Tarine 4, 1011
We’ve been hired again. There’s actually a notice board in one of the bars where suckers/ desperate souls tell everyone their problems and then sit around and wait for heroes to swoop in and save them. Disturbing. This guy, Harold Miner, a mid-level rich merchant, has lost a ship (to pirates, no doubt) and says that we have a reputation for helping people. The hell? Still, he’s willing to pay 5000 gp for the return of the Heaven’s Breeze, plus 100gp per head for crewmen. Says he cares about them. It’s like I know all the words in that sentence, but I still don’t know what it means. Since when does any boss care about the workers?
Also on the notice board was news of parents looking for their disappeared kid. I don’t think anyone noticed, but I had a bad moment when I read that. I wondered if my parents lost me and if so, did they care? I was actually jealous of that stupid kid while at the same time I was sorry for him. Imagine having parents who want you around and being yanked away from that. I almost wish we would take that job, but there’s no way I could say that out loud. Except maybe to Bach. I miss him.
I have started hanging out on board the Goat’s Revenge. It’s cool—I have people around me, but I don’t have to actually talk to anyone if I don’t want to. We all set off following the route of the Heaven’s Breeze and I barely noticed the difference in my day.
That first night while I was on watch, everything just felt weird for a moment; and then all of us felt nauseous and the lights all dimmed. I’ve seen Pascha do a similar kind of fog spell so I woke him up to see if we were under attack or something. He tried a light spell and that was dimmer too. Hearing a commotion on deck, we ran up to hear sailors trying to pinpoint something floating—maybe debris from the missing ship. Man, I hope not. That ship is worth a lot of gold intact. Pascha put another light on an arrow and I put it into the piece of wood the sailors saw. It appears to maybe be a crate or something, but the light is just so dim we can’t quite make it out.
Snake turned himself into a swan to fetch it. It has stencil on it that confirms it’s from the ship we’re looking for. Damn.
It seemed as though a storm was coming so Snake became a shark this time to investigate. Instead of a storm (which we’re actually prepared for) he brought news of some kind of dragon/drake that bit him and shocked him. Also the Heaven’s Breeze has been burned up. I was okay with salvaging a ship, but listen you stupid god, I do NOT want to be a hero. Not even a little bit.
The sun rose and it was still too dark to see well, but off in the distance we can see the monster jump out of the water. Pascha said it didn’t look like a normal drake. Gee, what a shame, since I’ve never seen a drake before and now I still won’t know what they’re supposed to look like. How am I supposed to tell thrilling tales of our mighty adventures without accurate details?
We stood on deck just watching the drake approach us (I put an arrow into it but I doubt it even noticed). It flamed a lightning bolt that ricocheted off a handful of guys in the center of the deck and fried them. Damn. People are going to stop being willing to work for us if this keeps up. Pascha yelled for everyone to get below decks. Sounded like a sensible plan. Below we got ready to fight the monster. See that’s a sentence that I’ve written way too many times. I always wonder afterwards what I was thinking, but in the moment I forget how outmatched we are. Snake started putting armor on his wolf. Seriously, an armored wolf. That’s not even strange anymore. He and Pascha threw some different spells on me and I drank a couple of strength potions that Gimbell made for me. Pascha peeked out and told us there were two of them now. Sure, ‘cause one would be too easy. We heard them tearing up the masts and riggings because of course they’re smart enough to jack with the ship’s sailing capabilities.
The wolf and I flew out (and that’s not weird either) and tried to flank one, but it hit me hard enough to know I couldn’t take another one, so I played dead. Snake crept out to heal me, but it wasn’t as good a job as Gimbell does. Still, I barely know the guy, so why is he risking his neck for any of us? I don’t get that. The wolf flanked one with me so I lunged and nailed his ass. The other one ran away. Wait, what? We killed one and frightened off another? How did that happen?
We plan on taking a couple of days to repair the Goat and to track the other drake. That’s the heroic thing to do, is it? It’s not enough that we killed one, no. Now we must track down a creature that ran away, but can easily kill us all.
As we were in our dinghy, I noticed something way off in the distance. It looked like maybe something in a cage. Around that time, we all heard someone trying to call for help. Man’s been out here floating on a piece of flotsam for days, maybe weeks. I remember how that feels. He looks rough. Eventually he could tell us his story.
The Heaven’s Breeze actually made it to Waycoast, but it was all different and creepy. The darkness was there and some of the ships were armed and dangerous-looking. They could see on deck what could only be those horrible chain-things we fought earlier. They turned around and I don’t blame them. Running away is a very sensible option and I don’t know why we don’t take it more often. Colin said the drakes attacked them on the way back to Runner’s Cove. They saw some tiny things—I pointed out the one we saw—right before the drakes hit them. The tiny things were joined by more of their kind and Colin’s sure they were watching the ship. Snake shaped into a bird to look closer. They are eyes inside of cages made of armor or scales. He followed one and they report to the chain-thing creatures. Upon hearing this, Pascha put together the pieces: we’re on the Shadow Plane. That’s right, we’re no longer in our home plane, where light and gravity and things like that work normally.