Pearls Before Politicians
Finally exited Vog Mur, distracted by pearl robberies and politics
Regime change accomplished (again) and exit criteria satisfied, we exit Vog Muir. We sail off from the beach and take stock of our situation.
For a start, it seems we may have run out of biscuits a few weeks ago and died of starvation. And we don't seem to have anyone who knows how to Navigate At Sea, we have to rely on Tūd who knows about Navigating in Hisra. Which is landlocked.
We sail off a lot. The wine starts to taste familiar, and the party directs Tūd to find our way to the Library to restock, which handily is only a few hours sail away. For some reason. That night (it takes a day or two to find their way to somewhere a few hours sail away) he wakes up screaming "Beware the kenku!" which disturbs everyone and wakes up the guys on watch. They complain about his sleeping habits in the morning but he claims not to remember it. Or to have been "sampling" the hallucinogenics we have to track down the 'resting' places of the dead of the xxxx battles.
We restock at the library. For the first time, the party notice how much the biscuits we've been eating match the tiling in the library hall. Maybe there was some mix-up with the mixture. A mango is tied to the back of the ship and expanded with an expanding potion as part of our new fruit and fruit five times a day diet. Tūd finds (168) the Rolemaster sex guide and its description of the Ring of the Bulls, but nothing on Kenku. He did stop looking though.
Day after day we sail, day after day we navigate. "How long have we been going?" asks Forgeillil. "About 10 minutes" says God. Are we there yet?
It takes a few days to reach the East Rythim coast, which we will then follow to avoid getting quite as lost. Now that Tūd feels there's no need to keep his dreams secret (Assembly Agent Lominlindli now being Ilin-to-Forgeillil? Lominlindi) he shares them with the gang every morning. They wish he wouldn't. Kamilata checks the drugs cabinet. No one else has dreams they're willing to share - particularly after studying the sex guide.
Navigate, sail, navigate, sail, navigate. Sail. Having persuaded Stewart that we have nothing to eat and no navigation skills, Chris tries to persuade him it is hurricane season. We divert him with maltesers.
Tūd dreams of inedible red mackerel again. The others reckon it's a red herring.
Later that morning, Thranduil, standing at the side of the boat, suddenly shouts "Oh look! A mackerel! " and jumps over saying "I hope I can swim". A mackerel? I'm sorry, I thought you said tiger shark. Unarmed is it? Grapple! The fish is slimy, on the other hand Thranduil is flanking it and it's very, very surprised. He manages to grab it with both hands and now has to stay afloat as Forgeillil grabs a rope and jumps overboard, Kamilata drops the sail and prepares to brings the boat around, and Tūd, looking at the rope Forgeillil has grabbed, takes hold of the other end before it goes overboard too and wraps it around a post. Thranduil puts the fish down his shirt where it nibbles his nipples.
Everyone gets back aboard. We have surprised mackerel for lunch.
Navigate, sail, sail, navigate.
Forgeillil tries to cast 'link' on Thranduil to nick all his spells, but Thranduil resists. The ilin mutter darkly about putting a grenade under the officer's bed.
We land in Gaearouonuoust (pr Gareno), and are welcomed with proper pomp by Amrod, chief of East Rythim. Amused by story of kites. Or amused big sharing of history. I'm not sure from my notes - Tūd probably wasn't paying attention.
Forgeillil does politics, meets people, etc. Thranduil follows with half coconuts and a banner made from a left-behind Gwathló napkin. Forgeillil keeps trying to 'link' to Thranduil.... It seems that Arutha the bother has visited Kaluna to see the Emperor (this is a long way away, s'magic it is), and the emperor has acknowledged him as Glordin's heir. He has now handed Alcant over to Kuven of the Gūl, who married Forgeillil's sister... "Gūl follow after Gwathló" Gūl are a family of elves, with a name that means deep knowledge and implies sorcery. Gwathló (Forgeillil's family) has a name that means sneaky bastards and implies assassins. Tūd, after hearing that Regime Change has properly occurred to someone who imprisoned them, loses interest.
