On the Shoulders of Giants
Uda's Diary Pt 2
We’ve been at sea for about a week and Delun says we’ve now entered the piracy triangle, so Blossom and I have been keeping our eyes sharp for anyone who looks like they might have a good boat to take.
I’ve been working on putting myself into Blackbeak’s head the way I did with those statues back in Palanquin. It’s way easier, which I guess is cause I raised him from a cub, so we’re super close already. It’s really cool; I can look down at myself from way up in the air, and my body is doing all these claw-y, pounce-y ’I’m a gryphon’ katas whilst my mind is up in the clouds. Guess Babi trained me well about the need to always exercise!
Spotted a pirate! It’s just a little ship but it looks nippy and it’s got a fat merchant ship on the run. We’re going straight for it and Ash has had Tidey flash her fancy fins at it so they know we’re going to wreck their shit and look good doing it! Delun says he thinks he’s heard about their flag before and they’re some sort of runaway princess or something? Sounds like fun!
So we have a ship. Turns out the princess is called Sharkhead Ravva, on account of her head being a shark.(well a shark’s head, not like a complete actual shark on top of her neck, that would be weird). Anyway she’s got water powers and stuff, and didn’t want to hand over the ship even when we asked nicely, so we had to have a bit of a scrap to work things out. Delun chopped her up a bit and we kicked the crew up and down the boat a few times, but Ash made sure no-one died and Blossom…actually I’m not sure where she was. Maybe should was finishing up some sewing and missed the whole thing? Gonna have a chat with them and let them know that we’re in charge now.
All sorted; they’re going to take us to the island where Delun’s sis is stuck and we’ll give them a share of the treasure. Everyone’s happy- the perfect outcome! Well it would have been slightly better if Blossom hadn’t immediately stuck her foot in it and asked if Sharkey wanted her face fixing. I mean sure, we were all thinking it, but there was definitely a better way to ask than ‘Hey, want me to magic your head right?’. Anyhow, she’s definitely happy with her fish-face, thank you much.
Delun cracks me up. All this time he’s been like ‘Grrr, pirates!’ and as soon as they start spinning a sob story about how hard life is, his face crinkles up and he gets all confused and worried that he’s the bad guy. Such a soft touch. Anyway he’s offered to do fishing for the whole crew and Blossom is gonna do some cooking, so everyone will be fed and happy.
Whale is on the menu. Fatty but scrumptious.
WTF Blossom!? Apparently she snuck into Ravva’s room and stitched an apology message onto her pillow. That’s sooooo creepy. On the other hand, assassin school midnight pranking is basically confirmed so that’s a fun insight into her messed up childhood.
Hurray, we’ve reached the island! It’s pretty tiddly, just a lumpy crater thing with this big needle of stone sticking out of it. Apparently the thing has got old writing all over it so Ash (who looks just about the happiest I’ve ever seen him) and Blossom are gonna fly around it and see if they can work out what it’s saying whilst Delun and I check the area for fun stuff.
Rest of the island is pretty much a bust. Not much but seabirds nesting here, although they’re a little odd. It’s like they’re on drugs or something because they’re pretty sluggish to react to us walking up.
So the nerds are done reading the building. Something about servants turning into ants and the stars watching people. I’ll be honest I wasn’t 100% paying attention. Anyway Ash says that the tomb has been cut off from reality somehow which is why everything is acting weirdly. I don’t really know what they’re talking about but everyone else was nodding, so I guess I’ll just go with it. Apparently we need to take things slow or we might get stuck out of time forever- definitely don’t fancy that, so I’ve grabbed a couple of birds to fly down the corridor in front of us. Sorted.
P.S. Ash seemed to think he could build a magic prison I couldn’t get out of. Need to demonstrate just how good I am smashing stuff, otherwise he won’t give me a real challenge.
So we packed up some whale and water and dropped down into the tomb to investigate. Down at the bottom of the hole there was this big glowing pillar connected to the spire up top and lots of silvery grooves in the floor. There was also a skeleton! That’s about it as far as exciting stuff goes but Blossom and Ash were really into it naturally. They started poking around the place and I went to look at Delun’s sister who was frozen down one of the corridors. It seems like every time you go past some of the floor grooves time gets slower or something? You think everything is normal but actually you’re really slow. It’s pretty weird.
I was thinking we could hook her with a roped and pull her back out, and we did a trial with Blossom’s arrows, but apparently for some reason doing that would rip her apart or something? Anyhow the scholars thought it was a bad idea and Delun didn’t want to risk it.
