Book Two: The Lone and Level Land
CHAPTER THREE:
Clockwork Blue

Berrona Umbermoraday

An account by Frankie

Frankie knew something was bad when she noticed the stream of water coming from her uncle's airship. She pulled a clean rag from a pocket compartment of her Kantankeran utility suit and wiped her brow before reseating her engineer goggles. I wonder what else is going to go wrong today? She thought to herself.

Her hand drifted down to a gift from the order of St. Cuthbert. A wrench like no other, the DM Good Wrench. She had never heard of it before, but it was definitely made for a clockmaker. Her other companions had received similar gifts, but Frankie was uneasy. If it was not for a God's manipulation, she wouldn't be here. A shiver passed through her as she realized that here was far better, than as a corpse. She could have ended up like Professor Corie.

As she climbed up, she only hoped this new issue wouldn't top having to blow up a necromancer's lab, after surviving a labyrinth of deadly traps and filled with foul undead.

One of her uncle's crew greeted her at the top of the ladder, and urged the group to go to the ship's meeting room. Arriving there, the ship's first mate, a clockwork named Auger, greeted them and filled them in on what had transpired while they were away at the necromancer's. Apparently the ring attached to the recently removed thrall module on Calibre opened a gate to the elemental plane of water. Her uncle and Keratone entered the portal to get Calibre to return, in the hopes that he could close the portal... otherwise, the city of Cauldron could get flooded! To make matters worse, her uncle and Keratone had not been heard from in some time. This meant that her group, dead tired, had to venture into who knows what on a rescue mission. Auger topped this bit of news with more gloom: the diving suits to allow the group to enter the plane of water needed to be modified. Frankie stiffled a yawn, and advised everyone to get some rest while she worked away on them.

Looking over the suits, she recalled the exertion required for swimming. The last thing she needed was to be physically tired, especially when the swimming pool would all encompassing. Frankie remembered from some recent studies that clerical magick could remove exhaustion. She asked Auger to fetch a cleric for her, and then got to work.

An hour passed, and things were going ok. Considering that she had never worked on suits like this before, she was doing very well. A cleric of Yondalla arrived, and cast the restorative magic. Frankie handed her some rubies as thanks and went back to work.

Finally Frankie was done. She decided to stretch her legs, and went to look over the bilge operation to see if anyone needed a hand.

The sun was starting to peak at her in the predawn, and she sent a prayer that her uncle, Keratone, and Calibre were doing ok. Please watch over them Cable.

Eventually her companions stirred, and after Thalazar emerged from his cabin, Auger explained how the suits worked. She went over her tool belt and placed needed materials in her water-proof backpack. Finally she walked up to Auger and handed him her x-bow. "Please take good care of it Auger", Frankie smiled at him, hoping they would make it back.

The companions suited up, and Nimbus went through first into the water beyond. They eventually entered a large ship, with nothing but grease pencils and whiteboards to communicate with.

Moving further in, they spotted grease markings notating where Keratone and Uncle Sparks had gone. Frankie noticed the large amounts of clockwork Tick Talk throughout the ship. She smiled, silently thanking Calibre for all the discussions they had had on the Clockwork language.

Exploring further, they finally made their way to the forward operations area. In there, a console showed Calibre as being part of the crew's manifest... and that the ship had been around for over three hundred years! Apparently gnomes had not created the clockworks. Just wait until she told the folks back home about this one! In hindsight, Frankie realized she had forgotten to look to see if Ripplestick's name was on the manifest. Her investigation was interrupted as an octopus came in through the operation area broken window. Nimbus calmed it, and it swam away.

Moving onwards, they made it down to the forward launch bay. There were lots of strange underwater creature bits floating about, along with sharks of all sizes. A fight broke out, and Frankie had to do some quickwork to fix some people's air regulators from excessive shark bitage.

Once things were calm again, they came upon a derelict launch. Inside, they found Uncle Sparks! The air was stale, so Frankie hooked up their spare air supply. Tiberio helped him come too, and Uncle Sparks related what had happened prior to his unconsiousness.

With a promise to return to him, Frankie joined the group in heading over to a large ball of coral that the mammoth vessel had anchored itself too.

Crossing the chain was hazardous. Luckily, the underwater suits had enchanted collars of free-movement in them. After a short exploration, they came into a large chamber... and a familiar sense of dread came over Frankie.

Two eyes, smaller than Mnemonium's, regarded the companions. Unlike her experience with the great gold dragon, this black dragon did not withold it's fear, and it's intentions were clear.

Frankie gasped at the sight, and a memory surfaced...

Militia Seargent Whistleflix barked out, "Militia trainee Linkosplitzit Kantankeran, step forward!" Frankie stepped up to the line, her self-made prototype x-bow at the ready position. Whistleflix briefly looked her over, ensuring her battle gear was in order, then started addressing the other militia trainees, "Listen up! You are standing here today to determine whether you are capable of defending this village you grew up in!

"Before I begin the final phase of your militia training, I want to personally congratulate you all on successfully completing Militia Trainee Preparation Corriculum 101."

*he paused, looking them over again*

"However, the threats to this village won't give a oil splotch over how you scored, which is why I am here to see that you can handle the battle gear of a Peppershot Militiaperson!" He glared at Frankie, then shouted, "Linkosplitzit! Take aim and engage the target!"

A pop-up of a kobold appeared. Frankie raised her x-bow...

..and shot the harpoon dead center into the breast of the black dragon, steeling herself to ignore the overwhelming fear it was exhibiting.

She noticed out of the corner of her eye poor Rin running off in dragon terror, but resumed firing at the dragon. 'This is it', she thought to herself, 'it is the dragon or us.'

Soon Tiberio joined her to get more harpoons, and even Keratone came down to help reload the spare harpoon guns. Eventually the companions overcame the dragon, and Frankie realized that Calibre and Keratone were ok!

Gathering together, they rose up to the top of the chamber, which contained a smaller chamber with breathable but stale air.

The exhiliration that came from defeating the dragon soon dispersed. Calibre pointed out that their air supply was almost out, and Rin was nowhere to be found. Discussion followed, and soon it seemed everyone was looking to her for a solution. Frankie tried to organize her thoughts, and eventually asked Calibre to find Rin. She started thinking about putting all the air supply into one air tank, and reflected on recent events:

An Uncle stranded in a derelict launch, Rin lost who knows where, and the rest practically trapped inside an underwater world.

Yep, she couldn't wait to find Tallim and put all of this behind her.

Next!
Arek in Cauldron

[ TOP ]