Speak of the devil and she shows up, apparently; I must remember that next time we get separated. It seems that the sorceress has a silver tongue like the priests of Set and can talk herself out of legal problems. Once again… more reason to keep on her good side, I think.
Lenata and Ef Utan are talking about us going somewhere new again… with something about grey birds and two-headed coins. I nod pleasantly as my mind drifts to what the Mimir mentioned of the Library of Thoth in the Outlands. Wouldn’t that be a Coup of the Ages if I could bring proof of such a place to the Thoth priests and their school back home? I can just imagine it now: “Ah yes, what a quaint recreation you have here… but it pales in comparison to the hallowed halls of the Gods that I visited personally.” Yes… I will definitely have to go there someday.
I focus back on my companions only to find that they’re still on the same discussion. Didn’t we decide to go, already? Why are we still here? Perhaps if I seem determined to go to the Library now, they will be more determined to go to this grey-place and we can finally get out of this dank city.
Besides, it’s as my father told me: “Even if one should blunder… at least blunder forward.”
Now this is an interesting place.
Apparently our portal dropped us out of a jewelry store in the middle of a bustling town called Greyhawk. And here I thought it was the name of the plane. The city must be of note if these planar travelers have heard of it.
Lenata wants to bury herself in books, again… this time at their university. I nod again and do my best to keep up with them as we pass what looks like a much more interesting bar fight relocating itself in the street. Perhaps once we get there I can leave Lenata to her books and finally explore one of the many cities we keep finding ourselves in.
“What do you mean you’re going out? I thought you were the one who wanted to get to a library so bad!”
I can’t believe she was so surprised, honestly. She is the researcher after all… I just wanted to get HER to a library so we can find the next step on our path. Meanwhile… this trip isn’t going to be a cheap one, so I should see if we can find ourselves some opportunities for quick employment around here.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one with the idea of leaving the priest to the dusty tomes… as Sapphira and Ef Utan have left to trade in the Bytopian silver, while Vedis has decided to accompany me looking for employment. She has a nice voice… perhaps I can teach her some of our songs from the temple if we get a chance to perform again.
By the Gods… what did I do to deserve the wrath of monks? Did I bump one in the street or something? Spill a beer on one? All I wanted to do was read the job board, but apparently that was enough to draw the wrath of a Shou monk Ibn El-Sharmoota. He kindly left a few bruises to remember him by before he disappeared in a cloud of smoke muttering about “Not meddling in things.” I just love it when dire warnings are vague.
These monks should do their research next time. I was just happy to be traveling and along for the ride until they decided to meddle in things; because now I have a reason to help Lenata succeed.
“Does anyone else want to pick a fight if I try to read this thing?” I yell to the bar crowd in frustration. “If you do, I’d like to get it over with now!” At least the large bull named Nox found me funny; I’m rather glad he didn’t take me up on my offer.
Vedis is ready to go back to the temple to take care of our wounds… but someone has inadvertently caught my eye. When you’ve traveled through multiple planes of existence to get to a place, seeing a sign of home there can really draw your attention. “I’ll be right back,” I muttered to Vedis, “I think I see someone I know.”
It seems there is a mystery to my homeland, if our people are spread so far across the lands without knowledge of each other. This priestess of Isis… she doesn’t know of Mulhorrand, but apparently this Al-Malamut is similar and at least on the same plane of existence as my home, if still far from each other. I must see if I can weave this moonstone into my braid… for if she can indeed find me again through it, I don’t want to lose it. The farther you travel, the closer you should hold pieces of home.
For all her obsessions with dusty books and flying fish cities, the priestess definitely has an invaluable healing touch. Now that we’re back at the University and Sapphira and Ef Utan have returned with success, it seems that it’s time for rest. As long as the food is warm and the beds are bug free, I don’t care what hangs above the door.
Not too shabby a place, this time. At the very least, it looks like they know how to have a good time. I will take the initiative with the bartender to see if an impromptu performance can get us food and lodging for the night while the rest find us a seat.
I begin to sway to one of my favorite dances that we performed for fertility rituals when what sounds like a toad tries to escape from Veddis’ throat. What a time for stage fright! I wince inwardly and plaster a smile on my face as I keep dancing, pausing momentarily with a sympathetic glance at the stone faced girl making her way to the bar. I remember the first time I insisted that I could do the dance of the seven veils for the matron… it took me a good ten minutes to get untangled from them all when I stumbled over my own feet. It is the life of a performer, unfortunately. I will have to encourage her to try again soon.
