As I set out on this journey I watched the harbor of Mehrula fade away into the distance. Everything I had ever known was located in that city, yet I had no idea when I would return. Nor if I would return.
Jareb Bonavine was one of the most famous explorers and writers of our time. His greatest accomplishment was the discovery of the Dragonfly Islands. But most people know him for the bestselling books he wrote about his expeditions and adventures.
Jareb was born in 3369 to Etran Bonavine, a basket weaver, and Altea Leniva, who tended the store where she sold her husbands baskets. With four older sisters who adored him Jareb grew up in a loving home in Mehrula, one of the Walled Cities of West Eghea. Jareb was only four years old when their mother became very ill. A year later she passed away leaving a grief-stricken family behind. Jareb's father in particular took a turn for the worse after his wife's death. Renja, Jareb's eldest sister, took over the household while Jevina, his second eldest sister, took over her parents basket weaving business. Two years later their father passed away from grief. Jareb was only seven at the time so he went to live with Renja and her husband, together with twelve year old Jazlin. Jevina and Reya, eighteen and fourteen at the time remained in their parents home where their store was also located. Over time all four sisters became involved in the family business. Jareb however had his mind set on adventure. He would later often credit Reya and her insatiable lust for adventure books as the reason he became so interested in adventure and travel.
Reya was always reading books. She used to read them to me when I was too young to read them myself. I remember I fit perfectly in the curve of her arm, and how her eyes lit up when she was reading to me. Her passion for the unknown, for adventure and travel, that is what sparked my own passion. Every discovery I have made I made thanks to Reya.
The start of an adventure
In the spring of 3385, a then fifteen-year-old Jareb left Mehrula for his first overseas adventure. The destination was Miraiy the capital of Ghynzua. During the next 3 years Jareb traveled all over the Empire. From the southern deserts to the frozen wilderness of the north, and everything in between. During these years Jareb documented everything he encountered which he eventually poured into his first book titled The Lands and People of Ghynzua. During his time in Ghynzua Jareb met Suna Himati. A young ghynzuan woman three years older than him who worked as a guard in Neba. The two quickly fell in love and she joined Jared on the rest of his tour through Ghynzua. After their travels they got married in 3389 in Neba and lived in Suna's motherhouse for almost a year. Jareb's lust for adventure was too strong for him to settle down however and in 3390 he and his wife departed to visit his family in Mehrula.
Seeing you all again brought so much joy to my heart. I got to meet my nieces and nephews. What beautiful children they are. And you all got to meet my wife. I swear, despite the letters I wrote to you, none of you truly believed I was married until you saw Suna! I wish I could have stayed longer though. I know you wanted me too. But there is this thing inside me. This pull towards adventure. It is something I can not ignore. It makes me restless and unhappy if I do not give in to this desire to travel and discover new places, new people.
Once again however Jareb's desire for travel got the better of him. During his time in Mehrula he had found a publisher for his book. But he was too restless to wait for the publication. Early in the year 3391, four months before the publication, he and Suna departed for a tour along the coast of West Eghea. Their goal was to visit all the cities on the way. They were one of the first people visiting the new city of Akkash as tourists, which at the time was still expanding rapidly to accomodate the influx of people looking for work. During the coming months they continued their journey along the cities and decided to spend the winter months in the warm climate of Sajhdula. In the mean time word had reached Jareb that his book was already on it's fourth reprint, and funds started to pour in. During their stay in the marvelous city Sajhdula Suna became very ill. Jareb would later write to his sisters that he had been certain he would lose her. Fate thought otherwise however. The famous Oracle of Sajhdula somehow learned about Suna's illness and send her guards to bring both Suna and Jareb to The Golden Light Tower. There Suna was treated by the best doctors and miraculously recovered from what had appeared a fatal illness. Unfortunatly the illness did take its toll. Suna was no longer able to conceive children. As soon as she was able to travel again Jareb brought her back to Neba, to her family. The loss of the possibility to have children weighed hard on Suna. Time with her family was what she needed.
With the funds of his first book Jareb was able to set up a proper expedition. One year after Suna's almost fatal illness Jareb set out on this expedition with a crew of four people. His wife stayed behind as she preferred to take care of her families children. Jareb wrote her often however and managed to take a few short detours to Neba to visit her during the first months of his expedition. These first months were spend visiting locations in Ghynzua, and even in the lands of The Northern Clans, which people rarely travel to. They visited places like Nayeli's Ring, The Wilder Trail, and Elsawu Oasis. They also traveled along the Ice Road and Dream Road. Later the expedition moved to West Eghea where they visited locations such as The Glyph and the Blue Marshes. In the end the expedition managed to travel all over the eghean landmass, visiting numerous locations both in West and East Eghea.
