Uri 19 1333 YS
It took me a long time to noodle this out, and I still don’t really understand exactly what happened. But it boils down to this: Smriti, tiny and petite Smriti, not even a foot taller than myself, managed to throw an Afrikan bull elephant off the side of the ship!
How, you may ask, did a giant elephant get aboard a ship in the middle of the Aethean sea in the first place? That of course, is an excellent question. The best we can come up with is… magic. It was transported there just like the huge lion that slew poor young Gryphon, a craftsman (painter and lacquerer) on the ship. The day before, three large wasps were likewise summoned, and nearly killed a crew member. The source of this mayhem was the same magical idol, later found crated away in the hold, that bewitched Kaminari, Kumori’s new war steed. The horse was the smartest of its kind I had ever seen, but under the influence of this mystical Afrik Idol… it was downright uncannily intelligent. And it was trying to communicate with Kumori, but none of us really understood what was going on. We simply thought that there was a malevolent force trying to control the horse. Dorak, his usual paranoid self, suspected that half the crew was ensorcelled in the same fashion, but in the end, that seemed not to be the case.
Kumori, Dorak, Ian and Ignatius went below, trying to figure out what might be summoning the strange creatures. The finger-wiggler and the cleric were triangulating the source, an incredibly powerful magical aura, to hear them describe it. They found the idol in a crate in the bottom most hold of the ship. Iggy cast a spell to suppress the Idol’s powers, but unfortunately did not do so before the strange alien thing had pulled an elephant aboard the ship. This power somehow reminds me of the curse of the lamp, and I speculate whether the two may be similar in function. I may bring this up next time the group calls for a meeting. Or I may not. I don’t want to give Dorak any more fodder for his overactive imagination.
So, the elephant showed up on the deck, and trampled down onto the main deck, thrashing about and crushing two unfortunate crewmen. Paolo, the ship’s carpenter was the first to fall under the weight of the mighty elephant, shortly followed by the Mungese seaman Xú Wen. It was a terrible thing to witness. Many of the other sailors dove for cover, overboard, where a plethora of sea life waited for them, beings also drawn by the idol’s supernatural powers. Thankfully we were able to rescue most of them, but the Bitori Ironman called Rocks did not make it. He drowned. With a name like Rocks… well I thought it an ill-omened name for anyone aboard a ship. This was kept to myself, and only shared now with you dear Calli. Am I terrible?
One other man, a veteran Ironman seaman was lost at sea. His body unrecovered. I pray that Mormekar safely guides these men’s souls to Maal’s throne for fair judgement. There are no shrines near these waters, or at least none that I know of, so their spirits would be lost unless my Lord guides them to their judgement. Captain Timolf did allow me to perform Mormekar’s sacred services upon the recovered dead men, and he gave them all a proper burial at sea. I felt more at ease once the ceremony was performed, and I am sure the faithful are on their journey to Maal’s Court. I don’t think Gryphon or Xú Wen are faithful to the Lords of Heaven. I pray their souls are taken by whatever gods they worship (but as we’ve discussed before, and heatedly, I still hold to the idea that there are no other gods, merely manifestations of the gods I know and love). So I feel secure that Mormekar will help them find their way to the afterlife.
The elephant, going back a couple of hours, was intent on destroying the ship. It did not seem to harbor ill or murderous intent, but instead was thrashing downward, toward the hold where the idol was stored. On the main deck, the mainmast listing terribly. It was only held up now by the ropes and sails for the mast had been shattered by the elephant’s fury. Then Smriti leapt up and clambered up, climbing the beast’s flappy brown ear. She let out a ferocious yell, the kind she does when she becomes extremely focussed on a task, and then she somersaulted over the elephant, kicking it in the head. Miraculously, the beast staggered and lost its balance, tumbling through the side railings of the ship, splintering the sturdy wood as if it were straw. It fell sidelong overboard, landing with an enormous splash in the becalmed, but fish-infested, sea.
A rousing chorus of cheers went up from the crew, or at least those who had not been knocked overboard (or elected to test their skill at swimming rather than face a many-ton crushing juggernaut). Nearly as soon as the creature hit the water, Kumori and those who were dealing with the source of the magic, carried a huge crate onto the splintered main deck, and then upended it overboard on the ship opposite the elephant’s tumble. A dark statue, about two feet tall spilled out of the crate. Vaguely elephant shaped, the stone idol impacted the water, and left circles of watery wakes expanding outward as it quickly disappeared into the depths of the sea.
The change that happened next was sudden and dramatic. The gulls and other sea-fowl that had been circling the ship abruptly scattered. The fish, whales, sharks and other sea creatures likewise fled from the ship. Kaminairi returned to his normal, obedient and noble self, except for a brief few minutes where it looked like he was nuzzling Kumori – an attitude that was not in the horse’s regular idiom. Kumori believes that what the statue wanted was to be returned home, and by tossing it overboard, the octopus and other sea life it had called would ensure it made the long trip back to whatever jungle or savannah deep in one of the Afrik nations it called home.
Later, I talked to Smriti about how in the celestial planes she could have, with her slight frame and tender strength, pushed the behemoth elephant overboard. She tried to explain that size did not really matter. Large things, in fact, topple more easily if you know just the right way to… persuade them. Dorak butted in and said how it was similar to the way he, with the tip of his slender rapier, can find the weak and vulnerable spots in his targets, especially if they are unfocused or distracted (he has that effect on people). Still, an elephant? A huge, thick-hided Afrikan bull elephant? Kumori took a moment to intervene, and what he said made much more sense. In his country, they play a certain type of game. They stack fairly regularly sized blocks of wood atop each other, building a tower. Then one by one, the players gently pull out a block, leaving a gap, and place the piece atop the tower. Players take turns until someone topples the tower. The gaps in the lower part of the tower, like the elephant’s legs, make it more and more vulnerable to falling over as pieces are removed. Given the fact that the deck was like so many of these splintered game pieces, unstable at best, the elephant was likely off-balance to start with. This does not even take into account that the ship itself provides an uneven and wavering surface, to which any landlubber can attest. So given the unsteady rocking of the ship, the splintered deck, and the already off-balance nature of an elephant quite out of its element, Smriti simply used these factors and its bulk to gently tip it, and let the forces of nature do the rest.
Goodness I am blessed to be traveling with such exceptional people, who can not only accomplish the impossible, or so it would seem, but to also be able to make it clear to me (or at least unmuddy the ideas – I am still struggling a bit).
Yours, alive and well and still a bit baffled,