"I am with Cats on this. That thing tore him apart. He could have been dead. If not this time then what about next time. I opened a portal to some place no man should go." Fearless shakes his head. He really is afraid of going back to that place.
"Nope. Not going." the Mariner is now top side, taking a white knuckle grip on the ship's wheel and sanity. "An asskicking in a dream is still an asskicking, and I only do kicking ass." He spins the wheel a bit firmer than necessary to a small course correction. "We'll retrace Lowl's steps on this ship to the end of this world. When we run out of ocean, you can try knocking me out with that belaying pin back to that hell."
Fearless gulps nervously. He knows Brother Butterly is right, but will never admit it. ”As long as we steer clear of that...that thing I can go back as long as Mariner is willing to. Though we catch sight of it anymore and we are gone! I am never looking back. “
Brother knows a dead conversation when he sees one. He makes his way to Mariner's Cabin, which he starts to make ready to be his cabin, and starts cleaning up. Pulling out a flask of that ammonia rain obtained waaaayyy back at Briarstone island. It seems to have held up well, but pitted the container with how powerful of a cleaner it is. Brother smiles. He's working with "mystic level" chemicals.
Soon, the bed is perfectly made, the mirror that was cracked and splotchy with seasalt is perfectly clean and mended (praise be to Desna). The bilgerats are GONE. That stench of ammonia drives them away looking for areas with brine like smells.
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Fearless lays in bed, tossing and turning as his splintered mind races.
If they don't want to go, then I don't blame them. I can have their deaths be my fault at all.
He tosses his blanket off of him. I can sneak through there without being seen and find what we need while they sleep.
Stealth: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (15) + 11 = 26
Being as quiet as possible Fearless grabs his pack, wand of invisibility, the Pnakotic Manuscripts, and the candles. He finds a spot in the corner of the room and begins the ritual quietly in the middle of the night.
Knowledge Arcana 1; Pnakotic Manuscripts; Inspiration: 1d20 + 14 + 4 + 1d6 ⇒ (8) + 14 + 4 + (1) = 27
Knowledge Arcana 2; Pnakotic Manuscripts; Inspiration: 1d20 + 14 + 4 + 1d6 ⇒ (8) + 14 + 4 + (1) = 27
Knowledge Arcana 3; Pnakotic Manuscripts; Inspiration: 1d20 + 14 + 4 + 1d6 ⇒ (15) + 14 + 4 + (1) = 34
Knowledge Arcana 4; Pnakotic Manuscripts; Inspiration: 1d20 + 14 + 4 + 1d6 ⇒ (15) + 14 + 4 + (1) = 34
Knowledge Arcana 5; Pnakotic Manuscripts; Inspiration: 1d20 + 14 + 4 + 1d6 ⇒ (16) + 14 + 4 + (2) = 36
Fearless is going in!
With the Mariner gripped tight to the wheel and Cats napping on the pool deck, only Brother Butterfly is bedded down as Fearless reworks the ritual.
The incantation passes his lips flawlessly as his fingers trace each of the 70 steps of the miniature staircase. Over and over he completes each step, the efforts bringing beads of sweat to his brow. Nearby, Brother Butterfly sleeps like like a baby in the fine bedding he has arranged for himself. At one point he murmurs something in his sleep, perhaps echoing Fearless’ softly chanted words, but he does not wake.
The staircase grows warm and heavy, and Fearless places it once more on the wooden deck where it expands and sinks, opening the way between worlds. Fearless descends, finding himself once again emerging from swirling sands at the entrance to the Caravanserai.
Brother Butterfly Perception - Sleeping/Conditions: 1d20 + 12 - 8 ⇒ (20) + 12 - 8 = 24
You wake up to strange silence. Wiping grit from your eyes, you find the ship is still. The normal sounds of water lapping against the hull are absent.
Sitting up in your cot you look around and find the grand staircase open in the middle of the cabin, it’s steps leading down.
Finding himself in the familiar building once again Fearless moves slowly and quietly throughout. "Well, this was a dumb idea." he says to nobody but himself as he moves to the opposite end of the building.
Stealth: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (4) + 11 = 15
Perception: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (7) + 13 = 20
"That slime shows I am out of here."
Moved on the map.
Fearless moves through the structure, eyes darting about for any sign of trouble. Every shadow looks ready to ooze out and attack - one makes his skin crawl, until he realizes it’s just his own following him. Or is it?
He makes it across the courtyard without incident, opens a door, and peers into an empty storage room.
Brother sees the staircase. He assumes that something is trying to come *from* the Dreamlands to them.
Mariner, Cats, Fearless! Four Alarm problem! Wake up! Wake Up!
