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(RP) Tales of an old sailor - The Black Cobra's Memoirs

Discussion in 'UO Europa' started by TheBlackCobra, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. TheBlackCobra

    Stratics Veteran

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    Do you ever find yourself looking back on your adventures, and wishing you'd written them down? Well, that was what drove The Black Cobra, one dark and damp night*, to settle down over a drink with his good friend Kiella and start telling her his adventures. The adventures of a sailor can be prone to exaggeration at the best of times, especially when there's a cask of Speckled Mongbat being broached, so do please take the following events with a pinch** of salt. Hopefully this will become an occasional series of tales, although knowing Cobra it's more likely to be a sporadic tale every few years!

    Please enjoy this first tale, which Cobra titles "The Island Of Mongbats"***

    *It should have been stormy, but the weather has NO sense of occasion.
    ** i.e. a vat.
    *** Working titles were "The Mongbat Who Came In From The Cold," "The Island of Dr Mongbat," and "Treasure Mongbat." These were rejected for being, frankly, stupid.


    The Island of Mongbats
    by Aidan Musson
    The Black Cobra downed his whiskey appreciatively, licking his lips as he savoured the taste.
    “Speckled Mongbat,” he said, setting down the glass, “how very apt.”
    Across the table from him, Kiella smiled. “I though it would be suitable.”
    The two could not have been more different, sitting there in the meeting room of the Jade Mongbat. Cobra in his late middle-age now, with white wings to his goatee, his ponytailed hair bleached pure white long before by sun and salt, dressed in the robes of the Sosaria Red Cross. Kiella, with her pointed ears and long auburn hair, far older than him but looking half his age. The elf wore simple leather, dyed a forest green. A scroll lay on the table between them, and she had a quill handy.
    Beside the table, Cobra's closest companion, Franklin the mongbat, was watching them with his chin on his paws, occasionally rustling his wings.
    “So, you said you wanted to hear the story of how I met Franklin? I thought I'd told you that one already?”
    “Ah,” Kiella shook her head, “No, Cobra, I wanted to hear how you met your other mongbat friend. The one you call TM.”
    “Oh, now that is a far more interesting story. Yes, you've met TM, of course?”
    The elf nodded. “He made the armour I'm wearing. Beautiful work, too. I'd never expect to see a mongbat actually crafting... well, anything. They never even wear clothes, or use tools. Not even weapons, usually.”
    “Yes, TM is rather special – but he's far from unique. His actual name is Shizaru, although he prefers to be called TM when he's here – a little private joke, trained mongbats. I found him in Tokuno, a very long time ago. That was when I closed down my old tavern, and had it rebuilt as this.”
    “The Jade Mongbat?”
    “The Temple of the Jade Mongbat,” Cobra corrected her.
    “So, tell me the story?” she asked, putting the quill to the scroll.
    “Of course. Well, I was in Tokuno, sailing around looking for a place to land. There had been a terrible storm while I was out fishing, and my poor boat had been badly battered. Franklin was the lookout, and I was at the wheel. We'd tried to put ashore on one of the smaller islands, and been beset by Kappa – we had to push off quickly. The ship – this was in the days I was sailing the Lady Justyce, before you bought me that rather lovely vessel I use now – was taking on water badly, and I was afraid we'd just have to risk it. All of a sudden, Franklin started waving his arms, pointing, shrieking, and going crazy. He'd seen somewhere to land. Without hesitation, I brought us to where he was pointing – there was an island, looming out of the rain. Small, but I could see trees on the shore. As soon as we'd brushed the grass, Franklin had the painter ashore and had us moored to a tree. I don't mind admitting I was pleased to get off the ship and onto the land, as bad as the rain still was.”
    “Where was this island?” Kiella asked.
    “I can't tell that part,” Cobra confessed, “I made a promise, and I'm not sure anyway – but we're getting too far ahead. Let me tell you what I found on the island.”
    “What did you find?”
    “Mongbats. A tribe of mongbats, living in a hut! It was incredible – they all came out of their home, silently, and stood there watching us enter their village. Franklin was beside himself, trying to protect me, but they made no move to attack. One of them, who I took to be the leader, came forward and bowed to me. He spoke – it was little more than squeaks and chittering to my ears, but there was a cadence and rhythm to it that could only be actual speech. I replied that I didn't understand, and he looked at me in evident confusion. To Franklin he spoke next, but it was evident they couldn't communicate either. We were at an impasse.
    “I was taken into the only hut in the village, which was his – I gather the mongbats prefer to sleep under the stars, but gather there when the weather is bad for shelter. It was rather cramped, especially with the village crowded in there, but dry and much cosier than I had expected. He gave me a drink of something warm and rather pleasant, like tea, which I was later to learn they made from dried banana flakes. There were scrolls there, made of treated leaves, and I was able to see some of the pictographs marking them. These mongbats didn't just speak – they could write, as well!
    “I ended up spending a year with those fellows, during which time leadership of the Red Cross passed from me to the others, eventually ending in John's capable hands. In that year, they taught me a lot of their language, and I was able to learn their history and culture. According to Iwazaru, their Lorespeaker – sort of a mongbat bard, if such a thing can be imagined – they were fleeing from the great darkness, when all the stars went out and the lands themselves trembled in pain, which I think is the Shattering, and ended up stuck in Tokuno. They had a body with them, who they refer to as the king before. He was a monkey, like the ones Mondain and Minax used to make the first Mongbats, and he had been tortured, unmade and remade again and again, sewn and moulded until wings twisted him. Our language doesn't do that justice – you cannot convey the depths of misery that Iwazaru put into it. This dead king somehow guided them to their island, where they laid him to rest and planted a sacred peach tree over his body. They raised a statue to him, with jade they brought from the mainland, and revered him as the Stone Mongbat. The other mongbats on the island, less pompous than Iwazaru, called him the Jade Mongbat Ancestor King, Yuhokong. Apparently, his spirit watches over them in all they do. I learned that they farmed the island, fished the seas, and they attributed their intelligence to Yuhokong. The peaches were sacred, and no-one was allowed to eat them.
    “At the end of that year, when I set out to return, their leader Mizaru sent his son – TM, of course – to join me. He wanted to see the world, and learn about our ways of making things. I was telling them that I didn't know how to get home from there, when all of a sudden the statue spoke to me.”
    “It spoke? What exactly was in that tea they gave you?”
    “No, I'm serious. It spoke. It told me it would get me home, but that it might take another year or more. It was a friendly voice, but mischievous. I trusted it, but knew I shouldn't trust it too much. Franklin, TM and I got onto our repaired ship, loaded her with provisions... and before I could so much as wave goodbye to my friends on that island, the ship was lifted into the air on a cloud, and borne away!”
    “You flew on a cloud? Is this what your people call extending my leg?”
    “Pulling, and no. Honestly, that's exactly what happened.”
    “And this cloud brought you home?” Kiella asked, a little sarcasm in her voice.
    “By the virtues, no. It dumped us in the middle of an ocean in Felucca. The voice was right, it took almost another year to get home, and those stories will fill quite a few scrolls.”
    Kiella laughed, blotting her writing carefully. “I think this will do for now. Do you ever plan to go back, and take TM home?”
    “I hope to,” Cobra admitted. “I've been drawing up some charts and trying to find the place again for years, but one day I shall go back. I hope. When you come back, I'll tell you the time I met a mermaid...”
     
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