Wardove's Rumble in the Jungle

Game Master Laithoron

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With a grin, Alis turned to go, guards following. She gave a wave over her shoulder and calling out, "Happy hunting!" as she went.

And with that, The Avenger cast off, Ensign Mavato capably maneuvering the repurposed pirate vessel out of the harbor and into the bay beyond. As the vessel grew smaller and smaller, Alis gave a sigh and commented to Sindariel and Tiniel, "Now to see who has been playing dress-up back at the villa..."

It took some time before Sasha finally stopped waving goodbye from the back of the stern castle and rejoined her companions on the main deck. Somehow, a piece of jerky had found its way into her mouth and a tricorn atop her head. "So, how long before we get to killing, and what's up with that little cauldron? You're not really going to cook babies, are you witch lady?"

Amelia looked at the cauldron that Sasha motioned too and then asked her if she was going to cook babies in it made her quirk an eyebrow, though a grin quickly spread across her face. "Ya be havin' any dat Ah could throw in dere gurl?" She asked, obviously teasing, she had no idea who the cauldron belonged too, but Sasha made it fairly easy to pick on her and it was open for her, how could she pass it up?

"Babe is quiet good wit a lil' bit o' rosemary sprinkled on top."

"Actually, I will be the one cooking babies, Sasha. Do you have any handy?" Amhranai lifted the cauldron from where it had been stowed, turned it first one way and then the other, eyes sharply taking in its appearance. I wonder if I have time to make anything. Might as well get started. "Captain, I request permission to peruse your stores. I believe I could craft some items all of us would find useful once we engage the enemy."

There was a momentary pause in Sasha's jerky-gnawing as she frowned and looked down, running a hand over the supple leather covering her midsection.

I better not have any babies! I mean would it be a little dwarf baby, or half an elf or...

"Well," she sighed in annoyance and shook her head, "I don't think I have any babies, and... I mean I'm sure they're good and all but... Can't you... I dunno, substitute lamb or something instead?"

Amhranai heaved a sigh. "Sasha, I would have expected you, a huntress, of all people, to know that baby's flesh is the most succulent, clean and pure and devoid of the poisons a body ingests over the years. You really must get out more often."

Captain of The Harrier, Ilmarond Royal Navy

Even as Sasha's lower lip quivered at the thought, Captain Fingel nodded sagely, "The priestess is quite right you know. Alas, that is far too small a pot to serve the entire crew, and we are fresh out of babes beside. Damn shame, damn shame."

A slight whimper was all that escaped Sasha as she shuffled off to seek a hug from Lureene. Meanwhile, the captain winked at Amhranai and answered, "Feel free to explore the larders. I rather doubt you shall find much of interest, but one never knows. So long as you don't hull the ship or cook any of my crewmen, or parts thereof, we should be able to accommodate you."

"Speaking of which," she gestured toward the aft, "all of you may make use of the officers' mess as you see fit. It will likely be a few hours yet before we spot our Swollen Sprite."

Lureene tore her attention away from Arion and approached her redheaded friend. As she contemplated what Sasha said earlier, her hand unconsciously roamed to her own belly.

I wonder if Sash isn't the only one with a baby on the way...

She pulls the huntress into a hug and murmurs softly, "Don't worry Sash. Whatever the future holds, we will face it TOGETHER!"

Arion found himself wishing they were indeed carrying his children...but not towards a boiling cauldron.

"Would that I could assist You in Your crafting efforts, Priestess. I lack the skills in alchemy or other such crafts to lend any magical aid. I wonder though what cunning the Dwarven Knight or our Native Shaman could lend."

All the talk of food however...

Walking up to Lureene and Sasha he asked, "Scarlet Pirate? Astral Deva? Care to help me satisfy my appetite, in search of food and drink?"

What's she mean? Do we have to face baby-eaters in the future? Is it something they picked up from Reaver's Shiv? Am I going to want to eat babies?!

As the huntress worried herself over these matters, Arion's words shook her from the comfort of Lureene's arms. Yet upon hearing his inquiry, Sasha's jaw fell and her jerky hit the deck with a soft slap. "Ari, not you too!"

