Trinsic Tales:Ships Ahoy!/Chapter 01
Chapter One: Let's Get Kraken!
<Capn_Ascii> AS WE JOIN OUR HEROES...
<Capn_Ascii> It's high noon on the high seas, and the Flatulent Manatee, trade ship of the Kingdom of Belcadar, is cutting a swift path through the gently-churning water of the Azfaraseikan Sea. It's a bright, sunshiney day, and the salty crew of the salty ship go about their salty duties while singing a salty sea chanty about a comely bar wench who...well, the specifics aren't important.
<Capn_Ascii> What is important is the female figure standing with authority near the bow of the ship, looking out over the ocean spray with a sense of regal purpose. Or something like that.
<Marilyn> "Royal Log, Voyage Day Seventeen," Marilyn muttered to herself, vaguely scribbling onto parchment. "Still mostly open sea, and nothing happening. Still a couple of weeks or so to Trinsic. I don't know why I even bother writing this, it's totally pointless most days. Eh, I guess it's something to do so I get myself off of the backs of everyone else here. This ship isn't as big as I'd hoped it would be, but I suppose we'll take what we can get. Belcadar isn't exactly a great shipbuilding nation. Ah well."
<Capn_Ascii> As Marilyn finishes her log entry, a swarthy fellow with an air of sycophanty around him approacher her. "Excuse me, your Royal Highness...?" It's Mr. Tristan, the ship's commander. And for now, Marilyn's underling.
Marilyn turned and gave him a quick little smirk, "Yes, Captain, what can I do for you?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Yes, well...um..." He seems hesitant - as if there's something he wants to tell you, but is afraid of your potential response. "We, ah...may have a slight problem. Do you remember how the cook reported those rations missing from the pantry? We believe we may have found the cause."
<Marilyn> "I'm listening."
<Capn_Ascii> "One of the crew reported hearing some strange noises from some of the crates in the cargo hold. We believe we may have stowaways on board..."
Marilyn stifled a groan. "We 'may' have stowaways on board? Either we do or we don't. If we do, then you'd better go FIND them. But until you actually find them, so we can actually do something about them, I'm not entirely sure why you're wasting My time with this."
<Capn_Ascii> Tristan clears his throat. "Well...by 'may', I more or less mean 'do'. By which I mean we have them at swordpoint in the lower hold."
<Marilyn> "Ah, I see. In that case... bring them on deck. I will speak with them myself."
<Capn_Ascii> Tristan nods, then scurries away. A few minutes later, he and several armed sailors emerge from the lower decks, holding a pair of individuals at swordpoint. They emerge from the door...followed by some 8 or 9 odd-looking creatures trailing behind them.
<Marilyn> "Well, well, well... what have we here? It seems like we have a couple of citizens onboard my ship without authorization... you know, we're pretty far away from just about everything... I could have you thrown overboard, activate the teleportation defenses for a while, and you'd never make it anywhere to survive... however... I'm not just a cruel bitch, despite what you may have heard about me. I'm willing to listen... tell me why I should keep you."
<Ashling> "I heard you were going to trinsic, and I couldn't afford a ride on any of the other boats."
<Marilyn> "That... is an explanation of why you decided to ride with Me. That isn't, however, an explanation of how you thought you could succeed in hiding for a month-long journey, or when found out, survive the discovery. I'm not going to ask you again, instead I will prefer you show some intelligence and at least make an attempt at answering the question that I actually asked you."
<Vathgani> "Common not Vathgani's first language. Slow down a little?"
<Marilyn> "What is your first language?" Marilyn asked, straight to the point, figuring most likely it'd be something she could speak, or someone on her crew could speak, not really being interested in changing Her speech patterns for long.
Marilyn sighed, never having heard of the language. "Never heard of it, damn. Well, you'll just have to listen and catch up. Common is what we speak around here mostly, you'll get used to it eventually. If you live."
Marilyn paused for a moment, thinking. While everyone was silent, she got an idea. "Alright... well, intelligence isn't apparently your strong suit, since you can't answer a simple question, but... I can always use a couple of extra hands... can you two fight?"
