Sunday, January 1, 2017

Ramona's Diary

As Ibrahim opens the book to the front page, he reads,

January 17, 1650
I write this in dedication to you, Mother, because upon your deathbed, you swore you would read every word I wrote down if I would attend to my letters as you fought to have me do so hard as a young girl.  All this time I have resisted doing so out of resentment, but as it looks like soon I will join you in whatever dark hell you've come to occupy, I shall begin writing to warn you of my arrival.
It appears that I have plundered my last English ship.  They are looking for my ship from the Canaries to Iceland, it is only a matter of time before they find me.  As I am bound to meet English ships around the Horn of Africa, and being that I am in no good stead with the Amacuro Pirates who know me in America, I shall try to slip past Gibraltar and make my last stand in the Mediterranean.  It will be warmer there.  I have sent word to Victor a month ago that I shall come to Leer, but received nothing back. 
 Ramona Salvador

It does indeed appear to be a diary.

There are two places in the book where the binding seems to be broken ~ and upon a quick glance, about two thirds of the book, the back part, lacks any writing at all.

On the last written page it reads,

It isn't here.  We've been lied to, and undone.  It is clear that this has all been part of some plot that has nothing to do with us ~ but it has damned us to hell just the same.

The first place where the binding seems to break, the one that is earlier in the book, reads,

January 7, 1651
Of all the coincidences, I have met two of the same fellows who were mixed up with Victor and that business in Leer.  They have asked to be taken to the Black Sea and I am ameniable ~ but I wonder at coincidences.  They have a mage with them now, some fellow named Lukas.  I do not trust him; he watches everything.
I wonder, too, about the one called Ahmet.  What does it mean that he has the same name as my first mate, who gave me up five years ago.  And what does it mean that his voice goes through me like a razor.

The second place where the binding is broken reads,

May 15th, 1651
They are back, and I find that he has brought the little bitch with him.  She stares at him with love in her eyes but I can see there is something less in his.  Well, I hope they will be happy together.  After not much longer I will be rid of the pair of them and be about a better business, I think.  I have been promised transport in Constantinople, so long as I perform some service.  The Gnomes have not yet let me know what that will be . . .

32 comments:

Kismet said...

Kismet back seat drives and makes Ibrahim go to the last entry.

Ibrahim Bin Yusuf said...

Ibrahim good-naturedly flips backwards from the end until he encounters a page with writing on it.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I'll write all the diary content on the main post above.

Ibrahim Bin Yusuf said...

Hmm. Before resorting to going through in order, I will check the two locations which broke the bindings.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I should have added to the above that the writing at the end of the book is harried, scrawled, as of in the middle of a trauma.

Not so with the rest of the book.

Yuliya Romanyuk said...

Woah. Does anyone know what they were looking for, or what the history with the Gnomes is?

It may also help to check a few pages before the last to try and get some more context.

Ibrahim Bin Yusuf said...

Ibrahim laughs as everyone chimes in with where to turn next, but starts to go along with Yuliya's attention.

Then something catches his attention. The second broken binding is dated May of 1651? Something very strange is going on here, because it's only April of that year as he reads it.

[Unless I'm misunderstand the current date, something very strange is going on here!]

Enrico Guerriero said...

I'm not sure how much Enrico would -- but maybe he heard enough stories during downtime to know Madame Salvador is almost certainly referring to the Gnomes of Zurich.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Enrico wouldn't. The party did not know of those Gnomes until Lukas encountered them in Constantinople, AFTER leaving Koufounisia.

Kismet said...

Huh, well to connect the dots will likely involve taking time to read the rest.

Enrico Guerriero said...

Can anyone think of a reasonable explanation -- other than time travel -- for why the journal is dated a month in the future?

Sofia Viktorova Koleva said...

Didn't the party (Ahmet, Lukas and Andrej) know of the Gnomes back in Germany when we had the mysterious illusion book studied by a sage in a university town? (sorry that I forget which one). Or was it the magic users in Turkey we found out about then? I'm asking and will go back and look myself.

(OOC) P.S. I'm back. I hope you all had a nice holiday. Alexis, I was disappointed to read that you didn't get the position for which you interviewed. I thought of it and you often over the break, hoping to read better news for you in the New Year. Perhaps another opportunity will arise soon for you.

Sofia Viktorova Koleva said...

Found it:

... Egbert chuckles, clearly delighted. He shakes the bottle, holding it towards the party. "These two fellows have made themselves quite a bother ... oh YES, QUITE a bother.

"I've just returned from Zurich, having spoken to the Gnomes there."

At that point, a chill goes up Lukas' spine. Just hearing of the Gnomes of Zurich reminds him that there's only so much real control that ordinary people have over the continent of Europe - the sort of thing Lukas' master told him NEVER to speak of openly...

url:

http://taoscampaign.blogspot.com/2012/09/eichstatt.html

Kismet said...

Look, my theory is that they intentionally sunk the petrel to switch to a galley. But to be honest Kismet might not know the second part. That said, sounds like they had reason enough. Doing that they could throw off the date when it sunk.

Ibrahim Bin Yusuf said...

Well, in the meantime, we'll have to work through the whole thing for context. That last entry sounds an awful lot like whatever their plan was, it did not work out - and "book in a hidden compartment underwater in a sunken ship" does not suggest that it's deliberately misleading us. Either here or elsewhere, I think we need to take the time and read through the journal for clues.

