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The Undercity, Emerald City, Washington

Sunday, May 17, 2020

 

07:38:21PM

 

@Kaede Kimura

 

The Red Summer's resident magic specialist smokes a cigarette as he watches Mixnus and Nixnus lug the bars of gold from the deck of the PT boat down to its cabin. Blonde, sporting an obnoxious Hawaiian shirt, and eyes half-hidden by the rim of his glasses and the darkness there is no mistaking the naked greed and slightly slack-jawed awe as he intently follows the gargoyle twins carry their newly gained wealth.

 

It had been nearly half an hour of continuous back and forth trips from the gargoyles, and only a small pile of gold bars lies in neat stacks on the sewer floor, when Alaynah goes up to you. She smacks her pack of cigarettes and offers one up to you.

 

"Gotta tell you, should have asked for more." She chuckles slightly then shakes her head, obviously in a good mood. "Tell me, you can create all this wealth so why're you here chasing after a murderer knee-high in sewer water?"

 

***

 

A few more minutes pass before Zach, holding a hand-held radio, waves at Alaynah.

 

"Boss, the package's coming."

 

Alaynah nods at the comment and turns to you, her one good eye hard, all business now. "We'll keep this simple. We all get on my ship and when we're in the middle of the river, nowhere for him to run to, and then you take him and leave. Then me and my crew gets out of dodge, never to show our faces in this city again."

 

She motions for the gargoyles to finish their work with a "Hurry up."

 

"Oh, and I almost forgot," she turns back to you. She raises two fingers. "There's another one coming with Advay, some P.I. in-the-know and packing magic. Goes by the name of Christopher Daye of Blackstaff Investigations. He's yours to handle and, uh, your pet if it comes to that."

 

***

 

@Spacefurry

 

At long last your trip is nearing an end. You can see the metaphorical and literal light at the end of the tunnel as you guide Advay down the sewers, the professor's boxes of personal belongings and research bobbing up and down as they trail the both of you in the air.

 

"I-is that it?" Advay asks as your flashlight gleams against a PT boat's hull. "I must say, I can't wait to finally sleep somewhere that isn't a cramped, dusty cave always with one eye open. It takes a lot out of a person, you know."

 

Your flashlight quickly beams over the whole of the PT boat and its light is joined by several other flashlights from the crew of the boat. A dark-haired woman with an eyepatch, who looks to be the leader, walks forward to meet you. A bespectacled man in an obnoxious Hawaiian shirt watches from the deck, smoking a cigarette. Then two gargoyles emerge from the boat's cabin, matching and glowing runes on their foreheads. They move to a a couple of gold bricks lying on the sewer floor and haul it back into the PT cabin. Lastly, a woman in armor atop a clockwork pony made of bronze and brass.

 

"Cristopher Dayes?" The woman with the eyepatch greets you with a smile and an offered cigarette. "Advay Upal? Welcome to The Red Summer . We're your ticket out of here."

 

She gestures at her PT Boat. "None of us want to be inside a sewer for longer than we have to. So get on board."

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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14 minutes ago, Zeitgeist Blue said:

"I-is that it?" Advay asks as your flashlight gleams against a PT boat's hull. "I must say, I can't wait to finally sleep somewhere that isn't a cramped, dusty cave always with one eye open. It takes a lot out of a person, you know."

 

"Looks like it could be." Blackstaff acknowledged and agreed. "That's understandable." It had been a long walk and the professor had at least been someone he could talk with on an academic level. It made the trip a little more bearable. They had been luck and avoided any major encounters, no one had recognized Advay or thought twice of their activities. For all appearances, it was simply two men engaged in conversation as the moved some boxes.

As they approached, Blackstaff clicked his flashlight off and greeted the woman that approached them.

 

35 minutes ago, Zeitgeist Blue said:

"Cristopher Dayes?" The woman with the eyepatch greets you with a smile and an offered cigarette. "Advay Upal? Welcome to The Red Summer. We're your ticket out of here."

 

She gestures at her PT Boat. "None of us want to be inside a sewer for longer than we have to. So get on board."

 

"That would be us." Blackstaff nods. "Thank you, but no." He says, politely declining the cigarette. His eyes sweep over the gargoyles as they move gold bars into the ship's cabin. They were either magical constructs, he guessed, or under an enchantment judging by the runes on their foreheads. His gaze shifted to the man in the Hawaiian shirt and focuses his mental muscles, all the magic of the area coming into mental focus. He lets his gaze linger on Mr. Hawaiian for a moment and then over to the armored woman on the clockwork horse.

"I fully agree, we don't want to be down here any longer than necessary." He says looking back at the captain and giving a friendly smile. "So, what can we call you?" He asks as he motions for her to lead the way.

 

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The Dreamer smiled at Alaynah's comment about asking for more after the created money had been stored. She might even think about producing some more for them after this, since she had given them so much trouble and the Carnifex had threatened to eat her fingers. "I live comfortably enough, but someone asked for my help to right a wrong and I am afraid I have never been one to stand by, even as a child. I am sorry about dragging you into this, but if nothing else I hope that the provided resources salve any harm done."

