Vuzi and Grethle: you come to your scenes as if swimming up from a great depth. You feel the spell fade from you slowly, though the actual time that passes is but a few seconds. You see a spellcaster before you, her hand still glowing on your head. She is clad as a priestess of Calistria and middle age. Her hair is a lightly salted brown and she smells of fine oils.
You find yourself in a fine room built from white marble covered in draperies and curtains. All is quiet.
How do you feel? she asks.
Harkon: You find the Trown Falgon easily enough. Following some directions from a couple sailors, you listen for the sound of a fight and soon come upon a well up-kept building. It's rowdy inside and one man is suddenly defenestrated as you walk up. You'll be payin' for dat! yells a gruff voice inside.
Grelthe shakes her head, as if clearing it of a dream. "I uh, I feel... confused. Who are you? Where are we? Last thing I remember clearly was Zadira checking the evil door for traps..." She looks around for familiar faces, and relaxes a bit when she sees Vuzi. "Where are the rest of our companions?"
Excellent use of defenestration, my good sir!
I am almost afraid to use that buffoon's name here, but lets see what happens. Harkon walks up to the bar, dodging spilt drinks, loose women, and the occasional haymaker on his way.
"Good evening barkeep. I was referred by Archibald Benedict Thunderblossom. I shall need a room for the foreseeable future, can you arrange for that?"
Vuzi shakes her head as the fog clears away. "Grelthe vere are ve? I don't remember leafing de dungon? Dere is no temple like dis in the village only an old odd priest." She looks around nervously to see if she sees any of her other companions.
"I feel confused, but I feel like myself." she responds to the priestess.
Am I remembering Archibald is the idiot that made us take him and prove that the fancy sword from the big bad was legit, correctly?
The priestess holds up a hand to you both as a greeting and as a way to stymie any more questions. You're in a temple of the Sacred Sting. An ally of yours brought you here after some misfortune and bade me return your minds to their rightful states. That is all I know.
Harkon: the barkeep snorts and nods. I can. You're going on the family tab, I take it? It was a question, but the guy clearly isn't paying attention to the answer. He reaches under the bar and hands you a key. Up the stairs, left, second on the right. Ya got a horse?
"Thank you good sir, I do not. Please forward any dispatches to this room as I am eagerly awaiting news of some companions."
He then retires to the room to await new instructions about the restoration process or the next day when he goes to personally investigate.
Grelthe swallows nervously. An ally...? singular? But there are only 2 of us here, where are the rest? Calm down Grelthe, they're probably shopping or something. Don't count your chickens before they've hatched. Her presence of mind returns. "Did our ally say where we were to meet them? Or are they going to meet us here? Where ARE we? Yes, yes, I know the Temple of the Sacred Sting, but where is that? Vuzi's right, we're definitely not in Zelkor's Ferry anymore."
Harkon, you sleep fitfully. This may be because of the near constant brawling down below or because of your concern for your companions. You arise early the next day and are given a message that your friends will be healed by mid morning. A second message bids you three to meet Archibald at a nearby dry dock after you are reunited. You arrive at the temple at and are escorted back to where the ladies are.
Ladies: I don't think I've had to actually place it before. :P
The Priestess is serene as your panic is brought in check. She clearly noticed. You are on Motaku Isle, in the city of Quent.
You know from your Adventure with Archibald before that this is his home town. It's also one of only maybe three (probably two) places in the Shackles with the ability to support a spell caster of the power needed to bring you back to yourselves.
Seconds after the Priestess finishes Harken enters.
"I am glad to see the two of you with your wits returned. Unfortunately, we have precious little time for small talk as you are the only two I was able to retrieve from the dungeon after our last encounter with...a door. It was apparently ensorcelled with magic that, well, removed all reason from each of you, as well as, the rest of our group. I alone was spared, by the grace of Gorum. Once I realized what had occurred and attempted to gather us all together, the door opened and we were assaulted by robed priests backed up by demon(s). It was all I could do to just save the two of you. We must quickly gather some new allies and return to the dungeon to attempt a rescue of our companions before it is too late. Come, for now, we must meet with our benefactor to see if he has drummed up some of those allies. He awaits us near the docks, with any luck, he has also secured us passage to return."
