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|Action Id: 3988||Crisis:||Participants: Domonico, Hadrian, Victus, Ailith, Ravna, Arik, Reese, Eirene, Leola, Jasher, Madeleine, Caelis, Carita, Orrin, Dianna(RIP), Pasquale, Miranda, Scythia, Thea and Rawen|
|Status: Resolved||Submitted: June 20, 2020, 12:41 p.m.||Public: True||GM: Manikin|
Action by Domonico
Inspirational Music for the Action
- https://youtu.be/aIHvr5zKquw - Throw off the Bowlines (starting the journey)
https://youtu.be/n-Dh3ftkRAs - Flight of the Silverbird (Wind in the sails and cutting through the water. If you only listen to one make it this one)
https://youtu.be/6qTghUgMOeY - Impossible (an Epic One)
Domonico has been planning a pilgrimage dedicated to Mangata for some time (FLASHBACK 291), intending to visit numerous sacred sites to the Goddess of the Sea and Sky.
The ship transporting the pilgrims will be Domonico's personal caravel, the Tempest, named and dedicated to Mangata and personally blessed by Blessed Madeleine, Archlector of Mangata. The ship will be flying the colours of Mangata for this journey. (ACTION 3706)
The voyage itself will be as important as the destinations themselves, with Domonico doing his best to navigate the Tempest through interesting routes and making sure that the other pilgrims and travellers are able to assist with the sailing on the ship and will encourage 'sea chanties', sung prayers to the Goddess to help with with work on board ship, as even the act of sailing on the seas will be a form of worship.
The wind in his hair and the smell of the waters will even have the stern Admiral smiling most of the journey as well. On the voyage one thing that Domonico will be noted doing every day, is dangling (absail fashion) by a rope or climbing netting, off the side of the ship, just enough to let his hand touch the water, running his fingers through it.
The route will be beginning at Arx with prayers held at the Shrine and on the Beach by the statue of the Goddess and as they travel they will collect water from the different sites to return to Arx with. (if the whirlpool is still in effect then they will have a brief travel to where the Tempest is at anchor on the Gray River).
From Arx, the voyage will head up the river towards the North, the wide river allowing the Tempest to travel a considerable distance up towards there, pausing briefly at the numerous Shrines and aiming to reach the Great Northern Shrine itself.
From there the journey will go back down the river again before heading up the coast to Pearlspire where the ship will moor before cliff jumping and pearl diving will be the main experiences in a form of worship to Mangata.
Onwards the voyage will go, across the sea to the Mourning Isles to pay tribute to the Goddess in the ruins near Maelstrom to visit (clues 3018 and 3019), praising her name. Here Domonico will drink from the fountain statue and gaze upon the murals of her likeness.
After Maelstrom, Domonico will set course for Darkwater Watch, to allow Carita to host the pilgrimage and show them the altar, shrine and healing pool there.
Setting sail from Darkwater Watch, the Pilgrimage will set course towards Southport, the City of Swords to dock and pay tribute at the monument of Mangata that was erected several years ago.(Action 497)
From there the Tempest will sail around the coast towards Ostria to dock at Port Valerio and see the statues of Mangata on the walls there.
The Tempest will then head to the southwest, towards the Cyrto Archipelago and the domain of Magnotta, the House named in honour of the Goddess. There it will allow a while to pause and reflect in one of the natural lagoons off Cyrto Major, a time to rest, relax and swim in the sea before Domonico berths the Tempest at Fort Magnotta and will host and entertain the pilgrims in Caer Morien, the towered city built on the ruins found on the highest mountain on Cyrto Major. Here they will be close to the Goddess's other domain, that of the Sky and the vantage point allows them to look out over the Cyrto Arch and the sea itself.
The Tempest will then give the Goddess the helm, letting the wind fill the sails and see where the winds take them as per the suggestion (in FLASHBACK 291) from Legate Aillith. Where would the Goddess want to take them? A new island? A forgotten shrine? Maybe just the open sea?
Whereever they end up, Domonico will eventually turn the Tempest back towards Arx, taking the pilgrims home, hopefully with a greater love and devotion to the Azure Queen, Goddess of Sea and Sky, Mangata.
