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Northern Ibis' Expedition (Nor-Thern EE-Bys Jur-Nee)

Captain Ranulphus always insisted on taking the wheel and being the one who brought the Northern Ibis to dock. His crew proclaimed that it was his pride that made him do this with every return to port. Only he knew the real reason was to keep him from having to interact with the contemptible passengers. He was more than willing to take their money and in return he provided the most comfortable food and accommodations. However, he considered his time priceless. As his latest travelers disembarked, his spurious smile on, he remembered how it all started while waiving absentmindedly.

Eleven cycles ago, Ranulphus retired early from the crown's military with the rank of full Colonel and raced home to be with his wife Betta. Their reunion was short lived since within less than one cycle she succumbed to an unknown illness. May the Gods look over her soul. Before leaving the army, he had heard rumors that the Crown would soon build a fleet of ships to own a proper navy. After selling all his possessions, Ranulphus made his way back to Estergan. Before long, he was the lead instructor on the three mast Barque that he was eager to name: Northern Ibis. Before long he had altered the ship to enable thirty sailors to competently maneuver the vessel in lieu of the preconceived number of one hundred and sixteen. The Crown decided to go in another direction. It was decided that the Braque was to be destroyed and the bulk of the navy would consist of bulky and dominating Galleons and the swift and sleek Schooner.

This news left Ranulphus overwhelmed. The thought of losing another loved one was too much to bear. Not that the Barque he had used every single day for a few cycles was exquisite, quite the contrary. All the use and abuse was quite visible. After all the battle exercises, she was barely seaworthy. Nonetheless, this ship still had character and fortitude. She had become home to Ranulphus.

After Retiring for a second time, Ranulphus traded in his rank and all of his favors, accumulated over a lifetime in the army, and he received special dispensation to keep the battered ship. Spending every coin he possessed, he gutted the ship to it's bare structure and with care, each plank, nail, mast were examined to make certain it was robust. Any defect was addressed. With the cannons and ammunition removed, the true remodeling began, from Stern to Bow: Out of the three decks, one third was reserved for the restaurant that inhabits two levels to allow huge Crystal chandeliers to illuminate the mahogany tables and silk cushioned chairs. The top two decks of the Midship were reserved for the luxury cabins. The first four would be double cabins using both levels, then eight single cabins per level. Captain Ranulphus reserved a double cabin for his own personal use but most nights he slept in the hammock on the deck close to the wheel. The Bow was reserved for the crew. The finishing might be a little less luxurious but the amount of space would be triple what a sailor or crewperson would usually have. The third deck was reserved for the kitchen, the doctor and the provisions.

After half of a cycle of hard work reconditioning the one hundred and thirty one foot long, two thousand square meter ship was ready for its maiden voyage. There have been some highs and lows. A few close calls with fires that were hard to contain. It was a testament to the quality of his crew that the Northern Ibis' Expedition was still floating and that no souls were lost. Once in a while, when accidentally cornered by a passenger or two, Ranulphus was asked the same question; why did he name the ship the Northern Ibis' Expedition. He would smile in response remembering the last trip with his wife to the shores of the Northern Wasteland, they were greeted by a pack of bald birds that he found ghastly, but Betta was enthralled by them. Even cycles later, every time she saw a large black bird, she would recount in vivid details their encounter with the Northern Bald Ibis. How he missed his wife.

Not that it was an easy life with bad weather and worse passengers. Still, the freedom of the seas, the wind at his back, Ranulphus could no longer imagine a different life. Summers spent traveling north, out on the open ocean, while the summers were spent traveling south once the ice melted. Some nights, after he consumed a few glasses of whiskey, he would assert to whomever was close by, that he could hear his wife's laughter carried through the wind.
Northern Ibis' Expedition 1st Tier Base Map Image
Northern Ibis' Expedition 2nd Tier Base Map Image
Northern Ibis' Expedition 3rd Tier Base Map Image

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17 Sep, 2021 20:45

Great history for a ship, my only question is you have the title as Expedition, but the pronunciation is for Journey

As always, it would be appreciated if you would stop by my challenge article The Storm Giant Empire and leave some feedback.   If you are looking for things to read from summer camp there is also my Summer Camp 2022 Reading Challenge.. Happy worldbuilding.
4 Oct, 2021 19:39

I like this, your writing really paints a vivid picture. The maps are quite nice, too. My only suggestion would be to break up the blocks of text more, like with columns or headlines, but that is a minor thing. Good job!

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