Dragon Age: Descent

The Chantry Mystery
....But not in a prostitute kind of a way!

Lucien, Valeros, Ezri and Alissa slowly enter the chapel, taking in the staircases which lead up to a balcony, the ornate carved pews, rich tapestries and the massive statue of Andraste at the other end of the chapel. Lucien and Valeros head up to take a closer look at the statute and notice several bowls of gold and silver coins and gems on the plinth of the statute. Ezri, who had followed to the front, thought it was rather odd to see so much wealth in this chapel when the chantry was so far outside a city and it was so modest everywhere else. Why were the gems left unattended? Or were the gems somehow secretly protected or guarded?
As they explore the chapel, Valeros and Alissa hear voices coming from the door on the right of the chapel. Alissa can tell they are angry/tense sounding and it sounds like it is the Captain and a woman talking. Through the left hand door she can hear owls hooting and realises that that door leads outside. Creeping closer to the door, Alissa hears hushed shouty voices. It is definitely the Captain arguing with a woman and although all that can be heard clearly of the argument is “the girl”, the woman is definitely dominating the argument.
“Why has so much money been left here? There must be at lead 200 gold coins here not to mention all the gems” Asks Ezri before Valeros hushed her and tells her to listen.
“What I can’t hear anything”
“You can’t hear the voices arguing?”
Ezri shrugs indicating she can’t hear anything as Alissa creeps back across to them and tells them about who and what she overheard.
“What shall we do? Will we get in trouble for being here?” Inquires Ezri.
“We need to hide, I don’t think we should be caught snooping around here” whispered Alissa
“We could pretend we are praying and thankful we were rescued, I mean after what we went through I think that would be quite believable, don’t you?” Chips in Valeros just as the voices stop and someone starts walking towards the door.
As the other three quickly drop to their knees and start “praying” and Ezri starts a chant of thanks, Alissa looks around, searching for a place to hide. Realizing it is hopeless as there is no time and no decent hiding place, Alissa just stays stood behind them and tries to look as innocent as she can.
The door is opened just enough for Simon to come out of the room, as he does so Valeros and Alissa glance across, intrigued to see who came out of the door. As he sees them, Simon’s face falls with a look of total dismay and runs silently across to them.
“Guys, I don’t know what you’re doing here but you need to go back to your rooms right now. No questions no arguments.” Turning to focus his gaze on Alissa, Simon adds “Please, for your own sakes we need to hurry.”
“Why?” asks Valeros, standing but making no move to start heading towards the door.
“I said no questions” replies Simon as he helps Ezri up and takes Alissa gently by the arm to make sure she starts moving to the door and ushers the rest of them towards the door. Ezri hurriedly finishes the pray she was saying as they head out of the chapel. Simon ushers the four of them out the door, glancing back he sees the door on the right hand side of the chapel is starting to be opened and lets out a small sigh of relief as he realises just how close they were to being caught.
“What is going on?” insists Valeros as they hurry towards their rooms.
“Still no questions. But I will tell you this everything is not as innocent as it seems here but you cannot go investigating it and been inquisitive. It’s just not worth it.” As far as they can all tell, Simon is being genuine.
“Ok, so what? We just go back to our rooms and ignore it?” Asks Valeros.
“Yes, and try and get some sleep”
“But we were just giving thanks, I mean how we managed to survive that sea serpent is anyone’s guess!”
“Even if that is true, not everyone will believe that that is what you were doing”
“Ok, ok, just one last question”
With a sigh, Simon says “What Valeros?”
“Are you ok?”
Slightly surprised by the question, Simon replies “I will be ok if you lot take stay safe” He turns Alissa before adding “Please take care of yourself….I mean of yourselves” he corrects himself and glances round at the group to try and show them how serious they need to take his warning.
As they obviously won’t get any further explanation, the group all say goodnight and head back to their rooms. Valeros sits, staring into the fire in the room, mulling over everything that had happened since they had entered the chantry. Lucien, who had been suspiciously quite since they had been rescued went straight to bed and was asleep almost instantly, at least as far as Valeros could tell. Ezri and Alissa sat on the bottom of one of the bunks discussing what had just happened.
“What do you make of all this then Alissa?”
“I’m not sure. But the more we learn or, more accurately, don’t learn, the more I want to find out what the heck is going on here”
“Well if you could get Simon on his own tomorrow, you could just sidle over to him and wheedle it out of him” Ezri says before hurriedly adding “But not in a prostitute kind of a way”
Alissa glares coldly at Ezri “So you think I should ‘prostitute’ myself so we can find out what’s going on do you?”
“No, no, of course not. I mean, I would never encourage that behaviour in anyway, in fact I decidedly said you shouldn’t do that. I just meant that, well you know, you and Simon get on well together and he’s more likely to tell you what’s going on than any of us.” After a few more minutes of Ezri backtracking and trying to reassure Alissa she was not asking her to prostitute herself they say goodnight and both head to bed.
The next day they were woken by the sounds of bells and one of the sisters telling them that breakfast was ready and to go to the dining room when they were ready.
“OK, I’m awake” murmured Ezri as she rolled out of bed, still half asleep.
After they were dressed, Ezri and Alissa decide to go find Valeros and Lucien so they can discuss what happened last night with them. When they hadn’t come up with any new plans after about 10mins and driven by hunger, they all head to the dining room for breakfast. As they enter, they see Simon sat at a table, position so he can see when they come in. As soon as he sees them, he moves closer to the sailors on his table, making sure there is no room for them to sit next to or opposite him.
The four of them find a place to sit away from any of the others so they can carry on the discussion without being overheard. They also find it strange that Malign is still not around and they can’t hear, smell, or taste him!
Ezri notices Alice, the sister that she knows, but before she can call her over or stand to go and greet her, Alice stumbles and spills the mead she is carrying all over the floor and there is a collective groan and a few of the sisters say “Oh not again”. Ezri gets up and heads over to Alice, who has started cleaning up the mead. After catching up for a few minutes, Ezri invites Alice to come across and meet her friends. As they walk over to the group, one of the other sisters sticks her foot out and trips Alice up causing Alice to spill the bucket of mopped up mead all over Valeros and Alissa.
Alice was mortified and throughout the room malicious sniggering can be heard, especially from the group around the sister who had deliberately tripped Alice. Valeros gets up from the table complaining he is completely sodden before stomping his way across to the girl who tripped up Alice.
“Excuse me miss” growls Valeros
Three girls, all in their early 20s, turned around. It was clear that all of them had spent a long time on their appearance which was unusual considering they were chantry sisters.
“Yes, sir?” Replied the brunette in the middle. She sat up straighter when she sees that it is Valeros talking to her.
“Do you not have enough room at the table?”
“Well, we can make some room for you, sir” She said, batting her eyelids at him.
“Why was your leg in the aisle? I think you need to apologise to Alice here.”
“I don’t think so, I mean it’s not MY fault Alice is so clumsy. It’s her that needs to apologise” she replied with a smug smirk, looking around at her friends, waiting for their praise on her quick answer.
“No I don’t think it is. I mean, if I happened to “stretch” my arm out here and “accidently” hit you. I would still apologise!”
“Man of honour right Valeros!” Chips in Ezri
“Indeed, I would apologise because I AM a man of honour!” nods Valeros.
Throughout the exchange, Alice has stayed hidden behind Ezri looking absolutely mortified.
“Don’t leave Alice alone, she might trip over something sharp and pointy.”
“Nice hair do!” Snarls Valeros
“Thanks, I worked very hard on it” Smiled the girl, completely missing the sarcasm.
“Why? Why did you go to all the effort? It’s not like it was worth it, especially as there is not one here you would appreciate it!”
The brunette stands and so do the two blondes on either side of her. “Watch yourself” She hissed, trying to save face.
“Fine, and you better watch yourself as I’ll be watching you” Whispers Valeros threateningly, leaning in for effect.
With a huff and a hair flick the brunette and her friends turn and leave at which point Valeros came back over to the group and smiles at Alice. “If they give you any trouble Alice, you just come and find me” He puts a reassuring hand on her shoulder.
“But what if you’ve gone?” whispered Alice through barely contained tears.
“Oh don’t worry I’ll be around for a while”
“Really? I thought Mother Pia said you’d only be here a day or so.” Sniffed Alice
“Is that so….” Pondered Valeros as Alice turned and ran out of the dining hall, no longer able to hold back the tears.
