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Mutants & Masterminds: Struggles of Iannin - Act I Scene II - In Our Wake

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After the mostly restful night at the Pink Dragon, the group rose early, with the three moons just sinking below the horizon. Their minds were full of the adventure that lie ahead. They gathered their gear, knowing a return to S'ur would likely be months away. A quick meal downstairs of had their bellies full of fruits and oatmeal. Soon, the enormity of the quest finally began to set in and both anxiety and excitment were running strong.

Wa'ne took out some powdered lucenite from a small satchel that was now hung from his side and dropped a fair sum into his morning ale, giving it an odd shimmer as he downed it. At the odd looks he received, he shrugged, "It was an ancient custom of the Fen, they believed it protected them from Chaos."

The group went about their business and agreed to meet at the city gates by the end of the hour, each attending to last minute preparations of their voyage. As the Temple bells, rang the beginning of the day, all were present at the gates.

As they calmly walked the paved road, the occasional farmer just coming to his fields would stop and wave. Indentured servants, their collars glowing with Pattern Magic, would occasionally glance up, or even stop and lean on their tool for a moment as the group passed. One Takrok farmer near the harbor, his hair covered with a layer of dusty soil, and his crop already reaped, was driving a magically-yoked Tar'rak across the fields. The beast was plowing up the soil, and it appeared the farmer was hoping to get the land ready for a winter crop before the turn of the season.

The morning was already warm, the humidity uncomfortable, promising a heat with the Twins rise that would make the questers glad to be on the water and in the wind of the Great River canyons.

swake.jpgThe harbor was just waking up as sailors and dockworkers alike stumbled about, rubbing eyes and stretching sore muscles. Two more ships had come in since the group had been here, both large trading vessels, nearly as large as the dock could handle. One was riding low, having yet to release its cargo, the other high, looking ready to take on a shipment. Both bore standards of A'va'lan and the more observant could see Skrofan runes engraved along the hulls.

The slip that had held the Wake the day before had already been repaired, the dock's planking replaced and the crane was rebuilt. Within the waters of the slip was a ship that was hardly recognizable as Wulkyn's Wake. Gone was the tub-clunker, and in its place was a streamlined vessel that would live up to its name. The one mast remained, but the rest of the ship was new. Like the other ships, parts of the hull were decorated, but not with Skrofan runes, but engraved in the style of the Fen. It was not overly done, so as to attract attention, but done with a style like that of a fairly well-to-do merchant. The stylings that kept leaks and barnacles at bay were obvious, though there were many others that were not easily recognizable. There were two masts, with all cloth secured, including what appeared to be a topsail.

On deck, Quidel, the Sen who had escorted them yesterday, was waiting.

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Arak, his pack on his back and his stave in rigid form before him, teetered down the gangplank onto the ship. The gangplank was a yard wide, but to see Arak maneuver the walk one could have expected to see a beam less than a hand wide below his feet. "Couldn't we comandeer one of those vessels?" he asked, pointing to the Skrofan made ships flying the A'va'lanian flag. The larger ships we covered in familiar runes and sigils, some so tiny as to not be readable without one's face all but pressed to the wood, and others looming large, embalzoned onto the hull in glowing crystal, worked elanil, or exotic woods. A merchant ship such as that cost as much as a small village but was all but unsinkable, and could sail without wind. Arak sighed, and then swallowed hard as the Wulkyn's Wake bucked beneath his feet as a wave caught it.

He gulped against the motion of the ship, still tied to the docks, and planted his staff emphatically. "The sooner we leave the sooner we shall arrive, yes?"

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T'riss gave a low, rich whistle at the sight of the refurbished Wake. Seemed like the ship itself had been kissed by Quaress as hard as she had been, transforming from a lumbering hulk into a sleek rake of a ship. With a ship like this, things were bound to be more interesting.

"Well, indeed... Well, well, well..." she purred, swaggering across the gangplank in her heeled boots with as much unconcern as Arak had been wary. Coming alongside of Quidel as she looked at the ship, running a hand across the rail, her lips curved in a wide smile and she slapped him on the ass. "Dis be a very fine job, Quidel. You Fen do good work. I've half a mind to drag ya down to de Captain's Cabin to christen the new Wake, in appreciation, like, but fer the moment, I only have eyes for me ship. So, tell me what be under the hull..."

