- Master Azariel – Land Commander,
- Xerx’ses – Captain of Rogtilda – I’ll explain this change below,
- Brother Indaris,
- Master Asher,
- Master-Sister Caminata,
- Master Burlap.
Which brings up a note for anyone reading these, I am the steward of Callandor till I die and a portion of my soul will be forever bound to the blade as well. One side effect of such a union is that when I write he can interject his thoughts and I don’t realize I write them sometimes till ink is drying upon parchment.
See. It is not a problem my friend just explaining for readers that may not know about our adventures, my new alter persona as the Hooman, wizard-captain, Osric Orghallar, or the wonderful new friend I have in you.
Blessings unto her: Isis, Iset, Aset, Behbeit and countless other names. Ever since I met her directly my life has never been dull, even after dying twice in one day! We had our fireside chat with our newest member after escaping a further attack leaving Shandala. The Hobgoblin, Master Burlap, is a Mage practitioner of Ludicrous Magic! Now, I have written about it before but I wanted it in this log as captain for those that read this in the future. His magic has a comedic bent to it but it is wicked sharp in its ability to screw up a target’s original goal or purpose! Read further for a life saving example.
I had decided that since I was now a steward of Callandor someone would have to break the news to Rogtilda and I also decided that were I to survive this I would stay with Rogtilda, which means I need to learn how to pilot the ship. At the time of this epiphany I realized I would need to find a way to secure acting Captain, Jershon Herriman’s help. I would also need to secure another form to visit other races among. Now comes the alternate persona of the Hooman, wizard-captain, Osric Orghallar! Though I was not the captain yet by this stretch. I took a beard and even colored my hair red in honor of the Redbeard Dwarf Clan Master Overkill hailed from.
Here is the back story I have compiled from events in my life to make the alter persona as truthful as possible:
I think I did okay and I have sent word to Master Kel-ed so he knows about this identity and can back up any inquiries.
That’s a good question I have no answer for, would you give me a few minutes and I can amend it?
Well here goes:
I’m sorry I could not figure out a way to fit in “Stabbity Action” so I went with “the Mighty” is that okay?
Okay then back to the log explaining how I became captain. We had arrived back at the Western Empire city of Oceanside on land upon the 3rd of Set. We had made the best travel overland via many well kept roads and several miles of them were PAVED WITH CUT STONE!!! I could not believe it! Not since walking the pathways of the Etrinan Fortress had I seen paved streets or walkways. Even Haven and Credia only had paving stones that were smoothed and shaped but not cut to fit! It contributed greatly to our speed of travel. We were twenty miles on foot away from the town when the stone road had shone up and everyone except Masters Azariel and Burlap were just as shocked as me. Apparently, in the Western Empire this is a far more common occurrence than in every other country! Master Azariel mentioned this was the birthplace of hooman civilization and where a vast majority of the Elves and Dwarves fled to after the end of the Great War.
It was almost as astounding as Oceanside was from the plains we arrived from. Maybe Haven and Wisdom would surpass this city but most other settlements in the Eastern Territories would pale in comparison. I will have to travel to Llorn someday but I hear it is among the grandest in the Dominion of Man.
A half mile out from the city the weather got as cold as the mountains and I began looking for frost giants on the move. Not so, this land has something called a season of frozen hell!
It was not long after frozen droplets of water began to fall and I sneezed and felt something I have rarely ever felt in my days – COLD! The blasted torrent wouldn’t stop as though the clouds in the sky were angry as the sea and drowning us in freezing white droplets of water was the method that would succeed! Chattering as I might to urge our band forward we decided to rally behind Master Azariel riding upon Lictalon as the entourage of the Apprentice-Alchemist, Birchwood Halthozaar, our land leader’s alternate persona.
I hate SNOW, I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT! When it melts your swimming is stale sweat and mildew, disgusting!!! It get in everything! Were it not for Master Birchwood Halthozaar (Azariel), expertly leading us through the city we had fled just over a month ago I, and everyone else would like have drowned in this falling, white, silent death! Just then the Gods of Light took pity upon us for we ran into our acting Captain, Jershon Herriman. He explained that former Captain Overkill had forgotten to leave Rogtilda with provisions and Master Azariel had forgotten to set up their accounts for pay or pay them for the month they were training in Sekti-Abtu. Master Asher step forward in an act of utmost truth and very in the “spirit” of Ra, the Everbright and said he was a part of the screw up because he had helped hire the crew. A most noble thing indeed to admit to when many would shun the responsibility of it. He shouldered the onus like a titan, I am so proud of him.