Arion rapidly knelt, but was too late to catch the dried morsel before it impacted. While his head was at her knees, the eyeful of long legs in tights gave him pause.

"Me too? Distracted by Your elven ensemble. You look quite delicious."

Dwarf Lightbringer

He chuckles at Arion's comment, "Keep me out of it."

He looks to the captain with a smile on his face, "About how long till we catch up with our quarry? I'm anxious, if you couldn't tell."

Darvesch chuckles again. "I'm going to have to change my tactics for me to keep him alive." He mutters "Party pooper."

Captain of The Harrier, Ilmarond Royal Navy

While a keening wail broke from Sasha, soon to be followed by the tumult of the Sasha rushing Lureene into the aft cabin and barricading the door shut, Captain Fingel stood wiping tears of laughter from her cheeks. "Those girls may be simple, but gods did I need that!"

Shaking her head, she regarded the eager dwarf in all of his heavy armor and couldn't help but give another chuckle. "Unless you are an exceptionally buoyant dwarf, you might want to reconsider a few other things as well. I'll have to update my charts with a new reef if you go overboard."

"Putting such matters aside, our friends have about a two-hour head start on us, and we a vessel at least half again as fast as theirs. Assuming the wind favors us equally, that will put us along side the Swollen Sprite in about four hours, just after sunset. Of course, that's the simple answer."

Straightening, she regarded the sandy coast north of starboard with pursed lips. "We [i]should be on her before Ridger can make the Obanohi, but after the coast turns north, the bay becomes more shallow. If we spook her and she stays close to the coast you and your companions will either have to pursue by air, or we'll have to feign defeat and hope she resumes course for Freetown and gets intercepted by Captain Radanath or Captain Illeon."

With a twinkle of mirth in her hazel eyes, she asked, "Nice and simple, right?"

Lureene didn't struggle against Sasha here, more confused by her reaction than anything else. As the redheaded beauty finished locking the door behind them, she glanced behind them noting the hard bunkbed in the cabin.

Deciding it would be best to humor the upset woman for the moment (especially as there was no hurry as of yet), she moved to the bunk and sat down trying to curl her wings out of the way as best she could. Motioning for Sasha to sit next to her, she asked trying to keep her voice level, "Is everything all right, Sash?"

Straining with the effort, Sasha shoved a heavy cabinet in front of the door before pivoting the long dining table, trying to wedge it in place between the back wall of the ship and the armoire. "No, everything's all bad, El — everyone wants to eat babies all of a sudden! I bet that witch is turning everyone into zombies or something, it's just you and me now."

Panting from her effort, she suddenly got a wide-eyed look and hefted a chair in both hands. "Say, I bet if I break out these windows we could get out. Do you think you're strong enough to fly us both back to town? We have to warn Lissi and burn the ship down!"

Lureene rolled her eyes at Sasha's histrionics. She walked over to the distraught ranger and laid a hand on her arm. "Sash, put the chair down. No one is going to eat any babies here...they were just making fun of you! I mean Amelia is one of the nicest girls I've met and Amhranai saved all our lives back at Arrowhead! WHY would they all of the sudden want to eat babies?"

Diplomacy 1d20 + 15 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 15 + 1 = 33 attractive

"Why? Well why would–" Sasha paused and looked at her best friend, a confused look suddenly appearing on her face. "Wait, what do you mean they were making fun of me?"

"Uhhh..." Lureene paused for a second, unsure what to say without hurting her friend's feelings. "I mean they were making fun WITH you, Sash! That builds camaraderie between friends, right? I mean look at all the fun we had while we were trapped on the Shiv. It's the same thing here!"

Bluff 1d20 + 20 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 20 + 1 + 1 = 40 attractive, lying

"Adventure, (heh) excitement, (heh) how long I have craved these things. I suppose if we pried the door we would find an arrow pointed at us," the sky elf laughed lightly.

It didn't require elven ears to hear the remodeling efforts within the cabin nearby.

