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Summary 299: Mostali Raid! (2022-05-19)

Giraine Summaries

You pass along the eastern edge of the great craggy island of Curustus, where distant plumes of thick smoke rise from volcanic vents active since the destruction of Jrustela. Its lower elevations are thickly forested and most of its coastline plunging precipitiously into the depths of the Curustus Passage, with few beaches or other shallow regions. To the east, sometimes open ocean stretches but you also pass some small islands and reefs. Fish are abundant, and Jamar calls some to give themselves to the Miswar to feed the living crew, flopping onto the decks to gasp their final breaths. So, realising just how hungry you are, you have a real meal for the first time since your heroquest to the Sky and Underworld. [you regained some MP] In time, continuing your northwards journey unharassed at a good speed, you also pass the island variably called Polol or Popol, or both. There are some distant ships visible, but none get close enough to you to be of any concern.

             Next, you hurry through Orange Guild waters, knowing that their northern edge is not far away-just past the island and port of Drochlinn, which is another settlement of some size. A foaming wave laps over the gunwhale onto Jamar's feet and he freezes, eyes wide in surprised reaction for a moment, then relaxes and breathes deeply before speaking. "Something is wrong with the Passage ahead. The water itself is cursed, and the oceans complain to me of it in confused concern. That is all I know."

The Miswar proceeds cautiously, with Jamar testing the waters frequently but learning nothing new. Clearly some unfamiliar phenomenon is happening. Then something becomes evident, recognition of it quickly spreading across the ship. There are no waves ahead. The ocean suddenly turns flat and motionless and a bland grey hue, across a broad expanse as far as you can see. It is utterly bizarre. Jamar exclaims how it's quite a curse, to undo the Movement Rune nature of the oceans. He slows the Miswar, inspecting the scene, but nothing more is immediately obvious. Jamar says there's not much choice but to proceed onwards; pursuers are somewhere behind you, and you cannot head west as Curustus blocks that way, whereas east would take you deeper into Orange Guild waters. The Miswar's sharks pull it into the eerily still waters and things get even stranger. The waters part to allow them through, but there are no ripples or other disturbances caused by their bodies, their wakes or the Miswar itself. Far ahead you now see another Waertagi fastship, but in trouble. It is sinking in a disturbingly peaceful way, as if the waters around it are just absorbing it. Shrett's keen eyes notice: there are no crew left or evidence of them, with signs that the hull was badly torn up, also bearing burn marks. Jamar hisses a gasp in disbelief about the scene, and looks at you. You continue. The fastship vanishes out of sight as Jamar guides the Miswar toward it, keeping a safe distance to one side. The waters around it return to their placid state. You're not caught too much off guard; indeed ?Shrett? spies the shadowy shape coming up and is ready. Moments later, a shape surfaces next to the Miswar; it at first looks like a great fishlike beast made of metal, with a sharp-edged dorsal fin like a giant blade, but you quickly realise it is a ship of some kind, vaguely reminiscent of “nautiloid” one you saw long ago piloted by the Outer Atomic Explorers. All in one coordinated motion, fin- or tongue-like bronze platforms ending in savage hooks extend smoothly from the hull and latch onto the Miswar, and hatches pop open around the hull, releasing a crowd of squat clanking armoured figures, brightly shining with magical auras and wielding a wide range of well-crafted weapons, grunting out guttural war-cries. It is a Mostali raid! All of the Mostali coming are glowing richly with layers of magicks. Mostal's mastery of sorcery is on full display! Iron Mostali soldiers rush across the two planks toward the stern, while a clanking, steaming Mostali “Jolanti” engine, with a dwarf housed inside the torso of a mechanical construct (as you'd seen in the Underworld under more peaceful circumstances). Behind them, staying close to the vessel, are three armoured Mostali throwing spells. You take positions where the planks meet the Miswar. Bog comes out of his “tent” to fight his hated dwarven foes, joining Jamar near the stern, but is struck down by a nasty battle-wrench wound to his leg, and the wrench hangs on as he goes down, groaning in pain. A Mostali palsy spell hits his left arm, too [John forgot and Bog should not have been able to use his maul or move the planks as easily; oops-we'll assume that something happened like the spell faded prematurely]. It became evident that the Mostali had spells protecting them from spirits, as the ship's wraiths could not touch them. So it was down to you. At midship, Fraud and Boamund faced the other soldier, shaking the plank and he fell off, vanishing into the sea without a ripple! Then Shrett, by the prow, is hit by the same palsy (Stasis-rune sorcery) spell as Bog and falls with his chest paralysed. The Mostali-Jolanti steps past him and bashes the “leashes” of the sharks off so that they cannot pull the Miswar away. However, by the stern, Jamar(?) does a deft manoeuvre against his foe who was threatening Bog, and trips him into the ocean too! The battle's tide seems to be turning, with Bog standing back up thanks to Fraud's aid, and Jamar plus Boamund facing the remaining Mostali with them. The Mostali must have done some quick calculations of their risks and tactics, and one lead sorcerer presdigitated quickly (the three of them all seemed able to cast powerful spells in 1 action!) and the remaining Mostali vanished with a pop, followed by the quick closing of the vessel's hatches, and it began submerging-but with the planks still hooked onto the Miswar! Clearly they intended to take you down to a watery grave. But Bog and Fraud rushed to action; Bog threw a Might spell that helped him immensely and together they hefted off the remaining planks before the Miswar was rolled over. The vessel, as before, disappeared below the placid waters without a disturbance; like it had never been there. Bog was sorely wounded still, and Jamar relented, feeling gratitude for your help so far, and cast a Heal Wound spell on his injuries and Boamund's lingering head injury, so except for some necrotic scarring you were back closer to full strength again. And phew, that was close! At first it seemed the Mostali would crush you all, but you fought well with good tactics (and luck).


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