Part 7: The Inner-Sea Loop, part oneJournal entry 6 The Inner-Sea Loop, part one
The Journal of Petra Blackwood
December 19th, 1887 - Morning
I lead our new officer, the Genial Magician, back onto the ship. I showed him his quarters, which I think he found adequate, and the engine, which I think he found barely satisfactory. In any case, it will be good to have someone with serious engineering know-how looking after the engine full-time. And who am I to hold only having one hand against someone? And perhaps he will lend a certain air of style to the ship we otherwise lack.
While he got settled, I did a little catching up on the news about London. A promotional sent me to Mrs. Plenty's provisions, and while there, I laid a few echos to bolster our supplies. We didn't have enough for a longer trip.
My crew came back in the wee hours of the morning, mostly under their own power. I, of course, was eager to be back to Zee, and wasted no time in casting off, regardless of the grumblings of my crew.
One small thing that makes it hard to keep narrative flow no time passes in port except for a very specific few events. I could rest in my lodgings ten times, and no time would pass. Let's add this to the pile of things we blame the Zee for.
December 19th, 1887 Afternoon
As we set out, I spoke a little while to my new officer. He seems capable, and very polite, but something about him is setting the crew on edge and they won't tell me what.
Yes, you can, in fact, sleep with most (non-mascot) officers including two of the five starters. Each one has a 'X must be 20 higher than Y' requirement. Maybe Petra will find her soul-mate someday.
We spoke for a while about his old profession. It was an illuminating discussion. Sometime, when we're less busy, I'll have to inquire more about his past.
I burnt 5 Secrets to improve our veils by 5.
On the way out of London, I stopped by Hunter's Keep to pay the sisters a visit, Once more, they offered me lunch, and I chose to lunch with Cynthia. She reminds me of myself, in a way If I had permitted myself to be consumed by the loss of my father, and my isolation, and the comfort of books. Those things strengthened me, while similar things seem to have hollowed Cynthia out inside, and filled her with darkness.
Perhaps I will lunch with her again. We will be traveling north-east from here, to Pigmote island.
December 19th, 1887 Evening
We have come across a very particular place! Between Hunter's Keep and Pigmote Island is a small collection of islands, upon which seems to have been built some kind of maze. Grandalt told me it was called the Labyrinth of Eels, but would not offer any reason for why. That caused every zailor on deck to come forth and give me a reason.
This persisted until we saw the shark.
It was half as long as the ship, and bound in the most particular irons. As soon as it saw us, it turned and headed straight for us. With the Labyrinth hemming us in, we had little choice but to fight it and to kill such a beast is a mercy, besides.
Once it realized that we weren't helpless, it tried to flee it got precariously close to a nearby whirlpool. It ran us nearly to Pigmote and back. But in the end, we won the day Kraken, in particular, seemed pleased, even as the hunt drug on. But everyone was proud when we pulled the largest of its teeth free as a trophy.
They were less happy about my choice to have some of the less-than-prime cuts served as a victory celebration. Some of them even claimed they screamed as they cut in! Hogwash. Mine was perfectly silent.
This fight is like all others rub your face against them until they're dead. When defeated, if butchered, larger zee-beasts give a random quantity of 'An unprepossessing mass', with stronger ones having higher ranges. The more you get, the better your reward. You don't get anything interesting until you hit a pretty high level, though Most levels give supplies, at best.
Also, repair and resupply in London? No time. Fight a shark? Two days. That's the Zee for you.
With that, it was on to Pigmote isle.
December 21st, 1887 Morning
Things had changed since our last visit. It appears the supplies we gave to the rodents was enough for them to dethrone the king of the Cavies. And while I wasn't foolish enough to ask about the fate of the leaders, it seemed the rank-and-file had been adopted into ratty civilization. They didn't look terribly happy about it, but I saw them and rats working shoulder-to-shoulder, rebuilding the cavy's tent city.
The Chief Engineer was happy to see me. He was eager to show me and my crew around he wanted to share all the amazing things we'd made possible. He even offered to have some of his rats repair our ship while we waited, and how could I say no to that? We spent a few comfortable hours under the glow of the Rat-Star, listening to their plans for renovating the island. The entire island. With machines. It sounded outlandish, but I've heard crazier stories.
