Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm.   Posted by Storyteller.Group: archive 4
Darel Arwan
 player, 133 posts
 Aspect of Air
 Emissary of Perfect Water
Wed 23 Sep 2009
at 20:41
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
Darel looked at Megara, surprised to see a trace of human weakness and uncertainty in her. He still had nightmares about the Dragon-Blooded magistrate strolling into the meeting in Wavecrest, slaying his mentor and others without the slightest hesitation. Hooo, aren't we touching, Dynast? Is that the face you wish to show the West as you squeeze freedom and tribute from us, starting with the Libram?

He decided to refrain from cynical quips while there were others within hearshot, others who might be shaken with visible dissent.

"I am certain that we shall overcome," he said with utter conviction. Though I wish I'd brought a contingent of warrior demons with me.
Cathak Garel Treon
 player, 186 posts
 No longer an officer
 ... still a gentleman
Thu 24 Sep 2009
at 15:07
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
What is it with you and the Realm, Darel?  Treon wondered as he saw the look which passed from Darel to Megara.  And Megara, would you still be so grateful if you knew what I had done? Treon thought to himself, as one hand unconsciously reached up for the braid bound in white silk.  It's a thought that he soon dismisses.  It wouldn't help them now.

"Once we heard, we could hardly abandon anyone to an unknown fate beneath the waves.  And knowing what we do now, it seems we cannot leave the book down there for the Pelagials.  That would be wishing too much misery on this part of the West."
Hera
 player, 45 posts
Thu 24 Sep 2009
at 15:32
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
Hera nods to Treon her golden glow slowly fading, "Absolutely, though I am not from this land, when I heard that there were those in danger there was no other choice but to help. I am glad that so many people have tasted freedom once again."
Raconteur
 GM, 57 posts
Thu 24 Sep 2009
at 21:06
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
"I see. I am not certain I understand how or why you ended up risking your lives for us, but I do certainly am grateful for it. Please remember this." The savant pauses for a moment, looking at the wounded and fatigued remnant of her once proud crew - the people she promised freedom to. Something shifts into her expression, akin to regret or a great worry... And she shakes her head softly, as if reaching an important decision.

"Listen to me carefully. When we head back there and retrieve the Librum... I wish for you to keep it. Keep it in your custody, and make certain it is not abused or falls into the wrong hands. Perhaps it is wrong of me to ask such a task out of you... but I cannot trust anyone to take care of such a treasure. Not even my own homeland. I cannot ascertain that it would not be used for something I cannot agree with."

She pauses, letting out a long, pained sigh. "I have been a seeker of knowledge for as long as I can remember. This Librum... It represents years of my life, spent researching and exploring. I was obsessed with it, in a way. Not for what it would end up being able to accomplish, but for the sake of finding such a precious lost piece of our collective past. But now... Now all I wish is for this knowledge to be kept away. Because no matter how hard I try, I cannot make those around me appreciate knowledge for what it is. Because there always will be someone ready to exploit these findings to gain an advantage. This is only half of the Librum... But I do not wish for the object I have searched for all this time to become an object of suffering."

"And so, when we find it... Please, take it with you. Perhaps your lack of affiliation will be your strength in this. You are your own masters, so no one will force you to use the knowledge within for something you do not desire. That is my wish."

Lowering her head, the savant lets out another breath.
Her crew remains silent throughout the trip up.

***

28th Day of Ascending Water, RY 768
Afternoon
The deck of the Hammerhead

After an uneventful trip through the supply platform (and a passage through a pump room serving as bridge between the platform and the submerged cargo area), the group and the wounded finally arose above water once more. Even the tired, sometimes heavily wounded crew let out small cries of joy at the sight of the sun, something they had never thought they would see again. Carefully, the wounded and exhausted were hoisted on the ship, the crew scattering and preparing to accommodate such a big influx of new arrivals.

And now, the group finds itself on the deck of the Hammerhead a short breather allowing them to prepare for their last dive within Black Rock Chasm. From here, the crew has some time to take care of everything they need for this final expedition, to talk to whoever they need to speak to, and get ready before plunging for the Librum once more.

Success or failure, there shall not be another attempt after this one.
Storyteller
 GM, 782 posts
Fri 25 Sep 2009
at 18:05
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
Once Hobnail calls shakily from the crow's nest, "I... I see someone surfacing! They're back, the Captain's back!" Black Reed rushes to help Treon, Darel, Hera, Megara and the wounded crew that follows them. The black skinned ex-slave shouts for the men to extend rope ladders for everyone to climb. Tonsar and Hailstorm are among the first to answer, but soon near the entire crew is participating, hauling up those too wounded to climb effectively.

