Narrative of the Voyages Round the World, Performed by Captain James Mycanos, With an Account of His Life During the Previous and Intervening Periods.
My name is James Mycanos. I was born in the City of Specularum in the Grand Dutchy of Karamiekos. I was the youngest of nine children, all of which are now dead, save my eldest sister who married a fisherman. I was given my first rudimentary educations by Dame Walker, in which I also learned smatterings of writing and arithmetic.
Before 13 years of age I became bound as an apprentice to a Haber-dasher, or shopkeeper, in the merchant district of Specualrum. This type of indoors-work did not suit me. My unhappiness was strengthened by observing the sea-going lifestyle of the persons with whom I frequently conversed. This finally led to a disagreement with my master, and eventual discharge. I soon bound myself for seven years with the principal owners of the ship, The Freedom of Specularum. The greatest part of this apprenticeship was aboard The Freedom in the wine trade as a common sailor. After this period of service I stayed with The Freedom and continued in the wine trade, traveling the coastal waters and obtained a considerable degree of navigational skill.
In the year 1110, I was on shore leave from the wine merchant vessel The Freedom in Specualrum harbor when I was first approached by a press-gang. These groups traveled the waterfronts in the cities and “pressed” or forced men to volunteer into service/slavery aboard the Duke’s ships. I desperately did not want this to be my future. I also saw the difficulty in continually eluding these more and more numerous press-gangs, and also acknowledged the lack of options a man had once he had been “pressed”. I concealed myself in a pickle barrel after a foot chase along the docks and decided that I would voluntarily enter into the Duke’s service that following morning, when I crawled from my hiding place.
My first able, active, and diligent service as Seaman with the Duke’s Navy was aboard the small sailing ship, The Eagle. The Eagle was presently engaged in the elimination of pirates along the sea trade routes off the coast of the Grand Dutchy. While she had pulled in for replenishment of victuals and needed repairs, I was welcomed aboard and reluctantly informed that our next mission was a very dangerous one. I was not told any details of the mission until we were well at sea. I learned that we were to scout an enemy pirate encampment along a river mouth in which they had just discovered, some days distant. Then under the cover of darkness, I, as the newest volunteer, was to board a small raft and conduct a sounding, or determine the depth of, the river mouth’s shoals and bars and determine the best spot for an amphibious landing and subsequent attack. I almost turned and looked for the nearest press-gang when I heard this grave news, but we were out of sight of land.
We reached the Butter River in five days and four nights, and I found myself paddling the tiny raft into the choppy waves of the mouth of the river in the early morning. As The Eagle sat in darkness more than a half a mile distant, I worked the sounding cord, and without parchment or pen, had to memorize the depths of the river’s mouth. During this effort, I fought to avoid drowning in the freakish swells and currents given to the area in question. Unbeknownst to me, there was a group of over thirty pirates hidden in the woods along the river mouth, waiting with canoes to surround me. I noticed that one canoe filled with pirates came within 10 feet from my raft as they scoured the area to find me in the darkness. But soon they discovered me, and as the canoes closed in, some pirates attempted to board my raft and knock me into the churning sea! I leapt off the raft and on to the stern of another nearby canoe and ran along in between the surprised rowing pirates, with the first pirates in hot pursuit. I leapt from the bow of the canoe and dove in the water, while the pirates who given chase had swamped the canoe so badly that it now sat on the fifteen foot deep sandy bottom. I found my raft and paddled back to The Eagle in the confusion and reported to the Captain of The Eagle my discovery and narrow escape. He said, “Mycanos, not bad for a night’s work, only four more trips to get the whole area sounded!”
