Copyright 2013-2017 Michael Llenos [Everything involving Crilium]



COPYRIGHT 2013 M.L.

COPYRIGHT 2013 M.L.

Crilium does take place in the World of Ruundra. However, it takes place in a different part of that world and at a much later time than The Elf Who Met His Equal And More. And the people of Crilium do not call their world Ruundra but rather Crilium (or for the main island: Cornwell).

Introduction to the story of Crilium:

Crilium is the name that the entire world of Crilium is based on, from one end of the sea to the other. Crilium is not only the name of the story that I have written, but the name of the capital of that Egyptian-like continent and monarchy. Crilium is a name analogous to how the name of Rome not only signified the Roman city but also the entire Roman Republic and its once great Empire. The main island to the northwest of the map, where Middle Town is located, is also called Cornwell by its peoples. It is republican in government and its culture is based on the British Empire. The Spice Islands are a group of large populated islands where traders go to for its abundance of spices. Some of the other islands between the mainland of Crilium, and the main island of Cornwell, are under various jurisdictions. I like to think that the reign of peace that occurs in Crilium and its neighbors just before The Invasion is like the peace that existed towards the end of the Victorian era for Great Britain. A couple of years after I had finished writing Crilium, I realized that Crilium, which I wrote, was basically a 'black Iliad' version of the 'white Greek Iliad' written by Homer. Basically, Crilium can be called: A Black Iliad. If you think about it, Lt. Ptolemy is a black gentleman, and Princess Tutmuse is a young black princess. However, I made it so that the people living in Cornwell are mostly Roman-British in look. I believe, by stating these axioms, the story of Crilium (or this black Iliad) has been altered for the betterment of its narration. By the way, one has to remember that the original Iliad by Homer was originally written as an epic poem; it was only turned into prose by later English speaking translators. Meaning, please no one assume that I am being too arrogant in calling Crilium The Black Iliad even though it is written as a basic collection of correspondences and journal notes.

Postscript:

How should I describe the foreign invaders in my story? They are like the pagan fifth-century Huns that had to migrate westwards because they were being kicked out of their lands by the ancient Chinese Empire of that time. This army of pagan Huns comprised most of the military might of the foreign invaders. These fictional Huns' civilian counterparts were left behind.



COPYRIGHT 2004 M.L.

This is my Fantasy Fictional Narrative Titled:

CRILIUM [Copyright Michael Llenos 2004-2016]



2nd Day of the 9th Lunar Month at South Town

Dear Lucas Dividius,

I'm having a horrible day today caused by a cold. I took some of that southerner's chicken broth one of my brother’s maids is always bragging about. She says it is the best soup in all of Cornwell; her logic being: South Towner’s make the best broth, and that she is the best cook in all of the south. But it wasn’t bad, to say the least, except, of course, for those chopped peppers added to the onion induced sauce. Why these southerners have to spice everything up is beyond me. ‘It’s good for the cold weather,’ they tell me. Perhaps that’s true, but not when you have: a cold. I was sneezing my brains out, which didn’t help alleviate the flow of mucus, even though at times it completely dried up the outer fringes of my nostrils. I tell you one advantage of having a stuffed up nose is that you can’t smell (and taste) the phlegm in your food! The cook told me that I wasn’t eating enough, and I told the cook that depended on how fast I wanted to die! The philosophers at the Academy of Science believe that fall-weather increases an individual’s chances at catching a cold, but I think this slime in my head was brought on by my recent change of diet.

It’s my guess you wouldn’t believe what I am about to say, even though I know that you hold me in the highest regard; but my brother-in-law, whom you know all too well as the governor of Cornwell’s Middle Town, wrote to me that he is starting to make preparations for the arrival of the Crilium Emperor. This, of course, does raise some important questions. Like, for one, why is the Emperor coming to Middle Town? And why does he want to meet with the president and senate of the Legislative Directory? I have heard recent reports, by certain sea-captains, that there is some ‘situation’ occurring with the miners who live in the hills to the east of Crilium. But these reports are contradictory and even vague at times, so I do not hold much stock in them.

If you want to know, I have been enjoying my retirement a great deal, and I feel that I am not unworthy to have the privilege of seeing my estates at Pirea once again. Farming has never been my strongest character trait, but you cannot blame me for trying, when I act so hard at being a productive citizen by living the life that is acceptable to the aristocratic class which I was born into. I’ll try to finish my pictures and will send my illustrations on the coastal landscapes of South Town I had promised to mail to you last month. I apologize for the long wait....

Your compatriot always,

Clearchus Limbianacus


8th Day of the 9th Lunar Month at Crilium

To: My Affectionate Duchess Cleo of Zozer

It’s been two weeks since Granddad left Crilium, and I feel so empty since I don’t even have Peppa to comfort me. He was such a wonderful pony; he allowed everyone he met to get close to him no matter how badly they treated him... Papa told me that I was allowed to have any horse I wanted from the royal stables, but I complained to him that it wasn’t the same since Peppa was such a good little horse. To tell you the truth, I not only played with Peppa, but I was also able to even talk with him! Well, in my own language that is... He was more of a friend to me than anyone else that was my friend; except for you, of course, my sweet aunt! You have always been the best of companions to me since I was a small child. Your letters have kept me in tune with what is truly important in life: family, friends and school.

At the age of twenty-one, I am proud to say that my education is almost completed. I shall be ready to take my chair at parliament in less than a year. I’m so glad that there hasn’t been a war in all of Crilium in over one hundred years... “That’s because our royal family knows about politics and the way of the world,” something Grandma would always tell me. A retired professor from the Academy of Science told me I had the courage of a lion and the wit of a sophist. He probably realized that flattery was not as important as telling the truth to a real lady who knows what she is made of. I am funny and sharp, am I not, my dear Cleo? Surely if a learned man is not half as smart as I am that will definitely show promise for me in the forthcoming months and years. Please write to me and tell me all the plans you have made for the near future.

Yours truly,

Princess Tutmuse


19th Day of the 9th Lunar Month at Zozer

Dear Princess Tutmuse,

What dreadful news I received this week! It seems that the Vice Regent, your Papa, has dispatched orders for a large detachment of the Zozer militia to head up the Gold River—and my poor Quintus is going with them! Quintus told me that there was some kind of miner’s revolt in the Eastern Hills, to the east; and that, that was the good reason your Papa wants to steal many men of the city away from their sweethearts! Why does my future husband have to be taken away from me so soon? I guess it doesn’t really matter: soon this miner’s rebellion will be handled by our soldiers and Quintus will be home in less than seven weeks... Or, at least, that’s the estimate Quintus gave to me before he left to report for duty... Of course, that’s if the senior officers in charge of the expedition will allow him to proceed home in the vanguard... I’m not too concerned about this uprising, but if there is war with these miners, then my Quintus will be able to handle himself. I gave him one of my scarlet handkerchiefs during our farewell so that he could think about me during our separation. It’s perfectly true that Quintus knows no vast boundaries, arms, or riches that can turn his loyalty and determination away from me. Oh, I miss Quintus so much! Love does ache during times like these....

Your Grand Duchess,

Cleo of Zozer


19th Day of the 9th Lunar Month at Zozer

Lieutenant Dysenn Ptolemy’s Journal

Today all of us junior officers met at the staff assembly area, and we were told by the consuls to get our companies and battalions ready for marching orders. There is some rumor among the men that we are not being sent out to fight a miner’s rebellion but to be used as a construction crew to rebuild the Great Fort’s inner and outer baileys. I was hoping to get more information from the brigade commander, but he told me nothing that would lead me to believe that this was something out of the ordinary. My philosophy for dealing with such conflicting reports has always been to silently prepare myself for the worst while not showing any signs of hopeful gullibility. As far as the senior officers were informed concerning the suppression of this miner’s revolt, they were told that we are not to harm the miners in any way; but to try to negotiate with them so that they may hand over those ringleaders who were responsible for the assault on the Great Fort. All of us junior officers were relieved when the senior staff told us this. I, myself, can tell you how much more confidence I feel through a peaceful settlement of this rebellion whenever I see the senior staff are not trying to blacken or propagandize the reputation of the miners or their actions to the army.

I have been told that after leaving the fertile plain the environment will become quite different. I’ve heard that it is the oddest thing in the world to see a water course flowing in the middle of a visually endless desert. This will be a new enterprise for many of us inexperienced volunteers since we’re mostly used to drilling on red earth (and gravel) roads among the rice paddies and corn fields of the delta region. I have decided that it would be for the best to conserve my ink and paper and to be sparse in writing this journal in the beginning stages of this campaign. Hopefully, reason and clear thinking will become more precious to these rebellious miners (in the east) than it is to the over confident spear bearers of our army.


1st Day of the 10th Lunar Month in the Desert

Lieutenant Dysenn Ptolemy’s Journal

We have left the fertile delta behind us for the past eleven days, and since then there has been a strong deflation of morale among the men. This frustration has not just taken its toll on the common soldier but for every officer of the line. Sand and grit gets into everything. After a week of marching in the desert, it’s nearly impossible to keep the sand and dirt and grit out of our shoes and gear. It’s a good thing that we have the river nearby so that we can clean our bodies from all of that hot sand our army collects every day. To my surprise, there hardly are any weeds or shrubs one would expect to see on the outskirts of a major water course. Because the grass and other vegetation are nearby the banks of the river, a soldier could easily lose his footing and fall into the water. Many of the soldiers say that marching on this hot sand is similiar to being unable to run fast in a bad dream.

I have also noticed that the occasional desert cat (or even a desert toad) cannot be found near the river, as it can be in the delta. This is because I believe that although they would have enough water to survive on in the desert, they do not have the food supply to sustain themselves this far east. We were told to be on the look out whenever making or breaking camp, so we can prevent the occasional poisonous scorpion (or desert spider) from infiltrating our tents or getting into our supply packs. The men haven't reported seeing these desert fauna so far.

