Flotsam 'Sam' Stormsurge

"Kraken" Alchemist

The Journal of Me

8th of Coldeven, 598 CY

I guess it would be more appropriate to call this ‘The Journal of Sam’ but my name is not Sam, that is just short for Flotsam … and that is not my name either but since I have no clue what my name really is I guess that is as good a label as any. The children who found me washed up on the bank of the inlet originally thought I was some monster rising out of the flotsam hence the name. I added the surname ‘Stormsurge’ to add a bit of style and make it less of a joke. Maybe I should start at the beginning, well at least at the beginning of what I know. I remember growing up on the streets of a very big, very busy city. Sister Anneh says from my descriptions it must be one of the Great Cities of the Sunela Empire … in my memories, it is not all that ‘great’ but that very well may be the bias of a street orphan. I tend to believe her to be correct as I speak fluent Suliose, judged by the one traveling merchant I have met here, and I resemble one of these ‘Animen’ she tells me they employ. I remember having to scrounge for meals and a place to sleep. I remember having to fight to keep such things if I had the misfortune of being found by those who had just wanted more. I remember sharing with those who had less if I had some, as those who had some shared with me when I had none. Sister Anneh would say “it is good to share with those in need so that Osprem does not take all away from us in our hubris” but truth is I was just banking for the next time I had none. I remember joining up with a learned man named Zath’ras, an elf actually, who said he saw a spark of “not uselessness” in me. Under his guidance I honed my ‘urchin sneakiness’ as he described it into a true talent for stealthy pursuits. By paying attention to his research, I developed a knack science. We traveled many times from the city to a nearby cave which led to a cavern that housed an entire town underground filled with his people, I assume as they too were elves. Sister Anneh tells me that The Underdark, as the place is known, is filled with such towns and cities. He would trade for all manner of powders and pieces and things, some still living, that we would catalogue and sell in his shop back in the city. I remember sailing out from the city and diving down to harvest pufferfish and spiny urchin from the kelp beds when I was attacked by the kelp itself. I was almost completely entangled in the seaweed when my attackers revealed themselves … a pair of sahuagin raiders. The smaller one rushed in, believing me to be easy prey I suppose and received a face full of puffer-poisoned urchin spines for his (its?) hastiness. The larger proved much more difficult an opponent and I actually had the thought of “well, I was bound to lose eventually” when I recognized it casting an empowered electrical spell at me. My next memory is awaking on the bank of the inlet to cries of ‘monster’ by the children of the good folk of Seabreeze at least one whole season later. The townsfolk took me to the nearby Abbey of Osprem since as I was obviously from the sea I was obviously their problem. Sister Anneh repeatedly tells me I should forgive them as they meant no slight. It is just that are all fisherman and farmers and since I was neither a fish nor a farm I was not their concern. I am not bitter at their actions, I was injured and they took me to the Abbey. I just wish I had a real response to the inevitable “who are you?” upon meeting anyone new.

22nd of Coldeven, 598 CY

Well, next week is the Festival of sorry-I-wasn’t-really-listening (Growfest if you really must know) and I thought it would be a nice treat for the townsfolk to have real fireworks for their celebration.

1st of Growfest, 598 CY

I had been working on the fireworks for the past week and had set them in place early yesterday morning as a surprise, being the only being in town with Darksight can be real handy. After the Abbot had given his blessing and the townsfolk started dancing everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. At sundown I lit the fuses for a nice show but when the fireworks started, everyone started running around and screaming that they were under attack. I tried yelling out that it was just my gift to them but the Sheriff seemed to think that I meant that I was attacking … let us just say next festival I am going to hang a few streamers of woven flowers and call it a day. Sister Anneh says it was a nice thought though.

2nd of Planting, 598 CY

I have been asked to go with Sister Anneh and Sister Joselle tomorrow for “extra protection” when they take the novices to the Temple of Osprem to be “confirmed in the faith”. I think the Abbot just wants to get rid of me for a while after last week since the Sisters have been doing this by themselves for years until now. I agree no one should travel alone these days and am eager to repay all that has been done for me … I just wish he had said outright “it will be good for all if you go away for a bit”. It is not as if I had feelings to be hurt.

5th of Planting, 598 CY

Completely uneventful trip so far almost boring even … Osprem must have been listening to that last thought and decided to liven things up. The wind suddenly started to pick up as dark clouds appeared on the horizon. Sister Joselle said it would be upon us quickly and we had to find shelter soon. We were coming upon a rocky ridge and decided to head for it as it would provide more protection than the grasslands around us. Little Marri spotted an overhang broad enough to cover us and the cart. Only I spotted the remains near the alcove. I had them all huddle in the back “for protection from the winds” as I “secured the cart and Beggar the mule” and actually examined the remains … all that remained of some furred humanoid. I buried the remains and set out a few snares linked to noise makers just in case. Nothing else happened though I waited awake all night long. The storm or whatever never hit and the clouds had dissipated some time in the dark. I vowed to never leave home without my full gear again.

