2. The Sea Like Slate

"The law is on our side, as they struck unprovoked, thus depriving us of our resources. I will go ensure they make proper restitution, as convincingly as I am able. If there is trouble... Huan will let you know if I need back-up."

[size=85]Bereleyn enacts Blade of the Holy Flame, not because she's expecting a fight but because it looks impressive: Blue flames ripple up the blade of her already deadly poleaxe. She's terrible with tact and diplomacy, so she's going for straight up intimidation... so just in case it does come down to a fight, she activates her belt, granting Doublet of Impenetrable Silk and Gift of Bear's Fortitude.[/size]

The warrior taps the heels of her boots together, and vanishes where she stands. She reappears instantly upon the stern of the Fuar Iarann, and addresses the man with the largest hat she sees. "You!" she shouts (presumably at Captain Tavis), seemingly in his native tongue. "I am Bereleyn of Mercere, a maga of the Order of Hermes. I have with me a Flambeau-- you've no doubt heard of their martial prowess, and this one is among the best. Thanks to your bungling, we need a new ship, and you seem to have a working one. I'm prepared to negotiate--" she hefts her axe and gives a grim smile-- "Or to resort to violence if you're daft enough to refuse."

[size=85]Die 9 + 1 Presence + 2 Leadership + 3 Aura of Divine Presence = 15. To clarify, she's not trying to intimidate the captain with her words; she's basically trying to radiate "I'm big, I'm bad, and I'm in charge" with her posture, stance, and carriage. She's hoping to deter the pirates from attacking her by making sure they know they'll die in the attempt.
Just in case you want an Awareness check for whether or not she can actually pick out the biggest hat on deck: Die 4 -1 Per + 4 Awareness = 7. Any pirate captain worth his salt should wear a big enough hat that anyone should be able to pick him out of the crowd without needing to try too hard :slight_smile:[/size]

In the mud and muck of the beach, Tavis sees the tall figure with the blue-flamed axe appear on the stern-castle of his ship, not far from where Vance stands. The sea wind whips away Bereleyn's words, but her hostile intent is clear enough to the inveterate killers of the Fuar Iarann.

Tavis: Arsehole and damnation, wizards are attacking my ship!

He starts to slog back towards the birlinn as fast as he can.

Tavis: Wodin, you know all about wizards, keep a couple of the boys here and don't let up the pressure on 'em! Anyone who thinks he can just march on to my ship is going to find himself beaten to death with his own severed cock!

As the main body of raiders gloshes and gloomphs its way back to the Fuar Iarann, Wodin spits in a carefully non-specific direction and looks around at the handful of men he's been left with to take on a magus and a ship full of sailors. Reaching a decision, and checking that Tavis' attention is otherwise engaged, he climbs up to the deck hatch and gives it three hard bangs with the butt of his axe.

Wodin: Alright, you in there. I know what you are and what you can do. I know wizards myself. We don't want a fight - just the cargo your ship's carrying.

Christ's nails, he thinks, I hope someone in there understands me.

[size=85](I was under the impression that the Fuar Iarann's crew had retreated back to their own ship to regroup? Bereleyn would not have left Huan behind if it had looked like the fight was still going on at the East Wind, she would have stayed to protect him.)[/size]

Vance sees things getting worse.

And Captain Tavis, a brave man, is totaly surpassed by this debate. So he comes closer to captain Tavis

Captain Tavis, this person is a wizard, and she speaks over a member of House Flambeau. Those are martial warriors very skilled. You know Annaeus and Keythleen aswel as Morphise? Imagine someone better, stronger, faster and deadlier than them! THAT is a Flambeau. Actually we are all dead walking, if he sees us as enemies. I suggest we parliamant. Obviously, this target wasn't a good one. I have no desire to be killed for nothing, and so do you.

If we can arrange their transport to Alerock, they could meet their counterparts in their Order, and a pacific and peaceful solution could be found.

If you go for a killing spree, you and your men will be killed... remember that you retreated some minutes ago? Don't be a fool! *

He looks at Tavis with calm.
Vance knows that if someone, any of them, could survive, it will be him, that's sure. If he could, he would have directly negotiated with the Flambeau and his warrior fellow woman. But here, Tavis was the captain, and it was necessary to let him have the lead: if he didn't, that would have brought authority problems later in his crew.

