Chapter 1 "And here I begin"
The long trek from FeirWalt brought me to Old Sam's Tavern where I remained in keeping wondering the current fate of my father. The Faultzenn band that passed by my home slew all of my friends and took my brother. Me and my father ran for our lives in the direction of Verran where we would stay with uncle Sam. Eventually he broke down and told me to go on without him so I left him their to rought; and thus I continued on with regret.
"So, Carol, your father sent you here for what reason?" Uncle Sam inquired of me. I kept my eyes to the ground as the tears dropped. The memories of the event troubled me greatly and I could no-longer bear it and burst into a sobbing adult ferret crying in the pain of my loss. "Carol, what is it, tell me what you need to, it's alright!" I composed myself to a guilty state and recalled the past which I bitterly regretted and looked up at him. "Sam... you have no idea what has happened to me in the past few months. Many things have happened since then and many of my dear friends have been lost..." "What are you talking about, tell me?" I refused to speak yet something in me told me to tell the long tale to him. All of those painful memories continued flashing through my mind tormenting with such guilt mocking my doings. My conscience ruthlessly accused me with titles given to an evil scoundrel: 'Coward, traitor, betrayer, liar, fool, bystander!' The words of accusation continuously tore me apart and blamed me for the many things that had happened. I then spoke: "I have a long story to tell you, Sam. A time of pain, hope, sorrow, and fear. Before can finally understamd what had happened, you must listen to this." "Alright, just tell me. It should do me well." And thus I began the long tale of the fine crew of the E.C. Majestrate and our long, perilous journey to the uncharted lands of the west. And here it begins...
Chapter 2 "The Press"
Running along the noontide shore I halted to admire the crashing waves upon the rocky shore as it continued its slow process of erosion upon the many tide pools. The cold salt-water ran up to my foot paws with a soothing flow then I heard a call from behind. "Carol, father needs you at the mill, he said you should've been their 3 hours ago!" "Coming Ceival, father should be okay at mill untill I arrive." "Well you better come now, hes angry!" The trek up the rocky shore had its own difficulties, but yet I arrived at my humble community to be greeted by my dissappointed father. Father had always cared for his colony but yet took care of his parenting responsibilties with an iron paw. His strict rules limited most of doings and we disobeyed, the outcome was usually unpleasant. As I approached him, he gave out a rare smile that seemed to mock me. Then he spoke: "So Carol, you're late for milling duty; and you left a mess from last time." He guided me into the 70 cubit tall mill where he signalled my attention to all the grain scattered among the turning mill-stone, then turned his head in my direction waiting for an explanation. "Well...?" "Hmm, let's see, I must left the grain untended when I ran out to catch Jonsy; she was running away with one of our pidgeons." "Well, didn't you return to the mill to tend the grain after you caught the tike?" "I remember her locking me into the tool shed and running away with the key..." "So that explains the broken window. You are dismissed."
I caried on with my sight-seeing on the shore where I wittled away with a block of wood I picked up as I left. Brother Ceival came along and sat down beside me. "So, what did father say?" "He questioned me of the mess I left as I ran after Jonsy and recalled the broken window in the tool shed. After that he told me to go away." Ceival looked at me and back to the shore, then left me on the shore to do my wittling...
Papers ruffled in the western breeze that came in through the windows. A vigorous knocking came in the direction of the door to be answered by a rather solitary stoat. "Come in Theritz, bring in your reports on the document approvals." "Yes sir, Harlington. Most of the terms on Document 14-19 have been approved so now we can continue on with advertising this voyage." Vursov Harlington nodded in satisfication then answered. "Alright, now all we need to do is register my ships again and reunite the crew." The stoat proceeded from his chair in the direction of the printing press and patted it fondly. "Alright now, good ol' Sammy should be able to do the job of printing out those notices. Now bud, howabout you go help me set this contraption up for use." Theritz walked over to his aging captain and gave him a hand with positioning all of the numerous type molds into the forme that was to make the poster. Harlington spread ink onto the forme and began feeding paper into the press as the early steam-powered engine brought it to life. The feeder began to produce fine posters with its neat letters as Harlington looked at his machine's final products. The machine continued printing with its constant pace: dispense, feed, press, dispense, feed, press.... The two watched in aw at the magnificent invention's workings. "Ah, she's never failed me." "Aye, 'tis a fine machine you've got here. So, where did you get it?" "An eastern trader lent it to me, he brought it unassembled in his carraige. It took us at 8 or so days to set it up with the steam engine. Now, let's get these papers up and ready to be seen."
