In which the crew and guests of the Fair Wind return to the Giant Lily plant and make a new discovery.
The group backed off, went back to Amber.
Once again, the Fair Wind sailed into Amber Harbour to pick up her passengers. The crew, by now well used to the usual suspects, doesn't even bat an eye. Amy, six months pregnant now, is quite easily recognizeable to everyone. She sets herself on deck, and controls the Shadows they travel through as the captain gives the orders and the sailors sail the ship. Even without Gerard's immediate presence. In a shorter time than last time, the Teeth Rocks are in sight, the tentacles are waving, and a jumping shark is grabbed by a tentacle and swatted into the rocks. The Captain turns the ship three degrees to the north north west, and the first mate recites the poem that Wulf came up with last time. The ship sails on successfully.
Ahead, there seems to be something waving in the water. No, not a person, but more like a wall. A large green wall of - plants. And roots. The vines and such do not try to entangle the ship, but there is no obvious way through. The plant looks like a lily, with lily pads woven throughout, some of them floating on the waves. It seems to go on forever in either direction and those in the crow's nest cannot see over it. There is some thought that this might well be a shadow block - it feels rather like one.
As the Fair Wind gets close, the captain drops the anchor, and the crew stands by.
Ruby arrived on deck in time to witness the order of events that help direct the Fair Wind. Attempting to commit these to her memory if this path does indeed take root. And speaking of roots...The sight of so much tangled vegetation in such a random mingling has Ruby itching to whip out her hand cannon. "This ain't roight. But...consis-tent." She lopes on up to a rail and peers out at the lily growths.
Following the large black woman is a slightly smaller woman who still towers over most of the crew and guest. Gygr has not said much beyond asking the captain to come aboard, and now stands at the rail herself, watching both the wall of plants and the 'specialists' who have come to deal with it.
Just like last time, Merrisol and Maggie come aboard somewhere along the way, his own submerged vessel catching up after the Fair Wind passed through the Rebman Triangle. The Solar Flare, consisting of just an obsidian deck and a massive bronze sea horse head above the waves, is left behind in the sailing ship's wake. Merrisol has brought a bag of undersea equipment to suit their foreknowledge of the shadow site, and is raring to go diving. He greets the other usual suspects amiably... even Ruby, another clear sign of that was then, this is now. "If this monstrous species holds true to its regular relatives, there is a root system that plugs into the sea floor," he remarks, sitting on the rail for the moment. "But, if it is a magical construct, it might not be restricted to botannical rules at all. How are shadowblocks brought into being?" he looks to those who have experience with such stymying creations.
Maggie moves from aft to fore as the ship slows and the Captain calls for the anchor to be dropped. She wears a one-piece bathing suite beneath a long, terrycloth beach-jacket-thing. Her hair is loose and flowing, curls and waves of flame colored hair swaying gently with her movements. As they are again faced by the wall of vegitation, she studies it with all of her relevant senses. Her knowledge of the pattern informs some of her consideration, for that construct lingers in her mind and she draws on it now. Sniffing, sort of like a hound on the trail of an illusive fox, she narrows her eyes and filters the scents for hints of magic and maker. "Well..," she ventures, "It is not an easy thing to do, really. You have to impose something suitable on the shadow. The best are... like this one, in a way. It is sort of self-sustaining. Then you force it into existance whether the shadow wants it or not." Helpful? Not really.
Maggie glances back at the others, offering each a silent, if warm greeting after her assessment.
RPG: Merrisol declares that he has the Green Thumb (NAT-GT) gift. Use '+gift NAT-GT' to view the gift description. Last edit: 67 months ago.
RPG: Merrisol declares that he has the Exotic Breeder (GAR-BR) gift. Use '+gift GAR-BR' to view the gift description. Last edit: 92 months ago.
Amy rubs her belly as she listens. She glances over at Ruby and shrugs. "True, really. But here it is, and there must be something we can do." She looks at Gygr as well, taking in the other woman curiously. Ruby's shadow, right? At Maggie's explanation, she laughs outright. "I don't know if that will help, but it makes sense to me." She rests her hands on her hips, frowning briefly. "I think maybe the key is that it's got to be something that is suitable to the shadow."
