"It's called a Zangheri Koberax. It's been buried in the mountain for several thousand years, by most estimates."
The bartender nodded while taking in this information, and shook the cocktail shaker vigorously. Meanwhile, he sliced up some limes and added them to the glass, which he was polishing while applying a sugar rim. At the same time he squirted soda and cranberry liqueur into a steam-powered judderamatron, where strawberries and ice cubes danced anxiously.
"It's about every thirteen years that the Zangheri mountain erupts," continued his customer. "The magma chamber is irregular, likely owing to the fossilized Koberax skeleton buried in it. Anyway, the north side is where you'll get several eruptions. Where the pine forest is. But as I said, it's every thirteen years, so not a good business model."
The bartender nodded a second time, and poured out the contents of the shaker while dropping ice-cubes and judder-juiced strawberries into the glass. He also provided a tasteful napkin, a bowl of olives, and a glass of ice water... simultaneously.
"Oh, why am I mentioning business models?" the customer added, presuming a question which the bartender had not asked. "Well, it's all very valuable, you see. Not only are there precious metals being hurled into the air, but parts of the Koberax too. And that's a giant creature with profound genetic treasures. Blood, bone, pieces of its prehistoric armour - get even a handful back to civilization and you'll be a rich man." He took the drink and swirled it, poking at the sugar rim. It sparked purple in his hand. "Most of the volatile material rains into the Zangheri valley, which is treacherous terrain at the best of the times, what with the orcs. So most prospector expeditions are massacred before they can transport it. That's why it pays to have an airship. If we navigate to the correct distance, we can be ready to catch whatever airborne payloads are thrown out. It's a once-in-a-decade opportunity."
The bartender nodded a third time, then rested all eight of his tentacles on the bar counter.
Caelcrust stared at him, hoping for a little more conversation. But the octopus simply stared back from behind the glass of its helmet tank. He was rightly bored. Even making a judder-berry rumble-tumble hadn't earned him job satisfaction. Caelcrust formed a sympathetic symbol over his head - a deflated frowny face that acknowledged he and the octopus were mutually disappointed.
"It's also wonderfully colourful," the captain murmured, "A real light show." He turned and looked to the long window of the lounge, where several tables and chairs had been set up for dinner. No one was here. Perhaps the guests couldn't find their way to the starboard hospitality section. Or perhaps there just weren't that many of them in a sociable mood this evening.
Caelcrust wondered, briefly, if he should invite the bridge crew up to watch the eruption with him. But then he decided against it. They were a dull group even at the best of times - not even remotely characterized.
The captain lifted the cocktail glass and peered at it with his tiny, single eye. But instead of the juicy nuances of the drink, he saw only his triangular face, reflected back at him. He conjured a jagged, slightly annoyed symbol above his head, then flicked the entirety of the drink onto his neck, where it would gradually soak in.
Cima was relatively confident that, after several days on board the Brightsmile, the crew couldn’t reasonably be expected to throw her off the ship if they should catch her.
That would be, like, unethical or something.
Past experience had taught her that trusting to people’s good natures was a surefire way to wind up bleeding out in an alleyway, however, so she’d kept herself to the bowels and dark little corners of the ship. A skill deployed by the most successful of waifs, remaining out of sight and out of mind. Steal a bite to eat here and there, sneak into one of the store-rooms during the night shift when fewer people were about. Compared to the rain streaked alleys and gloomy streets of the Ratcatcher District back home, these people were positively oblivious to the possibility of a small girl pilfering their fancy stuff. She almost felt bad about taking it all.
At this point in their journey, Cima had begun to find herself in a routine. Most of the time during the day, she wanted to keep out of sight. Less eyes on her, less awkward questions. Sitting around staring at the boards of some little side-passage or cabin for hours was entirely antithetical to someone of her disposition, however. There was so much on this ship to see, after all, so many guests with absolutely no grasp of proper purse security. There was also the matter of finding something half-decent to eat. The crew galley was out of the question, of course: too risky. The dining areas set aside for the guests were less of a danger, but not by much: she might be recognised. But there was always the bar towards the front of the Brightsmile. The one with the terrifying eight-limbed bartender that didn’t seem to speak any language in the conventional sense of the word but was pretty good at unnerving any potential clients. Cima figured that it’s lack of obvious communication skills meant that it couldn’t easily rat her out to the crew. And bar snacks were a hell of a lot more appetising than rats.
So it was that she strode into the bar shortly after stashing her latest findings in a secure hiding spot...
...straight through the doors and into the sight of Captain Caelcrust.
Feeling her stomach sink like a de-winged pigeon, Cima thought rapidly. No point in trying to sneak back out, they’d have seen her by now. Bolting for it was an option, but that was basically announcing her guilt to the man(?) in charge of the entire operation. Wasn’t like she had many places to hide outside of the airship, right now. No, better just to try and sell it. Act natural, calm, confident. She could do that. Overboss Ricket was always telling her she was a cocky little shit, after all, time to show the miserable old bastard how right he was.
