Journal of Jon Cuinn, September 1607 to April 1608

by Jon Cuinn

What follows is a reprint of my personal journal on the early events of the colony of Flint. I hope that the knowledge it contains may be of use to those who, like me, have followed their own path and arrived in Flint.  

September, 1607
  29th: I intend to set pen to page and record for the sake of posterity the events of the founding of the Imperial Colony of Flint on the new land of Torakand. For starters, my name is Jon Cuinn, middle child of Jeffery Cuinn and Raffaela Needell. I have an older brother Jerrard and younger sister Victoria and we are from the province of Holthar. My mother is an accomplished tailor and her business is well known within our county. My father is a man of letters who serves on the board of the county seat and prints the local bulletin. I studied my father’s craft when I was younger but my sister will most like take over father’s business. My brother has shown a strong desire to take up mother’s business. My desire was to follow in my father’s business (though not his political aspirations) but I was struck with a terrible case of wanderlust and left home to explore the world when I was eighteen. Tonight is the eve before my next grand adventure starts and I have procured this journal, a fresh supply of quills and inks and am prepared with as many other supplies as I may gather to myself for the journey. This is the journal of my travels, may it serve you well in knowing what my experiences were as I help with the founding of Flint.   30th: I have boarded my assigned ship, the Conflagration, bound on a journey of adventure and exploration. Though I must admit that I am apprehensive about the journey as I have never been on board a ship before. Still, the excitement of seeing a new place, learning about it and also learning about those I am travelling with, overcomes my concerns at the dangers and roughness of the journey itself.   My ship is both larger and smaller than I imagined. I can stride across the deck from port to starboard in about six or seven long strides and yet there is ample space below decks for all of our supplies. Though in fairness the below decks are not so very tall. There are nineteen other colonists on board bringing the total, including myself, to twenty. The other six ships will have twenty colonists each as well. There are a total of fifteen sailors per ship including the captain, first mate and bosun. Captain Deniz Awotwi from Ziel greeted us with a toast of spice wine and introduced us to her officers, First Mate Konrad Ajeet and Bosun Ghufran Cyrille and to her crew whose names I did not get a chance to write down. We were shown below decks where there were hammocks slung between beams two or three atop each other and swinging above the stacks of foodstuffs and building supplies we were taking with us. The narrow walkway down the middle of the ship was the only portion of the deck that was visible. The light from the glow crystals we carried made the shadows jump and dance as we moved about what would be our living space for the next thirty or so days. I picked a spot near the middle of the ship in the hopes that I would not get too ill with the motion.   Kemen Mitxel, a tall, green-skinned, Mamac with yellowish horns, picked the hammock next to mine. He looked as nervous as my stomach felt. We talked a bit about our shared non-experience of boat travel but also of our excitement for the new land and new adventures that awaited us. Kemen was from the mountain top city of Kairn Handia and had apparently never had been this close to the water before. He told me of his home and how he had brought with him a rock from there. His hope is to find a new place to plant his family name and start a new pile of rocks. Evidently his older brothers and sisters had things well in control and so he felt able to leave and explore the world.   The hammock on the other side of me was claimed by Brynhild Marte who had travelled by ship from Duulan in Sorjund to Edevane in Holtar just two days prior. Brynhild, of Alloyim descent, is a smith by trade and has the biggest arms I have ever seen on a person. I felt genuine concern for the strength of the hammock in being able to support their generously muscled frame but the hammock held up well enough. They assured both of us that travelling by ship was not so bad, as long as “one remembers to duck when going through doorways.” Evidently they had learned this from personal experience a time or two. Brynhild carried with them the tools of their trade, a large leather bag containing hammers and pliers which I could scarcely pick up. I inquired as to where their anvil was and Brynhild indicated that one of the other ships had an anvil being sent across. Should that ship not make it though they would simply make a new one when we got where we were going.  
October, 1607
  1st: We sailed at first light. Kemen tells me that I look like I’ve turned green. That is surely something coming from him. He and Brynhild together helped heave me to the railing earlier to “feed the fish” and I feel much better now. It is difficult to write on the moving ship however so for now I shall rest.   7th: The seas have calmed down, likewise so has my stomach, and writing is again a possibility. I had time to chat with one of the crew, Sam Galvao, from Ziel. She answered some of my questions about her home and informed me that most of the business conducted there is mostly legal and that they prefer to be known as “merchants of opportunity” rather than pirates.  
