The Unknown: A Game of Fear, Ignorance, and Adventure

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Interesting. That barrel stopped talking when I ran out of beer. I'll see if he wants to talk some more tonight.
In the dim light of the hold, Kirk gets up and dusts off his jacket. Trying to look his best dwarven sober, he climbs up to the deck of the ship to eat.
Oh, just great. Quite a mix of races here, It's going to be hell with the elves and the orc's though. And the painted elves... better to stick to my people.
Kirk grabs a bowl of stew and meanders over to the nearest dwarf, Alexis. "So friend, what are you trying to get out of this trip?"

Marneus sat down at the table, and proceeded to astound everyone by shifting his helmet so that he was able to eat through the eye slit. As he ate in silence, he listened for any conversations going on. Nothing interesting, a man asking for a seat, and some painted elf drivel.

He thought about Deslock, the slightly insane leader of the expedition. No doubt he would get them into trouble in the future.

He was interrupted from his thoughts, as someone sat down beside him.

Jakob fineshed his apple, grabbed a small loaf, and sat down in a completely new seat. Next to him was a be-helmed man who had somehow managed to eat through his eyes, and Jakob was most impressed

"Good sir, are you truly eating with you eyes?" he asked, full of fascination and wonder

(Just as an aside, the berry he ate is still having an effect =P)

Marneus put down his fork, and re-adjusted his helmet so he could see.

Glancing at the painted elf, he sighed and answered his question.

"No, I am not eating with my eyes."

Marneus stared longingly at the door.

Deslock had found a perch next to the place where the cooks were emerging from their savory realm, a place where he could reach out and snag portions as they went past. Thus far he had acquired two apples, a pear, half a loaf of bread and a mug filled with something resembling beer, or possibly watery tar. He had also received several murderous glares from the cooks, but unless they started coming at him with cleavers he didn't much care about that. He was leading this Expedition--the least they could do was let him get first pick of the food.

He watched the Expedition at lunch, noting eccentricities. The knight was eating in full armor, he saw, which spoke of either intense paranoia, focus, or absentmindedness. One of the painted elves had already frightened off one of the cooks--no surprises there. The rest of them were simply talking, with various degrees of animation and sobriety.

An unwary cook wandered past, and Deslock was able to scoop up a slab of beef in his bowl. He received a glower in return, which he ignored. The sun was shining, the wind was crisp, the food wasn't horrible and he was off to parts unknown. Life, for the moment, was good.

______________________________________________

Elsewhere

In a black-marked, low-trimmed boat trailing behind the Cepolada, three cloaked men watched from spyglasses and oiled their knives.

In a counting house in Buron a paper was found in a dusty cabinet, handled with gloved hands and read with masked eyes.

In the inner sanctum of the Church, behind doors warded against all entry, a prophet stared in horror at what he had seen.

In the dead of night a shadow slid through the six walls at Riven Pass, eluding both Illarym Soulless and Merdallan sentries.

And in the unbeating heart of a land that is dead, something stirred.

Metagame: FIRST SECRET ACTIONS ROUND:

As roleplaying continues during the meal I'm starting the first secret actions round. You have until Thursday afternoon (GMT-5 is my timezone, if you were wondering) to send me secret actions that you want to do during your first night on board the ship. On Thursday I will declare it to be night and narrate what happens during the hours of darkness. Some of the narration might be in the thread and some might be by PM, depending on what happens.

In the meantime, keep talking and eating or whatever you're doing.

Edit: Secret Actions and Secret Action Rounds, Explained

Several people have asked me to explain secret actions in greater detail. Since the problem seems to be widespread, I decided to post this explanation here.

Easy definition of a secret action: any action you take that you don't want your fellow players to know about. For example, contacting your faction and asking for information, or looking through someone else's luggage, or trying to kill someone as they sleep. Those are all actions you probably wouldn't want the other players to know about; thus, those are all secret actions.

You can only do one secret action per round, unless you took a certain advantage. This is because keeping your actions hidden from the rest of the Expedition takes a lot of time and effort.

A secret action round is any time when you can do secret actions. For example, at night aboard the ship. During a round I will set a deadline, and then at the set time narrate the results of the secret actions in that round. While secret actions are being sent in roleplaying will continue as usual, as in the current instance. It's currently lunchtime on the ship, but you'll be sending in secret actions that will take place during the night.

In different rounds different secret actions will be possible. For example, if you are actively being chased by a monster, a secret action might be "I attempt to trip [player name]" in the hopes that the monster will devour him and not you. Basically you can do whatever your character would be able to do in that scene. Use your imagination.

In this case, the scene is (that is, will be) night on board the ship. Thus, your secret action would be you sneaking around doing something while everyone else is (presumably) asleep.

