The Let's Play Archive

Sunless Sea

by Black Wombat

Part 15: A bloody voyage

Journal entry 14 – A bloody voyage

From the journal of Captain Petra Blackwood

February 8th, 1888 -

Our departure from London went as planned. Our hold is full, and many of the crew have shaken off the worst of the terrors of the zee, I think.

I had a dream that the crew would have probably been disturbed by last night, before we set out. They would probably say it was a bad omen – but I don't believe in such things.

You this event anytime you leave London with the Nightmares trait, basically immediately.

But our trip to Venderbight has been harmless, save a run in with a small pirate ship that ended quickly and painlessly – for us.

I went ashore shortly – Just long enough to do a little business with the locals, and learn the goings-on in port. As I was catching up on what had been happening among the dead, I encountered a strange scene in one of the small parks that spring up between the buildings.

One of the tomb-colonists seemed to be undergoing some kind of... metamorphosis, but I was not able to get close enough to determine the true nature of it. How fascinating! I never knew that something like a tomb-colonists could bring new life to the 'Neath. Perhaps they eat the eggs of some kind of creature. Or maybe it is the soul escaping the body to find new life? Does this happen to soulless tomb-colonists? I have so many questions and nobody willing to answer them.

We departed north in short order.

February 9th, 1888 – Morning

Once more, we passed under Censor's Arch and docked at Wither.

I permitted the crew a few hours on land while I went ashore with Maybe's Daughter; I wished to collect a port report while she searched for her mother. It was several hours of questions answered with questions, but I cannot say it was entirely without profit.

I was with several of my zailors, who were laughing a bit about the local customs, when I saw the woman.

This is the result of the 'Explore wither' card, today.

I wanted to learn why she was out on her own, near the zee; my crew seemed skeptical, but they often do, and things usually turn out well. This was not one of those time.

The glowing figure was nothing but a trap made to lure the curious into the maw of a waiting serpent! I've never heard of such a thing. It's a remarkable adaptation – A real testament to Mr. Darwin's theories that such a creature would come to exist down here in the relatively short time between the First City and now.

We attempted to escape from it post-haste, but it was far faster than we were - the creature ate Voltaic before we were able to get back onto the quay proper. I think my crew blame me for the encounter – and I suppose, in a way, they are right too.

We depart Wither, now. A short jaunt to Codex, and then east to Mt. Palmerston.

Febuary 9th, 1888 – Afternoon

A short trip later, made without the light on to avoid a Lifeburg, had us arriving in Codex.

I wasted no time in going ashore and seeking out the Admiralty's contact. I did not want to spend overly-long here, as the only thing more frustrating than a port full of questions is a port that has answers that no-one will tell you.

She was as strange as anyone here, but seemed earnest; she also seemed like she wanted off the island. I would not want to condemn anyone to a life here – I permitted her to come aboard, although the other crew were not keen on the idea. We needed a replacement, anyway – Everything worked out, in the end.

Febuary 10th, 1888

Once more, we made a short trip without lights, in order to avoid the attentions of devilish pirates I had no attention of confronting. As we made landfall, I set Grandalt the task of replenishing our fuel stores – I gave him an unusually large budget for it. I wanted to be sure we could zail with the light on as much as possible, as the events of our voyage so far have already started unnerving the crew.

I, meanwhile, ascended the volcano said to be home to hellish exiles. I wanted to see what they would say if I simply walked up and said hello. Devils are many things, after all, but rarely impolite.

In this case, I was vindicated. I met a kindly – or at least charming – deviless. She said she was the guardian of the gate, and while I was not permitted to enter, we enjoyed tea and some kind of little crumbly biscuit I'd never seen before. We not-so-subtly suggested I should bring her a gift if I return – of course, there's only really one thing that makes a suitable gift for devils. Perhaps I will bring some on my next return.

It's not like they're expensive, these days.

Febuary 11th, 1888

We visited Frostfound briefly, this morning. It seemed to be as it always was, and I took tea with the folks at the dock before departing east – towards the Chapel of Light.

