A candle-maker mocks the dead in the shadow of a church, and a butcher goes fishing for incense. A scholar finds an old sarcophagus, and a blacksmith goes for a swim after gold, and they all now travel outside the ruins of the city, and towards the broken dam.
Fishing in the flooded streets and alleys of Carrowmere was somewhat more bountiful for Victor Grey and Wit Tandoum the next day, and the pair caught a number of significantly sized pike which Catherine began smoking them using the pot-bellied stove they had recovered from the cellar cannibals. Stray Hrad commented that Carrowmere was known for such fine smoked pike before the flood as well.
Meanwhile butcher Orick, harboring concerns and suspicions about dead bodies after all those ambulatory corpses he and Talon had seen in the old town, dragged the ones that had accumulated thus far into an empty home across the street from where they were encamped. Once he had gathered them there he got a small fire burning on the dry tops of the furnishings, and this soon climbed to the rafters and got the whole house to burning in short order. Over the rest of the day it smoldered and fell into rubble, but this thankfully did not ignite the others.
They lay down to rest somewhat more well fed than the day before, as Victor took the first watch.
The front door of the house they slept in was a Dutch one, with a top half and a bottom, each able to be opened independently of the other. Victor heard a very loud thud upon the top half of this door just as the darkness outside became solid, and this startled his companions to wakefulness and him to action. He flung open the top half of the door, and it smacked into the interloper. The light inside the house shone out onto a pale damp figure with a club of some sort gripped in one hand, and Victor did not delay to skewer it with the sharp end of his pole-arm.
He stepped out into the street, and looked about the house. There were no others, so he returned inside and sat quiet while the others began to snore. A great thud came from the western side of the house not long later, and Victor found himself dispatching another pale body. This one was armed with a brick.
Concerned by all the commotion, Wit was eager to help when he was told the walking dead were what kept banging on the house. Victor gave him a rapier and torch, and the two of them sat quiet together for not very long at all before another banging sound was heard. All were awake as he and Wit stepped outside, with Talon close behind. Another pale body stood before them.
Startling everyone with his quickness and precision, Wit lunged forward and pierced the thing through the guts. It crumpled to the ground silently, where Wit swiftly kicked it and then spat on it, before lowering his torch to it and setting it aflame. He had lived up to his own bragging. Talon pushed this body into the deeper waters of the street, and it drifted away.
Those not on watch had only just barely began to lay down when the next thuds came, it seemed. Another pale walker, also quickly dispatched and the set adrift in the water. Out of sheer frustration Orick summoned up the Effervescent Lights of Kwalish so that the others might examine the streets more thoroughly, but no other shambling bothers were seen.
There was a bit later, however, yet another. And then about one hour later, if one had counted, yet another. Each came to the house, and each bashed on it. They kept coming. No one slept enough, if they slept much at all. The only small relief was when dawn began to break very slightly, and Talon was able to prowl the streets and intercept two of these irritants before they reached the home, and then ceased appearing at all by dawn. The water prevented there from being any tracks to follow, to see where they might be coming from.
Despite their exhaustion they would still be leaving, as planned, on the skiff that Stray Hrad would provide them. Between strenuous yawns she told them where it was, near the church of the Optical God, and that she simply must sleep now that the interruptions were over. It was suggested that she use the cellar, after they removed the wrapped body of Sorla Ghyll from within. She went down there with the orphan son of Theodor Brosen, and with some found blankets and cushions made beds for both of them. They slept soundly, but not safely, as the Adventurers then trudged away squinting in the morning light.
Two young and weary men in vestments moaned and wept softly over the crumpled body of an older one who lay bent and broken on the steps below the steeple of the Church of the Optical God. "Our Bishop! Tham Ruesie! they said "He has taken his own life!"
In a voice fully devoid of sympathy, Victor said back plainly "So, he took the cowards way out?"
The young men were startled, but in their grief and fatigue did not register his disinterest. "The relic, the spoon, it was stolen form us!" said the one "He could not bear the shame!" said the other. They showed them around the interior of the church, explained the images in stained glass of the Lens-headed God they served that swung around a spoon. A great concave mirror stood above the altar, and broken clay bowls littered the floor.