You will continue eating, talking, or whatever it is you're doing right now. On Thursday I will cut off any conversations and declare it to be nighttime. I will collect all the secret actions I was sent and, with the help of my dice, tell you what happened. Some narration might be in the thread, for actions with obvious results (for example, stealing Deslock's tobacco pouch would have some very obvious effects the next morning), but most of the narration will be by PM to the player(s) involved.

I hope that cleared things up a bit. If you have any other questions, feel free to PM me.

Alexis looked up at a voice near him, it came from another dwarf that he hadn't recognized before. "So friend, what are you trying to get out of this trip?" the voice said. Alexis raised an eyebrow, clearly this was someone who presuming too much about himself.

"That's a bit forward don't you think?" he said between gulps of beer. "I don't even know who you are, I don't recall seeing you in the tavern at Buron. Did you board the ship before we departed?" he asked at a stretch before realizing that he had bombarded a friendly dwarf with questions.

"I mean, hello!. My name is Alexis Moonspear. What's yours friend?" he extended his hand for a shake

Tickyvanillius sighed. He picked slowly at his food while the others noisily munched their foodstuff of choice. Ticky had chosen something simple; bread, a bit of cheese, and water. He had never been much of a meat-eater; flesh was hard to get ahold of when you could hardly reach the tip of a spear.

He nibbled lightly on his meal, watching as the others stuffed themselves. "Absolutely repulsive. I miss the Church... At least there we had table manners."

Ticky used his foot as a brace and leaned back on the chair. The calm sweep of the waves was oddly soothing to a gnome who had never sailed in his life. He removed a small pipe from the pocket of his breeches and, using a match, lit it. He took a long draw from the pipe and sighed with a smile on his face.

Over the din, he shouted "Stories, anyone?" A pause. "I figure, since we're all full and happy now..." He glanced at some of those still eating "Or at least on the way, it'd be nice to share a few stories. Life stories, homeland fables, anything?"

Derlan was scarfing down his food, no matter where he was, he ate food like a beast.

"Stories anyone?"

"Ya, I have a story, once upon a time, there was Painted Elf who had the power to control the weather, one day he decided he didn't want to anymore. Thats why its always sunny!!" Derlan bursted out with laughter, "Hehehaha! I crack myself down. Now if you would excuse me from the table."

He stepped away from the table and bowed, he then kissed the plate he ate off and threw it off the boat.

"Just a little elf tradition... or is it?!" he laughed as he walked away from the dinner table.

"Why thank you master dwarf" Raven acknowledged as he sat besides Mareck. "My name is Raven, you must be Mareck. I recall seeing you at the tavern when Deslock called on for people to join his voyage." he added with a nod. He wasn't sure how far to pursue a lunch time conversation, after all dwarves usually occupied more time with food and drink than with small talk. He smiled as he reached for an apple and simply commented, "Nice spread our hosts have produced for us here huh?"

Looking around the table, the sight that greeted him was far from the norm. Painted elves were tucking into meat dishes, a knight ate with his armor on and one member threw a plate out the window, granted he was a painted elf and that action should have been expected but still, such a diverse crew meant for the most unexpected of events.

A gnome asked for stories, and Marneus decided to attempt conversation.

Leaning back in his chair, he spoke.

"Let me tell you the tale of Irihbuam the dragon. He was reknowned for being the hardest beast in all of Merdallan, and is credited for a kill count of 824 sentient beings. After he burned several villages, a band of fools attempted to slay him. They failed. This continued until it was decided to send an army. They failed. The Chamber of Nobles bargained a vast ammount of gold for a fleet of airships, to this day they are still finding the wreckage. How did he finally die? He was struck by lightning."

Marneus finished his grim tale, before shoving a piece of beef through the helmet eye slit.

"Why thank you master dwarf" was the response Mareck recieved as Raven sat down beside him. "My name is Raven, you must be Mareck. I recall seeing you at the tavern when Deslock called on for people to join his voyage."

Mareck turned away from the apple. "Ah, I thought I recognised you from the tavern. Pleased to meet you, Raven. As you have clearly stated out, I am the Mareck of which you speak." He responded to Raven before an awkward silence. Mareck didn't know what humans usually talked about. Mainly because he has almost never had a conversation with a human about anything more than just trading in The Merchant's Water.

Looking for a conversation, Raven decided to start one. "Nice spread our hosts have produced for us here huh?"

"Why of course. As Deslock said, this is merely the start of our expedition. By the end of it we will probably just be left with scraps." He laughed to himself a bit and the conversation kind of broke down afterwards. They were low on topics and Mareck was struggling to remain this formal in talking.

He decided to do what Raven was doing and looked about at the crew. Everyone was up to what you would expect them to do, painted elves causing usual havoc, a knight was telling a grief story and the other two dwarves were in conversation.

