Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Wreck of the Pale

Tuesday, August 12, 1650

The sea and the sky shimmer, and as though emerging from a fog, the sandbar and the ship upon it make themselves evident.  The bar is fairly large - the tide has started to go out, this being past three bells - but the ship is close, no more than fifty yards off.  Nine-toes can feel a curse emanating from every part of the sandbar itself.

The ship is immense, rising nearly 30 feet above the sand - almost as high as Scharhorn does above the sea.  In its day it would have rivalled a ship of the Armada; it is well over five hundred tons.  It's clear now that the central part of the ship, along with the deck that protrudes above the sand, has been smashed and splintered all to pieces, great beams are torn asunder, and shattered pieces emerge from the hulk in every direction.  There are no pieces on the sand, of course - they have been long since washed away.  But the party can see the absence of barnacles or even seaweed, which have not gathered upon the ship's form.

Terrell sees that the skiff well and truly is set upon the sand, and he leaps off onto the beach before he can be stopped.  No ill befalls him.  In amazement he staggers forward a few yards, head turned to the side, so that he can read the words on the ship's prow.  All at once he shouts, his hand pointed, "It's the PALE!"  He calls.  "My GOD, that's a lost ship!  Been lost for seventy years!"  He approaches the skiff again.  "It was never found!  Word was it was wrecked by a kraken ..."  He gazes at the ship.  "It certainly looks it.  The thing must have smashed the ship right in the middle with one tentacle!"

When he looks back and sees that none of the party has had much of a reaction from the name of the boat, he'll explain.  "It's the ship of Francois About, the Butcher of Nantes.  He was famous for killing hundreds of Huguenots during the time of troubles in France.  He turned pirate and plundered half a dozen English vessels.  Bloodthirsty as all get out ... the Catholics never produced a bastard like him.  And this is his ship!"
All about while this goes on, the sea is calm, the waves wash upon the shore.  The sun is out and high, the sky clear, the wind from the west at four or five knots.  There's nothing to suggest movement or threat.

158 comments:

Nine-toes said...

"Stay back, lad. As I said before, I sometimes sense curses, and this whole place is strong with one."

"Men, though this place be cursed, I am still for having a closer look (but not without friends close by!) Of course, it is already known that Nine-toes has a head that is soft and feet that outrun his better wisdom at times. What say you?"

Nine-toes said...

Could be biting off more than we can easily chew here.

Ahmet said...

"Ha! Now that we've found something, who would want to leave?"

Ahmet retrieves the spy glass from whoever had it last and scans the ship with it, looking for signs of movement -- or treasure.

Alexis said...

Ahmet, you detect a sad lack of either.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet returns the spy glass to its box on the boat. "I see nothing on board."

He looks at Terrell. "Seventy years? Surely another ship would have run into it by now if it had been here all this time. Could it have been drifting all these many years? Or resting at the bottom of the sea?"

(OOC: We'll wait for Silvius and Andrej to get back, but I'm all for boarding.)

Andrej said...

(OOC: I'm back)

"I say we board as well. Terrell, you stay with the boat. On the boat, to be precise. Wander off and I'll show you the true measure of a Catholic bastard."

"Before we go, brothers, a blessing."

Andrej casts first a bless upon Ninetoes and Silvius.

Andrej then casts Detect Malevolence to see if he can pinpoint any ill intent.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet tries to think unmalevolent thoughts, at least for the moment.

Nine-toes said...

Will follow Andrej into the boat.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet, in armor, shield on his back and scimitar in hand, will lead the way aboard.

Ahmet said...

(but will await the result of Andrej's spell first)

Alexis said...

I haven't access to the range on detect malevolence. Isn't it 60 feet? or is it much greater?

Andrej said...

10' path, 120' long in the file you sent me.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Oh, the file is right. I just don't have access to it)

At the extreme edge of your spell's effect, you do detect a level of malevolence.

Andrej said...

Does this extreme edge approximate to the near edge of the ship?

Silvius Volundr said...

Silvius hurriedly pits his armor lv once more, never taking his eyes from the Pale.

"Cursed,Ninetoes? What do you mean by that? The ship is cursed or something on it is cursed? Or are you just scared?"

(OOC: this is outstanding, Alexis. I'm enthralled)

Nine-toes said...

(OOC - Alexis, how do I experience this knowledge of a curse? Is it just another sense, something not really explicable to others?)

(OOC - and yeah, this is awsome.)

Nine-toes said...

"I don't know how to explain it, Silvius. Bad energies collect in some areas, and I'm a bit sensitive to them. I'm not a medium or any such thing, but I can tell you some extraordinary pall hangs over this place."

