To The Evening Star

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The Saga of California Smith and the Voyage to Freya
Brigetta McLeod

I'll tell ye a tale of adventurers seven
Who rode a ship all the way to heaven

There was Lepto the sun-mage who loves the sea
And Vermithax the dragon-named whose magic is fire
Tharon Darksinger who calls to the dead
Kishwa the fighter with a wolf at his side
Valium the enchanter all in blue
Dorcas strong-armed and brave of soul
And Brigetta the Bard, who sings to ye all

I'll tell ye a tale of adventurers seven
Who rode a ship all the way to heaven

'Twas a man of history who came to the Guild
California Smith he called his name
He bore a hat and a whip and a tale he told
Of wise men who studied and fools who stole
From a people lost beyond the door
On a world far away, from a city drowned
And when they took back what was theirs alone
Back home they went and they shut the gate
So that no more could it be opened by men of lore
And Smith was sent to find adventurers bold
Who would bridge the gap and peace would bring
Between seekers after knowledge and the ones they woke
Though the gate was closed Smith knew a way
A ship we would fly between the worlds
A month it would take, or so we were told
Though dangers unknown and perils unheard

So we partied all night and the following dawn
We met at the docks and there we took ship
From the harbour we sailed till way out at sea
The sun-mage sat the helm and the Eagle she flew
The enchanter tried and so did I
But twas harder than it looked and a very strange thing
To be at once a ship aflight and a seated mage
And up and down we rode the air far too fast
So much for this bard flying a ship to the sky
Lunch we had at the Captain's table
And talked too much of powers and death
Dorcas proclaimed that resurrected she will never be
A fool I called her and future days shall see

We landed on the sea and were told that here
Was a line called equator that split the world in twain
Though of mark or fence there was no sign
A ceremony there was for those who had not crossed before
To placate the god of wave and sea
We walked the plank and stepped into the ocean
There swam we where warm waters meet

On we flew and late that afternoon
An island of twin peaks we passed
Then a great raft hove into view
And there we landed and the seekers we found
Exploring drowned Pasifika beneath our feet
They took us below after casting water-breathing spells
We saw the great pyramid and the six trilithon gates
One which was open and now is closed
The great library where many scrolls they had found
Telling of seven cities in ages past
And the fall of Pasifika twenty centuries ago
A mystery that but there was not time
To recite the song and tell the legend

As the sun was setting the invitation came
To meet the Merking of Pasifika beneath the waves
Whose daughter Princess Annelsie would come 
With adventurers seven on our flight to heaven
So to the water-breathing spells again
And to the city we swam
There we could speak by mighty magic
And after Kishwa presented a gift of vodka
We dined and sang and danced before the King

On the morn I awoke stiff to the bone
But the healer obliged and the pain was gone
Then California took the helm
The sailors furled the sails
And up we sped towards the stars
The waves grew small as we passed between the clouds
The horizon curved like a bow
Then the lands like a map we saw
And beheld the face of Alusia like a globe
Onward we rushed and round and round
The Baronies, desert Araby, the Lunar Empire and far Kinlu
Terra Nova, the Great Ocean, and the Baronies once more below us flew
Then we set our course upon a wandering star
And towards Freya's bosom we laid our prow


I'll tell ye a tale of adventurers seven
Who rode a ship all the way to heaven

We voyaged a week then upon our deck
A thud was heard - a star-bourne thing had fallen
A stone it seemed, but formerly living the light mage said
And so it proved for it rocked and cracked
And a many-legged creature burst forth and ran
Kishwa shot his bow but it got away
We chased it high, we hunted it low
Under nets, in barrels, between stores and down
Down into the bilges it ran
Then I piped away and begorrah it fled
Into Kishwa's waiting dagger and then it was dead
The nasty thing, it would have laid its eggs in us
And the powers alone know what would have hatched
It had acid for blood so of its shell
Darksinger made a cover for mine shield


Seven days more and suddenly we stopped
"Ship ahoy," came the call from atop the mast
Another ship out here?
Unbelievable it seemed, but still it was true
As a strange winged vessel heaved into view
"Dancer's Luck" read the name in a script unfamiliar
A tiny winged dragon appeared above
And vanished as quickly as it came
To the shoulder of the Captain who stood on the other deck
I cast my spell of tongues and called to the ship
For reply they drew alongside and a women in black
Nimbly swung across the rigging to us
We spoke with her and shared our tales
Nightkit was her name, Hippolyta her Captain
With Liessa and Delphinium they had ventured
From Realms forgotten they had flown far
Gainst trouble into trouble and trouble they had found
Across worlds, between stars from another plane
"Go to Seagate on Alusia," we said 
"The Guild mages can send you home we're sure"
"But first let us sup and sing and speak"
And so we did, a fine night we had
Of tricks and dancing and song.

