Arcanum 1780: A New World

Journal the Last - And the Comet

11th September, 2001. New York, United States Of America.

This page is covered in blood and is largely missing.

11th September, 2001. International Waters Off Newfoundland.

This page is damaged, but some ink is legible in a shakey hand.

My destiny is staved off, for now, though I feel its curse pull at me still. I was at peace, so close to death, but there is still so much to live for. We found ourselves confronted with yet more strange craft, standing between us and our goal. While we still had power to make it to our destination, we thought it best to parley with these strange beings who had such power and domination over the air in this place.

We have managed to parley with the natives here, represented by Commander Ryan of some place called the United States.

11th September, 2001. International Waters Off Newfoundland.

This is a strange land, where they build steel cities that float on the sea, summoning light from nowhere, but I can feel no spirits here, save Agla.

We have met with the diplomats, one State Secretary Richard Holbrooke, and chief scientist of this land, General Ross, and I feel that they have an innate mistrust of us, and a desire for what we know and can offer – I do not know if they share an in-kind desire to trade their secrets as much as extract our own. Perhaps we can ply them to an alliance with home, but that is best left to diplomats better than myself.

We find ourselves enjoying hospitality abord the U.S.S. Nimitz, which is a flat vessel of some sort. It appears they view our loyal Lord Arnold a sort of traitor here, which is unsurprising, given their roots in a treasonous revolution. Commander Fury has warned us that General Ross intends to keep us here against our will – I have our doubts that he will succeed, but I wonder if he realizes the cost he might incur at trying to detain us.

11th September, 2001, The Gomorrah Comet

Unfortunately for General Ross and several of the marines under his command, an order to stop those acting under the edict of His Majesty is impossible to enforce when the might of the HMS Medusa is brought to bear. Unfortunately, we did not have the foresight to shield ourselves from the lack of air due to the sudden departure, which was more than catastrophic.

‘Snow’ began to accumulate on the delicate devices keeping the Medusa afloat, and where things began to accumulate, the devices on the ship began to fail. But something about this place has awoken the spirit inside AGLA, and in so doing has alerted me to some… other presence, spirits beyond, bright and splendid, beckoning. The comet found ways of twisting our natures, and has left me changed forever – but has changed my companions more. Espinosa, perhaps worst of all, has changed from a man whom I call my friend to one I now question. Miriam, a creature of shadow who walks as a woman. But for us to see Nahuehue again is a fearsome treat.

It would seem that our path diverges now, and our actions cleave all that we know in two parts, separate, but not equal. In one, the mad death-god and his cleric Espinosa shall develop their civilization along paths unknowable, and in ours, the power of the comet will be harnessed by the rightful King. I can only hope that these two lines stay separate, and this compromise was not made in vain. I choose to think that we parted from Espinosa friends, and would love to see him again, should Agla take me on a path to collide with his once more. For now, I can think only of sleep, and once I wake, to spend what time I can with Miriam, making her world a better and safer place, now that I have more time. She has been speaking of an eternal fountain of some sort – magic has always been beyond my understanding, but if she has need of me, who am I to say no to one last adventure?

Journal the Seventh - And The Medusa

January 12th 1781, Wallabout Skyship Yard, NYC, New Britain

What a difference a month makes – a month ago, the world was at peace, and I was a retired, albeit busy, man. Now, the world stirs to war, I find myself a landed gentleman and summoned back to fight in a war that I may have had a hand in starting. The twin giants of New Spain and New Britain find themselves locking horns once more.

We have the honor to stand on the deck of the HMS Medusa, the finest ship ever to be born from the Wallabout Skyship Yard, and that which has become my charge since being handed the title of Post-Captain when they reenlisted me into His Majesties Service.

We’ve been tasked with taking the Medusa on a shakedown cruise to London, retrieve some notebooks from the London Greenwich College which detail the properties as were noted on the Great Comet’s descent to make landfall, and using this information, plot a course through the fabric of reality itself and lay claim to their Comet and once and for all cement the magical might of New England forevermore.

Integrating with the ship and her crew will take a bit of time, so we’ve decided to jaunt to St. Johns in the north, shake down the ship in the cold of a storm, and then cast out and jaunt to Cornwall – there’s no telling what we will encounter in the Old World, and we need to be ready.

January 26th 1781, Wallabout Skyship Yard, NYC, New Britain

The journey to The Grand Banks exceeded my wildest imagination. We’ve crossed an ocean in the blink of an eye – the world suddenly seems so incredibly small, as though I can reach out and touch Imperial Alaska with my hand while standing in Boston. This magic from the Monkey King is something to be revered and feared. Miriam is taking to drilling the crew like a natural – her naval prowess is readily apparent, it just took a bit of time for us to find our footing. They are a competent crew, and surpass the Navy regulations in most, if not all, regards.

They say that an army fights on its stomach, and I find the saying to be true regardless of rank. We are afforded the means and opportunity to ensure that our ship is the finest supplied in the entire Navy, costs be damned. We set out to test the crew and the ship, and we entreat it now bring us within striking distance of Old London town. Where we ended up… words beggar belief, and my mind reviles at the retelling.

January 28th 1781? Nowhere
It was the strangest thing. We entered the gate, and then I knew nothing, save for a vague unease that crept through my bones. I dreamt again, a strange, twisted dream, where Cy and I faced down that dread bear in the woods, but this time in mauled us both. A strange dream, one that flies against reality, but I can’t help but draw meaning from it, but the exact emotion eludes me though I hunt it with all my mind.

After Espinosa and Ernesto repaired the Moon Unit, we found ourselves jaunting through the portal and ending up at what seems more likely to be our destination, and Espinosa claims that there is a living soul, holed up in St Michael’s Mount, just outside of Penzance, which purports to be filled with the walking dead.

29th January, 1781, Cornwall, England

Far above St Michael’s mount, the world seems small, but Espinosa is plagued by some sort of etheric disturbance. Whether it is connected to the survivor below I know not, but suspect much. He speaks of one blessed, and one damned, but that is so much human experience after the sky fell, it is common much among any individual. Still, the place has quite an air about it, nevermind the walking death not a few miles away. There is a feeling of overwhelming brightness and light coming from down below, though after a ritual from Espinosa, it seems as though something powerful enough to disrupt his magick was clouding my mind, and it’s not quite as bright as it once was.

With magickal travel out of the question, we embarked upon a glider, and my heart was filled with joy. The landing, though, left much to be desired. I have not been in a glider in many years, and my reflexes have waned – it was but for the grace of some magickal intervention that saw my companions safe from harm, and we were met by a youngling whom claims this place as his home, one Meliodas of Lionesse. He is a strange sort, claiming to be alone and isolated for 40 years, and speaking of delicacies from France that I have not heard of. He speaks in riddles that I do not comprehend, and is not who he appears to be, or from where he seems to come from. He claims to be trapped by the spear of the Archangel Michael, as the manifestation of Pride itself. There could be harm in releasing such a creature, but he is not native here, and there is a cruelty in preventing him from leaving.

29th January, 1781, Cornwall, St. Michael’s Mount, England

The return to the Medusa utilizing the boarding chains was harrowing and exhilarating all at once, and once on deck, to see a series of bombs set out on the initiative of the man we kept on communication with us filled my heart with a swell of pride. This being, Meliodas, offers much, but brings great risk of greater power bolstering Spain, and that is something we cannot allow. We will weather the storm, and in the morning, ride with the Light against this strange and unknowable force.

30th January, 1781, Cornwall, St. Michael’s Mount, England

The fall from the Medusa, though magically assisted, was fraught with terror, but trust in the skills of my friend made it at least somewhat bearable. The descent was more controlled than my own efforts with the glider. The Spear itself seems to stymie Espinosa’s efforts to locate it, which is of some small degree of surprise, given his usual prowess in the matter. What’s worse, I fear that in conjunction with this place, he may have severed my connection to the spirits, as the world seems… for lack of a more appropriate term, dead. As I entered the chapel, I felt a similar but different magick twist my senses about, opening up a further world of magick and sight that I am unaccustomed to, as well as the feeling of warmth that I am sure emanates from the spear. Carter found us an easy confirmation to the chamber through the creative use of her magicks, and Espinosa discovered a lever that gave us easier access via a set of stairs, which led us to the most beautiful spear I have ever laid eyes on.

30th January, 1781, Cornwall, St. Michael’s Mount, England

Today, in the ruins of England, we serve England in a great way. A great evil has fallen on this land, and a great boon has been offered to us. It is best for King and Country if we carry this artefact away from this place, and in doing so, the only way to safeguard the Crown is to vanquish the evil that would be released.

I made way to nobly distract the creature, so that my companions might wound and maim it, though secretly in my heart I sought to lay the creature low in one mighty charge. Of course, to fight a demon requires a bit more skill than a rusty veteran can muster with a spear, even bolstered by magick though I was. Through the efforts of my friends, they were able to weaken Meliodas to the point where he was slowed enough for me to worm through his defences and strike him down – this spear is truly unlike any weapon I have ever beheld.

30th January, 1781, Cornwall, St. Michael’s Mount, England

This evening, I discovered that the Spear of St. Michael has a will, and does not wish to be subverted by any means. When Espinosa sought to begin experimentation, it objected in ways I still do not entirely comprehend, by removing me from everyone’s sight.

It has since become known to me as AGLA, and is part of St. Michael himself, shorn off to give the weapon a fraction of his power. Since I began to hear it, it’s all I can do to prevent myself from bothering AGLA at all hours.

London, it seems, is swarming with those taken to a state of undeath, and a surprising number of those still breathing – at the prompting of the old sailing master, it appears as though the undead may be camped out around the Tower as they are in the thrall of those residing inside. We will need to endeavor to make our entry to the College on foot, skirting what enemy we can.

31st January, 1781, South-East of London, England

We have made landfall amidst the ruins of a spirit-filled town, restless dead whose physical forms have been stolen to feed the armies of those who have made this place their home. A brief detour into the vicar’s manse reveals Moon’s vision to be true – these people were taken from life without any warning, and there are only relics of their existence that remain.

The spirit of the vicar offered sight into the past for us, and spoke to us of Prince Wrath, the bodysnatcher who stole the remains of those here, whose bodies follow his command unwillingly. The vicar seems convinced it is the personification of the sins whom have split England into their own seven demenses. In our pursuit of the notebook, Espinosa seems to have made some sort of deal with his deity that has pushed him even further towards undeath, and I grow concerned that each step he takes brings him closer to falling towards that which we are here to prevent.

31st January, 1781, South-East of London, England, The Royal Observatory

The Royal Observatory has been on the losing end of a battle against nature for some time now, but there are still signs of life, and un-life, within her walls. Those here claim to be visitors, seeking knowledge, much as we are, but are possessed of an unsettling evil. Still, I do not find myself in a position of strength to act without endangering my companions, so my hand must stay Agla from action until later. We have made the temporary acquaintance of Count Kurt Von Koln, aide to the Dread Highness, Lord Wrath. At the touch of Miriam’s hand, he sought to infest her with some sort of energy, which we did not take kindly to. As he fell to pieces to escape us, we were set upon by a werewolf, and it almost landed grievous blows upon my person but his foul claws were turned away by English Iron. Once he was stuck upon my spear, however, I was in trouble until Miriam shot the beast dead.

