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[Painted Sands]; Minor ST 7.2
Topic Started: Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:36 am (3,332 Views)
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A quick word

The door from the meeting house opened up into the warm, nighttime coastal air. The smell of the ocean was strong given the rapid change, but it was not particularly unpleasant save to those sensitive to such things. Turning back around would revealed the building the group had stepped out of to be Marque's Glass Emporium. Thankfully no one seemed to be there judging by the lack of lights. Infact, most of the docks appeared to be deserted. Only a few oil lamps burning down a few of the docks where ships were at rest and a pub from which a few voices could be heard. The quiet had been arranged.

Adler made sure to close the door behind them once everyone was out. "We'll be taking the East Wind, run by Captain Ulver." She hefted her own travel case, shifting it to a different hand. "Shall we?"

She led the way, going straight for one of the unlit docks where a caravel rested. Drawing closer, in the low light of the partially cloudy night one could make out signs of activity on board. The ship was ready and waiting for them. As the group started coming down the docks there was a small grumbling commotion as one figured swatted another, berating them for not having a lantern ready. There was enough light to not accidentally walk off of the pier but not much else, at least for those with normal levels of vision.

A few strikes of an alchemical match to light the lantern brought some illumination, revealing a rough looking sailor holding up the lantern in one hand and waving the match back and forth to put out the fire before tossing it into the water. Next to him was a much smaller figure, a goblin dressed fairly ostentatiously but poorly. An oversized great coat with epaulettes on their shoulders, Sil in particular recognizes them as belonging to the Taras Navy. Albeit in a poor level of care and fitting no self-respecting seaman would accept. A tricorn hat with an excessively large feather stuck in made the wide, slightly ragged ears look a little smaller in comparison. The twitching motions they made as your group clomped up broke what illusion the accessory provided.

Adler spoke first, a short terse word. "Rattler."

The captain sniffed loudly and rubbed at his long nose. "Finch?"

The handler didn't choose to confirm the codeword with him, turning back to the lot of you. "Alright, this is Captain Ulver. For the next few days he'll be our host. Please treat his ship and crew with respect for the duration of the trip and I'd like to push that we make haste. Save any questions for the trip, there will be plenty of time for that." She finished the last part of that eyeing down the goblin, saying it as much for the detectives as it was for the captain.

"Heh, sure thing boss. Come on, come on board. I'll give the grand tour of the Wind while my lads get us underway."

The ship isn't particularly large in comparison to some of the grand vessels that ply the waters of Imythess. With only a crew of fifteen a full cargo hold would have made this a particularly "cozy" trip with everyone packed together. As it was, their hold was cargoless save for supplies. Adler offered that Ulver had been paid to wait and compensated for what was effectively an empty run for him. The hold had been turned into makeshift quarters for your group. Hammocks strung up and divided into four different sections with some privacy screens for modesty. One excessively large one stuck out, reinforced more than a few times over for one detective in particular.

On the sea you were largely given run of the ship to go where you pleased, not that there was terribly much to explore. The only exception being the captain's quarters where he was still delighted to entertain any of the fairly unusual passengers he was ferrying to Daisan. While the crew is a bit rough, they are also willing to teach some of their trade to those interested in learning how to sail or run a ship. Otherwise, the trip goes relatively smoothly with favorable winds. The only sign of sapient life after putting the shores off the horizon was spotting a vessel far ahead of yours with a bearing in line with yours.

[OOC: This is a solid time for some mid-round dialogue, I won't waste your time by stretching out minutiae during these halcyon days but if you want to hassle anyone with questions or interactions here's a golden time for it!]

The following day, a snarl hits the plan.

The sun is bright overhead, few clouds are shielding you. Most of the crew are busy with make work or idling time away with hobbies. The lookout gives a shout, rousing activity from the rest of them to the source of interest. In the distance you can make out birds circling flotsam before you even hear the voices crying out for help. Broken pieces of another ship, bodies and sealed crates of cargo drift by. The crew makes a half-hearted effort to haul some of the cargo out, Ulver seems a bit unsure how you or Adler would take to the delay.

There's a fair number of people stranded in the water, a quick count would put them somewhere around a dozen. All of them frantically calling for help and more than a few paddling for their lives towards The East Wind. One in particular with thickly plastered dark hair is waving franticly. They themselves are swimming in the sea, but their other hand is held tightly onto keeping a small case steady on a piece of broken hull. "If you've any merc-" their words are cut off by a slight swell of sea water, turning it into a muffled gurgle. "Pull us out! I'll pay you!"

Ulver growls under his breath. "I recognize that mop of hair, that one's a brigand there. I'd not trust 'em if I had anything in my hold, but it's nice to see them gettin' some of their own for once."