Our consular officers gave strict orders for us in the cavalry to march on foot and to lead our horses by the leash: an order that is not always obeyed to the chagrin of the higher battalion commanders. The cavalry left us five days ago to set up a flanking column to the north giving them a tactical advantage. I’m told it’s an old army maneuver called The Trap and that it makes the soldiers more efficient in the desert. The cavalry, of course, do not operate away from us for more than two days time, since they need to refill their water jugs their supply horses carry. I, however, would feel more confident if the cavalry and Consul Pa were with us more of the time. Consul Tai tells us that keeping most of the horses away from the camp helps exercise them and keeps them out of our order of march.


3rd Day of the 10th Lunar Month in the Desert

Lieutenant Dysenn Ptolemy’s Journal

Although I have promised myself to be sparse in my journal entries, I have decided to note down a peculiar event that has happened today. It started when Consul Pa returned from his flanking position to the north, making camp with us by the river. I have a friend by the name of Zeno who belongs to the advanced scouts in the main cavalry unit of Zozer's militia. He says that his unit, which was patrolling, several miles in advance of the main cavalry force, had detected some fires at night on some small hills in the distance. When they approached the fires they saw no one around them, but heard, in the dark, very strange voices accompanied by sporadic rattle-like noises. Zeno’s unit reported this back to Consul Pa, who said that they would regroup with Consul Tai, and send scouts in all directions after setting up camp on the north bank of the river. Zeno goes out again tonight, and I just hope that these new circumstances that have arisen have nothing in connection with our mission of suppressing the miners, who are in rebellion against the monarchy.

Our army has discovered something peculiar today. As we marched along, one of the enlisted men pointed across the river, towards the blurry horizon, and towards what came to be a small copse of trees in the distance. One of the junior officers, whose first name was Terran, said that he had read about this phenomenon by the Cornwell scholar Dudlen, in his famous book entitled: Geographic History. Dudlen described this occurrence as an oasis, or miniature paradise, caused by a earthquake and rupture of the water table underneath the earth. When I heard Terran talk about a natural disaster, like an earthquake happening in the desert, I started to get nervous.

“Great,” I said, “we not only have to worry about sandstorms throwing us into confusion, but the ground shaking us out of our wits....”

Terran smiled at me for saying this. “Don’t worry so much Dysenn. Dudlen is not an infallible source afterall!”


6th Day of the 10th Lunar Month in the Desert

Lieutenant Dysenn Ptolemy’s Journal

We passed by the one-third marker to the Great Fort at noon, and a lot of the men are wondering why we haven’t seen anyone come down the river from the east. We tell them what the senior staff has told us: to travel to Zozer from the miner's hills, the miners and government officials usually travel in large groups, and large groups do not frequently travel down the river. We officers have to remind the men not to play with any rocks with their hands (in case of scorpions), and not to drink any coffee during the day, so that they have less of a chance of passing out while marching. Many of the men keep on drinking their coffee, and even doing worse things, even though they are told not to do so. So far fourteen people have passed out along the river. To discourage such reckless behavior, the officers have decided to order that the recruits who have passed out, or who have gotten heat stroke, to turn over their coffee and liquor rations for a five days grace period, and to drink extra pints of boiled water from the river each time our army begins or ends its march.

Something odd occurred towards the latter part of the afternoon. We saw a medium-sized boat that travelers use, from the Great Fort, called a River Foist, traveling down the river from the east. In the beginning, we thought we saw someone on board but realized that it was just a tent propped up against the back of its main mast. It gave a queer and ominous atmosphere to the whole event. The foist got caught against the southern riverbank, but the current spun it around, pushed it loose, and carried it west. Another incident, but less eccentric, also happened today, when a man in my file was almost stung by a desert scorpion, as he tried to remove a water flask from a supply horse’s saddlebag. I decided to reward that lucky soldier and his lucky friend with a flask of white-wine: which they will most likely enjoy in their tents this evening.


11th Day of the 10th Lunar Month in the Desert

Lieutenant Dysenn Ptolemy’s Journal

I cannot believe what happened today! Just after we broke our fast this morning, we were briefed by the two consuls, and were told that this so called miner’s revolt was misinformation (given to the majority of the army) to keep civilian panic from occurring in Zozer and the rest of the population of the Two Deltas! We were now told that some foreign enemy attacked the Great Fort and it was heading down the Gold River for a confrontation with our army! We weren’t told who these men were and what they wanted, but both consuls say that we have to be as prepared as much as possible for the unexpected and the unknown. There was a great mass of confusion throughout the army as we were told this. After the general briefing, I took Zeno aside and asked him if he saw anything else on his previous scouting missions. He said he didn’t see anything unusual since he last encountered the rattle-like sounds. After hesitating a bit, he told me, “Many of the cavalry officers are too afraid to stray far from camp at night, and our scouting unit doesn’t want to do any more reconnaissance work. Some of the men in another unit, who were on sentry duty last night, say they heard some rattle-like noises coming from the other side of the river. Other units have been reporting similar noises for some time now.” He went on to say that he thought it was a very big mistake for the consuls to keep the army in the dark for so long, and that many of the officers in his unit were having second thoughts about their mission.

A great drain in the men’s spirits happened this morning when the army roll call sergeant reported that five soldiers were unaccounted for and have gone missing. No one has seen them since yesterday. I believe fervently that our consuls must find a way to dispel the fears of our frightened men and to give all of us courage for the upcoming days, or it will be next to impossible to make any good use of the army in the future, no matter what happens to reveal itself in the next horizon and beyond.


15th Day of the 10th Lunar Month in the Desert

Lieutenant Dysenn Ptolemy’s Journal

For the last few nights, an increase in rattling noises have been heard away from our camp. Our cavalry scouts sent out to investigate the noises has come back to camp empty handed. Word around the camp has been circulating that our men have been experiencing an increase in nightmarish dreams. Our consuls have decided to split the army into two halves again, and to send the majority of the cavalry on a flanking position north-east, so that we can learn more about these noises. I, myself, have not gotten much sleep lately. I have been getting nightmares of mysterious specters in my dreams, that disappear every time I look in their direction. The scenery of the dream was always the same though. Amongst a wide copse of trees, I see the decay of my fellow soldiers rotting all around me, and a chilling voice from the far distance telling me to hurry on so that I can join my companions in their fate.


17th Day of the 10th Lunar Month in the Desert

Lieutenant Dysenn Ptolemy’s Journal

We’ve regrouped with the cavalry today, and we were very glad to see them all back in one piece. They were very eager to share their excitement with us because they spied some of the enemy forces yesterday, east of our position, and chased them away without any losses. They were practically beaming with gladness. Most of the footmen started hailing the cavalrymen as heroes. Counsel Tai made the rest of the army sit down in a square and asked the cavalry officers to tell us one-by-one everything they did in the engagement with our adversaries. They said that most of the enemy forces rode camels and that they looked like average people. From what they could tell while pursuing them, the bodies of the enemy were darker on one side than their other half, and they had intricately designed tattoos on the upper part of their chests. Many of their chests were exposed to the elements. In their flight, the enemy dropped some of their noise making wooden rattles, and water skins that they carried with them. Our elated soldiers brought them back to camp for all to see. When the cavalry officers started shaking the noisemakers in front of the ranks, everyone started to laugh. One infantry sergeant held up a noisemaker and pointed to it saying, “Is this the kind of toy that our enemy fights with? Every man should be ashamed of ever having a nightmare in the desert again. To think, we almost got rattled to death this past week!" An enlisted man then stood up and took two of the rattles and did the Crilium dance as all of the soldiers cheered him on. During these proceedings, our spirits were lifted, and there was nothing but contempt for the enemy that night and optimism for our future, near and far. I think that we’re all going to have pleasant dreams for the rest of our journey through this vast and empty desert.


18th Day of the 10th Lunar Month in the Desert

Lieutenant Dysenn Ptolemy’s Journal

More good luck occurred for us today. As we marched eastward, we found the remains of many abandoned bivouac-sites that used to belong to our 'tattooed' opponents. The enemy had quit their posts and left water and grain containers strewn about the desert, and smoldering charcoal fires everywhere. Our consuls think that our opponents are afraid of us because we have such a large army to confront them with. Why the miners and the government overseers were not able to organize and defeat such fleeting cowards is beyond me. Zeno goes out with the cavalry scouts again tonight. He promises to tell me all of the details of his mission as soon as he gets back. I’ve noticed something during the dark hours of my watch. In the zenith of the night sky, one can see a somewhat reddish comet traveling towards the southwest. It looks so peaceful and pure that one can’t help but gaze at it for hours. It outshines anything else that one can see during the night. But for some odd reason, I cannot remember why I didn’t notice it when we were being played with by those crazy enemy soldiers. I pointed this bearded-star out to Zeno once before, and he told me that comets are rarely seen at that altitude since he has some education in that field, and that it is a omen of good fortune. It could be my memory playing tricks with me, or just that I stare at this red comet with too much zeal; but it looks like its tail is getting shorter every day. Being uneducated in this phenomenon, it looks to me like this comet is slowly but steadily falling down towards the earth.


19th Day of the 10th Lunar Month in the Desert

Lieutenant Dysenn Ptolemy’s Journal

Early this morning my platoon was detailed to patrol the other side of the river until noon, as the army marched along; so I was one of the last persons to get to hear what the scouts saw on their mission last night. Zeno was allowed to meet up with me as I finished swimming my platoon back from the opposite side of the river. He told me not to feel so bored anymore since the consuls were making preparations to attack the enemy tomorrow. About ten miles to the east was an enemy fortification built completely out of sandbags, with what looked like men with bows and arrows stationed on turret like structures on top of its walls. Zeno’s commanding officer approached the fort, calling out for the enemy to surrender to the forces of Crilium or be destroyed. The archers disappeared into the fort, and about minute later, incendiary arrows that were on fire were shot out just a little to the north of the leader of our scouts. Not wanting to take any chances, the scout officer decided to return with his men back to the consuls and the army. The consuls made a unanimous decision to attack the fort sometime around eight o'clock tomorrow morning. We’re going to head out about midnight for the enemy fortification, and we’re going to make our first assault just after breakfast. I don’t think these enemy forces are going to stand a chance. Most of the junior officers and enlisted men agree that tomorrow is going to be a massacre for these strange men from the far east. Zeno told me that this so-called fortification is about 600 yards squared, and its wall is around six yards high; and the fort is big enough to hold more than 6,000 soldiers inside. It is about 1,000 yards north of the Gold River with its walls in harmony with the four major compass directions. Consul Tai briefed the infantry about an hour ago. We are going to surround the fortification sometime around seven o’clock tomorrow morning and then storm it from all sides after the signal is given. Some of the cavalry will be on constant patrol around our flanks and the rest of them will be guarding the baggage train.


