You reach the great domed building that you had seen from a distance, and up close it looks even more massive.\n\nIs such a building open to commoners? Can just anyone walk inside?\n\nYes!\n\nYou walk through the doors and see the wall rise up around you, culminating in the great dome in the middle of the building.\n\nIt is now evident to you that this is a church, and you walk towards the middle, slipping into a pew right under the dome, marveling at the sight. You bow your head and give a short prayer of thanksgiving for having reached London safely. You add another prayer, asking for blessings for the trip ahead and for the health and well-being of your family.\n\nHaving said your prayers, you walk around the edges of the church, looking at all of the intricate artwork and carvings, the likes of which you never saw in your home church in Ledurga.\n\nYou spend some time sitting in quiet contemplation in one of the side chapels, and then go back out into the hustle and bustle of the city.\n\nAs evening falls, you return to the market to meet the German grocer and his family.\n\nTo be continued...
You nod slowly, not sure where these young men are going to take you, but what's life without some risks?\n\nThey grin, and clap you on the shoulder. They push you through the warehouse, until you come to a lit open spot with some tables, chairs and a map of the world.\n\n"Come. Sit. Drink." One of them drinks from a flask of some kind, and then passes it to you. You smell a strong spirit - not one you are familiar with - but take a quick drink anyways and pass it along.\n\n"I am Jens. Danish. This is Antonio. Portuguese. And Lachlan. Scottish."\n\n"Karl. Latvian. Small part of Russia."\n\n"Yes, I go to Riga sometimes. But excitement start when you leave this sea. Where you go?"\n\n"The captain said we were going to the Pacific."\n\n"Oh ho ho, you have big journey ahead! Be careful of captain. Maybe nice now, not later."\n\n"Why not?"\n\n"Now you can still leave ship easy. Europe small place, lots of stops, easy to run and hide. After London... not so many stops. Many foreign places with no hiding for European boy. Unless you go to America."\n\n"America? I have heard of it."\n\n"People say it land of opportunity. Lots of land, money. Lots of work."\n\n"Have you been there?"\n\n"Little bit. Could not leave ship. But I saw it. I want to go back. Need to learn more English, then get good job there."\n\n"Do you go to England?"\n\n"Sometimes. Learn some English there."\n\nJens, with the assistance of Lachlan and Antonio, teach you some key words to know in English. You have heard the Captain speak of London, and expect be there soon. You hope to have the chance to explore some of London before disappearing into the big world outside of Europe.\n\nJens points out America on the map, but it is in the opposite direction from where you are going.\n\n"I see I may not get to America."\n\n"Oh, but you might. See here?" Jens points to the left side of the map.\n\n"Here Russia. Here is probably where you go. World is round, yes? Russia keeps going over here onto same piece of land as America. If you go there, you may be able to go to America."\n\n"Maybe. But what about my family?"\n\n"Go to America, make money. Send letter home. Family come to you."\n\n"I suppose..."\n\n"But before you get to America, you have all of these places." Jens points to other points on the map. "I don't know where all you go. But many countries have interesting things. New foods. Make interesting items that you take home and sell for good money." The other two sailors nodded, grinning.\n\n"Can you do that?"\n\n"Don't tell the captain, and you can do anything." Lachlan said, grinning.\n\nThe sailors pass the flask around a few more times. Once they tell you everything you need to know about the world, the four of you leave the warehouse and settle into a tavern for food and more drink.\n\nIf you can meet more friendly people like this in every port, this long voyage might not be so bad after all.\n\n[[Soon it is time to leave Copenhagen, and head off to London.|London]]
Sailor in the Civil War... Prelude, Part 1
The main road you headed up towards the centre of town opens up into a wide market road, and for a moment, if you narrow your eyes and ignore the large buildings on behind the market stalls, you can imagine that you are in a market back home.\n\nYou can still see people from every corner of the world, just like you had in the docks, but as you pass by one grocer stall, you hear the snippets of a familiar tongue.\n\nNot Latvian, of course, but German, which you speak well enough, and for the past month have only been able to speak to the Captain in, since the rest of the sailors were Russians.\n\nYou turn to the grocer who you heard speak German, and address him in his native tongue.\n\nHe stops talking to the child beside him and smiles at you.\n\nShocked to find another German speaker in London, the grocer invites you to join him and his family for dinner, so that you can learn more of the English-speaking world.\n\n"Be back at sundown." He says, waving you towards the city centre. "Now, you go see the city. I wait for you here tonight."\n\nYou nod and smile, and return to your route towards the city centre, and the [[great domed building|StPauls]] just ahead of you.