Time for lives my detectives. You've chosen the longer route, giving that killer more time to roam free. This will only give them more time by delaying you further and slowing down your speed. Still, it's a decent thing to do to help someone out in a time of need right? I'm not entirely certain where all of you were in the middle of this, but Ulver does have four dinghies and plenty of rope on hand for you to use! Not to mention some of your stranger abilities. It's all up to you, but if you decide to pitch in I think you're going to need at least a few of you to retrieve all the stranded sailors, a bit more to retrieve the lost cargo and one person should be able to handle the individual who is offering payment to avoid a watery grave. Or you could give the order to sail on and leave them to their fate, they probably deserve it being filthy pirates.

It's your call, detectives.

A note on special mentions of details and other things

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Pao stayed in his dog form while on the ship, staying near Keelin only when there was no Keelin-Friend to protect her. He played on the ship's deck, jumping and running, but unlike other dogs that may only hop a foot or two into the air, Pao's jumps sent him flying over people as he quickly found anything new or interesting to smell.

Pao had actually started to get ready for a sun bathing nap when the commotion came, there were sailors in the water! Pao's tail began to wag even more furiously as the captain pointed out one of them was a brigand, Pao barked happily, knowing only those that could understand the dog language would know what he was saying, "Brigand means Bounty! Save them all, get the pay from the brigand, then kill him and deliver his head to the guards! Collect the bounty! We'll need the money when we visit the circus, they won't let us in for free!"

With that said Pao rushed over to the rescue crafts and pointed at them with his nose, only to come back and try to nudge the nearest person towards the craft, Pao needed help getting the life boats down so they could rescue the poor folks below.

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Edited by NinjaDog, Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:22 pm.
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With the bodies in the dimmer room grouped in a bunch nearing the exit to the shifted mimic, the reinforced wooden door creaked open on squeaking hinges to allow a familiar scent to wash over the crowd and hint at their destination. Of course they knew where they had been placed, but it was still odd to the giant that each time it opened, a different zone rested on the other side. It was pushed open by the first one out who strode out with confidence, and the rest followed into the moon-washed dock. Not entirely black, for the sky was lit with the myriads upon myriads of dazzling suns so many trillion of miles away, and centered an almost full-moon. It was enough light for any normal human to stumble their way to the orange glows in the near distance. The waves lapping against the sand was tingling, the air warm and relaxing…

Unless you happened to be a specific member of the group. Then, none of this was quite enjoyable. X’yros ducked and slid out of the door frame sideways and took a few steps out of the building until coming to a pause. The door was shut by whoever had been behind him… he wasn’t paying attention to quite that part. The eyelids blinked a few times until the contracted pupils dilated to allow the perfect amount of light to reflect his surroundings. He could see everything in fine detail as if the sun was still in its strongest form. An overpowering scent of salt and decaying wood struck his nostrils quickly followed by the smell of oil and- people. The breeze from off the ocean felt chilled against his heated body, causing his plates along his spine to rise. A lighter tone voice cracked the calming air. He blinked again to settle the sudden change whirling around in his mind so he could focus on what was going on. Miss Adler had been the one behind him, and he turned to allow her to the front of the group to lead the way.

As his feet struck the planks of the large dock like heavy thuds, X’yros cast nervous glances feverishly at the ships they passed that floated calmly upon small waves. He was on edge. The scampering of a rat, the clearing throat, a call from a goat in the distance, the creaking of lamps upon the posts, and the words and gruffs exchanged from the crew they approached; it all sounded like booming thunder in his ears.

Addler and the captain, Ulver, as they quickly became introduced, made short conversation before ushering the group towards a smaller vessel with laddered planks down to walk up to the dock of the boat. They began to easily file in, but X’yros slunk back and allowed them all ahead of himself… He took a step towards the ramp after one of the crew members assured him that it would easily support his weight… that didn’t seem to help. His rounded pupils narrowed into thin slits and his body turned rigid. A crew member behind him questioned if he had been alright, but he didn’t reply. He stared at the incline until he finally bellowed a greater snort of air tensely. Something, someone, he was too nervous to tell what or who, or why, but he felt some sort of verbal prod that snapped him out of this frightened trance. A tentative step forwards on the wooden ramp. He pressed his weight upon it and it groaned. The water beneath his echoed off of the ship and the dock, only sending his nerves to the edge. His plates were on end like the hackles of a dog. As it hadn’t cracked, he put his full weight down until the plank creaked. With another snort, he made quick work of the distance from where he stood to the ship.

