High Seas of Saraphiel

Tuvia's Journal

Sorphin 22, 1700 YW

I am only just now waking up, and even so I am exhausted. Frankly, it is foolishness for me to assume that I can keep up with this lifestyle of bold adventure and late nights at my age.

Bold adventure, hah. That’s a euphemism if ever I’ve seen one. How about “foolhardiness”? Seems much more appropriate in retrospect.

We found the island, just as Toll indicated, and anchored just offshore. It was well into the dark of night, so Cairo ordered that the elves join us ashore as we made our way to fight the fire lizard. I am not sure what we were expecting, seeing as a “fire lizard” is nearly the direct correlation of a dragon, but I followed Cairo as a good First Mate should. Into the bowells of hell we plunged and quickly found ourselves confronted with Salamander, a snakelike creature with magma for blood. These were mining the island and, we determined after slaughtering our way through many of them, collecting the fruits of their mining labor in a pit guarded by a demonic Abishai. We crafted a plan, a flawed one in retrospect, to attack the guardians of the horde and then use many of my spellcasting abilities to delay pursuit by those who would come after us.

In reality what happened is that we nearly failed to defeat the Abishai, and this despite me bringing my most potent elemental magic, a spell even to powerful for me to yet master save on a scroll, to bear against it. The thing then turned towards me and evoked a powerful Baath-based spell which wracked my body with such pain that I was unable to do anything but double over for nearly a full minute. Even after I regained control of myself, I was weak and shaken for much longer.

This, combined with later failures which upon which I will expand shortly, has convinced me that perhaps I should turn the focus of my studies away from Planar and Elemental magic. Perhaps it is that the manipulation elemental energies is too small a thing, to weak a thing for the challenges which lie ahead of us.

While I lay in pain, the Abishai fled – later we were to find out that it fled to alert its master to our presence. In the meantime, we – blissfully unaware of this – collected a significant quantity of uncut rubies, as well as a substance which we later learned is called Truesilver. Although it was entirely unfamiliar to any of us, I deduced – based on the fact that that the Abishai seemed to be guarding it – that it was the most valuable and significant treasure to be found in the storeroom. It turns out that we were right, and the rare metal alone is worth nearly 30,000 Gold Dragons in its un-worked state.

We fled the bowels of the island under guide of a woman who mysteriously appeared in the caverns with us. She informed us that she had been sent to seek Cairo and to aid him in his mission. Had we not all experienced some sort of divine encounter upon slaying the Mummy, I would find this too hard to believe, but in the light of recent events I simply accept it in stride. This woman led us out of the caverns and into the night, but as we fled we heard the roars of something massive pursuing us. It would not be until we were on the dinghy rowing towards the Night Tide that the form of the Wyvern appeared in the sky over us, nearly dragging Cairo into the sky with it. Studying its form, I immediately jumped into the water and attempted to use AyinTrade to pull the beast out of the sky and into the water, but it resisted my spell – continuing in its second attack on Cairo. This one was successful and he carried our captain briefly before dropping him and wheeling back at the boat. This was a surprise to me, as a Wyvern’s modus operandi is to carry its victim off and sting it to death, but for some reason it turned its attention on the dingy once more.

This time, however, I was ready. Having drawn near to the Night Tide, I was able to use the ship’s hull in congruence with the dingly to anchor a casting of SabhMelish, ensnaring the creature in the webs. This had the desired effect of pulling it out of the sky and preventing it from carrying any of our number off, however it also had the undesired effect of destroying the dinghy. I am afraid I did not think this element through thoroughly enough in advance.

Which is worse, it was not my last miscalculation in the fight. Shortly after the Wyvern grabbed Alexander and submerged him beneath the water, I cast AbjRacaFum in an attempt to burn the creature. In so doing, I caught our new ally, Umi no Kokoro, in the wash of flame and nearly killed her. It was only for the quick responses of Po and Aldo that she did not die. Before I could further react, the Wyvern bit me, and I fell unconcious.

