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Per Multiversum
Chapter 2 — Schlith Darkscale
As they waited on the counter employee of Jamm Services to return with the director, Oma looked at the massive bone columns that were supporting the tent. "What sort of creature has tusks this big? They are bigger around than I am!"

   "Are you sure about that?" queried Jayce.

   Oma glared at him.

   Ombert, too, was noticeably bothered by the size of the tusks, as he muttered to himself. "One-eyed space sharks; eel-spider monsters that mind-control my crew; giant hamsters; minotaur-sized bugs that tunnel through rock; and now tusks from a creature bigger than my ship. Why did I agree to captain a spelljammer again?"

   "Where are these guests that you saw fit to summon me from my 'thunderthrone' to speak to?" said a lizardman loudly, upon entering the tent.

   The counter employee motioned in the direction of the adventurers with his head. They were not at all skilled at reading lizardfolk facial expressions, but if they had to guess, the employee was embarrassed by his own boss.

   Schlith was a bulky lizardman wearing a purple loincloth, a headband, and several ornamental bone-jewelry pieces. He smiled broadly at the visitors, as he approached them, and they noticed that he was missing a good number of his front fangs.

   They also caught a whiff of his breath. It was terrible and smelled of rotten fish or spoiled milk — neither of which actually existed anywhere within the planet of Coliar.

   "I am Schlith Darkscale," he said, "but I am sure that you know that already. Now, before I even ask who you are, I want to make sure that I am not wasting my time with you." He lifted up what looked to be a piece of round glass on a chord and held it up to his eye. "I may be a lizardman, but I ain't stupid, so I had this nifty magic glass thingy crafted for me."

   He first looked at Szordrin. "I would not trust you as far as I can spit." Then at Belvin and Leokas: "Probably 'freedom-lovers'," he said in a mocking voice, "like those bird-brained 'democrats'." However, he grinned widely upon looking at Hakam. "Ah, a lawful and orderly fellow! Now, this is someone I know I can trust." He pointed at Hakam's silver holy symbol. "That is the holy doodad for what's-his-name, isn't it? Tor or something; son of Odin; drunk, hammer-smashing god who stlarns frost giants and women both, though not in the same way, if you know what I mean. Heh heh heh."

   Belvin snickered loudly, but Hakam was visibly aghast at the offensive words coming from Schlith's mouth. "His name is Anachtyr, and he is a true paragon of justice, not some loose-moraled mortal."

   Schlith shrugged. "Whatever. He's a good god, right? so you won't stlarn me over, and you are a lawful man, so you won't break a deal. Good, good, I can work with this." He let the crystal drop from his eye. "Now, what in the Hells do you want?"

   Hakam had to wait a moment to calm himself down but then spoke, "We have need to reach an obscure island somewhat near here, and we figured that, with your expertise traveling the planes and spelljamming, you might be able to help us reach an island in your own planet."

   "Or at least advise us," added Solisar.

   Schlith chuckled at this. "Oh, I don't spelljamm myself! Gods' eggs no! Parharding things cost me my front teeth. All their fancy 'oooooh' technology!" As he spoke, he waved his hands to indicate the spooky quality of spelljamming magic. "I would rather eat my own barf or swim in naeth."

   Schlith continued, when he saw a look of confusion in their eyes. "No, what you need are hang gliders. But why would any reasonable person want to go to any of the other islands? There's nothing on those floating dung heaps but dinosaurs and big birds."

   "We are in pursuit of a lawbreaker," said Hakam. "He has stolen something quite dear to us."

   "See, this is why you off-worlders need to learn something from us more-civilized lizardmen; if you don't think you own anything, you don't care if someone takes it, because there are plenty of them things to go around!"

   Hakam looked like he was about to reply, but Jayce jumped in to try to steer the conversation from politics. "There may be some truth to your statement," he said, "and what better way to learn for ourselves how your superior systems of society work than for you to allow us to partake in it? Can you acquire such gliders for us?"

   "See here, let Schlith Darkscale explain how it is. As off-worlders, of course you cannot just fly off on one of our community-owned gliders. However, I know the big snouts on Hisssta, if you know what I mean, and I could work out an arrangement for you, or I'll lay an egg, but what's in it for Schlith Darkscale?"

   "We could come to an agreement in which you were compensated fairly for your time," said Hakam.

   Schlith nodded his lizard head. "Alright, but just because I like your hammer god so much. Sark those frost giants!" Schlith pumped his fist and growled.

   Hakam winced. Kytharrah giggled. Solisar, with his vast knowledge of linguistics, was fairly certain that Schlith had managed to curse in no fewer than three different languages since the conversation had started.

   "Play?" asked Kytharrah.

   "Do you think that this is hatchlinggarden?" asked Schlith. He looked at the others with confusion.

   "How many persons can the gliders hold?" asked Solisar.

   "One a piece," said Schlith, "which means that it's a lot to ask from the elders, but just because I like you so much, I will walk up to the Hall of the People and rub tails with some folks — figuratively, of course! Why don't you all walk around town and do some shopping. Eat some food." He looked at Oma. "Or, do some 'mammalian activities' with each other. Meet me back here before shrinking threequarterlight. I'll be back before you can swallow a python." He turned and left the tent without any further chance for other questions.

   "What a codloose winker!" said Oma, after the smelly lizardman had departed.

