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Expedition_Body_01_01I have informed Lady Isabella of the news. The loss of her brothers at sea the year before was hard enough for her to bear, but the passing of her mother and father has dealt a terrible blow to her spirit. I have not yet informed her of the debts in her father's name, as I am still going through the accounts. To lose what remains of her family and the fortunes within a year… it is a tragedy.

The debts seem given over heavily to one of the new companies, that of the “Red Sign”. I am unfamiliar with it, but both her father and brothers seemed to have paid quite an expense on their joint enterprise and exploration of the islands around the New World… it is rather confusing in parts, but I am parsing the information piece by piece.

Despite the loss, she has remained strong. Each morning, she goes to the church on the grounds and prays. I have asked the local priest to visit her, and bestow what support he can.

- F
Expedition_Body_01_02…we traveled there by coach over several days, and I was not privy to the visit. Isabella met the man in his cell alone, and spoke with him for hours before she finally returned. Her eyes were bright, and where the tedium of days had worn upon her, she seem invigorated with new life.

I have seen this look before, and I do not like it. It was the light that burned in her brother's eyes – her father's eyes. Worried, I asked her how the conversation had gone, and she said, the treasure upon the man was not the azoth, but the man himself.

He was living proof that the fountain of youth existed, and it could grant eternal life to those who found it. The isle of azoth was no legend – it was true.

I asked her what could be gained from such knowledge, and she laughed lightly and replied, “because he says he can take us there.”

- F
Expedition_Body_01_03Isabella claimed the isle the prisoner had spoke of was called “Vitae Aeternum”. Whether this was the prisoner's name or the translation bestowed upon his mad ramblings, I am uncertain, but the name has stuck – much like the prisoner's offer, I fear. Isabella has taken his knowledge as if it has lit a fire in her, and it has given her a frightening sense of purpose. I urge her to rest – cautiously – but she will not hear of it. The mere hint of the Fountain of Youth's presence has moved her to action.

The crown was not so understanding – and Isabella had the misfortune to speak of the source of the fountain. They had been willing to back her request to see the heretical prisoner, but a Fountain of Youth returned a different, more scornful answer. It turned out that she might have tried a different tactic, had she thought of it – but as it happened, her father's debts caused an unexpected result.

- F
Expedition_Body_02_01I often seek comfort at the small chapel on the grounds. It is peaceful there, quiet, and I can hear myself think. I know the servants (those who remain) think I come here to pray… but I come only to listen to my thoughts, to sort through them, one by one so I might make sense of it all.

We held the services for my brothers here when they were lost at sea last year, and then again for mother and father less than a month ago. I expect even the meager services expended the last of the family “fortune,” which have never recovered from our numerous setbacks. Father proved to be in debt to many companies, and had risked a great deal in his enterprises… and now I am left to bear that burden. I wished I could have traded places with him and my brothers – not in death, but upon the seas, to be far from this place.

Now I simply feel older than my years should allow. It is not grief, it is simply that I lack the compass for where I should go, what I should do – and what I can do. There are not enough years in one's life to do all that I wish to do – or had wished to do, and what status our family had is lost, squandered on fool's errands.

Yet in this simple church, I feel at peace, and take comfort in it.

Expedition_Body_02_02The local priest came to speak to me this morning as I sat within the church. I shared my thoughts with him, and he quoted scripture to me. I had not exchanged more than a few words with him before, but the words came easily. I told him of the absence I felt of family – the fear of debt. And aside from the looming misfortune, there was the looming presence of age to contend with. My brothers had their lives taken from them by the sea, but mother and father… they deserved more years than they were granted. I told the priest my father had often spoke, quite passionately, of a Fountain of Youth, where he might take back his years and gain enough years to recover from the trials that life brought with it.

The priest was silent at this, then said, almost apologetically, that we were given this life, a requisite number of years because more… more might cheapen life's beauty. To wish to extend one's life – he seemed quite pained at this – was even considered offensive, heretical by the church. He spoke as if he had heard heretics saying such, which piqued my curiosity. When I pressed him on it, he protested I misread his tone – anyone speaking, let alone claiming to have proof of such nonsense, would be kept under lock and key so their madness might not affect others.

He knows of someone like this, I am certain of it. I will make inquiries.

TalesofExpeditions_Body_01_01On this day the merry band of warriors five seek to explore the overgrown garden first scouted by our legionnaires. What we may find within may be riches or ruin, but in either outcome this slice of Eden must be documented and explored for its proximity to our forward camps.

We, consisting of Lucius, Hadriana, Marcellus, Domitia, and Cassia of the reserves, fear not for our own lives but for the lives of the innocents that may be affected should this grove contain dangers within.

