The Let's Play Archive

Sunless Sea

by Black Wombat

Part 3: Venderbight

Entry two – Venderbight

The Journal of Petra Blackwood

November 30th, 1887 – Evening

The sisters were as all sisters all – especially ones kept in a small space. Contentious. Each invited me to lunch, but it was clear they were not interested in lunching with one another. I accepted Lucy's offer, in the end; if I am to walk among the dead in a few day's time, I don't need to start my depression early.

Oh look, one of the gods of the Zee has noticed us. That's good... sometimes. Also, if we'd had any Terror, this would have reduced it by up to 10.

She was a delight; I cannot imagine why a woman like her would choose to live out here, rather than in London. Surely she could have easily worked her charms at the salons in Veilgarden! But I suppose the same could be said of me.
When I returned to the ship, I found Grandalt finishing breaking up an argument. It seems that "Big Daddy" Jones and A.J. Kalan considered another of our zailors back luck – Helios, with his large sun tattoo. Zailors are such queer folk. They said the Zee would take offense at a zailor with an image of the surface engraved upon him. Helios, for his part, claimed the Sun had been denied him, and the least he could do to remember it was engrave it on his body.
Jones and A.J. were given an extra shift of furnace-stoking duty for the ruckus as we left Hunter's Keep.

There is here a small irregularity in the dates. Let's go ahead and chalk it up to the Zee being awfully mysterious, and not me having to do a bug work-around off camera.

December 8th, 1887 -

We had our first taste of real danger this afternoon. Galaxia was on watch and let up the call – A ship flying a black flag had been sighted to the north-west, and closing on us!

It was no real fighter. Honestly, it looked more like a tugboat someone had strapped a cannon too. And when they saw how much ship was attached to our deck lamp, they turned and started trying to avoid us.

And we know they've seen us. The bubble on the upper-left of their health bar tells us so – A blank one means they're blissfully unaware of us, a '?' means they've got some idea and are searching for us, a '!' means they know where we are, and a '!!!' means they're preparing to fire on us.

I was furious. As if I would let them get away and lay in wait for some other more helpless ship to come along! I ordered crew to battle positions and took my place at the helm. I don't knot a lot about naval tactics, but I knew this much; keep our ship where their gun isn't pointing, and their ship where our gun is. Seems easy enough. After a few short seconds, Grandalt reported we had a firing solution. I told them to take the shot.

This is seriously all ship v. ship in this game breaks down too. You can see the red arc of our deck gun; we can't see the enemy's arc, but it's similar. Keeping an enemy in that arc makes the bar around our gun fill, and when it's full, we can fire on them; It fills faster if we also keep them in the beam of our deck light. It's usually easy to stay behind our enemies and blast them to death with no return fire (until we get end-game, and enemy ships start having aft guns, but by then the damage those do to you will be negligible). BUT, since time doesn't stop in combat, you continue to consume fuel and supplies and gain terror. Some ships take long enough to kill that taking them out is still a losing proposition... Until we get better guns.

Also, sometimes we'll be outnumbered. That's a whole 'nother kettle of fish. Best to run.

The fight was short. The pinnace was outgunned and out-maneuvered. It never even fired a shot at us before we sent it to the deep.

As the wreckage broke apart, we sailed among it; I sent Kraken and 'Doc' Snark down to see what could be found.

They were able to salvage a supply of coal coke. Everything else the Zee claimed.

Whenever you sink a ship, you get a roll on a loot table specific to that ship. Two fuel is a fairly average haul. Larger ships, of course, can give much more and better loot – Some of it quite valuable, but fuel and supplies are the most common. Hunting pirates can help supplement stocks of those on long trips.

There was a certain jubilance among the crew as I ordered a stand-down from combat; we had been tested for the first time, I had proven myself as a captain, even if it was in a relatively low-danger situation. The Zee hadn't swallowed us whole for daring to have Helios aboard. As the engines returned to full-steam, I couldn't help but think nothing but good would come of this trip.

Whenever you defeat an enemy, you lose a little Terror. This is VERY important on long voyages.

