The gods have decided…this trip will get worse. The good news is I am not throwing up. The bad news is that the “Gray Gull” seems to be on fire and we are evacuating. There is shouting, and people running about, and black billowing smoke coming from the hold. We are ushered out of our room by a sailor and rushed to one of the smaller row boats. Much of the next little bit is a blur. We dropped into the sea and began rowing. The difference in movement coupled with adrenalin kept me from feeling ill.
Did I mention it was raining? Yes…raining, in a rowboat, in the middle of the sea. Maybe Sarajin is punishing Vilija for abandoning him to run the family business…..and we’re just along for the ride. Maybe the gods just hate me. At some point Rella calls out she sees something and the sailor confirms it.
Land. And not just land, but delightful swampy, mucky, sludgy land. I take off my boots. My feet are already soaked through and I don’t want to risk losing a boot in the mire we are now attempting to haul this boat through. Once far enough we salvage supplies and make our way towards the treeline. This boat seems awfully well stocked. I will have to ask Vilija later if that is normal.
Thanks to Rella I am able to make a fire while Vilija, Rella and the sailor, who says his name is Tâber, make a shelter from some branches and evergreen boughs. We spread out wet cloaks over any gaps. They are already wet so more rain wont matter and we’ll at least be not getting wetter. During my watch I make sure my picks are dried and oiled. i may not need them out here, but that is no excuse to let the get rusted.
The morning comes and finally the rain stops. Based on what I know I suspect we are somewhere near the Anoth Delta. See…those geography lessons paid off. This day is rather uneventful. Tâber and Rella go off hunting while Vilija and I attempt to spread and dry out our things. There is a discussion between the two of us about the provisions on the rowboat, as well as the presence of Tâber’s personal satchel. It raises questions. The day is uneventful and the hunt unsuccessful. The provisions we dragged from the boat include fresh water and hard tack. It’s a pretty bland meal but at least the ground is not moving and the food stays down.
The next day I go hunting with Rella and little sister bags a red deer. I am not sure what Vilija and Tâber did all day but when we sit down and start cooking we do discuss the fact we cannot stay here. After some discussion we decide to head north along the coast line in the morning.
Murky dreams. Darkness, something wet holding me down, fliting shadows. I wake with a start in the dark morning. Unable to sleep I take the last watch.
The third day dawns bright and clear. I hear birds and the sun filters through the trees. My things are finally dry and I start packing my things. Vilija and Tâber have decided to check the boat out. It will be safer then trudging overland, and I am sure there are some villages that we will find easier from the water. Rella wants to forage, she and Vilija getting into a rather heated debate about Rella going off on her own. Of the three of us I would suspect that Rella probably is the most at home in the wild and the best equipped to deal with it. I attempt to catch Vilija’s eye and indicate for her to stop. I miss Ranulf. he and I could have whole conversations without ever saying a word. Eventually Vilija either catches on to what I am trying to communicate, or she just gives up telling Rella to stay near the camp.
Once Rella leaves I slip out after her and follow her discretely. I figure it’s the best way to go. Vilija gets her way, Rella isn’t alone, and Rella feels alone which makes her happy. Of course, she does not stay close to camp. We head out deeper into the woods and wouldn’t you know…trouble finds us. There is a girl…who is running from something. She races by Rella and shouts something to her as 5 things burst out of the bushes. Stealth forgotten I race out and grab Rella telling to her run. And run we do. The mystery girl breaks off in one direction and I choose to pull us in another. Hopefully this will split the pursuers, which is does. Now there are only three. Rella stops and shoots, hitting one in the arm before we take off again. But it is only a matter of time before they catch up.
The fight is mostly a blur. I parried and attacked one. At some point Rella shot again and then Tâber and Vilija came bursting through the trees. I had taken a spear to the leg and Rella dressed it before we made out way back to camp. The boat was sound, and we packed our supplies and began heading north along the water.
The rest of the day was thankfully uneventful. We did see something further out in the water, some sort of sea beast, which caused up to move closer to shore but the creature moved off and left us alone. There is an island, with a dilapidated cabin and a run down jetty. there is another boat, but it is submerged and looks pretty old. Vilija says we will tie to the jetty overnight and explore this island in the morning.
Maybe we can scrounge supplies front the cabin. Everything looks deserted. The only thing interesting is there seems to be an unusually large tree further in. It dominates the forest around it.
We awoke to glowering skies but the rain had stopped. I gave Taber one of my bracelets to thank him for his help. He seemed embarrassed but I was glad that he took it. Together we worked to make the camp more comfortable and to start drying things out while Raj took Raella out hunting. Baby sis was so eager to show her skills.
The hunt was unsuccessful. But we had fresh water and hardtack from the boat and so while not an extravagant meal we did not go hungry.
The second day brought us some sun. Raella once again went hunting, taking Taber with her this time. As Raj and I worked around camp she mentioned Taber’s pack, which he had stowed away under some bushes. The strange thing was, I did not recall him having a pack the night we escaped the ship. Which then brought me to thinking about the provisioned longboat. Neither of the two small boats were equipped. Barrels were kept on deck alongside, should they need to be put to shore for water and provisions. But the boats themselves were always empty. And that got me to remembering the night we had escaped the Grey Gull. The deck had been abandoned, despite the storm and the fire. Doubts began to surface regarding out savior. Both Raj and I decided that we should keep an eye on him. While he had acted only honorably towards us, there was that little voice whispering inside.
Raella was ecstatic when she returned, the two of them carrying a small red deer between them. There was no way to smoke all that meat without sending up a big signal as to our location. And as we were unsure of where we were we decided to keep the fire small and carefully cook a chunk of the meat. The day was spent doing just that and scouting around to see if we could determine where the fates had cast us up.