Master Azariel covered the replenishing of provisions and I covered the pay with an extra 1,000 as the bonus for the thirty days and the worst fact. Yesterday on the 2nd of Set they went without food!!! We vowed to correct the issue and set things in motion to prevent that from happening again. We continue on to the grocery store and as I said above Master Azariel took care of that soon we were back in the falling white death powder pushing through it to the docks with food and my fate, though I had not completely realized it at the time. Chills were worse than the damn lava!
Once aboard came the moment I had actually dreaded, we all explained how Captain Overkill had died to Rogtilda. I made sure to have my hand on Callandor so he could share in the sorrow of the ship and how much it loved our friend. I hoped if Callandor could see how sad everyone was he would not feel so alone, the world would mourn with him. I am sure this would have been frightening to the local had the blizzard storm of white death powder not been distracting them.
Jershon soon asked whom would be the new Captain of Rogtilda and the group, I included, looked as though someone had slapped us. No one I think had thought about it that deeply, and it was quickly decided to have Jershon act as the tie breaker when we all agreed it needed to be a member of CrIsis. I nominated myself since Jershon had agreed to be the first mate / helmsman of the chosen captain. Master Azariel abstained because he was already the land leader. After the first round of votes it was between Master Asher and myself. I was so happy for us because this group really gravitates toward a meritocracy approach of advancement. Those that can, do. Master Asher has saved the group on more than one occasion and previous logs I have written for the Books of CrIsis state these facts as much. When it came in as a dead tie both Master Asher and I looked at Jershon, and he looked at both of us and chose me. I am not sure why but it seemed my plan to take care of Rogtilda was shaping up in a very fate like sort of way. Jershon and I headed out to the crew and inform them of Captain Overkill’s death, my replacement and the food and money was distributed.
During the late lunch Master-Sister Caminata offered to use magic and make some wine. She was so proud of it but few things upset my stomach like that bad batch of wine did. So vommit was everywhere and I started with the Cleanse Spells and then wiping my finger off in the deck covered in the choking death powder. Another of us made beer and everyone loved it but I was to catapult shy to try it. Master-Sister Caminata and Nosse kept me company as I poured over books of CrIsis reading the early tales of Captain Overkill.
Upon the 4th of Set, the former Redbeard crew said they will fullfill their promise to Captain Overkill and return to Sinza and they left in the morning when the fall of white death powder had stopped. Jershon asked to just be referred to as Jershon and would do his best to show me how to pilot and be captain. When he promised to do his best to not countermand me in public I thanked him because this would be no easy task to learn to be a leader so late in the game, as it were. I asked good Brother Indaris for help with a pigeon missive to my tribe and making the map in this log. This log map charts our course to Caer Itom. As we were leaving port a suspicious ship pulled in that Master-Sister Caminata had brought to my attention after doing a survey as a seahawk. We managed to get past the sea wall before we passed it on our port (left) side. It flew the flag of Kirgi the Rat God! I fear dark times may have come to Oceanside but the watchers on the sea wall did appear to notice it I’m told. Hopefully they’ll deal with the worshipers in an appropriate fashion. We began heading out to sea and the Straights of Thunder!
The 5th of Set was nearly all day with me at the helm and learning to spot reefs, sandbars. Long day hard work but the hardest part was learning to navigate the size of Rogtilda without being able to actually see some of the things I was trying to avoid as I got close to them. Jershon was ever patient and more than a few times I was called “green” which I now understand means new guy and mistakes. I made plenty but Jershon kept correcting where he needed to. Patient as always but stern about the rules or best practices of being a captain.
