Once again, the Fair Wind docked in Amber, collecting passengers, and then headed out into the ocean. Along the way, a meetup with a crazy submersible and a passenger or two boarded there too. And then off to the first node, by the chomping rocks, the tentacles and the sharks, with a poem recited by the Kitezhka scald - or by the closest replacement, when needed. And now the ship is sailing again towards the water lilies and the frog riders.
Wulf this time, has not travelled alone. One of his gargantuan wolves sails with the crew; the grey one, Hollr. He has remaind by the prow with the beast, occasionally trailing his arm over the side, to catch the rise of sea spray. The giant looks thoughtful there.
Siobhan is, like last time, completely alone on this voyage. She hasn't brought a single mechanical minion with her. Not that's visible, at least. There could be something tucked in a pocket or two! She is, once again, dressed in something sensible for voyaging on a ship.
Ithunn is probably just along for the ride. Or at least along to watch the sky whiz past as they sail, for she's standing at the railing, doing so.
That's what everyone is doing as the ship sails. The Captain and his sailors are all well versed in this, and it's not a large surprise to find Amy sitting on the deck, relaxed with a small sun shade set up to protect the pregnant lady from the foibles of the weather.
Merrisol hangs out on the main deck by the rail, watching the in-sail show and even the parts he's seen at least twice before. There's always something new to notice about those silly tentacles and sharks and rocks. Once the gigantic plant wall appears ahead, he picks up his equipment bag and moseys closer to Amethyst. From beside her lounge on deck he uses his spyglass to scan starboard and port over the southern and eastern horizons. "I don't know.. If there's a Breaking out there that's spilling crabs, it's probably under the surface.."
The plant wall comes into view, looking much the same. Though well, are some of the stalks a little yellower today than previously? The water is calm as it ever has been, the sky clear, the weather warm. It's a lovely day plant side, for a picnic.
Wulf gets up when the plant wall comes into view and stretches, making a soft noise to Hollr and sending him off to Amy's side, just in case. The wolf lays down there, panting as the giant himself removes cloak and tunic, leg bindings and boots and slips on over the side of the boat, going underneath the water in a mess of bubbles, surfacing by the hull a little later, swimming along beside -- shortly after this, a neck-frill surfaces some distance from the shipsid, a long, sinewy form swimming its snakey way closer to the giant.
Siobhan rises from where she'd been writing in a notebook, closing said book with a soft thunk of pages coming together. Pen and book both are both tucked away into pockets as she makes her way to the railing. She eyes the sea monster, and looks at Wulf, and the sea thing, and Wulf.
Merrisol looks around at the splashing nearby, lowering his glass and tucking it into a compact shape. The large wolf gets a glance before he leaves Amy's spot and goes to look over the side with Siobhan. "..Huh. He's been busy," he observes, apparently not sensing ill intent by the sea serpent towards Wulf, so dropping any initial concern for the encounter. The plant wall itself is studied next, particularly the yellowed stalks of a few individuals. "Are you planning on getting close and speaking with the Nixies again, Lady Siobhan?" he inquires.
"Is that in fact the plan?" Ithunn asks. She has also come up to look at the plant wall and sea serpent, frowning at both.
Amy gets to her feet as Wulf sends the wolf, and then jumps in the water. "The Nixies have sharp spears," she calls, a little worried. As Merrisol doesn't appear to be worried, she relaxes some. "I think the plan was to investigate where the crab things are and to fly over the lily blossom to see if we can learn more." A glance to Merrisol, and a slight smile. "Did I get that right?" She looks to Siobhan and Ithunn. "If you two want to go talk to the Nixies again, you're welcome to do so."
Wulf does not seem bothered by the serpent. When she lifts her head from the surf, he even scritches under her jaw and along her frills, before slinging an arm over her neck. This apparently, is how he intends to go look at things, with the assistance of a bouyancy aid.
Siobhan nods to the plan. "That was the plan, yes," she says. "But.. fly?" She pauses, and shakes her head. "No, nevermind. I remember now." DRAGON! She nods about the Nixies, and steps over toward Ithunn.
"Right," Ithunn nods to Amethyst. "And our backup plan if the blossoms don't appreciate being flown over?" She turns to nod at one of the crew of the ship, who brings her over a very sharp axe with a lovely Kitezh-carved handle. "Hack it all down? Weed killer?"