31st January, 1781, South-East of London, England, The Royal Observatory

Somewhere in this blasted observatory lie the notebooks of Edmond Halley, former Royal Astronomer, the hopeful key for unlocking the secrets of accessing a twin of the Gomorrah Comet. We ascended to a room which seemed to be where they had been collecting books for research of some variety, at least that is what my companions have informed me – my memory is hazy of this, I just have a powerful lethargy that sets about me when I try to recall much of what happened. I awoke in the hall, stripped of my weapons and my memory. When Espinosa led me back to the library, a dream of a woman appeared, but as some women are wont to do, this one leveled a pistol at me. Then she managed to ruin one of my finest shirts, put a hole right through the chest, which no tailor can patch without it being quite obvious that modifications to the original garment had been performed. Miriam yet again saved us with a well timed shot from her rifle – it seems that she’s taken to her lessons well, and is now quite the markswoman.

31st January, 1781, South-East of London, England, The Royal Observatory

Our man Espinosa has unearthed an impossible treasure through his skilled directed plundering of the Observatory – an epic thought lost to the sands of time, Handel’s Israel in Egypt. Such a historical piece will set much of the crew up for life with their crew share of the finding. To hear such an old and storied song is a memory I will treasure for all of my days, and the great master included some strange metallic sound into the music that I found intoxicating to listen to.

In the height of the song, we uncovered signs of a marching army beneath us, bearing down on Portsmouth, some seven hours away at leisurely march – arriving six hours after we will after we set out with all haste. We have received orders to investigate Portsmouth and capture officers if we can, but to avoid sparking a direct war, as the return of the notebook is paramount due to New Spain’s aggressive stance since they have taken New Orleans. Espinosa is hatching a plan to cut the head off of the marching army, but his methods for doing so are inscrutable. It would be quite a blow to the enemy were he to succeed, however.

1st February, 1781, South-East of London, England

Espinosa’s plan has been set into motion, backed by the might of our good Medusa, just out of reach, loaded with man-shredding double-grapeshot, which we hoped would keep us out of trouble. He took us down to the ground, right in front of the regiment of skeletons marching under the banner of Lord Wrath, and we stood face to face with their commander. While Ernesto took to the skies above us, Espinosa took on the aspect of his god and stood toe to toe with the imposing figure atop a skeletal horse. With one deft move, he assumed command of the creature’s army, and left it to face us on uneven footing, which I was unable to capitalize on, but Ernesto managed to engulf the creature in flame – I think Agla saved me from the worst of it, but it seems to have taken a toll on Espinosa’s hand. He managed to bind the creature to this plane, such that he might ask it questions, to which I sorely wish to hear the answers.

1st February, 1781, South-East of London, England

The dawn of Candlemas is upon us. We have been recalled to the shores occupied by the Crown, our mission here complete, with the spectre of war against the Spanish looming large – embroiling ourselves in a war overseas against an undead menace would be foolish at this time.

The skies of New York thrum with activity, as the Crown is now on a war footing. We have returned the Notebook of William Jones FRS to Professor Moon, to the delight of Magister Franklin and Lord Benedict Arnold. The latter begged of us an indulgence, and in doing so, has asked us to consider the assassination of the current pope, currently located in Mexico City.

2nd February, 1781, Unspecified Location

The prize share from our jaunt into England is enough to set a man for several lifetimes over, even with my habits as they are. Moreso when I consider my life to be potentially measured in months, with how quickly these missions have been drawing me closer to the dream I can no longer escape.

4th February, 1781, Mexico City, New Spain

In two weeks, either the pope will be dead, or we will have failed in our mission. Mexico City is a place unlike any I have seen before, the sprawl reaching further than in any city in the rest of the world. We found ourselves hosted by some of Espinosa’s people – kind enough folk, and I presume that he has taken them under his wing much like I work to provide aid and succor to the Twisted we find on our travels. Still, he keeps strange bedfellows, and is making me dress like a peasant for some scheme we have cooked up. I don’t quite understand why I can’t just issue the pope a challenge to duel like proper men, but I can only presume it to be some sort of cultural difference.

6th February, 1781, Mexico City, New Spain

This place is truly so filled with life – misguided life, directed by the vile commands of the corrupt at the top of their order. Its hard to believe that some of these people used to stand across from me on the battlefield, and now they celebrate, unaware that I walk among them. There were some of the usual suspects about playing such a crowd as these supplicants, the usual peddlers of flesh and pickers of pockets, and I appear to have drawn a bit too much attention to myself too early, drawing the eye of some guardsmen who picked up on my military bearing a bit too easily.

The plaza itself where the blessing will take place is packed with the faithful, and surrounded by those under orders from this false-pope. Our plan is insane. The only reason I’ve remotely entertained it is that I know now is not my time to die – the others, perhaps because they believe in what we can do, but I think they’re all slightly insane.

6th February, 1781, Mexico City, New Spain

Things began when Miriam managed to turn the drinks of those who were nearby into wine – a minor miracle on any other day, made transcendent by the trappings of the celebration of Saint Agatha. It began to stir the crowd to thoughts of worship, and as the warm calm of Ernesto’s potion washed over me, I could see it in their faces, as they saw what previously only I had felt inside – there can be justice in this world, and we can be agents of change.

The feeling of soaring through the air on feathered wings is unlike any I can describe here. I used to think the feeling of being on a glider was so incredibly freeing, but it pales in comparison – the thought of walking, even just for a moment, is to be dreaded, afterward. The foul Amaymon sent forth a cloud of poison which I could feel strike for my very soul, but I have a mission, now, and Agla will not see me rest until Amaymon is dead.

The feeling of being alit upon the wind, plunging the tip of Agla into the hide of a great demon has left me conflicted. Even now as I write this, the wound in my side aches and burns like none other I have ever felt. The coward Amaymon sought to flee when he met someone who was more than his match – looking at him, all I could see was the pain and suffering brought about by his hand, and I was compelled to give chase to him and bring him low, regardless of the cost to me.

10th February, 1781, New York, New Britain

It is humbling to be amongst the greatest people New Britain can assemble in one room, driving for a greater future than the world will ever know, but even more humbling to know that it is a future without me in it. Last night, I have seen the vision of my death – I will die in the far off future, among strange lands. I only hope that I am the only one to die when the time comes.

We go now, at the request of the heir apparent, Lord George Washington, to a far off land, in search of a new future. We have a month to prepare, and for me to get my affairs in order.

From the Journal of Oliver Thackery - And the Vatican of Doom

November 17th 1780, The Royal Palace, Philadelphia

It has been pleasant seeing more of Crispin of late – I miss serving under him, and it is pleasant to see him well, and between this meeting and our discussion surrounding Earnesto’s new invention, it feels a bit like old times. We are tasked with a mission of disruption, to venture into the heart of New Orleans, to disrupt the Marquesa’s plan, and to prevent them from meeting and gaining the support of the Vatican.

To think, we’ll be spending near a month riding the rivers down to the Mississippi, and to reunite with old Bucky again. To think, John Buchanan, purser, now running his own ship up and down the river. Wonders of the world will never cease. Still, it will be an interesting end to the Marquesa’s story, to be struck down with the full might of The Crown’s permission. A shame to snuff out such an interesting light.

I accidentally slipped around Uphold and mentioned my curse. I fear the need to tell my companions grow as we get closer to New Orleans – my time is coming short.

November 25th 1780, Corn Island, Ohio River

Travelling by river is rough, even with a private cabin. The weather has been nothing but cold and miserable for a week now. At least we’ve disembarked at a lovely place which will likely relieve of us significant coin, though at least Lilli’s has a roof. Inside is crowded and warm, friendly with an edge of desperation. There seem to have been disappearances in town as of late. Lilli herself has asked for our consideration in dealing with the monster that’s causing it, but that can wait until morning – for now, this evening is about the truth, and letting my companions know what is coming for me.

They took it surprisingly well, much like the thief-taker we are up against for hunting this local monster, but unfortunately one of our hosts heard me and I fear I have scarred her mind. I fear my overconfidence has led me into a bit of a gambling match with one of the hunters, and everything in me suspects he is playing foul with the cards. It didn’t take long for my suspicions to bear out, and Will surprised me with an outburst that near as anything brought the tavern to bloodshed, but fortunately my reputation as a duellist precedes me by quite a bit.

That Lilli is truly something, though I’m not quite sure how her aim is with that shotgun of hers, but she’s got the dramatic timing akin to naught I have seen before. It was a thrilling card duel I found myself in, and at the end of it, I found myself enriched by the experience, though I feel I must track down my new sword’s original owner, for the man was cheated out of a weapon he clearly had a bond with.

Things got a little… out of hand last night, but if memory serves, I was able to track down that soldier and return his weapon to him. At least, I think it was the man. I’m still seeing a little bleary from the drinking, though I did not overindulge nearsomuch as young Will. It feels as though that was the most restful sleep I have had in perhaps years. We must dispatch the creature haunting this place with all due alacrity and secure our passage on the next boat downriver, quick as can be.

We encountered the spirit of our erstwhile cardsharp who had let his impatience get the better of him, sending him to investigate something which he was wholeheartedly unprepared for. Our investigation led Espinosa to point out a horse carcass among some rocks in the rapids, and as I moved in for a closer look, some foul creature snatched my feet out from under me, sending me adrift downriver, and were it not for the quick thinking of Espinosa and Will, I fear that would have been the end of me, were it not for Will’s masterful work as a fisherman. While they busy pulling me ashore, my brilliant move to lure the beast out of hiding bore fruit, revealing a foul serpent, beautiful in its own way, but horrifically outmatched by my tactical brilliance. The plan was sound, until my muscles began to betray me, likely some sort of poison injected into my system by the beasts tail that swept me off my feet.

Ernesto was able to fell it with a clever application of some sort of explosive vial, and in doing so secured Carter and my continued good health, which was hardly a matter of question. Still, the beast proves to have turned us a pretty profit, both from an ur-ice gem, some mother-of-pearl, and its beautiful shimmery scalehide, which will fetch itself into a properly stunning set of garments. Sadly, the musketeer I returned the rapier to was unable to use it to full effect, and was consumed by the vile creature which tried to eat yours truly. Captain John Buchanan of the Reynard met us coming up from the lower river, and brings with him tidings from Uphold, and was able to put a name to our poor unfortunate musketeer, Paul Saint-Pierre. The man was in the employ of Marquis De Chennai, and wishes his belongings returned to his erstwhile master.

December 7th 1780, La Nouvelle-Orléans, French Louisianna

My return to New Orleans is under less auspicious circumstances than I would have liked. I once dreamed of returning to the city as a gentleman of leisure, enjoying it properly, but I am here once again in the employ of the crown, and it sets me ill at ease. We’ve a few items to take care of when we’re in town, but first on my list is to visit the tailors on Bourbon and Toulouse – a salon and tailor caught my eye there when I was last chased out of town, but I have longed to return.