Shaking your head, you back towards the door.\n\n"Sorry, I have ship to go to. No liberty for long."\n\nThe men shrugged, disappointed, but let you leave the building.\n\nYou head back into the market, and walk through the streets of Copenhagen, enjoying the feel of the buildings and how they remind you of Riga, of home.\n\nThen you make your way back to the ship, and the next adventures it will bring.\n\nIn a few days, the ship departs Copenhagen, heading to its [[next destination|London]].
Under cover of night, you sneak off the ship. You slip past the port guards while they are looking the other way.\n\nBy the time morning rises, you have made it to the outskirts of town, where a number of factories line the streets. Workers are already starting to head in through the gates.\n\nPicking a factory at random, you slip into the crowd, passing through the gates. Once you make it inside, you look for someone in charge.\n\nOnce you find him, he looks you up and down and deems you fit, directing you to a machine, and pointing out some men to talk to about finding lodging.\n\nThe work is hard, but the pay is there. A few months or years of this, and you can go home to your family, with money, but without the risk and stories that your sea voyage would have brought.\n\nIt is safer that way, isn't it?\n\nThe End\n\n[[Try again|Start]]
Your fear overwhelms you, and you back away, mumbling your apologies.\n\nYou turn towards the west and head further into the city, to see what else it may hold for you.\n\n[[On your way, you stumble across a touch of home.|Cheapside]]
When morning comes, Captain Heinrichsohn waits patiently while you say your goodbyes to your family. Promising to write whenever the opportunity arises.\n\nThe Captain has provided a horse for you, and you follow him as he heads off along the road in the direction of Riga. You turn once, to wave to your family, and then look ahead, turning your attention to the future unfolding before you.\n\n* * *\n\nAfter two days of riding, you arrive in the city of Riga. You are in awe of the size of the city, never having seen anything like it before. The churches in the Old Town towered over the rest of the buildings, and you can't help but stare.\n\nThe Captain slows to walk his horse beside yours. "Never been here before, lad?"\n\nYou shake your head.\n\n"Lots of young men come here these days, not wanting to work on the farms anymore, looking for work in the cities. It's a hard life, but the work is there."\n\nYou nod, remembering some of the factories you saw on the way into town. You had heard of other young men in your community striking out for the city, but it had never attracted you.\n\nInstead, you were about to travel around the world, with a man you barely knew and a crew that you did not know at all. So now who was the crazy one - the man who went to the city, or the man who went on a ship around the world?\n\nMaybe you should reconsider. Maybe it would be enough to stay in Riga for awhile, get a job at one of the factories, and earn some money for your family that way.\n\nYou follow the Captain to the port, where he shows you the ship - a great big thing, much bigger than any boat you have ever been on. As he directs you aboard and shows you your berth, you see the other sailors eye you up. You are certainly the youngest on the ship.\n\nAs you lie in bed, looking at the ceiling and hearing the snores of the other crewmen all around you, you wonder if this has been a mistake. This might be your last chance. In the morning, the ship would be off to who knows where, taking you with it.\n\nDo you [[stay on the ship|Copenhagen]] or [[get off and flee into the city|Riga]]?
After a long day working in the fields, you are in the tavern helping your sister clear tables. As you are about to lock the door, a man in a naval uniform enters the room and sits down at the bar. He motions for your sister to serve him a drink.\n\nAs she serves him the drink, he notices you standing by the door, and beckons you over.\n\n"Ei, young man!" He barks in German. "Come here."\n\nDo you [[go see the man|Navy]] or [[ignore him|Home]]?
