Saturday, October 20, 2018

Far Isles Session #95 - Of Amazons and Answers

Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 7)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 7)
Chaff (Vivimancer 7), with familiar Pretty Bird, and riding dog, Puppy Whuppy
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 7), with familiar Hermes

Back on board the "No Man's Sea", the party went about getting the crew and ready to sail. There was a noticed lack of response, however, and Lynessa appeared shortly with one of the crew, rolling a barrel of salt pork. This fellow, very politely and deferentially, raised some concerns from the crew. The "No Man's Sea" has been at sea for over three months, food and water were both getting low and maggoty (he opened the barrel to illustrate this last point), and the crew was getting anxious to get ashore and spent some of their accumulated pay. He knew it could take weeks to get back to Xin if the winds were wrong, and supplies were barely sufficient for that time. The crew was making rumblings about refusing to go on, a fact confirmed by Lynessa. The party was not yet ready to quit when they were this close to finding Empyrius, so they managed to negotiate a deal. They would get some fresh food and water, and the crew would agree to another two weeks in the Far Isles before returning to Xin. Meanwhile, Torak would  make judicious use of purify food and water to improve the maggoty and rancid stuff still left aboard. 

After some discussion, the party decided to return to the Creekmen to bargain for fresh food and maybe get more information. A day's sail brought them back to the swampy island where they'd left Korun. Having no way to contact the Creekmen, they dropped anchor and waited. They did not wait long, as their old companion arrived the next day with a boatload of company. Korun, now looking much more fit and well fed, climbed aboard with a few others to see what the party wanted. They laid out their need for fresh food and water, and their willingness to pay for those supplies. Korun, after discussion with his companions, suggested a less monetary trade. Given the party's obvious martial prowess, the Creekman asked for their help against the Blue Amazons. Specifically, to rescue some of the Amazon's slaves. A bit of questioning revealed that Korun and all the 'blue' Creekmen were the male descendants of the Blue Amazons; males were enslaved at birth and had their gill slits surgically removed to prevent escape through the underwater passages which were the only way into the Blue Amazon dwellings. The party agreed to the deal, so Korun gave them directions to the Coral Palace of the Blue Amazons, and also gave them a little info on how to get into the Palace (underwater only), plus how many slaves (about two dozen) and how many Amazons (around 50) there were.  

With that, the "No Man's Sea" was turned to the east, and after a day of fighting the wind, approached the Coral Palace. It lay at the end of a lagoon, a complex of towers covered in shell and coral. The base lay in the water , and there was no obvious way in above the surface, except maybe a couple of platforms high on one tower. The party had decided on  bargaining rather than killing, so all the male crew and musketeers were sent below, leaving only the female crew, Kwinsea and Lynessa on deck. Rodrigo was also there, but  invisible, while Chaff was made up to look like a captive slave and also stayed topside. Before proceeding further, however, Awg dove overboard to scout into the lagoon, using the shark spear to disguise himself and hopefully blend into the wildlife. He/she didn't make it far before encountering a pod of dolphins, who turned to chase the Awg-shark away. The calmonari transformed back to his normal form and joined the rest of the crew below.
Blue Amazons

Shortly thereafter, a half dozen Blue Amazons, mounted on dolphins, appeared off the bow. One shouted up to the deck (in Terocolidian), demanding to know who they were and what they wanted. With Chaff translating (and occasionally getting smack in the head from Kwinsea to maintain his cover), Kwinsea introduced herself  as an explorer from far off lands. She wove a tale of back luck and weather that left her short of crew, and had heard the Blue Amazons might be able to offer  some of their 'useless' males to supplement her remaining female crew. Seemingly satisfied with the story, and excited  of other 'amazonians' from beyond the Coral Cays, the leader (Theofia) jumped deftly from her dolphin to the ship, and climbed aboard to negotiate.  After some back and forth, Kwinsea learned the Blue Amazons, for all their martial ardor,  had a weakness for fine jewelry. In the end, she was able to bargain for six slaves in return for 4350gp worth of jewelry.  The deal made, Theofia and the others returned to the Coral Palace, and some time later reappeared carrying the slaves. One, unfortunately, did not appear to have survived the underwater trip. The other five, cowed and dejected, shuffled on deck, hands and legs chained to an iron band and their waists.  Kwinsea turned over the jewelry to Theofia, and took the opportunity to ask some questions. For one, the awkward question about how the Blue Amazons reproduced. The aquamancer learned that the Amazons cavorted with aquatic male (not men!) tritons to perpetuate the species. She then asked about Empyrius, learning that he was linked with the sorceress Firebird Amazons who dwelt on the same island. 

