Hephaestus's Log, Date 23rd November, Lunchtime.
I have received a top-secret communique from the Admiralty (tied to the leg of a parrot). Following the mysterious events of Halloween, there have been intermittent reports, ravings of madmen and the like, that tiny mist-shrouded isles have been spied, far from the sea lanes. It is Cap'n Cleaver's belief that it is perhaps these islands on which Vargas the Mad, fugitive from justice, has been hiding. It is said that Vargas and his crew are known to indulge in cannibalism, torture, and the misrepresentation of swordfighting rank, so their capture is clearly of the very highest priority.
Yesterday, a strange chart was seized from brigands by the Kirin Navy, detailing a sea route that starts at Kirin, and terminates at an unknown island, which the map describes as "Knot-Sayphe Atoll." My orders are to gather a crack team, and investigate.
Hephaestus's Log, Date 24th November, Elevenses.
My attempts to form a crew have met with little success. At the mention of the name of the isle, several of the older hands suddenly remembered prior appointments, and could not accompany me. Only the shiniest new hands, Galene, Gaea and Cronus have agreed to come with me. I cannot help but feel that I'm leading them into a danger that none of us fully understand.
In the name of secrecy, I have commandeered a vessel, the Enterprising Stargazer, from the Kirin Navy, so that we may travel incognito. I have distributed Kirin Navy uniforms to the crew, to complete the ruse. I feel we all look very smart in these nice red shirts.
Gaea's Observations, 24th November, precisely 3:42 of the clock.
Having been bribed with the promise of new clothes, and finding my own to be quite shabby and stained with the juice of several fascinating grasses I had been investigating, I have agreed to follow Hephaestus on his voyage. The color of my new shirt is quite pleasing to me, being red, and thus unlikely to show marks, and likely to attract interesting lepidoptera.
I pointed out a Laughing Gull to my companians as we pulled away from the dock, but they regarded me blankly and returned to their duties, muttering something about "seagulls" (a fallacy! There is no such bird. Merely different species of gull) and gazing warily at the skies. We soon reached the open ocean, and the voyage from that point was most pleasant, filled with wonders. Indeed, when I lowered a bucket over the side and hauled it back in, the contents included tiny transparent jellyfish, the like of which I had never seen before. A few leagues from port, though, the albatross which had been keeping pace off the bow turned back, and no fish could be sighted. The very air now seems wary, and I confess to a certain dullness of spirit.
I am unable to resist the opportunity to seek out and explore a new culture. Quite frankly, I'm also leery of the ability of my fellow crew to investigate without making some inane blunder against democracy and decorum, or to properly initiate primitive cultures into polite society. Ensign Gaea can't step foot on shore without wearing the very dirt as the latest fashion and Ensign Cronus is barely capable of walking. There is something in his shifty-eyes I don't quite trust, in fact. I suspect our fearless leader will rely heavily on me if our mission is to meet with success.
While Gaea is out playing bird-whisperer and Cronus stares off into space, I've been refreshing my studies on primitive language. It's not yet known what their level of technology is, but I'm hopeful we'll be able to manage some crude method of communication should we find ourselves in a situation where interaction is required. I must not get ahead of myself! Anticipation of what the morrow will bring seems high in the crew, at least.
Cronus's Note Pad 24th of November, late-night snack time:
When I found out about this adventure I was thrilled, until I found out my mom would be going with me. Sure, she says she's coming to check out any new flora and fauna, but really I know she just wants to check up on me. You accidentally eat a neighbor child and suddenly you can't be trusted to brave the seas. Go figure.
I guess it's exciting. I've only heard a whispered rumor about the area. They say there's some strange mist and if you're quiet you can hear a haunting cry. I imagine it must sound something like Hera's singing.
Hephaestus sure seems to think we need to be prepared and keeps checking our hold and stock levels. Even Galene seems to be excited, though I'm not sure why; I tuned her out somewhere around "cataloging genomes" and "cultural exchange". I'm just hoping there might be something new to eat, perhaps some native delicacy full of spice and youth. Anything would be better than the pickings on this ship; the puffer fish from that bucket really was rather unpleasant.
I'm hoping they'll eventually let me do something other than tend to the sails. I asked if I could gun, but they pretended not to hear me. Apparently they don't trust me after that little incident with the powder, pipe, and Eurydice's cat. So that leaves me here with nothing else to do than to scribble in this book and try to get more power out of the sails. I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't have gone in search of some rum, a patch of sand, and a well-populated buffet.
Below is an excerpt from the Logge of Chatte
Galene says, “Ugh. It's worse than Auld Reekie out there. We should have brought an EPA officer with us. Do you think this means they're industrialized?”
Hephaestus says, “Aye, looks like the fog’s closing in fast. Mr Cronus - Full Sail!”
Cronus says, "Who turned out the lights? Did I have too much rum, or is this churning water spinning us in impossible ways?"
Gaea says, “According to the writings of Coriolus, whirlpools should be consistent! This is most peculiar.”
Gaea says, “Egad! The fog appears to have eroded a hole in my sample bucket, and I've lost my jellyfish specimen into the bilgewater. Sir, may I have a new bucket?”
Hephaestus says, “Yarr! It's eating into the hull and the rigging. The sails cannae take much more!”
Gaea says, “But my jellyf - hm, fascinating that the fog’s managed to eat mostly through the mainmast already, but left us inta - Ooh, that rock just off our bow has quartz crystals in it!”
Galene says, “Are those worth anything? Should we seek to set up mineral mining rights?”
Gaea says, “Hmmm? Oh, no, not really. Look! Mica!”
Cronus says, "Finally something to do, I'll take the helm so we can get a better look. Not to worry, I took navigation lessons in the navy."
Hephaestus says, “No! You fool! Hard to starboard!”
Gaea says, “Cronus, dear, remember to signal before maneuvering.”
Hephaestus shouts, “No, not that starboard, the other starboard! ARRGG!!!”
Cronus shouts, “Where’s my helmet? I need my helmet!”
Will our heroes escape certain death? Will Gaea ever get a new bucket? Will Galene make a fortune on strange new artifacts? Will Hephaestus bring his crew home safely? For the love of all that is holy, will Cronus find the buffet? Find out next time, on the Puzzle Pirates Blog!