27th of Wealsun, 598 CY

Sorry I have not written in a while but paper and seawater do not mix well. I have been working on a trader ship out of Briteharbor … or is it Biteharbor? The sailors talk with such a heavy accent it is difficult to tell. I signed on as temporary crew when they put in at Seabreeze back in the beginning of the month of Planting. The first few weeks were difficult as they expected me to be an expert sailor because I was aquatic. I finally made it clear to them that just because I was completely at home IN the water did not mean I was perfection incarnate ON the water and as I had signed on as extra labor to pay my passage they should be happy for the lessened grunt work. They saw my reasoning and agreed … albeit only after I agreed to give them the antidote. If it were not for my deal with the captain I probably would have had to find another way to the Sunela Empire (he had a taste for certain elixirs that although simple to create are frowned upon in polite circles). Tomorrow or the next day they assure me we will dock at (I so wish I could understand their accent) some port that is “the jewel of the Empire”.

1st of Richfest, 598 CY

I swear, how can any being with half a brain mix up ‘Sunela Empire’ with Sennerae??? Needless to say, I will NOT be getting any answers here nor will I be sailing with these sailors that make brine shrimp seem like worldly scholars. I do hope they appreciate the extract of licorice I laced the water barrels with. Anyways I now find myself looking for a caravan heading toward any place remotely civilized. On a positive note, the bazaar here quite literally has everything for sale. I was able to barter a crate-worth of various fireworks for the most amazing backpack … truly a mystical marvel as it can hold much more than it comfortably should.

13th of Reaping, 598 CY

Well I have finally secured a position as a driver on a caravan heading toward Kalundi. From there I will be able to make my way to Ghazal and eventually on to Zarak. According to what Sister Anneh told me, Zarak lies on the same river as the fabled city of Greyhawk. I will swim it by myself if need be. Surely someone in that great city will at least know where Sunela is.

26th of Reaping, 598 CY

If ever Osprem designed a testing ground for hell, it must have looked much like this. Two days out of Sennerae and it felt like I woke up inside a baker’s oven. The people here use draft beasts known as ‘camels’ … emphasis on the beast part. These creatures make the most stubborn mule look friendly and helpful. Between the heat and the camels, I figure Osprem is punishing me for some truly onerous transgression. I had no clue that to these people ‘driver’ means ‘one who walks along dragging a camel’.

14th of Goodmonth, 598 CY

Finally made it to Kalundi alive, I thought for sure I would die of heatstroke or boredom. How Indrehaz, the caravan guide, knew where we were or even what direction we were heading is beyond me. The only answer I ever got was “It is this way” … no matter what exact question I asked! Ah well, maybe I can find a few things in Kalundi to liven up the next part of the journey.

17th of Goodmonth, 598 CY

I was testing out a few ‘sparkle dancers’ last night to try and get the mixture right (the materials I got from Kalundi were slightly different from what I am used to) when some of the other drivers noticed. They thought that the ‘night spirits’ were talking to me. I tried to explain that they were just a children’s delight I made but to no avail. Indrehaz asked if I would have the ‘night spirits’ watch over the camp as we would sorely need their aid soon. I agreed as it would allow me to sleep during the hot day but now I worried at what in the night would we need aid from?

1st of Harvester, 598 CY

Well, last night answered that question finally. As had become my routine since the ‘night spirits’, I set out my traps surrounding camp … mainly thunderstones or simple fireworks linked with tripwires alternating around the camp. I was studying my notes on (the almost non-existant) local fauna and flora when suddenly my fireworks went off around the camp mixed with a few of the thunderstones. We were under attack by, from what I could see, appeared to but small children! Viscious, howling, fanged children to be sure but still obviously adolescents of some humanoid race. Imagine my horror when the rest of the caravan started to use deadly force on these children! I grabbed Indrehaz by the arm as he was about to cleave one of them and the ungrateful little wretch tried to bite me in the leg. I then joined with the others using my mace to subdue the deranged miscreants. Indrehaz explained afterwards that these were ‘Ko Bold Ehs’ and that they were scavengers of the worst sort … not even waiting for the desert to “claim a man before robbing him blind and then taking his eyes just for good measure”. I decided to track were they had come from while the camp cleaned up. The tracks led me to a rocky spire maybe the height of three men. I found a hidden entrance at the base which led down to a warren of sorts … the stench of which was indescribable. There were no more of these Ko Bold Ehs but I did find a former victim of theirs. The hapless fellow was tied to a wooden frame of some kind quite securely. I guess these vermin feared that since he had been dead for only a few weeks escape was still a possibility?? His gear was a pile of rotting and rusting items just out of reach, the better to torment the corpse I assume. I was about to leave when something shiny in the pile caught my eye. Upon closer inspection I found a chain shirt and a broadsword of the brightest silver I had ever seen. I wrapped the sword in the shirt and put the bundle into my pack before continuing with the original plan of burning out the entire warren. You may think that ten flasks of Alchemist’s Fire was a bit excessive but having smelled it myself, I wish I had had at least five more flasks with me!