"What a lot of times you people change your clothes while at sea! On with the armor, off with the armor!"

Alexis said...

(GCI: I'm fairly good with that description, Nine-toes. Think of it as an early warning that there is a legitamate curse at work here, and not just a Deanna Troi - "I sense this is all very ominous." In effect, the knowledge is saying that something, or someone, has been cursed, as via the spell or magic equivalent, and that the curse is at work even as you step onto the sand),

The ship is 50 yards from the boat; assuming Andrej moves forward some thirty feet to get onto drier sand before setting up his equipment, yes, about the near edge of the ship.

Silvius Volundr said...

"It is tiresome, Ninetoes, but I would sink like a stone if that leaky skiff piloted by a sprat were to overturn."

Silvius, with spear and shield in hand, steps from the boat and begins walking slowly toward the Pale to get a better look. He closes to within 10 yards.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet looks at Nine-toes and Andrej; assuming they're done with their hocus-pocus, he's ready to climb aboard. Is there a ladder, or can we merely step into the ship through the huge crack amidships?

Nine-toes said...

Ninetoes will 3/4 cock the crossbow (if it's not already) and then follow Silvius and Ahmet.

Andrej said...

Andrej shares his information.

"So we have a cursed island, a malevolent ship both concealed behind an illusory effect. I daresay something particularly interesting and no doubt extremely awful awaits us."

Andrej adjusts his skull cap, taps the heads of his readied maces together then bows low sweeping one arm out toward the wreck, "After you, bold Ahmet."

Assuming our brave and dour friend takes the lead, Andrej will fall into place behind him, keeping the focus of his spell toward the ship.

Alexis, the spell description states that the caster can detect "... the degree of danger from the subject (faint, moderate, strong, or overwhelming)"

What indication is Andrej receiving?

Ahmet said...

If I can more or less walk in, I'll do so with shield on my left arm and scimitar in my right hand.

If I need to climb, I'll sling the shield on my back and attempt to do so with my scimitar in one hand. If I need both hands, I'll sheathe the scimitar and put a dagger between my teeth. (Arr!)

Alexis said...

A rope ladder would have been long since decayed, and a wooden ladder fixed to the boat would be pointing in the wrong direction; the ship is laying on its side. but you can step into the ship through the huge crack.

Effectively, you're entering through the ship's bottom. To your left the stern of the ship is twisted and pointed with its ass-end down, filled with sand and a few inches of water. The starboard gunwale up to where the hole appears, is about 15 feet above your heads. To the right, there's places to climb up to the one closed cabin, with a stout door, about 18 feet above the sand. I'm not sure how much of the detect spell Andrej has left after 12 rounds, crossing the sand and getting to this place - the sand is somewhat mushy to walk on in parts, solid in others.

Alexis said...

I should say that the bow is not really "on its side" the center of the ship has been twisted with whatever destroyed it, so that the bow section is tilting perhaps forty degrees.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet gestures toward the closed cabin door with his scimitar and looks back at his companions with raised eyebrows.

Alexis said...

Still left off the part I meant to add; the malevolence that Andrej detects comes from the cabin. Therre's something strange about the emanation ... in magical terms, it is as though something that has always been accepted as a certain shade of blue is in this case teal. Still blue, but ... not quite what's expected.

Andrej said...

I've got eight rounds left, 20 total, and will be endeavoring to pinpoint a source of the malevolence.

To Ninetoes, "What do your sense tell you about the ship, monk?"

Andrej said...

Nevermind, got it.

Is there malevolence emnating from anything other than the cabin. Andrej will turn 360 degrees to be sure.

Silvius Volundr said...

Does the inside look 70 years old as well (from what we can see) or is it "more preserved"?

Trying to determine if it broke up later than when it went missing.

Alexis said...

At present, you know all that Nine-toes knows about a curse.

May I just say at this moment, the temperature drops significantly:from a cool day in August to a quite brisk day in October.

Andrej said...

Did the temperature change as a result of our having moved into a colder area or did the area we stand in suddenly become colder?

Alexis said...

Silvius,

The wood looks 70 years old, but it does not look like its been underwater all that time. As I said before, there is an absence of sea-growth attached to it.

Andrej,

No, nowhere but the cabin.

Andrej said...

"Life avoids this cursed place, even the briny and slimy things of the sea."

Alexis said...

The area you are standing in just got very noticeably colder. And it turns a little colder still. You fancy you can see your breath.

There is no increase in the wind, and the sun still shines as before.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: This is getting delightfully creepy.)

