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Ash Isthmus
SS junglegaz.png
Category Story Event
Type Story
Linked to SS empireofhands portgaz.png Empire of Hands
Data ID 175466

Ash Isthmus is a Sunless Sea Story Event.

Ash Isthmus[]

Story description[]

"Black beaches give way to an oasis of gently glowing trees and the scent of rotting flowers."

Trigger conditions[]

When SS empireofhands portgaz.png Zailing the Empire of Hands (a Port Interaction), SS junglegaz.png Ash Isthmus is one of the locations you can choose.

Overview[]

SS junglegaz.png Ash Isthmus is one of the four (five?) islands in SS empireofhands portgaz.png Empire of Hands. Here you can meet the SS monkeyfoundlingsmall.png Monkey Foundling and potentially recruit her as a Mascot. Unlike the other Islands, you can fully explore this one on your first visit. See SS monkeyfoundlinggaz.png A Monkey Foundling below for more details.

Interactions[]

Actions Requirements Effects Notes
Enter the forest
Parasynthetic vegetation thrives in the Empire of Hands' fertile soil and cool humidity.
Into the woods

Wide natural paths run between clumps of trees, softly lit by a dim green glow and the occasional glimmer of false-stars through the canopy. Only the cracking of leaves and the soothing sounds of water break the serenity of this volcano-forged paradise.

Hunt for supplies
Not many of the plants and berries here are familiar, but some of them at least look similar to ones that were being eaten back in Port Stanton.
Failed event Special requirement for an item!


Spit!
A single drop of juice hitting your tongue is enough to confirm that no, this is not fit for human consumption. Dying of thirst would be a mercy in comparison.
Rare failed event (50%)
A very bad berry
The vomiting is long and thunderous. Fortunately, that is the worst of it - and it could so easily have been worse.
Successful event
A meal of berries
Some are sweet, some are sour. None are as tempting as a plate of salted pork with the worms already picked out, but they fill a corner or two perfectly acceptably.
Rare successful event (5%)
Berries of the gods!
These red berries aren't just sweet, they melt into your tongue like sugar. The rest of the crew would never forgive you if you didn't bring some back.
Relax in a hot spring
Steam and a hint of sulphur gently rise from a secluded natural pool flanked by trees and mushrooms.
A moment for yourself

You slip out of your itchy clothes and into the welcoming caress of hot, deep water. The salts and sweats of zailing life melt away as you simply float, bare and free. Above, false-stars glimmer bright enough to be worth wishing on. All around, the glow of the trees casts ambient calm on the silent peace. How long has it been since you had a moment like this? Since London? Longer?

Return to the boat
There's nothing here that will concern the Admiralty.
Perhaps you shall return

For now though, the rest of the Empire of Hands beckons.

Return to the boat
There's nothing here that concerns you right now.
A slow ride back to Port Stanton

For now though, the rest of the Empire of Hands beckons.

A thought for your lover...
What is the Likely Lass doing right now? Are you on her mind like she is on yours?
Oh, those nights in Wolfstack Docks!

The noise! The passion! The delightful filth! The hot water hugs you tight as you remember her touch, your last words before departing, that half-smile almost but not quite blossoming into completeness. How long will it be before you feel the touch of skin on skin once again? Or wake to see her sleeping brow, always so furrowed, as soft and calm as the zee itself-

Wait! What was that? Sounded like... giggling?

A thought for your lover...
What is the Dapper Chap doing right now? Are you on his mind like he is on yours?
Oh, those nights in Wolfstack Docks!

The noise! The passion! The delightful filth! The hot water hugs you tight as you remember his touch, your last words before departing, the tip of his hat to both greet and say farewell. How long will it be before you feel the touch of skin on skin once again, or wake to see that hat sitting at the end of the bed while he-

Wait! What was that? Sounded like... giggling?

