November 2010 Archives

8 February 319

With the fort finished, the next step is to begin clearing the rest of the island so that we can cultivate some of the land and build homes. With thirty or so people here now, many are forced to sleep on the floors of the keep, or in tents pitched inside the courtyard. Mr. Grayson also wants to build a proper forge and workshop for Mr. Fellows, and a causeway to keep our parties from having to wade through the ford to the north.

Fort in the Distance.jpg
I went out to bring food to the men quarrying stone today and was rewarded with a spectacular view of the fort in the distance. It will be difficult work; I can already tell that many of the men who arrived in last night's ordeal are not fond of being set to breaking stone all day. However, Mr. Grayson makes sure no one is overworked; he is proving to be a fine leader, and we are lucky to have him. And yet, talking to him, he seems to think Captain Upton would have done a better job. Myself, I cannot imagine how -- in a few months we have gone from a collection of tents on the beach to a sturdy fort, with few lost in a hostile land.

10 February 319

Workshop and Animal Pen.jpg
Mr. Fellows and a few other men finished the small workshop in the fort today and put a fence around the small animal pen, and already captured one of the wild pigs that roams the island. Some of the men have gone to find more, so that we can have a pig roast to celebrate the final completion of the fort. Mr. Tyler has taken the lead of our hunting parties and patrols, and seems much more comfortable in that role; his squabbles with Mr. Grayson seem to have ended entirely, and I can tell his chest swells with a bit of pride every time one of the new arrivals thanks him for helping them get here.

Inside the Workshop.jpg
I find myself growing restless, and I would like to try venturing out with the next group to travel to the colonist camp, if only to see more than our small island and its environs. Mr. Grayson has told me quite plainly that it is not safe though, and he will not allow me to put myself in danger, especially since I am the closest thing we have to a doctor at the moment. I can't disagree with his logic, but it does chafe a bit.

13 February 319

Fort Upton at Sunset.jpg
As I write this, we are preparing to sit down to a dinner of roast pork and wild vegetables, a luxurious dinner that is a rare occurrence here on the island. Mr. Grayson has christened the fort in honor of the Dunsany Star's lost captain, Captain Upton. Though I did not know the captain well, if Mr. Grayson's character and opinion is anything to go by, he was certainly deserving of the honor.

Since the last group of colonists arrived, there have been few sightings any of the undead or other monsters that plagued us before; I suspect the fact that we can't be reached has crept into even their diminished capability for thought. the respite has been welcome, but neither Mr. Grayson nor Mr. Tyler seem to think this will last.

15 February 319

Fishing on the Beach.jpg
Mr. Grayson took me to the beach today to teach me how to fish. Though we only caught one fish, some sort of bass I believe, it was a relaxing few hours and I enjoyed spending the time with him. We talked a great deal about the future of our tiny outpost, and about the future of ourselves personally; he confessed that he is quite smitten with me, and that he would very much like to spend more time with me personally, when the pace of activity here allows.

I must confess that I was not sure what to say; part of me wonders if it is only because I am one of the few unmarried women here on the island that Mr. Grayson has turned his attentions to me. I cannot help but be flattered though, and I must admit that I am impressed by his character. I suspect even my mother, as much as she looks down upon sailors, would be impressed by him. In the end, I told him that I would need some time to think on the matter, and he promised to respect my decision.

18 February 319

The Cave Is Collapsed.jpg
Today, the men began work to wall in the cave which was the source of many of the monsters which plagued us in those early days; I was on hand in case there was any trouble and my medical expertise became necessary. We were able to wall in much of it during the morning, before a giant spider scuttled from the depths of the cave and attacked one of the men. Luckily, Mr. Tyler and Mr. Parsons dispatched it quickly. Once the cave is capped, Mr. Grayson says we will build a small shelter on top of it, and use that to dig down later and explore the cave system for more iron and other metal ores, which were fine ourselves growing short of.

Speaking of Mr. Grayson, I have agreed to his request to court me. Despite the fact that he was clearly exhausted from the day's toil when I spoke to him, I could see a bit of a smile cross his face and told me to call him Duncan from now on. Sadly, we had little time to talk further, considering his exhaustion and my own duties helping to cook the evening meal, but we have promised to make some time for each other in the coming days if at all possible.

22 February 319

We've finished most of the work to level the island now, and work has begun in earnest on three different projects. Mr. Fellows is leading a group to build a small smithy for him to work in just outside the fort, letting others use the workshop in the fort for building furniture and other projects. Another group of men is working on laying roads from the fort to where we will be constructing the causeway over the ford, and yet another is building the small but sturdy shack we will be putting over the entrance to the cave.

Laying the Road.jpg
The shack over the cave is being constructed largely of stone, by several massive panes of glass have been fired from the sand of the beach to make a number of large glass windows, thick enough to hold strong against the zombies' inept attacks.  Once a stairwell or ladder is built to go down into the cave, this will keep any undead that get up into the shack from lasting more than a day, and we'll be able to see any creepers that get in with fair warning.

