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. 1218 posts and 28 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.
She pretends not to hear you, glancing over her shoulder at the entrance as if to check if anyone is around. "…Nor can I," she answers aloofly, speaking in a low, quiet tone. "I know what you would have me do, Sir Knight, but I cannot. Even if I may not agree with my lady's decisions, I cannot betray her. I would disgrace myself, and my forefathers, and their forefathers before them. I will not be the first Cerwyn in history to turn her back on House Grosvenor. I feel that you understand my position."
"I do," Hermodur says with a nod.
"Then, a message, perhaps? If you could inform the crew of the Pomona that I am being held captive by Lysander, then they could at least know what has happened to me. Truth be told, I doubt they would come to my rescue anyway. If they do, then that is an aberration and not something you could have planned for. No betrayal in this kind action for a respectable prisoner."
[1d10] persuasionRoll #1 3 = 3
She blinks. "It is not my place to do so," she says primly. "and I do not know your name, besides."
"Hermodur," he answers simply.
"And, I see no other person here to accomplish the task."
[1d10] persuasionRoll #1 6 = 6
"There are others on board," the felid answers simply. "More to come, once we reach the Weeping City's banks."
"Yet, I have not seen them."
"Wait," Hermodur interrupts himself. "Are you saying we're actually on the move right now?"
"We are preparing to leave," she answers. As if on cue, you hear the loud rattling and hissing of steam pipes running on the ceiling, and from far beneath your feet, the shoveling of coal. Your as of yet unnamed captor does not seem perturbed by the sudden sound, nor is she bothered by the sudden rumbling and jolting that almost throws you to the grimy floor. Somewhere on the ship, a huge wheel starts to turn as Lysander's ship begins to move on.
Hermodur crosses his arms. "Then, it seems Lysander is performing yet another service for me. I'd be thankful if he weren't so unpleasant."
"Oh?" she asks, as if discussing the weather. "I do not see a chance of you going free any time soon. You are not the first to try to escape this vessel, and you will not be the last. I have seen bigger than you try and fail. That is the truth."
"You are correct," Hermodur says returning to his meditation. "I see no chance of escape. However, such pessimism is befitting a servant of Ailuros. One must look at how the world should be, not fixate on how the world is. This is not a matter of whether or not I can. I simply must. Only a fool would take into consideration their own failure as a part of the plan."
"…Indeed." She looks at you with curiosity. "I prefer to be a realist and focus on the here and now. As it is, it doesn't seem you have much hope of leaving."
"Where you see realism, I see pessimism," Hermodur responds contemplatively. Then, he laughs. "I wonder which of us that makes more negative."
>ready to timeskip
She doesn't seem very amused, resuming her guard post and turning her back on you without another word.
Time passes. Blue Eyes, for lack of a proper given name as of yet, speaks little more to you, coming and going on occasion to tend to other duties, replaced during these periods by any of a number of assorted faceless goons that appear to be in Lysander's service as part of the crew of his new steamboat. On the occasions that Blue Eyes does show up, it is to bring you food and drink, consisting of rock-hard, stale bread and a shallow dish of water for the day. You get the feeling that carrying out these duties gnaws at her, but she never mentions it to you; in fact, she doesn't say a word, other than to order you to eat and drink.
A couple of other prisoners are brought in over your travel, presumably others who have crossed Lysander and/or Lady Grosvenor. They get a similar treatment from the Shiplord, as you hear him now calling himself, though none as harsh as yours. He seems to particularly enjoy electrocuting the prisoners with his new magical arm. When he does visit the brig, he takes the time to mock you from behind the prison bars, usually concluding by pouring out what little water you have left onto the floor.
Two or three days later, you feel the ship making port, a bell ringing and a great ruckus starting up on deck as they prepare to move out. Lysander strolls in imperiously, flanked by Lady Grosvenor, Blue Eyes, and two others you don't recognize, a large, earthy brown unicorn in a navy blue jacket and a hulking saurian resembling a komodo dragon, respectively. The latter is hoisting a very familiar hammer over his shoulder with some effort.