A thought for your child...
One day, will you bring them here, to this place? Or will it be you hearing tales of adventure in impossible lands?
Your legacy to the world, come what may

Their story is yet to be written. Perhaps the zee beckons them as it did you. Perhaps it does not. Salt cannot run in everyone's veins. Will they be the toast of the Singing Mandrake? Run with the scoundrels of the Flit? You cannot be as much of their life as they may or may not wish you to be, but that doesn't mean they-

Wait! What was that? Sounded like... giggling?

A thought for the past...
Zee captains are born and zee captains are raised. You think back on the day you learned it was your path.
Memories of a time long ago

Do you even remember how long you have been at zee? It could have been a lifetime, in the perpetual gloom under ever-changing false-stars. You remember the first step on your very own ship, the first breath of that zee-air. The first sight of the endless black with all its wonder and terror. You remember-

Wait! What was that? Sounded like... giggling?

A thought for the future...
Ambition brought you this far in your journey, and, one way or another, ambition will end it. But have you changed on your journeys? Has it?
Every day, another step closer

There are as many reasons to take to the zee as there are zailors. For money. Power. The joy of exploration. To head NORTH, and d__m the consequences. Most never come close to fulfilling their ambition, but you... you are different. You know what you want, and with a sturdy crew by your side, you will achieve it. Perhaps none will remember your name afterwards. That does not mean you cannot leave your mark-

Wait! What was that? Sounded like... giggling?

A thought for the East...
Few zailors are resourceful enough to get this far, where the stories end and the myths begin.
Out on the edge of civilisation
From here, the lights of home are just a memory. The zee is blacker, its tales more guarded. It is not enough to simply keep zailing; none who try ever return home. Perhaps that is the price demanded by Salt, as you've overheard the crew darkly murmur when they think no one hears. That doesn't mean that-
Wait! What was that? Sounded like... giggling?
A thought for the zee...
As mysterious and deadly as the first day you set zail on her, she remains your mistress and your kingdom.
The endless adventure
You could travel a lifetime and never see all her secrets. Perhaps it has been longer. Time moves differently out here, in the still blackness and changeless light of candles and false-stars. Had you a chance to start over, what would you have done differently? What paths might you have followed? What deeds could you still-
Wait! What was that? Sounded like... giggling?
No, no thoughts. Not right now...
Let this moment be yours and yours alone, not wasted on worldly concerns.
Nothing but relaxation

The heat wraps around your bare skin like a lover's embrace as you lean back and float in the deep pool. There is no responsibility here. No guilt. No zee monsters. No tomb-colonists or sorrow-spiders or tentacles or nightmares in the dark. Just a moment of peace, to enjoy and celebrate for what it is. Just-

Wait! What was that? Sounded like... giggling?

Caught!
A tiny blonde girl perches, watching, on a rock. Her innocent grin is spiced with mischievous glee.
She moves like a monkey
But she giggles like an imp; at the look on your face at being caught bathing in her hot spring... and the one that floods onto it as she scoops up your clothes.
The Monkey Foundling's Hut
She does not seem to be here right now. A pair of Pentecost apes are though, glaring at you with equal parts malice and their usual avarice.
Chased away!
The two Pentecost apes attack, snarling and hissing. Their raw ferocity forces a retreat, though they do not follow and press the advantage. Once you are through the trees, the chase ends. Peering through the foliage, you see them quietly return to their strange vigil.
The Monkey Foundling's Hut
She is inside, snoring. A pair of Pentecost apes stand vigil outside, glaring at you with equal parts malice and their usual avarice for souls.
Sometimes the zee gives back
The apes snarl and leap, ready to rend with tooth and claw. But something stops them. They fall silent at the sight of the locket hanging from your neck. It is not clear if they desire it, are afraid of it, or are simply confused.

You open it, snapping the rust. Inside is a faded picture of a sleeping blonde baby; red ribbon tied around her blanket as tight as she now keeps it around her arm.

