Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Alas, Such Fates ep03 : 7th Sea

9/24/2016
Alas, Such Fates


"The Mawth and the Madman"
Episode Three - 7th Sea

On the Muerte, Catalina Morta's ship, the heroes travel north towards Avalon.  The journey has been silent so far, with no signs of the monstrosity that has been hunting in the Trade Sea. However, as the group finds themselves reaching a part of the sea where the waters have gone calm, and a ship can be seen in the distance in a state of distress.  Catalina calls for the anchor to be dropped and for the heroes to help out.

She suspects the monstrosity is in the waters ahead.  She tells them of something called the Mawth, a massive horror which legends say hunted the seas since the time of the Syrneth.  A gaping mouth the size of an island with teeth the height of hills.  She doesn't know if the stories of the monster are to be believed, but she does not want to take any unnecessary risks.  Lady Cassandra remembers the markings on the ship and labors to find a way to awaken the Sidhe magic upon the vessel.  Hans uses his keen sight to try to scan ahead for any clue on the distressed ship.  Worse, the others another ship in the distance closing in.  With a bright red banner on display, Catalina worries if it could be none other than the terror of the high seas, the Crimson Roger.  The villainous Captain Reis.

Hans spots the ailing ship and tells the others that he can't be certain if it is a recent victim.  Astrid seeks to investigate and opts to ride with the men assigned to inspect the vessel on a rowboat.  Hans spies the red bannered ship and confirms that on the deck, no one else is there save for a man who sports a hideous grin.  The crew worry that it is the Crimson Roger.  Tales of how the mad man leaves no survivors, save for that one time when a Castillian vessel was chased for two months at sea, then finally when the men on the Castillian ship began to kill themselves to avoid the horrors of falling into the Crimson Roger's grasp, the Captain Reis spared one survivor to tell the tale of the hunt.  Lady Cassandra directs men to gather barnacles from the side of the vessel, and hurries to bring them down below to the cook to fashion a soup that should be savored by the Captain of the ship.  Afterwards, if the proper incantations were uttered, the vessel's locked Glamour should be released.  

Maurice headed back down to his room, marking it for good measure, and locked himself inside as he pondered on what he can do to help.  The soup Cassandra worked on did not glow blue as she expected however, when she used vinegar instead of the requisite wine she hoped to use.  She hurries to Maurice's room to take his wine, and the two end up arguing over the wastage of fine wine.  Astrid continues further into the calm waters, realizing how the waters were also jet black in this area.  She notes the sharks and other fish in the area swimming away and begins to fear that they would only do so to escape a greater predator. She considers dipping into the water to check, but then realizes it might be better to just paddle back to the ship.  She notices the sinking ship has not descended in the last few minutes and realizes this may mean the ship is just some kind of lure!

With the possible Crimson Roger closing in, Hans and Maurice are told to prepare for a possible fight.  Maurice recommends that the ship begin moving but Cassandra insists the soup is their way out.  But when the soup is tasted, nothing happens!  Maurice and Cassandra head down to a rowboat to try meet with Astrid and the crewmen.  They remind them that they can find their way back on their own.  Maurice tells Catalina to sail straight forward and not stop for Astrid or the others.

With the man on the red-bannered ship laughing insanely, Hans decides to risk it and take a shot, firing at the man's right hand as he holds the wheel.  He fires his musket and believes he made the shot, but to his surprise, he sees the man still laughing as his left hand holds the steering wheel.  To his horror, the man spits out the bullet which he seems to have caught with his teeth!

Full sails.  The Muerte begins to sail into the dark still waters.  The Crimson Banner follows without hesitation.  Lady Cassandra and Maurice watch as the other ship sails past them, with its sole passenger not even bothering to threaten them.  They recall the stories of how Captain Reis would target the "fitter" ones first, then come back for the easy pickings later on.   Astrid and the men too see the two ships sail past them, and she forces the men to calm down and keep rowing.   As the two rowboats gets close enough, Maurice instructs them all to stay calm, hold him and no matter what, keep their eyes closed.  He uses the Mark he made in his room to Walk everyone through the Places Between the Worlds to bring them back to the Muerte.  In the other place, the voices call out and tempt them all in different ways trying to trick them into opening their eyes.  However, Maurice realizes the voices are now whispering differently to him, telling him they know him now and will be waiting for him to make that one mistake to allow them through.

Hans and Catalina discuss options, and given the Crimson Roger chasing them, Hans decides he will try to bring the fight to the other ship himself.   They map out a plan, with Catalina steering the ship into a tighter and tighter circle until the Crimson Roger is close enough for Hans to swing over to the other ship.  Hans heads up the mast and swings over.  As he lands on the other side, he sees Captain Reis oblivious to his arrival.  The two square off for a moment, but when Hans seems to be at a disadvantage, he runs below deck in hopes of turning things in his favor, or perhaps finding a way to sabotage the vessel.   It is however while down below that Hans witnesses a terrible truth:  the ship should be Castillian but the cargo within are all marked as having come from Montaigne.  Worse, as the madman stalks and hunts for him in the dark, Hans discovers the man has one more trick up his sleeve:  Porte sorcery.

With the others back on the deck, Astrid opts to try to swing to the other ship as well and help Hans out.  Maurice steers the boat, while Catalina heads down to prep the men and the cannons.  Astrid lands on the other vessel but Captain Reis suddenly emerges from behind the wheel ready for her!  Reis quickly disarms her, and at one point grabs her by the face with his bloody hand.  But Hans returns and the two work together to try to weaken him and bring him down.