5th of Brewfest, 598 CY

Made it to Ghazal just before sundown on the last day of Harvester. Indrehaz stated we would spend a few days resting up and celebrate the holiday with the locals. They make any odd beverage here from a barrel shaped cactus. One tastes like spicy water, two and you notice the light sweetness of the drink, by the third you realize you have been breathing sand for months, ten and you … and they … and I do not want to talk about it!

19th of Patchwall, 598 CY

Made it to Zarak and now bid my fellow caravaners a fond farewell. Well, I am fond of leaving them anyway and their calls of ‘Calamari’ behind … some tribal word for ‘stranger’ so Indrehaz explained. Now with the sand so far behind me and a river right next to me I find myself eager to be on my way.

5th of Ready’reat, 598 CY

I write this now sitting in the taproom of The Brassy Wench tavern, just off the docks in Greyhawk. Its ‘greatness’ may be a matter of debate but it IS big! I asked the Dockmaster, a burly gent of obvious orcish blood, where the place of highest learning could be found and was asked “which school I wished training in”. Apparently learning is divided into separate ‘colleges’ based on the school of magic they follow. I will have to look into which, if any, study geography and/or navigation.

10th of Ready’reat, 598 CY

I have found a college which does not deal with geography but does deal with ‘Spelljamming’, a most wondrous means of traveling to and through the heavens!! One of the charts used for this ‘Spelljamming’ actually showed our world and Sunela is in the southern hemisphere almost directly opposite of Greyhawk! All this time I have been traveling ever further away from home!

14th of Ready’reat, 598 CY

My studies thus far have revealed two facts about our world (known as Liga for those who care) … first is that almost everyone on our world knows almost nothing about anything further than they can walk or ride to in a day and that they seem to care even less! Have they no curiosity about what lies over the next hill or around the next bend? I wonder how they have managed to be spread out so far! The second fact I discovered is that our world is truly a unique marvel! It is actually one of three worlds that occupy the same path around our sun! What divine council decided to share providence over these three worlds? It boggles my mind.

25th of Sunsebb, 598 CY

I have been studying and working hard to learn all I can of this ‘Spelljamming’ these past few weeks and now feel I am almost qualified to hire on to swab the decks of a ‘Spelljammer’ … maybe … if it is not too dirty. This is going to take a while, a very very long while!

1st of Fireseek, 599 CY

I still hope to sail on a Spelljammer but have had to delay my studies for more accessible employment as my funds are very nearly gone. Last week during Needfest I found a dwarven smithy named Glowergold with whom I was able to trade that shiny broadsword and shirt, in addition to my remaining alchemical creations, for a few gold. So impressed with the fact I had made the flasks myself, he kindly put in a word for me with a cousin of his (Pinchpenny by name) who has allowed me to sleep in the back of his apothecary shop and work as his apprentice. I hope to be able to continue my studies in a month or two.

24th of Fireseek, 599 CY

Apparently, Greyhawk has a governing body for all tradecraft known as the guild. I found this out when a representative of this guild came into the shop as I was finishing a batch of remedies. He talked with Pinchpenny for a minute or so and Pinchpenny handed over a small pouch and then the man left. All Pinchpenny would say when I asked was something about the “price of doing business, now get back to work”.

1st of Readying, 599 CY

Last night I was on my way ‘home’ from the fish market with dinner (they have a grand selection of shellfish and spiny urchin there) when I was accosted by the same man who I saw talking to Pinchpenny last week. Before I could give greeting, he knocked my sack of dinner out of my hand and shoved me up against the wall. He demanded I pay up or else. I tried to politely explain that I had nothing to do with his guild but he grew furious and stomped his foot down on my dinner … now, an odd thing about these northern spiny urchin is that their spines are not as venomous as the southern ones but they are barbed and a good bit stronger. I have been using them to make darts for my blowgun. The last I saw of this ruffian, he was hopping away cursing enough for two full crews. Plain broth for dinner it was. I mentioned this to Pinchpenny in the morning and I swear all color drained from his face. Fearing some sort of apoplexy I reached for one of the healing kits we sold but Pinchpenny suddenly locked the front door, grabbed the lockbox hidden under the counter and ran out the back of the shop. By the time I reached the back, Pinchpenny was out of sight. Odd. I turned and went to my workbench to start the days assignments. Pinchpenny didn’t come back at all the rest of that day. To avoid a repeat of last night, I decided to borrow Pinchpenny’s skiff and catch my own dinner … and save the 23 silver that was wasted the previous night. Glad I was that I took my pack with me because when I got back to the docks I could see a great blazing fire where the shop used to be. Did I leave a flame on? As I can not afford to repay Pinchpenny, I took off running to hide.

3rd of Coldeven, 599 CY

I have been in hiding for weeks now with no sign that Pinchpenny is still looking for me but I am sure that he is … after all, would I give up searching for some miscreant that burned down my livelihood? I think not! I must think of something else soon as I can only afford to stay hidden in this tavern for another week or two at best. I guess that will be full circle then, begin as a street orphan and end as one too.

11th of Coldeven, 599 CY

(campaign starts, we all meet in a tavern)

Flotsam 'Sam' Stormsurge

Chornalth Adventures - Liga Maltheas