"Get up, whelp," Lysander demands of you. "I want you to see this. We found your precious tinker toy lying in a Fiddler gutter." He nods to the saurian, who shows off Mjolnir; it seems to have suffered some damage, having a spidery crack across the head of the hammer, but is still in one piece. "I was going to break it," Lysander continues, "but now that we're at the Meet, I figure it'll fetch a good price. Someone is bound to buy this. Or at least parts of it. I might just have it dismantled and shipped off across the Echoes. How do you feel about that?"
At first, Hermodur grimaces angrily at Lysander. With Mjolnir so close yet so far, it is almost too much to bear, but as Lysander keeps talking, he begins to smile.
"If you are going to sell it, why not to me?" he offers.
[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
Blue Eyes looks slightly perplexed at your offer, but keeps a poker face, standing dutifully by Grosvenor's side. Lysander, on the other hand, just snorts derisively. "With what money? I already took what you had on you. You're not worth anything to anyone. For all your guff, you're nothing without this hammer, or without your precious goddess. And she's worlds away, and you're never getting your hands on this again. Or hand, now. Hehehe…"
He takes Mjolnir from the saurian and inspects it, running his claws up the haft and examining the head more closely. "I can see why you favor it so much. This is fine craftsmanship. Even Hadrian couldn't make something this good. It'd be a shame if something were to happen to it…"
His eyes light up as he gets a wonderful idea, resting his magic hand on the head of the hammer, curling his claws around it. His arm starts to glow a violent white, searing the hammer's head, threatening to cause even further damage to it. You see the metal on its surface twisting under the magical surge. He bares his teeth and breathes heavily from the exertion, making eye contact with you as he threatens to shatter it, gauging your reaction greedily. Blue Eyes shows the faintest hint of doubt, while Grosvenor remains emotionless as ever.
"Exactly!" Hermodur says quickly before Lysander can do anymore damage.
"I have no money. Nothing of worth to give you. And, the only value I have is with Mjolnir. So, then, how do you think I would propose to buy that hammer off of you?"
[1d10] to lead Lysander to the conclusionRoll #1 5 = 5
[1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
He laughs again as he realizes what you're proposing. "As if I would trust a word out of your mouth. Lying must be as easy as breathing for you. You've been doing it to yourself your whole life, haven't you?"
He relinquishes his grip on Mjolnir. The cracks glow slightly, but fade, having grown deeper and longer from his magic surge. He takes a moment to catch his breath. "It's a tempting offer," he says, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "But no. You've given me a much better idea. I was going to just let you rot here, but now I think about it, I might have a better use for you. Even though you're missing a hand, I can see you're still strong. The Chanticleers would pay a fine price for you." He bares his teeth again in a wicked grin.>>713401
At the mention of the Chanticleers, Blue Eyes looks uncomfortable, looking away as if in disgust. She is forced to compose herself as Grosvenor gives her an icy look.
Hermodur merely stares down Lysander. "Do what you must. You only dig your grave deeper."
His mocking smile is replaced by an angry narrow eyed scowl. "Be careful you don't choke on your threats. And hold your tongue. You're in the presence of nobility." With that, he and his entourage exit the brig, leaving you alone with your thoughts.
The rest of the day is just as miserable as the last. The only other contact you have with the outside world is the usual visit from Blue Eyes, bringing scraps of food and stale water. She doesn't speak to you or even make eye contact, getting it done as soon as possible.
You are awoken in the night by a loud bang
that rocks your little cell. At first you think Lysander's here to gloat again, but the white drake is nowhere to be seen. Instead, you can smell brimstone, see smoke, and hear shouting and the ringing of steel on steel. It seems Lysander is under attack from some unknown faction. No one seems to be fighting in the brig yet, and for now, everything is relatively quiet in your part of the ship.>roll Perception
"It wasn't a threat, it was advice," Hermodur calls to Lysander as he leaves.
