As they approach the swamp, they spy something zooming over the waters like an airboat: it's Madame Zyrmina, riding in her cauldron, which is being pulled like a chariot by her two stuffed crocodiles, which glide effortlessly through the air! She ushers them inside as she flies past, crashing through the front door of her hut. When the party enters, they expect to find a mess, but everything appears just as they left it. Zyrmina hobbles over to Rorik and begins sniffing at him. The eldritch knight hands the Heartstone over to the witch, who quickly grabs the gem and stows it in her robes. She ushers everyone over to her cauldron and offers to read their fortunes.
- Nylah - "Watch close, chile, Madame Zyrmina be showin' ya what she showed little Alasima all dem years ago. Now you? Bad juju follows in ya' wake, but ya' stay da course, because ya know dat ALL the sea be on ya side! It be a struggle, but ya day in da sun be close at hand." Wave lets out a triumphant 'HAH-HA' at this.
- Jimothy - "Ooh, lookie here at dis one," Zyrmina says to one of her stuffed crocodiles, poking at Jimothy's breastplate with her cane, "Ya fate was writ 'cross ya skin the day ya mother spat ya out, but the longears took it from you with flame and blade. Still, Madame Zyrmina sees ya all da same. Upright'd be an undastatement to describe you, dat be for sure. Ya got da strength ta fight and forgive, and where others would not take a chance, ya rush headlong inta it."
- Rorik - "Da scales be shiftin' for ya, little man, as ya be sheddin' da skin of da past like so much clothing. But ta you it be a thrill, and ya embrace it with open arms. Be careful ya' don' get bit…"
- Jancer - Jancer asks if Zyrmina sees what he sees, his name in lights, adoring fans at his feet, a veritable horde of undead dancers at his back? "Yes, chile, yes, I do. Ya take centa stage by ya very nature, but sometimes dat be causing ya to lose sight of da world 'round ya. Open ya eyes past da limelight, and ya'll find what ya heart truly be after."
Nylah watches the process intently, and picks up on how to read portents of her own.
Zyrmina thanks the party for returning her stone to her, but asks that they do something about the giant who's still skulking about on the island. Heading back aboard the Mind Flyer, they fly north, to Brolaf's camp, located in a seaside quarry on the north end of Whorlstone Island.
The giant is none too happy to see the party, already knowing that they helped Zyrmina,
"You broke the first rule of the Bro-Code, bro: bros before hoes!"
He commands them to hand over the giant relics taken from Rozavankee's tower (relics he says will pave his people's way to victory in a certain fighting competition), but the party make him a deal: beat Jimothy mano-a-mano and he can have everything.
Jimothy shrugs off his armor with an impressive flex, but Brolaf is not intimidated, scoffing at the little blue goliath and showing off his own GIANT blue physique by putting on a jigsaw shark skin and then throwing it off and puffing out his chest to make himself feel like a big man. The surfer gives a smirk and a nod at Nylah, who hears both Wave and Krog growl in her mind.
"For the glory of Ilmater, I shall break you."
"Ilmater? Maaaan…! Kostchtchie is gonna give that frickin' dweeb the gnarliest pounding ever, bruh. Just like I'm about to give YOU!"
Brolaf and Jimothy grapple with one another, and the paladin prevails, sending his opponent tumbling backwards into the quarry wall with an impressive uppercut to the snowballs. Brolaf knocks his head on rocky shelves as he falls. He grabs a boulder and tosses it at Jimothy, pushing the goliath back. The giant looks over and shoves his hands into the sea, blowing on his wet fists to create icy gauntlets for himself. The surfer laughs as he begins pushing forward towards Jimothy, peppering the ground in front of him with a flurry of punches. Jimmy is hit by one… two… but is then able to roll out of the way. He revels in the pain and runs back around as Brolaf turns to greet him again. He punches, but the goliath dodges, runs up his arm toward his face, jumps, and latches onto his beard, yanking down with all his strength. Brolaf is pulled upside-down in an arc by his beard over Jimothy's head and crashes into the earth on the other side.
The goliath climbs onto the fallen dude-bro's chest, pulls out his macuahuitl of sharpness, and slices off the giant's beard, tying the hair around his waist like a belt. Rorik runs over, and lifts Jimothy's arm triumphantly into the air. HE'S WON!