When he was onboard, he blinked and looked about in mild confusion. His action had been so fast and he so nervous that he didn’t even recall scurrying up the planks. A few eyes fell onto his edgy frame, some maybe questioning to themselves how this was going to work out. As most of the group had gone below deck to sort out their sleeping arrangements and items, X’yros instead went to the railing of the ship like a beaten animal. A firm grip on the shorter wood-work as his weakened legs kept him upright. Eventually once all were on-board and everything loaded, a command was given and the crew worked on guiding the ship out of the bay. He watched the movement of the horizon until his blank stare was interrupted by the scrabbling of claws upon the deck. His expression turned to mild annoyance as his attempt to relax was shattered by the dog.

During the course of the night, the giant had grown ill. He had resorted to a crippled figure resting on his stomach with folded hands, his legs kicked out to the side beneath his garment, and his large skull twisted over the railing. Anything that he had eaten in the past few days had been long gone with a few strong retches. His eyes still locked on the horizon, partially closing, as his body continued to try and adjust itself to the tilting and rolling of the ship. One of the crewmembers passed his sad sight and sarcastically tossed out a word.

“Gotta get yer sealegs, mate.”

X’yros didn’t even turn to look at him, only growled in a low tone. The member left him be and continued to tend to other things.


Morning came, morning passed. The beast still paid no one attention and stared off to sea. As the afternoon sun warmed his darker hide and the stars had all faded into the bright blue sky, a loud sharp cry broke his trance and caused him to jump. While he was still looking out the port side, a few objects had drifted into his field of vision. Then a few bodies. People waving their arms, one was a bit closer to the ship. X’yros hissed in its general direction like one very grumpy feline and removed his head from looking over the ship. His neck was stiff from not moving at all the night before. With a sigh his skull was lowered onto his crossed hands and he blinked. A blank stare fixing on nothing in particular before him as conversation from the group and the crew was exchanged. He overheard them having to share quarters with them... which stirred a little bit of interest... would they notice one of the rescued members disappearing overnight, possibly? The lump moved, uneasily, but finally. A few pops from his stiff, tired joints popped out as he rose up with a faint look of interest glowing from his duller eyes. He stood, slowly, and approached the fuss of members only to add his hint of morbid attitude.

"I'll assist, on the condition of payment... Unless you have a spare horse in the cargo hold you are willing to part with, or don't mind a missing crew member... I'm going to need food, soon."

His eyes shifted to the stranded crew struggling in the water. Some may of have thought he was joking, but for those that have come to know him, they were well aware that he was not.
Edited by X'yros, Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:59 am.
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The open sea felt like home. Or at least, the place she had once called home.

She had spent a few daylight hours staring restlessly over the open water, muttering vaguely when anyone gently questioned her what she was looking for. Whenever an island appeared on the horizon, she shrank back from the rail a bit, as if a few inches of distance would keep her safer, only relaxing once the offending landmass was behind them. Over time, she became reassured that there would be no unexpected stops on this journey and began the arduous task of entertaining herself.

The captain had reluctantly given her a little extra ration of water with which she could scrub her skin free of filth, after Lorica had darkly threatened to throw her over the side and let the ocean do the washing for her. Her clothes were still tattered and stained as always, but at least the salt air had done a passable job of airing them out. With her presence at last well tolerated, she busied herself shadowing the crew members as they kept the ship afloat. She watched them tie complicated knots with great curiosity, and once climbed to the top of the mast to re-tighten a rope that had come loose. A few of the sailors were positively delighted watching her effortlessly hoist herself up, balancing on a narrow crossbeam to do her work before nimbly jumping down again.

"I'd watch you in the circus any day, little girl." One of them praised, and she let the compliment slide. Truthfully, she was more comfortable among the crew than with her own comrades. Some of them were downright scary, and the ones who weren't seemed reluctant to make idle conversation. She wasn't even totally positive whose room she was sharing, preferring to slip in past nightfall and rise before dawn, collapsing into an empty bed. Instead she spent as much time as she could in the crows nest, feet dangling off the edge and kicking lightly in the wind. Those were the brief moments when she allowed herself to close her eyes and remember happier days, when she didn't have to fight for every scrap. When she didn't live in fear of every shadow that appeared in the corner of her eye.

She was in the crows nest exchanging idle chit chat with the lookout when she saw them. "Damn it!" The lookout cursed before shouting down to the rest of the crew. Bobbing in the surf were a handful of broken crates, the broken remains of a ship, and...people. Irena vaulted over the rail, barely touching the rungs of the ladder in her haste to get down. Once her feet hit the wooden deck she was sprinting to the edge, leaning over to get a better look.

There WERE people, over a dozen waterlogged sailors desperately clinging to the wreckage. She watched as if transfixed as they fought to be heard over the waves. Vaguely, she was aware of the Captain announcing something about pirates behind her. She may have continued to watch forever, frozen in place, if not for an insistent nudge at her kneecap.

