Here is an introduction to a short story I never got around to finishing. I'm posting this to provide a reference for my writing style. The Spyglass - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - There were many thoughts that crossed my mind when I looked back upon my time while exploring the ruins of Belerand but none were so persistent as the thought of pure, uncalculated hatred. There were counted at the time of departure six among us that embarked from the port city of Islis and sailed west across the waters of the Adrianus Sea in search of the fabled and presumed vanished city of Vasper of the now non-existent Dyrmgri Empire. Our expedition began as an accidental discovery, or if you believe such things portentous fate, between my companion Selba and I when we encountered a traveling merchant of rare and peculiar wares whom we procured an antique and wholly macabre Desmian spyglass from. The spyglass dated back nearly two hundred years during the time of Emperor Toren’s reign of the now extinct Salarsian Empire and belonged to what we presumed to be a rebel Desmian ship’s captain of some sort, but that is neither here nor there, only a brief footnote as to the importance of this grand and impromptu tell. However, let it also be noted for future reference that my companion Selba is of known Desmian lineage, her people being a fierce and stubborn if somewhat simple society known for their fishing, agriculture, isolation, ancestral and spirit worship who were eventually assimilated into the Salarsian Empire, the forefather of our current society, the Republic of Croantyr. Their people are now somewhat of an eccentricity among the rest of the peoples of Croantyr and are looked upon with apprehension and peculiarity, as they are still highly misunderstood and little known. We departed on our voyage at dusk under the supervision of Captain Jacob Henly. Our provisions fully stocked and loaded we set out from the Bay of Draman headed towards our destination, Vasper, located on the other side of the Erial Sea. We were scheduled to arrive some eleven days once our sails had been unfurled. Eleven days were counting on favorable winds and calm seas yet these we were hard pressed to find upon our eighth night of voyaging. I was awoken from my slumber at an hour past that of midnight to the sound of our ship being berated by the waves and rain. The ship rocked fiercely two and fro as the sea writhed around the hull of our ship. I hit the floor hard and quickly got my footing, having no light in the cabin I had to feel my way in the darkness. Eventually my hand clasped the handle to my cabin and I turned, again to be greeted by the ship’s hard, wooden floor. Half crawling, I made my way towards the stair and ascended from below deck. The deck was in utter chaos. Sails fluttered futile in the wind and ropes dangled down from beams that they should have been attached to. Captain Henly looked the part of seasoned seafarer as lighting ripped the sky behind him in two, silhouetting him against a backdrop of terrorizing cliffs of water. Baris, his first mate, scrambled about the deck trying to keep the rigging from succumbing to the elements entirely, a task I did not envy him yet I found myself making my way towards him none the less in a hope that I could somehow contribute. “Get back below deck,” Henly screamed over the roar of the storm. His voice came to me distantly through the pounding rain and howling wind. I stopped my advance towards Baris and regarded the man at the helm curiously. He fought with the wheel and struggled to keep balance against the rocking ship, a dance of determination in which it appeared he was leading with his partner being the unforgiving sea and mother nature herself. Lighting cut through the sky again, thunder booming close by. The ship heaved to one side and I lose my footing, sliding along the entire width of the deck before stopping my momentum with the railing. A loose rope slithered near me like a great sea serpent and I grabbed it with both hands and pulled myself back towards the center of the deck and towards the stairs that would take me back below deck. Baris still fought with the rigging and Henly with the wheel. “Back below deck you fool,” Henly screamed over the storm again. This time I obeyed. The wind and rain fought me as I pried the door that would take me back to the darkness below deck open. A faint glow crept from the cracks of Selba’s cabin. The bit of lighting provided through the cracks was enough to guide me as I steadied myself against the rocking of the boat with a hand on the ship’s interior walls. Inside, I found Selba sitting on the foot of her bed, hands clenched tightly around the bed frame to keep her from being thrown to the floor. A lantern hung in the center of the room from a hook and was being tossed about wildly from the storm. Dr. Jarys Gurensin lies in Selba’s bed, groaning feebly and complaining of “a gut more tumultuous than that of the sea.” I had invited Gurensin along with us in the regard that he was a naturalist, scientist, and doctor of medicine. It seems that this night Gurensin’s vice of drink had caught up with him as he was unable to get out of the bed. “Seasick,” Selba stated flatly as I approached the two. “Bad storm,” I replied, nearly biting my tongue as the ship hit a wave that sent it flying momentarily into the air before smacking back down onto the angry sea. I lurched forward onto the bed and Selba helped steady me. We sat there in silence except for the moaning of Gurensin for some moments, clinging to the bedframe to keep from being thrown about the cabin. Luckily, every piece of furniture on the ship, as is common ordinance, was bolted to the wood planks that they rested upon. We stayed huddle that way, occasionally drifting off to sleep only to be awoke abruptly by a thunderous clap from the storm or a violent shaking of the ship. The wind and rain could be heard constantly lashing at the deck and hull while the wood around us creaked and groaned on account of being pushed around. It was sometime around the next afternoon that the storm finally abated and we were able to venture from below deck. Henly and Baris were on deck, repairing the rigging and sails; the storm was a dark spot on the horizon. The sail’s were badly damaged they and would need to be taken down and stitched. Part of the main mast and been torn off and thrown into the sea at some point but the ship was otherwise worthy enough to continue our journey. Henly, with deep dark circles around his eyes, informed us that it would be half a day before the repairs could be made and at that time we should busy ourselves with reorganizing our provisions below deck that had been thrown about during the storm and getting ourselves some sleep. Selba went below deck and made herself busy with the provisions and supper while I stayed above and tried to lend my hand at the repairs. When the sun hung low on the horizon and turned the sea into a pit of fire, Selba emerged and brought us a salted beef stew. We all devoured eagerly and I used my piece of bread to sop up the remaining morsels. It had been nearly two days since Henly and Baris had rested so around ten o’clock that night I went above deck to relieve them. They thanked me generously. Henly told me to keep the ship headed eastward, which in his terms meant “follow the trail of Harenzen,” one of the constellations located in the heavens above us. Before heading to his cabin Henly told me to not hesitate should something seem amiss with the ship. I told him I would and that he should get some sleep, noting and thanking him graciously for getting us through the storm. It was late into the night when the moon hung midway on the western horizon when I noticed an uneasy feeling creep into my bones. It was completely dreadful, as though some great beast or aberration lurked beneath the waves, trailing our ship and watching with ill intent and great beastly eyes myself. I was tempted to get Henly but the feeling passed within a few moments. I breathed easily again but the though lingered with me. The rest of the night was uneventful and I woke Henly sometime before noon. Selba again made us a meal and afterward I retired to my cabin. Sleep greeted me reluctantly as my mind could not broach the subject of the dreadful feeling I had on my previous watch.