Johann von Maulheld
Seeing as the journal front seems a little empty at the moment on this wiki, I thought I'd try and get the ball rolling.
In Order of Appearance
- Ben Harker
- Norris R. Laos
- The Only One
- Richard Hawke-Welch
I, Johann von Maulheld, am writing this in the hope that somebody may find it floating out somewhere to sea. I am trapped on this God-forsaken island, with even escape through death rendered impossible. I am not alone - all around me are folk abandoned or willingly here, and they too cannot escape. We urgently require a seaworthy ship to get us off. We are willing to pay whatever it requires: rest assured, it will be worth your while.
In the world outside this enclosed hell, I was a professor of history in one of the Prussian universities. I made a living - enough to survive in relative comfort, but I was not considered to be immensely wealthy. Such was my choice to head for the new world promised in the west. Not a grand story to tell, but had I been content to live out my days in my homeland, I should not be here now pleading for aid.
As unoriginal as it may seem, the ship upon which I was travelling was caught in a most unnatural storm, and we were flung upon this wretched place. This island, though, was not deserted. In fact Derby, the settlement upon which I chanced, was flourishing, with an academy, a police force, a library, a hospital, an armoury and a trader´s hut. Everyone seems to have found their way here in some form or another, but almost as if from different time periods. It seems as if nobody has made the slightest bit of effort to constructing a vessel to escape, despite the constant threat of the island´s native savages and pirates from the northwest.
This place is not natural. While I feel the need to sleep, hunger and thirst do not seem to plague humans here; I can go for days without consuming anything to nourish me. The supernatural thrives here. People disappear forever into the jungle and nobody lifts a finger to stop them. There seems nothing for it but to start gathering like-minded individuals and construct a ship. I cannot stay in this place.
This abominable island seems to exert some strange evil. There is nobody in Derby, for that is the name of this settlement, who will join my efforts to escape. Alas, I lack the knowledge of physics needed to build a sturdy vessel. I have no desire to remain upon this isle, but it appears I have no choice in the matter. I fear I must venture into the jungle myself - there are tales from those who do return that there are other settlements like this. One can only hope that the island has not destroyed the minds of those who dwell elsewhere. However, before I embark on such a dangerous voyage (I realise death is but a hindrance on this accurséd place, but I have little desire for unnecessary pain), I must ready myself. I do fancy my fencing ability, but I fear that it will help me little in the confines of the trees. I must practice in the academy that exists in Derby, and stock up supplies to ensure my continued health. I must confess there are advantages to this lack of hunger; there is no need to burden myself with food.
I feel I am now ready to embrace the might of the jungle. I have been training with two members of the Eastern Federation, the accepted governing body of Derby, in the Federation-run fencing academy. I have indeed learnt to throw much of my finesse out of the window when it comes to jungle fighting, but I am not as rusty as I had expected myself to be after teaching for so long. The island gives no thought to age, as everyone I have seen, whether they look old or young, acts with the same energy of youth. I suspect this is one of the chief reasons for the reluctance of many of the island's inhabitants to leave.
I have delayed my departure from Derby for the time being. I noticed a suspicious looking individual by the name of Ben Harker enter the fencing academy with a purpose in his step. I entered and found Norris R. Laos, one of my trainers, dead at his feet. Whilst I feel such men of the Eastern Federation, who have chosen to remain on this isle, have made the wrong decision, I admire their commitment to maintaining law and order in Derby. As such I could not let such a deed go unavenged, and I attacked this swine. Despite his being younger and more experienced in combat, I was able to use my heavier blade to unbalance and dispose of him. Then the aforementioned Norris' body vanished and he walked into the room, as alive as I am now as I write this! It's not natural, that is for certain.
Having spent the past few days stocking up on medical supplies, I feel that I am ready to head off into the wilderness. I certainly have no compulsion to remain in Derby any longer. The medical supplies hut is swarming with the the supernatural spirits of the isle, and I for one am not comfortable with the only means of ridding the hut of them: a savage chanting in his strange tongue. When he is slain by one of the settlers, there is an outburst of indignation amongst his compatriots. This place is not good for the sanity levels, that is for sure. Any normal man would be driven mad within weeks; I must leave as soon as possible.
