Part 37: Final preparationsJournal entry 36 Final preparations
From The Journal of Captain Petra Blackwood
December 14th, 1888
My previous expedition, for all the good it did everyone, can only have been said to have ended in failure; no cure for the Campaigner, little wisdom from the Horizon, and no closer to getting what I need to pay the Fathomking for the information he has.
I've grown tired of waiting. I could spend my days until I'm old and gray looking for a legend to rip the heart out of. The easiest one to find, of course, is Mount Nomad, but part of me strongly suspects that offering the Fathomking his niece's heart on a platter would probably not go over so well.
Fortunately, I know another way.
A way that will require sacrifices.
I made my usual stops Delivering port reports, purchasing supplies, and the like. And then I went to Wolfstack Harbor. Not to the Medusa's head, no, that's altogether too high a quality of clientele.
I've gathered seven men and women who claim to be zailors, and are, by only the narrowest of margins. In truth, they are drunkards, layabouts, one is hopelessly addicted to honey. I've forewarned the rest of the crew They are not to fraternize with these individuals. They will have a very special role in the future, and it will be best, for all of us, if they are not to be missed.
Omitting normal stops at Mutton Island and the Canal.
December 16th, 1888
We've arrived in the waters around the Fathomkeep. Before landing, we did a sweep of the area, searching for lorn-flukes.
The battle was short, and we got little from it. A completed circle revealed no creatures, so I went ashore.
I observed what the Fathomking does to those who displease him. More than before, I am certain that I should not present him with the heart of a relative; it just seems safer that way.
December 17th, 1888
I turned our ship south, temporarily, in hopes that my absence could cause a Fluke to surface. They seem to be rather fearless creatures, but even so, once a single ship starts to gain a reputation, perhaps they try to avoid it.
On our way, we encountered a Behemoustache, who proved to be little problem even a creature as violent and vicious as this can't keep up with the Impeller.
We paid a short stop at Port Carnelian. Soon, I will need to load my ship high with supplies from here. While it is tempting to do it now the 'zailors' I've recruited alternate between terrified, helpless, and feeble it would necessitate throwing a large quantity of fuel overboard, and that fuel would be better used hunting for Flukes.
Omitting the frustrated-sounding reports of that voyage, which included the slaying of two Albino Eels and another Behemoustache.
December 19th, 1888
With no success in our hunt, we return to Port Carnelian, in order to stock up on supplies. Even with the days we spent circling the Fathom keep, however, we still have a little too much in the hold I have a small quantity thrown overboard.
With this mountain of supplies in-hand, we turn west, to the Grand Geode. This time, nothing of value will be lost.
December 20th, morning - 1888
This place confounds me every time I visit.
I assigned the group of layabouts to unload the cargo, while the Commodore invited me in for tea. It was going well at first, but then, but then...
I don't know what happened. I don't even know what Vel O. was doing off the ship. But now she's gone, suffering a fate she does not deserve. This shall hopefully be the last time I return here... Or else I'll bring eight drunkards next time. London has no shortage of them.
This event, the 'A blank space in your memory', only has a 30% chance of happening when you talk to the commodore. Normally you have a very nice, banal session of tea with the Commodore and lose a little terror. But apparently that never happens to Petra.
In any case, I have what I want.
I'm tired of waiting to stumble across some legend of the Zee. I've heard, from reputable sources, that the Tree of Ages, the great herald of spiders, seeks an element of dawn. If we reveal we have one, it will come for us.
I will tell the crew as we return to the Coast. The Tree is feared across the Zee, but again, so are Lifeburgs. So are lorn-flukes. But the time has come to be past fear.
December 20th, evening 1888
We're spending the night at Port Carnelian. The crew needs time to rest, have a few drinks, calm their nerves. A few may be writing letters home. My announcement of the plan to battle the Tree of Ages was met with, largely, silence. I miss Jones, he would have filled it with something brave. Or at least dissent. I do not know how the crew will do tomorrow... But I, for one, have no fear of some floating spider. And once we've destroyed it, we will have everything the Fathomking needs from us.
While staying the night, one of my spies, with the bizarre code name 'Antivehicular', came calling. He said that my network had noticed several opportunities to shift the balance of power, and wanted my orders. I told him I would send him a message in the morning, before we depart. It's a big choice. I should make it after a good night's sleep.
Alright goons, voting time! In what may be Petra's last act as captain, who should she support for the leadership of Port Carnelian? She won't be backing the Khanate, but either London or seeing the place returned to native rule. Cats or corgis, my delicious friends?
I will be closing the voting at Noon, PDT, Sunday.