My companions found it easy enough to talk their way into town, but it was more expedient to pay for a bit of blindness for Will and myself. We set out to our safehouse, operated by one Pedro Aubrey, at 43 Ursilines Street. The food here is to kill for, and we ate our fill. There’s much money afoot, and it should be enjoyed as best we know how. The caste system here unsettles me something terrible – no food should be as good as it is with this underlying current of injustice afoot. The tailor shop is even better than my memory says. It’s a wonder I’ve lived long enough to return here.

December 7th 1780, La Nouvelle-Orléans, French Louisianna

The tailor has exceeded any expectation or dream that I have had of this place – and that I have the resources to frequent it fills me beyond capacity with joy. Though as we travel through the city I feel a growing sense of unease – something feels amiss here, and the local paper tells tales of two dozen folk aphyxiated in their sleep in the Decoit Quarter, which seems to be part of an ongoing trend of unexplained deaths in the past few months. We are secreted away into the safehouse on Ursilines Street, owned by one Pedro Audrey of the Audrey Carribean Merchants – a lovely place with a lovely family. I can only hope that we do not bring ruin on this house by our actions here. It’s a tall order, to actually listen on the events in a well-guarded riverfront house, while ensuring that the Marquisa does not escape alive.

December 8th 1780, La Nouvelle-Orléans, French Louisianna

Our morning sees us in unadorned clothing on a quaint river jaunt past the house our mission centers around. There is a riverside guardhouse, which could prove problematic, depending on our needs, and it does seem that most of the traffic steers clear from the waterfront – a direct approach from the river would certainly draw some unwanted attention from the moored fleet. That Espinosa can command such magicks that can bring light to my eyes even in darkness fascinates and alarms me. The harbor will be filled with soldiers on high alert during the meeting, and officers will be present, which means the men will hardly be loafing about. The main house has a detachment of elite Musketeers present, and that bodes ill if any trouble is afoot. However, Espinosa, Ernesto, and Miriam slipped inside the compound anyway, leaving me to watch the exterior as a solitary source of distraction and escape. It filled my nerves to the breaking point, but sitting, waiting, and observing is what I am best at.

While I was waiting, I felt the spirit of a young boy, Gaston Preejit, wrongfully murdered by one of the guardsmen at this chalet – in hearing his story, I pledged him that he would have satisfaction, if he would only aid Espinosa and Ernesto as they seek entry into the mansion, to tread where Miriam went and lay further intrigue. I swore my aid without hesitation, and look forward to serving justice for the small once my friends are free.

Dealing with the occult is more difficult than I imagined – I swore to enact vengeance on the killer of Gaston Prejit, working through the veil to summon the spirits to me and help wrest his accuser’s life force from his body, but there was too much pain here, too much death, and I felt it seep into my bones, forcing conscious thought to flee from my mind, leaving me to wake in a graveyard of souls, ceaselessly walking the streets.

December 11th 1780, La Nouvelle-Orléans, French Louisianna

When the Tonnant set off her guns to welcome the Spanish to town, I felt my heart tighten, and then doubly so when I witnessed Marquesa Lady Ariane Bonnevie, flanked by the French navy contingent of Governor Rigaud, and Admiral Paul. Their Spanish counterparts, Inquisitor-Captain Cristoval de Urueña, and his army counterparts Cardinal Gaspar de Biruiesca and Captain-General Bartolomé de la Mar, are an unwelcome site, as their presence here indicates the time for our plan is short.

We stand between the fixings of a celestial war for the soul of the world, between the Dark Mother and the Lightbringer, and I feel smaller than I have ever felt. Man is not meant to move the weight of nations, and my rifle feels heavy in my hands.

December 11th 1780, La Nouvelle-Orléans, French Louisianna

The second day of the summit proved as enlightening as the first, and proves that the French and Spanish to be nothing more than vultures, swarming around the still living body of New England. They discovered the ruse of getting our spells into their meeting room, and have moved the final meeting onto the Spanish Galleon, which complicates our plan to deal with the Marquessa.

As we were moving to the boat, through providence, we saw Gaston’s killer. Through the magic of Espinosa, and the skill of Miriam, we were able to serve justice and set Gaston’s soul to rest. With Miriam’s expertise at piracy, aided by Ernesto’s invisibility potion, we were able to sidle our bomb up to the aft of the galleon – Espinosa began to make mention of stepping onto the bare sea, but I fear he’s gone madder than normal.

December 11th 1780, La Nouvelle-Orléans, French Louisianna

The plan was set in motion, but my calculations were off – I hadn’t factored on the sheer mass of ordinance the Spanish Galleon was toting, and by the time I realized, the fuse had already been set. It was surreal, running across the waves of the river as though it were a gently moving meadow – even though I am used to the strangeness now, it still catches me unaware sometimes. I fear that we’ve bitten off more than we can chew with my botched calculations. The stone wall we tucked ourselves behind was as secure as we could hope for, but the same could not be said for the crowds on the shore. I poured my soul out to the spirits of New Orleans in a hope to scare those assembled and unsheltered from the worst of the coming blast.

As the fuse burnt down, an Inquisitor and his squad of musketeers tracked us down and began the process of unleashing some sort of hellbeast at us, but not before Espinosa was able to activate his spell and change the world. Warfare will not be the same after this, and I fear that I bear a significant burden of those lives on my shoulder. The explosion not only crippled the Spanish fleet, but also a portion of the city as well, all the while feeding some powerful being beyond understanding.

The Graveyard, La Nouvelle-Orléans, French Louisianna - Thackery's Nightmare
In which our noble protagonist stumbles through the cobbles Crescent City into the Moonlit City that gives her soul life.

The time had come to seek vengeance for the young Gaston Prejit. I called out with my heart to the unquiet spirits of this foreign city, beseeching them to lend me their strength, to help me right the wrongs done to this small boy, to seek peace in recompense for the payment rendered in aiding his companions in their through the governor’s mansion.

The raw power gathered in my head and heart, creeping down my arm towards my outstretched hand as I raised it towards Gaston’s accuser, the guard Pavel, something went wrong. A malevolent spirit, an error in concentration, to this day I still know not, save that blood began to seep from my nose, and it felt as though my mind had turned to nothing. I felt my eyes go pure white, my pupils rolling into my head as I have felt hundreds of times as I have communed with the dead.

As I pitched forward, I felt my face connect with the cobble street and pass straight through, continuing my fall until I was awoken on the other side, on the same street, but everything was lacking color. I saw him then, the young Gaston, staring up at me with wide eyes and a slight frown. I moved to speak, but could not – there was nothing my mind could work to control my limbs. Standing there dumb, the boy reached out and took my hand, his simple sherwani tattered, little more than a formless shroud, and he began to walk with me, leading me through a city without color, filled with bustling ill-defined forms.

I saw it then, the spirit of La Nouvelle-Orléans, the dead who walk her streets, who gave breath to the city whose air we now breathe. Sounds assailed my ears, at first a mournful wailing that gave birth to a bright brassy rise, followed by a joyous cacophony of sound. On one street corner, a collection of skeletons, playing jaunty tunes on their violins made from bones and sinew. Atop a wraparound balcony, a corpulent woman dressed in the height of Franco-Indian fashion belted out wordless melodies that seized my heart and drew me towards the sound, only to see myself stopped by the tug of young Gaston’s grip.

I was stunned at the life and character this colorless world has to offer. I felt compelled to stay, but Gaston squeezed my hand, looked at me and shook his head. I felt Miriam’s presence under my arm, and Gaston nodded, my spirit returning to my body once more. I walk now with Gaston, and will not forget his aid, and will find Pavel’s breath to end at my hands.

From the Journal of Oliver Thackery - And the King's Favor
In which our noble protagonist becomes actual nobility, and hunts down the three-faced man.

September 29th 1780, Philadelphia, New Britain.

Today I was confronted by a question – what makes a Spaniard of more value than a cat? A conundrum – my historical bias and experience with the Spanish during the war would have me say that the cat is of infinite more use, being clean, friendly, and a good companion. Recent history, however, would stand them on equal footing – Cole and Espinosa, in equal parts, have saved my life. But the Crown, in its infinite wisdom, seems to have more capacity for forgiving offenses against its sovereignty than it does for seeing past the strange veils of magic this world calls down around those who live within it. The plight of the soldiers Twisted in its service, used and discarded, because the Twist that changes them clouds how they are seen, though inside they may yet remain unchanged. Someday, I would like to address and heal those wounds, and perhaps I will have the ability to do so by virtue of my winnings, even after I have succumbed to my fate.

Sometimes we must bend to the way the world wills, and for our Cole, it means to adopt the guise of man to receive whatever prize is to come our way. It seems that Adrian Griffin be the name uttered from this new-formed babe, for which Cole will receive her spoils under.

September 29th 1780, Philadelphia, New Britain.

Noises afoot outside our suite, and the moment we step out to investigate, we were rebuffed to remain in our room, though thankfully Commodore Lord Arnold had the sense to ask us along. It seems as though there was some sort of alteration, and someone has died – perhaps murder, but perhaps something more.

Joseph Brant Thayendenegea, ambassador plenipotentiary from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, murdered in the Royal Palace. Well, murdered, and subsequently un-murdered, as Espinosa commands much power over life as well as death – it’s a thing of great spiritual sacrifice to remove someone from the fate of death, and even darker, for death among the Haudenosaunee is something to be treasured. This is a decision which in some ways, I regret, for knowing that his spirit is now bound back to his body – it avoids a larger problem for England, but a greater problem spiritually.

Through all this, we are now acquainted with Lord Arthur St. Clair, Baron of Greensburg, Major-General and Director of the Crown Secret Service, and find ourselves in the midst of a plot to spark a war between England and the Haudenosaunee. This has what I expect are the delicate fingerprints of the Marquesa Ariane Bonnevie du Pondicherry all over it, clever and insidious, all at once.

September 29th 1780, The Royal Palace, Philadelphia, New Britain.

To see such deference shown to the boy that Cole is masquerading as is a humorous honor in and of itself. It still fascinates me, this command of the unseen world that Cole and Espinosa have. We learned a small bit about the assassin – male, with access to the wine cellar, and of a build sufficiently strong, stealthy, and swift to take down a large Mohawk warrior.

Captain Uphold has provided to us lovely garments to attend the Appointment – something which I feel I owe him a great deal for, and intend on repayment as soon as circumstances allow. His taste is impeccable.

The feeling I got when I stepped into the Throne Room, the highest station in all of England, if not the world, a chill ran through me. At the end of it, seated, a ruddy-faced man, King Henry IX himself. He seems… older, and shorter than I imagined. But after all this toil, I feel recognized – Sir Thackery, he called me, of Beacon Hill. I cannot wait to write to Cy about this, perhaps have Cy and Kiona over and explain to them my hopes and aims in reforming the opinion of the twisted in England. Though the dinner party was somewhat lacking, here – they normally do not feature Thugee assassins as the centerpiece of the meal, but it’s a daring new approach.

