Botany and Battle, an Account by Heilwig Grunwald
6th of Nacthexen, A.S (After Sigmar) 2522
I have decided that today on my 28th birthday I will be starting a journal of my travels. It seems only yesterday the Hordes of Chaos were descending upon the Empire, the flurry of activity as my parents sent messengers to contact their peers throughout the land. I was soon sent off west to the coast, following the columns of refugees since Bettina (my sister) was already abroad. Mother and father stayed and contacted the elusive elves in the great forest, preparing to fight with them against the unholy invasion of our homelands. I travelled for weeks, while stopping here and there before finally coming to rest for a time in Marienburg. It was there I was contacted by Baron Jekyll, he invited me to join him on a grand voyage to a supposedly recently raised island.
I quickly travelled north and was introduced to the Baron in Limmelbalt, he seemed keen to bring me along to assist his colonization. It was however the opportunity to be the first to see never before catalogued plants that convinced me to go. His accent is strange but most of the men I have met outside of Talabecland have strange accents, smooth or harsh, singsong or guttural, the noises from a port city like this are overwhelming. The Baron gave me 5 gold pieces and instructed me to purchase whatever I needed to help me survive and assist the rest of the colonists.
I spend my days outside the town or in the highest room in the “Scarlet Jester” inn, a painting of a funnily dressed man hangs outside below the inn’s name. The 3rd floor room gets me away from the loud bustle of the street but the smell is no better. We are to leave on board the Nola in 3 days, I must admit a small amount of trepidation, and the idea of being stuck on a ship all day does not sound overly appealing.
9th of Nacthexen, A.S 2522
We have set sail from the port of Limmelbalt, a mighty fleet the sailors tell me. There was even more excitement in the city as this undertaking was made with Taal and Rhya’s return soon to come, the voyage seemed like a symbol of hope for the salty, dirty men and women of Limmelbalt. Mannslieb is almost completely gone though so I do not know if such a mood will be appropriate given such omens. Most of the passengers were Imperials or Marienburgers but two that I saw who walked up the boarding ramps to the Nola were Dwarves of all things, squat muscle bound thugs from the looks of them.
The day has gone well so far and we sail to the North West, following the coast to a town or city that the captain says we will make a stop in to gather more people and supplies. It seems the Baron is bringing several towns’ worth of people to this new island.
19th of Nacthexen, A.S 2522
We arrived at port today to take on the supplies and men from a place called “Bretonnia”, I have never heard of it but the men hired to load cargo from their storage sheds have even stranger accents than the Marienburgers. The cliffs marking the shore surrounding the port were intimidatingly large and treacherous looking while rocks stabbed up through the sea along our route. The port had a large castle in the middle of it, the men atop it watching us like a hunter watches prey. However the lighthouse was the real sight, at least 350 feet tall and sending out illumination in all directions. In contrast the men we saw all looked even poorer than the normal dock workers I saw at Marienburg and they all seemed to wear the same drab rags. Maybe they spend all their money on building massive towers and fortresses or maybe it is a country of poor people that do the dirty work for the richer countries like The Empire while just using ancient buildings as free lodgings, I will have to ask around later.
20th of Jahrdrung, A.S 2522
This voyage wears on me, the constant swaying, no trees in sight, only the endless grey blue ocean. While magnificent during the first few weeks the sea has become my captor, confining me to the cramped decks as sweaty deckhands work to bring the ship closer to our destination. The only thing to look forward to in the near future is Mitterfruhl (Spring Equinox). I intend to make sure the crew celebrates the official return of Taal and Rhya while the drink and food will help take my mind off of this endless sailing south.
5th of Pflugziet, A.S 2522
I was told by a hunter selling pelts in Marienburg that sailors could out drink a priest of Taal but this boast has been sorely tested. Most of them gave up after the third day of Mitterfruhl celebrations on board the Nola, only two dwarves remain to share the lackluster mead provided by the Baron Jekyll.
One of them called Mordrin looks like the few others I saw in Talabheim and Marienburg but the other called Kain is physically and, while I would never say it to his face, mentally strange. He has a huge orange crest on top of his head, like a magnificent bird of prey’s and tattoos on his body. I am not sure what the difference between these two is, perhaps a mark of status or mastering of skill at arms, his later exploits would lend credence to the latter theory.
As night crept onwards and the keg begun to run dry, a storm rolled in and the sudden pitching of the boat sent my guts churning. The two dwarves felt no such desire to fall into Morr’s dream realm, they just started throwing punches at each other as the boat shifted beneath them. I am not sure but I think it may be an end of celebration ritual as when the spiky orange crested one kicked me awake after I passed out they didn’t seem to be concerned with their injuries.
The kick jerked me awake and I noticed a clamoring above, the two dwarves were charging up the stairs to the main deck, wielding their crude axes. After groggily crawling around to find my staff I headed up to see another boat alongside our own, wiry men fighting our own militia and arms-men. I remember the ships name vividly as the crack of lightning illuminated the words “Kraken” proudly etched into the hard wood of the hull. I had never seen such men before, their skin was dark like a man who spent too much time outside of the comforting shade of a tree and they carried wickedly curved metal blades.
Kain was fighting one of the men while Mordrin was trying to pull the planks nailed down between the two ships, the wind and rain smashing into the stoic figure. I headed straight to Mordrin, helping him lift one of the planks up off the deck and sending one of the dark-skinned warriors to the embrace of Manann. We quickly moved to the other plank as another one of their men charged onto the ship, swiping wildly at Kain. Kain quickly dispatched the man, sending his head flying into the beard of a large man wielding a pick that had just crossed the plank and killed a militiaman in front of us. Seeing a kindred spirit the massive man charged at the dwarf but the conditions sent him sprawling to the other side of the ship.
The “normal” looking dwarf tried to lift the plank but lost his grip as another man attempted to cross it, the nails in the end of the board came down hard, the stubby legged dwarf screaming as they cut into his face. I managed to make a quick swipe with my Quarterstaff at the man’s leg that he tried to jump over but fell as the plank was no longer fixed on both sides. This sent him overboard to be crushed as the ships came momentarily together as the storm raged on, I wonder if that was a better death than drowning or being eaten by the sea creatures the sailors talk about on occasion.
Finally the large pick wielding man was pulled down by weight of numbers, his body run through by a scared looking militiaman thrusting a Halberd into the dark-skinned menace. Seeing the loss of so many men the crew of the other ship cut their lines and planks in half so they could escape. The dwarves continued to shout things at each other but I headed below deck to get some rest after a long day of drinking and fighting.