We follow the coast around to Alcant, planning to go on and visit Angborn (Forgeillil's other half brother and her cousin) in Eagles Reach, before going on to the xxx battle sites and finally Hisra, which is where we need to go to avoid being classed as bandits/ronin.
In Alcant we meet with Kuven, the new Gool ruler. Forgeillil does more politicking. Thranduil acts as her standard bearer. The remaining two lie - stand - stand, in this desolate - five star - five star, harbour.
Supplies! A Japanese boo. New oaty flavoured biscuits with added weevil garibaldis.
The meetings where we exchange stories and discuss gossip are held with plenty of glorpol (the ilin horse blood/horse milk/vodka mix). Kamilata finds it foul. Thranduil has to use all his Self Discipline to drink it. Tūd rather likes it. In between meetings Tūd goes shopping at the hospital, exchanging a few hints and tips that his new rings whisper to him, and buying some herbs, bandages, rubber hoses, cable ties, blades, bone saws, leeches, nose picks and other similar first and second aid medical kit. He's given some herbs that the hospital have no use for, though he can think of a few. Thranduil buys a fishing kit. Kamilata looks after the boat.
Eventually Forgeillil tells Thranduil that the 'link' she is casting just gives her access to his spells. He immediately grants her access. Gosh. Tūd suddenly has no use for his herbs...
We finally leave for Eagles' Reach. Sail, navigate, sail, navigate sail. Tūd gets lost, but doesn't let on. If he keeps trying, hopefully the coast will come back. The day before they're supposed to arrive at the harbour he's still not sure and has to admit he's lost and has no idea how near the edge of the world they are. Kamilata looks puzzled - the coast is just over the other side of the boat.
They land at a harbour just south of Eagle's Reach town (?), called Shoalsbury, and are met by a local ilin who is looking a bit worse for wear - Palonius Firth, ilin to Angborn (Forgeillil's brother, who we're here to see). We're curious about why he's a bit roughed up (he had a fight with an oyster fisherman) and he's curious about why we've been sailing in circles for two days (erm, well).
Two other ilin - Balrack Rough and Trek who is not at all green.(Agadeer - what's that?) We chat. Nearamur, the guy in charge of Eagles' Reach, has 77 ilin which is quite a lot ("What, the prat?" says Forgeillil. "Oops, did I say that out loud?"). Including the new 'battle' - about 2000 men - that's all very warry. Prepping for an attack on the Hurgelin?
The ilin ask if we can help out with a local problem. Some bandits have been preying on the pearl shipments, and the town cannot even afford basic supplies. Three ilin are left standing out of six. Palonius thinks there is a local traitor; even a secret shipment has been taken, and Argwin (the head oyster fisherman) knew about it. The other ilin are not so sure, and think s'magic. Only pearls are taken, and the killed have their eyes removed.
We talk to the only survivor - the ilin Gil, recovering in bed - of the lost secret ship(ment). He speaks of an attack by humanoid bird-like creatures on horses charging across the waves, and a horned ogre from the skies. He was knocked down, protected briefly by the captain, and finally knocked over the side, which is probably why he survived. Eight crew have been killed and their eyes put out.
Forgeillil goes detecting around the town. At one hut diver's hut at the end of a pier she can feel channelling... Down the pier she goes, the rest of the ilin trailing behind. Some planks give way beneath her, and she catches the edge before falling in. The planks have been sawn through, and we have lost the Elephant of Surprise.
We talk to the local Ilin who tell us this hut belongs to Argwin. Kamilata calls him out - he tells us to fek arf but using a lot more words. Tūd prepares his tail for his new lightning draw, and manages not to fall over. Someone chucks some fish slops out of the latrine hole and we pause to discuss what this means - summoning? throwing away evidence? tidying up for uninvited guests?
"Shall I fireball it?" asks Forgeillil "No! - " we cry as we need to interrogate him. Forgeillil fireballs the hut. Kamilata silently runs through the case for the defence "We had good evidence yeroner, he was a terrorist, he was rude to us, we had no option". The hut bursts into a brief bout of flame, subsiding in the dampness.