Ezri, Alissa, and another sister start to clean up the spilt mead and Ezri questions the sister about what had happened between the two. The sister informs them that Julianna and Alice had a fallening out a while back. They had a dispute over a man from outside the chantry, they used to be quite friendly with each other.
“What? About a man?” Questioned Ezri, surprised.
“Well that’s the rumour, but it is just a rumour.”
“Can’t the superiors do anything about helping Alice?” inquires Alissa
“Yes but Alice won’t tell them that anything is wrong”
“But Alice, she has friends yeah? I remember her being well liked” Asks Ezri
“No. Julianna is very persuasive. Plus she’d the illegitimate daughter of a noble, which is why she was left here, and the money she brings in gives her quite a bit of sway.” The sister informed them.
They also learn that there are about 25 sisters living in the chantry and they are all equal except Mother Pia. Mother Pia had been in charge of the chantry for 10 years and since she came they no longer train novices. They also learn that they will meet Mother Pia that afternoon and the sister they are talking to is called Jasmine.
“So, Jas…” Says Valeros
“I prefer Jasmine, actually” the sister interrupts before Valeros can ask his question.
“Sorry, Jasmine, are there any other guests staying here at the minute?”
“You are the main guests.”
“And have the sailors been here before?”
“Er…No I don’t think they have”
Although the sister seems a little unsure, she seems to be telling the truth. As they have finished clearing up, Jasmine takes the bucket and leaves the group saying she will send a sister back with towels for Valeros and Alissa. As the sister leaves, Ezri notices that quite a lot of the sisters are making eyes at the sailors and that all the sisters seem quite young with the oldest only being about mid-20s. They also notice that Simon is actively trying to avoid looking at them or making eye contact with any of them. It is at this point that Z2 enter the room and join the sailors at their table. Both of them look exhausted and seem to only be able to keep their heads up by resting them on their hands.
Another sister they have not met yet comes across to them and gives Valeros and Alissa a towel and Alissa leaves to go get out of the soaked clothes. Ezri asks the sister who brought the towels if she knows where Malign is. The sister informs her that she hasn’t seen him but suggests he could be in the medical bay. When Ezri asks if they can go and look for him they are surprised to learn the medical bay is in quarantine. “Subtly” Valeros inquires where the medical bay is ‘so we don’t accidently stumble into it’ and the sister informs them it is on the right as you enter the chapel.
“After I get changed, I think we need to go and pray!” whispers Valeros to Ezri before he leaves to go and get changed.
Under the doors of their rooms, a note has been slipped that tells them to join Mother Pia at 12 for a service in the chapel, not to bother the sisters and they should feel free to wonder the gardens.
Whilst the others are getting changed, Ezri heads over to one of the sailors that are still in the dining room. The one she talks to is a bald, bearded sailor.
“Do you happen to know what happened to Malign?”
“Malign, he was on the boat with us…erm….the one that looks like a guy but who wears a dress”
“Oh….the man/woman! Didn’t he die on the boat?”
“Er…..no he didn’t. He arrived here with us”
“Then I don’t know”
At the end of this exchange, Alissa comes back in and goes over to Ezri who has started asking the other few sailors that are still there if they know anything about what happened to Mailgn. Alissa inquires what the first bald, beardy one what his name is.
Brom. B-R-O-M, Brom”
After they had talked to them for a bit longer, they are just about to bid farewell when Brom says to Ezri with a wink “You know if you want a really man, one you know is definitely all man, I’ve got a glass of mead with your name on”
“Er….well I’m flattered sir but as you can see” Ezri glances down at her robes before continuing “I am a chantry sister so I’ll have to pass on the glass of mead”
Turning to Alissa, Brom says “What about you then love?” Before Alissa has time to reply, one of the other sailors nudges Brom and says “Not her” at the same time as Ezri whispers to Alissa “remember, you don’t have to prostitute yourself”
Brom nods with comprehension then says “I retract that offer”
Alissa turns to Ezri with a raised eyebrow “Not sure whether I should be offended or not!”
Brom quickly adds “Sorry love. If it was up to me I would and if you ever get bored of the other one just let me know” and with that the sailors all get up and leave.
Slightly confused by what had just happened Alissa stood there for a bit until Ezri asks “Do you think he meant Simon by ‘the other one’?”
“He must have, I mean I don’t know who else he could be talking about”
Valeros had come back into the dining room just in time to hear the end of the exchange and Ezri filled him in on the rest before Alissa showed Ezri the note about the meeting at 12 and suggested they should take a look round the garden. They all agree and are about to go when Ezri remembers Alice had promised to find her a walking stick but must have forgotten what with everything that had happened with Julianna. Valeros, man of honour that he is, says he will go and find the stick for her. In his rush to start investigating what is really going on in the chantry, Valeros gets lost on his way to find Alice, who is working in the kitchen today, but after a few wrong turns he suddenly smells bacon and is back on track and finds the hatch for food and soon after the kitchen. He knocks on the door.
“Who….who is it?” asks a whimpery voice.
“Alice? It’s Valeros”
Alice slowly opens the door and Valeros can see she has red, puffy eyes.
“Are you ok Alice?”
“Yeah, it’s just the onions”
“Onions? In the morning?” Questions Valeros, suspiciously but lets it drop when Alice makes some excuse about preparing lunch and it’s clear she doesn’t want to talk about it. Valeros reassures Alice that they will be around if she needs them before asking her about the crutch. Alice rushes out of the kitchen and in to the chapel to fetch the crutch but she closes the door of the chapel after her so Valeros can’t see in. She then rushes back carrying the crutch which she hands to Valeros before returning to the kitchen to get on with her work. Valeros thanks her for the crutch before heading back to the others.
“Here’s the crutch. You know, I’m worried about Alice”
“Thank you. Yes, me too. She’s not the Alice I remember…”
They walk around to the right of the building, pass through a courtyard with a fountain and come to where the room of to the right of the chapel is. It is quite a bit bigger than they had pictured from the inside but, much to their disappointment, the only windows it had were small, reflective windows right at the top. Not being able to gain any information about what is going on from the outside, liked they hoped, they group carried on their walk around the chantry. They discover there are 3 entrances to the building and also a stable block outside. They decide to go take a look at the stable. Inside there are 3 horses, all well looked after. The sister who is attending to the horses is about 35. They all greet her.
“Good morning. You must be the guests that are staying here” she smiled “I’m Eleanor”
She then turnings to call back to the room attached to the stable and tells Leo to come and meet the guests. A lad about 16 who looks very similar to Eleanor comes out and she introduces him as her son. As they chat to them, the group discover that the horses belong to the chantry and that Eleanor is in charge of making travel arrangements for the guests that stay at the chantry.
“You lot were a day late in to shore” remarks Eleanor
“Yeah we had a bit of trouble with a sea serpent” says Valeros and at this Leo becomes a lot more interested in the conversation and starts to ask Valeros questions about the fight. Valeros tells him a slightly exaggerated version of what happened in the fight before Leo asks if he can have a go with Valeros’ sword.
When Ezri asks about the fact she is a sister and has a son, Eleanor explained that she knew Mother Pia before she took over the chantry so Mother Pia made an exception for her.
“So, Leo are you an apprentice then?” asks Ezri
“Yes, I’m training him up to be a stable boy” replied his mother
“And are you going to stay on here to look after the stable?”
“No! No, I want to go on an adventure like you lot” protested Leo
With a shake of his head Valeros said “No, no, lad you should stay here. There is a lot to be said for having a stable home” Valeros then turned and asked Lucien if he was alright as he had been very quiet since they had arrived at the chantry, when Lucien nods and says his fine Valeros turns back to ask Eleanor if she had seen Malign, Cleric. When she told them she had not the conversation moved on to other guests etc. They found out that the Captain had stayed at the chantry before and that the chantry do trade with him. Mother Pia and the Captain had met in Highever and got talking and came up with a deal. Since then, he had stayed at the chantry a few times but he didn’t normally bring the crew with him.
Eleanor also filled them in on what had happened between Alice and Julianna. Alice used to work front of house and because of that she meet a man from Highever. The man offered to take Alice away from the chantry but Alice turned it down as she had dedicated her life to Andraste. Julianna had taken a shine to the man and hoped he’d make her the same offer but he didn’t and since then Julianna had been making Alice’s life hell.
By this time it was nearing 12 o’clock so they said goodbye to Eleanor and Leo and headed back to the chapel to meet Mother Pia.

