Jump to content

[Academy Submission] A Land Undiscovered - The Discovery of Toin


Toin

Recommended Posts

June 6, 1781

The morning of June 6 had not been the nicest of mornings aboard the Discovery, but brought a pleasant feeling of home. The first thing that Captain Brady had seen above deck was the grey, overcast skies producing a light drizzle over the sea and a light fog all around. The sea itself had swells of only a few feet, cresting with white foam. The Discovery had sailed from the port of Cork earlier that year to verify claims of a great southern land that no European power had yet discovered - Brady knew an approximate location of the "discovery," but nothing else. Brady ordered the helmsman to continue the course and returned to his cabin, sat down at his desk, opened his log, and began writing. Almost as he began writing, a knock came at his door:

"Captain Brady, sir?" It was Lieutenant MacKenzie, a junior officer assigned to the ship and, for the most part, his personal aide. "We found something." Brady needed no further prompt, quickly stood up and put on his coat and hat. "Lead me."

The lieutenant and Brady had arrived above deck, and joined about half the crew in leaning over the edge.

"Telescope, please, Lieutenant."

A telescope was quickly passed to Brady, and he held it up to his right eye, peering at the gloomy coastline.

"Well, it certainly looks like something, MacKenzie. A gloomy, jagged coastline made of rocks and trees," he said in a curious voice. "MacKenzie, go up and tell helm to follow the coastline, find somewhere we can land. I'll be sure to mark this in the ship's log," he said. Brady returned to his cabin and once again began writing:

Quote

"6th June, 1781.

It's been a year since our departure at Cork on His Majesty's request. According to at least two known reports by whalers, there was a large southern land abundant in trees and rocks. It saddens me to explain that, for most of the past year, not one from among our ranks had made any discovery until this morning. Lieutenant MacKenzie informed me shortly after my return to my cabin that the crew found something, and once above deck I made the visual confirmation myself. Those whalers were right in their reports, after all. The coastline, for the most part, is made up of jagged rocks and trees, with nowhere suitable to land a lifeboat."

After several hours, a knock came at his door once again, and once again it was MacKenzie.

"Sir?"

"If you have something to say, Lieutenant, please do say."

"Helm says they found something that looks appropriate, but he doesn't know."

Brady, once again in a coat and with his hat, was once again above deck with a telescope to his right eye, again peering at the gloomy coastline. Since the initial discovery, most of the crew's wonder had evaporated and all were back at work.

"Hmm," was all he had to say while he made his decision. "Good work. Get a lifeboat ready, Lieutenant. We're making a discovery today," Brady said with almost a calming excitement. At this announcement, several of the crew had raised their heads in interest, almost like a dog looking for food on a counter top. The most Brady had ever discovered was a previously unnoticed rock in an already explored area, but he had discovered nothing in his entire naval career such as this. He was certainly apt at hiding most of his excitement, but nonetheless some if it was not contained, and he made no effort in hiding that.

"Yes, sir!" MacKenzie said with a slight smile.

The area that Brady deemed appropriate for a landing was a small beach made up of gravel. It wasn't a very large clearing, really; in fact, it could only fit two lifeboats at most, but the decision was made to take only one. Large, wet, jagged rocks and boulders flanked the edge of the beach, providing a grassy overlook of the frothy grey ocean below. The remainder of the area was thickly covered with pine trees and shrubs. Behind this beach area, the terrain rose quickly and sharply like forested hills, and then, approximately 5 miles further inland, into actual mountains. There were no dangerous downdrafts, it was decided, so the Captain was set to depart once the lifeboat was ready.

"Lieutenant, do you think there will be any... say, natives?" Brady asked as he, the Lieutenant, and a few others in the lifeboat were lowered into the sea below.

"I wouldn't know, sir, not having discovered this land all," MacKenzie said. Brady smirked slightly at the remark.

By now, the lifeboat was lowered and the ropes cast away. The lifeboat was now under human power, bobbing among the small but difficult waves. It was an ordeal to get pointed in the correct direction, but once they were, Brady ordered them to proceed while he stood up and waved his hat back at the ship. The journey took longer than usual, at just over 10 minutes compared to a usual 2 or 3 minutes, because of the undesirable weather for such activity, but the boat was in water shallow enough that the occupants got out and shoved it ashore so it stayed.

"If anyone asks me, Lieutenant, I don't see any indicators of a claim."

"Yes, sir, it does seem that way."

"Shall we?"

"Yes, sir," and with that Brady gave his orders. The ships artist was among the first people to set foot on this new land and quickly got too work sketching the flora he saw, and even a curious elk peering at them from the treeline. Brady himself was poking around the treeline and made a discovery he had not noticed when first evaluating the site: a path. It was small and disused, but still obvious and passable. Looks like we have some natives on our hands, Brady thought to himself.

