The Pakthryxl Proxy

Lesson Learned

As we made our way up the Ustradi, I contemplated all possible scenarios dealing with the color. Grivald, the young man Lorenz had saved from the oozes in Ecanus, was among us. A young, eager magus, in whom I placed too much confidence. Had I been but slightly more careful, it would have saved my neck.

A simple plan, shadow projection would shunt my life force into my shadow, an undead form immune to the color’s life-sapping aura. A telepathic bond would be formed between us, allowing our adept diplomat, Lorenz, an opportunity to parley with the creature, my shadow as proxy. Aklo is a difficult language to master, and Vestin had yet to take the time. I had instructed Grivald to place my comatose body into my bag of holding, providing safety, should the color approach. Clearly, I was not sufficiently adamant on that point.

My shadow’s lack of shriveling and death alarmed the color upon my approach, but began to respond once Aklo was uttered. I awaited Vestin’s charismatic oratory, ready to translate. His chosen address was somewhat disappointing, but I believed Vestin knew his craft, translating “There is no more life to feed you here, but we lifeforms can help”. The color was unmoved.

Somehow, our diplomacy had failed, now bloodshed followed. I couldn’t foresee how much would be mine. The ghostly color sped through the ground, as I gave pursuit through the air. Our crew and their life force were too hard to conceal, and the color was eager to feast. I called a wall of force to halt the blasted beast, but I was too slow, it was already below the ship.

Soon, half our crew were chartreuse, lethargic, or both. I should have known what was to come. Even in my undead form, I could feel as well as hear the sharp crack as the colored Grivald tried to cave in my skull with his morningstar. A thousand curses raced through my mind. The idiot failed to follow my instructions. No matter, the damage could be repaired in time.

Black powder ecplosions poured from our ship as the Captain showered the color with ghostly bullets. Hastened by anger and magic, Reskafar and I laid into the color. Both Grivald and Aven were now turned. The chartreuse undine turned to my comatose body, raising his greatsword into the air. I do not recall the infinity of curses that followed.

It is a unique experience, watching your own body decapitated. A great calm washed over me, and I saw reality with a clarity heretofore unknown. The color had to die, by my hand, its existence erased, its life eradicated, its race forever fearful of my name.

Hurt by bullet and missile, it retreated below the surface. I gave chase, loosing even more force into its formless gullet. I gazed into it shapeless form through the bedrock, and realized my clarity was naught but rage. The color was less than half-dead, our crew closer to fully, my body—utterly. We could not destroy the beast. This had to end, one way or another.

In a moment, it was back above, disintegrating the captain. Blood and viscera poured from the kobold, as his outer layers evaporated at the color’s touch. But the color’s demeanor had shifted. We were no longer fodder for growth, but dangerous, and worthy of respect.

It offered in its formless Aklo tongue, “Life, or death?”

Lorenz offered, “Of course! Parley!” Despite my boiling rage, I knew he was right. We had no chance against this monster. He could see as clearly as I. We now had a genuine chance to reason with it, if it still believed we had any capacity to kill it. As I stared into its incorporeal mass, I saw the truth. It was close, so close, to achieving its goal.

Lorenz was far more eloquent this time, with much more charm than the line he gave mere minutes before. I summoned a beast upon which the color could feed, but it still bellowed “MORE!”. Soon, Reskafar was upon us, his flesh magically stitched together again. With him, were the several crates of “Presto Oozes” given to us by the alchemical charlatan, Rudhale.

“Have at em’, they’re sure to fill you up,” cleverly smirked the kobold.

One by one, the oozes shriveled to raisins, all the while the color grew brighter, more powerful, until it reached its full measure, turning a bright lime green. It squeed in pure delight, “I may rejoin my cluster! I am in your debt, as are all my future generations. I shall send them all here to delight in the feasting you forms provide!”

“Your future generations will be slain, scouring your incorporeal pesitlence from the universe”, I thought.

“What do you know of recent celestial disturbances surrounding this sphere?”, I said.

“_The heavenly bodies have been disturbed by a force from the diaspora, or somethinbg like that,”_ it uttered, and with that, jettisoned into outer space.

“We’ve little time. I’ve only hours until this form is exhausted. Lorenz, I have need of you. Please retrieve my body, including the head.”, with that, I teleport us to the great capital city of Nex, Quantium. The others would have to make their way here on their own.

Quantium is like no other place, magic is paramount. The understanding, subduing, and ultimately empowering nature of magic is everywhere. Of course, I’ve returned to this wondrous city minus a head. My shadow led Lorenz to the largest church of Abadar within Quantium, him carrying my body, and head over his shoulders. It was there his skills would be needed.

Laying my broken body before the clerics, Lorenz worked his own verbal magic. After ten minutes of clever religious references and bawdy jokes, I would find my body revived at mere cost, five-thousand gold for the diamond needed. A small price to pay for a head.

I awoke in my body, feeling exactly as one ought to after being recently beheaded. Lorenz was leaning in the corner of the temple, arms crossed, with a little smirk across his face. I would allow this. I did owe him that. We thanked the generous, incurious clerics, and made our way to the harbor. Our telepathic link endured, and our ship was close to arrival.

Not only had our remainder arrived, but Hexa’s group as well, in addition to another past encounter, the Freedom, and her slave crew. Perhaps the arrival of so many potential allies is a sign. I will have to divine the secrets of our path more often now. But one thing is certain, they cannot know what happened with the color.

Almost Disintegrated!!! Almost a Friend!!!
Captain's log found in wardroom

So you think you’re tough as nails? You think you’re a badass? You think nothing can stop you? I got a question for you. How much can your badass get disintegrated before your a goner? My firsthand experience in the matter tells me it’s a whole hell of a lot. I almost got disintegrated. I almost got smoked.

After I wounded the colour out of space again its survival genes kicked in. It came for me with fury. I swear it enjoyed sandblasting my scales and flesh off with its disintegrating touch. The entire left side of body was stripped away until you could see my bone marrow and vital organs. For fucks sake, I could see my dragon heart beating! I had no idea what was keeping my insides from spewing out over the ground like pig slop. I can testify there ain’t no pain worse than being ground to grit. I’ve never felt closer to death. Not even when Ezgar rocked me.

What would you do if you almost got disintegrated? Would you throw in the towel? I tell you what I did. I gave up! When the Space ooze offered a parley, I threw down my weapon down faster than a one-pump chump squirting at a whorehouse. I weighed my options. My Gebbiter blew up, my whole body was an open wound, and the ooze was only hitting me. On top of it all, the incorporeal ooze barely looked half dead once I got a good look at it. And I shot that thing an awful lot! What were we thinking trying to fight an alien monster? It was a galaxy out of our league!

