Taming Estroch Chapter 3
Sept. 1, 2020, 4:30 p.m.
Outside Arx - Mourning Isles near Estroch - Estroch
Comments and Log
((Before we start, dropping the map here again: https://imgur.com/3OHUEWt ))
So when we last left off, our intrepid heroes had /just/ made it through the strait (that I should name for ease) and through the ruins of Salomene to the Dreaming Shoals.
Spread out before them is a stretch of ocean filled with all the colors of the rainbow, caught in the currents below the surface of the water, being pulled this way and that but most importantly up and down. A closer inspection has revealed that it's fine grains of sand that are catching and scattering the light with an iridescent shine. Really, it seems as if the ship may be ready to leave the water to sail on a rainbow.
They've caught sight of a dark shape looming to their north east - undeniably a beached ship with a great big hole in its belly half buried in sand. It will require some more travel to get to and the group was debating about how to go about it. What to do? what to do...
Evaristo is just coming down from the thrill-high he had avoiding the ruins with crazy maneuvering of a ship that shouldn't have to take such abuse. He's shouting for sails to be lowered entirely apart from the small sail just to keep them moving at a snail pace, checking currents, lookouts to stay more alert than ever to look for sandbanks, and not to forget - whether the ship is damaged and leaking. Meanwhile he's moving about energetically as the orders are called out, showing that when it's needed? Evaristo can be serious and focused on a task. "Well," he says and stands with hands on the railing, staring towards the ship over there, "that looks like a long way to row. Boooring." Apparently he can switch off the serious, responsible side easily.
Neilda grunts an agreement, already stripping off some of her heavier gear so she can swim. It does take a minute, in case anyone feels like telling her she's an idiot, which may be a thing she depends on.
Not a sailor by nature, Drake is grateful that the adventure is moving off the boat now to some spot where he can possibly be more in his element.
Normally, he's annoyed when things are very boring. But this dark ship looks ominous. He looks at Neilda stripping down - and that's distracting, but - "I think I'd like to keep my armor, so I'm going to row. Try to race you."
Amalthea was recovering from being entirely winded, scooping herself from the floor with a low groan, "Eugh," on her feet she pans around. To nowhere she walks, only to whoever was still on the floor as she checks anyone over who was hurt.
"Well hello there," Evaristo says and his smile widens as Neilda begins to strip out of her clothes, ogling shamelessly. "Ahem, right, welllll, as much as I would LOVE a swim, maybe we should row. Who knows what is in these waters, anyway, and besides - armor," he agrees with Drake. "Don't worry, I'll row," he says and sighs sufferingly, like a true martyr. He calls out for the ship to drop anchor and lower the rowboats.
The Manticora seems in fine shape - Evaristo has been taking very good care of her and the crew much to likely everyone's surprise. The only injury so far has been Sirius' nose but Amalthea does get a big toothless grin from someone likely suffering from scurvy! Them rascal sailors.
When Evaristo calls for the anchor to be dropped, it's dropped and the sails are released in order to steady the ship on the edges of this strange rainbow river in the sea.
"Neilda." Any ogling on Pasquale's part is at least discreet. He does however move up to her and tap her shoulder before pushing a loop of rope in her direction. "Take a rope with you. Three tugs if you need help." he inclines his jaw towards the hole. "And tie it somewhere useful on your way back."
Amalthea ignores the gawking men after a quick glance over, scoffing, then offers her help to the sailor if she really could.
Neilda ives Evaristo a look that, rather succinctly, suggests he is too easily tamed. She's also leaving on the silk underlayers, anyway. Good wet. "I'll have you all to cover me. Plus, I can get a look at the underside, see what kind of damage there is." She takes the rope, gives Pasquale a smile and... dives on in. Why not.
Neilda checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 21 higher.
"Very... brave," Evaristo tells Neilda, absolutely about to say something else but changing his mind and managing to stop ogling in favor of climbing down the rope ladder into the rowing boat. "I mean, I don't MIND if someone else also rows," he says with a hopeful air.
Pasquale peers over the edge after Neilda just in case nobody thought to check for ravenous sharks first. A little late perhaps.. but whatever he sees doesn't seem to upset him because he just moves a little distance off to secure the other end of Neilda's safety rope. He looks torn for a few moments, eying the rope, but eventually hands its management over to one of the sailors so he can join the others in the rowing boat.
"Ah, guys?" She waves her trembling hand, "Help?" Amalthea gestures to it nervously, staring down at the boat with a nervous cringe.
Drake, ever the gentleman, reaches up with his hand to help Amalthea into the boat. "Careful now," he says to her. He's got a nice, firm grip.
Evaristo checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 37 higher.
Neilda dives right in as the rowboat is lowered. She does not drown! Which would have been fairly embarrassing given the smooth, calm sea.
The rowboat is packed with the adventurers and just at the last minute! Our Pravosi Prince joins us (and may have a minute to get caught up in the log and jump in -- or alternatively stay behind if he really really wants to).
Lexir is in a boat. -The- boat, one might even say. It's probably a fine boat. Can it carry so many people? Of course, it's the finest boat.
Amalthea gives Drake a smile tainted by the peachy veil of her blush, her freckles dancing beneath as her nose also crinkles. She clasps her hands in front of herself after being helped down, speaking in that unusual deep tone. "Thank you."
Evaristo settles in with the oars and waits for everyone to safely be inside and sit, and for Neilda to have that rope secured before he starts rowing them towards the 'ghost' ship with even, powerful rows. "Keep an eye on the water around us," he cautions.
Drake makes eye contact with Amalthea when she blushes slightly, giving her a slight half-smile. His eyes then move into the water, watching the shimmering of light upon the sand underneath the ocean and all its rainbow colors. "Seems peaceful," he says to Evaristo. "But of course I don't want to say that if it's going to be bad luck." Still, he sits back, almost comfortable.