 

***

 

She looks over to Zach as he speaks, nodding to Alaynah. "After this is done, if what occurs today causes you any harm in the future I am more than willing to aid you. What I have done should not cause you and yours harm." She takes a moment to memorise the name of the investigator coming with Advay, grimacing. "Let us hope that it does not come to that. You may have noticed that it is not the most pleasant creature."

 

***

 

The Dreamer looked over the pair, making sure she doesn't linger on Advay, instead focusing on the man she would apparently have to either talk down or subdue in order to apprehend the murderer. He looked like he might be trouble as he interacted easily with Alaynah, and they started onto the boat. The Dreamer hoped that the man would see reason and let her apprehend the murderer, although she had to wonder why he was helping Advay in the first place. Was he loyal to the money? Did the man have some secret that was being threatened? Or was he somehow unaware of what Advay had done and was simply doing a job, not knowing who he aided?

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GM

 

On 9/18/2020 at 1:37 PM, Kaede Kimura said:

The Dreamer smiled at Alaynah's comment about asking for more after the created money had been stored. She might even think about producing some more for them after this, since she had given them so much trouble and the Carnifex had threatened to eat her fingers. "I live comfortably enough, but someone asked for my help to right a wrong and I am afraid I have never been one to stand by, even as a child. I am sorry about dragging you into this, but if nothing else I hope that the provided resources salve any harm done."

"Oh it's done more than enough. Me and my crew are set for life. One night and we've hit the payload thanks to you," Alaynah says, giving you a wide grin. "We might just go our separate ways after this, play golf or I don't know with the nieces."

 

She pockets her cigarette pack and strides back down to where Mixnus and Nixnus were unloading the gold bars, then she turns on her heels to face you again, a last comment ready on her lips. "But if you are in need of the best smugglers this side of the Albian River, and you continue to pay even half as well as you do now, consider us eager to be in your employ whether it is to catch murderers or save orphanages."

 

On 9/16/2020 at 6:03 PM, Spacefurry said:

"That would be us." Blackstaff nods. "Thank you, but no." He says, politely declining the cigarette. His eyes sweep over the gargoyles as they move gold bars into the ship's cabin. They were either magical constructs, he guessed, or under an enchantment judging by the runes on their foreheads. His gaze shifted to the man in the Hawaiian shirt and focuses his mental muscles, all the magic of the area coming into mental focus. He lets his gaze linger on Mr. Hawaiian for a moment and then over to the armored woman on the clockwork horse.

"I fully agree, we don't want to be down here any longer than necessary." He says looking back at the captain and giving a friendly smile. "So, what can we call you?" He asks as he motions for her to lead the way.

"Alaynah," she says as she leads the way into the deck of her PT Boat, the engine ready and purring softly inside the sewer. Then she points at her crew saying their names as she goes through each one. "You can call the horrid Hawaiian fashion, Zach. And that's Mixnus and Nixnus." The gargoyles unfortunately look indistinguishable from each other.

 

Then Alaynah points at The Dreamer. "And you can introduce yourself."

 

Brief introductions finished, she goes right back to work, gesturing at the gargoyles and instructing them to lead Professor Advay into the guest room and help him unpack. They do so without complaint, taking Advay's boxes two in a pile before plodding to the entrance of the lower deck.

 

With a quick nod and thank you at you, Advay scurries after the two gargoyles, and the trio soon disappears below deck. After a few seconds, Zach, wearing the Hawaiian-shirt, stamps out his own cigarette and follows them down.

 

"You've got your own designated cot," Alaynah says to you as soon as Zach is gone. "We'll let you know when it's ready."

 

Then she too moves to enter the PT Boat, but she stops at the doorway and turns to look at both you and The Dreamer. "Just so you know, it'll take a day to get from here to our site in Toronto if we want to make sure to throw any tails. Zach says there's an anti-tracking device on Advay, had to use Christopher here to track them, but you can never be too sure."

 

She looks at the both of you then nods, descending to the lower deck. "Give us a few minutes and we'll be out of Emerald."

 

***

 

The PT Boat's engines kick off with a metallic roar that propels it forward in the sewer. It isn't long until you see the evening sky at the end of the sewer. The lights in the twin cities of Emerald City, Washington and Emerald City, Oregon greet you as you exit the sewer and enter the Albian River. They glow softly and golden, under a dark sky devoid of stars. But the moon hangs above the city, a lone and silver crescent.

 

Though you see boats and ships of all kinds in the distance, none are so close that you can make out the people on them. The roar of the PT Boat cutting through the water, the boat vibrating under your feet, and the splash of the waves fill your ears. Standing on the main deck, sea-salt greets your face and nostrils, and only one other person observes the things you see now.

 

For the Dreamer, it is Christopher Daye of Blackstaff Investigation, someone who protects the murderer Advay for his own reasons. For Christopher, it is an armored woman on a clockwork pony, one with Alaynah's crew. Yet for the paranatural investigator, something seems off, like a detail he had missed waiting for him to uncover it and unravel a scene.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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The Dreamer's smile stayed as Alaynah offered her help. "I might just take you up on that. You never know when you might need aid." She was relieved that she'd managed to repair the damage done, she didn't want to ruin anyone's lives.

