Knightfall's World of Kulan: Tales of the Companions Story Hour (Final Update: Sep 20, 2014)

the Jester

Legend
Knightfall1972 said:
Agent of Evil:

As he walked he split his mind with his schism ability, so that he could organize his thoughts on everything he'd seen and heard.

Nothing like talking things over with yourself! ;)
 

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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Thunderport, Isle of Black Dogs:
Elyiniia, the Betrayer of Amylinyon, paced back and forth, deep in the hidden basement of the House of Filrand, mulling over everything that the agent had conveyed to her through the mirror of insight. She already knew more than the man had consciously seen and heard. The mirror transmitted not only his memories of The Ishtar and her crew, but his perceptions as well; even those he didn't recognize as being important.

The mirror had seen to that. It kept a mental record of his experiences that she could tap at any time. A useful tool that only the highest ranking members of the Opposition had access to. The agent and those like him didn't even know that the sending mirror many of them were given was designed to read and transmit their thoughts and experiences without their knowledge.

The mirrors were only given to those that had the potential to become more than just pawns in the games of the Opposition overlords. It was the best way to intercept up and coming rivals before they became a real danger.

She couldn't help but wonder who the young female, who'd sneaked onto The Ishtar, had been. Elyiniia had noticed the skulking form while cycling through the agent's memories. He had been so focused on the ship that he hadn't noticed the clandestine form. This girl, whoever she was, had the potential to be an excellent thief and spy. A thought that intrigued the ancient, elven necromancer.

If she could only discover the girl's identity, then she could use her to bring down Dabuk Tigerstorm and his companions. Yet, something seemed to be blocking her magical skills. Divination had failed to reveal anything, which was unusual, and no matter how hard she delved into the recorded thought patterns of the agent, she was unable to get a clear image of the girl in her mind.

This worried her.

Still, Elyiniia the Foulsoul had gained more than enough information to plan her next move against the miscreants that had thwarted her plans in the West. Onaway had been a grand prize that the Opposition wanted to capture for decades, and just when the plan was near completion, her old nemesis and his unruly spawn had to arrive and ruin everything. Garth Tigerstorm and his companions had been the bane of the Opposition's existence for decades, and now it seemed like the next generation would cause them just as many problems unless something was done.

Elyiniia would see to that, personally, and the Black Death would be her weapon of choice. The ancient witch deactivated the magical mirror with only a thought. She gathered everything she would need before ascending the cracked-stone, spiral staircase to the main floor of the House of Filrand. Elyiniia had been pretending to be the Pirate Queen of House Filrand for nearly a decade and easily masked her true self with that of the now deceased Captain Avana Filrand.

Her First Mate, a sniveling man named Dullman, met her at the door of House Filrand. He truly lived up to his name and had no idea who she truly was. He was in love with his Pirate Queen and would die for her in heartbeat.

“Mistress, the crew of the Black Death awaits yer orders, with glee,” the man drolled.

“Prepare to set sail, Dullman. I've learned of a new fat fish to fry, and I want to be underway as soon as possible.” Elyiniia spoke with the painful accent of an Islander elf, something she'd gotten use to in this role. “Make sure that the men are prepared for a war. Move it you old sea dog!”

“Y-yes mistress,” Dullman bowed and scraped, nearly to the ground, before running off towards the docks of Thunderport.

The pirate city was at its worse and the sky above it was filled with the smoke and smells of the unclean and worthless. The souls of this stinking pool of filth were some of the worst. They had little to redeem them to Elyiniia beyond their gifts for making evil and suffering in the world. She'd be glad to be free of Thunderport and its horrid streets. No, nothing would keep her here, now that The Ishtar had set sail.

“I am coming for you, whelp of Garth,” she whispered into the air. “You and your friends shall rue the day that you crossed me.”

* * *
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Griffons and Sahuagin, oh my!:
“Griffons,” Salisan yelled. “Everyone prepare yourself!”

The attack came out of the sky and would have been without warning if not for the reef giants keen eyes. Half-a-dozen of the winged magical beasts dove out of the sky to attack exposed crewmen wherever they could. Dabuk could tell the creatures looked half starved, which likely accounted for their odd behavior. Griffons usually didn't attack large groups let alone ships.