September 29th 1780, The Royal Palace, Philadelphia, New Britain.

Regrettable that my second act since receiving a landed title is to be whisked away to a horrible place of information extraction – the smell may well have ruined my finery forever, nevermind the stains of this place. It is good to hear my suspicions confirmed from the mouth of the assassin, though I am suspect as to if he is telling us the entirety of what is happening here. To think that Sir David Farnsworth, Keeper of The Privy Purse, is in the pouch of Tommy Thruppence, a perpetual thorn in the side of the crown.

Still, exciting to try and go forth and extract this thorn from the lion’s paw itself – we’ve been tasked, alongside Ernesto DeLeon, a genius twisted mage of some sort, to catch out Tommy Thruppence, and through him, track down the Marquesa. To do so, we must venture into the Shambles, a rats nest where the poor unfortunates are shuffled off into – the kind of place that someday I’d like to see cleaned up.

Our first stop is Madame Guthrie of the Blue Lagoon bordello – keeper of bodies, secrets, stolen goods, and information.

September 30th 1780, The Shambles, Philadelphia, New Britain.

The raid has begun, and with it, sand falls through the hourglass. We find ourselves at the foot of the Blue Lagoon, and I find myself mortified and stabbed in the back by Espinosa – that I strike him as a man who needs to part with coin for companionship – a more grievous wound I have never suffered in all my years. Still, we have a lead, now, and the women of this house will hopefully be sheltered from the coming conflict.

I feel out of my element here – most engagements I have been in, historically, were not quite at knife-fighting range. I’ve done my fair share of close-in work, but it’s hardly what I am best at. It is interesting to see Ernesto working at shifting between bodies – it seems more a facet of his character, rather than the intentionality that Miriam uses when appearing as William.

The moment we entered into the warehouse was when everything started to go sideways. It was easy enough to deal with the first two sentries – between William and myself, it feels like we have the firepower of a full regiment at times. Between Ernesto’s distraction, Espinosa’s fireball, and William’s prowess, I felt like we had this well in hand – the stairwell being lit aflame certainly changes the game. We were accosted, then, by an absolute brute of a man armed with hatchet and knife – I moved to intercept him, but he was uncommonly quick, even against the spirits which now guide my sword. William, true to his word, made sure none were able to get behind me, but still, the brute almost managed to take my head off with his first swing.

It was rough going, but after William set him off-balance, I was able to land a decisive blow to his neck, though he did ruin my favorite shirt. I warned him, same as all the others that I have duelled – gave him a chance to step down and spare himself, but he didn’t listen. They rarely do. Just one more spirit out into the world, sadly. Espinosa seems to have mustered up some sort of underworld invasion down in the basement of this place, and I for one am not keen to see what exactly he has done.

Our fight through the building was filled with fire and violence, and finally we cornered Thomas Thruppence, flanked by two of his Thugee, all the while they were planning to abandon their endeavor and burn their evidence. The spirits saw to me taking one of his guard through the neck in a clean blow. They refused to surrender, causing Espinosa to turn to the twisted magicks at his command to ensorcell someone who is yet unknown to us. It took all of us, but we managed to convince Thruppence to surrender, but I can’t help but think it might have been too easy.

October 1st 1780, The Royal Palace, Philadelphia, New Britain.

Four sets of friendly minds, pitted against the tarred and stained Three-souled man in a battle of wits – each with something the other wants desperately. On one side, a desire and burning need for knowledge, and the other a harsh desire for coin and freedom. I had not thought that one of our bargaining chips might be to mend the broken man, but when Espinosa spoke it aloud, it was all I could see.

It is curious to know that our antagonist The Marquesa is well informed enough to know that I am an honest man, and even more curious still that she plans to use this to manipulate me – though as her agent, Tommy does seem to be quite capable of manipulation on his own.

Through Ernesto’s smooth words, we were able to secure a bargaining chip in dealing with Tommy – a King’s Pardon for only one of the Thruppence souls. The exchange is good, the information interesting and troubling. The Marquesa has designs on rising to power and diminishing the sun of England – and it seems everything seems to be coming to a head in New Orleans.

New Orleans, the place where I shipped off to when I enlisted so many years ago, and the place that I now return, to die, in the service of the King.

From the Journal of Oliver Thackery - And the Lost City
In which our noble protagonist, posing as an archaeologist, goes to the Caribbean to seek a mage who has vanished into a mythical lost city.

August 20th 1780, Taunton, Mass.

Our endeavor has begun with an ill omen – Espinosa grows concern over the reach of the Spanish Inquisition. It is likely their presence will be felt, and that brings me slight pause, as it is just one more enemy to be facing in the unknown of the tropics. It would seem that they had infiltrated the College, which is as unwelcome as surprises go, as the war never truly ended, in my estimation, just moved from the candlelight into the shadow.

August 30th 1780, H.M.S. Dryad, above NY.

We are now bound for Florida, much like I was when I first took the Shilling, but now the company is older, I am certainly wiser, but the nerves are the same. Death could be there, for me, much as it almost was back then. The night air is still just as sweet this high over this strange and magnificent landscape. I will miss this cold when we are in the depths of the jungle. I already grow nervous – my usual protections will harm more than help in the climate, so I will feel less protection than normal, and I will need to rely on my wits where I can. I am disturbed by the spirits bound to our Spaniard, but not as much as this spectre of the past that has visited upon the Dryad – the spirit of the bear that Cy and I struck down has risen again, and this time it is aloft, striking down unsuspecting sailors.

August 30th 1780, H.M.S. Dryad, above New Yorkshire.

Seeing the horrific creature barreling down on us from above, I think something in me broke. I could only see Cy’s face again, and I fired off into the night, hoping to wound the beast, but my shot went wide. In time I’ll be able to forgive myself, but Espinosa and Miriam set the creature to rights, though the smell is something that won’t soothe my nightmares. I must needs drill more, so as not to be caught off-guard again – I felt the luck course through me through the charm, but it just wasn’t enough to make a difference. Miriam, though, brought low the beast with a shot even I was envious of.

September 9th 1780, H.M.S. Dryad, above the Gulf of Mexico.

Every time we come near New Orleans, ill fortune awaits. I’m not sure if it is the Vodoun in the area, but the area seems cursed with bad luck. Not the first hurricane I’ve had to fly through, but each one surely I wish was the last. I thought I had been done with them in New England, but fate twists in strange and malevolent ways. We made it through, but it was a near thing, and we almost lost Espinosa to some debris. I stayed out in the storm far longer than I should have, but I can’t hardly sit by and do nothing when there is a hand to be lent.

September 13th 1780, H.M.S. Dryad, Belizeshire.

Strange to me, to set foot in the Caribbean again. It will be hard to escape the memories of this place, but hopefully the new ones will be more palatable. We must needs track down Sir Hayward Moon, and picking up his trace from the porters, guides, and supplymasters of this place should be fairly simple – while seekers of fortune are commonplace, I expect that Sir Moon may have made a lasting impression here.

September 13th 1780, Belize City, Belizeshire.

Mama Guigon, practitioner of Vodoun, seer of the unknowable, and crafter of the finest gumbo I’ve ever set my tongue to. So much of this trip has brought back memories – some of them painful, but many warming. It is curious, and fearful, the names she has for us. Espinosa, the Devil, a portent of ominous deals and treachery. William-Miriam, the Hermaphrodite, one body possessed of two souls, dispossessed of both for reasons known only to her, though to hear Maman speak to her as though she is the servant of the Eater of Souls has me filled with some concern. Cole, Frigga’s Chosen – an epithet that escapes me in meaning, but I expect will be revealed in time. That she named me the Hanged Man, though, bodes not well – the loa are strange and wonderful, and though I am not confident in their ways, that she can see what I have been dreaming bodes ill for me on this journey. The gumbo was as I remember, rich, earthy, full of the salts of the earth and sea, but the aftertaste scarred me. As I ate, I began to see yourself myself looking on from the outside, hanging from a mast, ropes wrapped around my body. All that I could feel was this immense intensity, like I packed full of exploding gunpowder. Everything was cold blue light, and a crew of dead men swarm the rigging and decks of a skyship around me, keeping it on the course I demanded of them. I know nothing of which this means, but it chills me to the core of my soul, as scarred as it is.

Meeting with Henry McTavish was nothing short of what I expected – a man so loud and brash can’t help but be good, and that he was Hayward’s guide is all the more luck. That he knows the location of the fabled Lost City of the Monkey God – icing on an already fascinating cake.

September 14th 1780, Belize City, Belizeshire.

It’s a bit of a first for me, embarking on a canoeing expedition in the light – it seems more pleasant, save for the weather. The company is nice as well. Henry’s in-laws, such as they are, seem capable enough guides for our journey, though they are hardly talkative. The first day of the journey was a kind one, and we even had a roof over our heads for the evening. It was a nice stopover, and there was fresh game and food aplenty – I even went to forage some wood for the fire, but what I found was… unexpected. Cole… seems different, in the jungle. Larger. Fiercer. I thought I was in for a rough fight, when all I had to do was to fetch the crocodilian Cole had hunted back to camp.

September 17th 1780, Belize, Jungle.

I grow to hate this jungle. I have been sick with fever for the past two days, after a leech bite incurred when I was bathing in the river. I am wracked with pains and movement is impossible, but still I must press on for the sake of my comrades. Providence has seen us to a small village on the river, and the shrewd negotiations of the natives have cost one of Henry’s cousins a musket – hardly a fair trade for a night indoors, but at this point I would consider any price. Through the efforts of Cole and Espinosa, I have beaten back the fever, but my hatred for this jungle has hardly subsided. To think this is only the beginning of our journey here. The night was peaceful, but to take Henry at his word would have us believe that this may be the last peaceful night we get for a while.

September 20th 1780, Belize, Jungle.

A storm in the depths of the jungle, days from anything that we would recognize to be human – this is what I was fearing would happen. It was bad enough being on patrol in the tropics back when I was with a team of fighting fit soldiers, but now I am older, and softer, though now surrounded with capable men, women, and cats that I am glad to be travelling with. We were forced to turn off-river to find some ancient ruins, trespassing on sacred land to save our own hide. There were so many dead here, unhappy, died through violent means – despite Espinosa’s reservations, I felt like I had to do something to calm them. What happened here was horrific, detestable. These people were flayed alive, in a manner that was both malicious and inept, before being tossed into the sacrificial pool, from which an anaconda rose to crush the life from them. And then, to hear a young babe being sacrificed to this creature is almost too much to bear – worse still with the fear that these people would be sacrificing their children with or without the creature present. I was at least able to grant peace to three of those who died here, but then the beast-snake who resides at the foot of the temple was enraged by their final scream.

September 20th 1780, Belize, Jungle.