Shadow Goethe the rage tornado wanted to keep battling to the bitter end. He was still fuming from being decapitated. Myrrh wished the ooze had a weak spot to twist a knife into. Lorenz wanted a tropical vacation with white beaches and mimosas. I just wanted to survive. We had bigger dragons to fry. I commanded Goethe not to get me killed. Once he got control of his animal demon instincts he saw it my way. Lorenz used his universal translator magic to open the lines of communication. Turned out Rudhale was correct. It needed life energy to get back past the Diaspora to its home-world.

It just so happened we had some fresh life force for it to consume. We served up the crates of Rudhale’s newly created Presto oozes to the starving alien menace. Then we watched the carnage of a new species go extinct in the most terrible way possible. The colour out of space grew bigger and brighter after its feast. The bastard was happier than a pig in shit. In fact, it was more than happy it was downright hedonistic. The Presto oozes were that freaking tasty. The colour out of space began emitting a high frequency sound and began pulsating like crazy. It was preparing for departure.

“My friends I must go going now while I still have the energy for star flight. Thank you for the delectable nourishment. I will send my offspring to you to feed from now until eternity. Word of your delectably nourishment will spread like star dust among my civilization. Expect colonization sometime in the next thousand cycles”, thanked the space denizen. I didn’t really understand it but we might of made a friend or doomed the world.

“We’ve heard a rumor about a disturbance in the celestial bodies. Is that true?”, Goethe asked sharply.

“Yes! A rogue planet has punched through the Diaspora. Very odd. It caused my meteor to veer to this backwater planet. I must be going now my friends”, answered the creature. It was then gone in a flash to the sky above the sky.

Shadow Goethe wasted no time and disappeared with his beheaded body for Quantium. He desperately needed the services of a highly skilled healer to turn his situation around. If his shadow form quit he would be dead for real. So he left. And the rest of us had a leisurely sail to Quantium. We met the enormous Quantium Golem before entering the boat harbor. There are no words for how awesome it was.

But the best was yet to come! After docking I spotted the rest of my ragtag crew!

Just a Flesh Wound!!! Goethe Beheaded!!!
Captain's log found on bilge pump

I saw it unfold in slow motion. Aven raised his sword high above his head and swung down with the frenzy of an enraged god. I watched Aven’s killing power rapidly multiply as it moved from one muscle to the next until it reached its limit at the curve of his sword. It was as graceful as it was deadly. It was all things at once. The killing stroke’s final destination was Goethe’s limp neck. Which didn’t stand a snowball’s chance. Goethe’s head got slashed clean off at the neck bone! Aven just killed Goethe in cold blood!

The colour out of space had gone and done it now. The sneaky bastard infiltrated the river boat and colour blighted Aven and Grawald turning them both into friend murdering serial killers. We had miscalculated badly just how cunning it was. It was stalking us not the other way around. Luckily, Rudhale’s genital cleaning Presto oozes were safely stowed. Or were they? My ooze phobia kicked into hyper-drive.

The funny thing was that Goethe saw his own head getting chopped off! Somehow he was standing behind me and also laying supine in pieces in front of me. So tilting, but everything that demon does is a twist up. The Goethe standing behind me screamed with the fury of a thousand hells, “Curses!!! I told you fools to protect my body!” Oops.

Rewind to 15 minutes ago. Goethe thought he was so clever! He used some mysterious death magic that transferred his mind into his shadow leaving his body helpless. He claimed that his deathless shadow form was immune to many of the space ooze’s latent powers. The plan was for shadow Goethe to parley with the incorporeal ooze threat as an equal. We should’ve known better especially Lorenz. Trusting Goethe to negotiate is like trusting a dire goat to bake a birthday cake. Nothing good ever happens! You just end up bloody without any cake.

Fast forward 15 minutes. I retaliated in kind by heavily damaging the cloudy ooze with my Gebbiter. Fuck space ooze and the meteor it rode in on! The bloodied ooze slammed through me practically disintegrating my left shoulder then fled deep into the freaking ground! Myrrh and Lorenz also got some nice swipes on it before it retreated. Crap. Ground is hard. What to do now?

After watching his body meat die, shadow Goethe was an inferno of black vengeance. Being caught between life and death can do that to a person. I should know. Goethe went berserk and pursued the space ooze underground with reckless abandon. The ship quaked from their explosive subterranean clash. I called to Goethe, “Don’t die on us! Force it above ground! We’ll finish this with one last attack!”

Now what to do about a chartreuse Aven?

So many enemies, too little time.
Found in a pile of old scrolls... thousands of years hence.

A color out of space?! I’ve too much on my hands now to deal with an incorporeal ooze from the dark tapestry! I’d have let the blasted thing eat away the smallfolk of Nex, had that slippery Rudhale not made such compelling display. In the unlikely event his predictions of the color’s appetite prove true, at least its destruction will again earn us leverage in the state. Given our information, the color will prove a genuine challenge, but I’ve not come this far, nor shed such blood to be slaughtered like those week-willed corpses seen in its wake.

Nevertheless, our heroism within Ecanus has earned us some mediocre reward, arcane enhancements, and a few scrolls for our trouble. Us? What madness. Though, I must admit I’ve found respect for my comrades on this journey. For much of our time therein, I found them little more than means to my ends. Lorenz is a man to be recognized, far beyond his lesser human brethren, a nobleman born. I may share more in common with this man than first thought. The kobold, honestly, a kobold! Reskafar, his true name cannot honestly be Hole Maker! Whatever his true name may be, his will and skill in battle show him to be a higher class of creature, no matter his low-born species.

The Undine, Aven. I’ve walked Golarion 86 years, far fewer free, and I’ve met over 100 Undine Avens. Whatever creativity his parents lacked in names, he must have inherited in prowess. I’ve never seen a man have his skin rent from his body and live, let alone continue to fight. That alone proved his worth. I must have been out of my mind to take the time to save him when the maniac Slate was about to rend my soul from body, yet I did. Am I becoming weak? Have I become attached to these others?

No. They are useful. Myrrh understands this I am sure. Whatever his origins may be, he understands the whisper in the dark that is a mortal life. I respect that in him. He does not delay. He does not empathize. He kills. When our collective time under the thumb of Apsu is finished, should it ever be, I may have use for him. With Hexa back in hand, I’m sure she desires vengeance as much as I. Given his secret occupation beyond the borders of our alliance, I’m sure the rewards our success may offer will be all the enticement he needs.

