Orithia- Skull & Shackles
Journal of Abdul-Khidamun
Day 405 (Ship Day 1)
I awoke in a small dark room with a handful of allsorted others. They are a varied bunch, but fate has thrown us together. We have been taken aboard a ship and have been tasked with becoming crewmembers. This is an odd turn of events, but nevertheless I should see what journey this path takes me down. The rest of the day continued to be eventful; myself and the other new crew were assigned duties according to our abilities. Two fellows were given the role of ‘riggers’, this was decided by a climbing contest. This was an interesting experience as one of the new crew appeared to take an instant dislike to be and shouted abuse in a language I did not understand. Afterwards I was assigned to the role of ’cook’s mate’; which I volunteered for given my exerience of cooking Skillers. The other 3, two women and a male half-orc, were given the role of ‘swab’. I am glad I avoided this role as from what I can tell of the other crew around me, the swabs have a tedious role.
I was introduced to the ship’s cook, Ambrose, who seems an amenable, but druken fellow. I am sure he is grateful to have someone to do his work for him, but I wont complain, as I look forward to the challenge. Later in the same day an older crew member was punished for a misdeed by keelhauling. This appeared to be a most painful and elaborate execuation which I will endevour to avoid.
I have also been given something that the other crew call ‘rum’. I had tried rum previously, but this new liquer was wholely new to me and most unpleasant. It made me most unwell, but I was informed that it was a mandatory part of being onboard the ship, and having seen what happens to those that disobey, I obliged.
Day 406 (Ship Day 2)
This morning we were greeted by some other crewmembers who seemed to be determined to start a fight. I protested and attempted to dissolve thier violent intentions, but it was to no avail and a conflict ensued. For my part in the dispute I was given 6 strikes from a long leather cord, which is refered to as a whip. This was a wholely unpleasant experience, and I will attempt to avoid any further punishment.
Day 408 (Ship Day 4)
The last two days have been relatively uneventful. I have been cooking for the crew, mostly with the absence of the ship’s actual cook, and attempting to integrate myself into the crew. Today myself and the other new arrivals were sent to the deepest reccesses of the ship to clear out a nest of vermin. The rats we found were much larger than I have seen before, and required a great deal of aggression on our part to dispatch them. Unfortunately several of us, including myself, were biten, and I was informed that it is likely that these creatures carried disease. On this ship, with the lack of privacy and time to recover, I do hope I am able to overcome the illness quickly.
Day 409 (Ship Day 5)
I am fortunate that I seem unaffected by whatever contagions the vermin carried, and am able to continue with my duties without incurring any lashes. However, in the evening, the crew put on some sport, by forcing one of us new arrivals to fight a creature that has the form of a man, but acts like a beast. I have heard of such things, but had not yet had contact with one. I was curious to see how such a beast would behave in combat, so I volunteered myself for the combat. Unfortunately, the creature suffered from the gracelessness of man, and the myopia of a beast. It was clear that the beast had no heart for the fight, but in such a situation I felt it would be more merciful to quickly subdue it than to prolong its torture, as several times it attempted to break off the fight, but was only thrown back in.
I do regret the encounter with the beast, which I am told is called ‘Owlbear’. I had hoped to be able to learn something of how the mind of an animal would act inside the shell of a man. What I learned was that it would attack an opponent it felt inferiour with ferocity, but quickly switch tactic at any sign of resistence. I suppose in a way that is true of all men, but never have I seen it so salient and parodied as in this creature.
I will attempt to show the beast some kindness in the future. I suspect that, like a dog, now that it knows who is it’s superior, it will quickly fall to heel.
Day 411 (Ship Day 7)
We have been experiencing the most vicious storms these last two days. All the crew have been frantic in thier attempts to keep the ship from breaking apart. I have also been exposed to a most immodest scene. All the women aboard, save a select few, striped off their shirts to expose themselves. I have never before seen such indecency and I can not claim to fully understand the reasons for it. They claim it was to appease their sea god ‘Basmara’, but if he is impressed by such things I truely doubt he is a god of much repute or power. However, I kept this opinion to myself to avoid the scorn of the crew.