"By the gods, man," says Reed when Treon is back on the deck with the others, firmly clapping his shoulder. "I never thought I would say this, but I am glad to see you. The crew has been restless waiting here, they think the dark water is cursed. Though I can't blame them. It's silent here, too silent, and there are strange shapes swimming in the depths."

Dark-haired Aranita is there as well, meek at first, though her eyes light up to see that Treon has returned safely. After some hesitation she hurries below deck, and comes back with towels - ratty towels, but still retaining absorbence - to help the newly arrived Dragon-blooded and crew to dry up. "Sirs, the cook's started the heat on the kitchen furnace, too... if you wanted to rest somewhere warmer. And there are more than enough beds..." Of course there would be - Captain Kossuth's crew was at least three times the current size.

Tethia looks on coolly, merely observing, far removed from the efforts to bring the others on board. Finally she steps up to join Reed in greeting the others, and her aquamarine eyes glance over at Megara and her wounded, disheveled men. A glimmer of recognition stirs in her eyes, though from the expression on her face it is not necessarily a happy one.

Averting her face from the sorceress, Tethia addresses Treon, Darel and Hera. "I presume your mission was a success then." Unfortunately none of them know yet that there's still more to be done.

[Private to Raconteur: Tethia was always supposed to be an ex-Realmite. I'm thinking of making Tethia and Megara cousins. Though they may not want to call out that recognition right now. Particularly not Tethia who left the Realm for her own reasons. My thought is possibly that she fell in love with an Outcaste during a spying mission to the Threshold and ended up staying with him (this being Kossuth of course) as Siakal's curse warped his mind.]

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:28, Mon 28 Sept 2009.

Darel Arwan
 player, 134 posts
 Aspect of Air
 Emissary of Perfect Water
Fri 25 Sep 2009
at 22:41
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
Since coming back from undersea, Darel had been in a brooding mood - even more than was usual for the sorcerer. Something was troubling him, and the furtive glances he cast at Cynis Megara left little doubt as to the source of his trouble.

I have no reason to doubt,
he thought, steadying himself.

"Our task is only half-done," Darel said. "The Libram is still in the hands of the wyld-damned pelagials, and we have reasons to believe that they could put it to foul use. We must intervene. I wish I had a week to prepare some nasty surprises, but we cannot linger."
Cathak Garel Treon
 player, 187 posts
 No longer an officer
 ... still a gentleman
Sat 26 Sep 2009
at 15:43
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
Treon acts to conceal his surprise at what Megara says as they ascend.  "I thank you for your faith in us," Treon says, as his mind tries to get around what this meant, for the ship and for the Alliance.  Soon though, they reached the sea and were climbing out and to the deck.

"Believe me, it feels good to be out of there," he says as he towels himself off, smiling in thanks to Aranita as she offers him a towel.  "But as Darel says, we must return there, at least briefly.  A tome that the Lady Megara retrieved cannot be allowed to remain down there," he indicates the Dragon-Blooded woman.  "The Pelagials are foul and loathsome creatures and I cannot sail away and leave it in their hands without some effort to retrieve it."

"So I will have to ask all of you," his gesture and manner encompasses all the crew on deck.  "To remain steadfast up here for a while longer.  Since we cannot win a protracted fight down there, we must be brisk.  But you will have to wait up here, at least for a while more."

He looks around for dissent, before he goes over to the pile of clothing he left on the deck, pulling on the thick protection of the Charcoal Gold.  Now that they knew of the elevator, he would wear it and take it's protection.  He wouldn't have to swim too far with it.

[Private to Cathak Garel Treon: Just corrected Anahita to Aranita, I got her name totally wrong! ^^;]

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:28, Mon 28 Sept 2009.

Storyteller
 GM, 790 posts
Mon 28 Sep 2009
at 02:38
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
There are some who grumble in annoyance. The crew seems as much irritable at the continued wait as they are about the dirty strangers starting to settle onto the Hammerhead. "Who are all these people anyway?" mutters Sang while Hobnail eyes the new people uncomfortably, and Iron Beetle asks loudly, "So didja find any real treasure down there?"

