The following account comes from the journal of Colonel Seymore S. Wrightmann, an explorer in the late 1600's that hoped to travel the Pacific in search of unknown islands where treasures could be found. The journal had been lost under mysterious circumstances, but had been recovered and sold at auction at the Numbani Heritage Museum, sold for quite a bit of money, perhaps due to the single strange encounter that Wrightmann documented, which has forever inspired mystery and, for some, downright insanity…
Having been four months afloat, my spirit was tested again today by bouts of doubt in this journey. My navigator had assured me that we would find some kind of landmass along this parallel, though nothing as come from his predictions. I remained holed up in my quarters, unable to bring myself out from my bed, knowing just how much of my livelihood relies upon this journey, which I'll recall here; as you know, Leatty, my therapist suggested keeping lists as a way to ease my thoughts.
-My home was sold
-My possessions, namely my inheritance from my father, a collection of prized tapestries from Persia, were all sold
Both of these meant to finance both this ship and this journal
-My typewriter was also sold, which no doubt affects you most, Leatty; my penmanship has yet to improve during this journey
-My fiancée broke our engagement, on the chance I do not return, or if I do, I'm no longer a proper man to wed
-My two dogs no doubt believe I have died, though that varies little from a normal work day
I fear my concerns will grow, Leatty. Do not think my writings are mere drivel; it remains the best parts of my day.
I've returned from the mess, having consumed a light portion of salmon and a generous helping of glances from my crew. I fear they may mutiny, though my mates all assure me that is my paranoia speaking.
I am eager to believe them. Unless they plan of mutiny themselves.
I pulled out my old journals, kept during my days as a deckhand myself, though time was fleeting in between work and sleep. I found humor in my entries, which were oftentimes simply one-or-two long descriptions of my mood after the lengthening days. My mother suggested documenting my journeys for her to read upon my return, though I doubt they would have entertained. If anything, they would have compelled her to put me in shackles until the ship's all left the local harbor, keeping me home.
I wouldn't know, Leatty; in case you weren't aware, she passed before reading any of your predescesors. The fact that I retain my old journals should keep you confident of your own longevity.
Leatty Sr. has kept me company since my earliest days, though, I must admit, there are days where I believe his pages to be rising and falling, speaking to me.
I find it prudent to find human company whenever such phenomena arises.
A band of dolphins accompanied our ship.
Clocked it at a minute and fifteen seconds.
Not a new record.
I like the things.
I made a trip to the hold to gain account of my below-deck activity, assured by Gerald that our archaeological equipment wasn't damaged by the storm the last two days. Upon my own examination, I noticed quite a bit of the equipment had been damaged while tossed about, though my mates assured me my paranoia was at work once again. I hadn't been to my cabin to sleep, much less write here, for three days while the ship was wracked by thunderstorms, so I hadn't much to deny their opposition to my examination.
Noticed a crack in the deck where a large stone seems to have smashed into the side of the ship. Fearing my own jumbled, tired sense, I brought Marcol over to check and he noticed it too. Giddiness endued; where else could a stone come from but nearby land?
I brought Jessiman over and assigned him the task of repelling down and retrieving the stone, calling upon my two-days worth of geological study before departure. Jessiman often traveled the Yosemite cliffs, so trusting in him, I returned to my quarters to write this while he and the crew did so.
In short, if a smooth stone, it's been worn by erosion, and could merely be a sea rock. If cragged, land may yet be on the horizon. Dear Leatty, were we to find land, I haven't a clue how far my heart would fly! What treasures may
*the script ends abruptly, continuing at the end of the same page as if in post script*
I have assigned Kitzmer to retrieve the stone. We are now down a deckhand.
Got well deserved sleep. Woke up to find the stone recovered, though quite an odd thing it was. It was the size of a small jar, and while smooth, it bore the unmistakeable marks of being marked upon, laced with pictures of stick-figures humanoids with speech bubbles, though within them was a jarbled mess of a primitive language that none of the crewmen could decipher.
The rock's purpose seems unknown, though I've added Faulkner to the best to assist Victor, just in case some sort of landmass appears upon the horizon.
Lost in the curiosities of that stone, I nearly forgot that today is Julianne's birthday. The sun nearly appears to darken outside of her presence. Despite a tattered engagement, I cannot merely forget much of anything about her- even her little annoyance seem far more enjoyable, now having lived without them. Her dallying gait, her propensity for the highbrow, her dainty little snores in the night. I do miss them all, having now remembered how lacking life is without them.