Due to the weather, much of the crew shelters below decks, in quite close confines. This has brought me into contacgt with a woman called ‘Badger’ from Alaris, who hails from one of the more southern regions. While she still speaks the Qadi, it is clear that she is more at home aboard this ship than she would be back in her homeland. I mourn the loss of a fellow Alarisian soul, who has cut ties with her heritage and her spirituality. Nevertheless, I shall endevour to rekindle the flame of our home within her, and hopefully illuminate her path.
Day 413 (Ship Day 9)
The last few days have been very hard on the crew, and as such mistakes have been made by many, including myself. I am still unused to a ship of this size and have little understanding of how to handle the larger sails. As such I have now experienced what the rest of the crew call ‘The Cat’. It is a wicked weapon that inflicts a great deal of pain and suffering. I cannot say I would be happy to receive such a thrashing again, but I was fortunate enough to remain conscious throughout. I would hate to have to find some way to re-experience it.
Day 415 (Ship Day 11)
This day brought with it a pleasant blend of the old and new. I was sent off to catch some crabs for the crews’ dinner. This almost made me feel back home, the cool waters and the hot sun were very reinvigorating. However, not all was so blissfully reminiscent. While crabbing myself and a few others were set upon by some large beasts that were later described to me as reefclaws. They resembled lobsters, but were the size of a small man and covered in cruel, poisoned barbs. Fortunately we were able to kill them without any serious injuries, and afterwards Ambrose taught me a delightful recipe for Reefclaw Soup.
Day 417 (Ship Day 13)
This has been a very eventful day. Firstly, for the last two days the wind has become very weak, and eventually died altogether. This is an understandable disaster for a ship with limited supplies, but it was incedible how quickly the crew started to blame others for nature’s whim. The especially turned upon a half-orc called Jasper, who was captured with me two weeks ago. They claimed he was cursed, and tried a great many suggestions for someway to break it, including attacking the mast. This seemed a most counterproductive solution. Eventually they decided that Jasper, myself and the others who were captured recently should row to a nearby island and sacrifice a noble Boer Goat. He had been kept below in the stores for meat! Fortunately the fellows I were with were amenable and allowed me to free the him once we reached the island. While the island isn’t as fine a home as I would have liked to have provided, it was still preferable to a life as a prisoner.
It seems that the sacrifice was merely a pretence, and our true goal was to capture more unwitting souls for the ship. There were four people stranded on this island, and they were near the point of starvation, so they reluctantly agreed to follow us. However, this island wasn’t as uninhabited as it appeared, and several small creatures, called ‘gremlins’ attacked us. They were scaley, slimey creatures, which walked like a man, but were the size of a young boy. We killed them in self defence, but they were led by an evil hag, who would surely hunt and kill the goat once we had left, so to protect him the hag had to be killed. I am unsure of the motivations the others had for killing the hag, but their help was invaluable. I am starting to feel humbled amongst my fellows, as some, particuarly a man called Titus, possess a fine martial prowess. However, I am still learning, and training, so I hope to stand with them on equal footing soon.
I got the feeling that it was in fact this hag that had caused to drop in the wind, as the wind returned as soon as she died. This pleased the crew, and turned their muderous attentions away from the innocent Jasper.
Day 419 (Ship Day 15)
Today myself and my fellow captives were taught how to board another vessel. It was simple enough, but the man Titus seems to delight in competing with me. This even drives him to sabotage my efforts. I do not understand what I have done to offend him, but I will do my best to avoid his frustrations.
The lesson when fairly well, but having it troubled me. I do not wish to be a part of an attack on any ship. While sailing as a trader I heard of many tales of pirate attacks, and know them to be brutal and bloodly. Few people are spared, and many are killed simply for the evil enjoyment of killing. While I feel it would a valuable experience to live through a pirate raid first had, I do not relish the thought of ending an innocent life in pursuit of riches.
Day 425 (Ship Day 21)
The last three days have been almost unbearable. It started with myself hearing a cry from the bilges while I was working in the kitchen. I went out to investigate and found that Mameha, the exotic woman who was captured with me, was being attacked by two ruffians. Not knowing who had instigated the attack, but seeing that Mameha was badly hurt, I jumped down to attempt to diffuse it. However, I was quickly turned apon by the ruffians and was overpowered. I was knocked uncoscious by a blow to the head and regained consciousness in a small metal box. I spent a long time in this box. I now know that it was just over a full day, but it felt like a lifetime. The box was on deck, and the punishing sun heated the box to an unbearable temperature. I was trapped in a constant waking nightmare, not knowing if I was sleeping or awake. Fortuantely, the kindly sailor woman called Sandara was occasionally allowed to give me some water. I also found that I was in a box next to Mameha. Her occasional conversations kept me going through the suffering, but I was grieved that so gentle a flower must also suffer such a fate.
