Ghost

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These ghosts are the specters of dead sailors, wrecked on the shores of Wraeclast.

Lore[edit]

What follows are the last words of Eirik Hoskuld, captain of a wrecked merchant vessel, found in his waterlogged journal on the beach.

"I'm awoken by thunder. It booms suddenly overhead, shaking the glass of my portal, a deafening echo in the tight confines of my quarters. All is pitch dark for a moment and then a brilliant flash fills the cabin, nearly blinding me. I'm soaking, perhaps from a dream sweat, but likely from the icy seawater trickling down through the cracks in the deck. This cursed storm has tossed us for more than a week now and sleep is rare.

I open my cabin door, and am immediately struck with the full fury of the gale roaring outside. Lightning forks and flickers overhead, for a moment casting our tattered main sail in stark relief against the iron sky. A sickening crackle of thunder follows immediately behind, boring into my aching bones. I make my way carefully across the pitching deck, past my crew who huddle drenched in the freezing darkness. Each of them has long since withdrawn into his own world. We've not spoken in days. Cold and fear will break the strongest of men.

I climb to the helm and grip the first mate's shoulder, altering him to my arrival. He shuffles past me like a ghost as I seize the wheel, checking my compass in the gloom to determine if we're still on the right heading. But what is this? The needle, normally pointing reliably North, jerks around suddenly as the lightning flashes. I tap the glass on the device, even knocking it against the wooden railing, but it changes nothing. Without navigation, I can only hold the wheel steady, and try to keep the craft upright in the tossing surf. I throw myself into this task, as the wind tears into me anew. We plunge ahead into the night.

Strangely, despite the damp and the din, I find myself drifting off to sleep. My dreams take me to kinder shores, to warmth and comfort. But it's all too brief, for I'm startled awake, swearing that I've heard something. Unless I'm mistaken, that's the soft, sweet voice of a girl, out here in the wind and waves. I first think that it can only be the delusions of my exhausted mind, for we've been months without the sight of a woman. Yet now, I hear it again, and I'm fully awake. The song reaches my ears louder now, caressing them with a silky, delicate, invisible hand. It is beyond exquisite, the most beautiful thing I've ever heard. I stand transfixed, peering out into the darkness, blinking back a mixture of tears and seawater. I must find her, I must know this maiden, the storm be damned!

I turn the ship to port and yell a command to sheet out the main sail. Our battered craft accelerates, plowing through the waves like a thing possessed. The sea rises and falls, beating a rhythm on the ship's hull as we speed along. All the while, the singing grows in volume, drawing us forward. Finally, I see dim light ahead, a faint blue glow, and shimmering lithe figures arrayed on a beach, not far ahead. I've reached them, this heavenly choir, who offers salvation to me and my men. Alas, I should have known how great my folly before it was too late. As we close on the beach, the trap is suddenly apparent. I see a ragged spine of sharp rocks dead ahead, just above the waterline, waiting hungrily to crunch our hull to splinters.

With a cry, I heave the wheel to starboard, and we begin to turn. Our bow crosses the wind, and the ship's boom whips across the deck like a scythe, cutting down anyone in its path. The violence of the jibe is far too much for the soaked and rotted stays that bind the mast to the hull. With a horrible splintering crack, the mast breaks sideways, and comes down on the deck in a torrent of canvas and rope. Completely out of control now, we slide sideways towards the rocks and when the impact comes, I am struck inert.

I awake some time later, lying among a heap of bodies on the deck and somehow, barely alive. The blue glow I saw from afar is all around me now, it appears to have crept on board like a living thing. It surrounds me, pulsing, slithering, suffusing the very corpses of my crew mates. As I watch with unbelieving eyes, a blue, shimmering specter rises from the body of the nearest man. It just stands there for a time, and then slowly turns towards me, clutching some sort of ethereal weapon. A moment later, more shapes arise, until I am surrounded by a host of iridescent ghosts. I know not what these things are, but I am certain they afford me no good will. Without another thought, I gain my feet, and scramble across the deck to my captain's quarters, barring myself inside.

They're all at the door now, they've been there for hours. I can see their evil blue glow through the gaps in the boards. As I write this, their blows fall heavily on the failing wood, thudding with the steady beat of some hellish metronome. How long the barrier will last I cannot say, but they will surely breech it. Pray for me."