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Doubts (Journal Entry October the Fifth)


I am too restless to keep my thoughts to myself today, but there are so few I can talk to.

Mr. Underby paid me a visit today, under the pretense of wishing to check that I was still in good health. I bade him sit, not bothering to hide the fact that my leg was paining me again. It heals slowly, so slowly. The stump is still a reddened mess, the bandages need frequent changing, especially after the abuse the wound took during my illness.

But it is healing, journal, I will heal.

He was as to the point as his sort can be. He wishes me to speak with the Clockwinder, to convince him that Loose….Za….hmm, Samuel (as it is not one of his true names, surely writing that one should do no harm?) should be moved, somehow, out of the city. I suggested he should be moved into the old district, if he is moved at all. I cannot decide if the hesitation that Mr. Underby exhibited at that particular notion was real or imagined on my part. His original suggestion, of course, was that I need to leave the city, claiming that it was not for the usual selfish reasons, but because it was for the good of the whole city.

Ha! The good of the whole city, he said himself I run the only pub more popular than his and that I am a continual thorn in his side. He may believe it is for the good of the whole city, but my own instincts tell me that it would be better for the Underbys if I were out of the picture entirely. I’m sure Phaedra should love to have possession of the Gangplank and its bakery again, I am sure she should love that dearly. And why do I think that should I turn and walk away from the city that I should be a pied-piper, that they could release Samuel and he should follow me eternally around the wide world, until my death?

Fortunately I had a little surprise of my own for him (how curious that Pip did not tell him, given the horror Pip expressed when he discovered my secret for himself that day beneath the airship). Almost no one in the city is aware of the experiment I allowed Grendel to perform on me many long months ago, when the snow still lay thick on the ground and so they could not know (and how could they? When, truthfully, until I lay screaming beneath the rubble of my airship, I did not know myself) how successful the experiment was. I shall have many long years left to live in this wide world, which means that Mr. Underby’s thought (I presume this was his thought, anyway) of me leaving the city and dying quietly in ten or twenty years was too much to hope for. So, of course, this is when he bade me speak with Tenk, insist to him the importance of having Samuel moved, somehow, from the city.

Believe me, I should be glad to have that thing far far away. He turns my thoughts constantly, many is the time in the last few weeks that I have been walking home from the market or going about on my business only to find my feet have turned themselves toward Strife House and are leading me there. I dream of him nearly every night: sometimes he is so kind I wake with the dull ache of love around my heart and others he is so cruel that it is all I can do to wake shouting, clawing my way to consciousness and away from him.

To add urgency to my task (I presume) he informed me that he believes that there is a group inside the city working to ‘cure’ the dead-zones. If he was aiming to alarm me further, he succeeded. The idea of it makes me feel as though cold water has been poured down my spine and for the first time I was genuinely glad my own Gift died with Sekhmet (though I do wonder if the presence of Samuel within my mind does not give me access to some of his…no, now, is that my thinking or his?). To cure it could be to kill some, or to kill many. Working magic in New Babbage is an up-hill battle against the ley, it is a slow, sluggish line that runs through this city, it requires immense effort and sacrifice for even the simplest of incantations. To suddenly cure it should be like…well, like if one had reached for a fifty-pound bag every single morning of their lives and then, one day, unexpectedly hefted the thing up and discovered it was only one pound, they should fall flat on their backs.

I have put feelers out with some urchins who passed through the Pub today, to discover if what Mr. Underby has said is true. I have also asked the urchins to pass to Mr. Tenk the message that I need to speak with him, whether or not that particular rumor is true I do want to hear his opinion regarding the movement of Samuel.

I do not trust the idea, because it fills me with a desire to leap to it immediately and I cannot decide if the one who wishes it to happen is myself, or that other dark presence in the corners of my mind.


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  1. Grendel Footman Grendel Footman October 5, 2010

    Now that I’m back and puttng things back to sorts, I’ll be sure to send you more serum

    • Mr Underby Mr Underby October 5, 2010

      Underby twists the key harshly in the back of the clock sitting on his mantle above the fireplace.  The sound of gears grinding together is music to his ears.  He replaces the clock, and sits at the bar to wait for the Clockwinder to appear.

      • Mr Tenk Mr Tenk October 6, 2010

        Mosseveno Tenk opens up the back of the clock and glares
        Mosseveno Tenk: what the hell is this?

        Mr. Underby: I don’t know what keeps happening to that clock.

        Mosseveno Tenk: the hell you don’t

        Mr. Underby shrugs.
        Mr. Underby: Perhaps Dizelle winds it too tight?

        Mosseveno Tenk unrolls his tools and selects a pair of long probes
        Mosseveno Tenk fiddles with the insides
        Mosseveno Tenk: You have news?

        Mr. Underby looks impatiently to Mr Moonstone.

        Alexander Moonstone: well i must be off now, serious business and such

         Mr. Underby: Good. Day.

        Mr. Underby: Did Macbain speak to you?

        Mosseveno Tenk: Macbain? no.