The 6th and 7th of Set I learned a hard lesson about jumping into battle when Jershon made it clear when the Kappa attacked if I left that wheel he would stab me for abandoning my post. There were seven trained sailors on this ship hand picked by better men than I and the rest of CrIsis. My role was to bark orders to keep their efforts coordinated and the ship stays moving! It was a clearly different approach to fighting I had never dealt with before. Even Callandor said if I did not learn to be the captain he would stop talking to me so clearly my path was set. I watched everyone and threw a couple of well placed Carpets of Adhesion Spells from the wheelhouse to assist. Sure enough they had it handled and Masters Asher and Burlap were the sneak attacks of the defending party because the Kappa focused on the taller fighters which gave Master Azariel time to use his invisible flaming flail to launch fireballs at them and the crew could gang up on the others not so engaged. The bear and wolf tore into others and ate happily on Kappa meat for a few days from those two raids! Brother Indaris is fast making friends on the ship because of his healing and leading the prayer time about four of the sailors attend nightly, including Jershon and I. Jershon made it clear to me in private I have earned nothing yet other than being a competent, mystical powered thug.
The 8th of Set we ran across our first pirates with me at the wheel. Jershon looking at me to see what I would do. One of the crew had gotten quite good at the Blazing Light Balista of Ra and I had people get ready and when they called out for us to surrender I told the crew to fire a warning shot and the rest of CrIsis to do the same but not hurt the boat only scare the hell out of them. I asked Master-Sister Caminata to speed up our wind to make following difficult. Let’s just say beams of light, items on their deck floating, a fireball flying overhead and a deck filled with rakes was rather discouraging and they thought the better of tangling with us. Jershon asked why those choices, and I said I wasn’t a pirate but I wanted them to understand I would end the fight permanently if they pushed anything. Before he could reply I started barking the orders to move starboard (right) to avoid a sandbar I had spotted. Then two more reefs before the day was over, and I managed to get “good job” from Jershon. He was as hard a teacher as Master A’zad was, though exhausted, I knew how lucky I was to have him aboard.
As I sit on wheelhouse writing this as one of the senior crew, and the only elf among the remaining seven sailors, has the wheel I can’t help but be afraid of how close I came to loosing everyone today. In a previous journal entry of this campaign we’re all on I had read about Demon Black Ships but they were all supposed to be gone with the White Paper Treaty. Well today I learned that is not true! Today we were targeted by such a black pit of Hades upon the sea I shan’t sleep well tonight.
It was just past high sun when the crow’s nest called down “SHIP DEAD AHEAD!” I looked and very soon I could see the blood red sails and black hull! Oh RA!!! people were moving into position and they didn’t know how just a few of these ships brought Timiro’s navy to its knees!!!!! We were not prepared and this black behemoth was THREE TIMES THE SIZE OF ROGTILDA!!! I know I can take a demon but if the riots of the ‘Games’ back in Lopania were any lesson these skilled crewman could not be replaced and we needed to avoid this fight at all costs. It was not that I could see one Baal-Rog but a group of them!!! Every bad report of those Hades-spawn ships I had heard was coming true right before my eyes. On top of all of this it was headed at us to ram the ship!!!
Before I could react I saw my friends leap into action and most of them forgot that what they have to keep them safe NONE of the crew has! I had no intention of engaging the ship but I was to slow to begin with orders as Jershon called for a hard pull to port as he hopped in front of the wheel front the other side I was on and started turning it as I then began to help yelling out why I didn’t want to fight the ship, and coating myself in mystical armor. Master Burlap to the rescue as he ensnared the will of their helmsman to follow a Mystic Bouncing Ball to our starboard side. Master-Sister Caminata re-did her previous efforts to speed up our wind to make following difficult. Master Asher also in the crows nest let go with an Anti-Magic Cloud Scroll making it even harder for us to be followed. Jershon mentioned I did the right thing, you can’t save anyone if you’re in danger of getting killed." When he pointed at the armor and that I did not leave the wheel I understood more.
After the rest of CrIsis went to sleep that night and the crew changed out hands for night duty I changed back to my eleven foot frame and girded myself for war. I went back above and here I sit waiting for the Demon Black Ship to return and prepared to wage the war to save the ship and my crew.
I hate this cursed month! A year ago our ship was robbed and this year we have been robbed again by Carl the Terrible, thief scourge of Caer Itom! We have now lost a piece of Osiris! The Right Index Finger was pilfered from Master Azariel! Yep I said it before and I will say it again I hate the month of Set!