Neilda is not precisely a fish; Saik babes are not dropped in the sea to see if they can swim before they're given names. But she's a good and capable swimmer, and surely she'll have closed that distance before -too- long... and enjoyed herself more than... rowing. On a crowded rowboat. In wet leather.
And so the party sets out. Those rowing (poor Evaristo) is treading water faster than Neilda, but she manages to keep pace. And slowly, they approach the currents of rainbow sand.
And then it happens. As their rowboat closes the gap, the shimmering sand gets closer and closer to the underside of the boat until it grazes the underbelly and renders it momentarily stationary, coming to a halt. Neilda finds it's easier to swim - she's lighter and more mobile in the water than the rowboat and could now surpass them. If it weren't for the rope making sure she doesn't get too far out ahead of the party.
It's entirely possible to power through this with muscle, but it's easy to see why ships can't pass through here. The sand seems to respond to weight like quicksand, but in the opposite. Weight makes it more dense and compacted.
"...nngnnn, it feels like rowing through... well, sand," Evaristo says, straining and sweating now, amazed by this sand. Still, he keeps at it, looking over at Neilda with some envy. "Nice and cool over there, eh?" he calls out to her.
Pasquale picks up another set of oars. "Think it would be better if we got out and dragged it?"
Compromise seems a loathsome, unbearable act, and unmoored from sound judgement, Sirius Valardin does just that once he's amongst the thrillseekers that joined that rowboat off of the ship. With a downcast yet assertive look, he stares off and past Evaristo as he rows, having seated at a curve-end of the boat by its port quarter. "Do we have more oars around here? I could help. Somewhat." The look he conjures after such an impel expresses profound 'doubt' in himself, however.
Amalthea quietly seats herself, not going for oars instead she's keeping an eye ahead.
"Might just try to skip across on foot," Drake says. "If you run for it, fast impact, you won't sink. Isn't that how it works?" Drake asks. He's not a master of science or alchemy or anything. But he can grab an ore and help row, if that will help matters, putting his back into it and pushing until there's really nothing left to push through.
Neilda pauses in the water, treading for a moment, scooping up a handful of sand in a hand. "This stuff is /weird/," she concludes. "Someone scoop up a bottle, will you?" That's... the patience she has. "You guys row /slow/," she says, and goes back to swimming, until she reaches the limit of rope - the physical one, or her own. Will she stop? Hmmmmmm.
Lexir leans over the side, curious. He presses his hand against the sand slowly, then swiftly - with a lover's touch, then with an alternative lover's touch.
Sirius checked strength + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 29 higher.
Pasquale checked strength + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 11 lower.
Lexir's lover's touch passes effortlessly through the sandy water but when he gets rough with it he finds much more resistance. The harder he pushes, the harder it pushes back! Naughty sand.
"Yes! Why don't you jump in, and RUN!" Evaristo tells Drake helpfully, hopefully. The suggestion is clearly fraught with shenanigans and no sane person would do that on his suggestion. "Any help welcome," he says and nods at those that pick up oars. "Oh! Amalthea, can you do me a favor? In my satchel I got a few small bottles, can you lean over and fill some sand up? I promised to bring weird things back to Auda, an alchemist friend."
Drake checked strength + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 37 higher.
"Throw me a rope if I drown," Lexir quips as he stands up precariously and does exactly as @Evaristo has suggested
Sirius says, "Oh dear."
"Throw me a rope if I drown," Lexir quips as he stands up precariously and does exactly as Evaristo has suggested, beginning with a standing leap.
Sirius checked composure at difficulty 10, rolling 6 lower.
Lexir checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.
Amalthea scratches at her chin idly chuckling at that, "Hrm. Sand? Ray-Rainbow water?" Snagging and dragging the satchel over, she fumbles through it for the bottles one at a time, having to do a bit more work in it stretching her arms enough to actually collect sand instead of just water.
"Wait--" Sirius but begins to say, watching Lexir stand, yes; watching Lexir hang off of the boat's edge, of course, and with a finger outstretched their way, that's all he can do before like a swan, they effortlessly dive into the water. Each of the Prince's dour, droopy eyes widen in their pale addressing, and ajar as they are, lean over the boat's edge with worry to follow Lexir's shape in the water, fraught with worry. "Your Highness? Oh Gods. How are we going to explain this?" He fidgets.
Pasquale does have a vague idea how to use an oar like a pole in order to get through very shallow water like this. Unfortunately, whilst he has apparantly has enough strength to dig the oar in and push he apparantly lacks whatever is required to actually get it back out again. Pull, huff, pull, grumble. An almost surrepticious look is cast towards the others in the party and then he just quietly sits back down, doing his absolute best to pretend there is not a haft of wood sticking up out of the sand just behind them.
"-wait, what..." Evaristo says and watches the Pravus prince do just what he suggested. There's some fascination there, but he waits to see just WHAT will happen before acting.
When it gets not-that-deep, Neilda switches to wading... out to where it's deeper, so she can get eyes on the submerged bit, see what she can see. And also be submerged, because chilly + breeze = terrible.
Pasquale doesn't seem to be hindering but he's definitely not help-well there goes the oar. Sirius and Evaristo though begin to flex their muscles and begin to forcefully /DRAG/ their way through the rainbow. Meanwhile Neilda swims like a fish in the shallow water and our Prince Lexir here makes a splash but.. lands on his feet. Knee deep, he finds his footing is firm. It's a little tricky to balance thanks to the tricks the light plays on their eyes.
