(In which some of the magi use the rowing boat to look at the base of the cliff.)
Japik gets into the boat and take a seat at the fore waiting for the others to get in as well and someone to start rowing. As soon as they are out of sight from the town and port he will take off his clothes and when fully naked jump into the water. He starts swimming at the same time as he transforms into his Heartbeast form and then disappears underwater.
((Who is going to row? Aren't the sailors still working to transport your supplies to the warehouse?))
((Hjalmar could come with us. How many people can the rowing boat take? We are three magi and Japik will just be on the boat until they have left the port.))
Quercus goes on the boat as well. He looks around if fresse is around, but apparently he is not. He goes into the boat none the less. Anyone up for a show? I can make the boat move if someone makes the pretense to row. Are you coming, Pytheas?
ReHe5 Base 3, +1 touch, +1 concentration. ReHe casting total 21, 27 if it is an oak skiff;
I can spont that fatigueless if oak, or with fatigue if not.
((the skiff could easily carry 6 persons, more if they crowd together. It can be rowed by two persons (each with two oars), although one is good enough in a pitch. I'll take my grog Morlaer, he is a champion rower.))
"I'm coming ! Morlaer, come give us a hand with the rowing !"
The retired pirate takes position at the first set of oars, and Pytheas takes the second.
Yes!! Off we go then. Japik shouts full of eagerness.
See you later he calls out to Hjalmar and the other sailors on the pier handling their cargo.
((My understanding was that this was a sizeable rowing boat, used by pirates to attack preys close to shore. So I thought this could hold 10 people or more...))
((The boat is much larger than 1 cubic pace, the base size for Herbam... Need to add at least one magnitude for size, so he will need to fatigue himself and roll for possible botch. Movement will be slow, as the object being moved is large. Maximum concentration time is 15 minutes per point in the Concentration ability.))
((Adding only a single magnitude for size when affecting a 20-foot skiff is even borderline, but I'll stand by it for the moment. Provided the mast is retracted.))
(It seems that we have rowers, so no need for magic )
(So we have Pytheas, Morlaer, Japik and Quercus in the boat?)
With Pytheas and Morlaer at the oars, the skiff moves away from the pier. Slowly at first, but gathering speed quickly, it cuts through the small waves of the receeding tide. Steering clear of some fishing boats returning to town, you take a path that parallels the cliff of Oberland. From this point of view, the cliff is even more impressive than it was the same morning when you arrived aboard the cog. Your mean of transportation is much smaller, of course, but the the afternoon's sun lights parts of the cliff that were previously hidden in shadow. The tide is also low, you realize, so all told you are probably sitting half a dozen pace lower than you were in the morn.
Still, even the small waves beat upon the rocky shore, so you'll have to be careful when approaching.
(What are you looking for? There is no obvious cave or beach along the cliff.)
When they are up the coast, Quercus sits straights, relaxes his arms and starts reciting an incantation. Morlaer gets really tense, until he realizes that the magus is looking towards the cliff and not at him. Then, he remains only extremely tense. Slowly, Quercus makes up the signs of INtellego, Vim and the gestures for aura. His eyes starts to sparkle and he breathes with more difficulty. As he finishes his incantation he looks at the whole cliff with intent. His intellego vim should tell him where the aura ends.
InVi5: B1. Detect aura +4 vision. I look at the cliff while doing so. InVi casting = 2+4+5=11.
As soon as we are out of sight from the town Japik undress and then jumps into the water. He starts swimming as he transforms into Heartbest form. Then he will swim in advance and check the waters below the cliff where the tree stands.
How deep is the water, any underwater caves or crevices? He swims out a couple of hundred meters/yards from the beach to see what the water is like. Fishes, fauna, what the sea floor looks like etc.
((I'm not asking you to describe this in detail. Japik is quite familiar with how the sea around here should be like so he will be interested to see if there is anything that seems odd.))
Pytheas carefully looks at the cliff, looking for caverns.