When I was eventually let out I was given merely a few hours to recover before being informed that we were about to launch an attack on a trading ship. I went out on deck to prepare myself, and to my horror saw that the ship we were about to attack was an Alarisian trading vessel. The battle was quickly joined, but my heart was not in the fight. MY brothers were being killed by the people I have come to know as friends. I dispaired at the sight, but was eventually forced across to the other ship by the treats of those behind me.
On board I encountered a Suli and his soul-bound Efreeti. They proved a powerful pair and I was overcome by a blow to the head from the Efreeti. The regained my senses briefly a few times during the fight, but all I remember is seeing blood and carmage and chaos. Such violence I had never seen before. The crew of the Alarisian vessel were being butchered, dozens died in a matter of minutes and all I could do is stand an watch and mourn. A small part of me was lost in that fight. I felt so powerless, so lost. The hate in men was never more aparrant than that moment. Lives lost over the hope of gold.
After the fighting I went back to the kitchen and sat there fore many hours. I was at the point of collapse, but I dreaded what horrors my dreams may bring. I now see the purpose of the Pilgrimage. I would have never believed, or truely felt, what I do now if I were merely told it. To experience this is to know man, and to fear the cruelty that lives in us all.
Day 426 (Ship Day 22)
I was relieved to hear that several of the crew of the Alarisian ship, called The Man’s Promise, had survived and agreed to join the crew. Among them, the Suli Soul-Bound, who I found was called Kitesh. He is a quiet man, not quick to anger, but as I know, a powful advesary. I had heard of the Soul-Bound before, but had never met one. So in my spare time, I attempted to converse with him and learn from him.
With the addition of a new ship, new crew had to be sent over to man it. Myself and my fellow cpatives, as well as Ambrose, Sandara and several others who had treated me kindly were sent over. So too was Kitesh, and several of the crew who had taken an active dislike towards my fellows. The next few days will surely prove eventful, as tensions aboard The Man’s Promise are very high, and near breaking point.
Day 430 (Ship Day 26)
My predictions have proven true. The crew aboard The Man’s Promise have mutinied and killed the captain. It was a mercifully short battle, with few deaths, and after the captain fell the remaining hostile crew quickly gave up the fight. However, during the battle some strange creatures appeared on deck. They appeared as frogs crossed with men, and I do not know if they were somehow summoned, or appeared by chance, but they attacked indiscriminately and chose no side amongst thew warring crew. Unfortunately in the combat one of my fellow captives, Edward, suffered a grievous injury, and lost a leg. He lives, but will have to suffer with his loss for the rest of his life.
I regret that violence was called for, but know that without drastic action myself and those of the crew who had shown us kindness would have met with an unkind fate. After the fight a count was taken and we were found to be missing Sandara and another crewmate who I do not know. We believe that they had been taken by the foul creatures that appeared during the battle. Titus again proved himself a useful ally by discovering that the creatures were residing on a nearby island, and so that is the likely location of our missing crew.
One problem with the mutiny was quickly revealed in that we now had to decide on a new captian. Both Mameha and Edward were in competition for the role. Both had strong claims to the role, but I felt that both were too eager. I am suspicious of their true motivations, as I would not want to replace one cruel tyrant with another. However, eventually they decided to share the role. This appears to me a flawed idea, but I am happy to see what comes of it. Mameha will lead the ship during normal sailing, but Edward will assume command during battle, which I can agree with, as I find it hard to see such a gentle creature as Mameha leading a charge or ordering an attack.
The rest of the ship’s roles were placed according to who the crew felt would best fill the roles. I stayed as the cook’s mate, as I enjoy my work, and as I feel I am getting quite proficient in the kitchen. Unfortunately though, there was no-one to take the role of ship’s surgeon/carpenter, and for some reason I was asked to take the role, at least until Sandara is found. I reluctantly accepted, but found my task much more difficult than I imagined. Firstly we had been experiencing another storm, which had caused us to collide with a reef, causing some damage to the hull of the ship. Also, I had to tend to Edward’s leg, something I was wholely inexperienced at. Gratefully, Badger aided me and between us we were able to make adequate repairs to the ship and staunch Edward’s wound. However, I do hope we find Sandara soon as I do not feel that a life as a surgeon is what I am best suited to, and although I am glad to have experienced it, I am eager to hand the role to someone more capable than myself.
