It had taken some time for the party to make their way through the tunnels under Richmond. And it hadn’t been easy. Easier than the first bit, though. No more giant snakes presented themselves and the cave ins they encountered were minimal and easily shifted by Aurana and Ardul.
Finally though, they emerge from the tunnels, somewhere near the center of town, the sun is low in the afternoon sky and reflecting off…
Is that water? It looks like the streets are flooded …
Elpida’s enthusiasm seems to have dipped a little… not that she was super enthusiastic to begin with. Her snakes are on alert, all the same, and she’s letting the more eperienced individuals take point. She’s just ‘ready’. And by ready, we mean super, super, super tense.
Aurana Darkmoon is still a bit stoked from her success with the first big cavein and its like a natural high. She is alert as they come out and shakes her head a bit, “Wonder if the flooding is…natural.” she says and ponders if it might be something someone caused.It’s night by this point. The moon is out. The stars are out. The glow of distant ley lines can be seen away to the west. It’s quiet to both mundane senses and others. It seems… well it seems almost picturesque. Certainly there doesn’t appear to be any threat.
Hunter is crouched down by a building that’s remarkably intact. He peers over toward the water and finally points silently.
It’s a horune ship, run aground. The thing looks a bit like a beached whale with it’s tail in the air. Well, half a beached whale. The back half.
It looks quiet. Dark.
“I doubt it. But from what I understand …” Ardul murmurs to Aurana “… the Rifts messed a lot of things up. This was once a great city from what it seems.” Looking to Hunter as he crouches, the winged woman moves to stand behind his shoulder and peers out in the direction he’s pointing. “Well … damn…. A Horune Vessel… it seems abandoned.”
Looking between her three companions, she glances back towards the ship “Shall we investigate? I’ve no scanners to tell if it’s empty.” So it might be dangerous, but they were after Kurile and she was last seen in the company of Horune….
With a glance to Hunter, the blonde slowly starts moving in that direction. Picking her way through, looking for dryer surfaces to walk on so the others could follow. Of course, Aurana might have tricks to help with that.
“…what /is/ that?” says Elpida. “What IS a Horune, anyway?” She asks, worriedly. He snakes are also unsettled, mostly as a result of her obvious uncertainy. “I’ll follow along. JUst tell me what I need to do,” she adds. Probabl not for the last time.“Five eyed, grey skined, needle toothed pirates.” Hunter whispers as he looks over the ship with a pair of IR binoculars. “They’re pretty ill tempered. Ship’s cold. And I see a breach in it near the base of the hull. It isn’t remotely seaworthy. Looks like it was run aground and abandoned. Shall we take a look?”
As Hunter is asking there’s movement near the ship. Quick and furtive. Like someone keeping to the shadows who doesn’t want to be seen. It’s up ahead only about a hundred feet.
The wolfen sniffs. “Okay, not so abandoned… doesn’t smell like Horune though.” He glances back. “I’ll circle round. Flush whomever it is out. You three get ready to pounce.”
And then he’s moving. The moonlight catches the ship just right for a moment and it gleams. It must be a real sight when it’s at sea, underway.
After a few minutes there’s a sharp //bang// that sounds like metal being slammed into stone. The noise sets several small pointy eared… vaguely goblin esque bipeds suddenly bolting from the shadows in terror, many of them weighted down with an absurd amount of scrap and making a horrible racket as they run and scream right toward Ardul, Elpida and Aurana.
“Keep to my left…” Ardul murmurs to Elpida “… and get ready to freeze things with that hair of yours…” The winged woman nods to Hunter as he moves off and takes a small metal cylinder from her hip. She doesn’t ignite it though, just holds it ready. “Fan out and don’t drown …”
The bang … doesn’t cause her to jump – really it doesn’t and her grey eyes fix on the scurrying creatures. It might surprise the other two, that she sighs though as she gets a good look at what’s coming at them.
“Scavenger Goblins. They were looting the ship.” Now the blade springs to life and her wings extend to their full span. “Halt!!” she calls to the goblins not expecting them to pay attention at all, but she’ll try that first.
“Wait, goblins are actually a thing? Really?” Elpida is dashing after Ardul, though, snake-like eyes huge as she jumps out to try to encourage them to halt, gun held out in front of her in such a way as to show she’s not really used to holding it.
“HEY YOU. LISTEN TO THE LADY!”
Of course, when your face is arrayed by a crown of snakes, they probably won’t notice that you don’t look like you know what you’re doing.The goblins – for that is indeed what they are – try to stop as both Ardul and Elpida challenge them. They clatter to a halt. Some of them fall over. Many of them cower. They noises that are coming from them could hardly be described as ‘threatening’ or even ‘brave’… or even ‘coherant’.
Hunter walks out about a block behind them with part of an I beam in his hand and sighs. “Psi goblins. Looting all bet.”
“It’s not yours!” One of the slightly braver goblins pipes up before cowering again. “Five eyes left it here! Not come back! Ours now!”
“Goblins are things on most worlds…” Ardul mutters, sidestepping to let one who’s slower to stop past her. The thing topples and ends up in a //splash// as it finds a puddle of water. “These are not the type I’ve seen from my world, but they bear many similarities.”