After hearing a few stories mentioned he decided to add his own to the collection.

"I've got a story. This is a story about the dwarves of aincient, and how dwarves came to be who they are today.

"Once upon a time, in the times where the dead continent was thriving with life, there was a group of creatures called the dwarves. They were a fine race, as tall as the average human, and amazing fighters. They roamed all over Lorin, travelling in their ships to various islands all across the continent. Famous for their battles and skills, they had fought many wars, and had won many as well.

"However, it came to pass that one dwarf rose and became infamous among them all. This dwarf was called Tyrrintheus, and he and his small army of fifty dwarves became notorious for conquering various areas of land. They stormed The Merchant's Water, killing anyone who got in their way, and Tyrrintheus' army grew and grew, as more dwarves were forced to fight for him, or be slain by him. However, his time came eventually, when they tried to storm The Illarym Empire. It seemed that many dwarves had become paranoid of his power, and had sent messages to the Illarym, explaining his intentions to attack.

"His army was slain, and due to the extent of a dwarf's powers being seen that day, a curse was put on our race, limiting our growth and sentencing us to live under the ground for a thousand years. And for a thousand years we waited, many a generation passing without a mere glimpse of the sun, until we were freed and were let loose to travel the lands. And as we had seen so little of Mythallan before, we decided to take to the skies and view as much of it as possible, many a dwarf taking to an air ship for that very purpose. And that was how we ended up becoming the dwarves of today." He finished before starting to eat his apple again.

"I have never heard that tale before. It is quite nice, although a little sad. Many being punished for the actions of few has always irked me. I would much rather have the ones who did wrong be punished and the innocent go free.

Oh, I should probably introduce myself to the rest of you. My energetic elven friend here has met me, but the rest of you have not. My name is Keil, and I shall be accompanying you on this journey. It would be lovely to get to know you all."

With his sparse introduction completed, Keil resumed eating. He did so in a dignified manner, cutlery and all, while drinking only water.

I am so glad there was water for consumption here. I detest alcohol.

"I have never heard that tale before. It is quite nice, although a little sad. Many being punished for the actions of few has always irked me. I would much rather have the ones who did wrong be punished and the innocent go free."

Jonas looked up from his plate. He had not spoken until now, contenting himself with finishing his plate in silence and marveling at the sway of the ship underneath him. It was an odd sensation that stirred in his stomach equal parts euphoria and queasiness as it seemed to bounce inside his gut. Jonas had decided a slow meal would be the best response to such an uneasy feeling.

"Why does this irk you? We are all bound to our father, whether consent to it or not. We are poor as he was or rich as he was. We grow hearty as he did or sickly as he did. We take his name and our nature is judged that of our namesake - and how else should a man be judged than by the forebear who formulated his character from his early years? What gratitude show you to your father to take his name but spurn his legacy? Nature and man - and dwarf it seems - are in agreement: the sins of the father are borne by the son. How can man shuck the dictates of nature? To do so is vanity."

Reeko looked up at the Dwarf, "That, my good sir was a terrible story. If you lot want a story, I'll give you a story. But, be warned! This story will be of such grandeur and power that those faint of heart mayn't be able to stomach it." He waited while the faint of heart left. "Right, now, it begins. Long ago in the depths of the Sunset Jungles, where no sapient beings other than Painted Elves have ever been, there was a tribe of Elves. Not Painted Elves, not Ice Elves, but a race of elves thought long extinct..." Reeko pause, looking around for dramatic effect, "these were Shadow Elves. For those who aren't familiar with your Elven history, Shadow Elves were created by the Worldbreaker in the beginning of time, he granted them the powers of necromancy, and allowed them to live on Ollam, and they in turn served him loyally. Now the general thought was that the last of the Shadow Elves were destroyed in Old Jack's War. But, as I said, this was not so, for you see the Shadow Elves had a powerful seer who foresaw the fate of Ollam, and he sent a small party Elves away on a small boat to the Jungles to carry on their legacy. These Elves arrived at the Jungles after months of travel, they were starving, weak, and tired, but they were determined."

Reeko grabbed an apple and ate it slowly, creating more suspense. A few minutes later he had finished the apple, he threw the core at a dwarf who wasn't paying attention and continued his story, "The Shadow Elves struggled their first few months in the jungle, they left Ollam with twenty men and women, seven months later there were four men and two women. However, by this point they had managed to carve out a small settlement were they lived, unbeknownst to the Painted Elves for many years. Twenty years after they first created that settlement, they finally came into contact with us Painted Elves, the Kaeio tribe to be specific. At this point the Shadow Elves had reproduced some; they had nine adults and four children. When the Kaeio found the Shadow Elves, the Shadow's panicked, and they attacked. Their surprise attack indeed caught the Kaeio off guard; they killed many Painted Elves, my great-grandfather among them." Reeko paused once more solemnly, "But he had lived beyond his years by then anyway."

