With supplies finally loaded and tariff’s paid, we finally leave Refuge to take off for points unknown in search of… well… the unknown. But hey, at least we’re getting paid for it, right?
What seems like weeks pass as those of us with magical talents (myself included) are taught the ways of Helms thanks to Constance. I have to remember not to snicker when she’s honestly trying to help us… it’s all Hodey’s fault for telling me those nicknames he has for her.
Speaking of Hodey… I wonder where he’s gotten off to?
“Found something! Squawk! Found something!”
I follow the distinctive call of my familiar to find the aforementioned Kobold and Solon staring up at one of the archways leading away from the bridge. Omen greets me with a ruffle of feathers and hops to my outstretched hand as I walk up behind them.
“What gives, guys?”
“Check out this writing along the arch,” replies Solon as he runs his hand along the worn Elven script. “It’s pretty old… but from what I can tell there is a charm of sorts on the boat that helps the pilot fly the ship, as well as to find…well… find something.”
“There’s a secret compartment up there! Look!” says Hodekin as he points up to where the keystone of the arch would be. Solon runs his fingers along it and after a moment there is a soft click and it opens to reveal a scroll wrapped in a green silk cord with platinum beads.
“What is it?” I ask curiously as he carefully unties the scroll and reads it.
“It seems to be a magical deed to the ship,” Solon replies with a shrug. “Apparently this ship was a gift to Prince Drax from someone named Bigby.”
“So wait a minute… this Prince Drax from Greyhawk was given a ship called Greyhawk that looks like crap but is actually specifically made to find whatever it is we’ve been sent to find over 250 years later… and we’re on the same ship.” A pain starts to form in my temple and I rub it as I groan. “Okay… I need to contemplate this mind-staggering coincidence somewhere dark and quiet.” I’m not sure why… but my head hasn’t hurt like this since those weird dreams I got reading that book.
After a few hours nap I’m woken up by the feeling of sudden stillness about the ship. Making my way to the bridge reveals the cause of my unease: we seem to have arrived at our destination.
“What in the name of the Light is that?” exclaims Solon as he points out towards a large metallic spider-like ship slowly spinning through the flow.
“Do I need to paint a big X on it for you?” laughs Waylong as he hefts some rope over his shoulder and walks out on deck. I quickly follow after him because if he’s going over there, I want to know what’s going on.
I wave my hand over the Giff with a quick incantation as he ties the rope around himself and around the rail. “Another one of your talking spells?” he grunts.
“I thought you liked it when the voices in your head talked back,” I joke as the others make their way to the deck.
“Only when they’re pretty,” Waylond retorts as he pushes off deck and floats over to the other ship to tie the rope.
“Should he be going over there alone?” asks Solon.
“I think he’s just tying off a rope so we can all go over,” I reply.
“Wait… he’s tying us to a spinning ship?” asks Solon, eyes widening in fear as he suddenly runs over to the deck and pulls out a dagger to try and cut the rope.
“Shit!” I hear Waylond mutter via my spell just seconds before the ship lurches from the rope wrapping around the other ship. Fortunately Solon was already holding on to the rail, and with a quick grab from my braids I was able to support Hodey and myself.
“There we go!” Solon cheers in relief as his dagger finally cuts the rope loose from the railing.
“Sorry about that, guys… is everyone ok?” Waylond asks sheepishly after landing back on the deck. “There’s an entrance to the ship, but for the life of me I can’t get the blasted thing open!”
“Why don’t you take Hodekin and Solon back to the ship and see if they can get it open?” I suggest. “I’ll stay here so we can communicate, in case anything goes wrong. At least until you get the thing open, anyway,” I wink at Hodey, who snickers in reply. If there’s new magic to be found in that ship… you can bet I’ll want to check it out. Until then… I’m more than happy to leave the locked doors to the professionals.
After much cursing and bashing with large objects, the door is eventually given up on because of a decided lack of handles, latches, or power. By the 9 Hells… how did these people do anything, anyway? Strange tech or not, fortunately for us windows are still breakable wherever this ship is from. Waylond succeeds in shattering one of the opaque glass windows with his battle axe and I make my way over, leaving Khal to pilot the Greyhawk.
Eventually I find the others scratching their heads in confusion over what I assume is the Helm room of the ship.
“I sat at the helm, but nothing happened!” pouts Constance. “Maybe the Captain had a manual for it?”
“Broke piece of junk!” grumbles Hodey as he kicks a console. “None of this stuff is powered by magic.”
“You know, I’ll bet that weird gun came from here,” I mutter to myself as I look around. “Hey Hodey… why don’t you and Solon search the Captain’s quarters for anything interesting while Constance and I look around some of the crates here?”
Fortunately when it comes to ransacking, you don’t have to tell the Kobold twice that there’s some to be done.
“So… let’s see what we’ve got here,” I grunt as I pry open one of the crates with my dagger to reveal case upon case of dusty bottles. “You’ve got to be kidding me…” I grab one of the bottles and wipe it off to reveal a label that says Old Troll’s Piss. “Alien technology… and they use it to run alcohol?”
“Sirian Panther Sweat,” Constance reads with a grimace as she pulls out another bottle. “Never had it, but it sounds gross.”
“All depends… what’s a panther?” I chuckle as Hodey and Solon come back into the room with some papers in hand. “Find anything?”
“These seem to be invoices for those crates,” Solon replies as he scans one of them. “Apparently they were to be delivered to Archmage Gamelon Idelgear, as well as a place called The Laughing Beholder.” He hands a small book over to Constance. “There was also this ship’s log if you want to look at it.”
“So let’s deliver it and get the money!” suggests Hodey as he rubs his hands together.
“First things first, we need to get this thing working,” Constance reminds us as she starts flipping through the book. “The Dragon Empire… I wonder where that is?” she mutters to herself as she sits back in the Captain’s chair.
“Come on, I’ll keep you company while you work your magic on the engines,” I grin at Hodekin.
“So… what you’re saying then, is that this ship has a non-magical way to open portals?” I ask Hodekin incredulously. From what I can tell from my studies it takes powerful magics to open portals to other dimensions… how in the Abyss could they have done it?
“And The Greyhawk has the ability to detect those portals,” Hodey replies before sticking his head into an engine compartment.
“Just think of it, Hodey… the power one could hold… let alone the money one could make with something like this! Not to mention the potential for mass destruction on a universal scale… but that’s neither here nor there. No wonder everybody wants this thing!”
Suddenly there is a warning bellow from Waylond. “Company’s coming!” Hodey grunts and gives me an evil glare.
“Hey, don’t look at me like that… it’s not like I summoned them! You just work on getting this blasted thing working or we’re all sitting ducks here!”