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Summary 300: Ghosts and Gothalos (2022-06-08)

Giraine Summaries

Better late than never!:

You leave the cursed waters hurriedly, and thankfully they do not stretch much further northwards nor do they contain any more threats that challenge you. Jamar is seething with anger at the attack, muttering about old scores and bad feelings dredged up. But being back on the normal ocean again eventually cheers him. And you leave Drocholinn well behind. The currents are treacherous but Jamar steers the Miswar and its sharks very well, so your journey is not unpleasant. Then the island of Estivex presents itself up to the northeast. Jamar says he hasn't gathered any information on it; it is not a Vadeli territory, he knows that much. Boamund had heard dark rumours in St Thosos years ago: supposedly it is an island usually shunned because its few beaches are haunted by ghosts, the origin of which is unknown. You're now officially in a nether-region where no one of the Jrustelan community truly holds dominion. Jamar wonders if you should stop here and do some repairs in case Gothalos turns out to actually be dangerous. He seeks you opinion, as the risk is that Vadeli pursuers are still out there, but you don't want the Miswar to be caught damaged. [ship is at 19/30 HP]

You advise that carefully inspecting Estivex might be worthwhile. Beautiful pristine white beaches and palm trees present themselves at the shores of Estivex, which look serene. Jamar though starts expressing concerns at the scarcity of sea life around it-“Where are the colourful reefs and bountiful shoals?” There is some marine life, but far less than you've seen in other Jrustelan waters.

You approach, preparing to go ashore and gather resources for repairing the ship; Jamar anchors near the shore. Then the serenity of Estivex is broken. Misty grey forms, somewhat humanoid but badly distorted almost beyond any recognition of body shape or appendages, tear into this world from the Spirit Plane with a mind-rending screech. One of you (I forget who) is stunned by the mental torment. They compose a line of maybe twenty along the beachfront facing you. Then, horribly, they unleash a barrage of screaming, hissing blood spittle, with impressive range and accuracy. You either dive for cover or block it with shields, although it turns out to be nasty acid and begins eating away at them, so everyone takes cover. The wraiths are untouched, and Jamar is under cover, and the Miswar only takes modest damage- maybe its seaweed coating protects it or something, Jamar later wonders? [ship at 10/30 HP]

But Jamar quickly gets the Miswar under way and flees the scene, seeing no reason to linger! You leave that awful island of ghost behind, perplexed by what they were. Some of their nature reminds you of Red Vadeli magics. Maybe.

You finally pass through a long stretch of open ocean, with wide deeper expanses to the east, and spy the island of Gothalos ahead. Jamar at least is cheered to see a huge dark green dragonship, dripping with seaweed, and says in awe that this is another of the returned fleet, and a ship he has never seen before.

*[John forgot to emphasize this so here it is!]* There are many wonders to see on and around this legend (see attached example-includes Waertagi Fastships, yay!)-you all are in awe to behold it. Hundreds of metres long, like a small city, it has the imperious face, armoured scales and many fins of a real, giant sea dragon. But it is also festooned with scattered spires and portals, bristling with huge siege engines, and dozens of docks where Fastships and other craft, and sea creatures, come and go by the scores. Sea monsters abound around it-great shrimps, serpents, huge leaping fish, and octopi, for example. It is an army in its own right, but like none you've seen before, although some of you dimly recall visions of something like this, years ago, in your heroquest for St Buqaim Versus the Mostali Floating Castle. Jamar marvels, too. Messenger creatures come and go, and for some time he is distracted communicating with them, so you get a long period to behold this marvel. But soon you turn to leave.

Nearing the port, there are plenty of other ships about and none pay you any heed. Closing in, you see the harbour itself is busy, with seven ships moored, leaving just enough space for you. Among them are three fastships, one of them dark and ominous; a Wolf Pirate galley; two foreign ships; and, unfortunately, a merchant ship proudly displaying the horned Law rune of Vadel and the grotesque decorations of the Orange Guild.