Ruby turns to Gygr and murmers something to the giantess. A gesture to the barrier with a tension building in her shoulders. Mouthing a word that looks like 'moving'. And then she's turning more to keep people in line of sight and mouth yammering. Merrisol's opinion doesn't even garner a skeptical look, so relations have indeed improved since Ruby's last immature attempts at one-ups-femmeship. "I think Merri be...roooooight." See, that wasn't so hard, right? "An Maggie roight. An Amy roight. An if it was me, it'd be giant bloody whirlpool. Spin't 'ard enough tah nevah stop. But...onlah if there was reason. Loike...somethin valuable beyond or dangeroos. We should /blast/ it."
Though she has some ideas for the plants, Gygr needs a bit more information, "Is this going to be a simple matter of dealing with the physical manifestation? Or will it require the Supernatural aspect to be disrupted or destroyed?"
While listening to the others, Merrisol bundles his coat by the gunwale, and changes his regular stompy boots for the close-fitting diver's boots. They even have cunning webbed toeclaws for greater maneuvering, and possibly scratching itchy whalebacks when the need arises. Picking a harness out of the bag, he rigs it around his torso and checks its load of sample nets, knives, and even a couple of devices of Begman design. He nods a couple of times, at various points, and says after Ruby, "Yes, and the ones that were set in shadows surrounding the approach to Rebma were themed appropriately. Corals, giant snail shells, and yes, whirlpools. As I understood it, they were not insurmountable by Patternwalkers, but against mundane invasion they are extremely effective. I am not sure if they were dismantled after the Accord between Martin and Corwin.. and if so.. how. Would it take an act of the original maker? Who is responsible for erecting this one.. Someone tied to Kitezh, you'd think."
These are his immediate thoughts he leaves for others to ponder if they feel they have any merit. Swiveling to hang his legs over the side, Merri also takes his trusty glass harpoon with him, chains fastened in a series of tight loops until he needs it. "I'm going to take a look at the undersea situation.." He looks at Maggie. "I'll trump if I need a second set of eyes, Hotstuff.. yeah?"
Maggie's gaze flickers from one speaker to the next, her gaze lingering until the person finishes their thoughts before traveling on. On her turn, she remains silent for a moment before speaking, "Well... no. Any pattern walker can eliminate a barrier so we don't need the original creator. It just takes a lot of effort. And time. This one?" She moves closer to Merrisol's position, "Well, it has been here for a long time, so is entrenched, I think. It would be highly unlikely that we could find that person now." Closing in on him, she almost shrugs, "I removed mine, but can't really speak to anyone else's. I think Quin probably took care of his too..." She pauses long enough to give him a quick kiss, then adds, "Of course, love. I'll come down when you are ready."
Amy pauses to look at Gygr. "That's a really good question, but the truth is we don't know yet." She shrugs a bit, then nods to Merrisol. "If you need help, let us know, I can come help too, if need be." Ruby gets a half shrug. "I am assuming it's here for a reason, but I don't know what the reason is." She then looks a bit sheepishs. "I didn't ever remove the one I created."
"Die-strupted an die-stroyded sounds good. Truth." Ruby parrots after Gygr's question. Obviously trying to steer things towards a quick and dirty approach. Ruby lowers her head forward. "Maybe...maybe there be some sort 'o hhheel on this thing we can kick. If it 'show-er' an not fast 'grow-er'...we 'urt it an sail through. Cause, onlah way I evah dealt with weeds be tah burn an burn and burn."
Merrisol lingers at the edge, held by both kiss and curiosity for the continuing discussion. "Thinking the excitement will be on this side of things," he predicts, with a smile for the Oberspawn present. His Merri's Angels dream team! Erm-um.. three competent Patternites, that is. "All right. I'll see what I can do," he nods to Ruby's request in particular, and from the empty net-bags he has hooked to his harness, that same thought might be on his own mind. "These stalks and fronds do look to be thriving well.. but the real indications of health and age will be found closer to the roots. Be back in touch soon!" He pushes off from the rail with his arms instead of diving, since he is carrying stuff, and plummets into the waves to disappear for a time.
