Part 45: The Light of the SunJournal entry 44 The light of the Sun
From The Journal of Captain Petra Blackwood,
January 21st, 1889
After spending a single evening in London, I find myself growing incredibly antsy. The accolades and songs are nice, but I long to return to the Zee already. I've supplied the Checkmate well The boxes I have will permit me to bring half a day of sunlight to the 'Neath, and I have plenty of supplies for the trip.
I think the crew is a little frustrated with how quickly we're departing, but I'm not one to wait around. The Zee calls to me ever-louder as the days go past. There is something I must find out there.
January 22nd, morning - 1889
We're paying another visit to the surface; this time, I will not be denied my chance to bask in a little bit of Solar glory.
I've ordered all the boxes to be brought up from the hold, and then the crew back down There's no reason for them to all exposes themselves to the sun while I do this work. I reckon it will take a little time. The process for opening and closing these boxes is not so easy as one might think.
January 22nd, evening, 1889
I have sealed away much sunlight I feel different, now. Not a lot different, but noticeably. Even when I'm below deck, there's... Something of a warmth. Not unlike when I'm standing in the sun. I see something behind my eyes when I close them. I don't know what's happening to me, but it feels... Warm. That word is not appropriate, but it is as close as I can manage. I'm no poet, after all.
I then had the boxes replaced in the hold, and we continued up the coast. Along the way, Zenemarch spent a little too long out from under the sunshades the sun took him. I can, at least, say he looked like he died happy.
Once we arrived in Naples, I took the rail to Vienna. I had a little unfinished business there.
I met with a man who opposed the Revolutionaries While I am, in general, in favor of the spreading of information on a philosophical level, I am starting to have a sneaking suspicion that most of what is not is commonly known is not commonly known for a good reason. They are dangerous, and should be stopped.
The man from the Bureau was appropriately, but not overly, appreciative. He seemed more interested in getting to know me, as a resident of the 'Neath, than catching criminals up above.
In any case, he let me know about some of the activities of the powers of the surface, and I am now making my way back home My task under the sun is completed. Even when I return to the 'Neath, I shall have this glow with me.
It's oddly soothing.
January 22nd, night 1889
Upon returning to my quarters after finishing directing the crew to remove all the sun-proofing from the deck, I discovered something odd.
Someone had been through my cabin. Someone careful, and quiet, and methodical, and that rules out about half my crew. If S.M. was aboard, I'd assume it was her, but she's still in London as far as I know.
A quick search and interrogation of the crew left me with nothing but loose ends. Damnation. If keeping secrets from me is bad, stealing them is worse! When I find who did this, I'm going to flay them.
For now, though, all I can do is keep going we'll be stopping in the Iron Republic soon, to pick up hydrogen for the final delivery. In the meantime, I'll speak to a few of my officers perhaps they can give me advice on how best to avoid this in the future.
Small note when you level up stats, it shows your unmodified value on this page. Petra's effective Veils is quite a bit higher.
January 23rd, very early morning 1889
While I have a deep repulsion for the activities that go on upon the Isle of Cats, I have need of a breif stop. Fortunately, it will have absolutely nothing to do with red honey.
It took not inconsiderable effort to find buyers for this much sunlight; I discovered there were two kinds of people who wanted it. Those who were desperate, and those who weren't. In either case, they paid well, however; I am many thousands of echos richer, and will be even moreso when I sell back the empty boxes at Khan's Shadow.
Omitting standard visits to The Uttershroom and Mangrove College,
January 23rd, afternoon 1889
I have had quite the day today on the Empire of Hands. Lots of back-and-forth, but, ultimately, very productive as well.
My first stop, before I did anything else, was to go to the Court and offer the honey I'd brought as gifts. As anticipated, they gifted romantic books to me in return Which I will bring to the Abbey on my return trip.
While I did that, I had the crew unload the last of the Hydrogen, and when I went to check in with the apes overseeing the blimp, they insisted I immediately turn around and return to the Court.
The Emperor himself, along with his entire court, was there to greet me. To call it humbling isn't quite correct; while the apes put on good airs, I'm more flattered by a roomful of drunk scoundrels singing about me than the whole of the Wildweald Court. In any case, however, I did not want to remain there long. I was given my payment, and had planned on leaving promptly.
However, as I was departing, I learned that the apes were still arguing over what to DO with the zeppelin. I decided to offer my two echos.
Traveling east would almost certainly result in a dismal failure; even humans cannot stand that much quiet, I doubt monkeys would last five minutes. At least heading south, they'll have a chance, if Stone happens to like monkeys.
With a target in mind, the finishing touches went down remarkably quickly. By the time I made it back to Port Stanton, they were already preparing to depart. I gave my crew the order to prepare to leave as well, and went to watch the proceedings.
They went largely as I expected. Apes couldn't be expected to have the same grace and nobless oblige that humans have. Crispin IV has looted these isles, for food and souls, and now plans to build elsewhere. I think it will not end as well as he thinks it will. I cannot imagine the South will be amenable to a airship full of monkeys, and he's going to pay for his hubris.
All the same, we are departing very quickly. It's only a matter of time before some ape realizes that even having four souls would qualify him to be Emperor, and makes a play for my crew. I do not think we will be returning here.
Omitting regular stops at The Chelonate and Aestival.
January 25th, 1889
Irem will feel ever more like home.
There are strange wonders for sale here, and I have arrived to make purchases. I have needed them in my pursuit of what lies in Frostfound.
I needed a burning secret. No common fire would do. The Alarming Scholar will have helped me get what I need, but I need the materials. One cannot craft a miracle without faith. I have also purchased a supply of unusual fishes. The fishmonger will promise they hold secrets as well as fishmeat. It's been put to the test.
January 26th, morning 1889
I've spent a long day at the Chapel of Lights, and I do not understand my crew's increasing trepidation about the island.
Even the Blemmigans are fine with the place. There's no reason to be worried. I brought my offerings, and sat with the faithful in a delicious meal.
The things he spoke of! This is certainly nothing from the Good Book. Which, I suppose, is good if this had been a normal sermon, I would have been very disappointed. I even elected to stay a little longer, and listen to some of the deeper mysteries.
They are hard to understand, but I am able to comprehend what he man speaks of. Something dwells upon this island, either in flesh or spirit, and can, indeed, consume sin or at least anxiety. I remember my time in the Well. It truly did drive away nightmares. What sort of being it is, I cannot yet say certainly not God. Perhaps I will get to know better, but I think this is enough for one day.
I would call today a success, if someone had not, once more, stolen from my cabin. The door was even still locked when I returned. No-one has a key to my cabin. This grows ever-more frustrating. It's a good thing I keep this journal with me I would hate for my private thoughts to be found out by some spy.
January 26th, evening
All the preparations here at the Abbey are complete.
We delivered the texts to the Sisters, who said they were perfectly suitable for the ritual something I never thought I'd say about romantic poems written by a monkey. As they did their prepration, me and the Adventuress returned to the Checkmate, to spend her last evening.
I suggested she sleep, but she said she probably not be able to anyway.
It was the least I could do to stay up with her. She spoke of her home, and the strange ways that they live. Perhaps, if they all have a respect for that which flies, the monkeys will come out ahead after all but I doubt it.
She did wind up going to bed, in the early morning. She'll get a few hours rest, and then we'll go and perform this ritual the sisters have in mind I plan to attend, of course. I wish to see what this group of battle-hardened women dedicate themselves to fighting. I reckon it won't take long, though... Then it will be time to return to London, one hand shorter.
I hope she finds what she's looking for, tomorrow.