 

***

 

The Dreamer no longer smiled, urging the pony forwards alongside the group. Her eyes were alight as she watched Advay and Christopher. She observed closely as Alaynah introduced her crew, baring her teeth in an attempt at a smiling introduction to the investigator. "Call me Heir." She wanted to give the man the benefit of the doubt, but surely an investigator would be aware that he harboured a murderer, wouldn't he? Or had Advay bewitched the man in some way? Thus the man was either incompetent, moronic, corrupt or bewitched and while she might be able to work around the first three without violence she wasn't sure.

 

***

 

The water around the boat was teeming with dream creatures, from regular fish to sea serpents, while the sky and the deck were more vacant. The dreams were trying to be less conspicuous as The Dreamer watched the PI. Still, they populated the deck, a small dragon draped across her shoulders as a bird arcing with lightning stared at the investigator. Behind her head hovered a grinning cat again, peering over her shoulder at the investigator and staying out of her sight. The Dreamer took a deep breath to steady herself, she would talk to the man, see if she could find why he was helping Advay if she could. She would prefer not to have to fight him, as much as she could feel the Carnifex thirsting for blood in the back of her mind. She urged the pony to walk up to the man, "Mister Daye, might I have a word with you? There is something I feel we must discuss." She looked down to him from her mount, slightly annoyed at the inconvenience but unwilling to show her paralysis to a man she might have to fight in the near future.

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Blackstaff nodded in greeting to Zach and the gargoyles in turn. All of them radiated magic except the captain. When Alaynah says the armored rider can introduce herself, his original thought that she wasn’t a member of the crew was further confirmed for him. Perhaps another passenger he thought.

23 hours ago, Kaede Kimura said:

"Call me Heir."

He looks up at the Dreamer and gives her a polite nod. “Heir. Christopher Daye, Blackstaff Investigation.” He introduces himself as he took a moment to sort through the magical auras surrounding the rider. He wasn’t surprised the horse registered as magical, the armor as well. Through those though, he could pick up her magic as well and it was significant.

On 9/22/2020 at 7:19 AM, Zeitgeist Blue said:

"You've got your own designated cot," Alaynah says to you as soon as Zach is gone. "We'll let you know when it's ready."

Looking back he watches Advay as the professor hurries after the gargoyles, heading below deck, followed closely by Zach. He nods to Alaynah. “Thank you, captain.” Blackstaff mentally noted the captain’s comment about Zach having tracked him.

As she too disappeared below, Blackstaff stared after for a moment and then moved to the railing to lean on it. When the boat cleared the sewers and he could see the sky overhead again Blackstaff took in a breath and exhaled. It was only a little better than it had been before. After all, they had only just exited, but the salty scent was a nice change. He relaxed, only a little, as looked out across the water at the other vessels going to and fro.

Around the boat, multiple magical auras gathered and moved through the water. Only a few shared the deck with himself and the rider. “Is she a summoner?”  He wondered off-handedly as he glanced back at her and the ‘companions’. He turned back to the water and heard the clockwork stead’s hooves on the deck as it approached.

23 hours ago, Kaede Kimura said:

"Mister Daye, might I have a word with you? There is something I feel we must discuss."

“Oh?” Blackstaff asks, pulling something small out of the interior of his jacket as he turns to face ‘Heir’. Looking up at her to opens a tiny paper wrapped item, he puts the contents in his mouth and chews lightly. Holding a small brightly colored container towards her. “Gum?” It was at the same time, a silly but polite gesture. Something that might throw some ever so slightly off, but then he was a man of finding advantages where he could.

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The Dreamer blinked, momentarily stunned at the non sequitur before continuing. "No thank you." She could tell that was probably supposed to confuse her and was not too prideful to admit that it had worked. She wasn't sure how to best approach the conversation She could work around to what he's doing over time, or she could try to approach the subject directly. She'd taken the direct approach a couple of times, and it had worked, although with complications. She had no real idea as to what the man could do with magic, so could she afford to run headfirst into a fight considering the possible collateral damage?

 

Although... She could probably make them a new boat if it came to it. Regardless, maybe not quite so direct as she had been with Alaynah and her crew. So something more circumspect than directly asking after Advay to help her get a sense for the man, which opened up a variety of possible starting points. Perhaps she should try to engage him with questions of magic first? Although she wasn't well versed in the subject she did know a bit, and she could get some outside opinions without giving away too much if she had to fight him.

"I've heard you are well versed in matters regarding magic." She took a steadying breath as she chose the starting point. An every delightful point of conversation when it came to her powers. "What do you happen to know about demons?"

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Blackstaff eyed 'Heir' casually, nodding at her inquiry regarding magic. "Demons?  I suppose that depends. There are a lot of creatures that get mislabeled as demons." He blew a small bubble and popped it as he thought. "If you mean actual demons from one of the outer realms, I have studied them some."

