Avae storms into the court of Olmenna’s child-emperor, Pilate XII, to report her failure in Le Moregn and the apparent choice saint queen Jeanne has made in matters of war. After much derision and a more than sufficient show of immaturity, Pilate demands better from Avae than what he’s seen so far, stating that during his father’s day she was a feared and respected general. He appoints a shadowy individual named Jamal to accompany the general in her future travels, stating matter-of-factly that not only will Jamal aid in arresting the animists, but he is to kill Avae if she fails once more. Visibly shaken and livid at the offense she has endured, Avae simply bows and leaves as noisily as she had come.
As the morning mists part on the harbor of Le Moregn, the party is met with a handsome, dark-haired man in the dress of a rogue. His deep brown eyes sparkle with intelligence and the weapons strapped all about his body tell silent tales of grueling battle. The man introduces himself as Malcolm Yeats, captain of the vessel named Shirley on which they all stand. After introductions and some grand-standing on Honoria’s part, the ship reveals her true form to the party, dropping two steam-powered engines into the water and taking off with a deafening hum. Charlotte and Milo are entranced by this exotic method of travel, while Honoria simply attempts to keep her footing.
A few hours later the party has gotten used to their surroundings and settled into their opulent cabins. Charlotte takes to the modest but well-stocked library in the Shirley’s lower quarters, accompanied by Honoria. Milo visits the ladies, speaking almost to himself on the nature of their captain and what could befall the group in the future. Honiria finds a book detailing the etymology of nobility the world over, but although the book is current she finds her name nowhere within its pages. Charlotte finds a book written on the concept of “worldbending,” but it is written in a very archaic Dharmic dialect she can’t make out.
At the dinner table, the party gets to know captain Malcolm and his assistant Barbara a little better. Malcolm explains that he will take the party to Oh-Kenga, but not before taking care of a previous responsibility.
During the night, Charlotte and Honoria have a simultaneous dream. They relive the last moments of Six Realms’ time in the world, before the ambush at the hands of preta savages. Upon waking it is early morning; the sun is cresting the calm waves in the distance. Honoria is somehow offended at the dream’s contents, while Charlotte muses the possibility that their spirit guides could be influencing them in stronger ways than originally intended.
The Shirley docks in Silvalant’s capital city, Jonestown, where Malcolm is to meet with one of the pirate DeSilva’s subordinates about the afformentioned business. After some light shopping and Honoria’s now-customary haranguing of the locals, the party is introduced to Marquisse, DeSilva’s right-hand man. Marquisse hands a special package to Malcolm for safe delivery elsewhere. It is a piece of pure crystallized atma, found in the depths of the oceans by naga friendly to the people of Silvalant. Charlotte is immediately intrigued by the artifact, and Malcolm promises to let her study it to her heart’s content so long as she shares her knowledge with the pirate.
A knock on the door brings in a badly wounded pirate who informs the party that mermaids are assaulting and killing citizens. Marquisse informs them that this has happened very frequently since Jonestown was unknowingly built over a mermaid reef. Despite Honoria’s complaints that the mermaids must be the victims in all this, Malcolm agrees to dispose of them once and for all with the party’s help. Marquisse gives everyone a small azure-colored seed that will allow them to breathe underwater and infiltrate the mermaids’ lair.
Without hesitation they dive into the water and descend into a yet unexplored layer of the sea known as the second ocean. Inside the second ocean the water is thin as air, allowing for unhindered use of motor skills.
The mermaids’ lair is found within a delapidated shrine that sank into the ocean ages ago. Brilliant blue coral frames every broken corridor and shattered stone seems to keep close to the walls from which it fell despite its freedom. The place is rife with magic and the party can feel it.
Upon entering, they are greeted by the salacious advances of a mermaid, and she looks disturbingly inaccurate compared to all the stories. Her face is beautiful but her body is a mockery of life, a distended stomach punctuated by a jutting ribcage and broken, useless arms. She mocks the party and disappears, leaving them alone to explore.
On their way the group encounters many more mermaids and dispatches them in good time. Malcolm is a help to the group, utilizing his skills with the bow and pistol to confuse and injure their foes. Eventually they come to a vast chamber from which they can hear uproarious laughter. They enter silently and witness a small congress of mermaids surrounding another, hugely corpulent mermaid with piggish features. She calls herself Mama Fisher and seems to be the leader of the murderous crew.
Making himself known, Malcolm challenges Mama to a fight to determine their right to stay in these waters. Mama accepts, siccing her subordinates on the party and wading into the fight herself. The mermaids are frail and fall easily to Honoria’s swordplay and Charlotte’s talent with atma shaping. Milo finds himself surrounded more than once, but bashes his way through with his trusty hammer. Charlotte succeeds in charming one mermaid to their side, commanding her to destroy her fellows while Malcolm takes potshots at the others, binding their legs and fins so that they cannot move.
Eventually Mama knows she is doomed. She lifts a sparkling aquamarine to the air and attempts to summon a being she refers to as Yucomb. Her dying breath sees her disintegrate and float away as grains of silent sand, leaving the gemstone sitting in her throne. Honoria picks up the gem to inspect it, but is interrupted by a great rumbling. The shrine ceiling begins to break apart, making way for a huge living mass of the blue coral they saw everywhere before. It identifies itself as Yucomb and demands the party’s lives in exchange for the lives of its children.
With some effort, the party manages to surpress Yucomb and beat it into submission. It too disappears into the voiceless sea, vowing revenge before breaking into a million pieces. Their job done, the party makes haste to return to the surface. Honoria pockets the aquamarine as she leaves.
Marquisse is full of praise and gratitude for the party and promises them that Silvalant will repay their debt someday, somehow. Honoria, keen on meeting the elusive DeSilva, is disappointed to find out that the man of legend was in Jonestown briefly during their watery excursion, but had left once more. Marquisse assures her that should they travel the seas they will inevitably meet with DeSilva, and he will know them by name.
The group returns to the ship and has another impressive dinner ready for them thanks to Barbara. Before departing for his room, Malcolm tells the three travellers that they will be making one more stop on the way to Oh-Kenga to deliver the atma shard, but it will be brief. They will be going to the Bolmorey bluffs on the edge of the Morose continent, one of the few places where life is still supported in such a dead land. After that it’s smooth sailing.
Party level: 5 Karma: Charlotte 6, Honoria 10, Milo 4