Sundered Skies

The Underground: it's not just for blood grubs any more.

Day One: We set off once again for adventure! The Chance is outfitted and we have all of our cargo ready to take to the Elven home island, Heartland. I can hardly remember ever being there. I… I think I was in a crate or something. I vaguely recall a city port, some tall elves wearing what looked like wood. And then I was shipped off into the sky to go work in the research facility. I do know that I’m not excited to go back. This is a risky mission. But I feel like for once I have the chance to do some real good for someone else, so I’m excited. I haven’t felt this way since I tricked that miserly old Elf and permanently disabled his distribution control over the city water supply. We’re going to stroll right up to the face of danger and kick him right in his gangly old jubblies!

Day Seven: We are one quarter of the way to Heartland and things have been pretty quiet. No more headless vegetable men trying to start the ship on fire. But we’re running out of things to do. Shasta hasn’t been taking notes and he’s getting a little irritable. Tomlin just talks about ships and sailing. He still won’t talk about why he knows so much, though. He gets grumpy now when I ask. Soraka is making up songs and praying. Bert.. well.. Bert smells. He’s been sick since we left port and we had to confine him. I keep look out. I just wish there was something to look at.

Day Thirty Five: We are a week overdue at our destination. No one wants to talk to each other except Soraka and I. We’re also constantly running low on food, scavenging what we can. I’ve been managing to keep us fed by trolling nets in the sky, but we’re going to need something substantial pretty soon. We don’t know why we aren’t already at Heartland except that sometimes the islands move. People are on edge.

Day Forty Three: Land Ho! Finally something to look at! The only bad part was that we didn’t reach Heartland. This little island though was something of an oasis for us. I scraped some food off the bottom of the island. I bet if I can boil some water I can make some good tea with it! The little island had a little forest but it was NOT filled with little things! Way up in one of the trees we found huge pieces of fruit! They looked so delicious that I had to climb up and get some down for us. Soraka caught them so they would not bruise. Shasta remembered that beneath fruit trees, buried in the muck, blood grubs build colonies. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so happy! He was buried halfway into the ground digging out those nasty smelling critters and gorging himself. I really hope he didn’t bring any aboard the ship. We also found a large nest with some delicious looking eggs. Now something had to lay them. We set a trap to lure and catch the beast. As usual.. it didn’t go as expected. The creature turned out to look like a feathered, flightless skyler. While trying to capture it, we cracked one of its eggs and made it very angry. We put it down rather than let it kill and eat us. Soraka was not at all happy. She would have nothing to do with it. But we were out of food, and hunting this is no different than hunting skyler. I’m getting worried about her. I don’t know how she’s going to survive out here if she isn’t willing to fight for her survival. The good news is that we managed to get enough food from the flightless skyler and the eggs to make it two more weeks! And our ship figurehead got a fancy new hat I made from the skull! The bad news is that now the ship smells like blood grubs. Shasta had one stuck in his teeth. It wriggled. Note Two: Beware of blood grub breath. Naaaaaaaasty! We got back to the skies and sailed on! Today was a great day!

Day Fifty Seven: Pretty much everyone is sick of the song Soraka and I made up. I think Shasta and Tomlin are starting to think about locking us up. But they won’t have to! Because we finally reached Heartland. It took a little while to find out contact. He was some crazy old guy in a backwoods shop filled with stuff even I didn’t know what to do with. When I said what I was supposed to he led us underground again. last time we went underground, it got us gross smelly blood grubs. This time we got locked in a cage. The old guy was real kooky and said we didn’t say the right stuff. We kept telling him over and over that we did and we were here to help but he wouldn’t believe us until Shasta and Tomlin talked him into it. We were able to arrange a trade and deliver out goods as well as the supplies we had brought as an extra bonus from Gateway. Soraka found just the right merchant, he was very honest and helpful! He helped us see the value of our cargo and gave us a new bow! We managed to hire on a couple of more experienced sailors. Hopefully we’ll be able to get back to gateway a little quicker this time. Eight weeks was torture! There was one last complication. When we tried to settle up and leave, our contact on the island, that crazy old man, got us tangled up in a big mess of sympathy. He wants us to bring some passengers with, but these folks, well, frankly, they’re dangerous… and we’re not really equipped to handle passengers aboard the chance. And on top of that, they need to go to the frozen isle… that’s orc territory….

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The Body before the Head

Today was certainly full of surprises! We were able to return to Gateway to give Thomas the unfortunate news about his son and Luckfinder. It really was sad when he turned into an ogre. For the record, ogres are ugly. And they smell. And they kick hard. My side is still bruised. I think I might start making a habit of taking notes like Shasta. He’s always writing in his little pad. So, here’s my first try: Beware of Ogres.