Action by Madeleine
Madeleine is very much for a pilgrimage dedicated to Mangata and is delighted to be invited by Lord Domonico. It's clearly something that falls under her remit as Archlector. She joins the voyage for in her capacity as Archlector for a few reasons. She is interested in going on pilgrimage to sites sacred to the Goddess. She is also very interested in creating a new notable route dedicated to the Goddess that others can follow in the future.
She will lead the pilgrims and crew in prayers, as well as leading a few 'sea chanties'. She will sing prayers to the Goddess to help with work on board the ship.
Action by Thea
Months and months ago..ok, probably a year ago, Domonico asked his favorite sister(only sister), if she would go on this pilgrimage with him. Of course she agreed! She's in a boat, so of course she did. And she's never gone on such before, so let the adventure begin! Thea is so excited to get out of the city, to get sun, sea, and just away--To learn more about Mangata.
Thea will listen to every story, every prayer(respectfully), every everything from all on board and well-she came to not only go and do the things but well---she's is also going to be the medic. Someone has to make sure if something goes, iry they can get mended.
At every shrine, Thea will pray, leave a little bit of something personal of herself at each place. The final leg of their journey, she will leave something of her late father, Callo Malvici. The most important man in her life.
Action by Miranda
Miranda's never been on a pilgrimage. This will be her first and she is excited. The Explorer side of her is excited to see the different places they may go and her Malvici half (Father's side) is excited to be amongst family. More, to help her cousin see his way through this necessary step in his life. And for hers! Mangata's been essential in various dealings of nasty Abyssal things and in life, so Miranda is glad to pay homage. She will bring a small vial to fill just a little with the water of each place they go. At each shrine, she will offer something of her own. Nothing big. The idea is to just leave a tiny piece of herself as sacrifice. A strand of hair. Tears. Laughter... at each shrine, each holy place they go, she will let the place 'speak' to her and offer something as a result. She loves to sail and knows Mangata can offer them gentle seas and winds, or storms of terrifying proportions (she's been through both!) and that is part of the thrill. Are they worthy? Will they be tested? Only Mangata knows for sure!
Action by Jasher
Accompanying Domonico and the others on the pilgrimage, Jasher offers neither hymns nor scintillating conversational skills. What he -does- offer, though, is being there: when not participating in the various rituals of the pilgrimage, rarely a moment goes by when the Thraxian isn't seen checking knots or otherwise doing maintenance suspiciously close to puttering busywork. He also keeps an eye on their surroundings, noting changes in the current or wind when able, and doing what he can to help navigate the Tempest around whatever hazards may be in the way.
Otherwise, Jasher seems to willingly participate in the rituals as they visit the various places the Tempest takes them. He would join the prayers held at the beach where the shrine is, linger near the side of the vessel as it sails so as to relish the feel of the wind and the sea spray, drink in the fountain and the sight of the ruins near Maelstrom, and even engage in cliff diving(!).
Action by Ailith
"An endless pilgrimage of the heart . . ."
With a mind unfurled and light as the winds and a devotion vast as the ocean, the Legate of Concepts dedicates this pilgrimage to the love of our Lady, Bright Star of the Ocean, Azure Mother, Pearl of Grace - Mangata. In unison with Archlector Madeleine and supported by the attending Godsworn and disciples, Ailith oversees the spiritual needs and ceremonies as well as encouraging the pilgrims with their spiritual journeys.
To the Bay of Arx, dropped to a kneel, Ailith awakens the dawn with a prayer before the sacred statue and altar of Mangata -- sharing with earlier risers the tale of how the devoted in Arx in company of Prince Venteri of the Marin'alfar recovered the ancient altar piece and made offerings before the statue, sharing a tale of white dolphin babies being rescued, sharing of other tales of how prayers across the Mourning Isles empowered the Goddess with the eternal struggle against Leviathan, sharing a tale of the Goddess' kiss upon a young inquisitive girl's cheek opened the possibility of hope and new devotion -- that this morning prayer is to symbolize the devoted to the Goddess (in all forms) and to invite a new beginning for each pilgrim.
