Back to Session 37
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( What's up? )
The Storyteller . o O ( Oh, not much. Just another week. )
IsawaBrian has arrived.
The Storyteller waves to Shen.
Shen says, "My family will be having dinner in about 15 minutes; I thought we were starting at 7 CST, not PST. Sorry. >_>"
Admiral Kaizoku waves to Shen too.
The Storyteller . o O ( So, is Shen's favorite food egg? )
Shen says, "no! Fish!"
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Heh. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Anyway, I gots to get me coffee going... and probably should clean the kitchen like I promised my wife I would... so I'll brb. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( OK! )
Shen is a fantastic archer, although low on the charms department there, and very good at dodging. Decent in hand to hand, but nothing special.
Admiral Kaizoku says, "What's his Strength? There's something in the armory he might be able to put to good use, depending..."
Shen says, "Only 2, alas. Hence the Short Powerbow."
Admiral Kaizoku says, "The bazooka-sized Light Essence Cannon has a min str of four, so that'd be a two dot penalty... though a powerbow's plenty handy."
Shen says, "If you can rig a mount, Shen's got a Specialty in shipboard weapons. Not sure if he can use charms with it, but an 11 dice pool isn't to be sneezed at. :)"
TonyC materializes out of thin air.
Admiral Kaizoku says, "Oh, that's the man-portable one... it's range is a mere 75 yards. Mounted on the Sun are a Light Implosion Bow and a Lightning Ballistae. "
Shen says, "Well, for that matter, Shen's an OK craftsman. He might be able to get an aft rig going up right behind the wheel, so he can turn to gun when we go to rows or on power command only."
Monkey . o O ( looks like everyone is here. Well, let's rock. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Right, I'm back and the coffee's on... )
jetman [to IsawaBrian]: So Shen will be in the control room infusing the ship with his Essence while there's a meeting of everyone else.
Shen says, "The pizza shouldn't take long to eat."
The Storyteller . o O ( But that's okay, 'cause I got question for Kaizoku. )
Shen is not sure if it WORKS, alas.
jetman [to JesseLowe]: Shoot!
IsawaBrian [to jetman]: Are any of the weapons near the ship's wheel? Or, wait- where *is* the ship controlled from? A sealed room within, or an open deck?
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Says here the control station is aft. )
Shen says, "If it's an open deck, I'll probably want to have some ship-to-ship weapon in reach for Shen; we can rig a strapped-down tripod for the Essence Cannon if nothing else. Otherwise, I'll be content with controlling her."
IsawaBrian [to jetman]: But nothing on deck or control room, eh? First Age though, right, so likely a control room with viewscreen.
jetman [to JesseLowe]: Get to the base and take what can be taken, then get back to the base in the Inland Sea as soon as possible, as the Admiral has been absent from his men too long and his enemies might be getting cocky. Secure more information about Realm shipping from our source and keep a steady pressure up there with the new pirate network and then pull off something big against the Mask's forces, now that the island is secured and has lots of troops.
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( And the description says it's organic and sleek like the Heavy Warship, which that flat-bottomed landing craft is not. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Exactly. )
TonyC [to IsawaBrian]: Anyway, the desc on Savage Seas says, "Originally, these vessels were typically armed with three light implosion bows, two on the foredeck and one aft, just forward of the pilot's station, and a pair of lightning ballistae.
IsawaBrian [to JesseLowe]: You're the boss. I'd personally *prefer* an open deck, because if nothing else, that means I can take potshots with the Short Powerbow between spins of the wheel, if it's got a wheel lock. But if I can't stunt pulling the bow out, popping off a shot, and taking control again, I guess I'd better focus on the wheel anyway.
The Storyteller . o O ( If anyone feels like finding or making deck plans for it, they're welcome to. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( And the US has a lightning ballistae fore and the implosion bow aft. We're short on Essence gunners and frequently the sailing captain has to fire the weapon too. )
Monkey . o O ( It also argues that the artist and writer isn't communicating, as there's the third implosion bow wouldn't be able to fire forward without wrecking the mast and backward without wrecking the pilot's station. )
Shen says, "Let's figure on a scaled-down verson of the Heavy warship, with an automatic tracking interface that shuts it down if it crosses lines over the ship itself?"
The Storyteller . o O ( Hm. Have to add firing arcs to the deck plans, too... I wonder if we could work up something with Wooden Ships and Iron Men? :P )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Though a First Age hull has the ability to ignore an implosion bow shot completely. Might be hard on the crew in teh way though. )
Monkey . o O ( I've noticed that First Age warships are nigh indestructible. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Anyway! Consider the pilot's station to be semi-enclosed -- the wheel is mounted in a wide, sloping wall in front of the pilot, but is open topped and easily accessible from the sides and rear. Sound good? )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Yep, sounds good to me! )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Likely with a pair of plasma sphere-like things to grip onto for powering the ship. )
jetman [to JesseLowe]: And relating to the Admiral's upcoming plans, he'd like to do something positive while also putting himself into a position that the Mask can't ignore... relieiving a threatened community in near Thorns or Celeron, say.
Shen says, "And there's the call for Pizza."
Shen heads off.
TonyC [to jetman]: Raid Thorns.
jetman [to TonyC]: There are still survivors there, right?
The Storyteller . o O ( Celeron is a chip, Celeren is a (fallen) city. )
TonyC [to jetman]: Canonically, yes. In game? Who knows? Communication with Thorns is nil.
jetman [to JesseLowe]: And I'm not sure they had weapons that could sink a First Age ship back then... they were vehicles to take Solars into combat without making them have to swim, personal combat enablers more than weapons of war themselves.
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Oh, yes, I haven't forgotten about them... though they fit into the plan perfectly doing exactly what they are now. )
jetman [to JesseLowe]: And the Roseblack too!
JesseLowe [to jetman]: Now that NPC had completely slipped my mind. Hmmm...
TonyC [to jetman]: Re: weapons. Given that Solars are Solars, _somebody_ will see "unsinkable" and take it as a challenge.
jetman [to TonyC]: That's a point... I shudder to think of the stats such a weapon would have.
TonyC [to JesseLowe]: You can always just follow my Lookshy suggestion to the letter. Plus start the Civil War. Note that the Civil War is actually simple to run off-screen. You don't have to actually simulate the going-ons. All you need to do is decide who you want to survive and then pretend that the chaos of war makes determining what really happened difficult.
The Storyteller . o O ( You might also want to start seeking out other Solars as allies. )
jetman [to JesseLowe]: You wouldn't mind having other NPC Solars running around?
Monkey . o O ( she's a redhead. 'nuff said. )
The Storyteller . o O ( At this point, I think it's a little past time that Celestials and minor gods started being serious figures -- Kaizoku and company beginning to make serious waves, no pun intended. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( The Admiral has formed a navy... next on the list is to form a government, you know, to hearken back to the Solar Deliberative. )
Monkey . o O ( Minor gods? How about I see that and raise you major gods. Trip to Yu-shan, wheee! )
The Storyteller . o O ( In due time, maybe. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Hmmm... local little gods can't like Shadowlands very much... maybe an alliance of them to help fight the Mask. )
Monkey . o O ( Not too long, because Grabowski speculates that a 200 xp combat focused solar can kick UC's ass, and if Monkey reaches 300 xp, he/I might be tempted to attempt it just to see if he can. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Bah. If and when y'all get into Yu-Shan, it'll be to stop the Ebon Dragons bridal party. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Party as in all the folks in it, not the event itself. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Malfeas is Hell on caterers? )
Monkey volunteers for the Chipendale dancer role.
