Ah, what wonders and magic abound in our world! What sights to see! What knowledge to uncover! We stand now, poised to depart once more into a land of mythical ruins and ancient secrets, in search of a mysterious tome that is itself the very stuff of legends. Why, I can hardly contain myself. But let me not get too carried away. I must endeavor as always to record all things in their proper sequence, even if only briefly, lest this journal become no more than a collection of enthusiastic ravings.
When last I left off, we were all still on board the Sea Dragon, determined to see that odd group of children to safety. It was a journey that proved to be unexpectedly eventful. Right at the beginning we ran into an unusually violent storm, and while I was able to command the waves to some extent to guide us through the rough seas, by the end of it we’d been blown off course.
Fortunately, Meg was there to guide us in the right direction. Displaying an innate gift for navigation and an aptitude for cartography I would never have expected from her, she managed to determine more accurately than even our experienced crew where we’d ended up. Then, seemingly just after we’d begun to head back on course, Lillabelle spotted something ominous on the horizon – ominous and impossible.
At first she mentioned that she thought she could make out shapes swimming amongst a group of dark clouds, which seemed unlikely enough, and then she exclaimed that they looked like sharks. Naturally, we all found ourselves drawn to see this for ourselves, and sure enough, there seemed to be a whole swarm of the creatures soaring through the air above as if it were the ocean below. All of us were taken aback, and the sailors seemed as dumbfounded as the rest of us. Whatever this was, it was not a common feature of the region.
Then, as we all struggled to come to terms with this strange reality, Durgash began to cry out, bellowing and gesturing as if in an attempt to communicate with these creatures. He always has had something of a connection with beasts, a special skill when it came to dealing with animals, but in this instance, his natural charm seemed to be of no avail. He managed to draw the attention of the swarm, and little else besides their ire.
From that point on, as the whirlwind of sharks began to speed towards us, we burst into a flurry of activity. Zahra began to cast magic to summon the winds so they would blow in our favor. Renbar took to the rigging to help the sailors manage the sails. Meg put her navigational skills to work once more in an effort to help the captain steer us to safety, something that Vi joined in on immediately, proving to be quite useful with her keen eyes and strong communication skills.
Meanwhile, I did my best to continue to exert my authority over the waves, hoping to facilitate our maneuverability, and Lillabelle worked quickly to weave together some netting to protect the ship should any sharks come too close. She got surprisingly far along in this endeavor considering the limited time, and even managed to shield part of the ship, but in the end it proved thankfully unnecessary, for the result of all of our combined efforts was that we were able to successfully avoid the incoming rush of those strange creatures.
It had been a near-run thing, but we’d made it, and having narrowly avoided that danger, the rest of our sea voyage was mercifully uneventful. So it was that we arrived safely the next morning at the city of Resthaven. This, it turned out, was an entire city built mostly for gnomes and halflings. Notably, there was no sign of any orcs whatsoever, meaning Durgash attracted a great deal of attention, and many appeared apprehensive in dealing with us.
I would have liked to have spent some more time learning about the culture of this city and its inhabitants, but we did have more pressing matters to attend to. The Daughters of Bastiluna, it turned out, were not an order to be approached directly. Instead, they were to be contacted through an affiliated temple, that of St Bartok the Baker, who Zahra informed me was an early saint of the Vigorous Loaf. Truly, I have much to learn about the culture of gnomes and halflings.
In any case, we did eventually manage to find the temple, and after speaking with Father Jinglewiz Flapdoodle, managed to arrange for a meeting with the Daughters of Bastiluna aboard the Sea Dragon later that day. With our task thus accomplished, most of us returned to the ship, though Meg decided she wanted to get a good look at the orphanage in case it was another trick.
Thankfully, this time it appeared we were working with the right people. Meg reported that the orphanage seemed to be reputable, and as night began to fall we were visited by a Sister Mildred, who possessed a certain degree of elven features of her own, kept hidden beneath a long blue cloak with a cowl. She even went so far as to explain to us that they were shepherding these children, which they referred to as “adepts”, outside of the civilized lands entirely.
The Daughters of Bastiluna, it seems, were searching for children like the ones we’d found and bringing them into the Uncharted Westlands. This brought them not only as far away from Bolonia as possible, it also had the benefit of removing them entirely from the scrutiny of any who lived in the civilized lands. There was much discussion to be had here, but in the end we agreed to turn the children over to the order. I feel confident that this was a wise choice, though I must admit, part of me would like to see what becomes of them, and indeed what these Uncharted Westlands are like.
Still, we’d traveled far out of our way as it was, and I still have much to learn of the various races and cultures here, not to mention that strange phenomenon of the flying sharks. I must remember that episode, for it may have some bearing on our current task. Indeed, there are several little scraps of information I feel it best to keep track of, many of which we ran into only recently, upon our second morning in Resthaven.
But again, I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, though I do find that the hour is growing late. I shall endeavor to record the rest of what happened to us in brief. Upon handing over the children to the Daughters of Bastiluna, we decided to remain in Resthaven rather than continue on with the ship. It took us some time searching, but we eventually found an inn with rooms of an appropriate size for us and spent the night.
The next day, we discovered another innovation of gnomish culture. Over breakfast, there was a scroll made publicly available with a catalog of news and announcements. The whole thing was written in Gnomish, naturally enough, so Lillabelle had to read it, but perusing this document taught us much. We learned, for instance, of an increase in the size of the border patrol along Darkmoor Swamp, our own Durgash’s homeland.
We also read of a rain of frogs causing widespread crop destruction, and we saw that the Countess of Miltonia herself was seeking scholars for aid in the construction and maintenance of a new library. Furthermore, it seemed someone by the name of Keeper Visotho was looking for adventurers to recover artifacts from the Scarlet Sands Desert. Finally, there was one report of a Darkmoor scout loose in the city, riding around at night on horseback, though Durgash secretly owned up to us that this was in fact an adventure of his which the locals apparently had misunderstood.
Faced with such a broad array of new avenues to explore, then, I felt myself being pulled in several different directions at once. They all seemed to offer such promise. Yet the group as a whole seemed most invested in looking into the matter of the Countess’s library, as many of our number have some acquaintance with the principles of engineering, and being a scholar myself I must admit I was pleased with this turn of events.
We set out at once, and after four long days of essentially uneventful travel, we arrived in the capital of Miltonia, a city which the locals seemingly refer to simply as “Capital”. We then wasted no time tracking down the construction site for the library, where Keeper Visotho was overseeing all the work. He presented us with a contract to search for the mythical Necrognomicon in the Scarlet Sands Desert. His hopes are that this will help to solve the problem of the unnatural animal-related weather events, but it is hard to say for sure if these hopes will indeed be borne out.
We agreed, of course, and now I find myself once again questing for lost knowledge in the hopes of better understanding our world. To be sure, there is much to be skeptical of. We were told to begin by investigating the Tomb of the Seeress, but we may of course find nothing at all. There’s also a chance that this is all some plot by Visotho to enrich or empower himself, as Meg suspects. Yet I cannot help but be beside myself with excitement. This is, after all, just the sort of thing that I live for.