"Tell me about the knobs"
In which we become acquainted with doors.

We return to our band of weary travellers adrift in the open sea, desperately paddling on their makeshift rafts. The sky is growing ever darker, and hope is fading as quickly as the light. Somehow, they manage to regroup with the sailors who do not look in much better shape. Suddenly, across the shadowy sea, land ahoy! Not only is land in reach, but a sizeable boat is heading towards them, cutting through the waves with ease. The boat has only one deck, and also strangely –for a wooden, sea faring vessel at least- a tower lit with fire. A Light. A beacon. Hope. Squinting against the sea spray, Alissa can just about make out figures on board, dressed in chantry robes. Simon, relieved upon the sight cries to the skies “THANK THE MAKER!”
In an attempt to attract attention to their small raft, Ezri casts a light spell on their cross bow in hopes that they could use it as a flare. However, this small action failed, desperately. A wave of cunning crashes across her mind and instead she attempts to light the raft instead. Success!
Suddenly, voices can be heard from the direction of the boat “They’re over there!”
“Ahoy!” calls Ezri.
“Are you okay?” The female voice grows nearer and clearer. A genuine concern is heard in the tone of her voice. This is somewhat comforting.
Soon the group are safely on board. Swaddled in blankets and shivering from not just the cold sea, but also from the shock of the events which had previously occurred, a feeling of safety soothes them. Looking across the deck, they see that the vessel is being rowed by six women, with another directing. Apparently, their wreck was foreseen by Mother Pia. It transpires that Andraste’s Gloves had indeed been logistically on track. They were just north of Highever, according to their new host and rescuer, Beatrix.
The women of the boat note that Ezri is also wearing chantry robes and it turns out that one of their own, Sister Alice, is also from Kirkwall! What a small world! Ezri remembers Alice as a bit of a ditsy Sister. A hussy, perhaps. She keeps these quiet thoughts to herself and wonders if her characteristics remain the same.
Eventually the boat arrives to shore. The group are lead a short way to a humble chantry, built of white brick. Upon entrance to the building, they are lead into a dining room which appears to be a place for feeding the poor and homeless. The group are lead to the sleeping quarters which consist of three big rooms which are modestly decorated, yet comfortable. For as weary as they all were, the bunk beds could have been four posters.
Meanwhile, as they gratefully settle into their rooms, outside in the corridor, Captain Merek shuffles along with the unconscious form of the redhead. Thinking that his actions have gone unnoticed, he slips round the corner, down a different corridor.
Back in the quarters, Malign is pleased to be reacquainted with an old pal from Cleric School! This really is a small world!
Ever cautious Alissa scans her room for traps. Of course, there are none. Ezri settles by the fire in their room and gives prayers of thanks. Once more, a calm descends upon the pair and they feel they can rest tonight. Clambering into bed, they embrace each other, their friendship sealed and bound by their shared experiences. It has been a long day.
Next door, Valeros andLucien form an alliance, no, something greater than that. A bond. After the hardships they’ve endured, it seemed petty to not get along. Besides, something is afoot here. Valeros informs Lucien of his suspicions of the Captain, having bore witness to his sneaky shufflings. They agree to investigate the corridor, to find out who this mystery redhead is, and why she has remained unconscious for so long. The plan is to wait until the fires have died down to glowing embers, then under the cover of darkness, they’ll be able to slink through the corridors undetected. Or so they hope. If there is any danger, the signal is to hoot like a barn owl. (Not a tawny).
After going a distance (round the corner), Lucien gets cold feet and insists that they wake the girls, in case they need back up. And besides, they’re all part of a group now. They are all in this together.
The girls grumpily join the pair, still half asleep.
They walk cautiously down the dark corridor, which is seemingly different to the rest of the building. The doors are hefty. The knobs, ornate. At the end of the corridor is an even bigger door. The group gather round and in whispers, form a brief plan. Slowly, they open the massive door. It opens out in to a massive chapel, with yet more ornate doors encompassing…


The Adventures of Unconscious Dave
Land Ahoy! What land? That land! I don't see any land? It's over ther- oh wait. It's gone again. (repeat as necessary)

- Excerpt from the diary of Ezri Delmastro -

Fifth day of voyage (I think), evening.

Well, that couldn’t have gone much worse.
Note: never get on a boat again. Ever.

Managed to cling to a bit of debris, along with Alissa (alive) and Lucien (barely alive), when the ship disintegrated. Valeros (alive), Malign (very much alive) and Dave the sailor (unconscious, but alive) had also managed to get hold of something. As we drifted away from the wreck, Valeros gave our little raft an ‘ahoy there’, and we had a go at hooking the debris together.

Looking ahead, I could see Simon and the other sailors in front, floating on upturned tables. Zane and Zach were there, fishing some of the other sailors out of the water, and the Captain was still clinging to his red-head, but I couldn’t make out much more. Valeros, hero that he is, dared to look back.

According to him, the sea serpent was busy smashing up the remains of the ship and seemed unconcerned with our bedraggled little raft – for now, anyway. Malign, Cleric, seemed pretty relaxed about the whole situation. Weirdly relaxed. Inappropriately relaxed.
Note: Beginning to suspect Malign may be an imbecile…
Alissa took it pretty well – she managed to keep calm, at any rate.
Note: My healing skills clearly a contributory factor to her impressive mental stability.
Lucien got quite wobbly and seemed pretty distressed, almost losing his grip on the raft.
Note: He had his healing from Malign. Inferior healing, obviously.
Valeros, a veritable pillar of strength up to this point, suddenly began to look unsure and panicky.
Note: Could just have been the thought of all that delicious bacon sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
Dave, the unconscious sailor, remained unconscious.

As for me? I fainted. Not terribly heroic, I confess, but hardly surprising considering all that had happened. Someone must have lifted me onto the raft because when I came to myself, Lucien was in the water and I was sprawled on the rubble next to unconscious Dave (still unconscious).

Alissa started splashing excitably, pointing to an empty bit of ocean and shouting ‘land ahoy’. Began to doubt her mental stability at this point, but thought it best to humour her. Had a quick search for magic and could feel something, but not very clearly.
Note: Are sea serpents magical?
The others were trying to convince her there was nothing there, when she suddenly shook her head and declared, sounding very irritated about it, the island had disappeared.
Note: Starting to feel like déjà vu…

Valeros, who clearly has more testosterone than sense, seemed keen to go back and finish off the sea serpent. Not entirely sure what his battle plan was, and how he intended to defeat a sea serpent with Alissa hallucinating islands, Lucien wounded, both healers exhausted and unconscious Dave still unconscious, but I guess you have to give him credit for trying.

Luckily, I sighted land and managed to distract him. Half expected everyone to say ‘what land?’, but it appears my eyesight (and mental stability) can still be depended on. Unluckily, the distraction was all too much for our poor, brave, man of honour. Valeros fainted.

Think I may have been infected with some of Valeros’s heroism, because I immediately dived off the raft to help him. Clearly, I am no (wo)man of honour, because I missed Valeros completely and started sinking. It appears I didn’t miss Lucien, however, and he had to be hauled (unconscious) onto the raft with my boot-print on his forehead. Oops.

Malign managed to get me back to the raft to assess the casualties. Valeros: unconscious. Lucien: unconscious. Unconscious Dave: unconscious. Me, Alissa and Malign? Still conscious! Three out of six isn’t bad, right?

Valeros recovered himself fairly quickly, actually, and looked heartily ashamed of his fainting fit when he did. I healed Lucien myself. He looked pretty annoyed when he came round, but I pretended not to know what he was talking about and told him a bit of the debris had come loose and concussed him. He didn’t look entirely convinced, but I think I got away with it.
Note: Probably best to keep him away from mirrors until the bruise on his forehead is a bit less foot-shaped…

Changing the subject, I suggested we lash the debris together a bit more tightly, and point ourselves towards the shore. This, we did. Well, most of us. Dave, the unconscious sailor, remained unconscious.