With irritation, she looked down and saw Pao, the dog-boy, desperately trying to get her attention. He gave a pointed glance at her, then the rescue boats tied to the deck behind them, then back to her. "I see them too." She said blankly, still lost in her own mind.

There was no time for this. There was a mission to be done, and saving these drowned rats wasn't it. She was only here to do the job, then take what she came for. But still, as she watched the men plead for help, heads barely above the water, another memory resurfaced. Of crushing pressure against her chest, tightening more with each heartbeat. The cold that chilled her to her very bones, so that some nights she swore she could still feel it in her core. Her arms frantically clawing at the water above her, reaching for aid that would never come. Until it did, in the form of a strong hand latching around her own, hauling her upwards and back into the world.

Another, sharper nudge against her leg finally snapped her free. "I said I see them!" She shouted, raking the hair back away from her face. She looked once more at the dog-boy, then back at the stranded sailors. "Damn it!" She shouted again, before turning and sprinting towards the waiting lifeboats, Pao hot on heels. She quickly untied the rope securing one to the deck, gripping the edge to drag it free.

"A little more help would be nice!" She called over her shoulder, voice filled with irritation.
Edited by Irena, Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:48 am.
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Whenever possible, Keelin preferred to blame the world for her terrible track record in heroics. It was circumstance that prevented her from saving anyone. Her heart was in the right place. She wanted to be a good person. But every time she tried, infuriating contrivances kept her from making any headway. With this whole Black Dog mess, though, she knew the truth: there was nothing external to blame for her own string of failures.

That was why she didn't try to get Lorica or any of her other friends away when it was time to walk from the Black Dog mimic-house to the ship. There wasn't any illusion of misfortune to cloud her thinking, since the whole beginning of the trip was uneventful. Not even the faintest hint of an excuse. Her thoughts were muddled by the details. Even though she knew the Black Dog's promises were a sham, wouldn't picking and choosing who to save just create resentment? But was it worse to save no one? Was the assumption that she was even capable of saving anyone too unrealistic? Keelin hadn't been sure it was going to do anything helpful in the long run.

Hoping to let time smooth out all of her earlier blunders, the angel hunter more or less kept to herself. Though she wasn't a sailor by trade, she offered to help the crew with any lower-order physical labor necessary for the trip. Helped keep her busy.

Once the crew finally shooed her off, the elf ventured below deck. Her living quarters included one of the divided-off areas near the middle. A privacy screen wasn't exactly the most private thing in the world, but it was better than sharing a room with everyone she'd just met. Rather than wallow in her quarters and feel sorry for herself, she came across Nonna and saw an opportunity.

"Hey, Nonna." Keelin approached if allowed, slipping her hands into her jacket pockets to stop herself from fidgeting. "Sorry again about what I said at the meeting. It was inappropriate to ask you about... what I asked you about in front of everyone."

After their conversation, Keelin eventually sought out the creature called Severin to work on some unfinished business. (Skippable Story)

Later on, Keelin found her friend Quinn. (Skippable Story)

Keelin pounded up the steps, emerging abovedeck at a running pace. Following the lookout's indications and the cries for help, the elf squinted in the sun. There was no doubt in her mind about what needed to be done. The clock was already ticking.

After charging across the deck the elf skidded to a stop, nearly hitting Irena. She muttered an apology and hurried to help with a few remaining ropes and bits of tarp covering the nearest lifeboat. "How the hell do you lower this thing? Hey! Crew! Get over here!" The elf grit her teeth trying to lift the big, awkward thing into the position it needed to be in. She had no knowledge at all about how ships worked or what each little rope and pulley did besides the basics.

Not fast enough when people were drowning. Having helped with the heavy lifting for that boat, Keelin backed away from the scene. She threw down her hat and stripped off her jacket. "Have the crew keep deploying lifeboats! We'll snag em!" The last things to go were her heavy boots, forcing her to waste valuable seconds tugging her laces undone.

She took off into a run and vaulted over the railing of the deck.

The elf careened through the air and fell feet-first. Her body pierced the churning waves, shooting past layers of floating debris in a flurry of bubbles. Squinting her eye open despite the stinging salt water, Keelin tried to make sense of her view. For a second it was nothing but mottled light, a few dark shapes, and bubbles rising to the surface. Keelin paddled with hard, fast strokes and then crested a wave. She sucked in a breath and scanned her surroundings.

Bodies and sealed crates floated by. A man with dark hair clung to a piece of hull with a case precariously balanced on top. Keelin swam as fast as she could. The water was much warmer compared to her experiences swimming in ice-cold Gwilikith lakes, but the current and salty water forced her to cough and spit periodically. Before she could reach the dark-haired man, a pair of arms wrapped around her -- a pirate desperate for something she could use to float. A messy struggle followed. Eventually Keelin took a breath and went under, forcing the pirate to do the same. She pressed her hands against the human's elbows and yanked them both apart in the chaos that followed.