[size=85]*die 3+ prs 3 +1 leadership (convincing) = 7[/size]

When Bereleyn sees the older gentleman shout across towards land, she doesn't understand the gibberish coming from his mouth; the Gift of Tongues only allows her to converse directly. She reasons, however, that it was entirely too many words to be "Attack!" or "Retreat!" She takes in his slight build, good looks, and lack of any weaponry, and smiles to herself, convinced she has found the wizard who called the birds to attack and likely wrecked the ship, though she doesn't recognize him.

She strides toward him purposefully. "You! Wizard. If you are a member of the Order of Hermes then you have breached Hermetic Code in destroying our ship, but I will not press charges at Tribunal if you give my men the use of this ship. If you are not a member of the Order... let us simply say that the Flambeau are famous for their join-or-die policy of non-Hermetic wizardry, but if you help us out of this mess you caused, I will personally protect you from all ills to the best of my abilities, until we have reached our destination."

Seeing that the woman speak at him, Vance decide to reply, seeing an opportunity to make clear he is the true grey eminence here.

I'm not a wizard and our Captain didn't known anything about his passengers. But I do know some magi of your Order. I asked Captain Tavis to stop his attack. If you do agree, we could load your cargo on our boat and bring you to the Craig Island. There is a covenant called Alerock, and their inhabitants are members of your powerful Order. They would be really happy to discuss with fellows members ; at least so do I think.

Looking at Tavis: They are from the same Order than Annaeus, Morphiste and Keythleen, it would be a bad idea to kill them. Let's end this unfortunate meeting with peace... There will be other ships on the sea later.*

  • charm roll: 0 (no charm) +0 (com) + die 6 = 6[/size]

Far away from this discussion, Johan Ralf was looking for the ship and the cargo loaded on it. It was material supplies for the laboratories in Montverte and his master - God! - would be unhappy - AGAIN -. Because Johan was tormented: his master wasn't happy: he was always acting as if Johan was unworthy of the title of magus. And that was really annoying because Johan was maybe the best weapon magical master in the Normandy Tribunal...

He found a crate containing glass material. Broken with some damage, but nothing too serious. Even, if the attackers were magi, they could bring charges. But contrary to Berelyn, Johan had no hope: if those were magi, they would have been from this tribunal - whatever it was Hibernian, Loch Leglean or Stonehenge tribunal - and have friends. And magi from England were unhappy with magi of France - the Normandy tribunal for the most part - because of the mundane wars and loss during the war between the two crowns.
So there will be no chance that a charge brought by a Normand magus would succeed in those island... Besides, those magi, having their covenant on the island, had to have political allies, something a stranger magus wouldn't. The best idea would be to negotiate between the magi, and that would be the best for both parties.

Seeing the damage, he had his mind deriving to Montverte. This covenant was an interesting place, but it was really too far from his secret goal - discover secrets about norse wizards, rune users. He remembered the last words of his master in the Cult of the Children of Odin, saying that there would be many things to learn from those rune makers. If he could find a covenant in the Rhine, close to Scandinavia... that would be a huge pace toward his goal.

The mailed warrior nods once and vanishes.

She reappears at the wreckage of the East Wind. "Sodalis?" she calls to Johan. "If it's a wizard, he's not Hermetic. He said he "asked" the pirate captain to withdraw, so I don't know who the leader is in that dynamic, and perhaps they don't either. There's a covenant nearby, he says-- Alerock. He's offered to carry our cargo, and take us to this nearby covenant to speak with the magi there-- the way he said it, I wonder if their piracy is in service to this covenant. Though I've no idea if that's intended as a genuine offer of aid or if they expect to kill us in our sleep to make off with your goods... if they had scried upon the hold and sent their minions to steal the equipment. Nonetheless it's the best offer we're likely to get, and if they would be dishonourable, El Shaddai will protect us." He'll protect me, anyway, she thinks to herself, But I will protect you.

Vance has phrased his suggestion well, leaving out any suggestion that Tavis might appear weak by backing down. The pirate captain raises his voice in reply.

Tavis: Ah, part of that lot, are they? Well, that changes things, doesn't it?