“We need to drive them off,” Dabuk looked to Salisan with a pained look in his eyes. Griffons were an important part of the natural world. “Without killing any of them.”

“That might be difficult lad,” Salisan took a swipe with the flat of his sword at one griffon that got to close. He missed and the half-horse half-eagle beast screeched at him. “Their hungry, in a mad sort of way. We could lose a lot of people, and I'm sorry to say we come before them.”

Just as Salisan spoke the words, a griffon snatched one of the sailors off the deck and lifted him into the air. The man screamed in terror as the other griffons tried to pull him away from the griffon crushing him in its claws. They ripped him apart before anyone could do anything.

“Damn,” Dabuk sighed.

The half-elf ranger quickly strung his bow and began firing. Soon two of the griffons were down with help from the bowman in the crow's nest. Mesik tried to use his sling but failed miserably. He barely got out of the way of one of the beast's claws; he ducked under a tarp and decided to stay there. Bactra came running up from below with Crystal right behind him.

“Bactra, can you charm them?” Dabuk begged.

“I'm not a druid, cousin, but I'll try to scare them away.” Bactra cast a semi-solid illusion of a flight of giant eagles and set them upon the griffons. It wasn't a great illusion but it did send two of the flying beasts winging towards the coast. “How was that?”

“Good.” Dabuk let another arrow fly aiming for the beasts sensitive wing joints. He hoped a few well placed arrow would make the beast find another target for food, but all the arrow did when it hit was make the creature enraged. He came directly at Dabuk who stood near the mast, screeching. Dabuk fired again; this time he aimed for the griffons head. The beast screeched one last time before crashing down into the rigging and sails of the ship. Dabuk looked at Salisan; he was not happy.

“Good shot,” Salisan watched as the last griffon flew away. “But you should have taken that shot the first time. I know you were just trying to wound it so that it would be scared off. All that did was cause this mess. Next time, go for the kill shot or I'll send you over the railing myself. Understood?”

Dabuk and Salisan were friends but on the ship Salisan was the captain and Dabuk wasn't about to challenge his authority in front of the crew. Later, however, in the privacy of the wardroom, Dabuk would have his say.

“I understand, Captain Marg.” Dabuk wouldn't grovel, however, which endeared him to the crew. He showed the proper respect for Salisan without seeming like a toady. This let the sailors know that Salisan was in charge but that the companions were more than passengers.

Dabuk even went so far as to help the crew untangle the dead griffon from the rigging and sails. They were nearly finished when a shout came from port-side of the ship.

“Sea Devils!”
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
“Gods, you have to be kidding!” Mesik looked port-side just in time to see over a dozen sahuagin climbing over the railing, ready for battle. “This can't just be bad luck!”

“Aye, I agree.” Dvalin appeared from below deck with his axe ready and with Rikin right behind him.

Dabuk quickly took the initiative and crossed the distance to the port-side before anyone else moved, except for the sea devils. The fish-men were the scourge of seas, and they rarely surrendered or retreated. While they were not as fast on land (or on the deck of a ship) as they were in the water, they were still a major threat to the ship and the crew.

“All hands, prepare to repel boarders,” Salisan shouted.

The sea devils were soon swarming all over the ship. Dozens of them. This wasn't a mere raid. This was a war party bent on killing everyone and sinking the ship. They hissed and shrieked at the sailors, which wasn't helping morale. However, with the Companions on their side, they had a better chance than most. Dabuk continued to take the lead while Dvalin and Rikin backed him up and held their own at the same time. Mesik hopped and tumbled across the deck flashing Sheao across the feet and knees of the fish-men. Bactra let loose with several evocation spells including a lightning bolt, which surprised everyone.

“Whoa, where'd that come from?” Mesik looked at his friend with a newfound respect as he incinerated several sahuagin with one blast. “When did you learn that?”

“Just recently,” Bactra smiled. “Crystal, your turn.”

“Watch this cousin,” Crystal turned towards half a dozen sea devils climbing over the railing of the starboard-side of the ship and let loose a powerful cone of cold spell that froze the sea devils in place, literally.

“Okay, I'm impressed. You're going to have to teach me that one someday.” Bactra smacked a nearby sea devil with his iron-shod staff, which caved in its face.

“We'll see,” Crystal stepped back from the melee erupting in front of her. “Bactra, you're too close.”