The next thing I remember is coming to and seeing the creature climbing up the side of the ship. I brought into effect my most recent spell knot, animating a pair of daggers to attack the creature, and with these held it at bay until Po accomplished the killing blow. The Wyvern nearly destroyed the Night Tide as it fell into the water, but it seems that the gods were smiling on us at least regarding this.

Exhausted and battered, we regrouped, recouped the treasure – which had sunken when the dinghy was destroyed, and waited while Po skinned the Wyvern under water. We are now underway towards our rendezvous with the Death’s Toll, and again I am wary of whatever betrayal or treachery Captain Toll may have in store for us.

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Champion's Journey: Entry 21
Decent into Hell

The crew accomplished their usual off ship exploration. Found the caves. Found and entrance. Maybe not so subtly in their first encounters with the half-man half-snake magma creatures. After a few failed attempts at diplomacy, of which Po’ was absolutely no help, the group fell into barbarism and just started slaughtering these creatures as Po’ would find them.

After that got old, Captain attempted yet again to negotiate with these creatures. It went as well it could have. Po’ and crew made a few choices and descended into the fiery burning mountain, crawling with creatures of another existence. Po’ and his body are not made for such a place. While uncomfortable it was enlivening to have so much going on. It was a good distraction from knowing that Bokamba was alive and inaccessible at the moment.

The creatures took the crew to the “treasure” (the goal of this whole expedition) and were greeted by an infernal looking creature that was none too happy about the arrival of guests. Much talk was had by all about how best to proceed. Po’ was just happy to let his legs take him to the face of the devil and below the insults of battle on behalf of the Great Mother.

The fight could not have gone worse. Miss after miss. Near death after near death. Finally damage is being done and after witnessing the horror of what Tuvia went through at the hand of the devil’s spell, Po’ was able to simpathize as a victim himself. It was a cowardly insult to the character of battle to take a warrior out is such a way, but what more could you expect from a devil.

While this infernal creature was not defeated out right, while Po’ and Tuvia lay on the ground in pain the rest of the group forced it into retreat. It was gone long enough for the pain to end and the treasure collecting to begin.

With every bag that was filled and hoisted, all Po’ could chant to himself was, “For Bokamba.” Yet this seemed like a way to buy away his shame for not doing the job himself. As his elders would remind a yet to be named Po’, “A life lived, is not a life lived in perfection. If failure is then inevitable, what we choose to do in the midst of failure is the true test of character and the essence of being mortal.” Po’ has made his choice: work with all means necessary to redeem the captain back from the Solissians with blood sweat and gold if that’s what it takes.

Turns out that it will probably take all of the above if not a little more. No sooner had the group loaded the treasure up and headed out the mountain then the discovery of where exactly the devil had gone…to wake its “pet.” The wyvern that came tearing through the mountains was a vicious as Po’ remembered from stories of such dragon like creatures. However it was still conquerable.

The fight with the fire lizard did not go perfectly, but the out come was right. Po’ finished off the beast while swimming in the water. At home and free to move Po’ struck mightily. Unhindered and at ease he made the beast bleed. And when the beast fell, Po’ took great pleasure in skinning and beheading the thing. A nice trophy for Captain Cairo at a job well done leading his men to victory. Huzza to the crew of the Night Tide. All for one fought and all fought and lived. Huzza!!!!!

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Champion's Journey: Entry 20
A Trip to Fire Island

The air is more crisp. The splash against the hull of the Night Tide is pure exhilaration today as they set sail with a new hope for finding Captain Bokamba alive. Part of this plan is the accuracy of getting to and from the island of the fire lizard. Po’ feels the pressure to do it well. The weather and the tide have aided him. Learning to concentrate during these times of study as courses are set and keeping track of the NightTide’s location has been stretch for Po’. Yet on this particular trip he would dedicate every second of every day just to make sure they got to this island in time.

Finding the island is a whole other story. The problem with finding fabled and profitable locations is that they can be tuff to find. Having approached the island at night it was rather perplexing. What was thought to be many little campfires where the entrances to a complex structure of caves.