He gives 'Heir' a friendly smile as he leans back against the railing. "Normally I charge a consultation fee, but it looks like we'll be stuck together here for a bit. So, what can I help you with?"

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The Dreamer grimaced as he asked for clarification, she had a passing familiarity with magic but the truth behind the Carnifex was hard to ascertain. Some hyperlucid dreamers developed permanent personalities for their dreams like the March Hare or Dormouse, but she was vanishingly rare in the fact that she had a nightmare as hers. Alice had some which rode the edge of being a nightmare, like the Jabberwock but even that was more benevolent than the Carnifex. In all of her research she had only found one dream creature like the Carnifex, and the less said about it the better. Although given that she was possibly the last Dreamer in existence she probably wasn't considered rare anymore technically.

"I am uncertain as to whether it is truly a demon, influenced by one or it's own malevolent being. Is there a way of identifying whether it is a demon or not?"

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Blackstaff nodded thoughtfully, studying 'Heir' as she spoke. It was only for moment, but he thought he saw something troubling her. "To be honest, it can be difficult to tell sometimes. I'm sure it would never freely give it's true name, but if you knew the name it went by you might find a lead." He said. "You could maybe trace the name back, find out what realm it originated from. As long as it hadn't took up the name of another creature. They do that sometimes to hide themselves."

Blackstaff regarded the mounted girl for a moment, then reached into his jacket. He produced a business card and held it up to 'Heir'. "If you're having problems with something nasty, I can try to help. Or, if you just want someone to dig up info I can try to help with that too."

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The Dreamer smiled bitterly at his explanation, she'd suspected that the answer wouldn't really bring her closer to knowing anything about the Carnifex. She could give more information about her powers and the Carnifex itself, but she didn't really know him and was actually on a mission. He didn't seem like a bad person but she couldn't tell for sure until she knew the circumstances regarding Advay were sorted. She sighed, putting the card into a pouch that she'd just dreamed onto her belt. "I will keep you in mind in the future, but first I need to talk to you about why I am actually here." She dreamed up a pair of well cushioned chairs with high backs and a table between them, before moving to one with the assistance of some dreams, trying to show as little of her paralysis as possible. Immediately the dream dragon swarmed into her lap while the thunder bird perched upon the back of her chair. The smiling cat stalked around behind her, out of her view still. More dreams started populating the ship, small soldiers and animals darting from point to point.

The Dreamer gestured to the chair across from her, "Please sit. Do you want any refreshments? I am given to understand that detectives are partial to whiskey" Her tone and expression showed the joke to be what it was, before her expression became grim.

"I was approached by some people from The Forest Clan of Emerald City today. They wanted to ask for my help getting justice, one of their members was murdered by another. The individual fled before they could be caught, and another clan, The Rock Clan, denied them the chance to catch him, hoping to get their power for themselves. They asked me to find him to bring him before them so he could face his crimes. The man in question is Advay Upal, and that's who you've brought onto the ship, away from the justice his crimes deserve. Why?" She met the man's eyes. She hoped she'd judged him right, that when confronted with the crimes of his client he would choose justice over profit.

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On 10/10/2020 at 1:25 AM, Kaede Kimura said:

"I will keep you in mind in the future, but first I need to talk to you about why I am actually here."

 

Blackstaff raised an eyebrow quizzically and eyed the table and chairs the armored girl had conjured out of thin air. He hadn't seen her cast any spell of even felt the familiar stirring of magic that came with casting, but it was definitely some form of magic he thought. "Must be something innate. Is she a demon or some other creature from the beyond Earth's realm?" He wondered as he eyed her again. "No, I don't think so."

 

He watched the creatures that seemed drawn to her, help her down. At first he thought it was because of the armor, but something else tugged at the corner of his thoughts. He dismissed it for now and focused on 'Heir' as she spoke again. "No, thank you." He said, politely turning down the drink. He was on the clock, as it were. Plus, until he was sure about her, he shouldn't trust anything she could simply conjure up.

Sitting across from her he listened to her recount of events without interrupting. As she did so, he added to the profile he had been putting together of her. He had already ruled out her being a demon, or a devil for that matter. Nothing about the girl struck him as being of the fair folk, maybe a changeling though? He couldn't tell her features past the armor.

From what she said, he didn't think she was a part of any of the clans. She had to be an outside agent, like himself. He nodded as she mentioned Professor Upal by name, acknowledging he knew who he had brought with him.

 

On 10/10/2020 at 1:25 AM, Kaede Kimura said:

"Why?" She met the man's eyes.

 

Blackstaff tilted his head a little as he looked at her for a silent moment. She was being earnest as far as he could tell. Not looking away from her gaze he answered as honestly as he felt he could. "I would wager, for the same reason as you're here. I believe my client, just as you seem to believe yours."

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GM

 

@Kaede Kimura

 

"Getting comfy now, the both of you?" Up from the stairway came Zach, the Hawaiian-wearing wizard. His glasses shimmered against the golden nightlight from the twin cities as he approached your table.

