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Author Topic: Voyage of the Empress  (Read 44701 times)

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Offline Ancient Gamer

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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #75 on: June 09, 2006, 03:47:31 PM »
Ed followed the banker outside, lighting a cigarette in the process. Somehow that soothed him and he relaxed somewhat as he leant against the railing of the ship. He offered the pack of cigarettes with his right hand, motioning with his head that the banker should grab a cigarette.

"So, you wanted to say something, sir?"

He did not act according to the rules of conduct, but with all the recent happenings the rules were the last things on his mind.
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Offline manfred

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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #76 on: June 09, 2006, 05:36:26 PM »
Fredreric accepted the cigarette, and only then realised he wasn't smoking that type. Keeping it in his hand that he waved around, he started to think loudly.

"I must admit we all have behaved a bit strange. But, there is a logical explanation for everything. At first I have been thinking, it is something in the food, and... well, there still may be. But notice the pattern: first, it is Miss Vivica that has halucinations, and then all of us that followed into her cabin were seeing something unusual. So I would interprete it in the only possible way: there is something wrong in the air, literally. I would think there is a leak somewhere from the ship's engines. Officially, of course... " *leaning towards the doctor* "...but I do think that some passenger around has passion for opium or other mind-altering natural product. That is the most logical explanation."
Finally he could return to his professional banker's smile. "Unless of course we would believe in some supernatural hocus-pocus."
"So that is it - someone indulges in his appetites close to the cabin of our poor Miss Vivica. She gets some of that dose, but the full effect manifests only later, after some gin, and men smoking their cigars. Meanwhile, the foul air has been gathering in her cabin, until we have arrived."

Frederic sighed. "Not to advise you, but that option should be investigated. An opium-smoker should be easy to find and taken care of for the few days this voyage will last. A little fresh air is enough to drive the smoke away. There is still the possibility that we have all eaten something spoiled... not a high possibility, but much more serious if true. Perhaps we should speak with the captain?"

"Oh, speaking of fresh air. We have left Miss Vivica on her own! Let us get back."
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Offline Ancient Gamer

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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #77 on: June 09, 2006, 07:41:46 PM »
Ed looked at Frederic while he spoke, nodding sagely all the way through the monologue. In the end, just as Frederic turned to leave, he grabbed the banker by his arm and spoke "While opium might certainly be what affected us in there, it does not answer some other puzzling experiences that this voyage has had in store for us. First of all we are heading in nearly the opposite direction. We are heading down alongside the coast and not into the Atlantic at all. Second I have seen passengers and crew members alike acting all weird today, so if there is something messing with our minds I think it is bigger than some rich boy smoking opium..." Ed stopped briefly, his eyes scanning the deck of the Empress. "What say you banker?"
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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #78 on: June 10, 2006, 10:17:13 AM »
Bells rang across the ocean swell, distant and faint against the constant roar of the water being cut by the reinforced steel hull of the Dragon Empress. The sound was lost inside the ship, deafened by the hull plating and the lusty roar of the boilers as they turned the twin screws of the liner at full speed. Water spewed into the screw room, the vibration of the screw shaft reducing the effectiveness of the seal. Seaman Tolmeran pushed the bilge pumps up to the next setting, the ship venting the waste water out behind it a few feet above the waterline.

A shout rose from the watch tower, warning! Another ship was cutting across the path of the Empress, a 120 foot trawler, the type that put out into the deep water looking for whatever they fished for that day.

"Shall we change course?" The helmsman asked.

"No, they are the more agile, let them move." Abelard said. "If they do not move, let them ponder the error of sailing in a wooden vessel." He sneered.

The trawler almost cleared the path of the Empress, pulling ahead and cutting hard to starboard, hoping to run along the side of the liner as it passed. The impact aboard the trawler was staggering, throwing men from the ship and smashing the starboard aft portion of the ship. From the railing, Brandford and Ed didnt feel any impact vibrate through the Empress as she trampled the fishing boat.


