The Drifters have made their escape from the town of Braildorn, having been made outlaws by their new nemesis Lysander. Once an adventurer like themselves, Lysander has fallen victim to his own hubris and greed, desperate to be seen as a true dragon. The party's first encounter with him led to him becoming crippled, and the party taking his ship for themselves. To make things more complex, the egg they discovered in the vault deep in the Shifting Sands is a seal preventing an entity known as the Cuckoo from awakening, an event which would result in the decimation of the Echoes as they know it. 1030 posts and 25 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.
Not only has Lysander joined forces with a mysterious being named only the Oneiromancer, but he has also discovered the location of the Cuckoo's egg. He, the Oneiromancer, and several others seem to be part of a collective that seek the egg, though for what purpose is unclear; indeed, Lysander seems blind to the egg's true nature, coveting it as a rare and valuable treasure. Seeking to oppose Lysander are a blind wanderer called Dawn, her partner Carabas, and their missing friend Etrigan.
The long term goal the party have made is clear from this: stop Lysander from getting to the egg, however possible. This is an even more pressing matter due to what the party discovered when they visited the vault: not only is the Cuckoo's egg there, but Discord, the primordial god of chaos, is sealed away there, turned to stone but still able to speak. If Lysander were to reach the vault, he would surely make an alliance with the Draconequus, making him an even greater threat. However, Lysander's whereabouts are unknown, for now; until the party can gain some insight into this, they cannot do much to stop him.
For now, the party's goals are twofold:
They have heard of a place to the north called the Dreaming Spring, where Hermodur got some of his Dreamwater from. Lilies from this spring are one of three components needed to liberate a spirit held captive by the swamp druid Black Pudding. Visiting this spring would not only help them in liberating the spirit, but also in acquiring more of the water, which has the unique quality of showing whoever the user thinks of when drinking it.
They have also caught wind of an upcoming event in the Echoes called the Swap Meet, a gathering for drifters from all over the land to come and buy, sell and trade all manner of goods. This event is unique in that while it is held, it is forbidden (by whom it is unknown) to harm anyone. Essentially, this means that everyone who attends a Swap Meet is under truce. This time around, the Swap Meet is being held in a distant place called the Weeping City, so called because it never stops raining on the abandoned metropolis.
Zunden close her eyes, nodding again, "Aurora felt ze zame zentiment, not knowing where zhe belongz nexzt. I alwayz have time for a reading, if zomeone wantz one. I've been avoiding doing zhem while I have ze uhh… 'zhip zenze' going on, but I could do one now if you'd like. It'z one way to zpend ze time az zhat brozh zimmerz, anyhow."
You stumble a little as you swing the hammer. Hoisting such a large and heavy weapon with one hand is difficult, even with your great strength, but you manage to clobber the Dog across the back of the head, toppling him over the edge of the ship. Matthas pauses for a moment to acknowledge you, but gets bodied by the other Dog, cracking his head against the railing and falling unconscious. The Dog, who is black all over with a short snout and huge paws the size of your head, easily overpowers the other crewman and turns to face you with a feral snarl. Seeing your hammer, he swipes at the haft, trying to disarm you.
The griffon manages to beat one of the attacking pirates, beginning a fancy duel with the other. They seem toe to toe.
Coldhooves cleaves through a group of three pirates, but a fourth, a small earth pony, jumps on his back and starts stabbing him in the back. He doesn't seem to notice him at first.
The fire in the corner starts to spread. The captain seems to win his sniper battle, commanding his crew to try and put it out. You hear him shout something at the attacking ship.Roll #1 2 = 2
Hermodur is no stranger to combat and realizes that the ease of disarming him is his greatest weakness. He quickly pulls his hand back, turns the hammer around in his hand so that he is holding it backhanded and uses the rocket to swing his arm around like this.