T'riss strutted around the ship, adjusting instinctively to the movement of the ship,studying the modifications and runes carved into the wood, listening attentively to what Quidel told her had been done to the Wake. She might have known a chamberpot's worth of magic, but most sailors knew the qualities of at least some of the runes that could be found amidships, if for no other reason, it gave you a hint of what the ship was capable of in a storm or when trying to flee or board pirates... and privateers.

Acknowledging Arak's comment about the Skrofan vessels, the (now proud) captain of Wulkyn's Wake snorted. "Dose be ideal fer long range merchants, but be far too big fer Elizabethea to take in. She be a modest whore." And she laughed, tickled at the thought of Elizabethea being called modest in any way. T'riss glanced up at the sky, nostrils flaring as she tested the air, eyes narrowing at the glint of sunlight reflecting off the water. "Weather look clear for partin' with de mornin's tide." She nodded firmly. "We be leavin' port soon 'nough. Wind an' rain mean more to de voyage d'an how soon we be leavin.'"

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Tora stared at the ship without any real reaction like T'riss or Arak. Instead of reacting, she absorbed, soaking up the images and appearance of the ship and crew. She'd have to describe it later; she not only wanted the details to be right, she also wanted them to be beautiful. She wanted to craft them into a fine prose that would sing in the minds of the listeners for all time. That was how the best stories were - they lived in the minds of the audience long after the teller had stopped talking. That's the way she wanted all of her stories to be.

Tora ascended lightly, her steps barely moving the gangplank. She wasn't entirely comfortable on the ship but she knew that the trick was to stay in motion or stay still. Moving slowly meant you'd quickly be thrown to the ground. "Go with decision, or go not at all." It was her father's favorite saying.

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Arak pointed at four men moving toward the ship along the pier, "Is that the crew? Just four people?!" He sounded unsure, but the others couldn't tell if he was unsure of his question or of the possibility that the four wobbly sailors were the crew. The men walked with an odd gait that was either the result of rum or the fact that the ground was stationary. On board ship it became clear that it was a little of both, as the rolling of the ship compensated for their gait, but a close look at their red-rimmed eyes and scruffy appearance indicated that rum was no doubt in their recent past.

"Oy, you dere, farmboy," one of them said pointing a finger back at Arak, "Where be tha cap'in?" Arak pointed to T'riss, and the man rolled his eyes to follow the brown finger. He stopped and his jaw dropped a little, "Well, boyos, looky 'ere." The other three looked as well and goggled at the buxom Muthay, "Reh'portin' fer dooty, cap'in!"

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T'riss turned her curvaceous bounty towards the men, all Thayim, though one may have sport some Skrofan blood, all former crew of the Wake. She raked them with a scathing look, one hand on her hip, the other tracing the hit of her saber, though her eyes glinted with vivacious mirth. "I be demandin' sailors an' d'ey be sendin' me ya four bilge-rats?"

T'riss threw her head back with rich laughter, then slapped them on the back. "Rak, Svold, Fent, Thenu S'il, glad I be that none o' you be findin' som'fing to take to bed beyond a bottle o' rum, or whatever be finin' yous chased yous out again. T'anks be to the Sen'ten, de cap'in be in good hands, and now, de Wake be in even bettah! Come boyos, Quidel 'ere be showin' us de new lines o' th'Wake."

Rak, Svold, Fent, and Thenu S'il shared a glance, not sure if they agreed about the Wake being in better hands, but they were certainly prettier, and they had served with T'riss long enough to know she was free with her favours. And as Quidel detailed the enhancements made to the ship, they realized there would be plenty of time for favours, though like T'riss herself, they were getting more enthralled by the ship, than by carnal pursuits. T'riss for her part, was considering doing away with the Captain's Cabin and simply pinning Quidel to mast and ravishing right there.

"... rigging is self-maintaining and all sails can be worked from the deck. Infused with Patterns of wind and water, the vessel has uncanny swiftness and will never be becalmed. The canon..."

