- Plane Weaver
Calling all ye of ADVENTUROUS and INVENTIVE spirit! I, Igneous McNally do proudly hereby announce the FIRST INAUGURAL IMPERIAL BOAT BUILDING CHALLENGE COMPETITION! Dare ye test your daring designs on the River Eriden? Can you create a vessel capable of sailing downstream to lands unknown? If the answer be yes, then register with me, Igneous McNally in Rivergate Town!
Your team’s design will be scored on speed, manoeuvrability, endurance and style! Be bold, be brave, be building boats! Good luck!
Sowe and Quinn show up in Rivergate Town and register for the boat building competition with Igneous McNally, whose enthusiasm about boats seems to be far greater than his actual knowledge. He explains his hope to sail with the winning team beyond the Forest, along the river and up the mountains to the East.
The two Forest Touched also meet one of the competing teams, Magnus and Madelina Vanderbilt, two snobbish Perfection weaver twins from Rom who have built (or rather, extruded) the Romdola - a crystal gondola of exquisite design. Considering what they should build their own boat out of, the Foresters' Guild team decides to do what they do best - head into the Forest and kill some trees. They find a good tree and begin felling, though the tree rather objects, as do the huge bark-carapaced woodlice which seem to be protecting or cultivating the tree.
Eventually, they prevail but in a momentary lapse of judgement, Sowe decides to transport their hard-won pile of timber in her mind. This has awful consequences as she brings the Forest into her head. Feeling its presence, she pulls in Quinn to help her but the Forest is too powerful. It offers them a deal… one of them must be sacrificed and whomever speaks first shall decide which. Sowe gives Quinn to the Forest.
They wake up in the clearing and Quinn is understandably angry at having been betrayed but they agree to put this to the side until the competition is over and so, in muted spirits, they return to their workstation and get to work. They build a hull of wood, using the woodlouse carapaces as extra plating. Sowe procures a sail while Quinn carves a dragon figurehead on their boat, which they christen the Pride of the Eriden. They also meet the third and final team made up of Roderick Rodson of the Rod and Malila of the Wheel who have created a metal boat, powered and steered by two huge metal wheels, one on each side. This is the Muse Ship.
In the final minutes of the building phase, the Foresters team is interrupted by an unfortunately timed Connection incursion. A trio of Oversharers and a purple sloth cause some problems but they eventually resolve the annoyance by hacking the Oversharers to pieces and when that doesn't stop them, moving their boat. The Sloth remains curled up at their prow but… eh… they'll deal with it later…
After a lunch with the other teams, it's onto the next phase. The three teams race their boats along a straight stretch of the river, then navigate an obstacle course set up through Rivergate Town. Finally, they remove their boats from the river and carry them round to the polluted side of the river to test their endurance. This quickly proves a terrible idea.
Mutants rise to attack as the teams fight to patch leaks in their vessels. Sowe attempts to surreptitiously drink some of the water but it's a hard thing to do discreetly. Meanwhile, the other two boats are quickly sinking and, despite Sowe suggesting they leave the other teams to their fates and the purple sloth reminding them that they can always do that later, Quinn convinces them to rescue their competitors, through lashing tendrils of congealed river scum.
The worst seems to be over when an island rises up beneath their boat. Huge claws rise up from the underside of the island on the end of long, thin tentacles. They drive these claws back into the water and all is still. Then an eyestalk rises from the island. And another. Four in total, working together to unsettle and harm the party. Sowe and Quinn cut these eyestalks off, blinding the creature they're on… well, except for the giant eye which now opens and the beaked mouths which erupt under their feet. They fight. They win. This time for sure, they must have prevailed…
The ground shakes. A maw, far larger than any other opens, rushing toward them. They narrowly beat it back and, shuddering, the mouth opens wider and wider as the whole creature inverts itself and sinks beneath the surface. The Pride of the Eriden splashes into the river and they are able to pilot it to the bank where they stumble back onto dry land.
The competition hasn't been a total success but Igneous McNally is undeterred in his dream to sail up the distant mountains and is particularly grateful to Sowe and Quinn, the winners of the competition. As it stands, the scores are as below:
|Pride of Eriden||5||5||8||10||28|
Quinn reports to the Foresters Guild that Sowe has gotten worse, becoming more ruthless and making poor decisions. She was also seen drinking from the Eriden. Sowe reports herself in a much more favourable light.
Sowe goes to Aramanta who owes her a favour and has a Connection ritual performed to bond herself to the purple sloth, whose name is Procrastination.
Meanwhile, the Pride of Eriden mysteriously disappears from where it was left on the riverbank.