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The Adept's Notebook

Uncharted Waters

1505 words
I go now... as forever I'd be a firework —
One lit in brillance white against the evening stars —
Rather than a feeble candle, burning out its time.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and forever and a day,
Through these soft whispers every life burns out...
Nay, I'll be... a torch against the night.
— Preface
  The Adept's Notebook, also known as Annelise's Notebook, is one of the best-preserved documents from the Northern Survey. Written from the perspective of a young, talented scholar, Annelise Marion, it details the trepidation, heartbreak, and glory of the voyage north in the form of drawings, poetry, and descriptive prose on the day-to-day events of the journey.  


A government that is too weak to protect its people is a failure. A government that is too strong and oppresses its people is still a government, though tyrannical. I would much rather my government be too strong than too weak.
— Annelise's essay on government
  Annelise Marion, the author of the journal, was in quite a unique situation at the time of her writing. She had passed the imperial exams with flying colors just a year earlier, and achieved the rank of Adept: one of the top hundred students who would go on to administer provinces, armies, departments... maybe even nations. At this time, the call went out for a diplomat to journey with the Northern Survey, a voyage racked with danger.   It seemed that no Adept in their right mind would sail with the crews... after all, they had already earned a life of comfort and power. However, Annelise not only was willing to sail, but also personally volunteered to the empress to accompany the voyage. Empress Sara admired her bravery and asked what reward she would like to have for her duties. "None," she replied, "for the journey is its own reward."  


To capture one image is more glorious than to write a thousand words.
— Old adage
  The Adept's Notebook is divided into sections by day, with each section containing several short poems. One of the reasons this journal has survived so long is because of the quality of the poetry inside. According to contemporary poets, this masterwork showcased Annelise's skill at the highest calibre, and was left unmatched for decades.   Inside the notebook, each poem is annotated with context on what happened where and when. Usually, this is limited to a paragraph or two – although in certain situations the annotations may approach two pages in length. Annelise notes in her book that when her prose lengthens, "the poetry tends to ebb in power, for the scene is too fluid to be put into so few words."

Journal, Personal
Authoring Date
16 A.U.


It is recommended by the Commander's Council to promote Adept Marion to Viceroy of New Ironfoot, due to the exceptional qualities demonstrated in her Notebook.
— Commendation for Promotion #2924
  Annelise's travelogue was very well received, not only by the officials and peoples of Ironfoot, but also by the peoples of Sali, which were very interested in the sailing techniques and etiquette of the foreign peoples who had just turned up at their doorstep.   Today, the Notebook is regarded as a literary masterwork. A recent survey has determined that over half of all poets have copies of this book in their households, and Annelise is deservingly referred to as "the Sage of Poetry".  
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Author's Notes

This article was created as an entry for the Documents of Discovery challenge here on World Anvil. You can view other entries from the competition here – or check out all past World Anvil competitions here.
  The poetry written above was written in a style similar to traditional Chinese poetry. However, I have not worked to replicate the rhyme and rhythm strictly defined for such poems. If these poems was rendered in the standardized language of Ironfoot, it would have a rigid, complex rhythm pattern and rhyme pattern, as Ironfoot's logographic language is conducive to such a style of poetry.

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7 Jun, 2019 03:43

Is this a direct sort of follow up to your colony challenge entry? It feels so familiar with the sea. Maybe I'm misremembering. But either way, your illustrations and music are on point for this and your log was well done.   Venomous sea beasts is a messed up combo :(   I also really appreciate your attention to the detail of what happens after the log was made and how it was received. You did a great job Shrike! Thank you for the entry!

7 Jun, 2019 20:00

Yes, it fit well so I made it! Thank you for the kind words, sir.

@ yeslittlehummingbird-deleted
Anna Elizabeth Boyett
19 Jun, 2019 04:06

Hi, love! This is your friendly neighborhood Forge Mother here to let you know that we Enchanters would absolutely love to feature this article in one of our community's daily features! Unfortunately it appears you've neglected to credit some of your artists.   If you could, we'd love to have you credit them! And if / when you've corrected this issue, please respond to this comment to let us know- that way we can show your article off to the lovely users in our community   For more information about our feature requirements, please see our codex entry:
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