Day 432 (Ship Day 28)
Such pain as I have never known. I am currently lying on the surgeon’s table, under the gentle care of Sandara, who we were able to rescue. Myself and several of my fellows went to the island in search of Sandara and the other missing crew member. After some time we eventually found an underwater cave which we believed to be where they were being held captive. As one of the better swimmers I went in first, but soon discovered the cave filled with vile creatures the others called ‘Greendiloes’. They fought ferociously agianst our intrusion, but we eventually managed to beat them back, with a great deal of difficulty. However, eventually we came to a large chamber. Within this chamber was a creature born of both the ocean and hell. It was larger than a fishing boat and lashed out with many wickedly barbed tentacles. We fought it defensively, trying to make sure no-one would be snared in it’s grasp, but in a cruel moment my leg was siezed and it plunged me feet first into it’s mouth. I remember little of what happened after that, but I awoke back on board the ship, with Sandara standing over me. I am in such pain, looking down I see what remains of my left leg. It is a mangled stump below the knee, and I was told I was lucky to have that much. I’m not sure what kind of fate awaits me now. I have lost something most precious to me. It will take a long time for me to be able to return to my normal life. I doubt I could even stand as I am now. Sandara informs me that with a wooden leg I should be able to walk around, and possibly still even swim. In my current condition her words ring hollow and meaningless. Even still, I am glad to have so caring a healer. I am eternally grateful to her, and others, who managed to bring back to safety. To have ended my story in that cave would have brought no good to anyone.
Day 433 (Ship Day 29)
I reluctantly went with several of the crew back to the island today. The ship is in desperate need of wood, water and food, as the storm had caused much of the ship to be damaged, and stores lost. With my missing leg I stayed on the beach and aided the cutting and transporting of the trees on the beach. I began work on crafting a wooden leg for myself and Edward. I have several ideas for how to improve on the standard design which should return some specific function to the user. Edward’s will be made with a hooked end, which should help him with climbing rigging. Mine will more likely have a flattened end, like a flipper, to help me with swimming. It is unlikely that either of us will ever return to how we were.
Titus, Memeha, Gian, Jasper and some other crew members ventured further into the island to see if there was any useful supplies to be found, and more importantly, to find a fresh supply of water. They succeeded, but returned gravely wounded, and Jasper was deathly ill. I was told he was infected with a Ghoulish sickness, which if it should kill him will return him as a flesh eating monster. I surely hope we can find a way to help him.
These last few days have been a terrible experience. To experience so much pain, suffering and violence in such a short time, it has been an awakening for me. I have decided to dedicate myself to ‘The Way of the Bent Knee’. As such I pledge myself to the captians and officers of this ship. I will serve them in whatever way they require of me, and I will do so until the end of my journey. They have earned my respect, and so they shall have my obedience. I know my father would be dissapointed, but I cannot live my life by his way. The always wished I would choose ‘The Way of the Closed Fist’ like him, but I feel a life of trying to forge my own way with violence and aggression is not for me. I have seen what happens when men use force to take what they want, and I will not walk down that path. My path is set now, with this ship, and this crew. They will guide me, and I them, and together we shall forge our own way.
Day 436 (Ship Day 32)
The last few days have been pleasantly uneventful. I have had some time to recover by health and spirit. I have been able to carve myself a leg out of some palm wood we recovered on the island, and now I am able to move around again with relative haste. While I mourn the loss of my limb I must try to make do with what I still have. Fortunately my work rarely involves much running or climbing, or else I think I would have far more difficulty fulfilling my duties. I have also been spending several hours training in my new combat style. ‘The Way of the Bent Knee’ favours defence and holding one’s position, which is serendipidous considering my new state.
This evening we have sighted Rickity Squibs, a place I am told we can alter the ship’s appearance, so that we are harder to spot as being ‘The Man’s Promise’. This will be invaluable in avoiding Captain Harrigan’s wrath.