I have set off into the wilderness. The going so far has been easier than expected. The path which seemed to vanish into the wilderness near Derby has been cleared again further on. I followed the river up to its source, and from there followed the road northwest. I confess that I have no idea where I am currently headed, but it is remarkably refreshing to be away from that madhouse and out in the open air. Although there have been more clumps of path grown over by the jungle, the path continues in pretty much a straight line. The land around is teeming with wildlife; I passed numerous different species of deer, and there was the great lumbering form of an elephant in the distance at one point. At one point I saw a man being mercilessly attacked by a savage tiger. I could not permit myself to run past, so I set upon the beast with my sword. It was already bleeding from the man's attempts to defend itself with his machete, so it was much slower than it would normally have been, but all the same it managed to rake its claws along my left arm, leaving my shirt sleeve in tatters and blood dripping from the wounds.
I quickly patched myself up with one of the medical kits I scavenged from the medical hut in Derby and tended to the wounds of the man, whose name turned out to be thethunderthief. I cannot say much for the parents of some of the unfortunates on this island - the names are absurd! However, the sun was setting and so we made camp on the road. I hunted down a large stag and dispatched it. The hunters of Europe would have a field day here - the animals do not flee but instead attack back instantly! Fortunately an early blow to its head prevented it from harming me, and I dragged the carcass back to the camp. Whilst thethunderthief started roasting the meat over a fire I slew a thieving monkey as it tried going through our satchels. Wishing to be away early tomorrow, I settled down under a large tree and threw my rug around my shoulders. Huddled there I listened to a nearby parrot sqwarking away nearby, but after a long day's trekking, I soon fell fast asleep.
I awoke to the sound of fighting. I grabbed my sword and leapt towards the noise, only to find thethunderthief behind a clump of trees cutting chunks off a tiger. Apparently it had been intent upon consuming us, and had it not been for thethunderthief's vigilance I fear my travels would have been cut short. However, now we need not worry for the lack of food, particularly after the man indicated towards the carcass of another large stag. I joined in with the cutting off of meat. Unfortunately our endeavours caught the attention of yet another tiger, although between the two of us, it was a simple procedure to end its existence. Before long and with my satchel sagging from the weight of the meat, thethunderthief handed me ten gold coins for my travels, and we parted as friends.
The path is far more overgrown the further I am from Derby. Only through sheer perseverence can I hack my way through the undergrowth until I get to a clearer patch of ground which could possibly be the remnants of a path. Eventually I came upon a beach, and west along the coast. There is little to be said about today's trek though. I have not seen another soul, and even the wildlife is proving quiet. All that I can forsee myself doing from now on is follow the coastline until hopefully I come across another settlement, but with a more normal level of sanity than Derby. I still hold out hope!
I followed the coast for the larger part of the day. Again, nobody in sight until I heard the sounds of a scuffle. I pushed through the jungle along the edge of the beach and came across two men trying to take a large tiger down. Seeing their need I drew my own blade and jumped into the fray. This beast seemed particularly cunning, and it sliced into my arms and legs many times before together we put it down. I bound my wounds as best as I could, but I felt unable to continue, so we cleared the jungle around and made temporary camp. These two men, by the names of The Only One and dar-, have been on the island for a ridiculous amount of time between them; though The Only One has been on the island for five months now, dar- has been wondering the place for over a year! I questioned them on their seeming unwillingness to leave, for I have indeed become very curious as to the reasons of some of these inhabitants. It does not bode well for my search for sensible settlements, as The Only One claims to originate from the other side of the island, in a quiet town called Durham. I hope there is someone somewhere who clings to their last vestiges of sanity! dar- warned me not to expect much else, rather walking and mapping out the island in preference to remaining tied to a town. It seems that politics are just as rife and colourful as they are in the real world. He claims to be a tradesman, visiting both the natives of this isle and the settlers. It would appear that the natives can be quite civilised themselves, though I personally would have to see it to believe it. The Only One is merely lost, but both men note that it is the inability to escape which confines them to this island, not the lack of will. There is hope yet!