Ash says that the place is supposed to respond to the stars and the whole time slowing thing should have stopped ages ago back when the stars made the right pattern in the sky, but apparently one of the patterns, the Mask, got changed somehow, so now the place is never going to go back to normal. Hope whatever is down here didn’t have anything important to do!
Ash and Blossom have decided that the best thing to do is make a magic enchantment on Delun’s armour so that we can move safely through the slow-time and get Meixia unstuck. I’ve thrown some birds into the deeper parts so that we can test they don’t get crumbled to dust or anything. Apparently it’ll take a couple of weeks to figure out the magic, so Delun and I are going to take the pirates on a cruise and see if there’s anything fun nearby.
Ahh, good times. We found some treasure, fought some wierd monster things and ate some stuff that wasn’t whale. Rumours are going round of other pirates in the area- there’s old Death-Mist-Skull-Lady but also some freak who’s looking for a partner for his daughter and then kidnapping people. Might have got that wrong, I was only half listening.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in Blackbeak’s head, teaching him new tricks. It’s weird, sometimes when he hunts stuff I can think of like ways to hunt things that way myself. Like fighting moves and things. It’s like I’m remembering something I’d forgotten, but I’m pretty damn sure none of my teachers did this sort of stuff, not even when I was very young. Maybe that meditation stuff in the monastery did something to my head…
Now the others sent a message to say they’re done so we’re heading back.
Okay so we get back and hey presto, the magic thing has done the business. We just walked forward to Meixia and she unfroze like nothing had happened. Delun filled her in on all the details and she’s taken it pretty damn well. Lots of people would freak out but instead she’s really excited to meet us and investigate the place. I like her.
So we go down the corridor and then there’s like this wierd vine elevator thing. Anyhow it takes bloody ages but eventually we get down to the level below and there’re like all these metal wires criss-crossing down, which we reckon are from the floor glyphs up above. There’s also these wierd crystal doors and big eggs all clustered around them. Ash and Meixia read out the writing on the walls and it seems like the people here worshipped the sun but they also hunted and maybe ate people? Pretty wierd stuff. Anyhow having had a proper look about Ash said these might be ‘Dragon Kings’ who are like ancient lizard-men who have mostly gone now. Also they’ve made a statue of the Sun with a lizard-head. Nice try guys but that’s definitely not how he looks. We’re going to bring one of their chambers into our ‘normal time’ bubble and see if they’re friendly.
They are friendly! I did a dance to let them know we were happy to meet them and they were really nice about it; great to have an appreciative audience. Anyway she’s called Nox(something something something – it’s really long and tricky to say) and she was pretty put out about the whole sleeping for thousands of years thing, but still seemed pretty happy to answer all the questions Blossom and Ash had, which is a lot more patient than I would be. Also she learned our language in like ten minutes so I guess she’s scary smart. Nox is going to turn off the time field and wake up her friends now. One of them died unfortunately; looks like the earth cracked and a load of water squirted into their chamber. The good news is that apparently they reincarnate like super well, so they should just hatch again from one of the eggs and get their memories back later :D
Nox woke up her friends, Tetchy and Xok. Tetchy is some sort of scholar and was able to make herself look like a normal person just by touching Delun’s finger. Blossom was so jealous it was pretty hilarious. Xok is a priest of the sun and has agreed to teach me all about how they do their worship which is exciting. It’d be nice not to have to make this stuff up.
Currently the plan is that Tetchy is going to come with us so he can learn what the world is like these days whilst we have a hunt around for a decent island for new Palanquin. Blossom is quite attached to the idea of getting them to grow an island from scratch for us, but that sounds like the sort of thing that could take a long time, and I’ll admit I’m a bit worried that the Most Favoured might forgot our deal if we take too long. Anyhow we’ve decided to head back topside whilst the three kings have themselves a bit of private time.
Looks like we’ve got spooky pirate troubles. Delun and me noticed wierd fog as soon as we got out, and we’ve spotted a mast amongst it. We sent the ship off to safety and Meixia on the spare Tidemare whilst we go out to investigate.
Sure enough it’s Lady murder-blood-death-vengeance and she’s got a creepy friend with her now. She’s called Lamentation. Yeah. Anyhow the new girl is all ‘Heyo, we’re recruiting cool folks to spice up the underworld before they get old and rubbish.’ which kind of makes sense if you think about it. Only it seems like she doesn’t take no for an answer and Delun and Ash really aren’t happy about us coming to any sort of agreement with them so it looks like it’s all going to kick off.