"As one may expect the Painted Elves were outraged. I suppose you all are aware of the hilarious mischief and wit of Painted Elves, but when angry, nothing is more frightening than one. In response the remaining Elves of the Kaeio went to several other tribes and organized a small army to defeat the Shadow Elves. The Painted Elves attack was ferocious; many succumbed to blood lust, tearing the Shadow Elves apart piece by piece." He stopped talking a grabbed a tankard of what appeared to be beer, sipping it slowly he eyed the others around the table. He pulled the tankard away from his mouth, "And that you poor twits, is how Painted Elves saved the world." He smiled and grabbed another apple, before leaving to the bow of the boat.

Caimekaze:
"I have never heard that tale before. It is quite nice, although a little sad. Many being punished for the actions of few has always irked me. I would much rather have the ones who did wrong be punished and the innocent go free.

Oh, I should probably introduce myself to the rest of you. My energetic elven friend here has met me, but the rest of you have not. My name is Keil, and I shall be accompanying you on this journey. It would be lovely to get to know you all."

With his sparse introduction completed, Keil resumed eating. He did so in a dignified manner, cutlery and all, while drinking only water.

I am so glad there was water for consumption here. I detest alcohol.

Jacein raised his eyebrow at the comment, "Thats a rather utopian idea isn't it?" he said while eating his meal and tuning out Reeko's long and droning narrative. "I all to often, see the few being punished for the actions of another group of few. This of course causes retaliation from the former few and thus creates a violent cycle that proceeds to get staler and more meaningless as time goes on, with each tribal vengence having just a hint of the one before it, only to be countered once more by the other side.However now I'm just rambling you can continue with your conversation." He said turning back to his meal.

"So with this story with the dragon, is only slightly different." He continued. "With the dragon being of course the few and the people the many, and thus you get the same cycle of events, with just one flaw in the circle of violence; that being the lightning, which of course could have struck the people just as it struck the dragon, it was just that the dragon was bigger, so it was more likely to be hit than one of the people."

From the time Mark arrived on the ship he had an odd feeling stirring in his stomach. Something just didn't seem right to him. Why were they just now exploring this continent, and what his superiors had asked of him. He knew he should be scared, but instead he was overcome with joy. When he arrived on the ship he was met with weird, what the hell, glances from everyone. Apparently they didn't expect a 74 year old human on the ship.

They can all go fuck themselves though.

Mark kept to himself and immediately got as far into the middle of the ship as he could, trying to stay as far as he could from the body of poison surrounding the ship. If anything happened and he was off the ship, he would find and mane the person who did it. Mark wasn't the type of person to converse with people who had no interest in what he did, or helping his cause. So he sat and drank and ate all day. Until it was getting near night.

Cleansing his throat with a beer, he heard the words, "Stories anyone?"

And everyone began to tell jolly good stories. Everyone but Mark. Scoffing he interrupted and raised his voice.

"You want a story you say? Well I'll give you pussies a story. I'll tell you the reason paranoia is a great. I'll explain the reason why I still don't fall asleep with out every door locked, a knife at my side, and a light on. Its because of psychopaths I don't. People like the government who just fuck everyone" he stopped and glared at a few of the Painted Elves, "everyone over. Mass murders and cultists such as the Tikloshe and John Doe."

He keeled over a little as his stomach started to violently rumble. He needed food and he needed it now.

"So here's my jolly story of fun for yall. I used to have a family." Chuckling he made sure everyone realized he said used, "But that's all gone now. You see my wife was a pretty little girl. She had the most beautiful blue eyes, silky blond hair, and soft rosy cheeks. She breasts that could keep a man entertained for years, and an incredible ass. She was like a goddess and she loved an old fuck up like me. But then assholes like everyone in this room fucked us over. You all got so greedy with your money and your wealth and the economy plummeted. Everyone started to lose jobs when we had our first born kid."

He stopped for a moment to catch his breath and to make sure he wasn't going to break into tears.

"Anyways as people lost their jobs people got desperate. They started breaking into mass violence and raiding, pillaging, and destroying everything in sight. You see I kept my job because I'm an honest hard working citizen and not a drunk like those short fucking dwarves."

Chuckling he took a swig of his beer, allowing the dwarves to absorb his words and glare at him.

