I am writing now from the first bit of land we have found north of the Sea of Nothing. We are encamped in a wooden keep surrounded by wooden walls in a small fishing village that Corsair has decided to call St. Emory. Or was it King Emory? I can’t recall – in all honesty it doesn’t matter. The old name of the village is lost to us, as are all of its people.
But, of course, our trip to this fishing village was not without peril. When last I wrote there were three of us encamped in the jungle on the southern end of East Farhold. We were at the sight of a large stone dome with strange markings – ancient writings, I assume – in the side. A stone altar lay before it, and on the altar were grooves with which to collect blood. A sacrificial altar. Corsair took to the top of the dome in hopes that it would reveal a way inside while the Magister and I took turns spilling our blood across the altar (the Magister was slightly more hesitant than I and needed to be coaxed into it).
Nothing worked. No way in. Our blood did not appease whatever beast lay beneath the altar, the roof offered no way in, and there wasn’t a single doorway in the entirety of the construction’s sides. We considered blasting our way in, digging our way in, and sacrificing one of the trolls we had found earlier atop the altar. In the end, though, we discarded each of these ideas and returned to our ship. We had wasted enough time.
I set the course for Kings Haven, where a few days prior I’d sent Odin with my new flagship. My eyes were immediately drawn to The Dragon’s Horde as we reached port. It was the largest ship in the harbor, the most ornate, the newest. I felt a stirring of pride within me that I had not felt since I first set foot upon the freshly made Arrogance.
After some confusion on the deck of the Dragon’s Horde I made plans to hold the inking party aboard my new flagship that evening. Almost all of the pirates on the island came for the festivities, and we had a grand ol’ time of it. The men I picked up on the merchant vessel were branded with my mark – the winged serpent – and those I appointed to The Dragon’s Horde were given an additional tattoo, a dragon with a golden coin.
We didn’t linger long the next morning. I appointed Corsair to the position of Captain aboard the arrogance and took Odin as my first mate (the implications amuse me as well). Corsair and I agreed that the best way to go about the exploration beyond the Sea of Nothing is simply to sail north and see what we find.
Our journey north was not without its peril. Soon after we set sail we encountered our first obstacle, the one that kept the majority of ships from successfully venturing north: sirens. Their song game upon us suddenly, leaving my men looking longingly out to sea. And though I counted myself among the siren’s numbers, I was not truly one of them; I had never sung to ships to send men plunging into the sea. I took it upon myself to find these wretches, jumping overboard into the waves and diving deep beneath the surface. But they were nowhere to be found. When I surfaced I found three others had jumped after me, some of the new recruits we had picked up from the captured merchant vessel. I could do nothing for them, not with the clouds turning dark overhead and a storm approaching. I climbed the rope ladder that the Magister sent down to me and together we lashed the rest of the crew to the deck with a length of rope so they not stumble overboard as well.
And then we rode out the storm.
When we emerged on the other side of the squall it was to find that only one mast had sustained damage during the storm. The Arrogance was soon behind us, and within some few hours we had sighted our first bit of land. We followed the coast until we found a likely harbor and dropped anchor.
The Magister, Corsair, and I took the opportunity to explore the land. Unlike our trek through East Farhold we found no trouble, no people. A lake, some fishing boats…but no one was around. No people, just empty homes and a walled keep. We found a note on the gate into the keep, as follows:
This Village has failed the harrowing of the Circle of Thirteen Wurms. All possessions of the heathens within are forfeit to be claimed by what Gods they kept. The same fate shall befall all those who refuse the light and the glory of the Circle. A representative of these people will serve the term in the dungeons of Bryn on behalf of the Harrowed.
None of us have the slightest idea of what this means. But the abandoned down means that we have a base of operations for the coming days, a foothold on this new land. We moved the majority of the men into the town, only a scarecrow crew remaining on the ships to make repairs.