        Mr. Underby sighs
        Mr. Underby: I am deeply concerned about those morons from BORC finding you-know-whom.

        Mosseveno Tenk stops his scowling
        Mosseveno Tenk: Oh.
        Mosseveno Tenk: I see.

        Mr. Underby: Yes.
         Mr. Underby: It really is only a matter of time, of course.
        Mr. Underby: Surely he is calling to others at this moment.

        Mosseveno Tenk: not much that can be done about it. you have a legal deed and invited him in.
        Mosseveno Tenk: others?

        Mr. Underby: I did not invite him here.

        Mosseveno Tenk: bollocks
        Mosseveno Tenk: i did not invite him here

        Mr. Underby: Scoff if you like. I have been trying to lose him for close to ten years.

        Mosseveno Tenk: what about pocket? he’s got half of him, i’ve got the rest.
        Mosseveno Tenk: well hidden.

        Mr. Underby: Pocket does not concern me.
        Mosseveno Tenk: can he command him on this plane? if he were to find a way back to his body, like maggie had hoped….

        Mosseveno Tenk: he would have an agent here.

        Mr. Underby: I have no way of knowing that.
        Mr. Underby: What I know of him is very little, unfortunately.

        Mosseveno Tenk: why did i have to build the house? is there something special about that?

        Mr. Underby: His residence must be created by the leader of the land.
         Mr. Underby: Or at the very least, improved upon.

        Mosseveno Tenk frowns
        Mosseveno Tenk: indirect invitation?
        Mosseveno Tenk: clever. very clever.

        Mr. Underby sighs

        Mosseveno Tenk: the church will drag him out and send him over the wall if they knew.
        Mosseveno Tenk: if they could get him that far.
        Mosseveno Tenk: what is he?

        Mr. Underby: He is something terrible.

        Mosseveno Tenk: his influence is.. powerful.

         Mr. Underby: If what I suspect is true, at some point, the people in this city are in a lot of trouble.
        Mr. Underby: Of course, this may be after you and I are long gone.

        Mosseveno Tenk: i am not certain i could disobey him. and in my own house!

        Mr. Underby: I know the feeling well.

        Mosseveno Tenk: This is MY house, dammit!

        Mr. Underby nods

        Mosseveno Tenk: he is not the master here!

         Mr. Underby: I too despise him clockwinder.

        Mosseveno Tenk fishes out a cog with a mangled gear

        Mr. Underby watches

        Mosseveno Tenk: i hate you for this. like i hate all magicians.

        Mr. Underby: I have renounced magick.

        Mosseveno Tenk: of all the people that ever set out something on their mantel, hoping it would be fixed, only you do it with intent.
        Mosseveno Tenk: only. you.

        Mr. Underby: Well, some habits die hard I’m afraid.

        Mosseveno Tenk looks down, exasperated
        Mosseveno Tenk: habit my ass
        Mosseveno Tenk: there are rules

        Mr. Underby: Alright, yes, I did it on purpose.

        Mosseveno Tenk: you know that. don’t you.

         Mr. Underby: Of course I do.
         Mr. Underby: Would you come by if I did not?

        Mosseveno Tenk: you still cannot bind me.
        Mosseveno Tenk: no one can!

         Mr. Underby sighs
         Mr. Underby: I do not wish to do so.
        Mr. Underby: I merely need your help.
        Mr. Underby: I can only do so much.

        Mosseveno Tenk sits still and waits

        Mr. Underby: We must get rid of the top of that house. Somehow.
        Mr. Underby: Make it someone else’s problem.

        Mosseveno Tenk: like who?

        Mr. Underby: Who cares!

        Mosseveno Tenk: send him on the train to bump?

        Mr. Underby: Phae has reletives in Bump.
        Mr. Underby: So… yes.
        Mr. Underby: That would do nicely.

        Mosseveno Tenk strokes his chin thoughtfully
        Mosseveno Tenk: its risky
        Mosseveno Tenk: what if the room cracked in the process
        Mosseveno Tenk: any accident, and he is free

        Mr. Underby: I’m not sure what would happen
        Mr. Underby: It could get messy.

        Mosseveno Tenk: so much could go wrong
        Mosseveno Tenk: what about those rats?
        Mosseveno Tenk: is he behind that?

        Mr. Underby: I have no idea if the rats are his doing.
        Mr. Underby: I think not, though… they would be in more trouble if it were his doing.

        Mosseveno Tenk: why?

         Mr. Underby: Because it is his nature.

        Mosseveno Tenk: mm

        Mr. Underby: It’s not overly feasible, though is it? Sawing that house off.

        Mosseveno Tenk pulls on his beard thoughtfully.

  2. Gabriell Anatra Gabriell Anatra October 5, 2010

    I have heard similar rumors. I dismissed them as I had assumed they were just idle chatter but if there is a chance that this may be real . . yes, that would be a problem.

  3. Zaida Gearbox Zaida Gearbox October 6, 2010

    *Goes to hide behind Miz Elleon*

    ((So, if Ah wants Tenk to show up, all Ah gots to do is mess up Mah clock?))

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