BNN: Rothermere's Travels
Rothermere's Travels I
The Phoenix cut through the cold, salty air like a knife as it ploughed onwards through icy waters.
Her captain, Lord Rothermere, stared defiantly into the distance, scowering the dark and mountainous seas for signs of land. The storm has worsened since his crew had set sail almost a week earlier. The wind whipped across the ocean, its ghostly voice deafening the sailors as they clung to both rope and rigging.
Suddenly the monotonous grey of the horizon was broken by a dark and mysterious shape, Rothermere quickly unfastened his belt, and produced a small and beautifully crafted spyglass. Try as he did, he could not make out what lay before them, as the cruel seas threw the ship like a toy.
The Phoenix lunged onwards defiantly, as its terrified crew battled in vain against the elements.
Steer left! cried Rothermere, his voice barely audible above the wailing winds and crashing seas.
I cant Cap’n, tis not turning! came the response from Briggs, his strongest crewmember who manned the helm during the worst of storms.
Rothermere stumbled towards him, tucking his spyglass carefully away as he lunged through the water that had flooded the Phoenix’s decks. His brow furrowed as he strained on the wheel, it would not turn.
A noise caused him to spin round, and he watched in horror as the mainsail tore at its bindings, ropes stretched and timber groaned, but the old ship remained sturdy. The huge sail suddenly tore off its riggings, being sucked into the night, as if pulled by unseen hands.
Without its sails the ship was powerless, a majestic ship had become useless timber, a piece of driftwood upon a stormy sea. Without a spoken word the crew knew their fate, and despite the howling storm, the silence was deafening.
We must brave this storm men! We must brave this storm! Cried Rothermere, his crew scarcely acknowledging his voice. They stared out into the ocean, wondering if they would see land again, wrestling with the anger they now felt for their captain.
Suddenly the ship leered hard to the left.
Hold her tight Briggs! shouted Rothermere. I am holding 'er Cap'n!
Rothermere glanced over to him, the wheel was not moving, yet the ship had changed course…
It seems our fate is no longer in our hands men muttered the captain as he struggled below deck.
Rothermere's Travels II
It was during a quiet Autumn evening that a messenger had interrupted Rothermere whilst he was ploughing his fields. It had been 9 years since Rothermere had left the Royal Guards, where he had established himself as one of the finest of Lord British’s captains. He enjoyed the life he had serving Lord British, but equally had welcomed his own retirement.
The site of a royal messenger, resplendent in armour and bearing Lord British’s banner, bought a sense of ominous foreboding. He was not mistaken, for it was an issue of grave concern to those in power that called for him to attend a personal meeting with Nystul later that same month….
The sun beamed down upon Rothermere as he climbed the steps of Lord British’s castle. It was a walk he had done a thousand times, but seeing the rising peaks and spires of this magnificent building always warmed his heart, as did those who occupied it.
Nystul came out to greet him in the Courtyard. The two old men shook hands, and nodded respectfully to one another before entering Nystul’s private chamber.
So my friend, what makes you call an old man to your side this fine day? Rothermere asked. Nystul did not respond, but rifled through a mountain of documents he had piled around him, before pulling a small tattered piece of cloth out, and spreading it flat on the oak desk before them.
Read this my friend spoke Nystul quietly.
I cannot read this Nystul, for ‘tis just a symbol? replied Rothermere.
Ah yes my friend, thou must look deeper…
Rothermere smoothed out the old piece of cloth, and furrowed his brow deep in concentration. A few words were etched around the symbol, barely visible in the candlelight… Silent killers arise, Rarely are bound, Rarely are enlightened, The pirates. It was as if the picture before him came to life, filled with enlightenment, a voice passed softly through his mind… Myella An insightful creature man should follow, Lest fate be sealed upon rocky shores, ‘Tis not magpie, eagle or swallow, Does not open, but closes doors.
Tis the form that defines this creature, For silence is her only sound, Rocky crags a deadly feature, Oft too late such perils found.
Truth doth lie beneath her talons, Souls entwined by wordless vows, There she keeps them as her children, Tangled roots doth feed her boughs.
