Added chapter 1 to select editions
A few words must needs be be added before I begin this chapter. The knowledgeable bibliophilic will know this chapter did not figure in the 1st edition of this book, and will not be found in any 2nd edition either. The censorship conditioned that it be excluded from any published editions on the pain of severe repercussions from a displeased king and church of the Islands, and with the threat of never being able to set foot in Ryendor, unless I wanted a visit from the inquisition... I can thank my sponsor, whose name I dare not mention should this chapter fall into the wrong hands, for the possibility to set these words to print if only in a few copies for the select elite, himself included. I realize the need for secrecy around the events and truths in the following. Some may seem too outrageous to believe, some seem heretic, and I realize the trouble some people may be in after this revealing story. I do agree the need to protecting those involved in the story, though it pains my author pride that I won’t be able to openly publish the whole truth about their bravery. The world deserves to know what they went through, what they sacrificed, what they did for the world as we know it. But alas, it will never be widely known. It will never be common knowledge. Should a librarian or scientist many years from now read these words, they might think it fiction, but know this; it is not!
While these events took place in Codora, the next story begins in a parlour in Ryendor City. A letter with curious writings was handed over to the poetress and philanthropist Manon de Bergerac, Jean Luc’s aunt. As she was unable to decipher it herself she took it to her cousin Pierre de Bergerac, who was wellacqainted with deciphering and other things extraordinary. To their horror they discovered that the letter contained information about the coming end of the world, which primary steps had already taken place – the drawing back of the sea, and the raining of frogs a brief year ago. Motions had already been made by an unknown adversary to push forth the armageddon, and now was the time to move if one wanted to prevent it. First step was to fetch a clue, the prophecy of Verlerion, in the abbey of Faleron in Epirus. Unfortunately said abbey was presently under siege by the Turks, and the adversary on his way there... Pierre and Manon, though quite adventurous themselves in their younger days, felt too old to take on this adventure, and sent letters addressed to Jean Luc to every office of the Bergerac/Badjo shipping company, asking him to take on the task for them. So such a letter was waiting for him in Oporto, when they arrived.
As usual they didn’t hesitate a moment to take on the task. They still had months before they must be in Cagliano, and doing something about the end of the world certainly seemed worthwhile... That’s how Fiona put it; worthwhile. Isabella was sent home along with her uncle and some company guards on a company ship, and they went searching to Epriotic maps that might show them where to find Faleron. They found a map, and news too; Faleron was on an island on the west coast of Epirus. The Türkmenish had already taken East Epirus and laid siege on the west coast. To get to Faleron they would have to pass through the blockade. They found it sensible to acquire a green türkmenish flag. They left Oporto, well stocked, well armed, and ready to take on an unknown enemy – and some who’s nature they might only guess...
Under a green flag they entered the epriotic waters and soon enough they spotted the characteristic latin sails of the corsair ships. 6 ships all in all. Soon they were all around the Ienne, but Fiona and her crew managed to fool them into believing that they too had come to join the blockade guard as mercenaries. And soon they sailed as part of the blockade. After few hours of sailing they came across a carvintian blocade-runner. The Ienne ran a little ahead and put herself between the carvintian and the chasing türkmenish ships. Just as battle seemed inevitable Fiona let the Ienne loose her head-start and put her between two of the corsair ships. When they were head to head, and the türkmenish sailors gleefully thought they were better and faster ships than the foreign mercenary, Fiona ordered a double broadside. The corsair ship on the port side was completely destroyed, but the one on starboard attempted to board though they were irreparably damaged. Hawk turned the ship hard on starboard and rammed the ship, and it began to sink in earnest. The boarding ropes were still attached to the Ienne, and the sinking ship started to pull Ienne onto her side. Just in time they managed to cut the ropes and the Ienne fall back on her keel. When the cannon-smoke slowly lifted, they fired their sterncannon and hit a third ship’s main mast, so that it sailed into a fourth ship... The fourth ship managed to avoid damage, and sailed close to the Ienne and threw hand-granates onto her. N’Gote grabbed one of them and threw it overboard, before it could cause any damage. The few that did blow up did minimal damage; one landed in a barrel of fish and the other bounced of board, before it blew. The Ienne answered back by shooting up the corsair’s sail. By then the corsairs gave up and fell back. But the respite didn’t last long; just as they had sent the wounded (a stoically brave Hawk included) under deck, and had cleared up after the battle, a chabeque was spotted in the distance, quickly catching up.
At this point I must put in a little detail, which I deliberately haven’t mentioned before; In the harbour of Cap Sagres the good doctor discovered the lizzard-like creature, Igno, which Jean Luc and Hawk had first come across in the secret library in the desert, and which they had been reacqainted with on the isles in The Misty Ocean, in his doctor’s quarters. He immediately declared war on the creature, which seemed to enjoy digging through his stuff. In this separate edition I can add that the creature seemed... well, magical. Fiona called it a dragon, which it did indeed resemble.
As the chabeque got closer they realized what serious trouble they were in; it was the ‘Breathe of Allah’ with Omar Astürk on the helm. They had come across him on their journey to the Spice lands, and he had nearly overcome them. He always travelled with a wizard, who could aide the sailing of Breathe of Allah, and could inhibit enemy ships and put fear into their hearts. And soon enough the Ienne and her crew felt the power of his magic. N’Gote attempted some counter voodoo, and Fiona remembered something Hawk and Jean Luc had told her about Igno; that he ate magic! She called him forth and he glided through the air and water and ate the magic Omar’s wizard send towards them with great joy. Igno grew and grew for every ‘bite’ he ate and he was soon the size of a small winged horse. Both crews gaped at the sight of Igno, and Omar promptly chopped of the head of the wizard; obviously he did not have Allah’s ear, and his magic was weak. The Breathe of Allah turned away from this powerful adversary, and the Ienne cheered. It took a long time before Igno was back to his ordinary and more handy size.
The Ienne hailed the carvintian merchant-ship and explained her friendly intentions; that she herself was also going to the doomed abbey. The merchant-ship was bringing provisions and passengers from Venuzia to Faleron, and heartily thanked the Ienne for her help. They sailed together to their destination.