Based on the discussion with Ursay (if that is her real name), it sounds like we’re going to be helping the villagers for a little while. Perhaps some guerilla warfare style stuff as we help them get settled? How long does she envision that it will take us to get them set up?
In the meantime, we need to hide the entrance to our escape cave. Either burn down the house or at least cover up the door.
Will she go back to her disguised old lady form? Or is she going to reveal herself?
Ursay is her real name.
“I don’t know how long it might take. We are not limited by time. The only danger lies in remaining and being discovered, or having our escape route cut off somehow. I will remain disguised if I am to have any contact with the people of the Vale. Besides, these people know you. You have spent so many years travelling around and putting on your shows, you are the closest thing to a popular figure in the valley, besides the mayor Jareth. If he has survived the initial attack, Jareth would be a good person to seek out. Let us take what provision we can from the cottage and bring it here to the ship. Once we are well supplied, we can hide the entrance. Then you can begin”
Among the many things Ursay has stashed away in her underground lair is a small cart. The guardian hauls the cart up the passageway until you reach the ladder leading up to the storeroom in the cottage. It takes several trips to bring everything back to the ship, but with the help of the guardian the work isn’t too difficult. Eventually the ship is loaded and the work is done. “Your companion, the guardian, I told you he is a living thing yes? The two of you have something in common. You are both one of a kind. Your father has preserved the secret of their creation. Long ago there was an entire race of warforged. They were originally made to serve their masters as soldiers. Eventually they became sentient and fought for their own freedom. There are none left now, but your grandfather created your the guardian to protect you and perhaps to be your friend. It would do you both well if he had a name. Think on it.”
“Now is the time for action. I will take care of the entrance. You should venture out into the vale and see what you can discover. It is likely that the Dragon men will force the villagers to continue working their farms. The flying cities need to get food and supplies. This valley will be a prize for them. It has a ready supply of wood, water and game. They will mine the mountains for ore and exploit any resources they can find here…starting with the people.”
Guess me an the guardian will head out. Maybe look for some high ground where we can get a nice overview of things. Has the cloud layer lifted?
I’ll think on a name for him.
The cloud layer is still there. Before you go, Ursay reassures you that the clouds themselves are safe. The stories about the clouds are just superstitions, though the first stories were started by Sterran hundreds of years ago. Over time they have grown into quite frightening tales.
She tells you that the mountain peaks are much higher into the cloud layer. It is difficult to see and easy to get lost. There is life above the clouds, but it’s sparse and there may be dangerous things living in the high places in the mountains. She and Sterran have been active in keeping the valley safe and hidden…until now that is.
Ursay directs you to another passage that leads up and out of the cavern. This passage leads in a northerly direction. She tells you that it emerges high up on a mountain peak above the clouds. Once you exit you will find a marked path leading down to a place just below the clouds where she and Sterran often surveyed the valley. In daylight you will be able to survey much of the land from that vantage point. She also tells you that the top of the mountain extends above the clouds. If you so choose, it might be the right time to climb the peak and see what lies above. She suggests that you make the climb at night. There is no cover on the mountain peak.
Sounds like a plan!
The journey up the passage is long and uneventful. You eventually come to a cavern that opens to the outside. The air outside is much colder than what you are used to on the valley floor. Exiting the cave you find a small pile of stones that Ursay told you would mark the trail. You can see a way to continue upwards if you choose. It is dark when you emerge. Since it’s night you decide to brave the climb. It’s over an hour to the peak. As you climb higher you can tell the cloud layer is thinning. It still remains impossible to see beyond the clouds, but there is a definite brightening. There is a whitish light emanating from somewhere above. Suddenly the clouds part before you and you find yourself on the summit. The view is staggering. All your life, the sky has been a thick layer of clouds…limiting your sense of the space around you. Your senses reel as you try to take in the sheer scale of the space that has opened up above you. For a moment, you cling to the guardian as if he can keep you from flying off into vast open sky. Looking to the west, over the valley:
Looking east beyond the mountains:
There is a ship to the west. It appears to be moving slowly northward. As you watch you see a second vessel rise up out of the clouds to the north. The two ships approach each other. The first ship comes to a stop while the second maneuvers to come along side. You hear voices calling out, though they are too far away to make out. The ships sit stationary for a time, perhaps 15 minutes or so. Then they separate. The second ship turns drops back into the cloud layer while the original vessel turns towards you. It’s going to pass right by your mountain peak…very close if it continues on its course…
Are there any markings on any of the ships? Flags or something?
I’m going to guess both ships are dragon-guy filled. If that’s the case I’ll find a place to hide so they don’t see us.
I presume these ships look too big for me and the guardian to take by ourselves, correct?
The ship coming towards you bears a standard that resembles the emblem you saw on the armor of the dragon men who attacked Ursay’s cottage. That ship is also much smaller…perhaps half the size of the ship that dropped back into the valley. The larger ship flew a flag, but it was not easy to make out from a distance. You could see enough to see that they were different.
The smaller ship is drawing nearer. From your hiding place you can see that the ship is fairly small. You can see perhaps five, maybe 6 of the creatures on deck. One standing at what must be the helm. One moving about in the rigging. The rest are going about other tasks that you can’t make out. You can hear their voices now as the ship approaches. You find that you can understand their language! The creature at the helm is barking orders to the others. You can hear him telling one to tighten a line. “Unfurl the port and starboard sails…we’ve need for speed this trip!” With that you can see now that the ship has long booms pulled up along it’s sides. A dragon creature drops over each side of the ship to as the booms move into position. The ship is almost on top of you now and you can see one of the creatures on the side closest to you working furiously to get the sail up. There are several ropes dangling down from the rigging on the booms. They are low enough to hang below the cloud layer. You can see the lines approaching very near to where you and the guardian are hiding…