Day 438 (Ship Day 34)
I have cherished being back aboard land for more time than it takes to kill it’s inhabitants. I have spent some time regaining my ‘land legs’ and walking in the woods that surround the town. I have also had the opportunity to earn some money by setting up a small food stall. I have mainly been selling food that typifies the food I would have eaten at home, although it must be adapted to accomodate the lack of certain ingredients.
However, less enjoyable was a sudden attack by a swarm of freakishly large wasps. They killed several of the towns people, but fortunately the crew of the Man’s Promise were able to escape alive. I am no longer surprised by the sheer consistency of the leathality of these islands. No matter where we go, or what we do, deadly monsters are not far behind. It feels almost as if there is some powerful force at work, guiding these creatures to us, as a punishment, or test. Either way, I am determined to survive, and to live long enough to return home and speak my story to my people.
Day 439 (Ship Day 35)
Today, my companions and myself narrowly avoided a conflict with a highly regarded pirate captain. It seems he was in need of the Squibs services, and as our ship was currently in the dry dock, we reached somewhat of an impass. Fortunately we were able to strike a deal. We agreed to undertake a mission for him where we will attack a fort, and in return he will not kill us and take our gold. It was unexpected, but fair, considering the alternative. However, I do not look forward to the assault. It will surely be grueling and dangerous, and will involve attacking those with which I have no quarrel. On the other hand, I have been doing that for some time now, so am getting used to it. I am beginning to miss my home, and the peace and tranquility of the life I lead there, but while I am here, I will attempt to walk the path that is being laid out before myself and my companions and learn from it as best I can.
Day 440 (Ship Day 36)
We set sail again today. In some ways I was glad to be back on the ocean. I’m starting to feel more at home on the sea than on land. I have my role to fill and I enjoy my work. However, the peace onboard was broken by a surprise inspection of the crew’s lockers and possessions. I can understand the Captains wanted to avoid any leathal conflicts onboard, but forcibly searching the crew has been terrible for their spirit. Tensions are running high, and I fear that soon there will be an unpeasant situation for the officers, as they lose the support of the crew.
I feel that I should attempt to help calm the crew. I have been making sure that the crew are well fed and have plenty of access to the ‘rum’ they like, but its not enough. I’m not sure what more I could do at this moment, but certainly something needs to be done.
It’s times like this I wish I had an intimate relationship aboard this vessel; someone with who I can share my thoughts and desires. I have been watching many of my other companions and have seen them grow very close to other members of the crew: Gian has Cog, Titus has Samms, Jasper has Rosie. My closest friend aboard this ship is Ambrose, and while I enjoy is sporadic bouts of curse words and infeasable stories, I would like to have someone who cares for me. I am becoming quite lonely. I have found myself a one-legged cook’s mate, aboard an unknown pirate vessel, with noone who knows me. Nevertheless, this is the path that has been laid before me, and I must trust that it has been done so for a reason. I will walk my path and learn from the experiences it brings.
Day 441 (Ship Day 37)
Today we met with another ship in order to plan the attack on the fort. I missed much of what was exchanged between the captains as I was busy below deck, but from what I can gather we will stealthly unload the fort of it’s bounty while the other ship distracts the fort’s defenders.
I must admit I am slightly hesitant about engaging an enemy I know nothing about, and could be good men. However, we honourably entered into this deal, and so I have no choice but to assist the captains in their assault of the fort. I have also begun to challenge my previously held notions of good and evil. It is evil to attack a man in order help another? I’m not sure. I had been taught to only use violence as a last resort, but here, on these wild oceans it seems to be the currency and the one universal language. Besides, I have never before attacked an Urnst fort. I hear their soldiers can be quite proficient and dedicated; I look forward to testing myself against them. It will surely be an experience to remember.
Day 442 (Ship Day 38)
Once again I came perilously close to death today. We launched our attack with the rising sun, using it to our advantage to approach the fort undetected. However, we were still spotted before we made it to the walls and were fired upon, luckily resulting in little harm. At the walls a crane manned by some of our allied pirates began lowering good down to our ship. However, their position was very hazardous, so serveral of the crew, myself included scaled the walls to go to their aid. Unfortunately the walls were well defended and we lost three of the four allies in the fort. Jasper was also forced to destroy the crane in a dramatic fashion to slow the reinforcements. This prevented us from obtaining all the good we could, but at this point the heavy weapon at the fort had been brought to bear against us, and there was no way for us to hold our position. Even Gian, posibly the most capable of my companions, was badly hurt and required aid in escaping with the rest of us.