Ashling looks at her companions. "Of a sort."
<Vathgani> "Not with Vathgani already at swordpoint."
Marilyn smirks at this. "Indeed. Well... if I added you two to the security team here, could you do it?"
<Vathgani> "Depends on policies about collateral damage."
<Capn_Ascii> Tristan leans over and prods Marilyn on the shoulder. "Um, your Highness...?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Do you think, perhaps, we could press them into service in the near future?"
Marilyn smirks at Tristan. "That's exactly where I am going with this. Do it. On the bottom, and no, they don't get paid, because they were stupid enough to stowaway on a royal vessel, and I could simply throw them off if I wished, so they should be grateful I am permitting their existence to continue," she directs her comments at Tristan, but makes it very clear so the others can hear.
<Capn_Ascii> Tristan clears his throat, and leans in closer. "Um, no, your Highness, I mean...in the *very* near future. As in, right now." He points off the port side. "Because we might need some extra help to deal with that..."
Marilyn turns and takes a look.
<Capn_Ascii> Marilyn: Huh. There appears to be an enormous, multi-tentacled, squid-like beast the size of a frigate quickly approaching the ship. Now there's something you don't see every day.
<Capn_Ascii> The sailors all cry out in unison. "KRAKEN!!"
<Marilyn> "... ...I see. ALL HANDS ON DECK! And that includes you two, let's take this thing out!" Marilyn roars, drawing her blades.
<Capn_Ascii> The kraken lets out a spine-chilling roar. "GRAAAAWR!" (Translation: "Sailors! Yummy!")
<Capn_Ascii> As the beast nears the ship, you notice something rather odd - there appears to be someone *standing* on it. Perched right there atop its head, holding onto what looks like a staff that's been driven right down into the creature's flesh. The figure is wearing robes that obscure its face, and is holding onto the staff to prevent itself from falling off.
<Marilyn> "Note the Controller up top!" Marilyn comments. "If we take it out the kraken may go away!"
<Vathgani> "Might be hard. There is kraken in the way."
<Marilyn> "Can't handle hard? Well, no one's going to care if *you* get killed, so you might as well try it!" Marilyn yelled at Vathgani.
<Marilyn> "In the meantime... I want more power! Maximum Warp, let's see if we can't outrun this thing!"
<Capn_Ascii> "Aya, Kepten!"
<Capn_Ascii> A somewhat Russian-looking fellow clambers up the rigging to unfurl the mailsail.
Ashling slips below decks, peeking over the railing.
Vathgani draws his overly large guisarme. "What if kraken controls man on top?"
<Marilyn> "I think krakens prefer eating humanoids to controlling them... Prepare portside cannons!"
<Capn_Ascii> "Preparing portside cannons!"
<Capn_Ascii> A scraggly fellow the sailors have nicknamed Mr. Parrot announces this. You're not sure why they call him that.
<Marilyn> "Don't attack until it get close enough to possibly make a strike."
<Marilyn> "But once it does, fire at will."
<Capn_Ascii> The kraken waves its tentacles meneacingly at the ship. "GRAAAWR!"
<Capn_Ascii> Mr. Parrot barks back at you. "Cannons loaded and ready to fire!"
<Marilyn> "Wait for it..."
<Capn_Ascii> Above your heads, the sails falls open. The ship begins to accelerate.
<Capn_Ascii> The Kraken is now close enough to begin extending its meneacing tendrils out towards the ship...
<Capn_Ascii> The sound of cannonfire resounds as a dozen cannons go off in sequence. The kraken is pelted with explosive ordinance.
<Capn_Ascii> "GRAAAWWR!" It flinches, and retracts its tentacles. As it does so, it begins to fall behind the ship as it picks up speed.
<Marilyn> "Prepare aft cannons!"
<Capn_Ascii> The crew looks at each other. "Uh...aft cannons?"
<Marilyn> "...do we NOT have aft cannons?"
<Capn_Ascii> "No, ma'am. Just a pair of harpoon launchers."
Marilyn grumbles something about incompetent ship design. "Fiiine. Ready the harpoons!"