However, that is for the future. Now we have that blasted color, Ezgar, Slate, his brother, and his perhaps his damnable father! Why did Dahak curse the platinum dragons into greys instead of simply annihilating them?! Vengeance I understand, but didn’t that idiot god realize some grey would eventually find an arcane method to regain his lineage? Should Apsu’s power continue to grow within us as it has this past month, I swear I may do what Apsu never could.

But again, this power is there but at Apsu’s will. Should we misalign with it, it may be lost. This is the power of the gods, given to mortals to serve them. I am no slave to Apsu, yet I cannot allow Slate to tear down creation to serve his dead platinum forefathers. Were I him, I would do the same. But the truth of the universe is power. There must be order, and to make order, there must be power, the power to influence, to subdue, to conquer, and to destroy.

That is the power of the gods, and our company has been lent a share of that power. So we must use that power to subdue and destroy all in our way, to make order. Outside of that power, is chaos. And chaos cannot reign. So we will kill. We will kill this blasted color from space. We will kill Ezgar. We will kill Slate. We will kill all in our path. Finally, I will kill both o…

First, the color. Yes, the color…..

Rudhale’s Guide to the Galaxy!!! It Involves Ooze
Captain’s log found on backstay

“Knock. Knock. Knock”
No one answered the heavy steel doors of the Vats. We had returned with captain Tsadok to do some investigation into the Big Lethal Ooze Breach, already in the books code named the B.L.O.B incident.

“Do you think Rudhale ran?”, Aven asked.
“Son, I don’t run, Bil Li carries me”, answered a confidant echo from beyond the doors, “You guys just interrupted my most productive fifteen minutes of the day. It’s science fact that a person’s peek production only lasts fifteen minutes. I built my entire ooze empire off those short bursts of genius. How can I help you?”.

Rudhale opened the door, he was dressed in an eggshell jumpsuit bedazzled with blue rhinestones, a giant magnifying glass covered his right eye, and he held a large wooden mixing spoon. Bil Li was behind him carrying a lidless container marked, “Hazardous Ooze Material”.

“What happened? The council needs explanation”, questioned Tsadok

“Yeah! And why were you infected with chartreuse ash when we arrived?”, I asked.
“I’m glad you brought that up Captain Reskafar. I believe an incorporeal alien-ooze intelligence hitchhiked its way to earth on a meteor from outer space. It then infiltrated the Vats and poisoned my mind and body with the color of space. So I plead insanity. It’s a miracle I survived. Tsadok you know that the oozes escape from time to time, forty-two times to be precise, its the cost of doing business with strange magic. It was unlucky this time that my top secret carnivorous blobs got out, but that isn’t my fault. The space ooze is to blame. Any reasonable person can see that, plain as the smile on my face”, said the affable Rudhale with a half grin. Tsadok looked like he was started to buy the excuse. I didn’t know what to make of it.

“But I did some good too. I recruited these incredible generous pirates to defeat the blobs. Plus I already had Bil Li take several samples of the dead oozes to further my experiments. I already located and researched the space ooze. Plus those escaped oozes added a little excitement to this boring city. Okay that last one might not have been good for everyone”, justified Rudhale to Tsadok, going in for the kill. His words hung in the air in much the same way bricks don’t. Tsadok bought it hook, line, and sinker. As for the rest of us, Lorenz looked a bit jealous, Goethe annoyed, Myrrh poised, Aven indifferent, and myself impressed.

Tsadok said on the way in that it was unlikely that Rudhale was going to be prosecuted for the B.L.O.B incident even if it was on purpose. As long as, Rudhale supplied Nex with top of line military assets and a reasonable excuse, he could get away with an occasional catastrophe. Apparently, escaped fleshforged monsters running amok is not that uncommon in Ecanus. So much so it’s hardly a crime. The housecall was merely protocol after an incident. Rudhale knew this too so all the pageantry he displayed was just for us.

“Didn’t you tell me were looking for a space ooze when we first met? This is good”, said Tsadok, “Rudhale please show them what you discovered”. Rudhale smiled wide and pranced to the stairs. He took us to his observatory on the top of the tower. At the center of the room was a giant crystal ball the size of a sixty pound stone.

“Gentlemen, I have two passions in life. Oozes and scrying. What you’re about to see is my own invention. I can use this baby to scry anything in the galaxy. Which is super useful to peek on the competition or spy on a hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional alien race of oozes. Don’t Panic. Just sit back and watch”, boasted Rudhale like a plumed peacock.

He carefully rubbed a teaspoon of chartreuse ash onto the globe. For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen. A few more seconds passed and something happened. A birds eye view of a river fork appeared, the picture zoomed in revealing a heavily blighted landscape, and finally focused in on a large strangled tree.

“Bingo! That’s where you’ll find the space ooze”, said Rudhale.
“Looks like the Ustradi and Elemion river fork”, chimed Aven.

The picture quickly changed to a chartreuse planet. It looked like a bowl of butterscotch pudding.
“You see space oozes feed on the vigor of the body and the will of the spirit. Call it life force. The more it feeds the bigger it grows. After it consumes enough life force it will launch itself back into the galaxy in search of its founder world, a rogue planet in the Omarion Nebula. The planet’s surface is a vast ocean of millions of intermingling oozes with no discernible landmass. I theorize that this ooze ocean forms the ultimate community. Call it the Great Soup. Wow! Think about the advantages living in such a free flowing soup. I bet the answer to the great question of life, the universe and everything swims in that ooze orgy. Being broken from that nirvana must be devastating. No wonder it kills indiscriminately. This poor soul-sucking extraterrestrial ooze just wants to voyage home. It’s almost poetic if you ask me. Which makes me wonder if a space ooze can write poetry? Huh. Food for thought”, explained Rudhale deep in the rapids of his stream of consciousness.

“So it will leave on its own? Why bother with it?”, Goethe interjected.

The picture changed back to fields of blighted crops and dead forests. Moving pictures of munthreks fleeing from chartreuse monsters played on the screen. Scenes of starvation, dehydration, and murder followed. Finally, the image settled on a close up of a crying pale orange baby. I heard Bil Li making crying noises from underneath the globe. Had Rudhale prepared this in advance? Could this globe predict the future as well? Rudhale let the movers go on for a spell as Bil Li provided sound effects. I was mesmerized.

“You fool! Or course it will leave. But not before it sucks the life out of everything in the region for years to come! I estimate currently it’s probably about a 100 feet in diameter. By my calculations, E=MC^2, the ooze will need to grow much bigger to produce enough kinetic energy to reach escape velocity. If nothing is done. The rivers will close, Ecanus will be abandoned, and Alkenstar City will dry up. Loathe it or ignore it, you can’t like that scenario. You boys must do the thing!”, righteously declared Rudhale.

