Ocean Madness

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Nym recorded the following in her journal during her nightly watch from the crow’s nest aboard The Dragons Breath on the Sea of Swords…

When I was a child, I dreamt of traveling the ocean. I imagined the taste of salt spray on my tongue, eerie songs of mermaids and sirens, treasures buried in the sands of distant islands. I longed for nothing more than to escape the elven forest and later on the unforgiving streets of Waterdeep. I would set sail on those foam-capped waves and write a story of my own. Father never understood my desire to leave home nor forgave me when I left.

I regret to say that now that we have our own boat – The Dragon’s Breath, a pitiful thing but we’re making do – I’ve come to the conclusion that the sea is not for me. It unnerves me and I’ve grown nostalgic for the smells of the Waterdeep market streets, Granny Mazzy’s oxtail stew, the feeling of solid ground beneath my feet. At least I have this beautiful view, looking out across the black expanse from the crow’s nest. And we’re but a mere tenday from my steamy, seedy city.

Turinn and Vola stepped up to the task. When Kevala and Lanu asked for nominations for ship’s captain, I felt uncertain. Should we not elect Kevala, our patron and employer? But that thought faded quickly and the words tumbled out of my mouth: “I nominate Turinn.” It was so; even Ada raised her hand in support of him.

Turinn seems to make a fine captain and Vola an excellent navigator. She says she is from the frozen north; I’ve never been that far. But looking at her, I’m certain I can see that icy blue-white blood running through her veins. She is mightily strong and capable. My Lady has given me some gifts of healing, though my powers are limited. But I suppose on this ship, there could be no more sufficient medic than me. I am doing my best.

I hope Lefty finds his father and the remains of The Fortunate Son. Thank Tymora I did not keep that odd triangular object, for it has such significance to the man. I am no common thief and I aim not to betray a colleague. I’d prefer a new friend to an enemy any day. Besides Turinn and Vola, I find the crew acceptable if not a bit dull. Yorik is a sweet fellow, but not the sharpest tool. Ada and I tend to mending the sails and I keep my distance from Warwick, as his dark humor and his black teeth unsettle me.

Last night, we encountered the remains of a shipwreck. Two figures lay upon a wooden plank. As we approached, one began to fire arrows at us, even as we raised our white flag. His name is Roya and he’s a fierce one. Half-orc like Vola, though not so large, his long white hair cascading down behind him, black-red eyes full of fury and mistrust. As it were, he had no choice but to align with us, as a hoard of merrow and giant crabs attacked us all from below! We fought them off, but not before they pulled his comrade into the sea.

Turinn thinks Roya may have “ocean madness,” for we rescued him and yet he attacked us and brandished a weapon aboard our ship. He says his ship was capsized as he made his way towards land. He has no faction, no ostensible alliances. So, where did he acquire all those fancy toys? The captain sent our new shipmate to rest and heal in the crew’s quarters.

My reverie is disturbed by grotesque visions: a vast field of blood; Zashk’s twisted face; myself, helpless and drowning in the room filled with symbols; brave Sasha and her homeless tribe and the horrors they face alone on Chult. And whispers. Whispers of things that no other should know of considering I’ve not told a soul about them. “I can give you what you need,” the otherworldly voice says to me. “She will no longer be a trouble to you.” I am not aware of anyone on the ship possessing divination magic, so what is the source of this?

My mind wanders up here. I grow impatient with Tymora’s gifts. Where is Izzy? Were I more powerful, I could send message to her, ask where she’s gone to, what danger she’s fallen into. I suppose that would mean I could do the same for Iva…oh, Iva, you fool. My lids grow heavy. When I close them, all I see are glowing red eyes.

After the attack, a storm came which threatened to swallow our ship whole. It tossed and turned our hull, ravaged our sails, threw us from one end of the deck to the other, yet still we kept The Dragon’s Breath afloat. When it had passed, Turinn ordered the crew to clean up and go through the barrels below deck. He has taken to the captain’s quarters most of the time. My imagination runs away with me and I wonder what he must be thinking and doing in there. Does he prefer the solitude? How did a former soldier come to serve a fiend, and what does the “Dark One” take in return for his magic?

The captain has begun to send that awful demon to summon us to his chambers. But Turinn is honest and forgiving, as he has seen my slippery ways and still he places his trust in me. He’s given me a powerful healing scroll, though I hope I have no occasion to use it soon. I asked the captain whether he’s been hearing the same voice in his head. “I always hear voices in my head,” he told me. How on Toril does he handle it?

But then, there’s that voice again now…

In the distance…glow three red orbs…Tymora help us, they are eyes. Three monstrous eyes…

Written by Mallory Dowd.

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