Blood in the Water

Decimus 20, 1667

The Bone Spider

Undated entry (most likely Decimus 10, 1667)

The tenth day of Decimus still continued, so we moved on to our arrival in Newport. The experience in Bryn Bresail, as I said in my earlier entry, was refreshing. It was perspective altering, transformative, for me. As soon as we were on land again I took the opportunity to ask Galina to join me for a walk along the shore. Alone, we discussed many things. The end result of which is that we are both resolved to argue less in the future, and be beside one another no matter the obstacles. If we had different fortunes I may have been inclined to confess more, but it is difficult for me given my lack of faith in the subject so many passionately claim mastery of.

When we returned I pulled Gregorio aside as well, to begin the next phase in my plan against the Moncelles. With luck he’ll succeed in wooing the affections of Mirabelle. For now however, there were other tasks to focus on. With Galina at my side I used the globe that we had found to try and find my quarry. I had luck with one, but it seems the other is not in this world any longer. It was something I had come to suspect already, but confirmation of it was still a wound to me. I shall never meet my father unless we see one another in the next life, but there is hope that I could be reunited with my mother. The globe unfolded to show a map of the region, with the mark showing her roughly three days travel eastward from Barcino in Montaigne occupied Castille. It seems I may have to convince the others to travel there, if they can be so inclined.

We secured rooms at the Bannon, where we had stayed before, and I was looking forward to a luxurious bath and a sleep, but we heard word that the town of Durk was for sale by the local lord. Having come to some inheritance by the hands of the fey we were inclined to purchase it for ourselves to establish a base of operations of sorts. Apparently Isabella, Roderick, and Gage had been to see the Lord Roger French during my conversations with Galina, and had been asked to return for their audience with him in two hours’ time which would be just after our dinner. I went with them on their return to see what might be done.

The lord was dressed in the Montaigne style, complete with wig which he set aside as we entered. Isabella posed as the leader of our enterprise and began to work the deal. There was a slight discrepancy which caused us pause: the rumors were that the town was haunted, and no one else would go near it. The lord was agreeable that if we could rid the town of its ghosts we should be partially refunded some of our purchasing price. In the end, we agreed to do what we could, as we would most likely have to clear it of ghosts if we wanted to stay there anyway or have the land be of any use to us at all.

It was determined that we should sail for Durk, and eventually once more for Montaigne. We needed a faster and larger ship to accommodate us, so we spoke to the reputable shipwright, and I bargained us a deal to buy an unchristened three deck clip, which we christened the Black Rose. Galina and I took the officer’s quarters, the good doctor took the first mate’s, and Roderick took the captain’s quarters as he remains our captain though we no longer require the ruse of his having kidnapped the Count Della Montagna.

In the morning we shall hire a crew and sail for Durk, which we shall reach by the end of day tomorrow with any luck. I hope after that to restore Durk, and then continue on to a reunion.

- R

Decimus 13, 1667

When we reached what was once Durk we were all struck with the same feeling. There was something afoot there, an erie presence that bothered the marrow in our bones. I am no master of the mysteries of magic, but even I could tell that there was something beyond the mortal ken there. I was disheartened to find my assumptions correct. The town of Durk had been slaughtered by the pirates that had taken the city nearly a year before when we traded for the lives of Allende and Alesio. I felt shame at my fear of the Crimson Roger’s crew, and of our withdrawal once we had secured our friends. I do not think I shall withdraw from the Roger again. As an agent of Justice I should like to see each and every man, woman, and child among their crew hung and pecked like they did to the innocents here and no doubt countless elsewhere.

Seeing what needed to be done I scavenged the necessary tools from the town and then began to dig the plots for the dead. It was long and ardous work, but we buried them in a swath of land beside the church and just outside the town proper. There was a small hitch however. Isabella and the good doctor warned not to move certain members of the dead, those with small Syrneth armaments bound to them. The inscriptions written on them where in the Thalusi tongue, which we have encountered before and I knew enough of to translate the word: Spider. Since we could not move the bodies, we began to burn them, after entreating Alonso to discretely control the flames.

Among those dead was the cobalt man and crew member of the Roger: Jemy. He was the one I impersonated to force the other crewmembers off the Cresting Wave all those months ago. He was apparently a friend to Roderick, but he had been shot in the back, after apparently burying three of Durk’s children in properly marked graves. What happened next…. Well, it was the most disturbing form of sorcery I have yet seen, and has thoroughly convinced me of the hellish nature of the Syrneth that has been claimed by the Daughters.

