The Graveyard of Stars
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|The Graveyard of Stars|
Log Entries[edit | edit source]
You are near the edge of this district of the sky. Little lies beyond, except a cold death.'
Story description[edit | edit source]
A waste stretches before you. The star that reigned over it died cold aeons ago. Now, its domain is empty of life; drowned in darkness; harried by a howling wind. Your crew beg you to turn back. All that waits ahead is the slow shedding of all that you were, then a frozen death.
Trigger Conditions[edit | edit source]
- Trying to get out of the map
Interactions[edit | edit source]
|Ambition: Search the Wastes for your friend
She left her crew at New Winchester and took the Azazel, alone, into the howling wastes.
Game note: The more searches you make, the better your chances of finding her.
|Where the wind waits
For days you scour the waste. These are regions where the suns have died, victims of the polite slaughter concealed by the Courtesy.
You find nothing but frozen ruins, grim grey monuments, and rubble strewn across the sky. Winds hound your locomotive, battering her every hour of the endless night. Frost is a constant threat, creeping along pipes, infiltrating the stores.Eventually, you have to turn back. When your engine and crew have thawed, you can try again.
|Just in time
On the third midnight after you entered the wastes, a junior signaller cries out. "A fire, Captain!" You rush to the window. There, in a ruined palace-fragment, you see a flicker of lonely flame.
Just a little way. Just enough to say that you have; to be one of those rare, wild few. The crew will undoubtedly resist; you must convince them.
Game note: This will consume fuel and supplies.
|Probably for the best
Despite your exhortations, the crew will not obey. They have heard too many stories of engines dying in the wastes; of the killing fingers of encroaching ice; of crew and captains going mad in the dark. "We'd follow you anywhere, Addressed As(SpeechInformal). But not there."
|The ringing wastes
Eventually, you convince them. Your locomotive nudges forward into the liquid shadows. The wind threatens to pull you deeper in, and your chief engineer shovels fuel into the engine to fight back. A crewman is praying, over and over. On the third repeat, he forgets the words. A day's hard travel later, you are still only on the outskirts of the waste. You have seen no living thing. The cold of the skies you left behind is only a ghost of the cold here. The cold here stills and slays. Your hull groans beneath a new coat of black ice.
|Examine your surroundings
Your lights illuminate vast stone fragments, aglitter with frost.
Are they the frozen gobbets of shattered worlds? Ruins, abraded beyond recognition by the roaring wind? Old idols, whose shape would never have been recognisable to you? You spend a restless night in their shadow. At midnight, one of your crew attempts to murder her bunk-mate. When asked why, she has no answer other than "Because that is how it is done." You imprison her, and give the order to head back. The crew scurry, thankfully, to obey.
|Listen to the wind
What can it tell you?
The closer you listen, the more it sounds like a scream, raw with anguish and fury. The ghosts of the murdered must scream thus.
You all spend a sleepless night huddled about the galley stove, while the wind hammers your vessel. At three o'clock, one of your crew begins to howl like a dog. He will not stop, even when gagged, even when his throat bleeds. You are forced to restrain him to quarters.When you give the order to head back, your crew scurry, gratefully, to obey.
|Look out into the dark
They say it will send you mad. They say the darkness looks back. They are cowards.
There are movements in the dark, like the slow roll of surf.
You glance at the reflection of your clock. How quickly an hour has passed! People fear the dark because they fear what might be in it. But there are no demons there. There is only your own reflection and, beyond it, nothing. The clock chimes. Goodness! Have you really been standing here another four hours? Time flies.
"Who were you talking to, Addressed As(SpeechInformal)?" a crewman asks. "You've been answering questions. Giving your name. Our names. Origin: Academic(OverTheEdge)Origin: Urchin(OverTheEdge)Origin: Poet(OverTheEdge)Origin: Soldier(OverTheEdge)Origin: Auditor(OverTheEdge)Origin: Zailor(OverTheEdge)Origin: Priest(OverTheEdge)Origin: Revolutionary(OverTheEdge)"You order him to turn the engine around immediately. He scurries, gratefully, to obey.
|Search the frosted ruins for one of the lost sigils
The vast ruins are decorated with ice: some in fractal patterns, others with marks that could almost be writing.
As you search, there is a flicker in your peripheral vision. You look for the cause and discover a camp, frozen hard as iron. Perhaps the movement was this brittle flag, slipping from its pole to the ground. It is marked with the quill-and-star emblem of the Singh-Jenkins expedition. On a vast pillar supporting a lean-to, you see a sigil, flaring like a sore. The cold clenches hard. You take a rubbing and rush back to the warmth of your engine. As you go to step inside, a sharp wind slams you against the hull: you disturbed the solitude. You are unwelcome here.
As you search, there is a flicker in your peripheral vision. You look for the cause and discover a camp, frozen hard as iron. Perhaps the movement was this brittle flag, slipping from its pole to the ground. It is marked with the quill-and-star emblem of the Singh-Jenkins expedition. On a vast pillar supporting a lean-to, you see a sigil, flaring like a sore. The cold clenches hard. You take a rubbing and rush back to the warmth of your engine.
|Propitiate the Waste-Waif
You have angered one of the spiteful gods of the sky. Perhaps, here – on the edge of the places it has taken for its own – you can win its forgiveness.
To the starlight and the ports. To the enclaves of humanity, sprinkled across still-living skies. To fires in the hearth, and toast with marmalade, and the steam coiling over a fresh cup of tea, and friends.
||One hundred and eighty
You issue the order. Your engine, amidst its skirts of steam, lumbers around until the wastes are to the aft. The crew work briskly, and soon you are thundering back into less terrible spaces. In a moment of relief, someone blows the engine's whistle.
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