Ainvar

Braving the ocean freeze

Notes for Game 10

Early November, 2006 in real time
(The session started with a recap of the previous session and a short quiz for experience.)

It is about half an hour to 45 minutes after night fall. The conflict with the undead was short and Aiden, Sagesse, and Malthus are still together discussing what had transpired.
Roscius is performing for the shipmates and word starts to circulate amongst his audience that there is extensive damage to the ship from the frozen ocean outside. It becomes obvious that the giant vessel will be doomed when the ice thaws and that everyone will have to abandon ship.
Marqsam is in the mermaid’s room as is typical.
Sagesse leaves the room and heads to the deck, everyone is now aware of the extent of the damage to the ship.

(Malthus fails his insomnia check. It’ll be another restless night for him.)

Roscius runs across Sagesse and asks, “Can you keep her afloat?”
Sagesse “This is a very large ship, I don’t know if I can do that. I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”
Roscius “Perhaps by fixing the holes?”
Malthus comes up to the pair and chimes in, “I don’t think there are even enough materials to fix it even if we could.”
Marqsam, tells Atalonia to start packing her belongings and then goes to pack the Prince’s as well as his own.
The group that is moving about the ship comes across Julius and hears him discussing the situation with some of his crew.

Julius “We’ve eight boats, should be plenty to get us all off. We need at least a couple strong pairs of arms in each boat, so men, try to find a partner. Try to also pick somebody who may not be capable on their own and put together your belongings because I imagine that if this morning is like the several recent that we’ll need the life boats.”
Julius’ crew move to carry out his orders.
Malthus attempts to procure more clothing, wanting to wear something other than his bishop’s robes. He ends up getting additional clothing from Roscius.

Malthus “If you don’t mind I would like to borrow some of your clothes.”
Roscius “Why would you get rid of your bishop’s robes?”
Malthus “I am having doubts of faith.”
Roscius “Remind me to sing you a song later, it’ll be important.”
The group discusses and makes arrangements for their impending departure in the morning aboard the life boat.
Faced with the dilemma as to what to keep and what to pitch, Sagesse decides only to take his research into the nature of the Source with him, painfully leaving behind his two long years of research of Baytown and the Buru religion.
Marqsam makes sure to pack a good amount of mumbaye.
Roscius packs his fretted clavichord in the hopes that there will be enough room for it in their boat.
Among the supplies the parted takes, in addition to their normal belongings are: Additional sail cloth for warmth, coconuts, netting, rum, rope, and a lantern.
Marqsam discusses giving Malthus Aiden’s old saber but Aiden is hesitant to arm the bishop (after witnessing the man’s attack on Sagesse) and concedes to keeping the old blade under his seat bench on the boat so that it is available should it be needed.
The party agrees that there is plenty of room for Roscius’ valuable instrument.

Roscius “If nothing else we can probably sell it. This is a quality instrument. If we get too short on money though I suppose we can use the bag.”
Sagesse “No, we can’t.”
Roscius “Why? Did you find some way to get rid of it?”
Sagesse “Let us just say that some way to get rid of it found us.”
Roscius “So I am confused.”
Malthus “The walking dead came for your bag.”
Roscius “Why would you give it to them?”
Sagesse “They were quite persuasive.”
Malthus “You can’t comment too much as you were off with your merriment.”
Roscius “I really just want to understand, and to be quite honest, I was a little disturbed by it anyway, with the way you give money and it comes right back. Very dishonest. But, I just want to understand.”
Sagesse “And I would like to know more clearly how such an item came into your possession.”
Roscius “I have told you.”
Sagesse “Seems a bit unrealistic, your story.”
Malthus “I believe that by now we have pretty much shared all of our secrets except for you (Roscius).”
Roscius “I have told you my secrets.”
[Traci asks Neil about giving his child chocolate (the answer was no). This broke the group’s current train of thought so the conversation moved on a to their survival needs.]

Marqsam “So what else do we need?”
Roscius “Well, another person to row would be nice. I got this for us,” referring to some extra sail, “This should help protect us from the sun and open ocean.”
Marqsam “Well I guess we really only have three strong rowers, unless you count yourself (Roscius) as one of those.”
Roscius “I will attempt to do my best but I have found that I am not strong enough to keep up with the other side.”

Sagesse breaks from the party to see if he can find Juxlado. He finds the door to Juxlado’s room unlocked and enters. There is no one in Juxlado’s chambers and his ornate cabinet is now nowhere to be found. Sagesse searches himself and finds that he does still possess the items the dark skinned creature had given him.

Sagesse speaks out into the empty room addressing Juxlado, “So, has the one who’d call himself my friend abandoned us?”
Sagesse is greated back with only silence and it would seem that the devilish looking man had indeed abandoned the ship already.
Just to make sure, Sagesse looks about the room with the otherworldly spyglass and sees that in the other world, the walls of this room are black but otherwise empty.
Meanwhile, Malthus continues to scrounge for items that might be useful and grabs the waterproof tarp that was formerly used to cover Sagesse’s trunk.

Marqsam gathers what he feels is enough water to last the group three days at average consumption.

Sagesse heads back to the deck looking around through the spyglass as he goes. The whole ship appears to be made of black wood on the other side and there are more cobwebs about as well. Once on the deck Sagesse looks around some more and notices that along the starboard side of the ship, off in the distance, a shape can be seen. He surmises that it is the ghost ship and then heads back to the row boat.

Sagesse “It would seem that Juxlado has left… From what I could gather from him before though it would seem that he may have had something to fear from that ship so he may have left before it reached us.”
Malthus “We are prepping the boat, so we assume this (the ice) is going to unfreeze?”
Sagesse “I would assume so, it has gotten warmer every other day before.”
Malthus and Sagesse predict there’s about five hours until sunrise. Sagesse decides to get some rest.

