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Summary[]

Join Alex, Helen, Bryn, Lydia and Ben as they make some progress and take a nice nap.

This week Zolf wrestles an airship, Cel makes some friends, Hamid gives an extra-strong hug, and Azu has a new perspective on things.

Synopsis[]

Everyone apart from Cel and Siggif are asleep in the hold; Cel is violently shaking Azu, trying their best to get Azu to wake up, as she’s the most reliable person there in Cel’s opinion. It doesn’t work, so they turn to Hamid instead, shaking him. Hamid doesn’t wake either. Cel is clearly panicking, worried that their friends aren’t okay, and starts to ramble to themselves, trying to work through a solution. They ask themselves what they know about magical sleep, realise that they know nothing, and then begin to mention Hamid and Azu, who are both asleep as well. They turn to ask Siggif, wondering if he knows anything, but Siggif has fallen asleep while trying to wake up Draal. Cel doesn’t seem surprised by this, and then slowly starts to walk themselves through their panic, telling themselves to breathe. (They do go too fast at one point). After breathing for a bit, they decide that they need to go and speak with Zolf, rifling through their potions to see if there’s something that can help.

Meanwhile, up on deck, Zolf is still having to fight the ship; it’s not aggressive, or anything, but it’s getting a bit more resistant toward him when he makes changes. The borealis seems to be getting more dense as they move along; it’s much like cloud cover, worsening visibility. He casts detect magic to try and see what the effects of the borealis are, and is temporarily stunned. There is magic everywhere, and he can sense all of it but can’t identify what school it’s coming from or anything specific. The ship itself isn’t being much of a problem, but is starting to almost come to life and is keeping Zolf distracted. When he tests moving the wheel away from the destination, it will mess with the levers, causing him to go fix that and then the magic will fix the wheel while he’s fixing the levers. He attempts to remove a curse on the ship, in case it is a curse; however, as he begins to cast, the borealis thickens even more around him, feeling almost like soup. The spell does succeed; he’s still able to grasp his power, and the spell goes off but doesn’t affect anything on the ship.

Back in the hold, Cel notices that the cargo is beginning to stow itself on the other side of the bars. They can feel a potent urge to sleep, and are aware that it’s magical. Cel is able to resist the pull of exhaustion, and continues to mutter out loud to themselves as they run through their options. They slap Hamid, trying to get him to wake up, but it’s fruitless; they attempt with Azu as well, but both of them stay asleep, smiling gently. Cel tries to figure out what it could be, and knows that there are multiple enchantments that could make someone fall asleep; however, there are very few things that are able to keep someone asleep even after having been slapped. This is clearly not an enchantment; they realise it could be a form of enchantment they haven’t heard of (unlikely), a combination (unlikely), a gas leak, or a naturally occurring phenomenon. They head over to the front of the box and stare out the bars, debating over whether or not they should go get Zolf. They aren’t sure what Zolf could do or if he could help, considering different spells that he has; weighing their options, they mention that if they leave, they could lose control and become another problem. Eventually, they come to the conclusion that they need to stay in the box and take care of everyone. They check to see if everyone is breathing, and then decide to wait.

Time skips ahead about an hour and a half - there’s a knock in the ship. Cel gets up, is about to leave, and then talks themselves down from the idea, reassuring themselves that the ship isn’t under attack, and that the best thing to do is wait. They continue speaking out loud, repeating that no one is going to become a monster. Time passes again, skipping two hours ahead. Everything inside the hold has finished organising itself, and there’s a small rag scrubbing at a stain on the deck.

Cel calls out to it, asking the rag if it can hear them. The rag flops forward, and Cel starts to converse with it, asking how it is and what’s going on. The rag just continues to flop, and Cel says that they agree, and that they also feel complicated. They establish a “shake once for yes, shake twice for no” form of communication, apologising for not speaking rag. They hear a scraping noise from the corner, but aren’t able to see what it is, as the borealis is traveling through the ship as well. Cel asks if the rag is safe where they are, and then asks if it’s a friend of the rag. The object appears, and Cel realises it’s a tankard of grog that comes to a stop outside the door of the cell, waiting patiently. Cel again asks the rag if this is their friend, and mentions that it seems impolite to drink it if the tankard is their friend. The tankard gives a waggle, and Cel tries to confirm that the grog inside isn’t another sentient creature, and that Cel wouldn’t be drinking a friend if they had some. The tankard, somehow, shrugs. Cel says that they appreciate it, but tells the tankard not to come inside the box, since it would lose its sentience and Cel doesn’t want that to happen. Cel sticks their hand out and pats the tankard on the handle; they can feel the drift happening in the shift, and it feels strange but not painful. Cel mentions that they want to continue the friendship, but only through the bars of the cage as opposed to them coming outside, since they’re worried about what might happen.

