The Sword Coast Seas

Sailing to Neverwinter
A song for the refugees of Gundabarg

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Rather than recount the end of our memorable adventure in Gundabarg, your bard, Delilah, will write a poem to honor the refugees from that miserable isle.

I

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees,
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

II

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the safety of the city of Neverwinter

III

O sages standing in Valkur’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

IV

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Dwarven goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Neverwinter
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

(Amanda would like to apologize to William Butler Yeats.)

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Travelers Journal, Day 6
Not with a whisper... or "How I learned to stop worrying and love the Prank of Cosmic Proportions"

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Neothelid-5e.jpgToday I tattooed and skinned the corpse of a youngling, hoping that would bring the dead some peace. This was after watching them die, bringing them back, and then killing them again. Which was before dooming yet another city to oblivion. Three for three, by the way. I have a walking stick now. So that’s fun. (I think that I might have accidentally murdered an angel somewhere along the way, but it is getting hard to keep count of the absurdities).

These are all ridiculous circumstances… and I believe that might be the point. I think that I am starting to get the joke, a little bit, at least. The punchline is still far beyond me. But the rhythm and texture of the Traveler’s works, however— their Great Practical Joke —how can I explain it?

Take today for instance:
Seeker Adric, who still somehow clings to both the path of gentleness as well as the illithid’s voracious crusade for knowledge, turned his magics against a helpless child before drugging himself with the blood of a celestial. For this, he said, Adric was granted audience with his patron Goddess. The only thing more ludicrous than Adric, of all people, downing God-blood was his epiphany to fix every of going backwards along the Path. It is a suggestion so ridiculous that I refuse to waste more ink on it.

After that, Traveler Delilah nearly doomed us all by utterly failing to convey the dire and immediate peril posed by the Mother of Worms, even to the point of actual laughter. Immediately after, without missing a beat, she proceeded to concisely lay out presented the most compelling elucidation of our impending doom that any of us could have hoped to muster. She who has walked the Third Path and returned is surely the most traveled on the path yet she wears it with an ease bordering on flippancy. I honestly cannot tell if it is enlightenment or something else entire. (She did sing me a very pretty song. No one has sung to me since Eilistraee died in my arms. It was nice…)

All the more vexing is Brother Kozaar. I read about angels in the book I took about Ooruvil and Umberlee. For one so enamored by the celestial host, Brother Kozaar seems to keep the company of entities who seem quite the contrary to any divine host. That which wears the face of Quoth is thing changeable of both face and disposition. & this is also the Path—mutable, ever-changing, ever apathetic to the petty order to which we cling.
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We are all confronted with the absurdities inherit in ourselves and made more because of it. This is the Gift. This is the Traveler’s joke on us all. Kozaar’s steadfast piety. Adric’s studious naivete. Delilah’s lightheartedness in the face of literal death. Friend Arbor saved hundreds of lives seemingly against creed and code! …I should probably check on Friend Arbor now that I think about it.

I had hoped that he never had to face the maddening calculus of balancing hundreds of lives, although_ I fear the saving of so many might take more of a toll on him that their slaughter_. At Delilah’s suggestion I wore our bond-face so as not to further alarm the single-skins. I couldn’t keep it up. It is a paired mask and just does not feel right without my sometimes daughter-son Arbor. It is a farce, I know, but one does not take up the mantle of a Mother’s face lightly.

d6b93d399af39f288fb17e092a7694a2.gif Perhaps here is the greatest joke of all: Tlex. I had to explain to my companions that I essentially raised the ullithid who consumed my dearest love, my adopted Mother, from the inside. Which makes the Mad Ulithid “_Mother_” partially my beloved Eilistraee as much as the daughter born from her body. As much my adopted sister and my most fearsome nemesis. She remembers enough of my stories of walking the planes to be dangerous and is now apparently terrorizing the multiverse—*my home of Ebberon*—in what was left of my beloved’s mutated form.