December 9th, 1887 -

We entered the realm of the Tomb-Colonies today. We passed the southern end of Venderbight mid-morning, passing between Carissa's Point and Hornman's Stag. Beyond them, a beautiful old temple-complex sat on a lonely island, shrouded in mist. Such beauty. Such majesty. There is a stillness here that you can't find in London, and I can understand the appeal – especially to someone who's dead.

Not long after, we arrived at Venderbight. As we pulled into the harbor, I gave the order for our passenger to be dislodged from the cargo hold. We carried him down onto the dock and it was only then that he finally deigned to rise up and speak to us.

He had a further commission for us, to bring a friend of his here from the Mangrove Collage. I told him that should we ever pass that way, we would try to track her down. He seemed to think that wasn't good enough, and eventually refused to even pay for his passage to Venderbight until we'd brought this woman to him! Kraken said we should nail him back into his coffin and throw him into the Zee, but I didn't want to start making enemies this early in my career. I told him we'd find his woman, and parted ways. Such impertinence. I could have stayed home if I wanted to be treated like that.

In any case, I granted the crew the remainder of the day off. I'd always wanted to visit Venderbight. It is an ancient place. Older than London. Perhaps even older than the cities that came before London. I knew we would have to return to zee soon, but I shall try to pry a few secrets from this place before we go.

December 10th, 1887

Venderbight is everything I hoped it would be. Still, ancient, dusty, quiet. I visited the parlors and shops of the quarter open to the 'Silk-skins', as they call us, and learned what I could. Most of them were more eager to talk about the present than the past, but someone will care about this.

As I wandered Venderbight, I noticed a flyer saying that the First Curator sought Zee-captains for a job. I would have been a fool to have passed up this chance, to meet with one of the oldest and wisest colonists still... Alive, such as they are. I wore appropriate attire for meeting one of such a station, and then departed to his residence.

He seemed in far worse shape that I would have thought. He seemed as old as the colonies, as old as the mountains. And for the knowledge of such a being, I would do many things... But I had not been expecting to be asked to gather colors. Of course, I'd heard of the colors that only dwell in the Neath before; I can't say I've ever experienced them and it sounds like maybe the Curator hasn't, either. The only clue I was given was a copy of a children's book, the Neathbow. I can't say I've ever seen a copy of this in London. Perhaps this is banned? If it is, then this mission is far more interesting than it seems.

The Neathbow posted:

A wakes APOCYAN, the blue memory of brightest coral.
C lights COSMOGONE, the color of remembered suns. The fecund, the foetid, the fungal, these flourish in the glow of cosmogone.
G is lost in GANT, which remains when all other colors are eaten. Gant can be found where the shadows of myriad.
I is for IRRIGO. No one remembers why. Irrigo colors the forgotten corners of home.
P drowns in PELIGIN, the color of deepest Zee. On this page, someone has written 'BEYOND THE GATE THERE IS A SEA MORE SUNLESS'.
V marks VIOLANT when blood is shed in a spired place. Violant ink is used for the most desperate of treaties.
Behind your mirror, V names VIRIC, the color of shallow sleep.

With the book in hand, I decided to wander a little longer before returning to the ship. I had no real direction; I simply meandered among the ancient buildings. After some time, I became aware of a feeling of being watched. At first, I thought it must be the Colonists, but even when I was alone on a street I could not shake the feeling.

When I returned to the Correspondence, the crew told me a box left for us. None had seen who left it. It looks like a coffin, and knocks roused no motion inside, and it was properly nailed shut – so perhaps it wasn't some prank being played on a sleeping tomb-colonist. I was about to have my men open it when Meis pointed out it had delivery instructions. It was to be delivered to "Depot A, Station III". Well, I am no mail service, but I suspect whoever this belongs too would be irritated if I opened it. I will keep this box, and find this 'Station III', and have my answers.

As we all returned to our bunks, Grandalt reminded everyone to sleep with a candle lit nearby, or the Frost-Moths would climb down your throat looking for heat instead. The zailors took this warning to heart, and so did I; this was prudent. When I woke today, there were dozens of moths warming themselves on the light of my little flame. I shooed them away, but they did not scatter like I thought they would. Only when I extinguished the fire did they depart, with an indignity usually only found in princesses and cats.

We put out to zee early this morning. I'm setting a course to the east; We seek the Mourn, to collect information for the Admiralty. And should we find other places, well – They will have their secrets to give, as well.