The party notices that the party barge only has four people on it, Shunk (and Thunk), the animal trainer and two strong oarsmen. Some of the animal acts are also aboard the large barge including, the lion, the two-headed giraffe, and the zebra.
The elephant with two trunks is allowed to roam free on the lower deck.
[Compress time to just before sunrise.]
Sagesse is well rested but the rest of the party only manages to get about four hours of sleep, and Malthus’ sleep is quite restless.
[New Day on the Calendar – it is the 16th Day of Farris]
[It is determined that Aiden passes his alcoholism check, next check in 7 days.]
Marqsam notices and older gentleman looking through a sextant into the early dawn sky.

Marqsam “How far ‘til land?”
Navigator “This can’t be right, I don’t know yet… just can’t be right…”
Marqsam “What can’t be right?”
Navigator “Well if this is true the Source has blessed us indeed. Looks as though we’ve only got less than two days, regular sail.”
Marqsam “How far is that with decent rowing?”
Navigator “I’ve not rowed much in my life but this barge is not a fast vessel, not much faster than a rowed boat I’d imagine, so a day or two. But we’ve really moved, it may be as little as a day, full sail, from here. Probably two days in the boats.”
Marqsam “Good luck.”
Navigator “Good luck to you as well, we’re all gonna need it.”
Some of the boats are already being lowered down to the ice. Only Roscius still sleeps in his chambers. Aiden takes upon himself to wake the slumbering bard.

Aiden “Come on, we need to get moving, sunrise is soon Roscius.”
Roscius “It is the cold, it saps my strength.”
Aiden “Mine too.”
Aiden gathers a small pack that Marqsam put together for him and double checks that it has everything he might want in it.
Aiden “Come on, you’ve got your stuff?” and heads out the door.
Roscius “Yes I do I’ll be right out.”
Malthus, who was on his way down to check on the bard, runs into Aiden in the hall.
Aiden “We’re headed out,” he says to Malthus.
Malthus “Very well,” he says gathering a bucket off the floor, thinking it might be needed for bailing water.
Aiden heads on up to the deck and Malthus knocks on the door to check on Roscius.
[Knock, Knock, Knock]

Malthus “Are you awake?”
Roscius “Yes I am emptying my chamber pot right now.”
Malthus realizing he may have interrupted the bard during his bodily functions simply says, “Alright,” and moves on.

Everyone finally gathers in the boat and it is lowered down to the ice like all the others. Shortly thereafter the sun peers over the horizon. Immediately everyone can tell there is a change in the ice as the sun starts to shine on it. Quickly a layer of water appears on the surface and Malthus does some postulating, guessing that at the current melting rate everyone would be clear to row in about three hours.

Time continues to pass and the air warms up a little bit. After what seems like two hours, cracks can be heard and seen forming in the ice. More and more cracks form over the next several minutes, occasionally a section will completely free itself from a larger icy mass causing it to jut up quickly from the surface. The party watches in awe and fear as this spectacle continues around them, the cracks and shooting ice masses coming ever closer.

Screams, banging and rattling can be heard coming from the other side of the large ship. The party listens helpless to do anything for the unfortunate sailors on the other side. The party did not have long to ponder the fate of the sailors on the other side before the ice beneath their own row boat began to give way. Roscius and Sagesse sense that the ice is cracking directly beneath them.

Roscius “We need to move! It’s coming up!”
Aiden and Marqsam start frantically pulling at the pulley-ropes to raise their tiny vessel. The boat rises quickly from the surface of the icy ocean but halfway through the ascent Aiden carelessly drops the rope, causing the front of the boat to fall as the rope, unmanned, whizzes through the pulley. Marqsam quickly tries to compensate for the prince’s grave mistake by allowing his own rope to slip some, lowering his side as well. Roscius and Sagesse attempt to grab at the rope and Sagesse, full of youthful vigor, springs up before Roscius’ old bones can barely get out of his seat. Sagesse manages to grab the rope while wedging his own foot under the nearest bench stopping the front end’s decent.
The sudden stop causes those who weren’t manning the ropes to lose their balance. Malthus steadies himself by grabbing the rail. Aiden and Atalonia similarly manage to catch themselves. Roscius, who had already committed himself towards the rope, is carried over the front end of the life boat by his own momentum and clumsiness. Roscius falls to the ice as do some of the items that were stowed in the boat [the mumbaye and Atalonia’s chest]. The jagged ice rips a nasty wound into the bard’s left leg [2 pts of damage].
Roscius, from his new perspective, can see that a pillar of ice is rising into the bottom of the boat.

Roscius “Go Up!”
Sagesse continues to pull up the ship but the boy’s small frame is unable to do so rapidly.

Marqsam “Aiden! Help Sagesse!”
Aiden starts to help Sagesse while Malthus tries to help Roscius.
Aiden and Sagesse are not able to coordinate their efforts well causing their side of the boat to rise slower than Marqsam’s and Marqsam is forced to slow his ascent.
The party feels a bump on the bottom of the boat from the pillar of ice coming from the ocean beneath them.
[The boat is about 6 feet above Roscius’ head at this point]
Malthus tosses a rope down to the bard who manages to grab hold of the lifeline.
The another life raft close to the party can be seen having similar issues with three men in the boat trying to pull back in five who have fallen out. Julius is among those on the ice.
The men manning the pulleys continue to try and raise the boat off the ice but are unable to do so, the ice now forces the boat to tilt onto its side toward the ocean.
The sudden shift of the boat starts to send Atalonia over the edge of the boat. Marqsam instinctively grabs Atalonia with one hand and holds onto the pulley-rope with the other. Atalonia recovers but Marqsam can now see that his precious Mumbaye has fallen into the water below.
Aiden lost his footing from the sudden impact causing him to fall he catches himself hanging from the side of the boat, his arms wrapped around the edge of the ship. He next to Malthus and manages to grab a hold of the rope that the bishop had thrown down to Roscius and tries to climb back in.
Malthus strains but manages to keep his footing and hold on the rope, even with the weight of two men now dangling on it.

