theodor_gylden: (not an adventurer a scholar dammit)
[personal profile] theodor_gylden
The Bespectacled Folklorist received a dispensation from the Dilmun Club, too, and has prepared a compendium of catalogued and cross-catalogued notes. You glimpse the demarcated pages.

Cryptopaleontological Notes. Research notes on the strange creatures of the Neath.
Sorrow-Spiders and Spider-Councils.
The Eater-of-Chains and the Inhabiter of Wolves.
The Thing in the Mirror and the 'Lords of London.'
The Wings of Thunder Bat and its Offspring.
Further Residents of the Labyrinth of Tigers.
The Vake.
The Rubbery Forms of Flute Street.
The Animates of Polythreme. (Including Clay Persons.)
Devils and Demons.
Creatures Capable of Discourse. (Cats, Rats, Ravens, Et Al.)


Prelapsarian Archaeological Notes. Research notes concerning cities before the fifth.
The First City. Speculated to be Nagar.
The Second City. Speculated to be Amarna.
The Third City. Speculated to be Hopelchén.
The Fourth City. Speculated to be Karakorum.
The Half-Stolen Flute Street.
The Bazaar, the Masters, and Their Practices.

Theosophistrical Notes. Research notes on matters of the spirit and the other side.
Imanuel Lundberg's Grand Theory of the Correspondence.
Other Theories of the Correspondence.
Madame Petrovsky's Secret Dogma and the Fifth Age of Civilisation.
Madame Petrovsky's Practical Pantheism.
The Works of Doctor Schlomo.
Parabola.
Speculative Travel. (Anarcho- or Otherwise)
London Dream Lore.
London Soul Lore.
Principles of Life and Death in the Neath.
Spirits and Spiritualism. (Beneath and Above.)
Magic and Magicians.


You also glimpse a glint of gold at his ear, that was not there before -- a zailor's charm against drowning. Superstitious.

Compare Notes with the Bespectacled Folklorist.

[all those researchers scurrying about the zee are bound to run into each other. use the comments to share content and chatter without spoiler tags.]

Don't forget to write

Date: 2011-11-30 11:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
You look over the charts provided by the Dilmun Club. Two islands not far from London. A third in the Sea of Voices. Who knows how long you'll be away, and what you'll return with. You'll have to keep watch for that villain Dr. Orthos, though.

[For your voyage of scientific discovery, you can visit the islands and accumulate pages of research notes. The Sea of Voices is not yet open, so only two of the three islands are currently available. Return to your lodgings when you have an armful of notes, to make sense of your research.]

Date: 2011-12-01 04:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
Students, colleagues, and friends,
I am embarking on an expedition, through which I intend to advance my Cryptopaleontological, Prelapsarian Archaeological, and Theosphistrical Research for the Journal of Neath Studies. I will return when I am satisfied. If you've access to a bat acquainted with Unterzee travel, I may be contacted by bat, aboard our Unterzeeboot.
T.E. Gylden

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The Fleet of Truth

Date: 2011-12-01 05:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
That ship is running no lights and flying no colours. Good Lord! It's a vessel in Dr. Orthos' Fleet of Truth!

Villainy!
The Fleet of Truth is made up of equal parts venal academics and dockside bruisers. They aim to board you and steal your research!

I didn't think so
You break open the weapons locker and have your crew ready to repel boarders. At the last moment, the Fleet of Truth's captain decides that he's not being paid enough to deal with you, and develops a little face-saving engine trouble. You retire to your cabin to continue working on your notes.

Re: The Fleet of Truth

Date: 2011-12-01 05:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
*setting his pistol beside his ink, reviewing where he last left off* Now, then. From William of Rubruck's Account of the Mongols ...

Share your Research with a Fellow Scholar

Date: 2011-12-01 06:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
It is the duty of the modern scholar to publish and share work with the academic community. But there's no harm in letting a friend look at it first.