Cave Shack.jpg
Progress on the shack and the road has gone fairly quickly; leveling the island involved quarrying a great deal of stone, especially where the hill once stood, so it was not hard to find suitable stones to fill them.  The smithy goes a bit slower, but that is mostly because it has been deemed a lower priority, so that we can begin work on the causeway and bring the rest of the colonists back to the island, where they will be safer.  Mr. Tyler is preparing to lead another group of men back to the colonists' camp and bring more of them back here already, since it has been nearly two weeks since we last sent word to them.

Privacy is in short supply, with as closely packed as we are here at the fort; Duncan and I have had little time to talk together, with him busy during the day and everyone clustered together in the evenings. Our courtship, so far, has consisted of a few shared meals and short talks about what we did before we came to the island. Evidently, before he joined the crew of the Dunsany Star, he was an engineer's apprentice with army, which explains his skill at designing fortifications, I suppose. He is also much better read than I would have expected from a sailor; few others here, I suspect, have read the works of Argus or Roland of St. Yves. While I still find myself surprised at his interest in me at times, I find myself growing more and more comfortable simply spending time with him.

28 February 319

Fellows' Smithy Exterior.jpg
I spent much of today helping Mr. Fellows get situated in his new smithy, which Duncan and a few of the other men put the finishing touches on today, laying down wooden planks for the roof. The workspace is more than adequate for his needs, and according to him the forge in the new building should be able to burn much hotter than the small ovens we had in the fort. This will give us stronger iron to make tools from, which will hopefully speed up the work to build more houses, lay the causeway to the mainland, and eventually extend the walls of the fort out to encompass the whole island, giving us plenty of safe and sheltered land to construct our growing village on.

Fellows' Smithy Interior.jpg
Duncan has set aside a small plot of land for me and some of the other women to begin cultivating vegetables and some of the grains the colonists brought seeds for.  It is a bit of a mess at the moment, overgrown and gnarled with brambles, but with some work I think it will be quite suitable, at least for supplementing the animals, both hunted and kept, and gathered wild plants that make up most of our current diet.

5 March 319

Sand for the Causeway.jpg
Now that the smithy is up and running, most of the work has shifted towards the causeway to the mainland.  Though the ford is mostly rather shallow already, the first stage of the work has been using sand to build up a base to build on.  Once that is there, the men will begin packing dirt on top of the sand, and finally put down the layer of cobblestone that will actually make up the causeway.

After spending several days clearing out the land were we plan to have our small garden, a number of the men helped us make a crude fence around it to keep out the animals, which would otherwise trample and eat our work.  Duncan has also taken two small teams of men to begin extending the walls of the fort; progress on these walls is slow, but for now the intent seems to be getting the foundations in, so that we can begin planning where to place houses and other buildings within the walls.

New Walls and Farming Plot.jpg
8 January 319

Keep Unfinished Second Floor.jpg
I write this tonight from the second floor of the keep, under the stars but fully ensconced within its walls.  All nine of us are sleeping within the keep for the first time tonight, thanks to the safety it now provides.  Mr. Yancy, who is able to hobble a bit now using a makeshift cane, is sleeping without the comfort of his crude bed, but as the undead and creepers become more and more bold, it is better to be here than in the cabin.

Tomorrow, Mr. Tyler and two of the other men are heading north on what they have told Mr. Grayson will only be a three day journey to scout out the territory.  The good progress we have made on the keep has made this a much less concerning development than it would have been a few weeks ago, and to be quite honest it would do us good to know more about what was around us.  It would be rather silly if civilization lay less than a day's travel away and we simply hadn't found it.  It seems an unlikely possibility, considering Mr. Grayson's estimate of our location from the stars and sun, but it would not be unheard of for there to be Oestrian colonists who have struck out on their own, far afield from the ports of Undine and Sailor's Rest.  If nothing else, Mr. Tyler is an able hunter, and should be able to bring back enough meat for a hearty celebratory dinner.

9 January 319

Creeper on the Hill.jpg
It appears that we abandoned the hill just in time; last night, Mr. Fellows, who had been on watch from the tops of the unfinished keep, spotted a creeper atop the hill.  After inspecting the hill in the morning, we could see where the creatures has managed to finally pull down the embankment along the hill, giving them a clear path to the top.  We have been remiss about building the hill back up every morning, and it appears that laziness has cost us the cabin as a safe place.  Though hardly a critical problem now that we have the keep, it has made up more careful.

Mr. Tyler has put off his departure for a day, having finished collecting supplies and packing too late after helping to shore up the embankments around the keep (in order to prevent the creatures from repeating their trick).  He has assured us all that he will be leaving at first light, however.