Dawn on the 10th of Set was a blessing to see the Eye of Ra. When Jershon came on deck and saw me he cocked his head to port and asked if he should get a weapon. The Elven Helmsman told him about my watchdog activities as though I wasn’t even on deck! I was about to say something and was told to just grab the wheel Jershon asked the night helmsman to bring up food for the two of us before retiring. He got a yes sir and I was at least addressed by Mister Osric Xerx’ses. Jershon said now was a good as time as any to learn that as captain days like this might happen where sleep is for others. I am ultimately responsible for the ship and I knew the hours I would be on deck. Not getting enough rest – justified or not – was no excuse for shirking duty. The waves were very kind to me this day and we drilled degrees of turns all day using the wheel and every time I got it right he would hand over some food. I didn’t eat much that day and slept that night like a rock!
More drills occupied the 11th and 12th of Set, and I resumed my Osric form that night having seen two ships on the horizon that day. Then on the 13th of Set I can safely report I have seen the biggest city in the whole of Palladium! Caer Itom was visible so far out I thought I had missed a 10 or 20 leagues at sea! Jershon informed me I was going to do everything he said but I was bringing the ship into port! I asked him which set of docks he thought would be the safest and least expensive, having been warned by Master Azariel how much this city taxed everything. Did I mention it was big, like ten times the size of ANY OTHER CITY I HAVE EVER SEEN BIG!!! I am not even going to try an include a picture, its huge and my words do it no justice. I can only imagine this is what the Golden City of Baalgor would have looked like if it was still around, but maybe cleaner. Jershon mentioned Biboca Docks on the southern side of the ports and directed me appropriately, more than once he would nudge the wheel and tell me I was doing fine so I would not over think and make more mistakes. I was sweating so much when we finally docked it looked as though “just me” had been in a smelly rainstorm. Magic quickly resolved that issue and I earned two nods of approval from the crew before they jumped overboard to tie the ship to the dock.
Master Azariel asked about the appropriate bribes and Jershon filled him in. I sent a mystic pigeon to Master Alchemist Gabriel asking how do we find his shop, signed CrIsis, at the Biboca Docks. I asked Master Azariel to send a missive to this ‘Slayer of Mountains’ the Defilers and Elanu mentions in the early books of CrIsis. Jershon soon points out that mystic pigeons are taxed in the city and in short order the Masters of Biboca Docks arrives demanding his fees so he can keep up on the taxes.
We sicked Master Azariel on him with his charm and wit the poor sod never stood a chance. Sod? Master Burlap is rubbing off on me I think? Soon when he tried to mention another fee and a had an out stretched palm I shook his with two 100 Imperial coins making him mention our rat inspection was already done. He even produced a ledger mentioning that both Masters Halthozaar & Orghallar had accounts with credits in them. We paid for 30 days at the marina and tipped him very well.
Most of us stayed on the ship for three days while the crew got shore leave thanks to Jershon bringing it to our attention. We were sent a map with an " X " marking the location of his shop, and I replied we would be by on the 16th after the crew got back from shore leave. When they returned all of them looked very happy and one or two of them still had some of their pay! Heh. The map is a copy made by Brother Indaris, of one provided by Master Alchemist Gabriel after he gave our groups red hats, I’ll explain all of it below. The numbers on the map correspond to a ‘Guide Book’ which is sold separately for another fee!!! Suffice to say we are the yellow splotch near #20 and Master Alchemist Gabriel’s shop is #63. The Gold Coast Trading Company is not far from his at #70.
Now for our crappy walk which could have only sucked further had there been powdery, white, freezing, death falling from the sky! From the Biboca Docks we headed out following the Apprentice Alchemist Halthozaar (Azariel) as his entourage. For the record we agreed on this disguise as a group and Masters Asher & Burlap followed behind like dutiful slaves to not arouse suspicion. It started out simple enough with us hitting the main road leading from number #20 and passing #36 on the map. The road was a paved marvel to behold. Wagons, eight abreast with four coming and four going took up the center of the road. Hand drawn carts and single horses were on either side for coming and going and foot traffic was on the farthest edge of the road. When we passed the intersection at #36 someone called out to our illustrious Elf “HEY MISTER FANCY PANTS!” To which none of us deigned with a response but ALL the traffic on the road stopped and immeadiately headed the other direction! All of us were accosted and/or bumped into and then traffic returned to normal! We quickly headed forward an did not stop till we hit a park across from the Imperial Zoo which is #10 on the map.