“You haven't seen anything yet.” Bactra had been practising with his staff. His time in the tangles of Onaway had taught him that he needed to rely on more than his magic. Two sea devils tried to surround him but he stood back to back with a nearby sailor and took the legs out from under one of them. The other backed away but fell to another sailor's blade.

Bactra looked around for the others as Crystal's burning hands spell sent one of the fish-men gibbering to the deck, scorched. He could see Mesik nearby as well as Dvalin, but there was no sign of the others through the intense melee breaking out everywhere. He knew Salisan would be guarding the ship's wheel and that the crew would guard their captain's back. And he knew that most of the others could take care of themselves but still he worried about Mesik and Thessa in such a fight. In truth, he was more at risk.

He wouldn't be able to stand his ground here for very much longer. The sailors next to him were more concerned about fighting the sea devils than watching his back, yet he refused to retreat completely. He moved more towards Crystal and the two wizards fought side by side with spells and staves. Dvalin pulled back to their position to give them some cover. Bactra let loose another evocation, Melf's acid arrow, while Crystal ruined the day of several of the sahuagin with a Evard's black tentacles spell. Several nearby sailors barely escaped the spells area of effect.

“Careful woman,” Dvalin warned mockingly. “you almost took out some of our own.”

“Be glad it wasn't a fireball spell, dwarf.” Crystal mocked back. While the the two of them had never warmed to each other, their insults were mainly in jest.

“No doubt,” Dvalin guffawed. He sliced down two more of the fish-men. The deck below them was slick with sahuagin ichor, which stunk to high Seven Heavens. “Gods, these things reek!”

Just then another wave of sea devils came over the railings.

“This is not good,” Mesik had retreated to their position and was watching Dvalin's back as he protected Bactra and Crystal. “And I don't think this is a coincidence. These fishy bastards were waiting to attack us.”

“Aye,” Dvalin winced as a nearby sea devil clawed his face. “If you've got that fireball spell, lass, then now is the time to use it.”

“I do,” Crystal was sweating from every pour. “Warn the sailors.”

“Fire in the hole!” Dvalin and Mesik both yelled the pre-planed warning to the nearby sailors. Bactra let loose another lightning bolt just as Crystal cast a fireball outside of the range it would need to burn the Companions. Several nearby sailors jumped out of the way just in time; although, one of them got a bit singed. Over a dozen sea devils were instantly torched.

“Well, don't do that again unless you absolutely have to.” Dvalin wanted to cover his nose as the stink of burning sea devils mixed with the smell of the ichor on the deck.

“Yuck.” Mesik threw up.

Still, the spell had been very effective. Many of the other fish-men leaped into the sea; they were afraid of the arcane fire and would have no more of it. A few of the more resolute sea devils refused to retreat, however. They fought to the death and they took several sailors with them.

The aftermath was a scene best left up to the imagination.

Salisan quickly took charge of the situation while Thessa helped as many of the sailors as she could. They were grateful to have the cleric aboard and some of them even shook Bactra's hand. None of them could bring themselves to shake Crystal's hand, but a few of them did thank her from a safe distance.

Bactra looked for Dabuk and found him leaning over the side. He looked sick. Dabuk had never been a fan of sailing.

“Are you going to be all right?” Bactra tried not to smile.

“I hate the sea,” Dabuk groaned.

“I'm telling you. This journey is a bad idea. You're a green as the trees of the Knotwood.”

“I'll live. Besides, it's the stink of the sea devils more than anything.”

“It's not that bad.” Bactra lied.

“Liar. Now, go help Thessa and the others.” Dabuk was breathing heavily. He pointed his senses towards the sea, which was less revolting than the sea devil guts on the deck behind him. The thought quickly had him gagging and he threw up over the railing. “I hate the sea.”

* * *
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
What The?:
“What do you think?” Bactra asked Salisan.

“I think it is alive but in distress,” the captain of The Ishtar replied. “We should rescue it.”

“It could be a trick,” Dabuk said.

“No, I don't think so,” Salisan replied. “I think its a triton. They are allies of my people. Strange though, most tritons never come to the surface.”

“It looks female.” Crystal noted.

The leaders of The Ishtar watched the form floating in the water with concern. The waters were calm and the form floated with its head down in the water its back above the water. If the figure had been an air-breather it would have likely drowned.

