this was especially disappointing - it put them far from any help and wondering what it meant. It was far too early to panic about the rations - would they be reduced to eating nutmeg from the cargo? Someone had started a rumor it was hallucinogenic...

Well, no one was eating it, but the air felt unnatural, and a fog was rising from the summer sea. It didn't take a mage to know there was something wrong here, a feeling of cold-blooded hate in the air, but there was no focus for it yet, no center of power to strike, no knot to unravel as the fog thickened. Only watches in every direction, and magic sensing from the mages. Within half an hour, this fog had risen high above the masts, and the ship was quite enshrouded.

It was Tamina's sharp kobold eyes that first spotted a light in the fog off to starboard - a flickery light, low to the water, far too low for a ship, and drifting closer slowly, but inexorably. The captain had a gun primed and ready - but there was no reason to shoot yet, and anyway the gunport was positioned for something higher.

As the thing drifted closer, the mages' senses confirmed there was magic down there - powerful magical shielding, invisible to the eyes, but able to stop the best they could throw (and block teleports as well). Yet the sight itself was mundane, strange, smelly, squalid. It was a raft of smashed ships' planks and driftwood, lashed together with cables, large enough for a small dance if you could keep your footing. There was no mast, nor would a mast have done any good in this windlessness, but the raft was drifting along anyway. The light was a fire - a foolish thing, one would think - right in the center. And the occupant of the raft was crudely cooking a fish on a stick, applying the flame direct, and sniffing at the thing as he prepared his seeming meal.

This occupant looked to be male and hairless, well over six feet tall, with a gray-green skin that was all to visible - for all he wore was a belted kilt of sailcloth. His ears and features suggested "half-elf" - but whether he was that or something even more unnatural, this was harder to say. He looked up to the railing, saw the passengers looking over, and gave a lazy wave. His eyes fixed on Drusia for a moment, and there was a look of mad hate - disturbing, if the magic shield was his, for that meant he was strong. Lurching to his feet, the stranger stepped around his fire and called up to the shipside.

"I say, there! Do you want wind?"

The nattily-uniformed mate called down, "We do, stranger - who are you?"

"I'm the one who can get you some wind!"

The mate made a gesture that said - "Go ahead."

The stranger shook his head with speed. "I'm a knight of the sea and you've got to meet my challenge!" There was a cackly shriek in the voice, not at all a sign of sanity.

"And what challenge is that?" asked the mate.

"Battle!" the stranger cried. "One of you -- only one of you! -- must come down here and meet me sword to sword, no magic! Or magic to magic - no sword! If you can get me into the water - then you shall have wind! It's traditional!"

Before anyone could think of what tradition that was - there was a clatter and a splash. Udo, who wasn't thinking at all, had thrown down his staff, grabbed his nose, and leaped into the sea. The thought of anyone else getting to the Field of Honor first was more than he could bear. The thought of what he would do when he got there...had not been pursued in depth. He'd only thought so far before the thinking stopped. He swam for the raft - his swimming, with swords, was less graceful than his dancing - and struggled up onto the edge, dripping and clattering. By this time, the stranger had stamped out his pointless little fire and was standing on the opposite side, in a broad-legged stance that kept him upright as Udo's boarding jogged the raft. The squishy wet ex-battlemage managed to make his feet, and draw a pair of swords - a hand-and-a-half Tsuirakuan blade, and a shorter one from Farrel he'd received in his brief career as a highwayman. The sailcloth-kilted freak turned his side to Udo and held out his only weapon - the stick with a fish on the end.

Udo rushed him. Battle was joined.

His initial hope to push him over the side like a wrestler proved problematic. The enemy timed his lateral jump well, leaving Udo trying to skid to a stop at the edge. Only even in this unnaturally calm water, the raft was an unstable platform, and he had to go spider-legged to slow down. And the enemy to the side gave him a massive whack to the buttocks that nearly pitched him into the water. By the hardest, Udo managed to grab the edge without losing his weapons, and struggle back to his feet. His opponent had backed to the other side of the raft, and stood, fish at the ready, to inflict more punishment.

Udo was game. He came back more slowly this time, his swords raised in the best martial style he could remember. But the weird-skinned mottle-man threw off his attacks and took advantage of a pitch of the raft to drive him back again, cackling with the fun. He seemed quite at ease on this his home ground. Yet there was a lot of fight in Udo yet. By Drusia's standards he wasn't much of a swimmer or a dancer or a fighter or, probably, a lover. But neither was he by any stretch a quitter.