Lexir doesn't stop moving - he isn't jogging, or running, he's /sprinting/ tearing off as fast as he can across the rainbow-hued sand, boots kicking up sprays of it every time they strike the 'ground'. The boat is his destination.
"Niiice," Evaristo says but he stays in the rowboat - he is suspicious, and he's got a lot of expensive gear. "Thank you," he tells AMalthea, giving her a charming smile. Least now that he's not the only one rowing, things do move faster - or at least MOVES.
Drake checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 0 higher.
Pasquale checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 2 lower.
Neilda checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 1 higher.
Amalthea checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 6 lower.
Lexir checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 2 lower.
Sirius checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 8 lower.
Evaristo checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 3 lower.
Amalthea stays on the rowboat nervously squinting at the waters. She's suspicious and trying to find out why but to no avail...
For the act of rowing, Sirius has removed his coat and folded it neatly below himself, cushioning his glutes from the vile firmness of wood where he's seated. Then, as they row, his body leans and clews into each swing of the elbows, rowing with the empowering of a loud, orcish grunt in each perpendicular swing against the water. "This is hard. Maybe we should walk?" But he's not too convinced, sharing Evaristo's misgivings and, judging by how his eyes flit from one face to the other, he's looking for that sweet herd mentality synapse.
Drake sees that his plan worked for Lexir, so... he's going to do that, too. He sticks the oar back in the boat, and rises to his feet, standing up, and getting ready to just jump over the edge...
When Drake stops, suddenly, and looks into the sand with a bit of a "Huh" escaping his mouth. He saw something, apparently. It seems passed now, but.
He pulls out his sword, nonetheless. He's choosing the rubicund weapon (his other sword doesn't look as if anyone should be able to use it anyway, as the hilt is spiked), its blade a flash of red as he draws it. "Saw a serpent, or something. I'm going to run for it though." Following in the footsteps of others, he'll then try to wade the rest of the way, but on his guard.
Neilda tips her head, standing up in the waist-high water; she shades her eyes a moment. "Is there such a thing as a..." she pauses, considering. "A rainbow-sand water serpent?" she asks. From in the water. With the rainbow sand. There's a careful run of her hand in the water, like a caress, as if she could shape the sand-shape as a friend. She does like water-creatures.
Pasquale clears his throat and moves towards the forward part of the boat. "Neilda? Can you" wait. What? "When you say serpent do you mean foot long snake or" He starts looking around for this mythical creature. "what?"
"I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm here to look at this mysterious ship, not fish," Evaristo says and rows stubbornly. "If you all get bitten, don't blame me. There are MANY strange things in the seas."
Neilda's water-petting does not appear to yield anything. Distractedly, she glances at Pasquale, then back the way the ripple went. "Dunno," she says. "More evasive than hostile, though." She continues checking out the hull.
Neilda may like sea-creatures, but at the mention of a possible snake in the water Sirius begins making the strangest of spasmodic, revolted sounds. He's quick to take those oars in an overgrip and start, once more, rowing. And doing so with renewed purpose. "I'd hope not," he says on the matter of would-be sea-snakes; "I'd hope not."
"We can try and catch it later." Pasquale tells her. "Would you tie that rope to something solid?" he glances to the others on the boat with him. "That way we can use it to wade. I feel that if we take the boat much further we're going to struggle to get back."
Amalthea stays with Sirius putting away now two bottles of sand, two bottles of possibly polluted water, and the satchel itself gets tucked beneath the bench. "Ahmm... Y-Yeah, no snakes!"
Neilda makes a face, and finds a place to tie the rope.
Pasquale checked dexterity at difficulty 15, rolling 7 lower.
Amalthea checked dexterity at difficulty 15, rolling 11 higher.
Sirius checked dexterity at difficulty 15, rolling 9 lower.
Evaristo checked dexterity at difficulty 15, rolling 3 lower.
No sooner does Neilda turn around to head back to the boat when something very big and very solid collides with the side of the rowboat from the port and the sound of splintering wood and snapping timber splits the quiet of the sea like a crack of thunder might.
Many find staying on board the boat to be quite impossible, but somehow Amalthea manages it and finds herself alone in the now leaking boat as the others are flung like ragdolls several feet from the rowboat (and toward Lexir).
"Or I could be wrong," Neilda allows, wading toward the boat to fish... someone out of the water. Probably Sirius or Pasquale, both seeming predisposed to physical distress.
"--AHHHH!" Evaristo shouts as he flies in the air and then splashes into the shallow water. To be fair, without that odd sand, he'd probably have to struggle to stay above the surface of the water.
Amalthea throws herself under the bench watching the first man launch, gripping the planks with a death grip to hold her lower end together with the end she was left to drag. She almost screams but it's bitten back by a yelp as she's biting her tongue and trembling furiously.
Sirius's a particularly thin, nearly-weightless Prince, so when the boat cavitates to the force of some horrible thing slamming it on its side, he flies. Indeed- they say there be dragons in the shadows, but here's a literal one - from Valardin - that soars several meters into the air with an accompanying scream before he flops face-first, painfully, into the water. And sinks. Little bubbles are left in his wake.
Lexir's headlong flight towards the hulk of the ship is aborted when the sound reaches him, though he doesn't stop moving, perhaps afraid that if he does, he'll sink. Instead, he makes a sharp turn and heads back in the direction of the rowboat, appraising the situation as he does, and slowing down some to see just how slowly he can move without sinking.
Drake is the kind of guy that worries about ladies. He can't help it. And when Amalthea seemed to be a little uncertain anyway...
Well, he hasn't gone too far yet, and he's glad she at least somehow still seems to be in the boat. He wades back to it, offering her his hand again as it starts to sink. He still has his sword, held out in his right. "I'll carry you," he says, without any real fear for himself at this point. "Come on. Can't stay there."