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Offline Murometz

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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #79 on: June 11, 2006, 01:45:36 AM »
"If this is some con, madame, I shall not look kindly up--" Henri trailed off. It was obvious by Ilsa's reaction that this was no con. Henri shuddered. He had conquered fear as a young man in the streets of the Four Points, or so he thought, at the heels of the street-famous 'Not-Here' McGlinty and his gang. Henri was used to the baser emotions of the streets, and nefarious behavior as his mammy called it, murder included, was nothing new him. But this, this was different. It was his fancy for cheap horror monthlies, which he once read voraciously, which now gave him terrible thoughts. To Ilsa he said,

"No..I stand corrected. This is no con." Henri stared at the mismatched letters on the unfolded paper, and his face belied his horror.

"Did you hear that madame! Just now, it sounded like...like a moaning of some metallic horror!"

"I am unwell", Henri bowed his suddenly leaden head. "Tell me what we do now" he managed, sounding defeated.
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Offline Ria Hawk

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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #80 on: June 11, 2006, 02:00:35 AM »
"I think it was a fog bell."  She shook her head.  "I don't know.  I'm out of my depth, as well."  She sat down, absently pulling out her pad and pencil as she did.  "Something isn't right, but I don't know what."  Without really seeming to realize what she was doing, she started aimlessly.  "I have the strangest hunch that we're in danger, but I don't know what from.  Papa always said a hunch is an inference drawn from information you didn't know you had, but in this case, I'm at a loss."  She thought for a moment, her pencil still working.  "I think we should maybe do some... I don't know.  Snooping, I guess, figure out what's going on.  I don't like not knowing what's happening, and we'll probably both feel better if we know."
Sometimes angels fall from grace, and sometimes heroes die.

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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #81 on: June 11, 2006, 02:09:43 AM »
"It seems as good sugestion as any I suppose." he was still crestfallen. "Maybe we should pay a visit to Vivica again.  Wherever we go, its time to start watching each others back, agreed?" Henri looked hopefully at Ilsa.

"And what do I do with this unico--er..goat horn?"

Rising, Henri stared at the bloody spar, but for some inexplicable reason, did not think it wise to toss it overboard

"Our one hope madame? Is that I do not think The Beast would write that message you discovered with lead, blood maybe. Pencil, doubtful. You may be correct, a bit of snooping might reveal some mundane trickery behind all this." Henri slightly recovered.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2006, 02:11:20 AM by Murometz »
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Triumph of the Dungeon Master!

Ah, how I have come to love that sense of accomplishment and victory that I get when I pull the wool over the eyes of a clever player character. What DM Triumphs have you had?

Some of mine:
1. Finally killing an incredibly powerful, lucky, annoying player's character.
2. Finally achieving a TPK (Total Party Kill)
3. Finally achieving a TPK using only traps
4. Finally working out how to make it so that d**n wizard doesn't steal the spotlight all the d**n time.

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Offline Ria Hawk

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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #82 on: June 11, 2006, 02:18:39 AM »
Ellie glanced at the bit of horn.  "I wouldn't put it back in your pocket, that's for sure.  I'm not squeamish, but if it decides to dig in again, it may hit something structurally important."  She stood up.  "We should probably go check on Vivica anyway.  I have some... experience with hysteria, I might could help.  But yes, you're right.  I definitely want someone watching my back, and even though I just met you, I feel I can trust you."  She smiled, them said in her accent, "Shall we go, Monsieur?"
Sometimes angels fall from grace, and sometimes heroes die.

Regina Raptorum, Benevolent Mad Scientist, Writer of Psychos, Guild Mistress of Esoteric Lore, Losers' Club Alumna, and Authentic Wacko

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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #83 on: June 11, 2006, 02:30:21 AM »
Ilsa's demeanor brightened his mood considerably, and for a moment all his fears and conjectures seemed silly. Only for a moment.