11 January 319

Our work continues even with fewer people, though several of the men spent much of the morning hunting for tonight's dinner.  Work on the walls of the fort, which will surround the courtyard and keep, has begun.  Mr. Grayson plans to make them almost ten feet thick, though it will take a considerable while to build them up, I suspect.  I have helped as much as I can, mostly laying mortar between the heavy stones that the men are using the build the outer shell of the wall; inside, we will use the earth that we have been gathering as we work to level the land around the fort, including the hill atop which the cabin sits.

12 January 319

We awoke with a start early this morning to a loud explosion, as one of the creepers atop the hill attacked one of the tents which still stand atop it.  It destroyed the side of the hill and the tent, which is now torn to shreds.  Thankfully, nothing else was hurt -- and there was no one in the tent or the cabin, which appears to have also been slightly damaged by the blast.

Hilltop Tent Destroyed by Creeper.jpg
The biggest concern is that the hilltop now comes dangerously close to the tops of the fort's walls; Mr. Fellows worries that they may be able to jump onto the wall from the hill, or at the very least, skeletons could shoot down onto it.  We had already planned to take down the hill, in order to make the land outside the fort level and suitable for cultivation, but it appears we may need to do that sooner rather than later.

Mr. Tyler should return tomorrow; with he and his men added back to our number, hopefully we can finish the first part of the wall soon and then begin to clear the hill.

13 January 319

Mr. Tyler did not return today; I admit to being concerned, but Mr. Grayson tells me not to worry.  Expecting a tight timetable when Mr. Tyler is wandering unknown territory populated by all manner of hostile creatures does seem somewhat unreasonable, I suppose, but it is that very aspect of his trip that makes any delay cause me worry.

15 January 319

Another long day working on the walls of the fort was momentarily broken up today by the return of Mr. Tyler -- and though his news is not as good as I might have hoped, it was far better than I expected.  Not only did he return safely, he brought with him two men and two women, colonists who had been aboard the ship we spotted before the new year!

It seems that Mr. Tyler found their ship wrecked upon the beach two days journey up the coast, surrounded by the same sort of makeshift tents and shelters we constructed in our early days here.  Their ship had been battered by a storm similar to ours, but it having been a larger vessel it did not sustain quite as much damage and managed to limp to the shore, where they ran aground to keep the ship from sinking.  They managed to rescue most of their supplies, and it seems that so far they have managed to remain unmolested by the undead and other monsters.

Mr. Thomas Weatherby and Mr. Charles Cavendish and their wives accompanied Mr. Tyler back to our camp with some of their supplies -- metal and leatherworking tools, as well as food and other consumables.  Mr. Francis and Mr. Parsons, who had gone with Mr. Tyler from our camp, chose to stay behind at the shipwreck camp for now to help them organize caravans to our island, which Mr. Tyler convinced the leader of the shipwreck camp, Captain Nichols, would be a more defensible location.

I am not sure what brought Mr. Tyler around to see our island as preferable to more exploration, but it is nice to see that he is being reasonable about it.  According to Mr. Weatherby, there are 54 colonists back at the shipwreck camp.  For myself, the most encouraging word was that many of them were women and children; I admit that it has been an odd experience not seeing another woman for nearly three months now!  It is a tribute to Mr. Grayson's leadership that I have been treated so well in this camp for so long.

17 January 319

Mr. Tyler and Mr. Weatherby left this morning for the shipwreck camp to reassure the rest of the colonists that our intentions are as we claim, and to help lead more of them this way.  Mr. Cavendish has stayed behind to help with our construction and keep watch over his wife and Mrs. Weatherby, both of whom remain a bit skittish about being with the men here.  I suspect that they think me some sort of harlot to seem so comfortable among them, but despite my reassurances that I have been treated very well.  Still, they look at me funny when I assist with the tasks around the fort; though they have no problem helping dress and cook wild pig and cattle, I do not think they find mortarwork or digging to be very ladylike.  For me, the last seven weeks have convinced me that there is little room for such luxury here, at least for now.

We have finished much of wall around the keep, and most of the foundations are in for the wall around the courtyard; much work remains in filling the stone shell with earth and constructing the battlement, but soon we should have a fortified courtyard that should provide shelter for more of the colonists.

The Outer Wall Rises.jpg
19 January 319

Today we began to fill in the walls of the fort with earth.  While much of the wall remains unfinished, constructing the battlement will give us a little more space and make it easier to keep an eye out on the surrounding land.

Wall Structure.jpg
20 January 319

Much concern among the other women tonight, as the unfinished fort has been invaded by the undead; skeletons and zombies walk about the courtyard, though they still cannot get into the keep, thankfully.  Even so, I must admit to being a bit unsettled despite the fact that I trust the keep's walls and should be used to the groans of the zombies outside by now.  I look forward to the day when those things will be driven from the island completely.

