Join Alex, Helen, Bryn, Lydia and Ben as they weather a peculiar storm.
We start in the anti-magi faraday cage, where all the crew except for Zolf are located. They know that the borealis will last anywhere from some hours to some days. There are non-magical lanterns, so the cage isn’t dark (all magical lights have been stowed.) Azu sits next to Kiko and puts her pinky on Kiko’s; it seems to be reciprocated, in “an unspoken pinky swear that everything going to be okay.”
Hamid makes eye contact with Azu, silently asking if she’s okay (because of her claustrophobia.) She nonverbally replies that she’s okay, thank you. Cel is trying to improve the cage, but they can only really do busywork due to material limitations; the others think that Cel’s making it better, but they don’t care, and are at most making slight ergonomic improvements.
We jump to Zolf, steering the ship straight into the borealis; he knows there’s no point trying to divert the ship, since it’s so large. The cloud cover starts to ease, and he’s easily avoiding the high-up bear skeletons. He notices that the borealis alters the light around it, almost like a heat haze or a cartoon mirage. There are tangible lines of colour. As they draw in closer, Zolf is nervously whistling to himself because it’s creepily silent aside from the wind. Right before they make contact with the borealis, Zolf casts resistance on himself (which adds onto Hamid’s heroism.)
The prow of the ship makes contact with the borealis, but the borealis doesn’t engulf it. Individual strands of light move down the ship, seeming to smear whatever they touch like paint before returning to normal. Zolf, suddenly remembering himself, ties himself to the wheel. Within the cage, there’s a musical chiming all around, and the metal of the box is resonating in some way. On the outside of the cage, they can see the same light effect, of the world getting smeared and then reasserting itself.
Eventually, the colours reach Zolf, “smearing” his body, but not in a painful way. Zolf can hear the chimes now too, resonating faintly from the colours themselves. The ambient noise — the creak of rigging and the sound of the wind — seems to recede into the background. Inside the cage, it’s harder to tell that that’s happened, but they still notice the ambient noises dying out until they can mostly only hear the chiming.
Hamid suggests playing Two Truths and a Lie: someone will say three facts about themselves, one of which is false, and the others will have to guess which is the lie. No one else has heard of this. Carter goes first, saying his three statements: he is a respected academic, he was once really rich, and he is competent and everyone needs to get off his back. Hamid asks Barnes for his opinion, and Barnes says that he doesn’t know academia and that Carter has expensive tastes, so he’s not sure. Hamid says that Carter could have been rich for a short period of time (as when he was arrested at the Tahan bank), and Carter indicates that Hamid’s correct. Barnes also adds that Carter’s pretty much only competent at locks. Azu thinks the academic one is a lie, or that it’s a trick question. Carter reveals that he was indeed rich and he’s still a respected academic (meaning that he’s incompetent.) They then have a brief argument about whether Carter is the “world expert in Egyptology” now that there’s an apocalypse.
Back to Zolf, who’s noticing a powerful urge to sleep. He manages to fend it off by slapping his own face, and is confident he can keep it at bay — though he knows that other people might have trouble.
Within the box, Barnes and Carter are having an argument about whether or not it matters that Carter’s the world’s best egyptologist. Wilde goes next (making several faux-philosophical quips about the nature of truth): he had “genuine feelings for Bertie,” he was intensely shy in his childhood and wore disguises to avoid his peers, and he loves Harrison Cambell novels.
At this point, they notice that all the kobolds have drifted off into a comfortable sleep. Hamid suggests putting up blankets so the kobolds, who don’t like people seeing them sleep, might have some privacy; Cel thinks this is a nice gesture, but turns it down because they want to be able to watch everyone at all points in case something bad happens; Hamid concedes.
Hamid guesses that Wilde was never shy as a child, but that his feelings for Bertie were negative; Wilde, indicating that Hamid is correct, says they’ve been spending too much time together.
Back to Zolf, who’s actively fighting off the constant (but not increasing) urge to sleep. He’s ready to cast owl’s wisdom on himself if it starts to get really bad. At some point, he notices that the engine’s not running anymore, although they’re still moving at the normal speed.
Back to the cage: it’s been a couple of hours, and Barnes, Carter, and Earhart have started dozing off. Everyone’s started feeling tired.
It’s Hamid’s turn at the game. Wilde comments that he knows Hamid well, but won’t play if he knows what’s true. Hamid says his facts: he’s never lived in mainland Europe, he’s never visited subsaharan Africa, and he’s never won an academic prize. Wilde says he’ll sit this out, and settles back into a sleep. Hamid starts feeling very weary as Azu speculates on the truth, and Hamid yawns. Azu thinks Hamid’s good at school — but then notices Hamid’s fallen asleep.
It’s been another hour, and Zolf notices the ship has started anticipated his movements, always wanting to stay on the right course. Zolf starts fighting against it, taking back control, and it lets him.
Back in the cage, everyone except Cel and Siggif are asleep. Azu and Kiko have fallen asleep in each other’s arms, Azu’s head resting on Kiko’s shoulder, and Siggif, who’s quite tense and keeps glancing at Azu and Kiko as he chews his tobacco. Cel has felt very drowsy but doesn’t feel an urge to sleep; they’ve been so distracted, fixing things in a panic, that they’ve barely noticed people falling asleep. They look up from their work, startled.
Siggif is muttering to himself, and Cel asks him if he’s okay. He says he’s alright, but doesn’t want to sleep because he usually gets bad dreams from what he’s seen. Instead, he’s working on a crossword puzzle that he’s done and erased several times. Cel help him figure out a word (“ominous”) he’s never gotten before. Cel talks about this situation being ominous, and then starts worrying that Zolf fell asleep. They want to go check, but don’t want to leave everyone asleep in the room without reliable supervision. They try to wake Azu, but she doesn’t wake up; Siggif tries the same on the other crewmembers, also without success. Cel, full-on panicking, tries flicking Azu’s face and then shaking her violently, but nothing helps.
Back to Zolf; a few hours have gone past and Heroism has worn off. It’s starting to feel like a night shift on a ship. At some point, he notices that the ship has started to tack itself and the rigging is adjusting itself, and the pieces of the deck are maintaining themselves: it appears the Vengeance has come alive.
Dice rolls & mechanics
- Will save against wild magic: 20 + 2 from Heroism (Zolf), 21 (Azu), 10 (Hamid), 7 (Skraak), 11 (remaining kobolds), 22 (Cel)
- Azu Perception on crossing pinkies with Kiko: 16
- Azu Sense Motive on crossing pinkies with Kiko: 15
- Hamid Sense Motive on unknown: 8
- Cel Disable Device to improve the cage: 19
- Zolf Profession (sailor) to maintain course: 28
- Perception to see the sleeping kobolds: 25 (Hamid), 25 (Azu), 26 (Cel)
- Zolf Perception to notice the engine’s not running: 18
- Zolf Perception to notice the ship’s steering itself: 22
- Zolf Will save against wild magic: 24
- The song Zolf is whistling is What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor.
- Hamid’s lie in Two Truths and a Lie was that he’d never lived in mainland Europe; he studied in Prague for a semester, as mentioned previously on the show. Therefore, it can be inferred that he’s never visited subsaharan Africa nor won an academic award.