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Looking as pretty as he does, he might be mistaken for a party favor by some of the people or things at such a gathering. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( And does he bulk up when he uses Increasing Strength Exercise? )
TonyC [to jetman]: No. Essence generally don't bother with mere physicality.
jetman [to TonyC]: Unless it looks cool!
The Storyteller . o O ( Ah.... grin Clearly, I must bring in a yaoi love interest, or at least a confused heterosexual love interest. It's a pity Monkey spends so much time barechested. )
Monkey still has the green dress.
The Storyteller . o O ( Except that the Rock is pretty tall. Monkey just doesn't seem bulky, more lithe and flexible. Less powerlifter, more gymnast, you know? )
Monkey . o O ( That has always been the idea. )
jetman [to JesseLowe]: Do you have a better grip on the Admiral's plan now? He's going to be demonstrating that Solars are not a threat and are worthy to rule by their actions, namely smashing down one of the worst threats around.
JesseLowe [to jetman]: Yeah, I think so. I also think that the Admiral's going to get a harsh lesson in realpolitik, but that's the stuff that epics are made of.
Monkey . o O ( Blood & Iron! )
The Storyteller . o O ( Ayup. So, since Shen should be back shortly... oh, one more thing: Have either of you used Wushu, and the WuXalted rules in particular? )
jetman [to JesseLowe]: He's not expecting to take over the Realm next week, of course, but to present an alternative to the existing governments and the existing take on Solars.
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Nope. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Foo. Trying to convince my other group it would be a good switch. Mostly for the time-saving aspects. )
Monkey . o O ( Lie and tell them we back you up. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Thanks. I'll see what I can do with a straight face. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( SInce we'll never meet them, who'll be the wiser? Unless you do a crossover game somehow! )
The Storyteller . o O ( Anyhoo, posing and then grabbing my coffee. )
Shen . o O ( And back! )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Hmmm... a big speech (naturally) by the Admiral declaring that our island is a save haven and homeland for all Solars might be useful )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( WB! )
Monkey . o O ( After this story arc, please make the Wolf & Raven MA available. I'll cooperate, but given that IC Monkey has no idea the style exists, it's impossible to make the first step. Unless you want to change its flavor and declare it a simple animal style kung-fu. )
The sun is midway from its zenith to the Western horizon and you're only half a day out of Edge-of-the-Eye when the lookout shouts, "Sail ho!" Off to the southeast, you can all see a tiny sail bobbing near the horizon. Over the course of the next hour or so, you can see that it is a makeshift sail attached to a raft made of flotsam. It looks like someone's lying on the raft, but beyond a prostrate figure, nothing can be made out at this distance.
Shen . o O ( Augh, Wolf & Raven! *hides* )
Monkey . o O ( Oh, never mind then. )
Shen says, "Admiral, looks like we've got a floater. Shall I bring her around?"
Monkey says, "Aye Aye!"
Monkey goes to the deck and stays on the alert.
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( There's very little water on the eyepiece of my spyglass... )
Shen begins to bring the Unconquered Sun around nice and slow, shouting out orders to prepare a launch for rescue, pointing out to the crew and shortening the sails to reduce speed.
Monkey says, "Can I go with the launch?"
Monkey says, "Alright!"
Admiral Kaizoku says, "Be alert... no normal person could get out this far."
Monkey waits impatiently for the launch preparation and is the first person in.
Admiral Kaizoku taps his foot on the deck and hands his spyglass over to Shen. "What do you make of the boat, Mr. Shen?"
The Storyteller . o O ( Two things. First, you're actually traveling only a hundred miles from an archipelago, the one south of the Neck. Second, how did you do that thing with the italics? )
TonyC [to IsawaBrian]: Generally I think all of Mapache's MA styles rock. They're all powerful and flavorful. And speaking of flavor, I was really tempted to take Brave Dragon style. That's one sweet Terrestrial style.
jetman [to JesseLowe]: I saw it only as Unconquered Sun
jetman [to JesseLowe]: HTML style
The Storyteller . o O ( Cool! I didn't know zMud translated on the fly. )
The Storyteller . o O ( anyway. Having suitably distracted myself, Shen, make a Perception + Sail check. )
Shen . o O ( ... How do I roll again? -_-;; )
The Storyteller . o O ( xl )
Shen . o O ( Danke. )
Shen rolled 8 dice on something and got 4 successes.
Shen . o O ( I forgot-- I'd have Salty Dog on. But I'm content with 4 successes, so I'd rather not reroll. :) )
The Storyteller . o O ( Whatever. )
You whisper, "The raft is a chunk of some unlucky ship's hull, buoyed by a couple of barrels and with a makeshift mast and sail protruding from the center. It's a classic castaway's raft. Lying on the "deck" is a large man with what look like Western features." to IsawaBrian.
Shen says, "I make her as a castaway's lash-up, sir. Hull and barrels and a fix-up mast. Like to be a shipwreck's shot-- and I see the seadog on her. Large man, Western features."
Admiral Kaizoku says, "Good work Mr. Shen. Is he wounded?"
You whisper, "Not so's you can tell." to IsawaBrian.
Shen says, "Looks as not, Admiral, but he lies a ways away; might be sun-struck if he's been out a while, but we won't know until we're astride her."
Admiral Kaizoku says, "Proceed then."
One of the sailors says, "When should we launch the boat, sir?"
Monkey says, "Don't be silly. Now, of course."
Shen nods. "Aye-aye, sir," he says with a salute and brings the boat around closer, bringing her about to match the slow speed of the sailing raft. "Hail the raft and ask him to cut sail if you will, bosun."
Despite the still large distance, Monkey shouts in the local language, "Ahoy there! We'll be there shortly!"
Admiral Kaizoku gestures to Saji to nonchalantly man the aft Implosion Bow.
The Unconquered Sun is about half a mile from the raft when the crew drops the launch into the water. The four sailors pull at the oars with practiced strength. At the shouts, the man on the raft sits up and looks about wildly. He spots the Unconqered Sun and the launch, and begins waving his arms. In a few minutes, the launch reaches his raft, and he and Monkey can talk easily -- and Monkey can take his measure.
Monkey . o O ( Shirt size 20, pants 40, shoes... 13? )
Monkey offers the man some water, "Water?"
Shen leans Swift Retort's case open and up against the railing casually, just in reach from the wheel should he need to grab it in a hurry. Otherwise, he holds the beautiful vessel steady and easy, watching wave and wind while Monkey handles the raftman.
Admiral Kaizoku says to the remaining crew "Keep a careful watch up, especially at the sky."