Despite these comments, the crew is still generally loyal to Black Reed, and they remember that Treon could well have executed them all, or worked them to bone without any care for their safety. So they complain, they spit and grouse, but they don't do more than that. Yet.

There are a few more helpful folks on board, fortunately - such as Jarvan (the cook, when he's not defending against boarders), Hera's two followers from home, Silas and Ferio, and of course Aranita, who seems either uncaring or naive about the stares the former crew of "Bloodeye" Kossuth gives her. They make sure the former prisoners are taken care of.

Reed and Tethia remain where they are, listening to the plans of the Dragon-blooded. The dark-skinned man responds first. "Sir, you're going back down there? Well, can't say I understand what book could be worth the trouble, but if that's what you'll do we'll hang on. Right men?" As he says the last sharply, his hard gaze sweeps over the crew still loitering on the deck, and there's a smattering of "Aye sirs" and acknowledging grunts. "Anything we can do for you while you're here?"

Tethia crosses her arms, still not quite looking at Megara, but facing Treon boldly. "I am a chosen of Danaa'd, I could accompany you if you wish. I can shoot a bow just as well under the waves as above them."

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:41, Mon 28 Sept 2009.

Cathak Garel Treon
 player, 188 posts
 No longer an officer
 ... still a gentleman
Mon 28 Sep 2009
at 19:44
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
Treon dons his coat.  The subtle magic of the Charcoal Gold wraps around him, making him seem just that little bit larger than life.  "These are the those that remain of Cynis Megara's crew," he says with a gesture to indicate the Dragonblood.  "The rest the pelagials have taken.  That is why we must dive again, to prevent them from gaining the power to raid further afield."

"The one thing you must do is get ready to leave," Treon says to Black Reed.  "When we surface again, I want us to be on our way with speed.  I have no plans to tarry here any longer than is necessary," his eye roams over the crew as he says that, conveying that he considers this dive necessary.  "Beyond that, see that these men are treated decently, as you would want to be treated after a ship wreck."

"Your presence down there would be welcome," he says to Tethia.  "Though we are not swimming too deep, I imagine when we depart we might not be entirely alone ..."
Storyteller
 GM, 795 posts
Tue 29 Sep 2009
at 00:53
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
As soon as Treon gives his order Black Reed salutes crisply, "Aye sir, we will start promptly. Men, you heard the Captain! Get the Hammerhead ready to sail, then stand by until he returns!" Immediately the formerly idle and bordering on insolent crew leaps up and starts getting to work double-checking rigging, rudder, sails and weaponry, and assuming (or climbing up to) their traditional position on board.

It remains to be seen how Megara's men are treated, but for now Jarvan seems to have taken over the duty of organizing them, along with Tonsar. Treon might remember later to commend them for being so level-headed.

Meanwhile, Black Reed hands Treon and Hera another supply of the maruera gum (OOC: the gum from the Tya that helps deep-sea divers breathe, if you've forgotten), then steps back. "Good luck sirs, we'll be waiting."

Tethia, upon receiving Treon's okay, has already begun to strip off her boots and most of her clothing, leaving on (much to the crew's dismay perhaps) a skintight indigo bodysuit and her black jade breastplate. Carrying her arrows in a bundle strapped securely to her thigh, she shoulders her powerbow and gets ready to dive, gazing down at the dark-hued sea.



OOC: now we'll just need Raconteur to continue the last part of this quest. :)
Raconteur
 GM, 58 posts
Sat 3 Oct 2009
at 11:15
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
"Do not forget me as well." Megara says, joining the group quietly. She still looks rather tired, wet from their last trip and bearing the marks of her rough treatment at the Pelagials' hands, and yet her eyes have lost nothing of their resolve or their fierceness. "I need to see this through to the very end. And... I don't know what I can do for him, but I would like to help Louis as well - when it is found that we escape, they will likely torture him to know what occurred, and very likely kill him. He is the only one out of them who put his own fears of being punished aside to help me and my crew, and I cannot forget that."

As the Water Aspect ties back her hair in a tight, compact bun, she turns back to Treon, nodding sharply towards her fellow Exalt. "Mister Treon... Even though I will be in charge of helping find the Librum and securing it, you seem to be the one most used to organizing troops and coordinating people together. I will rely on your word and your command - Please do conduct this as you see fit. I do not wish for more death if it is avoidable, and your knowledge might be the only way to ensure that." With a final nod and a speechless word of thanks for the men and women who have decided to accompany her, she finally steps close to the railing, gazing at the dark waters below.

