Day 263, Part 2: RevengenceEdit
The captains discuss next steps - they are pirates, so any ship is theirs for the taking, they decide. Tyrant agrees to stay on for the time being - his cut is now 20%. Also, he can swim, which is both interesting for a minotaur, and helpful.
They go ship shopping, noting 2 cog-sized vessels in harbour at the moment. There are smaller boats as well, but those would have trouble in storms. Cargo ships, royal ships, and even a Sohar also dot the piers. December advises looking to capture the former, but marks that they'd need to convert a crew member, else they may end up marooned at sea with too few sailors.
Eating dinner that night, the group overhears tale of a bounty out on a hydra hiding in Weather's Bog from the town of Duntel; 10,000 gold for proof of a dead hydra. Lily is anxious to regain their vessel, December gets an inkling that the Nealiverse is hinting they shouldnt persue that yet. (EL: Neal points out that December's last intuition about the Nealiverse told her the boarded up cave was the way to go in Ironrock Mountain.) December also is hesitant to take on a hydra with their current strength.
Day 264: Finding A MinnowEdit
The next morning, Lily strikes out to make contact with the Sohar, that they might book passage on it. She has little luck however, even when she tries to change the group's destination. Tyrant comments that he can make a boat for them to sail on. Fe is curious about this and accepts his challenge. He walks off. Meanwhile, December tries to contact the cogs - the Merman's Trident and the Black Beagle. Neither ship's captain is aboard at the moment, but both crews say that they'll speak with their respective captain about taking on passengers, and to come back in a few hours.
A few hours later, December returns to the Merman's Trident. The captain there (Captain Murphy) says it'll cost the crew 50 gold a head for the inconvenience. She turns him down, as the Black Beagle crewman estimated 5 gold a head instead. As she departs, she notes that the captain seems interested in just who she was. She returns to the Black Beagle, and speaks with the first mate, Skip. He says it should be no trouble to do so for 5 gold a head; Captain Mac should have no trouble with it. He mentions that the captain is a woman, and that they are carrying goods for a man. December asks if it was a travelling zoo; it was not, however Skip did hear about a travelling circus getting stranded in Tierp for a while. They'll be leaving port in 4 days.
Day 265: Caught In The ActEdit
During the wait, Lily decides to try and locate object on the ship. Unfortunately it's not within 100 yards of her. December spends her time pickpocketing people. She has some success, but on her fourth attempt, trips up and gets caught. The merchant she was picking quickly gets physical to detain her until guards show up. The guards seem skeptical, and march the two back to the jailhouse for questioning. After a while, and having no evidence of wrongdoing other than some pointed questions about her crossbow (She claims to be carrying it as a hunting tool for quail), they let December go. She decides this is enough trouble, and stops pickpocketing in this city.
Day 266: Minotaur EngineeringEdit
Tyrant shows up outside the inn this morning with a "gorgeous" canoe, which apparently he made in the span of 48 hours (EL: Which is impressive, considering it normally takes twice as many man-hours to build). He however suggests not trying to use it on the ocean. December wants to take a canoe ride, but noone wants to go with her, and Tyrant didnt make any oars. So he storms off to make oars.
Later that evening, Tyrant returns, with a couple of hacked-together paddles that are "the ugliest canoe paddles you've ever seen". Apparently Tyrant an excellent canoe builder, not so much about paddles. December tries again to get him to go on a canoe ride, but he walks off. When Fe questions why December's trying so hard with Tyrant, she responds that she misses her horse.
Day 268: To The Sea AgainEdit
It's Embarkation Day. The group pay up and board the ship, complete with canoe (and an extra 2g for it). As the ship starts out of port, the group sees the harbormaster leading a group of guards down the dock, pointing out the ship they're on. The party plays it off and gets escorted down to their quarters. December postulates that the guards may have been after this ship, rather than them.
A few hours later, the group notices a ship perusing the Black Beagle, raising flags for "stop" (EL: In modern maritime, this would be a single flag - the flag for the letter "L"). The crew seems to be ignoring the persuers. The group surmises that they're on a wanted ship, probably piratical. Discussing next steps, Lily suggests the Tigerlilly Plan again, but December suggests probing for possible mutiny opportunities.
While they're talking, a storm is forming ahead of them... where one was not present before. Lily suspects magic.
The crew is unsettled by the sudden appearance of the storm. Mac appears on the aftcastle. A tanned woman, armed with a dart bandolier and sabre. She argues with skip before punching him in the gut and takes the helm herself, pointing the Beagle directly into the storm.
The storm continues to grow as they approach, the other ship in tow. Strong winds and sleet pound the Beagle, beginning to damage the sails. The party begins to brace themselves against the storm. Mac and Skip are trying their best to keep order, and is less than happy when Fe reveals that the group are sailors and havent been helpful.
It turns out the girls are very, very good sailors (EL: Dex based stat... a very limber hobbit wizard really.), doing the seeming impossible and managing to help the ship to slip out of the storm.
In the eye of the storm, December spotted a whirlpool swirling around at the center. She also thinks she saw something fly out of the sky and drop down into the whirlpool. Fe spotted the whirlpool, but hadnt seen the flyer. Lily was too short to see over the rail at the time. Tyrant was busy pointing at things and getting wet fur out of his eyes.