The Battle of the Sea Serpent

After the sailors pull them back on board, Ezri heads off to find her weapons. Alissa asks Simon for one of his weapons – he says he is better with a crossbow so she takes his sword and Valeros asks if there are any harpoons on board.
“They are in the captain’s deck wait here I’ll go get you one.” Says Simon
“You have a weapon, it makes more sense for me to go”
“Yes but you’re not meant to go to the captain’s deck”
“Oh just let him go we need help here.” Shouts Zane.
Simon nods once before running off to help fight the sea serpent whilst Valeros runs to the captain’s cabin tons search for the harpoon. After trying the cupboards and discovering they are locked, he finds a key on the desk next to a bottle of sleeping potion before walking a few steps back towards the cupboards. After thinking it through he decided to put the bottle back, at which point he finds a box of fancy chocolates and a bottle of cyanide next to them. After taking stock, Valeros pockets the two bottles along with the chocolates before getting back to searching for weapons. He finds some armour which he puts on, as well as a floaty life jacket. Deciding it’s not safe to carry the swords, he takes both harpoons and both crossbows and bolts. As he turns to leave Valeros notices a hatch in the floor of the cabin in the corner he thinks for a bit before deciding there was no time, and heading back on to deck.
Alissa looks at the sea serpent and realises it is only a baby one, fortunately, which means they may stand a chance against it!!!!!!! Ezri picks up her slingshot and Francis’ bracers before heading back to join them. The sailors manage to hit the sea serpent but this only angers it and it lashes out with its tail, hitting Simon. From the other side of the deck, Lucien starts to cast a spell but his hands are shaking too much with cold after his dip in the ocean and it blows up in his face causing his to be flung overboard once more.
When he reaches them, Valeros hands Alissa a crossbow whilst asking where Lucien is. When they look at where they last saw him they realise he has gone somewhere (below deck they assume) at which point Valeros hands the harpoons he brought to Z^2. They don’t have much time to wonder about Lucien as the serpents tail swings at them again, hitting a sailor and knocking him of his feet but allowing Simon and the other sailors to get a few shots in and cause some damage to the serpent.
Ezri sees Lucien fall overboard as she comes back with her weapons. She runs to the rail and throws him a life ring which Lucien manages to grab. Ezri ties the rope to the ship before attempting to pull Lucien back on to the ship. In the water Lucien casts feather fall on himself hoping it would be enough to help Ezri pull him back onto the boat but it is not enough and she doesn’t manage to pull him in. Just as Valeros hits the sea serpent with a bolt, the boat tips to the side Ezri and Lucien are on and Lucien takes his chance and levitate up into the air and lands back on deck with a dramatic flourish. Ezri stares at Lucien opened-mouthed for a minute, as she takes in the fact that he is in fact a mage, while at the other side of the deck, Alissa hits the sea serpent causing it to hiss and roar before lunging at a sailor and biting him in half. It swallows the first half but the legs get thrown in the air when the man is ripped apart and lands on Alissa. Gritting her teeth, Alissa manages to ignore the blood and guts slots dropping down from the legs and push them off before carrying on. Simon hits the serpent again and Lucien runs across the deck and cast ready of frost at the serpents face but to little effect.
As Valeros hits the sea serpent again, the bolt caught on the crossbow Alissa was using and before she could do anything, the bolt fired and hit Zach, cutting his arm but not causing too much harm.
“What the flip?!” Shouted Zach. Alissa shrugged and without thinking, her self-preservation kicked in and she nodded towards Valeros.
“What the flip, Valeros?” Zach shouted
“Look we don’t have time for this. Keep fighting.” Replied Valeros as Lucien used magic missiles on the sea serpent.
Just then the sea serpent started to wrap it’s tail around the ship. Ezri, Lucien and another sailor starts to fall over board. Z^2 pulls them all back onto to the boat while Simon hits the serpent with another crossbow bolt. The serpent constricted around the ship causing the ship to start to creak and Ezri to fall back overboard, dropping her sling as she fell. As she falls, Ezri sees the ring she threw to Lucien earlier but doesn’t manage to catch it. Valeros, Simon and the sailors all hit the sea serpent whilst Lucien burns it.
As the others continue to battle the sea serpent, Simon runs into the captain’s cabin and disappears from sight. As Ezri manages to grab hold of the ring the sea serpent recoils in pain, bringing its tail up and around near his head so it is no longer crushing the ship. Before they could breath a sigh of relief, the serpent brought it’s tail smashing down on the ship. The force knocked Lucien unconscious and caused Alissa and Valeros a significant amount of damage and snapped the bolt loaded on Alissa’s crossbow. Somehow despite getting hit, Zach escape with only a few minor scratches.
Ezri tries and failed to climb the rope back onto the boat. Alissa hits the serpent with a crossbow bolt. The serpent wrapped it’s tail back around the ship and slammed it down again, knocking Valeros and Alissa unconscious.
Just then, Malign, Cleric, appeared from the dining room, he looked left and right taking everything in before running to the left to try and pull Ezri back up into the ship. In typical Malign style, he falls into the sea. As she pulled him to the ring, she said “Hi Malign Cleric”
“Hi. Well that went well. I was supposed to be saving you. It’s cold, isn’t it. Let’s huddle for warmth”
The sea serpent constricted again, causing the ship to start to break in two and barrels start to roll into the water. After a brief discussion Malign and Ezri both cast stabilise, hitting Lucien and Alissa respectively and ensuring that, unless hit again, neither of them would bleed out. Valeros also stops bleeding for the moment. Just then, the captain ran out of the dining room with a red haired girl slung over his shoulders accompanied by another sailor and Simon who was ushering them, trying to get him to move quicker.
Ezri cast a second stabilise spell and manages to stabilise Valeros but as soon as she’d done so, the sea serpent constricted once more and with a final creak and a groan the ship ripped in half leaving Valeros alone on the side of the captain’s cabin. Malign made an attempt to climb the rope into the boat but only succeeded in splashing Ezri, who was not happy about that. Noticing that movement, Simon goes over and pulls Ezri and malign out of the water. The captain shouts “abandon ship” and Simon dashes back to the dining room shooting for Z^2 to follow him.
As the sea serpent moves away from the boat, Valeros, Alissa, Lucien and a sailor, still incongruous, slid into the water. There was a clicking, metal against wood sounds before Simon came back out from the dining room with the top of one of the dining tables and Z^2 carrying the other one.
“The boats are smashed but maybe these will float.” Said Simon.
Whilst the sea serpent is going crazy, threading around in the water. Simon threw the table into the water and jumps on top and then bails for some water before helping the Captain and the red headed girl onto the ‘boat’. The rest of the sailors pile onto the two treble tops. Malign, Cleric, held his hand out to Ezri. “Give me your hands, we’ll jump together”
Ezri shook her head, “no, I’m gonna try and save them lot” nodding at the unconscious group in the water. She ran over to where they were and Malign followed. When Ezri looked at her/him he shrugged and said “I’m sticking with you lot, you’re my friends and you have the added bonus of not holding me hostage!”
When they reach the group, they both cast healing spells. Malign helped Valeros and Ezri helped Alissa and they both woke up and managed to climbed onto some of the debris. Next they heal Lucien and the sailor and they all managed to get safely onto the debris. As the sea serpent thrashed about in pain, the debris swirled around it and one of the pieces stabbed the sea serpent causing quite a bit of damage.

"Bitches Be Crazy"
In which Cupid's arrow strikes a blanket fort...

- Excerpt from the diary of Ezri Delmastro -

Fifth day of voyage, morning.

Have terrible hangover. Think I may be dying. Memories of last night are hazy, but beginning to return.

Started drinking after Francis was dragged off (purely medicinal, at that point). I blame Valeros – he was the one pouring. I was already a few ahead by the time Alissa got back to the dining room and joined us.
Note: She was looking a little flushed. Wonder if Simon had been making her blush? Must ask…

Zach came back soon after to find all three of us drinking. He told us Francis was being restrained, and Bessnods had been locked in her room as she wouldn’t stay away from him. Zach asked if we could account for her strange behaviour. Valeros suggested it was because ‘bitches be crazy’. Zach suggested they seek professional advice in Highever. Sounded like they thought Francis might be possessed, or on the road to possession. I (emboldened by a moderate quantity of alcohol in my bloodstream) suggested we may be due compensation, considering what we had suffered on this voyage. Zach left.
Note: Mention this to Captain (without slurring this time).

Everything starts to get a bit blurrier from here. We drank some more, then someone decided it would be a good idea to go get Lucien. Someone else decided it would be a good idea to go see the Captain.
Note: Why did we think this was a good idea?

Remember walking (although not in a very straight line) to his cabin. Zane was there, and told us we couldn’t see the Captain. Also remember a bottle of black liquid, suspiciously potion-like, on the Captain’s desk. Odd.

We thought about looking for Simon, then someone (and I have a horrible suspicion it was me…) suggested we bring all our blankets and pillows to the dining room and stay together for safety. Valeros asked Lucien if he was going to sleep with us. Lucien got the wrong end of the stick, thought Valeros was propositioning him, and then it all got a bit complicated.

Had drunk quite a lot of rum, by this point. I recall us banging on Malign’s door and Alissa trying to pick the lock when we couldn’t get a reply. Valeros and Alissa went off somewhere, muttering about Simon’s master key. Lucien and I carried the blankets and pillows upstairs, drank more rum, and built a blanket fort. Then it all gets very hazy.

I remember settling down in the blanket fort with my bottle of rum, and Lucien offering me a blanket. I must have said yes, because the next thing I remember is him snuggling up to me and tucking me in. He also kept his arms around me after the blanket was in place. Not sure if I agreed to that or not. Anyway, remember getting very cosy and cuddling right up to him, then him leaning in and… hang on. Wait a minute. Did I? Did we? Uh oh…

Moving swiftly on…

Valeros and Alissa returned, having failed to persuade an irate and sleepy Simon to part with his master key. We drank some more, then someone (me?) spilled rum all over Alissa. She went to get changed, and I accompanied her ‘for safety’.
Note: It’s funny. At the time, my offer to stand guard while she got undressed seemed quite heroic. Looking back, it seems… a little creepy.

When we got back, Lucien was muttering something about ‘mixed signals’ and sharing a man-hug with Valeros. Not sure what that was about, but it all looked very touching.

