Planting Moons 23rd, 3127
There are moments, few, perhaps, but in those fleeting moments of perfection, we find divinity here in the strife and mud. Flying, can be like that…soaring far above the world, the wind caressing your skin. Victory after a hard fought battle. But, nothing in this life compares to love. When hearts beat in perfect sync, when all the barriers that separate us and we become one existential being of pure love, joy, passion… Love…is perfect.
Golden Eagle 33rd, 3127
Early in the morn on the 33rd, the Sea Ranger and two escort ships shipped anchors and slipped away from the port in Prastul, heading back to Granite Port. Our plan was to reach Granite Port within the week and begin a more thorough search, with Newt reporting any sighting along the coast. That was the plan.
A day out of Prastul we hit a fog bank like nothing I have seen. The sailors, though… I’ve found, during what little time I spent near a coastline, that sailors tend toward superstition. Ghost ships, sea people, and more. But nothing strikes more fear, nor has more legends, than the Veil…that milky white mist at the ends of the map.
I have not seen it myself. Though, I have seen the Everwall. I will never forget the fear and anxiety on the faces of the sailors as we slipped into that fog bank. Hardened men who feared neither storm to steel. Yet, these men and women stared into the mist like they could see every horrible death imaginable in its impenetrable white.
Though I never had the courage to ask, I imagine this is what the Veil looks like…from within. Not that I’m stupid enough to actually find out! Still, we drifted through that haze for most of the Golden Eagle 33rd and into Planting Moons 1st.
Planting Moons 1st, 3127
I know that we we drifted no more than 20 hours or so, but it felt as if time stretch out thin. The fog was so thick, you could not see from side of the ship to the other. Every so often, I would reach down to feel the secure substance of the deck or my mind would begin to play tricks, convincing me I was flying through a cloud…even though my wings were still.
And the sound…everything was muffled and hollow. Voices seemed to die on the air. Even the constant creak and groan of the ship faded to a dull ache. It was eerie.
But that was not the most bizarre occurrence in the mist.
At some point, by my guess mid-morn on the 1st, I was on the bow of the ship, helping guide as we split the Jewels. Over the sound of my own breathing, I heard a muffled sound somewhere off the Starboard bow. It was faint, but almost like coughing. I called out, signalling to the pilot.
In the mist it was almost impossible to determine any progress or direction, but slowly, ever so slowly, a shape, low in the water, resolved into view. At first, I could only make out an imperceptible smudge of slightly darker grey in the whiteout of the fog. But, after a moment, the smudge took shape, a low, oblong vessel in the water. Despite the urgency of our mission, we could not help but offer aid. Still, I was anxious. I have known the Winghunters to use wounded Aevakar to lure my kindred to their deaths.
So, as we approached, I kept a close watch around the boat, seeking the telltale flash of Thaumaturgy in the white.
As it neared, I could see the vessel was a small boat, more a life-raft than as ship. And it was heavily laden, lying low in the eerily still waters. And then, I heard it, a faint sound, more a gasp…or a yawn…
I know her voice like I know my own heartbeat. Shouting to the ship to heave to, I leaped off the bow, fear giving me power. I dropped low to the waves, picked up speed, pulling up right as I reached the smaller boat. It as full of bodies!
Oh Zavonis NO!
I landed as lightly as I could, but the small craft bobbed dangerously. I peered through the murk, trying to make out individual forms in the mass of soggy, ragged arms and legs. Here an ogre head…Ranna! There…a bushy beard. Blackstone!
It was the entire team…plus one more. A strangely dressed, black haired warrior slumped in the bow, seemingly dead. And then I saw them. Kenzie unconscious, head lying in Ingrid’s lap. the fire of her ginger hair a splash of color in the almost uniform white. Ingrid’s eyes fluttered open as the boat jostled. She seemed dazed for a moment, then her eyes locked with mine. They widened suddenly, those beautiful hazel eyes…
Her lips were parched, her skin raw from exposure. He hair was crusted with dried sea-salt… She had never looked more beautiful and ALIVE in that moment. Then others stirred. A voice, I’m not sure who called my name.
Alpha Team was ALIVE!
My girls were alive!
