The Riverport of Tuc-Kal Docks
A deep-ish channel to the sea allows medium-sized vessels to tie up to a pair of docks built for that purpose. The shifting nature of the delta's mud shoals have resulted in a couple of shipwrecks, with the rotting hulks of hopelessly mired vessels laying in various states of moss-draped decay.
The docks are littered with discarded trade goods, empty crates, and broken barrels. The remnants of a yardarm, block and tackle serve no purpose but to create a navigational hazard. Ships tying up here must be loaded and unloaded by hand.
The docks were empty in the misty pre-dawn twilight. A fog bank had rolled in from the Vericule just before sunrise and now thickened into soupy impermeability.
The cool of the morning fog kept the biting insects ground-bound and the alligators sessile in their muddy bayous.
As the boat moved quietly, though far from silently, through the water Rigel peered into the heavy morning mist. Even for such an early hour it was quiet, eerily quiet. The docks hung with moss and took on the uneasy appearance of a mariner's graveyard. Ships, boats, sails, masts even broken cargo crates were strewn about. Many if not most covered with a sickly gray dark green moss that appeared ss if you were to squeeze it, it would release a large volume of somewhat slick ...water.
The fog was as thick as Rigel had ever seen and hung cool and heavy about them as they slowly crept upstream. Rigel looked toward the Captain and Mr. White for any indications from them of what was to happen next, but both seemed distracted and otherwise occupied.
Rigel leaned toward Pioloss, placing one of his large hands on his shoulder and in a voice barely above a whisper..."Hold steady Man"
Blackwing and Crew
Despite the heavy fog, the Captain of the Whale King steered her longboat on a true course.
The boat nosed into the dock with a light bump and the crew jumped ashore to secure her.
Four pirates would stay with the longboat. Blackwing would be back to negotiate with the harbormaster for water and supplies once her business in Tuc-Kal was concluded.
Meanwhile, she and First Mate Josiah White would take Pioloss, Rigel, Faan, and the two other crewmen, who had volunteered for the journey into the Underneath, ashore to see the shaman of Tuc-Kal.
"Stay togethers." Blackwing warned. "No sightseein'. There be plenny Orks about wot's peaceable-like, and jus as many tha ain't." She warned.
"There be an Orcan sorcerer 'ere wot kin send us where we needs ta go." Josiah informed his team and Faan. "We hafta negotiate terms with 'is agent at th' tavern." He explained. "Cap'n'll dew the dickerin'. Yew kin get sum vittles in yeh there, but keep yer wits about yas."
He turned to Faan, Pioloss, and Rigel. "This is an Orcish town. It's got laws an customs, but they's different from wot yer used ta in more Uman or elvy places." He warned, in case the men and lady were unfamiliar with Orcan custom. "Don't go wavin' yer blade around; no matter wots yer feelins' on greenskins, it ain't enemy territory. Don't go looking fer trouble, cos it'll surely find yer here."
"Pioloss, if'n ye wants ta take charge of ol Dex, yew kin bring 'im along." Josiah allowed. "Sum victuals might do the old-timer good, maybe even bring him 'round." The First Mate knew Orcs were not too keen on crazy Umans, especially tough stringy old ones, and having such a madman with them might prove useful deterrent.
Having stepped ashore, he offered a hand to help the others across to the dock. "Stick togethers like the Cap'n said. Yeh kin pull yer sword an sing out if yer threatened an we'll come to yer aid." Once everyone going ashore was on the empty dock, he spoke again. "Everyone clear? Then les move out." Josiah allowed a moment for questions before leading the group into town.
The elven seamstress awoke a bit confused as to where she was. Her bedroll had sent her into a deep slumber that had only been interrupted by the jolt of the longboat nosing into the dock. She managed to get her wits about her quickly enough as she recalled the previous days happenings, but as she stored bedroll, she resolved not to use it again in present company. Sleeping soundly while surrounded by cutthroat pirates was foolhardy, and she was lucky nothing untoward had happened during the night, or upon arrival.