The following morning I took Taber with me to go and check on the state of the boat. We had decided that it would be better and probably safer to travel north by water as opposed to shore. And given the nature of the area we found ourselves in, probably faster as well. Raella asked to go out and search for herbs and wild plants to supplement our diet and I asked her to stay within earshot of the camp as Raj was staying to start packing things up.
It was a tiring trudge through the muck and mire but we eventually reached the boat. Flipping it over, Taber examined it and declared it to be seaworthy. With that settled we headed back to camp. When we arrived back we found neither girl in camp. Which did not initially concern me, I suspected Raj had just wandered off with Raella to help her forage.
A short while later Taber though her heard the distant calling of his name. And that could only mean the girls had found trouble. I saw Raella’s short sword laying by her pack and grabbed it up as we ran from camp in the direction Taber heard the sound coming from.
My heart beat frantically in my chest. We came upon them fighting off three horrible, squat humanoid creatures. One was attacking Raella, one on Raj. I could see my sister was wounded, having taken the creatures spear through her leg. A third creature stood off to the side, one of Raella’s shafts through it’s arm but it looked about ready to attack anew.
Quick as a flash, Taber’s axe whizzed by me and struck the creature menacing Raella. It screamed as it fell. And then I was flying after the beast that my little sister had wounded, calling on Sarajin for strength. I slashed at it, struck, felt the blade slice into flesh. Then a second axe came flying in and took it out. But I continued to hack at it till I was sure it was dead.
But that time the other two were both dead. Raella was tending to Raj’s wound. She looked up at me and asked if we were going to go after the other girl.
It seems that when Raella came upon the beasts there had been five, chasing a young girl. Raj had arrived in time to get Raella running and they went in an opposite direction to the girl, splitting the hunters into two groups. We had no way of knowing which way the girl had run. We had no decent tracking skills among us and Raj was wounded. I insisted we return to camp, grab up our things and make for the boat. Oddly, no one argued with me.
It took a bit of work but we finally got into the water. For a while we sailed into the steadily hot sun. Once we saw something sinuously sliding through the deeper waters and moved ourselves closer to the shoreline. But other than that we saw no sign of anything or anyone, other than the seabirds wheeling overhead. Not even a wisp of smoke to indicate a settlement.
As day started to wan, we came to a small island. There was an old dock stuck out into the water to which was tied a dilapidated old boat, half sunk. On shore what appeared to be an abandoned cabin. From the middle of the island rose what appeared to be a very large and unusual tree. We halloed but there was no answer. Not wanting to wander off into the darkening day, we tied up to the dock and decided to camp by the boat should we need to make a hasty retreat.
If this was the Harn that my father loved so much, I was not impressed. All I could hope was that we would reach a settlement in the next couple of days and arrange for better transport.
The boat is burning! There is a sailor named Tâber who is helping us get to one of the rowboats. There is black smoke and people shouting. Vilija tells me to keep watch for anything once we are in the water. It is cold, and we are wet but I keep watch like I am supposed to. Its very dark and stormy so it is hard to see things but I do see something and I point it out to them. Tâber says it might be shore so we go that way.
It was land! But it’s very gross and muddy. Vilija and Raja take off their boots so I do it too, and the ground is slimy and cold. We pull the boat out of the water and then take stuff towards the trees. I remind them of the things Aunty told me. We need to build a shelter, then a fire, then find food. I tell Raja what to do to start a fire and she does while me, Vilija and Tâber make a shelter. We spend the night in the shelter, but we are still wet and cold.
Its morning now, and the rain has stopped but its still cloudy and looks like it could rain more. Tâber and I go hunting but we don’t find anything. The next day Raja and I go hunting and I shoot a deer! I show Raja how to prepare the animal before bringing it back to camp. Everyone is very excited that I was able to bring back food like this. Raja even said “good job little sister”
The deer was very tasty. We cooked all that we could because Vilija says we have to leave tomorrow and get back on our journey. She is going to look at the boat with Tâber. I am going to look for plants to eat. Vilija says I cant go by myself…she says I am a kid but I say I am old enough. We argue for a long time but finally I get my way. They leave and Raja stays in camp. I go off and look for plants.
I find lots of things that will be good to eat. I think I hear something in the woods but when I look around I don’t see anything. A little while later I hear something big in the bushes and a girl appears telling me to run. I don’t know why she is there but as five strange monsters come through the bushes, Raja is there grabbing me and telling me to run as she pulls me away. I see the girl go one way and Raja pulls me in a different direction, when I look back now there are only 3 monsters.
I stop and shoot one, and I hit him in the arm before Raja pulls me and we run again. I start screaming for Vilija and Tâber. I trip. I didn’t see the branch on the ground and I fell. Raja stopped and pulled a weapon I had never seen her use…it looked looked like two short shafts tied together with rope. She fought while I tried to get up and shoot another arrow. The monster attacking me fell when an axe hit it. I looked and saw Tâber and Vilija running towards us. Big Sis was really scarey, she was all wild and screaming at the last monster who tried to run away.
Raja got hurt. I looked at her wound and wrapped some bandages around it. We went back to camp and got everything and took it to the boat. Vilija says the boat will be safer. Tâber is showing me how to steer the boat. We are stopping at a strange and creepy island. there is an old cabin here, it looks like it is falling apart and there is a ship here, but it is under the water. Vilija says we will stay here tonight and continue in the morning. Tomorrow I am going to go with Tâber and look for plants to make into medicine.