Chronicles of Khaldun: Bread and Circuses

Session 18

Waterday, Harvester 19, 552 CY (50 AN)

The group divides. Croitus continues to stay in the river. Khuna and Nobody continue to help at the refugee camp. Resh returns to his room to take a nap. Southie goes to the Addled Alchemist to have a beer.

While Khuna is continuing her work among the refugees, she feels mental contact from Zafira Shulud, who indicates that her friends are going to do something terrible and that she is in danger. If Khuna tells Zafira where she is, Zafira can come help her. She refuses, stalling and requesting further information; when Zafira’s voice repeats the query, Khuna responds, “My friends are what keep me safe. Thank you for your concern. I’m not telling you where I am.”

Khuna informs Nobody of Zafira’s contact attempt, but notes that she did not divulge her location. She notes Zafira’s assertion that her friends will do something bad on the off chance that it’s actually relevant information. After some discussion, Khuna considers the fact that waiting for the spelljammer to depart might be a bad idea, as keeping Southie waiting is just asking for trouble. Khuna discusses this with Adeptus Gloomblight Spellweaver, asking if it is possible to get underway more swiftly than tomorrow morning. He indicates the crew can be ready in two hours. Khuna agrees.

While Khuna goes to discuss this with Croitus, Nobody goes to look for Southie.

Khuna finds Croitus in the river where they left him. She throws a large stone into the river, prompting him to surface to determine what she wants. She notes her communication with Zafira, and explains that they will leave for Dawnslight via spelljammer in two hours; he acknowledges and she returns to Duchy Jepson.

Nobody returns to their suite of rooms in the Wizard’s Tower. Knocking on the door, Resh answers; she asks after Southie, and Resh says he’s not around, that he thinks he went for a beer. Nobody goes to find him, and at the suggestion that Southie is unaccounted, Resh decides to accompany.

They arrive at the Addled Alchemist to find Southie and the couple of other drunks in the bar having a loud, raucous sing along. Southie is notably inebriated, having purchased an entire keg of dwarven stout which he has been drinking by himself this entire time. They decide to stay to keep an eye on him; having a couple of beers themselves. Southie, for the most part, is relatively sedated. Nobody grabs him and holds him out a window when he starts urinating in the corner, and he punches one of the drunks in the face at one point, but otherwise manages to keep it together.

When Khuna returns and finds everyone gone, she looks around Duchy Jepson for Southie. She hears the raucous noise emanating from the inn, and decides to investigate.

Khuna finds Nobody, Resh, Southie, and a gaggle of drunks within, along with the serving staff. Southie requests that she regale them with a song; she quickly does so, which the drunks seem to appreciate. She informs the others that they leave in a little less than two hours, and also notes her encounter with Zafira. As Southie gets more riotous, slamming his axe into a table, the barkeep suggests they ought to leave. Khuna pays for the damages, and the group returns to the Wizard’s Tower.

Meanwhile, Croitus was sunning himself on the riverbank. He decides to go to the Wizard’s Tower and wait in the Headmaster’s study atop the tower for the spelljammer to leave. He sees Adeptus Gloomblight Spellweaver come through, apparently informing the Headmaster in the change in itinerary.

Back in their rooms, the group packs and Southie finishes his cask of ale. They manage to pass the two hours with no real trouble before ascending the tower to depart.

Atop the tower, they move across a gangplank to a ship, hanging from a scaffold. It is swarming with crewmen, and Adeptus Spellweaver introduces himself, explaining that he is the quartermaster and so this is his ship. After introductions are made, he explains that the ship travels faster outside an atmosphere, so they will be ascending to the edge of the atmosphere, repositioning, and descending again. The entire process will take about two hours to reach Dawnslight.

The ship takes the better part of an hour ascending, pushing through the cloud layer and finally to the inky blackness beyond. Croitus and Resh are relatively blasé about the whole thing; Croitus even basks in a sunny spot, particularly once they breach the clouds. Southie urinates off the side of the ship, but ties himself to the mask and creeps closer to the mast as they get higher. Nobody is exceedingly upset by this; she thinks it’s unnatural to leave the land in such a fashion, and eventually retreats belowdecks to drink with the crew. Khuna is fascinated, and watches the whole thing with rapt attention. At one point, a crewman pulls her back onto the ship because she is leaning so far forward; afterward, Southie ties her to the mast just in case.

Khuna asks many questions, particularly about the void of space once they arrive — Adeptus Spellweaver explains that the world seems curved because it is a sphere. Gravity pulls things toward the surface of the planet, just as it is maintaining the gravity plane of the ship right now. If one were to fall into the void, gravity would pull a small envelope of air around oneself that might last for ten minutes or so. The ship does the same thing, pulling a “bubble” of air that remains breathable for months. Elf ships are frequently organic, grown plantlife that continually produces breathable air so air is less of an issue. The edge of the solar system is defined by a crystal sphere into which the stars are set, and beyond that is the phlogiston — a breathable, highly inflammable substance between the crystal spheres. They tend not to access it all that often, however, because planar shifts have made travel somewhat difficult, and the stars actively hate the world below, because they are so alien. Although this is not true on all worlds, merely this one.

Discussing further, he notes that she is a physician and a scientist. He also notes that there is another physician on staff at the Wizard’s Tower, a Baron Hook; she may be interested in speaking with him. She is always welcome back to the Wizard’s Tower when her other business is complete.

Once charts have been consulted and the ship has been repositioned, the spelljammer descends back into the atmosphere. Khuna again watches with rapt attention as everything happens in reverse.

Adeptus Spellweaver informs them that they will arrive an hour or two outside the village so as not to spook the townsfolk. They will wait twenty-four hours before investigating any delays. The group agrees.

Once the ship is close to the ground, they drop a rope ladder. Nobody leaps off the side of the ship, tangling herself in the rope ladder and landing hard on the ground. Apparently unharmed, she dashes into the underbrush and begins angrily hacking her way into it. As the others descend the ladder, they inquire as to her agitation; she explains that it is unnatural to go so high, and she is pleased to be on the ground again. Southie investigates the brush and catches a rabbit; he flings it at her, thinking this will somehow make her feel better. She sees something flying at her and neatly cleaves it with her spear; she inquires, paranoid, as to where the rabbit originated, and Southie explains that it was his doing. As Croitus has already started wandering down the road towards Dawnslight, the others quickly rush to follow.



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