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Started by Griznuq, February 22, 2005, 12:47:20 PM

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After four months at sea, your long awaited destination lies just ahead of you. From far away you had stared in wonder and amazement at the mountain island?s massive, almost, unbelievable size. Now, only a few hundred yards from the Strait leading to the Isle of Brennen Inner Harbor, you are intimidated by the sheer towering height of it.

With the protection of the reef you left behind this morning, these mountains meet the ocean in calm tranquility. Erosion from crashing waves and pushing currents have never kissed the edges of the massive towers that plummet uninterrupted to the ocean floor. The mountains facing the ocean have little foliage on their steep incline, but are still home to many species of ocean birds. Many have taken flight on the morning?s warm zephyr to begin the daily hunt for fish below.

As you approach the Strait you realize that it?s anything but. It appears that Kord, the god of strength, himself reached out of the heavens and split the mountain range in two, Leaving two ripped apart cliff faces that, facing one another. They seem to yearn to become one again. Even though you are a few hundred yards away from the true entrance, you already discern that the strait veers to your right ahead, leaving the promised inner harbor hidden from view.

The water of this bay is even clearer than on the beach of the tropical island you last stepped foot on more than a month ago. It looks water warm and inviting. Since your arrival yesterday, every other soul on the ship has commented on going for a long swim upon making beachhead, which is kind of ironic you think.

The calm waters also are teaming with life. The massive catch of fish and its subsequent feast of the previous night still sit pleasantly in your bellies. What a grand celebration it was. Each ship tethered close together in the oh-so calm Reef Bay. Adventurers, crewman, laborers, craftsmen, warriors, all were in high spirits for the first, and most uncertain leg of the journey was complete. Bereft of any storm, pirate attack, terrors from creatures below or above, or ill-luck of any kind, the massive fleet made it?s way to the Isle of Brennen on strong winds. The fortune of the Gods shined down upon this venture. The unease, fears and questions all quelled as more and more time passed during the long voyage. There was much to celebrate. Although the next day would begin a new adventure, and with it a new leg on this journey, it will be one of beginning. A new outpost, a new town, and new hope for many people, tired of the wars in the continents left behind.

As you sail on into the strait, ships comfortably traverse two-by-two in the passage. The cliffs yield to the calm water, facing each other from hundreds of feet away, one estimates that most of the fleet could fit side by side through here.

?Those cliffs aren?t natural.? A calm dwarf mutters in wonder, snapping the gawking passengers of the Windright back into the reality of the moment.

?What was that Rurik?? replied the captain.

?The cliffs, they?ve been cut by master stoneworkers, to look natural. But they aren?t.?

?Are you out of your mind? Those cliffs must be a mile high before they begin their natural summit. And the cliffs match each other in the way they were torn apart. It would take hundreds of Dwarves centuries to cut and move that much rock. And to what purpose to make it look like a quake caused it?? the captain questioned, still in disbelief of Rurik?s claim.

?What purpose indeed captain,? replied Rurik. ?But I am telling you sir, as Moradin, is my witness. This mountain was dismantled rock by rock, boulder and pebble, and made to look like a natural occurrence.? Rurik stated sternly.

?If you were anyone else but the Master Mason of Dullstrand I would question your sanity Rurik. But you must understand that your confidence does not leave me at ease.? Replied Whalen.

?How long ago do you think it was done? Was it Dwarves?? asked Amallia, sitting on a barrel all this time and thought to be in her daily ritual of reading.

?Over 400 years ago I think, naturally the rock has eroded with time. It was definitely done with dwarven hands, but the accent of the work baffles me. Not to mention why the Dwarves did it in such a way in the first place.? Rurik states with a mildly confused look. As he talks you can see his eyes dart over the surface of the cliff with almost a child-like wonder and perhaps even glee.

?Accent?? asks Amallia.

?Yes, pretty one. I have traveled many kingdoms and worked along side many dwarves. To a master stonecutter, cutting into stone is like writing one of your beloved books, along with that writing comes along the idiosyncrasies of the worker?s dialect, accent and basic working language if you will.?

?Pretty one not an iddeawt,? says Grushnek confused and in defense of his charge.

?That?s not what he meant Grush?, says Amallia in a soft tone.

You continue on through the Strait. At its narrowest, during the initial turn to the right, the pass gets 150 feet wide. The captain doesn?t appear worried about depth however, as the Captain of the Windright doesn?t even bother to slow the ship down.

After the turn, the head of the fleet moves east approximately 1 mile before again having to turn west and towards the presumed center of the isle and the inner harbor. As this turn is made the passage widens slightly to approximately 200 feet. About a half mile from this turn it appears the Strait ends and the harbor begins. And what a grand sight it is.

On this perfectly clear and calm day you can see for miles. If this island is as Councilor Tretorn Kayb described, having a circular harbor inside a protected ring of mountains, then this isle must be enormous. For on the ?other side? of the harbor, you only see the watery horizon. The water is even clearer here, and you can see many fish swimming lazily bye, who do not appear disturbed by your presence. Despite the clarity, and even though you are a few hundred feet from shore, you cannot see any sign of the bottom harbor floor.