Nylah takes off the headdress she wears ( the one with Krog's soul gem in it), approaches Brolaf, who is staring despondently at the sky, lifts his loincloth, and jams the soul gem up his ass. A moment later, the giant begins convulsing, then stops just as suddenly, jumps up and roars, "GUESS WHO'S BACK, BITCHES!"
Krog, the once-orc, admires his new frost giant body with glee, and gets into an arm-wrestling match with Jimothy when the goliath tells him that he is still not strong enough to challenge him. Krog loses, just like old times. Jancer convinces him that if he starts saying "Bro", it'll make him stronger. Rorik is very confused about everything that just happened.
Wave tells Nylah that she has greatly pleased Diancastra, as Kostchtchie and his followers are all huge misogynists, and, thus, no friends of the Wanton Wanderer. The trident was going to suggest sacrificing Brolaf to the sea, but turning him to their side (in a manner of speaking) might be even better. Nylah and Wave begin singing 'Blow the Man Down' in triumph as the party set sail, their holds chock full of treasure—enough to enter the Free Captains' Regatta!
That evening, Nylah sends a message via astral streaker to Brap the Ettercap, the carnival tailor. She orders two custom dresses: one for herself, and one for Elspeth. The tiefling volunteers to personally take care of the dwarf, who is getting plenty of bed-rest.
One night while sailing back to Drenchport, Rorik is sitting in Shaela's cabin, keeping an eye on the drow, who has been chained up. She is silent and sullen, which suits Rorik just fine. About an hour and a half into his watch, the candles suddenly snuff themselves out, but Rorik notices that he can see just as well for some reason in the darkness as he could before. He notices a shadow moving independently across the wall. He draws his sword and stands at the ready, but is engulfed in an instant by a cloud of magical 'Darkness'! A spear thrusts past Rorik, barely missing the eldritch knight. Rorik rolls out of the inky black shroud to find a babau attempting to unchain Shaela!
Jancer, who has been reading up on soul gems across the hall (and discovered references to a spell that could allow a person to use such a gem as a means to possess another creature), hears the commotion and moonwalks through the door and uses 'Dispel Magic' as soon as he enters. The cloud dissipates to reveal ANOTHER babau! It seems the one that Shaela summoned brought in a friend.
Rorik slices at the nearest babau with a longsword, but instantly regrets his decision as its demonic flesh not only resists his steel, but coats the blade in an acidic red goo that begins melting it. The babau unchaining Shaela forgets about her almost instantly, and lashes out at Jancer with a spear, while its fellow lets out a burst of 'Fear'. It washes over Rorik and Jancer without effect.
Jancer casts 'Magic Missiles' and absolutely wrecks both babaus. The original tries to grapple Rorik and use 'Heat Metal' on him, but the human uses this chance to drive Snakebite through its belly. The other babau looks at Shaela, shrugs, and lets out a laugh as it fades into the shadows, slips between Jancer's legs, and out a porthole.
For the rest of their trip, Pleedleplop joins whoever is on Shaela guard-duty, but there is not another incident.
At Drenchport, Jimothy sells the two umber hulks that survived Yahil's attack to slavers. He stares one down as it is taken away, but it uses its confusing gaze on him, and he ends up punching Piper. The flying monkey flies away, crying. Jimothy is sad.
Meanwhile, the rest of hte party pay the entry fee for the race, learning that the starting line is a pair of rocky pinnacles known as Beshaba's Antlers (Nylah says "Fuck").
They reach Beshaba's Antlers the following day, and find an armada of ships anchored in close formation. They recognize among them Henrietta Fairwind's Rope Trick, "Smiling" Schmidty's Maiden Voyage, the Master of Gales' Kraken, the Hurricane Queen's Stormfront, and Jorlan Despana's vessel, the Ilvara's Caress.
Nylah takes Shaela, strips her of the golden bikini that she gave her, and rows over to the Ilvara's Caress. Shaela smirks at the tiefling as they go and begins making a snide comment, but the bard tells Algernon to rip the drow's throat out if she speaks again, which shuts even the defiant priestess up.
Undren "Stonehand" Drakebrand is the one to spot Nylah, and he begrudgingly hoists her up after Jorlan orders him to. She drags Shaela aboard and dumps her at the captain's feet, telling him that he can have her back—she's more trouble than she's worth anyway. Jorlan laughs and orders Honemmeth to take her to a holding cell (Nylah gives the warrior a wink as he comes over to retrieve Shaela). Jorlan tells Nylah that he looks forward to beating her and her "Black Antlers" in the race, but Nylah snaps back with a "you act like we haven't beaten you idiots before."