Chapter 3 "The Noticement"
The western breeze had brought a small storm with it. Rain pattered on the ground bringing misery to the homeless beast slumbering in the allies by the walkways. Sorry for the advertisers that they have to be nailin' up noticements all day - but yet, as I passed by the noticements as the ferret went on to the next post, I noticed the words that caught my interest:
HARLINGTON PRINTING CO. ISSUED JUNE 2, 1530 PRINTED JUNE 1, 1530
'RECRUITING MEMBERS AND PAST CREW MEMBERS OF THE SOVEREIGN E.C. MAJESTRATE. ENLIST YOURSELVES BY JUNE 17, 1530.
TRAINING FOR NEW UNEXPERIENCED ENLISTMENTS WILL BE CONDUCTED. OLD EXPERIENCED MEMBERS OF THE SOVEREIGN E.C. FLEET WILL BE PARTNERED UP WITH A NEW ENLISTMENT AND WILL GUIDE THEM IN THEIR DESCISIONS.
THIS NOTICEMENT IS IN PREPARATION FOR THE 12TH VOYAGE OF THE SOVEREIGN E.C. MAJESTRATE, THE E.C. FERMAN, THE E.C. CAULARD, THE E.C. DANFELLOW, THE E.C. ADVENTURE, THE E.C. PERRYGLENN, AND THE E.C. JOVERMAN, ALSO IN CALLING FOR ALL FORMER CREW MEMBERS OF THE SOVEREIGN E.C. FLEET.
THE FLEET WILL BE LEAVING ON A VOYAGE TO THE UNCHARTED WESTERN COASTS. THE COURSES TO THE WESTERN COASTS HAVE NOT BEEN PLANNED. MORE DESCISIONS WILL BE TAKEN BY THE NAVIGATORS ON THE SAFEST, PERHAPS THE FASTEST COURSE.
ENLIST NOW IF YOU WISH TO JOIN THE SOVEREIGN E.C. FLEET AND EMBARK ON THE QUEST TO EXPLORING THE UNCHARTED WEST, AND EXPERIENCE THE LIFE ON BOARD.
ON ENLISTMENT, SURVEYS WILL BE DISTRIBUTED TO ALL CONSCRIPTS TO DETERMINE YOUR STATION ON BOARD THE SOVEREIGN E.C. FLEET. STATIONS SUCH AS THAT OF A COOPER, MUSICIAN, SURGEON, COOK, CAPENTER, GUNNER, NAVIGATOR, BOSUN, OR A QUARTERMASTER, AND SOME LOWLY RANKS WILL BE GIVEN TO CERTAIN CONSCRIPTS BASED ON THEIR SURVEY RESULTS AND PERFORMANCE IN CERTAIN TESTS.
SO ENLIST NOW AND JOIN THE SOVEREIGN E.C. FLEET!
The old dream of becoming a sailor came back to me. This was the oppurtunity to fulfill that old dream that me and my brother once had. Perhaps we could go together as bretheren sailors on the the Sovereign E.C. Fleet's beloved flagship. My father had once been a sailor and has taught us much of the things he had known, surely he would let us both join the fleet. If we could review all of the skills we have been taught, we could gain a higher rank of some sort. In a moment, I was running off home to my father's farm to tell him the news.
By the time I got there, Ceival was already knocking at the door waiting for father to let us indoors. Ceival had the conduct of an excited ferret, or just a ferret running for his life sake of being saved from some sort of danger. Maybe he had also seen the noticement and also wanted to ask father for permission. Father finally opened the door with an iratated look of dismay at Ceival's constant knocking and asked of to tell him the reason of our mirth. "Father, have you seen the noticements out there about the..." Father stopped me and had a distant look on his face as this was a certain time he had been waiting for. "Aye, I saw that one. Ah, the old memories I've had on the E.C. DanFellow. Me and good captain Harlington fine comrades in the Sovereign E.C. Fleet. He commanded the E.C. Majestrate as I commanded the E.C. Danfellow during that old voyage..." "Father, in all of your stories, you've never told us that you were a captain?" "Well, those stories date back during the times when I was just a bosun some time before I found your mother. Those old stories as a captain of a ship that me and my friends built had perilous details of ship warfare against vermin warlords that I couldn't tell you by then." "So father will you let us go?" That distant smile on my father's face grew wider with such a happiness that dawned on his conduct. "Well, not only will I let you go, I will be comin' with you! I'm certain that good old Harlington will be happy to see me again." "Yes father yes, now our dreams will come true father. Thank you" "Becoming a sailor was not only your dream, it was also my dream for you guys..." Me and my brother hugged our father in such excitement of the new experiences that would come to us in the future...
