id like to eat something that tried to eat me
Like a bitch in a sandstorm, these are the days of our lives
Sora awakens from her dream, clutching a diamond. Frustrated that she “went out like a bitch in a sandstorm” (her words not mine) at the Icosahedradome, she starts piecing together things from the dream. Parsley stems stuck in Hespero’s teeth as a lemon drop cocktail was clutched in his six fingered hand. And Malory was there, constantly ushered away from Sora by Hespero, and Zulon, laughing, revealing his rows and rows of jagged teeth, barely annoyed that Sora was defeated after betting on her.
“Under Aurochs Island. That’s where I put the engine. Thanks for the bardic inspiration. You’d better make it back,” he adds and orders another drink, but Sora pops out of the dream just as he says its name.
Sora spins a big yarn about having a favor-one-K (a favor from a deity) and the diamond as her reward for winning the whole Icosahedradome. Livius seems to buy it, even after having gone through it himself, but Cas just sees right through her, so Sora fesses up.
The heroes then plan on taking down the Skyswimmer, but first Livius determines that they should go to the summit of Hama and get that figurehead. Hobbes agrees, “Anything to procrastinate our untimely deaths.”
It’s the Roc in the building! Hov!
On their way up, they’re attacked by a roc! It tries to eat Hobbes really hard but Nahk hops in there and just stops it from moving with every reaction, even though it can move 120 feet. Cas hides in its shadow, firing arrows. Sora might have gotten a hit in there, not sure. Salty Sabrina and her crew lays a hurtin’ on the big bird. Rho attaches an IV to Hobbes. And Livius steals a kill yet again (after briefly considering putting a fireball on a 20 foot wide ship).
The roasted bird plummets to the ground. No time! Need to get to the summit, though Hobbes opines “I’d like to eat something that tried to eat me.”
KB is woken up from his hibernation mode after having bumped his head and spots the Alchemist with her books and her hands covered in black powder. Eyeing her with suspicion, he shoulder checks her and surfaces to find the gang having many a drink with the crew, celebrating their victory over the Roc.
The real Malory was the dog they found along the way
Nahk and Hobbes have a heart-to-heart and talk about how far they’ve come. Nahk wonders what connection he has to Hespero while Hobbes relates his run-ins with the Rakshasa. “My drinking is the only thing keeping away my pain,” Hobbes says, but later says, “I don’t mean it like that” indicating his many wounds. Abraham, with us in spirit, says on the wind, “Did your cry for help come out wrong?” because Rho wouldn’t say something like that but gotta have that one in there.
Nahk realizes the real connection to Hespero’s bullshit was the friends they made along the way and that they don’t need an employer’s payment to keep going. He writes that down in his journal, right after his entry on the Roc (entitled “A Roc and a Hard Place”). They agree to continue helping their newfound friends, seeing the mission out to destroy the Deathless One and probably Hespero, why not, while they’re at it, and Zulon if he gets feisty.
They toast, declaring, “May Malory burn in hell, but it sounds like he’s enjoying it.” They then remember that Sora saw him alive and with Hespero and let out big sighs.
Squawk squawk, squawk to my hoot; squawk squawk, squawk to my hoot; squawk squawk, squawk to my hoot, squawk to my hoot, my darling
Beyond the cloud cover is cool and breezy. The sky above is covered in cloud cover, like you are in a cloud sandwich. Above you, the mountain climbs higher to its peak where a craggy outcropping emerges. Atop that peak looks to be a ship’s mast, bizarrely enough.
Owlicious does some recon on the plateau on Hama, sees a giant! Squawk! Or hoot. He means hoot. Rho confirms that, yes, there a giant.
“We’ve knocked boots with the giants a few times. Knocked heads. I meant knocked heads.”
Giant nice though. Help Rho carry
the bronze statue of a burly man with a big flowing beard and two axes in his hands. The back of this statue is completely flat. Calcified barnacles cover its back.
Rho passes without comment
Among the rubble in the center of the plateau, there is a rusted metal shape. It appears to be a weathervane shaped like a strange serpent.
Paloma, the giant, explains her predicament: Her liege lord Riffrick has been killed and she is lost in the world, metaphorically speaking. Rho tells her to join them! But then reveals that they are going to hunt the sky swimmer, and Paloma chucks the figurehead and disappears into a mist. (Refer to title of previous episode ok lets help them kill our sacred animal).
After Nahk uses his super strength to retrieve the figurehead and Boatboy Bucephalus gets it on, Paloma reappears, seizing Sabrina with her telekinesis, demanding that the heroes relent from trying to kill the sky swimmer.
Small people are also people?
Livius somehow talks her down. Paloma says that the sky swimmer is sacred and Sora claims that the village that Riffrick attacked and was trying to enslave was also sacred, and she starts coming around to maybe thinking all life is sacred while slowly releasing Sabrina. (Certainly not a philosophy that has been espoused by most of the heroes, except KB but like in a weird way, but Sora rolled high, so it works out).
The heroes go down to the beach and retrieve the Roc corpse! Food for a day! Hungry Hamboy Hugo’s on it! The tibbits hang out too. It’s a nice time.
Livius talks to the Alchemist, who tells him that she has good moments and bad, that she can’t deal with reading her old letters sometimes, but she wants to remember. But doesn’t want to remember so much that the madness of The Unspeakable One’s book will take hold of her like it did Whisperbottom. She pets Good Mallory and returns to her silent work. Two of the cubes sit on her desk, of note the obsidian one from Natalya’s tomb.