Settled down for the night next to Alissa. Think Lucien tried for a cuddle, but I was settled with my head on Alissa’s shoulder and didn’t pay him much attention. Must have fallen asleep then, because the next thing I remember is waking up this morning with the mother of all hangovers.

"Man of Honour!!!!"

Bess Nods and Francis sit at one table whilst Ezri, Alissa and Admiral sit at the other table subtly trying to see what is happening between Bess and Francis but neither of them notices anything. After a while they give up the spying lark and discuss what had happened earlier with the mysterious exploding island. Alissa enquires whether Zane and Zach were around when Ezri had tried to detected magic and found it was somewhere on the boat. Ezri wasn’t sure but thought they could have been. As the discuss this further, Alissa getting more suspicious of Z2 and more determined to break into the locked area near their cabins.
Valeros enters the dining room and looks around, he nods as Bess Nods who doesn’t seem to notice before going to sit with Lucien who was playing patience, determined to put everything behind him and prove he is a man of honour! After a bit of awkward general chit chat and the PDA of Bess Nods and Francis, Lucien asks what happened between Valeros and Bess Nods and what rate he would give her out of 10.
“No, no, I can’t. I am a man of honour; I can’t do that, no.”
“Doesn’t sleeping with another man’s wife not destroy that honour?” questioned Lucien
“Look man, they were on a break. When I slept with her they were all but over. Everything’s gone wrong! This voyage has been nothing but one big misunderstanding!”
“What do you mean? You weren’t supposed to be on this boat?”
“No. I was supposed to be on an earlier one. It’s…..er…it’s a long story”
“Please, enlighten me. We have time; prove you are a ‘man of honour’”
Missing the sarcasm, Valeros launched into the story. “Well I was staying in the Hanged Man. I had to stay an extra day. The bar staff had some trouble and they asked me to sort it out. Man of honour, see. They repaid me by putting on this ship as I missed the other one.”
“What needed doing?”
“What needed doing is classified” Said Valeros mysteriously.
“Are you a mercenary?”
“I have done things…….”
Lucien waited for Valeros to continue but when he didn’t Lucien asked “Ever assassinated anyone” Lucien leaded forward in his seat, showing more interest in the conversation now.
“An assassin doesn’t reveal that”
“Yeah, yeah, ‘man of honour’. Well have you ever done anything interesting you can tell me about?”
“Maybe after a few drinks!”
“Ok then and then will you rate Bess Nods out of 10?”
Lucien and Valeros started playing poker together for pride and honour!!!!!
Alissa points out to Ezri that Lucien and Valeros were getting on. Ezri looked confused by this but before Valeros and Lucien invited them over to join in the card game. The four of them played card games until diner.
Captain Merek andSimon the Sailor entered the dining room and came to join the table the four were sat at.
“I say Captain, nice hat” commented Valeros as soon as they sat down
“Thank you” Replied the Captain slightly confused. “Feeling better?”
“Yes, much better thank you”
“Good. Ok then, well we will be arriving the day after tomorrow at Highever where we will be unloading some cargo. This will take a few hours and you will be able to go ashore for this time and explore Highever.”
After this speech, they started to eat and Ezri asked Simon how he was feeling and, more importantly, how his beard was.
He replied, “Yeah, I’m feeling much better. My hangover is gone, finally, and I think my beard is starting to grow a little bit.” He ran his hand protectively over his beard.
“Well I’m a cleric so have some healing ability so let me know if you need some. I’m mean I healed Alissa and she’d looking great. Go on Alissa, twirl for us!"
“Yeah go on Alissa twirl!” Chipped in Simon and soon the rest of them joined in with a chant of ‘twirl’ unti, embarrassed, Alissa stood up and twirled before sitting down quickly before they asked her to do it again.
When she sat down, she noticed Simon grinning madly/manly at her, she smiled back, turning bright red. After a minute or so, Simon asks Ezri how she is feeling after being thrown overboard which starts a conversation about wet beards and just how generally awesome beards are.
“You know, I am determined to learn to swim now. I mean I’ve been overboard twice now and I think I really should learn. Maybe I’ll find a pond when we dock!”
To which Valeros quickly.piped up and said “I can teach you. Well actually maybe you don’t want to……I….I mean….forget it.”
This starts everyone laughing and Ezri and Valerie start to joke about him teaching her to swim.
After a while Valeros asks “shall I invite Bess Nods over….. and Francis”
Ezri looks skeptical but says “if you think it is a good idea!”
Deciding he doesn’t want to witness this horrendous idea, Simon takes his leave and says he must get back to work.
“Oh hang on Simon, before you go I need to give you your whiskey back”
Simon offers to go down to the cabins to fetch the whiskey and the two of them disappearing below deck……..
After they leave Ezri catches Francis’ eye and invites him over to join them. After he glares as Valeros for a bit he comes over to join them, much to the surprise of Bess Nods who sits alone for a few seconds before hurrying to catch Francis up.
When they get to the table, Francis sits next to Valeros. After a few awkward minutes, Valeros (man of honour) asks "so……..how’s your day been?
“Great, me and Bess Nods are back together. You know love conquers everything and anyone!”
“Good, yeah, marriage values,important!!!!”
“Well you know tensions grew on ship”
Valeros nods, “cabin fever.”
They then start talking about the meal.
“So Bess Nods” said Ezri, nudging her when she doesn’t respond “Hi!”
“Oh hi, sorry hardly noticed you. I’m back with Francis again. You know he’s good in the sack! I really love him”
“Ok. I did not need to know that!”
" Oh isn’t he handsome!" Bess babbled, taking no notice of anyone else and just sitting there stroking Francis’ arm.
Valeros coughs. “Ladies, would you like to accompany me to get some wine” he looks pointedly at Ezri. The two of them go to get wine for them and Francis and Bess Nods. Lucien doesn’t want any.
“What’s wrong with Bess Nods?”
“She’s in love”
“No, that is not her. There is something wrong with her. Cast your magic and see”
“I think they just made up but ok.”
Ezri detects magical residue on Francis that is connected to B.N.
When she finishes, Valeros says “am I right or what”
“This ship, Francis magic.”
“did he have something to do with island, do you think?”
Ezri shrugs. They come up with a plan to split the two of them up and question them before heading back to the table, where Lucien and Francis are chatting and Bess is just watching Francis.
“Bess, would you like to come up on deck with me? I’m scare to go on my own, I mean I have been overboard twice already and I at least need someone with me to rise the alarm if I end up overboard again!”
“Er….Ok and I guess Francis will come too”
“No, we’ll play some cards whilst you’re gone” chipped in Valeros
Before she will even stand up to go on deck, Bess gets Francis permission to go before telling him she won’t be long.
As they walk Bess keeps glancing over her shoulder at Francis.as they talk Ezri detects magic on Bess.every chance she gets, she brings up Francis.
He’s allergic to cats, he is so kind to forgive for the fling, he’s 1/1000000000.
After a few mins Ezri asks “what does he do? Is it something to do with magic?”
“No, he is not a member of the circle. Invests in things. Got a lot of parents from parents. We throw a lot of dinner parties, I’ve always loved that”
“Are you involved in his business?”
“No I’m not involved in the business, I just hang out with my friend. It’s always good when he works at home as we have lots of dinner parties then but he works away from Kirkwall quite a bit”
“So no hard feelings Francis?”
“Upset Bess came back to me?”
“I – I am honourable sir”
“What code of honour do you follow?!?”
“Hey look, Bess assured me you two were over and she was very upset.”
“Are you calling my wife a whore?”
At this point Lucien quietly disappears from the dining room and heads below deck.
“Look man mistakes occasionally happen!”
“A mistake which nearly cost me my marriage. How did you persuade her to sleep with you?!”
“Persuasion!!! Friend she wanted me!”
“It’s this how you treat your friends?”
With this Francis stands up and swings at Valeros and hits him in the face, knocking him off his stool.
“Ok, I will allow you that one” as Valeros finishes saying this, Francis swings as Valeros again, hard. At this point Francis eyes turn black and Valeros shots for help as Francis hits him again. Valeros tries to restrain Francis and just about manages to as Ezri runs in after hearing the cry for help. Francis gets angrier and struggles to break free.
“Francis, my poor Francis, what have you done?” Cried Bess Nods.
“Look at his eyes, look at his eyes. Help me.” Shouts Valeros struggling to keep Francis restrained.
Ezri keeps a cool head “Bess go find Simon or the Captain”
“Ok, take care of Francis” she says as she runs out on deck. Ezri runs over and tries to help restrain Francis but even with two of them the barely manage to keep Francis under control.
“I swear he just went mental!”
""We’ll talk about it later" Ezri says whilst trying to reason with Francis.
“Francis calm down” but by now Francis is foaming at the mouth.
“Valeros you’re gonna have to trust me I have a plan but I need to let go to carry it out.”
Valeros tries to hold Francis whilst Ezri casts a spell and then tells Valeros what she’d done before telling him not to attack Francis.
“I haven’t!”
“I’m good at magic!” States Ezri as Bess comes back into the room with Z2.
“What’s going on?” Asked Zach
“Not sure but he’s dangerous, look at his eyes!” Says Ezri.
Z2 take one look at Francis’ eyes before running over and restraining him and taking him below deck. Bess Nods runs after them.
""Bess don’t go, you can see what he’s really like now!" Shouts Valeros, shaking his head when Bess still follows them below deck. “Ezri help, look at my face!”
Ezri fully heals Valeros before he said “you are amazing Ezri. But we have a problem!”
“The eyes!”
“Hoping you’d know more about what the heck is going on with him”
“I hope he threw the first punch.”
“Man of honour me, I didn’t hit him once. I may have put my for in my mouth and something is definitely a foot but it is not in my mouth!”

