Saturday, December 05, 2009

Late to the Party, Istyrin Ethrudairin

30th of Moonsong, s.y. 1222.
A secret kept is the rarest of things. Usually, that is just as well, for loose lips work to my advantage. I’ve uncovered many a hidden bit of valuable arcana over the years thanks to the ill-considered statement of a drunken tavern patron, or the breathless whisper of an indiscreet lady in waiting in the throes of passion. But this time…. In my less committed moments I wonder if any bit of knowledge, any item of power is worth this. The weather has been horrible, and I fear that this godsforsaken voyage could be my last. The crew grows tired of the tyranny under which they labor and whispers of mutiny begin to spread like wildfire. And always, whatever those dour five guard in the forecastle taunts us. What is it? What could it be? That curiosity has led several to their deaths already. I’ve been careful. I bide my time. But I fear the time for action might be soon. Sometimes I wish that I’d never heard the clues that led me to this ship, that I had no idea that something –what I do not know—of importance was aboard. Still, I will do my duty.

23rd of Moonsong, s.y. 1222
I don’t see the deck much, cloistered away most of my days in the Quartermaster’s cabin. It is no matter, Kelvryx watches, and reports. The crew grows increasingly disgruntled with the harsh treatment of that violent bigot the captain entrusts with discipline. The mutterings grow louder. I would not like to be too close when that man gets his seemingly inevitable comeuppance. It will not be pretty.

21st of Moonsong, s.y. 1222
Today, for the first time I got close enough to satisfy my curiosity about John Brown. His tattoos appear to be entirely ornamental. I had suspected that they were magical, and have been wary of the man for the entire voyage, but today, whilst drafted into helping with repairs on deck I was able to determine that no arcane powers are stored in those swirling lines. It is a considerable load off of my mind. He is simply what he appears to be a powerful, albeit by all indications—goodhearted—savage. Still, he is a fearsome sight, and if violence ever erupts on this ship I hope I have the good fortune to be behind John Brown… far, far behind.

17th of Moonsong, s.y. 1222
That fool Polimus! He has gone and gotten himself killed, and in doing so, revealed much—that interest in the forecastle’s contents grow amongst the crew, and that whatever is secreted away there must be every bit as valuable as the whisperings in Sasserine had indicated. Powerful magic protects it—perhaps too powerful for me to defeat. I fear that this task may be beyond me. I need allies. I need only look at the Polimus’ empty hammock that swings above my own to be reminded of the danger that is ever present on this ship. Saliim has said that he will one day immortalize this journey in song. Unfortunately, I have the ugly feeling it will be both epic and tragic.

12th of Moonsong, s.y. 1222
This morning Saliim seems uncharacteristically sullen. I think that he has taken Thairis’ death to heart. He felt an immediate kinship with her. If looks could kill then Tofus would be wise to steer clear of Saliim. (Of course, under certain circumstances looks can indeed kill—I’ve seen the spells, deep in the bowels of Ferlys’s library in Seraphis).

1st of Moonsong, s.y. 1222
Saliim was surprised to see me this morning at the docks. Surprised, but happy. It will be good to have a companion for the voyage. Earlier today I met Meister Johannes’ contact and the final arrangements were made for my addition to the crew. I will be assisting the quartermaster—it was agreed that I would not make a convincing deckhand and would be better suited to the more intellectual work of managing the ships stores and supplies. I have been led to believe that the Quartermaster is a drunk, but an agreeable one, and that he knows nothing of my mission, only that he is repaying an old debt by taking me aboard as his assistant.

29th of Starshine, s.y. 1222
Spent a most enjoyable evening trading stories with a bard from the desert lands. Someday, I hope to see the palaces and dunes that he so evocatively spoke of. Perhaps. They are a long way from here, and I am a long way from home already. He does not know it yet but we are destined to be shipmates. Earlier today I spoke with Meister Johannes who has assured me that he can get me aboard The Evening Promise. He had many lofty words about how this was an excellent opportunity for cooperation between the Witchwardens and the Collegium Arcanum of Seraphis, and reminded me of my commitment to share any knowledge I gained on the voyage with him. I needed no such reminders—my superiors in Seraphis were quite clear on that point. Still, I do not trust him and I worry that the senior fellows of the Collegium are making a mistake in being so trusting of Johannes and the Witchwardens. I have not been an envoy here long, but I have seen enough to know that this organization is rife with corruption. Still, there are things to be learned from the association, and where there are things to be learned my duty lies. So, despite my misgivings—which are many—I set out tomorrow on an ocean voyage. It is certain to be dangerous—while I don’t know what the secret cargo is—the rumors I have heard have made it clear that it is nothing to be trifled with.

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