Fe is sent to talk to Mac about the whirlpool and the storm, and the possibility of investigating it. Mac has no interest in sailing the Beagle into such a storm again...if the crew manages to dispel the storm, she might be interested in looking. Fe is having trouble reading the captain's reactions, uncertain if she's a pirate or not. They decide that Skip may be a good candidate for mutinous thoughts, given his rough handling by the captain.
December tries to strike up conversation with the ship's crewmen over rum, but the crew seem suspicious of their mysterious saviors. December states she was a courier (EL: Not... entirely a lie.) and did various other small jobs to pay the bill. She claims to be looking to make her mark on the world. The sailor states that the Captain's full name is MacKenzie. The stalemate of "Who are you? Who are YOU?" continues a little longer, but both sides can see through the other's ruse and are keeping their cards close to the vest.
Tyrant gets spotted hanging over the side of the ship peering in through a porthole in the side of the ship (EL: Ooo fancy ship, portholes.)
December pockets a cup from the Black Beagle's stores, and goes back to her party to discuss what happened. Having had little luck with the regular crew, Lily is sent to go talk to Skip in his cabin. She knocks several times, but gets no answer. Not wanting to trespass, she returns to the party without success. The party assesses that there are 17 people on board, including Skip and Mac.
Day 269: A Sudden LeakEdit
The next day, Lily seeks out Skip for their conversation. Skip explains that the reason he got beat on was that he disobeyed Mac's order. He gets cagey about why they were being followed, but again Lily does the same thing. Lily plays innocent, but Skip remains mum on the subject. He says he's been onboard the Beagle for 15 years, despite only being 26 himself. (and hotness 15, Mac is determined to be hotness 13)
Geoff proposes that Appearance and Inner Beauty are inversely proportional.
The group decides to go back to Mac, and December makes sure Lily has both Rope Trick and Sleep ready. (EL: Though it never came to pass, Rope Trick would have been ill-advised) They get their story straight, though Tyrant finds it less than interesting, until the end of the explanation, when he suddenly finds it humorous.
December explains the story to Mac, despite interuptions from Tyrant. Mac seems uninterested in any business relationship, unless the party wants to become deckhands. Retreating to their quarters, December explains the 'adventure' to Tyrant, that this evening they're going to try and recruit crew, and if they dont agree, they will kill them. He doesnt quite seem to grasp the plan, but December just eventually assumes that natural reactions will work for him.
As the group is discussing plans, the alarm bell begins to sound. As they emerge onto deck, they come into the middle of a conversation with the captain discussing a problem that will require immediate trip to port. A leak has sprung belowdecks, requiring a bucket brigade. Mac declines December's offer of help with the water.
December and Lily note that the ship is headed North now. Lily is suspicious, and suggests they send Fe down to check out the leak. She gets headed off by a crewman headed up with a bucket of water, and escorts him upstairs to dump the water. They observe crewmen bucketting water out.... assume that either they crew has made the leak themselves, or an actual leak has occurred.
Lily eavesdrops on some crewmen in the hallway, hearing that the ship is headed to Sea Spire, prompting the group to accelerate their plans. In perhaps not the best of ideas ever, they decide to send Tyrant down belowdecks to observe the leak. He gets very confused in conversation with the crewman in the hallway, revealing the existence of the gem in the process.
TIL: Minotaur last names are given to them by those they conquer
Tyrant finally is shown down to where the leak is. There's a lot of barrels stacked about down here, some of which are tipped over. The man leads Tyrant over to where the hole is, pointing out a spot between two of the boards. Tyrant leans in to see the leak, but cant see anything. He's given a bucket of water to dispose of on his way up.
Tyrant's explanation to the girls seems to assuage them. They decide that the Tigerlily Plan will be enacted tonight. The ship seems to be sailing closer to a smaller island this evening. Mac hops up on a rail, gives a signal to someone at the front of the ship, and begins a speech about politely asking the girls to hop off at the island. December starts to counter-respond, but Lily's handwaving, having gone unnoticed, pops off a giant cloud of yellow stinkingness.
COMBAT: Battle for the Black Beagle: Germlaines everywhere; Lily manages to summon an entire squadron of little spear-weilding miniature creatures to fight for her as the party takes out an entire crew.... or almost an entire crew...
By the end of the battle, only Skip remains on his feet, Mac having bailed on the fight almost immediately to an undetermined location. December starts to give him the 'We want to recruit you' speech, but he jumps and runs for it. This was not a good idea when being towered over by Fe and Tyrant, however, and Skip's body joins the 12 others currently strewn about the boards. They tie up the sole survivor.
Lily and her troop of little guys search the ship for Mac, without success. Skip's quarters have an unusually neat bed. The crew cant seem to locate Mac at all anywhere, but December notices a pile of puke near a door indicating Mac went inside. Fe grabs a bucket and heads down to the bilge.
Fe actually manages to drain the bilge... it turns out that there was no leak at all. Debate begins about which way to sail, and how to sail. December gives the captive the 'standard speech', to which he accepts. He explains that the Beagle was a smuggling ship from time to time. He doesnt know where Mac would hide, or that she would hide at all.
The party (except for Tyrant) begins to loot the bodies. At the first opportunity, the sailor tries to jump the railing... which gets him a minotaur axe in the back, leaving his body floating in the water.
And that is where we draw to a close for this week - bobbing on the waves, all alone...
- Recap from EtoileLion on reddit. Editorial notes are theirs.