The idea that the Order of Hermes is an organisation spanning the length and breadth of Christendom (and beyond) is somewhat lost on him. He tends to assume that collections of wizards are small, numerous and close-knit, like his crew, or the clans of the Isles.

Tavis: What are they doing out here anyway? Don't they know that wandering around in easily-taken merchant ships is dangerous?

His crew laughs in a subdued fashion, begrudging the fact that their prize is vanishing before their eyes. Wodin, seeing that the potential for immediate violence seems to have dissipated, stands back from the hatch of the East Wind, but keeps his axe ready and shield buckled.

As night falls in earnest, something shifts beneath the sea, sending bubbles of rank air upwards to burst, unnoticed, on the dark grey surface.

Johan listened carefully to Berelyn's words.

* Well, that is interesting. That was a kind of source of income my parens Thormod could have considered before letting it on the side because of the troubles it could be in relation to the Code and for not so much income, in fact. But if those magi of Alerock were really behind pirates... They may be bond to the recent attack on the Normand Coast.

Taking back all his gear, and walking toward the other ship, he says to Berelyn (which has the interesting idea of teleporting herself instead of walking), Dear sodalis, I think we have nothing to fear: you are a great warrior and they must be terrorized by your blue burning sword. And I think a private negociation with the magi of this little Covenant could bring huge benefits.

Still walking: It will be a good time to know if they scried on us. But my guts doesn't say so. If it was real, they wouldn't have send petty mundane pirates without magical weapons. The only presence of the wizard you spoke about is a good sign this pirate ship was only looking for easy prey... and our ship was no warship. But we shall find it out.

He then walks to the other ship.

Vance was flabbergasted. Another magus like Keythleen and Annaeus who likes to vanish without warning... Oh my god! What troubles have we found, my good Tavis... Next times, I will listen to Owen premonition, because I'm losing my time doing a political job who really doesn't suit me. But, happily for Tavis and his good sailors, I was here. Without me, those men would have been killed... a fate which await them, anyway. I was just postponing the inevitable... for God's sake, was it really a good idea? Deads, they would have been in peace in His love.

Vance was, again, shattered between his despair about humanity behaviour and the need for struggle for live.

[size=85]Vance will get Order of Hermes (at least with 5xp at the end of this adventure, that seems mandatory ^^ :slight_smile:[/size]

Before going forth to speak with the pirates, Bereleyn ducks into the hold and removes her helm, replacing it with her jaunty red Judenhut. (It is inappropriate for a Jew to be seen with an uncovered head.)

The Redcap agrees with Johan's assessment. "My mentor taught me that the most effective sword is that which need not be drawn. Unfortunately I lack his velvet glove, being more the steel gauntlet myself... but it is an aspiration of mine." As they walk, the massive hound, Huan, trods contented beside the magus and the Redcap. Before they reach the other ship, the dog licks the Flambeau's hand briefly, as a promise of good things to come.

As they near the ship, the now obviously female Redcap calls out to the man she spoke with earlier, a formal introduction this time, "I am Bereleyn of Mercere, and this is my associate Johan Ralf of Flambeau. Whom do I have the pleasure to address?"

Vance has seen the two magi coming forward while looking at Tavis with delight: happily, this man is reasonable. Thanks God for Your Mercy.

They speak in a latin Vance can recognize the sounds but not the words behind them. I'm sorry I don't understand Latin... he looks sad admitting that.

The second magus look impressive in his eyes: swords, bow, quiver with deadly arrows... he was a Flambeau without doubts. And that was the first time he saw one, but Vance was sure!

Finding himself ignored by the magus and redcap, Tavis meets up with Wodin at the foot of the East Wind.

Tavis: Anyone still in there?
Wodin: All the living crew. I haven't seen anyone leave apart from those two.
Tavis: Right. Well, get 'em out where we can see them. Take a look over the cargo, if you get a chance. It looks like we might be rowing these bastards back to port, and we may as well know what to charge for it. I don't care what Vance may say to his high and mighty friends, I didn't come out here for free.

Wodin nods, turns on his heel and, followed by a handful of pirates, heads into the wrack, to a brief squawk of protest from captain Pavel.