November, 1607
  2nd: We have arrived in a safe harbor and disembarked the ships. I was very glad to place my boots on the sandy shore of the bay, the motion sickness had not been kind to me. Faruk Diya, the Guildhead of the Explorer's Guild, informed us all that the date was November second when we landed. To be honest, what with me taking ill, I had lost count of the days at sea. Our trans-ocean journey took us thirty two days by that reckoning. Thankfully we have arrived safely with all seven of our ships. After landing we honored the spirits of the sea and the land for bearing us safely and made respectful offerings to the native spirits of this new land. Then we set about the business of establishing our new home. The harbor is at the juncture of river and sea just past a bend in the land. To the south there is a brackish bay where perhaps the river once emptied but no longer reaches. The land, covered in grasses and trees, slopes up from the ocean to meet a low mountain range not too distant.   The trees of this land bear large leaves of gold, red, brown and even purple in color. Many of those same leaves lie on the ground beneath as they would in autumn despite the fact that it should be spring. The river flows smoothly and supports a multitude of fish which will be a welcome source of food. The dirt is rich and loamy, good for planting farms and the grass looks good for grazing. The mountains in the distance look rounded and weathered and are covered with trees to a point and then naught but snow capped peaks above. This small spit of land is much sheltered and will do well to support us as we encamp and prepare to start our colony.   3rd: This is a cold land. We left Sobukand at the height of spring on October the 1st so that we could catch fair winds and good weather. The cartographers say they think that we’ve crossed over the middle or something and so the seasons might be different. I didn’t quite understand what they were saying though. Everyone knows it gets colder as you go south and we were sailing north west the whole time, it doesn’t take a mapmaker to know which way the sun rises and sets. By all measures of reason it should be much warmer, but there is a chill in the air and the trees are either naturally orange and red or they are turning like it is fall. No matter, they are quite pretty and we have decent enough temporary shelters.   9th: Rain has kept me from writing these past few days. Cold, dreadful, dreary rain that soaked us all to the bone. Some took sick and returned to the ships so as to have a roof over their head. Hunting parties have begun to fetch meats and local fruits. It seems that it is indeed harvest time here and the wild plants of the area are quite bountiful. Some basic buildings have started to go up, having been shipped over with us designed to be quickly deployed. The smithy, herb house and medical house have all been operating since yesterday. Tomorrow the first dormitory will be started. It will be so nice to be dry again.   12th: I am all settled in my dormitory now. It is a longish building that sleeps twenty of us in two rows of bunks. It is a bit cramped but it sure beats sleeping in a tent and the constant wet of these last few days. There was an attack by wolves this morning that injured two of the scouts. They are being tended to by the chiurgeons and it is expected that they will recover in a few days.   14th: One of the two scouts, Patrick Illes from Holthar, has recovered fully from the injuries he sustained in the wolf attack. Sadly, Wyatt Doran, the other scout, got an infection and died a most painful death. He is the first of the colony to be buried here. We held a ceremony to honor his spirit and ensure a safe journey for him through the veil. One of the masons carved his name on a stone and placed it at the foot of his grave. Wyatt Doran was from Sorjund and by all accounts was a brave soul. His death has brought to the minds of all truly how dangerous a place it is we now live.   20th: It snowed today, just a little bit, but it has become increasingly clear that winter will be coming and will be cold. The river to the north has plenty of fish and the fishers have started to capture excess to be preserved in salt. The first of the return voyages left today. The Conflagration and the Sea Serpent took with them those that were too sick from the journey to survive a cold winter, some plants as proof of arrival on land and of course written notes attesting to the tasks accomplished so far. The plan, we are told, is that two more ships will leave on the twentieth of every month bound for Sobukand. There they will stock up and return with fresh food, fresh supplies and fresh people for the colony. Thirty two days to transit coming over so it ought be some sixty five or more days for these two ships to return. With eight colonists making the return we are down to one hundred and thirty one colonists. Best hope the spirits are looking out for us. Wyatt keep watch over us too.  
