Part 36: The Highest WildernessJournal entry 35 The Highest Wilderness
From The Journal of Captain Petra Blackwood,
December 2nd, 1888
After a restful night, the majority of my stay in London was filled with the usual activities Dropping off a delivery, purchasing supplies, and visiting the Admiralty.
Things only became interesting as I went to speak to the Merchant Venturer. With the Impeller complete, the Checkmate stands ready to deliver him to the Avid Horizon. I am not entirely sure, of course, that this is a wise course of action But the potential for knowledge is far too promising to refuse. Although, perhaps, I can be rather far away when he does what he does.
With the hold fully stocked, we depart for the frozen North.
December 3rd, 1888
We encountered a Lifeburg today.
The Impeller offers a new and interesting problem, with regards to these creatures and, I reckon, most creatures. While going backwards, we can actually outpace the beast. We have to carefully monitor our speed in order to stay within firing range, and also risk running out of sea to back peddle into.
Fortunately, the beast doesn't stay together that long,
Omitting a stop in Wither to purchase Mutersalt, and uninteresting stops in Codex, Mt. Palmerston and Frostfound
December 6th, 1888
This morning, we arrived at the Avid Horizon. The Merchant has been pacing the ship ever since we left Frostfound, muttering to himself. He seems eager and anxious, as I would be too if I was about to attempt what he was about to attempt.
His setup took some hours to complete. While I'm certain there's nothing exactly alike between the two, the type of construction resembles the way the Tireless Engineer constructed the Impeller, in a way. There are similarities.
Given what happened to the one most directly involved with the construction of the Impeller, when the Merchant offered me a chance to go with him into the High Wilderness, I declined. There are riches strange enough for me on the Zee.
Here we see the first possible win condition! Passing through the Avid Horizon counts as a 'win', and is significantly easier to get than any other way. Furthermore, the item you get, the Horizon Codex, is persistent and stays with you through deaths, granting all your captains a +25 bonus to Pages. This is not the ONLY way to get the Codex, mind you. The other way is possible without dying, even. Maybe we'll see it.
His machine worked as intended, I think. The Horizon glowed more brilliantly than anything that I'd seen before save inside Frostfound and he and his goods vanished. I cannot say if it worked, of course. Perhaps the Horizon destroyed him for his arrogance, or he was snatched up by one of the gods of the Zee.
In any case, I cannot say I expect to see him again.
December 7th, 1888
We encountered another pair of Lifeburgs on our way south, but they did little more than delay our arrival at the Chapel of Lights.
Sadly, rough times seem to have stalked this island. No longer does the Smiling Priest offer feasts to the faithful; instead, he asks the faithful to bring meals so all may share in the bounty. Sadly, we do not have enough supplies to bring in to make a reasonable offering we'll return another time.
Well, guess we'll have to wait a little bit. There was an update that changed how the Chapel works between visits. I'll be sure to bring enough supplies next time!
December 8th, morning, 1888
We were at Irem.
Strange fish were purchased from a merchant I will meet someday for the Campaigner's research. Her cure for Animescence does not exist yet. She will not find what she needs here. I've also gotten Zzoup and even more mutersalt for her, so she's continued her experiments.
December 8th, evening, 1888
On our way south from Irem, we encountered what I think is the largest crab we've seen to date. However, it wasn't bigger than a Lifeburg, and probably no more sturdy, so I gave the order to prepare for battle.
The beast never even got close to us before the Momento Mori cracked its shell and sent it to the depths.
Besides a few meals, however, there was nothing of value harvested from the corpse.
December 10th, morning - 1888
I was awoken by a banging on my cabin door this morning.
It was Celia; her normally calm demeanor had vanished. She was talking at length about the engine below, and how it was calling to her. She was obviously very short on sleep, and long on poor ideas... Not that I knew much of what she was talking about. I've gotten in the habit of investing in sleep aids from F.F. Gebrandt's dispensary, and now rarely dream. So I asked Celia to wait in my quarters while I conferred with someone else.
The Tireless Mechanic, too, had been having dreams. It seems the engine was not without side-effects. Ultimately, however, I could not justify throwing one of my crew into a furnace over bad dreams.
Celia did not take the news well. It took myself, Gugs and Artificer all to restrain her until the mania passed. But it did. I have given her the day off from her duties, to recover.
December 10th, afternoon, 1888
We've landed on Aestival. It's radiance seems... Oddly familiar now. More than it did before. For how much time I spend in the dark, I find myself growing slowly more fond of the light, despite how terrifying it is.
I've set most of the crew to gathering supplies; Nearly a half-dozen of the crew refuse to go ashore here now. Snark, Kalan, S.M., Drakki and Lotus are all terrified of the place. Celia wants to go ashore too badly, so I have prohibited her from doing so. The others can be put to good use re-arranging the hold to make room for what we shall harvest.
It seems, however, not all the crew has taken my warning to heart. Sandman, Bling and Ratoslov went off away from the area I'd outlined for gathering, to do... Something. Two of them returned in a bit of a panic, saying Bling had collapsed into a heap and that I should send the doctor. I did no such thing I had everyone load up and depart immediately.
If they don't have the good sense to stay in the shade, I'm not going to risk our doctor for them.
Omitting standard visits to Nuncio, Khan's Shadow and Khan's Heart.
December 11th, 1888
We paid a short trip to Port Cecil today.
Very short, in fact just long enough to drop off a man addicted to the game. Personally, I can understand the allure, but don't think I will much enjoy chess in the future. It's lost its luster for me.
As we departed Port Cecil, a eel blocked our path but not for very long.
Omitting stops at Frostfound and Mt. Palmerston, where Zzoup was purchased.
December 12th, 1888
We've returned to Wither, in order to pick up another shipment of Mutersalt for the Campaigner's research.
Unfortunately, once more, her research has come to nothing. She's angry, and frustrated, and perhaps a little scared. It's interesting to see someone who reminds me much of myself. She treats the crew in a similar way, and I think, if I was cursed with such an affliction as hers, I would be responding very similarly. It's fascinating to watch myself at work.
In any case, she did say there was one more thing she could try; a Judgment's Egg could somehow help her. I know how to get those, of course We'll be setting zail for the south, to get the egg she needs. For now, though, we head to London, to resupply. I expect it to be an uneventful trip.