Day 1, Calimport
Arrived to Calimport – and was robbed of most of my valuables upon my first step on this unholy land. My, my – what a lovely town… Such a warm welcome… Speaking of warmness – now I know where I definitely don’t want to live. Anyhow, met the halfling I was instructed to seek. Seems like a typical halfling, just named Nocks. Well, at least he managed to get me sufficient (ahm… yes…) accommodations in a tavern of a friend of his. I am definitely too young… I did actually think that this place was kind of safe… During the night two kid-thieves broke into our room and the map of Tharsult was stolen in the process. About 10 seconds after I have discovered this unfortunate fact, I managed to nail the thought that was eluding me for the last weeks – I think I should have memorized the blasted thing. Too late now. I wonder how good my photographic though-never-noticed-this-far memory is. The answer to that, unfortunately, is predictable. The next day Nocks has retrieved it, albeit in a pretty much devastated state (well, when you get an arrow through an eye, be grateful you’re still alive… or something… seems somewhat morbid proverb… Must be dwarven.). Hopefully, I will manage to find the place even without it. Helped some sick waif-girl, whom Nocks has brought and later returned to her brother. Nocks decided to join me on the journey to Urbeth and later to the north. Now nothing can stop me…
Day 2, Calimport
Along with Nocks, went to find a ship to take us to the island. A curious incident has happened on our way there: it seems that some important wizard arrived to the city in a caravan we met along the way, but right in front of our eyes, after some commotion on the wizard’s side, the caravan turned back and hurried away… These wizards… Anyhow, at the docks, spoke with Kalim, the Dockmaster. He was an old and retired sailor, and seemed to be bored with his current occupation. One would think that he had had enough excitement in his life, but he seemed as if he was on the brink of actually suggesting to join us (yes, boredom does that to me, too). Asked me about my travels, and after I have satisfied his curiosity a bit, he advised us to go to the “Red Dragon” tavern, once we are in Urbeth, and mention him there (possible relatives there… I hope they are close…), and asked us to come back to him and tell about our adventures on the island, once we are back. Well, boredom or no boredom – he knows his stuff. There are two ships bound to Tharsult in the near future: a trading-ship, called “Essie”, which captain’s name is Fred, and a passage-ship, called “Sea Sprite”, led by captain Anonymous. Nocks spoke with the captain of “Sea Sprite” (still anonymous) and told me that there are no free places for us on it (and we cannot afford to kick out any of the already booked passengers). Lacking options, decided to check the “Essie”, which was to set sail on the morrow. After a couple of hours spent in searching for the ship (and getting surprised responses about US looking for IT), we came upon a small and filthy vessel, which was actually named “Tessie” – the first letter of the name just has faded off. We talked to Fred, who has a northern look, and he agreed to take us for a small fee, which I paid both for me and for Nocks, and help in maintaining the ship. The crew consists of: (1) Fred, the captain – a redhead, stocky and lively fellow (2) Ali – a huge negro, about some 8’ and matching mass, who seems dumb-witted, but is probably smarter than he looks or he would have stumbled overboard long ago (3) Abdul, Ali’s brother – little man, nervous and somewhat shady (somehow I doubt they had the same set of parents…) (4) Nafar – reclusive, little-talking and quite unnerving man, of admirable skill with his knives (5) Jusuf, ship’s cook – rarely seen sober, but manages to function properly, nevertheless (though only the First Ones know how) (6) Dev, the currently sick deckboy – an orphan from Calimport, taken in by Fred after the kid tried to pick his pockets. While being shown around the ship, noticed a door in the hind part of the upper deck and some loose floor boards in the hall of the lower deck, under the carpet. Were accommodated in the kitchens, as the crew quarters are full. Nocks checked what was behind the pile of sacks (why aren’t I surprised that this was his first urge?..) in the back part of the kitchen, but it seems that there was nothing but salt and spices. Caught a few hours of sleep before sailing off, which is always good.
Day 3, aboard the “Tessie”, 1st day of sail
Most of the day I have spent on the deck helping Ali and Abdul maintain the ship (well, actually trying to stay out of Ali’s way, who seems to be quite sufficient for doing this task by himself, and ignoring Abdul, who seems to be quite unable to shut his mouth) and following Fred’s orders. During my breaks I have checked upon Dev, who seems to have some kind of fever. I wonder why sailors never have some medicine for that purpose… Some masochistic tendencies inherent to this profession?... I was able to make him feel a little better by means of a certain tea I have managed to brew using the spices in the kitchen, though I am grateful that I have no need to drink it myself. Got friendly with the kid, who seems to be about 13 years of age, though uncharacteristically naïve and trusting (for a Calishite waif, that is). A sad story his is… As a story of each orphan, I guess… I don’t think there is something I can do in his matter, except paying him a little attention while we are on this journey, something no one else seems to be interested in doing. During the talks I had with Fred and the rest of the crew during the meals I have managed to actually learn something – it turns out that Fred used to be a sailor in the North, but had to leave. It seems that it had some connection with the death of his daughter (whose name, by the way, bears this ship) – any tries to inquire into the nature of that occurrence were rebuked, obviously.