Squaring her shoulders and walking with the confidence that only youth could bring, Cima made her way to the bar and hauled herself up on one of the stools a respectable distance from Caelcrust.
“...you do snacks, or...?” she asked the tentacled creature behind the bar. Then coughed when the creature didn’t respond.
It helped to have removed himself from all that was familiar. To some extent. However, boarding the Brightsmile held more purpose than a simple escapade from life's misfortunes. And though he still, on occasion, found his hand automatically reaching for the space next to him, Entei had found some comfort in his academic and culinary pursuits. The Zangheri Koberax eruptions could not have approached at a more opportune time.
It had been imperative to leave behind the help, Mrs. Ausan included, though she made his life infinitely easier. He could not have any of them fussing about when he needed to grieve in peace. Alone. In the company of strangers. Yet Entei had sat comfortably in his rooms for most of the day, and solitude without strangers had begun to tug sighs out of him like unwanted hiccups. With a pathetic look at his desk, Entei twisted the edge of his mustache as if it would help. He gathered a leather bound notebook, placed it into a bag and stood in front of the mirror. Not a hair out of place but a needed adjustment to his suit jacket later, he put on an overcoat and walked out with mild determination.
The thought of dinner quickened his step, though not unbecomingly, and soon Entei entered the lounge with the long window and the tentacled bartender. With such a wonderfully planned layout, it was a wonder the place was mostly empty. Under normal circumstances, Entei would have found an empty spot in which to sketch the development of the Zangheri mountain's activity until dinner. However, with a sigh empty of any grief but charged with exertion, Entei approached the only occupied area.
"Good evening," he said to the Captain and the young lady who by her looks must have boarded the Brightsmile under interesting circumstances Entei was not too keen on finding out. To the bartender he said, "something strong please."
Angus McBeefenbroth, berserker-king of the northern tribes, entered the room behind Entei and faced him, briefly, while flexing his chiseled torso.
Caelcrust then shook his head at the barbarian.
Angus deflated a little, and departed from the room.
With that misunderstanding out of the way, Caelcrust took a seat next to Entei. Well, not exacrly next to him, since there was a small girl tottering on a barstool between them and asking for snacks. The three sat in awkward silence as the octopus bartender whipped up a second judder-berry rumble-tumble (with extra chili pepper).
He used seven of his limbs in the process, while the eighth nudged towards Cima a bowl of what she could only assume was lightly-salted debris gathered from various stops on the Brightsmile's flightpath. She wondered if any of the nuts had come from the hunting estates of Queen Katherine, famed 'Lady of Plague' who actively encouraged her subjects to cough on frontline farmers. But Cima guessed a nice ship like this one would perhaps have decontaminated them befo--
"Ohm nohm nohm... Cima stuffed a handful in her mouth before any more thoughts could trouble her.
Then she turned, with stuffed cheeks, to see Captain Caelcrust staring down at her. Unblinkingly. Not that he could blink. Well, the symbol above his head was blinking, and roughly question-mark-shaped. So there was that.
Caelcrust studied Cima for a long time - the length of time it took for the bartender to garnish and present the rumble-tumble cocktail to Entei. Then he spoke. "Ah. Miss Eolanthe Andreadys. You've escaped your governess again. Not to worry, young miss. I shall have you fitted with an isotope."
He placed a device on the bar, which looked like a pneumatic stapler, with several vials of brown liquid sloshing around in the cartridge chamber. One injection from this baby, and an unattended child could be tracked via radiation for at least 2 weeks. And with Caelcrust's modifications, he had cut the cancer rate in half.
Caelcrust wondered if he should drop that little factoid. Perhaps that would sound boastful. He wasn't sure what young girls were into these days.
Eolanthe listened with rapt attention as Captain Caelcrust talked about the Brightsmile's mission, her dark eyes riveted on the color and texture patterns that would sweep across the bartender's skin from time to time as he mixed drinks in a way that only someone so well-armed could do.
Technically, she was not supposed to be at a bar. But to be both a child, and quiet, was almost as good as an invisibility cloak, or so it seemed most of the time. Grownups greatly preferred to direct their attention to other grownups; she had but to let them.
A young woman came in and made her way to the bar. Between the mix of cockiness and sneakiness in her manner, and that dashing scar across her nose, she had to be an Adventurer, or maybe even a spy! Eolanthe wondered what her secret mission might be. But of course she would not talk about it with anyone at the bar, so the prospects of overhearing exciting things from her were dim. Naturally, she would be even less inclined to answer any questions about it, especially from a child. Such was the downside of 'Children's Invisibility.'
A handsome young man came in and wished the Captain and the Adventurer/Spy a good evening. Maybe he's a spy too, and they could have a romance! she thought. He was followed by another man, a towering figure with a rakish ponytail and bulging muscles tattooed with complex patterns of claw-like arcs. Eolanthe had heard that he was some kind of barbarian ruler, Big McLargehuge or something like that. He flexed his muscles, and the Captain's head rotated left-right in a way that didn't quite match the way a human would shake their head 'no.' It had the desired effect though, as the barbarian slumped a little and turned to leave.
