Bolgrith sighs at the impertinent dismissal of one of the ruling house. Gently resting his shield edge down, he leans on the heavy wooden piece and says. "I think it's clear he has no intention of simply standing aside, Master Merchant. Perhaps it's in your best interest to comply with his wishes?"
Aid Diplo 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
"I..." Venjamin begins to answer the Stonebit, before being interrupted by the stormborn. He frowns, confused, though he cannot help a small smile. "...what?"
Bolgrith helps him remember the confrontation at hand. He huffs with impatience. "Very well..." he gestures dismissively, as though acquiescing to a request beneath him. "An amulet of a golden dragon, with emerald eyes and a large sapphire in its mouth. Each of its sixteen claws are narwhal ivory, and the span of its wings are reformed pearls from The Spires. The gold is of the purest quality, as though it never knew the filth of a mine. My price is a mere sixteen thousand in gold, well below it's market value." He pauses, looking Tolsbaer in the eyes. "If you must present my offer, tell High King Fivestone that Merchant Master Venjamin of Mirth possesses this treasure. He will need to summon me to his hall if he wishes to see this one-of-a-kind piece in person."
He watches Tolsbaer expectantly, waiting for him to move out of the way. "Are you satisfied?"
"I am." Tolsbaer says brightly. "In future, do not gamble your freedom and reputation to sell trinkets."
Tolsbaer turns and walks away. When some way off, he looks to the old dwarf. "Apologies, I couldn't help myself. Now, where to?"
Tynn turns a stone face to Stormcall, but after a quiet minute it gives way to the tired expression worn to tedious affairs. He glances up at Logan, and then to Bolgrith.
“To the Anvil island. Since we are already at the docks, we should make good use of our time and find passage there tonight. I hope you’ve learned to sleep at sea,” he says to the two men among the dwarves.
I need Perception and Diplomacy or Knowledge (local) checks to find a ship disembarking tonight, going to Anvil island.
Not only does Tolsbaer's familiarity with the docks help him know where to look, he also finds a good deal. The captain charges three gold pieces per passenger for the short journey. The crew is piling on the last of a few trade goods, and preparing ship for departure as the dwarven seadog, Captain Goldhorn, briefs the travelers. "I assume each o' you has been on a ship before? No filchin', stealin', murderin', drinkin', or disobeyin' once you climb aboard. We'll give ye safe passage to Anvil, but these rough waters get rougher, everyone's gotta help defend. Even you, greybeard. Castin' off in one hour."
Tolsbaer sees that years of brine and grimy cargo and deckhands have left their mark on the wooden surfaces of the ship. While the cleanliness might be laughable in comparison to young noble's pristine living quarters, he does notice a cabin boy mopping the deck of any dirt tracked in from the docks. The walkways are free of clutter and equipment is neatly stowed. Even if the ship is not free of grime, it is kept relatively clean and organized for its line of work. Captain Goldhorn makes a double-take over the finery worn by the Stormcall, and harrumphs uncomfortably. "Yes of course milord, my mate will gladly surrender his room for your service. For another two gold, iffin' ya please, sir." He makes a respectful nod to the Stormcall.
Coral tugs at Aladdin's cloak. "My father will expect me back here, on this island, the day after tomorrow. He is an easy-going man, until you cross him." She gravely warns the sorcerer. "If we dally too long on Anvil Island, and he does not find me here, he will fear the worst has happened to me."
Last call to grab anything before the ship departs!
|Aladdin of the Azlanti|
"Coral, I know not the adventure my god Porkchop has in store for me, I can not promise that I can get you back in two days, or even keep you safe. Know that I will die before I let harm come to you, but that still may not secure your safety, do you still wish to come?" Aladdin whispers as he takes Coral up in his arms.
Coral smiles dreamily in Aladdin's arms. "Such gallantry!" she sighs. "Not sure who this 'Porkchop' god is, though..." the ship captain's daughter teases. She frowns as she weighs her options. "I like you, but there is not sense in making my only family worry. I will wait here, and speak with my father. Then I will wait for you here on Thunderstone. And you had best come back!" she laughs.