Hermodur smiles the next night when he realizes that Lysander is under attack. It's as if what he predicted has come true. He quickly looks around for anything he can use to his advantage. [1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
The frame of your cell seems to have been loosened by the attack. With some elbow grease, you think you could bust out, but that'd still leave the question of how to move, seeing as you still have the ball and chain on you.
You hear the fighting grow louder. The earth pony in the blue coat fends off a couple of the attackers, losing ground as he retreats down the stairs to the brig, swinging about his saber fiercely. A gunshot rings out, and he drops dead, falling limply down the stairs. The attackers come into view, three tough looking sailors of disparate races; a hippogriff, a zebra and a changeling. They pay little attention to you as they start sweeping through the brig for any other crewmen.>roll Perception again
Hermodur barges against the cell door with his good shoulder. [1d10]
"Don't mind me, gentlemen. You're doing fine work," he comments to the attackers as he does so.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 4 = 4
The door rattles, the impact lessened somewhat by the short range you have due to the iron weight pinning you. The bars rattle loud enough to wake a sleeping dragon. As you do so, the trio flinch at the sudden noise. You notice that they bear a familiar tattoo, a skull on two crossed axes. The symbol of the Bloody Mummers.
"Cor," the changeling comments. "If you want out that badly you could just ask. You want us to help you, cat?"
"Eh, forget about him," says the hippogriff. "We're not here to be friends."
"Nyeh," the zebra grunts. "We got a job to do. Can't be 'aving any hangers on anyways. Mother wouldn't 'ave it."
Hermodur rolls his eyes when he sees that they are Mummers. He inwardly praises himself for not trying to ally with them.
"No need to worry about me coming along. Though, if you have the key, that would be useful. My subsequent actions would certainly serve as a distraction. You wouldn't happen to have seen where they store prisoners' belongings, would you?"
[1d10] for persuasionRoll #1 1 = 1
Here's another critfail for ya! [1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
They just sneer and keep moving. "You talk too much," the zebra growls. "No wonder you're in there and we're out 'ere."
The changeling hangs behind the other two, fumbling in his pockets before pulling out a set of skeletal looking tools. He sticks his tongue out as he starts to fiddle with the lock. With a satisfying click, the lock is picked, and the door springs open. "Get out of here, you poor bastard," he grunts. "Where's the fun in staying 'round here." He quickly gets to work on the ball and chain as well, trying to get rid of it for you.
The ball and chain comes off with another beautiful click, and the manacle clanks to the ground.
"Thank you, sir," Hermodur says with a nod. "Blessings of Ailuros upon you."
Hermodur then goes looking for his confiscated possessions. [1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
"Who?" He doesn't stick around to find out, and quickly rejoins the others.
After taking a moment to enjoy your newfound freedom, you search around for wherever your belongings might be being kept. After a bit of searching, you find an adjacent room to the brig made of varnished red wood, with several shelves and chests kept under lock and key containing a variety of objects - including, as you can see, Mjolnir propped against a wall. As you enter, you see a mean looking minotaur engaged in a swordfight with a Mummer, eventually winning out by sheer strength and finishing him. Clearly one of Lysander's, he takes a moment to catch his breath, leaning against the wall. He hasn't noticed you yet.
Hermodur quickly and quietly walks over to Mjolnir and picks grabs it. He eyes the minotaur.
Once he picks up the hammer, he says, "You have bigger problems then me elsewhere. I'll just be taking my things and going."
>Hunter's Eye on minotaur>intimidation [1d10+2]Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6
He is too weary to fight anymore, looking at you with half lidded eyes and nodding. "Just need a moment to rest is all…"
You take Mjolnir. Cracked and damaged as it is now, it is still a formidable weapon, and you feel ten times stronger with it in hand again.
Hermodur smiles, having regained his weapon.
He goes about looking for his shield and money. [1d10] if necessaryRoll #1 8 = 8
You manage to recover your personal belongings, including your clothes, shield, Dreamwater, potion, and gold. You even find a little more on the side.>+350 bits
Hermodur leaves before the minotaur changes his mind, looking for the top deck.