The prayer is focused on encouraging pilgrims to seek meaning about their self by expanding their knowledge and deepening their connection with the Goddess. The route was selected, not only for the sacred sites, but the long journey across the waters to allow for seclusion with prayers and contemplation within their cabin as well as opportunities to discuss and share personal experiences related to the Goddess. Emphasizing, Ailith asks each pilgrim to prepare a prayer or offering for the Goddess at the last leg of the journey -- to symbolize what was learned or any grown devotion.
At every stop along the journey, Ailith makes a point to accompany Archlector Madeleine to visit the shrine, local Seraph, and parishioners. The focus is to renew kinship and be among the people, offering charity and means to expand upon these communities. A special afternoon ceremony is held for the pilgrims, inviting the local parishioners and above all the host House nobility to share in these devotions made in honor of the Goddess, Mangata. Each ceremony is personalized to the specific region, a tale the people can identify with, but, too, also become more aware of the Goddess, her gifts, and acts done in her name. For instance, of the Lighthouses that stand as beacons against the night and storms (clue 1087).
At Ostria, Ailith accepts with Archlector Madeleine the very kind invitation by Duke Hadrian to spread good will, charity, and worship upon the faithful beyond the port at Port Valerio. For this specific case, she will carry forth the Ewer of Gods Love (crisis action 3947) to host a special ceremony for them and to pour the holy water in the gardens that Duke Hadrian has permitted (hoping by the shrine).
At the Great Northern Shrine to Mangata, she walks with Archlector Madeleine and converses with Lord Arik as to honor the devoted site built by House Halfshav. To this, she carefully pours these sacred waters from the Ewer by the trees and flora that Duchess Khanne or Lord Mirk personally oversaw in being planted.
At Southport, Ailith shall host a special ceremony to honor those who dedicated themselves in the battle against the Gyre -- sharing the public pieces of her experience and offering chances for the pilgrims such as Lady Eirene and Highlord Victus to share their own. At the very port where the sailors departed for the Gyre War, Ailith pours the sacred waters and whispers prayers in thanks to the Goddess, asking that the winds shall be fair to House Malvici when they are called to defend the Compact and in her honor as they had during the Gyre War.
In between each shrine, Ailith guides prayer circles and encourages the time for seclusion and journaling. She asks for every pilgrim to be willing to share any new experiences or ask their questions to one another -- for together, we can grow wiser by learning and accepting differences. And for fun, she assists with Archlector Madeleine for water coloring! It is a soothing artform that can focus one's mind in meditations or can simply be a fun and enjoyable practice to bond with others.
It is at the very final spot -- the leap of faith. Ailith starts a pilgrimage ritual to send their prayers upon the winds and waters to the Goddess -- letting her hear how her pilgrims grew in their faith and devotion. This specialized ritual relies upon every pilgrim to offer their prayer or gift to the Goddess, to be open with their heart and soul, so she will come to know their individual journey and change within themselves. It is at the bow of Tempest that she begins this ritual, gesturing to each pilgrim to extend their prayer or offering off the bow. Upon conclusion, she seals the ritual with her own devotions -- calling out to the Marin'alfar (touching upon her moon pendant to say hello to Ayllish and Venteri), to the brotherhood of white dolphins, to every sacred gift of sea and sky, to the Seraph of Mangata, and lastly to the Goddess herself -- and offering her water color portrait which represents every water collected at each spot on the pilgrimage, painted in brilliant colors to reflect her worship. She asks that the winds catch their sails and the pilgrims based on their journey be guided to a place under Mangata's eye -- a place her present worshippers may renew to be included in future pilgrimages.
Action by Caelis
Caelis has been looking forward to this pilgrimage for some time. Having offered her cousin her aid previously in the past, she is quick to join the crew for this voyage. With plenty of soul searching to do, Cae helps out with the day to day managing of sailing as well as using the various tools in her arsenal to make sure the trip is as safe as it can be.
Action by Reese
Reese plans to attend this mission and to help sail and fight as needed! She hopes to be there to support Domonico and to help the mission be a success. She will help defend the others if it comes up, fight if they need to and will try to help with the ship or navigating."