While nothing is easy, it is still difficult to be patient knowing the Bokamba is out there. It is difficult because there is so much at stake. Not least, the lives of the men and women of the current crew of the NightTide. Here they are on the cusp of a new adventure that is meaningless if those who go perish. “May the Great Mother guide us.”

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Ignatius' Lament VI-IV
Midnight: Sorphim 21, 1700 YW

Ignatius’ eye is transfixed on the magma pool bubbling quietly in the corner of the cave. He approaches it. The heat is like a mother’s touch upon his face. He then realizes something, that he can feel the warmth on his entire face. He holds his hands out to face the magma in an almost reverent gesture and can feel the heat. It begins scald to burn his flesh. For a moment Ignatius stands motionless, transfixed in the sensations. It’s been a long time since he’s had any tactile feelings.

His moment is interrupted by Tuvia, “D’ya think we can get by that way?”

They wouldn’t understand.

“No. We’ll head to the left.”

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Champion's Journey: Entry 19
Bokamba is Alive II

That night, Po’ and the other boarded the ship, Death’s Toll. Both captains were cordial to one another. The same can’t be said between Ignatius and Tuvia. That aside, Toll presented as much accurate information about the relationship between him and Captain Bokamba as Po’ could recollect. Toll even seemed sincere in his emotions and high regard for Inko, his mentor turned nemesis.

After much discussion aboard the Death’s Toll, it was decided that both crews would finish the collection of the necessary funds to ransom Bokamba from the clutches of the Solissians.

As Po’ was leaving the Toll, he passed the aft porthole windows and winced with pain.

He could see Inko there. Standing bloody and beaten in front of the Coral Harvest’s Captain. The dark outside the the light inside hiding Po’okela from the Solissian pirates. All it would have taken was one good swipe, one open window, one ounce of courage. Yet none were present at the moment as Po’ hung to the aft hull of the ship, peaking in to Inko’s pain. The captain never again was within Po’s reach. That one moment was it. That is all he had, and he forsook fortunes offer to fulfill a life debt.

That offer will not be forsaken again! The Night’s Tide will sail for treasure and glory, but Po’okela will sail and fight for the captain. Perhaps he can persuade fate to give him one more opportunity. Perhaps he can persuade fate to give him that last moment to save the life of Inko Bokamba. In fact, Po’ intends to will fate into giving him that chance.

The ship will go faster. The men will fight harder. Captain Cairo will be pushed in his leadership for nothing will stop Po’ from attaining that moment to do what he did not as he looked in the aft porthole at his friend, leader and savior, Captain Inko Bokamba.

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Tuvia's Journal

Sorphin 18, 1700 YW

No time for journaling now, really. But it needs must be said, Captain Cairo is so intent on self-immolation – be that physical or metaphorical – that he cannot see that a Captain must lead and present himself in a certain way for the sake and safety of his crew. The man grew up in Yirgacheffe, and yet he dismisses the power and respect commanded by the proper captain of a vessel – even by those who do not serve upon said vessel. What is more, he refuses to take up the Captain’s hat, for whatever reason truly has – for I know it cannot be a simple issue of being able to feel the wind upon his scalp. Preposterous. I have no time for this, I must return to my studies. Having lost access to the Mosaic, I must do my best to replicate every detail I can remember about its chamber in hopes of someday reproducing its effect.

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Ignatius Lament VI-III
Midday: Sorphim 18, 1700 YW

Toll and his man strode off down the hill back towards the ships, leaving the crew of the Night Tide to collect the rewards of their near-fatal journey through the Lich’s lair. Ignatius is left looking on, his teeth grinding together, his fist still clenched. It had taken all the strength he had left within him to hold himself back. The job was made even more difficult to know that the pillaging and murder of the Lucky Coin and its men was barely a memory in Toll’s mind. And now Bokamba is apparently still alive. And now Toll is asking for an allegiance. Everything he has become, that he thought he now understood, is about to be dashed to the rocks like the ol’ wreck down in the cove.

You giveth and then you taketh away, eh? Son’ve-a-Bitch.

