The Opening Journey to Caligos Isle and Ebon Gate 5117
GM Flannihan provides us with the details of the opening journey to Caligos Isle at Ebon Gate. So in case you missed it … enjoy! Thanks so much Flannihan! <3
A hearty cry from the Captain has a deckhand scrambling to open the chain at the base of the gangplank, allowing guests to begin the boarding process.
“Welcome, Friends!” calls out Junderthal in his most jovial voice. “Proceed up the gangplank, and welcome aboard the Damsel of the Deep, the finest sailing vessel ever to embark upon the open waters! Let us leave this dismal swamp and journey to the greatest isle you’ll ever set eyes upon! We will be setting sail in fifteen minutes!”
Junderthal barks a sharp order in the dwarven tongue, and a short and stout, scraggly bearded seaman climbs the main ratlines to unlash the main boom and drop the mainsail.
The First Mate takes her position at the ship’s wheel as the Captain rallies the crew into action with rapid fire commands. “Set the mizzen topsail, lads, and be quick about it!” “Heave smart on that halyard, lass. Put some muscle into it!” In quick succession, the lowered canvases fill with the cool night breeze and begin to strain against the taut lines of the rigging.
Prepare to get underway, lads!” barks the Captain triumphantly. Like well-oiled gears in a gnomish contraption, the deckhands batten down all the hatches, stow the loose gear, pull in the lines tethering the fine vessel to the dock, and slowly raise the gangplank.
Junderthal does a kip to the side and struts about with a jubilant step as the vessel slips sideways, pulling slowly away from the dock, bound for open water.
[Damsel of the Deep, Main Deck]
As the Damsel of the Deep navigates the river channel with ease, you see the dock slip farther from view. The pungency of swamp gas is replaced with fresh river breezes, sweet and cool, with just a tang of salt.
The river to port boasts the twinkling lights of ships upon the choppy waters, while to starboard, the dark outline of the devastated grounds of Feywrot Mire grows fainter in the distance till it disappears from sight with the rounding of a wide bend in the river.
Keeping the shoreline in sight, the First Mate navigates the tumultuous surf of the coastal waters. Heading northeast, The Damsel sails quietly past the historic site of Ta’Nalfein off the port bow. With the sails trimmed and the vessel slowed, she slips carefully through a narrow, treacherous channel as a dotted island chain, the ancient ruins of old Ta’Ashrim, rise ominously off the starboard side.
Reaching open water at last, the choppy surface of the coastline transforms into white-capped waves, tall swells, and deep troughs. The powerful winds of the sea fill the canvases propelling The Damsel forward with greater speed towards her mysterious destination.
Lights from the distant landforms wink out of view one by one till naught remains but white pinpoints of starlight scattered across the inky blackness of the night sky.
Pale grey dolphins, moonlight glistening off their smooth, rounded heads and upright dorsal fins, leap alongside the vessel. Pulling ahead, as if to show off their speed, they crisscross the bow and one another in flashy, acrobatic arcs. They mimic the vessel’s every movement, granting her a fanciful, playful escort across the open waters.”
The heavy canvas of the sails luffs ever so slightly with every course correction and refills with air soon after. Straining against the taut lines, the heavy fabric reshapes, billowing and rounded, carrying the well-trimmed vessel forward with deliberate speed.
Brilliantly twinkling white stars dot the inky blackness of the clear night sky. To the north, the constellation known as The Trident dominates the autumn sky. Bearing three star points for its tines, one for the base, and two for the handle, the illuminated symbol of Charl has been known to guide sailors to safety, as well as to their demise.
With nary a cloud in sight, the silvery white moon of Liabo shines a beacon of light across the nightsky, illuminating the crest of each frothy wave as it passes by on its journey to the nearest shore.
A glass-like finish descends upon thecaps and waves. The winds cease their relentless howling, and a sudden hush settles heavily upon both the water and the air.
The sails luff quietly as the lines go slack. An eerie silence pervades the vessel as it falls into the grasp of the doldrums, with nary a ripple upon the sea, nor a flutter of nighttime breezes. The rigging hangs lifelessly from the three masts, and even the deckhands halt their work to stare out at the glaesine sea.
