Zomaris:Khanate Rising/Chapter 21
Chapter #21: The High Seas
<Iethloc> We re-join the people we're calling heroes as they journey back to the new Meterrian Khanate, having secured an alliance with the dwarven nation of Deladar through the use of necromancy. Nothing much happens on the way back, so it's boring and only slightly luxurious. As they pass by the city of Mylgate, they see the cleanup is already well underway, with no more massive fires and no dead bodies in sight. After Mylgate, it's just slightly luxurious boredom again (jeez, what kind of adventure is this?).
<Iethloc> When the party returns to Xalrin, they see that people haven't been idle there, either. There's a couple new buildings, and plenty of workers scurrying about. The party is swiftly escorted to the palace, while the Deladar troops mostly have to wait outside the city as their story is confirmed.
<Iethloc> Inside the palace is Nergui, sitting on her throne, looking as if she wanted to set all the paperwork in front of her on fire. "You came back with a lot more than I thought you would. What happened? Where's Gerel?" she asks.
<Fir> "She stayed to kill some bad guys or something," Fir says helpfully, while using her special Goggles to scan the room for plants or other interesting things.
<Emilia> "Specifically, she stayed to help Deladar train more paladins to detect the evil rakshasa that have been plauging Deladar, apparently."
<Capn_Mercy> "Her contract got traded."
<Iethloc> There's a few servants here and there, no one who immediately draws anyone's eyes...except for Fir's goggled eyes. She spies the edge of a mutton chop beard sticking out from behind one of the potted plants.
<Iethloc> Nergui sighs. "A bit troubling. I'll have to have a talk with some people about that, but at least she's alive."
<Fir> "Look! Beard!" Fir practically shouts, pointing. She doesn't quite remember why a mutton chop beard is significant, but she thinks she remembers seeing it before, and someone is obviously hiding again.
<Emilia> Emilia looks and frowns.
<Capn_Mercy> "Again with the mobile shrubbery?"
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy stomps over and prods whoever it is out into the open. "Get out here already."
<Iethloc> Nergui facepalms. "May I introduce...our new Spymaster...who is hiding for some reason..."
<Iethloc> The mystery person comes out into the open. There stands a man with medium skin tone and bulky build, short tusks giving away orcish heritage. Bags hang under his green eyes, flanked by mutton chops of black hair. The top of his head is hidden by a gray hat, no hair poking out from underneath. His matching gray coat with too-long sleeves obscures much of the rest of his body, save for one hand stubbornly clutching a flask. He looks
<Iethloc> to be staring at something a few miles behind you.
<Iethloc> "'m a bit hungover, okay? Wanted to be out of the light," he mumbles
<Emilia> Emilia blinks. "Really? A drunk? That's your spymaster? I get that you really needed to get rid of the old one, Nergui, but that's... a low bar here. I could probably do better. Not that it's the best place for me, regardless."
<Iethloc> "Hey, now, don't make fun of my *belch* condition!"
<Iethloc> "This is Nil," Nergui says, not removing her face from her palm
<Fir> "Hi, Nil!" Fir says cheerfully.
<Emilia> "Hi, Nil," Emilia says derisively.
<Capn_Mercy> "Nil...a bit on the nose, isn't it?"
<Iethloc> "Coming from someone called 'Mercy'..." Nil mumbles
<Emilia> "Oooh, buuuurn," Emilia grins.
<Iethloc> "Anyway, how 'bout that report?" Nil asks
- Capn_Mercy grumbles.
<Iethloc> "You said stuff 'bout Deladar, but not Mylgate."
<Iethloc> "Explain it to me like I'm drunk. Wait..."
<Fir> "We saw dead people."
<Iethloc> Nil takes a deep drink from his flask
<Capn_Mercy> "And re-killed some of them."
<Iethloc> "Nil, just ask about what you want to know," Nergui says, finally un-facepalming
<Emilia> "Okay, okay, let me try to organize this," Emilia sighs, realizing no one else is going to be providing a coherent report. She succinctly explains what happened.
<Iethloc> "Okay, so that's what that witch doctor fella told you about Grolthish," Nil says and nods
<Emilia> "Yeah. You know him?"
<Iethloc> "I've met him. Saw his true form. Horrible tentacles. That sorta thing."
<Iethloc> "That orc stuff? An illusion."
<Emilia> "Oh great as if the ancient enemy wasn't enough, we got another... thing."