Action by Eirene
Eirene has, as of late, expressed more interest in learning about the Gods and how the Pantheon interacts with one another. So she takes the opportunity to better learn and grow from this journey, enjoying the sea air and sunlight on her skin as they sail further south, after the oppressive Arx weather
Action by Arik
Arik Halfshav on a pilgrimage. Impossible. Improbable. It's a pilgrimage to shrines to Mangata. Oh that makes sense. On the journey Arik asks quite a few questions it would appear he has a passing familiarity with the specifics of Mangata. There's a booze contest, he knows about that. There are some elves below the waves that she likes an awful lot. Spring stuff. He asks a lot of questions especially once they leave Cascade Springs for other sites.
His actual participation though is showing off the Whitehold shrines to Mangata. It is more than likely that they don't stop to see them all since Halfshav and its people made shrines at at the mouth of every river in the duchy, by every pond, every stream, every lake within the lands years ago. He'll point to a spot as they float by on the Grey River and tell of oh there's a shrine over there only a half a days ride... etc etc. Once they do get to Cascade Springs itself and the Great Northern Shrine to Mangata, Arik has some things prepared for them. Northern wool cloaks with swirling sea-hued gradient and sumptuous white fur. Upon the back is a silver emblem: an image of two streams coming to meet as one. They are also treated to pudding cups which look like planted springs of mint which are in fact chocolate confections. Finally everyone on the ship gets a tour of the river port town. Arik is rarely long winded but as he was one of the people who built it... He talks quite a bit. How Khanne brought about the shrines in the duchy. How the shrinetown of Cascade Springs became a goal of the Halfshav's a few years after. How there is a Bard's College chaperhouse, notable merchants from every fealty with northern shops here, and of course the Great Northern Shrine to Mangata itself. (see action: 2976 for origin of items)
Action by Leola
Leola is there in her role as the Paladin of Creation and as a Knight of Southport. She accompanies to inspire, to support, and to act as a second to the Archlector and to the Dominus as required, supporting them as they need.
Action by Orrin
Orrin will both be attending the whole of the pilgrimage and, before it sails, ensuring there is an appropriate reception for the travelers in Pearlspire.
Attendance: Orrin's expertise has never been sailing. He loves the sea, of course, but loves it from within, swimming and diving; from above, the breeze on the cliffs of his home; in its foods, seaweed, fishes, mollusk and brine; and in his people, the divers and fishermen, sailors, shipwrights, navy men and other salt-stained souls he calls his. Seeing the sea through sailors' eyes will be a new sort of devotion, and a way of showing his people he understands the gifts they've been given, a way of channeling their gratitude through him as their leader. And so he will sail, and learn what he can, and also enjoy the wind and the water in ways more familiar to him on the way, swimming and diving, eating fresh catch, and letting the sun bake him as happens. Particularly in Maelstrom, he will meditate on his family's relationship to the sea, and in particular Tiga Seliki, shipwright, liberator, and leader.
In Pearlspire, he will ensure a proper feast and celebration is prepared, reflecting the bounty of the sea in its season and the diaspora of peoples of Pearlspire through the range of foods, songs, dances, and games, both cliffside and ready to board the ships so that everything can be enjoyed on the water itself. Games to include of course cliff-diving and swimming races, plus the easygoing enjoyment that is Pearlspire's every day. Local officials of the Faith will be called upon to bless the journey. Those of the pilgrimage who dive and manage to capture for themselves a pearl will be encouraged to keep it and offered settings by Pearlspire's own artisans, and those who are not so bold or lucky will be given a Seliki pearl (with the same offer of a setting) to remember their visit to Pearlspire along the way.
Action by Scythia
Scythia joins the pilgrimage with her husband, Orrin, though the Redreef born noble is devout in her prayer and pleased to accompany the group for such a purpose. Through the pilgrimage, she tells stories of Mangata, via voice and dance when appropriate, and naturally when they are at Pearlspire she relishes the time with her people.
Action by Dianna(RIP)
There will be those who may believe it slightly mad of the Third Reflection to have suggested - nay, /convinced/ - Count Domonico Mangotta to have allowed her beloved, Ravna Culler, to join them on this journey. But Dianna is sure that the wild vagabond is both lucky and beloved by at least one god, either Gild or Mangata -- and this is both a journey, therefore a tribute to Gild, and a journey of the sea, an obvious tribute to Mangata.
