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Kenabelle Wright

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Image:Scroll2.png "The ocean is not hostile; no, it's something much more terrible, much more frightening. It is utterly, wholly, and completely indifferent. It takes absolutely no notice of one vessel or one individual. Away from shore, surrounded by the dark, unreadable water, one realizes how very small one truly is."
- Kenabelle Wright, An Account of the Circumnavigation of Mizahar
Kenabelle Wright

Kenabelle Wright
Date of birth431 AV
Place of birthZeltiva, Sylira
Date of death459 AV (aged 28)
Place of deathUnknown
TitleHonorary Chair, University of Zeltiva College of Navigation

Kenabelle Wright was a Zeltivan navigator who completed the first circumnavigation of the continent of Mizahar.


Early Life

Kenabelle Wright was born in Zeltiva on the first of winter in 431 AV She was the oldest child of a shipwright and a sailmaker, and showed a remarkable affinity for sailing and navigation at an early age. At the age of 15, she completed a solo trip from Zeltiva to Sunberth, and was rewarded with full membership in the Sailors' Guild; she was the youngest full member in over a century.

Wright quickly developed a reputation for fairness and good humor, tempered by an almost fanatical work ethic. As such, she became a favorite of other sailors, despite her tender years. By the age of 17, she was serving as both navigator and captain of a vessel on the trade route to Abura.

The Circumnavigation

Appointment as Captain

The University of Zeltiva College of Navigation had been preparing for an expedition to circumnavigate the continent of Mizahar since 445. A single caravel was constructed for this purpose, built to even more exact specifications than normal Zeltivan vessels, and by the start of 450, it was prepared for the voyage.

The University's Board of Regents had planned on offering the captaincy of the voyage to Timothy de Octans, who was widely considered to be the finest ship commander and sailor alive. However, the Administrative Committee of the Sailors' Guild did not believe that the expedition would succeed, fearing that the caravel would not be able to withstand the rigors of the travel. The Administrative Committee believed that if de Octans were to try and fail, it would be harder to muster support for a better-equipped expedition in the future than if some lesser-known captain were to take the fall. After much discussion, the Board of Regents and the Administrative Committee officially named Wright as their compromise selection, not long after her nineteenth birthday.

The Voyage

Wright and a crew of 100 set sail in the caravel Seafarer in the early summer of 450. They immediately started northward in the hope that they would be able to complete that leg of the journey before the winter ice made travel impossible.

The first leg of the journey went smoothly. The Seafarer made excellent progress, and passed Konti ahead of schedule. Soon, the expedition had passed the boundary of Sylira, and begun the trek across the northern coast of Tadera.

However, shortly after passing Glacier Cape, an unseasonably early ice storm hit. The storm destroyed two of the Seafarer's sails, and even after the brunt of the storm passed, the temperatures remained low enough for pack ice to begin forming. Unable to continue, Wright ordered the crew to put ashore at Desperation Bay and attempt to repair the sails while waiting for the weather to improve enough for travel.

The sails were quickly fixed, but the profoundly cold weather remained. Wright had anticipated being able to obtain further provisions somewhere in Kalea, and the available stock of food began to dwindle. Not long into the winter, the first crew member took ill and died. Their immune systems weakened by cold and hunger, others soon followed. Soon, half the crew were sick with the dreaded White Fever, including Wright.

Wright herself managed to recover, but most of those afflicted were not so lucky. By the time the disease had run its course, forty-three of the crew of the Seafarer were dead. In a twist of fate, it was only because the crew's numbers had been reduced thus far that the survivors were able to wait the remainder of the winter out without starving.

The pack ice broke to the west before it did in the east, and Wright made the decision to continue westward. The Seafarer rounded the Northwest Point in the spring of 451, and limped ashore at Avanthal.

Hampered by poor winds, the Seafarer was unable to clear Kalea until the beginning of summer. Running out of supplies again, the ship put ashore again at the mouth of a river on the west coast of Falyndar. Again, they obtained supplies, but as they were re-boarding the ship, a party of Myrians attacked the crew. Twenty crewmembers died in the attack, leaving a skeleton crew of twenty-three to continue the voyage.

The Seafarer crossed the Faleyk Gulf with little difficulty. However, the first storm of autumn caught up with the expedition as they attempted to round Rockward Island, off the southern coast of Eyktol. Four more crewmembers were swept overboard during the storm.

The few survivors, still led by Wright, turned northward, finally putting in at Abura during the autumn. Wright was still a well-known figure in Abura from her time captaining the trade vessel, and her nearly destroyed expedition was greeted with a mixture of shock and sympathy. Most of the crew abandoned the Seafarer in Abura; a contingent of Akvatari accompanied Wright and her three other remaining sailors back to Zeltiva, which they reached on the first day of winter, 451 -- Wright's twenty-first birthday.

Later Life

The Seafarer had been gone for a year and a half, and almost everyone had assumed the vessel and crew lost. Wright's arrival stunned the city, which immediately greeted her as a hero. Indeed, the first day of winter is still celebrated as Kenabelle Wright Day in Zeltiva, and is a major holiday.

Wright was given a position as honorary chair of the College of Navigation, a job which entailed a hefty stipend and little actual work. Most of her time was spent in editing and compiling her journals, notes, and maps of her expedition. She published them in 457 as An Account of the Circumnavigation of Mizahar. It became an instant classic, and her detailed maps remain the definitive charts of Mizahar's coastline.

Those who had known Wright before the voyage, however, noticed that she was much changed since her return. The formerly energetic, extroverted woman had become quiet and withdrawn, and seemed to be especially ill at ease with her newfound fame. While working on her book, she had at least had something to occupy her time, but following its publication, she became even more aloof and edgy.

In 459, she abruptly resigned her position as honorary chair, despite the fact that it was largely ceremonial. Two weeks later, after telling a friend that she was going to attempt to replicate her earlier feat of sailing to Sunberth, she left Zeltiva in the middle of the night. Wright was never seen again, and no trace of her or her vessel was ever found. After a two-month search along her assumed route by the Sailors' Guild, she was officially presumed dead. She was 28.

Wright died a wealthy woman, but her fortune remains locked in an estate administered by the Lord of Council's office. According to the unusual directions left in a will she wrote in 456, her manor remains unoccupied, though all appropriate taxes are paid on it, and her housekeeper and groundskeeper -- and later, their children -- continue to maintain it precisely as Wright had left it. As Wright had no heirs, it is assumed that this situation will continue in perpetuity.