[1d10] navigationRoll #1 1 = 1
You make your way upstairs. You soon find that reaching the ship's top deck will be easier said than done. The interior of the ship was once adorned with tasteful modern decor, but it seems the Mummer incursion has rendered it a mess. You come across a large dining hall with several broken windows, a fallen chandelier, and tables and chairs scattered everywhere. The hall is crawling with sailors from both teams duking it out, to the point that it's difficult to tell who's who amidst the bedlam.
One of them, a wiry looking goat with a curved dagger, tries to jump you.
[1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
Rather than drawing Mjolnir, Hermodur turns to face the goat with his shield.
He then proceeds to run for it, trying to find a safe route out.
[1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
You block the incoming attack, trying to keep moving, but you are almost hit by a nearby falling bust depicting some smug aristocrat. A Mummer is flattened rather comically as it falls on him. The goat loses interest in you and starts attacking someone who may or may not be on his side. Again, it's hard to tell who's who anymore.
Hermodur continues to navigate out of this shit.
[1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
You manage to pick your way through the brawl, giving them all the slip in the confusion and making your way to the other end of the large hall and onto the top deck. It is raining outside, and on the horizon, you can see a gleaming white wall around a city. Reaching it will be easier said than done, however, as you are still out in the middle of the river. What's more, there is still fighting here; the Mummers are coming from a rival ship, almost as large as Lysander's steamboat, with a cocky looking Diamond Dog as their leader right in the middle of things, using nothing but her bare claws brawl her way through Lysander's minions. Luckily, you're not in the red right now.
Hermodur looks around for a lifeboat. Or, failing that, anything to use as a decent enough boat.
[1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
You spot a few Mummers attempting to flee the battle on the water, sneakily trying to take a lifeboat for themselves, hoarding what look like sacks full of gold. They are armed with hand crossbows. There is also a spare lifeboat still tangled up among the rigging on the top deck. Freeing it might take some time, and attract attention.
Hermodur quickly tries to untangle the lifeboat.
[1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
You fumble with it a bit, eventually yanking it loose from the rigging. It falls onto the deck with a resounding crash, attracting the attention of a nearby goo pony Mummer, who comes at you with a large club, mistaking you for one of Lysander's.
[1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
Hermodur blocks his attack.
As he does this, he kicks the lifeboat into the water. And, assuming that works, he jumps onto it.
[1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
Your shield lights up as you repel the attack, knocking your assailant off balance. With a single fluid movement, you heave the lifeboat into the water, hopping down and landing square in the boat in a perfect sitting position. The boat is equipped with an oil lantern, a pair of oars, and a fishing rod, but no bait. You can almost taste your freedom.
Row for freedom! [1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
Half obscured by the shadow of the two feuding ships, you start rowing as best you can, first on one side, then the other, until you are well and truly making your way to freedom, heading away from both the Vanquisher
and the Mummers' ship and towards the distant rocky shore. As you check to make sure you're not being followed, you see a familiar white silhouette pause during the combat to look over to you. Lysander has no words to offer you, but clenches his blue fist, staring you down from across the water.
You keep rowing for what feels like hours, wearing yourself out from the constant exertion, with only the lamplight to guide you across the Broad River. At about midnight, you finally make it to the distant shore, running your little boat aground. You pull yourself out of the boat, exhausted but safe, for now.
A quick survey of the surrounding area reveals several paths:
Following the shore to the north will take you to a cluster of swampy mangrove terrain. You can see faint lights flitting amongst the trees.
Going south would lead you to a strange, smooth shape coming out of the water, like the head of some enormous creature.
East would lead you into a pass of sharp rocks. You think you can hear voices coming from this direction, but it could just as easily be the wind playing tricks on you.
West would mean going back onto the river. While it is a possibility, it will take several hours to reach the distant shore, and who knows what lurks in the depths at this late hour.