December, 1607
  1st: December is here but it isn’t like any December I have ever known. There is snow two feet deep on the ground when it ought to be hot as blazes out. We really have crossed the middle after all. The food supplies are holding out but all of us are eating two-thirds rations out of an abundance of caution. I have gotten quite good at the game of stones my companion Kemen brought with him. It is very similar to the game of stones I played as a child but the rules are different in Kairn Handia apparently. Since I could not recall the rules from my childhood we are playing with his rules and I am pleased to say that I have begun to win. Kemen does not seem to mind as long as I do not win too frequently. He is a cartographer who specializes in the finding of mystical ways and ley lines which means that until the snows clear he has not much to do.   2nd: Today marks one month of being in Flint. I would like to record here some of how I came to be in this place. The Flint Colony Expedition is a massive undertaking. The founders spent three years in the planning and provisioning stages. By trade I am a publisher and had established myself a fine business in Fernsby where I was contracted some three years ago by the Flint Colony Expedition Company to print and distribute recruiting advertisements throughout the eastern portions of the province of Holthar. After successfully distributing such advertisements for nearly two years I had committed the sales pitch to memory and as the contract wound down I decided that I was not going to let that be the last dollar that I would see leave their ledger and enter mine. I sold my business to my accomplished apprentice, Trix Codence, who had worked hard for several years as a journeyman and was just making her mark as a master publisher. After that transaction was complete I travelled to Edevane, secured lodgings and went straight away to the headquarters of the Flint Colony Expedition Company to put my name on the list of applicants.   As it turns out they were not taking applications for the job of publisher, or so they thought. I set about to make myself indispensable to their operations and after a few short months of hard work convinced them to hire me on for the first trip over. My job, you see, would be to research, write and publish stories about life in Torakand. I would send them back with each returning ship. These reports would be printed and distributed around Sobukand keeping the public informed of the great adventures of all of the colonists. This in turn would also open up new markets for the unusual trade goods that were sure to come from this new land. In the end everyone profits of course and I get to see new sights and write about them. Seven new ships had been commissioned by the company with a design to handle the extreme weather conditions that appear unpredictably at sea nearer to Torakand. The seven ships were named as follows: Obsidian Dancer, Conflagration, Wise Oak, Wellspring, Zephyr, Sea Serpent, and Golden Circlet. These ships were then loaded with supplies enough to last many months and additional supplies were planned to be sent at regular intervals. One hundred and forty colonists were chosen, myself included, as a strategically planned mixture of soldiers and civilians from all walks of life and skilled enough to cover all foreseeable contingencies. We were all put through tests of courage, patience, resilience and problem solving before being cleared for the journey and many applicants backed out at the prospect of being tested so rigorously. As a result the merry band that I sailed across with are some of the toughest people from the whole of Sobukand. We were assigned twenty to a ship and each ship also had a crew of fifteen sailors. My ship was the Conflagration. On the voyage over I got to know my ship mates fairly well and that helped me to cement the opinion that the combination of prior screening, the command structures of the Military, and the guild structures adapted from Terradinum will lead Flint to be the first successful colony established on Torakand. In fact, I have bet my life on it.   3rd: The Governor of Flint, a wise man by the name of Cornelius Bixby, was chosen before the ships were even loaded up with goods back in Sobukand. But he was not officially named as Governor until today. The Empresses had granted The Flint Company a charter that allowed the company to establish one settlement in the new land, but the charter did not take effect until one month and one day after arrival. The ceremony and pomp and circumstance around it were very pleasant although not near what would have happened on the mainland. The Governor to be saluted and bowed to the Field Marshal who then pinned the badge of office onto him and then promptly stepped two steps behind him. She didn’t really seem to be the sort to hand over power honestly, but the ceremony went just as it was planned. Platitudes were said which I have put into my official report but care not to repeat here in my private notes.   