[1d10+2] [1d10+2]>DC-1, take the larger rollRoll #1 9 + 2 = 11
/ Roll #2 1 + 2 = 3
You slam the oversized Dog in the jaw, knocking him out cold. Even while crippled, you've still got it. Matthas picks himself up, groaning. "Still fighting, huh… Look, I dunno how much longer the ship's gonna hold if we don't get these guys off our ship. This looks bad…" He keeps fighting, lashing out at an incoming pirate and cutting him down.
"See if you can't do something about that fire, would ya!" Matthas shouts as he starts fighting off another pirate.
Up on deck, you see the captain start steering the ship, only to get shot in the gut. No one seems to have seen it but you. He slumps against the steering wheel with a groan, but steels himself and keeps driving the ship away, trying to put distance between his ship and theirs.
The griffon is still fighting off his opponent.
Coldhooves spots you in the heat of the fight and starts moving towards you, only to start faltering when he realizes he's under attack. The undead elk thrashes as he tries to get the pirate off, thundering about the deck. He seems to be staying well away from the spreading fire.>7 pirates remaining
"Do something about the fire…?" Hermodur mumbles to himself. He looks around for someone to help him with that task. Then, he sees Coldhooves. He momentarily considers him, but then notices that he is keeping away from the fire. The only other able-bodied one who could help is the griffon.
Hermodur rushes toward the griffon's opponent to knock him out.
[1d10+2] [1d10+2]>DC-1, take the larger rollRoll #1 7 + 2 = 9
/ Roll #2 6 + 2 = 8
The griffon, scar-beaked and clad in armor, clashes swords dramatically with the pirate, a bat pony. The ringing of steel on steel sounds through the night sky. "Have at you!" the griffon shouts. "Yah! Haha!" His opponent parries him, however, but just when he's about to take a blow, you charge in and shoulder slam the bat pony, knocking him into the main mast. The griffon looks confused for a second, but nods. "Thank you, good sir!" he exclaims, taking a moment to catch his breath. "I'm afraid I'm getting a bit too old for this sort of thing…"
The ship begins to drift away from the invaders'. Bolts and arrows whiz through the night sky as the pirates on the other side open fire.>roll to dodge, instant action
Coldhooves manages to gore the troublesome pony with his antlers, throwing him overboard like a spent rag.
The captain struggles back up, clutching his gut, hoarsely barking orders to the rest of the crew. "Repel boarders! Douse the flames! No quarter given!…"
Matthas takes down another pirate, cleaning off his sword before joining the rest of the crew in fetching buckets of water.>4 pirates remain
"You're not too old to help put out flames, are you?" Hermodur responds to the griffon before ducking behind some cover to dodge and arrow. [1d10]
"Go! I'll help the others."
Hermodur looks around and spots Coldhooves taking on opponents. He goes to help him by taking out the one he's currently fighting.
[1d10+2] [1d10+2]>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 1 = 1
/ Roll #2 9 + 2 = 11
/ Roll #3 2 + 2 = 4
"No, sir!" He doesn't miss a beat in helping the crewmen carry buckets of water.
A stray arrow hits you in your bandaged arm, almost paralyzing you from the sheer pain. The stump still hurts like nothing you've ever felt before, or ever will again.>Hermodur takes 5 hits
Coldhooves rears up and bucks the attacking hippogriff in the chest, sending him stumbling backwards. You follow up his attack with a slam of your own, knocking the pirate to the ground. Coldhooves nods in thanks before reaching for the large club the hippogriff carried, taking it for himself.
"Matthas!" the captain orders. "The fire!…" Matthas nods and starts helping the others put out the fire. Slowly but surely, it starts getting doused.
>3 pirates remain
You and Coldhooves stand back to back as the remaining pirates focus you.
[1d10] vs Hermodur
[2d10] vs Coldhooves
Coldhooves swings the large club at two of the three, following up with an antler gore on the third.
[1d10] Cleave vs Pirates A and B
[1d10] Antler attack vs CRoll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 4, 9 = 13
/ Roll #3 6 = 6
/ Roll #4 4 = 4
I give a dismissive wave of my left hand. "Nah, if you don't feel like doing it right now it's fine. Just whenever you're free, y'know?" I chuckle. "I guess others are asking you too? Can't say I'm that surprised, considering- well, where we're at right now. If you wouldn't mind right now then I'm not gonna stop you, though."
