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23 October 2004 - Saturday

HAPPY HAPPY AYSEDAY!!!

* * *

In a (fruitless) attempt to accomodate Marith's sleep schedule, we left for Roseville at 7:00 and arrived with almost no doom. However, Marith started falling asleep again about the time gaming started, so there were some nap breaks in...

Amazon Quartet of Justice VIIIc: "The Pirate Warren!"

Since a whole week must elapse before the dead naga can be questioned further, the Amazons decide to spend the time hunting for live nagas or their human flunkies. Since Pelagos was unified by Queen Ditte, there are no more pirates (just ask anyone!), but if there were, they would be in a region of small rocky islands called the Warren. Our Heroines hire a friend of Captain Evo's named Mucky Pete and his sloop, and set forth!

The most promising islands in the Warren are a small group known to be riddled with sea caves, so it is there that the Amazons first look for monsters. The inhabitants of the small fishing village they first land at claim there are no such thing as sea monsters, but judicious application of sweets and healing spells reveals that not only are there "sea serpents" around, but the village headman has been paid off by someone. In the meantime, Alyra (who isn't so good at talking to people) has scouted the island and found a concealed observation post, although its occupants are not paying attention to much beyond the bounds of their cot.

The Quartet ostentatiously sail onward after buying some fresh food and water from the villagers, but return under cover of darkness to raid the observation post. The couple there are easily subdued and quickly persuaded to spill what few beans they have.

It turns out that the watchman was hired by parties unknown to keep an eye on what ships and people pass by, and report by putting colored cards up where they can be seen through an enchanted crystal orb. He was brought in from another island, and only has contact with his employers on the irregular occasions that someone stops by to deliver more supplies and his pay. Because the job is so boring, he brought his girlfriend to the watchpost to keep him company while he saves up enough that they can get married. The Amazons suggest he find a more honest line of work and turn the couple loose.

Mortal investigation having failed them, the Amazons consult Moradin directly. A binary search localizes the naga's lair to one side of a particular island, and reveals that the Quartet will have to go underwater to fight them, but should be able to defeat them fairly easily.

In an attempt to sneak up on the pirate base, Our Heroines engage in an unpleasant cross-country trek which does not avoid the guards waiting to push rocks down on anyone getting too close. However, the guards are easily captured and questioned. They claim to be privateers rather than pirates, and say that their leader Monk even makes them keep their hands off the village girls. Heartened by the prospect of being able to talk sensibly to the pirates, the Amazons forge onward, putting the other guards to flight without having to hurt them.

The pirate lair is a huge hidden harbor carved out of the rock, camouflaged by a curtain painted to resemble the cliff face from the outside. In the harbor are several dozen pirate vessels, many of them busy casting off and rowing for the sea. The Amazons yell that they just want to talk to Monk, and that if no one starts anything, no one will get hurt. However, a squad of pirates take up bows and start annoying the Quartet, and a tall bald man who fits the description of Monk bursts out of a passageway and smites the Amazons with holy fire.

Although the pillars of flame seriously injure a couple of the Amazons, Monk is quickly dispatched, along with those archers who don't take the hint. From aloft, Amaryllis sees serpentine shapes beneath the water: the nagas are trying to escape! She gives everyone the power of flight and Fresa gives them all gills, and they prepare to give chase!

* * *

Harold and his Chris wanted to leave so they could get back at a reasonable hour, so we stopped there. Marith took another nap while Dave and I entertained Sherilyn by letting her almost win at Guillotine and then crush us like bugs at Munchkin. At the appointed hour we woke Marith up, fed her pizza, and zoomed back to Mountain View.

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