|GM Nikolaus 'the Grimm'|
An aura of pervasive fear hangs of over fair Aelysos. Sunlight kisses buildings of white marble and scatters diamonds from the cresting foam of the waves across the wide harbour. But everything is wrong.
The buildings, so white in the sunlight, stand pale and alone - all the colourful awnings, ramshackle merchant's stalls and children's toys scattered across flat roofs have been withdrawn, removed, like a scared tortoise retreating into its shell. Wide pavements laid with blocks of marble centuries old gleam, empty of the life and traffic that should be passing across them.
The cry of gulls echoes across the wide bay and the rolling waves break freely, untroubled by the oars of galleys or the proud hulls of far-roving ships. No-one sails from Aelysos this morning. Those who could have sailed already, fleeing into the night and hoping that their paths do not cross that of the behemoth that everyone knows to be coming.
Those who can't, too poor to afford the fees or too damaged to be sea-worthy have been engaged in a struggle no less deadly - to secure moorings inside the Kraken's Eye, that huge fortified harbour of volcanic stone that protects Aelysos from the ravages of angry nature. Securing such moorings could be the difference between ruin and cautious hope for the sea captains remaining and the places have changed hands for sums that would pay for ships themselves.
Unfortunately for Cyanea Micailidis securing one of those berths requires funds, contacts and luck - none of which appear to be on her side at the moment. Instead the Marid's Treasure is moored, or rather beached, on the far side of the harbour giving its captain a worryingly unobstructed view of the harbour and events to come.
One of the only places still moving, in a city that seems to hold its breath is the Seer Heights, where many people have flocked - half remembered tales of the cyclops' ancient wisdom and powers drawing people desperate to avoid disaster. Amongst the heavy guard presence there is Ambrus 'Butter Boy' Stathis standing like part of the immovable rock itself. His reassuring solidity seems to calm many of the frantic people, mostly foreigners, who flap about like agitated birds as a cleft suddenly appears in the horizon...
Ambrus stands statue-like shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow soldiers at the top of a porcelain staircase leading up to the Seer Heights. He can feel each of them quivering with anticipation, barely able contain their emotions among the panicking crowd and the impending behemoth. In contract to the other olive-skinned warriors, Ambrus' skin reflects the sunlight like the buildings around him, projecting golden light as if he were a lighthouse beacon guiding the people of Aelysos to safety. People push and shove against the human wall that he has created. Those attempting to enter the Heights are allowed to pass, while those who trying to flee are barred for their own safety.
Don't panic. You must remain calm. The Aelysosians are all looking to you for assurance. If you show fear, you'll only make the situation worse. Ambrus thinks to himself.
From this vantage point, Ambrus can survey most of the city below him. He notices that the Marid's Treasure is still moored to the docks, which isn't too unusual. A few other ships were likewise unable to flee. But unlike the other ships, this one is still occupied.
Doesn't she understand the situation she's in? The docks are no place to be at this time. She's likely to get herself killed if she stays there. He makes a mental note to continue to monitor her in case she needs help.
Ever vigilant, Ambrus keeps his eyes and ears open for trouble, listening to what the crowd is saying and watching for any potential dangers.
Perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (5) + 10 = 15
Diplomacy (Gather Information): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
When the cleft appears over the horizon, it takes all of his will power to remain steady. "Whatever happens, men, hold the line! We are the defenders of Aelysos. The lives of all you see before you depend on us not to fail." He shouts, trying to keep his voice from wavering.
"You heard me, move it! Gather anything you can carry - whatever you leave behind, count for lost!"
Though the Marid's Treasure lies several feet above the low-tide line, it remains an island of activity on the otherwise deserted beach. Sailors dart in and out of the doors on the deck, some struggling with huge bundles wrapped in sailcloth while others roll barrels along the slightly sloping deck. A tight knot of three or four stand together at the end of a rope, hauling at a cannon that stubbornly refuses to be separated from its berth. I know the feeling. A tall, lanky woman stands at the ship's stern, barking out the orders that guide the madness. Her piercing blue eyes survey the scene, and her dark hair falls further and further into disarray from being yanked at by the winds coming off the bay. As she watches the sailors scurry to and fro, one hand strays to the battered hilt of a narrow sword hanging at her hip as her foot rests against an iron-bound chest.
A shout rings over the hubbub - "Captain Michailidis!" The words come from a stocky, red-faced dwarven woman clambering up the steps. "Unloadin's nearly finished, but what're we t' do with it once we're done?"
"Mara!" she answers the shout. "I can't thank you enough for your help. I've hired wagons and oxen. Get everything collected onto there and we'll take it into town. Don't worry about loading the cannons, though, they'll roll on their own once we get them harnessed onto the beasts. Make sure everyone keeps their personal things; the rest we'll sell and divide the takings up among the crew. If there's anyone in their shops buying." She makes a half-hearted attempt at a chuckle. "You'd always wanted a summer home in Iblydos, right, Number One?"
"Right on th' beach, Cap'n. Name o' Cyanea Estates, after the Cap'n what brought the fortune that bought it," the dwarven woman answers, clapping the Captain on the shoulder and trying for a smile herself. "I never thought before why land was so cheap t'buy 'ere, though. Funny 'nough, I think I migh' hold offa those plans for jus' a bit."
At that, the taller woman does laugh, though the sound mixes both mirth and resignation. "Probably for the best." She looks once more over the chaos. "I just hope I'm doing the right thing, Mara. Marid's Treasure taken care of us for a long time - it doesn't sit right with me abandoning her like this. But there's nothing to be done for it...I fought with that thick-headed Harbormaster Aelin well into the night last night, trying to secure one of the safer berths. There was nothing to be had for love or money inside the Eye - it's so choked with boats I don't know if we'd even be able to get the Treasure inside."
Mara sets a hand on Cyanea's shoulder. "Don't feel right, I know, but 's the best we c'n do for everyone. They'll make it 'ere - good heads on their shoulders, an' they learned from one o' the bes' Cap'ns there is. You'll make it, too - I ain't got no doubt o' that. Just like your mother, Pharasma bring 'er peace. Go on. I'll finish things up 'ere, you head up an' start wheelin' an' dealin'. Faster we get it taken care of, faster you c'n get everyone settled in somewhere safe."
"You're right," Cyanea answers her first mate. "Follow me up when you're able - Iroas is under decks helping with the hauling, so he'll stay with you for the moment. I'll send word down as soon as I have a place for anything." She lets out another mirthless laugh. "At least the cannons should sell well...defense is prime in everyone's mind right now. Can't imagine why."
Diplomacy to gather information - where to sell?: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (13) + 11 = 24
|GM Nikolaus 'the Grimm'|
Cyanea couldn't have chosen a worse time to start trying to hawk her wares. From her position on the beach of course she couldn't see the behemoth's approach, but there were plenty of watchers on the cliffs who could and their frantic signals have the very few shopkeepers who are currently actually trading shutting their shops as quickly as they can. Frustrated she retraces her steps back towards the beach where her crew, under Mara's capable instruction , are finally getting the carts headed up the hill. There's only one figure missing - Iroas.