"At a crozzroadz, yez. If you are fine wizh waiting, let uz wait till ze threat of ze bounty hunter haz pazzed, zhen I can properly take ze time to zit wizh you wizhout having zhiz zenze of… urgenzy hanging over me."
Zunden turns around suddenly, head turning towards the pantry as she sees something in her ship vision,
"Oh, zo zhat'z where zhat went. He didn't take it wizh him, did he..?" She gets up. walking carefully towards the pantry and bending over, picking up the small cask of ale. "Hermodur found zhiz in ze dezert, we never did figure out what it waz."
"Nah, waiting is fine. Probably better when you can actually focus anyway." I snort when she pulls out the cask of ale. "No way. I totally forgot about that. Man, we were doing so much stuff in Braildorn I never got a chance to take it to that wizard with me. Guess I can't be surprised he didn't take it with him. It would've been a little hard to carry."
"I have been becoming… more adept at getting a feel for zheze artifactz and trinketz zinze we've been here. Comez wizh uzing zo many I zuppoze." The saurian giggles, resting the cask on the counter and placing a hand over it.
"Let'z zee if I can't dizcern it'z nature myzelf."
[1d10] AntiquarianRoll #1 3 = 3
Being attuned to the ship makes it difficult to hone in and concentrate on the cask for too long. You manage to glean that the brew possesses powerful alchemical properties that would boost the imbiber's natural properties, but in what way, you cannot tell yet.
Zunden winces, rubbing her head. "Zhough, it iz difficult to do zo while in zhiz ztate of mind." She furrows her brow, concentrating, "Ztill, I cannot improve zhiz wizhout practizing. Let uz try again."
She reaches out to the ale, trying to get a feel for it again.
"Zuppoze if zhiz doezn't work, we could alwayz try a zmall glazz."Roll #1 2 = 2
The pantry door bangs open and the ship rattles ominously as you try and hone in on the cask again. You don't manage to learn anything new this time.
Zunden chuckles nervously,
"Want to try a glazz, zhen?"
"Yeah. Maybe we should wait until you can focus a little-" My feet wobble as the ship rumbles and I bump against the counter, nearly losing my balance. After the jolt passes, I chuckle. "Yeah, sure. It's a little early to be drinking, but actually testing it is a good bet. I mean it's just magical booze, right? What's the worst that could happen?"
"Juzt a zip, zertainly don't want to empty ze whole zhing hanging out in ze kitchen. And uh, if you're willing, perhapz you tezt it firzt? If it iz an Ale of Total Inebriation or zomezhing zilly like zhat, I prooobably zhouldn't be drinking it and zailing ze zhip."
Ale of total innebriation? I grin. I like the sound of that. "Yeah, sure. I'll play guinea pig. Best not to put the person guiding the ship out of commission. Just, uh… if it turns me into a toad or something just try to find someone to uncurse me?"
"Bezt az I can. Zhiz waz a well kept zecret back at ze boarding houze becauze I didn't want to deal wizh dozenz of drunk poniez, but I am adept at curing hangoverz you know."
She searches around for a wine glass, removing the bung from the cask and pouring a small amount into it and holding it out for Norvegicus,
"Zhiz iz called a znifter, right? Zertainly knew zome enzhuziaztz back in ze Dominion. Alcohol and poverty zeemz to go hand in hand."
I pick the glass up and swirl it around a little. "Yeah, I think snifter would be the right word. The stem is a little long, but I think it still counts. I've always had my drinks in a highball or Old Fashioned 'rocks' glass." Lifting the glass in a little toasting motion, I drain the little bit that's in it without smelling it.
You take a sip. It just tastes like normal ale to you, and not particularly good ale at that. However, a few moments later, you start feeling a peculiar tingling sensation, starting from your fingertips and spreading to the rest of your body. The feeling intensifies when it reaches your chest, but then it fades, and you just feel numb. You are vaguely aware of your heart beating faster than usual, and the pain in your right arm has faded away to a vague, distant ache. You feel strong, stronger than you ever have before, as if you could suplex a boulder like it's nothing.