Conversation done, Theofia offered Kwinsea well wishes and promises of friendship, and the Blue Amazons left the ship. Which was quickly gotten underway, to get back to the Creekmen as quickly as possible. Along the way the party explained what was going on the the 'slaves', who though somewhat still in shock, were cheered by the news of their freedom. When the "No Man's Sea" arrived back at the swampy island, the Creekmen were likewise pleased to see the party had kept their bargain. And they kept their end of the bargain, and two weeks of fresh food was lifted aboard ship before they once more lifted anchor.

Firebird Amazon
This time they headed north, to the  island of Empyrius and the Firebird Amazons. After an uneventful day of sailing, the arrived off a large island of white sandy beaches and low ridges covered in pine forests. Rather than charge in blindly, Chaff summoned the ebony fly, turned himself invisible with transparency and headed off to scout the shores. Flying straight west from the ship, the first thing he encountered as he crossed the shoreline was some aerial company. Flying south down the spine of the island was a large feathered snake, on whose back sat a curiously feathered and scaled human-ish female (presumably one of the Firebird Amazons). The pair did not notice Chaff and the fly, and continued south and out of sight. Chaff continued inland, where he next noted a curious structure in a clearing in the pines. It was a collection of interconnected bobbles made of some shiny and semi-translucent material. In addition to the interconnected cluster, there was a single small bubble standing by itself just 10 yards away from the main cluster. Having reached the end of his flying time, the vivmancer could linger no longer to investigate, and returned to the "No Man's Sea".

The party decided to sail south around the tip of the island, to see where the snake and rider may have gone. As the ship approached the southern cape, the party noted another curious structure amidst the sand dunes. They decided to land on shore using the ship's boat, and have a closer look. In the midst of an empty expanse of white sand dunes there stood a dome of greenish stone held aloft by fifteen bronze pillars, each shaped like a cyclops. Directly beneath the pinnacle of the dome, there could be seen a pillar or pedestal of some sort; exact details were hard to see from outside the dome, And no one was really eager to enter the dome right away, recalling Iomnogoron's warning about giant guardians. Looking around in the sand, they could see signs that someone had been here but not really recently. Curiously, the faint footprints seemed to appear out of no where; there was no path leading through the dunes to the dome.

Rather than risk disturbing the statues, Chaff cast his insect messenger spell, hoping his tiny servant swarm could find a way to Empyrius (as they were largely convinced this was his lair). The vivimancer instructed  the insects to find Empryius and tell him the party came in peace as  emissaries from  Belephrone and H'sslik. And they wished an audience with his Exaltedness. The insects disappeared under the dome, and the party settled down to wait. And wait. And wait. The waited a day and there was no response. Mindful of their promise to the crew, they decided they needed to take more drastic action. Rodrigo donned the ring of invisibility, grabbed a letter of introduction penned by Chaff, and boldly stepped between the cyclops statues. Thankfully, the figures did not stir and Rodrigo was able to proceed towards the centre of the dome. There he found a copper pedestal holding a serpentine bowl, inside of which sat a scattering of reddish seeds. He also found Chaff's insect messenger still buzzing around, having made it no further than this in there task. The swashbuckler dropped the note into the bowl, plucked out one of the seeds, and sat down to await a response ...

1200 (exploration XP)*




*2xp per gp rule in effects

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