Scrivener Spills is a persona I am creating for a local gaming / SCA / Party group. He is a multidimensional traveler who writes lots of “based on a true story” novels and sells them wherever they might be interesting. I have taken to writing from his perspective for the fun of it. The below is setup story for one of the parties that the group throws regularly. The theme is Mysterious Island, with a suggestion of beast people and mad scientists. I’ll be bringing potato salad and sake, which I worked into the story as well.
Personal journal of Scrivener Spills. Lost at sea : Day 5
It has taken me nearly a week to properly secure suitable shelter, as well as to wait for the rains to stop so that i could lay my parchment out in the sun to dry. I learned my lesson about drying it over a fire on the South Weston exhibition, I can assure you.
My current journey began, as so many of my journeys do, at a party! I took a mysterious portal to a place that I was informed was called Dachaigau. The locals called themselves a name that I would, in a story, apply to some group hellbent on, well, bending hell, but the Dark Ones know how to party. A myriad of delightful foods from a hundred lands, drinks of various colors and potency, all quite tasty, and a scandalous amount of flesh on display, a soothing site to lecherous old eyes. I danced, I sat at the fireside and exchanged yarns and lies with some of the most interesting creatures. It was more fun than the Queen of Scansion’s last poetry recital.
I declined to walk through the glowing gateway that opened at the end of the evening, staying to help clean up the mess, and booking passage with a local pirate who had come to the party and was shipping out for a port quite near my home in the morning. I should have taken the portal.
A week in the water and three days of it storms. At the last, the sky was pitch black at noon, the only light the glow of shuttered lanterns and the occasional bolt of lightning splitting the skies, while wind tossed the small ship about. I was put to work bailing, as rain water was pouring in and filling the bilge. I was in the bilge when we struck rocks. The hull burst while I was below, dark rock caving in the sides. I still have splinters in my cheeks from the spalling wood.
I really don’t know how I made it off the ship and into the water. It’s a blur. Screaming, cracking, splashing. I woke up to daylight, half laying on a piece of debris about a hundred feet from shore. I swam in, and found trees not too far uphill from the beach. As I wrote already, the rain was quite steady, so I never wanted for fresh water. Several of the trees here have gigantic leaves that make great catch basins.
Food on the other hand… There are small rodents, I see them around, but have been unable to catch them. I have found a few handfuls of berries that taste delightful, and didn’t get me sick. But for most of my meals I have had to rely on what the Pumonites on Tiki Tara taught me … larvae. Large grubs pulled from under rotted logs. Heavy in protein. Slimy, but satisfying. I haven’t seen any of the crew, but i have seen signs of larger beasts. Ones I aim to stay away from. They’ve carved into the bark of the trees much like bears marking their territory.
The claw marks, however, strike a chord of wrongness when I gaze upon them. Four parallel slashes, with a fifth curving inward as the slash travels down.
I have found a couple of the crew. What’s left of them anyways. Whatever… thing… got to them prefers innards to muscles. After making sure nothing was watching the kill, I managed to secure a compass, a couple of knives, and some good string, from the bodies. Also, a fresh shirt. Their boots were too small, sadly. I placed a few drops of an exquisite purple ink I carry, from the Niemian province of Marcus, on the bottom of my worn soles. Besides the vivid tone it conveys when thinly lined on parchment, the ink absorbs smells as it slowly dries. It would prevent anything from sniffing out my trail as I left the scene. The knife and string have proven useful, I’ve prepared myself a much better shelter from cut fronds and branches. It stays dry inside, and warm. I’ve seen much of the island from a small rise, but I can see from the darkness on the horizon that it stretches a distance, details unknowable until I investigate further. Do I wait here, and hope another ship passes that I can signal, or explore on?
Yes journal, stupid question. The best stories come from doing, not waiting!
I have discovered why the marks on the trees disturbed me. No animal hand clawed those marks. That fifth mark, curving in… was a thumb. The crew that I found dead, their abdomens opened and emptied, were killed by … beast men of some kind. Each different, they walk like men, but look like beasts. Fur, feathers, pointed ears, and long, wicked claws. I saw them dragging the bodies down the beach. They were accompanied by a man that looked like a man. Except his face! That horrible contorted face, deep in madness as he screamed at the beast kin. He slashed at them with a large leather whip, and they jumped and scurried and whimpered. He berated one of them particularly, for “wasting good parts” by eating the innards the day before. He wore a strange white robe with many pockets, and a shiny circle of metal rested on his brow like a diadem.
The beast kin thankfully do not appear to have any finer hearing than an average human, as I was able to trail them without arousing any suspicion. They came to a small harbor I had not seen in my explorations, and placed the corpses in a smallish rowboat. The mad man and his three beastly charges then got on the craft, and two of them sat down and rowed. The boat quickly maneuvered away from the island, then set off in the water at a much faster pace than I could manage. I will have to follow on land, and hope I spot where they return to the island.
I am almost out of that wonderful purple ink, but it has helped keep me safe. The beast kin wander the island every night for prey. It has taken me a week of slow travel, moving under cover by day, sheltering in treetops at night, but I have found the source. A large home, incongruously planted in the middle of a large field on the island. A small pond lies next to it, apparently fed by an underground spring. It is clear and free of growth, but glows at night in an unholy manner while screams of pain and torture come from within the home.
I have seen another human in the same white robe, goading the beasts on their tasks. As for myself, I have made my home in a cliff overlooking the house, a good half mile away. It lets me keep an eye on them, as well as providing shelter. There are crates and boxes strewn about, refuse of previous wreckages brought from the shore to this place. I have secured myself bowls, plates, silverware, and several bottles of fine alcohol. The fields contain many crops, including one I have harvested quite a few of. It’s a large reddish white tuber of some sort. Very starchy, it practically bleeds milk when you cut it, but boiled it tastes quite fine. Needs something though. I’ve found some birds eggs, and some seed pods from a local tree dripping with oil I can press from them with my knife. I think I may try an emulsion to coat the tubers in.
Several crates have also yeilded glass bottles of various potency. I am fond of this clear liquid that burns nicely in my mouth. I can’t translate the pictographic language written on the label, but it has a white cloud of particles that settles to the bottom and must be shaken up before serving. I have saved a label in my journal, hopefully I can find out what it is when I escape this place.
And escape is never far from my mind. Don’t let the platinum chef routine and heavy drinking fool you, I want to get home. But first… there is a story to be told about this place, these people. And I aim to learn what it is, Journal!
The horror… Another ship came today, but as it skirted around the rocks lining the beach under my cliff, trying to escape the storms that still pound this island, a great beam of light came from the direction of the house. With the crackling of a hundred forge fires, the ship was DRAGGED into the rocks and quickly broke apart. Beast kin were on the beach as the survivors reach it. I know now why I only ever saw the bodies of two of the crew. I was lucky to be floating off shore, that is all that saved me from…. this.
The survivors were dragged along to the house. They were chained up to the front, until after night fall. One by one, they were dipped in the glowing pool. They were then taken into the house, and screams and wailing filled the air. The windows shone green, then all was still. Then a few hours later, beast kin left the house. The only ones I had seen before had already left to go hunting elsewhere, and the tattered clothes that still clung to them made it clear. These were the same people I’d seen dragged in. The beast kin were the result of some unnatural process. I must end this abomination.