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Aigul

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Aigul
Aigul (Map)
SS Locations Aigul Map.png
Aigul (Gazetteer)
SS Locations Aigul.png
Located in The Promised Sea
Ports Aigul
Shops Requisitions
Data ID 234938

Aigul is a huge, stationary Lorn-Fluke upon which the vessel Fortas Kettle ran aground. Rather than attempt to extricate it, London turned the sunken vessel into an observation station also called Station VI. The crew have become... attached.

Location description[edit | edit source]

The station is pinned to the surface of Aigul. Once it was a roving vessel, the Fortas Kettle, and floated freely from place to place. Now it is stuck on spines of fluke-rock.

Interactions[edit | edit source]

Actions Requirements Effects Notes
Search for the Fierce Philanthropist's husband

Has passed through here?

Failed event Game note: Check your journal to be reminded of where Lytton might be.

No luck

He has not. At least you can cross this port off your list. On to the next.

Successful event
A promising lead!

No such gentleman is here, the First Mate informs you. But he was, once. He left, heading for Low Barnet.

Bribe the First Mate

The crew can't show you around. "The First Mate keeps the hatch-keys. They rarely leave the engine room, but they'll come out for Solacefruit."

Gratefully received

The First Mate's features are softer than the average Londoner's, as though they have become part Rubbery Man. Their skin is marked in dozens of places with shiny, calcified ovals, around which the skin is reddened.

You offer them the Solacefruit, and they receive it reverently. They don't eat it in front of you, but withdraw through a hatch that is usually kept locked. They are gone a long time, and far off you hear a man's deep laughter. It is a surprising sound in the whispering ship.

At last the First Mate returns, fingers stained.

Observe the First Mate in research

The Kettle was a research vessel. Now, the First Mate sometimes engages in 'research' on the fluke spines that pierce the ship.

A gathering of silver in the storeroom

This room is blocked by a thick spine at waist level. The spine is purple-black, but the crew have been working at it with planes, grinding away a silvery powder. The powder is collected on mats and sieved into bottles. "Our export," the First Mate explains. "It goes to Station III. But that is not what we've come for."

The First Mate touches the spine, and for a time their spirit is absent. Then, from one of their few patches of unmarked skin, they grow a needle-shaped protrusion and snap it free. "A memento of what I saw when my mind was with Aigul."

Consume a Needle of Fortas

Press the spike into your own flesh. Know what it knows. Little worse than a tattoo, surely?

Memories layered with memories

You remember: a woman who had persuaded herself into a marriage. She never fell in love with someone else, or betrayed her husband, or did any of the usual things. She lived a dusty life, and wondered whether she even had any appetites to satisfy.

Faintly overlying this is the First Mate's reaction - pity, annoyance, and a tangle of feelings about a different broken relationship, between themselves and the Wounded Captain.

Consume three Needles of Fortas

Three is more resonant than one.

A piquant blend

The First Mate has selected three particular flavours for you. Here is a prisoner's breath of fresh air after fifty years in the cell. Here's a proud father, summonsed to court in a sordid case against his son. Here's lavender water on a widow's kerchief, and the square of light on the wall of an empty bedroom.

Consume ten Needles of Fortas

A person may embrace a cactus and survive.

At this intensity, there is no sorting one regret from another

They pierce your skin and blend into you: misunderstandings, injustices, accidents, betrayals; sudden death, and lingering death, and the consuming fear of death that eats up happiness in advance.

"When there is nothing left of my skin but the spines of Aigul, then I will be allowed to rest," says the First Mate. "Until then, if I cannot alleviate these sorrows, I must at least bear witness."

Dine with the crew

There are few people aboard the Fortas Kettle, and guests provide variety.

The Captain and the First Mate are absent

The crew gather and tell stories of when the Fortas Kettle was still free to roam the sea floor. The Captain was a jolly man, fond of a drink, who laughed at icebergs. The First Mate was everyone's confidante. The two were meant to be married, even, when they got back to London. But Aigul called, imperiously, and the First Mate drove the Kettle full-throttle onto the spines.