Victory and loss
In the early spring of 3395 Jareb returned to Neba where he spend the following two years working on his second book Into the Unknown. During that time he and his wife adopted two infants who had been found abandoned near a northern guard tower.
I let Suna down after we found out we would not be able to have children of our own. All that mattered to me at the time was that she was alive. I had no idea how to deal with her grief. So I brought her to her family and left her there. But now, after adopting the twins, I see how they mend her broken heart. I see the joy they bring her and me. Now I finally understand the loss of what could have been.
A few months after the adoption, in the summer of 3397 Jareb and Suna traveled with the twins to his family in Mehrula. During their stay there Jareb's second book was published, and was even more succesfull than his first book. In the following years the couple traveled with their children between Neba and Mehrula. They also brought a visit to Sajhdula where they met the Oracle again. Tragically Reya, one of Jared's sisters, passed away in 3400 during one of his visits. This encouraged him to once again set out on an expedition.
Grakkal's Gate expedition
The expedition that led to Jareb's biggest fame started out as an expedition to the other side of the world. With a group of scientists and even obscurists Jareb set out to the natural world wonder called Grakkal's Gate. Along the way they saw Black Sharks, Siren Whales, unknown sea creatures, uninhabited islands, and so much more. Jareb documented everything, even drew maps that brought undiscovered places to the attention of other travelers. They spend over a month sailing around Grakkal's Gate giving the scholars the time to study this gaping hole in the sea. On their way back they stumbled on the biggest discovery of the expedition, the Dragonfly Islands. Jareb later documented the entire expedition in his book Grakkal's Gate and Beyond.
Discovering Ancient Civilizations
During his travels Jareb's interest in ancient civilizations grew. After the succes of the Grakkal's Gate expedition he took some time off to spend time with his family and to study history. He never went back to long expeditions, but instead opted for shorter ones where he took the time to study the ruins of bygone era's. All the while working on his next book Ancient Civilizations. One of the places that had always intrigued him were The Ruins of Serralon. But they were deemed too dangerous for anyone to visit. For many years Jareb visited locations all over the world. Postponing what was inevitable.
As a child I loved to stand on top of the citywall and stare at the mysterious forest in the distance, trying to catch a glimpse of the ruins. I wanted to know why no one ever returned from them. Its a mystery that always haunted me.
It is this intrigue, this need to find answers, that became Jareb's downfall. Thanks to his reputation he managed to gather a group of 58 people and departed to Serralon early in the year 3425. Jareb was joined on the expedition by his seventeen year old grandnephew Etran, the grandson of his youngest sister Jazlin. Two months after their departure a supply ship found their camp outside of Serralon completely abandoned. No traces of the missing expedition members were ever found.
Jareb was an imposing figure. Tall and muscular. Always in excellent condition. With those piercing grey eyes he could stare right into your soul. He was a natural leader. But he was also the best friend one could have. He was there for me throughout the darkest moments of my life. Something I will always be grateful for.
Circumstances of Death
Jareb disappeared in 3389. While he is presumed death, his body was never found.
Suna Himati (Wife)
1.85 m or 6'1"
80 kg or 176 lbs
The Lands and People of Ghynzua
Published in 3391 this book became a major bestseller worldwide. It is the story of Jareb's first big adventure. In three years time he travelled all over Ghynzua. Visiting places and people in The Southern Sand Plains, Pagan Hills, western and eastern Ghynzua, and even the colder regions in the north.
Into the Unknown
This book was published in 3398 and documents various locations in West Eghea and East Eghea that most people don't know about. Even though Pagan Hills was included in his first book, the tales about Nayeli's Ring and the Wilder Trail in his second book led to an increase in tourism for the region. The book became an even bigger success than his first book and paved the path for other authors to release books about their own adventures.
Grakkal's Gate and Beyond
Jareb's third book was published in 3404 and recounts the expedition to Grakkal's Gate and the discovery of the Dragonfly Islands. It became a bestseller like his previous books
Ancient Civilizations is the biggest bestseller of all the books Jareb wrote. He worked on it for many years while traveling to various ruins in search of their history and the civilizations that used to live there. The last location he visited for the book were The Ruins of Serralon. After he went missing his wife and children made sure the book still got published. The demand was so huge that the book sold out multiple times, and the publisher could barely keep up.
While on the Grakkal's Gate expedition Jareb and his crew stumbled upon an island chain to the southeast of the eghean landmass. The islands were all uninhabited, but the amount of unknown fauna and flora to be found there turned out to be a paradise for scholars. What is even more special about these islands is the fact that there are no inflicted creatures to be found anywhere. This piqued the interest of obscurists who have since been traveling to the islands in an attempt to find out why they were spared of the mutations. Jareb named them Dragonfly Islands after drawing them on his map. He noticed that the peculiar pattern resembled that of a dragonfly. And since he documented many new dragonfly species while on the islands the name seemed appropriate.