Here is where the clue she keepeth, Hidden from the eyes of man, Twisted in the earth beneath her, Speak her name to take her hand. I believe …I know this place… uttered Rothermere. Nystul was standing in the doorway, his form shadowed in the candlelight.
Then you must go, my friend, and find the answers. I do not know, nor indeed need to know, from whence this document came. I know as I’m sure you do that this document is both genuine, and powerful. Indeed ‘twas scribed by a powerful magic. said Nystul. We have lost many ships in the pursuit of answers, and many widows hath been made. I call upon you Rothermere, for you are not only a dear friend of mine, but the most commendable sea-captain I have ever known.
I understand replied Rothermere, gathering the small piece of cloth delicately in his hand.
So began his final voyage.
Rothermere's Travels III
Lord Burnes resented being chosen to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Rothermere. His mischievous captain had grinned whilst giving him the orders, knowing full well of Burnes’ hatred of sea journeys.
Looks like a storm’s brewing! Chuckled the boat’s captain, as he lifted the anchor. Burnes remained silent, keeping his eyes firmly fixed upon the horizon in order to settle his churning stomach. The island be just north a’ ere How long will it take? An hour or so, with this wind in her sails she’ll be flyin’! Burnes sat down and sighed. The cold wooden seats offered little comfort, and already he felt his head spinning. There be something strange ‘bout the island. Thousands a’ birds, birds that were not used to in these parts. Burnes nodded, he had been given a detailed account of the area, and was travelling to meet a man who had made a startling discovery. It seemed some magic of unknown origin was at work.
Before long a small island emerged from the dense sea-fog, its rocky shores teeming with tropical birds. The captain dropped anchor a short distance from land, and the two men huddled into a small row-boat to reach the shore. Thank thee Said Burnes to the old seaman, as he strode towards the edge of a dense cluster of trees. Burnes unclipped the horn which hung from his belt, and putting the instrument to his lips sounded a long, steady tone. Before long the dense foliage broke and out strode a man, resplendent in shining armour, atop a mighty horse. Greetings sire, I am Lador. Spoke the man. Hail! Said Burnes, relieved that this meeting was not a hoax after all.
I was on this island harvesting wood, when I stumbled upon the wreckage of a ship. Said Lador, with an expression of grim foreboding. Burnes nodded, Lead on my friend, lead on.
A short trek through sparse woodland and Burnes found himself staring at the wreckage of a large galleon, strewn about along the island’s northernmost shoreline. Lador stooped and picked up a small rectangular section of wood which was polished on one side, and handed it to Burnes. Intricately carved lettering read The Phoe. What were looking at here simply has to be the remains of Rothermere’s ship, the Phoenix. Aye. Nodded Lador. You have done very well Lador, and are deserving of much praise for your intuition. Thank thee, though this is not all… Aye? Aye sire, for a strange tree is just southeast of here. I spoke the name Myella, as indicated in the puzzling note that lead Rothermere to this very same area… Burnes was impressed. Lador seemed a man of keen intellect.
When they came to the area Lador had mentioned, it became apparent to Burnes right away that the tree was indeed harboring some powerful magic. It seemed to glow, and was almost golden in hue, the very air around it crackled with powers unseen. Burnes looked towards Lador, who insisted he demonstrate first. Whispering quietly the word Myella under his breath, Lador vanished with a blinding flash. Nervously, Burnes did the same.
A strange sensation swept over him, and upon opening his eyes again, Burnes found himself in a dark cavern, deep in the bowels of the earth. A large stone ankh stood behind him, and before him a huge set of iron doors were sealed shut. Lador was standing next to them.
I’ve tried for hours, they wont open. Said Lador. Perhaps a lock-pick? No use. Hmm… Burnes contemplated the bravery of the man, he would be wary of coming here alone, yet Lador seemed unbothered by such a place. I will have the Royal council look into this area, and the matters at hand. Someone, somewhere, shall know what lies behind these doors.
On the return voyage Burnes scribed an official document of the day’s discoveries, knowing that some progress would soon be made. There may even be some books which contain details of such a place, or the magic which was at work.