The Let's Play Archive

Sunless Sea

by Black Wombat

Part 17: Irem always waits

Journal entry 16 – Irem is always waiting

From The Journal of Captain Petra Blackwood

February 22nd, 1888
Some economic information omitted

With all my selling out of the way, I returned to my home in order to set about creating something that I think the crew will find agreeable. I've been looking for a way to help set the crew at ease during long zee-voyages, and I think having a permanent shrine to Stone might do the trick.

I love these narrations that specifically say you do something for several days, but don't advance the in-game calender.

It took a fair amount of time and effort, but the feather I received during my stay on Visage made a wonderful centerpiece. The rest was all simply about bringing out its beauty and giving the zailors something nice to look at.

I had it installed in one corner of the galley – Hopefully someone will appreciate all the work I put in. I'm no artist, but I think it turned out rather well.

With our ship restocked and our crew replenished, we head once more into the North – I have several special cargoes, with me. Two sacks of darkdrop coffee, so I may visit the House of the Amber Sky in Irem, and a consignment of souls for a special friend I've made on Mt. Palmerstone. Perhaps this will convince her to share with me some of her secrets.

Feburary 23rd, 1888 -

We've arrived once more in Venderbight. This place is starting to feel like a real home-away-from-home for me. I spent several hours simply wandering the older parts of the colony and familiarizing myself with the place.

Perhaps, when I am wealthy, I will have a second home here. A place to retreat to when the pressures of London become too much. It is nothing if not quiet.

Once I had satisfied my curiosity for the day, I went to visit the first curator. While the wounds from my descent into the well have not yet properly healed – The doctor says I haven't been giving them enough rest – He also noted that one of them, in particular, has healed over with a scar of a very unusual color, unlike anything he's ever seen on a human body.

The Curator was not nearly as impressed with this as he had been the other colors he'd seen, but he was certainly appreciative of it, all the same. The book he gave me is more valuable than all the baubles he'd handed me before. I'm certain I will find good use for this.

We depart north-east, heading straight for Mt. Palmerstone. This trip will be long enough without going out of our way to see Wither and Codex.

Feburary 25th, 1888

We arrived at Mt. Palmerstone without incident – no corsairs covering the approach from the south, it seems. As soon as we docked, I had the crew start to refill our coal supplies, and headed inland with a small box filled with the souls I'd purchased in Wolfstack. I knew they would be finding a good – or at least safe – home, here.

The Deviless seemed genuinely appreciative, but it's always hard to tell with those things. I have a vague feeling like she might be playing me for a fool, but so long as she continues telling me lovely little snippets in return for favors, well, I've done worse in my life.

From here, we set off east – We'll be stopping at Frostfound next, to hopefully learn something about the Navigator's sigil.

February 26th, 1888

The stop over at Frostfound did not go quite like I had hoped. The squatters were, of course, as appreciable than ever, and still in possession of startlingly good tea, but there was only one person who could tell us where the sigil was.

And he wants payment to show us the way. Payment of a type we don't have handy. Well, no matter. We'll return when we have it and be shown the true of the Navigator's sigil.

We continue east, from here – We'll have a short stop by the Chapel of Lights, which I'm already looking forwards to, and then east, to Irem.

Feburary 28th, 1888

Between the Chapel and Irem lies the Stormbones. It's a small, barren stretch of rocks, almost perpetually shrouded in fog. The only approximation to civilization one can find out here is the Ragged Crow,

I didn't see a single other living thing for the entire trip – Which is just as well. I wouldn't be meeting anyone friendly in the Stormbones. There are rumors of ships vanishing wholesale in the fog, but this far from London, that really applies to anywhere, If anything, the fact that they are merely rumors rather than substantiated fact makes it all noticeably safer than most other places.

Another removed entry -

March 1st, 1888

Once we arrived in Irem. All was as it always was. We shall dock below the watchful eyes of serpents and shall know of our goals. While my crew grappled with their yesterdays and yestermorrows, I am going ashore and will be visiting the House of the Amber Sky.

Until this moment, I think I have never truly slept. My sleep tomorrow seems painfully shallow and those that happen now are fleeting dreams. The dreams one has at the House of Amber Sky are as real as tomorrow. I have found an idol in them, a thing of snakes and prisons, that the Magician may use.

With that ahead of me, I decided to have visited the markets. I will purchase some of the unusual sea food they have for sale and allow my unusual chef to prepare me a meal. I have also purchased a soul of incredible brilliance, which I shall need tomorrow.