The Captain then directed his attention to the Adventurer/Spy, the symbol over his head shifting to something that looked vaguely like a question mark. With his attention elsewhere, Eolanthe could risk observing him more closely. Subtle energies (probably) only she could see coruscated over and through him, and up from the top of his head to whirl around his golden symbol. They weren't ghosts exactly; more like whatever ghosts were made of. Though she couldn't be entire sure, not knowing how spirit worked for a being so alien as Captain Caelcrust. Or to be precise, knowing even less about that than she did about how it worked for humans and other more "normal" races.
"Ah. Miss Eolanthe Andreadys. You've escaped your governess again. Not to worry, young miss. I shall have you fitted with an isotope," he said, placing a rather scary-looking device on the bar. Eolanthe nearly jumped out of her skin. So much for 'Children's Invisibility!' Stranger still, the Captain was still facing the other young girl! But...he was an alien--maybe he could see out of the back of his head somehow?
"Oh, no sir," Eolanthe replied. "It's Miss Abernathy who escaped me, sir. She has a new boyfriend, I think," she said, involuntarily backing away a couple steps to stay out of his reach. "But she will not need an isotope, as I am confident that she will not get lost. So, we are hunting the treasure of the legendary Zangheri Koberax?" she said. A change in subject was definitely in order, and furthermore, those words were terrifically fun to say. "That sounds ever so exciting! But how shall you catch the fossils and precious metals without also catching flying hot lava from the volcano? Is there a chance it could damage your fine airship?"
Joss lay in her room, reclining in a chair covered with furs and blankets that she'd brought from home. As a cold-blooded species, she required much warmth to achieve maximum comfort. She tossed a wriggling mealworm into the air and snapped it up in her reptilian jaws. They were seasoned with red pepper flakes, turmeric, and curry, her favorite combination. But the worms were starting to lose their novelty. One could only eat so many snacks before their stomach demanded a real meal. But she was so comfortable where she was! The lizardfolk almost resembled a furry beast, wrapped in all these blankets and furs. If she was back home, she would simply waddle about still swaddled, but she couldn't possibly do that here. She had a reputation to maintain after all!
"Guhh," she groaned. She slowly unwrapped herself, groaning dramatically all the while. She gathered the fallen coverings in her arms and dumped them onto the chair she'd been sitting in. She cast the seat a longing gaze. It would be so easy to just curl up and go to sleep! But then she'd wake up hungry well after dinner had been served. Yeah, okay, that sealed the deal. She would go get some grub then go right back to sleep. Sightseeing be damned. It's not like she was here to have fun anyway. Her sole purpose was to snatch whatever fresh hell erupted from the Zangheri Mountain and deliver to her father in exchange for the throne. It didn't matter what it was--her father was the definition of superficial, so as long as she told him where the thing was from, he'd love it. And if he didn't...Well, then Joss' younger brother Xitzi would get the throne, and that would suck. Xitzi was a fucking idiot who'd drive their tribe into the ground by starting fights with anything that moved. Joss was a much more logical option and she knew that her father knew that, but his greed was bigger than his brain.
The lizardfolk draped a robe over her shoulders, then exited her room and headed for the dining area/bar. On her way there she was accosted by a frazzled looking woman asking about a child. Joss grimaced and gently removed the woman from her path by lifting her up and placing her to the side.
"Don't have em' if ya can't keep track of 'em!" She called over her shoulder.
Upon entering the dining room, Joss headed straight for the bar which was occupied by several beings. The captain who was a...Something. A scrawny person that could either be a child or just malnourished, a human male wearing dark clothing, and...a child. Joss grimaced again and approached the part of the bar furthest from the kid. She often found children, especially human children, extremely tiring what with their questions and general state of being.
"Give me ya strongest drink," she told the bartender. "An' what's for dinner?" Would it be rude to tell him that his tentacles looked awfully delicious? It would be, wouldn't it? No one liked being told they looked tasty. Joss couldn't help swiping her tongue over her lips though. Those tentacles reminder her of her mealworms...
Repairs, repairs, repairs. So much repairing so little time, ill never fix her up in time for the eruption.
" Im sorry starcutter i know you need that metal but its impossible for me to fix you up in time. Ive only got two hands" feeling quite defeated magolor slumped back in his chair and stared at the gapeing hole in the Lor Starcutters hull.
' Maybe you still can ' buzzed a scratchy and static filled feminine robtic voice that magolor rejoiced at the sound of.
"Outstanding! You're processor still works! I was worried that it had fried and never able to be fixed!" He was beaming with glee
'Well it is fine t the momment and there is a airship nearby that seems to e headed toward the eruption stite so you coul-'
"Sneak abord and wait for it to catch the erupted metals then steal some, get back here, repair you with said metals and then we are free to do as we like!" He finshed with his plan laying itself out in his mind.
