Feb. 3. The Lalee-Papu encounters an uncharted "sky island".
(Airship) (Himaat) (Jarik) (Spheres of Magic) (Sword Gone Missing) (Wynona)
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Since the previous "incident", the crew has been quite a bit more "sober" in more ways than one. Hasty repairs had to be made, but thankfully nothing irreplaceable was lost. The poodle, it turns out, was on board after all … as disappointing as it might be to some persons.

The ship sails along, its navigator apparently having recovered for the most part from his ordeal, though he simply can't stop chattering about his "find" to anyone who is close enough and quiet enough for him to start talking to. Wynona mostly sulks over her spectacularly disastrous mis-casting of a spell.

But not all came out fine and dandy. The captain was badly tossed about belowdecks … especially when the ship did that "loop-the-loop" maneuver … and is currently under Doc Halla's care. Without a captain to oversee things, some have muttered about seeking a closer port.

The fox is talking with Doc Halla about the various injuries that occurred, particularly the condition of the captain. "Sir, how badly is he hurt? May I examine him?" Jarik asks.

The doctor raises an eyebrow at Jarik's request. "And why are you so intent upon examining him yourself, Ensign?"

Jarik explains, "Well, I'm quite experienced with combat injuries. With what the ship went through, the injuries I'm guessing would be similar, thats all. I'm just concerned."

The older fox pats Jarik's shoulder. "Now, now, don't you go fretting. I've seen a bit of action myself, you know." He winks. "Don't worry. Doc Halla isn't any quack. The captain will be just fine. It'll just take time for some things to heal."

Jarik nods to Doc Halla, "What is your opinion of the situation then? Should we seek a closer port till the captain recovers or continue on?"

The doctor shakes his head. "That's the problem, Ensign. There are no closer ports. We're over the Himaat. Until we reach Abu Dhabi, we won't be running into any settlement – at least, not any friendly and well-equipped ones – within the same distance."

Jarik nods, "How far are we from Abu Dhabi? This world's geography is unfamiliar to me… "

"You may hear mumblings, but pay them little heed. What they really want is for us to turn around a cloud, find a nice city port, and conveniently end our trip right now and take some rest and relaxation. It just isn't going to happen," the doctor shakes his head. He then sighs, "I'm not precisely sure. Wynona says some of the bad weather from the Himar regions is drifting out over the Himaat. We might have to take some detours to avoid it."

From abovedecks, there is a loud shout, "Land HO!" It's echoed a few times, and the ceiling rumbles with the pounding of sudden activity on the deck.

Jarik nods again, "Is there anything you need me to do, sir? I'm not feeling very useful on this voyage so far… "

Jarik blinks at the sounds, "I could go check that… ?"

The old fox looks up. "Hmm. Maybe you should… "

Jarik nods and dashes out of the room, making his way to the upper deck…

A befuddled-looking white bat is leaning over the railing. "Wow. We really WERE off course!" Ahead is a floating sky island … nowhere near as large as Rephidim by any means, but covered with blooms and fruit-bearing vines.

The bat turns to one of the sailors next to her. "Is that Vartan back yet from his patrol? It'd be worth having him check the island out, to see if there's anything interesting."

Jarik moves over to the railing. "Wow… " He says, "Where ARE we?" He gazes toward the island, looking for any sign of civilization…

The cat next to the bat shakes his head. "Neh. You know him. That he's not back already, and hadn't told us ahead of time of the island, he's probably off joy-flying again."

The floating isle bears no buildings that can be seen, and would only be large enough for a single house even if someone dared to build one there, with little room for a yard.

The poodle marches out to the deck. "Aha! A sky island. Which one is it, Air Wizard? We could certainly do with replenishing the stores, since our supply was badly damaged during our little … trip."

Jarik hms, "It seems too small to be useful for much."

The bat slumps, looking dejected. "I'm sorry about that. Anyway … I've no idea. I haven't seen it before. It's so small … maybe that's why they don't have it on the charts."

The poodle brightens up nonetheless. "Well then! I say it's about time this island was claimed! I'll go get my flag."

Jarik glances toward the bat, "We made it through, no need to feel bad. We probably wouldn't have if you didn't at least generate some sort of spell."

Jarik thinks . o O { Can we leave him? No, not right, tempting but not honorable. }

The bat nods absently at Jarik's comment, then licks her lips. "That fruit DOES look good. I mean, it's nice that Cookie managed to make JAM out of what was left, but … " She looks both ways. "Maybe I could fly on over."

Jarik says, "I think we should wait for the Vartan to return first… ""

"Not on your life, Wynona," growls a wolf nearby. "I'm not about to trust my hide to the Navvie. You've seen his eyes. No, you're staying PUT on this ship until we get to Abu Dhabi!"

Jarik says, "… then send down a small party. It's safer in numbers."

The ship slowly catches up with the island, which seems to be drifting along at a fair click on its own. It has a fairly even slope, and is positively clustered with fruit-bearing vines. A few grapples are launched, and the poodle comes back on deck, holding his flag proudly. "I claim this island in … Oh, bother. I shouldn't get ahead of myself."