After several more days of reconnaissance we attacked and killed over one hundred pirates and their fierce shaman leader, the Blind Emir. (This is the battle the map represents)
My keenness for Navigation and study of the Celestial Bodies of the night sky guided me on my path into the world of long-distance ocean travel. During times at port, I would delve into the tomes of stories of early explorers and their exciting expeditions to distant lands. Yarns of islands of cannibals and frightening monsters must be greatly exaggerated, or so I thought in my early days of research. These stories only fueled my personal interest and soon I was looking for someone to sponsor a long distance ocean exploration trip of the Southern Seas. The Duke’s Navy had no interest in such a foolish venture, and superiors blocked me in this particular business. I moved up in the Navy and was given command of my first ship, The Marauder. The Marauder was a leaky small sailer, whose primary service was as an ammunition barge for the Duke’s galleys. My ship’s limited range of duty, and the small-mindedness of the galley marine captains to whom I delivered ammunition to, only encouraged my wanderlust.
It was during extended shore leave from the Marauder one summer that I met the young wizard named Emerson. Like most wizards, he was independent of the Duchy’s recruitment and pressment and had found time to start organizing an expedition to explore the southern seas and isolated islands. Emerson had found a certain map of unknown origin and had studied it with other important men, and concluded that the area south of the Thangelos Archipelago was sufficiently unexplored. This journey was not to be a “gathering” of treasure seekers and looters. Rather it was to be an expedition to make gains in what Emerson called “science”. He explained that the study of science was a collection of facts. He similarly talked about scientific theory, and the ability to deduce and analyze new ideas relating to this odd, new field. I figured this “science” as another fashionable wizardly pursuit, along with flying machines and fantastic boats that traveled under the waves. However, I had a thirst for adventure, and this was an opportunity not to be missed.
I talked with Emerson during many nights at the inns and taverns that surround the city of Specularum’s harbor. I still was part of the Ducal Navy at this time, and couldn’t spend too much time planning this new scientific expedition. In my naval superiors opinions, island hopping the southern seas in a quest for knowledge and “science” was for fools and in dereliction of my sworn duty to the Duke. Emerson mentioned one night that he had approached the wizards at his guild, and they had decided to hear this young wizards speculation about a journey to the southern seas. We rehearsed this meeting thoroughly and we were ready to convince the wizards to fund this “scientific expedition”. I was not allowed to be present at this meeting.
The next day, Emerson informed me that the guild had agreed to finance his “scientific” long distance ocean exploration. He said the guild had decided to sponsor the trip to the tune of 10,000 gold coins to start. What incredible luck we had experienced! We celebrated in high style and began looking for some experienced sailors to accompany us in our greatest journey, to the other side of the world.
I knew of a privateer ship The Manticore, a small sailer with a burly captain and ten seasoned sailors. The Manticore was a newer ship and had previously sailed to Norvick and had braved the northeastern sea lanes and floating pack ice without hardship. I knew her captain, Trent, and we had talked briefly about hiring the ship and crew on at least one occasion. But, our new scientific expedition was heading to the southern seas and not the frigid northern seas. Emerson and I explained to Mr. Trent that our goals were an entirely different animal altogether, complete with its own set of challenges and needs. We finally decided to purchase The Manticore outright and keep her crew on with a bonus for staying. They were a hardy sort, and given the right motivation the men would be loyal. Most importantly, they could hold their own in a fight if one presented itself. We bought a shiny new short sword for each man, and had three sailors, who were the best shots, outfitted with shortbows and plenty of arrows. The men were in elevated spirits and captain Trent started them on a complete overhaul of The Manticore, while Emerson and I started with the scientific refurbishments on board.
Our first major addition to The Manticore would be an extremely long line, kept on a two man operated winch, and what was named a “Sample Shoveling Device”. This new invention would scoop samples of the ocean floor after being pitched overboard from the stern of the ship. The long cord on which the Sample Shoveling Device would be suspended would be a cable made from a sturdy wire type cord. After the Sample Shoveling Device reached the bottom and took a sample, it would be hurriedly hoisted to the surface and the contents carefully analyzed and recorded. During this time, taking soundings of the deep ocean was really an unthinkable feat. This machine actually gathered material from the sea bottom and transported it to the surface. The invention was also extremely expensive. The wizard’s guild wanted the ocean floor samples, however. They bought the apparatus and had it installed on the stern tower’s deck of The Manticore. It drew guffaws and ridicule from the crew, but Emerson paid no notice. He could be seen fiddling with the thing and testing it on many occasions. Emerson announced one day that he planned on taking a sample every 20 minutes while at sea!