<Iethloc> "He's not our first priority or anythin', but there will come a day that he can't be ignored."
<Iethloc> "Eh, world's full a' weird things. Not all of it has to be taken care of by you. Maybe he'll keel over by himself," Nil says and shrugs
<Capn_Mercy> "Aww, I hope not. I wanna kill him someday."
<Iethloc> "Nil's done some research on what Grolthish might be. But he is not the focus of our next mission," Nergui says
<Iethloc> "Probably a tiefling or half-fiend of some sort..." Nil mumbles
<Capn_Mercy> "What *is* the next mission?"
<Emilia> Emilia nods in agreement with Mercy. "Yeah, that. Also are we getting paid?"
<Iethloc> Nergui clears her throat. "Another diplomatic mission I'm afraid. But yes, thank you for reminding me about pay." Nergui slaps a hand on the table, and a servant comes in with bags of shiny, shiny coins!
<Emilia> Emilia claims her gold. "Thanks."
- Fir pelunks them into her bag, thankful that she upgraded from having to carry the weight of all those coins directly.
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy drapes herself over a sack of money, rubbing it as if it were a long-lost child. "Yeeeeesss..."
<Emilia> Emilia rolls her eyes at Mercy
<Iethloc> "The next target is Quillband. A pretty big nation. If we can get them on our side, or at least not on the Empire's side, it would become very costly to invade us," Nergui explains
<Fir> "Quilly...that's the place that has ALL the land types," Fir says, musing.
<Iethloc> "It's not an official part of the mission, but it would be good if you...got used to our new spymaster, as he will be accompanying you at least some of the time."
<Emilia> "Oh great," Emilia moans.
<Iethloc> "I'm here to kick ass and read minds, and I'm all out of minds!" Nil says, and belches
<Emilia> "Nergui, are we sure there's nothing I can do... here? I don't think it's a good idea to have me and him on the same team on an away mission."
<Iethloc> "I don't blame you. I can find something for you to do here," Nergui says
<Iethloc> "...hey..." Nil mumbles
<Emilia> "Okay, thanks," Emilia gracefully bows and stands at Nergui's side. "Frankly, I don't think I could do anything but embarass myself in front of Queen Jennifer, you know... just being... ordinary me." She giggles a little. "Perhaps this is for the best."
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy looks up from her Sack O' Loot at Nil. "Can you *actually* read minds, or was that just exaggeration?"
<Iethloc> "Well, somehow not your mind, but yes," Nil says
<Capn_Mercy> "My thoughts are a mystery to all. Even myself."
<Emilia> "Wait, Mercy has thoughts? I thought she just killed things."
<Capn_Mercy> "I can do two things."
<Iethloc> "Hit two things at once, you mean?"
<Capn_Mercy> "That too."
<Iethloc> "Yes, well, after you rest up a bit, I will have you meet the captain of the vessel that will take you to Quillband. There'll be more details available then," Nergui explains
<Fir> "Yay, boat!"
<Iethloc> "And Nil...I know you can only read minds so often. Don't waste it trying to impress your new teammates."
<Capn_Mercy> "If by 'often' you mean 'never'." Mercy grins smugly.
<Iethloc> "I also know how to make firebombs," Nil says
<Iethloc> "Please do not demonstrate here," Nergui says, ever the killjoy
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy crosses her arms and huffs.
<Emilia> Over the next two days, you rest up and enjoy hanging out in Xalrin and the hospitality of the Count's Manor (which is still called that for some reason, even though it is now held by a Khan). You are eventually directed to the waterfront in the north of the City, and you make it there shortly before midday, because some of you *coughMercycough* are lazy and don't get up early in the morning like normal adventurers.
<Capn_Mercy> "Meeeeeh, it's so eeeeeearly."
- Fir leans over the water and tries to dip her woody toes in.
<mainstreet> You eventually come across what has to be the ship you're looking for. It's the only one that has actually made an effort to fly the Khan's new flag: a deep red, with a silver dragon hovering protectively over a silver ibis
<mainstreet> The Meerkat’s Flea is a classical sailing ship, with all the traditional rigging and such. It looks like it’s primarily a freighter, though it’s been hastily converted for passenger transport.
