The rolling sea tossed Sheridan Washburn from his swaying hammock below deck...
|The rolling sea tossed Sheridan Washburn from his swaying hammock below deck - time to wake and face another day at sea. Sheridan thought leaving Port Merevalin following the massive break up of Dragon's Beard was hazzardous. Navigating through the debris washed off the several islands north of Independence certainly slowed movement, and damaged many of the ships. But they had all eventually arrived at Kinoss Bay, and the ports of Pheonix Enterprises.
Emerging from the hold, Sheridan had to cover his eyes from the sun glaring down on the wide deck of the caravel. This massive ship was just one in a fleet stretching for several nautical miles. The thin line of ships were headed for the region that used to be the fiercest mark upon any map. The Dragon's Beard! Now it was only a memory, and more than that, an open expanse for exploration.
The word from several fishing vessels that returned following the strom's passage was that a number of new islands were visible just off the horizon. Not much more than small dots - perhaps a peak or two. But it was enough to rally explorers, settlers, and merchants ready to stake their claim on a new landmass. Some would be fleeing their past, others would use the opportunity to carve out a fresh income stream and shore up their holdings on Independence, among the other realms of Wurm.
Standing by a barrel tied to the central mast, Sheridan dipped a large iron ladle into the brew. The harsh concoction was a result of boiled sea water, ferment able items the cook had managed to hold onto, and some added spices to mask the taste as best possible. Sheridan would be glad to finally arrive and help anyone willing to construct a proper establishment! Fine food and drink were common place at home, and quickly becoming rare luxuries here on the sea. Sheridan was concerned that life in the wilderness may be more than he bargained for. Then again - he wasn't here completely of his own volition - that was true.
Sheridan Washburn had specific orders. Land on the shores of the newly revealed land mass, named Pristine, with one task. Establish a foothold for the Order before dark forces can overwhelm the continent. Once secure, send word that the Order may deliver the heirs. Their safety and security were paramount. The Order would ensure a safe place for them to reside until they grew into the promised leaders that would herald a new age of prosperity, and usher in a new kingdom of peace for Wurm.
"Land Ho!" the scrawny outlook cried from his perch in the crow's nest. The cry began to ring out from the tops of several ships to the north and south of the caravel on which Sheridan sailed. Cheers echoed between the ships and carried on the sea breeze as the line of ships comprising the argosy approached the pin point of land that had suddenly peeked above the horizon. Sheridan rushed to the bow - holding onto a line tied to a large wooden pin kept him from falling overboard as a wave of crew rushed to the same position, leaned over the railing for a glimpse of the new land.
They arrived in the shallow waters of Blossom Bay during the last dark hours of the longest night of the voyage. The captains passed word between all the ships, upon first sighting the island, that preparations would begin immediately to disembark. All the remaining provisions were stored, materials packaged for fast unloading, and person effects stowed for easy exit upon one of many gangplanks to be used. The entire assembly was ready to set foot on solid land again - and be rid of the sea for some time.
Unloading the vessels took longer than expected. Several of the more able bodied seamen opted to flee their duties. Instead, they disappeared deep into the hills, forests, and tundra of the new land. For those who stayed behind the following days were long and arduous. Unloading the ships, setting up a rough camp, and then dismantling the vessels to eliminate any illusions of turning back. The men and women who comprised the argonauts were here to stay. Do or die. And for one, Sheridan Washburn, the only option was to succeed.