After the meal, the First Mate returns from their latest exploration in the engine room. The Tomb Colonist rises with a sigh. "It'll be time to rebandage the Captain, then."

Eavesdrop in the Kettle

Voices echo in the coppery corridors.

Attentive listening

You hear: the Tomb Colonist and the surprisingly strong old woman, bickering over a hand of cards. The Captain, complaining about the bandage sticking to his thigh. (You hear us.) The scrape of metal as a new Zubmarine docks. Your own crew, talking about how the spines give them the shivers. (Your crew hears us too.) The First Mate is talking to the Captain in a low voice about what they found in their last exploration. There are fresh Needles in the collection.

Help pack the exports

Bottles and bottles of silver powder, ground from Aigul-spine, wait to be sent away.

The Tomb Colonist hands you bottles

...and you nestle them in straw. "Don't worry too much if you touch the powder," the Tomb Colonist says. "Looks poisonous, but there's no harm in it. The First Mate uses some of it to make the Needles, and sells the rest."

The Colonist obviously doesn't approve of the First Mate's regret-collection, and clarifies with only a little prompting. "Maybe I'm the wrong person to ask," the Tomb Colonist says. "But there's no need for wearing the scars of other people's wounds, on top of your own."

As if summoned, the First Mate comes out of the engine room, fresh-spined.

Explore the depths of the Kettle

The ship has been expanded, through the years, with extra hulls bolted on.

The hold

The lowest level of the Fortas Kettle is crossed with so many spines that it is a wonder it keeps out water at all, even with sealant. (We have grown into our place.) It is hard to walk in the space, and there is barely room to store anything sizeable. Instead, the room has collected garbage: log books from past voyages, a coffee pot with a broken bottom, a holiday wreath made of bats'-heads, and all the other sorts of things that gather in a long time at Zee.

When you go above, the First Mate has been in the engine room again.

Observe the First Mate with a Pilgrim

Another Zubmarine has docked at Aigul, releasing a person in a Crocodile mask and long gold robes.

The postulant brings ten Solacefruit, a generous offering

The First Mate leads the Crocodile to a makeshift bed. Attendants wrap the Crocodile's hands in silk and set them on a spike of Aigul. The Crocodile weeps copiously through the eye-holes of its mask. Then it goes to sleep.

"After relinquishing a regret to Aigul, one needs a good rest," the First Mate says, ushering you out.

An hour or two later, the Crocodile comes out again, cheerful and refreshed. It departs in its Zubmarine. Its deposited regret is not left behind for long, however. The First Mate attends the engine room.

Explore the supply rooms

There are storerooms where no inventory has been taken.

Old needles

There are glass jars, stoppered with wax, where the First Mate keeps yet more Needles, labelled in writing that is too faded to read. This business of growing and collecting the Needles has been going on for a very long time, it appears.

Rare event (12%)
Behind the crates

Among the discarded residue in the lower decks, you find a long box, almost a coffin. The First Mate looks slightly put out that you discovered it. "You may take it away, if you wish," they say. "It was cargo on a certain Zubmarine, and they left it here because they needed to divest themselves of ballast. It is not dangerous."

Observe the First Mate with a Pilgrim

The postulant's Zubmarine has come straight from Dahut.

Crewmates abandoned

The man is grim and short-spoken. The First Mate takes him below. Attendants set his hand on the bare face of Aigul. He closes his eyes. In time, he whimpers. Now and then he sings snatches of a Drownie tune.

He refuses to take a rest, afterwards, but gets back into his Zubmarine and floats off. The First Mate descends to the engine room.

Drink with the crew

Conversation and cheer, that's what's needed.

They've all been here

They tell you stories that happened to them, and then stories that happened to their ship-mates, and finally stories that happened to the ship-mates of ship-mates. Those people most likely never existed.

