Archivist note: This post is from an older recovered archive.
((Posted by Jedburgh Dagger on August 3, 2010))
(Once again, work conspired to delay the blog entry. So, if you were curious where I was, here you go)
The “Deerhound” rode quietly at anchor in Clockhaven, the gangway packed with departing passengers headed ashore. The crew was especially pleased with the departure of one particular passenger, one that raised such an unusual level of fear none dared speak her name, simply referring to her as ‘Stateroom 5”. The Purser and the Chief Steward watched as the black-clad lady walked quietly towards the ramp, her pale skin in sharp contrast to the raven braid on the back of her head. The tulle veil shaded her features, but they knew the icy eyes could cut as well as her thin cruel mouth. The Purser mustered up a cheerful greeting, even though just being near her made the hair stand on the back of his neck.
“Good day, Miss…”
She turned, smiling.
The purser stood transfixed for a moment, as she glided down the ramp, valise in hand. He watched her walk off into the crowd, to be swallowed up by the back alleys of Clockhaven. He shifted a moment, then headed back to his cabin for a rare morning drink.
The woman slid quietly into the back entrance of the Aether Salon, and moved with a silent swiftness in spite of the heavy fabric of the gown she wore. She moved along the rows of shelves in the long hall, and came upon the lone occupant of the office. The redhead sat at the desk, making entries in a well-worn bound journal. She wrote with a deliberate slowness, so as to insure that each word was perfect and correct. Pauses were interjected with a finger tap or a quick sweep of her hair at the temple, and a return to the measured cadence of pen to inkwell to paper.
“Well, well, what have we here?”
The pale woman’s voice reverberated with a shrill rattle, like a cat’s claws on a chalkboard. The redhead leapt to her feet, fluidly drawing the dagger at her side and dropping into a fighter’s edged stance, the bare steel of the blade lying ready against her forearm.
“What are you doing here Un…” the redhead questioned, her voice rich with malice.
The dark clad pale woman slowly raised her right hand in front of her, and reached up with her left to remove the veiled hat. She began to chuckle, the voice changing to one that the redhead was much relieved to hear…
“Easy there chica, you don’t want to cut the boss do you?”
16 July NByr4
It feels good to be back home.
Of course, I’m lucky that Sky has a sense of humor.
The airship ride out of REDACTED was not bad, but being the paranoid soul that I am…it was time for a little track coverage. So, before starting the final leg home, I made a stop in the station’s lavatory. Where a comfortably dressed ruddy skinned redhead entered, a pale raven-haired spinster exited. I even took the time to cobble up a set of travel papers, to complete the illusion. Hopefully, if official inquiries are made, our favorite baker will have a few irregularities in her background. I played it up, even going so far as to parrot her voice. I’m sure Star wondered why I spent so much time imitating Phaedra while we were sitting in the Gangplank. Too bad she wasn’t there to see all that effort bear fruit. Of course, I may have overdone it a bit, because I’m sure the crew was fairly traumatized by the gaunt visage I displayed on the transit back to Babbage. Poor blokes. Knowing what I know about your average sailor, and how superstitious they can be helped me to draw just enough attention so they left me alone.
I suppose it was a good thing, as I needed more time to decompress after the mission. Damn those bastards at the Ministry for dragging me back in on their problems. I’m sure that this may be over, but I also know that this may not be the last time they pull the Queen and Country bit back out on me.
We made landfall in Clockhaven, and after the last parade past the staff, I cut back across the old familiar alleys of home. The Gangplank was unusually empty, but I decided that showing up there would be pushing my luck a bit too much, so I cut back across to the office.
I slid up the back entrance, and saw Sky at my desk working on some paperwork for the agency. I was relieved, and it made me happy to see that I had called that one correctly when I took her on as an associate. Of course, I wanted to see just how good I had done on the dye job and the make up, and lucky for me I didn’t end up having to fight my new employee.
I used the voice on her while she was engrossed in writing, and she reacted as I expected she would. Sky shot out of the chair like I had electrocuted her when I used the Phae voice. I so wanted to go one more step at that point, but I was so amused I broke back into my normal tone and pulled off the gloves, so she saw the scars on my forearms.
I went up to the loft, scrubbed off the makeup and changed back into something a little less severe. The only thing that bothers me now is that the hair dye was a touch stronger than I expected, so I may be a brunette until it grows back out. Sky wanted to know what I had been up to and what I had done. I couldn’t tell her all the details, other than it was business. Somehow that managed to placate her for now, but I know that eventually, she’ll ask again.
For now, it’s time to get back to Babbage business.