I shiver and close my eyes as the sensation courses through my body, and let out a small breath. Opening my eyes back up, I give my right arm a little flex, feeling almost none of the pain that's been there since it was reattached. "I feel-" I flex my other arm and laugh. "I feel great!" In the excitement, I look around for anything that would normally take a little effort to pick up. Without actually giving it any thought, I take a step forward and move to sweep my right arm under Zunden's legs, aiming to lift her onto my shoulder.
[1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
The large, bulky saurian feels light as a feather to you, and you lift her up as casually as you would a small cat. However, as you do so, the initial rush begins to wear off, and she begins to weigh on you. Seems the ale's effects are potent, but short lived.
"Norvegicuz… are you oka-WOooahh!" Zunden gasps as she's swept off her feet, looking at Norvegicus with slight bewilderment.
As I feel the effect fading I gent let her back down on the ground and let out an awkward chuckle. "Sorry. So yeah. Looks like that stuff makes you really, really strong for a little bit." I lock my jaw and wince as the feeling in my arm fades back in, both in pain and disappointment. "Not very long, though. At least not that much."
She smirks, "You could not have juzt, you know, told me?" She rubs her chin, "Zhame we do not have Carnifex'z brew to compare it to."
"Heh. Yeah. Sorry. Good thing I didn't, though, because it wore off as soon as you were on my shoulder." I try to think back to the potions carnifex was selling us. "Which one was like that again? Do you remember? I doubt it's the same but maybe it's similar. The ashbrandy felt good, but I was kind of weird and hazy. And angry, but that might just have been because of the fight. Still, almost makes me scared to try the doomshine."
Zunden looks at the two bottles she left out on the counter to send with Hermodur,
"You do not… ztill feel zhat zhough, right? It waz only for ze time being? I would not want to inflict zhat on Hermodur permamently, he already will have enough izzuez on hiz own."
I shake my head. "Oh, no, it wore off as soon as the potion did. I'd still send em. That thing was a real lifesaver. Probably literally, if what happened after
taking it was anything to go by."
"Good. Well we'll zee how much we can divvy up zhen, I'll buy zome bottlez at ze zwapmeet az well. I really zhould ztart zome zort of zhopping lizt. Iz zhere anyzhing zpecific you're zhinking about buying zhere?"
I look up toward the ceiling in thought. "H'm. There were a few things, actually. For one, I wanted to maybe buy something for Vi. Maybe check out some kind of instrument. I think there were some other things I was going to keep an eye out for too." I glance back down at her. "What about you?"
Zunden reaches into her bag of holding, pulling out the swordblade of Violet's old weapon.
"I uh.. zalvaged zhiz from ze zewer waterz while Violet waz recovering. I don't know to do wizh it. Could eizher get ze weapon remade az it waz, or get her a new one. I juzt zhought it waz good to keep it. Ozherwize, zome new ztringz for my lute, more furniture, bottlez, trinketz, and zee if I can find any more cardz like zhiz…"
Zunden says, opening her tarot box and pulling out a card much different than the rest of her deck, holding it between two fingers.>VII THE CHARIOT [One of a lost deck of tarot cards, scattered across the Echoes. Their design appears to be themed around the Faith of the Alicorn Empress, although they bear a mysterious triple goddess motif on the reverse side. Each card resonates with immense magical power, though they are not to be invoked lightly. Seventh of the Major Arcana, the Chariot depicts Saint Shining, patron saint of warriors, riding into battle atop a gleaming golden chariot, toting a burning lance.
"Ze uh.. light zhow juzt now wizh ze Oneiromanzer. I invoked ze power of zhiz Tarot card Black Pudding gifted me to prevent him from gaining any more influenze. If zhere'z one, zhere haz to be more, right?"
"Oh, and of courze, a variety of meatz. Bozh for uz and my new pet."