With a final call, the sailors cast off and row their way to deeper waters. The first mate shows the passengers where they are to sleep, and takes a moment to tidy up his cabin for Tolsbaer. Captain Goldhorn guides the ship into the black, churning sea.
"I must go down to the seas again..." he intones at the helm.
Like white hair blown back, the crests of waves dot the pitching dark, a fluid mimicry of the clear, star-pocked black above. Buffeting gusts are cool and salty. The small ship rocks and groans gently like a great slumbering beast, the prow sending soft white foam up at a steady pace.
Logan thanks the first mate for his help and then gets ready to sleep. Keeping his armor and falchion on him, he gets as comfortable as he can and focuses on relaxing so sleep may take him.
Isaac said he wanted this. So here it is.
Dawn finds Bolgrith above decks, armor neatly arranged on the planking next to his travel kit. The holy-dwarf is bare-chested and breathing steadily as he performs his morning calisthenics. His burly hair-covered arms flex and strain as the Priest pulls himself off the deck with some loose rope from the rigging.
STR 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22
Dropping down he lands lightly on the balls of his feet and looks out to the horizon. They were drawing closer and closer to the Lock of Hongfongalas, and whatever this "Binder" was. At least Bolgrith hoped they were. This strange summons that had drawn him so far across the waters, he and Aladdin, the only two of the original fellowship to have made it this far. And Bolgrith worried that not all of Aladdin had made the journey...
His reverie is broken when he catches the eye of one of the deckhands eyeing his sweaty form, glistening in the morning light. Pretending not to notice, the dwarf of Irori casually begins flexing, the tantalizing ripple of muscles under thick tanned skin calls out to the curious sailor. Finally catching his eyes, Bolgrith winks at the now flustered seadwarf before taking a running leap overboard into the cool crisp waves!
The Priest swims a few yards away from the vessel before diving down under the surface. Holding his breath against the waters Bolgrith opens his eyes into the azure depths. He's there only for moments, but the peace that fills the dwarf is a familiar one. In these trying days the dwarf from Stonegard rarely got a chance to meditate beyond his morning prayers and he relished the opportunity now.
Swim 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
All too soon the moment was gone and he surfaced with a spume of seawater and a deep breath. Swimming up to the side of the ship he found the rope, earlier lowered to the waves, and hauled himself back to the deck. Finding an isolated corner of the ship near the bow the dwarf adopts his lotus position for morning prayers, face forward into the wind.
STR 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
The sun has moved ever higher in the sky by the time Bolgrith finishes his meditations. His skin is taught and dry with the wind and salt and he feels ready to face another day of danger and curiosities.
Collecting his gear, he straps on his armor and pack, before setting off searching for something to break his fast.
Protection from Evil
Symbol of Healing
Speak with Dead
Took some liberties. If anything doesn't work, just say so and I'll take the consequences.
Tolsbaer wakes and groans. Why must the mouth dry so while sleeping?
He rises and crosses the tiny room to the basin where he rinses his mouth and face with water.
Then he bathes with a damp cloth and some honey scented soap.
Now clean and fully nude, he stretches and prepares his mind for the coming day.
Then he bathes with a new cloth and some pine scented soap.
With the remaining water, he washes and wrings out his soiled clothes and towels and lays them carefully to dry.
Soon thereafter, Tolsbaer appears on deck clean and brushed, beard oiled and waxed, in clean navy trousers that end at mid calf. Simple rope sandals form a barrier between his clean feet and the dirty deck.
Though simply dressed and bare chested, Tolsbaer commands the attention of most who see him. Lean for a dwarf, his corded muscles ripple under taught bronze skin. He scans the deck and wonders. Are any here a worthy challenge?
