|09_FirstLight_Body_01_01||Some perished during the voyage, others while breaking through the storms surrounding the island.|
Our ship was damaged, but limped onward, and found a friendly settlement to take us in. Dayspring Mills was a bustling village, everyone contributing their work and production to carve out a new life in this land.
Crops would mature seemingly overnight, animals brought down in the hunt would seemingly repopulate within just a few days... here, in Aeternum, the days of hunger, of famine, of hoarding food to make it through the winter are all long gone.
We are the lucky ones.
|09_FirstLight_Body_01_02||These things, the Withered... they do... not... die!|
Rather, they do, but they come back more mindless and ravenous than before. The bounty of this land means that fewer are required to farm, true, but even more are needed for defending the village. When one is brought down, it vanishes quickly — the island reclaims its own, it seems — but returns within just a short time. We do not have the manpower to encircle the village with a sturdy wall or even a defensive palisade. Their number continue to grow and I fear we will be pushed aside 'fore too long.
I can only hope the settlement has space enough for us to return, when that day comes.
|09_FirstLight_Body_01_03||I write this in the hopes that it will never be read, that our defense will prove sufficient against the Withered. They do not sleep, they do not think, they only charge mindlessly toward us.|
I feel as one of Leonidas' men must have, defending against the unending attacks at Thermopylae. The only difference is that for us, there is no end in sight, no limit to the numbers we must attempt to cut down as our own numbers dwindle.
We prepare to flee back to the settlement, bearing only what we can carry on our backs, with the hope that we will one day return and reclaim our homes... our memories... our lives.
|09_FirstLight_Body_02_01||Trappers brought in a good haul today: turkeys, rabbits, even an elk that happened by. Just waiting for the skinners in the upper camp to finish their work before I start breaking down the bits and pieces. Should have plenty set out to cure and smoke by the evening.|
A trader down from Edengrove passed by and brought a couple of new recipes to add to my book, so it's a good thing I was able to convince Rost to let me borrow his distillery. Probably could've set one up with the bits around here, but his kit is better than anything I could rig together. Some of these ingredients are strange, but the trader said they're pretty popular recipes in that area.
Never thought of adding meat to a distilling process, but... I'll try anything once.
|09_FirstLight_Body_02_02||This brew is... odd. Not bad, but has a strange aftertaste. Like drinking whiskey with a pat of butter in it, leaves a bit of a film in your mouth.|
It certainly does the trick though, so I've started bottling up this first batch for the boys here. "Paul's New Brew" seems to be a hit with everyone who's had it so far. Once we pack up camp, maybe I'll start a bigger business with Rost, send it out to all of the settlements for everyone to enjoy!
|09_FirstLight_Body_03_01||Sent the last 80 tons of stone down to the settlement to the south for them to finish constructing additional houses, and just received an order from the northwest for around a thousand tons more.|
The men need a few days off, and then we can get started on that order. I think we'll pull most of the men back into the camp and run skeleton crews in the mines, let everyone have a bit of rest before moving on.
Maybe I'll even get a break, go down to Forellac and talk to that fine lass that makes the fish for us.
I'll have to take a bath.
|09_FirstLight_Body_03_02||The charcoal pits are finally taking off! We've mainly been using them to keep heat in the bunkhouses, but it turns out that it's a pretty hot commodity.|
Most of the wood around here is too wet to work with right away, so it takes time to dry out for burning... else it fills the house with smoke. But this charcoal can be used right away, so Forellac has been trading their jerked fish in exchange for weights of the charcoal. Since otherwise, we'd be living on hardtack and whatever meats are shipped up from the Encampment, it is a welcome change.
Plus, the smiths at the south settlement have been taking all the extra to use in their smelting process, so we can keep the rest of our supplies covered. We may have the start on real industry here!
|09_FirstLight_Body_03_03||Ah, that foreman from the mines is so nice! When I brought the last shipment of fish to Letum's Pick, he had picked flowers for me and had a wonderful picnic set up for the two of us.|
I didn't have the heart to tell him that I'm sick of fish... but the bread and fresh rabbit was wonderful.
He is a kind man, and he treats his men well and I have no doubt that he would treat me the same. His look is craggy, like the stone he works with, but I have grown fond of him.
Perhaps when I next see him, I will suggest that he speak with Father about courting me officially.
|09_FirstLight_Body_03_04||It has been too long since I've been well enough to write, Four days since my fever broke. I've just left my home for the first time in what seems to be two full weeks... everything has changed.|
There are only a handful of us that survived this illness... Father and Mother are both gone. My brothers are gone. Our neighbors, gone.