OOC: Last chance to specify anything you needed to do on the boat or any other preparation you want to make before headed back to the Chasm - the thread will advance again tomorrow regardless, and begin the final incursion.
Cathak Garel Treon
 player, 189 posts
 No longer an officer
 ... still a gentleman
Sun 4 Oct 2009
at 14:55
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
"I had not forgotten you, Lady Megara," Treon says as she joins them.  "I will see what we can do for Louis too, it was a sorry state that he has been left in."

"With regard to the Libram, do you have any idea where it might have been taken?  Or where the best place to find this out is?  It would seem wiser to plan what we can up here, at least briefly."
Hera
 player, 46 posts
Mon 5 Oct 2009
at 07:01
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
Hera spends her time on the boat meditating on the front of the ship. She is calm and collected, focusing as best she can inwardly to recover much of the essence she spent on the first trip underwater. She allows the wind and air to dry her off as best they can, a subtle chill coming over her. As the group gets ready to travel, she returns to them with a smile and determined look on her face.
Raconteur
 GM, 59 posts
Mon 5 Oct 2009
at 08:12
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
"Yes, it would be, I believe... I can share with you what I know, Mister Treon, and perhaps you and your allies can weigh in with what you think is the best way to approach this situation."

Using a part of the Hammerhead's deck as a sort of drawing board, Megara uses what props she can find to illustrate the area of the Chasm they will be traveling to. "I am sorry if this is not as precise or as concrete as you might wish it to be, but I will try to give you as much details as I can from memory and what I could recognize form my quick trip to the vaults, where they interrogated me the first time."

"For once, the Pelagials' paranoia plays in our favor. Because they move objects of great value between the cargo area and the vaults, they wanted to minimize the passage between the two - to have the least possible 'open' and unguarded area in-between. As I mentioned earlier, the Pelagials prefer to leave the guarding of their labyrinths to mutants and traps, since they are unwilling to further let their already dwindling numbers be thinned out even more. But their many vaults are different affairs. They do not trust slaves with them if they have to, and thus we will likely encounter true Pelagials, warriors trained at their soldier's academy."

"The way to the vaults is hidden, but Louis knows how to operate the secret door - it stems from the same corridor the cargo door opens into. It opens from the floor, and leads into a submerged corridor that bends and twist many times, in an attempt to confuse senses and orientation. It goes one for what I think is several hundred feet. It is patrolled regularly, but from my time there I seem to recall that there is a delay of about two minutes between patrols, leaving us time to push and clear this corridor between rounds if we play our cards right."

"Next, somewhere in the belly of the complex, are the vaults. There is an unbelievable number of them - even myself was highly surprised at the sight. I knew the Pelagials collected objects of power, but I never knew they would possess that many. In any case... Unfortunately, I do not know how many guards are in this room, or what their patterns are. I simply know that the room is very vast, and sprawls downwards in a series of concentric circles where vault rooms are arranged. Depending on our situation, we might not be able to avoid confrontation here."

"The Librum is in the vault marked 21 - I dare hope they have not moved it to another room." The savant looks worried for a moment, then shakes her head. "It would surprise me greatly, however, since they seem to furnish their vaults in accordance to what is inside, customizing them as necessary. Moving items around would require refurnishing of other vaults, which would be highly impractical..." Megara shakes her head then, forcing herself back on topic. "In any case... The doors are locked and trapped, but I believe me and Louis can work together at handling this obstacle."

"The Librum is on a pedestal in the vault, past a ward that keeps water from flooding it. A second ward surrounds it, that, if I am correct, might alert the whole Chasm if the book is taken out. I will do my best to try to break the ward, but I cannot give a guarantee - we might have to simply snatch it and make a run for it at this point, since we are bound to be discovered the more time we take, and this might give enough time for the Pelagials to cut our exit before we can make it to the surface. It would perhaps work better for us to hightail back to the elevator, and then somehow prevent them from using it themselves..."

The savant nods and turns her gaze to the others, her lips pressed together in a tight frown. "That is as much information I have... I hope that is enough."
Darel Arwan
 player, 135 posts
 Aspect of Air
 Emissary of Perfect Water
Mon 5 Oct 2009
at 23:01
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
Darel picked up his buff jacket. If a fight was much more likely, he'd have to better protect himself. Let's hope the neomah knows how to handle seawater-drenched clothing! he thought. He ordered his agata to stay ready to intervene, hovering on stand-by above the Black Rock. His neomah would remain on board, though. She was not defenseless, and could actually provide help should the pelagials launch a counter-assault.