She has assured and promised Count Domonico that she will keep the Culler well-in-hand and well-behaved such that this journey is truly successful. She is a Mirrormask, of course; is it so very strange, then, that one of her personal tributes and contributions is one so unusual?
And yet, all things have and must have a balance: Dianna is, of course, sworn to all gods first and foremost. She will bring her lyre and play it, singing prayers with Madeline in support of the sailors, the journey and the various stops. Dianna also brings with her tributes of her own to aid in these rituals: Two casks of Third Wall, her favorite Ostrian brandy, with which she will share a toast with the others at every shrine; and a single bottle of Second Wall, Ostria's juniper-and-fig-based gin, which she will share with her companions when they arrive at Ostria's shores, where she and Madeline may see to the state of the statues Dianna had placed there while she was with House Mazetti (action 1572).
The arrival in Ostria will be, of course, the most emotional part of the journey for Dianna: Being home, being reminded of what she had been, being reminded of what she gave up and for whom: The very goddess she makes this journey for being one of the gods and goddesses Dianna has traded her oaths to serve.
So, the greatest tribute Dianna gives is her own life, her presence. In Ostria, the Third Reflection Mirrormask will offer a special prayer to rededicate the statues to Mangata and will hold a sermon on the divine place of the sea and of drink in Ostria's history, noting the good that can come of even overindulgence in alcohol - for, how many truths are spoken freely by those who are drunk? How many earnest tears spilled, how many honest emotions revealed? How many friendships are sealed so very often in the joy of sharing wine and distilled alcohol - like Third and Second Wall?
Having, of course, invited her beloved parents to the sermon and rededication so they may see for themselves who Dianna is and know of her great dedication - both to Ostria and to the Faith, the Third Reflection hopes they will accept and honor her choice. Of course, they will also meet Ravna, should they accept her invitation - and who knows how they will feel about that wild Culler being loved by their eldest daughter? But, perhaps, they will see her joy in his freedom and love for her; and it will make them smile.
Unconventional, though she may be, Dianna Godsworn is yet always bold - and so very elegant in being so.
Action by Rawen
Princess Rawen is coming along on the pilgrimage to study over as much of the lands as she can. She wants to find out what secrets may lurk on these isles
Action by Ravna
On this trip, Ravna will dice with the crew and any who join. He will drink, be merry, and otherwise sing and lounge; enjoying life as only the Drunken Sage can. At each site, he will spin his luck and eyeball these places, the words and riddles within, and in each place riddle, and talk aloud to Mangata herself. Probably while in a hammock. Or so drunk he falls asleep in the green grass.
Action by Victus
For Prince Victus' part, he'll be welcoming the whole procession onto Maelstrom personally. Shepherding their ships into the same docks that the Colossus of Mangata overlooks. He will also ensure that several disciples of Mangata are there to meet them when they arrive. Once they're here, he'll join their group to the Ruins of Maelstrom, where he'll recount the history to the best of his knowledge. On the trip back, he'll ensure they're sent off with a proper and formal feast celebrating their journey. Victus will be talking up the worship of Mangata quite a bit during this time. The rest of the Pantheon is great too of course, but Mangata? Hohoho that Mangata sure is great.
Action by Hadrian
Ostria is made ready to receive visitors. This means a few different things. An honor guard tasked with receiving the Tempest in the form of the caravel Valor, two galleys, and four longships from House Mazetti's own fleet move out to meet the visiting caravel and helpfully guide it to Port Valerio's deep waters.
Due to upcoming efforts regarding Port Valerio's use in cooperative efforts between House Mazetti and Velenosa, the visiting worshippers will be advised that their presence is welcomed within Port Valerio itself and the shipyards are strictly off-limits; this is to lessen the possibility of misunderstandings and the fact that the points of worship are quite evident in the sea-side statuary, the wonder that is Port Valerio itself, and the fantastic mural of Marshal Valerio Mazetti (action 3064).
