Until We Sink into the Sea

Tonight we played Until We Sink by Magnus Jakobsson in which we play the natives running a hotel on a small island slowly sinking into the sea and the guests who visit the hotel. We are Martin the hotel caretaker, Belinda the hotel’s owner, Gordon a retiree and guest, Dwyane Stone a geologist guest, and Orana the sun worshipping guest.

Our story begins when Josh the sport fisherman guest is found dead below the cliffs. Martin and Stone suspect foul play immediately while Belinda and Orana think it an accident, but Gordon insists they recover the body for a proper burial. The next day, after they’ve put his body out to sea, the small cross put up in his memory has the word “SWINE” painted across it. To many, this suggests that the death was murder, but it leads them to search his room and find a map with an X marked on a small, nearby island labeled Atlantis. That island is visible from the cliffs above where Josh’s body was found. The next day, we discover, carved on a tree, “Orana, we meet again.” She insists that she’s never been here before but consults an astrological chart to see how the moon may be connected. Belinda explains from her previous travels, how spirits have visited the island. No one takes Orana up on the suggestion that we should all stay in one room tonight for protection.

More mysterious notes appear the next day, when an envelope is found in Josh’s room that contains his tickets to the island, reservations for the hotel, and a note telling him to enjoy the vacation, write something great afterwards, and is signed “A fan.” Josh, it turns out, was Josh Carpenter, the famous horror writer. On the envelope itself is scribbled, “Looking forward to meeting you.” That night, Stone sees a figure in the storm near the cliffs. Gordon had walked the perimeter of the hotel to assuage Belinda and Orana’s fears, but had returned indoors when the storm came. After much speculation about ghosts, screams, and what’s reality, the group agrees they should stick together and prepare to sleep on the porch tonight and will investigate the cliffs in the morning. The next day, while Martin discovers an ancient fishing rod on the cliffs, a pair of drunken teenagers greet Orana on the docks and disturb the group for most of the day before sailing away on their power boat. Orana notes a tag on the rod that is a Shinto symbol for warding off evil spirits.

The next day, a cataclysm, as the island finally sinks into the sea. Orana believes the sea has come for her and all the happenings on the island are about her. But Martin reveals that he had invited Josh Carpenter to the island because, as the only one who’d lived here his entire life, he knew the island took people, that its spirit would appear and take people to sustain it against the sea. But Josh wasn’t enough spirit for the island to hold off the sea, not with the sea’s avatar, Orana, on it. Orana feels that she must give herself to the sea to prevent this from happening again, but Belinda convinces her to join her in opening a new hotel on another island, perhaps the Atlantis marked out by Josh on his map. Martin and Gordon agree to accompany them, at least for a time.