"So go forth as the finest men and women of the Jenn-Kellon School of Archery I have ever had the privileged to oversee." And with that six long years as an apprentice and student in the Academy ended! The graduation ceremony and speech were the icing on the cake, but all Aendi and his mates wanted to do now was cut loose and celebrate. They had spent the last several years of their lives in a rigid, unforgiving, concentrated, focused academy devoted to the art of archery. Everything from selecting the properly aged tree branch for shafts, to collecting feathers from the finest pheasants had been covered. They knew the ideal target regions on both large and small game - from hell hounds and fire spiders to passing deer and wild boar. Although their practice had been confined mainly to the walls of the academy - their aim was true, and their marks were sure to fall.
From the outcropping of rock reaching out above the trees, Summitch Salmagundi could see far below into the sweeping valley. He watched as merchants loaded cargo onto caravels in Freedom Harbor. And he imagined the sound of the small waves of Crystal Lake lapping against the shore's edge. It was here that the valley descended deep into the dark waters below.
High behind him, Summitch could see the peak of Dragon Fang Mountain catching the bright sunlight. The rich ore veins that decorated the hard stone face of the mountain reflected streaks of light back down to him. The summit of the great mountain seemed to beckon to him. He had been a climber since he was small. Often it was the only way to avoid the beatings of larger boys at the orphanage.
The morning light gave everything before him a fresh and crisp appearance. Perhaps it was the opportunity to start anew on an untouched island that no one to date had ever knew existed. Perhaps it was a magic in the air that came with this wonderful place. Already reports of strange creatures, odd plants, and extraordinary geological formations had begun to trickle back into the makeshift camp. Pristine was going to be a perfect place to prepare for the arrival of The Order and the new kingdom. However, at this early stage, no settlement had yet been established at the place they all came to call Blossom.
Breaking his small camp and stowing his personal articles in a tough leather backpack, Sheridan Washburn set off for higher ground. Looking about he could already see many small fires burning in the slightly foggy morning. People were making temporary encampments all over this newly found island. It was at once inspiring and beautiful - and yet - Sheridan knew the calm serenity of the place would not last. Settlers would begin vying for positions and placing deeds on ever unturned patch of soil that promised a good harvest.
The rolling sea tossed Sheridan Washburn from his swaying hammock below deck - time to wake and face another day at sea. Sheridan thought leaving Port Merevalin following the massive break up of Dragon's Beard was hazzardous. Navigating through the debris washed off the several islands north of Independence certainly slowed movement, and damaged many of the ships. But they had all eventually arrived at Kinoss Bay, and the ports of Pheonix Enterprises.
Emerging from the hold, Sheridan had to cover his eyes from the sun glaring down on the wide deck of the caravel. This massive ship was just one in a fleet stretching for several nautical miles. The thin line of ships were headed for the region that used to be the fiercest mark upon any map. The Dragon's Beard! Now it was only a memory, and more than that, an open expanse for exploration.