To Fly on Metal Wings

Captain's Private Log, 6 Baldral 900

6 Baldral 900

It’s good to be back, if even for a moment. The journey to and from Obstkern was simple enough; the events landside have left me drained of energy and mind. Repairs have continued apace in my absence, and Ze’s been a continual terrror, so as I understand it. These Knights need to loosen up a bit. Can’t wait to rebuild the tavern, have someplace away from the Keep to relax. I understand Sam led a sortie into the catacombs and nearly died. He was showing me some metalline flower-device, speaking hastily about its purpose and power, the knowledge hedden within, the usual mania. He’s stowed it for until we get back from the Continent.

“Do you think you are the first King of Stars?”

He said it hinged on me, making the right choices, doing what needs to be done. Well, how the bleeding hell is that supposed to help me?! Bastard wouldn’t budge, only kept saying that I knew what I had to do, or how to find someone who does. Inaction is action, life and death in my every choice. That good men and women have already died because I chose wrong. But he didn’t tell me what any of that is supposed to mean. No WHY.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s an empty title. People with no connection to me dying, and it’s my fault? How can I feel guilty about that?
It has to be. I can’t.

I’m going to shoot/ throttle/ have a chat with Serren. He may be the only lead to answers available right now. Shifting bastard spying on me the whole time, who the hell does he think he is? How many died because he didn’t tell me what he knew?!

Tyrale’s getting to skinny. I need to do something about food in this place.

I brought one of them back to Fort Rochelle. Found him dying in a shattered Levium field. Just a boy in a grey-blue coat. He wanted someone named Mongoose to know how hard he had tried. That he’d given it everything. A zealot. A believer.
If I had chosen better, would he have lived long enough to be ready for his battle?

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Last Time!
On the Incredible Adventures of Samuel T. Marlowe!

Welcome back, loyal readers! My, has our tale of adventure, intrigue, and romance taken quite the unexpected turn in the last few issues! If you have perchance suffered from some horrible malady, a grievous head wound, or a declining interest in our publication due to the recent investigation of our investor practices, then we are here to bring you up to speed on the latest derring-do of our intrepid Hero!

When last we left our fearless famed Detektive in Issue #32, he and the roving band of miscreants known as the Citadel Elite Operatives (or CEO’s, for our veteran readership) had braved the very depths of the nearly decimated Fort Rochelle, in hopes of finding long forgotten relics in the Spirit of Inquisitive Science and Discovery!! Having braved the upper catacombs himself and overcoming many a dire obstacle, the Detektive felt certain that hidden treasures of ancient origin surely lay within his grasp. Hastened by reports of missing squires stranded in the depths below, Marlowe wasted no time in leading his intrepid team into the forbidden catacombs.

Sadly, the brave young squires had succumbed to repeated attacks by the loathsome Un-Dead that infested these lower caverns, despite being but a hidden door away from certain rescue! After vanquishing the foul fiends, the bold Detektive cleverly disarmed a potent magikal trap using his Amazing Resonometrik PocketWatch, opening the vault-way into an ancient repository of forgotten knowledge. Inside he found a mysterious Mekanikal Artefakt of unknown age and design.

Resolute as always in uncovering the Truth in the name of Enlightened Science, our devious Detektive began formulating plans to further investigate this relic and the cryptic design playing across it’s barely faded furnishings…but before he could delve into thorough experimentation, he was interrupted by the unexpected return of the Citadel Captain, who brought with him an urgent new mission…

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A Hastily Scrawled Note

EVERNIGHT

Dreaming again! New places colors Ze there watching
Older, crown, HOME, fleet. Both houses aflame!
Captain Cole?
Redhead—who is she? The tip of my tongue.

HE’S ALIVE.

I swear I will make this right.

A seven pointed star is burned into the paper where a signature should be.

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To Whom it May Concern

(Carried in the pack of one Coleman Caine, wandering tradesman, tucked safely in between a small case of Amatsuran rice-wine and a bright new copper pot, is a letter. It has been secured with twine and an unmarked blot of grey sealing wax. Written on the reverse side in a small, tidy hand, is the name “John Weston, Jr.”)

29 Noctis 900

John Jr.,

This letter comes from the desk of one you used to know well. A fellow under whom you served, and I would like to think came to hold in a fond and avuncular esteem. I write it without much hope of response. The abdication of my post five years back was not an act I took lightly at the time, nor one that has let me rest untroubled with too great frequency. But if you’ve read this far without tossing the paper in to your stove, perhaps you will forgive a poor attempt at bridging that rift I dug between us. I should have done it years ago. At least made the attempt. As you know, I did not. I could easily say that I did not want to risk endangering you or yours by any further connection with me. It could even be true. The fact of the matter, though, chiefly, is that I was a coward. I ran, and was too weak ever to risk looking back. But, as tends to happen, the windy vagaries of chance have taken me where I least expected; the difference being, this time, that I — and I v. well might be a fool to suppose it — think I can sense the faintest thread of a purpose to my wanderings. I’m back on Trebarre.

