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Fishing Friday


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Fishing Friday

Kail wakes up early, before dawn, as usual, in his room at the Mortal Guardians guild hall. It's been a few months that he has been here now and it's starting to feel more like home. The morning routine, however, always feels the same. The familiarity is comforting. Having a routine to fall back on helps him cope with the chaotic events of late. Attacks on the guild hall, angering the Dancing Swell, and multiple trips to the Hells... It's been a lot.

He packs up his gear and heads down for a quick breakfast, needing some energy for the morning to come. There isn't much activity in the common areas at this hour. There never has been. Kail likes it that way. More opportunity to clear his head. Grabbing some fruits and bread, he heads out into the streets of Waterdeep.

The streets are quiet, as usual. Almost always the same faces with similar routines: morning guards, bakers, shopkeepers, dock workers getting ready for the days' shipments. And at least the docks, though busier than the residential and commercial areas of Waterdeep, feel safer at this hour too. Most of the dishonest types in the area likely passed out from a late night of drinking or worse. Kail still avoids the general area of the Blushing Mermaid, even if he can handle himself in a fair fight. The Dancing Swell isn't generally known for fair fights.

Kail's path takes him past a now-familiar place, one he had overlooked countless times coming through this area. An orphanage. He notices some work has been done to the grounds and building, likely partially funded by donations from various members of the guild. He also notices a light on downstairs and the faint sounds of crying coming from inside, easier to pick up in the relative stillness of the early morning air. Curiously, and perhaps uncharacteristically, he decides to approach to investigate the matter. As he climbs the steps to the front porch he can see the scene through the window.

The older Gnomish woman that runs the orphanage is sitting in the front room, cradling a young boy, also a Tiefling. The boy is clearly upset about something and whatever the woman is doing is not helping to stop the crying. Kail knocks gently on the glass. The woman looks up and then nods toward the front door. Kail moves toward the door, casting Summon Fey when he is out of sight. Saltina, the small fey spirit, arrives in a more Mirthful mood and guise, resembling a chibi sea hag. She blows a bubble and pokes at Kail's calf. He looks down at her and says "stay out here in the entryway for a minute, I'll call for you at the proper moment." She looks up and nods, plopping down on the floor just inside the door.

Kail takes a deep breath before walking in. He's not good with kids... or adults. But he feels like he has to at least give this a try. He rounds the corner into the room. The young boy stops for a moment, looking up at him, perhaps with just the slightest recognition that they are somewhat the same.

"What's your name little one? Why are you crying?" Kail asks.

"My, my, my name is Flea... I'm sad," the boy responds.

"Why are you sad, Flea?" Kail asks.

"Because" the boy says sadly, looking down at the floor.

Kail shifts, not quite sure how to deal with this. "You know, when I was your age and sad, my dad would take me to the docks to go fishing... I'm going that way now. Would you like to come with me, Flea?"

"Maybe" the boy shyly replies.

"What if I told you I'm bringing a friend with us? We can all be fishing friends together this morning" Kail says as he clears his throat slightly.

A squishing noise comes from the entryway and chibi Saltina peeks her head around the corner. Her seaweed hair half-covers her sideways face, dripping water into fresh, small puddles on the floor. Flea's eyes go wide and brighten as he sees her, his jaw dropping a little bit in awe.

"Who is that?" Flea responds in amazement.

"This is Saltina. She is my friend. She can be your friend too." Kail replies. As he does this, Saltina smiles and blows some bubbles at Flea.

Flea turns to Isohana and asks, "can I go? can I please?"

She nods yes, "but stay out of trouble!"

"We will try," Kail assures her as he walks out hand-in-hand with Saltina and Flea for a fun morning at the piers in the dock ward. Kail sticks to fishing but Saltina and Flea are more playful, chasing birds, blowing bubbles, and spitting into the water. Kids will be kids after all.

They return several hours later. Flea is exhausted and Saltina can only stick around for a few hours before Kail needs to rest to bring her back. When they return, the orphanage is much more active than earlier. The children playing in the yard quickly spot Flea and rush up to find what he has been up to. He already has some fish tales to tell and the others kids run the gamut of emotions from jealousy to amazement as he tells them.

"I want to go! I want to go!" many of them proclaim. "Take me!"

"I will come back next week after breakfast and maybe more of you can go with us, if you are good!" Kail assures them. "Your headmistress will be keeping track, and I will find out!" he adds.

With that, he turns to leave, his own energy spent as well. Saltina teleports to his shoulders to have a ride back to the guild hall. Not a few steps out of sight of the orphanage, she falls asleep on Kail's head, then disappears back to the Feywild as the effects of the summon spell expire.

