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Tonight in the Windward Marches: Meet the Mentor
The next morning, the Cannibal Coven re-appears. There are 6 of them again, and none of them are dead anymore.
We talk with Leslie and start to get serious about training her in situation awareness, encounter stances, and hand-to-hand fighting. Skipia starts lining people up to teach Leslie:
- Corvus takes on teaching her to use simple weapons and dodging.
- Hydrazine takes on magical assessment (he thinks she's naturally about 3rd level)
- Edric teaches her "If it's got no skin, it's probably not your friend" and some other alignment detection tips'n'tricks
- Vellum teaches her about situational awareness, threat assessment, and other skills that she may need in her future path
Peremon is unbelievably gifted in handling the ship. The Far Rider shouldn't even be able to go this fast. We are going something like 90 miles per hour! This is faster than he has been driving before, and the ship won't keep this up for too long.
Corvus notices that Sara is looking back over the ship's stern with her spyglass. He talks with her about pursuit and the Captain seems to take Corvus into his confidence:
- Some kind of chase is coming, but that it won't be General Winter coming after us
- That we should keep away from the "Big Dude" in the landau because he "almost broke my arm!"
- Our group should keep sharp and sleep in shifts
Vellum tell the other 4 of us that she has discovered a magically hidden compartment in the door of the Hold. In there is a lantern acting as a FireWall - an anti-scrying magic, probably sealing off the whole hold. Skipia infers that the string of lanterns are a personal FireWall, possibly extending into multiple dimensions or planes.
Peremon kicks the ship up to 95 mph; Vellum advises Leslie to return to the landau. We go on deck to see what is following us. Sara sends Corvus and Hydrazine to help the ship's alchemist. Edric and Skipia ask Sara if there's anything we need to prepare for; she says it's the 3 packets and that they aren't going to be a problem for a day or two.
When Sara takes over, the ship slows a little. The 3 packets eventually become visible and growing. Later, a torpedo boat buzzes us from the front, about 12 ft from our deck, then slews around to come parallel to us. Either Heeber or Jeeber is standing on the ramming prow, casting a jaundiced eye over us as the torpedo drops away from sight. Woo.
We go talk with Leslie, tell her what has been happening. She is a little worried about H&J still being on our trail. Then she says that she has to let her Mentor have a look around, or he won't stop pestering her. Skipia is worried that she means to let him out of the landau, but she says, no, this is something different and safe (for some values of safe). Edric, Hydrazine, Skipia go with Leslie into the landau to find out more about this.
Behind the curtain is a 5' diameter egg made of paramount alloy set into a 5' diameter claw-footed stand made of bloodgold. There is a box of truemetal outfitted with soft iron levers. A huge slab of diamond forms an 8" diameter window into the egg; it is held in with paramount allow rivets of 2" diameter. The rivets are inscribed with dweomer sigils. The egg exudes a palpable feeling of great age.
Inside the window is vile, blood-soaked leather bathed in a horrid green fluid. The flesh pulses and a huge, filmy dead eye hoves into view.
The Containment Control Levers are not labelled, but Leslie tells us about them:
- The Telepathy-to-Speech codex crystal activator. Leslie usually keeps this off to keep the Mentor hidden.
- The Anti-Telepathy field activator to keep him from reading the minds of people within miles of the egg.
- The Negative Energy Ward activator. This is ALWAYS turned on, otherwise the Mentor can use his Energy Drain abilities on anyone he can see through the window.
- The Reality Anchor. This is ALWAYS turned on, otherwise the Mentor can project a fake self outside the egg, which would then let him use all his other abilities. The projection can only travel 1 mile from the egg.
- The Torture Lever. It is tied into the Off position because Adifa promised the Mentor she would never torture him.
- The Reward Lever. Adifa usually has this set to "2," making the Mentor comfortable in his little habitat.
- The Kill Switch. In theory, this should destroy to the Mentor as well as the egg. There is a red ribbon tied around this to remind her never to throw this by accident.
- The Release Switch. The lever has been broken off and its stumps has been riveted to the case with the dolemetal rivet and jammed with more puremetal. This must never, never, never be activated. Why would anyone even make this lever?
Leslie de-activates the anti-telepathy lever. We don't feel anything other than the spine-chilling thrill that one gets anytime anyone reaches for a lever. She says she will introduce us if we are willing. When she activates the Telepathy-to-Speech lever, the Mentor goes off on a long streak of threats and imprecations.
The Sky Battle
The Far Rider has been tethered and boarded by 2 Arrakanza sky pirates! The ship lists and falls out of the blue!
The Mentor demands that we bring power crystals for the landau so that we can escape the coming conflagration. Vellum and Skipia stay to defend Leslie and make ready to flee; Corvus grabs up Hydrazine and runs with Edric to get the thunderstones.
As the boys race to bring our power back to the landau, Meetrow (the ship's alchemist) bursts out of the manatorium in enlarged, enraged form with extra arms and flings himself on one of the Arrakanza ship, howling like a gale of demons.
A ram comes and buzzes the side off the Far Rider and slices the Arrakanza ship Meetrow is on in half!
Skipia realizes that the Far Rider cannot be saved, and that the landau cannot carry more than just our party and the Mentor...
General Winter appears against the windy and cold sky, clad in her peacemetal warplate, wielding her glaive and falchion. Suddenly, Fergus barrels into her center of gravity, and they fight like caffeinated wildcats. Almost faster than we can see, one of the Cannibal Coven reaches down and flings them both off the ship!
The boys throw the thunderstones into place and the Mentor orders us into place to launch the landau. General Winter floats back into view... on the back of a giant roc. She screams into the cold sky, "Don't you move! Don't you move an inch! I'll see you in hell, Aelfyre! I'll see you there!"
Corvus and Edric free the landau and Skipia gets the falling from the hold. The ramming siren sounds again and the Far Rider disintegrates above us.
We plummet past Winter, then skim past the tops of the grasses below and take to the sky. 6 chariots break away from the conflagration, 3 on fire themselves. One of them descends on Winter and swoops her off the roc and away into the West.
- Previous XP Total: 80,639
- The End of the Far Rider: 4,800 each
- Current XP Total: 85,439