 

"The Boss said to call for you. Said she wanted to discuss business," he says, throwing a thumb back towards the stairway. "She's at the helm. It's the door right ahead when you go down. You can't miss it."

 

He watches impassive as Blackstaff leaves and descends, disappearing into the lower deck. Then he turns to you and takes Blackstaff's seat without your prompting. He looks at you from above the rim of his glasses.

 

"Have you found a way to get him to leave us alone?" He leans forward, his voice barely heard above the waves and the engine of the boat. "We're nearing our jump-off point and we don't want him tracking us down or want to dump him in the middle of the Atlantic. It's now or never when he gets back."

 

***

@Spacefurry

 

The boat is as small and utilitarian as you'd imagine a repurposed Vietnam-era boat to be below decks. A narrow and short corridor with heavy metal doors set on either side of the corridor. Zach's instructions were simple enough and you move to the third door right ahead.

 

"P-p-please! Please be careful with that!" The professor's voice is muffled behind thick steel as you pass the door to your left. Then you cross the corridor and the voice fades.

 

The wheel on the door turns with a screech of metal on metal sound. The door opens and you see Alaynah reclining on her Captain's seat, one hand on the steering wheel. She turns as the door opens and recognizes you.

 

"Hey," she says as she turns back to the her driving. She stubs out a cigarette on an ash tray half-full of cigarettes, then gestures to the co-pilot's seat. "Take a seat, you've been on the deck for a while. How was your chat with our other stowaway? I doubt it was enlightening. She's tight-lipped that one, wouldn't let anything identifiable slip."

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The Dreamer smiled graciously as the man turned down her offer of drinks. It was probably for the best, since alcohol would make reasoned conversation more difficult.

She didn't expect his reply, but it was better than she'd feared it could be but wasn't exactly helpful. "What do you mean by that? Believe him about what?" He said it with a conviction that she recognised, so what could Advay have claimed to make the man help him? Especially since he didn't deny anything she'd said, what could make him ignore or excuse the man murdering his friend?

 

The Dreamer smiled at Zach as he approached, although it faded and became more fixed as he relayed Alaynah's summoning. She needed her answers because she didn't want to have to fight the man, and now she wasn't able to get her answer. Her eyes narrowed very slightly as he sat down without invitation, but she remained stoic of her displeasure at his interruption or his manners.

"I might be able to get him to do so, but we will need to talk further."

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17 hours ago, Kaede Kimura said:

"What do you mean by that? Believe him about what?"

Blackstaff opened his mouth to reply when the Hawaiian shirt claiming to be a man called Zach interrupted them. Christopher never saw the appeal of the style, but to each their own he thought. The captain was calling on him and it was only polite to hear her out. Looking back at 'Heir' he gave her a friendly smile and moved to stand. "I'm sorry, it looks like we'll have to continue this later."

Excusing himself, Blackstaff crossed the deck to the stairs and descended. He mentally made a note of which door the professor's voice came from as he passed it... just in case. The armored girl seemed polite and hadn't struck him as very aggressive. But what she had said had him on alert.

Opening the door to the bridge, he stepped inside carefully at Alaynah's invitation. He took the offered seat and regarded the captain. "She seems pleasant enough." He answered neutrally, but smiled. "Though I guess I've watched too many old pirate films. I thought stowaways were tossed overboard." He joked.

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GM

 

@Spacefurry

 

"Yeahhh. About that," Alaynah say, rolling the words in her mouth. She looks at you in the dark and you see she isn't in a joking mood. "She's not here to avail of our services but to take Advay away. "To justice", she said, wherever that is." She snuffs out another cigarette, obviously stressed. "But I stay true to my clients whatever the cause and she's not taking Advay. I managed to keep her from doing it so far but she's going to guess that we've been stalling and take him anyway."

 

She quirks an eyebrow up at him. "And the reason why we haven't done anything to get rid of her is because she's got this demon bound to her or something. Nasty thing." She shudders involuntarily. "I say, with your help we could all gang up on her and throw her overboard before making off quick. I've heard of you around, so maybe I think we have chance." She waves a hand. "She's a summoner of beings and things. Speaking of which, she gave us of gold, diamonds, and cash like it was nothing. You can have your share when this job's over. Think of it as a bonus for the extra work."

 

"So what do you say?"

 

***

 

Once you're done speaking, she opens her mouth to reply but she gets two words out before the radar on the dashboard starts beeping. A dot from port clicks closer to the P.T. boar every second. There's no mistaking that it has the Red Summer as their target. She looks at the radar screen, her eyes wide as if not comprehending. "What the-- This ship's proofed for mundane tech and eyes.

 

"Get your seatbelt on!" Alaynah guns the boat's engines and with a roar the boat surges forward. You're pressed to your seat from the burst of speed. Soon enough, you gain distance from the click until it vanishes off the side of the radar screen.

 

The Captain relaxes behind the wheel. "Looks like we lost them. Was a little bit too easy if you as-- &*@%!"