The castaway is a huge man, easily seven feet tall and broad in proportion, and well-muscled. At first glance, he wears iron bracelets, but a second look shows the dangling links of chain that mark them as slave manacles. He bears the features of a Westerner from the northern isles, in this area more or less, and his accent confirms it. He has few enough scars, none distinctive, and his hair is long and black. He is dressed only in a loose kilt. The castaway eagerly takes the water from Monkey and gulps it down. "Thank you, master -- Thank the Sun! I thought I was lost for sure!" he says, handing the now-empty skin back to Monkey.
Monkey says, still in Seatongue, "Although she did keep your life afloat," he nods respectfully at the raft, "wanna ditch the raft and come aboard?"
The Storyteller . o O ( Oh, yeah, he is speaking Seatongue. Sorry, my bad. )
Monkey . o O ( In fact, consider all conversation with him to happen in Seatongue until someone who doesn't know Seatongue spoke, then we'll figure it out. )
The man says, "Gladly, master. It may have kept me afloat, but it is the last wall of my prison these many years, and I'll not shed a tear for it." He climbs into the launch with the ease of the ocean-born and takes up a seat at the stern.
Monkey gestures at the crew to turn around and start the journey back.
Admiral Kaizoku watches the transfer as best he can, arms held behind his back. "An unexpected development..." he remarks, mostly to himself.
Shen nods to the Admiral as he keeps a weather eye out for pursuers-- or ambushers.
It's a quick trip back to the Sun, and within a few minutes the launch is being hauled out of the water. The man steps forward and kneels before the Admiral. "Be you the master of this ship?" he asks.
Monkey says, "He wants to know if you're the boss."
The Storyteller . o O ( Hm. Something to get for the Solar who has everything: another language... )
The Storyteller . o O ( What language does Kaizoku say that in? )
Shen begins giving the orders to prepare the ship to make way again, but to hold fast until the Admiral gives the word.
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Low Realm. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Okay. )
Shen . o O ( Heh. ThenJesseLowe/I/ have no idea what they're saying. I only speak River, Old Realm, and Seatongue. Oh well. :) )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( The Admiral will have to invent the Common Tongue and spread it to every corner of Creation, to avoid disputes and misunderstandings. :) )
Shen . o O ( Hey, that's what Riverspeak IS. :P )
Monkey . o O ( Low, Sky, and Sea here. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Oh oh. )
As this is going on, Suda emerges from her cabin and takes in the scene. She is wearing her usual shipboard garb, a practical tunic and pants combination. As she steps up next to Shen she says, "What's going on?" in a low voice (in Rivertongue).
Shen . o O ( Hey, Monkey's the Bosun, right? )
The Storyteller . o O ( You all really need to establish a common fleet tongue, y'know? I'm sure Suda or Kaizoku -- or Shen, now -- could come up with a Charm to teach the common sailors Old Realm or whatever you settle on. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Monkey's the Mate. )
The Storyteller . o O ( BRB. )
TonyC starts laughing outloud at the babble.
Monkey nods and turns back to the castaway, "Yup, he is. And he wants to know your story."
Monkey says, "And stand up, his neck hurts if he has to look down too long."
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Everything, I'll bet. )
Monkey . o O ( Impossible. Knowing all languages is expensive. Real expensive. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( You've seen her spell list... she's got plenty of XP to spend. )
Monkey . o O ( Hmmmm, this language thing does pose a problem. How do we speak between ourselves? While we have common languages, it just so happen that there is no single language we can use and have everyone understand. )
TonyC [to jetman]: Then Shen wouldn't understand.
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Old realm, that is )
Monkey . o O ( Possible. Let me ask Jesse for 4 extra XP. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Back. Sorry that took so long. )
Monkey . o O ( Can I have 4 extra XP so I can pick up High Realm? )
The Storyteller . o O ( Old Realm or High Realm? )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Or Riverspeak. )
Monkey . o O ( Old, I suppose. Although if you give me 10, I'll take both. 18 with Riverspeak. :) )
Monkey . o O ( Actually, probably easier giving Shen the XP for Low Realm. )
The ex-slave rises and says, in Seatongue, "My name is Kuru, and I am a simple sailor who ran afoul of slave-taking pirates from Azure. I've been in one hold or another for the last two years, but was freed when my last master encountered a Lintha raider a few leagues distant. I alone escaped, so far as I know, and have been adrift for the last two days."
Monkey translates the tale.
The Storyteller . o O ( Actually... remember the language rules? Another rank in Linguistics would give Monkey the option of picking up another 3 languages at Basic fluency. )
jetman has reconnected.
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Back, sudden dicsonnect. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Ah. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Didn't miss much, just the sailor's story. Repeating: )
The ex-slave rises and says, in Seatongue, "My name is Kuru, and I am a simple sailor who ran afoul of slave-taking pirates from Azure. I've been in one hold or another for the last two years, but was freed when my last master encountered a Lintha raider a few leagues distant. I alone escaped, so far as I know, and have been adrift for the last two days."
Monkey . o O ( Awwww, I was hoping to graft the extra XP to some other field. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Using my GMNPC to smooth over this little problem would probably be easiest... How about Suda proposes a solution to the linguistics problem to the Admiral -- or vice versa -- later, after watching this translation scene? )
Shen . o O ( Sounds good to me! )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Works for me! )
Monkey . o O ( ditto )
The Storyteller . o O ( Keen. )
The Storyteller . o O ( But you'll have to settle on a language. )
Shen . o O ( :votes for River or Sea! )
The Storyteller . o O ( Old Tongue might be in-theme for the Admiral, though -- what with trying to rebuild the Solar realm. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Good point... it'd build espirt de corps and not be easily translated by outsiders. Make it so! )
The Storyteller . o O ( But back to the scene! Admrial, I think it's your cue, since Monkey has translated Kuru's brief tale. )
Monkey . o O ( Doesn't particularly care about the actual language, as long as the goal, a lingua franca, is met. )
Admiral Kaizoku bids the man to rise with a gesture, and clasps him on the shoulder. "Tell him this ship is going further to the west, Monkey, on a perilous voyage, but it may be possible to send him back to the Neck."
Monkey . o O ( In the interest of pacing, I shall refrain from repeating stuff and say, "I translate." )
The Storyteller . o O ( kthx )
Monkey tells the man so in Seatongue.
Kuru bows and says, "If it please you, I'd not mind taking a berth with you for now. I've little enough to go back to, as -- Well, I've nothing else to do, and the sea is in my blood. Can you use another shiphand?"
Shen busies himself with Captaining.
The Storyteller skims through Savage Seas.
Monkey translates to the Admiral.
Admiral Kaizoku is displeased with his sudden paranoia, but the important goal is too close, as are several enemies. But what was the struggle for, if not to protect and support the common man? "Very good then... welcome to the Solar Navy. Accept this blessing of sunlight as you join my crew and cause." After Monkey translates, the Admiral fires up his anima banner... if the man is a demon in disguise, this will bring it out of him (the five mote attack).
Monkey turns back to the castaway, "You sure? We are going to a shadowland? You might have a better chance being adrift."
As the Admiral's banner flares, Kuru falls to both knees. "My lord! You are one of the Chosen! I beg forgiveness for my presumption!" he says.
Admiral Kaizoku calls out "Mr. Shen! Resume course and speed!"
