The travellers recover their wits in the howling darkness, drenched in the viscera of the dead Ménager women and utterly lost as to what’s going on, and regroup in the Ménager household. Pekovic finds Adele’s journal, but it’s filled with unintelligible angular marks. Albright recognises it as similar to the markings on the black altar they found; Pekovic recognises it from his dreams. They also investigate Léon Ménager’s workshop to find silversmithing tools and a large collection of those strange crystal shards, and Helen is haunted by a faint ringing sound.
They still have Adele’s baby. None of them can remember its name.
The night passes fitfully, and Helen wakes from awful dreams of suffocation and being buried alive. They recover what supplies they can, but the dynamite has destroyed most of what was stored in the shearing shed. Rather than wait a week for the Austral to return, they decide to find the Germans and leave the islands on their ship, the Tenerife – but how to reach their camp at Betsy Cove, many miles away? They need a boat, but the best they have at the colony is a tiny dinghy with a hole in it. Perhaps, if they can find the missing German and his boat…
Albright patches the dinghy as best he can, they drag it down to the beach, and – after a frightening encounter with an elephant seal – make it across the inlet before the boat falls apart. There they find a battered dory boat with a damaged mast, a canvas tent flapping in the wind, and a passed-out-drunk German covered in his own filth, surrounded by empty bottles of schnapps.
They clean off and revive the German with Arctic waters, and confirm he is Ulrich Buschner, the runaway meteorologist of the German expedition. He tells them that the ‘Black Drop Society’ are a group of madmen, a suicide cult bent on killing themselves on Mt Lyall to prevent some great evil from rising – and he’s changed his mind about being part of their death pact. He has booze, a boat and the Society’s precious oversized headpiece of strange design, made of silver and a wealth of crystals – he’s not going back!
The travellers refuse to indulge Buschner’s madness, and load up the dory; the drunk meteorologist comes with them, begging them not to take him back but terrified of being alone. They hug the coastline of the islands, sailing through choppy waters throughout the day, until reaching Betsy Cove before dusk. The cove was home to multiple 19th century settlements; now it’s a wasteland of decaying buildings and rusting trash, surrounded by the graves of dead whale-hunters. There is a fresh grave on the beach, and Schneider, Müller and Faber stand around it as the boat docks. Faber pulls Buschner from the dory and seems ready to shoot him dead, but cooler heads prevail.
Schneider welcomes the travellers, but tells them that they cannot leave the islands now – perhaps not ever. The Black God is coming, he tells them – and the only thing they can do to stop it is to die.