He didn't consider trying to cheat with magic - the terms of the challenge were "no magic." He didn't consider calling for help, either - the terms were "one of you." He didn't consider that he was outclassed, at least on this ground - that thought did not easily enter his head - though the spectators on the ship could see it soon enough.

The question was, what to do about it? They might try to help - but the invisible shield-dome would block magic and fast missiles alike. (Udo had come in slowly, so it had not stopped him; but knives, arrows, bullets - they would be stopped.) And if they came down in person, they'd be breaking the rules of the challenge, by which only one was to come down - and would the strange mad creature restore their wind then? Or display more of its magical talent - to the danger of their ship? They might shout advice to Udo, but teaching him to be a better swordsman on the fly -- well, it didn't seem likely. Or, of course, they might take advantage of his absence to grope each other in the fog while he got his brains beaten out with a fish on a stick. But that wouldn't solve their problems...

What to do?
Alberich
Noble Knight Protector
 
Posts: 1892
Joined: October 5th, 2008, 9:58 am

Re: Return to the Southern Continent

Postby Graybeard » October 13th, 2012, 12:33 pm

While this battle royal was being played out on the raft, another battle was going on in one of the cabins, between Khoo's mind and his stomach. Judging from the green color of his face, the stomach was winning.

"Oh, by the Sea God..." he groaned, not particularly caring that no one was there to be listening. "Why did I ever decide to get shanghaied onto this thing? And seasickness is bad enough when you're under way, but to be just sitting here, going up and down, up and down ..." The very thought propelled him into the head for another round of what he'd been doing copious rounds of for the last few hours.

However, it also got him thinking. There wasn't much he could do about the fact that they were going to be stuck on this miserable vessel for two or three days, even if they got away from whatever transient weather pattern had becalmed them. However, the fact that they were becalmed ... that he could do something about, at least for long enough that he could finally get some blessed sleep. He opened his Pocket Dimension and extracted the textbook for his Advanced Aetherics class, which he'd more or less aced. There was an exercise at the end of chapter five that seemed like it ought to have some value here; he'd used it in the static tests of the glider, after all.

Completely oblivious to the drama abaft, he poked his head out of the cabin and studied the forward rigging. Yes, it would be about the right size, a little smaller than ideal maybe, but still enough to catch the effect of the spell and get the ship moving again. In fact, it might be better that way. Gentle rather than brisk movement might be best for his upset innards, and it shouldn't be hard to modify the spell for a bit more duration and less immediate force. Yes, this should work just fine. He rallied his energies and cast ...

"WIND SPRITE!!"

Magic leaped from his finger to the foremast and coalesced into a softly glowing, humanoid shape that began a rhythmic, breathing sound. WHSSH...whrrr...WHSSH...whrrr... The topgalant filled with air and the ship began to move.

It wouldn't last long, but it would last long enough. Khoo retreated to his cabin, closed the door with a click, and lulled by the much more comfortable new rhythm of the wind (sprite), was asleep within seconds.
----
Image
Because old is wise, does good, and above all, kicks ass.
User avatar
Graybeard
The Heretical Admin
 
Posts: 6850
Joined: August 20th, 2007, 8:26 am
Location: Nuevo Mexico y Colorado, Estados Unidos

Re: Return to the Southern Continent

Postby Alberich » October 13th, 2012, 1:09 pm

The wind sprite not only filled the sails and got the ship to start on its creaky way, but at least began the work of scattering that obnoxious, unnatural fog.

Whatever the "Knight of the Sea" might do to stop the sprite, he couldn't do it now, because he was busy dealing out pain and humiliation down there on the raft. He lashed out at Udo's face - but Udo ducked back fast enough that he was just barely poked by the half-cooked fish's mouth. But leaning back put him half off balance, and he got a jab in the belly that knocked him off his feet. He rolled fast and struggled up, blocking a downward blow that would've broken his arm. "You got kissed!" shrieked the enemy. The fight continued.
Alberich
Noble Knight Protector
 
Posts: 1892
Joined: October 5th, 2008, 9:58 am

Re: Return to the Southern Continent

Postby Jack Rothwell » October 13th, 2012, 1:40 pm

"Kick him in the coojahs* Udo!" Tamina shouted from the railings. A sudden flash of insight passed through the kobold's mind about what she could do to motivate the fighting man. "Gonna tell all the Killikah how brave you were after you win!"