Merrisol nods in general to all of the remarks, pausing over Ithunn's offered contingency. "There's just one large blossom, fairly conspicuous," he explains. "And if I am visualizing it correctly based on Amy's description, it seems to rest over a section of the wall that is wide enough for a ship to pass through. I'm thinking.. if there used to be a passage, before this -The Breaking- came along, then it would have been there." He looks at Amy, "But we'll get a chance to look at the blossom up close, if you are feeling up to flying me up top?" Because DRAGON! "I mean.. I could try climbing," he points out. Because PREGNANT DRAGON!
There is no obvious sign that anyone or anything has even noticed Wulf in the water. The captain makes sure the Fair Wind is anchored appropriately and then has a couple sailors get one of the small skiffs ready to go. "Ready when you are, Lass," he tells Amy.
Amy flashes a grin to Merrisol and gets to her feet. She's now well into week 33 (of 40), but there is still grace to her movements. She moves away from the small sun shelter, concentrates, and within a few moments, she has shapeshifted into the sparkly purple dragon. "Right then, don't you anyone tell about this. I am not a mount, and I don't carry riders," she says, half seriously. She does however settle so that Merrisol can clambor aboard.
Wulf quietly floats from one side of the ship to the other, propelled by nothing so much as the lazy undulation of the serpent's tail. The serpent though, looks as if she'd happily take chunks out of just about anything that came close to her, or her jotun. HER JOTUN. SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS~ The flukes on her head raise as she peers at deckside people in passing, lips pulling back from a maw full of jagged and business-meaning teeth, oh-so-briefly shown before Wulf donks her on the jaw with his free fist lightly and clicks it shut. "They are not tasty treats, Ormsvagr. That is fishes, yes?" And maybe crabs.
Siobhan raises a brow as the woman shifts to dragon and then sets about taking on a rider. She smiles, and nods, but stays over where she is, away from the DRAGON! Because DRAGON! Just like she's staying away from Wulf's.. serpent.
Siobhan also gets into the skiff.
Merrisol smiles a touch nervously at Amy's blithe waddle, but when she becomes the dragon, the decision is made and their course is set. He leans on the rail again to look down at the rippled surface of the sea, calling down to Wulf, "While under, I observed the plant-hating crabs and such to be arriving at the wall from two different directions." And he points with his arm towards the south and east. "We have been told that The Breaking caused the arrival of these critters. Could you and.. Ormswaggle.." Hrm.. close enough, "..see if there's something to that claim in either direction?" He motions for Amy to wait another moment for him, and goes after Siobhan. As she (and Ithunn?) get settled in the boat, he offers to lend her a trump card to relay information back and forth.
Ithunn--with axe--has hopped into the boat.
Amy waits while Merrisol offers suggestions.
The captain, once the two ladies are in the skiff, trump card in hand, nods to his sailors, and they actually row the skiff over closer to the plant wall for Ithunn and Siobhan.
Once Merrisol gets settled, Amy gathers herself, pregnant and all, and launches to the sky, bugling once she's airborne.
Wulf nods to Merrisol, making a fist salute gesture with his free hand, looking Ormsvagr in the eye. "Well, you are going to go. I am going to float. You know what you are doing... I am big and clumsy." If it's possible, the serpent looks amused, smug even, though she butts her head against the giant's in a nudge, submerging her head as she flipper-wriggles in the directions indicated in the 'claim'. Wulf, for his part, holds in slightly sidelong to everyone with his arm slung over. Once at the prescribed sites, the giant takes to treading water, zoning out as the serpent dives beneath the depths, her nictating membranes sliding over her eyes as she goes. Lets hope she doesn't get distracted by tasty crabs!
Muttering to Amethyst, Merrisol mounts carefully, but not without the benefit of prior Mandrake-riding experience. He even makes sure his hands aren't anywhere near that pesky neck membrane. "Should... when Maggie... a... as... wedding..." He's leaning over, watching the ship and people drop away and become small, then turning his attention to the topside of the wall and beyond, views he hasn't seen before. It doesn't take long to spot the section she had been referring to.