But all did not go well, during this trip.

Meis had fallen under the sway of some form of psychosis. 'Zee fever', I've heard it called before. In any case, she had already injured several crewmen when she was confronted. Unfortunately for her, the third man she encountered on her little rampage was Jones, who worked to restrain her.

However, she seemed to have been consumed by some sort of unnatural vigor, for although Meis is scarcely half Jone's size, he was having great difficulty holding her as she shouted appeals to Storm.

So I shot her. And when that didn't stop her, I shot her again.

Upon investigation, we discovered she had started her assault in the hold, where her and Arch had been opening a fresh box of coal. She'd beaten Arch's head into a bloody pulp before starting her rampage on-deck.

Both were consigned to the zee. May the Fathomking have mercy on their souls.

This is a really mean event – If you try any of the checks and fail them, you lose 1 crew and then get dropped right back where you started. If you don't have a good shot at the later checks, it's much better to cut your losses.

Feburary 12th, 1888

We arrived at the Chapel of Lights today. I've been finding myself incredible eager to once again partake of their delicious food, and so that was the first order of business upon arrival – Me and any crew who would join me.

During the meal, I admitted to the Smiling Priest, for reasons I am still not entirely sure of, that I had been having nightmares of late. He said that they could help. The shadows were hungry for nightmares. He could have them taken from me. I was eager for it, of course.

Two acolytes ritually bathed me in freezing-cold water and rendered animal fats before they lowered me into the well. It was a painful experience, and I returned with dozens of small (and a few not-so-small) cuts all over my body – My mind feels no different. I suppose time will tell if the nightmares are truly gone.

With that completed, my Navigator could wait no more. He insisted to speak to the priest, and I thought it was about time, anyway.

The Smiling Priest was willing to help, but needed a small bit of assistance from us. Meat for his flock. Something delicious. Hearty. Red. Yes. Yes, I had something for him. No-one will miss the Mute Exile, or question where she has gone. That will work nicely. Tomorrow, we will know where the Navigator must go. I look forward to being able to assist the man further.

Feburary 13th, 1888

We departed the Chapel and headed south-east, skirting the edge of the Principalities and the Sea of Lillies as we headed towards Wisdom.

On our way, we encountered a bound-shark of remarkable size. I had no desire to fight it. It managed to strike one hard blow at our hull before we could outpace it and lose it among the plants. Slaan had been on rear watch, and claimed she saw a knot-oracle eat it, but I don't think even the frogs get that large.

Our stop at Wisdom was otherwise unexceptional.

Feburary 14th, 1888 - morning

We've arrived at Nuncio. I write to make note that I shall descend into the depths of the island with candles and flares, and attempt to determine the cause of this place's strangeness. Should I not return, perhaps others can learn from my mistake.

Febuary 14th, 1888 – Evening

There is more below this island that I could have imagined. I went down countless flights of stairs into the darkness. The island seemed to stretch as far down as the spires of Corsair's Forest stretch up, but I was not deterred, not by that or by the darkness or by the feeling of presences alongside of me.

At the bottom was ancient letters and messages, and beyond that, the obelisk. It bore upon it a commandment. Something so... Powerful, so IMPORTANT, it spread its influence all the way to the surface and made itself known, it called to those like it to carry out its vital – no, DIVINE purpose.

I cannot... I cannot explain the intensity of it, journal. I have no words. No words can be known – no. No, they can, but they cannot be expressed. Not with this flimsy human tongue. Not with ink, on paper. They are too grand for these things. Their message to powerful.

The post-rat says I will forget this – or at least forget the burning intensity. But how? How can someone forget something like that? It is wonderful, beautiful, terrible. Do you think you might wind up there someday, journal? Washed up on the shore of Nuncio after we all die on some overly-ambitious voyage? Maybe I should address you to someone.

I need to rest. I am suddenly very tired, and not just from climbing back out of that cave. We will be putting to zee towards Khan's Shadow in the morning.

I've broken what was going to be a single update into two parts; map will be at the end of the next one! You've seen me take this route before, anyway.