Chapter 2c: The Sunken Sailor

When the knarr comes back from its first trading trip, Trond comes to see Japik. He explains that they fished out a sailor from the sea, lashed to a few planks and drifting. The man was the surviving sailor of a small merchant ship, apparently the victim of pirates. Trond thought that Japik would like to interview the man and see if he can give them some information about what happened and where his ship went down, for there might be some salvageables in the sunken ship.

First Japik talks to Trond asking him how their trading trip went. Did they make any profits or found anything interesting to buy and sell, or just the ordinary? Anything else extraordinary happening? Well except for the sunken sailor then.

Then talking to the sailor.
"Good evening mate! Don't fear me I'm just a friend of the guys that saved you and we want to help you as much we can. May I ask your name and where you are from?" Assuming he answers and if he comes from any place along the coast of north or northwest Europe Japik will look happy and tell a quick anecdote about a friend he had that came from that place. It might not be a true story though.
"So what happened to you and your ship? Pirates attacked? Where was this and how long ago?"

Nothing special from their trip, aside from the rescued sailor. Trond mentions that he will have to get more familiar with the market of Hamburg before he can hope to find more profitable cargo. For now, he'll stick mostly to fish as outbound cargo, while inbound cargo will come as grab-can-do. Lumber, fabric and grain (during the right season) are fairly safe bets, if not particularly profitable.

As for the rescued sailor:

"Not much good about it, sir," he eyes the magus suspiciously. "Mind you, I'm happy to be alive and all that. But my friends are dead, and all I owned is at the bottom of the sea." The man seems quite depressed, "Including my share of the cargo. Not much choice, though, I'll need to find a new place on a ship coming through."

"Yeah, I think it was pirates. We were anchored near one of the Friesian islands for the night. Don't know how they found us. I was sleeping aft, 'cause I'd had too much beans the day before and wasn't feeling that well. That pro'bly why they missed me when they came aboard. We didn't stand a chance, as they were aboard and spilling blood before we knew what was going on." He shudders, "I'll remember the sound of Holger's head being split for the rest of my life, to be sure. That's what woke me up."

He takes a deep breath, "Some of them went down below and the screaming started. The poor saps never stood a chance. Me, I took a chance by going overboard instead of facing their blades. Don't know how to swim, but I grabbed whatever was close to help me float and jumped. I figured with an island close, I could make it there." He shakes his head, "Currents wouldn't let me, I got carried off. But those damned pirates probably didn't get all they were hoping for. Someone must have spilled a lamp or something, for soon there was smoke and flames, and next thing you know our ship was going under. Right there by the island."

To Trond:
"Great job Trond! Tell the others too. Make yourself regulars in Hamburg and Bremen. Make connections with the important traders. And of course don't forget to have some fun too."

To the sailor:
"I'm really sorry for the loss of your friends. I know how hard it is to lose those you love and care for most. But as you say you are still alive and after a period of grieving you will be able to start over and set up a new chapter of your life. Please bear with my bookish language, it's the company I hang around with." he grins. "As for a new place on a ship ask Trond here, he might need another pair of hands if you have the skills and experience."

"Would you be able to point out which island where the pirate attack happened? Was it far from here? And what kind of cargo did you have on the ship at the time? I'm asking since I might be able to help find what is left and salvageable from your previous ship." He moves a little closer to the sailor as he looks at him with a quirky smile.

"Then do you remember anything about the pirates? How many ships did they have in the attack? Did you see any symbol or flags on their clothes or ships while you fled from your ship?" He looks more sternly at the sailor "You see I have a grudge with some pirates as well so if it is the same ones we might join to get our revenge one day."
Then he goes back to his perpetual smile "But now lets drink some wine. Trond what do we have?"

Trond rolls his eyes at Japik's apparent lack of attention to what he's just been told, before saying, "Of course, sir."

From behind the sailor, Trond shrugs his shoulders. He already has a crew, but perhaps another one may work out.

The sailor looks at Japik as if the man had grown a second head, his face reddening at the insensitivity of the remarks. The sailor has just lost friends, his life's belonging, and almost died... And Japik seems to be treating it all like some minor trouble.