Marqsam “Roscius! Can you get the Mumbaye while you are down there!”
Roscius “Don’t worry, it did not hit me!”
Knowing that things will likely get worse if the pillar of ice continues to rise, Sagesse tries to focus the energy of the Source at the base of the pillar, trying to melt it.
Sagesse manages to call forth flames, similar to the ones cast during the conflict with the ghost ship, and encompasses the base of the icy pillar with supernatural flames. Roscius can see the flames coming out of the pillar itself just below his feet and concern washes over him as he begins to feel their warmth.
Aiden, who is on the rope above the bard, loses his grip and slides down the rope landing a solid boot on the poor, old, bard’s head. Fortune, having seemed to have completely abandoned the poor bard, loses his grip and falls into a place where both water and fire currently coexist.
With his head still above the water, Roscius screams in agony as the intense heat from the flames burns at his skin. A cracking sound can be heard from the pillar of ice and it starts to tilt outward towards the open ocean, which, as luck would have it this day, is where the misfortunate minstrel fell into the icy waters.
Marqsam works on taking out any slack in the ropes so that the life raft does not swing about violently when the pillar of ice is no longer supporting the boat in midair.
Sagesse, realizing his companion has fallen into his spell, dissipates the unnatural flames as quickly as he and brought them forth.
Malthus continues to hold the rope that is Aiden and Roscius’ only current means back into the boat.
Aiden manages to climb up the rope some but is still about 2 feet below Malthus’ perch on the ship.
Roscius, not realizing yet that the flames have been extinguished, forces himself under the surface of the frigid waters. After a moment under the water he realizes that the fire is no more, the cold water offering some relief to the burns he had sustained. [2 pts of damage]
Marqsam continues to make adjustments to the ropes and notices the ship is starting to be pulled away from the carnival ship by the pillar that is leaning more and more towards the open ocean. Realizing that only Atalonia and Sagesse are free to man the second pulley system he shouts for the prince.

Marqsam “Aiden, get up here and help!”
Roscius swims over towards the mumbaye to use it to help him float.
Sagesse grabs the second pulley but there is still a great deal of slack to work out of it.
Aiden climbs back into the boat with a little help from Malthus and immediately starts to help Sagesse with the rope.
Roscius makes it to the bundle of mumbaye and notices Atalonia’s chest as well. He quickly contemplates his options for avoiding the pillar looming overhead, soon to topple over on him.
Aiden once again drops the rope but Sagesse, who was helping, takes over on the pulley and with Marqsam’s help on the other rope the small craft is now stable.
Roscius manages to swim out of harm’s way but the party back in the boat did not see where he when. As the pillar of ice crashes down, it appears to everyone in the boat that Roscius was crushed to death.
With the pillar no longer supporting the life boat, the small vessel swings back into the carnival ship with a resounding thud. The ship stops swinging and everyone recovers, immediately focused on finding the bard. Malthus hauls up the rope and dives into the icy water below [failing his swimming check]. He does not resurface as quickly as the party had expected and now concern is directed towards Malthus’ survival as well.
Roscius, having noticed Malthus’ decent, comes out from behind a block of ice and swims to aid his would be savior.
Aiden and Marqsam start to lower the ship and Sagesse casts out the rope towards where he saw Malthus enter the water.
Roscius heads first to the rope. As he reaches the rope, everyone finally sees Malthus resurface from the freezing ocean about ten yards away from Roscius. Malthus swims for the rope quickly before the cold water saps him of his strength.
The bard tries to climb the rope but finds that ice waters have robbed him of his strength and feeling in his hands.

Malthus seeing the bard’s struggles yells, “Can you pull him in if I tie the rope around him?”
Marqsam “We’re coming down!”
Malthus “Oh, well let us get out of the way then!”
The party settles their life boat on the surface of the water and hauls in their cold, fatigued comrades. Looking around they see that their small ship is now in what appears to be a tiny lake of unfrozen water. The nearest iceberg is about 20 yards way.
Now that the ship has halted its decent the party can see that the larger vessel next to them is sinking at a slow and steady pace. The party frees their craft from the slowly sinking ship.
Thanks to Roscius, the party recovers both the Mumbaye and Atalonia’s chest from the ocean, they also pick up an extra oar that floated by their ship.
The other life boats that the party can see are similarly gathering their crews and any floating belongings they can.
Julius, now back in his row boat cries out an alert to everyone within earshot.

Julius “Row away from the boat!”
Sagesse “We should definitely try to keep up with them,” pointing at Julius’ ship, “because we really don’t know where we are going.”
Aiden “Yeah, I say we follow them.”
[Some time compression as all the boats recover]
After Roscius falls asleep, Sagesse attempts to tend to his wounds, feeling somewhat guilty, being the cause of some of them. His mind is clouded however and he fails to make the proper calculations and is mentally stunned from the effort. [Critical failure, 9 rolled and is mentally stunned]
Later on in the day, as things settle down, Sagesse manages to properly focus the energy of the Source and heals the bard’s injuries.
After a couple of hours, [around noon] the weather turns more indicative of the climate, becoming hot and humid.
Throughout the day the group rows on doing their best to keep up with the rest of the group but are falling behind. They are able to keep Julius and his men’s boats in their sight. The party notices that the party barge behind them is struggling just to keep up with the party and is a similar distance from the party as the party is from Julius’ group.
The party comes up with a rotation system for manning the oars to help them keep from falling further behind the main group. (This does little for the party barge which is getting farther behind)

Marqsam “Do you hear something behind us?”
Roscius “Behind you or behind me?” he asks, as they each faced one another, Marqsam rowing and Roscius on the tiller.
Marqsam “Towards the back of the boat, perhaps from the barge?”
Sagesse “It would seem that the animals are going crazy on the party barge.”
Malthus “That would be bad. We can go back and try to help but I don’t think we’d be very useful.”
Roscius “Or we can look to see if something ahead of us is causing them to go crazy.”
Roscius looks to the sky to make sure there aren’t any large birds flying around, like the ones encountered by the party at the keep, but none can be seen.
The party barge grows more distant as it appears that the commotion has caused them to stop rowing. The party is faced with a dilemma. Should they try to help the people on the barge or continue rowing on?