As Ambrus attempts to rally his men there is a shocked gasp from behind him. Turning he sees a sight unmatched in Aelysos' recent history - a cyclops, armed and armoured, with a spear the size of a small tree in one hand. The crowd on the heights part like water before him, falling silent as he passes. The cyclops have been part of Iblydos since Earthfall - but always as priests, soothsayers, wise men. To see this one, towering over the people and gleaming in bronze... it's a sobering reminder that for all their kindness cyclops are not men - not even close!
"You!" The cyclop's deep, rumbling voice sounds like a trumpet blast in the unnatural silence. His heavy hand falls on Ambrus's shoulder like a small boulder, "Come with me! Bring five of your best men." With that the cyclops strides on, down towards the harbour, where the cleft in the horizon has grown with remarkable speed.
I don't have knowledge (local) but perhaps profession (soldier) might help.
Ambrus has heard of cyclops and seen one from a distance, but has never interacted with one before. He tries to recall if this cyclops holds a position of authority in Aelysos, whether military or government, and/or his name.
Profession (soldier): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28
Ambrus knows better than to question an order and quickly chooses five men to accompany him as the cyclops commanded. "Come on men. You heard the giant. There is no time to spare." As he rushes towards the harbor, he tenderly rubs his shoulder where the cyclops' vice-like grip left a bruise. Ambrus doesn't know the cyclops' intentions but assumes it has something to do with the crew of the Marid's Treasure unwisely choosing now of all times to unload their cargo.
As her crew abandons Marid's Treasure to its fate, Cyanea carefully counts heads, making sure everyone is accounted for. "Go, go - the watchers are beckoning everyone inside. Get the carts just inside the wall, then get up to Seer's Heights, that's where all the guards are. I didn't realize this would take so long - I wish I'd known two weeks ago that we wouldn't get repairs done before this happened... We'll have to leave everything just inside the wall and hope no one gets to the carts before we do..."
Suddenly, she stops short as she realizes there's one particularly furry head missing. "Iroas - where is he? Didn't he leave the boat with you? Oh, if that beast decided now was the time for a pleasure swim...go on! I'll catch you up!" As her crew works to haul their entire livelihood up the hill, the sea captain rushes past them, back to where her boat lies now derelict on the beach. Iroas was as much a part of her crew as any of her sailors, and she'd already vowed to leave none of her crew behind. "Iro! Iro! Come on, we have to go!"
Ambrus forms his squadron into two rows of three with himself and a dark-skinned human soldier named Quentin each in the lead of one row. There is no one in the army that Ambrus trusts more. He's worked with Quentin on many assignments and they've each saved each others' lives more than once. Quentin is also one of the few people who never mocked Ambrus for his differences and accepted him as a close friend. The other four soldiers are equally trustworthy and proven in battle.
As they rush closer to the harbor, Ambrus shouts, "Keep one eye on the docks and one on the horizon! I don't want any surprises! If you spot any straggling civilians, direct them to the Heights but don't stop moving. If we encounter danger, you know the drill."
Ambrus' analytical mind, can't help but study his cyclopean friend as he trails behind him. He pays attention to its gait, reach, any tells in its movement that he can exploit, etc., just in case he needs to combat one of these creatures in the future. I wonder if a cyclop has any kind of depth perception. Perhaps that might put it at a disadvantage in ranged combat. He ponders.
|GM Nikolaus 'the Grimm'|
The cyclops certainly seems to have a sense of depth perception as he weaves easily between people and around buildings. As Ambrus watches he notices that the cyclops sidesteps almost before he has to, avoiding people that aren't quite there yet. It seems that the cyclopean powers of foresight haven't entirely deserted them.
As the small squad makes it through the gates to the lower city the cyclops pulls to an abrupt stop. "There are men of the sea - that way." He points with one meaty fist. "Send your men to assist them, a building is going to fall any minute. You must stop them before they leave the market." Quentin shoots a quick glance at Ambrus before pulling off with his men, leaving Ambrus, the cyclops and only two other men. The cyclops gazes out into the distance for a few moments, nods in satisfaction and carries on.
He leads Ambrus down to the harbour front where a huge barge awaits. Laden with chests and great amphora of grain and oil there are perhaps a dozen servitors loading up the last few items, watched over by a seven foot tall man whose teak brown skin and vivid green hair marks him out as Kelksiomides - Hero God of Gardens and Orchards. The cyclops pulls up and offers him a, rather sloppy, salute. The Hero-God nods in response and turns back to the barge which is nearly loaded.
The cyclops, having received his greetings, turns to Ambrus. "You and your men are dismissed. No one comes on the barge unless they wish to. Tyresias, I, thank you for your aid in this time." His speech is curiously archaic now that he isn't barking. Kelksiomides waves away the last few attendants and steps onto the barge. Tyresias follows and the Hero God raises his hand, vines spouting from the barge like oars.
Ambrus' men look to him for their cue...
Cyanea races back onto the Marid's Treasure, leaping down into the hold to find Iroas with his nose in a broken crate of sweet beans. The badger is gorging himself and shoots Cyanea a very unhappy look that clearly says 'I've worked hard. I deserve a treat!' He doesn't resist when his captain sweeps him up however, but as she climbs back onto the deck her ship begins to shake as though the sea itself was shaking it in a dice cup.
Ousmariku has come!
Sorry, this is mostly set up - I just need to know if Ambrus is on the barge or not.
"Iroas, you little thief, come on, we have to go!" Cyanea reaches down to drag her stubborn pet away from its ill-gotten gains. She fiercely embraces him before making her way up to the deck - and then her entire world trembles beneath her. No...no! Her frantic thoughts tear forward into a scream as she fairly flies up the stairs and off the ship, wheeling around to face the water. Not that the beach was any safer, of course. But she had stood strong against every other twist fate had brought to her - she wasn't going to stop now.
As she digs her feet into the sand and reaches toward the water, a faint sheen of sweat begins to rise on her forehead. A wave rises from the bay near her feet; instead of breaking over the beach, it continues rising, separating to create a translucent globe hovering in front of her. Her eyes, already an intense blue, begin to glow a fierce aquamarine color, and the sweat on her forehead begins to pool into drops that dance in small spirals up and down her face. Iroas, too, takes up a defensive position, growling at the threat.
Taking a point of burn to bump my shield bonus to +3 and add +1 attack/+2 damage to my blasts.
Ambrus stands in awe in the presence of the hero-god Kelksiomides himself. Then when Kelksiomides causes vines to grow from the ship, it is like witnessing a miracle. Ambrus' jaw hits the floor and he stands dumb-stricken. Finally, he shakes himself from his torpor and the weight of the cyclops' words fall upon him.
Is Tyresias the cyclops name?
Dismissed? I was led here and separated from men only to be dismissed? Where are my orders? What task is assigned to me?
After serving in the military for the last few years, Ambrus has grown accustomed to following the orders of his superiors. The sudden freedom from them leaves him confused and unsure how to proceed. And with the chaos around him, his head pounds as he tries to focus. Ambrus takes a deep breath, closes his eyes, and drowns out all external noises in order to channel his inner earth and ground himself. Within his inner peace, he finds understanding.