<mainstreet> A man walks down from the ramp, having spotted you. He’s dressed in an all-blue militaristic sailor’s uniform, with the exception of a gold scrap of fabric tied around one arm. His boots clank a bit as he stumbles in. He doesn’t appear to be visibly armed. “I’m Cap’n Joe Griggs of the Meerkat’s Flea. Pleased to meetcha. The Khan just hired me to send you along to Quillband, huh? These are dangerous
<mainstreet> seas we’ll be going through, but you’re safer on my boat than you’d be trying to go through the Empire, that’s for sure!”
<Nil> After downing another drink from a flask, Nil looks at the ship. "Meerkat's Flea, eh?"
<Fir> "It's a good name. Animals HATE fleas. They're very scary to them."
<mainstreet> Joe nods at Nil. "Don't ask. I didn't. Some things it's better not to know."
<Nil> "Yeah, that I know for sure."
<mainstreet> Joe gestures the party up the ramp. "Well, come aboard!"
- Fir follows Joe up the ramp.
- Nil reluctantly tags along
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy boards the ship.
<mainstreet> The deck of the Flea is kinda boring. It's a deck. You see various crewmembers -- mostly humans, a couple elves -- performing various sailoring tasks. "You've been given a fairly nice set of rooms," the Captain gestures towards the main cabin area. "Just me, my first mate, and you all on the top level here."
<mainstreet> "If you're all ready to go, I can have us take off... more or less, now."
- Fir watches everything curiously.
<Nil> "Well, if everyone's ready..."
<Capn_Mercy> "As I'll ever be. Shove off!"
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy resists the urge to push a crewman over the railing.
<mainstreet> Joe nods. "PULL RAMP! CAST OFF!"
<mainstreet> A few minutes later, the ship begins making its way out of the city. "Now, this is going to be a four-day journey. Simply put, we're going to go a bit longer a path than one would normally take: we're going to try to stay in the middle of the Transverse Ocean as much as possible, to avoid ships of the Empire."
<mainstreet> Another man, who is dressed similarly to Joe, but who is wearing red, walks up and adds "You don't need to decide now, but we do need to know where you want to pull in. Quillband, unlike the Khanate, has much more than a single port."
<mainstreet> "Thanks, Ken," Joe adds. "This is my first mate Kenny Johnson. He's right. There are a handful of ports. For a diplomatic mission, there really are 5 different places we could pull in. A regular trading mission might have double that."
<mainstreet> You continue to sail along without much incident for two more days. As you're in the middle of the sea...
<mainstreet> Fir: You see two vessels ahead, basically directly in your vessel's path. They appear to be engaged in battle.
<mainstreet> Nil, Mercy: ^
<Fir> "Ooo, sea fight."
<Capn_Mercy> "Fight, fight, fight!"
<Nil> "...oh great."
<mainstreet> Fir: You actually can see enough detail to be able to tell the two flags. One of the vessels is flying a white sextant and anchor on a green background. The other is flying a blue flag with what appears to be a large white claw in the middle.
<Fir> "It's the Sea Thingies against the White Claws, who will win?" Fir says in a dramatic voice.
<mainstreet> Kenny overhears Fir and frowns. "White Claw..."
<mainstreet> Nil: A White Claw? No, no, more like Cap'n Blueclaw, the notorious pirate! She ironically flies a white claw on a blue background, but that's definitely her vessel out there: no one else on the seas would dare sail that banner.
<mainstreet> You also look closer and recognize the other vessel's flag: Specifically, it's the flag for the House of Camsell, a ducal house of Quillband.
<Nil> "That's a ship of the House of Camsell, from Quillband. The other one is actually Cap'n Blueclaw. Wanna fight Blueclaw?"
<mainstreet> "Well, we either fight her, or go around. Or we could help her, I guess, but that would seem to be the opposite of the intended effect, considering our current mission," Joe points out. "But ultimately it's your mission. I'll defer to your decisions, as long as they're not stupid."
<Nil> "Don't worry, I'm not stupid. Just drunk," Nil says, pulling out a flask in each hand. "Let's do this!"
<mainstreet> "You're on! ATTACK!" Joe yells!
<mainstreet> Your vessel charges ahead!
<mainstreet> "Man the guns! Prepare to fire a broadside!"
<Nil> "If we get close to Blueclaw, I can set that ship aflame. Might not be worth it, though."
<Nil> "Getting that close, I mean."
<Fir> "I...might have a way to separate the two ships? But anyone caught on the wrong ship would be trapped there."
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy would comment...had she not mysteriously vanished.
<Capn_Mercy> "RAAAAH!" Oh, there she is - she appears to be hefting a cannon up under her arm as if it were a BFG and lining up a shot. "FIIIIRE!"