Malthus acting as a voice of reason says, “Realistically I don’t think we can get back there in time.”
Sagesse “The math doesn’t add up. If we go back there, there is not much we can do for them anyway.”
Aiden “I don’t think we can either. I say we keep going.”
Sagesse “I hate to say it but it is true, I must bow to logic. May the Source bless them.”
[Compress time to just before sunset]
The party has fallen further behind the main group but has kept a better pace with their oarsman rotation.
[Note: Thus far all of the life boats have managed to survive.]
Before the sun sets, Sagesse looks about with Juxlado’s spyglass and can see the ship off in the distance, too far to be certain of any details.

Sagesse “There is a good chance it will get cold tonight. I can see the ship off in the distance.”
Roscius “Does it look like the same ship?”
Sagesse “It is too far to tell for certain but I know it is not of this world.”
Malthus “So what else do we have that they want?”
Marqsam notes, “The first couple of nights we saw that ship it got cold but did not freeze.”
Roscius “But as they drew closer it got progressively colder.”
Sagesse “True.”
Marqsam “But now they are further away though.”
Sagesse “I still anticipate that it will be bitterly cold tonight.”
Marqsam “I say we keep rowing. The closer we get to land the better.”
Everyone agrees.
Malthus “Are we leading them to land? I mean, they seem to stick by us for some reason.”
Roscius “Do we have any other magic items in our midst?”
Sagesse “This shackle.”
Roscius “Where did you get your shackle?”
Sagesse “It was given to me by the Cardinal. It is supposed to release when I have done what I need to do to attain bishophood. There was no indication that they (the undead creatures) wanted it.”
Roscius “So if I understand you correctly you just handed them the bag, they said ‘thanks,’ and then left?”
Malthus “No.”
Sagesse “They didn’t leave until I threw the ring overboard.”
Malthus “They may now have the ring and the bag and are coming back for whatever reason.”
Roscius “But did they leave, like ‘ok bye,’ or did they go after the ring and we got away.”
Sagesse “Once they realized they could not get the ring they went back on their ship and the ship immediately began to drift away.”
Roscius “Ok, seems like if they don’t have what they want, they’ve no reason to think that we have it.”
Sagesse “Their proximity will make it cold tonight.”
Aiden “It might be that the cold doesn’t really have anything to do with how close they are.”
Marqsam “Seemed like it though.”
Roscius “It is awfully coincidental.”
Aiden “It did seem like it.”
Marqsam “In either case we are all going to get cold tonight.”
Aiden “Perhaps the reason we couldn’t see them before is because this crossing over that Sagesse speaks of hadn’t happened yet.”
Sagesse “I am sure we will get some answers shortly,” he says looking towards the sun setting in the distance.
Marqsam “Row harder.”
The party barge is at the very edge of the group’s vision come night fall, just a tiny speck on the horizon. A cold wind blows across the ship as the last of the precious sun falls below the horizon.
Much of the party groans, tired from the long day of rowing, and to exacerbate things, the boat become more difficult to row as the water around the boat starts to turn to icy sludge.

Malthus “Look through your pockets and make sure you have nothing these foul creatures want.”
Aiden “I’ve got a pirate’s sword, but it’s not one of theirs.”
Roscius “We have not looked in the chest,” referring to Atalonia’s chest.
Roscius grabs Atalonia’s chest. She briefly protests but is comforted by Marqsam.
Roscius explains in her language, “We are being followed by the supernatural and we are just checking to make sure we have nothing that they want.”
Atalonia “I have nothing.”
Roscius “Good! Then we have no problems,” he opens the chest and asks, “Sagesse, can you scan for magic items.”
Sagesse focuses his insight of the nature of the Source on the contents of the box. A small bag of stones catches his attention and strikes him as special, but not quite magical and after further analysis surmises that, though not magical per se, these stones are what allows her to breathe water.

Sagesse “They appear to be a natural means of allowing one to breath water.”
Roscius “They may want one of us.”
Malthus “They might want one of you! (Marqsam or Roscius) Because the rest of us were deck when they came.”
Sagesse “If they wanted to take someone they certainly had the means to do so.”
Marqsam “I would think that if they wanted anyone it would be Aiden and he was on deck too.”
Sagesse “Yes.”
Malthus “And we could not… We tried to attack them and it was pretty useless.”
Sagesse “I wonder if they follow Juxlado.”
Aiden “Did you feel your blows fell as strongly as they might have?” (at Malthus)
Malthus “I don’t believe they did.”
Aiden “I had trouble when I dove on them. It almost felt like they weren’t there.”
Malthus “Yes they were ‘half’ there.”
Marqsam “Ethereal.”
Malthus “No, ethereal would mean they have no substance. These things had semi-substance for lack of a better term.”
Aiden “I wonder if it has something to do with…” [he never finishes this thought]
Marqsam jokes, “Do you think you could convince them to raise the temperature a little bit?” (to Sagesse)
Sagesse “I doubt they would listen.”
The sludge grows to thick to row so Marqsam and Aiden bring in their oars. The others just stop rowing and continue talking.

Malthus “I still feel like we are leading them.”
[Everyone is talking at once, unintelligible, but the consensus is that we have no real options at the moment.]
Roscius, noticing that some of the group has brought in their oars, attempts to pull his oar in only to find it stuck fast in solid ice. [Malthus’ oar is stuck as well]

Roscius “Do not put your oars in the ice!”
Marqsam who had his on his lap, “Shouldn’t be a problem we already took ours out.”
Malthus “Well we either wait for morning or walk and hope we make land by morning.”
Roscius “I don’t think we will make land by morning.”
There is some general discussion of the probably hardships of crossing the ice on foot.
Sagesse “We can at the very least make it to the other boats to see how close we are to land and then make the assessment as to whether to continue on foot.”
Malthus “Worst case scenario, we hope that we can make it back?” (to our boat)
Roscius “Yes, if we walk out we hope that we can walk back.”
Malthus “If we are not close enough to land of course.”
Sagesse estimates they are about two and a half miles behind the ships ahead of them. The party continues to discuss time estimates and such for the journey to the other boats for a few more minutes.