With Governor Bixby officially ensconced, the Guildheads held their first official meetings. I, being a learned man, reported to the Explorer’s Guild, lead by Guildhead Virginia Loman. The members of the Explorer’s Guild are responsible for discovering and recording all of the measurements and facts of the land. Other than working with pen and paper though I did not feel much like I belonged. Nevertheless, this was the bargain I had struck to secure my place and I set about being as helpful as possible. I was appointed guild secretary, a turn of fate that I suppose I should have seen coming.   19th: The buildings that we are living in are temporary structures. I mention this so that future readers of this journal are not confused by what I am about to relay. The Explorer’s Guild tasked a group to determine the proper place to situate Flint. The Explorer’s Guild does more than just make maps of the topography of the land you see, they also make maps of the ley lines and other important spiritual energies that exist but are unseen. The colony had found the right land, but how to arrange the buildings in the most advantageous spot was yet to be determined. The weather had cleared enough that a group was put together to map out the area near the port and determine where best to put the centerstone and in which direction to face it. I have never before witnessed such an application of divination and mapping techniques. Colonists were walking the field swinging crystal pendulums or scanning with dowsing rods. Tables were set up were destiny deck readings could be taken within a regular grid pattern. Smouldering incense was burned and swung in a metal device I have learned is called a turibulum and the smoke patterns were interpreted. Looking glasses mounted on three legged stands were aimed at poles held vertical by apprentices to take measurements. The resulting map was a convoluted and nearly indecipherable mess, at least to my eyes. This data collection accomplished, everyone made their way to the latest temporary structure stood up, the cafe, for a nice hot cup of coffee. I then retired to my writing desk to ensure that my bundle was up to date for transport back to Sobukand on the ship leaving the next day.   20th: I stayed up all night working on my report. I wanted it to be just right since it would be the first full official month long report from Torakand. I have lost track of how much coffee I have had in the last day. I went down to the shore and hand delivered my dispatches to the captains of the Obsidian Dancer and the Zephyr. Each ship received one copy of the same dispatch on the off chance that one of the ships sank in the journey there would be a second chance for the story to get through. Seeing as how I was already down at the shore I participated in the sending off ritual. A large fire was built on the shore and the crew joined hands and chanted. Each was marked with some ashes from the fire and then washed their hands in the water from the bay. Then placing some sand in a small bag they each in turn got into the launch and rowed out to the ship for the journey home.   23rd: Yesterday should have be the midsummer celebration. Governor Cornelius Bixby declared a week ago, after consulting with the Guildheads, that we would instead celebrate midwinter and that we would do so in the Sorjund way. We all gathered around a very large bonfire in the center of the settlement and proceeded to produce an excessive amount of loud noise. I must have eaten two times the normal rationed amount of food today and my voice is gone but I feel that spirits of the land have been served. Even some of our ancestors back in Sobukand might have heard the commotion we made.  
January, 1608
  1st: Happy New Year from Torakand! It is dark and cold but spirits are up as we switch the calendar over from 1607 to 1608. Faruk Diya, the Guildhead of the Timekeeper’s Guild, organized a bonfire vigil for the solar clock. There was music and dancing through the dark hours as we waited for first sun. Alcohol and coffee both made their rounds along with plenty of bread baked with fire blooms which warmed us from the inside. Right before first sun Faruk stood ready at the edge of the solar clock and planted a tall, slender, pole on the ground. When the very top portion of the pole was illuminated by the sun’s first rays Faruk adjusted it slightly and motioned for help. Two burly folk quickly stepped up and started digging a hole in the ground. I recognized one of them as Brynhild, my smith companion from the Conflagration, who was making mighty headway over the gentleman next to them. Soon the hole was dug and the pole planted in it firmly. Then the sun crested the rise and caused the clock to cast its shadows. Faruk let out a whoop that sounded just like a roosters morning call and marked the new pole with the position of the New Year’s Day morning sun for 1608   14th: Preparations are underway for the returning of the first ships. Folks are concerned that perhaps something has gone terribly wrong and no ships will be returning. Talk has been circling the settlement about the previous attempts to colonize Torakand and the speculations around why those attempts failed. Here is some of what I have gathered from those who claim to know.   