All the seamen exclaimed over the arcane armaments. Rare as they were, canon had the range, power, and efficiency over any onager or scorpion on board a ship. These would most definitely aid them against any pirates or over zealous privateers, especially with such a small crew.

"... enchanted so every individual piece is buoyant, rending the vessel nearly unsinkable. The masts are crafted with dweomer-hinges, so they can be easily dropped in event of storms or conflict. They Ray can activate them and show any of you who know Pattern magic how to do so..."

"Arak!" T'riss snapped over a shoulder, and for once, there was a firm tone of command in her voice, rather than sensual suggestion... not that it wasn't there as well. "I be seein' you with wood-magic on de docks. I be havin' wood-magic in me hands too, but only ta make masts rise, no fall. See if Wa'ne can be teachin ya de magic o' d'ese dweomer-hinges. That be th'order."

"... pounds of refined Dakar steel as cargo. I trust this is sufficient?" Quidel finished in a cool, satisfied tone.

"It is indeed, and d'en some," T'riss agreed, taking a deep breath, a wide, slow grin on her lips, looking out over the river, already picturing the voyage in the grand vessel. "Boyos, we be headin' ta Elizabethea Town,"

A ship like this on a town like that could cause other problems to arise, but there were ones she was willing to risk. She'd be willing to trade her entire share of the loot for a ship like this, it was worth a true fortune ... Well... okay, she still needed to see what her share was before making that claim. She around, leaning back against the rail, looking at Quidel with heavy lidded eyes, her tone playfully musing.

"Y'know, I'd be 'alf tempted ta throw Wa'ne o'erboard in de middle o' de sea an' keep the Wake fer meself."

Quidel lips curved in the suggestion of a cold smile. "Assurances had been made, in case such an occassion arises."

T'riss raised her hands in surrender, a roguish grin on her lips, though a part of her was disappointed that the option was already taken away. "I jus' be sayin' I be impressed with de ship, is all."

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Arak grumbled something that sounded like "domineering trollop" as he thumped across the deck, planting his staff firmly between steps so that he always had two points of contact with the rune graven wood below. He approached the a'Fen from the side, keeping his eyes away from the man's (Woman's? Wulkyn in heaven he couldn't tell!) nearly naked body. "The captain," he started, equal parts derision and sarcasm in his voice, "asked me to confer with you about the working of the pattern empowered masts and rigging." He shrugged, looking over the foreign symbols, hunting for something he might recognize as a point of commonality and finding none, "While I don't take kindly to her tone, her idea has merit, it would be useful for another to know the more arcane workings of this ship." He looked sideways at Wa'ne, taking the a'Fen's face in profile, "For what little it will be worth I am sorry that you have been chastised by your people. From what little I know there seemed to have been little that you could have done that you did not."

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Wa'ne glanced over at the Skrofan, giving him a quick 'up-down' as he sidled up. The Nay'fen arched a brow and then seemed to ignore the last half of Arak's statement as she started pointing out symbols while leaning heavily on her staff, obviously bored, "From what I know of your people's archaic interpretation of Elan..."

Wa'ne's voice faded from Arak's ears as the deck heaved slightly on a particularly large wave, sending his already sensitive stomach to the point of no return. Not having even a moment to excuse himself, he darted for the rail and deposited his breakfast in the harbor. This was much to the chagrin of an A'fen in the water nearby, who gave Arak a cold, flatless stare before diving back beneath the surface.

Wa'ne walked up as the pale (relatively) Skrofan was pulling himself up. She pulled a small packet from her pouch and unwrapped it, producing some chopped pieces of root. "You will be of no use if you can't keep your wits about you on the waters." The Nay'fen picked a couple pieces out and handed them to Arak, "Add this to your food or drink in small quantities. You can ingest it pure, but the taste...must be acquired. It will help calm the storm caused by the waters. When we stop for supplies, it would not be a bad idea to get some more."

Wa'ne didn't wait for a reply and started to point out symbols where they were, giving Arak time to regain his composure and a modicum of pride. Their discussion continued, fueled by the occasional comment or question, Wa'ne becoming engrossed in a subject that she was obviously obsessed with and enjoyed talking about at length.

