|Session 14: Employed by the Equine|
|Real World Date||November 1th, 2014|
|Game Date||April 7 - May 12, Year 0|
|NPCs||Princess Syrila, Stone, Mel|
Session 13: A Dungeonless Dragon
Session 15: Preempted by Pillagers
The Party sails to Tendaji in pursuit of the next time anomaly. They strike a deal with centaur royalty.
The Party books passage on a centaur ship to Tendaji by pledging to help in a "retrieval mission" once they reach their destination. They must rescue a deer-centaur girl named Lily, who was on Princess Syrila's payroll until recently. When the party reaches the third temple on their journey, they find both the girl and a bronze dragon lying inside, blinded and with gutted craniums. When Isaac triggers a booby trap, the two corpses come to life. There is nothing to do but fight.
The Party wakes up in their guest room at Mist Hive. After morning rituals, they convene in the main area of the anthill. Isaac decides that the focus should be on finding a boat to Tendaji. The Party first takes a detour to barter with artisans in the hive.
Of all the ships they see outside, one is notably more impressive than the rest. It is the only ship leaving for Tendaji in any of the coming days. The party attempts to board, but the centaur guard says no humanoids are allowed. However, Princess Syrila Direbeam of the centuars says that they will come in handy for the “retrieval mission.” The prejudice continues against the heroes, but they are allowed fare to Tendaji on the ship, so long as none of them leave their quarters or the mess hall.
Namfoodle finds himself too short to reach the tabletops in the mess hall. Fortunately, some of the staff is humanoid, and so a few stools are available. Namfoodle eats standing up. Kal also grabs a bite. When they return, the princess informs the party in their room that they have been hired for a retrieval mission. Their payment is the voyage. They can forfeit the mission, but they will be asked to leave the ship.
One of the serving girls from the ship has vanished after taking a dare during a hunting trip. The dare was to go to a forbidden island – the one to which the party already plans to journey – and confront the dragon that lives there, who had caused a commotion of some kind in the recent days. The party assures her that the case is in good hands, and they accept the charge.
The voyage goes on for a month. The first two weeks pass quietly, but then noise breaks out on the deck. The guard centaur from before, Stone, is holding a woman by her neck. “What is the meaning of this?” Isaac asks. Stone says that the woman is a stowaway. She was contributing some service to the centaurs on the way to Sangor, but then stayed on the ship to return to her family in Tendaji. She is threatened with being thrown overboard. Emilie, Vic, and Isaac try to strike a deal for the woman’s life. Vic offers to create water. Stone agrees to let the stowaway stay if Isaac makes him a dragon hide vest. Isaac asks Emilie to help, and she reluctantly agrees. A young centaur sidles up to Vic, saying that he can conjure water as well. He does so – over Vic’s head. Vic compliments the centaur’s work, and the centaur beams before trotting off.
Three days later, the vest is done. Isaac says it may be the best one he’s ever made. The stowaway is allowed into the party's room for the remainder of the village. She introduces herself as Melissa, or Mel. She’s like, 60.
During the rest of the journey, Isaac makes progress on a tiny homunculus, and asks for Vic’s help to collect his blood for the construction. “What should I make it look like?” Isaac asks. “What’s an animal that’s small and flies?”
“Namfoodle,” Emilie says. “Except for the flying.”
A resulting popular vote between this option and a flying Studmuffin yields Isaac a tiny Nam with wings and cat ears. Isaac barely passes the check to finish building it!
The ship finally disembarks at Tendaji on May 10th, 0. A sprawling jungle frames a metropolitan area populated by centaurs and a humanoid working class. Other denizens include humans with boar, antelope, sheep, and other animals' lower bodies. They too seem to be looked down upon by the local society. Melissa dismisses herself from the others, thanking them sincerely.
The party is led into a stone building in which they will live. The next day, the princess returns to th
em to escort them to the site of the mission. The party reaches the shore of the mainland by evening. A rowboat is tied to a small pier. The party is given no further instructions about how to retrieve the girl, other than that she is named Lily and has the bottom of a deer.
Princess Syrila tells the party that the water is the deepest in the world here, so they will need to be cautious. “Those of us who are armored will be careful,” Isaac replies gratefully.
“It’s not drowning you should be afraid of,” Syrila says ominously. She leaves.
The party takes off from the shore. Dark shadows swirl around the boat; even darker than the inky depths. Neither Namfoodle, nor Namuffin imitating Namfoodle, can detect thoughts from the shapes. Isaac and Nam quarrel over who is more of a parent to the homunculus. It looks like Nam, but is made of Isaac’s blood, and serves him, and lives on his shoulder - the list goes on.
The shadows never attack the rowboat, and so the party reaches the island in the early morning. Sort of. The island has no visible beaches. Just massive vertical cliffs. Spooky. How did Lily even reach it? Namuffin takes flight to scout, and tells Isaac there is a very small rocky shore on the eastern side. This shore turns out to be little more than a shelf that rises from the ocean trench before becoming more cliff face. But at least the party is on solid ground now. Namfoodle casts Fly on Kal, who secures a rope to a tree at the top of the cliff. Kal helps pull the party up one at a time, until everyone has reached the top.
The heroes explore inland! Namuffin spots a large stone tower rising out of the jungle, built into the side of a mountain. Isaac speculates that the party's quarry could be taking refuge there. At the base, there is a temple adorned with alligator imagery. But… nothing seems off. Nothing seems to be illusory as of yet, and the Tome of Time does not warm in Isaac’s pack. What’s wrong?
A large, bronze coil of dragon tail lies by the temple. Oop. The party approaches gingerly, and no movement comes from the dragon. Isaac slowly peeks into the temple. The rest of the dragon lies prone on the floor amidst a massive hoard of books. Namfoodle scampers ahead to nab a spellbook he detects in a pile of texts. Isaac examines the area, and finds that the dragon… is not breathing. Its eyes are milk white, and its cranium has been slit open. Its brain has been almost completely removed.
Namfoodle says that this would be impossible to do on a living, alert dragon. Isaac notes something else in the corner of the room: a six-legged form. A young woman with a deer body. She has no eyes. And no brain. Namfoodle stays with Lily’s mutilated corpse while Isaac returns to the dragon, which Emilie has not left. Under the dragon’s claws lie scraps of intricately carved leather, and under one there is also a scrap of paper, and of heavy, black fabric. Emilie finds the leather strips to be familiar somehow. Isaac retrieves the paper and reads it. Explosive runes.
The 19 damage that immediately courses through his and Emilie’s bodies triggers another event as well: Lily begins to stir. And then she stands up. She faces Namfoodle, staring at him with empty holes. The dragon also finds life in its joints. It is horribly unclear what has transpired in this place. But the party is certain about what will have to happen next.
They prepare to fight.
- Fun fact! This session spans more in-game time than the previous thirteen sessions combined! Lots of bonding in a cramped room on a ship. Actually probably just lots of tense silence.