Malthus (to Sagesse) “Would you mind prodding at the ice to see how solid it is?”
Sagesse leans over to place his staff in the water and it taps firmly against the surface.
Sagesse “It is firm.”
Malthus “Hmm.”
Roscius “When it is so solid that we can’t punch through I’d say it is strong enough to walk on, at least for Sagesse.”
Sagesse holds firmly to the side of the boat as he steps out onto the ice and find it to be solid beneath his feet.

Malthus “Jump up and down, that would be about Aiden’s weight.”
Sagesse looks out into the distance where he had seen the ghost ship before and can still see it this evening. No closer, no further away, as if it were keeping a precise distance from the group.
There is more discussion about the eerie ship and its purpose and about the boats ahead of them. The party starts to wonder if they too will try to go ahead on foot.
The party steps out of the boat and decide to try and free it from the frozen sea. They free the boat but the tiller is frozen deeper into the ice. With the boat free of the ice the party feels confident it will not be crushed by the freezing ice like the carnival ship.
Everyone heads out to towards the other boats bundled in their clothes, sails and blankets for warmth. They carry the gear they feel is most important in case they decide to press on to land on foot.
[It takes 2.5 hrs to get to the ships but on the way…]
Halfway to the other ships Sagesse looks again for the ghost ship to see that it has maintained its distance, maybe even closed the distance a little, even as they walk.

Roscius “We might as well have a song.”
Marqsam “A marching song?”
Roscius “Yes, it just came to me this morning, which means it is timely.”
Marqsam “A marching song came to you this morning?”
Aiden jokes, “I don’t have to pay you for this do I?” (laughing)
Roscius “This one I must explain is in the tone of Lehmer which as the prince knows is always sung with hints of exaggeration without exaggerating the whole song.”
Marqsam “Is it 99 bottles of rum on the wall?”
The party shares a laugh and as the merriment subsides Roscius breaks into song, “The Source is the Way.”
Marqsam after the song is over, “Ok, that was short, not a very good marching song.”
Roscius “It is important to note that this, for some reason, consumes my mind and that when I sing it it is in the tone of Lehmer, which is to exaggerate.”
Marqsam “To exaggerate?”
Roscius “Yes.”
Marqsam “So your song was an exaggeration.”
Roscius “Yes.”
Marqsam “So kingdoms aren’t necessarily going to fall but perhaps face unrest.”
Roscius “Well I think this second song will help a bit”
Roscius breaks into another song, “One Faith to Choose.”
Roscius turns to Malthus, “You said you want to know secrets, well here is mine. I know all the songs in the world as they are written.”
Marqsam “And here I thought you just started working for the priesthood.”
Roscius “These songs are new. The language is still Capesian but the person who is writing it is singing with an accent of Estevalian. That would put it somewhere between Porte de Mundos or …”
Marqsam “You actually hear people singing in your head?”
Roscius “No but I hear the accent in which it is written.”
Marqsam “You are just a little weird Roscius.”
Sagesse “How do you feel about that song Malthus?”
Malthus “I am not sure.”
Roscius (in response to Marqsam) “Well when you are to be as old as I am …”
Marqsam makes a crude summary of the song, “The Source is good, the Source is great, all hail the Source. Same stuff I heard all the time in church.”
Roscius “I figured this would give us something to talk about as we walk… the whole use of force to change people’s minds.”
Malthus “Isn’t that standard?”
Sagesse “That is somewhat in opposition of goodly ways.”
Roscius “And the song seemed to me to say that there are no other options. You do it or you don’t do it. You must worship the Source or you must worship the Source.”
Malthus “Right, but it also mentions heathens and I do no think the kingdom of Westend was heathen.”
Roscius “No, but Seyco was.”
Marqsam “So you are saying the church is going out and converting people by force?”
Sagesse “And who is to say these ‘heathens’ are in the wrong. I would not say that the islanders where we just came from are morally deficient. They may call the Source by another name but it is still the Source that they are worshiping.”
Malthus “Just because these songs come to you doesn’t mean any of the information is true.”
Marqsam “It doesn’t mean it means anything. He just said he knows every song in the world.”
Sagesse “It would seem to lend some credence to the encoded message that we received.”
Roscius “And the fact that the two are being written at the same time… hey, the encoded message?!” (surprised) “Ok, since we are revealing all secrets, as someone (Malthus) had told me earlier, what was the encoded message?”
Sagesse “That the church has … let me see,” as he digs for the letter in his bag.
Marqsam “So we are putting everything on the table now, huh?”
Malthus “We pretty much have.”
Sagesse “Anything you’d care to add Marqsam?”
Malthus “You (Marqsam) were not in the room when everything was laid out on the table.”
Roscius “Never in all my years have I ever told anyone else that.” (That he knows every song)
Malthus “Since you two were not there I informed them that I had been sent by the church to stop the end of the world, which the prince and/or Sagesse were to bring about.”
Marqsam “You had told me as much.”
There is silence amongst the party for a minute.
Marqsam “Aiden knew that you were supposed to kill him?”
Malthus “He was at the disclosure.”
Roscius “That you were to kill Aiden and Sagesse?”
Malthus “Well after I failed I thought it best to tell everything because there were doubts that arose… but we still think that Sagesse was a demon worshiper.”
Roscius “But you don’t think this anymore?”
Malthus “Doubts have arisen, that is all I can say and I gave my word that no harm will come to him (Sagesse).”
Sagesse finally finds the letter amongst all of his notes and reads to them the second hidden message.