But, first things ought certainly to come first. I hope your folks are doing well, Junior, and that the work I did around their farm has managed to hold up through the years. Some of those irrigation control panels were tricky for your father to handle, with the shape his knees were in, but I’m sure you’ve been lending a responsible hand. Mr. Bradley? George Hagan? They’re well, I do hope. I’d heard that eight-ninety-nine was an especially dry year for Trebarre. If I can offer any consolation on that front, it’s to let you know that Chukos was, for a certainty, dryer.

(A few lines of text have been scratched out in apparent frustration.)

I swear, I just spent an hour and a quarter trying to write a joke, here. Convivial pleasantry seems to elude me. Which is probably not all that shocking to you, when I think about it.

Things have been hard on Trebarre for some time, now, I’ve come to learn. Both through second-hand report and my own engagement with certain factions, both from within Trebarre and without, I am aware of the forces that trouble the island’s people. My current companions and I are stationed at a northeasterly redoubt of the Knighthood which I’ve no doubt you know by reputation: Fort Rochelle. Our ongoing assignment is, in short, the defense of the Fortress, esp. as a means of defending its doorway to the island as a whole. And being in this position, I offer myself to you: if there is anything that I, or those stationed with me, can do for you or for Drydock’s people, I hope that you will send word immediately. Send a letter by any means, or come yourself or with any who are troubled by the lawless elements scattered across the isle, and I will do my best to put the situation to right. I’m in a unique position, here, and if I can use it in any way to make some small amends for the way in which I left Drydock, I fully intend to do so.

I have a final topic for you, John. I don’t feel at all thrilled by the prospect of asking you any boon, but… I’ve got no other recourse for it. So: the gnome who attacked us, (The ink here is blotted.) Did she survive? Octavia. If you could tell me, John, what became of her, perhaps even where she might have gone after her hopeful recuperation, it would be a kindness. Granted, one that I know I don’t necessarily deserve.

I remain — if you will accept the assurance of a few clumsy words where I know that deeds have failed you — your friend,

Ashley Galliford

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Reality sinks in...

They might never let me fly again.

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Incident Report: 23 Noctis 900

Post to Hart’s Falls Post to Mariador
Attn: Captain Sir Akienne, CPS Rebeckah

Incident Report: Bandit Contact West-by-North of Fort Rochelle

After delegating the tasks of Strengthening our weakyned Defenses (Mr. Bragg), Foraging for verry necessary Provisions (Md. Alder), and Repairring the Town Proper (Mr. Chang), I Myself led a sortie out into the surrounding wilderness in the hope of Confronting, Recruiting, or Dispatching some number of the most troublesome Bandits and Raiders plaguing the countryside. The effort was met with minor success: the Bandit Leaders Darwin Oldfang, an ursine lycanthrope, Susan LaCroix, a mere slip of a girl, Angela Bradley, expert with the long rifle, and a fourth unrevealed Resonator, agreed to Withdraw Southward. A temporary arrangement, to be sure, but for the moment banditry in the East can only be attributed to the desperate and disorganized. Such efforts will surely be dissuaded in the coming weeks by our Relentless repairs and patrols.

I shall continue to watch for these particular Exemplars of Scull-Duggery in the future. Ms. LaCroix has deprived Md. Cole of an eye. Whilst I believe that Mr. Galliford’s prior relationship to Ms. Bradley, though tenuous, may prove an anchor towards her Recruitment, I am most assuredly going to allow Md. Cole to pay her debt in kind, likely with interest.

No further matters of Import to Discuss or Report.

Signed,
~E. Jacob Riley, Captain of CITADEL

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That ol' shiny tin star...
  • breastplate, mightily dented and scratched — honestly had no idea it could actually be scratched — [geriatric werebear’s claw, backroads NW of Ft. Rochelle, 23 Noctis]; don’t stand in front of a g.d. werebear (ha)
  • duster, hole ripped in it the size of my arm [bullet from a rifleman twice as good as I am, Ibid.]; wonder if any of the knights has a background in tailoring
  • arm, hole ripped in it the size of the hole in my coat [bullet, Ibid.]; Dr. Fortescue’s timely ministrations and continued p.t. to thank for my having any chance of a future in chosen career of soldier-of-fortune

(Here, Ashley has drawn a large five-pointed star. Something was written across its center, but has been rubbed out.)

Little Ms. Angela Bradley. Postmaster’s daughter, tomboy, late-bloomer, whip-smart, killer. Am so v. glad to see that my time in Drydock had such a positive effect on its people. So v. glad that I could just drink until these holes in my arm/side/gut stop stinging quite so bad.

Look after the herb garden first, though. Wouldn’t want to pass out on top of it. It’s sorry-looking enough as is.

