The Blissful Wastes


Uktar 11th (start of the 2nd Tenday in Uktar) 1363DR Year of the Wyvern
The flat bottomed schooner made for an uncomfortable journey across the Lake of Steam. Not designed for taking so many people across the stinking sulphurous eddy, but needs must especially where there is good profit to be made. The Spirit of Thornwood has capacity for thirty-five, however today it’s packed to at least double that number. The approach of the festival of the Feast of the Moon always causes and increases the traffic across the lake and into the Border Kingdoms. However this year it’s more pronounced owing to the recent conquering of Mintar by the Church of Bane in 1362DR, and numerous border skirmishes over the past decade that appears to be coming to a head with threats to Saelmur’s independence. This has caused an unusually high number of refugees to assemble around the docklands and port towns of the peninsula. Of course any opportunities for a quick coin are seized upon by the unscrupulous merchant traders, meaning that the fee for travel was more than four times the price that it was last year at nearly 500 gold pieces a head, far more than many a farmer, displaced from their lands can afford to pay. Count yourselves lucky then, that you were able to afford your crossing. Many ships much larger than The Spirit, are making the same journey from Saelmur, and more still in the opposite direction, supplying the shanty towns that have sprung up the coast with food, water, and other goods.
Crossing the lake takes two long days, sleeping in hammocks over the evening as there is not enough room in the cabins. It is a fairly uneventful crossing except for the rag-tag nature of the other travellers, some of whom are travelling for the festival in Derlusk famed for its events. A couple of traveller’s in particular catch your attention on the journey. ’Raja’ looking near enough a 8 foot humanoid elephant, with two prehensile trunks, each ending in four short stubby digits, is being handled by his owner Rufus. Rufus a Calishite gentleman in his early forties doesn’t seem to appreciate the creature’s sentience and often treats him badly, prodding him with a metal forked prod to get him to move around. While not bound by fetters, it is apparent through the way he is spoken to and by the way Raja responds that he is bound by obligation rather than physical means.
As the evening of the second day is just settling the harbour of Derlusk becomes visible in the distance, and the sun-sets as the schooner pulls into port and unloads it’s cargo of travellers and supplies for the festival. You hope you can find somewhere to stay before nightfall sets in fully…



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