A berry for Betsie

Session 27 August 2023

As the dust settles from our intense battle, the eerie surroundings of the ship begin to take on a more familiar form. Farryn offers kind words, acknowledging my contribution to the party. Xenji approaches with genuine concern, asking about my well-being. I chuckle nervously, still shaken by the harrowing encounter with the mind flayer’s tentacles.

“Yeah, yeah… Well, did you see those tentacles?! That was SO scary! I was almost done for. Thanks, Farryn, for the compliment,” I reply, my voice still quivering with a hint of fear.

Meanwhile, Urm appears somewhat sluggish and lethargic, his muddy form temporarily weakened. “But that’s how good mud should be,” he remarks, trying to lighten the mood.

Curiosity piqued, I decide to investigate the remnants of the Slaads up close. To my astonishment, these once-formidable creatures have been reduced to mere puddles, their imposing forms diminished.

Farryn, turns his attention to a collection of crates. Upon closer inspection, he uncovers a gnome engraved in one of the crates. Eager to share his findings, Farryn opens the chest, revealing three peculiar inventions: a spring-loaded pogo stick, a tomato squasher, and a helmet adorned with a propeller. While these contraptions may seem whimsical, Farryn finds a certain charm in their eccentricity.

In the midst of our exploration, the white mage stumbles upon an dead Orog and a few broken pots. Xenji, always vigilant, discovers a cache of grenades similar to those we’ve encountered before.

Farryn excitedly explains the contents of the crates, which include stardust, gold, silver, and other valuable treasures. He even takes a moment to demonstrate how the tomato squasher functions, showcasing its peculiar design.

Curiosity leads Patience into a new chamber, which reveals itself as the ship’s mess hall, a place where the crew once gathered for sustenance and camaraderie.

Our discoveries continue as Farryn’s keen eye identifies something hidden within the wall—a sending stone. It appears to have been deliberately concealed, sparking our intrigue.

Unexpectedly, a tiny hamster scurries into view, a stark contrast to the intimidating creatures we’ve encountered thus far. Its cuteness is disarming, and I decide to approach the apprehensive creature with caution.

To put the hamster at ease, I create a handful of goodberries, offering one to the tiny rodent. At first, it hesitates, remaining in its corner, but its curiosity eventually wins out, and it nibbles on the proffered goodberry.

Engaging in conversation with the hamster, I ask, “What are you doing here?”

“Eating,” it replies simply.

Curiosity propels me to inquire further, “What do you know of the mind flayer here?”

“It’s a predator,” the hamster responds with an air of caution.

Hoping to gather more information, I press on, “Are there other people here? Do you know about treasure here? What is your name, and where is the other sending stone?”

With an air of innocence, the hamster answers, “Sending stone: crew. Name: no name.” In a whimsical gesture, I decide to give the little creature a name, “I name you Betsie.”

Continuing our exchange, I inquire, “Are there other creatures here?”

The hamster glances toward Farryn and indicates, “Yes.”

“Outside the room?” I probe further.

Once again, the hamster confirms, “Yes.”

Not very grateful for the insights provided by Betsie, I share our findings with the white mage. He speculates that the mind flayer was likely searching for connections, having consumed its own crew and other beings.

Eager to gather more information, we pose another question, “Have you seen Orogs and others on this level?”

The hamster recalls, “Yeah, two days ago.”

As we continue to explore the enigmatic ship, a question nags at me, and I turn to Farryn, inquiring about the white mage’s slow manner of speech. Farryn offers an explanation, mentioning that the white mage believes ordinary beings may struggle to comprehend his vast knowledge if he were to speak at a normal pace. While I understand the rationale behind it, I can’t help but find it a tad arrogant. Nonetheless, I acknowledge that there might be some wisdom in his approach, even if it is mildly irritating.

We venture into another room, discovering the lifeless bodies of a few orogs, their forms chained and unmoving. My heart sinks as I see the middle figure lying face down, its skull empty of its once-vibrant intellect.