“Let’s start getting these books carried downstairs. We’ll need more men to get everything out from below the ruins down to the beach. Gilbert, can I talk to you a moment?” orders Ignatius and then turns from the group to step away. He finds himself looking down out at the sea. Below he can see the three ships in the cove, one dead, two alive and anchored alongside each other. He wonders if the ships themselves know each other. Are they enemies? Is there a disturbing unease in the waters with the two rivals sitting so near and the corpse of another in sight? Or are these two old friends and do they share a drink together for their fallen comrade?

“What strange tribulations we put them through.”

“What was that Capn’?” Gilbert steps up alongside Ignatius holding his hat in his hands. Ignatius ignores his question so he continues, “I’m sorry I fell asleep at me’post Capn’. But you were gone for such a long time. I tried to find you all downstairs but—”

“It’s alright Gilbert, couldn’t be helped,” Ignatius interrupts him, “I didn’t think we’d be gone as long. A regrettable decision on my part, I’m sure. I’m more disappointed that Karus didn’t send someone to relieve you.”

“Aye Capn’,” says Gilbert in agreement as he winces and looks down at the Night Tide.

Ignatius continues, “But, at least everyone kept to their orders, can’t ask more than that.” “Gilbert,” There’s a noticeable shift in topics, “What do you know of Captain Toll?”

“Not much sir,” replies Gilbert. “Just stories. Here tell that he’s a ruthless pirate. A small ship with a big reputation he has. I have a mate that sails on board. Would be good to see’im.”

Ignatius finally looks Gilbert in the eye in response to his last comment. “Thought they sailed for Solissia.”

Gilbert corrects him, “No Capn’. From what’ve heard, Toll’s a pirate through-n’-through. Sails for ’imself.”

Ignatius looks back towards the cove and thinks for a moment. “Have you ever hated a man so much, only to find out later that your hate was irrelevant Gilbert?”

The odd question and second shift in the conversation takes Gilber by surprise. He blubbers for a bit looking for words, “Uh . . . well I . . . uh.” A recent sermon of Aldo’s suddenly comes to mind, “Kiri-Jolith asks us to always hate the wicked an’ evil, and that doing so is n’act of goodness.” Gilbert realizes that his contribution wasn’t too relevant, “So I guess . . . you could . . .”

Ignatius turns around to face the crew as they are beginning to gather the books taken from the Lich’s library. “Go back to the Night Tide and have three men sent back up, whoever’s the most fresh, to help with hauling the treasure down. We’ll brace open the secret door down in the ruins below and begin pulling the treasure out.”

“Aye, aye Capn’.”

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Champion's Journey: Entry 18
Bokamba is Alive I

The swords, cutlasses and axes where whipping wildly through the air. Captain Toll shows up and “saves the day.” Then in equally striking format, announces that the two crews should call a momentary truce, and his reason: Captain Inko Bokamba is alive but not well as a prisoner aboard an enemy vessel. BOKAMBA IS ALIVE!!!!

“I pray these words to you Great Mother, for they may well be my last before I am brought before you face to face. May you bless and keep Kalani Alohi Nalani, my calm of the sky. May your face shine upon her as she leads our people. My you give her peace at my demise. Ask my brother to forgive me for not completing the vengeance I swore. May you take this body and dispose of it well. Great Mother, I am coming home.” It was only a moment after this that Po’okela Kupa’a was released from death.

A year before this moment, Po’okela failed. He failed in the most catastrophic way possible. Everyone died in his raiding party. He my be the champion, but he was no military leader. In in attempt to rescue his brother and others who were taken captive from tribe Kahi, his party of Darfellan warriors were cut down because Po’ underestimated the cruel might of the Solissian sailors who were willing to dishonorably execute defenseless men and women in order to save their own hides. And now they hold Po’okela in perpetual torment. Wasting valuable resources to keep him alive just to torment him again. Not only must he live with the pain of torture, but also the humiliation of defeat.

