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Summary[]

Azu makes a bunch of people cry, Hamid gets domestic, Ce has the best build team, & Zolf is not great at this...

Synopsis[]

[Editor’s note: Bryn’s audio quality is still a little off.]

The trap outside of Earhart’s room goes off. It hits Zolf for 38 damage. From Zolf’s perspective, everything goes white, there’s a deafening high-pitched sound, and his head hurts; from Azu’s perspective, it looks like someone fired a canon at Zolf’s head from every direction on the other side of the door. There were multiple shotguns pointing to the entrance that were on a string. There’s smoke, the smell of burnt gunpowder, and a hole in the plaster that allows them to see into the room. From further down the stairs, people cry out, and someone yells “not again”.

Azu yells back that it’s alright. She helps a coughing Zolf to his feet, and both of them call for Earhart into the room. Earhart responds with drunken, incoherent murmuring. They enter the room and look around, though the smoke makes it hard to see. The room is a garret with a gabled roof. There’s a window at the opposite end, though there are newspapers and cloth plastered up on it. There is stuff everywhere; it looks like a nest. It smells like someone’s been staying here far too much. Near the window, Earhart is shouting for them to get out.

Azu heads a blown-out, moth-eaten mattress, where Earhart is lying in a pile of blankets. She points something at Azu, drunkenly telling her to get out. Zolf re-introduces himself and says they need her. Earhart says she has nothing left to give. Azu says they’re here to help, though Earhart says she doesn’t want help.

Zolf says they should bring her back to their hotel so she can sober up. Earhart threatens to shoot their knees off and Azu looks really sad. Earhart wildly shoots a weapon from her bed, and Azu easily plucks the weapon from Earhart’s hands. She doesn’t recognize the weapon, but puts it in her bag for later.

Greyscale fanart of Zolf carrying Earhart. He is a muscled dwarf with short white hair and a beard, wearing a sleeveless shirt. He has Earhart slung over his shoulder in a fireman’s lift, with one hand around her waist and another holding her leg to secure her. She is a very slim gnome with long wavy hair that obscures her face. Zolf is seen from the waist up, shown from the side.

Zolf carrying a completely smashed Amelia Earhart. Art by @afarai on tumblr. Used with permission.

Zolf picks up Earhart in a fireman’s lift; she’s problematically light, as she’s not been eating for a long time. She doesn’t even have the breath to keep arguing. Zolf and Azu look around the room for any personal effects. There’s a clean set of captain’s gear, except for soot marks and charring on one part (it doesn’t appear to have been worn or cleaned since it was damaged); the remnants of an elaborate captain’s hat; a shattered pair of goggles; a crate of spent ammunition (one of the walls is pockmarked with holes); a stash of cans, only a few of which are still useable; and a ship’s manifest. Zolf suggests Hamid might be able to repair them, and Azu picks up any relevant items.

Earhart is very underweight and her short haircut has grown out. It appears she’s been injured in the past and she hasn’t done much about it.

As they leave, Azu attempts to close the door, but it comes off in her hands. A few concerned, similarly unfortunate people poke their head out to look at what’s going on. Azu offers them money: 20 gold for the 60 residents of the house (1200 gold total). That’s enough money to get a person out of their rut if they’re in a healthy state of mind, and many people start weeping. At some point in the next couple of days, Azu tells the temple of Aphrodite to come to the help and offer support. Azu’s uncomfortable with the thankfulness.

On their way out, Zolf channels positive energy 7 times (5d6 x 7), instilling a sense of hope in people and healing himself. By the time they’re out, Earhart’s just dead weight on Zolf’s shoulder but everyone looks much better than when Azu and Zolf entered.

Back at the airship, Cel’s sent Hamid out for the elemental trapping device. He has to choose between buying a custom part for 2500 gold, which will take 2.5 weeks; buying a nearby impounded airship for 1000 gold; or having Cel make the part, also for about 1000 gold. Hamid chooses the second option, having brought Skraak along to help assess the state of other ships. Skraak physically goes inside a ship and finds the part. They’ll still have to hire someone to assist with the binding, but there are a lot of people around who can do that.

Skraak approaches Cel and asks them if they need the parts ordered, to which Cel assents.

Back to Azu and Zolf, who are bringing Earhart back to the hotel. The maitre d’ is professional enough to pretend not to be bothered. Zolf puts Earhart in his bed. He casts restoration on her three times and uses calming touch, so she’s no longer fatigued, shaken, or sickened. Azu uses lay on hands on Earhart, so that she’s no longer deceived, enfeebled, or poisoned.

Zolf assists Azu in assessing Earhart’s medical state. Azu knows that for Earhart, they’ve blown through enough resources that might be spent on most of a hospital in a day. They’ve given her as much medical help as it’s possible to give a person, and now she needs rest and someone to talk to. She also no longer looks emaciated.

A digital drawing of Azu and Zolf from Rusty Quill Gaming. Azu is a Black orcish woman with close-cropped hair, and she is wearing tan robes with pink designs. Zolf is a white dwarven man with his beard pulled into a single braid, and he is wearing a white shirt with the sleeves rolled. They are both in profile and smiling as Zolf hands Azu a novel. The background is pink with a geometric pattern. /end

Zolf gives Azu another Cambell book. Art by @the-ipre on tumblr. Used with permission.