((I know you said there weren't any, but he has to look before he knows it))
((Die roll of 3, so the spell is successfully cast. Note, for future reference, that when casting from a boat in calm weather I consider that 1 additional botch die is appropriate. It is a moving platform, so it adds just a little more risk. If the weather is bad and the boat moves a lot, there may be another botch die added as well.))
There is a sparkle along this base of the cliff on this part of the island. It seems to fade off as you look further south, but that may be simply distance.
There is no obvious signs of caves, although he can see some fissures that are still cloaked in shadows dispite the afternoon's sun. The most likely place for such caves would have been the base of the cliff, but that is a jumble of rocks from previous collapses of the cliff. At one spot, that jumble is less massive and there seems to be an overhang, but accessing it might be difficult even with the boat. It would take careful maneuvering.
Luckily, no fisherman is looking at your boat when Japik jumps into the water, which is far from warm. In his heartshape, he swims around and briefly explores the area. It looks fairly normal, rich in marine flora and fauna. The cliff visible above water widens into a series of sloping shelves. The highest of those is what prevents the jumble of rocks from simply sinking to the bottom or being quickly washes away by the waves. The shelves are irregular and banded much like the cliffs above, with many crevices and openings. It looks like there might be a few caves there, but it is hard to see as the crevices are cluttered by seaweeds. The series of shelves go down to the sandy bottom of the sea, which lies over a hundred feet below.
After taking a few deep breaths to recover from the effort Quercus talks with Pytheas. Japik is already in the water. Quercus thinks that he will tell him later. Seems the aura covers the red rock as far as I can see, down to the sea level. I am unable to check the southern part from here, but given the presence of the village and the town at the town of the rock I suppose we will not be lucky enough to encounter an aura there. Still, having an aura covering most of the plateau is certainly nice.
Japik swims closer to the shelves where he thinks he can see some crevices or perhaps even bigger openings that might be bigger caves. With his nose he tries to get through the seaweed. When he has searched the cliff and the bottom for a while, going up for air once or twice, he locates the boat and emerges at the surface on the left side of the skiff.
Hey! Have you found anything interesting up here? he asks still in dolphin form. ((unless the spell below botches))
((Casting Voice of the Bjornaer Magus MuAn15 +14 (5+5+4) ))
((Just to be clear, it is not the whole cliff that sparkled with magic, only along the base, perhaps a dozen feet high. There must have been some sparkles at the top, where the oak is, but you couldn't really see it from here because you the sun was shining in your eyes.))
((Non-stress in this case, so you didn't have any trouble with the spell.))
Japik has to be careful in his explorations, as the movement of the waves could easily throw him against sharp rocks. None of the crevices he explores are very deep, but there are defenitively more exploration to be done. Up close to the rocks, the water is also a bit fouled from bird droppings. Not too much, thankfully, but enough to leave a bad taste in his mouth from nosing around the rocks and seaweeds.
Ok, if we have to repeat the operation over and over again to get a general picture of an aura I will wait until we return and cast a Hearing Sun version of the spell and then fly for a whole day around the island at different speeds and heights to get a hearing map of the magical auras) and a visual map of the actual island. Seems easier this way than having to cast the spell 10 times with the associated botch danger.
Quercus assumes that the talking dolphin must be their sodales. Seems there is an aura along the base of the cliff, at least in this northern extreme. It does not seem to be the same one as in the top of the cliff, so we might be looking at an undersea aura.
((I've been waiting for you to realize this, as the way Quercus has been attempting to map out the aura seemed ineffective to me. Of course, if it had been a simple aura it might have worked, but as he is starting to realize, it is a bit more complicated... Your new plan makes much more sense.))
That's sounds awesome, the dolphin says with smacking sounds between his words. The cliff reaches all the way down to the bottom and there are plenty of crevices and cracks and possibly some bigger ones that may hide caves inside the rock. It needs quite an extensive search. Pytheas didn't you mention you are quite proficient with Aquam. Maybe we could do a search down here together next time. For now we might head back.