The Let's Play Archive

Sunless Sea

by Black Wombat

Part 35: Imeplled

Journal entry thirty four – Impelled

From The Journal of Captain Petra Blackwood,

November 22nd, 1888

We'd barely left port when troubles started.

The Brisk Campaigner, barely settled into her quarters and already trying to improve the state of the ship, collapsed into a heap on the deck.

I'm no doctor, but I've seen this kind of thing before, helping in the hospitals on the Elder Continent. She confirmed my suspicions were true, and that her soul was burning away.

She claimed that not all was hopeless. She'd apparently been researching her own illness, and thought the secret in curing it might be away from the Elder Continent. Which would explain why none of those pompous folks from the Presbyteriate had ever found it. I doubt they'd ever look farther than their own shores.

She needs a strange array of goods from all corners of the Unterzee. Once I complete my current task, I'll start collecting those.

November 25th, 1888

Once more, I stopped in at Khan's Glory, in hopes of finding some vital intelligence for the Admiralty.

I started my visit like I always do, with some wandering, and today attending a sermon in one of their temples.

But it didn't help. My contact was gone. Somehow, I feel like this is my fault, that I could have done something different to have saved her. But I can't imagine what.

On our way out of the Kahnnate, we stopped at Khan's Shadow to replenish supplies, and I discovered a store selling ivory. I'd completely forgotten it could be purchased here! And it's just as fine a quality as the stuff in the Chelonate, and only a tiny fraction more expensive. I've filled the hold, and ordered our course adjusting south. We can head more directly towards Kingeater's Castle.

Omitting uninteresting visits at Polythreme, Godfall, and the Mangrove College. A pirate frigate in the Sea of Autumn gives a firkin of Honey.

November 28th, 1888

I fear that those folks in charge of the Grand Geode may wish to halt my ambitions.

Our approach to Kingeater's Castle was blocked by a Glorious Dreadnought; it outweighed us by almost four times and glowed like the sun at Aestevial, but we have the Momento Mori and I wasn't going to turn back because of some overgrown floating candelabra.

Equally helpful was that much of my crew has seen the sun. The ship launched some kind of brilliant flare, probably to help it target us in the fog.

It did them no good, however. They're obviously used to ships being more scared of them and keeping their distance. In close, they couldn't turn fast enough to get us into the range of their cannons.

I can only assume it was sent to stop us after we acquired the Element of Dawn. Perhaps to reclaim it, after we paid so dearly for it. The bastards. If they weren't Naval, I'd find a way to bring that whole crystal of theirs down around them.

The only thing we reclaimed from the wreckage was a single crate of candles, from Hell. This raises so many questions. Why does Hell need candles? Why does a ship that itself glows need candles? I fear we may never find answers.

In any case, the way to Kingeater's Castle is now open. The time for the Tireless Mechanic to show off what I've spent thousands and thousands of echos on is here.

November 29th, 1888

The Impeller has been completed.

For once, someone other than me was in charge of goings-on. I was able to just sit back and observe as the Engineer did his work.

It did not quite go as I'd expected, although, in retrospect, I don't know what kind of engine I expected him to make out of bones, gems and a spark of the Sun itself. I do know that I did not expect the sage to be a component of the engine. What's being burned in there? Is it his soul? His knowledge? Memories? Certainly it isn't his flesh. I'm not entirely sure the Engineer could explain it to me, but I am, for once, not entirely sure I want to ask.

I've had it installed in the Checkmate immediately. I look forwards to seeing the results.

November 29th, evening

We arrived at the Empire of Hands in record time. The visit almost took longer than the voyage over here.

We made another delivery to the Zeppelin – and perhaps I'm letting what happened in the Great Geode get to me, but I oversaw it personally this time.

After that, I had a meeting with the mayor – his mannerisms seemed much changed from the first time I'd spoke with him in his office, and also very familiar.

I purchased a supply of food from him – Nothing I'd care to eat for long, but it will get us back to civilization proper. And in a pinch, we can burn it to power the contraption running the Checkmate. It is devouring coal at a prodigious rate.

Omitting a visit at the Uttershroom where Petra purchased a Belmmigan.

December 1st, Morning - 1888

It had been a long time since I've visited Demeaux Island. It seemed so... Homey, now, almost. People chopping down mushrooms to feed London. Quaint.

There was nothing to be done at the funging station – they were busy. Funging, I assume. Instead, I decided to simply enjoy the spoor-ridden countryside, which ended with me encountering a band of rattus faber.

The little things wanted to trade for supplies. They didn't phrase it in the nicest way I could think of, but my ship has more than ample supplies to get back to London, and drowning-pearls are rare. I think the trade was profitable for everyone involved.

Omitting a short stop at the Salt Lions to pick up more Sphinxstone, and a stop at the Mourn to get coal. Two pirate ships were effortlessly sunk.

December 2nd, 1888

We're back in London. How the miles do fly. The Impeller moves us faster than can be believed; it took us seven days to get to Kingeater's Castle, and only two to return to London. Some of the zailors look like they're in shock. Going up on deck has become so windy, I may invest in protective spectacles for the crew.

The engine is greedy, however. I suspect we used between one-and-a-half and twice as much coal as we would have using our old engine. The vast reduction in consumption of supplies is more than worth the fuel cost, of course, but subsequent outings will have to be provisioned carefully or else we'll wind up adrift.

For now, though, I have business in London. If I hurry, we can set out again early tomorrow morning.