Undead in the Courtyard.jpg
21 January 319

Mr. Tyler returned today with a dozen more colonists, all of them men and boys.  Mr. Fellows and Mr. Cavendish have been hard at work making tools the past few days, to get ready for the influx of new people.  With nearly double the number of people to work on the fort now, we should make much better progress.

22 January 319

While work continues on the fort, much work has been put into excavating away at the hill as well.  Unfortunately, this has created some small caves under the hill where monsters seem to conglomerate during the night, and hide in the mornings.

Creepers Under the Hill.jpg
While this has created a problem for the men working to clear the land, Mr. Grayson and the others have become quite adept at getting rid of the creepers, which remain the most dangerous of the creatures.  Furthermore, they have been able to unearth a fair bit of iron ore within the mountain, considerably more than I would expect from the local geology.  Mr. Fellows plans to use it to construct better tools for the men, but there is still too little to replace them all, so stone tools -- albeit better and better ones all the time -- still remain the rule of the day.

2 February 319

Fort Nearing Completion.jpg
We have made a great deal of progress on the fort over the last two weeks, finishing off the third floor of the keep and much of the outer wall, complete with a portcullis, which should keep the monsters out and make more room for our growing population to live temporarily, as the keep was getting rather cramped with as many people as we have now.  There have been few new arrivals from the colonist camp since my last entry, but contact is kept by Mr. Tyler and others as they travel back and forth.  The trip is getting more dangerous, but from what  gather the colonists are doing what they can to fortify their small village as well, so hopefully they will hold out as well as we did before the fort was serviceable.

Mr. Fellows is making plans to build a small workshop in the courtyard of the fort soon, along with a small pen for animals, which will let us move a lot of the equipment being used for construction and excavation out of the first level of the keep, making room for a small common area and kitchen.  The prospect of sitting down for a proper meal again, instead of devouring chunks of roast pork like animals, is a comforting one, but for now, there is naught but a few tents in the courtyard to provide additional shelter.

Unfinished Courtyard at Night.jpg
4 February 319

With the fort basically finished now, things are getting much more calm -- almost normal, if one can call it that.  At night we can simply close the portcullis if necessary, and a few men walk the battlements to keep an eye on the creatures outside.   The slope of the berm the fort sits on is sufficient to keep most of the creatures from even getting close enough to the walls to pose a danger, but I doubt even a creeper explosion could break through the walls of the fort.  I can even stroll through the courtyard, or visit with Mr. Grayson on the battlements in the evenings or early mornings without fearing for my life -- something I have not been able to do since we crashed upon this island, more than two months ago.

Moonset Over the Keep.jpg
This morning, I woke up before sunrise and joined Mr. Grayson on the battlements, where I was treated to the sight of the moon setting over the top of the now-finished keep of the fort.  It was quite a sight, and hard to believe that just a few months ago I was watching the same moon set over the steeples and towers of Knightsport.

7 February 319

A handful of new arrivals from the colonist village arrived today with Mr. Parsons, but only by the skin of their teeth.  The alarm went up early this morning, as the two men on watch spotted Mr. Parsons and the rest of his group coming across the water to the north, pursued by a large swarm of monsters.  Mr. Grayson and several of the men grabbed axes and picks and ran to meet them, helping to haul their gear off the rafts we have been using to cross the water.  Much of it had to be left behind as the monsters drew closer, however, and they made a dash for the safety of the fort.

Monsters at the Gates.jpg
I joined the rest of the men on the battlement and helped to shut the portcullis as they ran though, keeping the horde of undead from following them into the safety of the fort.  Though a good deal of their supplies had been lost, thankfully no one had been hurt, and we stood watch until morning, when much of the waiting horde clawing at the walls burst into flames in a spectacular and rather grisly display.

Burning Undead Outside Fort.jpg
When we were sure that we were safe from the marauding hordes outside, Mr. Parsons told us they had made slower progress than expected on their way to the fort, and had been caught out when the sun went down.  Knowing they were close, they tried to make it to the ford in time, but fell short, and when night fell they were surrounded by the creeping horde.  Thankfully, they are not nearly as quick across the water, even compared to the slow raft.

For now, Mr. Grayson thinks we should limit the travel between our island and the colonist village, just to be safe.  While that seems prudent, I suppose, I know the colonists are not in as secure a position as we, and it seems wrong to leave them where they are without such safety as we have.
5 December 318

We have spent most of today chopping down trees from around the hill our cabin sits on so that we can make more picks and shovels.  Tomorrow we will begin grading the hill we sit on; Mr. Grayson and Mr. Fellows think this is the first step in making us safer.  By leveling the land around the hill, and making the hill steeper, it should be much more difficult for spiders, these "creepers" as Mr. Grayson calls the green creatures, and whatever else is out there to get up to our cabin.

I have been trying to help, but it is backbreaking physical labor and I can't keep up with the men here.  They try not let it show, but I can tell they get frustrated when I drop my end of one of the heavy logs, or simply can't keep up with the digging.  But we all need to pitch in, and I can't simply sit by and let them work while I do nothing.