' yes that seems quite probable to pull off. here is were you should enter it is most probable for you not to be detected' the lor then put a very glitchy hologram up that magolor could barely see but undstand none the less.
Magolor teleported onto the top deck of the airship with a comical pop. Ah what a fine ship, ill have to take a look at how it runs sometime.. focus! I need to get to the bottom deck so i can hide. Floating, so he doesn't make any sound, down to the deck below quickly geting lost. Argh! This nova damed ship is nothing like the lor! Its practically a maze! Geting more and more frustrated by the minute. Snaping at the way nothing seemed to lead downward he turned and entered a random room.
Unbeknownst to him it just so happened to be the conserningly crowded bar. Now he is quite short, he is 3' 7" tall in fact, so when what seems to be a black human child who looks extremely agitated walks into a crowded bar. it's bound to draw eyes, quite the apposite of what he planed on doing isnt it?
magolor - a demon that lies an adorable little guy from another dimension
Noan Hraigrauch, champion gladiator and chicken juggler extraordinaire, knocked back the rest of his whiskey before slamming it down onto the bar dramatically. Vessyr was mildly surprised that the glass didn’t shatter.
“He said - he said - “ Noan could barely keep his laughter at bay, “‘Noan! You fool! You can’t juggle those chickens!’ And you know what I said?”
Vess shook his head, taking a sip from his cocktail. “I haven’t the faintest clue.”
“I said ‘Drak, my friend, my pal, of course I can’t juggle those chickens,’” Noan choked out through his laughter. “‘Because they suck!’”
Heads turned at Noan’s uproarious cackling. He was quite thankful that a soft chuckle seemed to be all that it took to placate Noan.
“I have more stories where that came from,” Noan promised, before turning his head and quite rudely lifting his glass. “Bartender!”
“I’m sure you do,” Vess sighed, knocking back the rest of his drink as well. When the bartender came over to refill Noan’s tumbler, he shook his head at the offer to fill his own. “I think I’ll have to take my leave, however.”
“Oh. Are you sure?” Noan blinked up at him as Vess stood and looped his bag over his shoulder.
“Quite sure.” Vess gave him a bland smile and patted his bag vaguely. “I have some work to attend to. Perhaps we’ll talk again?”
“Right, of course. I’m sure you have a lot of work,” Noan said, his gaze dropping to Vessyr’s bag which he had stuffed with a variety of magic theory textbooks and notebooks filled with barely-legible scribbles. “Catch you later?”
Vess smiled in response and dropped it the moment his back was turned. He was already halfway across the room before Noan could try to say anything else. This was probably the most tedious part of recon work. He’d always had a horrible habit of finding the talkative ones. Although half the time, it wasn’t a horrible habit. Sometimes they were quite useful. Noan had not been one of those.
He wandered about for a bit, before finding himself in the lounge on the other side of the ship. The past few evenings he had stopped by, it had been near-empty. Today it had quite the gathering. His gaze bounced between the patrons before deciding to enter. As he did, he nearly tripped over someone he hadn’t even noticed was there at first. Vess might not have been a large person - he was quite thin and delicate looking - but he did pride himself on his height. And even if Vess was rather tall, it was also very clear that this… child(?) was rather short.
“Excuse me,” he murmured, before breezing past to perch on a barstool. He wasn’t keen on ordering another drink, but he also needed a convincing excuse to be there. Which thankfully came in the form of snack bowl. It was in front of the young girl, or rather, one of the young girls, since there seemed to be two seated at the bar.
‘There are quite a lot of children aboard this ship,’ he mused idly.
Assuming they were placed out for all the patrons, he reached over to pick a couple out. “Are you here for the Zangheri eruption as well?” he asked her.
Caelcrust looked at Cima. The stowaway's eyes were dilated, and she was staring into the distance. Perhaps a nasty nut allergy had closed her airways. Perhaps she would never respond again.
Caelcrust then turned on his stool and looked at Eolanthe, who was excitedly answering on Cima's behalf. Perhaps an emotional-support android? If so, she had neglected to read the Safety Card which specifically described how the Brightsmile was designed to catch volcanic ejaculations in mid-flight. It was all very straightforward.
Caelcrust then turned on his stool again and looked at Magolor, who had arrived to fidget in the doorway.
Calecrust formed an exclamation mark over his head, with three tension-cracks running through it. The whole symbol throbbed.
He looked at Cima. He looked at Eolanthe. He looked at Magolor.
Then he snatched up the pneumatic injector and began frantically calibrating it, priming the alchemical cartridges and switching out the smaller needle with the larger needle. This would be his greatest challenge yet - to inject isotopes into THREE children. Such targets were notoriously skittish in the presence of gunmen, and it would take a portion of his cunning... no... HALF of his cunning to get the triple-tap on this trans-pubescent trio.