21st Day of the 10th Lunar Month in the Desert

Lieutenant Dysenn Ptolemy’s Journal

Oh, how horrible life is for me at this moment! How miserable it is for every one of us still left in this desperate, battered army! We have been under constant attack for the past two days and we are rotting to death! If this journal ever survives this onslaught, I hope that it falls into the hands of my countrymen, so they will know what has happened to us brave men of the Zozer militia. Like I’ve described in my previous entry, we were planning to attack this fortification which we are now bound up in like a trap door that will eventually lead to our destruction. We surrounded this sandbag fort yesterday morning and stormed it: only to find out that there was not a living person inside. We did again see the archers that the cavalry told us about, but they and the men that appeared on the walls with them, disappeared into some sort of trap door in the center of the fort, and the trap door entrance is now completely filled with thick wet-sand and rocks. A little after the fort was in our control, our men on the walls, and the cavalry surrounding the flanks, noticed what looked like a dust storm that appeared over the horizon to the east. A few minutes later, a soldier who was on the east wall (and who was known to have exceptional eyesight), yelled out that it was no sandstorm but dust clouds caused by a large advancing army. Soon many more soldiers, including myself, joined him on the ten-foot wide wall, and we were in just total shock and disbelief at what we saw. Consul Tai immediately made an appearance on the western wall, telling us to climb back over to the outside and to get into formation. No sooner did he say this when, all of a sudden, more dust clouds were reported to the north and even the west of us. Our hearts began to sink inside our chests when we realized that we were being surrounded on every side of the fortification except for the side of the fort facing the river. Both Consul Tai and Consul Pa issued immediate orders that we were to bring all of the baggage off of the animals, to stack the baggage inside the fort, and for the rest of the infantry to man the walls. This soon happened and Consul Pa was able to reform the cavalry and to place his men between the fort and the river. It was decided instantly that there was no chance of retreat because the river was too wide and any soldier capable of swimming across the river would not be able to take enough food with him to survive the trek back to Zozer.

As the enemy forces were easier to make out, it was apparent that they consisted of three armies of at least 50,000 men-at-arms and 10,000 camel-riders total, while we were comprised of a force of about 5,000 soldiers, not including our cavalry that amounted to about 300 riders. Each of these three armies stopped several hundred yards from the fort. The enemy soldiers started to dance wildly and began to chant in a most unnerving and demonic sort of way. It was almost as if they fell into a sort of primal beast-like self possession. Consul Pa and the cavalry put up a brave front by making multiple charges upon the army of our eastern flank since they were the closest to our position. It looked as if our cavalry was routing them, as the enemy was falling back. But this was just a ruse that the enemy used so they could more easily surround our troops and charge them on all sides. Our cavalry fought bravely but were overcome in less than an hour, and as many of our men that could man the walls did; and some of our men were brave enough to form up in small detachments in the spaces between the fort and the enemy. After our cavalry was destroyed, the enemy blocked the area between the fort and the river to our south; we were then surrounded on all sides. Soon after, the enemy army let their camel riders through their ranks and these riders began to ride around us and began throwing javelins at all of us manning the walls. After a few hours of skirmishing, Consul Tai ordered everyone that couldn’t man the walls to stay inside of the fort. For the last day and a half it has been like this: a constant barrage of enemy missiles have been thrown inside our camp and the rest of the enemy army just raved like lunatics inside of their battle formations.

The only reason why I have been able to write this is because every thirty minutes or so there is always a lull in the attacks by their cavalry. Since our shields have become useless, our men have quickly learned to use whatever sandbags they could dislodge, which didn't support the wall, to use as shields, and to use the leftover shields of our dead comrades as a protection from the enemy javelins. At first we began to throw the javelins back at the camel riders, but now most of the men left were too tired to even do that and are no longer manning the walls since we ran out of water just yesterday. We have no idea why the enemy doesn’t just rush inside the fort and be done with it. We are basically a broken army with no will to survive. I only hope that our 'Regent Emperor' will be able to muster a large enough army to protect all of Crilium and especially our beloved city of Zozer that is filled with our most cherished loved ones. To whomever reads this journal, which I keep on me at all times, I wish you to bring this account of mine to the attention of the magistrates, of the city of Zozer, and I bid you a most heart-wrenching farewell on behalf of all of us in the Zozer militia, including that most brave leader Consul Tai, who wasn’t able to survive this most sickening and disastrous expedition into the hot and unforgiving desert along the Gold River's northern bank....


28th Day of the 10th Lunar Month at Pirea

To Lucas Dividius,

The fall season has already brought enough good weather with it to insure my rye fields will be ready for harvest. Ah, the joys of farming do wonders to one's body--just as long as such joys do not hurt one's body! I’m really feeling up to any new challenges and events that come across my path: except for those foolish naval games in the town bay. It is ridiculous to think that the governor of Pirea would stage any sort of activity in the sea during today's new spell of very cold weather. Is it me or is it just a coincidence that these events are coinciding with the arrival of the Crilium Emperor? It’s coincidence out loud and politics in secret. This all has to do with the governor’s career, no matter how much he tries to blanket this event as a generous show on his part for the common citizen.

You want to know what I’ve been doing lately besides farming? I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I’ve had a conversation with an acquaintance of our 'Professor' over dinner last night. He tells me that he came back from a scientific expedition for the 'Professor' over two weeks ago, to the uninhabited northern coast of Crilium. He began by telling me:

“I have some information that may be of interest to you. As you well know, my employer is brilliant in finding out such news, and it’s funny that I (and the crew) turned out to be the instrument of finding out such news.

“You see on that particular expedition we found a man on the northern shore of Crilium, who claimed to have worked in the eastern hills as a gold prospector. While he was walking back to the mining camp, he noticed in the main river valley below, there were literally thousands of strange men running after and capturing all of the people they could get their hands on! As you could imagine, it was a very horrifying scene for this miner to witness, and the psychological shock of it all was quite unnerving, as it would be for anyone. The miner then immediately decided to make the journey north across the hills and to the northern uninhabited shore of Crilium. He later told us that he was living there for two weeks until we arrived on the northern shore...”

That’s all the important details he explained for the rest of the dinner; he was obviously happy over the fact that he was going on a fishing expedition in the next few days--if he's lucky that is. Well, it was quite a bit of news for me to reflect on; but it still hurts inside when I begin to think how our Professor has been able to out-think and out-plan every person who has ever played intrigue with him in all of Crilium, since he knows how to collect good bits of information both swiftly and wisely. Of course, I’m not ready to jump to conclusions yet about this foreign threat, but is there any city in Cornwell prepared enough to meet such a hostility? I’m quite sure that the land of Crilium isn’t prepared, and don’t tell me that the Emperor is journeying from his rented estate at East Pirea to Middle Town for a vacation or for his health! Whatever you do, my dear Lucas, never underestimate anyone or anything that can cause you or your neighbor harm in the end. Let’s try to learn a lesson from this man of genius who always has a plan. Let’s keep our eyes and ears alert and let’s keep a good lookout for wherever our dear Professor sails to next.

Your compatriot always,

Clearchus Limbianacus


31st Day of the 10th Lunar Month at Sea

1st Lieutenant Kragg’s Personal Journal: On Board the Leviathan

What is north of this region of the world? If I was rich maybe I would one day go pleasure cruising several months to the north, or maybe to the south. I would be a professor of discovery perhaps, a gentleman of exploration! Then I would be sending out ships like the Leviathan when it ever pleased me, to do my bidding from some great estate overlooking Pirea. What if…what if? It makes me sick to my stomach that there are more wealthy middle aged Dukes in Pirea than seamen on board this great ship. What's that now? Oh yes, I can hear that obnoxious man next door tapping away at his calculating machine. What a noisemaker! "Ching…ka-ching…ka-ching...ching." He once said to me, or rather merrily snorted: “This navigational instrument will put all sextants and compasses away once I get it patented." That's what you think! But then again, maybe I'm just fooling myself. Six years on and off this cargo ship, slash exploration vessel, can do that to a man. Back at the Academy of Science one rose in rank with one's graduating class--very fast and very easily. But here... there is nothing one rises with here except the tide. But it is indeed gorgeous out here. Gorgeous and deadly...

The beauty of the sea burns in my heart like a South Towner’s rice oven. It was rather green today, the sea. It is a little swellish but very clear and brilliant. Thank the stars we are not making a trip to Meptah, the sea in that part of the world is nothing but murky and non-seaish. It’s filled with ghastly sandbars and salt flat shores. It’s always a pleasure to circumvent and avoid the peninsula instead of sailing into that silty sludge.

It sort of motivates one to ask what forces lie in the vast unknown world that we as a people have not explored yet. “But there is just ice to the north!” a famous explorer once said. “But there is just open sea to south!” a Crilium monarch of the 12th century decreed. Now that’s a sad tale! And it doesn’t need a lot of imagination, at least from my earthly experience...


5th Day of the 11th Lunar Month at Sea

The Journal of Cassius Lively

Well, Clearchus, it seems that I’ve been on board for about two weeks straight and all’s well. Our plan seems to be going on without a hitch. Of course, it is more Dividius’s plan and yours, than mine. But I did think up that bit concerning the mechanical navigational device. I must take some credit. These fools are so laid back it’s a gas. If I can call them sea men, I wouldn’t. Seamen, or fools, it’s the same thing concerning this bunch. I came on board like a spy from the artic circle. I was so out of place. But now I’ve learned that the people on this ship don’t know smack! Heck, I don’t even think the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Lieutenants know anything about the unofficial reason why they’re out here. It’s such a joke that I’ve started banging my quasi, mechanical calculating machine against the forward bulkhead of my quarters. And no one cares! However, it is indeed beautiful to see this part of the world from the sea...

