[Slightly Less Redacted] CAPTAIN’S LOG 1
I suppose I ought to have thought by now to keep a record of things. I am a Captain, after all. The Madame Fortune is a good ship, and she probably deserves better than me. Still, I hope to do right by her and our crew.
If you are reading this for any reason, there’s a good chance it’s post-mortem. I hope I went out doing something I believed in.
If you’re looking for records, that’d be the ship logbook. My first mate, Francis, tends to it. I’ve known him since childhood – he’s always been more organized.
A trait I both admire and lack. It is my hope that this book will aide me in arranging and understanding my thoughts.
My change of heart did not come without prompting, I suppose. We recently met a powerful dragon who opened my eyes to many things. Though I am honor-bound not to reveal too much of the trials and tribulations involved in being tested by a great dragon, I can assure you it was a wonderful story. Perhaps some day, it can be told. But not now – not in its entirety.
Truth be told, I am unsure of where to start. The log begins at a turning point in my life, I expect, but none so major as when I became aware of my magic, or lost my mother, or became first mate. Certainly nothing like when I became Captain.
Would it be considered “Skipping ahead” to mention how the dragon, Croquillo, said I hide a great many things? In front of my party, too! Though, no one has asked about it… yet.
I suppose she was not wrong. It.. I mean, I do not do so out of malice. As I said once to Athven, I would not willingly hold a secret I thought would harm someone that I care for. Simply some things only seem important in retrospect. Others still are of a more private matter.
Who am I writing this for, exactly? I suppose that would affect who I should proceed. Should I explain from the begging? Were this a story, I should think that starting now would be right in the middle of it.
However, if I am writing for me, then prior knowledge is assumed. I suppose I’ll carry on as if it is for myself first and foremost, and others second. I’ll explain relevant information as I go.
We recently completed a set of trials set for us by Croquillo and her people. One thing that occurred involved each of the seven of us – myself, Raleigh, Athven, Tocca, Feregh, Crisp and Hazel – reliving defining moments of our lives. It was sort of a bit traumatic.
At any rate, I’ve stalled long enough. I have much to recount, up until this point.
I am not an interesting man, by any accepted standard. I am the son of a well-bred, respected merchant, and his curious and loving wife. I spent the majority of my childhood learning many things from many people – my parents spared no expense in my education.
Among my various private tutors was a man named Borlin, who remains an inspiration and trusted mentor to this day. I spent several summers on Lark’s Folly, learning about the great many beasts in our world. Though I did not become a Druid, I still value the knowledge greatly. It, among other things, opened my eyes to the greater wonders of the world, and fo*rthat I am truly grateful.
I, myself, was a bit of a handful. All children are, I am sure, but most practical merchant families do not expect to birth a sorcerer. I sure kept my mother on her toes, but she did not seem to mind. My father, however, must have already begun realizing that I was not the son he had expected.
My father was not cruel, simply… detached. I had no doubt that I was a disappointment to him, again and again. [REDACTED]
I began my training as a merchant. Of course, I had been raised as such, but now it became the primary focus. It was not particularly of interest to me, but it had its perks. I had always loved the sea, and when my father placed me as a first mate on one of his vessels to learn the aspects that I would miss ashore, I felt freer than I had in a long time.
Nothing lasts, and quite honestly, I’m sure I would have bored of it. I’ve always been difficult.
When I discovered that our captain had been trafficking people and weapons under my father’s nose, I couldn’t stand by, or wait for my father’s word. That would have been weeks – maybe longer – of suffering at the hand of our family’s company. I couldn’t stand for that.
So, I confronted him. We dueled, and I won. It was, for all intents and purposes, a mutiny. I left his loyal crew members on a frequently trafficked island with rations. I told them that his blood was on their hands as well as mine. That they should endeavor not to cross my path again.
And then, we left. I couldn’t face my father after what had happened. I spent my personal savings to buy the ship from him, and became a captain of my own. I like to call myself a freelance merchant, but we occasionally take on the jobs others wouldn’t – so it’s possible that some would prefer the term pirate.
In fact, I’ve garnered a nickname from the many who sail these seas – the Moral Pirate. They say it as a joke, but I am not ashamed. Not everything is cut and dry – there are grey areas to many of our laws and behaviors – but herding innocent people into internment and slavery is not blurry. I will never become a person who will do anything for a gold coin.
Perhaps it is that I come from a place of never wanting, not where means of food and shelter are concerned. I had the money to buy my father’s ship. I come from a background that is different from others. Shale warned me that he acted the way he had because of what another person had over him – a deal he’d made. I do not doubt that there will be a time when I have to choose what is right when I would rather choose what I want. I do not envy him for the end it brought him.
My life certainly did change after the mutiny. I learned that I did not have all of the skills to be a captain, and relied often on the expertise of others around me. Most trusty in this and many other regards is Francis, my first made and childhood friend. The man is like a brother to me, and has gotten me out of more scraps than I can count. I owe him more than I can say.
I suppose the next turn in my life came unexpectedly. Francis expressed to me that being routinely understaffed did little for morale, and that we might find some extra crew. Additionally, we picked up passengers, as we often do.
Among our new crew was a formidable half-orc named Feregh, a spritely young Aaracocra named Tocca, and an elf named Athven.
Though Francis managed to recruit Feregh, and I’m still not quite sure how, she proved her worth quickly. I would be remiss to not add that I find her a very solid person outside of the physical aspect, as well.