It appears I have stumbled across a large peninsular. After parting company with my two fellow settles I continued along the coastline as it curved round and started heading east. I came upon some grassland, but beyond that was simply a large swamp. As far as I could see, there was either swamp or sea, and so I can only presume that this is a peninsular, for I walked north alongside the swamp and came across the coastline once more. Interestingly enough, for all my travels out in the wilderness I have yet to come across one of the natives in their natural environment. I am keen to see whether they are as civil as dar- claims. Although they would not be eager to leave the island themselves, perhaps they would be partial towards helping as many of the settlers leave as possible...
I continue to follow the coast, and still not a soul in sight. I have, however, chanced upon a section of cleared land - the foliage has been cut back. I was too exhausted to explore further to see if it is indeed a path, so I have made camp at on the beach, beyond the reach of the tide. It seems that this area is violent, however, for I came across a savagely mawled wild boar. I put the poor creature out of its misery, but its meat was not suitable for eating. As my supplies are running short, I hunted a large deer and roasted it before settling down for the night. I may not need food to survive, but it helps me cling to my sanity. I was forced to silence a particularly noisy parrot, but other than that the night was peaceful.
I awoke to find a native staring at me. This was my first encounter of this race, and so was delighted to find a non-aggressive male. However, despite dar-'s claims that the creatures are civilised, this one seemingly was not. He did not respond to my attempts to communicate with him, and merely squatted there, unmoving. Only when I pointed to myself and repeated my name seven times did he even make a sound, which sounded along the lines of baraka. Other than that, all was hopeless, so I gave up and set off along the path. It did not prove to be a long one; it soon disappeared into a large area of grassland. I trekked across the grassland, but did not come across anything. The place was empty of all people and wildlife. Once again I ploughed into the jungle, though the foliage was much denser here than I had experienced before. It would take too much work to clear an area for camp, so I wrapped myself in my rug and huddled under a large clump of fallen vines.
Goodness me, the experience of an angry, wounded elephant is not one I would like repeated too soon! I came across a tiger and an elephant viciously attacking eachother, when the feline suddenly broke away from the fight and made straigth for me. Thankfully I had my machete in my hand from chopping through the undergrowth, and a lucky slice bit into the tiger's neck. The elephant was another matter - I was hard pressed to dive out of the way each time it charged at me, and the flailing trunk and tusks caught me twice. It was only the loss of blood that made it slow enough for me to hack my machete into its throat. My heart has still not recovered, and a shudder to think what should happen with a fully healthy beast!
I crossed paths with one of the oldest dwellers on this island; Richard Hawke-Welch has been on this island for almost two years, and as such I was able to discuss life on this island in great depth. Unfortunately, the news was not encouraging. Richard's own town, York, is apparently even worse than Derby with regards to sanity. It appears there is not even the presence of a police force, for Richard was brimming with tales of casual murders, thuggery and yobbishness. It has driven him away and into the jungle, and he has spent most of that time mapping the island out. I'm not sure I could cope, but it seems I am more eager to leave the island than he. He did mention that there are regular boatloads of colonists, so perhaps these ships simply don't reach Derby! There is hope yet, although Richard also mentioned two creatures I have previously been unaware of: a 'Shargle' and a 'Kraken'. He makes a living out of hunting these creatures, and he was certainly eager in reciting some of his hunting tales, but for myself I do not wish to encounter either of these creatures without an army behind me. It seems he hunts them with only fifteen other men or so! All the more evidence that the island drives you mad over time.
There certainly seem to be conflicting opinions as to how the natives behave on this isle, varying from dar-'s praise of their civil behaviour to Lubat's call to overthrow the leader of one of the native villages, by the name of Raktam. An example of the flourishing politics on the island, perhaps? Were it not for my desire to leave this accursed place, I would follow my innate curiosity and delve further into the nuances of politics. Lubat told me of his death at the hands of a native of Raktam when he approached the town looking for peace. When he took his case to the court of Queen Blue Hummingbird, he was mocked and ridiculed with a crude joke about him and a lady from York. I wonder whether dar- has actually been to Raktam, for I confess that to me this behaviour befits a monarch of an unlearned and uncivilised dictatorship. Any reservations I might have had were soon destroyed, as Lubat turned pale and cried a warning. Before I could turn around a severe pain bit into the back of my head and neck, such pain as I have never felt in my life. All feeling went out of my limbs, and I toppled to the earth, landing on my side. It dawned on me with sickening clarity, too clearly to be anything other than pure instinct, that I was in fact dead. However, it was not as death has been depicted, for I was still conscious in spirit, if not in body, trapped in my corpse. I was still aware of what was going on though, and all too well could I see my killer leap over my body and hack his bloodied machete into Lubat. The man had no chance, and soon he too joined me on the ground, dead.