“It's your decision, Salisan.” Dabuk said. “You're the captain. The crew would object if we overruled you.”

“We're going to bring her aboard,” Salisan barked to the crew. “Launch the lifeboat and be quick about it gentlemen!”

The crew was quick to respond. The lifeboat was quickly put into the water and rowed out to the floating form. They pulled her in and one of the crew yelled to Salisan.

“I'm not sure what to tell you, sir! It... she... looks sort of like an elf but not like any elf I've ever seen before!”

“That's strange. That skin coloration isn't right for a sea elf. Wait.” Salisan paused. “Hurry up, man! Get her back to the ship now!”

“She's not breathing.” The crewman yelled as the lifeboat rowed back towards The Ishtar.

“There's no time,” Salisan pulled off his tunic and prepared to dive into the water.

“What is it, Sal?” Mesik asked.

“Not what, but who,” he replied. Salisan dove into the water and quickly swam to the lifeboat. “Give her to me, now!”

The crew handed her over to Salisan. He immediately dove below the water with her. Moments passed. Everyone watched and waited.

“What's he doing?” Bactra wondered. What's taking so long?”

Just then Salisan broke through the water right beside the ship with the female slung over his shoulder. He easily climbed up the side of the ship and placed her gently on the deck. He ordered the crew to bring in the lifeboat as well as for blankets to be brought.

Her form was strange. She did appear to be an elf but with green-skin tinted with purple and pink. Her hands and feet were webbed and she breathed through a strange mask that had been fitted over her face. The mask was full of seawater.

“What is she?” Thessa asked.

“She's a half-breed. She's half triton, half elf,” Salisan replied. “Her form will be weak for some time. She isn't used to breathing air, which is why I put the mask on her. It's a useful magical device that will protect her from suffocating. Once her body begins to adjust to our environment, she'll be able to start breathing air.”

“She's a half-elf,” Dabuk was intrigued. “I've heard of sea elves, but I've never seen one.”

“No, you misunderstand.” Salisan shook his head. “Her elven half is Islander elf. An air breathing elven race that lives a life on the sea. They're quite rare inland but are commonplace on the islands surrounding Harqual, especially in this area.”

“But, you said she was also half triton. How's that even possible?” Jeddar asked.

“Normally, it isn't,” Salisan covered her with several blankets and picked her up in his arms. “She's special. I have to get her out of the cold.”

Salisan quickly walked across the deck, opened the door to the wardroom, and took her inside.

“Well, I can honestly say its never going to be boring on this ship,” Mesik said.

He and the others looked towards the closed door of the wardroom with curiosity and concern. Who could she be and how did she end up alone floating on the sea? Dabuk wondered.

* * *
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
In the wardroom of The Ishtar:
“How is she?” Crystal asked the question that was on all their minds.

The companions had gathered in the wardroom at Salisan's request. Dabuk, Bactra, Jeddar, Mesik, and Dvalin all stood back at a respectful distance. Crystal sat near the female half-triton's side while the reef giant and Thessa cared for the child of the sea. Thessa had been insistent on helping care for their mysterious guest. Salisan had welcomed her input and healing touch.

“She is much better due to Thessa's healing skills,” Salisan replied.

The half-triton had obviously been attacked and Thessa's herbal knowledge and healing spells had done wonders for the ailing creature. Still, she hadn't regained consciousness yet, which continued to trouble the gnome priestess. Salisan had assured her that it was normal for the half-triton due to her unique heritage. He obviously knew who she was but had refused to tell them anything about her.

This fact had annoyed Dabuk greatly. Yes, he had agreed to let Salisan lead the ship and its crew, but the half-elf ranger hated being kept in the dark about anything he considered a risk to the mission. The creature was exotic and quite beautiful in her own way and Bactra was becoming smitten with her unique nature. Jeddar wasn't as distracted by her beauty; however, Dabuk could tell his half-elven friend was interested in her uniqueness, which was so much like his own.

Dabuk looked at Jeddar out of the corner of his eye. The blade-bard was more than just a half-elf. He is half-gray elf, born of a race that is considered to be either extinct or a legend depending on who you asked. The fact that Jeddar existed proved that gray elves weren't just a legendary race that exists only in the stories of myth. Still, Dabuk had never met any other being that could call themselves a child of a legendary race, until now.