The first attempt at colonization was organized by the G.H. Yellsin Company. G. H. Yellsin sought to establish a trade route to Torakand with the aim of bringing back unusual flora and fauna for sale throughout Sobukand. With profit as their main motivation, and time to market a key to their strategy, they wanted to get a jump on the competition. This resulted in them converting three ships ordinarily intended for long range coastal trading into sea going vessels. After months with no word received all hope was lost. A thorough review of their preparations determined that they did not have enough of the proper supplies to establish a sound foothold. The G.H. Yellsin Company was devastated by this loss and closed up shop just last year, unable to return to profitability. It is widely suspected by those I spoke to that the G. H. Yellsin Expedition simply sank though some suspect that they landed on Torakand and were simply unable, or unwilling, to return.   The second attempt at colonization was a military one. Organized by the Empire, it sailed two years after the failed G. H. Yellsin one and consisted of five ships laden with plenty of supplies, weapons, and well trained commanders and guards. No word has been received back from them either. Rumor has it that the commander of that expedition may not have been strong enough of a commander. There is even a rumor that one of her subordinates may have been unhappy with how the Empire was being run and saw this as a chance to leave it behind. But we have no way of knowing if any of this is true.   Several more exploration only trips were made to Torakand in the search for any sign of these Lost Colonies but no trace of either expedition has been found. But one of these scouting expeditions discovered the sheltered bay where we made landfall some two months ago. This bay is now where all attention is being paid in the hope that our resupply ships will return as early as tomorrow.   20th: Today is the 20th of the month and we are sending two more ships, The Wise Oak and the Golden Circlet, back out to sea to return to Sobukand. This leaves only the Wellspring in the bay with her complement of 15 sailors. I had a chance to send out my dispatches with the goings on since the last month.   24th: We expected to see the Conflagration and the Sea Serpent today. With only one ship in the bay if we do not get the supplies we need there is no way for all of the colonists to get back to Sobukand. This is a dangerous world we have settled but right now the primary danger is a break in our supplies. We brought seeds with us to plant expecting to have time to lay down fields and have a nice growing season. But since the seasons are reversed we have had to rely on hunting and fishing to fill our bellies while we wait for the first resupply ships to return.   26th: The wind is bitterly cold. I must warm up my ink before I can write properly. We are all quite hungry as well. Hopefully those ships will return soon. I would hate to see this colony fail like the others. The thought of that is enough to drive one mad.   29th: Five days late is better than never returning. The Conflagration and the Sea Serpent have both returned! They bring with them fresh supplies and a few more colonists, bringing our total numbers up to one hundred and fifty one. Introductions are made all around and each of the newcomers is assigned to the appropriate guild or military unit based on their skills and which group needs the most help. This voyage brought with them many winter supplies which are very much needed, extra blankets, wool cloaks and a generous supply of fire blooms which I am told are essential to keeping us all warm. I hope there are some letters from home that folks will share with me, it will be good to get some news. I overheard at dinner that the ships had passed the Wise Oak and Golden Circlet two days past and all was well. Supplies are important to our surviving the first few years, let us hope that all continues to go well.  
February, 1608
  1st: Some of the colonists have taken ill, we were not prepared for so much cold weather. Firewood supplies have dwindled. Hopefully this cold will let up soon. The Alchemists have converted the fire bloom into some kind of black tar like substance in a jar, but if you put the bottle into your pocket it does a good job of keeping your hands warm. I must see about getting them to make me one to warm my inkwell.   10th: Three colonists died today of exposure to the elements. None of us understood that this place would subject us to winter weather this severe. February ought to be the height of summer but the days have less light than they should and the weather is so cold. These temporary structures were not designed for winter but it is impossible to build real buildings when you cannot dig for the foundations.   20th: The Wellspring and the Sea Serpent left port today leaving the Conflagration in port. This is the second time there is only one ship in port and I think it is making a few folks nervous.   23rd: The Obsidian Dancer and the Zephyr returned today. Only a few new colonists made the trip this time but they did return with many more supplies and especially some building materials. With spring approaching we will be able to break ground on the permanent structures and finally have some real protection from the elements.  