<Capn_Ascii> "Uh." They look at each other again. "Ma'am, if we fire the harpoons, we'll tether the ship to that monster. Aren't we trying to get *away* from it?"
<Marilyn> "Did I say 'fire', you idiots? I said 'ready'! If that thing catches up to us we won't suddenly find more speed, and we'll need to just inflict maximum damage!"
<Marilyn> "Obviously I'm not going to fire unless I have to."
Marilyn watches the progress of her ship compared to the kraken's.
<Capn_Ascii> Fortunately, it seems that your ship is fast enough to outrun the beast, at least in this wind. You can see it falling farther behind, the kraken shrieking at the top of its lungs. Or is that gills?
<Marilyn> "And that is why you don't go your maximum speed when you don't have to -- always a surprise left in the tank. Assuming nothing changes, I think we're good. Alright, rebalance the cannon supplies... and now where were we?"
<Capn_Ascii> The helmsman calls out from his position at the wheel. "Um...we were about to hit those rocks over there." He points off the bow, where there's some angry-looking shoals rapidly approaching the front of the ship.
<Marilyn> "Evasive manuevers!"
<Marilyn> "Seriously, do you need me to tell you that?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Of course not! But we were so busy running away like cowards I didn't have time to avoid them! Brace for impact!"
<Vathgani> "Vathgani glad he paid attention during swim lessons..."
Marilyn gets red with rage. "YOUR ENTIRE JOB IS TO MAKE NECESSARY COURSE CHANGES!"
<Ashling> "I'm just glad there's a railing to hang onto."
Marilyn grabs ahold of the railing in front of her, restraining herself from saying anything further, since it would likely just hurt crew morale.
<Capn_Ascii> The helmsman jerks the wheel hard to the side, and the ship begins to turn. The vessel quakes ominously as the hull scrapes roughly across the jagged rocks beneath it.
Marilyn grits her teeth. "If we survive this that helmsman is so demoted."
<Capn_Ascii> After an agonizing few moments, the ship rights itself, the grinding sounds stopping.
<Capn_Ascii> Taking a look behind you, you notice that the kraken has vanished beneath the waves - along with its rider. Hmm.
<Capn_Ascii> Mr. Tristan talks with the crew, then comes up to you. "Ma'am, the ship is intact, but the hull is damaged - we're slowly taking on water. We need to make landfall for repairs ASAP."
<Marilyn> "Brilliant. Do you have a suggestion for such landfall?"
<Capn_Ascii> The ship's navigator (who, by sheer coincidence, is named Bob Navigator) goes over the charts. "There's a small chain of islands nearby. The reports say there's friendly inhabitants there, so we should be able to barter for supplies while we're there."
<Marilyn> "Then let's go. Pick the nearest one, or the one that's quickest to get to given wind conditions, and engage."
<Capn_Ascii> "Yes, ma'am."
<Vathgani> "Vathgani have bad feeling about this."
Marilyn turned around and stared at Vathgani. "No, really?"
<Vathgani> "Yes, really."
<Capn_Ascii> The ship, now moving more slowly, makes way through the water. After about a half-hour, the shape of an island looms ahead.
<Ashling> "Wasn't expecting this when I stowed away in a box."
Marilyn rolls her eyes. "Well, it's not like we have any choice in the matter. Do either of you know how to steer a ship?"
<Capn_Ascii> The island seems to have an unusual shape - the outer edges are verdant beach and jungle, but in the center of the island is a massive rocky spire that rises high above the rest of the island around it. It's so high that a ring of clouds is gathered around the peak - dark, angry clouds, that roll around each other and spark lightning between them.
<Vathgani> "Reminds Vathgani of home."
<Capn_Ascii> Bob calls out. "Approaching Deathspire Island. Prepare to make anchor."
<Marilyn> "Really, 'Deathspire Island' and you think the inhabitants are friendly? Well, it's not like we have much choice in the matter," Marilyn grumbles to herself.
<Vathgani> "Name like home, too."
<Marilyn> "Alright, I'll bite. Where's your home?"
<Vathgani> "Vathgani not sure. Got very, very lost."