Zolf offers to go get food while Azu talks to her, but Earhart’s already asleep. Azu draws up a chair next to the bed, puts a blanket on her, and waits. Zolf gives Azu a Cambell novel (The Heart Beats Faster, the lewdest Cambell; someone tried to ban it in Sweden). Zolf uses his own culinary knowledge and his memory of the meals Earhart served on her airship to order a custom meal for Earhart; it’s a salad made mostly of meat.

Back with Cel and Hamid, the kobolds very efficiently disassemble the purchased ship in an hour. They’re interested in Cel’s methods of organizing parts but even better at taking things apart. By the end of the day, the parts are all laid out perfectly.

In contrast to Cel’s usual demeanour, where their attention is drawn in all different directions, they’re now entirely focussed on one thing. Hamid doesn’t have much to do but can’t wander off because the kobolds will follow him, so he sits and watches in amusement.

BREAK

When the party reconvenes at the hotel at the end of the day, they exchange information about their respective tasks. Hamid and Cel notice that Zolf’s perked up a bit; it seems he needs a project or else gets stuck in his own head.

That evening, Cel asks Zolf about what specific elementals he can summon, and to them, it sounds like he’ll have the relevant capabilities. Zolf can summon basically any kind of elemental for 9 rounds; he can summon a large elemental once a day. Cel knows that the standard choice would be an air elemental; fire elementals are faster but destroy the ship. They get excited when Zolf offers more obscure possibilities, like ether elementals. [Note: at this point the group discusses options out-of-character, and eventually decide to address it off-recording.]

That night, Azu stays with Earhart, who’s sleeping until the next morning; she lights incense and thinks.

A black and white digital drawing of Hamid, a brown halfling male with short black hair. He is looking down with a small closed smile on his face. He sits on the floor with his legs crossed with a fabric on top of him. He is sewing together pieces of said fabric. There's a pile of fur to his right. There are musical notes floating near his head.

Hamid sews Amelia's kit back together and makes cold weather gear for the party. Art by @thechekhov on tumblr. Used with permission.

Over the next week, Cel and the kobolds continue to work on the boat, Zolf summons elementals, and Azu counsels Earhart (with Zolf available to be present if called upon.) The whole party has plenty of downtime to eat and buy equipment. Zolf insists that his share of the money goes towards maintenance projects.

Hamid stops in to say hello to Earhart a few times over the course of the week, but for the first half of the week, she just rolls over and stares at the wall anytime someone enters the room. She also keeps asking for alcohol, and when Azu refuses and simply gives her water, turns nasty; Azu keeps Earhart’s withdrawal symptoms at bay. Mostly, Earhart ignores Azu, just sitting in her bed, but Azu is very patient.

Late at night sometime during the week, Earhart quietly asks for her manifest. Azu’s pleased at this development and hands it over. As Earhart thumbs through it, she begins to cry and asks for her pen. She starts systematically crossing names off the manifest and tallying up numbers for about half an hour. Finally, she reaches a charred mess of a page, and simply stares at it.

(Brief interlude: Hamid has been repairing Earhart’s captain uniform, in addition to making cold-weather gear for everyone).

When Earhart gets to the end of the manifest, Zolf, who’s been hovering in the corner of the room, darts out to his room and comes back with a fresh manifest for Earhart. Azu puts it in a drawer for now.

A brown and tan drawing featuring the silhouette of Amelia, a gnome woman. Her shadow is in front of her. She is in the foreground walking away from a crashed ship in the background. The remains of the ship has white smoke emerging from it. The words read: and then the sky lights up, and then everyone else lights up, and you limp the rest of the way.

Amelia shares what happened to her crew. Art by @bagelwhalee on twitter. Used with permission

Azu asks if Earhart would like to talk. Earhart asks if Azu’s ever killed someone (Azu says yes), and then whether she’s killed a friend (not directly), and then whether she’s killed all her friends (no) Earhart rolls over and faces the wall.

Azu asks if Earhart was hit by a missile, and Earhart blocks her out. Zolf says that he’s watched his friends disappear, and then immediately regrets saying that; Earhart replies that he’s the worst person at this that she’s ever encountered. Zolf says he knows where she’s at, and she disagrees. Azu says the situations aren’t directly comparable.

Zolf mentions that he killed his brother, and Earhart asks about how he’s dealt with it subsequently. Zolf says it’s not better and never goes away, though it’s more distant; he’s learned to deal with it, continue living, and do things he cares about, even though he sometimes forgets he cares about them. Earhart rolls back over and Zolf leaves, just before Azu was about to say that he didn’t do too badly.

After a moment, Azu says that grief doesn’t get better, but it does get different. Earhart says she doesn’t care about the grief, but the guilt. Azu asks what happened; Earhart responds that it was an angry meritocrat, and it was her fault. Azu says she doubts the behaviour of an enormous dragon can be Earhart’s fault, but Earhart insists is was.