Wynona kicks at a big clumped sheet of white at her feet – spare cloth kept on hand to provide emergency sail patches. "Oh, pooh. I could just fly right on over. What, you think there are natives hiding over there, ready to eat a bat alive or something? I want some of that fruit!"

The poodle stands proudly. "I'm afraid of nothing! I'm ready to head over right now. Ha! Won't father be proud of me!"

Jarik chuckles, "You'll get some. Just be patient. We've had one little adventure. We don't need another."

Jarik refrains from the comment only fools fear nothing.

Jarik smiles at the poodle, "Whether you claim it now, or in half an hour, the result is the same. We can afford caution… "

"Hey. K – Er, I mean, Master do Varomanov. Please. We're about ready. Just a moment, and we'll head over with you."

A wolf protests to the poodle, but the poodle snorts at Jarik, and seems more determined than ever to do whatever he PLEASES rather than listen to that disrespectful fox.

Jarik shrugs, "It's your neck."

"For the House of Varomanov!" the poodle shouts, as he dashes right to the edge of the ship and bounces down the gangplank, past a startled Vykarin, a bulldog and some wolves.

The poodle pauses, plucking a ripe red fruit off a nearby vine, and tosses it back toward the ship. "Here, Air Wizard! Catch!"

The bat eagerly intercepts the fruit, half-flying across the deck, and hungrily digs into it. *CHOMP!* smacksmacksmackYUMgulpsmack

Jarik goes to the gangplank and proceeds to cautiously walk over the the island. At the end of the plant he reaches down to feel the ground. Seems quite stable… He steps off the plank and onto the island…

There must be a very thick layer of vegetation between Jarik's feet and the soil of this sky island. It feels rather spongy.

Jarik draws his sword and plunges it into the soil…

*KAPOW!*

The blast sends Jarik hurtling head over heels and heels over head into the air!

Jarik doesn't even have time to reach, he's caught completely by surprise! He flails, trying to find something to grab!

His nose is assaulted with the most horrid stench he can imagine … Words to describe it would probably be unwise to share in polite company, but comparisons to sulphur might be made.

As the fetid vapors part way enough for Jarik to see something about him, for a moment he can see the sky above and the ship … no, wait a moment … it's sort of below him now and … he's coming back down!

Jarik looks for something to grab to slow his descent, aiiieee!

There's nothing to grab at … other than the air itself. This doesn't look so good.

A dark shadow darts in at the corner of the fox's peripheral vision, just as he sails over the ship and down over the other side. Bits of vegetation flutter about him, and he can see something big and torn floating downward toward the ground.

Jarik thinks . o O { What a way to go… }

Suddenly, the air is knocked out of the fox, as something big slams into him from behind … something which grapples him in strong, black, tawny arms.

Jarik ooofs! He tries to turn his head to see what hit him…

His point of view is altered to being aimed straight down, as he can see a bit of color … the poodle's flag … twirling and plummeting. Nearby, a pepper-grey dot can be seen heading down as well. As the fox tries to look at what has him, it's big, it's black, it's hairy and feathery. And probably could use a bath.

Jarik points at the dot, "Can you grab him, too?"

The Vartan mutters, "Well. Looks like I reached you first. Guess that's just too bad for the poodle. Besides, the bat's after him. Not that she could lift a feather anyway."

The hippogryph arcs back around to the ship, coming to a skidding stop on the deck. It's not exactly a graceful landing. He mutters and curses, then gets up and dusts himself off.

Jarik pushes himself into standing. His legs shake as they try to hold up his bodyweight.

The sailors are all leaning over the side – those that aren't possessed of extra-sensitive noses and are still gagging and worse at the horrid stench.

Jarik looks to the Vartan, "Help Wynona… please. Got to get the poodle… " His legs give out and he drops to the deck.

The hippogryph snorts, and leaps off the edge.

Jarik looks at his hands; he doesn't even know if he kept ahold of his sword.

The sword must have been blown clear by the explosion. Where it is now is anybody's guess.

After a bit, screams become audible … and getting louder.

Jarik rests on the deck, trying to regain his strength and quit shaking.

Slowly flapping his massive wings, the big black Vartan comes back into view, clearing the railing, hauling a bedraggled poodle and an exhausted-looking bat.

The poodle scrambles to the deck as soon as he has a chance, and drops to his knees, kissing the wooden floor repeatedly. "Mwah! Mwahmwahmwah!"

Jarik breathes a sigh of relief. Then he grabs his nose.

The bat looks as if she would be turning green if she hadn't fur covering her face. She starts chanting a spell.

Jarik says, "Phew."

"You gin day DAT again," a bloodhound whines, holding his nose, his eyes streaming tears.

Jarik looks at the poodle, "Are you alright… "

Jarik holds his nose, "Gah, swamp gas."

The poodle starts to say, "Yes, th – " but then he looks up. "You. YOU! You almost got me KILLED!"