This night, the ship had been attacked. It sounds like the attackers were having more success then Po’okela did during his raid almost a year ago. One of his Solissian tormentors came down satisfied to finally finish the job of killing Po’ rather then let a prisoner turn combatant. And just after Po’ finished his prayer, the cutlas came down. However, it was not the cutlass of the scurvy Solissian, but instead the cutlas of one Captain Inko Bokamba. “Ye lad, get your carcass moving and fight for your freedom. BY ALL THE GOD’S! Are y’always like that or is this done at the hands of the Solissians? Hmm, ye not be what I was expecting to find in the bilge of a Solissian ship. What be you?” Po’ responded as only one can when given the opportunity to give pack to his captors a little taste of what they had been giving out for a year, “I be the death of any Solissian left of the ship, now out of my WAY!” Po’ with cutlas in hand moved swiftly from pirate to pirate slashing and bitting his way to freedom.

When all was said and done he stood before Inko. With blood still dripping from his sword and jaws, he swore the oath that was demanded of him in this situation…the oath of a life debt, he must save the life of Inko Bokamba.

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Tuvia's Journal

Sorphin 16, 1700 YW

When I compare the familial life of a baker with that lifestyle I now pursue, part of me heaves a heavy sigh and longs for the stillness, the togetherness with my family, the comforts of civilization. Then as I dwell on these things, another part of me champs at the proverbial bit, pawing the ground in my mind and slavering for more of this life in Saraphiel. I do admit, there is a hunger within me, perhaps fed by the Silver One and the Night Candle, to press on here and to discover more; even to unearth new mysteries. The mystery of magic calls to me, the mystery of this world calls to me. I find myself more and more wondering at the idea of moving my family here to Saraphiel, outside the reach of the gangs there, rather than simply repaying their debt. I am aware that Ardadd had by some means achieved a mode of longer-distance transportation via the use of Ayin, but the details of it are nebulous. I wonder if I can ascertain its particulars and subsequently apply them towards an even longer distance spell. My discovery today in the…lair…of En Saa’ant leads me to believe that this may be not only possible, but also attainable.

The Teleportation Chamber, however, is the third in three major developments which took place after our defeat of En Saa’ant.

As we departed the Lich’s chamber, we entered another room which, seemed to have served as an experimentation chamber for the Lich. Several metal poles projected down from the ceiling, and at its apex was nested a crystal. Immediately upon our entrance, two alcoves opened in the walls, and two massive creatures – Flesh Golems – lumbered out and assailed us. I do not fully understand the nuances of these creatures, but it seemed apparent that fire had the effect of slowing them down, while electricity has the effect of healing them. They are powerfully strong, and both Po and Alexander stood in great peril of succumbing to their massive blows. I will credit Aldo once more with both courage and talent, and he stood between these two warriors and labored to undo the damages done to them by these creatures.

It seemed, however, that we were less than likely to succeed, both Aldo and I having exhausted the majority of our spells for the day. As we were wearing the creatures down, Cairo noted that the crystal in the ceiling was beginning to throb brightly and called for us to take cover. It did not matter. Sheltered though we were, the Crystal surged with lightning and jolted us all. Worse, it revivified the sagging Flesh Golems. Immediately, I adjusted my attacks to focus on destroying the crystal, but my only tool in this was a paltry wand which directs magical force energy against any subject.

Things were looking grim, when the second major development took place. Marius Toll and his crew arrived on the scene – but under truce of parlay, and with intent to assist us. Very quickly, an arcanist in their employ cast a Fum/Hod spell at the crystal, which instantly shattered it. Summarily we defeated the creatures, and proceeded to discuss why and why we should not kill the bastard who first imprisoned us after ransacking the Lucky Coin.

The long and short of it is this, I yield to Cairo’s decision. Toll claims to have knowledge both of Bokamba’s location and a means by which to ransom him. Myself, I would see Toll’s body charred in flames in a heartbeat – but if even Cairo can restrain himself, then so will I.