“Psi-Goblins, you say, Hunter?” She looks at them and turns her stern grey eyes on the one who pipes up. “That depends on how long the ‘five eyes’ have been gone.” She fixes it with another look “How long has this ship been here?”
Of course, she’s really hoping that they’ll be able to tell them if they’ve seen Kurile …
“So they are,” says Elpida in response to Ardul. “Had stories about goblins and what not but I guess they were true.” Elpida keep sher gun levelled on the goblins and then pauses for a moment as she observes the one that toppled.
“Yeah, uh. Answr their questions and what not.”“Three moons!” One of the goblins answers.
“No! Five moons!” Another one calls.
“That last one not count. Four and a half moons!” Another argues.
The first one looks up at Elpida. “Uh, between three and five moons.”
Hunter just sighs and gestures to the other two. He can’t ask anything right now. He’ll just wind up biting them or mocking them.
Ardul blinks at the creatures and shakes her head. “Not sure //what// I was thinking.” she mutters under her breath. “I see. Well if you aren’t sure, you can’t claim that it’s yours by rights of salvage. But maybe we can broker a deal.” Her grey eyes cut to Hunter and give him a withering look. Leaving them to do the talking.
“When the ship was left here, did you see anyone with two eyes and pointed ears, with them. A woman, tall like myself?” She glances at Elpida hoping the woman will add the sweetner … that if they get this information, the Goblins can keep their treasure.
This may all be new to Elpida, but she such intimations are not completely lost on her.She observes Ardul and her negotations, of coursse, studying her or a time and then observin g the goblin’s responses. She gauges them, to see if their reactions might tell her that they know whom she’s speaking of. And if they do, she adds casually, “I mean, we’re more interested in her than we are in your loot but we don’t exactly want to go home losers on this whole exchange, you know?”That last bit from Elpida causes what can only be called a ‘huddle’. The goblins (the ones that aren’t still cowering face down in the mud or similar) all gather and start murmuring among themselves. It takes a few mintues. Something like an argument breaks out and there is a brief scuffle… or arm wrestling competition. Hard to say either way.
Finally one of the goblins emerges. “We say shadow. Not horune. Watch boat for two days. When we come to see what shadow was, only find this.”
It’s a bangle, gold from the looks of it. On the inside there’s a long, elegant script in some kind of alien language. From the size of it, it would have fit on… Elpida’s arm. A smaller being, possibly female and not so tall nor muscular as Ardul.
“On the night the shadow disappear we hear a name whispered on the wind. Kurile.”
That makes Hunter’s ears perk. That’s… interesting.
Ardul gestures for Elpida to take the bangle. They’ll inspect it in greater detail, later. That’s one piece of salvage the Goblins aren’t getting.
“You heard the wind whisper, Kurile? What happened then?”
She maintains her stance, eyes cutting to meet Hunters, noting the ears. So cute how they do that. Seems they might be on the right track.
She reaches out to take it, Elpida does, turning it over in her hands as she inspects it herself…not that she’s liable to be able to make anything special of it, all things considered. She gives a shrug towards Hunter and then looks to see their resposne to Ardul.“Then we find big ring.” The goblin points to the bangle.
“Prizpit use it to prop up bog seat.”
“Charming.” Hunter mutters, shaking his head. “Did you see which way the shadow went?”
“It head that way.” North west is the direction pointed. So out of the city, possibly… and into Dogwood.
“Great.” The wolfen looks to Elpida and Ardul. “I think we’re going to need to regroup and figure out how to approach this. Dogwood isn’t exactly friendly territory for the likes of any of us.”
There’s a small cough from near Elpida. “Uh. We go now?”
Ardul nods to Elpida, the Goblins can go. It’s all the winged woman can do, not to grimace at what they used the bangle for. At least Elpida didn’t try to put it on.
“Dogwood…” she shakes her head. All she’s heard of that place means she doesn’t want to go there. “With their base destroyed by the Vesper authorities, they’ll be looking for a safe haven. I agree we need to regroup.”
“Let’s get out here and find some ale. I’ve got to clean my armour and we can talk.”
They’ll need to go back through those tunnels. Maybe that Snake will be gone.
When they mention the ‘bog seat’, one can see Elpida’s face fall and she lets out a little groan. That is not the image she wanted in her head.
“I suppose,” she offers in her most casual tone, “neihter of you are particualrly interete in carrying this thing /now/.” She is /definitely/ not putting it on at this point. Npe, nope, nope. All the nopes.Hunter makes a ‘shoo’ motion to the goblins who quickly scurry out of sight. They’ll be back to stripping that ship in no time.
In the mean time the wolfen steps over to Elpida and opens his pack, holding it out to her. “Here. Drop it in there.” Goblin bogs. Nope. Not something he wants to think about either.
“We have a bit of hike to get out of here and then I need to ask some questions… you two can take the news to Rousseau if you like. Might be worth something to him… and he might know something about the bangle.”
He pauses. “Maybe we should wash it before, though.”