Kamilata gets a boat from the next hut along. Thranduil puts his bow away and leaps across the gap, failing badly (-171) bouncing off the door, collapsing stunned onto the pier. "Come out or we fire another elf at your door!". Argwin comes out waving a taiken and Tūd shoots him (310) breaking his weapon arm pinning it to his side and making him bleed (66 + 2/rnd). He stumbles back in, slamming the door. We look at each other - that would have taken some of us out. Kamilata gets in his 'commandeered' little boat but sets off too casually and sinks. In armour, at the bottom, with the sharks summoned by the fish ends. Forgeillil 'leaves' us to Kamilata.
Tūd leaps (with his leapy/flip ring) over the gap and breaks the door down spectacularly but hurts his foot (66). The diver waves his sword at him but misses (07 whew). Tūd sticks him with the pointy end but as gently as possible. He goes down. Tūd with his new St John's nipple piercing, immediately sees where the damage is and comments on this to Thranduil who is now leaning on the doorpost. Thranduil mentions casually that we were supposed to interrogate him. "Oh" says Tūd, cable ties him up and starts some first aid. Patch spurt patch spurt. Something teleports in a flash through the doorway and they all turn to kill it - but it's Forgeillil returning with a soggy Kamilata.
Detective Forgeillil detects a chest under the latrine hole. Suddenly everyone is very busy. She gingerly reaches around and picks it out. In it are three pearches of pink pouls stolen a fortnight ago, and a golden statuette of a birdlike figure. She examines it and feels demon challenging power - our diver is a demon-worshipper ("Is that worse than a witch?" asks Tūd and a bit of roof falls off and lands on his head). We must save Argwin from certain Tūd death, interrogate him, give him a fair trial and execute him. While they're discussing options, Tūd puts the dangerous evil statuette in the stove and adds some wood. The others take the evidence of Argwin's evil doing out of the stove and back in the box.
We look at his weaponry; a taiken and a quaj cleaver. We plot how to catch the demons without dying. Tūd is very full of himself, having single-handedly 'arrested' the fisherman and reckons we can take out the demons with a toothpick. Kamilata hits him on the back of the head with a bit of roof that's conveniently lying on the floor.
Forgeillil and Thranduil head off in a fishing boat to Kcasamenzy's hut which is further up the coast, with the statuette. Kamilata and Tūd stay to monitor the prisoner and make sure no one gets to him. Forgeillil has been persuaded to hand the pearls back... They might do as bait on another shipment.
Kamilata and Tūd interrogate the prisoner (Good Ilin and Bad Ilin), Kamilata Intimidates (Bad Ilin and Bad Ilin). Argwin confesses a few things - the bandits are Kenku, in a cave hidden in the northern arm of the Forsaken Arch. "Demons eh?" says Tūd and Argwin visibly flinches. "What's with demons then?" "What demoms - ow ow ow - oh the demons". He tells us that the statuette is to blame - we should destroy it. He found it while diving, and it gave him dreams showing where to find new oyster beds. He was rich. Fine until some neighbours found them too - and he killed them. He had a visit from Artemis Fisk (a cleric?) who seemed to know about it all and blackmailed him to tell him the shipment details.
Forgeillil and Thranduil return from Kcasamenzy's magic mansion, awed. They've learned that P-a-z-u-z-u (prince of birds) made a deal with Ravens and Crow cultists that had fallen hard times and turned them into the Kenku. Sneaky lot, killing and stealing everything, not trusted by anyone except themselves.
Angborn visits the next day. Disconcertingly similar to Arutha to most of the party - Angborn is Arutha's illegitimate half brother by his mother's twin sister (Glordin was a dirty - but happy - old man).
They talk politics - something about going to Diaton to search the Hurgelin plateau. Thranduil tells the others about Forgeillil's fawning/respect for Kcasamenzy and we all look at her and him not sure whether to believe it or not. She catches the end of it and is annoyed she hadn't shut him up. Now we know.