March, 1608
  1st: The cartographers of the explorer’s guild have concluded the survey they began in December and gone through reverifying measurements after the maps were drawn up, in triplicate, and checked my notes, twice. They finally have decided where to put the town center and how to situate it. We then went through the whole of the area marking it off with stakes and string according to the plan decided by the company. The site of each building was then consecrated with a series of rituals. In a few more weeks construction can begin.   15th: Two more have died from this dreadful cold. They caught a cough and just could not get rid of it. This may have been a mistake of colossal proportions. With over two months time to get a message back to Sobukand and get any return messages we need to be self sufficient. By the time we request supplies and get them it will most undoubtedly be too late.   18th: It seems the worst weather may have past. All told we have had five deaths from the cold. One hundred and twenty six colonists survived the winter entirely and with the new arrivals over the last two months the population is now one hundred and sixty six.   20th: The Conflagration and The Zephyr left port this morning. The crew of the Obsidian Dancer have set up some tents on the beach so that they can work on cleaning the hull. They are a noisy bunch and I hope that there is no trouble. The sailors don’t really live here in the colony and so they tend to keep apart coming away from their ship to get a drink or talk to folk but generally they return to their ship at night and keep to themselves. They don’t have the same stake in the colony as we do and that brings about some tension from time to time.   21st: The equinox was expected to occur today. In preparation for this the Timekeeper’s Guild has been building a solar clock. They’ve driven posts into the ground in a circular manner and have been measuring the position of the shadows at sunrise, noon and sunset. This years measurements will be compared to future years measurements to ensure accuracy, but they feel very confident that today is actually the equinox. Of course it is the vernal equinox and not the autumnal one. The days are getting longer and summer is predicted. The planting of crops can begin and that should mean more reliable food sources in the future.   24th: It is my naming day and it seems that the weather is finally starting to turn towards the warmer. Three days past the spring equinox and the celebrations and reverences observed on that day followed the traditions of those from Feldland. The coming of spring brought a thaw which in turn brought a small flood to the river, though nothing compared to the floods from the Micelburn in Feldland, or so I am told. So in keeping with the traditions from Feldland a tool from someone who died in the past year was committed to the river as an offering for the first flood. Wyatt’s hunting knife was chosen to be the best offering for this year.   25th: Groundbreaking has begun on the buildings of the settlement. Two years ago, in Sobukand, the rough plan for the settlement was laid out before the ships were even done being built. That plan has now been laid out here on the shore of Torakand with sticks and string for a few weeks now. Each building site was consecrated for its purpose and oriented for maximum harmony with the world. Under each building a series of runes or sigils is carved in the dirt following ancient traditions and a few drops of blood from the builders are ceremonially sprinkled over them. The foundation is then laid over these and the walls will go up in a few days time followed by the roofs.   28th: The Wise Oak and the Golden Circlet both returned today, three days behind schedule. There were only four new colonists this trip but plenty of supplies. I hope that my writings of the goings are not to blame for a lack of volunteers. Perhaps I should endeavor to be more positive in future dispatches? Nay, I should stick to the truth and let each person decide for themselves.  
April, 1608
  1st: Wolves are becoming a standard problem to deal with. The guard have learned to keep watch on them but they are clever animals and very quiet. To deal with this threat, and any others like it, a wooden palisade will be constructed. Of course this requires quite a bit of wood so the harvesting of trees has begun. As a side note there are some trees here that are not known to us. One in particular seems to grow upwards of a hundred feet in height and were some of the most beautiful trees in the fall time with leaves of yellow, brown and red. When these trees were cut into they produced a very sticky sap. The learned among us, mostly those with alchemical training, have begun investigating its properties. It will be quite interesting to follow their progress.   3rd: It is speculated that the wolves are attracted to our food waste. Although we have limited food resources, and use as much of each animal slain as we can, there are still portions of animals that we do not have much call for. As a result, over time, certain areas of Flint have accumulated bone piles or scrap pits which attract flies and small scavenger animals. These scavenger animals are in turn attracting the wolves who are simply hunting their natural prey in territory that we have now occupied. It has been decided therefore that something ought to be done to keep this waste from lying around on the surface. Governor Bixby then issued a decree that all waste products be brought to a central location, sorted for useful bits and the remainder portion stored in a pit away from the center of the settlement. This pit would in turn be burned once a month to ash, a product that itself could be useful for enriching the soil or for other alchemical purposes.   