Tall jagged cliffs dominate over everything to the south, a vast oceanic northern horizon stretches to oblivion, and gorgeous sunsets do set the tone for some poignant inward reflection and some selfish grandiose sloth. I guess the captain believes that if the crew doesn’t care a 'sea-slug's tail' about their mission then no one will care a 'sea-slug’s tail' about the truth. The alibi he gave out has something to do with scientific research on the natural selection of sea-lions and the multiple eco-systems they live in. In translation, I guess it’s the number of sea-lions that get eaten by sharks during several fortnights that will be recorded. The captain and his men are supposed to collect the information, and the Professor will be the one who will analyze and explain their findings. What a load of crap!

Let me tell you what I think is going to happen: the ship is going to reach its destination and the captain will make the crew go ashore to count the sea-lions on the beach; the captain–when hardly anyone is still onboard–is going to sabotage the lower part of the ship’s hull and finally will call the whole thing off. How did I reach this conclusion? About the fourth night out, I so happened to spot a peculiar looking sea chest in the captain’s cabin while eating dinner with the captain and his senior officers. I only noticed it at that time because it sat under the table that we ate upon and I thought that it was nothing but a divider used to separate one side of the table from the other. About the seventh day out, the captain asked me to retrieve his spy glass that he left in his cabin—while he was busy taking navigational measurements—and he gave me the keys to unlock the cabin door! After making sure that I was the only person inside the cabin, I hastily decided to see if I could use one of the keys on the captain’s key chain to unlock the chest. However, I soon learned that the chest wasn’t locked to begin with, and I quickly opened the chest to see what was inside. Under a padded white cloth, I found several iron chisels, a fairly hefty sledge hammer, and about fifteen to twenty cut off swordfish barbs. Obviously, it didn’t take long for me to understand what mischief the captain was planning to do with those things. And since the crew is totally laid back, I don’t think anyone is going to care two foul-farts about cruising back to port instead of stressing over how many sea-lions are on BEACH [A] today and how many sea-lions are on BEACH [A] two days later--and let's not forget about what's really going on on BEACH [B] either! I have a theory that the Professor has sent the dear captain on a reconnaissance mission to find out what he needs to know. Whatever the captain needs to know will be directly on that eastern shore. Whatever he is looking for, it will either manifest itself clearly or not manifest itself at all.


7th Day of the 11th Lunar Month at Sea

The Journal of Cassius Lively

We, my dear Clearchus, are now heading up the northern coast of Crilium in this fat-cog of a vessel. North-by-northeast is our heading, and we have been seeing quite a change in the weather. It’s somewhat cooler now, and the coastline is starting to get a great deal more rugged and alive. We passed by several abandoned mines that littered the coast but no sign of the miners themselves. We have, however, heard weird noises coming from the eastern coast at night. It sort of sounds like the noise made by rattle-snakes, but since you have never gotten off your lazy ham to visit the Spice Islands you probably don’t know what a rattle-snake sounds like to begin with! It sounds sort of like a half empty rice bag being shaken up and down very rapidly—at least it sort of sounds like that to me.

I can hear whales singing songs in the distance. They are saintly creatures those whales—to be respected for an eternity. The captain spotted some large ships on the horizon yesterday which had large pitch-black sails. The crew has said that they have never seen such sails before. We think they may be smugglers transporting valuable goods from some sort of free-enterprise mining settlement that operates on the periphery of the Emperor’s mining claims. Whoever they are they quickly caught the south east breeze and exited the area once they spotted our vessel. Men play games at sea just as they play games on land—will it never end? One of the ensigns, on the early morning shift, is adamant of the fact that he saw several black sails behind us to the south west. Many on board think it was just whales jumping and frolicking in the distance since we had a bit of foggy weather throughout the early morning hours and such mistaken sightings have been known to occur.

It’s funny how smugglers can take the tedium out of a boring scientific expedition. And it does give one a rush from time to time. And I do say it does give me quite a deal of pleasure at times. Well I guess we’re going to have to wait and see what does happen in the future. This is the end of my journal for now Clearchus Limbianacus. I am now signing off.


7th Day of the 11th Lunar Month at Zozer

Dear Princess Tutmuse,

If you only knew how my heart has been wrenched from me at the news that I received last night. My Quintus is to be tried as a common criminal! I remember when I first saw him a fortnight ago. He was sun burnt and dusty, and his clothes were falling off. Oh, my poor man lost in the desert! He told me that he had to escape from the army because he couldn’t spend another night away from me. That he couldn’t rest until we were wedded and had our fill of sweet love. We said our vows in secret before the Temple Septon that night during the 4th watch. How all of our hopes and dreams were born during our marriage ceremony, and how we felt that nothing could conquer our love! We care for one another more than anything else in the world... Quintus and I are forever loved and beloved, dutiful husband and loyal wife. Nothing can break our love… nothing.

But they took him! What kind of people would do such a thing? If the local justice cannot see the truth of our predicament, and if he only dwells on the fact that Quintus left the army, then he is an unjust magistrate who just wants to ruin the entire world because he is not intelligent enough to think with a clear conscience.

Princess, please, write to me as much as you can. See all evil ahead of you and flee from its grasp! If only Quintus and I weren’t so foolish as to trust in our local government, we would have taken a voyage to the Spice Islands and to never have returned. Princess… I think I’ll need your help sooner than I expect.

Your friend,

Duchess Cleo of Zozer


19th Day of the 11th Lunar Month at Zozer

Dear Princess Tutmuse,

It’s been at least a week since Quintus was put back on duty, and we have been staying at our new residence in the East Quarter of the city. Quintus has been put in charge of the garrison at the East Gate after the captain-of-the-guard was found heading for the city of Ahmuse around four days ago. The governor of Zozer has declared martial law and no one is allowed to leave the city at any time whatsoever, and if anyone does leave the city, they will be immediately put under house-arrest. We are told that a large number of bandits have been masquerading as merchants from Meptah and have been waylaying people and leaving them half dead around the outskirts of the city at night. The governor has also made the declaration that he and his men must wait for the expeditionary force to return from the Great Fort because the city guard is not strong enough to handle these bandits away from the city walls. They cannot both guard the walls securely and launch any policing action effectively at the same time. "A sensible precaution," my Quintus has told me. And it seems very sensible to me as well. What an exciting adventure this is for our city!

I could feel the suspense throughout our city today as I walked to and from the central market. Perhaps my Quintus will catch these ruffians and will be awarded a higher place within the chain of command. Quintus and I are not only being blessed with his new rank and assignment, but we are now in this city-wide predicament that may potentially benefit us for many years to come. But if there is one thing I feel really blessed for, is the fact that the mail is still operating between Zozer and Ahmusa and finally to Crilium. Our mail service has been given strict orders to only leave and return to Zozer only during the daylight. Since Zozer doesn’t have an infinite supply of homing pigeons, the governor has decided to keep the letter service open for all official correspondence and a few unofficial exceptions for the nobility.

I put on Quintus’s Deputy-Commander-Ranks on his shirt this morning before he left, and we felt such pride and joy that we both blushed and embraced for a good four minutes. This is not just a matter of honor princess, but a matter of destiny! Quintus and I were meant to experience great things in the future. We were born to see the world together in a brave new light...

Respectfully yours,

Duchess Cleo of Zozer


3rd Day of the 12th Lunar Month at Zozer

Dear Princess Tutmuse,

Oh Princess! I am getting worried that you have not gotten any of my letters that I have sent before! Please, if this letter ever gets into your hands, send replies by both pigeon and land service as soon as possible. These are very troubling times that we are living in. The city guards assigned to the city gates are not allowed to leave their posts no matter what the reason. There are weird rumors circulating throughout the city that the Expeditionary Force sent out over three months ago has been unable to return to Zozer because of some sort of natural disaster. The last time Quintus and I spoke, he told me that the East Gate lookouts thought that they saw a large dust cloud on the horizon. It was as if the Zozer army had walked into view, did an about face, and retreated back into the desert. No one really knows if that dust cloud was made from a friendly force or not.

People living in the eastern part of the city have heard the sound of drums playing throughout the night. The noise seems to be originating beyond the city walls and towards the horizon. The governor of Zozer has locked himself up in the citadel and has refused to send any city watchmen out to investigate this situation.

Oh Princess! Take me and Quintus away from this city! The city’s water supply is already being rationed and everybody is expecting the worst. I would hate to think what would happen if the governor cancels the mail service between Zozer and Ahmusa. I’m begging you to send an official dispatch to Zozer’s governor so that Quintus and I can escape this city and meet up with you in Crilium. You would have my deepest gratitude if you would send such a letter. Please, Princess help us flee to the safety of your arms! I’m begging you for your assistance!

Yours always,

Duchess Cleo of Zozer


15th Day of the 12th Lunar Month at Crilium

To My Dearest Aunt Duchess Cleo of Zozer,

Cleo, I cannot meet your expectations by sending a royal decree to Zozer. I advise you to leave Zozer as soon as possible by whatever means you have. These are dark times that we are living in nowadays... My dad thinks it would be best for the royal family to leave Crilium. I cannot emphasize this enough: Leave Zozer as soon as possible and get to a ship bound for the Western Islands as soon as possible! Please stay alive by whatever means you can muster!