Another special addition made in the name of “science” to The Manticore was a variety of cages to keep the newly found animal subjects. We intended to bring a number of beasts back with us. Also, an large quantity of clay pots were stowed in the hold in order to take back a myriad of plant samples. An entire laboratory was set up below decks in one of the two officer’s cabins. In this effort, an apprentice researcher named Holman aided Emerson. Holman worked hard and silently, always keeping on task in the laboratory. The small cabin was crammed with measuring devices, flasks, notebooks, maps, mirrors, optical lenses, and other intricate gear that I fully did not understand! That cabin was the realm of the scientists, and to approach was at one’s own peril.
We stocked the rations and water barrels and were set to heave-to the next day. I had arranged with the Navy to accompany the expedition in a military advisor capacity. In this way I could accompany the mission and retain my authority as an officer. I assigned captain Trent in-charge of the men, and focused on navigation. Being the only man with a true military bearing, I told Trent I wanted to keep strict order on board The Manticore at all times. He expressed his concern: that while most of the time, whilst at sea, the men were normally hard working and fervent. But, alas, this was not the case when time was given to the men for recreation and rest. At these times feuds often erupted and raucous behavior ensued. I informed Trent that I would not allow this to happen on board my ship! This was not a lovely paddleboat cruise for all to enjoy and to make merry. This was a official military and guild sponsored expedition. There would be no place for hooliganism and mischievousness here, sir!
One particular remarkable piece of verbiage about our little trip was stated publicly throughout Spec before our departure:
“His Grace, Duke Stephan III, hereby decrees the Ocean Exploration Ship The Manticore officially In-Service of the Grand Dutchy of Karameikos, and her interests ‘round the world. Shall Her Officers and Crew continually abide by our Laws and Virtues in this capacity; make astounding achievements in the exciting new field called “science”; and capture and bring back alive fantastic specimens for research and exploitation. Good luck to all aboard The Manticore and to Commander James Mycanos!”
-Duke Stephan Karameikos III.
Feel the danger as James Mycanos and lead the marines and crew of the Eagle against the pirates and their leader, The Blind Emir, near the Butter River in the Grand Dutchy of Karameikos!
If you restart the mission you get a second fresh crack at the Emir, this time with a market and your own keep to build up.
More of this adventure to come!
Since I got such a good response I will add part 2 now.
ADDED STORY 04/18/06
Chapter 2 - Into the Void
A low humming resounded off the land as the unearthly whirlpool slowly formed offshore. It began as a large circular area of choppy waves being whipped into whitewater by strange high crosswinds. Numerous eddies and riptides dotted the ocean surface. These smoothed away as the spinning motion began. Suddenly, a mile wide area of ocean started to slowly move, turning counter clockwise on itself. This rotation caused a tornado-like sound to fill the air, like thousands of lions roaring together. All of the sea birds and gulls in the area took flight and fled far inland. Then the expanse of ocean started to sink downward. In the beginning, this drop was imperceptible, as the massive ocean started to descend. Then the water “walls” of the great whirlpool turned dark from the depth of the sucking water. A large watery cloud formed above the current edges, slowly turning with the whole. Deeper and deeper the water sank and enlarged, forming into a one-mile broad gaping and spinning mouth of water. This hole emitted a shuddering roar of impossible sound. Waterlogged and seaweed encrusted wrecks of sailing ships, smashed and sank long ago, now lifted off the bottom and revolved in the gigantic whirlpool current, smashing and breaking into each other. The great masts and beams of these twisted ships snapped like twigs in the spinning maelstrom. The water picked up momentum and spun furiously, a rotating screaming deep void of water ripping away at itself, like a insane blender a mile across. To peer straight down this monster, one could only see a mile wide vortex of inky black water, spinning downward into the darkest depths of the ocean trenches.