The two crews, once mixing in an environment free of the threat of impending violence, attend to the immediate necessities with the practicality shared by all seamen. Within a few minutes, they have shattered timbers from the cog burning in a makeshift brazier and are passing around mugs of ale. The wind has picked up in the short time since sunset, and the prospect of warmth inside and out is a compelling one.

As often happens during a sea voyage, the situation changes without warning. No more than a few seconds elapse between the bursting of a few noxious bubbles near the stern of the Fuar Iarann and the eruption of something vast and terrible, full of the rage of disturbed slumber, from the water. With a roar like the steam from a quenched furnace, the sea-beast drops down on the birlinn, crushing a man beneath its scaled belly. By the time the crowd on the beach has comprehended that they are under attack, it has coiled itself around the ship, snapping oars and lines alike, and the screams of terrified sailors are almost drowned out by the groan of hebridean timber as the serpent starts to constrict and crush.

Johan was gonna ask Berelyn what the man was saying when the beast showed itself.

Used to dangerous situations, the Flambeau moved to face this huge monster. He was quickly analyzing the enemy monster which just came on the wreck of their old boat. This beast had scales* even on its belly. That meant... *the throat; it's the weakest point of any creature! He looks at Berely, proud warrior of the Mercere House and at the strange man, shouting to overpass the shouts of the sailors: Aim the throat! Aim the THROAT!

He wasn't sure the man standing on the other ship had understood because he looked surprised. But Johan had no time to explain. He catches his eye and show his own throat. Gestures were always a good way to communicate even with those who didn't share a language.
Look at my throat! YES. Now look at the monster! Can you understand!!!?? **

Hearing some other shouts of panic and fear, Johan couldn't stand here without acting longer than he already had.

So he draws his bow and shoot an arrow when having a good sightline to the enemy throat.***

Same times, other mind.

Vance spotted the monster. Whaaat? I think.. I have awakened this monster. Well, that is a good proof of my power. But mmh, it wasn't exactly what I wanted to do. What can I do... Well this monster seems to be really strong, he really matches my powers.
Seeing Johan yielling some words, he looked at that Flambeau magus. [i]What? why is he showing his throat... oh yes, the throat. He want me to give orders? Well no, he shows the..... OOOoh I get it. This man seems to think i'll help to kill this monster.
Oh, he took his bow. Does he intend to kill the monster?

It's not gonna work, ... I'll have to take part into this fight. Let's see. What can I do to save my friends. ...[/i]

Vance was really thinking hard.

[size=85]First question: (edited) it's a serpent... okay. :slight_smile:

  • awareness: roll 3 (oops, the roll was for JOhan but i wrote Vance^^) + 3 (battle) +3 per = 9
    ** I'm not sure if this require any roll for Johan using gestures to speak to Vance. So I didn't roll any.
    But I rolled for Vance an awareness roll: if this is a stress roll, i rolled 1 then 10 so the result for Vance awareness is either 2 (if no stress) or 21 (if stress)

*** Initiative for spell (but I intend to act when appropriate, not specialy at the turn my initiative could have allowed me, besides I have took time to draw the bow and arrow - a little speech etc.) : 18+ roll 8 = 26;
Spell: successed (39 vs 30 level), atk is 16 +7 roll, damage is base 20 +7 (normally combat use attack advantage, but sling of Vilano spell use a +damage spell. i'm unsure: if we have an attack advantage with an aimed spell, do we use:

  • attack advantage + base damage only (as in mundane combat rules)
  • damage (base + roll) (using only spell damage rules)
  • attack advantage + damage (base + roll) (combining both aiming is an attack total + spell damage)[/size]

The moment the great sea serpent surfaces, the Ashkenazim reacts without thinking, her poleaxe whipping around into her hands and hacking into its nearest bit.*

Once she has a moment to evaluate the situation, however, she calls out to the creature, confident that if it is intelligent enough to speak any language, she will be able to communicate with it. "What ho, master of the deep? Have these pirates given thee some offense, as they have to myself and my compatriot? I have no quarrel with you if you do not harm myself nor the archer... apologies for the axe-chop, you startled me." She narrows her eyes, thinking as to whether she knows who or what this beast is.**