I attempted the walk to the mines earlier today, but stopped short when I saw the state of things. No longer is it a well-run place, bustling with purpose... now, it is a foul place, tainted by Corruption. I tried to find my foreman, my heart, but it seems he succumbed as well.
I was not spotted, and left quickly. We have gathered what little we can carry and will move toward the settlement to the northwest, to sanctuary.
|09_FirstLight_Body_04_01||As my full treatise of De Magnete successfully made the journey to Aeternum with me, and having no knowledge of others with copies of their own, it falls to me to continue Gilbert's investigations on the nature of the magnet. As he states, knowledge of magnets is present across all of the world, from the earliest Greek and Jewish and Egyptian scholars to far and distant China, with many years of study being dedicated to their effects. Here, in this Terra Aeternum, I may unlock a new path of research.|
Might azoth influence these magnets in some way? Will they redirect the needle to a new North? Will they improve and enhance the capabilities of magnets? Only time, and experimentation will tell.
|09_FirstLight_Body_04_02||In Gilbert's final book, he makes reference to a mysterious fifth essence, one that links all bodies together in harmony — for the heaven of philosophers, as of theologians, must be gentle, happy, and tranquil, and not at all subject to changes. I seek to discover whether azoth might be the universal aether on which magnets interact, that invisible yet measurable force. Or is azoth a new tool for the aforementioned interaction, granting the bearer a new form of manipulating this aether which was otherwise hidden?|
Perhaps the properties of magnets crafted from Aeternum-mined material are different in their effects. The miners at Letum's Pick have spoken of quality ores from their mines... I must inquire further.
|09_FirstLight_Body_05_01||To Whosoever Finds This:|
We are abandoning this place, perfect as it is, for betrayal is in the air. Our three families have loaded what we can carry, and will make the trek to the settlement in Cutlass Keys, as it is closest. Normally, we would go south to our friends in Dayspring Mills, but we have seen the fires from that direction, the miners now attack us on sight, and we dare not risk travel through the wilderness. We can only pray for their safety.
You are free to whatever you may find here. We have left with what is most important.
|09_FirstLight_Body_05_02||Lost another pig this week, 7th for the month. We've been trying to keep ahead of those Withered things, make sure we can still get the crops in and the animals fed, but they keep coming.|
They killed Wulfgang two nights ago. I hope he returns intact, and not as one of those things...
I don't know how much longer we'll be able to remain here or at Nyhart's... but I'll keep fighting for this place. Built it with my own hands, and won't let some shambling horde take it away from me.
|09_FirstLight_Body_06_01||Another day, even more sifting through dirt.|
We've been in these ruins for near two weeks now, and this fool has us searching for bits of pottery and scraps of fabric. Where's the gold? Where are the jewels? Where are the treasures that will make us all wealthy, like he promised?
Should never have left the Kannan Tomb site... Once this place is a bust, I'll head back there. At least they had those big ruins nearby. Some nice pieces in there, fetched a fine price.
|09_FirstLight_Body_06_02||A fine day, indeed! The men have recovered a handful of pottery shards, which I believe to have come from some form of sacrificial bowl, indicating the Ancients may have engaged in some form of ritualistic sacrifice. The silly arguments by the other researchers here stating that the shards were a part of a common eating bowl are absurd, particularly given the other pieces found there: a chipped knife blade, a long metal spike used for the execution, and a metal grate over the firepit that must have been used to preserve the sacrifice after death.|
I have also uncovered crude drawings that may indicate a powerful relic being held here. The relic may be a piece of importance to the Ancients, a religious statuary of some kind? I shall continue to search for it, as long as is needed.
|09_FirstLight_Body_07_01||The Captain found some kind of book when we were last ashore. He believed it contained the answer we needed to leave this cursed island. The Ebony Hawk’s a fine ship and many believed she would survive the journey. Despite tales of the doomed Vendetta, most of the crew felt it was worth the effort.|
After spending hours going over that book in his cabin, the Captain finally stormed up to the deck in a state. He claimed he’d discovered some kind of ritual that would grant us safe passage. He insisted we would have no need to fear the Maelstrom. But it would require a sacrifice of some kind. When pressed on this, he grew silent and retreated to his cabin.
|09_FirstLight_Body_07_02||We brought Klaus's body back to the village... or what was left of it. He didn't disappear right away, so we may've been too far from the island for the magics to work right. All seemed normal until the black clouds rolled in. Middle of the day, and not a drop of sunlight to be found... like this place wasn't fit to be warmed no more.|
The wolves came with the darkness, and... It was like they knew who were in the crew! They attacked them, tore them to pieces! Then, they started on our families...
