The Let's Play Archive

Sunless Sea

by Black Wombat

Part 30: Brilliantly glowing

Journal entry twenty-nine – Brilliantly glowing

From The Journal of Captain Petra Blackwood,

September 13th, 1888

We arrived in London late last night. I let my crew spend a night on dry land and went about my business. I've submitted my port reports, collected myself and returned home.

This morning, I'm taking time to sit down and get my thoughts together. The Fathomking still needs things from me. As do some of my officers. I need a fluke core, which I can get in several places – I've spotted them near the Fathomkeep, the Chelonate, and Astevial. I also need to defeat one of the great monsters of the Zee, for which I will need the Momento Mori, but also some other substantial upgrades to the Checkmate.

For this reason, I've decided my next objective is going to be completing the engine the Tireless Mechanic. The sapphires and bones will be easy. However, freeing a prisoner from Wisdom seems challenging, and I'm not entirely sure how to get an Element of Dawn.

I do know the Dawn Machine is supposed to be far to the south-west, however. So that will be our next stop. However, before we depart, there's a few things I can do here in London to improve our chances.

My first stop will be to hire on more crew. I need at least thirteen pairs of hands to run the Checkmate smoothly, and I don't want to risk getting below that.

I plan to take some time to speak with my officers. Get their input on how I run my ship. They're all capable people, and I will be happy to take their suggestions.

Next, while the Checkmate is quite formidable, the deck equipment of the Checkmate needs work. I'm even will using the stock light! That won't stand. I'm also going to purchase a large quantity of Supplies, with the intention of trading them at the Empire of Hands for candles.

I'm including this full screen shot so you can all see the current state of Petra and her ship. Her stats are increasing nicely, and the Checkmate is becoming a ship of significant power. At her current level of Mirrors, she can fire the Momento Mori every 2.9 seconds, and when it hits, it knocks the enemy's cooldowns back by 2 seconds. It is completely possible to get to the point where you can stunlock enemies in this game, but I don't think I'm going to quite get there.

Once that is done, we'll be returning to Zee and heading southward.

A unremarkable visit to the Canal omitted.

The following journal entry is written with very unusual spacing, and smudges and blotches of ink left on the page, very different from Petra's normally very precise, clean style.

September 15th, 1888

When I was a young girl, I would ask my father, "Why do you go to Zee?"

He would tell me stories about amazing treasures and wonders he'd bring home someday. He said he wanted a better life for me.

When I was a little older, I started to realize he would never bring treasures home – and if he did, I would never see them. And with a colder soul I asked him why he went to Zee.

He looked me dead in the eyes and told me he prayed to Salt and Stone that I'd never understand, and hoped I could be happy with my books at university.

I am sorry I haven't turned out like you wanted, Father.

September 18th, 1888

Today, we docked at Zelo's Town, the port that dwells inside of the Grand Geode.

It seems to be a naval base of some sort, but it's unlike anything I've ever seen. Then again, if this is Station V, then Station III is also a naval installation – probably – and perhaps the navy is up to more these days than most people would wager. In any case, I'd heard this place mentioned before, and know it's the south-westernmost port in the Zee. I figured that if anyone would know where to get a Element of Dawn, they would be here. That's why I started asking around, until I was told the Commodore would speak to me.

Things... Get a little fuzzy after that. He spoke to me enthusiastically about something, but I can't quite remember what. We laughed at the fashions of the upper crust and had tea. He was very polite, but I cannot for the life of me recall what we talked about. He did let me know that he could help me in my search for an Element, although the price would be high – I remember that. Even the walk back to the ship is hazy - McClay asked to stay. He seemed very enthusiastic about it, so I wasn't going to deny him.

Meanwhile, another woman asked to accompany us, and I said yes. The farther we get from Zelo's town, the more I think that was the right choice. What happened there is terrifying, viewed from a distance, and I would not wish to leave someone there who didn't want to stay. I had planned to continue going south-west, to see the Dawn Machine for myself, but... No.

Not right now. We zail East, into known waters.

September 18th, late evening – 1888

Today was clearly not supposed to go well. After the run-in at the Grand Geode, we encountered a behemoustache.

I was not overly worried, and ordered the crew to prepare for combat. But this creature was unlike anything we'd battled before!

As soon as it saw us, it charged.

I'd like to draw attention to the beast's wake in that screen shot. Look at how it turned in order to be able to hit me. You really can't rely on dodging or avoiding zee-beast attacks anymore, not when they can do a 180-degree flip on a dime like that.

It was ramming us so rapidly and furiously we couldn't even properly calibrate our guns. We sent more shots into the Zee than into the creature's hide, but it turns out a hull of steel is tougher than one of scales, and so I'm still here to write this today.

I seriously had never seen this before. Maybe it's from the new update, but it was charging me on something like a 1.8 second cooldown, and ramming me reset my own gun's cooldowns. If my mirrors weren't as high as they were, it could have stunlocked us to death, since your cool down has to be at least half-full to fire at all, and even then with poor accuracy. This must be new from the last patch. Here's hoping Flukes aren't like this.

I've assigned Slaan and Quark to butcher the beast into useful cuts, I'm going to be getting some rest. We're only a few hours out of Port Carnelian, and I need a little more rest than I've had so far.