Under water, there are those aforementioned bubbles etc. And also, there are things at the bottom. They are rather like crabs or lobsters, of various sizes, and they are attacking the root systems with nasty claws and razor sharp teeth. They are teeming down there, but there's no sign of them on the surface. As you near the plant, there's a whoosh of water, not to intentionally hit you, but a troop of frog mounts, with bubble helmeted warriors riding them, swims out of the plants, and promptly attacks the nearest crab, engaging in a very vigorous fight.
Maggie flashes Amy and Ruby a quick smile, then turns a cuirious glance toward Gygr. She does pause her consideration of the problem at hand to watch Merrisol sploosh into the water. Stepping closer to the edge, she lingers there until he is no longer visible swimming down into the depths. Shaking her head once, her smile a little on the sheepish side, she finally steps back and considers the growth ahead, "We could try to shift it away, but I don't want to lose Kerf." Her attention turns back to Amy, "Maybe the three of us could manage where you weren't able to alone? Something to try later." Then, something Ruby said plinks in her mind and stays, "We... could try burning them. Though I'd rather not try to burn a patch too close to the ship in case it retaliates." Caution? From Brand's kid? Goodness. What is the multi-verse coming to? "Ruby, you and I could take one of the shore boats off to the side and try with fire and the pistols. If you want to?"
Amy looks at things and she says, "I think if you want to take the shore boat and get closer, that's not a bad idea, but before we start burning things, I'd kind of like to know what it's doing here. If we can figure that out. I mean - maybe one of our cousins is trapped or something."
Ruby nods eagerly to Maggie. "Aye." Raising a hand up to her temple and giving a hard push with her thumb and some circular motions. With Amy's caution, and Maggie's reminder that retaliation is possible, she has to regretfully nod once more. "Let's get closer then. Tickle not tear...at first. Tha thing looks loike it was movin. Was /it/ or somethin makin it wave 'ulloooo at oos. All ovah. What's those things tha live in seaweed? F'infleas? 'Ope it not fleas. But...sure as sure three femmes can shift 'ard on this. Though...it doo be big."
Merrisol's trump call to Maggie comes perhaps unexpectedly early, but it relays only some initial observations: "It looks to be a solidly-interwoven wall of stalks under the surface and all the way down. The waters are deep.. can't see the bottom from here, though I am seeing what looks like... suspended bubbles containing some manner of vapour... caught at the ends of stray vines and detached roots." He feels around his harness and gets one his light-creating devices ready. I'll check back in once I've gotten down to the root system.." Over and out! Carry on.
Maggie is startled when that call comes and she relays the information to the others, "Right. Thanks. I'll call if we decide to take offensive action so you are not caught off guard." Letting him go, she turns to the others, "Oh, right. Blocking passage is not the only reason for putting up a wall like this. It could be a way to keep a cousin or other party trapped. Hadn't thought of that as I only use them defensively." Which could mean... "Oh, wait. What if something icky is trapped in there?" Her thoughts whirl for a moment or three as she considers those unpleasent options until... "Wait. Waving? Like... a greeting? Coult it be sentient? Or... something like that?"
Amy stares at Ruby. "Did you say moving?" she asks, incredulously. Now she's peering at the plant, trying to see what Ruby has seen. "Right, I definitely think further investigation is required. Why don't you go ahead and take the shore boat? Maggie, do you think an aerial view might help? I could take to the air?" Conferring with her cousin, definitely. She takes a breath, considering the words relayed from Merrisol. "More bubbles. Great."
Ruby makes a bit of a scrunchy-expression with her face. "Dunno. I doubt it was anythin so smart. Not loike oos. Just know parts are movin. Could be wind...could be waves makin it move. We should goo elbow't." Ruby turns to Amy and nods. "Roight. I poke first with oar. Refrain from anythin...'orrible. Truth." The amazon moves on over to Gygr. "Fancy a wee row?"
RPG: Merrisol declares that he has the Animal Empathy (ANI-EM) gift. Use '+gift ANI-EM' to view the gift description.
RPG: Merrisol declares that he has the Animal Speech: Ocean (ANI-SP) gift. Use '+gift ANI-SP' to view the gift description. Last edit: 100 months ago.
