Chapter 1d: Underwater Explorations

The next day dawns misty and wet, but for Japik’s plans that is of no great concern. So long as the sea remains calm enough, which seems to be the case, his exploration of the underwater cliff-side should be unaffected by the surface weather.

Accompanied by Hjalmar, the Bjornaer magus makes his way to the harbour and the rowing boat beached there. Soon, with the help of one of the sailors, the boat is again moving north along the towering cliff. Off Japik’s clothes go, into the water the magus dives to transform into his animal body.

Occasionally coming back to the boat, so that they can keep up with him as he moves north, Japik takes his time as he explores the rocky side of the island. His earlier exploration had been hurried the previous day, but now he goes into small caves and openings into the rock looking for things of interest. Occasionally rousing the small inhabitants, be they crabs or fishes. He notes with interest small patches of greenish black rock, but that is not so unusual as to warrant more than a few moments. A few of the caves are a little deeper, but none reveal anything of real interest.

A few times, he catches the distant echoes of other dolphins’ calls, but he can’t quite make out the content of those calls. It would be so tempting to cease his disappointing explorations and join those distant cousins. He is running the thought around in his head, swimming in circles to clear kinks out of his sleek body, when he notices a number of lumps on the sandy bottom. A shape just a bit too regular to be a rock...

A few flicks of his tail later, Japik is close to the lump. A quite nicely circular lump, of something buried into the sand. Brushing aside the sand with his tail reveals a greenish circle about a handspan thick and a bit less than two feet wide, with a hole in the middle.

((How deep is this place with the circle?))

Unless he needs to breathe very soon and this is very deep Japik changes back to human form so he can use his hands to feel the surface of the circular lump. What kind of material does it feel like? He digs deeper in the hole in the middle with his hands to see if he can get more of it visible. Is there just one circular lump or more close by?

When he needs to get air he changes back to dolphin and swims up to the surface where the boat is. He tells Hjalmar (casting his voice spell) that he has found something interesting before diving back down again changing to human form at the bottom so he can use his hands for digging.

((The sea floor is about 15 paces deep around here. That is not the case everywhere, but the stretch along the southwest coast is relatively even once you move away from the cliffs. The floor is a mud/sand mix with seaweeds growing out of it, with a number of rocky outcrops scattered throughout.))

Japik hesitates before changing to his human body. From experience, he knows that this depth is painful from both pressure and cold. Yet he sees little choice if he is to investigate the lump.

As he takes human form, the shock of cold water on his water, combined with the sudden dimness of the murky depths, are disorienting for a few moments. Precious time lost before he locates the lump again and brushes his hands on it and tries to understand its nature.

It is hard and heavy. Running his hands along the edges, he digs into the muddy sand to discover that the disc is about a handspan in thickness. Sliding his hands under it, Japik tries to heave it out of the mud. It moves, but only a bit, before he must cease his efforts as the need for air becomes too great. So he turns back into a dolphin and quickly swims back to the surface for great gulps of air.

Japik locates the boat and asks Hjalmar if there is a rope longer than 15 paces in the boat ((still in dolphin form so speaking via his spell)).
If there is a long enough rope he will ask Hjalmar to tie one end to the boat while Japik takes the other in his mouth and swims back down to the greenish lump.
If there is no rope he asks Hjalmar and the sailor to wait while he swims back down.

He will try getting the disc free and moveable by sponting a Rego Terram effect that first moves away all the sand around it, then if possible tries to move the thing itself upwards.

((I'm not sure what effect is needed, moving dirt in a natural fashion is level 1, slightly unnatural is level 2, adding to concentration and touch, means level 3 or 4 (he touches the sand and the disc with his dolphin nose so not changing back to human form this time). Rego 4, Terram 0, Stamina 4 + possible aura, divided by 2 so needs a roll.))

If moving the disc by magic doesn't work he will change back to human form (going up for air first if needed) and tie the rope around the disc.
Finally if there is no rope long enough and the magic won't work he will swim up and ask Hjalmar and the sailor to go back to the town and get a long enough rope, say 20 paces. Japik will wait here in dolphin form.

I think base 1 should suffice. Base 1 (natural fashion), +1 touch +1 conc. Level 3 spell. Easy, yup :slight_smile: Should be enough to liberate the amphora (likely item).