I expected what would follow to be a tense and bloody battle, but it seems that there was another, shimmering snake in the area that led the snake off – I suspect more of Cole’s innate magic at play here. It seems our guide, however, is much weaker willed than our cat, and has abandoned us in the middle of the jungle. Espinosa has gifted me with an idea of how this river flows for now, and hopefully we can make good progress today, once we are out in the river.

September 29th 1780, Belizeshire, Deep Jungle.

The pages from this part of the journal are smudged from near-saturation with rain, and legibility is difficult.]
The easy part of the journey is over. We left the canoes behind and struck overland – just one week more until our journey’s end. I begin to forget the comfort of my own bed, the joy of walking my estate, and the promise of a warm meal that is cooked by hands more suited to the effort than those of mine or my companions. Espinosa, though, his magick continues to be unerringly useful – this map he has provided fills me with a certainty of direction I have never felt before. It was a restful sleep after hacking through the edges of the jungle to the foot of an immense waterfall – the camp was comfortable enough, as these things go, though sleep was plagued by fears of having to climb those decrepit stairs in the morning.

The climb was harrowing – I fear we almost lost Miriam when she went up unassisted, but she made it – I suppose all that time aboard ships really paid off for her. Fortunately for Espinosa, I was able to lash a rope to myself and went ahead to ease his ascent, and we both made it atop relatively unscathed. At the peak, there is a strange monkey-carved glyph in an arch, with eighteen separate indents where pearls along a string might be, though their meaning is lost to me, it seems as though Cole and Espinosa have theories as to what we are looking at.

September 29th 1780, Belizeshire, Deep Jungle.

While my companions turned their attentions to the arch, I set mine outwards. Far off, a day’s climb and a half-day further hike, I caught the glint of metal, which intrigues me, as it tells the tale of civilization here, and bears investigation, should this endeavor with the arch not pay off. It shows great promise, perhaps as something to revolutionize our understanding of magick, allowing for some sort of long-distance travel that is beyond my understanding.

What I do understand, however, is that wearing heavy leather in this climate is absolute murder, but I cannot be sure what is on the other side of this gate. Still, the weight of it is comforting when we heard the sound of distant gunshots – though their precise origin eludes me. Espinosa was able to open the gateway, and it was like looking through a frosted window into another place – a high-sloped valley with mountains in the background. An avenue of colossal carved statues leads to a great stone temple, and above the temple looms the huge statue of an ape-like being. I’ve never set eyes on anything like it – few from Boston have, I expect, and there is a strange honor in being in that small group. It is our hope that Sir Hayward lies beyond, someplace safe, at least until we can recover him.

Stepping through the portal was entirely unpleasant experience the likes of which I never want to go through again. Being pulled and stretched in directions I knew not existed, I lost my stomach to the trip, though I strangely seem to be the only one affected by this strange magick – I wonder if that means something?

September 29th 1780, Belizeshire, The Temple of The Monkey God.

We’ve finally done it. Followed in the steps of Sir Hayward Moon, and arrived at the Temple of the Monkey God. A truly impossible place that I would hardly believe if I were not here to see it myself. Signs of current human habitation – dead civilizations tend not to keep up appearances and sun-shades. It’s too quiet all around, and that has me filled with a great concern. It seems as though this portal has moved us a few days travel – we can still see the same waterfall we just left. I think that our Sir Hayward Moon suffered a minor misfortune – Miriam found his pocketwatch, smashed, in the gear at the camp. That explains the lack of communication from our man.

After we approached the temple, I felt a great fear wash over me – it was as though I was back there, on that cold, frigid night, and I could do nothing else but run. It seems as though this Monkey God was messing with me, which is not something I appreciate overmuch.

September 29th 1780, Belizeshire, The Temple of The Monkey God.

To be offered a banana by some sort of giant primate is not how I imagined today would develop. I also hadn’t thought that we would be pursued by the Spanish either, when I awoke, but that’s how days go. Some days it is best to just roll over and return to sleep.

Hahue, as the creature is known, a great hulking ape that towers over the tallest of men – appears to take umbrage at being identified as a monkey, though that is the only creature I have ever seen that is close to its like. That we are so close such that we have laid eyes on Sir Hayward Moon is a blessing I did not expect to feel – anticipated it, certainly, but it makes my heart glad that we have made it so far and succeeded in our journey. It would seem that Hayward’s guides are still alive, one Lieutenant Godfrey of the Royal Navy, and his Ensign Thomas. Hayward has completed his study of the gates, which will be a great boon to the great nation of New Britain – we must get him and his research home at any cost.

September 29th 1780, Belizeshire, The Temple of The Monkey God.

To see the Spaniards step through the portal just as Sir Hayward was setting up his own runic ritual was a shock – it brought back the memories of stumbling on their compatriots in blue back when I was in the Rangers. Hearing Espinosa call out a Wait command was like hearing an incomprehensible language from another time – Sir Hayward had called out to me to keep them off of his work, so I felt I must oblige. There was a half-second to react, and I managed to steady Karenna and let a shot out straight through the neck of one of their Jesuit-mage priests, dropping him to the ground. While I stood, ready to engage them in hand-to-hand combat, my colleagues set about them as they approached, with Cole rendering a number of them unconscious with some sort of magick, while Miriam, inspired by my own marksmanship, took it upon herself to absolutely destroy one of the other soldiers – it was a wound I had only ever seen when a man was set upon by cannonfire aboard a skyship – a truly gruesome affair, for which I do feel a slight bit of pride.

The combat was over as soon as it began, we had to put the sleeping Spaniards to rest, and I’m sure for all the world that one of their ghosts was stolen by that infernal book Espinosa keeps in his pocket – I put haste to my blade so that no others might suffer a similar fate. Already I can feel my sleeping mind calling to me, and dread shutting my eyes tonight. Through the portal, we found ourselves in the Foothills surrounding the Royal College, and it is almost as though we had never left, save for our clothing, and the horrible memories of the swamp.

From the Journal of Oliver Thackery - The Royal College
In which our noble protagonist takes to the skies for the first time in years, in hopes of securing the magical artefact they have been entrusted with.

August 13th 1780, Taunton, Mass.

It is at times like these when I remember the decisions that led me to join the Royal Rangers rather than the cavalry detachment. Horses and I, much like gunpowder and fire, are seldom good to mix together. It seems the same is true for Espinosa – the poor beast threw a shoe, and it’s hard enough to handle them when everything seems to be going right. We had both set ourselves to walking when Captain Crispin Uphold came upon us – I thought it an ambush, given the cargo we hold, but was pleased and surprised when it was friend, not foe.

August 13th 1780, Boston, Mass, and elsewhere in the skies over New Britain.

The remainder of the journey home was without incident, though my feet are sorer than they ever have been. To lay eyes on the H.M.S. Dryad must be like when Cy comes home to his darling. She’s a beautiful creature, as they always are, and the thought of taking to the sky again fills me with such hope and thrill as ever I have felt.

Our first morning aloft, the crew spotted two skysail, down below, waging combat against each other. It has been… a long time since I was last engaged in combat from the skies – it happened a few times when I was with the Rangers, but rare. Firing at distance is a risky proposition, and my shot was close to its mark, but off just enough to be without effect. It would seem that Espinosa and some other source caused significant damage to the pirate’s ship, and sent the whole thing into gravity’s clutches, but not before Miriam took a clean shot through their helmsman’s neck. I’ve made some great shots in my day, but the luck of my friend knows no bounds.

On the horizon, now, a bastion of all the good that the Ur has brought us – The Royal College, a place of learning, wonder, where ideas can almost be seen to float through the air of their own bidding.

August 15th 1780, The Royal College, Mass.

The first sight when we arrived at The Royal College, as impressive as the architecture is, was a surprise – as impressive as the gear carried by the College Guard Regiment is, the sight of the Grand Wizard and Magister, Lord Benjamin Franklin, a personage until recently I had only seen from afar. To say the paintings do not do his raw intellect justice is a gross understatement, the likes of which I do not have the eloquence nor language to do justice. I am glad to see the back of that cursed violin. It feels as though here is as safe as it ever will be. This place is filled with marvel beyond compare or comprehension. Were it within my power and reach, I would sorely love to fit my home with some of these very same amenities – the heating and the lighting are so soothing and comforting, it is a shame they are out of reach… for now.

To think that we will be guests of the college for a full week – a treat I had not been expecting, and hardly something to decline, even if the cost was steep. To gaze into the mirror in that hall, and confront the truth of ourselves, it is no small thing. That Will-Miriam still sees herself as Miriam, a pirate queen, is a refreshing turn from the thing I saw when I looked in the mirror. I knew that the curse was bad, but I did not quite know the extent until I saw it with my own eyes. To think that I might have once looked younger than even I do now, and would still if I had run a bit faster, a bit longer, on The Cold Night.

It would seem that I am not the only one here who carries these selfsame unseen and unknown secrets – the spirits that haunt the Spaniard seem to run deeper than most. An owl with a human face seems to signify something that I can’t quite lay a finger on. And our Griffin, perhaps carries more twist than most – his reflection carries with it a pain I cannot adequately convey through pen.

August 25th 1780, The Royal College, Mass.

This has been the most relaxing stint of time in recent memory – would that more time could be spent like this, although the trappings of the rooms here leave some comforts of home to be sorely desired. That our leisurely meal was interrupted by an upstart student who can’t watch his feet. It soon became clear that perhaps his feet were not the problem, but rather one of his classmates with some loose fingers. It reminded me of the time we spent at meals in the army – there was always some jokester playing silly on some of the lads, though the real humor came from when we pulled one over on those above us, but those were riskier plays. Espinosa extended a kind offer, to enchant a bullet for when it feels most needed – I could hardly turn down such an offer. Nor could I turn down the cocoa and charming company of the high society women that frequent this place – perhaps the Royal College is not so stuffy after all. A whirlwind of comedy left me struck down to the floor – a flirtatious message in a cup, meant for our Will, but drank by our Espinosa, a illicit meeting in the library, coupled with a direct invitation to an evening at the Albus Auditorium for comedy – I think I need a few drinks before all this comes to pass.

August 25th 1780, The Royal College, Mass.

The Lucky Fingers Bar – I’ve lost my fair share of cash at this establishment, but nothing more than I haven’t won back in Boston proper – a minor setback, brought with it a fair number of entertaining evenings. It’s a place with charm coming out of its pores, if you don’t mind the horrendous smell of the tannery, the unsavory clientele, the ratting, the rutting, and those who cheat at dice and cards. But I’d consider it to be part of the backbone of culture in this place, for it cates to the base needs of those who study here. I think I may have encountered a pickpocket whilst inside – despite winning more games than I felt I lost, I seem to have parted with more than my intended wager. We encountered the youths from earlier, and it seems they have a hound in the ratting – I suspected something was afoot when they put down a large sum on their pooch, out of sorts with the type of bets we’d seen here previous. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and I gained a whole bit of cash betting on the greed of youth.