"No one comes on the barge unless they wish to." Kelksiomides said. I see know. The hero-god will not order me onto the ship; I need to board upon my own free will. Likely whatever awaits me upon boarding with be distraught with danger and perhaps I'll even die. But if I choose to stay behind, isn't my fate the same with Ousmariku's return? A hero-god has called to me for help. He sought me out specifically. How can I possibly turn my back to him? I've made up my mind.
"Kelksiomides, wherever you go, I will follow! I am a humble servant of Aelysos and my life is at your disposal. If you are to face this beast, Ousmariku, you need not do so alone." Ambrus takes his first step onto the deck of the ship then turns to his remaining two men. "Men, I say to you the same that was said to me. The choice is yours if you will come aboard. It is possible that wherever we are going, we will not return. But fear not, for whatever happens, a soldier's duty is rewarded in Elysium."
Although he gave the choice, Ambrus knew what the warriors' decisions would be and soon all three are standing on the deck of the barge with eyes on Kelksiomides.
When Ousmariku appears and tears up the sea, the three grip onto the railing and hang on for dear life as the ship is tossed about. One man is nearly thrown overboard but Ambrus grabs him by the belt right before he goes over and yanks him back to safety. No amount of training could prepare them to stand before such a colossal being and both soldiers are wide-eyed with fear. If they weren't now trapped aboard the boat, would probably have fled in panic. Ambrus on the other hand stares down the titan in resolution. He grips the railing tighter until his knuckles are white and the wood splinters around his fingers.
|GM Nikolaus 'the Grimm'|
Kelksiomides catches Ambrus' eye and nods firmly once. "You are brave men. I welcome you all." The barge moves swiftly out into the bay, each vine pulling with the power of a professional rower. As the barge moves out into the bay Ousmariku surges forwards and grows larger and larger. It size is vast, even the small part of its body above the water towers over the barge as it gradually slows to a halt.
From the shore it is clear to Cyanea, standing on the shoreline, that the barge is putting itself directly between Ousmariku and the city. Even from the shore she can see the moment when Kelksiomides steps forwards, vines flowing like stairs to set him at the same level as the beast. The city waits with indrawn breath as moments stretch into minutes and neither the Hero-God nor the leviathan moves.
Ambrus is watching the strangest scene of his life, less than thirty feet away from a force of primordial destruction. Behind him his two companions are checking their armour, the familiar clinks of metal a routine and comfort. Tyresias, standing next to him, nods. "This is a fair omen, brother soldier. The beast has not come in anger. There is hope yet."
Ambrus Perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (11) + 10 = 21
Cyanea Perception: 1d20 + 11 - 3 ⇒ (12) + 11 - 3 = 20
Suddenly dark shapes come rushing through the water. Cyanea can see them approaching from all around the bay, rushing through the water at incredible speed. Ambrus, much nearer the action, can see that they are humanoids with fishlike tails, Merfolk! With an eerie howl they rise as one and a wave of javelins sail through the air and slam into Ousmariku! They clearly aimed for the creatures vast eyes and at least two strike cleanly, puncturing and sending gouts of black ichor to stain the water.
The behemoth lets out an earth shattering roar and rears up, revealing just how much of its bulk was concealed under the water. It slams down again in a mighty splash and the barge is hurled into the air like a child's toy.
Am Fort: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23
Am Ref: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
As the barge slams down Ambrus is thrown clear, unable to keep his grip as the barge shatters beneath him. Blue water closes around him and when his vision clears and the ringing in his ears fades he can see Tyresias sinking like a stone beneath him.
Cyanea has a moment more to observe the fight before the massive wave descends on her. Kelksiomides, surrounded by the whirling fragments of the shattered barge leaps across the front of the behemoth, trying to distract it as tiny merfolk heads appear to launch their javelins but her picture is momentary as a wave, fifteen feet or more high crashes across the bay.
The sheer force of the wave crushes Cyanea, her shield only just keeping her ribs from shattering like spun glass. Suddenly she finds herself surrounded by blue water as her head reels from the sudden, terrifying impact. Dimly through the water she can see a number of figures, many agile figures thrashing through the water and two more - clearly humanoid. One moving weakly, the other, much larger sinking swiftly.
Cyanea: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
Tyresias: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16
Battle: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
Cyanea, Battle, Tyresias, Ambrus.
Both PC's are staggered this round from the impact. Cyanea you are thirty feet from Ambrus and nearer fifty feet from Tyresias due to his being much lower. Ambrus, you're about fifteen feet above him and about the same below the surface.
The force of the bay descending upon her nearly knocks the wind out of Cyanea - but at least being underwater doesn't keep her from regaining it. "Iroas, help him!" she calls out to her companion as she points to the man nearer the surface, her voice at once magnified and muffled by the water. Wincing slightly from the pain, she starts swimming for the deeper figure, slicing neatly through the water with effortless grace even as she's slowed by the impact. These two had chosen to place themselves between the city and the onrushing danger; it was only right to try and help them. And she had a feeling the fight against the behemoth would still be there once she'd gotten them to safety.
Iroas will move toward Ambrus and Cyanea will move toward Tyresias. Both have swim speeds (Cyanea 30, Iroas 20), so they shouldn't need to make Swim checks.
|GM Nikolaus 'the Grimm'|
As the battle continues to rage above them Cyanea and Iroas slice through the water towards their respective targets. Iroas manages to close with the higher figure, who is kicking just enough to keep himself from sinking further.
Unfortunately the larger figure is clearly unconscious, and continues to sink deeper into the water. If Cyanea can't get to him soon drowning is a real possibility.
Ambrus finds himself confronting possibly the strangest sight in a day of strange sights - a swimming badger! Its coming straight for him and doesn't appear threatening...
Cyanea, Battle, Tyresias, Ambrus. Then Cyanea in round 2.
Cyanea:5/6 rounds left.
Ambrus: 4/4 rounds left.
Tyresias: 3/4 rounds left.
When the character finally fails her Constitution check, she begins to drown. In the first round, she falls unconscious (0 hp). In the following round, she drops to –1 hit points and is dying. In the third round, she drowns.
Unconscious characters must begin making Constitution checks immediately upon being submerged (or upon becoming unconscious if the character was conscious when submerged). Once she fails one of these checks, she immediately drops to –1 (or loses 1 additional hit point, if her total is below –1). On the following round, she drowns.
It is possible to drown in substances other than water, such as sand, quicksand, fine dust, and silos full of grain.
The impact with the ocean briefly stuns Ambrus but then the icy cold shocks him back into motion. The salty water is the antithesis of his earthen nature and he flails in disgust while his stony skin and heavy armor threaten to pull him under like the unconscious cyclops. However, he manages to get his feet under him and tread on the surface.
While Ambrus' head rings and he feels sluggish, he surveys the situation around him. His immediate concern is for the two soldiers accompanying him which he feels directly responsible for but they are nowhere in sight. Looking down through the clear blue water, the ocean seemingly extends down into a darkening bottomless void. Below him the body of Tyresias slowly drifts down further and further away. Ambrus feels no particular loyalty to the giant but his lawful-good nature will not let a goodly creature drown if there is a chance that he can save it, no matter how much he despises seawater let alone the thought of willingly engulfing himself in it.