I also have to be careful of elves. It’s been awhile since I’ve been around them and today I forgot how dangerous they can be. A little girl was crying in the street because she had lost her “pet.” When she started describing her pet, I realized it was a wildling like me and Soraka. I tried to tell the others and high tailed it out of there to hide. Poor Bert must have scared that little girl because she called her dad, who is apparently the richest man in Gateway, and he chased him all through the markets. I tried to slow him down, but Bert fender pretty well for himself. He runs pretty fast for an ugly guy. I got a nifty sword out of the deal too. That mean elf won’t be able to use it to hurt wildlings any more. But people recognize it so I’m going to have to work on it a little. Hopefully, it comes in handy.

Soraka bought a hunting license and we turned in Luckfinder’s head to a really strange guy at the Trade Coucil outpost. He was the one who recognized the sword. I really thought we were in trouble there! But he didn’t really seem to care about anything. He must have been really bored. I can’t imagine who would want to sit behind a desk all day every day in a little place waiting for people to bring you decapitated heads. It’s pretty dark if you think about it.

There were times when I thought that kind of darkness would be too oppressive to manage. Thomas’ family dead, some crazy mean elf hunting us through the city, a wildling gone missing, Tomlin getting sick. It kind of felt like we were cursed! But we had some spare time while waiting to talk with Thomas about what to do with the cargo on the ship. Shasta spent it looking for blood grubs. I’ve never seen any food so gross! And they smelled awful! He seemed pretty happy about the little meal afterwards.

I should probably mention that I found the runaway wildling. It turned out he had managed to free himself and book passage off Gateway. Hopefully he can get somewhere safe. Also, I negotiated a contract with a pair of shop owners to transfer cargo to Heartland. I can’t say I’m pleased about the destination, but these fellas were sure they could do some real good there. Their passion for their work won me over. Though I may have overstepped and promised them the use of a ship that didn’t belong to us.

Well… at least at the time it didn’t. Thankfully Thomas found himself needing a new crew for the Chance, Luckfinder’s ship. Things seemed to turn around pretty quickly. We got a ship, a cargo, and a customer all in one go. After a little negotiating, we arranged an appropriate deal with Thomas and a few contractors to outfit the Chance.

I’ve finally got a workshop! And I was able to build a new spear as we set off on our journey. It’s an awfully long way to Heartland. We had plenty of down time to indulge. And no, I did not blow up the ship! I don’t know why everyone is so worried about that? It can’t be just because my spear blew up the first time I used it. That didn’t even hurt anyone. They shouldn’t be such babies about it. It’s not like anyone minds the unusual stuff Shasta and Soraka can do. I’ll figure out a way to show them how useful science can be.

I learned something else I should probably write down. Chasing mysterious arrows on the waysphere can be dangerous! A few weeks into the travel I saw a second arrow definitely pop up on the waysphere. I didn’t know where it could be pointing but I wasn’t sure it wasn’t directing us to Heartland either. So I steered the ship towards it. It’s not like it was my fault.. you can’t just ignore that sort of thing. I mean, what if it was one of the artifacts the crazy god mentioned? Or just someone who figured out how to send a kind of beacon signal? It could have been important. Well… it wasn’ts. It was bad. Very bad. We traveled for hours before anything happened. I was really worried this was going to be a boring voyage.

But it was not boring. Because out of nowhere a crazy headless guy appeared flying on a big animal that looked like it was leaving ghost flames with every step. He came out of nowhere! It was the scariest thing I’ve seen in a long time. He also through these big orange smiling bombs that exploded all over the deck of the ship. Thankfully nothing caught on fire! We fought him and beat him, but he just disappeared after that and left one of his orange bombs behind. But this one didn’t explode. It kind of looked like an evil vegetable. I’m not sure though, because I only saw real grown vegetables once on a little island in the middle of nowhere while looking for an artifact that was a unique kind of focusing crystal. I haven’t ever eaten so well in my life. I sure wish I remembered where that island was. Oh well.. it’s stuff like that which reminds me to take notes every once in awhile.

In the mean time, we put the evil veggie on the front of the chance and coated it with a sealant to keep it in good shape. Hopefully the deal in Heartland goes well.

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Carry a big stick

::Sim settled in the crow’s nest above the rigging on the way back to Gateway. In a few days they would share with Thomas Hawk the fate of his son Allen. They should probably leave out the part when the demon animated his bones. A father didn’t need to hear about that kind of desecration to his son’s corpse. That memory brought the simian wildling back to the task at hand. keeping a journal. He had endeavored to do so since he had first gained his freedom. When you came from a place that seemingly had no history and allowed no sense of self, a means of logging who you were and where you’d been seemed so much more important::

Journey onto the Raven

After a long time on the ship, too long really, I finally spotted land. A small island that held a tower and a crashed ship. Luckfinder said it appeared to be “The Raven.” That’s the ship Thomas Hawk sent us to find. As we approached, some ape-like creatures began to attack us. It was strange. Normally they’d just run away. Something on the island had made them hostile. But one minute they were throwing rocks at us and the next, boom! They were burning in a pillar of flame. It was kind of hard to see other ape-like creatures suffer a fate like that. It took me back to the port authority weapons research station. We had a lot of incidents like that. One minute, someone you knew was wrenching away on a blast cannon, the next they were spread all over, and not in a pretty way.