The humor of Amelia, Amhranai and Captain Fengel were contagious.

However, although she jests, the peril- of the noble Lightbringer beached like a concussed Giant Crab - is something I hope to avoid

Arion avowed to the Dwarf, "Tuonwë grant that we ever avoid such dishonor and submersion, my friend. But Your mention of tactics stirs my heart to perhaps develop some plans of action before we overtake the Swollen Sprite"

Sasha cocked her head, slack-jawed in disbelief. "Aww maaan..."

With slumped shoulders, she tossed the chair aside before curling up in the corner opposite from Lureene, chin resting atop her forearms as she drew her legs up to her chest. "Well it wasn't very funny. Those guys are assh0les..."

"See how funny they think it is when I throw that cauldron overboard," she grumbled.

Sense Motive Checks:
S 1d20 + 2 + 5 + 5 - 5 ⇒ (17) + 2 + 5 + 5 - 5 = 24 familiarity, hard to believe, wants to believe

Amelia had already had enough of the joke, just wanted to make the girl a little green, not expecting it to carry on as it did. She had stepped away so that she could stand near the side railing and simply watch the ocean as the ship sailed.

She didn't bother to look back, she was more content with looking ahead. She stood there quietly a smile on her face as she was seemingly, lost in thought for the time being.

Arion called out to Amelia, from behind her,

Amelia and those who speak Zuck:
"And what of the woman who gave us such vital clues that led to this pursuit? Might we know somewhat of Your powers, before we intercept the Sprite? The form You wear now is enigmatic and the best features of what I've seen in natives here so far. Yet, being a Transmuter myself, I wonder if You also have powers to change Your form, for transportation or battle. Or perhaps the mysteries of Zuck magic are better left as occult?"

Knowledge:Arcana1d20 + 11 ⇒ (20) + 11 = 31

Amelia was pulled from her thoughts when the elvish man called out to her in her native tongue and asked her about her abilities. She slowly turned around and looked at him with a look of wonder on her soft young features, but curiously strange, deep cat like eyes.

"My magic, my power... I can talk to the trees, I can speak with the animals, I can even take their form if I so choose, and I can summon them to my side if I need. But my real power, Master Elf, is in making sure, our enemy is at their weakest, finding that weak spot in their armor, makin' it known to the world... my magic is no mystery. Only where it came from."

There was a light wink as she turned and looked towards him more, "Why 'd ask, boy?" She quirked a dark eyebrow, the smile never leaving her face.

Arion had never seen eyes like those.

"Ah, that should prove useful. I have almost no experience in the jungles. We might turn to Your guidance if forced into the wilderness, especially if You have visited these parts before. I had been more accustomed to either fighting alone or having a team commander. This being a new situation for me; a team without designated leader, with Your insight revealing weaknesses, if You would call out Your revelations during combat, as against the demon this morning, that would aid us greatly. "

Amelia listened to him once more and nodded her head at his request for guidance if they needed it. It was amusing in a way, some of these people who she was now traveling with, probably many decades her senior, looking to her for help. But that mattered very little, everyone needed guidance every now and then, she had been doing the same when she recived her powers.

"I will do my best to give any advice or guidance you and the others seek.. I assume that is one reason I was brought along... My knowledge of the jungles and wildlife."

She took a couple steps closer to the elf man and looked him in the eye, and with a light hand on his upper arm she smiled at him, "ye'll be a good fahder one day ah can tell.." she had notices how Lureene and Sasha had both put their hands on their stomachs when 'baby eating' was brought up, and then the longing look he had towards both of them. She didn't judge, just told him how she felt, and after another pat on the arm she walked away from him to go explore more of the ship.

Captain of The Harrier, Ilmarond Royal Navy

As Amelia walked off, the captain nodded to her before calling out to Arion.

"So what are these secret plans we are keeping from those of us who are in the same boat together?"