The larger ape comes close; stares at the photo. The smaller one has to look away. It is said, oft with a scowl, that the Pentecost apes will take anything from the souls they steal. Language. Habits. Gestures. It is rarely considered that, sometimes, they may take the best.

Inside the hut, the Monkey Foundling sleeps soundly, completely unaware of her protectors in the forest.

It is time to leave her to her dreams.
Return to the boat
You are not about to let your guard down again.
You return to the rowboat
Now you look carefully, you can see the traps hidden in the forest. All things considered, it is for the best the 'Ghost of the Ash Isthmus' saw you as a playmate instead of an invader. There are reasons both humans and the smarter apes leave her to her own devices.



A Monkey Foundling[]

A Monkey Foundling
SS monkeyfoundlinggaz.png
Category Story Event
Type Story
Data ID 175837

A Monkey Foundling is a Sunless Sea Story Event.

Story description[]

Shipwrecked as a baby, raised by the Empire of Hands. She now plays between the worlds of apes and men, neither quite one nor entirely of the other.

Trigger conditions[]

From above, soaking in the pool

Overview[]

She just wants to play.

To make her available as a Mascot, you must chase her through the forest.

After this, you must return to SS fallenlondon portgaz.png Fallen London, speak with the SS delightfuladventuresssmall.png Delightful Adventuress via SS lodgingsgaz.png Your Lodgings, return to the SS empireofhands portgaz.png Empire of Hands with her, and grab a gift from SS junglegaz.png Sovereign Island to gain SS monkeykinggaz.png An Audience with the Emperor, setting SS monkeysmall.png Empire of Hands: Monkey Business to 30. This will enable SS monkeyfoundlinggaz.png A stowaway! event.

Interactions[]

Actions Requirements Effects Notes
Demand that she put those down, at once!
At once, you shout! Or there will be trouble!
The anger only makes it funnier

The Monkey Foundling sticks out her tongue, grins, and scampers off into the forest on all fours, your stolen possessions in a leather bag slung over her back. Her giggling echoes from deep in the forest as you splash after her in your goosebumps.

A desperate swim!
Curse these relaxed limbs!
The Monkey Foundling makes things interesting

She waits, grinning innocently, until you emerge from the hot spring with nothing but your strategically placed hands for modesty. Before you can get close enough though, she bolts from her crouched position and into the forest on all fours; a scampering run that turns every rock and fallen tree into a springboard.

Chase the Monkey Foundling
D__n it, you can not return to the crew like this!
Into the forest

The branches scrape against your skin, the damp mud squidges between your toes. There is no sign of the Monkey Foundling, but her tracks are easily followed.

A forest clearing
The footprints lead here. She has not even attempted to hide them. It is as if she wants you to follow...
Ouch!

Your hand slaps to your stinging buttock. The little stone lands in the dirt as a familiar giggle comes from above. You look to see the Monkey Foundling dangling upside down from a branch by her legs; a blowpipe in hand and bag just out of your reach. Tantalisingly so...

Taking a deep breath, you politely... very politely... request that she return your d__ned clothes now. The Monkey Foundling listens, and gives it some thought, tapping her blowpipe against her lips as she decides.

"Say... please," she grins.

Please.
There. It is said.
The Monkey Foundling thinks for a moment
"Pretty please?
Pretty please.
With an imaginary cherry on top, if she likes.
The Monkey Foundling has never heard of cherries

"Pretty, pretty please?" she adds, stifling a giggle."

Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, please?
D__n it, it is freezing! How much longer?
The Monkey Foundling is poker-faced

"Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty please?"

Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, PRETTY, PRETTY PLEASE!
Your anguished plea echoes through the trees.
A gift from the Monkey Foundling

You appear to have pretty, pretty pleased her, and she decides you deserve a reward. She fishes in her bag and generously throws you...

A sock. A single solitary sock.

She learns a few new swear words as she races off across the branches, near doubled-up with laughter.