Which reminds me, I need to turn this stick into a good and proper spear. The last one blew up. I’ll get to that. First though, I have to tell you about the apes. Boy did they smell. We got into the ship and found that something had filleted the corpses of the sailors or the people who had come looking for them. It was eerie, seeing all sorts of skulls stacked together in a big pile like a trophy. You shouldn’t keep a trophy like that. Somebody knew those people.

There was a path into the hull I found. But it only lead to more trouble. Sometimes when you open a door, you find something good behind it. Some times you find something bad. But you don’t know what’s there if you don’t open the door. This time it was apes. And they were angry. They brought a big brother with them. He was tough and had creepy glowing eyes. I tried to blast him with a bolt from my energy spear, but the spear exploded. I have to remember to check those lead connections a second time. I think something went wrong with the capacitor gear. Thankfully when it blew up nobody was hurt. But I sure felt stupid. I had to run away and hide after the apes smacked me a good one. That cuff to the side of my head caught my ear. It rang the whole battle. It’s hard to concentrate when your ear is ringing in your head like a big bell.

Thankfully, Siraka was able to patch me up. She has some really interesting healing powers. I wonder if she would sit for an examination. I want to take some notes on how she does it. But she seems pretty quiet and I don’t want to bug her. I’ll keep watching and maybe I can figure it out.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the ship. We found another door with a passageway. Ships sure have a lot of those. It would have been nice if the port authority had places like that. Maybe some of us could have hidden during whatever attack wiped it out and someone would have been waiting for me when I got out of the water cell. I don’t even want to think of those even things. Speaking of water, once we got downstairs, through the secret passage, there was a demon. It looked like he had eater or ripped apart one of those glowy-eyed apes. We found a carcass half eaten. That;s where the smell kept coming from. Anyway the demon was holding onto this medallion. It looked like a behemoth flying through some sort of liquid, maybe water. I can’t even imagine why anything would want to swing in water. Don’t they know how easy it is to drown?

When we found the demon, it found us too. Thankfully I found a staff after my spear blew up so I had something to fight with. This demon, it was really gross. It shot out skin layers and used them to animate the dead. It got us a couple times too and I bet if we’d have let it, it might have messed up our head. The demon was tough. But those skeletons just blew up with a feather touch. I’m pretty proud to say I feel like I contributed well even without my gadgets. I picked up that staff and started showing those skeletons they weren’t going to hurt anybody else. Whoever those people had been, I’m sure they would have preferred their corpses getting a little busted up to hurting living folks. I hope they forgive me for scattering their bones all over the place. If not, that’s going to be bad karma.

But at least I’m not Luckfinder. He must have got some god angry with him. He picked up the sigil that was on the demon while we found the gauntlets bearing the mark for the hawk that Thomas said would show us the way to his son. So we beat up Allen’s bones. The good part is he won’t miss them and we’re bringing them home to his Dad. I get distracted thinking about things like that. I need to focus on Luckfinder. I’ve never seen anyone go glow mad before. Light came from that medallion he picked up from the demon and just exploded all over the whole ship.

The this voice told us it was Lightbringer and how it used to be god of something called an ocean. It looks like I have a little more research today. Never heard of that before. But the voice insisted and tried to convey that we were running out of time. Then it gave us a list of stuff to collect. I’ve never heard of any of it, but if a god tells you to find a bunch of stuff you can bet it’s pretty important. The voice told us to go get some artifacts. I’m hoping one of them holds the key to reversing sterility in the Wildlings. I haven’t made any real progress on my research but I’ll keep looking for a way to correct the issue.

So now we have to find this stuff: the “Fuel that Burns in the Queen’s Barge,” the “Armor of Orcbane,” Festival’s Harp (ignored by Lightbringer’s followers), “Hammer of the Damned Dwarf”, and the “Raven Staff.” Apparently we have to find them before the shield falls. I don’t know if this is just a crazy trick by a mad god or a serious affair. I guess that’s the next big thing we all have to decide. Can we find these things or can’t we? I know I’d like to, but I can’t speak for the others.

I still have so much more to learn from them. They have interesting backgrounds and I get the feeling they have a lot of interesting stories to tell. And being with this group certainly beats wandering around on my own. I got stuck in so many ruins. It would be nice to have a little backup now and again.

Anyway what I didn’t mention was that Lightbringer was unlicky in the end. His last medallion exploded in light and forced glow madness on him. He turned into a big ogre. Man you never know how big those guys are until you face them. I learned one really important lesson with my trusty stick taken from the ship’s rubble. Hit them where it counts. When something is that big, you have to find it’s weakest spots and exploit them.

The good news is we’ll get a bounty reward for the giant head. The bad news is that who knows how long that will take. Oh well, one more thing to do in Gateway. I’m really excited to get back. It’ll be nice to get these bones off my conscience and maybe I can find some tool to work on making this stick into a new spear. it would really be something. I’ve already fashioned a knife for the tip but there is plenty left to do.

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