It's now clear - once everyone gets their wits about themselves and look back toward the boat that Amalthea is now alone and there is a shark attached to the side of the rowboat. Its teeth are clenching the wooden flank and shaking it like a dog, causing the sea to froth and ripple. It's quite clear now why they couldn't exactly perceive it. It was the color of the sand - a white, opalescent creature. Its eyes were even white and it has a sleek, streamlined body. Indeed! Very serpentine indeed.
Lexir finds that he can stop. Even stand still, but the problem comes when or if he stood still for too long, as the sand begins to claim his boots. It takes quite a while though.
Sirius checked composure at difficulty 10, rolling 3 lower.
Sirius checked willpower at difficulty 20, rolling 0 higher.
Amalthea checked composure at difficulty 10, rolling 47 higher. Amalthea rolled a critical!
The boat rocks violently and Pasquale has just long enough to try (and fail) to grab at something before he's sent tumbling into the shallow water with the others. For a brief moment he just flails, sending water everywhere, but then the brain kicks in with its mantra of 'its not that deep. its not that deep' and he instead scrambles to his feet. He looks around a little wildly, eyes settling first on Neilda, then the shark, then Amalthea inside the boat a shark is chomping on, and then back to Neilda. He starts trying to wade back towards Neilda but the sand sucking at his boots makes every step a painful exercise in endurance. Endurance that is already sorely strained if his breathing rate is anything to judge by.
"AMALTHEA!" Evaristo shouts, once he's climbed to his feet - he's taking his war-pick from its hook, starting to move as fast as he can towards the rowboat. "HIT IT ON THE NOSE! HARD!"
Neilda has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 10
Neilda sees that Pasquale is... at least upright, and goes to haul Sirius up by the back of his shirt, or... by his hair. Something head-adjacent. She meant to catch the shirt. "Good gods, why," she says, and pulls him shore-ward.
Amalthea takes an empty bottle from the satchel she was also desperately gripping with the plank. Her trembling hand no problem with her arm and legs coiled beneath the bench she hid under, the firm palm grasping it to throw if the shark came close. She's not panicking, yet, whining though - "Awh, my tongue..." and reels back a leg to kick it, as well. Double farmer assault!
Pasquale checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.
For whatever reason, Sirius intends to shape his answer for Neilda while underwater still, only that his rhetoric's lost across a hundred of artificially generated pockets of air that 'brlblrlbr' to the surface. And once he's past such a threshold, his frenzy continues; "That's a shark. You didn't see it, but we did--it's a shark. A shark." And then he's reaching down and beside his waist, where he realizes his sword sheathe's bottom is nearly embedding into the sand's grip, he yanks it free and unsheathes the sword nestled within, holding it aloft and over the water. It is at this time that Neilda may want to let go of his hair.
Sirius wields Culdrake, the chivalrous alaricite longsword.
Evaristo wields Valiant, Warpick of the Carnifex.
Drake seems fine. So does Evaristo and Neilda and Pasquale. Sirius is of dubious 'fineness', but as Neilda attends to him, Lexir's attention shifts away. Amalthea seems decidedly not fine, and so he heads in the direction of the rowboat, his sword remaining securely in its sheathe - let the others play at being fishermen.
Amalthea checked strength + brawl at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.
Drake wields Breath of Fire, a Rubicund Broadsword.
Pasquale gives up on the entire idea of wading anywhere and instead turns back towards the direction that the shark is in and unslings his crossbow. Steadily the weapon is loaded with a bolt and cranked back to full draw. Ok so maybe his hands are shaking a bit but its cold.
Drake checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 44 higher.
Sirius checked command + animal ken at difficulty 35, rolling 8 lower.
Evaristo checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 63 higher.
Amalthea checked command + animal ken at difficulty 35, rolling 22 higher.
The shark laughs at Sirius. And instead of scaring it off, the attacks from various sources, the goading from Amalthea - it all culminates in a blooming of crimson blood - and of course it charging right for Sirius.
Neilda has joined the line.
Sirius has joined the line.
Pasquale has joined the line.
Evaristo has joined the line.
Neilda checked dexterity + brawl at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.
Lexir has joined the line.
Drake has joined the line.
Amalthea has joined the line.
Sirius checked strength + brawl at difficulty 40, rolling 8 higher.
Neilda checked strength + brawl at difficulty 40, rolling 34 lower.
"HEY!" Neilda shouts, very loudly, angrily, after dropping the hold on Sirius' hair. Because... the shark takes... precedence? "I WAS TRYING TO BE FRIENDLY." And she punches it. Er, at it. In a friendly way.
Her maritime animal friendship is mostly aspirational.
Neilda checked command + intimidation at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.
Several other skills: also aspirational.
"Don't hit it!" Sirius calls out from the back, pulling, heaving through the water and across the sand with each step a difficult endeavor. "His blood may well attract even more predators--it might even attract a BIGGER shark!" The Prince explains, but his voice's drowned beneath the din of bloodshed and untrammeled smacking of its outside hull. Sirius' attempt at scaring the shark - the angling of his alaricite sword so that the Sun shines off of its edge and onto the shark's eye - fails entirely, ending in what seems like leading him towards the Prince.
Him whose sword is sheathed away, eyes centered on the upcoming elasmobranch.
Rather than spear the thing through, the Oathlander adjusts his feet to the sand and braces himself for its upcoming charge. Spindly, thin of arm and well-known bookworm Sirius then catches the beast's mouth by one of its labial furrows with his left palm, while his other clenches hard on its snout. The sheer force of the shark's charge sends the two like a torpedo of force across the water, and a mist of sand's left in their wake by Sirius' heels as they skitter violently across the ocean floor while he braces to halt the wild fish. "Run, Neilda; run!" Sirius calls out from his newly-acquired distance.
