The Sea of Shadows
Excerpts from the log book of HMS Mordgard
Below are some excerpts from the log book found in the wreck of HMS Mordgard.
Year 23 on the Sea, 30th of April
One of our sailors, miss Norwick, has died. To be precise, something slew her weeks ago, replacing her. We found a skinned body, with organs missing some time ago, but nobody was missing. Today, the thing that had been inside her, left, leaving her skin behind. Either that or it is now wearing someone elses body.
We mourned her, and gave what remained of her a proper burial on an island in the northeast. I do not know this place’s name, but there are some rather strange Natives that live here. May they guard her grave well.
Year 24 on the Sea, 8th of October
The island of Indie (or Ind-HEE as a terrifying bird monster told me its supposed to be called) is a strange place. I am still not sure whether we were scammed in a trade we did or not, but this strange artefact we bought should bring in a hefty price in London. It is unique, if nothing else. No idea how it works, and our engineer is completely baffled as well. Rather dangerous as well.
Note to self, when arriving in London, remember to deliver condolences to the widow of mister Harolds.
Year 25 on the Sea, 5th of June
I think I saw some sort of mermaidlike Native witch steal a dog from Admiral Tremare. Why?
Year 25 on the Sea, 6th of June
I just realized Admiral Tremare betrayed the Empire years ago, why was he in London yesterday? Or was he in London? What exactly is going on here? Is this even London? I think we should leave this place as quickly as possible. I have begun to suspect this place does not, in fact, exist. It is playing tricks on our mind.
Year 26 on the Sea, 3rd of March
Met an interesting scholar on one of the Empire’s newer colonies – he had been writing down some of the legends of various Native tribes, and he had made a remarkable discovery. There were significant similarities in certain legends even between tribes who had never met each other and who lived thousands of miles apart – both tribes worshipping the same gods in the same ways, despite having never had any contact with each other.
He also talked about some strange ‘primordial elements’ or ‘powers beyond gods that influence this world’ and how they also kept repeating, but that seemed like madness. Although I must admit the story of the Black Colossus was rather disturbing, a massive construct powered by That-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named, which keeps returning in new forms to bring annihilation to the inhabitants of this accursed sea. The stories of it also seemed to imply that it keeps getting rebuilt by powerhungry fools who do not understand what they are dealing with. I pray the thing is a myth, albeit how the story repeats in many different forms makes me think that one day, we shall be telling our own story of the Black Colossus…
Year 27 on the Sea, 12th of March
I need to find the bastard who keeps painting triangles in my door. Getting annoying. Told Richard to look into it.
Year 27 on the Sea, 13th of March
I can hear the pistons of the machines, the grinding of its gears, I can smell the smoke from its furnaces as it makes nothing out of something. His masterpiece.’
Year 27 on the Sea, 14th of March
Written in shaky letters
I did not write yesterday’s note. Nobody even opened the book yesterday.
Year 27 on the Sea, 26th of March
We caught the painter. I do not know what happened after that, except that the painter is dead, and three good people are lost forever. Even their very names have disappeared from our books. Their memories, gone. In their place, just a sense of absence and loss.
Year 28 on the Sea, 32nd of November
Interesting man, Captain Amos. He seems to have somewhat bought into the spiritualism of the Natives, and has an interesting theory about a man’s Mind, Body and Soul, and how they are both separate and equal. A whole lot of bollocks if you ask me, but HMS
-————’s Captain seems to believe it. There is something a bit frightening about that man, if I am completely honest.
Year 29 on the Sea, unclear date
Entry has a note attached to it, stating that “This did not happen officially”
Lost a lot of good men today, something that shouldn’t exist attacked us. Bloody thing butchered fine, honest poetry. Still, I have to admit he did have a sense of honor – once I bested him in a duel, he ordered his men to retreat. Even gave us his illgotten gains. What a strange shark. I mean, pirate. Sharkmen don’t exist, as our observer keeps reminding us.
Year ?? on the Sea, th of ?
We saw ourselves. And we came back to London months before we left. There is a house on the hill.
This sea is strange and dark, and we are fools to think we might ever understand it, let alone master it.
the date has been scratched out
I can’t believe it. Here, on this oasis in darkness, we found him. Captain Benton of HMS Hotspur. He is alive.
Year 30? on the Sea, 8th of October, final entry
… It won’t be long now. The men are doing their best to flee the beast, and I wish them the best. I will be going down with the ship. I only pray that my sacrifice will quell its wrath – that the thing returns to the darkness from whence it came.
I hear nothing. I see only darkness.The end is close.
The following entry has appeared on one of the previously empty pages of the log book. The handwriting is the same as it always was, but the ink is red in colour.
1900, January 1st, the Battle of London
Today, HMS Lightbringer faces Tremare’s Wrath, the warship that madman built and its escorts. I wish them the best of luck – should they and their allies fail on this day, London is doomed. The Red Admiral barely understands what sort of weapon he has built, but is mad enough to fire it anyway.