<Marilyn> "Well, what's the name of the place? You said it reminded you of home..." Marilyn prodded.
<Capn_Ascii> Before long, the ship slows to a stop, and the anchorman (who's wearing a dapper suit and tie) drops anchor.
<Capn_Ascii> Mr. Tristan speaks up. "We're here, ma'am. The longboat is ready; please select your landing party."
<Vathgani> "In Gol-kaa, it is called Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu."
<Vathgani> "Vathgani usually just call it 'home' around here."
<Marilyn> "Right, okay... the two stowaways who aren't supposed to be here anyway, my very, very expendable helmsman now, and Ensign Ricky." Marilyn called out her landing party. "Tristan, mind the ship."
Ashling looks at her companions. "Ariel and Navi come with me. Everyone else, stay here and try very hard not to get in anyone's way."
Marilyn gets in the longboat and gestures at everyone she picked to do the same.
Vathgani tags along
Ashling gets in.
<Capn_Ascii> The two named creatures head over to Ashling's side; the rest retreat into an odd huddle near the main mast, where they proceed to do nothing but stare intensely at the sailors, who soon grow uncomfortable.
<Capn_Ascii> The sheepish-looking helmsman and a sailor in a red tunic clamber into the boat as well, and begin lowering the boat into the water.
<Marilyn> "Alright, let's do this quickly. Wes, do you have a damage report?"
<Capn_Ascii> Wes nods, reading from a list as the boat lands in the water and Ricky begins to row. "Two of the hull braces are cracked, and the hull planks themselves need replacing and re-tarring."
<Marilyn> "Alright, what's our status on spare parts -- how much of that can we handle in-house?"
<Capn_Ascii> "We can fix the braces ourselves, but we need fresh planks and some tar for the rest."
<Capn_Ascii> "We could also stand to pick up some fresh food while we're here."
<Marilyn> "Alright, fair enough."
Marilyn relaxes and waits for landing.
<Capn_Ascii> "Bob says the locals are friendly enough, as long as we don't antagonize them."
<Marilyn> "Define 'antagonize'. I want to know what we're dealing with."
<Capn_Ascii> "Well, you know. As long as we don't go barging in there tossing around words like "manifest destiny" and threatening to rape their women, we should be fine."
<Marilyn> "Was someone actually dumb enough to do that? ...don't answer that, I'm well aware of the type of man that runs most kingdoms."
<Capn_Ascii> Soon, the island looms large ahead of you.
<Capn_Ascii> You can see a pristine, gorgeous white sand beach, with thick jungle behind it. A single path runs up into the trees.
<Capn_Ascii> Ricky brings the boat in for a landing on the beach. *bump*
Marilyn looks for evidence of habitation other than the path into the trees, or other possible means of exit from the beach.
<Capn_Ascii> You all pile out of the boat and onto the sand. Too bad you're not barefoot.
<Capn_Ascii> Marilyn: As you hop out onto the beach, you see a small, wooden sign next to the path. It says: "Welcome to Deathspire Island! Tourists welcome! This way to village." ...with an arrow pointing along the path.
Ashling looks at Ariel and mutters "You can build a sand castle later. We're not here to play."
<Marilyn> "Well then, I guess the path it is," Marilyn comments, indicating the spine. "Vathgani take point. Wes at the rear. Ricky stay here and mind the longboat. You behind the big one, still haven't got your name yet, and me behind you and ahead of Wes. Let's go."
<Ashling> "Sorry. Ashling. Nice to meet you."
Vathgani cautiously starts walking down the path, ready to draw his guisarme
<Capn_Ascii> Marilyn: You also see the beach itself stretching off into the distance in both directions. The island is circular, with the beach curving off around it to either side. You can see a lone banana tree in the middle of the beach to your left.
<Marilyn> "Oh, and Ricky, you can probably afford to grab a few bananas and stow them while you're waiting," Marilyn points, indicating the tree.
<Capn_Ascii> "Yeah, yeah." Ricky grumbles, and shuffles off to try and climb the tree.
<Capn_Ascii> With your party in the appropriate configuration, you begin to march inland...