Pasquale lifts his crossbow in an effort to line up the bolt and the shark but must mistrust his skill or something because he doesn't make a shot.
Ellani, the palm sized spider arrives, delivering a message to Pasquale before departing.
Evaristo checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 32 higher.
Cursing in a strange language - though it sounds very Arvani anyway, just like a mangled version of it - Evaristo dives for the satchel that floats there, tears out a small black bottle and uncorks it. "EAT THIS, SHARK JERK!" he shouts and throws that bottle with a well-aimed toss - right into the shark's maw. As it flies through the air, the skull lable on it is clearly visible. He starts splashing towards it right after that, wading as fast as he can through the water.
Evaristo drops a small black bottle.
Evaristo says in Thieves cant, "Bloody, big-toothed, murderous monster!"
Lexir makes a dash for the rowboat, which mostly certainly is taking in water at the moment given the thorough chomping the shark gave it. He comes skidding to a near halt when he comes up alongside it, and holds his hand out to Amalthea. "Time to abandon ship, methinks," he bids courteously.
Drake admittedly solves a lot of problems by stabbing the thing, and didn't think about the possibility of shark blood attracting a bigger shark until Sirius said not to hit it. And then Sirius - the absolute madman - decides to try to wrestle the shark, and grabs its face.
Stabbing it would be particularly rough under those conditions even for a skilled swordsman. So, Drake does what he intended to do before, and grabs Amalthea -- this time he doesn't so much offer, as just grab her. First he puts his sword away, so it's sheathed again, and then he picks up the woman over his shoulders. He looks at Lexir as he does so. "I've got her. Let's head for the boat. Cover me." He tries to put some distance between the shark and the boat. He is heading for the wreck, not away, though. May as well get what they came here for.
Amalthea squeaks as she's scooped up, hugging the bag to her chest tightly letting the bottles clank but keeping it close. "J-Just get aw-away from the- from the dark!" She whines and stares out to the water with a forlorn expression, her crinkling nose and reddened cheeks buried against him as she then hopes they do make it to land alive.
The shark is thoroughly confused - the sounds, the shouting - the strange toothpick madlad meal grabbing ahold of his mouth and trying to wrestle it - the strange new mouthfeel of a very gross substance hitting its mouth. It's a little much, and instinctively the shark closes its mouth and begins to retreat into the glistening rainbow that it so cleverly had been disguised in before.
Iseulet GM Roll checked perception(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.
Run, Neilda? Neilda watches the shark just... swim off, and trudges up out of the water. Jeez. "Pasquale," she says, as she nears the Malespero, "let me -" and without getting any further, she pulls his sword from its scabbard, gets on toward the shipwreck, shaking her head. There might be an -extra look- at Sirius, though it's not... disapproval, exactly. It's confusion on her face.
"DIDN'T LIKE THAT, DID YOU?!" Evaristo shouts after the shark as it smartly runs away from this group of crazies. He stumbles a bit in the sand, curses some more, then straightens up and takes a few deep breaths. "I might be getting too old for this. When did that happen? I used to have NO problems with any of this," he says and grimaces, before he looks around for any floating items to grab before starting the trek to the ship. He perks up at this, staring out towards it. "Onwards! Unimaginable treasure awaits! What's a little shark in lieu of that, hmm? Just a small inconvenience," he says cheerfully.
And finally the party makes a break for it.
They do not see the shark again enroute, but once they finally arrive at the broken hull, it does seem to get quieter. And maybe a little shallower. The ship had run aground and tipped over, showing its barnacle encrusted belly to the world. Erosion and rot has set in and the sand has become firm here with its weight, like concrete.
It's dark, and there's a certain smell to it - much like a damp, salty cellar that is so thick it leaves a taste on the tongue.
Neilda checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 53 higher.
Lexir checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.
Pasquale checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.
Evaristo checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.
Drake checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 10 higher.
Disheveled and nearly mangled to death, Sirius' left standing there half-way into the water with a shocked expression. His body, too, heaves alongside his every shuddering breath, and it takes him the sight of that expanding, noxious cloud underwater beginning to move towards him for him to snap out of his fearful reverie and move in Neilda's direction - she who's closest - to move alongside towards the shipwreck. He eyes the ship like a man waking up from a terrible nightmare, reorienting himself towards the light with shaded eyes. "Did it bite you?" He asks the Saik lady by him, his eyes changing from the boat's keel to her at various points.
Pasquale watched Sirius with a sense of faint disbelief as he leapt at the shark, almost seeming to miss Neilda's request to take his sword before she actually does it. He looks at her then, lowering his crossbow a little, and nods to show he's not going to complain about her taking off with his sword. "Did it bite you?" Pasquale echoes to Sirius when the Prince approaches them both. "You were hanging onto its snout for quite a bit there." The wade to the wreck is a painful one that he gets through partly by using a hand on Neilda's shoulder as a crutch but mostly just by being too stubborn to stop. Dropping his hand from Neilda's shoulder when they finally get to the wreck he settles down into a kneeling position and lets a hand trace some of the gilding. "Looks old."
Evaristo is almost skipping - well as much as one can skip in knee-deep water - towards the end, reaching the ship. He rummages around near his feet and picks up an old saucer, brushing away sand, then looks for the teacup. "Huh," he says, studying it curiously. "Old indeed. I don't even think this is Arvani china," he muses, having a fair eye for things like that, as a merchant and jeweler. He approaches carefully, towards the large gaping hole in the old hull, leaning in to peek inside before tenatively stepping up to move into it.