Next morn they set sail for Alusia fair
But 'twere not so easy for us to fly once more
Shaken from stem to stern we were
As sun-mage then enchanter took the helm awry
Yet soon we were going free and clear
And two weeks passed without event
The star at our bow grew and grew
A crescent it seemed, then as around we flew
A featureless circle of ivory white
"'Tis a sphere," thought I, and proved it too
With a wooden ball and a candle in a cabin dimmed

But where shall we land was the question great
For no sight or sign had we of all but white
So down we flew in hope to find some way to find
To that isle of portals and city drowned
Down we flew into the white expanse
Above the stars faded into blue
As though the Sidhe had spread their wings
As a veil between us and heaven
Down we flew sinking into the white
Which proved to be nought be mist
Then we broke through the clouds
And below we saw a circle of blue
From east to west and north to south
Down we flew and then a great dragon-bird
A pterodactyl flew down at our ship
But Valium cast at it a spell
And sleeping it fell, never to wake
Another came and this Kishwa shot
And stunned it followed downward its mate
To splash into the blue below
Down we flew until a bucket cast o'erboard
Drew water salt though strange to taste
We landed there and took water aboard
The sailors netted some weird-seeming fish
So Kishwa tried with hook and line
But the fish he caught was monstrous huge
A gigantic shark so strong it got away

Eastward we set our prow, toward the dawn
On we flew, and on and on
But nought we saw but cloud and sea
White above and blue below
Darkness fell and after the light returned
"Shallows ahoy!" the mermaid called
And so it was, the lighter blue of not quite land
So down we went until we rested on the sea
The merfolk went swimming and the sun mage
Then a shipfish came and chattered at us
It sounded like speech so I cast my spell
And to my surprise I could speak with him
I gave him a greeting and then asked the fish
Where other humans could be found
He pointed north of east, many days
I thanked him gratefully and the merfolk played
We took some crabs and then took flight
Until an island we spied upon the waves

We landed there and anchored the ship
Then took the boat into the shore
A people we met happy and friendly
Brown of skin and long on limb
I spoke to them and they told me their names
Sione and Alisi, Orita and Fau
And many more, but no children we saw
They brought us fruit sweeter than nectar
And surrounded us with pleasure
Darksinger frowned and they left him alone
To speak with the dead for truth he sought
They took us to a pool magical
Where they drew their water
And Sione showed me their shelter cave
And there he took me and I was lost
In the wonder of his skill to please a woman
Next morning he was gone
And when I sought the others
Not only had they not see, but they had forgotten
They could not remember and neither could the villagers
Magic, we said and the sun mage tested
A spell of forgetfulness had been cast on us
Of highest rank by a being called a Deep One

At that news hearts did quake
And much to my dismay
We set sail and flew up and away
Onwards we rode the airs
On and on for five days and more
'Twas just past noon when
"Land Below" the cry went up
Down we sailed to the ocean blue
And an isle we sighted, grey and white 
Almost devoid of bush or tree
But with six stone gateways circling its shore
We anchored near and set forth
To check each and every trilithon
'Twas the last we came upon
That bore the proper sign
A circle true and whole
That meant the city Pacifica
And as there we stood
Two more winged reptiles came soaring down
Valium tried his spell and slept himself
Kishwa shot and missed
Then Lepto cast and a cloud of night and fear
Settled on him and he ran scared to the water
As Kishwa and Dorcas struck with sword and axe
One fall paralysed by Tharon's spell
The other arose with Lepto in its claws
He cut himself free and then he fell
Into waters but inches deep and did not rise
Again Tharon struck with magic sure
As I lifted Lepto dying from the sea
Kishwa came and healing brought
In a potion bottle