Lureene sat down next to Sasha and took her hand in her own. "Be that as it may, they are still our teammates and we need them to capture the one who summoned Mother here." She smiled brightly and rose to her feet, moving to the door and pushing the cabinet back to its original position. "By the way," Lureene faced her friend with a serious look on her face. "I would not be pleased should something happen to Amhri's cauldron...or anything ELSE while we are on board. Right, Sash?"

Hmmph, soon as we get off this boat then...

Try as she might, Lureene could not get the cabinet to budge while the table was still firmly wedged up against it. While Sasha certainly wasn't as intellectually gifted as the others, she was still clever enough when it came to improvising.

"It won't work like that," she murmured before getting back to her feet to help. As she worked, it was apparent to the succubus that her words hadn't particularly cheered her friend up. At length she finally paused and said, "It's because they all know magic, and I don't, isn't it?"

Dwarf Lightbringer

Though he was trying to learn the language, he'd had quite enough of it for the time being. "Tactics.." he says aloud.

He ponders for a moment before holding up the axe at his side, "Well, instead of cramming this in my quarry's skull, I'm going to have to hold back, wear him down, and knock him out." He returns the axe to his side.

Lureene paused while struggling to move the heavy armoire. "Sash, what would THAT have to do with anything? Do you think Arion cares you do not know how to cast magic spells?" There is an undercurrent of irritation in her voice which she found difficult to hide.

I don't believe this...we are going after a potentially dangerous wizard here and I have to worry about massaging Sasha's bruised ego here??

"I'unno," she said with a shrug, "you're the smart one. Besides, since when does a guy need to care about a girl to sleep with her?"

Amelia had made her way to the cabin where Sasha and Lureene had holed themselves up. She knocked softly to let them know she was there, but without waiting she cracked open the door and smiled at the unnaturally beautiful enchantress and the feisty huntress.

"ello gurls..." she said softly an closed the door behind her, "ah wanted ta aplagize fer da babe eatin'... Ah jus' wanted ta make ya a lil' green gurl... Ah dun eat babes." she told them, looking between the two of them, a soft friendly smile.

Sasha's eyebrow twitched once before she broke into a big smile, manic laughter filling the air. "Ahh haha WOW! You guys really got me good! And here I thought everyone was turning into zombies and I'd have to burn the ship down. Boy, that would have been something huh? 'Oh, hey Lis, sorry we didn't get that guy, dumb ol' me got confused and tried to kill everybody.' Ahh ha ha... aaah... Oh maaan..."

Although the redhead did her best to act as if everything was ok, it was plain as day to Amelia that Sasha was quite embarrassed. Certainly Lureene had seen this before on more than a few occasions.

Bluff Checks
S 1d20 + 10 - 10 ⇒ (14) + 10 - 10 = 14 far-fetched

Sense Motive Checks:
E 1d20 + 25 + 3 - 2 ⇒ (13) + 25 + 3 - 2 = 39 alertness, human
L 1d20 + 2 + 2 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 2 + 2 + 5 = 15 alertness, familiarity

Lureene was well familiar with Sasha's mood swings, going back to that fateful day when she had first met the bubbly red-head.

As I recall, she was upset that I was more attractive than she was when she had first met Andre...err...Mal back on the Pearl.

She gave the red-head a quick hug and murmured in her ear, "I know EXACTLY what you mean, Sash. You can only pray their feelings for you are truly real. I believe Arion really likes you...but he has his own issues to deal with as well. Don't worry, hun, I will always be here for you."

She released Sasha from the hug and gave Amelia a smile. "Thanks for your apology, Amelia. I know you all meant no harm by that, but Sasha is sensitive to being teased like that." ...As was I. She turned to leave the cabin, pausing for a second. "Sash, feel free to rest here for as long as you need. We have plenty of time yet before we need to take action."

As she exited the cabin, she could not help but shake her head wryly. Arion will have to work extra hard to woo himself back into OUR good graces!

Amelia gave Sasha a sad smile as the girl started to laugh to cover up her own embarrassment. "Really... Ah didn' want none o' dem ta tag in... ah know what is like, yer not dumb gurl." she comforted and looked towards Lureene who thanked her for the apology.