Before tackling the cabin door, Ahmet will wander about as best he can, scouting for danger (or even better, loot) lurking about in this part of the ship.

Don't want something crawling out behind us as we're climbing up to the cabin!

Nine-toes said...

Ninetoes will advance to the door slowly to check the door for traps, crossbow at the ready until he reaches the door. (Unless something jumps at him. In which case he will scream and franticly try to finish loading the crossbow.)

Silvius Volundr said...

"Mayhaps this Butcher looted hisself a cursed treasure. Locked it in his cabin where it doomed him."

Andrej said...

(OOC: Blogger keeps eating my posts)

Stay away from that door, friends. I say we leave this place and now.

Alexis said...

Even as Nine-toes takes the first step to climb up to the door - remember, I said it was above you - it BANGS open! Very loudly.

There's nothing there ... at first.

Andrej's sense of strong malevolence increases ... but it still has that strange quality to it.

The air in the doorway is getting thicker.

The air around the party has gotten very, very still ... and it is difficult to hear the waves lapping on the boat, or against the sand.

Silvius Volundr said...

Silvius will watch the boarding party's back with his head in the hole of the hull, but his feet are on the bar.

Andrej said...

Having stated a desire to leave the door be and make our way out, Andrej begins backing away and out the way we entered.

Alexis said...

The "hole in the hull," Silvius, is about 40 feet wide; sorry that wasn't clear.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet stands his ground, at least until it's apparent that Nine-toes is able to retreat as well. If all three make it out OK, he'll leave too.

Nine-toes said...

Ninetoes happily takes Andrej's suggestion and tries to head back towards the boat with some haste.

Nine-toes said...

"Have you any holy water, Andrej?"

Alexis said...

The space in the door grows misty, then foggy, quite as if the air itself were solidifying ...

It is difficult to tear one's eyes away. Even as Andrej is backing away, each step comes hard, as though he feels restrained somehow ... as watching a horse die under a cart after an accident.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: I told you guys this was a wild ghost hunt!) ;)

Alexis said...

Nine-toes, despite his intention, finds he's still standing there.

And then there is a spectre in the doorway. Perhaps a ghost. It's eyes are richly filled with bloody veins, its mouth opens in a great maw, and in one loud cry it yells,

GET OUT!

Silvius Volundr said...

Silvius turns and runs his ass toward the boat at top speed.

Andrej said...

Andrej tries to keep within the sunlight if possible, but moves nonetheless toward Ninetoes to pull the monk from the wreck.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet likewise will try to retrieve the monk.

Andrej said...

"Make ready the boat!" Andrej calls after his fleet-footed friend.

Alexis said...

The monk did not have a chance to climb more than a foot or two; he, along with the remainder of you, no longer feel anything holding you fast to the place. The compulsion has left, and in its place your hearts are pumping with terror.

Nine-toes said...

Nine-toes would very much like to head for the boat now.

Andrej said...

Andrej turns to leave, making terrific haste toward the boat.

Alexis said...

The ghost lets go of a great, terrible SCREAAAAM ...

Ahmet said...

Ahmet will back out, assuming Andrej and Nine-toes have as well, and return to the boat.

He looks at Terrell.

"What was that you said about 100 gold pieces for finding the wreck?"

Alexis said...

Terrell hears the scream, sees Silvius, Andrej and Nine-toes emerge ... and Ahmet not far behind, having expressed that he would leave last. As you cross the space towards Terrell, he will seem perplexed and uncomprehending.

Nine-toes said...

(winded, by the boat)

"You asked... friends, what a cursed area is? One... we should stay the bloody hell away from, apparently."

"Andrej, unless you have a means of laying unquiet spirits to rest, I propose reporting this location to the authorities and having done with it."

Alexis said...

As you urge Terrell to ready the boat, to get it off the sand, and as you're all pushing to get it into the water, you hear laughter.

Not cruel laughter, not evil cackling, but the laughter of someone who has just put over a terrific joke. The laughter is pretty loud, and sounds fairly unrestrained and a bit breathless, and of one wholly pleased.

Andrej said...

"I suspect I have no such power over so mighty a foe."

Alexis, can we determine whether the cabin itself has a bulkhead, overhead or deck whose outward side currently faces the outside? So that supposing a group such as ours were to attempt to break through such an architectural feature the inside would then be exposed to the sun?

Andrej said...

Laughter, eh? Andrej stops and turns, observing the boat once again.

"An illusion? All of it?"

Silvius Volundr said...

Guilt overtakes Silvius as his breath starts to run out and he turns to look to the ship, fully expecting a fountain of his friends blood to be erupting skyward as each of them are messily devoured by The Butcher.