“On behalf of Ecanus, I charge you with expunging the space ooze. I will get my people to magically enhance your weapons in preparation. What say you?”, said Tsadok.
“Don’t Panic. Be careful. The space oozes’s aura will zap your life force within a couple hundred feet. It’s intelligent. Cunning enough to outwit me. It’s incorporeal so it can attack from any angle. It just might be the perfect killing machine”, educated Rudhale.
“I’m the perfect killing machine. We’ll take the job. This place is starting to get boring around here anyways”, I declared.

While our weapons were getting upgraded, we took Rudhale’s scrying globe for a spin or three. The trade off between trusting Rudhale with some of our secrets and new information was worth the risk. We checked in on the rest of the crew who were already in Quantium. Kaledith noticed the scrying eye and provided us with a written account of their adventures. She lastly wrote that our old Okeno ally, Khair, was also docked in Quantium. Very interesting! Goethe checked out Slate’s whereabouts by using his busted platinum horn. Turned out, Slate was flying north over the Obari, but was traveling too fast for the scrying eye to keep up. I popped in on Ezgar using one of the Azlanti daggers from Great Hunter. Ezgar was wearing Aven’s skin. Which creeped the real Aven out! Ezgar also sailed north on his sunken galley. Ashen looked to be following close behind on her ship. The grays must be traveling to Katapesh, after all, Camrad said they were seeking something from the infamous night stalls. Rudhale the confirmed opportunist was fascinated by everything. Clearly, he was giddily filing away everything he saw in his mind palace. We may need to keep Rudhale as an ally or have Myrrh pay him a personal visit.

Our weapons arrived shiny and new. We set sail down the river to face off against a faceless incorporeal ooze from another planet. Not sure how this is going to go.

Rudhale bid us farewell, “So Long, And Thanks for All the…”.
We were too far away to hear the rest.

The Indestructible Creature!!! Boated with the Blood of its Victims!!!
Captain’s log found in a gunnel

“Wow. That’s a lot of screaming coming from Ecanus. Huh. Mages are tough I’m sure not many will get absorbed. Bil Li draw me a bath. I just got a new idea for an ooze. Picture an ooze that digests your food for you! Think about it no more chewing!”, snapped Rudale, apparently his melancholy was short lived. You didn’t need to be a mind scientist to see Rudhale had no intentions of stopping his blobs. However, his rash demeanor got under Goethe and Lorenz’s skin like a tick.

“We’ll stop the blobs! I’m sure we’ll be handsomely rewarded by Ecanus”, quoted Lorenz.
“That’s the spirit”, shouted Rudhale already in his bathrobe, “Little known fact! Fleshforges make fantastic bath tubs”.

We were off to Ecanus in a flicker. I had much trepidation in my dragon soul. Blobs and oozes are freaking terrifying to fight under the best circumstances let alone blind. We appeared in front of the north gate. I am starting to get used to this teleporting thing! Hundreds of people were fleeing the city in a chaotic rush. I saw more than one person get flattened by the mob and saw much looting. We spotted a platoon of city guards pushing against the bedlam.

“We’re here to help. We’ve been tracking a chartreuse ooze for many miles. Tell us where to go and we will annihilate it”, Aven offered to the guard Captain. The battlemage, Tsadok, looked us over with a knowing look. We must of passed his internal test because he told us where to best support his troops.

Goethe casted a few fly spells and we weaved around the building in a mad dash. The freaking carnivorous blob was the size of a three story building! My “we’re dead” thoughts intensified. Who knew how many pounds of flesh it had already consumed. City guards were busy trying to box it in with magic, but their parameter wasn’t finished. The blob steadily was pulling screaming people out a cobblestone building one at a time like it was eating grapes off a vine. As each person got dissolved the ooze swelled a little more. It was only a matter of seconds before Funky Boy was going to split again!

We took our positions hovering above the buildings. We spotted a foolish bunch of city mages trying to sneak by the blob. Lorenz did his best to direct them away. I squeezed off a shot at the blob only for it to be deflected by an amorphous pseudopods. Goddamnit, I hate anything that doesn’t fall down when shot! I thought to myself, “I made it through Vosh I can make it through this bullshit”. I opened fire like never before. My bullets would’ve blocked out the sun if it was sunny out!

Goethe experimented with a new spell that I had never seen him use before. He summoned a toxic cloud of gas near the blob which drove the monster back further into a building. I heard a person from inside the building scream, “Oh God! Who casted cloud kill?”, then silence. It occurred to me that Goethe may have been trying to kill the blob’s food source, but I don’t think he would do that. Would he? The blob made it to the top of the ramshackle building to get away from the death cloud. With the ooze out of reach Goethe dismissed the noxious cloud. The carnivorous blob spotted the group of sneaky mages who were desperately preparing to close off the trapping parameter. The blob rained down on them like a bloody waterfall of death.

Sometimes I think Lorenz has a no self preservation instinct. He has a soft spot for weak munthreks. The crazy bastard actual swan dived into the pulsating ooze after the swallowed guards! I bet his life flashed before his eyes a few times. I had to help so I decided to put Bruner’s teaching to the test. Can a tiny bullet move a hundred ton blob? Hell yes it can! I packed my musket with a lot of black powder and took aim. It sounded like a freaking cannon when I fired. The bullet hit the ooze with a concussive force so great it rippled through the ooze like a fat guy belly flopping in a pond. I managed to move the colossal ooze uncovering the smashed guards and Lorenz. Lorenz looked immaculate except he was grasping on to a bloody detached arm of an absorbed guard. But he did manage to save a different guard’s whole body before the blob recovered. If you ask me, it was a goddamn miracle he saved even one of the guards from that indestructible monster.

The blob freshly bloated with guard blood recovered by splitting into two gigantic blobs! The two half size blobs tried to escape to the city through an alley way. Aven, Goethe, and I managed to destroy them before they got too far into the meat and blood buffet that is Ecanus. I learned a valuable lesson fighting that blob. Big blob, little blob. It didn’t matter, I’m the guy with the gun.

We helped mop up the living gore piles for the rest of the evening. Ecanus owes us big time and I aim to collect.

The Wizard of Ooze!!! On the Precipice of Apocalypse
Captains log found on the sheet

“Should we knock?”, I snickered, marveling at the staggering amount of blood.
“Nah…they rolled out the red carpet for us”, Lorenz sarcastically responded.
“That’s the most blood I have even seen!”, blurted Aven.
“I’ve seen more. Much much more”, a way too serious Myrrh added.
“I can think of thirteen possible reasons why this fleshforge is so bloody”, Goethe stated, he continued after a deep breath, “First, a back end sphincter malfunction…”.
Lorenz interjected, “Please keep it to yourself Goethe. I just ate”.