The Storyteller . o O ( Speaking of things we need to figure, the named characters on the Unconquered Sun would be a good start... )
Monkey scratches his head, thinking, "Chosen? Man, I hope he lays off doing that quick. It could get annoying."
Shen chuckles quietly and shakes his head. "Thisabouts the regular way of takin' on crew?" he asks Suda before acknowledging the Admiral's order. "Aye-aye, sir!" He then turns to the crew. "Full sails an' back on course, boys and girls! I'll bring 'er around under power-- you just worry about catchin' sky!"
Shen does so
Suda says, "Sometimes... Though not usually so much interpretation. I wonder..." She wanders back to her cabin. Admiral Kaizoku bids Kuru to rise again. "We are all united in a cause, my good man, and I am no better than you... my power may be greater, but so are my responsibilities. Monkey, find out everything he knows about the pirates he was enslaved by." Monkey chats with Kuru as the ship sails on. Shen pulls the Unconquered Sun back on her course and triggers Hundredfold Navigator Essence to help him pick up some time.
The Storyteller . o O ( Messing with JesseLowe/UnconqueredSun to figure out the ship's complement... I'll ping when it's done. Meanwhile: )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( It's not many... the ships troops were offloaded at the Manse, and a light warship has only a crew of 15 (the rest would be vet sailors, BTW). )
The Storyteller . o O ( What does that Charm do, Shen? )
Shen . o O ( +essence automatic successes for a scene. )
The Storyteller . o O ( ah. Okay. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Okay, by Shen's calculations you have around 1200 miles to go, which will be about 7 days along the best route. That figures you get extra successes to sailing rolls pretty regularly but don't use the engine except for emergency maneuvering, such as combat. )
Shen . o O ( *nods* Unless the Admiral orders otherwise. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( What about for 3 hours a day under power? )
Monkey talks with Kuru, pointing out that it's unusual, though not unheard of, for Lintha pirates to strike this far nortwest.
The Storyteller . o O ( If you're willing to take the risk that you might not have an extra three hours of power when you need it, it'll shave a day off of your time. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Just one day? Not worth the risk. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( What about Calling the Wind's Kiss? )
Shen . o O ( Can I spend my off-watch hours (when not sleeping or eating) seeing if there's any way for me to directly power the engine with my own Essence, rather than relying on power reserves? )
Shen . o O ( I've got okay Lore and Craft Pools, although any occult would be default. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( The engine runs on Essence power from a living pilot, but can only work for six hours a day due to capacitors. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( So we have to sail for 3/4ths of the day no matter what. )
Shen . o O ( Okay-- seeing if I can get more efficiency out of the capacitors. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( The Admiral frowns on experimentation with the ancient drive system at this time. )
Shen . o O ( Grumble grumble. :) Oh well. )
Monkey . o O ( Really? My pet theory is that the engine uses up a lot of essence, more than a single exalt can use. It basically sucks up the ambient essence at 25% efficiently and store it in a battery, hence the 6/24. )
Monkey . o O ( If you up the efficiency to 50%, other things start not regaining essence. 100%, and things start to die. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( That makes a lot of sense. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Sure, CWK would put you at... runs the numbers... just under 4 days, what with Shen's superior sailing skills. (I'm figuring he can coax an extra ten to fifteen percent speed out of her, which puts you at just under 300 miles a day.) )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Make it so! )
Monkey . o O ( The thing to do is, of course, adapt a warstrider's power system and use a hearthstone to power the engine. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Or have the warstrider hang onto the back and use the ship as a kickboard. )
Monkey . o O ( Why are you looking at me? )
The Storyteller . o O ( Ha! )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Because Shen will be steering and I'll be commanding. )
Monkey . o O ( 'kay, we're there. now what? )
The Storyteller . o O ( Any opinions on where to stick the Shainaga brothers, Onyx Blossom, Norio, and Black Sam? )
Monkey . o O ( Iridia. )
The Storyteller . o O ( 'kay. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Sam was being trained as a proreus, but the others were sent to Iridia to use their specialties and find any demons or first age crypts and such. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Trained on some other ship, that is. )
The Storyteller . o O ( I was just thinking that the crew of the Unconquered Sun are the characters that I'm going to flesh out more, so... )
Monkey . o O ( Waste of talent. Black Sam used to be a crime overlord who failed to make it big. Best use is to have him run the Iridia underground, preempting competition. After all, would you rather have a Thieves Guild that reports to you or one that doesn't? )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( I was seeing the base there as starting from scratch, so there wouldn't be a guild for a while... he could be in charge of the Realm spy net when we establish that shortly. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Take a look at the JesseLowe/UnconqueredSun page to see what I think looks about right. Feel free to drop in names and thumbnail descriptions for the empty positions. )
The Storyteller . o O ( How about having Black Sam be the guy sent to... wherever... to handle the liason with the Nellens chick? )
Monkey . o O ( Let's deal with that later. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Perfect! )
The Storyteller . o O ( Good. On both counts. Posing. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Back to Monkey and Kuru on the ship. )
Kuru agrees, and expresses his astonishment at his mixed fortune. "The gods must laugh at my predicaments," he says as he mends a rope under the sailmaker's supervision. "First slavers destroy my life, then an even more vile slaver gives me the opportunity to escape. Now I sail with one of the Chosen. Truly, Fate is inscrutable."
The Storyteller . o O ( Posing some more )
Meanwhile, in the Admiral's cabin, Suda and the Admiral are talking over a bottle of V'neef wine. Suda says, "I noted that Monkey was interpreting for you when you picked up that sailor today, and it brings up a question: Wouldn't the fleet function more efficiently if all the sailors spoke a common tongue?"
Admiral Kaizoku nods once, studying the flow of condensation down the bottle. "Most have, until now, Akbar, but your point is a valid one... this is no longer a mere band of pirates, but a navy that will form the core of a government. The men should all know the tongue from the First Age, the age we battle to restore."
The Storyteller . o O ( Suda, not Akbar, but Akbar might well be present... )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Gah, sorry. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Monkey, any response to Kuru? )
Monkey . o O ( None. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Okay... )
Suda says, "I can assist with that, to some extent. At least, with the officers, I can teach them the Old Realm tongue in the same fashion I instructed you in magic back in Chiaroscuro. Do you wish me to do so?"
Admiral Kaizoku replies "That would be a fine start, though I will introduce them to the process first... it can be somewhat unsettling."
Monkey . o O ( Kuru's comment needs no response, and I can't think of a response worth saying anyway/ )
The Storyteller . o O ( Got it. )
TonyC is very amused.