His attention lands on Bolgrith as he finishes his meditations. Tolsbaer smiles and approaches, but his smile fades as he notices the state of the priest: tangled hair, salt stained clothes, and the smell of souring sweat. He stops short or the dwarf.
"Good morning Brother Bolgrith. May the sky never swallow you."
"Well met, Master Stormcall. May stone ever be at your feet." Bolgrith responds, sketching a polite half-bow towards his newest companion. He looks out over the waters and gestures to the sun-tipped swells. "Hopefully the gods deem that the rest of the day be so clear and favorable."
Logan stretches awake with a yawn and a few slow, heavy blinks. Before rising, he methodically tenses and relaxes his muscles corresponding with his breathing, starting from the top of his head and ending at his feet. After a few cycles of this, he takes a deep inhale as he sits up, feeling the familiar weight of his armor and falchion find their place on his shoulders. He goes through his morning routine and changes into clothing that smells a bit less of sleep and the sea and then dawns his armor and blade and steps out into the day, enjoying the morning sun.
Looking about the deck for any familiar faces, he sees Tolsbaer and Bolgrith and heads their way. "A good morning to you both!" he says with a casual smile.
Bolgrith nods up at the Stonebit warrior as he approaches, addressing his two fellow travelers he says, "Well, once we get to Anvil, we need to set about finding the Lock of Hongfongalas, an ancient device left by the gnomic tinkerer of lore. Ostensibly we are to go about this merely at the behest of our employer. But I find it unlikely that the timing of our venture would coincide with the marshaling of the goblin hoards by mere accident. It is my hope that with whatever was secreted away by Hongfongalas we might help to forestall any violence between the realms of dwarf, man, and goblin."
The Priest looks out at the waters and the skies beyond, "As for how soon we shall arrive..." His hands briefly glow blue as a quiet prayer escapes his lips.
Survival 1d20 + 5 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 5 + 1 + 1 = 22
Knowledge (Geography) 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (1) + 9 = 10
Bolgrith is trying to determine where exactly they are and how long it'll take to reach Anvil Island.
The priest couldn’t point out their location on a map, but he knows the sky well enough to look eastward. Noticing one or two gulls drifting lazily in the pale blue overhead, Bolgrith senses that their destination is close, less than a day away.
“No more than few hours.” Tynn replies, leaning up against the railing and looking down at an open book in his hands. How long he had been quietly reading there is unknown. Without looking up, he waves vaguely east with one hand. “Should be able to see it, in this weather. No mountain-statue to greet you like Thunderstone, just lumps of rock and iron. The trees are nice...” he adds absent-mindedly. The wind tugs at the pages he holds down, and flings his greasy long white hair this way and that.
At length, he gives up and closes the book. His old, lined face crinkles further as he squints in the sun. "Employer? I hope I did not mislead you, Bolgrith the Faithful. I haven't a gold piece to my name to pay you by."
Blue sky, blue seas, and in between, a distant blue mound of land just as the researcher indicated. The sailors continue their work, sometimes gruffly asking their passengers to move aside or get out of the way as they go about their tasks. One of them casts nets alongside the ship, in hopes of dragging up a meal for everyone aboard.
You can roll Survival to aid fishing if you want.
You guys have a few hours of roleplay on the boat if you want it, otherwise I can skip to landing on Anvil.
"Mission." Tynn adjusts the bifocals on his nose with a small smile. "A 'research expedition' is more accurate. You remember the Oldkeep that stands on Anvil island? That ancient stone tower was on that hunk of rock before a dwarven foot ever touched its shores. Perhaps you do not know, but there are more Oldkeeps on the main island of Ytramond. Four more, to be exact."
"I spent many years exploring, studying, and researching the Oldkeep on this island. There is much I can tell you about it, but it all may sound very boring for one so young." He offers a knowing smile. "Suffice to say, the fates have smiled on my efforts and guided Bolgrith the Faithful and his friends into my path. What's more, they carry an artifact that belongs at my site of research. We are going there now to see what we might learn." With his last sentence, Tynn fidgets excitedly in anticipation, but just for a moment. He regains his composure and turns Bolgrith.
