Mar 5, 2012

Guild Chronicles - Chapter 1: Washed Ashore

Sand. His hand was resting on dry sand. It took a moment for the significance of this to register in Jason's exhausted mind, but when it did, he dared to crack open an eye and peer at his surroundings.
No undead. That was the first thing his mind registered. It gave him a sense of hope that had been missing for the past four days. The rest of the scene started to imprint on his consciousness. He was lying face down on a sandy beach. There were palm and other trees making a thick jungle starting about 50 feet from the shore. The beach was U-shaped, and he was lying at the base of the U. The sun was shining brightly down on him, warming him and telling him it must be almost mid-day.

He wasn't sure how long he'd been lying there. His Elonian ancestry graced him with a dark skin that didn't burn easily, even under the intense sun it was now subject to. His clothes were dry on the back, but still damp on the front, so he assumed that he had only been on the beach for a few hours. The fact that no Krait had taken him prisoner and no Hylek had killed him for trespassing lent further proof to the idea that he hadn't been here for more than a few hours because any longer and something would likely have found him.
Jason rolled over and got himself into a sitting position, looking out over the bay. He also removed the Asuran re-breather device from his face. He couldn't remember much from the previous night, but he was sure it had saved his life. He hoped that he hadn't cost anyone else their life by taking it from the ship's stores, but his sense of self-preservation had told him to grab it while he could and so he had taken it the moment he saw it.
Of course, he realized, that was part of his problem. He was too impulsive. If he ever made it back to Lion's Arch, he was going to have to track down his "buddy" Josh and have a few words with him. It had been his suggestion that the ship had a secret cargo of gems that had started this whole, sorry affair. That mere hint at untold riches had been enough to fire Jason's imagination and send him on his way. Yes, Josh would have a few things to answer for thought Jason. First among them was whether he knew the ship would be leaving on the high tide that night. Not being a sailor, Jason had assumed that the ship would leave at dawn and that he had plenty of time for the heist. "Oh well" he muttered aloud. If there was one thing he had learned, it was how to live with the consequences of his rash actions.
Snapping his focus back to his immediate situation, he glanced around and noticed that there were some gulls flying overhead and a slight breeze which was making some gentle waves on the bay. Except for the piece of wood that he had been clutching, there were no other signs of the violence that had occurred out at sea. Jason was lucky to be alive, and he knew it. He was also keenly aware that his continued survival was very much in jeopardy. He wasn't sure which side of the Sea of Sorrows he had washed up on and the mid-day sun made it impossible to tell what was north, south, east or west. He'd have to wait a few more hours before he had any clue as to where he was. And even then, it would only be the vaguest of notions.
He wondered if anyone else from the ship had survived. Although it wasn't very charitable of him, he half wished that nobody else had because it would make things easier for him. It would be very awkward to explain how he survived an attack on a ship that he wasn't even supposed to be on in the first place. Any sailors who had survived would certainly not take kindly if they found out they'd had a stowaway onboard and that the stowaway had then survived while their fellow sailors had been claimed for Zhaitan's undead army.
Jason shivered at the thought. Yes, he'd certainly dodged a bullet there. This thought made him realize that he had lost his pistols during the frenzy. In fact -- feeling about his person and taking a quick inventory -- Jason now realized that he only had the leather armor that he wore and one of the daggers he kept concealed in his boots. The left dagger was missing, but the right one had somehow stayed in it's sheath. A loud grumbling sound made Jason start and almost jump to his feet. Before he could move though, he realized that it was just his stomach. Jason had only eaten a small amount of stolen bread over the last four days. "Wonderful", Jason sighed to himself. "As if being lost and nearly weaponless wasn't bad enough, I'm soon going to starve to death. Or dehydrate" he added as he realized just how dry his mouth was. He was reasonably good at planning as long as there was a clear goal in mind. His current situation was making his mind spin a bit though, as he considered all that he needed to do. Setting priorities wasn't his strong suit, but his stomach was doing a good job of convincing him that fresh water and food should top the list.
Steeling himself for the task of finding fresh water and food in a strange land while his body was exhausted, Jason prepared to stand up and face the jungle. Before he could move though, he heard an odd, condescending voice say "Aren't you a sorry-looking bookah?"

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