9 December 318

There's been no sign of the creatures from the other night since we started working on the hill, for which I have been very grateful.  I have taken to collecting eggs from the wild chickens on the island, dressing and cooking the wild boars Mr. Tyler has been hunting, and other more domestic duties, since it seems that our situation might not be as precarious as we feared.  We've finished with the makeshift fortifications Mr. Grayson and Mr. Fellows came up with, which will hopefully protect us while we try to figure out our next move.

Cabin on the Hill.jpg
It is the most primitive of fortifications, but it is steep enough that it would be extremely difficult for a man or beast to climb atop it without using the shallower staircase that we built into the front of the hill.  Walls around it should keep them from climbing it, and at night we plan to block it off with an earthen barrier.  With the food and water here we should be able to last quite a while should we be besieged again.

10 December 318

It appears that we finished our work just in time; last night, the creatures came again, though not in great number; this time, I know I spotted at least one skeletal archer among their number.

The Monsters Are Back.jpg
While most appeared to stay further away from the hill, Mr. Grayson told me this morning that last night they found one of the walking dead clawing at the side of our hill, trying to climb up the steep embankment.  Thankfully, it was unable to gain purchase, and Mr. Fellows was able to stand on the terrace above it and lop off its head with a single blow from one of our makeshift axes, sending the putrid mass of rotting flesh tumbling to the ground.

Zombie Clawing at the Hill.jpg
If the accounts of the Great Crusade are correct, then the undead have never been particularly innovative, and their vulnerability to the cleansing light of the sun puts them at a great disadvantage to us.  Nor do these spiders or creepers seem any more intelligent, which means they are not likely to be able to build ladders or other tools to try and climb our hill.  The biggest danger would seem to be the skeletons that are clearly the dead from some long-forgotten battlefield, who can still make use of weapons they once used in life.  They should only be a danger at night.

12 December 318

This morning I woke up early, even before the sun had come up, and from outside the cabin I could hear a great clattering, like a pile of metal and wood being rolled a long a stone road, punctuated by the occasional low groan.  Mr. Grayson and Mr. Yancy stood near the edge of the hill, and as I emerged from the cabin, I saw them crouching low, looking down towards the base of the hill.  As I approached, Mr. Grayson made a motion to me to crouch low as they did, and when I got close I could see why.

Below us, a half dozen skeletons and zombies clawed at the side of the hill, trying to get to our cabin.  I barely poked my head up to look when an arrow sailed over my head and embedded itself in the wall of the cabin, and Mr. Yancy pulled me down to the ground just in time to avoid another.  I cursed myself for my stupidity, but on a second later we were all startled by the ungodly screams of the creatures, as the morning sun rose above the horizon. Bathed in its light, they all caught flame, and for several minutes we were forced to listen as they were burned to cinders.

Undead Aflame.jpg
It was a frightening sight; despite my relief at seeing the monsters who had our small hill under siege burn, watching a flaming skeleton claw its way up the hill, or hearing the unearthly groans of pain from the zombies as their flesh was literally seared off their bones was quite more than I could take.  I retreated back to the cabin while the two men sat watch to make sure none of the creatures escaped.  As I did, there was a powerful explosion that shook the very ground I stood on, and sent me tumbling.  Behind me, I could hear Mr. Yancy shout in alarm.

I looked back to see Mr. Grayson pulling the other man up the side of the hill; he had apparently slipped and fallen to the lower terrace.  He looked bloodied and burnt, and his left leg seemed twisted and limp.  I ran to help as the other men emerged from their tents as well, awoken by the explosion.

Yancy's Crater.jpg
As I helped Mr. Grayson lay Mr. Yancy upon the ground carefully, I looked to the side of the hill to see what had happened.  A great crater had formed in the ground at the side of the hill, many feet deep.  Dirt and rock had been thrown several feet in every direction, much of it spattered against the side of the hill.  As we tended to Mr. Yancy's wounds, Mr. Grayson asked him what had happened.  Though in great pain, he managed to tell us that he had fallen next to the edge of the hill, only to find himself looking straight at one of the green creepers.  The next thing he knew, the creature had exploded, like a living bomb, causing the devastation we saw next to the hill.

Mr. Grayson left me to tend to Mr. Yancy while he went to confer with the others; clearly, this was a new cause for concern.  If these creatures could cause such damage -- like the works of a master wizard or alchemist -- then our simple hilltop cabin would not likely be enough to keep us safe, not for the long term.

15 December 318

Tempers are beginning to flare among the men here at the camp.  While we have not been attacked again since Mr. Yancy's unfortunate incident, we can still see the creatures walking about outside every night.  Mr. Tyler and three of the other men seem to want to try moving elsewhere, perhaps to the north, where we might be able to find a more defensible position, while Mr. Grayson has convinced the others that we should try and build some sort of stronger fortification here on this island.