Jider saw the low, dark storm clouds as they approached land. He stood at his post in the crow’s nest of The Invincible, a large sailer converted for troop transport. Ahead of the ship, he watched the unnatural mile wide low fog bank. This vapor was slowly spinning in a northeasterly, almost hypnotic, pattern. The fogbank blocked their current northerly course. Jider knew that the capital city of Specularum, with all its splendors, lay just inland of this area. Below Jider, the crew of the Invincible worked at a quickened pace. Docking at the capital meant shore leave for everyone on board! But even at this distance, the whirlpool’s current had already begun to pull the sailing ship towards the center.
Jider started to make his decent to the deck of The Invincible to make his report to the captain. Then he thought he heard a sound. It was a faint, rumbling sound like a distant waterfall or waves crashing. Jider knew he couldn’t hear waves on the beach at this distance, so he climbed back into the crow’s nest to get another observation from the elevated lookout.
Jider blinked his eyes and then rubbed them when he finally able to see over the swirling fog bank. The Invincible was heading straight for the center of an immense deep ocean whirlpool, at least a mile in diameter. The thunderous roar of the thing finally echoed about the ship. All the men onboard strained to see what was making this unearthly sound. Less than a half-mile away, the titanic maelstrom spun and frothed in agony concealed behind its foggy death cloak.
In the city of Specularum small boats of all sizes began to be sucked out of the harbor towards the spinning void. James Mycanos, captain of the Marauder stood on his deck in port and looked quickly to see the bow and stern lines had been fasted securely. He saw the large sailer approaching and its progress into the the mouth of the malestorm.
More to come!
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
This map was fun to play, without doubt. It was rather short, but there's nothing bad about that. I liked the environment, and that thing in the water, it was supposed to be some sort of monster right? Together with the story, which could affect this, it gets a high score, and this I will also mention later...
This is probably it's lowest point. But it's not bad. It's just a bit too simple. I won on the first attempt, and with many soldiers still alive. Not too bad though. Still fun to play.
The castle, the story and the design gives it a high score. Don't know what to say... the way you visualized this part of the story, is perfect. Not breathtaking enough to recieve a 5 though in my point of view.
Map Design: 4.5
I've never liked the Crusader map editor. And for that, it doesn't look good but you've made the best of out it. Also, this map could really only be on Crusader. Gives an island/coast-ish look.
Magnificant. I love the story and the way it's written. I would give it a 6, but I can't. Though, for this, it boosted the playibility. Maybe doesn't make sense, but being able to experience the story of the map, affects playibility right? The story is so good, it's fun to be part of it.
I really enjoyed this map, I really did. btw, who is that Emir Omar, I've never seen him before.
hm...maybe playtest it more? Maybe I was lucky, heh, I don't know. I destroyed the tower where that mangonel stood with my catapults(finnished it off with infantry), and then just walked in with all my soldiers. Those arabian swordsmen guarding the king, walked outside the gate on the opposite side. No one even guarded the king anymore.
This looks like a map where I'm supposed to build a city when I've destroyed his. Is it? I won right after killing the king. But it looks like a cede map...
[Edited on 04/18/06 @ 01:08 PM]
it's very fun
i think you give too many troops >.<
Map Design: 4
the castle design is ok.
the best part. You write the story very very many and it's a good story
nice map. make it again ^^
Before I begin, I would like to say that I am going to start a new religion called, "The Church of Lollard", or maybe, "The Holy Lollard Empire". One or the other.............right, review.
This map was awesome. I quite enjoyed it.
Almost good, but really easy. It was a nice idea, but there were too many starting troops.
But this was the only less than good point on this map.
Also good. I liked the idea behind it, and the story. (more on that later.)
Map Design: 5
I believe this work merits a five.
I loved the story, well, loved in a manly sort of way ;). It was well thought out, organized, and interesting. Worthy of a five.
Great job. I will probably worship your maps until the day I die. Not really, but you know what I mean. At least, I hope you know what I mean, because I'm not sure what I mean myself. :(..........yay for college that destroys you mind with tests........sum up, awesome job, and I look forward to your next work.
[Edited on 04/23/06 @ 05:36 PM]