We unceremoniously entered the bloody tower. Unbelievably it was twice as bloody on the inside, floor to ceiling and wall to wall. No one greeted us so we took a look around. The first floor seemed to be a warehouse full of strange alchemical goods.

“Mostly ooze countermeasures”, Goethe explained.
“For fucks sake, I hate oozes. Why do creepy towers always mess with oozes? Why not make something useful like a more delicious cow?”, I rambled.
“Quiet! I hear someone”, snapped Lorenz.

I heard it too, the muffled wails of someone on the verge of a dirt nap. Lorenz and Aven bolted to the rescue. They found a munthrek man on the ground writhing in agony. Up close, you could see something projecting under his skin like wandering goosebumps the size of rigging knots. Before I knew it, I was blindsided by the pool of blood under my feet. The bloody ooze forced its viscous pudding down my open mouth. I threw it up and ran away like a frightened child.

“It’s trying to get me pregnant with ooze babies! I felt it release its seed!”, I cried. Aven and Goethe eliminated the threat while Lorenz cared for the screaming man, ignoring me completely. I watched as the others kept pouring precious rum and other rancid concoctions down the limp man’s throat.

“Why torture him more?”, I asked after composing myself.
“He’s got an angry ooze in his gut. We need vinegar!”, demanded Aven.
“Ahh! A simple acid, C2H4O2, give me a moment. Where did I put my portable lab?”, Goethe proclaimed. His what?

Sure as water is wet, Goethe spontaneously catalyzed up a vial of vinegar. The man puked up an entire blood pudding ooze monster (So Gross!) which we dispatched quickly before it could impregnate anyone else. After, Lorenz got the guy, Bil Li, healthy enough for talking. He told us to find Rudhale in the fleshforge chambers below that his boss would know what to do. We went downstairs and checked out the fleshforge chambers. Turns out, a flesh forge is just a big bath tub with lots of arcane engraving on it, I was expecting a crazy over-engineered butcher shop with skinned animals everywhere so it was a bit of a letdown. From one of the four chambers we heard some mysterious shuffling. Goethe summoned an invisible scout to check out the noises. A few seconds later…

“You’re the wayyy wrong coLor! You little devil!”, a man effervescently shouted, his voice oozed with all the eccentricities of a fabled flim flam man. We heard a barrage of explosions and ego-maniacally laughing from the chamber.

“Rudhale?”, yelled Lorenz.
“Yes! What coLor are you?”, questioned an outlandish voice.
“Black, blue, white, and pale”, Goethe sharply answered.
“Wayyy wrong answer! Bombs Away!”, shouted the bizarre man behind the door.
“Wait! We’re chartreuse like you. Ignore that other idiotic. He’s blinder than a deaf bat”, saved Lorenz. He pointed at the chartreuse ashy dust on the floor and motioned to Goethe to magically change us to the same color.
“Ahhhh…well if that’s the case. I need a nap…”, the man yawned.

We entered the vat room and found a sleeping chartreuse munthrek with perfectly coiffed hair wearing wing tips and a flamboyant fur outlined lab coat. Immediately, we tied him up and disarmed him. Lorenz somehow managed to cure the odd man of his chartreuse sheen with diamond dust and magic.

“What are you doing here?”, asked Lorenz.
“Great question, Mister. I mean, what are any of us doing here? Wow. Food for thought”, Rudhale answered as he rose. He shook his head and yawned again.
“I’m Rudhale, Captain of Industry, that’s if your industry is ooze. I started out, making platypus bears, but there’s no money in platypus bears even though they’re more tender than beef…”, he continued in his charismatic manner, “I had a vision one night about oozes, the bigger the better the richer I get, so I switched production. Let me tell you oozes are the next big thing. I plan to put an ooze in every home, they’re that useful!”.

“Focus Rudhale! What the hell man? Where are your oozes?”.
“Don’t know about that. The last thing I remember, I was in my observatory watching a meteor shower while sanding the calluses off my feet. Hmmm…that reminds me I think I have a rash. Where’s my assistant? Bil Li! Bil Li!”, Rudhale exclaimed in a carefree manner. He began to stretch wildly like a baby bird.
“I need to do my Rudhale-calisthenics program to get my mind warmed up. Genius takes a warm mind”. he said while doing pelvic lunges with his arms akimbo. Was this munthrek for real?
“We scraped Bil Li off the ground ten minutes ago. He is barely alive upstairs”.
“Great! Tell him to go downstairs and do the thing”, said Rudhale mid handstand.

“Why downstairs?”.
“I am guessing my top secret carnivorous blobs are down there. They shouldn’t have gotten too big. Only 10 or 12 people to absorb down there. They’re each probably no bigger than a platypus bear, two tops. Luckily, I don’t keep the leftover platypus bears down there this time of year, they’re real jerks when in heat”, Rudhale elaborated while bending over to touch his toes.
“Strangely, I’m allergic to oozes. I got it! My Rudhale-calisthenics must be working!! Why don’t you fellas do the thing for me?”, he said, then he stood erect and flashed his pearly whites at us.

I couldn’t tell if Rudhale was a brilliant genius or a brilliant bullshit artist. No matter which, we were already committed by our own curiosity. Why not clear a few more floors? We crept downstairs past the bunks to the cellar. My dragon heart pumped like crazy. I’m certain I’m developing an ooze phobia. Then I saw the red undulating blob.

Definitely an ooze phobia! The carnivorous ooze was straight out of my worst nightmares. A huge alien pool of blood red unrelenting uncaring hunger! It was so big I didn’t need to aim. I just closed my eyes and fired and fired and fired. When I opened my eyes, the ooze was splattered everywhere in abstract gore like a red drip painting. Aven looked like he was part of the canvas, “Cease Fire!”, he shouted, “It’s dead”.
“Did it get you pregnant?”, I asked.

“How many blobs did you find?”, Rudhale called down from atop the stairwell.
“One”, answered Goethe. Did he expect more?
“How many fleshforges were open again?”, he quizzed in a shaky tone. What else was the bastard hiding?
“Two”, replied Goethe.

“Whoa! The voices in my head don’t like that. I was hoping the burnt ooze odor was coming from down there and not Ecanus. Well fellas! I got one more little thing for you to do. Why don’t you come to the roof?”, he finished. You could tell something was off with him. He talked too fast even for a crackpot fast talker.

Once on the tower roof, we saw Ecanus a few miles away burning like a five alarm fire. You could practically warm your hands from the heat. Between the razed buildings we saw a few glimpses of a massive crimson blob rolling and twitching. Yup, definitely an ooze phobia, I struggled to hold in my puke. It was biggest freaking creature I’d ever seen!

