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Episode Nine: F*** Fairies.

Having lit the hotel on fire and coated the walls with blood, our heroes decide that now might be a good time to leave. They slip downstairs and out the back before the guard arrive. Afterwards the head back to their hotel and heal up for a few days. Oddly, no-one comes looking for them. Afterwards, they set sail in Rabbit's ship for the middle of the ocean. Miss Murder makes a cursory sail check to follow their directions, and gets a hojillion successes. That cuts a big chunk of time out of their non-timed journey, taking it from “I dunno. Two weeks?” to three quarters of “I dunno. Two weeks?”

Eventually they reach a becalmed area, about two miles across. They break out the oars and row towards the center, looking for a giant lotus blossom coming out of the ocean (part of the detailed instructions from the last session). The don't see it, but do find a tremendously thick carpet of normal-sized lotii, about twenty yards across.

In a fit of foresight, they do not respond by grounding the ship. Instead, Hammer carefully ties off and lowers himself down to the lotus carpet. He is hooge, and sinks through, ending up calf-deep in muck and chest deep in water. In the middle of the ocean. Bunny, who is wearing full plate, also sinks. Monsoon (né Murder) and Orchid are able to balance just fine on top of the lotuses.

They walk towards the middle of the field. Nothing happens. Eventually, Hammer finds some human remains (a skull). Monsoon leaps into pathology mode! Aside from where Hammer kicked it, it had a network of cracks, like the former owner had some head trauma. Unfortunately, that's not really a useful identifier, as a significant minority of people in pre-industrial societies have knocked their head on something. They look around for a bit, but don't find much. Hammer tries to investigate what's under the muck. He finds something that feels kind of like wood. He tries to punch though it, but to no effect (four feet underwater, and fairly high hardness). So he blows a charm on making it break, and does so.

The water begins rising. Almost exactly as though the ground were slowly sinking. Monsoon and Orchid make it back fine, walking on top of the lotuses. Rabbit is closer, and still makes it without trouble. Hammer has the farthest to go, and is nose deep for the last few feet. Eventually, he slogs his way through, and is hauled aboard. As they watch, the lotuses sink down out of sight. Bummer.

They stick around though, and a few minutes later, a giant lotus blossom slowly rises out of the waves, blooms, and reveals an extremely irate man, who yells at them, “What have you done to my garden?”

Who is he? He is Orderly, now back to the subject of his garden… They look around sheepishly, and point out that he has people buried there. He inquires if they can think of any nicer place to bury them. Who were they? They were helping him with his work. Has he seen (description of missing vilagers, including Monsoon's brother, First Monsoon)? Why, yes; they are helpng him too. Oh? What work does he do? He is attempting to cure a most debilitating condition.

You see, human passions inspire us to greatness, but when they run wild they inspire terrible things. He's trying to fix the terrible things half of that. Oh? Monsoon is a doctor too! Perhaps they could discuss methods? Yes, definitely! Please come down below with him!

The lotus is big enough for five. Including Howl, there are five of them, plus Orderly makes six. Someone will have to stay behind. While they are puzzling that over, he walks off the lotus and over to where the garden sank, and clucks over it.

Eventually, they decide to leave Rabbit up top, and load everyone else into the lotus. It sinks briskly for perhaps 15 minutes, then arrives at the floor of the ocean. There is some sort of reverse budding, then they are in a hallway. It is off-white, and everything is rounded off.

Rabbit begins sunning himself on deck.

They walk down the hallway for a bit, then turn right into something like a very nice cafeteria. There are several tables, and comfy chars. The ceiling is transparent, and shows the surrounding seafloor. Orderly talks excitedly with Monsoon throughout. He is very glad to meet a fellow medical professional. Hammer interrupts with being hungry, and suddenly there is a delicious buffet along the wall. He does not eat. Instead he goes exploring. Meanwhile, Orderly is explaining his methods to Mansoon. With her permission, he eats one of her virtues. All are surprised.

Rabbit's crew makes margaritas.

Hammer continues exploring, and discovers that space doesn't work right. he keeps going farther down the hallway, then turning right into the cafeteria. Eventually he discovers a secret door, forces it open, and realizes it is a secret entrance into the same cafeteria. Afterwards he sulks (justifiably).

Monsoon tries to negotiate for the return of the prisoners, but Orderly is not having that. His client expects results, and he is on a tight schedule and needs those assistants. Monsoon persuades him that perhaps they are replaceable. That may be true, but now they are trained and reinforced for his research. He would need several more assistants just to replace them now. Probably two for each of them. Of course, if they manage to brng him exalted, he could definitely do better than two for one… They remain studiously silent on that point.

Rabbit leads a conga line around the deck.

Monsoon explains that he is interested in the process Orderly describes. Could he examine the three villagers? Orderly replies, “Of course! Come right this way!” Then he sinks through the floor. Everyone else does not. Somewhat non-plussed, they hang out for a bit, hoping that he'll come back. A while later, he does, with the three villagers in tow. They are significantly larger than they were, and have developed a greyish tinge. They are also completely unconcerned with their surroundings. They answer questions, but don't react.

Bunny and the crew are singing showtunes.

Below, they discuss their options. Hammer is concerned that killing Orderly may bring the place down around them. Third Monsoon asks if this is the case. Orderly professes to be unsure, and asks if he wanted to find out. He's curious too, but has been killed before and didn't enjoy it much. This does not reassure anyone.

Bunny and the crew have a siesta.

They convince Orderly that it may be worth getting observations on what happens to his assistants on release back into the world. He agrees that this is an interesting question, and eventually allows them to take First Monsoon with them, on the condition that they provide replacement(s) and that Monsoon provide some notes on his (downtime) soldier boosting drug experiments.

A semi-fond farewell is said, and they head back up to the surface. Once there and aboard, they send the notes back down in the lotus, and a wave swells, carying them to the edge of the becalmed area.