Sepember 19th, 1888

Carnelian is as busy as I remember it being.

I caught up with someone my agent had introduced me too last time I was here, and got caught up on all the most recent goings-on. With that done, I brought my new spy up and introduced them to the old one.

I was also informed that it would be a great help if I could procure a small collection of steamy literature. For a tiger. I asked if it should be literature specifically aimed at tigers. My agent told me no. What a tiger wants with a bodice-ripper, I suppose, is something it's best I stay unconcerned about.

I purchased a few more supplies and fuel and we set out for the Fathomkeep.

September 20th, 1888

We arrived again at the Fathomkeep. The crew has become even more concerned about the nature of the place since Dr. Snark came aboard. He himself refuses to even come onto the deck. I left them moored at the port like usual as I descended to the audience hall.

I told him about the end of the Principles, and he was... Moved, in his strange way. He also informed me that he was related, to marriage, to the being the Principles was.

I'm just going to write that again – The Fathomking is related, by marriage, to a sentient coral reef. Sometimes, the Unterzee manages to surprise even me, despite how long I've been out here.

It makes me wonder what, exactly, the drownies want so badly with Scintillack. Perhaps he's preserving his cousin's memories, that were breaking away in chunks? Does he plan to grow a new one? I cannot do more than conjecture.

When I returned to the Checkmate, I learned, to my surprise, that a few of the crew had gone ashore – at least as far as the port and the coral that surrounds it.

One thing my father taught me as a child, never make eye contact with a drownie unless you absolutely have too, and NEVER listen to them singing. Apparently, some people's fathers did not teach them as well as mine did. I herded them back onto the ship, told them to put it out of their minds, did a head-count, and left before anyone else could make poor choices.

September 21st, 1888

As we were passing Visage, I decided to put into port – We are not in a huge press for time, and I still have many questions about the place.

Fitting someone with questions, I masked myself as a frog – The somewhat-blunt asker of questions. With that identity securely in place, I visited the library.

I discovered a number of scrolls relating to what had happened inside of Flourishing-of-Years, about how it was a very ancient ritual, but that the island was populated long before even them. Ultimately, it raises more questions than it answers, and I had no more time to investigate.

Pretty sure this is a bug. As soon as I read that one thing, it kicked me back out of Visage without messing with my mask or Expertise in Parts attributes. You're supposed to get to play through a whole stay, sans ritual, each time you go ashore – perhaps this one ends it prematurely.

September 21st, evening

We paid a short visit to the Uttershroom today. I had no honey to trade, so there was little reason to stick around overly long. The longer you stay, after all, the more likely the air will suddenly turn into morel spore soup.

However, somehow, when I arrived, it seemed like they knew that I'd been diligent in setting Blemmigans about. Given that nobody here leaves the island, that ships rarely come, and that – even if they did – Blemmigans can't exactly write letters home, the fact that the 'shroomers knew is slightly unsettling. In any case, however, they wanted to give me a gift. Or the Uttershroom wanted to give me a gift. It's hard to say for certain.

A small lump of something, burned beyond recognition by cosmogone. I've secured it inside one of the lead boxes I've started bringing on these excursions, for holding items like this. It can go on the shelf besides my blue scintillack until we return to Venderbight.

September 22nd, 1888

We were zailing through the Islands of Autumn, on our way to the Mangrove Collage, when we enountered a pirate ship.

The fight was short, but sinking these villains always puts my crew in an excellent mood.

Mostly including these to show off just how much terror you lose for sinking pirates. It's a lot, even for a ship like this, who's hardly a threat to even a tramp-steamer.

When we arrived at the Mangrove Collage, I thought the crew deserved a little break. This has not been an easy voyage so far, and we aren't even halfway through it yet. I gave my zailors a little shore-leave, so long as they didn't wind up too drunk to zail.

A few of them did anyway. Dr. Snark especially, but I feel it can perhaps be forgiven of the man. Lynneth as well – He had been close friends of McClay, apparently, and is confused as the rest of us by his departure at the Grand Geode. This might be his first time to really sit down and think on the matter, poor bastard.

While we were enjoying ourselves, one of the scholars came up to me and asked if I would be so kind as to remove him from the island. I was happy to accept, of course – Although I'm not sure he'll find Port Cecil like it was when he left it.

September 23rd, 1888

Almost as soon as we arrived in Varchas, it seemed like something was amiss.

The gate guard advised me there were strange things happening inside, which, upon reflection, I feel was very disingenuous to the situation that I encountered through the gates.

The city seemed to be fully in the grip of revolution! The guardsmen, what was left after the bulk departed with the pilgrimage, were fighting to protect the massive mirrors and lights from the revolutionaries. Both sides, surprisingly, left me relatively untroubled as I passed through the city – Being a Taamas, they likely assume I have no stake in this fight. I was able to make it all the way to the Temple of Mihir to assess the situation.

During a lull in the fighting, I discovered a place where the 'Neathers were congregating.

Once I heard the Youth speak, I certainly felt obliged to do something.

Alright folks! Vote time! Who do we back here?

I would also like to mention I will be running out of volunteer zailors very soon. If you're interested in signing up, I encourage you to do so.