Away, my beauties!
You'll have to use messenger bats, and plenty of them. Write small. [Your academic collegue must have research to share, and sufficient bats for a reply.]
(Unlocked with: 10 x Sulky Bat, 50 x A Page of Cryptopaleontological Notes, 50 x A Page of Prelapsarian Archaeological Notes, 50 x A Page of Theosophistical Notes.)


Off you go
You rub life back into your writing hand. The tiny cylinders are attached and the bats flap away, low over the oily black waves. Let's hope you get something back.

Corpsecage Island

Date: 2011-12-01 10:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
A spit of black rock and stunted heath. Touched by all the previous cities, so they say.
(unlocked with Embarking on a Voyage of Scientific Discovery 3)


Hunting in the ruins
Who could say what ghosts linger here, sighing into the zee?

Digging up bones and rough justice

Date: 2011-12-01 10:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
Certain radicals say that the Constables occasionally dispose of the worst and most scandalous criminals here. They say this is a tradition that began in the Second City.

Before the Fall
You unearth the remnants of the path. The thin, poor soil gives up its secrets easily. Horse-bone amulets and cracked clay rice-bowls. A stone monument, its bell-like shape familiar to you from your outings to the Forgotten Quarter, now subsumed by clinging moss. The denizens of the Fourth City came here in numbers.

The Corpsecage bat

Date: 2011-12-01 10:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
The bats of Corpsecage aren't the cheery carefree wild fellows. They chitter and squeak grumpily. Perhaps they're exiled operatives of the Great Game.

How old are these bats?
The bats are surly, but they don't object to you getting close and removing tiny cylinders from their legs. It's all in code, of course, but some of this material will still be worth something. One of the messages is written in the picture-alphabet of the Second City. The part you can make out says, '..all the Pharoah's daughters bar one are gone...'

Date: 2011-12-02 12:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
There is little doubt in my mind that the surviving daughter is the Duchess. But in order to avoid a facile conclusion, I will collate what evidence I can.

The Duchess is a scion of the Second City. She has referred to her betrothal 'three cities ago,' and has spoken with confidence on the presence of devils before the Fall of London. Beneath her paints and powders, she is African in appearance -- which, if our scholars are correct to identify the Second City as an Egyptian city, would only be appropriate. She is and was a 'friend to cats,' godly animals to the Egyptians, slayers of serpents. And so on.

The Duchess has, or had, sisters. She revealed this when she revealed the appetite of the Bazaar for love and lovers. 'There is always a cost that is known,' she said, 'and a cost that is not. The Empress knows this now. My sisters and I learnt it then.' She did not reveal the fate of her sisters -- not, at least, to me -- but it may be that she is the last living among of them. It was three cities ago.

Other mentions have been made of the Pharaoh's daughters. When Mr Eaten still spoke more than the word 'yes,' it said of Egypt, 'I think the place is charming; the weather, delightful; the Pharaoh's daughters, most hospitable.' More obliquely, there is a well in Big King Square -- associated with Mr Eaten -- from which a ragged voice echoes. It tells of the tall man's daughters. Of the city of granite. Of the drowning. And in Mr Sacks's sack, one may find the memory of a jackal wrapped in brown paper: royal flesh, bones bleaching in the desert sun, save the Pharaoh's youngest daughter's -- who escaped.

Further questions. If the Duchess is a daughter of the Pharaoh, what daughter is she? I hold that the city was Amarna, and the Pharaoh was Akhenaten. Akenaten had six daughters, perhaps more. (Perhaps seven.) Who was her betrothed? Where (if anywhere) was her duchy?

How did the Duchess survive then, and how has she continued to survive? Has she partaken in Hesperidean cider, or in a brandy of the Elder Country? Can she still attain the surface?

What became of the Pharaoh's daughters, the Duchess's sisters? Was the jackal's memory a true one? Did it happen before the Fall of their city? What was their involvement with the Masters and Mr Eaten? What did they learn of the known and unknown costs? What did they learn of love?

The Religions of Corpsecage Island

Date: 2011-12-02 12:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
Did the peoples of previous cities look to the Correspondence for spiritual guidance? Were they sceptics, or spiritualists, or totemists, or monotheists, perhaps?