Andrej said...

(OOC: Gotta sign off folks. Very good stuff Alexis, looking forward to checking back in later and seeing who the prankster is tomorrow.)

Silvius Volundr said...

(OOC: Boys, maybe we can reason with this spectre. No one was hurt, and he certainly could have attacked Ninetoes...probably should have. I say we try to go talk to it)

Nine-toes said...

"If it was all illusion, why were we rooted to the spot with fear?"

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Perhaps the entire ship is an illusion, perhaps cast by Terrell's Hamburg instructor?)

Ahmet is pushing hard on the skiff to get it back to sea, as eager as the rest to escape this accursed island. At the sound of the laughter he pauses from his labor to look for the source. From the spirit aboard the ship? Or from sonewhere else?

Andrej said...

"Fear? A magician can cause such a state just as he or she may conjure a specter and a ship from the ether. Think also of the lack of any barnacles upon the ship's hull and of course the shield of invisibility we first encountered. Even the curse could be some glamer."

Andrej stops his headlong retreat and turns about. Walking slowly but with purpose back to the wreck. He is scanning the entire island for something amiss: lack of a shadow or the wrong sort of shadow, the light reflecting off the water in a queer way, lack of the sound of the wind rustling the grass... any indication that what we have observed so far and taken at face value is not as we believed. He will continue in this manner, if unmolested, until he stands 20' from the threshold of the wreck.

Nine-toes said...

Following Andrej's lead, Nine-toes also moves closer, trying not to trust what his eyes think they are seeing.

Silvius Volundr said...

Silvius slumps his shoulders in resignation.

"Be ready with that boat, Terrell. We may be back for it in a hurry."

With that, Silvius trots along the sandbar until he reaches Andrej, where he slows to a cautious advance. He too will halt some 20' from the wreckage.

Andrej said...

Andrej continues, surer of himself, "and the evil intent I was detecting... a malevolence, but not one I was accustomed to sensing... perhaps not a direct threat to harm us, but only to scare us off. A true undead being I think would not pause to see us scamper. Nice scampering, by the way, Silvius."

Silvius Volundr said...

"Had never done any running in me new mail. Binds a bit around the shoulders, but it is otherwise surprisingly light. Were just an experiment, is all."

Andrej said...

"Of course,Silvius. I had thought nothing otherwise." Andrej keeps a close eye on our surroundings.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet joins the others, staring about, looking for any signs that this hulk is not real.

Alexis said...

By the time the party gets to Andrej's proposed 20 feet from the wreck, the laughter has reduced to the occasional odd chuckling and chortling. There's nothing in sight that has changed. The temperature has reverted to normal. Andrej's detection spell has lapsed by this time.

Nine-toes said...

Nine-toes will enter the ship and head slowly towards the cabin again, crossbow out.

(Are there attempts to disbelieve in your campaign, Alexis? Would the preceeding events be grounds for disbelief attempts if they are allowed?)

Silvius Volundr said...

"I say we check the cabin. Could be that the laughing ghost be gone."

Alexis said...

(OOC: I've never been clear on how one 'disbelieves' at will; if there is solid reason to believe something isn't true, you are entitled to a saving throw whether or not you consciously decide to believe ... I'll let you know when a saving throw is warranted. At the moment, everything looks perfectly real and so there is no reason to save).

Nine-toes sees the door has been left open. The chuckling has gotten too quiet for the others to hear, but Nine-toes' ability tells him it is still there, and coming from inside the door.

Alexis said...

(GCI: The party should keep in mind the amount of noise armor makes)

Andrej said...

Andrej calls out, "Very amusing. Sincerely. You had us all quite scared. This seems a lonely isle and I don't imagine you have much chance to enjoy such a laugh, or even any company at all. Come out and let us speak, so as to know one another. I am Brother Andrej, a simple Christian friar, and these men are my friends and fellow travellers. Curiosity brought us to this place, and your prank has only piqued it."

Andrej has tucked his maces into his belt.

Silvius Volundr said...

Attempt to Move Silently, Ninetoes! ;)

Alexis said...

At the moment Andrej speaks, Nine-toes hears the chuckling cut off, and there's the sound of bumping wood.

Nothing immediately happens.

Nine-toes said...

Is there any vestige of the dread Nine-toes felt before?

Andrej said...

Sorry mates, didn't mean to ruin any surprise but I figured we're at a disadvantage stealth-wise so switched tactics.

"We can hear you, just as you can hear us. Come on out and let us be introduced to one another."

Alexis said...

Nine-toes feels no special fear whatsoever.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet goes with the party and stands ready, keeping a wary eye for a surprise attack from a direction other than the cabin door.