Once back aboard the ship we set sail again, but found that the inhabitants of the fort had a ship of their own and were giving chase. Having had a head start, they soon caught us and Captain Mameha was forced to ram the enemy ship. This worked quite well in our advantage, as it caused far more damage to them than us, and allowed Titus to throw a barrel filled with fire onto the deck of the pursuing vessel! However, it did mean we were within baording distance, but we were fortunate and defended ourselves well. We were even able to press our advantage back over onto the enemy ship. This gave the crew an opportunity to engage in their most favourite of activities: steal what you see. I cant say I approve, but in order to fit in I felt I should give it a go. Although, we had limited time, as an explosion below decks caused the enemy ship to start sinking. I was surprised by this, as I assumed that there was no honour to be found in these waters. These Urnst soldiers would rather die than become slaves to their enemies; which also applied to their vessel.
With this over we regrouped with our allies and split the spoils. I’m not certain, but I think I saw some of the crew hiding some of the shared bounty in hidden compartments at the behest of the Captains. I’m sure they had their reasons, but I am uncomfortable betraying men who put their lives at risk to help us. However, I held my tounge, as I did not see everything, and besides, I am only the cook’s mate and my word has little sway on this ship. This is something I am, and should, coming to accept. Earlier today, while being pursued by the Urnst ship I attempted to help the crew by preparing them mentally for, what I perceived, as a certain battle. However, this caused many of the crew to prepare themselves physically, and by doing so removed themselves from vital positions. I should learn from now on to keep myself removed from speaking out of turn and remember that I am not a sailor, I am only a humble fisherman. By pretending otherwise I only harm others and myself.
Day 443 (Ship Day 39)
Today’s sailing was quite pleasant and relaxed. Also, Captain Mameha asked if I would be willing to take the position of ship’s carpenter. I was slightly surprise and flattered. I accepted, but am fairly hesitant about if I will be competent. I have helped repair fishing boats back in Karubaq, and my recent experience with carving has helped remind me of some of the old tricks, but still, a large ship such as this is beyond me. Nevertheless I will try my best. We ended the day moored in an inlet close to where the crew were promised that we would find riches and plunder.
Since today had gone well I felt it was a good opportunity to discuss my idea for helping raise the crew’s morale. I suggested that a friendly boxing evemt might help the crew to vent some of their frustrations. It was often the case at home for the men to fight if they had some kind of quarrel. It was always well regulated and overseen by an elder, and would often resolve the issue before it had a chance to fester. In the absence of an elder I offer that I oversee the fights. However, when I finished explaining the rules I suggested that Titus demonstrate the rules by challenging a crew member. I was quite surprised when he challenged me. I know Titus is a good fighter, so I thought he could display his prowess to the crew in order to improve his esteem amoung the crew. However, I do not pull my punches.. and neither did he. We were both injured from the fight, but since I defeated Titus my plan slightly backfired.
Later that night I was woken to the sounds of fighting above me. I got out of bed and rushed out to see what was happening, but ran straight into a group of strange creatures outside the crew’s quarters. They appeared to me to be a cross between a shark and a man, wielding spears and crossbows. I decided to fall back to the stairs in order to draw the creatures away from the sleeping crew and to force them to come at me one by one. I was unfortunately still quite painful from by bout with Titus and so struggled. Thankfully I had Jasper and Sandara at my back to help, and Gian and Ben quickly appeared to lethal effect. With that over I returned to my bed to recover.
I am continually surprised by Gian’s deadly efficiency. She seems to strike quickly and always with brutal accuracy. I think it would be wise to stay on her good side. Thankfully she seems to have taken a liking to me and presented me with a cake for helping her in the raid on the fort. I was very grateful for her gift and shared it with some of my friends on board the ship.
I was also invited to join Titus, Jasper, Rosie and Edward for what they call a ’Gentleman’s Club’. This name confused me as Rosie is neither a man or gentle, but when I queried this I was quite fiercly rebuked, so I think it would be better to leave it alone. I am grateful for the invite and I feel that maybe I am starting to be accepted.