The library is an impressively styled and lavish affair, and leaves me wishing that I cared more for study. That I had more time, for study. If I knew more, perhaps I would have been less stymied by the fact that our dear Griffin was in fact the familiar to our young Cole. A more welcome surprise I cannot imagine – though it shall take a bit of adjustment to make myself used to the fact that our newest companion is in actual fact, a verbose feline.

August 25th 1780, The Royal College, Mass.

The Royal College Library – a place of research, and in my case, idle curiosity about the type of affair our dear Espinosa was about to find himself embroiled in. In waiting for the meeting to get underway, I stumbled across a memoir written by my old commanding officer – it seemed harmless at first, but then, as I continued to turn the pages, the memories came flying back to me. To think that the madman actually wrote about the events of The Cold Night – for others to read. You may find its retelling in these pages, my dear journal, but hardly are you meant for the consumption of others.

The true marvel today was not the mischief at the library, wherein I suspect the meeting with our Spaniard was a cover for something more nefarious afoot. Nay, the true marvel was the shoppe of D’Urberville, purveyor of magicks potent and portable – he fitted us with kit such like I had never seen, including a rifle that may yet surpass the finery of my own Orenda. Though I do have my misgivings about how a small cat can maneuver a crossbow – seems as though Cole has significantly more surprises for us than I thought.

August 25th 1780, The Royal College, Mass.

From once place to another, we are constantly on the move through the confines of the College, but it seems that our time here draws to an unfortunate close – there has been a theft at the College, and we have been asked to safekeep the item’s creator and fetch him home again – some sort of para-archaeologist, Sir Hayward Moon. He’s off galivanting around British Honduras, seeking some fabled White City, seeking some connection to some ‘otherwhere’, a concept which is alien to me, I will admit.

That he has a six month head start on us and is as yet-undetectable by magical means does not bode well, but perhaps he is an absent-minded sort, or the Ur-Ice in the area is complicating things. Despite it all, we will aboard the HMS Dryad and make haste down to Belize City of Honduras, and see if we can uncover his trail from there. It has been many years since I last set foot in the jungle, and I doubt it has grown kinder since. I must needs prepare myself and my companions for this journey – it will be quite the endeavor, and no mistake, this may be the trip I fear. The journey there should be long enough to train my mind and body, I hope. This is a secret mission that the Spanish must not uncover, for New Spain is abutted to Honduras in a way such that all there may be compromised – it is for us to pose as Archaeologists and no more.

From the Journal of Oliver Thackery - And the Puritans
Journal the Second - In which our noble protagonist is engaged in righting wrongs and getting to the truth behind multiple charges of malicious witchcraft.

August 11th 1780, Nathaniel’s Coffee House, Boston.

It has been a mixed few weeks here in Boston – welcome to return to my estate and sleep in a warmed bed each evening, as nice as the accommodations were in Staughton, but there is still much life and adventure to be found in the bars of Boston at night. These past weeks have seen me up and down in my fortunes, in equal measure, and my pockets have come out of this idleness no fuller than they went in. When Captain Uphold called us up again, it was a genuine pleasure to discover my services required again in service of the Crown, and not in best dealing with the Bostonian fellows who undoubtedly cheat at cards, backgammon, and winning the hearts of fair maidens everywhere.

It seems that in Taunton, this summer, has been a hotbed of reported malicious witchcraft, harming property and body alike. There seems to be some credible evidence being presented at trial, brought about by one Caleb Burnam, the region’s puritanical minister, some ten days hence, to be presided over by Sir Robert Treat Paine. We must take pains to investigate and present our case for innocence, should it be warranted, to the honorable Thaddius Denton, who holds his lawyerly office in Taunton proper. Magick is certainly afoot in Taunton, but whom is directing it, and to what end, that is the true mystery here.

What else will those good eggs at the Royal College come up with, given enough time? Uphold has gifted Espinosa with a loaned boon of an enchanted watch, capable of speaking fifty words at a distance, to reach Doctor Graham’s ears within moments after speech has ended. Truly a fascinating device, one which could have saved many lives if the Rangers had that long ago.

On our way to Willards, we were accosted by possibly the world’s worst spy, a young urchin under the employ of Ezekiel Farley, who has expressed an interest in keeping tabs on those Thommy Thruppence has taken an eye to. And apparently, he’s willing to employ urchins and spirits to keep tabs on us.

August 12th 1780, Taunton, Mass.

This town is absolutely the fit of a painting, aside from the nastiness of a puritan setting up for a Witch burning speech right when we rolled into town – I feel like I might not be as welcome here as I have been in Boston. We are supposed to be above this sort of prejudice against the Twisted – I must be half a fool to think I’d be immune to it, but It hasn’t been a main fixture in my life. In the Rangers, it were your other flaws that got brought about for banter, not something that the war inflicted on you. The exception being poor Old Seamus, an unlucky Irish Sot who got Twisted with an unholy stench that wouldn’t go away even if he were bathing.

Taking up at the Taunton Crown Hotel is the most luxurious treat I have afforded myself since being away from my estate. I had forgotten that this is how Uphold and the like can treat themselves all the time – maybe, someday, before the end, I can find myself in a similar state. Still, an absolute lovely establishment, though I find it endlessly amusing that only myself and William can provide our real names to the clerk here. It seems that there is a Mr. Sixpenny, a purported seed and stock salesman, who has business here, but I am curious that he might be in business with, if not directly, then operating on behalf of Thommy Thruppence.

Our Albert Higgins certainly surprised me with invitations to a grande ball at the behest of Baron and Baroness Taunton, Lord and Lady Cushing. I did not think that word of my name had travelled so far, but it would seem that my works in Boston have at least carried to Taunton. Mayhap I am a mite closer to Uphold than I originally thought.

August 12th 1780, Taunton Crown Hotel, Taunton, Mass.

I had not expected my first day of Taunton to be filled with so much fitting, jostling, tucking and pinning, but such is the nature of a delicate investigation, being prodded by a high quality tailor, all for the sake of gathering knowledge. Nothing more than that, surely. The preacher giving his sermon drove me near to the brink of tears, to think that those who have found kin with the new way of the world to be persecuted such as they are, even in this civilized place.

We finally were able to make the acquaintance of Thaddeus Denton, the lawyer whose clients we are here to investigate, and he seems a congenial sort. He’s taken us on a tour of the alleged crime scenes – the first of which we saw was the second crime scene, at The Bow Tavern, where the barn caught alight, with a green flame at the base that resisted all attempts at being extinguished. At first, I expected manmade explosives to be the culprit, but nothing seems to cater towards that suspicion of mine, leading me to believe my first instinct was incorrect. The accused are said to have acted together, as a coven, to set the barn alight, for the perceived slight of one of their members being kicked out of the barn for the third time. What’s more strange is that while magick was certainly involved, it left the residue of a violin song, “Fire on the Mountain”. Incredibly common, a jig I have drank to on many nights, but curious nonetheless.

August 12th 1780, Beaconflat Farm, Taunton, Mass.

The senseless slaughter of innocent animals is a crime I will never quite understand – the motives involved are so alien from the victims comprehension, it seems almost worse than some quarrels you might imagine. The site seemed clean but for the remains of the livestock brought low by the wasting disease.

The smell of magically wasting meat is something extraordinary, the rot and disease something my companions are hardly familiar with, but nothing is quite so extraordinary as the resolve and ability of my friend Espinosa, who perhaps sought to question one of the beasts, and so brought it back into the realm of the life-full, but it seems it came back quite wrong, and with a vengeance. It looked for all the world as though poor Espinosa almost lost his leg to the creature, although its assault was magically tempered by the presence of an apparition – its eyes seemed like they had followed us from Boston, but there’s something more to that tale that I can’t quite put my finger on. To cast a spell which emblazons the notes to “The Ages of Man” – against something living, from beyond the veil – this is a danger unlike that which I have tousled with before. I can but hope that this apparition is without malice, as it seems to be, but I grow filled with concern, as spirits seem to be tied to places, but this one has traversed the roads with us.

August 12th 1780, Beaconflat Farm, Taunton, Mass.

Though I have been through the motions a few times before, speaking with spirits is always unsettling to me – to make the connection and bridge the gap between They That Were and Those Who Are is something weighty on my soul. Today I spoke with Hosea Mantle, formerly of Germantown, then Boston, a spirit unfamiliar to myself, but it seems that Espinosa has had dealing with it before. That he was able to bind a living spirit to himself speaks of incredible talent, but one that is slightly worrisome. I am not entirely comfortable that Espinosa has managed to bind a hedgewitch of this particular moral caliber. Consorting with one so obsessed with Death magic and who is so fortitudinous of spirit to persist for twenty years after interment is both fascinating and horrifying, all in one unsavory package. Curious that this site was affected by a young untrained mage, and certainly not good for our client’s cause.

August 12th 1780, Taunton Crown Hotel, Taunton, Mass.

High tea is an inadequate method of compensating for murderous revivified bovines, but the Crown Hotel did a good job of it nonetheless. Nothing was too weak, nor too strong, nor overwhelmingly flavorful, but it was pleasant. Denton, despite all of what has happened, has kindly offered to show us the scene of the murder of Isiah Horning, father to two of the accused. While it is not unknowable that kin may slay kin for all manner of reason, my fear is that the girls are innocent, and are suitably aggrieved of having lost their father while being accused of bringing about his demise. The killing of the harbormaster certainly would

The eldest girl, hardly a girl at all, given that we share the same age, Abigail, is married to the bank manager of Taunton, no small position of wealth to that position. Her sister, Prudence, younger by five years, already a spinster. Motive, perhaps financial, from her sister, but their temperament hardly seems to cleave towards the murderous, just the standard level of sin we all tend to find ourselves faced with.

The timeline, as it stands, is that the cows were the first to go, unless there was something else that has yet gone unnoticed. From there, the mage moved on to the fires, consecutive, a week later. Lastly, on the 8th of August, poor Isiah was brought low. Our William sussed out that perhaps the violin score we discovered is a key to it, and Espinosa has confirmed that with his deductions as well. It seems as though the spellwork is interwoven with the talent driven from one who works the violin, which unfortunately leaves us with the party tomorrow night as a venue for which to identify and subdue a potential violin-caster. We’d need a reliable witness to observe young Prudence for the duration, to ensure that she was not up to anything that could be untoward – the Watch Sergeant, Bill Bower, would do quite nicely, as the Lieutenant of the Lancers is a bit biased, considering his relation with one of the accused.

With daylight waning, we set off to see what we could discover at the scene of Isiah Horning’s death. When we arrived, we had not yet begun to examine the scene before Griffin’s keen senses picked up something – our poor Thaddeus has been marked by music. Handel’s Messiah, a classical tune, different from what we have seen before. Espinosa seems to have broken the spell, but it seems that this magick goes far deeper than any we previously has suspected. Thaddeus has cast his finger at Amelia Harrison, she who runs the music shop, and has financial dealings with Isiah – it seems like she has bent the whole town to her will.

August 12th 1780, Taunton Crown Hotel, Taunton, Mass.