Throw a rock at the little wench
She is playing with you. You are not playing with her.
Failed event
The rock flies wild

The Monkey Foundling laughs at your frustration. It feeds her amusement. She fires back a stinging pellet from her blowgun.

Successful event
It takes her hat clean off

Her grin vanishes as she reaches up to where it used to be, and her eyes well up with disappointed tears. She was only enjoying a little light mischief with the funny captain. She meant no real harm by it all.

She blinks. The tears are gone. Very well, her new look says; the look of one used to fending off monkeys after her soul and cannibals wishing a tender meal. If you want to play rough, you shall have your wish.

Pursue the Monkey Foundling
She moves effortlessly through the branches above.
Failed event
A trap!

Your feet step into the coiled rope just as the Monkey Foundling cuts loose the counterweight and you feel yourself flying upside down into the trees. Of course she has traps. The wider Empire has no shortage of would-be invaders, man and monkey alike.

She sits back and enjoys the show as you flail around trying to get free, before apparently taking pity on you. Pity however, turns out to be casually and without warning cutting through the rope dangling you in the air and sending you falling back with a surprised thump to the muddy forest floor. It knocks the air out of your lungs, but you are otherwise unharmed. She pauses for a moment to make sure, before her grin spreads back again and she races off to continue the game.

Rare failed event (25%)
A trap!

Your feet just recognise the looped rope in time to jump over it, avoiding what would otherwise have been a nasty trip into the air. The Monkey Foundling looks disappointed. Your heart does not bleed for her.

Successful event
A trap!

You just spot the looped rope in time to jump over it, avoiding what would otherwise have been a nasty trip into the air. The Monkey Foundling looks disappointed. This is not one of your regrets.

The chase continues!
The Monkey Foundling slides down a vine in front of you. She sticks out her tongue and scampers through a break in the trees.
A marsh of terrible stench

It is a place that skunks would think twice of entering, if the Empire of Hands had such creatures. The Monkey Foundling of course is unconcerned, as much at home here as high in the branches or running the forest paths. She almost dances, effortlessly, across a thin fallen tree that crosses the mire; surrounded by the foulest, bubbling mud that has ever invaded your nostrils. She balances in the middle, daring you to try to follow.

She wants to play? You'll play.
Though the crossing is treacherous, particularly when one's hands are torn between modesty and balance.
Failed event
You slowly cross the marsh

It is slow, slow going. Your muddy feet slide against the thin trunk as it buckles and strains under your weight. Inch by inch, step by step, you slowly make your way across.

Until, bored, the Monkey Foundling suddenly jumps up and down, hard. The tree rolls under your feet; your balance fails. You slip, tumble; are embraced by a marsh whose smell will never leave you. You fight to the surface, streaming brown and dripping green, violently coughing up a gagging throatful of the foul slime.

The Monkey Foundling sits cross-legged in the safety of the trees, holding her nose as she points and laughs.

Successful event
You slowly cross the marsh

It is slow, slow going. Your muddy feet slide against it, and the thin trunk barely carrying your weight. Inch by inch, step by step, you slowly make your way without slipping. The Monkey Foundling is visibly disappointed, even trying jumping up and down to shake the tree and make you take a messy tumble. But no. Not today.

You cross triumphantly, to her grudging admiration.

Give her a taste of her own medicine
Pranks? You'll show her how they're done.
You kick the tree as hard as you can

The Monkey Foundling's eyes widen in surprise as her balance slips. She fights to recover, but her bare feet slip on the trunk and she falls; falls with a cut-off scream as she disappears into the foul marsh-slime. For a moment there is only silence and a few fading ripples, but then she explodes out; first gasping for air, and then laughing and laughing as she splashes to shore in a noxious splatter of brown and green.

She turns and salutes you, white teeth shining under all the muck. This time, she beckons before she scampers into the woods, leaving a stinky trail in her wake.

Whatever game this was, you suspect you just won it.

