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Tag: lantan

Chapter 3 — Avilda
~ eighth-day, 18th of Flamerule, the Year of Rogue Dragons, 8 bells
Wildspace


The next morning, the Frihet left the Rock of Bral and headed toward Toril. Solisar had reminded them about the danger of returning to Toril without taking precautions against the dragons, but Ombert had explained that, before their last visit to Lantan, while the adventurers were searching for Onran's abode, he had shared the same fear. "Apparently, only a single dragon is known to live on the big island of Lantan," said the halfling captain. "We learned that this dragon, an ancient blue, thinks of the entire island nation as his hoard. He has spent the whole dragonrage paroling the seas around the islands of Lantan, ensuring that no other dragons come near his property. If anything, Lantan is thus one of the safest places on Toril to visit right now!"

   As the Frihet launched into spelljamming speed toward their home planet, Hakam approached Solisar, who was below deck in the wizard's lab that the elves of Evermeet had constructed for them.

   "May I speak with you in private, Solisar?"

   "Of course, good cleric," said Solisar.

   Hakam shut the door behind him and shared the results of the previous night's divination. "Is there an elven chameleon god in the history of your people?"

   Suddenly, Solisar flashed back to his visit to the human city of Silverymoon last Nightal. Just before he had met the most alluring Loremaster Rivermantle in the library-temple of Everdusk Hall, he had been examining the statue of a god to whom he had never paid much attention, Erevan Ilesere, the Trickster,... the Chameleon.

   "I do not know how I did not think of it earlier," said Solisar, "but there is indeed a god known as the Chameleon among the Seldarine, Erevan Ilesere. He is the god of trickery, not evil, but one representing the more... playful tendencies of elfkind. Though perhaps one of its least popular members among the elves of my own people, he is respected somewhat by the green elves, who are Belvin's kin."

   Upon hearing Solisar's answer, Hakam's own memory was triggered. "Erevan? Is that not the name of the god whom Jayce nominally follows?"

   Solisar did not know the answer to Hakam's question, as he did not know Jayce very well, but Hakam did not need the answer; he knew that it was true.

   Jayce was a relatively irreligious human, but he had told a strange story of receiving healing for his injured leg as a child from a passing elven priest of Erevan, who also left him with a mysterious tattoo. Later in their adventurers together, but before the time that Solisar had joined them, they were joined briefly by a roguish fellow named Mick. Mick also bore a similar tattoo, which he had also received from a cleric of Erevan in his youth. The tattoos magically glowed when near each other and in fact caused pain to either man if they drew far apart after meeting. It was not until several months later that they learned that the two tattoos were the two halves of a map of an ancient temple of Ubtao in the jungle of Chult, a temple that ultimately led them to Samber.

   Connections were formed in Hakam's mind regarding Yashiera's prophecy that had hitherto evaded him, and he smiled with understanding.

   He again discussed with Solisar the prophecy. "So, Thard Harr, Erevan, and Ubtao are allied, and they do not see the 'dark cloud approaching from beyond them.' What is the pool into which they are gazing? A portal? And what is this dark cloud?"

   "The Shadovar could be the dark cloud, potentially," said the elf.

   "They have a dark cloud around their digging site; that is true."

   "Or the dark cloud is their goddess."

   Hakam nodded at the grim thought. He also remembered his brief time as a captive of the Shadovar cleric Chalan. He wondered if revisiting his conversation with her then might lead to new insights. He thanked Solisar for the helpful conversation and returned to his quarters.

   Meanwhile, above deck, Sofi approached Szordrin as he was standing alone gazing down at Toril. They were in orbit around the dark side of the planet, as Ombert tried to spot where to drop down into the atmosphere for the most direct approach to the tiny islands of Lantan.

   "May I ask you a question? You seem deep in thought."

   "Yes, of course," he replied.

   "You seem very intent on quickly tracking down this rakshasa cutter," she said. "What motivates this? Do you desire revenge? Is it to provide for your own safety? What is driving you on this quest?"

   "Both," said Szordrin. "It started out for revenge, but now it seems like my own life may depend on it. Onran may not have simply been murdered; he may have intentionally given up his life to save mine, so it is even more important."

   "Do you think that revenge will make you feel any better?"

   "Yes, I presume so," he said, but his voice lacked confidence. "We can only know when it is done."

   She nodded. It looked like she had something else to say, but whatever it was she kept to herself.

   "Do you think that the stars are beautiful?" she then asked.

   He looked at her, and she was staring off at the endless number of bright points in crystal sphere of Realmspace. "Yes," he answered, though without the awe that had been in her voice when she asked.

   "You never saw the stars growing up, did you? You lived underground."