Jemy, and the other marked corpses, assembled into what appeared to be, in its base form, a spider. An arachnid monstrosity constructed of the bones and flesh of the gathered deceased. Why the crew of the Roger should leave such a thing behind, I can only guess was to insult Jemy and his memory, and turn him into a creature of death when he had tried to be something nobler. Our normal strategies for combat were out the window, we had but one hope: destroy it before we found ourselves at its mercy.

The battle was fierce. In the course of it I managed to blow one of its legs off with my pistol. Galina threw her daggers, Noella shot well with her musket, Alonso used his archery and Grande used his teeth, Isabella remained at distance with her whip and pistol, while the good doctor proved quite the proficient grenadier with his alchemist’s fire. We had sent Royston into the forest to gather wood for proper grave markers, so he was absent from our battle with the bone-spider. It was Gregorio however who finally slayed the beast with his spear, though he took quite a few blows from the monster himself.

When the beast was finished I made sure of its destruction by firing into it twice. The artifacts were apparently of a single use in their nature, for they melted away into a mercurial pool and slipped through the earth. The haunted feeling however, still remained. We located its source eventually beneath the altar in the decimated church, and saw to its destruction and cleansing. Roderick also managed to find a journal of sorts written in Jemy’s hand, a sparse record of events from his perspective. With the altar restored we took a breath, finished the burying of the dead, and then returned to our ship, our mission accomplished.

We renamed the town Rosehaven after our restoration of it in a compromise between the names Haven and Rosewood. With our holdings established we hired a staff to maintain it in our absence, and agreed to set sail for Montaigne. We took with us Bella, Roy’s fiancé who did not wish to be parted from him, and Albrecht, who wished very much to return to Montaigne and fight the revolution and serve his country. The young man is quite disturbed, and with any luck the loss of him shall cause greater pain to my enemy. With them in tow and our new ship secured, we set sail for Montaigne.

- R

Decimus 15, 1667

I had a brief conversation with Montague through the use of our communications manual. He has secured peace between his men and the revolution. The revolution is currently being led by the woman Royston slept with the evening of the Count’s party. She is a fellow daughter, which strikes me as odd for she has taken Ysabette, Galina’s lady, captive and plans to execute her with her sisters, Rosamunde and Evelyn, on the twenty third. We shall hopefully arrive in Charouse on the twenty first barring any inconvenient weather which my sailor’s eye does not see.

The Musketeers have been reinstated under Karl Steiner until Jean-Marie’s return, which I found surprising due to the man’s nationality, non-membership in the musketeers, and reputation for cowardice. Leon is rallying his forces as well while a few of his nobles attempt to make their stand. The sun king is currently on the march from Castille, which places him between us and his other enemy – the Inquisition and Castillian patriots. I might hope for him to be crushed between the waves of the Inquisition and the rock of Montague’s forces in Charouse, but there is no way to communicate such a plan with the forces in Castille, and I doubt the leaders there shall think of such a strike on their own.

I told the rest of the party of the developments, and assured Galina that we should rescue Ysabette if we are able. Though I have reservations about rescuing the militant Rosamund and Evelyn from their justice at the hands of the revolution. We shall see what the future brings.

I was also able to aid Roderick in his reading of Jemy’s journal, the man was adept at codes but I observed the pattern and was able to solve some of the secrets he had laid within the journal. Javier and Riant went onto the island near Avalon to find Reise, and only Javier and Reise returned. Riant was the cruel man with the whip we encountered when first our crew came together nearly a year ago. I was glad to hear of his passing, for apparently Reise and Javier had told the others – or at the last Remy – that Riant was dead.

– R

Decimus 18, 1667

I received a message from Allende. Riese has opened the puzzle box that we returned to the crew, only to find it empty. In his rage it seems he has turned upon the person he procured it from, and attempted to slay her. He failed in his mission, but he is active and searching for Caborra. Isabella holds the map, but if she has learned all she can from it I shall suggest to her that she destroy it, so that it cannot fall into the hands of the Roger. We sail onward still and it looks as though we shall reach Charouse in accordance with our schedule.

- R

Undated Entry

Allende attacked Reise on his way out of Charouse. It was folly. He has been captured, but last seen he was still alive, flayed on the rigging of the Crimson Roger. In addition to this unsettling news, I woke to learn from Galina that she has had another dream. This time there was a lady who rose from the water and placed a sword of water into the land of an island. Roderick, clad in Royston’s armor, ran along the shore and stumbled upon it, drawing it from the sand. I do not know the meaning of the dream, but I suspect is it another premonition of some kind.

We sailed onwards, and then our eyes fell upon the ship with red sails with Reise himself standing upon the bow. I swore to myself to make every effort to destroy the Roger and its terrible crew, and if Reise should prove to be as immortal as the legends would suggest, though he had already died once, I swore to bestow upon him a fate worse than death. For I of all men know that death is often a merciful escape from justice.



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