Have to get out of here. Think the wife and I will make a dash for it, over the rocks... toward the light...
|09_FirstLight_Body_07_03||A black wind howls. Screams echo against the rocks. For all I know, I'm the last left alive. This is my punishment for trifling with forces beyond my ken.|
I turned us into the storm. I lashed Klaus to the mast and performed that blasted ritual. There was naught else to try. I vowed that we would escape this godforsaken place. I believed any sacrifice was worth our freedom.
This blasphemous ritual should’ve appeased a monster. Instead, it created another.
If I still had the book, perhaps I could find a way to undo this. Or some way to control whatever poor Klaus has become. But the sea claimed the book, washed it overboard during my failed attempt.
The screams have stopped. But now something pounds at my door. I shall let it enter and end this terrible nightmare…
|09_FirstLight_Body_07_04||What have we done? We knew this was blasphemy but none dared speak out. Some power seemed to still our voices. But we heard the screams when the Captain began the ritual. They will forever haunt me!|
And it was all for naught! The storm did not abate! The monster was not appeased! We were forced to turn back! None of us could bear to look at what remained of our first mate.
We are returning home, sworn to secrecy. But our sin will not be cleansed. We must surely pay for what we have done…
|09_FirstLight_Body_08_01||Seventeen Drowned today. Minor damage to my armor, will need to repair after this report. Spotting more of them grouping together, may indicate a change in their tactics?|
More today than yesterday, but the same routine.
|09_FirstLight_Body_08_02||If I didn't know better, I'd think something was controlling those storms... as if they know when a ship is approaching. Being stationed on this beach, I've seen dozens of them spin up out of a clear blue sky. Something mighty strange is going on here.|
|09_FirstLight_Body_08_03||I'm staying at the Docket for now, trying to figure out what to do next. It doesn't seem like anyone else made it to shore.|
The leg is slowing me down less and less each hour, and if it keeps healing like this, I'll be walking by this evening, and running by morning. Unbelievable.
|09_FirstLight_Body_08_04||Watcher Linch -|
Thank you for your meticulous reports regarding the Drowned situation, and if the situation is as dire as it sounds, we may need to investigate the possibilities of training additional Watchers for patrols. Your actions have been exemplary, and I appreciate your commitment to duty.
|09_FirstLight_Body_09_01||Biwa has done it! Took a bit of time and tinkering, but he finally managed to get some of those lake mussels to produce pearls. They're not as fine as ocean pearls, but this is just the start!|
Imagine the looks on the faces of those in the Old World when the first ships back from Aeternum are laden with chests full of pearls... We'll be richer than we could've ever asked for! Have to work out that part about getting off of this island, sure, but that's someone else's problem.
|09_FirstLight_Body_09_02||In my time here, hundreds of samples and artifacts have been gathered for research and study. One, however, has eluded us until now. Azoth has been found, so far, in a liquid form that can be added to items during the creation process, enhancing their abilities. During one of my excursions to the north, deep within a cave structure, I found what I had long theorized existed: solidified azoth! Imagine what could be done with this!|
|09_FirstLight_Body_09_03||From the settlement, we have received 3 wagon loads of wood, 4 crates of tools (assorted), 2 crates of fresh clothing and boots. Additionally, Adjudicator Jeffrey has included a shipment of Consecrated Iron Blanks to be fashioned into arrowheads or musket balls as needed. If functional, this should help against some of the more unsavory things that have been found near the camp.|
This week's losses are worse than last week, I am afraid. The meat from 4 elk, and one too-curious wolf, turned almost overnight, becoming a blackened and sickly mess. Happens more and more frequently now, and we may have to start packing up if no fresh meat can be collected.
|09_FirstLight_Body_10_01||I think I've figured out the key to catching more fish.|
If you've got a keen eye and some fishing sense you can spot them: Hotspots. Hotspots are places in the water teeming with fish, and you'll get better and better at recognizing them as you develop your sense for fishing. The trick to it is landing your bobber within the Hotspot and then you can reap the benefits of whatever rarer fish are toiling there. You can exhaust these spots, so don't be surprised if it disappears after you and other adventurers plunder it for its fish.