Meanwhile below deck, oblivious to the drama going on in the dining room, Simon followed Alissa into her cabin and coded the door behind him. She hands the whiskey back to him.
“Thanks, I’m surprised there’s still some left.if it had been me I would have drunk it by now!” He smiled at her.
“Well I only took it cos I thought you’d probably had enough to drink”
He laughed “yeah I think you were right, my head was killing me when I woke up!”
“Well it was the least i could do considering you saved my life!” She smiled a him.
“When we get to Highever, can I take you for a drink?”
“Sure, I’d like that” she replied with a smile.
At this Simon started beaming before leaning in to kiss Alissa…….

The One in which Valeros loses it.

Deep in the darkest depths of the night, Ezri & Alissa awake to the noise of creaking chains. All else is quiet onboard. In the darkness, Alissa spots Zane shiftily looking through the doorway which is usually kept locked. Hmm… Slowly and quietly, Alissa Nightingale sneaks up on the unsuspecting sailor. It is soon apparent that Zane is not alone. “Hurry up! We don’t have much time!” And with that, the sailors disappear. Alissa lurks in the darkness. She sees a room filled with barrels and crates. The intrigue is almost too much. What is hidden in here? She fumbles with a lock, but in the darkness and with the swaying of the boat, fails to pick it. Defeated, she heads back to her cabin.

Next morning, everyone heads to the dining hall for breakfast. A whole lot of meat is consumed, largely by Valeros, whose passion for bacon is matched only by his passion for honour. Above the chit chat and small talk, the passengers began to hear the sweet sounds of a ukulele, coming from up on deck. Enchanted, everyone makes their way up to find a small selection of sailors, lead by Zach the Sailor, strumming away on various instruments. The mood is light and jovial. Crew and passengers are dancing. Feeling confident, Valeros plucks up the courage to ask Ezri to dance. To his joy, she accepts! However, disaster strikes. Either he is taken by the moment and a little over zealous with movements, or he just has poor coordination and somehow he manages to twirl Ezri right over board. The music stops. The crowd are horrified. Immediately, Valeros takes off his shoes and dives overboard. Lucien follows and scoops up the floundering Ezri. Valeros is enraged. The sailors throw a ring overboard and the soggy trio are hoisted back onboard. Humiliated and frustrated, Valeros takes to his cabin (*Note: he does NOT flounce.)

Meanwhile, a rather damp and flustered Ezri Delmastro also returns to her room. Her diary entry that night reads thus:

“Definitely not sure about that Valeros. Note to self; warn ”/characters/bessnods" class=“wiki-content-link”>Bess Nods not to dance with him."

Poor Valeros. He decides to seek out his seemingly only ally on board, Malign. Unfortunately for Valeros, Malign, Cleric does not respond to the raps on his door. Dejected, he heads back to his room to each lunch in solitude.

Eventually, he decides to try and make amends with his fellow passengers. Heading up to the main hall, he initiates some awkward conversation. Soon, all is forgiven. Everyone heads up on deck for some fresh air. Valeros spots an island, out on the horizon. He points the island out to some of the others, who all look at him, rather bemused. It soon becomes apparent that Valeros is the only one who can see this island. He states that there is a mansion on the island, which is clearly visible to him. The others begin to worry for his sanity as he is begins to proclaim he can see fireworks, and they all see nothing but open water. Suspicious, Ezri decides to attempt to detect magic. Sure enough. Something is not all as it seems. Perhaps our Valeros is not so mentally unstable after all… Hmm… THE INTRIGUE.

Healing and Beard Bandages
Will they ever find the bat? Will Simon's beard grow back?

- Excerpt from the diary of Ezri Delmastro -

Second day of voyage, evening

Well, at least we got back to the ship without incident; although we did have to carry an injured Simon and Alissa. I say ‘we’; technically it was Valeros and the other sailors who did the heavy lifting.

Back on the ship, I got my medical gear together and went to Alissa’s cabin. She was badly injured – looked about a whisper away from death – and the ship’s surgeon was nowhere in sight. I went straight in with the heavy-duty healing I learned in the chantry, and guess what? Alissa, back to full health before the ships surgeon had even arrived! Seriously, all her wounds healed, all her exhaustion evaporated, her scars vanished, and I swear her hair even looked glossier when I was done with her. That girl owes me.

She did thank me – after she got over her confusion at awakening to find me dancing triumphantly by her bedside, anyway – but I don’t think she really understands quite how amazing that piece of healing was. To be honest, no one seemed as impressed as I was expecting.
Note: find ship’s surgeon tomorrow, see if HE’S impressed.

Went to see if I could do anything for Simon. Idiot sailors had already filled him with most of a bottle of whisky ‘for the pain’, and wrapped his wounded beard in bandages. I fixed him up as best I could, but I could have done better if they’d waited for me – did I mention how brilliantly I managed to heal Alissa?

Went to dining hall. Captain says the voyage is now going to take an extra day. Also, Malign, Cleric, had been confined to his quarters this evening– not sure what he did to deserve that, but I console myself with the thought that he almost certainly DID deserve it.
Note: MUST ask him about that sock

Sat with Lucien, turns out Tsu the bat still hasn’t shown up. Poor Lucien looks pretty cut up about it all. We’re under sail now, so the odds of getting him back now aren’t good.
Note: Leave some scraps outside the porthole tonight, maybe it’ll attract him into my cabin?
Note: Attract the BAT into my cabin, that is, not Lucien.
Note: Although…

Anyway, tried to lift the mood at dinner a little by slagging off Jory and the elf, Faunella, and saying the Templars should hunt down all rogue mages like him. Turns out Lucien has family who were circle mages and mistreated by the Templars. Managed to upset him even more. So much for lifting the mood…

Alissa left the table to go check on Simon. She could walk fine, by the way, thanks to me. I confess, I followed a little way behind her to admire my handiwork (she was practically SKIPPING down the stairs), and I overheard a little of the conversation between her and Simon. He was blind drunk, and mortified at the damage to his beard. She reassured him, and was very sweet about it.
Note: Surely romance just waiting to happen?
In return, Simon tried to walk her back to her cabin, but (thanks to the whisky) couldn’t quite master the walking part. He then dropped his bed-sheet; which was the only thing preserving his modesty. Judging by the sharp intake of breath from Alissa, the modesty it had been preserving wasn’t terribly modest.
Note: Must ask Alissa what she thought, on a scale of 1-100. My guess is about 86%
Anyway, she tucked him up and took away the rest of the whisky so he couldn’t get himself any more drunk than he already was. It was all very touching.

Went back to my cabin. While getting ready for bed, overheard Valeros and Bessnods arguing in the corridor. Seems Valeros is less keen than she is, and wants his bed to himself tonight.
Note: He sleeps with her, despite the fact she’s married and her husband’s aboard, then chucks her? Scumbag.
They managed to reach a compromise,-
Note: Those muscles, though…
- with Bessnods sleeping in the empty cabin left by Faunella’s abrupt (betrayal) departure. Wonder how that’ll develop? Can’t help but feel a bit sorry for Valeros, Bessnods is clearly just using him to get revenge on her husband. Still, he’s not exactly being a paragon of virtue…

The Island of Intrigue

It was dawn on the second day of the voyage. The human scum and I were all settled in the dining room and awaiting service, yet for some reason none was forthcoming. I found my stomach rumbling; yet there was no sight or smell of food – or the crew for that matter. Indeed, I even found myself watching the foolish interactions of the wench Bessnods as she seemed to be playing off two men at once. Humans eh?

Still, this mildly amusing distraction was abruptly brought to a halt as a commotion arose on the deck. Several of the human scum went out to query the crew, although I stayed back. No point in us all going, I reasoned, and in any case; if there was a fight or some such then there would be no point in risking my neck for it. Soon, they returned to the dining room with Simon the Sailor in tow. It seems that he wanted Lucien’s bat to investigate something…but what exactly?