We moved on and found ourselves in what is simply the finest room in the entire lair. Within we discovered many pieces of art, and a large library covering the three subjects of History, Magic, and Religion all pertinent to ancient Saraphiel – or Orphiel. Additionally we discovered some weapon crystals which I quickly procured for our band. Aldo detected magic within a nearby book as well, and I was hopeful it was the spellbook or this Lich, seeing as he was able to cast some powerful spells – but it was, unfortunately, a ruse and not the real spellbook. I believe I will have to return to this lair later today to further explore it in hopes of finding said spellbook.

I convinced Cairo that it would be beneficial for me for me to read ALL the books, and so sat down to scribe a scroll for one of the spells that Ardadd taught me. It is a strange thing, scribing a scroll – this is something I have SEEN done before, but have not as of yet felt the need to do. In many ways, it is nothing more than the repetition of the functional Runic elements within my spellbook, but in addition there is an essential giving of my essential self, albeit ever so tiny, into this work. There is a marked and decidedly clear sense of personal loss as I complete the scribing, and while this is certainly a useful ability, I am not certain that I want to repeat it often.

Casting the spell, on the other hand, was possibly one of the highlights of my life. Even as I spoke its conclusion, there was a sense of awareness unlike anything I have experienced before – and this was only the beginning. In somewhat of a trance-state I stood and walked towards the book case, and reached out for the first book – my fingers and my mind already both burning with anticipation, an anticipation fueled by the vaguest premonition of what lay within the book. No sooner than I had laid a finger on the book when my mind reeled with a satisfying explosion of knowledge – as if a magical pen had written the entire book upon my mind in the blink of an eye. My equilibrium shifted and I nearly toppled, but fought to regain my balance and, with my heart pounding, touched the next book. Again, euphoria as my mind was expanded instantly. I gasped, then steeled myself against it and began systematically working through the entire library. It took nigh upon an hour to complete the task. In some ways it felt like the shortest instant, and in others it seemed I stood there for full on a year. When I had finished, and released the remaining spell energy, I sensed the weight of the collective knowledge of 450 books fully read, resting in my memory. Not every detail, mind you, but a complete – holistic – understanding of the content within.

While I focused on these things, the others worked together to discover a key to the mosaic at the other end of the room, and were able to arrange the tiles in such a way as to mimic a pattern on the key. Instantly a gateway, no doubt utilizing Ayin, formed to another place. Everyone else took a step back in shock, but by this time – gleaning from the knowledge I had just gained – I suspected as much. Indeed, I looked at the various patterns and was quickly able to decypher the specific locations of several, including the pattern needed to return to the surface from whence we left. Bob, the arcanist with Tull and a follower of Solinari, and I worked together to recreate the pattern, and indeed my thesis was proved correct. Cairo stepped through, experimentally, and we were able to determine that the gateway functioned in both directions for the duration that it existed. We proceeded to remove the books from the library, and the key as well. Personally, I mean to return here at my first convenience. We believe that the gateway opens to several locations within a few days sail of this Island, but I wonder if there is a way to boost its effectiveness. Perhaps by studying this I can come to an understanding of what is needed for me to craft a spell by which I might take my family to safety here in Saraphiel?

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Champion's Journey: Entry 17
Getting Faster and Stronger

As Po’okela continues to refine the fighting style of his tribe, he finds he becomes more and more adept. The chaos of constant movement seems to feed his focus and confuse his enemies. He feels as though he has just taken a major step forward in perfecting this battle style and melding it with blood lust of battle. These lumbering hulks of flesh were a great test upon Po’ and his skill. Rather than think his way through the battle he had to feel his way through it, sliding into and out of free space. Using the constant movement to befuddle.

Yet, in all the movement it gets difficult to keep an eye on the captain. He seems to have a blatant disregard for his own safety. Thankfully Alexander seems just as intent as Po’ does to preserve the captain’s life. Captain seems to grow in his ability to rally the troops to him. His presence on the battle field becomes more and more formidable as time goes on. It helps to have a deadly whip of flame licking at the very faces of your enemies.

At the same time, Captain can be rather unreasonable at times. And rightly so. Marius Toll showed up. What does a leader do when a man on his “death” list comes to “save” the day?

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