   "That is true, but Onran taught me the beauty of the stars and explained how they revolved around Toril and the sun. So, I gained a great appreciation for them long before I ever saw them with my own eyes from the Forest of Mir."

   "I, too, never saw stars as a girl. Sigil has no stars, nor a sun nor a moon. The same is true of the Outlands. It was not until we exited the Astral Plane and entered the wildspace of the Prime that I first gazed upon them. Their beauty left me speechless. I only had a few minutes to take in their beauty, for we entered the clouds of Coliar after that, and, as you know, the sky of Coliar is only white, gray, or black." She sighed. "They are wonderful to me."

   Szordrin let her enjoy the view but remained by her side. Shortly, sunlight burst around Toril's orb, and the stars faded. Szordrin asked her a question. "Now that you are coming with us, what do you hope to gain from this journey?"

   "I am hoping to scan who I really am and who Pistis Sophia wants me to be. Maybe it is woven into your story; maybe it is not. It is too early to say."

   "Do you have any idea how long you wish to travel with us?"

   "As long as you will have me or until it is clear where I am supposed to go next." She paused. "Tumble to this, I have literally given up everything that I own in life to follow Pistis Sophia. It is just me and my mug." She held it up for him and smiled. "That is all."

   They were descending now rapidly and burst through the clouds. Sofi's red eyes widened with excitement upon seeing the blue ocean for the first time. "Is that water?"

   "It is," said Szordrin.

   She giggled with glee.

   Szordrin said, "I heard about the incident with you and Brad. Your response was fully justified and should keep him from bothering you again."

   "Is he that way with most women?"