The Storyteller . o O ( I sense that things should be happening faster... So, a quick bout of telling. )
The Storyteller . o O ( If I may pose for all PCs? )
Monkey . o O ( Permission granted. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( As long as they don't dive overboard or get eaten by sharks! )
The Storyteller . o O ( Brian? )
The Storyteller . o O ( Okay, just gonna pose... )
Shen . o O ( Argh! )
Shen . o O ( Sorry- the computer paused the screen. >_> )
The Storyteller . o O ( Ah! )
The Storyteller . o O ( Cool, thanks. Back to posing. )
Shen . o O ( Sorry. ;.; )
Monkey . o O ( While we wait, jetman, remember that sometime next season in-game, Monkey and Kaizoku needs to have a re-match. That, or Kaizoku needs to come up with either a trick (not reliable, Monkey might chose not to honor it) or something shiny enough. )
The next few days go quickly, as does the Sun. The morning after picking up Kuru, Suda and Monkey make a show of the Gift of Knowledge spell and Monkey picks up a few languages in the process. The castaway, Kuru, finds his niche in the crew with a knack for heavy lifting and a willingness to work hard, though he is not particularly sociable. At one point, Saji offers to knock off his manacles, but Kuru refuses, claiming he'd rather have the reminder to be more careful in the future. It is on the evening of the third day that the lookout spots a sail on the northern horizon. After a few hours, the sail has not shifted, relative to the Unconquered Sun's position, and it's clear that you're being followed, and by a master of the sea.
Shen . o O ( Is it starboard, port, aft, or fore of us? )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( We're headed west, so if it's north, it's port (I think). )
You whisper, "Shen, since you're the one on deck most often, you have a chance to observe Kuru more than the other Solars. As you watch him go about his duties, you note that he seems to be extremely observant, and more than once you catch him watching the Admiral with a calculating gaze. He occasionally moves oddly, in a way you can't really understand -- as if he were bigger than his skin, perhaps." to IsawaBrian.
The Storyteller . o O ( Port and astern, since at this point you're on a southeasterly course. )
Shen . o O ( Starboard, actually- north is right. Tha- oh. Okay! )
The Storyteller is quite, quite glad that he has Campaign Cartographer. Maps are so cool!
Admiral Kaizoku says "There is no point in being subtle now... let us test their power." The Admiral goes to the side of the Sun nearest the pursuing vessel and calls on the power of Calling the Wind's kiss to steal the wind from their sails. "Mr. Shen, power speed, four hours on my mark" he calls out.
TonyC whispers, "Hmmm, are you looking at Blood & Salt at the moment?"
Shen raises an eyebrow and calls out, "Admiral! Ship port and astern to us, on chaser course!" He concentrates a little and begins to work up his Charms-- just Personal for now, but (Salty Dog being already on) Hundredfold Navigator Essence and Cleave to the Tiller activated. As the Admiral calls it out as well. "Aye, Admiral! Prepared to bring to full power!"
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Essence batteries to power... Turbines to speed... )
Monkey . o O ( Captain, the engine, it canna take much more. )
Though it takes a few hours, the Unconquered Sun gradually leaves the pursuing ship behind, its sail vanishing over the horizon as full darkness falls and the stars glitter in the sky. For the rest of the night, and into the morning, the horizon remains clear of ships, and, indeed, unbroken, until just before dusk of the fourth day, when a landmass begins to grow in the south ahead of you. The lookout cries, "Land ho! The Isle of Shadows!" from atop the mast.
Shen . o O ( Er, interjection. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Yo? )
Shen . o O ( After the sail's been ditched, I'd've called an underpilot up and sauntered off to "check navigational charts" with the Admiral; I wanted to talk to him )
Monkey climbs atop the mast too, stopping just under the look out, to get a better look.
The Storyteller . o O ( Not a problem -- can happen overnight at the end of your watch. )
Shen . o O ( Thanks. )
Shen . o O ( Shall we assume we're in the Admiral's cabin and go from there, then? )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Works for me! )
The Storyteller . o O ( yes. Meanwhile -- Monkey, you get an extra dot in Linguistics and 4 LPs to spend on languages of your choice, though one ought to be Old Realm... )
The Storyteller . o O ( Of course! )
Shen . o O ( If you're not holding the wheel, Shen would have snagged you, too. Conferencing with the Solars and all. ... Or not, as the Storyteller says. ^_^ )
Monkey . o O ( And I really should have him out more often. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Plus X amount of Sidereal Mind Control! )
The Storyteller . o O ( Monkey's call as to where he is in the powwow. Officer of the deck at the moment is Saji. )
Shen closes the door behind himself casually and strolls over to the map table. "If you'd take a look at these course corrections, Admiral," he says with his voice starting loud and growing quieter "naturally" as he continues. "I'm of a second mind about the new salt, Admiral," he says quietly.
Admiral Kaizoku sits at his desk, contemplating the new forms of the map puzzle that brought the ship this far. "Yes?" he says as his Solar officers enter.
The Storyteller . o O ( Unless specifically invited, Suda is _not_ present but is making stellar observations from the foredeck. )
Admiral Kaizoku says, "Can you be more specific, Mr. Shen?"
Shen continues, switching casually between making "conversation"-loud explanations of the course corrections and quiet observations: "When your eyes are over the railin', Admiral, he watches you-- has a look of a man seein' a fancy prize in port, y'know? And I'm not so certain that he's as he appears-- bigger'n'his skin, aye?"
Admiral Kaizoku lowers his head a few inches. His brow furrows. "I see... The timing was too suspicious, and this fleet has many dark powers among its enemies... yet he did not react to the clensing power of the Sun... Monkey, have you seen anything amiss?"
Monkey says, "So the man has ambition. It won't be the first time a rogue ken his captain with an eye on replacing him. 'Course, he knows the Admiral is an exalt of the sun, so he's a fool, but he hasn't seen him in action, so he isn't suicidal, yet."
Shen shrugs his shoulders. "Keep an eye on him, careful-like is my advice, Admiral, Mr. Mate. The sail after we took him up, and our placement worries me. Could be a spirit, after all, or a Lunar or the like," he notes. "Lunar'd not react t'your anima, nor'd a rogue god."
Shen . o O ( *chuckles* If any of us /knew/ about that... )
Admiral Kaizoku nods again, and reaches out with his occult senses to see if any trails of essence lead away from the ship. "True indeed... we will keep him close. Better the devil you know than the devil you don't..."
Monkey says, "I'll have somebody watch him all the time then."
The Storyteller . o O ( Any particular occult senses? If not, roll Per + Occult )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( The Admiral has enough memories of the first age to recall a little about what Sidereals did back then, being quiet and secretive... )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Don't have any yet, so... )
Admiral Kaizoku rolled 8 dice on Per+Occ and got 7 successes.
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Wow! There must not be any then! )
Monkey rolled 3 dice on Per + Occ and got 1 success.
The Storyteller . o O ( You sense no Essence trails from the ship, but you do detect an unfamiliar flavor of Essence on board. )
Admiral Kaizoku speaks up with "There is indeed another Exalted abord, or a powerful user of essence..."
Monkey . o O ( Actually, there is one way for Monkey to see if Shen's suspicion has a base. ) think By now, Suda's is familiar. You can't trace it, it's more like a residual smell on board -- sort of like a smoker's apartment to a non-smoker.
The Storyteller . o O ( By now, Suda's is familiar. You can't trace it, it's more like a residual smell on board -- sort of like a smoker's apartment to a non-smoker. )
Monkey . o O ( food+water (or signs of use of such) on raft compared to Kuru's health. )
Monkey . o O ( He's been adrift for two days. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Allegedly. )
The Storyteller . o O ( roll wits + Awareness (monkey only) )
Monkey rolled 5 dice on Wits + Awa and got 2 successes.
