Log of the Whaler Lady Njoragh
They weren't explorers - they were just trying to get themselves un-lost
This article looks at the impact of the log of that voyage kept by the helmsman Ullo Odragh . Although only a small part of it survives to the present it is clear, from other existing records, that copies of the log were used by other explorers and settlers.
Grandpa told me a few things that he'd "not got round to including", but I'm sure he knew more.The surviving fragments now held at Fenton by Ed Andrew
Copies of the log were made by Ullo and his family and used by other explorers, spreading by second-hand sales and samizdat. It was suspected that Ullo suppressed some details from the log when he made copies available to others.
His generosity in providing copies at cost was widely commented on but these copies were remarked to be shorter than the original. Ullo and his family certainly seemed to have more details of the northern coast of Tarusia than those who travelled with copies. Because the surviving fragment is still owned by Ullo’s descendants it is generally agreed to be the original, or at least a full and complete copy of that part.
The surviving fragments are recognised as one of the treasures of House Odragh at Fenton in the Moran Duchy by Ed Andrew
The block of text at the bottom of the first page of the second fragment is one that has, to date, defied all attempts to understand it. Some say that it contains the key to House Odragh's rise from the helmsman's post to a leading house in Stressell before the migration.
History of the Document
Written 218 years before the founding of the Moran Duchy it remained under the control of Ullo and his descendants. With the exception of the two fragments at Fenton it is only known by quotations and indirect references. The perils of time have, alas, affected this manuscript as so many others.
It is believed that the whole of the log came to Fenton at around the time of the founding of the Moran Duchy as Merrick of Odragh was one of Ullo's descendants and one of the Younger Sons who established the Duchy (see Annals of the Duchy - Chapter 2).
The Great Fire of Fenton in Duchy Year 200 is believed to have caused the loss of most of the log and the damage to the surviving fragments, for the town house of House Odragh was one of the buildings lost to that conflagration.
The pattern of burning suggests that the fragments were together at this point but whether they were separated from the remainder of the text before or after is not known, for the records of the House's archives were completely lost during the fire.
This document was Ullo's record of the voyage. In part it was a personal diary, in part to help him answer to the Emperor's Portmaster on the ship's return to Stressell. Following the Edict of 14 Dr'Alluth the helmsman of any ship sailing from the empire was responsible for reporting its course and landfalls on the ship's return so any helmsman setting out on a voyage expected to last more than a month would prefer the rigours of recording a log on heaving seas to the loss of his right arm on not being able to render a satisfactory account on return.
Ullo's original record would have been made on wax coated wooden tablets and transcribed to paper during calm periods, or more likely when the boat was pulled up onto a beach to process the catch. This ensured that that it would remain safe and dry, though the record includes prolonged periods of storms and high seas when none would have been able to use pen and ink in a ship like the Lady Njoragh.
Ullo’s log - its a must have for the north coast but I reckon he left out some of the best whaling grounds from the copies he let out. Sly old fox, keeping the best bits quiet.