A glint of silver then we spied
Upon the island's summit
There a nest we found
A hobbit dagger, a pearl and a shell
One to breathe water the other sea mammals summon

That night we spent not far from the isle
This bard was abed when alarms began ringing
'Twas crabs, giant crabs, a-swarming our decks
And all were summoned to fight them down
Kishwa with axe, Darksinger with magic
Did many a deed worthy of note
"To the helm," cried the Captain. "Take us aloft."
And so I did while the orc slew my prize
All seemed well, the crabs were vanquished
Until the healer was sought, for she was needed
But Amy was missing, as was the mermaid
The attack by the crabs was all a cover
So Valium was persuaded a location to cast
"Below us," he said. "And to port."
So down we floated and there was the princess
Having faked their spell and set herself free
Humans they were, but water-breathers
And seemingly naive in matters of capture

Dawn came, and with it a message
Floating on the sea
"Raise a green flag if you wish to talk"
And so we did, and waited and waited
Then a great dolphin we saw, larger than any
His magic touched us, sensing our thoughts
He spoke in our minds bearing greetings
A meeting we agreed to upon the strand
So we set a table on the back of a boat
And readied food and wine and song
Riding the sea they came, Lords of the ocean 
In a boat like a shell, drawn by dolphins
Their own we returned, their sentinel statue
And they spoke of their trial, their endless war
'Gainst the Silurians, the evil sea-devils
Our healer they had taken to succour their Lord's son
Who lay wounded in battle, close to dying

So to their city we flew our vessel
And anchored above great Perelandra
Proud city now sunken beneath the waves
In return for sea-armour we agreed to fight
And aid them against their lizardly enemies
We trained in the spear to fight the better
But had not done when the alarm went up
The Silurians were coming to attack our friends
So we took our stand upon the battlements
Valium cast to quicken our limbs
I sang to taunt as Lepto wove the light
And sent bolt after bolt into lizardly throats
But Kishwa starred as Lepto was netted
Killing as many as we others put together
First with bow and them with dagger
Swimming forth to take battle to enemy
And then all were slain save one our captive

We rested and healed as darkness fell
And Darksinger quizzed the dead as to their motive
It seemed that war of hatred the Silurians fought
Inspired by their belief that all else are inferior
The prisoner would not answer not even a word
Even under threat of torture vile

Later that morn with due pomp and ceremony
The keys were brought and put to the stone
The archways opened, the great portals unsealed
The Prince with the Princess went
Our way home was clear, our task was finished
But not yet could we leave

We sent to Pasifika for Teunu, Namer with the spell
That our prisoner to speak would surely compel
And speak he did of a crazed people
Ruled by a sorcerer, a shaman-king
With power over water to calm and storm
They lived in caves in an ocean crevasse
Well-guarded by a score of warriors fell
We plotted and planned and made our decision
For the sake of the sea people we would take action
Their king we would take, alive or dead
And steal their magic in hope they would flee
Under cover of darkness and invisible

Valium's arrow of location showed us the way
We landed the ship and then we swam
Through waters dark, but lessening chill
Then a great chasm we beheld
An entrance we saw in the far wall
Guarded by three, but they didn't last long
One fell to Sleep at Valium's command
Another to bolt shot from Kishwa's bow
The third held his ground until I goaded him forth
And then he took another of Kishwa's barbs

Beyond the entrance a tunnel opened
And led to a cavern with an altar encircled
Five guards stood here at entrance and exits
One spelled asleep then we joined the melee
One tried to strike your bard but tripped
Him I took with magical javelin
Kishwa and Darksinger the rest with dagger and spells

A prisoner was found down one of the passage
I set her free while the others went on
They came upon a mage with sea-helm armour
Guarded by six more of the evil sea-lizards
Kishwa laid a counter stored in a tear of magic
So the water spells failed, the mage could not cast
The guards fell to the blades of Dorcas and Kishwa
And Darksinger's spells bringing death from within
At last the mage-king died, and his magic we looted
The altar and circle we broke with mighty spells

Leaving our mark for all to read
To Perelandra we returned victorious
And then through the Gate to the underground city
Next to the Gate in the midst of the plain
Where the seekers sought another city
Of strange lights in the sky
There they did tell us
And lent us horses to Seagate to ride
So home we came at last


And so ends my tale of adventurers seven
Who rode a ship all the way to heaven