Jarik looks at the poodle, "This is why I said wait for someone to check it first. It would have done the same once you stuck your flag down… "

Wynona finishes her spell, and the air begins to stir up around her … blowing the noxious fumes away. The bloodhound hurriedly rushes over to her, leaning his nose into her space, breathing deeply. "Ahhhhhhh." Wynona, however, swats at him. "Get your nose AWAY from me! Go find your OWN fresh air!"

"Insolence! Talking back! Is there no END to it?" the poodle gasps. "Insubordination!"

Jarik shakes his head, "Listen, I'm more 'expendable' than you. Let me check if it's dangerous alone next time?"

The poodle hmphs. Apparently something has stopped his tirade. "Hmph," is all he can say, and then he stomps back down belowdecks, muttering, "I have GOT to change out of these filthy clothes. I smell like … a thousand farm yards! A hundred flatulant Dromodons… "

Jarik says, "And besides, it's my duty to put others' lives before mine. I may not like you, but I will risk my life for you. It's part of being a knight, you know."

The Vartan grumbles, crossing his arms. "Dead waashu."

Jarik says, "Dead what?"

"Waashu," the Vartan repeats, as if that should be answer enough. Then he glowers a bit, and adds, "It was a dead waashu." With that, he stalks off.

The fox feels a light breeze stirring up the air around him.

He also feels someone bump into his back. "OOP! Sorry."

Jarik turns to see what hit him…

The bat chides, "Now, look! If you keep walking along with your nose glued to me, you can't see where you're going! GOODNESS! Get your nose away from me or I'll … or I'll … I'll turn you into a toad, or something!" It seems the bloodhound has bumbled into Jarik in his quest for fresh air, while Wynona has walked up within talking range.

Jarik looks up at the bat, "Are you okay, Lady Wynona?"

Wynona nods. "Oh, a bit smelly, but so is everyone else, so I'll survive. In any case, that was a waashu the Vartan was talking about. They're giant floating gas bags that feed on sky gardens. Apparently that one floated right into a big cluster of them before it croaked. They stay floating in the air for a long time when they die."

"That was a BIG one, though," the bat says with a raise of her eyebrows. "Whoo! When they're alive, and you're this close, you can smell them for a good while. But when they're dead, they just kind of build it all up and … well … eventually they go *POP*!" She makes a raspberry sound as she whips her hand around, slowly descending. "PbbbBBBBbbbbbbbbbbt-shhhhhhhhh! Like that."

Jarik nods, his ears flattened, "Well, my fault it popped."

Wynona waves her hand. "Oh, don't worry. Nobody got hurt. Now, if you'll pardon me, I see a bit of fruit that got snagged up in the riggings. I'll just – " She spreads her wings to leap in the air, and then – instead of lifting off – skids into the deck. "OWWWWW!"

Jarik winces and gets up. The fox goes over to the bat and offers her a hand, "Perhaps I should get them?"

The bat curls up, one wing twitching, the other curling in on itself far too tightly. She hisses through her teeth, eyes closed tightly, her eyes watering.

Jarik kneels beside her and lays a hand on the wing. He gently feels the wing muscles… He's guessing she has a cramp…

"Ooooowwww!" Wynona protests. Meanwhile, the bloodhound whimpers, as the "breeze" spell has entirely dissipated. He heads off in a vain search for clean air.

Jarik speaks softly, "Just relax… I'm going to straighten the muscle. It'll help release the cramp. This is going to hurt… " He gives her a moment then pulls gently but firmly on the wing, trying to get the muscle to release.

The bat hisses noisily, her eyes snapping wide open. "Ngh!"

Jarik holds the wing outstretched, waiting for the tension in the muscle to subside. Once it does, he lets the wing return to its natural position. The fox begins to massage the wing muscle, "Now… you're not going to be able to fly for a couple days, it'll just cramp up again. If it does cramp again, you'll need to get someone to straighten it."

The bat cringes at that prospect. "No worry. I won't go flying until you say it's safe. OOOGH. … Thanks."

Jarik keeps working on the wing muscle, "If you're not careful, you could tear the muscle. So, please, no flying."

"Of course," the bat says, frowning. "No flying."

Jarik smiles a little. He returns to his feet and offers Wynona help up.

The bat staggers to a standing position, and smiles weakly at the fox. "Whoo-eee. We won't forget that waashu for a while. Better keep an eye out. If we found a dead one, there are probably some live ones around somewhere. And they might be pretty at a distance, but you don't want to try to make friends with them."

Jarik nods, "Say… did you see a sword go flying anywhere? I think I just lost another one." He sniffs the air and gags, "I think we should get moving."

The bat hmms. "Was it shiny?"

Jarik nods, "This was a chitin sword, it was somewhat shiny. I lost my stee… er, other one, awhile back."

The bat shrugs and smiles. "You might try talking to Herbir when he gets back. I think we went shiny-hunting… " With that, she skips off.

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GMed by Greywolf

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