“Oh Hodekin…” I call out to the Kobold inventor once I’m back on deck. Eventually I manage to find him with Waylond, just in time to find out that he’s given the Giff a machine to reproduce the singing of Gully Dwarves. I groan and shake my head in disbelief as the Giff turns a crank on the box and the tinny sounds of what can only loosely be called “singing” comes out of it. Still… if it makes the Giff happy… it’s much better than the alternative, I imagine.
“Hodey! I do believe I’ve found something worthy of your skills,” I tell him as I lean down suggestively and put an arm around his shoulders. “We found this ancient magical device, you see…”
“You want to let the Kobold do what?”
“By the 9 Hells, Solon… he’s just going to check it out!” I reply.
“But… look what you already did investigating that thing!”
“And the ship and everyone on it is fine,” I groan in frustration. “Look at it this way… if we can remove what’s in there, then nobody else will ever get hurt by this thing floating through space willy-nilly. Right?”
“… you have a point.”
“Last time I checked, I had more than one,” I joke as Waylond finishes tieing the rope around Hodekins waist.
“Off you go!” Waylond cheers as he lobs the small Kobold towards the gem and follows him with his own rope.
It’s hard to tell what he did to the gem from our position on the deck… but when a sound of shattering is followed by a frenzied Kobold scrambling to catch a cloud of floating shards around him, it’s pretty easy to guess.
“Make sure you get the book!” I whisper fervently to the Giff.
Eventually they both make it back on deck with Hodekin grinning wildly over the sack full of crystal shards he now has.
“Looks like that casing is made out of mithral! Now that we’ve broken the thing, I say we tow it in and scrap it for what it’s worth!” says Waylond as he reaches into his pants and pulls out a leather-bound book and hands it to Solon. “Here’s what was in it, though.”
“Oh sure, you’re upset about the gem, but you’ve got no problems with an unknown spellbook,” I say to Solon with a roll of my eyes as he runs his hands over the cover of the book. “Just be careful… because you know what these things usually have on them, right?”
“Evil curses?” he replies without looking up from the book.
“Fire traps,” I answer with a solid tap of my black nail on the cover.
Solon audibly gulps before taking a more discerning look at the book. He peers at the edgings and markings for any signs of traps before handing it over to me. “Seems okay… perhaps they didn’t think they’d need anything extra since it already encased in a gem and floating out in space.”
“Or perhaps they thought no one in their right minds would want it,” I chuckle as I eagerly flip open the cover to read the first page. “I guess they never visited Ribcage.” I tuck the book under my arm and head back below decks to find a quiet place to read without interruptions from curious gully dwarves. _ Preklikin’s Book of Cults… if Solon knew this was a dark tome, who knows what kind of fit he’d have this time.
A month passes in the flow, much of it with my nose in that book. I’ve never seen such intricate rituals and spells… and it takes much study before I can even begin to wrap my mind around it. I just know that there is magic in here rife for the taking… if only I can decipher it with the proper key. I will keep trying…
…if the dreams don’t get to me first.
I find myself wandering the hold during one of those sleepless nights towards the mithral remnants of the gem container, perhaps in the vain hope that a new clue can be found to help me with my endeavors. It seems that others have beaten me to it, however, as I find Constance discussing its origins with Waylond.
“This is a Founder’s relic, I just know it!” whispers Constance fervently as she points to a symbol etched on the inside of the chamber. “See this? It’s a symbol of the Juna, the very first starfaring race!” Waylond gazes at her curiously during her diatribe as wisps of her hair begin to blow about as if tossed by a non-existent wind.
“The Juna? Would your Seekers Guild know more about them?” I ask as I join them in the conversation.
“Is it worth more money now?” asks Waylond eagerly.
“Assuredly… to the right person, anyway.” Constance replies.
“All right then, what are we waiting for!” chuckles Waylond with a grin.
Hmmn… the Seekers… I may have to have a talk with them myself.
Eventually I’m able to rip myself away from the book to learn some of what it means to be a magic using pilot of one of these ships. I hate the feeling of losing a part of myself like that… but oh, the experience it gives you in return!
I’m watching and taking note of Constance flying the ship when she brings us to what they call a “sphere,” which is what encases each set of worlds and keeps them safe in the flow. Apparently we need to restock our supply of air for the ship.
A portal opens up into the side of the sphere (Constance’s doing, I imagine) and we fly into it to find the inside covered in huge glowing white flowers and black vines. Hmmph… I’m guessing Elves from the looks of the horticulture.
Waylond eagerly whips out his musical box and cranks it to emit a well-meaning but painful welcome as three Elven Warbirds (akin to the one I saw on the Astral Plane) appear to greet us. They are definitely a majestic sight with their vast wing expanse made from what look like delicate leaves. The thought hits me quickly that I should sketch one since I’m not running for my life this time, and I promptly sit down in the bridge and whip out a parchment and charcoal from my pouches so that I can begin sketching. For that matter… while I’m thinking of it… I should get a few more sketches in. Perhaps one of the elves… and ah yes, the mithral-crystal device.
“Looks like the elves want to send a boarding party,” Waylond announces. “Just to be safe, I’m going to go herd the Dwarves below decks.”
I take my cue from the Giff, and decide to play it safe in the shadows as Khal suddenly comes down with a case of the runs and abssconds to the toilet. My appearance isn’t exactly the most comforting to strangers… so there’s no reason for me to excite them needlessly. Constance and Solon seem eager to talk to them anyway…
I can only pick out bits and pieces of the conversation between Constance, Solon, and the representative from the Elves who comes aboard in his silver plate mail with leafy wings, as I’m too busy sketching the wonderous site to pay attention. From what I could make out, however, it looks like we got the air and additional supplies we needed, and Hodey is going to live another day thanks to Waylond’s quick thinking humor.
A few days later Solon is taking a turn flying the ship. I’m talking to Waylond about his boots and trying to get a sketch drawn for him when a strange mist begins to form on deck.
“Bleeders!” Waylond belows in warning as a wave of blood crashes over the rail and onto the ship. “We’re going to need magic for this one!”
I quickly mutter an incantation for magical armor and supplement it with a spell of shielding from the wand in my belt as the others move to quickly join us on deck with their weapons in hand. Magical attacks… An incantation comes to mind and with a few muttered words the end of one of my braids begins to glow coldly and snaps out to hit the Bleeder with a decisive strike. The spot where it hit soon begins to turn white and spread as frost quickly forms over the creature and turns its once liquid state into that of a large ice cube that cracks into bits all over the deck.
Waylond moves to sweep the pieces off the deck and back into space when suddenly the ship heaves, throwing Constance, Hodey, and the remants of the Bleeder off of the ship. Fortunately I manage to grab the rail I was near and hold on for dear life as my braids lash out to grab Constance by the ankle and Hodey by the… gods… I don’t even want to know why my hair is wet now.
“Where’s Khal?” I call out as the ship finally rights itself. Before anyone can answer, however, I hear the tell-tale sounds of someone getting sick over the side of the rail.