Ahmet said...

(Shield on his left arm, scimitar in his right hand.)

Alexis said...

To the best of my knowledge, Nine-toes is the only one who can see the doorway; the others are all within 20 feet of the ship's hull, but outside the hole. Please draw my attention to the appropriate comment if this is not the case.

Nine-toes, in a moment the door fills again with the ghost; it really does appear to be a ghost, for dimly you can see the door jam under its hand, and the wooden frame of the ship beneath its feet as the ghost comes down towards you. It does not look malaevolent at all; you can see that it looks like a sailor, mid-forties, broad-faced and fairly plump, friendly looking, with a french cap pushed back on his head over some moppish hair. The ghost is wearing some trousers, a loose shirt and an unbuttoned vest, and has a belt on with an adze, a hammer and what appears to be a small square for carpentry.

"Were you really scared?" It asks Nine-toes quite interestedly.

Nine-toes said...

"If setting my heart to flying and being unable to move counts as scared, yes, I'd say so."

He puts his crossbow away.

"I am Nine-toes. Might I have the pleasure of making your aquaintance, good sir ghost? I might have a lot of questions about the afterlife, if you're willing to have a chat."

Alexis said...

The ghost takes off its cap and bows. "Robert LeBeau, at your service." It smiles. "I'm sorry; I couldn't resist. I learned that trick with making everything colder twenty-three years ago and I haven't had the chance to try it a single time." It looks towards the edge of the hole. "Did your friends come back too?"

Nine-toes said...

"Quite an impressive trick. I can only hope to become so ingenious once I'm, em, dead. I'll just call to my friends, if you don't mind terribly much. You'll forgive me if I'm lacking in decorum. I've... never met a ghost before."

"I believe it's clear, gents!" Ninetoes calls back to the others. "Come and meet Mr. LeBeau. You might bring Terrell, the boy's sure to love this."

Ahmet said...

If Ahmet can hear what is being said (or even just the sound of convivial conversation, if not the actual words), he will join Nine-toes inside the ship. If not, he will wait with Andrej, accompanying him inside if that's where he goes.

Andrej said...

Andrej will go into the wreck with Ahmet, but will hold off on calling Terrell for now.

Alexis said...

Upon seeing Ahmet, who can hear what has been said, the ghost will say, "Friend Turk ... may Allah shine upon you sir; you are a long way from home, and a beautiful home it is, too. I was in Adalia once ... never have I seen water so blue."

To Nine-toes, the ghost will throw up his hands: "No, do not bring a boy here; it'll scare the lad half to death."

Andrej said...

"Ahem... so Mssr. LeBeau. Were you a crewman of this ship? How did it and you come to your present circumstance?"

Alexis said...

"Murdered," says the ghost. "Murdered by Cap'n About himself, May 12th, 1579. He found I was a Huguenot secretly, and once the secret came out he plunged his knife into me."

The ghost sighs, and the effect of that is unsettling down through the core of the living people who can hear it. But the ghost goes on regardless. "As to the ship, it was beset by a kraken, a squid no less than a hundred and fifty feet long. It caught the boat in a mere 22 fathoms of water, as though God himself was done with About's service on this earth."

Alexis said...

"I was the ship's carpenter," the ghost finishes. "But tell me, sir, and don't take this wrongly - but are you an orc?"

Silvius Volundr said...

Silvius approaches with wide eyes. "So you're dead then? What's it like being dead....I mean what do you do?"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet, obviously pleased to receive such a welcome greeting, sheathes his scimitar and listens with interest.

"Does the Captain still lurk in this place as well?"

Alexis said...

"Do?" says the ghost. "Not much of anything. Wait. Watch. Pass the time. It's no easy thing being a dead man on the earth, sir. A man can't rest. No, he can't rest at all."

Alexis said...

"No, the captain went down to his death, friend Turk. They all did, all who were attacked by that beast - died clean, they did, and so they went clean to the other side. But you see, I wasn't alive when the kraken attacked. I was haunting aboard this boat but three days before she was wrecked, having been murdered before we sailed."

Silvius Volundr said...

"And why is it that you cannot rest? Did you commit some regretful act then?

Andrej said...

"Aye, LeBeau; an orc among other things: a man, a priest, a traveler and an adventurer."

Andrej will continue to listen to Lebeau and allow his companions to lead the discussion as they may. Rubbing his chin he screws his face up in thought.

Nine-toes said...

"Could there be some service we could perform for you to allow your spirit rest? Or will you wait come Armageddon?"

Alexis said...