"We shall madame", Henri gestured with a flourish and followed Ilsa out the door. once back in the corridor, he felt strangely a bit out of breath, but this new dilemna was manageable he convinced himself, and probably temporary.

Following Ilsa, Henri made his way back to the other side of the ship. It was soon apparent that there was a commotion o board. Several crewman, sweat glistening on their thick mustaches, ran by cursing, and other sounds of distress could be heard from other levels. Luckily, Abelard wasnt among the crewman, much to Henri's relief. In the distance he spied Brandford the Banker and the chain-smoking crewman from the Vivica Affair, leaning on a rail and conversing. He waved in their  general direction.

"Now what?!", Henri asked loudly, noticing more and more commotion around them.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2006, 02:40:34 AM by Murometz »
Authentic Strolenite™©®

Triumph of the Dungeon Master!

Ah, how I have come to love that sense of accomplishment and victory that I get when I pull the wool over the eyes of a clever player character. What DM Triumphs have you had?

Some of mine:
1. Finally killing an incredibly powerful, lucky, annoying player's character.
2. Finally achieving a TPK (Total Party Kill)
3. Finally achieving a TPK using only traps
4. Finally working out how to make it so that d**n wizard doesn't steal the spotlight all the d**n time.

-Captain Penguin

Offline manfred

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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #84 on: June 11, 2006, 12:05:20 PM »
Frederic was silent for a while, observing the growing unrest on the ship.

"Then, it seems, our nexus of interest lies with the captain. We should pay him a little visit, and present him my theory. Independent of whether there is a grain of truth in it, we may as well ask on the general course of the ship."

Noticing Henry and Miss Ilsa coming, he added "...and if there are more of us, all the better."

He waved back. Come, Henry, you can talk a snake off his spine. We may need a little help with that strange captain.
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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #85 on: June 11, 2006, 12:44:52 PM »
Establishing eye contact with Frederick momentarily, Henri turned to Ilsa and motioned half-heartedly that they should make their way over to the pair.

Approaching them he said, "It is good to see a familair face, Mr. Brandford. I am afraid the lady and I are a bit spooked, for reasons that we shall soon divulge. We could use the steady mind of a banker to set our spirits straight." As soon as Henri heard himself say 'spirits' he regretted it.

He smiled at the two smokers...or the one smoker anyway, Brandford just kept twiddling with an unlit cigarette.

"We did not have a chance at introduction ser, due to Lady Cameron's fragile condition earlier", He extended his hand to the crewman, "I am Henri Lamorak, but I am sure Mr. Brandford has told you all about his new friend, eh Brandford?"
Authentic Strolenite™©®

Triumph of the Dungeon Master!

Ah, how I have come to love that sense of accomplishment and victory that I get when I pull the wool over the eyes of a clever player character. What DM Triumphs have you had?

Some of mine:
1. Finally killing an incredibly powerful, lucky, annoying player's character.
2. Finally achieving a TPK (Total Party Kill)
3. Finally achieving a TPK using only traps
4. Finally working out how to make it so that d**n wizard doesn't steal the spotlight all the d**n time.

-Captain Penguin

Offline Ancient Gamer

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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #86 on: June 11, 2006, 02:39:03 PM »
Ed did not flinch and looked Henri straight into the eyes. "I am enchanted to make your acquaintance, mister Lamorak. We were just standing here debating the odd occurrences on the ship. It seems that Mr. Brandford wants a chat with the captain after I mentioned that we were heading in the wrong direction".

Ed shook hands with mister Lamorak and then kissed the hand of the lady. "I am Charles Edward Dainty Wainwright, at your service madam". The words fell from his mouth and for a second he feared that she might recognize the spectacular Dainty Wainwright family name, now utterly connected with the story of the fall of a merchant empire. Some years ago the Empress had even flagged under DW Shipping and when his father went bankrupt the new owners had bought it cheap.

No. These are not of my former stature, but rather the upper middle class playing at being rich. Or... the banker might recognize it.