I admit, I see the crew as family. We have done so much together, seen and been through more than a typical merchant crew. Feregh fits in well. My helmswoman, Raleigh, seems to like her.
Tocca came to me looking for a job that would give her coin for fruit. We were able to do one better, I am happy to say – coin and fruit. She is an often-upbeat addition to our crew, an additional member for our crow’s nest, and a skilled unarmed fighter. She also gets along well with Audrey.
Audrey is.. Athven’s niece. His agreement for employment was simple- he would work for her passage.
I had not wanted children on board. I am not superstitious, I did not feel that they would be particularly bad luck. More than anything, I felt that I was unprepared to deal with children, myself. It is certainly a responsibility I effectively shirked by refusing to marry a rich noblewoman and bear little ones with her.
Nonetheless, I suddenly found myself with two. A new cabin boy, who I later discovered was an undercover little brother of one of our passengers, a well known performer who hoped to escape a poor situation.
I understand, logically, that neither of them are my children. But… I am a captain. Everyone on my ship is in my care.
Audrey… is sharp witted, curious, and bright in more ways than her intelligence. In truth, it was impossible not to find myself fond.
Her uncle, on the other hand… quiet. Difficult. Stressed.
I can’t explain it, not in any way I’m able to put into concise words, but I wanted to change that.
I wanted to see him smile.
As our time went on, I came to understand that they were running. It was only recently that I discovered from what.
Even before I knew, I knew that she was young, and innocent. I wanted to help. I wanted… perhaps vey strongly, to see both of them feel safe. I got the impression that neither of them had felt that way for a very long time.
I may not have much – still more than others, I know – but I have this. I have my ship. The people on it are good people, and it is as safe as I can make it. A person with no worries might find themselves more fortified in a small hut on the outskirts of town, but who becomes a pirate that isn’t running to or from something?
We delivered our cargo to Lark’s Folly after leaving Port Bounty. En route, we discovered the sinking wreck of The Season’s Greetings, and were able to rescue the few survivors. Among them was Captain Garlic Grimley, who i am proud to now call my Helmsman.
Upon delivery of the dragon’s egg we carried to Borlin in Lark’s Folly, he and Hazel (half sister to Aisah, advisor to the princess) requested something that I normally would not have blinked at – to meet with a Dragon on behalf of Port Bounty and Lark’s Folly. For protection.
Athven was… worried, understandably. For Audrey’s safety, primarily.
I think perhaps that this was when I realized that all of this is bigger than me. I have lives in my hands every day, and in leaving Audrey with Borlin, our crew took on a task that would put the lives of many, many more squarely on our shoulders.
I believe Athven and I reached and understanding, then. I promised him I wouldn’t keep anything secret that might hurt her or put her in danger. We all have or secrets, but her safety is a priority for both of us, now. In truth, I think almost any of the crew would protect her. They’re good people. Tocca and Feregh certainly would, and Francis is a good man. Everyone loves her. The ship is becoming strangely domestic.
We set off for the Mist Isles, and when we arrived, we met with Croquillo’s council. Upon discovering that we had an egg for her, they were quite adamant that they couldn’t decide anything for her, and moved us forward into the trials.
In our first trial, we faced two other groups to build a construct. The green team sought a great adventure, headed by a great but aging man. The red team sought knowledge, and was headed by an insidious woman called the Ghost on the Wind.
It turned out that she was no more than a ghost, a visage created to garner perspective on us by Croquillo herself.
Our next trial was rather the more difficult of the two, as it forced us each to relive very specific points in our life, for all of our party to see.
I replayed the mutiny and murder of my former captain by my hands. Feregh relived a confrontation with an adversary who spoke down to her no matter what she did, insisting that she would never be good enough. We all witnessed what would have been the kidnapping an enslavement of Tocca’s village, had we not been able to interfere. Crisp saw again the kidnapping of eggs by a rival clan, And Raleigh relived the pirate-caused shipwreck that killed her uncle. I found it interesting that Hazel’s involved saving Francis, of all people, from a back alley brawl. I do want to know more about the circumstances surrounding that.
Finally, we discovered why Athven was running with Audrey, as a result of discussion that happened after our trials. In the trial, we saw him protect her from an assassin, who chose to let them go. He later explained that she was the half eleven child of a nobleman and an elf, whom he had taken as a wife. When a coup was staged to kill them, Athven took Audrey and ran. I know her family name… my father did business with them.
As we emerged, perhaps worse for the wear, we found ourselves heading in to a large library where we met a dragonborn named Wendy. She offered us knowledge, spoke with us briefly, and offered amusement via questions involving how we saw our world.
Perhaps we should have guessed that Wendy was, in fact, Croquillo.
We had passed her trials. She spoke to us about our deal and approved, as well as asking us to take on perhaps a greater task- that of taking down the infamous pirate Lucy Fairweather – the pirate who took down The ship Raleigh was on all those years ago.
I do still think there is more to Raleigh and Lucy than we know, but I do not fault her want for justice.
Croquile mentioned that I hide much of myself, and she is not wrong. She gifted me with a new sword but also an amulet meant to help me , presumably with magic. She said to use it when I am ready.
She gave others gifts, too, and we headed to the inn exhausted but with renewed purpose.
Now, we go to get Audrey and our passengers, before heading north toward Brickport, the black ports, and Lucy Fairweather.