"Gimme a second!" Keelin swam over to a nearby chunk of debris, one large enough to float, and fought the waves to bring it over to the surviving brigand. If the lifeboats were on the water by then, the elf would wave them over and help them load her on. She'd continue that process for any other survivors she came across.

Although the dark-haired man was still a ways away, Keelin would try to work her way over there to grab him if no one else did.

Edited by Keelin, Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:39 pm.
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Their journey didn't exactly have an auspicious start. In fact, the whole situation seemed rather sketchy. Adler guaranteed them that everything was on the level, but the captain rubbed her the wrong way. It wasn't because he was a goblin, but rather something in his attitude that put her on edge.

Of course, maybe that was just from going to sea. The Keepers rarely bothered with it, mainly because it separated them from their source of power. On land there was plenty of life energy to tap and vegetation to manipulate, but on boats they were far more limited. She didn't expect to have to tap the Wellspring during the journey, but it was disconcerting to not have it as an option. It gave her a looming sense of anxiety, so she decided to wander down to the galley to look for something to help take the edge off.

Skippable Story: Keelorica? Awkward? Never!

This time she found the kitchen occupied by a surly cook who eyed her suspiciously. The Keeper decided it wasn't worth the chance of getting caught stealing from the ship and found her way onto the deck instead. Everything felt different out here. It wasn't just the absence of the Wellspring. The air was crisp and tasted subtly of salt. The sailors chattered as they worked, comfortable with each other and their labor. Everything felt more... open. Like maybe the world wasn't such a shitty place after all.

That idealistic nonsense didn't last for long. The East Wind came across the remains of another ship, its crew struggling to stay afloat in the water. Unlike some of the other investigators, Lorica didn't respond with alacrity. She strolled over to the railing, watching the predicament of the sailors. The goblin insisted that these were not simple merchants or navy-men, but rather buccaneers of the worst sort. The Keeper shrugged. "Well then, they got what was coming to 'em. Let them drown, but let's see what they were hauling-"

There was a blur of motion out of the corner of her eye. She turned in time to see Keelin dive over the railing and plunge into the sea. Lorica lost her train of thought, sputtering. "Dammit general, now is not the time to be dashing!" The elf was already swimming and probably couldn't hear her criticism. The Keeper bit her lip, staring at her friend. Shit. I guess we're helping now.

Elsewhere she saw Irena and Pao struggling with one of the ship's lifeboats so they lend their assistance as well. X'yros was looming near them. "Dammit New Boots, you wanna help them or will I have to skin you later?" With one arm in a sling there wasn't much Lorica could do to help when it came to wrangling a dory, but that wasn't what she was best at anyway.

She looked around for someone else to order about. Seeing no one else that was immediately available, she marched over to the door leading belowdecks. The bard was still down below, for some reason refusing to come out into the sunlight. Lorica yelled down the staircase at her. "Hey, your sex life is rife or something, right? That means you must know your way around knots?" She didn't give the woman time to respond, talking over her if necessary. "If we're stupid enough to bring pirates on board, let's at least tie them up. Think you can bind their wrists together as we save them? I'll be the muscle and bring them down to you. Lorica drew a heavy bolo for emphasis.

If Nonna agreed with the plan, she would strong-arm each of the pirates they rescured down belowdecks so the bard could bind them until the group decided what to do with the bunch.
Edited by Lorica, Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:36 am.
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Quinn found herself staring over the edge of the ship at the dark waters. "The ocean only brings death." She muttered to herself. Quinn tapped her cigar on the railing. Her mind circled through violent dreams and her own poor history with oceanic voyages. She had exchanged her armor for a half-mask, revealing the dark blue tattoo of the ocean that came up the left side of her face. She pulled her bathrobe closer with her free hand. Her sword remained at her hip. Splashing knocked her free of her distraction and she stared at the coming men. Ulver identified them as pirates.

"They can't be too dangerous if we bind their fingers and remove their gear. Don't the, ah, laws of the sea or whatever say you have to help sailors in need?"

Spoiler: click to toggle

Quinn watched as havoc reigned and people ran about like crazy. Keelin dove in. Lorica suggest what to do after. Pao pointed at the boats. Irena helped Pao with the boats. It looked like Xy'ros was going to help with the boats. Quinn stared blankly at the railing. Then she glanced across the deck and grabbed a hold of the rope net that one would use to embark onto the rescue boats. "Uh, guys, we'll need this to get onto the little boats and, uh, I bet they could just climb right up it." She thrust her finger at some of the sailors. "I'm not a sailor. Could you, uh, hang this from the hull so everyone can climb back aboard when the chaos is over?"
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Nonna sat on her cot in the belly of the ship. She appreciated the fact that Adler was willing to grab her travelling case from where she was staying. She lazily unpacked a very worn out pillow and placed it on the cot, replacing whatever they had arranged for her. On to of the blanket she took out a brass trumpet and cleaning materials and got to work on cleaning that.