(Note to Self: Make time to explain Changelings to my companions. They seem to have the wildest misconceptions about the Children!I am afraid that my single-skin companions were more confused by my explanations than anything else. The mutability of masks and their meanings seems a foreign concept to them)

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I released myself from my fear of the third Path, the way of Death, when I released the youngling to the Traveler’s care. I would save myself and my companions a great deal of trouble if I simply followed the Path, embraced the nature of chaos and change without attachment, but I cannot leave Mother to her own devices.* I will not allow her free reign over my Changeling kin nor over the homeland of my new friends.* I fell a sense of clarity in this. (Maybe this is what growing up feels like. I have lost track of my name day, but surely my 20th year on the Path must be coming up).

Whatever may come, this is the path I choose to follow. If Gundabarg is any indication, my end will not be so easy as a softly spoken prayer in some soothing cave where the Gods whisper to their children. Goodly Traveler, you who breathed life into us your Changeling Children, are you reading this? Even if I continue to cry myself to sleep at the lost of my brothers and sisters. I pray that I live out your great joke well. I pray that I master its timing, become its texture, and deliver such a punchline that it rocks every plane in every ‘verse with a BANG!

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Episode 06: Just the Facts
A summary of the last days of Gundabarg

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The Eleventh Child’s End

We began with Tlex, shrouded in a cloud of darkness, spending their last psi points to revive the dead Changeling in their arms.

As they came to in the fading darkness, the Changeling—Mother’s Eleventh Child—groggily recounted some alarming developments:

  • Mother, the Ullithid with whom Tlex has some kind of relationship, did in fact find the remains of a Nautiloid. FYI, that’s a ship (from possibly the future and the past) created by Illithids that can travel through space-time. Illithids no longer seem to know how to create or use them, so they desperately hunt for the remains of old ones.
  • She used its last bit of power to travel to Eberron somehow and capture several other Changelings before being returned to Faerun.
  • She performed some kind of ultra-powerful mind wipe on the Changelings to make them her “Children.” They believe Mother rescued them from a terrible place and are utterly devoted to her. There are now fourteen Children of Mother who have spread out over the seas to look for Mother’s lost and traitorous First Child: Tlex.

Then the Child began ranting about how Mother can see all of this through their eyes, and how Mother and her pets are coming. They were on their way and would be there within two days. When Mother and her pets—giant psychic worms known as neothelids that come from the remains of illithids—there was no way anyone or anything on the island would be left alive.

Tlex took all of this in before finally asking Adric to kill this Child. And with a shocking grasp, Adric did.

Searching for a Plan

The group then ran through several scenarios of what to do. Send Tlex away? Sacrifice Tlex to Mother? Lead Mother away somehow or trick her?

Then Torryn Dunne arrived, searching for the King. When he saw Tlex’s illithid disguise, he fainted. But the cave gave him strength, and he slowing recovered and became more helpful.

Before they could settle on a plan, though, Adric downed his vial of the mystical cave sap!

Face-to-Face with Mystra

Adric was hoping to speak to Ouuruvil, and if he had thought more…worshipfully of them, he might have succeeded! But instead he was taken to one of the faces of Mystra, and granted answers to any three questions he wanted to ask.

Naturally, he wasted the first two on logistical questions around stopping the worms…but Mystra did mention that the best way to stop the worms from coming would be to go back in time using a “time portal.”

Needless to say, Adric was fascinated by the possibility of whatever a time portal was, so he asked where the nearest time portal was. He was told it was in Evermeet, protected by their High Sage.

And with that, he was transported back to the group. They decided that the best plan was to evacuate the roughly 520 villagers of Gunadabarg ASAP. But with only 2 ships in the harbor, how would they do it? Kat, Rolanda, or Efri would hopefully have some ideas…

A Hearty Truce

The group traveled to the city watch tower, and on their way to Efri’s office they heard Rolanda…laughing? It turned out Rolanda and Kat had come to a few agreements:
1) Kat’s dead dad, the ghost pirate Jacque Bremmer, is the worst and needs to be eliminated.
2) Kat is committed to doing that within the year.
3) Kat would leave someone important to her with Rolanda as collateral until that job is done.

Delilah and Adric were persuasive as heck when it came to explaining the dire situation on the island, and as soon as the word “neothelid” was mentioned, Rolanda snapped to attention. She knew what they were and that this was very, very serious. But what were they to do?

It was then that Kat confessed that she’s part of a sending stone network for Sword Coast pirates. She would go to the Firefly and reach out to see who might be able to help.

Contacting the Red Boar

Kat reached out with the stones and was half-relieved, half-annoyed that the one person within range was the flamboyant Dwarven pirate The Red Boar. His Three Snouts (ships) — The Snubnose, The Wide Brige, and The Crooked Hook — were all close by. But his help would not come cheap.

Gimme the Loot, Gimme the Loot

So the group needed to come up with some sort of sizable payment fast. Arbor quickly checked in with his new devotee Nibbles, who suggested that there might be two places to get some valuables:
1) The import/export warehouse, where goods in transit are stored.
2) The house of Turnip Tumbleton, a farmer who was rumored to traffic in some kind of secret magic items

The group seemed set to go to Turnip’s house, but Kozaar’s familiar, Quoth, began to get agitated at the choice for some reason. The group decided to split up.

Turnip and his Magic Stones

Delilah and Adric went to Turnip’s house. He greeted them with stew and warmth, grateful for the help of the pirates with the ooze problem. (Adric had initially been dressed as a city guard, which put Turnip off, but then revealed himself). He actually said he had been preparing a reward for them saving so many people in Gundabarg, and he presented them with five Ioun Stones!

He also revealed that he had been been growing them—literally—on a stalk hidden atop the grassy top of the mystical cave entrance. The process took years, but he said there might be some tiny unripe stones that might be of value, so off they went to find out.

Strange Statues

Meanwhile, Kozaar and Tlex went to the warehouse. The security guard basically asked them to knock him out, and in they went.

Quoth began insisting they protect “the valuables.” He landed on a crate full of…gargoyle statues? Eight of them, to be precise. When Kozaar took one out of the crate, his body markings lit up and he felt a surge of power. And he seemed very confused by all of this.

Tlex found a crate of walking sticks, and took an ivory one with an octopus head. They then bashed in that octopus head and kept the rest of the stick.

On their way to the cave, Adric and Delilah saw the knocked-out security guard and stopped in at the warehouse. Adric cast Identify on the gargoyle statue and discovered that each of them have a single daily charge that can be used to cast Fear.

Kozaar decided to keep one, which pleased Quoth, and the group decided they’d offer the rest to the Red Boar as part of their payment. Then the group went and got the baby Ioun Stones, too.

A Deserved Rest

Everyone slept at Turnip’s, recovering spells slots and emerging the next morning as the picture of health. After breakfast, the group joined in the efforts to alert citizens to the need to evacuate.

The Red Boar Is Ravenous

The Red Boar arrived, and when he was presented with the baby stones, he scoffed and scattered them, demanding much more if he was to help.

The group let him know that there was a certain castle that could be ransacked for loot, and this pleased him greatly. Everyone joined the Boar on his Snubnose as he sailed over to the Castle for a look-see.

Pillaging the Castle and Recovering a King

As his experienced pillagers swept through the castle, the Red Boar’s crew also discovered a hidden passageway in the King’s quarters…and in there, the King himself! He had been starved nearly to death, but the Changeling had been keeping him alive and using him as a source of information to keep up their ruse.

Sail Away, Sail Away, Sail Away

With the Red Boar’s hulls full of castle loot and everyone aboard all five ships, the entire village of Gundabarg set sail for Neverwinter.

Later that night, everyone saw what seemed like red, blue, and purple fireworks in the distance towards Gundabarg. Adric had left Arwyn behind to observe Mother’s arrival, and some kind of terrible battle appeared to be taking place underground, with bright shafts of light spilling out from it…until the battle ended. Whatever had been defending Gundabarg lost, and the worms broke through. They began their devouring of all life on the island.

As the group sailed away, Tlex reflected on the note they left behind for Mother. Hopefully, she will find it….

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The Memory Remains
Doubts in the night

Quoth has been acting odd… and now that I think on it, it’s not a new thing. All those nights in taverns as I traveled, hearing the odd scream in the night, the bad luck that always seems to befall those around me… and, now….

Something strange happened in that cavern. I wasn’t so lost in whatever is happening to me in battle that I didn’t sense it. It’s as if I’ve been deep underwater so long I’ve forgotten about the surface, but now I’m seeing a glimmer of light. But what is it?

And that cryptic, unexplained insistence on protecting those grotesque statues? Especially in light of Adric’s revelations, have I been too trusting? Is She testing me? Or is something far darker afoot?

When Adric requested a private conversation, I did something, shut Quoth away somewhere. I didn’t know that was possible, but it was somehow like taking a deep breath of fresh, clean air. I replicated the feat tonight to have some space to think… I believe Quoth resisted this time, but was unable to remain. My mind feels clearer, sharper, but that throws these questions into even sharper relief.

I don’t know what’s going on, but I am going to find out. And if someone’s playing me for a fool, Gods as my witnesses, they’re going to regret it. I swear that on the memory of my father.

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Where Has the King Gone?
This is odd...

I’m beginning to get worried…

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Countdown to Extinction
Thoughts in the night

After all the wandering, so many things happening, so fast. These cultists and the destruction they’ve wrought, it opens old wounds. Memories I’ve traveled hundreds of leagues and drunk more flagons than I can count to kill come back, stronger than before.

In some ways, these islanders remind me of my tribe. Oh, they’re soft here, but the community, by the sea, living with the rhythms of the land and each other… I remember a life not so different, at least in the important parts, if not in the details. I remember the pride I felt when I was finally to ascend to the position left vacant by my father all those years past. The warriors leading me in a procession to the sacred stone, the joyous rush of that first battle trance, transcendent and alive, the Protector of my people finally returned. And then they came. Defiled our sacred space, slaughtered my people, and chained me as food for their alien “god.” I can still feel the tentacles drawing me in, still see that mouth with more angles then should exist. It makes my head hurt, but I remember.

Well, at the threshold, with all else lost, and nothing left to lose but my life, we surprised them, didn’t we? I know you saved me, but for what, Angel? Nothing is the same now… light and life have become ashes in my mouth. Something. Is. Not. Right. And I fear it’s with me, and not with the world. I suppose in the end, it doesn’t matter. My father always said, “Debts must be paid,” and so I will. To those that wronged my people, to those like them, and, eventually, to Her. I know this. I live this. But why do I feel so… dead sometimes?

The odd one (well, odd-er), Tlex, asked me about myself, and I slipped and said more about my past than intended. I don’t think it was noticed, as Tlex has much to ponder in this place, and we were teetering on the brink of an ambush, so there were distractions galore. But it leaves me uncertain… why did I speak so? This ship, this crew… in many ways it’s a small village, a tiny clan, a new family. They don’t know how I failed before, and I can’t bear the chance that it could happen again. And, yet…. these individuals I came aboard with are all so remarkable: Adric’s nobility, Arbor’s tranquil certainty, Delilah’s sheer verve, and Tlex’s way of seeing the mundane as something larger and more profound… how do you keep people like this at arm’s length? More importantly, why?

Ah, these are dark thoughts in a dark night following dark times. I need to shake them off. I hear Quoth returning from whatever business he’s been about. Time for a smoke, and a drink, and to see what sights he has to show me. She’s speaking more clearly to me lately, so there must be business to be about. I will do as I must.

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Today is my Naming Day!
Day the first.
[ As a gibbering darkness retreats into the cave, a few scattered sheets of worn vellum litter the ground where Tlex fell over the child’s body, left behind in the wake of their wailing exodus. One particular weathered page, much older than the rest, rustles across the ground amidst loose bits of scribblings, an abandoned attempt at an incomprehensible map, and sketches of otherworldly entities ]

TLEX’S DIARY!!!

Dear Diary,

I can see it! The massive arch of the Traveler’s Gate, tall as a mountain and as pale grey as the Children ourselves. I knew that we were close. I pay super close attention every year and even though Xen’Drik changes it’s face every day too, I still knew it. The trick is to not use the ruins as landmarks but the Drow. The Sulatar tribes always settle near the Traveler’s Gate and we passed through one of their encampments three days ago.

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It is my name day and this youngling is SO EXCITED! TLEX is so excited. I love using my name! TLEX. TLEX. TLEX! I will miss also being Che and Fie, or Jin and Nix and Zuul and all my friends. But I am fourteen now and the sharing of names and faces, the sharing of our Mothers and Fathers, is for the younglings. As soon as I complete my pilgrimage of passage, I can add a mask of my very own to my family. I can hardly wait!

Because I am an adult now, I am starting a diary of everything I see. I want to remember everything so that I can the the Traveler all about my adventures if I meet them on the Path. I so love hearing the Traveler’s stories. I’m sure that the Traveler must want stories to listen to as well. I will make sure to get really great ones.

And they’ll be nice stories too. Not like the mean, scary stories that the older kids tell us about younglings get gobbled up by the Gate and disappearing. They are stupid and can’t scare me because I asked the Mothers and they said that I would be just fine. They said that even when people did disappear, they usually just pop up in somewhere in one of the Five Nations. They find the path back to the clan or start a new family of their own. The Mothers tell us that this to is part of our pilgrimage as the Children, part of the Traveler’s Gift. They tell us to remember the teachings of the Crossroads no matter what happens: The Path, Life, Death, the Traveler.

Some of the other younglings are getting frightened. I sing them the song that my birthmother sings to me whenever I get scared. I have to be brave for them. If I am brave then I can give them my face. That way they can be brave too. Yes. I think that is the type of person Tlex will be. We are about to pass through the Gate. This will be my one and only diary entry as a youngling. It is so BIG!

(P.S. I heard that the Traveler gives people gifts! Don’t tell anyone, Diary, but I have a secret prayer. I want to go with the Traveler to all of their amazing journeys just like in the stories. Even just for a little while. That would be the best Gift of all. I promise to be super good company and not get in their way at all.)

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I am Lost.

Mother
Traveler?
Where are you? I am so alone.

Help Me. PLEASE

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Diary of Arbor Gold, part III

Diary of Arbor Gold part III
My travels on the Firefly, entry 3

O thou Huul za Khrolkaar, 
That ever art abiding with me,
Though I may not thee see or hear,
Yet devoutly with trust I pray to thee.

It’s after a long and curious day that I finally find some time to make note of everything that’s happened. For the first time in my life I write not to my lord and god but to myself. I have many thoughts and feelings and I’m not sure I can craft an orderly, balanced account of what I’ve seen and experienced until I talk about it here.

Many things have happened—enchanting music was played, battles were fought, strategic conversations carried out in hushed tones, a plague defeated, a cult discovered, and much more. But this is all the daily wiffle waffle of we earthly children of the God of Numbers, and therefore the details and minutiae do not bear recording. (Plus, I’ve seen my companions scribbling in their own tomes and it occurs to me that should any of the details of this journey need to be recalled for some future purpose, there will be plenty of records to draw from. Adric, in particular, seems learned, obedient, and above all committed to his duties.)

My mind is racing not because my faith has been tested but because I’ve lost track of my balance sheet. I know where it is located of course (‘neath my cloak tucked into a hidden pocket in the lining) but I mean I’ve lost mental and spiritual track of it. I put it aside (Khrolkaar save me) because I’ve become distracted. For the first time in my life I have been focused not on my tallies but on my companions and the new things I am learning—the world around me holds myriad wonders and try as I might I cannot look away from them.

