Ad Astra Per Arcana

Katya's Journal Part 18 - A Stranger Among Us

NOBODY goes into my lab but ME!

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HODEY!” I growl loudly as I follow the sounds of cawing down the hall. “This is your fault!” I finally find the artificer in the helm room and stare at him coldly. “What were you doing in my rooms?”

“Hey, it wasn’t me… somebody broke into my lab too!” Hodey protests. “That’s why I was asking you to make the powder!”

“Someone broke into the Armory too actually,” offers Waylond.

My braid strikes out to wrap around Hodey’s waist and lift him up into the air. “Then why did Omen see a Kobold leaving my room?” I yell as I give him a slight shake for good measure.

“Well…” he begins with chagrin.

“You brought more of them on board… didn’t you?” I growl darkly.

“Hodey, you didn’t!” gasps Constance.

“But… I got them tuxedos and everything!” he protests. I set him down with a grunt of disgust as I cross my arms and look at him evily.

“Well, we might as well just go ask them,” offers Waylond.

It doesn’t take long to find two of the offending creatures… but I have to admit, they do look kind of cute in the tuxes. I still want to kill them for breaking into my room, though. Decisions, decisions…

Waylond walks up and grabs the two Kobolds by their suit collars and lifts them up into the air. “Spill it, little guys… why are you messing with our stuff?”

“It’s not us, we swear!” they squeal in Draconic. “We just wanted a job and a place to stay…”

“Omen?” I turn to the raven on my shoulder with a questioning glance. Unfortunately the answering squawk of “Kobolds!” doesn’t help me.

“Well you know, I DID cover my rooms with that powder you made for me,” offers Hodey. “Why don’t we summon the crew and check who has blue hands?”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” Waylond replies as he sets the Kobolds down. “Katya, why don’t you and I question the crew? You’re good at scaring people and stuff.”

“Meanwhile Hodey and I will search the rest of the ship for any stowaways,” says Constance.

The announcement is made across the ship for a gathering of the crew in the ballroom. Waylond paces up and down huffing and snorting in feined anger as the last of them shuffle in. Once they are all accounted for I let the show begin… with a though I levitate off the floor and drop my disguise, my hair flaring out like snakes as I hiss, “STAY OUT OF THE PRIVATE ROOMS!”

From the sounds of startled cries and knees knocking together, I get the impression that my message was received. I mutter a quick incantation and scan the crew for any magical effects or items they might’ve used to get past my wards… but there’s nothing.

I turn to Waylond to see if he can offer any insight when suddenly Constance and Hodey barge in through the doors toting a prisoner tied in ropes. Stu, the ship cook, gasps in shock as he stares at a replica of himself… but with a very melted face.

“Well it looks like you’ve been busy,” I chortle as I take in the tell-tale signs of a Doppelganer. I try a quick charm spell, but am not surprised when the creature merely shakes it off. “I tried to be nice…” I coo before I lean down and scratch a hex into his forehead and mutter the incantation for a curse. That seems to do it as it squeals like a kicked puppy… but still it doesn’t talk… even after Waylond ads a broken pinky finger to its problems.

“Hmmph… maybe he’s got a spell on him or something?” he asks in frustration as he takes off his hat and scratches his head.

Silly me… I should’ve done that first! I refocus my eyes with the detection spell still in effect, and notice a strange aura about the creature. “There’s definitely a silence spell involved… as well as a powerful geas.”

“So maybe it couldn’t help doing what it did?” Constance asks hopefully before patting down the Doppelganger and blushing a bright red when she accidentally touches its…well… what would you call it for doppelgangers, anyway? “Aha!” she exclaims as she removes a small silver amulet that looks like a textured rectangle.

“Nice make… looks like it offers protection from wards,” offers Hodey as he peers at it.

“Well if nobody minds, I’ll just…” Constance begins.

“Considering your past history with drugging me and stealing my stuff, I’d have to say I do mind… a lot, actually.” I reply with a raised brow as she tries to don the amulet.

“Fine… here Hodey, you can take it.” Constance says with a pout. Oh yeah… much better. Then again, that crafty bastard probably doesn’t even need the amulet to break past my wards.

“Well… we can’t question him because the magic is too powerful… so what do we do with him? Kill him?” asks Waylond.

“Can’t we just take him prisoner and deal with him later?” asks Constance.

“I know… how about we tie him to a rope and put him off the port bow until he slips into stasis?” I offer. “That way he won’t be hurt, he also won’t cause us any more trouble, and we can find a way to question him later.”

“Yeah… that should work, actually.” Waylond picks up the doppelganger under his arm and turns to the rest of the crew still huddled nervously. “False alarm, guys… sorry about that. But do please be aware that the laboratories are off limits and potentially very dangerous… so for your own sake, don’t go in there.”

“In the meantime I suggest we go through our inventory and make sure nothing is missing,” says Constance.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next morning I’m awoken by a bell echoing across the ship. “Gods damn that ringing… this better be good!” I mumble as I stumble out of bed to join the others on deck to find Waylond holding a frayed rope and scratching his head.

“The sneaky bastard escaped!”

“Well let’s turn the ship around and find him, then!” replies Constance.

“And spend all day looking for a needle in a haystack? No thanks,” I mutter. “Besides… how did he escape stasis, anyway?”

Our thoughts on the doppelganger are soon interrupted by more pressing matters, however, as the sounds of shouting and panic reach us from the other side of the ship.

“What the heck is going on?” bellows Waylond when suddenly space ripples next to our ship and reveals a Hammership ready to launch grappling hooks. A quick glance at their standard reveals a black flag with a red Illithid skull on its field.

“Fantastic…. pirates!”

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DungeonMasterLoki Kenari_Sanura

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