Truthfully, Tamina was planning on letting the Killikah know that anyway, she understood enough about the men in her tribe to know how important it was to them for people to hear all about their brave deeds. Spirits knew she was well-versed enough in fixing the mess such deeds left behind.

*- The nuts/giggleberries/two-veg/balls/hairy sack of magic/stones/etc...
User avatar
Jack Rothwell
Teller of Tales
 
Posts: 2212
Joined: June 17th, 2010, 7:35 am
Location: Liverpool, England

Re: Return to the Southern Continent

Postby Alberich » October 13th, 2012, 3:27 pm

Tamina's words filled Udo with inspiration. Unfortunately for him, "inspiration" didn't translate into "skill" and he continued to get the worst of it.

It was the mate -- the handsomely-uniformed Mr. Sauvage -- who noticed something about Khoo's wind sprite. It wasn't like a normal north wind, blowing as it wished, but it seemed to be following the ship, so that it ran whichever way it was pointed. That gave him a freedom to steer he'd never had before. Taking the wheel, he gave his orders as the ship left the raft behind.

By the time he got the Narwhal turned around, the "sea knight" was dominating the fight strongly, and Udo was on the defensive and tiring. But now the ship was bearing down on the raft. The enemy responded by taking two deft leaps back -- too deft for this platform -- and snapping his weapon forward. The fish flew off the end and struck Udo in the coojahs.* The winded warrior could barely keep hold of his weapons as his opponent backflipped into the water and disappeared from view.

The swell upended the raft and tipped Udo into the sea, but the ship was alongside now, and the sailors flung him a line and hauled him up. He was out of breath, badly bruised, and minus both swords, but alive.

*The Potatoes, The Twins, The Boys in the Basement, The Yarbles, Where It Hurts - Tonight only, no cover!
Last edited by Alberich on October 13th, 2012, 3:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Alberich
Noble Knight Protector
 
Posts: 1892
Joined: October 5th, 2008, 9:58 am

Re: Return to the Southern Continent

Postby Jack Rothwell » October 13th, 2012, 3:38 pm

Tamina clapped appreciatively at Udo's return and helped haul the man back to his feet.

"Did great!" She exclaimed. "Knocked him inna water! Lucky the ship was able to move with no... no..."

The kobold's brain finally caught on to other recent events and noticed the magic being used to propel the ship. The humanoids eyes grew huge at the sight of the sprite.

"ooooOOOoooohhhhh!"
User avatar
Jack Rothwell
Teller of Tales
 
Posts: 2212
Joined: June 17th, 2010, 7:35 am
Location: Liverpool, England

Re: Return to the Southern Continent

Postby Alberich » October 13th, 2012, 3:42 pm

Udo, feeling the effects of the enemy's last blow, voiced agreement with Tamina but in a descending voice --

"OOOO-ooooo-ooooh!!!!"

The windbane, whatever it was, had only covered a small area; and the fog was dispersing. Soon enough the ship would be back on course.
Alberich
Noble Knight Protector
 
Posts: 1892
Joined: October 5th, 2008, 9:58 am

Re: Return to the Southern Continent

Postby Jack Rothwell » October 14th, 2012, 2:55 am

Tamina watched as the last threads of fog dispersed and the ship was bathed in sunlight once again. The kobold, after staring a little longer, managed to wrench her gaze away from the magic entity driving the sail and return it to Udo, who was looking a little worse for wear.

"Poor Udo." She said in sympathetic tones. "Can you fix you up, come on." She lead the out-of-it man to the nearest available seat, sat him down and channeled her healing magic.
User avatar
Jack Rothwell
Teller of Tales
 
Posts: 2212
Joined: June 17th, 2010, 7:35 am
Location: Liverpool, England

Re: Return to the Southern Continent

Postby Alberich » October 14th, 2012, 5:12 am

Udo's face and body radiated bliss, the same as the first time she'd done this. But before he could sneak in another soul-refreshing pat, he was out and snoring.
Alberich
Noble Knight Protector
 
Posts: 1892
Joined: October 5th, 2008, 9:58 am

PreviousNext

Return to Rear View Mirror

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest