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Lumpy is, in fact, already armored, having started peicing it on the moment he'd laid eyes on the boat, "The armor comes off AFTER we know they ain't gonna shoot us, not before. 'Sides, if it's drow, it won't make much difference. I've crossed enough ta know they out-see even me down here."
The burly orc adjusts his pack, making sure it's all secure, and that his borrowed sword and bow are both accessible. He glances over at Lissa again casually. Or it would have been casual, if he hadn't been doing it fairly regularily for the past few hours. He was releived to see the drow with her, which briefly struck him as odd, but he had to admit that the dark elf seemed to be on the level. Certainly he warranted at least as much trust as most of the others. More than most, actually. He scowls a bit, habitually, turning away quickly to glare at Darius, "Keep that damned torch covered!"
"..mhmmmm nice juicy..." With a grumble Callos's eyes opened and he sat up abruptly. A long yawn emerged from his gaping mouth before he went stone still. Carefully he looked around at the way all of the others were staring at...well something and turned to look in the same direction. Oh the ferry is here. Almost here that is. I wonder why everyone is getting all tense.
Shaking his head he crawled on his hands towards Lissa and said his name softly.
"Lissa..I asked before and no one answered. I figure I'll ask someone who is at least amiable. Who is Sethra?"
I will be gone from the second to the 11th and be without any computer access. Games and recruitment will obviously be on pause. Warriors & Wuxia: A community world-building project focused on low-magic wuxia/kung-fu action using ToB.
Again, the blind gnome tenses up as she hears Callos approach, and relaxes (mostly) as he identifies himself. Lissa's nerves are clearly on high alert. At his question, she shrugs slightly. "To tell you the truth, I don't know that much about Sethra. You might be better off asking Linda, Fizahn, one of the Elthans, or the druid... um, maybe not the druid. He doesn't seem too keen on you and Djital. Can't imagine why." She smiles sardonically.
"Anyway, from what I've gathered, Sethra is a very powerful, totally evil necromancer who's somehow managing to survive outside his body. I'm not sure if he has a body somewhere or what. He seems to enjoy playing mental hopscotch, jumping around from one person's head to another and making them do evil things when nobody's watching." Lissa sighs, her voice turning sad. "We're pretty sure that's how Sedryn, a cleric of Lathander who came down here with us, died. We found a set of interlocking caves that would give everyone a bit of privacy, and fools that we were, we took it. We'd just rescued Trinark, and the party was kind of split on whether or not to trust a drow." She turns to the last place she heard Trinark. "No offense, Trinark, but at the time you were a stranger." Turning back in Callos' direction, Lissa continues. "So Sedryn said that he'd prepare and cast detect evil when we woke up to settle the issue." She swallows hard. "When we woke up, Sedryn was dead. Someone had hit him in the head with a rock during the night, despite the fact that we had two-person watches set all night long. Everyone liked Sedryn; nobody had a reason to kill him... unless they didn't want to be exposed as evil. Again, ask Linda or an Elthan; one of them mentioned an entire adventuring group that killed each other because Sethra was possessing them. The last guy alive ended up killing himself." Lissa's expression turns thoughtful. "I wonder why Sethra didn't just blind Sedryn the way he did me? Maybe Sedryn would have been more resistant to the spell, since he'd been serving Lathander practically his whole life."
The light moves closer and closer until even the humans and halflings can see a black longboat moving slowly across the dark water. Stylized dragon heads are carved into the prow and sternposts so that, without looking for the wake, it is hard to tell whether the boat is coming or going.
A single lantern dangles from a wooden mast. There are no sails or oars. In fact, the boat has no visible means of propulsion. A cloaked figure stands amidships, hands clasped as if in prayer. The figure's head is bowed and hooded, and the shadow cast by the lantern makes it impossible to see who exactly the boatman (or boatwoman?) is. There are no passengers visible on the boat.
The boat slides silently up to the dock, scraping gently against it. The cloaked figure ties the longboat fore and aft to stone pilings, then slides a gangplank across to the dock ...
"Well, excuse me," Sheyra says to Fizahn, looking moderately annoyed."I just figured that since you're always the one who checks for traps, that you're more likely to have experience in scouting than most of us. We hired Lissa to help scout, but in case you haven't notice she's a bit incapacitated at the moment. And I am perfectly aware that you can't see in the dark, but last time I checked it wasn't completely dark in here due to the glowing fungus balls all over the ceiling, not to mention that the boat itself is giving off a light." She groans, closing her eyes and rubbing her forehead. "And it's not polite to insult people in languages they don't understand. I can tell you insulted someone by the tone of your voice, and I can only assume it was someone here right now. So either look or don't, but you don't have to pick a fight about it." She gets up, turns her back to the rest of the party, and slumps down again.
OOC: After the boat comes.
Finally, Sheyra thinks as she stands up. If we sat here another minute, I might have really lost my temper. She sighs. You're already losing your sanity, Sheyra. Just... try to think about something else. Like cookies. Think about cookies. Her stomach growls. "Damn, I'm hungry," Sheyra says, wondering if the others can hear her stomach growling.
And then they made me their cheif.
"Perhaps we should have one of us approach the ferryman and inquire about crossing while the rest of us sneak up in case it is...uncooperative." Hajih smiles "I volunteer Lumpy for the job, his heavy armour would make too much noise while hiding."
Content to remain hidden in the shadows for the moment, he nudges Callos and points unnecessarily toward the figure on the boat.
"If no one starts dying, how about we go make ourselves known? We better not split up, ever, after what I just heard her tell you. Actually... He turns to Lissa and starts to unconsciously gesture with his hand as he speaks, then drops it to his side. "This 'Sethra'.. would there be any chance, however slim, that he is connected or was behind what hit us in the past? I've got plenty of revenge bottled up and nowhere to channel it, and I doubt I'm speaking only for myself here."
As the figure ties off the boat, either in preperation to disembark or to take on passengers, he leans forward with interest. "S'pose when we get to a trading post or civilisation, we'll have some shopping to do, eh? Clothes, armor, parchment for both of us, and whoever owns the eatery near where we all end up is gonna be having a lucky day. Hopefully there's some way to get some money on the way, because I want a damn long list of things." Laying back against a rock, he idly scratches a list on his forearm with a fingernail, watching the figure on the boat and the party members' reactions to it.
Lissa listens to the conversation around her, her expression increasingly frustrated. I think I hear something in the water... or is that just waves on the rocks? Finally she bursts out, "Hello, I can't see! Will somebody please describe what's going on? Is there a boat here or what?"
"No one told you? There's been a longboat pulling up to the dock for a while, it's tied up now. That's the ferryman we've been talking about, a dramatically lit cloaked humanoid looking figure with no companions that I can see. The boat looks black- although everything does. Really nice engraving on the fore and aft sections, looks like dragon heads. I'm assuming either the boat or the ferryman is magically powerful, because they've been cruising around without oars and the mast has no sail. Is that descriptive enough?"
After Hajih nominates Lumpy, Djital slips his sword down the outer side of his right thigh, under the pants, and hooks the hilt in place, where it is less noticeable and also unlikely to twist about and cause harm to his body. Nodding to Callos, "Shall we go down and inquire about the fare?"
The orc squints, making out the features of the approaching boat, the odd figure, and presumably magical propulsion. He growls with a sour scowl, "Figures. A normal boat, with a normal boatman would'a just been too much ta ask fer. Hells, I give up. Just be ready ta come along."
He steps up to Trinark for a moment, rumbling softly in undercommon, "Make sure she gets along alright.," before heading down the pier, his heavy footfalls audible and broad form easily visible. As he nears, he calls out, sticking to undercommon.
Achkby walks quietly over to Lissa and the Drow. "It's me," he announces. "Fools. Dashing out there, shouting and waving their lights... anyway. Let's get ready to go on down there." He nods brusquely to Trinark, readying to guide Lissa down to the boat.
We had better be going down to the boat now. Don't know how fast she could run... might have to take Sheyra up on her offer.
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(Arthur Avatar by the Losar.)
The biggest problem with the alignment system is that it encourages us to choose.
Lissa gets to her feet, locating her pack by touch and managing to strap it on pretty well. "Hi, Achkby. Thanks for the description of the boat, Djital. I swear, if I can ever channel enough of Baravar's power to cure blindness, I'm going to cure every blind person I meet who wants it! This is just ridiculous." She tentatively walks toward where she heard Achkby, then stops. "I need a cane or something... I've seen blind people using those. Hey, I know!" Lissa unbuckles her sheathed rapier from her belt and proceeds to use it to tap the ground in front of her as she's seen other blind people do. She smiles, the first real smile since she was blinded. "Oops, sorry... Achkby, right? I don't feel a shoe, and you're the only one who goes barefoot around here." Lissa's probing 'cane' had managed to find Achkby's foot. Fortunately, the rapier is still sheathed.
"Right. Let's go meet 'Charon'."
He moves with the rest down to the dock. "I wonder if the sequins on these pants can pass for an obscure form of currency... or if passengers get complimentary bags of nuts."
Lumpy grumbles as he counts mentally, "That is common down here, get used ta it. Surface common's a novelty language down here." He glances at Callos and Djita, as if considering whether or not to include them in the counts, scowling a bit. lHe clears his throat, calling out again,
"Hells.. Fifteen! Trying ta cross the 'Sea ta get beneath Telflamm on the surface, if ya got any idea where that is! Actually, I'll take anything that might lead us upwards, I ain't gonna be picky!"
He glances back to see if the others are coming along, motioning them to move up cautiously.
Party members cautiously rise from behind the rocks and gingerly make their way across the beach, pebbles crunching underfoot.
The cloaked figure observes as the fifteen of you approach. His face remains hidden in shadow as he switches to Common.
"Explorers from the surface? You are a long way from home indeed."
He then switches back to Undercommon to address Lumpy. "Normally I would ask for three ..." He pauses, looking the party over. "But in this case, I think that one should suffice ..."
Lumpy shifts, metal clinking on metal as the steel-plated orc adjusts his position, He switches tongues again, muttering in orcish rapidly, "Lousyunderdarkwherenothingssensible..", which inevitably trails off into cursing as orcish is wont to do. Inevitably, he straightens back out, bellowing again.
"Now, I'm not all up on the subtle nuances of the common here, so let me just make for sure.If you'd elaborate a bit, by 'one', you mean..?"
He throws a glance back at the others, who are aready moving up, Damn, if this is what I think, they're never gonna let me hear the end of it.
"... a brain, obviously." The cloaked figure finishes Lumpy's sentence for him.
The cloaked figure then raises cachectic four-fingered hands to his hood, drawing it back and revealing the grotesque features of a horrible aberration of nature. He (it?) has hairless, rubbery mauve skin and slimy tentacles where a mouth should be. A chill of recognition runs through each party member's spine (except for Lissa's) - illithid ... mind flayer!
Ensuring that everyone, regardless of whether or not he or she comprehends Undercommon, understands the ferryman's requirement, a voice "speaks" directly into each party member's mind ... I will require one brain in exchange for safe passage to the closest landfall beneath Telflamm ...
Djital's face drops sharply, and he scowls, looking at his feet. "Dammit! So much for my theory of what you would want and how I could... nevermind. Besides, it probably doesnt matter," he raises his voice, "if this Sethra fellow isn't strong enough to attack you, he's not worth the respect that most foes earn."
He sits on a rock and rubs his forehead. "I'm not interested in dying, or choosing who does. If it comes to it, I'll go harvest a live Drow soldier myself."
"Harvesting a drow soldier sounds fine. Although he hasn't specified wether the brain has to be gnome-oid or not. Maybe a darkmantle would have done just fine if those things even have brains. In case you're wondering Lissa, the ferryman is a mindflayer." Fizahn peers intently into space for a moment, deep in thought. Surface brains are probably a delicacy, so he'll want one of those. I wonder if we could give him Lumpy's, it's not like he ever uses it. If we had kept Thokk's body instead of feeding it to the ooze... God that turned out horribly...
"GREAT BARAVAR CLOAKSHADOW!", Lissa yelps. She shakes her rapier-cane free of its sheath with a slithering hiss. "Okay, anyone who even considers using my brain as the passage fee is getting a yard of gnomish steel in his guts! As soon as I find your guts, that is!" Her breathing is rapid, and her blind eyes dart around seemingly at random. "I know I'm a drain on the party resources, but dammitall, I don't want to die!" Evidently Lissa's tightly-strung nerves have just snapped.
The pervading wrongness that accompanied the arrival of the boat did not diminish as the adventurers approached the jetty collectively.
Ssathiya had watched the lone boatman bargain with Lumpy who had strode forward initially. As he stood in line with the rest, he couldn't shake off the bad vibes he continued to receive from the boat in general. He understood how badly the pinkskins wanted to escape this neverending darkness to a place known as'teff-lamm' so he patiently waited in line not mentioning a word.
As the precise terms of the boatman were translated to him, hie frowned in puzzlement and he strode closer to the edge of the jetty to get a better look at the boatman who made such strange demands.
His jaw dropped as the creature pushed its hood back. He did not recognise its kind. If indeed there were more of it. But the twisted aura it radiated told the druid enough. It was unnatural. A blight to the natural order. The Balance. Raising his clawed hands, he tensed to leap onto the deck of the ship but his instincts warned him that a creature who traveled alone in this realm in a vessel of foul magic was no mere brute to be slaughtered. Wisely he restrained himself but his face remained a mask of hatred and the sounds of his fast breathing even told blind Lissa that the druid was agitated.
"Well uh, you won't want mine... it might bite back." Darius says with a half-hearted chuckle.
Darius looks over at the Elthans, trying to figure out which one is which, and which one he doesn't like. He lowers his voice, trying to whisper only to the mind flayer. "There's two of them, see. We don't need both."
__________________ Currently Playing: Lotho Vendara, Halfling Rogue, in End of Ages IC/ OOC