“The desert and the ocean are realms of desolation on the surface.
The desert is a place of bones, where the innards are turned out, to desiccate into dust.
The ocean is a place of skin, rich outer membranes hiding thick juicy insides, laden with the soup of being.
Inside out and outside in. These are worlds of things that implode or explode, and the only catalyst that determines the direction of eco-movement is the balance of water.
Both worlds are deceptive, dangerous. Both, seething with hidden life.
The only veil that stands between perception of what is underneath the desolate surface is your courage.”
—Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
After much debate about where to go and what to do next, we decided to head up-river in search of a place to ford the river Styx. We didn’t make it far, though, before a Stygian boat patrolling the river spotted us, and sent troops to hunt us down. These weren’t human troops. They were some sort of jackal headed creatures. We headed deeper into the desert to get away. After keeping just ahead of them for the better part of 2 days, we decided to hide and hope they passed us by. It was a desperate ploy, but it worked. With a little luck, they’re still out there searching for us.
With our pursuers safely past, we decided to double back to the river. Along the way, we came to a city. We got there late at night, and decided to sneak in to get some food and water and make plans on what to do next. That was our lucky break. It was very early in the morning, well before sun rise, and most of the inhabitants were asleep.
We broke into a house to find food and water. I’m afraid it was occupied by a family, and we had to sedate the mother and father. We took what we needed, including some clothing to disguise ourselves as Stygians, and left as quickly as possible. Before leaving, I left some silver to repay the family for the things we took and the trouble we caused.
At that point, we decided that the best course was to get out of the town as quickly as possible, so we headed to the docks and stole a boat. With that, we headed downstream. I must have picked up just enough about sailing during our Caribbean adventures to allow me to pilot the boat. Luckily there weren’t too many patrols on the river, and when we came to a town or city, we just pretended to be fishermen and sailed on by.
Eventually, we came to a trading post, so we decided it was time to get off the river. From there we joined up with a caravan heading to the city of Eruk. It might not have been the direction we originally started in, but it was out of Stygia, and that’s all we cared about. In Eruk, we learned that the Isle of the Black Ones that we had been looking for was controlled by the Black Corsairs. If I remember correctly, that’s Belit’s crew. I wouldn’t mind meeting up with her. Now we’re headed to the coast to see if we can procure another ship.