Kora’s migrane headaches pretty much explain her behaviors and Tolvin is locked in his quarters under guard by Word, so that just leaves the Shu seer to investigate while we make our way to this “Shadowsphere.”
If the others truly suspect Dassam of anything, then they can very well ask him themselves, can’t they? I can testify that he doesn’t hide anything under his clothes other than an impressive…well…the seer, right? I was talking about the Shu seer. Yeah.
“I think Lenata should talk to him!” I offer over breakfast the next day. “They both talk to their gods and all… so maybe he’d be willing to talk to her? If he’s lamenting about how he’s ‘not whole’ and doesn’t seem to be radiating much magic, then maybe there’s an off-chance he doesn’t realize the limitations of the phologiston?”
“Why would the EIN send us a seer who has no experience with the flow?” Vedis asks doubtfully.
“We’re assuming that the EIN sent us these people because they were helpful. Heck… I think they just sent us these guys because they couldn’t figure out which of the three was the spy and they wanted us to do their dirty work,” I scoff.
“How exactly do I broach that kind of subject?” Lenata asks.
“Well, if the smooth-talk isn’t your kind of thing, I’ve found that the truth works pretty well,” I offer with a shrug. “Half the time people don’t believe me when I tell them the truth anyway…”
“O-kay…” Lenata reluctantly agrees, “I’ll give it a shot and we’ll see what happens.”
The rest of the day passes (surprisingly) rather uneventfully other than a passing school of playful… well… “space” dolphins, I guess. I thought we’d have more trouble with the Spawn of Zyros, but I guess these fanatical lizardmen are too wrapped up in their God-worship to bother with spelljammers. Small blessings, eh?
The next day Lenata informs us that the seer is pretty closed-lipped about the whole thing, but said he’d talk to her later about it. At least she asked Takero to continue watching him… because I know when my tail is being pulled.
It’s not till the next day that something truly interesting happens. Unfortunately with us, “interesting” doesn’t always mean “good.”
Usually when my hammock rocks out of control it’s because Dassam and I are playing around… but this time we’re both actually sleeping when the ship comes to a sudden stop and I find myself grabbing onto the netting. Once everything rights itself I hop out of the hammock and hurriedly throw on my shiftweave and my gunbelt before heading to the deck to see what (if anything) we might have hit.
When I get above I run over to Hatuk who is talking heatidly with the Positai as the other Hadozee whisper to themselves. “What the heck happened? Did we hit something?” I ask as I lean over the rail to scan for damage.
“Nothing that we’ve been able to see… we just… stopped,” Hatuk says with a shrug before hopping into the rigging to scold some of the other crew.
“I’m giving it all she’s got,” I can hear Ef Utan declare through the tubes. “Why isn’t she moving?”
Hmmn… there doesn’t seem to be anything out there causing us to stop that I can see… and it doesn’t look like the ship is pushing against anything invisible, so…
Waitaminute. Why is Ef Utan piloting? Isn’t this Lenata’s shift? My stomach drops as I remember what happened to Kelson when he was struck with Spelljammer Sickness. Any curing I could provide wouldn’t help her… but at least I can help the rest of the crew that got knocked about when we stopped. At least Ef Utan is there to help her, and probably the others too.
It’s when I’m using my wand to help set a particularly nasty broken arm that a rather irritated Kora stomps up to me. “I’ve got some bad news about the ship… have you seen the captain?”
“Vedis? I’d try the Helm-room,” I reply over my shoulder. “If not there, maybe her quarters?”
“Thanks, I’ll try her quarters…” I hear her mumble as she leaves.
“Hey, at least bad news is better than no news, right?” I yell after her. Once I make sure the crew above are ok, I head down below decks to see if I can catch what Kora has to say.
“…a saragaso is like a dead zone,” I make out as I jog down the stairs. “This one just happens to be a dead zone for things like wood and metal,” Kora explains with a frustrated sigh. “Everything by all means should be working… it just… isn’t.”
“Well, we could always use the sails and just go somewhere else, right?” I ask as I lean against the doorjamb.
“Yes, let’s just go to another plane and move out of the saragaso before we switch back!” Vedis agrees with a snap of her fingers.
“Excuse me… you want to do WHAT?” Kora asks incredulously.
“We’re going to use our special sails to switch to another plane, move past the saragaso, and then switch back to the Prime Material,” Vedis explains as she takes Kora by the shoulder. “Please, don’t tell anyone else about this…”
“I have to report this to the EIN when we return,” Kora replied.
“The EIN are nowhere near here right now and those sails are going to remain secret,” I retort with a sigh, “so it’s time to decide, Kora. Either you can keep our secret, stay with us and be the engineer on a haunted ship where you can be yourself headaches and all… or… we can always put you in the paddleboat with Tolvin and you both can explain things to the EIN if they still exist by the time you finally make it back to civilization.”
Vedis gasps, apparently shocked by my ultimatum. Funny… considering this is more of a chance than Lenata was going to give Tolvin… what’s a few hundred years to an Elf, anyway?
“So, how is Lenata, by the way?” I ask Vedis. I’ve said my peace to Kora and she can’t exactly tell the EIN anything until we get back, so we’ll worry about her later.
“The shock of the stop knocked her unconscious, but she should be okay after some rest,” Vedis replied. “Ef Utan is taking his shift early in her stead.”
“Allright then… Kora, why don’t you help me get the sails ready? This is going to be fun!”
“I don’t know if the Ethereal would be a good choice…” Ef Utan says as he scratches his chin. “We aren’t really sure how far away our destination is, so we don’t want to chance totally passing it by with the distance differences and all.”
“Well, I’ve always wanted to try the Elemental Plane of Air…” I suggest.
“Hmmn… we do need fresh air for the ship, but all things considered, we don’t really know about the distance differences there, either. One good gust of air and we could be halfway across the flow.” Suddenly he smiles. “I know… how about we go to somebody’s afterlife? I hear Ysgard is nice this time of year.”
Ysgard….Ysgard…. “Wait.. the Norse? Aren’t they a bit of a rowdy bunch?” I say doubtfully.
“Compared to Acheron, Ysguard is a picnic vacation,” Ef Utan scoffs. “Trust me… you’ll like it!”
From the videogame Viking: Battle for Asgard
“Over there is the World Tree that holds their plane together,” Ef Utan points out as we all hang out on deck to appreciate the view. “Underneath us is the constant battle of Ragnarok. Great thing is that this place is not only positive dominant (which means we heal faster), but it’s a plane of strife, so if you die here in battle, you come back again!”
“Good to know,” I say as I flip my toothpick out amongst the throngs. “Unless you happen to know where we come back though… I don’t think I’ll be checking things out anytime soon.”
To Ef Utan’s credit, I am quite impressed with the place. I don’t think I’d want this to be my afterlife anytime soon, however… as the war surging beneath our ship over the vast disc of Ysgard seems to have been going on for quite a while. That tree, though… that’s something else as it stretches beyond the eye can see. Maybe when we’re less occupied with EIN matters, we can check this place out more thoroughly.
As we’re contemplating the scenery, a groggy Lenata stumbles out on deck, grunts, and quickly goes back to her quarters. “Seeing as we’ve still got wounded and all,” I suggest to Ef Utan, “maybe once we’ve travelled long enough we should stick around for a bit and make sure everyone is healed.”
“Good idea,” Ef Utan nods. “Considering the shit we’re bound to get into, best to have the crew in better spirits.”
Indeed… I think we’re going to need all the help we can get.