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[Isle of Ghosts] Journal Found on Roof of Obsidian Tower

edited September 2015 in SotA Stories
Journal: Isle of Ghosts Expedition

The purpose of this journal is to record the progress of the Isle of Ghosts expedition. It has been sent to investigate the strange disappearance of the residents here, try to determine their history and, if possible, recover valuable artifacts. 

Until recently the island had been universally avoided due to the numerous jagged rocks that surround it, hidden just below the water's surface. Approximately one month ago, however, an adventurous fisherman located a passage through those rocks and set foot on the island.
What he discovered was an established settlement that appeared to have been active and thriving almost up to the time of his arrival. Bread that he found in various houses seemed only moderately stale, as if it had been baked within the last week. Strangely, he was unable to find a single person on the island.

The presence of an Obsidian tower and some documents found on the island led the fisherman to suspect that he had discovered a lost Obsidian outpost. He immediately reported his find to the authorities in Brittany, and this expedition was organised with me as leader.

Members of the Expedition
Myself (Jeremy Tarshell) historian and expedition leader.
James Gnorst, our translator.
Hern Grastek, the skillful sailor who brought us here through the treacherous rocks, and who also doubles as our cook.
Derryn Clough, our hired protection.

Day 1

I have decided to set up camp in the abandoned Obsidian tower, as it affords an excellent view of most of the island.
There appears to be a total of eight buildings on the island, including the tower, clustered in a relatively small area. I have ordered the team to split up and search the rest of the island for any additional signs of habitation. While the rest of the team were away exploring the island, I took a short walk to an abandoned building that appeared to have been a combined tavern (downstairs) and administrative centre (upstairs). I found a small collection of documents used to record economic and legal activity, which I was careful not to disturb unduly as I took notes. 

The legal system appears to closely resemble that of the Obsidians, lending credence to the theory that this settlement consisted of descendents of Obsidian cult members who fled to the island at the time their empire collapsed.

The rest of the team started drifting in as dusk approached, and each reported finding nothing of significance on the rest of the island. Derryn Clough, however, did not return. Fearing that he may be lost, I ordered some wood be gathered and climbed to the roof of the tower to light a beacon. While setting up the beacon on the roof I discovered a second hatch. Clearly it did not lead to the room below, yet opening it revealed a ladder going... somewhere. None of us was prepared to take the risk, so we closed the hatch and slept as best we could in the unsettling environment of the Obsidian tower. Perhaps the tavern would have been a better choice.

Day 2
Daylight seems to have brought with it a much needed serving of courage. Hern Grastek descended the mysterious ladder and was gone for an uncomfortably long time. I realised that if anything happened to him we would be trapped on the island, but since he was the only one with the fortitude to climb down the ladder, I let him go. Fortunately he returned unharmed. The second hatch leads to a library - located where, we don't know. The connection is obviously magical.  

Most of the books in the library have been removed, although a few remain, suggesting a rushed action by some group or individual. Evidence at the rear of the tower seems to indicate that the books may have been deliberately destroyed. Why?

While Grastek was exploring the library, I sent James Gnorst to try and find Clough, who I fear may be lying injured somewhere.

As night fell, Gnorst had still not returned. Grastek and I barricaded the doors and took turns keeping watch.

Day 3

Gnorst returned, carrying a sack. Silently he placed it on the ground in front of us, and we recoiled in horror when we saw that it contained the severed head of Derryn Clough. Gnorst had found parts of Clough scattered over a wide area and had spent the night hiding in a tree. At daybreak he climbed down and raced back to the tower.

Under the circumstances we have agreed to leave. I organised Gnorst and Grastek to pack up our equipment and stow it on the boat. In the meantime I am taking one last look at the library, after which I shall leave this accursed island for good.


  • I'm wondering who sent the expedition.

    This "however" bothers me and I feel that the sentence would be better without it.
    "Strangely, however, he was unable to find a single person on the island."

    I'm sensing a hint in the fact that "Hern Grastek descended the mysterious ladder and was gone for an uncomfortably long time."

    Could the Obsidian's have learned to twist time as well as bodies?
  • Great to see this coming to life Womby!  I will have more time to participate this week...

    For now, here are some edits.

    ... the Isle of Ghosts
    expedition. The expedition has been sent to investigate the strange
    disappearance of the residents of the Isle of Ghosts...

    You should use a pronoun instead of expedition so close together.  Also, Isle of Ghosts doesn't need to be repeated.  So, "It has been sent to investigate the strange disappearance of the residents here."  Then in the next paragraph replace Isle of Ghosts with "island".

    Strangely, however,

    I think the "strangely" and "however" here are redundant.  Since you used however already, I would just take it out.  Both are adverbs that perform essentially the same function - to provide a note of contrast to the previous sentence.

    I ordered some wood be gathered, and climbed to the roof of the tower to light a beacon.

    No comma.

    It was while setting up the beacon on the roof that I discovered the second hatch.

    If you want you can take out "It was" and replace "that" with a comma.  People can add extra unnecessary words in journals and speaking, so it's your choice.  It makes the character sound a little more proper, fussy, academic.

    Evidence at the rear of this building

    Since you're referring to a place in the magical library, and you haven't described how it's laid out, this a hard thing to understand.

    Grastek and I barricaded the doors, and took turns keeping watch.

    No comma.

    Gnorst had found parts of Clough scattered over a wide area, and had ...

    No comma.

    after which I shall collect this journal

    I understand why you say this: to make the reader realize that the journal was left behind.  However, no one would really write something like this in reality.  I think the simple fact that the journal is left behind indicates that something went wrong as someone would normally take it with them.  Give the reader that joy of discovery.
  • Thanks Vyrin. I have made the suggested changes, and also made it clearer that the evidence referred to is behind the tower.

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