The Storyteller . o O ( There was no food or water on the raft, and now that you think about it, Kuru was in awfully good shape for a slave that had been adrift for two days. )
Monkey says, "Now that you mention it...."
Monkey relates his observation regarding the lack of food and water and Kuru's amazing state of health when he's found.
Shen quirks an eyebrow and nods to Monkey. "Good point, Mr. Mate," he says, "So-- a plant, or a Lunar who'd be a'home by himself."
Monkey says, "Still, there isn't much we can do, no? I mean, of course I'll have somebody watch him all the time, but really, tomorrow we'll reach our destination, and then what?"
Admiral Kaizoku folds his hands under his chin. "We cannot risk him getting loose on our destination... who knows what mischef he will get up to? Assign him to lookout duty with the shift change. Monkey, you will join him there and confront him... Shen, you will take the Essence Cannon to your station and fire if needed."
Shen says, "Admiral, I can't lift that thing. Do we have a tripod in stores?"
Monkey says, "Whoa, isn't that a bit harsh? I mean, so what if he isn't what he seems?"
Admiral Kaizoku says, "'Confront' does not mean attack, Monkey... call him on what we know and see how he reacts... and you will be able to rest the Cannon on the foreguard of the control station, Mr. Shen."
Monkey points at Shen, "It's him carrying the cannon, not me talking to him."
Shen nods. "Aye, as you say."
Monkey says, "That cannon is so obviously threatening that it'll sour a man's mood for talk. Besides, if I can't handle it, the cannon won't do good anyway."
Admiral Kaizoku steeples his fingers. "We are involved in higher stakes than we have before Monkey... more and more powers are noticing the Solar Navy, and fear it. If he is an infiltrator, he could tear the crew to shreds before we could take him down, if we were not prepared. Mr. Shen, you will have the cannon hidden unless needed."
The Storyteller . o O ( Wrap up the scene? )
Monkey . o O ( Yup. )
Monkey says, "Well, I'll let Saji know that Kuru is to be look-out tomorrow."
Admiral Kaizoku asks "Are we clear? Perhaps we are all wrong, but too many factors point to something hidden here... we will not make the first attack, but we will make the last one."
Shen says, "Clear as sky-blown crystal, admiral."
The Storyteller . o O ( Okay, fast-forward to the confrontation scene on the mast. Next shift will be early morning before reaching the Isle of Shadows. )
Shen salutes the Admiral and tucks his hat to Monkey. "See you on watch."
Shen . o O ( Oops. Er, yes. :) )
Monkey says, "See you."
The Storyteller . o O ( Tucks his hat? WTF? )
The Storyteller . o O ( Like, into his pants? )
Monkey . o O ( I think he meant tugs. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Anyway. Posing. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Or tips? )
Shen . o O ( TIPS, yes. *sigh* )
The sun is a handbreadth above the Eastern Horizon when Monkey scales the mast to confront Kuru. The crow's nest of the Unconquered Sun is optimistically named, being simply a platform just large enough for a man to stand on and a rope to hold him in place. Luckily, the spar just below it provides a stable platform for Monkey (though it would ill-suffice for most). Kuru is scanning the southern horizon when Monkey leaps up next to him, and says nothing for a moment. He finishes his sweep and looks at Monkey. "You look to have something on your mind, sir," he says.
Monkey says, "Kuru, got some serious stuff we need to clear here. The kubernetes thinks something is off about you. The Admiral senses some weird essence around that wasn't around until we picked you up. And well, I mean, it isn't our business and all, but you did look remarkably well when we found you. Especially for someone without water and shelter for two days. So, anything you want to tell us?"
Shen . o O ( Ah... Monkey Blunt-Faced Open Tongue Style. )
Monkey . o O ( I was wondering about that. :) I mean, you'd think the Social guy will do the confrontation, but I guess it's the Athletics guy this time. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Yes, but the social guy is also the target, and the confrontee might put his fist right through his chest with no warning. )
TonyC [to jetman]: Ummm, I love you too?
Kuru looks away, off to the east and the rising sun, before answering. "Ah. You are sharp-eyed and sharp-witted, Master Monkey. As are the Admiral and the kubernetes." He looks back at Monkey, and Monkey sees that his eyes seem deeper than they were a moment ago. In Old Realm, he says, "I will explain myself to you and the Admiral, but it would be something better done -- out of sight of the crew."
Monkey says, "The Admiral's cabin then."
Kuru nods. "At the next watch?"
Monkey says, "Nah, might as well get it over with. On my authority, you're relieved from duty so you can go see the Admiral. I'll let him and the kubernetes know you're coming."
Monkey says, "Sooner we can get this cleared up, sooner we can get rid of the bad air of suspicion, no?"
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Subtle at the beginning, subtle at the end... )
Kuru says, "Aye, aye, sir," and climbs down to the deck.
Admiral Kaizoku relaxes ever so slightly and waves to Shen, indicating he should not be ready to fire.
The Storyteller . o O ( Is Monkey going to follow him, or will he take the lookout post? )
Monkey jumps down from the spar to the deck, landing with ease. He runs toward the aft to see Shen and asks him to see the Admiral, now.
The Storyteller . o O ( Okay! )
Monkey appoints one of the veteran sailor to be the lookout while Kuru is away.
Shen brings up one of the apprentice pilots as well as the regular alternate. "Learn him on these next changes," he orders, and nods to Monkey, following the mate off deck.
Monkey then goes to see the Admiral too.
At a more sedate pace, Kuru follows Monkey up to the Admiral's cabin. He waits until the three Solars are present before saying, "May I enter?"
Monkey . o O ( Guess not. Well, David, your cue. )
Admiral Kaizoku remains on his feet as Kuru comes to enter. "You may. You have something to say?"
The Storyteller . o O ( Everybody in the cabin? Long pose coming up. )
Shen salutes the Admiral and then leans casually against the cabin wall.
The Storyteller will take silence as assent.
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Yep. )
Monkey closes the door and goes around closing the windows' and covering them.
Monkey then sits on top of a convenient chests and takes a swig of rum from his little flask.
Shen does not swing Swift Retort off his back. He's a polite captain until proven otherwise. ;)
Monkey . o O ( OOC, what is Swift Retort? )
Shen . o O ( Shen's short powerbow. )
Admiral Kaizoku stands with his hands held behind his back, impassive at the start.
Monkey . o O ( Sooo, any bets on Kuru's nature? )
Shen . o O ( I'm holding out for Lunar! )
Monkey . o O ( Gold Sid. )
Shen . o O ( <obligatory>Your mother!</obligatory> )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Aren't you a bit tall for a Gold Trooper? )
Monkey . o O ( No, wait, Bronze pretending to be Gold. )
Kuru enters the cabin and closes the door behind him. For the first time, you notice that he is almost completely silent in motion, and that he moves like very few men you have ever met -- more like a great cat of the Eastern forests than a sailor. He bows to each of you in turn and says, in flawless Old Realm and a voice deep as the sea, "Child of the Dawn. Pillar of the Sun. Quill of Heaven. My full name is Kurushka, my Clutch was of the island now called Scag, and I was hatched three hundred years before the Empress ascended to the throne of the Realm." His form shimmers, and the human vanishes, replaced by a huge reptilian figure. Thick scales, dark blue-green in tint, cover his body. His limbs are thick and his fingers and toes webbed, and he slowly twitches his muscular, crocodilian tail. Instead of slave's manacles, he wears bracers of golden orichalcum, and a circlet of crystals adorns his neck. He continues, "I am Mosok, one breed of what you called the Dragon Kings."