Leatty! Victor has spotted land! As of noontime, August 13th, we are on the brink of landfall! prepared to make our riches upon this foreign soil! I must make haste in writing this, but do know, Leatty, you'll get lost yourself in the magnificent library I'll have within my own mansion walls!
We came upon the landmass. Turned out to be a floating mass of debris, eroded and out at sea for god knows how long. Replaced Victor with Samir.
This journey grows wearisome.
*a page has been torn out without much care, leaving a large leaflet hanging from the spine, though it's text is illegible*
A week ago, my mates voiced their concerns regarding rationing stores. While I'd planned enough for the length of entire circumnavigation of the Pacific, it seems a pair of rats have made their home in the hold, my mates surmised. I couldn't help but ascertain that the rats had nibbled through solid and oaken barriers, though they all voiced equal concern about the state of my own paranoia, recommending I come write, though I had little to say.
Lost with nothing to speak of, I recalled coming up with a theory pertaining to light and how it must certainly be measurable, and if so, must be faster than anything else we humans have any reason to ever imagine. Though, upon review, they do seem the musings of a madman, and I do apologize for violently stripping that page from you, Leatty.
In addition, our stores seem to have lessened since my mates brought up the thing with the rats. I caught Tarheel with crumbs running down his lips, though he was clearly concerned with my state of mind, and I sincerely hope this journey's tolls don't wear on me further. Were I to bring home all the riches in the world to lay at Julieanne's feet, what good would her love be if I haven't a mind?
In considering ration arrangements, I began ordering our mess cook to cut our potatoes and vegetables into longer, but thinner, strips, hopefully to fool the crew, and my own self, into believing we've eaten more than we actually have. Our code word for doing this, lest the crew find out, is 'julienne', a loving tribute to my love, around whom this entire journey revolves. Were she to know what perils we face now, I would hate to believe she worries.
Land is within sight, though I'm far more skeptical this time around. Samir and Faulkner are capable enough, though I thought the same of Victor, so I will impede any and all bouts of elation at this moment.
Last night, Derby began speaking of the wenches back home that he would carouse with, getting the rest of the crewmen riled up as well. With Derby unaware of Brewster's teenage daughter at home, he cause an even further stir when Brewster tore through the mess, trying to pelt Derby with his two fists, causing an uproar that I was only privy to after the fact. Jeremiah put an end to it on his own, a more loyal mate I dare not ever know, and assured me that he would keep the talk of women more respectful should Brewster be around.
I did make it to the mess for some julienne'd carrots and potatoes, though by now, meat is few and far between on the menu. It ebbs and flows in time with the amount of fish we're able to hoist on up.
Speaking of, I hadn't a clue that Giles could, and certainly would be happy to, eat a raw fish, scales and all. Such a frightening sight; I dare not recollect it any further.
Land is indeed in sight! Praise be! We're but an hour or two away, Leatty, and while I might be busy, I would much like to recount our adventures as they unfold, when given the time. Writings may be scarce, but I'll summarize as best I can, assuming such time is even available. We're after riches, treasures- not feral beasts or starvation. There's enough of that back home.
-Initial survey proved fruitless
-Will expand territory as we go
Leatty, this island is wonderful. So much in the way of exotic foods, coastal fish; it seems to have everything BUT golden-laced rocks or other trinkets capable of excising from the rocks here.
Victor and Humphrey have gone out to scout ahead, tracing around the island's coast first. Hopefully there will be something to keep our hands busy as we stock up for out trip home.
Our mastman, Alfie -the dull one- has rummaged through the brush up the shoreline and found some seashells that might prove valuable to some child back home, but hopefully it won't be long before we're carrying treasures that a king would happily compensate us to enjoy.
Dinner was julienne'd potatoes, celery, and some sort of flat fish that Alfie -the dull one- and Smith-Bannister both claim transformed before their very eyes as they were fishing, as though it had gone from flat-bodied to rotund, with spindly bits, as they said.
Hopefully it tastes as good as it sounds entertaining.
Alfie has died of some toxin or poison. We've eliminated all stores of that flat-fish. Samir was helping teach the crew how to expel their bile should they encounter another meal so deadly.