*[size=85]Lightning Reflexes-- not always a good Virtue :stuck_out_tongue: Whenever she's surprised, Bereleyn responds instinctively on anything but a botch, and this doesn't botch: 8 +4 Qik = 12, so she reacts instantly before she has time to think about it.
Initiative total: 7 + 9 Lightning Reflexes + 5 = 21; I think it safe to assume she attacks first!
Attack total: Stress-doubled 6 (how anti-climactic) + 21 atk = 27. If that hits, her damage is combat advantage + 13.
**Area Lore and Dominion Lore, respectively: 10 and a double-stressed 19. Too bad those rolls weren't reversed![/size]

Johan's arrow flies straight and true as only magic can manage, especially on a dark night and a windswept shore. It strikes the linnorm (as Bereleyn recognises the creature from folk tales heard over yuletide fires) squarely in the back of the throat. The beast barely seems to notice, continuing to bellow and scream with the arrow lodged deep in its maw.* Bereleyn's flaming greataxe bites into the side of the creature,** which instinctively tries to squirm its slimy bulk away from the pain, almost wrenching the axe from her hands. The beast brings its head about, staring at the Ashkenazim. Its eyes, big as soup tureens, are flat and dead-seeming, like those of a vast, hateful fish.

Linnorm: [size=150]Apologise, will you? You who have disturbed my rest and wounded me unjustly?[/size]

With that, it lunges, snake-fast, at Bereleyn, black-venomed fangs clashing.***

  • [size=85=Die 2 +20 spell damage (that's one fast arrow!) - 19 Soak = 3 (light wound)
    ** [size=85]Die 5 +10 defence bonus = 15 vs Attack total 27. Damage is 25 -19 Soak = 6 (light wound)[/size]
    *** [size=85]Die 12 +13 Attack total -2 Wounds = 23[/size]

The razor-sharp fangs snap shut exactly where the red hat was a moment before*-- indeed, as the warrior darts out of danger, her cap is swept from her head in a clash of teeth and venom. Angered by her now-bared head, Bereleyn shouts in reply, "If it's a fight you'll want, I'll happily oblige!" With a shout of tremendous effort** she drops a shoulder and rolls through with a mighty upward swing, the Redcap takes advantage of the serpent's extended lunge to aim a blow at the creature's throat.***

Huan knows his teeth are no match for the linnorm's hide, so he stands at attention, hackles raised, ready to alert his friend when it's time to jump ship.

[size=85]*Defense: 9 + 16 = 25
**She exerts herself, expending a fatigue level to double her combat ability for attacks this round (p.173).
***Attack: 9 + 33 = 42. Damage is advantage + 13; I will spend a Confidence point on the attack if it would make the difference between one wound threshold and the next. I'll spend a second point of Confidence only if you roll badly enough that it would make the difference between Incapacitating it or not.[/size]

Johan was a little upset by this monster. First HE was the one who attacked them and their crew. Second, HE was the one complaining. Third, Berelyn had been pissed off and Johan had no desire to face his fellow maga wrath after the monster would be killed.

But having no time, he look for a place to hide behind cover : rock or something solid enough to protect him from any spitting or breathing power of the sea serpent.* After he is hidden - or if there is no hiding place close enough to join in max 10 seconds - he cast the « Wizard’s sidestep » spell** while crouching down.

From his new position, he tries another hit at the serpent monster, with a second arrow***. He tries to aim the wounded places if he can see them!

Vance saw the great Sea Snake Monster. Why this monster would want to attack us? I think he mistook us for other people. Ohhh I get it. He thinks we are some monster hunters. Or maybe this snake has suicidal tendancies... Does he know the life is pointless and we are all doomed to die in the end? What a great philosophist snake monster... But I'm sorry, monster, I'm not from those who will let you kill people while you end your pitiful - and I'm sorry it wasn't more fulfulling than it has been! truly! - life.

Seeing the maga with her long hairs fighting against the monster, Vance think she could also be a Flambeau maga... What power does she hold! Oh God, you always remind me the life is a strife. Thanks for this lesson.