Chapter 4 "Sailors we are Togethah'"
The next day was quite sunny with the ground still damp from yesterday's deluge. Captain Harlington of the E.C. Majestrate was standing at the port where already 300 conscripts and former members of the Sovereign E.C. Fleet had enlisted. His first mate, Theritz past out surveys to the new members of the Fleet. Me, Ceival and Father came along and Father presented his old badge to the weasel that was standing sitting by the desk. "Ah, Cap'n Dan Miller, welcome back my old friend! I see you've brought yer children here to learn the skill of the fair sailor." "Hallo Jackfern, it's nice to meat yer again after allo' those years sailing der Great Sea." "Aye bud, let's see what skills yer children gots." I sat down on a bench with my brother as we filled in our surveys. Their were at least about 51 questions based on our knowledge in sailing and our different skills. I filled in small paragraph answers to some questions and selected the point form answers on the sheet. Off in the distance, the former crew members were back to their stations on their ship and old 'Captain Dan' was up on his galleon commanding his reunited crew. Conscripts were training at different courses that lined the paved port. The E.C. DanFellow was a quite massive floating structure and nearly out guns the E.C. Majestrate by a little difference and thus I am quite proud that my father owns such a ship. A filled in my last question and handed the sheets to Theritz who was getting results from the surveys. He checked that all the questions have been filled and handed me a paper with the corresponding survey questionaire number and bade me to wait untill my number had been called. Next my brother gave in his survey and was given his own number. By my observations, this event must have been planned for for a long stretch of time.
Theritz handed my sheets to a scrutinizer who corresponded my answers with the different station answer profiles. In a while, he handed his results to Theritz who shouted my number. "Number 344!" I came in to pick my results, and the contents of the card were great news to me. As a result of all those orientation lectures that my father taught to me, it comes now to my survey's results:
'SURVEY NUMBER 344, CAROL MILLERSON, GO TO NAVIGATOR ORIENTATION COMPOUND."
So now I saw, that I was going to become a navigator! I used to regret taking those orientation lessons my father gave me, but they did give me a quite acceptable station on board the ship. So I proceeded on to the place that the card instructed me to go to.
Chapter 5 "In Training"
I walked up to the small shed with a little tent beside where a wooden plank that was nailed to the shed had the title, "Orientation for Navigator Trainees". About 15 or so conscripts had been gathered around a table under the tent that had a series of common orientational instruments, some of which my father had taught me how to use. The Group approached me and introduced me to the other conscripts who were happy to accept a new member into their group. "All right now, so to introduce you, my name is Balven and this here is my academy. So, perhaps you tell us your name." The basic introductions creeped me but I was able to adapt. "Carol Millerson, sir, a navigator by survey, son of captain Dan." "Ah, so you're the son o' thee cap'n eh? All right, now let's begin." During our time their, we studied the different instruments of navigation and the learned the different methods of using such. Most of the things they taught us were familiar to my father's teachings. Eventually we were tested on the different uses of each device.
Now it was dark with a cloudless starry sky and we were all heading to our ships where would would stay and sleep. Our sleeping quarters was in the lower deck which was lined with hammocks but we navigators were left to a private room full of bunks and cots. Father stayed upstairs consulting with his top navigators, bosun and firstmate. The ship rarely rocked in its position by the dock and I could here the chattering coming from the other cabins. Earlier this night, we had been paracticing using the quadrant and learned more about these instruments. But now we are in the cabin doing our business reading books and chatting. "Carol, what did Captain Dan teach you in your childhood?" Acknowledging his lowly position and right to call name him as Captain and not my dad I told him much about his teachings and some of the stories he had told me about his ship. He was interested in my stories and my place as the captain's son, but I knew not to expect any form of fame from this. So I didn't emphasize at all on my relativity to anyone I spoke to and tried being myself and no other being but 'Carol'. I scooched down into my bunk and took out the manual that was given to me by Balven and read a few chapters. The job of a navigator was still quite acceptable for me and I was starting to have a fondness for this station and decided that I would try my best to excel in it. But I still wonder what Ceival was assigned to. Although we've been separated for about 13 hours and I already knew that he was about a few cabins away from here, I still missed him...
"All right now, today's training operations have been successful and the recruits are catching on to their stations. Now, here are the recruits for the E.C. DanFellow: 14 Navigators, 23 Gunners (3 Group Leaders and Twenty Gun Crew), 18 Carpenters, 4 Cooks (notes: 'that would be nice'), 5 Surgeons, 6 Musicians, and 9 Coopers. So hopefully, today we will have more conscripts to man this ship." "Now men, get on with your groups, we need our men ready for the voyage."