An escort is assigned for those seeking to explore the port, to ensure that nothing untoward happens to the distinguished visitors. Any attempt to access locations that have been previously advised as closed to visitors? Will result in their being turned away and sent back to the port, up to and including being sent back to the ship which they arrived on.
The visiting Archlector Madeline and Legate Ailith of course have approval to venture beyond the port, mingle with the people, and spread their good word. They are the exception to the rule.
Action by Carita
Carita aaaabsolutely loves the salt air, wind in her hair, listening to the various singing voices. She's not much of a singer herself, but she can carry a tune, and she's more than willing to join in when the song calls for it. If there's a drinking game, she'll offer up the rum and whiskey, likely drink someone under the table (or at least look like she did while pretending to be sober) and hate everything the next day. There's not a single port that the group goes in to see that she isn't -right- there with everyone else, quiet, considerate, reverent, observing. She'll tell her own story, how felt like she had an excellent relationship with Mangata since her childhood, and believes that it's how she was brought to Darkwater, through Mangata's guiding hands. When Ailith and Madeleine paint, Carita joins them; in fact, she will most likely set up a little time at each port visited to paint a little, if time allows for it. She'll also spend a little bit of time with the other pilgrims, asking them about their stories to keep a record by writing them down, when permitted, for everyone later so that the trip's memory is forever solidified on paper.
When the journey takes them past Maelstrom towards Darkwater, Carita is happy to host the pilgrimage there. Though, because of the past hurts of the isle, the Countess is protective. Following Hadrian's example, the worshippers will be advised that their presence is welcomed as long as they don't wander to explore without the guards that Carita has offered, who will make sure they don't go any further than the healing pool that the Countess has arranged to show everyone. She'll explain how she believes the pool might be a marriage of Mangata and Lagoma, telling that she witnessed Highlord Victus dip his cut hand into it, once, and pull it out completely healed. That Legate Ailith was there for the shrine's creation, which is carefully built from the weapons of the fallen near the funeral pyre that once burned for Lord Darrow and Koraj Marin--better known as the Gyre. She'll proudly show around the altar are the symbols of each of the Thirteen. And at the base of the altar are symbols - The symbols of the Faith. The symbol of the Inquisition. The symbol of the Sentinel, of a ship. Of a trident, of a hand, a pair of crossed lightning bolts beneath a single flame, and in the center a teardrop.
A small cairn sits to one side next to the altar, a stone cairn with a medallion bearing the image of Sentinel, a faceless helm, atop. And in front of the altar, where careful hands dug a small pool, it has widened now and turned into a reflecting pond. They'll be encouraged to visit the water, but warned to leave the peace flowers around it alone, and their guards would respectfully enforce this as well.
Action by Pasquale
Pasquale is joining the pilgrimage in an attempt to better understand and connect with Mangata, the sailors mindset and each location along the route. He will be paying special attention to the religious aspects of the journey but also wishes to take the opportunity to make contacts and explore parts of the world he doubts he would have visited otherwise.
Roll Result: 572
It is an auspicious day to begin the pilgrimage - clear and cool, under a beautiful autumn sky. The group must travel to the Tempest’s berth on the river, and from there, they sail up towards the North. Although unkind stereotypes often paint the North as a place of barbarism and spirit-worship, the Faith is just as well known in the northern fealties as it is in the Crownlands, and the pilgrimage visits the northern temples on the wide, deep Gray River. When the Gray River grows too narrow and shallow for the great caravel, the pilgrims walk to Halfshav lands to see how the Northerners have honored the lifegiving goddess of sea and sky with beauty and bounty. Arik proves a competent host, despite some initial grumbles from the more Orthodox followers regarding his status as shaman. By the end, even the most skeptical are willing to admit that Halfshav does honor the gods well, whatever quaint customs they also choose to cling to. Ravna spends the entire time drunk, but he makes a lot of friends by sharing his peach liquor.
Along the way, the prayers of the Archlector Madeleine and Legate Ailith resound from temple and shrine, and people flock to be ministered to by leaders of the Faith that they never get to see. The songs and performances by Dianna and Scythia are greatly appreciated, and by the time they get back to their ship, several Northerners have begged for a chance to join the pilgrimage as well. Thus, the Tempest is followed by a small fleet of river boats all the way down and to Pearlspire - only Domonico’s canny captaincy and the help from these sailors enables the Tempest to navigate a branch river to the great river leading to Pearlspire and avoiding the whirlpool.
