Part 12: A most particular smellJournal entry 11 A most particular smell
The journal of Captain Petra Blackwood
January 19th, 1888 Morning
I collected my crew from a night of drinking and we departed London with the usual fanfare None, save the noise we made ourselves. I think the crew is proud of the new vessel. Jones, in particular, keeps telling everyone else especially the new zailors how much better off we are now than we were before. I think that's a good sign. It means he's accepting them on board. I was worried, after so long with one crew, that the newcomers might be rejected but I suppose a zailor is a zailor, at the ringing of the bells.
We will be heading east, through the Forest, and then south into unexplored waters. We still seek Port Cecil.
January 19th, 1888 afternoon
We arrived at the Morn with little trouble. Even the pirates seemed reluctant to show their faces. We docked and I took some time to wander to Morn. It's a strange place, but beautiful, in its way. I wandered to the highest point I could before the rickety ladders looked like they could collapse under me. It was a beautiful sight.
The sea, the false-stars, the breeze. I thought of my ship, far below. How much we fight against what is designed for us. The zee itself would crush us, the masters would tax us, and if Polythreme had its way our ship would probably set off on its own. Even most of the captains I know of only zail safe routes, taking cargoes back and forth.
We would be different. We would always be different. I've decided on the name of my new ship. I'll tell the crew when again I descend.
January 21st, 1888 Morning
On our way to Demeaux Island, we passed a island formation called the Phosgene Bleaks. The whole place smells foul, and the gasses sting the eyes. Fortunately, it isn't truly dangerous just somewhere worth avoiding.
We arrived at the funging station in the wee hours of the morning. Fortunately, work goes on all night and day here, so we had hands to help us put into port.
At port, I had my crew spend some time ranging near the station to gather a few mushrooms to augment our stores. While this happened, I was approached by a man who begged me to accept him on as part of the crew. As our berths are not yet full, I went ahead and accepted him His name is Voltaic, and he claims to be a very hard worker. We shall see.
We put out to the south, into the proper unknown.
January 21st, 1888 Afternoon
We found a very strange island south of the funging station. It has a massive face carved into it, staring at the roof. When I landed, there was no-one to greet my ship, and the walls of the city were not opened for me. I will return another time.
You can do nothing here but collect a port report without SAY! here in Visage. I'll hit it on the next pass, as idling and waiting for it to build up feels too gamey for me.
We departed eastward.
January 22st, 1888 Very early morning
As the night watch took over, we started to pass enormous mushrooms sprouting from below the Unterzee. I'd thought the ones on Demeaux Island were large, as I had once thought the ones out in the marshes behind Watchmaker's Hill were large, but these, I think I hope have proven to me what a large mushroom really is once and for all.
Voltaic was not amused. Most of the rest of the crew was, until I decided to dock.
It was a relatively clear day, one without huge clouds of choking spores. It was a strange place. Shroomers (As the residents call themselves so quaint!) are a strange people. The Zee terrifies them, beyond all reason. I heard several of my crew members trying to convince individuals that it would be rather safe to take a boat back to London, but no matter what tact they took, the shroomers only got more agitated thinking about it.
Meanwhile, at least one crewman was happy to feed them every horrifying rumor they knew, probably sending some poor shroomer into a spasm of terror.
I encouraged them to tell me a few tales in return. They're odd people. But would be willing to trade with me, for honey. I may have to bring some, someday.
January 23rd, 1888 Noon
Early this morning, we arrived in the Sea of Autumn. Remote, and beautiful, but the whole place has a strange air. It makes one remember things one has lost.
We found the Mangrove Collage, squatting between these islands. A strange little colony of philosophers and poets who desired a way to be even further out-of-touch with reality than London permits, it sits in the embrace of the fungal jungle. I can hardly believe it still exists.
Yes, there's a lot of things to do here. Of particular note is the 'Unpick the secrets -' storylets, which let you trade 77 Fragments and 7 of the appropriate type of story for a secret - a huge discount from the 500ish fragments it normally costs. But we need our stories, for now.
I brought aboard two new people here; one, a woman who said she was an engineer, and second, a woman who was due in Venderbight.
Before we left, I had my crew help themselves to the bounties of a part of the island that seemed relatively unoccupied. It was enough food to keep us going for days, and it's fresh A welcome change, even if it's not the tastiest fare the Neath has to offer.
The scholars and poets whisper of a place called the Wisp-Ways, further inland. As eager as I am to explore, there's no way we could progress without a enormous quantity of light sources. We shall have to return properly equipped. With nothing more to do here now, I departed northward.
January 26th, 1888 Morning
After a long stretch of exploring the Sea of Autumn and then heading north, we've entered the waters of the Chelonate.
This place is remarkable, despite the smell. The hunters of the Chelonate have made their living killing the largest, most vicious things the zee has to offer, and the reeking remnants of their victories are everywhere.
The water here is a brackish red and occasionally home to swarms of flies amid the fouler clots of blood of gristle. And entering Schableport isn't much better. While the hunters have cleaned out the shell that is their home, they have since re-decorated it with rotting zee-beast corpses of all kinds to bring back the nausea-inducing aroma that perhaps they'd come to appreciate.
Despite this, the Plausible Surgeon still wanted to stay here. He left a handful of echos with me as he departed eagerly among the putrid husks of the place.
I myself wish to spend no longer here than I have too. I speak to a few hunters, gather a little informaton, and consider that enough.
However, on the way out, I discovered a place selling the bones of monsters the very bones the Merchant Venturer was looking for. I am certain I could have haggled for a better price if the stall was not situated directly below a rotting crab carcass. Even so, I will make quite a profit.
At least this nauseating stop was worth it. I've given my crew orders to steam north as fast as we can. The sooner we're away from here, the better, but I don't think it will truly leave us until we're back in London and able to take proper baths.