“I named him Funky Boy. I added something special I found in the Mana Wastes to the ooze mix. Funky Boy loves to absorb magic flesh. Can you imagine the amount of magic he can absorb in Ecanus? He may never stop growing.”, Rudhale spoke with bewildered fascination. Funky Boy came into view again, engulfed a score of battlemages, split in two, and then split in four. The look on Rudhale’s face turned from fascination to horror to melancholy.

In a subdued tone, Rudhale spoke one last time, “Bil Li, won’t you look at that? Funky Boy is a daddy now. So Beautiful. I guess that makes me the grand daddy of the Apocalypse”.

The Wonders of Alkenstar City!!! Cosmic Mud Monsters Attack!!!
Captain's log found on hawser


I’ve hardly had a wet dream as sweet as the honed smog scent that filled Alkenstar City’s air. That sweet honey blend of black powder, bullets, and gun metal made you want to lick up the sky until it’s was all gone. Just thinking about it sends shivers through my reproductive organs! In all our travels, finally a munthrek city worth visiting. My wet dream in the wastes!

Some say Alkenstar City is the birthplace of firearms, which may be true, but I always thought it’s the birthplace of something even greater. The birthplace of the little guy kicking ass! The little guy has taken shit since the dawn of the first age. Sure magic levels the playing field for a lucky few, but most little guys still eat shit for breakfast. Just ask a gnome. Or a Kobold. That will end soon! The Gunworks has given little guys like me a way to make up for ages of butt hurt. Mark my words the way of the gun will usher in a new age. The Age of the Little Guy!

Alkenstar City did not disappoint. I was gobbled up by the technology on every street corner. I spent most of my time ogling the stock at the Rusty Glove the shop of celebrity gunsmith Bruner Durwel. Only in Alkenstar can a celebrity be a gunsmith! I just had to do business with him. My crew was kind enough to grant my wish. I traded Camrad’s stranger pistols for a personal lesson from Gunmaster Durwel. He taught me some crazy tricks that I can’t wait to unleash! Also, Myrrh was kind enough to loan me some money for my very first sniper rifle, affectionately named the Longshot. The first bastard to get his head blown off from this masterpiece is going to be a miles away from me. He won’t see it coming. He may even deserve it. I wish I had more time for the wonders of Alkenstar City, but we had to rendezvous with the rest of our crew in Quantium.

We followed Camrad’s final instructions and took the Ustradi River north to Ecanus. Luckily we were killing two munthreks with one bullet. First, we were going that way anyways. Second, the Grand Duchy would handsomely reward us for removing the blockage to their supply line. Lorenz and Aven discovered that the Ustradi river was blocked by either mud, flesh forged monsters, or cosmic forces. I was hoping it was cosmic mud monsters. Maybe we’d get triple the reward?

The truth was a little more chartreuse. From the two run aground supply ships that blocked the river we were attacked by a mob of chartreuse animals, munthreks, and a freaking giant. It was very mysterious, one second they were napping and the next they attacked like barbarians hopped on midnight milk speedballs. They might of been made of paper since they died so easily. Which was great, except they exploded like pinatas into puffs of yellow-green ash when killed. I got covered by one of the flakey chartreuse ash clouds. I felt the ash leach into my scales like a twenty-four hour mole marinade. The ash tried to rob me of me by draining my spirit to kick ass, but I wouldn’t let it. I quickly washed myself in the river while the others took care of the rest of the paper people. After the extermination, we found a crater full of the chartreuse ash. Master Goethe took a sample then pointed to the sky with a knowing look.

“This cosmic residue reminds me of an aura of languor. I suggest not touching it”, Goethe stated with textbook efficiency. Why would we touch it? A collective “No Duh” moment was had by the rest of us.

“What’s cosmic?”, I asked.
“From outer space”, responded Goethe.
“What’s outer space?”, I asked.
“You know the universe above”, responded Goethe. This back and forth went on for awhile. Eventually a very frustrated Goethe described outer space to me in simple terms, “The sky above the sky. Where stars hangout”.

I know about stars, I’m a sea captain after all, stars are holes poked in the night sky by my spear chucking Kobold ancestors. Goethe argued stars were masses of incandescent gases that were millions of miles away. I told Goethe he was crazy, “Goethe your crazy! How can things millions of miles away help you navigate a ship?”.

Goethe was so irritated with me he summoned a dinosaur to sort out the ships. We continued on our way to Ecanus in the largest supply ship. It was clear travel for a spell, but things got a little bloody for us like they always do. We approached a small island in the center of the river that had a very tall tower on it. As we moved closer, we could see streams of blood leaking out from all the entrances and windows. From point blank, the tower looked like a big bleeding hunk of raw meat. So naturally we had to check it out.

The sign above the main entrance stained in blood read, “All hope abandon, ye who enter the Vats”.

The Walloping in the Wastes!!! Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!!!
Captain’s log found in a stateroom

I swear there was a ring announcer there calling the shots.

“Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the moment you’ve been waiting for! The mythic superfight one hundred years in the making is only seconds away! From the worn out Spellscar Desert in the Mana Wastes, this fight is brought to you by Gray Dragon Machinations and Golden Apsu Promotions.

Introducing on the east cliff, three undead heroes with a bone to pick and an axe to grind. They’ve waited one hundred years for this chance! Please give it up for the Captain of the Waybringer, by way of Cheliax, a Grave Knight with a passion for acid and equestrian games. Aerodus-I-can’t-believe-I-failed-Apsu Pavooooo! Next, be prepared to be bewitched by an undead witch that will light your heart on fire. The ghostly Linnnnnni! Lastly, a stranger with no fear of danger, Alkenstars very own. Camrad of the Wastes!

Now introducing the challengers on the west cliff, Apsu’s newest wunderkinds, the five living members of the Deep Sea Current. Hatched on Raptor Island, turned pirate, the gun toting kobold who never misses his target. Captain I’m-a-Real-Dragon Rrrrreskafarrr! Now you see him. Now you don’t. A foxman assassin not afraid to get down and dirty or a little bit flirty. The magnificent Myrrrrrrrh! There are stars, there are superstars, and there are chosen ones. This morning the Chosen One is with us. Chosen for what? Thats for you to know and him to find out! Meet the unkind undine, Aven! He may have fungus for eyes and a clock for a hand but logic dictates you won’t want to miss out on our next master of disaster. A tiefling magician with all the answers and none of the charm, Professor Goethe! Ladies you won’t want to miss our last competitor! He’s rich! He’s famous! He’ll swept you off your feet if you let him speak, but don’t ask him to take out the trash. Magnimar’s one and only, Lord! Vestin!! The Fourrrrrth!!!