Digital art of Azu and Amelia from Rusty Quill Gaming. Amelia is a gnome with medium-length curly hair. She is sitting up in bed with a sad expression and a book on her lap. There is a wooden serving tray with salad, water, and a napkin, on the edge of the bed. Azu is a black orc with glowing pink armor and a shell necklace. She is sitting in a big chair, telling Amelia “This is not about making things pretty.” There are stars in the background.

Azu counsels Earhart. Art by @altoidoibs on Twitter. Used with permission.

Earhart recalls the incident: she insisted on doing one last run even as others told her to stop and her first officer threatened to lock her up. However, Earhart persuaded them all to continue on and they got pretty far until suddenly, the sky and her entire crew were alight. She limped the rest of the way on her own. Earhart asks Azu when the guilt for that will go away.

Azu says that Earhart shouldn’t blame herself for consequences she couldn’t have seen coming, and Earhart returns that she did see them coming, but did them anyway. In fact, her whole crew knew what would happen but she’d cultivated trust for years so that they followed her anyway, to their deaths. Azu says that it was their choice to make; the crew knew they were in a war and the risks involved, and chose to follow Earhart and not to mutiny. Similarly, Azu and the rest of the party are choosing to ask for Earhart’s help. Earhart says that’s a dumb choice. Azu says that everyone makes mistakes, but there’s always the opportunities for better choices and a world to save. Earhart says she’ll think on it.

The next day, Earhart’s gone from taciturn to grumpy, and starts working on the new manifest, first hesitantly then fervently. Azu tells Zolf about this, and tells him he helped by buying it; he seems surprised and grateful.

Earhart asks Azu to get books from the library for her; it’s an eclectic bunch of books, including fairy tales, medical textbooks, and chemistry books. Azu picks them up from the library, and realizes that judging by the books, Earhart’s probably trying to figure out how to kill a dragon: one of the fairy tales is about an “evil dragon slayer”, another book is about explosives, and another has to do with draconic biology. Azu knowing that Guivres is infected, thinks this can’t hurt.

Earhart’s writing in the manifest becomes more fervent, and just when it seems to be bordering on mania, she starts to settle. She starts communicating properly, and by the end of the week, even smiles. Near the end of the week, Earhart asks to speak with Azu and Zolf. She offers them a deal: she’ll take them wherever they want to go in her airship for as long as they need — so long as they help her kill a dragon. They’ll start with Guivres, and see how they go from there.

Zolf says, like Earhart, he was also the only survivor of a shipwreck. His was caused by a mechanical kraken. He recently killed the person who created and controlled that kraken, and while it didn’t help, he’d still do it again.

Quotes[]

Zolf: "We could do an aether elemental if you want us to telekinetically throw the ship instead of flying it."
Alex: "All jokes aside, if you want to have a more interesting cocktail of elementals beyond air, I am open to this as a concept and will adjust how the ship works accordingly."
Lydia: "If Zolf raises the aether elemental thing, Cel will start doing sums."
Ben: "I will have a chat, cause like, there are a lot of large elementals cause Pathfinder is Pathfinder... Do we want a Mihstu? I have no idea what a Mihstu is but, oh cool! It's a barbed wire elemental, but made of tentacles. Great, I'm gonna get off the Mihstu page."
―Ben looks up elementals.

Earhart: "What could I possibly have that you need?"
Zolf: "Yeah, yeah, yeah, right, this is now a kidnapping."
Ben: "And I'll pick her up and put her over my shoulders in a fireman's lift."
Azu: "Zolf."
Earhart: "You're a kidnapping!"
―Zolf is problematically practical.

Earhart: "And then you do the run. You get pretty far. And then all the sky lights up. And then everyone else lights up. And then you limp the rest of the way. But you’re on your own that time. When’s the guilt for that go away? What’s the right project there? What’s the - what’s the ‘way to live’ that’ll take all that and put a nice bow on it so I can get back to doing what I do, ‘cause I’d really to know. I’d really like to know. What if you did see them coming and you did them anyway ‘cause you thought we’ll deal. What about if you were arrogant enough to assume that you were that good that even though every single person knows what’s going to happen, they follow you anyway? What about if you spend that many years cultivating that much trust that even when they know they’re gonna die, they go ahead and follow you anyway?"
Azu: "I’d say that sounds like it was their choice to make. We’re in a war, correct? There are always risks in war. And one gets involved in such a thing knowing what could happen. And that is the consequence that all of us have to live with. Each of those people could have mutinied. They could have refused. They could have turned around. But it was their choice to stay with you. And you cannot control other people’s choices."
―Earhart reveals what happened to her ship.

Dice rolls & mechanics[]

  • Zolf Reflex save against Earhart’s trap: 13 (trap hits)
  • Hamid Diplomacy check to negotiate for the elemental trapping device: 28 
  • Azu & Zolf Heal check on Earhart: 16 (Zolf assist), 34 (Azu total)
  • Cel Knowledge (arcana) about elementals: 21
  • Azu Sense Motive on Earhart’s books: 18

Plot Notes[]

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