Last time on The Evertree, the party ventured forth to their Cool Ship and learned that the apocalyptic weather made the ship’s whales sick. How will they ever reach the Very Definitely Final Dungeon? Find out after the cut.
The water turned lighter after they reached open waters. Still, the air felt heavy and oppressive, in part, Abeke knew, because everyone felt a little bit anxious. Uraza’s tail swished restlessly, and Abeke knew it wasn’t just because they were on a ship — Uraza’s least favorite form of travel. In fact, everyone’s spirit animals seemed slightly on edge.
Well, of course you’d be on edge while on your way to the Very Definitely Final Dungeon. At least Dorian’s trying to distract the party by teaching them how to fire cannons, but his lesson is interrupted by Finn and Maya chasing after their spirit animals.
The party continues their voyage through the not!Mediterranean, passing scorched farms and Conqueror-controlled cities along the way. Rollan makes his resentment toward Replacement Mentor Figure Dorian quite obvious the whole time. Eventually they stop at Balanhara, a port town in the not!Middle East, to restock supplies.
It’s here that the party finally sees the global war’s effect on everyday life.
Balanhara has been besieged twice by the Conquerors before they finally stormed through. Many of the buildings have been demolished, the harbor is almost entirely destroyed, beggars overrun the streets, funeral processions wind through the city, and the vendors at the market sell rotten meat. Overall, it’s not a pleasant place to visit.
Our Protagonists pick up some meat buns for everyone from the market. On the way back to their Cool Ship, however, they run into some war orphans. Rollan, once a lowly street urchin himself, decides to give the orphans all the food they bought. His noble deed ends up being a poor choice, because the party is overwhelmed by beggars. Things only get worse when the orphans realize that they’re getting handouts from the summoners of the Four Fallen.
Suddenly, someone starts firing into the crowd! Despite the chaos, our Protagonists manage to reach the harbor unscathed. Dorian is displeased that the party drew the Conquerors’ notice because of Rollan’s random act of kindness. Rollan gets pissed at Dorian’s reaction, claims that Tarik would’ve been proud of the party’s actions, and calls Dorian out for being an obvious Replacement Mentor Figure.
Unfortunately, Balanhara was the Point of No Return, so our Protagonists are locked into traveling to the Very Definitely Final Dungeon. But the party’s glad that they fed some war orphans, so … yay?
Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:
The people of Balanhara made copies of the McGuffins as offerings to the Great Beasts.
Abeke spotted a seagull following the party while they were buying supplies. She thinks it was a Conqueror’s spirit animal sent to spy on them, since she sees it during the ambush. By the end of the chapter, she thinks the seagull’s appearance was just coincidence.
Dorian seems to be aware that he’s a Replacement Mentor Figure: he visibly reacts to Rollan’s rant at the end of the chapter. At the end of the chapter, Dorian reveals that he and Tarik joined the Greencloaks at the same time and trained together.
Next time: Why, hello there, Very Definitely Final Dungeon!