   "I do not think that lizardmen need to or do wear codpieces," said Jayce.

   "It is just an expression, moron."


Despite the seeming laziness of the lizardfolk population of Hisssta, they had to admit that Schlith returned in a far more timely manner from his errand on their behalf than the aarakocra had done. They had barely had time to get a free bite to eat at the government "Snack Shack" across the gravel path from Jamm Services and returned well before shrinking threequarterlight to the large tent again when the darker-scaled lizardman followed in behind them. They smelled him before they heard his obnoxiously loud exclamation.

   "Schlith Darkscale is ba-ack! And has he a deal for you milk-suckers, as promised!"

   Oma turned away and rolled her eyes.

   "You can borrow however many of our hang gliders that you need for your noble little quest thingy or greedy treasure hunt or whatever. (No one gives aithyas about the details.) Anyhow, in return, you need to take some of our eggs to the sun."

   "What does that even mean?" asked Belvin.

   "We are unfamiliar with your customs," said Hakam, "would you be kind enough to clarify what is requested of us?"

   Jayce gave Hakam a nod to congratulate him for his diplomatic handling of the situation.

   "Well, here's the thing; when you really break it down, the government only cares about reproduction."

   There was a pause.

   "No, not 'sex' you dirty-minded mammals, but the spreading of our race in the broader sense. To survive, our people need to be strong, and so our eggs are sent to incubate out near Anadia to guarantee only superior lizardfolk attributes for our tribe — you know, one's like handsome Schlith here has." He winked with his inner transparent eyelid at Oma.

   She looked sick.

   "How does that work?" asked Szordrin.

   "How in the Hells would I know? Do I look like a reproductive specialist? I cannot even get anyone into the mating pool with me!"

   "Another detour?" said Belvin.

   Leokas was also bothered by this suggestion. He shared his concern, in a lower voice, to his companions. "We do not have time to keep running errands planet-to-planet! We are not merchants or mercenaries; we have a serious goal to accomplish."

   Hakam spoke to Schlith. "That seems a fair arrangement in general; however, we shall need to finish our mission here in this planet first, and then we shall gladly transport your eggs."

   Ombert spoke up, "You know, I could take my crew and ferry these eggs wherever they need to go while you Misfits go off and find what you are looking for. It will give the gang more time to get used to wildspace sailing, and you won't have another major time set-back. It sounds safer than visiting an asteroid full of powerful magical technology, too. Also, I have no interest in risking my body as food for any jungle monsters you may encounter!"

   "How far is the range of our sending stones?" asked Oma.

   "They can reach anywhere in this plane of existence," said Solisar. "We will be able to keep in daily contact with you."

   "Hakam's blessing on the Frihet will also protect us, yes?" said Ombert.

   "And you will also have a powerful devil-slaying bard on board too, remember?" said Jayce. "We shall be fine."

   "How long a journey is it to Anadia?" asked Belvin.

   "Our orrery on the ship shows that the planets are in alignment now," said Solisar. "It would be a relatively quick journey."

   "We do not know how quickly we shall need to move to our next destination once we discover what remains to discover here," said Leokas. "Time saved is time saved."

   "As long as we have everything documented in writing," said Hakam, "I am happy with Ombert and the Frihet making the deliveries while we search the islands."

   "Good, good, but before we let your warm, scaleless fingers near our public gliders," said Schlith, "you need to get officially flight-certified.

   "Another delay?" said Leokas.

   "We have time to spare on that end," said Solisar. "According to Postmaster Spiraldive's address slates, we are already looking at many many days waiting for the islands to move to the right spots to make our journey. The first island is west of us now, against the wind and more dangerous to land on from the current direction. Adding an egg delivery to the end of our time here in the planet is extra time, yes, but time for training will not stall us anymore than we are already stalled, assuming it can begin soon."

   "Worry not," said Schlith. "Gruss Longtail is the best glider trainer around, or I am a birdman beauty pageant winner! If you throw some gems my way, I'd be happy to talk to him about moving you up to the front of his training schedule."

   "I suggest that you...," Szordrin started.

   "Now, now, I may be a lizardman, but I ain't stupid!" repeated Schlith, covering his earholes. "Don't go trying to trick me with some magic trick or unfair bargain. See, this is exactly why I only deal with orderly folk!"

   "What sort of gems would make Schlith Darkscale smile?" Jayce asked. "Perhaps we can negotiate."

   "My nifty magic glass thingy didn't say that you were trustworthy either!"

   "He is indeed sly," said Hakam, "but nevertheless, he is my trusted negotiator for financial deals."

   "Besides," said Jayce, "as you aren't stupid; I would not be able to sneak anything past you."

   After five minutes of discussion, Jayce handed off a violet garnet looted from the neogi master, thought to be worth about 300 gold pieces. Schlith's original request was for some aarakocra-mined corundum, in the range of 500 gold pieces minimum.

   "Well look at this," said Schlith, "the elders get what they want, Schlith gets what he wants, and the Tor-worshipers get what they want. Everyone leaves happy! That's what Jamm Services is all about, isn't it, Risskas?"

   "Yes, everyone leaves happy," said the counter employee in a monotone voice.
Session: 111th Game Session - Tuesday, Jun 16 2020 from 12:30 AM to 3:30 AM
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