After about an hour of exploration, Brady and his entourage had returned to the ship. Brady made sure to add to his log:

Quote

"6th June, 1781.

Regarding today's discovery, myself and several others of the Discovery made landfall at half past one o'Clock in the afternoon. The beach where we made landfall was covered in small pebbles instead of sand, and was only large enough for two boats at the most. The ship's artist, when he disembarked the lifeboat, almost immediately put pen to paper with the flora and apparently a curious elk, which no one else saw.

But, most interestingly, there was a pathway from the beach. It was obvious that it hadn't been used in several years, perhaps even decades, by the time we had arrived, but it was still obvious and passable. It seems to suggest the presence of an indigenous culture somewhere nearby, perhaps within 20 miles. That, in my book, warrants enough interest to investigate further."

Later that evening, after dinner, he put a piece of parchment on his desk and once more put pen to paper.

Quote

"6 June MDCCLXXXI

In the name of His Majesty King George the Third of the United Kingdom, we, the crew of the HMS Discovery, having discovered this new land and testify to the same, claim this new found land for His Majesty and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Signed under my hand this 6th Day of June, 1781.

Commander James King affirming."

 

Edited by Toin
Added tags (see edit history)
Link to comment

June 7, 1781

The night since the discovery had passed rather uneventfully, but nonetheless Brady had intent to find where the pathway led. He carefully considered his options. If we go by land, he thought, it would add merit to this expedition. Not that it didn't already have any, of course. But the indigenous could be hostile and hiding in the bushes, or know we're coming. That would've been a problem. In the end, he decided to go by ship. Once more, wearing his trademark coat and hat, he appeared above deck. The weather of the day had not changed much since yesterday, but perhaps there was slightly less rain in the air this time.

"Helm, proceed dead ahead and follow the coastline. We're going to find us a village today." Of course, the nameless helmsman obliged the order. "Lieutenant, post a lookout on the port side and tell him to look out for any sign of an indigenous population."

"Yes, sir," came from Lieutenant MacKenzie.

The deck of the ship was as busy as usual for a ship of the Royal Navy. The ship's artist was still sketching away for a visual record to accompany the logs of the voyage and had already produced one-quarter of a booklet of rough sketches. They needn't be precise, but at the same time they must give an accurate view of what they saw. The one thing troubling the artist was the fog, which made drawing in any meaningful detail difficult. At this time of year, though, the fog would usually burn off by mid-day, which the artist could look forward too.

Brady made sure to log his position with the sextant he kept in his cabin. After using it to observe the sun, he calculated that the Discovery was approximately 46 degrees south latitude. His next stop of the morning was the cartographer. Brady peered into his cabin, where he spent most of his time when he wasn't needed. He was a relatively short man of 50, balding brown hair, and worry lines strewn across his face.

"Lieutenant?"

"Yes, what do you want?" the cartographer said somewhat grouchily.

"We need you on deck, Lieutenant. Do you reckon you could put your cartography skills to use today?"

"I have 'em for a reason, Captain," he grunted as he shuffled around his room, collecting the tools he needed for making his maps. After he collected his tools, he joined Captain Brady for the short stroll to the deck. The cartographer looked around the deck, and grunted with satisfaction at having found a spot, then proceeded to break off. Brady, however, continued to Lieutenant MacKenzie, who was on the port side gazing at the magnificent land they had discovered only a day before.

"It's kind of like a dream, isn't it, sir? It's a wonder no one else discovered it before we did. I would pack up and build a cabin in a hurry, if I could."

"Let's be glad we discovered it when we did, Lieutenant. Do we have any progress so far?" Brady felt similarly, and when he had down time during his day he often found himself gazing at the coastline too. It was a kind of land that wasn't well known to the Europeans.

"No, sir. No luck with this hypothetical village, so far, not that I heard. The lookout is still posted and looking, though."

"Lieutenant!" Lieutenant MacKenzie shuffled over to the lookout, who was pointing to the coastline. The lookout gave him the telescope, which he took and held up to his eyes, peering through the trees. There was a large beach, also made of gravel, upon which set several elaborately decorated canoes. A few were already in the water, with tribesman paddling it further out to sea for a whaling expedition, complete with spears. Large, wooden longhouses were visible from behind the beach, with a few campfires and drying racks in the pathways in front of some of them. Most of the villagers were outside, and most had noticed the large unknown ship by now, and several were waving.

"Captain, I think we found your village. Take a look."