"Anyways back on topic because I'm sure you all already know of dwarven laziness. So my wife she wanted peace with the world, and wouldn't allow me to buy a gun when the raiders started pillaging cities. She convinced that when they came we would give them what they want and let them go gone. I can't believe I believed that bullshit. So we didn't get any type of fire arm, and sure enough, a few weeks later they came. We locked our doors, boarded our windows, and hid in a closet. From the closet we heard screams and blood thirsty laughter from outside. Women being raped, houses being burned, and families murdered. I had to cover my daughter's ears because I didn't want her innocent mind hearing such terrible things. Then we heard the door bust opened, and heard their screams. Their fucking screams. They destroyed everything, took everything of value, and made their way through the house to us. They found us finally. My wife screamed and pleaded for mercy but they ignored it. That fucking green skinned fuck didn't care. She told them if she would satisfy his every desire if they just left, but they didn't. They did something worse."

Then a single tear started to roll down his wrinkled cheek.

"They tied my wife and I up together in front of our bed and then grabbed my daughter. They..."

He stopped and allowed him self to cry a little, gently brushing the tears from his face and trying to man up.

"They had their way with her and raped her defenseless six year old mind. Her screams of help, they torture me to this day. That fat green skinned fuck did it, and he laughed at us. After all four of them did this to her, they slit her petite little throat and threw her besides us. The screams of rage from my wife still echo in my mind today. Then they did the same to her. They made me sit there and watch them rape and kill my daughter and wife. And then they left me. They left me tied up next to my dead, violated family. I screamed for help for days until a young gnome trader came upon our town. His little soul came into my house and freed me of my torture. He took me home with him and fed me and kept me there until I could function somewhat normally."

Pausing, he ran his hand through the scraps of white hair he had remaining, and listened to his stomach roar in pain.

"So there's a story for you. A story of why we'd be better if you elves and orcs just fucking died in Old Jack's War. No one gives a shit about anyone you just destroy everything!"

Derlan stopped as he heard the old man telling his story, he heard the bigotry of elves and was enraged. He began walking toward him to give a piece of his mind when he heard,

"They tied my wife up and I together in front of our bed and then grabbed my daughter. They..."

At that, Derlan sat down on the floor and listened to the mans story, tears welling up in his eyes.

"So there's a story for you. A story of why we'd be better if you elves and orcs just fucking died in Old Jack's War. No one gives a shit about anyone you just destroy everything!"

Derlan was angered by this as well, but he knew it was no time to confront the man.

Delan sniffed, "Lets see someone beat that story." he mumbled as he stood up, "I feel I should apologize for the acts of my brethren, we aren't all bad."

"No, you are not all bad!" Raven spoke suddenly "Is it really fair to judge a whole species by the deeds of the few?. We all have villains, thieves and black sheep that run amok within our flock; people whose malice runs deep. They taint our human lineage just as much as ill doers do for the other races. Are we less accountable for our crimes and our wars than they are?" he paused to look at Mark.

"What happened to your family is tragic" he began slowly. "That is not an easy burden to carry, so I can't say that your anger is totally unjustified. For what it's worth, I am sorry for your loss!" he bowed simply before getting up from his seat and reaching out to grab the last apple. Raven had enough of this tiresome company and was eager for some time alone to spend with his thoughts. He turned to Deslock who was sitting at the head of the table.

"Mr. Deslock!, I thank you and your crew for providing us with this exquisite meal!. I believe it is a good start to our voyage into the unknown and I hope that our supplies will last long enough to have many more feasts such as this" he said raising a mug at the explorer and immediately gulping its contents down. "Unfortunately, I believe it is time for me to retire to my quarters. It has been quite a long and eventful day. I bid you farewell gentleman!" he slammed the mug back down on the table and turned to leave. He nodded goodbye to Mareck as he walked past.

Peace and quiet!. The sea breeze and the midday sun rushed to greet him as he stepped back onto the deck, the wind and the warmth almost instantly washing away his concerns about the others. A smile appeared on his lips, sea voyages seemed to agree with him.

Metagame:

I hate to interrupt this philosophical argument, but I have something I need to ask everyone.

Could you all send me a list of the belongings you brought with you, please? It'll help with some of the secret actions.

Tomorrow the round will end, and I'll start narrating the results. If your secret action doesn't go well I'll give all players involved time to react ("Someone is trying to knife you! What do you do?" type of thing).

In the meantime, continue talking. This debate is kind of facinating.

EDIT: MORE METAGAME:

I've added a Lore section to the World Information post, to give you a firmer basis for the world you're in. In the World post I mentioned stuff like Old Jack's War and the Zancharian Empire without fully explaining what those were: now you know.

"That's a bit forward don't you think? I don't even know who you are, I don't recall..."
Damn, a talker. Either that or he's nervous, and he better be because this is going to be a looong trip otherwise.
"I mean, hello!"
Kirk shook off a grimace at the barrage, and offered his hand. "Hi, Kirk McKellen. I got here late and I've been keeping to myself, but it's only so long until the pint's empty and I've got to fill another one", he said, waving the other hand at the barrels.