"This should suffice. I am half-tempted to ask my eristrufa to materialize and use its tentacular mass to barge in and overwhelm resistance. I will probably have to send him to battle this way. I'd rather have a platoon of baidak, but time is short..."

This message was last edited by the player at 22:36, Wed 07 Oct 2009.

Cathak Garel Treon
 player, 190 posts
 No longer an officer
 ... still a gentleman
Wed 7 Oct 2009
at 13:01
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
"Yes, that should be enough," Treon says after some careful consideration.  "The fact that we have a fixed objective--even if it is a highly guarded one--improves our chance of success markedly.  The route you have described seems like it would be the best way to go in, assuming we can time our swim through the passage accurately enough."

"I'm not sure how much help one demon can be a in a direct assault," he says to the sorcerer.  "Anything like that is almost certain to cause alarm and I don't want to stir the whole settlement up.  In my mind there are two uses the Demon could be put to.  The first would be to confuse and distract, much like it did with earlier, so that we can gain the treasure room and perhaps the vault without alarm being sounded.  The second would be to attack somewhere completely different, in the hopes of drawing attention away from us."
Raconteur
 GM, 60 posts
Mon 19 Oct 2009
at 06:07
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
28th Day of Ascending Water, RY 768
Afternoon
Final dive into Black Rock Chasm

It takes a few more moments for the group to agree on the plan for the retrieval of the Librum. After the initial details are smoothed over and polished, Treon goes over the objectives and the procedures one last time, to make certain everyone in assistance will be in perfect synchronicity. A lot of work, perhaps, but the group also realizes that there will be no second chances once the operation is underway - if it fails, the whole of Black Rock Chasm will be alerted. Escaping in this case will be difficult, returning will be nigh impossible. If they cannot complete their task with this one chance, they will have to leave the Librum with the Pelagials, for them to use as they see fit.

This time, there is absolutely no room for failure.

Within the Chasm

The group, alongside Megara and Tethia, manages to make their way downwards to the bottom of the elevator platform without much of a problem. There, they met with Louis, who had remained in hiding at Megara's instruction in preparation for the last chance to snatch the Librum from the Pelagials' grasp. The once-mortal looks rather nervous at the undertaking - after all, his fate lies in the balance of this operation - but nonetheless, even without actual language to help making himself understood, the mutant looks very much ready to take this big risk and help the group with their plan. After Megara explains the details of the proceedings to Louis, everyone gets ready for the actual execution.

Fortunately, with the group's abilities being used as appropriate, coupled with Louis' knowledge of tunnel patrol timings (which he communicates to Megara, acting as his spokesperson), and the approach to the vault comes without a hitch. It is there, however, that the assembled group gets its first glance of the 'real' Pelagials.

Although their features are not as fish-like as Louis' or his mutated brethren's, the creatures are not a pleasant sight. Patrolling the vault area, is is immediately clear just how agile the deformed, fallen race is underwater, their strong manatee-esque lower bodies pushing moving them swiftly and quickly through the Chasm's drowned interior. White, blubbery skin makes them stand out against their nigh lightless surroundings, their deep black eyes and kelp-like hair providing a keen contrast and giving them a sinister appearance. The Pelagials the group sees here carry spears of good make - perhaps even artifacts salvaged from gutted ships, from the look of it.

Breaking through the vault

The vault itself is just as Megara had described it, an immense room stretching upwards through the chasm in a series of concentric circles, each ring displaying doors to six to ten round vault doors. It is a blessing that the savant even knows the room in which the Librum lies - having to search through each of the rooms would be impossible, in the present circumstances. It makes one wonder, at this grand sight, just how many objects of power the Pelagials have in these halls, and how many of them are to be shipped back to their fallen capital, the City of Shining Reefs...

The break-in into the vault starts as planned, but soon enough, the plan starts to go awry: within barely a minute of leading Megara and Louis to the vault door, the group is discovered, leading to an immediate skirmish with a group of three guards while a fourth one rushes for the alarm. With a few precise shots from Tethia, however, that crisis is delayed... But at this point, it cannot be averted completely. The valiant fighting Hera, Treon and Darel are engaged in will only attract further attention, and the group's time is highly numbered.