While the captain rushed to load his gun, the octopus bartender threw up six of his hands (the other two were presenting the dinner menu to Joss). The octopus bartender also made a noise that went precisely like this: UBHUWUBHULAAARB!
The patron he was ubhuwubhlaaarbing at was Vess, who had just waltzed in here smelling of a rival bar. Possibly that weird bar on C-deck, where the chicken juggler made everyone uncomfortable. It shouldn't even be open at this hour, but the bartender there was remarkably antagonistic towards Xeropoustra. There was history between them, to be sure. But Caelcrust didn't like to indulge side-characters.
The water in the octopus's helmet turned a certain colour, indicating rage and betrayal, as he flailed at Vess.
Magolor looked around nervously at the other peopl- scratch that BEINGS in the bar. Correcting himself when he saw the octopus lookin thing. After someone had come in after him, nudging him in the process, things happened so fast he heard the cock of what sounded like a gun and the octopus thing started to blare. Startled at the awfully sudden events he dissapeared in a pop. His reflexes bringing him to where he last was safe, the top deck.
Once he made sure he was tucked into some sort of corner. He refected on what had happened. He had walked in to the bar, realising just how much he had fucked up with the decision of entering a random room. He had saw two girls at the bar, who seemed too young to be able to drink. A man who gave off a magical vibe. And a lizzerd person who reminded him of the four headed dragon that used to rule the planet magolor was from like a tirent. Before he had tricked a star hero into defeating it so he could snatch the ancient artifact, the master crown. Shudering at the memory of his horrible decisions that scarred his youth. He pulled back his thoughts to the events in the bar.
The girl that looked inellegent had also looked nervous and was backing away from the android(?) person(?). The other girl, that looked a bit raggedy, had seemed startled. Then when that guy bumped ino him, who stunk of some sort of drink, everything started to turn to chaos. The octopuss went insane, and he had heard the cock of something that shot.
magolor - a demon that lies an adorable little guy from another dimension
In the space of a few minutes the bar was now populated by a robed man smelling faintly of chemicals, an extremely loud scaly lady, some manner of goblin in a hood, an astoundingly pretty bloke who nonetheless gave her concerning vibes, and a small child.
Plus the Captain seemed to have mistaken her for the aforementioned small child and was now threatening her with an Isotope-ing. Cima wasn’t entirely sure what he meant by this, nor did she have a single solitary clue what a ‘governess’ was, but in the few moments that she required to take in the sights, sounds and smells of the new arrivals Caelcrust apparently decided to make good on his threat.
Fortunately his attempt at an Isotope-ing was interrupted by an octopus.
Never one to miss a chance at recovering the initiative, Cima used the bartender’s flailing, tentacle anger as an opportunity to roll back off the barstool before Caelcrust could get within Isotope-ing distance. Tumbling across the floor, she landed in a half-crouch before rising up with her arms raised in a ‘please do not Isotope me, strange sentient rock captain’ manner.
“No need for that, chief! Never escaped from no governess in my life, so I haven’t!” Edging further out of reach and closer to the door, Cima ran through her options quickly. Maybe shove the small child towards the captain then make a break for it. Or use a table for cover. There was also the possibility that Caelcrust’s vision was based on movement, so she perhaps ought to be standing as still as possible.
In the end she gave up on over-thinking things and continued edging towards the door. This bar was getting silly and dangerous. Perhaps she’d go find that barbarian guy who Caelcrust had scared off just a minute or two ago. He seemed cool.
For a moment - for one beautiful moment - Cima vanished from the bar.
But then the child start edging for the door, and Caelcrust's vision-based movement picked her up again. He finished loading the isotope-injector and waved it at the scarpering scamp. Above his head, a pair of golden arms, like those of a useless dinosaur, made little flailing motions.
"Report back to your governess, young lady!"
He tracked his head left to right, looking for Magolor. But he had clearly stopped moving altogether. "You too!" he ordered, while wagging the gun at an empty patch of doorway. Behind him, the octopus bartender ubhuwubhlaaarbed some more at Vess.
"Magno-enturblement net launchers," the captain said, while turning his stool and leaning on the bar next to Eolanthe. It was as if they had been conversing all along. Above his head, the golden symbol turned into a trembling inverted trapezoid. "We bring the Brightsmile parallel with the eruption column, and open the magno-enturblers on the starboard side. They empty directly into the ore tumblers. Then the gnomes get to work."
He put down the injector next to her, between the nut bowl and the dinner menu.
"We have an ace pilot. He has no characteristics. But he is expert at keeping the Brightsmile in the appropriate safety margin between optimal enturblement and airborne lava discharge. As long as nothing happens to him in the next two hours, we will not have to replace him with one of you."
He glanced around the bar, his floating symbol becoming vaguely quest-like.
Shortly after his entrance, the room dissolved into chaos. Vess was not conceited enough to believe that it all had to do with him, but well, some of it certainly did. The tentacled creature seemed to be screaming and gesturing at him that is.