"N--" Neilda starts when Sirius asks her, then turns to look at Pasquale, switch the sword in her hands to scoop an arm around him. "No," she says. "We're friends." She... probably doesn't actually believe that. It's a joke, see - she quirks a smile at Sirius, like maybe she's... sympathetic? It's hard to read. She /does/ peer off after the shark before turning eyes on the wreck. "/So/ old," she agrees. "Not sure I'd... walk in there." Peering: "Maybe we'll find something more useful than china?" Glancing up: "Is that Eurusi?"
Sirius angles an awkward view beyond Neilda and towards Pasquale, shaping an awkward smile while his head bobs forward with a self-effacing attitude. "No, my lord; I am well, thank you. If a but shaken. All I saw for a moment was but a tornado of limbs, gills and teeth. I thought the lady here had been bitten after I saw all that blood, but it was the shark's," his hand outstretches aside of him towards the aforementioned, and then it returns to those safe and trepid confines of his coat as they march out of the water. Unlike the group, Sirius shows little ambition when it comes to 'exploring'. Instead, he finds a neat little crag in the shape of a rugged mass of wood and sits down, watching it all.
The old saucer and old teacup have almost been entirely worn smooth - most of their paint gone, defintiely any glaze that made it once glassy and translucent, leaving behind a paper thin, porous surface. They'd be absolutely worthless probably even if Evaristo could hawk them as antiques.
This seems to be the mess hall, and of course there are plenty of holes and cracks and what once were windows lining the walls. Some of them above let in light. Others let in seawater. There are two best possible exits - the first, on the left, being the door way and stairs leading up to the deck. The other is a large hole smashed into the wall of their right revealing... well. Not much but darkness.
Drake is just continuning to move to the shipwreck... on foot, though it's a stomp and wade kind of process. Once he's there, he puts Amalthea down again on her feet, as soon as there's enough ship to stand on and they're not wading through sinking sand. He dusts himself off, which does absolutely no good since what he's 'dusting' is wet sand. But he tried anyway. He starts looking around the ship, though he's distracted by all the rest of this business and not as perceptive as some in the group. He squints up into the darkness, seeing what looks like fairly-unfamiliar writing on the ceiling, though he cannot pick out what it says. He wants to head further in. He's looking for monsters, or for some good treasure... either-or. The scary hole in the wall is kind of intriguing to him, from a 'might be monsters' perspective.
"Nearly as old as you," Ilira quips in a murmur as she slips up beside Evaristo, a sudden presence. Soaked from her swim, her silks and leathers cling skimmingly to the length of her form. "Let me peek." With a casual cant of her head, she glances through to scan the shadow and lets her eye trace each detail a moment, then steps forth. A quirk of amusement touches her lips in the dark at sight of Drake.
Amalthea follows behind Drake and Lexir, intentionally staying at the end of the group watching behind them. After being put down between prying eyes anxiously flitting about she's also checking herself for any wounds and rummaging through the bag.
"I don't suppose anyone managed to pull a lantern from the boat," Lexir mentions as he moves cautiously through the wreck, scanning it with a sort of careless indifference. "Or a torch or some such. Are we expecting to find anything specific here?"
Ilira checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher. Ilira rolled a critical!
"I thought you were near my age?" Evaristo quips back at Ilira. He's moving cautiously across ancient wood and sand, staring up at that writing in an attempt to make out what it says. "Prooobably best not to read those out loud. Looks like prayers to their gods." He does try to look for treasure, like the 'explorer' he is, but that dark area draws his attention too. "I'd be careful with a torch. This is dry wood," he says thoughtfully. Still, he's moving towards it as well. "Might be enough light in there."
"I mean, it looks... like it'll fall apart if we sneeze on it - I wouldn't go up those stairs." Neilda, who will try to punch a shark rather than flee from it: cautious about crumbling stairs. Yup. "Maybe we can just... knock a hole through. Like that creepy one over there, but less creepy." After glancing up to see they support nothing in particular, she pokes at some rotting timbers absently - but gently. Gently.
"See?" Neilda says.
Sirius says, "Maybe there's some sort of hidden message in the scriptures? Can someone read it out to me? I don't speak -- whatever that language is."
Drake knows a thing or two about Eurus, too. "Eurusi gods are bad news," is all he says. "I wouldn't read it out loud, just in case." He starts to walk into the dark spot. Light, or no light... he'll figure it out. The ship collapsing might end up tipping a ceiling open in there, in the end. But he is cautious and slow about it.
Pasquale glances at the writing. "What does it actually say?" he asks, wrapping his arms about him in a futile effort to keep from shivering with the cold. "I can give you a good guess as to which kingdom it came from just from that."
"Good luck, then," Lexir bids Evaristo's and Drake's way, the man paying the dark no more heed.
"Fine. That one says something like... well, some words I can't make out, but it's a prayer to the archfiend of Lagoma. It speaks of how change is wicked, and preservation of... well, everything to be the same as before, basically," Evaristo explains, pausing in his careful walk. "That one? I think it's a prayer to the Maw of the Deeps, it mentions sacrifices in blood and poisons..." He shrugs. "Eurusi prayers are basically opposite to ours. In a manner."
"Thats strange." Pasquale leans to look at the writings despite the fact he can't actually read it. "But the Maw of the Deeps." He pauses to suppress a cough before continuing. "that points to the Dune Kingdom of Petrioch." He frowns for just a moment. "What was our end goal in coming out here again?"
Sirius checked intellect + riddles at difficulty 20, rolling 23 higher.