If Riga and Copenhagen were marvels, nothing could compare to London.\n\nAs the ship comes into port in the East India Docks, you can see the city spread out in front of you, a number of buildings stretching higher into the sky than you saw in Copenhagen or Riga.\n\nWhile the ship stops short of the city, you know that you will be able to explore it at your leisure. Captain Heinrichsohn has given the crew a week's liberty while he acquires the provisions, trade goods and passengers for the next stage of the journey - the one that will take you off the edge of any map you have ever seen.\n\nYou head through the narrow roads and alleyways near the docks, marveling at how these people live so close together, and you feel a yearning for the open fields and forests of home.\n\nYou see people from all corners of the world - your conversations with other sailors had told you of this, men and women of many colours, all together here in London, but to see the world represented in such a small space is a shock to you. London is clearly at the epicentre of the world, to be able to gather people from the whole world together.\n\nYou hear a great screeching noise, and come upon a large machine, with carriages attached to it, resting on some rails in the ground. This must be the train that you have heard about - a great machine that is beginning to change the world. A machine that transports people and goods much faster than carts on roads, or even ships in canals.\n\nCurious to see its speed, you slip on, not caring where it might take you.\n\nWhether by design or a stroke of luck, the train takes you towards the centre of London, disgorging you at a station called "Fenchurch".\n\nAs you leave the station and enter into London, you see a great column towering over nearby buildings, and head towards it to investigate.\n\nSeveral blocks later, you come to this marvel, a great column topped with a golden decoration. You cannot read English, and thus are not certain what it all means, but as you gaze up, you can see people on a platform high above you, on the column itself!\n\nSeeing you staring, an old man approaches you from a door at the base of the column, and nudges you. You do not understand what he says, and apologize in German and Russian that you do not know.\n\nThe old man points to the door he came out of, and then upwards. He pulls a coin out of the purse at his belt, and mimes you handing it to him.\n\nYou understand. You could go up in the column, and see what lies at the top!\n\nThis is one of the marvels of the world that you left home to witness, surely. But it is so high!\n\nDo you [[go up|Monument]] or [[apologize, and head further into the city|ScaredOfHeights]]?
You pass the old man a coin, and he motions for you to go through the door.\n\nYou stare up, and you see a spiral staircase disappearing into the sky. It is time for you to go up and see what you'll find at the top.\n\nHundreds of stairs later, you emerge onto the platform where you had seen the people before. All of the people had descended while you were on your way up, and now you have the platform to yourself.\n\nYou walk around the platform, taking everything in from all sides. Towards the east, you can see the docks that you arrived at, and even the <i>Razboinik</i> itself. Towards the south, you see the river that cleaves the city in two. Towards the west...\n\nTowards the west... that is where the real splendour shows. Church spires reaching into the sky, including one really massive dome. There is no question. You need to investigate that dome next. While here you are high in the air, it is really no more than a pole in comparison. What is before you is a great marvel of architecture.\n\nAfter finishing your circuit, you affirm your desire to keep moving west, to see the great domed building ahead.\n\nYou make your way down the steps, nodding to the old man at the door, and head west, to see what this great building is.\n\n[[But first, you stumble across a touch of home.|Cheapside]]
You shake your head, and move away from the man, heading into the back room where your family lives.\n\nWhatever he may have offered you, you know your place here, and you are comfortable with it. You grow older, work on some other local farms, and eventually, marry and take over the family farm. You are able to buy it a few years after your marriage.\n\nIn your old age, you experience the birth of a free Latvia, and are excited for the world that is ahead for your children and grandchildren. You hope that they pursue everything that life has to offer, and that their dreams of a happy life are fulfilled.\n\nThe End\n\n[[Try again|Start]]
You walk over to the man, and stand a few feet away.\n\n"Yes, sir?"\n\n"My name is Captain Heinrichsohn. I am the captain of a ship called the <i>Razboinik</i>. I was just in Moscow, where I received new orders to relocate the ship to the Pacific fleet. It's a long trip from Riga, and the telegrams from my crew tell me that a number of crewmen have deserted, or requested reassignment to different vessels. I'm out a number of crewmen. I could use a young man like you."\n\n"To do what?"\n\n"Oh, a bit of everything. You would start with some of the simple hard work, and move up as you learn. And you get to see the world."\n\n"But I would have to leave my family and our farm."\n\n"Yes, you would, young man. But the world is open to you. And when you come home, there will be a good end-of-service payment for you. It will be a year or two before you can make the first visit back here, and a commitment of more years, but it will be worth it."\n\nYou think for a few moments, evaluating the opportunity. Life is hard on the farm, but it might be harder for your family without you. But their lives might also be improved by the money and skills you bring back from your voyages.\n\nYou turn to Captain Heinrichsohn and give him your answer.\n\n"[[Very well, I will come with you|Joining]]."\n\n"[[No thank you, my place is here|Home]]."