We found ourselves in pursuit of Amelia Harrison, suspected of ensorcelling the town. The storm was rising around all of us, and a felt bile rising in my gullet – this was The Long Night writ anew. This musician has summoned a manastorm, and I could feel it coursing through my veins, threatening to twist away more of my humanity. Amelia seemed set on destroying the town with hellfire and brimstone, cast down from the sky, green flames licking at our faces and feet as we were struck from above. A battle for the soul of Taunton, set to a horrific rendition of “Israel in Egypt”, as played by a maniac who let the twist mutate her human form into something from the nightmares of the Ur – some sort of spiderlike creature – the manastorm grew more intense as we approached her, to the point where Espinosa was affected by some sort of fungus. I had a clean shot, but in doubting my ability, I put a bullet into Amelia’s torso, rather than her cursed violin. The heat of combat always leads to rash decisions, and it found me sprinting into a building, hurling insults at a deranged magician, which our Spaniard seems to have upended the rules of our world around. Through the Manastorm, I saw something – a sliver of a connection, between our ghostly hedgewitch Hosea, and our friend Espinosa’s tome. I expect there is some more story written there than we are ken to.

August 12th 1780, Taunton Crown Hotel, Taunton, Mass.

That what once was Amelia Harrison lay before us, a haunting creature that is twisted by that which makes the world so vibrant and unique. Something happened on the stairs up to the roof – the world lost sound, even the familiar sound of my own breath, the thud of my feet as I drew up the stairs, but only for a moment. There was fear in that moment, but not overmuch. I had but one foe, and she was above. As I drew near, I fell victim to Espinosa’s peculiar brand of sorcery that upturned my stomach, rendering me helplessly floating in air, unable to hear, or speak. I lost a good deal of fine food, and was beset upon by some foul flames of origin unknown, but when I was able to right myself, I set upon she-who-was, and cut her down. When the magicks fell, I took her head, to end her reign of terror and deceit, such that this town may dream of nightmares no more. We are introduced to Lord Edward Halsey of the 17th King’s Lances, and betrothed to one of the accused, Ruth Landry.

August 13th 1780, Hopewell House, Taunton, Mass.

It is a change most refreshing to be welcomed with applause after a job well done, by none other than Lord Thomas Cushing III. To be met by Lord Benedict Arnold is a welcome but suspicious surprise – rumors tell the man always has aims other than those that are best for England in his heart, but it seems he might have employment for us. It would seem that our Young William had been hiding a secret sister from us for all this time, and she seems to have the acquaintance of Lord Arnold as well – I had not figured the lad to run in high circles, but he does continue to impress. I was not keen on starting a dialog on any ensuing work without his presence, but it would hardly be the first time I’ve needed to brief a soldier who was absent the start of a mission.

To learn that the origin of the violin was at the hands of Amelia’s father comes as a bit of a shock, but no moreso than most incredible things these days – it certainly explains a good deal more than it hides. But none hides more secrets than our young William, who it seems is not quite a William at all but instead a Miriam by name and by birth. A rude surprise to discover in strange company, but I’d sooner wear the embarrassment of shock than to have discovered it another way.

We now find ourselves temporarily out of the Employ of Captain Uphold and under the employ of Lord Benedict Arnold. We have been tasked with escorting to the Royal College the eponymous diary and violin that nearly brought this town low. After the end of the party, we are to make our way to Boston Harbor, to find passage on the H.M.S. Dryad. Curious, though, that Lord Cushing is cohorting with Lord Arnold – with the rumors surrounding each of them, I suspect that there is a game afoot. Two people with rumored attachment to the Crown Secret Service working together would imply that something larger than us is at play here.

August 13th 1780, Hopewell House, Taunton, Mass.

The Ball this evening was on some accounts a success, but mostly a disaster. This life of high society is still new to me, and apparently newer still to Espinosa, and we have created no small scene of embarrassment for ourselves. Some lug thought it wise to assault poor Miriam and received a bruise to his ego for his trouble, though it seems she was a bit caught off-guard.

Past the witching hour, we were met by Marquesa Ariane Bonnevie du Pondicherry, Attaché Generale to the French Ambassador to New Britain. She is a handsome woman, but incredibly… cagey and supernaturally intense. When speaking with her, it felt very much as though a cat playing with a mouse, but not yet intending to kill it – merely to keep itself entertained. Whether that is her French nature bleeding through, or her intellect, I am not sure.

Hefting around this violin is no small feat, given the protective measure in the case, but I feel like I can still feel it in there, like something alive, caged, almost.

It is a night of continued surprise – outside, waiting in Lady Bonnevie’s coach, is a man Miriam seems to have acquaintance, or at least knowledge of.

The Cold Night, Staughton
Thackery's Nightmare, June 25th, 1780

June 25th 1780, Staughton River, Doty’s Tavern, Midnight

As Thackery finally sets his head against the pillow on the rented bed in this rented room above Doty’s Tavern, he thinks to the oddities experienced today. The duality of man-trapped in pig form, to the distant shuddering and shaking in the woods. His eyes finally begin to close, his breathing evening out, and the room grows still for a moment. From behind his eyelids, an intense white glow begins to spill forth, and his eyes, now unseeing, snap open, flooding the room with light.

Beneath his head, Oliver Thackery feels the hard ground underneath the crudely rolled cloak he had balled up against a log, resting his head against it in a futile attempt to prevent his body from falling to pieces. In the woods beyond, the trees in the distance crashed and thundered, and slowly the thick tendrils of fog began to seep into the clearing where his regiment had set down for the evening. He could vaguely hear his friend Cyrus shouting in the distance, his deep blue eyes still trying to focus in the early morning light. He begins the process of shoving his swollen and bloodied feet back into his boots, but when he is done, finds himself unwilling, or unable to stand. They had been on the run for days, now, their regiment a fraction of its size, having lost many to the mists, or to the exhaustion from an endless march to nowhere, fleeing from something they could not see.

A panic rising in his heart, Thackery found himself hauled bodily to his feet after what seems like an eternity by his friend, Cyrus, who clapped him roughly about the cheeks. “Not today, my friend. This is not the day we die.” How he found the strength to continue escaped Thackery, but he found a profound sense of shame in the temptation to disappoint Cyrus, and so he began to stagger forward, away from the mists, into the unknown woods ahead. Behind, thundering crashes in the wood gave chase.

Hours later, thoroughly turned around and lost, Thackery collapsed onto his knees after the next break in the underbrush. The summer day had just grown colder the longer it went on, against all history and experience. He struggled to get his breath to catch in his throat, his lips dry and cracked as his body made every possible attempt at keeping his vital humors balanced. When he heard the brief sound of water cascading into a cup at his side, he could hardly bring himself to blink or even look, so heavy was his heart with the feeling of relief and hope for a moment’s rest.


His eyes dipped closed for a moment, and he found himself kneeling in front of a small campfire, a small wooden cup half filled with water nestled in his hands which he greedily sipped at with what strength remained. The world was covered in a haze, and for a moment a panic set in, but it seemed to have a different nature than the mists. Off to his side, he could see a figure’s back, swaying as it toiled over something. Finishing what was left in the cup, his hoarse throat croaked out, “Thanks Cy, I needed that. Can’t believe we’ve made it this far without dying. I don’t know how much longer I can press on.”

His eyes dipped closed again, and his cup, filled half again with water, drops from a waterskin from just out of view. A voice with the rough sound of dry leaves whispering came from over his shoulder, “No, Oliver Thackery, today is not the day you die. You will, someday, but today is the day you begin to live.”

A cold terror gripped Thackery’s heart then, and his eyes shot open, the white light fading from the room above Doty’s Tavern, unable to breathe, unable to bring himself to close his eyes again. For the remainder of the evening, Thackery finds himself fighting sleep, cradling his rifle and sitting back against the wall, afraid of reliving more of what he saw in his mind’s eye.

From the Journal of Oliver Thackery - For the Greater Good
Journal the First - In which our noble protagonist gets an offer he cannot in good conscious refuse, to serve king, country, and coin.

A Sketch of Oliver Thackery is included in the front of this journal – it is drawn with some considerable skill considering the medium, and it is inconclusive whether the drawing is a self-portrait or an inclusion from another hand.


June 23rd 1780, Nathaniel’s Coffee House, Boston.

Today, I have been hired by an old friend, one Captain Crispin Uphold, for a neat sum of money – over a full prize-shares worth, to investigate some sabotage of a new copper rolling mill. While it’s a terrible shame, sabotage, decidedly dishonorable, the incentive is more than worth the price of admission. I’m hardly built for investigation, but I seem to be joined by two steadfast and able companions – one Mister William Carter, the eldest of an aristocratic line or some such, undoubtedly will be handy talking his way through this, should it be needed, and one Griffin. Quiet, reserved, but very observant – I feel that Griffin sees many things that others do not, but then again, those of us who are on the outside due to how we have become rarely see things the same as those untouched by the Ur.

Undoubtedly there will be others who take the good Captain’s Shilling, riding to his cause for their own reasons, and hopefully he won’t run us out on a wicker basket and leave us to dangle. But for now, the next step in my career seems to be as an investigator for an insurance underwriter – not quite what I thought I’d get up to when I signed on with the Navy, but I’ll be damned if I’m not pleased with the results.

June 24th 1780, Willard & Young Occult Supplies, Dorchester.

Today we have met a most curious individual in Hidalgo Aristides Espinosa, a curious Spaniard, seemingly expatriated, but still proud of his heritage. I’ve had my fair share of animus-laden encounters with the Spanish in the past, but that was when I was in service to the Crown and they weren’t. Espinosa doesn’t seem to bear me any ill will, and as such deserves none in kind.

We were solicited by the proprietor of the establishment, one Thomas Willard, and set upon his shop like a flock of ravenous birds, picking and pecking at the curios on display, seeking some sort of advantage in defeating the dastardly saboteurs that dare to strike at the heart of the Crown’s technological innovations. While he was a jovial sort, he seemed overly keen on Griffin – I think the fellow might carry Twist within him, as Griffin and I do, though neither of us possess the pure unbridled animal animus towards another that poor Willard has within himself. He speaks honeyed words of being discrete, and it is with all my heart he holds to them, as the nature of our travels to the copper rolling mill at Staughton Canton. Thankfully, instead of riding atop my murderous beast of a horse, Espinosa has hired us seats on a coach such that we can travel in luxury.

June 24th 1780, Boston Turnpike, Near Staughton

A horrific trip by coach, and one I would not recommend to fellow travelers – ambushed on the Boston Turnpike of all places. Hardly the class of accommodation I expected at this cost. I’ll insist Espinosa choose a different courier next time. The rain was incessant, and fouled our guard’s weapons, as it is wont to do, but young William has a dead eye on him and tagged one of the miscreants. Josiah Fulton and his brothers, they were, wanted, at $500 a head, or so it seems. Had on them a brooch from the Moore family out of Boston, likely taken during a robbery.

