Saturday, June 11

Mysterious River

This morning, we stopped very briefly to pick up more passengers, but Magus Celon and Mr. K wouldn't let us go to grab a bite. The Halcyon did take on a whole lot of newcomers, though. They're so thick now that the cabins are full and people are sleeping on the deck. In the crowd, I noticed that one of the new passengers was Periel The Magnificent! It was tough with so many people, and he must have shaved his beard, but I would recognize his mage hat anywhere. Come to think of it, neither Mr. K or Magus Celon wears a magic hat.
In any case, now we have THREE powerful magicians on board. The captain must feel very safe. Although, Gloria and I have been talking, and we're not so sure about Mr. K. If he were a magician, he would go by his title, but he goes by “mister.” We spent last night after lights out considering what he could be. He clearly did a big magic spell, so I think he has to be a mage. Maybe he's disgraced or something, and doesn't use the title. I'll be he had a tragic love affair, or something like that. Wizards are doing things like that all the time. Gloria thinks he's a dragon in disguise. They're supposed to be everywhere these days, hidden in plain sight.
The dragons fought as their own side in the War twenty years ago. They split and fought over the specifics, but in the end, they decided it would be bad for them if they let the horde destroy civilization, so they fought. Then, when the orcs were pushed back behind the high mountains, the armies turned on one another, and the alliances fell. The dragons were the mightiest of them, and rather than wait for the power of the others to turn against them, they all changed their shape, and walked through their attackers, and disappeared back to wherever it is that dragons go. And the rumor persists that there still out there, hidden in mortal guise. Another romantic story, I guess. We're at the space between eras, a gap in history. The times are strange and uncertain, but I'm excited. It's like the fates are on vacation, and our future is a blank canvas.
I asked Magus Celon about Magus Periel, but he just gave me one of those considering, elven looks of his, and told us to stay away from the other passengers. I wonder if they have some kind of a rivalry or something. The Magus is so mysterious himself. I wonder how he came to be so far from his home, teaching in a gnomish city. And then there's me. This ship is all up filled with mysteries!
A few hours ago, we came to a bend in the river that looked out on a bleak moor. There was a ripple of excitement in the crowd, and even Magus Celon looked up from his lecture on the development of the modern spellbook to look out over the land. It took me a while to see what it was we were looking at, but finally, Gloria and I climbed up on a railing, much to the Magus's worry, and looked out at a lonely tower. It looked long abandoned, with a broken crown. It looked like some giant stone hand, reaching out of the earth. It was mossy in parts, and there was a great murmur of excitement among the passengers, but I couldn't get Magus Celon to tell me anything about them. He looked very upset as we passed them. I wonder what they are, or what they remind him of?
I noticed that Mr. K had a little notebook out, and was taking some notes as we passed. He must know what the ruin is. At 'dinner,' I'll have to keep after him until he lets me know what they are. In any case, we all watched them until they were out of sight behind a bend, and even then, Magus Celon's thoughts were scattered, and he let us go. This is something important, I'm sure. The magus seemed so upset I'm afraid to ask him, and Gloria's in the dark as much as I am. Mr. K knows, though, and I'll get the story out of his tight lips yet!
There is nothing ahead of us but a blank age of the future, and nothing behind but ruins, from the war and lost civilizations. Over time, people pass away, and kingdoms crumble. But legends live on, forever. Monuments lose their meaning, but never cease to inspire us.

Hungry River

On a boat down the Carabian River, Day 3. The rain has dried up, it's still gray. We're traveling through hilly woodlands, and the river is twisting like a snake. So far, so good. The lectures from Magus Celon are SO boring, though. Mostly he's been describing Carabos, the city and the customs, and proper ettiquitte. In minute detail. I really don't need to know a seven hundred year history of Gnomish Dinning Habits. Or the ancient origins tea sandwiches. It's maddening! He goes so far back, that by the time he's finished, I've forgotten the rule he was teaching in the first place! I don't think it will be too much of a problem, though. Carabos is a Gnomish kingdom, but the University is separate. I've heard that it is a city unto itself, and an international haven for all of the five peoples. I'm sure I'll do fine.
Speaking of food, that's the one complaint I have on this tub. Apparently, Captain Pitt once lost a vessel to fire, and he's paranoid about losing another. So there is almost no cooking allowed here on The Halcyon. In the morning, there's oatmeal and tea, and then that's it for the whole day! I swear, the rest of the diet is rounded out by what raw supplies they pick up at stops: Jerky, hardtack, cheese, and maybe some local fruit. I'm not sure I can take much more of this! Ceylon takes it with stoic indifference, and Mr. K barely seems to eat at all. In this hardship, though, Gloria has proven to be a staunch ally. We're bunked together in a little cabin, in beds that are stacked one on the other and bolted to the wall. She says that her grandmother told her about a spell, that servants of the Gods use to when traveling in the wilderness. It allows them to pull food out of thin air. She thinks that the mages must have an arcane version. She's convinced that while we're scrabbling by on hard tack, they're summoning turkey legs. I'm glad that this has put me on better footing with her. The incident hasn't been forgotten, but things seem, better. We haven't said more than two words about it, though. I'm still a little worried.
We should be coming into a port later this afternoon. I hope we pick up more passengers. And that they let us off the boat for lunch. Going from the Halfling faire food to ship's rations is like some kind of torture. I almost wish the school was run by them rather than the gnomes! Now that I wrote it down, I am craving turkey legs. And cranberry sauce. Do they grow cranberries this far south? I think Celon was saying that Carabos is citrus country. Oranges, and lemons and things. They grow tea, too. Everyone drinks tea there all the time. I had it once, it was interesting. But I'm getting off track. I think hunger and boredom are actually writing this page, not me. Well, no time to rest! It sounds like Magus Celon is calling for us. More later!