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original post date 10 October 2009


I’ve been looking forward to my weekly run to New Babbage and settling into a comfortable pub in Clockhaven while waiting for new cargo, so I was a bit concerned when I got into the city and noticed everyone was carrying arms. I dropped to the street as someone yelled “down!” just in time to hear the blast of a shotgun from a doorway. When I looked up, a woman was down to the right of me, a red splatter on the cobblestones where her head used to be. The man with the shotgun quickly ushered me inside and explained the situation. A zombie plague was loose in the city.

Something had gone very wrong. I had to find Tenk.



He wasn’t far. The Red Rum Cave was a favorite haunt of his, some even called it the real mayor’s office. An old place with a low ceiling from a less nourished time. He often drank there with the stout mining folk when they were in town. I never liked the place, I always felt I couldn’t stand up straight in there without knocking my head on the rafters.

Tenk was standing inside waiting for his evening breakfast, worrying bits of flash off the jaws of his favorite spanner with the thick nail of his thumb. He leaned the spanner against the post of the high stool and did a neat vault into a sitting position at the bar as the barman brought up a cold board meal. He nodded to me as he began eating and I settled awkwardly onto the stool next to him and ordered a sherry.

“Baroque! In town long this time? Here, have some food, I’m famished from all the roadwork.”

I studied his face. Tenk had changed. He did not look well. Not at all like the cantankerous little man I was used to. He went on, waving his free hand.

“I’d like you to check some numbers for me, I can’t seem to make them come out right.”

Now I knew something was wrong. His numbers were never off. Then I noticed the fresh bandage on his hand. “Tenk! Your hand!”

The barman stopped his work and looked wide-eyed at the bandage and reached under the counter for his rifle. Tenk stopped eating in mid bite and looked about.

“What?” asked Tenk.

We both looked pointedly the bandaged hand.

Tenk looked quizzical as his raised his hand.


We nodded.

“It’s a burn. I was over at the foundry with Henry last night and got splashed with some flash. Figure those odds. Hurt like hell. “

The barman leveled the barrel of his rifle at Tenk’s forehead. “Let’s see it.”

Tenk scowled and unwound the linen strip, showing a cluster of clean red blisters on the back of his hand. Satisfied it was not a sign of infection, the barman lowered his rifle and poured us all a round.

Tenk hopped down and angrily rewrapped his hand. He picked up his wrench and clipped it onto his belt, and headed for the door. “Fine,” he stormed. “You two can barricade yourself in here for the night. I have clocks to wind. Good night. I hope you have enough ammunition.”

We watched him disappear into the fog behind the hostel. There really is no reasoning with him once his ire is up, but he would be over it by morning. I was more concerned with his request. As long as I have known him, his numbers were never off.

…to be continued.


/me shambles unsteadily thru the streets following the smell of singed flesh….

                      –Elleon Bergamasco

mmmm…can’t quite place it…not steak, not pork, nor chicken….but can’t be good for the cholesterol…not that it matters…meeeeeeaaaaaat

                   –Phineas Fracture


*hides inside coal pile in bedroom*
*readies gatling gun*

                  –Sheryl Skytower


October 27

To continue…

Now that the zombies were put in their graves again, I decided to have my ship hauled out for an overdue bottom scraping and repairs. My former rooms at Bolyai had been rented out a pair of priests, so Tenk invited me to stay in the the city hall clocktower with him until the job was done. I had my reservations about this, seeing the flimsy shack clinging precariously to the side of the tower, but form required me to go up and make a show of it. I took my bedroll and a few essentials from the ship after I saw her securely into the cradles and made my way to City Hall.

Tenk was up in the clock, literally, wiping the soot from each gear with a freshly oiled rag. He was beside himself with pleasure over his beloved machine. That is to say, he was insufferable.

“I’ve finally fixed her,” he said, beaming proudly. “I knew she just needed a little care. She hasn’t missed a second for weeks.”

I stood closer to the small stove and rummaged about for tea, something to take the chill off the morning, then settled in to watch Tenk work. He sat and wiped the groove of a bevel gear as each tooth became exposed from its brother gear, chattering aimlessly about his long battle with the clock.

“hrm,” he muttered. “This shaft always walks itself out. Just tap it back into place…”

He gently put the head of his wrench on the shoulder of the bevel gear, and gave the back of the handle a bump with the blade of his hand. The gear and shaft assembly nudged back into place with an audible click…

And then the clock stopped.

Tenk blinked. His face went pale for an instant, then livid red.

“IT WAS PERFECT!” he yelled.

Quickly he stomped over to the bench and took a oiled bundle down from the shelf. He unrolled his tools to the table and began working on the tempermental old clock. It was time to find better lodging.

“I’ll bring back a sandwich,” I said over my shoulder as the elevator arrived. If I was reading him right, it would be several days before he would be in a mood to talk again.


Well, it WAS perfect !   –Mr. Tenk

…        –Mr. Underby

Ceejay walks briskly through town on an errand run, and glances up at the clocktower to see if she’s running late. She stops dead in her tracks, knowing that particular time canNOT be correct. “This is not good at ALL! What’s wrong with him?” she mutters, not find it all strange to be concerned for him, rather than it.     –Ceejay Writer


/me looks up .. well it better be fixed soon . or its curtains for all of us.. gosh … he gets soo grumpy and stuff , leaves some freshed baked cookies from his pals that live up in the trees ..*smiles*   –Breezy Carver


*stands with hand on hip looking up at the clocktower* Well….. I wonder what has happened. *Puts a pot of wiggyfish chowder out for the clockwinder to help him work*  –Mara Razor


what time is it when the little hand’s on 1/2 and the big hands spinning around like a top? –Grendel Footman

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