 

Out of thin air a Coast Guard cutter appears at the fore of the boat. It presents its sides to you and you see the crew waiting for you. Your boat swerves hard to the right, the hulls of both boats screeching from the near hit but it looks like you're about to make a clean getaway. Then another cutter appears ahead and you slam on its side. You're thrown against the dashboard. Though the impact is hard, it wasn't a full-speed collision. Alaynah had to slow to turn from the first cutter.

 

"SS Red Summer!" A hail from one of the ships rings as Alaynah pushes her face from the steering wheel, a thin trail of blood from her nose. She wipes it away. "You seem in a hurry, so don't mind us. We'll just be searching your boat quick! So long as you don't have anything to hide that is."

 

***

 

@Kaede Kimura

 

Zach exhales at your words, then shakes his head. "I think the time for talking's done. We've got to get him out once he comes back. Alaynah'll gather the crew with some excuse, then together we can knock him over the head and throw him overboard with a lifejacket. We'll be gone before he even wakes up."

 

He sighs, leaning back on the chair. "I'll wait here when he gets back. It's now or never."

 

Several seconds pass in silence, before his head cocks to the side. "You hear that?" He stands on the deck and steps starboard, peering at the darkening horizon. Even in your seat you see a Coast Guard cutter in the distance, quickly gaining on you. Zach starts as the other boat's intention becomes clear. "Are they... gunning to us? How-- what--"

 

Your boat's engines roar before he could finish his thoughts and he is thrown sidewards as the Red Summer lurches forward. You too fall on your side as the table and chairs clatter to the floor from the sudden speed. Zach pushes his body from the floor to watch the cutter quickly fade in the distance.

 

"Huh," he says aloud, turning to you. His glasses are askew but he picks himself up and walks over to you to give you a hand. "That wasn't so bad. Odd but--"

 

The both of you are thrown violently sideways as your boat swerves suddenly, and before you could settle, the boat crashes and the both of you and your table and chairs are thrown forward. Uncontrolled, your shins slam against the railing as Zach slams his shoulder against the door. Before you can get up, a loudspeaker's shrill tone rings through the air.

 

"SS Red Summer! You seem in a hurry, so don't mind us. We'll just be searching your boat quick! So long as you don't have anything to hide that is."

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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The Dreamer looked dubiously at Zach. How stupid did these people think she was? Her expression hardened as she went over what was said, they were probably intending to do the same thing to her, and there was no way she was letting Advay go. She tries inhaling deeply to calm herself but it does nothing to dampen the fury building, and her dream creatures start to show their agitation. The Dreamer closed her eyes, trying to calm them when Zach stepped away citing some sound. She could see the boat approaching and heard the man's shocked reaction, processing that they were being pursued when the ship lurched forwards.

 

She was starting to really hate today, regardless of that not being 'so bad' she'd worked so hard to- Suddenly the world turned sideways and the Dreamer felt her body hit the railing. She wheezed as the air was driven from her lungs, and multiple dreams approached to check her over. The Dreamer payed them no mind, checking over her legs to make sure there were no significant injuries to them, since she was pretty sure nothing above is life threatening, although she could feel the bruises starting to form already. 

 

I'm starting to get sick of this.

 

The Dreamer was in agreement as the Carnifex's opinion of the situation intruded into her mind, and she started to focus more on her dreams. She half listened to the loud speaker announcement, annoyance rising to meet her anger. She was taking Advay to justice, and nothing was going to stop her. If the crew was going to try and stop her she just had to make sure they couldn't.

 

On that note, she began concentrating. The easiest way to transport them back to Emerald City would be to lift the Red Summer there using a combination of both dream creatures and manipulating reality. Quickly she lightened the hull and reduced gravity for it, causing it to rise higher in the water several feet, but not enough to rise out of the water. Starting to sweat from the effort she conjured a large multi-winged monstrosity, gripping onto the ship with a dozen multi-jointed limbs as it's enormous wings began to beat. Simultaneously, The Dreamer dragged on the ship's hull with her dreams, and the ship rose quickly, enough to force her down against the hull even harder. She reached up, removing her mask as the ship rose into the sky before starting to talk.

 

"I am sorry to say that I do not believe you Zach, and that is just too bad given that I thought that I would be fine with letting Alaynah and the rest of you go off on your way after this. I do not know what inspires such insane devotion here, whether you simply think that I am an easy mark, are getting a truly stupendous amount from Blackstaff and Advay, or if you have such an issue with the idea of a man facing punishment that you'll protect a murderer to the last. Maybe you even swore oaths that you take very seriously. But enough of my theories, I have tried no less than three times to work with you relatively amicably, and have been in turn ignored, shot at and now plotted against." She turned her head to look at him, legs splayed out at awkward angles and breathing heavy from the difficulty of lifting the ship.