He's about to dive under when he looks up and a giant furry aquatic creature is suddenly upon him. In all the chaos, Ambrus failed to notice its approach. In a moment of panic, he thrusts both his hands out, palms open, closes his eyes, and turns his head to the side to fend off an impending bite. When the bite doesn't come, he chances lowering his guard and peeking with one eye at the creature. It seems almost friendly. Ambrus doesn't recall seeing such a creature on the ship. "Um...good doggy (or badger if I rolled high enough)? I have no idea where you came from and you probably can't understand me but I need to try to rescue that fellow down there and I don't have time to discuss it with you." He points at Tyresias. Then he takes a deep breath and willingly lets himself begin to sink. Sinking is probably faster than swimming for Ambrus since he can only swim at half his speed, which is 15 feet in armor (so half is probably rounded down to only 5 ft./round). As he begins his decent, he spots another lithe figure speeding towards the cyclops. Who could that be? Friend or foe, I'll deal with it if I need to.
Swim: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (18) + 11 = 29
Knowledge (nature) (max DC 10) to identify as badger: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Perception on Cyanea: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16
What is the 4/4 rounds left counter? For drowning? Ambrus can hold his breath for 30 rounds (twice his Con, not Con bonus).
The hulking creature looks at Ambrus with surprisingly knowing eyes. At Ambrus' refusal, it shakes its head slightly, ramming its heavy snout into Ambrus' shoulder to nudge him toward shore...but as Ambrus starts to sink under the water, the animal descends beside him, no longer trying to urge him toward safety but diving down toward the struggling person below. In fact, it easily passes Ambrus, even with the soldier weighed down by armor.
Iroas reaches the huge, struggling figure just as Cyanea does. Her first thought is to get her arms under the person's shoulders to haul them toward the surface...but she quickly abandons the idea when the magnitude of the person's size becomes apparent. Instead, she reaches for the backpack she still carries, fighting with a huge coil of green rope attached to its side. "Iroas, take this around!" she calls out, and the badger grabs the rope end and swims to the other side of the sinking figure, trailing the rope so it crosses across the figure's chest and under the arm.
Cyanea will take a move action to close with Tyresias, then a move action to retrieve the rope from her backpack. Iroas will take a move action to close with Tyresias and a move action to grab the rope end and swim across to Tyresias' other side.
|GM Nikolaus 'the Grimm'|
Fort: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (18) + 9 = 27
Fort: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24
Cyanea and Iroas make short work of looping the cyclops in rope, although the speed at which the huge figure is sinking makes the process difficult and draws them further and further from Ambrus. Not far below Cyanea can make out shapes which are gradually forming into the shape of houses and buildings below her.
Some twenty feet above Ambrus is striking awkwardly downwards when his instincts kick into overdrive. To his left is a merfolk who seems to be kicking hard towards him! The merfolks eyes are huge and black and its spear is levelled at the soldier!
Charge: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28 Damage: 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
Crit?: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21 Damage: 2d8 + 8 ⇒ (8, 4) + 8 = 20
With brutal strength the merfolk hammers its spear at Ambrus, puncturing his armour and sending another cloud of blood to join the rest that boils in the sea around them.
Ambrus, Cyanea, Mefolk, Tyresias.
Who's side are these merfolk on anyway? First they attack Ousmariku. Now they attack me! I must defend myself. This merman has the advantage over me in the water. I must strike quickly while he's within reach.
Swim: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (7) + 11 = 18 Swimming to stabilize myself for combat. Not moving in any direction.
Halberd: 1d20 + 12 - 2 ⇒ (19) + 12 - 2 = 29 Using Power Attack and using the halberd as a piercing weapon to avoid the underwater penalties.
Damage: 1d10 + 9 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 9 + 6 = 16
Ambrus thrusts his halberd with all his might into the merfolk's chest.
"How do you like that? I can bite back! Find some other prey, fish-man!" Ambrus shouts underwater. He has no idea if merfolk speak Common or if his voice will carry in the water but the pain from his wound pumps him full of adrenaline and it feels good to vent at the enemy.
I'm really bleeding badly. That last thing I need right now is to draw the attention of sharks.
Reluctant to take his eyes of his opponent, he chances a quick glance below him and sees the cyclops continuing to sink. Unfortunately, the three of them are on their own. They've moved beyond the distance I dare swim and I have my own problems to deal with now.
27/30 rounds of breath? (used 1 last round and 2 this round)
With the quickly improvised harness holding the huge figure, Cyanea knots the ends together and quickly throws the closed loop to Iroas. "Up!" she calls, and her companion begins to swim upward with the rope clasped in his mouth, straining against the load. As she treads water, she makes a series of exaggerated upward motions with her hands; the water around her begins to flow in a current echoing her motions, pushing gently upward on the drowning...man? I only pray it helps, she thinks to herself as she turns to swim toward Iroas and the rope to aid with pulling.
Cyanea will take a move action to finish knotting the rope and hand it off to Iraos (probably?), and a standard action to use basic hydrokinesis. I'm hoping that will mean that the current pushes at Tyresias with up to 230 pounds of force (carrying capacity for a Strength score (equal to my Con score) of 16, but if you rule it doesn't work I understand, because it's not an explicit use of it. Iroas will double move pulling on the rope. I'm not sure how swimming interacts with carrying capacity, but he has a heavy load up to 300 pounds and a drag weight up to 1500 pounds.
|GM Nikolaus 'the Grimm'|
Given that you're surrounded by water I think basic hydrokinesis has utitlity here. Water reduces weight as well (at least in practise) so Iroas can make headway.
Iroas swims upwards, towing the unconscious figure behind him, although its slow work and the badger only makes small gain towards the surface. 10ft per action.
The merfolk meanwhile seems to revel in the blood. With his focus fixed on it Ambrus can see thats its partially covered in some sort of clinging black slime. It doesn't impede the creature's movements though, indeed it barely seems to feel the halberd blow before retaliating again with its spear.
Attack: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15 Damage: 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
Fortunately Ambrus is able to deflect the blow with his own polearm now that he's actually aware of his foe!
Iroas and Cyanea are about fifteen feet below the melee at the moment.
Amrus, Cyaenea, Merfolk, Tyresias.
As Iroas and Cyanea begin to fight upward, she notices the struggle between the two above. Uncertain she may be about the merfolk and its intentions, but the soldier had come from the barge protecting the city; anything intent on his destruction was not likely a friendly creature. Urging Iroas forward, she whips her hand in a rapid circle through the water, and a whirlpool forms around her fingers and jets toward the merfolk at surprising speed.
Water blast: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 163d6 + 6 ⇒ (6, 1, 5) + 6 = 18
Cyanea takes a move action to help Iroas tow Tyresias and a standard action to shoot off a water blast. Iroas double-moves towing Tyresias.
Ambrus notices the slime covering the merfolk. I don't know much about merfolk but that doesn't seem normal. Could it be corruption from Ousmariku?
Ambrus fends off the next trident strike. Since the merfolk seems content to remain within melee range, he determines to keep its weapon from hitting him again. He assumes a defensive stance and thrusts at the merfolk again.
