An Open Letter from Florence Delapic

Dear Admiral,
I have noted, with no small amount of alarm, the amount of discomfort caused to other captains by the recent difficulties in the common shipping of Tomb-Colonists from here to Venderbight. This is an emergency. Why? The glory of a zee-captain is disappearing. Crewmen don’t sign on to see Venderbight. Some of them already have. And they most definitely do not sign on to see it over and over again. We zee-captains are, and must remain, mysterious creatures who venture into the unknown, not common cargomen.

This worries me greatly. My crew dreams of the zee when at home and of home when at zee. But what we see next, what happens to us next, that is a mystery. It should remain so. That is the way of a zee-captain. To do the work of a cargo-man for echoes is all well and good, but it is not new, and people do not sign on to a zee-captain’s crew to see the same places. They sign on to find legends, places seen only in honey-dreams.

My crew are restless folk, as am I, as you know. We move from place to place. We did not fit in in London, nor in Whither, nor in Demeaux Island. We travel. Our home moves as we sleep. I am confident there will be a home for us, someday, somewhere. But it is that somewhere that drives us.

Here, good Admiral, is what I am proposing. The casualty rate among zee-captains has been decreasing lately. And the number, increasing. But we bring you the most valuable of information, knowledge of places far from here, and some of us, I have heard rumors, have even brought you the Taste. Give us a grant, maybe only to the proven captains, in the beginning, to make those early months easier. Help us do the job of the folk we are, not cargo ships or passenger barges, but of the restless, lost folk searching for a profit and maybe, maybe even a home.

-From the log of Florence Delapic, my third captain, who died of starvation while sailing aimlessly East without any idea of how to make a profit and a horrible aversion to grinding.

Poor Captain Delapic. Were only this servant of the unknown—this slave to the murk and the depth and the trumbling swells—were only this captain aiming to make fortune from these explorations. There were, are, and will be numerous means to both recoup expenses as well as invest in future and more adventurous excursions. Every port has its charms, every call its lures. There is lucre to be made and plenty of it to go around. Perhaps a bit of the sphinx, perhaps an egg of judgments, perhaps the scavenge of fierce Zee-zpanning battles, perhaps the blessing of Salt saltself. The Admiralty is obviously hiring. And that eyeless bruiser as well. And not all ports are created equal in terms of making a good shoe and selling it at a good price. All it takes is a bit of planning AND the fortitude to forgo the security of a glim-nightlight to ward off the monsters unter the Zee-bed.

I understand your concerns, dear captain. Unfortunately, when I informed my Genial Magician that we no longer would be faring tomb colonists to Venderbight, he promptly marched up to the deck, saluted, and dove overboard for ever.

Granted, we’d only been to Venderbight seventeen times already, but we still hadn’t found what we were looking for…
edited by SouthSea Rutherby on 11/25/2014