"Hey, Nonna." Keelin approached if allowed, slipping her hands into her jacket pockets to stop herself from fidgeting. "Sorry again about what I said at the meeting. It was inappropriate to ask you about... what I asked you about in front of everyone."

Nonna looks up from the engrossing task of cleaning a trumpet, not expecting the disruption. She stared at Keelin for a moment.
"I was just embarrassed, Lin.
It ain't that grave of a sin."

The elf's shoulders relaxed. "Well, alright. I'll still try not to embarrass you again. Sure know what that's like."

The performer's lips curled into a soft smile.
"I hope to never know what it's like to have a room side with a table over you.
If you ask Nonna though, one shouldn't blame you. Living, breathing, furniture, like who knew?"

"Oh good, you're--" Keelin cleared her throat to interrupt herself. "Yeah. Hopefully the table thing doesn't turn into some kind of running joke. Teaches me to not go stabbing things I don't understand." The elf offered a tentative laugh. "So... you really did come here just for the money? No big secrets Black Dog tempted you with?"

Nonna shook her head.
"No no, I just want the money as a bonus to buy more shoes and clothes.
What they offered me was publicity so people would come to my shows."

Keelin's ears perked up. "What kind of shows do you put on?"

"You're invited to come and find out.
You'll enjoy my performance, no doubt."
Nonna offered while finishing up with wiping down her trumpet. Holding it up to the light to give it a second look over.

"Alright! If I survive this job, I'll come see one of your shows. You seem like you've got a pretty broad set of skills, so that'll be neat. And it sure beats office work or awkward dinner meetings." Grinning like an idiot, Keelin touched the brim of her hat. "Glad we're all right. You need anything, you just let me know, okay?"

"Maybe I'll take your offer for a spin.
Thank you, but you can run along now, Lin."
She dismissed Keelin with a teasing grin. She'll live to regret that, more than likely.

As the elf backed toward the exit from Nonna's partitioned living quarters, her grin went lopsided until it looked strange and artificial. "Err, I mean-- anything I can actually do, you know? But yeah, you take care. Thanks for being all, uh, understanding!" She waved and ducked out.

Nonna stared at the location where the elf departed, pondering.


A commotion? A commotion! What in the world was going on up there!? Nonna stared at the staircase leading to the deck of the ship where people were running around. Before any further action could be taken, someone started yelling down at her. Ah, what was that girl's name again? Nonna couldn't remember. Knots? Just because she wasn't a stranger to- Ah whatever.

Nonna saluted.
"Aye aye, Roger roger.
Tying up sea robbers."
She said and ran off to grab whatever spare rope she could find below deck. Nonna would assist in restraining any criminals Lorica would bring below deck.


Forgive 5am post, I got distracted and tired and no sleep and deadline and I DID MY DUE
I'm going to bed goodnight
Edited by Nonna, Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:21 am.
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Boats. Slow and pretty low-maintenance compared to Logan's preferred methods of travel, but he was not about to start complaining about putting forth absolutely no effort to getting somewhere. The free time allowed him to dig into some books of lore he had not gotten around to. Knowledge was the key to survival as an Adventurer, and skimping on it could be the difference between an obvious win and a humiliating death. Pair that with not even his bangle's magic having enough power to actually incite him to going out of his way to interacting with other people, and he spent most of his time inside the ship alternating between leaning and sitting next to a window with a good view of the shifting horizon outside.

Peace and quiet was most notably interrupted by Pao's barking. Something brigands and bounties. After that, things sounded too chaotic to ignore. Logan emerged onto the deck sporting his striped hat that his ears poked through, fantastic and lightweight for blocking sun without cooking his head. He had to see what the commotion was about, and even after he got a vague understanding about it, he still found it troublesome to make heads or tails of what was going on. Rogues turned to drowning rats, and for some reason it seemed like some of his current compatriots were prioritizing them over their goods.

"Is being on a ship really so boring that people would literally jump overboard to save some waterlogged brigands?" Logan said, approaching the railing to see what looked like Keelin having dived into the water, "I'll help with the crates. We can probably turn those around for a bit of profit when we dock."

Logan would only half focus on even getting the crates with the hydrokinesis he had, bringing the boxes near the rails one at a time floating atop slightly bigger cubes of water to grab without flooding the ship unnecessarily. Maybe it was just his callousness from being an adventurer who was often harassed by thieves, rogues, brigands, bandits, pirates, and just about any other synonymous profession, but he truly cared little for them once he heard what they were.