Meanwhile, Jancer goes with Saladesh to request an audience with the Master of Gales. The druid solemnly thanks the necrodancer for the ship they brought him ("know that it fed the sea well"), and gives him the route for tomorrow's race, which the Master will be officiating. Jancer leaves Saladesh behind to chat with the Master of Gales about the Wind Dukes of Aaqa as another gift to the honored druid.
Henrietta 'Hoist-the-Colors' Fairwind pays the party a visit, her crew bringing aboard a treasure chest full of ice and jam-packed with alcohol! It's Regatta's Eve party time!
Before festivities can commence, another ship comes up alongside the Mind Flyer—it's "Smiling" Schmidty. Evidently, he and Henrietta have a past, and the two begin trading barbs. Schmidty points to Rorik and says that he's way too cool to hang out with chumps like these, and invites the eldritch knight to join his crew. Rorik looks to "Breezy" and the others and refuses. Schmidty is taken aback and says, "Wha—?! Nobody says no to "Smiling" Schmi— I mean… heh! Maybe you're not as cool as I thought."
Frost giant Krog steps up, "No, but I am," and lets out a blast of arctic breath that freezes Schmidty's smug smile. Henrietta and the rest all laugh him and his crew off. Nylah hops back aboard and gives Krog a toast before hurrying downstairs, where an astral streaker is waiting for her, alongside two newly-made dresses!
Nylah puts on her own dress, and goes to Elspeth's room to 'show it off'. The dwarf is surprised and tells the tiefling that she looks "absolutely beautiful", which causes Nylah to suddenly feel bad, rushing back to her room to show Elspeth that she got one for her too!
"I-is that for me?"
"No, it's for Jancer. Of course it's for you, you dork, I told you I was going to make you a princess!"
Elspeth is absolutely stunned, as this is the first time she's ever had a dress of her own before, having only worn "an old blanket like one when I was a wee lass." She changes (the dwarf tells Nylah to turn around, but the tiefling says "Nope" without any hesitation), and nervously grabs Nylah's hand as they head into the hallway. Jancer comes downstairs to find them, and sees them there. He gives Nylah finger-guns and runs back up, clearing his throat to make an announcement,
"Ladies and gentlemen, living and dead, I now have the honor of presenting the name-sake of our righteous crew, Nylah Ventus, and a very special girl who's near and dear to all of our hearts, Elspeth Varkestone!"
There's clapping and admiration as the two women come out on deck. Jancer begins waving his Rod of Conducting, creating a nice tune that Nylah and Elspeth begin to waltz to. Rorik goes over to "Breezy", who is staring off into space as she stands dutifully by the mast, and holds out a hand (catching himself before holding out the wrong hand and reminding "Breezy" that she… kind of lost one of her hands). The woman is happy to join the eldritch knight for a dance. The rest of the party quickly join in, with Henrietta's fairy first-mate fluttering over the festivities and sending pixie dust sprinkling down that makes everyone begin to levitate off the ground in a shower of beautiful golden sparkles. Elspeth and Nylah kiss.
As the night goes on, everyone starts to hit the liquor, especially Rorik, who becomes incredibly inebriated. Breezy helps him downstairs to his room and tucks him into bed like a burrito. Meanwhile, Elspeth and Nylah go into the tiefling's room and start to, ahem, 'rock the boat'.
Up top, Jancer suggests that he, Henrietta, her pixie first mate, Pleedleplop, and Algernon, go over to Schmidty's ship and spike his water stores with Dancing Monkey Juice. They sneak aboard easily enough, and do the deed. Then, they hear someone coming down the hall towards them. Henrietta shakes her pixie first mate over her head and turns invisible, while Jancer casts 'Invisibility' on himself, Pleedleplop, and Algernon. They slip out a porthole and back to the Mind Flyer, giggling all the way.
As the night winds down, Nylah and Elspeth lay in bed together. The dwarf thanks Nylah for an amazing night, and tells the tiefling that… that she loves her. Nylah smiles and says, "I know", leaning in to kiss her on the nose. Algernon comes in a moment later, and Elspeth overcomes her past fear of the wyrmling to cuddle with him squished between her and Nylah as they doze off.