   "They are all like that, these sailors," said Szordrin.

~~~~

To the crew of the Frihet, as well as Oma, Jayce, and Hakam, the island of Suj was a familiar place, but for the remaining adventurers, a visit to Lantan was anticipated with interest. What strange, gnome-filled, remote island produced such bizarre clockwork toys as the ones that they had been selling on the Rock of Bral? They, of course, had been told a little about the place, but it was always different to experience a new land with one's own eyes.

   The fact that they were able to visit at all was mainly because of Jayce and Captain Ombert. When Hakam had visited the island, he had done so under cover of darkness and took his rowboat to shore distant from the actual port. Lantan was known to have a fear of visitors and, in fact, surrounded their entire island nation with smokepowder sea mines. Too many people would want to steal their advanced technology, the natives thought, after having visited. (In truth, most of the people of Faerûn found the Lantanese too strange to want to conquer their island.) Ombert and Jayce had convinced the right people to grant them access to Dtakkar, one of the port towns of Suj, the smaller of Lantan's two main islands. They had landed the spelljammer within the mile radius of the island, safe from the floating bombs, and now flew an official merchant flag allowing them to sail into the port.

   Lantan was a tropical island nation, built on what once were volcanic islands. The low mountains could be seen in the east, but they were approaching a flatter peninsula. Everywhere they looked was covered with jungle, but unlike Chult or Coliar, a constant cloud of steam was rising from several places, a sign of civilization and, more specifically, of the toy factories for which Dtakkar in particular was known.

   The port was not a large one, as Dtakkar was not a large town. In fact, there was only a single dock. Some sort of obnoxious gnomish contraption rose from the water and acted as a crane to offload shipping goods onto a wooden platform with a ramp higher up to the town itself. The ramp, they soon realized, was a moving one; the planks were attached to a belt, which was pulled by gears. A single other ship was in port when they arrived. Bansh noted that this ship was lanteen-rigged. It had a single triangular sail that was maroon-colored. They observed the crane unloading the boat and then watched the moving ramp carry crates from the dock up to the aerial town.

   Dtakkar, like most settlements of Lantan was built some fifteen feet above the ground on metal stilts and platforms. Homes with little turreted towers were the primary form of architecture here, and they were connected by an inter-web of wooden boardwalks and bridges spanning from one structure to another. They did not see many people about, but the evidence of the bustling population was heard in the sound of clanking metal, sounding horns, whistling pipes, and grinding gears. Those they did see seemed to dress in loose robes. Men and women each wore wide rimmed hats to keep the sun out of their eyes, and they seemed to favor the color yellow, as a good six in ten persons had the color somewhere on their clothing.

   They docked, and a small group of them disembarked. Jayce remembered exactly where to lead them. They soon found themselves at the front door of a small house but one still large enough to have its own little corner turret with pointed metal roof, painted red, which reminded some of them of the pointed hats that gnomes often wore. (Given the high population of gnomes here, they wondered if this connection was intended. Jayce had also always wondered if the gnomes wore the hats so as not to be run over by the taller humans.)

   Before knocking, Szordrin prepared himself with magic to read minds.

   After knocking, they waited a minute before the door opened. "Who are you?" asked the man, in Lantanna. Only Szordin, Solisar, and Jayce understood the words, but the meaning was clear enough to everyone. It was not a friendly question. The man who asked it had probably seen six or seven decades. His hair was thin and white. He had a mustache and was probably handsome in his youth.

   "We were hoping that we could speak with the lady Avilda," said Jayce, whom they had requested to do most of the talking for them. He spoke in his native language to the man.

   "What do ye want with my wife?" asked the man in strongly accented Common, once he saw that the group included so many foreigners. Then he recognized Jayce. "I know who you are! You are that man who did my wife hassle several months ago about her ex-husband. You talked with her enough. She does not want remember him anymore. Leave us alone." He began to close the door. Szordrin knew that the man's thoughts mirrored his spoken words. When are these people going to leave my poor wife alone? She does not want to remember that jerk. This is rude. What business do they have bothering our peace.

   "This is not about your wife;" said Hakam, "it is about Yunoko."

   The man stared at the short, dusky-skinned man in banded armor and a tunic, and appeared exceptionally confused. "I do not know what 'yunoko' is!"

   "Good sir," Jayce began in the Lantanese tongue, "I recognize how socially inappropriate it is for us to return again. You are a good husband, wanting to protect your wife, and I respect that. If you wish us to leave, we will agree to your wishes, but please hear me for just thirty more seconds of your time. As you know, her ex-husband was not just a bad husband, he was a disturbed man. Unfortunately, he has caused harm to more persons than only your wife. His actions could have repercussions that affect happenings on multiple worlds, not only your family. We would not be here if we did not think that the information your wife may hold may be crucial to our ending Samber's destructive and aberrant actions forever. If you permit us ask her but a few questions, I give you my word as a fellow Latanna that we shall never bother you again, and your wife will not only be able to leave Samber forever in the past but also know that she helped protect Faerûn from potential great harm."

   The man paused and thought. Well, there is no doubt that he is a true Lantanna; I can take him at his word. He is not lying to me; he will leave us alone after this. Maybe if five more minutes with my wife will save the world.... He spoke again in Common. "If she will agree to it, ye may ask us both your questions, but ye take longer than five minutes or ye cause her a tear shed, I will toss through the window your skinny body."

   Jayce was not a particularly heavy human, to say the least; he was built like a pole. Nevertheless, Avilda's husband was even thinner. Even so, the man's tone sounded like he literally intended to attempt to throw Jayce if they tarried to long, and Szordrin knew that he was visualizing doing so in his mind's eye as he made the threat.

   "Play?" asked Kytharrah, but he was quickly quieted by the others.

   "As soon as she is ready," said Jayce, "we will get right to our questions. Shall we stand here?"

   "I shall get her." The man closed the door on them.

   Szordrin whispered some words to Ferry while the man was retrieving his wife, and Ferry nodded.

   When the door opened again, despite having been warned in advanced by their bard, they were still all taken aback. The woman before them, except for her pale skin and white hair, looked like Ilthian's older sibling.

   Kytharrah might have been confused by this, except that she smelled nothing like Ilthian. (In fact, he had noticed before that Ilthian had no smell at all.)

   Avilda looked nervous, particularly upon seeing a minotaur. She clung to her husband. Kytharrah gave her the friendliest puppy look that he could.

   "Do not fear him," said Jayce. "He is harmless, like a pet dog really."

   "He is like a young child," said Sofi. "I assure you that he is safe." Sofi stroked the fur on his bulky arm to demonstrate.

   "I thought that I answered you your questions already," said Avilda in a very thick Lantanese accent. "What more do ye want?"

   "We have further questions," said Hakam, "not about Samber but about a woman we believe that you knew as well, Yunoko."

   Szordrin felt what might be described as a mental sigh coming from the Lantanese woman's mind, as if it were exhausting to think back on old memories. He saw flashing through her mind the blurry images of men and women dressed in their fanciest clothing, smiling, dancing, and eating at what he soon realized was a wedding. A woman in a beautiful white kimono approached Avilda in her memory.

   "I was not actually friends with Yunoko," said Avilda. "She was a friendly enough lass, but I only her met twice, first be at her wedding, second be at mine."

   "Can you tell us anything about the manner of her death?" asked Hakam, wasting no time.

   "I only knew that she had died because I heard it from my ex-husband. He received a letter. We were told that there would be no funeral."

   "Why not?" asked Szordrin.

   "Samber never went into details, but Onran said that there could not be a funeral."

   "Did you know Master... Onran well?" asked Szordrin.

   "Like Yunoko, I did not know well him. I met him a few more times than Yunoko, as he was my ex-husband's best childhood friend. As far as I know, he moved away from Lantan with his gnomish family as a young ladd. Occasionally, he would come back and Samber visit. We went to their wedding; they came to ours. Samber and he corresponded frequently, but I did not know well him. He seemed a nice enough ladd, but I thought that my husband be nice at the time as well."

   "Do you recall whom she spoke to the most at her wedding?" asked Hakam.

   "I know not how that answer," said Avilda. "Yunoko was half-Wanese, half-Cormyrean. Her father's family was there, dressed in Cormyrean garb. Her mother's family was dressed in those Wanese robes that they all wear." Szordin caught glimpses of the scene in her mind as she spoke.

   "Do you know how they met, Onran and Yunoko?" asked Szordrin.

   She shook her head.

   "Do you know anyone else to whom we could speak who knew either Onran or Yunoko?" asked Solisar. "Anyone whom you met at the wedding?"

   "We were the only Lantanna at their wedding," said Avilda. "I spoke with Yunoko for long at the wedding. She was very easy talk with, and I no one else knew. She was a very kind woman and was friendly to me because so out of place I was." Again, Szordrin saw the briefest images of Yunoko as she spoke to Avilda at the wedding, and he felt strong emotions of not belonging among the rich nobles.

   "Where was their wedding?" asked Hakam.

   "It was in Suzail, in Cormyr," she said.

   "Do you know where they lived?" asked Hakam.

   "They lived in Wa," she said.

   "Do you know if they had any vacation homes?"

   "I do not know where they a vacation home built themselves, but when the second time I met her, says she, how much she loved her honeymoon. Says she, they spent most of it swimming naked and free together and alone on some other world. I did not know what she was saying; I just had a smile on me and my head nodded. Says she, the place was beautiful, full of water, clear as glass."

   "Can you provide any more specifics about either their wedding venue or their home in Wa?"

   "I at their home in Wa never be, but the wedding was at a fancy place, some place official like. There was a black, dragon-shaped throne in the back of the room, with many tapestries."

   Avilda's husband finally interjected. "Ye promised five minutes. It has been that long. The time is up. Leave us be now."

   "I thank you kindly for your information," said Solisar.

   The man and woman returned into their home and left the adventurers outside.

   "I think that we need to visit Cormyr next," suggested Hakam. "That seems to be where most of the remaining threads lie."