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Hearne largely ignored the rest of his companions thhrough much of their initial journey, spending the first few hours with a bone needle in hand. He dipped its tip into a spot on his wrist, spending a great deal of concentration and effort on these three new tattoos. They were spellforms, complex works of geometry and angelic script in visible layers.

The first spell was charged with a good deal of healing magic, reserved for when a snap touch-up was needed. The second and third spells were warding spells, one geared toward the physical and the second to the arcane. The three new tattoos were imprinted on his left forearm, joining the column of runes already marked there.

Shortly after finishing his tattos and his brief chat with Keelin, he focused on meditation, ignoring his own bunk to look out over the ocean and regenerate his expended mana. Any looking on in the magical spectrum would see the giant creature sitting at the prow, legs hanging over to either side into the water. For the most part he found himself thankfully undisturbed.

The talk with Keelin had been... troubling. She did not approve of his presence and it seemed whatever friendship they may have had in the past was dangling by a thread. His troubled thoughts drifted away as he sat, not quite alone with the crowd of voices muttering to each other. Thankfully their chatter was muted, relatively calmed by the peaceful travel.

He didn't move for hours, content to stare out ahead until the wreckage came into view and action broke out on deck. His companions seemed intent on helping the survivors from the water. Briefly debating his own path, he began to cast.

Strength filled his new body, feeling as if he could crush the planks of the boat with ease. Moving for the railing, he brushed one of his rings with his will.

He vanished, appearing on one of the larger pieces of wreckage below.

"Bring them close, I'll get them into the boats. Might be too weak and cold to get in, depending on how long they've been swimming out here." He called out to the swimming elf. Extending his arms, the flesh burst into ribbons of black flesh, discoloring quickly.

The masses of ribbons extended to dip into the water, holding himself steady woth one and using his enhanced strength to scoop the sailors from the water, planting them in the rescue boats.

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Save the pirates was chosen

Everyone sprung into action with their own way of tackling a situation. Click here to find out how that panned out!

Success, but not resolved. Click here to see what goes down!

There are no brakes on this boat

More homework! Also homework!

One last thing

The next cut off date is 10/25 8 am EST (since I got my post done early I'm gonna give you darling the extra time, especially since there's a bit to haggle over!)
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Pao stuff

Keelin Stuff

More Pao stuff

X things

Pao looked at the giant lizard man, he had fallen so... clumsily, he was very obvious not the threatening monster Pao had thought before. Pao wagged his tail and wandered up to the lizard, he placed a paw up into the air, as if offering his paw for a handshake.

My vote!
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With the pirates handled and done with, and a bit of information finally accrued, Logan was intent to return to his book. As far as he could tell, there was simply nothing more for him to do or worry about. As far as adventurers went, he had the least initiative out of anybody. What he found, what he accomplished, and who he met were simply matters of timing, trial and error, and absolutely peculiar and questionable luck. He had Daisan and the locals Hills to brush up on, just in case there was anything hidden in those pages that could help them out later, or that would just be really interesting to learn.

Maybe, just maybe, a bit too much reading. Not from the hour but from how much information the werewolf had taken in, his brain was beginning to feel mushy inside of its skull casing. Whatever he had been reading, he had been staring at the pages blankly for at least half an hour, not actually reading anything or even thinking anything. His mind was empty, awash with little more than background noise, the text before him little more than blurs that he occasionally tried to focus on just to stop reading all over again. Some part of his brain had quit for the evening, and there was simply no convincing it to get back to work.

Well, all fine and good, then. At night the ocean from a ship was sure to be a beautiful sight, particularly if there were moons to shine their gentle light on the waves below.

Things popped as the adventurer stood from his long-lasted lethargy. He stretched to get his muscles used to the idea of moving once again, pulling and pulling on joints, twisting his limbs, and rolling his neck. Sometimes they made pops, other times they just felt really good to get loosened up. A lot of effort just to go out onto the deck and look out at the night.

Nonna was out and about singing a song and dancing. It was a pleasant private little concert about their adventure, but it also struck Logan with a realization. She was right, even for Daisan their eclectic group would stick out. They were monsters and barely men, like trying to find a specific fish from the deck of a mighty ship, giving it plenty of time and warning to swim away and hide from its obvious pursuers.

The killer probably would not run, but he could hide and keep low, maybe vanish for just long enough for the circus to get moving again. Yet, maybe that could prove advantageous. Make the killer look one way while getting him from another. There were a few who could pull that off, who could be discreet.