Brother gets up - Putting on his armor and taking stock of the situation. The dawning that Fearless went into the Dreamlands coming to him as soon as the others report to the room and Fearless does not.
Brother Butterfly calls and calls, but no one answers. Bursting out onto the deck of the Starling he finds it empty. Beyond the railing of the ship he sees a frozen ripples of water that vanish into mist.
The wheel rocks gently under the Mariner’s sturdy hand. On the open sea one would watch the stars for guidance, but on the rivers, one watches the shore as it slips by, and listens for warning from the crows nest.
Sprawled our nearby, Cats twitches, then rolls over.
Seeing a dead end Fearless curses his luck. "S@$!...I have to go around it." Backtracking Fearless scurries around the buildings perimeter until he gets close to the showers once again.
Again he tiptoes past, giving the shower area a wide berth as he hopes to sneak past the creature within. Each step causes every muscle in his legs to cramp as he shakes.
Stealth: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23
Perception: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (4) + 13 = 17
”Everything ok, Captain?” A voice asks from near the Mariner’s elbow. Looking down he discovers Skywin at his side. ”I saw Crogan below. He said you wanted to take the helm tonight. An.. unusual thing.” She glances over at Cats as he turns in his sleep. ”That too. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that one sleep in the open. Always one eye over his shoulder before.”
Though she doesn’t come out and say it, it’s obvious that Skywin has noticed odd changes in her captain, and others.
Giving Butterfly a chance to post before pushing on with Fearless.
Brother resigns to the fact that he's alone and he has one place to go.
He moves carefully down the stairs. Hoping to land on the sands of the desert Caravanserai.
Desna bless me.
1d20 ⇒ 8
BB: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (17) + 12 = 29
BB Luck: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (8) + 12 = 20
Circling around, Fearless retraces the path that led to the Mariner’s awful end. His small frame pads down hallways, each step taking him closer to the bath hall. He glances sideways as he passes the doorway, but sees no sign of the horrific thing. The passage turns, then turns again before opening into another wide hall that mirrors the opposite side of the caravansary, except for the rubble that blocks the far end.
A closed door set into the wall nearby is the only obvious way forward.
Then, suddenly, a panel opens in the wall right behind Fearless, revealing a large silhouette standing silhouetted against the bright sun outside!
Shhh! Don't bring that thing down upon us. I got here because I'm super smart, Desna is in command of the Dreamlands... and because my two legs can carry me down a flight of stairs.
Whatever you did, caught me up in the vortex.Lets move forward and talk later.
Brother quickly opens the only available door. Moving to not be within striking distance of the Mariner-destroyer.
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Cats is still asleep, right? He was never woken up?
Cats stretches out, then goes back into a curled ball as his dreams continue.
Yes, as I said, you have lovely red hair. Oh, you want redemption now? Yes, I can offer you redemption. Just get on your knees before me...
Brother Butterfly finds the door stands slightly ajar, wedged open by a ledger that tumbled to the ground from within. This room inside must have been the office of the caravanserai’s bookkeeper. It contains a low table and several dozen ledgers. The ledgers are brittle to the touch and crumble if not handled lightly, but each contains hundreds of pages of cramped indecipherable handwriting.
A steep staircase on the southern wall ascends to another room above.
Skywin watches Cats shift, her hand resting casually on the hilt if her small sword. She does not seem ready to attack, but the Mariner feels as though she is ready for something. Like an alley cat watching a stray dog.
”You’ve never been a man of many words Captain, but I think we need to share some now. What happened back in Thrushmoor?”
Upstairs Fearless and Brother Butterfly find a sparse but tastefully decorated office. Framed paintings of landscapes hang on the walls, including a many-spired city with marble walls and brass gates; a windswept waste beneath a distant, ominous mountain; and a gloomy port city constructed primarily of basalt.
Standing behind a desk in this room is a familiar man dressed in tattered yellow robes that seem crafted from frayed curtains taken from the caravanserai windows. Though his garments are quite different from the fine clothes one would expect from a noble of Ustalav, the face and beard leave little doubt that this is Count Haserton Lowls.
Lowls looks up from a ledger he holds with an expression of surprise that quickly turns to delight.
”Greetings, illustrious travelers!” He pauses, putting a finger to his lips in thought. ”Jasper, is it? And Mr. Overhill, yes?”
Cats rolls over on his back, this legs extended. He snores softly, but is most likely very content with the dream he is having of the woman with red hair.
Of course you can have redemption. You just must beg for it. Now...show me how happy you would be if I gave it to you...
Oh, Count Haserton Lowls. It has been a few weeks - but you have made very poor decisions that has affected me, my companions, and the town you have called home for your entire life.