We ask if we have to sort out this kenku problem? Angborn asks us to, as he needs to keep his nose clean to stay and 'monitor' and must visit The Twat Nuremean, and the local ilin obviously aren't up to it alone. His wife Asil can (of the Wigfruma from Blacksand). Balrac will come with us.
We prepare to march through the rain forest to kill the kenku... Marching order Thranduil, the balrog, an invisible Asil (Forgeillil is getting all responsible), Forgeillil, Kamilata, Tūd. Tūd carries his bow in his hand and sword, ready, in his new tail until he stabs himself a couple of times.
Almost a day's walk later, Thranduil and Forgeillil 'sense' something essency flowing briefly on the path. We all pause. Kamilata suggests we get off the path and wait to see who turns up. We ignore it as it sounds like a sensible thing, and we haven't yet considered all the options. Eventually we get off the path and wait to see who turns up. We cam up. Tūd ( -89) gets lost and they eventually find him standing on the edge of the path wrapping himself in poison ivy. Kamilata cams him up properly.
We all wait for a couple of hours.
We go on - and not far up the path is a suspiciously handy ambush point. Forgeillil sends a poor but sufficient illusion of Thranduil forward. The rear cut off party (shadowy cloaked figures with birdlike feet) come down the path to cut him off. Three more flank attack the illusion behind a volley of arrows. We suspect they're British Army trained and there's another two or three in a forward cut off party.
Our counter ambush springs. Tūd fires his first lightning arrow; the victim is knocked forward and feathers everywhere. Thranduil ploinks another through the leg. Our Balrog does rather well on the third. Tūd's second arrow of his super new tail-supported lightning draw (the tail weaving a little as he tries to keep it under control) finishes off the last standing cut-off team.
Forgeillil keeps the illusion going and the attackers are still concentrating on it. Kamilata however notices a counter-counter-ambush sneaking up on our flank - probably the front cut-off group who have been looking down the path. As we keep up a rain of arrows on the main ambush team, he sets off on a counter-counter-counter-ambush, to left flank this left flanking.
As Kamilata struggles up the slope the archers switch fire (eventually) to support him, but we rapidly lose sight of them as they withdraw in the jungle. Soon we hear Kamilata's voice from all over claiming all kinds of things (those irritating Parrots of the Caribbean). He comes down with his hands up, which makes us all very, very suspicious. He tells us to stop fooling around (but using different words) and we relax.
We close ranks and make our way up the trail. Forgeillil worries briefly that she hasn't seen Asil for a bit, then remembers that she's invisible and has a hand on her shoulder. She sends the illusion down the path, taunting. One of the attackers is obviously a bit thin skinned and steps out to take him on. Behind the illusion the real Thranduil nocks, draws and looses, killing the birdman. He defocuses again, looking at the leaves and flowers. Tūd trips over a couple of roots and wraps his tail around his foot; he's lost a bit of ground.
An arrow comes sighing out of the woods to strike Thranduil on his armour, though he snapped up a quick guard-spell against it. Luckily there's no scratch - we're all a bit worried about the rumours of poison. Well, we're not worried by the rumours, rather because of the rumours. Forgeillil sends a firebolt in return (99 on ecrit) our foe is vaporised into a cloud of steam and a gentle snow of cinders, the surrounding trees are scorchio'd. The remaining two would-be ambushers make a run for it. Thranduil and the Balrog happen to go for the same one and pin it to the ground. Another firebolt from Forgeillil (00 on ecrit) reduces the others head to a charred stump, sadly it cannot handle the loss and dies instantly. Vines burst into flames.
Balrack, Kamilata and Tūd arrive at the wounded in the path; Kamilata gets there first and slices off his own drumstick. We quickly finish them off.
"Anyone wounded?". Thranduil's scratched. "Anyone break into a sweat?" Tūd had to run a bit to catch up. Anyway it's hot. "Anyone use all their PPs?" not really.
Tūd looks at the corpses. Something about dangerous mice and stilettos stir in the back of his confused mind. He cuts off a head - it'll make an interesting souvenir.
