The Gregory Chronicles: Book One
|The Gregory Chronicles: Book One|
The Gregory Chronicles is an oddity amongst nonfictional prose articles all over Aloria. The author, Jeremiah Gregory supposedly wrote down his experience from an expedition across the world, in search of a supposed species of Dragon. The validity of the text is still being heavily discussed. Several first-hand accounts from his shipmates have all given different accounts of what happened, but they all agreed on one thing: the events described here did occur, just perhaps not in the exact form they are explained within the text. The backlash that came from the publishing of this text helped brand Jeremiah as a con-man and a liar. In fact, it became so bad that Jeremiah never published the piece during his lifetime; his son Ruben was the one to finally publish book one of his father’s travel journals to the public in 303 AC, nearly forty years after it was first written. The first book that has been published depicts the start of the Jeremiah’s journey, as well as a rather violent encounter with the undead. It’s currently regarded as an important, if not entirely factual, modern odyssey. The text is still very much seen as controversial amongst the scholarly community, and is thus often scoffed at as “fictional garbage” amongst scholars.
The Gregory Chronicles: Book One
Sunday Morning, 3rd of July 265 AC. It was a warm day, in fact, it had been a rather warm year. Crops had been growing well, and all seemed well. I had prepared for this journey for almost a year, gathering the resources and planning the route. Oh, I should introduce myself. I’m Jeremiah, Jeremiah Gregory; the soon-to-be famous Regalian explorer, especially if my findings turn out to be true. I’m on a journey to find the king of all beasts, a Dragon. At first, I was of course suspicious. Who’d believe a tale of mythical creatures such as that? Of course, there’s a chance that this tale is in fact not a tale, and is a chance that it is in fact true. This is why I’m traveling to Solangeria, I need to find out for myself.
As I departed with the ship, I was already regretting this choice a tad. It was filthy. Unwashed, poorly groomed sailors, rats, and ship rations that smelled just about as dead as my great-grandfather. The boat was cramped and smelly; my cabin was barely able to house me, and my bag. This was going to be a long and harsh journey. Despite my concerns though, the journey away from the Regalian port went smoothly, there was no strong winds, and the sea was calm. Even so, many of the sailors seemed worried, one of them even muttering the phrase, “It’s the calm before a storm.” In my opinion, this was all superstition. The journey lasted a few days, the ship cruising along the waves calmly. It was all rather serene, and as such, we arrived on the Isle of Etosil on the 10th of July with high spirits.
Sunday Morning, 10th of July 265 AC The port city we arrived in was a quaint little place, bustling with life. Along the harbour were small shops, filled with everything from exotic and edible bugs, to weaponry, to fine silk. Along the right stretched a market district. This was where we were going to find the supplies needed to restock up on. We spent a day in the city, wandering along the markets, and chatting with the locals. These chats lead us to learn a horrid truth: the town had a little bit of a problem. An undead one!
The port city had an old mausoleum, one that had a slight… Undead problem. In fact, a small army of undead resided within the mausoleum. They were for the time being locked up inside, but they needed to be eradicated.
I met up with the captain of my ship, a rather daft and ignorant man. It was a mystery to me how he managed to climb up this far in the ranks. The meeting went well aside from the occasional questions from Captain Daft, regarding such hard topics as, “What are undead?” and “Can’t we just cut them all up?” I was growing rather tired of this entire ordeal, and I was just about ready to leave the little township to fend for themselves, but then the daft fool actually muttered something usable. He said, “Why can’t we just blow it up?”
That was it, I had an idea! Our ship had a stockpile of gunpowder which I had planned to use later on if we encountered danger. If we could roll one of the barrels down into the mausoleum, we could ruin its support pillars, and bring tonnes of rocks onto the undead’s head. I put the crew to work, preparing a barrel filled with gunpowder as well as a fuse long enough to give the barrel time to roll down into the mausoleum. I had been told that the main support pillar was about ten feet down, at the end of the steps. All I needed to do, was pray that my calculations were correct.
As we arrived outside the grand stone doors of the mausoleum, I could feel the chilling air brushing up against my neck. I pulled my coat tightly around myself, but it didn’t really help shield my body from the cold. We needed two men to pull the mausoleum doors open; they seemed to have been barred considerably, and it took about five minutes of heaving to get it opened. As I glared down into the darkened abyss, I felt fear. For the first time on my trip, I was terrified. Terrified of the undead, of the explosion, I was terrified of the dark down there.
I rolled the barrel up towards the entrance, glancing at it for a moment. The torch in my hand was used to light the fuse, before I sent the barrel a hard kick. It rolled and rolled, until after a few moments, it seemed as if it had disappeared completely. Then, a small flash of orange, or yellow graced my vision. I couldn’t quite see, but I did hear it. A loud boom, and the sound of rubble. I stood still, completely frozen in place. One of the townsfolk came to my aid in the last second, pulling me away from the rapidly falling mausoleum.
Everything around us fell, the ground itself being swallowed underneath our feet. I just ran, sprinted to the best of my abilities. I could hear screams in the distance. In my fear and my rush to escape, I never stopped to check if it was the undead or my crew that screamed those pained death cries. My feet just moved on their own, as I tried my hardest to keep my mind following along. I couldn’t slip. As I ran, I could see the small patch of ground ahead of me falling. This was not my time to die, I thought. My legs bent slightly, and leaped forth; as high and hard as I could manage. My body flew, and I crashed onto safe ground. The hit was hard, enough to knock the air out of me.
The aftermath of the explosion was devastating, Four of the thirty men on my exploration were buried under rubble.
We spent a day in the surrounding town, going about business as usual, though the morale of my remaining crew was clearly dropping. The explosion had wiped out the horde of undead, but it had also killed friends, and comrades. We spent the day stocking up on food, and checking around the ship to make sure it was ready to depart. The entire crew and me, we had all decided to move on as quickly as possible.
Friday Night, 15th of July 265 AC The cold wind struck my cheek, and as I oversaw the final preparations for boarding, we were just about ready to depart. Once the first signs of sunrise showed, we would leave the harbor. The leader of the little community we had helped gave us a handsome reward for our efforts. We were properly re-armed with weaponry, and had our ship stocked full with food, cloth, and coin. It had helped raise the morale a tad, as it seemed like the journey would go rather pain-free from this point on.
We departed on Sunday morning at 9AM. It had been a week since we left out at sea. Though we hadn’t really gotten the comfort we had looked for when first arriving at the island of Etosil, hopefully the journey would be calm, and peaceful from now on.
The first day out at sea went well—nothing seemed out of sorts, in fact, it all seemed to go too well. The seas were calm, and the crew was working reliably. Clear skies and a warm breeze promised a safe journey. For days, this weather persisted, we had gotten almost two thirds towards Hadar before any signs of grey skies popped up.
The rain began slowly dripping down, barely noticeable at first. The first few drops rolled down my forehead, and for a moment, it even seemed to stop. But it was the calm before the storm. Rain started pouring, as if someone sat in the clouds, dropping bucket-fulls onto us. The wind blew harshly, bringing along large and crashing waves. Water washed across deck, and with it, it washed away supplies, and the occasional man. This storm seemed to have no end, but it could surely not get any worse? Wrong.
- The author’s son Ruben claims to possess a scale from the Dragon, handed down to him from his father.
- The book was banned in several Ailor states due to the backlash that struck it, these states including Etosil, where the story takes place.