Reading your thoughts Captain Whalen says, ?Not to worry my young elven friends. Captain Shakar assures me that this be the perfect future seaport. He?s says this harbor has a deep underwater valley with the bottom far below are ship.? He then barks off orders to the crew to slow down alongside the leading flagship Endeavor, at front, while waiting for the remaining fleet to make their way through the Strait.

As you anxiously await the other ships, the dwarf Rurik speaks to your group again. All of you squint to where he points high up on the mountainside, leaning over the rail. ?I can almost make out the line of the rail they used to transport the rock up there.? Moving his hand from right to left, he traces while he says, ?That?s where they moved the rock. But where did they bring it I wonder?? You almost think he?s going to jump ship and swim to the mountain for a closer look.

After a good hour, the ships all make it safely into the harbor and re-align themselves for the trip around the edge of the harbor. As anchors are raised and the Endeavor starts to make its way tracing the shore. A crewman is overheard questioning the indirect route; Captain Whalen offers only ?There?s something Councilor Tretorn wants the adventurers to see.?

Hours go bye, as the fleet makes it?s way slowly around the harbor in the light wind, you are still amazed by what appears to be an island untouched by civilization. Although you have yet to see a welcoming beach with white sands, the shore is still beautiful in it?s own right. Only a few feet from the water?s edge, the rocky land makes a steep incline into a dense temperate jungle. Which starts with a few feet of underbrush near the water until it is met by towering jungle foliage that defies the mountain slope. You can see why the journey continues, for there is no land with enough berth to give any outpost a strong purchase without almost completely building over the water, and you did not bring enough materials for that.

Some gasps of awe from the front of the ship grabs your attention as men scurry to the front of the ship for a closer look. With the Endeavor and Windright coming around a bend, in the distance is an oncoming sight not expected. A small, fortified city that appears to be built out over the water on an imposing column of rock. As you get closer you make out the base of it?s once fortified but now crumbling walls, which begin at least 50 feet over your head. With the upper ramparts at least fifty feet above that. This outer wall surrounds multiple stone structures, towers and additional fortifications that appear to be built on an incline that reaches its summit in the island city?s center. An impressive structure that must be a thousand feet across and almost hundreds of feet high at it?s center.

As you drift bye, you watch the Endeavor as it heads under a single, tall, stone bridge that once completely traversed the distance between the city gate and the jungle beyond. It?s connection to a plausible road lost from view in the dense foliage. The route of the Endeavor takes the ships directly under the one massive gap in the 20? wide bridge that spans hundreds of feet. Going under the bridge you can make out the destroyed front gate and portcullis, the damaged ramparts, and massive holes in the outer walls.

The entire place looks abandoned to the elements, with only the rock walls left behind.

Rurik is the first to speak, again, ?Massive siege happened here, and it looked to be some time ago. Glad the humans decided against it. If it fell once, it can fall twice.?

After passing the island fort, the shore becomes returns to its same mountain jungle motif. Occasionally a waterfall, a small pocket of marshland, or some other natural phenomenon is seen, but no sign of the civilization that once existed in the city behind you.

Another two hours go by as the Endeavor continues its lead around the harbor, and everyone on the boat becomes increasingly more anxious.

Off in the distance South/Southwest of you in what you surmise may be the center of the harbor, a small island appears to be in the distance. You can just make out what could be a small structure, possibly a Keep, built upon it.

After another hour, your destination of these many long days comes into view. Passengers of each ship scurry topside for a look at their new home. The Endeavor makes itself ready to lay anchor a few hundred yards from the cove.

Facing the area from this vantage point, you examine the site you?ve waited to see for many months.

A natural formation of rock begins it?s descent high in the mountains on your right hand side. As it descends towards your position it curls in front of your vision as it expands and rises in height to your left. It?s as if nature made a conscious decision to form an outer wall for the cove. Where it ends on your left, and before it closes and reaches back to the mountain side from whence it came, there is a 200 yard gap that allows the Isle Of Brennen Inner Harbor water into the, temporarily named, ?Outpost Cove Bay?. You see through this gap that beyond the Outpost Cove Bay there is an large expanse of higher flat land that appears dry and, more importantly, easier to clear for the Outpost than anything you?ve seen up to this point. Tracing the mountains edge on the side of this valley is a large river that appears to be level of the Cove?s water. It looks like that the river cuts into the mountains about a half mile inland, where the flat land ends, and runs in between two cliffs until it reaches a waterfall of significant height about a mile inland from here.

Just as your taking this all in, some enthusiastic clapping is heard from the Endeavor as the men applaud the Councilor and Captain Shakahr for a safe journey. With a stern, but rye look from Captain Whalen, the crew of the Windright applaud in earnest.