Anthropological insights
You spend some careful hours looking at bas-reliefs depicting what could be rituals from the Third City, and turning over what might be potsherds from vessels used for offerings in the Fourth City. You make some deductions and a lot of assumptions, and come up with some satisfyingly erudite-sounding theories. Perhaps both cities shared a form of syncretic animism? Perhaps Second City polytheistic religions lingered on in debased and corrupted forms involving human sacrifice and orgiastic rituals? You might not have any concrete evidence, but you don't let that stop you.

What's written here?

Date: 2011-12-02 12:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
A stone tablet and a few columns have the scratchy writing of the Fourth City on them.

Far to the East
This isn't a temple covered in prayers. This is a map. Well, a set of directions. You can't decipher all of it, and some parts depend on roof-light configurations, which have since changed. But there's somewhere East over the Unterzee, or at least there was. Somewhere that zailors of the Fourth City called 'our last bastion and salvation'.

Date: 2011-12-02 12:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
Some directional considerations.

To the West of London lies Hell. The Stolen River runs through it. The Brass Embassy is the Western Tower. Whatever lies in the East may well be Hell's opposite -- Heaven, salvation. It is rumoured the Widow's brandy comes thence, and therein is eternal life.

On Mutton Island, the landlord of the Cock and Magpie, a woman with an army of children, and the Custodial Chef go from house to house each dawn. They assure that no light emanates from either the Northern or Eastern windows of the island. Whether this is practical, ritual, neither, or both is a subject of some debate between myself and my partner.

I dreamt of a fleet sailing due East, but its course gradually turned North. I turned my gaze Northeast, away from the sun, and when I awoke the storms were already in my eyes.

They say only a fool would go North.

Up the Hill

Date: 2011-12-02 12:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
Tiny animal tracks lead steeply upwards, to a little plateau. You can see what might be ruined buildings up there. Why not?

See what you can dig up
The ruins resemble a long, walled courtyard rather than a building. If you weren't here to research, you might think to string up a tennis net.

Teasing out the trail
The thin, dusty soil up here puts up little resistance to your digging. Your finds confirm what the carvings on the walls suggested. Skyglass shards, perished lumps of indiarubber, a few bones. This court was definitely built and used by people of the Third City. It's chilly up here. They must have wrapped up warm.

Caging ancient echoes

Date: 2011-12-02 12:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
The walled courtyard echoes with shrieks and howls. Mindless, inhuman things from a previous age. Let's see if there are some empty jars in the stores...

In you go!
The shrieks cannot resist a sympathetic ear. Your boatswain won't be able to hear for days, but you have a creditable rack of rattling, scream-filled jars for your troubles. The walled courtyard is peaceful, now. Anyone for tennis?

Another Sort of Relic

Date: 2011-12-02 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
Although the island looks abandoned, you do see signs of visitors. The remains of a campfire, long cold, dotted with blackened Mason jars. Scraps of mooring rope.

A little something in the hollow
You consider the mind of a criminal. Perhaps a revolutionary. Where, during a brief escape, would such a person hide something of value? There. Under the rotting tree stump, a package wrapped in brown paper and string. Radical texts, jade, and the discarded manacles and mask of a prisoner. So the stories were true.

A message long cold

Date: 2011-12-02 01:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
Perhaps the greatest treasures on the island are the ones drawn in the camp-fire ashes with a stick.

Rock and a hard place
It's a map. That's a piece of the Carnelian Coast, there's the Iron Republic. And that line is... it's the course of something. An iceberg? A mountain of the Unterzee? It looks like these people - radicals or escaped prisoners - were heading for it. But why would they go to a moving mountain of the zee?

The Shore Near the Jetty

Date: 2011-12-02 01:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
If the Constables used this place, they must have sheltered somewhere when the maddening winds blew and the Unterzee grew rumbunctious.

The zee-caves
The caves dotted along the shore are little more than stone notches, half-clogged with silt and slipped earth. The question is, which one do you dig into?

