Above deck there is a horrific crack as the mainsail rips free, unfurls and catches the wind. The loose ropes whip about violently in the wind. Beck is sent out with Eomer to secure the sail (if they can) or cut it loose (if they have to) lest the mast be broken.
Eomer and Beck struggle to secure the sail. They have to climb the rope netting and recover the sail. Eomer is blown off as he reaches and misses. He falls into a wet coil of ropes on the deck.
Eomer is still conscious after the fall but is hurt. He gets back to his feet and attempts to climb back up. He climbs back up but nearly falls off again, managing only to catch hold. The mast creaks loudly. The ship is listing heavily as the wind shoves the vessel around. Not wanting to waste any more time, Eomer and Beck draw their swords and cut the sail free.
They climb down and get belowdecks again. Inorem stands by, furious that the sail has been cut.
A wave wash over the ship. Thordek losses his grip and is knocked over while sliding across the deck, getting caught in the the ropes. Thu’fir holds on to the wheel.
When all recover, they see that the captain is gone.
Beck yells, ” Bring us about, we must rescue him!” over the wind.
Inorem shouts, ” Belay that! Hold your course!”
Beck, “We can’t leave the captain!”
Inorem, “I’m in charge!”
Beck, “You won’t take his ship!”
Inorem, “Going back is suicide!”
Beck, “Leaving him is suicidal for you!”
They draw their swords and start to fight as they fall down to the quarterdeck. With them gone, Thordek, Thu’fir, and Eomer are free to choose who they will obey. Should they abandon the captain, or risk the entire ship by trying to come about? Cutting accross the wind will be very dangrous.
They choose to go back for the captain and begin trying to turn about. As the ship turns accross the wind, they loose control of the wheel and the ship turns sideways. Eomer and Thu’fir try to regain course. Waves wash over the deck. Thordek looses his footing and slides away, ramming into the railing.
A flash of lightning reveals the two combatants on the Forecastle Deck. Beck has run Irnoem through. He pushes the elf off of his sword and into the sea.
Thordek grabs the banister and tries to work his way down to the quarterdeck.
The ship starts to list. A wave comes across the deck and the ship begins to lean to starboard. Water pours over the deck. One of the hatches dips below the water for a moment and the ship takes a big drink. The wave relents and the ship corrects itself. Those at the wheel find it is much easier to steer but nothing happens when they do.
Beck shouts above the din, “The storm has pushed us too far south. We’re being drawn into Stonehelm!”
Lightning flashes, and they can see the dark rocky teeth of Stonehelm jutting out of the water. There is nothing they can do. The ship is beyond their control, and all they can do is wait to be dashed against the rocks.
The rocks are hidden for a moment as they are engulfed by waves. A moment later the wave passes and the rocks are even closer. There is an overpowering crash as the ship is torn apart.
All manage to keep their weapons and armor, but are obliged to leave their packs behind. Thordek and Thu’fir, dressed in scale mail, were sure to sink unless they gave up their armor. Thordek suggests they lock arms over the captain’s barrel. They do so, and jump in, using the barrel as a raft. Skeeve uses his arcane magic and takes to the air. He lights his staff and provides light over a rock jutting from the water. He acts as a beacon to the others. Enoch calls on his holy powers and walks on water with Eomer and 3 other of the crew he grabs. Together they head toward the rock where Skeeve hovers.
The ship slides beneath the waves, and they are left among the churning waves. Everyone ends up at the rock, clinging to it. They have no food, no water, no way to rest, and no idea which way land is. Enoch passes out from exposure. Those that survive are exhausted, hungry, and thirsty, barely holding on in the midst of the storm.
As the night draws on, the storm relents.
Dawn comes at last to show that most of the crew has drowned. Many bodies are face-down in the shipwreck-filled water about them. As the sky brightens, they can see the island to the south, less than a mile away. Of those Enoch saved, there are only two sailors left. Thordek and Thu’fir are kicking their way toward shore. Enoch helps the others get to shore walking on water.
Thordek and Thu’fir get to shore and are waiting for the rest. Bits of the ship litter the beach.
Endo is gone.
Way down the beach they find Beck digging a hole with a part of a stool as a shovel, making a grave. Nobert is dead, and Beck wants to bury him. He finishes the shallow grave and puts Nobert in. After a moment of silence, Beck resolves to travel with the party back to Bayhaven and marry Talla.
It is drizzling and cold. Everyone is exhausted and has been without food and fresh water for about 10 hours. Nobody has slept in over 24 hours.
Eomer goes off looking for Endo. Enoch casts helping hand (a mystical floating hand that searches a 5 mile radius) The magical hand drifts away in search of Endo.
Thu’fir and Eomer search for roots etc to eat in the woods. Beck gives them the gist of the island by drawing in the sand (what he has seen on a map.) Obviously they are near Stonehelm and the river. They are not sure however, if the Alidians have taken Breakshore and decide to try to avoid them. Skeeve levitates and finds the river Â¾ of a mile west. Everyone heads to the river except Enoch who decides to stay at the beach in case Endo comes. The dwarf rinses off in the river. Thu’fir cleans up as well.
After some time, the hand returns without Endo, and then disappears.
Enoch rests on the beach with the two who were saved while waiting for the others to return. Everyone else rests by the river. Thordek offers the use of his helmet to carry water back to Enoch. Beck washes it out and fills it. They walk slowly and carefully back to Enoch. Enoch drinks, sharing with the other two who decide to rest a bit before moving on.
After a rest, they head for the road, which should be somewhere south.
Thu’fir goes first, then Eomer, Enoch, Beck, Skeeve, then Thordek.
The party encounters a group of soldiers coming from the underbrush ahead of them. They are scratched up and covered in leaves from running through the brush. Immediately the soldiers begin to question them. There are three soldiers and one unarmed soldier.
They conclude the party is a group of mercenaries come to help the northerners, and attempt to arrest them.
The party refuses to surrender their weapons. The uniformed unarmed man speaks in the ear of the head soldier and the group spreads out.
The party see this is leading to combat and act first. Skeeve summons a flaming sphere, rolling it toward one of the soldiers. The underbrush catches fire in its wake. Weapons are drawn.
The unarmed soldier stands behind the others, casting magic at the party. It is a hard battle. Both Enoch and Skeeve had spent much of their magic in the night before, and had not had time to refresh themselves.
One by one the soldiers fell. Skeeve and the other wizard end up in a sort of duel, tossing fire magic at one another. Finally the opposing wizard backs into the underbrush for cover. Skeeve commanded a flaming sphere to travel around him in a tight circle, setting the brush on fire. Thus surrounded, the sphere rolls onto the wizard and he perished in flames.
As the last soldier fell, Eomer cries out, “Isn’t anyone everglad to see us?!?!?!”
The party retreats for a few minutes, as the fire spreads. Eventually it burns itself out on the soaked vegitation and leaves a smouldering hole in the woods. The smell of burning skin and hair surrounds them. The party scavenges for usable items amongst the dead.
A Lack of Vision and Leadership
People fault EA for being greedy, but their real sin is just how terrible they are at it.
A Star is Born
Remember the superhero MMO from 2009? Neither does anyone else. It was dumb. So dumb I was compelled to write this.
PC Hardware is Toast
This is why shopping for graphics cards is so stupid and miserable.
Silent Hill Origins
Here is a long look at a game that tries to live up to a big legacy and fails hilariously.
The Best of 2011
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2011.