They continued even as the ship left the harbor and navigated the channels on the way to the Great River. Well maintained farmland broke into desert and scrubland to starboard and the far-ranging prairies of the Flatland foothill island of Qur to port. Off in the distance, they could see the high-walled cliffs of the Blasted Lands approaching. Their had been strong reports of pirate activity on the Sne'ra river that wound its way through the Flatlands, making the decision to take the larger, boarder main course easy. Given the room, and the speed of their vessel, there wouldn't be much that could keep up or hassle them.

By the end of the first day, the sailing having been swift and silent, they had just neared the mouth of the Breach river, named so for the Zray city at its head. Most of the crew were idle, trying to look busy under T'riss' eye as they tended to what little needed done on the open water with a good wind. Wa'ne had finally stopped talking and was up in the rigging, looking out over the waters as she clutched to the mast.

Tarmon was out scouting ahead, gliding on the fair evening currents when the cry from Wa'ne came, "Serpent!"

The crew scrambled at the alarm, unsure what to do, but ready to do what T'riss yelled at them. The rest just had time to watch as the massive serpent breached. The creature was large enough to take the ship in three bites. Iridescent scales glittered between pale blues and deep indigos in the sunlight. Large tubular 'whiskers' extended from either side of its mouth, flexing in the open air. Water streamed from its wide-open mouth as it came up under Tarmon and clamped its toothed maw around him and sank below the surface much the way it had come, like a fish grabbing a biteme.

The ship can move about 100km a day, based on a 10 hour sailing day. Not gonna get picky about it, about a square on the map a day. Two squares if you move round the clock, night travel would be slower and people will get tired. Even going in shifts.

Joani's character is retired until he comes back to a consistent status. How does anyone feel about someone else joining the game? Discuss in OOC please :)

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The new Wake was a dream to sail, amazingly responsive and swift, even with the crew's newness with the arcane enhancements. T'riss laughed in sheer joy of captaining a ship once more. The suns were bright, the skies were clear, the creak of wood and the crackle of canvas as the wind filled the sails was as comforting as a lullaby, as enjoyable as a mug of rum or a romp in bed. Which reminded her, after they were truly on the way, she'd have to make up the shifts so she could swing those romps in bed.

T'riss almost considered taking the Wake down the twisting length of the Sne'ra just for the thrill of it, but settled for the Great River instead. They were still getting used to handling the Wake, and smirking at Arak at the rail, some were still getting used to simply being on a ship. She mused what Arak would be like on the old Wake, which had never ridden the waves so smoothly.

The sun was a half-circle on the horizon, turning the water to gold, and after as fine a day of sailing as she'd could have wished, T'riss was considering who to drag to the captain's cabin, when the Sea Serpent breached the waves and snatched Tarmon out of the air. T'riss snarled a fierce stream of vile curses. She'd lost a man of her crew in an instant and as much as she wanted him back and wanted to take down the serpent, she had the ship and the rest of the crew to look out for.

"Azath's Balls! Svold, Fent! Jibe de sails! We be heelin' part and 'eadin' fer the shallows!" T'riss roared in a voice meant to cut through storms. Such a large serpent wouldn't follow them in shallow water, where it would have little space to maneuver. "Wa'ne, keep yer eye on it's shadow. The rest, man the cannons! If it be within two ship lengths, give 'er a warnin,' but don't be hittin' the bitch. The bitch will get right mad, y'here?"

As T'riss issue her orders, she planted her feet, tendons standing out on her forearms as she kept the ship before the wind and angled it for the Flatlands coastline, striving to leave the serpent behind.

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The ship heaved as T'riss suddenly angled for the shore and Arak, still suffering from seas sickness retched again, this time not making it to the rail. He shook his head and, leaning against the gunwales, rifled through his bag, looking for the right item. Finally he settled for a tangle-foot vine seed, it would have to do, he had no swamp creeper remaining, nor any strangle thorn. The seed itself was flat and wide, a dark green color, and one side had already been scribed with a rune. Drawing his knife he set to work on the opposite side, giving the see the ability to grow outside of its normal habitat. Despite the pitching and jumping boat he managed his strokes with the fine tip of his blade well, and the rune quickly took shape in his hand. Arak sheathed his knife once more and braced himself as best he could against the ship's movement. He readied the seed to throw when next the serpent breached the waves; into its jagged maw it would go, and with a little luck the tangling vines would bind up the creature's mouth while they made good their escape.