If the ladies have questions, Harkon insists he will answer what he can while they travel to the appointed meeting.
Grelthe opens her mouth for a stream of questions, but then Harkon answers them all, so her mouth just continues to hang open, in shock. Rappan Atahuk did finally best them. At least some of them got out safely. Her mouth closes finally and clenches in determination. Looks like it's time to be big damn heroes. "I'm ready, let's go." She grabs her weapons and starts to head for the door. She pauses. "Wait... 'benefactor'?"
"Yea, some foppish fella says he knows you all...name's Archibald Benedict Thunderblossom. He has allowed us the use of some space he has in an inn by the docks...not the best joint in town, but we have slept through worse."
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Grelthe rolls her eyes so hard you can feel it. OHH... THAT guy. Oh well, we can use all the help we can get.
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Vuzi is happy to leave the temple. "De fop? Oh dear. I do not like him much. He's too er...stupid to adventure." She sighs and realizes she's going to have to refrain if he is in fact going to pay for things.
"If he dies, can I raize him, pretty please? I'm sure Gorum would understand. I really do."
Grelthe laughs at Vuzi's joke... at least she hopes it was a joke. And gathers her things and follows Harkon out of the temple to meet Archibald.
Yeah, that was a good one
Harkon leads the ladies to their next appointment.
The drydock isn't hard to find. In fact, it half way finds you! As you walk toward the area where the barkeep said it would be a familiar voice calls, Ahoy! You friends! Come! Come!
Archibald stands on the prow of a smaller trading boat meant for local short trips. His signature feathered hat his on his head and he wears a fancy imitation of a worker's outfit. The boat is mostly disassembled and you can see a heap of shattered lumber on the docks waiting to be removed.
He makes his way down the gang plank and meets you beside the boat.
I see you are better! Splendid! And none the worse for wear, I hope?
K. Nature: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (2) + 12 = 14
Its nothing to worry about...
Here we are, as requested. Have you had any luck with some viable recruits?"
Grelthe makes a show of feeling her arms, torso, head and legs. "Looks like it." and grins her characteristic tusky smile.
"Ve are fine." she swallows, and clears her throat. "Thank vu. For your help." she grates out. "Vat iz dis boat?"
This craft was the one I used to leave the Island. We were attacked as we departed and almost destroyed by a mighty Kracken! I will share the story, of course. It is one of heroics and dareing, but first I will introduce you to the help I've managed to engage. Please, this way!
He leads you to a smaller pub not far from that berth called the Tipsey Tankard. He gets you a table and says, [/b]I'll be right back![/b]
The establishment is almost aggressively mid-tier with pleasant, but not enthusiastic, staff and a nice, but not large, fire opposite the completely normal bar. Even the drink selection is completely expected and nothing more. You find you don't even have to read the menu.
"I feel as if I am surrounded by pirates and my evil sensor seems to be twitching even without my concentration. I certainly hope this is quick as I have more important things to do than than squander my time enlightening these...folks."
It is obvious that Harkon is on edge here and only wishes to conclude our business in this establishment so we may move on to a more suitable location.
"I vunder vu he's bringing out. Maybe he von't make us take him any vere dis time." Vuzi takes a seat and orders a meal and some ale. "Dis is jus like any other Inn Harkon. De gud and de bad. Ve can haf a brawl if vu want. It might be fun." her grin is bright as her half-orc nature shows.
You attempt to enjoy the inn as much as you can. Before long, Archibald comes strutting in with a tall person in tow. You can see a bow peeking out from behind him.