Day 444 (Ship Day 40)
We had planned to leave our mooring today, but as we travelled up the inlet we encountered a huge ship which I was told belonged to the Capataverate. I had heard of them, but didn’t think I would find myself in such immediate danger from them.
After some scouting it was decided that we should sabotague the ship in order to slip past without fear of pursuit. I volunteered to help the boarding party as I felt that I could more easily damage vital components. We waited till the cover of darkness and made our attack. In the group was Titus, Jasper, Gian and myself. We managed to get aboard relatively easily, but once inside the rudder room we attracted the attention of some the enemy sailors. I helped Titus hold back the sailors while Gian and Jasper disabled the rudder before making our escape. We mostly managed to escape without injury, except for Gian who took a brutal wound from a crossbow bolt as we swam away. She was worryingly close to death before Sandara was able to stop the bleeding, but I am told she will make a full recovery.
Day 445 (Ship Day 41)
Today has been fairly uneventful. I have been continuing with my duties as Ship’s Carpenter. I think I am certainly gettting a feel for the work. Gian has been recovering, and I managed to find time to bring her some Shorbat, she seemed to appreciate that. I’m glad Cog also managed to find to visit.
I am told that tomorrow is going to be a big day. We have a map with the locations of various lizard nests. As far as I know these lizards are large and vicious creatures. They attack without provocation and without mercy. I am also told that they have a tendency to hoard gold. I am helping Ambrose prepare tomorrow’s breakfast in advance as we plan to attack with first light. I hope all goes well tomorrow, I am getting a little tired of constant violence.
Day 446 (Ship Day 42)
I was very much lied to. As I write this I am sitting on a beach watching a village burn. The attack didn’t go quite as I expected. I was informed that we would be attacking simple animals, but instead we came up against organised defences. These lizard-people were more than animals, they had homes, leaders, families. This is surely the last time I trust Titus’ word.
The attack itself was hard going. We lost one of the crew and several others were badly wounded. Gian once again found herself on the receiving end of a vicious injury. I can’t help but feel sorry for her, she has been having a hard time of late. Also, Jasper, in an attempt to aid me was terribly wounded, losing an eye in the process. I will do what I can to repay him for his valour. However, I have no sympathy for Titus, despite the injuries he received. His leading of the crew was laughable. His ‘orders’ were to stay onboard the ship and attack from afar, which is a decent plan, but of course the crew, upon sight of a huge statue of gold, jumped overboard and made for the shore. However, Titus’ true error lay in the handling of the disobedience. He scolded them like children, grown men and women. Even in my peaceful home would such flagrant disobedience warrant more than a ‘telling off’. I am also beginning to question the wisdom of having two Captains. When the crew are unsure of what to do, they do not know who to turn to. Often I would see them glancing between Edward and Captian Mameha, not sure who was in charge. While it didn’t cause to much trouble today, I think it may prove to be a folly in the future.
I feel I have learned a lot from this attack. I have seen what tactics and weakness are to be found in the raiding pirates. They will act impulsively, almost recklessly, in order to obtain riches. This will surely be useful in the defence of Karubaq. If we were to place an obvious display of wealth in a clear sight then the attackers will be drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Then they will be vulnerable to counter-attack.
However, I do feel bad for having attacked this village and killing so many innocent ‘people’, even though I was following the orders of my Captain. Despite their solid defence they seemed to be a mostly peaceful fishing village, not unlike my own home. I can’t help but feel a bit of kinship with these lizards, and that we will be punished for this act somehow….
Punishment was swift and terrifying. As the village burned, a terrible roar was heard from across the inlet, and the shape of a Dragon was seen flying directly towards us. The crew panicked and fled in all different directions. I took shelter behind a beached canoe and waited. What I saw was incredible. Edward at the top of his lungs began shouting about how pleased he was to see the Dragon. I couldn’t believe my ears, and apparently neither could the Dragon, as it landed with a crash only a few feet from him. I had never before seen a real Dragon. It was a creature of majesty and power. It’s scales were like beaten bronze and looked as hard as steel. It addressed Edward with a voice unlike anything I have heard before. It was a voice that expected unwavering loyalty and as powerful as a crash of thunder. It began questioning him on his reason for being here, and what happened to the village. Edward’s lies held up well, but the Dragon was no simple beast, and began to suspect trickery. At that point Edward fired his pistol at the Dragon, merely a few feet from it. The Dragon’s reaction was immediate and violent. The ensuing combat was ferocious. I will admit, at first, I was hesitant to engage it with my fists, and instead chose to use my crossbow. Edward, Gian and myself managed to score a few good hits before it flew off, only to return with a Lizard man as a rider. Between them they rained fire and lightning down on the crew. Injuring Edward, Captain Mameha and Gian quite badly. I was still sheltered some way down the beach, so was relatively ignored. However, it wasn’t long before the dragon turned his attention to me. It swept down towards me, and it’s rider fired deadly rays of fire. I was able to dodge away, but the Dragon landed next to me, and I had nowhere to run. I had to fight it.