Swim: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (5) + 11 = 16
Halberd: 1d20 + 12 - 2 ⇒ (2) + 12 - 2 = 12 Using Combat Expertise; +2 dodge to AC.
He is so focused on the fight that he doesn't notice that the woman has approached and is thrown off guard by the sudden burst of water. This woman must be some kind of sea witch. Thank the gods she appears to be on my side. If we can end this fight, I can aid her with dragging Tyresias to the surface before he drowns.
25/30 rounds of breath
Temporary AC 22
|GM Nikolaus 'the Grimm'|
Suddenly bludgeoned by the water itself, the merfolk reels and seems surprised, causing Ambrus' halberd thrust to miss him. The madness in his eyes in undimmed however, and he returns to the fray with a snarl sweeping around to place Ambrus between himself and Cyanea although his swimming seems less fluent than before and his blow weaker.
Spear: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7 Damage: 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
Iroas and his burden are twenty feet below the surface now, level with the melee.
Ambrus, Cyanea, Merfolk, Tyresias.
Swim: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (5) + 11 = 16
Disarm: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (15) + 14 = 29
Ambrus continues to tread water below the surface. He uses his halberd to hook the merfolk's trident and yanks to pull it away, hoping to remove its offensive capability.
Then he tries calling out to the woman aiding him. "The merfolk seems to be corrupted by some kind of black slime. I don't think its crazed behavior is normal. Do you have any knowledge of this? Is he beyond saving? We could knock him out and look into the mystery further once we aren't threatened by Ousmariku."
23/30 rounds of breath
A hint of captaincy creeps into Cyanea's bearing. "I don't know - and I've got bigger worries at the moment! Now keep your mouth shut and get to the top before you drown yourself!" Urging Iroas toward the surface of the water, she looses another turbulent jet, hoping to keep attention away from her companion and the giant struggling toward the surface.
Water blast: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 203d6 + 6 ⇒ (2, 3, 5) + 6 = 16
|GM Nikolaus 'the Grimm'|
Cyanea's blast strikes the merfolk just as Ambrus wrenches his spear away. The merfolk seems to simply go limp, its body floating slowly away in a small cloud of dark blood. Danger seems to have passed... for now.
1d3 ⇒ 2
Ambrus, Cyanea, Battle, Tyresias.
T: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20
Ambrus shrugs when the merfolk seemingly dies from Cyanea's blast but remains determined to explore this mysterious slime further. He grabs the merfolk's corpse by the wrist and drags it to the surface with him.
Swim: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (14) + 11 = 25
Ambrus isn't opposed to helping with the cyclops but the woman and badger can swim circles around him. Although his strength might help, his swim speed will only hamper in the effort.
As long as nothing else happens, it'll take me 3 more rounds (after this round) to get to the surface at 5 ft./round. I will just swim to the surface unless something happens... *Eyes the 1d3 suspiciously.* -_-
20/30 rounds of breath. I subtracted 2 more rounds for the two times Ambrus spoke. If he is just swimming upwards, it should only consume one round of breath per round until he reaches the surface. More than enough.
Fair winds now, or the eye of the storm? Cyanea wonders to herself...but she'd sailed through enough storms to know not to wait to find out. "We'll get him to the top - you get there yourself," she calls out to the soldier easily, not putting any visible effort into holding her breath. With a few deft kicks, she slices through the water to where Iroas hauls on his line, helping him to bring his burden to the surface.
Once Tyresias gets to the surface, Iroas and Cyanea will get him turned face-up and support him in a backfloat. Until something else goes horribly wrong. ;)
|GM Nikolaus 'the Grimm'|
Ambrus continues to kick slowly upwards, dragging the merman with him. Cyanea and Iroas make much faster progress, hauling the unconscious cyclops up to the surface, and just in time as the huge figure goes completely limp - he's clearly swallowed water.
T: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (1) + 9 = 10
Unfortunately for Ambrus he is still ten feet below the surface when something else appears, drawn by the blood in the water. Sharks! A whole pack of them! Most head towards the huge dark patch at the harbour entrance where Ousmariku had been the center of a terrible battle. The great behemoth has retreated, for now, and the sharks seem keen to feast on the remains.
Unfortunately one shark, smaller and leaner than the others, seems to prefer the easy meal that Ambrus and his bleeding cargo offers...
Cyanea, Ambrus, Shark.
Cyanea/Iroas/Tyresias are on the surface - Iroas can drag Tyresias towards the shore. It's several 100ft so will take some minutes. Tyresias is beginning to drown however so don't delay! Ambrus is still 10ft under and has his merfolk in tow. The shark is about 50ft away.
With one final command, Cyanea sends Iroas struggling to the shore while she turns to deal with the new threat. She treads water at the surface and begins to circle her arms overhead; the waves begin to churn around her, and by the time her arms wheel downward, she swims in the middle of a miniature whirlpool. The jet of water that whooshes past Ambrus moves faster and more forcefully than any of the others previous, and the roiling of bubbles is astonishing as it rushes over the shark, pushing it back slightly in the water.
Move action to gather power, standard action to shoot an empowered water blast.
Empowered water blast: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 173d6 + 6 ⇒ (5, 1, 1) + 6 = 13 Empowered does 50% more damage for 19 total.
Ousmariku retreats? But at what cost? I cannot survey the damage until I reach the surface. Hopefully, the god-hero and my men survived. However, the behemoth did not breach the city, so I'd call this a victory. No thanks to me though. What an inglorious fate, being tossed overboard and missing the entire battle. I suppose it could be worse. I could be dead. Although the day is young.
His eyes go wide when he spots the shark swimming his way. I f***ing knew it. Might as well paint a target on my back the way I'm bleeding. And this corpse isn't helping either. The ocean is such a miserable place. Just my luck that'd I'd end up here. Nothing to do but keep fighting.
Swim: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (7) + 11 = 18
Ambrus swims up 5 feet and readies an action to attack the shark if it moves within melee range this round.
Rolling the readied action if it triggers.
Halbred: 1d20 + 12 - 2 ⇒ (9) + 12 - 2 = 19 Power Attack
Damage: 1d10 + 9 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 9 + 6 = 16
So the shore is hundreds of feet away. Where is the ship that I was thrown off of? Is it any closer than the shore? Is it still afloat?
18/30 rounds of breath
5 feet below the surface
|GM Nikolaus 'the Grimm'|
The tribute ship is completely gone - it didn't survive Ousmariku's wrath (and then Kelkimiodes used the wood for most of his tricks).
Seemingly shocked by the blast of water it just suffered, in an element that is usually friendly to it, the shark retreats. But the confrontation has taken valuable time and its pack-mates are tearing through the merfolk corpses at speed.
Shark? <20: 1d100 ⇒ 96
Behind Iroas, Tyresias lies limp, waves occasionally breaking over his great head. The indefatigable badger paddles on but there isn't much time...
Shark? <30: 1d100 ⇒ 77
Shark? <40: 1d100 ⇒ 85
Shark? <50: 1d100 ⇒ 75
Thankfully the Hero-Gods, or some other power seems to be watching the intrepid rescuers and no sharks come to disturb them as Ambrus breaches the surface and takes in a mighty gasp of air. Breath restored he sets off for the shoreline, Cyanea shadowing him to ward off any more predators.