"And I guess it was forward about why you decided to go possibly the second most dangerous place in the world, but I don't think the payoff we got from this is going to last. Me, I'm scoping out a place for my family to set up an airship port, you know, fly people out for vacations and stuff. 'Cept we can't start off that way because we're not exactly sure if they've got any way to refuel over there, or even how much fuel it takes to get there."

He took the chance to glance around the room again.

"I love the travel, and the brawls are stellar, but I'm afraid I'm gonna end up like some people here, hooked on whatever glory I can find and end up burnt out in some backwater making clocks or shit. There's a point where you get hooked."

Been avoiding 'fellow explorers' recently.

Need to keep to myself, after all I don't know how any of them got chosen for this mission. Have to assume it was due to a certain set of skills they possess that make the lives of those in their way very difficult.

The lives of people like myself.

It's a flaw, I can't stay out of other peoples way. I always choose to obstruct when told: lead, follow or get out of the way.

Not to mention the whole thing is a fucking sausage fest. This dead continent better have some women on it, I don't want to have to play pretend with one of the ice elves. Either I find some pussy or I start making some.

Drank one to many intelligence potions on the way out. Can't stop unraveling the secrets of the universe every time I lose focus on something.

Need to just keep my head down a little longer. I think these notes are helping, they keep me distracted for at least a little while. We'll see how well they do later on.

I think I just discovered how to communicate through light and color. More on that later. Need to lay of the sauce a bit.

More to come later, this is all the company I can have right now.

-Scrawled with a sharpened and heated needle on a scrap of leather now floating in the ocean

"Why does this irk you? We are all bound to our father, whether consent to it or not. We are poor as he was or rich as he was. We grow hearty as he did or sickly as he did. We take his name and our nature is judged that of our namesake - and how else should a man be judged than by the forebear who formulated his character from his early years? What gratitude show you to your father to take his name but spurn his legacy? Nature and man - and dwarf it seems - are in agreement: the sins of the father are borne by the son. How can man shuck the dictates of nature? To do so is vanity."

"I do not have parents. Not anymore. Everything I have established has been of my own doing; I may have had to suffer the consequences of their actions, but moreso my own. To move forward, away from what has happened, is required for progress."

Keil stopped his innocuous reply to listen to the old man's ramble. He listened with detachment, his face not moving for the entirety of it. As the man finished, Keil stood from his seat and started to head away from the lunch area.

"Race, species even, does not determine a person. It may factor in to their behaviour, but so will many other things. To villainise a species due to the actions of some will only result in you limiting your choices and opportunities. It was sad what you went through, but you do not get my sympathies.

If anyone wants me, I'll be on the deck."

As he walked away, a quick scowl flashed across his face, replaced instantly with his usual ambiguous expression.

Bigot.

Laughing Mark was content with amusement at the 'pure' human. As this man tried to be the "bigger man" and leave Mark laughed at him and screamed, "You think I give two shits about your sympathies? Fuck no, I don't give two flying shits about you at all you pussy."

Derlan was offended, yet rather scared of this man. He decided to follow the two crewmen onto the deck and release.

"Hey gentleman, how goes your lives?" Derlan asked as he pulled out a crudely made cigarette, "Haha, trip sure is off to a great start eh?!"

Derlan laughed as he lit a match(I assume there are matches). He stared at the fire for a moment in awe before lighting the cigarette. He took in a puff and let the smoke sit in his lungs, a minute later he released the smoke.

"Aahh... just a little, relaxation. You boys want a puff?" Derlan decided against the offer and smoked the cigarette again, "Someone might say I have a 'problem', but I just like to relax. is that so very wrong?"

"Aahh... just a little, relaxation. You boys want a puff? Someone might say I have a 'problem', but I just like to relax. is that so very wrong?"

"No thank you. I do not smoke."

Keil leaned out on the railing, surveying the ocean. As the wind blew past him, stirring the water below, a previously imperceptible tension left him.

"I can not stand people like him. Allowing themselves to be shaped by one negative event in their life. They are quitters. For all his attempts at masculinity, he is really quite a sad little man.

My painted elf friend, I still do not know your name. Care to inform me?"

"Ah, well the name is Derlan, I hail from the Sunset Jungles obviously, I enjoy long walks on the beach, and a nice glass of brandynandy. I don't have all that much story to me, I am looking for adventure, pussy and money, oh how I like money. Indeed money is quite nice, money rules the world does it not?" Derlan looked at Keil, he noticed he was quite young, "And your name? You seem rather young to be on a ship as gigorious as this! What would your story be my boy?"

Derlan continued smoking his cigarette, careful not to blow the smoke in the boys face.