Marqsam “Poor ruler?”
Malthus “The king.”
Malthus “So with all the information that came out it seems as if my mission wasn’t necessarily with the best intentions.”
Roscius “Is the Cardinal as high as you can get in the Source’s religion?”
Malthus “Yes.”
Roscius “There is no one over the Cardinal?”
Malthus “Not to my knowledge.”
Sagesse “I do not believe that your attempt on my life was the first by the church. I suspect the first attempt was at ‘the test’ itself.”
Malthus “We do have another problem though …”
Aiden cuts in, “Your test?”
Sagesse “Yes, I took the test for bishophood like the others. I was unable to solve the problem that was given to me. The problem seemed to have an infinite number of solutions. I may have been given an unsolvable problem and left to die under the waves.”
Malthus repeats himself, “There is also another problem. Well … the church has risen an army called ‘The Order of the Scimitar’ of which, I was the leader.”
Sagesse truly shocked, “What!”
Marqsam “So they are converting people by force.”
Sagesse “So it would seem there are still secrets unspoken.”
Malthus “It was, as I was told, to protect against the coming of the end of the world that was prophesized.”
Marqsam “I still don’t understand why they would have … are you (Sagesse) sure about that message from the Cardinal?”
Malthus “It wasn’t from the Cardinal, but his scribe.”
Aiden “That is also a huge coincidence if that wasn’t what it said.”
Marqsam “Ok, this is what I don’t understand.”
Malthus “I’m not sure we’ll have answers but shoot.”
Marqsam “The king was a good person, why would he be deposed?”
Malthus “I would guess that, and this is speculation, that the Cardinal wishes all power.”
Sagesse “That would have been my first guess, while the king is indeed a good man, he’s likely not one who would just relinquish his control.”
Roscius “He is very popular with the masses. A marriage between Christiana and his son would have created the largest army in the world … largest yet.”
Aiden “So why would he let me marry her?”
Malthus “Because it would have made a larger army.”
Aiden “I was thinking about my father.”
Roscius “You are not the heir.”
Aiden “That’s true.” [He does have an older brother in the new world]
Marqsam “So you think the church is setting this up?”
Malthus “I do not know, but presuming all of that is true, how does the undead crossing over work into all of this? Is that just coincidence?”
Marqsam “Your (Aiden’s) father believed in the Source did he not?”
Aiden “As much as I.”
Malthus “As much as all.”
Aiden protests, “Hey, I’m a Source fairing man! I’m a good guy, aren’t I Sagesse.”
Sagesse “When you are sober.”
Roscius “Perhaps it is not he who it to be beset with power, perhaps it is Christiana, because of the title Empress Maybourne I mentioned.” (In Song)
Malthus “I recall a song of yours that mentioned something like that.”
Aiden “Assumed power?”
Roscius “Given.”
Aiden “I know her, she is a sweet girl.”
Malthus “People can be pushed.”
Roscius “People can be manipulated.”
Sagesse “And coerced.”
Roscius “Perhaps they are using her against you?”
Malthus “This is all speculation.”
The conversation makes the journey across the ice pass quickly and takes the party’s minds off the cold. The party draws within shouting distance of the boats and can see a few lanterns and even a campfire burning.
Soon the party reaches the encampment and the sailors seem happy to see the troupe, especially Roscius, a few of them calling out his name and requesting a song.

Roscius yells back, “I am too tired from having to walk several miles because you left us behind!”
Sailor shouts out, “I’ll give you the last of my pay!”
Another Sailor barks back, “That ain’t much!” referring to the amount offered to the bard.
Roscius “We will see. I must talk to the captain.”
The party makes their way to the boat at the front of the formation and sees a group of men sitting along the rail of the craft facing each other, apparently engrossed in some sort of ghost story. As the party come out of the darkness one of the sailors is startled and shouts out causing the others on the boat to laugh at his expense.

Roscius “There is no reason to temp the spirits for they already walk the night.”
Marqsam “Surprisingly good humored considering the circumstances.”
Julius stands and greets the party, “How do you all?”
Sagesse “A little tired but we had to come see how much closer we are to land.”
Julius “We’ve not yet sighted it but we’ve made great progress.”
Sagesse “Any guess as to the distance?”
Julius “We should make land some time tomorrow.”
Sagesse “Would it be feasible to walk that far tonight?”
Julius “I wouldn’t want to try it,” he turns to the navigator, “it’d be a real risk don’t you think?”
Navigator “I’m not doing it. My guess is it’ll take just as long to walk it as it would to wait for the ice to melt and row it. Sometime tomorrow afternoon probably.”
Roscius “We will not be able to follow you if you keep so far ahead of us and the only thing keeping the barge with you is them being able to see us.”
Julius “Yeah, they are a ways back, are they alright?”
Roscius “We did not go back to check on them, we came to see you first.”
Julius “We are just looking forward to tomorrow.”
Roscius “Can I see the charts and the plottings?”
Julius “Sure.”
Marqsam “I think the safe bet is to go back to the boat.”
Sagesse “Is it the safe bet? The ice will thaw as it did this morning.”
Roscius “Yes but we are not coming from up high.”
Sagesse “You are right, we’ll be sitting on it as it breaks and shatters.”
Julius “Is about half a day’s row to Freheit Island. Our original plan was to go there for glass.”
Roscius “How far is it from Freheit Island to the mainland?”
Julius “You could make it in a day in a sailing ship.”
[Stopped recording and started a new one at this point. Some conversation my have been lost but not much, if any.]