The Monkey Foundling dances
She pirouettes on a tree-stump, saluting as you approach.
Ambush!

A screeching Pentecost ape drops from the branches. The shock on the Monkey Foundling's face makes it clear; this is not part of her little game. Its rage is focused entirely on her, the Ghost of the Ash Isthmus, and the bright soul with which it can uplift itself to glory.

It limps from some trap earlier, its fur blood-soaked and glistening. It lunges at the Monkey Foundling, who half rolls, half falls off the stump and yelps as it catches her by the leg. She rolls; shrieks her own howl as she lashes back with a kick that shatters fang and splits its lip. This only further enrages the frothing ape. It strikes!

Help the Monkey Foundling
She meant you no real harm. She was only playing.
Rock beats ape

You reach for a stone and bring it crashing down on the distracted ape's head. Its skull cracks, dampness spreading. It collapses to the ground, hard.

It is not a child's face that looks up at you. Still, you reach a hand down. The Monkey Foundling just stares at it for a moment, something human returning as the adrenaline fades. For a moment it almost looks as though she will take it. But no. She leaps up on her own, bounding away towards the dark safety of her jungle.

And then stops. Hesitates. She looks back, and tilts her head, beckoning you to follow. It is a look that suggests the game is over, but perhaps not yet quite finished.

Bah, the little wench has it coming
She can't torture you and then expect your assistance.
Tooth and claw and rock

The Monkey Foundling strains, her strength nowhere near enough to defeat an ape without a tactical advantage. Her right hand searches blind for something, anything, to use as a weapon. It closes on a rock. With everything her tiny frame has, she drives it into the side of the monkey's head, and again and again until all that remains is shattered skull and mush.

She stands. Drops it. Shoots you a look of... disappointment? The bitterest. And she bounds effortlessly up the nearest tree and away.

A small hut in the middle of the forest
Is this where the Monkey Foundling lives? Why would she lead you here, of all places?
Playmate of the Monkey Foundling

The Monkey Foundling herself is nowhere to be seen, but she has left you something. It sits outside the hut, carefully placed by a large happy-face drawn in the black sand. A little prize, for being such a good sport.

Your clothes however are nowhere to be seen. Of course. As the monkey part of her would no doubt demand, where would the fun be in that?

The Dark Woods
Enough! It is time to teach the brat a lesson!
A movement in the shadows

Here, the trees do not glow. The lights of the false-stars are invisible. You chase the Monkey Foundling, but she is quick and agile and she knows every tree, every rock. Now, she is not playing. Painful stones and thorns zing out of the darkness, leaving sore red welts that stink and make your blood feel thick. By the time you fight your way through, she has... has gone...

Why do you feel so sluggish?

Why are your legs so...

By the time you realise it is something on the thorns, it is too late. You pass out.

You slowly drift awake
The Monkey Foundling sits on a rock, barely any distance away, idly playing a tune on a small wooden flute.
You reach to grab her...

But your arms won't move. You can't move, not much. You are in a quicksand pit; your head alone still in the air. With sufficient time you can work your way out, yes, though it will be slow and unpleasant, but for now...

The Monkey Foundling sees you awaken and stops playing her music, the flute going into her little bag. She watches you struggle for a while, but then walks off, out of sight. Only for a moment though, before she returns, casually dangling... a wasps nest? It looks like it.

"This my island," she hisses. "You not welcome!"

The world explodes into stinging, buzzing agony as she pushes it down over your head.

Return to the ship
Well. There is no avoiding this any longer...
An out-of-uniform experience

The crew reacts with the expected amount of sympathy to your naked return, which is to say exactly none. By the time you board the ship, every last crew-member is on hand to see and cheer, with more than a couple letting off flares as impromptu fireworks. It is many, many days before the needling ceases and you are able to give an order without first scouring it for innuendo.