"It seems so. Lieutenant, ask our dear friend the cartographer to mark this spot on the map as an inhabited village."

As these words were exchanged, a new canoe was launched with several older tribe members, but instead of paddling out to sea, they turned the canoe around to face the ship and were paddling towards it at a leisurely pace.

"Yes, sir. And if you look carefully, it appears we have company. They don't look armed, though."

"I noticed. We're an envoy of the British Empire, so we shan't take any reckless action, but nonetheless, get a Marine posted up here, and have him armed with a rifle."

"Yes, sir."

It took tens of minutes for the canoe to get out towards the ship, but once it did, most of the villagers were hauled aboard by the crew. The Captain was the first to meet them, and immediately noticed that they were looking around with curiosity, Clearly, this particular village had never met a European power before.

"Hello, esteemed friends. I am Captain Brady of the HMS Discovery, a ship of the Royal Navy. We are on an expedition of peace for the British Empire." As the Captain said this, the villagers looked at him without comprehension. One of them asked what sounded like a question in their native language, but there was clearly a communication barrier. "Curious." He did not know the language the natives spoke, and the natives did not know English. He pointed to himself and said "Brady," several times. The natives seemed to get the message, and the eldest of them pointed to himself and said "Makua." There wasn't much more that could be accomplished, but Captain Brady had arranged for Lieutenant MacKenzie to show the villagers around the ship. They were fascinated by most everything, especially the rifles, which they could only guess were weirdly shaped hunting spears that they couldn't possibly guess as to how to use it. After about two hours aboard, they disembarked for their canoe and paddled the 20 minutes back to their village, passing along their impression of the ship and her crew.

Brady, MacKenzie, and the ship's artist were once again lowered in the lifeboat, cast the ropes, and rowed towards the village. They observed a respectful distance from the villagers during their 30 minute stay. The artist sketched the totem poles first, then proceeded with a scene of daily life in the village, his book growing thicker.

"Curious fellows, they are, wouldn't you say?"

"Yes, sir. Curious indeed."

After their 30 minute stay, they climbed in the lifeboat again and sailed back towards the ship and boarded her for the remainder of the day. Captain Brady had set out for his quarters immediately, and wrote in the ship's log:

Quote

"7th June, 1781.

We've discovered that this isle is indeed inhabited by a curious tribe of natives. They speak a language that isn't English and they live simple, care-free lives in their village. They appear to be fishers, using spears to catch whales and tow them back to the village, or use those same spears to stab fish and put them aboard.

They appear to be ruled by a clan of elders, the eldest of which identified himself to us as "Makua." We know little else, and will be exploring this immediate area over the next several days before proceeding onward. No other discoveries of note."

 

Link to comment

June 10, 1781

For once, the weather had improved. It was no longer raining, and while there were clouds, there was still a lot of blue sky visible and the sun was shining. Due to the time of year and the latitude, it was perhaps 60 degrees, but much better than the 50 degree, cloudy rain that they had known since this new land had emerged from the foggy gloom only a few days earlier.

Since the Discovery's discovery of their first native village, they had weighed anchor off shore and observed from a distance, and occasionally sent lifeboats in the direction of the village for a closer look. They had learned quite a bit, and observed several canoes depart and return from fishing expeditions. The natives appeared to be spear fishers when they weren't hunter-gatherers, skilled at fishing anything from salmon to killer whales. Religious ceremonies were curious: they appeared to believe that they had come from the sea thousands of years ago. They also appeared to worship rabbits, white rabbits in particular, but due to the language barrier no one knew why. They could only guess that a white rabbit, perhaps more than one white rabbit, was their equivalent to God himself.

By now, though, the Discovery had hauled anchor and proceeded under sail along their previous course. The initial shock of the discovery was beginning to wear off, and it didn't help that wherever the crew looked they had seen more of the same - rugged coastlines, rocky beaches, forested hills covered in pine trees, and a long chain of snow-capped mountains in the distance. The cartographer was still mapping the coast they had visited and marked only a few potential anchoring points and only one good stretch of land for a settlement with X's, as well as geographic coordinates. But they had bigger problems.

"Captain, Commander King and Lieutenant Commander Smith want to speak with you. It sounds quite serious."

"Show them in."

Commander James King was the ship's first officer, and Lt. Commander Smith was the ship's quartermaster. Since MacKenzie had said it sounded "quite serious," Brady could only assume something had gone wrong with the supplies.

"Good morning, Captain," King had said as he walked in the door.

"Isn't it? Please, sit." Brady was motioning towards the chairs in his cabin; both of his officers then proceeded to sit down in the chairs. The first to speak was the quartermaster.