Malthus “It was pretty risky with the ice melted.”
Roscius “Yes but from what he (Navigator) is saying we would be walking, the ice would melt, and we would still be walking in order to get to land. I was looking at the charts, we are still a ways away.”
Aiden “I like the idea of going forward. I like the feeling of moving forward, I don’t know…”
Roscius “I don’t like being in the middle of the ocean when it melts, especially without a boat.”
Aiden “I wish we hadn’t left it behind. I still think we could have gotten it out of the ice. Then we’d have something to carry forward with us and we’d be further ahead.”
Sagesse “It would have slowed us down though.”
Aiden “At least we’d be closer to the group. As it is, we’ll get back and have only enough time to sleep.”
Atalonia manages to deduce what the party is talking about by their tone and gesturing and asks, “What about my chest?” (in her language)

Malthus (to Roscius) “Do you know which way we need to go?”
Roscius “Yes, almost due north. If we miss the island we should hit the mainland within two days.”
Sagesse “Is it possible to walk to land tonight?”
Roscius “If we are where he (Navigator) says we are then no, I don’t think we will make it.”
Sagesse “Very well, we’ve no choice but to return to the boat.”
Aiden “I was listening, it sounded to me like we could make it.”
Roscius “What he said, and I have an ear for this, is that it would take as long to walk there as it would for the ice to melt and row.
Sagesse “But we don’t have to wait for the ice to melt to start walking there.”
Roscius “Yes, we would walk until the ice melts then we would still have to walk as long as it would take to row, only then we have no ice to walk on. It is about 25 to 35 miles depending on how accurate this map is.”
The priests calculate the odds of success continuing the journey on foot and both determine the odds are not good enough to take the risk. Everyone concedes this fact.

Roscius “Besides, the rum and mumbaye are back in the boat.”
Aiden “You know you make a great point. Alright, if we are going then lets just go!”
Roscius manages to get some warm meat from some of the sailors in trade for some apples and the party has something warm to eat on their way back to their life boat.
[Compress time, the party is back at their boat.]
[No one keeps a watch but Sagesse is only asleep for four hours. There are no incidents through the night.]
[Malthus succeeds at his insomnia check and can sleep well this evening, next check in 1 week.]
Sagesse, as usual, wakes before everyone else and sets about chiseling at the tiller to try and free it from the ice. With a few hours of effort he manages to free both the tiller as well as one of the oars.
It is just before sunrise and Sagesse looks out to see where the ghost ship is and see it is but a couple miles away, closer to the group. Sagesse is now much more certain that this is indeed the same ship they had encountered before.
[New day on the Calendar – it is the 17th day of Faris]
The first rays of light break the horizon and Sagesse immediately hears cracking in the ice.

Sagesse “Get up guys, get up!”
Everyone quickly readies themselves as a crack is forming and heading towards the boat.

Sagesse “Push the boat!”
Aiden jumps out quickly ready to push, “Away from the crack or towards it?”
Sagesse “Away from it!”
Aiden “I say we head for it!”
Sagesse “I err on the side of caution, AWAY from it!”
Marqsam grabs his oar but does not exit the boat.
Aiden “Everyone out!”
Marqsam “Out? Everyone in the boat! The ice is breaking up!”
Sagesse “We do not want to be right on a crack!”
With Aiden and Sagesse the only ones outside the boat no progress is immediately made.
Aiden “Roscius, come on! OUT!”
Roscius quickly gets out and starts to push.
Marqsam “What exactly are we trying to do here?”
Aiden “The crack! Its straight for us!”
As if to emphasize the prince’s point, the crack spreads up to and under the boat. Everyone jumps out and starts moving the boat. Aiden, Roscius and Marqsam push from one side while Malthus, Sagesse, and Atalonia pull from the other. The three men pushing manage to get the boat and themselves over the crack that had formed.
No sooner does the party move the ship to safety then another crack begins to form and head for them from behind. The party manages to adjust their momentum and avoids the new crack.
The party manages to position the boat in the center of a large mass of ice, one that they hope won’t shoot out of the water unless cracks and breaks some more. Several minutes pass without incident to the party as they watch the icy carnage around them.
Suddenly a large crack forms in the distance on their iceberg and the party sees at first what they perceive to be a large section of ice come up only to realize that it is their section of ice that is sinking into the ocean.
Instinctively the party jumps back into the boat and as the water starts to rush in around them the group, primarily with Malthus’ help, deftly rights the boat to float on the liquid surface.
[Compress time for 3 hours as the burgs melt and drift away and the party can safely move on]
Sagesse checks periodically and sees that the ghost ship maintains its 2 mile distance from the party as they row to Freheit Island.
The party manages to close the distance between them and the main group. There are few boats with two of them having been lost in the carnage. Their recovery efforts had slowed them down allowing the party to catch up with Julius and his men.
[Compress time for several hours to about 3 p.m.]
After hours of rowing the party hears ahead of them celebrations and cries of “Land Ho!” and after more rowing the party can make out a large white tower coming out of the water. As they grow even closer, everyone can see more of these steeple-like structures on the island ahead of them. The towers seem to glisten in the sunlight as if filled with diamonds.
Sagesse and Roscius are the first to notice a sleek ship [Egyptian Slooth?] that appears to be coming closer to the life boats. It does not look like a pirate vessel but definitely appears to be on an intercept course.
Looking back, there is still no sign of the party barge behind them.
The large ship intercepts Julius’ boats as the party is again lagging behind due to their lack of muscle behind the oars. The party can see men in brass armor on the deck addressing people on the boats.

Malthus “Do you think we can bypass this ship?”
Sagesse “I don’t see that we have anything to fear from them.”
As the party gets closer to the other life boats murmurs pass amongst them and eventually to the party.

Sailor “They are asking for representatives of the Source.”
Marqsam “What are they asking to do with them?”
Sailor “They are just asking.”
Another Sailor yells, “They are asking for representatives of the Source.”
Marqsam yells back, “What for!?”
Guessing that Julius has already informed the armored men that he was a priest of the Source, Sagesse calls out, “I am a representative of the Source,” when they are closer to the sleek ship.
There are six men visible on deck. All are clad in brass armor and helmets that look like crowns. The flag hoisted up the mast is of no nation that anyone in the group recognizes. Sagesse however determines it to be religious in origin, the footprints on the flag making it indicative of an order that follows a prophet.
A rope ladder is tossed down and a man with a thick accent tells Sagesse, “Well come right on, come this way.”

Sagesse turns to everyone on the life raft, “Well do we all go up?”
Everyone seems eager to be done with the rowing and move in behind Sagesse.
Two men at the top of the ladder help Sagesse aboard.