Myself, I am torn; I feel like we are trapped here, but the thought of trying to journey northward in the hope of finding something better seems much like a pipe dream at this point.  I do not like the prospect of being stuck at night in the middle of unknown territory with swarms of undead all around us, nothing more than a campfire and some crude stone weapons keeping them at bay.  On the other hand, building a real fortification will be difficult with as few people as we have, when each night we must retreat to the safety of the hill and hope that our work for the last day is not destroyed.

We cannot go anywhere until Mr. Yancy has recovered though, and his recovery may take quite some time.  His left leg was badly broken in the explosion, and while his burns were not as bad as I thought at first, they could become much worse if I am not careful.  I have been using the last bits of sailcloth, washed carefully in boiling water, to bandage them, but I fear if another man suffers similar injuries I may not be able to attend to them as well.

18 December 318

Mr. Grayson appears to have won over most of the other men, especially as we have fallen under siege again.  While the morning light keeps us safe from the zombies and skeletons that surround the hill in the night hours, the creepers still surround us in the morning, and there is at least one or two explosions every night, usually not far from the base of the hill.  I am not sure if it is a random accident, or if they are intentionally trying to undermine our makeshift fortifications.  The men spend the better part of the morning trying to fend them off so that we can begin working on the next step of our construction.

Creepers in the Morning.jpg
Some of the craters we fill in, simply to make the ground less treacherous and reduce places for the monsters to hide, but the number continues to increase, and spending time on building a new, better shelter seems like a better use of our limited time.

Mr. Yancy continues to mend, but with his broken leg it will be several weeks before he can do much more than watch as the other men work.  Today he began trying to fashion arrows from the flint we have found around the island, with feathers from the wild chickens we have been eating.  Perhaps with a few bows and some arrows, the creepers will not be such a danger, as the men can attack them from a distance rather than risking the terrifying explosions up close.  I am surprised that there have been no further victims like Mr. Yancy, but the men seem to have figured out how to bait the creepers into either blowing themselves up, or to attack and then run off before the creepers realize the extent of their wounds.

20 December 318

Mr. Grayson and the other men have managed to clear and level the land to the south of the hill, where they plan to build a small fort, where we will hopefully be much safer.  Quarrying the stone will likely be the most difficult part, but Mr. Fellows has come up with an ingenious method of breaking into the rock that makes up much of the island, and will hopefully provide the stone we need to build walls and other defenses.

Quarrying with Creepers.jpg
Mr. Fellows has figured out how to lure the creepers onto the rocky parts of the island, and then by baiting them into exploding, it shakes loose much more stone than we could break by hand with the stone picks we've built.  This has allowed us to begin collecting stone constructing the foundations of what will become our new fort.  We have only just started, and the work is quite dangerous, but already, the new task seems to have given the men a renewed sense of purpose, and even Mr. Tyler seems to think this is our best choice for now.

Fort Foundations.jpg
26 December 318

Our hope of rescue was briefly kindled today by the sight of a sail upon the horizon, nearly a month now since we were shipwrecked here.  We quickly ran to stoke the signal fire we have kept burning on the beachfront, but as the ship grew closer, we could see it was listing very badly to the starboard side, and it continued to sail north.  Mr. Grayson could not see the ship's insignia well enough to identify its origin, but hopefully they will make it to the Oestrian colonies and send back someone to find us.

The work on the fort continues to move along at a good pace, but the sighting of the ship seems to have made Mr. Tyler and the men who sided with him more interested in trying to journey northward again.  If they leave, it will be nearly impossible for us to finish the fort; so much of our day seems to be spent on simply finding food, fending off the spiders and creepers that haunt the hillsides in the morning, and chopping wood for our fires, that we would be overwhelmed.

28 December 318

Mr. Grayson and Mr. Tyler had a shouting match today over our course of action.  Mr. Tyler is insisting that he be allowed to scout northwards to see if he can find any other sign of civilization, and Mr. Grayson is unable to convince him otherwise.  I am becoming more and more frightened that Mr. Tyler will leave, whether or not he can get agreement from Mr. Grayson.  I can tell Mr. Grayson and the others are trying to get as much done on the fort as they can before things reach the breaking point.

Fort Under Construction.jpg
On that front, at least, there is a promising amount of progress.  The foundations for the fort have been finished and we have begun to work on the walls of the keep, though they are not nearly high enough to provide protection at night yet.  During the night, we still creep back to the top of the hill and wait out the monsters that surround us.

3 January 319

Two days ago was the new year, but there were no celebrations here; we were too busy working, trying to finish building the base of our fort.  Mr. Tyler has been growing more and more agitated, but today, we put the final stones in place for the walls of the keep and laid in the beams for the second floor, making a sturdy ceiling over our heads.  It might not be much; certainly, it is not a castle like I would see back home, but it is much better than our current situation.

