The Doors of Oerth
The Journal Page
A vellum page torn from an old captains log reads as follows:
“When the Gale finally ended, we found ourselves approximately seven days normal sailing distance due south out of Specularum, in the Thanegioth Archipelago. We replenished our supplies, patched up the ship and traded our remaining goods at native villages along the shores of several islands. Some villages were friendly, but others were hostile, and the natives attacked on sight. I suspect the hostile villages were filled with cannibals.”
The page is written in short blocky letters and slightly discolored from what may be slight water damage. A sense of sadness hangs about the vellum sheet as you read it. In the back of your mind, somehow you know this was likely the last thing written by the author.
“We skirted the coastlines of several islands, sailing south by west until we reached a small peninsula cut off from the main island by a massive stone wall. We were well received by the natives of Tanaroa, the small village that guards this wall. The villagers have no name for the large island other then the ‘Isle of Dread’. Their own small peninsula is known simply as ‘Home’.”
“The villagers told us a tale about an ancient city in the central highlands of the isle that was built by the same people who built the wall. The villagers called the builders ‘The Gods’ but I noticed that the names of the gods and the personal names of the clan ancestors were often the same, so I suspected that their ancestors and the builders were one in the same. I believe that the natives once possessed a much more advanced culture and that the descendants of the builders have returned to a more primitive state.”
“The inland city is rumored to be filled with treasure beyond imagining. In particular, I heard persistent tales concerning a great black pearl of ‘The Gods’ that still remains in the inland city. The island waters abound with excellent Pearl beds, so this rumor of the black pearl may well be true.”
“I would have liked to explore inland to verify the rumors about the mysterious city, but too many crewman died in the storm or by cannibal spears. Only five of us are left. I am the only professional adventurer; the others are sailors. We can sail the small ship well enough, but on land, in hostile territory, we would be helpless. Once back in Specularum, I should be able to recruit a new crew and a party of professional adventurers. Then I will return to claim the great black pearl.”
“One thing I managed to do before leaving: we sailed around the island and made the best map we could. We were afraid to land, since the village fishermen warned us that trying to land anywhere on the main island would be extremely dangerous as the coasts were rocky and without beaches, surrounded by reefs and littered with ship wrecks. As a result, the map only shows the coastal areas we could chart from the ship, but it is better then nothing.”
The journal is signed R.B. with a stylized backwards B, with a simple drawing of a whale beside the signature.