So much for being inconspicuous. At least the being he had already recognized as the captain of this vessel, Caelcrust, wasn't aiming that gun-thing at him.
Vess blinked at octopus, the girl next to him whom he had been attempting to talk to slipping away in the commotion. “That does not seem healthy,” he commented, gesturing to the liquid quickly changing color.
What was it’s problem? He tilted his head as he watched it flail angrily at him, munching idly on the snacks as he did so. The screaming was starting to get on his nerves. Normally he just killed whatever annoyed him, however, he doubted that would go unnoticed in this situation. An he couldn't blow his cover yet.
What would a 24-year-old mage apprentice do? The youth were quite rude nowadays, so perhaps -
The rumpled heap of a man who'd been dozing at a table in some dark corner of the room stirs to a moderate level of consciousness when he hears the tell tale angry octopus noises. "Oi, which one of yous smarmy blonds has been cheatin' on my pal Xeri?" He demands in a slightly slurred accusatory tone, pointing at the three closely grouped... oh, wait, they were just one person, weren't they? Ah, that would seem to be the case.
He rubs his eyes and shakes his head to clear away some of the fog. The half full glass of water.... maybe water? He wasn't too sure... probably not? He wouldn't have been that smart, right? begins floating up from his table. "Oh no ya don't." As he notices it, he quickly grabs the glass and takes a swig to cover his lapse of concentration. He coughs harshly following said swig. "Ugh, what the feck, me?" He rasps quietly in question.
Azazel 'Zazzy' Croft finally remembers himself as he focuses back on the three-one- whatever blond lil twig shite. "Yous were drinkin it up at some o'ter bar on board, ay? You ought to... Ought to.... Not, do that. It hurts poor ol' Xeri's delicate, oh c'mon brain you had the word a second ago.... Delicate sen-sibilities. That's the bugger. Sensibilities." A broad grin crosses Zazzy's face at his successful wording skills.
"In the cult of Gulrath everyone's family! No, too cheesy...".
The mumbling sorcerer just couldn't get anything right, he had been practicing his recruitment lines for weeks and still hasn't pulled anyone in. Ives knew the one thing in creating a cult was to choose those with a troubled past or present and surely this ship was packed with such characters, he once saw a guy stab someone for a pillow- a pillow, if that isn't the type of person to join a cult then he had no clue who would. Who knew creating a cult could be so hard?
"I don't get it, what am I getting wrong?" he mumbled to himself, "Is it my approach? My tone? Maybe it's my head? orrrrr.." Ives looked down to his non-existent feet, watching as the end of his robe draped into an ethereal veil of black cloth.
"Is it because I haven't any legs?".
As he made his way into the Dining hall Ives shook his head, there was no reason to think about legs or pillow violence and such, he had business to attend to! That is attempting to recruit as many people as possible without seeming like a madman outside of a tavern, specifically one with a strange relic in hand and no legs.
As he stepped- or well, floated into the noisy bar Ives looked at the many faces around him. Obviously, some of the passengers were dung-faced drunk- no surprise there, but he noticed something very peculiar in front of him: some strange octopus creature holding two children, an inebriated fellow, some sort of scaly person, and two young passengers at gunpoint...
And here he thought that the pillow stabbing was the most strange thing he witnessed today.
Ives drifted slightly closer making sure he did not get close enough for this tentacled being to turn on him, it's only been a few hours since he boarded the ship, getting shot by whatever this thing branded was the last thing he wanted. He hovered in one place and stared curiously, how would this ordeal go down?
Magolor calmed himself down by focusing on and concentrating a small bit of magic into a orb, watching as the swirling inside of it slowed down as his nerves settled. Deciding that surely by now the commotion in the bar had stopped to go back in, since his presence is now known, to meet some of the other passengers.
Again teleporting with a small pop of space and time being manipulated, he ended up right behind the other floating being that was onboard. A dizzyingly strong magical vibe came off of them, similar to the vibe that came off of the master crown when he had held it. The strong magic of the being must have subconsciously drawn his teleportation to them, a weird quip in his magic that he made a mental note to look into when he gets the chance.
“Things are still chaotic? I thought that things would have calmed down by now…” he trailed off attempting to start conversation with the other floating magic user. Positioning himself so that the being blocked the captains view of him. The two girls were no longer at the bar and a few other people had made themselves noticeable. Magolor not really caring for them, the distraction of the strong magic pulled his attention away, the only thing important right now was this being nothing else.
magolor - a demon that lies an adorable little guy from another dimension
Eolanthe froze in terror when the Captain snatched up his pneumatic injector and began readying it for use. She had no idea what an 'isotope' was, but she was perfectly aware of what a gun was, and what a needle was, and had no intention of interacting with the business end of either!