The one I had in my sights gave me the slip in the underbrush – native, from the sound of it. Proud and insulting, all in one, when he escaped. Hard to be mad, they have a like mind to be as ghosts in the woods if that’s what they choose. Espinosa, though, has wrought what I only often see in nightmares on one of the poor souls – stripping the years from his flesh with a condensed ritual of sorts. In some ways, it reminds me of the Cold Night. I dislike being reminded of that day. Still feel the cold, dead ache in my limbs from the ceaseless marching. The blood pooling in my boots. Never again.

June 24th 1780, Staughton

Doty’s Tavern – a place remarkable for primarily its proximity to the great Revere Works, set at the junction of two rivers. While the location of the Works is obvious enough, I struggle to imagine if Doty had the gift of prophecy to set up here, or if it was just fate, or luck, or some other similar contrivance that brought the luck of industry to Staughton. Though on seeing the interior, it is clear that Thomas Doty is a man of singular taste and distinction, particularly where his whiskeys are concerned. The clientele that frequent the tavern, however, lack the tact I would expect from such a place, but Thomas’ wife is absolutely lovely. Sometimes I forget about my condition, as it is difficult for me to see, but it brings me no small feeling of ire when I hear of others being disparaged for their state of being. We finally were brought face to face with Sir Paul Revere, the local Justice of the Peace, the man himself whom Uphold sent us to levy assistance to. I don’t find I have much care for his companion, Major Crane, but I suppose it’s due to the fondness I find in myself for Espinosa. William and Griffin seem to have tracked some ne’er do well skulking around the inn, which is a matter of concern for those I am travelling with, so I am settling in for a night with a bit less sleep. Just like I’m back in the Rangers. I didn’t miss that part.

June 25th 1780, Staughton

Let no man besmirch Doty’s Tavern – their breakfast is just what is needed after a long night wondering what person found your mission to be so interesting that they created some sort of magical distance-listening device and stuck it in your favorite Spaniard’s room. But today is the day we get to see Revere’s Factory from up-close, and what a pleasure that is. The wheels of industry gently and smokily trundling along, bringing the future ever closer to us with each revolution. No closer to our saboteur, save from slowly narrowing the chase to a local, or someone with loyalist ties to one of the other Great Nations. Though the line of thought that brings us to a curse by the Old Hobgobbler does bear a bit of consideration, if only because the Event visited all sorts of unpleasantness upon us. Almost as unpleasant as a man getting shoved into a waterwheel or watching his son burned by a malfunctioning copper smelter. But Sir Revere has given us some leads to go on – if we discount those who were injured in the accidents, we have three names to go on, Bob and Roger Billings, or Moses Wentworth. Though those people come from old families, and likely aren’t significantly compromised to the point of sabotage. But it’s them or the Hobgobbler, which I’d rather find to be innocent than attempt to bring to justice.

June 25th 1780, Staughton, Revere’s Mill

This job has been a first, for me. An honest investigation – the sort of thing typically done well in advance of the missions I am used to finding myself on. Cy had a nose for this, skulking about in the shadows and the like, but I am more at home with the social pursuits than anything else. A first, seeing a bronze smelter in the flesh, as it were, and I don’t much care for it – the heat is unbearable.

Curious, though, that Moses isn’t in at work today, though that may be from fear that Sam Gooch might put a boot in him, but he was the one who was supposed to care for the clay dome such that the crack that caused the foundry to burst wasn’t to happen. As Espinosa noted, the man doesn’t seem to care much for work, showing up for work, or people visiting on his property. It seems like the inspection not going through is a bit more serious than initially thought, could have possibly brought the whole place down if it were bad enough. But what motivation? My gut tells me the secret lies on Wentworth land, and this constant talk of Old Hobgobbler is getting my curiosity piqued like nothing else has on this job.

June 25th 1780, Staughton River, Near Blue Hill, Afternoon

My impressions of the natives of Staughton grows increasingly negative – a guide who, on promising to meet us, has opted to go for a swim. I understand the heat as well as the next man, but there’s a time and a place, and before meeting someone is neither of them. While we cast about for the young irresponsible responsible for our delay, the sounds of local porcine wildlife beset our ears, driving further investigation, and eventual capture at the hands of yours truly. We heard… something, out in those woods. Espinosa believes it to have been the Hobgobbler, but I am less certain, but no more sure of what it could have been. The pig, though, has caused no small degree of irritation, and appears to be a young Jeb Billings, now as naked as the day his mother kicked him from her home, squealing about being eaten by his grandfather, instead of us doing the eating of the pig we caught. It occurs, that maybe this pig was running from Espinosa’s ‘Hobgobbler’ out in the woods. How is Old Man Billings tied up in all this?

June 25th 1780, Staughton River, Doty’s Tavern, Night

I had a dream last night, of the Cold Night. I would give anything to be rid of it. Being reminded of it makes me sick. No sleep for me tonight, which makes the unwelcome intrusion by a puritanical minister stirring up a mob that much less appetizing. First, finding out that Jacob Billings is the Old Hobgobbler, and then having to call the Pastor Benjaman Jordan out for satisfaction, all to prevent a mob that would have seen poor Jeb torn asunder, and myself and Espinosa as well, no mistake. Baron Revere is on our side, which is no small favor. We have been issued a warrant for Jacob Billings and his kin, a thousand dollars for the Cunning Man hisself, and two hundred for each of his family we bring to the King’s Justice and live to see the proper court, for attempted murder, criminal damage, and treason.

Something about Jeb’s story piqued a curiosity in me, about this Cunning Man, the Old Hobgobbler. Young Jeb has claimed that family legend is that a cave on the west side of the Blue Hill is where he keeps the family treasures and secrets. It’s old Indian territory, seems like, a tribe that was wiped out long ago. It seems like we need to track down Jeb’s four uncles, and of course, Jacob.

June 26th 1780, Staughton River

This entry is covered in bloody fingerprints and the handwriting is shaky.
A lunch of roast duck sits well in my stomach with all this pig business going about, but the manacles weigh heavily in my pack. It was a lovely jaunt through the woods after an even better lunch, and it was ruined by the clap of thunder and a sudden bullet to the chest. I’ve been shot before, but each time it feels like nothing I can describe. The intermingling of hot and cold, of weakness and utter despair – it makes me wonder why I press on in such pursuits, but my heart knows that I will take many more bullets for our country before My Time is Done. Lord above I hope not too many. Three men died today, and I almost made a fourth. Some easy job this turned out to be.

June 26th 1780, Staughton River, Billings Manor

This entry is covered in blood drops that have soaked through the previous page handwriting is improved.
Every time I have to take a drink of one of those infernal healing draughts, they invariably make me feel worse than the ailment I’m recovering from. I’d still drink one every day rather than adorn myself as these farmhands have, with pig talismans, and all that I am presuming that entails. Foolish of me to think a path was safe to walk down – I’m getting soft, since I left the service. I miss having Cy at my side, he was always one to call me out when my sense had left me. But now we are faced with a prickly problem of an uncomfortable sort – our Cunning Man knew that someone would come. His home is a two-story fortress with clear line of sight through a well maintained clearing that gives those within plenty of visibility on any approach, and they know that someone is coming, else they’d not be so on guard. Espinosa has come up with a plan and committed us, but his methods give pause to me, as seeing young Alden Billings well again after being so very thoroughly dead not an hour before disquiets my stomach. Too much like my memory of the Cold Night.

June 26th 1780, Staughton River, Billings Manor

A Revenant. Eyes be damned, a Revenant, brought to us by our own Espinosa. Cruel, to witness a fratricide, even though it were not his son’s own true hand, but what a terrible fate for a father. Of all the things that I wish not to carry with me through this world, I wish to forget the sight of a man slaughtered by his own brainless son, only to then be covered by the body of the very son what laid him low. I am filled with disquiet at my hand in putting down one of the Billings clan, but nothing compares to the dread in my stomach when the enormous hog burst forth from the estate. I have faced down ur-twisted bears with nothing but a knife, but those dead eyes of the Old Hobgobbler were filled with nothing short of pure malice. Seeing the tusks nearing brought me back to fighting alongside Cy, and the grace with which I used to move, and clumsiness that he fought with – in some ways, Griffin reminds me of him, and I feel like he saved me from a world of pain, this day. Shame the same could not be said for poor William, betrayed by the pepperbox which had let him down for the final time.

June 26th 1780, Staughton River, Billings Manor

Tis done. The reign of Old Hobgobbler is no more. All that is left are the trauma-filled offspring of the wretched hog, four young souls, no older than men I joined the Royal Marines alongside. I expect they did not want this lot in life, and for that I will bend Baron Revere’s ear, such as I can. Young Daniel has been most helpful, and has indicated to us that his Uncle Thomas has been twisted by the Hobgobbler’s magick, and yet guards the family cave. The Old Man hisself has some strange ink, which Espinosa claims to be similar to writings found in South America, though I am unsure if I hold too much stock in that. This man hardly seems travelled. It is a loaded wagon filled with Billings, a macabre sight, but profitable, if all is truthful, though the circumstances that led to us obtaining this sum of $3,000 is truly unfortunate.

Griffin’s discovery in that short letter changes things, though. Signed by none other than Tommy Thruppence, something of a macabre legend in the Boston underworld. He gets his name from the phrase “right as thruppence” which, since there is no such coin and any you had in your possession would therefore be very bad forgeries, isn’t right at all. I haven’t heard his name bandied about in taverns for half a year yet, and when I have, it was largely speculation that he found some sort of patronage, and is working his nefarious deeds further afield than the bent back streets of Boston proper. Baron Revere needs to know about this, and Griffin has offered to go up ahead to the cave and keep an eye on this Twisted Thomas until we get back. I hope that I can bend Baron Revere’s ear enough to see the lads conscripted rather than executed – they were pawns in whatever this invisible game is, and I feel they deserve a chance to earn their way home again, however hard that path may be.

h3.June 26th 1780, Staughton River, The Cave on Blue Hill

Griffin might be the death of me. Even in the Rangers, I’ve not seen the likes of anyone who can just blend into the forest without a hint of presence to be noted, even with these cursed eyes of mine. He was able to stay here, unobserved, watching Thomas the Unfortunate in our absence, and it was as clean a job as I’ve ever done, likely moreso. This poor man, this huge, hulking, twisted man, is now bereft of family, thankfully isolated from the crimes of his kin, but now more alone than before.

But this cave, for all of the tales that it tells through the pictograms, and the shamanic transformations that used to take place here by the Neponset, it felt as though I was down in the Carib again. I could feel a spirit pressing on my soul, and made myself known to it.

He called me the Brother of Death. Words chilling to me, but I cannot deny them. How he can see that the others have seen the worlds beyond this, I do not know, but am not filled with surprise. He charged me with removing his binding from the earth, which I undertake gladly, and to see that no harm comes to Thomas. How this will see us better in the future I see not, but my eyes fail me even in seeing the mundane.

After all this, it seems Captain Uphold might have more work for us yet. Someday, I’ll be able to get my name attached a full shipyard, I reckon, not just a slip.