Raven's Journal

Midday sun, 23rd day of the Corvus.
Day 01 of the expedition, on board the Cepolada:

Sunset is still hours away and I have already grown weary of this crew. I have never known such mind numbing idiosyncratic behavior to be spewed out by so many people at once. It is almost as if they are intentionally trying to be difficult, frustrating and incoherent, and that is before accounting for the Painted Elves. My patience with these so called 'crewmates' grows thin, especially given the fact that conversing with them is like walking on eggshells. Everything is so tense and guarded with their actions and speech; I can't help but feel that the people I am talking to are merely the shells of who they claim to be. In fact I grow more and more certain of this with each passing minute. The more I reflect on the hours passed the more discrepancies I seem to recall about what is being said, and what is truly being said. There is something gravely amiss here!.

From what little conversations I have indulged in and gathering from my extensive observations, I can only conclude for now, that these 'expedition members' are not who they claim to be. The majority of the conversations I have observed show a trend where individuals exhibit an openly guarded stance or an overly defensive stance when communicating with others, even amongst members of their own kind they remain guarded. Confusing still is the fact that some deflect questions and attention by simply projecting hostilities or projecting ambiguity. The little that is being said is often laced with poison. I am much confused as to why everyone seems to be indulging in this activity. It is like everyone is trying to hide their pet elephant from everyone else at the same time, while in the same room. Doubt, deceit and suspicion crawls about the decks of this ship in the form of the expedition members and as such, every word spoken or every act of kindness shown by them is about as sincere to me as whore's smile.

The fact that everyone is guarded about themselves is odd for a crew that primarily boarded a ship with the intentions of joining an expedition to the Unknown Continent. One would have thought such a monumental endeavor would have called on the more extrovert of adventurers. Assuming none of the present expedition members came aboard bearing ill intentions towards the expedition itself, why then do they all act like they are being governed by doubt and suspicion?. Why would a crew, sailing under a common cause be so guarded amongst one another?. It is too much to assume that every single expedition member is suffering from chronic shyness, which while possible is not plausible, considering shyness is uncharacteristic for some races. Also, the mere fact that members within the same race are suspicious of each other is indicative that this isn't because of intimidation or natural hostilities between species. Clearly, each of them has something to hide, something big enough for them to come aboard under false pretenses and travel to the Unknown Continent. The only logical conclusion that I can draw up, is that the 'expedition members' are not who they claim to be.

This in turn raises more questions than answers. If they are not a simple bunch of adventurers and explorers, if all this is a facade, then what is the truth?. What is the purposes of this deception?. Clearly, if they are all trying to fool each other into believing their own propaganda, it must mean that they do not wish the others to be aware of their actions or intentions. What does that tell me?. Who can I trust now?. Even if I could trust them, should I?. Questions, questions and more questions, they swim around my head in circles, like riddles from the morning fog!.

The thought had crossed my mind that I could be wrong, that all this is just a harmless sequence of coincidences, that everyone is just paranoid of each other. However, that idea is no more comforting than the truth. Honestly, taking everything into account; where we are, who we are and where we are going to, I can see little doubt that this is much more than it appears to be.

For now I am inclined on pondering about this new revelation that has dawned on me rather than venturing about listening to the contrived pleasantries and incessant whinging life tales of the others. Whatever the case may be, the stage is set and the play is afoot, whatever the intentions of these people are I must consider my stance carefully. The play can only go on for so long.

Stories

When new faces are seen and new people known, what do they do?

They tell stories.

Huddled around campfires in inhospitable mountains, or around drinks in warm taverns, or over a table set for kings. Everyone knows a story or two to share, and the best ones can always be told more than once.

Listen.

The bards tell stories of romances, of adventurers swinging from ropes and of dark lords riding on dragons. Their stories are light and glorious, stuff to make the heart sing and the eyes gleam.

The merchants tell stories of ventures won and lost, of caravans through trackless deserts and high mountain passes. They talk of the merchant-prince Shackleton, who's greatest treasure was never found, and of pirate kings and golden dreams.

The artificers talk of gears and metal, of enchanted guns and mythical fuels. They tell stories of Lucas Deplorian, Tinker-King of Veras, and of airship raids and insane plans and bizarre devices and a man who tried to fly to the moon.

The soldiers tell stories of their brave deeds, of generals and kings and desperate battles and impossible victories. They boast and brag and drink, and pray that they might live to see another dawn.

And when the drink has flowed and the sun goes down they tell the dark stories, the stories that are nightmares pure. They speak of the battles in Riven Pass, desperate struggles amid icy walls of stone. They tell the stories of Vindictus, the red blade of vengeance, and its thirst for blood. They tell the stories of Brand, the soldier's sword, the hero-killer, the blade of no return. They speak of murders: of the Tikoloshe, the soul-eater; of Old Jack, the Worldbreaker; of Harrican Traitor-Sworn, who betrayed his people to live forever; of Stych, the man of the black knives, the man who would kill the gods.

Do not listen to those tales if you want to sleep with untroubled dreams.