The Adventurer girl clearly had better reflexes, for she nimbly rolled off of her stool, to the floor, and into a properly adventurous half-crouch. The bartender was getting all ubbledybubbledy about something, waving his arms around frantically, perhaps offering Eolanthe the distraction she needed to make her own escape. The door seemed miles away, and it appeared no one intended to gainsay the Captain's plan to 'isotope' her.
So what to do? Her mind frantically grasped for a plan--hide behind the pretty dragon lady? She was just about to bolt for the other end of the bar and do just that, when the Captain spoke to her. Instead of the shuddering exclamation point that looked about to explode, his floating symbol shifted to a trapezoid, then to...well, if she had understood its alien coordinate system based on a repeating pattern of irregular polyhedra rather than an X-and-Y-axis grid, she might have recognized it as an image of a treasure map.
When adults get angry or think you are touched in the head because you see things they don't, the thing to do is play along with them; pretend that they must be right, because they are the Adults. That way, one could avoid punishment and other unpleasantness, and go on thinking and seeing as one did.
One could also find humor in the way that 'I must be right because I am the Adult' never worked for them when they disagreed with one another. No childish quarrel she had ever been in reached the heights of acrimony of a run-of-the-mill row between Mum and Dad, or really, any adult conflict for that matter. They killed each other in wars! Only children were expected to get along with one another, share, and cooperate. Thus, it seemed only logical to Eolanthe that children ought to be the ones in charge of everything.
Of course the world was not that logical; at the moment, she couldn't even figure out why the Captain had suddenly shifted from wanting to inject her with that horrible 'isotope' goo and answered her question as he should have in the first place. Play along.
"Oh, of course! Magno-en-turble-ment net launchers!" Say what one will about the Captain, he did come up with the most delightfully fun words to say. "Quite brilliant, sir!" But now the bartender seemed to be getting even more agitated, for he reached beneath the bar and came up with what looked to be a high-powered disgrontificator rifle. "I think I had better go make sure Miss Andreadys reports back to her Governess. You know how children can be," she said, then scurried for the door.
The most amaaaaaaazing ghost floated in. Gently fluttering ash-gray robes, horned helmet, and what looked like some kind of heavy censor ensorceled with mysterious sigils and images of things that didn't quite fit in a world of right angles and parallel lines that didn't meet. Eolanthe's eyes went wide with wonder. She waved up at him, but now was not the time to talk with someone she figured she would be the only one to see, not when the bartender was coloring the fluid in his helmet with rage and waving that rifle around. Besides, the Captain could shift back to wanting to inject her again at any moment.
Instead, she hurried to catch up with the Adventurer. "That was the most brilliant escape!" she said to the older girl. "Do you have a party for your current adventure? I'm pretty sure adventure parties are supposed to meet in inns and taverns and the like, but that one just seems a bit too barmy, don't you think?"
Behind her, she heard a *pop!* and turned to see a smaller child in the most adorable coat with a cat-eared hood next to the ghost. She was immediately torn between continuing her effort to join the Adventurer's party, and switching to Big Sister Mode (in truth she had no siblings, but no matter) to go get the other child and bring them to safety. If that was a child, and not another ghost. They hadn't been present only an instant before...
Ives silently stared at the commotion in front of him, on top of the "gun" he saw earlier it seemed like the octopus also pulled out some sort of rifle from Gulrath knows where. He knew all too well how guns and taverns came together and was about to turn tail and leave, no one could join a cult if they were riddled with holes. However, he overheard something- something about "Lava discharge"...
Admittedly, Ives knew little about this ship and its voyage; he figured this place would give him loads of recruits in a matter of time but now it seemed as if this was some sort of caravan? or a sight-seeing tour? Though he had his doubts that this ship could possibly be a place of trade, a thought bounced around in the back of his head- "Now that I think about it, Brightsmile does sound like a very tour-y name...".
Ives decided if that if he wanted to know where the hell this ship was going he had to ask someone. Surely the octopus creature wouldn't be of much help, he wasn't even sure if it could even speak proper English and that child over there probably had no clue what was going on as well, (props to the parent who left their daughter at a bar). When he came to think of it though, weren't there two children at the ba-
Before he could finish his inner monologue he heard a very audible pop behind him, Ives quickly looked behind him but was met with nothing but the corridor he just came from. "Hmmm" he mumbled as he slowly turned around, "Must've been- AH!".
Startled by the figure in front of him, Ives dropped the chained relic, it landed with a heavy THUNK and started to roll to a random shady corner in the bar, all while releasing a strange black mist. He took haste and grabbed it by the long cord that held it to his waist and quickly scanned it over to see if there were any cracks on its surface, luckily it was still intact. He gave a low sigh, he almost shown everyone in this bar the uh, "beauty" of Gulrath, something no child, adult, dragon-person, or even an octopus should see.
He looked up to see the person that almost cost him his cover, "Hey watch where you-". Ives paused, not only was the appearance of this child quite strange; it looked as if it was some witch's familiar, there was also this weird.. How could he put it... vibe around it. It was familiar to the thing he felt when he communed with his god: it was something otherworldly, something that just doesn't belong. Ives had met his fair share of strange characters, but this one seemed different than the rest, much different.