"So suffice to say that I am rather incredibly upset at how my day is going, especially after I made so much gold, diamonds and money to repay you for the difficulties I had caused. Now, before I continue I am going to issue a warning. Kill me and the ship falls, knock me out and the ship falls, throw me overboard and I can fly, and can still make the ship fall. All you can do is sit in your floating prison and ponder where it all went wrong, while I fly us back to Emerald City. When we get there, I am going to deliver Advay to the Forest Clan and to justice. From there I will lift you and your crewmates off of the ship to a location with a good view as I break your ship on some rocks, which I will make myself if need be. And then I am going to throw every worthless dollar, diamond and gold bar I made for you into orbit, along with every piece of your wrecked ship." She finished her monologue, panting and glaring at the man. "That is a promise from the last of True Dreamer. Do. I. Make. Myself. Clear?"

Edited by Kaede Kimura
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Blackstaff listened as Alaynah talked about her other passenger. 

“I though as much after talking to her.”

He commented when the captain mentioned Dreamer’s intentions. But when she mentioned the demon bound to her,  he nodded thoughtfully. It explained the girl’s questions earlier. He would have to see if he could help her after all this was over. 

He shook his head. “I’d rather not actually throw anyone overboard if I can help it. And, I’m not here for money.” He said. Considering the professor hadn’t actually paid him it money, it was technically true. “She seemed reasonable. I think she might listen if can talk it out.”

Whatever Alaynah was about to say was interrupted and his attention shifted to the beeping monitor with her’s. Heeding her order, Blackstaff quickly grabbed the copilot’s seatbelt and snapped it into place as the boat picked up speed. As the tiny dot disappear from the screen he saw the captain relax a little. He almost started to relax himself when the wide flank of a second cutter filled the view before them. Blackstaff braced himself as Alaynah cut sharply to the right, narrowly missing the boat. But the second one was unavoidable. Luckily the Red Summer had lost a significant amount of momentum before it slammed into the side of the Coast Guard vessel.

His head rang but he was fine as he looked over at Alaynah, a little blood ran from her nose where she had hit the steering wheel.

“Sit tight.” He told her as he unbuckled and stood. “Be ready.” He added before moving as quickly as he could. He would have to check on Advay after this was done, but not right now. As he reached the stairs to the upper deck the boat lurched and swayed again. Except this time it was accompanied by a new sensation. A distinctly upward feeling of motion.

“What in the nine hells?” He wondered as he fought the motion and climbed up to deck. What he saw next was not something he would forget anytime soon. A huge, multi-limbed creature cradled the old boat as it’s multiple wings carried them up into the air. A quick look around and he spotted ‘Heir’ half propped up against the railing looking strained and angry.

Blackstaff only caught the tail ends of her decree as her glare looked like she was trying to strike the ship’s mage down where he laid.

“Don’t do it.” He called from the stairs. He took a few cautious steps out onto the deck his hands open and empty. “Don’t do anything rash.” Blackstaff says, looking at Dreamer. His attention shifts to Zach, his tone more stern. “That goes for you as well.” He slowly moves towards the opposite side of the boat from Dreamer, not wanting to spook her further. At the railing he glances over, down at the water an easy 250 or so feet below. He was was again impressed by the young girl’s show of power. He could catch it if he had to... maybe. But he didn’t want to test that theory.

“First things, first. I think we can do without the audience.” Blackstaff held his empty hands out, down towards the water. Under his breath he mutter a handful of what sounded like Latin or some other ancient language. Icy blue circles appear in the air around his hands, lines and symbols twisting around them. Below, the cold waters of the river grow warm as their chill is drawn up into the air above it. The new, cold air mingles with the warmer air saturating it until a dense mist forms in a matter of moments. The fog grows and rolls out across the river, filling it from bank to bank. Some of it even spilling over on to the shores as it rose up high enough to envelop the creature and the boat it carried.

That done, he turns back to the other two on deck. His hands still out and empty as the icy blue magic fades into motes of light and vanish. “Now, I want to talk, but this seems like hardly the place for it. I won’t let them do anything to you.” He tried to give her a friendly, if not tentative smile. “Not that I don’t think you could protect yourself. Not after this little display.” He gestured at the massive winged creature she has conjured up.

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The Dreamer glared over at Blackstaff as he spoke up at the end of her proclamation, her breathing still heavy. "What should I not do, Blackstaff?" She kept her eyes on the man as he stepped out from the stairs, keeping an eye on him as he held his hands open and answered. She had to admit that the man must have very high standards of something being reasonable if he was telling her not to do anything rash while standing on the ship she'd made fly. She kept her eyes on him as he walked to the edge and peered over. She briefly wondered if he was planning on trying to wrest the ship from her when he spoke and started to cast. The Dreamer tensed, and several dream creatures agitated near her, but she couldn't stop him at this point without letting the ship fall anyway. She closed her eyes in relief as he created an enormous fog bank instead.

 

She returned to watching him, her glare softened by fatigue. Her breathing was returning to normal at least as she got the ship 'underway'. It was slow as the creature started to beat it's rear pair of wings to propel the ship with some telekinetic assistance. She kept wary eyes on his hands as the magic vanished. She leaned more fully against the railing as he stated his intention to talk and assured her of his opinion about her ability to defend herself. It was almost funny, she was perfectly aware that without threatening to drop the ship she was helpless to stop others from attacking her. They didn't have to know that, but at this point she was going to have to admit at least some weakness as much as it irked her.