"We have a problem. It's no surprise that most of the crew is suffering from scurvy, but it also appears we're running low on supplies. Unfortunately, most of those supplies are essentials: crates of food are now overwhelmingly empty. I have some people cataloging what we have left, but if I had to guess it's doubtful we can return to any of our resupply depots on full rations. I would normally advise trading with the natives, but we all know there's a language barrier, and we don't know how aggressive they are when it comes to us nicking their food. In other words, we should sail for home."

"I'm inclined to agree with the quartermaster, Captain," came out of Commander King.

"If we reduce rations, can we get back to our first resupply?"

"It would be risky, Captain, but I believe so. The crew, in my experience, never likes reduced rations, but being men of the Royal Navy, they should be used to it by now."

"Alright, so we reduce rations. By how much?"

"Until the evaluation is complete, it's hard to say, but I'd have to guess anywhere from one-third to one-half."

"How long until your evaluation is complete?"

"Roughly two and a half hours, Captain."

"I'm afraid we'll have to skip lunch, then. Very well. Commander, get us underway for Cork, and make sure to stop at the Azores for resupply."

Brady moved over to his desk, dipped his pen into ink, and started writing:

Quote

"From the senior staff:

Lieutenant Commander Smith of the Quartermaster Corps has informed me we are low on rations and advises we sail for home immediately. Quartermaster informs me morning and evening rations will be reduced one-third to one-half until the Azores resupply depot. To conserve our meager supplies, mid-day rations will no longer be served until the Azores.

Signed,

Captain Patrick Brady.

Commander James King affirming."

The captain took the parchment from his desk, handed it to Lieutenant MacKenzie, and ordered it posted below deck near the stairs that lead up. Brady also ordered an oral recount of the document to the crew above deck.

Within 30 minutes, the ship was underway and pointed towards Cork. Slightly earlier than expected, the quartermaster returned bearing news on the ration situation.

"Captain, it appears we have to reduce rations by one-half just to make it to the Azores, and even then it's uncertain if we'll make it without running out of rations or run out a few days beforehand."

"Hmm. Very well, half rations it is. Tell your boys in the cargo hold to dish out one-half rations until the Azores, at least. Make sure to post a Marine by the cargo hold, too."

"Yes, sir."

Link to comment

August 2, 1781

The HMS Discovery was forced to leave Toin due to the unfortunate discovery that rations were consumed quicker than usual. Or maybe, perhaps, a calculation error had occurred before they had even set sail in the first place, and they never had enough rations to begin with. But either way, they were out of food now. In fact, they had run out a few days prior, almost as the quartermaster had "predicted."

Overall, though, the journey back to the Azores was relatively easy given the situation. The crew was never happy for reduced rations, but most of them had experienced a similar situation in the past, somewhat varying in severity. Running out of food, however, was another story. The second day after they had run out of food, the Royal Marines posted at the cargo hold were heckled regularly, and on the evening of July 31, were even outright attacked. Needless to say, after that particular incident, several of the crew and one Marine were on bed rest and visited by the ships doctor regularly.

But not all was in vain: Brady's latest calculations and measurements showed that they should be seeing the Azores at some point today, if not over the next few days. It was rather unfortunate that the Captain had to abandon his first large discovery, especially so soon, but at least he had something to report to the Admiralty. He figured they would have some interest in it as they had with the American colonies now in revolution, but figured that Parliament might have better sense this time around in regards to taxes. Brady himself, in his report sent to the Admiralty, requested that he return to his discovery in the future should it be worthy of the attention of the British Empire.

"Land ho!" the lookout, at the bow of the ship, had shouted - he had spotted the Azores, and therefore, food. It was still at least an hour away, but the Discovery was granted a stay in port when she arrived. The city they had arrived in was Ponta Delgada, and the crew had spent the next week quartered in most of the taverns that Ponta Delgada had to offer. The quartermaster and the captain had made sure to load all the stores they needed and then some for the rest of the journey to Cork.

•   •   •

Several weeks later, Captain Brady reported in person to the Admiralty the expedition's findings, and provided the maps made by the cartographer and the sketches made by the artist. The faceless organisation had then spent several more weeks deliberating the island's worth, and eventually came to the conclusion that this discovery was worth the attention of the Navy. The Admiralty then sent a recommendation to George III to send two Navy ships with colonists and supplies to build Toin's first settlement - Port St. George. The King then, subsequently, approved this recommendation, and the Admiralty appointed Brady as the Captain of the HMS St. George, the lead ship of the fleet.

•   •   •

Needless to say, our story is now at an end. This is the story of the first of many exploratory expeditions to Toin.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...