You'll make it back to shore without further incident, so feel free to post your arrival on the beach, immediate CPR etc. I'll move you on later. :)
As the soldier breaches the surface, Cyanea looks over to where Iroas hauls the giant toward the shore...and then swims to Ambrus, holding out a hand. "Come on - it'll be faster if I tow you," she advises him, "and I'll need your help with the giant if we're to save him."
If Ambrus accepts the tow, she'll swim him to shore, which should at least be faster than his five feet a round with Swim checks to keep from drowning again. ;)
Arriving at the shore, she pauses for a moment to catch her breath. Though the swim gave her no more trouble than running over the ground would, running a hundred or more yards towing a wagon would tire her, too. But she allows only two inhalationss to steady and calm her before she springs once again into action. "You, help Iroas get him on his side," she calls to the soldier, motioning toward the giant and the badger. "We have to get the water out of his lungs, and neither of us is big enough to push on his chest like I'd prefer. We'll strike his back instead, and turning him over will let it all clear."
With the giant lying on his side, Cyanea begins to lift water from the crashing waves and send it toward the giant's back, as gently as she can. Water inside his lungs was killing him, but careful manipulation of water surrounding him could calm the inflammation, soothe his wounds, and maybe even help encourage what he'd inhaled to clear his lungs.
Using kinetic healer to at least help with the hit point damage drowning and injury causes. He'll take a total of [dice=3d6+6[/dice] healing. If you rule it can help to draw water from his lungs too, I won't complain. The logistics of CPR are hard to figure out with someone whose chest is easily four feet off the ground.
Ambrus is relieved to not have to fend off the shark and finally breaks the surface of the water. He surveys his surroundings and is immediately distraught that the barge bearing Kelksiomides is now nothing but splinters bobbing in the waves. A heavy burden bears on his heart that he likely led his two soldiers to their deaths. Being a hero-god, Kelksiomides likely survived but Ambrus isn't sure of that either. I probably should have named the other two soldiers so I don't have to keep referring to them as 'those two soldiers' but it is probably irrelevant now.
Ambrus gladly accepts Cyanea's aid to shore, saving him what would otherwise be an hour long exhausting swim. As soon as his feet touch the sand, he prostrates himself and gives a quick prayer to Gozreh for his safe return to land. He then aids Cyanea with dragging the cyclops inland and flipping him onto his chest. He attempts to provide some aid in resuscitation but Ambrus is utterly exhausted from the ordeal. His arms feel like jelly and his entire body begs him to collapse and rest but he refuses until he can confirm that all those with him are safe. He sees the water witch's magical healing attempt and hopes that it is enough.
Heal check: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
Str check to strike cyclop's back: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Ambrus has many questions for this mysterious stranger but does not want to distract her from administering first aid. He patiently holds his tongue for the moment. While he waits, he looks around the immediate area. Sorry for a lot of questions. Where did we end up on shore? Are we close to the city or further away? Is it a sandy shore or a rocky one? Anything beyond the shore: jungle, mountains, etc.? Has anyone else washed up on shore, alive or dead? And of course, he will keep an eye out if anything is approaching.
|GM Nikolaus 'the Grimm'|
You're still in the harbour. The fight with Ousmariku ended up occurring some way outside the harbour itself (Kelksiomides didn't want the behemoth getting too close) so you're on the shoreline of Aelysos itself.
Hurled, dragged or crawling up onto the shore Ambrus, Tyresias and the exhausted Iroas form a small, if odder than normal, part of the carnage which lies across the whole bay of Aelysos. Cyanea is the only one that still looks as though she can help, and she does so - gently coaxing the water out of the lungs of the drowning cyclops, causing him to retch wildly in huge gulps as he heaves water out of his house sized chest.
"What has happened?" He asks between heaves. "Where is Ousmariku? Have the Hero-God's prevailed?" He pauses for a moment and seems to be watching the water dripping past his one eye. "And why am I wet?"
"Rest easy, friend. Ousmariku is in retreat. As to what happened, I cannot say any more than you can. We were thrown from the ship at the start of the battle. You were knocked unconscious and would have drowned if not for this woman and her animal here. It appears we are not to far from the city. If you are good to walk, we should make our way back to find more answers."
Ambrus turns to Cyanea, "Well met. I am Ambrus Stathis of the Aelyosos military. You have my thanks. Your magic is quite impressive. May I ask your name, and what this beast is that you travel with? I intend to return to Aelyosos with haste. I am eager to discover the fates of those I serve with. You may accompany me if you wish. I will be sure to regale your heroics to my superiors and you will be honored for your deeds."
Ambrus looks at the merfolk corpse with mild disgust. "I'd also like to resolve this...I would be negligent in my duties if this sludge poses a further threat to the city."
Knowledge (engineering): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18
Ambrus finds a large piece of debris sturdy enough to support the merfolk and rolls the body onto it. "Tyresias, would you be so kind as to take up one end and help me carry this? Until we know the properties of this black coating, I would prefer to avoid physical contact with it as much as possible. I don't intend to carry it all throughout town. Perhaps we can drop it off at the nearest temple for analysis?"
As the giant coughs and retches, clearing the sea from his lungs, Cyanea sinks to the ground, wishing her lungs were full of the sea once again. The rescue and recovery had been tiring, and it took a great deal of effort to control water carefully enough to bring forward its healing properties. She took one point of burn from Kinetic Healer - she wouldn't push it onto Tyresias with as weak as he was. Iroas ambles over and sets his head heavily on her lap, and she strokes it roughly but affectionately. "Little fool - a monster of legend rises from the waves and you're busy stuffing your face with beans!"
At Ambrus' greeting, she rises to her feet once again, giving him a tidy, if not quite fully military, salute. "Captain Michailidis at your service - or at least, I was..." Wistfully, she glances for just a moment toward where she had left Marid's Treasure beached. Any sign of it? "Cyanea," she finally continues. "I'm Cyanea, formerly captain of the trading ship Marid's Treasure. This is Iroas - a pet of mine, and one of the must stubborn brats I've ever known." Her tone makes it clear that the ribbing is at least halfway in jest.
"I'll accompany you up to the city - my crew was evacuating our ship right as Ousmariku first approached. I need to know if they've made it to safety, and I'll help as I can with any wounded. It's not magic I do, per se - call it my inheritance from my father. Damned useful, though, in my line of work." She glances worriedly once more at the shoreline, then turns toward Aelysos. "Iroas can help to carry - just take it easy and rest, sir," she adds with a nod to the giant. "Tyresias, was it? Please, let me know if there's any other way I can be of help."
|GM Nikolaus 'the Grimm'|
The cyclops removes his helm, revealing the huge face and single eye of his race. "Yes, I am Tyresias. It was your crew I saw." He says to Cyanea, "They were met by our soldiers and should be safe. I owe you both my thanks, to drown without striking a blow would have been a most unworthy end."
He stands, apparently without difficulty, although he gives a couple of huge coughs as he follows Cyanea's gaze across the bay to the stretch of sand where the Marid's Treasure formerly sat. The sand is covered in driftwood and detritus of all kinds, but the graceful ship is nowhere to be found.