Friends! I'd like you to meet an associate of mine! This I Amari and he is very good with that bow of his!
The human stands a full head taller and hands-width broader at the shoulder than everyone's favourite nobleman, his skin is of a dark brown hue with keen green eyes protected by large brows. A short, black Mohawk bisects an otherwise clean shaven head and circular beard surrounds broad lips. The newcomer wears little in a way of clothes, but for lose fit trousers held by a broad belt and well-worn boots, leaving his upper body completely. His well-musceled body shows a myriad of criss-crossing scars, showing that he certainly battled and survives like this for years. Beside the composite longbow and the long quiver you see no other arms or armor on him.
A curious detail you notice is a little, worn-looking notebook with attached pen is fixed with some thread to his belt. The notebook seems to be missing several pages as it looks thinner than you would expect.
After Archibalds introduction, the black man bows his head and opens his hands with the palms facing your way in a gesture of greeting and piece.
(not particularly satisfied with the avatar yet, but am on phone right now and avatar selection is bonkers on phone...)
Grelthe smiles her tusky grin and mimicks his hand gesture. "Greetings, friend. I am Grelthe, a Paladin of Kurgess. I support our group through the strength of my arm, my voice, and my devotion. Unfortunately this is not our entire group, as we... misplaced some members in Rappan Athuk. Are you familiar with it?"
"Ah, an archer, very good Mr. Archibald. He shall make a fine addition to the team. Er, I do not suppose you are hiding a spell caster around here somewhere as well?"
For our new addition:
"Master Amari, greetings. I am Harkon Dross, devout warrior of His Greatness, Gorum. May your strength never fail!" Harkon holds his hand out in a traditional warrior's greeting.
Amari returns a short smile at Grelthe, then turns towards Harkon. You see his eyes flicking down to the extended hand routinely looking it over as if searching for a hidden blade for a moment then he takes the extended hand in a firm but not painful grip, giving Harkon a respectful nod.
So, what's the story between Archibald and Amari?
Guess he would know that Amari does not speak. I'd assume there was never an urgent enough reason for Amari to speak up in the presence of the fob...
As for whether Amari was down the well already, I'd say not far, maybe in the first one or two levels for scouting out the area but then decided he would need comrades to delve deeper and hunt down the artifact sought by the Shadows.
Does that work for you?
Can I precraft a couple of special arrows? It won't be much, considering that I only have <4k gold left anyway...
That relationship sounds good. Archibald put out the call and you answered.
Archibald is clearly proud to have produced someone worthy to join you. That pride is dented slightly when Harkon asks after a caster, but the fall in Archibald's expression only lasts for as long as his apology takes. I am sorry, Harkon, but no casters answered my call. Several individuals of meager skill applied, to be sure, but Amari here was the only one even approaching the skill level your venture deserves!
Also, so you all know, Amari here doesn't speak. Some kind of vow, I gather. Or possibly he's just stoic, I can't tell. But I assure you his skills are beyond question!
While Archibald is talking, Amari opens the small notebook fixed to his belt and starts scribbling fast.
Soon after the noble is done talking, Amari rips off the small page and hands it to Grelthe.
The writing is surprisingly elaborate and readable considering the speed of his writing.
Nice to meet you - are you regularly misplacing comrades in evil dungeons?
Got my own business in there and would be willing to team up with your group to delve deeper than before.
I am trained to be fast, silent, precise with the bow and fists, self-reliant and to notice dangers others may overlook.
Grelthe is surprised when Archibald tells them Amari doesn't speak, but is even more surprised when the man hands her the paper. She begins to read it, then erupts in boisterous laughter. She reads it aloud for the sake of her companions.
To Amari:"No, I assure you we don't make a habit of misplacing companions, this is the first time it has happened, and we have explored several floors of the dungeon so far. There was an evil door that had some sort of curse upon it that made the majority of us lose our wits, and some monsters grabbed some of our people while the one who was still themselves..." here she nods at Harkon "...helped us others out. I am sure you will be a competent addition to our group, thank you."
