May 24 2008

Chapter 26

zorro @ 1:38 pm

They decide to head for the river and inland Jaiman. Once they get some distance between them and the Tower, they will cut across country to the Remirath.

As they reach the mouth of the river, a small fleet is spotted sailing toward them across the bay. They are far enough away that the ships’ markings are impossible to make out even for those blessed with Elven farsight. Amos advises that few ships other than Lorgalis’ fleet sail the bay these days.

“It’s just not worth the run for most ships. Ly-Aran and Xa-ar are practically annexed from the rest of the continent and Saralis gets most of its goods shipped overland from Rhakhaan. Though U-Lyshak’s fleet was once powerful, fear of the warlord keeps the ships docked.”

The river is wide enough to fit a medium-sized ship and oars. It is slow-flowing and meanders across Saralis, making any journey seem far longer than it actually is. As the crow flies this journey is quite short (130 miles) but combined with the effort of rowing and its serpentine path it is four times as long, taking about four days to get up river.

The river is not often used, but has recently seen an increase in traffic from Lorgalis’ Black Raiders making their way into inland Jaiman. Lorgalis is currently trying to suppress a group of knights known as The Order of the Wyvern. Consequently many of the ships now travelling this risky highway are travelling from the Great Lakes to Ulor.

Prince Keir, a keen student of history fills in some of the geography details.

Saralis is in the north-eastern quarter of Jaiman, and was once fertile, supporting a large, united population. The Wyvern Kingdom united the plains and steppes from northern bay of Ulor to the great Jaiman Lakes. Now it is a fragmented land where petty lords and kings vie for parcels of land. Desertion from these armies is common, as young men can earn gold as mercenaries in the neighbouring countries.

On the second day they come upon the ship graveyard. The water highway has always been risky and sailors know of it. About halfway up the river this strange place holds the wreckage of dozens of ships. The Lugroki and the other towns and cities on the river have tried getting to solve this conundrum but have so far been hampered by the harsh conditions – unassailable cliffs and strange creatures.

The Raven Princess travels cautiously further upstream, Amos orders the oars muffled and the crew are silent. Amos notices that the water level is actually dropping and the ship often grinds against underwater rocks brought closer to the surface by the falling water level. Everyone can see the ‘normal’ water level by the ‘tide’ marks on the river bank.

The water-level drops to such a degree that Amos declares he can go no further. Around a bend in the river a strange structure, like a dam, has been built across it. From where they are, the party can only see a small portion of it.

The dam from the river

The dam from the river

Sailing up shit creek in a barbwire canoe we encounter what looks like a dam.

We moor up and send scouts to the dam to take a look, Lysar and Ulrich swim to the damn and see a big black ship on the other side crewed by Lugroki, it looks like they are either preparing to reinforce, or destroy the damn (wasn’t clear at that stage).

Swim back and report, send a sailor to either side of the river to tie the boat off on trees, in case the damn breaks, the ropes go slack and they do no return.

The party investigates, Amos stays aboard.

In the thick foliage we come under attack by an unknown number of enemies, Lysar and Berrak spot one in a tree and open fire, not before it does considerable damage to us with blowdarts, including Lysar getting her beautiful nose broken.

Ash fires off a stun cloud and we escape back to the ship, I think we killed a few, or they fled.

The Lugroki are clearly trying to break down the dam and are succeeding, but are coming under attack from the cliffs, a bunch (technical term for a collection of pigmies) of pigmies are shooting at them, many Lugroki die but their commander keeps them working at the dam.

Amos takes it upon himself to go tie off the boat and succeeds in getting two ropes secured to trees.

The dam breaks and water rushes by, bodies of dead Lugroki float by, the ship stays in one piece.

We untie the ship and continue sailing, as we pass we see the pigmies looting the moored black ship, but they ignore us as we sail quietly by.

Sulphur in the water was part of a trap, or just some natural occurrence (I think you explained to have some religious significance to the pigmies)

The dam from the air

The dam from the air

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