"When I was murdered I wasn't buried proper," says the ghost. "My bones are lying in the woods north of Husum, and until they're spoken over, I can't rest."

The ghost looks at Nine-toes. "That's a kind offer, sir, but I can't show where the bones are buried."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet hrmms.

"The boy said this all happened 70 years ago... I'm not sure how much of it -- er, you -- would be recognizable...

"Would you know if your body was left with anything else? Something we would know 'twas you?"

Andrej said...

"Are you certain, Robert, that some part of you doesn't remain here upon the ship that I could put to rest? Was the captain one to take trophies of those he murdered? Some men of his sort are known to do such things."

Alexis said...

"This is only half the tale," continues the ghost. "The truth is, I'm under a curse, on account of a stone I found, a gem of great price, that brought the woe upon me you perceive."

He sniffs, pulls out a ghost's handkerchief, and blows his nose. The very bones of the party feel rattled by it.

"The Boatswain learned of the gem, cursed thing that it was, because it was the nature of that gem. And the Boatswain revealed me, and when Cap'n murdered me, the Boatswain buried my bones and the gem together, knowing that if he kept the gem the Cap'n was sure to murder him. Then, twas when we were bound back to France the ship was wrecked ... t'were five who survived that wreck, and they were taken to Emden - this much I know, for it was a ship from Emden that saved 'em. A mage aboard that ship created this bar and hid this ship to come plunder it after; and when after six months it was plundered, the hex was left in place and so it has been these past 70 years."

Silvius Volundr said...

Silvius leans closer to Andrej. "Wouldn't hurt to have us a look for the poor blighter. Tisnt all that far away."

"LeBeau, mind if we take a little look about the cabin?"

Alexis said...

"The Boatswain, Michel Devereaux, he were one of the ones who lived; but he lost both his legs. I know not whither he found the gem or no, though I know he had a map to where it and my bones were."

Ahmet said...

"What does this gem look like, and what is the nature of its curse?"

Andrej said...

Andrej rubs his chin further. "That at least explains the invisibility, and now it all makes a sort of sense to me. Robert, your story has moved at least one of my companions and I must admit myself as well. It is not well that restless spirits should walk the light of this world. Tell us more of this gem. What is the nature of the curse and what danger does it pose... what do you know of it and how did it pass to you?"

Alexis said...

The ghost gives his assent to looking about the ship; but there's nothing here of any interest; what small pieces of housewares are worthless from sea and weather, and all else has long since been plundered. The ghost can assure you that nothing of importance remains ... but ten minutes of searching seems to prove that. An elf might find a secret door, if there were any to find, but you don't know of one yourselves.

Alexis said...

"I did not have the gem long in my possession, so I cannot say all about it. I learned of its existence in the strangest way possible - a bartender had it, and kept it hidden beneath the ale keg he kept at the back of the bar, in a cubby-hole of sorts. How I knew it was there, I cannot say; I only felt a complete certainty about it. I felt an urge, too, to wait until night, and kill the bartender for it ... but as it happened, a cart horse bolted, pulling a cart down the street and crashing into the doorway of the tavern. While the bartender was distracted, I jumped over the bar, lifted the keg - with was light, being mostly empty, saw the gem and grabbed it. I had no idea what had come over me, except that I needed to have it. Before I knew it I'd fled out the back door and into the alley, my prize in hand."

Alexis said...

"It was four days after that the Boatswain perceived it in my possession; and while the Cap'n murdered me, even as my spirit past from me I sensed the Boatswain stealing the gem from beneath my bunk. The rest you know."

Andrej said...

"And the captain, he was not then aware of the gem as far as you know? Killed you merely for being Huguenot, he did?"

Alexis said...

"The captain killed many a Huguenot," says the ghost. "And I know not why now that I was one. I've come to realize in these long years since that I should never have surrendered my Catholic faith. It was God that put the gem in my path, to punish me for falling from the true faith."

Andrej said...

"Was Devereux a Huguenot?"

Nine-toes said...

"Michel Devereaux has likely now passed to his eternal rest, but the map he might have passed down to his descendants. Spirit, do you know from whence Michel came, where his family was from? Thus we might know where to begin to look for where the map might be."

"That is, if any of you others think it a worthy quest to head down a trail 70 years gone cold to seek the gem and the bones and lay the spirit to rest. Tis a giant worth slaying and a windmill worth tilting, if you want my opinion. Think if any of you would like to haunt this earth for a day past your killing."

Alexis said...

"Nay, Devereaux was a Catholic. I've come to realize his action was no different from my own - he was influenced by the gem, just as I had been. As far as finding where he might be, I do not know of him or his people. But the record of his rescue will be preserved in the books of the Sea Guild in Emden, even after this time, of that you can be certain."