Yours truly,

Princess Tutmuse


20th Day of the 12th Lunar Month at Sea

The Journal of Cassius Lively

We had landed on the eastern beach some two days previous. All of us were shocked out of our shoes and humiliated completely when we found out the specifics of the captain’s orders that had been directed by the Professor, from the East Pirean port. The specific orders of this reconnaissance mission, we were told, directed us to head up the Crilium coast until we reached the icy boundary of the continents glaciers. We were told that any man abandoning ship or any man caught deserting the ship would be swiftly clasped and thrown into the brig when caught. However, we were also rest assured that we would all receive bonus payments for our successful compliance both to and from the glacier belt. As the wind was biting into my foul weather jacket, I could feel the atmosphere around me growing darker and colder with the setting sun. I asked during the role-call if any of those so-called miner’s misfits were still to be seen by any of the crew. I was told that no one had seen a black sail on the horizon for weeks. It made me a little suspicious that the captain didn’t say why the beach this far north was so secure and devoid of the smugglers. I guess one could say on this cruise that anything out of sight is out of mind. Although I do like any adventure of this sort, Clearchus Limbianacus, I don’t like the idea of an ever decreasing carrier pigeon service. We had about forty pigeons to begin with on this cruise; now we have just twenty pigeons left in store. It’s healthy, of course, to have no one following you, but how healthy can it be for no one to know where you are going? There are hawks everywhere on these northern cliffs and big hawks at that...

Once we got back on board ship the captain decided to allow us four runs to the liquor storage. We drank right after supper and enjoyed a little bit of dropped anchor before we had to lower the sails again and head farther out into the blissful ocean. You can see more to the westward when you’ve been out to sea for more than a month. Even farther still if you have a spyglass tucked away in your belongings. My Uncle Claudius used to tell me to be prepared for everything at sea, or you may just as well be prepared for nothing at all. I never thought that the cold-winter-wind would be as delightful at sea just as it is on dry land. Of course, that wouldn't be true for someone if they were being menaced by some sort of misfortune.

Cassius Lively signing off


23rd Day of the 12th Lunar Month at Sea

1st Lieutenant Kragg’s Personal Journal: On Board the Leviathan

It seems there is a bit of a rusty edge on that scientist (slash trinket seller) that we are hauling around. What makes him so uncouth is beyond me. It is better to be a friend than to be an enemy. Life should really be optimistic in outlook instead of negative in feeling everywhere you turn. I am in need of a better foul-weather jacket. I have about eight in my closet, but I do not think I can space out their drying schedules long enough. There is always bartering that can be done, of course... But I need to feel all of the more respect on this fat-cog the farther we head out to sea. Journey’s like these are so filled with surprises and suspensions.

What could be going on in this crazy mixed-up world about now is something I cannot fathom. It is always my hope that the Pirea will still be half-empty when we finally return to port for the summer. The port, I'm afraid, will be too small for summer visitors, which means we'll probably have to debark off this ship through dinghies and other small vessels. What a load of books I'm going to have to disembark with!

I can smell, at this late hour, a sweeter-smelling change that we have on board this ship. The sailors and lads had heftily scrubbed down the bulwarks, scuppers, waterways and deck-planking all this afternoon. Too cold this morning to work, I suppose. But not as cold as where we are headed.

I sign this journal off in the name of myself: Lieutenant Kragg


25th Day of the 12th Lunar Month at Sea

1st Lieutenant Kragg’s Personal Journal: On Board the Leviathan

I collected some flora today... I drew two sketches of a certain winter cactus weed-flower and then returned it from whence it came. In a sense, it is always nice to imagine the world a little larger than it already is. To be confined in one’s imagination is a little too entrapping at times. I like to think of life as a never ending cruise upon the vast sea lanes of one’s imagination. This adventurous attitude, however, leads too little room for controlling one’s navigating time-table upon the sea. If you think of the world as small, it is easily navigable. If you think of the world as too large, however, how should one be able to easily calculate the azimuth’s of the ocean with peace of mind?

By tomorrow, I believe, we shall be approaching Boat-Man’s last-marker that he made before returning back to the 'old world'. Whatever happens to the 'old world' is not anyone’s concern when you're on an adventure such as this. We spotted ghosts on the shore, rattling noises, and phantom ships before we got this far north. Can anyone imagine that the sleet and ice would prevent other vessels and men such as ours from ever traveling to where we are traveling to? It seems that brave men are not just listed among the ranks of military companies but among civilians who dare to go where no one else would dare to go. I am growing an even greater passion for this voyage of ours. What shall this voyage be like two weeks from now? Not one of us knows. And it is up to ourselves to find out what is in store for us past the last-marker and into the endless snowy drink.

Lieutenant Kragg signing off.


25th Day of the 12th Lunar Month at Sea

The Journal of Cassius Lively

Today, Clearchus Limbianacus, has gone rather well. I enjoyed the nostalgia felt when the captain announced today that we would be heading past the last-marker in rather a day or two. It was just two days ago when I finished reading Boat-Man’s diaries and journals on his historic journey up the northern coast and to the land of winter’s sunset. Ice is all that we shall see when we reach the artic belt. But until then a great change of scenery will commence and then a steady drop in freezing temperature. The sea was calmer today than usual. The 2nd Lieutenant didn’t like the calm weather. Something on his mind about the bad weather that always proceeds from a calm.

I don’t personally like the spirits of the crew. If there is one thing I don’t really like in a journey is drab weather accompanied by drab crewmembers. If sun is the reason people cheer up then I wish all of us could see more sun in this grayish voyage that we are on. That fellow, Lieutenant Kragg, or whatever his name is, got a bit too hysterical today. He was drawing some such sketch of a flowery ice cactus.

“Big deal,” I told him.

“You’re not going to see much of those where we’re going,” he retorted.

I then raised my voice, and asked him, “Don’t you know that an ice lake is far more spectacular?”

He railed back at me, smug and demeaning. “That’s of course if you’re not a scientist!”

If only we could have excellent character in this crew as a quality. It seems that I am forever barred and eschewed from the delights of pleasant conversation and civil society on this voyage. Life is not like a river boat cruise up the river of exploration. It is more like a setting sun that grows colder the farther north you go. Life is now like a medium that if once traversed can grow colder by the day.

This is Cassius Lively signing off


26th Day of the 12th Lunar Month at North Town

A letter to Clearchus Limbianacus

Well my dear chap it is well into winter and my estate is enjoying the serenity of frozen lakes and snow covered rye fields. Why must a person lose his agricultural roots in a season such as this is beyond my comprehension. Today I cautiously hauled myself outside, chopped up some wood, and then came back into the mansion with a bucket full of frozen potatoes. You need, my dear Clearchus, to be free as a bird and to stop worrying about foreign invasions and internal divisions in times such as these. Take care my young cousin and continue sending me the reports you have on this clever Professor you’ve been trailing.

Signed,

Lucas Dividius


27th Day of the 12th Lunar Month at Pirea

To Lucas Dividius,

My sources say that the Professor has left the town of East Pirea and was heading for North Town by fast sloop. I believe he is going to that frozen town of yours in the hopes of hiring a incognito merchant vessel so that he can follow the Leviathan to the artic belt. I have been writing to several Legislative Directory members for the sake of commandeering the new iron-plated ship they have anchored at the East Pirean port. My mission is to pursue this Professor and to seek out the destination of the Leviathan--whatever that destination happens to be--and to gain information as to the importance of that mission. Of course, I am really let loose for the sake of testing out their new sailing monstrosity! With the arrival of refugees from New Meptah and East Town there has been a shortage of wealthy housing on the island of East Pirea, which is why the Legislative Directory has decided to house the Crilium nobility inside the island's port facilities. What will we ever do to satisfy all of these Crilium nobles in the near future is beyond me!

It seems that the capture of both the greater and the lesser delta rivers has almost been completed by these foreign invaders. My mission is simple, if nothing else. I am to proceed eastwards from East Pirea and north of the peninsula of Meptah and I am to destroy any ships of war that come across me and my grand ship’s path. What next odd turn of events issuing from this war can be anyone’s guess--and all of the facts are not needed in this situation to make a good guess. If the Legislative Directory does not have enough gold to fund this war they shall have no way to fight this war. Perhaps it is better to be a pilot at sea than a senator who hunkers down waiting for the next turn of events in this war, and then: The Invasion. Ha! Who would have thought that the Great Fort would be the beginning of the last stand of all of humanity! I do not believe our mainland island will be able to hold out when the arrival of the enemy fleet comes.

What did one of the Senator’s write to me saying? Oh yes! We shall build a fleet of ironclads and defeat this enemy menace before it can strike the mainland! Buffoonery, I say! When will you have enough time--even if you're in the nick of time--and when will you get the ships to steal back the enemy’s approach? Well, I shall be heading out in a day or two to the main port. I shall take with me my squire, all my books, and a nice leather traveling log I have purchased just recently. After we hit the artic belt we shall head straight back to North Town. If all is okay, I shall visit you, my friend. But if all is lost, I shall make my last stand complete, or at least as complete as can be, of course. Then we shall decide if there is more out in the western sea than just the occasional ice berg alone in a vast expanse of ocean. We shall see what is next on the charts of exploration. Totolos and till next time my dear chap. Clearchus Limbianacus signing off.


28th Day of the 12th Lunar Month at Sea

1st Lieutenant Kragg’s Personal Journal: On Board the Leviathan

Our crew dined on elk flesh this morning. Less happens in terms of socialization the farther north we press on. Now it is just a mixture of culinary talk. What shall we eat at supper? What shall we eat fifteen minutes from now? The captain knows how to spoil the crew rotten. He orders us to have no more conversation on food. How do you penalize something so set in our nature? You can’t do it and you must not do it! Let the crew and I talk about food all day long or you, my dear captain, can eat your orders with the next meal.

All of the crew have beards now. For the last two days the captain has placed a no eating sign on the kitchen window. Fine by all accounts, I say, but just don’t shove it into my face! The more the crew complains about food the longer this voyage is going to be. There are tons of salt pork and salt turkey stored away in the bowels of the ship. “The harder you work lads, the less time we spend on this voyage north, and the more time we spend not eating fish!” It’s times like these that I’m glad I stowed more things into my sea-chest then just leather aprons and non-food items. I have more wraps of cheese in there than it would be healthy for me to show around. It’s time to sign off I suppose. 1st Lieutenant Kragg signing off.