"...and the giant face came down from the ceiling of the Unterzee, and Visage kissed it," concludes the Tomb Colonist, thunking a tankard on the table.

"When I heard that tale last, it wasn't a giant face," says the pungent old woman.

But everyone falls silent when the First Mate comes in, fresh-spiked, looking haggard.

Rare event (25%)
They've all been there

They tell you stories that happened to them, and then stories that happened to their ship-mates, and finally stories that happened to the ship-mates of ship-mates. Those people most likely never existed.

"...and the giant face came down from the ceiling of the Unterzee, and Visage kissed it," concludes the Tomb Colonist, thunking a tankard on the table.

"When I heard that tale last, it wasn't a giant face," says the pungent old woman.

The Tomb Colonist and the old woman get into an argument over the details of this tale, which grows progressively more salacious, until one of your crew demands proof. The Tomb Colonist has just come back in with an armload of stolen logbooks when there's the ringing of a bell below.

"Someone best go see to the Captain," says the old woman.

Help sort needles

There are so many, in different sizes and shapes and colours.

Long ones here, short ones there

Some are iridescent, some deep black. The First Mate remembers each of them: when it was grown, how long ago, what regret it captures.

Ask the First Mate for help finding the regret of the Sensitive Brother

The Imperious Sister awaits an answer; she has set a rendezvous at Hunter's Keep.

Into the Fortas Kettle

The First Mate leads you through hatches usually kept locked, down to the depths of the Fortas Kettle. They begin to limp more evidently, the further you descend. At last, you come to the engine room where a spike of Aigul jabs through the hull. The engine is thoroughly destroyed: its furnace is cold, its great wheels will never turn again.

The surface of Aigul is exposed to your touch. It shimmers. (We make it beautiful on purpose.)

There is a shiny silver patch on the spike. (We allow the silver to be harvested.) Touch it with one hand. (Touch our face.)

Tell the First Mate of your experiences

You did not bring back the Brother's regret. Has the first mate ever returned without the thing they went to fetch?

Secrets and Healing

You tell your story: how you made the descent, how you found what you were looking for, how you could not harvest it after all.

They smile. "I've never shown such restraint myself. Aigul has too strong a hold on me."

Then, when you think the conversation has closed, the First Mate adds, "You do not ask me about the Captain. Someone must ask about his wound, or he will never be healed."

Ponder how best to deliver your message to the Imperious Sister

She should know what you have decided.

There are ways to reach her

She said she'd wait for you at Hunter's Keep. She will want some kind of proof of her brother's regret - your words alone will not do. You could go there directly and give whatever message you think best. Or you could send her a dream by way of Irem; you've heard they make dreams there. Or perhaps there is a way by the Isle of Cats, not that that would be an easy or sensible method.

Grow the Brother's Regret into a spine

It is possible, given certain Rubbery rituals and preparations. The First Mate can show you how.

You grow a spine, just next to your thumb

It is challenging to clip off, but you manage, and then file down the spur. There is a little blood and some itching, and the spot remains sensitive.

Share the Brother's regret with the First Mate

They are curious. Sharing the spine would relinquish one means of delivering the regret to the Sister, but there are other ways.

Presentation with a flourish

The First Mate accepts it with gratitude and consumes it, their eyes slipping gratefully shut. The two of you have become equals.

Afterwards, they say: "You do not ask me about the Captain. Someone must ask about his wound, or he will never be healed."

Ask the First Mate about the Captain

(Ask in our hearing and we, too, will answer.)

"You are not so indifferent to his suffering after all!"

The First Mate scrubs wet eyes, trying to compose themselves. Finally: "The Captain was hurt when the Kettle went aground. We kept him from the brink of death." (The Captain is still capable of laughter.)

"It seems every time I return to him, his wound has reopened." (The spines in the First Mate's flesh are a lance in the Captain as well.)