"Ah know... ah'm use ta bein' treated badly too... bein' a witch an all dat." she said and moved closer to them, smiling at them, "I teenk we all gotta lot in common... an' we're all a lil' strange." She said, hoping the two girls would catch on that she was trying to say that she would like them all to be close and have no bad feelings, strange people did best when they stuck together anyways. "Next tiem dey try ta join in, ah be shuttin' dem all up fer ya gurl...

Arion had paced, arms folded, contemplating what he had learned of Amelia and Darvesch. His right hand moved upwards and Arion stroked his chin, deeply in thought.

"And the Priestess is clearly able to channel energy in order to heal, which will aid us all. Sir Hellhammer, I remember, earlier today, during Your charges; it seemed as if You can enhance Your abilities. That would make it easier for You to...hold back, as You say, while still being effective. Of course all of us have our spells. How to coordinate our spells to capture someone?"

Arion paced and considered. Almost to himself, he said, "Mainly, I hope that we choose the location of our trap, draw the enemy into the trap and overwhelm them with superior force and numbers. It makes sense; to capture an enemy, outnumber and surround that enemy. I have already discussed, with Lady Ourson, the possibility of someone, familiar with her mother, being lured out by the sight of Lady Ourson."

Returning to the thoughts of Lureene and of magic, Arion remembered what he had said.

...all of us have our spells. All, except for Sasha. What has occupied Sasha and Lureene so lastingly?

He watched the door of the cabin and settled into his thoughts while the very able crew maintained the course of The Avenger drawing more closely to their prey as the day drew towards evening.

"Who me, sensitive?" Sasha asked, feigning nonchalance, yet her athletic form was stiff with tension when Lureene hugged her. Still the taller woman held her tight, breathing heavily as she hid her face in locks of curly blonde hair.

At least I've got Ellie... And witch lady seems like she's pretty nice too.

Sniffing in spite of herself as Lureene pulled away, the redhead blushed a bit at Lureene's explanation but couldn't find it in herself to protest, especially when Amelia admitted to knowing how she felt. "I didn't mean to be mean or anything, it's just a girl hears stories about witches and cauldrons and things and... well that last witch and her whole tribe were cannibals so..."

Dammit Sasha get it together!

"Anyway, I guess what I'm try to say is," she closed her eyes and took a deep breath, "I'm sorry too Mealy... and uh, thanks for coming to make sure we were ok and everything."

Dwarf Lightbringer

"You're right, I can enhance my own abilities. I suppose I could use them to speed up the process of subduing our target. I can do various things to boost my accuracy, damage, defenses, or even healing. I can also.. how do I say," he thinks a brief moment, "focus my fury on a specific type of enemy." He replies to Arion.

"I've never had to actually describe what I could do to anyone. I've usually just done it and it's understood." He says somewhat puzzled.

Satisfied with the condition of the cauldron, Amhranai held it in one hand by the rim down at her side. The smile that had been on her face faded as narrowed eyes watched Sasha and Lureene depart. Can't even make a joke...how has she survived this long? And I guess now I'll be the one at fault, right? With a sigh, she turned back to the captain. "Thank you, captain. I have as little desire to put holes in your ship as you, and your crew can rest assured that I won't require any of their body parts. They're too salty anyways." The smile returned, briefly, disappearing again as calculations of time tumbled through the woman's head. Not much time, but perhaps long enough for something simple.

As much as she would've liked to assist in preparations, Amhranai instead made her way towards the officer's mess, figuring the larder would not be too far from the dining area. She was brought short, however, upon hearing Arion address Amelia. I didn't think he would know Zuck, but perhaps that was part of his training before coming here. Interesting. Throughout their conversation, a scraping noise of something being dragged across the deck caught her attention. What are they doing in there? Probably best if I left her alone for now.

Swift steps carried the elf past the noisome room and into the officer's dining area, where she paused for a moment to determine the location of the galley before moving towards the sound of banging pots and pans. Addressing the first person she could find, Amhranai asked, "Could you direct me to the larder please? The captain granted me permission to use of some of your supplies to make items I hope to put to use in our voyage."

