Duty Session 364: Still Tide Pirate Lair
Through the efforts of many Adventurers, the home base of the infamous pirates that have plagued the waters around Yamato has finally been tracked down. Initial scouting reports tell that the Pirate Lair is largely run by humanoid monsters of all sorts, relishing in the spoils of their plunder.
As a known Monster Nest, the Hunters Guild is looking for brave souls who would be willing to help clear out some of the monsters in hopes that it will start to diminish some of the pirate activity that comes from the location.
Rec. Party: 3+
World Rewards: Reduction in pirate activity in Yamato.
"Be careful," Uta whispers as she leads the party to a rocky outcropping that looks out over the raging seas below. "That hidden cave hosts our target. Do not overestimate them -- they seem to have teamed up with some sort of tentacled monster named a Sea Lord, which, apparently, grants them some sort of additional power. We still don't know enough about it, so-"
She stops. Her eyes widen in panic. Holding her breath, she turns her head to look down, at the crashing waves, and after a second of two, she exhales and relaxes. "Oh, good. Yes, it's the right duty. I was afraid I had accidentally led the team to fight the rats /again/..."
Fuka grins as her friend goes first serious and then breaks role to panic over something silly. She's been meaning to get Uta back here to see the Sea Lord at some point, after finding out that indeed it's not actually a kraken.
"I'm always careful!" Fuka points out in a normal voice, not whispering at all. "But..." she notes, voice going ominous, "... What if I told you there were rats ANYWAYS?!" she says dramatically. "And TENTACLES! Oh the horror!"
She sizes up Ally. And up, and up. Then she shrugs. "Don't worry, I'm used to splash zones!" she claims. "Just wait till me and Chopstick get started!" she adds, brandishing her great axe proudly.
All the same, she's staring at the cave.
"Always tentcles," says the tentacled undine with a sigh.
Okay that singing is new, and Fuka just has to encourage such endeavours. Especially since the lyrics are groan-worthy. Mind you, Fuka's encouragement doesn't always look like encouragement from a strictly unbiased outside view. She makes a face and throws a pebble at Merek. "How can you be singing no sound at all!" she criticizes. "No speaking, sure. But you can't sing no sound! Now, let's get to chasing booty!"
The mention of tentacles causes her to take a step back. "W-wait, tentacles?" She shudders. "Let's try and avoid those, okay?"
And off she goes further on.
The path towards the Pirates' lair leads the Adventurers down a precarious bit of rock and stone that weaves along the steep edge of the cliff face. Eventually, they reach a point along the path where a larger ledge can support them all, gathered together.
There is a large amount of scraped rock here, as if things were moved from somewhere within. However, there doesn't seem to be any obvious opening in the rocks. There is the more direct route, which continues downward into the caves below, but there has to be something hidden here, right?
Uta stands still, and looks around. "Let's see... which way should we go now..."
"He definitely needs them!" Fuka notes snarkily, then whacks Merek on the shoulder in comraderie. "Oh yeah, introductions! I'm Fukaziroh, mighty battle fairy!" she greets, hefting her axe suggestively. "Everyone calls me Fuka, except when they're calling me in desperate longing~" she adds, her playful expression suggesting not to take that latter too seriously. "Splash zone is like... well, you know the experession 'don't stand in the fire'? It's that except blood and guts!"
She peers around. "Now, there's a secret cave entrance here somewhere. I found it once before, but it's like it moves or something..." Fuka mutters. She's not that great at searching, but not incompetent. Alas, today she just isn't up to the challenge.
As they seem at a loss to find their way forward, Jazz reaches into one of her pockets and produces a small jade figuring shaped like a wyvern. It looks old -- old and beautiful, actuall. She rubs it between her hands for a moment before the wyvern stretches its wings, bending forward so that they expand, forming a flat surface, a floating disc containinng a blank piece of parchment, an ink well, and numerous drawing implements.
"Give me the minimap of the area," she tells the wyvern, "and those footprints. They're going to tell us where the others went through to get past this point. I don't much like using this like *this*,I won't be able to do it again for a full day, but it'll tell us where we need to go."
And indeed, the device draws *itself* a minimap of the immediate area alongside footprints indicating where creatures might have passed by. All on its own, the writing instruments scratching at the blank parchment on their own magic.
"Found it in the Palace Lands," she explains to Uta, casually.
Fukaziroh doesn't need a map. She can follow her own path! It's nice that her findings match Jazz's though. They both say that the pirates clearly passed this way after all, so she's happy to follow along. Apparently forgetting that the point was to look for the secret entrance, not the path followed by the majority.
The group comes upon a bandit 'lair' of sorts. Not the pirates, but a group of oppressed Landers who are clearly down on their luck. They might be criminals, but they're not monsters. Fukaziroh finds herself sympathetic to their plight, and hopes no one gets the bright idea to go on a murder spree.
"Yep, Been a Member of Silversword since before the apoc... Thinking about putting a raid group together for some of the harder stuff." She says with a smile.
"Plus!" Fukaziroh adds brightly. "I'll throw in something from my share of the booty!"
This may not be as generous as it sounds. Being something of a metagamer, Fuka knows she's probably not going to get a reward, at least not if they end up going exactly where she's already gone before. But it feels right, she's sympathetic to the Landers, and hey maybe they *will* get some benefit from this if she promises them a share! It fits in with her nature, and not just for the metagaming. "I mean, we look badass right? No possible way you'd want to attack us, and we're surely going to win here. Sooo.... deal?"
Uta reaches up to a random Lander, and begins striking up conversation, "Look, we-"
The outer ring of run-down hovels and tens gives way to a finer structure. Made of wood and metal, an imposing fort has been built upon the edge of the water, the timbers rising high into the darkness of the cave. Fires are lit at the ramparts, casting shadows on those approaching below.