He then tries to go on the farest part of the deck from the Snake place. And there, being alone on the Fuar Iarann ship, he starts to think about the monster.****

[size=85]*awarennes 3 in battle +3 per + die 9 = 15
** casting total is +33 (base +25 + die 8) , spell is level 10
*** 4 rolls: init, casting, atk, dmg are 10, 6, 2, 8.

While rolling I remembered you say you use the same initiative for the whole battle. Thus, my 0 is for casting total. I have a level 5 mastery in this spell. That mean I would roll a botche die only if there are 6 botch dice. If you think there are circumstances for such, i'll let you roll the botch dice for the spell.

Finesse roll for attack is thus a 6, making a +22 attack total; damage are 22 too.
**** magic lore : 3+ roll 2 = 5... Vance will not have many information with this... :frowning:.

Bereleyn's axe finds the thin scales on the underside of the worm's throat, opening it up in a shower of thick, brown ichor.* The smell of the stuff burns her eyes, more than its touch burns her skin, but the flash of pain still stuns her for a heartbeat, before the blood of angels and years of battle take over.** She steadies herself and steps back from the thrashing worm as Johan works his magic. His image reappears near where his feet have sunk into the mud, its greyish, unhealthy complexion invisible in the light of the moon.

While Vance scrabbles his way to the prow of the birlinn, Wodin raises his voice amidst the panic on the beach.

Wodin: Don't just stand there, you maggots! That thing is attacking our only way home!

His battle cry is joined by Tavis', and then by more and more men as the crew rush the ship, trying to drown out terror with the sound of bold friends.

The linnorm, shocked by the ferocity of Bereleyn and Johan's counter-attack, gives the Fuar Iarann a final timber-cracking squeeze before disentangling itself. Its scream of frustrated rage thunders across the tiny island as it plunges back into the water and vanishes.

Tavis: Damn me! I was looking forward to killing that thing!
Wodin: Yeah, of course you were. Shouldn't you be more worried about the shape the ship's in?

  • [size=85]Die 8 +10 Defence bonus -2 Wounds = 17. Damage is 13 +28 Attack advantage -19 Soak = 22 (heavy wound), and Bereleyn is down a confidence point.[/size]
    ** [size=85]Die 8 +2 Stamina = 10 vs poison TN of 9.[/size]

[size=85](...This thing is Size +5?!? Seriously?)[/size]

Vance is now happy. * It seems the Snake has renounced his twisted deathwish. Now, he will be able to live a life full of expectations.* Never was he aware that he could be the true source of the Snake awakening...

Vance joins with Tavis, his men and the two newcomers:

Woman, you are Berelyn if I have good memory of what you stated before the monster attacked... I'm pleased, I'm Vance. Who is your heavily loaded friend?

After Johan's name was introduced, Vance nodded to the magi. Well; this monster was no much trouble for the real sorcerer here, and by real sorcerer, Vance was letting no doubt that he speaks about himself and Berelyn I must say, your strength is amazing! Haven't I seen it by myself, I wouldn't have believed it. I'm pleased to know the magi of Alerock have such brave fellows - yet, they are good, but they must see how much I'm better than them when it touches to real magic - that is control of the elements - Let's let the good sailors check the ship. I think we will have many stories to share.

While he spoke, Vance was always looking at Berelyn, not at Johan. This man was a little too frightening, with all his weapons and above all, he was a Flambeau.

* Why doesn't this man look at me when he speak. It's really impolite. He wants me to know that I have the Gift, oh well, I already KNOW it. Frankly, don't speak to magi and look only at one of them, ssushh.

When Alerock covenant's name was put on the table, he said to Berelyn - who gently translated - Isn't it the covenant interested in the Norse stories? * if this is... well, I can't be more lucky. If Thormod had known it... Maybe they would let me work with them; ... *

He thinks a lot about it. [i]Possibilities. Future. No more Thormod yelling about his so-called filius not worthy of the title of magus, only because I use weapons rather than casting Perdo Corpus spells... as if destructive magic was the one and only way of being a true Flambeau. No way. it would be a dream.

I have to speak about it to Berelyn.[/i]

Asking for a moment of private talk with the redcap, Johan keeps away from Vance, Berelyn, I want to meet those magi of Alerock. If they are what I think they are, I share with them more than a Code issue. They may be following the same mystery as I am. I want to use this lucky meeting to my advantage.