After being shown to the skiff that the former mayor had promised them, Wit and Catherine began to nap. Orick meanwhile began to paw through the remains of this church, pocketing candles and vials of oil as he found them. Orick was in search of incense, so that he might perform a ritual that would call to his side a Familiar Spirit. He reasoned that these men had no need of such incense any longer, and they seemed not too disturbed at him taking it from them, at least once he mentioned that they needed to find a cemetery.
"We do not bury our dead in the city!" said one, "That would be a strange custom" said the other. They would need to take Sorla further out.
Orick was quite direct about their incense, had they any more of it? "There was more in the rectory" said one, and where was that? "Down the stairs" said the other, "but it has been flooded". Indeed, it had been flooded. The water allowed Orick and Talon to only scarcely keep their mouths above it, as they pawed through the floating trash and wreckage for several hours, finishing with only a few meager bottles of oil for their troubles. They left the men there without saying much of a goodbye, drifting out into the fields on the opposite flank of Carrowmere atop the modest skiff provided them.
Across the way, nearer to a plaza, there floated the large ship some had mentioned. The name LATIPAN was painted across the side, stout men walked atop it, and heaps of thin bodies were piled the shallow areas just before. Bodies stuck with crossbow bolts, bodies that resembled townspeople and farmers and other refugees from the ruthless water. This was surely the source of many orphans.
They kept drifting, towards the column of rising cloud that signified the site of the ruined dam.
Something glittered across the surface of the dirty water, golden twinkling around a small kind of satchel that bobbed lazily in the water. Victor, who manned the pole, steered the skiff towards it. As he did this, Catherine dove headfirst into the water and began to swim towards it herself. As she entered the water she saw something else near the bag of dust gold: the swell and wake that would be created by a larger swimming creature, one much larger than herself.
As she had begun to swim towards this bag Orick had realized her error, and enchanted her with the Ruby Ray of Reversal. This compelled her to do again what she had just done, which meant that she swam straight out instead of curving as she intended. This ultimately placed her a greater distance from the 9 foot predatory fish that took notice of her right away, once she had entered the water.
She turned about face and began paddling back towards the skiff in a frenzy, as the great pike bore down on her at a moderate but unnerving speed, its big jaws wide open. Orick called up the Effervescent Lights once again, with them this time taking the approximate form of a man. This glowed beneath the water, just in front of the edge of the skiff.
As Catherine was pulled aboard, the pike passed through the glowing man with its jaws gnashing into only glowing water. It turned around to bite again, and Victor pounced atop it like he might mount a wild horse, and with his pole-arm pointing downwards he pierced through the bottom jaw of it with ease. The pike began thrashing as Orick flung himself into the water as well, a meat hook in each hand: this would make a fine meal for everyone gathered upon the skiff, and he did not intend to lose it.
Catherine began tying a knot of rope around the end of another hook to form a sort of anchor, as Talon took careful aim at the fish with his bow. The pike thrashed again and flung off Victor and Orick both, but as an arrow pierced one side of it Orick surged back and dug into the other with his hook. Victor leapt back onto it as well, and then grabbed at the things gills and held tight while reaching for his dagger. Catherine now flung her meat-hook line towards the pike so it could not escape untethered, but it dug into the shoulder of Orick instead. With a groan he pulled it free, and then slashed into the fish once again, holding on to it as the fish attempted to wriggle free. The waters filled with blood, and the great fish floated lifelessly soon after. They would not go hungry for some time from this catch, and what was left of the golden dust was a welcome reward.
Two listless souls bobbed atop a hunk of grayish-greenish wood, covered in mud and leaves. The skiff came towards them, and welcome them to come along if they so wished. This man and woman were happy to join in their weariness, even when told they would need to hold onto the great fish for transport instead of resting upon the skiff.
Talon realized this was no mere log or tree trunk, as these people disembarked. With some mud scraped away by their movement it was clear that this was some sort of great sarcophagus. There was even a face atop the lid, although it was well worn by time and friction and could not be recognized as anyone in particular, though it was certainly someone. They would not investigate this now, but since this was able to float they lashed it to the skiff as well, and drifted on just a bit more slowly with their fish, and these survivors, and their dead.