<mainstreet> Blueclaw's vessel is now within firing range!
- Nil rushes to help with a cannon in a more reasonable fashion
<mainstreet> *BOOM* Nil's shot crashes into Blueclaw's vessel, causing some railing to fall into the sea!
<mainstreet> *BOOOOOOOM!* Mercy's shot hits mast, and causes it to creak!
<mainstreet> "...whoa, she landed a hit on Blueclaw's mast..." Kenny drools.
<mainstreet> The two-on-one fight continues.
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy is almost knocked flat on her ass the the recoil. She shakes her head, then stares at the cannon with a look of sheer rapture.
<mainstreet> It's clear that advantage has dramatically shifted in favor of the enemies of the pirate vessel.
<mainstreet> "House Camsell thanks you... whoever you are!" Someone shouts from the other vessel.
<mainstreet> The pirate vessel starts to attempt to retreat. "Oh no you don't, lassie!" the same voice shouts. "Harpoon it!"
<mainstreet> "We should as well. Care to man the harpoon this time, ma'am?" Joe asks Mercy. "We probably only got one shot."
<Capn_Mercy> "YEEEEESSSSSS." Mercy has a half-mad gleam in her eye.
- Fir watches the fight avidly.
<Capn_Mercy> She leaps into place on the harpoon mount, takes aim, and fires!
<mainstreet> "Run a gangplank!" Joe screams. A pair of crewmembers leap into action, connecting the vessels. You notice a similar action happening on the Camsell vessel.
<mainstreet> "CHAAAARGE!" Joe yells.
<mainstreet> Nil: It looks like most of the crew is your typical Pirate scum, but you do spot three individuals of interest. First, you see a human in a quite flamboyant outfit who seems to have much nicer gear than the rest, and people are looking to him for directions. Second, an elf lady standing at the back of the deck, her hands glowing with an ominous red light. Third, what has to be Captain Blueclaw herself, a catfolk in a dashing pirate hat, her muted outfit looking somewhat out of place, but that rapier with an icy edge being clearly visible and dangerous.
- Nil pulls out a glass flask filled with a dark, ominous substance. He makes his way across the plank, and pitches the flask with surprising deftness at the elf lady before raising his fists into a defensive stance
<mainstreet> The elf lady finds herself on fire! She "eeps".
<mainstreet> A handful of pirates are also on fire!
<mainstreet> Kenny pulls out his blade and simply charges ahead! He takes on the nearest pirate!
<mainstreet> The pirates that are on fire engage in a classical technique known as "get the hell out of the area on fire", followed by one known as "stop, drop, and roll"
<mainstreet> The other pirates gear up and prepare to engage, including now 3 pirates engaged on Kenny.
<mainstreet> Some other crew members, from both your own vessel and the Camsell vessel, go across and begin to engage.
<mainstreet> Blueclaw makes her way across to Nil, charging straight at him!
<mainstreet> Her sword just manages to clink off Nil's coat and not actually accomplish anything.
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy is hanging from the rope rigging near the edge of the ship. She looks...different. She's apparantly managed to raid someone's foot locker; there's a red bandana wrapped around her head, an open vest draped over her shoulders, and an old sailcloth wrapped around her hips, giving her the look of a would-be pirate. "YAAAR! Avast, mateys! To arms!"
<Capn_Mercy> Grasping a hanging rope nearby, she hacks at part of it with her axe, loosing it and allowing her to swing over onto the other ship. She leaps from the rope towards the well-dressed human, bringing her weapon down in a powerful downstrike!
<mainstreet> Mercy slices into the bad guy, getting in some serious cuts. He does not look happy.
<mainstreet> The human slices back at Mercy!
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy deftly dodges the blow, brandishing her axe. "Ha-HA! You'll have to do better than that, land-lubber!"
<mainstreet> The elf sighs and sends a Fireball in the general direction of Kenny, Mercy and Nil, put just so as to avoid hitting her own crewmates.
<mainstreet> *BOOM* The roaring fireball singes Kenny, Mercy, and Nil. Kenny definitely appears to get the worst of it.
- Fir sings, "Ribbitey robbety roo" and points at the Lady Animal On Fire.
<mainstreet> A brief pause, and then... "RIBBIT!"
<mainstreet> "Oh come on! I call hax!" the human pirate protests.
<mainstreet> ---END SESSION---