There, the pilgrims are feted and feasted by Count Orrin. A pearlfishing expedition is remarkably successful; everyone who chooses to dive comes up with a pearl-bearing oyster, and Rawen shows impressive oyster-shucking skills. As pilgrims offer prayers to the sea, the wind kicks up, blowing a large wave up and over the shore; for some reason, Orrin is particularly struck (and soaked) by the surprisingly warm water. When they set out on the sea, it is to cheers and joy. Ravna spends the entire time drunk, but somehow, when he passes out on the shore and almost drowns, he finds a remarkably nice pearl oyster. And almost drunkenly eats it, before some kind soul trades it for more booze.
The sea is, however, a place of dangers, and not everyone honors a pilgrimage as they should. As they are heading towards Darkwater Watch, pirate vessels are sighted on the horizon. To arms, to arms! Unable to outrun the pirates, the pilgrims must fight. All of the pilgrims put up a good fight, but Thea, Jasher, Victus, and Caelis show themselves particularly adept in the defense. As does Princess Reese, who swings to the other ship, and cuts down the pirates’ first mate in a brief but vicious duel across the deck. The captain, finally recognizing the High Lord of Thrax and the legendary Knight of Ribbons, turns tail and flees. Eirene finds the rest of the pilgrimage quite full with treating the wounded, and people are thankful to have such a competent healer along, even if it means she doesn’t get to concentrate on her own prayers as much as she’d hoped. Ravna spends the entire time drunk, but does manage to stumble into a pirate and knock him overboard during the fighting.
In Darkwater Watch, the pilgrims are welcomed by Carita, who moves from pilgrim to host with grace, as well as prayers and feasting. Although the pilgrims are not permitted far into the Watch, they do get to see the beautiful spring rumored to have healing powers - but when they find it, the water in the pool is very, very low, as if the spring is, at last, drying up. Ravna (still drunk) bursts into tears, moaning, “It is not enough. It is never enough.” And, perhaps overcome by the journey, Miranda faints. She is quickly revived, finding herself desperately thirsty, and the pilgrimage continues, although not without some worried murmurs from those inclined to superstition.
Although the curiously persistent escort of dolphins that leads them away from the Watch brightens some spirits, especially in conjunction with the charming sight of Leola teaching them some tricks along the way, it’s still a more sober Tempest that docks at Ostria. And the Ostrian reception is equally complicated, with stern and cautious people who are not as open as many others. But, if they are not effusive, they are welcoming, and Duke-Consort Hadrian is as warm and friendly as anyone might wish. The visitors are confined to the port, but given every comfort. Dianna finds her reception chilly at first, but by the time they leave, she has begun to reconcile with some of her people. Ravna spends the entire time drunk, and is found snoring on deck, draped in seashell necklaces. He has no idea where they came from.
Finally, to Caer Morien, where its heights touch the sky as its roots reach into the sea. Unsurprisingly, with Domonico leading the pilgrimage, the welcome is everything they might wish, and several days are spent in feasting, praying, and celebration. On the third day, a tremendous storm arrives, and the sky itself turns to water with the sheeting rain, the booming thunder somehow a joyful - if potentially deadly - sound as lightning dances over the sky. The next day, Domonico lets Mangata take the Tempest’s wheel, and the winds blow hard, sending the ship skimming over the waves as if it suddenly sprouted wings. The winds blow for most of the day, sending them out deeper into the sea that any of the Compact’s trade goes. There, they are becalmed. The silence is broken by massive bodies, leaping out of the sea around the vessel. Even with the size of the caravel, when they land, the waves shake the ship, and splash the pilgrims with saltwater. Leola gasps, and says a word under her breath...balaen. The great, scaly-hided beasts of the deep sea circle the ship, singing a strange song without cease. And then they sink under the waves. All is calm. Ravna is drunk.
Domonico unerringly guides the ship back to the coast of Arx, although he must find a lesser port to dock the ship, as the whirlwind continues to churn.