A little box
You're tired, covered in mud and your shoulder hurts something fierce after all that digging. But your spade hits something that isn't a rock or a crab, with a 'thwunk' that speaks of matters carefully buried. It's a little wooden chest, with the lock wax-sealed against the zee water. The seal bears the locked-book crest of the Ministry of Public Decency. You force it open and extract a small book. It's a decade-old diary. You flip through the pages. The author was evidently a radical thinker. Good Lord! There's some complex stuff here about class and capital. It's no wonder the author ended up here.

Finish your notes on Corpsecage Island

Date: 2011-12-02 01:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
There's solid evidence that Corpsecage Island has been sporadically inhabited over the ages. Relics from other cities stolen by the Bazaar lurk all over this place like currants in a bun.

Writing it all down
You have seen proof of Fourth and Third City inhabitation, and some evidence suggesting the Second City. There's material for a few weighty works here.

A work to rock academia
You take shelter in a cave, which has a shelf for your lamp and a rudimentary seat carved into the wall. It is nearly morning when you stop writing. There are lights out to zee, and your crew is shouting for you. Best go and see what they want.

Orthos Has Set Upon You

Date: 2011-12-02 01:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
The Fleet of Truth will be here at any moment - with or without Dr Orthos.

Re: Orthos Has Set Upon You

Date: 2011-12-02 01:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
*an owlish blink* And? That is no reason to leave mid-sentence. Permit me to record a few more observations ...

Tarry a little

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The Back of Corpsecage

Date: 2011-12-03 03:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
An isolated cove on the far side of Corpsecage Island. No ruins here, but a path leads to a stubby jetty of crumbling stone.

Inauspicious iron
As the tide recedes, you can see rusted iron manacles of recent design firmly fixed to the rock. They're below the zee-weedy strand of the high tide line.

Amber and, perhaps, essences
The manacles are of a style that was standard issue for the Constables of ten years ago. But not even the Velocipede Squad would stoop to this barbarity, would they? You look around.

Scraps of amber. A strange greenish pebble, as out of place amongst the local rocks as a lady in last season's dress at the Opera House. Marks on the stone under the water, made by something with a lot of spines. Theories extend suggestive tentacles of insight. Rubbery tentacles.

Bullbone Island

Date: 2011-12-03 11:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
Steamers keeping a regular schedule don't stop at Bullbone Island. Barely anyone lives here. Zailors tell of trees that dance, reaching upwards for a moon that never appears.

Re: Bullbone Island

Date: 2011-12-05 08:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] louis-plumb.livejournal.com
*stands, wondering where to start* Hmmmmmmmmm.

Re: Bullbone Island

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Spiritual happenings [Bullbone]

Date: 2011-12-04 02:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] henrik-paulsen.livejournal.com
The mandrakes' screeches echo from their copse at night. But are they the only unearthly voices you're hearing? Some sounds seem to come from the other side of the island.

Search the island

Some of the braver crew are willing to hold a vigil with you. What will you find if you cross the island?

Unholy wailings

The Theosophists believe that the spirits of those truly dead, and those stranded on the surface, can communicate with loved ones in the Neath if the circumstances are right. But the physical methods by which they think this happens remain obscure. The zailors' talk of ghosts and ghouls is much less academic, of course - but surely their stories are prime research material. And out here on Bullbone Island, as the night breezes chill your blood, it's easier to see what they base their superstitions on.

Whispering voices rise and swirl around your little group. You can't see anything that could possibly cause the sounds. The water around the island is still, as flat as a mirror. As you look, something stirs beneath the water, but no ripples disturb the surface. You peer closer. It looks like an underwater mandrake grove, leaves moving as if a gentle breeze were blowing. They must be stirring in a current - but how, then, is the surface so still?

Date: 2011-12-04 12:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
*standing on the shore, hand outstretched as if he might reach whatever stirs under that dark water -- but his fingers curl back, one by one, and he leaves to make his notes*

On the surface, I studied ghostlore, and in the course of my research found true phantoms. In the Neath, I investigated the Shroud, and found manipulation and mummery. Doctor Schlomo advised me to avoid mediums, for 'there are no dead here.' I came to wonder whether there were no ghosts. I have seen none.

