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November 11, 2009 15:37

Some excerpts from the Journal of Sergei, Faithful Servant of Halav.

Finally, I’ve reached the islands of the Guilds. In the local reckoning, it’s the month of Firmun. Life is much different here. At once more structured, and yet somehow more accepting than Karameikos. There is a great deal of diversity of races in these islands, and all engaged in the work of the guilds. Every person seems industrious, and it shows. The wealth is more than I’ve seen even in trips to Specularum itself! I must learn the rules here, and quickly. As a foreigner, I may buy goods from the islands, but I may not sell any. Prices for foreigners are higher than for the natives. I will not be able to stay long unless I can find a way to support myself. Halav guide me.

Here, it is mid-Firmun. After a great deal of labor, I’ve been able to make some modest inroads. Since I am not a guild member, work is hard to come by. Fortunately, as a cleric, the locals hold me in some slight regard. Otherwise, I can imagine life would be much more difficult. I’ve earned the trust of some in the Merchant’s Guild by healing their sick, free of charge, of course. This is led to some odd jobs. Ethan, a new acquaintance from the Guild, mentioned that he may be able to secure work for me upon a merchant vessel as a healer. Halav is testing me. Testing to see if I will persevere. I know He will lead me if I show my faith.

26 Birmun: As Ethan agreed, I have been signed to work aboard the Whiskered Whale, a Harbortown Trader out of Minrothad. He speaks highly of her captain, Barbim Madsen. It seems that his prowess and reputation may soon allow him to apply to become a merchant-prince. The very concept of these merchant-princes is fascinating. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to meet one, but I have seen them at some of the festivities of Minrothad Day. We don’t have anything like them in Karameikos. What is the origin of their power? As best as I can tell, they all pray to different gods, yet there appears to be similarities in what they can do. Most fascinating. What a blessing it would be if I could convince one to join our cause!

1 Sagmun: Today was my first day on board the Whiskered Whale. The captain is a firm, but fair man. He knows the seas and the men are confident under his command. I have worked hard over the last two months to try and learn some skills that might serve me in this different environment. As I understand it, we’re underway to the Five Shires. My primary job is to tend to the men in sickness or injury. I hope to learn more about these sailing craft. I’ve also begun to meet some of my shipmates. There’s Eil, a sea elf, who has aspirations to his own ship. He has fair skin and hair like all sea elves, and is relatively mild-mannered as they are. There’s also Zef, the Halfling. He’s an interesting being. Always listening, learning. He told a story earlier about the captain sinking a Thyatian vessel that he heard from some men. One who stands out is Moridin. Not because of great skill or prowess, but how very unexceptional he is. He seems as much out of place on this boat as I do.

3 Sagmun: A long day yesterday. One of the ship’s scouts spotted smoke on the horizon, and we headed toward it. As we came nearer, we saw two ships, one burning. The captain identified one ship as pirates, and ordered us to attack. I volunteered to man the catapult. I thought it a skill that could be possibly be used again. We fired two shots and struck the pirate schooner squarely. It immediately began to take on water. As we closed, we began to fire arrows and bolts at the ship. Some sailor made fun of my crossbow. Inferior workmanship, he said. That may be true, but none of the Minrothadians appear to understand how to properly aim one. I struck a sailor that, now recollecting, was helping to counter-balance the listing ship. When he fell, so did the ship. That didn’t endear me to anyone, but they’re all fools if they thought that these men were just going to hang there while we looted the vessel. I also struck a man attempting to flee in a smaller craft. I hit him once, but no one else hit him and so he was able to flee. As we boarded the second vessel, I was slightly saddened to see some of my countrymen dead. The Captain claimed the vessel under Sea Law, and ordered the 2nd Mate, Anny Byrnes, to take the vessel to Ierendi to sell goods that were aboard. The Captain requested volunteers, and so I did, as did Moridin, Zef, and a few others. We had barely transferred and set off when Skipper Byrnes decided that we were to set off for Seahome instead. Word among the crew was that this may have had more to do with the Skipper’s woman than profit.

4 Sagmun -Thank Halav, we live. On the way to Seahome, a storm overtook us, a powerful one. It blew us of course, and left us powerless to resist. I besought Halav’s intervention, and He delivered us. When we came through, we found ourselves at a shore. As our rudder was damaged, the Skipper ordered us ashore in two parties to try and find wood to repair it. Moridin, Zef, Eil and I set out to the southeast. Another party set out to the northwest. Afar off, we saw another small craft. Zef went to check it out while the rest of us went to find the kind of wood we needed. What followed was a hike, until we finally found the kind of tree we were looking for. Unfortunately, we were ill-equipped to take such a tree, so we hacked pointlessly away at it until Zef returned to inform us that we were being hunted. Storm Guard, I was told they are called, and are brutal warriors of Thyatis. We had to leave the tree behind and run for our lives. As we made our way back to the shore, we came to the edge of a cliff by a bay. We used ropes to lower ourselves to a ledge. Eil fell in the water, and sank like a stone, but fortunately Moridin jumped in after him after realizing that I would have sunk as well had I tried to jump in myself. The Storm Guard were not far behind, and so we sought to take shelter in a nearby cave. As we did, we came upon a miraculous thing: a ship, hidden in the cave. I knew then that Halav smiled upon me and my errand. We used the ship to escape the guard. Some of the men discussed returning to meet Anny and the remainder of the crew, but we all knew that as soon as we did, this craft would be forfeit to Captain Madsen. None of them took much convincing not to return. I do have some concerns about our course of action, as it could lead to dire consequences for us all. However, Halav illuminated the path, and though I do not understand where the path goes, I must follow.

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