Ed broke his silence and offered cigarettes to the newcomers hoping that would derail their attention.
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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #87 on: June 11, 2006, 02:59:03 PM »
"I'll have one of those if you dont mind, Mr. Wainright, calm my nerves," He reached out for a smoke, hoping it was a turkish blend.

"Dainty?", Henri had a hint of a smile.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2006, 03:18:49 PM by Murometz »
Authentic Strolenite™©®

Triumph of the Dungeon Master!

Ah, how I have come to love that sense of accomplishment and victory that I get when I pull the wool over the eyes of a clever player character. What DM Triumphs have you had?

Some of mine:
1. Finally killing an incredibly powerful, lucky, annoying player's character.
2. Finally achieving a TPK (Total Party Kill)
3. Finally achieving a TPK using only traps
4. Finally working out how to make it so that d**n wizard doesn't steal the spotlight all the d**n time.

-Captain Penguin

Offline manfred

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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #88 on: June 11, 2006, 03:33:15 PM »
For a few moments silent, after the sailor and doctor finally introduced himself, Frederic returned to his original thoughts and plans.

"Yes, Henry, I was just about to call for you, and of course for our charming Lady Ilsa." *slight bow*
"We are in need of companions."

After a tiny dramatic pause, and a reassuring smile, he continued.
"As for the spook, I have already a little theory, that can explain that strange, ummm... _moment_ we all seemed to have. As a matter of fact, two theories: one of them requires a smoker of opium, or a similar substance, which would be hardly suprising on this ship. The other would imply that there is some spoiled food on board, which we have had for dinner or before. Any of them is a perfectly logical explanation for what happened to us."

...a small sigh...
"But then is here also, what here doctor has told me, and I find hard to dismiss: the ship seems to be heading into the wrong direction. The crew is already restless."
"Therefore, I suggest that we go straight to the captain, and speak with him. For the first matter, he should definitely know; on the second matter, _we_ have a right to know. I am certain that with such outspoken, I dare say, accomplices, " ...a wide smile on his face.. "we will easily learn all there is to learn from the captain, and have not to create wild tales and worry for the rest of the journey."

"Then, what do you say?"
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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #89 on: June 11, 2006, 03:37:09 PM »
"By all means, let us speak with the captain."  Ellie nodded.  "If we are not going the right direction, then the issue is compounded."  There was a growing unease around them, and Ellie was trying as best she could to keep her mind off of it.  She focused on the crewman.  His name seemed to be ringing a faint bell.  She mentally shrugged.  It didn't matter.  Frankly, she doubted the bankers possible explanations.  They would be much easier to accept if she hadn't had "funny moments" before.  But for the first time in her life, she was glad that bankers as a rule had little imagination.  A logical, prosaic explanation was a comfort.
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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #90 on: June 11, 2006, 04:37:18 PM »
Henri chewed on Brandford's words...Any of them is a perfectly logical explanation for what happened to us he had said. If only opium or spoiled fish could explain unfriendly, animated, thigh-burrowing trinkets or wormy-mawed dogs.

Henri focused on the second more pressing comment, "Wrong direction? I dont understand. Why would we be going in the wrong--unless it is that malevolent Abel--" Henri paused, remembering Mr. Wrainwright was a member of the ships crew.

"Yes, let us all go speak to the captain. That would be prudent at this juncture", he garbled instead.

*To Ilsa* "Tell them the rest" he whispered
Authentic Strolenite™©®

Triumph of the Dungeon Master!

Ah, how I have come to love that sense of accomplishment and victory that I get when I pull the wool over the eyes of a clever player character. What DM Triumphs have you had?

Some of mine:
1. Finally killing an incredibly powerful, lucky, annoying player's character.
2. Finally achieving a TPK (Total Party Kill)
3. Finally achieving a TPK using only traps
4. Finally working out how to make it so that d**n wizard doesn't steal the spotlight all the d**n time.