The giantess smiles softly at the question from Ruby, "I am willing to row, but I also might have a bit of insight to offer as we get closer." She's already cleared her head while Merrisol made his initial investigation, extending her senses on the mystical level to see what can be discerned.
Maggie nods slowly, "If you can shift without..." Ah, fuggit. Amy would not have offered were it otherwise. "Yeah, Amy. I think that would help. Please. Just don't get too close, okay?" Glancing back to the two uber-tall women, she nods, "Right, then. Off we go." Her stride toward the boats is put on pause, however. This is not her ship. She is not the captain, no matter how instinctual the assumption of nautical authority might be. So, she seeks out the worthy and entreats, "Uh... Captain? May we borrow a boat, please?" To go elbow a giant mass of vegitation in what she hopes is not the groin to see if they can get a reaction.
RPG: Gygr declares that she has the Magic Sense (MAG-SE) gift. Use '+gift MAG-SE' to view the gift description.
Ruby tilts her head to the side and narrows her eyes. Curious, but willing to let that lay for now. She resists the urge to clap Gygr on the arm and produces a half-hearted hand-floppy gesture that she tries to fake into a beckoning one. She then makes her way over along the deck to where a skiff can be lowered down the side of the hull, following Maggie and listening to her diplomatic entreaty to the good Captain.
The captain is Minosian, and he laughs heartily. "Aye, lass, go right ahead," he says to Maggie. "But don't break 'er, if ye can help it.
Amy takes a few moments to concentrate, there is a whoosh of heat for anyone right next to her, and then a purple dragon on deck. Which then proceeds to hunch muscles, contracting them and then letting them explode with force into the air as wings unfurl and the Dragon launches skyward.
RPG: Amethyst declares that she has the Dragon Form (DRG-DF) gift. Use '+gift DRG-DF' to view the gift description. Last edit: 81 months ago.
Gygr takes a half step backwards, not to flee, but to brace herself on the ship as it begins to sway from the launch. Despite this, it is clear from her wide eyed expression that she's never seen a dragon up close before, let alone one that was a woman mere moments ago. She looks over to Ruby questioningly.... then remembers that Quina did mention something about 'Dragon Damage' being common in House Mandrake...
This dragon is the size of a large warhorse, standing easily seventeen or eighteen hands at the shoulder. Her scales are a deep purple in color that edges to black along the latter portion of her tail, her lower legs, and her muzzle. Each scale sparkles in almost any amount of light.
Her eyes are a brilliant amethyst with flecks of bright turquoise blue. She bears a pair of nearly black horns upon her forehead that sweep gracefully back toward her long, sinuous neck. Graceful, but deadly looking, spikes line either side of her jaw in a spiny sort of fringe, starting out the same purple and lightening to silver at the tips. Her spine is lined with spikes a lighter shade of near black purple than her horns, each ending in a deadly black tip. There is a spot between her wings that might be conducive to a rider sitting, if one dared. Her tail is also very long and black at the tip, ending with a spikey ball, the tips of the spikes edging to silver. The armored scales protecting her belly, neck, and the under side of her tail are a paler shade of purple than her body, each plate edged in silver that blends with the paler purple.
Her wings are simply /huge/, the supportive structure starting out the same shade of purple as her body, the tips black. The diaphanous-seeming membranes are the same shade of bright turquoise blue as the flecks in her eyes, each edged in a deeper shade of purple.'.
Ever felt terribly unhelpful? Tessa sits on the railing on the starboard side, her boot's laces tied together and the footwear hanging about her neck. She shields her eyes as Amethyst takes to the sky, bare feet kicking as the group investigates the white lily patch through a number of avenues. "You'll get used to it, Big Lady. They like to change forms like a harem girl likes to drop their clothes, findin' near any 'scuse worth it."
After securing permission from the Captain, Maggie leads the way to the skiff. She passes near Tessa as she does, a smile flitting to her face, "I don't know many harem girls, so can't speak to that analogy. Come with us? We can use your eyes on this one. Though it may be only looking at stalks of vegitation as far as the eye can see." Motioning to the small boat, she climbs over the railing and lowers into the skiff. "All a-boat who's going aboat?"