He looked back towards the half-triton. A being that should not be able to exist – half of the sea and half of the air – but did. Dabuk had never heard of Islander elves before Salisan had mentioned them, but he wasn't surprised that a unique race of seafaring elves existed. Elves were more adaptable than humans gave them credit.

Dabuk looked at Jeddar once again. His friend had told him and the others several stories the blade-bard knew about Islander elves, which he had learned as part of his studies at the Bard's College of Fruen. The stories told of a race that was like quicksilver – elusive and enigmatic. They were also unpredictable. It was this fact that troubled Dabuk so much. Who was this creature? What was her background? Would she be a danger to the mission?

“I need to know more about her, Salisan.” Dabuk insisted.

“In good time, my friend.” Salisan replied. “I wish you wouldn't worry so much about her. I've told you that she's not a risk to the ship or your goals. If she was then I wouldn't have brought her aboard.”

“Salisan's right, cousin.” Bactra looked at Dabuk with obvious annoyance. “You need to worry less about this and worry more about where we are headed. The Isle of Dread is rumored to be a deadly place filled with horrors that you cannot imagine.”

“You are smitten, cousin.” Dabuk replied bluntly. “I do not trust your judgment in this matter.”

“And you are a mean dog,” Crystal stared down her brother. “You would force the crew to work themselves to death to reach this island of yours and to Hades' Underrealm with anything that gets in the way. Now, be quiet!”

Dabuk gritted his teeth but relented. His sister's will was a strong as his own, and his grandfather had indeed sent her to watch over the ship and the crew and to make sure that he didn't abuse anyone. He wouldn't contradict her in front of Mesik – his superior in the guild. Mesik had told him to heed her words since she was now considered an important link between the Tiger Guild and the Arcane Order. She had gained Carl's trust almost overnight.

“She'll be coming around shortly,” Salisan said. “It would be best if you all remained quiet. I do not want her to become spooked. This will likely be the first time she has met land-dwellers.”

“Maybe we should leave,” Dvalin said.

“No. I want you here. For while she isn't a risk to our mission, it is very important that you all know who she is and what to expect while she's on board.” Salisan reached out to check the half-triton's breathing through the magical mask. “Her body has adapted completely to the air.”

The giant man removed the mask, which peeled away easily. The sea child's featured were as beautiful as the rest of her. Her eyes fluttered but remained closed as she breathed in several deep breaths. Her skin appeared adaptive; it changed color slightly on her face and neck where it became exposed to the wardroom's unfiltered air.

Her eyes opened completely and she mumbled in a language that only Salisan understood.

“You are on board a sailing ship,” Salisan replied in Giant. “This land-dweller and I have been caring for you.”

Salisan motions to Thessa who was busy making sure the sea child was warm enough by covering her with an extra blanket. She smiled at the half-triton.

“While I'm not sure you can understand me, I must say that am pleased to meet you, regardless.”

The sea child made no indication that she understood the gnome priestess's words.

“I should tell you that I am aware of your heritage,” Salisan said. “I know your father. Does he know where you are?”

She looked at Salisan confused.

“Do not play games with me, princess.” Salisan warned her in Common. “We have met before, so I know you can speak my language as well as the Common tongue of the land-dwellers. I have not sent word to your father, yet, but I will if you try treating me like a servant.”

“Princess?” Dabuk hadn't expected that.

“Please, just let me go,” she pleaded in accented Common. “I am not who you think I am.”

“She is the daughter of the King of the Marine City of Athbethicia despite her childish attempts to pretend otherwise. Her name is Nanesa.”

“I order you to let me go!” she yelled.

“She's got a big mouth,” Dabuk said.

“How dare you,” she seethed. “You will be punished for your arrogance!”

“What a brat,” Mesik laughed.

“You obnoxious little–”

“You will be silent, or I will throw in the BRIG!” Salisan warned the half-triton princess.

His words echoed throughout the ship and Nanesa shrunk back from him in fear. She remained deathly quiet as the giant man calmed himself.

“I am Salisan Marg,” he said. “I captain this ship, and I will brook no intolerance from you while you are on board. I will not simply let you go, either. You are to important to your father, so I must take charge of you. Shiken is an old friend, and he would never forgive me if I just let you swim off into a hostile sea. You will remain here and you will behave yourself.”