-Captain Penguin

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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #91 on: June 11, 2006, 04:43:30 PM »
Ellie shook her head.  "Not yet," she whispered.  "When they are more likely to believe us, maybe.  Right now, all telling them would do is damage our credibility."  She considered.  "Besides, it could have other explanations."  She didn't sound confident.
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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #92 on: June 12, 2006, 10:26:57 AM »
Observing the worried look of his ever-optimistic companion, and the quiet exchange with the lady, even Frederic started to feel a bit sure.

But first the talk, then will be time enough for the doubts.

"Then let us go to the captain. Doctor, will you?"
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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #93 on: June 12, 2006, 11:02:37 AM »
Ed nodded politely and began walking towards the bridge. He had never talked directly to Saisong and he sincerely doubted that the sly asian would welcome a crew member meddling in his affairs.

"Oh, well" he sighed as he made his way up the metal staircase, the passengers in tow.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2006, 07:44:40 AM by Ancient Gamer »
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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #94 on: June 13, 2006, 07:15:01 AM »
Before they reached the captain's quarters, the group was met by a duo of gruff looking sailors, some of the asians who had been long time crewmen of the ship, and both being decidedly loyal to Abelard, despite his bastard blood. "The captain isnt seeing anyone now." One said in thickly accented english. Ed was able to quite easily noticed that the two sailors were armed with clubs of sorts.

"You have to take your problems to Abelard, but he too is busy."


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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #95 on: June 13, 2006, 01:54:49 PM »
Ed arched an eyebrow and looked at the two sailors. "Put those away, sailors. These are passengers and if word came out you threatened them, the captain will have your hide!"
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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #96 on: June 13, 2006, 03:30:42 PM »
Something clicked.  Ellie eyed the clubs, then the two sailors.  After all, she made her living by drawing inferences from information people didn't mean to give her.  "Perhaps we should let it alone," she said.  "After all, it is of no importance, is it?"  She met Henri's eyes, then glanced around at the others, hoping they got her meaning.  They needed to leave, and now.  She glanced at Ed again.  He would probably protest, and that wouldn't be good right now.  "Monsieur, you promised to have a look at that broken table in my cabin..."  She sounded very silly, she was sure.  She was hoping her behavior before had not given the others to think she was normally very silly.
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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #97 on: June 14, 2006, 08:58:55 AM »
At the mention of Abelard, Henri paled. He was about to say something to someone, he was sure of it, but now Ilsa seemed agitated and throwing knowing glances around at the foursome. She was looking to leave, and Henri wasnt about to argue. Something had spooked her.
Authentic Strolenite™©®

Triumph of the Dungeon Master!

Ah, how I have come to love that sense of accomplishment and victory that I get when I pull the wool over the eyes of a clever player character. What DM Triumphs have you had?

Some of mine:
1. Finally killing an incredibly powerful, lucky, annoying player's character.
2. Finally achieving a TPK (Total Party Kill)
3. Finally achieving a TPK using only traps
4. Finally working out how to make it so that d**n wizard doesn't steal the spotlight all the d**n time.

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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #98 on: June 14, 2006, 09:49:07 AM »
"Is there a problem?" A voice said from behind them, it was Abelard, he furtively ran his hands together and it looked like there was a sheen of sweat on his brow. Two more asian sailors were with him. Most prominent, however, was the butt of the pistol that extended from his waistband. "If you wanted to see the captain, he has taken ill and placed me in charge."


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Offline Ancient Gamer

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Re: Voyage of the Empress
« Reply #99 on: June 16, 2006, 12:49:46 AM »
Ed looked at the gun, then at Abelard and then at the sailors and their clubs. "Yes, first mate. Now that our doctor is indisposed it has fallen upon me to replace him. It has come to my attention that a number of our passengers are experiencing strange illnesses. Perhaps we should go to port with them. We are not that far at sea after all"

This is a mutiny if I ever saw one. The sailors have never been armed aboard this ship and Abelard definitely looks stressed. I need to get us out of this one.

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