My plan was simple. If I got onto the back of the Dragon it would have difficulty attacking me with its claws and teeth, since its arms and neck weren’t that long. It worked briefly, but required me to grapple with it’s rider. I was even able to use my perch to attack at the back of the Dragon’s neck. This caused it to rear up and throw me from it, back onto the beach. I lay there dazed and confused. I tried to crawl away, but was too disorientated. However, to my surprise I saw Jasper and Titus appear infront of the dragon, squaring off against it. They both leveled guns and fired. The blast caught the Dragon in the chest, killing it, and causing it to crash down beside me. The Lizard rider promptly surrendered.
I regained my senses and thanked my rescuers. The next few hours saw myself, and all the other crew profient with the skinning, gutting and filetting of animals, carve up the Dragon. I was informed by Jasper that many of the dragon’s organs are very valuable. I was also asked by Cog to keep an eye on Gian, as she was wounded by the dragon. I agreed, looked around and saw her being carried on deck by Titus. Since she was clearly in safe hands I let her go, but still asked if Badger could make sure she is well as she goes about her duties.
With the Dragon successfully disected, we packed it all onboard and enjoyed a hearty meal of dragon steaks. This seemed to cheer the crew and lift spirits after the bitter won victory over the Lizard people. I was also told that the Lizard rider had informed Captain Mameha of a secret cave where the dragon slept and kept it’s bounty. I am not sure why the Lizard would so freely give up this information, but I assume that their culture has little use for deceit or secrets. This makes me feel worse about the outcome of their seemingly harmonious existence.
Captain Mameha selected Titus, Jasper, Edward, Gian and myself to go with her to the cave. It took a little while to find it, as it was hidden behind ivy and creepers. Once inside I was in awe. It was a place of such beauty and serenity. I would have sorely liked to spend more time there, but we had pressing matters to attend to. Titus and Jasper swiftly located the ‘booty’ and we carried it back to the ship in sacks.
This day has been quite enlightening for me. I have seen the destruction and pludering of beauty, serenity and power, all by the hands of greedy and desperate men. I can’t help but feel that this is one event in the long path to the world’s end. All that is of worth in the world will be spoiled and tainted by lesser creatures and selfish desires. I will continue to record my travels, and do nothing to swerve from my given path, but once home, I know I will pledge my life to the preservation of the world’s peace, innocence and serenity.
Day 447 (Ship Day 43)
Today we continued our exploration and destruction of all the the Lizards’ hold sacred. We vetured into their temple with the hope of finding things of value to take. Unfortunately, all we found was pain and suffering. The temple was guarded by many traps, and the walking dead. We had barely made any ground into the temple before it’s defenders appeared. They were the animated skeletons of long dead Lizard people. They were heavily armed and led by a terrifing creature; it was much like the others, but larger and more preserved. It looked at me with it’s hollow eyes and I became rigid with despair. I tried to break out of my paralysis as the creatures stalked forward and started attacking my companions, but I couldn’t. Not until all seemed lost was I able to regain myself, but by that point Captain Mameha, Gian and Jasper had been incapacitated, and Edward was in the clutches of their leader. Titus and I were forced to fight back to back against many of the skeletons, and we both gave it our all. We fought for our lives and the lives of our friends, and thankfully we survived.
With the combat over, I helped to move my unconscious companions to safety while Titus made sure we were safe. I didn’t say anything, but I saw that Titus was considering running away during the fight with the guardians. If he had, I, and everyone else, would have surely died. I am grateful that he made the noble choice, and I will endevour to repay his valour.
We returned to the ship defeated, but I think we will return tomorrow to try again.