A man directs you in to a dock. You know him from your prior visit- he is Harbourmaster Munogar Sandbar (a tall, muscle-bound dark-skinned Pamaltelan (Fonritian), turban-wearing, wearing bright blue vest and tan shorts, barechested, barefoot, clever sparkling grey eyes). As you dock, he quickly comes to speak. He seems to be holding back some information, maybe nervously, as you inquire, but the Wolf Pirates' rule here is not the same, and “might and money rule now”, he says ominously. Still, some are here, and don't piss off any Wolf Pirates or you're dead, quickly- there is no jail, no mercy, no discussion, just tough justice. No one can defeat them here: to oppose them is to die. That kept most people in line, enough, but… The Wolf Pirates have mostly left. No one knows if they'll return. Gothalos is more unruly now, with no one truly in charge.

You learn of some recent history. In 1623, Harrek and his Wolf Pirates descended upon the sunken isle of Jrustela. They raised part of the isle by Shenilstos, and uncovered ancient God Learner temples preserved by powerful sorcery, and wrested forbidden secrets from the ghosts of the God Learners. They became more gods than men, bringing back strange magics that they imbued the new temple in town with. Losing interest in the area, Harrek and his companions sailed off to Genertela. Tales are coming back now that they've joined the war in the Dragon Pass area.

Harrek's people set up a new tower down near the end of the docks: a 10m tall grey stone tower with an iron spire. You discern that it is of the revived Godlearner Order of The Ebon Mast, a privateer cult with similarities to attitudes of the Wolf Pirates. They were not friendly with the Waertagi! But they vanished at the end of the Second Age.

Asking about the dark ship, you hear that it is quiet and its Sivis only does business at night. Hmmmm….

Otherwise, the town has most of the same features: Scruff's Shop with curios, and a market with many goods from all over the seas, a slavers' fort (now run by the visiting Vadeli, you learn).

Jamar says he'll be busy at the Market getting supplies and then finishing repairs. You're free to do as they wish, but he says we don't want much trouble as we don't want to have to rush out of the port too soon. Fraud and Boamund accompany him as protection and helpers. Shrett and Bog are eager go to the shadowy coolness of The Gothalos bar. As you head to the market, you spot a robed figure with six tall, spindly ant-timinints: Myrmidons! You'd seen them from a distance before, but now you get a good look- they bristle with javelins and are very alert, clearly bodyguards for the Brown Vadeli slaver/merchant. You give them a wide berth.

On the way to the bar, Shrett and Bog run into another familiar local, a penguin-keet sailor, Kwo Not-Maimed (a black-white penguin; with scarred beak, bronze left wing is sabre-tipped; grim and grumpy). He seems drunk and staggers for you, welcoming you but there is a funny twinkle in his eye. He takes you to the bar.

The bar is much the same: a sprawling scene of wrecked ships hauled ashore, driftwood and other junk that suits as furniture and ever-shifting walls on the edge of the docks. A few ships' hulls serve as walls and seating surrounding a waterlogged pool area where duels tend to take place. The bar extends into the water a bit on its own pier, and water-beings such as mermen can visit there. There are some posts in the water for sacrifices (captives, etc) to be tied to, or for rituals. Fights are routine. Dead are thrown into the harbour for the sharks. Right now the customers are mostly merchants and sailors but also a few Elder races and Wolf Pirates, who check you out with mild interest as you enter, then turn back to their carousing.

Bog inspects the Frost spirit here (locals call it The Gothalos) that chills the drinks and serves them; good in hot weather like now, and he very much enjoys it. It manifests as a huge grey cloud over the bar that extends tendrils into the bar to chill drinks- or do other things… its presence is felt by all inside, watching them with alien detachment. Bog at least doesn't mind.