More guards, accompanied by mutants and automatons, surge into the vault room moments after the group manages to keep the first wave under control. Pushed further back into the vault entrance, the group starts to lose ground further and further, and the situation looks rather bleak... Until a click resounds from behind them, letting them know that Megara and Louis have managed to break into the vault. Quickly, the Librum is retrieved and secured, but now comes the hardest part of all - escaping Black Rock Chasm while it is on high alert.

Spearheaded by Treon's strategic direction, Hera's thunderous, bone-crunching strikes, Darel's swift cunning and bold use of his demonic ally, Tethia's surgically precise bow attacks and Megara and Louis' sideline support, the group manages to launch a desperate, highly dangerous counter-offensive that allows them to take their opponents off-guard and rush into the tunnel from which they came from.

The advance is quick, but the group has to fight for every yard they manage to cross. Wounded, tired and strapped for time, they make an heroic effort to continue pushing onwards, even after waves of Pelagials, mutants and automatons of all kinds seem to block their path. It looks nigh impossible, and someone lesser would have simply given up. And yet, despite the adversity, the rag-tag group manages to fight its way to the elevator door, forcing their way in and immediately pushing for the top. As they go along, a wounded Megara enlists the aid of all in assistance in sabotaging the elevator, putting it completely outside of commission once it reaches the top.

Minutes later, the inky black surface near the Hammerhead is broken. Battered, hurt and exhausted, the group, plus Louis and Megara, make it back to Treon's ship, while the crew hurries up to leave the premises before the Pelagials can launch a full-on counterattack.

It took a lot out of them, but they have succeeded - all of them are alive, and the Librum is safely in their possession.
Raconteur
 GM, 61 posts
Mon 19 Oct 2009
at 06:52
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
28th Day of Ascending Water, RY 768
Late Afternoon
Deck of the Hammerhead

Black Rock Chasm - Aftermath

Treon's crew does not need to be told twice about leaving Black Rock Chasm, and thus the Hammerhead speeds swiftly away from the foul place, the late afternoon sun feeling like a blessing after such a long and hellish dive into the dark depths.

Despite the fatigue and wounds, the overall mood aboard the ship is rather festive. For many of Megara's people, this is a situation that they had lost hope for - escaping with their lives and be allowed to see the light of the sun once again. Although the memory of those that perished tarnishes the euphoria, there is a certain reverence and celebration of life that permeates the mood as the ship pushes onwards, away from the Chasm itself. Even Louis, looking so much more vulnerable and scared outside of the darkness of Black Rock Chasm, is thanked by Megara's crew for his help and dedication. The mutated man seems reluctant to accept the praise, however, almost as if he somehow expects punishment and scorn to follow.

Of course, with the completion of one objective comes a time of decisions - the time where the group will have to decide where it will go next.

"I have said so many times over, but I must say it again - thank you, all of you, from the bottom of my heart." Cynis Megara has had a rough experience; her left arm is broken, and many cuts and gashes show on her skin. And yet, in this moment, she holds herself as a diplomat would, bowing deeply to the people she is thanking so earnestly. "I am deeply sorry for causing you all this trouble... But having seen you in action, I simply know you are the right people to trust with this half of the Librum. You should not have to fear from the Pelagials unless you walk into their domain again... They do not venture far from their lands. But be aware that others will try to take it from you, if they learn that you have it. This book is a powerful key to parts or our shared lost past... Many will go to great lengths to recover it."

The savant turns then, and gazes at the horizon carefully, breathing out a sigh of relief. Closing her eyes, she lets the sea breeze brush her skin for a moment before speaking again. "We have inconvenienced you long enough - I do not wish to dictate where you will head now. But if you could leave us at the closest port town, I would appreciate it. I will strive to charter a new ship there, or try to contact my homeland for one... Just being on land and handling the usual tedium will be a blessing, at this point." For what might be the first time since she has been rescued, the savant smiles a true, genuine smile.

"When you do so, I would be grateful if you could leave me there as well." Tomistoma speaks, in his usual tone, arms folded across his chest. The Dragon-King looks pensive, visibly considering the events that have transpired here. "I came here to investigate the rising troubles in the west and to assess how they might touch my people. I have found, however, that those we faced in that dark place are a threat that cannot be ignored. I will continue to investigate and see what can be done about them. This is a path, however, that will lead away from yours - it seems it is here our roads split, Captain Fireblade, Lord Arwan."