"I wear it better." Ilira strays from the group as the rest make their way, the soft soles of her boots soundless on the planks. Her nose crinkles, tickled by some cold waft. "Just a moment," she urges Drake and Evaristo, "And don't step too hard." In a lithe motion, she slips before them and past the door. A quiet falls as the shadows drink her silhouette, but a soft breath of laughter carries as her footfalls pad away for a moment, then return. "Bones are not so flammable," is all she says, with a gesture to the room at her back.
Neilda tips her head at Pasquale when he asks about an 'end goal' as if these might themselves be a Eurusi incantation, or otherwise entirely illegible. "Lemme see," she says to Ilira, and follows on the way she gestures.
"I don't know," Lexir chimes over to Pasquale, catching the question on the man's tongue. "I suppose we just can't resist checking out an abandoned shipwreck."
As confection and possibilities and details of all the feasible hidden meanings to the writings are shared amongst the party, Sirius sits at the back in silent and conscious assimilation of all that is said. His eyes chase an invisible, mental rhizome in the back of his mind, things clicking here and there to land towards a rather simple, sudden conclusion. "That there, I think, is them seeking out Lagoma's patronage," the Valardin says, tilting up an upturned nod towards the scribbles. "Beseeching her in some superstitious measure to prevent some creature of the Underdark from assailing their ship. It just... didn't work." One needs only look all about their feet to notice this.
Ilira finds that the next room is also knee deep in water and moving soundlessly is fairly hard, and given the amount of sand settling into the room, it's very hard to find the floorboards with her feet. Still it seems like the sand may be the sturdier choice anyway. Neilda finds the same - the opening yawns wide to deliver a Captain's Cabin that's mostly cast in darkness. Enough light to navigate by does stream in from little cracks in the hull and illuminates (barely) a crumbled throne of a Pirate King with the King still seated within. He's nothing but a skeleton wearing a mantle of tattered, rotten rags and clutching a wooden chest that's half submerged in his lap.
"At least I know why I'm here." Pasquale says to that before ducking into the wreck behind Neilda and Ilira.
Evaristo just stares at Sirius, opens his mouth to say something - the closes it again. "Sure. They were asking for Lagoma's patronage," he says wryly, then lofts an eyebrow at Ilira in curiosity before he treads towards the dark room with eyes shining in excitement. He squints, hand on his warpick, more to just keep it somewhere than any fear of an attack. "Careful," he muses. "It could be a trap. LAST time I came upon a chest just sitting there? I was almost poisoned."
Neilda dimples at Pasquale, grinning brightly, then glances around, picks up a hunk of rotten wood. "Shhh," she says - then pitches the wood in the water, listens for the slither-splash-y sound of something swimming. Be a ... great place for an INVISIBLE SHARK to hide.
Pasquale checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.
Neilda checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 14 higher.
Ilira checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.
Lexir checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 21 higher.
Drake checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.
Drake keeps walking in to the darkness. He's not worried about making it very stealthy. He doesn't think that's going to matter here, especially with the vibrations in the water that would call a shark, if anything. But he's careful not to break any of the already rotten boards as he steps in. The thing he notices first is the treasure chest, really. "Ah, yes, I know, it does seem suspiciously nice, doesn't it." He pulls his sword out. If there's a thing to attack in the darkness, he may have to do that. Otherwise he may just use it to pry the chest.
Evaristo checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.
"Like you in your youth," Ilira chuckles over to Lexir as she steps aside for Neilda's entry. She lingers against the doorjamb, hands laced, as her eye follows the others that trail past. "The old 'toss something at it and hope' method, then?" she muses with a smile. In reflex, she reaches to steady Pasquale with a hand on his wrist for any planks askew.
The splash echoes a little off the rotting walls, revealing the water remaining still and even and quiet. Evaristo - OH MY GOD IS THAT AN EEL?!
"I don't know." Pasquale says softly, dubiously. "If you were dying and all the treasures you didn't want to share were in a chest.. wouldn't you clutch them to your chest too?" he stares over after the splash. Suspicious after the shark incident.
"I'd send them to the sea," Ilira adds in afterthought to Pasquale.
"I'd have thrown it into the ocean," Lexir chimes in reply.
"Well, think about it, Goodman Evaristo. From where would such power come, if not Lagoma? It's that name here summoned. In the end, it's protection they seek. Sure... they don't give the same meaning to our deities that we do, but a fount of power is but that, isn't it? Power. Even if their method of worshipping it is fraught at best," Sirius explains, and unlike the group, he doesn't go deeper at all. He stays there, huddled up against the hull, pulling from within the confines of his jacket a pad of papers in which to scribble as best he can the writings themselves and after? Contemplate them, like any good scholar.
"Just because it's a Eurusi ship doesn't mean it's all evil, right? I thought there was a whole thing about expectation of their total naval dominance, but why'd this beach if they're so damn cool? Maybe it's a refugee ship. Or something. Who knows. There's no shark in that water, we should at least look." Neilda is not here for the fearmongering. "Come on." And she heads forward.
"And give them up?" Pasquale asks Ilira and Lexir. "Use your last bit of energy to crawl off the chair and hurl your prizes overboard instead of taking comfort in them? Unlikely." A smile is given to Ilira for the hand but eases further into the room in an attempt to get a better look at the chest anyway. "Not everything is a trap. Still." he looks to Neilda here for some reason. "Some things are."
Drake just keeps walking up to the chest, and when he gets close enough to it, he first pokes it with the sword tip - to search for obvious booby traps - and if that is nothing, then he looks to see if there's some way to open it. Using rubicund as a prybar seems like overkill.