"You never did tell me of your business with that staff, or what brought you and the addled one across a perilous ocean..."
"Indeed, master Hiloxiet." Bolgrith says, careful to get the correct pronunciation. "That would be at the request of our 'Employer.' An unknown benefactor who summoned us from across the waters." At this Bolgrith pauses to consider. "Actually, I don't know if they're from Ytramond. It's entirely possible that they hail from my native land of Hammonreld and just happen to have, extensive knowledge of The Sunderlands."
He looks back out across the waves, a far off look in his eyes. "Whichever the case, both Aladdin and myself were commissioned to conduct an research expedition of our own. We started with a total of 5 in our expedition. Due to circumstance and... disaster, our original number has been reduced to two." He wonders at where on the ship Aladdin is now, the morning was getting on. "Thankfully we've met new comrades and friends along the way." He smiles up at Stonebit kindly.
|Aladdin of the Azlanti|
"I know what happened to the hobgoblin," Tolsbaer says the word with a touch less courtesy than customary. "but what happened to the other two? And how does this research expedition relate to the goblin invasion? Should that not be our top priority?"
Tynn shakes his head and looks to Tolsbaer. He answers the latter questions. "It is not my priority, young noble. If it is yours, I fear you are on the wrong ship. It may be that the invasion is related to my research in some way -it may not be. We will find out together, if your uncle did indeed task you to keep an eye on us."
"Ah! There you are, Master Aladdin!" Bolgrith proclaims as the sorcerer drops in from above. "I was just explaining our current situation with the young Lordling." He turns back to Stormcall, "Indeed, the events on Ytramond are troubling. But truly, what benefit would see our small party on the front lines? Perhaps, our friend the Stonebit would make himself distinguished on the field of battle, but Aladdin and I are but humble travelers. Not well suited to the fires of combat I think, hmm?" The Priest strokes at his beard as he continues. "While it is my personal hope that our venture here among the Hammertides will aid in alleviating the tensions in the Sunderlands, I have no proof that it will be so."
His eyes take on a more distant look. "As for our other two, one turned out to be a son of a noble, and was called back to service. The other," He pauses with a quiet sigh, "He gave his life protecting us."
Tolsbaer looks embarrased for asking and murmurs a prayer for the departed.
"You words make sense. I am here to...accompany you all for a time, so I suppose I am on the right ship." He claps his hands together. "OK then. What does your research indicate? Tell us all you can Tynn."
“Well.” Tynn runs an old, knobby knuckled hand through his long white greasy hair. His watery eyes blink, and he wheezes a cough before clearing his voice.
“Let;s begin with what you know. Everyone here knows, is about to learn, that dwarves were not borne of the rock on these islands. They arrived on ships, three thousand years ago -enough generations for most dwarves to conveniently forget, and pile mythical falsehoods onto their ancestors. Two leaders arose from the fledgling colonies as they scrounged the islands for sustenance and protection, their names Anvilhart and Fivestone -names they gave themselves when it was decided to settle here. As you may know, young Stormcall, your noble line did not begin until some thousand years later. There is very little that survived the eons about the lands from which we disembarked, but I digress. A single stone tower on the island now called Anvil was found -evidence that someone, or something, intelligent inhabited that island before it was claimed by our kin. Explorers in that time took to calling it ‘The Oldkeep’. In the beginning, the ruling lord Anvilhart held court in that tower, but it was rumored that strange, small accidents would befall any who lived in the Oldkeep. Slipping on even ground, collapsing furniture, the rearranging of unattended items… the holy dwarves of the time would consecrate the stone again and again, to no effect…” Tynn trails off, smacking his dry, wrinkled lips. “A moment.”