Andrej said...

"I do not like this gem, Ninetoes. I do not relish the thought of we four killing one another to possess it. It may best left where it lays unless the curse can be removed in some way and Roberts bones put to rest. I alone cannot vanquish the curse, but there are others who may. But this is a large undertaking... it would be of great expense and risk. I would not enter into it lightly."

Alexis said...

(OOC: about this point, I have to ask: how is this for a hook? I knew you'd come back when you heard the ghost laughing)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Indeed we did. I'm digging the story, but hesitant to commit.)

"Robert, how did the boatswain know you were Huguenot? Was this also the influence of the gem?"

Nine-toes said...

(OOC - very good, Alexis, as we've all expressed)

"That is true, Andrej. The gem is likely beyond our present ability to amend or resist. But the Sea Guild at Emden, we could find. Maybe not now, but perhaps there are goods in Hamburg (after concluding your business there) that they may be wanting in Emden, making the visit worthwhile even if we cannot help our discorporate friend."

Andrej said...

"Alas, my business is further off in Eichstadt, but of no immediate concern."

Alexis said...

"I do not know how he knew," says the ghost. "Perhaps he always knew. Perhaps he had kept it to himself for months, and only felt obliged to relate the truth when the gem offered itself."

(OOC: And there is no reason you should commit, Andrej; the tale is here because this is the one that waits in this spot. There are always other spots, and other tales)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Understand completely, which is part of the draw in wanting to play in a game such as this)

Andrej said...

After we spend what time we desire with Robert, we should return to our camp at Scharhorn and discuss our next steps. I see no harm in making a trip to Emsden if you guys are so inclined to see what we can find out, but I have to admit to not being entirely excited at the prospect of taking on the task of locating Robert's bones and the gem. I think I know where Ninetoes stands, but not Silvius nor Ahmet.

Nine-toes said...

Ninetoes is for any adventure, but this does seem out of reach. Could be we gather information where we can and file it away for later use. It's not like the ghost is going anywhere. We should talk to Terrell about giving information about the wreck, for certain.

Silvius Volundr said...

I echo Ninetoes comments. This sounds a bit beyond us right now. If we find ourselves near Emden, we should follow up, but for now let's back burner it.

Awesome hook, Alexis. Will give us something to work on later in the campaign as we go about our other business.

Alexis said...

Let's assume that since you're talking openly with one another, which you would not be doing in front of the ghost, that you have ALREADY gone back to Scharhorn, and are now discussing this over Emmaneul's dinner.

In which case, I'll have to draw a close to questions asked of the ghost. He is very polite about you taking your leave, and wishes you a safe journey.

Andrej said...

Agreed, back at camp. Thanks Alexis. Over dinner we share the tale with Terrell and Emmannuel and await Ahmet's input on our next move.

Silvius Volundr said...

"Shall we get to this business with your book then, Andrej?"

Andrej said...

(OOC: Will awaif Ahmet before anyhting is final, but I see no harm tossing ideas out there)

"I think traveling to Eichstadt and seeing to the final disposition of the book makes for a good destination, Silvius. There could be much to do along the way as well. Aside from whatever opportunities may arise, we could fill the cart with what is on hand here and take it to where it is needed and in such a manner make some coin, perhaps. At least we'll learn of the markets. Perhaps Gerhard will sell us a few barrels of fish that we take to Hamburg and in Hamburg we buy something else to take to Luneburg and so on."

Andrej said...

"Here is what I propose that we do. Return to Cuxhaven on the morrow and report the location of the wreck to see what reward is available. Then, take the horse and cart south along the coast to Emden, to see what we can see. I reccomend we make an effort to also see what goods are produced or in demand in that market and anything in between. In Emden we make inquiries regarding the boatswain and the rescue of 70 years ago, finding out what we may. Once informed to our satisfaction, we decide upon our course in Emden. We could venture at that time to Eichstadt or turn west and south to France."

Silvius Volundr said...

"That is a sensible plan."

(OOC: Who knows, while in Emden, we may find an interesting bank to explore, or better yet, a pie-throwing contest in the street!)

Ahmet said...

"I am never one to turn down a 100 gold piece bounty, but perhaps we should not be so quick to report this," Ahmet says.

"My concern with reporting the location of the wreck is that the Guild will surely send someone to remove it and discover the tale of the ghost for themselves. Or they could tow away the wreck to who knows where -- and should we ever have to return to speak to the ghost, he would be gone.