“I am your prisoner then,” Nanesa replied. “For I do not acknowledge your control over my life just as I do not acknowledge my father's need to control my life.”

“I say throw her in the brig,” Crystal suggeted.

“Aye.” Dvalin said in agreement. “The humility will do her some good.”

“She will remain here for now,” Salisan replied. “However, if she wants to be treated like a prisoner, I will oblige her.”

Salisan stared at her with a gleam in his eyes. Nanesa refused to flinch under his stare but her fear was obvious to everyone in the wardroom.

* * *
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Stowaway:
“I think she'll come around soon enough,” Salisan stated as he closed and locked the door to the wardroom. “With Crystal guarding her, I doubt she'll do much more than complain and pout.”

“We'll see,” Dabuk replied. He still wasn't sure the sea princess wouldn't cause problems but he'd defer to Sal, for the time being.

“Sir,” the first mate, a man named Calbrunnor, saluted Salisan. “Master Hougwarth thinks that there might be an issue with our food supplies.”

The vonakyndra had been given the task of quartermaster since he would spend so much time below deck. Dabuk had been wary about Salisan's decision since he knew how much Hugh loved to eat. Dabuk had worried that he'd eat the food stores bare; however, Hugh was taking his duties very seriously and was showing considerable restraint, so far.

“What's the problem?” Salisan asked.

“Sir, he says food has disappeared. We have a thief on board.”

Dabuk had to restrain himself from laughing. It was true. There was a thief on board. Several thieves, in fact. Calbrunnor wasn't a member of the Tiger Guild. He didn't know the crews' secret. The man had been Salisan's choice.

“I seriously doubt any of the crew are stealing food.” Mesik looked at Dabuk. The crew knew they would be punished severely for such a transgression. “Rats, maybe?”

“I know there are some, but I'm fairly certain Hugh couldn't be fooled by mere rodents. More than likely we have a stowaway.”

“That was Master Hougwarth's belief as well,” Calbrunnor replied.

“Agreed,” Salisan said. “Calbrunnor, we will search the ship. You have the deck.”

“Aye, sir!”

* * *

“What have you found?” Salisan ducked his head as he neared Dabuk and Mesik's location in the hold.

“We definitely have a stowaway,” Mesik stated matter-of-factly. “Whoever he or she is, is smart too. We've found very little evidence that would have been noticeable to the average sailor.”

“I think we should get Bactra down here,” Dabuk suggested. “He might be able to track her, magically.”

* * *

“Well?” Dabuk asked.

“I have a location, and I think I know who we're dealing with. If it's who I think it is then I'm going to strap her backside myself.”

“Who?” Mesik asked.

“Teal.”

“Oh no.” Dabuk groaned.

* * *
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
In the hold:
“What were you thinking!” Bactra shouted at the top of his lungs.

The companions had once again gathered together, this time in the hold. Only Thessa and Rikin weren't present; the priestess was guarding the sea princess and Rikin was working alongside the crew. He was becoming a good sailor.

“Do not shout,” Teal whimpered. “I said I was sorry.”

A young forest elf stood trapped against a wall near the end of corridor, near the aft of the ship. She could pass as human child in her teens if not for her sharply pointed ears.

“I must agree with Bactra,” Crystal said. “It was foolish for you to have come along. Now we must take you home, which will delay this voyage for months.”

“No.” Dabuk stated will little emotion. “She's here now. She'll have to stay and pitch in.”

Teal's eyes brightened at Dabuk's words.

“She cannot stay! She's a child!” Bactra yelled.

“She's older than most of the crew,” Dabuk replied. “You need to calm down and see the larger issue, cousin. We cannot delay. I will not delay.”

“Then I will take her back myself,” Bactra said. He stared down Dabuk, determined.

“I- we need you here,” Dabuk replied. He puts his hand on his cousin's shoulder. “I cannot force you to stay but I implore you to stay. We'll keep her on board at all times. She'll remain in the wardroom with the sea princess. Crystal and Thessa can watch out for her.”

“This is not a good idea, Dabuk.” Crystal said. “Having her on board is risky.”

“Do you think I really want her here?” Dabuk replied. “She's a pain, but we cannot delay.”

Teal's eyes teared at the half-elf's words.

“Show some compassion, lad.” Dvalin barked. “We all know how she feels about you.”

