The Fifth Path (23/30)

Nabua’s Journal(2) Entry for Av 4th

Traveling without Uras and Anatu weird. Had not been without homelander for longer than day ever before. New people alright. Too serious. Did not know what goal of trip was when signed up. Just knew was going towards goal. Hope companions can also find way there. If I not die then they be fine. Least good swimmer. Apparently goal of trip is raid. Trying to steal valuables from island off edge of world. Very stealthy though. Island very powerful. Will win if we discovered. Not sure what I will do. Maybe stay on island after raid. Or maybe we get captured. Will have to see.

New books on new ship. Been reading when not talking to crew or captain. Lots of info about lands around here. Everything about goal island very mysterious though. Lots of crazy stories by sole survivors and stuff. No maps. Seems like fantasy many times. Keep open mind though. Be stupid not too this point. Wait noise on deck. Go check.

OK. Open mind good. All stories about island past edge of world. Assume metaphor. Apparently not. Saw edge of sea. Just stops. Water fall into darkness. But island visible still in distance. Seems to be floating in darkness. Some crew very scared. Others seem unconcerned. First timers and veterans. If veterans not scared then must be something not understand. Maybe trick to it. People say world is flat but not know about science. Namesake proved was sphere long ago. All educated people know. And yet edge is in front of us. Falling water. Blackness beyond. Accept new evidence. Take into account. Figure out implications. Too many. Does not fit understanding of world. Understanding of world wrong or evidence wrong? Read too many books and learned too much to dismiss understanding right away. Double check evidence. Go ask veteran about.

OK. Double checking good. Edge of world kind of illusion. Water does fall but into crack in ocean floor. Still sea on other side of crack but very shallow. Black rock of distant island under the water. Makes look like empty blackness. Only problem is crack, then will be back on sea, just shallow sea over black rock. Glad all knowledge not useless. Good to ensure things. Accepting what sees important but doubting what sees be valuable too. Still can believe theory of namesake. Easy to see how stories started though. And not be able to see truth if not try and sail boat right towards apparent drop off into nothing. Wonder who was fool enough to try and find secret truth first. Seemed damn stupid but added to human knowledge. Want to be that some day. But also not want die for dumb reason. Tricky. Suppose just have to trust instincts some times. Or trust knowledge even in face of apparent contradiction. Maybe first who tried believed in round earth. Refused to accept edge of world because understood math saying not thing. Would be good story. Good reason to pilot ship towards endless drop. Faith in mind and mind of others.

Discovered new game to play with crew members. Not as fun as Xiwan but still good. Two phases. One is placing people. Then moving people after placing. Saw other games as well. One with many stones moved around in different little holes. One with white and black stones on grid. One with pieces carved into different shapes like horses and towers. Many people play different games with something never seen before. Use paper to play games. Like a bunch of thick pieces with different symbols on them that are all stacked. Pick up different amounts of paper and look at symbols and make decisions. Never seen so many different games from one thing. Guess games all come from different places. Very few games from homeland though. Wonder why. Will bring lots of them back. Or maybe not. Should make sure at least Anatu and Uras know some games and can teach them. Homeland needs Xiwan. So many different ways to play. Different set ups make game very different each time. Drafting team is fun.

Strange thing about captain of new vessel is that brought family. Ship filled with people going to go raid and steal in dangerous place but brought wife and three kids. One maybe old enough but two very small. Like talking to kids. Think my accent funny. Showed them stab wounds. Like my stories. Good practice for language. Plus only people not serious. Everyone serious even when playing games. Heard laughter from not kids maybe three times since got on boat. Assume goal very dangerous probably. Which makes kids strange choice. Maybe fatalistic. If going to die at least die with family nearby. Seems morbid. Not responsible. Feel like keeping kids safe important. But maybe showing them the world more important. Guess never thought much about kids. Made vow not marry so never even thought about. Could have been nice with Mae. But likely never see again. Ocean big place. Plus maybe all die on this voyage. More noise. Lots of interruptions today.

Went over gap. Was bumpy. Scary to watch. Really interesting though. Only long boats can make it. If was shorter then could have fallen through and been crushed underwater. But ship can skate over crack in the sea. Now looks like sailing in darkness. Can barely see water even now. Very clear. Just black stone down below. Getting dark too. Can see far island easily. Very brightly lit towns. Maybe bonfires? Color seems off though. Boat is changing sails now. Putting up black ones so harder to see as we get closer. Covering all things that could reflect with black cloth. No one allowed on deck except if need to be there. Apparently is certain place on island trying to get to where can hide ship. Far from bright cities. Place with rocks. Kinda nervous about rocks now after last time. But on ship now not little boat. Can deal.