"Vu don't speak? Vell dat vill be interesting. Archibald. I think vu did a gud job."
Amari vat do you think ov de undead? Can vu work vith dem. Ve have a companion vu has a shop in Rappan Athuk for adventurers. His name is Vance.
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At Vuzis question, Amari seems to think for a moment, then quickly writes another note which is soon handed to the half-ork oracle.
I am used to hunt and kill the restless.
I do not have a particular issue with them.
As for this Vance, I am looking forward to meet him.
Setting up shop in such a place speaks plenty for the character and courage of a man.
I know what you meant Vuzi, but that sentence can clearly be interpreted in a more literal way, so here we go :-)
Archibald is delighted that youall have hit it off so well.
Excellent! Wonderful! I'm going to go secure you passage back. You'll leave mid-morning tomorrow with the tide. Have a good evening! And he's off with a flourish and a smile.
Vu aren’t going vita us? She looks relieved at this turn of events.
She inspects Amari's muscles, then challenges him to an arm-wrestle and an ale at the local pub.
"Archibald, he is a fine choice and will be a worthwhile addition to the team. If you should happen to come across a master of the arcane, please send him or her our way. In the meantime, I am going to have a drink and watch this contest Grelthe is cooking up. Any marvel of strength is worth the viewing!"
In a slightly lower voice, "I have five gold on the half orc to prevail."
Amari looks Grelthe square in the eyes, as if searching for some hidden agenda, before passing another quick note.
I welcome a game of strength, Miss Grelthe but I have to politely refuse the intake of alcoholics for a clouded mind might stray from the path.
There is another, smaller paragraph written below that.
You are not one of the fabled Swordmaiden, are you?
For I do not intend to espouse you just because I bested you in a game of strength.
Arm Wrestle: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23
Arm Wrestle: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18
Arm Wrestle: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21
"Ah, of course, my apologies. You don't have anything against sweets though, do you?" She looks to him for a body language response, then continues reading. "Hmm... although technically I am a maiden with a sword, I do not remember coming across any such reference in my studies before. However, I assure you my God, the strong man Kurgess, encourages all honest competition, win or lose." She grins and leads the way to the tavern.
Arm Wrestle: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10 Grelthe cannot compete with Amari's amazing performance and loses easily. 1st win
Arm Wrestle: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18 A tense battle, with each side gaining the edge at different times... only ended by mutual consent because their food was ready. (I mean, how else can an arm wrestle end in a tie? lol)
Arm Wrestle: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5 Grelthe was distracted as the serving wench bumped her arm... or something. Amari easily wins. 2nd win
WOW in the opposite way, lol.
After the 3rd round, instead of being a sore loser as a stranger might expect, she bursts into laughter and thumps Amari on the back. "Well played, sir! I have not had such a challenge in months! May Kurgess continue to bless you. Three cheers for Amari!" And lifts him upon her shoulders to parade around the tavern. Afterwards she asks permission to cast Protection from Evil upon him as a gift from Kurgess for his mighty win.
The strenuous contest strains the painfully dull atmosphere of the tavern to the breaking point with most of the guests stealing glances at the spectacle. When Amari wins and Grethle throws a party the air finally snaps and the whole place joins in! There is cheering and clapping as happy faces all 'round!
The next day dawn foggy and heavy with the threat of rain. Your ship is a small one and Archibald meets you there after informing you of the specific wharf via messenger.
Friends! I apologise for the size of the conveyance, but this is the only ship I could find before next week. This is the Splinters and I have guaranteed her cargo in payment for you passage. You should arrive back in Zelkor's Ferry quickly aboard her!
The ship sits low in the water, sports a singularly massive sail in addition to a row of oars, and is painted black. Her name is nowhere to be seen on the hull.
