I was not surprised by the betrayal of the pirate captain.
One does not expect an adherence to ethics from a man who makes his living robbing others. So I was aware that a betrayal was not out of the question. But I also know the captain is the type of man would not bother with such a act unless there were profits involved. Which poses the questions: who was it that commanded the captain to eject Vón and I from his ship, and what did they offer him for the deed?
Will I encounter that pirate and his creaking ship again someday? Perhaps, perhaps not—what matters is that his betrayal elegantly worked into Pharasma’s plans; for I am without doubt that this island is exactly where my goddess wants me to be.
It was a vision that brought me here, and another vision that lifted me from the waters. Much of it is cloudy now, but I remember images of crumbling old Kaddren manor, a hauntingly beautiful avatar of the goddess’ will, and a dire warning that ‘the gods wage war’.
This vision came upon me as I drowned, but by Her Grace I did not come to my final judgement that night. I arrived on the isle with body and soul intact, albeit weakened, and as tired as I’ve ever been in my life. Too tired to make a fire, too weak to craft shelter upon the soft sands. Thankfully, Vón’s sharp eyes caught a glimpse of a fire flickering atop a nearby ridge, and we staggered that direction.
On the hill, we came across a stranded group of shipwrecked survivors, remnants of the Jenivere (the ship that would have carried me, were it not for a moment of chance).
After barely a week away from civilization, the castaways were struggling to hang on to a semblance of sanity, caught halfway into a descent to savagery. Prideful Asura had the duty of keeping watch that night, and upon spotting us he wasted little time in announcing his claim to divine heritage, and his assumed superiority thereby. I know only little regarding the religions of far Vudra, and nothing of Parjanya; but divine or not, Asura’s arrogance is uncanny.
The castaways numbered more than a dozen, but a small core of strong-willed individuals appeared to have taken de facto command, Asura among them. I shortly met Kalypso, who spoke in mad riddles and boasted of being a witch—with the cackling to prove it. I strongly suspect that she is more cunning and less mad than she acts, but determinations of sanity are difficult, especially among present company.
Arriving beside Klaypso was Kev Larr, a dwarven woman, startlingly brusque and direct in her manner. She was saner and more confidant than the others, and although she took upon herself the role of organizer, she shied away from direct command. But I must note that there is something about her manner that strikes me odd. She has the self-confidence and righteous attitude of a devout believer, but she bears no signs or symbols of any connection to a faith. Is she hiding something?
Finally, after much effort, the group awoke Snorri, another dwarf and (as I would soon come to discover) the driving force behind the castaways’ activities. He led not by open command, but by virtue of sheer stubbornness. Snorri openly does as he pleases, and if the others desire the protection of his strength, they have no choice but to follow. This was made evident during our explorations on the following day, when Snorri, without announcement or preamble, began an excavation that lasted through the morning and well past the noon, leaving us all with nothing to do but stand by while he filled the air with clods of ash and dirt.
Even a peremptory exploration of the island showed me glimpses of many mysteries: the haunted and perpetually storm-tossed seas, the corruption of lurking undead, the raging madness of the natives. Powerful supernatural forces are at work here, and the island holds dark secrets. At first, I feared to tell the other survivors of my mission here, but after some contemplation I have come to realize that only by the light of truth will I confront the evil that hides here.
I write this as our group rests, strained by a violent confrontation with a group of savage natives. In a few moments, I will finish laying to rest the bodies of our assailants, and then I will gather the castaways and tell them of my visions, and my reasons for being here.
They may not believe me, but does that matter? Slthough I may not agree with their attitudes and methods (Snorri’s lust for violence, in particular, disquiets me), I will gain nothing from lying to them—and allies here may be hard to find.