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Captain's Private Log, 19 Noctis 900

19 Noctis 900

I guess arriving at Fort Rochelle could never have been easy, but I never expected this. I must be crazy. I guess I’ve had my reckless days, but those were unique circumstances, not to mention a long time ago. I was supposed to lead my crack team of hardened soldiers and mercenarys to the rescue and drive off a godsdamned Pirate Lord.
Somehow it worked out. Still not sure how that happened.
Didn’t do terribly great with the “defending the survivors” bit. Feel kinda bad about it, but the tactics were there, I ain’t as dense as I seem sometimes. Had to get the Red Revenge damned far away.
They’ve given me command of the Fort, which is to say “dumped me with rebuilding”. None of the deathbrained Knights seem interested in the job, just keep waiting for their Commander to return. It’s a mess here. Need food and shelter, and the defenses are a wreck. If the locals come calling we ain’t gonna have much choice but to entertain guests.
Dame Tourmaline’s beau gave his life defending a princess. I’ll see to it a song gets sung to remember him. John told me the man was a legend in these parts. I can’t help but think Nicolette has another reason to cut my throat next we meet.

…I thought I was special. I thought I didn’t have anyone screaming my name as they died, hoping some divine being would whisk them somewhere safe. Must’ve been centuries ago. Shaan, for sure, fighting Victor’s soldiers. Has this gone on forever? Mischa and Ji-Lin, they led troops in my name, chanted a list of things I’m supposed to be or do, I don’t know… He cut down a ‘dyne with a sword! A thin sheet of metal, and he took down a Republican ’dyne with it, alone.
And she prayed. I could almost hear her. Like a melody in the back of my head, where the Resonance sounds —no, that’s not right, inside of there like the yolk of an egg.
Turns out there might be some more Gift in there than I thought.
I wish G were here. She was gettin’ to know her cult. Could use some commiserating.

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Bit of a rough landing.

18 Noctis.

Alright. What do you get when you enlist an Omoeian monk, a greenhorn Guildling, a musclebound airman, an Amatsuran tactical florist, a middle-aged knight, and a comms officer, and form them in to a gunnery crew?

A g.d. headache and a sore throat. Apart from Bragg. And the Sheppard boy at least has spirit. Not denigrating their expertise in var. other fields, obv., but I’d rather swallow sand than serve w/ them again in that spec. capacity. Practically a miracle that we managed to beat back Corbleu and her 7×7 times damned “Red Revenge”. Though to hear tell of the Cap’s encounter with Renata topside of the tower, maybe our terrifying display of martial prowess wasn’t exactly what ended the fight.

(A few rough sketches of a large, fanged, slope-shouldered, exceedingly long-limbed humanoid with an almost demonic expression; as well as a polearm with a cross-guard in the design of many twisted, grasping tentacles.)

The less said about that thing, the better. Not to mention the unit’s sudden and v. much unwelcome disappearance. Sam and the Cap tried to babble something at me about a vision of The Past, in their various manners. Was not, and am not, esp. interested. Just looking for some g.d. backup. At least resonant-dampening carbine passes the field test w/ flying colors.

The Keep was brutal. The towers were our best chance, though. Seemed like, at least.

I need some sleep.

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Furthyr Adventuyrs of Myn
(For the Book)

Emile,

I write to you, finally, in comfort and relaxation. It has been some weeks since my last post, which I trust was received to you on time. I look forward to a response now that there is a place of receipt that I shall be proximate to for at least a reasonable duration. Terribly sorry about the hopping about before, but it is, as they say, part of the business.

Currently, my erstwhile new companions are off curtailing common banditry in the wilds beyond the sturdy walls of this Fort; for the past several days I have busied myself in assisting with its repair, as upon our arrival we found it the unwitting and unwelcome host to a pack of air-pirates. Do send word on to my brother that the Red Woman’s activities seem to be concentrated around this area for the time being, information that I’m sure His Majesty’s intelligence could use- if he doesn’t already know, that is. Maybe one of these days he’ll warn me of trouble ahead of time instead of letting me stumble upon it myself, but therein lies our primary difference.

On a side note, ever been blind? I’ve spent most of the last two days as such- just broke a nasty little curse yesterday. It’s an eye-opening experience, if you’ll pardon my pun. Though hazardous, the vast amount of resonant energies I have been exposed to (both of my own and others) have truly set a new host of gears spinning in my ever-churning brain. I believe by week’s end I will have increased my resonant power by some 25%…to think such a rapid gain from one once scorned by the professors of the Collegium as “unteachable”. I must say, I’m rather impressed with myself, and it comes at a time where greater magics will be sorely needed. Yet I worry…my grandfather was ever watchful of my magical inquiries and experiments, lest I delve too deeply into powers that are not necessarily beyond my understanding…but rather beyond my control.

Ah, listen to me worry like a housemum whose brats are ten minutes late from school. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve a host of phantom servitors to direct (they’re ever so much more effective than Charles), and it came to me last night as I lay abed how to lift massive objects with only the slightest effort of my mind. Then it’s off to the parapets for some sun and the wine cellars for some drink. I certainly hope my companions are back soon from whatever dull border patrols the Knights have set them too- they mustn’t have been too eventful methinks. Mores the pity that they- and you- cannot join me here on this lovely day.

Your Ever Fathyful Frynd,

Samuel T.

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