4th: As you probably have guessed by yesterday's entry, rats and other vermin are a part of our everyday lives here in the settlement. But a curious phenomenon has been observed, one that bears some research. I mentioned a few days back that foundations had been laid down for the new buildings and construction on those buildings is going relatively well. But aside from the progress on the buildings it was observed that there seem to be no rats in the construction zones. Upon further examination there seem to be no bugs either. This coincidence was discussed as a strange anomaly until the cooks heard of it. The cooks recognized the enormous benefits that could be had by being able to keep vermin out of the food stores and so they decided to set up an experiment to determine the reasons for this strange but most useful behavior. They have selected a plot of land and started to clear it as was done for each of the foundations. In a few days they will be ready to begin their formal inquiry.   7th: The sap of the still unnamed tree that I spoke of on the 1st is extremely sugary. When boiled in water the rim of the metal cauldron acquired sugar crystals. Perhaps this can be treated and turned into some kind of syrup. But the experiments with the sap have been put on hold while the vermin prevention experiments are underway.   To start the vermin prevention experiment an area of ground was cleared approximately ten meters in length and two meters wide. This area was then subdivided into sections for the experiment. The first section was left natural with its plants still intact. The second section was scraped to bare earth as though to be built upon. The next sections were all also scraped clean like the second but each had a different single treatment applied to them. One section was bordered with building boards. Another was trampled on by workers. A third section received the purification ritual rune carvings. A fourth section received the drops of the builder’s blood along with the words that were said when the blood offering was customarily delivered. The final section had the whole of the foundation sequence done on it, but was then left to be just a foundation, no other building being done on it. On the following days these sections will each be observed for vermin activity to attempt to determine which activity has the most effect.   8th: The vermin experiment setup was observed today, from a distance so as not to interfere with the results. Vermin were observed in the vicinity and even crossed into some of the sections of the experimental area, but not all of them. Of course with sections so small it will take many days of observation to verify any findings.   9th: I observed some military drills today by a group of the guards. They were practicing formations with sword and pistol. They started off in a formation like that of flying geese, or perhaps in the shape of an spearhead. One soldier was at the point and she fired her pistol with her left hand at a tree standing in as the opponent. To her left side then the next soldier stood forward taking over the spear point while the rearmost soldier left his post and rejoined the rearmost position of the left hand arm. In due time the soldiers needed to reload and they would take time to do so while at the back of the line. This seemed an orderly thing but it was unclear what would happen should they be faced with opponents of equal numbers and need to fire more than one shot at a time. Myself not having military training though I am but guessing as to the nature of the drill.   10th: Vermin have been observed running through the building material bordered section of the experiment. As a result, the cooks have ruled out the wood and the iron nails as being the vermin repellent.   11th: No vermin have been spotted in the last experimental section. This reinforced the belief that something real is going on here. However bugs have been observed in the third section, the one with the runes, and rats have been observed in the fourth section, the one with the builders blood only. So it appears that the combination of the two portions of the ritual are both needed to protect the location from vermin.   12th: The cooks brought the results of their experiment to the Governor. The Governor suggested that the experiment be extended to some of the temporary structures to determine if protection can be established after a building has already gone up. The cooks agreed with this idea and working with the ritualists of Flint picked a few of the dormitory buildings to use as the trial run. Sadly my building was not selected.   16th: It has been four days since the vermin exclusion ritual was applied to a few of the temporary dormitories and the residents of those buildings have reported a massive decrease in vermin activity. This confirmation of the results of the vermin experiment has sent a ripple of conversation through the settlement. The process followed when building these structures included traditional blessings of the foundation which had never before seemed to have had any particular effect and yet they must have been developed for a reason. Our ancestors would not have developed these traditions for no reason, yet the original reason seems to have been lost to time and what must have been some kind of a ritual of protection with some effectiveness had simply become a tradition born out of habit and repetition. It makes one wonder what other ancient traditions might hold hidden secrets and effects. The ritualists, small in number here, are quite excited at the possibilities and have all come to me to beg me to send notes to Sobukand requesting copies of certain books be sent over to reference. Perhaps in time and with some trial and error we will be able unlock some of the secrets of our ancestors.   20th: The Obsidian Dancer and The Golden Circlet depart leaving The Wise Oak and her crew as the only ship in port. I sent my usual reports along with the captains. I also sent a personal letter to my family to reassure them that all is well. I do hope that they write back with news from Sobukand. Finally I did send a separate letter requesting access to various books for the ritualists to reference. These ships are bound to return in two months, we can hope that they bring some answers.   30th: The Wellspring and the Sea Serpent returned today bringing seventeen new colonists, mostly folk with construction experience. The plan, it seems, is to really get going on the building of the settlement and to start on a dock to make shipping in and out easier.


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