A digital drawing of Cel, a nonbinary half-elf with blonde hair. A pair of brown goggles rests on their forehead. In front of them is a brown barrel and a cream colored rag. There’s a straw poking out of the barrel with the other side in Cel’s mouth. They are surrounded by various blue and white bubbles. Behind them lays a sleeping Hamid, a brown halfling man.

Cel tries the grog. Art by @brinnanza on tumblr. Used with permission.

The tankard pulls away from them, even as Cel apologises; it goes away from the cage and to the far end of the hold. Cel apologises again, for not understanding the etiquette, but the tankard disappears. As it does, Cel asks out loud how they can still be messing up, even when they’re the only one awake in the hold. Time skips forward about 20 minutes, and they hear scraping again; they call out excitedly to the tankard again. The tankard reappears, followed by a large keg. Cel is excited to meet them, and then notices a straw coming from the top of the keg. They congratulate it on its problem solving, and the keg moves toward the cell until the straw pokes through the bars for Cel to drink from. Cel mentions that this is definitely in their top 5 weirdest moments; they take a sip from the straw, and realise it’s just grog. It doesn’t taste any different. Cel thanks the two for the drink, and says that they can’t get drunk since they’re the only person awake. They promise to have more of a drink later, and the tankard perks up. Cel says they hope their friendship can continue. Something clatters to the floor at the far end of the hold, and starts rolling toward Cel - they identify it as a jar of wood polish, and try to figure out what the tankard wants. Cel continues to chat with the objects. They pull out a pen and passes it through the bars, asking if the objects can explain what is happening. Sadly, they do not spring to life and begin writing.

Time accelerates again, half an hour. Cel asks their new friends if they can check on Zolf and see what’s going on on deck. The keg rolls over to the ladder and hesitates. The rag flops its way up and disappears from view.

Back on deck: the ship has finished tidying itself. Zolf notices a rag flop up onto the deck, and calls out, assuming someone has thrown in. The rag throws itself toward Zolf, and Zolf, saying that this shouldn’t happen, realises that something is amiss. He calls out to the group in the hold, asking if they can hear them. Cel is able to hear him, but it’s incredibly muffled; the borealis is still too thick to be heard clearly. Cel attempts to yell back, saying that they’re okay, and then writes a note instead, explaining the situation and asking if Zolf needs anything. A rope comes to life and grabs the note from Cel, bringing it up the ladder and to Zolf. He reads it and calls back that he’s not asleep.

The borealis begins to grow thinner at this point, and Zolf and Cel are able to hear each other again. Zolf explains that it’s growing thinner, and then starts talking about how weird it is. Cel agrees, saying that from them, that means a lot. Zolf shares a theory he had: the elementals fused together, and the engines are the entire ship now. The ship shudders, and the engines turn back on, meaning it probably wasn’t the elementals. Cel seems nervous to learn that the engines were off, but glad they’re back. They seem very unsure, but reassure themselves that they’re all alive and (mostly) okay; Cel starts to ramble to themselves again, mentioning that if this is the afterlife, it’s pretty similar, and then starts to go down the path of thinking they’re the one asleep and everyone else is awake. Zolf immediately pulls them out of that, saying they’ve done that before.

The ship itself is starting to go back to normal, fighting Zolf less. The keg and the tankard start to put themselves away, and Cel tells them that it was nice to get to know them, despondent about losing some friends.

Azu, suddenly, awakens. She’s confused to see that the ship seems larger than it had before; it feels like the hotel room back in Hiroshima. She sees Cel at the front of the cell, and realises that Cel looks massive. Azu goes to speak, and her voice sounds… wrong.

At this point, Cel realises that someone is awake and turns, noticing Meerk is awake. They’re happy to see Meerk, and Azu corrects them, saying that it’s her. Azu asks why she’s small, and tells Cel that she doesn’t like this. Cel tells Azu that she appears to be in Meerk’s body, and Azu looks down at her hands before noticing her own body, still asleep against Kiko. She runs over and smacks her own body, screaming to be let in.

Inked traditional art of Hamid, in Azu, hugging Azu, in Meerk. Meerk is a kobold and Azu is a much-larger bald orc woman, kneeling down for the hug. Hamid in Azu is hugging very tight and Azu in Meerk exclaims “Hamid!”

Hamid in Azu hugs Azu in Meerk. Art by @sketch-cat on tumblr. Used with permission.

Hamid wakes up, and notices Meerk looking distressed in front of him; they seem much smaller than he’s used to. Hamid asks what’s going on, and Azu asks who he is. Hamid doesn’t understand what Azu is trying to get at, and then he starts to realise that the ship is much smaller than he remembers, and that he feels uncomfortably cramped inside the hold. The pieces start to pull together as Hamid looks around, and then Azu and Cel tell him to look at his hands; Cel mentions that Azu is in Meerk’s body. Hamid glances down and realises that he’s in Azu’s body, and Azu is happy (to a given value of happy) that it’s Hamid as opposed to anyone else. She asks for Hamid to pick her up, and he does, giving her an all-too-tight hug, not used to being that beefy. Azu is able to get out of it easily, and tells Hamid to be more gentle.