TalesofExpeditions_Body_01_02After fighting our way through the Dryad soldiers who protect this place it is clear that something valuable is hidden within.

Stranger than this, though, is a substance that Marcellus stepped in while fending off a Dryad's blows. It is a blood orange, viscous material that I quickly gathered a sample of. It seems to infect all natural things in the garden, but none of us were willing to see its effects on humans just yet.

Could this substance repel the Dryads? Can it be contained to only the Dryads, or will it spread to those we try to protect? For now we save the sample for analysis back at camp.

TalesofExpeditions_Body_01_03The sample in Cassia's pocket has overtaken her with a clinging sickness. The Dryads avoid her seemingly on principle now, and go for our weakest party members instead of her strong bulwark.

With Cassia suffering this way and the injuries Hadriana has sustained we can go no further. We have failed in our mission, and when we are resurrected at the next shrine we shall turn back, never to enter this forsaken place again.

TalesofExpeditions_Body_02_01An Edict from Her Majesty and Grace, Empress Zhou Taiying:

All resources gathered, whether by sickle or sword, must be brought to the Dynasty Shipyard to be forfeit immediately to the Dynasty. Any person or persons caught withholding supplies shall be punished swiftly and severely.
TalesofExpeditions_Body_02_02An Edict from Her Majesty and Grace, Empress Zhou Taiying:

The Corrupted forces of The Tempest are to be respected and allied with. No infighting shall be tolerated, as all hands must come together to create the fleet that will cleanse the world. The Tempest's forces are a gift, and shall be treated as such.
TalesofExpeditions_Body_02_03An Edict from Her Majesty and Grace, Empress Zhou Taiying:

Regarding the feeding schedule of Oro and Joven, they are to be kept hungry to hone their rage and clear their minds. Anyone caught feeding the Tempest's Tigers are to be fed to the Ebonscale Alligators without trial.
TalesofExpeditions_Body_03_01Father says it is a great honor to serve the Ancients. They have been benevolent towards our existence ever since we washed upon the shores of this deathless island.

I am ready to undertake the transformation. I know it shall bestow great blessings upon my parents and sister when I undergo my metamorphosis into a Guardian.

TalesofExpeditions_Body_03_02Three fellow humans join me in this journey today, prepared to offer ourselves as Guardians to the Ancients. Eight Ancients in their ethereal robes guide us through the cave system towards our fate, eyeing us as if we might flee. Is there a reason to flee? This knot in my stomach will not untangle.

TalesofExpeditions_Body_03_03I have never seen a being so large in all my days. Its one-eyed gaze grips my heart with fear. I look back to the cave system and realize I would not know my way back even if I tried.

The first among us steps up to receive the blessing, and his hands are shaking just like mine. Are we throwing our lives away for the sake of a species we barely understand? I think of father, mother, and sister. Will I even recognize them once this is done?

I am scared, and the cries coming from the man transforming sound pained. Have I made a terrible mistake?

TalesofExpeditions_Body_04_01Working with Simon Grey is near impossible at times. The man's ego is bigger than the Shattered Obelisk and he's going to get all the credit when it's been my men and I digging for him.

I swear, if it weren't for Barkimedes I'd be out of here.

-Foreman Nakashima
TalesofExpeditions_Body_04_02The mural depicted on the walls calls for intense inspection.

These gems around the hearts of the people depicted—what could they be? Do they hold the soul, or a part of it? If we could get this mural off the wall and into the daylight I might be able to study it better. I wonder if Nakashima would be able to isolate it.

-Simon Grey
TalesofExpeditions_Body_04_03Our next step in solving this mystery will have to be near the Amrine Temple. We will gather our supplies and make our discoveries there, I can feel it in my bones.

-Simon Grey
TalesofExpeditions_Body_05_01**There is a drawing of a group of alligators. The smallest one is circled in angry red ink with text you cannot decipher above it.**

Bab pab rutukep nâ idok a pixadaxoxo mah mipung. Yâd dekev uwâmik'ot an veyi yi mah axo. P'â gandobde gayuraok tiv nâ mixig mi ba itki yi pixadax? Pin ketir yâd mah veb xabti a wu mah yâd fibdâ ikumo kia , ti ruko robtoki pad ti fibdâok fa royenvong mah 'a ko.
TalesofExpeditions_Body_05_02**On the page is a drawing of the Myrkgard Church in exquisite detail signed ‘T'.**

Isabella a wux t'enggâf xa Myrkgard uvendâ. Iknir mipung k'ufâ ngo tiv pad ikitkâ t'epud. Wu a mah runa, a piñab mah 'a kengâ.
TalesofExpeditions_Body_05_03**A drawing of a sealed box is ferociously scribbled over with repeating phrases that you do not understand the meaning of.**


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