Amid this grim scene, we uncover yet another sending stone. This time, I retrieve it, intending to share its power, but I contemplate my options. Ultimately, I give it to Xenji, and I share the other stone.

Suddenly, the white mage’s voice echoes from another room, urgently beckoning us to join him. We hurry to his side and enter a chamber unlike any we’ve seen before. The walls are glossy black, adorned with an unsettling artwork of tentacles ensnaring elves in a nightmarish tableau. More paintings and an easel with an unfinished piece suggest that this is the captain’s quarters.

The white mage speculates: “I think this ship crashed here, and when the captain had devoured all the rations of brains, he needed to eat his own crew to survive.”

The gruesome truth sends a wave of revulsion through our group. Farryn, ever pragmatic, begins smashing the resin-like wall. With a forceful blow, he strikes one of the tentacles on the wall, causing it to splinter and splatter across the floor. As the wall of resin crashes down, it reveals the inner structure of the ship, a wooden wall.

As I examine the eerie chamber within the mind flayer captain’s quarters, I hear Urm’s exclamation from the other side of the wall. It seems he has discovered rats, eliciting a chorus of disgust from our group.

Farryn is determined to retrieve all the paintings adorning the room’s walls. Xenji requests his assistance with something, leaving me alone in this eerie space. Intrigued by my surroundings, I decide to conduct a more thorough investigation.

My gaze falls upon the easel, and I notice a loose floorboard nearby. With cautious curiosity, I pry it open, and it yields with a soft creak. To my surprise, I find a small leather booklet concealed within. As I open it, I’m met with pages filled with Braille, a script I’m unfamiliar with. Uncertain about its significance, I resolve to seek assistance from my companions.

I spot Urm nearby and approach him, showing him the mysterious booklet. He nonchalantly remarks, “That’s a book,” before summoning the white mage to examine it further.

The white mage’s eyes narrow in recognition, and he declares it a spellbook. Grateful for his insight, I relinquish the tome to his care, trusting that he will make the most of its contents.

Eager to share my discovery with Farryn, I rush to the area where he’s conducting his investigation and recount my findings. However, his reaction is a bit irritable, but he praises me:  “That is nice. Never settle for what you find, always check if there is more!”

From his examination of the room, we learn about constellations and the concept of a ship powered by a spelljammer helmet. Yet, despite our hopes, the ship is surprisingly small.

Xenji hands me one of the grenades, a weighty responsibility I accept with a nod.

We convene to discuss our next course of action. Urm expresses a desire to head towards the lich, forming a “Team Saveurm.” However, the consensus leans towards investigating the current level further, specifically to the north. With caution, we prepare to depart from the ship.

As we make our way forward, the white mage’s sharp eye catches sight of a cavern ahead. He deploys a bag of water to investigate its contents, searching for something specific. Suddenly, an unexpected event unfolds as an object falls from above, plummeting onto him.

As we confront the looming threat of the gargantuan ooze, Urm’s nonchalant comment hangs in the air. “Wow, that’s a big one. You can manage that, right?” he quips, standing back to observe the impending clash.

Xenji wastes no time and charges past me, his celestial powers blazing as he smites the colossal monstrosity. Farryn, never one to shy away from danger, hurls a fire bolt at the ooze.

With a single, well-aimed shot, I let my arrow loose, hitting the ooze with full force. My sharpshooter skills shine as I score a critical hit. The devastating impact forces the ooze to recoil, granting Xenji some much-needed respite.

Xenji takes advantage of the moment and launches another radiant blast, putting additional distance between himself and the ooze. Farryn joins in for one last assault, twirling his hammer and sending the ooze hurtling away. Meanwhile, Patience summons a tar spawn to further hinder the creature.

Our victory over the gargantuan ooze leaves the cave surprisingly clean, which raises Farryn’s suspicions. He suspects the presence of a gelatinous cube nearby, an entity known for its ability to dissolve anything in its path.

As I venture around a corner, Farryn begins examining the remains of the defeated ooze. His investigation yields an unexpected discovery—an obsidian ball of mysterious significance.

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