14th day of Lesser Heat, year 109AS
The Admiral, being impressed with the quick thinking of the investigation team has given them the honour of being g the first Halflings to explore a new island we have discovered. Giving them some trade goods and words of wisdom the Captain sent them off. Here is their report:
“The Island, much bigger than the last one, seemed to have on large mountain located centrally and was covered in thick jungle. A beach, a mix of rocky patches and white sand, presented the easiest way of getting on to the island. The two professors we had with us, zoologist and botanist, both seemed fascinated by the prospects of the island.
We noticed very quickly that the beach had a number of large skulls lying around. The first few picked up were empty, however, some were occupied. The Natives as we would later find out, call them Bone Crabs, and the name suits them well. Sima discovered them first when the skull he tried to pick up grew legs and walked off. Teoh used a blanket from the boat as a net and gathered it up. This started the trouble. Several more appeared on the beach and attacked. Given their size and formidable pincers, they were not so easy to deal with. At full stretch they are equivalent in size to the average Halfling, covered in thick shell and the added protection of a large skull and they scuttle very quickly. The most disturbing thing was the fact that it looked like that acted in concert, reacting instantly to the threat of one being captured.
It is with pride that I can report that all members of the exploration team acquitted themselves with honour and dignity. Teoh bravely fought three of the beasts at once, Sun and Sima using bow, crossbow and spear, Zheng was actually the first to dispatch one, truly a chosen one of The Heavenly Bureaucracy. We could have been overwhelmed by more of the Bone Crabs but Qi used her powerful magic to keep them at bay long enough for us to dispatch them and take cover in the jungle. Some of the remains, including the unusual skull they use as homes, have been returned to the fleet for study.
Sun and Sima scouted ahead, eventually finding a village of the natives of this Island. Zheng, Qi, Teoh and the two professors entered the village to start communication. The villagers were a strange looking creature, though creature may be incorrect, as they seemed to be walking talking plants. Seeming like a Halfling, a head, two arms and two legs, but made from plant fibres and sap instead of flesh and blood. Zheng started to communicate and Qi used her great skill with languages that actually allowed a better exchange. It seems that the Zotu, so they called themselves, have been raided by a race called Gnolls. By their description, Gnolls were large, hairy beasts. Teoh, being a Marine at heart, noticed that the Zotu lacked any metal weapons, and offered training and equipment to the Zotu, to help defend the island. They seemed very keen and Zheng sensed a trade opportunity. So we are please to report that we will exchange crossbows and bolts at the rate of 8 boxes of Yellow Musk Creeper flowers per unit (1 crossbow plus 30 bolts).”
Botanist’s Note: Such flowers will have many applications in medicine and as a poison. The Yellow Musk Creeper is a deadly plant in its own right and fully capable of defending itself from animal encroachment. It seems that these floral nature of the Zotu makes them perfectly suited to harvest the flowers. Though I am not sure how a plant native to the Western Empire can be found growing on such a remote island.
“Then came a very significant moment. The leader of the Zotu made a gift to us of a rusted metal box. ‘The Gnoll come looking something, maybe this. You take and maybe Gnolls come looking for you.’ Qi magiced away the rust to reveal a symbol on the lid of the case. The World Dragon. Needless to say we were all taken aback and made haste to conclude our meeting. We returned to the fleet as fast as the sailors could row us.”
Captains Note: The highest-ranking magical practitioners, Shi Xin (Archmage) and Hu Cai (Fleets Cardinal), were asked to make sure it was okay to open and that all proper rites and rituals were performed. A select few were present at the ceremony including the heroes named above, the Archmage, the Cardinal, the Admiral and myself. A hush fell when the lid was opened. Inside was indeed one the missing Relics of the World Dragon, lost for nearly a century. So I am pleased to log that the fleet has now in its possession The Fang of The World Dragon, a dagger of most potent magic. Morale runs high and the Admiral has added searching out the Gnolls a priority to see if they know of any other Relics. A celebration is now in order to honour the finding of such a momentous symbol of Halfling history.