Oh SHIT! This is not going well. They had some murder-knife dude hiding in the crow’s nest and he’s been keeping Delun busy. Lament keeps on jingling the zombies back from the dead with her parasol and Captain blood-boomerang seems pretty much unkillable and just fucked up my wrist with her stupid toy. I’m bleeding everywhere. FUCK!
Phew, we just about pulled it back! Blossom shot Lamentation like five times and with her out of the picture the zombies didn’t really know what they were doing and Delun and Blackbeak managed to start fighting out of the scrum.
I managed to pin Captain Moonlight against the ship’s rail before she could land another good hit with her bloodarang, then I put her in the old Chiascuro Chokehold. Her armour started screaming and wailing and bit me all over my arms, but I just held on tight so the others could finish up on the maindeck.
Ash started blazing away with his firewand and managed to catch stabby-mc-deathknive a good hit which took some of the pressure off Delun. Blossom popped out from behind a barrel and starting loosing at him too and with them both keeping daggerman on this toes Delun managed to smack him down and pin him to the deck. (Well I think that’s what happened honestly I was kind of distracted and everytime I looked over it was blades flying every which way and you honestly couldn’t tell what the heck was happening in the middle.)
With both her pals down for the count, Moonlight tapped out and we had ourselves a friendly talk. (Well friendly given the circumstances). Seems that her and the other death-exalts all work for different lords in the underworld and so they ain’t as tight as all that. Moonlight didn’t shed any tears about dropping Lamentation overboard, though Delen did jump in to make sure of her being properly dead. Ash patched up stabby-man who apparently was some sort of watchman before this? Delun didn’t want him dead anyhow.
Moonlight works for some warlord called the Thirsty for Sake Lion, who apparently is planning to invade creation at some point and wants her to make sure there isn’t any powerful navies in the area. She told us a bunch of other things too but honestly I wasn’t really listening cause it was taking a lot of effort not to show how much my back was hurting. Well we let her know that invading our part of Creation wasn’t going to fly and then let her go on her way.
Once they sailed off we went back to the island and it looks like Nox and co. are already starting to make it a bit nicer to live on. Delun bandaged me up and told me to rest easy for the rest of the day so I’m going to fly around in Blackbeak and see if I can spot what happened to our ship.
Found it! Someone fired a message arrow at the thing and then the Captain tried to dispose of the evidence but you can’t slip anything by me. Blackbeak’s picked it up and soon I’ll have it back to the literate sorts. We’ll unravel this mystery in no time!
Turns out the culprit was Blossom just telling them to come back. Boo. Anyhow they ditched Lucky Reed and Green Fang Scribe in a little jolly boat- sounds like they were too annoying to take along with them. I guess there’s not a lot of use for bureaucrats on the high seas.
Had a bit of a rest and then chatted next morning with the Kings. Seems like they’re happy to grow a new island for us where-ever we need, so long as we promise they’ll have an important position in the new city. It’s going to take a couple of months to grow it, but that’s okay since we still need to work out how to move Palanquin’s disc anyway. I’ve got to say I’m not too thrilled about an island made of seaweed, but Delen seemed to think it was okay and he lives around these parts, so I guess people might like it.
We were talking about where to put the city and how we could move the disc and it turns out that there are elementals ruling Champoor and they’re corrupt as anything. I was well up for heading that way and kicking them into shape, but no-one else was keen. Blossom seems to want to cut a deal with them and Delun thinks we’re biting off more than we can chew. I really ought to build up his confidence a bit. Anyway we’re thinking of putting the new city in the triangle formed by the other three big cities of the region. Should give us plenty of trade and a lot of cover from Ysyr.
Headed back to Palanquin to get people organised and it looks like people have had some problems. One of the statue districts has burned off and the merchant ships down in Footfall aren’t look comfortable. Gonna head into town and grab some details.
Apparently some hotheads started a riot and the Ysyrans didn’t bother to put out the fires they started. Hundreds of people killed because these idiots all feel like they have to dig their heels in and fight each other. Why can’t they just play nice whilst we sort this stuff out?
The other big news is that there’s a Realm fleet headed this way; sounds like it’s actually not too big, so I don’t imagine the Most Favoured is sweating it too much.
Others got back from topside and it seems like his Supreme Sorcerorousness has sent some sort of super-servant to get the statues moving in a hurry. Ash and Blossom were real excited over the magic stuff, but important part seemed to be that we need to get people moving soon or they’re likely to get hurt. Delun and I are going to meet up with the city leaders whilst the others look into how we can get the disc moving.