Checking our belongings we had all been stolen from and Master Burlap chuckled that I had lost my copy of the Tristine Chronicles! Distraught I mentioned how much I liked that book, but he said with his jesters outfit jingling all the way, “Oh my you’re RICH, some kid steals your book and you’re not happy,” He made an inappropriate sound from his backside continuing, “ah Hades man, you probably just taught some kids how to read! Stolen Education!!!!”
I admit not knowing how to react because it had not occurred to me that most people couldn’t read. Knowing I could purchase another copy I gave up and was happy it was just a book. I was thrilled to not be carrying a piece of Osiris, because it could have been so much worse. Oh if I have only mentioned this to the others at the time. Master A’zad always said your reflections are always clearer than looking to the future.
The tragedy truly struck at the intersection between The Flame of Victory and the Imperial Arena. The Flame of Victory is an impressive public courtyard with an eternal flame in the center, commemorating all who died in the name of the Empire, which is #7 on the map. The Imperial Arena both Masters Azariel and Burlap said was the biggest fighting arena in the city, which is #15 on the map. At the aforementioned intersection we were besieged by beggars so we used our magic to feed them and this time we failed to notice the outlying beggars make their way in and back out once more. This time with the Right Index Finger of the Lawgiver! The truly sad part was those other beggars really did need the food! We finished making our way to Master Alchemist Gabriel’s shop and closed for the day to try and help us.
Turns out the first group of thieves by the docks was run by an Elf known as: Eskler. Those that purchase protection from his gang are given a special red hat to wear, to which the Alchemist had enough for us to all have one. It was the second gang that was likely the real threat run by someone called: Karl the Terrible.
He gave us the map that was copied into this log and marked the square-like corridor of the most crime in this city and where to avoid. Master Asher picked his merchandise he ordered back at the ‘Games.’ It was then I noticed an invisible, ant-looking type creature that was invisible. Turns out he is a bound Demon known as a Lasae, called Tim. Now this demonic critter is how Master Alchemist Gabriel gathered a great deal of his information regarding the city and the underworld of unscrupulous activity within it. It would seem Tim had stopped in to let the alchemist know he was off to perform that job he asked about before we had arrived. Then he saw Master-Sister Caminata and revealing his presence visually to everyone, tried to ask her out on a date in exchange for helping her get the “Finger” back!!! Needless to say our companion did not stoop to date a demon in exchange for any offer. I can’t say I blame her but I am beginning to suspect Demons are the true spectators of this war between light and dark gods.
After we left there a quick stop at Gold Coast turned into quite the meeting of another Jeridu, that seemed to know Xandria back in Sekti-Abtu. At first we had no idea the banker assigned to us was in a metamorphic disguise like mine. Once we explained in a ward room we were CrIsis Landaric, the Jeridu revealed his identity. When I remarked about Xandria and the other Jeridu sailor aboard the ship we were surprised he knew our scholar and in their travels they had been separated. Seems he is quitting his job and going to leave for the Holy City on the morrow. At least some good came of the day. Master-Sister Caminata was also a big help cementing how the CrIsis Sailors would be paid and have access to cash in our absence going forward. I am so blessed to have good people around me.
Using the alternate routes we made it back to the ship unscathed by thieves that seem to rule the streets in this colossal city. Time to help out around the ship and try to get to know the crew.
Till my next entry,
P.S. Although I am no priest may the Lawgiver’s judgement keep you and yours safe.
>>> Written by Xerx’ses Goldenhorn, upon the of the closing hours of the 16th of Set, 70th Year of the Wolfen Empire, 2nd year of King Guy the First of the Timiro Kingdom, and 343 year of the Dominion of Man. <<<
Lady in yellow dress, picture by Nomuh.
Alternate names of Isis from Wikipedia.
Xerx’ses hooman form of Osric from Game-Art Post.
Pictures of snowflakes from Jssanda on Deviant Art.
All Maps were from PFRPG® Book 8: The Western Empire™ and edited by me.