They recalled what the scholar Tzani had told them about others like her who might investigate the dam and the flood: "Foolish academics most of them, they will certainly not make it far!" He had mentioned two in particular, called Rem Koolhaüs and Ruskin Behavior (pronounced "Be-Ha-Voa"), and openly mocked them as fools.
These two men who stood upon the water without any means of support for but a moment, before it became clear they were standing atop a ruined bridge with a canoe lashed nearby, seemed to be those very men. One was plump and wore a truly garish orange-red scarf, and the other a sickly looking fellow in a rather deflated and pitiful looking hat.
"Behaviour, you are a damn-fool idiot!", shouts the scarf-wearer. "Still your tongue, Koolhaüs, pig-dog-mongrel!" spits the thin one, who slaps the other. "You are a dullard and a dunce Ruskin! A moron!", "I despise your very face!" shouts Ruskin back, with another slap. "Quit slapping me you bastard!" he shouts in a Dutch-like accent, and yet Ruskin slaps again. "A duel!" insists Ruskin, "only a duel will suffice now!" The one called Koolhaüs screamed "FINE" in agreement, and with a sweep of his ends a wave of sparks rains down on Behaviour, who then spread his palms wide and produced what resembled a pane of clear glass in the shape of an egg around him, deflecting this assault. Koolhaüs redoubled this rain of sparks to no avail.
Catherine was perturbed to notice wakes and swells in the water that were all too familiar, ones just like those that had been made by the fish whose body they now towed behind them. Orick found this all both amusing and pointless, and began to interfere in this magical spat with magic of his own. He willed Evard's Frictionless Field to be formed beneath the feet of the two combatants.
Alas, Oricks spell went sour as he willed it into being, and a magical catastrophe began to unfold around him. Firstly, the Frictionless Field appeared below his feet, and coated the whole of the vessel. Secondly, the distortions of magic had caused all things around him to become quite weightless. In addition to this, Christina's eyes had become roiling clouds of thick foggy steam, and blood poured out from Oricks own.
So while slipping on a skiff is already troublesome, Christina slipped, and then spun through the air like a wheel due to the forces of inertia; her steaming eyes creating a somewhat elegant spiral as she rotated off into the air. Talon stumbled and was flying off too. Both Orick and Victor were able to hold on, and so one held out a Pole-arm while the other held out a fishing pole. Though she saw nothing but cloud, Christina was able to grab hold of the fishing rod so Orick might pull her to safety, whiel Victor gripped the Pole-arm and pulled Talon in towards him. Wit held the edge of the skiff for dear life as he toes pointed to the sky.
Both Koolhaüs and Behaviour did not notice this disaster, so engrossed were they in combat. Behaviour gesticulated towards Koolhaüs, and with his roar of frustration rapidly increasing in pitch to a pitiful squeal Koolhaüs reduced in size by 50% "Damn you Ruskin!" he squeaked, before ensorcelling himself so that he might reutrn not only to his typical size, but to then twice that with his mocking laughter deepening to a low rumble. As he did this a truly gigantic pike then emerged from the water and glided between them, before lunging towards them once again and bashing Behaviour into the water, and then latching onto and tearing up the forearm of Koolhaüs with it's numerous and very sharp teeth.
The two refugees from the sarcophagus, meanwhile, were unable to keep hold of the body of the pike and floated up and off of it. As the skiff glided onward they floated back and away, blubbering in confusion. The field that made them weightless was, however, centered on the body of Victor. So they drifted up and away for only a few meters before they were too far for it to affect them, and so then plunged into the water were they began splashing and thrashing hopelessly as skiff continued drifting away.
None were able to pilot it, or slow it down, lest they lose their grip and drift away also. They were in the deeper waters now, where the river once was, and so the skiff floated more quickly as they were waiting for the weight to return to their bodies, catching glimpses of the wizards Koolhaüs and Behaviour falling victim to the well-known pike of Carrowmere.