Muttering to Merrisol, Amethyst rumbles softly. "... Maggie... did... for... she needed.... I... hurt your... or hers!... make... own... hands.... what to say..." There is a calmness about the words, though it might be possible that time has helped somewhat there. The wings are powerful, the dragon flying ... remarkably straight ... considering how often she usually flies askew. Merrisol may note that Amy's build is not the same as Celeste's, with several differences. She flies up, wings powerful enough to not even seem to notice the extra weight, and tail and legs acting to keep things on an even keel. Once up there where Merrisol can see, there is a bright white lily blossom - literally huge enough that Amy, as a dragon, could fit into it. Just beneath it, though it's not touching them, are four cardinal lilypads, overlapping. They are big enough that Amy could drop Merrisol off, though not likely that the dragon could land. Beneath them - there is nothing but air. The blossom comes up on a single stalk from straight down, and the square of plants is just that, hollow in the middle.
The sea-serpent surface close to the giant once again, warbling at him as she does so, a sound that is as soft as can be and at odds with her look. She's also crunching crustaceans, because that was sooooo going to happen. Shaking his head free of the taste of raw crabmeat on his tongue, Wulf nods to her. "Take me over..." and empathic curiosity has him showing her what he means. Over the mound on the ocean floor. Once there, he places his hand flat in the seawater and wills it to freeze in a window, smoothing his hand over the ice, to make it utterly transparent. This so he can peer down at the exodus of crustaceans himself... Slightly magnified by refraction through the frozen water and distorted by it somewhat also. "Huh. Crack need fixing. Filthy water though, yes? Like... like..." he struggles with the word 'pollution' and can't find it.
"Could be a good thing...could be a bad thing," Ithunn says, noting the dying growth, as well. As the skiff nears, she reaches out a hand to touch the plant wall, her hand easily going through the greenery. "Should be easy to cut through,' she grins--but when she runs the axe blade over one of the stems, the vine cuts--but she can't get through to the other side of the vines. "Damn," she hisses.
Siobhan nods to Ithunn. "I.. think it is a bad thing, honestly," she says, looking around. "Have you seen any signs of our friends from last time?" She eyes the vines thoughtfully. "I think that though this may make it easier to do what we need to do, it does not bode well." She is glancing about, looking for, well, the friends from last time.
Annoyed, Ithunn pokes her axe blade int o the hole in the plant she has made--then her hand. "Well, here's a thing," she tells the others, withdrawing her hand. "I cannot get my hand all the way through to the other side of this plant wall, though my axe can cut the vines. But it is as if there is an invisible wall in ht emiddle of the plant, blocking me from going all the way through it. Magic of some sort?" she suggests. "And no," she answers Siobhan. "THe frog riders--I see none of them. Which could be a bad thing--perhaps they were guarding against something."
Merri considers Amy's reply, though if he had a response to give, the topic falls by the wayside while he takes in the rather odd phenomenon on the top of the wall. A few passes, and he is eager to get in closer, gesturing and sliding his weight to one side in order to dismount onto one of the lilypads once Amy cruises low enough.
Amy cruises low enough, with more skill than is usually seen. She holds her breath though, hoping that the lily pad will actually hold Merrisol's weight. She circles around again, ready to dive and snatch if need be.
Siobhan finally spots something, and a sadness fills her gaze. "Oh no," she whispers, this to Amy and Merrisol and Wulf all three, distant though they are from her, reach them easily enough. And Ithunn, for she's right there. "They're dead." Her eyes move to another, and she leans forward, offering her hands to the old lady queen. "How? What happened? How are the crustaceans winning?"
"I don't know," Ithunn answers Siobhan. "Perhaps our presence harmed them or their fight somehow. And perhaps the dying parts of the plant wall have something to do with it. But it does not sound good, in any case."
Merrisol drops into a crouch on the lilypad, his solid weight appearing to hold upon the large green fibrous platform, though it's a bit of a balancing act all the same. He looks up at Amethyst and thumbs-up to show he's fine, then gestures to her and signs a warning that landing is probably not an option for her. Leastwise, not as a dragon. Angling around, stepping on the parts of the lily pads that are overlapping for stability, he circles the closed blossom studiously. One hand hovers over the white petals, just shy of tracing the pale delicate veinwork running the tapered length, and when they do come in contact, it wouldn't be because /he/ moved. He's just gazing up at the pinnacle where the bud folds shut, when Siobhan's lament is heard, and he looks around in startlement and trying to catch that elusive trump-nudge, before realizing it had been a whisper on the wind.
The flower is breathing, but not otherwise moving. So it doesn't move to touch Merrisol, despite his being there. Amy continues to circle, waiting for Merrisol to figure out whatever there is to figure. Her head does go towards the outer wall, where the others are, with Von's whisper. There is a rumble that emits from the dragon's throat.