Once the performance is done, I nod to my friends and make my way through the crowd. Thank goodness for leather breeches… at least they offer some sort of protection from grasping hands. I almost turn and hiss when I feel a tug on my tail… but I am more interested in warm food than a fight right now. Instead I turn and smile sweetly fangs and all as I reply “Tail pulling costs extra,” and with a swish of my tail I make my way to our table. I hope I got fur in his beer.
Ah mutton… we meet again, only to have to part again so soon. And look… you even left me a present this time. Upon closer inspection, however… it seems that this one is thanks to the Shou again. Nice little dagger… not poisoned, not trapped, and big surprise, no messages on it either. They definitely have a thing for being vague, don’t they? Well this is great… now the rest of think that the Shu is after me for something I did. I’ve been on my best behavior… so something tells me that “things” has to have something to do with The Spelljammer.
If the gods are kind, I will have the opportunity to return the dagger and ask them myself. In the meantime, I will set a trap on the door of our room using a thunderstone. I would hate to be asleep if company decided to drop by.
I’m almost insulted that nothing happened in the night. Perhaps they think if they wait that we will grow scared? Hmph… bored, more like it.
It seems that the rest of the group would like to go shopping again before we leave. I roll my eyes because I’ve been ready to travel since I set foot outside my home in Gheldeneth. Why are we always preparing? Why can’t we just go?
A flash of red silk and yellow brocade catches the corner of my eye and I disappear into the crowd; those bastards aren’t going to surprise me this time, for I will be against him as a crocodile on the water… as silent as an enemy in the necropolis.
It seems that we’re being followed by the Shou now… this time by an Elf with a strange glass ball in his hand that he’s using to follow us. I let Ef Utan know that we’re being trailed, and fade into the crowd again to wait and see if the Elf does anything when they leave the market. Perhaps he will provide a clue as to why they are doing this?
I have waited as long as I could as the others finish gathering their coins for the trip… but it seems that the Elf will provide me no information unless I take it from him. After my last encounter I have no desire to fight one of these alone, so distraction seems to be the key. Perhaps I can find a use for this thunderstone after all…
I can’t help but laugh as I scoop up the scrying device from the monk bowed over grasping his ears. Let’s see you dodge that, you Ibn El-Sharmoota… and here’s a kick in the guts for good measure. You never grab a tiger by the tail, my friend… and the same goes for Catfolk.
I quickly catch up to the rest of them and hurry them around the corner as the city guard comes to investigate the curiously loud noise. I hope they interrogate that monk all night.
We quickly make our way back to the jewelers store and toss the coins through the doorway. Where did they say we were going next? Spiral space? Braal? I really must start writing these names down…
Damn, it looks like my diversion put a crack in the scrying stone. I wonder if I can get it fixed?
I’ve never seen so many trees in my life! Wood is a precious commodity in Mulhorand… I can’t even begin to imagine what they would think of this place. Then again… probably best that they don’t know; the way the Pharaoh has been, they’d probably only cut this place down to build their war machines. If they weren’t so full of themselves, they could probably learn a thing or two from these Elves and the way they mold life itself to do their bidding. Not only do they build their cities in the trees… but the plants themselves fly them through space.
It seems that we are not to stay here long, though. Lenata is eager to find passage on a ship because it seems we are on our way to her and Vedis’ home of Bral. Perhaps I can at least obtain a souvenir of this place before we leave… maybe a nice silk scarf? If I am to play the part of entertainer, I will need my props after all.
By Bast’s big toe…is this what feels like to travel like a god? Stars that were once so far away seem within my grasp as the ship begins to move. The bosun has to pull me away from the window to remind me of my duties as ship entertainer on this trip.
We finally reach our destination of this Rock of Braal… and from the looks of it as we come in for a landing I can see how it earned its name. For what seems like the 100th time they tell us not to start a fire anywhere. That’s ok… the ones I start are usually more spiritual than physical. Usually.
As we walk into the door of the bar that Vedis called home, I find myself biting my tongue as I try and figure out where exactly to look that I don’t find myself staring at the strange floating ball of flesh and tentacles that apparently is her boss, Luigi. Fortunately there is a less… disturbing person to look at next to him ready with drinks floating through the air towards us. Ah mages… you have to love them sometimes. I notice the nod of recognition that passes between him, Ef Utan and Sephira as I eagerly grab one of the drinks out of the air and down it.
“Took you guys long enough to get here… let’s fill you in.”
Illustration by Syreene