Eventually you fall into a restless sleep. When morning comes, you are jolted awake by one of the crewmen - fellow crewmen, you remind yourself.\n\n"Ei, boy, time to get moving!" he says to you in Russian. You know little of the tongue, but his body language tells you all you need to know. You'll pick up the language eventually.\n\nThe man - Yuriy - takes you up to the deck, where he shows you to your station. You catch on to your job quickly, and soon the ship is pulling away from the docks, and you watch the towers of Riga slowly disappear into the distance.\n\n* * *\n\nThe ship makes port in a number of cities along the Baltic Coast, but you are not allowed to leave the ship until it comes to Copenhagen, the capital of the Kingdom of Denmark.\n\nHere, Captain Heinrichsohn gives you some money, and tells you the ship will be in port for three days. You are free to explore the city during the day, but must return to the ship at night.\n\nYou follow the other crewmen through the gates of the port, and head into the city. They head straight to one of the nearby taverns, but you want to see the world around you, not drink it away in a tavern like the one your family owns.\n\nAs you walk into the city, you see that it resembles Riga in many ways - not in the way that all cities look the same, but very clearly in the lines of architecture, the main churches, and so on.\n\nVarious vendors call out to you in Danish, but you are completely unfamiliar with the language. While your Russian is starting to come along, you do not think there will be much use in learning a language you would only need for a few days, so to buy some food you seek to use the ones you already know - German works the best, though a number of vendors look at you askance.\n\nYou remember something from your schoolbooks that said that there had been a war between Germany and Denmark only a few years ago. So you make sure that the vendors see the Russian flag on your satchel, so they know you are not a German. It seems false to present yourself as a Russian, since you are not, you are a Latvian, but history being what it was, Russia was the power in the land. And Danes had no quarrel - that he knew of, anyways - with Russia.\n\nYou step into an alley to eat your food, when suddenly you find yourself surrounded by three young men similar in age to you. They are also wearing sailor uniforms, though you do not recognize the flags on their belongings.\n\nThe three talk amongst themselves, only glancing at you occasionally. They do not seem immediately hostile, but they are preventing you from leaving the alley.\n\nFinally, one turns to you, and in crude Russian asks if you're at liberty. After you nod, they break into grins and pull you along into an unobtrusive door a few feet along.\n\nOnce your eyes adjust to the space, you can see that you are in a warehouse of some kind, with barrels of different products neatly stacked, awaiting transport.\n\n"We see you new sailor." The one who had spoken earlier said. "We teach about world. You learn. Travel better."\n\nIt did not appear to be a question, but the four look to you for an answer anyways.\n\nOne the one hand, it would be nice to have some friends, even if it is only for a few days. On the other, what could these men be up to? Surely they didn't seek you out out of the kindness of their hearts.\n\nDo you [[stay with the young men|TheWorld]] or [[make your apologies and flee back to the street|NoThanks]]?
"Glad to hear it! Do you have a room for the night? We can be on our way to Riga in the morning."\n\n"Yes, sir, right this way."\n\nYou lead Captain Heinrichsohn to one of your guest rooms. You return to the tavern to find that your sister has called your mother and father out to the main room.\n\n"Son, is it true?" Your father asks.\n\n"Yes, Papa. He promised good money when the voyages are over, and we could use that money."\n\n"Anna says he did not even say how long you would be away!" Your mother scolds.\n\n"No, he didn't. But think of the opportunities. The places I will see, ones I have only read about in books."\n\n"Karl is right, dear." Your father says. "It would be terrible for us to ask him to turn down such an opportunity. I just hope that he will return to us."\n\n"I will return, Papa. Do not worry. I do not know how long it will take, but I will return to you."\n\n"We will serve you a good breakfast in the morning to send you off." Your mother says, tears in her eyes. "Imagine, a son of mine going off into the world like that. Make us proud."\n\n"I will, Mama. I promise."\n\nYou go to bed, your dreams filled with all of the stories you have ever read. Now you will be living those stories.\n\n[[And morning comes.|Morning]]