~~~~


With Oma at the helm, the Frihet rose from the waters around Lantan and took to the sky. Solisar had her take the ship clear into orbit. There were not many clouds in the sky this day, and he hoped that they would be able to spot the Sea of Falling Stars, upon which borders the nation of Cormyr rested, from wildspace, thus avoiding any danger posed by the raging dragons. At spelljamming speeds, they should be able to place themselves over the waters in nearly no time at all; however, it would be two hours later in the day at that latitude, and it would take some time to both ascend and descend.

   As they climbed higher and higher in elevation, Hakam readied a spell to complete one further task, communication with Chief Grak, or "Captain Stubs". Since Samber had taken back Ilthian and also apparently stolen the sea charts from Ombert before that, they feared that Samber might also try to take his sailing vessel back from the goblinoids who had used it to escape his island.

   "Remember us? We saved you from the bone devil. We are looking to return to the island. Could you tell us how to navigate back?"

   Hakam waited for a few moments and then heard the gruff voice of Captain Grak in his mind. "Ahoy! This be Cap'n Stubs! Still no arms or legs, but otherwise alive! In the Nelanther now. Maybe I can help. Goonya begs me thank...."

   Hakam asked Jayce what "in the Nelanther" would mean.

   "The Nelanther Islands," answered the bard, "pirate islands and uninhabited desert isles. Hundreds of them. Most do not even have potable water. We shall be flying directly over them on the way to Cormyr, though I am sure we will not be able to spot them from as high as we will be. They are non-human, non-demihuman humanoids mostly. Not the sort of place good folk would want to visit. Great place to hide though!"

   "Should we stop there on the way then?" asked Leokas.

   "We are not ready to stop Samber directly," said Solisar, "so I see no need to learn this information now."

   "I agree," said Hakam, "but having the knowledge in hand may be better, if he is seeking out his missing vessel."

   He paused and then spoke again. "However, we do not know on which of the hundred islands Grak resides, and I do not have the magic of another sending ready for this day. It shall have to wait."

   They passed out of the gravity well of Toril and felt the usual mild jolt. Ombert gave the order to jump, and the magic of spelljamming launched them hundreds of miles to the northeast in seconds. In 40 minutes, they would splash down in the Sea of Fallen Stars and begin sailing to the great Kingdom of Cormyr.
Session: 120th Game Session - Monday, Aug 31 2020 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Tags: Chapter 3 , Lantan , Recap