30th Day of the 12th Lunar Month at Sea

1st Lieutenant Kragg’s Personal Journal: On Board the Leviathan

Peas were the order of the day today. It seems that for our captain to get us all to stop eating we must all start eating detestable delicacies. The chef came out with his tablet and said today: “We’ve been almost three months gone and scurvy is bound to surface. We must eat cooked livers, drink lots more milk, and eat peas, peas and more peas!” The celery and peanut store was in short supply I believe for at least for the past seven days. “There is plenty of reindeer and sheep on the upland slopes to re-supply our milk stores,” said the captain this evening. “Of course,” said the 4th Lieutenant, “it shall be as simple as that!” I have much trust in our captain for keeping us alive, but what I do find an oddity is his sense of survival. What does a man need to keep alive in a fat-cog like this but a large supply of fishing contraptions and an even larger supply of salt! It’s not nice to see a sheep brought on board this vessel. I would rather kill a fish than hunt a deer... I believe this captain can pull us out of almost anything... As the nights get colder and more grotesque, as my jacket gets more filthy and soggy, and as my woolen clothing gets more musky and frayed, I have yet to see better days coming ahead and I have yet to say good bye to the hardships of our voyage.

Signing off,

1st Lieutenant Kragg’s personal journal


31st Day of the 12th Lunar Month at East Pirea

To Lucas Dividius,

Tidings! I have now taken it upon myself, my dear Lucas Dividius, to command this ship, the Tempered Steel, and to figure out why this Professor has decided to sail off to the artic belt. My contacts say that the man is a sailing genius, so I have little doubt that he shall meet his destination without any problems. This ship of the line, to say the least, is a 74-gun frigate with enough armor and firepower to ward off and demolish any of these so called shadow foists: that people have seen sailing off the coasts of Crilium. A ship armored with iron plating is sure to be a strange oddity seen on the ocean surface. What unimaginable naval technology is next? a ship powered by fire? The Legislative Directory has given me a crew of about forty sailors and marines with enough food to last the next eight months. We have enough fresh water for the next six months and enough gunpowder and cannon shot to last for an eternity: or, at the least, a long time. We shall see, my dear Lucas Dividius, if our man-of-war can make it to and from the artic belt with no surprises messing with our voyage. It will be good to cast off anchor and to see the world for what it truly is: a land of opportunity to the content and well adventured. I shall see you later my old friend.

Signed by,

Commodore Clearchus Limbianacus of the Tempered Steel


1st Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) in the Miner's Hills

To Ptolemy II,

I have organized the men as you have asked me comrade Duke. Soon we shall be heading eastwards and past the hills overlooking the Great Fort. The Crilium Army is advancing at a steady rate. These miner's have enough supplies to feed our 50,000 man army for over a year. We shall cut off these grotesque creatures who have decided to rage war on our country and we shall be home in time for the Spring Rice Feast. Once we take back the Great Fort we shall retake the Zozer plains and the greater delta before the enemy ever knew what hit them. It's been a long time since I've last been home, my Duke. It will be good to see my estate once again. I shall be proud to lead these soldiers into the thick of it. Take care, my comrade Duke, and may you and your scouts work your tactics successfully along the Gold River.

Signed,

Princess Tutmuse


2nd Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) at the Gold River

Memo to Princess Tutmuse:

My Dear Lady,

The enemy has put up scattered resistance along the Gold River. It was a brilliant move you made in following the ancient source leaflet of the Second Monarch of Crilium in logistically placing the entire Crilium Army into the hills to the southeast of Crilium. We have lines of communication all throughout these hills. Just yesterday, I saw a desert rider head back to the river after he strayed too far from the source of life that we all need to survive on. Without water an army is good for basically nothing. We need to remember, at all times, that the reason this foreign army cannot journey into the hills is that they do not have the lines of communication, the logistics, or the manpower skills to seek out water in the hiding places among the clefts and rock out croppings among the Crilium hills. We shall use their foolishness to our own advantage. We shall cut off their route back home, meet them head on in the plains of the two deltas, and we shall savagely turn these sick barbarians into the dead dog-flesh that they really are. It is enough to know that no reinforcements from the Gold River have arrived. They have left their lines of communication open to harassment. It shall be an excellent day indeed when the last of these invaders is hauled away to the ends of the earth and executed without mercy.

Your friend,

Ptolemy II


4th Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) in the Miner's Hills

A letter to my Brother Rubine

It is enough to know, my brother, that what awaits us in the next several weeks will contain some of the highest form of adventure and stoic fortitude. You must press on with your unit, my dear Prince, and you must make sure that nothing of invalid consequence happens to your unit of cavalry. Cheer up my dear Prince. Soon this war will be over and we shall be entertaining guests at the Spring Rice Feast with no depressing recollection of this invasion that has taken place. It's up to us to figure out how this war shall play out. It's up to you to figure out what kind of ball-cap or cloth-jacket you shall be wearing as you entertain my step-sister Susan. This war will soon be over, my kind Prince. And so shall the stress of these trying times. Take care to enter this up and coming battle with no thoughts of death, but rather revenge for the Zozer militia and the destruction the enemy has brought to Crilium these past several weeks. Take care, my dear brother, and may your actions bring glory to you in the near future.

Signing off,

Princess Tutmuse


4th Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) in the Open Plain below the Miner's Hills

A letter to my Sister Tutmuse

You seem so courageous in your campaign, sister, to win back Crilium. I never knew that you had it in you to lead a 50,000 man army with an aide-de-camp of less than six Dukes. It would be so nice to figure out what is the reason wars come about and why do they end. If only the Academy of Science would be more forthcoming with their sociological researches. If only we had more time to live and less time to insult others to the ground with threats and remonstrances. Life should be more of a daily entertainment instead of the daily duels we have to deal with physically and emotionally. Good night my wonderful sister. I shall send a detailed report with this letter. The war shall surely be coming to a closing end soon.

Signed,

Rubine the Great


6th Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) on board the Tempered Steel

The Journal of Commodore Clearchus Limbianacus,

We have traveled today from the southern tip of East Pirea, with the wind at a steady breeze from the west, some twenty leagues eastwards, and with a wind from the west northwest we traveled some ten leagues south east till dusk. We shall reach the Crilium coast some two days from now where we are to investigate the northern Meptah peninsula for any sign of enemy combatants.

This is Commodore Clearchus Limbianacus of the Tempered Steel signing off


8th Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) below the Brink

To Duke Ptolemy II,

My dearest Duke, we have stationed ourselves behind the Great Fort and have sent our scouts behind us to the southeast. What shall ever become of us is up to heaven. So far our scouts haven't returned, and it is almost morning. I sent them behind us with strict instructions to stay on the high ground and to make sure that they weren't spotted. This vast migration of foreign enemies seems to be a mystery that none of us truly cares for or desires to come up with a scientific theory for. If they have left their lands because of food shortages, or political chaotic divergences, it is really nothing that justifies, or should justify, the blatant invasion of our motherland for the sake of a criminal wickedness that should be punished with all the criminal penalties concerning their foul and prejudicial crimes. Fie upon them and their wicked deeds! Let them soak in a forever disastrous end that will leave none of them alive, for the sake of life, liberty or the causes that result in all human forms of happiness and bliss! Life is forever better if we live with a better conscience of knowing our own rights, in not only the personal, but also the civilized sphere of all justice. Let us see life as it now is: A way to further family tranquility and domestic peace at home. A new stronger Crilium is called for, but one that is not deprived of its older vestiges... We should be more forthcoming to foreign developments, to the east of our great land, but we should be ever so vigilant in protecting our own land for the salvation of our civilization and our better prosperity. We shall meet this enemy head on and defeat them in battle. It is up to us to see that this enemy meets its just dues. By the beginning of tomorrow morning, this enemy shall be defeated and done away with at this side of the Gold River. We shall see what life has in store for us, before the Great Fort, and we shall see what this enemy has to offer in bold resistance and physical fortitude. Stoically we shall press on for peace, life and the hearth that awaits us back home in our common shared blessings. So carry on my Duke with your reportage. And may the rule of heaven destroy the wickedness of this age. May it bring victory over all lawless creatures everywhere. Take care and may heaven speed your way!

Signed,

Princess Tutmuse


8th Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) in the Open Plain below the Miner's Hills

An Emergency Letter to my sister Princess Tutmuse,

I have some stunning news to report to you my grand Princess. It seems that one of the officers of the Zozer militia has been saved by me and my cavalry scouting troops. His story is both strange and heroic. I have decided to note down his testimony in a more detailed manner as he has explained it himself. The following is the narrative version of his report:

To The Grand Commandant Princess Tutmuse "The Warrior Queen" of the Crilium Army,

When the sand fort, that the Zozer militia took shelter in, was surrounded by enemy forces, of the grotesque invader, the missile attacks that they were showering down on us soon came to a quick end. I and a few other companions thought our only option of escape was to jump into the middle pit that was filled in with rocks and quick sand. Once we removed some of the rocks, we noticed a tunnel, my Queen, and we didn't think we were going to be able to use the tunnel because the sand looked quite thick from where we were standing. But whether it was due to physical fatigue or haphazard thinking, one of the soldiers jumped straight into the sludgy middle 'trap-door well' and explained to us that the tunnel was not only intact but allowed one to have at least room from the neck down, down the tunnel, which extended north and away from the river. Hastily all four of us descended into the tunnel and headed straight north to see how we could make our escape. When we were about two hundred yards down the tunnel, we saw another tunnel that stretched eastwards and then south eastwards towards the river. We had decided unanimously to continue heading north instead. When we reached the end of the tunnel to the north, we saw that the far end of the tunnel was a tall stone well that led straight into the desert. However, when we got there, there seemed to be some enemy troops already running around the well entrance so that our access to the desert would be blocked, and trapped off, because of the enemy. So we decided then and there to head straight back to the eastern tunnel that ran somewhat towards the river. As we got to this second tunnel, we realized that it was indeed heading towards the river and we could see the light of day down the tunnel. But, alas my Queen, we were greatly disappointed, as we exited the tunnel, to find ourselves quickly surrounded by several companies of the foreign invader. The enemy quickly grabbed us and tied us nearby to one of the holes that they had dug for the sake of an ambush. Once these invaders of our country had left the area, we were absolutely stumped and depressed as to how we were going to escape from our current perilous predicament. It was two hours that we had waited in the hot sun, and while we were waiting for our deaths, we saw a man on a river barge sailing down the Gold River and heading towards the city of Zozer. "A hoi, there!" we all yelled. "Who are you?" shouted the man. "We're from the Zozer militia," I shouted, "get us out of this mix-up and the Emperor shall reward you well!" With that the man grounded his barge on the northern shore of the river, tied off his boat with the branch of a willow tree, and headed straight towards us with some cutting tools. When the man found out that the grotesque army of the invaders had destroyed the Zozer militia, he decided to follow us across the river and into the hills between the two rivers. We've been basically hiding near the slopes of these hills almost for a period of two and one half month's time...