Eventually, our repairs were done, and we returned to Zee. It's nice to know, however, we have a safe port here, even if it is among rats. We continued east, looking for Port Cecil.
December 21st, 1887 Afternoon
Half a day east of the rats, we encountered a Lighthouse boat, amid a shoal of stones and fog.
We had arrived just in time. A pirate pinnacre had been about to try an unwise attack; unwise, of course, because we were present. They were no challenge to us, and soon sank, leaving valuable supplies for the picking.
I'm going to go ahead and stop covering fights with things we've already seen unless they manage to do a fair amount of damage. Like the two bat swarms I've run into.
I have also issued an order for us to change course and head south, instead. A.J. Kalan insists that the Zee-bat is implying that the Khanate lies due east of us. How she knows that the bat thinks its the Khanate, and not some other port, I couldn't tell you, but she seemed insistant and she's always been right before about these things. I don't want to get too close to the khanate. They dislike Londoners profoundly, and I would rather not get caught up in their politics if I don't have too.
December 23rd, 1887 Morning
We arrived at Abbey Rock today, home of The Sisterhood. They're an order of militant nuns that are supposed to be the best fighters in the Neath possibly a few Tomb-colonists and Elder continent detizens who've had centuries to practice.
Neither me, nor any of my crew, felt like disturbing them without good reason. Instead, we checked near the dock for signs of activity, while I watched the Sisters training upon the battlements of their abbey (Do most abbeys have battlements? This one certainly does.).
Doc found something tucked away under the dock. The remains of some poor soul wearing a frog mask, holding a map. It looked like he'd been here quite a long time. In any case, though, I collected what remained of him that which might be of value, at least and returned to the ship.
The last event there used up our 'Beginner's luck', which lets us do something cool, once. I'd never used to here before. This one is... Decent. At least all that can be turned around quickly.
We went south from here, still seeking Port Cecil.
December 23rd, 1887 - afternoon
Ignore the date on the second one I missed it on the first pass and had to go back and get a better screenshot.
Not long after, we arrived at the Abbey's southern neighbor, the Shepard Isles. I was told they have no shepherds, I saw they had no real industry or production, but what they did have was enormous quantities of absolutely ridiculous stories.
While listening to the men, I couldn't help but notice someone who did not fit in. He was quiet, and had a very unusual tattoo. I recognized it, vaguely while I did not know the exact symbol, I was certain it was a sigil of the Correspondence! How could he have had it committed to his flesh without combustion? I could barely contain my eagerness when he approached me and asked to come aboard my ship! He's even useful, a skilled navigator. While I do decently, having a dedicated professional will help immensely. Oh, I'm so excited to find out the man's secrets! For now, though, I have my duties, and we were due to leave the island, with only one or two of the Zailors asking to investigate Thornwell Croft.
Our Officer list is starting to fill out nicely!
December 25th, 1887 -
Christmas has happened, day of the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, savior of all the damned who live by his rules. It all seems so far away, down here, in the Neath, although the Bishop of Southwark wouldn't agree. Someone smuggled aboard something alcoholic. I don't have it in my heart to take it away from them. We stopped briefly near the Bonny Reef, and someone started singing carols. Most of the crew joined in. We swapped tales of Christmasses past, and many of them were surprised to learn that I'd been born and raised in the Neath. Helios looked horrified. But no matter.
I insisted we get zailing again before too long passed; the deck lamp burns fuel, after all, and we don't want to be stuck out here in the dark.
December 26th, 1887 -
We've arrived at Demeaux island, home of the Iron and Misery Funging station. The name couldn't be more appropriate, as a small army of workers wages a constant war against a fungal forest to cut and process the morels that keeps London going. It's hard to tell if they're winning.
The whole place has an air of desperation that I find off-putting. It also has air filled with spores that my crew objected too. And while I could tolerate it well enough, I felt it might cling if we dawdled too long. With our supplies of fuel dwindling, we had no choice but to turn west and head back towards London.
I hope the trip home is as relatively uneventful as the trip out.