Part 31: A light, still glowingJournal entry 30 A light, still glowing
From The Journal of Captain Petra Blackwood
Continued from last entry.
While the Jewel-Turbaned Youth did not seem malicious, I am acquainted with what lurks behind mirrors. The local hospital has an entire wing dedicated to the mirror-mad; the accusation that the Youth has been affected is not impossible, or even outlandish. I immediately let the council know where they could go to find the leader of this rebellion.
The punishment was not what I expected. I had been under the illusion that the 'Neathers had already let darkness touch them, and become Taamas. But I suppose they had yet to take that step, into courage or madness or whatever led them. The Youth was especially piteous; I've heard of many brave rebellions against king and God lead by hard-faced men and women of courage. This was not one of those rebellions.
I left shortly after the ceremonial banishing; I noticed that the Neathers were starting to build themselves a settlement outside as I left. They would probably not be interested in conversation, now, but I will come back to speak to them at a later date.
As we departed Varchas, we observed, in the distance, an unusual colony of bats. They fluttered wildly, and the colony was much larger and more mobile than others usually are. Further, they seemed to be adorned with sapphire-blue coverings of some kind, very, very similar to the color of the Prophets.
While normally I would be happy to investigate, after the run-in with the Behemustache, the crew is already having to work harder than normal to keep the Checkmate fully operational and I didn't want to risk becoming severely damaged. Besides, Kalan has become ever-more reclusive, and I do not wish to introduce her to some new kind of bat in her state. The results would be... Unpredictable.
Sepember 26th, 1888
We arrived back in the Empire of Hands, where I have some trading to do. My first stop was on Hearthsake Village
I have no idea where this man came across such an extensive collection of candles, but I should be happy for it. Supplies cost half as much in London as these candles do, and there are several places where I wish to carry light into darkness. We'll see if my travels take me to Godfall or the Mangrove Collage first.
I also, finally, managed to get the man to part ways with his map. Hopefully it will be worth what I spent on it I will follow it another day.
While I went and made the trade, I had Draki (who seems to have an affinity for things like this, and I reckoned would like to see the zeppelin herself) lead a few other zailors in delivering the hydrogen. I was slightly frustrated to learn that this was, in fact, only one-fifth of what the chimps need, but at least carrying it doesn't cost my anything. Unlike bringing 100 crates of coal would.
Here omitting uneventful visits to The Chelonate, Khan's Shadow, and Khan's Heart
October 1st, 1888
My choice to cut through the central Zee and return home early, motivated partly by my concern over the already mildly-shaky status of the crew's resolve, was so I could be sure we would once more visit Station III now that I have another of their boxes in my possession.
While the clay porters slowly lumbered up the stairs with the coffin, I went and visited the Heartmetal Smith. He was occupied when I arrived, so I permitted myself a little look around, and discovered a hidden project of his. It didn't seem to be a secret he was glad to talk about it once I brought it up. It seems that he expects that Heartmetal armor will protect him from sadness. Frankly, I've found stranger things to be true There's really no reason for me to doubt him.
By the time that conversation was over, the clay men had finished bringing the longbox up to the Station. I stopped in with the Acoloyte, who paid me happily. It's so nice to see a woman who likes her job so much.
Omitting a inconsequential stop at Gaider's Mourn
October 3rd, 1888
We've made it back home. I've already made the usual stops. Upon consideration, I think I could have pushed the crew harder this voyage But I don't mind, honestly. I could use some peace of mind. I will stay here overnight, while the ship is repaired and loaded with what we'll need Supplies, fuel, coffee, a few fresh hands.
Tomorrow, we head North. I will steel myself, for I will have to enter Frostfound.
I am curious, but also scared. Anything both the Withern and Iremi agree on must be true and both of them have told me, in as uncertain of terms as they have, that Frostfound is terrible dangerous. But if I am to construct the wonder the Tireless Mechanic has in mind, I must go in and must make it almost all the way to the center, too.
Salt preserve me.