Chronicles of Arcania: Minnows

So it’s Easter here on Earth, and whilst the meaning and origins of the holiday can be very long debated, there was something similar in Arcania, even though in Arcanon’s time no-one ever really came back from the dead outside of literal necromancy.The following takes place in 75 AC, at the southwestern peak of the island, several weeks prior to the opening of the war.

Four days at sea in a crowded fishing boat, and with hardly a worm to see, I’m glad the waters are pretty full of minnows. Unlike most people here, I’m not a spellcaster. By trade, I make bait for fishing, catching worms and insects that fish have a taste for so actual fisherman can make a profit, but my specialty is blending minnows.

Minnows are small fish, but they’re a big part of the food chain for bigger fish, so if you seed the water with them bigger ones tend to be easier to catch. Smaller fish get the idea in their heads that something big is going down and swim off. Not being a spellcaster though, I guess I’m something of a rarity in this boat. All around me are folks carrying scrolls, wands, staves, and all sorts of quite sparkly luggage. Here I am in the back corner with a rusty box full of fish guts, a couple fishing poles, and the captain’s coat for warmth.

But Arcania is an island, and a new one at that. So I’m sure to be kept busy, I don’t think anyone else here has any experience with fishing, even the captain. First day we met I asked him how he caught fish with no fishing poles, he told me he just reached over the side and grabbed them. Heh, I’ve heard that story too often by now. Can’t build a country on teachers and scholars alone anyways, and I think things are going to be pretty nice on the island.

Still, four days on a small, cramped, damp fishing boat can lead to a few doubts. At least back home I had a hut with a bed and a blanket to myself, and the smell of things wasn’t quite so bad. These minnows have definitely gone wrong somewhere past day two. Mist is starting to creep up around the sides of the boat, people are scurrying all over, even the little children. They’re nice enough, but I wonder sometimes what their parents expected when they brought them aboard. Everyone bands together at night to keep them warm, occasionally I make faces to keep them entertained, but this is not much of a place to have a child running about.

Now, there’s a sight. “Land ho!” the captain yells, swinging a bell above his head like he wants an arm to fall off. And there it is before us, just beginning to peak out of the mist. A sandy beach, a white cliff, and just below the glowing white circle of the sun, a mountain stretching higher than I’ve ever seen.

As we approach our landing, the mist clears up quickly. Soon, we’re standing in our dank little fishing boat, bathed in sunlight, hardly a cloud in the sky, and I can’t bear much to look at that glistening mountain any more. A small mousey little man rushes up the beach to us, and I almost stand to tell him to watch the water, but not surprisingly it just sits there beneath him as he scurries up to the hull.

“Oh, uh, hello there” he says, “my apologies for the weather conditions, we are just coming out of the seasonal storms you see, I am reliably informed things are being made to clear up now so you shouldn’t have much problem continuing.”

How does someone so nervous get a job down here? Is he really the welcoming party? “Now, if you would all like to disembark once the ship reaches a full stop at the beach in about, oh, um, five minutes there’ll be a table for refreshments ready off the port side and we can begin figuring out where to put you.”

For all his nervousness, he does raise a smile about some of the hungrier passengers, even me. He does seem to have neglected something. “Hey, Mr Mouse!” I cry, and he looks over at me quite startled, “Where exactly are we now?”

Grinning ear to ear as he realises my ploy, he hops up on top of the hull quick as can be, full of energy, and tells everyone in the cramped, damp, fishing boat in a great booming voice “Welcome to Arcania, land of the free mages. Mr Arcanon will be very happy to meet you all up the beach.”

And with a thud, ship hits beach, making Mr Mouse almost fall off again, raising a laugh from the children. Soon, everyone is marching and rushing and hurry off the boat, leaving just me, in my back corner, to disembark. All the mist is gone, and the sun is beaming down on dozens of boats crashing into the beach and floating into view. Everyone is hurrying up to the tents to get something to eat and to drink, and there’s a familiar-sounding young man kneeling down to greet the little children, telling them stories and raising a fuss.

My name is Arthur Lamburg, I’m a minnow blender.

And I’m home at last.

Posted by: Lying

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