Shen ... blinks. "Huh."
Monkey . o O ( Drats, we all lost. )
Shen grins and tugs on his hat. "Pleased t'meetcha." Only takes a moment to relax.
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Does the Admiral's Past Life have any hints of the Dragon Kings? )
Monkey says, "Never heard of you or your guys before."
The Storyteller . o O ( Very little. Enough to know that there are four breeds, and that there was one for each direction save Earth, but that's about it. For now. )
Admiral Kaizoku inclines his head. "And what have your own eyes told you?" he asks evenly.
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( And thus that this isn't a put on. )
Kurushka says, "The rumors were not entirely false -- such is rumor that even when it speaks truth, it is cloaked in exaggeration. By your actions, you worship the Sun as is proper. By your followers, you are a true leader. By your discover of my deception, your acumen is well-honed."
Shen . o O ( Argh. RL grabbing. BRB. )
Monkey says, "And now that you've seen this, what is your plan?"
Kurushka says, "I would call upon the ancient friendship of the Chosen of the Sun and the Dragon Kings, and ask a boon of the Admiral."
Admiral Kaizoku replies "You may ask, and I shall do my best to grant it."
Admiral Kaizoku bows his head more deeply. "I greet you Kurushka, and welcome you to my ship. Have you come to do more than see, as Monkey asks? Your kind is sadly forgotten in this age... do you come alone?"
Shen . o O ( Sorry; back. )
Monkey looks at Shen and mouths, "There's an ancient friendship between us?"
Shen shrugs and nods. "Guess so?" he mouths back.
Kurushka says, "I woke alone, a decade ago, from a sleep that began with the Great Contagion. To my sorrow, I found my kin on Scag Island enslaved by the Azure Hook, pirates from the Coral Archipelago. My earlier tale contained some truth -- I have been in pirate holds for the last two years, often as a slave. However, there was no Lintha raider, only me." He grins. "But against the Azure Hook, I alone cannot free my people. I would ask that you aid me in destroying the Azure Hook."
Shen chuckles quietly. Ah, adventure. He's certainly up for it, but he looks to the Admiral; it's the old man's call.
Monkey mutters to himself, "How come I'm always the last to know these things."
Monkey . o O ( Being a Westerner, how much do I know about Scag? )
Shen . o O ( Ditto! )
Admiral Kaizoku looks grim at the tale of enslavement. "Your people were a valued part of the First Age and should be again in this one... the Solar Fleet will free your land from their bondage. You are aware of the urgency of this ship's misson, I am sure, if not its exact nature... as soon as it is done, we shall head there."
The Storyteller . o O ( V. little. It's mostly a landmark, uninhabited and too far from trade routes for most pirates to use as a port. )
Shen . o O ( I take it that's one of the few places I've never been near, then? :) )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( How far from here, roughly? )
The Storyteller . o O ( "here" being curent position or Isle of Shadows? )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Yes. )
The Storyteller . o O ( yes is not a useful answer to an either\or question... )
Monkey . o O ( Isle of Shadows. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Read that as "Of" the isle of shadows, sorry. The isle. )
The Storyteller . o O ( 1500 miles. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( OK. )
The Storyteller . o O ( By the safe route, of course. By the straight and dangerous route, 1200 miles. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Bah! )
Monkey says, "Well, well, things are getting more and more interesting."
Kurushka says, "I understand that you... we... seek the Isle of Shadows. I will aid you in whatever fashion I can, as a member of your crew."
The Storyteller . o O ( Also, if you've got Player's Handbook, piccy on p. 173 )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( My, he's a big one. )
Monkey says, "Admiral, if there's nothing else, I should let Kuru back to his duty, or the rest of the crew will get talkative. Kuru, you probably should go back to your human form."
Shen . o O ( I vote for straight and dangerous! )
Admiral Kaizoku claps Kurushka on the shoulder. "You are welcome to stay as a member of the crew as long as you like... and Monkey is correct. You will not need to hide your true form forever, but for now, the fewer surprises, the better. The Isle of Shadows will be very taxing for all."
Shen nods aimiably to the big Dragon King. "'Tis welcome to have another strong arm to rely on in the crew. I thank you for your trust."
Kurushka nods, and the Dragon King is replaced by the human sailor. He says, "Thank you, Admiral. I look forward to serving you and the Unconquered Sun. May the hearts of our enemies please our god!"
Monkey can tell the Admiral is a bit more emotional than usual as he nods and makes an affirmative noise.
The Storyteller . o O ( Okay. End of scene. )
The Storyteller . o O ( 'Cept for any last-minute poses, of course. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Nope. )
Monkey . o O ( Repeat scene of Isle of Shadows then? )
The Storyteller . o O ( yup. )
For the rest of the day, the horizon remains clear of ships, and, indeed, unbroken, until just before dusk of the fourth day, when a landmass begins to grow in the south ahead of you. The lookout cries, "Land ho! The Isle of Shadows!" from atop the mast.
Monkey climbs the mast to get a better look at the island, stopping just under the crow's nest.
Admiral Kaizoku strides to the bow of the Sun, staring intently at the island himself.
Shen barks out orders. "Crew to the ready; man the shipboard weapons and prepare for powered maneuvers if necessary! Alert the Admiral and wake all watches."
The Storyteller . o O ( One or two more scenes, then call it a night, I think. Posing. )
Shen . o O ( I have to be a-bed in 25 minutes anyway. )
It's easy to see why it's called the Isle of Shadows. Even the bright rays of the setting sun stop a mile or so from the shore, and a dark shroud hangs over the island. At a distance, it merely looks as if the darkness is cast by the low-hanging clouds, but longer scrutiny reveals that the shadows have a clinging, oily quality that seems to taint the air itself.
The Storyteller . o O ( Shen, make an Awareness + Sail roll, diff 4. )
Shen . o O ( I'd have Salty Dog and Hundredfold Navigator up this close to the isle, if that's okay? )
Shen . o O ( Er, and do you mean Perception? )
The Storyteller . o O ( Yes, and yes. )
Shen . o O ( Sweet. )
Shen rolled 11 dice on something and got 5 successes.
Shen . o O ( Total 8 successes. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Ah, well, that's okay then, isn't it? )
Shen . o O ( ^____^ )
You whisper, "Ahead of the Unconquered Sun, Shen catches sight of shapes moving in the water and the waves changing their shapes. It's a reef, and it looks almost impenetrable -- but wait, perhaps a bit off to the port side, an opening..." to IsawaBrian.
Monkey . o O ( Grumble, I finished all the chocos. )
IsawaBrian whispers, "Is there good, close harbor beyond there? Also, is it just the Sun, or are there others following?"