Thoughts and plans refreshing Logan's mind from his studies aside, the song was one he found enjoyable. He joined in giving the performer what seemed like well-deserved applause. Were he more the kind prone to initiative, he might have gone up and thanked her for what might prove just a tad crazy of an idea.

Two hats, two identities. Once the investigative group got settled in their new headquarters and their place in Daisan, Logan had a bit of a different mind about him for what exactly to do.

Logan would simply be the werewolf joined to the investigative group, sporting his signature striped hat.

Jack? That seemed like a good enough cover name. Would sport his Gambler hat and be a human who, as far as anybody could be concerned, would have that black mark upon him. He had a special tattoo that was more effective in his human form than shifted, capable of moving around his body and being reshaped as necessary.

While Logan dealt with investigative work, Jack could better ingratiate himself into Daisan, even at the almost immediate cost of some reputation. Two identities, two ways of going about things, and a nice trick to always remember what he told as which form. Jack, when the time was available, would go to the Daisan Adventurer's Guild to get a feel for things from a different perspective.

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In which two women find no marks

Back on deck she considered the coming port. "Clearly a basement somewhere is the best option, though we should take a moment to fortify it. Anyone handy with that sort of thing?"

When they made shore, after being shown the hideout Quinn would make an attempt at organizing and preparing it for long-term living. Securing a storage area, setting up something that resembled a room, and making certain they had open paths to and from the exit. Hopefully it had exits, and not a lone deathtrap.
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Mid-Round Archive - Mark of the Tide

When Pao asked her in Gnomish runes if she was okay, Keelin smiled. She lifted a hand and traced creases in the sheets in the same language. It formed a simple reply: "No."

Nearly an instant afterward, there was a horrible racket as something attacked the privacy screen. Keelin jumped to her feet, hands open as if to summon her weapons into them. Her eye widened when the culprit proved to be the draconian man. "Wh--" He sputtered and exclaimed a simple 'oops,' suggesting it was a mistake. Keelin laughed nervously and rubbed the back of her neck. "Kinda hard to keep balance on a boat, huh?"

Just when she thought it couldn't get any worse...

The whistle made Keelin freeze and tense up. Anger flowed into her mind, but it didn't come from herself. It definitely was Hearne. An understanding brushed the edges of her senses: he was furious about the black mark he'd received. Not long after that, the villain himself came drifting by the wreckage X'yros had wrought. Pupil constricting to a pinpoint, Keelin backed away until she had nearly collided with a privacy screen herself. She could barely hear his explanation that he was going to have a word with the "guests," since her blood was pumping behind her ears.

Her throat felt tight and dry. She couldn't speak, not even to tell him not to. Something deeper than her bones was telling her to protect herself and the people closest to her at all costs, not their prisoners. Even knowing what she was doing and hating herself for it, Keelin couldn't make herself do anything to stop him.

Later on, Keelin sought out the marked pirates. If Hearne hadn't killed them, she would speak in low tones to greet them and then check to make sure they were okay. Without invading their privacy, she checked to see if they'd been the victim of obvious physical harm. "He might have hurt you in other ways. Did he say anything that seemed odd or misleading, or made you speak without thinking? Do you have a gap in your memory or feel like you had a realistic dream? Or maybe you felt some kind of emotion that was out of your control, like it was forced on you? Any interruptions in your senses or perception?" Keelin wasn't just going through the motions: she was genuinely worried regarding every question she asked.

If their condition seemed stable, she'd get to the other main objective of her visit. "I'd like to keep in touch with you guys. I'm going to try to save everyone who got marked. I'm... not quite sure how to do that yet, but I'll figure it out. Maybe putting together a big enough sacrifice. Or maybe even--" she swallowed uneasily and ran her fingers through her hair, "--figuring out how to kill the Black Tide. I don't know. Where are you guys planning to go once we let you out in Daisan? Maybe we can arrange a meeting spot or dead drop to keep in touch."

Once they reached Daisan, the group largely agreed upon settling in the basement of an abandoned building in the outer city. Although Keelin's first preference was somewhere that would give them easy access to foreign contacts, this wasn't too bad either -- she definitely didn't complain. The facility itself was at least better than camping. Better than lots of places she'd slept, honestly. Better than being homeless.

Keelin set to work putting together something like a workstation for herself. She'd search for whatever she could lay a wooden board on top of -- that'd be her desk. Keelin also set a piece of old wood against the wall next to her desk, where she could pin up whatever notes, news, or publications that might be helpful to have at a glance. (An entire wall of Keelin's cabin at home was dedicated to this practice, and she vaguely missed the cluttered manic feel of it already).

She also set up metamana communications with Adler. "Hey, does anyone else have a metamana? Let's get our wavelengths matched up. Just don't say anything stupid over them. It's not secure."
Edited by Keelin, Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:49 am.
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