Politics ain’t just a river in Argot
Paloma reveals a few things:
- Duchess Serena murdered Prince Riffrick and pinned on the Damage Sluts
- The old King Almsbrood has reigned for 300 years and his wife Queen Iskara runs the day to day
- There are bugbears on Charatos
Rho and KB talk about the Alchemist and KB’s suspicions about her. Rho convinces KB to not hurt the Alchemist, she’s trying to atone for her past.
The gang bunks together. Nahk sleeps on the hammock bunk above Hobbes, spilling over into his bunk too. Paloma is in a corner, the dogs all around her. Livius sleeps in a hammock held up by Rho and KB as they recharge.
What do you do with a drunken sailor pearl-y in the morning
The next morning, the heroes start racking their brains, while en route to Nistora, trying to find ways not to kill the sky swimmer but still get the key. Paloma wants to help too since the heroes agreed to help her with the whole Duchess thing.
They first hit up Morodos to find a pearl of great price (100gp give or take). Glub brings them to his cousin Fin. Fin hurriedly puts his jewelry table together, tries to sell the gang some pearl necklaces, but Sora apparently thinks this is a trick or something and asks for raw pearls.
“Oh you want the raw dog stuff.” The fishfriend Fin reveals a big ole pearl for 150gp please and thank you. Sora reverse pickpockets him an additional 10gp and they skip out on lunch, to Glub’s disappointment.
Using the pearl to cast identify, the power words for the cubes are revealed: lemon drop and parsley stem.
Hobbes remembers that there was a word lemon drop that was in Malory’s book. Classic.
Gnome or jockey
Sora racks her brain:
- Remembers everything Hespero ate except the one word
Nahk tries his culinary skills
KB tries his augury:
- Not drink
- Not food but is food
- Not plates or whatever
Rho tries her augury:
- Two words
Still the gang cannot figure it out, and on the way to Nistora, a giant water elemental attacks! KB and Rho take some konks from Know-it-all Nausicaa’s evasive maneuvers.
My other dirigible is investiture of the wind
The heroes start flying over Osteros when they realize that the Duchess Serena’s dirigibles are hovering ominously over the island. They decide not to help those islanders. You know, that islanders that started a holiday in honor of you. Probably honestly the nicest anyone’s been to you in the whole of the 13 Islands. ‘Cept Glub. Hasn’t even been a year.
Let’s rank them from sympathetic to antipathetic:
- Osteros (they made you a holiday)
- Iskos (you did a lot for these guys)
- Morodos (fish folk are nice)
- Hama (thanks for squashing our six-century beef)
- Findalos (thanks for getting rid of the fake angel Bakshir who was posing as Kes)
- Quebra (thanks for getting rid of the haunted lighthouse, here’s some wood)
- Kinista (thanks for getting rid of The Grinner and The Smiler)
- Charatos (population data not found)
- Lemba (they got kind of sick of you)
- Jolos (they were pretty afraid of you by the end)
- Dorost (HOT)
- Embara (population data not found / is worms)
- Nistora (they think you killed their prince)
Anyway the heroes have a slight change of heart and decide to send a scout down instead. Owlicious goes down, sees that there is a tense negotiation between Kalak the village elder and Serena.
The Duchess Serena wears a tall bronze headpiece atop her flowing pink hair that curls around her ears. Her mantle is heavy and bronze as well, her bracers and anklets too. She carries a morning star. She wears flowing robes of sea green and a sheer blue headscarf.
After Owlicious reports back (Squawk! I mean hoot!), Sora heads down to gather more intel.
Sora finds out a few things from spying:
- Serena is trying to negotiate with the dragonborn elder Kalak to join her or else be destroyed
Finds some other stuff out by dropping invisibility and using surface detect thoughts:
- Serena is anxious about something
- Thinks she is running out of time
- Definitely murdered Riffrick and knows Paloma saw
Sora is really trying to figure out more stuff about Serena, so she can take her down and keep Paloma on their side so that Paloma can help them retrieve the skyswimmer’s key safely.
So Sora digs deeper into Serena’s head and finds out:
- Serena needs the support of other islanders to overthrow King Almsbrood and Queen Iskara
- She is racing to gather support while the royals are in mourning
- Her threat to the dragonborn elder was a bluff
The giant lifts a hand up and turns around, clocking Sora in the crowd of dragonborn. Her eyes narrow.
Meanwhile, 1.5 miles in the air, Nahk cries out, “Ginger root!” while thinking of the black octagonal key. The object appears in his hand, safely retrieved from the skyswimmer.
It is late afternoon on day 32 since the Battle of Aurochs Island, the first engagement in the Argoti-Mineosi War.
The heroes are flying above Osteros (while Sora is on Osteros), having retrieved the final key to the demiplane engine.
The dogs are safe.
Three islands left: Nistora, Dorost, and Charatos.
No beasts left to conquer.
Malory is on the material plane with Hespero.
Abraham and Baltsaros are on.
You have four solid cubes with keyholes and a ring of seven keys:
- KB has one of the pine wood cubes
- Livius has the cube made of bone found in Iskos Valley Village’s elders’ hut
- The Alchemist has one of the pine wood cubes, the obsidian cube found at Natalya’s tomb, and the ring of seven keys
You are on a demiplane, and Zulon has been on the material plane for one full day.
Previous Episode: ok lets help them kill our sacred animal