?Damned right.? Captain says with a smile.

Yet another hour goes by as the many ships take anchor in the area. As the sun starts to set behind you. Rowboats are made ready for fording an Adventurer?s representative of each boat to a meeting, pre-scheduled months ago, to be held on the Endeavor.

The actual decision on who would be the one to represent the Windright was made by everyone on board a few weeks ago. You see, this is considered a position of pride since most the people on each boat have become fast friends on their ships, and, have competed and played sea-going games against the groups on the other ships over the past few months.

A decision was made that Mel would be the best representative to go, only one vote on the boat was for a different individual, and that was the one that Mel cast: he thought Grush should go.

Finally, a signal is given from the Endeavor and Mel makes his way into the sturdy, large rowboat that is gently set down on the calm water just shortly before dinnertime. He is accompanied by three warriors who help him row to the Endeavor. Once adjacent to the ship, [PC] climbs a rope ladder up to the welcoming crew who are in good spirits this warm beautiful afternoon. Course, the celebratory liquor helps. Another warrior assigned to Endeavor leads Mel down to the mess hall where a decent hot meal has been prepared for the occasion. You are one of the first to arrive, but the other adventurer?s soon make entry, most with a smile.

Meanwhile, back at the Windright, the 7 adventurer?s also find themselves catered to a hot meal aboard. ?Our weekly, comes early!? jokes Amaril. He is quickly humbled when a woman enters to pour all gathered a nice glass of wine.

At the Endeavor, Councilor Tretorn Kayb, Torlan Torkanius, Captain Shakar and Ivellios Nailo, make there way into the mess hall along with a cook and two of the thankfully many wenches that accompanied all of you brave men across the Solnor Ocean. As the women and the cook layout food fit for an Aristorcatic Conference, Councilor Tretorn addresses you.

?I was originally going to start this speech, with the words, ?We have journeyed long and hard?.?. But those words, thank the gods, seem almost foolish now.? Tretorn states with a smile. Tretorn, a human aristocrat from Dullstrand, is a bit tall and lanky. He has worn a fairly poor looking wizard?s robe the entire trip, and does appear he would be just as happy with his long nose buried in an ancient arcane tomb, as he would debating taxes with the mercantile guild. He is a man in his mid-years, who although appearing reserved and not one to bark orders, seems capable of giving orders regardless. Most of the men back on the Windright however, would rather put their trust and lives in the hands of Torlann.

Torlann Torkanius, self-proclaimed Paladin of Freedom. At 6?5? tall, this handsome human, is the epitome of a future Lord Paladin and possible King. Although young, he has a commanding presence that has helped move these ships across the Solner. In Torlann?s Outpost Boot Camp, you briefly experienced his command back in Dullstrand. You found him to be stern, but fair, and expecting the best out of all of the adventurer?s. Torlann, with his long straight jet black hair, bronze Baklunish tan skin, and muscular physique has turned all the heads of the women aboard the ships as he visited each one during the journey.

Tretorn continues.

?First and foremost, please convey all that is said and discussed here to your fellow adventurers of your respective ships.?

?We have finished the first leg of the journey and have now reached a key reason the lot of you have been hired. Tomorrow morning we require you to disembark by rowboat under the command of Ivellios. The 56 of you will land 7 boats in the cove and secure the beach. Our warriors will stay behind for the security of the fleet. Once on land you will investigate the surrounding area as directed by Ivellios and confirm the safety of the beach.?

?I do not mean to sound callous about your lives, they are no less important than any of the men and women waiting behind. But this is what you knew you were hired for. Nevertheless, on the rare chance that a dangerous situation develops that cannot be handled, and the order is given by Ivellios to retreat. You are all to make every effort to make yourselves safe. The first obvious option being the return to the fleet. If that is not possible, then a retreat into the cover of the dense foliage. You all know your own skills. Just let it be known that no one will be left unaccounted for. If able, we will send search parties for anyone missing.?

?You may now sense that we expect something. Well, quite frankly, we do.? He states grimly.

?After the discovery of this cove, the Endeavor left 10 volunteers. Well-bodied men who were skilled with the sword. At the time, 6 months ago, this was the only way to lay political claim to this land. A task they will be paid handsomely for when we retrieve them.?

?They were instructed to keep an eye on the cove and if they encountered danger, to stay within eyesight of it if possible. Since they are now nowhere to be seen we are forced to assume the worst. That whatever drove them off is still in this area and a threat to you and this mission.?

?We will retrieve them.? Captain Shakahr states with much emotion.

?One of them, is the Captains son.? Tretorn solumnly states. ?After the beach is secure and the laborer?s start to make there way to you, Ivellios will ask for volunteers to track and investigate the disappearance of his son and the men he commanded.?

?Any questions thus far?? Tretorn pauses.

There were no questions; all seemed very clear and straight-forward. After the meal the representatives were ferried back to their original vessels (with much honor, I might add) and the information that was communicated to them was then relayed unto their shipmates.