Dabuk looks at Teal with disdain. She thought she was in love with him. He didn't feel the same. Yes, she was attractive, but she was also a blood relative. It made him nauseous. More nauseous than the rolling sea outside the hull.

“I'm sorry, cousin,” Dabuk semi-apologized to Teal. “I know you think I'm your soul mate but it cannot happen. The idea goes against how my grandfather raised me. I guess I am to human to accept the way of my forest kin in this matter.”

“I'll wait,” Teal replied with a smile. “You change your mind someday.”

“Gods,” Mesik said. “We're going to let her stay, aren't we? The Ishtar is already so crowded. We're going to need a bigger ship at this rate.”

“Cousin?” Dabuk looked at Bactra.

“I protest, but you are right. We cannot delay. However, I'm going to insist that the crew be forbidden to speak with her. She's much too young to be exposed to sailing men, of any race.”

“Agreed,” Salisan replied. “Miss Teal, you will refrain from engaging the crew in any way. You will stay by either Crystal or Thessa's side at all times unless they are on deck. At all other times, you will remain in the wardroom. You will eat there and the door will remain locked at night.”

“I have no choice?” Teal asked glumly. “That does not seem fair.”

“You do not, sister!” Bactra barked. “And if you break Captain Marg's rules, I will lock you in the brig, personally.”

“I understand.” Teal would let her brother have his way, for the moment.

* * *
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
The wardroom:
“They came out of the black depths,” Nanesa said. “I didn't think anything could surprise me underwater. I was arrogant to believe so.”

The half-triton princess had finally calmed down. She'd agreed to tell them everything that had happened to her. Salisan had limited the number of people in the wardroom for her story. Dabuk was there, of course, as was Bactra and Jeddar. Mesik and Thessa were small enough to sit quietly in one corner; Thessa watched over Teal who sat moping with her legs crossed while Mesik looked over a few charts. Dvalin and Rikin were helping the crew and Crystal was in the hold helping Hugh take stock of the ship's remaining food stores.

“Sea devils are full of guile,” Salisan stated. “You were lucky they didn't eat you.”

“I thought they were going to at first. There were half-a-dozen of them. They came at me all at once and if not for my magical abilities, they would have killed me. I also think my unique nature frightened them.”

“Sea devils are known for being paranoid. They might have thought you were a half-dragon or a shapechanger. Besides, I think they had a more important target.”

“You mean us,” Dabuk stated.

“Aye,” Salisan nodded. “It was likely a scouting party looking for us.”

“Someone doesn't want us to make this journey,” Mesik said grimly.

“Their going to have to do a lot more than pay sea devils at us,” Dabuk replied. “I will not turn back and I will not give up. We are going to the Isle of Dread. We are going to find this Zepp person. And we're going to find a way to get to the Fallenlands.”

“Captain Marg,” Nanesa spoke only to the reef giant. “I would like to offer my services for your journey. I am trained as a cleric of Persana although I have only just begun my adventuring career. My father doesn't wish me to live an explorers life, but I cannot continue to live in solitude in Athbethicia.”

“I don't know if I can agree to what you're asking. Your father is an important ally to my people. He will become incensed if I defy him.”

“It is not his decision to make. I was of age three cycles ago.”

“Will your mother agree?” Salisan asked.

“Yes. But he doesn't listen to her. It's not like they're bonded.”

“You let me worry about that. I will see what I can do; however, while I captain this ship, Dabuk leads this expedition. You must convince him.”

Nanesa looked at Dabuk. She didn't like what she saw. He was grinning like a cat about to bite into a fish.

“I am sorry if I insulted you with my eariler outburst,” Nanesa apologized, It was less than convincing.

“I care little for your apologies. If you want to come, you must respect the chain of command on this ship and in this room. Except for Teal over there, you are last in that line of command until you prove yourself. Do you understand?”

The sea princess looked ready to hit him. “I accept your terms, land-dweller.”

Dabuk left the wardroom without saying another word. The others waited until he left before they welcomed Nanesa on board.

Bactra warned her. “Try to avoid my cousin, for now. It takes him a while to warm up to strangers. If you prove an effective ally, he'll accept you.”

“I'll try to remember that.”

“Now, tell us more about your home. It sounds fascinating.” Bactra said with a huge smile.

* * *
 

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