Part 34: HE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THEntry thirty three E SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN TH
From The Journal of Captain Petra Blackwood,
November 8th, 1888
After a busy morning of preparing for our departure, we are once more heading out from London. I made my normal stop at the Admiral's office, and then had a long and interesting chat with the Merchant Venturer this morning.
It seems his entire set of errands for me wasn't merely satisfying the needs of some exclusive clientele, as I had suspected it was. Instead, he seems to have come up with a plan that will let him open the Avid Horizon! I can't say that the notion doesn't intrigue me. Me and him would certainly be the only people in London who know what's beyond it save maybe the Masters. Or possibly everyone would found out when we did, if whatever is beyond comes surging through to devour the 'Neath.
In any case, I'm far too fascinated too pass up the chance. I told him I would have to resolve my current business first, but I would provide him with passage as soon as the Checkmate was free to take him.
I reckon I had better not tell the Dapper Chap about this. He'll just get all worried again. Something about the North sets the poor man off.
With that done, I went and organized my business in London proper.
With my bunks full and hold reasonably stocked, we headed south I plan to zail to the Carnelian Coast, purchase supplies there, and then trade them for an Element of Dawn at the Geode. Then, we'll go eastward, and try to complete the Impeller, at last!
Omitting uninteresting visits to the Canal, Mutton Island, and a page that has burned down to a little, smoldering stump, barely sticking out of the binding. The smoky remains smell of apricots.
November 11th, 1888
On our way in to the Fathomking's hold, we encountered another Lorn-Fluke.
The battle was relatively short, and it was a very good indication to the new crew what kind of ship they'd signed themselves up on. Lotus was the only one who seemed unphased She'd made fast friends with Draki, and perhaps she'd been forewarned.
But really, the battle with the Lorn-Fluke is not nearly to miraculous as what happened at the King's feasting hall.
I have, of course, eaten many meals in my life. Some quite exquisite. But I have never, ever in all my years had a meal that made me cry. What had been accomplished here was... Beyond what I imagined food could do. It was artistry, make no mistake. After the meal, I spoke with the man, and he asked to be released from his bonds such that he could study further here.
How could I possibly say no?
The rest of the meeting period seemed fleeting, by comparison. Now, I must be off. The crew are calling that they've spotted another Lorn-fluke.
November 13th, 1888
A distant sighting of a Behemoustache welcomed us to the Carnelian Coast.
I set Grandalt and Draki to negotiate the purchase of the prodigious quantity of supplies I will need, while I went off to assist my fledgling intelligence agents.
I would not have thought that would have meant reading lewd passages to a tiger for almost two hours. And while that was not an experience I wish to repeat too soon, he did promise he'd do his best to be of assistance and at least had the good manners to provide me with tea while I read.
With his help, I could certainly start making changes around here, if I wished.
I will have to think on the situation a little longer before I make a decision, however. For now, I will return to the Checkmate, and zail us west, to the Geode.
November 16th, 1888
Yesterday, we went to the Grand Geode. And... I can't say much else about the incident.
I know I made the exchange. I vaguely remember it, and even now, on one of the shelves of my quarters, a golden light seeps out through the crack under the lid of one of my lead-lined boxes. That can only be the Element.
Afterwards, the Commodore wanted to speak to me, but I cannot remember about what.
I remember watching my crew starting to stack the boxes on the dock, I remember the layout of his office, little bits, here or there, but so much is gone. Including much of my crew. I think it is the ones who I assigned to unload the cargo It seems like it would have been this lot.
I'm going to need to update my roster, and never return here. I have what I need. They can find their assistants somewhere else, not from among my Zailors.
I'd planned to zail east at this point, but I think everyone's confidence is badly shaken. If something else bad were to happen during the construction of this abomination of a engine, morale might crumble to dust.
We'll be returning to London now, following the same route back to took to get here.
Omitting a resupply at Port Carnelian and a stop at the Fathomkeep
Modember 33rd, 0952
The Iron Republic was actually rather banal today, as far as the client state of hell was concerned.
Going ashore, I was merely assailed by phantoms of horrors I'd left behind, including but not limited too the torn-apart body of Jones and giant ice shards reflecting terrible beasts of unfathomable size.
I never found myself reciting poetry in languages I don't know, hearing colors, smelling emotions, or anything else like that. Not even when I visited the market, and traded the fluke-cores we had for Judgment's Eggs.
I guess even terrible hellholes have slow days.
November 20th, 1888
We've made the back to London. The ship felt very empty coming home. It was such a short trip, but I lost so many good zailors; but I cannot let this kind of setback deter me. I can find more zailors. And I can never go to the Grand Geode again.
On my way to the Medusa's Head last night, where I planned to call up a few new recruits, I was all but accosted by a woman who said she was a doctor, seeking to find employ on a ship. In keeping with the idea that I do rather want to keep my crew alive, I've decided to hire her on. Not that the Haunted Doctor isn't good at his job, just... I like the idea of having a surgeon on board who has depth perception, is all.
It was easy enough to find replacement zailors Three joined up within an hour of canvassing. Dancer, Ratoslov, and Artificer are their names. I'm sure they'll acquit themselves well. I've started noting that most zailors avoid me now. I'm starting to get a reputation. Only the seasoned or the brave are willing to come with me.
Good. I have no use for people who can't stomach the zee.
I may have had a few more drinks last night that I had intended, and wound up at Clathermont's. I had been considering this for some time, of course... I guess a little drink just gave me the gumption to go do it.
It's a fine mark, a real work of art. And on my arm high enough that no-one will see it unless I want them too. Perhaps it will even give me courage out at Zee, knowing I'm tattooed. I suppose this means I'm a real zailor now.