A week has passed, and so sign of Humphrey or Victor. Tobias is convinced that they've met some dastardly fate, though some others, namely Isaac and Oswyn both knew the two men well and vouch for their tenacity and survivability. I head whispers of an impending vote on what to do, though was never made aware of such a thing myself as captain. All my mates implored me to seek rest in this tropical sun; I must have been paranoid again.
I consulted with Samir. Perhaps I caught a taste of that flat fish without realizing.
We have decided to form a search party to find Victor and Humphrey. I insisted on joining, partly to see what else this island had to offer, though I was also hoping the exercise would tire the paranoia and nerves all quelled in my mind. Lowthe seems to agree with me- such a loyal mate he is. I couldn't find one more dependable than he.
*from here, several pages are torn from the journal, enough to make a noticeable gap along the top of the spine*
Dearest Leatty, I apologize to striken you so. Tinder was needed for a fire, and my compatriots share not the sympathies that I have for you.
We are sitting here, caged, like animals- I dare not kid you. Traversing the island wilderness, the search party perused as best we could, but to no avail, finding not a trace of Victor and the other one. Giles suggested turning back, but Copinger insisted we press on, lest we lose his brother forever- his brother was not Victor, but the other one.
Not long after, we were ambushed! These feral bodies of humans hopping out from the brush, chortling like hyenas as they surrounded us as though we were fresh for the kill. My heart raced so intensely, so immeasurably, that even Rykworth -my most trusted of my mates- could sense my nerves. He was the first to be brought to his knees, though we were all batted at like swine, the natives wielding large clubs fashioned from the trees above.
Their voices were ever-winding, though it sounded unmistakably Asian, a collection of languages I would often hear at the old Medes Showhouse, languages that were something of a curiosity to me. Though unable to communicate, it was clear they meant no harm, as we survived the ordeal, though those fiend took as like cattle, caging us up in makeshift cages, piles of bone collected in the corner with a smell so pungent I dare not recall its viscous undercurrent of filth.
We've sat here for five days, nearly six. I write this with the hopes that a larger, more wary, party comes hunting for us. Lest I fear this journal is one without an ending.
Fear not, Leathy, for we may yet prevail! I write this on the beach as the men pack up the ship, readying our departure, careful not to leave out anything of our awesome escape until I'm sure there is physical documentation.
With enough of my journal abused, I refused to lend anymore paper, leaving Brewster to tear at his own clothes for tinder. On a pure chance, he pulled out that stone from our ship's side to use as flint, striking it against another rock for a spark, when some random buster came by to investigate. He must have recognized the stone, as it sent him dashing off, leaving us all confused.
On a chance this confusion brought the tribal people to a halt, Giles and Byngman came up with a sudden escape plan to lift up our cage and waddle off into the bush, though myself and the others disagreed, though debate ensued.
Then came the strangest thing. Not in my wildest imagination would I have pegged myself as gobsmacked as I was at that moment. Amidst our argument, a jingling, like chains, broke us from our spell, drawing our already frail attention toward the most strangest of sights.
Two men were there, on all fours, one ripened with green hair and the other who could easily have been a relative. Chains rose from their necks, right up into the hand of the one female we had seen among their group, standing atop their bare backs as though she were their Queen. Their backs were torn from her rugged-looking shoes, their arms worked to the bone, their shoulders barely able to keep themselves upright, much less the body standing atop them. Their faces were covered with mud and filth, as though the two had been forced to eat their meals out of a hole in the ground, their faces covered with dried blood, perhaps having had to fight one another, biting each other furiously for their meals, all underneath the amusement of the woman above, a cocksure grin creeping across her face at her balance shook, a reminder of the weakening men below her feet.
My men were in a swelter of awe and terror, the Queenish lady pointing toward the stone and barking in a foreign tongue that was indecipherable. Handing it over, she examined the item with a scoff, tossing it aside before waving us away, her words suddenly emerging in something resembling plain English, telling us to return home, for their message on a stone for help was no longer necessary. Though, if anybody were to return to her island, they'd be met with far more brutality than we were.
She ensured our other two comrades were freed along with us, and we wasted no time scurrying toward the beach, rounding our way to our ship and immediately packing our things, preparing for our journey home.
I've seen things in my life bordering on the insane, and then I saw that nefarious-looking woman, locking up men as though they were beasts, though perhaps that's what they were. I couldn't tell you whether they'd all come here and claimed the island, or perhaps she had claimed them all. But those sounds of clanging chains… Such a sound rings, pinging throughout my mind with a brutish horror.
I can only hope those two men got what they deserved.