Fort First Floor Complete.jpg
The inside is bare, but it has much more space than our cabin does now, even just with a first floor, and its stone walls should provide far more safety than our simple hill does now.  The cabin feels increasingly unsafe, as we watch the creepers, spiders, and undead swarm around the base of the hill every night, and the cold stone walls of the keep are far more welcoming.

Empty Keep First Floor.jpg
The completion of the fort seems to have calmed the nerves of Mr. Tyler as well; he still insists that we try looking to the north in hopes of rescue, but he seems content to merely grumble instead of engaging in shouting matches with Mr. Grayson.  Mr. Grayson, for his part, seems to have compromised somewhat, telling Mr. Tyler that an expedition northwards is possible once we are fully settled.
As a programming note, I've started off this Let's Play with Peaceful difficulty turned on, so that I can get some time to set up in a way that fits the story without getting mobbed by monsters (especially after the latest update -- ack).  Once I get to a certain point, it will be switched back to Normal.

27 November 318

I am still alive!  After the last four days it is hard to believe, but somehow I survived, and with my journal intact even.  I only hope that others from the ship were so lucky.

On the Beach.jpg
Not long after my last entry, a furious storm swept up the Dunsany Star, seemingly from out of nowhere.  For three days, the crew fought bravely to keep her afloat, but despite the best efforts of Captain Upton and his men, the wind and raging seas took its toll.  I spent most of the storm below decks, being tossed about like a bug in a schoolboy's cigar box, much of it in a constant state of nausea.  Then, there was a crack of thunder and screams from above, barely heard over the raging wind and rain.  Dr. Polton and I rushed abovedecks to find that lightning had struck the ship's mainmast, shattering the already stressed wood; fires flickered in the rigging and giant slivers of wood had embedded themselves around the deck and in several of the crew.

As the captain desperately tried to keep the ship afloat, Dr. Polton and I attended to the wounded, but on a deck pitching and rolling as badly as the Star was, there was little we could do.  For what seemed like hours, we struggled to take some of the men down into the bowels of the ship, but on one of our trips up, a piece of debris must have hit Dr. Polton, and he collapsed with bloody wound on his head.

At the same time, there was a great crunching sound, and it felt as if the whole ship had been lifted fifty feet in the air and then dropped upon a rock.  Lines snapped and the ship heaved on its side, pitching at least two men overboard.  I saw the captain rush below as the rest of the crew struggled to keep the ship afloat, but it did not take long to realize whatever had happened had done some sort of irreparable damage.  Another wave crashed against us and I swear I saw the boat buckle and twist, like it was made of paper.  Huge deckplanks popped loose and flew overboard, and it felt as if the world were shaking itself apart around me.

I do not remember much after that, only that I awoke, here on this island, with bits of debris around me; one of which was my trunk, sealed tight against the elements!  I could not believe the luck, and it is the only reason I am able to continue my writing here.  The weather seemed to have cleared and the beach here is warm.  I write this entry in the hope that someday, I will be able to show it to my grandchildren, or at the very least, to let some future explorer know that there was a survivor of the Dunsany Star.

28 November 318

I spent the last night in a small shelter I constructed from some planks and sail scraps I have found along the beach, and made a small fire to keep away the chill.  The fire kept away the animals, but it did bring some welcome company; the ship's first mate, Duncan Grayson, who I did not spend much time with aboard ship, saw the fire and joined me.

Beach Tent.jpg
The two of us took some time to take a look around the island we are on today; it isn't much, but there are a few more islands scattered to the south and west and another more substantial one to the north.  Mr. Grayson says the hill on our island looks like a good place to build something a bit more permanent than my makeshift tent.  Using some tools made from the debris, he and I have set to work felling trees to build a sturdier shelter.

The Hill.jpg
30 November 318

Sunrise from Beach.jpg
I woke up early this morning, and saw the sun rising from over the island from the tent on the beach.  The cabin is making progress, mostly due to Mr. Grayson's hard work.  Today, two other members of the ship's crew found us, and they have been helping him clear the hill.  I suspect that it will not be long before there are no trees left on this island!

Cabin Under Construction.jpg
We have been dining on a diet of the wild pigs that are found here on the island, which I have done my best to try and cook properly, but I must admit it would be nice to find more than a few wild onions or mushrooms to have with it.  First things first, though; a shelter is a bit more important than trying to cultivate the land here.

Mr. Grayson and the two other crewmen, Mr. Yancy and Mr. Fellows, plan to light a larger signal fire on the beach tonight to hopefully draw in some of the other crew -- or perhaps a passing ship, though Mr. Grayson says he thinks we are at least a week's sail southwest of the Oestrian coast -- territory which is still barely explored, and where many ships have disappeared in the last few years.  Once we can construct some basic navigation tools, we should be able to get a better idea of where we are.  Until then, we will have to make do as best we can.