Kail's mind wanders as he travels the rest of the way to the guild hall. Is it possible to keep her around longer than a few hours at a time? Would she want that? Where does she go when not in this plane and does she like it there? Maybe he could visit her there sometime, somehow...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Fishing Friday, ep. 2

The next Friday comes around quickly, events are always unfolding with the Mortal Guardians. Kail has spent most of the week offshore, tracking down the Horror's Horizon with Mizgos and his crew. Many residents of Waterdeep were affected by the haunting. Kail has no doubt the orphans were affected and saw trouble things over the past several days. Maybe some fun and relaxation will help get their minds off the events.

He makes his way toward the docks district, toward the orphanage, expecting things to be quiet. It's early after all. He summons Saltina shortly before approaching the building, knowing the Flea loves her. She arrives wearing a dress of seashells, clearly ready for a day of playing in the sun.

As the orphanage comes into sight, Kail and Saltina realize there are many eager faces there, expectantly awaiting their arrival. 5 orphans are sitting on the patio of the orphanage, also dressed for a day of fishing and play. Some have waders or galoshes, swimsuits, wide-brimmed hats. They wield their weapons of fishing poles, nets, and sand shovels. It looks like this may be a beach shore fishing day.

How are the two of them going to handle all of these children? Kail secretly hopes Saltina can work her magic on 5 kids as well as she can on just one.

Of course Flea is one of the children. "Some of my friends wanted to come!" He says, excitedly.

They all chime in: "Yeah!" "You said you'd take me!" "I want to play with Saltina!" "I want to catch a shark!" The chorus of voices does not stop.

Isohana appears from inside, roused by the commotion. "We used some of your donation to buy them their gear so they could go with you. Thank you for that. Do you think you can handle all of them?"

Kail's eyes narrow slightly. How hard can it be? No worse than a Kraken at the bottom of the sea, right? It's just a few kids and Saltina is a potent asset.

"There's only one way to find out."

 

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Fishing Friday, ep. 3

Last week's Fishing Friday was a great success, largely due to Saltina's involvement. She had a way with the children and was easily able to handle them. Kail has no idea how the orphans are going to take the news that Saltina has disappeared. Will they even want to go fishing? If so, will he be able to entertain them the way Saltina did? Little Flea is going to be devastated.

Desperately, Kail tries to summon the Fey spirit again. He focuses on Saltina as he does so, as usual, but she does not appear. Instead, a small Boggle shows up. It looks up at Kail with equal parts confusion and mischief. Another failure. Defeated again, Kail pats the Boggle on the head and breaks his concentration, causing the creature to disappear in an oily puddle. A sticky residue remains on Kail's hand from the oil on the Boggle's skin.

With or without help, a promise to the orphans is still a promise. They'd be even more devastated if nobody showed up at all. Or are they used to the abandonment? Kail catches himself... these thoughts have no place here.

He starts the journey toward the orphanage. No lure. No Saltina. He hasn't felt this empty in a long time, maybe ever.

The children are lined up waiting for them again and look a bit confused when they realize it's only Kail that approaches.

"Where is Saltina?" Flea asks. The others look on with expectant eyes.

"She couldn't make it today." Kail replies, "She's... I'm not sure... Lost maybe?" he admits to them.

"Aww well that's okay! I'm sure you will find her soon!" the children encourage. "Are you still going to take us fishing?"

"...If you still want to go, then of course, let's go fishing."

"Let's go!" they announce, triumphantly!

They head off toward the docks for their morning excursion. It doesn't feel quite the same, but Kail has a feeling it will still be a good time. The kids are starting to pick things up and are having even more fun because of it. Less pressure on him, he can start to focus on his own line a bit for a change.

Kail finds himself lost in thought, hypnotized by the ripples and waves, the foam from breaks along piers and rocks, and little whirlpools and patterns in the water. Is that a bubble? A strand of kelp or seaweed hair?

A sharp tug on the line jolts Kail back to reality. This feels like no fish he's fought before. The movements feel more erratic, almost playful. Kail fights to hold on, equally wanting to reel in the catch but also not hurt what's on the other end of the line.

The children notice the struggle and gather 'round to watch. "That must be a GIANT SHARK!" one confidently proclaims. "No it's a SEA MONSTER!" says another. They cheer on the fight.

A slight swell appears in the water, a dark shadow forming near the surface. The shape is still hard to make out but it does appear to be smaller than expected, maybe only a couple feet long. Could it be? Surely not...

Just as the thoughts arrive, Kail snaps backward, almost falling over. The line had broken. The catch was lost. Quickly darting back to the railing of the pier, Kail swears he sees another bubble float up from the surface where the line broke.

Just a trick of the mind, right?

Kail gathers the kids up and returns them home. Another successful day, all things considered. But he can't help but think of the one that got away...

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