At the entrance to the fort, there are a series of humanoid monsters of various sorts. Lizardmen, Gnolls and Kobolds are most common, with a few Gargoyle-like creatures which have perched on the higher places of the fort's entrance.
As soon as the Adventurers approach, they spring to action, brandishing not only their claws, but finely made weapons and armor. The monsters are clearly running the show, here, and they have the supplies to make sure their lair is well defended.
it didn't help much, but it DID help.
Having promised to the bandits that the party was badass, Fuka feels a need to deliver as the group comes in sight of the main pirate fortification. Fortunately one of her specialties is AOE bombardment. "Normally at this point I'd suggest fireballs. But I'm having second thoughts."
Okay, who are you and what have you done with Fukaziroh?
The little sylph grounds her axe, setting it up like a caster's staff. To this point there's been little to suggest that she's anything other than a heavy blade. But she begins to chant, the wind responding to her call and gathering in and swirling around her hands and the long haft of her weapon. Her eyes flash purple as the chant continues, energy crackling around her raised hand. And then a streak of light lashes out, leaving purple after-images across the vision of anyone staring too closely at it. The light lances into the sky, a channel for lightning to follow, and the lightning storm rains down... directed from above on the hapless pirates.
It's a mana-dense arte, but it's quickly becoming Fuka's favourite anti-crowd attack. The bonuses she has to Air magic don't hurt either. Well, don't hurt HER at least.
"Huh," she says, "I guess I could have placed those better," she adds of her swirling, watery dark summoning portals.
Still, it helped. A little.
"Jazz!" she urges. "This is not working! I suggest offering alcohol again! That worked so well!"
The outer guardians of the fort are numerous and take quite a while to fight through, but eventually the Adventurers find themselves inside those outer gates, working their way through the inner hallways of the fort itself. One of the larger rooms that they encounter is certainly strange. There are fine murals painted on the walls by hands that seem too skilled to be those of many of the monsters who now call this place their 'home'. Depicted on the mural is a massive sea creature which looms out of the water, attacking nearby ships.
At the center of the room is a deep pool of water that seems to be somehow connected to the lake outside. Throughout the room, there are bits and pieces of writing, but they are hard to see in the dim light. There are strange markings around what must be a door that leads onward into the heart of the fort.
Fukaziroh points out the mural on the wall. "Uta, look!" she says cheerfully, pointing out the sea monster attacking nearby ships. No, she doesn't point out the tentacles. "Is this a kracken, do you think? Or is this the sea lord thingy? It looks kind of nasty doesn't it?"
As to the actual puzzle, Fuka tries her best, but is unable to produce anything particularly useful. Her brain is not up to the task of illuminating the puzzle. A small source of frustration, since puzzles are something she figures she should be particularly good at!
"Nope," she says. "Nope, I got nohing to figure that out."
She closes her eyes a moment, then proceeds to try her hardest to summon up some light. It's not her usual kind of magic, really, but she has idea. Instead, all that happens is that the markings alongside her face and her scales lighten up and glimmer in the darkness. She's glowing. Which is not what she wanted.
It takes her a moment to realize that's what happened and her face wrinkles up cutely instead, the color intensifying before she manages to will it away.
Somewhat drained of mana, Fuka hefts her weapon. "I'd like to AXE you a question!" she bellows as a war cry. "PIECES WAS THE ONLY OPTION!"
Unfortunately for her, her axe is not a fast weapon and the boss is kind of ludicrously fast, but she's having a ball at least! Like a cat with a laser pointer.
All the color drains from Uta's face. "I'm not reading further."
As the party finally works out the way beyond the strange doorway, they find that it opens upon lavish chambers. There is a fine rug beneath their feet and the spoils from many raids upon lander villages and ships displayed upon shelves and along the walls. Many stone pools make up parts of the chamber, as if it, too, were connected to the lake, somehow.
There, sitting upon a throne, looking at them with fingers folded, is the Pirate King. He is dressed in fine armor, with a wicked set of scimitars across his back. His face is elongated, looking like some sort of reptilian creature, but none that are easily identifiable.
"You've caused me enough trouble. I suppose I should handle you, myself." He rises, drawing his blades, his movements remarkably fast as he initiates combat with the party.
"Wait a minute, I think I got this!"
Uta flicks through her menu, her staff shimmers away, replaced by-
-a fountain pen?
"HA!", she exclaims, brandishing her writing implement and pointing it at the Sea Lord. "You stand no chance! Everybody knows the pen is mightier than the sword!"
There is a sudden expression of confused surprise on Uta's face, before the boss SLAMS his weapons into her and swings at her so badly to send her flying.
...which is to say none. She's never peppy.
Battered and bloodied, Fuka stands triumphant over the pirate boss! Okay that was a bit of a silly fight, but the group came together at the last. Not efficiently, but it was enough! Might've helped that Fuka saw Uta get picked on and decided no measly monster was allowed to do that!
"Well, that was an adventure. Hey, weren't we supposed to be looking for a hidden cave?" she muses. Then shrugs. "Oh well, still good training!"
She managed to hold tight onto her pen, though, so there's that.
Through the combined effort of the rest of the party, though, the Pirate King is defeated, to the point where, like the last time, he's about to grab a vial which is promptly knocked off into the depths of a pool (one /could/ dive there after it, technically... but it looks rather dangerous).
"I will keep that into account-", Uta manages to mumble in her semi-conscious state. "Face smaller swords, or bring bigger pens. And about the hidden cave- what hidden cave? I don't remember-" Uta's eyes roll of their own will, and the Spriggan falls unconscsious again. Well, looks like it'll be a while before anyone gets anything out of her.