Through the pervasive silence, the Captain’s voice rings out across the deck, “No ye don’t, you bugger. You’ll not be stopping us here!” Shaking his fist vehemently at the three-tined constellation in the northern sky, he continues his tirade. “We’ll reach our shore if I have to toss these fine folks over to swim the rest of the way!”
Breaking the calm, bestilled surroundings, a silvery grey fog starts to form overhead. It churns quietly, not over the sea at large, but directly above and centered upon the vessel, pinned helplessly at a standstill within the motionless sea.
Tiny motes of silver light flash within the grey, cloudy covering as it descends to the deck, settling like a newly arrived guest upon the teak-planked decking of the Damsel of the Deep. Gusts of chilled wind begin to swirl, emanating from within the amassed circle of fog.
The canvas sails begin to flap wildly, lines pulled taut as the sails fill once again with winds enough to propel the vessel forward. Though unseen in the gathered fog, the Captain shouts out orders that ring loud and clear across the vessel’s decking. Crew members race to trim the sails and tie off the lines and halyards from each of the vessels three masts.
With a mighty shudder of timber and an unsettling shimmy of the hull, the Damsel of the Deep once again lurches forward, propelled by the frigid and powerful winds exiting the tumultuous, swirling bank of fog. Spontaneous cheering erupts from some of the crew and passengers alike as the surface of the sea races past, and the vessel’s prow slices with fury through the oncoming waves.
Waves race by at incredible speed as the vessel pushes forward toward her destination. The temperature drops, bringing an unsettling chill to the nighttime air. Stars overhead guide the sturdy vessel on her journey, though they can be glimpsed only intermittently with the thick, silvery grey fog that mimics the vessel’s every turn and course correction.
After racing across the waves, the vessel feels as though it is slowing, though with no visible landmarks, speed and distance are distorted. Cocooned in a heavy overcoat of grey fog, time seems to pass more slowly, making it hard to discern if the voyage has taken minutes, or hours, or days.
At last, the blurry, hazy blanket choking off your vision begins to lighten, and silver motes of light within the fog rise slowly from the decking, journeying upward toward the heavens till they blink out of sight.
As the fog lifts, the moon appears brightly overhead. The glimmering path of light it lavishes upon the surface of the waves seems to be guiding the vessel through the darkened waters. The chill in the air subsides, replaced by cool, nighttime breezes bringing the tang of salty air wafting across the decking.
Whales breaching beside the vessel send a cold, salty spray into the night air. It drifts across the decking, assaulting passengers and crew alike with a fine and frigid mist.
Shapes begin to appear far off against the horizon. Jagged black peaks, wreathed in darkness, rise as monotonal silhouettes against the distant waterline.
The voice of the Captain rings out across the vessel’s main deck. “Land Ho! Land Ho! Look alive, ye scallywags! We be coming home!”
The pale grey dolphins arcing and leaping alongside the bow suddenly peel off toward the open waters, leaving the vessel without escort into the approaching port.
Tiny lights become visible on the horizon, blinking and winking a greeting from a long, water pier sliding slowly into view. Dark and jagged rocks rise steeply from behind the pier, and an outline of a mountainous island looms in the distance.
Slithering silently from between the teak-planked decking, wispy tendrils of a deep indigo mist begin to rise. Curling around your ankles, they seem to be seeking something. They brush lightly across you in indigo circles before seeking another nearby.
Lanterns sway frantically in the night-whipped winds as the vessel pulls ever closer to the elongated pier. Few lights illuminate the island’s peaks, with naught but harsh angles, steep cliffs, and darkened rock faces visible from this vantage point. A distinctly sulfuric odor is intermingled with the salty night air.
The mist arising from the floorboards grows thicker and more persistent. It settles heavily upon the decking, forming an indigo haze that swirls and shifts and twines itself around” and across exposed ankles.
The Captain strides purposefully across the deck, seemingly unaware of the swirling mists grasping at his legs. Barking orders at the crew, hustling now to trim the sails and pull in the lines, he has a jaunty spring in his step as the crewmen slide the vessel gently into its berth along the wind-whipped pier.
Text based: Because the book is ALWAYS better than the movie.