"Oh for crying... Eurusi do not WORSHIP OUR GODS. They worship TOTALLY different gods," Evaristo says, sounding a bit exasperated. "Although I don't suppose they are necessarily more religious than any Arvani, their ideals are the COMPLETE opposite. Lagadorus is the city of NO CHANGE. Skal'daja - the CITY OF CHAINS. It's not named like that because they don't LIKE chains," he says, shaking his head. He looks at the others, then shrugs, and marches towards the skeleton and the chest. "Only one way to find out." He reaches carefully out - then nervously looks at whatever is splashing for a second, befure continuing to try to take the chest.
Drake is met with the most anticlimactic reaction of all time - silence. But the chest, while wood, seems to be in surprisingly fair condition. True, it's aged and no one would pay even a single copper for it. Lovingly it had been weather sealed with wax. Wax that is now hard and brittle and crumbly. The lock on the front rusted and weak.
Evaristo successfully pries the chest from the skeletal hands. They fall to pieces and plop into the water without resistance. And yes, the chest is quite weak it'd be a fairly easy endeavor to open it.
He doesn't quite get that far before a shattering wail rattles the entire ship. The wail of a man who'd lost everything precious to him.
"Delightfully ominous!" Lexir calls out with a laugh as he jerks his head around and about, seeking out the exits.
Sirius squints at the irritated Evaristo in silence, his head upturned somewhat with this dubious kind of look. Rather than stoke the flames of this obvious irascibility, Sirius quietly folds his notepad upon finishing the jotting of that Eurusi scribble and says: "Okay," before calmly padding after the group. Only that he doesn't- that shuddering, inconsolable wail striking across the ship halting him in place. Sirius doesn't realize the disembodied nature of the voice at first, asking with some measure of shock: "What the fuck was that?"
Neilda checked composure at difficulty 10, rolling 0 higher.
Pasquale freezes at that echoing wail. His eyes skipping around the space as if he half expects the shadows to start coming for him.
Amalthea checked composure at difficulty 10, rolling 7 higher.
Neilda's brows go up, she freezes, hand up in a like 'whoa' at the scream, but then she uh, peers. "A disembodied scream? Why not. Invisible sharks and disembodied screams, seems... right." A scrap of laughter, then: "Man, Thea would booby-trap a box with that, if she could. Just to see your face."
Pasquale checked intellect + occult at difficulty 35, rolling 21 higher.
Neilda checked intellect + occult at difficulty 35, rolling 14 higher.
Sirius checked intellect + occult at difficulty 35, rolling 18 lower.
Drake checked intellect + occult at difficulty 35, rolling 28 lower.
Amalthea cringes in disgust from the wail, shaking her head firmly as she stays back. "Ugh, no- No ghosts. No." She repeats to herself and hugs the bag tighter, making more clanking sounds.
Evaristo checked intellect + occult at difficulty 35, rolling 6 lower.
Drake seems to have the chest in his arms, which is... fine. And then there's a loud and horrible wail. Which is less fine. He looks a bit startled by it, but... "Well, if this is a treasure, maybe that's... all we came for." The wail was bad, but... Neilda's comment released the tension a little. "...A wooden spider would jump out," he says. He doesn't know much about actual occult things, to say what it was for sure.
Evaristo checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 13 lower.
Ilira casts Lexir a glimmering look from the corner of her eye and flashes her smile to Pasquale as she says, "I'd choose the one most precious, and leave all else to--" The sound makes her eyes widen and both hands snap to the sword at each hip. Her gaze lingers on the rag-swathed skeleton, faintly stricken. "Oh, what the fuck," she breathes in something like exasperation.
Ilira checked composure at difficulty 10, rolling 6 higher.
For those that fail, that was obviously the sound of the virtually unknown groaning tree, of which this fine ship was obviously hewn of.
Evaristo looks excited at first, Drake handling the chest and him eagerly leaning in to see what will be found - until that wail is heard. Then he's turning quite pale. "Oh CRAP! That must be a GHOST! NOT a fan of that," he says and he speaks as if he has personal experience, whirling around. "Everyone should GET OUT." He isn't waiting - he's moving.
What a perfect opportunity to say I told you so for Pasquale. Alas the man is far more occupied with trying to pick out shadow monsters and watching the reflections of them all in the shadowy waters underfoot. "You know what I was saying about clutching treasures to your chest.." he starts to say as he carefully backs up (and into a corner. Its not the most useful of retreats). "Perhaps you should give it back."
As Evaristo barges past him, Sirius chases after his silhouette with a quizzical look- he hasn't yet realized, or simply, he doesn't believe: "You don't really believe in ghosts, do you? All of you--they're not real," Sirius explains, his voice affirmative in its reasoning. "To suggest that such a thing is true simply strains the very bounds of reason." And that's how, staggering as he can past the rubble and broken timbers on the way within the cabin where the chest is, Sirius moves beside Drake. "Let us hope it was just the ship's old, creaking wood and count ourselves fortunate."
"They are real." Pasquale says with the firmness of absolute belief. "They are."
Neilda's eyes go directly upward. "Oh no," she says, flatly, "a ghost." As if she is... really not impressed by this. "I mean, we can give it back. Let's chuck it back in his lap, that's fine. I just want to /look/."
"We came all this way. To be nothing but empty-handed seems like a shame," Drake says. "Unless it's... really a ghost making all that racket." Which he apparently does not believe. So Neilda has the right idea, likely. He decides to go ahead and open the chest up. It seems... easy enough, just give it a good wedge-open.
Ilira spares Sirius a single, witheringly cold look that settles to the other two lingering. "No. We must leave," she says with a sharpness understated by her calm.
"I don't BELIEVE in ghosts. Belief is for someone that doesn't KNOW," Evaristo replies cryptically to Sirius - he's not stopping. Apparently his lust for treasure is not greater than his fear of ghosts.
Ilira glances with relief over her shoulder at Evaristo and Lexir as they flee.
We fly for the hills!
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