"If there were anything I could do..." (The First Mate would give up anything for the Captain, except us.)

Pay a visit to the Wounded Captain

The First Mate trusts you, and grows careless with their keys.

Propped in bed

The Wounded Captain's bed is a tangle of blankets and bandages. A tripod of myrrh does not wholly mask the festering scent. But the Captain's eye is bright and his laugh is hearty.

"I've heard all about you," he says, gesturing for you to sit. "I won't say you've cheered up my First Mate, as we both know that can't be done! But you've come as close as anyone could."

He grimaces. "It's about that time," he says. "You won't want to watch the wound reopening. There's a lot of blood. Best go."

Convince the First Mate to stop harvesting Aigul

(We will not let them go easily!)

Failed event
You put your argument

Is the harvest worth the fresh lance in the Captain's thigh, each evening? Isn't it clear that he is wounded whenever the First Mate takes a new spine? (We have helped them not to understand. It is our little gift.)

The First Mate's scars redden. "I have been selfish," they say. "You are right to point it out."

Then they lock the Captain's quarters, and they forbid anyone to take him solacefruit broth. They go down to the Engine Room, and return covered in a dozen spines. Then the crew retrieves the Captain's body, wrapped in a bloody sheet.

Successful event
Hard to relinquish the harvest of the Zee

They protest: to live in mourning is the only response to a miserable world. (We are dear to them.)

You spin the argument. Their pity helps no one. And is it worth the fresh lance in the Captain's thigh, each evening? Isn't it clear how he is wounded? (We have helped them not to understand. It is our gift.)

Sobbing, the First Mate leaves you and descends to the Captain's chambers. They remain there a long time and do not go to the Engine Room. Days later both emerge: the Captain on crutches, but walking, with the First Mate beside him.

Convince the First Mate to stop harvesting Aigul using Song and Knowledge

Perhaps a sense of balance will redress things.

Song

They protest: to live in mourning is the only response to a miserable world. (We are dear to them.)

You explain: their pity helps no one. And is it worth the fresh lance in the Captain's thigh, each evening? Isn't it clear how he is wounded? (We have helped them not to understand. It is our gift.)

When this is not enough to move them, you sing a song learned at Dahut: a song about grief and joy, about the expanse of both, about the irrelevance of an individual drop in that Zee. (We have not heard this song before. We do not admire it.)

Sobbing, the First Mate leaves you and descends to the Captain's chambers. They remain there a long time and do not go to the Engine Room. Days later both emerge: the Captain on crutches, but walking, and with the First Mate close behind.

Have the Cladery Heir remove the First Mate's unhealthy need for Aigul

Have the Cladery Heir remove the First Mate's unhealthy need for Aigul

Crossed arms

The Cladery Heir takes the First Mate aside. She is brisk. Visiting the sorrows of Aigul is an indulgence. The Captain is freshly wounded whenever the First Mate embraces a new sorrow. Can they not see this? Do they not understand?

While she speaks, she is sharpening a blade. The First Mate watches but does not forbid her the operation.

Afterwards both Captain and First Mate keep to their beds, recovering from their assorted wounds. But they do recover. On the third evening, the Captain is able to hobble up to the galley to dine with the crew.

A funereal atmosphere

The mood within the Fortas Kettle is morose.

Barely comes upstairs

The Tomb Colonist and the fierce old woman fill you in about how things have been here. The First Mate barely ever comes upstairs. The Captain's body has been given to the Zee, but things are just as bad as before, or maybe even worse. Now and then someone comes to give a regret to Aigul, and the First Mate makes it into needles right away. Do you want some? By all means! Collect them! Take them away!

A honeymoon atmosphere

The Kettle is exceptionally cheerful.

Drink and Dine

You are welcome at the Fortas Kettle's table. The First Mate and the Captain sit side by side, and no one rushes off to change bandages. Now and then a pilgrim comes to visit the face of Aigul, but the First Mate does not collect the regret afterward.

