Part 4

The world seems to narrow down to just what separates you and the waves. Your boat is relatively sturdy, and with the additions, you have made it is even something close to manoeuvrable.

But you cannot shake the feeling that none of that will mean a damn thing once you get close enough to the rocks.

As far as you can tell, and the water is clear enough here that you have a pretty good view, there are seven rocks you are going to have to navigate around.

That is not an impossible labyrinth, but it is still many more risks of dying than you would prefer to exist in your near future.

Slowly you come up to the nearest one. It is tall and thin, like a needle sticking out of the water. It could be as if a great hand were stitching the waves together, sewing one part of the great ocean onto another part. Like a patchwork quilt made up of currents and tides.

Just as the rock looms so close that you can make out the tiny barnacles and plants that live on it, you manage to push against it with your sword and force your boat to swerve around it! Success!

“Well done!” The Marchioness cries, “Now just the rest of them to do!”

The brief moment of pure joy is doused by those words, you turn to look ahead of you. Yes “just” the rest of them to do.

(Roll your die six times, take note of every time that you roll a number that means you have hit a rock. If you don’t hit any rocks then look to the section that says 7. You can’t number things starting with 0 so this is the easiest way to do it. Each of the sections below has been hidden through the use of the rot13 cypher that you can find here.)

  1. Gur ebpx gung pngpurf lbh vf uvqqra orarngu gur jnirf, lbh arire frr vg, ohg lbh urne gur pernx bs vg fpbevat qrrc vagb gur uhyy bs gur obng. Gur Znepuvbarff yrgf bhg n qrrcyl haynqlyvxr fjrne gung vf fbzrubj jbefr guna nyy bs gur fjrnef lbh unir urneq snyy bhg bs gur zbhguf bs zber hapbhgu cvengrf. Jura vg snyyf sebz ure yvcf lbh xabj gung fur zrnaf vg. Ohg vg vf gur bayl ebpx gung znantrf gb fpne lbhe fuvc. Znluncf vg jnf gur qernqshy abvfr gung pbbyrq lbhe oybbq naq znqr lbhe sbphf gung zhpu fgebatre, be gur bgure ebpxf jrer abg fb gevpxl gb qbqtr, ohg fbzrubj lbh znxr vg gb gur vfynaq jvgu lbhe obng fgvyy zbfgyl vagnpg. Lbh pna hfr guerr cbvagf gb svk hc gur ubyr va lbhe obng hfvat fbzr gne naq ryobj ternfr.
  2. Gurer vf n greevoyr abvfr yvxr gur fanccvat bs obarf nf n ebpx orarngu gur fuvc fpberf gur obggbz bs gur uhyy, ohg orsber lbh pna ernpg gb gung, gnxr n zrnfher bs jung qnzntr unf orra qbar, n frpbaq ebpx frrzf gb ybbz bhg bs lbhe avtugznerf. Vg vf funcrq yvxr n ybjre pnfr d, nyy lbhe nggragvba fgnlf jvgu gur ynetr naq oybpxl urnq nobir gur jngre, naq fb lbh zvff gur gnvy gung znantrf gb gnxr n puhax bhg bs fbzrguvat gb gur onpx bs gur obng. Gurer vf jngre pbzvat va abj, rabhtu gung lbh pna srry gur obng fyvccvat qrrcre naq qrrcre vagb gur jngre naq lbhe pybgurf fgneg gb fbnx vg hc. Lbh zbir gb fgneg onvyvat ohg gur Znepuvbarff vf dhvpx gb beqre lbh onpx gb lbhe jbex. Fbzrubj gur obng znxrf vg gb gur ornpu, gubhtu nf lbh qent vg bhg bs gur frn vg frrzf gb or gnxvat n terng qrny bs gur bprna jvgu vg. Lbh zhfg hfr 6 cbvagf gb svk gur obng, lbh unir gur arprffnel fhccyvrf ohg vg jvyy gnxr n ybg bs gvzr gb qb vg.
  3. Guvatf dhvpxyl tb sebz onq, gb jbefr, gb rira jbefr. Lbh jrer fb ohfl sbphfvat ba gelvat gb zbir lbhe obng nebhaq gur boivbhf ebpxf gung lbh zvffrq gjb yrff boivbhf barf. Gura, gb znxr gur znggref rira jbefr, lbhe obng fznpxf fvqr ba gb bar bs gur ynetre barf gung lbh unq frra naq gubhtug lbh unq tbggra nebhaq. Lbh unq abg qbar fb gb n fhssvpvrag fgnaqneq, nccneragyl. Gur oybj gb gur fvqr bs gur obng funxrf gur jubyr bs vg. Nf vg vf evtug arkg gb gur znxrfuvsg znfg, vg vf gur fnvy gung vf gur jbefg nssrpgrq. Vg fgnegf gb qebbc ba bar fvqr. Qrfcvgr guvf, lbh znantr gb znxr vg gb gur ornpu. Lbh ner jngre-fbnxrq naq lbh ner snveyl pregnva lbh unir frra fbzr bs lbhe fhccyvrf sybng njnl, ohg lbh znantr gb znxr vg gb gur ornpu jvgu zbfg bs n obng. Lbhe obng vf ab ybatre frnjbegul. Lbh znl va gur shgher svaq fhccyvrf gb svk vg be gb hfr cnegf bs vg sbe bgure guvatf, ohg sbe abj, lbh unir na rk-obng. Gb svaq gur orybatvatf gung sybngrq njnl lbh jvyy arrq gb hfr 3 cbvagf.