That, my dear sister, was Lieutenant Dysenn Ptolemy's account of his capture and escape. I'm sending you both Lieutenant Dysenn Ptolemy and his written journal with a cavalry escort to your army that is encamped near the Great Fort. I'm sure Ptolemy shall prove of great military worth to you in the future. May your attack on the Great Fort be a fruitful success! May you be victorious over your enemies, my Lady!

Signed,

Your brother Rubine


9th Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) at the Gold River

Memo to Princess Tutmuse:

My Lady,

Lieutenant Dysenn Ptolemy and his cavalry escort were brought to me very early this morning. It seems my cousin from Zozer is in much better health and in much better wits than we would expect a just rescued prisoner of the enemy to be in a state of. I have decided to make this war hero share responsibilities with me in the majority of the heavy horse and infantry regiment that you have given me possession of. He seems to have first hand experience of the particulars of the enemy's military tactics. We shall be in the valley behind you by this evening fall after you have captured the Great Fort back into our hands once again.

Signed,

Ptolemy II


9th Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) inside the Great Fort

To Rubine,

Success! It was only a matter of hours before our backwoods scouts gave us the go ahead for this great mission. We defeated this enemy by surrounding and attacking the Great Fort and by taking no prisoners alive. Their headquarters maps and battlefield logs have been taken at no loss to life on our side. It seems that what little we knew about the enemy’s tactics happens to fit according to the plans that they had laid out from the beginning. They are an evil power of men that have come from the far east for the sake of piracy and invasion. They should now think twice about invading our land again when they realize now that we have the ability to cut off their lines of communication with their native country and the ability to blockade their only means of escape back towards their homeland. My brother, return your troop of scout cavalry to our main army and rejoin me at this new Great Fort and tell me of the enemy positions so that we can speedily retake the west and reunify the world into a much better place for all people's everywhere in Crilium. I am sending my fastest runner to over take your light scout cavalry for the sake of sending you the news of our just recent victory. We have done more destruction to the enemy in one day's work, thanks to heaven, than we have seen done since the beginning of this invasion. Let it be the news of victory and heaven's blessings that will bring forth a new era of peace and tranquility to our most wonderful land.

Signed,

Princess Tutmuse the Humbled One


14th Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) off the northern coast of the Peninsula

The Journal of Commodore Clearchus Limbianacus

We spotted some enemy combatants on the hills today--if you can call them that. The enemy taunted us on from the distance, but we decided not to fire our twelve pound guns at them. We have, it seems, other pressing business to attain to than the bombardment of small enemy embattlements off the district coastlands of the northern Meptah plains.

I believe the Professor is too far north than for us to safely travel in these iceberg plentiful seas. We shall trudge on to more hardships than is necessary if we change our course and head straight into the Professor's path. To beat this Professor is not really our mission. Our mission now is truly to find out where the Professor lands at the artic belt and why he is going there in the first place.

The men are in high spirits today. A little dosage of beer-ale will do that to a crew. To celebrate mercy given to an enemy is better than celebrating an enemy's destruction.

Commodore Clearchus Limbianacus of the Tempered Steel signing out!


18th Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) on board the Leviathan

The Journal of Cassius Lively

Clearchus Limbianacus it has been anything but warm in temperature so far. Variations of very hot and very cold have struck me almost half-dead. I have a burnt tongue from too much hot coffee and a large collection of damp socks. Clearchus Limbianacus you really should visit this part of the world. Ice bergs dot the landscape and make for a splendid canvas.

"What are you doing now?" asked a man who knew nothing about paintings made with oils. "That's the strangest thing I've ever seen," he said to me. Stranger, I think, is a man's loss at artistic expression. If only all sailors could paint. We would be the champions at the auction! If only all men were politicians or farmers, we would not be at a loss in communicating our ideals!

Signing off,

Cassius Lively


19th Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) on board the Leviathan

1st Lieutenant Kragg’s Personal Journal: On Board the Leviathan

I love the salty, sea air. It is so invigorating to the muscles and the bones when the sea breeze is upon oneself. In the morning I give a big stretch as I air out my cabin with the port window spread wide open. Being the chief navigator on this boat does have its upside. No one knows how to detect longitude as accurately as myself. I have two superb time pieces that never stop ticking for days on end after I do wind them up. It just makes sense that the better quality time pieces will save you from charting headaches the more expensive those time pieces are. One must buy great quality to buy more insurance; one must spend much on an item so that it will cost him little trouble later on. If only these time pieces of ours didn’t need so much winding! That would make the job of navigator far more flexible for myself when it comes to managing one’s time in a vessel such as this. It also makes my time on board this vessel a pleasure cruise even more so just as long as no one has the secret to purchasing such a marvelous time contraption as the one I have.

Should I study the classics today? A navigation book I once picked up at New Meptah had something said about it. What was that? Something about 'long sail boats' are the only way to go when it comes to navigating around the barrier reefs of the Spice Islands. That way one wouldn’t have to take so many soundings between the seas separating the Kritian harbors. But time is money and so is shipbuilding. It’s easier to build a fat-cog than a small sloop built for speed. More room in the hold means a more profitable adventure by far.

Lieutenant Kragg signing off.


21st Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) on board the Tempered Steel

The Journal of Commodore Clearchus Limbianacus

The winds currently are west by south west and our course is northeast. We on this fast moving ironclad are more than two-thirds of the way to the last-marker of Boat-Man’s famous voyage he and his adventurers made less than four years ago. We are almost eight degrees east longitude of the capital at Crilium. By all accounts we shall either sail next to, overtake, or meet this Professor of Cornwell on land before the next month is out. I have decided to stay away from the coast and to put a complete end to the detection, by the enemy, of ourselves, off the northern coastline of Crilium. To stop any beastly travesties that we may commit with our vessel is of the top priority for myself and my crew. We must also conserve our energies since we may need all of our powder and ballistic resources to fight our way back through the northern ocean, for the very reason that the enemy may muster an armada, to meet us, as we head back towards East Pirea. I have also decided to not go above the eighth latitude for fear of harsher waves and for fear of more and even deadlier icebergs.

What an expedition this is! What an adventure this will surely turn out to be! We shall see what awaits us beyond the northeast bound horizon and we shall see what rich mine of information the Professor seeks in his nervousness. And what the rest of us seek in security and safety shall be determined later onwards by both the whim of both enemy and wave. May our sabers be raised with each hoisted flag of ours! To the end of time and from now onwards we and all of our comrades shall stoically hail ourselves as the soldiers and sailors of the artic world!

Commodore Clearchus Limbianacus of the Tempered Steel signing out!


25th Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) along the eastern perimeter of Crilium’s Greater Delta

To my very excellent Sister Queen Tutmuse,

Dear Sister,

It seems that you shall be seeing a vast horde marching towards your army in less than one fourth of a fortnight. In four days time you should already be engaged with this large enemy army. We scouts have seen our part of the cavalry engagements that took place over the last sixteen days and we have lost no men. Whenever we head for rocky hillsides of valleys or ridges, the enemy cavalry seem to not be so versatile at gaining the high ground. With their javelins they would surely be able to inflict a great defeat of loss on our scouting platoon. We cannot throw our swords down at them for the basic reason that they are the main weapons that we use in battle. Without our swords we shall have nothing really left to fight with, which is why our slings come in such great use because we may use the high ground to our advantage, since the high ground also helps to sling stones at the enemy forces that are beneath us. The main enemy army was coming straight for us my sister. Please see to it that they are dealt with by all your available means to the best of your ability.

So Dysenn Ptolemy was put into command of your heavy horsemen? I should have known that his military genius would not be taken out of this war despite all of his sufferings. Please use him in this upcoming military adventure. I believe Dysenn Ptolemy shall prove to be quite prodigious in this upcoming battle. Speed be with you my sister. This upcoming battle shall make or break how fast we conquer all of Crilium back from the armies of destruction...

Signed,

Rubine the Bold


27th Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) along the south bank of the Gold River

To Ptolemy II,

Why haven’t you, Ptolemy, gathered all of the supplies from the Great Fort yet? Why haven’t you assigned all of the heavy infantry the spare equipment that they need? We are definitely going to be running behind schedule if there is going to be an army upon our flanks! We shall be engaged in battle in no time. This is what I say to do: Take all of the lightest armed infantry and make them lighter, arm all of your cavalry with lances instead of swords, place the heavy infantry in the center of the army and take those light armed troops and arm them with the javelins that the enemy has stocked up in the interior of the Great Fort. Don’t be silly with your judgments concerning certain kinds of weapons! A bull-hide shield can be almost as effective against a javelin dart as a brass-shield. It is chastity and alms that saves in war, and the saving grace of God, not heavy armor all by itself. Keep all of your best fighters in the front ranks and all of your experienced war veterans behind the ranks to cheer on all raw recruits! Let us meet this enemy head on and without any sort of complex stratagems. My brother Rubine says that the enemy army shall be coming soon. To our victory dear cousin! To our utmost victory!

Signed,

Queen Tutmuse


29th Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) along the northern portion of the Greater Delta

To Queen Tutmuse,

What a victory we have won today my niece, my Queen! We have shown this foreign invader that he is no match for us on the field of battle! Recall how the enemy was surprised in armed shock against all of our men-at-arms! The enemy of Crilium was overwhelmed by one strategy after another as if there were youths in charge of their army. We enveloped the enemy today in a grand tactic that they could not even beat even with eyes on the sides of their heads. We have done virtuous deeds of valor today my Queen. We shall from now on be considered the inventors of victory for all ages to come.