You whisper, "You think you can see an open area beyond the reef, though the reef extends as far as you can see around the island. There are no other ships (in the SWF) following you." to IsawaBrian.
IsawaBrian whispers, "Okay, stunting this one and Stern Captain's Hand."
Monkey . o O ( Alright Shen, cough it up. )
You whisper, "Got it." to IsawaBrian.
The Storyteller . o O ( Shen's posing. )
Shen 's eyes suddenly burn with energy, a blazing corona of power that flows outwards to ignite his Castemark. Like a lighthouse in reverse, the burning circle-in-a-circle crosses the Unconquered Sun's deck and shines over a brief gap in the reef that few eyes other than his would have spotted. With casual excellence, his hands fly across the wheel, his essence triggering the power drive as well as his anima; a great bonfire of Essence spirals up for him, piercing the darkness over the island as the ship cleaves to his will, slicing across the waves so easily that it is almost as though she travelled over smooth and harbor-protected waters.
Shen . o O ( Spending 10 peripheral essence on Stern Captain's Hand to get +10 dice, and hoping to get my Signature Style stunt bonus for "Making It Look Easy". )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Well, it seems to have worked... they'll have a hard time following through that. )
The Storyteller . o O ( 2-die stunt and yes, add the die for style. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Difficulty is 8... )
Shen . o O ( Wooha! )
Shen rolled 25 dice on something and got 18 successes.
Shen . o O ( Total 21 successes. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Spanky! posing now... )
Monkey . o O ( Heh. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Two words, btw: zombie. coral. )
Shen . o O ( On the seas, I /am/ the Man. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( This cannot be argued with. )
Monkey . o O ( zombie. lobster? )
As the Unconquered Sun enters the narrow passageway under Shen's steady hand, the reef surges to life around her, the water boiling in a sudden fury. Razor-sharp coral and stone rise up around the ship, suddenly towering over the mainmast before plunging back into the churning sea. The passageway shifts and twists from moment to moment and the roar of the surf is an assault upon the ears. The lookout is thrown from the crow's nest by a lurch as Shen reacts to a jagged tooth of coral that suddenly appears inches off the starboard bow. As the hapless mortal falls toward the water, Razor Leaf catches him in mid-plummet and yanks him back aboard. Even in the darkness, the paddlewheels leave a luminescent wake, and in no more than half a watch, the Unconquered Sun has cleared the deadly reef and entered a smooth lagoon.
Shen checks to make sure the the lookout isn't too badly damaged before calmly calling, "Land off the bow, Admiral. Shall we we weigh anchor and prepare t'make launch for shore?"
Admiral Kaizoku grips the bow of the ship and lights up his caste mark. "Do you think you can take her in closer?" he calls back.
No -- not a lagoon, a harbor, ancient and silent. As the paddle wheels still their motion and the ship glides forward, you look around and realize what at first appeared to be cliffs are in fact walls of stone, shaped in the distinctive style of the First Age. Though they are now overgrown with strange trees and vines, they still stand and hold back the sea. Atop the easternmost sea wall, you see a squat tower rising from the stone -- a lighthouse, once, but now as dark as the rest of the island. Over the sound of the surf, you hear a single howl in the distance from the island, the howl of a hungry ghost.
Shen tilts his hat to the admiral. "As close as we've draft, sir."
Admiral Kaizoku scowls at the sight of the ruined, once-great harbor. "As close as possible then, Mr. Shen. Too many things lurk below to trust a skiff to."
Shen . o O ( What IS the draft of the Sun, and, since it's a harbor, are we clear in to where the dock used to be? )
Monkey . o O ( Point out that saying yes to the second avoids the issue of the first. )
Ahead, a beach of detritus and debris butts up against the wall, but a single great gap in the center of this harbor beckons you -- wide enough for three triremes abreast, and capped by a single stone with a sun carved in it. In the light of the Solar caste marks, you can see that mold or some other growth makes it appear that the sun is dripping some unwholesome fluid.
The Storyteller . o O ( The harbor is a broad U-shape, facing north, with the gap in the center of the bottom arc. )
Shen brings the Unconquered Sun in easily and close to the dock, right up alongside the sun-carving. "We should clean that," he says quietly.
Admiral Kaizoku plays the light from his mark over the defiled mark of the Sun. "I plan to purify this entire place before we leave. Mr. Shen..." he says intensely.
Shen . o O ( I've got to head to bed soon; I've got an early morning and a long day. )
Monkey starts giving instructions regarding the safety of the crew. "Under no circumstances the crew is to leave the ship. If summoned by one of us, make sure he's showing the caste mark. Better yet, anima banner. Keep a watch for boarders. Etc."
The Storyteller . o O ( Oh, and if you take soundings -- the depth of the main channel, leading to the gap, is twenty feet, while the rest of the harbor seems to be around ten to fifteen feet. Also, there's no dock until well past the arch -- I think we'll leave that till next session, when I've drawn up a map. )
Monkey says, "Aye, Admiral. Let me get kitted up."
The Storyteller . o O ( So this session ends with a stern shot of the Unconquered Sun sailing under the stone arch into darkness, then the camera pans up to focus on the tainted sun symbol, then fade to black, credits roll, eery orchestral music plays. )
Shen . o O ( Sweet! )
Monkey . o O ( Humorous credit line involving Swedish elks? )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( And sour! :) )
The Storyteller . o O ( No, moose. A moose once bit my sister. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( I had a vague hope the place would be intact, full of security systems and tests for Solars. )
Monkey . o O ( I fail to see how the Isle fails to be that. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Heh, who says it isnt? It's a decent-sized island... )
Shen . o O ( Well, think of it this way. It's full of hungry ghosts and potentially Abyssals to test Solars. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Plus, undead! This is definitely gonna take a few sessions to resolve, which ought to be fun. )
Monkey . o O ( Don't think there's Abyssals, though possibly a Solar's hungry ghost. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Yes! I hope we can find a save point to restore essence at! )
Shen . o O ( That's what Stunts are for! )
Shen . o O ( Speaking of, are you doing the 2/4/6 Power Combat version, or the 1/2/3 normal? )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Yep. )
Monkey . o O ( Never fear! I have a Tent and a couple Elixirs. Out of Phoenix Down though. )
The Storyteller . o O ( Oh, yeah -- record how much Essence you have right now, since you're in a shadowland and won't be recovering it as usual. Also, power combat version. And a 3-die stunt earns you an instant XP. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Was I down any from Calling the Wind's Kiss? )
JesseLowe [to jetman]: No, I don't think so, though you're still down the Willpower point.
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Got it. )
Shen has Solutions for your problems. And 412 Charms.
The Storyteller . o O ( Yipe. Charming fellow. Anyway, wrap-up time. )
Shen . o O ( *nods* )
The Storyteller . o O ( 3 XP each. Also, if you like, Shen and Kaizoku can both gain a rank in Linguistics. All the officers of the Unconquered Sun now speak fluent Old Realm. )
Shen . o O ( I'd appreciate it, hai. )
The Storyteller . o O ( And I must off to bed, because no matter how hard I try, i can't sleep past 9:30 or so. See you guys next week. )
Monkey . o O ( wheee. )
Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Nite! )
On to Session 39