Two Journal Entries
|An "early" view of Hot Springs Island|
Day 15 - Aboard the Siren's Edge
Our search for a suitable location at which to found this new port continues. After the incident on the Webbed Isle, and Vance's death on the Island of Blooms, Captain Rand has ordered all crew to remain aboard the Siren's Edge and Siren's Blade until scouting parties from the Martel Company return with an initial report. Scuttlebutt is beginning to turn sour, and the crew is beginning to doubt that we'll be able to find anywhere in these jungle choked islands that we can carve into a home, but this island, and the one further southwest, are two of the largest in the Swordfish Island's chain, and the Martel Company told us they had the most promising looking deepwater ports. Now we just have to wait and see if any of the inhabitants want to suck out our innards or use our teeth as currency.
Twin volcanoes, heavily cloaked in jungle, rise nearly 3000 feet above the black sand beaches of this island, and I spotted numerous signs of hydrothermal activity as we sailed around it. The ruins of an ancient city tumble off the lower slopes of the smaller volcano and into the sea. They appear to contain the remains of elven pleasure palaces, and a large wall, in the same style as those found on the Island of Blooms. A large structure of white stone gleams from the volcano's slope above the rest of this city, but I have not been able to discern its true purpose from this distance. Curiously, these ruins seem to lack the broad avenues and colonnades seen on the Island of Blooms and Ruined Isle. In their place are what appear to be giant sized stairs that look more like a woodland fungus than proper stairs. I look forward to the return of the Martel Company's marines.
[The remainder of this entry turns to Matthias' personal musings on the effect of the moon and tidal forces on the coloration and growth of a star shaped blue flower, common in the homeland of his youth, that looked similar in shape to the flower seen growing out of Vance's ear in the hours before he wandered into the jungles on the Island of Blooms.]
Day 17 - Aboard the Siren's Edge
The Martel Company's marines returned to the ships in the dead of night, and in a number considerably smaller than the one that had originally departed. My speculations on the missing colonnades and avenues in the elven ruins were incorrect. The same broad ways we saw on the Island of Blooms and Ruined Isle are here too, but the hydrothermal activity on this island is even more robust than I had imagined. The fungal shaped giant steps seen from the ships are actually terraces of white rock formed by overflowing hot springs of water the marines swear to be as blue as sapphires. [Here Matthias drifts into possible origins for these white stone deposits as all the other stone and sand seen on this "Hot Springs Island" has been black, and clearly volcanic in origin.]
The tales these marines have returned with would be too magnificent to believe were it not for the treasures they have brought back with them. Some of the rooms among the ruins have apparently been carved from translucent orange crystal that melts when exposed to direct sunlight, and one of the marines, Jeffery, swears (to all that is holy) he witnessed numerous shadows moving through the ruins at dusk with no body to cast them. The marines returned with a number of gems the size of my fist and a small chest of platinum coins, elvish in style, but bearing symbols wholly unfamiliar. I managed to acquire a treasure from one of the marines of a more magical nature. It appears to be a simple ceramic tile, no larger than my hand, with a glazed black side. The blackness of this side however, seems to... continue, and staring at it for any length of time has given me the disorienting feeling of staring into the void. This discomfort is trivial, and easy to avoid, when compared to the actual power this tile possesses. Any liquid set upon its black surface, freezes and solidifies almost instantly. Here in these tropical climes, the luxury, and value, of ice easily surpasses that of gold. The tile bears no makers mark or symbol of any kind, and I do not know if it was created by these ancient elves or another race more powerful still.
The Martel Company marines reported that their expedition into the ruins was mostly uneventful, though they did lose one of their number to one of the giant centipedes we have seen throughout the Swordfish Islands. Our fears were confirmed about this location though; it is completely unsuitable as a harbor. It seems that much of this ancient city fell into the sea, making these waters impossibly treacherous for larger vessels. The marines had ventured outside the city and it was there, in the steaming jungles, that they lost most of their men....