On the plus side, it does boost at least the rest of the ship's mood while it lasts, and you have a new treasure for your collection. You have had worse days.

Fie upon them, let them stare!
Let their tongues volunteer them for a whipping.
An awkward return

You stride back on board your ship, eyes locked straight ahead and daring anyone to comment. They do not. In the days that follow however, word is brusquely spread throughout the crew that anyone else heard singing That Song will be swimming the rest of the way home.

That Song soon becomes a bawdy staple in the Singing Mandrake. It is not a fame to be envied.

Enough, you say! Enough!
You are bruised, stinking and tired. She wins.
A foul return

The stinking marsh-slime is washed away by a second trip to the hot spring, but the stench remains. The crew's laughing faces as they see your naked boarding are soon replaced by screwed up noses and a need to be absolutely anywhere else. You are confined to your cabin on pain of mutiny until it has been dealt with; a process of scrubbing and soaping until it is a wonder you have any skin left.

Your new nickname amongst the crew is... not flattering. No more need be said. On the plus side, your humiliation does serve to raise crew morale for a good while, as well as spawn at least one new legend of a terrible mudbeast known only to those who dare venture this far East.

Back to the ship
Agony! Agony! Agony!
A torturous return

As you crawl back onto your ship, it is not your nudity that draws the crew's attention, but your body and face bloated by stings and the bleeding from both your wounds and the many cuts taken while flailing blindly through the forest in search of relief or assistance.

It takes several days bedrest before you can see again, much less squeeze more than one syllable out of your puffed mouth. You do however have the honour of having spawned a whole new legend, of a terrifying blood-horror known only to those who travel East.

Enough of this nonsense
Let the crew do their worst. You're done here.
A shameful return
The crew is incapable of holding back its glee as you return from the Ash Isthmus with nothing but the dignity your two hands can muster, and a new found understanding of how difficult it is to form even perfunctory clothing out of leaves and vine...
Back to the ship
Agony! Agony! Agony!
A torturous return

As you crawl back onto your ship, it is not your nudity that draws the crew's attention, but your body and face bloated by stings and the bleeding from both your wounds and the many cuts taken while flailing blindly through the forest in search of relief or assistance.

It takes several days bedrest before you can see again, much less squeeze more than one syllable out of your puffed mouth. You do however have the honour of having spawned a whole new legend, of a terrifying blood-horror known only to those who travel East.

If there is one stroke of luck, it is that on examination your wounds are not quite as serious as they seemed back on the island. You live through it. Just. Though for the next few days, that is more curse than blessing.

A mild, yet pointed threat
The Monkey Foundling shall have no mischief at the Captain's expense today. Either she puts those down, or you're feeding her to the crew.
A most relaxing day

The Monkey Foundling grudgingly drops your clothes and scampers off to continue her nostalgic trip around the tiny little island she once called home.

Undisturbed, you spend a good hour or more simply relaxing and enjoying the stars. They really are quite beautiful, from the warmth of a good soak.

Oh well. All good things, and all that...

Abandoned in the woods
There is nothing to do but head back and hope that, one day, you manage to live this down.
A shameful return

The crew is incapable of holding back its glee as you return from the Ash Isthmus with nothing but the dignity your two hands can muster, and a new found understanding of how difficult it is to make even perfunctory clothing out of leaves and vine.

If there is a bonus, it is that the smirks and jokes of the next few days do more to take the edge off zailing than a bottle of Morelways' finest. It will be a good while yet though before it is your authority that first springs to mind when they see you giving orders.


Story events
A New RecruitInvitation to a BeheadingAn Inspection by the Ministry of Public DecencyReturning to LondonThe First ClueThe House of the QuestionThe Revenue MenThe Rose and TigerThe Trouble with Tomb-ColonistsThe Vengeance of JonahThe Venturer's PassageThe Web of StoneThe Wisp-WaysYour Father's Bones: A Cold Trail (event)Your Father's Bones: the Next Step
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