The rest of the discussion is strained as a result of this, but Japik is able to learn the location of the island where the merchant ship had been at anchor. It is about two day's sailing to the west, a small unnamed island between the Ems and Weser rivers. Trond gets a description of what the coast looks like there, which is deems precise enough to locate the place. Of the cargo's nature, the sailor remains vague, "If you are able to retrieve some of it, what would be my share?" he asks a bit harshly, still irritated at Japik's too-bright outlook.

"Oh don't sir me. You're the captain and you'll know what to do." Japik slaps the Norwegian friendly on his shoulder.

Japik doesn't think his losses are all that bad, but he tries to console the sailor a little by being a little more understanding and then asking Trond again if there is a place for him on the knarr.
"It's up to Trond, but if you join the crew we can all go to the site you describe in a few days when the ship is ready to sail again. Then we'll see what we can find but if your ship went down quickly as you say, there is a chance we might find some of it still intact." Japik's showing eagerness probably making the sailor less happy with him.
"Your share? What do you want? Technically, if you are the sole survivor of the crew it's all yours, but we can help you bring it up. If it's worth it?" Japik nudges the sailor spitefully as to make him tell what the cargo is.

The sailor (whose name is Rudiger) admits that he doesn't know what all of the cargo was. But at they had picked up some cargo in Bordeaux, most of it stored in jars. Some of it may have originally come from Iberia, like wine and olive oil. But they'd had some crates, too, which he thought contained pottery, 'cause it was said to be fragile. He knows that the captain had a crate brought into his small cabin, so this might have been more valuable.

They had been bound for Lubeck.

"That definately sounds worthwhile to take a closer look at. What do you say?" Japik looks at Trond and Rudiger to see if they are both in on the idea to go look for the sunken ship and cargo.
"When can the ship and your crew be ready to go?" he then asks Trond eagerly.

Did Rudiger see any symbols or other remarkable signs or circumstances regarding the pirates that attacked them?

Rudiger shrugs, "I guess looking at the closest shores to see whether anything floated there may be worth some time, but my ship sunk so fast, I don't know how much that would be." It is quite clear that the idea of diving underwater to retrieve the cargo is not something that comes to his mind. Japik remembers that when he first explained the notion to Trond and the others, they'd looked strangely at him. It is only when he'd revealed himself as a shapeshifter that they'd understood how he could do this.

The sailor repeats that he didn't see much of the pirates themselves. Nothing comes to his memory about any particularity. Aside from the fact that he never heard them coming.

As soon as Trond and his crew, and Rudiger for that matter, is ready to sail. We will go to the island that Rudiger specifies. Japik doesn't mention anything about how they intend to look for cargo but they will bring as much rope as they can and some simple tools like axes and such.

Under the directions of Rudiger, Trond sails the knarr west for a bit over a day. At night, he bring the ship ashore so that the group can make camp on a beach instead of sleeping cramped aboard the small ship. Watches are set, just in case, but nothing untoward happens.

The next day, after passing a few small islands, Rudiger points to one that approaches. He thinks this is where his ship was anchored, but he admits that he is certain this is the right one. There are many similar islands on these parts, he says when Trond scowls at him.

Japik rises to standing and starts to undress completely (assuming there are no other people seeing him than the crew that knows him plus Rudiger). He gives Trond a quick look and a nod and then he jumps into the water and starts to dive deeper. Then he changes to dolphin form.

He starts searching for any signs of the sunken ship.
The plan is to locate it first and check the condition of it and it's surroundings, how deep is it lying etc. If Japik can get inside parts of it as dolphin he will do so to look but obviously if something needs more manual dexterity then he will get back down as human with ropes and other equipment. He will not be shy to show himself as dolphin to Rudiger hoping that Trond and the others will try to explain it to him.

Rudiger becomes white as a sheet when he realizes what happened -- namely that the master of the other sailors is a shapechanging warlock. Despite the reassurances and explanations from Trond and the other sailors, he stays as far away from Japik as he can for the rest of the trip. He is clearly afraid of the magus and wants nothing to do with him.

After an hour searching for the ship, Japik has yet to find it.

As that time passes, and under questions from Trond, Rudiger admits that he is not certain this is the right island.

(OOC: Rudiger's reaction was determined by a stress die, not on a whim from me.)