An hour or so's further walk and we get to a beach, just off it is an arch with a convenient sandbank leading to it. While most of us discuss what to do next, Tūd sneaks up to the trees to have a look. The others drift over to the beach.
The sound of whistling approaches and a few of the more focused crew look up to see two Fiendish Eagles bearing down on them. Tūd shoots one smoothly through the eye (100 on an ep - we're very, very lucky). Forgeillil misses. The other elf is diverted by the clouds, they're very pretty. Tūd's second arrow drops at his feet as the string breaks. Damn. Forgeillil fireballs it - feathers everywhere and a neatly trussed rotisseried chicken lands on the sand. "It's a bit gamey". Tūd restrings his bow and Forgeillil empties her handbag on the beach to find her wounding sword. Kamilata covers the two and Thranduil scouts ahead - spotting a sea lion (half lion half mermammel) waiting in the shadow of the arch.
Forgeillil and Thranduil plot spells to deal with the sealion (air wall?). Tūd and Kamilata plan to attack (rush 'em) and the others have a ciggie and wait to see what this new band of foreigners will accomplish.
Thranduil walks into the shallows as bait; Forgeillil shortbolots it and Tūd shoots it (291) as it starts out of the water. Forgeillil tries to freeze it as it lies semi-beached, and Tūd shoots it again just scratching it. It thrashes back but Forgeillil's second attempt succeeds, surrounding its front with a block of ice and hampering it's movements. Thranduil shoots it point blank and the rest shoot it a lot. Apart from Tūd, who loads up with tart and fumbles a load (?). He keeps quiet. We kill it.
Thranduil the elf looks down at the bleeding corpse "I feel sorry for it really. It wasn't really doing any harm". Tūd looks at it and says "I think that'll make a really interesting skull". We break for supper. Forgeillil visits the cave entrance.
(Sword of wounding; +10, x2 conc hits, x2 bleeding, x2 stun)
We peer into and about the hole. Inside the cave twists back on itself to our left. Forgeillil senses another alarm waiting for us. She - we don't know how - dispels the alarm... We creep into the cave. We find a bridge over two pools, and as Thranduil gets to it he gets shot at. We back up. Forgeillil goes invisible to sneak up. She sneaks along looking for boobies and traps (apparently), past four archers lying in wait into a room with stables. Past some boxes in an alcove she finds an ogre (hornless). There are some doors but they're a jar, so she peers through the gap; she can see 7 Kenku in a barracks-room. She comes back to lay out the ground ahead.
Tūd is full of himself. "I'll take the ogre". Everyone says "OK". He looks a bit uncertain for a bit, but ego soon wins through. We need to jam the jars shut to divide and conquer. Forgeillil and Thranduil both invisibly sneak off. She quietly shuts the doors ('thunk') and magically locks them normally... Kamilata and Tūd keep the kenku diverted by shouting insults. "Oh look, reinforcements have arrived. Hello battle commander". Eventually Forgeillil and Thranduil get around to doing some proper (back)stabbing. There's a fountain of mechanically recovered black pudding from Forgeillil's victim as she makes maximum use of the sword of wounding. Thranduil's bowstring breaks. Kamilata and Balrac charge - Tūd has gone for a pee in the corner and takes a moment to catch up. By the time he does, all four Kenku are dead and the Ogre is only just emerging. We're good we are.
Everyone rushes the ogre, making their way around Forgeillil who is being different. Thranduil loses his grip and throws his sword away, but grabs it again before it hits the floor. The ogre is disconcerted by this superb show of sword mastery and pauses. Kamilata flank attacks and the Ogre's swing misses him. Balrac hesitates, feeling a bit out of his depth, but steps in to strike. Hopefully Asil is somewhere out of the way.
Kamilata attacks again, and the Ogre's response is to swing over him too fast (02) missing and overextending. Forgeillil makes the most of it and throws him over, Thranduil stabs it through the spinal cord. Balrac finds himself standing above a dead Ogre being dismantled by a blood-spattered princess without having struck a blow. He's impressed. He doesn't realise we've got in some very lucky strikes, and the Ogre some very unlucky ones.