My eyes light up as I see the card a little closer. "Oh, hey, R&G had something like this I think. I don't remember which it was, but it was similar. And yeah. Meat would really hit the spot about now. Think Lysander is a vegetarian or somethin'? Seems like there'd be more meat on board."
"Guezz Violet would know, given zhey traveled togezher." She raises her brows, "Interezting. Do you remember what card it waz by chanze? Now I wonder now if it iz only ze high Arcana, or zhere liez a full deck of zhiz Tarot zomewhere, zcattered zhroughout ze Echoez."
"I ain't actually sure. I think it was temperament or something? Thought it might be something you'd like, but it was only one card for thirty something bits, so I didn't bother. Seeing that makes me think maybe I should've picked it up."
"Well zhey have to be at ze Zwapmeet, what zelf-rezpecting traveling traderz wouldn't zhow up to an event zuch az zhat?"
Zunden shrugs, placing the items back in their respective locations.
"Juzt wizh everyzhing wazn't happening at onze. I zhink I would be able to enjoy ze Zwapmeet a lot more. At ze very leazt, it'z a guarantee no one will try to kill uz for a day or zo."
I sigh. "Yeah. Gonna be hard to relax knowing that when it's all over we're being hunted again. Wonder if there's a 'no stalking folks out of the swapmeet' rule, or if it's just a truce on the grounds. Doesn't seem fair if there isn't."
"And what countz az harming zomeone? Could zey plant powderkegz on our zhip zhere while we weren't looking? I have no idea what ze Truze entailz."
"That honestly makes me a little uncomfortable now that I think about it. Seems like there'd be a lot of ways to get around the rule. Maybe everyone just sorta takes it at face value? I doubt it, though. Especially with how many new people show up here."
Zunden squats down, "Everyzhing addz to ze paranoia. It doezn't help it iz literally a danger to uz if one of uz zleepz. Zhiz iz our ztruggle, I zuppoze." She sighs, chuckling, "But zhey can't zplit uz up anymore, right? We're all in it togezher."
Hopefully. My face falls, and I knit my brow as I study the floor. None of us expected Hermodur to defect like that, either, but I guess if anyone would have been a candidate it would have been him. That's still probably just paranoia, I suppose, so I don't mention it. "Yeah," I say. "We're all in it together."
Zunden rubs her shoulder, trying to fight any sort of tension building,
"The zhip, we were talking about renaming it a few dayz back. I waz zhinking… we zhould have zomezhing tying uz togezher more. Like a.. clan name? Group I zuppoze iz lezz zpecific. Not juzt collected drifterz huddled togezher furtive and vulnerable. Zomezhing more.. A party wizh a common cauze."
"Actually, yeah. I kind of like that idea. I've never been good at names, but us having sort of a party title could be neat. Maybe even useful."
"Zomezhing wizh an oazh, all agree to it and make it offizial. We've been looking out for ourzelvez, but zomezhing like zhat…" She turns her head, gazing out through the walls of the ship and down at the landscape below. "I don't know. An agreement zet in ztone… Or juzt verbally I zuppoze, I don't know."
"Yeah. It's kind of something that's gone unsaid, but I think it could be kind of nice just getting it out there. Like some kind of verbal contract or something." I shrug. "Maybe a little creepy, but I doubt it's that big of a deal if nobody is too pushy about it. At least make a verbal agreement to consult with everyone else before doing something like going and making deals with evil wizards."
Zunden nods again, crossing her arms over her squatted legs.
"Yeah." Zunden harrumphs, "I zhould azk Aurora about it. Zhe knowz how to write well and zuch. Make zome kinda contract or pact."
"Yeah. Aurora or Silver. Both of them are sorta fancy, high class learned types. One of those two would probably draw up a better thing than either of us could. At least I know I couldn't, anyway." I sit down on the floor and lean my back against the counter. "So what would it include, anyway? Just sort of a general 'don't be a dick' type thing?"
"Would be zomezhing to dizcuzz wizh ze group now, wouldn't it. All zit around a table and come up what it meanz to travel togezher."