Ready action

Power stunt an affliction based on the Tangle-foot rune

Weaken (Bite Damage) 6 (Ranged, Unreliable, Check Required 4 (Magic), Acurate 2)

+6 to hit and DC 16 to resist (Fort)

Magic Roll Roll: 4 +4 Modifier -14 DC = -6 [color:#F00000]FAIL.

blah!!! Hero point

Roll: 1 +10 for HP +4 Modifier -14 DC = 1 [color:#009000]PASS.

To hit: Roll: 4 +6 Modifier = +10

Maybe it's big enough that its got penalties to its dodge. :cry:

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The snake loomed high over the water and the golden-eyed Muthay froze. Her eyes were wide as she stared at the snake, though a fine tremble started to shake her limbs.

The snake loomed high over their wagons, its head blotting out the sun. They'd all been warned to watch for it, but it had cleverly hidden itself in a gully. Tora stared, her golden eyes wide with fear. For a moment, there was only the snake and the wind and the feel of the mending slipping from her nerveless fingers.

"Tora! Down!" The shout had come not from the men but from her mother. Tora was locked in place, shaking like a leaf as she stared at the monster. She saw the jaw open and the head start to drop-

Her mother was there, knocking her down. Tora hit the floor of the wagon hard, grunting as the wind was driven from her. Her mother didn't react to her cry of discomfort; instead, she was twisting around to loose an arrow at it-

With a sob, Tora turned and disappeared belowdecks, running to the back of the hold and hiding there.

Complication: Phobia - Snakes of any size

:D

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Because I'm feeling proud of running 10k last night, everyone gets a HP. In addition, Tora gets one for being a sissy

;) and T'riss can have one retroactively for having to go underground.

The ship lurched as it turned for the shallows, heading towards the eroded sandy beaches that marked the bank. Two of the crew managed to scramble to the cannons, dropping to all fours to keep balance. In their panic, they fretted over the confusing cannon, but Wa'ne leaped from the mast and quickly instructed them on one while he manned one himself.

Seeing the serpent was not a problem, the massive form took up the entirety of the water around them. It breached slowly right in front of the ship, water sluicing off its scaled form in sheets. Its head turned as it towered over the ship and it peered with one eye at the crew.

The Wake rocked with the swell of water from the beast's entry into the air. At that unfortunate moment, the cannons went off, the seemingly chaotic lines that encased the metallic objects flaring to life as they were fired. Both shots went wide, the arcs of lightning flashing by the serpent. It seemed to notice, for it jerked backward away from the ship and a high pitched wail emanated from somewhere in its body.

Arak threw the seed, hoping for perfect timing, but the creature's mouth didn't open. His aim was true though and the seed managed by luck to hit a space between a tooth and its scaled hide. Like watching a plant at high-speed, the vines broke out and began to flail and creep over the serpents mouth. Confusion washed over its eyes, unable to comprehend what was going on. It opened and closed its massive jaws, snapping vines like they were nothing, but the vines kept coming and soon seemed to overwhelm it.

Faster than it had come up, the sea serpent sank back into the waves with another loud whine, even its shadow quickly disappearing as it dove deep, leaving no trace but the torn remnants of vines floating on the surface.

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T'riss gritted her teeth as Tora fled below deck, unable to leave her post at the wheel as she guided the ship towards the shallows. Kaer damn her! Of course, the serpent! The attack, when Tora lost her mother... I'd... forgotten... T'riss cursed, then laughed fiercely as the lightning cannons gave the sea serpent pause. When Arak chased it off with some sort of Skrofan plant magic, T'riss crowed in victory.

"That be showin' 'er, Arak, me boy!" T'riss hollered. "Good job... for a dirt-grubber."