Hjalmar rummages around the boat for a while, looking for a line long enough for his master’s purposes. He doesn’t find any single one long enough, so he finally cobbles together the two shorter ones that are used to tie up the boat to shore. Grinning widely at his cleverness, he brings the bundle to where Japik floats waiting in dolphin form.

Grabbing the rope in his mouth, Japik dives down again to the sea floor. Sand has begun to gather on the disc again, moved by the currents, but clearing it is a simple matter of swiping his tail across the item.

Gathering his strength, Japik tries to cast a spell to move the disc upward. ((Die roll 9)) His spell, however, is not strong enough to move the disc, so he after pondering the problem for a bit he resorts to the simple expedient of sliding the rope under the disc to tie it up. It takes a few loops of rope to tie it up securely, which means a few changes to human form and a good number of trips to the surface to get some air. But eventually the disc is ready to be lifted.

Rising up to the surface one last time, Japik climbs aboard the boat, exhausted, while the grogs start lifting up the spoils of his efforts. ((Even after resting up, Japik will be down 1 long-term fatigue level for the rest of the day.))

After much heaving and grunting, the heavy disc is brought aboard as well. It is greenish with corrosion, but chipping it with a knife reveals it to be massive copper. ((The disc weights about 80 pounds.))

((Ok to sum up what the spoils look like. A disc about two feets across with a hole in the middle and about a handspan thick, made of massive copper and weighs about 80 pounds. Some sort of wheel? Does it look manmade?))

Japik orders the two sailors to take them back to Meden. He just lie resting beside the copper disc looking at it and trying to come up with any ideas what it might be ((I'm at a loss)). The item is covered by some cloth or similar before they enter the port.

When they are back at the pier he tells Hjalmar to go look for the other magi and ask them to come and meet him here in the boat. Don't tell anyone else what we have found. Japik stays in the boat resting off his exhaustion.

As the boat make its way back to the piers, Japik examines the disc further. It has the regularity of a man-made object, but lack any form of decoration. It has a hole in its center, but it is square. And the disc seems much too heavy for a wheel in any case.

The grogs are of no help, for they cannot remember seeing anything like that.

((Japik will wait in the boat at the pier until at least one of the other magi come to him after Hjalmar has told them where he is and that he has something he want to show them.))

((Prochorus doesn't seem to be busy at all -- he's spent most of his day simply lazing about. So a grog comes to tell him to get his [strike]ass down to the piers[/strike] please join master Japik at the piers. The other two magi haven't come back from their explorations yet.))

Prochorus strolls down the pier, looking mildly bored.

Yes? Have something?

Japik sits in the knarr next to the covered disc and looks up at Prochorus as he approaches.
"Come have a look at this." He motions for the ex Miscellanea to come and sit in the boat and then he lifts the blanket covering the copper lump.
"What do you think this is? Ever seen something like it?"

Prochorus strokes his beard, his eyes tingling.

You found it in the water, didn't you. It doesn't seem like something they would use in a ship. Have you investigated it at all? Nothing like a mystery to color the ol' drudgery that is life!

"Found it not far from the cliff below the tree. I believe it is made of copper and it's heavy I tell you if you don't feel like trying for yourself. I haven't been able to make any further investigations. I thought maybe Quercus or you for that matter could examine it for any magic properties."

((Arthur, in the first post of this thread you mention Japik sees a number of lumps and then he finds this piece. Could there have been more than this or was the other lumps ordinary rocks from the sea floor? I just realized it now when I reread it.))

((The other 'lumps' you saw were more like rocks, nothing so regular as this disc. Which is why it caught your attention.))

You can always reflect on it while travelling back and decided to go checking again later :slight_smile:

Well, let's at least see if it's magical or not.

(Are there people around? If so, we'll take it to the storehouse first. If not, Prochorus will sit on the thing and cast InVi at base 4, so with touch level 5. When banging his drum he gets a total of 10 by shouting and waving.)

What are you looking at? Never seen a touch range spell before?

((No one close, but there are always a few people coming and going around the piers. What is it that your spell is trying to determine? There are more than one Base 4 guidelines, you know. :wink: ))

(Detect magic of third magnitude or higher.)

(I wasn't sure if it was that or detect the presence of raw vis. Die roll is 4.)

The drumming and shouting of magical words boom out into the warehouse, making the grogs present look uncomfortably at the closed doors, but cease quickly as Prochorus completes his spellcasting. And sits down as a fatigue hits him, without the usual rush of magic flowing out of him into a spell. (The spell fails to go off.)