|09_FirstLight_Body_10_02||I've spent the last few years watching Warwick cast with the utmost awe. The way he arcs back the pole and releases the line is like poetry. You can tell the strength behind those casts is from the musculature of the whole body being put into them. He doesn't much like to talk about his days in the wars on and off Aeternum, but I can tell he was a magnificent warrior from his casting alone.|
Machera, have you been in contact with Warwick lately? I'm just wondering if he ever mentions me...
|09_FirstLight_Body_10_03||I see the glow of her incandescent head bulb floating up towards the surface, towards my pole, and then quickly away. The female Albenaja glows with the light of Azoth on her bulb, and can only be found in First Light from what I've seen. She yields a hefty chunk of meat, but perhaps the bragging rights are even bigger and better.|
First Mate Landry
Chief Technical Officer Gilson
Second Mate Gauthier
|09_FirstLight_Body_11_02||Captian's Log, Day One:|
Today we set sail for what may be but a legend. The land of Aeternum, spoken about in whispers, has long fascinated me. The crew knows what they're getting into with this expedition, and that is that we may never find the island at all. We have enough provisions to last us several months at sea which will allow our search to go unfettered. Skies are clear today, and morale is good.
|09_FirstLight_Body_11_03||- Twenty crates of nonperishables|
- Fifteen muskets
- Two hundred units of shot
- Twenty five longswords
- Gold bars for possible bartering
- One milk goat
I won't be returning to the settlement, and I suspect everyone will be relieved… my own mother most of all. But you know that in the decades since we arrived on these accursed shores, my burden has been by far the worse to hers.
It's damned unnatural for a child to watch a parent remain young as they grow old. Why I'm one of the handful here cursed to continue aging, I will never comprehend. I tried to accept mother's youth, but after she became Constable, it was impossible. Watching her take command with such vigor has only hastened my decay. Even today, I listened as she and Artificer Kim made plans for some bright future. They don't realize how stupid they sound.
Whether we grow old here or not, whether we suffer or thrive, none of us will get the peace of eternal slumber. And without the promise of death, I simply do not see the point in pretending that we are living.
I thank you for your friendship, Albert, but I must now turn my back on First Light and embrace the darkness… whatever that may bring.
I've long since lost track of how long I've been on Aeternum, and other than the vague recollection of bearing children, I can't even remember my life in the Old World. I don't know if it's time that's taken the toll on my memory, or all the lies. Each year, they've piled higher, and I can no longer sort the truth from the false.
Watching Aethelgard slowly shrivel in body and spirit, I forced myself into the habit of putting on a hopeful smile no matter how I felt inside. Saints know, I tried. For his sake, I risked everything in a desperate bid to escape this island, but as with everything else here, it ended with disappointment.
For some reason, I still remember the smell of his skin when he was a newborn, but in the years before he left, Aethelgard smelled like a sick, old man. It reached the point where I couldn't even get close to him. I'll never forgive myself for that. I only hope where he is now, he's found some measure of peace.
|09_FirstLight_Body_13_01||Right Honorable Sir:|
Captain Tavares of the Vendetta has tasked me with finding a Northman shipwright named Didrik Gundersen. It is my understanding you may be familiar with this man.
I believe the rumors claiming that this Northman had become Lost are entirely false. I have spoken to a quartermaster who saw him drinking in this very establishment. An odd thing for a Withered to do, wouldn’t you agree?
If I may impose upon you, I would request that you send immediate word to Captain Tavares’ camp should you see this Northman. The Captain would make it worth your while.
Indebted to you,
Duarte Pontes, Shipwright
|09_FirstLight_Body_13_02||The old Northman was clearly mad. Pale as a Withered, I was stunned he could utter anything other than crazed curses. I saw no evidence of the gifted shipwright he had once been. All I could see was a haunted corpse.|
He gibbered about a monster that lurks in the heart of the storm. “Krake” he called it, a beast like the biblical Leviathan. After uttering its name, he seized me with an iron grip, pleading with me as if his soul depended on it. “Do not attempt to leave! Do not enter the storm!”
I left the poor wretch with a bottle of rum. I hope never to see him again.
|09_FirstLight_Body_13_03||My desperate pleas fall on deaf ears.|
Captain Tavares will not be swayed from his mad plan. I insisted that no ship can resist the ravages of the Maelstrom. No amount of armor will protect the hull. No cunning configuration of sails will weather this storm. This is sheer folly!
But I owe the Captain my life. I am compelled by honor to obey his command.
I fear we are damned. I can only pray that the Vendetta will serve as a warning to others.