I eased myself closer, my pointed ears pricking sharply at what I heard. It seemed that the human scum had found themselves charted on a collision course with an uncharted island, one that none of the sailors had come across before. It seemed to be some sort of enchanted island, for wherever they sailed, the island followed them, refusing to let them pass. I rolled my eyes; why I ever thought that these humans would get me home safely was a mystery to me.

I went on deck, only to witness the foolish humans sending Lucien’s bat towards the island. Of course, the poor creature failed to return, prompting Simon the Sailor to encourage us to board the rowing boats and go to the island. I queried him, but it seemed that there was no alternative option. After a disgusting display of affection between Bessnods and Valeros; we boarded the boats and the crew rowed us over. Normally I would not bother with such a risk to myself, but it seemed that the only way to get a sensible answer was for a sensible elf to be there. Alas that I was the only elf present to fulfil this role.

As we rowed towards the island, we saw strange flickering lights, evidently the work of sorcery. As we approached the island, a somewhat bedraggled creature of a man came over and hailed us. Hopping out of the boats, we conversed with the man. It seemed that he too was drawn to the island through the means of sorcery and could not escape. He had been here for a few days and had had ample opportunity to explore. It seemed that the heart of the magic of the island came from a mysterious cave that the odd man was unable to enter. Naturally, the foolish humans decided to investigate…

As we clambered up to the cave, the human’s chattered away dully while I observed my surroundings. The journey was about twenty minutes in total and soon we found ourselves clambering up a curious set of stone steps towards the odd cave. A strange stone door met our gaze with two holes in it, the bottom one was pitch black and looked rather ominous. Still, the stranger, whose name was Jory #Teamswag, attempted to poke his curious magical staff into the hole to a rather disappointing anti-climax of availing nothing. I called them to step aside and attempting to pick the lock myself, but alas it seemed it was beyond my skills. Embarrassed, I stepped aside to witness Alissa pick the lock easily to reveal a pitch black interior.

Cautiously, we stepped into the darkness. Jory cast the strange light spells that had drawn us too him earlier to reveal a straight passageway with two sets of crossroads along it. The crossroads had steps leading down both ways and the four passages all seemed to be the same. The humans bickered over which was to go but eventually they agreed to go down the right hand passage. We found ourselves eventually encountering thick plant growth which seemed to indicate the presence of another entrance to the cave system. We retraced our steps and went further into the cave, where an evident sense of evil was tangible. The straight passage split in two and we went down the left passage into a stony area. There was curious ivy on the wall and it took me but a moment to recognise it as demon weed. I warned the others to avoid it. Beyond this there were no other signs of life and we cautiously continued.

Jory ploughed on ahead down the passage and soon the inevitable happened – he got himself into trouble. The passage gave way to a steep slope down into an evidently magical darkness that no light could penetrate. We called down to him and it seemed that he had landed safely in an odd, thick, goopy substance. A few moments later, the smell of smoke assailed our senses and the sight of it exuding from the hole was somewhat unnerving. An ominous rolling, tumbling noise could be heard and suddenly an odd slot opened in the wall. Smoke tumbled from it thickly. Alissa tossed a rope down to Jory who tried to climb up, only to fall back down again. My growing sense of dread suddenly came to a climax as a firey cartwheel come out of the slot and fell down into the hole, yet still we could see nothing. Screams could be heard from Jory below but we managed to pull him up and quickly put out the flames that licked at his clothing.

A few of the humans tended to him and healed him a little, before we continued sensibly and carefully around, using a ledge around the pit. We found ourselves in a cave covered with dark ivy with a waterfall tumbling down from the top of the cave. Jory, somewhat recovered from the previous incident, tried to freeze the waterfall, his magical powers rather powerful, although his attempts failed. It was evident to me that the waterfall tumbled down into a cavern below where a ledge awaited us.
Down we went, leaving a few of our number behind. Climbing down, we found ourselves in a cavern, filled with a plunge pool from the waterfall and a river leading off it. As Jory cast lights around the room, we noticed an odd floating orb that was evidently very magical. Alissa checked around and disabled a few traps that were hidden around the cavern. Meanwhile, Simon the Sailor hit the orb with a stone which caused a beautiful array of light to emanate around the room. The orb began to crack and to my horror of horrors it revealed a dreaded rage demon…

Instinctively I dived into the water for cover and tugged out my bow while Jory fired a flare at the creature causing it to howl. I shot it, landing a powerful blow and could not help but grin in triumph. Still, it was not dead yet and soon we were all battling the dread creature. Yet the damage was done and soon it collapsed down, the mortal blow struck by Simon the Sailor. The fell beast disintegrated before our very eyes into nothing but a pile of ashes and a strange ring.

Jory seemed somewhat overawed and warned us to stay back as it turned out to be what Jory called a fade ring. I had no wish to entangle myself with such magic. Jory investigated the ring, sending his lights over for a closer look only to watch them spark and crackle – a testament to its power it would seem. He approached it slowly…when suddenly his lights came back and dazzled our eyes in a blinding flash. By the time we could see again Jory had the ring.
Quickly, I assessed the situation and decided to ally myself with this evidently powerful sorcery. No point in risking my neck for the pathetic humans. It turned out the Jory was the reason why we were all here and had drawn us all this way. He was an apostate who had been searching for this ring all his life and had it now. With an evident rush for power, he summoned an array of demons at the humans, protecting me from their villainous ways.
The humans fled much to my satisfaction and Alissa fell. Simon the Sailor went to help him but by then the demons had reached them and they were forced to fight, both taking some considerable damage. Jory froze the foolish Valeros so that he could not move and Malign the cleric fled the scene. As they battled to and fro, I could not help but grimace, glad to be on the side of the stranger if nothing else. Still, he took the demons away and released them before they were killed. Suddenly, a huge flash of light erupted and both Jory and I vanished into the fade….