Still muzzy, the Elfmaid hustled herself to stow her blanket and stuff a few essentials into a satchel. She wished she had awoken early enough to quiz Blackwing or Josiah about the details of their visit to the riverport. She was worried about leaving her trunk of wares aboard the boat, but it was clear that the pirate captain was in a hurry to go into town, and had not arranged any way to transport her goods along with them. "We'll come back for my wares, right?" She called to Blackwing as she hurridly packed.
Shouldering her satchel, she retied the chest's fabric lock and stepped out to the dock, accepting a helping hand from Josiah and giving him a wan and rather frazzled smile in return. "Thank yew." As she got a lecture from Aeros captain and Uman first mate about the dangers of Tuk-Cal, she worked on smoothing and tightening her travel braid. One good thing about not showering in far too long was a decided lack of flyaways, she reflected.
In the years since first leaving her homestead in the Dark Forest Faan had become less reluctant about with whom and how often she conversed. She was still no social butterfly, but much of her industry was driven by word-of-mouth and, as well, those who visited her shoppe were more likely to return when she favored them with banter. So, while on her first time in Tuk-Cal she might have been more circumspect, this time she leaned over to the nearest ear--which happened to belong to Rigel--and spoke quietly to the man. "That's good advice from Mister White. The last time I was here, we were attacked by an Orcan gang."
Remembering the injury done her by an Orcan club, Faan unconsciously flexed the slender fingers of her left hand. While the injury had eventually healed, the trauma of the violence remained with her. The fight had been on the riverport's other dock, and she was glad it was lost in the mist this morning. "I really don't like this place." She said. "Please be careful."
Despite her bad experience in Tuc-Kal, Faan held no grievance against Orcs in general. She had constructed garments for a few White Orcan wizards, and a Black Orc woman was one of her regular clients in El-Hazir. Her time as a tradeswoman in the mighty port town had taught her that they were not all hulking murderous greenskins--not even those who were, indeed, green skinned.
But Faan was frightened of a repeat of violence she had experienced in the riverport, and this was apparent from the trepedation she telegraphed in her demeanor as she walked with the group heading for the Inn.
OOC from The Whale King
The fog as they neared Tuc-Kal was so thick you could chew it, and to Pioloss’s sensitive nostrils seemed to carry with it the odd smell of… green? He wasn't sure just quite how it was possible for something to smell green, and even now, had his life depended on it he probably couldn't have explained it any better than that. Just… Green!
Nodding to Rigel as he felt a large hand clasp his shoulder, Piillss unconsciously rubbed at his wrists as they began making ready to depart the boat. His enhanced healing had long since taken care of any actual pain, but the memory was still fresh in his mind. Gods! At one point he actually thought his wrists had snapped! How Rigel managed to move like that - and make it look so easy to boot! - was beyond him! But Pioloss appreciated the lesson nonetheless and fully intended to keep up with practicing it as and when opportunity would allow.
As their small group began to move through Tuc-Kal proper, it was all Pioloss could do to stop himself from gawking. The place was so unlike anywhere else he had seen, seeming in many ways to be almost run down and haphazard in its construction. Indeed, parts of the place looked downright derelict! Yet beneath that there was a certain charm, a rawness to the place that he found oddly appealing.
But Pioloss was taking the Captains warning to heart. Having never had reason to deal much with the Orcan Folk he was near completely ignorant of the ways and customs, and the last thing he wanted was to accidentally start a mass brawl when they had only just got here! With that in mind he forced himself to keep a close eye on Bird Eye. Though it would undoubtedly have been far easier to leave the man behind, knowing that in all likelihood the others would just tip him into the slimy waters beneath and be done with it Pioloss just couldn’t bring himself to let that happen. It was one thing to drain a drowning pirate dry of his blood. That had been done out of pure instinct and (almost) out of his control, and the man had been as good as dead by then anyway! But to willingly condemn another because of his actions? That, even more than feeding, felt like it would be crossing a line that could never be uncrossed.
Yes, a couple of times he'd had to quickly shoo Bird Eye along when an Orc passed too close to them. The Old Pirate still kept trying to flap his arms and hiss whenever anyone came anywhere near Pioloss! But for the most part the man was docile enough, other than earning them both a couple of very confused looks that was. Either way, by the time the building loomed up in front of them, Pioloss was more than happy to see their destination. He'd been growing increasingly thirsty again ever since his impromptu
torture training session with Rigel!