  4. Gur obng vf fgevccrq bhg sebz haqre lbh ol gur pehry ebpxf gung fheebhaq gur vfynaq, gur jnirf gung onggre ng lbh arneyl gnxr lbh qbja vagb gur qrcguf, ohg fbzrubj lbh znantr gb fghzoyr bagb gur ornpu. Jngre fybfurf bhg bs lbhe obbgf naq lbhe pybgurf sbhaq arj jnlf bs fbnxvat hc jngre gb qent ng lbh naq znxr lbh srry urnil. Ohg lbh unir znantrq vg, fbzrubj. Gur obng naq rirelguvat jvguva vg jnf pybfr rabhtu gb gur ornpu gung vg nyy raqf hc gurer nf jryy. Gur jnirf gung pneir gurve jnl vagb gur juvgr fnaq frrz nyzbfg ncbybtrgvp nf gurl qrcbfvg lbhe orybatvatf va n zrff nybat gur ornpu. Lbh jvyy unir gb hfr 6 cbvagf gbqnl gb tngure rirelguvat gung unf orra fcernq nybat gur ornpu, ohg ng yrnfg lbh fubhyq svaq vg nyy. Gur obng vf ab ybatre frnjbegul naq vfa’g zhpu zber guna xvaqyvat abj. Fbqqra xvaqyvat, ng gung.
  5. Gur frn qentf lbh qbja vagb vgf pyhgpurf sne rneyvre guna lbh unq qernqrq. Svefg, gur obggbz bs gur uhyy vf fpencrq njnl ol uvqqra ebpxf, gura nyy gur ebpxf gung lbh qvq frr pbzvat gb fznfu gur fvqrf gb ovgf. Lbh riraghnyyl jnfu hc ba gur ornpu, pbhtuvat naq fcyhggrevat naq fjrnevat arire gb qb fbzrguvat yvxr gung ntnva. Whfg nf lbh ner tbvat gb ghea bagb lbhe fvqr sbe n jryy-rnearq tnfc svyyrq oerngure, lbh frr gur Znepuvbarff. Fur vf fgehttyvat va gur jngre. Fur fgvyy unf n ubyq bs gur bne fur jnf hfvat nf n ehqqre, ohg yvxr lbh, fur frrzf gb unir orra sbepvoyl erzbirq sebz gur erfg bs gur obng. Lbhe obql jnagf gb erory ntnvafg vg, ohg fbzrubj lbh fghzoyr gb lbhe srrg naq fgehttyr onpx bhg vagb gur jnirf gb uryc ure wbva lbh. Guvf pbfgf fvk cbvagf. Nf bs abj, lbh unir ab npprff gb lbhe fhccyvrf be nal bs gur vgrzf gung znqr hc lbhe obng. Gur Znepuvbarff unf ure bne, naq lbh unir lbhe phgynff, naq gung’f nobhg vg, V’z nsenvq.
  6. Lbh ner va gur fnyg fb snfg gung lbhe urnq frrzf gb fcva. Abg n urycshy nvyzrag jura lbh ner va gur jngre naq qbvat lbhe orfg gb fjvz gb gur ornpu gung frrzf shegure njnl jvgu rirel xvpx lbh znantr. Vg gnxrf 6 cbvagf sbe lbh gb fjvz gb gur fuber. Vg gnxrf nabgure 6 cbvagf jura lbh frr gur Znepuvbarff fgehttyvat va gur jnirf naq lbh tb bhg gb erfphr ure. Sbe abj, lbh bayl unir rnpu bgure, lbhe fhccyvrf, fhpu nf gurl jrer, ner fpnggrerq. Vs lbh ner yhpxl lbh znl svaq fbzr va gur sbyybjvat qnlf, ohg sbe abj, vg vf whfg lbh, gur Znepuvbarff, ure bne, naq lbhe phgynff.
  7. Vg vf evfxl naq greevslvat, ohg fbzrubj lbh znxr vg nebhaq nyy gur ebpxf, rira gur barf gung ghearq bhg gb or bar ynetr bar engure guna gjb fznyyre barf, lbh’er fgvyy abg fher ubj lbh qvq gung. N zvk bs n yhpxl jnir naq lbh tenoovat ubyq bs bar bs gur ebpxf naq hfvat lbhe bja obql gb yrire gur obng bire. Lrf, abg fbzrguvat lbh jnag gb gel gb qb nal gvzr fbba, gung vf sbe nofbyhgryl pregnva. Ohg lbh unir znqr vg gb fuber, naq jvgu lbh vf lbhe pbzcnavba, lbhe obng naq nyy gur fhccyvrf hcba vg. Gurl znl abg frrz yvxr zhpu, ohg gurl ner n sbeghar pbzcnerq gb ubj vg jbhyq srry abg gb unir gurz. Lbh naq gur Znepuvbarff qent gur obng hc bagb gur ornpu, gnxvat pner gb zbir vg gb jurer gur gvqr pnaabg qent vg njnl ntnva.

Eventually, you stop moving, whether it is exhaustion or the realisation that there isn’t anything else you can do right now that motivates you, it is hard to say. But you drop onto the sand and let out a deep heaving breath. You have made it to the island. Well, you correct yourself, an island, you don’t know it from any other. But it is unlikely to sink below you, which is a promising change, and the thick jungle that seems to cover much of what you can see will presumably have something that you can eat hidden within its foliage.

Things have not gone how you would have liked them to, but you are alive and that is better than the odds would have had you believe.