The First Day

Once Simon had left them, everyone took to their rooms, most people decided to take that time to settle in and relax. Alissa, on the other hand, decided to make a closer inspection of her room in the hopes of finding something useful but the only thing she found was a dirty, smell old sock. Not wanting the sock in her room and feeling slightly mischievous, she picked a room at random and pushed the Sock under a door before running back to her room. Cursing could be heard all down the corridor as Malign got up to examine the mysterious object that had appeared under his door. Feeling his day could not get any worse, Malign picked up the sock which started to move as he did so. After a furious wrestling match, in which the sock was victorious, the sock began to circle slowly around Malign’s head although he could not see it no matter how he turned his head. As soon as the sock took up residence above his head, Malign’s hunger and thirst disappeared. Feeling there was no possible way his day could get worse; Malign headed out onto the deck and after 5 minutes of strange looks from the crew was sent back down to his room whilst they set off.
Shortly after this, Ezri emerged from her room just as they set off and headed into the dining room where she sat down at one of the tables and began to play patience. In the middle of her game Valeros enquires what she is doing and quickly wins Ezri over with his incredible catch up line “I have a lot of patience!”
Alissa is next into the dining room and notices Ezri smiling and looking at Valeros whilst he stares at the cards. Valeros invites her to come and join himself and Ezri at which point they start a card game they can all join in with. The wealthy couple come into the dining room and sit at the other table with a nod to the group playing cards. Not long after this, they heard Malign arguing with Simon the Sailor about why he was sent below deck whilst the others have been allowed into the dining room Simon kept his cool throughout the conversation but seemed slightly distracted and there were several shouts from Malign asking what he was looking at.
After looking around the dining room, Malign when to talk to the wealthy couple claiming he was obviously not a hobo as he was able to buy a ticket for the ship. The man responded saying “I don’t know who you stole your ticket from, but if you don’t stop bothering us I shall have you thrown off the boat even if we are the middle of the sea!” at which point Malign fell to his and burst into tears but received no sympathy from the man who just shuffled further away from the ‘sobbing hobo’ dragging his wife after him.
Disturbed by the scene at the other end of the dining room, Ezri looked up and, noticing the sock, nudges the other two to point out the sock and asks “What is that?”
“Looks like a sock” replied Valeros slightly shocked at which point Alissa looked slightly guilty but quickly hid it. After searching her bag for a minute, Ezri pulls out a counter which she flicked at the sock, catching the edge of the sock, knocking it slightly off course. Looking puzzled, she stands up and goes to collect the counter, limping slightly as she walks. When she nears him, Malign asked if she throw the counter at him before turning to the rest of group and asking “Why is the cripple throwing stuff at me? Why is this happening to me?”
In a few quick strides the wealthy man had crossed the distance between them and had pinned Malign by the neck to the wall, holding him a foot off the ground. “You, you pathetic little…..little thing, you are the cripple. A cripple to society. And if I ever hear you talking like that again about that charming lady, or anyone else for that matter, you will have me to deal with. Got it?” he hissed at Malign before dropping him and letting him fall to the floor. The wealthy guy pats Ezri on the shoulder and smiles at her as he returns to his seat. When Ezri gets back to her seat, Valeros puts his arm around her and asks if she is ok before calling Malign a piece of scum. After the shock had worn off, Malign began weeping again and started listing everything that had gone wrong and asking over and over again why it was happening to him.
Jerry and Emmeline, and a robed guy enter the dining room just in time to see the end of the confrontation and sit down at the far table, carefully skirting around Malign, giving him and the sock puzzled glances as they pass.
Captain Merek entered the dining room with a grey cat draped over his shoulders followed by Simon the Sailor. After giving Malign a confused, slightly disgusted look he asked “Are you ok, Miss?” and handed him a hankie which Malign took gratefully and, to the relief of everyone, began to stop crying. Captain Merek took one look at the state his hankie was now in and insisted Malign kept it. Simon nudged Captain Merek and quietly asked “Miss? Are you sure? I mean……”
Captain Merek replied “I just went with it. But he didn’t contradict me so…….”
With a shrug, Simon went to a hatch and started bringing out food to put on a table whilst the Captain started a welcome speech.
“Welcome to Andraste’s Gloves, this is Admiral” indicating cat on shoulder. Malign laughs.
“Is there something funny about my cat, Miss?”
“Good, because I don’t think so. Anyway, as I was saying welcome and I have one announcement to make. We will be taking a small detour through a port in Highever, this will add another day to the journey. We will be dropping off some cargo at this port….”
Malign interrupted “What cargo?”
Captain Merek quickly responded “You don’t need to know that” and before Malign could interrupted again he quickly carried on speaking. “The journey will now be about 4 days and you will be fed 3 meals a day, our chief is very good. Let me or Simon know if you have any problems on board. We will be eating our meals with you. Feel free to play with Admiral, he will only entry your room if he is invited in but please don’t trap him in your room. I think that’s all I need to say so let’s eat.”
Slowly everyone goes up for food. Malign takes his food back to his room whilst Ezri starts fussing over the Admiral and feeds him bacon. Valeros makes conversation with the wealthy couple (Francis and Bess Nods) and asks them to go slightly easier on Malign. Then the conversation turns to what is the thing above his head, at which point everyone in the room joins in the conversation but before they have a definitive answer Malign comes back into the dining room to bring his plate back.
Valeros, feeling concerned, decides to take Malign under his wing and advices him to keep his head down around the wealthy couple.
The robed guy goes up to Ezri and the cat, and starts acting like a cat, at which Ezri laughs awkwardly. The robed guy also laughs and says he is just kidding before introducing himself as Lucien.
“Do you like cats?” asked Ezri
“Yes a do, I am fond of animals” Lucien says as he opens up his robe and pulls out a bat. “Here is my pet bat, Tsu.”
“Can I stroke the bat?”
“Yes” Lucien replied with a smile. Noticing this, Valeros starts to get jealous.
Ezri and Lucien have a discussion about bats at the end of which they have they have decided Lucien is Batman! Throughout the conversation, Valeros made snide comes like “No real friends huh?”
After a disproved claim that Tsu can do trigonometry, Lucien suggests that “you, me, the cat and the bat go for a walk.”
As they exit, Malign asks Valeros what happened, to which he replied “Some twat with a bat”
“Been there Bro!” disclosed Malign. At which point Valeros called for ale and slammed his fist on the table.
After an introduction from Valeros, Malign asks Alissa if she knows Amaranthine and where the apothecary was, she said she did. Malign then said “Great, let’s stick together when we get there. I am very wealthy; there will be money in it”
Alissa looked a bit sceptical at this but before she could say anything Malign suggests they all go up on to the deck to “spy” on the Ezri, the twat, the bat, and the cat. After watching for a few minutes, Malign declares he is going over and before either of the other two can stop him, he flounces over to the other group.
“So what are you talking about? Malign, Cleric”
With a bemused look, Lucien replied “Nice to meet you”
“Pleasure, well for you anyway”
After Malign has stared at Ezri and Lucien for a couple of minutes whilst they just got more and more awkward, Valeros beckoned him back.
“He’s a tough nut to crack” exclaimed Malign
“Look mate, we need to do something about that sock.”
“What sock? Listen if we draw the cat away from them, I’m sure they will fall apart”
Valeros replied, sarcastically “we could just drown the bat”
Missing the sarcasm, Malign replied “Good idea, look I have a sling. I’m sure I can hit that bat from here”
“Errrr……… ok then, let’s just forget about it. Well it turns out I actually don’t have a lot of patience!”
“Well, if you change your mind, I’m sure they will separate at some point and then we can take out that bat”
“I have no issues with the bat, only with the twat!”
“Well if you want rid of the bat or the batman I’m your……..”
Before he could finish her sentence Bess Nods storms out on to the deck and holds a box over the side of the boat. As she reaches the rail, Francis also storms out onto the deck.
“I’ll do it Francis, I swear I will”
“No Bess don’t, my bracers are in there”
“It’s Bess Nods, you idiot. And I will as you obviously care more about them more then you care about me!”
“That’s not true darling”
“DO NOT CAL ME DARLING!” screamed Bess Nods before she throws the box over the side and storms off.
“NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” cries Francis before following his wife back inside.
Glancing over the side, Ezri shouts “we can get that” as she jumps over board and grabs the box before she starts struggling to stay afloat.
Valeros, who had started towards the rail as soon as Ezri had jumped over stopped to remove his shoes and ask Malign to watch them. Before he gets to the rail, Lucien had jumped in and was helping to keep Ezri afloat whilst a sailor threw them life rings. Valeros is not fuming and looks ready to kill the bat twat.
Simon comes along as they are pulled out of the water and asks “What were you doing?”
Shivering, Ezri replied “it looks important. I….I….I just didn’t think it through. Sorry.”
“Please don’t do that again” Exclaimed Simon, then as Ezri played the pity card he added “Just take better care of yourself in future” as he wraps towel around her that another sailor had fetched for them.
Ezri nods and smiles at Simon before turning and apologizing to Lucien. Who say she is happy to help and not to worry about it.
“Well I better go and get changed” said Ezri
“I’ll come with you” Lucien adds hurriedly. “Do you have spare clothes?”
“Yes thanks. Do you?”
“Um yes, although I don’t have another robe unfortunately, but it will dry” Lucien smiled “Will you join me for lunch?”
“Um yes, yes of course. That would be nice and it’s the least I can do seeing as how you saved my life”
By this time they were at Ezri’s room, at which point she thanked Lucien once more and when into her room. Leaving Lucien outside who stood there a minute or so before going to get changed.
Ezri then inspected the contents of the box and saw the bracers were good quality. She then carefully put them back in the box before she hid the box in her room.
By the time Ezri came back above deck, now dressed in armour, it was lunch time. As they headed back into the dining room Alissa overheard Malign say to Valeros “Can you make sure I remember to eat at meal times?”
“Um…….Yes I can, but why?”
“It’s…Um….never mind, just make sure I eat”
As Malign turned away to go into the dining room, Valeros shook his head, slightly bewildered. Then he tried to swipe at the sock but couldn’t catch it and instead clipped Malign around the ear.
Lucien and Ezri sat at one table with Jerry and Emmeline, and Francis who spent the whole meal staring angrily at his food, muttering occasionally, and drinking copious amounts of ale. Valeros and Malign sat at the other table talking and plotting and giving Twat Batman furious looks. Trying to ignore the unsubtle planning of Valeros and Malign, Alissa and Simon started chatting over the meal until Simon had to get back to work. After the meal, Jerry and Emmeline tried to cheer Francis up, shortly after which Ezri and Lucien joined in to help. Whilst the people on the other table slowly started going back to their rooms.
Valeros decided he would check on Bess Nods before going back to his room. When he knocked there was a scream through the door “Go away Francis, I don’t want to see you. Find somewhere else to sleep as you are NOT sleeping here”
“Um Bess Nods, it’s Valeros actually”
“Oh” she said before quickly opening the door and letting him in. “Sorry about that”
“No worries” Valeros smiled “Look I just wanted to check you were ok and let you know that if there is anything I can do just let me know”
Smiling Bess replied “That’s really sweet, Valeros, but there is nothing you can do. There is no saving my marriage; it’s been over a long time but we agreed to make one last attempted and take this ‘romantic’ trip. Well it’s well and truly over now!”
“That’s too bad, what happened” said Valeros as he put his hand on her arm.
“Oh I don’t want to talk about that now” she smiled and cuddled into him whilst she reached past him with one hand to lock the door………..


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