I learned of a curious—but extremely promising, I think—ritual from Syndirri, who, as I’ve mentioned before in these pages, is a follower of Umberlee. It demands a great deal of devotion and loyalty but if those things are abundant, the ritual seems to result in great learnings. I also heard music our sworddancer Delilah played on her enchanted, stringed instrument. (It looks very much like (and plays like) a small harp that you hold sideways and that’s attached to a long “neck.”) As I listened to her music I felt a vibration from within, starting in my heart and spreading to the tips of my toes and my fingers. I felt as if I was floating, but floating while also being very, very heavy. I can’t explain it. It’s not like the ecstasy I’ve felt after my long fasts in honor of Khrolkaar but it’s not precisely unlike it either.

I’ve also been keen on observing my companions Tlex and Adric who seem to both be devoted followers of their own faiths. I don’t fully understand how they worship or who they must kill to please their gods, but I assume I will learn that in due time. I also wonder about our companion Kozaar who seems to have quite a strong connection to some sort of “angel” which I assume is a lesser deity of some kind?

I guess what I’m saying is that I am learning quite a bit—and more and more every day. I fall asleep at night my head full of new thoughts and ideas. I don’t know where it’s taking me but I know I must find a way to refocus on my tally. I can’t let foreign religions and ideas, no matter how stimulating, knock me off my path.

I am not translating this into goblin for this is for my eyes only. It is, god save me, not for my lord.

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Episode 05: Adventure Notes
Just the facts for our reference

Some of the key events from Episode 05:

Planning Ahead

  • The crew left the Dragon Turtle Inn having sent Arwyn with a note to Torryn Dunne. Everyone reunited with Kozaar.
  • Kozaar revealed that Kat was fine, City Guard Commander Efri Hillswind is angling for regime change via Rolanda (who is dragging her feet), and there’s some very personal tragic history between Rolanda and Kat’s family.
  • Kozaar sent his hood of disguise to Kat via Quoth.
  • You met with Syndirri, who offered to take you all through a ritual to speak directly with Umberlee herself. As he revealed to Arbor, that might involve finding a cave and (temporarily!) drowning. Just a bit! But you would have to wait til nightfall.

To the Prison!

  • Instead, the crew opted to try and spring Captain Kat from prison. Posing as Pollux Graff (RIP) and the actual Adric, you went to speak with Efri. She clearly hates Graff and was extremely relieved by Adric’s compelling reveal that he was a leader in a secret cult who caused the island poisoning. But she’s also wary of letting Kat go (even via “prison break”) given the tensions with Rolanda Stoutvale. She also did know about the cave, though she was surprised that you did. She said a few people know about it, and that it’s one of the most special places on the island. She also said she’s got a lot of work to do to root out the cultists in her midst.
  • Then you went to speak with Captain Kat, who seemed troubled by her recent convo with Rolanda. She is annoyed you disobeyed orders, though not shocked. But she says she’s staying put for now; she feels like she might be able to make progress with Rolanda and tells you to leave her to it. And you do.
  • Next, the crew went to the cave, where a few Umberlee cultists had gone previously.

To the Cave!

  • As you entered the cave, you found two passed-out cultists with city guard clothing on underneath. You discovered that they had been eating a sap-like substance that spilled forth from rocky crystals in the cave, and surmised that they were somehow communing with their god by eating the sap. Then Kozaar cut their throats.
  • As you explored further, a voice BOOMED: “V’thrylg othx lyrxtltagh!” This terrified Arbor and Tlex as a huge block of tentacles appeared on the cave floor. An Umberlee priest was attacking from below!
  • Adric and Kozaar charged in, followed closely by Delilah. Several hold-persons kept the priest at bay, but your efforts to cut her down were delayed by the realization that the deeper you go in the cave, the more you heal every turn. This place is wild!
  • Kozaar went into a rage. Then that thing happened with Quoth. You know the thing!
  • Eventually you did overpower the cave effects and smash the priest to bits. Arbor shook off the fear, adding the essential firepower to overcome the healing. Kozaar then crushed in the side of her skull. You found under her robes a city guard sergeant uniform.
  • You took the body outside the cave and then took a short rest. As you did, Arwyn returned and recounted the scenes at the castle of Torryn Dunne taking the note to the King, who had him attacked and imprisoned.
  • Delilah also realized her guitar has been coated in some of the sap from this cave! And Tlex had earlier mixed some with a jar of Ointment, which they still have.