_________________________________________________

The Expedition told its stories, the surface stories. The real stories, the tales spinning and bubbling beneath the veneer of normality, they are never told. The Expedition holds secrets close to its heart, and they will never be revealed.

Not intentionally, at least...

Metagame:

Secret action deadline has passed.

I now have all the secret actions that will occur during the night. Any others sent in will be disregarded. I'm going to start running them now--i.e., telling everyone involved what happened, and asking for reactions if necessary. While I'm doing that you can still keep on roleplaying the afternoon: when I have every action concluded I'll post the visible results of the night and it will be day two of the voyage.

A note on time: I'm going to be messing around with time a little in this game, to keep it flowing smoothly. While it's still the afternoon in the thread, in PMs I'm going to be narrating things that happen during the night. Hopefully this method will prevent lengthy and boring waiting periods while everyone who isn't involved in a secret duel that's taking days waits for the combatants to finish up.

As always, if you have any questions, PM me.

The Ship:

I've been informed that I forgot to provide a description of the sleeping arrangements on board the ship. Since that could be a crucial thing for the secret actions, I'll describe it now.

Each member of the Expedition has a cabin, though you might more accurately call it a closet. Each cabin has a narrow bunk, room for a small chest, and possibly a porthole.

The crew of the ship sleeps in a large bunkroom filled with a network of hammocks and narrow beds. They don't get cabins.

Captain Grummond and Deslock have personal cabins that are much larger than everyone else's. Grummond has the captain's quarters, and Deslock has the VIP cabin. Both can be found near the top deck of the ship, closer to fresh air.

Hope that helps.

Marneus pondered Mark's story, before commenting.

"Indeed, too often the innocent suffer from the vile. But dwelling on the past is harmful, you should instead take your blade to beasts like the ones who killed your family. Know that my blade will join yours against bandits and villains should we encounter them in our travels."

He lifted his helmet enough to take a quick sip of water, before lowering it again.

Chuckling Mark could tell that this man may be the only friend he'd make in this venture.

Standing up he shambled over to him, offered out his hand and said, "Name's Mark, and its a pleasure to meet you."

OOC: Oh may i join haha dont mean to bother but if there is a spot in this id be happy to oblige in this. ;p

EDIT: Also if i may join later on im currently catching up on the story.....Thanks....

Ticky sighed. Stories of sadness, loss, death and destruction. Back where he was from, the stories would have been lighter; heroics, saviors, the epic poems of yore. Humans, orcs, elves... all their stories were depressing.

As the old man finished wheezing out his tale and was consoled by some members of the Expedition, Ticky continued eating quietly. He watched over the rim of his cup as a younger man stood, babbled something about villainizing species and left. The elderly gentleman screamed obscenities at the boy as he walked away.

Ticky smiled ruefully into his cup. The boy kept a cool head, despite the old man's rasping voice. He had guts, for sure. Ticky could appreciate that, even in a human. The old man, however... What to do there?

"The man is clearly unwell. To have your love and life torn away and destroyed in all possible ways before your very eyes; no man could exist wholly after that. He grew angry at a boy simply expressing distaste. They will come to blows, or my name isn't Tickyvanillius." He glanced once more at the elderly gentleman, who had settled once more into his meal. "If they don't... I fear the worst may come."

Ticky sighed once more, pulling himself to his feet. He stretched for a moment. "Well, chaps. That was quite a series of tales. More than enough to entertain a gnome during his luncheon." He chuckled a bit before leaving for the deck.

As he stepped into the open, the cool sea breeze whipped his wispy hair into a storm. Mumbling quietly, he made his way to the stern of the ship. He stared after the swiftly retreating mainland, shivering under the sea breeze. He whispered quietly, wrapping his cloak tightly around himself, and shivered no more.

'twas to be a long night.

"Name's Mark, and its a pleasure to meet you."

Marneus took the offered hand, before replying.

"Marneus Calgar, glad to make an acquaintence on what shall no doubt be a long trip. I was fearing I would have nothing to look forward to but ramblings of painted elves for conversation."

Alexis listened in silence to all the going abouts of the expedition. He listened with a saddened heart at the old man's tale but couldn't help but feel a lack of sympathy for him. His rash type casting of different members of the team concerned him. "Where are we getting these characters from?. A wood chipper?. Why must they come aboard with extra baggage and dump it on us?" he muttered to himself faintly.

He looked around the table, so far the only friend, if it was too early to call such a thing, was his fellow dwarf, Mareck. Perhaps this new dwarf, Kirk McKellen will prove to be a friendly source as well. Alexis returned the handshake.

"Aye, indeed the beer is good and the journey long. I must say it is nice to see a few dwarves here along with them elves and humans about. What do you think?" he asked causally gulping down a pint for the tenth time.

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