"The words of mine Lord Tomistoma are my own as well." At some point between the first excursion and the ship's departure, it seems that Indrid has come back to his senses, looking not too worse for wear considering what he could have gone through. "Though I eternally remain in thine debt, the oath I have made shall not be broken. I am servant to mine Lord and will accompany him where he goes. Therein lies my will." The alchemist then turns towards Hera, a questioning look on his features.

"And what of you, Lady Hera? Where does thy path lies? I am certain thou would be welcome among us, should thou so choose."
Hera
 player, 47 posts
Wed 21 Oct 2009
at 19:02
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
"I have been charged with exploring all that is outside home, in order to tell my father Nan all that is outside his kingdom. I believe it would be best to continue on the ship Hammerhead. If they'll have me and my countrymen. Their path leads to other lands for me to learn of." The pale woman smiles and looks towards the sky hoping for a sign from Grandfather Sun.
Darel Arwan
 player, 136 posts
 Aspect of Air
 Emissary of Perfect Water
Wed 21 Oct 2009
at 23:17
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
Darel was visibly saddened by Tomistoma's leaving. "I am saddened to see you go, lord Tomistoma. I looked forward to hearing many tales of your people while we journeyed together. I hope that we will meet again some day, in a more peaceful context."

It was obvious that Darel was a bit more relaxed around Megara - while it could not said that he was overly fond of her, he did not seem so tense as he had been before when she was around, nor did he sport his hostile frown whenever she was speaking. And so, when she spoke about returning to her homeland, he did not even seem to bite back a cynical quip. There was perhaps an ounce of regret in his attitude, as if he wanted to say something.

But it was true that the Libram was a burden. He would have to discuss it with Treon - and the other higher-ups of the Cobalt Alliance. The book had to be secured at whatever base the Alliance had - it could certainly not be kept on a sailing ship for too long... Or perhaps it could be entrusted to the Emissaries of Perfect Waters? Who knew.

This message was last edited by the player at 09:58, Thu 22 Oct 2009.

Cathak Garel Treon
 player, 192 posts
 No longer an officer
 ... still a gentleman
Wed 21 Oct 2009
at 23:19
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
"You would be welcome to continue to sail with us," Treon nods to Hera and her companions.  "Your actions in the caverns below have more than earned you that right," though his tone of voice suggests they would have probably been welcome to sail with him any way.  Though there was a lingering doubt.  The remains of his immaculate upbringing coupled with the sunlight he had seen.  Though it didn't seem to carry with it the creeping taint--or at least unnaturalness--of the demonic, in the same way that Darel's ... assistants did.

"As for your requests Lady Megara, Tomistoma," he nods to each in turn, "It is now my intention to sail south to rejoin with the rest of the Alliance.  We will sail past Wavecrest on the way and will need to put in to restock at a port there anyway, which should suit both of you too.  From any of the major ports, you should be able to charter a ship wherever you like."

"As to your faith in us with regards to the Libram, I am not sure I can thank you for that," he says, referring to its  potential to bring upon them a great many hunters.  "But I can assure you that we will not willingly betray that faith and allow the Libram to fall into the hands of those who would abuse it."
Raconteur
 GM, 62 posts
Sun 25 Oct 2009
at 22:10
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
"Very well then." Indrid replies to Hera, bowing deeply to her before standing back up, with a smile crossing his features. "Thou shall be missed, Lady Hera." As the Golden Child smiles and looks upwards, so is the Amiliki's gaze also attracted to the skies, to try to catch of glimpse of whatever the lady was peering at. Above, a few clouds drift and dance across the otherwise cerulean tapestry. For a moment, as Hera stares up, some of the clouds seem to shift slightly, letting the rays of the sun bathe the Hammerhead in a gentle, nurturing glow, filling the Golden Child with an approving warmth. The moment is subtle and gentle, but for Hera herself, there is no mistake as to its meaning, fortuitous of not.

Meanwhile, Tomistoma nods to Darel's words, obviously thankful for their generous nature. "You shall hear the tales for the rest of this travel, Darel Arwan - and more later, I am sure. Our paths split here, but one day, I am certain we will meet each other again. As long as your objectives lead you in the direction you are going, we shall meet somewhere in the center."