Azu tries to reach out to Aphrodite; it’s difficult, but she’s still able to, even though it’s harder to focus. Hamid feels the necklace of Aphrodite growing warm against his chest, and Azu holds onto it tightly.

Hamid’s body wakes up next, and Hamid starts pre-emptively trying to calm them down. He asks who they are, but they ignore him, asking for their tobacco and asking what on earth they’re wearing. Hamid realises it’s Siggif, and explains that they’ve all been mixed up, which Siggif doesn’t believe and talks to him as though he thinks it’s Azu. Hamid tells him to look over there, at Siggif’s body, and Siggif does; Hamid’s body goes as dragony as it can and Siggif freaks out, starting to completely panic. Hamid tries to talk him down and shush him, and then Siggif passes out as Hamid’s body collapses. Hamid, Azu, and Cel all realise that when everyone else wakes up, this is going to get very complicated very quickly, and Cel offers to make nametags.

Up on deck: Zolf is hearing an incredible commotion happening below deck, and can hear Hamid’s voice crying out. Zolf gets worried, asking if everything is okay, and Cel reassures him that it is, but that it’s a bit complicated. Zolf asks if it’s magical, which Cel confirms, and then additionally reassures that everyone is okay. Hamid - as Azu - corrects them, saying things are sort of okay, and Zolf thanks Azu. Cel finishes making nametags for everyone.

Wilde wakes up, then, asking how everyone is. Hamid explains that things have gone a bit complicated, and then tells Wilde to look at his hands. Wilde does, seemingly confused by the request, and doesn’t react negatively. Hamid explains that he isn’t Azu, and then asks who Wilde is. Wilde looks over to Hamid’s body, which is face down on the floor, and then goes over and turns him around, asking what happened. Hamid explains that people have had their minds swapped, and explains that he’s Hamid in Azu’s body, that Azu is in Meerk’s body, and that Siggif is in Hamid’s body. He adds that Cel is Cel - who continues handing out nametags. Wilde seems to be himself, and also seems to be disappointed that he didn’t get his own body swapped.

Azu starts to panic more, worried that they’ll be stuck this way forever, and then Wilde asks if Hamid can still cast magic in Azu’s body. Hamid is able to cast detect magic successfully, and then tries something bigger - Wilde asks that he doesn’t cast fireball, and Hamid snaps that he wasn’t going to. He casts comprehend languages on himself, and Cel starts to explain in Japanese that there were a number of friends coming to life on the ship. Hamid understands what Cel is saying, and then turns and asks Cel if this was a story or if this actually happened. Cel explains, but Wilde doesn’t seem to care much, suggesting that they separate everyone so that they can explain the situation to each person individually. Cel is reluctant to move them outside the cell, and Wilde asks if Zolf’s still on deck. Cel tells him that he is, and Wilde calls to ask if Zolf is still Zolf. Zolf tells Wilde not to be stupid, and then recants, remembering that magic nonsense has happened, and asks what’s going on. They don’t tell Zolf what’s going on, saying they’ll tell him in a minute, and then everyone else slowly starts to come to. Cel sidles over to Wilde and nudges him a bit, explaining that they’re a bit disappointed at not swapping too.

Quotes[]

Alex: "I need you to brace yourself cause this is coming at you slowly, ok? The ship has either gotten very big or you have gotten very small."
Ben: "Oh no, Alex!"
Helen: "Alex."
Ben: "Alex."
Lydia: "Alex."
Ben: "Alexander Jalexander Nalexander!"
Alex: "For a moment you feel like you're back in the hotel room that was made for, for larger creatures where you were a little bit too small for it. Yeah, you are definitely, actively smaller."
―Azu wakes up.

Helen: "Azu runs over to her own body and smacks it really hard."
Azu: "Let me in! Let me in!" (Ben starts losing it)
Alex: "Oh, that's, no that's really help- that's really helpful. Hamid, you awake to one of your kobolds yelling 'Let me in' at your face. However, they seem really small compared to normal. Like, teeny tiny."
―Hamid wakes up.

Dice rolls & mechanics[]

  • Cel makes a Perception check while shaking Azu: nat 1
  • Zolf makes a Will save: 19
  • Zolf casts remove curse: 21
  • Cel casts channel vigor on themselves.
  • Cel makes a Will save: 24
  • Cel makes a Knowledge (arcana) roll on what’s going on: 34
  • Zolf uses liberty’s blessing on himself.
  • Zolf makes a Will save: 30
  • Cel makes a Perception check to hear Zolf: 28
  • Azu makes a Perception check: 22
  • Azu (in Meerk’s body) makes a Reflex save: 20

Plot Notes[]

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