With the whole world hanging in the balance, the stakes are higher than ever in this winner take all mythic showdown. So slap on your swim suit it’s going to be a blood bath!!!”

Ahhh! That’s more like it.

My trigger finger was getting mighty itchy. I looked to the other side of the gulch at the poor undead bastards who picked the fight. They had no idea what was about to go down! Goethe and Lorenz got the feather token and made all the right preparations and then some. They brought me a ghost buster of a musket, scrolls to cure what ailed us, a tower shield, holy acid, an appendix of contingency plans, and most importantly a case of sugarcane rum. After getting patched up, stone-skinned, empowered to fly, and rearmed, I felt better than my old self. The others were pumped up too. The communal anticipation had the dragonflies in stomach breathing fucking fire. I was red hot and fired up!

Tebrilith started playing. The announcer roared the play by play in a nasally pitched jibber jabber.

“We are underway! Graveman Aerodus and Camrad are taking the fight straight to the challengers chins on their phantom steed express. They just ripped through Aven’s tower shield with pulse pounding fury! This isn’t a cat and mouse game like most predicted, this is lions fighting tigers. And I love it!

Master Goethe just lost control of his arcane powers like a crazed bull in a china shop. Folks, primal magic is a harsh mistress! That unexpected negative energy bomb might end things before the blood and guts really start to fly. Myrrh and Aven are lying on the ground like lumps of steaming rhino stool. Everyone in attendance is shocked by the turn of events. Geothe, Reskafar, and Lorenz avoided much of the negative titty twister but can they really go toe-to-toe with the fully charged up Aerodus and Camrad? It’s not looking good folks!

Wow! Did you see that? Captain Reskafar just sent Camrad’s dusty bones back to the grave with a vicious brimstone volley.

By the look of it, Lorenz is hiding in a bush now. Wait! Lord Vestin is the bush! Is this the work of primal magic or a devious strategy? The invincible juggernaut Aerodus is closing in on the leafy Lorenz. I can smell Lorenz’s sweet scent of fear from my booth, it smells like elderberries. Can the bushman restore Aven and Myrrh in time before he is pruned by Aerodus’ great clipper?

Holy Quantium! In another unbelievable twist, Professor Goethe has reappeared with a pack of wild cerberuses. What’s that now? The albino tiefling just moon beamed a magic balloon full of black grease at Aerodus’s weapon. Holy Smokes!…Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies!…it hit!…it hit! Aerodus is fumbling his sword like it’s a bar of soap in the bathtub. He can’t get a grip! He looks mad as a hornet! Let’s see what he can do without his stinger. What a spectacular way for Goethe to redeem himself!

Down goes Aerodus! Down goes Aerodus! The revived unkind undine and sly fox did the impossible with their bladed teamwork. In 23 years of broadcasting I thought I’d seen it all, folks. But I ain’t never seen that!

Lini still won’t give up! Her witchfire and wisps got the little kobold captain looking for a hole to hide in! She sank into the ground. She isn’t playing fair. And I like it!

Dawn just broke! I can see the challengers surging with renewed energy! The ghostly Lini has her work cut out for her if she is going to make a comeback. Wait. I am getting a signal from the referee. Ladies and gentlemen it’s over! Lini through in the towel, she wants no part of the sun.

In a stunning upset, scoring the win by careful planning, quick thinking, and good ol’ dumb luck, the new heroes on the Obelisk of Myth. Please give it up for Reskafar, Aven, Myrrh, Goethe, and Lorenz! These guys need some butter because their on a roll!”

Ahhh! That’s more like it.

I gotta hand it to Goethe. His planning and quick thinking were our trump cards. Sure he almost killed us all by triggering that negative energy wave, but his magic was still the difference maker. First, his stoneskin spell negated many of Camrad’s bullets. Second, his cerberuses drew much of Aerodus’ ire. Third, that grease spell was fucking genius. It was hilarious watching that armored titan juggle his slippery sword! And that was Aerodus’ biggest mistake, he gave Goethe too much time to think. So I gotta hand it to Goethe.

We all stood around for a minute basking in the glory of a job well done. Eventually, Lorenz broke the silence, “I thought something was going to happen after we won”.

As soon as the words left his mouth, I was sucked into a familiar dream. I was standing above the clouds on the rocky summit of the Dragon Fang, the tallest mountain on Raptor Island. I felt a tremendous gushing heat from above, the heat evaporated the fluffy white clouds, revealing the awe inspiring landscape of my home. A shadow started to dim out the brightness and a bone rumbling bass cord started to drown out the quiet. I looked up slowly. An enormous falling star was rocketing straight for me. A familiar feeling of dread returned, back then it felt like the seas were coming to drown me, now it felt like the stars were coming to smash me. As the meteor grew nearer, it began breaking up into a fiery stone rain, the burning atmosphere sculpted the face of a great noble dragon in its center mass. The golden dragon spoke, “Fear not Reskafar, I have brought the heavens to greet you!”. I raised my hands to the air just as the falling star’s great dragon maw opened wide around the mountain. I didn’t feel a stars weight crushing me, I only felt a comforting closeness. I knew it this time, and screamed into the void, “I am Apsu!”.

I could feel myself being possessed by the Waybringer and I liked it. As Apsu, I spoke to my fallen heroes and my new heroes. I sent the fallen on to the next plane so they could finally rest. I bestowed the victors with a dragon’s voice to accompany their dragon hearts. I smiled as they each grabbed their throats in burning pain and fell to their knees. A dragon’s voice comes with a price! I warned them of the coming struggles as they writhed. Finally, deep in my heart, I felt a fleeting sliver of hope for the future then the divine connection faded.

“Was that something enough for you Vestin?”, scolded Aven after recovering, his voice echoed like a waterfall. All of our voices had changed. Myrrh’s voice whispered in the dark, Goethe’s voice scorched the air, Lorenz’ voice hung in the air like frost breath, and my own voice soured the air. We all looked at each other in disbelief.

Then the announcer chimed in again.

“What will our heroes do next? They learned the Dreadlords of Geb are possibly separating dragon spirits from their hoards. And that Gray Agents are seeking something in Katapesh’s night stalls. Will they follow the Infernal line? Who is Grulios? Will they take Camrad’s advice and retrieve the rest of their lost crew? Exactly, how much money is Lord Vestin IV on the hook for?

Stay tuned!

Memoirs of an Oracle #2
B-Squad Adventures #2

I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. Adventure keeps you young in mind, body, and spirit. I firmly believe that now that I am older than Obari coral. I greatly advise everyone to have as many adventures as waves in the sea. If fate allows, bring friends and make new ones along the way.