Signal Fire from Cabin.jpg
2 December 318

Cabin at Night.jpg
The cabin on the hill has been finished, and another four crewmen have found us, thanks to the signal fire.  Many of them have told us of hearing strange noises at night in the forests nearby, and even found arrows embedded in the ground or in trees the next morning.  I cannot help but wonder what the natives here are like; there are not many of us, and without the advantage of modern weaponry, we are rather vulnerable.  Mr. Grayson assures me that we should be safe for now, especially as our small band grows, but still I worry.

Cabin from Beach.jpg
A small cluster of tents has grown up around the cabin, makeshift shelters for the other men here.  The cabin is small, with barely enough room for two people and our collected supplies. I helped Mr. Fellows, who was evidently a blacksmith before he became a sailor, build a small oven in the cabin, which has been a wonderful addition.  Not only has the task of cooking meals been simplified, but it warms the cabin at night, and it will let us use the clay I have found around the island to make bricks for building other shelters, fireplaces, and other constructions where wood is not appropriate.

Cabin Interior.jpg
I have also managed to fashion a bed in the cabin for myself using collected sails and straw.  Perhaps it is a bit indulgent, but a bit of luxury here, far from home, is a welcome comfort.  I have told Mr. Grayson that all members of the crew should take turns for who gets to use the bed, but he insisted that I use it and stay in the cabin.  Especially after the tales from the newest members of our group, he says, we cannot be too careful.

3 December 318

Two more men showed up today, bringing our community to an even ten; I must admit feeling a bit out of place among nine men, but so far they have acted courteously towards me and seem to appreciate that I do not mind getting my hands dirty helping them with construction and butchering animals that our hunting parties have caught.  While it is not what I am accustomed to, I cannot help but feel like I have little choice, considering the circumstances.

Cave Entrance.jpg
We found a cave on the north side of the island today with a deep shaft inside; how far down it goes I am not sure, but it must be at least a hundred feet.  Mr. Grayson took me to see it, as I have a bit of geological knowledge, but I am afraid I could not glean much from it, aside from seeing a coal deposit near the top we may be able to use as fuel for the oven.

Cave Shaft.jpg
However, as we turned to leave, we were stopped in our tracks by an inhuman growl echoing up from the shaft.  I have never heard such a terrible noise; like a man moaning in pain mixed with the growl of an angry dog waiting to pounce.  The four of us in the cave froze in our tracks, and the same noise echoed out again.  Carefully, we crept out of the cave and made our way back to the camp, but Mr. Grayson has ordered two of the men to keep watch over the entrance from a small tent.  If there is something within that cave, hopefully we will have enough warning to take shelter.

Cave Tent at Night.jpg
4 December 318

In the early hours of this morning, I was awoke by a bloodcurdling scream and shouting as Mr. Grayson and the other men burst through the door of the cabin, telling me to get away from the windows.  I heard a loud hissing noise, so piercing I felt like it was making my teeth rattle, and I saw a strange, black leg -- like that of an insect -- clawing against the window of the cabin.

Mr. Grayson and Mr. Tyler, one of the men who had been at the cave tent, grabbed some of our tools from the supply chests and smashed whatever had been poking through the window viciously, eliciting another, higher-pitched hiss.  I dared to poke my head up, to see what was there, to see a giant spider, with eight glowing, glistening eyes, trying to pull itself inside the cabin, and behind it, some sort of green monster with a barely human face -- a twisted version of a goblin or orc, perhaps.  It had no arms, though, and seemed to snap at the tools as the men fought them off.

Monsters at the Door.jpg
Eventually, they must have figured there was easier prey, and retreated after many wounds from shovels, picks, and axes.  We all stayed in the cabin for at least an hour afterwards, out of fear they would return, while Mr. Tyler told us what had happened.

He had been asleep while Mr. Irwin, the other man at the tent, had been on watch, and had awoke to shouts and Mr. Irwin shaking him awake, babbling about monsters emerging from the cave and others swimming across the channel to the north.  As he was regaining his bearings, Mr. Tyler said one of the giant spiders came up behind Mr. Irwin and grabbed him in its giant mandibles, dragging him off the edge of the hill.  Mr. Tyler had grabbed one of the makeshift weapons at their camp and momentarily thought to go after him, before he saw all manner of creatures emerging from the cave.  He ran back to warn us just in time, as our main camp was overrun with spiders, those green monsters, and worse -- the undead.

It seems the Inquisition was not as successful as it had thought, because he quite clearly described shambling zombies and rickety skeletons, clambering over the rocks and dirt of the hillside to come after him.  If he is right -- that the cave, and presumably the island to our north, is infested with these creatures -- then we are in a great deal of trouble indeed.  With only nine of us left, I do not know how we can hold out against hordes of these creatures.  I only hope that Mr. Grayson can come up with a plan to protect us, or we shall soon join their number.

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