If death here is the same as in the real world outside this bubble, then mankind has been terrified of it for far too long. It is not so much horrifying as dull. You are as conscious as you would be in life, but are physically unable to interact with the world around you. You can drift about as much as you like, but people are unable to see, hear or feel you. All I could do was wander for days, without an aim or purpose. It was only on the third day that I sensed something different in the air, but just beyond reach, like a sneeze that you anticipate which doesn’t come. I concentrated hard upon it, and all of a sudden I found myself pulled as if by an enormously powerful piece of elastic towards a native somewhere in the jungle. It was almost instant, and before I knew it I was trapped inside a body. Goodness knows whose it is, but I can slowly feel energy creeping into it. Soon I should have enough to be able to stand up and examine my whereabouts.
At last I felt active enough to attempt to get up and walk about, and somehow the magic of this island had healed my own body and planted it at the feet of that native, whom I can only assume to be a magic-wielder, a shaman of the island’s savages. I feel none the worse for my actual-death experience, and in fact was able to walk feeling fully refreshed. In the far distance, I could see several distinct columns of smoke, which suggested the presence of a large collection of people. Hours later, I walked into a town inhabited by natives! One of the natives’ living areas! There were numerous wood and mud huts spread out about the area, with the odd native lingering in the doorways. I noticed one which seemed rather larger, and more open, than most and headed for that. There were a number of inhabitants inside, clutching a large variety of goods to their chests. The air was buzzing as they chatted loudly with each other, some with such aggressiveness that it was rather clear that they were arguing over their goods. I hung around the door, largely unnoticed, so engrossed they were in their debates, until one native, dressed grandly in contrast to the rest (though with the vast majority of the visible population wearing nothing but loincloths, this was not much of an achievement), spotted a white face and swiftly glided towards me, a big wide grin on his face. He started jabbering in their dialect, pointed at my side to where I kept a knife sheathed. It did not appear to be particularly valuable to me, but his eagerness ensured that the other natives noticed me, and their expressions, as far as I could tell, were not friendly. The jabbering native drew my focus back to him, and gestured to the knife and then to himself. As the rest of his kindred edged menacingly towards us, he grabbed at me, and I backed quickly away. He thrust his hands into one of his many pockets in his green jacket and brought out a gold coin. I saw behind him a glint or two as a couple of the natives lifted machetes. I thrust the knife into his left hand whilst I grabbed the coin from his right; the memory of Lubat’s words, how he was chased out of a native town and, as strange as it sounds, the memory of my death at the hands of a member of the royal court. I fled from the room, and though it may have been simply paranoia, I kept running out of the town in a southerly direction. Although death itself is not that terrifying anymore, dying is not pleasant and I have no wish to experience that pain again.
The madness of this island was revealed in all of its true bizarre glory. I continued heading south from the native settlement, and eventually I came to a large clearing. It was bare except for a few banana trees and beyond them a big hut. Even from where I was I could hear a great raucous coming from that hut, and as I neared I could see a great crowd of people milling around inside. Cautiously I edged my way inside, and was greeted with the most remarkable sight. Outwardly just a large wooden hut, the interior was festively decorated for Christmas! I have been aware that Christmas is approaching, but to find it being openly celebrated by the inhabitants of this place is a great surprise, especially with the occupants of the hut being from all different parts of the isle and world. I entered and, to my astonishment, there was a figure in the middle of the crowd, dressed in the traditional green and white regalia of Klaus himself! Suspecting an imposter, I approached him cautiously, but he turned to me and with a wide grin on his face he reached into a large bag, and brought out some gold coins and a silver skull cross. “I’m sorry I have not any small trinkets, but come back next year and who knows?” he chuckled. Now this man seemed rather peculiar, for I could not imagine who would want to spend Christmas on this isle, nor did the silver skull cross he gave me appear to have any use. I was not about to complain about the twenty pieces of gold he handed me, but damned if I will be on this island for another year!