Sunday, June 1, 2014

Secret of the Eastern Shores

(Click to enlarge)
I've pored over countless scrolls, tomes, and accounts of the Third Alberian Fleet of Alberworth, but whatever secret their captains held still eludes me. All texts seem to agree on only one point; the Third Alberian Fleet sought fortune in the eastern Eidothean ocean. On all other points, multiple theories have surfaced but none have been confirmed.

According to the various texts, the Third Alberian Fleet consisted of anywhere from six to fifteen ships, each with a crew of nine to twelve men. It is believed by most that they left from port Alberworth, headed east through Brenner Bay, and turned south once they reached the Eidothean ocean. Some accounts suggest they headed north once they reached the open. I've dismissed this northern theory, however, on account of the fact that no record exists from Blood Bilge showing any ship sighting around the time of the voyage. There wouldn't be so much confusion around this matter had port Alberworth not been burned to the ground seven times since, port records included.

The first major point of contention is the fate of the Third Alberian Fleet. It has been well documented that the southern region of the Eidothean ocean is home to an enormous sea creature recently identified as a kraken. Some speculate that the fleet was wholly destroyed by this monstrosity but such a claim cannot be confirmed. This theory is both helped and hindered by the fact that no wreckage is said to escape the Kraken's hunger. There are no reports of driftwood credited to the Third Alberian Fleet anywhere along the eastern shores of Cairn or Agon. Other theories suggest they were overcome by mermaids, coaxed by sirens, or simply never set sail at all.

The second major point of contention is the nature of the fortune they sought. This is where the hearsay and speculation abound. The guesses range from fountains of youth to mountains of theyril. Some suggest they went forth to slay the Kraken. Others think they had a map that marked the locations of the word-stones themselves. The only thing the scholars and drunkards have in common is a shroud of ignorance on the matter.

There is one particular scroll to which I've returned several times as I've studied this event. Though it appears quite rudimentary compared to other related texts, the faded signature that adorns it is of "G. L. Rannek", a respected Alberian captain of the time. Most have dismissed the note as a forgery. All who have attempted to find a history on this mysterious "Balin" have come about it empty handed. The scroll reads:

           I cannot say for certain when, or if, I will return. The chart has been divided with each captain holding one piece of it. Should misfortune befall our cause, we all have sworn to bottle our piece and toss it to the ocean so the secret remains hidden but not forgotten. If e'er the time comes that you feel I've been taken by traitorous waters, you must walk the eastern shores and recover what I've lost. I pray what I write now is only precaution and not instruction. Stay vigilant. 
                                                                                                   G. L. Rannek

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