You drink merrily with the keet and glean some information while you get tipsy. The dwarves of Curustus have been seen to be working for some time, apparently reshaping a mountain. In 1622, a Mostali stone fleet sails from Torfang (distant continent-isle of Slon; southwest) to Zadeel (southern tip of western Jrustela/Curustus. After some work, the great doors of Zadeel's (main port) mountainside open, shaking off the tons of rock which had safely buried it for centuries. The Mostali enter, and the fleet begins transporting many Mostali and dinosaurs to the island. The mountain is made to be a cube there, and they begin construction atop it. This has greatly raised tensions in the Jrustelan archipelago. The Elder Races do not like the threat, and Bog wagers that the returning Kogag's Black Fleet will have views on all this, too. Terthinus Voice of the Deep, god-king of the local mermen, has also raised serious concerns, and surely the elves are unhappy. What the Vadeli think is less certain…

After shopping and returning Jamar to the ship, two of you head to the shop. The weird blind Mostali proprietor writes a message to you and explains that only barter will be taken. You see a fist-sized pumice lump that does 2d6 damage no armour if it touches an elf/troll and (did you get it? I forget); and Fraud (right) trades for a copper goblet that turns any fluid put into it into wine for 1 MP (or not?) Intriguing. You return to the ship.

You wander around the docks, and meet the ship across from you. It is The Coastfinder from Handra/Nolos/Fay Jee : led by Captain Comito, a charismatic loverboy-hero from remnants of the Quinpolic League He was on the Boat Planet (sailed up from Sea of Brithos, fought way up Godswar Oceanic Bulge + Sky River to Boat Planet; some crew stayed aboard and followed while Comito led heroes onto BP; they did not go to the Underworld but took the Sky River down to doldrums/shallows of Banthe, past Luathela to here.) Now they are seeking adventure. He is impressed by you, clearly humbled, but friendly and to some degree trustworthy.

Soon you're all back there for the night, and fall fast asleep. One of you however first sees Jamar talking from the deck to eight fierce Yssabau fish-mermen in the water, having a heated conversation and at least once they look your way, with hateful expressions. You have heard that such mermen, unlike the Ouori or Ludoch, are almost never friendly with humans. But soon they swim off.

             Boamund uses his spell to Project Darksight into the shadows of the odd Waertagi Fastship across the harbour, "Drospoly's Sender". It is draped in a smelly seaweed tentlike structure, and is quiet; with pitch-black waters around it that move unlike those elsewhere; reminiscent of the Hell Fount. Boamund's keen vision sees dozens of hunched, twisted, clawed and fanged warrior-Waertagi, some eating scraps of flesh or bones from off the deck. Ghouls! And then he sees their leader wade gracefully through them: a shapely, pale Waertagi woman in black armour with blazing red eyes. He has no doubt: she is a vampire! He pulls his vision quickly away, not wanting to risk detection.

Later he explains this finding to the rest of you. It brings back terrible memories of the Eye of Vivamort and the ancient female Waertagi-Vampire there, who almost slew you all. But Jamar, when informed of this, has different feelings. Very complex ones, it seems. He explains that he knows her: Folicrix, this ship's original Sivis. He says she is still kin, defending her. You opt to stay out of it all.

Ahappi arrives in the middle of the night, too! He swims aboard; Pellinoresbane waits off in the ocean. He describes his glorious fights with many Vadeli ships, then one against a Hellship with a zombie-sea-turtle flotilla where Pellinoresbane conveyed its feelings that this fight was beyond even it-you must come with it to gather more strength. Ahappi was inspired by the Night Dragon to do so, recalling his visions of how the Night Dragon hated the Hellships and gave him visions of them in the depths of the Fosnoir back “home”. Now Ahappi realises he has a new, personal quest aligned with Pellinoresbane, and gets a foreboding feeling that it may not be all heroics. There is some sense of impending doom.

I think I left it there, as you are considering leaving once Jamar finishes final repairs the next day.

Until Friday! -John

© Copyright - 2000-2024 - John Hutchinson, Tim Evans, Pete Nash, Colin Driver and Gordon Alford

giraine/summary-300.txt · Last modified: 2024/03/10 12:51 by