Setting a Trap

  • Then you planned an ambush of the other cultists, setting up in the bushes and blowing the Shell of Umberlee.
  • Soon, a litter carried by 4 soldiers approached. With Tlex posing as Pollux Graff, the boy king Errol Redaxe stepped out and spoke the Deep Speech to Pollux. Thanks to Tlex knowing the same, the ruse worked well.
  • Adric attacked first with surprise, and the fight was on! Unfortunately for Adric, that meant a lot of lightning bolts sent his way. Like, a LOT. Each of the guards cracked a crystal on the neck, calling a persistent lightning storm down on Adric. Fortunately, Adric plays well with the elements, and what could have been many dozens of points of damage was frequently reduced by his reflexes and magic.

The Twist

  • Everyone got in their shots, taking out the overmatched guards, and then the King’s rage caused a flicker of form — he was not who he seemed! That threw Tlex for quite a loop as they realized that this was someone like him…which was confirmed when this “king” attacked them and called them a “traitor.”
  • Tlex pleaded with the group not to kill the boy. There was hesitation, but Delilah fired first, and Arbor took that as a sign and put in the killing blow with his arrow.
  • Darkness spilled forth from Tlex as he carried the dead being towards the cave….

Please add any other details or corrections you’d like to preserve in the comments below!

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99 Problems But A Death Cult Ain't One

Or Virtue Rewarded, In A Series of Reminiscences From a Beautiful Young Damsel to Her Compatriots

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Come for the cash, stay for the end of a death cult. Or perhaps something deeper? Tlex seems to have some answers about our funky tongue-talking boy king who DEFINITELY should have been setting off alarm bells and TOTALLY would have if I wasn’t still a leeeetle bit high from wine and playing music on that sweet ass guitar that I was gifted by people who are totally, totally going to feel like they let the right woman walk off with their people’s great and ancient treasure.

I will not let Captain Kat break this one.

Maybe it won’t even come up, because the captain has it in her head she can sweet talk that Rolanda lady into letting her go which, okay, the captain is talented, but she’s not like,_ me_.

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But, as I learned in Bard College when my roommate decided that her instrument of choice was the ukelele, sometimes you have to let your friends make their own mistakes.

I digress. We killed off some death cultists and it was fun. We found a cave that bleeds drugs that make you commune with gods, which sounds….very fun for my comrades, who sit around reading books of theology and praying and talking about religion.

Me, I technically worship Najm, the god/goddess of curiosity and adventure, but honestly, I’d call it more of an ethos than a religion. Like, Najm is a symbol, a kind of muse, not someone I’d like to hang out and like, let her play with my hair while I see pink elephants and talk about deeper meanings of life. Like, don’t meet your heroes, you know?

So, yeah, our boy king is a demon monster thing that I don’t want to be too judgy about, because Tlex is also that thing, and my abstract entity, my strange but compelling friend Tlex, they are alright. Even if I don’t know exactly what they look like yet. I mean, I’m pretty sure that “mind flayer” is not their true face.

Point is, we are a full service pirating organization. We will save you from terrible illnesses and discover the death cults behind them. And almost all of us will firmly oppose any and all boy kings who may or may not be secret demons but definitely have illegitimate attitudes about power. All while backing a captain who has at least a 40% chance of pulling off her sisterly love-fest with some jackass from the Lord’s Alliance. There are many pirate organizations you can hire, but only the Firefly will do all this and (probably) not charge more than they initally offered!

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