May God have mercy on our souls!
|09_FirstLight_Body_13_04||By God, the Northman was right! Those who doubted now reside in the murky deep. And I shall join them soon enough. I cling to what is left of our once proud ship.|
At long last, I have set eyes upon it. The beast that lurks in the heart of the storm. Just as Didrik had warned, a kraken of the Old World. Its baleful gaze illuminates the water like the spectral moon. This demon is the true guardian of this accursed island!
There is no escape from Aeternum. The Maelstrom will see to that.
There is no escape…
|09_FirstLight_Body_14_01||I saw the ghostly lights last night.|
The mist had thinned, allowing a view further out to sea. My mates insist it was naught but moonlight on the waves. But I swear I could make out her masts, glimpse her tattered sails.
And could that simply have been the moaning wind? Or the distant wailing of the cursed crew? Those poor souls bound to their mad captain and his ship. The Withered also haunt the seas. The thought makes me shudder.
|09_FirstLight_Body_14_02||Of course, I know of the Flying Dutchman. I always considered it a fanciful tale intended to liven dreary voyages. But here on Aeternum, the mysterious power of azoth changes everything.|
Whispers of the doomed ship that attempted to leave Aeternum long ago cannot be dismissed as mere folklore. I have never seen it but I do not doubt that it exists.
I shall gather what knowledge I can of this phantom vessel. Is it crewed by Withered? Or have those poor souls become something else entirely? In a land where life and death have lost meaning, I cannot imagine what new horrors await us.
Zachariah the Scrivener
|09_FirstLight_Body_14_03||“Tis better to be Lost on land than Withered at sea.”|
I heard a local fisherman say this today. His fellows nodded in agreement. I believe this is a reference to the ghost ship that blessed few have seen. I have spent hours scanning the far horizon but have never caught so much as a glimpse.
When I tried to question the fisherman, he simply muttered: “Our lives are here now. Nothing else is real.” A surprisingly profound observation, to be sure. I wonder who this fisherman was in the Old World.
Zachariah the Scrivener
|09_FirstLight_Body_15_01||Hail to you, Mother of the Deep. Hear our prayer and grant us your protection. As above in Aeternum, so below in your kingdom. Yours is the hand that guides. Yours is the breath that restores. We beseech you, lead us into the Eternal Light. Though we are unworthy, grant us your loving grace. Amen.|
|09_FirstLight_Body_15_02||I have witnessed a miracle. While fishing for bluegills near Clearwater Bend, a horde of Withered descended upon us. We retreated into the water, having no other escape. The relentless Withered pursued and I feared we were doomed to join their ranks.|
Then the sea pulled back. We found ourselves surrounded by flopping fish. We heard a mighty roar before the sea crashed upon us. The waves pulled me under, tearing my breath from my body. My sight darkened…
I awoke on the beach, surrounded by my stunned companions. Of the Withered, there was no sign. The beach had been cleansed. All that remained was the cries of gulls and the gentle murmur of the surf.
|09_FirstLight_Body_15_03||I have heard a few coastal fisherfolk refer to something they call the “Mother of the Deep.” Aeternum, like other lands of this world, has its own unique folklore. Such tales are common, especially among seafaring people. But here, it is no easy feat to separate myth from reality.|
This entity is also sometimes known as Lady Fathom. Like Poseidon, Lir, or Njord of the Old World, her realm is the sea, and she is offered gifts in exchange for pleasant weather and bountiful fishing. It is said she is benevolent and protects those who call upon her.
I wonder if such an entity could truly exist. I suppose there is no reason to doubt it. Not here, anyway. But thus far, I have discovered no reason to believe such stories either. It remains a mystery.
Zachariah the Scrivener
|Lore_Body_Outpost_FirstLight||By order of Malcolm Rotheschilde, Lord of this post, all pilgrims are welcome at Firstlight Station.|
Here, the first light of Aeterna beckons to all who seek these shores. As it called to us with its holy radiance, it shall call to others. But in its shadows, lie dangers - keep within Firstlight Station at night, for Withered devils infest the Breakwater Bay to the Southwest. Skeletons of explorers, slow in dying, the flesh stripped from them mark the paths to warn away the foolhardy – if you choose to travel to the Bay, no rescue party will come for you - and none shall mourn your passing.
Also beware the lighthouse to the East. The paths that wind around the base of the monument walk with a different kind of dead, older than us, perhaps older than any – and they still grip ancient blades and their eyes blazing with Azoth.
No stories to scare children these - they are truth. Do not test them.