Out of the gloom, the Sea Ranger’s bow loomed and a rope was tossed over. I caught it and secured the boat. Then, a boarding ladder was rolled over the side and I began helping those that could move up onto the deck. Toward the rear of the life-boat, a stretcher was lowered, stabilized by four ropes. I loaded Kenzie onto the cot and watched anxiously until she was safely aboard. Then, I went back for the others. The new guy next.
Everyone seemed exhausted from their ordeal, and some were wounded, from which fight I cannot say. But with a bit of grog and bread in their bellies, they soon showed signs of life. Captain Roberts was kind enough to offer his cabin for those hardest hurt by their time at sea. I personally escorted Kenzie to a bed, Ingrid close by our side. There I stayed for much of the trip to Anasia.
I know through private conversations with Ingrid, and overhearing discussions with the rest of the team and Captain Roberts something of the Alpha Team’s ordeal. After the Malakaran smuggler ship was sunk by the Winghunters, most of the team was washed away. They soon found themselves floating through a heavy mist, not unlike the one in which they were found. After drifting for a while on the open sea, they found themselves washing up on a strange shore.
It was grayish, and rockier than most in Shaintar. The Explorer was unconscious, though I believe the others survived more, or less, intact. The sky was gray, but all admitted to feeling something off about the place. While the others milled on the beach, assessing their situation, Blackstone climbed up the beach to the beachhead. When he reached the top, he described a wide, scrubby plain. In the distance, he saw mountains, and a lone keep…aflame.
One rider, pushing his horse hard, made for the coast, right where Alpha Team had washed up. Blackstone shouted, and the rider veered. That rider, the same man we pulled unconscious from the bow of their boat, is named Marcus Regillus…
And yes, he is related, cousin I believe, to Sir Anaxelum Regillus, Wolfhaven’s right hand man.
When Marcus skidded his horse to a stop, he pulled a scrap of silk from his tunic and held it up for Blackstone to see. It was a crudely rendered copy of the Wolfhaven crest. Clearly, he was seeking Colonel Wolfhaven. When Blackstone nodded in affirmative the man rode down to meet the rest of the Rangers, clearly agitated. From his vantage above the beach, Blackstone spied a horde of angry warriors pouring over the plains toward the coast.
Marcus Regillus motioned for the Rangers to follow, before spurring his horse down the beach. They followed and soon found their way to the life-boat. Marcus Regillus then stripped the saddle and bridle from the horse, before slapping its rump and setting it free. Then, he loaded what little he had on the boat and motioned for the Rangers to hurry. With the enemy horde bearing down on them, the Rangers climbed into the boat, Grendel pushing it out to sea, before climbing inside. On shore, the horde of angry natives fired bows and shouted, but did not attempt to swim out.
After that, none of the Rangers quite knew where they were. Marcus Regillus claimed to be Caladonian from Caldadon or Caladonia. Though he at first could not speak Galean, he quickly, perhaps magically, mastered our tongue. When asked about his world, he said Austeria…wherever that is. From the debates I have overhead, the land is either another land in the Veil around Shaintar, or somewhere else entirely. Another magical plane?
Whatever the case, soon the coast drifted from view and the Rangers found themselves caught in a seemingly endless cloud of thick, white, soupy mist…or fog. Again, not unlike that which they were in when we found them. All attempts at navigation proved fruitless. None of the Explorer’s advanced tradecraft provided a location, though he managed to keep them alive with water from a condensation rigs constructed of their shirts…
More worrisome. When Ingrid attempted to summon a Fairy from the Eternal Forest of Landra, she discovered that she was cut off from Life! It was at this point that the Explorer theorized that they were IN the Veil. As mentioned, I have heard in recent days, enough superstition about the Veil to fill a lifetime. The prevailing wisdom is that anyone who enters the Veil, disappears forever, destroyed by the roiling energies trapped in the mist. Though some claim that boats are occasionally simply transported to far flung parts of the world, like time and space have no meaning. A few claim that ships have entered the mist, only to return centuries later full of skeletons, but with fresh food still sitting on the table…
Whatever the case, if they HAVE traversed the Veil, they would be on of the first to live through the experience.
Ingrid speaks of being marooned in the boat, trapped in an endless milky white void, denied day or night. There was no wind, and the water was still as glass. An endless, white torment of slowly losing your mind as you starved to death, or died of dehydration. An inescapable living nightmare…
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