But a ghost need not be an apparition for the eyes. It may be footsteps whispering behind you. It may be a primordial shriek, a maniac's prayer, an Aeolian scream. It may be an echo. From a well in Big King Square there rasps the voice of the Eaten One, but that is not, the Masters say, where he lives -- if he lives at all. He is 'the shadow of a sliver of a regret.' 'A deceitful remnant, no more.'

Perhaps these voices were only the voices of mandrakes -- but why should I wrote 'only'? Long ago I fed a mandrake with my own blood, because it was hungry, like me. It laughed like the unburied dead should laugh, like the thunder should laugh, like the Bazaar would laugh. Where did it learn to laugh so?

Whence do the echoes sound? 'The Theosophists believe that the spirits of those truly dead, and those stranded on the surface, can communicate with loved ones in the Neath if the circumstances are right ...' If the echoes are right?

Certainly I have not been converted to Theosophistry.

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Where the Wild Mandrakes Grow

Date: 2011-12-04 12:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
Up at the centre of Bullbone Island grows a circle of bottle-green trees. Only they're not trees. They're mandrakes.

Creaking in the breeze
The mandrakes are huge, curving over under their own weight. There's no question of you harvesting them. But you might be able to get close enough for a good look.

Mmmmmmmmmm
Leaves susurrate in the weak breeze. You hear no screams and no singing. But there's a humming, of sorts. Something that reminds you of the depths of the earth below your feet. It's enough to make you want to remove your boots, and wiggle your toes deep in the loamy soil.

Re: Where the Wild Mandrakes Grow

Date: 2011-12-08 03:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] louis-plumb.livejournal.com
The mandrakes... *still holding Theodor's hand* Why are they so large? Is it because they are old, do you think?

The Unterzee Waits Silently

Date: 2011-12-05 02:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
A sepulchral calm. The sea is an oily black mirror. You find yourself holding your breath.

Creeping closer
Tonight, the mandrakes will scream. Will you be close enough to hear the tiniest echoes?

What are they doing?
Mandrakes are known to scream. But tonight, from your cleft in the granite, you hear them roar and curse and laugh. A great wind whips up around the island. Tonight, you are far from the civilised safeties and dangers of London. You can only hold on, straining your fingers into the stone, and watch as your crew scurries to secure your steamer.

The Little Cave

Date: 2011-12-05 02:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
You'd have missed the low cave altogether had there not been a jumble of half-carved stone outside it. It looks like the mason never finished the work.

Oho - a little writing
The entrance is just big enough for your shoulders. Your lamp illuminates writing on the wall inside. No choice but to wriggle in on your belly.

Lost in time
Your overcoat is sodden with salty mud, but there's writing here. It's not Correspondent, but you can't have everything. It's scratched into the wall with a sharp stone. The script is primitive and the hand is clumsy. The scribe was better used to a clay tablet and a blunt reed. You've seen the script before, on a coin. You can't make out what it says, but this is definitely First City writing. You copy down what you can.

Re: The Little Cave

Date: 2011-12-05 08:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] louis-plumb.livejournal.com
The perils of caving
Your overcoat is sodden with salty mud, and you're stuck like a swollen cork. The cave walls close in on you as your crew plays sommelier at your ankles.

Uh ooooh. Not again!

Re: The Little Cave

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The Unterzee Waits Silently

Date: 2011-12-09 04:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theodor-gylden.livejournal.com
A sepulchral calm. The sea is an oily black mirror. You find yourself holding your breath.

Creeping closer
Tonight, the mandrakes will scream. Will you be close enough to hear the tiniest echoes?

Hide spoiler
Mandrakes are known to scream. But tonight, from your cleft in the granite, you hear them roar and curse and laugh. A great wind whips up around the island. Tonight, you are far from the civilised safeties and dangers of London. You can only hold on, straining your fingers into the stone, and watch as your crew scurries to secure your steamer.

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