Day 4, aboard the “Tessie”, 2nd day of sail
This day was pretty much as the first, except one amusing event closer to the evening. It seems that while I was on the deck working Nocks (the halfling) challenged Jusuf (the drunkard) to a drinking contest… and won, after a several rounds of drinking substances with increasingly foul odor and cheering and encouragements from the rest of the crew. Funny… I wouldn’t have thought the halfling has the same amount of blood in his whole body as the amount of drink he has consumed and stayed sufficiently functional… Anyhow, from absent-minded comments and partial conversations, I have patched some bits of the ship’s history. It seemed that in the times when Fred was a sailor in the North he had some… ahm… differences of opinions with Baldur’s Gate organized crime – differences that turned very ugly and dangerous not only to himself, but also to his close ones (I understand it involved having his daughter be delivered to him in pieces). After that he had to leave to warmer regions quite hastily – and that’s pretty much the time the rest of the crew came into the picture. Regarding their present business the crew members are somewhat vague and elusive – saying that they deal with spices, but something seems not quite right. And the matter of Jusuf’s “disappearances” during the day… Something definitely amiss on this ship.
Day 5, aboard the “Tessie”, 3rd day of sail
Well, my suspicions were correct – if not about the actual truth, at least about the general issue. This ship is a slave-ship and it carries 5 slaves upon it in a room I have not noticed before. After one of my shifts, when I was going down the stairs on my way to the kitchens, I have noticed that Nocks came out from some space under the stairs, which I have not known to be there. Curious, I peeked inside, and seeing no one was there went in. Inside there were two cells in which were held a female elf, a woman, a man and two halflings. While I tried to find out who are they, Jusuf came into the room – but luckily he was drunk (surprise, surprise…), so I have escaped notice. Spoke to Nocks – and it seemed that he has talked to the elf, and she asked him to come later. I have agreed to wait till he has spoken to her and to decide what to do with this all later. In the evening he has gone to talk to the slaves, when there was no one guarding, while I went upstairs to “be seen” – to distract the other crew-members a little from looking after Nocks. Later I have discussed with him what to do – I was not going to let the matters lay as they were, but we were hardly in favorable conditions for a rescue mission. Nevertheless, we have devised a plan for the rescue – to free the slaves the following night, when we will already be in sight of land, to hide them in the safe-boats and later to release them and leave the ship with them. The following day, Nocks were to sneak into the cells and relay the plan to the slaves, while I would be distracting the crew-members again and in the evening we will act.
Day 6, aboard the “Tessie”, 4th day of sail
Well, I was doing what I was supposed to, but I fear I have roused suspicions against me. Nothing definite – at least nothing definite that I have noticed, but something in the air… I think I was being watched. What I did notice is that there is some hidden… enmity would be too harsh a word… but a surprising (at least to me) dislike of Nafar on Fred’s part. They have even started arguing at a time – well, Fred started accusing Nafar of something, until Ali has told him to get a grip – and sent me under deck. I could not refuse, but it seemed that this was a continuation of an old argument. After that the captain stayed closed in his quarters – or so I was told. Anyhow, while downstairs, Nocks had informed me that he has spoken with the slaves and that we will act in the night, on Nock’s shift so that we will have less possible witnesses… Not that it mattered, considering how the events played out. In the evening we have arranged for the rescue attempt, just as we have planned. We had 5 people to get out – the elf cleric Rendue, a pair of former-philanthropists Etto and Heini and two twin halflings – Rosko and Naldon. We had to confine Jusuf to the cells were the slaves were kept – there was no other choice. Well, there was one, but I was reluctant resorting to it – maybe a mistake. Anyhow, as I was going out of the room to make sure the way was clear, Ali and Abdul came out of the kitchens and “invited” me to join them – I had no other choice other than obliging. Doing otherwise would be suspicious – or so I thought at the time. While I was inside, we heard a distinct sound of steps (it appears that Nocks had led the whole bunch of the people all at once instead of one at a time) – disregarding my feeble attempts to pretend as though I have heard nothing, Abdul and Ali leapt out of the room and, before I had the chance to react, locked me inside. The following couple of minutes, accompanied by the sound of ensuing fighting on the other side of the door, I have spent by trying to force the door itself to open. I guess I had to work out more – body mass and all that, but that was just so boring and there were so many more enjoyable things to do instead… I guess the instructor knew what he was talking about… Ah, screw him for a bugger… After some time the lock has creaked and being unable to stop my own momentum, I had fallen into the hallway (and stabbed by Abdul immediately, but never mention that…) – into a quite… ahm… odd situation. There was indeed fighting and it seems that Nocks was just finishing the much mutilated Ali with the help by a Rendue-summoned wolf (glowing in a way reminiscent of the moon (o_O)). Well, I was not going to be left out – and I sprang into battle (well, I had little choice – I had to protect myself). sighs After that came a somewhat prolonged battle, which results were the death of Naldon (by a deft knife from Nafar, who ambushed us at the place were Nocks was supposed to be guarding), Dev being taken with us (I couldn’t leave the kid there… Not that he much wanted to stay…), the rest of the former slaves being able to escape using the boats (well, the plan had worked in that aspect) and me learning that the source of the enmity between Nafar and Fred was Nafar being the one to kill Tessie (now that was indeed a surprise…). As we were outnumbered and outpowered (note to self: never underestimate the power of a good crossbow in the hands of en even better and experienced fighter…), and had the former slaves-to-be to think about, we had to ungracefully leap out of the window and escape – to be scooped by the escapees in the boats. Well, that whole endeavor hasn’t gone as planned… And now I will never find out the details of Fred’s story (it’s not as if I can come to him and apologize – even supposing he managed to stay alive in the somewhat crew-diminished ship)…
