The continuation of the journal of Nei, a Paladin in the service of House Organo.
Master Ubi disregarded the strange sight of the creature’s shadow, explaining that the beast was called a peryton and that they’re delicious! Eddie looked sceptical. Nevertheless, master Ubi disappeared into a back room with the beast’s decapitated head, and returned to collect its carcass, leaving a dark smear of blood as he dragged it behind him.
‘I’m bloody starving,’ grumbled one of the airship’s crew. San decided to head downstairs to look for food before he had a mutiny on his hands. He returned shortly after looking flustered. ‘Our food stocks are low;’ he exclaimed, ‘and all the barrels are open! I believe we may have a stowaway on board!’ I gripped my warhammer tightly and Eddie drew his flaming sword. Heading cautiously below deck it became immediately obvious that we were not alone. I traced a trail of crumbs with to a dark corner of the food-storage room where a large raggedy man lay sleeping, covered by a dirty quilt.
Eddie stepped forward and drenched the figure with summoned water. The barbarian woke with a start, falchion at the ready, and very angry. He was quite a sight; teeth bared, two of them golden, wearing a scrappy leather jacket, and bloodshot purple eyes. He also appeared to be wearing a rather familiar set of military armour. ‘What’dya want!?’ He barked, ‘N’ who ar’ya!?’ I stepped forward, warhammer poised.
‘You first,’ I said resolutely, eyes narrowing. Just behind me, a frightened Alicath silently created a zone of truth.
The man weighed his chances and yielded. ‘M’ name’s Geoff,’ he said.
‘I knew we had a stowaway!’ said San, pushing past, and staring at the man. ‘
Oo’ya callin’ a stowaway? Oi were ‘ere first!’ replied the man incredulously.
‘Well I think you’d better start explaining yourself, and how you come to be wearing our armour,’ I commanded, warhammer held threateningly. The man explained that he served King Organo and that he was on the same ship we were, escaping when it came under attack, and landing on the island. From there he travelled to Port Isley and snuck on board an airship for shelter.
Eddie and Alicath, examining the man, noted that he actually seemed familiar. ‘You’re not the infamous corporal Geoff? We’re big fans!’ The man straightens up proudly and beamed a disgusting smile.
‘T’ very same,’ he replied. Once the nerves of the encounter begin to simmer down, the intrusive stench and grossness of the room became very apparent. ‘Oi’ve bin ‘ere four fuckin’ days. Whad’ya expect?’ Geoff replied to our complaints.
‘Well,’ quipped Eddie, ‘at least you were wearing your brown pants!’
Ricktar, unamused, declared he’s not touching any of this food and left the room. Alicath, Eddie and I followed suit. Alicath chucked Geoff a lemon. ‘You’re looking like you might need this,’ he said. Geoff devoured the lemon whole. San went to leave but hesitated, gingerly grabbing some food for the crew before heading upstairs.
‘We need to do something about Geoff,’ Ricktar said, and we agree to bring him to see master Ubi. We entered Ubi’s quarters and were hit by a second wave of stench, this time of strong chemicals and rancid flesh. ‘As above so below,’ I muttered. An enormous boiling pot sat in the middle of the room pouring out thick, foul-smelling, steam and Ubi was busy in the corner preserving the deceased peryton’s head.
‘We found a stowaway aboard the ship,’ announced Eddie but Geoff protested,
‘Oi’m nor’ a fuckin’ stowaway!’ Ubi peered through his monocle, taking in the man, but remained largely unconcerned. ‘Tha’ goin’?’ Geoff asked, gesturing to the large wing sitting in the pot.
‘But of course!’ said master Ubi, passing the nauseating meat to Geoff. Alicath attempted to cast blindness on himself to dull his sense of smell, which was somewhat too effective; numbing his tongue in the process.
‘Leb geb oubba here,’ he blubbered heading to the door. Eddie and myself needed no encouragement and we leave the room gasping for fresh air. Meanwhile Geoff happily gnawed on his leathery wing.
One of the crew approaches me and tried to pass me a rotten skull on a stone necklace as an offering to the gods. ‘There is only one true god,’ I proclaims stoutly, slapping the offering away.
The bugbear, indignant, turned away sadly. Rolling my eyes, I called after it apologetically saying I’ll take the offering. The bugbear smiled and left. I cast the necklace over the side of the airship and watched as it fell away. Dumb bugbear. Raising my gaze, I looked to the horizon and could see the city of Alder in the distance.
Just above it however, through the clouds, was something unnatural, something big…
Written by Chloe Wakefield
Artwork by Jess Butcher – www.friendlyurchin.com
Edited by Aaron Surnaym