Sagesse “Many thanks, we are quite weary.”
Each of the men who had been so kind as to help Sagesse aboard the ship now seize him by each arm firmly.
The armored man who has done all of the talking [later found out to be the commander] turns to Julius.

Commander “You have given us but an acolyte, but what do you wish?”
Julius “We are just looking for safe harbor, what do you mean?”
Commander turns to Sagesse, “We have a place of honor ready for him this evening.”
Marqsam gestures to Aiden suggesting that they should probably head up the ladder to help Sagesse.

Sagesse “Do not harm the others for they do not follow such as myself.”
Commander “Oh that’s been cleared up. You are the only one who represents the Source here is that correct?”
Sagesse seeing Malthus top the ladder says, “Stay behind. All of you.”
Commander also seeing Malthus, “Oh, you are a representative of the Source as well?”
Malthus “I have been.”
Commander laughs and says, “Well that is good enough.”
Two more soldiers quickly seize Malthus and the Commander notices Marqsam and Aiden heading up the ladder as well.

Commander “Whoa, whoa, whoa, now. Are you all representatives of the Source?”
Malthus “We (him and Sagesse) are together.”
Sagesse “They are not representatives of the Source, just let them go.”
Marqsam “No, they’d never let me be a representative of the Source.”
Malthus, as much a strategic fighter as a mathematician, surveys the opposition and sees a total of 9 men on deck. Six are clad in the bronze scale mail and carry very large scimitars on their back. The blades are so long that they can not be effectively carried at the waist. There are also three men in more ‘merchant-ly’ attire.

Sagesse “Well I would imagine you all do not worship the Source and this man (Malthus) has renounced his faith so you should let him go as well.”
Commander “Well we have a test for that, unfortunately for you all you have arrived at a time of war. STAY!” he quickly shouts at Marqsam who is still climbing the rope ladder.
Roscius “But it is cold down here and we are wet.”
Commander “You will stay! Down!”
Malthus “Hurry, what is your test.”
Commander “It is not really so much of a test, just a swearing.”
Malthus offers the man a crude Capesian swear.
The commander, displeased by the insult, swings a vicious backhand at the restrained man hitting him firmly in the face. [3 pts of damage] He then moves over to the rope ladder raising his boot to kick down anyone foolish enough to try to climb to the top. The remaining free soldier steps over to the ladder as well and draws his enormous blade. The weapon looks long enough to strike a man six feet away and those who see it think that the strength required to wield such weapon must indeed be great as it is very cumbersome.

Sagesse “I have willingly surrendered, let the others go.”
Commander points and shouts a Julius, “You Sir! Tell your men to desist! You’ve come in a time of war!”
Julius “I would do as he says, just a suggestion. We’ve just come for safe harbor. We’ve been through these seas, you know how it has been.”
Commander “Yes, we know all about it.”
Marqsam, brazen as ever, continues to climb the ladder while the commander is distracted by Julius, even using the man’s raised boot to help him climb aboard. Marqsam manages to get a foot on the deck and springs himself aboard in a graceful, acrobatic manner. The armed solder takes a swing at Marqsam.
[Marqsam fails his dodge but spends a character point to re-roll, not wanting to find out how devastating the oversized scimitars can be, his re-roll is a success.]
Marqsam manages to dive and roll between his opponents legs coming up behind the man facing his back.
The large man uses the momentum of his blade to carry him around to face the nimble Marqsam.
Roscius attempts to use his rapier wit to catch the soldiers off guard shouting, “Has the bishop climbed over the back side yet?” A few of the men are distracted and look over to that side of the ship expecting men to start climbing over the rail.

Sagesse “Marqsam, the rest you, leave. Just get off the ship.”
Aiden begins to climb the ladder.
Marqsam raises his hands, steps back from the armed soldier, and takes a defensive posture saying, “Are you saying you are opposed to giving us a ride?”
The soldier answers him back in a language he doesn’t understand. He then points his long blade at Marqsam placing the tip against his unarmored chest.
The commander draws his blade as well now as Aiden continues to climb towards him.
Marqsam takes his index finger and pushes the giant blade to the side slowly.
The soldier facing off with Marqsam brings his other hand to the hilt and forces the weapon’s tip back to the center of Marqsam’s chest.
The commander makes a quick motion with his giant blade and severs the ropes holding the ladder to the deck sending Aiden falling back into the life boat.
Roscius falls over into the center of the boat.

Commander shouts to everyone, “Stay where you are!” and after a few moments continues, “If you swear your allegiance to the Prophet Lineus then you will have safe harbor.”
Malthus “Otherwise…?”
Commander “Otherwise you must go around and leave your representatives of the Source with us.”
Sagesse “The Prophet Lineus?”
Commander “Yes.” (firmly)
Sagesse “Do you refer to Linus?”
Commander “I said Lineus.”
Malthus “I have never heard of him.”
Commander (to Sagesse) “Linus is a prophet of the Source.”
Sagesse “Ahh, the names were just so similar.”
Sagesse is impressed that this commander would even know of the Source’s prophet Linus as most who believe in the Source are most often unaware of the obscure and rarely taught of prophet.

Julius looks around and shouts, “I swear my allegiance to the Prophet Lineus!”
Seeing their captain take the pledge several men can be heard making the same pledge. Marqsam similarly raises his hand and mumble unintelligible words pretending to take the oath as well. The soldier in front of him lowers his weapon to the ground even though he had no idea what Marqsam had said.

Commander (to Julius) “Your men may go,” he says, pointing to the harbor.
Marqsam moves over to where the ladder used to be, “Alright, I’ll see you at the harbor then.”
Marqsam comes face to face with the commander.
Commander “You swear your allegiance to the Prophet Lineus?”
Marqsam “Yep, just said I did.”
Commander “Go right ahead,” he says motioning towards the party’s life boat with one arm and pushing the unsuspecting man overboard with the other.
Marqsam takes the momentum from the commanders push and somersaults in the air, landing back in his boat; steadying himself as the boat rocks vigorously but doesn’t capsize.

End of Session

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