Lothran - Memoirs Of Bron

What a week that was. First I was called before Lord Bergman and berated over the loss of the Carpen Deas. It would do no good to tell him that if his nephew had followed orders the ship wouldn’t have been lost. Then he relieved me of my command and assigned me to the Brasten. At least he hadn’t busted me too far. She wasn’t a bad little ship, about half the size of Carpen Deas that his nephew had just lost - but she sailed well. And I was still the Senior Captain, and I had another smaller ship, Seagull, in my squadron - commanded by Lt Gorandsen. We were told off to escort a pair of merchant ships, well really not much more than fishing ships packed to the gunnels with equipment to New Pineland where Lord Bergman’s cousin had negotiated a trading outpost with the locals. Bregman’s cousin was over there already, sequestered in the local lordling’s palace – and we were to build his post on one of the outer islands. Once all the supplies and conscripts had been unloaded I was to escort the two merchantmen home again, while Gordansen and the seagull would stay out there as a bit of military muscle.

Then the storm blew up, I had four small ships, hardly any bigger than fishing ships and we were on the high sea. If I turned up at Pineland short of a ship, I was going to be busted so far down in the ranks … Anyway, I pulled the three smaller ships together in front of me and we ran together with the storm. We didn’t try to fight it - just let the winds take us where they wanted - try to run it out. I still not sure how we did it, but I managed to keep them all together, a bit like a dog around a herd of sheep, and the storm kept pushing. Then, the seas took over, pushing us at an angle against the wind, even in the Brasten I couldn’t do much against that - and the smaller ships didn’t stand a chance.

However, if anything the smaller ships fared better. With the flatter bottoms they managed to beach themselves fairly safely, while the Seagull and Brasten, both got holed as they came through the sholes. Even then, we managed to get them laying on the beach, fit for repair. I was even fairly pleased with the way we had handled it.
Then the storm died out, almost as if it had done its job in driving us here. Quickly we set up a camp and I set the marines who were with us to picket duty, much to their displeasure. However, it was good that I did so, for shortly into the night they discovered a group of smallish Orken sneaking in to the camp to attack. With the alarm raised they were quickly driven off. I had a company of marines armed with axe and shield supported by a company of recently wrecked sailors wielding cutlasses, I almost felt sorry for the Orken as they were driven off.

We only lost one crewman that night, while there were 15 Orken on the beach next morning. We used one of the fishing boats to bury Crewman Talfman, wrapped him in a tarp, weighted him with rocks and sailed a half a mile out to drop him over the side - but then the damned winds rose again , driving us back to shore.

We spent the next couple of days sorting out some basic defenses for the cove we have landed in, and then tried to repair the war ships. It was a struggle, fighting of orken raids and collecting and shaping timbers at the same time – even when the we found a local group of dwarves who helped us with our defences. As we worked, I sent Gordansen out on one of the fishing ships, trying to get the lay of the land, with instructions to sail a few miles off coast to see if he could work out where we were. Just after that half mile limit the winds started - and no matter what we tried we just couldn’t beat against the winds. It was then that I started to wonder about those winds. For the next few weeks we pushed it - either Gordansen or I took the fishing boat out trying to work out how to sail that wind - but always the wind started at the same place. Finally, we had the Seagull seaworthy again - not fully repaired but as good as we were going to get on this island, so we pushed her out to sea, to see what the winds did. This time it started even closer to shore, and there was no way that the seagull was going to push past those winds. That gave me a really bad feeling. I got the guys to jury rig a sail onto the boat that came with the Brasten and sailed her out to sea. Again the winds sprung up, only this time not so strong nor so close to shore. A few trips later, and I had established a pattern - The larger the ship, the stronger the wind and the closer inshore it starts. Then I finally accepted that I was trapped on a strange island by an arcane and mystical storm that didn’t want me to leave. For what purpose, I can’t say – I just know that I am trapped here with these men, and they are my responsibility…

I took stock of what I had - 10 Marines, 25 Military sailors (15 from the Brasten and 10 from the seagull), 13 civilian sailors from the fishing ships and an assortment of others bound to pineland as staff. They were a right mixture – 16 of them altogether. Foremost amongst them was a halfelven herbalist called Amothrawiel and Doren, a formidable woman destined to be housekeeper. There were half a dozen female servants including a cook, A boatwright (apparently Lord Bergman’s cousin wanted to take up sailing) his wife and son, A carpenter and a gardener. The rest were to be common labourers of one sort or another and most were expecting to return home after a year or so, somewhat richer.

The first thing was to move away from the cove we were in to find a more secure location - and with Gordansen commanding some of my crew, we quickly found a headland that was much more defensible, but that still had access to the sea - and with the help of the dwarves we managed to ferry all the people and most of the goods across there.

Rather than leave the Brasten to rot, we took everything off of her ant then towed her around to the headland, and stripped her down. Indeed many of the huts and houses now in the village owe their timbers to that proud old ship. Eventually we did the same with the seagull as well leaving us just the smaller fishing ships for transport. Then we built a palisade across the end of the headland and set up our guard on that.

Among the chests and barrels from the fishing ships we discovered a number of plants destined for the vegetable garden at Pineland and set the gardener to work raising us a crop or two. Fortunately some of the laborers and even a couple of the seamen had worked on farms before and we managed to get quite a good little farm together.

We were fortunate with the things that Lord Bergman had sent out to his cousin - we had almost a full range of tools, and the dwarves were happy to supply those we were missing in exchange for some fresh fish to vary their diet.

After that it was just a case of hard work, I sent out Gordansen on one of the fishing boats to explore and used to other to supply us with fish, combined with game and rationing the stores destined for pineland we saw through the first couple of years. By that time Gordansen had discovered New Hope and we traded some of our vegetables for seed corn, and had discovered a bush that produced fine fibers that could be woven into cotton. And by the end of year three we had a thriving economy based on fishing, farming and making cotton.

Now we make a good living, the Boatwright has set up a shop down by the beach and is making fishing ships - some of which we keep while other as sold to new Hope and Glisten Creek, we ship wood up to the dwarves and cotton top whoever wants it - even our crops are in big demand. All in all - we have built a fairly pleasant little town here. I just hope lord Bergman and none of his kin stumble across us.

Just about the only fly in the ointment is the shortage of women, but gradually our sailors have been ‘recruiting’ from New Hope, with the promise of a better and more secure life here at Lothran - and I am just starting to believe that the community here will survive for many years to come.

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