"It seems this wreck has been here for 70 years, undisturbed and of no hazard to navigation. Perhaps it would be better to wait to report this hulk until we've retrieved the gem and put the man's bones to rest.

"Other than that... I agree with your plan, Andrej."

Silvius Volundr said...

"The Mad Turk makes an interesting point."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet shrugs. "I know little of the sea and navigation -- I could be wrong."

He pauses for a moment. "And there is the matter of Terrell. He knows of the wreck, and its location. One hundred gold pieces is quite a reward to a young man. Could he be trusted to keep it a secret, even if promised a share of the reward later on? I think not."

He grinds his jaw as he thinks on this, apparently considering the best way to keep the wreck a secret.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Good points, Ahmet!

Good fellows, I'm hung up for the afternoon; I'll keep an eye on when I can, find out what you're doing next, but I'm snafu'd for keeping up the campaign for now. Work out your plans and we'll try to pick up Monday morning)

Andrej said...

"I considered this as well Ahmet, including the boy's attitude (who is present now), hence recommending we go at once to Emden after reporting the wreck. I would guess that bureaucracies, being generally slow to move in almost all cases, would be no quicker to act on the wreck as they would any other item of remote interest. Meanwhile, we have gathered what clues still exist in Emden and are on our way regardless of the path we choose. Even if we should venture to Eichstatt, I would guess that ample time still exists to see to the bones and this cursed gem. As for the ghost Robert, he has waited some 70 years. Whatever happens to the wreck and wherever it is hauled, some company would do the man good and should we prove successful in finding his remains, it matters not where the wreck is... Mssr. Lebeau will move onto the next world."

Silvius Volundr said...

"The lad is a terrible nuisance, but he expressed interest in travel and adventure. Do we invite him along with us? T'would keep the secret of the wrecked Pale with us at the least."

Nine-toes said...

"I am for finding the map to the gem, at least, which starts at Emden. Once we had that, the trail would be impossible to pick up for anyone else (unless they came for us.) Then we could seek Robert's remains at another time, when the curse of the gem might be removed. In the meantime, if any ship should run aground here by chance, the blood guilt would be upon us."

Nine-toes said...

"I thought as much, too, Sylvius Would that the lad were already trained in illusion, and he would be a most welcome addition. But if he is slated for higher learning, would his patrons want to see him take up with vagabond adventurers at a tender age?"

Andrej said...

"The lad can come or go as he wishes in my view, we are in no great position to force his hand and I don't see the necessity should we report the wreck then make our way directly to Emden. Twenty or so gold pieces each weighing our purses down as we take the road would be welcome company, in my view."

Silvius Volundr said...

"I am in no position to turn down such payment either. I shall need the coins to invest in our fish barrels, or what not."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet takes all this into consideration, then shrugs and spreads his hands. "So it is. We report the wreck and move on to Emden. Then we don't have to worry about the boy."

Alexis said...

I think we can presume you've sent the lad off when you talk about him, to fetch things from the boat or some such, or help Emmanuel.

It is not an easy training to get into, to be an illusionist; so probably Terrell has little interest in anything else now.

Andrej said...

"Funny, it is, that I keep talking you three into helping me fetch my book and then myself out of it. Cuxhaven then Emden it is."

(OOC: Good stuff guys. Looking forward to picking things up next week. Andrej will be ready to report the wreck, fetch his wagon and horse and ask about the road to Emden at this point. I say we hold off on buying any barrels of fish until we know we are making our way inland. Though, it may not hurt to make inquires and see if any in Cuxhaven need anything sent to or retrieved from Emden.)

Alexis said...

Actions?

Nine-toes said...

Returning to Cuxhaven to report the wreck, camping on the island if we must wait until morning.

Alexis said...

You must wait until morning; the tides do not permit Terrell and an easy sail back to Cuxhaven until after 9, and at any rate the boy is uncertain about sailing at night.

Nine-toes said...

Ninetoes will take the first watch for the night, unless someone else prefers to do so.

Andrej said...

Camping it is. We've already eaten for the day and I've deducted that from our stores. There are six of us, I propose once night sets that we stand watch in pairs of two (Ahmet & NineToes; Silvius & Terrell ; Andrej & Emmanuel) over a 12-hour period of rest. In this manner we each get 8 hours of sleep. Andrej will rise and pray in the morning.

Alexis said...

Then if everyone is agreed to that, and I think they are, we can consider it the morning of the next day, and I'll start a new post.

Nine-toes said...

Fine by me.

Silvius Volundr said...

(OOC: Sorry guys, brutal morning already!)

Silvus is in..camping, standing watch, new post, all of it!