OOC to The Drowning Mermaid
Rigel listened quietly to Mr. White as he gave them instructions. He nodded in acknowledgement as he finished. He noted the Lady Wuu'Faan Liewuun's reticence to leave behind her trunk.
Subconsciously he checked that his sword was at his back, dagger in his boot and bolo at his waist. Rigel pulled the medallion of Faran from his robe and held his hands in prayer. Then stepping onto the dock Rigel felt the boards creaking beneath his feet. He was not inspired with confidence that this was the safest place he had been recently, still he was thankful to be on land again.
Rigel had seen Orcs before and even seen them fight though he had never had fought any. they seemed capable warriors for great strength which they sometimes seemed to depend upon a bit too much. It was those capabilities that earned respect from Rigel, as such he was pleased to be among them.
Rigel balanced this with Mr. Whites words as well as those of the Lady Wuu'Faan Liewuun. He had noticed her unconsciously flexing and carrying herself with caution as they began to walk. Rigel positioned himself behind a nd slightly to the left side of the lady prepared to move if the need arose.
As they moved Rigel felt eyes upon them. Most had the look of curiosity or interest in strangers in town but a few Lingered too long. Too long on the party, too long on individual members of the party. making mental note Rigel kept moving careful not to betray his own level of awareness nor any tension. Rigel knew the best defense was not to get into a fight at all.
OOC: to The Drowning Mermaid
Pioloss - Somewhere near the docks
(OOC: from The Drowning Mermaid
It wasn't exactly that Pioloss didn't trust the Privateers, but more that he barely knew them! Whereas in his eyes Faan had already proven herself by being nothing but considerate to him multiple times in the short while that he'd known her. So it felt like absolutely the right thing to do to utilise his particular skill set to make sure that her wares reached the Inn safely and intact. Besides, he didn't trust those pirates! Not one bit!
Mister White and the others were setting a brisk pace, but Pioloss kept up with them easily. What scant shadows were left in the rapidly brightening dawn seeming to mould themselves around him as he went, allowing him to move much faster than would normally have been possible.
This is almost too easy! Pioloss thought to himself. And it was true too! If anything he was actually having to slow down lest he get too close to his quarry! But no sooner had he had the thought when from somewhere behind him came a panicked cry which curled his toes in anger and frustration:
"You have got to be kidding!" Pioloss muttered through gritted teeth as he looked back to see Bird Eye racing down the street towards him, arms flapping wildly at his side. The old fool was going to get himself killed. Or worse! Cause Pioloss to be discovered!
"No! Go back and wait at the Inn!" He hissed as he stepped out from the shadows to intercept Bird Eye.
"Brak cak." Bird Eye replied with a jerking, bird like shake of his head
"Just go! I- I'll be fine…" Said Pioloss.
Bird Eye cocked his head to one side inquisitively, and for a second Pioloss thought that he had managed to get through to him. But then in the next moment Bird Eye was off, racing through the streets of Tuk-Cal and squawking loudly as he did so.
Pioloss glanced back towards the Privateers just as they rounded a corner and disappeared from sight, and seriously considered just letting Bird Eye fend for himself.
"God's curse it!" He grumbled before running off in pursuit of the mad man chicken.
“Well then, Mister White.” Blackwing regarded her first mate. “This be where I bid ye fair winds an’ followin’ seas.” She said, standing by the dock where the four Orcan laborers she’d hired were lifting Faan’s trunk out of the longboat and loading the vessel with supplies and water for The Whale King.
Blackwing placed a hand on her second’s shoulder. “O’il miss ye, messmate, tha’s fer true. Takes ye care uv yerself down there.” She said with sincerity, giving Josiah a meaningful look as she backed away, crouched, and sprang into the air, climbing straight up and then winging over and beating for the open sea and The Whale King.
Blackwing To: The Vericule - The Whale King
After the captain departed, Josiah continued to oversee the loading and unloading of the longboat. Eventually he helped the two returning crewmen shove off and then followed the Orcan laborers as they carried the sizeable trunk back to the Drowning Mermaid.
Josiah White To: The Drowning Mermaid