Right, sorted. Kauri is still pretty attached to this place, but I think we sold her and the rebels on the fact that if they don’t pull up roots then someone is always going to be stomping on their face to get at these statues. Personally I don’t see the attraction of staying in one place so long anyway- hopefully this migration will encourage them to get out and tour the world a bit. Plenty of nice cities out there that they’ve never even heard of.
Anyhow apparently the fleet is supposed to be a diversion to pull the Most Favoured away whilst Nelly and his pals hit the statues and try to stop the Working. Seems like this is likely to get ugly within a week so we need people to get getting out of here ASAP.
Blossom and Ash are supposed to be contacting the air elemental court that used to operate in this region. Fingers crossed they can stop the disc getting smashed if the statues drop it. Better still the sorcerers might work out a way to get it flying. That sounds like pretty fancy magic and the others aren’t sure if they can do it, but we’ve got months to play with so I’m sure they’ll work something out…
So we decided that it would be best for everyone if we tried to prevent the attack on Palanquin by warning the Ysyrans about the illusionary fleet, and then warning the dragonbloods about the fact that they’d been rumbled. Pretty clever huh? It took me a while to persuade everyone to go along with this but eventually they came on board. We’ve sent Blossom off to discretely pass along the messages so that no one knows that we’re playing both sides. In the meantime the rest of us are concentrating on getting the city evacuated as quickly as possible- Ash is bringing in another water elemental, Delun’s sorting the ships and I’m making sure that people understand that they all need to pull together now to get on the road.
Just had a message that Proud Soul Monk wants a word with us up in his monastery. Might as well go and see what he wants.
Okay so that threw a bit of a hitch into our plans. Turns out that the Supreme Sorcerer’s plan is going to involve murderering the statues so that he can puppet their bodies around. Naturally we aren’t keen on the big mooks get killed for no fault of their own so we’re seeing if there’s a work around. I did that meditating thing again and worked out that they were waiting for some fancy creator figure to come out of the gate they’re holding up, and then they’re planning on going back to work for their old boss. We going to see if we can get the gate working. Ash will take another look at it whilst Blossom and I see if Rama has any thoughts to add.
Okay so new plan. After a big chat we decided that we’re going to help the dragonbloods attack one of the manses supporting the city’s dragonlines. That apparently is gonna but the Sorcerer’s plans on ice for a whiile whilst they correct the damage. That buys us time to get all the citizens well out of harm’s way and then maybe we can work out a way to minimise the number of unhappy (and dead) people. It was a bit touch and go for a bit cause the others were talking about throwing in the towel on peace and declaring war with Ysyr. I don’t think Rama helped much- she talks about the gods like they’re thugs just because they beat up the previous rulers of creation. Like it doesn’t matter that those things were horrible monsters. I’m a bit worried that the others seemed kind of sympathetic; seems to me like the Sun is gonna be pissed if people aren’t a bit more respectful. I kind of get the feeling that the others aren’t even grateful for being Chosen; like maybe they’re getting hung up on all the responsibility and not enjoying the power we’ve been given?
We’re riding inside a whirlwind! Say what you will about Ash being boring but some of his tricks are super cool. We should make it across to the city of the cloud folk in no time at this speed….huh apparently they just spotted a hidden Warstrider. What’s that then?
I didn’t get a chance to see the Warstrider, we just zipped on by. Apparently Blossom saw the dragonbloods with it though and sent them a message arrow to let them know we’d been passing through. Seems like shooting arrows at people might maybe send the wrong message if they don’t make a habit of reading whatever has been gnawed into the shaft but what’s done is done.
We arrived below the cloud city and now we need to get up. Ash seems to think that yelling will work, but Blossom is working on a more practical solution involving her robe and my trousers. Apparently we’ll be fine as long as this harness doesn’t slice through the middle of the skiff.
Bit of a slow ascent but the welcome at the top made up for it. Seems these cloudfolk know how to party! They’re holding a big set of celebrations and betting over how the upcoming fight is going to go. A little cruel maybe, but I guess most humans wouldn’t get in a tizzy over two sets of elementals going to war, so it’s not fair to be judgey. Anyhow they don’t seem initially keen on Delun’s suggestion about it being their duty to help move the disc. Blossom and I have a much better plan to motivate them…
Our fashion show has been a huge success and now the cloud folks are fighting for the chance to win our competition and earn themselves some sweet togs made by the greatest taiilor in creation! Thought I might be chilly up here without my trousers, but now I’m wearing cloudpants and I’ve got to say they’re super comfortable. Anyhow we’re going to go party with some air-bears now who apparently can get this whole island moving.