Ruby looks 'ill' when Amy transforms from Queen to nightmare. She hunches forward, shoulders up and good eye closed as a passage of air changes overhead. The attempt to avoid shivering is pretty good. It helps there's no great vocal shriek to go with it or she might be joining Merrisol under the surface of the waves. "Bog's bloody blasted...Faaaaah..." Gripping the oars hard enough to make the wood begin to compress dangerously, she sits herself down hard onto a bench of the skiff.
Gygr follows Ruby to the skiff, noting just how badly her friend reacts to the Dragon. She looks to Maggie as she joins the large women in the skiff, "Is this a common occurance?"
RPG: Amethyst challenges a difficulty of 10. Amethyst chooses Grace and the gifts BLD-OB, BLD-PT, and DRG-BS. Amethyst succeeds.
Tessa joins the others on the boat, leaving the oars to those better suited to the task. Instead, she braces an arm against the edge and looks down into the water as they go over the vegetation below. "Doesn't seem like it'd block much of anythin'. It's not like a stone wall... but then again..." She looks up at the strange wall. "I don't guess fire woul' work."
Merri trumps again by the time the skiff underway and heading for the edge of the lily-wall. Maybe it's the relative wavery dimness of his environs, but he's got the big shimmery eyes of bemused fascination right now. "Only, you should see this.. Or. No, perhaps you'd better stay up there. If /I/ think this is pretty adorable, then you might try to pet them. That would probably be bad." And he is probably joking a bit, in his enthusiastic distraction. "It's really a very dire situation." But also really cute! He pauses to think straight for a moment.
In the sky, the purple dragon circles. And then a second time. Amy then swoops down over the plants, skimming their surface, and then vanishing behind them for a long moment. There's that crooked hint to her flying still - she may never lose that wobble. Still, she's out of sight for the moment, flying.
While Maggie was watching Amy, she is distracted by the trump call. For a while she just smiles at her Merrisol as he looks so fascenated and delighted. He's pretty adorable himself when he looks that way. But, to business. Sort of. "That's not fair, Kerf. You know that cute is my kryptonite. What are they? And... Do they need our help?" Dire situations and all. It takes a while before the fact that Amy has not returned to view to register, "Uh. Amy is flying over the lilies. Let us know if you see any change, please?" And... not back yet? She glances toward the other women in the skiff. "Kerf has found something." Duh. "Can any of you see where Amy went?"
Ruby turns her attention to Tessa. The woman gets a long hard look and the oars get pushed down a teensy bit higher in their elevation. "Tess'ah." Ruby says on an exhale, for some odd reason feeling the need to speak her name dramatically while sharing a skiff with Maggie and Gygr. "Moight come tah tha. Usin fire. Usin force. If't weed...We whack't." Like a proud pufferfish, she flexes for effect, trying to make like she's not so anxious but instead swolely capable. she pushes against the side of the hull once the skiff is settled in the water.
"Rub-eh." Tessa says in greeting to the larger woman. She looks up at the mention of Amethyst, trying to get a peek at the purple people eater... but eventually forced to shake her head. Nope, not her. "Seems a righ' shame. Most shadow blocks aren't quite this pretty? Usually it's snarlin' dragons or a puzzle monster."
Ruby's reaction brings a sad smile to Gygr's lips, and she shakes her head. Then she focuses on the situation around them, "I have not seen her. But this wall... I do not think it was created to block off Kitezh. The magic smells very old.... and from my understanding New Kitezh is only a few years." She chews her lower lip as she begins to pull the skiff closer, her large upper arms bulging slightly as she drags the boat towards the plant matter.
Amy stays out of sight for a while.
Meanwhile as the skiff gets closer to the plant, those who are observant will notice that there is movement within the trunks and vines of the plant, and on the large lily pads. It's not easy to see what is moving, until very close.
Merrisol trump-talks to Maggie, "There is a large pod of crabs down here trying like mad to rip up the root system. Oh - and this isn't one of those Shadows where everything is extra-large, but these critters are a good range of sizes. They're bonkers for these roots, though.. not making great headway but a few of the stems are definitely beyond repair. I guess.. that's not the cute bit." He composes himself again. "There appears to be a colony of tiny people living within the wall.. or just the four that I've seen. Not certain if they are faeries or sprites or just.. really small people. But they're defending the lilies like it's their territory. They're... I guess they're..." Say it, Merri, you know you wanna. Lily-Putians! "..topsiders." Boo! "They're wearing air bubbles for helmets. And.. Maggie, they're riding frogs." Daw! That's the really cute bit. "Hold on.. I think they're doing something odd with the crab they just killed."
