Skyships of Magnimar
A journal kept by the prospecter Ayik Balderson
This is a badly damaged book containing journal entries. The first date that is understandable is 17 Gozran, 4690, making this book at least 9 years old. Many of its pages have been ripped out.
It weights 0.5 lbs.
11 Gozran, 4690
Me and Little S set out today to the mountains. We’re going to find out if any of those mines closed last year are salvageable. If they are, I’ll find it. We’ve a chance to make a lot this year, after the others left. Make enough, we could hire some others by this winter. That’s all I need, and we’ll be set. This is Essa’s second year out with me. She learn so fast last year. She’ll someday be running her own operations out here, maybe even own her own shop here in town. I’m grateful to Jarl. He’s done right by us, I can see it in Essa’s eyes.
17 Gozran, 4690
Ground gave out from underneath me in the left hand passage cart rails while trying to cross over the sinkhole I found. Lost consciousness in the fall. Woke up and checked myself over. No major injuries.
I can’t see any way out from here. Must be forty or fifty foot climb out, but the walls are leaning the wrong ways – won’t be going back up that way. I followed the dark tunnel on the other side and found water in a cavern. There is some light coming in from high up, but it must be more than sixty feet up in here. There are fish in the pond, so I won’t starve or die of thirst. So tired. Will sleep and then try to find a way out to Little S. She might worry if I’m gone too long.
I was wading in the water, looking for the source in the wall, when I heard Little S’s voice back from the cave. I yelled back, without thinking, and she must’ve thought I was calling her and tried to follow, but I heard this heart-stopping scream and the sound of rocks and dirt moving. I ran back up the tunnel and found her lying all crooked. Oooh, Essa, poor little Essa! I’ve trapped her with me. She was crying and could barely move. She said she thought she broke something. I had to dig her out real slow to keep her from screaming again. I carried her back into the cavern and gave her some water. She couldn’t seem to focus on my words. I spent the rest of the day trying to catch those little fish. We’re going to need a lot more food if both of us will survive until someone comes.
It’s been too long. I don’t know how many days it’s been, it’s hard to keep track in the cave. Maybe ten. The only sounds is the water coming into the cavern and flowing over the stones. Little S is better than she was, but she still can’t stand. I think her legs were broken when she fell in, she can’t even move them. I hope they find us soon. There’s still time.
I’ve gotten good at catching fish. It’s the only thing left to do after exploring even the darkest parts of the cave system. There is no way out unless I’m willing to swim, but there’s no telling where that will take me in the darkness. Essa hasn’t gotten any better. She still can’t walk. She is so hungry all the time now. Just like me.
We’re both going to die. There’s less fish now, and all that are left are the smart ones. I can barely catch enough for one of us, let alone both. No one is coming, I know that now. It’s taking all of my strength caring for Essa. I should have been looked harder for a way out! She’s dying, I think she’s got a fever and that’s why she’s stopped talking. I miss her voice. It hurts so much to see her like this. I’m so hungry I can barely think anymore. The thought of food—real food, not fish, makes my stomach hurt. I need to get out of here. I don’t want to die.
We’re not going to make it together. There’s no way out anywhere. I keep going to the sinkhole, I keep trying to find a way up, and out. It’s impossible. And I can’t keep feeding her. Not if I want to live. If I don’t live she won’t live. We’ll both die down here if I don’t live.
I don’t want to die
She woke up and started croaking—wanted water. I stood over her for a little while and watched her. She was so wasted and tiny, I knew that she was never going to get better. There was only one way to save her. I asked her. I asked her. Did she want me to save her? I could save her, but there was only one way. I turned her over so she could drink from the water and then pressed her head into it until she was still. She told me to save her. Now she is free from this hell hole. I can save her.
Essa is inside of me now. I can find a way out of here, and save us both. She would’ve wanted me to survive, to get out. I felt strength pouring back into me, more than I’d had in months. I buried her bones and went to look around my cave more. There’s a way out somewhere, and now I’m strong enough to find it.
Oh gods, Seressa has found me! She says she knows what I did to our daughter! She won’t come near me, but she won’t stop following me, and accusing me of what I’ve done! SHE WON’T LET ME EXPLAIN! I KNOW WHAT I DID I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW! BUT IT’S WHAT ESSA WANTED! SHE WANTED ME TO SAVE US! IT WAS THE ONLY WAY TO SAVE US! SERESSA YOU LEFT US THIS IS YOUR FAULT ESSA WOULDNT EVEN HAVE BEEN HERE IF YOU HAD CARED ABOUT HER! WHY DO YOU KEEP SAYING I KILLED HER??? YOUR A MONSTER YOU ARE YOU ARE YOU ARE YOU ARE NOT ME! IM THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN SAVE HER NOW!!! IM GONNA SAVE HE
I can see Seressa in the dark. She’s stopped screaming at me days ago. Now she just watches me. She was watching me when I found that animal that had fallen into the sinkhole. Did she bring it to me? Does she forgive me now? She must. She must have brought me the animal, to tell me she understands now. She wants me to live, just like Essa wanted me to live.
Seressa has left. It’s so quite. It’s so empty. I don’t want to be here anymore. I know these caves like Essa’s little face. It’s part of me forever. I know where every groove is. Seressa made me find them all. She must have been planning to leave from the very beginning. I’ll find her again when I get out. I’ll explain to her the truth. She’ll understand when I get out and bring Essa to her.
I can hear her. She’s part of me, now. I knew I could save her, I knew she would come back to me. It was so good to hear her voice again. Oh, Little S, Little S, I’ve missed you so badly. She was very upset until I dug her out and let her sit with me. I told her about Seressa’s visit, and how she helped Daddy with the animals and the cave. I had caught more animals after Seressa left by tricking them into the sinkhole, and showed her their skins and bones. I decorate my cave with them. She was very happy, we can finally eat.
She said she was glad I was still alive. I knew she would be.
We found this book today. We don’t know what day it is anymore. But this is the thought book. It’s all wrong and full of lies. None of that happened. We ripped and ripped at the lies. But now we can tell the truth. We’re ok down here. We know how to be alive. She tells me things sometimes that can’t be true. She says we need to escape, but I know the truth. I know we’ve always been here. This is all we’ve ever needed. Us and the darkness. We’ll be safe here forever.
I can’t remember her name. She talks to me and I can’t remember. She says I have forgotten, we need to escape. I need to take her home. I don’t remember where home is! I don’t remember where we are! There’s so much I can’t remember anymore! Except I remember me. I can’t escape if I don’t remember. I won’t forget. I can’t forget. My name is Baldreson. My name is Baldreson. Myname is Baldreson, myname isbaldreson, mynameisbaldresonmynameisbaldresonmunameisbaldresonmynameis