Got job in few hours. All on ship can communicate but not well. Can translate orders into language each crew member understand well so no miscommunication. Really lucky learned Xexan. Very important out here. Even though Xexan self very isolationist language is wide ranging. Not sure if Xexan people spread out or if larger population that happened to also live on Xexan. Maybe used to be more expansive but retreated back to isolationism. Hard to find history of civilizations outside of each island self. And then books only talk about what want you know. Never get negative stuff. Only propaganda. Have to rely on personal accounts to discover info about old cultures. Just pick up details not even trying to record. Stuff they take for granted and assume that is different then me. Use that to figure out what world was like. Like puzzle or game. Very fun. Hard to succeed though or even know if right unless confirmed later from other source. Lots of guessing. Lots of almost knowledge. Feelings that do not have enough going to make full thoughts. Slowly build into ideas over time.

Managed to get some more fighting training. Had started on boat with Mae but not had chance since. Should have done when on island alone with Anatu so long but never seemed right time or forgot. But other crew willing to show me some tricks. Lots of different things from different people. Just a tiny bit of whole styles from different places. Guess can hope at least one trick works in fight. Just need so many that no one has seen all. Not sustainable fighting style but might be best for me. Only need to fight when situation desperate. Not want to get stabbed again. Hope not freeze up again. Will have t-

Froze up again. So many interruptions. Least not get stabbed. Some kind of guard or something for island. On tiny little boat that we not spot. Climbed onto ship then murdered people. Killed five before any managed to scream. Ran out to see what going on. Saw guy that taught new board game stabbed. Could not move. Watched other person try and attack but get stabbed too. Attacker very fast. Threw knives crazy fast. Moved fast. Dodged fast. Apparently bringing kids was counter though. Captain came out onto deck with kids in front. Attacker hesitated. Captain shot with crossbow. Dead attacker. Lost maybe quarter of crew to one guy. Had surprise sure but still crazy. Wanted to look at corpse check out equipment but captain pushed body into ocean then ran over the little boat the guy had come in. Managed to collect one of knives though from body of friend. Very small. Strange shape of hilt. Not big enough for holding. Not sure how thrown. Realized later that too many had died from wounds that should not kill. Realized knife poisoned. Glad did not cut self. Would have been dumb way to die. Guess most ways to die are dumb. Still.

Going to continue with plan. No way for attacker to have told anyone. Less crew members means more dangerous but already committed. Captain made speech for survivors. Tried to imply quitting would mean men died in vain. Still want to go so no complaint but speech seemed in bad taste. Was not grand ambition for most. Just job. Turning deaths into symbol seems strange. Whatever. Captain kind of a creep anyways. Using kids as shield was smart but still seemed wrong. Apparently islanders do not like to kill kids. Definitely going to jump ship once we are there. Do not think on right side right now. Wonder if any would go with. Probably not. Like said just job for most. Quest for me but not for others. Maybe for captain too but not understand why. Bringing child shields and trying to manipulate people seem extreme just for some loot. Maybe has ulterior motives too. Have to watch out for him. Make sure not in danger. Glad writing in code. Not for first time is very useful.

Got to plan what to take with when leave boat. Only backpack to hold things. Got to keep journals of past Baals. Only thing left from our supply. Had in backpack when crashed. But maybe need other supplies too. And could steal some new books. Tough decisions. Least will not have to make third journal. Still hope can secure old journal again. No way though. So far away now. Wonder if pirate lady decoded it. Doubtful but Anatu thought could. Not important now. Maybe some money? Not useful on this island but later. Generic useful stuff like rope and camping things. Maybe too much weight. Can get that later. Cities seem common on island here so not need to camp hopefully. Knives. Gotta do the stabbing and not reverse. Hopefully no stabbing but experience tells different. Little food. Usually useful. Clothes? Not likely useful. Can get in cities. Books. Money. Weapons. Food. Everything need. Pack light so easy to carry and easy to sneak away. Books already heavy enough.

Getting close to land now. Passing by some rocks. Everything dark where we are. Came from angle with no city lights. Gotta go translate orders. Maybe can translate something wrong to help me get away.

Realized bad idea before did it. Too many people know too many languages. Would need to have planned exactly what to say and who would hear. Not worth danger. Just have to figure out on fly. Planning seems to never go well anyways for me and companions. So many random crazy things. But we made it here. Or least I made here. Hope all did. Will see in next few days.

Bag packed. Not plan made. Mind is ready. Game of Xiwan planned for last hour before operation starts. Finally learned who stealing from. Glad leaving behind. Not want to steal from orphanage. Not understand what stealing but was told who. Saw faces of others. Maybe mutiny instead of escape. Will try.

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