Day 7, aboard the safe-boats
Having the land in sight and trying to keep the two boats close by (you know, it seems MUCH easier in theory), we have been taking turns on the oars in taking ourselves toward the island. In the process Rendue tended to our wounds and healed us (albeit she was far from a professional Healer, I am not complaining). Unsurprisingly, Rosko was profoundly upset with the death of his twin – to put it mildly… But I see no other way it could have been played out under the circumstances – we had no way knowing Nafar was waiting for us… sigh He will have to get over it, I guess. Chewing the dry supplies we found in the boats and feeling the lack of drinkable water, I have spent the day wondering about what was waiting for us on the island… And whether it was hungry… Or at the very least edible, as I definitely was starting to feel some nagging in my stomach (or was that that unworthy semblance of fish from yesterday…?).
Day 8, Tharsult
We have arrived to a somewhat cliffy side of the island, made of large boulders, and decided, with Rendue’s guidance that this is the place we should come ashore, despite having to abandon the boats. Beyond the cliff laid a desert – somewhat surprising, considering the size of the island – and the fact that this was indeed an island. After a short debate we decided to move toward the city through and across the desert and not by going along the shore surrounding it. Rosko, who seemed to be in a quite fatalistic and suicidal state of mind, ventured a bit forth, and, as somewhat expectedly, was attacked by a giant poisonous snake. After killing the snake we have discovered that Rosko is in no state to be walking – and might in fact still die, even despite Rendue’s help. She said that if we hurry, she may be able to keep him alive until we reach the city, but it will take all of her attention. As little choice did we have, we continued on our walk. After the moon has gone down, we decided that we could not continue without a little rest, so I and the others went to sleep, with Nocks and Rendue guarding us.
Day 9, Tharsult desert
In the state we were, I doubted we will get to the city at all – never speaking about on time to save Rosko. Rendue was almost delirious herself, never stopping her prayers, Heini was nearly dehydrated, and was pretty much being dragged by her husband, and the rest of us were in no much better state. After several hours, we have came upon a strange-looking halfling, named Laseer, who told us that he would lead us to a nearby caravan, whose people will help us. Thinking about it, I should have known that there was something strange in this (how come there was a caravan in the middle of the desert, when there is only one city on Tharsult?), but at that time my head was not working properly – and besides, could we pass over the possibility that we would actually be given help? Anyhow, we followed Laseer, who did lead us to a caravan. As we came into their midst, they seemed friendly enough and offered water and shelter, but as soon as they had us surrounded, they attacked – though trying not to kill us it seemed. Obvious now – slavers. It’s truly amazing how much more perspective you have after you have seen the events unfold… Nocks and I were the only ones capable for some kind of resistance, even though we were greatly outnumbered, but before we managed to do much, we were hauled skyward by the slavers’ wizard and became a nice shooting practice for their archers. The last I remember I had an arrow hit me in the chest and in the back of the head – after which world had faded.
Day 10-12, Tharsult desert, Urbeth, Shaundakul temple
I woke… I don’t know how much… later, barely remembering who I were, but with a tremendous headache and the arrow still in my chest. I have passed a few wonderful moments pretending it was not an arrow stuck in a worrisome proximity to my heart, but was simply a metronome – the kind that was used to teach me timing… It seemed that it was another day – because it was morning now, and we arrived to the caravan in the afternoon, but I had no idea at that time of how many days have passed and what happened to the rest. At first I thought we was still in the slavers’ hands (Nocks at least was with me in the cart, but I didn’t know about the rest), but then the guard walking beside me told that we were in the custody of Urbeth City Guard, who were called by Laseer, and we are being taken to the city – to be helped. At this point I have lost consciousness again and woke next only in the temple. The rest of these days I have spent mainly in rest and remember little of them – just that the clerics and the priests took us to rooms (me and Nocks were accommodated in the same room) and tended to us. It seems some special effort was invested into Nocks, but then again – maybe I was imagining it. I hope everyone is well, now. At least in the physical aspect…
Day 13, Urbeth, Shaundakul temple
Day 14, Urbeth
Day 15, Urbeth, open sea on the way to the island, island
Day 16, island near Tharsult
Day 17, island near Tharsult
Day 18, island near Tharsult, open sea on the way from the island, Urbeth.
Day 19, Urbeth
Day 20, Urbeth