Megara smiles a somewhat sad smile now at Treon's words, and she shakes her head slightly. "You are wise, Captain Fireblade. The Libram I leave in your hands is a burden rather than a prize. You only possess half of it right now - I do not know where the second half is, or who might be holding it. Whoever does, however, is likely to wish to pursue you. Please, be very careful with it, and trust no outside sources with its safeguarding - not even the island nations of the West, nor my own homeland. There are too many who would risk using this knowledge for their own self-aggrandizing, and I am certain this is something you would not allow."

Megara inclines her head at this statement, as if she had dispensed all the advice she had on the subject. She turns towards the others then, and smiles towards each one in turn - another wordless thanks for all they have gone through to save her and her crew.

Maybe I have managed to do some good - if not by finding the Libram itself, then by directing these people to it.

Its delicate fate are in their hands now.


***

As Treon commands, the Hammerhead travels southwards, to meet back with the rest of the Alliance who has gone to investigate rumors of Lintha activity within Wavecrest borders. A refreshing change from the hellish dive into Black Rock Chasm, the sailing is smooth and uneventful, and the weather pleasantly mild. The long period of travel ahead gives the group and crew a chance to rest and partake in some personal activities, a chance that some of the wounded are very thankful for...

As per the agreement, Megara and her people, as well as Tomistoma and Indrid, are let off at a port town at the outskirts of Wavecrest. The goodbyes are brief, given that all the parties involved have many tasks ahead of them, but are nonetheless heartfelt. Megara spends some time thanking everyone personally one last time, and Indrid and Tomistoma similarly spends some time thanking the group and exchanging goodwill with them, focusing a bit more on Hera. After one last moment of shared pleasantries, the Hammerhead finally leaves port again, headed towards its destination.

Keeping track of the rest of the Alliance's position through communication with Jadira, the group continues to sail south, towards their next big adventure...

OOC: You can all post here how you will spend your time during the trip, including describing what you might want to train and possibly requesting mentorship from other members of your group. Besides those coming posts, this actually concludes the Black Rock Chasm portion of this game. Big thanks to those who kept active and stuck with it despite hardships and slowdowns.
Darel Arwan
 player, 137 posts
 Aspect of Air
 Emissary of Perfect Water
Thu 29 Oct 2009
at 10:32
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
Darel spent much time listening to Tomistoma's tales, when he was not busy walking alongside the ship, stepping lightly on the water, using his wind-bound knives in a elaborate dance, entranced by the power of Air, until he started to master the gales, ordering them to protect and cushion him.

During the journey back, Darel also spent a lot of time sitting in the ship's crow's nest, drinking in the salty winds, reinforcing his connection to Mela.
Hera
 player, 50 posts
Thu 29 Oct 2009
at 22:45
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
Hera spend her time over the trip trying to learn as much as she can from those of the crew of the Hammerhead. She lends a hand and works as much as she can among the crew to learn of the functioning of the vessel. She attempts to learn the language she hears many speak naturally, speaking with each man there, asking the words for every object onboard. She also asks those on the crew to wrestle with her, as active as she is, it is difficult to match the daily wrestling matches with her father, but she tries.
Cathak Garel Treon
 player, 198 posts
 No longer an officer
 ... still a gentleman
Sun 1 Nov 2009
at 15:46
Re: Chapter 2, Phase 4 - Black Rock Chasm
Treon does not spend a lot of time studying, quite concerned with the day-to-day though he does spend a little time with Tethia, both to get to know her better and to learn her knack for noticing things.  He also spends time with Aranita, aiding her in learning the things she needs to know on a ship, providing her some company although always a gentleman about it.  When the Lady Megara departs, it is with a letter, which he asks if she would see back to the Realm (if not in person, then with someone she trusts).  Perhaps more than learning anything specific, Treon spends his time with those of his crew.  He gets to know them, makes sure they know him, and they know the Cobalt Alliance.  Doing his very persuasive best to kindle a flame in their breasts for himself and the Alliance.  And for each other.  With word, and effort, and charm he works to forge them into a crew once more, a crew of the Cobalt Alliance.  A crew with pride and with fire in their eyes.  His crew.  If Hera approaches him in her quest for knowledge of their tongue, Treon is more than willing to help her learn aspects of it outside the purview of items which are found on a ship, including how to form the letters.  He also tries to find a little more of where she comes from, and her purpose in adventure ...
[Private to GM: I'll discuss actually spending in the XP PM thread.  Nothing surprising though.]