"One day it might be time for us to travel on," says the Captain. "Now that I'm healed. We'd leave the Kettle where it is, of course."

Introduce a blemmigan to Aigul

Wouldn't the spikes of Aigul look friendlier with a bit of mushroom foliage?

A blasted land

You try to release the blemmigan, by airlock, onto the spiny surface of Aigul.

Its determination is fierce and it tries gamely to climb down a spine. Almost at once it begins to shrivel and shrink in on itself, its shroomy flesh blackening and then coming away in ragged strips. It cannot take hold in this waste-space.

A blasted land

You try to release the blemmigan, by airlock, onto the spiny surface of Aigul.

Its determination is fierce and it tries gamely to climb down a spine. Almost at once it begins to shrivel and shrink in on itself, its shroomy flesh blackening and then coming away in ragged strips. It cannot take hold in this waste-space.

But the sacrifice was not wholly without effect. The First Mate says, later, that Aigul has been made just a little gentler; and when someone communes with the secrets of Aigul, he brings away more discoveries.

Assemble a Port Report

The Admiralty would find this a curious place.

Loose information

You gather a description of the Fortas Kettle and a survey of its resources. You scrape away a little of the sealant, the colour of amber and the texture of wax, that keeps out seawater where the hull is pierced by the spines of Aigul; you sketch the arrangement of decks and hatches, so far as you have been able to reach. But about the population, you cannot offer as much detail. The Tomb Colonist declines to be identified and the travelling postman laughs at you.

Assemble a Compromised Port Report

The First Mate does not want an accurate report to reach the Admiralty. They will reward you with extra Needles, they say.

A grave and holy place

You invent a tale of life in the Fortas Kettle: daily feasts held at midnight in Jerusalem - according to the Purser's pocketwatch. Switches of holy thorn hung above the doorways. Garments of grey linen and black stitching.

You do not mention the sickness or the constant need for Solacefruit, or the hatches of the Fortas Kettle that are kept locked, or the occasional groans from below. You say nothing of the Wounded Captain.

Sacrifice a memory of Nook

Freedom sits heavily on your shoulders.

A release

You press the needle to your palm. There is a drop of blood. A jolt of pain. The needle grows. For the first time since leaving Nook, you can feel the pressure of your own blood straining against your skin. Intolerable! Hot! Too hot! Bursting in the air!

(A fantasy. A future. We will taste this.)

The pressure under your skin seeps away like the slow deflating of a balloon. It leaves a hole in your mind, already folding in on itself and becoming impossible to remember.

Game note: This will reduce your Taste of Freedom quality by 5. You will be able to spend less time in Nook each visit, but will gain less Terror upon leaving.

Locations
Ports Abbey RockAdam's WayAestivalAigulAntheAvid HorizonChapel of LightsChelonateCodexCumaean Canal Staging AreaDahutDemeaux IslandEmpire of HandsFallen LondonThe Fathomking's HoldFrostfoundGaider's MournGant PoleGodfallGrand GeodeHideawayHunter's KeepIremIron RepublicIsle of CatsKhan's GloryKhan's HeartKhan's ShadowKingeater's CastleLow BarnetMangrove CollegeMount PalmerstonMutton IslandNookNuncioPigmote IslePolythremePort CarnelianPort CecilRosegateSalt LionsScrimshanderShepherd IslesStation IIIThe UndercrowThe UttershroomVarchasVenderbightVisageWhitherWisdomWrack
Places of Interest An Abyss...The Admiralty Survey OfficeAvernusThe Brass EmbassyDawn MachineDrydockThe EyeThe Forgotten QuarterThe House of the QuestionLight-ShipNaplesQuaker's HavenRoser's WharfSurfaceThe UniversityViennaWolfstack DocksThe Wreck of the NocturneYour Lodgings
Characters Blind BruiserMerchant VenturerThe Dark-Spectacled AdmiralThe FathomkingThe First Curator