Chapter 3: Adventurers Supreme

Captain Reskafar did a curious thing, he wrote his Captain journals directly on to different parts of the ship for all to see. The masts, planks, decks, sails, furnishings, and rigging of the Deep Sea Current were littered with tales of the crew’s wild adventures. He later told me, “They belong to the ship and crew. Why keep them in a dusty book?”. I think that was a half truth. I think the other reason is he liked to brag. I lost myself in their crazy adventures the second day I was on board the ship.

There were fantastic accounts of daring prison breaks, pirate battles, courageous rescues, lost civilizations, dragon hoards, lost omens, divine intervention, and conspiracies that threatened to break the world. I couldn’t believe people could live so close to the rim! Each story was a fleeting glimpse into the eternal engine of fate that drives the cosmos. To me it looked like fate had forged two distinct worlds: theirs and mine. Their world overflowed with so much adventure it was impossible to turn a blind eye. In my world, you never dared to dream about adventure. In their world, humble beginnings like being born a slave meant nothing. In my world, being born a slave meant everything. I much preferred their world.

Sure enough, all of the stories were confirmed by members of the crew that day. It turned out, the majority of the junior officers and ordinary crew were saved and taken in by the executive crew, much like myself. They all spoke brightly of the senior crew and were proud to be part of such a unique crew. To this day, I wager the handful of survivors would say that their time serving was the greatest adventure of their life!

I also bumped into Lorenz on my scavenger hunt that day. “We’ve had the misfortune of living in interesting times”, he said with a coy smile, “Fortunately the times aren’t going to change for some spell”. I remember him casually strolling away, sipping saffron wine while delivering encouraging remarks to passers by. Thinking about him now, it’s plain as the tide why Lorenz was the First Vaults’ last visitor.

My obsession with the senior crew continued to mount after reading about them. Their stories were evidence that they were not merely an eclectic mix composed of a pirate, a magician, an assassin, a mercenary, and an auditor. They were much much more than that. The universe had pulled together a rare constellation of adventurers supreme.

Chapter 4: Next to the Nex Border

My adventure continued at daybreak with Hexa, Tokka, Vandlo, and Dervish. We headed north following the map left behind by Lord Vestin the First. The treasure was located close to the southern border of Nex, nestled somewhere along the shore among a group of three large rocks. Along the way, the impish Blatz tracked us down.

“Is that foolish shits for brains Goethe with you? That dull horned tiefling tried to use me as a cannonball shield the last time I saw him. He owes me a hell of an apology!”, the ill-tempered imp derided. Since Master Goethe wasn’t with us he agreed to help, which was a boon since he possessed a Goethe-like intellect along with his prickly personality. We traveled very close to the Nex border until we found our first clue, a strange arcane marking, which Blatz effortlessly identified during one of his impish diatribes about our collective deficiencies. Dervish and Hexa went around a bend to investigate some faint noises while Blatz deliberated.

A quick word about Tokka, Vandlo, and Blatz. I was always happy to have Aven’s trusted dragon turtle companion, Tokka, with me during a fray. Although his jaws could chew steel and he once capsized an island, I consider his negotiations during the Brine Wars his true legacy. I witnessed Vandlo break a thousand swords and fix ten thousand things during our time together. He later became a folk hero among shipwrights. According to the tales, Vandlo brawled in every harbor whooping all comers, bedded every floozy, and built a hundred ships with his bare hands. Blatz the imp familiar is ever connected to Goethe. Chelaxian historians are split on Blatz’s place in history. Some say the tiny devil was the source of Goethe’s undoing and others say we was the source of Goethe’s hell power. We will never know the truth but I suspect it was both. All things considered, a formidable away team.

“Okeno Slavers! Ahead”, shouted Hexa as she scrambled back in a rush. My fight or flight response triggered like pistol at the mention of the Okeno. The adrenaline shot paralyzed my legs with terror and skyrocketed by blood pressure. I could feel my spine preparing to seaver my legs off at the waist like fisherman’s snagged bait so I could escape on my hands. Three of us were ex-slaves with the scars and facial tattoos to prove it. I personally was owned by two different Okeno traders during my tenure. I was given as a gift to one as a child and lost in a dice game to another. The thought of being a slave again was soul crushing.

My body was about to run. However before it did, somewhere deep inside me a wellspring of borrowed memories erupted. I began to recall scenes from the senior crews’ first encounter with the Okeno like I was there the whole time. The crew showed no fear of the yellow sails and even lured the pirates in close with a distress flag. During the whole vision they were in control even during the bloody battle. The vision fast forwarded. After they brushed the Okeno away like fish scales, they got towed to Sedeq, then allied with Sohiz, and lastly they bought me. The visions faded. I realized the terrifying Okeno from my childhood were barely a bump in the road to Captain Reskafar’s crew. I was now part of that crew. I had the means to fight, powerful people backing me up, and people to protect. I remember a soothing calm wash over me. My tachycardia faded, my legs released, and my resolve for revenge turned sharper than a fillet knife.

We approached the small band of Okeno slavers with confidence and after a few pleasantries and assorted lies exchanged, the battle went something like this. Tokka steam boiled the marauders like dungeness crabs. Dervish sliced through their ranks in a swashbuckling whirlwind leaving a trail of sashimi. Hexa ducked about the shadows delivering peek-a-boo strikes with her great sword. Vandlo broke their will to fight by smashing their weapons with his bare knuckles. I summoned a school of reefclaws to aid us and called for the Okeno to surrender or risk total annihilation. Many did surrender including the commander of the slavers, a Katapeshi bard, but not until after he shot a signal flare into the sky.

“Fools! The Burnt Saffron is coming!. By the time, Captain Khorsheed is done with you. You will be begging for a collar. Shahahaha!”, cackled the man. Tokka returned in kind by snapping the self-absorbed man’s head off. The Burnt Saffron is a story for another day, suffice it to say, the Inner Sea has never been the same since.

In the aftermath, we uncovered Lord Vestin the First’s ancient clockwork steed. We loaded everything up in the Okeno’s small ship including the huge alien bird-like flying horse creature the pirates had captured. Blatz identified it as a shantak, an extraterrestrial from the Dark Tapestry. At the time, I had never heard of a shantak or how rare it was. We sailed back to our sea cave camp hoping the Captain and the others had returned from their adventure.

I would like you to consider the odds of it all if you please. What are the odds of defeating the Burnt Saffron’s slave catchers at the site of a century old buried treasure? Now consider that a random primal magic storm provided us with the treasure map. Lastly, throw in a space faring shantak into the calculation. Given those odds it is easy to see why I was so obsessed with my fate.


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