He unslings his bag and pulls out a waterskin. He drinks deep and takes a few slow breaths. “Alright.” The waterskin reenters the bag. “The Oldkeep was abandoned when a king suffered a particular moment of terrible luck, and went tumbling down the stairs to break his neck at the bottom. The crown and throne passed to his young son, who decreed the tower off-limits to any and all persons. Laws are very slow to change in these lands. When I was finally allowed access to the Oldkeep ten years ago, it seemed some cultists had managed to maintain a low profile inside, illegally.” Tynn touches his forehead with a weathered look, as though experiencing a headache. “It was such a bother, to see them out…”
“The religious squatters had soiled the grounds with their stay: unholy figures, sooty altars stained in ichor, and went so far as to paint the walls with their foul iconography. The time it took for me to clean it all without damaging the site was the worst offense. But again, I digress. My first year proved quite fruitless, scratching at stone that could not be damaged, tapping at masonry that would not budge, studying the movements of the surrounding lands… all it would tell me is this -the Oldkeep was made to stand for age after age. The stone that made it was enchanted, and yet, not magical. The records of unluck from generations passed was the only clue I had, though I could never locate a source or cause, I did observe the ill happenstance time and time again. With that clue, I took passage to Ytramond to study the other Oldkeeps there, and what humans and hobgoblins had learned from them over the last few centuries…”
Tynn drones on in his monotone, making somewhat difficult for his listeners to maintain interest.
I need Will saves DC 13 to resist boredom. Boredom is a new condition in this scenario that imposes a -2 penalty to saves to resist sleep.
Kno dungeoneering: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Kno engineering: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15
Anything on the enchanted, non-magical stone?
will: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Logan listens attentively as the dwarf speaks.
Will 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12
Bolgrith attempts to listen carefully. Normally it wouldn't be so difficult as the subject matter was of great interest to him, but Tynn's delivery is just... so... dull. The Priest catches himself before he starts to nod and starts to flex his armored hands in an attempt to keep his blood flowing.
Will Save: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
At first, Tolsbaer is excited that the old dwarf agreed to divulge, but as he speaks it becomes clear that this is a researcher and not a teacher or storyteller. Tolsbaers mouth presses into a line and his face goes slack as the old dwarf drones on and on and on and on and on....
|Aladdin of the Azlanti|
“Little more than superstition, unfortunately.” he continues, after a sideways look to Aladdin’s enthusiasm. “But I studied the sites on Ytramond island all the same. Acquiring scholastic permits from Hagglesport was more arduous than the research, I tell you. Like on Anvil, the stone of the Oldkeeps on Ytramond is enchanted to stand against any weather or device made by dwarf or man. And, likewise, the trend of misfortune. At last, however, I discovered a new detail: the thick stone floors of these towers had an open space below them. But, with impenetrable masonry, there was no way to force open whatever lay beneath.” Tynn pauses when a spray of seawater sprinkles the lot of them.
“It was no surprise to find animals, or hermits, taken up residence in these ruins. One of creatures would not turn away, despite my efforts. After its dogged persistence, I relented, and found myself with an oddity I had only read of: a construct. One so cleverly built, seamless in design, that it was easy to mistake as a common raven. A fine example of artisanship, surpassing even dwarfish skill.” He smiles wanly at a dwarf sailor who frowned at the comment. “It seemed to operate on complex orders, detailed enough to simulate a rudimentary personality. I wondered if the object was, like the Oldkeeps, a remnant of the civilizations passed. After another year on the main island, I concluded there was nothing else for me to find at that time, so I returned to the Oldkeep on Anvil island. My new companion, Belshazzar, I learned it was called after some divining, came with me.”
“When we arrived, the construct’s behavior became erratic inside the stone tower. Its frenzied flaps, scratches, clicks, and squawks led me to... “ Tynn frowns, searching for a word. He waves his hand dismissively. “I will show you when we get there. My next clue was to search for an ancient key, the one I spotted in the hands of Bolgrith the Faithful. I can say with some certainty, that the staff you found will allow us to explore the Oldkeep further.”