Wulf lifts his head to the whisper on the wind, a profound confusion followed swiftly by sadness reaches his monolithic face. He lets the ice-window go, to melt in the ocean as it will and murmurs to Ormsvagr. "Have at the crabs. Eat as many as you want." He rubs the serpent's cheek and floats, oblivious to the wall of green, the activity on top or anything else for now. Float. We all float down here.
Nope, no trump nudge. Siobhan hasn't even thought about doing so, with the trump just yet. Too used to whispers, not used enough to trumps. She nods to the queen and blows out a breath. And whispers again. "The crustaceans keep coming," she says. "They are too few to hold them back."
Merrisol waits where he is, until there are more whispers, and lets out his breath slowly for what he comprehends as a losing battle. Kneeling cautiously, he crawls closer to the cap between the cardinal pads and looks past the edge into the chasm below, hemmed in on all sides by the healthy stalks. This lone plant, thriving within. Sitting up, looking back at the inert blossom, he turns and does lay his hands over the white petals, feeling for the vibration of any movement within. He hesitates, then leans in and turns his head so his ear is against the bud as well. "Hullo. Are you awake?" His own communication talents are limited in range, but he tries extending empathic senses anyway, just in case what lies within is animal rather than plant.
RPG: Merrisol challenges a difficulty of 8. Merrisol chooses Resolve. Merrisol succeeds.
RPG: Amethyst challenges a difficulty of 8. Amethyst chooses Resolve. Amethyst fails.
Amy continues to circle, waiting to see what happens. As Merrisol does something, she doesn't know what, she suddenly freezes in mid-air, and starts to plummet down to the water on the wrong side of the wall - or the right side, if you're Merrisol.
Wulf closes his eyes, saddened by what he hears. "Ormsvagr," he calls to the wyrm, floating above the mound beneath the water. With the reappearing of the great worm, he grabs at her dorsal fluke. "Down," and with a tremendous hyperventilation and then a breath held, he lets the serpent tug him down beneath. He doesn't need to be there for all that long, to begin to form a block of ice over the cracked obsidian, letting it take root, then hand over hand, fist over fist, build and freeze the water there into a glacial obelisk. It won't do much for long, but as it grows upward, he surfaces again, for another deep breath, dive and repeat...
Merrisol was just hugging the flower, honest. Okay, a bit more than that. The next moment, he is reeling backwards as though pushed, his low profile assisting him in recovery, though he rocks on his heels and slides on his butt a couple of feet. He stares at the blossom from under the arm he had defensively raised on automatic, but the flash of iridescence plunges by in his periphery, alerting him to the dragon's helpless dive. "Amy!" He lunges out to measure his height on the pad, and grips the edge of the wall to gaze over the side in hopes his friend recovers her senses before she hits water. If she doesn't? He's already on his way down as well.
Siobhan watches the dragon fall, and not a damn thing she can do. But then the little pixie says something to her, and she scrambles forward and after her!
Amy plummets down ward, barely managing to furl her wings and streamline herself before she hits the water and continues under with a large splash. She continues down only to get tangled among the plant roots down below, a bunch of frog riders with spears and terrified looks on their faces coming after her. Those aren't exactly a problem for the dragon, at least not usually, as the spears can't go through her scales. But she's not moving much, and dragons don't usually breathe water.
Wulf carries on his work. Soon, the crest of the ICeberg breaches the surface of the water like a tip of a tooth from a frigid deep sea critter. There, he clings to the pinacle, concentrating with all his might. It grows. It will continue to grow until he has not the strength to make it grow further; ICEBERG CAp'N! ICEBERG OFF THE PORTSIDE!
The amount of displaced water thrown into the air is still pattering down when Merrisol dives past the surface with a smaller crash, carried deep by the speed of entry and then kicking deeper through the flurry of bubbles being released in Amy's wake. He observes in passing that there are still quite a few Nixies alive, possibly some of the same who rousted him from the waters the first time. He has no time to waste getting reacquainted with their spears and only swims on, determined to reach the dragon and plant a special kiss to her snoot. "I'm sorry, Amy.. whatever's in that flower lashed out... psychically, I think," he explains, while he looks to the tendrils snagging her limbs and tail.
Siobhan is stopped, of course, she's far too big to go through where the little nixie went! She jabbers something at the nixie in the nixie's language. "The big crustacean and its friend are my friends," she says. "Can you help them? Or get me through somehow so I can help them?" She eyes the vine wall, contemplating climbing it, maybe.