"I am afraid that while I appreciate your offer to talk more privately I cannot take you up on that at this point." She patted her right leg for emphasis from where it awkwardly lay on the deck. "I am completely unable to feel or move my lower body. What specifically did you wish to discuss? The fate of the Red Summer, Advay or something else?"

Edited by Kaede Kimura
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Blackstaff nodded, acknowledging Dreamer's admittance of weakness. "Yes and yes." He admitted. "Both of those concern me at the moment. The 'something else' can wait 'til another time." He sighs and takes a moment to sit himself down on the deck. He hoped it would put the girl a little more at ease if he tried to be more at her eye level.

"Look, I don't know who recruited you and I don't need to to know. But, I can guess that they told you Advay killed his co-worker and you want to bring him to justice. And you can assume that the professor hired me to help him escape the city." He reached into his pocket and pull the pack of gum out. Blackstaff unwraps a piece and starts to chew it. Putting the package and wrapper back into his jacket he leans back against the railing and looks across the deck at her. "The short version: I don't claim to know what happened first hand. Advay contacted me, claiming he was being framed for the murder of his co-worker and requested my help. Even paid in advance. It took me a while to find someone even willing to talk to me about it. But, from what I did manage to learn, I believed what he told me and choose to help him escape the city." Blackstaff spread his hands. "And now we're here, and that's my side of the story. I don't want to fight you if I don't have to. So, if you evidence to counter his claims, I'm willing to listen."

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GM

 

Alaynah clambered up the stairway to the main deck after regaining enough of her senses to stand without collapsing to the floor. Her ship swayed as only a ship could in the stormiest seas but she had seen the waters of Malory Bay retreating as The Red Summer was lifted in the air. She'd seen the sailors of the two Coast Guard cutters stare up in awe before they were quickly swallowed by fog, the golden-tinted waters too turning murky beneath them. The hero left in the deck did this like no storm could. What had that idiot Zach done?

 

Her feet set down solidly on the deck and she swept her gaze across her boat, seeing The Dreamer strewn, legs splayed, across the floor and Blackstaff sitting beside her. Her mage with the obnoxious floral Hawaiian shirt he insisted on on every job saw her and clambered up from his prone position. Then a great flap of whooshing air cast a shadow across the whole deck. She looked up, only for her mouth to fall agape at the enormous monster that bore her ship in its claws.

 

With trembling her hands, she grasped for her gun and raised it to The Dreamer. The girl caused this, far more powerful than Alaynah had imagined, but it could all stop if only...

 

"No, no, no! Stop Alaynah!" Zach blocked her view, his hands waving in desperation. "She'll drop us all if we hurt her. Look how high up we are."

 

Behind her, she heard the heavy footfalls of the twin gargoyles. They emerged from below decks, flanking her like pillars of stone. The professor was right behind them, holding a towel to his temple and chattering some obvious nonsense about how everything had turned dreadful. Alaynah ignored him and lowered her revolver cautiously. Revolver clutched in hand, she moved to the railing and leaned over the side. Wind whipped at her hair and not just from the enormous monster's flapping wings. Though the mist obscured some of her view, there was no mistaking the blinking lights of the city beneath them or the towers of steel and glass that emerged from the mist to greet them. They were flying through the city, faster than a bird flew and more massive by several magnitudes.

 

She whirled to Mixnus  and Nixnus and waved them away. "Gather the professors' equipment! Nixnus, the cash!"

 

As to the professor himself, her one good eye swiveled to the small man as he stepped forward, clearly nervous as he called out to Blackstaff. "I s-s-say, my good man. This isn't part of your plan is it?" He chuckled, like a schoolboy on his first day of class. "Quite a roundabout way of going about the escape wouldn't you say? I'd hate to stumble on Air Clan in their domain."

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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  • 2 weeks later...

Blackstaff turned to see Alaynah come up on deck. When she draws her gun and levels it at Dreamer he raises a hand towards her, his fingers in strange positions like he about to cast something. But Zach interceded first and he let his hand lower a little and turned his attention to Advay. He holds up a finger to signal him to wait and turns back to Dreamer, across from him.

"Look, I understand you think you're doing what you think is right, but this is getting more complicated. I'm sure we can talk about this, but we can't do that if you drop us ashore."  He says calmly.

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The Dreamer's brow furrowed as she listened to Blackstaff's tale. It wasn't unbelievable, but she felt like he had to be something else had to be involved. If he was innocent then why couldn't he go to the forest clan and tell them? She looked at him closely but was quickly distracted as she saw Alaynah come arrive on deck and point her pistol at her again. She didn't want to drop the ship over the city. She turned back to Blackstaff as Advay talked, nodding as he mentioned talking.

"I am willing to talk this out, it would be a refreshing change from how my day has been going. How would you like to do this? I would prefer any parleying to at least happen at a table and in private compared to..." She gestures openly at the collection of people on the deck, and then again at her splayed out legs. "This is hardly the most dignified of positions or locations."

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