My first glimpse of the ship filled me with awe. I?d seen boats before, of course; small craft that would cautiously cling to the safety of the coastline. But this was a tall ship, the kind built to travel across dangerous oceans that were only now becoming navigable. Vessels like this hadn’t dared to journey across the seas since the cataclysms began, so to see one for the first time made my heart leap inside my chest.
Though I’d never ventured very far beyond the outskirts of my home village, I knew the tales of the great war, the Rending, and of course the Shattering. The eldest among us taught this dark history to the young ones, telling of a time when our world was a vastly different place. Some of them were afraid of what existed beyond the confines of our village, but not me.
I’d always felt a calling, as if something was out there waiting for me. I had grown up with no idea what my future would hold or how I was to find it, but I could never shake the feeling that my life wasn’t meant to be spent in a small seaside village. So when the ship arrived and the crew came ashore looking for volunteers, I knew it was my chance.
Saying goodbye was difficult. I didn’t know if I would ever see my friends and family again, but this was something I had to do. I joined the crew of the merchant ship and met some of the other recruits who, like me, had chosen this new life. There was Geredo, a clever gnome; Valik, the strong and agile kerra; and Anikra and Balen, a married half elf couple. While I didn’t intend to spend my life as a seafaring merchant, it seemed like a gateway to the sort of excitement I was looking for.
Little did I know that excitement was about to come looking for me.
The brigands attacked without warning. It all happened so fast, it’s still a blur. There was a brief battle, but we were ill-prepared to fight against such seasoned pirates. They threw some of us, like poor Balen, overboard. I either jumped or was knocked off the deck; I can’t be sure which. The last thing I remember is grabbing hold of Anikra and clinging to a piece of wreckage as the brigands sailed away. Then the darkness overtook me and I blacked out.
I awoke on board an even bigger ship, with markings on its sails I didn’t recognize. I stood slowly and looked out across the rolling seas.
I suddenly realized that there was a whole new world out there beyond the waves, and it didn’t belong to gods or dragons or the armies of the past; it belonged to me, and to others who longed to explore the mysteries of the unknown. This was our time, a time of destiny, and I knew that I would soon become part of a world that I had never dared imagine.
The captain is calling out. I think the adventure is about to begin.