Signed,

Ptolemy II


29th Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) along the northern portion of the Greater Delta

To Rubine,

Success, Rubine, success! We have won a great victory today!

Signed,

Queen Tutmuse


30th Day of the 1st Lunar Month (Leap Year) along the eastern portion of the Lesser Delta

To Rubine

Now that the war is won it will be nice to see the grand city once again: the city of a thousand lights and a hundred beer halls. Zozer is a city that most people who visit will never forget. There is a mixture of desert and delta rice patties and ancient spices that brings about a certain unique aroma around and inside the city for all to savor. As the main depot of the miner’s gold trade with the outside world, it is a place where anyone can make their fortune quickly if they are bold enough to enter its northern, eastern, western or southern dungeon like city gates. Did you know that the miners where once a people that started a caviar and fishing trade with the men of Zozer? There once was a salt-lake near the western area on the outskirts of the Great Fort. When the lake dried up, peoples everywhere flocked to its shoreline for the sake of gold panning. “If there’s gold in this lake here,” said one miner digging forty years ago, “there must be gold in them hills to last the ages!”

Duchess Cleo of Zozer was happy to see me once again. Although there has been for me a change in title she is still as exuberant and feisty as ever. A high ranked Queen doesn’t seem to impress her so much as an under ranked but equally snobbish lady of etiquette. She seems to see the world in terms of ribbons and decorate ball rooms instead of soldiers and bodyguards that one must protect oneself with. Despite her philosophical flaws, I love her more than the stars above and the pearls I wear upon my neck. Now that I am Queen there is no telling on how picturesque my ideal state of duty shall be from now on. Will it ever follow that I was a just and gracious Queen to my servants? Will it ever follow that I have been fair to all that graced my hall of judgment? What will ever become of me will be difficult to tell. The next few weeks and months shall be a sad story if I don’t button up my sad face that was brought on by this debilitating and grotesque war. All wars are grotesque and disgusting. If only I could remodel this world into a peaceful one, it would make our progress as human beings more technologically steady and less horrifically challenging. For love or war I shall ever be steadfast as my duty as Queen Regent. I think I have deserved to reign over Meptah and Zozer now that it is by my deeds, and the grace of heaven, that I was able to reclaim over most of Crilium back from the hands of the aggressor’s forces. We have steadily progressed in harrying small enemy forces out of the countryside and into the jails and brigs that border our coasts and coastlands. All major and minor fighting has ended with a greater increase in production recovery. Life is going to proceed as usual. Life will make us all one again.

Marked by,

Queen Tutmuse of Zozer


10th Day of the 2nd Lunar Month (Leap Year) at the Artic Belt

The Journal of Cassius Lively

Who would have thought that the crew of the Leviathan would have made it this far! We have reached the very Artic Belt, my man! Clearchus Limbianacus if only you could see how icy everything is! We are at the edge of the world… on the edge of the abyss of the world… on the edge of the great northern expanse… we are at the edge of the very brink! I have risen my flag in due memory of Boat-Man’s famous voyage and in due memory of all our crew that were surprised as to the mission we were going on. To think we were sent out to get reconnaissance reports on the evil workings of some miner’s rebellion. The captain has informed us that our mission is a complete success. We were detailed, with special orders, to figure out a way to the artic belt and to find out if there were any foreigners or winter tribesmen that inhabited these parts. No one so far has spotted a tribesmen or water vessel since our last reporting over a fortnight ago. The enemy, it seems, is nowhere to be found. If only we could travel to the center of this icy land... Then we would be at the top of the world! A place were there would be no true compass point. Imagine my surprise when the captain took his navigational measurements and detailed the rest of the traveling distance for such a trip. Some two thousand miles would be the rest that our travels would have to cover. What an expedition that would be! But it really is only for the rich and privileged. Only those who can make such a voyage safe and secure both in the field and back home should only attempt such an undertaking. To leave loved ones back home while doing such an adventure would be a grave crime. If only, Clearchus Limbianacus, we had time and money to explore this world of ours. If only we had the time to do great things in life. It would be a done deal indeed...

This is Cassius Lively signing off


14th Day of the 2nd Lunar Month (Leap Year) on board the Leviathan

1st Lieutenant Kragg’s Personal Journal: On Board the Leviathan

It is both cold and dreary out here in the artic, no wait… both cold and woolen frayed! I have ventured on the surface for comforts sake and have seen a penguin or two. There was a little mound of snow drift that took my fancy today. I have also developed a keen delight in the occasional ice twister. The jolly-boat officer told me to watch my first two steps onto the ice flat. "If you fall over and into an ice flat, you are most likely doomed to death," he said. “Just row us into that warm glacier bay,” I told him. “It would be a mile inland walk,” he told me. “That’s good,” I said, “then I won't die!” Life is so harsh in the artic that it is hard to believe that we’ve made it this far. Now the men are talking about expeditions even beyond this place and into the further unknown. How ridiculous that seems to me! You can count me out of that one to be sure! One young man almost got frostbite over a day ago. I bet they want to tempt life with even more carelessness of that sort. The young and foolhardy are forever in need of experience. But if you are not young, but are still foolhardy, what does one need in that circumstance? Such a one probably needs a good knock over the head! I have enjoyed my parlay with the sea for far too long. Perhaps I shall take up agriculture when I get back to my home in Pirea. It will not be long before we get back into warmer waters. And it shall not be long before the cold wind biting into my fleece stops reminding me what we are out here in this dreary hazing weather for: A life free of trouble, and a life of bare discovery. Also, a life away from evil men who wish for nothing more than to make us have a bad day! Captains of Wickedness, Fie on you all!

Lieutenant Kragg signing off.


16th Day of the 2nd Lunar Month (Leap Year) off the western coast of the Artic Belt

The Journal of Commodore Clearchus Limbianacus

I have met my old friend Cassius Lively! It seems that if that young inventor can make it this far in life, he can make it all of the way: even to the highest of political heights! Since he has challenged the greater part of this hostile land, he shall be an even greater person to sup with later on. “Would you like to see my traveling logs?” he asked me in a calm demeanor. “Sure I would,” I replied, "but if they are anything like mine, I shall reject them on the spot.” It’s good to see a familiar face that has voyaged ahead of me in this race to the artic. He has rather shown the way ahead of us instead of just waking his way in front of us. Life’s adventures are short enough, but when you see a treasured friend, on the icy horizon, waving his arms in winter joy, you beg to wonder how cherished some of these moments are if one doesn’t pay much attention to the visual sights but more so to the abstract imagination that one has.

I spotted the Professor this morning in his merchant sloop as both our vessels arrived on the outer fringes of the artic belt. I met with him and even talked with him about his mission (which surprisingly turned out to be just a scientific expedition) for quite a while, before he took out his navigational instruments, charted the distances around him, and scanned the horizon for various types of terrain and flora that he could spot and note in his log books and journals. Both the Professor and Cassius Lively were painting a snowy ridge to the north east, that looked like a misplaced iceberg, which somehow found its way on top of the artic shelf. Oil paintings do have their financial perks, but I would rather draw and mentally note the scenes around me than miss out on this all too picturesque adventuring that I have been enjoying so much lately.

This afternoon all of our crews said ten cheers for the exaltedness of heaven, six cheers to the noble sea, and four cheers for all of our vessels that have made it this far north. As to why no one has gone this far north before, one can leave to Crilium's laid-backness and a lack of seriousness in expeditions such as this one, rather than to a lack of financial support. If it isn’t broke than don’t fix it, some wise man once said. But, I say, if a system does work well, what’s wrong with making it a tad bit better? There’s nothing wrong with senators changing laws and passing sketched out bills that will turn our nation from one of static, legal normality to one of superior judicial quality. I think new technologies do not hearken future bliss so much as a stable government does. And this can be more easily accomplished with the belief that the laws and constitutions that we live by should be changed for the better good of the Republic, and not so much for the better good of any one particular person: especially one who wants to be in charge for the sake of any whimsical or personal wants.

Postscript: The faster pigeon service has arrived today from Zozer. It seems that the invasion of Crilium was put to an end, over two weeks ago, by one of their most highly esteemed female monarchs. As soon as the news of victory arrived at Zozer, what was left of the fastest bred pigeons were soon released in all directions with the mentioned news. It is a great relief to me that we happened to recieve such information, since I was sometimes wondering if there would even be a home for us to go back to. The men of all three ships will definitely celebrate the news.

Commodore Clearchus Limbianacus of the Tempered Steel signing out!


19th Day of the 2nd Lunar Month (Leap Year) at Zozer

Dear Queen Tutmuse,

How wonderful life has become, for Quintus and I, to enjoy this new era of peace and tranquility in Crilium. I hope for everyone’s sake that another invasion of our homeland never happens again! If only you, my Queen, could see how much all of the people of Zozer exalt your name with the highest success and achievement that the history of Crilium itself has not been able to compete with for the past forty score or more years. You are greater than the great Queen of the Two Deltas that had built dams around the Lesser Delta to block off the raging Gold River some 120 years previous. Your name should be exalted forever my Queen… your great deeds shall be spoken of for a lifetime.

Your Grand Duchess of Zozer,

Cleo


21st Day of the 2nd Lunar Month (Leap Year) at Meptah

To the Grand Duchess Cleo of Zozer

I have decided to finish my education while overseeing the past and present appointments of Meptah’s Legislative Directory. I believe life may be more than wars and finances, my grand Duchess. It is also about being cautious to the fullest. It is about seeing life for what it should be: A person who takes precautions and hopes for the best...

Officially stamped and marked by,

Queen Tutmuse of the Lesser Delta


The End.

CRILIUM is Copyrighted by Michael Llenos



COPYRIGHT 2004 M.L.

COPYRIGHT 2013 M.L.



Crilium Story and Pictures Copyright 2013-2017 by Michael Llenos