A huge Ork steps off the deck, setting the entire vessel rocking slightly. He's scared and swaggers a bit as is the way of people who spend their lives at sea. He approaches and slaps Archibald on the back, nearly sending the slight man sprawling.
You lot ready? Tide's high. he grumbles.
At the conclusion of the contest, Harkon hails the victor "What a great feat of strength! My lord Gorum revels in such contests, great show!" as the patrons join in the revelry, Harkon calls in a loud and booming voice "WHO IS NEXT?!
"Ah, more time at sea..." Harkon removes his armor shortly after boarding and stores it in his haversack, "I will not need this again until we hit dry land."
the tide is high, but I am moving on...
*** A question of preference ***
As for the question about his preferences about sweets come up, Amari grins and shakes his head: he certainly does not have anything against sweets!
*** Tavern Time ***
As the contest ends and Grelthe offers him a blessing, he bows respectfully. He does look far from comfortable as the crowd starts to get touchy and rowdy but goes along with it. As soon as possible, he will retreat from the thickest crowd and return to the groups desk ordering a hot cup of water. Once served, he slips a couple of dark brown leafs into the water which cause the color to quickly turn a dark golden hue.
Re: How can a arm-wrestle end in a tie? The desk broke ;-)
*** Boat Time ***
Amari nods and forms a circle with thumb and index finger to show his readiness to disembark.
Ooh, broken desk is better, you are right.
She inspects the ship...
profession sailor: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20
Does it look poorly maintained or tightly run?
When she sees the captain, her eyes get big and she flushes dark green. She is uncharacteristically quiet. As she boards she mumbles something super quietly while staring at her feet. "Hi, I like your ship it's real nice."
The ship is well maintained if a little disorganized. The captain barely hears her comment. He leans in a little before comprehending and nods proudly. She ain't the biggest, but we c'n git 'ere udders caint! Best Runner in the Shackles, she is! C'mon! I'll show ya 'round!
He leads to through the ship, which takes all of 7 minutes and you end in the captain's quarters. It's small and cramped and smells slightly of Rum. He falls into a large chair, leaving the rest of you to stand. Now, what kinda jobs do yas wanna do?
"An impressive vessel, I have always thought about steering one. Wrestling against the waves, it sounds so invigorating..." Harkon lets the sentence trail to see if the Captain picks up on it...
Amari looks around the ship and up the rigging.
Pulling out his notebook, he quickly notes down, rips the paper out and hands it to the Ork-Captain:
Amari it is, glad to be on board your ship.
I am fast and agile, so I guess I could be of use in the rigging.
Or in the crow's nest - assuming you have a bell for me to ring or something, for I do not speak.
Grelthe recovers her social skills a bit during the ship tour, and briefly tells the handsome captain of her sailing experience, saying she can make herself useful wherever they need the most help. "I can use the strength of my arms to assist, my voice to sing shanties to keep rowers on time, or can use magic to help navigate." She flexes her biceps to illustrate. "Out of curiosity, how long will the trip take?"
(Magic navigation help refers to Know Direction spell)
"If vu need new tatoo, I can help. Other dan dat." she shrugs to the captain. "I'm not much gud on a boat. Not like my friend Grelthe. She's a gud sailor."
The captain takes in each of your suggestions. Except Amari's. He just stares at the paper and tosses it over his shoulder. Those be nice.
You, human, wanna wrestle with waves? You're on repair duty with the Sawbones Jack. Report to the Shop. You, Tattooer, you're on swwabbin duty. Report to the Mate. You, writer, you're on Inventory. Report to the galley.
He then turns his dark eyes on Grelthe, You, singer. It's about time we had one of you on board. You're on the Aft deck with me.
He then dismisses the rest of you with a wave. Grethle is personally escorted to the upper aft deck.
Feel free to narrate for yourself your duties and supervisors if you wish. The work is grueling and unpleasant, but the crew is friendly and takes to you quickly. The trip will take about a week.