Despite her words, her tone suggested the buxom captain was actually impressed. Still, though the sea serpent had fled many fathoms below, T'riss strained, trying to sense its presence, to feel any alteration in the currents through the hull of the ship, portending a recurrence of serpent's attack. Fortunately, it seemed it was truly gone. Satisfied, T'riss smoothly altered course to follow the coastline, then locked the wheel before heading below deck.

"Thenu S'Il, be keepin' an eye on our 'eadin,'" T'riss ordered as she strutted for the ladder. "I be talkin' to me cousin."

Her heels clacked down the short steps of the ladder (a landling would call them stairs), then checked the crew quarters before searching through the neatly stacked and ordered crates in the cargo hold. T'riss' full lips twisted wryly - she wasn't good at talking about all this feelings shit - when she was feeling down, she went out and got fucked, or fucked someone else, but this was her cousin.

"Tora, you down here? I remember what happened in the mountains outside Thyrta. You okay, cuz?"

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Arak didn't hear any of it, he was busy ... looking over the rail. The water below churned to froth as the ship sliced through the water, and passed by with increasing speed, carrying them away from the great serpent and the fouled waters. For several long moments Arak simply hung to, and over, the rail, as the ship changed course and bucked and rolled in the sea. After some time he finally turned from the water and slumped to the deck. His face was pale, and tinged with a geenish cast that would not have been out of place in the forests of his homeland. The crew avoided him, but none said anything unkind either, his magic working had done more to save the ship than its own fancy cannons had. For now at least he had earned enough respect to gain immunity to their jibes. After some time he rose unsteadily to his feet and went in search of fresh water to wash the foulness from his mouth, and perhaps some hardtack or flatbread to fill the roiling void at his core.

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Tora fled, squeezing into a place between the barrels and the hold. There was nothing for her but the fear in her heart. In her mind, all she could see was the snake rising over her mother, the wide mouth gaping just before the strike. Her mother disappearing between the scaled lips-

Her heels clacked down the short steps of the ladder, then checked the crew quarters before searching through the neatly stacked and ordered crates in the cargo hold. T'riss' full lips twisted wryly - she wasn't good at talking about all this feelings shit - when she was feeling down, she went out and got fucked, or fucked someone else, but this was her cousin.

"Tora, you down here? I remember what happened in the mountains outside Thyrta. You okay, cuz?"

T’riss’s voice jarred her out of her fugue. Tora’s face blossomed with shame as she realized she’d run and hidden at the first sign of danger. She hadn’t been able to stop herself from running in the face of the giant snake.

“Tora?” T’riss asked again.

“No,” she finally replied, her voice low and miserable. “I’m not alright. I’m miserable. And angry. I ran! That’s… in the stories, those are the… it doesn’t matter.” The young Muthay tried to pull herself together. “I’m the storyteller.” Tears welled in her golden eyes despite her struggles to hold them back. “What happened to it?”

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T'riss grimaced, crouching down on her heels in front of Tora, one arm braced across her knees, and after a moment of hesitation, reached out with a calloused thumb to wipe the tears away from the corner of one of Tora's eyes. She wasn't good at this - when she was in need of consolation, she usually just looked for someone to fuck or fight.

T'riss' lips curled into a wry smirk. "Arak chased it off by throwing a damned bush at the damned thing." The buxom ship captain chuckled, then snorted as she straightened up once more, unconsciously adjusting to the shifting of the ship, and extended a hand to her cousin. Talking with Tora in private, her affected accent was absent. "The lightning-throwers and reaching the shallows may have helped some too."

Eyes as gold as Tora's own hardened and T'riss waved a hand sharply. "Pharg to what's in the stories, Tora - you're the storyspinner, tell the tale you want. We'll leave this part out." T'riss slipped off her hat and ran her fingers through her golden-red hair as she glanced around the cargo-hold, grinning sardonically, eyes bright. "Besides, you didn't run, you were checking for leaks, right?" She shook her hand, prompting Tora to take it. "Wipe your eyes and come with me back up top - the voyage and the tale is just startin' and ye don't wanna be missin' de beginnin' o' it, eh?"

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