After an hours fruitless search Japik swims back to the knarr and tells* Trond and the crew to set sail for the neighbouring islands and follow him as he swims in advance, still in dolphin form.

The search then expands to include the nearby islands that looks about the same unless Rudiger suddenly recognizes something specific.

(*Japik casts The Voice of the Bjornaer Magus so he can speak in dolphin form. He keeps talking friendly to Rudiger even if he seems afraid of him.)

The more Japik talks to Rudiger, the more nervous and scared the man seems become.

When Trond talks to him about the location of the island, Rudiger have them move west to the next island that looks similar. Then, after another fruitless search, to the next one. And the next one... Each time wasting half a day looking for the wreck.

It is only four days after leaving Helgeland, late in the afternoon, that Japik finally spots a sunken ship, lying on its side on the sandy sea floor at an angle, leaning against a rocky outcrop. The aft of the ship, where the captain's cabin is usually located, looks mangled where it must have hit the outcrop. There is also signs of a fire -- the rigging mostly gone, the main mast is snapped in half and charred, while the port side of the ship shows some more charring and a hole in the planks gapes upward.

If it's possible to swim through the hole as dolphin, Japik will do so to try to see how much of the cargo that seems to still be there and also if possible to see what kind of cargo it seems to be. He also tries to get a closer look at what used to be the captain's cabin to see if he notices any interesting remains there.

If none of this is possible in this form or when the search need more manual dexterity he will go back up and change to human form as well as telling the others that he have found the ship. Then he dives back down to see what can be done by using arms and hands.

Only when he has a better picture of what the cargo is and what can be retrieved will he start using ropes and such to try to get it up through the water.

Entry through the hole proves possible to a dolphin, although Japik feels uncomfortable navigating such enclosed space in this shape. From this angle, he notices that although there are signs that more cargo had been lashed on the deck, only a few larger pieces can be seen lying on the sea bed. Of course, there's a fairly strong current flowing here, so whatever got lose may simply have been carried away.

From the size of the vessel, Japik doubts he'll be able to remain in dolphin shape to reach the captain's cabin. And the current flowing around the wreck is cold, so his human form will have some difficulty as well.

Nosing into the hole, he doesn't see much as the rocks are blocking most of the sun's late afternoon light. Still, he can see some large rounded shapes in the dim light inside. But it is a jumble, with the ship lying of its side.

Japik first casts Eyes of the Cat to improve his sight in the fading light then (assuming the spell works) he tries to spont a MuAn effect to make himself one size smaller in dolphin form to maneuver easier inside the sunken ship. (Base effect:4, Concentration +1, so Level 5 casting with fatigue)

He casts these spells after going up to the surface to tell the others of his findings, he has both Quiet magic and Subtle magic so can cast in dolphin form but since he can speak via the Voice of the Bjornaer Magus spell he will use loud voice. Also does Ways of the Sea account for bonus on spellcasting in the sea?

Assuming this works he will try to get a closer look at the cargo inside the ship at the bottom still in dolphin form.

(Spellcasting in general does not "directly involve that area and its inhabitants" as mentioned in Ways of the [Land]'s description. It would apply to some spellcasting, provided that the spell directly involves the sea or its inhabitants. In this instance, you are targeting yourself as a dolphin, so I am tempted to allow it.)

Eyes of the Cat is successfully cast (die roll 9) and helps see better. Unfortunately for Japik, as soon as he gets back underwater his cat eyes begin to sting from the sea salt. Nothing unbearable, but it is uncomfortable and basically nullifies the benefits from being able to see in the dark (although it doesn't really make things worse either). It occurs to Japik, in an ironic thought, that this may be one reason why cats don't like water. :laughing:

The second spell, to shrink himself into a smaller dolphin, also succeeds but barely (die roll of 9 again, +4 Sta +5 Muto +5 Animal +3 Ways of the Sea + 1 for Loud Voice = 27). It will be a struggle to maintain concentration while swimming around and inspecting the interior of the ship, however.

Japik swims around inside the ship for maybe a minute and tries to see and nose around the rounded shapes he saw earlier or any other shapes that looks interesting. The plan is to try to find out what is in them, if they look intact and is there a possible way for Japik to get them out in human form? Is it possible to reach the captain's cabin in diminished dolphin form?