Part 44: The Mark of the EastJournal entry 43 The Mark of the East
from The Journal of Captain Petra Blackwood,
January 17th, morning - 1889
Our voyage from London so far has been uneventful; our first stop on this trip is at Abbey Rock, where I will be speaking with the Sisters.
Before entering the Abbey, I spent a time aboard, simply observing the place. It gave up no secrets from afar; but it did give one particularly brave little Blemmigan a chance to put ashore. There's little food and hostile natives; I fear for its future.
I then approched, and asked the Adventuress to accompany me. After a few appraising prods, pokes and questions, they agreed to help the Adventuress find what she's looking for, but I would need to bring... Materials.
I've never seen such materials for sale in the Khanate. I must need a trader's license, which is quite an expensive proposition. But I do know another place I could get them.
All will be well.
January 17th, afternoon 1889
Port Cecil doesn't look much different, these days, but the air about the place has changed.
A little bit of the excitement and mystery of the place has gone. I don't need to guess why, of course, but many of the chess players look very frustrated.
I collected the intelligence I was sent for and left. Nothing more to do here.
Omitting a stop at Khan's Heart
January 17th, evening - 1889
I paid a visit to this free spirit's stronghold, and had an unusual guest to bring with me.
The Haunted Doctor came with me, and directed me towards an old tramp-steamer that was now a pub. Inside we discovered a wild ruckus; agitators of all stripes, calling for the downfall of everyone to their level of being. I left the Doctor there while I went to make the purchases I needed, advising him to return to the ship when he was done I have little use for these people.
While he did that, I visited the local market. I have spent several thousand echos on a immense pile of Mirrorcatch boxes. Having visited the surface without feeling like I truly visited the House of the Sun, I've decided to, instead, bring that house down with me into the 'Neath. Perhaps then I will feel more attuned to the light above.
And that will take many boxes.
January 18th, morning - 1889
Another visit to the Empire of Hands. I'm intent, now, on helping these monkeys complete this zeppelin. More than anything, I desire to see what a bunch of apes plans to DO with it.
I've commissioned the apes to harvest a great deal of their own local bounty. That they could have done this, at any time, and stocked their own zeppelin, but didn't, says everything I think anyone would need to know about this place.
I then delivered them over to the Zeppelin yard; it's almost complete. One more load of Hydrogen, and it should be ready to go do... Whatever it's going to do.
My business here is done; from here, I plan to head East, into the House of Salt. He's supposed to be out there, somewhere, and while I've heard no terrible tales of being lost that way, no-one zails there either.
It's time to find out why.
January 18th, evening 1889
We've returned from the East, to the relative safety of Kingeater's Castle. The place was... beautiful, but silent. Something there devours all sound, and, in that way, has judges us unworthy. But there is a new feeling deep inside of me. An understanding of silence I don't think I had before. Even in the middle of the Zee, there's sound the lapping of waves, the shifting of false-stars, the very beating of my heart. I now know what it sounds like without any of those things. It's wondrous, but strange. Very strange.
We depart westward immediately. There's nothing for us here.
Looks like they added a new story to Kingeater's Castle! Those of you who lamented being stuck here, there's now a way out.
January 19th, 1889
Once more, we've returned to the Uttershroom. It's purple flesh welcomes us to a home-away-from-home.
I ascended to the village, and was intercepted by one of the more gregarious villagers the one I normally trade Honey with.
I was told the Uttershroom had a gift for me. I wasn't about to turn it down, although I'm not sure what I'll do with it. For now, I shall simply keep it in the hold. Perhaps a purpose will present itself.
Fact It won't. The only use for the Sporule is to give to the Fathomking to fulfill the 'Fruit from the oldest tree' objective. If you've already given him an apple, or aren't even on this quest at all, congratulations, it's useless.
As we prepared to depart, a few more blemmigans came and made themselves at home on the ship. It'll be nice to have a few little mushroom friends again.
January 20th, 1889
Today has been a monumental day for Port Carnelian, and they don't even know it yet. The information I've retrieved has let me identify many of the Khanate's agents in the port soon, it will be completely free of outside interference.
I got in touch with Antivehicular, who passed on the information to his agents in turn. Things have been set in motion and even more than that, a friend of mine at the Admiralty has pledged to make sure this place stays free of the influence of the Khanate.
'Little London' is now free, and will remain free, for the foreseeable future. And by 'Free', I mean 'Under Her Enduring Majesty's glorious rule', which is the only true freedom for any real Englishman.
During the final coup, one of my agents recovered some sensitive documents even if they died in the process, I shall try to make this information worthwhile.
Also, while I was ashore, a blemmigan departed. Godspeed, little mushroom.
Tomorrow, I will visit with the Governor. Hopefully, he will have an appreciation for the scope of changes that have taken place in his little colony.
January 21st, 1889
Once more, we arrived home. Our visit started like any return visit does.
But soon I noticed something... Unusual, about today.
It seemed as if the whole town was swept up in a furor; I figured it must have been news of the Coast having gotten back somehow by zee-bat, and it was, in a way. It was a badly-needed victory for London in an era that had had so few. But there was something else, too.
Somehow, word of my involvement with London's most recent upturn in good fortunes in her ventures across the Zee has reached ears back here. Based on the meter and rhyme, probably one of those two-bit songsmiths over at Mahogany Hall. But even so, I must admit, I am flattered. I never imagined there'd be a SONG about me, even if it's one likely to be forgotten in a few weeks months, at best. But in the meantime, I shall enjoy luxuriating in the fame. Perhaps I shall even spend a few evenings in London to enjoy myself.