"You are right Ambrus of Aelyosos. We must return to the city proper as quickly as we can, I must return to the heights and my temple. No doubt the Hero-God's will be seeking our help in divining the behemoth's next actions, and you must both be rewarded. I will repay my debt to you both."
The cyclops doesn't seem inclined to discuss the matter any further and sets off with his great stride. The shoreline where Ambrus and Cyanea dragged him ashore is not far from the city, near the rocky promontory where the city lighthouse shines like a gleaming star to welcome trade into Aelyosos. The city proper doesn't extend so far and with everyone barricaded in their homes it is some time before the site of a cyclops and two humans hurrying through the streets attracts any attention at all. In fact, until the group reaches the Seer Heights they receive almost no notice at all.
The Heights are still crowded, but people are slowly moving away now that Ousmariku seems to have left for good, and the soldiers are still maintaining discipline. Tyresias moves straight through the crowds and towards the largest of the temples. When the temple guards try to prevent Ambrus and Cyanea following he turns back to give a fearsome glare and they are waved through.
In the temple itself the air is cool and heavy with incense. Three cyclopes moves quietly around the wide atrium, lighting censers and murmuring quiet invocations. Tyresias places his helm to one side carefully and calls out in the guttural language of his kind. In response an elderly cyclops appears, with long grey hair and such wrinkled skin that her single eye, pale with cataracts, almost disappears into them.
"Honoured Creusa, I have returned." Tyresias speaks, formally. "My life has been saved by the brave actions of these two people, who saved me at great risk to themselves. The temple and I are in their debt. Therefore I propose to grant them the gift of myth-speaking."
Knw Local, DC25
"Tyresias" The elder cyclops says in a tone that suggests that this is an argument that they have had many times before, "You know that this cannot be done." Tyresias however does not seem deterred and the argument switches into cyclops, the other attendents drawing nearer and offering their own opinions as well. In the hubbub the two humans are temporarily forgotten.
I'll need to invest it so additional knowledge skills next level...
Which temple did we go to? Is it to a specific deity?
Ambrus has not heard of this myth-speaking that Tyresias brings up but assumes it will be explained soon enough. His soldier training has taught him patience and he stands quietly at attention while the cylcops discuss. He tilts his head slightly and whispers to Cyanea, "Any idea what they're talking about?"
"Not a clue," Cyanea responds, a tinge of grumpiness in her voice. She was a sea captain, master of her domain, and as such quite unaccustomed to being so thoroughly forgotten. The incense hanging heavy in the air wasn't helping her mood greatly either - it felt thicker and harder to breathe than the sea water had been less than an hour before. "But apparently it's some kind of big deal, if they're arguing about it this long. It sounds like some kind of storytelling, but what story would they object to so strongly?"
"Those in power reinforce their hold by controlling the historical documents made public. If this story involves releasing information kept secret, I can understand their hesitancy to do so. I require no reward from these cyclops for merely serving the city as I am sworn to do. However, it would be impolite to refuse an honor that the priests of the high temple wish to bestow upon me, so I shall abide by whatever decision they reach."
Ambrus continues to stand statue-like in the shade of the temple hall. His anxiousness is hidden beneath his stillness, as he would prefer to be taking action to further take tally of Ousmariku's devastation and to fortify the city's defenses in case of another attack, instead of receiving praises for the most unheroic act of falling overboard and nearly drowning in the harbor. Ambrus still cringes at the thought of all that seawater enveloping him.
"Of course. It's an honor even to be invited in here, and I wouldn't be so crass as to refuse what reward they wish to freely offer." Especially if it happened to be food and lodging for my crew while we get sorted out after losing the ship... She doesn't voice the last part aloud, though; while the well-being of her people weighs heavily on her mind, she would never demand such a thing. She hadn't expected any kind of reward at all, truthfully. Ambrus and Tyresias had risked everything to protect Aelysos from disaster, and she'd been in the right place at the right time - rescuing them was the only decent thing to do, especially given her abilities. I just hope this doesn't take too long...
|GM Nikolaus 'the Grimm'|
Just as Cyanea finishes speaking all the cyclops stop talking at once. In fact they all freeze for a moment - its terrifically eerie. Tyresias seems to be the first to recover and he looks meaningfully at Creusa.
"Are there any more objections?" He asks, and receives murmured words back from his companions. With the matter apparently settled he gestures to Cyanea and Ambrus to approach.
"We are in agreement." He rumbles, "I shall myth-speak for you both. Do you have a talisman, or something from your childhood, something which contains your memories? This is a difficult task and it is easier if I have something that you treasure to strengthen the link."
Regardless he leads both humans into a sunken area in the floor, which the other cyclops begin to fill with with water from great amphora. It is pleasantly warm and relaxing as the water rises nearly up to Ambrus' neck, or approximately chest height on the cyclops - who has removed all of him armour.
When this is done Tyresias settles himself and begins to chant softly, every phrase echoed by the other cyclops, who stand around the sunken pool. The effect, combined with the warm water is almost soporific and both Ambrus and Cyanea find their eyelids closing almost of their own volition.
The light in the gemstone goes out, and it seems to trigger something in the cave. Great swathes of other gemstone go out, plunging the cave into near darkness as a dozen, then six, then four, then two and finally only one light remains. Reaching out hesitantly to touch it Ambrus hears a shattering roar, the pounding of huge hooves on stone and sees for a fraction of a heartbeat, a huge bull-headed figure charging towards him. Minotaur!
Feeling somehow that this is a moment of great import, Cyanea kicks slowly forwards, choosing her path between the spires based on instinct alone, until she emerges onto the deck of the Marid's Treasure. Only one person is standing there, tall and muscled, with long blue hair, he turns and bows.
"Earth and Water, Land and Sea. Mortal foes they oft can be." His voice is rhythmic and hypnotising. "There is little time, in one year hence, new gods must stand in our defense. Seek out the Helm, the Spear, the Sword. Then the might of the Gods is your reward."
Suddenly there is a great cry all around and both Cyanea and Ambrus find themselves spluttering to breathe. Tyresias is slumped in the pool, his single eye completely white and staring blindly into the distance.
At Tyresias' invitation, Cyanea steps forward, drawing a sword from a scabbard at her side and pausing for a moment before holding it forward. The sword is nothing remarkable, without ornament and clearly long in use, but well-maintained. "This was my mother's," she adds. "It is all I have left of her, and it traveled at her side for all her voyages and all mine. Would that work?" After offering the sword forward, she follows Tyresias to the room's sunken center. As the water rises, Cyanea crouches to sink comfortably into it, letting the buoyancy support her tired limbs as droplets move to dance of their own accord across her skin. The warmth seeps into her muscles, and before she realizes it, her head droops nearly to the water's surface as her eyes slide closed.
And then she jerks back to wakefulness at the cyclops' cry, the details of the incredible vision indelibly stamped on her memory - for how could such a thing be forgotten? But who was he? What does it mean? She wonders for only a moment, however, for as soon as she sees Tyresias she lurches forward, a current of water following her hand as she reaches for him. "Tyresias!" she calls frantically as she imbues the water with healing power and sets it to swirl around him. "Is he all right? What happened?"