[What time is it now? ]

Sofia Viktorova Koleva said...

Regarding the book itself, we should read thoroughly those sections between May 15th, 1651 and the last entry keeping an eye out for any reference to the main party, the Gnomes, and the service/ what may have "undone" them. If the date Alexis gave for the final entry is not a mistake, then I suspect that the diary is a plant meant to throw off pursuit and wasn't meant to be discovered yet; the Captain is protecting herself most likely or possibly the party (she had feelings for Ahmet at one time at least) if she's aware of our possibly running afoul of the Gnomes.

No one should make mention of the date discrepancy to anybody outside of our party. We should collect the diary as evidence in our search for the captain and say only it may hold clues to her whereabouts, but based on the final entry it appears she and all aboard met an ill end.

Sofia Viktorova Koleva said...

While I think the book being a plant is most likely, here are the "conspiracy theories" others have posted or I mused over myself:

1) The ship and diary have traveled through time

2) This is the real Petrel and the main party is with an imposter captain and crew (doppelgangers, some other mischief?)

3) Less of a conspiracy and far less interesting or likely given Alexis's style, the captain was mistaken when dating the journal.

Kismet said...

4) It's all part of the captain's strategy to lose heat by "losing their ship at sea".

Enrico Guerriero said...

5) Insurance fraud

Enrico Guerriero said...

The Gnomes were named Barrin and Pimmfor if you'd like to do more reading. But as Enrico didn't know any of this IC, I wasn't sure how much we wanted to share OOC.

Kismet said...

Assuming the gnomes used their real names, or that she dealt with the same gnomes and so on.

I think the only additional knowledge we get will be gleaned from reading through the rest of the content.

Likely with a summary from Alexis, though to be honest if Lukas we're here his curiosity would also entail anything it said about him and the rest of the party.

Ibrahim Bin Yusuf said...

Ibrahim begins reading the entire journal from the beginning, to see if it can shed any further light on the events that led to it arriving at the bottom of the sea.

Alexis Smolensk said...

[playing catch-up]

Good catch on the Gnomes of Zurich, Sofia! I'll grant you that one, you guys have some idea of who they are. That doesn't say these are the same gnomes . . .

[James, the best part of the holidays has been that I've broken my troubles with the book and I am making headway again]

Alexis Smolensk said...

When you ask what time it is now Ibrahim, I assume you're worried that a lot of time has passed. It is about half past 10 bells in the morning.

Enrico, you may assume that Ahmet took the time to tell you things ~ unless, of course, you'd prefer to play it that way.

I hadn't intended to write an entire version of the diary!

Alexis Smolensk said...

May I point out that reading the entire journal from the beginning, here by the seashore, may be somewhat impractical, particularly if you expect your companions to simply sit here while you spend hours doing that.

Given your experience as a poet, you should be able to do as I did all through university; read the first five pages, read the last five pages, then skim the book noting any paragraph that contains a mention of characters that appear in both back and front. I got through many credits in English courses doing that ~ though with a B+ average, I will admit.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Let me enjoin your to flip back four pages or so from the last page you read. There you will note a few things, apart from some other bitter comments about Ahmet sprinkled here and there.

Apparently, M. Salvador sailed her ship up the Don River, first past the Turks near Azov and then into Russian territory.

From there, somehow, the entire ship was transported by the Gnomes ~ who seem to be truly those of Zurich ~ so that the Petrel would be afloat in the waters of the Volga and ultimately the Caspian Sea. This, it says in the diary, would ensure that Salvador would be removed from all their enemies, for no navy would be able to follow her.

This was done in exchange for some item that was supposed to be retrieved from the Baskunchak. From the diary, this seems to be a place, a desert somewhere to the northeast of Astrakhan. The nature of the item is unclear, except that the Gnomes want it, it is apparently a Jewish Artifact, and ~

Ibrahim Bin Yusuf said...

I'm sorry, I should have been explicit about that - that's more or less exactly what I was looking to do. In particular, skimming the text for mentions of the people we actually care about, but paying more attention as I get past the point where the folks actually present parted ways with their -

- what is the reciprocal relationship of 'henchman', anyway?

Ibrahim Bin Yusuf said...

[Looks like we're crossing paths in the comments, sorry; I wrote that before you starting the summary.]

Alexis Smolensk said...

[no worries]

The next post is up.

[regarding henchmen, the relationship is that of a fanatical follower and a fully trusting liege; there's no chance of a dissolution between them, so it is assumed that the henchman has, more or less, a knowledge of everything that the liege experienced up until the last separation between them]

Sofia Viktorova Koleva said...

Kismet, we agree. I think #4 the most likely course. At least, I did until reading the journal revealed more about the Captain's most recent activities and relation with the Gnomes. I would have thought a plant would be further from the truth. Perhaps I'm overthinking things, though. The purpose of the book seems to be to get our second party moving toward the main one, with possibly a new quest in hand should we desire to pursue it, all within the bounds of verisimilitude.

As an aside, regarding Ramona Salvadore... has anybody else drawn the comparison between her and Ahmet to Conan and Belit? Have we said that openly already? I was reading back through old posts to get re-immersed in the game and the notion struck me.

Alexis Smolensk said...

[Do remember, Sofia ~ no one has to do anything. The purpose of the book is to be tempting, yes, but you know I require you to do nothing about it]

Sofia Viktorova Koleva said...

(OOC: But of course!)