As much as Hauptman was an awful man who caused this whole situation, from the reports of the crew he died bravely and saved lives. Due to this I felt it improper that he would never publish anything more, so I undertook to talk with the Tomb princes to get information about several of the less valuable items we had won from them. The information I received was both broad and deep. Hauptman’s last paper may be his greatest of them all. I also began to study the nehekarran tome I had confiscated from the wizard’s remains after the battle. It was brilliantly decorated and obviously ancient. I began to read. It apparently had belonged to someone called Nagash, though for the life of me I can’t remember where I have heard that name before.
Several days later after learning a great deal about how to preserve bodies with various treatments and rituals I was still no closer to the answers I sought than before, but had greatly added to my knowledge of fields relating to necromancy. It was then that Isidore and Bidnae knocked on my door. They had some idea that the hourglass from the giant Statue may be able to reverse aging. It intrigued me and before long we had several skeletons working to remove it. Much to our surprise and pleasure as soon as a skeleton detached it from the staff it shrank down to the size of a normal hourglass. Magic is very strange. It was covered in Nehekarran writing that read as some kind of curse about turning people to sand. We decided to test it at great distance and away from other people.
We found a peninsula not too far from the city and there we had a skeleton test it on some fruit. When turned one way it created a huge blast of sand and rotted a fruit before our eyes. The other way the fruit was restored to freshness. We also tested a caged animal and my skelton had to drag out the cage before the animal died of old age, the other way it was restored to youth. We also tested it on a dead animal, but it did not return to life. It appears it will likely do as Isidore wished, but it will not do that which I wish. Still, it has some very interesting uses as far as I can see.
Next we petitioned Lilith to be able to bring both it and the book aboard. She was suspicious, but agreed to both and required reports on our test, The next day we all turned them in. My report suggested it was too close range to use as a weapon, but could keep supplies fresh to stop ship board illness and could also be used to rebuild our crew with retired sailors who were too old to sail, restored to the prime of their youth. With their experience combined with the vigour of youth we would quickly gain a crew of unsurpassed quality. We will have to further our tests on restoring youth.
Eventually the worst of the damage to the grail was repaired, though we would have to head for the Estalian city of Port Reaver on the North East coast of Lustria before we went anywhere else as the ship would not manage a cross ocean voyage. We set off with a good wind and sunshine. The fortress of Dawn faded into the distance and I wondered if we would clap eyes on her again.
Some days later Isidore noticed some troubling weather movements. It appeared someone was manipulating the weather to lead us into a trap. Lilith did her best to steer out of it and when I was alerted I put the crew to getting ready. The next thing we knew we spotted a huge ship, rotten and with ragged sails rise out of the deep moving with supernatural speed. She flew a pirate flag and she was crewed, it seemed, entirely by the dead. Lilith ran up our pirate flag and made evasive maneuvers. They responded to our flag with a request to parley. With few options to outrun them in our current state and similar with fighting we agreed to parley.
Lilith invited them aboard and their delegation was made up of several people in faded and outdated Estalian finery. That they were vampires was obvious. They made no attempt to hide it and the lack of humanity in their eyes frightened me as they surveyed our living crew. They made their introductions and we ours. Lilith answered their questions about why we were here with something about seeking our kin. They responded that word must have spread faster than they thought and we discovered Port Reaver had recently fallen to the dead. They were impressed that I was capable of animating so many skeletons alone, while at the same time laughing at the quaintness of our using living crew. I fear for the men as we repair at Port Reaver