"How peculiar..." he thought.
It only took the being's attempt at conversation to snap him out of his haze, he quickly straightened himself out and cleared his throat. "Oh, well I've just arrived" he replied, "Say, what uh...happened here?".
Caelcrust moved his head left and right, then jiggled the empty barstool in front of him.
AND SO THE THIRD CHILD vanished from Caelcrust's presence, their conversation unfulfilling, their flesh un-isotoped. Eolanthe had run off to talk to her emotional-support android. Caelcrust formed a curling, snarly circle over his head (imagine a disgruntled Danish), before turning to retrieve his pneumatic injector... only to find it missing!
Caelcrust reached to take back the injector pistol from the bartender, only to get back-handed (back-tentacled?) by three of its limbs. Recovering, with a lightning bolt symbol over his head, the captain stood up and noticed that Xeropoustra was also waving around a high-powered disgrontificator rifle.
((As a side note, it should be explained that the high-powered disgrontificator rifle does not in fact remove gronts from its target. This is a common misconception, and has led to many accidental shootings wherein subjects attempt to self-medicate for a high gront count by shooting themselves in the foot. In reality, the weapon actually duplicates the sgrontific count of organic targets, which is an entirely different - and doubtlessly traumatic - effect that pushes a creature well beyond its natural sgrontific tolerance. Several legislators have called upon the rifle's inventor to change the name in order to avoid confusion, but said inventor insists that this is a matter of pronunciation, and thereby exempt from legal challenge. The current motion being debated in the courts is to introduce hyphenation for the sake of public health and safety. But since proceedings are still in progress at the time of this roleplay, we will henceforth refer to the weapon as a disgrontificator rifle rather than a di-sgrontific-ator rifle.))
"Xeropoustra, what are you doing?"
Peering beyond the gun-toting cephalopod, Caelcrust noticed the target of his tirade: an exquisite-looking Asian boy with eyes like those of the most stunning land-cow. Said bovinesque beauty had just asked Xeropoustra what his problem was (which as we all know is very insulting to octopuses). And then Zazzy, the local barfly, brought everything to a screeching halt.
"Yous were drinkin it up at some o'ter bar on board, ay? You ought to... Ought to.... Not, do that. It hurts poor ol' Xeri's delicate, oh c'mon brain you had the word a second ago.... Delicate sen-sibilities. That's the bugger. Sensibilities."
The locals at the bar let out a collective gasp - at the first sentence Zazzy said, not any of the others (which were frankly redundant). Caelcrust himself flinched away from the bar, and spewed a flurry of question marks and exclamation marks out of his head. And then... all eyes were on Vess.
"Another bar??!" he asked Vess. "You went to the OTHER bar???"
He waved a hand to Xeropoustra, as the octopus turned both the pneumatic injector and the disgrontificator rifle to a sideways position, two lazer-dots splashing across Vess's beef-bright face. "Have you no shame, Sir? Have you no sense of decency, Sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"
Several other octopuses in diving helmets turned and glared at Vess. A few gave encouraging ubhuwubuhlaaarbs to Zazzy, perhaps hoping that he would beat up the cow-boy and restore the honour of the dining club.
Oh goodness. Perhaps he made a mistake in asking such a question.
Vess was baffled to find that the screaming only got worse from there. And, oh my - it grabbed the gun-contraption the captain had been wielding earlier as well, and started to wave that around. It even slapped Caelcrust across his strange-looking head when he tried to get it back. This was turning out quite disastrously, wasn’t it?
Vess was startled to find there was a man seated beside him, whom he felt had practically appeared out of thin air. He was quite drunk, slurring his words, and Vess tried his best to decipher his words through the drink and over the din of the tentacled beast’s continuous screaming.
“Smarmy blondes?” he repeated under his breath.
What in all the worlds was going on? And - oh, the octopus had another gun.
That was when the drunk beside him explained that this all was because Vess had come from the other bar, which seemed to catch the attention of quite literally everyone in the room. So much for being fucking inconscipious.
“Um,” he said, rather intelligently he might add.
He didn’t really have to answer that question, because the captain was going on a tirade about his sense of decency, which, he may have been a several-thousand-year-old mercenary who killed for a living but that was quite rude.
What would a mage apprentice do in this situation? Act frightened, right? Except he was too confused, frustrated and just plain tired of this situation he couldn’t muster anything more than a vaguely-constipated expression. He was going to blow his godsdamn cover, godsdamnit.
“My sincerest apologies,” he said, turning back to the octopus and bowing his head. “I had no intentions of offending you. This bar is much better than the other one, surely.” He may have a gun currently pointed in his direction, but at least this dining club didn’t have Noan the Chicken Juggler.
“So, truly, I apologize for upsetting you, X-” he paused briefly, racking his brain. What was the creature's name? They just said it. Ah yes - “Xeropiistra.”