As Nova tosses back a beer while sitting at the table of uniformed Orks in the small trading village along the Serpent River, her mind wanders inward for a moment to reflect upon the dramatic voyage out of the mountains on the river boat.
When the blind leader of the pale T’skrang was killed and all her previous gear returned to her, Nova’s mood greatly improved. There was some debate and conversing among her companions and the pale T’skrang, but as long as the eventual plans put her on that boat and out of the mountains, she didn’t care much for the details. Having never been on a river boat before, Nova was interested mostly in observing and helping out the 30 T’skrang crew members that decided to leave their village to sail along the river. The pale T’skrang had built a barricade inside the mountain along the river, but quickly enough the debris was moved and boat sailed ahead. It was slow going for a time and a sense of surrealism befell Nova. It is one thing to spend a life dedicated to learning the art of a sky raider and to dream of life outside of the kaer, it is another thing completely to actually be on the “outside” and sailing upon boats.
Still sailing within the mountain, the river boat came upon an island in the middle of the current, as well as another stone barricade blocking the path. On the island was some sort of green crystal structure, which got Armiger and Kylin all stirred up. The ship came to a halt and right when Nova started mocking them for their curiosity about simple rocks, a shape pulled itself from the crystals. An obsidiman emerged much to Nova’s surprise and began speaking with them casually. . . apparently it was more than 400 years old! Nova simply did not know what to think about the situation, and instead went back to assisting the boat crew, confident that the rest of her party was going to make a wise decision on whether to bring the fascinating namegiver with them. In exchange for joining the boat for a time, the obsidiman offered to have elementals remove the stones blocking the path.
Emerging from under the mountain, Nova spent as much time as she could above deck, trying to take in any and all new sights, sounds, and sensations, while a couple of her more wounded companions attempted to rest below deck. A strange disturbing mist covered everything, leaving an oily residue on all it encompassed. Over time the “creep factor” of the mist became overwhelming and a bit frightening. Then suddenly, Kylin flew down from the nest at the top of the boat with a flying worm-like creature attacking him. That is when Nova noticed the sound… the mild whooshing sound of potentially hundreds of flying things. Nova downed two of them quickly, but everyone on the top deck of the boat soon had half a dozen trying to munch on each of them. Frantically, everyone (except Armiger who created some sort of protective circle around him) ran below deck to hide from them. Nova took up the duties of smashing the ones that kept trying to squeeze in under the doors. Eventually, after eating a few T’skrang crew members, the swarm of flying foot-long worm creatures flew away.
The mist began to fade and a safe spot for rest was found along the river’s shores. The crew noticed that the places were the oily residue from the mist had been heaviest, something was starting to grow. Everything, including all the namegivers on the boat, were scrubbed clean.
The next day, while sailing south down the river, a morbid scene was stumbled upon. Humans and orks were crucified on the four corners of a bridge, with two cages dangled from it. The persons in the cages had died previously from exposure and their zombie-selves attacked Armiger when he got to close, so he mercifully destroyed them. Uncertain what to make of the communities that could potentially live out in the Twilight of the world, Nova discussed the option of posing as slavers with Beasley, while also agreeing with Daksa that a “simple” fight with some namegiver races would feel refreshing after the slug-like horror, its constructs, and evil flying mist worms from hell.
Kylin noticed that another huge mist bank was starting to roll in, right at the same time that the river boat was approaching a small village. A man was on the dock and hurried them into a protective shelter with other people, though about half the T’srang crew chose to remain onboard the ship. The man who greeted them realized that they were not the boat he was expecting, after everyone had gotten safely inside the shelter and the doors locked.
Nova, wanting to share company with other orks, sauntered over to a table of four local orks dressed in some sort of military garb. One of them asked her why the elf, Dule, had no thorns on him. She gave him a steely stare and told him it was really none of his business what the elf in her company did or did not look like. He dropped the inquiry and Nova sat down to join them in merriment and shameless flirting.
Currently, the sound of flying things fill the air outside the village shelter. The tension in the air inside the “safe house” is getting thicker.