We pause to restring Thranduil's bow but the princess is too impatient. She gives him his. Tūd bangs on the door jars.
Forgeillil tries to open the door but finds it a bit fiddly, as it's normally locked not magically locked (though it was normally locked magically). Eventually she gets it, behind her the archer Ilin are lined up with bows nocked and bent. No movement. Forgeillil puts her head around the opening and four arrows narrowly miss her. She opens the other door and we swap fire with the kenku hiding behind a pillar. Balrac is hit, the arrow vibrating and he collapses. 2 Kenku are hit in the leg. Forgeillil gets all sticky and climbs up the wall to the roof. More arrows whistle past as we cautiously close. Forgeillil sneaks up above the group of kenku and sends a 'stun cloud' down onto them; as the rest close further the cloud contacts the kenku. Sparks and zaps and they collapse, twitching and sparking for another 30 seconds as they spasm and smoke to death. Nice one.
As we look around to see where the other three went, Kamilata finds a shiny ring in the fireplace. Everyone's a bit cautious, especially as it's covered in bits of fat and ash from the fire. Tūd looks at it, gives it a quick lick (mmm, pork) and wipes it on his sleeve. It fits well. "What?" he says when he notices everyone's expression.
Eventually we remember Balrac and find him being tended by an invisible Asil; he's suffering from Karfa poison but she's got him under control. We know three Kenku have gone somewhere from this room so we keep searching for an exit until we find it; a hidden door. Forgeillil checks for traps and claims there aren't any, but instructs Thranduil to open it. He does so (91) sarcastically.
The corridor is narrow; Kamilata goes at the front with the biggest shield we have. We all hide behind it and him. Forgeillil crawls stickily along the ceiling. Balrac and Asil stay at the back in the stables. They'll be safe. After all, the kenku and ogre are dead, and what can the dead do? Oh yes.
Some channelling power comes hammering down the corridor; Kamilata shrugs it off, Tūd and Forgeillil go blind, Thranduil resists. Tūd waves his sword around panicking. Kamilata hits him over the head with a convenient bit of hut roof he's been carrying around for this very purpose.
Thranduil reassures us - we'll be fine as long as the bowling ball doesn't get us.
Tūd: Is it permanent? Thranduil: Don't know, depends on how powerful it is. Tūd: well, how powerful is it? Thranduil: powerful enough to make you blind.
We shuffle on - to a cavern. Humanoids in chains writhe and groan, and hiding behind them all are a couple of Kenku. The bodies don't show up on elvish IR so they must be the not so harmless dead then. We stop and Tūd walks into the back of Kamilata. Forgeillil has been working on her blindness and manages to cure it (99+89), but she doesn't have enough power left to cure Tūd. He's put against a pillar and told 'stay there!'
In the dark, a fight happens. The kenku die.
Ahead in the path there's a suspicious looking floor. Thranduil bowls a head down it - it disappears. Air rushes up, stronger and stronger. We back away back to the cavern entrance, but too late; suddenly the air seems full of 'mephids', little air sprites. A bit of hair pulling and face slapping follows but they're not that effective once their breath fails, and our weapons take them apart easily. Forgeillil's whacky sword reduces one to a whirl of airyness. Splat splat splat splat.
Tūd suggests that he has a look at the illusion, as won't affect him. Kamilata casts about for that bit of wood. Forgeillil looks for a way past, crawling along the wall. We string Tūds rope across, pitoning it in at that end is fine, but we have two elves at the far end. They piton it in and hold on to it too with extra Traction. Tūd makes his way across ("Don't look down!"). Torendra says "Don't worry, if you fall I have enough PPs to 'leave'" - so she can teleport to the ground and watch the show :-) Kamilata follows and we secure the other end properly in case we need to come back. We seem to be at the top of the arch, as the passage now heads downward. Thranduil Listens (03) and claims he can hear the sea. Kamilata wonders where that bit of wood went.
Thranduil fumbles for boobies and traps.