Arion nodded to the Dwarf and replied, "I had heard that Your people emphasize actions over words and some of the deepest religious experiences seem to transcend any verbalization. I trust that each of us is experienced enough to execute in action when we see an opening in this operation. I wonder what ideas You all have concerning trapping our foe. Many criminals or hired thugs set systems of alarms around their lairs; advanced warnings of approaching predators. Even though the person we seek might be a passenger, it's possible there would be wards of some kind."

Arion paused and enjoyed the sea breezes and the light upon the waves. Even the scents of the old wood and tar around the ship were pleasing for some reason he had not considered before.

Dwarf Lightbringer

"Well," he ponders aloud, "I'm no good with disabling wards or traps. But, I can see through doors. Not very useful, given I don't know what the guy looks like." He shakes his head, fending off the random tangent. "Anyway, if he's protected by magic, someone else will have to deal with that. I have no way of handling those sorts of things, really. But, if worse comes to worse, I suppose I could figure out something."

"I'm sure, when it comes time, we'll come together just fine." he smiles and pats Arion on the back.

Lureene walked up to the others on deck, trying not to let the motion of the deck upset her. Although she could use her wings to float above the deck, she decided not to flaunt her otherworldly origins...at least not yet anyway.

Her eyes lingered over Arion's form for a moment, her gaze cool as she met his eyes, before she cleared her throat. "If you are looking for MY advice here, I would suggest we scout the vessel first. I can send my companion Grak over to the Sprite once we sight the vessel, and he can determine if the person we are seeking is currently aboard."

Following behind Lureene came Sasha and Amelia. As they exited the officers' mess hall, the redhead cast her green-eyed gaze about the deck as if looking for someone before rolling her eyes and flipping her wavy tresses over her shoulder.

Hmmph, looks like she ran off...

"I'm good at sneaking around too," Sasha commented, arms crossed as she looked out at sea avoiding eye-contact. "I bet those giants on the Shiv could tell you how good I am at it. Well, if there weren't dead I mean."

Dwarf Lightbringer

"Lureene, Sasha.." he looks to them both in turn, "can you determine if the person aboard is the one we're looking for?"

Arion smiled at Lureene and said, "Scouting aboard that ship is an excellent suggestion. Two scouts are better than one in this situation, while they remain undetected. I would not want You to be alone over there, Sasha. As for discovering the identity of our target, that is why I wondered how someone would respond if they thought a summoned demoness were calling out. Would the summoner or someone familiar with them step into the light and give away their identity for us? Or would they recognize that during this morning's battle there were kindred appearances?"

Darvesch wrote:
"Lureene, Sasha.." he looks to them both in turn, "can you determine if the person aboard is the one we're looking for?"

"I have NO idea who this person looks like. I hope you were able to at least get their name from the manifest.

Amhranai had just vanished down some stairs into the ship's hold when she could hear the sound of Sasha and Lureene's voices joining those of Arion and Darvesch on the main deck above. From aft end, she heard a man's voice reply, "Jus' a minute!"

After a few moments, a wiry and clean-shaven Zuck appeared. He was dressed as the others were in common sailor's garb, a red bandana keeping his curly hair contained, his billowy, off-white shirt unlaced to keep cool. "We don' have a whole lot, but dere is still some stuff left over from when da pirates were here. I was jus' goin' thru it."

Although the man had a Dafari accent, it was far less pronounced than Amelia's, as though he had lived amongst the Patricians for most of his life. "Name's Giovanni. What all are you lookin' for, Miss? Mebbe I can help you cook somethin' up..."

Dwarf Lightbringer

"I was. Toni Catone is his name." He pauses for a second. "He's a half-black man. For some reason, he was initially listed as white. And as far as I know, he's the only non-crewmember listed on board."

"Toni Catone?" Sasha snickered. "Is that really his name? His mom and dad must have been a couple of goofballs!"

"Hello, Giovanni, nice to meet you. I'm looking for some items with which I could make acid. Anything here that I could use?"

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