But mountains of ivory begin to emerge from the waters.  Maurice realizes the Mawth must be about to close its mouth!  Time is now running out.  He tells Cassandra to hold the ship and hurries below the deck to check on the Captain.  While Cassandra worries over not knowing how to sail better, she tries telling the men to head down below to call for the Captain or Maurice.  Or even the First Mate.  When she realizes she never met the First Mate or know what he looks like, worry spirals in her thoughts even more.

Down below, Maurice find the Captain Catalina in an unexpected fight with a bear in his very own room!  The attacked crashes her through the door and as he catches her, he decides to Porte himself with the bear back into the Places Between the Worlds.  Hoping to scare him and intimidate him into surrendering, he instead finds the shadowy things in the other place grabbing hold of the bear and thanking him for the meat!  They wrest him from his hands and Maurice is forced to Walk back out before they grab him too.

Astrid and Hans fight the madman, whom Hans is starting to suspect might not actually be the true Reis.  When Reis grabs a harpoon, and slices his own palm open with it, Hans realizes he might be hoping to hook onto the vessel and climb aboard.  Astrid distracts him long enough for Hans to clobber him down one more time.  They launch the harpoon at the Muerte and leap after it to hold on to it and get dragged away by the ship.

Cassandra discovers the soup has started glowing blue, and trusting in the old tales of her people, she swallows the soup, casts the incantation, and the ship flickers into light.  Just as the massive walls of the jaws of the Mawth begin to rise up and cast shadows upon the vessels, Cassandra invokes the supernatural speed of the Avalon ship which Catalina had commandeered and successfully steers them through the monster's teeth.

Any remnants of the Crimson Roger, if it was the Crimson Roger, and of Captain Reis, are now gone. Catalina tells them all that she owes them for what they have done.  She thanks them for their help but admits she will head away as soon as she can given Avalon still has grudges against her.  Her papers though show she is currently a Privateer serving l’Empereur.


*

Avalon.

Their arrival thankfully is without incident.   They meet Felix, the official greeter who welcomes them to the port, and are escorted through without needing to handle the usual paperwork.  They also note the presence of smokeless illumination that Felix admits was a gift from an unusual woman.  Cassandra apologizes from the others and tells them she needs to meet with her Queen, given the events she had experienced.  She tells them they can find her at the town of Gallifrey, if they seek to find her.  She sees the marble pillars with the bust of the Queen and learns most simply bow their heads and whisper to the statues to speak with the Queen.  Cassandra, however, chooses to still meet with the Queen directly as an Elaine Knight rightfully should.  Astrid, Hans and Maurice find themselves going to the Silver Lion, which was the place Maurice was directed to head to based on the letter he received from the King.  They find everyone intensely welcoming and cheerful, greeting each other despite being total strangers.  It seems the fear of possibly insulting one of the disguised Sidhe is enough to make all act more congenial to each other.  Some people wear iron bracelets.  Perhaps in hopes of defending against them.   They also notice the place celebrates four faiths, with two being the Vaticine Church and the Objectionists, one being the cross of the Prophet with the Grail, and one showing beasts and the wild.

There, he finds an old familiar face. Maurice realizes it is his uncle, greets him and thanks him for showing up.  It turns out, the letter was written by him, not the l’Empereur, to handle a matter which l’Empereur did require them both to handle.  There is land that must be claimed for Montaigne and Maurice is to handle that while he leaves with his share of the wealth.   The uncle is seen as Loyal, while Maurice is Dependable. They also learn from him that Tassine Bullet is dead, and that she had committed suicide after writing one final novel focusing on four new characters, including a Porte Sorcery who is actually blood of the King.

They arrive at the land to be claimed and discover it is a large scope of property.  Maurice is addressed as a Duke and the property they discover has a massive manor already standing.  In fact, the manor is already stocked with staff and servants.  The seneschal, an old woman, admits she lives in the distant mill and only works at the manor til the hour of six.  She always returns to the mill before nightfall.

There, they discover the Duchess already living in the home, who welcomes them coldly and directly tells Maurice of her terms for the political marriage including the rule of not having any children, as she does not want to have children, and that any consummation of the marriage is only once per month at most.  Maurice teases even that is too much.  She introduces herself as Sybil and she is honored to be his wife.  She however reminds them to feel free to explore the grounds but to never visit the southern tower with the red door.  Never.  Especially at night.  Never at night.    They explore the grounds and even see three story murals of the Duchess Sybil and perhaps her former Duke.  Her fur coat becomes a wolf's head.  The Duke's black coat becomes some animal, but it is hard to tell.  The Duke's face however has been scratched away from the canvass.

Duchess Sybil
Both Hans and Astrid already anticipate exploring the tower.  They speak with some of the servants and are told never to go to the southern tower as they ask for directions on where to find it. But they are pressed never to go to the southern tower.  Especially at night.  Astrid jokes that maybe they can go in the morning.  The joke might have sparked an idea in Hans' mind, however.   But as they prepare to turn in for the night, however, they both witness a pair of twins running in the hallway, laughing, then vanish around the corner. They choose to lock their doors before they sleep in their separate rooms.

*


A portal suddenly tears into the air just close to the Muerte's hull, where a bloody harpoon still hangs embedded against the wood.  A hand suddenly clutches it.  And freed from the belly of the beast, let's go.




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