He meal he will make will be exquisite, but he shall never think so. He complains that his art is unrefined. He will have needed to create a perfect dish for the most unusual of pallets in order to be a paragon of his art. For this, he used fishes. Many, many fishes.

I have ever wanted to see others reach their perfection. I own many fishes. We shall assist him.

Yesterday, I will visit the markets again. Tomorrow, more sleep shall come. I need that which lies in deepest dream.

Today, we zail south. We will have passed The Nativity. I want nothing to do with them now. We had a mission.

March 2nd, 1888

Once more, we've arrived at the sunlight-illuminated island. This time, we have a decided purpose in mind – and not merely more of those succulent little red fruits that grow all over the island. No, something more impressive even than that.

In order to mount a successful expedition, we will need supplies. Once more, I set the crew on the island to fill the hold; remarkably, the place had fully recovered from our last visit. It was almost like we were never there.

After several hours of gathering, I rang the bell to call all zailors back to the ship for a respite from the burning glare. Doing a headcount, I realized Helios was nowhere to be found. We rang the bell several more times, but I was unwilling to send someone else out to look for him – He'd grown less stable in the days since Stark's passing, and I wouldn't risk sending good crew after bad.

In the end, I've chalked him up as dead. Perhaps someday, we'll find the body.

It was then, as I was talking with the Cannoneer in the depths of the hold about the best way to undertake this expedition, that one of the crewmen – a man who calls himself Night, appropriately – asked why we didn't just wait for the sun to set and explore then.

Well. Sensible enough. I took his advice and we waited, and once the sun had set, we went onto the island. Even at night, it's a strange place – The animals and plants very different from anywhere else in the Neath. However, with shovels and picks and lanterns in hand, we soon found what we were looking for.

We labored by night and took shelter in the Unfinished by day. Before long, we had unearthed the item the Cannoneer needed – It's a strange looking thing, a stone with a oh-so slight metallic cast and some unusual devices on its sides. It did not look like something that could punch through the roof, but it certainly looked like something unusual, and that bears investigating.

We packed it up and headed north... But... We already have the item we would need to purchase from Irem, for some reason. I don't know when it showed up, but we have it. However, I still desire another stop, since I want to rest at the House of Amber Sky... One more time.

It also gives us another chance to snub the sorrow-spiders. It feels nice every time we do it.

A note written on the back of a poem about the view from the window of the poet's room at the Royal Bethlehem and the ravens nesting outside, which is dated 1891. The paper itself is wrinkled, as though it was once wrapped around something about the size of a fist.

March 4th, 1888

All that is dead was once alive, but deep inside dreams not all that lives must die. It is in this way that all is well and all manner of things shall be well.

March 7th, 1888

We returned to Frostfound, today. I brought with me a small collection of the items we discovered on Aestival, which should be enough to convince the Plucky Researcher to show me and my Navigator the way to his sigil.

I offered the crew a chance to accompany us, but when I made it clear it wasn't an order, nobody was interested. In honestly, I almost wish I had not gone.

We found the sigil – Carved as high as a manor-house on the outer ice of Frostfound – but it seems to have had a profound and unpleasant effect on my poor navigator. And by that I mean it rendered him completely catatonic.

Did I mention this rune was up nearly fifty feet of sheer ice cliff? And that only the three of us had ascended? I had not yet entirely recovered from my ordeal in the Well, and after helping drag the Navigator down the wall, I now feel awfully weak. I am retiring to my cabin in hopes of recovering – but such seems unlikely. I have enough to do that I must do aboard that I do not think recovery is likely until we reach London.

Hopefully by then the Navigator will be speaking again.

March 8th, 1888

With a night's rest, I feel slightly better – Although I swear I can still feel the chill of Frostfound in my fingers. So I'm having the crew put in at Mt. Palmerstone – for it has one way that cannot fail to remove any chill.

I took tea once more with the Deviless, enjoying the feeling of being uncomfortably warm. I don't think I've ever enjoyed sweating through a blouse so much. And beyond that, it seems the gift I lavished upon the Deviless has made her thing I am, at least, game for whatever plan she's concocted. She has asked me to deliver a letter to the Brass Embassy. And so I will. I've always been curious about the purpose of devils – perhaps becoming involved with this will solve some of those riddles for me.

The trip up and down the volcano, however, exhausted me. I will maintain a nominal presence aboard the ship, of course, but I have plotted a course south – we will stop at Pigmote to pick up supplies, but will otherwise return straight to London.

I look forward to sleeping in a real bed. A real bed in a real house! Oh, I can hardly wait.