Conquest of the New World
Stolen from Jebediah Hargrove just before he was killed by Alexander, this worn tome is the private journal of a member of Cristobal Gallegos’ expedition in 1504 AV. Most of the pages are stained and damaged beyond readability, or contain entries about the menial days aboard ship. The summary below contains the most readable and interesting of the entries.
3rd Julius 1504
Underway at last! The morning weather is bright and favorable, and the full moon’s tides are a good omen for the voyage. Captain Gallegos gave a rousing speech about new discoveries and the glory of God and the Church. He’s an intense man, but the sailors have faith in his ability, and in the sturdiness of his ships.
27th Julius 1504
Set off this morning to the tearful goodbyes of the native girls. Many of the men were reluctant to leave this paradise after only a few days, but the Captain’s presence (and the Boson’s fists) quashed that desire quickly. Some of the men have taken to calling the islands the Midnight Archipelago, although truthfully it was closer to dawn when Carlos sighted the islands.
7th Coratine 1504
The Captain stalks the deck like a man possessed, howling at the Ninette’s repair crew to move faster. But the storm damaged the rigging and spars of the mainsail, and she’s not going to be as fast or responsive until proper repairs can be made. We should be underway again by evening. At the rate Gallegos is driving the crew, you’d think we were being chased by the Devil himself.
18th Septimus 1504
Poor Manuelo is the latest to get the sea madness, ranting about a dragon flying over the western horizon. He is the fourth man to fall victim, and many of the crew are speaking of the need to turn back to Castille. I worry that the Captain was the to feel the madness; he clutches the Santa Miriam’s wheel day and night, seemingly without need to eat or sleep.
22nd Septimus 1504
LAND! Blessed Maria, thank you!
25th Septimus 1504
The land is beautiful, but after last night’s watch anchored below Black Rock Point, I’m no longer certain that I’ve avoided the madness that has afflicted some of the others. Perhaps it was only my imagination, tickled by the eeriness of the full moon above the black stone cliffs, but I believe that I saw a massive beast walking on two legs. I dare not say anything to the others. Gallegos wants to follow the inlet northwest to see how far inland we can sail before disembarking. I only hope it is as far from those black cliffs and as possible.
30th Septimus 1504
We’ve managed to salvage what we can from the Ninette, but the poor girl now rests at the bottom of the inlet with only her mast visible. We should have set camp further along the coast; it’s a bad omen to spend the night within sight of the wreck. Gallegos intends to head west tomorrow, and getting away from Carlos’ watery grave can’t come soon enough.
5th Octavus 1504
The Torbenishi may be heathen savages, but at they’re at least friendly. Miguel claims that their language is similar to ancient Hellenic, and being a bookworm has finally made the boy useful on this voyage. The Captain has been consulting with the elders for two days, and Miguel tells me that there’s some sort of temple to the west that Gallegos is very interested in. Apparently the place is forbidden, and there are delicate negotiations going on. I suspect that means the boy is making delicate translations of Gallegos’ not so delicate demands.
9th Octavus 1504
Miguel and about a dozen men have disappeared in the night, probably to follow his black-skinned friend north to the supposed ruined city. Gallegos is raging and we’re breaking camp now to make for the temple, despite the Torbenishi taboo against treading on ‘forbidden ground’. At least with our interpreter gone, the elders can’t ask us where we’re going. I only hope the Captain is smart enough to avoid direct conflict with the savages. Our matchlocks and Toleado steel might give us a big advantage, but an obsidian warclub will still do bad things to a man’s skull.
11th Octavus 1504
I’m certainly not the only man here who feels a deep and abiding fear at the sight of the great black monolith reaching skyward from the hilltop. The four featureless sides may be the most oppressive sight I have ever laid eyes upon, and the arc of heavy vegetation growth extending from the southwest face is so surgically precise that one can almost feel the magic that must be at work here. No wonder the natives fear to tread beyond this marker.
There are no further journal entries after the 11th of Octavus.