So, at least Sprocket told us that he to the remnants of some Ripclaws the vesk wore to defeat the black dragon twenty-five years ago. He was able to make two complete suits, and he gave us directions on how to retrieve them. We did so, and, since two of us could fit into each of these mechs, Widget and I are in one with Sresaka, and Lexx is in one with Zareth. Ash opted to not stuff himself in with us. We then split up to cover both of the new black dragon’s cave entrances. We even had to stomp around fully submerged, as a lot of the tunnels are under water. However, we met up in a largish cavern with the rest of our crew.
We were looking around the cave for signs of dragon activity. We found some, just as a pool of water erupted. And there it is. . . .
Okay, so we were walking in the wrong direction. Something about the north pole being flipped. Oddly, not something I’ve ever been interested in, and have not previously needed to worry about. Widget could have said something sooner. And maybe he did. Anyway, we lucked out. After attempting to blow up what turned out to be an ordinary vine crossing our path, we were hailed by a small group of a race called the telia, which look like tortoises. They called us, or at least me and the vesk, “Honored Skyknights” and were told by two small statues to search for us. I guess I-9 and Brock are okay! Better still, the telia took us to their village via raft (and singing), so no more slogging towards whichever north we thought we were headed towards.
When we got to the village, we were greeted by the village elder, and then rushed to see our little robots. We met Sprocket, a blind ysoki engineer with his little spider drone “Skitter.” We also learned that, while our ship had been parked safely, our comms had been a bit destroyed. By a black dragon. Oh, yeah, that is why there is only one survivor of the Vengeance now. They made Sprocket stay with the telia while the vesk of the Vengeance literally went out in a blaze of glory. Or acid, anyway. But that crew was victorious in slaying the black dragon. So, I guess they have a new one. And, more alarmingly, they want us to slay this latest one! And we’ll have to, if we ever want our ship to fly again.
So, we are trudging into a forest, when Sresaka, who is in front of Ash (who is leading from behind), steps over a vine, and suddenly we are fighting for our lives. I see a red flash from the corner of my eye. Ash doesn’t blink in time and then can’t see. Then this big moonflower swallows Sresaka! We keep attacking its trunk and vines, and she must have been fighting from the inside, as it spit her out inside of some acid-secreting husk. How do I know this? It swallowed me next. Lexx is yelling encouragement at me, which must have worked, as I am able to get it to spit me out, before I have to dig through much husk. I’m happy to see that Widget is shooting the edges of Sresaka’s husk open.
I think the moonflower is on its last… roots now?
As we sit here for a few minutes recovering, Widget informs me that we have been heading in the literally polar opposite of where we intended to go.
So many big bugs on Haspis 3! We made a camp where it looked safe enough, but of course kept watch. It is good thing Widget was watching the sky, because Ash, who kept first watch, didn’t see the huge eight-legged bloodsuckers dropping down on the sleeping party. Thankfully, Lexx must have been using grenades for a pillow– he lobbed a concussion grenade and we made short work of them, though some of us were already light headed from blood loss.
As we were cleaning up to move camp, we heard a crashing of something even larger bearing down on our position. We opted to stay perfectly still. Luck was with us, or the dung beetle the size of a shuttlecraft just was too busy looking for, um, materials?, as it didn’t bother us.
Still we moved on, still needing a place to hopefully bed down. We are definitely out of the swamps, though now we’ve had to pick our way through rumbling and very active geisers as we make our way northwest.
We plodded around in the wreckage a bit more, and realized that we had best get some rest, as this planet has an 18-hour day cycle. It also still has a lot of tectonic activity; we were greeted during the night by what sounded like eathquakes.
This morning, we decided try a few more hails for our ship, and, giving up, headed toward where the surviving crew of the Vengeance had planned to go. Unfortunately, we had to swim most of it. Widget flew ahead a bit to warn us of anything dangerous. Of course, the danger was in the marshy waterways. A few times a giant centipede got close to us. Lexx threw a stun grenade at one. And while it didn’t kill it, it did alert a humongous swamp eel, which appeared right below the centipede… and ate it. We were very quiet after that. We eventually got to a (swampy) lake were some 8′ tall, multicolor-furred striders were grazing. We could finally see the clear sky too. Maybe we can contact our ship. Or at least spot it!