This has been one sweet afternoon! We’ve got the city in motion and it’s going to land on the disc and carry it all the way to its new home. Apparently Ash and Delun met some sort of Star Exalted in one of the towers which sounds pretty exciting. Oh and there’s a hole in the stars where the underworld is pouring in…obviously that doesn’t seem great, but at least no-one lives up there so I sounds to me like it’s not the end of the world.
Star lady was suprisingly boring. Apparently she’s some sort of scholar/bureaucrat. Real snooze-fest. I thought Ash might be sweet on her but apparently she’s got a thing going with on of the cloudfolk, and Ash says that he’s not interested in people that he’s only just met. He practically asked for help with his lovelife though, so that should be fun. I should probably sound out Delun and see if it’s going to be a problem if I shove Meixia his way; sometimes siblings get funny about that kind of thing.
All back ground-side now and on our way back to Palanquin. We need to let them know that the disc is going to be moved soon and make sure that nothing too vital gets blown up in the fighting. Plus I want to see this warstrider in action! Blossom said it was as big as the Most Favoured in his squid-monster form so that sounds pretty cool.
So we zoomed back to Palanquin in no time at all and let them know that the cloud city was on its way to take the disc off their hands. The Most Favoured wasn’t around so we had to let Blood of Comet’s know- she wasn’t exactly thrilled, but it’s not like she was going to break the deal her dad had made.
It was going to be a couple of days for the city to arrive, so we split up to spend some time in the place before change came a-knockin’. Ash hit the books (surprise, surprise) and looked into something about where Ysyran sorcerers came from….I dunno, it sounded pretty boring to me. Blossom sat out on one of the Statue heads with Blackbeak and kept an eye out for the dragonhost, whilst Delun and I went back to the monastery and spent some more time meditating.
I tried as hard as I could to get through to the statues and let them know that they were in a tough spot, but honestly it wasn’t much better than talking to stone. They’re so focused on waiting for their master to come back to them that there isn’t much else to them. Delun thought that maybe we could like pop their spirits out and stick them in little miniature statues instead, but Ash says it would be super tricky and take too long. Ah well.
The sky city is arriving now and Blossom has just spotted a much of dragonbloods sneaking onto one of the feet. The lotus beneath the city is turning into defenses and stuff, and it looks like everyone’s just about ready to kick off. I’m not going to hang around and watch- we need to get the disc moving in case things go really bad and one of the statues falls over or something. The others can fill me in later.
Those cloudfolk sure know how to party- I’ve been dancing for days keeping them all on track and pointed in the right direction. Anyhow the battle went pretty good for the dragonbloods it seems- they managed to sneak in and blow up the Sorceror’s avatar with some sort of green flame spell, and then their warstrider thingy managed to take down the Most Favoured. Kinda sad I missed that, cause it’s hard to believe that he’d lose, but apparently the Tepet commander set the whole battlefield on fire and then toasted squidman pretty bad. Blossom jumped down and saved his hide before handing him back to the Ysyran’s once the Legion pulled out. Guess they’re going to owe us one.
The Supreme Sorcerer carved ’Don’t come back!’ into Blossom’s demon. That is just super rude. When our new city is the pride of the Dreaming Sea they’re going to be sorry that they took that tone with us. Anyway it’s going to be a while before they can get the statues moving now, so plenty of time for us to get settled in. The Dragon Kings have grown a whopping big tree out of the sea, that should just about hold the disc in place- they’ve done a great job!
Caught Blossom sneaking away to have a quiet word with Rama. Blackbeak managed to keep an eye on them from on high, but I couldn’t work out what they were saying. Bloss looked a bit upset at the end though and Rama gave a totally weak peck on the cheek. If she’s been leading Blossom on then I’m going to have to have words. No-one messes with my troupe!
Just had a couple of days of celebration to commemorate the city getting founded. It’s been a lot of fun, but people keep on praying to me and then the others are throwing me funny looks. I’ve tried to explain that they ought to be praising the sun, but I think it’s easier for them to pray to me and hope I pass it on. I’ll do my best everyone!
We need to start working out who’s going to be in charge of the city now. No surprise that Babi thinks she should have a say Still maybe not the worst idea in the world; the city needs to draw in trade and Babi is an expert in pulling in an audience.