Kinetic healer (accepting one point of burn): 3d6 + 6 ⇒ (3, 2, 6) + 6 = 17
"I shall myth-speak for you both. Do you have a talisman, or something from your childhood, something which contains your memories? This is a difficult task and it is easier if I have something that you treasure to strengthen the link."
"I have nothing from my past. What little possessions I own were supplied by the military. But perhaps this will suffice..."
Ambrus withdraws a small block of steel (from his flint & steel kit) and using his ferrous growth ability reshapes it into a ring similar to one that his adoptive mother once wore. He throws a wink at Cyanea, "This old soldier isn't devoid of his own magic tricks."
When Tyresias removes his armor, Ambrus does the same. He carefully places all of his equipment in a pile beside the pool and enters wearing only his cloth pants. He finds the idea of relaxing in water abhorrent, but the droning chant soon turn his eyelids to lead and he falls into the trance-like sleep.
In his dream, the cavern is unfamiliar yet beautiful. The memories of his childhood are pleasant and nostalgic. But the dream quickly metamorphosizes into a nightmare. The darkness does not scare him. With his darkvision, he can still see the shape of the cavern around him. In fact, the cool dark cave is almost comforting. But when the charging minotaur materializes, he flounders. Appearing in his mind as he stands in real life, he is unarmed and unarmored and has no means to defend himself from the onrush nor does know for certain if harm can come to him or not. Certainly the minotaur's thunderous hooves and steaming breath seem real enough. He flails his arms and falls onto his rump just as the vision ends.
Ambrus awakens completely submerged underwater which causes him to panic for a second time. Fortunately it only takes a moment for him to regain his bearings and recall that he is in the temple pool. It only takes for him to stand up straight to get his head above water. When he looks to Tyresias and sees him slumped...and possibly blinded, he immediately grows concerned. He addresses one of the other cyclops around the rim of the pool with an accusatory tone, "Did he know this was going to happen? Was this myth-speak worth the price he paid? I did not save his life for him to make such a sacrifice on my behalf."
|GM Nikolaus 'the Grimm'|
Tyresias 'looks' up, holding out one large hand. "It was a price I knew of. It has always been thus ever since the death of the human god. Searching the skeins of fate is a great undertaking, and if a seer glimpses an event of power then..." He gestures cautiously to his own eye.
"I was the last cyclops to attempt a myth-reading." Creusa says from the side of the pool, her voice sad. "He did not ascend, but there was a chance, and much of my sight was taken. For this to happen..." She doesn't finish the sentence, but both Cyanea and Ambrus feel expectation settle on their shoulders with an almost physical force.
"We will leave you for a time." Creusa adds. "You should speak, discuss what you saw. It seems that your fates are entwined now."
At her lead, two of the attendants reach down to gently help Tyresias stand, and guide him from the pool. The water remains warm, magically no doubt, but soon only Ambrus and Cyanea are left in the room and silence falls.
A thousand thoughts race through Cyanea's mind, clashing and blocking each other until the chaos renders her mute. She simply watches as the other cyclopes lead Tyresias away, guilt beginning to win out over the other roiling emotions fighting for dominance. Why would he have put himself in such risk...for me? Yes, I saved him, but I was just there, I wouldn't leave him to drown. I'm no hero...I'm not worth him blinding himself for a vision I don't even understand... But the prophetess said... The water around her begins to swirl in a small but fast whirlpool encircling her chest. Iroas, seeing the tumult, waddles to the pool and dives in, swimming to butt his head under Cyanea's arm. It isn't until the cyclopes disappear entirely that she turns to Ambrus, still trying to sort out her thoughts as she scratches her pet's ears idly.
"You had a vision too, then. It wasn't just me."
She remains silent for a few moment, marshaling her thoughts in order.
"I was in the ocean. It was peaceful, the calmest ocean I've ever seen. There were spires - a gigantic reef, rising up from the water. And my ship was there, with someone standing on it, someone I've never seen. But I knew to trust him...something about his eyes, his voice, his manner. I couldn't help but hang on his every word." She closes her eyes and taps a finger atop Iroas' head, its bounce in rhythm with the verse she recites. "'Earth and water, land and sea, mortal foes they oft can be. There's little time, one year hence, new gods will rise in our defence. Seek the Helm, the Spear, the Sword, then might of gods is your reward.' I don't know what it means...but they seemed to think it was important. And I'm inclined to believe them, even if I can't understand what they mean just yet. Earth, water, helm, spear, sword..." Quickly she dunks her head beneath the water, then rises again and flips her wet hair back over her shoulder, letting the drops run down her face. "Did what you saw make any sense to you?"
Well f***! Ambrus thinks to himself. It suddenly feels like the weight of a thousand boulders has been placed upon his shoulders. He climbs out of the pool and sits on the edge to speak with Cyanea.
"I did have a vision as well. But mine makes even less sense. There was no riddle; just a strange dream, almost nightmare. I found myself in a great cavern filled with thousands of gemstones radiating a kaleidoscope of colors. Touching a gem would cause me to recall a memory from my childhood. Then suddenly all the lights of the gemstones went out; not all at once; more like a wave of darkness swept over the cavern until only a single gemstone remained lit. Before I could reach it, I was attacked by a minotaur and the vision ended."
"That's it. Some vision that was..."
He takes a minute to think over the words Cyanea spoke. "Do you think "Earth and water, land and sea, mortal foes they oft can be" could be a reference to the two of us, you being an undine, if I had to guess from your aquatic prowess, and me being an oread? Then your riddle seems to be guiding us to seek three items, a helm, a spear, and a sword. I saw none of those in my vision but perhaps one does lay in the cave I saw, or at least perhaps it could provide a starting point. I have never seen that cavern before, but maybe with some research in the city, we can find some information about it. We can ask the cyclopes if they've heard of such a place or if not, we can seek out a library."
"It seems our chance meeting was not chance at all. Our threads of fate are entwined. I suppose we will be traveling together for a while. Just no more swimming for the time being please." Mortal foes indeed. A nice sunbath in the desert is what I could go for.
A distracted chuckle escapes from Cyanea's throat. "I should have known - you sank just like a rock, after all. Well, that's the 'earth and sea' part as clear as it'll be, I suppose. As for the Helm, Spear, and Sword, research is as good a start as I've got to suggest, and the cyclopes as good a place to begin as we have. They can't possibly know any less than I do." She lets herself sink back to float on the water for a moment, then rises to her feet. "Let's go ask."
"I'm not sure if they expect us to stay here or to seek them out when we are ready. I certainly don't want to wander into a sacred part of the temple that I'm not supposed to be in."
Ambrus waits another five minutes (unless Cyanea wants to act sooner). If the cyclopes return he'll address one of them. Otherwise, he'll try exiting out the way he came in to seek a cyclops in that direction. That way, at least, he won't enter any rooms he hasn't already been in.
That plan works for me.
"Good point." Secretly, Cyanea doesn't mind a few minutes' extra soak in the pool - the warmth continues to seep into her bones, and floating on her back she's as comfortable as she's been in ages. For the last time in a while, maybe, if I'm now on some kind of grand quest...