What do you have to say for yourself, and the first sentence had better be about how you are going to return our memories!
Not certain if it's diplomacy or intimidatation or what. Brother is surprised at who is before him, and doesn't have a grip on his feelings yet. For most other characters, I'd have them stumbling and bumbling and totally caught off guard- but Brother B is a talker. Even in a surprise round his lips never stop moving or yapping about something. He's like a Quickling... but fleet of words instead of feet.
Fearless is rocked as Count Lowls is standing in front of them. "What the f**% are you doing here?" Fearless is obviously confused. "Wasn't he supposedly traveling all over the country?"
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19
He begins to get angry. "The hell you do to my mind? It feels broken..."
”Haserton Lowls?” Lowls asks, a look of indignation upon his face. Pulling down his spectacles and peering at the two men before him, he raises a finger. ”Ah, you are new to the Dreamlands I see, or perhaps deconstructed effigies! Such phenomenon is not unheard of in this fantastical plane of existence. My point, of which I the expert opinion of, is that you have me mistaken for someone else.
I...” He swirls the hem of his curtain robe and stands tall. ”..am the Yellow King.”
"Yellow King?" Fearless is even more confused as he whispers to Brother Butterfly. "Maybe someone scrambled his brains too?" he taps his head not entirely sure how to proceed. "Do you know who we are or who Haserton Lowls is?....Your Grace." Fearless feigns a sweeping bow.
Knowledge Check Yellow King?: 1d20 + 1d6 ⇒ (18) + (2) = 20
Knowledge (arcana) +14, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +9, Knowledge (engineering) +9, Knowledge (geography) +9, Knowledge (history) +8, Knowledge (local) +9, Knowledge (nature) +8, Knowledge (nobility) +8, Knowledge (planes) +9, Knowledge (religion) +8 (+9 to checks involving knowledge of undead or haunts)
Brother Butterfly smells a strong whiff of b$+*&!*+.
sense motive: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (11) + 14 = 25
He then sees Fearless taking a bit of a lead in the discussions.
Brother's first impulse is to call shenanigans on this bastard Lowls, but what would that earn? Probably a diminishing return on information.
@ GM, are there any doors to this room? How big is the room? If this is the "last room", then BB at least knows that their exploration has gotten to it's destination. With just the two of them, Jasper and Underhill have only 2 options. Talking or disappearing.
knowledge religion: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14 Isn't The Yellow King a demi-god? The one with the symbol on it's followers at Briarstone?
Yes, Your Grace. We have ventured long. Through many barriers to get to this upper loft at an abandoned Caravanserai.
We have done this to get our memories and identity back.
So, what do you know?
diplomacy: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (4) + 14 = 18
Brother will also ask about the strange two cards in the Tarot deck that he has. But, he'll only ask that if the guy seems to not give good answers about their past.
“Fascinating!” The “Yellow King” ponders. He seems to very much enjoy being called your grace and quickly forgives previous threats and accusations. ”Simply fascinating. Amnesia, or a fugue state. I may be able to help you. You see, I was deconstructed from a greater whole, but that process seems reversed with you. You seek to be reconstructed in the inverse of my experience. If you can retrace Lowls’s steps here you may learn how to regain your memories and your whole selves. I can’t recall all of those steps—that was ‘after my time,’ so to speak, but I know the outcome: Lowls spoke with an ominous yet perspicacious prophet called the Mad Poet. This Mad Poet— an apt appellation, I assure you—has unimaginable power here in the Dreamlands, but he is fickle. Approaching the Mad Poet without the proper collection of gifts provokes his ire; worse, he might have nothing to do with you. Lowls learned some great truths from the Mad Poet; some truths so mind-shattering that I came into being as a result. I deem it serendipitous that I do not know what these truths are.
“Good gifts for the Mad Poet are scattered throughout the Dreamlands. They are rare, esoteric, and never easily gained. Lowls identified six or seven of these gifts. I recall writing them down on the flyleaf of Dichotomous Translations of Aklo Syntax, but I can’t recall what they were. Lowls painstakingly scoured his tomes to research each gift, learning where to find it in the Dreamlands and then dreaming of that location. I recommend you do likewise. Some of the gifts required trickery or guile to obtain; others, delicate negotiation or brute force. I don’t know the minimum number of gifts the Mad Poet will accept, but Lowls acquired all the gifts on his list. If you want to make do with fewer gifts, or if you have some problem acquiring them all, the Mad Poet might condescend to converse with you anyway. That’s up to you.”
“Once you acquire sufficient gifts, return here. I’ll escort you to the Mad Poet’s oasis, and you can petition him for the answers you seek.”