Maggie nods worriedly to the reports that Amy is no longer in sight. She... is then utterly distracted by the trump conversation. Her expression melts into one of utter fascination and delight. "Oh! Oh, my. Goodness. I do want to see that, Kerf." It is a near thing, but she seems about ready to reach for a transfer when... She blinks, "One sec, All. I need to tell people here what you have found." Sadly, she is not really looking at the stalks ahead or might have seen the whatever-it-is that is happening on the stalks. Instead, she relays, "Ladies? There are people down there. Topsiders. Tiny tiny people. They are defending the stalks. This? This is their home. We can't just burn it down. We have to find a way through that is not going to hurt them." She pauses and then almost whispers, "They are riding /frog/ steeds!" Because that is so cute! "With bubbles for helmets so they can breath." Her enthusiasm for the adorable little people is clear. Even before she has met them. Frogs. As steeds! Then she blinks, and the connection is clearly gone, "Kerf? Love?" Nope. No answer.
In the stalks where Maggie, Ruby, Tessa and Gygr are looking, there are little things, swinging on the vines, sitting on the lily pads, industriously doing things throughout the shelter that is afforded them. Down by the surface of the water, there are frogs. Their croaks are very soft, nearly silent. And as the skif gets close enough, it becomes apparent that there are some dead and dying stalks of this plant, in amongst the green healthy ones. The small peoples, large enough to ride the frogs, but otherwise looking mostly like people, are pruning the plants above water, taking care of their home.
Ruby can't get a good view as she pulls at the oars, so it's sort of like approaching something with your back turned. Relying on those eyes facing forward, she eyes them for signs to taper off her strokes. She nearly has a stroke when described what they're approaching. "Tha's not roight." She can't resist and longer and twists on the bench to peek backwards. Can't quite catch sight of one until...there. "Oh my Bog..." She doesn't sound pleased.
The purple dragon returns, finally. She doesn't trumpet, but is certainly visible as she aims herself to land on the deck of the ship, skidding to nearly hit the railing before coming to a stop. She then transforms back to her petite, pregnant self. She looks over to call out, letting her voice carry with the impact of a megaphone. "This thing goes on forever, in both directions. I couldn't find an end. Except that right here, there's a square of it, with a huge bloom in the middle. It's closed though, I don't know if that means anything. A big white lily flower, all closed up."
"Well, if it is tended then it can be circumvented." Tessa says. "Looks to me that makin' a path through it wouldn't kill th' thing... but convincin' them to let us do it? Maybe a work in progress." She leans over more to watch one of the passing patrols with lifted brows, brushing blue hair out of her face. "Assumin' o'course they can even understan' us. An' abou' a year an' a half, Big Stack 2 but shadow sometimes doesn't follow rules of time like y'migh' think. Especially after som' folks took a nice crap on the Rebman pattern. Beggin' pardon, 'course."
Maggie looks at Ruby with deep sympathy, then up after her cousin. The dragon sparkles in the sunlight, so vividly purple against the blue of the sky. Lowering her gaze again, she shrugs, "It... Well, yes and no. It is part of Amy's nature now, so needs expression. And flight? She loves to fly... so often enough? But, I don't think Ruby sees it very often. And... You know... She's a dragon. When your inner urge is to kill it but you know bloody well that she's Amy... and you don't want to hurt Amy? That makes it hard." (This would have come after Gygr's query. So sorry. Been a touch distracted today.)
Gygr nods to the information from Maggie, "We all have our natures. We must embrace them. But we must also embrace the natures of those around us. To judge a person by what they are, rather than what they use their talents for, is bad thinking." SHe considers the description of the pad's inhabitants, "Diplomacy is a good option, but as you say, it will depend on whether we can converse. But there are people in Amber, one of the great houses... who can speak with anyone?"